Chapter 4: A Bomb, a Librarian, and the Ever-Laughing Witch – Part 1

It was morning.

Colio spent the entire previous day in his room.

He didn’t know about the third bombing incident or about the fact that Hamyuts was heading towards the town.

He was sitting on his bed and staring at the wall.

Colio was only thinking about one thing – Calico Princess.

He didn’t even know her name. He couldn’t call her by her name.

Thinking about this made his heart ache. Her name. Even such a small thing seemed so important for Colio that he was prepared to risk his life for it.

“…Ever-Laughing Witch.”

Thus she was called. Both in the first and second Books, she was referred to as a witch.

But he didn’t want to call her this way. She barely had a normal smile, let alone an “Ever-Laughing” one, so why was she called that?

In the first place, why was she a witch? She gave medicine for children; didn’t that mean she was a splendid woman?

Colio continued praising her in his heart.

But no matter how much he would praise her, she wouldn’t rejoice.

Because she was already dead.

“…It hurts.”

He murmured.

Thinking this far, Colio realized – what am I?

Aren’t I a bomb?

Can a bomb even love? Can a bomb seek happiness?

Since a bomb can’t look for love or happiness, what are these feelings?

Colio kept thinking.

His thoughts kept going around and around and seemed to lead nowhere.

 

After more than a day, Hamyuts’ propeller plane reached the skies of Toatt Mining Town. The air started becoming turbid, so the plane’s windows were getting foggy.

“We really need to do something about the dirty air here.”

Hamyuts looked outside through the window.

Toatt Mining Town was built at Hamyuts’s expense as a place to mine out new Books from.

In order to dig through the hard ground, they set up a coal power reactor and advanced mechanized drilling facilities. As a result they were able to dig out valuable ancient Books, but in exchange the smoke from the coal reactor covered up the town.

“Wouldn’t some wind clean it up?”

Mattalast said. Because there wasn’t much wind blowing around the area of the Toatt mines, the air was stagnant.

Maybe if there was some wind, the air would become slightly cleaner.

“But we can’t use that as a solution.”

“That’s true.”

“I want to do something about it, but I don’t have much money.”

While speaking about this, Hamyuts opened the cockpit’s window. Wind started rushing in, vigorously blowing Hamyuts’ hair.

“We’ve talked about this before, but Mirepo is just our contact. She needs to hide in the Toatt Mountains because we can’t send her out.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Mattalast, team up with the town’s sheriff. Consult the railway company officials. List up all people who came to Toatt Mining Town within the last three months and match them with the headquarters’ records.”

“Understood.”

“All other people are to be contacted through Mirepo. There’s no need for her to purposely come all the way to Toatt Mining Town.”

The two nodded. Hamyuts’s instructions were always concise.

“Well then, good luck.”

“Director, be careful.”

“You too.”

After these small exchanges, Hamyuts jumped out of the window. Falling headlong, she lightly rotated her body and landed with a huge trace on the ground.

The airplane was going away. Mattalast threw the luggage from the cockpit, and Hamyuts caught it.

“Well then…”

Hamyuts got off in the middle of the mountains area. She could overlook the mines and the town from uphill. The grass and ground around the area Hamyuts landed were torn away due to the impact. Hamyuts could feel the moles running away with her Sensory Threads.

The town was two kilometers away. The view was good and there weren’t many obstacles, so the conditions were good.

“It’s time to begin. I should hurry.”

Saying this, Hamyuts released Sensory Threads from her body. Two millions of them came out and rode the faint updraft.

The invisible Sensory Threads spread far and went into the town.

The feel of the stagnant air in the Toatt mines was transmitted through them.

Information was sent to Hamyuts’s brain from those Sensory Threads. The feel of Toatt Mining Town’s soil, of houses, of people’s skins. The vibration, quality and contents of sounds. The feel of the town’s landscape and people.

She tried sorting the information sent from the two million Sensory Threads to find what she wanted.

“…Kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

She felt the voice of a man who muttered this.

She felt a paper with “Kill Hamyuts Meseta” written on it.

A woman concealing a knife.

A man with a bomb inside his body.

A woman with a bomb inside her body.

People that kept on whispering “Kill Hamyuts Meseta”.

Hamyuts was receiving their numbers and whereabouts.

 

There was a bunkhouse near the mines. The manager called towards three people who were carrying piled up soil.

“Hey. You newcomers aren’t coming for a meal?”

“…”

The three miners who were in the midst of working slowly raised their faces.

“A meal, a meal. If you won’t eat you can’t work.”

“…Let’s eat.”

“Right.”

Those three seemed quite creepy to the other men. They always stayed together and never took off their clothes. They never spoke about their origins or anything else. They didn’t know if they were brothers or friends.

The three kept talking in whispers.

“Let’s kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

“Right, we’ll kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

 

It was near the entrance of the downtown.

Beggars raised their voices towards people crossing the road. Some of them tried appealing by talking about their plights, some were showing off their young children, and some were singing heartbreaking songs.

Among those, there was one beggar who didn’t do anything.

Facing downwards, he was just murmuring to himself.

“Kill Hamyuts Meseta. Kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

 

There was a new house abandoned decades ago that nobody bought.

Inside this supposedly empty house there were numerous women. They were sitting on the ground, their hair unkempt and their clothes dirty. The women clearly had their spirits broken.

“Kill Hamyuts.”

“Kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

The women murmured this while drooling.

 

There were people who finished moving to a house and holed themselves inside without even greeting their neighbors.

This four-people family sat around their only furniture which was a table.

“Kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

“Kill Hamyuts Meseta.”

They continually muttered.

 

The Sensory Threads were Hamyuts’s specialty in Magic, and the best sort of ability to support her. This ability allowed her to discharge tactile, auditory and visual sensors from her body.

She created invisible and intangible threads using her Magic power and sent them flying. And through these threads she could perceive the shape, color and sounds of everything they touched.

That by itself wasn’t a difficult or special ability. But as for the amount and length of the threads, none could compete with Hamyuts.

The threads could reach up to fifty kilometers. Their numbers could surpass ten billion. It wasn’t very difficult for Hamyuts to completely wrap up this town with her Sensory Threads.

 

“…Okay. Is this all?”

In less than an hour, Hamyuts completely grasped the locations of all enemies within a radius of five kilometers.

“So I guess I’ll get to it.”

Saying this, Hamyuts took a weapon out of her back pocket.

At a first glance, that weapon seemed to be mere string.

Its length was a bit more than Hamyuts’ height. And on its middle, a small pocket made of cloth was attached.

That weapon was commonly known as a sling.

It was a weapon older than guns, Magic or bows. It was a weapon used by men shortly after they were created by the Overseer of the Beginning and the End, when they weren’t much different than monkeys. By swinging up stones with a string, they could use centrifugal force to hurl them.

Of course, this wasn’t a mere sling.

The string was made by twisting together a woman’s hair in a unique way, producing a divine wire with the methods introduced by the Future God Orntorra during ancient times. The cloth pocket was made in a similar manner from the skin of an ancient dragon discovered inside an iceberg.

It was a sling said to be difficult to destroy just like the Gods’ Memorial Weapons.

It had four types of “bullets”. There were polyhedral balls for general purposes, disk shaped balls for long range and round balls for close range rapid fire. She could also use plain stones picked up from the ground.

The maximum speed of the bullets fired from her slingshot could reach above five times the speed of sound. Her maximum range was thirty five kilometers. She had a 100% hit rate on stationary targets at the range of twenty five kilometers.

Other than God, no one was better at sniping from a distance than Hamyuts.

“Hamyu…”

The man who was grumbling to himself fell without warning towards the beggar sitting close to him.

The beggar, after being dumbed for a little while, raised a terrified scream.

Half of the back of the man’s head had been blown away. His brain fluids poured out like some rich sauce.

 

Hamyuts was swinging the string above her head. The polyhedral sniping bullet in the leather exceeded the speed of sound in the interval of five seconds. And she shot it after exactly six seconds.

Without checking if the ball hit, she loaded another one. In another six seconds she accelerated and shot it.

 

A wall was broken through. A heart had been penetrated from the back. Iron gravel struck the ground.

With a gaping hole opened in the center of her chest, the body of a woman fell forward.

“…Ah?”

“…Ahhh…”

Seeing the collapsed woman, the other women around raised a cry that sounded like a dog grunting.

“Uhh…”

“Uahh…”

The women who had their spirits broken continued muttering.

The next shot punched through the head of another woman. She fell to the ground as if her strings were cut off.

And after six more seconds, the third shot penetrated through the last two remaining women.

 

Hamyuts did not stop.

Acceleration. Shot. Reload. This process was repeated sixteen times without rest.

The Sensory Threads transmitted the feel of the faraway bombs that were shot by Hamyuts.

All of the balls hit without a hitch. And all targets were instantly killed.

For Hamyuts, shooting a defenseless target within the range of five kilometers was as simple as grabbing an apple from a table.

“…Well, that was easy.”

Hamyuts said frankly. And she released her Sensory Threads again.

The battle had just started.

 

“…Calico Princess…”

Colio murmured this name who knows how many times. He rolled over on his bed, touching the Book so he could see Calico Princess again.

He didn’t know that in addition to him, twenty one other bombs were sent to Toatt Mining Town in order to kill Hamyuts. He only knew about Relia and Hyoue, and didn’t know Relia had already died.

He didn’t know that the sixteen remaining bombs were sniped and easily defeated by Hamyuts.

Colio was also unaware of the fact that just now, the invisible and intangible Sensory Threads carefully checked the bomb inside his chest and the Book on top of his bed.

He was just lying on his bed in silence.

While he didn’t know anything, the situation was rapidly changing.

 

“Come out, Cigal Crukessa-kun.”

Hamyuts stretched her Sensory Threads again.

She was exploring the entire town while searching for unusual people.

She was looking for someone who would make a move now that she crushed all bombs.

Someone who would try to contact the bombs while acting unnaturally;

Someone who would receive an urgent message;

Someone who would come near her;

She was carefully searching for those.

Time had passed. The sun that was high in the sky started sinking towards the horizon.

The Sensory Threads enveloping the town gradually become sluggish.

Hamyuts felt a headache.

She returned the fully spread Sensory Threads to her body.

Her Sensory Threads weren’t almighty. If released for long periods of time, her head wouldn’t be able to grasp all of the information. It would become muddled. Hamyuts took a long breath and waited for her brain to recover.

In her first search, she wasn’t able to feel the presence of Cigal Crukessa.

She was only able to sense his expendable pawns, the bombs.

Even for Hamyuts, consistently monitoring more than 5000 people to look for her enemy was impossible.

“Well then, he’s quite something…”

Hamyuts muttered so, recognizing her enemy was troublesome.

Taking her luggage, Hamyuts carefully went down the mountains while still maintaining her Sensory Threads.

For Hamyuts, who was a sniper, heading into town was dangerous.

But still, there was a place she had to go to.

I don’t know if it’s a trap or not, but I have to try and make contact – Hamyuts thought.

She went into town, mixing herself with passersby.

Hamyuts was headed towards a cheap inn at the end of the main road.

 

In this town, there was probably one bomb left.

Hamyuts didn’t kill him. It wasn’t become she wanted to question him and get information. It was because that bomb was holding a Book.

Her Sensory Threads couldn’t read Books, but they could feel the person’s soul inside. Hamyuts knew the feel of that Book.

There was no mistake. There was no other owner of that unprecedented magic power other than that woman.

Hamyuts set her foot inside the lobby of the cheap inn.

“Hello there. Hamyuts Meseta has some small errands here.”

Hearing that unbelievable name, the innkeeper opened her mouth wide in amazement.

“By H-Hamyuts, you mean…”

“Yes. I’m Hamyuts Meseta.”

Hamyuts flashed a grin towards the innkeeper whose mouth was flapping open and close.

“I need to kill one of your lodgers.”

The innkeeper’s mouth was open to the extent it looked like it would fall apart.

“You don’t mind, right?”

The innkeeper shook her head vertically numerous times.

Hamyuts’s name was so widely known that it caused that kind of horrified reaction. Even notoriety was something useful.

Following the innkeeper, Hamyuts went to the second floor.

“It’s here.”

She was pointing at a room.

“Can you call him out?”

The innkeeper knocked on the door.

“Colio Tonies-san. Are you there?”

Hearing the innkeeper’s call, Hamyuts thought to herself ‘Eh, so that’s his name’.

“I don’t need to eat.”

The dry response came with the gloomy voice of a boy.

“You have a visitor.”

Hamyuts had already spread the barrier of Sensory Threads around. She grasped the situation around the inn almost perfectly. There was nothing strange about the innkeeper. Within a radius of one hundred meters, there were no armed people except Colio Tonies who had a single kitchen knife. She only had to be vigilant about Colio’s bomb. That much wasn’t enough to make Hamyuts afraid.

Nevertheless, Hamyuts didn’t discount the possibility of a trap yet. She kept calm on the surface, but maximized her vigilance and tension.

She could feel Colio Tonies clattering as he ran up to door with her Sensory Threads.

“Relia? Did you come back? Or is it Ia? Ia Mira?”

Hamyuts suddenly opened the door. It bumped into Colio’s nose and he fell.

“Oops, sorry.”

Saying this, she entered the room.

The innkeeper ran away.

“…Who are you?”

Colio said while holding his nose. He didn’t seem to be lying.

He seemed surprised by the unknown visitor.

“Really? You don’t know my face?”

He had a puzzled expression.

“Aren’t you a bomb?”

Hearing these words, Colio’s face was contorted with shock. Hamyuts grinned.

“If you don’t know I’ll tell you. I’m Hamyuts Meseta. Nice to meet you.”

“…Aa, aah…”

It seemed like Colio couldn’t move.

“Were you expecting a scarier person?”

Hamyuts said while grinning.

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Chapter 4: A Bomb, a Librarian, and the Ever-Laughing Witch – Part 1

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