Ruler had also been sucked into the girls’—Jack’s nightmare. Ruler walked down a road filled with the stench of rotting bodies.
“This place is… England?”
In Trifas, though the architectural style had been that of the Middle Ages, the town itself had a properly maintained sanitation system. But this place was the opposite. The buildings here were modern in style, the kind that Laeticia was familiar with in her memories. But the streets were filled with strife and unsanitary conditions.
This was the city where Jack the Ripper was born. A freezing fog and a pitch black night. In the midst of that, Ruler walked down the street.
Before she realized it, her armor had disappeared, and her holy flag was gone from her hand as well. However, she didn’t feel helpless at all. She continued walking straight ahead in a dignified manner.
She had a rough idea as to the nature of this illusion. She also understood how to escape from it—no, how to bring it down.
…It meant doing something sorrowful. Even if the end result would be a blessing, someone would have to bear pain in order to achieve it.
A person, no, a child, who was the pure manifestation of innocence.
“—Even so. Nothing will start unless she is killed.”
After she took a single breath, Ruler’s eyes were filled with strong determination. Her resolve was as sharp as a blade and as hard as steel.
There was a young girl in one of the back alleys. She glared at the holy maiden Jeanne d’Arc with eyes filled with despair. The girl’s killing intent was that of the weak—but Ruler glared back at the girl without flinching. She released her own killing intent, which a hero would normally never direct at a despairing, victimized child.
The little girl was so shocked she retreated back a step. Ruler questioned her with a cold-hearted voice.
“What’s wrong, Assassin of Black…? No, the girl who used to be Assassin of Black. The girl who held the name of Jack the Ripper, who wasn’t really anyone. Do you intend to run away?”
“…Why aren’t you scared?”
“Scared? Why is there a need to think of you as frightening? All of you are merely sorrowful victims.”
At those words, countless children appeared all around Ruler one after another. Their faces were each unique and yet they somehow had a sense of sameness. Every one of them was dirty and had eyes filled with a dark light.
This place was unmistakably the hell of this era. These children were the embodiment of it in human form.
No matter how heartless someone was, they would falter, feel fear and shudder if they were pushed down here. This place was the inner world that embodied of Jack the Ripper’s Origin. A miniature garden of darkness that took form as Assassin was dying, filled with human ugliness.
“Great Holy Maiden.”
“Save us, save the pitiful, so pitiful Jack. Save us. Save us, help us, gives us your hand. Please, please, please—”
The children crowded around Ruler and clung to her with desperate expressions on their faces.
If she’s a saint, then she can save them. If she’s a saint, then she’ll definitely grant them salvation. No, even without being a saint, as long as she was a decent human being, this was a situation where she should feel something for them.
And yet, Ruler did not quiver as she stood at the center of them—in fact, there was not the slightest tremble, sympathy or even pity on her face.
The holy maiden spoke harshly to them.
“—I cannot do that. I can save children who’ve lost their way and I can purify souls that have lingering regrets by praying. However, Jack the Ripper alone cannot be saved by me.”
The children froze.
“You have all already been included as part of ‘his’ legend. The murderer known as Jack the Ripper is already both anybody and nobody. Do you all truly understand that the people you killed were victims of Jack the Ripper? You know neither their names nor their faces. You only sought your mother’s face and killed them in the process, right?”
Jack the Ripper killed at least five prostitutes—
Jack the Ripper gouged out their organs—
Jack the Ripper sent a letter to a newspaper company—
Jack the Ripper is a doctor.
Jack the Ripper is a member of the Royal Family.
Jack the Ripper is a painter.
Jack the Ripper is an ordinary person that can be found anywhere.
All of these were lies, and all of these were true. Now that all kinds of rumors, gossip and guesses had become jumbled together, trying to grasp her identity outside of being Jack the Ripper was an unimaginably difficult act.
She was anybody and nobody. She was nobody and anybody.
The problem was—that the number of possibilities was close to infinite. Because of that, the Anti-Heroic Spirit Jack the Ripper included all the possibilities in this world.
Most likely, the Holy Grail had tried to call forth a ‘Jack the Ripper’ that embodied all of these possibilities.
“That’s right. You all have all been made part of Jack the Ripper. You might have been forced to become part of him… But that’s why, even if I can kill you, I can’t save you.”
Unrest ran through the children. Though they sought salvation, they contaminated everyone they came across. They truly were evil spirits. Though it was only vaguely, they understood their own end.
This holy maiden’s prayers weren’t salvation for them—
“…It seems you finally understand. I’ll commence destroying you all now.”
Her prayers were a Baptism Rite for completely annihilating their existence.
“The Lord’s blessing is deep, His love is eternal and constant.”
“Why… Why are you…!?”
“This is natural providence… You should already understand. You have all been transformed by your inflated hatred and the despair of the people you killed. Not one of you can be separated from the concept of ‘Jack the Ripper’ anymore.”
“You dwell in the deserted wasteland, not knowing the path to your proper place.”
They were all molded together as one into ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Not a single one of them even had a name of their own. They were not recognized as individuals by the world.
“Hunger, thirst, the soul withers.”
“No! No, we, we are—!”
“Then do you all have individual names?”
The children’s breathing halted. That was a forbidden question. These children, who had been thrown away while still a fetus, had no names. Even if humans had names, mere cells did not.
“Speak His name and be saved. Speak the name of the One who will guide you to your proper place.”
“In that case—”
Ruler slowly held out her right hand. At that moment, a shout rang out from somewhere.
“Stop… stop, Ruler…!!”
“Archer of Red…!?”
Ruler was shocked as she saw Archer of Red glaring at her with an arrow nocked on her bow. Her right arm was tainted black and it was clear that she was being possessed by an evil spirit.
“What are you doing, Archer!? Your right arm—”
Archer interrupted Ruler’s words by shooting the arrow.
“Shut up! Right back at you, what are you trying to do!? They’re children! They’re merely children, innocent souls. They aren’t evil! They’re victims, pitiful souls that were crushed by the system of the world! Why are you killing them!?”
The evil spirits reacted to Archer of Red’s words and gathered behind her all at once. They probably sensed a strong will to protect them from her.
Ruler had no weapons. In the first place, this was an illusionary world. Nothing would be settled no matter how much they tried to kill each other here, and the arrow Archer had fired had no effect either.
…That bow and arrow were Archer’s will. A pure and simple will of retribution that declared she would kill Ruler if she killed these children.
Does she feel sympathy for them? thought Ruler as she glared at Archer—and was glared at in return.
“Archer, you should also understand as a Heroic Spirit. Those children cannot be saved. For them to live only results in increasing the number of their own kind. In the first place—returning their souls to a peaceful place is an act of kindness.”
Without any hesitation, Archer of Red fired another arrow. The steel arrowhead pierced the ground’s stone paving. Archer was sorrowfully earnest, and yet fatally mistaken.
“What kindness!? Saving others is the duty of a saint! Maid of Orleans, for what purpose did you wield a flag instead of a sword on the battlefield!? It was in order to not kill, wasn’t it!? In order to not bloody your hands—”
“—Is that what you think, Archer of Red?”
Ruler spoke in a cold voice. It was a blade-like voice that was so sharp it even overwhelmed, for just an instant, the huntress who had run through battlefields.
“Since I didn’t use a sword, my hands weren’t bloodied? Ridiculous. —I participated in those battles. I decided to fight. From that instant, it was the same as if my own hands were stained in blood. Don’t take me so lightly. I will not hesitate to destroy those children!”
Those words angered Archer of Red from the depths of her heart, and she shouted as if snarling at Ruler.
“Then, then. You aren’t a saint…!”
“That’s exactly right, Archer of Red. Everyone called me a saint, but I myself have never once thought of myself that way.”
Archer of Red’s expression turned shocked. If she was a saint, it was possible she could save these children. Archer might have thought that.
“This place is the world of these children’s memories, merely an illusion created by their residual thoughts. Do you intend to continue letting them suffer eternally in this vague and ambiguous world!? Please, move aside.”
Though visibly in anguish, Archer of Red firmly remained where she stood.
“… guh… I… refuse! If I, if I abandon these children, then who will love them!? You said you would return their souls to a peaceful place, Ruler. That’s merely extinguishing them, merely murder! I—”
Both Archer and Ruler’s words halted. One of the girls hiding behind Archer’s back stepped up to Ruler. What a vast and lost expression—like a puppy thrown out into the wild, Ruler thought.
In response to that voice of appeal, Ruler bended down to her knees and met the child’s gaze. Regardless of the reasons, what Ruler was about to do was unmistakably a ‘sin’. At the very least, she mustn’t avert her eyes from it.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Are you… okay with killing us?”
Those words pierced Ruler’s heart like a sword. She clenched her teeth—and endured it.
If they could be saved, she would have already saved them. If they could be helped, she would have already helped them. But she couldn’t. Ruler understood that it was something she was unable to do.
“Even so. Even so, we must all move forward.”
Ruler bit her lip hard, causing blood to flow out. The instant they saw that, the agitation and fear of ‘Jack the Ripper’ disappeared.
“No… no, stop… please stop…!”
The children hiding behind Archer of Red walked up to Ruler one by one. Archer of Red tried to pull them back—and as if rejecting that, the children slipped through her arms.
“—It can’t be helped, huh?”
“Yes. It can’t be helped. May you all find peace.”
Like cats that realized their end, the children took Ruler’s hand without running away. Archer of Red understood then. It couldn’t be helped. The death of these children was inevitable, a fact that couldn’t be overturned.
Most of all, these children had rejected her—so she couldn’t move. She could only watch as a spectator in this illusionary world.
“He satiates the thirsty souls and satisfies the hungry souls with good.”
The chant solemnly and smoothly began extinguishing the children’s existence. This wasn’t the normal second death of a Servant, but a literal erasure. They were being removed from the axis of the cycle of rebirth, and they would no longer be summoned as ‘Jack the Ripper’ in any other Holy Grail War.
It was both salvation and not salvation. Becoming a Servant meant gaining a second life, but to them, this was effectively their first life.
Holding hands with each other, the children stared at Ruler.
“Give salvation to those who suffer and are bound in iron within the deep darkness.”
They were disappearing. They weren’t ascending to heaven, nor sinking into the darkness; they were merely dissolving into the world like mist.
As she chanted, Ruler didn’t let her grave and solemn expression break at all. If she cried, the children would know that she was saddened by their death, and they would probably leave behind lingering regrets in this world. That’s why Ruler remained standing there firmly like steel.
“Now, let your shackles be broken, and be freed from the deep darkness.”
“We don’t want to die—”
She nearly crumbled at the children’s whisper—but she didn’t allow her posture to break. Without the slightest tremble, she simply continued ‘disposing’ of the children dispassionately.
“Grant salvation to those who have fallen ill from acts stained in sin and who are troubled by injustice.”
The children began disappearing one after another, and at the same time, the nightmarish London also began disappearing. This place was reconstructed from their memories, so if they disappeared, this city’s existence would inevitably be rejected.
And then, everything was in darkness. There was only one young girl left. She stared at the holy maiden with pure eyes.
“We’re going to disappear?”
“Yes. That is natural providence.”
“Is that so? Yeah, that’s right. We can’t return anywhere or be anywhere. We spun in circles, ran in circles, and weren’t able to reach anywhere.”
After murmuring that, the girl laughed and then asked a final question.
“—Are you sad?”
“…No. You all are merely returning to your proper place. There’s nothing to be sad about.”
The holy maiden replied in a hard voice.
“So, I won’t cry.”
The holy maiden didn’t cry. She covered her heart with a thick shell, and calmly crushed the children underfoot. She had no right to feel sad. As someone who wasn’t judging their sins, but simply couldn’t allow their existence—she had no right to mourn.
“A song of joy for the just, and silence for the unjust.”
She recited the holy words.
The little girl, without smiling or looking sad, accepted it with empty eyes.
“——Pax Exeuntibus: Grant peace to these departing souls.”
Leaving behind those words which pitied the holy maiden, the final girl vanished—and the fog cleared away. Ruler’s knees didn’t bend or collapse. She didn’t cry, and she didn’t let out a single sob. She did not show any pity or compassion for the children who weren’t even allowed to live.
Sympathy simply called forth victims. If she lost herself in it, everything would be wasted.
She had killed with her own hands the victimized children who sobbed out ‘We just want to go back’. It was no one’s fault and no one could be blamed; it was simply an act of murder carved in sin.
Blood flowed out from her tightly clenched lips.
Ruler had personally tasted the heavy karma of humans just now.
Even so, she didn’t let her heart be crushed. Ruler warily gazed at Archer of Red. She was also worried about Sieg, who had also been caught up in that illusion along with her—but she was certain that, if she moved her gaze away from Archer even slightly, she would fall into a fatal situation.
Even now that they had returned to reality, Archer was crouching on the ground, her body shivering. Like a wounded beast, thought Ruler. Regardless, it was clear that Archer of Red had lost herself.
…It still hadn’t been decided for sure that they were enemies. Ruler still hadn’t confirmed which side Archer, Lancer and Rider of Red had chosen after their group left.
But, based on Archer’s behavior just now—
“Ruler… You killed them.”
A hollow voice resounded terribly through the dark night of the city. Ruler immediately understood from that voice.
“Yes. The one who killed them was me, for certain.”
She was an enemy. She would never get along with Ruler—
After staggering to stand up, Archer shouted as her entire body trembled with killing intent.
“I see. You’re also on the side that discards them. Even though those children just wanted to live. You’re on the side that tramples over them!?”
A deep killing intent exuded from her eyes along with tears. She was so enraged that blood trickled down from her lips.
It was only briefly, but Ruler did exchange words with Archer on the battlefield previously—but no trace of her aloof attitude from back then could be seen now.
It wasn’t because they were enemies or allies, but because Ruler wounded something that was equivalent to Archer’s soul.
Heroes had things that mustn’t be touched. For Archer of Red, that was children. Since Ruler didn’t save those children who existed as Jack the Ripper, she was now nothing more than an enemy to Archer of Red.
Even if those children were beings that absolutely couldn’t be saved, Archer of Red still struggled to save them. No matter how much anguish and despair it brought her, she never gave up.
“…No matter what I say, you won’t understand, Archer of Red.”
“—Those children could have been saved.”
“No, they couldn’t. Those children were, in the end, evil spirits. The concept of ‘being saved’ doesn’t exist for them. That’s why, no matter how much they continue to seek warmth—they will destroy those who could give that warmth to them.”
Archer of Red struck her hand against the stone building next to her. With a loud crack, the wall crumbled away as if it were brittle.
“Shut up! They could have… they could have been saved! Even if it was impossible with my own power, they could have been with the power of the Holy Grail!”
With the power of the Holy Grail, she said. In other words, that meant having the Holy Grail grant her wish.
But Shirou Kotomine should have been in control of the Holy Grail.
As Ruler was about to question this discrepancy, Archer of Red nocked an arrow on her bow without waiting for her to speak. But, by the time she did so, Archer of Black had caught sight of the two female Servants once the fog cleared and had already aimed his own shot at Archer of Red before she could fire.
“—αστραπη χειμων: Ferocity is the Hammer of the Gods1.”
The three arrows he fired were all filled with as much prana as they could take. Though it may not have worked against Rider or Saber of Red, Archer of Red had no defense strong enough to withstand arrows containing this much destructive power. If they hit her, she would almost definitely die at once.
But—only if they hit.
The stone-paved ground exploded, forming a huge crater. But Archer of Red had avoided all three arrows with frighteningly agile movements while howling like a beast. Those movements like a four-legged beast… as expected of a hunter that lived in the wild, Archer of Black thought with a bitter expression.
But Archer of Red had no interest in the shots fired at her just now. Without even looking in Archer of Black’s direction, she sharply snarled like a beast—and shouted at Ruler with deep hatred, as if vomiting blood.
“—I won’t forgive you!! Ruler, I won’t forgive your deception-filled life! False holy maiden—I will never forgive you for having killed those children instead of saving them! If you’re going to steal the Holy Grail, come and get it. I, Atalanta, shall shoot you all down without leaving a single survivor!”
Glaring at her enemy, Ruler, while gasping in anguish, Archer of Red quickly retreated.
When she was alive, the men who were charmed by Atalanta’s beauty were given a trial. Beat her in a foot race. Losing meant death. Even so, the men who didn’t give up challenged her one after another—and all of them lost.
Rider of Red was one of the few people who possessed speed equal to hers. Even the great Greek sage Chiron couldn’t pursue her when it came to pure running speed.
“—Are you running away, Archer of Red?”
Archer of Black said that, thinking she would come fight him if provoked. But Archer of Red didn’t even glance at Archer of Black once, and swiftly ran away within the darkness of the night.
“…We can’t catch up with her.”
Ruler could tell. Archer of Red had retreated from the battle area in a mere instant, and she would slip out of this city in less than a minute. She was most likely here as a scout, and even if there had been a ripe opportunity for it, it was irregular for her to move to kill Assassin of Black earlier.
She had most likely acted in order to save the children that Assassin hurt. But her arrow had unleashed something in Assassin of Black. Normally, a Servant would have their connection to this world severed and vanish when their spiritual core was destroyed—or when their Master died.
But, instead, Assassin of Black had reproduced that scene of hell at the end of her life…
Ruler shook her head, and for the time being, put aside the various matters that needed to be considered later. The safety of this area had been secured, so next she had to find Sieg—
Reprimanding her own strife-filled and screaming heart, Ruler began searching her surroundings. Sieg should have also been dragged into that fog along with her. She had managed to endure it, but could that painfully pure boy endure—?
Ruler quickly found Sieg lying unconscious on the ground, curled up in a fetal position. She lifted him up with her arms and called out to him.
“Pull yourself together… Please pull yourself together, Sieg-kun!”
Trembling weakly, Sieg woke up. And without even giving Ruler the time to pat her chest in relief, he grasped her arm and asked her.
“Ruler, what was that?”
“Sieg-kun… please calm down.”
But Sieg was tensed and strained. He questioned Ruler with a confused and lost expression.
“Those were normal humans? Not magi, but ordinary humans created hell that easily?”
Sieg’s shock was great, as to be expected. Servants were beings of abnormal power and therefore separate from the world of humans. Magi were those who were human and yet separate from human reason.
And, excluding other homunculi, the number of ordinary humans he had met was quite few, consisting of only the old man he met on the other side of the forest when he ran away and the people he encountered in town today.
Of course, he hadn’t expected for humans to be perfectly good.
But—he had believed they weren’t evil. He would never have thought that they could create a hell like that by their own will.
What should Ruler tell him, as he sat there on the verge of tears even now? That even those people hadn’t wished to create that hell? That it was because human survival instinct permitted evil? No, the problem was that he wanted to believe that people were good.
But Ruler knew that that was wrong.
“…Most likely, I saw the same thing as you did.”
Sieg looked at Ruler in surprise.
“Listen, Sieg-kun. What you asked isn’t something even I can answer. It’s true that a great and pure cruelty, which excuses all kinds of terrible and unjust acts, exists within human beings.”
Jeanne d’Arc had experienced it firsthand. She was betrayed and had her life and pride trampled over in various ways. It would to be wrong not to call that evil. And the ones who trampled upon her weren’t natural-born villains or those who had been raised to be evil, but simply ordinary humans who had judged Jeanne d’Arc as an enemy.
That’s why she understood that humans committed evil even without falling into evil.
She was aware that, even if people were individually good, they were evil as a whole.
She strongly gripped clasped Sieg’s hands with her hand. Not wanting to show her expression, she bowed her head.
“Even so, please don’t give up yet. Please, please…”
Please don’t give up on humans.
Please don’t give up and say ‘That’s all they are’. Because becoming disillusioned with humans is easy, and hating humans is even easier, but continuing to love humans is hard.
Sieg spoke up. Ruler listened to him without raising her head.
“You still haven’t given up?”
Even though she said that humans weren’t evil in themselves, didn’t she acknowledge that humans could be an ugly and wicked existence?
Even though she was gripped by such despair that she was unable to add anything after saying ‘Even so’—
You still love humans?
Ruler raised her head. Her smile was pure and noble.
“Yes. I haven’t given up.”
Those proud words just barely managed to stop the chaos and disgust inside Sieg. Sieg also knew of Jeanne d’Arc’s past.
Even though she had experienced such a terrible death, she said that she still hadn’t given up. Then, someone as young and inexperienced as him shouldn’t give up yet either.
He still hadn’t seen anything of the world yet. It was too soon to come to a conclusion.
Of course, just remembering that scene invoked such disgust in him that it made him feel like vomiting. Ruler said she hadn’t given up, but… for her to have to think ‘I won’t give up’ in the first place—
It meant that the world was filled with that much undefined evil.
Stifling the gloomy feelings inside him, Sieg somehow managed to stand up.
“It appears it’s over.”
Sieg turned around, and saw Archer of Black elegantly jump down from above. He landed soundlessly like a feather.
“Yes. Do the people that got dragged into the fog need medical treatment? I can also help a little with my magecraft.”
“The people who fainted are seriously hurt, but not so much that they’ll die. My Master is already making arrangement for them to be taken care of.”
“Then, about the children—”
Ruler asked with a worried face, but Archer of Black smiled to put her at ease.
“It seems they were intentionally excluded from the effects of the fog. They only have some scratches from when they fought both of you.”
“I see. Thank goodness…”
Ruler sighed and patted her chest in relief. After finishing his report, Archer of Black immediately went back into spiritual form and headed off to return to his Master.
“With this, it’s over.”
“Yes. At the very least… everything concerning Assassin of Black is finished.”
Absentmindedly, Sieg remembered the scene he glimpsed in the fog at the end—more specifically, the voices he heard back then.
Archer of Red, who was laid out accusations filled with killing intent, and Ruler, who responded with a cool voice.
Archer of Red had yelled at her several times, “You killed those children.” While lying incapacitated on the ground, Sieg had thought in shock that she meant the children they had protected from Assassin of Black, but it seemed Archer of Red had been talking about the children who appeared in that illusionary world.
Sieg’s general knowledge was enough for him to understand what kind of beings those children were.
Those children were what brought the Servant Assassin of Black into existence… in other words, they were like the foundation of existence known as ‘Jack the Ripper’. Naturally, they were already dead.
Even so, if they were left alone, they might have possessed some powerless human. In that case, it was highly possible that a Jack the Ripper with a living human body would have appeared.
Of course, they were low-class evil spirits. The most they would have been able to do was give someone the urge to commit murder, and they would have lacked any supernatural powers.
Even so, victims would definitely appear. That’s why Ruler killed those children—by extinguishing them with the Baptism Rite chant. Sieg could understand that that decision was correct and definitely an act of justice.
Yet, why had Archer of Red cursed Ruler like that? And why had Ruler kept accepting her words?
It was irrational. It was far too irrational. Even though she was a hero who had accumulated various achievements in life, didn’t Ruler think that it was far too unreasonable?
When Sieg asked Ruler about it, she scrunched her brow in sorrow and murmured.
“—Most likely, Archer of Red had never seen that kind of [evil] before.”
“Never… seen it?”
“There are various forms of hell. Atalanta might have seen villages massacred by evil beings. She might have seen the tyrannical rule of heinous kings.”
But that hell was different from those. There was no justice in that Whitechapel district. Such a thing as justice didn’t existence anywhere there.
But—they weren’t evil. The queen of that era, the doctors, the policemen, the criminals, the prostitutes, the orphans—none of them were either evil or just. The sky of that city had just been too heavy. It was like that oppressive grey sky had been crushing all of them.
Indeed, ‘Jack the Ripper’ was evil. But her origin was simply—the small wish of the abandoned to ‘return to a peaceful place’.
“…That’s why you apologized?”
“Yes. Remember this well, Sieg-kun.”
Ruler turned around—and gave a transient smile illuminated by the faint streetlights.
“Evil and justice can be interchanged infinitely depending on where one stands. At the very least, I am definitely [evil] to Archer of Red.”
“You, are evil…?”
“Yes. It’s just as Archer of Red said. I also think so myself. I—am not anything like a saint.”
Ruler said she wasn’t a saint.
That was a denial of herself, a lie towards the people who idolized her. Sieg was shocked and gazed at her—but Ruler averted her eyes.
“Now, let’s go back, Sieg-kun. If we’re too slow, your Servant will get angry.”
She smiled as if to push aside the previous discussion and began walking. Sieg decided to obediently follow after her. While gazing at her back, Sieg recalled the evil hell that ordinary humans had created.
He was certain that he would recall that scene countless times in the future. Each time he did, he would probably waver and become unable to believe in humanity.
There might be individual people that he’ll come to like. But that might be merely a small piece of goodness washed away amidst overwhelming evil—
Sieg would continue to ponder over humans and the world they create.
Would he eventually be able to come to a conclusion?
Humans are good/Humans are evil.
Or perhaps he would acknowledge that humans were neither under some unknown concept? Sieg didn’t know. It was far too much to shoulder for a newborn homunculus.
The confusion due to the feelings born in him, the confusion due to the abnormality of his situation, his own yet-unseen destination.
His mind was a mess, and the most he could believe in was his own Servant and Ruler’s smile—
“I am not anything like a saint.”
Her confession just now was incredibly important. It was something he mustn’t forget. That’s how Sieg felt. But he didn’t understand the meaning behind it.
He had no idea why the saint who should have been acknowledged by everyone derided herself as being evil and murmured that it was impossible for her to be a saint.
If he asked her, would she tell him why?
“…No, that’s no good.”
Sieg immediately discarded that idea. Questioning everything and getting an answer to everything from others was probably wrong. He needed to think for himself and understand it on his own.
Even if it was a question that might never be answered, even if the answer was lost in the darkness—he mustn’t stop the act itself of searching for that answer.
(1) αστραπη χειμων: Greek for “lightning storm”.