V6 Chapter 14. One-Flash of Gratitude

 

 

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-On a planet far away from the Empire- 

Inside a small apartment building, Yasushi was carrying a baby in his back.

His wife, who was wearing a suit, was about to leave the house.

“Yasu-kun, I’ll be back by 7 PM, so please take care of things until then.”

“—Okay.”

As an intellectual, the woman went to work while Yasushi remained behind as a stay-at-home husband. 

Hence, he was carrying their baby on his back.

He had originally planned on escaping, but he was too scared to do so after being chased around with a knife.

A freshly-formed scar that went from his chest to his abdomen was present on his body. 

His wife had said, “Don’t have it treated—and don’t think about running away again.”

As a result, he was stuck with the scar for now.

With the medical technology of this world, it would’ve been an easy matter to erase the scar, but it was intentionally left alone. 

Yasushi regretted having laid his hands on a woman whose love was so deep.

“Uuuu, I want to escape, but it’s nigh impossible with my pocket money.”

He had used up most of the fund that he received from Liam to raise his two disciples. 

The rest had been spent on playing around, and he was now in a situation where he had to receive pocket money from a woman.

Although he stayed at home to take care of their child, most of the housework was done by his wife. 

He wasn’t a full-fledged househusband, but he wasn’t a gigolo either; in other words, he wasn’t one or the other.

This was the situation that Yasushi, the Sword God that raised Liam, Rinho, and Fuuka, was in.

The baby began squirming.

“Okay, okay, let’s change you diaper, shall we? ——Really, what the hell am I doing here?”

This was how Yasushi was spending his days on a distant planet.

Rinho and Fuuka were in a special infirmary room of the luxury hotel.

Not only were they in patient gowns, their bodies were entirely wrapped in bandages.

With their injuries healed, they were having dishes delivered to their beds after mentioning how hungry they were.

Tia was observing the situation with a reproachful look on her face, and Ellen was standing beside her.

She watched the two as they ate on the bed with proper manners.

Having said that, the dishes were disappearing at an alarming rate, and the waiters were busy serving new dishes to them.

Tia was amazed at their hearty appetite.

“I’m amazed by how much food you two are stuffing down after having just recovered.”

Feeling much better now, Fuuka let go of her chopsticks and stretched.

“Unless I eat, I can’t exert any strength.”

Rinho, who was drinking soup next to her, breathed out softly and grinned.

“You say that, but you’re weaker than me.”

Fuuka pointed her fingers at Rinho.

“Ya eat a lot, but yer still as skinny as a toothpick! Yer breasts are tiny to boot!”

Compared to Fuuka’s fine assets, Rinho’s were a bit lackluster.

This was perhaps a sensitive topic as Rinho narrowed her eyes the next moment.

“Haaaang? Did all the nutrient that should’ve gone to your head go to your chest instead? Why would you think that I’d care about the size of my breasts? In the first place, what’s there to be proud about for having large breasts? As someone that’s walking down the path of the sword, isn’t it better to have all that unnecessary fat removed? In fact, do you want me to cut them off for you?”

Ellen came to a certain conclusion after seeing how rapidly Rinho was speaking.

(Oh, so she’s self-conscious about it.)

The two girls started arguing with each other.

Soon enough, their stomachs began growling again, and they returned to having their meals.

Tia, who was supervising them, felt dissatisfied.

The arm that she had attached back were wrapped in bandages and connected to an equipment.

“Why do I have to take care of these two?”

Ellen had been assigned to watch over the two girls as they were from the same school.

As Liam intended to take the girls under his wings, he set up an opportunity for them to talk with one another.

The two girls understood his intention.

Fuuka was the first to speak with Ellen.

“By the way, Small One.”

“Don’t call me Small One. I’m Ellen.”

“Don’t fret the details. We’re from the same school anyway. Aren’t we pretty much aunt and niece? Let’s get along.”

The two were being friendly to Ellen. 

Their intention to kill Liam also seemed like a lie.

However, Ellen, who knew of their plans, refused to play along with them.

“As if I’d want to get along with someone who’s trying to kill Master!”

She turned the other way.

Fuuka became visibly sad.

Rather than an interaction between disciples of the same school, it was more like an older sister getting depressed after being rejected by her younger sibling.

Rinho giggled, showing an understanding towards Ellen’s inner conflict.

“Well, it can’t be helped. I’d be pissed as well if someone targeted Master. But you see, it was that very same Master who instructed us to target Senior Brother. Senior Brother accepted us because he knew that this was the case. As Senior Brother’s disciple, your attitude is a biiit~”

Satisfied with the meal, Fuuka laid down on the bed.

“Ellen, you might be targeted by your Junior Brothers and Sisters one day, and it might be under Senior Brother’s instruction.”

“—T-that’s…”

As of now, Ellen was Liam’s sole disciple. 

Rinho and Fuuka were just his Junior Sisters that he took custody of, so they weren’t his official disciples. 

Ellen would eventually have at least two Juniors under her, and this was something which Ellen was not in favor of.

If Liam accepted another disciple other than herself, his attention would likely turn elsewhere. 

She wouldn’t have all his attention as she had now.

Liam entered the infirmary just as Ellen was feeling troubled. 

“You two seem quite cheerful.”

Looking at them, Liam smiled without a hint of wariness.

The girls immediately kneeled on their beds and bowed.

Although their attitudes were bold and their language uncouth, they had been taught the proper etiquette. 

Rinho apologized to Liam.

“We apologize for causing trouble this time. This event made us realize how shallow our skills are.”

Fuuka was the same. 

“Being the greenhorns that we are, we’ve come to understand that we have yet to reach the realm where Senior Brother is standing.”

Liam sat down on a chair which Tia had prepared and stared at the two girls who were showing admirable attitudes. 

He didn’t seem a tad bit worried, and it was as if he was dealing with relatives.

“It’s good that you understand who’s above you. On that note, although I’ll be taking care of you guys, I won’t be training you in the path of the One-Flash. The most I can do is provide you with a place to train.”

Under Yasushi’s training regime, Rinho and Fuuka had become splendid swordswomen. 

From here on out, they had to polish their swords through their own effort, and Liam could only provide them with some light assistance. 

“That said, you two are a mess in all other regards. Since Master has entrusted me with you two, it must mean that he wants you to become full-fledged knights. As soon as your injuries are healed, you two will be following me back to my territory where you will learn to become knights.”

Rinho looked utterly disgusted when she was told that she had to study.

“—As swordswomen, is it really necessary for us to study? Senior Brother, with all due respect, I must decline. I believe it’s more important for us to refine our techniques, even if it’s by a small amount.”

Liam smiled. 

“No can do. After all, this is what Master entrusted me to do.”

Liam was thinking about their education in his own way.

Fuuka appeared to be indifferent to this arrangement.

“We just have to train for a couple of years and enter the capsule, right? I’m used tough things anyway.”

It was certainly not a bad idea to toss them into the military so that they could be molded into knights.

However, Liam had a different plan in store for them.

“That so? Well then, when we return, you two will become apprentices under Serena, my head maid, and you will be learning about manners from her. Do your best as maids.”

Both Rinho and Fuuka were stunned by this sudden revelation. 

“S-Senior Brother!? What do you mean by ‘maids’!?”

“No way! Why do we have to do something so girly!?”

Liam laughed.

“I also worked as a servant at my training destination. As you two aren’t aristocrats, I’ll have you two educated within my mansion. Don’t even think about escaping.”

“N-no way!”

“M-me!? A maid!?”

Liam meant well by being harsh on them, but the two despaired over the prospect of training for something that had nothing to do with the sword. 

‘Serves you right!’ Ellen thought.

“—How. Could. This. Be.”

The Guide fell to his knees.

He had put his faith in the trump cards to assassinate Liam, but they had completely failed.

There was nothing inherently wrong about failing. 

However, after their defeat, instead of aiming for Liam’s life, they started to revere him as their Senior Brother. 

This was also partially Yasushi’s fault.

After reading the letter from Yasushi, Liam had begun to spoil his Junior Sisters.

“He backed away at the last moment to preserve his life!”

There was nothing unnatural about this considering Yasushi’s disposition.

Be that as it may, from the Guide’s perspective, it was an act of betrayal.

All that said, there was one thing that the Guide could not forgive.

“—You’re telling me that my actions were actually helping Liam?”

Upon closer examination, he realized that he had been helping Liam.

When all was said and done, the Calvin Faction had become less united, and they had lost a good chunk of their power as well.

On the other hand, the Cleo Faction—and thus Liam—now had a bigger voice.

The faction had become stronger overall, and the number of supporters had grown.

It was to the point where the Cleo Faction, which was originally weak and feeble, now stood on par with the Calvin Faction. 

“Unforgivable.”

The Guide clenched his fists.

There was also the matter with Liam’s territory. 

Those that sneaked in with shady motives had been identified, thus eliminating the buds of future trouble.

Everything was progressing in the direction that was favorable for Liam.

“Liam, I’ll never forgive you! Now that things have gone this far, I’ll kill Liam even if I have to go down with him!”

The Guide dropped all pretense and gathered as much negative emotion as he could to slay Liam.

Since there had been a war between intergalactic nations, there was bound to be a lot of grudges left behind in the battlefield. 

He decided to end Liam with his own hands after collecting all the swirling negative emotions associated with Liam. 

The Guide wasn’t certain whether or not he could kill Liam; however, he wanted to defeat Liam no matter what.

“I’ll definitely finish off Liam!”

A dog bid farewell to the Guide as the latter disappeared from the scene to collect more negative emotions.

The dog also disappeared soon after.

When the Empire’s expeditionary force returned safe and sound, parties were held in various parts of the Capital to celebrate their victory.

Aristocrats and military personnel that took part in the expedition were invited, and the aristocrats were especially hyped up.

Some of them were simply happy that they had won.

Others, however, were there to get closer to the Cleo Faction.

Cleo was no longer as helpless as he was in the past.

Cleo, who was the party’s host, was exhausted after greeting many of the guests. 

Accompanied by Lysithea, he entered the resting room.

“—This is really backbreaking. Has the Count been doing this on a daily basis? How incredible.”

Lysithea chided Cleo for complaining, but she sounded somewhat happy as well.

“It’s all thanks to the Count sowing the seeds for us. It seems like he made a lot of moves while he remained behind at the Capital. Now, so many people would move under your name. You’re no longer as powerless as you used to be.”

Liam had invited promising aristocrats to the party.

Of course, he hadn’t done so himself. In reality, it was the work of Wallace.

“All I did was stand on the battlefield.”

Cleo had not done anything. 

Tia had been the de facto commanding general, and it was the talented knight named Klaus that made all the fine adjustments.

“That aside, I didn’t see the Count anywhere.”

“It seems like he will be returning to his territory. The large-scale demonstration has calmed down, but he must still be worried about the situation.”

Lysithea was impressed by Liam’s patience that had allowed him to remain in the Capital while all this was happening.

Cleo, however, didn’t look as happy.

“—The Count is capable everything. He’s the complete antithesis of me.”

Cleo was fighting against his brother for the seat of the Emperor, but he was just a figurehead.

He had accepted this, but it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

“Even if I’m not here, the people would be convinced as long as he’s around.”

“Did you say something?”

Lysithea was so excited about the future that she had missed Cleo’s mutter.

He had overcome the crisis and gained enough power to fight the Calvin Faction on the same playing field.

It should’ve been a happy occasion. 

Cleo shook his head, not wanting to douse Lysithea’s excitement with cold water.

“No, nothing.”

The Guide had returned to the Capital.

The grudges from those that the expeditionary force destroyed and the hatred from those present in the Capital.

The Guide had come to challenge Liam with all the negative emotions that he had collected without any regards.

“Liam! Today will be the day that I—!!”

The Guide had been incensed when he learnt that he couldn’t destroy the android known as Amagi, and he was further angered by the fact that his actions had been meaningless and that he had ultimately led Liam to his victory.

He had been forced to confront reality after a period of being on Cloud Nine, so he was naturally angered to the point where he lost himself.

When he heard that Liam was at the spaceport preparing to head back to his territory, the Guide went straight for him.

“THERE YOU AREEE!”

Liam was taking Rinho, Fuuka, and Ellen around his battleship, which was his pride and joy.

They were walking in the corridors of the needlessly luxurious spaceship without any guards protecting them.

The Guide saw the four’s open backs and morphed the negative emotion into a blade.

The Guide’s arm turned into a frightening blade as the he shot towards Liam’s back.

“LIAAAAAAAM!!”

“Amazing, right!? This super dreadnought-class battleship cost a fortune to build. Some soldiers have been living in it for years!”

Being 3000 meters long, an entire colony is contained within in.

Although the staffs sometimes change, some of them have been living on the battleship for years.

Some had even married, and reports say that babies have been born.

I seriously don’t get it.

Will the babies grow properly?

I hear that there’s a school, but I’m still worried.

I’ve bought this ridiculous battleship for appearance’s sake, but things have progressed beyond my understanding. 

I’ve poured a lot of money to make this incomprehensible-yet-luxurious battleship.

It’s strangely gratifying to see how delighted Fuuka is.

“This is amazing!! Senior Brother, buy me one as well!”

I wouldn’t mind buying an extra ship or two—but I’m not allowed to.

“You think I can purchase a super dreadnought-level battleship at my discretion? I would need Amagi’s permission to do that, and she would never give the permission.”

Just the simple act of assigning a battleship as personal property had her making an unpleasant face.

If I tell her that I’m giving them to my Junior Sisters, I have no idea what Amagi would say.

I ordered Nias to build a personal ship for me a while ago, and Amagi scolded me for that.

It will be completed soon, so I’m looking forward to receiving it.

“Che~”

Fuuka seems rather disappointed, but I’ve prepared a present for them.

“Don’t be so upset. I’ve prepared personal mobile knights for you two. From now on, you would need to train your piloting skills as well.”

Rinho fiddles with her hair, perhaps because she’s not interested.

“Men seem to like robots, but they’re all the same when they’re cut into pieces.”

I see, so she’s not interested in them.

Ellen’s eyes are shining.

“Master, I-I want one too!”

Sorry, but it’s a no-go for Ellen.

“It’s too early for you.”

“I-is that so?”

She looks pitiful when she’s feeling down, but Ellen is still young, so I want to raise her slowly.

Unlike Rinho, Fuuka seems a bit interested in robots.

“Senior Brother, what sort of mobile knights have you prepared?”

You’ve asked a good question!

“Actually, I’ve decided to mass-produce my favorite mobile knight. They’re kind of like defective products though.”

I was told that it’s impossible to mass-produce Avid.

According to the Seventh Weapons Factory, “it’s not something that ought to be mass-produced”.

Or rather, it can’t be massed-produced.

Even if I were to gather all the rare metals, the mass-produced knights won’t be able to keep up with Avid’s performance as they won’t have a Machine Heart in them.

Although they’re inferior products, I opted to prepare two sets of mass-produced Avid-type mobile knights for the girls.

It terms of performance, they’re worse than Avid, but they’re better than most others. 

Even though they’re considered defective goods, they cost more to build than many of the exclusives out there.

“Defective products… I don’t feel motivated at all.”

I poke Fuuka’s forehead with my finger when I hear her complain.

“Don’t be greedy. They’re defective, but they cost money and time to build. Others would even say that they’re first-rate.”

What she says doesn’t hurt me in any way though.

I continue to walk forward happily. 

Ellen strikes up a conversation after noticing my mood.

“Master, did something good happen?”

Seems like she understands how I’m feeling. 

“Yeah. Turns out it was a more complete victory than I thought.”

We’ve gained enough power to rival Calvin, I got to meet my two Junior Sisters, and my disciple is growing day by day.

I feel great today.

This must be all thanks to the Guide.

I’ve been busy as of late and have been neglecting my gratitude towards the Guide.

I’m sure he did his best to provide me with after-service this time around as well.

Coincidentally, we pass by the place where I’ve placed a statue of the Guide.

It’s a statue made out of gold.

“—You guys should pray here.”

Rinho makes an exasperated expression. 

“What’s up with the sudden order?”

“Speak less and pray more. Dedicate your gratitude to this statue over here!”

Stunned by my order to suddenly pray, Fuuka and Rinho stare at one another.

“What should we do?”

“Well~ since it’s Senior Brother’s order, I guess we can play along.”

Ellen is raring to go.

“Master, I’m ready to thanks him lots!”

“Well said! Now, express your gratitude towards the statue!”

The three prayed to the statue under the instruction of Liam.

Rinho didn’t even know who she was supposed to be thanking. 

(If I’m grateful to anyone, it would be Master Yasushi.)

Of course, the same went for Fuuka.

(I just have to thank Master Yasushi, right?)

Last but not least, Ellen expressed her gratitude towards Liam.

(Thanks so much for letting me meet Master!)

The trio’s feelings of genuine gratitude were poured into the golden statue of the Guide.

Liam and the others had stopped walking, and the Guide was ready to jump up on them.

“LIAM, THIS IS THE EEEEN…eh?”

The four had abruptly turned around to bow down before a golden statue of himself.

What on earth are they doing?

The prayers containing Liam and the others’ gratitude gathered around the golden statue.

A golden statue of the Guide had been prepared such that Liam could express his gratitude wherever he was. 

The statue began to shine, but this was only visible to the Guide.

“T-too bright!!”

Just as the Guide was being scorched by the golden light, a sword emerged from the golden statue.

The sword’s blade was made out of gold, and it was the embodiment of the prayers from the successors of the School of One-Flash, tempered by their genuine feelings of gratitude.

That alone would have been poison to the Guide, but it became even more lethal with the addition of Liam’s gratitude.

“S-sto—”

The sword was embedded on the Guide’s chest before he could yell for it to stop.

The blade was burning the Guide’s body from within, and it was spreading deadly poison throughout his body.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!!”

Liam’s gratitude was overflowing, and it was being transmitted to the Guide via the sword’s blade. 

The blade also contained an extraordinary gratitude towards Yasushi and Liam.

There were more swords of gold floating around him, and the Guide was struck by them one after another.

They weren’t from Liam’s gratitude alone.

In fact, they originated from a variety of different sources.

“BUT I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THOOOOOOOOOSE————”

And at last, the Guide’s body collapsed from an overload of gratitude, leaving only his top-hat behind.

Just like that, the top-hat sank to the ground and disappeared. 

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Brian (*´ω`*)ノ: “Serves you right, Guide!”