V2 Chapter 142: Halberd

“What are you so afraid of, Ragna?”

Ragna had once been asked this by Sora. It was when Sora, who had returned to Shuuto for their biological mother’s grave visit, was suspected by Ragna of colluding with enemies who attacked the city that day.

Even when Sora denied any connection with the enemies, Ragna, unconvinced, confronted him with his soul equipment. Sora then said:

“Come to think of it, you brought out your soul equipment five years ago too. I thought it was out of triumph… but could it be, you’ve been afraid since then? Afraid that I might return someday?”

Hearing this, Ragna was enraged. He perceived it as a desperate, senseless rambling.

But now, he wondered if those words had accurately pierced his deepest, unconscious fears.

The fear that Sora would return to the Mitsurugi family, reclaiming their mother, his betrothed, and the position of heir—this fear might have been what drove Ragna’s anger.

Squinting as if enduring something, Ragna’s lips twisted into a self-mocking smile.

“A day will come when he reclaims everything? How ludicrous. I never took anything from him in the first place. What would he reclaim from me?”

Before and after his exile, their mother had always been more concerned about Sora than Ragna. Ayaka’s affection was directed towards Sora. The only thing Ragna had was the position of heir, but even that was doubtful if he had truly seized it.

He recalled the recent conversation with his father.

It seemed unlikely that his father hadn’t noticed the disparity in strength between Ragna and Sora. Perhaps allowing the confrontation was not to consider Ragna’s feelings but to publicly display the difference in their abilities.

If Ragna—and by extension, Lucius and Zenon—were defeated by Sora, the other generals would have to acknowledge Sora’s strength. That would make it easier to reintegrate Sora into the Mitsurugi family and restore him to his position as heir.

Perhaps for his father, the position of heir was interchangeable and insignificant. Ragna couldn’t help but think so.

If this suspicion hit the mark, Ragna, who took pride in being the Mitsurugi family’s heir and feared losing that position, was in a ludicrously pitiable situation. He might as well be called a clown.

Ragna’s self-derision deepened as he curled his lips.

“A clown… how apt.”

In the five years since Sora’s exile, not just his mother and Ayaka, but perhaps even his father, had been looking towards Sora, not Ragna. Unaware of this, Ragna feared Sora’s return as a threat to everything he had. But in reality, everything important had always been in Sora’s hands.

What else could one call such a person but a clown?

Unwittingly, Ragna let out a sigh.

Despite his grand declarations in the great hall, this was his current state. He could easily imagine how the household’s gaze would turn towards him now. Likely, he would be surrounded by disdain similar to, or even greater than, what Sora had faced.

The possibility of regaining his position as the legitimate heir now seemed nearly impossible. In truth, he no longer desired it. Even as the heir, he had not obtained what he truly wanted. Becoming the heir again would likely yield the same results. What then was the point of striving for that position?

Feeling resignation engulf his heart, Ragna sensed his strength draining away. He knew he should resist this feeling, but the will to do so didn’t arise.

‘No one is watching me anyway, what does it matter…’ Such cold, dry thoughts gnawed at his mind. As he was about to kneel from the overwhelming sense of defeat—

—He suddenly felt an odd sensation in his right hand.

Slowly turning his gaze there, Ragna noticed his hand gripping the handle of his soul equipment was unusually warm. The soul equipment felt burning hot, yet it did not scald his skin. Instead, it seemed to be warming up the chilled Ragna.

And then—

“My lord.”

A voice echoed in Ragna’s ears, catching him off guard.

It was a youthful voice, slightly childish, familiar to Ragna.


Responding with the name of his Anima, Ragna sensed an affirmative presence, as if someone had nodded in agreement. For a moment, he envisioned a boy with feather adornments on his head.

With a look of displeasure, Ragna continued speaking.

“Have you come to mock my disgraceful state?”

To his question, a reply of “No” came back. There was also a sense of confusion emanating from the Anima.

Ragna couldn’t stop his inquiries.

“Then have you come to take over my body?”

For the Green Forest warriors, an Anima wasn’t always an ally. Some Animas were friendly to their users, while others were not. It was not uncommon for an Anima, usually cooperative, to seize an opportunity to take control of the user’s body.

Ragna’s query reflected a common concern among warriors who bonded with an Anima. The relationship was intricate, often walking a fine line between cooperation and conflict. The power offered by an Anima was immense, but it also came with the risk of losing oneself to it.

The answer to Ragna’s question, however, was not what he expected. The Anima, Halberd, responded with a sense of reassurance, devoid of any intention to dominate or mock.

This unexpected response prompted a shift in Ragna’s perception. For a moment, he was taken aback, his previous notions about his Anima challenged. The realization that Halberd might genuinely be concerned for him, rather than seeking an opportunity in his vulnerability, brought a new understanding to their bond.

Halberd, it seemed, was not just a tool or a source of power, but a companion with its own will and perhaps even empathy. This revelation marked a turning point in Ragna’s understanding of his relationship with his Anima and his own role as a warrior of the Green Forest.

Ragna’s question was aimed at understanding Halberd’s sudden presence, and again, Halberd’s answer was “No.”

Irritated, Ragna pressed on.

“Then why have you come forth? All this time, you never allowed me to use Void Armor, no matter how much I wished for it. Have you changed your mind now!?”

This time, the response from Halberd wasn’t a simple “No.” Instead, Halberd’s voice, unlike any human voice, resonated with Ragna.

“For the purpose of understanding my lord’s true intention.”

“My true intention?” Ragna asked, his eyebrows knitting in confusion.

Halberd quietly posed a question in return.

“What does my lord fight for?”

“What’s the use of asking that now? I have no reason to fight anymore!” Ragna spat out the words.

Until yesterday, or even an hour ago, he might have had an answer. But now, recognizing himself as a clown, Ragna believed he had no reason to fight. Or at least, that was what he convinced himself of.


“Then why does my lord still hold onto me?”

Ragna involuntarily caught his breath at the question.

Indeed, since his defeat to Sora, he had continuously gripped his soul equipment. Even as he trembled in fear of Sora, even as he mocked his own disgrace, he never let go

of his soul equipment.

However, this was not a conscious decision. Perhaps it was his instinct as a swordsman that refused to relinquish the weapon, regardless of how defeated he felt. That must be the only reason.

As Ragna tried to convince himself of this, Halberd’s inquiry continued to echo in his ears.

“If there is no reason to fight, I should be unnecessary. Yet, my lord, you continue to hold onto me. Why?”

This question struck a chord deep within Ragna. It forced him to confront something he had not fully acknowledged. Despite his despair and resignation, a part of him, perhaps the core of his identity as a warrior, still clung to the soul equipment, to Halberd.

Ragna’s grip on Halberd wasn’t merely a reflex or a habit; it was a silent testament to an unspoken truth—a part of him still yearned to fight, to stand for something. This realization, brought forth by Halberd’s probing questions, began to crack the façade of defeat and apathy that Ragna had built around himself.

Ragna pondered Halberd’s question, reflecting on whether there was an underlying reason for his actions, a reason he himself hadn’t recognized – a reason that lay dormant in the depths of his heart, compelling him not to relinquish his soul equipment.

However, understanding that neither his mother, Ayaka, nor the position of heir was attainable, the only reason Ragna could think of for wanting to fight was a simple desire to defeat Sora. This desire wasn’t born out of pride or honor, but rather from jealousy towards a brother who seemed to have everything Ragna coveted. It was a petty fantasy to triumph over Sora and find some solace in his own woes.

Knowing this made Ragna too ashamed to voice his wish. It seemed too pitiful to him to be driven by jealousy to seek victory.

Shaking off this pitiful feeling would be easy – he just needed to release his soul equipment immediately.

Ragna thought to do just that and actually tried to let go.

But his hand, contrary to his will, clung to the soul equipment, refusing to release it.

Watching this, Halberd spoke gently:

“My lord, it is natural for those who live and breathe to cast a shadow. The important thing is to recognize and master that shadow. If you can do that, there’s no need to shun or be ashamed of it. It is also an important part of what shapes you as my lord.”

Halberd’s words brought back a childhood memory to Ragna’s mind.

“Brother, next time I won’t lose!”

“Come, little brother. I’ll be ready to defeat you again!”

These were memories from before meeting Ayaka, when both their mothers were still alive. Perhaps they were racing, playing Go, or enjoying Karuta.

Ragna didn’t remember the details, but he vividly recalled his earnest desire to beat his brother – not out of anger or jealousy, but driven by a pure competitive spirit.

Those days were long gone. The feelings he held then were irretrievable – the current Ragna and the Ragna of the past were vastly different in the emotions they harbored towards challenging their brother.

Yet, Halberd was telling him that those feelings, that heart, was still a vital part of Ragna.

In a whisper, Ragna asked:

“Even if it’s just pitiful jealousy, Halberd?”

“Yes. Even if it is jealousy, I will exert my strength to protect the heart of my lord.”

With those words, an unprecedented power flowed from the soul equipment into Ragna.

It was a fierce, burning force, potent enough to wash away the persistent fear of Sora that still gripped Ragna’s heart and mind.

“My name is Halberd. The adamantine scythe that cut down the demon Medusa, the giant Argos, and even the god Uranus. I will reap all that stands in the path of my lord.”

Proclaiming its role as the reaper, Teristes, Halberd uplifted Ragna with a resolute voice.

“Let us go forth, my lord. Together, we can even reap dragons.”

Ragna did not respond verbally to this call.

Instead, he gripped the handle of Halberd tighter and tighter, his action speaking louder than words. This firm grip symbolized his acceptance of Halberd’s encouragement and his readiness to face whatever challenges lay ahead, including the daunting task of confronting and possibly overcoming his brother, Sora.

This moment marked a turning point for Ragna. No longer succumbing to his fear and jealousy, he was now ready to embrace the full potential of his bond with Halberd, facing his challenges head-on with renewed resolve and determination.

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