Breaking Down that Obstinate Wall
With the heavy bucket in hand, Francesca had dashed all the way from outside the mansion to here, and then spoke with ragged breath.
“I knew it, you were planning to die………..I’m glad, I made it in time……..!”
Water was dripping down from Francesca’s hair.
And now Leonardo in front of her was in a similar state, the large splash of water had dampened the flames, and had at least reduced the momentum of the fire around him at least.
A moment before this, having escorted her father under the unending rain to safety, Francesca looked towards the members of the Aldini house who were simply standing their silently and shouted this.
[People of the Aldini family, please help me!! Anyone will do, so someone please bring me a big bucket of clean water as well as a bunch of bandages, quickly!!]
The only people who could enter the mansion were people that had applied for it beforehand. But once she was outside the mansion, she could get help from Leonardo’s subordinates that were waiting outside.
They all looked a bit shocked but, they probably assumed that Leonardo may have asked her to do so. So, they quickly prepared the things Francesca had asked for.
[Young miss, just what is all this……..Uwaah!?]
Francesca grabbed the bucket, and then energetically splashed it all over her own head. She was already getting wet form the rain, but now she was completely drenched, from her hair to her dress.
Both her father and the members of the Aldini family were shocked but, she didn’t have time to explain everything to them.
[Please, this is my request, take Papa to a hospital! A certain skill has healed his wound but, he still lost a lot of blood……!]
[Th, that’s fine by us but, where are you going…….]
[I must go back inside the mansion!]
Francesca of course, had already applied for entrance into the mansion as part of the meeting, and so she could enter and leave as many times as she wanted while within the allotted time. Carrying another bucket of water, she quickly rushed back inside.
(I’m sorry Papa, but you must focus on your own treatment first…….!!)
The reason why she had a bucket of water prepared for her was because she had a decent idea of how the events were going to unfold next.
(Right now, we’re in the climax of the first chapter. A lot has changed in terms of story in this world when compared to the scenario of the game!)
The current situation was vastly different from the game. But still, from the day she met Leonardo and with all the knowledge she had gained since, she could tell that [In this world, events similar to the game will still occur] even if the more finer details may change.
(In the game, having accomplished the investigations together, the protagonist and Ricardo would get trapped inside this mansion.——and in the end, the mansion would be set on fire.)
According to the scenario, it was Leonardo that had lit the place on fire. In that case, regardless of how the circumstances may turn out here, there was a high chance that this mansion would get enveloped in flames as well.
(And if my guess is correct, Leonardo has also taken over the gunshot wound that my Papa had received…….!)
When she realized that, she felt her heart tighten inside her chest.
(You must be in deep pain, right Leonardo?………You must be suffering, I’m so sorry……….)
While she had trained herself quite regularly, carrying a large bucket up a large set of stairs was still quite tough.
But, Leonardo must be there at the end of her path.
Even when Leonardo had taken her ankle sprain, and when he took her father’s gunshot wound, he had shown no change in expression.
(I have a really bad feeling about this. I feel like Leonardo is going to do something horribly reckless……)
If this was when they had just met, she would have never felt this way.
But right now, Francesca could confidently say that she had come to know Leonardo pretty well.
For her, he was not the enemy from the game of her past life, or the family head that everyone feared in this world anymore.
(He became my friend. He listened to my selfish request of wanting to save the innocent people. He even took on my injury and my dear Papa’s as well……..!)
The water she had poured all over herself was cold, and her clothes stuck to her body making it hard to move. Constantly running through the mansion had made her breathing ragged, and her heart was throbbing at an abnormal rate.
But still, she was not going to stop.
(I need to save Leonardo no matter what……!!)
When she got up to the second floor, she began to hear the rumbling sounds coming from the third floor.
(I knew it, those are the sounds coming from a fire!!)
There was still not a lot of smoke. Then it must be a fire created by a skill, probably Leonardo’s.
If it’s this kind of fire, even the people outside won’t notice the flames until it’s too late. To quickly open the door, she put her hand on the doorknob that was steaming hot.
She grimaced from the unbearable heat but, she couldn’t falter here, not now. She swung the door open with force, and strained her eyes to look through the hot wind blowing out of the room.
And then, she noticed Leonardo knelt on the ground.
Without hesitation, she splashed the contents of the bucket on Leonardo and Gerard, completely drenching them.
While she felt relieved at having suppressed the damage from the fire, noticing that the water spreading around Leonardo was a dark red colour, she turned completely pale.
The moment she called his name, Leonardo seemed to return to his senses as well as his eyes opened wide.
“I knew it, you took Papa’s wound——…….”
The moment she tried to come close to him, a wall of ice rose in front of Francesca. Her path was blocked, and the burning room was divided in two.
(What is this? Is this Leonardo’s skill!? Does that mean he has more than three skills?…….but that’s completely against the very system of this world, impossible! But, the reason why I felt that all the skills that Leonardo showed me didn’t seem strong enough for the [Greatest Enemy] of the game, would make sense if that was the case…..?)
When she came to that conclusion, this feeling of uneasiness she had became a lot more clearer.
(Even the highest rank characters could only posses upto 3 skills, but Leonardo had even more than that………if that really was the case, then he was quite literally a cheat character!)
The [studies] of the game players of her past life were completely off the mark it seemed, Francesca realized.
(This character is way too strong. There’s no way he’d ever get included as a playable character in the actual game—……!!)
The strongest mastermind of the game, Leonardo, was sill currently standing in the middle of all the fire.
No matter how strong he may be, he was still in a great predicament. Even for him, there were not too many ways to get out of the current situation.
“Leonardo, let me pass through!!”
Slamming the wall of ice with her fist, Francesca screamed.
“I’ve mostly seen through your plan! To get past Uncle’s absolute defensive skill, your using the flames indirectly instead of a direct attack right!? To make sure that the mansion’s barrier doesn’t deem it as a direct attack, you’re slowly setting the entire room on fire rather than directly burning him!! And to make sure he doesn’t run away, you’re using the ice to restrain him, right!?………And to make sure that you kill him like that, you yourself are not escaping either……!!”
“I am not going to let that happen! So please, let me pass through!!”
She continued slamming her fist on the thick ice, but it didn’t even flinch. But she knew her voice was going through because she could still see his back through the ice wall.
“……….This is the only way to kill Serranova right here for certain.”
“That’s not true at all!! Even you know that, right Leonardo!? If you let me get to your side, you know I can help you not choose this method! So please, remove this ice and let me come to you…..!!”
His simple rejection almost seemed to disappear within the sound of flames.
“The flames of my skill have finally begun to burn the room now.”
She could see black smoke beginning to envelop the room.
“Breathing this smoke is too dangerous, and if you stay here there’s a chance you might get caught up in the flames as well………and if the room collapses, that’ll be the end of that.”
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The way he spoke of it all, seemed to imply that he had seen this kind of situation before.
“Don’t go near dangerous places like this.—–as long as you can live, and fulfil your dream of [living a normal and peaceful life], I don’t care about anything else.”
Inside the flames, Leonardo who was looking down on Gerard seemed to be laughing.
“………I wonder if this is how brother felt on that day as well.”
Francesca pursed her lips, and then grabbed the bucket in the corridor again. Since her fists were too weak to break the ice, she decided to throw the bucket at the wall with all of her strength instead.
“Please! Look at me!!”
A dull thunk resounded as fragments of ice scattered.
“Please, I don’t want you to die, Leonardo……!!!”
But even that did nothing to really crack the ice wall.
Francesca picked up the large bucket again with both her hands, and continued to smack at the ice, as she screamed while half-crying.
“Let me come to you! There are other ways to stop uncle! You know that, right!?”
“You don’t need to protect me like this……!! Just to fulfil my wishes, you don’t need to keep a distance from me like this!!”
The black smoke had now spread out a lot. This mansion had high ceiling rooms but, it would not be long before the smoke completely envelopes the room.
“LEONARDO!! Please! Let me dirty my hands too!!”
“Ah Damn it…..!!! Why can’t this wall break already….!!?”
Her hands had begun to hurt from constantly hitting the bucket. But she was not going to falter here.
“I couldn’t aim for the same thing my father and brother wanted. I’m just another fiend. I haven’t forgotten that.”
“That’s why this is how I live.”
In that moment, Francesca was taken aback.
The ice wall that she had been constantly hitting, suddenly seemed to make a slight creaking sound. A sound different from before.
(The heat of the flames must be thinning the ice!!)
She clung to that small hope, and started to aim at the spot that was closest to the fire.
Leonardo had already lost too much blood. It seemed like he was barely even cognizant that Francesca was still struggling like this.
“I am nothing but a villain that can only steal and take from others.”
Perhaps at this point, Francesca’s voice wasn’t even reaching him anymore.
But still, she shouted with all her might.
Even though he’d always laugh like he was some omniscient god.
Why had he then forgotten such an important thing? With tears in her voice, Francesca continued her scream.
“Have you forgotten, you are the only one in the whole world who gave me a [Friend]!!?”
In that instant.
Finally, Leonardo, who had been only showing his back to her, turned around to look at Francesca with a surprised face.
“Leonardo, you have given me so much! My first friend, the gun I unreasonably asked you to hand me, the beautiful rose as well!! And now you were even giving your own life, just to fulfil my wishes. If I lost a friend like that, how could I ever live a [Peaceful and normal life] ever again!?!?”
The creaking of the ice wall were starting to become louder.
“No, it’s not just because you’re my friend……! If, on that day, even if Leonardo hadn’t asked me to become friends, I still definitely wouldn’t have been fine with you dying just to stop Uncle!!”
Even a single deep breath would have filled her lungs with all the smoke. Making sure that she didn’t let that happen, she continued to swing the bucket at the wall.
“That’s why, Leonardo……..!!”
She slammed it once again, and finally a big crack appeared.
Francesca raised her leg and aimed it exactly at the spot.
“If you’re a villain then, use me however you want but stay with me…….!!”
Putting her whole body weight behind it, she slammed the high heel into the crack.
With a loud crumbling sound, the ice wall broke down. Francesca jumped into the room, and grabbed Leonardo’s arm.
Finally, she was able to meet him.
Feeling that realization, she smiled at Leonardo with a face on the verge of tears.
He seemed to whisper, perhaps unconsciously.
Leonardo’s expression was gentle, like he was looking at something extremely precious, but also slightly troubled.
“..seriously, the craziest woman I have met.”
She was a bit embarrassed to smile and cry at the same time, so she intentionally showed a teasing, mischievous smile instead.
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