The bandit throws his axe.
He threw the axe with all his might. It flew through the air, cutting the branches of the trees. If that hits me, I'd probably be dead.
I avoided it by the slimmest of margins and focused on the axe in my left hand, as it had a different shape than the one he just used.
"It has a strange curvature."
That was what I was thinking as I saw the blade of the axe. it had a strange curvature, suddenly I felt something coming back from behind, I dodged it and before I realized it, the axe he had thrown was firmly gripped in his right hand again.
"I see... So it's like a boomerang."
It's simple once you know how it works. With that in mind, I hit one of the bandits attacking me from the left with a fireball.
The man caught fire and lit up like a candle.
"Eh!? You can cast magic without chanting!?"
The bandit leader is surprised.
Magic is universal in this world, but there are only a limited number of people who can cast magic without chanting. Even my father was the only one in the Estark family who could do it, but with limits. My sister, who is considered the genius of the family, has not been able to cast chantless magic till this day.
The bandits were surprised, but I don't think there's any point in explaining why I can cast chantless magic to them. Even if I did, their lives are short, they'll be dead in a matter of minutes.
The leader starts throwing his axes left and right without stopping. The blows are strong and I can't face them so easily. However, this is not a problem for me.
No matter how many axes he has, at some point they will run out, and that will be my time to attack him.
The leader had run out of axes, and when one of his subordinates told him so, he drove his last axe into that same subordinate's head.
It seems this guy has no mercy for anyone. I gripped my sword and walked straight at him.
The leader smiles when he sees that I am heading towards him. I'm sure he thinks he has the advantage in close combat, which he must be very excited about, though he doesn't intend to say so in words, but rather to show it.
He stood in front of me and with all his strength he tried to split my skull by hacking his axe into my head, his speed so fast that a normal warrior could not have dodged it. However, when he saw that his attack had no effect on me, he was rendered slack jawed.
He also wondered why I hadn't said anything.
He probably thought something was wrong.
The moment I spoke while balancing on top of a nearby tree's branch, the image vanished and I fell from 10 meters down, plunging my sword into his head.
He probably died before he felt pain, I'd like to think so, but his expression leaked the pain he may have felt.
"...Is anyone else willing to die?"
The moment I said those words, all the minions began to flee like spiders.
However, there is only one person who did not manage to escape.
He was a little boy, not yet old enough to be a killer. He looked like a boy who had just become a bandit. His legs were shaking.
"Don't kill me...."
He was crying.
Of course, I did not kill the child.
So I decided to give him a tip by pointing my sword at him.
"You may have become a thief because you were hungry, but this is how the world of thieves works; Today, you may kill someone and get some food, but tomorrow, you may be the one they kill."
The boy nodded his head.
When I put away my sword, I told him one last thing.
"Surely you must have a family waiting for you. Go home."
The boy turned and ran away.
He looked pitiful. I told him to go back to his family, but surely he must have had a hard time there too. In a situation like that, it becomes inevitable to resort to a life of crime in order to survive.
"I take no pleasure in killing bandits... I wish I could create a world where they don't exist."
That's what I was thinking.
A world where peasants can eat.
A world in which there is no need to plunder.
A world where people are considerate of others.
If we create such a world, there will be no more bandits.
At least it's better than killing them, though I guess no one would understand such a thing. It was until I saw Leah, who was shedding tears, that I realized it was wrong to think that there were no more sensitive people in the world.
At first, I thought she was crying in fear to see a demon like me kill people. But when the battle was over, she approached me, and put her hand on my chest.
"...Why do you say that?"
"You are a person who loves peace, and longs for tranquility, but your gift does not allow you to enjoy it."
"Licht-Sama killed the bandits mercilessly to minimize the slaughter, you did it to show that you are stronger than them, show your power, make them fear you so they would stop, you did it for good reason."
"...No, I'm just a demon hiding behind the mask of a bastard."
"No, you're not."
Leah immediately shook her head.
"A demon would not brandish a sword while he weeps, nor would he brandish a sword while he is merciful."
"I'm not crying."
I swore it on the day of my mother's funeral. I would never cry again. I would never show my weakness to others. That's why I was able to make sure I wasn't crying.
But Leah saw right through me.
She smiled gently and said as tears spilled from her eyes;
"Yes, you're crying."
He placed her hand above my heart.
"You're crying here. Your heart is crying. I know."
Those words brought back memories of my mother.
My mother was abused by the wife and maids of the Estark family. As I was a bastard son, I was also often tormented, but my mother always warned me to be strong. But when it was just the two of us and I couldn't take it anymore, she would hug me and tell me to cry in her arms.
["Forgive me for giving you such a difficult fate. You have endured it and are growing stronger than any of us, but know that it's okay to cry sometimes. It doesn't make you weak or worse than everyone else, it will make you stronger."]
Leah's words and smile matched those of my mother.
Perhaps I have rediscovered what I once lost.
With that thought in mind, I stared into the eyes of the beautiful girl in front of me.
I have something important to tell you 👇🏻