Loren had heard the stories, but had never witnessed it himself . That was why he hadn’t been able to call up the memory right away .
He knew that it was already too late to say ‘Run!’, but he did anyway .
Loren didn’t know if the adventurers facing Tizona realized that it was directed at them or not . Because the moment he had recalled Tizona’s ident.i.ty and shouted out the warning to them, he had also picked Lapis up and ran away .
Gula also had set off after them just one moment later, and at almost the same time, Tizona had opened her mouth .
“Burn . Ashes to ashes . Trashes to ashes . ”
The words were spoken as if sung . As soon as they left her mouth, the adventurers burst into flames .
The red flames enveloped their whole bodies and, without a single scream or a single whiff of smoke or smell of burning flesh, the adventurers became piles of ash in the blink of an eye . Despite how violent the flames were, it didn’t spread .
The ma.s.sacre was over too soon, and it had happened so seamlessly that no one was able to utter anything . Those presented could only turn their gazes towards the piles of ash lying on the floor .
The sole perpetrator, Tizona, slowly lowered her arms and looked around . After confirming that no one had anything to say, she slowly walked towards the wall, where Loren had escaped to with Lapis . Her expression was so indifferent that it was impossible to imagine she had just burned several people to death .
“You seem to know about me, don’t you?”
Tizona was coming closer and closer with a clacking of heels, and Loren found himself unable to answer her . He had the experience of imagining scenes after hearing stories about this before, but it was probably the first time that he saw the actual scene . It was so shocking that he was at a loss for words .
“Wha… what was just now?”
Gula, who had run to the wall like Loren, asked with dumbfounded words . Hearing her questions, Loren’s stiffened lips finally moved to say the following:
“That means you know me, don’t you? I also feel like I know you . Maybe we’ve met somewhere before?”
“I don’t know . At least, this should be the first time I’ve met you . ”
“Then maybe it was on a battlefield . In that case, it’s very likely that only I saw you… Have you always used that greatsword?”
Tizona glanced at the greatsword on Loren’s back and asked .
Loren had used a similar sword during his mercenary days, but it had been a very ordinary steel sword, not entirely black like this one . That sword broke when he became an adventurer, so he bought this one as a replacement as per Lapis’ advice . Loren suspected that this sword was the reason why Tizona felt like she had met him before .
“No, I’ve just bought this one recently . The sword I used to use was… broken . ”
“Was it similar to this one? A steel greatsword?”
“Yeah, you can say so . ”
Loren had considered lying, but he wasn’t sure what Tizona would do if she knew she had been lied to . Rather than taking that risk, he believed it was better to just tell the truth .
“Is that so? Are you the mercenary called ‘Decapitating Wind’?”
“No, I’m not . Isn’t he the one said to be able to turn the tide of a battle by himself, and thus have a nickname, just like you? I’m not such a big shot . ”
It felt like Loren already had a similar conversation before . Still being carried by Loren, Lapis watched him and Tizona . Loren looked very earnest, his face saying ‘I’m not lying’ . Meanwhile, Tizona nodded multiple times as if she was satisfied .
“You really are ‘Decapitating Wind’ . What are you doing here? I heard the mercenary company you belonged to was annihilated . Did you quit working as a mercenary?”
“That’s why I said I’m not him . My company was indeed annihilated, and I did quit being a mercenary, but I don’t have a nickname . I was just an ordinary mercenary . ”
Loren kept insisting that it was not him . But Tizona already made conclusion and looked at him with an expression of understanding his need to deny the ‘truth’ .
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“Uhm, excuse me, but is it alright for me to say something?”
Meanwhile, Tizona, who could easily resist Ivy if she wanted to, looked to have frozen . She looked towards Loren for help, but he immediately averted his eyes . Getting involved with Tizona or Ivy? Thanks, but no thanks . Loren didn’t want to get involved with either of them .
“Well then, let us go to the back . It won’t take too much of your time; it’ll end quickly and it won’t be painful at all, so please follow me obediently . ”
“Follow you? Wait, Decapitating Wind! Help a fellow mercenary, will you?! Wait!”
“But didn’t I tell you?”
Tizona hadn’t lost a fight here, but she was letting Ivy drag her away by the shoulder . Lapis’ face indicated very clearly that she didn’t want to get involved, and Loren’s answer was very blunt:
“I don’t know you . I’ve already told you, I’m not the mercenary called ‘Decapitating Wind’, and I only know the name of ‘h.e.l.lfire Sword’ by rumors . ”
Lapis felt like Loren wasn’t lying or trying to trick Tizona . She couldn’t tell if Tizona had told the truth or not, but rather than reflecting on it, distance themselves from her was a higher priority .
“Well then, let’s pretend that we didn’t see anything here . First of all, let’s look for some jobs to pay for Gula’s food expenses, shall we? Otherwise, at this rate we’ll end up on the street . ”
“Does she really eat that much…?”
Loren looked dazed at Gula, to which she shyly scratched her head .
“Eh, there was a long period when I couldn’t eat anything, you know? And right after that I was eating a lot of strange stuff… So to stop eating an ordinary meal for a change became irresistible”
“I know how you feel, but it’s still no excuse to make us go bankrupt . ”
“I know it’s rare, but it’ll be nice if we can find some high-paying jobs . It’s even better if Gula can take them on her own . ”
“Lapis-chan, that’s too cruel…”
Gula began to b.u.t.ter up Lapis, who had just told her to earn the money for her food herself . Loren, who had never heard of any parties getting bankrupt due to food expenses, began to thoroughly investigate the jobs still left at the reception . The Tizona incident had completely vanished from his mind .
In the end, they couldn’t find any jobs with decent pay that day, so they decided to return to their inn and come back later for a fresh start . But the next day, when they came back only to have Ivy suddenly drag them into a backroom, and Loren was reminded of Tizona once more .
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