As he approached the temple, he felt as if the wind was getting stronger.
It carried the bustle of the city right out of it, making the place even quieter.
That temple looks strange. Is there really a clue to power in there? (Seto)
Near the entrance, a crumbled statue and some kinds of pillars were abandoned there.
Squinting at the darkness of the interior, Seto proceeded cautiously, one step at a time.
However, it was then that he ran into an unexpected group of people.
[Hey! Don’t move!] (???)
All of a sudden, children with weapons leapt out from the shadows.
The children, who were probably younger than Seto, and holding either basic spears made with carving knives strapped to the end of long sticks or knives with bandages wrapped around the handles, approached Seto while menacingly pointing the tips of their blades at him.
[Who are you guys? You don’t look like locals. ] (Seto)
[So what about it!? J-Just put your hands in the air already!] (Kid A)
The children kept threatening Seto in a semi-agitated state.
They were so nervous their hands and feet were shaking, and their voices lacked firmness.
Though he was surrounded by several of them, Seto was in a position where he could escape if he moved quickly.
He could immediately tell that they were amateurs.
He had nothing to worry about as long as he assessed the situation calmly and dealt with it appropriately.
Which is why he wanted to avoid causing a bloodshed as much as possible.
If he caused an incident here, it would bring trouble to Satis, so he could not attack them recklessly.
Are they guards? If so, then they should have a leader who keeps them together. (Seto)
Seto sighed a bit and casually raised his hands.
The kids were all jittery and on edge, and all they did was point their blades at him without saying a word.
Since they were taking too much time to respond, Seto tried to speak to shake them up.
[What are you gonna do next? Are you just gonna leave me, your prisoner, standing in one place?] (Seto)
The kids were confused at Seto’s words.
[W-Well, uhh… What should we do?] (Kid B)
[What are we supposed to do…?] (Kid C)
[You idiots…! We gotta bring him inside! Come on! Get moving!] (Kid A)
One of the most hot-blooded among them shouted loudly and approached Seto carelessly.
While flashing the knife in his hand, he nervously stood behind Seto.
The latter calmly addressed the boy behind him.
[…Shouldn’t you take my weapon away?] (Seto)
[Huh? …Ah, right.] (Kid A)
The boy behind him noticed and reached his hand out to snatch the knife attached to Seto’s thigh.
But just as he was about to touch the handle, Seto grabbed the boy’s hand in a lightning-fast move, and grappled him.
He did not hurt the boy, he only immobilized him, but it still happened so fast that the boy lost his balance and fell to the ground.
[WHOA!? …Eh? Eh?] (Kid A)
Feeling as if he had been knocked over by an invisible force, the boy was confused and unable to put his thoughts together.
The kids around Seto all shrunk away in the face of his overwhelming speed.
When Seto confirmed that the boy had completely lost all will to fight, he let him go.
[Is this your territory? If so, then I’m sorry. I’m only here to investigate something, not to subjugate you.] (Seto)
Seto pulled the boy back up and brushed the mud off him.
The boy stared at Seto with a blank expression.
[Sorry for disturbing you. I’ll going home now.] (Seto)
Seto was about to leave when the kids called out to him.
[W-Wait! Hey, you’re strong, right? Then why don’t you join us? No, you have to join us!] (Kid A)
[He’s right. A tough guy like you is more than welcome to join us! What do you think? We want you to meet our leader first!] (Kid B)
The kids, who surrounded Seto as if to block his way, pleading him not to leave, had a sparkle in their eyes that contradicted their earlier hostility, as if they were looking at their idol.
But understandably enough, Seto was discomforted by this.
[Hey, hey, hold on! What do you mean by “joining you”? What do you want from me?] (Seto)
[Now, now. First of all, you should meet our leader. He’s a super nice guy. I’m sure you’ll like him.] (Kid A)
Seto was sort of forcibly brought into the temple by the kids.
When they proceeded deep into it, there was an altar, where a lone boy was standing.
[Leader! We brought you a really tough boy!] (Kid A)
[It’s true! This guy is like hella strong! That’s what you wanted too, right, leader!?] (Kid B)
The tall boy who was respected by the others as their leader greeted Seto with a smile.
He had short blond hair, and seemed much older than Seto.
[Sorry about that. I bet these kids forced you to come with them.] (Leader)
[They did. But it all started because I barged in without knowing this was your territory. I can’t really complain.] (Seto)
[Hahaha! You’re a nice guy. …They didn’t hurt you? I’m guessing they pointed their weapons at you.] (Leader)
[I’m fine. …So who are you, by the way?] (Seto)
[Ahh, sorry for the late introduction. My name is Jake, and I’m the leader of these kids. …Also, welcome to the “Revolutionary Army”!] (Leader/Jake)
The young man, who introduced himself as Jake, extended his hand for a handshake.
However, since Seto simply stared at Jake in silence, and refused to shake his hand, Jake had no choice but to retract his hand.
[Hahaha! Maybe I surprised you a bit too much by presenting ourselves as a revolutionary army. I understand. So, what’s your name.] (Jake)
The moment he heard his name, Jake’s face stiffened, and he began trembling all over.
Not out of fear, but out of delight.
Then, his expression brightened at once, and Jake vigorously grabbed Seto by the shoulders.
[Seto? …Could it be that you’re “Destruction and Storm” Seto!? The legendary boy soldier who wields a magic sword!? I must be dreaming!] (Jake)
All the children around them began to make a fuss, and also started looking at Seto with envy.
[H-Hold on a minute! What exactly is the big deal about me being Seto? And I think I heard there was a legend about me before. Just so you know, I was just an errand boy. I have absolutely no captivating or heroic tales to share.] (Seto)
[Don’t be so modest. Ah, but then… You really do have a magic sword, right? Could you let me see it, just this one time? You guys want to see it, right?] (Jake)
Seto was terribly disturbed by this situation where all the kids around him and Jake were making a fuss.
Magic swords were not meant to be exhibited.
Drawing them for no reason was out of the question.
Therefore, Seto stubbornly rejected their request.
[A magic sword is a tool of war. It’s not something I can draw in a place like this.] (Seto)
[Now don’t say that.] (Jake)
[I said no! …I apologize for entering without permission, but that doesn’t mean I’ll do anything you want.] (Seto)
[I see. I understand. Sorry about that, we got a little too excited.] (Jake)
Jake apologized, had one of the kids bring over a chair, and urged Seto to sit down.
Seto sat down slowly and took a deep breath.
He actually had no time to waste here, but he was curious about their group.
[Hey, tell me something. Since you seem to know about me, does this mean that you were a boy soldier too?] (Seto)
[That’s right. Aside from me, there are several other kids who used to be boy soldiers too. They should be back pretty soon.] (Jake)
[They went out? Then those kids who were on the lookout…] (Seto)
[Those ones lost their parents in the war, or were abandoned by them. They were orphans with nowhere to go. But it looks like they knew part of your story too.] (Jake)
[Hmm… Then, what about that Revolutionary Army of yours? Don’t tell me you’re planning to fight the country?] (Seto)
When Seto asked, Jake grinned.
[That’s exactly it. We’re going to fight the adults. The very same who made us suffer like this!] (Jake)
The flame of vengeance against the adults was burning in Jake’s eyes.
As soon as Seto picked up on it, he connected the dots.
Don’t tell me they’re gonna make me join their revolutionary army and fight for them? (Seto)
By the time he realized that, the sun was already setting, and it was almost evening.