I am no hero of the shadows! Volume 1 Chapter 9 part 4

─Let’s go back in time a bit.

“Wait Phil! “
In the Salemabart mansion, Kahlua grabs her master’s arm just as he’s about to leave the room.
“Let go, Kahlua! I was too slow to realize….I don’t know what’s happening now. Saint Milis might end up ingredients to the [Arbitration Faction]’s night snack.”
None of the master’s usual frivolity.
Dead serious, frustration oozing from his expression, the arm she grasped feels tense.
Even so, the maid does not release her master’s arm.
After all, the place the master is about to rush off to now isn’t some detested brothel or anything, but a deadly gameshow that could confront him with death anytime.
Maria, Phil’s mother feels oppressed by the air.
Indeed, this is the first time. Seeing her son Phil Salemabart trying to go save someone.
Unlike his usual carefree and unconstrained self, this different sight. I knew he was kind but still, this figure unhesitatingly rushing to “war” seems somehow dangerous too.
“Didn’t you promise Father? To not go to the [Civil War]. Breaking that promise and sticking your neck in…”
“So am I just supposed to leave Saint Milis alone, possibly letting her get killed? I can’t play the elegant luxury card and casually sip wine when I have the power to possibly save her with these hands.”
Calling himself fallen even though saying elegant is a stretch, just how many fallen people exist in this world?
Everyone fears death to some degree, pointing sacrifice only towards themselves, excluding other people.
That’s not self-centered at all─merely common sense.
This isn’t some charity event like handing out snacks. Racing to save others, even gambling with one’s own life, is an extreme sham.
Usually, normal people wouldn’t do such sham heroics.
Just staying wherever, not elegant per se, but naturally harboring unease while drinking some wine or something.
However, Phil Salemabart does not do that.
“I know you’re kind, but… war? Even if you, as a magician, have the power to influence battlefields, who knows what might happen.”
“I always made it home safe before!”
“Whether you made it home or not doesn’t change that you might die! That’s your so-called [possibility] talk itself. What if you die? Have you thought about how those around you would feel if you died?”
Kahlua briefly glances at Maria.
Not just this time.
From now on too. Just to rescue someone Phil balls his fist and walks the road of battle against enemies.
Magic is powerful but not absolute─even Kahlua the magician understands well.
If it’s war then enemy magicians might appear too, a sword might suddenly stab his back or arrowheads come flying any time.
Kahlua loves Phil’s kindness too.
It’s no exaggeration to say she was rescued and came to harbor affection because it’s Phil.
But no matter when, she wants him to stop walking the path of death.
More precious than the person she has just met is her master right in front of her.
It wasn’t out of obligation, nor was it because of any visible rights.
In the end, it was just part of a hypocritical activity.
Still, Phil…
“Kahlua, this isn’t about hypocrisy or charity, obligation or rights… it’s about my own self-respect, my own sense of pride.”
He shakes off Kahlua’s grasping arm.
“As long as people are alive, they are definitely taking someone else’s freedom. In an extreme case, even breathing is the same. If you breathe in air, the reduced amount means that someone else cannot breathe as much. If you freely eat the food in your hands, someone else cannot eat as much. The more freely you live, the more people trample on the freedom of others. I have lived like that.”
Phil looks earnestly into his crimson pupils.
A kind of clinging remains on the graceful face.
But Phil continues.
“I help by wishing them happiness, but that is one-sided on my part. The person I’m attacking also has freedom, and if I hadn’t laid a hand on him, he might have been able to live freely. Stepping over that and being myself─it’s not about good or evil. Once you’ve trampled on it, you have to let the people you’ve saved live freely and happily to the end, or it won’t be worth it for the people you’ve trampled on to get there. That’s why it’s necessary for the people you’ve saved to live happily ever after.
That is why Phil keeps holding out his hand.
So as not to deviate from his own principles in pursuit of his ideal of unfettered freedom.
“That’s my self-respect, idealising [freedom]. At the risk of my life? Is bending my ideals really worth more than that? If I bent them, it wouldn’t be the freedom I’m talking about. It’s the same as being bound by life itself.
As he finishes, Phil turns his back on Kahlua.
And then. Finally, Phil says.


“He’d probably have done the same thing even if he didn’t have [freedom].”

A magician through and through. An eccentric who stretched out a hand beyond human knowledge just to pursue his ideals.
─── Things he cannot yield are simply impossible to yield completely.
Kahlua understood that as well.
Since she too is a magician, she can understand what he is trying to say and his sense of self-respect.
In that case, she should make concessions…in exchange──
“Then I’m going too,” she says.
“…Hey, that’s…”
“Just as you have your self-respect, I have my own ideals. If you insist on pursuing yours, then I’ll insist on pursuing mine as well.”
Kahlua’s ideal is [accompaniment], to be close.
Its carved name is── [the power to accompany the desired person whenever and wherever].
If Phil seeks his ideal, then so will she. Specifically, even if it is an attraction called the battlefield with mortal danger, if Phil rides it, she wants to ride with him.
Understanding that, Phil hesitated.
He wondered if it was really all right for him to get Kahlua involved with his ideals.
However, he knew first-hand the stubbornness of magicians who live upholding their ideals, just as he himself did.
Therefore, Phil heaves a big sigh.
“Siiigh…just don’t die, alright Kahlua.”
“I won’t die unless you die first. In other words, don’t you dare die alright? so you better to properly stay alive.”
“Yeah, yeah, got it. We’d be tormented even in hell together by your angry father if we committed double suicide here or something.”
Phil stomps on the floor.
Then, a familiar black swamp spreads out into one mass.
“Lady Milis bounded by me when we were at the party. Because for my magic’s bindings to take effect, the conditions are that [they have no hostility towards me] and [a mark is placed on the back of their hand].”
“…Hey Phil? I just heard something I can’t let slide… Don’t tell me, during that dance invitation you…”
“It sounds nasty when you phrase it like that! Am I a cute little puppy!?”
Indeed it was a marking that could be called a marking, but being called out for it made it seem unpleasant in an obscene direction.
“Are you coming with me, Kahlua?”
“I’ll politely decline. I really don’t like the feeling of being bound in your space, Phil. Of course, I’ll be going separately. With my magic, it’s plenty enough for me to easily reach the national border.”
“As expected, a frightening spell indeed…”
Phil shows a wry smile, then starts sinking into the swamp.
Maria, who had been silently watching their exchange until now, approaches Phil as he is about to head to the battlefield.
“You’ve…changed, haven’t you? I knew you were kind to mother, but I didn’t expect you to say things like that.”
“Well, I became a magician. Pursuing ideals leads to growth even as a child──”
“Is it because that boy passed away in the end?”
Maria’s eyes waver with unease.
Kahlua, who had been about to leave, stops in her tracks upon overhearing a conversation she is ignorant about.
However, Phil smiles slightly.
“That’s got nothing to do with it. I won’t walk the true hero’s path. I just want to walk the path of freedom that he couldn’t…and show the hero in heaven.”
Phil sinks into the shadows.
Leaving behind his mother’s anxious gaze.
“…Just now, was that──”
“It’s nothing at all, Kahlua dear. I was talking about a certain boy who was very close friends with that child.”
Maria gives a small laugh and nudges Kahlua’s back a little.
“Travel safely. As his mother I ideally wouldn’t want to let him go but…if it’s you accompanying that boy, then I won’t stop you.”
And then──

“At least come back alive. And please, help make sure he doesn’t end up a hero.”

Being called a hero should be a joyous and proud thing.
At the party venue as well, Maria had been praising and delighting over Phil.
Despite that, why was she now directing these contradictory requests?
She didn’t really understand, but──
“Of course. As I am the magician who stays by that guy’s side.”
With a smile like a blooming maiden in love, Kahlua disappeared out the window.

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