«TN: Trigger warning: contains mild gore»
In front of him stood Yuutarou who had gotten his sword back.
He should’ve blown the sword away and decided the match already —
Montavo was confused, but he somehow got his breathing back in order.
— This was within expectations…
Anything can happen in a fight with a reincarnator — Kai told him that.
At least to the extent that the fight starts again.
The arena fell silent.
Nobody could believe what just happened before their eyes.
Even Montavo couldn’t believe it, but even if he didn’t, he had to fight.
He filled his limbs with fighting spirit again.
Then, a fight unfolded just like before.
Yuutarou thrusted, Montavo sideswiped —
“……… ugh …”
Montavo let out a groan from his throat.
Yuutarou’s sword strength increased again. The goddess’ protection kept on increasing.
Everytime their swords clashed Montavo was pressed and pushed back whether he liked it or not.
It was beyond a level he could reasonably oppose already.
Yuutarou was heading towards a predetermined victory. Fighting that was like opposing a force of nature.
But he couldn’t run away.
He couldn’t lose, for the sake of this child —!
There was a shock.
A comfortable floating feeling.
When Montavo came to, Montavo’s consciousness had detached from his body and was watching the arena from above.
He was being pushed back and Yuutarou was pushing him back.
— what in the world is this …
The boy’s body was wrapped in golden thorns.
That was probably the sign of the goddess’ warped love.
Yuutarou gained power from the thorns, and in exchange, his life became a plaything.
— Kai, this child, I can’t …
Montavo’s consciousness went back to his body.
Immediately, he received the sword approaching him.
He clenched his teeth and held against the rock-heavy blow.
Blood spurted out from his wounds.
There was a crack sound.
He must have broken a bone somewhere.
But I can’t be timid, Montavo reprimanded his own heart.
Even if I had no chance to win, I couldn’t give up.
I definitely, definitely won’t lose.
No matter how many times Yuutarou rose up again, he will knock him down that many times.
While watching Montavo in the arena, I once again thought about his existence.
Montavo Gilles Gingait.
The third son of a noble.
One of the few prodigies blessed with talent.
I was sure the Narrative Montavo should have gone through went like this:
Being trained in the sword by Phryne, he would separate from his family due to and incident, and set off on a journey with her.
Then he would save people as he fought with the strong ones of the world, and would be adored as a hero.
He would then be bound in marriage with Phryne who received her beauty back.
But his story was set back.
Montavo chose his good-for-nothing family and let Phryne die.
He would then continue to regret betraying Phryne and act the part of a person proud of being bad.
I thought about it again and again.
Why did Montavo decide to betray Phryne? Did he not want to fall to ruin? Did he not want to follow the Narrative he had at the start?
Becase he was weak? Sure, that’s true. That was part of it.
But I was sure that was not all.
— Was it not Yuutarou’s influence?
Two Narratives met in a place and briefly fused.
There are cases where the two completely unrelated Protagonists became friends, and there are those where the Protagonist of one Narrative fell to become the enemy of the brighter shining one.
I was sure Montavo was one of those.
When it was decided that Yuutarou would appear on the stage, a change was introduced in Montavo’s Narrative.
The independent Protagonist known as Montavo would degrade into the first enemy in Yuutarou’s Narrative, the “Gatekeeper”
His fate was overwritten.
Montavo was now struggling to rewrite his Narrative again — but it seems like it would be futile.
So at least —
“I’ll have you defile Yuutarou’s Narrative with your life”
I then undid my transformation.
He no longer knew how many times Yuutarou had thrusted.
Montavo swept aside to stop the thrust —
The weight disappeared from his hands.
He couldn’t feel the handle he was supposed to be holding.
It couldn’t have slipped away from his fingers, he wouldn’t have made that mistake.
Which means —
— The Demon Sword Ghulcyut had disappeared.
Unbelieable things had been happening again and again recently — but surely he couldn’t have imagined this much.
He had no sword, which meant that he had no way to defend against Yuutarou’s.
He was going to die.
He did not understand the details at all, but that much was clear.
— Ah …
Yuutarou’s sword, wrapped in a vortex of touki.
Death approached, slowly but surely.
On the verge of death, Montavo’s world became slow.
There was no rush.
He couldn’t run anyway.
So panicking is meaningless.
If he was going to die, he will accept death.
That is all.
Death was a possibility ever since he stepped out on the arena, no sense in fussing about it now.
— I’ve heard the stories … but the world really does become slow when you’re going to die …
Because time flowed ever so slowly, Montavo decided to think a bit about what was going on.
Why did his sword suddenly disappear.
Did Yuutarou use disarming magic? But in that case, the Sacrament Cage would’ve cancelled it.
He didn’t know how, but he was sure that somebody must have done something.
— Then it couldn’t be anyone but Kai, huh.
Montavo had already noticed that Kai had his own personal motive.
He had a hunch that this was going to happen.
He understood that he was probably going to be thrown away at some time.
He knew all that.
But he doesn’t begrudge Kai.
Kai gave life to the rotten Montavo.
Just like he promised that day, their bonds were forever.
His gratitude was forever.
Montavo decided to look back on his life again.
He lived an honest life for a while after he was born, but he gradually become clever and piled up evil deeds — but for a little while at the end, he came back to his former self.
He was aware he led a deep life, but when he thought back on it, it was so fleeting.
Almost like a dream.
Within that dream, he had but one regret.
— Phryne …
He didn’t lend his hand to her.
They came to understand each other in the fight the other day, but the regret lingered.
He wanted to show her lots of things while she lived.
Only that —
[— What’s wrong Montavo, why the long face]
There was a voice in his ear.
In the form of her young self.
It looks like she came to see how he would end.
Montavo honestly spoke out his regrets.
— I couldn’t forgive myself for not choosing you …
[Oh, that. Well, I don’t mind. I was also too impatient. I wanted to hurry and make you a prince, I wasn’t thinking of your feelings. Even though it was your life … Dying as an old woman was my punishment]
— No, all that was … because I was weak …
[Dammit, you’re too honest. Well, you did have some disappointing bits about you. I shouldn’t be saying this about myself but I’m really a top-grade beauty you know. My body’s, like, boing, slim, boing, you know. If you went on a journey with me you’d be all dreamy every night. Ahh, such a shame …”
— …… um, since when were you that kind of character …
[You shouldn’t ask about character when they’re dead, you know. Everything fades. You can have it easier too if you forget all about the past and become an idiot — it was my responsibility that I couldn’t teach you that, too”
— … no, that’s, I don’t want to forget about my responsibility.
[Sheesh, there’s no helping you, is there. Well, if you really regret it like you said —], said Phryne, looking amused.
[You could do it over]
— Do it over …?
[Yes, that’s right. Narratives repeat themselves. The details change a little, but they repeat again and again … if we ever cross paths again. — let’s continue that story]
— Next time … is there … there is, right …
And just with that, he thought he was saved.
He wouldn’t go wrong this time.
Whatever he will be, whatever meddling will happen, he will walk his own path next time.
[But you know, that Motoki guy … Lady Euva’s progeny are always the weird ones, but he’s still a head above the flock. Even when he had feelings he makes clear judgements … he’d make a good assassin. He’d surely give Lady Quira a headache. That goddess gets upset real quick … even though that’s the reason Lady Euva always makes fun of her.]
But even so, said Phryne.
[It hurts my chest that all’s going according to Lady Euva’s trickery. Even though I’m low-grade I’m still a ****. I can at least make little miracles —]
I’ll play a little trick.
So said Phryne.
Yuutarou’s fight against Montavo abruptly ended.
Montavo’s sword suddenly disappeared and Yuutarou’s thrust directly hit him.
There’s no way a body will be alright receiving a blow from a reincarnator —
Bits and pieces flew all over the place.
It was such a gruesome spectacle nobody could make a sound.
Somebody said — [this is not how it’s supposed to be]
The much anticipated fight shouldn’t have been such a grotesque show.
This is just a murder —
Can someone who did this really be called a hero.
In fact, the fight had been going in a weird way.
Even when he lost his sword it conveniently returned to him, and his enemy’s sword suddenly disappeared.
It was a mystery and a conclusion with a bad aftertaste.
With pale faces, everyone left the arena.
The next day, the town of Coura was in an uproar.
A certain sentence had gone public —
There were voices saying, The fight between Montavo and Yuutarou was rigged