My death flags show no sign of ending – Chapter 102
Chapter 102 of Death flags is here!
I know, it’s been a billion years, but at least it has come at last. I thought for sure the author had come back for good, but it seems like it was just a temporary, so I don’t know if we’ll have the next chapter soon. Anyway, about this subject, there is something I’d like to try with you guys in an attempt to show the author the support he’s getting from overseas, so please what I wrote under the chapter, once you’re done reading the chapter itself.
For the Patrons, Chapter 103 is available right here https://www.patreon.com/defiring
Anyway, for now, here is the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
As the container broke, the azure liquid scattered out and fell towards the ground, without ever reaching Vincent’s mouth.
Vincent let out a small groan, his face distorted by pain.
Mixed with the blue liquid that was dancing in the air in its fall was a crimson liquid that came from Vincent’s right hand, which had been holding the container. It was his blood.
Having found himself unable to take action on the spot, the only thing Harold had been able to do was to focus his eyes to the utmost limit, and he had perfectly seen what had taken place. An arrow had come from behind him and gone straight towards Vincent’s right hand.
Without wasting any time wondering who had done this, Harold closed the distance between Vincent and himself.
One more hit would be enough. No matter how effective was Vincent’s ability to disregard pain, there had to be a limit to it. The damage he had been taking had actually been accumulating, and the astral potion had been his best solution to disregard that damage even further. However, that option was gone.
Therefore, Harold used every bit of the strength that remained within him to drive the fastest blow that he could pull off.
Vincent, who had just dropped the container, tried to block Harold’s attack but it was too late. The timing of the attack made it impossible to defend against it, let alone counter it or dodge it. Harold powerfully thrust the handle of his sword towards a section of Vincent’s abdomen that was not protected by his broken armor.
The handle dug deep inside his body, which already had only very few parts that were not damaged yet.
Vincent threw up some blood and slowly fell on his back.
As he looked down on this fallen opponent, Harold did not relax his guard.
However, Vincent still did not move in the slightest. This time, he had truly become silent.
Rather than being triumphant over his victory, Harold was stunned to have defeated Vincent and survived. However, that daze was cut short by a voice that came from behind him…
【”Aren’t you going to finish him?”】
In a sense, it was not strange this person to be here, but when Harold considered the events of the original story, he found himself unable to understand why he had come.
【”Your intervention was unnecessary. Putting that aside, what the hell are you doing here, Cody?”】
Cody Ruggier. In the original story, Vincent was supposed to die by his hands, yet he was also Vincent’s best friend.
【”Well, Vincent’s been looking pretty strange lately. So when he left out of nowhere without telling anyone, I followed him.”】
Harold agreed that this made sense. Unlike in the original story, Cody still belonged to the knight order as of now. He was at a close enough proximity to see Vincent’s situation. Given that, it was no wonder that Cody had seen through the changes in his childhood friend.
【”Long story short, you’ve been sneakily peeping at us the whole time, haven’t you? You’ve got one disgusting hobby.”】
【”No no no, that’s not it, it’s just that there is no way in hell I could have gotten myself involved with that insane fight. “】
“I might not look like it but I value my life, you know?” Added Cody with a laugh. Harold had a hard time seeing through Cody’s true thoughts, but he knew he surely did not want Vincent to die.
(He did help me in the end though so he’s probably not going to find fault with me for this fight.) Thought Harold while using healing magic on Vincent.
Although he was using his knowledge of the game’s settings as a reference, Harold’s healing magic was tremendously effective. In terms of numbers, his magic could recover around 2000 HP or more, which was far above the recovery magic that Erica could use in the game, even though she was the healer of the protagonist’s party.
But, as one would expect, Harold never found the time to heal himself during his one-to-one fight with Vincent. In the game, he could recover instantly after using a healing spell, but in this world that was bound by the rules of reality in an odd way, the healing effect took quite some time to work.
Leisurely healing himself in front of Vincent would have been a suicidal move.
【”Oh, is it really okay to help him? He might attack you again if he recovers though, right?”】
【”That won’t be a problem, he’s only made of flesh and blood.”】
Harold could drink his Ether potion to recover his stamina, and as long as he restrained Vincent, it would not be too difficult to suppress him once he would wake up. Although Harold was out of energy both physically and mentally, he had not taken much damage.
However, just in case, he did put Vincent’s weapon away. Furthermore, he knew Vincent’s consciousness was not going to come back the moment his wounds would heal completely. And, above all, if Vincent was left unattended any longer than this, he would undoubtedly die from his injuries. That would be a weight on Harold’s conscience.
【”Or could it be that you actually want him to die?”】
【”…Man, that’s a kinda unfair way of putting it, don’t you think?”】
【”Then keep your mouth shut and mind your own damn business.”】
【”Fine, fine, I get it.”】
Since the day he had left the knight order, this was Harold’s first time talking face to face with Cody. They hadn’t spoken in five years, but Cody’s witty behavior was the same as it used to be.
While reminiscing about the past inside his head, Harold finished healing Vincent. His biggest wounds had closed up and he had stopped bleeding.
While he was as it, Harold also stripped Vincent of everything he had on him.
【”What are you doing?”】
【”He could be holding onto something dangerous.”】
Vincent did not necessarily have only a single astral potion, so Harold judged that a body check was in order.
(He could be a holding a treasure on him or something. Well, it looks to me like Justus took over him way before he came to wait for me here though, so…).
【”…Seems like he doesn’t have anything.”】
In the end, all of this had been for nothing. Not only Harold’s treasure search, but his fight with Vincent as well. The only harvest Harold had gotten out of this whole ordeal was that he had crushed the danger that the brainwashed Vincent represented.
【”By the way, Harold. What are you planning to do after this?”】
【”…First, I’m going to go back to town.”】
【”There is a carriage waiting for me nearby. If I call for it, it will come for me immediately.”】
“Furieri” was quite helpful when it came to small things like this.
For the time being, Vincent was still injured and had to be taken to a doctor. Once the doctor would confirm that there was no problem with Vincent’s condition, then Harold would let Cody take him back. Even if the brainwashing on Vincent would not be wiped off once he would wake up, he had been restrained and his weapon and armor had already been taken away. In this state, even he would likely not be able to defeat Cody.
【”Also, you’ll have to carry that guy on the way.”】
Said Harold while pointing at Vincent. Although his armor and helmet had been taken off, Vincent’s tall and trained body still weighed over 100 kilos. (220 pounds)
To get Vincent out of the cave, the one carrying him would have to deal with the poor condition of the uphill road that led to the outside. Moreover, Harold had been fighting just a little while ago and was still exhausted. So it was evident that Cody had to be the one to do the carrying.
【”Hahahaha, you’re joking, right?”】
Cody’s groan of agony echoed within the cave as Harold’s left fist sunk into his body.
While carrying Vincent, who had both of his hands tied together behind his neck, Cody rubbed his own abdomen on the spot where Harold had punched him earlier, with a wry smile on his face. Harold had become taller than he was in Cody’s memories, they stood at about the same height now. Moreover, although he had become a fine, handsome young man, he had not changed his ways at all personality-wise. Rather, it felt like his haughtiness had become even worse as he grew up.
After leaving Vincent in Cody’s care, Harold had gone deeper inside the cave. Apparently, there was something he had to look for there, although he did not seem to have much hope of finding it.
Cody had no idea what could possibly be hidden in the depths of a cave located in a remote region like this one, but he figured that was probably related to Vincent’s strange condition. Anyhow, the things that Cody had to think about in regards to Harold were piling up, and he knew that even if he did try to understand, he would probably not be able to, so he could only sigh at the thought of it.
Putting that aside, what was actually occupying his mind at the moment was whether or not his best friend Vincent would regain his sanity and recover from his clearly abnormal condition.
(The hell is going on?) Thought Cody to himself as he stepped outside of the cave.
He had entered the cave a little while before sunset, but it looked like several hours had passed since then. Considering that Vincent had already been fighting intensely with Harold when Cody found him, he wondered, just how long had their battle lasted?
The strangest part was that, despite fighting that intensely for that long, Harold had immediately moved towards the depths of the cave right after the end of the battle. Even though he had recovered his stamina using Ether, that potion had no effect on mental fatigue, and that alone should have been enough to make any normal person unable to move for a long while.
【”Well, I guess that logic doesn’t apply to Harold.”】
Cody knew from the day he met him that Harold couldn’t be measured by the standards of normal humans, so this was not hard to accept.
For the time being, he left those thoughts in a corner of his mind and took out the light that Harold had given him. Then, he repeatedly turned it on and off again, with intervals in between, while pointing it towards a certain direction like he had been instructed to. Once he did that, several men appeared from the surrounding trees.
One of them called out to Cody.
【”Are you a friend of the boss?”】
【”If that boss you’re talking about is Harold, then yeah. He said we should take this man to the nearest hospital.”】
【”What’s the code?”】
【” ‘The brave hearts gather within the gem of the great sky’, was it? Also, I have this.”】
Saying so, Cody showed a silver key that he had also received from Harold.
The code and this key seemed to be needed as a set in order to prove that he really was one of Harold’s allies. The whole process felt quite elaborate.
Once the man was done with his inspection, he guided Cody towards a small carriage.
【”We’ll take you and that man in this carriage. We won’t be traveling all that fast, but we should arrive at the nearest town by dawn.”】
【”What about Harold?”】
【”Don’t worry about him. He’ll manage one way or another.”】
Though that seemed like quite the halfhearted answer, all it showed was the trust that this man had towards Harold’s capabilities.
When he thought back upon it, Cody remembered that Harold was able to move even faster than a horse back when he ran towards the Bertis forest. At the time, he had only been 13 years old, so he had likely become even faster by now.
Actually, during the fight in the cave, Cody had placed himself in a place where he had a pretty good view on both opponents, and yet the speed that Harold had displayed made it hard to even see him properly when he moved. When fighting Harold face to face instead of seeing the fight from afar, it was guaranteed that he’d look like he was just disappearing from one spot to another.
Knowing all that, Cody felt alright with leaving right away, and hoped into the carriage. After several hours, he arrived at a certain town where he was able to take Vincent to a doctor a for a checkup.
By the time the treatment ended, the sun had already risen higher in the sky. Cody was finally able to take a breath once he heard that Vincent would wake up soon if he just rested some more. A short while after, he was joined by Harold.
Just out of curiosity, Cody asked him how he came. Harold answered that he was informed by someone who had been on standby near the cave about where Cody and the rest had gone. Since he already had the information, he did not wait for the carriage to come back and ran towards the location directly instead.
Soon after he had been done with that long battle, he had gone to explore the cave further, and then, immediately after leaving the cave, he had proceeded to run through dozens of kilometers (miles) on foot. Just the mere act of thinking of doing this was already strange, let alone actually doing it.
【”So you’re not human after all.”】
【”Looks like you want me to hit you again.”】
【”What I meant to say was that you’re a model human being, yup.”】
Cody’s smile did nothing to stop the kick that came towards his calf, forcing him to crouch down.
Although he lamented that this was unfair in his mind, he abstained from saying it out loud.
【”Don’t increase the number of patients in the hospital…”】
【”That reminds me, how’s Vincent doing?”】
Asked Harold while looking down at Vincent, who was lying in bed.
【”Oh, so you’re just gonna change the subject… Well, according to the doctor, his life isn’t in any danger and he’ll wake up sooner or later.”】
The wounds Vincent had sustained from Harold could very well have been deadly, but it was thanks to Harold using his personal healing magic that that result was avoided. Cody was confused as to whether he was supposed to complain or be grateful.
Harold only answered with an “I see”, his reaction was the same as usual. But Cody did not believe that that meant Harold did not care about Vincent, because if he really did not, he would not have paid any attention to his condition and would not have used his healing magic on the spot to save him.
【”So, Harold, do you know why Vincent became like that?”】
【”I’m pretty sure Justus used some sort of brainwashing on him.”】
【”You mean…. doctor Justus Freud? And there is this brainwashing thing again…”】
【”No, it’s nothing…”】
Cody was surprised when he heard the name of that rare genius who was famous in the kingdom, but the reason Cody what had captured his attention and left him at a loss for words was the mention of the word “brainwashing”. That wasn’t just because this was the reason behind Vincent’s strange state, rather, it was because that word made a certain memory of his rise to the surface.
This had happened several years in the past, back when it looked like Harold would suffer from the death penalty due to the Bertis forest incident.
In his search for the reason behind this baffling judicial decision, Cody had slipped some truth serum in the drink of an old colleague of his, Finnegan, who had been involved in the discussions that had led to the jury’s final decision. However, the moment he had tried to make him confess, that man had entered a state of confusion and started banging his head on a pillar.
Although it took the intervention of two grown men, he did eventually stop. However, the strange appearance he had on that day was still deeply engraved within Cody’s mind.
That man had looked as if he had been…
【” ‘Possessed by a demon’, huh…”】
Those were the words he had instinctively let out upon witnessing Finnegan’s condition that day. Cody also remembered that those words had given him a bad feeling even though he had spoken them himself.
After that event, Finnegan had kept on repeating his incoherent mutterings, and nowadays, he had left the knight order and was recuperating at home. From what Cody had heard, the man was no longer able to communicate and was bedridden.
Cody could not help himself from wondering if the same fate was awaiting Vincent. The thought of it alone was enough to make his chest boil with indescribable anger and sorrow.
【”What are you talking about?”】
Cody instinctively hesitated to speak. First, he did not know if that event with Finnegan was really related to Justus or if it was just an isolated incident, and second, Harold currently belonged to the research laboratory of that Justus.
Cody had no idea about what was Harold’s position in all this, and that was making him waver about whether he should talk.
…However, that hesitation only lasted for a moment.
Although he hadn’t spent much time with Harold, Cody still understood his true nature to some degree.
This man had fought with his life on the line in the Bertis forest. If not for Harold, the damages taken by both the knight order and the stellar tribe on that day would likely have been doubled.
There were some people who were of the opinion that the damages could have been suppressed even further if Harold had warned the knight order beforehand about what was going to unfold, but Harold had only been a newcomer at the time, if he had tried to persuade the order with words alone, it was very doubtful that they’d have taken any sort of countermeasures.
It was likely because he understood this that Harold had fought without relying on the knights.
Moreover, this time, although he could have easily killed Vincent after the fight, he had rescued him instead. Even if that was driven by some kind of ulterior motive, Cody still believed that Harold was not a man who would snatch away a person’s life or dignity.
【”…Actually, a few years ago, there was a man who fell in some kind of state of confusion, and it looked kind of like what happened to Vincent.”】
Cody talked about Finnegan, about how he was someone who had participated in the discussions which had let to Harold’s condemnation, and about what had happened when he was asked about said discussions.
Having heard all that, Harold kept silent like he was thinking about something.
【”I was never able to find out the truth about that incident, but now I think it might have had something to do with doctor Freud.”】
【”…I can’t really confirm it, but it’s very likely. That man has a way to suppress a person’s ego and to turn him or her into a puppet that does his bidding.”】
【”Sounds terrible. Is that doctor really that incredible?”】
【”One thing I know for sure is that he was the mastermind behind the Bertis forest incident. He was also the one pulling the strings when the tribunal sentenced me to the death penalty, as well as when they overturned that decision.”】
【”How does a mere researcher have so much authority?”】
When Cody asked that, Harold pulled his sword out of its scabbard.
【”This is a sword that Justus created. By absorbing the user’s mana, it can rapidly increase his efficiency in battle. But in exchange, it consumes the user’s lifespan.”】
That explanation left Cody at a loss for words.
That was because he knew that Harold had actually been using that very sword. Therefore, it was certain that Harold’s lifespan had been consumed to an extent, although it wasn’t clear how much of it had been taken.
【”Once the research advances, he’ll be able to improve on the lifespan consumption defect. However, in order to do that, he needs to experiment, and that can be problematic when it comes to humans, due to ethics and the like. So, his solution to that was to use someone who was supposed to die anyway.”】
Harold spoke indifferently, as if this was somebody else’s problem.
It would have been easy to scold Harold and tell him that what he had done was foolish. However, if he hadn’t taken that sword, he may well have been killed on the spot. The one who had planed for things to turn out that way was Justus, and he was also the one who had made that demonic sword.
From the start, Harold had had no choice in the matter.
【”Once that sword is completed, it could be used to create the strongest of armies. With that at stake, would the higher ups of the country really hesitate to switch their decisions regarding one death row criminal?”】
【”….They wouldn’t. Of course they wouldn’t…”】
Many things in life were built on sacrifices, be it the kingdom, or the lives of the people who resided within it. That was why there was a dark side to the country, working behind the scenes. Cody knew about that all too well.
However, just because he was aware of it that did not mean he agreed with it. Perhaps he would have if this had been about an actual death row criminal, but Harold was a man who had saved many lives. And yet they had pushed him into a trap, making him pass off as a bad man while letting his life be toyed with by someone else. There was no way Cody would excuse such injustice.
Thinking of Vincent, Finnegan, and the Bertis forest case, Cody felt angry like never before in his life.
However, he managed calm down by telling himself that he could not let the anger take over. Now was no the time to be angry, now was the time to get a good grasp of the situation and to consider how he should respond to it in the future.
【”But, if he went that far to get you under his control, why did he try to make you and Vincent kill each other? You were both supposed to be on his side, right?”】
【”That man has a clear set goal in mind. I went along with it on the surface at first, but then I ended up betraying him, so he had no hesitation to come kill me. It’s simple as that.”】
【”That’s a pretty straightforward reason.”】
The fact that Harold had said “On the surface” meant that he had been fully intending to betray Justus from the very beginning, or so it seemed.
Even when his life had been grasped by that man’s hands, Harold’s strength of will had not weakened in the slightest. Except by completely brainwashing him, there was just no way to make him submit to anything or anyone.
Thinking about all this, Cody smiled wryly as he realized how many of his thoughts had merely been about what things “seemed” like.
【”So, what’s the goal of that annoying doctor?”】
What Cody was wondering about now was what had all of this been done for.
【”Hold on… I’d like to hear about that, too….”】
But before Harold could answer, someone interrupted him.
Although he was in a very weakened state, he was someone that Cody would never fail to recognize.
(tn: Please read what’s under here, it’s important)
Translator’s note: So, about getting the next chapters (the ones after chapter 103)… I thought of a little something that might motivate the author to post more often. So, here is the thing, his novel is not that popular, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know you guys exist, so I asked someone to make a little fan-art, ’cause art is a universal language… or at least, it will catch the author’s attention, if nothing else >< Anyway, I’d like you to please like and retweet this post https://twitter.com/yacine_ak47/status/1066108144517029888
And maybe also tweet the author some simple, nice things, even in English at https://twitter.com/orefura. I know what you’re thinking, but I really think this could help him be more inspired for his writing if he’s hitting a blank, ’cause if I was in his position, I know it would help… And even if it doesn’t, at least he’ll know 😀
You can also check out the raws of his chapters, here http://ncode.syosetu.com/n4449cj/ without adblock to support him
And this is a tweet from the author https://twitter.com/orefura/status/1067586342173822976 after all the support he’s been receiving this week, thank you all, and keep it up
By the way, if you need anything or want to ask anything, hit me up on discord https://discord.gg/9Xhs8UX And thanks you for Wikidrawz for doing the fan-art for me, you can follow him on his instagram page right here https://www.instagram.com/wikidrawz/