After Raguna left, I walked to my mother’s grave in tottering steps.
I did not pick up the gold coins that were on the ground. It wasn’t because of what Raguna said; it was simply because of my pride.
However, I felt myself starting to regret that decision as I headed towards the grave.
Even if I were to achieve soul equipping, I doubt that whatever I’d manifest would have a golden glow like Raguna’s. I bet it would take an unpleasant and nasty form.
While I was having such self-deprecating thoughts,
A soothing voice brushed my ears like a breeze that was running through a grass field.
My depressed heart came back to life from hearing that one sound.
When I looked, there was a young girl with her glamorous, black colored hair swaying in the wind standing at my mother’s grave just up ahead.
It was my fiancee, Ayaka Azurite.
「Ayaka, so you came here」
「Yeah, there was something I had to apologize to Shizuya-sama for」
「…Something you had to apologize to my mother for?」
「Yeah. I was asked to become your strength, Sora. But in the end… I couldn’t do anything. I came to apologize to her for that」
Ayaka looked at me with a lonely expression on her face as she said that.
Even though she was betrothed to me, she was a pupil the same age as me and also a genius swordsman who was at a level comparable to Raguna.
However, she has never bragged about her talents and did not despise people who were weaker than her.
She would take the initiative and partner with me during training, and sometimes she even gave me special training till late at night.
On our days off, she would sometimes forcefully bring me out to the town to get a change of pace when I was just stuck practicing my swings.
There wasn’t anyone who wasn’t jealous of this marriage between us as she grew prettier, stronger, and more dignified as she’d gotten older. There were some like Raguna who would take actions beyond feeling jealous and they would blatantly hit on her.
However, Ayaka never paid any attention to them and would reply with a smile like she always has. It wasn’t just once or twice where I fully savored this happiness at the thought us marrying.
One of the reasons why I worked so hard to get stronger was because I wanted to be a man who is worthy of her.
To be honest, when my father disowned me, I had a faint expectation that Ayaka would be coming with me.
That expectation I had shattered when I saw her sigh deeply.
「The one I’m engaged to is the heir of the Mitsurugi house so I’m no longer engaged to you since you’ve been disowned. I’ve never hated you, Sora. You always gave it your all to try to become strong…but that doesn’t mean I liked you either」
「I know I’m saying something awful. But it might be bad if you get some strange ideas about relying on my family after you leave the island. Because of that, I’m making it clear for you right here, right now」
「H-Hold on a—」
「Sora. The feeling I had towards you was not love but compassion. Disappointment might be added to that now. I cannot bring myself to like someone who is inferior to me」
「I don’t know what you’re going to do from now on or how you’ll live. But since you are someone who never gives up, you might be thinking of making a name for yourself as an adventurer or a soldier and have the master accept you back one day…However, I think it’s best that you give up on the sword. It’s unlikely that the master would bring someone who’s been disowned back in…And above all, it’d be a crazy dream for someone who could not even go two rounds with a dragon tooth warrior to make it with a sword… You should just let it all go and live a peaceful life. Shizuya-sama would surely understand it」
After saying that with pity in her eyes, Ayaka told me “Good-bye”.
And then, she turned around and left. She never stopped moving her feet, nor did she look back even once.
…I cannot remember too well where I walked to after that.
Before I realized it, I felt the sea breeze at the wharf. I held a one-way ticket to the main continent in my hand.
At that moment, a pair of siblings with gloomy expressions stood before me.
Gozu Cima. As my family watcher, he has always been looking out for me since I was a baby. With a large build like a bear and an honest looking face, he really gave off the appearance of a strong warrior.
The other person was his little sister, Cecil Cima.
Me and her were like a pair of real siblings ever since I was a kid. I could remember the days when I was walking behind her and calling her “nee-sama, nee-sama” like it was just yesterday. Especially after my mother had passed away, she took care of me while being as kind as my mother was.
If it’s these two people, will they come along with me unlike Ayaka?
I looked at them while clinging to hope, but that also soon burst like bubbles.
「I’m sorry about the trial ceremony. It was because I couldn’t draw out the power of young mast– no, I mean, Sora-dono. I’m really sorry about that. I hope that you will be able to find a worthy mentor on the main continent. Young— Oh what am I going to do from now on? As a retainer of the Mitsurugi household, I must obey the words of the master. Please do not worry about me and take care of yourself, Sora-dono. I hope you stay healthy forever」
「Here, I’ve made a boxed lunch for you. Please eat it on the boat. Also, I’ll be responsible of looking after Shizuya-sama’s grave, so please don’t worry about it. Yes, what am I going to do from now on, you ask? U-um…actually, I couldn’t tell you this since I thought I shouldn’t distract you when you were about to take your trial ceremony… Just the other day, I’ve talked with the master about becoming his mistress… so I think I’ll be staying by his side…」
The warrior who was like an older brother to me sincerely wished the best for me.
And the woman who I saw as an older sister was blushing as she talked about being my father’s concubine.
The two of them did not even bring up the thought of coming along with me.
After they saw me get on the boat, I started to depart from Demon Island.
The pair of siblings waved at me a few times from the wharf before they turned around with what looked like a hint of regret.
I stared at their backs as they left. The fist that I formed was shaking like before.
Such heartless people. But I know it would be wrong of me to hold a grudge against them because of this. Instead, I should be thanking them for coming to see me off still after I was disowned by their master and banished from our school. In fact, no other acquaintances of mine had come to see me off.
But no matter how much I told myself that, my hands would not stop shaking. The tears that were coming down from my eyes were not stopping either.
–I’ll definitely come back some day. I’ll get the power I need to fight on this island and I’ll be back.
I told myself that again and again as I muttered those words in my mind. Towards those two who left me, towards the young brother who chased me out, towards the one who broke up with me, and more than anyone else, towards my father who did not care at all.
I repeated those same words forever and ever.