Chapter 9: I Think, Therefore I Am (2)
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
Mahoro returned to his room and had his handcuffs removed. He lay wearily on the bed.
Thanks to the Lieutenant General, he was able to understand the situation better. He was involved in a much bigger affair than he had thought, and he didn’t know what to think.
More than anything, it was a huge shock to him that the time that he had spent at the Baldwin estate had been a sham. When had Siegfried learned that he was the son of the cult’s founder? Why had he gone so far to do something so horrible?
Why… was I…?
It hurt so much to think that his entire life had been based on a lie. He had felt such a deep sense of gratitude and debt towards Siegfried for saving him from the orphanage that he had resolved to dedicate his soul and body to him for the rest of his life. Without knowing that it had been a lie.
Lord Sieg… I… I…
Mahoro didn’t want to think about anything and curled up into a ball.
There were the sounds of footsteps by the door, and the small window there opened.
“Mahoro. In about ten minutes, you will be allowed to see a visitor. Be prepared to stand by.”
Mahoro shot up out of the bed. Lieutenant General Abbott had just mentioned it earlier. The visitor had to be Noah. His heart had been in a sunken state, but right now it leapt. Noah had come to see him, and his chest burned at this thought. His heart had shrivelled up with thirst from the interrogations that he faced daily, but if he could see Noah, it should quench some of the thirst in his heart.
Mahoro walked over to the door and looked forward to the visitor coming to see him.
But then he felt something strange. There was a disturbing commotion coming from the hallway. The soldiers standing outside the door let out short screams, and then loud thuds sounded on the floor. Mahoro was incredibly frightened.
“Um, excuse me…?”
Mahoro stood in front of the door, sensing that something strange had happened, and it scared him that he didn’t receive a response. White smoke drifted through the small window in the door. Mahoro could not tell what was happening in the hallway, and there were no sounds of the soldiers outside. Noah couldn’t have done something to do soldiers, could he? Mahoro immediately chased the thought away.
He could smell something burning. As if something had been on fire—
Mahoro jumped away from the door and retreated to the corner where the bed was. The door suddenly bent and deformed. Someone on the other side of the door was slamming something hard against it. Before long, a jagged opening tore through the door. Smoke and flames seeped from the opening and made it hard to breathe.
Mary looked through the opening to examine him.
She wore camouflage clothing and held a large sword with a red magic stone embedded in it. Mahoro was terrified and pressed his back to the wall. Mary gave an alluring smile and brandished her sword.
“I have come to retrieve you under Lord Siegfried’s orders,” she said, swinging the sword down. Flames burst from the end of the sword as it destroyed the door and filled the room. Mahoro felt the force of the heat and crouched down at once. Flames swirled around like a vortex, running along the walls, floor, and ceiling.
“Enemy attack! Sound the alarm! Immediate—”
Reinforcements arrived, and soldiers were yelling outside in the hallway. However, the sounds of gunshots cut short those voices. There were several large scary-looking men behind Mary firing their guns indiscriminately.
“Come, let’s go.”
Mary pulled Mahoro up by the arm as he sat frozen in the middle of the flames. The moment her hand took his own, the heat from the flames subsided, like maybe magic protected them. When he stumbled out into the hallway coughing, he could see soldiers here and there collapsed on the ground and bleeding. Flames also erupted from many of the rooms. Mahoro shuddered at the sight and shook off Mary’s hand.
“I won’t go!” he yelled and glared at Mary.
Holding her sword, Mary fixed Mahoro with a stare, and there was harsh light in her eyes. “What foolishness are you saying? Lord Siegfried has called for you.”
Her lips distorted and gave a smile of contempt.
Mahoro caught his breath and slowly backed away from Mary. “I never want to experience that again… I won’t go. Please tell Lord Sieg that.”
If she were to abduct him, his power would be used for something horrible again. He didn’t want to hurt any more people. Mahoro expressed his resolve, and Mary returned a look of disapproval.
“Well, is that so…? All right then, I shall inform Lord Siegfried of your defiance. You low-born piece of rabble… I’ll make you learn your rightful place!”
Mary twisted her face into an evil expression and swung her sword down. Flames charged directly at Mahoro and wrapped around his entire body. It was hot and hard to breathe, and Mahoro desperately patted down the sparks in an attempt to extinguish the flames that licked his clothing.
“How dare the likes of you even think to defy Lord Siegfried!”
Mary slashed down at Mahoro who had collapsed on the floor, a repulsive look of hate on her face. Mahoro screamed as a sharp pain ran through his back. His hair caught on fire, and patches of his skin and clothing burned. It was horrible and painful and hot, and Mahoro desperately reached his hand out.
At that moment, a cool wind blew over towards him. A swirl of water extinguished the flames that covered his body in an instant. Mahoro coughed violently, reeling from the force of the water that further surrounded his body.
Mahoro turned around with tears in his eyes at the sound of the dearly familiar voice. Noah had appeared at the end of the hallway. He wore a white coat, waving his wand as he fixed his gaze on Mary.
“You evil temptress, what do you want with him?”
Noah recited an incantation and raised his wand. Mahoro knew that invisible blades of wind had been sent flying towards Mary. Mary tried to ward them off with her sword, but a few had hit her legs and arms and tore through her clothing.
“Noah…? Why are you here?” Mary clicked her tongue and swung her sword down to create more flames. However, Noah had rushed over to Mahoro, and he blocked them with his magic. A large jet of water pushed aside her flames, and its water pressure pushed back the men with the guns.
“Were you slashed? By that woman?”
Noah saw that Mahoro’s back was wet with blood, and he waved his wand violently in anger. Mary screamed and spun around in circles.
“I could never stand you with all of that gaudy makeup. I know that you preyed on the cadets. Some of them went missing after the incident.”
Noah stood in front of Mahoro and glared at Mary with a sharp glint in his eyes. Mahoro looked up at Noah without any words. Mary jumped back to her feet with her hair dishevelled. She scowled at Noah with a sneer as she desperately fought off the water that attacked her.
“I was looking for good pawns to serve Lord Siegfried, and I am breaking them in myself. You were never swayed by me, hmm? Well, I suppose that there’s nothing I can do if you prefer men.”
Mary hacked at the jet of water with her sword, and it changed into a spray. Without a moment’s delay, blades of wind slashed at her. The gunmen tried firing at them blindly, but they fell to the floor from the slashes of wind, and bullets shot into the walls and ceiling.
Noah reached for the base of his neck. When he touched the silver choker that he always wore, there was a sound of a click, and the choker was loosened. He removed it and tossed it on the floor.
Noah directed both of his hands at Mary and the men. “Give Siegfried this message for me: he is mine, so piss off.”
His blue eyes turned gold, and the space seemed to distort. The sword in Mary’s hand rattled and swayed, and the gunmen looked at it suspiciously and retreated from her.
“W-What is this…?”
The men cried out in alarm. Their guns deformed like they were compressed by an invisible force. Mahoro was surprised and looked up at Noah, and he seemed to be concentrating a strange force and releasing something. There was something about it that felt markedly different from the magic that Mahoro had seen up until now, but he didn’t know what it was. The air felt compressed somehow.
“Noah…?” Mahoro shrank backwards from him.
“W-What is this power…? Noah, you son of a bitch.”
Mary widened her eyes, and unable to endure it any longer, she dropped her sword. On the floor, the sword twisted on itself and broke into pieces. Terror flickered in her eyes, and she shouted, “Retreat!”
“I will kill you here,” Noah growled in a low voice. He leaned forward and broke into a run. His speed was not normal; it was almost like he teleported. In an instant, Noah grabbed Mary by the back of her neck as she tried to run away, and he slammed her to the floor. Her blood splattered as she groaned. Noah’s face looked void of all emotion as he dealt additional attacks to her. The men paused their retreat and opened fire at Noah to try to save Mary.
Mary groaned lowly in pain. Noah had used her as a shield to avoid the bullets. The bullets hit her legs, and the men frantically raised the muzzles of their guns.
“Bloody hell… You bastard, how could you have such power…”
Mary wheezed in pain. She mustered the last of her strength and ground down on her back teeth.
Noah abruptly flung Mary away from him. Her wounded body twitched and convulsed at the end of the hallway. Part her back bulged up, and horns grew from her head.
“W-What the…!?” Mahoro raised his voice as he tumbled backwards. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. In a blink of an eye, Mary’s body had turned into a dark and hideous beast. The silhouette looked similar to a bear, but two horns protruded from its head, and its mouth gaped open like the maw of a carnivore. It slobbered as it glared at them, its eyes shining red.
“Is that your true identity? How revolting. It makes me want to puke.”
Noah smiled with contempt and squared off against her. The fallen men in the back shouted, “Let’s do it,” and transformed into beasts one after another.
“Mahoro, get behind me.”
Noah stared at the beasts and gave a hand signal. Mahoro ran and hid behind Noah’s back.
“This way! The enemies are here!”
Soldiers rushed in at the same time. Mary, transformed as a beast, released a shuddering roar and ran down the hallway in the opposite direction. She was probably trying to escape. Noah went to chase after her but hesitated, and after seeing Lieutenant General Abbott, he decided to stay put.
“Did the enemy infiltrate all the way here!?”
Lieutenant General Abbott surveyed the damage to the area and went into a fiery rage. Soldiers overran the place, chasing after Mary and her men, extinguishing the fires that burned everywhere. Mahoro became a little weak and fell to his knees. Noah embraced Mahoro’s body and cast healing magic to the wound on his back. Little by little the gash closed up, and he could feel the pain recede. There were four magic stones embedded in Noah’s wand.
“Lieutenant General, Mahoro has grown thin. Am I to presume that you have not conducted any forced interrogations against him?”
Noah shot him a threatening glare, and the Lieutenant General was at a loss for words.
“Our interrogations conform to all laws and regulations. He is just a light eater.”
Mahoro tried to stop the two of them from glaring at each other and whispered, “I’m all right.” Thanks to Noah, his pain had disappeared. Noah held Mahoro and sniffed at his charred hair.
“This base is not safe. I want to look after him at my residence,” Noah said resolutely.
Lieutenant General Abbott frowned and crossed his arms in hesitation.
“I appreciate your efforts in thwarting the enemy from taking Mahoro, but I cannot allow that. Not by my own discretion.”
The Lieutenant General fixed his eyes onto Mahoro. Mahoro understood that the Lieutenant General took this incident to heart in his own way. Mary had attacked this military base just to take Mahoro back. Lieutenant General Abbott also understood what it meant.
“Then I shall negotiate with your superiors.”
Noah picked up his choker from the floor and sent the Lieutenant General a challenging gaze. He refastened the silver choker back around his neck. Mahoro wondered what it was exactly. It didn’t appear to be an ordinary choker. Noah had transformed when he removed it.
“Mahoro, wait for me. I won’t allow you to stay here.”
Noah gave Lieutenant General Abbot a look and made his declaration like he had locked something away in his mind. Mahoro could say nothing as he looked at that beautiful face.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.