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  • Writer's pictureSHADOW EGG

Episode 32: Almeria's bell rings for the obituary 16

Haa-haa-haa-!


Setina and the masked man ran through the forest of Uruji, kicking back the small branches and fallen leaves that were scattered in the forest.

Standing on the brink of death, and running with all her might on a rough road, Setina's breathing was slightly rougher than that of the masked man.


In Setina's eyes, she could see the back of a dark-skinned man—and something like an ocher rug hanging from her shoulders and swaying behind her waist.

I don't know who they are, who call themselves Volks and Elmina, but just by looking at them, this faceless masked man is suspicious enough.

Even so, Setina's only option was to follow the masked man who saved her from death.


The masked man spoke with a loud voice at the timing when he sensed Setina's uneasiness.


「──What's your name?」


Huh-hah-it's Setina! Um, just now-


Okay Setina. I'm Keith, Keith Kamina. If you want to thank me, you can do it after you've escaped.


The name of the man who called himself Keith Kamina faintly stuck in the depths of Setina's memory.


(...Kamina──? Somewhere──)


Um, you are—



--A sound like the howl of a wolf resounded in the forest.


The cries that came from far behind the forest were somehow eerie, and Setina's back shivered like a chill at the roar that sounded like the melody of death.

Nerves that were just slightly loosened are sharpened again.


Hey hey hey hey hey they gave up!?


Hey, Mr. Keith! Where are you going?


I don't know! I'm lost!


「──Eh」


Suddenly, Setina stopped her feet as if she had stepped into the ground.

I quickly turned my abandoned thoughts around and checked my bearings.

Heading toward—not the west river bank from which she fled, nor the road back to Vilano Abbey in the north, but south—Cetina abruptly turned and ran.


This is Keith-san!


Keith slipped into place and turned around, Keith also changed course to follow Setina.


Huh? Ah? Oh!


Setina desperately planned what she should do in her head──




No matter how I think about it, they're aiming for me—I can't go back north to Vilano Abbey for help and let them in.

The best thing to do would be to keep going south and take refuge in the direction of Horn temporarily - to hide somewhere.

I wonder if Milly or Mother Elea would get angry if they heard that...I'm sorry, but--


Over her own safety, she prioritized not harming the people she cared about.

Whether it's frustration or a sign of determination, Setina squeezes her hand tightly as she runs.



From the depths of the dark forest, a girl runs forward in a forward posture.

The masked man who called himself Keith, chasing after him, seemed to be accustomed to running on mountain roads, jumping with ease and running through quickly.


When the footsteps of the two people stomping on the plants recede from the spot, this time heavy footsteps can be heard from the back.

The big beast, with its ominous glare, slowly approaches.

Even the roots of the cyan tree buried in the soil were about to be torn off, and the purple wolf beast chased the two of them while sprinkling something like drool from its large mouth.



Keith's ears didn't miss the sound of heavy footsteps approaching.


Hey—something is coming!


When Setina listened to Keith running behind her with a sidelong glance, perhaps because she wasn't careful about her feet, she slightly caught her foot on the root of a cyan tree buried in the ground.

Did I just stumble lightly? A light blue teardrop-like earring floated in the air.


「Ah──」


The light blue earring fell onto the ground as if it was passing by Keith, who was approaching from behind.

Setina hurriedly stopped and looked behind her──


It's Vilano Monastery, and it's a precious earring given to me by a friend.

The conversation with Miriaria at Vilano Monastery flashed through Setina's mind like a revolving lantern──




Sera, I think of you as my family. Because we are in different positions and have different ways of meeting each other, we were able to become like family.


Me too. I'm really glad I met Milly too.


Even if we're apart, even if we can't meet again, that fact won't change. So let's break up with pride.



     *



If you ask me if it's equivalent to life, it's definitely not worth comparing.

If you ask me if I should cling to the form of friendship, I don't think I should stick to such a visible form.

But Setina couldn't let go of what she saw.

Keith calls out to Setina, who has a solemn look on her face as she runs.


Hey, what are you doing!? Hurry up!


Even though she knew that her life was in danger, Setina didn't hesitate to jump towards the fallen earring.


「──Huh!?」


Although I couldn't see the expression of the man called Keith because of his mask, I was shocked to see Setina suddenly start running in the opposite direction.

While running backwards, I desperately reached out my hand to the earring that had fallen on the ground, and when my fingertips touched it—heavy footsteps approached from ahead.


「T──!?」


Fast!


Setina hurriedly picked up the earring, slipped it from her collar into her chest pocket, and ran with all her might toward Keith, who was fanning her hands.

Then, behind it, the purple werewolf was approaching within visible distance.


(Oh, oh, oh, ──)


A beast the size of a large monster with glowing red eyes approaches from behind Setina.


(If you can't escape ─ ─)


Don't look back! Come on!


The masked man calling himself Keith yelled out, as if to cut Setina's thoughts in her head as to whether or not she should enter a battle stance.

Probably thinking that it would be impossible to escape at this rate, Keith turned his body toward Setina, who was being chased by the beast, and stuck his hand into the rug that was hung from his shoulder.


Don't look back──Setina ran with all her might towards Keith.

And from behind, the purple wolf beast presses forward with the force of a rush.

Something like drool leaking out of its red eyes and fangs, the purple wolf beast's mouth began to open to devour Setina, revealing its large, sharp fangs.



When Setina approaches Keith, she screams—


Jump sideways!


As if reacting to that voice, Setina stepped in with both feet while passing by Keith and jumped into the bushes beside her.

The unstoppable purple wolf beast attacks Keith in front──



Resolte, ──Schwatt


A swirling black circle appears at Keith's feet.

At that moment, the wolf beast, which was approaching with all its might without hesitation, opened its mouth wide enough to bite Keith, and its fangs were about to reach Keith──



Keith jumped sideways like a fine line, and a sinister black blade rose from the earth, and the blade pierced the purple wolf's leg.

A roar like the scream of a wolf beast resounds in the forest──


(Isn't it just a tip!)


The guillotine-like blade of the guillotine pierces the wolf's leg, and purple blood drips from the gaps in its flesh.

The monstrous blade faded into the black circle again.


The trap that Keith aimed for.

It was to guide the beast like a bullfighter and pass it to his feet.


However, it only hits the leg, not fatally.





「──Mist, Fury, Will, Taura」


I heard a small voice.

A shadow jumped out of the bushes—it was Setina who jumped to the side and hid.

I traced it with my rapier's pointed finger and stabbed it into the leg of the other unblemished werewolf as it landed.


Release!


When the bluish etheric light converges on the pierced tip of the sword, as if it stole Keith's skill, this time a sharp blue ice blade pushes the wolf beast's leg from the ground.

The wolf beast, whose front legs were wounded---and suffered as if its back legs were struggling, roared loudly and intimidatingly.



──Keith jumped on the back of such a wolf beast.

The masked man in Setina's eyes had something he didn't have before.

No, I might be wrong to say I have.


It should be a sword, but the grip of the hilt moves as if it had a will.

A multi-colored soft slime demon beast, as if tentacled, on Keith's hand--and a brown hand with moving tentacles from around the tattoo on his wrist to reaching his arm. I was clinging.

Setina couldn't even figure out if it was a curse, a magic sword, or a magical beast.

The masked man was looking down to see the werewolf at his feet.


Keith didn't say a word and swung the mysterious sword wide, aiming at the wolf beast's neck and stabbing it wide.

When the wolfbeast's small, heartrending cry reached their ears, the magicbeast exploded into a black, ethereal light that seemed to explode.



Keith lands on the ground.


If it's a magic beast, the iron rule is that the black fog should return to the sky──

Unexpectedly, the black mist converged on the blade of Keith's sword and disappeared as if absorbed by the sword.

The tentacles entwined around Keith's sword were entwined and billowing more violently than before, as if to express joy—






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