In the middle of this dark and smoky crater, Kurumi looked up at the blue sky, the clouds and the birds that are minding their own business. She wondered where did it all go wrong?
“Ah ah, I lost…”
She might be smiling but it doesn’t take a genius to know that she’s feeling very sad right now.
She looked at the wide sky and she wanted to reach her hand out to grab something only she can see. But, her lack of energy prevented that. She laughed in a pathetic manner.
Frustrated and upset as she is, she had to admit her defeat. But, she’s strangely happy that she can finally put down this burden. Kurumi herself is unsure what she should be thinking about right now.
A figure entered her sight while she’s deep in thought. His eyes which looked like they are out of this world had a hint of sadness in them.
“Ara ara, Shido-san…”
“Here to gloat about your victory, that’s a detestable hobby.”
Wu Yan sighed.
“Are you done?…”
Kurumi laughed in a sarcastic manner.
“Did you really think a sound hiding would wake me up?”
“If that’s what you think, you’re in for a disappointment…”
Kurumi looked at the sky.
“I don’t regret the stuff I have done to get here.”
“I thought you might think like that, you’re strangely stubborn and principled for someone so crazy.”
Wu Yan shook his head in a bitter manner.
“Want to listen to a story?”
Wu Yan chuckled, he looked up at the sky as well. He continued without waiting for Kurumi’s reply.
“A long time ago in a land far away, there was a girl named Artoria…”
“Born as a female, she had a noble heart, she wanted to be an upstanding knight that defends the unfortunate, the shield that protects her country from harm…”
“A great magician at the time, Merlin prophesized that Artoria would one day pull out a magic sword that would make her a king.”
“By chance, Artoria obtained the opportunity to draw the sword and ascend the throne. But, the great magician Merlin warned her thusly…”
“Once the sword is drawn, you will no longer be human.”
“Artoria did not hesitate, she gave up her identity as a woman and she took on a masculine guise to become the king that will lead her subjects to a peaceful future. She drew the sword.”
“On that day, Artoria lost two identities, her identity as a woman and as a human. From that point on, she’s a king.”
“Artoria forgot about herself, she worked for the country and her subjects. She fought like mad and won 12 wars in the span of 10 years. She made her country’s name known throughout the land. She stained her hands with the blood of her enemies for her country…”
“Artoria protected her subjects, she took everything head-on. After pulling out the magic sword, Artoria stopped aging because of the magic sword. She looked as young as when she first ascended the throne. The subjects forgot who fought for their sakes as fear and uncertainty gripped their hearts. They started thinking and talking about how King Arthur couldn’t possibly understand the people’s sentiment.”
“This continued until a war broke out. Due to various factors, Artoria found herself in the most curious of situation. The subjects she sought to protect now pointed their weapons as her.”
“The fight ended with the death of the king and her subjects…”
“What, a story about a tragic hero?”
Wu Yan glanced at her. He continued without answering her.
“At the doorsteps of death, she signed a contract with the world, she would become a heroic spirit to fight once more in a battle royale for a holy grail that would grant a wish of the victors.”
“What Artoria wanted upon winning is to return to the past and stop herself from pulling out the sword, let the sword choose another worthy ruler.”
Kurumi flinched. She looked like she’s out of it but her attention is now focused on Wu Yan.
Wu Yan laughed and he continued.
“She busted her ass for the country, gave up a lot of things in the process, won wars and everything still got destroyed in the end. What’s the point?”
“As a king, she did her duty to protect her subjects and the subjects didn’t reciprocate. In the end, after making sure to do her job as best as she could, what’s the point when it all ended like that? To get the perfect outcome, she gave up a lot of things. Did anything really change after all that trouble?”
Wu Yan looked at Kurumi with an intense gaze.
“Kurumi, Artoria tried to get the perfect outcome and what did she get in the end? You wanna guess?”
Kurumi’s voice trembled, she closed her eyes as if she’s trying to run away.
“Even if she won the holy grail and she got what she wished for, do you think that would really change anything?”
Kurumi pleaded with him.
“She paid the price for the perfect outcome, what are you ready to give up?”
“Please stop… I don’t want to listen to this…”
In a manic manner, she tried to deny what she’s hearing right now.
“Or could it be that you gave up so many things and this is the only path left for you?”
“I told you to stop!”
She stared at him with bloodshot eyes. Tears started pouring out of her eyes.
Kurumi shouted at him while bawling her eyes out.
“Yeah! It’s my fault! I am the crazy one! What should I do if I can’t do this! What’s the point of my wretched existence? Tell me!!!”
“Fine, if you don’t have a reason to be then let me give you one.”
Wu Yan squatted down, he rubbed away her tears like how he wiped away the blood on the dying clone last time.
“How about this, live your life for my sake, from now on, you belong to me.”
“Without my permission, hell will freeze over before I let you die.”
She looked at Wu Yan in a stunned manner. Her eyes started trembling from her bursting emotions. Her eyes also started to lose focus…