This is a contest where the community selects the next book to publish. We will traditionally publish the winning story, which includes cover design, editing, and distribution. The contest ended and will reopen when we are ready to consider a new title.

Lied: Chapter 7.2 – The Guardian and the Tale

Story and Translation: Mitsuaki Seiji

Second part of Chapter 7, the last chapter of the "Ganeden Arc".


However... he would return, temporarily, from the abyss.

A tremendous willpower made Martyr break out for a few seconds, long enough to make his “declaration of war”.

The roots forced him to leave, but for now they weren’t stronger than the man. This miracle even took the hooded by surprise, who finally showed an emotional reaction.

At that moment, something or someone inside Martyr influenced his behavior. It didn’t take control of him because the words still "came from his own mouth", from his own heart.

A physiological change, characteristic of this phenomenon, stands out in particular - eyes that showed grudge and a great feeling of revenge. Eyes… of a snake.

That demonic expression also captured Lied's attention.


A psychopathic personality commanded him.

Lied didn’t know very well who he was referring to, whether to the boy or to the hooded. His eyes seemed to look at him, at the very least.

Martyr is running out of time as he’s absorbed by the inner surface of the soul.


Before being completely and permanently swallowed, he still has time to say one last thing, to declaim a last oath.


Martyr pointed his finger at the basket.






Lied, incredulous, was still gazing at the wall where Martyr was before being consumed.

He turned to the red hooded, who’s rather serene. The two separated by a few meters, with the apple between them.

"Who… are you?"

The hooded ignored the question and began to walk towards him. Lied hesitated at his approach, but didn’t dare to defy him.

He passed Lied; the slight height difference, synthesized in centimeters, was observable.

They stared at each other for a fraction of a second. Only in that instant was a glimpse of the concealed by the hood possible to be seen.

In the chest, hidden by the clothes, a cross is spotted. The hooded gave Lied a warm smile.

The latter, having learned from experience, could see beyond that smiling expression.

Beyond the smile, he saw a sharp sadness. A smile full of hope addressed to Lied, but also hiding its own failure.

The hooded blears as does the whole dimension.

And everything went white…





Naomi and Susumu looked at the newly awake.

He - no, they had returned.

Martyr, who came back a little earlier, hardly stood up, hurt.

Lied felt an incomprehensible fatigue, as if the long stay in his soul had worn him out. The lad rose from the floor, leaning on his own knees.

Susumu conjectured in his head; these side effects didn’t occur before.

"Don’t get up yet!"

"I'm fine... More importantly..."

The three stared at Martyr. The wound in his hand, from which he bled, caught Naomi's attention.

"He’s… bleeding…!"

The blond tittered as he checked them, especially Naomi.

"Haha, don’t look at me with those eyes... Pity is what I least want from you..."

He stared heavily, with the snake-like eyes, at Lied.

That's when the kid noticed something for the first time in Martyr.

Those eyes filled with ego didn’t deceive. He saw them somewhere before.

At that moment, Lied swore that… he was looking at himself in the mirror.

Yes, they had the same eyes. Eyes guided by the same fate.


After saying that, Martyr disappeared without a trace. A petal of a cherry tree floated in the air before the man was gone.

"What… happened…?"

Naomi is the only one who speaks next. Susumu and Lied were both silent.

Susumu turns effusively to Lied and lifts him aggressively by the collar.

"You...! Knowing this could happen, I told you to stay at the police station. Why did you disobey me?! Do you want to die?"

Lied remembered that he was in a similar situation not too long ago, with someone lifting him up by his collar while getting scolded.

Ah, on that day, with his father. The last time he had exchanged words with him.

"I wouldn’t be safe even if I had stayed, that’s just a misconception you have, as they were able to murder without leaving any clue. They managed to easily fool the police."

"Shut up... what the hell do you know..."

"They made you think that all of this was an "accident”. I would never be safe in your hands."

But Lied needs tell the truth, even if it was a cruel one.

"To be honest, I think it's pathetic. The way you were manipulated and deceived and then tried, already too late, to reassume the case... a pathetic attempt to redeem yourselves."

"You don’t know anything, so don’t talk like you do!!"

Susumu's scream temporarily brought the silence back. The ardent mood of the two boys bothered Naomi.

"You two, please stop…"

Susumu takes his hands off Lied and walks away from them. Before leaving the alley, he still says one last thing:

"Who do you think that, daily and in the shadows, always without credit, takes care of the people, of this city? You don’t have a clue... of how difficult it is to preserve justice."

Lied and Naomi are getting distant from him, in meters and in thoughts.

"You don’t understand... 'our' pain. You never will…"

“This society… is rotten.”

“Without salvation.”

The crestfallen Susumu retires after this heavy declaration.




The unsuccessful detective walks through the dark streets of the night. Over him, the moon in its crescent shape.

It was late, and imagining that his father was worried, Susumu ends the duty for today.

It’s not like he made any worthwhile progress, but Susumu could only believe that tomorrow would prove to be a better day.

“Better days will come” - that’s the argument of his heart.

Contrary to the emotional part, the mental part reasoned differently – it takes into account the previous results and estimates the future based on them.

If we go along this line of reasoning, "failure" is the right word to define the progression of the young in this particular case. Never before had Susumu faced such lack of success.

He stopped walking. Leaned against a wall on which he rested his quivering right fist.

Coincidentally, small drops of water begin to fall from the sky.

The feeling of insufficiency regarding his abilities... It was all unprecedented and incomprehensible to this "finch".

“Inaptitude” – that’s the argument of his mind.

He already understands. Started walking again.

If he failed, it's because he lacked something.

If he lacks anything, then it’s only natural that Susumu will seek to obtain what he does lack.

And following this logic tomorrow will go differently, with different results.

He only needs to grow up.

Extend his wings, as if for the first time, and fly to where he hasn’t yet flown.

Susumu got home.

Tatsuo had fallen asleep on the sofa in the living room while he waited for his son.

He expected to see the man sitting in a chair and eagerly awaiting his arrival.

Well, Susumu couldn’t blame him.

Past memories were popping up in his head: the father in public being unfairly criticized for the outcome of a case; in another memory, the detective wasn’t properly credited for the success of the investigation.

In both memories Susumu always watched in the distance, inside the crowd, witnessing the injustice of this society.

Yes, this was all for his father, too.

Took a good shower and landed in the warmth of his bed. The limbs were bursting, his mind entwined with a thousand and one thoughts.

Rest now and then give everything he has... and what he doesn’t have.

On behalf of justice, on behalf of himself and on behalf of his benefactor.

The vigilante fell asleep. The finch flew towards the tomorrow that would come soon...




Within Susumu, the shadow made its own judgment. Chains danced around it.

The portrait of Martyr, whom the boy confronted…

“Those eyes… there’s no doubt.”

“So it’s starting…”