The Swordsaint's Past
Kevin only noticed Wayerliss's attack a moment later. He had wanted to pull back his lance's power, but it was impossible given how he had been fighting at his fullest.
His thrust struck Marolyt in the chest. He couldn't tell whether he would be gravely injured from it, but he reckoned he himself wouldn't be able to stay conscious and unhurt after taking his own thrust. If it struck the heart, he could possibly even die!
That was why he was furious with Wayerliss's attack. He grabbed onto Wayerliss's chest and roared, "Why--"
"Could you have taken Marolyt's slash?" he responded without even waiting for him to finish.
Kevin fell silent. He knew that he most likely couldn't have. Wayerliss's intervention was necessary.
"Don't hold onto your human values of pride or virtue too heavily. They aren't worth a dime before Pyro." Wayerliss grabbed onto Kevin's hand and he slowly loosened his grip. The elf seemed to revel in Kevin's doubt. "Sure, you can fight Marolyt alone to keep your honor and pride, but you better be ready to be taken out and fail the sun god. You should know you're not his match."
Kevin still didn't speak. But anyone who could see his face would be able to tell how dejected he looked.
"Alright, he's not dead yet," he said after enjoying Kevin's expression a little bit more. "Now, it's time to bind him. Don't forget that these are Pyro's orders."
Kevin didn't respond and silently held his lance as he looked down on the man he fell.
Marolyt struggled to stand back up. He didn't seem remotely human, being covered in fresh blood that flowed out of his body. Any medic would marvel at the fact that he was still alive after losing so much blood. That fellow was still able to remain conscious and stand up despite all that!
"Ptooey!" He spat out a mouthful of phlegm, blood and chunks of his innards. The hand that held Azureflash shook, nay, his whole body did from the serious injuries and a sense of fear he had never shown before.
Is it going to turn out like this again… he thought. He recalled his past and thought about the woman, the only person who meant anything to him.
It was a cliched story, but he personally thought it rather romantic.
Back then, he had just become the swordsaint of the continent. Being handsome and powerful, not to mention chivalrous like the knights so often depicted in novels, Marolyt was the dream lover of all women. He had an air that drove them crazy. He was strong, wild, elegant, handsome, and… lustful.
He didn't know with how many women he had lain. All he remembered was that he was a wild stallion, perpetually overflowing with desire, and the ability to fulfil it. As long as he wished, he could get mountains of women to crawl into his sheets.
However, he had never truly fallen in love with any one of them. He saw women as nothing but outlets for his cravings, not so different from his right hand. He had never let any woman bear his child either.
But all that had changed when he met her. She was had been a songstress, perhaps the best one on the whole Chino. But she had never once shown her face to anybody. She had her mask on even when she met the emperor of the only nation on the continent.
According to the noble rumor mill, she had sworn to only show her face to her beloved. Nobody else knew what she looked like.
Despite that, she won Marolyt's heart. He even felt he loved her. No, it wasn't just her voice. She had the same rare hair color he did, ice blue. It was the first time he had met someone with hair like him and it only reinforced the feeling she was his destined partner.
The famous swordsaint began courting her.
"If you see my face, you won't love me anymore," she told him.
But he didn't relent. He did his best to convince and persuade her and eventually succeeded.
The woman, in love, removed the mask. When he finally saw the face he had dreamt of so often, he was filled with both mad excitement and unbearable anger.
He was glad he had guessed right. The woman he loved had the most beautiful face to go with her charming voice and figure. Even her personality was perfect; she was elegant and proud, pure and gentle at the same time. She was the perfect woman, the perfect fit for him.
That face, the one he saw hiding behind what he saw in front of him now, entranced him, but what it hid behind infuriated him beyond anything he'd ever felt. Her beauty was destroyed by a thousand cuts. Red scars covered her face like a spider's web. When he saw it, he felt like he was looking at the perfect porcelain doll, after it had been smashed on the ground a dozen times. Who could do something so cruel to her?
After his incessant questioning, she felt he had a right to know, so she told him.
She was born in a rather normal family as the daughter of an owner of a trading guild. While her family wasn't rich and powerful, they made do well enough and enjoyed a decent life.
But one day, Jilroan set his sights on her. So the empire started threatening her family's guild.
Her family was eventually ruined and she was brought to the emperor's palace as a slave.
He wanted her as a chambermaid and bed slave. For all the cruelty he had used to get her, he did not have the penchant for forcing women to lay with him. He preferred to slowly destroy their minds and make them beg him to do the act, to plead with him to let them lay in his bed.
She was far more stubborn than any woman he'd ever encountered before, however. She never gave in.
He eventually used of all his patience and demanded she sleep in his bed one night. But she refused him again, and he ruined her face for it. If he was not going to be allowed to possess her beauty, then no one would.
"You women are only good for your face. I want to see how you survive after I ruin it. Do you think there'd be a fool in this world who won't care about how you look?" he said to her back then.
She kept her pride and refused to compromise. She demanded to be sold to a trading guild and signed a deal to become a songstress, choosing to sell her talent rather than her body.
Eventually, her musical gifts once more shocked the world of nobles. Gradually, she relied on her talents to secure a firm place for herself in this world and came to meet Marolyt.
It wasn't hard to imagine how someone like him would react after hearing that story. That time also happened to be when the founding emperor of Hocke, Duke Mellin, launched the war for independence.
He joined Hocke's side in the war without hesitation and became their patron swordsaint.
Then came Hocke's independence.
He couldn't personally kill Jilroan, but he could take half his empire. He had wanted to spend the rest of his life in peace with his beloved. Several years passed on bliss, but he slowly grew to despise her face, not because it was ugly, but because it reminded him of how horribly she'd been treated by the emperor every time he looked at it, and of how he couldn't kill the bastard for it.
His mind turned to the beauties of various nobles he'd bedded over the years, to the hundreds of women who were blessed with a beauty his beloved would never have. The tiniest hint of disappointment at her face slowly started showing on his face.
His wife appeared oblivious to it, however; either that, or she considered it an unavoidable part of any relationship she had and simply accepted it. Marolyt was less accepting, however, and started frequenting the local brothels. He was very careful to hide his visits initially, but soon became quite blatant and open with them. Even becoming careless with his excuses. A favorite excuse of his was that he was having discussions on magic with Myr.
His wife never so much as hinted that she might know, so he continued frolicking without a care.
His entire world came crumbling down when his daughter was born, however.
He was plowing the fields while his wife was giving birth. He had to be informed of his child's birth by a servant the next morning when they came to get him from the brothel. Overjoyed by the news, he quickly returned home.
He burst through the door jovially… to find his wife dead on the floor in a pool of blood. She'd committed suicide as soon as she was certain her child was alive and well by slitting her throat. If the pool of blood around her body wasn't enough, half the room was covered in blood as it had sprayed from her neck.
He picked up the letter she'd left him, his soul no longer in his body.
She had known about his frolicking, about his hatred of her looks, about everything from nearly the very beginning. The same traits that let her continue to refuse the emperor kept her from telling him or showing any sign of her knowledge. She may have loved him dearly, but she was not going to fight with him over his affectations. She had never fought for any man, and she was not going to fight for him, certainly not with him for him.
She instead tried to win his loyalty back the same way she'd won them in the first place; with her gentility, virtue, and tolerance. He couldn't have cared less about any of that, however. His time with his wife only grew shorter as the years wore on. He even started treating her like a servant rather than his loving wife. He didn't even congratulate her, or act in any way excited when she announced to him that she was pregnant. That had been the final straw.
She held on for her unborn child's sake, however, but ended her life as soon as she knew the child was safe and well. She drove the scissors with which she'd for so many years mended Marolyt's clothes, and tore through her throat with it.
'I didn't think Jilroan would guess it right. I'm sure he'd laugh at me once he hears of my death from the millennium capital…'
Marolyt's heart broke once he read that final line in her letter. He was worse than the man he so despised. Sure, the emperor had destroyed her face, but he, Marolyt, had ripped apart her heart.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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Ryogawa and Prince