“I wonder if it was a mistake coming out.”
Relia muttered. Maybe he should have stayed with Colio and tried getting found by Hamyuts.
But there was no point thinking about it. He couldn’t retreat now.
A man who walked next to Relia bumped into his shoulder. He could smell a perfume coming from him. Relia thought it was a woman for a moment, but looking at his face it was definitely a man.
The one who bumped into him was a man with a surprisingly handsome face. With his ephemeral appearance and smell drifting in the wind, he almost appeared like a cross-dressing woman.
The man’s carefully groomed long hair lay on his back. He wore his three-piece black suit well, and the leather bag hanging from his arm was decorated by silverwork. His body was slender and well suited to what he wore. He had an elegant and graceful figure.
The man looked surprisingly aged. He seemed to be somewhere over thirty, nearing forty. But, he still felt younger than the shabby Relia even despite this.
“You should be more careful, young man.”
The man said. He didn’t look like he fit in this run-down town. No matter how you looked at him, he didn’t have the body suitable for manual labor at the mines. He looked like a man with money and status. He might have been an Armed Librarian. Relia thought this while staring at the man’s face.
“You don’t look like a person from around here. Where did you come from?”
The long-haired man said suddenly. Relia was surprised he immediately struck a conversation with him.
“Umm, I’m just touring, and looking for someone.”
“In such a place? Interesting.”
For some reason, the man seemed interested in Relia. Relia found it bit unnatural, but he didn’t think about it too deeply.
“Are you perhaps related to the recent bombing incidents?”
Relia was surprised.
“Hahaha, you look so alarmed.”
The man grinned.
“Can you perhaps come and talk with me for a bit? I didn’t confirm it, but you’re probably Relia.”
“How do you know my name?”
“Because it is important.”
The man said this and raised his index finger. It was then that Relia realized the man came to speak with him since the very beginning.
“Who are you?”
“You may call me Cigal. My occupation… well, it varies. Right now I’m working at a pharmaceutical company.”
The two walked together, heading towards a nearby tavern.
The tavern Cigal led Relia was very quiet, or in other words, not very popular. It sold only cheap liquor and very little cuisine, and it also had no women. That place didn’t look fitting for Cigal, but Relia didn’t have any problem with it.
Cigal brought the glass of beer he ordered to his mouth and talked to Relia.
“You were supposed to come here with some allies. Where are they?”
Relia felt amazed at how much this man knew. As he thought, that man was probably related to Hamyuts Meseta’s assassination. He wondered if Hamyuts also had that kind of intelligence network.
“Three of us came to this town. One died yesterday, and one is at the inn… should be, at least.”
Relia answered honestly.
Cigal’s face looked slightly upset.
Cigal, placing his hand on his chin, was thinking.
“Don’t worry about it. Rather than that, I believe you want to talk with me about something?”
Relia was surprised at this person seeing through him.
“You may not know much about it, Cigal-san, but let me tell you my story. I – no, we – were being kept by some organization for a long time.”
He had plenty to talk about. But, after about five minutes, Cigal stopped his story short.
“I roughly know about your circumstances.”
As Relia thought, this person knew almost everything that he also knew.
“There’s no mistake. It’s the Indulging God Cult.”
“So it was those Indulging God Cult guys as I thought.”
“Do you know them?”
“Only that name.”
Cigal stroked his chin with a clean finger, contemplating.
“I wonder if we should really be talking about it…”
After thinking for a while, Cigal spoke.
“Anything about the Indulging God Cult is heavily classified information – meaning it’s a crime even just knowing about it. You’re going to get your memory erased on top of getting sent to jail. And you want to hear about them in more detail as well… is that really fine?”
“I don’t mind. I already gave up on this life.”
After saying this, a question suddenly came to Relia’s mind.
Thinking about it, who exactly was this man?
It was around the same time that Relia and Cigal came to the tavern.
Hamyuts Meseta’s group flew for a distance of about 5000 kilometers towards Toatt Mining Town.
The propeller plane continued flying and emitted smoke from the Magic Engine in its rear. In the back seat, Hamyuts was turning the knob of a radio.
Mirepoc was next to her. The one piloting was Mattalast.
“Director, do you want to hear music?”
“No, I’m checking the weather report.”
Hamyuts was talking about the typhoon.
“Did you know? A typhoon comes close to the Toatt region once every ten years. But it seems there had been no direct hit during the last century.”
“I know. It’s such a bad timing. Even if it’s me, I’m helpless against a typhoon.”
They started hearing the cold voice of the announcer mixed with background noises.
“…While gathering power on the high seas, the great typhoon ‘Captain Choke’ is heading eastward. The Science Agency declared the emergency scale as growing above “Queen Watorre”-level into the maximum “King Bawely”-level. We’re doing our best to keep our observation. Moreover, the thirty-three people congress of the Oracular Magicians unanimously predicts it will keep on moving eastwards. The Science Agency’s research stations also seem to support this notion.”
“What do you think, Matt? You’re an Oracular Magician too, after all.”
“You can’t rely on me for that.”
Mattalast complained. His Predictive Magic had some specifics to it.
His specialty was using handguns, so his Predictive abilities were low-grade. He could see up to two seconds of the future at the most. More than that and he would only be able to give a simplified weather forecast.
“Well, I don’t think it’ll come though. But the future is unstable.”
“You sure aren’t very clear.”
“Please don’t say that. Someone like me is normal. It’s that woman who’s the exception among exceptions.”
“Moreover, it should be noted that the course is expected to slowly change away from the Toatt region due to its powerful ground’s force field and head to the north, where the force field is weaker.”
The radio said the same things as Mattalast did before.
“Well, it seems to be fine.”
Saying this, Hamyuts switched off the radio.
“Seems to be.”
Hamyuts looked up at the cloudy sky.
“Come to think of it, that woman never once in her life had to worry about ‘Should I bring an umbrella today?’ and things like that.”
“Probably. I’m also like that, though.”
“I wonder how prescient people feel. What about you, Mattalast?”
Mattalast shook his head.
“I don’t know. That woman is orders of magnitudes above me. I have no idea about thousand years from now.”
“The Ever-Laughing Witch, huh… I wonder if she predicted what we’re doing as well.”
“She might have.”
“I wonder what that woman thought about.”
They seemed to lose interest in their chatter.
“A whole year had already passed.”
Mattalast said, his tone becoming serious.
“…Seems like it’s going to be a long fight.”
While saying this, Hamyuts began thinking about long past events as well as their current battle.
A year ago, in the fall of 1923, Hamyuts Meseta led a squad of Armed Librarians to assault a ship anchored at Allow bay, east of the Ismo Republic.
It was the base of a terror organization found and investigated by the Ismo Republic. The President of the Ismo Republic entrusted the mission to the highly combat-able Armed Librarians.
Their strategy which was thought to easily wrap up the whole business was met with unexpected problems.
A powerful barrier being erect from the ship to its outside completely camouflaged it.
While trying to penetrate this barrier, the Magicians of the Armed Librarian squad were attacked by people. About a dozen men wearing life jackets pretended to surrender themselves to the ship Hamyuts was riding in, and then exploded. The second wave of human bombs came to attack the Armed Librarians who were thrown into the ocean.
Six hours later, there were no enemies left. There were one casualty and six wounded on the Armed Librarians’ side. For them, this was a rare result.
The Armed Librarians that somehow took control of the situation rushed onboard.
And what they found there seemed unbelievable.
More than one hundred people were kept inside the ship. They weren’t just on the ship. They were being kept inside. They were pushed inside a narrow stone room, living among the smell of dirt and feces. There was nothing in the room, not even a bed, except a bucket with bait inside it and moldy bread crumbs thrown around.
The people kept inside couldn’t understand their situation and had low intelligence. Most of them had their spirit destroyed to the extent they couldn’t even use human speech.
They were called Meats. They received the same treatment as cattle or chickens. They were human livestock; pigs wearing a man’s skin.
Even for the Armed Librarians, who witnessed countless scenes of carnage, their appearance was nauseating.
The terrorists were treating them as useful tools. Some of them were used for medical experiments, some of them were made living bombs, and some were used as bait for wild animals.
From the memoirs left behind by the terrorists, Hamyuts knew that the Indulging God Cult was involved. They weren’t an organization acting alone, but a subordinate organization of the Indulging God Cult.
The Indulging God Cult was an illegal cult that all nations as well as the Armed Librarians have tried to crack down using all of their efforts. Even just knowing about it – let alone joining it – was against the law. The Books of people involved with the Indulging God Cult were sealed under more than four levels, and all of the “Indulging God Cult” entries in the world’s encyclopedias were being censored by the top ranks.
All public organizations, starting with the Armed Librarians, have tried to crack them down for a long time.
The Indulging God Cult had just one doctrine.
“Man and God are one and the same, thus thy soul is the soul of God.
Thy happiness is the happiness of God, and thy grief is the grief of God.
Thy only purpose is to fulfill thyself. All is for God’s sake.”
On the basis of this one doctrine, all of their desires for money, glory, food, sex, domination, destruction and many more have been justified.
Also, they denied the existence of any law or order interfering with the achievement of their desires, mocking concepts like justice and equality and declaring concepts like kindness, romantic love, familial love and camaraderie as worthless.
For them, every action to fulfill their desires was legitimate, everything hindering it needed to be eliminated, and sacrifices towards their goals were acceptable.
Thus all members of the Indulging God Cult were able to calmly conduct all sorts of inhuman atrocities.
For them, there was no concept of humanity. It was because all of their behavior was legitimate. They also had no concept of helping each other. Even fellow cult members might become enemies if they stood in each other’s ways.
Just describing their countless crimes would fill up an entire book. People like the general known as “Devil Warlord” Malgeaz who massacred a million people during his three years in office, “Meat Grove” Barea II who became the ruler of the Magic Capital Baerase and devoted his life to debauchery, or the “Ever-Laughing Witch” Shiron Booyacornish were renowned. Of course, the public didn’t know they have belonged to the Indulging God Cult.
Hamyuts immediately ordered the annihilation of the Cult and dispatched her men to various places.
They had only one clue.
Only the name of the leader had been left in the terrorists’ memoirs – Cigal Crukessa.
Cigal spoke indifferently as if describing a story he had seen at the cinema just yesterday.
He talked about the doctrine of the Indulging God Cult and their activities.
“…Such a cult…”
Relia, who heard these explanations from Cigal, was trembling.
“So that’s why even knowing about it is a felony.”
“Exactly, Relia-kun. Hahaha. You are also a criminal.”
Are you kidding me? Relia cursed in his heart, but didn’t let it out of his mouth.
“…I don’t mind. I’ve thrown my life away.”
“Hah, you did?”
He could see Cigal averting his face while saying this. Relia couldn’t understand why he did so.
“Thrown your life away.”
Relia couldn’t understand Cigal’s aversion.
Cigal took a cigarette from his breast pocket and lit it.
“I see. So, Relia-kun. Do you know why the Indulging God Cult still exists? It went through a thorough crackdown. They went to amazing efforts.”
“…I don’t know.”
“That’s because they are right. People of the Indulging God Cult are the only ones to serve God in the true sense of the word. For example, Past God Bantorra and Present God Bantorra are only the Overseers for the true God. Hamyuts Meseta who serves it is but a trifling human. She doesn’t know anything about God’s happiness.
During the Paradise Era all humans were happy, and accordingly God was also happy. God’s happiness is none other than man’s happiness.
But after a long time, man’s worth fell to disastrous levels. People as trifling as Hamyuts Meseta began controlling the world, ignoring people’s true happiness.
We must rise up against this reality.
We have to embody the true happiness for the sake of God. Isn’t it so, Relia?”
Relia couldn’t really tell if he was being honest. But it seemed Cigal didn’t care whether Relia understood him or not.
He only knew that this man wasn’t Hamyuts’s subordinate.
“So you don’t understand. Relia. To achieve true happiness, people like Hamyuts are no good at all. Well then, return to your friends already and kill Hamyuts Meseta.”
Relia’s confused mind accelerated when he heard those words. His emotions and thoughts arrived at a single conclusion.
“Cigal-san… Cigal. Are you the boss of the Indulging God Cult?”
“Huh? You can’t understand even that?
Oh no. Man’s value really has fallen. Why do I have to listen to this idiot?”
Relia placed his hand inside his chest, feeling the texture of the vacuum tube with his fingers.
“What are you trying to do, Relia?”
Cigal said while blowing a cloud of smoke.
“Why did you talk with me?”
“Out of boredom. Because Hamyuts is taking forever to come here.”
“I’m regretting it now. I’m already fed up with your idiocy.”
“Return to your fellow bombs already.”
Relia felt blood rushing to his head. He talked to Cigal with a voice trembling with excitement.
“Let me ask you one thing. Depending on your answer, I might spare you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You talked about true happiness, right, Cigal?”
Relia stroked the vacuum tube on top of his clothes.
“Yes, I did.”
“What do you think of the humans who became unhappy for the sake of your true happiness?”
“What are you saying? Is there even such a thing?”
Cigal’s expression of truly not understanding him rubbed Relia’s feelings the wrong way.
“I’m asking you what you feel about people like Hyoue, Colio, and me. Answer, Cigal Crukessa.”
“Oh, I don’t know what you mean by that.”
Cigal pointed with the cigarette towards Relia’s face.
“Aren’t you just bombs?”
Suddenly, Relia was grinning.
No-one will ever know the reason for this smile, and probably not even Relia himself knew.
Perhaps even he didn’t notice that he was smiling.
In any case Relia was smiling, and while smiling, he moved his fingers.
His fingers crushed the vacuum tube inside his chest, and his final smile was blasted to smithereens.
“Bring some water, quickly!”
Casting a skeptical gaze at the worried face of the people who witnessed the third bombing incident, Cigal Crukessa left the tavern. He returned his drawn sword to his waist.
Cigal leaned on a nearby wall, took out another cigarette and lit it.
And along with the exhaled smoke, he talked to himself.
“That was seriously stupid. If he died anyway he should have attacked Hamyuts instead so that his life would have some small worth.
And if he was going to die to entertain me, it shouldn’t have been such an inelegant manner of death. I wonder what he thought about life. Well, he probably wasn’t thinking at all. There are plenty of people like him.
Also, I can hardly understand them diminishing their own values. But even if I were to understand people like that, nothing good will come of it. Hahaha.”
Cigal’s cigarette had the smell of gunpowder.
He frowned and threw the cigarette away. He even started discarding everything in his pockets. There was some ash even on his black suit.
“It sure became unpleasant. The entire world is like this. Everything is so wrong.
I wonder if there’s really no angel that can save and love me?”
Cigal gazed at the sky. The clouds floating above have accelerated a little bit. A storm was approaching.
“Making money is silly. Even such a thing bothering me is a sign of the wrong things in this world. Trifling people such as Hamyuts Meseta making a fuss really troubles me. So stupid.”
Cigal kept talking to himself.
Ia Mira, dressed in pajamas and lying on her side on one of two side-by-side beds, awoke because of a distant explosion.
Looking at the column of smoke rising from the distance, she recalled the bombing incident that killed Cartohelo.
“Isn’t this the third one?”
While saying this, Ia shook due to the cold.
There were people running in a hurry among the wind that was growing stronger. They were carrying buckets full of water or wheelbarrows loaded with sand to somewhere.
It was night and the wind was growing strong.
The radio said the typhoon would come close while maintaining its force.
Ia murmured this name.
Now, the name of her lover that once helped her anxiety disappear only served to increase it further.
She was terribly cold.
Since a while ago, she felt some irritation inside her chest.
What was she made to drink?
Ia muttered again. The anxiety she bore just got heavier.