Far away from Toatt Mining Town, close to the sea on the other side of the world, there was an island.
It wasn’t a large island. Its shape was a perfect circle like inside a compass. It was an island without any forests or caves, just numerous gentle hills.
On the hill at the center of the island was a huge castle surrounded by high walls.
It was an old-fashioned castle made by white bricks. Just how long has it been since it was built? Tangled ivy reached all the way to the huge castle’s spires. The sunlight dyeing the castle was soft. Both the sky and the wind seemed to lively applaud their creator. This castle stood on the hill, looking like it came out of an incredible oil painting.
That castle’s name was Bantorra Library. It was the world’s first library, built long ago by the Overseers of the world to accommodate the pasts of all people.
The castle and building on the surface were built by humans for the use of Armed Librarians and visitors. The real Library was a vast labyrinth spread beneath the castle. However, details of the labyrinth will have to wait for another opportunity.
In the center of the castle’s top floor, there was a wide room of about 30 square meters.
A vintage painting was hanging on the wall. It was a large portrait depicting the old days of the Creator deity and the Overseer of the Past. The emblem of a lock had been woven into the center of a high-quality yet weathered white carpet.
A woman was at the center of the room.
The woman tapped her shoulders while saying this.
“I want to kill them already.”
The woman said to herself.
“What are Luimon and the rest doing? If they won’t we’ll have to kill randomly.”
The woman said such horrible things calmly. Her tone didn’t indicate any sort of joke.
She was a strange woman. It was unclear if she was or wasn’t in her thirties.
She wore a washed-out shirt and men’s pants. She was a terribly plain woman dressed in rustic clothes. Apart from a black ribbon tying her dark hair and the figure of a rabbit clumsily sewn to her shirt’s right breast, she had no accessories. She also wore no makeup.
She was a plain woman you would expect to see in some rural town’s garden. She was one you would definitely overlook in a crowd of people even if you were searching for her.
But, because she was so simple and commonplace, it looked extremely strange for her to be inside this gorgeous room.
The woman was writing something while facing the small desk at the center of the room.
On the desk were several papers, several Books, and next to them a glass of milk and a pen stand. Another strange thing was the bundle of five stones lying on top of the desk. The crest of the Armed Librarian was engraved on each one.
This woman was known as Hamyuts Meseta.
Hamyuts Meseta, the Acting Director of Bantorra Library.
“You may enter.”
Hamyuts suddenly opened her mouth.
She spoke with a scruffy tone, extending the ending of her words in a weird way.
There was no-one inside the room.
But soon, she heard a voice from the other side of the door.
“Third-Grade Armed Librarian Mirepoc Finedell, entering.”
The door was opened following this clear female voice. A girl wearing what looked like a military uniform entered. She stood in front of Hamyuts’ desk stretching her slender back and aligning the heels of her shoes.
Her lemon-like blonde hair was cut short, and her face divided by the bridge of her nose was as stiff as that of a well-trained hound. Her uniform was fully buttoned up to the top, and there was not even one wrinkle on it. She looked like a superb soldier. A pendant engraved with the crest of the Armed Librarians was shining on her chest. Incidentally, because there were no regulations about the location of the mark, each Armed Librarian could decide for themselves where to put it.
“Since you went out of your way to come here, I assume you have some bad news.”
Hamyuts said. Mirepoc Finder nodded in silence. She puckered her lips, staring with strong and determined eyes at Hamyuts who was still in the midst of writing.
“Indeed. It is the worst news.”
“What could have happened?”
“Luimon-san is dead.”
Even hearing this, Hamyuts didn’t change her expression. She wasn’t angry or smiling, just meek and expressionless. It was a calm expression with no emotions behind it, like one had while reading a novel that wasn’t really interesting.
While hearing about the death of her subordinate, not even her eyebrows twitched.
Mirepoc continued the report.
“It happened during noon at Toatt Mining Town… at a tavern in the town. He was killed by bombs… which are presumably human bombs.
Since during that afternoon another bombing incident occurred, I believe the possibility of enemy forces being in Toatt Mining Town is high and I suggest that we immediately send some troops there.”
Hamyuts didn’t raise her face. Even though she appeared to be thinking, she also looked like she was absorbed in her writing.
It was hard for Mirepoc to talk to her. She didn’t know any other person whose emotions were so hard to read, so she couldn’t tell if Hamyuts was thinking about something or not thinking at all. Mirepoc resumed her report.
“Right now, including me there are four Third-Grade Armed Librarians ready for a sortie. If you’ll give the instructions, Acting Director, we’ll be able to depart within the hour.”
Hamyuts said calmly.
Mirepoc responded without thinking. Hamyuts grabbed the cup of delicious milk besides her and took a sip.
“Kids should stay inside and study. You’ll have a fun fieldtrip another time.”
Mirepoc hit the desk without thinking.
A little milk was spilled on the desk, and Hamyuts wiped it with her sleeve.
“What are you planning to do? We need to avenge Luimon-san!”
Hamyuts raised her eyes for the first time, looking at Mirepoc’s face. Her eyes looked like she was laughing, but her expression didn’t. Those terrifying eyes didn’t allow reading what she was thinking at all.
“I’m pretty sure I’ve taught you to separate killing from personal feelings. So you didn’t listen to me, huh Mirepo?”
Mirepoc took her words back. She had neither the authority nor the intention to defy Hamyuts.
“…So, what are we going to do?”
Hamyuts suddenly stood up.
With her sandals shaking, she headed towards the door close to Mirepoc. While walking, she said,
“I have a question for you, Mirepo. Among our troops that can be mobilized immediately…”
Hamyuts stopped and turned around.
“Who’s the best one at ‘massacring’?”
“Acting Director Hamyuts Meseta.”
Hamyuts who was turned towards Mirepoc grinned.
It was then that Mirepoc understood why Hamyuts was so calm.
Contrary to her plain appearance and words, Hamyuts Meseta was said to be the most aggressive God’s representative in history.
She always preferred going alone for a pre-emptive attack. She didn’t allow the enemy any demands or deals, and a battle resulting in her not having massacred the enemies was extremely rare. Because of her belligerent personality combined with overwhelming combat power, her inauguration as the Acting Director was once cancelled before.
Mirepoc decided the enemies should be decimated as revenge for Luimon. But for Hamyuts, this was the normal state of affairs.
The enemies will be killed. Even though Luimon died, her choice wasn’t any different.
“Call Mattalast. After that, send Bonbo and Matgowe an order to return just in case.”
Saying this, Hamyuts went out.
And, she said while turning back,
“Mirepo, what are you doing?”
“You’re coming too.”
Mirepoc ran behind Hamyuts in a hurry.
The two who left the room went down a long spiral staircase. Hamyuts, who was walking at the front, opened her mouth.
“So Luimon died, huh?”
“Well, it can’t be helped. It’s because he was weak.”
Hamyuts said in a hard-to-read tone as usual. Mirepoc recalled her distaste hearing those kinds of words.
Hamyuts calmly continued saying things that desecrated their allies and the dead.
“I told him he couldn’t continue this if he’s that weak. It’s just as I thought, it was obvious he would die.”
Mirepoc withstood the anger trembling inside her chest.
I know she’s a terribly ruthless person. But does she really need to speak like that?
“But, you know.”
“He was a good guy.”
Mirepoc couldn’t find any words to reply.
“It was quite a pity to give this job to such a person, right?”
After that, Hamyuts went silent.
Mirepoc who was walking behind could not see Hamyuts’s expression.
Was she holding back tears? Was she suppressing the anger in her body?
Or maybe, she was just keeping up her meek expressionless face?
Mirepoc couldn’t tell.
Exiting Bantorra Library, behind the castle were an airplane hangar and a runway.
The iron door of the hangar opened. Inside it, the propeller airplane was already warming up its engine.
Built in a rare cooperation of the Magic Agency and the Science Agency who were usually on bad terms, it was a propeller plane with a Magic Engine. Originally it had been Hamyuts’ personal possession, but was already used by all Armed Librarians.
After fueling the airplane and leaving a technician to inspect the cockpit, a lone man was standing next to the propeller plane.
It was a tall man wearing black hat low and dressed in a starched black frock coat. A little of his flaxen hair spilled out of his hat.
His name was Mattalast Ballory. His mark as an Armed Librarian was in the form of shiny buttons on his coat’s sleeves.
“Wow. That was fast.”
Hamyuts called out to him.
“So Luimon got offed, huh?”
That was all they talked about Luimon. Just how much meaning did their conversation hold? Did they just want to affirm the facts? Compared to those two who have seen death countless of times, the inexperienced Mirepoc couldn’t understand.
“Can we leave?”
“If the Director wishes to, but…”
“But what, did something happen?”
“Earlier, the Forecast Committee of the Magic Agency contacted us.”
“By the Forecast Committee you mean those weather report guys?”
The Forecast Committee was at the Magician’s Head Temple belonging to the Magic Agency, run by the federation of Oracular Magicians.
It was an eclectic of various Oracular Magicians gathered together, but most of their work nowadays was weather forecast.
“Yes. It seems a typhoon is heading towards Toatt mine.”
Hamyuts’ expression became slightly gloomy. Searching far and wide, there were only few things that could cause her such a reaction. Everybody knew that a typhoon was one of those few.
For Hamyuts, a strong wind was a weakness that she definitely couldn’t overcome.
“Mattalast-san. Is there a place in Toatt mine that the typhoon wouldn’t affect?”
Mirepoc said from behind.
“Mirepo’s on to something. Since Toatt Mine’s ground has a very strong elemental alignment, normally a typhoon shouldn’t pass through.”
“So what about what the weather forecast people said?”
“It’s just heading north for today.”
“So there’s no problem.”
“That’s right, but… It’s good that I heard about it. Just in case.”
Hamyuts thought for a while.
“If the only weapons they have are human bombs, I should be fine even if there’s a typhoon.”
“Probably. Since it’s you, Director, you’ll probably also be able to win bare-handed.”
Mattalast said with a straight face.
“Well, even if it comes, I’ll just run away until it passes. I’ll manage, so there’s no problem here.”
Saying this, Hamyuts jumped up and lightly landed inside the cockpit.
“Let’s go, everyone.”
Mirepoc and Mattalast got inside the cockpit.
The propeller started rotating noisily.
Colio returned to his room at a late hour.
The room’s lamp was not lit. Colio fumbled with the flint and ignited it.
Colio sat on the bed in the dimly lit room.
And then he noticed. Relia who should have been sleeping was gone.
Colio wondered if he went out for a walk like he did himself. But he soon noticed – only two bags were left.
He might have thrown away Hyoue’s belongings that were no longer needed. But Colio had the bad feeling it was more than that.
He went down the stairs and headed for the inn’s owner.
“What is it?”
The innkeeper looked at him annoyingly. She was probably ready to go to sleep.
“Where did Relia go?”
“Relia? Oh, that guy. He went out not a long ago.”
“It’s fine. He already paid.”
“…Did he check out?”
Colio said while suppressing his agitation.
Colio was stunned for a while.
He ran away. Relia ran away.
“Oh right, he also said the other one checked out. And what about you, boy?”
Colio said while turning his back to the innkeeper.
“I’ll remain here.”
Saying only this, Colio returned to his room.
The innkeeper seemed to be wary because two out of the three were suddenly gone. Furthermore, one of them left his luggage behind. She didn’t say anything, but he immediately understood she was suspecting them.
I might get kicked out of the inn, Colio thought. He then worried about where he would go to if he did get kicked out. Should he search for another inn, and where? Did he even have enough money? Since he was the only one remaining, he had to think by himself.
But it’ll be fine. Colio thought that he would just kill Hamyuts Meseta before getting kicked out, and his thought process stopped there.
I should go to sleep already, he thought.
He wrote inside the diary under the lamp’s light.
“Today I haven’t killed Hamyuts Meseta.”
Usually he would finish writing the entry like this. But, for the first time, Colio was continuing beyond that.
“Hyoue died. Relia ran away. And”
Colio’s pen stopped. He wasn’t sure if he should write about Calico Princess or not.
After thinking for a while, Colio crossed off the “and”.
This was the first time he was troubled over writing in the diary.