The figures on the hill moved.
In the silence of the night, the old man quickly put his hand to his chest and bent his upper body.
The three dogs behind him stood like some kind of shadow-castle surrounding him.
「First! Please forgive this uncalled for visit, Duchess and daughter!」
The old man shouted, with a rattling and disturbing voice.
He knew we were here.
And maybe because of the wind’s direction, we could hear his voice clear and crisp.
I guess this was an appropriate greeting for an attacker.
There was some mockery in his voice, but that’s forgivable.
Should we send him an invoice after we get that broken gate fixed?
We’re poor, after all.
And we can inflate the price a bit.
The friendly introduction that old man had begun with was smashed to atoms with his next statement,
「FOOLS! You’ll all be shitted out of my demon dogs’ asses soon! Fucking red eyed monster! Bastard Duke! Crushing one of my eyes! In the name of these Juohdah dogs, your whole daily will be a lump of foul-smelling shit in your own manor! Your family’s all shit already anyways! But my anger won’t end until you’re all DEAD!」
Wow, I guess I was wrong.
This guy is the lowest scum of the earth.
So he’s the Juohdah demon dog trainer? I’ve read records about him.
He was a noticeable criminal – famous in several countries.
I can see why he’s angry too…my father crushed one of his eyes.
There’s no way my dad could do that in his sickly state later in his life, so he must have been given charge to drive that old man into the ground.
I also remember reading the paper about dealing with those demon dogs…when I recall it, my body hurts.
Body? Not head?
I also struggled against the feeling of my body being squeezed.
Mary is hugging me too tightly.
Mary?! Mary! It hurts…
It’s too early for me to wear compression briefs…
See, look at these perfect proportions.
I tried posing. Mary wasn’t looking.
But, you’re SQUEEZING MY BODY!
I tried hitting Mary’s arm to wake her up, but she refused to relax. Her body was trembling as if she had the flu.
And so I tried my vibrato voice again.
「Maaaary! You’re gonna break Scar-get!」
Mother and Bradd focused on Mary and Bradd took me from her hands.
So now Bradd’s calling me a combination of Scarlet and Midget.
Mary wasn’t paying attention. She couldn’t even hear our voices. She was just staring at the shadows on the hill while holding me, locked. She just looked ahead and she was shaking from tit to tail. It was a bit horrifying.
「Juohdah…demon dog trainer…I’ve finally found you…」
She growled. You could hear the hate from her gritted teeth.
It was like the sounds of those rebels that I had decapitated…as they cursed me before I cut their heads off…ah, the memories.
There was a chill up my spine as Mary seemed to have transformed to something different…not the usual happy Mary.
Mary pushed off from us and rushed forward, almost as if she was going to roll over.
It was a movement not normal for any person.
I had never seen Mary act so roughly, so I was shocked.
「…they’re here! All of them! I’ll killlllllllll themmmmmmmmm…!」
She said, spilling tears while grabbing a firepit poker in her hand, and without saying more, jumped out the door of the saloon and into the open.
「Come back! Calm down! Mary!」
My mother’s cries didn’t reach Mary’s ears.
「Give me back my Joshua! Give him back! Give him back!」
Seeing her cry as she walked out, I understood everything.
My mother looked down for a moment.
Joshua, the name of Mary’s dead son.
It was the name she cried out as she breastfed me.
I knew that the boy had died unusually.
My mother, who was close to her, knew everything, but she didn’t want to give the details other than the boy’s death occurred in front of Mary.
Turns out these demon dogs and their master are the sworn blood enemy of Mary.
I do remember reading about this master of the dogs in my previous 108 lives.
He was a criminal that made a name for himself on the continent by undertaking assassinations for large sums of money.
The strongest weapon he had was the demon dog Gallam.
It was a giant dog the size of a bull that would tear into the children of nobles and aristocrats all over the continent.
There were also the small poor babies of commoners that were used as training and to continue the dogs’ bloodlust.
Seems that Mary’s child was just another case of the latter.
It’s a story that makes you sick, but the dog Gallam wouldn’t last very long. He was only active for three years, heart too small for his body. A dog’s heart is about the same size whether big or small dogs. Even human cross-breeding couldn’t change this aspect in dogs. Recalling all I had read, it was quite obvious that the massive dog in the middle was Gallam.
So Mary’s child was chewed to death in front of her by this dog?
I trembled. No wonder she jumped out to confront them.
She was such a kind girl as well. But I knew the sadness that she endured and the tears she shed silently.
My mother told me that a woman like Mary embodies a strong person…someone never allows themselves to drown in their sorrows, that’s the sign of strength. There was no match for a girl like Mary. I thought it was quite the compliment for my mother, a pro at the bow but never letting her power affect her, would say. And she was talking about Mary when she said it.
Both were mothers to me, my most beloved.
That Mary! My family! My other mother!
How you made her cry! How you made her feel sorrow! Unforgivable!
I was so angry I ground my teeth…if I had them in the first place.
Bradd! Please! Blow them all up for me!
「I understand. They’re Mary’s sworn enemy. This midget’s anger and Mary’s sorrow…with my help, I’ll beat them down into hell.」
Bradd said with one eye closed.
Thank you cheat-demon.
Seems that his reading-of-blood bullcrap mixed with his understanding of baby-speech let him realize it all! Makes the story go quicker, too!
「Glad to see my prey jumping out to be eaten up! This will be an easy victory!」
The demon dog trainer laughed with a strange guffaw and waved his hand out, while the left and right demon dogs ran down the hill like two shot arrows. Mary was their prey. I was terrified to see how fast the shadows moved. They looked like they could plow over a cow with their combined speed and size. Mary’s poker would be like being hit by a dead branch to them. And their fangs would tear Mary into rags.
Mary would be killed!
I understood Mary’s desire to avenge her child’s death, but if she jumped into the fray with those monsters, she’s dead. It was suicide. Her son wouldn’t want her to die like that.
And, a member of my own dear family would die as well! In front of me!
~I don’t want this anymore! No more of those I love, dying! If you want to kill, kill me! Please!~
I could feel Mary’s sad thoughts burn in my chest.
And I couldn’t grind my teeth in sorrow for what was about to happen, because I haven’t grown teeth yet!
So I looked away while clenching my gums…I don’t want to see what happens…sorry…
I’m just a toothless heroine that wants to grow up…into…baby teeth, first, I guess…
The strange link in this all was that I was me, but not the real me. The real me was the one that had made it through the 108 lives…but this was different. Seeing this repeated, I knew everything had changed. All the unknowns of the future were different than those 108 lievs.
And there were many things I saw in those 108 lives, but this moment of despair was deeper than all that. This is not the despair of facing my own misery and pain, but seeing the tears of Mary over the blood that was shed in front of her. I knew this.
When a person commits to death, it’s because their pain and suffering inside is worse than the option of dying.
But the pain of a beloved being hurt was the worst poison to any hero. No matter how tortured, silent, and enduring a hero is, if his beloved daughter’s finger is crushed before him, he’s unable to endure it. The most effective torture is to hit someone’s lover or child in front of them. It’s a terrifying sight that I’ve seen and heard many times as a queen.
The pain of seeing a loved one killed destroys the soul and not the body. The bereaved suffers so much pain that they can’t even bear to cry over it.
This strange girl was forced through such trauma over and over. Regret and sorrow to the edge of madness. She was unable to do anything to help anyone, suffering, hating, falling into immense sorrow, never being able to help herself. I only had memories of her like tiny unknown pieces in a jigsaw puzzle…but I knew that much about her.
In the blink of an eye, all those sorrows of “her” rushed in like a tidal wave.
She had desperately tried to not be swept away by those waves before…to endure it and breathe normally…I knew how she felt.
Even as a newborn baby, I knew.
That’s why I can rely on others with my thoughts.
I can believe in others and their abilities as well.
And now Bradd is here with me.
I can’t do anything but pray, as I was told by him “Your prayer will help.” And I was asked to rely on him. So I prayed. I believed Brad would do something.
He’s an idiot…but an amazing idiot.
Please, anonymous god…see him through.
Not just destroyed by these dogs.
He’s a maid…and a boy that could kill these obscenely strong dogs.
Just that, that’s all I’m asking. Just let him crush them and help Mary. Bradd?! What?!
Brad tossed me into the baby basket.
Hey Bradd! Treat this queen a bit more carefully!
You tossed me like a meter into my basket!
No child abuse! I said as I hit the basket’s swaddling.
…this isn’t protest now…I’m trying to encourage you!
Come on, cheat-beast!
Bradd chases Mary down like a bolt of lightning.
「This is revenge…for my Joshua!!」
Mary swung the poker down and a dog quickly bit down on it.
「I’ve heard…that name…Joshua…somewhere…」
Mary tried to pull the poker from the demon dog’s maw but the dog’s jaw was clamped on it like a vice. The dog’s eyes, open like saucers, stared at Mary’s.
「I remember you now, girl! You’re the girl from Krocassis! I remember how persistent you were! Did that half-dead son of yours ever come back to life?」
His eyes glistened and he laughed cruelly.
Dammit, Mary had her some robbed from a rat bastard like HIM?
And just to keep a dog hungry for other children?!
「…I’ll kill you! I will kill you! That child never even got to see spring…!!」
The demon dog trainer mocked her even more, though she glared at him,
「I know because of your lack of power you couldn’t protect him as a mother. I have another reservation tonight, though. I don’t have time to deal with your little issue. Some revenge for your son. What a laugh. There’s no way you could defeat Gallam here, not in 100 years.」
And as he said, Gallam didn’t even look at the girl. He stood on the hill like a large roadside stone. She felt miserable about it.
「Damn you! Come get me!」
She screamed at the beat, but the huge dog didn’t even look at her.
「Gallam wouldn’t even waste his time with you. Stop making so much noise. Gald, go ahead and kill her.」
The trainer spat out at the dog while waving his hand as if he was trying to fling droplets from a wet hand.
Who’s the loud one? You’re the one with the barking dogs!
And so the demon dog holding Mary’s poke clamped down and broke it into pieces. His head was twice the size of Mary’s. It could easily crush her skull if it bit down. And it then began to rear back.
「Show her how powerless she is.」
The trainer said with another flick of his wrist.
And so the demon dog Gald shook the poker that Mary had been hanging onto for dear life away from her, as she rose off the ground still gripping onto it. It looked superhuman the way she held on so tightly to the poker handle. Then the dog shook it again and she fell to the ground. Then the dog moved in for the kill.
「Joshua…sorry…! It’s over for me…I couldn’t avenge you…I couldn’t do anything…」
She began to cry as she apologized to her deceased son.
I cried out in pain as well.
Don’t! Get away! Mary!
「It’s not over yet! Not yet!」
Bradd caught up with her and grabbed the collar of her outfit, pulling her hard away. The dog’s snout snapped shut just where her nose had been.
「Looks like I’m going to be the substitute revenge for Joshua…」
He smiled back at the growling dog.
As he spun, he tossed Mary back away from the dog.
「You’re too weak, Mary! But since you’re a friend, I’ll avenge your son for you! My strength is your strength!」
Bradd nodded as Mary smiled back to him. He dodged the demon dog’s fangs, spinning away, his skirt opening like a flower. As he avoided the vicious attacks, he slammed the back of his fist into the dog’s flank.
「Take that! For Mary and Joshua!」
And a second later a dry claaaaang rang out.