Enlike washed his hands in seawater. They were slightly burned. He popped his blisters and washed them with salt water. He scrubbed his wounds with salt while slightly wincing due to the pain. His hands were burnt by his own lightning.
“Once again, this wasn’t even practice for you, Enlike.”
Boramot raised his voice while smiling.
The match was over in an instant. Enlike’s lightning bore into Lonkenny’s body before he was able to shoot a single fireball from his mouth.
After getting hit by lightning, the fireball inside his mouth exploded and blew his head to pieces.
The difference in battle strength was overwhelming. Speed, accuracy, destructive power… Enlike had exceeded Lonkenny’s power in all categories.
“Indeed, if I want to make you gain some battle experience this won’t be enough. Maybe we should try two against one next time?”
Boramot manipulated his clothes and threw Lonkenny’s body into the sea. It drifted away and was soon out of sight.
“It doesn’t matter.”
Enlike answered indifferently.
“Didn’t make you bat an eyelid, huh? Really, even I had goose-bumps while just watching from the side. It’s like you were born to kill.”
Boramot smiled happily as he said so.
Enlike had already won four of these matches. Nowadays it felt as if everything was only a hunt for him.
“Well, you can go back to sleep. There’s always tomorrow.”
While wiping his hands on his pants, Enlike said to Boramot,
“Boramot. I want to see the Book about Hamyuts again.”
While looking uncomfortable, Boramot beckoned to Enlike with his finger.
Enlike tread upon Boramot’s log cabin. He had a warm-looking cotton bed, a dish of soup that hadn’t been washed and pieces of white bread scattered around. It was incomparable to the living environment of Enlike’s group; this was a human room.
“You really are eager to study. Do you look forward to the day you kill Hamyuts Meseta that much?”
While saying this, Boramot placed a small box on the table and took several Book fragments out of it.
Those were fragments of Books belonging to people who were killed by Hamyuts Meseta. Ganbanzel brought them for Enlike’s group.
Enlike touched one of them.
It was a Book of an Armed Librarian named Haiza.
Haiza was running through a dense forest. He was fast, but not only that. While running, he also evaded attacks coming from all directions. Haiza’s physical fitness was way above that of Enlike. He was frighteningly fast, accurate and had no wasted movements to boot. If Enlike as he was now would fight Haiza, his chances for victory were slim. He might be killed by gunfire before he would be able to shoot his lightning.
“Shit! Where are you, Hamyuts?!”
Armed Librarian Haiza was being chased. He sold confidential information that he obtained as an Armed Librarian to some country’s intelligence agency. Due to their line of work, those who had this information equivalent to state secrets couldn’t be allowed to convey it to any country or organization.
The one sent to assassinate him was Hamyuts Meseta.
While this still young – she was only 22 years old – woman was a newcomer amongst Armed Librarians, everyone already knew about her battle strength.
“Where are you? Where are you, Hamyuts?!”
The one being chased after was Haiza. However, he was the one physically chasing her around.
When the battle began Hamyuts suddenly turned her back and fled. She attacked him while escaping. This was Hamyuts’s conventional tactic.
Haiza chased after her. She attacked while running away and he gave chase while protecting himself. While Haiza was fast, Hamyuts was overwhelmingly faster.
But he still had to chase her down. For him, who used a gun, the maximum range was about 150 meters. As long as he couldn’t get into range, he wouldn’t even be able to attack.
Haiza tumbled. A large amount of blood poured from his calf. Hamyuts hit his artery. But she wouldn’t stop. Another attack came without pause.
Just how many attacks had it been? Gravel was thrown with an intense rotation that made it curve like a snake. From the front, diagonally, and from directly above. The attacks also came flying at him from behind even though he was the one supposed to be chasing her.
If he was just shot at once or twice he would have been able to avoid it. But if ten shots were launched at him, one or two would graze him. If a hundred shots were launched at him and about ten or twenty of them would graze him, getting hit once or twice would inflict a fatal wound.
He’ll have to finish her before getting finished. However, Hamyuts already was more than 500 meters away from him. He couldn’t tell where she was. Haiza had completely lost any means of attack.
After that he was tortured to death.
His cheeks were cut, his shoulders were grazed, his flank was gouged into, and his legs were torn off.
Finally, when his head was crushed, the rain of stone bullets had stopped.
This was the pattern of Hamyuts’s certain victories: a unilateral attack from outside the range and expectations of the enemy. Once inside that pattern, no matter what kind of powerful person would stand against her, they would be tortured to death in a way that couldn’t be called a battle.
Both of his feet were torn to shreds and his gun was blown away.
Haiza, who stopped resisting, gazed up to the heavens.
At some point, Hamyuts came to his side. She looked down at him as if obstructing his view of the sky. The smile Haiza could see was a radiant smile such as one of a snake that caught its prey.
“You still aren’t a match for Hamyuts with your current power.”
Boramot said to Enlike who touched the Book.
“However, if you follow Ganbanzel-sama, there will definitely be a day when you can kill her. Never doubt this.”
Enlike didn’t say anything. His fingers touched the next Book.
The second Book fragment was that of a soldier. He was a low-grade soldier in the Imperial Army of Guinbex. After invading the neighboring Rona Kingdom, the Imperial Army of Guinbex received an order of ceasefire from the Present Management Agency. However, the higher-ups of the Army unilaterally broke it and resumed the attack. One of the Imperial Army’s squads confronted Hamyuts, who was stationed there as an inspector of the ceasefire.
The soldiers already knew Hamyuts by name. However, a single woman wielding a sling couldn’t possibly match things like fighter aircrafts and tanks as well as the Magic users among the special troops. This was common knowledge amongst the higher-ups and simple soldiers alike.
Their strategy was the typical one of defending against Hamyuts with solid fortifications while bombarding her from the skies to immobilize her. They meant to completely burn out wherever she was.
When the battle started, all the airplanes, artillery deployed from within the fortification and tank guns bombarded her simultaneously. During this bombardment, Hamyuts hadn’t resisted at all.
When it finally ceased, the tanks charged forward.
And just as those tank corps grew closer to Hamyuts…
Suddenly, the airplanes in the sky caught fire and crashed. They fell headlong on the tank corps on the surface.
Next, something huge had flown and hit the fort’s wall. It was the gun barrel of a tank.
This gun barrel, meant to shoot bullets, became a bullet itself. It looked like a complete joke.
Next came the caterpillar tracks, engine, turret, and for the finishing blow, the corpses of the tank personnel that were twisted and smashed.
Those corpses were stuck to the fort’s wall and turned into flimsy material that no longer had any human form.
The soldiers started panicking at this gruesome sight.
They understood that Hamyuts had dismantled the tank and threw its parts as if they were pebbles. The soldiers noticed their own earlier misunderstanding. The one with the overwhelming advantage in resources wasn’t them. It was Hamyuts, since she could use everything around her as a weapon. Those cannonballs came flying one after another – tank parts, fighter aircraft parts, boulders, barbed wires that was torn into shreds, as well as the sandbags and lumber which have been used for the trenches.
These attacks, simply by virtue of their weight and speed, were stronger than any other attack exactly because they were so simple.
The last thing the soldier who was the owner of the Book saw was a human shape soaring above.
He tried escaping with his airplane, but suddenly lost control and entered a tailspin.
Are you kidding me? That woman hit an airplane while it was flying?
That was the last view he had seen.
Enlike read several Books of people who were killed by Hamyuts.
“I’ll go back and sleep.”
Enlike said as he closed the lid of the casket.
“Enlike, who would you like to fight next?”
“I don’t really care.”
“I see. Everyone on this island is your prey, huh? There’s no need to rush.”
Boramot went silent and smiled.
“Isn’t it fun, Enlike? Enjoy yourself more and more. You’re doing it for Ganbanzel-sama after all.”
Without saying anything, Enlike opened the door and went out.
Enlike stopped after walking to the beach. It was near the part of the sea where Lonkenny disappeared. He recalled their fight there. Lonkenny’s expression, the fireball that was almost shot and the lightning that struck him – Enlike recalled those one by one while staring into the dark sea.
“Try to smile.”
Enlike muttered. Then, he began distorting his face. He raised the meat of his cheeks awkwardly. His eyebrows became deformed in a weird manner. His eyes narrowed unnaturally. It didn’t look like a smile at all, but rather some odd expression.
“Smile, I want to smile.”
Enlike muttered and tried twisting his face forcefully.
But it wasn’t a smile. It was a fake smile, the same that he had inside the ship before meeting Ganbanzel.
“This is all wrong.”
Muttering this, Enlike stopped trying to smile. His face returned to the previous gloomy expression.
“…Once again it’s not enough.”
He held his head.
Everyone on this island had misunderstood one thing about Enlike. Boramot, Kayas, Lonkenny and Sasari – they have all misunderstood. They were calling him a natural killer and one who loved to fight above all.
However, Enlike didn’t find battle enjoyable even once.
When he succeeded in his Magic Deliberation and could shoot out lightning, when he first killed one of his comrades, and the one after him, and the one after, and even now – he didn’t enjoy it at all.
If he were to tell this to anyone they would be shocked. It was already common knowledge on the island that he liked to battle.
Once, Ganbanzel had said that fighting and killing are the best of joys. And now, Boramot told him to enjoy killing.
Enlike wanted to do so from the bottom of his heart. Even he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t enjoying it.
Why couldn’t he smile?
Enlike recalled the face of Hamyuts that he seen before. When she killed Haiza, Hamyuts was smiling. When she annihilated the Imperial Army of Guinbex, she probably smiled as well.
That nauseating, repulsive smile. Why couldn’t he smile like Hamyuts?
He wanted to try and ask her. Why could she smile? What did she enjoy? How does it feel to enjoy something?
He wanted someone to tell him – what can he do to smile?
Enlike looked towards the sky. He saw that the full moon hanging in the heavens was sinking. He saw that stars were twinkling throughout the sky. However, Enlike couldn’t think of them as beautiful.
During the next morning, there was obviously no sign of Lonkenny. However, no one talked about it. Talking about combat practice was taboo amongst the group. It was because just mentioning it would raise fear and collapse the equilibrium within their hearts. They only exchanged gazes filled with fear and despair from time to time.
“…Kayas-san. What will we do about the surplus?”
Qumola muttered while boiling water.
“…You eat it.”
“But it’s bad.”
“Then what will we do?”
“…Because it’s Lonkenny-san’s share, I’ll give it to him.”
After saying this, Qumola returned it to inside the paper package.
“Qumola, Lonkenny is already…”
Kayas tried to say something, but he held back. While looking at the bonfire, the two of them felt a silent sadness.
Enlike stared at them. Suddenly, Qumola raised her face. She then noticed Enlike was looking at her.
“Umm, is something the matter?”
Qumola spoke towards him in a frightened state. Enlike suddenly thought she resembled a mouse – her size, the atmosphere around her, and the way she ate food leftovers.
“I don’t need anything from you.”
Enlike said. While shrinking her body, Qumola got away from him. Speaking of which, it was the first time he had watched her in action. Until now, he acted indifferently towards her, as if she was a mere pebble on the roadside.
Why was it that he suddenly felt curious about her today? While pondering this, Enlike recalled what happened last night. Lonkenny talked about Qumola. For some reason, he mentioned her as he gave Enlike a seashell.
Enlike, who finished having his meal, went back to the cave. He left the seashell he received yesterday inside the suspended hammock.
He searched inside the hammock that he used.
Then, he heard a voice coming from behind.
“Enlike. What’s that?”
When Enlike turned around he saw Kayas. He slept in the hammock next to him in the same cave.
Enlike answered while showing it. Raising his eyebrow, Kayas asked again.
“That belongs to Lonkenny. Why do you have it?”
“He gave it to me last night.”
Enlike answered honestly. He had no need to hide it.
“I see, so it was you who…”
For a split second, Kayas’s eyes were filled with hatred. However, he soon averted his eyes as if he let it go. It was obvious. No matter how angry he was, he wouldn’t be able to kill Enlike with his power.
“What is it?”
Enlike showed the seashell to Kayas.
“Isn’t it obvious by looking at it? It’s a seashell.”
“What am I supposed to do with it?”
“What did he say?”
“He said to give it to Qumola.”
“…So do that. Just give it to her.”
Enlike still couldn’t understand.
“Are you stupid? It’ll make Qumola happy. Girls like pretty things.”
Enlike didn’t understand.
“We sometimes do that. Seashells, pretty stones, bird feathers… If we find unusual things, we give them to Qumola.”
“I don’t get it. Is there any meaning to doing this?”
Enlike shook his head.
“If you don’t understand it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have anything to do with you. Hand it over. You probably don’t want to pass it anyway.”
Enlike hesitated a little. He was somewhat interested, but neither Qumola nor the seashell had anything to do with him. He tossed the shell to Kayas.
Then, someone called to them from the cave’s entrance.
“Kayas-san. Enlike-san. It’s time for Magic Deliberation.”
“Qumola, come here for a second.”
“What is it?”
Kayas took Qumola’s small hand and placed the seashell inside of it. She looked at it with a slightly surprised expression.
Qumola mumbled and gently caressed the shell with her fingertips.
“That color’s probably uncommon.”
“Yes. Thank you so much, Kayas-san.”
“…No, the one you need to thank is Lonkenny.”
At that moment, Enlike saw – while Qumola caressed the seashell, she began to slightly smile. Even Kayas, who stood in front of him, started smiling so weakly that Qumola herself hadn’t noticed.
Enlike became shocked, but not because her face seemed beautiful.
It was because her face overlapped with Relia’s expression engraved inside his mind.
That smile held for a split second. Qumola’s face then returned to its previous expression.
“What’s wrong, Enlike?”
Kayas spoke to the engrossed Enlike.
Enlike muttered. He stared at Kayas with a puzzled look.
“What’re you saying? Let’s go. That bastard is waiting for us.”
Enlike didn’t think about that at all. She smiled. In front of him. Just like Relia during that day.
“Hey, come already. You idiot.”
Kayas urged him. Enlike followed him despite the painful reluctance he felt.
From that day on, Enlike looked at Qumola in a different way than before.