Chapter 58. At The End of The Iris
The sphere crumbled away. The mirror disintegrated and light exploded outwards in the process. The nearby minerals melted away like flowing water as the area was struck with a shockwave of heat.
So this is what ends up happening.
Necro was the first to go. He melted away after being struck with a beam of light. Obviously his simple defense magic was unable to take the output of light. I wasn’t worried about him. There had to be a corpse within a hundred kilometer radius. He’d revive in due time.
The problem was the saint.
When she was outside the sphere, she ‘didn’t know’. Since I told her that I’d be the one doing the killing and that she would simply distract the Summoner with spinning lights.
The lie I told her made her hurt the one person she treated like her little sister. The saint hadn’t even fallen down from the shock wave, due to her own shock.
To be more accurate, she rolled across the floor several times after being hit and stood up. Her skin was boiling back to its previous state, but her burnt clothes stayed as is. The Summoner crawled up to the broken form of the saint.
“Big sister… Big sis…!”
I could see a girl with severe burns on her body stumble forward across the haze of heat. She didn’t seem to have any power left to reflect, seeing that she was flinching at even the smallest flicker of flame.
The hazy eyes--
The hazy eyes of the saint began to turn a little bit clearer. It wasn’t that her burnt retina wasn’t healing itself. It was almost as if she was regaining her consciousness.
The saint had woken from her long, long dream, and was now making her way to the Summoner. Her slow steps began to speed up as she got closer.
Is this what they call a happy reunion?
The Saint’s personality was called Ahimsa. I had thought once she denied her personality of avoiding violence and death enough, she would suffer from a few side effects, but…
To think she would have recovered her memories…
I wonder ‘what time’ this saint is from? When she started to save other people? When she was tortured after being captured by her allies? Or did she remember that we went around killing her friends, lovers, and even family members?
I stretched out my hand from behind.
The Summoner saw that her beloved older sister’s face was now meters away, smiled with happiness. But before they actually got together, I grabbed onto her hair and pulled back. I lifted her up into the air by sticking my fingers deep into her scalp.
Her doll-like body lifted easily.
The saint came to a halt after hearing this fear-filled scream. The Summoner struggled to get out of my grasp.
“You’re making this difficult.”
All of this would have been for naught if the saint heals the Summoner. It would’ve been so much easier if the Summoner just killed herself when she was told to do it.
The saint’s eyes were filled with desperation. She must know better than anyone about what I was about to do. I closed my hand around the Summoner’s frail white neck. Her body jerked up when her skin came in contact with my cold hand.
The girl let out a strong cough as my hand tightened around her tender neck like a vice.
“Keh… Kuh…! Ke… Kah…!”
I couldn’t snap it swiftly. If the Summoner managed to muster the last of her strength and reflected, I would be the one with the broken neck.
I turned the Summoner’s head as the saint watched. From the front, to the left. The girl clawed at my hand powerlessly.
She must be in agony.
I could feel just how much pain she was feeling right now. Seeing as I had no care whatsoever about her pain-- I must be a monster like the people said.
“Please…! Please stop!”
I strengthened my grip as I heard the saint’s tearful shouts.
Her neck vertebrae turned slowly, and broke slowly.
The Summoner, already unconscious from the pain, let out excrements as her neck completely snapped. This wasn’t enough to confirm that she was dead, though, so…
After confirming her death through the Oracle, I put the corpse down on the floor. I couldn’t afford to put something this dirty inside the vault.
The saint crumbled in front of the corpse. She dropped down like a puppet that had its strings cut off and started shaking the corpse with hazy eyes.
“...She’s not moving.”
Obviously, that’s because she’s de…
I pushed the saint back before I could answer her. She dumbly looked up at me after she tried to use salvation on the Summoner’s corpse.
Was she back? Or did she lose her memories again? If… If she used salvation on the corpse, what would happen? Would the corpse’s wounds heal? Or…
“Eh? What did I, what… Ah… Iris…?”
The saint was confused. I put the Summoner’s corpse in the vault, realizing that I couldn’t leave her like this. It would smell for a bit, but I could clean it later. What I needed to do was to deal with this first. I extended my hand to help the saint get up. But…
The saint slapped my hand away and glared at me with eyes that she’s never shown me before. Her eyes were filled with a fiery hate akin to that of a beautiful flaming rose.
“You can buy a life can’t you? Buy Iris a life using mine as the payment.”
The saint spat out these words coldly, even before I managed to finish my sentence. Her eyes that looked up at me were filled with loathing.
Ah… Was that it? So she was back to normal…
This was the ‘real’ saint. Her love and her playful way of talking until now were all fake. The act of approaching me carelessly. The act of acting abnormally.
All of it--.
It was obvious. The person she was with was a murderer who could have killed her at any time. I might look good now, but back then, I was a smelly rotting corpse. It would’ve been normal for her to avoid me out of fear and disgust. The only reason why she didn’t was…
Because she was insane from the start or because she was much kinder than others.
Perhaps all of this was a delusion of mine. As I thought, I was unable to make sound judgements as a failed product. I wonder if I’d be able to make correct calculations though? She asked me to buy Iris a life using hers…
“No. You already paid for something using that.”
The saint only remembered what happened on the last day, but I remembered every single one of the repeated days.
Including what she had asked me to do on the fourth day.
I let her wishes come true with the payment she gave me. The proof of that was the ring on her finger. The saint’s eyes followed my gaze to her hand. She made a confused face for a second, then threw the rings on her hand to the floor.
“Is this what you need? Take it! Take it all!”
“...Even if you do that, that’s far from enough.”
And I didn’t even know if I could buy a life for other people. I picked up the rings on the floor.
The snake of infinity, Ouroboros.
The Devourer ring.
And the ring that I had gifted her…
“Please… I beg you… Please, I’ll give you anything you want...”
Her sharp, spiteful gaze was nowhere to be seen. The saint drooped down like a criminal as she handed me her frog wallet.
Her trembling hand was covered in dirt--.
“Still not enough.”
Does she still love me? Or did that emotion turn into hate? I stretched out my hand towards her shoulder. Only because I was curious.
“Don’t touch me!”
An angry shout.
My hand lost its original target and ended up grasping the air.
I get it…
So that heart of hers…
The journey would end once the Hero dies. After that point, there shouldn’t be any more instances where I would meet the saint again. Perhaps this was a good thing. It would have been troublesome if she tried to follow me. For some reason, a question she had asked me right before we left the Stair Village ran through my head.
“What do you think is at the end of the rainbow?”
The cheerful saint who threw me questions relentlessly was no more.
“A pot filled with gold?”
“Wrong! There’s happiness and love!”
That was all. Since we had a different perspective on things, it was impossible for us to look at one thing the same way.
Perhaps I should have expected an ending like this from the first time I met the saint. The saint looked up at me in her sitting position. Her eyes were no longer filled with loathing or desperation, only sadness.
“Why… You didn’t have to kill her… So why...”
There might have been no need to kill the Summoner, as she had said. If the girl just surrendered, if the girl hadn’t called out to the saint--.
The rain formed a flower of water as it fell onto the dry floor. The slight drizzle soon turned to a roaring rain. It seemed to be the effect of the Summoner’s item. The rain put out the fire around the island, diluting the blood covering it as well.
I took out a house from the vault and put an umbrella over the saint. She looked up at me with a face that seemed to want to laugh and cry at the same time.
“Do you really, have… have no heart?”
I thought for quite some time, but it was almost impossible to understand something that I did not have. It was like blind person trying to grasp the concept of a rainbow.
“So back then, you really were...”
The saint stopped talking. She suddenly started to have a coughing fit— blood spilling out of her mouth. Her face had turned pale and the blood rolled down her arm to mix with the rain and flowed who knows where.
Was this because of the magic she had used? Or because she took off her rings?
The saint fell sideways as I stood there in shock and confusion.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter