The Meaning of “Sora”
I’ve always hated the name Sora.
Every time someone calls out my name, Sora, it was as if they were telling me that I was someone who had nothing inside.
No, someone had actually said it like that to me back then.
It was at the time when I had just lost to my younger brother, Raguna, in the dojo.
I would have been fine if it was just him who said something like that to me, but it was all the other pupils of the same age as well.
“This guy… rather than Sora, you should be called Kara. You have nothing in you.”
(This the pun. 空 = Sora (meaning= sky). 空 is pronounced Kara in 空っぽ(Karappo). 空っぽ means empty)
“I feel sorry for Raguna to have that weakling who’s got nothing in him as his family’s heir instead of him. No matter how I think about it, Raguna would be a much more fitting heir”
We were seven years old at the time.
That was when the difference between me, Ayaka, Raguna and all the other pupils had become clear, and when everyone around me — especially my father, started to look at me with cold eyes.
I went to my mother and reproached her like “Why did you give me this name?!”.
It was nothing but me taking it out on her, but she didn’t say anything back to me.
All she did was gently hug me- her pitiful son, and then she took me out to the courtyard.
My mother was someone who was always sick.
Her body had always been weak her whole life, but it became even more apparent after she gave birth to me and she spent most of her days in bed.
Her room, the mansion, and the courtyard. That was my mother’s entire world.
Maybe it was because of that, she really liked looking at the sky.
She liked the sunny sky.
She liked the cloudy sky.
She liked the sky when the sun rose, she liked the sky when the sun set.
She liked the sky on rainy days…although she would joke that she hated that a little since she couldn’t walk in the courtyard when it rained. Nevertheless, I understood that she loved to see the rainy clouds just from seeing the look on her face.
No matter where and when, the sky was always there for her when she looked up, showing her all of its different forms.
Even the people who were important to her, they would be looking at the same sky as her. They were all connected under the same sky- She told me that when she thought of it like that, she did not feel lonely.
Since she loved watching the sky so much, she told me that the first name she came up with when I was born was Sora.
“I wanted you to be someone who’ll grow to be a magnanimous man with a heart as vast as the sky”, it was a wish like that.
“And you know what, Sora?”
My mother smiled as she called out to me, her naughty son who was still crying, even though I had been listening to her story.
“There’s nothing bad about being told that you have nothing inside. If there’s nothing, then you can become anything. From now on, you can fill yourself up with many things and become who you want to be. No matter which path you’ll choose to take, as your mother, I will always be wishing the best for you”
「…Haha, was that what they called seeing the last pleasant flashback of your life before you die?」
Inside the Fly Lord’s nest. I smiled to myself faintly as I lay on the ground like a caterpillar.
In this situation where all hopes of getting saved were lost, I seemed to have recalled the last conversation I had with my mother before she passed away.
After being told by my mother that I could be anything I wanted to be, how am I going to report to her in the afterlife that I became bug feed? Ah, what a disgrace I am.
I moved just my head and looked down at my body.
My right arm that was torn by Miroslava’s magic has been completely bitten off by the maggots at the wound.
It was devoured by a group of maggots to the very last drop of blood after it fell onto the ground.
I already had no toes left on either of my feet, and my left hand had disappeared up to my wrist.
From the crunching sounds that I could hear, I could tell that the maggots have already started to dig in my body from the wounds and were munching on the bones of my limbs.
Under normal circumstances, I should have gone mad or died from shock under the severe pain already…
However, I was still sane.
There was no pain either. But instead, I felt my spine tingling in pleasure whenever they took a bite of me.
Perhaps that was caused by an ability of these maggots.
Just like how a mosquito blocks the sensation of pain by injecting some fluid at the time of their bite, these maggots might be doing something similar as they eat.
As the result of that, I’m in a situation where I’m dying but it didn’t feel like I was going to die. The fear of dying was also being eaten away as I die.
When I realized it, maggots the size of a bean were starting to gather around my face.
「D-Don’t come! GET AWAY FROM ME!!」
I swung the only body part that I could still freely control – my head, around, and tried to keep the maggots in check.
The maggots distanced themselves for a bit– but before long, they slowly came closing in on me again.
Were they waiting to see if I was still weakened enough just now? Or were they just playing with their food?
In any case, it was clear that the maggots had thought for a second that “This prey was better at living than the others”
Otherwise, they would have completely devoured him to the bones a long time ago.
Sora instinctively believed that there were a lot more maggots that dwelled inside this cave.
Right now, the maggots that he could see in the area probably weren’t even ten percent of their whole population.
If all of the larvae here were to hatch into adult Fly Lords, then not just the city of Ishka, the entire Canaria Kingdom would most likely perish as well.
And then, the horde of Fly Lords would multiply even more after that and attack the neighboring countries of the Ad-Astera Empire —and finally they will be annihilated by the emperor’s shields, the Mitsurugi family’s phantom blade users without a doubt.
The human called Sora Mitsurugi, who was made into a Fly Lord’s live prey, would decompose back into the earth without anyone knowing. And the cheers of the citizens would echo on this earth along with the cheers of his father and the other users of the phantom blade.
When he thought of that, the emotion of fear, anger, dissatisfaction and despair; all those ugly emotions gushed out like a water spring.
His body’s wounds were fatal. Just because he didn’t feel pain doesn’t mean that he was fine. There was no doubt that the amount of blood he was losing was reaching the lethal amount.
Even if help arrives this second, the possibility of survival was zero.
Only in the unlikely chance that there was to be a priest in that rescue party who could use the 『Complete Recovery』 spell or they carried medicine with the same potency that his life could possibly be saved.
However, it would only be his life that’ll be saved. His lost limbs would never return. He heard that the pope of the southern holy kingdom could create miracles with his 『Restoration』, but that isn’t something that a normal adventurer– no, someone who’s not even an adventurer can get him to do.
He will never be able to hold a sword again. He will never be able to walk again.
With a body that has nothing left, he was set to die while having nothing in the end…
Unable to endure the despair, I screamed out like a madman.
「GET OUT OF MY WAY!! STOP IT!! STOP EATING ME!! I DON’T WANT TO DIE HERE!! I DON’T WANT TO DIE!!」
I swung my head like crazy as I screamed to try to drive away the maggots that were still chewing on my body.
However, the paralysis of the Fly Lord was so strong that I still could not move from the neck down even after all this time.
Has it been three minutes since I started yelling?
My face hit the ground from exhaustion.
I groaned as I felt the cold soil touch my face.
「Damnittttt… Why? What have I done to deserve this….?」
When the guild expelled me, the adventurers all quickly cut their ties with me. If I had followed Lars’ advice, I wouldn’t have ended up like this.
But that would mean to ditch all the efforts I’ve put in as an adventurer for the past five years.
No, was my decision to become an adventurer five years ago wrong in the first place?
If I had chosen another path besides an adventurer after I was exiled from the island– If I took Ayaka’s advice and let go of the sword, maybe these last five years wouldn’t be all for naught.
But.. I swore an oath to myself at that time.
When I came home from practice in the dojo and found out that my mother had already passed away.
The oath that I swore to myself at the time.
I swore to become a man of high caliber with a heart as vast as the sky. I made that vow to myself.
And along with that, I will become a fine successor to the Mitsurugi family.
That means by using the phantom blade style, I will defeat monsters, protect the people and be loved by them.
—I swore to my mother that I would become a man like my father who she loved.
That’s why I had chosen to be an adventurer after being exiled from the island, in order to fulfill this oath.
Because I, who had nothing, could become anything.
That’s why, I chose to become an adventurer. I’ve tried hard for these five years-
-To become a great man like my father. Then finally, I could proudly visit my mother’s grave and tell her about it.
And this is what happens in the end, huh. To be eaten by these maggots.
What the hell? What is up with that? Stop fucking with me. I did not–
「I DIDN’T LIVE UNTIL TODAY TO BE EATEN BY THESE MAGGOTS!!」
Such words burst out of me in this regret that I could not do anything about.
The movements of the surrounding maggots started to change unexpectedly.
With eerie creaking sounds, the maggots rushed at my face one after another.
「Guahhh?! NO, DON’T, STOP- DON’T COME!!」
I desperately moved my face to try to drive them away.
I managed to hold on for this long by doing that up until now.
But the maggots did not flinch this time as they continuously crawled on my face.
I clearly understood that they were starting to invade my ears and my nose.
The momentum that they had was not comparable to their last few attempts.
Surely, it was because they’ve judged that my life was about to end.
So, right now would be the most delicious time to eat me. To eat to their content, and to greedily devour– I could definitely sense something like that from them.
At last, they seemed to be trying to enter from my mouth as I tried to keep my lips closed with all I had. I tightly shut my eyes as they were about to be eaten as well.
However, my lips were eaten. My eyelids were eaten.
「……! ………, …….ae!!」
I tried to make a sound that wasn’t really a sound.
Was I trying to scream out in anger? Ask for help? Beg for mercy?
I kept trying to shout without even knowing myself.
I knew that no one was there to answer me, but I kept screaming.
–Then I heard it. I heard a response that should not have been.