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Translated by :
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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
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In the end, Liliana herself did not remember when she had begun to sing.
All along, Liliana’s bloodline, from the time of her mother, her mother’s mother, and even other mothers beyond that, had been a bloodline that did not settle in one place, and instead travelled the earth.
The vagrant occupation of a bard would of course mean they would get bored quickly. They would not remain in any one place, but along with the winds, along with their hearts’ whims, they would continuously travel with only two feet.
It seemed that many bards would gather together, to band together for performances. However, Liliana was not particularly fond of this nature of banding together. Although she did not dislike being with others, their interests were different. There was a palpable difference in sense of music.
Just like her line of mothers, Liliana trod alone onto a journey. However, even amongst the many bards that valued their freedom, it could not be denied that her independence had appeared rather early. She had been thirteen years of age, when she left her parents’ nest.
Parent: “Hey, annoying! Can’t you just sit here and wait!? Aren’t you supposed to not do things without your father and mothers’ assent?”
Although not over a trivial matter, at the end of that argument, she fled with no doubts. Since the age of ten, Liliana had always wanted to live independently. Those were the heedless opinions of a daughter too deeply submerged in chasing dreams, and her parents, especially her mother, forcibly kept her from it.
However, at around the age of ten, the feelings of the young Liliana were already a tad more mature than those of other girls her age. That was, more or less, the result of her father’s performances and her mother’s singing of various poems. The influence of being familiar with those played no small part.
For young Liliana, the characters appearing in the music her mother sang were dashing. As she came into contact with their adventures, struggles, battles, romances, intrigues, Liliana had been forever unable to bear that her feet could not make their way forward.
——The people who had come to be famous through song, could so freely choose their way of living.
To the ten-year-old Liliana, the heroes that had appeared in the songs were friends. She was eager to savor the feeling of walking the same path, of witnessing the same sights, underneath the same sky they all had raised their heads to see.
Clinging to such a feeling, she had been able to bear it for three years.
Liliana’s single-minded passion and single-minded sense of companionship flared up. From her father she stole the skill of performing with a Lyulyre, and from her mother she stole the sound of her singing, along with several famed songs.
On the eve of turning thirteen, her mother personally handed her down the Lyulyre, a tradition of her bloodline, and after that grand argument between parent and child, she sprinted away from her parents’ side, journeying away from home alone.
Liliana: “Hahahaha! Wait and see, Mother, Father! I’ll be the king of bards…!”
Completely evading the pursuit of her parents, she, having become alone, made a vow to the night sky. Liliana Masquerade’s grand adventure, would, from now on, commence.
――In hindsight, it was plain to see that their parent-child quarrel had been due to her parents’ thoughtfulness.
Since the age of ten, her parents had deplored Liliana’s recklessness. Complaining that her skills had yet to mature, that she treated not learning melodies as a joke, occasionally refusing her food afterward.
Father: “Hehehehe! A little girl like you is ten years too early to think she can live independently! Leave it to this arrogant child to take care of the meat of the rabbits who’ve fallen into the trap!”
Mother: “My oh my, you poor thing! Today’s rabbit meat seems to be so sloppily cooked, and now you say we have to wait? A child who doesn’t listen to her father and mother really is pitiful!”
For better or for worse, their parents had a nature of chasing their dreams.
For a pair such as them, how heartrending the departure of their only daughter must have been. Surely leading up to the departure, arguments would have been aplenty.
Father: “This lowers the consumption of meals! We’ll be able to eat three meals a day from now!”
Mother: “With Liliana gone, we can just have another child!”
Surely, there must have been arguments. Surely it had been painful. For sure.
And a parental argument was the last gift she received from them.
If Liliana’s dreams were crushed, she would not return to her parents. To cut off Liliana’s way out, they spoke such heartless words.
To weaken at the thought of an escape route, was human nature. As long as a path of retreat existed, the flames of determination could not burn until their very last.
Especially for a travelling bard, who had no home of their own.
Family and hometown were typically notions that were merged into one. Reliance on family was a subconsciously overwhelming tendency. And so, the greatest obstacle standing in the way of independence was the act of cutting it off.
Thanks to her youthful recklessness, and her parents’ shrewd manipulation, she had overcome such an obstacle.
Liliana, while sipping muddied water, munching roots of grass, whimpering “I want to go home…”, having being overcome by starvation and weakness, only then did she notice their consideration.
If her resolve had shattered then, perhaps she would have cast down her Lyulyre. She thanked her parents. That mutual parting had been the best for them.
Father: “Oh, eh?”
Years later, upon encountering them in another town, they had yet to settle their differences. On top of that, held in her parents’ arms, was an unfamiliar infant.
Liliana initially assumed it to be her younger sister, but rather than speak to her parents, she merely stuck out her chest, straightened her back and returned the way she had come.
Years later, if she had achievements more worthy of pride, perhaps she could reunite with her parents and exchange smiles and happy words.
However, as of this day, she was sorely lacking. So, it should be left as that, for now.
Of course, after this meeting today, perhaps she would never encounter her parents again. And there was an even higher chance that she would never be able to introduce herself as an elder sister to the little sister whose name she had yet to learn.
However, that was fine. This was what Liliana had chosen, a way of life which relied on song.
And, one day, when Liliana eventually became a world-renowned bard, doubtlessly her parents would irresponsibly comment to everyone who would listen. The first victim would no doubt be her little sister. And thus, it was completely natural that she added another petty ambition.
Liliana: “Heheh, what a heart-pounding vision of a future. Even though it shouldn’t have been too much to ask for!”
It was around the time Liliana was seventeen, that she found her resolve anew.
Liliana, who was now twenty-two, lived independently for nine years―― it was a given that her life had not been smooth, instead riddled with tribulation.
Most notable among them, was that at the age of thirteen, right after she’d begun her journey, the day immediately after declaring “I will be the king of bards!”, on the day following that she was already utterly close to death. If she had not been picked up by passerby merchants, and had not been allowed to save up some money working as a servant, surely she would actually have died alone, pitifully.
If not for a group of merchants, travelling across the lands to make their living.
Liliana had been picked up and taken care of, acting as a servant. It was a way of travel much safer, much more comfortable, than a true solo journey, because there would be meals and a bed.
Upon reaching towns, Liliana would also take up the Lyulyre, singing at the side of the road for coin. The first instance of having her performance recognized after leaving her father and mother’s household was unforgettable.
The merchants took care of her for around a year, but when their spokesperson settled in a town, having saved up enough money to acquire his own store, the group disbanded. Amongst the scattered merchants, several groups invited Liliana to come along, but solemnly she declined, continuing on alone.
Letting go of a safer and more comfortable journey, she renewed herself as a person and sharpened her fangs. The lukewarm days of the beginning had ended, and the legend of Liliana Masquerade began. This was, without question, a tale of such vigor.
The details of the following years of toil are to be omitted.
As part of a group of merchants, or of a respected house of bards, she would have been fine, but the ruthless world had no consideration for a little girl who sang.
It was then, that she fully understood the consideration that her parents had shown before she left.
This was when Liliana realized, that there was another great truth of this world. It was that the world she lived in and the worlds the characters of her beloved stories lived in, were absolutely different, and she was in no way one of their companions.
The reason for that was hardly anything special.
On the night she had munched on roots of grass as usual and consumed untouched red fruits in the mountains, she suffered the agony of a stomachache and fever by her lonesome, and then, she realized.
The heroes of the thrilling stories she knew had never been like this.
Because those tales were done and over with. The days where they spat fresh blood, spoke their aspirations, cried out their hopes, and swung their blades were of the distant past. Liliana had only superficially treaded through their footsteps and woven their tales for others to witness.
Liliana loved them, but they had never loved Liliana.
Her own thoughts had been completely one-sided, the kind of thoughts that would only lead to a dead-end set in the past, and ultimately, to lose her way.
——Then, just what was a bard?
Her origin had been “I will become the king of bards!”, and with that said, Liliana had taken up the mantle of bard for many years, before finally realizing how useless she was.
That was something she had never considered before, something that was akin to having slammed into a wall; Liliana tasted the feeling like having her nose and front teeth aggressively smashed.
For three days and three nights, Liliana’s pains, fever, and vomiting continued without cease. Amidst this nightmare, Liliana endlessly wondered what was dream and what was reality.
After the fourth day, Liliana awoke recovered, splashed her face in the stream, and drank its water. The self that was reflected there, wore a different mien than the self of before.
The wind rustled the foliage, the gurgling of the stream was refreshing, and the calls of insects and birds could be heard.
And there, for the first time, she felt song.
Tears overflowing, Liliana could not help but leap into the stream. The insects, birds, fish were all startled, their music flowing to the water’s surface, where Liliana’s head emerged, heartily laughing, crying, laughing, crying out.
Liliana descended the mountain, body caked in dried mud and dirtied water, and stood on the streets.
Everyone found themselves disgusted by the young girl clutching an instrument, wearing a dirtied dress. The storeowner’s expression revealed disgust, and passersby on the streets seemed uneasy as well. Merely standing like that for a few seconds would perhaps result in being knocked over by some thoughtless passerby.
However, the Liliana moving through the streets moved with agility. It was not that she was thinking she would be knocked over if she did not start soon.
In this moment, her only desire was to sing as soon as possible.
How many people had noticed the strings of the Lyulyre being plucked?
A dirty muddy girl, an aged and withered Lyulyre in her hands, yet the hands that were touching the Lyulyre were breathtaking.
It was unclear how many people had noticed it.
The only thing that was certain however, was that the consciousness of those who had indeed taken notice, had been immediately raptured.
As soon as Liliana’s performance began, the moment those graceful and delicate hands fingered weaving music, the footsteps of everyone on the streets paused, as did their breathing. In an instant, everyone realized there had been some sort of dramatic shift, confused by the tremendous wave that swept through their hearts.
Every gaze focused upon her, a dirtied, young girl standing in the street, the source of the sound.
Liliana felt attention falling upon her, and at the same time understood that she had become excited. The stage had been prepared, and she dashed on it in one breath.
As applause for her performance reached its zenith, Liliana’s song began.
From her throat flowed Song, to the extent of making her believe that the songs she had sung in the past, were not of the same substance.
Her own knowledge, feelings for the famous melodies went back and forth, piercing her. With a clear heart, she watched them rise towards the heavens, the friends she had thought of as inseparable.
——Song was a gift, and to the friends of the past whose tales she sang of, she was nothing at all.
And that was fine, for Liliana understood such that her own existence, was one of a bard.
With this foundation of understanding, from hereafter she could continue to sing by herself.
Flaunt, that in this world such exemplary people existed. Flaunt, that she had held the misunderstanding that she had been friends with such exemplary people.
And one day, certainly, for certain, she would befriend such amazing people, and she would sing, proudly flaunting that such amazing people had been her friends.
Finishing her song, Liliana shed tears.
The people there were struck speechless, shedding tears just as she did, wiping their noses.
Applause echoed like thunder across the street, and Liliana Masquerade had become a bard.
Since then, Liliana’s acquaintanceship with music had persisted.
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Atop the burning control tower, Liliana sang, recalling the first time she had sung and the first time she had sung as a bard.
A feeling similar to the one from then, danced in her heart.
What she wanted to sing, wanted to express with words, wanted to voice, was too much. Even in the midst of song, she could not resist the urge to sing those. To the point that it could be called an obsession.
The white flame that scorched only the prey it selected was still burning, its momentum showing no sign of relenting
Perhaps Liliana did not feel the heat that would scorch her, yet the heat that burned tormented her. Even now, blazing pain was transmitted starting from the soles of her footwear, the body that had scaled the control tower wreathed in flame continuously emitting out cries of pain. Pain that drove her to her knees assaulted her to the point of wishing to cry out immediately.
However, something like wailing was a waste. Something like rolling around was a waste.
Before her eyes, was an audience who wanted song. This throat was not for crying, but for song.
The music she sung, was not one that had been passed down by her mother or family.
A bard’s obligation was an obligation to inherit stories, and so, perhaps for a bard this was a misstep, but this was the song that Liliana had receive, as a gift, upon first coming to understand the world.
Upon the arrival of a new morning, the sky would be dyed a reddish yellow color.
Chasing off the night, was the sky signaling a new day that Liliana loved to see. The break of day stained red and yellow, bringing a true morning to all.
——A sky that transcended the light of dawn.
No matter what the night held, morning would always dawn.
The blue sky that oversaw the rise of the sun for everyone, was the start of a new day.
Right now, mayhem gradually permeated the city, and a great number of people had been overtaken by unease and sorrow, leaving them immobile.
In the midst of a night where neither looking forward nor backward was an option, every single one of them was struggling, struggling, that much was the reality of it.
But, even so, Liliana wanted to sing that the morning would nonetheless arrive.
Because she wanted to sing with that in her mind, she sung just that.
She herself would not survive the agony of holding back the song she wanted to sing. And thus, right now was the perfect time to use song to convey what she wished to.
At the top of the control tower, Liliana loosened the trembling throat, so carefully tightened, and continued to sing.
Fingers moving across the Lyulyre as if in dance, and in truth, she sang simultaneously as she danced. Making full use of the peak of the control tower, wanting that a large number of number of those surrounding would listen.
And yet, how deplorable that her voice had no way of reaching everyone’s eardrums.
The problem was not merely one of volume. There was an issue of distance. The hearts of her audience were troubled. No matter how much of her heart Liliana poured, the existence of physical and mental barriers that made listening impossible was an undeniable reality.
Liliana believed in the power of song. However, it could only be considered true song if it reached its audience, becoming song only when that was accomplished.
Spread every which way, just how many people had been overcome by unease and sorrow? Perhaps it reached hundreds, even thousands. Liliana had never had the experience of reaching such a wide audience on her own, without the aid of the magical device.
Whether a means to diffuse voice, or a means of reach so many simultaneously, a normal person would not be able to have such means.
Liliana’s battle was far too hopeless, her aspirations far too distant.
Back when she had been ten years of age, Liliana’s ambitions had been deemed by her parents to be far too reckless.
And right now, was it just as back then, was she still repeating the same things?
Even though the power of song was real, was the person delivering the song still a fake?
Was it this place where she wanted to end up at?
At such a thought that inflicted herself pain, her throat faltered. And in that moment,
???: “Liliana—— lovely Songstress. That singing voice, I want to it to captivate me forever.”
A silly man, with such a silly pick-up line, appeared in Liliana’s mind.
He was an odd man. He was doubtlessly a weirdo. Perverted might have been more accurate.
Upon hearing Liliana’s song, there had been those who had approached her with evil intents in mind.
Liliana had remained distant from all of them. She could not lend her throat to those who were not sincere, attempting to use song for ulterior motives. That was the sense of duty of a bard.
???: “I fell in love with your beauty. Please stay by my side!”
And so, he had been the first to try to become close to her from his heart.
Awareness that Liliana was a bard, was something that had only come to him after his declaration of love to her, upon seeing her. On the first time she had performed in front of him, rather than her song, his eyes raked over her face, chest, feet, honestly rather uncomfortably.
However, that was not to say that he did not find himself touched by Liliana’s song. Nor that his feelings for Liliana had been hiding via deceit.
He liked her appearance, understood her singing voice, knew that, as a person, leaving was impossible.
???: “The city of Pristella has four large gates. So, within the city are several shelters as an emergency measure. This magical device is used to encourage citizens to be aware of daily predicaments, and to help them make decisions on the event of an emergency.”
Liliana: “Eh… So what’s this for…?”
???: “I was wondering if it was possible to try playing Liliana’s song through the broadcast. Within this city are many people who have yet to understand your song, this is the perfect chance.”
Singing through a magical device, was, for Liliana, a bad idea.
Song should indeed be sung before an audience. And so, Liliana had grudgingly refused. But he had laughed in a carefree way,
???: “I want to monopolize your figure. However, your singing voice absolutely cannot be monopolized. Songstress to everyone else, Liliana to me. Would that be possible?”
How had that weirdo dared to laugh in her face without malice? If this was how he wanted to convince her, she wanted to snort.
Liliana knew of many love stories of this world, having been chronicled in song.
In those love stories, their hearts swayed, became infatuated with love. She knew which kind of words would charm them, which kind of attitudes would make their hearts flutter, and which kind of love would be fulfilled.
And thus, Liliana was not innocent enough to be persuaded by such words.
Perhaps innocent, perhaps not innocent, but she did appreciated how Songstress sounded. It was an exaggeration such that she could not straighten her chest and say it suited her.
Kiritaka Muse expected Liliana to be a Songstress for him. Because that person had turned her into the Songstress of this city.
To communicate, reverberate, tremble, this feeling——
No matter how dark the night, so pitch-black that seeing forward was impossible. Even then, morning would still arrive, as always.
More resolute than anyone, louder than anyone, she would believe in it and sing it.
The Songstress of the Watergate City of Pristella, Liliana Masquerade.
With that sort of feeling, heat and pain could not be sensed anymore.
Everything of herself was being poured into the wrists that strummed the Lyulyre, the feet that danced in synchronicity, the throat that sang without rest.
Her whole being was being squeezed out, withering away. The entirety of her emotions, the entirety of her singing voice, everything.
Singing, singing, singing, Liliana had not noticed.
That her ears no longer captured the lament of those whose hearts had been whisked away.
On the opposite side of the flaming waterways, those who had been sighing in lament now gazed upward, towards the empty sky.
No, not empty. There was the control tower wreathed in flame, from which a voice could be heard.
A miniature figure at the peak, continue to cry out from a great distance.
Eyes could not leave her. Their complete focus was directed toward the ears, everyone holding their breath to listen to the song in rapt attention.
A song that should not have been heard, was heard clearly by everyone.
This was no miracle, nor was it a simultaneous hallucination. Nor was it the sharing of emotions provided by the Authority of the Sin Archbishop.
――This was the true blooming of the Divine Protection of Telepathy, the gift Liliana had been granted by the heavens.
A Divine Protection that had until now been subconscious, only on this moment, was it capable to exert the influence it was supposed to. Boosted by her singing ability, and by the realization of casting everything aside in this hopeless moment to help, it had become a tremendous force, flowing into the city.
Of course, Liliana was unaware of this. In addition, there was no one there to inform her of the situation.
Liliana only sang with all her heart and soul. Becoming a bard, putting her all into singing, turning everything into this instant.
Echoing here was, for certain, the music of Pristella’s Songstress.
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Priscilla: “——As expected, the arrangement I had prepared came to pass.”
Priscilla laughed, holding a flaming sword of crimson, seemingly containing the very sun within.
The song had also reached Priscilla’s ears. Liliana had taken center stage on the burning control tower, producing the most brilliant of songs.
Although the Yang Sword’s controlled what its flames turned to cinders, the heat their emitted no fake. The inside of the control tower was hot enough to cook, and the stone tower would feel scorching. Even at this instant, certainly it was so hot that she would want to leap off.
Even so, from this song that transmitted all of Liliana’s feelings, cries or complaints of pain were practically undetectable.
It was not that the feelings were not there. Rather, the undiluted pain was surpassed by song.
What a foolish conclusion. One which only a fool could reach, a most extreme foolishness. Proof that the ultimate in idiocy could yield a foolish result which transcended reason.
Priscilla: “That one’s foolishness is truly fascinating. Idiocy and foolishness are not alike. An idiot does not deserve a life, but a fool has the advantage of being amusing. And even more, she has demonstrated a worth beyond joy. Thus, she deserves my reward.”
Before allowing Priscilla to finish her soliloquy, from overhead and from the left burning chains pressed close. The snake’s jaw bore a flame, moving straight at the stopped Priscilla.
Priscilla snorted at that pinnacle of unsightliness.
Raising the Yang Sword, the crimson blade flashed in a slant. Interrupting the path of the attacks coming from above and from the left simultaneously, the approaching chains were forcibly severed with a single swing. The crisp sound seemed to ring twice nearly at the same time, and the freak’s wicked tongue clicked at the sparks.
Sirius: “Both you and that girl are so damn annoying! What is so different about me and her!? The methods are different, but the essence is the same! It is proof that we can communicate with this one thing!”
Sirius shrieked loudly, drawing the burnt off chains close.
Twisting her arms, angrily generating fire, the bloodshot eyes of the freak whose black cloak swayed violently, were directed at Liliana dancing atop the burning control tower.
Liliana’s Divine Protection of Telepathy was incredibly powerful, enough that it could affect the monster’s perception. To the freak who was so perceptive to changes in the emotions of others, the effects of that song radiated without limit.
The citizens had been freed from that monster’s curse of Wrath, which had taken root inside their hearts.
On the other side of the waterways still burning with white flame, within the eyes of the people who stood there were no traces of frenzy. What filled their eyes was not fervor, but only tears that fell gently.
It was impossible for the monster to capture the complex feelings from which those tears stemmed. Because rather than condensing into one feeling, it kept swaying.
Sirius: “That person, as long as that person is, it can be proven…! Why are you appearing before me to intercept my path!? Humans want to pursue, to become one indeed! This is how the world has continued on! And yet!”
Priscilla: “As is the nature of song, the accompanying feelings vary. When listening to an excellent tune, even the meaning behind the word «wonderful» may differ. Screaming and yelling about emotions, yet display such a shallow understanding of what is most vital… This is what is referred to as «idiocy».”
Sirius: “EEEEEEEENOUGH ALREAAAAAAADY!!”
Sirius widened her eyes at Priscilla’s merciless speech, and with a howl, her arms were put together. The colliding palms rattled the chains, and each arm violently unraveled the curled chains.
With the skin on arms being peeled off, the very flesh being scraped, with such painful deeds, Sirius spread her arms, forcefully swinging the split chains.
Flame travelled through the rotating chains, the whirling causing it to expand to the maximum of the chain’s arc. The scorching flame became a round disk, and even Sirius herself caught alight because of the tremendous heat.
Priscilla: “Could it be, that the bandages are for such wounds?”
The bandages were for burn wounds. If the reason was as what had just been witnessed, then truly it was mere foolishness.
Faced with this greatest force, this greatest danger, Priscilla’s attitude did not waver.
Two snakes of flame, merged into a mighty flame, achieving greater firepower.
Priscilla gazed upon the vortex of flame that would not leave a shadow behind, with an expression of listlessness.
Sirius: “Feelings trembling… these intense emotions of the heart, this passion, this Wrath!”
Leaving herself to hatred and abominated feelings, Sirius’s flames turned into waves of heat.
The flames that struck with rotating momentum no longer gave off the appearance of iron chains. In the instant that the flame had blossomed, the role of the chains that had served as conduit had come to an end.
The chains that had performed their role had melted in a flash, and only a mass of fire flew at Priscilla. A mass of heat as if enveloping the entire world rather than merely line of sight, was a ranged attack no different from a cloud falling from the sky.
Utterly impossible to dodge, the only defense was to be swallowed thus. And so, regarding the flame itself, there was only one option.
Priscilla: “——Should my decree be the decree of the heavens, the aurora of the Yang Sword shall follow as one.”
Faced with the wave of flame pressing close, Priscilla lifted the Yang Sword.
Not as if feeling uncomfortable with the situation, merely raising the blade high.
In the instant of the collision, Sirius spat venomous hatred at Priscilla, on the other side of the flame.
Priscilla did not regard her fury. The only sound that reached her was the song.
The instant when the heat wave should have consumed her body, the Yang Sword changed.
From the sword which all jewels had previously shone, shine suddenly vanished. Only crimson light and crimson blade remained in Priscilla’s grip.
It was thus, that the sword without its light met the flame.
Without the radiance of the jewels, the sword became one of ordinary steel, losing its divinity. Therefore, it did not have enough power to repel the approaching flame. If there had been an onlooker at the moment, perhaps that would be impression they would have been left with.
——But the result was the precise opposite.
Priscilla: “——Devour completely.”
Priscilla murmured, sweeping the Yang Sword to the side. She would be consumed by the flames and vanish.
And yet, her existence had yet to vanish after her whisper. Not only that, her body bore no traces of the heat wave’s aftereffects, beautiful and constituted as always.
Waves of fire that boasted such power had been swept away without trace. Almost as if only the Yang Sword, glinting with reclaimed light, knew where the flames had gone.
Grabbing the Yang Sword once again, Priscilla’s expression shifted. Where once there had been a confident smile, now were stiffened cheeks as she hastened her steps.
Right in her line of sight was Sirius, sprinting quickly. The freak’s fierce sprint pulled her far from Priscilla. Clearly, she had begun running without ascertaining the result of the flame from earlier.
In other words, from the very start, Sirius’s target had not been Priscilla.
Sirius: “Stop with that jarring song——! The Wrath I share with that person, you cannot deny it so arbitrarily——!”
Her eyes bloodshot, Sirius rushed straight toward the control tower from which Liliana sang.
The white flame surrounding the control tower was a flame that allowed only Liliana freedom. Once Sirius rushed in, she would surely be burnt by that fire.
Something of this degree, even the freak would understand. Then, the target was,
Priscilla: “Idiot, what are you forcing me to——”
Propelled with explosive momentum, Priscilla’s form tore through the courtyard. Although Sirius was fast indeed, Priscilla was superior.
Sirius’s initial advantage had gone to waste, and Priscilla directed the Yang Sword’s swing at the monster’s back. Even if she had wanted to, the freak no longer had a means to defend. Without the chains on her arms, she had no way to meet Priscilla’s sword.
Priscilla: “Stop, commoner——”
Sirius: “So annoying, you stop already!!”
Just before the Yang Sword slashed Sirius diagonally, Priscilla’s body was stilled in midair. Her entire body frozen as if forcibly fixed in place, Priscilla’s throat was caught by the sudden force.
Sirius lifted her leg, and from the hem of her pants, came the sound of chains that had been so familiar during the battle——
Rather than from the arm, a strike from the chain wrapped around her legs lashed out towards Priscilla, who had been frozen in her tracks.
This time, with her entire body halted, the attack was impossible to defend against.
After the ferocious attack from the chain several times faster than the one from the arm, the front of Priscilla’s dignified visage burst. The sound of steel on flesh rang out, and the clasp which bound Priscilla’s orange hair was sent soaring, causing her beautiful hair to scatter.
Her face was left unmarred. However, her pride had been wounded.
Unable to neutralize its power she was flung backwards, increasing the distance between her and Sirius.
During this time, Sirius had approached the control tower, using unconventional movements to shift her strength and body weight to the same leg that had struck its chain at Priscilla, and then released it.
The serpent of flame wrapped the control tower with violent momentum, and the foundation of stone tower collapsed with a howl. Fragmenting, collapsing, the material of the stone tower’s foundation was consumed by waves of fire, tilting from the impact of the huge flame.
——With Liliana still on it, in one motion, the stone tower tilted and collapsed.
Priscilla, with orange hair scattered across her shoulders, watched the tower’s demise with widened eyes. Sirius’s silhouette was visible. But atop the tilting tower, Liliana’s silhouette was absent.
And yet, Liliana’s song continued. Even now, after her feet had toppled, after she had been caught up in the destruction.
Liliana devoted herself to her duties, continuing to captivate the inhabitants’ hearts.
Priscilla: “——Your devotion is for a great cause!”
And so, Priscilla strode forwards, towards Sirius, without hesitation.
If Liliana’s voice were interrupted, the influence over the peoples’ hearts would return to Sirius. Making a split-second decision, the Yang Sword shone brighter, and Priscilla split the ground with one kick.
Sirius: “You insensitive egoist! Do not justify your inability to empathize with others! You who are unable to connect with people, are defective, the natural state of humans is to mutually understand, to merge with one another!”
Priscilla: “You commoner――”
Having chosen to rush forward, Priscilla was cursed by Sirius, the destroyer of the control tower.
She leapt, and with the force of her heel the iron chain stuck downwards. An impact, and flames moving belatedly created an explosion, reaching for Priscilla’s body as she ran towards the blast. A pause, and then continued steps.
Bathed in that heatwave, Priscilla’s eyes were unwavering.
The same could be said of Sirius’s frenzy. The freak could no longer hear any other voice.
A conclusion. Both of them held different senses of value, hence, they were completely incompatible with one another.
The tilting control tower made a splitting noise, stone blocks caught up in the destruction scattered, smoke curled and flames spread, and the courtyard became a flaming hellscape.
Those standing at the waterway where the tower had collapsed to shrieked with tears in their eyes as they fled. But not tears of sorrow. For something else, for the sound of song.
Sirius: “To love is to be one——”
Priscilla: “No—— To love is to tolerate and to accept differences. For everyone to look at the same person, to feel the same way, to share the same feelings, what else but nauseating and disgusting would it be.”
Priscilla bent down to sweep aside the chain, leaning to meet the rushing attack. Sirius clicked her tongue and created several walls of flame to block the way, yet the Yang Sword mowed them all down, the crimson blade drinking it all.
The distance shrank, the chain attacks increased in speed and number.
The sound of steel colliding with steel was swallowed by the roar of the collapsing control tower. Running through that pleasant sound, Priscilla’s power finally reached Sirius’s ears.
Priscilla: “It is over.”
Sirius: “――Well, how about this!?”
The very same moment Priscilla raised the Yang Sword, Sirius opened her coat.
Around the freak’s waist, much like her hands and feet, chains had been tightly bound, and wrapped around her torso by chains, was a young girl with curled blonde hair.
What Priscilla had no way of knowing, was that name of the girl was Tina. Since the beginning of this turmoil, she had been held hostage by Sirius. Although Subaru had mentioned her during the strategy meeting for Wrath, this matter had been perceived by Priscilla’s brain as trivial.
However, without hesitation, Priscilla swung the Yang Sword at the hostage before her.
The Yang Sword did not hesitate in momentum, and slanted, it ran through Tina’s and Sirius’s body. The blade of the Yang Sword, which boasted fearsome heat, soundlessly cut through the protective chains around her body, severed in half and achieving its purpose.
Sirius: “――Oh my, oh my?”
Priscilla: “My Yang Sword burns that which I want it to burn, and cleaves that which I want it to cleave.”
The chain had been torn, the body of the bound girl freed. The girl who collapsed to her knees lifted her face, stained with tears, stunned by the feel of the sword passing through her body.
But the result was that, upon the body of the young girl, no cruel wound from a blade could be seen.
Instead, it was Sirius who had been attacked, now retreating. The freak looked down at her wound, and slowly shook herself while looking back towards Priscilla.
Sirius: “This agony… you…”
Priscilla: “Is there any reason as to why I would feel your pain? I care naught about becoming one. As you continue your delusions, you shall die alone.”
Priscilla struck with her sword again, now connecting sideways with the monster’s neck.
With startling sound and momentum, Sirius’s body convulsed on the cobblestones, sprinkling fresh blood, and was swept towards the waterway, falling in.
The sound of the water rang, and Priscilla looked at the Yang Sword.
Priscilla: “The sunlight has ceased and the sun has darkened? How so very troublesome.”
After she spoke, the collapsing control tower fell apart completely. Most of it became rubble, and the top-most floor where Liliana had been also felt the collapse, becoming rubble.
From the control tower that had toppled onto the waterway—— Of course, no song could be heard anymore.
Looking at the pile of rubble, a youthful voice called the squinting Priscilla.
Tina. Her expression was still one of disbelief at being freed, and Priscilla lowered her head, only to see Tina’s eyes tremble, as tears began to drip down.
Priscilla released a sigh at that figure. The Yang Sword had already disappeared.
Likewise, the white flame that lit the waterways was gone, and many people approached it. A few seemed to be headed to the collapsed rubble, searching for the buried Songstress.
Priscilla: “Noisy night, and a noisy crowd. At the place where poem should take the stage, there is nothing but negligence―― How tiresome.”
At a glance, was the same listlessness as always, but some emotion peeked through that listlessness.
That Priscilla turned her back to the sobbing child, looking then at the waterway.
Priscilla: “But, not bad. Have praises.”
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Slowly, slowly flowing along with the water.
My body was sluggish and my vitality completely drained, how to put it, a body covered in wounds? How can I say it, full of trauma? In other words, it was a feeling something like being unable to even move.
Liliana: “Oh—— ah——”
My throat was utterly exhausted, even fingertips were unable to budge.
Luckily, the outfit of a bard was exposed and with very little fabric, so even falling into and absorbing water did not mean that it would gain weight, increasing odds of survival.
But right now, I had no physical strength to swim with, so just floating along was barely accomplished. Well, just floating along like this, sooner or later would mean growing cold, wouldn’t that be quite troublesome!?
A voice from within cried out loudly. I was going to fall asleep like this. I’d die.
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Liliana: “Ah—— eh——”
Burning control tower, powerful flames.
Entire body seemingly in a state of being baked, at first, falling into the waterway had been pleasantly cool, but now it was growing cold. Ehhh, that was bad news.
Speaking of which, the attitude of not escaping, but staying in the collapsing tower to sing until it fell in the water, was probably more disastrous.
Because it’d felt nice. It was so powerful that it made me think I’d lived for that moment.
In fact, I hope I was not mistaken and that everything’d worked out alright. At any rate, my head was still attached, so as long as Priscilla-sama hadn’t been killed, everything’d gone smoothly. If so, that was nice.
Yeah, well, that’s alright, then.
As a bard, I still had a lot of aspirations to fulfill, in a sense it could be said that I’d been able to accomplish something I needed to accomplish.
Perhaps the goal of leaving songs to be passed down in history had not been met, but if everyone who had been there had indeed been saved, I hope I have left enough of a mark to be a topic of conversation at a family dinner or something.
Liliana: “Uh—— uh——”
By the way, the reason why I’d made a strange cry since a while ago, had been probably a signal that I was still living in this world. Also because I felt that my whole body was about to collapse from exhaustion if I don’t shake it off with my lungs…
The proof that I was still me was all in my voice, after all. Something like that. Anyway, it felt like it was about time for it to end.
Although very much had happened, overall it was a happy life.
Well, thank you for everything so far—— UWAHHH!?!?
Liliana: “Ow! Owwww! The top of my head hurts!”
???: “Ahh!? What was that just now!? Liliana!?”
Head feeling as if violently struck, as if having collided with a boat floating on the waterway or something.
What was more, coming from that boat, was the voice of a familiar man.
Liliana: “Is it, Kiritaka-san?”
Kiritaka: “Is that, Liliana!? So glad to see you again! But why are you in the waterway!? No, I’ll pull you from there first. Please wait!”
The boat swayed and swayed as Kiritaka-san flailed about on the boat. To tell the truth, it hurt quite a lot, because the boat was blocking my body from riding the waterway’s current.
Even though it was horribly painful, I was so shocked I forgot to cry out.
Ack, speaking of which, it seems Kiritaka-san picked me up. There was nothing wrong with it, though, really.
Kiritaka: “Alright, almost… alright, got you!”
Kiritaka-san stretched both his hands to the water, pulling my floating form up. At that moment, his hand were touching my breasts, but, eh, there was no strength to be mad at him right now. It was fine.
Being pulled onto the boat, moving still felt sluggish.
Kiritaka: “Your body’s become so cold. Wait for me, Liliana. I’ll use a fire stone right now. Your body cannot be left soaked.”
With a towel, he wiped my hair and face.
His hands were unexpectedly gentle, almost gentlemanly. Suddenly a sense of relief rushed up, and I released a breath, suddenly sighing.
Liliana: “Kiritaka… what have you been up to?”
Kiritaka: “Me… You mean me? Well, there was a lot, hmm, playing an active part in retaking the city!”
Pushing back the bangs he was proud of, perhaps his teeth were shining. Since I didn’t have the strength to open my eyes, I couldn’t see it, but it seemed to surface to my mind’s eye.
I couldn’t help but laugh, which seemed to surprise Kiritaka.
I wanted to hear all sorts of Kiritaka-san’s problems, and I had a few things I wanted tell him too. Right now, I was really sleepy, but I just wanted to say this.
Liliana: “I’m really sleepy, so I’m going to sleep for a while, I…”
Kiritaka: “Ah, ah, alright. I’ll take you somewhere safe, don’t worry.”
Liliana: “If you don’t play any prank on this sleeping me… Then from now on, let’s talk more…”
I know he wouldn’t, but I had to say it nonetheless. When I woke up, definitely some embarrassing words would be exchanged, so please stay troubled until then.
——To be your Songstress is wonderful, preparing to say that much was fine.