Clarification: Last chapter was mostly in the POV of a certain unnamed villager girl. This chapter is the same. However, it’s a flashback of her POV of the chapter 25 flashback. I tried to use “The girl” to refer to the villager, and “That girl” when referring to Leti. You’ll just have to use context clues for when I use “she” or “her”… Until I think of a better way to do it.
Approaching Shadows (3)
AN: There are cruel depictions in the latter half. It is fine to skip. (TN: This may be a recap of Leti’s flashback, but in the POV of the village girl, just like last chapter.)
Two of the nearby villages were destroyed by the monster horde.
The news was spread by the peddlers who happened to notice it and escaped the attacked areas. The village chief immediately relayed the decision to abandon the village and flee.
The place they fled to was Nest Fortress.
The chief judged that it would be the safest place since the knight order was stationed there.
However, the four-legged monsters could move quickly.
Luckily, they would be escorted by the knights who were previously notified, so the villagers of Torc Village could reach the fort.
However, villagers fleeing from places beyond Torc Village came sustaining serious injuries.
The backs of the people desperately making for the fortress showed slashes by claws and large bites from jaws.
Even the many knights who had sortied to save the villagers were killed, one after another.
Against the approaching swarm of monsters that buried the earth, they had to close the gates that they had fought to the limit to open so that even one more of the myriad of refugees could enter.
But the gate was useless against monsters who could fly, and even the massive stone wall could not be trusted to hold back the larger monsters.
The diminishing knights desperately fortified their defenses, but even a child like her could see that it was a hopeless endeavour.
The monsters howled incessantly outside the fort.
The fort’s outer walls occasionally trembled.
If the flying monsters started attacking, the fort would have already fallen to the monsters.
It was if they were trying to prolong their despair and terror.
Some people, half-crazed in despair, blamed their surroundings.
Just to avoid being slain by the monsters, some have jumped off of the main tower,committing suicide.
In one section of the fort, people merely curled up in despair and terror.
The girl could only tremble.
She didn’t bawl, but merely cried softly, as her body trembled in her mother’s arms.
Flying overhead, avian monsters let out eerie cries.
Every time they heard the strange cries, the people ducked their heads and crawled on the ground.
Then, when the monsters flew away, without fail, the people’s gazes gathered on the main tower.
They heard from the knights that the one who was proclaimed the Brave by the Goddess Anastasia was there.
What was the Brave doing?
Why didn’t she drive away the monsters?
In their dread, the people started to murmur complaints towards the Brave.
Everybody, including the girl, felt resentment that the existence called the Brave would hole up in the main tower and hide.
—Until they saw that girl.
That girl walked through the people, who were startled by the door to the main tower opening; her back was straight, and her expression was cold.
That girl seemed to be about the same age as herself, or maybe even younger.
Although she was still in her childhood, her beautiful face betrayed no fear, even in the face of such terribleness, as she smiled to encourage the frightened people.
She herself couldn’t tell just by looking at her appearance, but from the whispers around her, she knew that the girl who walked out of the tower was the Brave.
Despite only getting a fleeting glimpse, that girl’s appearance was clearly burned in her mind.
She walked towards the fort’s gates, and soon…
Monsters roared and screamed.
Booms and crashes continued.
The monster’s death cries were heard.
Not wanting to hear the sounds they heard outside, they desperately closed their eyes and covered their ears; they kept their guard up for a long time.
Eventually, sounds outside the fort ceased— the girl called the Brave opened the gate to the fort and returned.
That girl’s body was covered in wounds.
From her brilliant golden hair, which was like collected sunlight, to her flawless white skin, her whole body was stained by both her blood and the monster’s blood.
That girl’s whole body still continued to emit a strong fighting spirit, which the surrounding people could feel unconsciously and were left speechless, and she dragged her feet towards them.
Pitying that appearance, the girl wanted to call out to her when—
Her father pulled on her arm.
She looked up at her father’s face, and saw it filled with terror.
She obeyed her father’s words, and once more looked at her.
She couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard of a battle it was, and the wounds on her body must be extremely painful.
How dreadful was it to have faced the killing intent of all of those monsters.
She couldn’t fathom it.
The Brave returned after destroying all of the monsters and protecting the fort, but didn’t receive even a word of gratitude. Instead, everybody’s gazes were filled with the same fear and dread that her father showed.
For whose sake did she fight for…?
Only one person, the Elven woman who was her companion, went to hug her.
Incidentally, the two girls’ gazes met.
At that moment, she realized.
That girl’s eyes were red and swollen.
Despite that, that girl smiled towards her, as if encouraging her.
Her own tears spilled out.
It must have been due to the relief after all of that terror, that she started to cry.
Despite being wounded to the point of tears, that girl could still smile at her.
Seeing that pitiful figure, more tears spilled out.
Her tenderness also conveyed the isolation and loneliness she felt…
It had been roughly four years since then.
“We-we’re saved. They’re from Nest…”
At those words, the fear and despair from that time came back.
Then, she thought of the Brave, the girl who was the same age as her.
Was she able to attain happiness after defeating the Demon Lord?
That girl who was known as the Brave probably didn’t remember the time when their eyes met.
But if she had the chance to meet her someday, she would clearly convey her gratitude.
‘Thank you very much.’
Just that one sentence.
She recalled the relief of barely having made it to Nest with her life.
Maybe the other villagers felt the same way.
It was inevitable that they relaxed from the tension.
She felt a sense of unease.
Her parents were simply as elated as the other villagers.
The sense of unease grew larger.
They were somehow tricked.
Suddenly, she thought of the adventurer boy around the same age as her who had ridden in a different direction.
According to the conversation between her father and one of the villagers, there had also been several adventurers who went ahead to notify Nest Town.
Those adventurers were also young, and had also ridden horses to Nest Town
However, shouldn’t the imperial army stationed at Nest have arrived on horseback first?
When she reached that conclusion, she felt bone-chilling dread.
‘Those might be allies of the bandits!’
By the time she arrived at that conclusion, the knights who were on horseback had reached their group.
“Th-they’re not from Nest!”
“Uwaaaaaaaa! They’re from Petersiaaaaaaaaaa!!!!”
The villagers tried to flee, but were trampled to death or pierced by lances.
The girl’s father was blown away by a horse and the cart was jolted, so her slender body also toppled sideways.
With a crash, all of the luggage scattered into the air, as the cart turned over.
She was dimly aware of the cart falling down upon her— then, everything turned black.
When the girl regained her consciousness, it was dark all around her.
No, there was a little bit of light.
She soon realized that the light came from a small crack between the overturned cart and the ground.
‘What is going on?’
Looking around as she raised her upper body, she recalled what had happened.
They were attacked by people who seemed to be the bandit group’s allies.
She remembered the cruel sight of her father on the ground after being sent flying by a horse.
‘Daddy!’ She was about to call out, then quickly shut her mouth.
She could hear the sound of metallic footsteps around her.
The attackers were still there.
When she listened more closely, she could also hear the sobs of young girls.
Moreover, there were several of them.
She recognized some of those voices. With a shiver, she curled up tightly into a ball.
‘I don’t want to die.’
‘Where are Mommy and Daddy?’
‘Don’t come here.’
Her mind raced through various thoughts.
Unlike in Nest Fort, she didn’t have her parents to hug.
It seemed that she was hidden in the space between the overturned cart, and a hollow on the ground
There was a small depression beside the path.
When the cart turned over, she happened to be sent flying into the depression, and the cart ended up covering her.
Thanks to the perfect positioning of the cart on the ground, she went unnoticed by the ones who caused this disaster.
If she had been found…
Even though she had never experienced it before, she could understand what was happening outside.
She would definitely have suffered if she had been found.
“It was as we feared, Commander. They were headed to Nest Town.”
“Before we wrap things up, we have to make sure nobody finds out who did it. It’s good that they had female adventurers, but we better end things by letting those bandits handle the rest.”
They were speaking somewhere near her.
She held her breath, trembling.
The sobs she didn’t recognize were the adventurers who had gone before them.
In other words, the warning didn’t reach Nest.
The hopes of the adventurers who stayed behind at the village without expecting reinforcements, fighting a hopeless battle, were unfulfilled.
She cried silently.
It was mortifying.
Even then, she couldn’t do anything.
She could only continue waiting in the ditch that she had been so lucky to fall into, until the people who assaulted the villagers left.
This time, there wasn’t even that girl, the Brave, to save her.
She could only hold her breath and keep hiding.
While covering her ears, as to not hear the screams of the the girls from the village, and the female adventurers.
AN: Next chapter moves back to Wynn’s side of the story. The plot quickens.
- I’m imagining a sharp inhalation. What’s the sfx for that? —back
I’m gonna go translate Black Knight chapters after this. This was tiring… 2 more raw chapters came out, so it’s been a net gain of one chapter to catching up with the raws since I started translating, I think
Also, is the status thing I put on the main page useful? I’m starting to lose motivation in updating it, but I guess it’s one thing that I don’t hear about when it works…
I skimmed the next chapter, and it seems to start with Abel begging Wynn for help or something like that.