Ellen, Eleris, and I stayed at St. Point for a few more days after we returned. We wanted to stay to observe how things would pan out and also had to be interrogated.
Hugson was under investigation at St. Point. If the allegations turned out to be true, it would be quite difficult for him to come out of the case alive. After all, he was just some condescending guy located in St. Point.
The chances of us getting tried for those murders were rather slim. Therefore, we would be judged according to how many benefits we brought to the guild, completely excluding the punishment we deserved.
We didn’t complete a request.
Therefore, there wasn’t any reward set for it, and we didn’t know how reasonable our actions in that situation were.
Additionally, it was treated as a criminal case. We couldn’t know what our merits or rewards would be until the investigation was complete and the truth was revealed.
St. Point and the Points a bit further south were places low-ranking adventurers frequented.
Confronted with the conclusive evidence of a massacre having taken place as well as having secured suspects there, the Exian Outpost sent a considerable amount of manpower.
Warriors, not adventurers, were deployed to places where usually only bottom-of-the-barrel kinds of people flooded the streets.
“It seems that the escort team request will be completely taken down and carried out by those professional troops.”
It was a reaction to the Bandit Adventurers, plus the destroyed Klitz Point.
They had even planned to induce the guild to send more supplies so they could rob them. Hence the guild had to deploy more specialized personnel. For the guild, it must have been shocking enough that the leader they picked for a request had actually dreamed of eating their supplies.
We did all the research we were supposed to do during our stay of a few days, so we were ready to move again.
-Is it them?
-Only the three of them killed all of them?
-Is this wizard really that amazing? Is that what it is?
-Anyway, thanks to them, we were able to keep our lives.
We were becoming celebrities in St. Point. Even though we caused the request to get canceled, they would have fallen for Hugson’s trap and died otherwise.
We killed a lot of people, but as a result, we saved even more lives.
Dead men tell no tales.
It felt like the praise of the living was tickling the back of my head.
Ellen, Eleris, and I woke up late, so we were having lunch.
We were somewhat busy with being investigated and resting our exhausted bodies.
The case had been solved by Ellen from start to finish. It was Ellen who noticed something suspicious first, guessed what was behind it, and found out everything.
I felt like my thoughts had become sluggish ever since the clash with that large bandit gang. Acting normal after killing so many people just wasn’t possible, so my mind just didn’t work as fast as usual.
I couldn’t afford to think about anything else as my mental capacity had already reached its limit.
Honestly, it was quite weird that I’d been holding up as well as I did, but Ellen was even weirder.
“I said I needed more experience, but we ended up having the wrong type of experience… Damn it.”
We knew that we had to be careful of other people, but neither Ellen nor I wanted to have that type of experience.
“…I kind of expected it, but I didn’t know it would turn out like this.”
However, she seemed to have known what we were about to witness. Ellen was certainly on guard. It looked like she was the one who kept being wary of other people above anything else in mind. What kinds of stories did Artorius tell his sister Ellen? I had no idea.
Like that, the biggest event spread around St. Point, the collapse of Als Point, had been resolved.
Because the largest requests had been resolved, it was safe to say that there was nothing more to do there. If one wanted to do requests, one would have to go further south. However, the newly formed supply convoy team would most likely resolve all the problems.
“Should we go back to Exian again or…”
As we tried to sort out our next move, a voice interrupted us.
Ellen, Eleris, and I looked in the voice’s direction.
Austin was standing there with misery, shame, embarrassment, and countless other emotions etched into his face.
He struggled to open his mouth while enduring all that shame.
“I’m sorry, I came here to thank you… If it weren’t for you, our convoy team… everyone, including me, would have died.”
Without our interference, the convoy would have taken off as is, and all of them would have been helplessly slaughtered. He came to us to thank us for that but also to apologize.
Even if he did it because he was intimidated, he still tried to frame us. It seemed like he was still feeling guilty about that.
He didn’t have to come to us like that. We didn’t do this for Austin’s appreciation. However, Austin still came to apologize to us when he didn’t need to.
That was enough.
“Yeah, well. Don’t worry about…”
Just as I was about to say something, Ellen looked straight at Austin and spoke to him.
“Just quit all this.”
Ellen was speaking in a very imperative tone, so unlike her. Austin’s complexion went pale at her sudden words. Ellen stared at Austin and spoke in a cold tone.
“You don’t even have the skills to take care of yourself.”
“You don’t have the insight to recognize dangerous people.”
“You don’t have the discretion to consider what risks this job entails.”
“You should at least be shameless, but you aren’t.”
That was the first time that I heard Ellen use such abusive language. I was just as perplexed as Austin.
No skill, no insight, no discretion…
However, he felt shame.
“Hugson may be a failure as a human being, but he was successful as an adventurer. He was bold, cruel, and shameless.”
Ellen seemed to have decided that he had to stop being an adventurer as soon as Austin came to apologize to us.
He should have just been shameless and not apologized, but he couldn’t do that.
If one lacked as much as he did, one should also lack conscience to get through the job at least, but Austin actually tried to maintain his conscience. That was why Hugson excelled as an adventurer. He was a murderer, but adventurers were just a bunch of guys looking to make it big quick.
Those types of subhumans could survive better than anyone else as adventurers.
If one didn’t have the skills to do anything in any way, one shouldn’t become an adventurer.
I didn’t know much about Hugson’s skills, but he had his mindset going for him.
If one didn’t have the skill, one had to at least be clever.
If one was neither skilled nor clever, one had to at least be cautious.
If one wasn’t any of that, one had to throw away one’s conscience and shame.
If one was too kind, one had to have the ability to overcome the weakness caused by one’s own kindness.
That guy didn’t belong anywhere.
That was what Ellen had pointed out.
“I don’t know if you are a failure as a human or not, but as an adventurer, you are definitely bound to be a failure, so quit.”
Ellen seemed to hate anyone who wanted to become an adventurer because they admired Artorius. They were just people in pursuit of the romance of adventure without actually knowing what an adventurer was.
They were just helpless scapegoats. They didn’t even know that they had to risk their lives just for their clumsy, unrealistic dreams.
They didn’t even consider that they might get robbed by bandits and stabbed in the back or hit over the head by their allies instead of simply dying while fighting against monsters.
Ellen’s honest criticism left Austin in a state of indignation.
“Ah… Y-yes… That’s… That’s right…”
Come and read on our website wuxia worldsite. Thanks
He shook his head with a miserable expression spread across his face. The fact that he couldn’t even refute Ellen’s cold remark was rather pitiful.
Austin, who had boasted that he was part of a B-ranked adventurer’s party, didn’t even know what he could call his own.
Was it really good to just break apart all the hopes and dreams of someone who had nothing but that and just send them home?
Ellen chose to break everything apart now that cracks had formed.
She told him to live a normal life. He wouldn’t have listened to her if she had spoken to him gently, so she had to use harsh words.
I watched Austin leave the inn with his whole body slumped. He might give up and actually go home, but he also might just go and take on a new request even after hearing those words.
Ellen probably thought it would be better to be alive and well than to chase after one’s hopes and dreams.
However, Ellen opened her eyes wide as if she couldn’t believe what she had just said.
She didn’t think she would actually say something like that to someone.
“Let’s talk for a sec.”
I helped Ellen up and led her into the room.
Eleris looked at us as we went up to the room with a complicated expression on her face.
After we returned to the room, I faced Ellen. She had no idea what to say to me. She had no reason to say anything either.
Ellen stared at the floor with her head down.
“Should we go back?”
However, that was all I asked Ellen, who was only staring at the floor blankly. “…”
That was one hell of a harsh experience we had.
Not only was it one person, but we had ended up killing dozens of people. I told myself that I should think about it later, but I didn’t actually have the time nor the power to seriously process all of it because of various factors. Ellen kept standing upright, trying to figure everything out.
Not even I would have been able to do it, and yet Ellen managed it.
“You don’t have to force yourself.”
So it was only natural that Ellen was more mentally strained than I was. She acted that way because she thought that her actions didn’t only affect her own life but mine as well.
She probably was already anxious and stressed enough because of that, and then everything else had happened.
It was strange that she didn’t end up collapsing in that extreme state of exhaustion. Her emotions finally exploded when she saw Austin.
He looked so pathetic that she couldn’t bear not saying anything to him, and even Ellen herself was surprised by her own words.
…By her loss of control.
That was why I asked her something like that.
If she wanted to go back, we could.
She didn’t have to force herself to keep going.
Ellen put her head against my chest.
“I’m just… tired…”
She didn’t start crying suddenly or something.
However, as she said those words, she rested her head on my chest and didn’t say anything for a while. I simply stood still, holding her head with one hand.
But that was when Ellen began to tremble slightly as if her emotions were getting stronger and stronger.
After she showed me some of her weak sides, it was as if her walls were collapsing, letting her weakness burst through the cracks.
“I… I’m scared…”
Ellen was trembling.
“I feel like I’m starting to resemble my brother… It’s scary…”
“What… do you mean?”
“I vowed to … not care whatever happens to other people…”
There seemed to be something else that added even more to Ellen’s stress.
“And yet, I’m… doing the same thing as my brother…”
Countless people would have died if we didn’t get rid of the bandits who occupied Klitz Point.
So Ellen had decided to annihilate all of them. She didn’t hesitate to get her hands dirty with blood.
She would think about her actions later. She had to think about her next steps first and put her decision into action.
However, as she gradually processed what happened, Ellen became aware of something.
She vowed to live her life without sacrificing everything for the sake of others like her brother did, but when such a situation came up, she ended up taking risky actions without even considering her own well-being.
She had killed someone to save the lives of others.
Ragann Artorius must have acted similarly to that as well.
At first, he must have had just a normal sense of justice. If it was something within his power, he would do it—something like that. After all, saving someone’s life could never be a bad thing, right?
However, as he repeated such actions, a sense of duty would have cropped up inside of him.
First, it was just a few, then it was a dozen, then hundreds, until it was beyond thousands.
Eventually, he came to be revered as a hero to whom it was a matter of course to save someone’s life.
And in the end, he reached a point where he saw it as a matter of course to sacrifice even his own life for the sake of others.
So, like that, he managed to kill the Demon King in exchange for his own life.
Ellen was terrified when she realized that she had started to have the same thoughts as her brother. She never wanted to be like that, but she had almost immediately taken her first step in that direction.
She didn’t regret it.
It wasn’t regrettable to save someone’s life, after all.
She realized that she was taking the same actions as Ragan Arotirus in the end and started to feel afraid.
It almost felt like it was something ingrained in her, as if it was running in their blood.
“Don’t overthink it.”
I mumbled and pulled her head a little closer to my chest.
I knew what she was worried about.
“Anyone would’ve made that choice in that situation.”
However, in the end, it was nothing much.
“Everyone would have done this if their abilities allowed it.”
There were people who could and couldn’t do something like that.
There were plenty of people out there who would have made the same choice as us.
“We could do it, so that’s why we did it.”
“There was no other reason.”
We had made a common decision.
The process and the ending were anything but normal, but our decisions were more than normal.
She didn’t make that choice just because she was the younger sister of Artorius.
That was what she had to believe.
She wasn’t ordinary, but she had to believe that she was ordinary.
I couldn’t leave any room for her worries and anguish to breed.
“Is that so…”
“Yeah, that’s how it is.”
Ellen’s trembling slowly subsided.