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[Claude POV]
The reminiscence is over, and Orsted is unaffected by the memory. Though surprised by the way I show him, he’s not surprised by the information.
“Did things like this already happen in one of your loops?” I asked.
Orsted nodded at my words and turned his back.
“Can you tell me what’s happening within the labyrinth?”
He refused to answer my question and turned away from me. As he moved away, Silent Sevenstar followed behind.
For him to refuse to answer means that it’s something involving the six-faced world’s history. Seeing him like this, I feel like I understand something about the labyrinth.
“Is it something linked with Hitogami?” I said, looking at his back, I continued, “That must be another possible future where you succeed in defeating Hitogami, right?”
He turned back and stared at me, “You seem to have more knowledge than I know…”.
I feel the pressure within those gazes, the curse heavily afflicting me again.
Orsted just squinted his eyes and went away.
..
.
[N POV]
As Orsted moves further, the pressure Claude receives lessens. Charizard and Ash felt more than Claude did. They are unable to talk; even breathing is hard.
Looking at Claude’s back, Ash can’t help but feel ashamed.
“I’m useless…” Ash muttered, leaning his body against Charizard. Ash clenched his fist hard.
Isolte was awakened at a certain point. She looks towards Claude’s trembling body. ‘he used all he could to have a conversation with that monster. That’s something I can’t do. Even though I’m angry at him for what he did to Grandma, I can’t stand looking at him alone.
Fear and trepidation are felt by Isolte, Eris, and Ruijerd.
The mountain before them is steep; there’s no way they can defeat that person.
“Graaaaa!”
Claude suddenly yelled.
That shout was filled with rage and disappointment.
Claude never expected this answer from Orsted. He even planned all he could to deal with any situation.
All the things that happened were completed smoothly, although the last step was Orsted’s acknowledgment. Then, they will plan together to deal with the future problem.
This is what Claude expected, but he was denied.
Orsted didn’t even say anything about his reason. Just leave him alone.
Even if he was mad, he would never choose to act hastily. Even if there are 2000 Arbalest personnel outside, he can’t order them to commit suicide. He would never let them do a suicidal mission.
Claude is the leader. He’s the one leading the group.
If he loses his sanity, everything will start to crumble like a sand castle.
Slap!
He slapped his cheeks and stood up.
“Damn it!” Claude clenched his fist and slashed towards the ground.
The Touki surrounding him condensed as he slashed the swords into the sky. The cloud was split in half.
Glancing at the sky, Orsted muttered, “The youngest Sword King in history… what an amusing person.”
Nanahoshi Shizuka stared towards the sky and wondered if the child younger than her was doing that to the sky.
“What a frightening place…”
..
filled with rage, fury, and disappointment. Claude ordered everyone in Arbalest to go back, leaving Eris, Ruijerd, Rudeus, Isolte, and Reida.
Seeing 2000 people marching down the mountain, every territory lord kept their stance, and the soldiers were standing on guard at the borders.
The mages and sword masters are horrified.
They can see the mana and aura surrounding those 2000 people. There’s no way they can survive if they choose to assault the territory. Practitioners with intermediate and higher ranks are the ones who can use aura and mana in their bodies.
Even in a war between kingdoms, seeing 1000 intermediate ranked is rare.
In this medieval age setting, an army of 2000 is a massive amount. You can find a beginner master within 10 people and an intermediate within 100, but an advanced rank? Even in a town, finding one is a piece of luck for the territory owner.
Most advanced masters are adventurers. In fact, a Saint grade and above master was something only the Royal Knights had.
Even if he’s mad, Claude still keeps his sanity in check. He refused to act like a madman.
After realizing the dread his army created, he stopped the march and ordered them to scatter and go back to the headquarter in a group of 10.
Ash stood atop a Charizard that was walking on the ground. Looking at the calm Claude, he asked, “What do we do now?”
Staring at the scattering members, Claude reminded “Survive like always…” He looked towards the horizon and said, “Trying our best to stay alive.”
From the current location to the capital of Asura, it took 2 weeks for the members of Arbalest. For Claude and Ash, however, it will only take them 2 days.
Since there’s a flying vehicle named Charizard…
(Ars HQ–Asura Kingdom)
“So, the Dragon God didn’t play as per the script, right?” Mike said, while reading the document in his hand.
It was in the office of the leader. Mike was doing the thing he always did.
Glancing at the duo in front of him, Mike chuckled. “Be thankful he doesn’t beat you to death.”
Ash ignored Mike, while Claude grunted.
“Never seen you make that face. You really are irritated by the response it seems.” Mike continued to sign the paper while reading the next one carefully.
Claude yelled, “Wouldn’t you normally agree with me when I said that the world would be in a pinch?” Heck, why the hell did he refuse to even reason with me? “
“Chill bro, it’s not like we can stay under that pressure… Are you sure Rudeus can even have a normal conversation with that thing? ” Ash could still remember the trauma when they met with Orsted. He can’t help but tremble when he feels the pressure.
“Even Charizard is still in a panic. This plan of yours isn’t safe.” Ash complained.
Scratching his head, Claude reasoned, “I’ve already shared the vision with you. The only person that can deal with the labyrinth is that man…”
“Knowing that he wasn’t surprised when talking about the labyrinth, he might already know about the thing.” There must be something he hid from us… ” Claude added.
Pointing the pen towards Claude, Mike uttered his opinion. ” Or, he might already know that answering you might muddy the water. We can presume that he already acknowledged the tragedy and prepared for it himself, knowing that cooperating with us was unnecessary. “
Ash nodded his head, while Claude scratched his chin.
“That’s a good point,” Claude replied.
When he thought of it in another way, Mike’s answer was more plausible. He didn’t really need to increase the victim count, and it’s not like he can live in the HQ since his curse will literally make the people around him useless.
Feeling it first hand made Claude realize that the curse inflicting Orsted wasn’t the same as the one Ruijerd had.
More time is necessary to have the curse abate.
“Either way, the next question is… should we inform the other God title holder?” Mike asked, and continued to work on his paper.
That question made Claude stop talking and start to think of any plausible scenario. The only place where it’s safe is the location near the Dragon God, since his surroundings are safe from the detection of Hitogami.
Rudeus is useless since he’s always being spied on by Hitogami.
Hitogami is also another crook that has a deal with Geese, as far as he knows. There must be a person or two God rank holders that collaborate with Hitogami. That means he can’t talk about it without holding back.
Unable to come up with a decision, Claude said, “Let’s make a vote…”
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Mushoku Tensei FF Chapter 68: Orsted’s Decision

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