Arc 8, Chapter 39 – “Laughter of the One Unbounded”

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  • Garcar (Section 1)

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――Cecilus Segmunt was a Stargazer.

Stargazer, in a sense different to the official position of the Vollachian Empire, to which Ubilk, who was one among them, had been appointed by Vincent Vollachia for the first time; he was a Stargazer in the original sense of the expression―― Bestowed with a commandment, they were beings that would relinquish anything and everything in order to fulfill their grand purpose.

The compulsive force that acted on a person vested in a commandment, thus becoming a Stargazer, was quite strong.

It was endowed with power to interfere with human life such that it could provide a mere male prostitute the influential voice to frequent the palace as to provide the Emperor with his opinion, that it could cause a frail mother to forget the love she felt for the daughter to whom she had given birth while on the verge of death, that it could easily make someone abandon the objective they had devoted their entire life to, to the point of even contemplating suicide for that purpose.

Upon receiving their commandment, many Stargazers would have the lives they had been leading till that point distorted, coerced, being forced to alter the principles of their way of life. And, they did not consider that as a tragedy.

No matter how abnormal, how pitiful it might seem to those around them, that was how it was.

Amidst those Stargazers, Rowan Segmunt stood as the sole exception.

After all, the commandment bestowed upon him overlapped with the great ambition he had aimed for originally, henceforth, it did not seem to those around him that his way of life had been distorted; only the person in question held that impression.

How the wish he held dearest and the commandment he had been bestowed came to a compromise, and how his current faith had been established have already been delved into, thus, they shall be omitted.

What shall be discussed here is the being who had been born into this world as the end result of the commandment bestowed upon Rowan Segmunt, Cecilus Segmunt, the fact that he too was a Stargazer, and――,

――The reality that, among the Stargazers, Cecilus Segmunt was the sole one unbounded.

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Cecilus, with the hem of his hakama fluttering in the blowing wind, rested his hand on his forehead to make a visor as he gazed out into the scenery of the distance.

Al had proposed a strategy to bring down the five bastions of star-shaped ramparts that enclosed the Imperial Capital.

In order to draw in reinforcements from the outside, they would open holes in the solid defenses of the undead. Cecilus would warmly welcome more actors who shine onstage and audience members who would bear witness to his flourishing activities.

If this could be called foreshadowing for later exciting developments, then it would not be a bad idea to work diligently at a modest job.

Cecilus: [Nonetheless! Don’t forget that it’s only because I’ve promised a reward hereafter!]

In theater, in war, and in everything else, there was something known as the right person in the right place.

No matter where one was in the world, they were always on the stage―― that philosophy of Cecilus’s would take a long time to explain, but different people were suited to different things, and if whether small work and steady accumulation were strong points of Cecilus or not had to be said, they would have to be major errors in casting.

From the standpoint of the stage direction, it would really be putting carriage before ground dragon to have the leading actor, the center of the stage who captivates the audience’s eyes, work under the cover of a stagehand’s dark clothes.

Cecilus: [Wouldn’t everyone in the audience agree with that point?]

Tilting his head to look up at the sky, Cecilus addressed his words to an unseen party.

Of course, under normal circumstances, if one were to perform such an action, the sky overcast with black clouds would never return an answer to those on the ground. ――Indeed, under normal circumstances.

However, Cecilus was not normal, he was the leading actor of this world.

――Inaudible to others, voices from the audience were returned only to Cecilus.

In loud voices that seemed to whisper, in manners as dignified as they were imprudent, and in divine tones seemingly incognizant of the very concept of etiquette, the voices spoke to Cecilus.

Moreover――,

???: [■■■■.] / [■●■●■●■.] / [――■■.] / [●●●●●!!] / [■■■■●●■■.] / [●●■■●■■●●.] / [■■!!] / [●●●■■■.] / [■■■●■●●■■●●.] / [●●■●■●●●■■●――] / [●●…■.] / [●■●■●■●■.]

With excessive force and quantity, they poured down upon Cecilus.

Wildly enthusiastic that they had been addressed by the leading actor, Cecilus, the audience eagerly gave him their answers―― no, that was incorrect. These were not answers that had been arranged in response to what Cecilus had asked just now.

These were the voices that poured down upon Cecilus’s every move, every single action that he took.

They were something that Cecilus had been hearing ceaselessly ever since he became aware of his surroundings, things that were attempting to force Cecilus’s entire conduct towards this or that――,

Cecilus: [Hahaha, it seems like you’re enjoying yourselves in awfully good moods today as well! I know, I know. After all, I can’t help but captivate people with my every action! You won’t be able to take your eyes off my activities for even a second in the future, so stay tuned for developments to unfold!]

For Cecilus, who had never listened to a single word he was told, those were just enthusiastic cheers from his fans.

――As previously mentioned, Cecilus Segmunt was a Stargazer.

And, for the majority of Stargazers―― no, even for Rowan Segmunt, who stood as an exception, their ways of life were distorted in order to fulfill the commandment bestowed upon them.

Such was the extent of a commandment’s coercive power, and the lives of Stargazers were dominated by it.

That was, save for Cecilus Segmunt, the sole unbounded Stargazer.

Cecilus: [Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your cheers. As usual, I have not the slightest understanding of what you’re saying at all, nor do I have the ears to listen, but don’t worry! I will betray your predictions! I will live up to expectations! For that is the way I live my life as the leading actor!]

???: [――Oh, you fucking shitforbrains. Stop making a racket, it’ll be a fucking pain in the ass if they find us.]

Cecilus: [Whoopsie.]

Taking just the enthusiasm of the audience and ignoring the rest of it as usual, Cecilus turned around at the call of the hyenaperson―― of Groovy, who was approaching him from behind.

With a hand placed on his hip, Groovy had a vigilant gaze, and Cecilus admired that.

This beastman warrior, Groovy, who was no taller than himself, was very good.

First of all, there was charm and beauty in his appearance. He was also likely strong enough to be entered amongst the top five most skilled fighters Cecilus had seen since he exited the Island. Cecilus had hopes that he would have an interesting fighting style that could not simply be measured by ability with the sword.

Cecilus: [Regrettably, there is a bit of a problem with your use of words. If you use so many foul words in rapid succession, your dignity will deteriorate! Once it deteriorates, you won’t even be able to maintain your status as a skilled personage. If you’re to go down the path of fighting to the death with me, I’d at least expect my opponent to have an appropriate status!]

Groovy: [Don’t be a such a fucking goddamn idiot saying all these fucking illogical things! First of all, who in the fuck’s going to fight you to the death, you asshole!? That bastard Chisha had the nerve to do such a fucking unnecessary thing…]

Cecilus: [Oyaoya, that’s a name I’ve heard in passing. Your unfriendly reply is worrisome, but what does this person, whose name has been brought up here, have to do with me, exactly?]

Groovy: [He’s got plenty to do with you, with how you’ve shrunk and lost your memory. ――Chisha’s the one who shrunk you, a guy with a head that’s way too fucking big.]

Hearing Groovy’s response, Cecilus made a “Mmmm” sound with his throat.

He was often told that he had shrunk, but as usual, that did not really click with Cecilus. Whether Cecilus had shrunk or not, as far as he was concerned, his self currently present here like this was his entirety.

Of course, the fact that Rowan had grown old in the small time since their last encounter, and that the alias of Blue Lightning, a name that was sure to shake the world in the years to come, was already known far and wide, was not without its persuasive power.

Cecilus: [It’s quite the dubious tale that this Chisha person made me small, isn’t it?]

Groovy: [Ahh? Are you going to give me some fucking shit about how it’s impossible for people to shrink, asshole?]

Cecilus: [No, no, you’ve got it all wrong. There are no limits as to what people can imagine, and what they envision can certainly come true. This kind of fairness is one of the reasons why I like the stage that is this world so much, so there’s always gonna be mysteries of stuff like people shrinking. The part I’m having difficulty believing is quite simple. ――Who could ever perform such a surprise attack on me?]

Groovy: [――――]

In response to Cecilus’s question, with his hands clasped behind his head, Groovy made a solemn face.

Even his wrinkled expression had a charm to it, making one think that every stage needed a lively character like Groovy. Yet, even for him, Cecilus’s question seemed to have an impact.

Cecilus himself did not think he was invincible or immortal.

If his heart were gouged out, his slender neck severed, or nearly half of his blood drained, he would die, like any other person.

But who, for that matter, would be capable of such a deed?

In this regard, Groovy realized the contradiction in his own thoughts. No matter who the adversary was, no one could diminish Cecilus――.

Groovy: [――Did that bastard Chisha twist your brain, or were you just fucking careless, asshole?]

Cecilus: [Huh!? Are you saying that while looking at me!?]

Groovy: [I am. I’m saying it for fuck’s sake.]

Cecilus: [Is that really such a natural thing? Ahaha, that’s a low blow, but you got me!]

Laughing and clapping his hands in response to Groovy’s words, Cecilus shook his head, as if to say, “Wait a minute”.

It was an evaluation that made one want to cover their face in embarrassment. Although, Cecilus understood his own abilities, and even someone as strong as Groovy could not completely dispel such doubts.

Cecilus: [In the end, someone as big as me isn’t anything special! I’ll never become someone who receives such evaluations given my current sorry state! Please wait and see in ten years!]

Groovy: [Who’s gonna stick around for your growth for a whole ten years! Quit talking fucking shit and get back to your original size already!]

Cecilus: [But even if you tell me to return to my original size right away, I don’t particularly want to… And do you, Groovy-san, know how to revert back?]

Groovy: [I don’t know, but that bastard Chisha who set this up probably does. These shinobi tricks have some fucking time or condition-based restrictions. Chisha’d likely have some conditions.]

Cecilus: [Hoho, so this Chisha person is a shinobi? Are they an acquaintance or friend or blood relative of that energetic old man?]

Groovy: [I don’t know, and Chisha isn’t a shinobi. It’s just his method that’s shinobi-like… Ah, this is fucking annoying.]

Groovy scratched his head vigorously, complaining like a know-it-all.

Cecilus had a hunch that Groovy seemed knowledgeable about various things, but what was more important than the true identity of this Chisha person was probably clearing the conditions he had set.

If he were to ask that, Groovy would probably get angry and say, “There’s no way I would know!”.

Cecilus: [So what do you think the conditions are for me to revert?]

Groovy: [I have no damn clue!]

Cecilus: [See?]

Cecilus chuckled, just as he had anticipated, while Groovy grumbled unhappily with an “Ah?”.

Just then, as the two were conversing――,

???: [Sorry to interrupt your fun conversation friends, but can we put an end to this amusement time for now?]

Cecilus: [Oya, it’s Al-san.]

The owner of the weary, exasperated voice was Al, who had arrived on the rooftop where Cecilus and Groovy were standing.

He had appeared from the stairs on the top floor and, as he tapped his foot on the steps,

Al: [I’m serious, please. It’s tough when you casually hop up to the rooftop, leaving me to use the stairs. Groovy, you too.]

Groovy: [Fuck, sorry. I got carried away with this fucking idiot’s chatter.]

Groovy, with a frown, sincerely apologized to Al, who had been left waiting downstairs.

Cecilus had gone up to the building for a quick lookout, as Groovy had expressed concern about something across the street, but the latter had gotten a bit too distracted.

In any case――,

Cecilus: [Well, well, Al-san, don’t be so angry. Groovy-san seems to be reflecting with his ears drooping like this, so you must be feeling forgiving by now, right?]

Al: [I’m not surprised by your relentless “going-my-way” attitude anymore. But more importantly, did you notice anything while you were observing?]

Cecilus: [That’s right. ―― As expected, the defenses at numbers three, four and five look strong. It seems like a natural strategy considering the direction Boss’s group likely retreated.]

Al: [Those three spots…]

With his one-armed right hand, Al touched the fittings of the helmet, and pondered Cecilus’s response over.

The numbers Cecilus mentioned were names for the bastions of the star-shaped city walls surrounding the Imperial Capital.

With the Palace located in its northmost extreme, the entrances to this Capitalーー The southernmost bastion was number one, the southeast was number two, the southwest was number three, and following that, the northeast was number four and the northwest was number five; such was how the bastions were numbered.

The northern and western sides, the defenses of the three points corresponding to those were strong enough to be said to be impenetrable. On the other hand, the two other locations could be their opportunity, but――,

Groovy: [Purposely leaving such easily identifiable holes smells fishy.]

Cecilus: [Can Groovy-san’s nose also detect the smell of such sinister designs?]

Groovy: [There’s no way it’s built that fucking weirdly! This is just my judgment as a General! Don’t try to use your shrinkage as an excuse, either… Ah nevermind, there’s no point.]

Al: [What is it? If someone stops talking midway through their sentence, it’s cause for worry, y’know?]

Groovy: [Even before he shrank, this fucking dickhead didn’t pull his weight as a General to begin with.]

Upon the words of Groovy, who had made a bitter face, Cecilus and Al gave an “Ahh” in comprehension.

From Cecilus’s perspective, he did not get the impression that he was being made fun of, but that it was simply a fact. Supposing Cecilus really did shrink as a result of carelessness, it was unthinkable that he would have guided or gotten close to anyone before he shrunk.

So he had no particular objection to Groovy’s point.

Cecilus: [But to be rather candid about it I do agree with you. However if that’s the case then you know what that means, right? Surprisingly, or rather, beyond expectations, Al-san is quite the tactician.]

Al: […What do you mean?]

Cecilus: [After all number one and two look easy to conquer but they’re actually a trap luring you in… That’s where you sent my dad and his friend, so you’re a tactician.]

Al: [――――]

As they talked about the two people who were not present and were working separately, Rowan and Heinkel, Cecilus smiled in Al’s direction, the latter having suggested splitting up the group.

In front of the smiling Cecilus, Al held his breath and fell silent.

Currently, the group of five members were divided into teams of three and two respectively, and each were on a mission to capture the five bastions.

And, the one who had instructed Rowan and Heinkel to attack the south and southeast, the first and second bastions, was Al, and his intentions were clear.

Cecilus: [If there are relationships or war assets that aren’t painful to lose, they’ll be used as sacrificial pawns to attract the enemy’s attention. Al-san might be modest, but you’re still a tactician!]

Al: […Do you have a problem with the way I used your old man?]

Cecilus: [No? As a performer, I welcome this as opposed to having the spotlight scattered all over the place with five people clumped together, and in terms of tactics, it’s a very practical way of thinking. It’s not really my place to say this, but it’s completely futile to expect my Dad to be cooperative!]

Al: [True, that’s an issue you mentioned.]

When it came to cooperation, one could only assume that the parent-child Segmunt duo were born with a fault.

In any case, Al had racked his brain over how to make the best use of his limited war potential. If one’s head for thinking or tactical intuition were working, one might be able to imagine what role would be required.

Groovy: [There’s no way we can leisurely take our fucking time to capture them one-by-one with a five-man group. If those red and blue old farts can’t realize that, there’s no choice but to have ‘em do their fucking jobs as sacrificial pawns.]

Al: [Yeah. We can’t cause a big uproar in one place and gather all our resources there.]

Cecilus: [Hence the distributed attack… but it was a bit surprising. You see, Al-san was talking to Heinkel-san like you guys were comrades.]

Al: [I’m no hero. My priorities are in order.]

Spoken in a somewhat self-mocking way, that seemed to not be about the utility of Heinkel, but rather to be concerned with how he used himself; such was how it felt to Cecilus.

That response did not really change his impression of Al, but――,

Cecilus: [――I see. You sure are different from Boss.]

Al: [――]

For some reason, Al turned to face Cecilus, who had said what he was thinking aloud.

Al’s expression was hidden by his iron helmet, however, sometimes the sharpness and heat of one’s gaze spoke more eloquently about what they felt on the inside than words or expressions could.

Cecilus: [Well, just because it’s true at times doesn’t mean it’s true right now.]

Al: […I don’t know what you’re talking about, but fine. You’re right that I’m not like bro.]

Cecilus: [Hmm? It’s natural for things to be different, so it doesn’t really matter, right? Though, I think Al-san is tougher than Boss.]

Getting the nuance that Al thought of himself as inferior for some reason, Cecilus tilted his head in that manner.

Strong and weak, beautiful and dirty, like and dislike, those were all like the shifting phases of the same moon. Even if there was value in swinging from joy and sorrow, they do not have the weight to tip the scales of life.

Even right and wrong were not absolutes.

Cecilus: [Boss is one who struggles against death in a crude manner yet still chooses the method that allows him to beautifully shine on the stage. Al-san, on the other hand, is different. On top of struggling against death in a crude manner, you pick the dirty method that makes everyone want to avert their eyes from you. I’m not saying one is superior to the other. That’s just the difference between you and Boss.]

Al: [――――]

Cecilus: [Oh, putting aside the talk that wasn’t about superiority or inferiority, the matter of how you would like to be is a different story altogether. How you want to be reflected in the eyes of others is up to each individual to figure out… Defecation may be dirty, but I want to make even defecation beautiful and attractive!]

Al: [Dude, I was trying to do a little rethinking just now…!]

Cecilus: [Sorry, Groovy-san’s favorite word was still stuck in my ears.] [1]

But then again, even though the direction that the conversation turned might have been due to Groovy’s influence, that statement itself was not a lie.

Cecilus’s pet theory was that the leading actor must provide a reason for people to keep their eyes on them, even when performing deeds that seemed dirty, unsightly, and would make people want to avert their eyes.

Groovy: [So? Are you done fucking wasting time with your nonsensical ramblings? Life counselling is fucking bullshit. After this is all over, I’m just gonna hold a fucking postmortem review at your graves.]

Al: […When he says it this much, no wonder it sticks in your ears.]

Cecilus: [Right?]

As Al’s shoulders slumped at Groovy’s incessant swearing, Cecilus laughed.

Although Cecilus had made a lot of ill-suited arguments, he had no objection to Al’s plan and did not mind if Rowan and Heinkel encountered difficulties, just as planned.

There was just one thing that Cecilus thought might be a problem in Al’s plan.

Cecilus: [I wonder if my transcendently selfish Dad will follow what Al-san says?]

Unusually, Cecilus did not blurt out what he had thought because, also unusually, Cecilus had completely given up on the nature of his father, Rowan.

Rowan would not do what he did not want to do, and he would absolutely do whatever he wanted to do.

It was a disposition that Cecilus had inherited as well, but Rowan and Cecilus were not the same. This was the same thing he had told Al just a moment ago, and also previously to his boss, Schwartz.

It was not a question of right or wrong. It was a matter of the way one lived, and the way one died.

Groovy: [So, where do you intend to attack from, you helmet fuck?]

Al: [――. I want to avoid number three, since that’s the area where the sniper from earlier was. So it’ll be the number four or number five on the northern side… If even the slimmest possibility is a condition, it’ll be the north-eastern number four.]

Cecilus: [Eeh! But I want my revenge!]

Groovy: [Don’t say such fucking bullshit when we got no leeway! Who do you think you’re dealing with――]

Cecilus: [Tsk, I understand.]

Groovy snapped at him, and Cecilus retracted his comment with a pout of his lips. Groovy, who had raised his fist into the air, widened his eyes at Cecilus’s reaction.

Seeing this, Cecilus responded, “What is it?”, and as Groovy lowered his raised arm,

Groovy: [You’re listening too easily. Bastard, you’re even more of a fucking bell-end than you were before you got shrunk.]

Cecilus: [Hoho, it doesn’t feel like I’m being complimented now does it?]

Groovy: [Shut the fuck up! We’re running out of fucking time. Let’s hurry up and go.]

Jerking his chin, Groovy turned his head toward the fourth bastion. Cecilus was about to follow with a “Yes, yes” when Al, the one who had proposed the idea, uttered, “Is that fine?”

Al: [I gave an answer because you asked me, but compared to me, you guys are… no, you’re more knowledgeable about the Imperial Capital.]

Groovy: [Not even I would agree to a plan that seems like fuckpiss. I don’t have a problem with your plan… I also don’t wanna throw down against that fucking dumbass Balleroy.]

Al: […A former colleague of yours?]

Groovy: [That’s part of it, but it’s because he’s fucking strong. If you’re gonna have someone fight that bastard, make it Moguro. There’s absolutely no way that they’d lose.]

Groovy asserted that the sniper’s ability was strong.

Cecilus had also encountered this opponent many times in the Imperial Capital, but he had yet to even see him properly. There was no doubt that he was strong. Perhaps it really was a mistake to nod his head just now. Even if he began to complain about it now, would they approve of a change in the plan? Would they not?

Cecilus: [Let’s go in and get it done lickety-split. The goal isn’t to preserve the holes we open, so there’s no point in putting it off.]

Groovy: [Be careful. This fucking dumbass is gonna wrap things up real quick and then go look for Balleroy.]

Al: […Once the real star performer makes his entrance, by all means, do that.]

Cecilus: [How arrogant of you to call anyone other than me the star performer!]

As Al slowly shook his head and grumbled in resignation, Cecilus exclaimed in chagrin.

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The journey to the fourth bastion was an anticlimactic and smooth one.

It was not as though they had not seen any undead searching for survivors along the way. But, they were nothing more than extras that passed by, or were they to obstruct the way, then they would simply be eliminated.

Was there any actor who would go out of their way to give the spotlight to a minor role in order to liven up the stage?

Cecilus: [Unfortunately, an audience’s interest is finite after all. I’m not saying that there aren’t minor roles who give great performances that elevate the overall quality of the stage, but whether they’re actively sought out or not is a different matter… Nevertheless.]

Though he was enjoying the peaceful journey, Cecilus furrowed his brow.

Of course, Cecilus was all for eliminating unnecessary hassles, and he did not think it desirable that a performance would involve time and effort spent dealing with rank-and-file soldiers.

Still, the way Cecilus and his group looked now was unfashionable, was it not?

After all, Cecilus was on Al’s back, and Groovy was clinging to his abdomen―― in other words, Cecilus and Groovy were making an Al sandwich.

If one were to question why they had come to be in such a situation, it was because otherwise, Cecilus and Groovy would protrude from the coverage of the cloak Al was wearing over his head.

Cecilus: [But this is unstylish! This isn’t how I market myself, Groovy-san!]

Groovy: [Put a fucking sock in it! Our presence may be hidden, but our sounds and smells aren’t! If the nearby fucknuggets notice and surround us, we’ll be in some deep fucking shit!]

Al: [Both of you are too loud…! And don’t wiggle, or I’ll fall…!]

Complaining and shaking Al’s shoulders, the two of them wrapped in the same cloak were reprimanded.

The fur cloak that Groovy had prepared was quite the impressive piece of work. Apparently, it was an exceptional item that could be used to prevent the wearer from attracting the attention of others. Rowan, Heinkel, and Groovy had used this fur cloak to slip past the enemy’s radar, and enter the Imperial Capital.

In fact, though they had chosen an inconspicuous road, the fur cloak likely played the largest role in the fact that they had not been found once by the undead.

Cecilus: [Even though it’s so swelteringly hot with just our different physiques, I can’t imagine how you and my father managed to get into the Imperial Capital with three people. But still, where did you purchase such a bizarre cloak?]

Groovy: [I didn’t buy it. I made it. You’re too fucking stupid to remember, but I also melted down your Fiend Sword and reforged it into a katana.]

Cecilus: [Ho ho, Fiend Sword! What a cool name! I’d love to see it, learn about it, and worship it!]

Groovy: [Like I already fucking told you, it’s your fucking katana, dickhead!]

Groovy performed the feat of yelling in a muted voice.

Putting aside the dispute of whether he had shrunk or not, it was quite interesting to hear Groovy describe the background of Cecilus, of which he did not know himself. In particular, he loved the topic of katanas.

Cecilus: [However it’s interesting that you reforged it as a katana. Are you perhaps a swordsmith, Groovy-san? You must be very busy being a General and a blacksmith.]

Groovy: [It’s not like I specialize in swords. I make swords, weave garments, and also tinker with magical tools.]

Cecilus: [So, this mysterious cloak is also some kind of magical tool.]

Groovy: [No, this one is just werewolf skin.]

Cecilus expressed an impressed “Ho” at Groovy’s response, and Al’s shoulders shook in astonishment. As Cecilus closely inspected the fur cloak,

Cecilus: [Werewolves are quite rare. I know they exist, but I’ve never met one before.]

Groovy: [It’s because they’re fucking hard to find in the first place. The whole race’s under a Divine Protection, just like ground dragons or the Uruha people of the Holy Kingdom. If you skin them alive, the Divine Protection remains on their pelt. It’s an effective use of those sneaky fuckers.]

Al: [The Divine Protection of the Concealing Cloud…?]

Groovy: [Ahh? So you know about that fucking old-fashioned name for it. The Divine Protection of Ambush is more common… Although the topic of fucking werewolves isn’t too common to begin with.]

Hearing Al’s mumbled comment, Groovy showcased his knowledge.

Regardless, werewolves were loathed in the Empire, and it stemmed from an old, old story. But then again, since the tale was based in historical fact, it was also deeply linked to reality.

Cecilus himself had no particular hostility toward werewolves or wolfpeople, but――,

Cecilus: [Isn’t it awfully ironic that the pelt of a werewolf is helping us, considering the way werewolves are treated in the Empire. Even if it’s just their skin.]

Al & Groovy: [――――]

Cecilus: [Huh? Ignoring me? Are you ignoring me? I thought I said something rather clever――]

Just then, after Cecilus had thought that Al and Groovy both had given a dismissive response to his comment regarding the fur cloak―― that such was not the case, Cecilus had also surmised.

???: [――■■■■■■.]

And it was not because the onlooker had been lively, as they usually were.

Al’s entire body grew tense as Cecilus clung onto him, and Cecilus felt the reason for that tension slipping into himself as well.

Putting aside the issue of whether or not he was shrunken, it was due to something that seized the inside of Cecilus’s thin chest.

――Gray thorns were swirling around in Cecilus’s chest.

Cecilus: [By any chance, is this appearing on the both of you as well?]

Al: […Yeah. Oi, Groovy-san. I thought we shouldn’t be able to be detected with this cloak…]

Groovy: [FUCK… Hk! You gotta be fucking kidding me…!]

Al and Groovy seemed to be in the same situation as Cecilus, and Groovy’s discomposure, or rather, his anger was especially quite immense.

Maybe it was because someone had seen through the effects of the fur cloak that he was so confident in? ――No, that was not quite right.

If the other party had located Cecilus and the others, they would not leave the three of them in the state of being a sandwich for so long. Of course, one could also say that these thorns were a warning.

Al: [Doesn’t seem like it. What do you think?]

Groovy: [――It’s an indiscriminate ranged attack. What kind of fucking wanker does that!? Who in the fuck’s spilling out such braindead cursecraft…!?]

Groovy’s throat shook with rage, and he cursed the irrationality of the yet-to-be-seen master of the thorns.

A moment later, the thorns around each of the three’s chests slowly began to writhe, and the sharp spikes, slipping right through their hands, tried to exert the full effect of their curse.

And then――,

Cecilus: [――As expected, it seems the world doesn’t approve of me sneaking around. Now, for this newly arrived hardship! Let’s flourishingly overcome it with a ta-dah!]

So spilled out the excited laughter of the one unbounded, just before a sharp pain seized his heart.

 

Translation Note:

[1] – We normally translate Groovy’s クソ as “fuck”, but the literal definition of the word is “feces”, or in more vulgar terms, “shit”. Cecilus is referencing the literal definition of the word, hence the author’s poop joke.

17 thoughts on “Arc 8, Chapter 39 – “Laughter of the One Unbounded””

  1. Interesting to see Groovy doesn’t wanna face Balleroy. Understandable tho. Someone who can fight at an incredible range while undetected and capable of injuring Cecilus in a failed loop (even if he’s a kid for now) is certainly a terrifying force

    1. I mean I feel like Groovy is also similar to Cecilus in that they don’t seem to give a shit about anyone, but it’s strongly suggested that these events are actually a major betrayal to them.

      Groovy is pissed off in particular at Cecilus forgetting Chisha or what happened before, but it’s pretty damn obvious the reason to Cecilus’ question at how anyone could possibly have landed a surprise attack on him…is because he was GENUINELY close to Chisha. We found a few chapters ago that Chisha was the one who got him to join them, when before it seemed like everything happened according to Vincent’s plans, and Cecilus is also one of the main people who impacted Chisha in his own named chapter – they’re close enough that Cecilus is on his mind in his dying moments. And absolutely noone gets on with Cecilus so it’s pretty easy to imagine that Chisha was the person he cared about most(I mean he doesn’t seem to have any other interests and people and his dad is a hell no – reckon Rowan killed his mum?).

      So being honest I broke down in tears as I thought that Cecilus’ entire regression seems to be driven by him having been made that way by his only friend in order to allow his big suicide plan to take Vincent’s place. Him getting back his memories is now much more emotionally heavy since it means remembering someone who he considered a friend to the point of allowing surprise attacks to happen got himself killed. You might want to argue that he’s not that deep a character, but him asking how he could ever have been defeated by someone just hammered in that he’s now forgotten everyone he considered a friend to him in this state and that’s fucking tragic. It’s even WORSE because I feel like this maybe changes Chisha’s motives for infantilising him, Cecilus can’t grieve if he doesn’t remember him.

      Anyway these chapters aren’t all about power plays or else there wouldn’t be the reflecting on neglecting their sons with Heinkel and Rowan, the amount of character development in their inner monologue and conversations is amazing to me.

    1. We only have 5 named stargazers and 2 of them are already dead, so i guess they are?
      In the entire Kingdom of 50 million, there were around 26 others.

  2. “Groovy: Se você esfolá-los vivos” nossa kkkk
    agora estou curioso pros espectadores que falam com os Stargazers e o Cecilio toda hora…se não for apenas um delírio…
    então quer dizer que acontece o mesmo com os pecadores da bruxa e o livro que revela o futuro ou um mandamento…mas o livro que o Roswall usava era o que a Echidna criou…interessante e que não seja um simplesmente Deuses ou estrelas ou heróis observando todos…
    obrigado pelo capitulo!

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