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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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ーーThe Dragon Sword Reid was a sword with numerous enigmas.
It was certain that, for generations, it was a treasured sword that had given rise to 『Sword Saints』 one after another and had been passed down the generations of the Astrea family, but from where that Dragon Sword had been granted to them was something that had not been passed down.
A treasured sword with an obscure past, and on top of that, the shady history of being unable to be unsheathed by anyone except for the 『Sword Saint』. Particularly speaking, even by the 『Sword Saint』, it was capable of being unsheathed only in times necessary.
It was a treasured sword that had descended down upon the Divine Dragon Volcanica, by the first generation 『Sword Saint』, Reid Astrea.
In the past, when dragons had advanced upon in immense numbers, slashing all of them down altogether, was this legendary sword.
Otherwise, it could just be a dull sword, a magical sword which increased its strength by breathing into the enemy’s blood.
If we were to speak of its stories, all without any evidence, which seemed like mere fairy tales, there were countless.
Regardless, nothing could be stated clearly, and neither was there any way to confirm anything.
If there was to be a single thing, that could be asserted,
ーーThe Dragon Sword Reid was a supreme sword that could defeat treasured swords, legendary swords, or magical swords of any disposition.
ーーIt was the extremity of the realisation of steel into the sword, there existed no steel surpassing it.
Even for Wilhelm, who had been bestowed upon by the honour of a swordsman, with 『Van』, seeing the uncontaminated white blade, this was only the third opportunity in his entire lifetime.
With the jet black scabbard which had engravings carved by the claws of the Dragon in his left, gripping the Dragon Sword with his right hand, was he.
His red hair swinging about in the wind, lording over the situation earnestly with his blue eyes was the current 『Sword Saint』 Reinhardt van Astrea, it could be no one else.
Everyone was overwhelmed by the lone majestically standing figure, including Wilhelm.
Inheriting 『Sword Saint』, and becoming the sword of the kingdom as an imperial knight, was his grandsonーー this was actually the first time, for Wilhelm to see his form to step into a battlefield.
Losing Thearesia in the Great Subjugation, Wilhelm left the Astrea family. His dispute with his son and grandson from back then, even after fifteen years, still stood, unburied.
Henceforth, for these past fifteen years, Wilhelm had always been pursuing his wife, and had continued to turn his eyes away from his family. Therefore, whether it was the deterioration of his son, or the growth and accomplishments of his grandson, he had not been witness to anything.
ーーThat is why, right now, he was overwhelmed by Reinhardt’s figure.
The one standing there, was the 『Sword Saint』.
An existence blessed with the love of the Sword God, having the ability to unsheathe the greatest sword, standing above the wishes of swordsmen of all dispositionsーー that could only be, the 『Sword Saint』.
Seeing that figure, Wilhelm remembered.
He had completely forgotten his pain. What he remembered was a different emotion. The emotion Wilhelm felt when, a long, long time ago, he saw the swords dance of the 『Sword Saint』, of Thearesia.
At that time, Wilhelm felt a distance he would never be able to cover.
A territory he would, by no means, be able to reach and, Wilhelm lamented the trifling nature of his sword talents.
Even still, without crumbling, he swung the sword, he continued swinging it, and finally managed to grasp the edge of that territory with one hand. No distance is too distant, that is what he was supposed to have had proven.
ーーSuch tapered, puny visibility.
The qualities were different. The heights were different. The weights were different. The things were different. Anything and everything was different.
That was not an existence to debate over whether it could be reached, or it could not be reached.
Quite literally, it was an existence in a different dimension itself.
Thearesia, slowly, lowered the upraised longsword. The sword had been on the verge of slaying Heinkel, but stopped in the face of the newly appeared enemy.
The heartless, moving dead body of Thearesia van Astrea had, already lost the pride of a swordsman, the style of a warrior, anything and everything.
What she had right now, were only the orders of the caster who was moving that dead body with some secret arts.
The optimum judgement for using her, was making her an existence that would be an obstacle.
And if that order prioritized those who could prove to be a threat, her judgement was natural.
Having been robbed away of the ability to continue the battle, awaiting only his demise through blood loss, was the aged swordsman.
Having lost all fighting spirit, unable to even flee, was the deputy commander in only the name.
Both of them, no longer registered as threats or anything such to Thearesia.
Therefore, turning her longsword, tilting her skills as the former 『Sword Saint』, towards the current 『Sword Saint』, was a judgement lacking any doubt.
Wilhelm: “Wait! Thearesia! Look here, at me! Thearesia~a~a~!”
Dragging his leg, pulling the thread of blood, cried out Wilhelm.
As if not having heard that cry, Thearesia took no notice of him. As if the exchange of sword slashes till now had all been a lie, she treated him as something that was not even present.
It was humiliating. However, it was even further saddening.
However, he had no time to drown in grief. He would never forgive such stagnation, of his current self.
He must shout, now. He must stop her, nowーー.
Ignoring Wilhelm, who had tension in his heart, Thearesia leapt at once and shortened the distance.
In front of the eyes of Reinhardt, who was in front of his eyes, Thearesia cavorted, with her long, red hair.
The longsword sketched a semi-circle, painting an artistic diagonal across Reinhardtーー however, in the gap shorter than the blink of an eye, Reinhardt nullified the sword slash.
Reinhardt, who was positioning himself backwards and sideways, was followed by the tip of the longsword, as if it was a living creature having a definite purpose. As it slashed the atmosphere of its trajectory to its death, even against the proceeding slashes, Reinhardt’s complexion did not show the slightest change. Covering halfway of distance, he had not even been grazed.
Realising how unfavourable her standing position was, Thearesia silently flew towards the front. Confronting Reinhardt with half of the body exposed, was nothing but suicidal.
Turning back, Reinhardt looked straight at Thearesia, whose longsword had set its aim at his eye.
Exactly behind Reinhardt, was the figure of Heinkel. As if shielding his father, Reinhardt confronted his grandmother. By just that, Wilhelm noticed how the offense and defense just now was for acquiring the standing position.
Heinkel: “Stop it…… what is it, just what is it…… what have I, what have I done……!”
Making a blue face, clutching his own hair, Heinkel did not notice.
It did not matter, if his own son was standing in front of him before his eyes for protecting him. The preceding truths he had faced, were already overflowing from his heart.
He was not expected to have the ability to overcome the situation. That was how it was from the beginning.
That is why, all he could do was to raise his voice.
Wilhelm: “Stop, Reinhardt! Look at me! Thearesia is in the middle, of fighting with me! You are not permitted to cut into a battle, between two swordsmen!”
Reinhardt glanced sideways towards Wilhelm, who had cried out that they were still in the midst of battle. With his blue eyes, he looked at Wilhelm’s right leg, whose bleeding yet continued.
Reinhardt: “……With that leg, you cannot continue to battle.”
Wilhelm: “What do you mean if my leg can’t move! For grasping the sword, these hands are still alive…… if my hands die then my mouth! If my mouth will be ineffective then my soul! As long as I’ve not lost my life, I have not been defeated!”
Reinhardt: “If you’ve not lost life…… then, what do you make of her, who is in front of your eyes?”
At Reinhardt’s question, Wilhelm’s throat choked.
Thearesia, expressionless, with emotionless eyes, with sheer silence, was looking at her opponents. Keeping her stance at the corner of his eyes, Reinhardt sought an answer from Wilhelm.
Reinhardt: “A mere dead body without any self-awareness moving in accordance with the wishes of the casterーー I do not believe there is any meaning in fiddling around with the deceased, and involving the styles of a swordsman.”
Wilhelm: “Styles of a swordsman you say…… ~hk!”
Seeking to duel with a moving dead body, was foolishness.
Wilhelm was unable to refute, Reinhardt’s reasoning. It was the truth that Thearesia had already distanced away from Wilhelm, and the battle had come to an end.
No matter how much Wilhelm may cry out, the swordsman’s wish shall not be granted.
On top of that, the current Wilhelm could not loudly proclaim himself to be a swordsman either.
Standing with support of the sword, the present scenario for his desire where he excused steel for wordsーー within that Wilhelm van Astrea, there was still the pride and dignity of the Sword Demon left.
There was nothing like that. He was empty.
Reinhardt: “ーーThe deceased do not move. The deceased have no future. I will not forgive, that absurdity.”
Stated Reinhardt in front of Wilhelm, who had lost his voice.
His eyes had averted away from his grandfather, and now they closely observed only the dead body of his grandmother, standing in front of his eyes.
In a gentle motion, the Dragon Sword Reid was held to aim for her eyes.
Oddly, that stance was identical to that of Thearesia’s, as she bore the longsword on her shoulders, as if a reflection in a mirror.
The depressedly weeping sword blade of the Dragon Sword, was visible as shining, shimmering immensely.
That was the ovation of the sword. At having attained a chance to be swung, it felt deep emotions, felicity, and at having to oppose the one who was its former bearer, the supreme blade wore weeping yet delight in its voice.
Soundlessly, the blue eyes of the two swordsmen, intertwined.
The 『Sword Saint』, with the sword wielded, did not offer his name as he originally should have.
It was natural. As it sought an opponent with the value that they would pay back the pride of a swordsman, and the style of a warrior.
Against an opponent who was not like that, against an opponent who did not have the value to be equal, it was not going to be conducted.
The atmosphere froze, the world was crushed by the tension possessing colour and weight.
Feeling his entire body get heavier, dominated by sense of compactness, Wilhelm opened his mouth.
Unaware of the words he should pronounce, he was compelled by the sense of exasperation stemming from him feeling that he must say something.
ーーIronically enough, that acted like a signal for the two swordsmen.
Wilhelm: “Stopーー ~hk!”
His voice did not reach.
Leaving behind his voice, the two swordsmen clashed.
Stepping ahead, swinging, Thearesia’s longsword let out a roar and slashed through the atmosphere, and her greatest sword slash, at the perfect angle, assailed upon Reinhardt.
In fact, this may have had been the slash with utmost refined beauty by Thearesia, among all which Wilhelm had seen till now.
Under normal circumstances, Wilhelm may have had been envious of the fact, that the entirety of the sword abilities sleeping within Thearesia, his self had not been the one to hale them out.
However, at this instant, the emotions distending within Wilhelm’s heart were different.
And that something weighing in his chest explosively, had overflowed out by taking the form of certain words.
Wilhelm: “Don’t kill her……!”
The emotions he had contained, the passion he had suppressed, the things he had not wished for and the love he had admonished, rushed out as if breaking Wilhelm’s barriers.
Thearesia, of the days of youth.
The woman who had caressed Wilhelm’s heart, who had made him take notice of the world beyond the sword, the only one in his lifetime, even when he had exchanged his everything, the woman who had thought it was still not quite enough, was there.
The beloved woman, to whom he had not conveyed that he loved her, even once, was thereーー.
Wilhelm: “She is my, Thearesiaーー ~hk!!”
Not once, had he said those words.
If he got perplexed, in a state where he almost lost his life, it would be inexcusable of him to prioritize his emotions.
It was a deed that polluted, the pride of a swordsman, the style of a warrior, the nobility of battle.
That was only, the voice of a man. Of a man only desperate, to not lose the woman he loved.
And, that call of preparedness for death wasーー,
Reinhardt: “ーーGrandmother, has already been killed by me fifteen years ago.”
A voice, quietly clamorous.
A faint voice, it was unknown whether it would even reach through or not.
However, unquestionably, it was a response to Wilhelm’s cry.
Thearesia’s sword slash, directly sailed upon Reinhardt.
The Dragon Sword, was yet to enter the trajectory of a swing.
It struck. It severed. That was how it would look to anyone, and yet.
Reinhardt: “The one over here, is a mere fake.”
ーーDragon Sword Reid drew a locus.
A single swing, the Dragon Sword was soundlessly swung, and the white sword blade, as if in flow, settled within the scabbard.
The guard of the sword came in contact with the scabbard, and only a faint metallic report was heard.
With just that, the battle came to an end.
It was the end.