Chapter 1: Death and Despair
“Oh? You’re still alive, I see. I’ve already defeated the Demon Lord and am therefore no longer useful to you. I hope you die soon.”
Shin the Hero mumbles casually as if he’s making small talk, looking at the coughing Anastasia, who can’t get out of bed. Anastasia forgets for a moment about the pain that is torturing her and looks at Shin the Hero with a dumbfounded look on her face.
Anastasia was a magician in the hero’s party who contributed significantly to the fight against the Demon Lord. It was for the sake of Shin, her lover. Anastasia was ignored by everyone and was constantly referred to as unimpressive, ugly, and a failure, but only Shin the Hero told her that he liked her just the way she is. After defeating the demon lord, he also promised to marry her.
—Shin the Hero told me that only you could do it, so I cast a series of forbidden spells on my body, wrecking my body and magical circuits, and I also received the curse that the Demon Lord left in his final moments. As a result, my body aches all the time, I feel like I’m being crushed by pain, and I know I don’t have much time left. But what have you done to me after everything I’ve done? Anastasia hopes she misheard.
“She’s always been like a dead tree, but she’s gotten even worse—you could say she’s just an ugly skin that’s stuck to her bones. I’d rather die than become such a despicable sight.”
However, Shin’s words are met with more taunts as Anastasia’s sister, Jaymie, steps out from behind him. Anastasia’s younger sister, Jaymie, cuddles up to Shin. Unlike Anastasia, who had been referred to behind her back as a tall, thin, dead tree, Jaymie was petite and lovely and had been referred to as a pretty flower.
“Shin-sama will marry me. Unlike Oneesama, I won’t be embarrassed to stand next to Shin-sama because of my good looks—so you can die with peace of mind.”
The lovely younger sister spoke cruel words in a chirping bird voice. It was as if Anastasia’s heart had been ripped out of her chest, but it was also something she had half expected. A sister who lusted after Anastasia’s possessions would never let the hero who saved the world, the best of the spoils, escape. She refused to hear it. She wanted her to die, knowing nothing.
“Yes, I believe she will die soon. I found it odd that she didn’t die when we defeated the demon lord. But I suppose it’s just a little behind schedule—that’s a relief.”
Shin gives Anastasia a soft smile, unable to say anything or understand what he’s saying.
“What…what… do you mean?”
“After all, I had to become lovers with you in order to make you receive the Demon Lord’s forbidden curse on yourself—you’ve successfully received the demon lord’s curse and performed admirably—thank you kindly.”
He appears to have intended to use Anastasia as a throwaway stone from the start. Not only is this not the kind of language to speak to a lover, but it seems that even becoming a lover was calculated. Jaymie, who is standing next to Shin, looks down at Anastasia with contempt and a sense of superiority.
Anastasia realizes she has been used. She was frustrated and ashamed, but when she looked at Shin’s face, those feelings were replaced by an incomprehensible horror. Shin’s face was filled with compassion and gratitude, but it was cold. Shin talked to her in a casual and friendly way, even though he was talking to her in a heartless way.
She might have felt sad and angry if it had been a negative feeling, like Jaymie’s, but she could see it as a mockery of the stupidity of the person he had taken advantage of. And if he had felt guilty along with compassion and gratitude, Anastasia would have been satisfied. But there is none of that. There was no sense of guilt or apology. If you look closely, Shin’s eyes on Anastasia had a coldness that you would not expect to see in a person. It is a way of looking at things.
Anastasia suddenly remembered the practice wand she had used when she first began studying magic spells. She knew she wouldn’t need it one day, but she needed it then, and when it broke after a long period of use, she threw it away with a thank you: —I am exactly like that wand.
“You’ve completed your task. I thank you. I will put what you earned at the cost of your life to good use. Next time I’ll make Foster-kun my friend and you won’t be needed anymore. If I do meet you, you probably won’t be you, so I guess this is goodbye.
“From now on, I will be the “Magic Princess of Selestia.” Onesama must be overjoyed that her name has been taken over, as it was supposed to disappear. Shin-sama will be grateful that I will be a responsible wife to him.
As a result, the practice wand was discarded, and the sister appeared for the real thing. The “Magic Princess of Selestia” who helped the hero defeat the Demon Lord will not be Anastasia, but Jaymie. It’s plausible because Anastasia’s magic circuits are damaged, and she is unable to use magic anymore.
Anastasia will be lost in the mists of time. Nobody wants or requires her. Anastasia believes her life has been squandered, that everything she has worked for has been taken from her, and that she has been used and consumed.
At that moment, a sharp pain shot through her entire body. She can’t breathe anymore, and her vision blurs. The few remaining lights of life seem to have been extinguished by the shock.
“Oh, I think it is finally over. So, then… So… And… The start… I believe… I can’t wait… I’m looking forward to it…”
Shin’s cheerful voice can be heard faintly in her fading consciousness. Regret is the last thing on Anastasia’s mind. She is embarrassed and frustrated by her own inadequacy in not realizing he was such a man and in being so excited that he is her lover.
Driven by a rage that burns her from the inside out, Anastasia tries to scream “Traitor!” but that doesn’t work either. All that comes out of her mouth is an anguished exhalation. Unable to even make that happen, Anastasia is near death. If I had a wish, I would travel back in time to before I met him. And I’d like to change the way I’ve always been of service to him. But it’s too late, and Anastasia’s consciousness is cut off in despair as the last thing she sees is Shin’s holy sword.