Chapter 35. The Warrior and The Murderer
The Warrior raised his voice for the first time.
"What did you…!"
"What do you think would happen if the magma of the volcano comes in contact with the underground water?"
"In professional terms, a phenomenon known as a hydrovolcanic eruption would occur. The body of water that the magma would come in contact with would turn into a gaseous state, increasing in volume rapidly. This would cause the volcano to erupt."
Surprise appeared on his face for the first time. This was obvious. He must’ve dealt with many monsters in his life, but this probably was his first time dealing with nature.
Of course, I was bluffing.
It wasn’t that making the volcano explode wasn’t possible, but it just couldn’t be done at the moment with the tools at hand. I could only bluff the explosion. The Warrior let out a laugh after a moment of silence.
"……Hah! Nice bluff."
"Think carefully. You saw what my power was, didn’t you?"
I showed him my power just for this moment. Normally, it was extremely crucial that one did not tell others about his power. That wasn’t the case for Heart of Gold. In fact, it was beneficial for me to tell the Warrior about my power to confuse him.
"Heart of Gold. What I had ordered with this internet shopping ability was 1,500,000 gallons of water. This should make it possible for me to artificially create an eruption."
Total cost of it was 1,000,000 dollars. It was enough water to fill a lake.
"Did you know? It’s possible to come inside this town right now, but you can’t exit once you enter."
The only ones who could go outside were only a few of the teleporters.
"Our wizard created a barrier that’s impossible to destroy even by your standards. Well, there are exceptions, so I suppose there might be a case where you escape successfully."
I gave him the option of being able to escape alone, with a low success rate.
"But if you 'run away alone', what would happen to the villagers stuck in the village? Their only path to escape, the bridge, is cut off. They might be sheltered inside a bunker at the moment, but you should know as well as I do that bunkers don’t do shit against magma. They’re stuck. They can’t escape."
Would he humiliate himself by running away alone? Or would he become buried by the magma inside the village?
"You…! You’re dragging the villagers into this?!"
The Warrior glared at me with eyes filled with hate. To him, I was a villain who took the villagers hostage. But this time, the villain would win.
"As expected of a hero. You care more about the others rather than yourself."
I thought of the saint when I mentioned the word hero. That pureness of hers was something that I’d never be able to attain. That made me want it even more.
"Don’t worry about it too much. You wouldn’t even be able to feel pain in the magma."
The man didn’t come at me despite his rage. The word "deal" was holding him back.
"I came to a conclusion about your ability after observing it for quite some time. As long as you have Memento Mori, you won’t die. Even when you get dropped into magma."
The man was close to being a perfect immortal.
"I thought of something at that point. If I can’t kill you, why don’t I just put you in a state where you’re basically dead?"
What was death? Despite having died, I was able to move in the real world, affecting other people in life. I would only be considered dead when I was unable to affect anyone in the world. A severance from society. A complete isolation from the world. This would be considered a form of death.
"The estimated volume of magma that is to erupt from Volcorr is 2,600km3. If you decide to keep fighting here, the villagers will all die. You’d be known as a coward who ran from battle. And you, too, would have to suffer within several thousand tonnes of magma for quite some time. Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter, considering you can’t feel much in life anymore anyway."
He’d be able to survive somehow, but he couldn’t tolerate the results. Because he’s a hero.
"If you do something like that, then, you too would…!!"
"Me? I’m already dead."
I took off my helmet for him to see. I looked into the Warrior’s widened eyes, and lied to him.
"Please die for the sake of justice, Warrior."
Humans were greedy things. They always made choices that benefited themselves. Where would the Warrior that couldn’t feel the realness in life stand in this scale of life?
I didn’t even need to see the answer.
He was a hero that cared more for others rather than himself. He would rather sacrifice his life rather than give up his honor.
The good was basically an act of sacrificing oneself for others. Good people would sacrifice themselves to save others. But was this the "right thing to do"…? As a failed product, I couldn’t understand such a concept.
The Warrior thought for a second, then looked up at me with resolute eyes.
"If I die… Can the villagers live?"
The humans chose life, and the Warrior chose death. I could no longer see rage in the Warrior’s determined face. Rather, I saw a hint of happiness in it.
"I see… So this is the last time I’ll be able to see the sky."
The Warrior looked up to the sky as he said this. The sky that was now devoid of clouds was bright blue. A hawk in the sky let out a screech. The Warrior took out Sword Monster from the ground, and gave me one of the swords.
Talking any more at this point was useless. We both knew what we wanted. I took up the Sword Monster, and looked at the Warrior in the eyes. An exchange of sword strikes followed immediately after.
It was a traditional battle.
In order to allow the Warrior to have his last wish to fight till the end, I participated in this petty play. He swung his sword, but the swings no longer had the strength it had before. He was probably adjusting to my strength. Probably in order to test my sword skills. In the end, I had managed to put my sword through the Warrior.
The Warrior stepped back, and kneeled. Unlike before, blood pooled under him to form a small puddle.
"I suppose… I can rest now."
It was silent. The audience became completely silent as they witnessed the death of the Warrior.
"Chrono. Vahn. Iris. Kamiyu. …….Morto."
The Warrior uttered the name of his comrades. The adventurers he spent time with for five years.
"It was fun."
The Warrior made a boyish smile, and closed his eyes.
I confirmed that Romeo Smith had died by checking his status screen.
To think he’d call out the saint’s name at the end…
I had suspected it before. A normal party would have a healer included in it, but I couldn’t find any. The strongest white wizard in the world probably got a request to join the hero’s party at some point.
Well, whatever. I wasn’t related to it anyway.
I pushed away the dead Warrior’s body, and retrieved his equipment.
<Acquired [Changeling Armor = Hirganrel].>
<Acquired [Demon Horn = Corinth].>
<Acquired [Mouthless Monster = Sword Monster].>
<Acquired [Mobile Logistics = Olgorad(in 7)].>
The (in 7) probably meant that the tool contained seven weapons inside it.
<Acquired [Dragon Boots].>
<Acquired [Devourer Ring].>
I tried searching the body further, but couldn’t find anything. Looks like they got destroyed in battle. I put all the items inside the vault, and checked the appraisal amount.
<Appraisal for [Hirganrel]: 389,000,000 dollars.>
<Appraisal for [Corinth]: 52,000,000 dollars.>
<Appraisal for [Sword Monster]: 36,000,000 dollars.>
<Appraisal for [Olgorad(in 7)]: 25,000,000 dollars.>
<Appraisal for [Dragon Boots]: 3,000,000 dollars.>
<Appraisal for [Devourer Ring]: 300,000 dollars.>
…The numbers that I got were quite peculiar. I tried checking again, but nothing had changed. In total, this was about 505,300,000 dollars.
Right. If items in video games could fetch a gigantic price, I suppose items in real life would fetch a price of at least this much. I stood up, and bid farewell to Romeo’s corpse.
[Immortality = Memento Mori].
Human, remember you must die.
So it came true, after all. The Warrior gave up on life. He denied his instincts to live. I suppose his death was an obvious conclusion then. I ripped off the white flag, and used it to cover his body.
Because it looked quite filthy in that state. Watching the flag slowly turn red was quite the sight.
"He killed the monster all by himself…!!"
People began to flock my way.
"Something that not even the Death Eye could do…!"
"Who is he?"
"Those clothes are… the ones from the Special Task Force?"
I found familiar faces when I looked around me. To my left was Necro, and to my right was the saint. Unlike Necro, who had a huge grin on his face, the saint was looking down at the floor with a trembling body, as if she was absolutely terrified of something. She stiffened up as her gaze shifted to Romeo’s body.
I could make out the emotion of self-loathing, and the denial of what had just happened on her face. If the price for immortality was the loss of realness to life, I wonder what the price for the saint’s power would be? I changed my attention to look at the black emotions beginning to writhe among the people. The people’s enraged gazes refused to get off the Warrior’s bodies.
"Hoyung, Sugil, Hyunjung, Steven, Paeul, Frank, Diane, Sarah, Polini, Leonard, William, Jeanne, Anne…"
I uttered the name of the people who died that might’ve had a good relationship with the survivors. There was something I wanted them to do.
"There was no one here that deserved to die. But the Warrior, despite having killed all these people, would continue to be called a hero."
It didn’t take much to change rage into killing intent. I walked over to the saint, and motioned the people to do whatever they wanted with the body.
Shouts and curses began to fill the area. Those with weapons began to take their rage out on the one that was already dead.
Before anyone could stop them, the Warrior’s body was dirtied with sword wounds and various waste.
I stopped the saint from running forward.
"The Warrior mentioned your name. If you step out now, they’ll think you were his comrade."
I ignored my hand that was encased in holy flames, and kept talking.
"We all knew the Warrior was going to die. The Warrior feared death, but at the same time, he wished for it. I just pushed him a little bit."
Some had something that they cherished more than life.
Others considered the loss of dignity and honor to be a fate worse than death.
And yet others had a wish they wanted to fulfill even at the cost of their life.
"…Let me go."
I let go of the trembling saint. Now, Romeo resembled something more akin to a smashed tomato. This was how the Warrior’s story ended.
I laughed silently at the mush of meat from behind the saint.
There were no hostages from the beginning. The villagers were taken out of the village from the very start. The only thing that was left here to die was an old dog that no one cared about.
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