A Former Child Soldier Who Uses a Magic Sword Wants to Live with an Older Sister of a Former Enemy Executive - Chapter 28
- Chapter 28 : The Wendigo of Death, Ahas Patel.
Seto entered Gendar’s house and sat down on the chair he was offered.
A number of tools that were probably symbolic of the Yeller tribe were lined up like furniture.
Some of them seemed to be magical tools made of animal bones, while others were beautiful traditional artifacts.
While he was contemplating them, Gendar brought him tea from the kitchen.
[Have a cup. It’s my grandfather’s recipe. It’s one of the finest blends that will instantly soothe you to your very soul.] (Gendar)
[Thank you. …So, you knew I was going to come here?] (Seto)
[Hm? Ahh, yes. Everything is as the Great Totem had predicted. I have long carried on the traditions of the Yeller tribe, and anticipated the arrival of you and your female companion.] (Gendar)
[Like… divination?] (Seto)
[Hehehe. Well, you can take it that way. After all, anyone else would have probably dismissed this information as shady, at best.] (Gendar)
The old shaman’s wrinkles curved even more as he smiled and sipped his tea.
[…Say, did you also find out who I am?] (Seto)
[Not your entire background, though. However, I can see that your past is stained with blood and iron. And the same goes for that lady. …Ahh, but be at ease. I don’t plan to say anything about it. There are plenty of people with special backgrounds in this village.] (Gendar)
Seto took a sip of tea as he watched Gendar’s cheerful smile.
The flavor spreading in his mouth made him feel as if it had permeated to the depths of his heart at once.
When he drank it once more, it warmed him up from the inside out and made him feel at peace.
He felt as if his heart was beating calmly, somehow.
[…Now, I presume you’ve had your fill of tea. And that you’ve come here to ask me a few questions, haven’t you?] (Gendar)
[O-Oh, right. Actually…] (Seto)
Seto told him about the cave he found yesterday, and what Ryodou told him today.
The faceless totem poles, Ahas Patel the Wendigo of Death, and the Yeller tribe.
Gendar nodded and listened.
[I see. That was a former ceremonial site used to worship Ahas Patel. Originally, the totem poles were made of wood, and the wind and rain would cause them to corrode and disappear. They would decay naturally, and return to the earth. …This is how it should be, as they are not to be preserved or restored unless there’s a valuable reason for it.] (Gendar)
[Satis also said that the ones we found seemed to be made of stone, but…] (Seto)
[Indeed. …Although, only a few people knew how to make those totem poles. They would pass down that knowledge to their children, who would then pass it down to their own children. …Unfortunately, no one in my family is among those people. Therefore, I don’t know how to make them. But I do know that the meaning of those totem poles you found is “immutability”. A state where no changes occur. …Which means “Death”. That’s why those totem poles were built right wherever the Wendigo of Death was worshiped.] (Gendar)
[You mean there are other altars dedicated to him…?] (Seto)
[Perhaps. …Let me tell you about Ahas Patel. Many consider the prologue of his legend to date back to when the world was still a time of darkness and burning heat. He has existed since that time, using his own body to create all forms of life. …The sky, the land, the sea, the mountains, the rivers, the fish, the birds, and then Humanity. It took him tens of thousands of years, or maybe even longer, to create all the life forms that make up this world. Although, far from having made everything from scratch, he made use of the fertility of life, and spent an even longer time to make it take root.] (Gendar)
It really sounded like a mythological story.
Although, even Seto was astonished that the Yeller folklore considered life to be born not from an omniscient, omnipotent, and luminous god, but from a being that was practically death itself.
[All life is borrowed from death. That is to say, they are all to be eventually returned to Ahas Patel. And the period of time until then is what we call lifespan.] (Gendar)
[…Doesn’t that make you afraid? It’s your own life, yet you have to return it.] (Seto)
[Death is a cruel thing. Whether it’s a baby, a woman, or a child, when people die, their life is restored to Ahas Patel without mercy. …But we of the Yeller tribe do not fear death. Even if we die, our bodies return to the earth and become nourishment for the nurturing of a new life. All life returned to Ahas Patel is transformed into a new one.] (Gendar)
Gendar’s eyes shone like those of a young man.
Seto unintentionally gasped.
[As I said earlier, life is a loan from death itself. However, it displays anger toward those who thoughtlessly reap and disrespect the lives of others. And the reverse is also true. Those who are overly fearful of death, and attempt to meaninglessly prolong their own lives, will also incur the wrath of Ahas Patel.] (Gendar)
[The wrath… of death?] (Seto)
[However, he never directly claims a life with his own hands. According to the legends, in the former case, the offender is made to walk on the path to the fate he dreads the most. And in the latter case, the lives of those around the offender are made miserable, and once they’re left with scars that remain even after his life has run out, he comes to claim his soul.] (Gendar)
The more he heard about this folklore, the more horrifying it sounded.
Seto and Satis probably belonged to the former category.
The moment Gendar saw Seto’s forehead sweating profusely, he burst out laughing.
[Hahaha! Did I scare you too much? I did say this was what the legends stated, but it’s basically a warning about life. Nothing more than a story using the name of Ahas Patel as a caution. There’s no need to take it so seriously.] (Gendar)
[O-Okay… I guess I’m really not comfortable with this kind of story.] (Seto)
[Hehehe. It’s rare to see someone react like that nowadays. When I told that story to the children at the royal capital, they either yawned or couldn’t stop laughing.] (Gendar)
Gendar sipped his tea again.
Meanwhile, Seto brought up something else.
That mural painting of the mass of tentacles in a yellow cloak he saw at the altar inside that cave.
He saw it, but Satis did not.
The moment he told him that, Gendar’s expression instantly turned serious.
[You mean that… you saw him…?] (Gendar)
[Y-Yeah. Satis didn’t see it, though. …Or rather, when I pointed it to her, it seemed to have disappeared. So I thought maybe it was a hallucination.] (Seto)
[You did not hallucinate at all.] (Gendar)
Gendar put his teacup back on its saucer, and readjusted his sitting position.
[Ahas Patel’s portrait disappeared many moons ago. But I saw it myself when I was a child. And I still remember it. That horrifying figure that possessed, however, something of a nihilistic beauty. Many times I had the illusion of feeling an enormous vortex of energy coming from the part of his face hidden by his hood, and he even appeared in my dreams for a while.] (Gendar)
[Th-Then, does this mean that Ahas Patel… is after me?!] (Seto)
Seto involuntarily jumped from his seat.
Gendar reined him in with his hand.
[Calm down. My guess is that… he might be testing you.] (Gendar)
[Testing… me?] (Seto)
[According to the myth of Ahas Patel, he does not take any souls before they come to him. If this part had been a lie, he would have already taken yours. …But what a surprise. I never thought there could be anyone other than the Yeller tribe capable of perceiving Ahas Patel. …He must consider you special.] (Gendar)
Death itself was testing Seto.
For this boy, who had lived on the battlefield where death was always in close proximity, this felt like a strange experience.
What could he possibly want from Seto?
Far from feeling restless and frightened, Seto pondered that question with an exceedingly cool head.
[Oh-ho… I see a calm and realistic look in your eyes. Looks like you’ve gone through your fair share of conflicts.] (Gendar)
[Well, thinking back on it, I’m a guy who has been eating meals next to death itself. So I feel like it’s a bit late to tell me that it’s testing me.] (Seto)
[I see. You’re a strong one. But, well, perhaps Ahas Patel is just warning you about death. And suggesting that you be careful.] (Gendar)
[Careful, huh… If that’s the case, then I’ll happily take his advice to heart.] (Seto)
He looked out the window, and noticed that it was beginning to get dark outside.
If he stayed any longer, Satis would worry about him.
[Well, I have two things left to tell you. The invasion of the Demon King’s army is growing weak. I presume the national borders will be reopened tomorrow. If you wish to continue your journey, this will be your chance. And one more thing.] (Gendar)
[What is it?] (Seto)
[…In the near future, you and your companion may have a visitor. A most uninvited visitor, at that.] (Gendar)
[I couldn’t see all the details. Only that… It’s an awfully exhausted woman, with eyes full of madness. She’s roaming the land by her lonesome, like a ghost.] (Gendar)
[Got it. We’ll be careful] (Seto)
After that, Seto bowed and left the house.
While seeing him off as he rushed home, Gendar said a prayer.
[May you children receive the Great Totem’s divine protection…] (Gendar)
He watched the back of the boy, who was probably fascinated by Ahas Patel, and suddenly smiled.
The boy known as Seto had an aura different from any other boy.
There was no sign of death on his back.
Right now, there was something shining in his heart.
Gendar sensed it, and prayed for Seto’s future.
[So that’s Seto, huh… He has not the eyes of a soldier, but the eyes of a swordsman. Perhaps he has the untapped potential to overcome even the most difficult challenges. Ahas Patel… I wonder what it is that you saw in him.] (Gendar)
And then, he went back into his house.
His face looked more cheerful than ever, as if he had seen something good for the first time in ages.
Meanwhile, outside Benjamin village.
Someone was walking, illuminated by the moon high up in the dark sky.
[Fufufu… Seto… Seto… Seeetoo…! SEEEEEEETOOOOOOO…!] (Hydra)
It was a former member of the Hero’s party.
The female martial artist, Hydra.
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