The REVELATION, and I hope that is not a death flag.
ED: xtostos, eristol
“Now, this is troubling. What should I start with, I wonder? I hold too many secrets.”
Harlan Slayson looked around and turned his gaze directly upwards.
Bright, white light descended from the ceiling of the reference room.
“Everything. Such as, why were you reduced to being the head of such disreputable vampire-slayers?”
After hearing Eduard-oniisama’s words, Harlan sighed deeply.
“Since when and how I became who I am now…that’s right. Everything started with that fateful day at sea.”
Harlan Slayson was born as the second son of the previous Margrave of Urs, Slay.
Harlan’s path to take over his family was quickly cut off because of his excellent older brother.
Because of that, Harlan relied on his maternal connection to join the Royal Navy of Ignitia.
Then, just as Harlan had been climbing the ranks of the Royal Navy, a turning point occurred in his life.
It was a mission to seize a smuggler.
The cargo was Aurelia’s star crystal and Lucanrant’s snowsilver, which had been prohibited for export to the southern continent.
Therefore, it was reported that people from Aurelia and Lucanrant would embark on the vessel under Harlan’s command as senior officers.
On board were the infamous evil woman Bort, and Sigríður, a noblewoman of his homeland.
“That was my first encounter with those two.”
It was one of the most common missions that had turned Harlan’s fate upside-down.
Horrifyingly, all crew members apart from the three of them on the vessel were vampires.
“They showed their true nature when we were in the middle of the sea. I was bitten and torn all over my body by several 〈Hounds〉, and was left without an arm and a leg.”
Right knee, left hand, flank.
Harlan pointed to the said body parts in turn.
The one who rescued him from his plight was Sigríður.
Harlan, who had narrowly escaped death and was able to return home alive, pledged loyalty to Sigríður.
Harlan was later informed by Sigríður and Bort that this kind of incident was frequently caused by the vampires.
Bort and Sigríður seemed to have been secretly settling the incidents involving vampires at that time.
“That’s why I wanted to help that person somehow.”
For that reason, Harlan did everything he could.
He regenerated his body tissue and restored his body via alchemy.
In order to secure free funds and position, he snatched away the family headship from his esteemed older brother by plotting against him.
He gathered and led the vampire incident survivors and organized them as a group of vampire-extermination specialists.
He laid power base not only in the North, but also in the northwest, the Royal Army, and the Church.
He learned everything he could learn, and acquired whatever he could acquire: pharmacy, alchemy, magic, and telepathy.
He killed many vampires.
He also killed many innocent people.
While doing so, he was nearly assassinated by a vampire for the second time and thus began to hide his face.
“While repeating that cycle for who knows how many times—killing in order to kill, nearly getting killed, barely surviving—that person, Frederica Bort, sank into the sea while taking down several hundreds of underlings, along with the ancient vampire.”
So my mother’s death, which should have been due to a maritime accident, was actually—
The truth that spilled out of Harlan’s mouth pierced my heart.
The visage of the young girl on the other side of the mirror crossed my mind.
That girl died in such a way…?
“You know what kind of person your mother was, right, Sir Eduard?”
My brother looked at me for a moment, then turned his gaze back to Harlan and nodded.
“Yes. I know that from some point on my mother started chasing and killing vampires.”
What kind of person had Frederica Bort been?
According to Harlan, his prototype had been our mother.
“And then, that case from eight years ago happened. After also losing Sigríður-sama, I, who had been left alone, took over the work that they had left behind.”
The werewolf massacre case.
The tragedy that killed the entire family of the Ducal House of Lucanrant.
The day Chloe lost her family and her past, Harlan also lost his savior.
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A smile appeared on Harlan’s face.
“That is my story. It is your choice whether to believe it or not.”
Saying so, Harlan looked at us again.
“Is that why you were so afraid of us?”
Perhaps she was finally convinced, Chloe asked so.
“Oh, yes. It feels like the dead have been resurrected, and every time our eyes met, I wanted to ask for forgiveness. For not being able to protect them, and for not being able to help them.”
Citrouille who confessed like that felt similar to Jan Carlson on that day.
Survivors who had been saved.
They are heavily bound in ways that the people who saved their lives could not imagine.
“Let’s talk about the purpose of this time’s farce. I wanted to know about that no matter what.”
Harlan continued his words while fixing his gaze on my brother.
“I came here to find a way to dispel the curse of the Golden Wolf, in other words, a way to save Claude Lucanrant without killing him.”
My brother repeated the name.
I felt a slight sway of emotion in that voice.
“After the incident eight years ago, he was given to me. However, he had suffered too much damage from the curse…the form he had ended up in simply could not be made public. There should be clues in this archive, so I really wanted to come here.”
I had to check it with my own eyes, Harlan continued.
Eight years ago, he arrived at the scene of the tragedy late, and came across Claude and Sigríður about to strike each other.
At a great cost, Harlan was finally able to capture Claude alive.
The curse of the Golden Wolf, for some reason, had transferred to Sigríður, despite her holding a snowsilver sword.
And Sigríður requested him to behead her before the transfer of the curse was completed.
“The one who killed that person, your mother, was me.”
Chloe covered her mouth with her hand.
After a while, my brother opened his mouth.
“I see. So you—”
When my brother turned a gaze filled with pity at him, Harlan averted his line of sight.
His eyes were blank.
“I had wanted to become a man who could protect that person, but this is how things are.”
He then rescued Chloe, who was hidden behind a large clock in the depths of the burning castle, and erased her memory as much as possible.
And so Chloe would no longer be involved with Claude and the curse of the Golden Wolf.
It was also Harlan who left Chloe to a merchant couple, and he had been providing funding for her ever since.
“I was planning to welcome Chloe-sama after saving Claude-sama.”
As he spoke up to that point, Harlan covered his face with both hands, exhaling deeply and quietly.
“However, the analysis of the curse has been extremely difficult.”
The snowsilver chains were able to seal the Golden Wolf itself to some extent, but they did not break the curse.
He said that he only knew, after much difficulty, that it is a type of time magic that infects one by tracing back their past.
In order to guide a person to the target stage of ‘being cursed’, it goes back in time and applies the curse at a point where infection is possible.
It is similar to the 〈Cursed Sword of Fire〉 that appeared over Knot Reed.
No wonder the snowsilver ore and Dispel are ineffective.
“But, there was a clue in the manuscript stored in Sigríður-sama’s secret archive.”
“You mean, the books possessed by the 〈Association of Mysterious Story Collectors〉?”
“Yes. So I thought the original copy should be here.”
Harlan looked around the pure white archive.
“But that artificial spirit is in charge of the index. This is a stupid story, but the reason for the kidnapping was because I made a blunder when I was searching for the original copy and the artificial spirit stopped working.”
To think that Dolores’ character was the indirect cause of the kidnapping.
Somehow it gives me an indescribable and complicated feeling.
“If people discover my true identity, I wouldn’t be able to stay in the academy. I didn’t have time. So, I made a plan to win over mages who were assembled separately from the Útför knights and duplicate the entire space.”
“That’s why you made use of All Souls Day, huh.”
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Duplication is a bold method.
However, the books in the archive are blank until they are lent by the artificial spirit, so they cannot be looted.
Although, because it is a complicated mechanism, it seems that analysis and duplication of the space require time.
There is a limit to how long a large number of people can stay for a long time, even if they utilize All Souls Day, the time when outsiders can sneak in.
“I needed to keep talented mages and alchemists out of the school, especially you guys. For that reason, I found it best to kidnap Glaw-jou.”
“So you chose Beatrice.”
“Yes, that’s right, Chloe-sama. Naturally, she was going to be returned safely.”
Harlan was always observing us.
He could easily see how important Beatrice was to Chloe.
“My body-double also entered the academy, of course, to earn time and prevent the principal and the rest of the teachers, the Crown Prince, and Klaus Hafan from leaving.”
If that is the case, I wonder if the person that Harlan wanted to stop in the third scenario where I was taken away was my brother.
Although it’s still a mystery why I was drowned then.
But there is no way to see now what could have happened in the third scenario.
“I heard you also cleaned up the rebels.”
“Yes. I wanted to put the Military Order of Útför under Ignitia’s control.”
“You wanted to expose what was going on behind the scenes?”
“That’s one part of it. But the bigger part of it is that I simply wanted to stop them. If one faces vampires, one’s spirit would inevitably be shaved. I wanted to get them out of my Wild Hunt, before the real limits come to their heart.”
So he thought that it was better to break the wheels than kill the horses to stop the runaway carriage, huh.
Hearing Harlan’s words, I remembered the conversation we had during All Souls Day.
“Now, this is the most important part.”
Harlan took a deep breath twice before opening his mouth.
“121 days ago the cursed wolf awakened and we couldn’t prevent his escape.”
Chloe remarked as if groaning.
“Chloe-sama, this is what I couldn’t tell you in detail when we were escaping from the cave castle. As a result of this incident, my control of the Military Order of Útför was broken.”
Claude Lucanrant has escaped.
Moreover, in a state where he’s bearing a serious curse?
This is more serious than an old vampire incident.
“Even only counting the Military Order of Útför alone, it seems that at least 50 people have been victim to him, right?”
“More than a hundred. I intended to keep that information confidential. As expected from you, Sir Eduard.”
“Since about four months ago, the state of affairs in the North has been easier to probe. But for that to be still going on means that Claude is…”
“Yes, even now he may still be wolfing down all over the place.”
Harlan nodded when my brother asked in return.
The figure of a werewolf who devours and eats people while wandering in a dark forest comes to mind.
“We must catch him as soon as possible.”
A curse that possesses the opponent who kills the infected, even upon death.
How does one defeat such a thing?
Before that, we still don’t know how to catch him.
Considering the situation at the time of the last capture, if we weaken the wolf enough to be captured, the curse will also infect the other party.
—No, there is just one certain way.
I realized that for the first time.
To capture him, someone needs to do what Sigríður and Harlan did at that time.
But, who is going to take such a cruel role?
“Sir Harlan, could you leave that role to me?”
“…No, I can’t. Your role is to unravel the truth. There is something that only you can do.”
“Aren’t you here because you can’t shoulder that burden anymore?”
My brother’s gaze collided with Harlan’s.
“I also have a deep connection with him. I can’t run away now.”
“That is why I don’t want you to be involved with the curse of the Golden Wolf anymore in the future.”
“What if I say that I am one of the reason why Claude became like that?”
Harlan’s expression stiffened.
“Please let me do my best to give salvation to my old friend and myself, Sir Harlan.”
Harlan lost his words and thought it over.
My brother turned to me.
The usual gentle and sweet expression was mixed with a little sense of urgency.
“For that reason, Erica, could you help me too?”
The alchemist Eduard Aurelia.
He stared at me with eyes that seem to see through everything and said so.
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