I am no hero of the shadows! Volume 1 Chapter 9 part 5

──It was so close.
 
As Phil grasps Kira’s arm, with the corners of his eyes he glances around and thinks──we cut that close.
 
Right before him, Kira is trying to swing down a warhammer on Phil. Behind him crouches Milis, looking up at him.
 
With just this composition lined up, one could easily imagine what kind of situation this was.
 
If he had been even a little late… A chill runs down Phil’s spine from that [if].
 
“Aha! I knew you’d come, evildoer!”
 
Kira shakes Phil off her arm, then immediately flies backwards to take some distance between them.
 
“That woman from back then…no matter how I look at it, you’re up to some seriously shady stuff. First bandits, now you’re even trying to kill a colleague?”
 
Calmly looking at the girl before him once more, Phil thinks
 
──the girl I saved sometime ago, and the one I met afterwards. Gripping a warhammer, ruthlessly killing bandits she didn’t need to kill.
 
Just who is this person? Phil doesn’t know since she hasn’t properly introduced herself.
 
However, one thing is clear──she is an enemy. An agent of justice who impedes freedom.
 
“I mean, your timing is just too good~! That’s why you’re called the [Hero of Shadows], riiight~?”
 
“It’s not like I wanted this timing on purpose either. I’m not some exceptional director you know, there’s no way I could deliberately time my entrance for maximum dramatic effect.”
 
“But still, Phil came! Right when she was one step away from~! It wouldn’t be weird for people to see you as the director!”
 
Her expression is distorted in annoyance, however her voice tones remain properly lively.
 
The tenseness in her gaze as she watches Phil betrays that she sees him as an [enemy] despite their almost comedic exchange.
 
“…Sir Phil.”
 
“Are you alright, Lady Milis? The knight escorts are…well, it’s obvious just from looking.”
 
The collapsed tents, trees blown apart as if by an explosion.
 
Even without saying anything, it can be easily grasped just by looking.
 
“Why are you here, Sir Phil…I didn’t inform you of anything.”
 
“Just reasoned speculation from the circumstantial evidence. If you hadn’t said “going south”, I wouldn’t have been seen as the exceptional director missing my timing.”
 
“B-but! This is a battlefield! Even knowing that I might be attacked here…there’s no reason for you to come here at the risk of your life!”
 
“So?”
 
“Eh!?”
 
“I shouldn’t save you because there’s no reason? If that’s how you wanna start this, I wouldn’t have saved you in the first place──when we first met for the very first time, I was leisurely drinking away without a care, you know?”
 
Phil has no logical reasons when saving others.
 
Freedom stemming from kindness──that’s the basis of his existence, so reason or not, he’ll reach out to help others.
 
As long as he can be himself, he doesn’t need reasons.
 
Just causes, excuses to convince his surroundings, immediate profits──bound by things like those, what can he do?
 
“I’m free──I can save you precisely because I’m free. I want to save you, I want you to be happy… With just these feelings, there’s plenty enough reason for me to clench my fist.”
 
“Just that…?”
 
“…………”
 
At Milis’ question, a faint memory surfaces in Phil’s mind a little.
 

 
[We saved her because we wanted to save her! We don’t need any other reason! Right, Phil!?]
 
[You bet! Cuz we’re──heroes!]
 

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A faint, fleeting, painful, nostalgic memory.
 
A scene of saving a small girl from bullies on a street corner.
 
What surfaced was a young boy, innocent and pure, kind and overflowing with a sense of justice.
 
Eventually called a hero──
 
(Ahh, that’s right…whenever I hope for someone’s smile, petty selfishness like reasons don’t matter at all.)
 
Phil can’t help cracking a small smile.
 
Overlapping the weak girl behind him with that nostalgic memory.
 
“That’s enough of a reason to protect a kind girl like you. So just shut up and let me save you.”
 
“Eh!?”
 
Tears flow down Milis’ cheeks.
 
Was it because she was saved? Or was it from his words directed at her? Or maybe from seeing a heroic figure up close?
 
That’s not clear. It could be part of it, or maybe all of it.
 
But Milis cried──killing her sobs, her expression oozes joy.
 
“Haa~h, cut that ouut~! Objectively, it makes me look like the villain here~!”
 
“A villain trying to kill an innocent girl but claims she’s not the villain? Quiet down, holy maiden. Should I start a survey? I’ll even bet all my money, it’s obvious who’s who even without saying anything.”
 
“Nooo, no way, no! Justice is on my side, evil is you! In a survey pooling together a variety of opinions, that composition won’t budge past the majority vote! Justice isn’t always necessarily on the side of democracy!”
 
Kira readies her warhammer.
 
As if saying her duty doesn’t change even with the hero’s appearance.
 

“Heeey, do you knooow~? How people can be happy~?”
 
“Philosophy? Unfortunately, I have no intention of becoming a philosopher.”
 
“It’s not philosophy, no need to be a philosopher…just simple arithmetic even a child can understand. If there is one misfortunate person making others unhappy, make it zero. Natural disasters and outbreaks rarely ever happen just like that──even so, the reason why people remain unhappy in this world is because [evil people] exist.”
 
Natural disasters can’t be helped. Outbreaks aren’t anyone’s fault either.
 
Things that can’t be helped rarely occur so simply.
 
However, the reason why people remain unhappy is because evil people exist, frequently causing misfortune from human desire.
 
Just like how bandits exist, slave traders still exist even now, feudal lords who impose unreasonable taxes exist.
 
That kind of misfortune is created by people called the evil.
 
“There are so many troubled by evildoers, as long as people like them keep existing, no one can live a happy life──so then, what should we do? Worship goddesses? Resolve it through discussion? No no, that’s wrong…if you kill the evil, then everyone can be happy.”
 
If you kill them, the factors causing misfortune disappear.
 
It’s common knowledge that discussion often fails to solve problems.
 
If discussion fails, then just completely remove the factors that lead to misfortune from the roots.
 
Just weeding away the surface isn’t enough──rather than that pointless effort, use herbicide to eradicate things from the roots.
 
That is Kira’s rationale.
 
“So I kill evil…no, I have to kill it. For that reason, the [arbitration faction] mustn’t disappear. This is justice…justice to save the people of the world. Anyone who obstructs that──”
 
“Makes them evil too? I can’t laugh harder… In the end, what you people are doing is no different from the evil.”
 
As if protecting Milis, Phil takes a step forward.
 
“Forcing your own ideals onto others. How’s that any different from evil thought processes like “I want something so I’ll take it”? I could even lend you a mirror if you want. You can gaze upon your pretty, evil face.”
 
Kira’s expression clouds over. Not from ridicule, likely from being equated with the evil.
 
Perhaps wanting to deny it from the depths of her heart,
 
her previously aloof tone changes as she grows more desperate.
 
“That’s wrong! We do this to save people…!”
 
“Did that include Lady Milis among the people you save?
 
“Gh!?”
 
Kira’s words stop short for a moment.
 
Perhaps from having difficult words to refute thrown at her, she seems to falter.
 
Furthermore, from her clenched lips and shaking head, she seems like a stubborn child with unfulfilled selfishness.
 
“She should be at the top of the list of people who need saving! Lady Milis goes around various places, giving her labor and kindness… For someone like that to not be saved, to not find happiness is strange isn’t it? She should become happy first and foremost right? At least──I stand in front of this girl feeling I should protect her.”
 
“Sh-shut up! Even if that may be so, she’s a necessary sacrifice to save even more people!!!
 
“The moment you say that, you fail at providing relief. What you’re trying to do is the deed of a spoiled child throwing a tantrum. You’re older than me right? Don’t go thinking like a damn cheap kid.”
 
Veins bulge on Kira’s forehead from Phil’s words.
 
She cannot be persuaded or convinced to understand.
 
If it was possible, kindly Milis would have already done so.
 
The hatred concealed behind her serene pupils fully surfaces for all to see, impossible to overlook.
 
“Don’t confuse me, evildoer…! I absolutely must eradicate evil…I have to!!!
 
If so──
 
“Then let’s thoroughly go all the way. I’ll give a spoiled child who can’t discern things a good spanking.”
 
“UWAAAAHHHHHH!”
 
Justice and evil.
 
The sentiment to protect the majority crosses with the freedom to save an individual.


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