Ex Strongest, Accumulating Anger
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Soma knew at first glance that there were no survivors.
Everything was completely destroyed, but no one seemed to be humiliated, indicating who did this. There was only one group of people capable doing that and that would be with the sole purpose of destruction and murder.
“Hmm… does that mean that they have found this place?” (Soma)
“It hasn’t been decided yet, right? Perhaps, someone happened to find this place and went on a rampage.” (Aina)
“…Considering the wounds, there were definitely more than one of them. It’s hard to think of something else.” (Sheila)
“You can guess that, can’t it? As I expected…” (Cecil)
“Hmm, I suppose you could say that.” (Soma)
It meant that the people who attacked this place were regularly trained soldiers.
Just because they were regular soldiers, that didn’t mean that they wouldn’t plunder, but that was why it was difficult to imagine a group that didn’t loot, except for the soldiers who had received such orders. It was safe to assume that they probably belong to either the first or second prince.
Moreover, considering the degree of corrosion and other factors, this place was probably attacked about a week ago. It would be overly optimistic to think that it was a coincidence.
“Perhaps they had been found a long time ago.” (Cecil)
“Cecil… are you feeling alright now?” (Soma)
When Soma asked Cecil, who appeared next to him, she nodded even though she couldn’t hide her fatigue.
It took a week to get here, but it had already been destroyed. It was natural for the villagers to be anxious, and Cecil was calming them down.
This wasn’t something Sheila could do, and in the meantime, Soma and the others were mourning the wreckage and looking for anything that was left. As it turned out, the place had been utterly destroyed, and nothing remained.
“…Thank you for your condolences.” (Cecil)
“There’s no need to thank us. We couldn’t just leave the place as it is.” (Soma)
“Yes. So, what are we going to do?” (Aina)
“…Hmm, move again?” (Sheila)
“Yes, that’s right… we don’t want to stay here either.” (Cecil)
Being destroyed and killed meant that they could have gotten in here. The barrier here seemed to have been imitated, so they must have allowed the intrusion.
That meant that the place here wasn’t safe, and it had been a week since it was attacked. It couldn’t be said that there wouldn’t be another attack, and it was also possible that they were still being chased.
There was no sign of them so far, but that didn’t mean that the villagers were truly at ease. In conclusion, they had to move to a different location.
“Anyhow, do you have any idea where you’re going?” (Soma)
“Although it’s a bit far away, I know the locations of other bases, so there’s no problem. We can afford the supply, thanks to the monsters hunted by Soma-dono. However…” (Cecil)
“…Do you mean that it’s possible that the rest of the bases are in the same boat?” (Soma)
“Yes, that’s right…” (Cecil)
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“Are there any other places that were originally like that, not imitations like here?” (Aina)
“There is, but… yes, that’s where we have to go. Even if there is no one there anymore.” (Cecil)
That would be a double meaning. Either they had moved on to somewhere else like Cecil and the villagers, or… they were starving to the breaking point.
The food that Cecil and others had was what they scrounged up. She said that other bases were the same, so it wouldn’t last for more than two weeks.
Being a bit away meant that it would take more than a week from here, and it was difficult to have hope. But still, rather than staying here, there was no choice but to go.
It was also possible that it was a coincidence that this place was destroyed, but that would still be too hopeful and optimistic. As Cecil said, it was more natural to think that they knew about Cecil and her group, and they had been left alone because there would be no problem in doing so.
The question was, if that was the case, why did they attack now?
“Does that mean that the light has something to do with it?” (Aina)
“Hmm… well, considering the time, it would be harder to think that it is irrelevant.” (Soma)
“…Does it have something to do with a powerful person being brought in?” (Sheila)
“It’s possible that they have somehow brought in a powerful person to their side. That light is a symbol of this, and if either side is determined to win… we will be an eyesore to them.” (Cecil)
If they could afford to do it, there was no reason to overlook it.
Soma’s group was aware of the story. Of course, it was a Devil.
Originally, the story said that the struggle between the first and second princes was evenly matched with no clear superiority or inferiority. Then, if the Devil helped one of them, the situation would suddenly tilt.
The question was who to help, but Soma didn’t have to think about it. This was because the one who had the upper hand would be the one in question.
“So, what is your plan? Are you going to leave right away?” (Soma)
“We should have rested here for about one night, but… well, that’s the plan. If we rest unnecessarily, our heart may be broken.” (Cecil)
“Well, I leave that decision to you. We’re just trying to help.” (Aina)
“We can only help. However, we can’t do much.” (Soma)
If that were true, Soma’s group might be able to withdraw at this point, but as expected, that was a bad idea. For the time being, he planned to go out with the villagers until they could move to a safe place.
What to do after that depended on that time.
“…Thank you very much, everyone.” (Cecil)
Soma shrugged his shoulders at Cecil, who bowed her head, urging him to move quickly. In fact, it was a bad idea to stay here too long.
If they kept looking at the destroyed building, they would naturally imagine their own end. They hadn’t been shown the corpses, but they could imagine what happened and how it happened. They were surely tired, and at times like this, their thoughts tend to go in the wrong direction.
If their heart was broken, he couldn’t afford to wait for them to stand up. If no one should be left behind, they need to take action quickly.
Fortunately, there was still hope. They were still alive. And the fact that they were alive was a hope in itself.
Even if they had no choice but to keep running for the time being, it didn’t matter as long as they lived. Someday, they should be able to fight back.
“Now… let’s make our escape.” (Soma)
“What’s the point of getting worked up about escaping? (Aina)
“…It’s necessary to put on a brave face, right?” (Sheila)
“That’s right… being depressed doesn’t make anything better.” (Cecil)
The anger was building, but he wasn’t going to withdraw.
If they kept walking, they would surely reach the cause. That was the time to relieve the anger that had accumulated.
He looked over at the place that had been destroyed and let out a breath. Then, Soma and the rest walked to the place where the villagers were waiting to leave.
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