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Chapter 14

A Knight who Eternally Regresses

WE TRIED TRANSLATIONS

Translator: Ryuu

Editor: Abstract

Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried

A KNIGHT WHO ETERNALLY REGRESSES


Chapter 14: Knight



“Hey, you! Come here!”


“Keep your voice down. This is the medical tent.”


“So what, you bastard?”


Even if it growled, no matter how fierce a beast was, it wasn't a threat if it couldn't reach you.


“It seems we have some sort of fate. The first time we met was in the lower village, wasn't it?”


It was a bad fate. A fate that kept bringing them together.


“Why are you acting all friendly, you unlucky bastard?”


The one who spoke first was Vengeance. Enkrid didn't bother to argue. He wasn't petty enough to bother with such things.


“Right.”


Instead, he turned his body. The ointment Jaxon had given him was very effective. He could move like this without feeling much pain.


“What are you doing?”


“You told me not to act friendly, so I'm pretending not to know you.”


“You bastard, are you joking?”


Vengeance shouted. If he had known it was a joke, he wouldn’t have needed to get so angry. But maybe it was because…


‘I'm usually surrounded by such fierce squadmates.’


Seeing Vengeance after a long time, he seemed almost cute. Compared to watching Rem, Jaxon, and the other squad members fight, this felt like it was shortening his lifespan.


“Oh, you noticed. As expected of the platoon leader, the future of the Cyprus Brigade.”


“You, you!”


Vengeance, with a vein bulging on his forehead, threw his boot. Enkrid caught it swiftly.


“A gift?”


“I’ll kill you, you bastard!”


At some point, Rem had said that he could irritate people pretty well himself.


“But I don’t want to argue with a squad leader who’s determined to run his mouth.”


With a calm face, Enkrid held the boot. Watching this, Vengeance huffed out a breath.


And then.


“Pahaha!”


A soldier, who had been idly killing time, laughed loudly. It was a laugh that sounded like he was about to go mad with joy. Vengeance's fierce gaze whipped around at the sound of the laughter. The blond man, who had laughed heartily, wiped a tear with a bent finger and said,


“No, ‘Is this a gift?’ I couldn't hold it in. I tried to ignore it from the start. Phew.”


Creak.


Enkrid thought that Vengeance’s molars might break before he turned forty. Grinding your teeth isn’t good for your gums either. Should he mention this?


If he kept going, Vengeance might not be able to hold back his anger and would die from a rush of blood to the head.


“What’s your affiliation?”


Vengeance was calm. Instead of cursing, he asked for the man’s affiliation.


“Me? Well, I’m just a passing soldier.”


Oh?


Enkrid was inwardly impressed by his ambition. He was a squad leader, after all. But the other guy seemed to really be just a soldier.


But with that attitude.


However, speaking like that made it seem like he was hiding his affiliation and rank. Vengeance wasn’t stupid either.


“Are you saying you can’t reveal your affiliation?”


“It’s kind of like that, but I’m really just a soldier. I forgot my affiliation.”


How carefree. Enkrid saw a noble’s demeanor in the blond man. If he wasn’t a noble, he deserved a beating.


‘He deserves to be beaten to death.’


If he got beaten to death, he wouldn’t have any complaints. The attitude he was showing was one of dignity.


Grind, grind.


Vengeance couldn’t do anything.


“But you shouldn’t be looking at me right now. You should be looking behind you.”


Enkrid and Vengeance had been staring at the blond man. So, they both turned their heads back. There was someone behind them.


‘When did they get there?’


He couldn't say his intuition was sharp, but he had experience on the battlefield. He had some level of intuition, but he didn’t notice anyone behind him. He didn't hear any sounds either.


“Is this the place where the Fourth-Fourth Squad Leader is?”


It was a woman. She belonged to a race with generally slender bodies, clear eyes, and ears larger than those of humans. She was an elf. She stared intently at the blond man and spoke. Judging by her natural tone, she was his superior. Enkrid judged as much and raised his hand, opening his mouth.


“Fourth Company, Fourth Platoon, Fourth Squad Leader Enkrid, here.”


The elf woman’s gaze finally moved away from the blond man. Then the soldier guarding the entrance of the medical tent came in and added an explanation.


“Yes. He is the squad leader under your command.”


“An elf?”


Quite surprised, Vengeance finally reacted. Hearing that, the elf didn’t move an eyebrow and just turned her head.


“That’s the third platoon leader of this company.”


The medic, without being asked, added this. The elf woman’s tone was very dry. Someone had said that elves were symbols of grass and trees, but her voice was like the sand of a desert.


“Does the second company teach its members to mention races when they see a superior? I know I’m an elf better than anyone.”


‘She’s amazing.’


Enkrid saw natural dignity and charisma in the elf woman. She subdued the opponent with just one word.


“N-No, no! I’m the third platoon leader of this company, V-Vengeance!”


“I have one request.”


“Yes!”


“Vegan, while I am here, I’d like you to keep your mouth shut. You don’t need to respond to my request. If you open your mouth, I’ll want to put a knife or a fist in your face. Is that clear?.”


Enkrid didn’t bother to correct her that his name was Vengeance. Vengeance tried to open his mouth, then covered it with both hands.


“I heard you’re leading an interesting squad member.”


The company commander’s gaze returned to Enkrid.


“Yes, thank you.”


There was nothing good about falling out of favor with the new company commander. He answered politely. In the following conversation, Enkrid felt a strange sense.


‘Why did this woman come here?’


It was all useless talk. She said he performed well in battle. From Enkrid’s perspective, it was true. He pierced and killed enemy soldiers.


In the process, he saved quite a few allied soldiers within his reach, but did it affect the battlefield?


‘Not really.’


It wasn’t that kind of achievement. Regardless of his skills, Enkrid had a good eye for the battlefield.


“You survived meeting Frog?”


“Yes, I was lucky.”


“Luck is a skill too. It’s not often that the goddess of fortune drops a coin.”


“Yes, thank you.”


Did she come all the way here to have this kind of conversation? Enkrid couldn’t understand her intention. Anyway, the elf company commander, with her green glowing eyes, spoke to him.


Enkrid answered faithfully. Not long after, the company commander said, ‘I look forward to your continued success,’ and turned around. Just before leaving, she looked back again towards the blond man.


“What’s your name?”


“Uh, um, Crang.”


He said his name, rolling his eyes and frowning. Anyone could tell.


‘He just made that up.’


It was a name like that.


“I see.”


The company commander answered indifferently and left the tent. Until then, Vengeance, who hadn’t been able to breathe properly, finally exhaled deeply.


“Damn.”


“Ah, company commander.”


Hearing the curse, Enkrid spoke, and Vengeance was startled.


“No, wait. He’s just a passing soldier.”


“You bastard.”


The platoon leader, who had become Vengeance today, was furious. The blond man, who introduced himself as Crang, laughed loudly again. The medic, who had been watching them, wondered why these three were acting like this and slipped out. Enkrid thought that he wouldn’t be bored as long as Vengeance was around.






Reviewing the fight was the direction to move forward. Enkrid focused on two things.


‘Stab with all your might but don’t put all your heart into it.’


He found a clue in less than a day and felt his body itch, but he couldn’t exercise immediately. His side was still painful, so the only training he could do was grip strength training.


Enkrid trained his fingers and forearms. It might seem like a foolish thing to do.


‘The body is the foundation of all techniques.’


Even the smallest leaf had weight, and even a drop of water could pierce a rock over time. So this seemingly insignificant effort would help in the future. Enkrid believed this and had built his tower until now.


“You’re working really hard.”


It was Crang. 


Two days after the company commander left, Enkrid did nothing but review the fight and train his grip strength. He dedicated himself to resting. Resting was also important.


The only change was Crang, who had introduced himself and claimed to have forgotten his affiliation, was now lingering around him.


“Why are you working so hard?”


Crang spoke informally to everyone. Of course, to Enkrid and to Vengeance as well.


“I’m a platoon leader. I’m your superior!”


He even teased him. Seeing that, it seemed he hadn’t come here due to an injury and he seemed quite skilled. Watching him walk past Vengeance, narrowly avoiding being caught, showed he wasn’t ordinary.


“What?”


Since he said he was a soldier, Enkrid also spoke informally.


“You keep clenching and unclenching your hand every day. And other than that, you stare blankly into space. I wonder what you’re thinking about and why you’re working so hard on your hand.”


He wasn’t a child, but he was very curious. It wasn’t that annoying.


‘I’m bored too.’


Teasing Vengeance could only go so far. Small talk and having someone to talk to were good tools to overcome boredom.


“This is grip strength training and staring into space isn’t spacing out. I’m reviewing my mistakes from the last battle.”


“So why are you doing that?”


Why, indeed.


“So I won’t die in the next battle.”


“I haven’t seen a soldier work this hard just to avoid dying.”


“Then are there any soldiers who’ve lived long?”


“Hmm, quite a few?”


What had he been watching?


Enkrid had long thought that the other was pretending to be a commoner. It didn’t change anything, though. If he wanted to, he could play along with this. It didn’t cost him anything. He didn’t envy what the other had. If he were to envy something, he should’ve been half-mad with jealousy over swordsmanship talent.


But Enkrid wasn’t. He had a path to walk and felt more fulfilled by the joy of growing.


‘I think I need to practice stabbing more.’


Full effort training was necessary. The Heart of the Beast still protected Enkrid.


One step forward.


One step every day.


Even if today didn’t repeat, nothing would change. Of course, not everything stayed the same.


“What do you want to become?”


Crang asked.


It was similar to when Rem had asked before. The memory of that time surfaced.


‘Why does it feel like that was a long time ago?’


It was a day that no longer existed. It disappeared because he had died. So the ambition he had playfully spoken of vanished like a joke. If he spoke of the future or dreams now.


‘Would today disappear?’


It wouldn’t.


Even if dreams were silenced, torn apart, and devoured by reality, traces remained. Traces, yes, just traces left around his heart. He used to think so.


But now?


‘Are only traces left?’


Enkrid looked at his palm. It was a palm with calluses that had formed and burst several times, making it ugly. The calluses on his finger joints would probably never disappear. It was something he had longed for.


‘Is that really so?’


Were only traces left? He asked himself and sought an answer.


It wasn’t so. He didn’t believe it. Ironically, even in the time when only traces remained, Enkrid never gave up.


“A knight.”


A low-ranking soldier from a third-rate mercenary background. A mere squad leader. A lowly rank with insignificant skills. And yet he aspired to be at the top.


Vengeance, hearing this from the side, tried to laugh loudly. but Crang’s response was quicker.


“Right. A knight.”


It was strange. He should have laughed. He should have.


But Crang’s attitude stopped him. It wasn’t forced, but instinct said he shouldn’t. It was just a plain tone, but it was weighty. It had gravitas. Crang accepted the ridiculous dream sincerely. With all his effort, wholeheartedly. He showed that even listening could be done with such seriousness.


“Seeing you, I think I have an idea of how I should live.”


Crang said.


Enkrid shrugged.


The strange atmosphere that had enveloped the medical tent vanished as quickly as it had come.


“Pfft, a knight? How funny!”


So Vengeance laughed heartily, but it was pathetic. Neither Enkrid nor Crang responded to him.


“I’m your superior.”


Vengeance attempted a timid rebellion.


Of course, it didn’t work.






In just a week Enkrid’s side no longer hurt.


‘Is it thanks to the ointment?’


He healed quickly.


Just before bedtime, Crang asked.


“You’re going back tomorrow?”


“Yeah.”


Today was simple. The bard, who had returned after a week, sang the praises of Cyprus right next to the medical tent from the morning. The medic, guarding the medical tent, slept in late in the morning. 


In the afternoon, while taking a light walk, he saw Kraiss. Big Eyes looked unwell. Before he could ask, Kraiss had walked away briskly. Nothing happened after that. Since the patients in the medical tent didn’t keep watch, they had really rested well.


“Sleep well, Enkrid.”


“You too, Crang.”


“Just you wait until we return, both of you.”


Vengeance also greeted them as he did every day. With that, Enkrid closed his eyes and fell asleep.


And…


“Cyprus! Cyprus!”


He woke up to the bard’s song.


‘Today again?’


He had heard that this guy, who tasted money and became a battlefield bard, sang while going around various tents. So, he didn’t stay in one place for two days. Today, the singing should have been farther away. Why was he in the same place for two consecutive days?


“Damn, why isn’t breakfast here yet? Is he slacking off?”


Vengeance, who had woken up, grumbled. Hearing that, Enkrid's hair stood on end. He had heard those exact words yesterday. No, it was today that had repeated.


“Was the soldier late with breakfast yesterday?”


Enkrid asked. Vengeance stared at him, then chuckled.


“What kind of nonsense is that? Yesterday, he brought it on time.”


Enkrid let out a hollow sigh. Now it was certain.


Today had repeated.


This meant…


‘I died in my sleep without anyone knowing.’


That’s what it meant.




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