My Death Flags Show No Sign of Ending - Chapter 107
【”That hurt… You got something against my foot now, Harold?”】
【”I have something against you saying unnecessary things.”】
Harold and Cody’s exchange dissolved all the accumulated tension.
Though there was a big age gap between them, they looked like two old friends in Cynthia’s eyes. This wasn’t surprising to her. Cody had come many times to visit after her husband was suddenly bedridden, so she knew his bright and straightforward personality. She felt like he’d be able to become friends with almost anyone.
On the other hand, Harold was as unfriendly as Cody had said. With his harsh and excessively frank manner of speech, it was easy to guess he was the type to make many enemies.
But while his words were sharp like knives, for some reason they had struck and moved Cynthia’s heart much more than any encouragement she received in the past.
Deep down, maybe she had given up. Her husband had been ill for five years, there were no clear hopes of recovery for him and Cynthia’s income was decreasing, which made it impossible to get a doctor to see Finnegan.
Somewhere in her heart, without realizing it, she may have been thinking that she no longer hand the strength to face this crisis and that the situation just could not be helped.
But it seemed like this young man, despite his age, had seen straight through her resignation.
Because he understood what she had been thinking, he made her choose. Was she going to lose and escape from the painful and cold reality or was she going to fight it through her own will?
He gave her those options for her own sake.
So that she would be stronger as a wife, and a mother.
(His words… They were self-centered and harsh… but they were kind.)
Considering the circumstances, there was no need for a noble like Harold to give Cynthia any options or to even acknowledge her. If he had something to gain from curing Finnegan, then he did not have to discuss anything with her. Whether he succeeded or not, a commoner like Cynthia had no right to complain.
Harold told her that her only option was to choose, but given her position, even that option was more of a favor than a right. He could just as well have started the treatment on Finnegan straight away like he initially intended.
However, he did not like the idea of submissively obeying the powerful. Even though he himself was powerful.
Seeing that Cynthia was faced with a situation that she could do nothing about, he had stretched his hand to her.
But once she grabbed that hand and stood up, he wanted her to start walking forward through her own power.
That was what Harold’s words and actions showed from Cynthia’s perspective.
She had been moved like never before. He had been tough in his approach, but this noble had done everything he could to encourage a commoner like herself. It would be strange if she wasn’t feeling that way.
Ultimately, she realized one thing. This young man called Harold Stokes was a noble in the true sense of the word.
【”Well, I guess it’s fine. Anyway, we should hurry and get started.”】
【”I know it’s sudden but Harold is pretty busy.”】
【”And yet you dragged me all the way here.”】 Complained Harold, before standing up from his seat.
As Cynthia followed him with her eyes, Harold looked straight back at her before asking her a question.
【”Let me confirm this one last time. The cure I’m about to use is not guaranteed to succeed. It can make him recover but it can also be completely ineffective, and I can’t exclude the possibility that it will add unexpected complications to his condition. Knowing that, you still want me to do it?”】
【”…Yes. I will leave my husband in your care.”】
Harold started walking immediately, like he was saying there was no need to say anything further.
He had probably already checked where Finnegan was staying seeing as he headed straight towards there.
Looking inside the room after lighting up the candles, Finegan seemed to be asleep, with his eyes tightly closed.
Harold stood in front of him and put his hand on his sword’s handle.
【”…What are you doing?”】
However, before Harold could draw out his sword, Cody grabbed his hand and stopped him.
【”That’s my line. I can’t let you go that far, alright?”】
The two men silently looked at each other. Cynthia did not understand what was going, but she figured there were some circumstances she did not know about.
After a few seconds passed, Cody was the first one to speak.
【”Knowing you, you’ve probably been thinking this whole time that you have to take care of this on your own. Am I wrong?”】
【”But I can’t let you do this part. I’m the one who asked you to come here, so let me take responsibility.”】
Harold gave in. He passed his still sheathed sword to Cody.
Cody received it and pulled the sword out.
【”E-excuse me… What do you intend to do with that?”】
【”It’s a bit hard to explain, but Harold’s sword has a special power. We might be able to cure Finnegan with it.”】
A special power? They were going to use a sword as a cure?
(He’s not going to cut him with it, right? No way.) Cynthia could not imagine how one would use a sword to cure someone. Without paying attention to her, Cody opened and closed his eyes twice, then thrice, while taking deep breaths.
Then, the sword’s crystal started shining. At first, in only showed a dim light, but it rapidly became brighter and brighter.
Cynthia silently watched the process, until Cody started groaning in pain.
He was having trouble breathing and there were beads of sweat on his forehead. The crystal’s light repeatedly blinked and gradually weakened. Before long, it disappeared.
All of this took only a few minutes, but by the time the light went out, Cody had fallen on one knee, sword still in hand.
【”Ahh… This is exhausting…”】
【”A-are you alright?”】
【”Yeah, I’m fine.”】
【”What happened there? You did not seem fine at all.”】
【”No no, there is…”】
“nothing to worry about” was what Cody wanted to say as he stood up. However, that did not happen, for when he tried to stand up, the sword fell from his hand.
The metallic sound of the steel blade clattering against the ground echoed within the room.
【”Give it up. It’s impossible for you. “】
【”…You could have clarified that earlier, man. I didn’t think it was this intense.”】
Cody spoke with a self-deprecating smile. Guessing from the exchange he had with Harold earlier, he was probably feeling down because this was his role and he failed to uphold it.
Nevertheless, he still reached his hand to the sword a second time, but Harold picked it up before him.
Once he picked it up, Harold looked at the sword fixedly, seemingly lost in his thoughts. This lasted for a little while.
【”Oh, so that’s what happened.”】
After muttering so, Harold turned to Cody and mercilessly explained what was the matter.
【”You can’t handle this sword. “】
【”You’re not gonna tell me it chooses its wielder, are you?”】
【”Anyone can wield it, just like any other sword. However, you don’t have enough mana to use its functions.”】
【”If your mana is the reference to follow here, then you’re more or less the only one who can use it, Harold…”】
Looking dejected, Cody sat back down on his chair. He seemed completely worn-out.
Cynthia knew that Cody was one of the most powerful people of the saint knight order.
If someone like him was exhausted just from trying to use the sword, that meant it most likely put a considerable burden on its wielder.
So how come Harold could hold it so nonchalantly? What did this say about him?
【”That’s how it is. So how about you be quiet while I show you how it’s done.”】
【”Alright, I get it, I get it. Haaaah… It’s been a long time since I last felt that much pity for myself.”】
【”That’s surprising. And here I thought your whole life was pitiful.”】
【”Too bad I’m way too thick skinned to mind it. You know me, I’ve no idea what shame is.”】
Although Cody was joking around, his face showed he really was bitter.
Cynthia was glad to see he felt so sincerely implicated in helping Finnegan. Although he had failed to wield the sword, she was just happy to know there was still someone who had not given up on her husband.
Even so, he had showed nothing but enthusiasm until now, so Cynthia could not help herself from thinking that maybe there was some other reason he was suddenly feeling down. She did not have suspicions about him, but she was troubled by his earlier use of the word ‘responsibility’.
She started wondering if their attempt to help Finnegan was somehow risky for them.
【”Then use that thick skin of yours to switch back to your usual careless self. Can’t be any worse than having him wake up to your bitter face after 5 years of slumber.”】
【”Alright alright, I’ll be as self-confident as ever.”】
【”Same goes for you, Cynthia. Is that supposed to be the face of a wife awaiting her husband’s return? I have no need for you to believe in me, but you could at least believe in Finnegan.”】
Harold’s words shook off Cody’s bitterness and Cynthia’s insecurity like they were never there.
(My, no matter how tough he shows himself to be, he is really kind.)
His words and his dependable back were enough to give anyone the courage to face adversity. As she thought so, Cynthia spontaneously smiled.
【”…I do believe in Finegan. And I believe in you, too, sir Harold.”】
Perhaps because he was satisfied, Harold turned towards Finnegan’s bed without adding another word.
Once he readied the sword, the crystal started shining just like earlier. However, the light was clearly stronger than when Cody did it. This likely showed the difference in magic power between them.
The room’s atmosphere grew hectic. Although Cynthia could not use magic, even she could feel some sort of energy gathering around the sword’s light.
Once Harold looked like he had gathered enough magic, he held the sword with both hands and thrusted its handle towards Finegan’s abdomen. From there, there was an immediate change.
【”… Ah… ah!”】
Finnegan opened his eyes; the same hollow eyes that he had had every since he became bedridden; and he let out a small voice.
Finnegan and Harold were currently enveloped by a dazzling, pale green light. The scene looked like a painting of a god bringing about a miracle. No, for Cynthia, this truly was a miracle.
A blessing that came to wake her husband from his long slumber after she spent the last five years trying to cure him with no success.
That was what she was witnessing.
【”Hurry and return already.”】
When Harold suddenly muttered so, the crystal’s light instantly grew stronger before bursting away and vanishing entirely.
Afterwards, there was silence. The room’s candles were not longer lit. The weak moonlight coming through the window was the only light allowing Cynthia to see Finnegan in the darkness.
Waiting to see if he would wake up or not, Cynthia could not help herself from being anxious. Her heart was beating so fast that it like it was resounding all over the quiet room.
The silence lasted for several seconds.
And then it happened.
【”Uh…W…hat? Where am I…”】
Finnegan was talking. His voice was hoarse and weak, but he was actually talking.
Everything looked blurry through the tears gathering in Cynthia’s eyes. She had a lump in her throat and was on the verge of weeping, but she was doing everything she could to hold back and find the strength to greet her husband through the flood of emotions arising in her heart.
【”…Cyn…thia? Why… are you crying……”】
Cynthia could no longer say a word.
Though Finnegan was awake, it did not seem like he could get his body up yet, but she still clung to his chest and openly cried as she felt his heartbeat and the warmth of his body.
Finegan was surely confused, however, there was no way for Cynthia to explain anything to him given her current state. All she could do was call out his name and sob with her face buried in his chest. With all the time he had spent in bed, he was likely so weak that just raising his arms would be painful. Even so, Finnegan silently moved his now skinny right hand to lovingly caress Cynthia’s head and cheek.
They both immersed themselves in this shared moment, to the point where they did not feel the passing of time. But after god knew how long, the sound of a knock came to interrupt them.
(Ah!) Cynthia raised her face to look towards the door, when she heard a voice coming from the other side.
【”Hey guys. Sorry for interrupting this emotional reunion, but for now, I should explain the situation to Finnegan, if that’s okay.”】
Cynthia hurriedly opened the door.
Looking at the room’s window, some hints of light were starting to come from the outside. It was already almost dawn.
After entering the room, Cody directly walked up to Finnegan’s bed.
【”Hey there, Finnegan. How are you doing?”】
【”Co… dy…? You look… older than… the last time I saw you, but…”】
【”That would be because you’ve been sleeping for the past five years. I guess I look a little dandy now.”】
【”I also want to explain that part to you right now, but first, tell me about your body. Do you feel anything abnormal?”】
【”Well… I can… hardly talk…. and… my whole body feels…. like it’s made of lead… but… if I’ve been sleeping… for all those years, then… I can see why…”】
【”If you’re in pain, we can talk about this another day if you want.”】
【”No, it’s fine… tell me. What happened… to me…?”】
【”Alright, then I’ll tell it in the order it happened.”】
Having said so, Cody started explaining.
He talked about a battle from five years ago, in the Bertis forest, which involved both the knight order and the Stellar tribe.
He explained that Finnegan was selected as one of the jury in the trial of a new recruit who was suspected of acting as a spy in that battle.
Then, Cody talked about how, when he asked Finnegan about the trial, he suddenly went mad and started hurting himself. He hadn’t injured himself too much, but after being subdued, he had lost consciousness and kept on sleeping for the next five years.
【”―― then, a little while ago, you finally woke up. And that’s where we’re at.”】
【”I see… Cynthia… I’m sorry for… all you’ve been through…”】
【”It’s alright, you’re awake now, dear, so everything is alright…”】
【”And Cody… You’re the one… who saved me?”】
【”I wish I were, that would have been pretty cool of me. But the one who saved you is Harold Stokes. Remember him?”】
【”…Aah, yes. The one on death row… I do remember… So he’s…the one who…saved me.”】
【”W-what do you mean?”】
【”It’s a long story, but basically Harold fell into a trap in the battle I mentioned earlier.”】
According to Cody, Harold was framed and suspect of being a spy, and someone pressured the court to make it so he’d receive the death penalty for it.
But in reality, far from being a spy, Harold had exposed the Sarian empire’s schemes and had put his life on the line to prevent the start of a conflict between the knight order and the Stellar tribe.
Even so, he was still sentenced to death, but that turned out to be only a pretext to use and exploit him. As a consequences, Harold’s life was still at risk now, after all this time.
【”Finnegan, correct me if I’m wrong, but did someone threaten your family to make you agree to give Harold the death penalty?”】
【”That’s…right… If I didn’t do it… my family… would have been… in danger…”】
【”But that’s…! Is mister Harold aware of-…”】
【”Yes, he knows. But he doesn’t hold any grudge against Finnegan.”】
【”…Harold… is he here…? If so… I’d like to apologize… and thank him…”】
【”Well… Actually, he had an emergency to take care of, so he went out of town immediately after curing you. I stayed to explain everything to you and check your condition.”】
Cynthia was shocked, she didn’t get to thank Harold at all.
He had given her kindness, courage, happiness with the man she loved, and a mind that now aimed to be stronger.
And yet, he had just up and left right after. And based on what Cody had said, there was no guarantee that she’d ever meet him again in this life. In other words, he had done all of this knowing that he was possibly going to leave for good afterwards and would never even get a thank you.
【”But he did have a message for you two. “From now on, you’re free to live as you will.” That’s all he said. I know, he could have said something a little more thoughtful.”】
【”…No, there is nothing wrong with these words, they are more than good enough.”】
【”Is that so? Well, that’s great then.”】
The sun rose and the room’s window fully let its white light in. It was excessively dazzling, but to Cynthia, it looked similar to the light that Harold radiated with. At the sight of this morning sun, she spontaneously looked down to the ground. Though she thought she had stopped crying, she found there were new lines of tears running down her cheeks.
She knew her words would not reach him but she could not help herself from saying it. “Thank you, for everything.”
【”Mommy, why are you crying? Are you hurt?”】
Seeing cynthia cry and rub her eyes, Mihai tried to console her with a hug. He had apparently woken up early.
【”Don’t worry Mihai, mommy is fine. Go greet your father, okay?”】
【”Yes, mommy… Good morning, papa.”】
【”…Mihai? Oh, you’re all… grown up…”】
【”Ah! Papa! You’re up!”】
Mihai jumped into the arms of Finnegan, who had raised himself up with Cody’s help.
When Cynthia thought about it, Mihai was born right after Finnegan fell ill. So this was the first time the father and son had ever interacted with each other.
Mihai was talking to his father with an innocent smile, and Finegan listened to him attentively while smiling and tearing up at the same time. This was it. This was the sight of happiness that Cynthia had been waiting for all these years.
As she thought of that, Cynthia noticed that Cody looked like he was thinking of something.
【”Cody, is there a problem?”】
【”Don’t worry, it’s no big deal. I was just wondering, how many children do you have?”】
Cynthia did not understand why Cody was asking that. It had certainly been a little while since the last time he came here, but in the last five years, he had come to visit many times. Why was he asking about the family’s composition after all this time?
While wondering what was up with the odd question, Cynthia answered like it was obvious.
【”What’s wrong all of a sudden? Mihai is our only child, Cody.”】
Author’s note: I wouldn’t go as far as to call this foreshadowing, but if you remember, in chapter 51, Finegan did not have any children yet, he said that he was going to be a father soon.
The child he was about to have was Mihai. Of course, he couldn’t have any children in the meantime, and especially not one who was so much older than Mihai. After all, these events happened five years before the current events.
There might be some of you who remembered and thought “Wait, what?” after hearing of Sarah’s existence.
So these last three chapters were not about the heartwarming rescue of Finnegan. They were about little Sarah raising new death flags on Harold’s path.