Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
-san: A polite suffix, but not excessively formal.
-kun: A common suffix among friends and younger people.
-chan: A common suffix among people you’re close with, mostly used for feminine nicknames and girls, since it’s cutesy and childlike.
-senpai: A common suffix and noun used to address or refer to one’s older or more senior colleagues in a school, workplace, dojo, or sports club.
Miriya and I began conducting a reverse search for Airi in the school building’s courtyard. As we scurried around though, Miriya hade made a surprising remark.
Aghast, I remarked, “Grandchildren? Leicia didn’t even have a kid, as far as I remember it…”
“That’s because time is out of sync between the two worlds. I can’t believe it myself.”
“…I guess so.”
That revelation was truly shocking to me. Regardless, we need to break Serina’s curse for now, and as soon as possible.
“Darn it, let’s leave the speculation for later. Just find her quick,” I ordered.
To my command, Miriya gathered magic particles in her palms once more and released them into the sky.
“She’s on the rooftop. I’ve also lifted her full stealth,” she announced after a few seconds.
“Good. Just carry me and jump!” We had no time to lose.
“…You’re still as uncool as ever, Master.”
“Aw, zip it.”
We couldn’t waste a second longer by walking up the stairs, so it was faster to rely on the superwoman herself. My jumping skills were only good enough for dunking, at best.
“Let’s go,” she accepted.
I got on her back. The force of the following leap was like an MMA fighter’s punch to the gut.
We’d reached the rooftop in an instant, and my hair was like a disgruntled bird’s nest. Still, I had no time to worry about that. In front of us stood the culprit of this whole ordeal, Airi Nakabayashi herself.
“Good luck now,” Miriya said as I got off her back.
“…Which one of you broke my full stealth?”
“My excellent sl*ve did,” I said, wiping off the cold sweat and wearing a smug smile.
“You mean the one grandma mentioned…?”
“I’m Miriya,” my servant brushed off her uniform skirt and fixed her gaze on Nakabayashi. “Leishia Kayabana… Nakabayashi Airi, huh? Quite the play on words there. Did you want someone to notice you?”²
Since she already knew her true identity, Miriya pronounced her full name and realized the play on words.¹
Listening to Miriya’s provoking poise, Nakabayashi’s expression grew tense. Normally, Miriya wouldn’t just do that to someone she’d just met. So, this was most likely due to her being angry at the one who’d hurt her master.
“I’ll never forget… Vengeance will be mine.”
“I learned about your past. Sure, there’s room for sympathy. In fact, if we’d met under different circumstances, I might have even doted on you. However…”
Miriya took a step forward, pulling out a short blade from who-knew-where and pointing it at Nakabayashi. Then, she growled, “I won’t forgive you for laying a finger on my Master. This is where you’ll die.”
“Master, be quiet.”
This stubborn girl!
Certainly, if we kill Nakabayashi here, Serina will be saved. But something had stuck out to me from their talk—that she had room for sympathy.
It might be naive of me, sure, but hearing something like that, especially after learning she’s Leicia’s grandchild, is gut-wrenching. I really do want to know why she’s done so much to hurt me.
That said, I’m aware that knowing her circumstances won’t change a thing. I will prioritize Serina’s life no matter what happens or has happened. I’ve already made up my mind about that.
“Nakabayashi… No, Leishia. I want you to tell me why you’ve targeted me all this time. I don’t want this through Miriya but through your own mouth.”
“Master!” Miriya glared reproachingly at my announcement, but I couldn’t help it. Since Leishia is involved here, I just can’t be callous.
“…Fine. There’s no chance of winning against both of you. And I can’t escape anyway,” Leishia resigned herself.
“Right. And I’m counting on you, Miriya,” I glanced at my trustworthy servant. She nodded.
“Sigh… Let’s get this over with. And no need to reinforce that, I already know.”
“Right right, Leishia.”
“…Stop calling me that so casually.”
Why does she hate my guts so much? It wasn’t like that at all with Leicia.
“As you probably already know, I am Leicia Kayabana’s granddaughter. The black hair and the hairstyle is a tell, right?”
She proudly waved her raven hair, and indeed, she looked quite similar to the girl I once knew. Except for the bangs.
“You inherited your black hair from her… Yeah. I can see the resemblance in your features.”
“It’s my pride,” she was poignant.
I could tell she respected Leicia a great deal. That’s why her hatred boggled my mind.
“Leicia… She should have had special feelings for me. So why did you…?”
“Yes…! You were special to Grandma! That’s why I can’t forgive you!”
“Why…?” What happened when we were kicked out of that other world?
Before I could even ask, she answered.
“You once destroyed the Empire’s main fortress to save Grandma.”
“Ah, yes…” It was a memory I would never forget.
“It took the Empire 40 years to recover from that. You even blew important figures of the country to smithereens!”
I was left speechless. I had no idea the damage I’d caused was so severe. Back then, I was so abhorred by the prospect of involving myself further with the horrors, I didn’t let Miriya pry into it.
“Because of you, the kingdom’s ‘worst hero,’ Grandma earned the full resentment of the Empire. As soon as they rebuilt, decades later, they invaded the kingdom.”
“B-but the kingdom isn’t weak enough to lose to a newly raised country!”
“…The kingdom’s strength had declined over time. We were constantly at war with other countries due to being targeted.”
“And Grandma always said, ‘If Izuru… If my hero were here…’ with a forlorn look in her eyes!”
“…She thought too much of me,” I pushed myself down, knowing what I could and could not do. One of the things I couldn’t was shine in a war.
“You’re right,” Leishia continued. “I was so disappointed when I saw you in this world. The oh-grand hero my Grandma spoke so highly of was just a powerless, gloomy, and hateful person!”
I didn’t have the energy to retort as I always have… Because she was right. That’s true, isn’t it, Leicia—?
“Grandma couldn’t have children because of her old age. So when the invasion happened, she was killed first! And yet she still had hope for you until the very end!”
I had promised… to save her.
Leishia walked closer to me and meekly raised her fists, a constant and burning anger in her eyes. Yet, despite how her resentment charred, her punches were but taps against my chest. As her emotions overflowed, so too did her eyes fill with tears.
“Why… Why didn’t you save the kingdom…? Us…? Grandma?! Weren’t you a hero? What were you doing in a place such as thus, breaking the promise you made with her!” Her eyes bore straight into my soul, searing. “I’ll never, ever forgive you!”
At first glance, her anger might be seen as just bitterness… That’s what I thought until I heard her story. It was only natural to hold me responsible for what had happened. And that’s why Miriya wouldn’t tell it to me, insisting on me not learning this.
I was the one who attacked the Empire, not Leicia.
If I hadn’t gone that far, we wouldn’t have to face this tragic future… Even if it had been done at Leicia’s request.
Despite it all, I hadn’t witnessed Leishia’s birth and just disappeared from that other world without a single word.
In hindsight, she must’ve desperately searched for me…
Facing all these facts, I couldn’t say anything. Leishia’s weak and vitriolic fists kept hitting me for a while longer until Miriya intervened.
“That’s enough. This is more than sufficient…” Miriya separated her from me.
“I won’t forgive you either!” Leishia spat. “Grandma desperately searched for you, too…”
“…I feel truly sorry for the Princess, but my Master is everything to me.”
“Tch!” She clicked her tongue in response.
“Don’t stir my Master’s emotions any further. It’s a matter that no longer concerns us,” Miriya stated coldly, doing it for my sake.
…But it wasn’t over yet.
“There’s still something I need to ask. I’ll decide whether to kill Leishia or not after that.”
“…If your determination has changed, I’ll allow it,” she said despite being my servant.
I turned away from my sulky servant and faced Leishia once more. “I’ll ask you something one last time… Were you killed too?”
The fact she had come to this world meant that Leishia had also met that f*cking witch. In fact, a common trigger I’d noticed for meeting with her was death. Probably, that is.
“Yes. I died… By my own hand,” she stated gravely.
“—!” I was left in shock.
“Our bloodline’s rule was to not pass down our blood to other countries. Meeting with the goddess was just good luck for me.”
Even though she was roughly the same age as I was, she had the guts to go through with it.
Regardless, what a mysterious coincidence… To think that I met the Princess in the other world and that it was her granddaughter who’d killed me in the first place.
—That’s when I realized.
“So, I died because of you, then went to that other world and met Leicia… And yet, you coming to this world was still because of me,” I pondered out loud. “Strange. The cause and effects are flipped.”
“It’s probably due to the goddess’s whims.”
That damned witch was one to do things like that. Still, it didn’t make sense! The cause and effects were tangled up, and it was all because of her crooked hands!
What’s the point—?
“Master. You said we could speculate later.”
“And she’ll receive retribution for killing you.”
“Do as you please,” Leishia huffed.
In the face of this multifaceted situation, I couldn’t help but be troubled. However still, I couldn’t trade Serina’s life for anything.
Not in a hundred thousand years would I let Leishia, who had harmed someone that was both important to me and innocent, go unpunished.
Besides, to break the curse, her death was an absolute necessity.
“…I can’t forgive you, either,” I finally said. “Killing me is one thing, but Serina had nothing to do with this.”
“Yes. But many innocent people from unrelated countries also died due to this! Our anger is much greater than yours…!”
“It seems we won’t be able to understand each other.”
I’m sorry, Leicia… I’ll have to hurt your precious granddaughter.
I won’t ask for forgiveness. I don’t have the right to.
Why…? Why did it end up like this?
Gnawing at myself, countless what-if scenarios played in my mind like sick movies. If only I had done that, if only I had done this. If only I hadn’t acted there… However, no matter how much I regretted or repented, I couldn’t undo a thing I had or hadn’t done.
However, just like you did in your final moments, I’ll keep hope until the bitter end, Leicia.
I’ll take responsibility for your granddaughter’s life. That’s my sin for not being able to do anything for you.
I took the short blade from Miriya and approached Leicia’s granddaughter.
“I wish we had a different kind of encounter…” I uttered grimly.
As Miriya had said, she could’ve been someone we cherished, someone we loved as family.
“It’s my fault—my responsibility that it ended up like this, with us hating each other,” I continued, holding the blade painfully.
“Please be quick,” Leishia closed her eyes. “If it’s her hero’s doing, it’ll be a nice souvenir for my Grandma.”
“…I understand. Hey, Leishia,” I said, pulling her body closer to mine. And just as she did for me, I whispered gently in her ear. “Best regards to that damned goddess.”
I plunged the blade deep into her heart.
1 — Her name is an anagram. Sadly it’s not translatable to English for full effect.
2 — Yes, Leishia and Leicia are intentional. The grandchild’s name is meant to be an imitation of the grandmother’s.
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