Well, this is somewhat bittersweet/irritating. I did this at sea (quite literally) on the sixth, and only just typed it up, unfortunately, someone else has already translated this and the first two chapters. But seeing as I’m unwilling to let the work that I’ve done go to waste, here’s my version of the prologue, the rest is here, albeit translated from the WN rather than the LN and with scans rather than digital illustrations.
The land was devastated, scraps of ruined houses were scattered about the place, enough to make one suspect there had been a natural disaster. There were no vestiges left of its original bustling of people. Trees and vines wound around the ruins as they weathered, it couldn’t have happened in a few years, in reality, it had been over a century since this area had been abandoned.
It would not have been a strange sight if it were after the collapse of society. It would make those who saw it wonder if this was how it would have been. The scene of destruction had been enveloped by the passing of the years, and even pity had faded.
The sky was completely and utterly clear, an endlessly continuing azure that blanketed everything to an unthinkable distance. The thickly growing plants absorbed plenty of sunlight and had a hue that overflowed with vitality, giving the impression of quickening. The vista heaved with life. Animals too, bound through the trees, dashing about atop a carpet of green. Someone once said that humans were a blight on this planet, and this could be said to be positive proof of this.
The cause of this was from the appearance of something that couldn’t quite be labelled as animals. Grotesque things that were too unnatural for life had slipped into nature’s providence.
The grotesque monsters that became an opportunity to take back the area’s original ecosystem – those found in books, fairy tales, and imagination – were a turning point in mankind’s history, and simultaneously the countdown to destruction. The grotesques weren’t the wondrous ones that appeared and books, they were more sinister and eerie.
The monsters that may have been envoys of god were surely humanity’s natural enemy. These generic monsters were named ‘demons’ by mankind as a whole.
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Currently, one boy was crossing swords with several grotesque things. The thing that stood out were those giant-like grotesques using tree trunks in place of cudgels. In the way that a single hit would become a fatal wound, the certain-kill weapons were lightly swung in a single hand.
Against them, the boy was using a short sword, with a distorted… no perhaps it would be better to call it a terrifying shape. It was a symbol of solidified bloodlust. Its use was to take life, a weapon to defeat the grotesques facing him. There was a thin chain connected to the end of its handle, drawn out from the scabbard at his waist. It was a bizarre weapon, but against the demons who were gifted with bodies several times his size, it gave an unreliable impression.
There were many varieties of the demons’ bodies, it was the norm for there to be enough differences to cause them to be mistaken for another type, even if they were the same. The only commonality was their sinister air and their ugliness.
Take the first giant for example, its upper body was close in appearance to a human, but its lower half was most definitely animal, like that of a therianthrope, however, being covered in a black-ish skin was the demons’ trait.
The boy was now facing over ten of the demons alone. Those were just the visible ones, he could feel the dangerous gaze of those awaiting prey all around from behind and the brushwood. Perhaps because of their pride as absolute predators, their gazes held the contempt of a hunting beast playing with its food.
Anyone would see this situation as desperate, even resistance would not be allowed. But the boy didn’t seem the slightest bit perturbed. Even so, the demons approached, their gait was exultant and casual.
His jet black hair swayed with his pace and the corners of his mouth lifted as the demons attacked.
Its huge body blocked out the sun as it fell upon him, enough to give the impression it had become night — in an instant, the first demon’s incongruous roar was suddenly cut off and transitioned to silence. Its body burst as if something had pushed in on it from the left and right.
If you looked, the boy had taken a pose with his hands together as if in prayer. As if he had squashed the demon from both sides. Dark green bodily fluids spurted forth, but even so, the ferocious demons did not falter.
The boy probably knew that, and lightly gripped his short sword, bisecting them one by one. It was just as if an absolute warrior was crushing ants underfoot, it could be called trampling.
If you paid attention, the boy wasn’t even out of breath, and the short sword that he should have been holding had vanished from his hand at some point.
As if to justify its disappearance, chains raced through the surroundings from all directions. They did not fly straight, but wove through the air, maintaining their target. The only sound was the clinking of the chains being drawn out, but it sounded unpleasant. And then — their bodies pierced by the chains, the demons stopped dead, still enough that they may no longer live, into a strange, baffling silence.
They had been so fierce and agitated, foaming at the mouth, and yet they were stopped in front of their long-awaited prey with nothing more than the stabbing of a short sword. The chains continued into the thick greenery and strange shrieks of agony sounded successively.
Here, the boy opened his mouth for the first time.
“That’s all of them.” He wasn’t asking anyone, he was affirming it to himself. He stroked the extended chains with a finger. And found what he was looking for in one of the small links on one of them.
The boy plucked the taut chain with a finger. The two hundred and seven chains – with countless links enacted the individual magics engraved into them with magic formulae. The slight, bell-like sound shook the air caressed his ears. The demons, pierced and connected to the chains simultaneously burst from within.
The surroundings were entirely dyed with the colour of the demons’ bodily fluids, lumps of meat dispersing, leading to a gruesome scene, as if isolating it from the beautiful, vivid world…
Standing in the middle of this, not a drop of the liquid had stuck to the boy. Even so, standing in the area that had been filled with an offensive smell, the boy suddenly removed a canteen from his pouch. With a glance around at his surroundings and a sigh, he opened the canteen. Inside was ordinary, yet still crystal clear water, with no hint of impurity.
The boy looked to the heavens.
The boy was jealous of the pure white clouds of different shapes in the beautiful sky with unclear speeds and destinations, fluttering back and forth. Ironically, this vista was only in this world with the demons… the outside world.
He had the opportunity to go out into the outside world, overrun with demons, but it would probably be an irrelevant scene to those who did not. However, they would surely instinctively yearn for it, the ‘real world’ that humans once lived in.
It seems that only knowing the value of things once they were gone was humanity’s way.
Still gazing out into the endlessly spreading sky, the boy hoisted his arm and dashed water over himself. There wasn’t much water, so the flow soon stopped. The boy shook his head to get the water off and once more looked to the skies. Before he knew it, the boy had learned this habit. The beautiful skies and dashing water over himself refreshed him, and looking with this invigoration, it gave a different impression.
There may not have been the words to describe how much it beat against his heart.
He reluctantly left his position, before the bodily fluids of the demons drew more there.
The boy’s name was Ars Ragin. Through the long resistance against the demons, he was the one who reigned above the Mages that fought against them.