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Chapter 159

Chapter 159 The Power of Protection (2)

Think about only yourself, abandon everyone else, avoid troublesome things, don’t butt your head in problems, that’s the right way, the clever way to live.

I know, I agree to it from the bottom of my heart. But,

“Kyaaa!!”

If I hear someone scream like that, I have no choice but to help them!!

Before I knew it, I had beaten the shit out of those three men.

The last man had said to me – ‘a fool trying to act as a hero eh?’. That’s right, it’s exactly as he had said.

I truly am an idiot who would break his resolve in a matter of minutes. And even after the failure I had suffered and victims I had created, I would still ‘try to act’ as a hero and save a person who is in trouble.

But, what’s wrong in that? Why is that not allowed?

So many people died? I couldn’t protect anyone? That’s why, I don’t have the right to try and protect anyone anymore?

Nay, that is false.

Next time, next time definitely, I might be able to save someone.

Don’t get scared. My body still possesses the immense amount of black magic inside me.

Inside my head, logic tries to deny my actions.

But it’s no use. I can’t follow that logic. This body, my instincts, my soul, all reject that logic.

In a situation where a young girl was getting attacked in front of me, I really couldn’t do something like abandon her and ignore her.

And there is no way I would regret my actions.

After all, this time definitely, I was able to save a person.

“Are you injured?”

“No, I’m fine.”

The girl smiled happily. Her deep crimson eyes looked directly into my eye.

“Thank you very much, for saving me.”

Honest words of gratitude came to my ears.

No, I should be the one to thank you.

Because I was able to save you, because you thanked me, I was able to break free of these dark feelings that were dragging me to hell.

But, the girl doesn’t know anything about me, there’s no way she could.

That’s why, without saying anything useless, I answered simply.

“You’re welcome.”

Was I able to smile properly right now?

No, maybe right now, I’m showing the best smile I have shown in my whole life.

My heart has cleared up, there’s no need to hesitate any longer.

With this, I can take action as I want, I can walk while looking forward.

What I need right now is more power, a power to destroy even Apostles.

I’ll become stronger, stronger than anything else, and next time definitely, I’ll protect everyone—-

“fufu, I really thank you. You really came to save me, I believed you definitely would do so, Kurono Mao.”(T/N: she uses ‘boku’ for ‘I’)

Those words, attacked me with a clear feeling of unpleasantness.

Reflexively, I jumped away from the girl and took some distance and put myself on guard.

“Why, do you know my name?”

And with the perfect pronunciation.

Both Sariel and Lily know my full name but they cannot say it with the perfect Japanese pronunciation.

My intuition told me, the girl I saved wasn’t ‘normal’.

“No need to be so cautious really, I am not your enemy.”

The girl’s smile back then cute, but now it feels strangely terrifying.

Just what the hell is up with this chain of events? Was this some kind of trap to set me up?

If that’s the case, then I have no reason to go along with it. It’s too dangerous to go against an unknown enemy, The best choice right now is to quickly run away.

“Ah, wait, it’s fine even if only for a while, just listen to what I have to say, can you?”

Before I could take my first step to run out of the alley, the girl stopped me as if she had somehow realized what I was going to do.

But, without really heeding to those words, I decided that I really needed to get away from here as fast as possible but,

“What, the walls are!?!”

Before I realized, the stone walls on the side began to move after turning into a jet black swampy thing.

I realized the genuine crisis I was in but, the walls, no, the whole alley began to change faster than that.

Numerous tentacles flew out of the ominous wall and entwined with each other to seal the passage completely.

It’s as if a wall of black thorns had appeared. I doubt I could even destroy it and break through that.

This is the first time I’m seeing a magic like this. To have changed the space in the alley completely is not something normal. It must be a very high level of barrier.

Looking closely, the bodies of the three men I had defeated had also disappeared completely. Were they also a part of this magic?

In any case, it’s clear that this girl possess a incredible level of magical ability. Wait, she really isn’t going to turn out to be an Apostle right?

“Who the hell are you? Why are you after me?”

Considering her words, it seems she doesn’t want to kill me instantly.

For the time being, it won’t be too late to fight after hearing what she has to say. Maybe I might be able to get out of here with just talking as well.

That’s why to not show my will to fight, I didn’t bring out my [Grudge Hatchet [Hararetsu]].

‘Sorry, I know about you but you don’t know anything about me, so first let me introduce myself.”(girl)

As if trying to make friends with someone after meeting them for the first time, with an amiable smile, the girl’s body began to be wrapped inside the tentacles growing out of the black surface.

Those tentacles that had the same feeling as my [Anchor hand] completely covered her, at that moment a change happened.

The girl’s ripped grey tunic and her long skirt disappeared and was replaced by those tentacles in the form of a dark black clothing.

If I were to describe the clothes in one word, it would be a mantle on a gakuran.(T/N: google gakuran to see what it looks like.)

Rather than a gakuran, it looked more like the military uniform worn by commissioned officers back in old japan. The black clothes were decorated with gold and silver ornaments as well.

The black mantle with the tall collar looked like those used by vampires in literature works and was so big that it seemed to ignore practicality.

Looking closely, the end of the mantle wasn’t hanging on the floor but was integrated with the dark floor itself.

Maybe, this whole black space had been made by her black mantle.

Due to the enormous mantle, it wasn’t clear but she seemed to have a sword, no a black wand-like weapon on her waist.

The girl who was dressed like something between a noble and a magician hadn’t changed from her young look but rather than a girl, the impression was more like a boy now.

The fact that I was unable to distinguish whether it was a boy or a girl in front of me, only added to ominous feeling I was getting.

But, as if ignoring that sense of anxiety inside me, and now that she/he had prepared for the introduction with the change into black clothing, she gave a satisfied smile.

And, that name was finally spoken from those small lips.

“My name is Mia Elrod, the one who gave you your divine protection. I’ve come to meet you.”

I have no memory of knowing either the name Mia or the surname Elrod. I heard that name for the first time.

But I know what ‘DP’ means.

“Could it be, that you’re a God?”

A God, a truly unrealistic existence was, now that I said it out loud, it felt a bit disconnected from reality.

But, Mia, as if it was obvious, nodded and answered.

“Yes, I am one of the pillars of the [Black Gods] of Pandora.”

This person who named herself as a God; though I know that such magical existences truly existed, I still couldn’t seem to accept that fact.

No, it is a fact there are existences in this world that provide a power known as ‘Divine Protection’ which was neither magic nor martial arts to a person.

But still, when one actually appeared in a no matter how you look at it a human child like form, there’s no way I could accept one as a God.

“Muu, you don’t believe me do you? I really am a God!! You know where you’re pulling your black magical energy from, right?”

As the self-proclaimed God puffed her/his cheeks in anger, looking at that, I slightly became less cautious.

Also, I remembered that Lily had told me that my black magical energy is brought out from the ‘DP of the Black Gods’.

But, it can’t be helped. I really have no feeling of doing so.

“But I guess it can’t be helped since you came from another world I guess? They don’t seem to believe in Gods very much.”

“You know of others that came from another world?”

Since she/he knew my full name, I’ll ignore how she knew that I was from another world but the problem were those words that implied that there have been others like me.(T/N: I’m going to use she for Mia since the name sounds girly.)

“In the era when I lived, there were people like you. In fact there were many more than now.”

“Is that so?……….”

I can understand what she was saying but whether I can actually accept that is a different case.

“I can’t explain in detail though. Even Gods have rules we need to follow after all.”

“Rules among Gods, eh? Then, the fact that you didn’t save us even after what we went through is also because of your rules?”

This is truly unreasonable. Although one can’t depend on others for everything, I still need to hear this if she’s going to call herself a God.

If you’re a God then why did you not save even a single person? Why did you not stop the Crusaders or the Apostles? No, why did you not save me when I was being subjected to those hellish human experiments?

“Gods aren’t omnipotent. It is as you know.”

Mia gazed at me with a serious expression and looked at me directly with those crimson eyes and spoke.

“At least, in this world, Gods aren’t omniscient and omnipotent existences that can do everything. We live in a different dimension than this, in your words we live in the ‘World of Gods’.”

That’s why, even now, Mia in front of me was only a temporary existence.

“We, the ‘Black Gods’, are nothing more than existences that look over this world from afar. The ways in which a God can interfere with this world are very limited.”

Those ways are, making it rain, giving abundant harvests, and other such natural phenomenon for which humans pray to God.

“So the ‘DP’ you provide to a person is also one of those ways?”

“Exactly. That’s why no matter how much we struggle, we can’t descend directly in this world to save you. In this world, the existence of Gods is nothing more than a ‘system’ to provide power to people. We can simply provide powers that corresponds to the person’s own ability. And the person will have to fight against their ‘enemy’ themselves. Gods save those who save themselves.”

The Gods possess power beyond human knowledge but it can only appear in this world in limited ways possible.

In the end, even after being able to use a part of the power of a God, there’s not much difference from the God on earth. There is no God that can let everyone live happily forever.

Well, I knew that. For a God to save us, it was nothing more than a naïve wish of those who had abandoned the will to work hard in reality.

“So, this is the main issue. I cannot save you directly but I can grant you with strength.”

“Thus you gave me your ‘Divine Protection’, is it?”

Mia gave a nod. It seems she was serious from the start.

“I can’t really believe that so readily. Leaving the fact whether I believe in God or not aside, I haven’t even prayed to you even once. To have granted me DP sounds too convenient, you know?”

I certainly did wish for power, but, God couldn’t have simply said ‘Alright’ and given it to me. That’s just too ridiculous.

Power isn’t something you get just because you wish for it.

I did receive power above humans but that was also a result of me having gone through that hell known as human experimentation.

To attain even more power, I won’t get it just like that simply because God allowed it to me.

“No need to worry so much. I’ll have you ‘act in the name of your faith’ from here onwards. A trial, seems to be a better word, I guess.”

“A trial eh? I see, that makes sense. You won’t give me power that easily.”

But, that makes it more believable.

To acquire a DP, to practice while swinging a sword, both are similar ways of attaining power.

In this world, the power of DP is the real deal. Acting in the name of your faith will attain you more than just mental satisfaction.

“Just as you know, to receive a DP, one needs to offer upon their faith, but even though I say that, it’s nothing more than trying to flatter and buttering up to a God. In simple words, it’s more of a condition that allows God to interfere with this world. No matter how much a God cares for a person, if that God doesn’t have the margin to intervene, he can’t grant power to that person. And conversely speaking, as long as the conditions are cleared, the Gods have no choice but to provide their DP to that person. They cannot take it back just because they don’t like that person.”

If those words are true then it’s a pretty fair system. The Gods are really meant to be impartial to all.

“You’re the first person who has cleared the condition to receive my power, that’s why I really want you to work even harder.”

“I see, that’s also understandable.”

But, he wouldn’t prostrate right now and say ‘Thank you very much God!’ either.

Basically, this Mia is still a self-proclaimed God.

Their talks till now, could have been total bull for all he knew. Mia still hadn’t given a proper proof that she was a God.

Although, the fact that she could such level of magic showed that she was at least not a normal girl like he had originally thought.

“fufufu, that’s fine, even if you don’t believe in me now. To ask one to believe in them from the very start is simply the arrogance and selfish pride of a God. To earn one’s faith, the God should be the first to give some benefit, right?”

What she says is reasonable.

Even in Earth’s legends and folklore, there was a pattern where one would be worshipped only after he saved someone with the help of supernatural powers.

“That’s why I’ll provide you with the DP within the given margin of what I’m allowed.”

“Weren’t you going to give me a Trial?”

“Since you have the power to face off against those Apostles of the White God, I’ll treat that as a trial which is why I’m giving you this power.”

The White God and its Apostles. If she knows even that, does that mean she really is a real God?

“In terms of you adventurers, this is something of an advance to earn your trust in me. That’s why I want you to accept it now.”

Saying that she gave a smile and Mia came closer towards me.

Although I felt an unspeakable presence on my skin, it didn’t have either animosity or killing intent.

Even if she wasn’t a God, it doesn’t change the fact that Mia has abilities far above my own.

Although, receiving DP sounds a bit suspicious but I should obediently listen here.

“Well if you’re going to give it to me, then why not?”

I still don’t know what DP is actually like.

But, if I can actually receive a power, or should I call it change, worthy of being called a Dp, then I wouldn’t really mind to treat this cute girl Mia as a God.

“nee Kurono Mao, I’ll tell you one of the conditions you cleared to receive my protection.”

Mia who had walked till right in front of me looked towards the tall me with upturned eyes.

Being looked at like that, is a bit embarrassing. Even though Mia might be a guy.

“What is it?”

I tried to answer as calmly as possible.

“It was that you didn’t wish for power to kill your hated enemies but you wished for power to protect others.”

“Power for protecting, is it?”

That might be true, now that she said so.

But, it doesn’t change anything I have to do. If the enemy is in front of me, I will kill him.

I’m still a murderer. Just because it was to protect someone, killing someone doesn’t become absolute justice.

I’m aware that I am burdening myself with a great karma.

Though, that doesn’t mean that I will go even a single bit easy on those damned Crusaders.

“That’s why, no matter how much you have to face painful things, do not lose that gentleness of your heart.”

Stop looking at me with those sincere eyes.

I haven’t done anything worth getting such a compliment.

I want to protect everyone. That will of mine is definitely real, but, that’s simply what I want to do.

I haven’t been able to protect anyone till now.

“That’s wrong. Didn’t you just protect me?”

“That was—–“

Simply an act. I had simply fallen for her trick.

Without even saying that, Mia spoke with an understanding expression.

“I apologise to have tested you like that. But, I know what you had been thinking till now. Rejected by those who you wanted to help, tormented by your own weakness, giving up on everything, you had resolved to live selfishly for you own sake. I know those feelings of yours.”

It was true. I ended up averting my gaze.

“But still you came to save me. You came to save me, an unknown person, you didn’t abandon me. You did what was right. No one can deny that fact. That’s why, don’t hesitate, next time, you’ll definitely be able to save everyone.”

In reply to those straight forward words I,

“Thanks.”

Could only say that.

I don’t know whether Mia is really a God or not but this child did cheer me up. I need to know only that.

“fufu, even though I’m supposed to be the one to thank you.”

With a gentle smile, Mia really looked like a cute girl to me.

“Then let me grant you with my Divine Protection.”

I can’t power you up yet, she continued.

“Exactly, what will happen?”

“Let’s see, just like a miracle of God, I’ll—-“

Mia touched my eyepatch with her fingers.

“—restore that eye of yours.”

“You can do that!?”

Of course, Gods are great! She said that proudly as she puffed out her chest.

“Then, can you bend properly?”

“A, yeah.”

My eye really will heal. Well I’m still in doubt how it’ll regenerate but I bent my knee as Mia wanted.

After kneeling down, I was at the same line of sight at Mia.

She really is as small as a child. Or rather, did I grow even more than 183cm?

While I was thinking of such random things, Mia raised her hand and removed my eye patch.

“Don’t move alright?”

“Aa—wait, wait, what the heck is that!?”

Well, it was nothing more than a tentacle that was extending from the ground.

Maybe she’d have much problem if I moved, countless tentacles wrapped around me and restrained my body.

There’s no pain but I felt unpleasant being wrapped in tentacles. If I was a woman, it would have become a trauma.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be over quickly.”

Saying that with a smile, Mia reached towards her own left eye and,

*gurii*—–

Instantly pulled out her own eyeball.

In Mia’s hand, a small eyeball that had a pupil in a shining crimson colour like the Queen Beryl rolled over.

“Wha,a…….”

I was speechless due to the sudden act of violence.

Surprisingly, the eyeball wasn’t stained in blood. It really looked like a clear jewel. But that doesn’t mean I’m calm.

And while I was being surprised, Mia, as if nothing had happened, simply closed her left eyelid and held the eyeball with her slender fingers.

“Then here I go. From here on, my eye will tell everything necessary.”

No, wait, wait a damn second, she isn’t going to use that eyeball to——

*gurigurii*——

Certainly, Mia’s eyeball was pushed inside my empty eye socket.

“Guaah!”

A feeling of oppression and a dull pain, and a feeling of something foreign invading my body ran all over my body. I got goosebumps.

But, that feeling also ended quickly.

As the eyeball completely settled inside my eye socket, my consciousness began to fade and I stopped feeling any pain or discomfort.

“Seek and I shall grant—–fufu, overcoming my trial, you wish to receive my divine protection.”

Hearing those words in the end, I let go of my consciousness beyond the endless darkness.

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