Ah, **! I really have to quit this sadistic hobby.
Zich felt conflicted inside. This was the first realevent he experienced since he regressed, so some of hisDemon Lord persona seeped out for a few moments.
People who live kindly do not have this kind of hobby.
Even with his lack of common sense, Zich was aware of this. However, the thrill he felt from tormenting Sude was more than what he had expected. Both Sude and Lubella looked shocked by Zichs words, and Sude began to appear doubtful after shouting confidently just a moment ago.
“I-Im not going to be tricked by such a bluff…!”
Zich put one finger forward in front of Sude.
“Followers of Bellid are way too cautious to reveal their entire plan to their collaborators. No, anyone with common sense wont do that to someone who they are planning to use and throw away. Theres no way those bastards told a low life like you, the statues locations. In that way, I guess they are like everyone else but strange in other ways.”
And Zichs sadistic tendencies made him alsostrange in other ways.
“Second, even without you, I can find the other statues by myself. To be exact, those guys will tell me where they are.”
“That doesnt even make sense—”
“Ah, Im not gonna tell you more than that.”
Zich began to swing his dagger in circles. Sudes eyes circled around and around with the daggers movement.
“Because its going to be useless information for you anyways.”
Zich stopped swinging his dagger and held it properly.
“W-what are you doing! Then, why did you ask me that question…!”
“Oh, that I mean, its kind of embarrassing to say, but thats just my hobby.”
“Yeah! My personality is really rotten. But you probably knew that, right That was one of my evil and trashy hobbies.”
“…I dont think you should bring yourself down like that,” Lubella replied as if she was dumbfounded. However, Zich replied back without a shred of embarrassment, “But its the truth.”
Lubella did not reply. No, she could not reply because she was speechless. Regardless of what Lubella felt, Zich continued, “Even though I say it is a hobby of mine, its really nothing. I just like to give hope to people who are about to die soon. The type of hope I give is different depending on the situation. One example of giving false hope would be something like,I wont be able to harm you because I need to know where Bellus statue is.”
Zich held back his laughter.
“It was really hilarious to see that. As soon as you thought you had the advantage, your attitude changed right away. I guess that type of reaction is typical for guys like you.”
“Ah, that, what…!”
Sude opened his mouth to talk, closed it, and then opened it again. It seemed as if he wanted to say something, but all that came out of his mouth were meaningless gasps.
“Before I end your life, you had a sweet dream, right Then its time for you to really leave this world.”
Sude felt as if a cold light was surrounding the dagger again.
“W-wait a moment! I really know the locations of the other statues!”
“Oh, really Thats amazing. Those Bellid bastards dont teach anyone that unless they have a very deep connection with them. Isnt that more of a reason to kill you”
“N-no! Im not…!”
“Why dont you calm down for a bit Shouldnt you have expected this when you decided to vigorously insult an important figure like Lady Lubella, and most of all, me You should face the consequences of your actions.”
With the mention of Lubellas name from Zich, Sude changed the subject of his pleas to Lubella. As if he hadnt poured out sharp and vicious words just a moment ago, Sude showed a sad smile and began begging Lubella.
“Please stop this person! I-Im a victim! Im the type of person who the people of Karuwiman must protect! I was just so taken back by his question. My words came out a bit carelessly! I swear that I have no connections to the followers of Bellid!”
Sude quickly began to deny all his previous statements. Of course, no matter how nave Lubella was, there was no way she believed Sudes words. But as a follower of Karuwiman who had to uphold the value of everyones lives, she could not help but hesitate.
“Do you really have to kill this person”
Sudes expression brightened.
Zich lowered his dagger. Then he folded his arms and leaned on Bellus statue to see what Lubella would do next.
“I guess so. Do we really have to kill him”
“…I didnt think you would reply back with a question.”
Zich swiped the dagger with one of his hands and continued, “Then why dont you rethink whether we really have to kill this person or not Or what should we do next”
Lubella looked down at Sude. His eyes were now looking at her as if she was an angel from Heaven; his sudden change in attitude was disgusting. However, as a follower of Karuwiman, she could not mix her personal feelings with proper judgment.
“…This persons actions cant be forgiven. Even if we dont kill him right now, he is going to be executed by the country, and if Karuwimans General Assembly takes him, he probably wont survive.”
Sudes complexion turned green.
“I also agree that even the worst criminals have the right to be judged under the law, but if we let him live now, wont he obviously escape”
“I-I will never escape! Plus, I told you, I have no relations with the people of Bellid!”
Sude was pathetically begging to them, but both Lubella and Zich paid no attention to his cries and focused on their conversation as if Sude was already a dead corpse.
“There are a few reasons to let him live but many reasons to kill him.”
“Yes, that is true. So what do you think is the best decision”
It was better to kill Sude. However, Lubella had a hard time saying it out loud. No matter how evil he was, it was still a matter of ending a persons life. For different reasons, Zich and Sude waited for Lubellas following words.
Suddenly, Lubella remembered something that Weig said to her before:Im repeating this, Lady Lubella, but its not enough to be just patient and nice. As followers of Karuwiman, not only do we comfort people, but we also protect them. We must have strong hearts.
Determination filled Lubellas eyes.
“…Lets kill him.”
Sude felt as if his heart was physically plummeting down to the ground. However, there was no one here who cared about how he felt.
While stepping on the puddle, Zich headed towards Sude.
“W-wait a moment! I really did nothing wrong! You guys are making a big mistake! You are trying to kill an innocent person!”
Sudes desperate and miserable cries could not stop Zich or move Lubella.
“Fuck! You think I will die like this! Im gonna live a good, long life! Im going to live a luxurious life like one of those rich bastards! My destiny is to not slowly rot away in an old store and kick the bucket! Shit! Lubella, you **ing evil witch! Im a **ing victim! If you are a follower of Karuwiman, protect me now—!”
An eerie sound of piercing flesh immediately ended Sudes ringing cries.
Freshly cut meat dropped into the pool. As if the loud cries a moment ago had all been an illusion, the basement filled with complete silence.
* * *
Lubella sat blankly in an abandoned house; they used this house as a place of refuge for a short time. To hide the fact that they were hiding there, the door and windows were tightly shut, but they could not stop the light from seeping into the room. Seeing that the light was slowly turning orange, Lubella thought that it must be time for the sun to set.
The door slowly opened, and Zich appeared from his trip outside.
“Was everything alright”
“Nothing much happened.”
Zich closed the door. Then he carefully walked towards Lubella and sat in front of her.
“Are you alright”
Lubella was about to say she wasalright, but the word did not leave her mouth.
“Well, you saw someone die in front of you, so I understand.”
Moreover, even though she didnt directly kill him, she had played a huge part in a persons death. It was understandable that she was in a state of shock.
“…Its not only that.”
About to put a piece of bread into his mouth, Zich stopped at Lubellas statement.
“Is there a different reason”
“Its because I think I have been making the wrong judgements the whole time.”
Zich put down his bread and properly faced Lubella to indicate that he was ready to listen to her. Lubella hesitated a bit before she continued, “From Sude and to Mr. Timmy, the Mayor and even to the Deputy Mayor—Ive been judging people based on other peoples words and opinions. Ive also framed a certain image on people by seeing them in one situation.”
“You are telling me that you were prejudiced.”
“Yes. It is one of the things God Karuna tells us not to do. I judged certain people as strong and others as weak, and I thought that the weak were always in the right and the strong were always in the wrong.”
For that reason, Lubella was hostile to the Mayor and Timmy, who she thought were thestrong people in society, and she favored Sude who she thought was weak. However, the reality was the complete opposite.
“Because of my misjudgments, the people who protected me died, and my situation ended up like this.”
“Yes, you are right.”
Lubella flinched at Zichs honest reply.
“Honestly, I also became a bit doubtful of your words. After I beat up Sude, you told me that I have to help the weak. I didnt like that Sude guy in the first place.”
“He smelled fishy.”
Zich was saying that he used his instincts. Lubella was severely disappointed since she expected Zich to tell her a great way to tell evil people apart. But surprisingly, Zichs instincts were usually right on the mark. The instincts he honed from his various experiences in his first life were quite dangerous.
Well, Im not always right, and I dont feel those kinds of instincts from everyone but whatever.
What mattered was that he was right this time.
“Isnt judging people by instincts worse than prejudice”
“Is that so Then I will stop judging people by how they smell from now on.”
Zichs reply was so carefree that Lubella felt futile asking him a question in the first place. On the other hand, his nonchalant tone lessened the weight on her heart.
“So from what Im getting from this is that you feel guilty for going against Karunas teachings and making the situation worse”
“Hmmm, alright. I hope you work hard in thinking about this.”
Zich picked up the bread he put down and got up.
“…Are you not going to give me any advice”
“Even if I give you advice, I can only give you obvious ones:The people who died will not resent you.Anyone could have made those mistakes.You are going through this trip to gain experiences like this. Etcetera, etcetera. But will your heart feel at ease from these words”
“Right The advice I can give you are all words that you can easily think of as well. But peoples hearts can not be easily changed by will. If that was possible, I would not go through all this trouble to live a kind life.”
Zich humorously shook his head. This made Lubella smile a little bit.
“So I hope you find a solution for yourself, whether you find an answer to it, get used to it, or let time heal your wounds.”
“I will do that.”
“Yes. But this worry wont make you hesitate while we are fighting those Bellid bastards, right”
“Dont worry. This and the situation with Bellid are completely different.”
Unlike her usual, actual self, Lubella replied with firmness.
Is she forming her tenacity
Looking at her now, there was no trace of the Lubella who was shivering from head to toe in a closed alleyway. She was definitely growing up to become a stronger and more determined person.
Is this alright
So far, Zich had been helping Lubella because he thought it was a kind act, and he didnt want to see those Bellid bastards doing well; but at the same time, he had unintentionally helped Lubella progress.
If I have to fight the Hero Party again and a stronger Lubella was part of the team…
Zichs body shivered on instinct.
I-Im going to live a kind life anyways. Will I ever have to go against her Zich thought this in his mind, but he fiercely scratched the goosebumps that popped up all over his arms.