Translator and editor: SaltyTank
Having just fought a bitter battle, the three took the chance to catch their breaths.
Just when Andre was about to ask Hilde about what happened inside the village, someone sneakily poked his head out from the village entrance.
The man seemed to be getting on in years. With a terrified look on his face, he looked around to confirm that the gods were gone then locked his eyes on the trio.
His terrified expression was soon replaced by anger. He tried to jump out of the tunnel, but his trembling body sent him tumbling to the ground. The old man quickly got onto his feet and walked over with his finger pointed at Andre.
‘You, you bastards! You sent the carrier pigeon, right? Devious fiends!’
‘Is the village fine? We—’
Andre tried talking to the man but was immediately cut short.
‘I know who you people are!’ The man yelled harshly at them. ‘Everyone’s saying that a group calling themselves “The God Slaying Swords” are causing trouble everywhere! If we don’t give you benefits you’ll attract the gods over!’
‘What the hell was that! Are you brain dead? Can’t you see that we saved you people?’ Hilde could no longer withstand the one-sided abuse and screamed back. She was about to punch the man, but Andre held her back.
‘You, what are you trying… Yeah, trying to silent me after getting exposed? Everyone, come out! They finally showed their true colours!’
Having heard his cry, people hiding in the tunnel revealed themselves—all of them were holding weapons. The so-called weapons were no more than hoes and hammers, but the villagers all had tears and snot over their grim faces. They glared daggers at Andre and Hilde as though the two were their mortal enemies.
They were mere civilians who did not even know how to properly hold a weapon. Only Andre or Hilde alone would have been enough to take care of every last one of them. Still, their weapons were not for dealing with humans. The two silently looked at the approaching crowd.
‘Stay away from our home!’
‘Why did you kill my family…’
‘A life for a life!’
The villagers screamed all sorts of abuse, venting their pent up emotions at Andre’s group. Normally, they would simply turn and leave when faced with such a situation, but this time they had Jade, who was severely injured.
‘I saw it! This woman did nothing and left uncle to die under the wall!’
‘Oi oi oi! Stop blabbering nonsense!’ Hilde scowled. ‘Didn’t you see I was busy fighting?’
‘You can even kill gods, how hard can it be to just go and save someone? Excuses!’
‘Damn right! How terrible!’
The crowd’s emotions boiled up further to the point where it was about to get out of hand. It was then Andre stood up, which silenced everyone.
Andre, who had always looked gloomy, was now the embodiment of fiendishness. The vicious expressions added with his bloody arm left everyone intimidated. As if that was not enough, he lifted his sword.
‘Wanna try me?’
No one replied. The dead silence was almost like that of a funeral.
‘My sword has never killed humans, but that doesn’t mean I won’t fight back. I don’t want to make this my first time.’
The villagers were still surrounding the group. Despite yapping their mouths ever so fiercely, no one dared to actually make a move.
It was not the first time Andre had encountered a similar situation. He had always tried to communicate first, yet he had never once succeeded. Gradually, he started to care less and less about what people thought about his actions and was getting used to the same old reaction from the villagers.
‘Hilde,’ Andre said in a low voice. ‘Strap your sheath to Jade’s back for stabilisation. Time to go.’
Hilde took both her swords out and tied them to Jade’s back with a lasso that was supposed to be her secret weapon. It was a simple setup to avoid bending her already fractured bones, too simple to be frank, but that was the best they could do for now. Their original plan was to have the village doctor treat her; clearly that was not going to happen right now.
Andre pointed his chin at the direction where they had come from. Hilde nodded and picked up Jade by holding only her swords. Slowly, the two walked away.
‘Wa, wait! You—’
‘Hm? Wanna block our path?’
Although the villagers started an uproar because Andre and Hilde tried to leave, they were quickly ‘pacified’ by Andre’s terrifying eyes and sword. At last, they unwillingly made way and could only look as the three left.
Andre only sheathed his sword when they were dozens of steps away and were completely concealed in smog. He then helped Hilde out with carrying Jade.
‘Don’t force it, you’re injured.’
‘It’s just an arm, it can’t kill me.’
Hilde simply snorted and made no further effort to stop him.
‘Sor, sorry… Because of me, you guys were…’
‘What was that? They’re the ones being ungrateful! Damn, I’m hella mad!’
‘Your only mistake was barging into battle.’
Hearing what Andre said, Jade fell silent. It was indeed her fault, and she was well aware that she had done something outrageous.
‘Hey, I’m not blind alright? If not for Jade, do you think you’ll be keeping this arm? Prommel’s magic can’t reattach limbs, ya know.’
‘It doesn’t matter.’
‘It doesn’t matter? This guy… Argh, screw it. Hmph.’ Hilde looked away angrily, but her expression crumbled when she met Jade’s eyes. ‘We’re the ones who should be apologising. Coming all the way here for nothing and getting you hurt.’
‘That’s, that’s not true.’
The three had nothing more to say, and a depressing atmosphere formed around them.
Hilde could tell Andre was in low spirits despite his silence.
After all, he had always put his life on the line. When faced with tough decisions in battle, he had always placed others’ lives over anything else, regardless of how dangerous it might be for him. Hilde was not sure if she should call him dumb or being too kind to others. Compared to the lives of others, Hilde wanted him to get through battle unscathed more.
Yet, Hilde was forced to see those saved by Andre cast their hatred on him, blaming everything on him and having him carry their sins.
It was not his fault; he was innocent.
Hilde shook the thought out of her mind. They carried Jade a bit further, and after making sure they were far enough from the village, they came to a stop at a spacious area. Seeing Hilde pull out all sorts of tools, Jade realised they were going to have a break there.
Andre took out a cylindrical item from his bag and set it up on the ground. He tried to ignite the flint and steel with just one hand, but Hilde could not bear watching him struggle like that and grabbed it from him.
‘Cover your ears and don’t get scared. This thing’s loud,’ Andre said as he pointed the thing at the sky and stepped back.
A fireball shot out from the cylinder and darted straight for the heavens, creating a massive explosion high up in the sky. Jade could even feel the ground shaking slightly.
Countless red sparks rained down from above, flickering through the air as they fell. The dark, grey sky was dyed red for a moment.
‘What… is that? It’s not for attracting the gods, right…?’
‘Com’on, little Jade. We’ve treated you well, so don’t go ahead and believe what those fools say, alright? Actually, it’d be nice if we could attract the gods.’
‘It’s an SOS flare.’ Andre wrapped up the girls’ awkward conversation. ‘We did try to attract the gods with something similar, though we never succeeded. Because Marie’s magic can detect vibrations, they’ll know we need help.’
‘That’s right, that’s right! We’ll just stay here and wait for Prommel. Jade, just lie there like a good girl, kay? We’re always here.’
Hearing Hilde’s comforting words, Jade’s emotions finally settled down. The fear that had been tugging at her mind since a while ago slowly but surely disappeared.
She then thought back on how she suddenly ran in to defend Andre; just the thought alone was enough to make her sweat. Though that did not mean she regretted her actions.
The wounds on Andre’s arm had sealed already thanks to his great resilience and vitality. Jade stole glances at him while he was cleaning the wounds, feeling grateful that everyone survived.
After another few random thoughts, Jade quietly drifted off to sleep.