My death flags show no sign of ending – Chapter 103
Chapter 103 is here!
So, there is a lot of exposition in this chapter, referencing some information that even I had forgotten, so if you’re having a hard time understanding something about astral bodies and the like, check out the start of chapter 76 and chapter 78, it should clear things up.
Anyway, here is the chapter, enjoy, and consider reading what’s under it, there is some good news.
【”….Didn’t think you’d wake up so early.”】
【”Well, you know, I just didn’t really feel like sleeping right now…”】
Right upon waking up, Vincent proceeded to exchange pleasantries with Cody. It looked like Cody was slightly teary-eyed, but it did not seem like pointing that out would be appropriate.
That aside, Harold was surprised. Vincent seemed to not only have regained his consciousness but also his ego.
Harold had considered this possibility during the fight. However, he had no confidence that it would actually fully happen, and ultimately, he had no idea why the brainwashing had been removed.
Therefore, having thought it would most likely be difficult to completely wake Vincent up, Harold was confused by this fast turn of event.
【”…That’s a complicated… expression you have there.”】
Said Vincent, although it looked like it was painful for him to talk. He had apparently sensed something from the expression in Harold’s eyes.
Indeed, some things were still unclear for Harold, and he needed Vincent to confirm them. However, there were a few things that needed to be done before any of that.
【”Hey, the patient woke up.”】
Harold informed a nurse who happened to walk past the room.
She did not think a patient in such a condition would wake up in less than a day, so she was very surprised, but she still immediately called a doctor. After the doctor was done with his examination, his conclusion was that Vincent’s recovery speed was extraordinary and that there should apparently have been no way for him to wake up so soon.
The doctor had said that this was one of the mysteries of the human body, but that statement only served to emphasize how inhuman was Vincent’s resilience. As one would expect from a boss character. Well, Harold’s healing magic likely had helped with the fast recovery, too.
Thanks to all this, Vincent completely sobered up about an hour later.
Once again, Harold, Cody, and this time, Vincent, gathered together to discuss the current state of affairs. However, the only who was aware of the situation was Harold, so the other two were actually just playing the role of listener.
【”So, I’d like you to tell me, Harold. What on earth is doctor Justus’ purpose?”】
Asked Vincent, whose voice had somewhat regained its strength.
Truthfully, what Harold was about to say was something that had to be carefully worded, but Harold’s mouth was hopeless when it came to speaking ambiguously or paving the way for a bombshell. Therefore, he decided to talk without beating around the bush.
【”He’s trying to bring someone back to life.”】
【”Come again? How?”】
Cody’s doubtful stance was only natural.
And yet, even though thinking about bringing people back from the dead was already this absurd, the method that that man wanted to use was even more absurd. After all, the method was related to the formation of celestial bodies.
Well, it was meaningless to give all the details, so Harold kept his words to a minimum, sharing only the information that was necessary.
【”Do you know about astral bodies?”】
【”I’ve heard about them but I don’t know much.”】
【”I do recall something about this being the theme of doctor Justus’ research…”】
【”That’s exactly right.”】
The word “Astral” meant that something was “Star-like” or that it was within the realm of the stars.
And an “Astral body” was rather defined as something that governed over the mind and emotions of a person. This was difficult to explain since it involved the game’s settings, but a brief explanation would be that an astral body was what made the human ego, turning the mind and the body into a single entity.
To begin with, everything in the universe was filled with astral bodies, and that included humans as well. In other words, each person had his or her own astral body. But upon their death, their astral bodies all gathered at a certain place.
That place was a star core, an enormous, solid astral-body. Incidentally, the energy leaking from that core was magical power, therefore making it a source of mana. It was similar in nature to the dragon veins that could be found within the Sumeragi territory.
【”Sorry but, I’m not really knowledgeable about the subject so I’m having kind of a hard time understanding this….”】
【”You don’t need to understand it perfectly. It’s sufficient for you to be aware that this is how things are.”】
Even Harold did not know much about the subject beyond what was explained in the game. All he knew was that this was what astral bodies were like in this world.
【”And so, Justus is trying to select the astral body of a dead person and to separate it from the gigantic, solid astral body that it is a part of. That would allow him to revive said person.”】
【”…Is that really possible?”】
【”He’s been preparing for his plan for over ten years. I doubt he’d fail at this stage.”】
In a way, this was the manifestation of a kind of trust that Harold held towards Justus. But truthfully, he was also saying that because he knew that the only thing that had stopped Justus from succeeding in the game was the intervention of Liner’s party.
With no hopes that the whole plan would just fail on its own, Harold believed Justus had to be stopped by any means necessary, or the consequences would be catastrophic.
【”Problem is, if that plan succeeds, there is a high chance that the whole continent will go down.”】
Cody let out a dumbfounded voice whilst a look of disbelief appeared on Vincent’s face.
This response was not unreasonable. It was a natural reaction to have upon suddenly being told such a thing.
【”…Why would it turn out like that?”】
【”Even though I said he wants to select a single person’s ego from that core, the number of astral bodies in there is enormous. Because of that, Justus isn’t going to interfere from the outside. Instead, he’s going to directly synchronize himself with the core.”】
In the original story, Justus was beaten before the synchronization was complete, and it all ended with a happy ending. Even so, he had still managed to use the energy of the core as a source of magical power in order to throw some very powerful and explosive attacks.
【”Once Justus completes the synchronization, he’ll remove all the extra egos inside of the core as a way of keeping only the one he wants, which will make the whole core collapse. Once the core is gone, the continent will sink, taking out most of humanity with it.”】
【”That’s insane… But then, even if he does succeed, the doctor and the person he’s planning to revive won’t be able to survive either, right?”】
【”Yeah, that’s right. That would be impossible for normal human beings.”】
【”…What do you mean?”】
【”There is a group of people who could actually survive in a world where the continent has gone down and only the drifting ruins of the star core remain. They’re the people of the stellar tribe.”】
【”Don’t tell me he….!”】
That name seemed to have made Cody and Vincent realize something major; Justus’ plan and the Bertis forest incident were related.
Well, taking on the stellar tribe hadn’t been the only goal that Justus had with that incident, he had also been trying to destroy the prestige of the knight order, and to therefore put a mental burden on Vincent, all the wile strengthening the army’s influence, starting by Harrison, who was under his control.
It had been very vicious double, or rather, triple trap.
【”To be more accurate, those people are ancestors of the stellar tribe, called the children of the stars.”】
Justus had mentioned before that the stellar’s tribe people had special organs. Because of this, the magic they used was different from that of ordinary people, and that special magic was the key to living in the astral world.
Justus called this special organ the “Oracle organ”. It was quite ironic for a man who did not have a single string of belief in god to use a term like “oracle”.
【”You said those children of the stars were ancestors of the stellar tribe, which means there shouldn’t be any of them left, right?”】
【”Yeah. That’s why Justus captured people from the stellar tribe and did experiments on them. To awaken their ancestors’ powers.”】
Although this was not depicted in the game, it seemed like Justus had been experimenting secretly on the stellar tribe’s people even before the beginning of the original story. The only reason Harold knew that information now was because of the time he had spent working for Justus.
In fact, the real priority of the Bertis forest incident had been to affect Vincent psychologically in order for Justus to be able to use him for his end plans. Gathering bodies had all been a secondary goal.
Given all that, while Justus had said that his experiments had required more bodies than he initially thought, getting Lilium and Ventos had probably been enough for him. And perhaps the reason their feelings were restrained was because he had tempered with that previously mentioned oracle organ, which was an organ that was connected to the ego and emotions.
At any rate, his actions were revolting.
【”The Oracle organ that the stellar tribe’s people have inside them allows them to amplify their power by boosting their mana with their emotions. However, this use of the organ is actually defective compared to how the children of the stars used it. Those people were able to directly draw out the energy of the star core in order to use it as magic power.”】
【”Hence the name, I see.”】
【”And you said that star core is a gathering of different egos, a solid astral body. I can’t imagine the power those children of the stars could create if they were to gather the emotions inside that star core and turned them into magical power.”】
【”The thing is that Justus has already succeeded with his experiments. All that’s left to do for him is to synchronize himself with the star core, to select the astral body he wants, and then he’ll use an experiment subject’s oracle organ to absorb his own ego.”】
【”The more I hear about it, the scarier this sounds. So that’s what your actions have been all about, trying to stop this plan from succeeding…”】
Cody let out a long sigh that he had been holding inside him for a while.
As Cody became silent, Vincent asked yet another question.
【”Assuming everything you just said is true, why can the children of the stars survive in a world where the whole continent is gone?”】
【”I don’t know the details, but I heard that the oracle organ has more than one use. Maybe there is some kind of trick to it.”】
This question was never really touched on in the game either. There was a fan theory that said that the children of stars could turn into ethereal bodies upon synchronizing with the star core, and that, by doing so, they could keep their ego even in the astral world.
That would be a form of astral projection… In simpler terms, it would be something like an out-of-body experience. Granted, that kind of setting would imply completely stepping in the domain of the occult, but, after all, this was a world where monsters and magic existed.
【”Putting that aside, Vincent…”】
【”How the hell did you get back from that state of delirium? And how did you fall into that state in the first place?”】
【”Sorry but I don’t remember well. I have a vague memory of doctor Justus calling out to me and then talking to me in his laboratory…”】
【”What did he talk to you about?”】
【”It wasn’t anything important so I don’t recall all that well. Lately I hadn’t been seeming all that well so we had a casual chat to help me take my mind off of things.”】
【”When was this?”】
【”Well, what day is it today?”】
【”Then… It was about four days ago.”】
It was a wonder what had happened to Vincent in those four days. It was unlikely that Justus had fought him directly, rather, he had most likely used a drug or something similar to make Vincent fall asleep before brainwashing him.
It wasn’t crazy to think that the brainwashing had been cancelled during the battle because Justus had not had enough time to apply it properly in those few days. But Harold still did not understand how exactly that had happened.
【”Do you remember anything from before you woke up?”】
【”I do remember fighting with you, but the memories I have of it start from around the middle of the fight. I was in a strange state. It wasn’t a state of consciousness, it was more like a dream.”】
【”Long story short, you only started being completely conscious again when you woke up in the hospital bed earlier?”】
【”Well, yeah… Wait, actually, no. At the end of the fight, in the instant right before I passed out, my senses and consciousness became clear again for just one instant.”】
【”Maybe it was just the pain that made you conscious again?”】(Cody)
【”If that was it, then I think that attack from before would have been plenty enough…”】
Indeed, it was hard to imagine that the pain alone had awakened Vincent given that, before the last attack, Vincent had taken on Harold’s most powerful blow, lighting clash.
Furthermore, Harold’s very last attack had been nothing more than a simple strike to the abdomen anyway, and he had merely used the handle of his sword.
Having thought of something, Harold walked towards his two swords, which were leaning against a wall, and pulled one of them out of its scabbard. At the base of this grey blunt sword, in the border between the handle and the blade, was a jade green crystal.
That crystal was the sword’s distinguishing factor. It had the power to improve the user’s fighting strength by absorbing his or her magical power, but the process slowly erased the wielder’s lifespan in exchange.
In truth, Harold knew that this was how the sword worked because his body could feel the absorption when he used it first hand.
(But is that really how it works? If it really absorbed my mana, my magic would have been weakened and I wouldn’t have been able to use my strengthening spell properly, would I?)
Maybe it had not caused any harm because Harold, as one of the main story’s characters, had an extraordinary reserve of mana. But even so, if a life-endangering amount of his magic power was consumed, he should have been hindered to a certain extent. So the amount consumed couldn’t be much.
If so, then it would have made much more sense to explain that the sword improved the user’s efficiency in battle by absorbing their life force instead of saying that it was by absorbing their magical power.
However, if it indeed just directly absorbed the user’s life force, there should have been no need to even mention magic power and so forth.
Given all that, what if the sword absorbed something else beside the user’s mana and life force? If so, what would that “something” be? What was there other than mana and life force that would threaten the user’s life upon being absorbed? And, in the first place, what were the true colors of this crystal that had the ability to absorb that “something”?
Once he started thinking about this, Harold was surged by a bad feeling.
【”Harold? What’s wrong?”】
When Cody called out to him, Harold quickly raised his face. It seemed like he had lost himself too deep in his thoughts.
【”…It’s nothing. “】
【”Really? ’cause you’ve been staring at that sword with a gloomy face.”】
【”I said it’s nothing.”】
【”Can’t you just be honest, man?”】
Cody refused to ignore the problem.
He was speaking in a light manner, like usual, but he was likely concerned in his own way. Maybe he was trying to lighten the heavy atmosphere.
Perhaps because he had noticed that, Vincent interjected with a question.
【”Can I ask you one last thing?”】
【”Who on earth is the person that doctor Justus is trying to bring back to life?”】
Before answering, Harold looked at Vincent’s straight towards his eyes. He was showing his resolve that, no matter what Justus’ motivations were, his plan had to be stopped.
【”Estelle Lakes. She was that lunatic’s one true love.”】
(TL: Please do read what’s under here)
TLR note: So, last week I asked you guys to show your support to the author and all of you have done so way more than I ever thought you would, so, on behalf of the author, thank you. The author has responded by the way, I invite you to retweet and like the tweet right here https://twitter.com/orefura/status/1067586342173822976
Here is a translation of the tweet: “In the past few days, lots of people have been sending me messages about how they’re fans of Death flags and wishing me good luck, but my English is at the level of second grade of high school, so I can barely read the tweets, let alone reply to them. Well, can’t be helped, guess I’ll just have to answer by writing more chapters”
So, clearly, he really appreciated it 😀
I’d like to thank Wikidrawz, who allowed all of this to get going with his fanart, do check out his work at https://www.instagram.com/wikidrawz/
I’d also thank everyone who turned up, most notably Alice Eugeo and MrKiddo who also tried their hand at fanart, and someone who had done a wonderful drawing of Erica that I can’t find anymore unfortunately
Maybe you didn’t realize it but he has responded to lot of you guys here https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%40orefura
If you still wish to show your support to the author, https://twitter.com/orefura this is his twitter page, where you can subscribe to him or send him a tweet, even in an English since it looks he does understand it a bit (based on his answers)
Anyway, I’ll see you next chapter, which might come out sooner than you think. On that note, I wish you a great day, ’till next time!