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Lied: Chapter 7.1 – The Guardian and the Tale
Story and Translation: Mitsuaki Seiji
First part of Chapter 7, the last chapter of the "Ganeden Arc".
Lied finally reaches the origin of the voice - a man in his 20s.
When no one expected, Naomi and Susumu, both in pursuit of the boy with light green eyes, joined him.
With their futures connected, linked by the same thread of fate, the trio confronts Martyr.
And with this we enter the climax of the first Arc!
"Hah. Haha. Hahaha!"
The man is unable to contain his laughter. For Martyr the whole situation was both unexpected and hilarious.
Naomi feels uneasy in face of the unknown man.
"Who is this person…?"
Susumu watched him warily. The detective focused on the clothes he wore.
"That color pattern... it can’t be?!"
Lied, equally prudent, waited for any movement of the man.
"Haha, the name’s Martyr! Are you all my reception?!"
Martyr analyzes the two newcomers and glares at Susumu.
"You are... aaaah, the detective with the Visibility that Varius mentioned. So, have you figured something out yet?"
The sarcasm is self-evident.
"Visibility...?", Susumu whispers the term he heard for the first time.
Martyr turns to Naomi, who’s feeling uncomfortable.
He stared at her for a few seconds, saying nothing and concluding his analysis with just a devilish grin.
"Well, my time is limited and I don’t really have business with all of you. Just… with one."
Martyr disappears and reappears in front of Lied, startling the boy as well Naomi and Susumu.
Lied finds himself once more in his only sacred space, or so he thought until recently, when one more person was able to set foot in it. Now that he remembered, that man, Varius, had designated the place.
The technical name was...
"'Soul'. My… mind."
And now his consciousness was invaded once again.
"Eh, it’s actually quite normal…"
Lied bends forward. The invader was in front of him.
"Well, it may also be as they say... 'Appearances can be deceiving'."
"Enough. I'm sick of these little games of yours. What do you really want from me?!"
Martyr steps forward. His smile widens.
"Right... let me clarify what I just said. Technically, you're not my target. What we want, no, what I want isn’t yourself, but what’s inside you."
Lied writhes himself; so his theory was right.
The boy tucks his head back and looks at the apple in the basket.
"Yes. The 'divine apple'... the Adam’s Apple!"
"The... 'Adam’s Apple'...?"
Martyr walked quietly towards Lied, who was standing by the basket.
"But it's hard to understand... "Untouchable"? How, if I'm so close? “Wait for the development of the spirit”? How silly. Why postpone what can be done now?"
Martyr looks fiercely at Lied.
"Development... I do admit that you seem to have a certain spiritual ability."
He tries to unnerve Lied with his contemptible gaze.
"For a human, of course."
The intention to destabilize Lied is not from now, with Martyr trying to touch the most sensitive points of his heart ever since he came into contact with the boy.
However, like the other attempts, it didn’t reach. This pure aversion reached neither his heart nor his spirit.
Lied began to remember some of the past experiences: the day his life changed - the death of the parents; the confrontation of the murderer; the mysterious woman who saved him; Varius, the second individual with the tattoo…
And within these experiences, one experience stood out: the encounter with the white hooded... and his words that resonated strongly.
“(...) are you going to face it? Your own destiny?”
Inhaled and exhaled. His wrists crack.
"I still don’t understand anything. I don’t know what I want, and I have no idea what my life will be like from now on. Deeply I'm still a bit lost... about myself."
Looked up at Martyr.
"But at least one certainty I have: I own a destiny. I may not know exactly what, but there's something waiting for me in the future."
The unbreakable determination is shown.
"I've made up my mind. This life... I'm going to live it. And my own destiny... I'll pursue it. Where it will take me, I don’t know. But as long as I keep moving forward, I will definitely find... a place where I belong."
Martyr smiles scornfully. At that moment he had already realized the challenge.
"And then? What does this have to do with you being in front of me, barring my way?"
Lied rolls his head to look for one last time at the basket.
"I don’t know what it really is or means to you, but this apple has somehow been at the center of the change in my life. I feel like I need it if I really want to understand who I am."
Martyr's smile fades, giving way to an expression of indignation.
"And that's why… I won’t let you take it!"
"You’re going to protect it... with your life at stake?"
Lied smiles and replies with conviction:
"I will not die."
The blond reads this unwavering determination in the boy's eyes.
“Those eyes...”, Martyr thought.
They had a familiar aura. Unpleasant, disgusting, but familiar. Yes, reminded him of... the leader.
The agitation took over, Martyr's murderous impulse awakened.
"THEN LET'S SEE YOU TRY!"
The man lifted his bandaged left arm and directed it to Lied.
The assault was suspended at the very moment the young man is about to be hit; the hand was radically convoluted by roots, which came out of the invisible ground, to the surprise of both the aggressor and the saved victim.
They both felt the sudden presence of someone else.
Crouching behind Lied and in front of the basket stood a mysterious hooded.
Slightly older than the lad, wearing a red cloak and hood.
An authentic “little red riding hood”.
"WHO IS IT?!", Martyr shouts.
Back to Naomi and Susumu, the two left behind...
Lied was motionless and pale, his eyes open and with the same animation from before it happened.
The man, Martyr, had simply vanished.
A phenomenon that Susumu already witnessed unlike Naomi, who didn’t understand the current situation.
"This is... like the other time..."
Naomi shook Lied over and over again, but no answer from him.
"Hey, Lied! Say something! Lied!"
"I’m afraid it’s useless…"
The detective cautioned himself and was now trying to comfort the lass.
"Unfortunately, the only thing we can do now is wait. Wait... for their return..."
Naomi stared at the statue-boy.
“Lied...”, could only think…
Lied and Martyr stood there without any reaction. Martyr, taken by surprise, still questioned his identity.
The stranger didn’t answer the question, merely acting according to his “programmed instinct”.
A new mass of roots springs from the ground and grabs Lied, pulling the lad out of Martyr's reach and placing him near the hood. It seems it’s his intention to protect him.
"Damn it... whenever I'm having fun, someone comes in to spoil the party before it even starts."
Martyr tries to pluck the roots wrapped in his hand, but without success.
“Too hard... what the hell is this...?”, he thought.
"Hey, you're not thinking of taking this out for me, are you?"
New roots burst from the ground and immediately head to the target.
In order to avoid further damage, Martyr was forced to put all his force in the last second so he could pull the roots out at all costs, thus managing to dodge the impetuous onslaught.
The uncontrolled use of strength caused a wound in the hand (which was already protected by bandages) and from there spurted some blood.
“H-Hey, for real?”, Martyr thought.
"You don’t really want to talk, huh?"
Ignorance is once again the response of the hooded man, who keeps attacking.
This time it isn’t a full rush but a concentration of several, individual, almost mechanized attacks. It’s an instant succession of roots that leaves Martyr with little reaction time, such is the speed at which each root moves.
“It can’t be possible... I cannot keep up...! My Visibility... isn’t good enough...!”
It’s too fast…
“My eyes… can’t follow his attacks!”
…even for his eyes.
Lied, next to the red hooded, was watching the fight that’s being totally won by the unknown person.
Never in his life, not even in his dreams, did Lied imagine that he would one day witness such a surreal scenario. Lied was trying to follow carefully, but he could only see faint sparks in the air.
Those two weren’t normal humans.
Examined the red hooded - the hood didn’t allow the face to be seen and the head, looking down, also prevented a glimpse.
Stared at him for a few seconds.
Like a robot…
Martyr was trying to get close to his opponent, however, the intensity combined with the speed of the attacks doesn’t permit a chance. Things would get more complicated after the range of attacks expands all over the place.
Roots from various points, sides, and angles now assaulted Martyr. He couldn’t win.
“I see... now I understand...! So that’s why...”
Martyr was now cornered.
A wave of roots caught him in the air: the hands, the knees, the feet... each member of his body immobilized. In the distance, smiled at the hooded opponent.
“Untouchable, huh...? It’s damn true...”
A monster. From another level. A completely different one.
“Incredible... he completely cornered him...!”, Lied thought.
The red hooded caught Lied by surprise as he made his first move.
He stood up, not saying a single word or moving a single finger. What looked like a necklace under the hood shuddered with the impulse made to get up. Just stared at his immobilized target.
Meanwhile, the wall on which Martyr was imprisoned distorted and swallowed him out of the soul.
It was an order of expulsion.
The absorption gradually occurred. Martyr still tried to move his confined members, but in vain.
“So this is the limit... my limit...”
Lied couldn’t believe it. Dumbfounded, he saw the end of the battle.
“H-He’s being absorbed…!”
The defeated opponent still had time to display a glorious smile before being taken by the bowels of the mind.