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Chapter 154

Clang!

Sparks fly. In a moment of clash, they gauge each other’s strength, reading the direction of power and stepping back.

Clang clang!!

Their gazes intersect. Amidst the clash of swords, Ètienne’s fiery eyes and Ivan’s cold, penetrating gaze meet.

“If only… if it weren’t for you…!”

Étienne yelled with a boiling voice. If only Krasilov had sensed the conspiracy through his son beforehand and sent reinforcements at that moment.

In the end, all his failures were caused by this battered man in front of him. Like a walking corpse, yet still blocking every attack, staggering.

“You’ve ruined everything!”

Ambition, dreams, even his son.

All hopes are slipping away like sand through his fingers. Everything that was so close, everything he had grasped, slipping away.

History will remember him as a rebel, a traitor, and a failed lord. His bloodline will be cut off, his territory turned to rebel-infested ruins.

He should have fled. If he had regrouped his forces and retreated, there might still have been hope.

But it’s too late now.

Aaaah!

Roars hit the frontlines. Under Krasilov’s cursed cannons, conscripted soldiers were fleeing in chaos.

In between, Krasilov’s superhumans darted. Ignoring soldiers, evading knights, only targeting commanders for assassination.

As a feudal system organized by territories, there’s no way to regroup once the command collapses. Nobles of each territory scatter in all directions.

By now, there’s no way to recover the forces.

“You were not the first.”

Ivan spoke with a dying voice. Despite his trembling arms, loosened grip, and staggering legs, his sword remained immaculate.

His voice pierced through the chaos around, digging precisely into Ètienne’s ears.

“This won’t be the last.”

Clang!!

Breaking alliances, striking deals with demons, plotting treason—all of it.

From a microscopic perspective, it’s merely the upheaval of ambitious individuals, each driven by their own reasons and beliefs.

But from a macroscopic perspective, there’s undoubtedly a larger trend at play.

Persistently aiming at the seams of alliances, crumbling monarchies, and collapsing human powers.

Perhaps, this could be considered the flow of history. It might be the ending this world desires.

This world is clearly not friendly to humans.

“But, nonetheless.”

As a former peasant, Ivan knows. Even when wildfires spread, crops wither, and storms ravage the fields.

Yet, despite all this, people rise again with old tools to till the soil.

Amidst the ruins of war, amidst the blood and corpses of the fallen, people rebuild their homes, build villages, and erect cities again.

Humans are not made to fail.

Even if some force in this world hates humanity. Even when all the gods, holding hands, turned against humans. Even during the time when all tribes gathered their forces to burn humanity.

In the end, humans endure.

But still, humans are still alive in this place, preparing for the next millennium.

Clang! Buk!!

The sword flew away. Finally, his left hand lost its function. Ivan stepped back and swept the ground.

Among the corpses, he pulled out an axe. Fortunately, his right arm still moved.

Clang!!

He faced the blow aimed at his head. The sparks flickered slowly. In the realm of superhumans, the two faced each other, thrusting their weapons.

Despite staggering as if about to collapse at any moment, Ivan once again grasped his weapon and stood up.

Haaaaa!!

Martial arts, reaching for the sky after piling up the years.

Clang!! Spark!!

Even if it’s unreachable, perhaps. Even if it’s just a vague concept that may never be reached in a lifetime. Just what one desires.

Not acknowledging limits. Or, even if acknowledged, not accepting them.

So, throughout one’s lifetime.

Dedicating one’s entire life to throwing oneself into challenges.

Clang!!

The spear breaks. The axe is shattered. With the depletion of magic, time is gradually accelerating. The realm of superhumans is collapsing.

But Ivan still sweeps the ground, rolling and grabbing his weapon. If he can’t chase time, then as if saying he’ll move once more, at least once more.

Burning like fire, dedicating his entire life to reaching just one goal. Like burning life itself.

“Why, why won’t you die… why?!”

It’s already a wound that should have been fatal. Human willpower can never surpass the limits of the body. That’s common sense. No matter how determined a knight might be, if his arm is severed and his leg is broken, he should fall.

Breaking that common sense head-on, amidst the flames, Ivan emerged once again.

With the next weapon, and then the next again.

In the pressure that felt like facing an army, amidst the constant change of countless people, countless martial arts, countless swords, Ètienne’s hand finally ran out of strength.

Schwack!!!

Seizing the opportunity, an axe blade plunged into his neck like a snake.

“Ke… khh!”

Ètienne’s body convulsed briefly. From the opposite side, a spear pierced through, tearing through ribs and puncturing the lung.

Haa, keuk. With a short breath. Ètienne’s knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground.

Ivan breathed deeply, still holding the axe.

– I won’t refer to your determination as ‘hometown.’ To me, your will is never just a familiar place.

– I’ll call it memories. It’s not about losing something, but about constructing together with you. Let go of your past. When you discover that sanctuary where you can finally find peace, where you can unburden yourself completely, then I’ll say you’ve found your true home. So….”

Edele’s voice echoed in his ear. When was it? It seemed like a long time ago.

It was the words he heard in the summer downpour in Frechenkaya.

Now, Ivan finally understood her meaning.

“So it was.”

His other senses, blocked for battle—his hearing, touch, smell—were slowly returning. The faint noise and heat still ringing in the disarray were disrupting his nerves.

In the silence within the chaos, Ivan nodded quietly.

“So it was.”

Memories. If his entire life, everything that he was more aware of than himself, was memories. If his past life was his memories, and everything that had been built alongside him. Then.

Now, he would willingly admit.

It wasn’t just “only” 30 years that had passed since the prologue.

It had passed “from” the prologue.

From the life of a young peasant boy, which was his starting point, to now. The long years were not just a prologue, but the uninterrupted story of one person.

My story isn’t a journey to find an epilogue, but the process itself was meaningful.

It wasn’t driven by the will of the dead, but by the memories built with those who once lived together.

I realized it too late. I missed too many things. Ivan chuckled dryly.

Tap-tap-tap-!

A sound approached. Difficult to gauge the direction and distance, but the cavalry’s forces.

He strengthened his bent knees. Straightened the hand holding the weapon. Since he was not dead yet, there was no reason not to move.

In the swaying vision, someone was rushing towards him.

“Vanka… Vanka…!! Vanka—!!”

He slowly measured the distance while holding the weapon. But there was no strength in his arms. He laughed, thinking this was it.

Whirr.

Something thick like a blanket wrapped around his shoulders. It felt like a large blanket covering him. In the hazy sight, Ivan knelt, staggering under even that small weight.

Something warm touched his cheek.

“Vanka. Vanka, please. Please—. Is there no one! A priest!! Bring a priest!! Quickly!!”

Thud, thud, thud. The surroundings filled with the sound of heavy things being struck. When he looked around, it was crowded with people. They looked like knights.

Knights holding giant shields were surrounding him like a fortress.

They turned their backs. The Monarch of Krasilov could only show tears in front of his subjects.

Before Ivan’s eyes, he saw the tearful face of Elizaveta.

“Vanka, oh… ohh—. Don’t die. Please, I beg you… Hold on a little longer. Please.”

“Your Highness.”

Elizaveta hurriedly approached at Ivan’s hoarse voice.

“Do you recognize me? Do you… do you recognize yourself…?”

“Please don’t ask. Just command.”

“Vanka….”

Elizaveta looked at him for a while without saying anything, then reached out and pulled him.

Until the priest approached, so that no one would dare harm him. Deeply.

In the sensation of gradually warming up the cold body, Ivan finally could fall into a deep sleep.

*

Tick, tock.

At the sound of raindrops hitting the window, Ivan slowly opened his eyes.

It’s an unfamiliar ceiling.

He glanced around. White sheets and clean furniture were visible. Outside the window, the late autumn sky of Tylesse stretched out. It was raining.

Is this a ward?

Ivan turned his gaze again. He saw the back of a man standing by the window.

“Are you awake?”

“Oscar.”

Oscar approached with a faint smile and sat down on the chair. After a moment of silence, he spoke first.

“It’s been three days. Her Highness Elizaveta will be disappointed. She stayed by your side for three days.”

“…”

“The war is over. Ironically, I was the most unscathed among the group.” (Oscar)

“Is everyone else alright?”

“Yes, fortunately.”

But there was no joy in Oscar’s smile. Ivan could feel deep sorrow beneath that expression. Before waiting for the next words, he sighed heavily.

“It seems that the good ones always die first.”

“Yes, Yermov.”

“The funeral?”

“It will… take place in two days.”

“Are you staying?”

“No. I have a younger brother. He’s a good lad. There are other things I need to do… The hero party still needs a knight.”

“Is that so.”

Ivan turned his gaze again. After looking at the ceiling for a moment, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Listening to Oscar’s soft sobbing, Ivan bowed his head silently.

*

[Quest Complete!]

[“??? Grade Quest” casts a dark cloud over Tylesse.]

[You and your party have finally crushed the conspiracy of the Tylesse nobility and achieved peace. After the war, the era of peace has returned. For the time being.]

[Objective: Prevent the civil war of the 3 major Counts of Tylesse (Complete)]
[Count Jean Beltoir de Vermontpor: Captured]
[Count Ètienne de Granmarteau: Deceased]
[Count Guillaume de Autreange II: Deceased]

[Optional Objective: Survival of Jill Ber de Etarique (Failed)]
[Optional Objective: Encounter with Maximilian de Etualle (Failed)]
[Additional Objective: Maintain the number of destroyed territories at or below 15 (Success)]
[Additional Objective: Survival of the Tylesse royal family (Success)]

[Reward calculation in progress.]

[Reward: Extension of the existence of the United Kingdom by 5 years]


30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

프롤로그에서 30년이 흘렀다
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
I got transmigrated into a game I’ve never seen before. I thought it was a top-notch RPG and spent 30 years on it. I retired as a war hero and planned to spend my remaining time leisurely. But it turns out, it was an academy story?

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