Last Embryo Volume 4 Prologue Part 6
Okay, it is impossible.
Yes, there is definitely no way for me to ever feel even a tiniest shred of gratefulness towards someone as two-faced and wicked as that woman! If I were to thank her right now, it would definitely do more harm than good, making her already inflated ego grow even bigger!
Ah, that is right, I completely forgot about that. This woman, this so-called Queen of the Dead only ever trained other people to become famous mythological heroes as a hobby she took because she was perpetually bored and had nothing better to do to help her pass the time! Even though she was instructed to train me by an official order from her current benefactor, Queen Halloween herself, I am one hundred percent positive that she considered that order to be a huge pain in the ass and thought that if I just so happened to die while she was training me, she could have just shrug it off as an accident and be done with it. I am sure that this had to be the case! She is all smiley with that pretty face of hers now, but she has to be only putting up appearances to. . .
「Well, I got what I came here for, so let us go back home and celebrate your success! This is a pretty big occasion, so let me show you my skills as both the Queen’s Knight and her Head Butler!」
「. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .」
While clearly being in a good mood, Scathach-sensei went around the beach and gathered not only the horns and bones of the dead Sea Beasts, but also their meat. She was also humming happily while doing so, which made it really difficult for me to determine whether she was genuinely proud of her disciple’s accomplishment or was she only pretending to be. However, right now, in this very moment, it looked to me like she wanted to celebrate my success from the bottom of her heart. . . .
Ah, drat! There goes my chance to thank her. Having totally missed my timing with expressing my gratitude to Scathach-sensei, the only thing I could do was to turn my face away from her awkwardly and make an ambiguous face under the mask that that I was wearing.
(Well, no matter. I am sure that as long as I wait long enough, the chance to thank her will naturally present itself, one way or the other.)
Slowly standing up and using my beloved sword as a cane, I dust off the dirt from my clothes and gaze upon the horizon far beyond the sea. This beautiful scenery where you can see the image of the moon reflected so clearly upon the water’s surface is something that you would not be able to witness in Little Garden, where the number of seas and seasides is heavily limited. Closing my eyes, I can hear the sounds of the gentle waves beating rhythmically against the sandy shores of the beach without having to strain my ears at all. Thinking that I would be able to hear that gentle sound in many places on an island countries in the Outer World, I quietly whispered a question to Scathach-sensei.
「. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . master?」
「Hm? Yes, what is it?」
「Do you think I can. . . can I really. . . can I really win my own life with my own hands?」
When she heard me ask that, Scathach-sensei stopped dead in her tracks and slowly turned back towards me. I knew she always dislike when someone talked to her in such a way, but that was the only way for me to voice the thoughts that were on my mind right now.
In order for me to be allowed to live in the Outer World, I have to fight with my sister and kill her when she will inevitably be summoned to Little Garden one day. To question that aim of mine would only mean having doubts in my own victory.
Scathach-sensei was someone who would not tolerate having such meek ideas, no matter if it was about herself or her disciples. Preparing for her fist to fly towards me at inhumane speed, I hurriedly assumed a battle stance with my beloved Serpens Scorpius ready for battle at any moment.
However, much to my surprise, Scathach-sensei looked like she had no intentions of doing any such thing. Instead, she looked at me with a face that looked as if it was made out of iron. She narrowed her eyes slightly, looking at me with the eyes that instantly made the sweat dripping down my spine freeze up and turn into small crystals of ice. With her wine-red hair swaying in the morning wind she looked me in the eyes, which felt more as if she was staring directly into my soul, and then she spoke with a cold, prophet-like voice.
「. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I see. Well, let me think. . . . . right. As long as you are prepared to kill your own sister. . . . no, as long as you are prepared to bear the full weight of the burden of death brought about by the members of your own family, then by all means, you will definitely be able to seize whatever it is that you want for yourself. As long as your faith that what you are doing is the right thing to do, and that you are doing it for a worthy reason, you will never waver and your victory will be all but assured.」
「Prepared to kill? Bear the burden of death? What does that even mean?! And having a worthy reason. . . you mean my desire to be reincarnated?」
「Yes. The reason why you are fighting, the reason why you wish to be reincarnated and live a life different from the one you are living now. . . those two things should form the basis, the very root of the wish that keeps pushing you forward. But should there ever come a time where those two things will begin to contradict one another, they will only fill you with uncertainty and doubts, two of the worst things that can dull the blade of any swordsman. And once your sword becomes dull and slows down. . . then you will inevitably be defeated.」
When she got to the part about me being defeated if I allow my sword to be dulled by doubts and uncertainty, Scathach-sensei’s face looked pretty sad and lonely. It lasted for but a short moment, but that was enough for me to know that it really happened and it was not something that my exhausted mind made up. If she was mentioning that, then it became obvious to me that it was probably because many from the myriad of disciples she has accepted under her wings over the years have shared that exact same fate. She might be a cold, evil woman who can be more capricious than a female cat, even she would feel sadness and regret upon realizing that even with everything she taught to her disciples, every secret she shared with them and every technique she imparted upon them, as long as they were calling themselves warriors, they would never be able to escape the ultimate fate that awaited those who decided to take up arms and make fighting the essence of their reason for existence.
As for the prophecy that she spoke to me on that day, it came true word to word, but also in the most ironic way possible. If you want to obtain a true family for yourself, you have to kill your sister. I ended up noticing the contradiction hidden behind those words only when my plan of killing my twin sister was well and truly in its final phase, where we were about to kill each other off in a battle to the death.
In the end, I never pondered about the meaning of Scathach-sensei’s words hard enough, and because of that, I ended up misinterpreting their meaning entirely.
Was killing the only person in the entire world who could have healed my loneliness by experiencing the very same loneliness herself really the right thing to do? Would I really be able to live with myself after committing such a grave sin, and accept the happiness that lied ahead for me as if nothing had happened? Or would it be more likely that I would have spend it wallowing in regret, knowing that I obtained my own happiness at the cost of taking it from someone innocent out of nothing but blind desperation? Suddenly I felt like all that Scathach-sensei taught me has been for nothing, but then I realized that she must have given me that prophecy because she was worried about me, and wanted to make sure that I will not end up going down the path where only death awaited me.
There were times when I hated her, times where I did not know what to think of her and times when I was envious of both her beauty and skills, but ultimately, the master who taught me all the martial arts in the world has also became the one who taught me the most important lesson about life, both figuratively and literally.
Freed from the shackles of my delusional conviction, I accepted my fate along with the other things that were given to me by the Queen as her favorite: hair shining like the finest gold, an entirely new physique as well as my new name that I was to bear in the Outer World. . . Kudou Ayato.
. . . . . . . . . . and today, I am enjoying every day of the new life I have been given to the fullest.
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