Volume 5 Chapter 7-2: Contract

Ashno was a High Elf, and she could use her innate ability, [Mana Complete Control]. In her domain, earth, fire, wind, and water, all mana obeyed her. In front of her, elves and fire foxes would lose their ability to manipulate mana, and their advantage against humans would disappear.

「You have no chance of winning, you know?」

「Why? Why would you side with the Empire!?」

「To destroy you and see Dad one more time.」

Ashno flashed a translucent, beautiful smile.

「The truth is, Cyril, I had a hunch about your true identity. When I first sensed Dad and spoke to you, I didn’t think you were him. But it was undoubtedly Dad who later showed up and interfered.」

Did Ashno really understand my situation with just that?

「So, Cyril, I hypothesized that Dad was within you. I dug through Suzina’s records one after another. I was convinced when I found that he had a sudden personality change at a certain age. I will break your heart and bring Dad out. To do that I will destroy everything you hold dear. I could have killed everyone while you were away, but that probably wouldn’t be enough. So, I planned to defeat you in your own arena, in a war, and make you feel extreme despair for not being able to protect anything.」

Some time ago “Me” said that when I gave up on everything, Cyril would die, and “Me” would become the main personality. Ashno is cooperating with the Empire to do exactly that.

「Cyril, I’m sorry. I waited for five hundred years. There’s no one but Dad for me. I know it’s cruel, but I can’t give up.」

If I had lost Lucy or Kuu and I could get them back by destroying someone else’s life, I would probably have done the same as Ashno.

「I see, I understand Ashno’s thinking.」

I took out a knife and held it in a reverse grip, pulling it towards my throat. At this rate, I would undoubtedly receive a fatal wound.

「What are you thinking?」

Ashno said, enduring the pain, with cold sweat running down her face.

The knife did not pierce my throat, but it was stuck in Ashno’s palm. She had put her hand between my throat and the knife. Red blood dripped from her hand.

「Let’s negotiate, Ashno.」

I pulled the knife out of Ashno’s hand. She used magic on her hand to heal it.

「If I kill myself, you won’t be able to see your father, Suzina anymore.」

I am like a treasure chest to her. She would do anything to avoid breaking her precious treasure. Even if it meant sacrificing herself.

「Are you planning to use your life as a shield to stop me? If I attack Erucy, you’ll commit suicide?」

「I won’t say such a thing. I know you won’t accept a condition like that.」

If she accepted that, it would mean she could no longer meet Suzina either way. If it ended like that, it was possible she would take extreme measures. What I feared most was that Ashno would never give up. Even if I overcame this time, she would come back again and again, and eventually, I would give up.

The only way to prevent that was through one method.

「I have a proposal. Let’s have a war. However, whether one wins or loses, there will be no senseless slaughter. If I surrender, use your power to save as many of Erucy’s people as possible.」

The imperial soldiers hate the elves and fire foxes with all their heart, if we lose the war, they will be slaughtered. But a hero like Ashno who is revered like a goddess can stop them.

「What’s the benefit for me in this arrangement?」

「If I lose, I’ll relinquish my body to Suzina. On the other hand, if you try to force Suzina to surface in any way other than that, I won’t let Suzina come to the surface, even if I have to commit suicide.」

「…So if I want to meet my father, I have no choice but to accept the conditions. And what happens if you win?」

「If I win, you’ll have to forgo seeing your father again forever.」

「So if I win, I can meet Dad, and if I lose, I won’t be able to see him at least while Cyril is still alive. Okay. I swear. You can use [Soul Covenant], right?」

「Of course.」

[Soul Covenant] is a magic developed by Suzina. It engraves a contract on each other’s souls, and breaking that contract results in death.

「「[Soul Covenant].」」

The both of us activated the magic at the same time. There were three contract terms.

1- Ashno and I will do our best to prevent senseless slaughter.
2- If Ashno wins, I will surrender my body to Suzina.
3- If I win, Ashno will give up on her father. The contract magic was successfully completed.

「The final war will be three months from now. Let’s settle it then.」

「I understand. I’ll prepare by then.」

Three months. It seemed long, but it would quickly pass if we were prepared for war.

「Ashno, this is a message from Suzina. Forget about me and find your own happiness. You don’t need to protect the world. Be free.」

In a dream, “Me” told me that he wanted to free Ashno. This was the first and only time “Me” had spoken to me with total seriousness.

「I can’t. I couldn’t do it for five hundred years. So I’ll keep doing it. I’ll keep waiting for Dad.」

I parted ways with Ashno. The next time we would meet would be on the battlefield. I made up my mind. The imperial soldiers were a greater threat than I had expected. The Empire distorted the truth and turned almost all the people of the city into soldiers. Paradoxically, it meant that there was no need to show any mercy to normal people.

I will no longer hesitate. I will cross the final line. I will use any means necessary to protect the people I care about.

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