Doc Google here.
Sorry it’s late! Also, I have backtracked and brought Onii-chan back!
This chapter is brought to you by your favorite friend, timeskips!
Hmm… my program doesn’t seem to be adding the separators for the sections… meh… I’ll change that later.
Confession Beneath the Tree of Light (Part 1)
(AN: I didn’t think I would be able to finish this before midnight, but I did! [TL: I didn’t!])
The elves were gathered outside the cell.
Seeing Wynn come out pulling Leticia’s hand, they made a path.
Standing amongst the crowd, Tiara caught a glimpse of Wynn’s angry face and Leticia’s teary expression in the light of the World Tree, and started to go after them, but then—
She shook her head, and instructed the other elves in the crowd to avoid getting in the couple’s way.
As Tiara and the other elves watched, Wynn and Leticia walked to the towards the World Tree sapling and stopped at its roots.
“How pretty. I can’t imagine how many more breathtaking sights there are in the world.”
Wynn looked up at the World Tree sapling.
From its trunk, from its branches, from its leaves, many different colored balls of light — red, blue and yellow– spilled out from the all over tree, just like dewdrops of light.
Leticia also looked up.
“…It truly is pretty.”
She whispered in amazement.
Unlike Wynn, it wasn’t the first time Leticia had seen the World Tree sapling. She had even seen the World Tree in the elven capital.
But when she thought back on it, she didn’t remember feeling moved.
The World Tree would normally touch anybody who saw it, but she considered it as moving as a pebble on the roadside. Back then, she thought of the World Tree as a source of magic power for transfer magic. Merely a convenient tool.
Beside Wynn, Leticia also looked at that mystifying sight. She held her hand up and caught one of the floating droplets of light. Like snow, the light melted and and dissipated.
As he looked up, Wynn started to speak.
“Leti should stop fighting. Especially in battles between humans.”
Leticia looked towards Wynn.
Wynn kept watching the lights floating down from the tree.
“You might be the Brave who slew the Demon Lord. Praised by everybody, admired by the people, respected by all. However—”
His gaze moved from the tree to Leticia.
“You can’t let them believe that you would wield that power against humans. You are strong, Leti. You are extraordinarily strong. If you got involved in a conflict, the side you supported would definitely win. I don’t have much knowledge about the outside world, apart from what I learned in school and read in books. Coming to this elven village made me realize how the world I knew was only a small part of the real world. I truly can’t imagine how big the world really is. Even if I had knowledge of the World Tree sapling, seeing it in person is completely different from seeing it in books.”
Wynn once again looked up at the tree.
“But I do know one thing. People can change their perceptions of you. Since you are a noble of the Empire, it should be justified for you to fight in the defense of the country. But, as Leticia van Mavis the Brave, you can’t do that. You saved the world by defeating the demons. You will not use that power against humans. That’s what the people believe. ”
“However, if people begin to believe that you could turn that power towards humanity, then the praise and respect people give you as the Brave can easily turn into fear and paranoia. If that happens, then it’ll be difficult to change their impression of you. They dread the notion that a power that exceeds human understanding could be turned against them. From the Brave to a monster— you would become the new Demon Lord. I don’t want to see Leti thought of that way by other people.”
Leticia thought back to the day the oracle proclaimed her the Brave.
Even as they praised her strength, their eyes betrayed their fear as they drew away from her.
―“Is she… really… human?”
―“Could she be a demon in disguise? What a monster…”
―“The Brave really is different from us humans.”
―“She’s definitely a monster.”
‘I— I’m not… a monster…’
‘They saw me as an existence that surpassed human limits. That’s right, shouldn’t I have understood that best? I must have noticed it before Wynn pointed it out to me, right?‘
Wynn looked at Leticia, who was crying while hanging her head.
He gently stroked Leticia’s hair. The lights emanating from the World Tree caused Leticia’s flaxen hair to sparkle.
Those who didn’t know better would never believe that this girl possessed immense power. But those who did know would want to obtain her as a pawn to manipulate as they pleased.
The easiest way to do that was to hold Wynn hostage.
‘That’s no good. Like this, I’m just holding Leti back… Becoming a knight is my dream. But should I just stop there? What should I do?’
Leti spoke right then.
“I understand well why you tell me not to fight. I really needed to realize that I had gotten Onii-chan involved.”
“No, Leti, it’s not like that—”
Leti smiled at Wynn’s words.
And then, Leticia—
“Ah… S- sorry”
Sherry said in a small voice.
Everybody was startled by that sound.
Sighing, Kelvin leaned back against the wall of the stone cell.
”Hey, Kelvin. Even though it’s been a long time, you don’t seem lively”
“There’s nothing to be lively about, being locked up in this place. It’s been a while, Rosefeld. Even though it’s been so many years, you don’t look any different.”
“Like I would change after a couple of years or so! — is what I would like to say, but you’ve both changed quite a lot these past few years. Especially Royce. How the heck did he become like that? I almost thought he was a different person when I saw him from afar, you know?”
“He became fatter from indulging in his fortunes. He’ll have to cut down quite a bit later… but enough of that.”
Kelvin then turned towards Locke, who was standing beside him.
“Please take Sherry out for now. Rosefeld, we will take the girl into our custody. That won’t be a problem, right?”
”Right now the Elders are occupied with the preparations for a reception, so…”
Rosefeld poured two cups of the wine he brought, then held one cup out to Kelvin. Since he was cold, he gratefully received the alcohol. Kelvin drank it all down in one sip.
The sweet and sour taste of the fruit wine filled his mouth.
”Was what that boy said before true? Were you really trying to use the Brave?”
“…Eh, well… ”
Rosefeld also downed his wine.
“I don’t intend to criticize you. It’s a reasonable course of action in your position. But for you two, it’s not that simple, right?”
”Yes. The first step was to find out the enemy’s movements from you. They are acting within the forest. There is no way the ‘Rulers of the Forest’ would not have grasped their actions.”
”Well, if they entered the forest, that is inevitable. We may not have caught everything, but…”
Rosefeld and Kelvin exchanged information and plans over the wine.
Once Kelvin heard the information he needed, he stood up.
”Thank you very much. You helped us out.”
“I was just repaying my debt to you two. I’ll also tell you where their hideout is. Please, have something to eat. It will reflect badly on the Elders if you refuse our hospitality. Especially since the princess is here.”
“Tiara Sciurus Belfa. You call her the Great Sage, right?”
‘Oh yeah, the Great Sage was a High Elven princess, wasn’t she?’
”Kelvin. I said that it was a reasonable course of action to use the Brave, but the elves would never allow it. If you humans wrong the Brave in any way, we elves will take her side. Don’t forget that.”
Kelvin shrugged off Rosefeld’s suddenly lower and harder tone of voice.
He left the cell.
They could hear the sounds of the elves bustling about.
Even though they were separated from the main scouting platoon, and had to return as soon as they could, Kelvin decided that it would be fine to stay a night.
He would be able to get some warm food. Remembering that he had worried about what to eat when he arrived, Kelvin quickly started walking as his stomach growled.
It was the day after the scouting platoon returned to the camp.
“Sir, Lieutenant Royce wishes to make a report.”
“I don’t want to see him. I would rather eat rubbish than see his ugly face!”
He dipped a soft loaf of bread into the warm cream stew made with a generous amount of milk. The stew contained the meat and vegetables set aside for the high-ranking officers. Drinking down the luxurious grape wine, General Feyl, commander of the advance troops, started yelling at his guards when he heard the name of the subordinate that he detested the most.
“But Sir, Lieutenant Elstead wishes to report an urgent matter.”
“Shut up. I am in the middle of my meal. If he needs to, he may see me afterwards!”
“Good morning Sir. While everybody is busy preparing to set out, you are gracefully indulging in your food, I see.”
Brushing aside the knights who were guarding the entrance to the tent, Royce barged into the tent’s spacious interior.
“Imbecile! Who gave you permission to enter! What are you doing, reaching out like that!”
Without minding him, Royce picked up a piece of grilled chicken from the plate atop the table and took a bite. He stroked his chin while holding a piece of the chicken.
As soon as Feyl saw Royce’s face, his appetite became replaced with nausea.
“Wasn’t it an urgent matter? Did you just come here to steal my food!?”
“I am very sorry. It looked so delicious— oh, this is delicious. You can tell that a first-class chef from the Logistics Division made this meal. You should share this with your men.”
Even though he apologized, he wore an unrepentant smile, and kept eating the meat. His every word dripped with sarcasm.
“Didn’t I tell you to stay at the back to protect the commoner last night! Why did you abandon your post?”
“Last night, the girl that we brought back told us the location of the enemy camp. That is what I wish to report.”
“Oh? Where is it?”
“Doria village. Two villages away from Torc Village, where we got the first report.”
“Hmph. How foolish.”
Feyl laughed at Royce.
“Now look here. This is the information we received from the main army. The location of their camp is written here. It is only a few hours from here by horse. We should crush them immediately.”
Feyl smirked and tossed the missive from the main force onto the table. Royce looked down and read it silently.
“We should immediately halt our departure.”
“Sir. Looking at the current state of affairs, it seems that our movements are being leaked to the enemy. Please think about it. There is a traitor within the main army— no, a rebel who was enticed by another country. Those orders may be a trap.”
“What sort of foolish drivel are you spouting? Which one is correct, the information from a village girl, or the information from the main army? Even a fool could tell!”
Enraged, Feyl shouted at Royce, but Royce’s expression remained unperturbed.
“Sir. There seems to be something amiss with the enemy movements. Why is the Petersian army attacking and annihilating villages? If Petersia wanted territory, it doesn’t make sense to act like this. They infiltrated our border defenses, and are slowly going around raiding our territories. It’s only reasonable to believe that there is somebody on the inside guiding their movements.”
Royce pushed aside the dishes on the table, and gestured to the knights who were standing by. Feyl frowned at Royce’s inconsiderate action, but did not object. It may have been because seeing Royce made him lose his appetite.
Royce unrolled a map on the now-cleared table.
“The attacks on the villagers and merchants all happened near the border: within the fiefdoms of Count Valessia, Marquis Remrandt, Marquis Cliffdorf, and regrettably, my own. But of those, only in Marquis Cliffdorf’s lands have merchant caravans been attacked, while none of the villagers were. I believe that the wise General Feyl can connect the dots?”
“M- Marquis Cliffdorf is the traitor, you claim. But is that all supposition?”
“No, of course it is nothing more than a conjecture. The origins of those merchant caravans also haven’t been investigated. But what is more puzzling is their current position. Up until now, we had just barely missed them. We are clearly being guided to that location.”
Feyl also looked down at the map. The route they had taken until then did seem to lead them to the place the latest orders indicated. But it could also be just a coincidence due to their pursuit.
There was something special about that location.
There, the border between the Remulshil Empire and the Kingdom of Petersia was unclear.
But Feyl’s disdain for Royce influenced his judgement. He cast away his suspicions.
“Silence. Nobody will listen to you. The orders are orders. We will move as planned!”
“Then, we should at least scout out the area thoroughly once more before we depart.”
“How insolent! We don’t need to doubt whether or not the orders we received from the main army are real or not. It wastes time and energy. We have five hundred men. They have two hundred. We outnumber them more than two to one. What are you so afraid of?”
Incensed, Feyl accused Royce of being a coward.
“The expedition has been decided upon. Anymore will be seen as insubordination.”
“…Please excuse me.”
Royce bowed. Dissatisfaction clearly lingered on his face.
“…Lieutenant Royce. What’s with that expression? I see… You really are scared of the enemy.”
“I don’t fear them. I don’t even know who our enemies are.”
“By the way, your squadron was in charge of protecting that commoner. I had told you to stay in the back, but if the commoner hangs around among the other knights, it would affect morale. You will protect the commoner in the rearguard.”
“…Are you referring to when we reach the battlefield?”
“That’s right. Life is precious to you, right? Honorable Count. You will comply with the request, right? You will be sent to the back to protect the commoner. The orders give you the perfect opportunity to flee from the battle. Rather, you will become a hero for saving the people.”
Royce smiled along with Feyl’s coarse laughter.
“I see. That will be fine. I do think life is precious. I will take the commoner to the rearguard and protect her there.”
With a salute, Royce left the tent.
“What a coward!”
Feyl spat at Royce’s back.
Royce paid no heed to him and continued to walk away.
‘Good. I have now removed him from the battlefield. There is no way he can meddle anymore.’
Feyl looked at the orders solemnly. They were to use their numerical advantage to overrun the enemy’s camp.
‘Those guys are history. I have the upper hand. Soon, I will…’
Those thoughts made Feyl more determined.
“Thanks for your work, Lieutenant Royce. How did it go?”
Royce shook his head.
“Rejected as usual. He didn’t listen.”
The previous night, Rosefeld had visited Royce in secret. He told him where the the enemy base was.
“I had wanted to stay behind and observe.”
“Is there a problem?”
Royce recounted his exchange with General Feyl.
“It’s clearly a trap. What should we do?”
“We can just stay at the back and protect the civilians. I promised to do that. We can act independently. I don’t want to fight, but it doesn’t seem that we can avoid it. If that happens, Reeno and Wedge’s movements will become critical. Well, I guess all my preparations won’t have been in vain.“
Royce smiled at Kelvin.
Kelvin couldn’t be faulted for thinking ‘Whoa, what a vicious smile.’
Under the pretense of going to the rearguard to protect the commoners, Wynn’s platoon advanced and went towards Doria village, the village Rosefeld had indicated.
Right there, was the enemy base.
Reeno and Wedge were currently headed towards Count Elstead’s territory.
They carried a letter from Lieutenant Royce—Count Elstead— asking him for reinforcements.
As a noble with the influence of a Count himself, Royce had his own personal knight order.
It would be beyond his authority to arbitrarily summon troops, but Royce wasn’t attached to his own status. He would do anything to protect his territory.
Wynn’s squadron approached the edge of the village, observing it. They could see several houses, a few fields, and some chickens being raised.
The chickens were grazing outside the coop, clucking.
It seemed like an ordinary idyllic village.
However, instead of villagers, armoured men holding swords and spears walked the streets and fields.
They weren’t the original inhabitants of Doria Village. It was likely that they were all confined in one of the buildings.
Some of the men wore simple clothing and worn-out leather armour. They weren’t Petersian soldiers, they were probably the bandits and mercenaries that were colluding with them.
Among them, they could see a group of soldiers with uniform metal armour and weapons.
Unlike the unruly bandits, their disciplined movements clearly indicated that they were knights.
“Hm? That man… Where have I…?”
Upon seeing an aged man among the group, Kelvin felt a tinge of unease.
If he was from Petersia, Kelvin shouldn’t have met the old man before, but the old man still felt familiar.
The man who appeared to be the leader rode on horseback at the front of the group.
They were planning on attacking the advance force from behind.
The three people could only grind their teeth in frustration as they watched the group depart. The reinforcements from Count Elstead had not arrived.
They could only see seven or eight people left behind to guard the base.
It would be better for them to join up with the reinforcements from the Knight Order of Count Elstead’s fiefdom. Sherry and Royce had stayed behind to wait for the reinforcements.
Locke, Wynn and Kelvin quietly turned back— rather, they were about to turn back.
With a crash, a young girl was flung out of a building.
Two— no, three men came out from the door. They wore vulgar smiles on their faces.
They kicked the girl, who was desperately trying to get up and run away while screaming, and then leaned over her. They ripped off her plain villager’s clothing.
The girl screamed once again.
Wynn clenched his teeth, trying to hold back his anger.
“Those… those bastards.”
Locke clenched his teeth, watching the barbaric scene angrily.
“Please bear with it. We need to wait for reinforcements first. Then we can save them all.”
Despite his words, Wynn could see unbridled rage in his eyes.
“…I’m sorry, Vice-Captain… I wanted to… No, I will becme a knight who protects the weak. Before my eyes is somebody who needs help. I can’t just abandon her!”
“…As a commander, I would have to reject that reasoning. It’s too idealistic. If you lose sight of the forest for the trees, you could lose everything… However…”
The corners of Kelvin’s lips curled up slightly.
“Frankly, I also agree with your point of view. Captain Royce might get angry, but if it’s just some bandits of that level, the three of us will be fine.”
“Right now, everybody is looking at that girl. They’re full of openings, Vice-Captain.”
Locke, who was monitoring the village as he listened to Kelvin and Wynn’s conversation, cut in.
Even the men who were supposed to be keeping watch were also looking at the men surrounding the woman, not paying attention to their surroundings..
On Kelvin’s command, they all leapt from behind the thickets where they were hiding.
“What is it?”
Wynn slipped past the guards, who had their backs turned to him. He jumped into the middle of the men surrounding the girl.
He swung his sword. All the men around the dishevelled victim were cut down in an instant.
They couldn’t put up much resistance, since they taken off their armour and thrown their weapons off to the side.
Wynn slashed the backs of the men who were crawling away while letting out pitiful moans.
The lookouts came to their senses and tried to counterattack, but were stabbed in the back with the spear in Locke’s hands.
“I’ll leave this place to you!”
Saying that over his shoulder, Kelvin leapt into the building where the other villagers were being held.
He wanted to defeat the bandits before the ones inside realized what was going on outside and took hostages.
They heard angry shouts from the bandits and screams from the villagers, but it soon became quiet.
“That was easier than I thought.”
Kelvin walked out of the building, blood dripping from the sword dangling in his hand.
“Wh- Who are you…?”
An elderly man followed Kelvin out of the building. After him came an elderly woman, who rushed towards the woman that the men had pinned down and hugged her.
“Now, we should evacuate… but that will be a bit difficult, won’t it?”
‘Shit… I’ll kill them.’
One of the men Wynn had cut, the bandit group’s second-in-command, felt his consciousness slowly fading away. However, fueled by anger and vengeance, he held on.
He was once a knight of a knight order.
He simply loved to kill.
But during the war with the Demon Lord’s monsters, that personality was not a problem.
Rather, skilled as he was in the Knight Order, he was a hero on the front lines, where his personality was extremely convenient.
However, after the war, his personality became too much for the knight order.
When those times of spending everyday doing nothing but fight were replaced by a time of peace, he couldn’t adapt.
One day, he went a bit too far during one of the missions.
Instead of just killing just the monsters, he ended up attacking civilians and other knights too.
After fleeing the Knight Order before they could punish him, he eventually ended up as a bandit.
As a former knight, he was more skilled than the chief, but since he disliked thinking hard, he was content as the second-in-command.
‘I’ll kill them… I’ll beat them to death. I’ll kill you all too!’
In the end, he was taken by surprise, and would die a dog’s death, but he put the last of his energy into chanting a spell. It was an explosion spell he learned during his time as a knight.
Not much time had passed since the aged man had left Doria Village with the troops.
“Locke! That one is still alive!”
‘Too late! Go to hell, you bastards!’
With a ghastly smile, the man detonated a nearby building with his spell..
On the brink of death, the explosion wasn’t as large as he had hoped, but it was enough to bring down the worn-out building.
The building collapsed with a thunderous crash.
Locke finished the man off with his spear.
“Hurry up, please. That sound will cause the enemy to come back!”
‘How could there still be somebody who could use magic…!’
Kelvin clenched his teeth.
The enemy would be able to chase them down on horseback if they simply fled.
“To the forest! Hurry!”
They could only flee into the forest, where the horses couldn’t follow. Kelvin showed the villagers the place where Royce was waiting.
‘Now the rest is up to fate. I’ll leave it to you, Wynn. I’ll also rely on you, Captain Royce!’
The sound of the hoofsteps gradually grew louder. The sounds announced impending death, but Kelvin just smiled fearlessly and drew his sword.
“Now then, I think the chances of winning this gamble are quite high. I just have to try a bit harder!”
Wynn held up his sword, and Locke prepared his spear.
And then, in the corner of the town square, three men faced off against two hundred men.
- I was tempted to use the word “milksop”, but I chose not to… — back
- Slightly lost in translation: the two “I”’s are a change in pronoun. The first time is 自分, a more polite, humble pronoun. The second time, it’s 俺… forceful and direct. — back
Sorry it’s late! I blame my fun summer lab! It’s somehow more fun than school! Translating code from C++ to Java made me a bit too tired to translate from Japanese to English… Tehepero~
I was aiming to at least get this chapter done by May 31st, since that was exactly a year after I started TLing this series…
Well, after some thought, and to those who commented on last chapter, I have changed it back to Onii-chan… (I can’t remember if I’ve changed it in the previous chapter… somebody tell me, cuz I’m a bit too lazy to check…) I feel like Onii-chan’s equivalent in English would be a sort of pet name, and not Big Brother. I can’t think of a good pet name, since Wynn is already short.
I propose another solution, but I don’t expect anybody, including me, to like it…
Wynn -> Win -> Victor
Onii-chan -> Vick
This is a long TL note/rant… Anyways. For those confused by the timeskips, the chronology for Wynn should be something like this:
- Wynn leaves on the bandit subjugation mission
- Wynn spends a few nights scouting and finding (planted) false positives
- Royce reveals his traitor suspicions to Wynn, and has his “little tricks”
- Wynn gets captured by elves and meets Sherry
- Wynn talks to Leti under the Tree of Light, and ???
- Wynn arrives back at the camp, with Sherry (the one extra person in that one chapter)
- Feyl fails to make a good decision.
- Wynn kills rapists
- To be continued!