The next day, Eda dropped by in the morning and said that she wouldn't be able to come here for three days as she had work that would take three days to finish.
That day, they used up all the herbs, moss and nuts they had picked up, finishing up all the medicine preparations that needed to be done.
While enjoying an afternoon tea break, Lecan finally decides to speak out the decisive word.
Word that he has been mulling over and over when to utter.
Once he let this word out, their relationship as a teacher and student may be over. Or he may even get killed. However, after pondering and pondering on about this, Lecan has decided to follow his inner voice, that he cannot keep tucking this word away in his chest forever.
Lecan actually has another choice here. The choice to leave this town and keep the matter about Shira to himself.
However, Lecan picks the hard choice to utter the word instead.
"You said you couldn't use <Purification>."
"I did, didn't I."
"But you never said you hadn't learned <Purification>."
"The reason why you cannot use <Purification>, is it because doing so would destroy yourself in the process?"
Shira sipped her tea once and then closed her eyes.
After looking like she was tasting the tea in her mouth for a while, she opened her mouth.
"Since, when did you notice."
"Since the moment I got into this town."
"I have an ability that can detect humans, animals, magic beasts and youma over a wide area."
"Oh of course you would notice."
"I see ordinary humans as dim red lights with that ability. Humans who possess mana are displayed as bright red lights. Animals as green lights, magic beasts and youma as blue lights. When I first entered this town, I detected a really bright blue light, so much that I almost mistook it as one coming from a deep floor boss of a great dungeon. A light which rivals even that of a dragon kind."
"...I see. I was aware that you were on edge when you first came by, so that was why. I could have never imagined that an ability to detect things like yours even existed. The otherworld really is frightening eh."
"I could not figure out why you would disguise yourself as a human and lived in a human town. But I heard a minstrel's song. About the tale of Witch Erushira."
"Ah, that one huh."
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"You were originally a human, weren't you. And you're living as a human even now."
"Even if I'm a monster, there's no guarantee that the witch Erushira told in that legend is the same person as me, no?"
"I can't really say this well, but it's like finding a missing piece of puzzle that fits just right, I just feel that it all makes sense now. My instinct tells me that you are Erushira."
"There is apparently this term 'undead', you must be one of this youma called undead. However, you are not like other youma who was born a youma and attack humans indiscriminately."
"There are cases where a revenant youma was originally a human, you see. I suppose I fall under that group. However, my memories as a human has strongly remained. That's the only difference between us."
Then Shira began to talk about her version of story bit by bit.
The truth spoken by Shira had a similar rough outline with the one sung by the minstrel. However, the contents themselves were completely different.
Erushira was a daughter of a countryside nobleman. Due to some curious circumstances, she was to be wed to a noble at the capital, and she became well known at the capital for her beauty and talent in healing magic.
At first, she was to be the first prince's concubine. However, the great King Mahazar caught sight of her and she came to be the king's favorite mistress instead.
Erushira had no complaints with her life. Taking care of King Mahazar was the greatest honor and the king had gathered up the best mages and magic engineers there were to satisfy Erushira's craving for knowledge. Erushira exhibited talents in all kinds of magic, her teachers spoke of her as a once in a hundred year genius.
One day, the king gathered the best minds amongst magic researchers and issued a decree. Find a way to preserve Erushira's beauty and talent for all eternity. The sages came up with an answer to this impossible problem in mere three years. However, it required a magic gem that held an unbelievable amount of mana, and furthermore, that magic gem had to have spent more than 100 years next to a corpse.
The king knew that such a magic gem actually existed. Namely, the magic gem of an ancient dragon that had been buried inside the founder king's tomb.
Erushira herself was opposed to it. Because she realized that the plan devised by the sages was not intended to prolong the life of the living, but to deprive life off the living and turn them into an undead, taking away the volatility of life off them.
However, the ritual was nonetheless carried out by the king's decree. Erushira became an undead, forever preserving her beauty and talent. The king was deeply satisfied with the result.
This might have ended well were things remained as it were. Erushira intended to lie next to the king's grave once he had passed away. And to receive the sacred light of baptism then.
Several years later, the king had an idea. He would like to persist forever himself.
Hence, he demanded the sages to recharge mana into the ancient dragon's magic gem and put himself under the same ritual. The sages were opposed to it. The ritual itself could be replicated, but the previous ritual succeeded only because the recipient, Erushira, was brimming with mana and youthfulness, as such, it wouldn't go well on the king. Moreover, Erushira had put herself under <Purification> that she had cast herself before they performed the ritual. As a result, her body was elevated to its finest condition. However, since Erushira had become an undead, she couldn't use <Purification> anymore. Preparing a replacement for Erushira would mean that a much inferior <Purification> would have to be used.
But the king's decree was absolute, and they performed the ritual nevertheless. The king did obtain an eternal life, but not with his memories nor wisdom, he had turned into a being not unlike a broken doll.
When Erushira told the prime minister this reality, he implored her.
The prime minister would immediately begin the process to pass the throne onto the first prince. In the meantime, he asked Shira to put the king under <Rule> spell. <Rule> is the most advanced form of mind magic, capable of making the recipient to do complex actions from a simple order, and it would persist even if the spell user isn't around the recipient. She was hesitant to put the great king under such a spell, but she gave in to the persuasion as it would only for a short while.
However, right about then, the first prince passed away. Though he might be a prince, he had lived a long life after all, thus his death was no mystery.
The right to succession in Wapudo Kingdom was traditionally given to the eldest son. When he was still of sound mind, King Mahazar himself wished his successor to be his eldest son and then to the first prince's eldest son, Prince Sarima. The prime minister declared that since the king had abdicated his throne to the first prince, the late first prince would then pass the succession right to his eldest son, Prince Sarima.
However, Prince Sarima took an unexpected action here.
He declared that he would be in a mourning period and stay indoors for three years.
In Wapudo Kingdom, the eldest son would traditionally go into mourning when their parents died. However, that was just a formality, those with high social standings would simply refrain from having disputes or punish their vassals for a period of time instead. However, Prince Sarima would go into mourning the strictly old fashioned way. And three years were exactly the period an eldest son had to go into mourning when heir parents passed away. Since King Mahazar was still officially alive, this could be counted as an insult, but they overlooked it.
Together with capable top aides, the prime minister governed the kingdom while feigning everything was the king's edicts. Erushira ended up having to maintain <Rule> for three years.
The mourning period eventually lapsed and Prince Sarima requested an audience with King Mahazar. Erushira wasn't allowed to be present during the audience. Prince Sarima detested her for so easily cajoling and becoming King Mahazar's mistress despite her initial status as a candidate for his father's concubine.
A tragedy occurred in the audience hall.
Erushira who had sensed the discrepancy rushed to the audience hall and witnessed the prime minister, the guards and Prince Sarima's escorts in a pool of their own blood, along with Prince Sarima himself attempting to take the king's life.
Erushira immediately used <Petrification> on Prince Sarima and saved the king. However, the prime minister had already breathed his last and there was no way to save him.
After interrogating Prince Sarima, the truth came to light. Prince Sarima held a grudge against King Mahazar. Because the king would keep clinging to the throne, as a result his father who should have been king could never ascend to the throne. Prince Sarima had made the decision to kill King Mahazar as revenge for the father he respected so much.
Erushira was at a complete loss. The prime minister who could give the appropriate directions was no longer present. However, the king had to issue a royal decree of some kind.
Thus Erushira did.
A decree to overlook Prince Sarima's crimes and to give the succession right to Prince Sarima once the preparations were done.
She wouldn't notice until later that she should have given a severe punishment to Prince Sarima here. By doing such, those who were loyal to the prime ministers would have forgiven Prince Sarima.
However, Princes Sarima was absolved of his crimes without any kind of punishment. As such, everyone who had worked under the prime minister bore a grudge toward Prince Sarima. Even the prime minister's political opponents and generals who had clashed with the minister in more than one occasion bore ill will toward Prince Sarima.
After that, everything was just chaos.
She could no longer recall the precise events.
By the time she came to her sense, Prince Sarima was leading an army to attack the capital.
At this time, four of the king's six grandsons were in charge of the royal capital's defense. Prince Sarima's only ally was his full younger brother.
Prince Sarima led a small army, as such he would be defeated easily. But that did not happen in reality. Because Erushira was allying herself with Prince Sarima. Through the king's decrees, she would turn the situations to Princes Sarima's favor, dragging the civil war on and on.
Later, thinking this in hindsight, she should have prioritized capturing Prince Sarima and let other grandson ascend to the throne instead. However, the Erushira at the time was incapable of making such a decision, she could only senselessly follow King Mahazar's will without question.
Conflicts arose all over the kingdom.
The kingdom may have looked peaceful on the surface, but underneath, there must have been sparks of conflicts lying everywhere, just waiting to explode.
Prince Sarima eventually gained control of the royal palace.
Erushira secretly made her escape. She was planning to watch over the situation from a distance, and then let the king die at the right time before she take her own. If she died first, people would have to see the king in a tragic state. She could not let that one thing happen at any cost.
King Mahazar was burned to death by Prince Sarima.
Yet prince Sarima did something unexpected next.
He took his own life.
Due to the extreme shock and despair, Erushira forgot about dying as she could only wander around in the mountains far from human dwellings.
And then, a long time passed.