Chapter 19 – Memory / Black Beast
In just another 17 minutes, the anticipated wave will spawn.
This news should already be well-known around town.
Squadrons of knights and adventurers were geared up and ready to dispatch at a moment's notice, while the civilians barricaded themselves in their own houses.
Since I was a hero, I couldn't even attempt to escape from the wave's outbreak due to the hourglass' power.
The same was applied to my party member; it was likely that Raphtalia would be teleported along with me.
"It's almost time, Raphtalia."
Raphtalia nodded with a strangely enthusiastic and excited response.
Well, I didn't voice any objections since it was a blessing to have her so motivated.
"Naofumi-sama... may I talk with you for awhile?"
"Hm? That should be fine, what's your concern?"
"Ah no, somehow I felt so moved since we'll be fighting against the calamity soon."
... Why was she murmuring this and raising her own death flag?
I'll protect her since it would be a pain if she died... Wait, that was so unlike me; I was being influenced by too much anime and manga.
Although this world was like a game, it definitely wasn't one. This world was real.
And look at that, those shitty heroes had such fine equipment. I didn't even know if my armor was strong enough or not.
It was likely that I would suffer some wounds.
It would be great if this battle ended with only injuries, since I might even lose my life.
If that were to happen, the trash heap of this country would rejoice at the sight of my corpse.
――A criminal's fitting end.
... Let's stop that. If I keep thinking this way then I won't be able to fight.
In order for me to survive for another month.
"The truth is that... I was enslaved due to the spawning of the first calamity."
"... Is that so?"
Certainly, I thought there was a slim chance that might have been the case.
"I used to live in a remote region of this country. The demi-human village that I grew up in focused on agriculture and farming; it was also the spawn point of the very first wave."
Her parents were kind and everyone in the village lived peacefully.
However, a huge horde of Skeleton Soldiers came out from within the wave of disaster.
The Skeleton Soldiers only had large numbers at first, so the adventurers within the vicinity were able to suppress them.
But the beasts and giant beetles kept overflowing in massive quantities. Because of that, the line of defense was soon breached.
Then a pitch black, three-headed Cerberus appeared. And the villagers were trampled upon like they were helpless wilderness buds.
As Raphtalia's village was desolated beyond recognition, the villagers desperately tried to escape.
Unfortunately, the monsters were merciless; they murdered everyone as if it was the greatest sport in the world.
And like all the others, Raphtalia's parents took her and also fled until they finally reached the edge of a sea cliff.
Knowing that escape was futile, both parents faced Raphtalia and smiled.
They didn't use that time to escape, but to gently stroke her frightened head instead.
"Raphtalia... from now on, you will surely find yourself in a terrible situation. You might even die from it."
"But you know what, Raphtalia? Both of us want you to continue living... so please forgive us for our selfishness."
Even though she was young, she knew in her heart that her parents were only trying to keep her safe.
"Noo! Mommy! Daddy!"
Their single greatest wish was for Raphtalia to live, and so they pushed her off the cliff.
While she was falling, Raphtalia witnessed the scene of her parents being pounced upon by vicious monsters.
Raphtalia plunged into the sea with a huge splash, yet she miraculously survived and was washed ashore at a nearby beach.
After regaining her senses, Raphtalia rose up and returned to the cliffside in search of her parents.
By then, the monsters were already subjugated by the adventurers and knight squadrons.
Walking through the sea of corpses with great difficulty, she managed to locate her parents.
On that spot was a vast amount of blood... and scraps of meat scattered everywhere.
Realizing her parents' death, Raphtalia dropped down as something deep within her burst opened.
She then wandered around aimlessly, sobbing and sincerely wishing for the warmth of her parents in an effort to escape reality.
And before she knew it, she had already been imprisoned within that dark corner of the circus tent.
That place... was comparable to hell.
Every day, someone would be purchased or returned.
Raphtalia was also among those cases.
In the beginning, they considered making her into a servant. A well-buffed noble bought her and tried teaching her multiple things.
But the coughing was trouble enough, and she also shrieked like a banshee at night on top of that.
Thus, she was promptly refunded back to the tent the next day.
The next buyer also attempted to teach Raphtalia various stuff, but again she was immediately returned the following day.
The owner before me was the cruelest buyer of them all.
They purchased her one evening, whipped her throughout the entire night, and resold her, tattered and torn, the very next morning.
I wasn't the least bit surprised that this country had sickos who would take pleasure in inflicting pain upon others.
She was wrecked by illness, her heart was almost broken from the recurring nightmares, and she was used and abandoned countless times... that was when she was bought by me.
"You know, I'm very glad to have met you, Naofumi-sama."
"You were the one who taught me how to live a proper life after all."
I absentmindedly replied to Raphtalia's story with a mechanical tone.
This didn't matter much at any rate.
"For that reason, please allow me a chance. A chance to confront this wave."
"With that said, I'll do my best!"
"Ha... ha... give it your best shot."
Even I thought that I was acting a bit too cruel.
However, my past self could only act in such a pitiful manner.
We have one more minute before it's time.
I took my stance, prepared for the teleportation.
A deafening sound echoed throughout the world.
The very next instance, my vision was flushed away and the scenery around me changed. I was probably being warped.
Dyed an eerie wine red, cracks began peeling away and expanding outward through the sky due to the dimensional rift.
"So this is..."
While assessing the scene, three shadows dashed passed me, followed by twelve other people.
Those shitty heroes.
I also tailed them since it was the obvious thing to do, but where were they heading off to?
While sprinting onward, I saw enemies come crawling out and pushing against each other through the large crack in the sky.
"This is the vicinity of Riyuuto village!"
Raphtalia anxiously exclaimed after examining the surrounding area.
"Since this is all farm land, a lot of people should still be dwelling here!"
"But everyone should have already evacu--"
Then a sudden realization hit me.
We never knew beforehand where the Wave of Calamity would appear, right? Then how the hell would we know which locations needed to be evacuated?
"You fools, wait a minute!"
Refusing to heed my calls, the three idiotic heroes dashed straight towards the source of the wave.
During that time a group of monstrous spiders, having separated themselves from the overflowing monster horde, headed straight towards the village's direction.
Wait, the buffoon hero troupe had shot something like a bullet flare up into the sky, signaling a sort of message.
It must have been to inform the knight squadrons and rally them to their location.
"Tsk!! Raphtalia! Let's go protect the village!"
I was indebted to many of the people from Riyuuto village.
I'd definitely suffer from remorse if they got killed by the wave!
We then rushed to a different direction, separating from those shitty heroes.