Chapter 90 is here everyone! This chapter was edited by Fordoom, who, as always, did a superb job 😀
For the Patrons, chapter 91 and its preview are available here.
Anyway, here is the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
In『Brave Hearts』, Hugo Crafton was one of the members of the Hero’s party. He was a so-called tank character, acting as a vanguard with a high attack and defense power.
Moreover, in the original story, being 23 years old, Hugo was the oldest in the party and he was depicted as the protagonist’s nice older brother figure. He was usually idle, but he could be relied on at important times.
Meeting him within the Haibar ruins was a completely unexpected happening for Harold.
Harold expected even less that he would end up meeting Hugo while he was still disguised as a member of trinity. From now on, he would likely have to get in Liner and the others’ way in that dress up. Moreover, he would probably come in contact with them with his true identity as well.
There was a possibility that, at that time, the party would suspect that Harold and his alter-ego were the same person. To avoid that, he had put on an elaborate show in front of Colette and Liner, but he was not prepared to do the same with Hugo.
However, that did not mean that he could have simply left him directly without doing anything else.
The main reason for this was that, in the original story, it was within the Cadiz ruins that Hugo was supposed to become a member of Liner and the others’ team. Those Cadiz ruins appeared considerably early in the game, and long story short, excluding Liner and Colette, Hugo became a member of the team earlier than anyone else.
At the time, the party had already left for a journey to retrieve Liner’s treasured sword, and it would take about three weeks to go from the Haibar ruins to the Cadiz ruins on foot. Although Liner’s situation was also a factor, Harold needed to drive Hugo out of the Haibar ruins as soon as possible.
Therefore, he reluctantly decided to quickly clear the Haibar ruins while keeping his face hidden. He thought about doing this as himself, but he figured that if he did so without preparations or a clear plan, it could expose his true identity and bring him some trouble in the future.
Although Harold had cleared the ruins against his will due to the above-mentioned reasons, it was worth it. Because from the regular reports he got from Elu later on, he received news that a large man with short blue hair was now traveling with Liner and Colette. From that description of his appearance, there was no mistaking that the man in question was Hugo. Apparently, they had met at the very last moment possible.
At present, about two months had passed since the team had encountered Hugo. Meanwhile, Harold continued collecting treasured objects from all over the continent, just like Harrison ordered him. Moreover, by now, he had already collected six of them, and he was soon going to head for the next one.
On the way, Harold did think that things were going too smoothly, but based on what he heard from the reports that he regularly received from Elu, Liner also seemed to be clearing the original story’s events at an excellent pace.
The truth was that Harold had been racking his brains for a while about the pace of clearing the game’s events. Even though he had played the game, he did not know how long the original story lasted for in real time, nor how the flow of time worked within the game; It had no sense of the changing seasons, nor did it contain any information about the day, month or year of any of the its events. Had the story’s events happened in the span of half a year? A year? Even more than that? Harold couldn’t tell, hence why he was in a hurry regarding Hugo’s matter.
However, if he thought about it, the game was about a battle for salvation, a battle to stop a plan that would basically destroy the whole world. So, naturally, the whole continent was dragged into it, to the point where it perhaps could have even been called a war.
As one would expect, it would likely have been too difficult for the hero’s party, which could only have six people at best, to fight such a massive battle for an extended period of time. Had they not settled the decisive battle in a short enough time within the story, then Liner and the others would have been at a disadvantage with their low war potential.
Therefore, Harold hypothesized that the fight, or rather, that the whole original story might have had occurred in a shorter time frame than he had assumed.
Then, one day, as Harold was starting to have those thoughts, something happened.
It was during his spare time, after he had collected the sixth treasure but before he was told of his next destination. In response to a call he had received from Justus, he was returning to the laboratory after a long time. He had a bad presentiment as he reluctantly stepped towards the laboratory while cursing at Justus in his mind for handling his workmen too roughly.
After knocking once, Harold hurriedly entered the room, and immediately cut to the chase.
【”What’s your business?”】
【”Harold? You’re being a little bit of a bother right now.”】
【”Like you’re one to talk about being a bother.”】
【”I’m not as bad as you are.”】
【”Say what you have to say already. Stop beating around the bush.”】
【”You don’t have much patience, do you? Then, I’ll skip over the details. Do you remember Lifa?”】
【”…What about her?”】
As Lifa’s name came out of Justus’ mouth, Harold barely managed to somehow prevent his face from getting distorted. It took him great pains just to answer without showing any facial expression.
Moreover, as if he could see through those feelings, Justus mercilessly threw yet another bomb at Harold.
【”It seems like she’s been sniffing around for information about you lately. Should I rid you of her?”】
Harold’s head was hurting. Colette, Hugo, and now Lifa; why were they all taking actions that differed from the original story? Thanks to that, Lifa had caught Justus’ eyes in a different meaning than Harold had feared.
This was troublesome in its own way. Needless to say that, by “rid you of her”, Justus meant “kill her”.
But even if Harold were to refuse the offer, and to instead, pretend that it did not concern him while leaving the matter to Justus, then Justus would likely end up killing Lifa by some means or using her for his plans.
Naturally, Harold could not allow that. Therefore, he had to handle this situation himself.
【”….Where is she right now?”】
【”Oh? You’re personally going to her?”】
【”You’ve got a problem with that?”】
【”Well, not really but…”】
【”It looks like you’ve got something to say.”】
【”I was surprised, that’s all. I mean, you like them that young?”】
【”Drop dead, you goddamn lunatic.”】
After hearing of Lifa’s location, Harold hurriedly left the laboratory while cursing Justus, who was accusing him of being a pedophile with a very serious expression on his face.
From the story Lifa had heard from Elu, there were some mysterious matters between the point where Harold was to be executed and the point where he became a test subject in the laboratory. Moreover, there was something else that was suspicious, because, even in Justus’ story about his meeting with Harold in the past, Harold’s goals were still kept concealed.
So, Lifa figured that, if she could uncover what those goals were, then perhaps she would be able to know about the circumstances surrounding Harold and she would able to see what goals could push him to wager his very own life.
Harold would probably tell her that there was no meaning to her actions, but still, she couldn’t just do nothing while knowing that he did not have much longer to live.
Because she believed there might be some way left to save him.
Well, if Lifa told him that, far from thanking her, that eccentric man would probably snarl at her instead. That was why she was investigating the circumstances around the time when Harold was sent to the tribunal without even telling Harold himself.
Thus now, it had been approximately one month after she had started investigating, and Harold was standing before her, looking clearly irritated.
The both of them were currently inside some building. There wasn’t even a single window to be seen, so they might have been in a basement.
As for how things ended up this way, Lifa was in the royal capital at the time, indirectly getting some of the information she needed. Then, in some unfrequented back alley, she was suddenly kidnapped; her field of vision was blocked off, and before she could even say anything, her body was incapacitated as well. She was unable to resist while she was being taken away, and after a little while, the cloth on her eyes was removed, and what faced her was the twitching temple on Harold’s forehead.
She had no idea where she was, nor how she had been brought there, but from the moment of the abduction up to the present, she had felt only a single person’s presence, so Harold had probably done this alone, by his own initiative.
【”So, what the hell have you been doing exactly?”】
Harold’s voice sounded ill-humored.
【”… Nothing in particular. Rather than that, untie me already.”】
Both of Lifa’s arms were tired to a chair which was creaking as she rocked her restrained body on it. However, Harold paid no attention to that.
【”Answer my question. What the hell have you been doing?”】
Harold’s voice and eyes were becoming sharper and sharper. Apparently, feigning ignorance was not going to cut it for Lifa.
In the first place, Harold probably knew what Lifa had done since he had gone this far already. Otherwise, there would be no reason for him to be in such a bad mood.
Therefore, even though Lifa did not want her actions to be exposed, it was meaningless for her to resist since things had ended up like this. With that in mind, she spoke up.
【”…I’ve been investigating your past.”】
【”Why would you do that?”】
【”…Because I don’t want to let you die. Because I might be able to find a way to save your life.”】
Those were Lifa’s true feelings; this was honestly the main reason behind her actions.
She did not know how much time was left before Harold’s death, so even if she were to help him, chances were that she would only extend his life a little bit. Also, in the first place, she probably had only one in a ten thousand chance to actually be of any help to him.
However, even if her actions were meaningless, that was no reason to give up on Harold’s life. At least as far as Lifa was concerned, Harold was a cynical man whose attitude was not all that good, but he was the first person to acknowledge her efforts and achievements, which were basically her life itself.
Surely, no one other than Lifa would be able to understand how gratifying that was to her.
【”Stop that, and don’t ever do it again.”】
【”No, I won’t stop.”】
【”Are you kidding me? Do you want to die?”】
【”I’m aware of the risks.”】
For the time being, it seemed like just investigating that story could get her killed. This matter was becoming more and more abnormal, and it just went to show how dangerous Harold’s situation was.
Well, maybe that was only natural since Harold’s goals were so important he was willing to trade his life for them. As for Lifa, she could no longer withdraw from this.
Perhaps because he felt her strong determination, Harold changed his approach.
【”Why go that far? Do you want me to owe you?”】
【”That’s not it. Rather, it’s the opposite.”】
【”I want to express my gratitude to you. And I’m willing to risk my life for it.”】
Even though she wasn’t as twisted as Harold, Lifa was able to express her feelings honestly only in these kind of circumstances.
But Harold had a dubious expression on his face. He likely did not understand what Lifa was being thankful about.
【”I don’t remember doing anything for you to be grateful for.”】
【”I didn’t expect you to. Even if I tell you, you probably won’t be able to understand.”】
It was useless on Harold’s part to pay attention to Lifa’s motivations anyway, because the truth was that no words were going to persuade her.
【”….If, as you said, you’re grateful to me, then do as I say.”】
【”How is that related to me being grateful?! What I want to do is to help you.”】
【”I didn’t ask for that, and I don’t need that either.”】
【”I am doing it because I want to do it, it doesn’t matter whether you wish for it or not.”】
Harold didn’t want anything to interfere with his situation, and Lifa wanted to do anything possible to help him.
No matter what, there was no way they would reach a consensus. After that, their dispute continued, and the only thing that progressed was the passing of time. They did that for more than an hour, until they started seeing signs of weariness appearing on each other’s faces.
There was already no more choice for either of them than to get the other to give in by force.
【”You god damn block head!”】
【”Like you’re one to talk!”】
【”….This is my last warning. Stop digging into my past.”】
Harold said so while gripping the handle of the sword that was hanging at his waist.
However, Lifa answered without stepping back.
【”…I refuse. “】
【”…Oh, is that so?”】
With a “shing” sound, Harold drew his sword out of its scabbard. It was a black sword that Lifa had seen many times over.
On the sword’s blade, there was Lifa’s own reflection.
【”I guess there is no more room for negotiations】(Harold)
【”Sure seems that way.”】(Lifa)
Harold swung down his sword without any hesitation. The sword then cut right through Lifa ―― or rather, right through the rope that was restraining her.
She was freed from her restraints as the rope that was binding her feebly fell to the ground. Harold was making a sour face. He clicked his tongue as he put his sword back into its scabbard.
This meant that Harold had given in.
However, Lifa did not think that was surprising. She knew that Harold was unexpectedly kind despite being cynical. Even though it was extremely difficult to understand that kindness.
【”….Lifa. Do you sincerely want to help me?”】
While looking into Harold’s eyes, Lifa gave him a strong nod.
That was in order to transmit her feelings, even just a little bit, to this stubborn, awkward man.
【”Then, you better follow my instructions if you don’t want to die. If you act on your own accord, he’ll get rid of you.”】
【”Maybe Justus, or maybe someone under his control.”】
For some reason, Lifa had expected that answer. As she recalled that man with his washed-out white hair, there were many things Lifa wanted to say, but she refrained from doing so.
【”Then, what should I do?”】
【”For the time being, leave the royal capital.”】
【”You’re not trying to get rid of me, are you?”】
【”I’d sure like to do so, but I’ll be coming with you.”】
The fact that Harold had said that, even though he should have been unable to move about freely at present, just went to show how alarming the situation was. Lifa figured her life was possibly in very serious danger.
Hence why Harold had come to contact her in a hurry.
【”I understand. So, where will we be going?”】
As Lifa asked him that question, Harold’s facial expression became distorted even more than it already was before. He sighed and told her the name of the place the two of them were going to head for.
【”Going forward towards the east from here, there is the sumeragi territory. I’ll have you do some work there.”】
Translator’s note: Seems like the Sumeragis are back, I’m sure many of you are pretty happy about that, at least, I know I am, it’s been a while since we’ve last seen them ><
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Anyway, I hope this chapter was to your liking, and I wish you a good day 😀