Ex Strongest Swordsman 289 (Self Edited) – Distorted Truth

 

Distorted Truth

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Ingrid was left with unexplained emotions with her own arms trembling.

It should be normal to be surprised. Certainly, she thought ‘how could this be’, but… at the same time, she was strangely convinced.

What she suddenly remembered was the ridicule that still stuck to the back of her ears. It was easy to remember what she had dreamed of over and over again as long as there was an impetus.

However, when she thought about it, not everyone in the village was such a person. There wasn’t a person who felt delighted and despised the misfortune of others. She knew this best after spending more than twenty years in this village.

That was why she was surprised. Her parents might have been ridiculed by such eyes from them. There was a voice that whispered that in the corner of her head.

It was easy to deny that this wasn’t the case. If she said that she knew the villagers well, she knew her parents more than them. Her parents weren’t the ones who worshipped the Devil, and they never showed such a pretense.

However, considering the situation of everyone in the village, it could be considered that such an appearance was wholly concealed. But if it really happened, everyone in the village would know about it. Such a fact that only she, who lived with them for a long time, didn’t know meant that…

“…No? That reminds me…” (Ingrid)

While muttering, Ingrid reflexively took something out.

It was a dull blade that was reflected by a slight amount of light. It was a keepsake of his father… something that was used to kill him. The dagger in front of her wasn’t cloudy, but the problem was the pattern carved on the grip.

Ingrid once asked what it was. At that time, her father certainly said this. While gently narrowing his eyes toward the darkness of night, he said it represented one’s faith.

It was a long time ago, and that was when Ingrid was a small child. So, she had forgotten it until now, but when she thought about it, it felt strange. This was because there was no such thing like the Holy Doctrine in the first place.

It had been less than two years since Ingrid became a Paladin, but if she had that much time to become one, she would have the opportunity to come into contact with various things. However, the pattern that she was seeing now wasn’t something she had seen except when her father held the dagger.

Although there was a pattern, the shape was simple. The shape was like two boards intersecting at a right angle, and that was it. But even if it was that simple, it was unlikely that this pattern had never been seen or heard if it existed.

Seriously, what was this…?

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“My parents… were they the Devil worshippers?” (Ingrid)

Although most of the countries to which this village belonged were certainly believers of the Holy Doctrine, it didn’t mean that they were forbidden to believe in anything else. However, since it was a state religion, it was often the case that people would be believers of the religion unless there was some special reason.

But again, there were still cases where such a practice was clearly prohibited. For example, making the Evil Gods and the Devil as the subject of worship.

This wasn’t unusual because most countries prohibited worshipping the Evil God. Strictly speaking, there was no specific punishment for that matter, but there wasn’t anyone who was willing to break the rule since the Evil God was suppressed in the past. At least, not so many people would like to get close to those who professed so.

In retrospect, Ingrid had never heard from either his father or mother that she was forbidden from worshipping the Evil God and the Devil. Although it was clearly forbidden, there were no penalties for it, so the practice was usually passed down from parent to child.

It was a bit strange especially in this country. Ingrid knew for the first time since she went to the Holy City. It was because people in other countries knew little about the existence of the Devil. Ingrid knew what was the common sense of this country because she was taught by everyone in the village. Her parents didn’t tell her about that matter.

The fact that she remembered all of these after one another meant only one thing. Her parents were worshippers of the Devil, which was prohibited in this country.

“Was that also a means of paying for one’s mistakes…?” (Ingrid)

If that was the case, everyone in the village would have noticed it from the accumulation of trivial things in their daily lives. Ingrid could only come up with the dagger, but it was possible that she simply didn’t realize it since it was too natural for her.

However, the reason why everyone in the village was still in contact with her was probably because of their kindness.

“Aah… so then, I can understand everyone’s attitude.” (Ingrid)

They must have suppressed dissatisfaction and anxiety, and treated her kindly. Surely, she wasn’t ready yesterday because she returned all of a sudden.

Ingrid couldn’t say anything about that… No, she should be grateful. From Soma’s appearance, it seemed that they hadn’t been treated unfairly just because they came with her. She had no choice but to thank everyone for their kindness and openness.

With that in mind, Ingrid’s eyes naturally followed the letters on the parchments that she had in her hands. It might have been some kind of escapism. She was trying to find something that was written in order to deny this thought.

However, what actually existed was something that reinforced that thought. The Devil’s habits, characteristics, and a lot of information that she had never heard were written. The most notable point was that all of them were full of praise. There were other things that made her wonder, such as how to summon the Devil, but… at the same time, this also convinced Ingrid.

For the whole time, she had a question. Why did her parents become possessed by the Devil?

She was told that the Devil possession was basically something that happened suddenly. There was nothing in common there, and there were many things that she didn’t know. No, she should say that she knew a little bit, but… there were times when she knew it for sure.

It meant that two or more people wouldn’t appear at the same time being possessed by the Demon.

It was natural in a sense. The Devil possession appeared only once a month even now. It was said that the frequency had increased. However, it couldn’t appear at the same time.

Even so, her parents were both possessed by the Devil. Yes, it was at the same time. It shouldn’t be possible.

But the issue could be solved if there was some other factor. For example, if people summoned two Devils and it possessed her parents, that fact couldn’t be denied.

The question was that situation… was it possible? It seemed so as long as there was evidence and it was actually happening.

Ingrid didn’t know what the circumstances of her parents’ Devil possession were. At that time, Ingrid was on a patrol around the village, and when she returned to the village in a hurry because of a loud noise, she encountered her parents who had already been possessed by the Devil.

From there, she would kill her parents, but… in fact, she didn’t remember the situation well.

She always dreamed of killing her parents, and… more precisely her father. Since she had been dreaming it repeatedly, what happened before and after that became ambiguous.

What was clear was that there was a burning house in front of her, probably because her parents went wild. Then, her mother fell to the ground and she was already dead. It was just Ingrid, who had also got down to the ground but was still breathing, stabbing her father many times with the dagger that she had taken away from him.

How did that happen…? Certainly, she took the dagger from his rampaging father while she was riding the horse… No, was it different? Then, there was no explanation why her mother has already fallen. Ingrid was doing something like a protector in the village, but she only had something like a wooden sword because there weren’t many monsters around the area.

But the fallen mother was bleeding from her throat. Obviously, it wasn’t due to a wooden sword. It didn’t seem coherent.

However, Ingrid had no doubt that she did it. For some reason, she couldn’t remember the scene clearly, but only the actual feeling was clear.

“What does this mean…? Did I forget something…?” (Ingrid)

Her own voice whispered in her head that this wasn’t the case, it was a misunderstanding, but her doubts remained. She had never thought about this before… well, she didn’t think about it because she even avoided thinking about it, but did she really…?

“—!?” (Ingrid)

However, that thought was forcibly interrupted.

At the moment, Ingrid heard something like a roaring sound, albeit slightly. It definitely happened somewhere in the village, and… it was something she remembered.

Reflexively, that time of her parents passed through her mind.

“..Could it be?” (Ingrid)

She didn’t think so, but she couldn’t help but to confirm it. When she went from the hidden room immediately, she quickly looked around.

She knew immediately where the sound came from because something like smoke was rising. As if the back was pushed by an unpleasant premonition, she hurriedly there. Then…

What was reflected in Ingrid’s eyes was the appearance of Soma and Hildegard who were about to be attacked by the villagers.

 

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