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The Sage and The Sword Saint

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Chapter 1

The Forgotten Knight


The first thing that Reinhard noticed as he entered the prison cell of the presumed Sin Archbishop was the large amount of blood covering the floor. If not for the wheezing sounds coming from the corner of the room he would have no doubt believed that the owner of all that blood was dead.


The half dead boy was sleeping painfully on the ground and it was clear that he had cried himself to sleep. His clothes were torn and there were a number of scars on his body which seemed to have been recently closed by healing magic. Despite the way he was twisting and turning in his sleep, he must have been extremely tired, if even the sound of the metal door opening, which had loudly resonated throughout the underground layer, had failed to wake him up.


'What have you been doing, Ferris?'


Reinhard stood distressfully at the door in silence as he thought back to the incident that happened two months ago, after the Witch Cult attacked in Priestella. While he did not believe that the boy would be treated…… hospitably, he did not expect his own friends to go so far in their 'Interrogation'. He stood standstill thinking on what to say when the prisoner would wake up.





"Don't come closer, in fact. When you reek of miasma rivalling that of a Sin Archbishop, it's hard to believe your claims, I suppose."


"Beatrice, please believe me! I really am your contractor and Emilia-tan's knight. I am not a Sin Archbishop."


The strange black haired boy, who had appeared out of nowhere in front of her and Emilia, had pleaded to Beatrice as she readied herself to attack him.


"Beatrice-sama, what seems to be the matter here?", asked Reinhard, who had just arrived there from the shelter.


"Reinhard, it's me, Natsuki Subaru! You remember me, right? Sorry for being so useless. I know I told you that you could rely on me, but I guess I'm the one asking you to save me again. But……", he paused for sometime as if having an epiphany.


As the strange black-haired mean-eyed boy spoke to him, Reinhard felt a throbbing headache.


'And sorry for always relying on you. I’ll be relying on your strength, but…… I’ll also try to fill in any parts where you’re lacking, so please look forward to it.' When had this happened? He didn't remember it but those words had made him incredibly happy.


"That's right! ……If it's you, I'm sure you must have some sort of outrageous divine protection that lets you remember me! ----Please tell her I'm not lying. That my 'Name' was eaten by Gluttony and I'm not lying. Please Reinhard!"




"......Reinhard? You remember me, right?"






"I am sorry. I, ……I don't know who you are."


Reinhard apologetically answered the boy. He did not know anyone by the name of Natsuki Subaru. He had honestly never met him before.


".......It's alright, Reinhard. You can't do everything. I was just getting my hopes up.", Subaru responded dejectedly.


And yet, why did he feel so hurt on seeing the boy's face filled with sadness and fear? In addition, his divine protections had not detected any falsehoods in the boy's words. 


"B, Beako, you can still feel our contract, can't you? Don't you remember? You chose me in that burning mansion! Don't you remember all the fun moments we had with everyone? Emilia-tan, don't you remember? Please remember! Don't leave me now! After all I've done for you!"


Emilia's face scrunched up into a frown while Beatrice's anger grew the more he kept talking.


"Who gave you permission to call Betty by that strange name, I suppose? Betty has no contractor, in fact. Even if Betty had chosen someone, it will certainly never be someone as disgusting as you! Greed tried to take Emilia once already, I suppose! Betty will not make the same mistake again! I will not let anyone hurt Emilia again, in fact."


As tears began flowing down the boy's face, doubt began brewing in Reinhard on whether he really was a Witch Cultist as Beatrice said. Why did he care so much about someone he had never met before?


"Hey Rein, what's going on here?"


"Emilia-san, fill us in on what's going on here, will ya?"


"Don't make such a racket in my absence, commoners."


"That's your concern in this situation, Princess!?"


As the commotion outside the shelter grew, more people began coming out and gathering around the four, including the other candidates barring Crusch, who immediately began questioning upon seeing the scene.


The red haired knight turned to meet his liege's eyes, his confliction clear on his face. Felt followed his eyes as his gaze shifted from her to Subaru kneeling on the ground. However, before she could begin questioning him more, the silver haired candidate finally broke her silence.


"Anastasia-san, this person suddenly approached us and began claiming he is ……my knight and Beatrice's contractor. He said he had his 'Name' eaten. But we have reasons to believe that he is a Sin Archbishop."




Upon hearing Emilia, Julius and Wilhelm immediately brought out their swords, prepared to attack him should he try anything. Felix, on the other hand, in contrast to the two elegant swordsmen, was in complete shambles as he began marching towards the presumed Archbishop demanding answers.




"Ferris, wait!! Don't get too close! It's dangerous!", the purple haired knight called out to him as he pulled him back.




While all of this was going on, a helmeted man suddenly called out to Emilia, "Hey, Miss Half-Elf Princess, what makes you think he is a Sin Archbishop? In my opinion, this person looks like your average everyday person to me."


"Saying that while hiding behind Julius and Wilhelm-san doesn't seem very convincing, don't ya think?", Anastasia pointed out.


"Well, better safe than sorry!" As Al responded as he turned towards Priscilla, only to find her glaring at Anastasia.


"Big Sis, Beatrice-chan, honestly, I have the same question? Why do you think he's a Sin Archbishop?", Felt repeated Al's question. There was no practical evidence incriminating him as an Archbishop besides the words of the half elf and the Spirit. Yet, almost everyone had simply accepted it as fact. 


"We intercepted the Sin Archbishop of Wrath and a blond girl, who were trying to escape the city, in fact. We failed to stop them, I suppose. But before they escaped, this person arrived there and we heard the blonde girl call him Pride, in fact."


Everyone's guard went up with what seemed to be confirmation for Beatrice's claim about him being a Sin Archbishop. With the exception of a few who were unsure of the fact, others got ready to attack him in case he tried something suspicious.


One of the few exceptions was Priscilla whose eyes widened. Al noticed her walking towards the mean-eyed boy. "Hey Princess, where are you going? Don't go too close-"


"Shut up, Al!", ordered Priscilla as she opened her fan and hit his helmet. "Fools who do not know anything should just shut their mouths.", she muttered inaudibly. Then bringing the fan in front of her face, she shifted her gaze towards the crying boy kneeling on the ground as she approached closer to him; her expression was unreadable behind the fan as she continued to be unusually quiet, in contrast to her usually pompous self. 


However, in contrast to Priscilla's calm demeanor, Reinhard panicked.


"Please wait, Beatrice-sama! This is the first I'm hearing of this. Is this true?". Reinhard asked the raven haired boy. Subaru flinched, but began answering----


"Yeah, but-"


"I see. In that case, I suggest we take him with us to the Capital and have the Royal Knights interrogate him. We may find a cure for the victims of the Witch Cult, including Crusch-sama."


----only to be interrupted by the purple haired knight.


"Hey wait! He wasn't done answering yet! Let him talk, damn it! Who the hell is this blonde girl and why should we trust anything she said?", Felt stepped in front of Julius to prevent him from going any closer.


"Felt-sama, I believe the blonde girl in question is the same person we met during our fight with Gluttony, the third Sin Archbishop of Gluttony. When Ricardo and I managed to corner Roy Alphard, he suddenly morphed into her. She called herself Louis Arneb and claimed she was his younger sister. She felt if the fight continued any longer, Alphard would lose and so she would be running away." He paused for a bit as he gripped the hilt of his sword. "We tried to chase after her but unfortunately, she slipped away. It was our carelessness that led to her escape.", he spoke with regret.


"That still doesn't answer my question. Why should we believe her when she said he is Pride? If she is Gluttony, she really could have eaten his name." Surprisingly, it seemed that Priscilla seemed to agree with Felt.


"That's because before she escaped, we had caught her saying this: the Gospel had instructed the two of them to rescue Wrath as everyone else was already gone."




"Felt-sama, if she is one, who is the second? He was the only other person who was present when Wrath was escaping. And he was identified as Pride in front of the Great Spirit. I am certain she was talking about him at that moment."


Felt still wasn't convinced. She felt that the people accusing him were being incredibly biased based on a suspicion and were simply presenting her evidence condemning him, when he hadn't even done anything until now.


"I see. Felt-chan, ya heard my knight. If I had to guess, that girl and this child here are probably responsible for breaking Wrath out. This child, …Pride here is probably distracting us from going after Wrath and probably taking advantage of this confusion caused due to the 'Nameless' to probably avoid suspicion and escape.", Anastasia theorised as she lightly stroked her scarf.


"That damned Fox Woman should really stop talking!", both Subaru and Priscilla reflexively muttered in annoyance under their breath in unison, while Al simply nodded at them. 


Having seemingly heard each other make the same comment, Priscilla looked at the raven haired boy in amusement, while Subaru panicked over his subconscious comment being heard.


The only other people to have heard their comment were Reinhard and Felt, who looked at the two in bewilderment.


But before Felt turned around to ask them what they meant by that, Beatrice continued in her accusation of the mean eyed boy.


"And that's not all. He reeks of miasma, in fact. The miasma around him is the same, if not greater than that of a Sin Archbishop, I suppose. That is proof that he has an Authority and is a Sin Archbishop, in fact."


"----", the boy simply stared at her in despair, unable to defend himself.


"What is an Authority, Beatrice-sama?", Julius asked.


"It's those disgusting abilities that the Archbishops have, I suppose. This Cultist definitely has it."


"Hey, do ya have an Authority? Don't try to lie. Reinhard here can detect lies, ya know?", Anastasia questioned.


"Wait! It's a misunderstanding! I swear I am not a Sin Archbishop! That girl, Louis Arneb, ate my 'Name'! I really am Emilia's knight-"


"Please stop!", a bell-like voice chimed in anger.


"Wh, what…?", Subaru stumbled in shock as he turned his gaze to the owner of the voice. 


"Please stop calling yourself my knight! I don't have a knight, but if there's anyone I can call that, it's Garfiel. He's worked reeeeally hard for the past year. When the city was under attack by your people, he fought his hardest to save Mimi and everyone else. I will not allow you to diminish his hard work and his achievements, villain!"


As he listened to all this, Subaru looked completely heartbroken as all his hopes were dashed.


"Ya didn't answer my question. Do ya have an Authority?", Anastasia repeated her question.


"B, Beatrice, please believe me! I know you can feel it as well! Our contract!", Subaru defended himself desperately.


"----This is your Authority, isn't it? To force a one-sided contract onto someone without their consent, I suppose.", Beatrice fumed. "How dare you, I suppose! HOW DARE YOU FORCE A CONTRACT ON A SPIRIT LIKE BETTY AND HUMILIATE HER, IN FACT!! MINYAAA!!"


As Beatrice incanted the spell, purple crystals began flowing out of her hands towards the raven haired boy. As he saw the Minya crystals approaching, "Why, Beatrice?", sobbed Subaru as he closed his tear-filled eyes and clutched his chest. Any contract that had existed between them had been broken by Beatrice as she shot the purple crystals at him.


Many voices could be heard in the background. Ferris was screaming, Felt was panicking, and Emilia, Julius and Wilhelm simply watched silently. 


But before the spell could kill him----


"Reinhard!" "Reinhard-dono!" "Sword Saint!"


----Reinhard saved him. 


Before he knew it, Reinhard had gotten in the way of the incoming attack and had defended the raven-haired boy. He didn't know why, but his body had moved even before he could have thought about it. Almost everyone was convinced that Subaru was a Sin Archbishop, including the Great Spirit. There was evidence pointing towards it. Yet, why couldn't he bring himself to believe it? All of Reinhard's instincts were screaming at him that the boy in front of him was a good person. 


"What is the meaning of this, I suppose! Are you trying to defend a Sin Archbishop, in fact?"


"Reinhard……", Felt whispered in pity as she watched her knight try to protect the boy. 


Priscilla simply smirked at the scene. "It looks like the Sword Saint and her Master are the only ones here capable of thinking for themselves."


"Sword Saint Reinhard-dono, the Great Spirit herself has confirmed that this person is an Archbishop. Even with this knowledge, you continue to protect him.", the old butler of the Crusch Camp spoke up upon witnessing the events, a hate filled glare directed towards his grandson.


"......Grandfather, I,... I don't know.... I'm just doing what I feel is right.", after much hesitation, Reinhard replied.


Wilhelm then turned to face Subaru. His expression changed from pity to disgust as he turned to Reinhard before he began speaking,


"Reinhard-dono, you feel protecting this Archbishop, verified by the Great Spirit herself, is right? You feel that this Cultist deserves to be saved and your grandmother deserved to be killed? ----You truly are a monster.", the last part muttered inaudibly that even Reinhard couldn't hear him.




While everyone looked around in confusion, all Reinhard could do was guiltily stare at the ground.


"If I may, Reinhard-dono, by aiding him, not only are you directly opposing most of the candidates present here and hindering the recovery of my master and the others afflicted by the Witch Cult, you are also putting your Lady and those you care about in danger!"


"Reinhard, you are too kind. So kind that you feel the need to protect everyone. But don't get caught in his act! He is a Sin Archbishop, verified by the Great Spirit herself. Please move aside so we can take him.", Julius appealed to Reinhard.


As Reinhard continued to be at a standstill, Julius walked past him towards Subaru. "I'm sorry, Beatrice-sama, but since the other Sin Archbishop escaped, we cannot kill him yet. We'll need to take him for interrogation."


"......Fine, I suppose.", Beatrice reluctantly agreed.


But before he could reach him----


"Stop right there, commoner! I have decided, this fool is coming with me.", Priscilla spoke as she blocked his approach.


"Eh!?", both Subaru and Al's jaw dropped at her declaration while everyone else looked at her with wide eyes.


"Princess, what are you thinking!? He is an Arch-!"


"I told you to shut up!", Priscilla smacked his helmet once more.


"Priscilla, why are you helping me?", Subaru questioned her, unsure of her intentions.


Priscilla silently looked at him in annoyance for some time. And then she whispered the words to him before turning around and facing everyone. Subaru's eyes widened upon hearing her words.


"You were unusually quiet during this entire discussion and now you want to take him? Is it love at first sight or something?", Anastasia joked.


"Don't you dare talk to me, fox woman!", Priscilla fumed. "All of you fool's long-winded blather could not be more tedious. I have decided to take this clown with me. So just move aside and let me take him.", she declared.


"Priscilla-sama, please move aside! Unfortunately, we need that piece of garbage to heal Crusch-sama. Because of these cultists, Crusch-sama is suffering. I will definitely find a way to heal her! Crusch-sama is…….", Ferris rambled on and on like a madman but Priscilla completely ignored him.


"Priscilla-sama, if I may, at least three out of five Camps here are in agreement that he should be taken for interrogation. If you continue to protect a Sin Archbishop, it will gravely affect your candidacy.", Julius spoke before being followed up by Anastasia.


"That's right! Let's not forget about the fact that Wrath was supposed to be captured by you, but she escaped. And knowing your personality, it seems strange you are protecting someone. A Sin Archbishop at that. It seems extremely suspicious, don't you think?"


Almost everyone turned to look at Priscilla suspiciously at Anastasia's insinuation. 


"----tch", Priscilla clicked her tongue as she glared at everyone.


"Do whatever you want for now, commoners.", she spoke furiously. "This world is designed to operate in the way that works best for me. So it's a given that even if you take him now, he will come to me someday." With that she stormed off angrily as Al followed behind her. "Al, let's go now! I do not wish to be involved with any of these disgusting pigs any longer." 


Julius restrained Subaru and handed him over to Ferris, who had a dark glint in his eyes and began smiling maniacally.


"Don't worry, dear Cultist~! Ferri-chan will take really good care of you~!"


Both Reinhard and Subaru flinched as they heard Ferris speak. Felt just watched the cat-eared knight take the boy away with disgust. 


Reinhard thought of what else he could do in this situation, but his thoughts were suddenly interrupted.


"In case interrogating that child doesn't work, I have a proposal.", Anastasia suddenly spoke up gathering everyone's attention.


"What do you have in mind, Anastasia-san?", asked Emilia.


"----The Sage Shaula."


"What?", murmurs could be heard going around the crowds as they began discussing Anastasia's proposal. 


"In case the Archbishop refuses to help, to save the victims of the Witch Cult as well as proving the Cultist's guilt, if they're the person of legend who knows everything about the world, it wouldn't be strange if they can fix everything, right? It will also put Reinhard's mind at ease. ----Let's make a group of people to head to the 'Pleiades Watchtower'. What do you think?"


"------------", everyone looked at each other doubtfully.


"I am fine with it, Anastasia-san. Let's do it.", Emilia was the first to break the silence and agree to the proposal.


Anastasia then turned to Felt. Felt hesitated a bit before finally responding, "Fine, I guess." She then walked towards Reinhard and told him, "Reinhard, …you should go." 




"This incident has left a really bad taste in my mouth. I don't want to think about it anymore.", Felt continued as she looked up at him. "I'll go back home with Gaston and the others. You remain here and see what you can do about the victims." 


"But Felt-sama-"


"You've already failed in getting to the Watchtower once, right? Well succeed this time save everyone like you're supposed to for once.", Felt punched him weakly in the stomach. 


As she walked away, Felt looked bitterly at everyone who were taking away the raven haired boy. She felt disappointed at the people she called her friends after they tried to throw Reinhard and Priscilla to the wolves, when all they were trying to do was defend someone who was being condemned simply because the Great Spirit said so. All the others had done was search for evidence that were in agreement with what Beatrice had said and refused to let him speak.


As Reinhard watched Felt leave, he couldn't help but feel he had disappointed her.


Reinhard vowed that he would do everything right the next time he met her.


And so, they had organised a team with Reinhard, Wilhem, Emilia, Beatrice, and Anastasia and headed for the Pleiades Watchtower. Julius had wanted to go with Anastasia, but had to remain behind to transport Subaru to the Capital, while Ferris was transporting Crusch.


At first, they had made good progress. Anastasia had revealed that she had a spirit with her that knew the way. However, after one day of travelling in the Augria Sand Dunes, they realised the tower was not getting any closer. 


Anastasia had theorised that the Sage had some mechanism in place, probably some kind of spatial distortion to avoid people from reaching the tower. She guessed that they might be able to reach the tower by breaking through Sand Time. However, after weeks of attempting to break through, they had to return empty handed.





Reinhard had come to visit Subaru as soon as he had returned, only to be greeted by the sight of the half-dead boy sleeping painfully on the floor. 


As he continued to be lost in his own thoughts----


"Reinhard?", a weak voice called out to him. Subaru had stirred awake and was looking at him with his eyes widened.


As Subaru got up into a sitting position, his now slightly longer, unkempt hair brushed across his face, and Reinhard noticed that they had begun turning white. The mean eyed boy winced in pain as he used his scar-ridden arms to get up. As he tried to move further backwards, his back hit against the wall. His face was contorted in fear, as he folded his legs inwards and wrapped his hands around them. 


"......It seems you have woken up, ...Subaru." 


"What are you doing here, Reinhard?", with his voice laced with suspicion, Subaru asked Reinhard.


"........I'm sorry.", was the only reply he could muster out. 




The confused white-haired boy stared at Reinhard for a while, before finally relaxing. He steadily got up and began limping towards Reinhard. As he got closer, Reinhard wondered what Subaru was trying to do. Then, to Reinhard's complete surprise, Subaru began patting his head. 


"It's alright, Reinhard. I'm here, so tell me what's wrong." 


".......Everything is fine. Why would anything be wrong?"


"It's just, you look like you're about to cry."




That's when tears began flowing down Reinhard's face and he truly did begin to cry.


Reinhard felt even more guilty. He truly was the worst. Subaru was the one in pain. He was hurt so badly that he could hardly stand, and yet, it was Reinhard that was crying. He quickly wiped away his tears and faced Subaru. 


"Are you alright now, Reinhard?", Subaru asked as he stopped patting him and put his hand down, and Reinhard couldn't help but feel disappointed. 


"I am fine now. I'm sorry-"


"I'm going to stop you right there. Someone who was important to me once told me that it's better to hear a thank you rather than a thousand sorrys.", Subaru paused, and then heartbrokenly continued, "She doesn't really remember me anymore though."


Reinhard looked worriedly at him. He didn't have any words of comfort so he just said, "Thank you."


Subaru smiled weakly and once again repeated his question,


"Why are you here, Reinhard? Honestly, I did not think Ferris and Julius would have let you in so easily. I mean, you were trying to protect me back in Priestella."


"No one is here right now. Our group has just returned from the trip to the Watchtower, so Julius and Ferris have gone to meet up with Anastasia-sama and…. Wilhelm-sama. So, no one knows I'm here."


Subaru pretended to not notice the pause before he addressed Wilhelm and instead asked him, "Watchtower?"


"The Sage's Watchtower."


Subaru tilted his head at the mention of a place he had never heard of before.


"You don't know the Sage's Watchtower?", Reinhard asked incredulously.


"I might have heard of it but can't seem to recall it. I'm actually a foreigner. I don't know too much about this place to be honest."


"I see. ….It doesn't matter anyways. We failed to reach the tower.", Reinhard said dejectedly. "This is the second time I've failed. No matter how much I travel, I can not seem to reach the tower."




"I…. didn't know how to face Felt-sama after disappointing her once again, and I don't know who else to talk to. So I came here. I am aware of how strange this sounds and I don't know why, but…. I thought I could rely on you.", Reinhard suddenly felt a headache as he spoke the last part. 


'For you… that would be no problem at all. ----Right, I will look forward to it. You filling in for me… the parts that I cannot reach.', who had he said those words to and when?


".....I'm happy you feel that way talking with me. But I really think you should talk it out with Felt as well. I don't think she would be disappointed-", as he was talking, Subaru suddenly stumbled and quickly propped himself against the wall.


"You don't mind if I sit down, right? I'm not really in a condition to be standing right now. Well, I'm not really in a condition where I could sit as well. But it'll have to do.", Subaru laughed weakly as he bent down to sit on the blood covered floor. This reminded Reinhard of a question he had been wanting to ask ever since he entered the prison cell.


"What happened here? Is all that blood yours?"


Subaru froze. 


"It's nothing, Reinhard. You should really talk to Felt-"


"I don't believe you are a bad person. Despite what Beatrice-sama said, I couldn't bring myself to believe it."


".......You really believe me?", Subaru asked in disbelief. Drops of tears rolled down his cheeks and fell into the puddle of blood on the floor.


"I have been talking to you all this time and you only ask me this question now? I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe you, Subaru.", Reinhard chuckled. 


Subaru let out a small laugh as he wiped his tears. As he wept, Reinhard stood quietly by his side, waiting for him to speak.


"You know, I really thought I would die here, after being betrayed by my own allies again. I was so scared! All this time, I was begging for someone, anyone to save me! But no help came. It hurt so much!"


The Sword Saint continued to listen to him as he cried his heart out.


"You have no idea how much just having you believe in me made me happy. It's not much, but it still saved me. Thank you for saving me, Reinhard."


"Not yet!", Reinhard stopped him.


"Huh?", Subaru exclaimed in bafflement. 


Reinhard smiled as the perplexed look on his face gave him a great deal of satisfaction. He walked closer to the white haired boy and lifted him into his arms, holding him in a princess carry.


"Don't thank me, yet! I still haven't saved you. ….I hope Felt-sama won't be mad if I brought a guest home today."


"Eh!?", Subaru blushed as he squirmed around in the arms of the handsome red haired knight. However, this ended up opening up some of his freshly closed wounds and he ended up grunting in pain. 


"Please don't move so much. Your wounds seem to be opening up. Also, try not to make much noise. The guards outside are drunk and asleep. We don't want them to wake up."


"Is this really alright? Won't you get into trouble with the Knights?", Subaru asked in concern. 


"It won't be a problem if they never find out it was me.", Reinhard winked as he walked out the cell and leaped into the air. 


The boy in his arms, finally safe from the horrors he had faced in the prison cell, relaxed as they made their way to the place that he would learn to call home.