Damn Reincarnation - Chapter 235: Lehain (6)
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‘I might die.’
Eugene truly thought so from the bottom of his heart. Molon’s chest muscles were tightly inflated, and they just so happened to press down on Eugene’s airway. Eugene struggled to escape, but the force that held him in place was beyond his imagination. Molon’s arms were wrapped around Eugene’s back, and it restricted Eugene to the point he couldn’t raise his head. Slowly but surely, Eugene’s body slowly molded into the shape that fit into Molon’s muscles.
‘I… I’m going to die….’
Not to mention that he couldn’t breathe, the force that weighed down on him was too strong…. Eugene started to convulse, and his mind began to dim, but even at that moment, Molon continued to cry out Hamel’s name.
Eugene’s head felt hot and damp. It was because of the thick, gooey tears flowing down onto Eugene’s head.
[Kristina, if this goes on, Hamel might really die,] said Anise. She could no longer stand idly as life withered from Eugene. [Do you think you can really stop him with your skinny hands? Kristina, the flail hanging on your waist looks like the perfect tool to smack that idiot’s head. Don’t worry. Even if you swing the flail with all your might, it won’t even leave a scratch on that blockhead.]
‘But sister, how could I be so disrespectful to him when it’s my first time seeing him…?’
[Look, Kristina. Hamel is about to die!] Anise exclaimed urgently.
Kristina made up her mind at Anise’s urgent words. She unfurled her robes before drawing the flail, which had been fixed to her waist and thigh. After whirling the weight at the end of the chain once in the air, she directed it to Molon’s head.
The impact of adamantium meeting flesh was an unsettling collision, but the resulting sound that echoed in the air was incongruous with the reality of the situation. Kristina felt slightly nervous after delivering the blow, but contrary to her expectations, she was shocked to see not even a single scratch left on Molon’s forehead, let alone a drop of blood.
Even so, the attack produced the desired effect. Molon came to his senses and turned his tearful eyes toward Kristina.
“Ohhhh!” cried Molon once more while shedding tears once more. His arms opened wide, and Eugene’s limp body fell to the ground. After walking past Eugene’s sprawling figure, Molon approached Kristina.
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“Ah…. Hello, Sir Molon Ruhr. I am,” started Kristina.
“Kristina Rogeris! You really look just like Anise. I wasn’t able to greet you properly the last time because of the situation,” said Molon.
“Ah…. Yes,” responded Kristina while staring at Molon’s broad chest with fear in her eyes. When she saw him approaching with his squirming muscles, she couldn’t help but think of how Molon had squeezed the life out of Eugene. It looked as if he was approaching her with the same idea.
“Hey, you idiot…!” called out Eugene while staggering to his feet. Eugene coughed a few times before conjuring a ball of mana, which he then hurled at the back of Molon’s head.
It was a powerful projectile containing quite a bit of power, but it didn’t even cause Molon’s head to budge.
“Why the fuck did you hug me like that all of a sudden!? I almost died because of you!” shouted Eugene.
“Hamel!” exclaimed Molon before stopping in his tracks. With a broad smile, he shifted his gaze between Eugene and Kristina. Then he burst into laughter while shedding thick tears. “I never thought I would get to meet you two like this. So I-I’m so glad to see you two like this again.”
Eugene couldn’t possibly keep complaining when Molon seemed so glad to see them, laughing at the same time he cried. Eugene took on a bitter expression while massaging his stiff back.
“Is Anise inside of you?” Molon directed the question to Kristina.
Kristina had been standing, stunned speechless. His question startled her, but she quickly composed herself and nodded.
“I’m glad to meet you, and this is fun and mysterious, but if you don’t mind, would you allow me to say hello to Anise?” asked Molon.
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“Of course, I will.” Kristina bowed before closing her eyes. After a moment, Kristina’s shoulders shuddered.
“Have you become a little wiser after living for three hundred years? Or have you just gotten faster at picking up clues?” asked Anise.
“Anise!” shouted Molon.
“Yes, that’s right. I am Anise Slywood. But Molon, how did you recognize me? As I remember, you were neither wise nor tactful enough to recognize me from the top of that cliff just from my wings,” asked Anise.
“It’s because I became able to see,” said Molon while wiping away the stream of tears. “My eyes have become very bright since hundred years ago. It was a change that came because I lived where it was needed. Anise, I can see that there are two souls inside that body. The souls of the two of you are alike and connected like twins, or rather as if they are originally from the same soul. I can’t see the distinct form of your soul, but I can feel the familiarity.”
“You came to see the soul? What kind of—” said Anise.
“And Hamel. The same goes for your soul. It’s familiar, nostalgic, and intimate. Even if your body has changed, you are definitely still Hamel,” continued Molon. Even though he was wiping away his tears, it didn’t look like he was about to stop crying anytime soon.
Eugene felt sorry to see Molon crying like a baby with a large, rough face. He was reminded of the dream shown to him by Anise in the Samar Forest when Molon had been bawling in front of Hamel’s tomb.
“Hey, stop crying. Why do you keep crying like an idiot when we’re right here?” asked Eugene.
“These are noble tears. Tears fit to be shed by true warriors,” said Molon.
“Leave him alone, Hamel. Molon will not stop crying, no matter what you say. You may not know this, but three hundred years ago, Molon was more stubborn than anyone else when it came to crying,” said Anise.
Everyone had wept when Hamel died in the Castle of the Demon King of Incarceration. However, in terms of the number of tears shed, Molon had taken the lead by a significant amount. Sienna had wept, Anise had cried quietly in despair, Vermouth had turned his gaze upwards and glared at the next floor while shedding tears, and Molon pounded his fists against the floor and bawled, creating a pool of tears on the ground.
“When Molon cries, it’s better to leave him alone. If you let him cry for an hour, he should—” said Anise.
“No, you should not leave me alone. ” Anise, Hamel, come closer,” interrupted Molon, spreading his arms wide and widening his tear-filled eyes.
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Both Eugene and Anise stiffened at his terrifying invitation. But Molon didn’t seem to care how they reacted. He started taking large steps toward them without waiting for them to acknowledge his words.
Large, thick arms wrapped around Eugene and Anise. Although the two looked rather reluctant, they made no effort to escape their friend’s grasp. They allowed themselves to be brought into his embrace side-by-side as if they were one. The only things that bothered them were that… Molon was way too big, and he cried way too much.
‘My hair is all wet….’
The streams that rolled down Molon’s eyes completely soaked the top of Eugene and Anise’s heads. They stood still in his arms for quite a while. There wasn’t much talking, just the silent gratification of each other’s presence and warmth. They simply stood there, feeling each other’s presence.
Although he had already died and was reincarnated, Hamel was here as Eugene. Anise had also died, but she was here sharing Kristina’s body. Molon was here as well.
The three perceived, touched, and felt each other’s presence. Although it was a simple gesture, a hug, the time they spent in silence was precious and invaluable. And… although Eugene dismissed it as not a big deal, he strangely felt his tears threatening to fall. He had never felt emotions this strong so often when he had been Hamel.
‘It’s because of Vermouth.’
The ancestor of his current body was Vermouth, so if there was anything unsatisfactory or wrong with him, it was all because of Vermouth. At least, that’s what Eugene told himself as he held back his tears. When he stole a glance at Anise, he saw her weeping silently.
Seeing that, he no longer felt a need to hold back his tears. So Eugene cried. Even though he didn’t cry as much as Molon, he allowed his tears to flow for a little while, just long enough for his emotions to quench.
After a while, the hugging and the crying concluded. Anise immediately stepped away from Molon as if she had been waiting for this moment, then urgently washed her hair in the bathroom next door. Eugene also washed his hair next to Anise, and although Molon did not join them, he wiped his wet face and beard using a large bedsheet as a towel.
“Are you not going to ask us anything?” said Anise while taking a seat on an empty sofa. Eugene had summoned the wind to dry their hair, and she was combing her silky hair with her hands. “Molon, I’m sure you are having difficulties understanding our presence in this era.”
“That is true, but that’s not what’s most important to me. You two are in front of me now, and I am still alive. For me, that is the most important thing that makes me the happiest,” responded Molon.
“I envy you for being able to think so simply. But Molon, you need to know what happened for us to be here now. That way, you will be able to share what you experienced until now as well, right?” said Anise.
Molon gazed at her with a hint of confusion, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly as he processed her words. For a moment, he remained still, his expression inscrutable. Then he blinked in an almost mechanical fashion. It seemed he had not grown any wiser after all.
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Anise clicked her tongue while crossing her legs. “Well, I’m not saying anything complicated, am I? It’s been hundreds of years since we’ve last seen each other, so let’s share stories and talk. It just so happens that Hamel has quite a bit of alcohol in his cloak to help us enjoy the stories.”
Eugene’s cloak unfurled at her words, and Mer poked out her head.
“What is it?” asked Eugene.
“I would also like to give my greetings to Sir Molon, Lady Sienna’s comrade,” said Mer.
“Oh, by the gods!” shouted Molon with shock. He approached Eugene with large strides, then lowered his imposing stature and locked gazes with Mer.
“H-hello there, Sir Molon. My name is Mer Merdein. I am a familiar created by Lady Sienna—”
“You look just like Sienna!” exclaimed Molon without bothering to let her finish.
“Yes…. Eh… I was created in the image of Lady Sienna’s childhood.”
“I see! A little Sienna created by Sienna, so that would make you Sienna’s daughter, right?” asked Molon with a wide grin. He then stroked her head. “Nice to meet you. I am Molon Ruhr, a comrade, and friend of Sienna.”
After exchanging pleasantries, the four settled around a sturdy wooden table. Anise’s eyes silently bore into Eugene, who fidgeted before producing an array of bottles from the depths of his cloak. The clink of glass and liquid echoed throughout the room as he arranged them meticulously on the floor.
Molon excused himself briefly before re-entering the room with an armful of his own prized bottles. Each one gleamed with an expensive sheen, their labels announcing their rarity and refinement. It was evident that he intended to spare no expense for their reunion.
“What about snacks?” asked Eugene.
“A true drinker takes alcohol as their snack,” responded Anise.
“But I don’t want to,” muttered Eugene.
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But it wasn’t as if he could ask to have snacks delivered from downstairs. He longed for something to accompany their alcohol, and at the very least, he wished for glasses to drink out of. But before he could voice his desires, Anise began to chug down entire bottles of liquor. Molon followed suit, and their actions ignited a competitive flame within Eugene’s heart. He quickly seized his own bottle, determined not to be outdone, and started chugging it down as well.
With a quizzical expression, Mer observed the trio through squinted eyes while sipping on her juice. Despite having been created two centuries ago, she wanted to consider herself an eternal child. To her, the idea of growing up and becoming an adult, like the three before her, was an unappealing prospect. Despite being way older than her appearance, she clung to her childlike wonder and refused to relinquish it.
However, drinking was not the only thing on the agenda. Amidst the clinking of glasses, they delved into deep conversation, touching upon a plethora of topics. Anise, in particular, shared her story calmly, detailing how she had come to be the way she was. She spoke with an air of nonchalance, her words flowing easily from her lips as if they were of no consequence.
“Molon. Do you remember the letter I sent you?” asked Anise.
“I kept it forever. Once it got so old that the paper started to break apart, I chewed it up and swallowed it,” answered Molon.
“I think I asked something I should not have. Frankly, it’s quite unpleasant to hear what you did to it,” said Anise with a grimace.
To the world at large, Anise’s departure on a pilgrimage had marked her disappearance from public view. The truth, however, was known only to the upper echelons of Yuras. They alone had been privy to the details of her demise, and they made use of her remains as a relic for three hundred years.
Though Molon had not been privy to the full extent of the truth, he knew that Anise’s supposed departure on a pilgrimage had been a ruse to conceal her untimely demise. The truth had been revealed to him through a letter that Anise had penned before taking her own life within the Audience Chamber of the pope. It had been her final wish.
“It wasn’t really a will, just a letter. I told you that my body had reached its limit, that it was impossible to forcibly prolong my life any longer. I told you that I was going to die and that I wasn’t going to reveal my death to the world, so you should not express your condolences and keep it to yourself. You weren’t to come to Yuras either. We would once again reunite in heaven after you lived your life.”
She lifted the bottle to her lips and downed its contents in a single, impressive gulp. Then she wiped her lips with the back of her hand before grinning widely, the satisfaction of the feat apparent in her expression.
“It was that kind of letter. Thankfully, Molon understood my letter and did what I asked him to,” she continued.
Molon’s eyes grew red and teary again, the emotional turmoil resurfacing despite having cried his eyes out earlier. The depth of his emotion was evident in the way his chest heaved with each breath.
“There was no reason not to. Anise, you asked me in the letter, didn’t you? You asked me as a friend, and I do not ignore the requests of my friends,” said Molon.
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“I wrote that letter because I knew you were that kind of person. If I had disappeared without writing a letter, Molon, you would definitely have stormed Yuras,” said Anise.
“I would have,” said Molon.
It was true. He would have, and he did not deny it.
Eugene shared his own story of death and rebirth, detailing the circumstances that led to his reincarnation. As he spoke, Sienna’s name naturally arose, inextricably linked to his own tale of resurrection. Molon remained silent, listening intently to Eugene’s words as he downed another bottle of alcohol. He understood the gravity of the situation, recognizing the need for the story to be told in its entirety without interruption.
“I….” After listening to the fairly long story, Molon put down his bottle of alcohol. “I once tried to find Sienna a long time ago.”
The fact that Aroth had sent numerous search teams across the continent in a desperate bid to locate Sienna was well-known, as well as Molon’s participation. However, despite Ruhr’s support and the tireless efforts of the search teams, no trace of her had been found, even after wandering the vast expanse of the continent for an extended period of time.
“After stepping down from the throne, I also headed personally to Samar. But I could not find it. The territory of the World Tree and the elves did not open its doors to me,” said Molon.
Even for Molon, entering the territory of the elves had been an impossible feat, as it was protected by the World Tree. While it might have been feasible in the past, the World Tree had sealed off its territory after Raizakia’s attack, rendering it virtually impregnable. The barrier was so effective that it was impossible to even perceive its existence without possessing a leaf from the World Tree, leaving many would-be intruders thwarted in their attempts to enter.
“Sienna is strong. I lived for hundreds of years, so I naturally assumed that Sienna would as well. When Sienna disappeared, I thought it was because she had gone into seclusion to train so that she could achieve her wish,” continued Molon.
“Wish?” asked Eugene.
“Are you really asking me because you don’t know, Hamel? As with the rest of us, Sienna wanted to avenge you. No, she was obsessed with getting your revenge. After becoming the head of one of Aroth’s magic towers, she holed herself up and immersed herself in creating magic,” responded Molon. He closed his eyes, paused, then continued. “But I never imagined… she was attacked by Vermouth. And Raizkia…. Honestly, all of this is hard to believe. But since you’re telling me it’s true, I will absolutely believe it.”
Molon’s eyes snapped open, and he fixed his unwavering gaze upon Eugene and Anise.
“And just as I believe in you two, I also believe in Vermouth. The Vermouth I know would not have attacked Sienna. Hamel, if Vermouth needed the necklace Sienna had for your reincarnation, he would have talked to her about it. There was no reason Sienna would have refused your reincarnation, right?” said Molon.
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Eugene agreed with Molon, and Vermouth’s vision had said something similar in the Dark Room.
—Sienna still has the necklace containing your soul, but I’m planning on convincing her one day to get it.
However, Vermouth’s actions were in contrast to his words. He faked his own death and lured Sienna out in a deceitful manner. He trespassed into Hamel’s tomb and attacked Sienna’s familiar, which had been guarding the tomb. The reason behind his choices was unknown to Eugene, but Vermouth had then unsealed Hamel’s coffin, taken his corpse, then sealed the Moonlight Sword inside the coffin.
When Sienna arrived at the tomb belatedly, Vermouth attacked her, leaving a gaping hole in her chest. If… Sienna had not used the leaf of the World Tree that she had with her, she would have died at Vermouth’s hands right then and there.
As a result, Vermouth successfully stole the necklace from Sienna, and Hamel was ultimately reincarnated as Vermouth’s descendant. The necklace ended up in the Lionheart family’s treasury. Eugene was puzzled by Vermouth’s actions. When he considered each action individually, some of it made sense. However, when he tried to put them together as a whole, it didn’t add up. There were three actions that were all typical of Vermouth — sealing the Moonlight Sword, causing Hamel’s reincarnation, and hiding the necklace in the Lionheart family’s treasury. But leaving Hamel’s body outside the door and attacking Sienna for the necklace didn’t make sense. These weren’t things that Vermouth would have done.
“We trust Sir Vermouth as well,” Anise said firmly, refusing to entertain any doubts about his actions. Her bond with Vermouth Lionheart and her comrades, forged through their travels in Helmuth, was too strong to be shaken. Sienna, too, had expressed her trust and lack of resentment towards Vermouth even after being attacked by him. “But I am certain something must have happened to Sir Vermouth. Otherwise, there was no reason for him to have done such things.”
“I’m not completely sure what, but something must have happened between Vermouth and the Demon King of Incarceration. Perhaps it was something he had to give in exchange for the promise of peace. If Vermouth had been threatened or coerced by the Demon King of Incarceration, he could have easily attacked Sienna. Even now, Vermouth’s soul may be in possession of the Demon King of Incarceration,” said Anise.
Molon listened in silence for a while. Anise continued while tossing back the bottle she had finished. “Molon, now it’s your turn. Why did you suddenly declare seclusion a hundred years ago? And why were you in the Great Hammer Canyon?”
“Why did you drive us out a few days ago? And the Nur. What was that monster? I…. I don’t think the energy I felt was just an illusion. Both Anise and I felt a similar energy from the Nur as the Demon King of Destruction,” Eugene continued with Anise’s questions.
Eugene had pondered over this thought repeatedly, but the answer eluded him. He couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that a creature living in the remote northlands could emit the same ominous aura as the Demon King of Destruction, who had never left Ravesta in centuries. It didn’t make sense.
He rubbed his chin, lost in thought. The more he thought about it, the less sense it made. He struggled to understand how the Nur, located in Lehainjar, could emit the same ominous feeling as the Demon King of Destruction, who had not left Ravesta in three hundred years.
“Hamel, Anise.” After a brief silence, Molon called out. “Three hundred years ago, I was the first one to meet Vermouth among us.”
The story was well-known to Eugene, one he had heard many times before from Molon in his past life. Vermouth had come from the Kingdom of Ashal, which had been situated next to Helmuth. However, the only noteworthy accomplishment attributed to Ashal in history was the rise of Vermouth Lionheart, as it was the first kingdom to fall during Helmuth’s conquest three hundred years ago. The few survivors of the kingdom had been captured by the demonfolks and taken as prisoners. They were transported to Helmuth, where they became experimental subjects for black wizards, toys of the demonfolks, or worse, sacrifices. Back then, those enslaved by Helmuth were never allowed a peaceful death. The horrors that took place within the dark walls of Helmuth had been too ghastly to imagine.
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Vermouth had been one such slave, and he had been in the process of being brought back to Helmuth after being captured by demonfolks and black wizards.
That was what Vermouth had said. He had stolen a demon’s blade with only that one thought. That was the first time he ever wielded a sword, but he managed to kill dozens of demons and black wizards. Afterward, he escaped Helmuth with the other slaves who had been captured. In the process, he killed hundreds of demonic beasts and rescued other slaves.
After escaping Helmuth, he reached the snowfield the Bayar Tribe had taken as their home. That was where he had met Molon.
“I met Vermouth before any of you, and I fought together with him. I was a brave warrior already, but Vermouth was already a Hero. At first, none of us were heroes, none except Vermouth. We became heroes after spending time and fighting alongside Vermouth,” said Molon.
“Yes, we were definitely heroes. Although not in satisfactory form or shape, we saved the world. And yet, Hamel and Anise, your ends were unfortunate. Hamel, you died in a battle against the Staff of Incarceration. Anise, you informed me of your death through a letter. Sienna hid without telling anyone the truth, and Vermouth… died,” continued Molon.
“He didn’t die,” muttered Eugene. In response, Molon emptied another bottle.
“That may be the truth, but I thought Vermouth was dead. I saw the body myself, and I moved his coffin. In the end, I was left alone. Alone, I lived for a long time. Until now,” he said while placing an empty bottle upright on the table. “I thought of myself as a hero, a warrior. So I hoped for an ending befitting a hero and a warrior. As the King of Ruhr, I didn’t want to die with all the people mourning for me,” said Molon.
“My body did not grow old, and I remained strong. Even after the age of a hundred, I was still in my prime as a warrior. How could I use this power? Everyone was calling me a hero, but the heroes I called my friends were no longer with me in this world.” Molon’s lips squirmed, and he continued with an unbecoming bitter smile. “I wondered if I should challenge Helmuth once again. But after thinking about it over and over, I decided not to. This peace was something Vermouth earned because of the Oath. If I challenged Helmuth again, it would break the peace. I was sure of it. And I knew well that I could never kill the Demon King of Incarceration, let alone the Demon King of Destruction, on my own.”
Molon’s solitude had been long, and his worries had not been something that time could solve.
“It was Vermouth who gave me a new mission,” said Molon.
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“One hundred and fifty years ago, when Anise and Sienna were gone, when I was the only one alive, Vermouth appeared in my dream and said this,”
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“Vermouth,” said Molon. “Said he would leave it to me.”
Molon, a hero and a warrior who longed for a befitting death, had encountered Vermouth in his dreams. Vermouth had asked him for a favor.
“One hundred years ago, as Vermouth warned, they began to come from the end of Raguyaran,” continued Molon.
The old legend of the Bayar Tribe Molon mentioned before.
Beyond Lehainjar lies Raguyaran. A desolate land of nothingness, a land that must not be crossed, the end of the world.
The Tribe of Bayar resides in Lehain and Lehainjar to prevent anyone from crossing into Raguyaran. As well as to protect anything from crossing over from Raguyaran.
In the deepness of the night, the Nur rises in Raguyaran. The Nur treads the wide stretch of land and crosses over into Lehainjar. Any children who refuse to sleep would be devoured by the Nur….
“I believe in Vermouth.”
So Molon never doubted Vermouth.
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