As I expected from the flow of the great River. All of my fatigue were gone in a chinch. It would be best if someone accompany me though.
Speaking of which, where is the rabbit? He followed me until the lake, and then I was too caught up with my training and ended up forgetting about it.
“Oh, there you are!”
Just as I thinking about it, the rabbit showed up from the bushes. It reminds me when we met… And the corpse too. You didn’t find any other corpse, right?
Just in case, I cheked the bushes. Fortunately, I found nothing.
Arriving at our home, I saw Byakko laying down on the ground. There was a campfire with meat sticks placed near to the fire.
“It’s rare for you to go hunting.”
“I will starving if you were the one who hunt.”
Slipping sarcasm as always. I’m currently wearing clothes made of wolves fur that stitched into a decent clothes. Of course, I was the one who made it.
“What’s today dinner?”
“Boar, reptiles, monkeys? I don’t really differenciate my food source.”
… I bet he hunt those crazy smart gorrila like nothing. I almost forcefully made to mate with them. Traumatic moment always came unexpected.
“So, something happened?”
“？Nothing happened, why?”
“Nothing. Let’s eat, shall we?”
He asked something out of place and a second later, he brushed it off. Just what is he thinking right now?
“By the way, do you feel any weird feeling inside?”
Did he meant about that last technique? Sure I felt some weird feeling, but it’s not harming me.
“I think it’s fine. I’ve adjusted to it now.”
“Fufu, as expected from my disciple.”
He smiled while eating his share of meat. The sight of Byakko smiling earnestly like that was rare. That’s why, I couldn’t help but felt odd.
“Byakko, you’re acting weird since yesterday.”
“I am not. Take that one for me pleasenL
He stubbornly diverted the topic. Something is not right… It’s suspicious. Clearly suspicious.
“… I’ll take my share. I’m going to eat by the lake.”
Taking two meat sticks, I went to the lake. It was usually me and Byakko, but I’m not in the mood to be together nowm
“It’s you. What do you want?”
The rabbit brushed its head to me. Its red ruby eyes were looking at the meat on my hand.
“Does rabbit eat meat?”
It persistently staring at my meat, so I just threw some to it. Unexpectedly, it ate the meat easily.
“I wonder what Byakko’s thinking now…”
I sat beside the lake while looking st the moon. The moon tonight is more beautiful than usual.
Especially that black spots on it, making the moon looks like a head with a pair of black eyes.
“… Oh no.”
Byakko who watched Saka as he gone, didn’t budge an inch. He just ate his food silently.
(Tomorrow, I will kick him out from here.)
He silently thought about something that Saka would never even think about.
He doesn’t seems to waver. He already made up his mind, and he already finished everything that needs to be done.
(I wonder if he will cry… No, I think he will be mad at me. Where did he get that bad mouth from?)
Byakko never reveal any of his thought about Saka. He always thought Saka as his son, and raised him according his preference.
That’s why, he sometimes got anxious about things that related with Saka. Little did he knows that Saka’s speech was his entire fault.
(But that kid is a good one. I’m sure he will be safe out there.)
Thinking that, Byakko smiled again.
But then, a sudden black smoke and loud sound were noticed by Byakko. He looked around and opened his eyes wide. A second later, he ran as fast as he could. He felt something dangerous was happening there.
“Impossible..! No… Saka!!!”
The explosion were came from the lake, where Saka was.
“After a long time, I finally found you… [Void].”
“Haah… Haah… Who the hell… are you?!”
Damn it. I would never expect that black dots I saw on the sky, were black hooded people. They came out of nowhere and started attacking me.
Two person… One attacking me, while the other just standing still. They kept calling me as [Void]… I don’t even know that name!
“Come with us. Your time has come.”
“Like hell I’ll go with you! Put that collar down first, you idiot!”
“Deviant as always…”
Evading his attacks, I countered some of it, but he easily parried my counter attacks as if it was nothing. That arm of his too, it was as hard as iron. My feet got hurt just by kicking it.
“… [Noah], 30 minutes…”
“Fine, I’ll do it seriously now.”
The other person with female voice called Noah—the man who attacking me—. It seems they have a limited time. As long as I can hold out, I can survive!
“Sorry, Void. This is going to be hurt a bit.”
Noah rolled up his sleeves and showed his arms. It was normal, just like ordinary humans have. But then, the colour of the skin turned silver and it became redder as the time goes.
“[Metall, Hitze, Verbinden]!”
He read aloud a chant, and rushed to me.
Noah aimed for my chest, but I jumped to evade it. His fist missed and hit the ground instead. But the ground was exploded into chunks and was gouged deep.
The wound surely would be fatal if it hits me!
“You are crazy!”
He ignored my shout and kept punching me with that murderous intent. I know I told you to put that the collar, but I didn’t mean it so you can punch me!!!
Evading those attacks, my stamina got depleted. My movement got sluggish every time I dodge. Something’s weird, I should have been able to used my Aura to improve my physical movement.
But somehow, my Aura just won’t come out from my body.
“It’s useless. [Gefangnis] already sealed your Aura. You can’t used that ominous thing anymore.”
What?! Gefangnis? Does he mean the woman back there?
The woman, Gefangnis, smiled at me.
So it was two on one all along?! That’s cheating!
My legs started to gave up, and I couldn’t jump as far as before. Contrary to me, his fist gotten faster and faster. I couldn’t dodge it anymore, so I started parrying his fists.
“Gwaah!! Hot! Damn it!”
Just a graze of it made my skin melts. It’s truly melting right now! But if it hit my body or face, that would my real end, so I kept defending myself with my hands only.
“You are really stubborn… Just like always.”
“I don’t…. even know… who… you are!!!!”
I pushed him back with my melted arms. The skin was already melted completely. One can see my bones if one looked at it carefully.
Of course, it hurts like hell. I want to stop. I want to run. But what will happened to me?
The thought of being tormented and tortured gave me the guts I need to keep fighting.
“… I hope [Arztin] can heal you.”
Noah raised both of his fist toward the sky and placed them into one. He read the same chant as before, but this time, it sounds more dangerous than before. The heat from his arms could be felt from afar.
The heat was concentrated into a thin, shining ray of light. It was really wide and long that it looks like reaching the moon. Then, he was preparing to release this attack to me.
“I shall brought you without fail, [Schneide Fort]!”
Thus, he swung it directly onto me.
It was a perfect vertical slash from above. It was easy to read attack, but it’s speed and pressure…
(I couldn’t escape this one.)
Before the blade reached me, a white flash brought me out from the battlefield.
The shining blade of light missed its target, and splitted the forest… into two.
I who was dragged somewhere, saw the scene unfolding right in front of my eyes. I saw the forest burned into ashes. The biggest tree in the forest, our home, was incinerated to the ground.
Suddenly, the moving was stopped, and I was dropped to the ground.
“Are you alright, Saka?”
“Byakko..? Wait, your tail!”
It was Byakko who saved me before my demise. He ran and brought me with him… but at the cost of his tail cut off from him.
“It just a scratch, don’t mind it. But, really. Now my plan was ruined.”
Even when the forest was burned and our home was destroyed, he kept his calm. Compared to me, who was dazed in shock and could do nothing… I’m…
“Well, what happens, happened. Hear me, Saka. Escape from this forest, now.”
Byakko looked into my eyes and said something that I never thought would coming out from Byakko.
Of course I asked! Why?! We should get rid of them first!
“I know how you felt, but right now, I’m sure that we will lose even if we charged on them together. Beside… It’s my decision to kick you out from this forest since before.”
“Wha–?! Why?! There’s so many things I didn’t understand! Why?!”
“… You need to find it yourself.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense! …. Fine, if you won’t tell me, why don’t we run away now? You can tell me later. We can find another place to live, right?”
Byakko averted his face and only asnwered me with two words.
“… I can’t.”
I was shocked. Why he can’t? Something is just not right. Just what is happening right now? I got attacked, the Forest was destroyed, and now, Byakko will leave me?
“Just what the hell…?”
As I was absorbed with my mind, a slap hit my face.
“Stop wondering. If you don’t know about something, seek it out. I have given you a riddle, now it’s your job to find the answer.”
He looked at me. That smile of him, is full of affection. He always showed a restrained smile, but now…
“I left my parting gift to you. I didn’t accept refund, you know?”
“You always like that… I’m sorry for everything I’ve done.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll remember everything.”
“Thank you for raising me.”
“I’m having a fun time.”
“I will never… forget everything you’ve done to me.”
He put his paw on my head and brushed it gently. I… I couldn’t help but cry. I just… I wasn’t prepared for the sudden parting… It’s weird, I’m lost right now… What is this feeling..?
“I see, thank you.”
“… I’m going now.”
“Right… I wish the best for you.”
He purposely dragged me to the edge of the forest, so I could run away easily. He really planned everything.
As I running away from the forest, I shouted to the sky.
“Thank you for everything, Father!’
After Saka left, Byakko looked at him until he couldn’t see his back anymore.
“Jeez, that boy. He really attached to me… I wish you the most luck, son.”
He wanted to say it to Saka directly, but he lacks courage. It’s a shame for him, but he didn’t regret. He will keep his head up, for the sake of the boy who thought of Byakko as his own father.
“… A really touching scene.”
“I hope I didn’t get in the way of your plan?”
Two hooded person came to Byakko. The black collar they brought was nowhere to be seen. It was changed into a giant black cage instead.
“So that’s what you aimed for…”
Byakko slinted his eyes and groaned.
“… Exactly. Priority number one, capture the Void. Priority number two, capture [The White Tiger, Byakko].”
The man, Noah, spoke with a monotonous voice while preparing his fists once again. Different from when they fought Saka, the woman, Gefangnis, uncovered her hood, showing her beautiful charming face.
“I see. Well then, Catch me if you can, you bastards.”
That night, two mountains has gone from the surface. The only things to be seen was a barren wasteland with traces of deadly fight.
No one knows what happened that night… except one person who made it out alive.