Lightning is incredible.
A fool thought so while gazing at the blue sparks scattered from his body.
The power of lightning is much more incredible than guns, swords, fire, water, or slings. Since lightning was impossible to avoid or protect against, it was very cruel. It couldn’t be used for anything other than attacking, so it was especially pure. It could burn anything and everything to a crisp, making it good for forgetting things.
Let’s forget it all. It was easy to forget all the unpleasant things and move on.
The fool of lightning extended his right hand. His lips moved slightly and uttered a small word.
Bantorra Library – the place built by the Overseer of the Past Bantorra during the era of the Gods. After entering through its front arch that could probably even accommodate a whole ship, there was a hall for regular visitors.
This hall that resembled the lobby of a giant hotel was usually filled with people who wanted to read Books. Historians came for Books belonging to historical figures or other people related to them, while magical researchers and scientists came to read about the accomplishments of the great men of the past; there were appreciators of art that came for the Books of artists; modern warriors came to learn from the warriors of the past; and there were also normal people who came to look for their families or loved ones.
However, none of those were inside right now, and the silent hall felt awfully chilly.
The hall was desolate.
Countless bullets hit the walls. There were more than a hundred burn marks on the thin red carpet. Also, a large amount of dried blood stains colored it here and there. The furnishing having been destroyed beyond recognition told of the severity of the battle that took place here.
The Armed Librarian Mirepoc Finedell stood alone in this hall.
Mirepoc was staring at an exceptionally large bloodstain on the carpet. While looking at it, she recalled the form of the man who fought here before.
“What’s wrong, Mirepoc-san? There’s nothing here anymore.”
A voice suddenly called. Mirepoc turned around. The Armed Librarian Ireia Kitty had entered the hall at some point.
“Or did you find some clues?”
Ireia smiled at Mirepoc with an expression atypical of an Armed Librarian.
“…No, I was just thinking a little.”
“What is it?”
Mirepoc spoke calmly while looking at the large stains of blood.
“When incidents like this happen, I regret not having gotten a fighting ability.”
“Since it’s not too late, maybe I should go back to training school and reattempt my Magical Deliberation.”
Ireia shook her head.
“You can’t, Mirepoc-san. If you try learning any new Magic, you will approach chaos and might ruin your mind. Besides, doesn’t Hamyuts-san’s plan right now mean that we need active non-combat Armed Librarians like you?”
“I know. I was just grumbling.”
“Let’s get back to work. I was worried about you.”
Mirepoc nodded and started walking after Ireia. Just before leaving the hall, she turned around and gazed at the desolate area once again.
A month ago, a man appeared here. The Armed Librarians called him a “monster”.
It was incredibly clichéd. However, when she recalled that man who stood inside this hall, she couldn’t find a fitting term to describe him other than a monster.
More than half a year had passed since the battle against the Indulging God Cult in Toatt Mining Town.
Cigal Crukessa – the ringleader of that plot – had already passed from this world, and the Books of Shiron Byacornish as well as the Ever-Laughing Magic Blade were now sealed in the depths of the Labyrinth.
Toatt Mining Town already regained its peace and the various traces of the incident were becoming a thing of the past.
However, no one of the Armed Librarians thought that this meant the destruction of the Indulging God Cult.
This was because, during their long history, the Armed Librarians killed many Indulging God Cult leaders just like that. Their organization was always buried and then revived. The death of Cigal didn’t mean their end.
The Armed Librarians recognized the Indulging God Cult as their biggest enemies not only due to their wickedness.
Up to now, there were hundreds and thousands of the Books belonging to their followers that were never found.
Even now Cigal’s Book wasn’t excavated. This was also true of the Books belonging to the Bohilin Company members that obeyed him, the innkeeper that oversaw the bombs, and the bombs themselves.
If they were just stolen, the Armed Librarians could have still found them. However, because they were missing in the first place it was impossible for them.
Just where were their Books? And where was the core of the Indulging God Cult? Until they could solve these mysteries, their fight against the Cult wouldn’t end. Every Armed Librarian thought this way.
Still, everyone felt relief by the death of Cigal.
It could be said that this relief gave birth to the incident that happened in that hall Mirepoc stood in.
During that day, Bantorra Library operated as usual. The front door was wide open and the hall was filled with many visitors. Some people were writing their application forms, and some that were waiting killed time by playing chess or billiards.
As usual, plenty of Armed Librarians went down to the Labyrinth in order to shelve or retrieve Books.
The average Armed Librarians, who had no combat capabilities, did all kinds of office work such as lending sealed Books or helping the people who wanted to view them.
The only abnormal thing that day was that the Acting Director Hamyuts was attending a meeting with the Present Management Agency and leaders of the world. Therefore, she was also accompanied by some other Armed Librarians. However, this wasn’t a big event at all.
He appeared at afternoon of that day.
That man walked leisurely inside from the front entrance. No one obstructed his path. Seeing his figure, the people drew back and let him pass.
His appearance was bizarre. It looked as if he only wore a black cloak that was wrapped around his entire body and a helmet covering his head.
The helmet was made of shiny gold. An expression of wild laughter was carved on its face. He walked slowly, the joyous smile appearing as if the man laughed at his surroundings.
He started calmly speaking to the reception desk. His voice determined he was a male.
“Call Hamyuts Meseta here.”
“And who might you be, sir?”
Even while trembling at his appearance, the receptionist answered as normal.
“Who am I?”
The shoulders of the man shook. He was laughing.
“I’m a monster that came from the Indulging God Cult. Call Hamyuts Meseta here.”
The receptionist that day was a regular librarian who didn’t receive any battle training. She didn’t know about the existence of the Indulging God Cult, of course.
“…The Director is absent today. To call a replacement, please fill up these forms and stay in the waiting room.”
The receptionist was frightened, but she still tried answering like usual.
As she did, the man burst into laughter from under the helmet.
“Please stay in the waiting room? The waiting room? The waiting room?”
The monster convulsed with laughter and his mantle twisted violently. The receptionist rose from her chair, trying to escape. An Armed Librarian or a trainee should be dealing with this kind of person. Why weren’t they coming? The woman looked around.
“You’ve got back luck.”
The monster, who stopped laughing, extended his hand. An intense explosive sound resounded. The woman’s face and hair were scorched and she flew off the chair. She was killed instantly.
The people around tore the air with their screams as they started panicking. The visitors rushed for the exit. Some stumbled and fell, resulting in them getting trampled. The man with the golden helmet stared at this disorder as if ridiculing them.
This didn’t mean that the Armed Librarians weren’t vigilant against attacks like this. At that time there were two trainees on guard. However, even the Armed Librarians couldn’t have anticipated this man erasing those trainees without anyone noticing by himself.
Finally, a single Armed Librarian came rushing in, wading his way through the chaotic crowd.
He just so happened to come out of the Labyrinth. He came after having been contacted about the presence of a strange man.
“Who are you?”
The Monster asked. The rushing Armed Librarian didn’t answer. He didn’t give his name when asked – that man had nothing to with chivalry and the like.
His name was Minth Chezine. He was in his mid-twenties. A leather jacket was wrapped around his swarthy body. He was a man of a robust build. A large pistol and a naked sword were casually slipped inside the thick belt around his waist.
Minth silently pulled out his gun. He shot at the Monster’s chest three times. This wasn’t a situation where he needed to threaten or go easy on him.
The Monster received the three shots without even trying to evade. The bullets penetrated him and then hit the walls, making cracks shaped like giant spider webs. The Monster fell forward.
Minth spit aside and returned the gun to his waist. He pulled out his sword and walked towards the man.
“What was this fiend trying to do?”
His favorite sword was a one-handed sword which was short and bulky, much like a hatchet. He lowered it towards the Monster’s nape, intending to finish him off. He pulled the golden mask back, and then prepared to slice the throat that was revealed underneath it.
At that time, with a delay of a few seconds, two Armed Librarians ran inside. One was the Prediction user, Mattalast, and the other was the Thought Sharing user, Mirepoc.
Mattalast yelled towards Minth who was about to lower his blade,
“Don’t cut him!”
Despite hearing those words, Minth didn’t stop his sword. The moment his sword touched the Monster, a shock ran through his body.
Minth felt his blood boil. His brain and internal organs were singed. He dropped the sword from his hand and rolled away.
At the moment Minth distanced himself, Mattalast’s bullets came flying in. All twelve shots from his two guns hit the collapsed Monster. His body jumped about as if convulsing.
Mirepoc rushed over to the collapsed Minth. He was able to raise his numb body with her help.
“What… was that?”
“Lightning. He ran it through his body. If you had cut him you would’ve been finished.”
Mattalast explained while reloading. He had probably seen Minth getting struck by lightning with his Prediction ability.
“Was that piece of shit still alive?”
“Of course… Get away!”
Hearing Mattalast’s words, the two leaped.
While lying down, the Monster raised his hand.
A blue lightning struck the place they were in before. If Mattalast hadn’t said anything, they would have been goners.
The Monster suddenly stood up as if he was a spring puppet. His cloak slowly swayed as he swung his hand. Water was emitted from his fingertips. The drop of water was shot with a speed comparable to a bullet, but held even more destructive power.
Mirepoc and Mattalast ducked. Minth who was still wounded couldn’t completely evade it. His large body was blown away and slammed into the wall.
The Monster swung his hands like a conductor and kept shooting water. It was much like a machinegun shooting at all directions. The people who didn’t manage to run away yet were mixed up in the attack.
While rolling on the floor, Mirepoc pulled out a gun and shot. Just before it hit the Monster, his cloak moved like a living being.
Mirepoc involuntarily shouted. The Monster’s cloak that barely reached the floor was suddenly stretched a few meters and was wrapped around his body like a cocoon. Mirepoc saw the squirming cloth block the bullets and they fell onto the carpet.
“He’s used lightning, water, and cloth. And he’s also resilient. Just how many powers does he have?”
Mattalast said calmly. He then took a step forward while readying his guns.
“You two back off and cover for me. You’re not combat-oriented. It seems only I can take care of him.”
The Monster roared with laughter from under his mask.
“Are you an idiot?”
Mattalast replied while fixing his slightly tilted black bowler hat.
“You won’t be able to handle me either.”
“Is that so?”
Mattalast faintly smiled. At that moment, lightning had sprung from the Monster’s hand.
The hem of Mattalast’s black suit fluttered. He took quick and intense steps as if dancing. Mattalast evaded the lightning, trying to close the gap between them. It was as if the lightning was the one running away from Mattalast.
The Monster uttered in a slightly surprised voice,
“So it seems I’m going to enjoy myself more than I thought.”
The battle had continued for a couple dozens of minutes. As Mattalast said, he was the only one who could handle him.
The Monster unleashed an attack while laughing. Lightning, water bullets, and stretching cloth – he kept firing those away without rest, and Mattalast kept evading them all. In order to create openings, he kept shooting. And all of his shots hit.
Mattalast’s ability was Prediction. He always fought by looking two seconds ahead. He dodged the attacks that were going to hit, and made attacks that he saw would hit. Therefore, he was able to avoid any attack that could be evaded, and was able to hit with any attack that had a chance of hitting.
In this battle, it seemed at first glance that Mattalast was at an advantage. This was apparent.
Four rounds of bullets hit the head by penetrating the mask. However, the Monster just shot water bullets at Mattalast as if nothing happened. His hat blew off as he leaped to the side and avoided it.
He had already expended fifty bullets and hit from a close range. Despite this, the Monster didn’t even appear to be staggered. Mattalast avoided every attack, and the Monster was unaffected by all attacks. There was no question about who was in the lead now.
Minth and Mirepoc also covered for him by shooting from alongside the wall. However, their attacks didn’t contribute much. They kept providing a passive attack without being able to come close.
A waterfall of blood flowed from under the Monster’s cloak. Even while leaving deep red footprints on the floor, he still kept fighting. How long could he keep standing? Before long, Minth and Mirepoc began feeling fear.
Then, Mattalast stopped in place.
“Mirepo, pass me a gun!”
Mattalast shouted. Mirepoc and Minth guessed that he ran out of ammo.
Mirepoc threw a gun. However, as it started falling down, it was struck by lightning. Mattalast couldn’t come close. A water bullet was launched at him as he was standing. For the first time, he received an attack.
At that time, Minth threw away his gun and ran forward. His aim was the Monster’s back.
Mattalast shouted with a hoarse voice. That attack was too reckless.
As Minth ran, he picked up his fallen sword. The Monster turned around and shot lightning. At that moment, Minth threw his sword away and the lightning hit it. He kept running and caught the sword fried by the lightning.
The scorching hot sword burned his hand. Minth clenched his teeth and struck the Monster with his entire body’s weight. He felt the sensation of cutting through the spine. An unpleasant sound reached his ears as the Monster’s inner organs were almost forced out of his body. Now I’ve got him, Minth believed.
But even then the Monster didn’t stop. The wriggling cloth wrapped around Minth’s legs.
He fell. The Monster spread his palm towards him, ready to shoot more lightning.
Suddenly, an intense impact went through the Monster’s nape. Mirepoc’s sword attack that used her entire body weight skewered the bones in his neck.
The large amount of blood flowing from under the Monster’s mask dripped on Minth.
Mirepoc pulled the sword out. When she made an attempt for another attack, the cloth caught her hands. It lifted her body and she was pounded on top of Minth. The two groaned as the air was squeezed from their lungs.
And then, Minth saw it.
The Monster opened his mouth under the mask. Inside it, fire was burning. He intended shooting that flame at them. Neither he nor Mirepoc could avoid it right now.
Just as Minth saw his incoming death, he heard a strangely carefree voice.
“I still have one shot left.”
Minth saw a bullet being driven inside the Monster’s mouth. The lower half of his face burst up in flames.
The Monster raised a cry of anguish for the first time.
Mattalast readied his gun that should have run out of bullets.
“Sorry, Mirepo. I don’t need your gun after all.”
Mattalast aimed for the exact moment when the Monster would open his mouth and then try to attack.
He made a counterattack before the attack – a feat only possible for someone who could see the future. Possibly everything went according to Mattalast’s plan ever since he ran out of bullets.
With his lower face blown off and a sword piercing his neck, the Monster made a huge leap. The cloth restraining Mirepoc and Minth loosened. Is he still moving? Minth was astonished as he raised his body.
The Monster rushed towards the exit with big leaps. Minth grabbed his burnt sword and started running. However, Mattalast stopped him.
“Let him go. Even if you pursue him you can’t kill with this.”
“Mirepoc. Send your thoughts to the harbor and the airport.”
Mirepoc replied while rising up.
“Tell them that if a man with a helmet comes, let him take a vehicle without any resistance.”
“Hey, if we let him go like this he’ll escape!”
Minth called in rage. Even Mirepoc didn’t look like she understood. Mattalast shook his head.
“Someone like you should be able to understand, Minth. He didn’t use all of his power.”
Mattalast showed them his two guns. He had no more bullets.
“Well, just don’t blame me.”
“But, it is fine just letting him escape?”
“We have to be grateful if he’s just escaping. We don’t want further victims.”
Mirepoc closed her eyes and sent her thoughts. After a short while, she said,
“He took an airplane. It appears there was no damage done.”
Minth saw an airplane flying outside the window. The three stared at it while grinding their teeth.
Mirepoc scowled as she recalled that event.
Even though they were three Armed Librarians, they let an enemy invade from the front and then even allowed him to withdraw. It could only be called a huge failure on their part.
Besides, the enemy’s attack was shocking.
“Looking at the way Cigal handled things, we thought they would only attack us from the rear.”
Ireia said while walking in the front.
During the battle at Toatt Mining Town, the enemy focused only on Hamyuts. His strategy involved laying out various means of attack and plans so he could make her powerless and thus defeat her.
Hamyuts, as a top-class Armed Librarian, was able to defeat the Ever-Laughing Magic Blade in a one-on-one fight. There were those who had the optimistic estimations that even in the following cases the Armed Librarians would have better combat capabilities. It was completely unforeseen that they would be attacked from the front and by a single person to boot.
“As much as it’s frustrating, this is too much for us to handle. I wonder if there are even five people from our side that would have been able to rush from the front like that.”
“There are probably five people that could attack from the front, but not win.”
“I can’t even say for sure that the Acting Director would have beaten him from close range or even mid-range. And we will be defeated for sure if we won’t have at the very least two people around the level of Mattalast-san or you.”
“Mirepoc-san, before thinking about defeating him, you have to think about how to find him.”
Ireia rebuked Mirepoc.
Currently, a search party had been scattered around the world to locate the whereabouts of the escaped Monster. Almost all of the main forces of Armed Librarians had been sent for things like gathering intelligence from various places and escorting VIPs. Mirepoc sent the information received from them to the headquarters that would then make decisions.
However, they were barely able to make any discoveries or find further clues.
A month passed since that battle. The Monster disappeared like an illusion and left only a desolate hall behind.
“Speaking of which…”
“I’m changing the subject, but… Mirepoc-san, is Noloty-chan doing her work properly?”
“Noloty? Why do you ask about her suddenly?”
“It’s not a big deal, but I can’t help but get worried about that girl.”
Mirepoc folded her arms. She recalled the face of the girl they were discussing. And as she did, she scowled.
“I’ll tell the headquarters to send some assistance to her immediately.”
“You sure are worrying a lot, Mirepoc-san.”
Ireia giggled and made Mirepoc sigh.