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Chapter 12: On the Boundary Between Humans and Monsters (5)

Lien is not killed.



The Demon King of Carnage descends upon the world.



...Lien’s affinity has reached a certain level.



Hidden route discovered, Lien commits suicide to prevent putting you in danger.



Lien commits suicide.



Li■ commits su■■■de.



■■■ ■■■■■,



...The Emperor’s Might absorbs the energy of slaughter.



The vessels’ bloom state has been reset.



A critical error has been detected.



The path of fate is being reset.


*****

Fortunately, the situation was resolved more quickly than expected.

Just like before, unknown message windows appeared and disappeared at an unreadable speed, then vanished.

Lien hugged me too tightly, too overtly, forcing me to desperately suppress my natural bodily reactions by singing the national anthem.

I witnessed a tearful reunion and apology between Lien and her father.

The priest managed to skillfully shift the blame to the imperial army for Lien’s rampage to the villagers, who were, fortunately, all unconscious, making it easier than expected to oversee the cleanup.

Exhausted from the day’s events, both Lien and I were not ready to leave, so we rented a relatively intact house from the priest to stay in.

Despite the numerous incidents,

considering the magnitude of the disaster, things had turned out fairly well.

Therefore, only one question occupied my mind.

‘Why on earth?’

A sense of discomfort...

An unavoidable sense of discomfort loomed.

It seemed almost natural.

The villagers, they were too normal.

The description from a spoiler post about them persecuting Lien based solely on their bogus fortune-telling results seemed slightly off.

Lien’s father had intended to kill her based on those fortune-telling results, but... he couldn’t bring himself to tell everyone, out of a sense of pity.

It was ambiguous.

Was I misremembering the spoiler post?

Had my memory become muddled?

But that wasn’t the only issue.

‘In the end, no matter how it happened, the prophecy came true, didn’t it?’

Lien was on the verge of awakening as a Demon King.

Although I deemed it a coincidence brought about by the butterfly effect.

Still, the precision of it all was too eerie to dismiss.

‘...I’ll have to investigate this further.’

I advised Lien to rest in bed and then stepped out the door.

Perhaps due to most of the houses being burned down, the priest had provided us with a place that had only one bed.

I wouldn’t have been able to sleep there anyway.

...I must do something about this infuriatingly healthy body trait of mine.

I can’t sleep with anyone because I feel like I’ll go crazy if I lie down with them.

With that thought, I went to seek out the priest again.

“Is it you? What brings you here at such a ‘busy’ time...?”

I couldn’t fathom why he emphasized ‘busy,’ but chose to ignore it and spoke up.

“Can you foretell my future?”

This was the plan I had come up with.

There was no better way to verify the reliability of that spoiler post.

Thinking about it.

What if this person could actually make an accurate prophecy?

It would mean that I must act on the assumption that the spoiler post might contain some inaccuracies.

And if I could learn about my own future, it would compensate for my lack of original knowledge.

But what if the prophecy turns out to be false?

Then it would simply confirm that the spoiler post can be trusted. There’s no downside for me.

Either way, it’s a win-win situation. It would be strange not to try it.

“Lien, that kid. Even if she’s taken a liking to a boy, to blabber about our tribe’s secret divination...”

The priest grumbled something about the futility of raising daughters as he prepared for the ritual.

...Now that I think about it, I had read about this astrology divination in the spoiler post.

I felt a bit guilty for Lien, who had fallen asleep immediately upon lying down, probably exhausted from crying.

But let’s just go with what Lien has told me for now.

“What was your name again?”

“Ian.”

Upon hearing my name, the priest draws a double circle and places various symbols around it.

And then...

“This shouldn’t be happening.”

Nothing happened.

I tried to hide my cold expression, but it seemed I got caught.

The priest, not wanting to lose face, got irritated and declared that he would read someone else’s destiny.

Using a straightforward approach that only requires the name and appearance. I called out a suitable person’s name.

“Please look into Siel’s fate. The hair is black...”

As I finished describing, the priest once again began to chant incomprehensible words and draw a circle with ashes.

And then...

Suddenly, the priest’s expression turned to one of sheer horror.

“You, whoever this person might be, you must sever ties with them immediately!”

...What does that mean?

I looked at the priest, bewildered, and he continued, agitated.

“This person is destined to bring calamity. A hidden spark of vengeance in their heart will ignite, threatening to engulf everyone around them... no, to set the entire world ablaze!”

...Vengeance?

Her?

That naive and thoughtless kid, a harbinger of revenge?

There’s a limit to how absurd things can get.

Of course, I knew Siel had lost her mother; I had even asked if she was okay out of concern.

-I’m fine.

-...Really?

-I know she loved me. That’s enough for me.

She said she’d say she loved her mother at her grave and that would be her farewell. That was her idea of closure.

And this kid is supposed to destroy the world over revenge?

“...You need to take this seriously! Fate cannot be escaped!”

The priest shouted, losing his temper.

But, if he insists on that, I have something to say too.

“Lien is doing just fine now, isn’t she? Is fate really that absolute?”

Whether Lien was close to awakening as a demon king or not, she’s just peacefully sleeping now.

Is this all just a cult thing, after all?

Thinking this, I was about to step back...

But then I reconsidered.

A strange intuition held me back.

A feeling that I shouldn’t back down at this moment.

“I would like you to look into one more person’s fate...”

With that, I described Yuli’s name and appearance.

The reason I asked about Yuli was simple.

While gathering allies is one aspect, a more significant reason is that I had directly encountered Yuli in the previous work.

From the moment of birth to growing up, I knew everything about this character inside out.

After all, Yuli was the daughter of the protagonist in the original story.

A saint born with divine powers.

A beacon of hope in the grim Bone and Blood world, a little one who healed the player’s heart with her innocence.

Testing with her would give me a clearer picture.

Once again, the priest prepared for the ritual.

And then...

“How ominous, truly ominous. I sense an evil and dreadful aura... Why do you only associate with such people?”

In the end, there was no twist.

What?

A eveil aura from a saint?

That doesn’t make any sense.

I started to understand why this man had been spouting nonsense about Lien having a heavenly slaughter aspect, destined to kill countless people, and so on.

He was just blabbering negative things without basis.

“...Is it because I’m getting old? Seems like I’m running out of energy. I’m sorry, but you can’t ask for more.”

The priest shamelessly acted exhausted, as if doing more would expose his deceit.

However, I wasn’t rude enough to say such things to his face. I politely thanked the priest and left.

‘...Strange.’

My intuition is usually accurate.

This is the first time it’s been so off the mark.

But with such clear evidence to the contrary, I can’t insist based on a hunch alone.

‘Well, even intuition can be wrong sometimes.’

With that thought and a sense of emptiness, I trudged away.

*****

The priest was left alone, deep in thought.

The reason was simple.

He sensed that the young man earlier didn’t believe in his fortune-telling at all.

Normally, he wouldn’t have cared so much.

But...

‘After all, we’re going to be family... I can’t start showing my future son-in-law such incompetence.’

This thought kept nagging at the priest.

When that man named Ian and his daughter visited, the priest immediately noticed the affection in Lien’s eyes for the man.

Of course, the priest didn’t ask Ian what he felt about the daughter.

Seeing them embrace so tenderly, what more was there to inquire? Besides, it would take someone quite blind not to appreciate a woman like his daughter.

“Hmm...”

With that in mind, the priest pondered for a moment before spotting a strand of Ian’s white hair on the floor.

He then realized why he couldn’t see Ian’s fate earlier.

It was because ‘Ian’ wasn’t the man’s real name.

...Considering the number of orphans in the empire, it wasn’t unusual.

Many lived under a second name they chose for themselves, not the one given by their parents at birth.

‘But with this.’

A part of the body could be used to cast another fortune.

With this, the priest was confident that the ritual would yield a definitive result this time.

With that thought, he prepared for the ritual once again.

And then...

Only silence followed.

The heavens were eerily quiet.

“Perhaps I’ve grown old indeed.”

In the end, the priest said so, smiling wistfully.

It seemed almost inevitable.

The notion that a single soul could weigh more than this world, more precious than the heavens they worshipped, too sacred for its fate to be read.

Who could have possibly noticed such an implausible truth?

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