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Volume 1 – 58 – Makia Repents

Volume 1: Chapter 058: Makia Repents

Author: かっぱ同盟/友麻碧

Link: https://ncode.syosetu.com/n3862be/

Translated by Zzonkedd

Edited by Gumihou

 

The Gods are looking down at us. [1] More specifically, a mosaic mural rendition of the gods and goddesses of this world are looking down at us from a dome-shaped ceiling.

“…”

My eyes are wide open.

Did I even blink?

What is going on?

I have the impression of voices earlier. This dimly lit space feels too quiet now. It takes me a little longer to realise that the light shining down on us are multicoloured shafts of light filtered through stained glass.

And what is this? I feel like I heard a voice just now…

“This place is…”

“Ow ow ow, what the heck?”

 

The three of us suddenly became weak back at the port and passed out. By the time we came to, we were all here.

 

“This is the inside of the cathedral. Look, I think that’s the black door you mentioned?”

Ulysses stands up and points at the suspicious-looking door from back then. Tooru also pushes himself up and looks around suspiciously.

As for me, my body is so weak it takes all my energy just to get to my feet.

“Oi, are you alright?”

“I’m fine. Just what the heck is going on?”

“Possibly our bodies could not keep up with our magic. We may have our memories and abilities, but our bodies are too immature and untrained since we have never used so much of our powers before. In short, we are too weak for our magic.”

That might explain the sudden weakening, but that does not explain how we [1] fainted at a busy seaport only to wake up alone deep inside a temple.

Moreover, there’s that suspicious door in front of us. [1] If the Hero is to be believed, the time to open it is now. The festival is over, and all three of us are here.

“Should we open it?” [2] Tooru asks.

“… He did say to open it once everything is over…” [2] I say as I slowly approach the door.

[1] The black door looks solid. [3] A huge tree was carved on the black surface. Still, I try pushing it with my hand. The moment I touched the door, the bright red branches and leaves stretches out and the door split open from the centre and slowly parted.

“…. It opened…”

We exchange glances, then step inside.

It is dim inside with no real light source. Whatever light we have seems to come from the stone steps leading down and down and down. Eventually, we step through a door onto a very wide floor.

[1] Along the walls of the floor are countless murals. It looks almost like they have been preserved here.

“These are murals that depict Maydea’s myths. A lot of these have never been seen by the public.”

“Oh, but I’ve seen this one before.” I point at the largest, [1] most prominently placed mural. It is the same as the one depicted in stained glass at Karted’s church.

“The Return of the Gods… yes, that’s one of the most famous ones.”

“So, I guess this is the original?”

“It’s possible. Although, they did say that the one displayed at the Cathedral is the real thing.”

[4] The figures in the murals, the gods and goddesses, are all facing sideways. Only the last god faces us.

I recalled feeling that this was rather odd when I first saw it.

“If I remember correctly, the Bishop from Karted told us that the last god is the God of Death, [4] that we can always tell because he faces the front.”

“Heeehh… it’s surprising that Tooru knows this. But, yes, ‘front facing’ often has death-related connotations. We can immediately tell that he is the God of Death at first glance.”

“… hm…”

I don’t really get it. [1] This kind of academic talk and stuff are way over my head. As Yuri continues to talk, I casually glance over the other murals until one of them caught my eye. I stare at it in shock.

“Hey, hey, look at that one!!”

“…?”

The mural [1] I am pointing at depicts the image of monstrous giants with several arms and wings sprouting out of the backs of their grotesque forms. Something that looks like Saturn’s planet, complete with planetary rings, floated above their heads.

They look a lot like the giants we had just fought.

“Are these… the giant soldiers from earlier?”

“No… this is the record of the battle with the giants back in the age of the myths. The Gigant Magriva…”

“Gigant Magriva…?

“Yes, Magriva is Maydea’s Goddess of War, Para Magriva’s name. Eventually, the word starts to mean just war or battle. According to the myth, the battle of the giants is called ‘Gigant Margriva’ or [‘Giant’s War]… I wonder if today’s giants have any connections with them…” Ulysses says as he strokes his chin slowly.

“Anyway, let’s keep going. I think there are more stairs there,” Tooru jerks his thumb down a partially hidden corridor at the end of this floor.

[1] Having nothing better to suggest, we went down more stairs.

[6a] The stairs gradually went from dusty to damp. Soon, the ground made audible squishing noises as the stairs evened out. Eventually, we step around a corner and breathe in fresh cold air.

[6a] Another corner and the dark gloomy stairs suddenly opened into brilliant greenery. White, unfamiliar flowers bloomed on mossy ground. The earth smells rich and fresh with life.

[6a] Within the centre of the underground garden, it could only be underground, is a huge tree with branches that extended like a giant umbrella.

“Percelis!!”

Ulysses rushes forward. Only then, did I notice the figure of the Green Shrine Maiden crumpled against the base of the tree.

“What happened, Percelis?!”

“…ah, it’s… Ulysses…” the girl smiles up with a wan look on her face. She tries to push herself up, and Ulysses supports her back.

“I’m fine, really. It’s just the shock from the Green Curtain. It came down this tree and resonated in me. The Green Shrine Maiden resonates with this tree, you know…”

“… That’s…”

She suddenly hops to her feet and thrills, ‘I’m all good!’

Ulysses still looks worried, but then his expression suddenly changes again.

[6b] I have never seen him so still and so emotionless. He did not even blink.

Curious, Tooru and I approach them.

The two of them are… standing by a casket in the ground. No, the casket is underwater, surrounded by some kind of vine-like greenery.

Inside the casket lay a young boy with a pale face. It looks like he is sleeping peacefully…

“W-What is this…”

“O-oi, there are more…” Tooru is standing a little further away and, indeed, among the roots of the trees are other caskets.

Even so, Ulysses remained motionless by the boy’s casket.

“Yuri…?”

He is behaving very strangely.

He is staring down at the boy in the casket, so I can’t catch a good look on his face, but he is being really odd. Suddenly, he collapsed to his knees.

As I watch, he begins to tremble and cover his face with his hands.

“W-why is… Shuma here…”

Tooru and I are confused by his actions.

Percelis is looking anxiously at Ulysses.

 

“So, you opened the door… Demon Kings…”

I shoot a look at the source of the voice. The former hero, now General Kanon and the former Wisteria Princess, now Princess Shatma, are just stepping into the garden.

The hero’s usual sharp, hawk-like gaze scours over us from under his military cap.

Then, he drops a shocking truth on us.

“White Sage… the corpse laying inside the water casket is indeed your son, Shuma. The son you had with your wife, the Green Shrine Maiden of 2000 years ago.”

“?!?!”

[6c] Tooru and I stare in shock at General Kanon. We turn equally shocked eyes at Ulysses, who is still kneeling wordlessly by the casket.

“W-What do you mean by that, hero?!” I snap back.

“… Before questioning me, you should take a look at the rest of the caskets first. You may find some familiar faces there.”

“?!”

Tooru and I hurry off to look. [1] I think we are just too shocked to worry about him killing us just then.

“… What…”

[6d] At first, the corpses we found are all strangers. Then, we stumble over one that contains a man with black hair and a pale face.

“… haha… what is the meaning of this?” Tooru’s laughter trembles uncertainly in the air. “To think I’d see the body of the Black Demon King from 2000 years ago…”

[6] Indeed, it is the body of his former self. Right now, Tooru is holding his head in shock, his entire body shaking.

I look through the rest of the coffins impatiently. [6e] I come across the former body of the White Sage and had to take a deep breath to keep my emotions in check.

[6e] I close my eyes and breathe again, mentally preparing myself for what I am to find. My heart pounds fiercely as I look through the rest of the caskets.

“….?”

However, none of the caskets holds my former body.

 

“Your body is not here, Crimson Witch.”

“… Why…”

“Why, you ask? It’s very simple. You destroyed yourself so thoroughly that not even pieces of your body could be found. I was destroyed along with you, of course.”

“You… just what are you…”

Tooru is standing in front of the casket that contained his former body. Ulysses is kneeling by the body of his son from a previous life. They are both speechless and dumbfounded.

I have no idea what is going on. However, I cannot falter now. Locking my knees together, I managed to stay upright even as my body is cold with sweat and faced the hero.

For some reason, I am sick with fear for his next words.

“Crimson Witch… that casket with the boy. That casket is meant to hold your body.”

“……?!”

“The Eight Caskets here draws power for the Magic Curtain that protects this Sanctuary. What fuels them are the corpses of powerful beings, in other words, the corpses of Demon Kings.”

The hero is stepping closer and closer. As he steps closer, I step back.

Princess Shatma remains in place, watching everything but saying nothing.

Eventually, there is nowhere to go, and I find myself looking up at the Hero, who is looking down at me with sharp eyes.

He continues, “A power source, a body with over 1 million MP that appears only every 1000 years is needed to protect this sacred place. That is your identity ‘now’. [4] Even so, things happened because you did not properly fulfil your role back then.”

“…”

“2000 years ago, the people of the Sanctuary feared leaving one of the caskets empty and looked for a substitute. The obvious choice was the son of the White Sage and the Green Shrine Maiden, Shuma. At 10 years old, his life was cut off and his body placed in the water casket.”

The hero glances at Ulysses and Percelis.

“The Green Shrine Maiden of 2000 years ago… [1] her husband and son were both killed, but that is not all. In order to create a successor for her role, she is forced to wed another man. The sanctuary determined that the successor had to be a blood daughter of the original shrine maiden. Her body is here, at the root of this tree. From her appearance, you can tell that she died young. After giving birth to a daughter, she took her own life without my interference.”

“…”

Ulysses is already naturally pale. However, each time the Hero speaks, he seems to turn paler and paler. He shakes his head in disbelief.

“What nonsense is this?! That… that’s unforgivable…” [6] Ulysses is glaring at the Hero with hatred, [1] even as his body hunch protectively over the casket.

I have never seen such an expression on his face.

“Yuri… control yourself,” Tooru pounces over to hold Ulysses down when it looks like he is about to launch himself at the Hero and physically attack him.

“What is there to forgive or not forgive? The ones who did all this were the people of the Sanctuary. Moreover, they were long dead. Your hate is misdirected, White Sage.”

“That, that… I know that!! I know…”

Ulysses is trembling in place, shaking with unspent hatred and overwhelming emotions.

He collapses onto the cold earth, slamming his trembling fist against the ground repeatedly. “Why… why did this happen? He was… he was just a child, we even made a promise…”

“Yuri…”

I could feel his sorrow and hatred as he covers his mouth to stop the tears.

It is only natural for him to feel this way.

After his death, his child had been unjustly killed.

“Even so, having the child in the casket did nothing. That’s because the caskets require very specific vessels. Eight very specific vessels from eight souls.”

“… Eight… vessels…?”

“Crimson Witch, you were one of these souls… because we could not secure your body back then, the Green Curtain had been operating in its imperfect form these past 2000 years. Absolute Defence could only be deployed when all eight curtains are complete.”

“…”

“The foolish decisions of the Sanctuary people were spurred by the turmoil around them. With the Black Demon King dead, the demons were left unchecked. The Crimson Witch died, destroying herself and half of the Western Continent. This caused a chain reaction where the balance of power was shaken, and conflict took over the world. I admit… the tragedy happened because I failed to retrieve the Crimson Witch’s body.”

The hero’s gaze lowers slightly. His eyes are still too cold.

“… That’s…”

I look down at the weeping Ulysses with wide eyes. [6f] So, it’s all… my fault? I don’t quite understand everything about being power sources for the Green Curtain, but, seeing the bodies of the Black Demon King and the White Sage, and the little boy’s body where mine is supposed to be…

[6f] Was I wrong to act so viciously back then?

“I- I’m sorry, Yuri… I’m… sorry…”

Whatever strength left in my legs fades away and I collapse to the ground. My body feels heavy with regret and sorrow for my friend. “I’m so sorry, Yuri. If… if it weren’t for me…”

“No… Maki-chan, it’s not your fault… you’re not in the wrong…”

For every apology that fell out of my mouth, Ulysses shakes his head.

Whatever resentment or hatred he has in his body remains inside of him, tormenting him over and over again.

I can’t stand to watch him do this to himself.

What do I do?

“Ulysses… what’s wrong? Don’t cry…”

At that time, Percelis, who didn’t seem to know anything, hugs Ulysses and is saying ‘Don’t cry’ over and over again.

She is shaking too. Fearful and unknowing, yet still holding on to him strongly.

Just what is it like to be Ulysses now?

He is hugging her back, “Forgive me… forgive me, please…”

He is begging for forgiveness from the remnants of his former wife. Tears stream down his cheeks as he apologizes again and again.

Each word of apology seems to hollow out my chest, leaving a hole where my heart, my soul, should be. I know, I was once a person who did cruel things just for the heck of it. In the end, I even died brimming with arrogance, destroying half a continent and causing misery to the rest of the world.

How strange… to think that I had been living my life casually all this while, away from the suffering I had caused. How strange that I can only regret it after seeing someone I love suffering in front of my eyes…

 

“Oi, Makia. Get a hold of yourself!!”

“… Tooru… I… what should I do…”

“If you give in to your regrets now it’s over. Just take in those feelings and suck it up!! We still haven’t heard anything important yet!”

Tooru is the only strong person here.

Rather, he is left standing since the rest of us had fallen. He had no choice but to be strong even after seeing his own body in that stupid coffin.

“Oi, Hero! You said that eight vessels are needed, right? And they had to be Demon Class people, basically people like us. Are you telling us that there are [1] five others with over a million MP…?”

“Close, but not quite. While it is true that the Sanctuary requires eight Demon Class people, it also needs a collector of bodies. If you include me, there should be nine Demon Class people.”

“Nine?!”

[6] “Only I reappear in this world every 1000 years. As for the other eight, Vabilophos decides who would appear every 1000 years as not all eight would appear together. You may not remember anything from beyond 2000 years ago, but you and five others have been reincarnated over and over again. I have been fulfilling my duty of killing each vessel and putting them in the caskets from the beginning of time. Over and over again…”

 

“… The beginning of… time…?”

The Hero’s words are finally penetrating my mind and I am able to process them somewhat. [7b] Finally, I raise my head and ask, “Is that…”

“So that is why… the number nine is significant.”

“… Yuri…?!”

Ulysses had a dark expression. He still looks sad and angry; however, he is also very calm. After gently letting go of Percelis and wiping her tears with his sleeves, he said in that same oddly mechanical tone.

“It’s quite simple, really. If you look back at the myths, the number nine comes up quite often. The ‘Nine Pillars of Maydea’ for example,” said Tooru with a complicated smile. “The Nine Creator Gods who created this world… haha, what an excellent story, eh?”

The hero narrows his eyes. Killer intent fills the air as he stares at us. “Indeed. You fools have forgotten everything. The true identity of the Creator Gods of Maydea… that is the true identity of those who belong to the Demon King class.”

We could not yet fully understand his words at this point.

Hatred and resentment are too thick in his voice. I had the sudden feeling that this was something the Hero had wanted to reveal for the longest time…

 

[Gumihou: The story is excellent, no doubt about it. The execution needs work, but that’s why novels ought to be seen by editors before they are published]

 

[1] Add details

[2] Add dialogue tags. Gumi is also not entirely certain of the speaker, but gives her best guess.

[3] Okay, so the black door has always been at normal people height and not a literal hole above or below. The ‘tree’ was actually carved on and not a huge tree in the middle of the room with a black door on it. Yes? Is that right? I can’t tell, really… We’ll see if this changes.

It is unclear whether the ‘door’ is attached to a wall or is a free-standing door like Doraemon’s ‘Anywhere Door’ tho…

[4] Repetitive words at work, reworded them a little

[5] Add the definition to the dialogue

[6] Adjust the description for dramatic purposes.

[6a] Original was:

When we went down the dusty and damp stairs, I was able to get a good view and some fresh, cold air. There was a world of greenery here. White unfamiliar flowers bloomed on the mossy and fresh land. In the centre of the large underground garden, there was a huge tree.

[6b] Original was:

Ulysses looked very worried, but he found something next to her and changed his expression in a split second. He was speechless and didn’t even blink.

[6c] Original was:

To the words that came out of General Kanon’s mouth, me and Tooru just opened our eyes wide and stared at Ulysses who was kneeling on the floor, speechless. To my surprise, I asked him back…

[6d] Original was:

After checking the faces of some strangers, me and Tooru found a familiar corpse. A man with black hair and a pale face.

[6e] Original was:

Along the way, I found the coffin containing the former body of Ulysses, and my held my breath. Then, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and checked it once again. The indescribable sense of what I was about to find out made my heart beat very fast.

[6f] Original was:

I regretted what I had done after the truth was revealed. It was easy for me to understand why my body wasn’t here along with all the other Demon Kings. Even though it was said to be the fuel for developing the green curtain, I never thought I could be so wrong.

Gumihou blinks: Ahem, yeah, let’s see what we can do about these.

[7] Dude, what?

[7a] Original was:

The coffins of the “eight” bodies lined up here are the magical fuel that powers up the green curtain of the sanctuary. I’ve been responsible for recovering it for the longest time… What I needed was the ‘corpses’ of you all, the Demon Kings

[7b] Original was:

I was finally able to once again hear the words that the hero had to say. I raised my head, slightly turned to him without much power remaining and asked…

“I see… so that’s why there are nine people…”

“… Yuri…?!”

Ulysses had a dark expression, but now he looks very calm

Gumihou: Excuse you? Who’s talking?!

 

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