In the early morning, I stood in front of the lake once more.
There was no one at the lake. All that remained were the devastated wreckage of the tents.
Fortunately, the battle ended with only a few injured and no casualties. The wounded were quickly healed with Recovery Magic.
The only problem was that we needed to look for an inn in the nearby town, as this place was no longer fit to stay at.
I woke up early, so I came to the lakeshore by myself.
The tents the students were using were in pieces. Lumps of mud—which were most likely from the mud dolls—were all scattered over the place.
However, the lake itself hadn’t changed in the slightest.
With a stillness that most likely hadn’t changed in over 1000 years, the lake stood quietly as if yesterday’s disturbance never even happened.
Actually, compared to the past—
There was one thing different.
The lake water continued to stagnate, glazed over in soot.
This was what I wanted.
I came here with something I wanted to test in mind.
Yesterday night, I defeated the frenzied Water Spirit. When I was fighting it, I shot the black core in its chest with my Magic Arrow.
The feeling of blowing away something filthy from the water.
I wondered if I could apply that feeling to Purification—the cleansing of water.
Just like how a change in thinking led my Magic Arrow to break the limits of Dispel Magic, I wondered if this feeling would become the trigger to a higher evolution.
When I thought of the possibility, I couldn’t calm myself down.
After hardly sleeping at all, I jumped from the bed and ended up coming all the way here.
Holding out my right hand, I spoke the words that acted as the trigger.
A white arrow shot from my hand, plunging into the lake surface and making a splash.
However, that was all.
The lake surface wavered and continued to stagnate.
I breathed a sigh, and strength left my body.
It’s hopeless, after all—
…is a thought that never once crossed my mind.
I’m not going to get depressed after a single failure.
White arrows plunged into the lake surface one by one. However, not a single one of my shots were able to change the color of the water.
Even so, I tried again and again.
I had my fair share of setbacks and failures ten years ago. I’ve thoroughly known my own worthlessness since long ago.
However, I decided I would move forward.
I decided I would open the door to a new future after these ten years.
Besides, that spectacle—
The miracle of Magic Arrow succeeding in Dispel Magic that I witnessed. Even now, that spectacle was seared into my mind, acting as my pillar of support.
Miracles do happen.
All the hard work I put in hasn’t gone to waste.
I knew that.
I wondered how many times I’ve tried already.
Suddenly, it happened.
At the point where my arrow made contact, the water’s surface suddenly became transparent.
However, it was quickly engulfed by the black stagnation and returned to its original state.
I’m positive I just saw it.
I saw it, but—
Did I really see it?
I became a little anxious.
Then… the only thing I could do is try again.
I made it so the next Magic Arrow I shot traced the surface of the water.
My Magic Arrow streaked across the surface of the lake like a fish in the ocean.
As if guided by the white arrow, a single path of purified, transparent water was drawn onto the lake surface.
I reflexively let out a voice.
I… did it!
Continuing on from Dispel Magic, I even managed to recreate Purification with my Magic Arrow!
I yelled, letting my emotions sweep me away.
There was still a path for me to walk!
There were still possibilities waiting for me!
As if signifying the future in store for me, the long road which passed through the surface of the lake sparkled in the sun’s light.
The world was bathed by the solitary moonlight of the night.
In the grounds of the dimly lit palace courtyard, the Son of Darkness—Lucard, swung his sword by his lonesome.
Originally, Lucard was a Magic Swordsman whose shining future blinded even the kingdom. The sharpness of his swordsmanship was a sight to behold.
One could feel the intensity of his training at a mere glance, but Lucard abruptly halted his movement and glanced at the ever-lurking darkness.
“Can I help you?”
“Hyohyohyohyo… You have not a moment’s lapse in caution nor opening, as usual…”
A small, elderly man clad in a robe emerged from the darkness while speaking. His hood was brought down to his eyes, making his face hard to see.
“O dear Son Of Darkness… The cursed sword has been forged. Do take it.”
The elderly man sharply snapped his fingers.
Simultaneously, a singular sword materialized before Lucard’s eyes.
“This is…that sword.”
Lucard hurled the sword he had been wielding to the ground. He gripped the new sword without a moment’s hesitation and extracted it from its sheath.
He felt a sinister pressure from the unsheathed jet-black blade.
The Cursed Sword—Dynesleif.
It was a cursed sword favorited by the King of Darkness in ancient times.
Wielding Dyneslief, Lucard cut through the air multiple times. He understood just by swinging it; This cursed sword hid a dreadfully monstrous power within itself. His arm was on the verge of trembling by merely holding it.
“This is quite the terrifying artifact.”
The sword he was training with just recently was no average sword; Only distinguished knights could get their hands on a blade of its craftsmanship.
However, when compared to the Cursed Sword Dynesleif—it was nothing more than incomparable garbage.
“Hyohyohyohyohyo… That goes without saying. It was the weapon of the King, who possessed the power to conquer the world. It holds the status befitting of such.”
The elderly man smiled with satisfaction and continued.
“I am elated to know that the Son is pleased with it. Forging it in the depths of Lake Bjarnu for six months proved worthwhile.”
Lucard had heard of those talks.
The Cursed Sword Dynesleif had been rotting away. In order to restore it to its former glory, both a large quantity of water and an enormous space to dump massive amounts of black miasma generated through rituals were necessary.
Lake Bjarnu was chosen consequently.
“At first, we fooled them well and carried our plans forward, but continuing to deceive that brat Carlyle proved to be quite difficult. It was terribly nerve-racking when the investigation party from the Royal Magic Academy came to the lake.”
The elderly man grinned from ear to ear and continued.
“Hooowever… we of Darkness were one step ahead in the end.”
“This is a splendid sword. I give you my thanks.”
Lucard put Dynesleif back in its sheath.
“There is no need for thanks. This was for our longstanding desire. We shan’t be frugal with our efforts. Once our sole wish is granted, all of our hard work shall be rewarded. I leave it to you, dear Son of Darkness.”
Then, the elderly man added one last thing.
“May the Age of Darkness befall anew.”
He betrayed his country and obtained the cursed sword. The chance to turn back was bygone. He had no intention to turn back, anyway.
For that reason, the only words he could bring himself to say were—
“May the Age of Darkness befall anew.”
Today’s chapter. Sorry for such a late upload, this one was tricky to translate. I’ll post the next one later today.