Really sorry for the delay! Extra long chapter for today’s release. Enjoy!
Chapter 0206 The Time is Out of Joint
Abel was pinned to the ground with his left leg cut deeply and several sword slashes in other places.
He had bled quite a bit but was still clearly conscious.
“To think there are four vampires…”
Abel said, glaring at Count Roberto Rijo.
“Gotta give it to you, you’re pretty good for a human, I guess that’s an A-rank adventurer for you. But at the end of the day, you’re still just a human. How utterly foolish to pick a fight you can’t win.”
“Well, there are certain battles that one shouldn’t shy away from. Not that I expect a vampire to understand that.”
Abel answered Roberto’s words with a grin.
“I can’t believe you can still run your mouth in this situation. Fine, maybe I should cut off your head right here. There are many others to use for public execution.”
With that, the soldiers holding Abel down lifted his upper body, making it easier to cut off his head.
Then Roberto raised his sword.
“Are you sure you want to kill him?”
The voice blew through the area, and the four vampires, including Roberto, involuntarily shuddered.
Then they looked back toward the door.
A young man walked into the mock battleground.
He was neither fast nor slow, as if walking at that speed was a matter of course…his movements had been refined over the years.
He was simply walking, but his presence made onlookers feel…as if he alone has all the answers.
“L-Lord Shinso*…” (TLN: Lit. True Ancestor, so henceforth ‘Lord Progenitor’)
Roberto swallowed hard and finally spat out the words.
“Why are you here…?”
“I’m a bystander and an observer. So, I am free to show up everywhere?”
The person called ‘Lord Progenitor’ came up to Abel and the others and looked at Abel as if to confirm something.
“Hmm…. So Roberto, let me ask you again, are you really sure you want to kill this man?”
“Y-You may be the Lord Progenitor, but even you cannot meddle in the government of the country…”
Roberto was visibly nervous but still tried to put up a brave front, perhaps because he did not want his position to be threatened.
“Of course not. I have no intention of meddling in the affairs of the country as per the stipulated agreement.”
When the Lord Progenitor said that, Roberto exhaled softly, clearly relieved.
Then, he straightened up and said clearly.
“Yes, I’m going to kill him.”
The Lord Progenitor replied softly, then turned to Abel and continued.
“Adventurer Abel, you heard Count Rijo…are you okay with that?”
The Lord Progenitor must be aware of Abel’s identity.
Or so he was implying.
Why not reveal his identity now, and settle this diplomatically.
“I am Abel, an A-rank adventurer. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“So you say…”
With just a slight sigh, the Lord Progenitor replied.
As Roberto raised his sword, the Lord Progenitor turned to walk away from Abel.
At that moment, the Lord Progenitor heard Abel murmur.
“Damn, I guess that phrase fits this desperate situation perfectly. The time is out of joint.”
The Lord Progenitor’s reaction was swift.
With the sword traveling at an extremely fast speed, the Lord Progenitor caught the sword that Roberto had swung down and flicked it back.
The Lord Progenitor said once again as he repelled Roberto’s sword.
As surprised as Roberto was, it was Abel who had already resolved himself, who was even more so as the sword was stopped midswing.
When he opened his eyes, the Lord Progenitor had inserted himself in front of him to catch Roberto’s sword.
Roberto and the other vampires were surprised by his actions.
“I suddenly have a few questions for this lad.”
When the Lord Progenitor said that, he turned to Abel and asked.
“Adventurer Abel, what did you just say?”
Abel had no idea what the Lord Progenitor was talking about.
So, he simply returned the question….
“You worm! The Lord Progenitor just asked you a question, are you deaf…?”
“It’s okay, Roberto. Adventurer Abel, what was it you said just now?”
Abel answered, recalling what he had said.
“Earlier I said…damn, I guess that phrase fits this desperate situation perfectly…?”
“Mm-hmm, and after that.”
“Oh…. The time is out of joint.”
“O cursed spite. That ever I was born to set it right.”
Picking up after Abel’s words, the Lord Progenitor continued.
“How did you know the rest…?”
Abel was astonished.
He didn’t expect anyone other than Ryo to utter such strange words.
“Adventurer Abel, how did you come to know those words?”
“I learned it…from a friend of mine. He is an adventurer named Ryo who also happens to be with us in Land right now.”
Upon hearing these words, the Lord Progenitor’s eyes widened in astonishment and he let out a small cry.
“He’s here! That’s good!”
The Lord Progenitor nodded repeatedly.
Then he said to Count Roberto Rijo and the others behind him.
“Roberto, I forbid you to kill this man.”
“I-I’m afraid, even if it’s the wishes of the Lord Progenitor…”
“Roberto, are you asking me to repeat myself?”
There was no particular feeling or emotion behind his words.
He just said it.
He just said the words plainly, but…the moment they heard the Lord Progenitor’s words, Roberto and the other vampires looked like they were about to jump out of their skin.
They clenched their teeth, cold sweat began pouring down their faces like a waterfall, and eventually, they even began to weep.
When Roberto finally said those words, he dropped to one knee and bowed his head.
Abel was released from his restraints and his injuries were healed by the Knight Order’s healers, who had returned to normal.
“Now, Adventurer Abel, I have decided to take you under my wing for now. The only condition is that you introduce me to your friend Ryo.”
“Oh, don’t worry. I promise that I will not harm him. I just want to talk to him about a few things. So, where is he at the moment?”
“As I recall he’s at…Duchess Alba’s residence.”
Hearing this, the Lord Progenitor fell into a deep depression.
“At Agnes’ place huh…”
“What, is something wrong?”
Abel was worried about Ryo’s safety, too. In case the place he went to turned out the same as his….
“Agnes hates more than anything to be sidetracked in the middle of something. Even I can’t intervene…because she could be a real piece of work when she’s angry. All I can do now is hope that Ryo comes back without incident… unfortunately that’s about the only thing I can do right now.”
“Are you kiddin’ me…?”
Duchess Alba’s residence dining room.
There, the endless sword fight continued.
Sir Griffin outstripped his opponent in speed and power.
But the two were evenly matched in skill.
Looking only at that aspect, Sir Griffin had an overwhelming advantage.
In fact, Sir Griffin was attacking and Ryo was defending…and that was pretty much the outline of the clash.
And it had been going on without stopping.
(What the hell is up with this guy…why is it that I still can’t break through his defense after all these attacks?)
As expected, Sir Griffin had become frustrated and impatient.
It was the first time he had attacked so extensively and unable to break through…well, except against one other person…. But that person was overwhelmingly superior to him, so it’s only natural that he couldn’t gain an advantage over him.
Since the Lord Progenitor is exceptional, it could be said to be a matter of course, but…against a human opponent, it was inconceivable.
Ryo on the receiving end was as solid as a rock.
If he decided to go on full defense mode, even Sera’s Wind Equip wouldn’t be able to break through in two hours.
And Ryo was accustomed to being on the receiving end.
When he came to ‘Phi’, the first person he learned swordsmanship from was the Water Fairy King in the form of a Dullahan, and after that, he had a lot of sparring with Sera in her Wind Equip form.
Basically, he’s repeatedly only had sword fights with those better than him.
So for better or worse, he became good at receiving attacks.
Being on the receiving end continuously, generally tends to eat away at one’s psyche.
Because a single mistake, and it’s over.
However, if you consider that ‘there’s no need to take risks and go on the offensive’, it’s not necessarily all bad.
Ryo decided to see things in such a manner.
All living things…no, not only living things.
Even robots and machines… can’t always keep moving.
The problem of ‘energy supply’ always looms.
The term, ‘running out of battery’ or, in human terms, ‘running out of stamina’.
Needless to say, this problem exists not only in humans but also in vampires.
Into the countless thousandth round of their sword fight, came another of Sir Griffin’s diagonal slash.
As expected, his stamina was running out, and his sword slashes were becoming slightly dull.
Before the moment when he was about to bring down his sword, Ryo took a half step and closed in with his right foot, and parried the sword before Sir Griffin applied power to it.
Then, he stepped forward with his left foot, rotated his hips, and threw a three-quarter punch with his left fist, which he had released from Murasame, diagonally upward from the waist.
A ‘smash’ as they say call it in boxing.
The words leaked out of Sir Griffin’s mouth unintentionally.
The strike caught Sir Griffin in his flank, stopping him in his tracks. Just as some hero once unleashed on a great general….
At that moment, he withdrew Murasame’s blade and used the recoil from the smash with his left hand to thrust his right hand this time, wielding Murasame’s blade as a knife, at Sir Griffin’s throat.
Once it was thrust deep, Sir Griffin’s body was sent flying backward.
Then he stopped moving.
Without a doubt, Sir Griffin wasn’t negligent with his stamina.
It’s just that Ryo’s stamina was extraordinary.
Stamina…endurance is something that anyone can develop if they only try hard enough.
And in a battle, the last one standing is the winner.
Endurance is essential to stay standing until the end.
That very endurance made the difference between victory and defeat in the sword fight between Sir Griffin and Ryo.
The result became clear the moment Ryo’s skill surpassed Sir Griffin’s by only a fraction, due to his drop in stamina.
The so-called ‘Active Defense’… it was Ryo’s victory thanks to his stamina, which surpassed human limits and way beyond that of a vampire’s. (TLN: Continuously cutting off the opponent’s offense or maintaining a rock-solid posture)
“I guess it’s Master Ryo’s win.”
Agnes said and snapped her fingers.
At that moment, the strange feeling that Ryo had been feeling since earlier disappeared.
“The magic nullification has…”
“Yes, I’ve disabled it.”
Agnes said and called the butler, ordering him to patch up Sir Griffin and prepare the carriage.
Ryo tilted his head, unable to read her intention.
“Right now, everyone is restricted from moving around in the capital. But if you’re with me, you can move freely. So, I’m taking you back to the guest house.”
“Oh…right, thank you very much…”
Abel and the Lord Progenitor left the mock battleground and returned to the front of the guest house.
“Um, Lord Progenitor…what exactly is your position?”
The Lord Progenitor’s carriage got a free pass through the capital, where the knights of various lords were stationed at several checkpoints.
Even the Land nobles were being stopped and searched.
“Well…how do I put it…right, I guess you could say that I’m the director of a private library, that’s the best way to describe it.”
“Okay…sorry, but I’m kind of lost. I mean your official position in the country…”
“Oh, I see what you mean, in that case, none.”
“But everyone treats you with reverence…Count Rijo, for example, I believe was even trembling…”
Abel asked, recalling the scene at the mock battleground.
“That wasn’t…because of my status in this country, but because of my status within the vampire tribe. It’s pretty high up among the vampires, just so you know.”
When he said that, the Lord Progenitor smiled a little.
They walked side by side into the guest house.
Naturally, the entrance was guarded by a group of knights from some territory, but when they saw the Lord Progenitor, they gave way.
Moreover, Abel noticed that the knights were sweating profusely and trembling just slightly.
Must be due to the status of the Lord Progenitor.
The adventurers and knights of the mission had gathered in the state guest house dining room.
When Abel and the Lord Progenitor entered side by side, Knight Zack was the first to notice and shouted.
At the sound of his voice, the other adventurers and knights gathered around.
“Oh, Zack, guys, are you all right?”
Abel tried his best to sound calm.
“Abel, the five members of ‘Valkyries’ haven’t come back yet.”
Showken, the leader of the adventurers, reported.
“The ‘Valkyries’ huh? Where did they go?”
“Miu was summoned by His Highness the Grand Duke…”
“Ah, I see.”
Miu is the Grand Duke’s granddaughter.
The timing meant that the Grand Duke would have been besieged by the vampire nobles and their knights.
Miu and her party were most likely dragged into it.
“Lord Progenitor, the lady whose name was just mentioned, Miu, is the granddaughter of the Grand Duke. Perhaps she got dragged into the fight when she was meeting with the Grand Duke…”
Abel turned to the Lord Progenitor and reported.
The Lord Progenitor tilted his head a little and thought about it, then said.
“Silas’ child that’s related to the Kingdom … you must be talking about the one that got married to Marquis Westwing. I see, her daughter became an adventurer and came to Land, huh?”
After the Lord Progenitor said that, he called for a knight from some territory standing outside the dining room.
The knight who was called was clearly trembling and breaking out in cold sweat.
“I heard that there are five adventurers in the care of the Grand Duke. There is no need for them to remain in the castle. Please arrange for them to return to the guest house.”
“I…um, I don’t have the authority to…”
The knight replied, sweating an incomparable lot compared to earlier.
“Hm? I see, then I will go there personally. But if I go alone, I’m not sure if those kids will listen to me willingly…”
“I will go with you.”
“Oh, that’ll be very helpful. Shall we?”
The journey from the state guest house to the castle was underway.
“Are those five the only ones missing?”
“That seems to be the case. The negotiator and other civilian officials were in the conference building…. Which leaves Ryo, the only one left.”
“Yeah…and that’s what worries me the most.”
The Lord Progenitor sighed deeply.
“Is this, Ryo fellow a swordsman?”
“No, he is a magician.”
Hearing Abel’s answer, the Lord Progenitor was at a loss for words.
“What is it? Is something wrong?”
“Yeah…. Could very well be.”
In his mind, he was thinking of the ‘magic nullification’ alchemy tool installed in Duchess Alba’s mansion.
If that thing were to be used, the magician would be a sitting duck.
Praying that Agnes wouldn’t try killing the adventurer named Ryo…was about the only thing the Lord Progenitor could do at the moment.
The knights desperately tried to stop the Lord Progenitor. But without touching him.
The knights kept falling back at the speed at which he was walking, keeping a certain distance as if their arms would melt if they touched him.
From Abel’s point of view, it was quite a pitiful sight.
Then, the Lord Progenitor opened the door leading to the Grand Duke’s reception room, without knocking.
A man and the Grand Duke stiffened at the back of the room.
And the ‘Valkyries’ who raised their voices cheerfully.
Grand Duke Silas, who had frozen when he saw the person who entered the room, was the first to move.
He immediately got up from his chair, came before the Lord Progenitor, and got down on one knee.
Seeing this, the Valkyries were stunned.
Can’t blame them.
The person on his knee was the Grand Duke of Twilight Land after all. In other words, the highest-ranking person in this country.
And that very person got down on one knee and bowed to the young man who entered the room without hesitation.
“It’s been a while, Silas.”
Those were the words of a man of authority.
The atmosphere that the Lord Progenitor had been wearing until then was neither unfriendly nor heavy.
Something similar to the heir apparent of a refined noble, so to speak.
However, from the moment he uttered that single sentence, the atmosphere completely changed.
Everyone present felt it.
Not only Abel, but even the members of the ‘Valkyries’, who knew nothing about the situation, recognized that the person to whom the Grand Duke kneeled on one knee was an extraordinary individual.
“It’s a privilege to have graced us with your presence in such a place, please allow me to…”
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
Grand Duke Silas’ words were interrupted by the Lord Progenitor.
Then he looked to the back of the room and opened his mouth.
“Vicente, I need to talk to you.”
The person to whom the Lord Progenitor spoke was Marquis Vicente Espiel.
Vicente, who was spoken to, appeared to be imposing from a distance.
But, on a closer look, it was quite clear. That he was trembling slightly and desperately trying to put on airs.
“L-Lord Progenitor, excuse my words…you cannot meddle in the affairs of the country…”
“Have I said anything about that?”
That one sentence gave Vicente a powerful shock.
The words contained neither a hint of anger nor irritation.
He simply said it.
And even though he had simply said so….
Vicente’s face went from white to pale.
“O-Of course not…”
It was all he could manage to get those words out.
Vicente’s mouth was dry, and he swallowed several mouthfuls of fresh saliva as an uncontrollable shiver ran through his body.
“Marquis Vicente Espiel, I am sending these Kingdom adventurers back to the state guest house. Do you have anything to say about that?”
As if to announce his decision, the Lord Progenitor asked Vicente, and Vicente simply accepted without question.
“You also detained the negotiator and the civilian officials of the Kingdom. I will have them return to the state guest house as well. I take it you have no problem with that, either.”
After saying that much, the Lord Progenitor turned around and looked at Grand Duke Silas, who was still on one knee.
Then he asked Vicente.
“Vicente, what do you lot plan to do with Silas?”
“S-Silas is…going to be executed for treason…”
Vicente’s answer was met with a soft, but sharp, cry from Miu.
The Lord Progenitor glanced at the Grand Duke, then at Miu, and finally at Vicente before saying.
“Vicente, I’m taking Silas under my wing, leave the matter of his fate to me for the time being. I forbid you to execute him.”
“L-Lord Progenitor, you can’t just intervene in…”
The matter of custody of the Kingdom’s diplomatic mission was one thing, Vicente had to accept it because it was not an intervention in politics, but the Lord Progenitor’s action to stop the execution of Grand Duke Silas, he couldn’t take lying down.
Which was why he raised his voice….
“You lot are staging a coup d’etat, correct? You have neatly taken control of the political center and the heart of the capital. It’s of little consequence whether you execute Silas.”
“Vicente, are you going to make me repeat myself?”
His final words were clearly laced with anger.
As if by some magical power, the words not only struck Vicente, but also made the legs of everyone in the room wobble.
Vicente’s knees gave way as he dropped to the floor, his eyes drooping.
His eyes were even filled with tears.
“It’s all right. Now, everyone, let’s go back to the state guest house. Abel, please help them up.”
The last words were said with the return of the air of a refined noble’s heir.
Three of the Valkyries were seated, but they managed to get up and returned to the guest house.
It had been some time since Abel, the ‘Valkyries’ and the civilian officials, led by the negotiator, returned to the guest house.
“Phew, finally, I’m back.”
The Water-Attribute Magician had finally returned to the state guest house.
And it was Showken who spotted him first, and with that cry, everyone in the dining hall looked toward Ryo.
And at the same time, a bewitching beauty who came in from behind Ryo also came into view.
One of the civilian officials, who knew her appearance, muttered involuntarily.
But the little murmur passed unexpectedly well and was heard by many in the delegation.
And then to the ears of one individual not part of the delegation, who was in the back of the dining room.
“I see, you came too, Agnes…”
The Lord Progenitor stood up and approached Ryo and Agnes, and Agnes’ eyes widened in surprise at his presence there.
However, she quickly came to herself and performed a curtsy with the hem of her skirt.
Seeing this, the civilian officials were surprised.
Duchess Alba, who boasts of a power that surpasses even that of the Grand Duke in Land, just paid proper homage to an unknown individual….
They had never heard of such a person.
The only conceivable explanation would only be a king or emperor of another country.
“But why, Lord Progenitor?”
“Oh, Agnes, I escorted Adventurer Abel back here you see. And also to see Ryo.”
Ryo tilted his head as hard as he could.
He had no recollection of making acquaintance with a beautiful man, much less one as good-looking as the one in front of him….
Although he doesn’t….
(I see, they meant Lord ‘Progenitor’ when they were addressing him as Lord Shinso huh…)
In the vampire community, the ‘Progenitor’ is the pinnacle of all vampires. In some cases, he may even be the ancestor of all vampires.
The superbly beautiful guy in front of him looked like he was in his twenties, but of course, it was most likely just appearance.
Ryo concluded to himself.
The Lord Progenitor turned to Ryo, smiled at him, and suddenly muttered a verse.
“The time is out of joint.”
“…O cursed spite.”
“That ever I was born to set it right.”
Involuntarily, Ryo also muttered the rest of the passage, and finally, the Lord Progenitor muttered the final verse.
“How, did you know about Hamlet…?”
Ryo was surprised. Wondering if there’s a Shakespeare in this world as well.
“Yeah, well, even if there’s another Hamlet, only Mr. Hidekatsu Nojima could render such an astonishing translation, wouldn’t you say?”
Yes, the original text goes.
The time is out of joint, O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right.
To translate this as ‘The time is out of joint, O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right’…is too genius a translation.
The fact that he knows this translation proves that he’s a Japanese….
“That’s right, I’m just like you, Ryo.”
It would seem that Ryo just met the second reincarnated person since he came to ‘Phi’.