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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 of multitudinous enigmas.
It was indubitable that, across generations, it was a treasured sword handed-down in the lineage of the Astrea family, which had given rise to 『Sword Saints』 one after another, but the origin of where that Dragon Sword had been granted to them was something that had not been passed down.
A treasured sword of a tenebrous past, and furthermore, the deviousness of being incapable of being unsheathed by anyone but the 『Sword Saint』. To be precise, even by the 『Sword Saint』, it was could be unsheathed only in times necessary.
The treasured sword that defeated the Divine Dragon Volcanica, by the hand of the first generation 『Sword Saint』, Reid Astrea.
In the past, when dragons had advanced upon in immense numbers, this legendary sword slashed all of them down altogether.
Or perhaps it was instead but a simple, dull blade, a magical sword which augmented its might by breathing the blood of the enemy.
Countless were the anecdotes enshrouding it, all devoid of evidence, akin mere fairy tales.
Regardless, nothing was firm, neither existed any way to confirm anything.
If there was one thing, that could be asserted,
ーーThe Dragon Sword Reid was a supreme sword that transcended treasured swords, legendary swords, or magical swords of any disposition.
ーーIt was the extremity of the realisation of steel titled the sword, there existed no steel surpassing it.
Even for Wilhelm, who had been bestowed with the honour of a swordsman,『Van』, this was only the third instance across the entirety of his lifetime that he was laying his eyes upon the uncontaminated white blade.
With the jet-black scabbard bearing engravings carved by the claws of the Dragon in his left hand, and the Dragon Sword gripped in his right hand, was he.
His red hair swaying in the wind, lording over the situation earnestly ahead with his blue eyes, it was nobody else but the current generation 『Sword Saint』, Reinhardt van Astrea.
Even Wilhelm was overwhelmed by the noble, majestically stood figure.
Inheriting 『Sword Saint』, and becoming the sword of the kingdom as an imperial knight, was his real grandsonーー this in fact was Wilhelm’s first time, seeing his form to step into the battlefield.
Upon losing Thearesia in the Great Subjugation, Wilhelm left the Astrea family. His dispute with his son and grandson from back then, yet held sway even after fifteen years, unburied.
Henceforth, for these past fifteen years, Wilhelm continued to pursue his wife, and averting his eyes away from his family. Therefore, let it be 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』.
A being recipient of the love of the Sword God, blessed with the honour of possessing the ability to unsheathe the greatest sword, standing atop the wishes of swordsmen of all dispositionsーー that could only be, the 『Sword Saint』.
Beholding that figure, Wilhelm remembered.
He had long forgotten his agony. What he remembered was a different emotion. The deep emotion Wilhelm had felt when far, far back in the past, he had been spectator to the swords dance of the 『Sword Saint』, of Thearesia.
Back then, 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.
Yet, without decline, he swung the sword, continued swinging it, and at last managed to grasp the edge of that territory. No distance was too distant, that was what he was supposed to have proven.
ーーSuch a tapered, puny outlook.
The qualities were different. The statures were different. The weights were different. The things were different. Anything and everything was different.
That was not an existence capable of being debated over whether it was within or beyond reach.
It was an existence verbatim residing in an entirely different dimension itself.
Thearesia, gradually, lowered the hoisted longsword. The sword had been on the verge of slaying Heinkel, but stopped in face of the newly appeared enemy.
The heartless, mobile cadaver 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 her dead body via some secret arts.
The optimum judgement for executing them, and defeating those posing as obstacles, that was all.
And if those orders prioritized those who could prove to be a threat, her judgement was simply natural.
Robbed of his ability to resume 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 of knights only in name.
Both of them, no longer registered as threats or anything in such wise to Thearesia.
Therefore, turning her longsword, tilting her skills as the former 『Sword Saint』, towards the present 『Sword Saint』, was a judgement devoid of doubt.
Wilhelm: “Wait! Thearesia! Look here, at me! Thearesia~a~a~!”
Dragging his leg, pulling the thread of blood, wailed Wilhelm.
As though not hearing that cry, Thearesia payed him no heed. As if the exchange of sword slashes until now had all been a lie, she treated him as something not even present.
It was humiliating. However, it was even moreso 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’s racing heart, Thearesia leapt at once and shortened the distance.
Establishing her aim at Reinhardt before her eyes, Thearesia cavorted, with her long, red hair waving in the wind.
The longsword sketched a semi-circle, painting an artistic diagonal across Reinhardtーー however, in the short interval wherein unforgivable was even the blink of an eye, Reinhardt nullified the sword slash.
Reinhardt, who was positioning himself backwards and sideways, was pursued by the tip of the longsword, as though it were a living creature wielding a definite purpose. As it slashed the air of its trajectory to its death, even against the advancing slashes, Reinhardt’s complexion did not manifest even the slightest of change. Simply taking distance with half a step, he remained unfazed.
Realising how unfavourable her position was, Thearesia silently flew towards the front. Confronting Reinhardt with half of the body exposed, would be naught but suicidal.
Turning back, Reinhardt looked straight at Thearesia, whose longsword had set its aim at his eye.
Immediately behind Reinhardt, was the form of Heinkel. Reinhardt confronted his grandmother whilst seemingly shielding his father. Via that alone Wilhelm noticed this brief offense and defense had been for acquiring these positions.
Heinkel: “Stop it…… what is it, just what is it…… what have I, what have I done……!”
His countenance pale, clutching his own hair, Heinkel shan’t notice.
It did not matter, if his own son was standing before him in order to protect him. The preceding truths he had faced, had already surpassed the capacity of his heart.
He could not possibly be expected to overcome the situation either. That was how it was from the beginning.
Hence, he had no choice but to raise his own 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 hollered they were still in the midst of battle. With his blue eyes, he looked at Wilhelm’s right leg, yet bleeding.
Reinhardt: “……With that state of your leg, you cannot continue to battle.”
Wilhelm: “What do you mean if my leg can’t move! These hands that grasp the sword, 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?”
Upon 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 dead body devoid of self-consciousness merely moving in accordance with the wishes of the casterーー I do not believe there is any meaning in involving the styles of a swordsman with a deed seemingly toying with the dead.”
Wilhelm: “Styles of a swordsman you say…… ~hk!”
Seeking to duel with a mobile cadaver, 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 the loser, Wilhelm, may yowl, the swordsman’s wish shall not be granted.
Furthermore, neither could Wilhelm himself loudly assert being a swordsman at present.
Standing with support of the sword, the circumstance at hand entrusted to words instead of steel, wishes instead of sword mightーー where did the pride and dignity of the Sword Demon remain in this Wilhelm van Astrea.
Nothing in such wise existed anywhere. He was empty.
Reinhardt: “ーーThe deceased do not move. The deceased have no future. I will not forgive, that absurdity.”
Enunciated Reinhardt before Wilhelm, who had lost his voice.
His eyes had averted from his grandfather, and now closely observed solely the cadaver of his grandmother, standing before his eyes.
In 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 though a reflection in a mirror.
The unclouded blade of the Dragon Sword, was visible as inordinately shimmering with glamour.
That was the ovation of the sword. At having attained a chance to be swung, it felt deeply moved, felicity, and at having to oppose one who was its former bearer, the supreme blade was adorned with voiceless delight.
Soundlessly, the blue eyes of the two swordsmen, intertwined.
The 『Sword Saint』, wielding his sword, did not offer his name as he was originally supposed to.
It was natural. Since that 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 antithetical to that, against an opponent who did not possess the value to be equal, he shan’t do so.
The atmosphere froze, tension donned wifh hue and weight crushed the world.
Feeling his entire body get heavier, dominated by a sense of compactness, Wilhelm opened his mouth.
Ignorant of the words he should pronounce, compelled by the sense of exasperation stemming from the feeling that he must interject.
ーーIronically enough, that acted like a signal for the two swordsmen.
Wilhelm: “Stopーー ~hk!”
His voice did not reach.
Bequeathing even voice behind, the two swordsmen clashed.
Stepping ahead, swinging, Thearesia’s longsword roared and rended the atmosphere, as her greatest sword slash, at the perfect angle, assailed upon Reinhardt.
In fact, this may have been the slash with utmost refinement and beauty coming from Thearesia, amongst all which Wilhelm had seen till now.
Under normal circumstances, Wilhelm may have had been envious of the fact that his self had not been the one to hale out the entirety of the sword abilities sleeping within Thearesia.
However, at this instant, the emotions distending within Wilhelm’s heart were disparate.
And that volatile something weighing his chest, overflowed out by taking the form of certain words.
Wilhelm: “Don’t kill her……!”
The emotions he had restrained, the passion he had suppressed, the things mustn’t have wished for and the love he had admonished, rushed forth as though 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, one he won’t give up on even in exchange for the world, was right there.
The beloved woman, to whom he had not conveyed his love to her even once, was right thereーー.
Wilhelm: “She is my, Thearesiaーー ~hk!!”
Words, he shouldn’t have ever vocalised.
Should he become perplexed, in a state wherein he might forfeit 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 prepared for death wasーー,
Reinhardt: “ーーGrandmother, was killed by me fifteen years ago.”
A voice, quiet and whispering.
A voice so soundless, uncertain whether it would even reach.
It was however, indubitably, naught but a response to Wilhelm’s cry.
Thearesia’s sword slash, directly smited 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 clear sword blade, as though 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.