Chapter 28 – Part 1

Translator: AnnieVanCookie

Editor: Ryunakama

There’s a mist so deep and thick that anyone inside it might feel that they would never be able to make their way out of it. This white mist is so engulfing that if one were to stretch out their arms inside of it, they would not be able to see past their elbows. Those who would wander inside this ever-growing white mist may find themselves unable to see anyone else, no matter how hard they shake their hands in order to be noticed. Yes, no one would be able to see anyone, not even if they were standing right in front of them, sword in hand, ready to take their life. That terrifying thought made Sierra’s delicate body tremble as if startled by the sound of a fine piece of glasswork shattering against the floor.

Sierra is a young lady with an innocent appearance. With her small lips and her starry black eyes, she looks like she’s in her early-to-mid teens. She used to be the daughter of a nobleman of the court, but three years ago her country fell into ruin after losing a war against a neighboring land, and she and her family lost their position as nobles, their prestige, the territory and assets they had ruled over, and the respect of their loyal retainers. Although Sierra and her family were fortunate enough to be able to escape the storm of executions that violently ravaged their defeated land, one could say that she’s running out of luck.

A certain clear day, under the blue sky, Sierra’s father took an arrow from an enemy soldier during their escape from their castle by the side of the beautiful Lake Luaran. Her mother then dedicated herself to nursing him. They had only managed to take a small number of things with them. It then became a matter of selling their ancestral heirlooms by the piece, things like ornaments, paintings, vases, swords, and armor, in order to feed themselves day by day.
This family, which had been immersed in their lives as nobles every day, grew more and more tired with every passing day. Their faces wasted away to fatigue and their hatred for the world thickened deep under their skin. With a nobleman’s signature silence, and solemn as a mountain, Sierra’s father resembled an evil spirit from hell as he lay bedridden, disgraced and suffering the pain of his unhealed wound. Always wearing a smile as she remained by his side like a shadow, Sierra’s mother’s face had become a death mask, as if devoid of all hint of human emotion.

What little luck remained with them during those days was related to Sierra’s natural talent for magic, who had pinned her hopes on becoming a court magician one day. Having studied magic under an excellent teacher since her childhood, her proficiency in magic could serve her as a means to provide for her family. Sierra had chosen the path of a helper to those who had been challenged by abusers, bandits, and graverobbers, a helper to those who could not fend for themselves against unreasonable violence. She had chosen the path of the adventurer.
Humans who can use magic and control it reliably are a rare breed.
Sierra possesses this unusual talent, and she even excels over those with the same talent as her. Furthermore, she had been raised as a nobleman’s daughter, and, more than anything, she has the burning tenacity of someone who has endured death, disgrace, and defeat.

A little over a year after her family’s fall, Sierra knocked on the door of the Adventurer’s Guild using a staff that she had somehow managed to rescue from her burning castle.
Her once-white blouse had become brown with dirt, and her skirt had been reduced to rags. She used the staff that her magic teacher had made for her out of ash tree shavings that had been blessed by the spirits of Earth and Wind, to knock on the door. The guild’s receptionist and the nearby adventurers did not spare any effort in hiding their disdain and pity after seeing her in such a sorry state.
Some of them even bluntly bantered about her serving as a night partner for them, showing her copper coins and pretending to pay her for her services.
Mercilessly pierced all over her body by their glances, she resisted the urge to shed tears mixed with misery, chagrin, and anger. Clenching her teeth, she approached the receptionist. That day, she became an adventurer.

Two years have passed since then. Sierra, who at first used to be so terrified by ghosts, has gained a great deal of experience after countless ordeals, and now the name of Sierra of Grey Wind is well known by many people.
Her family was still suffering from poverty as usual, but even then, Sierra has never lost her dignity as a noble. No matter how profitable a job would be, she has never taken an assassination or kidnapping job.
But more than her dignity as a noble, taking such jobs would render her unable to look straight at the dazzling smile of her three-year-old sister. It is in her sister that Sierra has found hope throughout all this time.

In addition to her proficiency in magic and the hope found in her sister, Sierra’s third and last fortunate possession is the company of her fellow adventurers that still accompany her to this day.
As Sierra’s popularity as one of the few human adventurers capable of controlling magic grew, she got deceived by the clever words of some infamous adventurers, and was just barely saved from unknowingly ruining her own virtue by the group known as ‘Whirlwind’.
After having several more encounters with this group, for the first time after her house fell into ruin, Sierra became able to rely on someone other than her family.

To Sierra, Whirlwind is truly a gift from the heavens.
They had become a light in her life, which had until then only darkened after having fallen into the abyss.
They are merely a fragment of luck, scattered away from the palm of her hand.
Yes, they are her last fortune. Because of this, only misfortune, sorrow, despair, and dismay will be found in Sierra. For a fate as inescapable as an avalanche from the top of a snowy mountain awaits them.

Breathing harshly, Sierra’s ears are in great pain. She has been running for quite some time now, and her heart, lungs and legs have been overworked so much that they could yell in protest back at her.
Left and right, back and front, and even up and down, everything around her is engulfed in a white mist. Sierra becomes increasingly worried the further she stepped into this world where everything is covered in mist.
But there is a color other than white in there. Looking overhead, way past the end of the sky, a hazy light can be seen trying to penetrate the mist.

The source of that light is none other than the full moon that has been shining in the night sky for all time. The light from the full moon reaches even this world of mist, melting with the sky and giving off an unmistakable glow of twilight.
However, in the middle of this world deeply submerged in this vast sea of mist, the moonlight serves as a connection to the real world, but Sierra wants to stay away from it for her sanity’s sake, as it is also the main reason why they were driven into despair in the first place.

The moonlight that melts with the sky shines deep red, resembling a stream of blood that flows from a freshly cut wound.
Just like the full moon resembles the eye of the gods in the heavenly realm watching from above, from down below it seems as if these gods’ bloody tears had started to blur into the sea of mist as they dropped into it.
Even though there are sure to be countless thick trees all over the mountain’s surface, and even though there is an aroma of boundless greenery everywhere, for some reason Sierra can smell the scent of blood, but she tries to convince herself that it’s just her imagination.

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