“…That maid is too sharp.”
“What do you mean by that?
Kite couldn’t understand what the boy meant when he muttered that, but he could tell where the boy was heading.
The boy dropped him, but he didn’t feel like complaining.
After all, he wasn’t so insensitive as to make a fuss in front of the corpse of someone he killed for no good reason.
The atmosphere the boy gave off as he closed his eyes and put his two hands together also seemed inviolable.
“…U-umm, like this?”
He could tell that he was offering a prayer for the dead.
That’s why he assumed a similar pose.
He wasn’t sure if he had the right to pray for them since he was the one who killed them, but he still felt like he had to do this.
However, before he knew it, he noticed someone looking at him with a questioning look and was startled.
But the boy immediately shook his head and said what Kite should do.
“Well, whatever. First of all, you’re the one who killed them, so you need to be the one to send them off.”
“I-I know— I mean, I understand. So… What exactly is that natural law we’re supposed to—!?”
He was going to ask what he was doing, but he stopped before he could.
The boy grinned at him with that usual crescent moon smile of his, and the sweat wouldn’t stop pouring.
“You killed them, so you eat them.”
That came out of the blue so abruptly that Kite was left speechless. What a ridiculous burial ceremony.
To think that he would be made to eat the person he killed accidentally. It was just too absurd.
“W-Wait a moment! That’s a bit…”
As expected, Kite hesitated to do as asked, but the boy just nonchalantly said.
“This is the Law of Nature. The strong shall prey upon the weak, and since you are stronger, you must eat. It’s a right that only you have. In hunting, it is basic manners to make the most of your prey. It is the least that you could do for the life you’ve taken.”
The hunter could also sell his spoils if he did not have the appropriate knowledge, but this was a matter that had to be kept a secret.
There was no other way to dispose of their bodies but to completely destroy them or for someone else to use them as one’s own sustenance.
But if the former option were to be chosen, where would the life that they have lived until today go?
“Are you saying that you won’t even let their death connect anywhere just because of your feelings? Do you want to make their deaths even more meaningless than that skull’s?”
With such rules and circumstances, there was no one else who could accept them other than Kite.
Or at least that’s how the boy persuaded – ergo threatened – him to agree, and Kite gulped.
As Kite looked down at the corpses in front of him, although it was something he himself had done, their heads were cut off so cleanly that their bodies were still in a nearly perfect state.
But as expected, no life or breath could be felt from them.
But even if he were to be asked if he could eat them or not, even if he were to be told that he had to eat them, just knowing how they looked when they were alive, and just knowing that he had killed them because of his misunderstanding made it hard for him to have an appetite.
If anything, he felt like puking just imagining himself eating them.
“…Have you never hunted before?”
“Eh? Ah… yes. The maids always prepared my meal.”
“But you’ve eaten meat, right?”
“This is the same thing. That was the meat of a monster beast that lived somewhere. I don’t know if it’s livestock or wild, but in the first place, to eat is to devour someone else’s life.”
“To devour life…”
“That’s why we say say ‘itadakimasu’ and ‘gochisousama’ before eating.”
Such words were often said matter-of-factly, but now those same words felt so heavy.
One is receiving life, that’s why itadakimasu is said in acceptance and gochisousama is said afterwards to show gratitude.
It was something that they did until now naturally, and something that they would have to keep on doing, so there was no reason to stop here, and even less reason to run away only now.
Kite carefully put his hands together.
He wasn’t even sure whether he was sending them off in death or thanking them for their life, but regardless, two words came out of his mouth.
“I’m sorry… Itadakimasu.”
Kite spoke gravely but clearly, then without saying a word, the boy pulled out a hunting knife from somewhere and nonchalantly dismantled the corpses.
“There’s no time, so I’ll use a technique to drain their blood quickly. I’ll butcher and cook them for you too. But you have to finish eating by the time princess is done getting ready. As expected, this isn’t really something that should be shown to a woman raised in the palace.”
“Ah, That’s why Stella-san…”
The gory scene unfolding before him was indeed not something that ought to be shown.
As realization dawned on him, the boy shrugged his shoulders to show agreement, then with divine skill masterfully butchered the corpses.
“Fortunately, not much of the Tenkorius can be eaten by humans. I don’t know why, but for whatever reason, these guys have a lot of parts that’s harmful to humans. We’ll bury the rest deep enough so that the bones can’t be found… Any questions?”
That came out so abruptly that Kite found himself making that strange sound.
The boy laughed and gave him a teasing poke on the shoulder.
“Just play along. Salt is all I’ve got, but I’ll cook it to your tastes.”
“Huh, ah, but…”
But all that surfaced on his face was that same hard expression.
He looked like he was asking if such a thing would even be allowed for someone like him.
The boy saw that and immediately said.
The boy pulled on his cheeks, and Kite asked with his eyes, “What are you doing?” as his face contorted from the pain of his stretched cheeks.
But there was no joking, no dismay, no anger on the boy, only a serious look.
“…I’m not telling you to eat happily, but don’t eat it just out of duty either. At the very least, taste it when you eat it… And don’t forget.”
Kite didn’t ask him what he was referring to.
He meant everything.
The mistake that was bound to happen because of his ignorance regarding such matters, and the taste of the weight of life he’d mistakenly taken.
Since he couldn’t take responsibility, the best atonement he could do was to perform the memorial service that they wanted and accept their life into himself.
However, that was not an obligation but a minimum courtesy. Kite nodded and the boy released him with a grin.
“But of course, it wouldn’t be possible for you to forget anyway.”
“Once you get to S Rank, you can tell any object’s state and function just by looking at them.”
The boy grinned as he picked up a piece of that meat.
Kite’s cheeks twitched, and a fierce ill-foreboding assaulted him.
“Umm… In other words?”
“This thing here? It’s a contestant for the worst tasting meat in history!”
The boy pointed at the sky and yelled in a pointlessly theatrical voice.
Kite could almost hear him saying, ‘reach for the stars’!
It was such a different attitude until now that Kite found himself wryly smiling.
He could tell that the boy was trying to loosen him up.
A stark contrast compared to when he was when fighting and didn’t show any emotions. That’s why it was that much easier to read through his intentions now.
He still wasn’t sure whether that was the boy’s true nature or just an act, but regardless…
“You’ll take the lead, right?”
“Yeah, just leave the cutting and cooking to me.”
Kite tried playing along, and the boy too smiled a much gentler smile at him.
Was he finally cutting him some slack?
Or was he merely doing so out of consideration for his condition after this?
Either he way, he couldn’t stop himself from getting goosebumps.
After that the boy had the time of his life as he watched him faint and roll in agony with a single bite of that unprecedented meat.
3 comments / Add your comment below
Thanks for the chapter
A light punishment but it will still burn that tastes to his memory of his sins
This makes me wonder how many people from Earth were sent to the same place he was.