Chapter 71: Well wishes for the Slow Life you wish for
Tise only explained to me in words the location of the room where they had the Alchemist Godwin compound the medicine.
Finding it in the Ancient-Elf residential block made up of uniform rooms was a little arduous.
“Is it here?”
I ended up spending quite some time.
I figured that Lit and the others would have already started climbing the mountain.
I opened the oddly heavy sliding door that could be seen everywhere in the Ancient-Elf ruin.
A glass bottle flew out from behind the door.
I ducked forward and avoided the bottle.
The next instant, the bottle exploded with a blast.
It splattered a green adhesive solution but by that time, I had already charged into the room with a front roll, stood up and thrust my sword at the Alchemist’s neck.
“Yo- you’re that guy from the Apothecary! You’re here to arrest me!”
“Ah, I’m not here to fight.”
“That’s ironic given you have a sword pointed at me!”
“Well, that’s because you threw that bomb. Moreover, if I intended to fight, this sword would have already penetrated your neck.”
Godwin had another adhesive grenade in his hand.
After a brief glaring match, Godwin slowly lowered his hand.
Matching his movements, I slowly removed my sword from Godwin’s neck.
“Where is the girl that captured you?”
“What, Apothecary, you have business with that girl? I’d give up if I were you. Having been cut down by you, I know that you’re strong but you can’t win against that girl.”
“Don’t misunderstand, I am acquainted with her.”
Godwin showed a face of surprise.
“Following Hero Lit, you are acquainted with that girl too? Apothecary, just who are you exactly?”
“I’m just a regular apothecary. More importantly, where is she?”
“Like I’d know. Won’t she be somewhere in the ruin?”
Searching for Ruti in this ruin would be another bone-breaking task.
” …… ”
Should I shout for Ruti?
I wished to avoid doing so if I had the option. Me being here was something Ruti would not imagine. Ruti would probably be sad if she realized that I knew about the Devil’s Divine Protection and her act of breaking Godwin out of prison.
If possible, I would prefer to be there to tell her that it didn’t matter to me.
“Call out to her.”
“If you shout loudly, she should be able to hear it with her Extrasensory skill.”
“Why don’t you call her? I don’t trust you. How are you going to take responsibility if you are actually that girl’s enemy and she comes to think that I have betrayed her.”
“Then you can claim that I stabbed you with this sword and threatened to kill you.”
“No. My fear toward that girl comes from the depths of my heart.”
“You won’t do it no matter what?”
“No matter what.”
“There’s no helping it then.”
I grabbed Godwin’s left hand which held the bomb.
The bomb was dangerous so I placed it on the floor.
“Wha-what are you doing …”
Godwin worriedly tried to break free but I grabbed hold of him firmly and did not let go.
“Don’t worry, I won’t wound you.”
“Wo-wound … you bastard! Stop!”
Godwin seemed to have figured out what would happen as he panicked and struggled.
“There’s also that, my Lit faced danger because of you.”
“W-we were even after you cut me!”
“That was for Al’s sake.”
Previously, because of this guy’s adhesive grenade, Lit was almost killed by the Stalker Demons. This was a little payback for that time.
I pulled Godwin’s left arm and twisted it just slightly in a direction where it wasn’t meant to bend in.
Unable to withstand the pain, the scream that erupted from Godwin’s throat reverberated throughout the ruin.
“You demon …”
Godwin rubbed his left arm while seated on the ground.
He glared at me with hate-filled eyes but I ignored him.
More importantly, I listened carefully for the presence that should be approaching.
Godwin was an Alchemist that was crucial for the production of the Devil’s Divine Protection. He was a person that Ruti needed.
So if she heard that scream …
At that moment, an impact caused the door to burst open.
Under the shadow of the door that was flying through the air was the shadow of a young girl that was sprinting like lightning.
From that crouching posture, her sword thrust toward my neck with pinpoint accuracy.
It was a little similar to my previous motion of thrusting my sword at Godwin but that speed and sharpness were incomparable.
However, that thrust stopped before it reached my neck.
I realized when I saw it. The emotion that appeared on Ruti at that moment was 『fear』 which was something that would never appear on the Hero Ruti.
Ruti and I moved to a different room.
Godwin was fairly taken aback from disbelief after watching Ruti’s behavior but he still retained fear toward Ruti so he obediently followed Ruti’s instructions to rest for a while.
“Onii-chan … why are you here?”
It seemed that Ruti was using this room as the place to sleep in this ruin.
It was a slightly larger bedroom compared to the other rooms and was two passages away from Godwin’s room.
Although the Ancient-Elf technology was more advanced compared to the modern day, the furniture in the room were all old and weathered.
Ruti and Godwin both moved the junk in their rooms to other rooms and slept on the simple prefabricated beds.
In Godwin’s room, he also had cookware as well as storage for water and food so it was sufficiently equipped for living.
Also, by some principle unknown to me, the Ancient-Elf water supply facility was still functioning. I was reluctant to drink the water of unknown origin and nature but it could be used for daily use such as for bathing.
The laundry poles set up next to the rooms Godwin and Ruti were using formed a scene that broke away from the Ancient-Elf’s lifestyle.
“Ah, sorry, it’s been a long time since I entered an Ancient-Elf ruin. I was a little surprised.”
Now for the main topic.
“Ruti, I heard about the situation from Tise.”
Ruti’s shoulder trembled in shock. I looked down and thought about what I should say.
She was probably thinking that I was upset.
Taking the Devil’s Divine Protection and breaking a convict from prison were unthinkable acts for Ruti who had been living as a Hero until now.
Furthermore, it was an act that went squarely against the teachings of the Holy Church which preached to live life befitting of your Divine Protection.
“I’m sorry, for not being able to do anything all this time.”
I said and lowered my head deeply.
“I have always been searching for a way to suppress the impulses from Ruti’s Divine Protection. Although I have been keeping it a secret from everyone.”
I said as I took a medicine from my belt pouch.
It was the Wild-Elf secret medicine that I had Ademi drink the other time.
“This is also a medicine that can suppress the impulses from Divine Protections. It has the effect of temporarily lowering your Divine Protection. But this uses poison. It won’t work on the Hero’s Divine Protection.”
Ruti was puzzled.
“Hasn’t Onii-chan always been acting to save the world? Ever since you were young, you kept becoming stronger, entered the knight order, and saved a ton of people. Furthermore, you even came along on the journey to subjugate the Demon Lord. A hopeless journey to travel through various lands with just a few members to fight continuously with the Demon Lord army. Unlike me, Onii-chan was not forced to help people. But you still fought nonetheless.”
” … I guess I never actually told Ruti properly.”
The Demon Lord subjugation journey that Ruti chose.
I had been with her from the very beginning when the Demon Lord army’s marauding troops attacked our home village and Ruti fought against the Orcs on her own.
From that time on, there had been people who became Ruti’s companions temporarily and there had been members who pulled out of the party but I had continued to travel with her up until after the fight with Desmond of the Earth.
However, I was still worried if I should say those words. Because kindness can hurt people too.
“Why did Onii-chan want to defeat the Demon Lord?”
Ruti looked at me directly with anxiety floating within her beautiful eyes.
“I only wanted to protect you.”
Ruti’s eyes opened just a fraction wider. Her gaze trembled slightly as if she was shaken.
“Even when you defeated monsters from when you were young?”
“And also when I joined the Bahamut knight order. Because I wished for enough strength to protect Ruti when you go on your journey.”
“Why …? Because I am the Hero?”
“Stupid, isn’t it obvious … it is because Ruti is an important person to me. I knew that Ruti would go on a journey eventually so I was just preparing for that day. That is why if Ruti quits being a Hero, I will not mind it nor will I blame you for it.”
To tell the truth … I would be lying if I said that I didn’t hesitate.
I was well aware from the time I journeyed with her when she was the Hero. If Ruti was not there, the damages caused by the Demon Lord army will expand enormously. It’s possible … that the Avalon continent might even perish.
That was why I did not compel Ruti to quit being the Hero.
However, I will still be Ruti’s ally. That was my decision.
“Is it really all right? I even abandoned my companions to come here. I broke Godwin out of prison … and quit being the Hero. Onii-chan will still forgive me after all that?”
“Am I allowed to be selfish? Is it all right to do what I want to do rather than do it for the sake of the world or for the sake of my Divine Protection?”
Living a slow life. That was probably something considered as selfish and forbidden for the Hero.
Nevertheless, I will not deny Ruti’s wish.
“Just like how my life is mine to live, Ruti’s life belongs to Ruti.”
Ruti slowly placed both her hands on my cheek.
After staring at me fixedly, Ruti placed her forehead on my chest.
“Onii-chan, I am really selfish. Selfish to the extent where I fail as a Hero.”
From that position, I could not see Ruti’s expression.
But I could tell Ruti’s warm body temperature from her palms on my cheeks.
“Even so, I hope that you will not come to hate me.”
I placed my hands over Ruti’s hands.
“Ruti will always be my beloved younger sister.”
“Thank you, I love Onii-chan too.”
Ruti said quietly.
I recalled the stormy day we clung to each other when we were young.