Chapter 4: A Bomb, a Librarian, and the Ever-Laughing Witch – Part 3

A year after this, Shiron’s fame suddenly reversed.

Her trial began abruptly. Most of those listening first cried that it was impossible.

Shiron’s charges were the attempted destruction of the world. More specifically, her waiting for Dragon Pneumonia to infect far and wide and letting a total of a million people die.

She knew the method to make the cure far before Dragon Pneumonia spread around the world. But on top of having monopolized the formula, she refrained from selling it and waited for the number of sick to grow so the price would be high.

The people were furious. Everyone had lost family members or acquaintances. If Shiron would have sold the medicine from the beginning, most would have been saved. The people’s anger wanted some form of outlet.

There was no reason to deny the death penalty. The trial concluded in a mere hour. Within the angry roar of the populace, neither the defendant nor the prosecutor could be heard.

Hearing the judge declare capital punishment, the people cried with joy.

After two hours, Shiron got into the guillotine.

From the trial up to the execution, she hadn’t tried to resist at all.

Her neck, still dripping with blood, was pierced by a spear and paraded in the public square. The headless body, stripped of clothes, was thrown into a camp of violent criminals and shamed even further.

The enormous fortune she had built up was confiscated by the state. A war even occurred while attempting to confiscate that money made by selling medicine, which according to some accounts was more than three decades of the national budget.

Strangely, all documents that described the making of the wonder cure for Dragon Pneumonia completely vanished afterwards. Furthermore, all those who knew of it were erased, and their Books were erased as well.

Even now, the identity of the criminals was not known. But it was almost certainly done by the Indulging God Cult.

The Book of the time of that trial had been stored on their ship.

 

“In other words, Shiron-dono… does that mean you deceived us?”

“Exactly, Chancellor Feelea.”

Shiron said.

She was wearing not a dress, but men’s clothing and a leather jacket. They were clothes that ignored looks and went for functionality instead – probably her battle attire. She stood straight, aligning her heels together.

In the dim room, while lit by a seven-branched candlestick, Shiron was talking with the man.

He was an elderly man who wore the white clothes of a Chancellor over his black priest’s garbs.

The man held his face with both of his hands, gazing up to the heavens.

“Oh God… This is too much for me…”

“Chancellor Feelea. This is an urgent matter. Wyzaf already knows of my betrayal. In a short while we’re going to be surrounded by soldiers.”

“But Shiron-dono, I…”

“We have to go the King to publicize the facts. Come, quickly.”

The Chancellor said,

“…When this is revealed to the public, what will happen to me?”

“I do not know.”

“Please tell me this is a lie, Shiron-dono. If they found out I greeted you… those terrifying Indulging God Cult people will…”

“You need not mention the Indulging God Cult.”

“That is true, but…”

“Anyway, we don’t have time. As long as I have Shlamuffen I will not lose, but this doesn’t hold for the King and the other people. Once they target them instead of me, it will be hard to defend them.”

“I understand. Someone, prepare a carriage!”

He rang the bell, but there was no one to answer. He tried once again, but nobody came.

“Is there no-one here? Where did they go?”

The Chancellor tried going outside, but was stopped by Shiron. She swung Shlamuffen to the right and stuck it next to the door.

“Chancellor Feelea. It seems they made their first move.”

“What…”

“I will protect you. Let us escape.”

“F-fine.”

Chancellor Feelea hurriedly grabbed a spear that rested on the wall and took his jacket off.

“I will go on ahead.”

“I will fight too. I may look like this, but I was once young.”

“There is no need.”

“But by yourself…”

“My Magic Blade Shlamuffen cannot be defeated.”

Shiron wielded the sword. Shlamuffen made a sound that sounded like laughter. The air around Shiron started crackling.

“Defile, Shlamuffen.”

Shiron ordered and the sword loudly laughed.

At that moment, a strange line ran through the air. It was as if invisible birds flew away at extremely high speeds, or perhaps a giant without any form scratched at the air – the line was without any color or shape.

The line began madly tearing through the walls and ceiling.

People started screaming. There were already enemy soldiers outside the room.

There were the screams of people who were thrown around like trash.

A few dozen people were killed this way.

However, the number of soldiers waiting outside was ten times of that.

Shiron shouted towards them,

“Retreat. No person can win against the Magic Blade Shlamuffen!”

This was already proven to not be mere bravado. The remaining soldiers were seized by fear and couldn’t move.

“…Go ahead. Aren’t your lives cheap anyway?”

A voice came from behind. Whether the soldiers heard it or not, they desperately charged forward.

“….tch.”

Shlamuffen was swung. Once again some soldiers fell like puppets that had their strings cut. However, they didn’t stop. Even those whose chests were slashed used their spears as a crutch to walk forward.

“…Shiron-dono.”

Chancellor Feelea spoke from behind. He held a spear with his trembling hands. He became frightened of the tragedy occurring outside as well as the smell of flesh and blood.

“Do not come out!”

“…But…”

“You are the only one who can judge me!”

Shiron wielded her blade for the third time. The blade’s line dancing in the air accurately took out the lives of even more soldiers than before.

The soldiers who saw it was impossible to come near used their bows.

Hundreds of arrows clashed with the blade’s line that was like a wall and fell apart.

“Bows will not reach her. You must thrust with your spears.”

In accordance to the voice coming from the behind, the soldiers brandished their spears.

“The one to judge you will not be that manservant behind you, Ever-Laughing Princess. It will be me.”

A voice echoed from empty air. That voice belonged to the Magician Wyzaf.

“Silence, Wyzaf.”

“Die, Shiron.”

Shiron wielded her sword in the direction of the voice without any hesitation.

With blood endlessly pouring on the ground, the battle was just heating up.

 

Some time had passed.

 

“I’m your lawyer, Executive Official Rowme. Pleased to meet you.”

“Pleased to meet you. I’m Shiron Booyacornish.”

She sat on a shabby wooden chair while wearing a thin robe and introduced herself to a man.

Her long hair that was colored like a calico cat looked like it hadn’t been taken care of for a long time.

Her bare feet that were covered by dirt seemed to have received a slight frostbite from the cold stone room’s floor.

She was a prisoner.

“…I believe you are aware of this, but in six more days a trial will be held with the King, the Chancellor, the People’s Representative, the Priesthood and the Armed Librarians.

Compared to all of those, I will be your only ally.”

“Thank you very much. I apologize for you having to go through this hard work.”

“That is fine. I protect the legitimacy of the state’s trial system.”

Executive Rowme said with a solemn face.

“I must assert that I have no idea how you can escape capital punishment. At one point, there were also those who believed in your innocence. However, due to the evidence you have submitted yourself their numbers are almost entirely gone.”

“Right.”

“You must be fairly represented in the trial.”

“Right.”

Executive Rowme appeared to be a fair and serious person. Shiron seemed to think that was not bad at all.

“In order to reduce your penalty, you must surrender. And you have to first mention you destroyed that repulsive Indulging God Cult and their chief Wyzaf.”

“…Right.”

“Also, there’s the fact that without you the world would have been destroyed. During the evaluation, even they will have to listen for a bit to those that want to reduce their penalty.”

“I see.”

“You must make a thorough appeal. You have that right and I have the ability.”

“Executive Rowme-dono. It is a rude question, but did you lose any one you know?”

“…”

Executive Rowme’s couldn’t answer.

“You haven’t.”

“Only people I knew by appearance.”

“Even if we explain everything with logic, the people’s anger will not subside. Rather, it will just increase further. That would be dangerous.”

“…”

“This is enough. Executive Rowme. I am already contented.”

“Do you intend to die?”

“I intend to be judged.”

“…But why. You are… you said you were contented.”

“I thank you, but it is unavoidable.”

Shiron’s expression was weirdly calm, and she didn’t look as if she was afraid of her impending death at all.

 

Hamyuts found the two fragments of Shiron’s Books together with the terrorists’ memoirs. According to them, there had been a third fragment. Following that, the following sentences were written:

“One of the Saint’s Books was left for Cigal Crukessa. Because it is unnecessary for us, we gave it to him free of charge. He will gain some profit using the cure for Dragon Pneumonia.

Money is just the means for us, but it seems to be the goal for Cigal. He will probably do anything for it.”

And, on their horrifying ship, there were people infected with Dragon Pneumonia sealed inside crystals. Also, there was some evidence that a hole had been dug through the crystals recently.

The Armed Librarians immediately acted.

Hamyuts ordered dispatching her subordinates to various places to look for clues about Cigal Crukessa.

 

Hamyuts explained Shiron’s story. Finally, she added,

“By the way, do you know about the sword Shiron used?”

“I don’t.”

“You really don’t know a lot, huh. Well, there’s merit to teaching someone like that.

So, that sword is called the Ever-Laughing Magic Blade, Shlamuffen.

It was used by the killer Angels as a weapon, and the sword attacks or defends by its own volition.

The sword’s attacks are said to transcend cause and effect – it separates the cause of “cutting” from the effect of “being cut”. That’s probably a bit difficult to understand. Simply put, it involuntarily cuts whatever draws near, and involuntarily blocks any attack. It’s amazing.

But on the other hand, since that function doesn’t work when the blade is not extracted, it’s weak against surprise attacks.

It’s a mixed blessing.

Shiron-chan found it sealed at some lake’s bottom and used it, but since she died the sword’s whereabouts are unknown. Are you interested?”

“…Not at all.”

Colio honestly answered. He was only interested in Shiron herself, so the sword she had been using didn’t hold any meaning while being separated from her.

“Hmph. Oh well.”

With that, it seems the story about Shiron ended.

She spoke a lot, but since it was in an orderly manner it was easy to understand.

“What are you going to do now?”

“You don’t have to worry about that. I will figure out something.”

“Not that. I’m talking about her Book.”

Hamyuts scratched her head, looking troubled.

“Well, we’ll take care of that little by little.”

And she immediately changed the topic.

“By the way, I feel sorry for you, Colio-kun. You’ve fallen in love with that girl.

But you can’t kiss her and you can’t go on dates.”

She said mildly. It was clearly not a pitying tone of voice.

“According to one account, Shiron was threatened by someone. It was thought to be false, but according to the Books you and those guys had, it looks like it’s the truth. Seems like Shiron-chan was following that Wyzaf guy’s orders.”

Hamyuts kept scratching her head.

“But even then, it’s hard to think of her as doing nothing wrong. Shiron holds the responsibility for over a million people dying. It sucks that she’s called the Ever-Laughing Witch but she had it coming.”

“…That’s wrong.”

Colio murmured.

“It’s not. Shiron definitely was a part of the Indulging G- oops, I shouldn’t say anything about that.”

“?”

“Sorry, I messed up. Shiron definitely cooperated with Wyzaf, whether or not she wanted to. It’s not that she was unrelated to those events. I do think it’s a pity, but that’s irrelevant. No matter how much I pity her, she had to be punished for her crimes.”

Colio rebutted her.

“…That’s wrong. There were no crimes. That girl did nothing wrong.”

“You sure are stubborn, lover boy. If you’re too insistent you’re going to be hated.”

“That’s not it… she did nothing wrong. Even if no matter how many hundreds of thousands died, that doesn’t matter at all.”

A vein popped in Hamyuts’s temple. Her jesting tone disappeared.

“Oh? Colio-kun, did she really do nothing wrong?”

“It’s because those who died weren’t humans, they just pretended to.”

“What do you mean by that, lover boy?”

Hamyuts asked, and Colio explained.

“Humans are splendid beings. No one has the right to hurt or grieve humans, and they live without hurting or grieving anyone.

But in practice there are those that are hurt or become hated. While they appear human, those people aren’t human at all.

Humans are precious, but their imitators aren’t.

Killing or hating humans is unforgivable, but nothing matters when it comes to fake humans.”

Colio said. Hamyuts was quietly listening to him. Colio found it eerie how she, who had been talking senselessly just a little ago, was silent now.

“Did you think of that?”

“…No. I was taught this.”

“Don’t you think that’s strange?”

“I don’t see any problem with that.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m a bomb.”

This time, his words already failed him somewhat, but Colio didn’t notice it.

Hamyuts messily scratched her head.

“Hmm, I really hate that.”

Hamyuts stood up, swaying.

Slowly balling her hand into a fist, she punched Colio in the face. Colio felt as if his bones were twisted by that blow. Blood dripping from his nose colored the lower part of his face.

“Stupid. Just because I was a bit nice you lowered your guard?”

Her tone radically changed. Hamyuts grabbed Colio’s collar and lifted him high.

“This is my real nature. Do you understand?”

Hamyuts’s smile changed. From a peaceful smile that looked like someone basking in the sun, it became the smile of a cat playing with the inner organs of a still-living mouse.

“Brat. I planned on killing you, but I changed my mind. I’m going to let you live.”

After saying this, Hamyuts struck his face with her head. She kept holding him with one hand and repeatedly hit him as if hammering a nail.

Hamyuts’s forehead was as hard as steel. Colio felt his brain numb with each blow, and he withstood it while clenching his teeth.

“So you won’t even scream, huh. You sure are as strong as an adult.”

She left Colio’s body.

“I just want to say that it’s not that I’m angry. If I was angry you would have become minced meat covered in shit.”

Colio who was lying face down raised his head towards Hamyuts.

“But the only thing I love about guys like you is how you’re so passionate and reckless.

So, I’ll ask again. Is Shiron-chan a splendid human and all of the others that aren’t human might just as well die?”

“Right.”

“So, you might just as well die, too.”

“Right.”

“Fine then. I’ll do you a very kind favor.”

“Huh?”

“I’ll make you carefully think about humans.”

Saying this, Hamyuts pressed down on Colio’s face with the force of a vise. She didn’t even think of him as an opponent of the same league. It was as if a giant had trampled him.

“Don’t move. If you move I’ll break off one of your ribs. If you scream I’ll gouge out an eye.”

Hamyuts pressed one leg on Colio’s arms and the second on his stomach. He couldn’t move.

 

She slowly opened his shirt.

A devilish hand crept on his now bare chest.

She reached directly inside his body, and he struggled with pain. Hamyuts looked at this state from above.

“Mm, ugh, gwahhhh, ahhh, ahhh!”

Colio cried. Hamyuts on top of him didn’t move an inch.

“How horrible. It’s such a simple structure. This is a really sloppy job.”

While digging up the stone as if it was inside butter, Hamyuts examined the connection of the copper wires.

“How about this?”

Some spark ignited inside the chest and smoke rose from it. She forcefully pulled her hand out accompanied by sizzling sounds.

Hamyuts held a vacuum tube between her fingers.

As she flicked it away with her index finger, a small blue flame momentarily appeared and vanished.

“I think that’s it. Now the bomb can’t be used. You’re not a bomb anymore. You’re human.”

Ignoring Colio who was left drooling while collapsed, Hamyuts stood up. Her tone returned to normal.

“See ya, boy. If you live we’ll meet again.”

Hamyuts headed to the opposite side of the roof and prepared jumping off.

Even while lying down stunned, Colio summoned up his voice.

“…Wait, wait.”

Hamyuts turned around.

“Relia… is Relia still alive?”

“I don’t know who Relia is, but you’re the only bomb left alive in this town. No, that’s wrong. There aren’t any more bombs.”

“…I see.”

“See ya.”

Hamyuts jumped from the top of the roof. He couldn’t see her anymore.

 

“Oh no.”

After getting far enough that she couldn’t see Colio’s inn anymore, Hamyuts stopped.

“I ended up talking about delicate things related to the Indulging God Cult.”

Because she planned on killing him, she didn’t mind. She should have killed him now. But turning back now would be troublesome. Besides, she had already said she would let him live.

“…I’ll seal his memories later.”

Saying this, Hamyuts started walking.

Hamyuts had the bad habit of putting off simple work when she had a major job ahead of her.

 

Colio was sitting stunned inside his room. He felt stinging pain in his chest accompanied by nausea.

But, the emptiness caused by the loss of his bomb was filled with emotions.

You’re not a bomb. You’re a human.

Relia would have probably been pleased to hear this, Colio thought.

No, maybe he wouldn’t have been pleased. After all, he lived as a human from the very start.

He didn’t become a bomb in the first place.

Colio caressed the bomb inside his gouged chest. Now that it lost the vacuum tube that was its core, it was nothing but a burden.

“…Am I human?”

Colio muttered.

And then, he understood.

Why did he think he was a bomb? He believed that humans were beings without any pain or sorrow.

Colio didn’t want to become human.

As long as he was a bomb, he wasn’t afraid of anything. By just thinking “because I’m a bomb” he would dispel any suffering and even the fear of death.

Because he was going to die anyway, nothing mattered to him.

But now that he was human, the pain of having no goal and the loneliness of nobody loving him weighed heavily on Colio.

He didn’t have any hopes, freedom, or happiness.

It felt as if his legs were going to crumble apart.

He had neither future nor past. He had no place to go to and nothing important to him.

It was emptiness that ruled Colio.

He only had memories left.

Only the memories of Shiron’s Book.

 

There were the sounds of someone coming and knocking on the door from outside. It was the innkeeper.

“Can I talk to you?”

“…”

“Since the modern world is dangerous, I don’t really want to get involved in strange matters.”

“…”

“So, umm, honestly I’d like for you to get out.”

“…”

Without saying anything, Colio started packing.

He didn’t have any place to go to.

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Chapter 4: A Bomb, a Librarian, and the Ever-Laughing Witch – Part 3

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