Fragment: The Real Monster

Ten days have passed since the end of the incident.

Minth’s injuries were already healed. He still felt some discomfort in his legs, but his body was tougher than that of a normal person.

Minth went out of the hospital wing and was drinking alone at the tavern in Bantorra Library’s downtown.

He was drinking straight gin. This 40-proof liquid permeated his tongue and poured down the back of his throat.

He wasn’t drunk.

“Hello there, you great man.”

At that time, a man sat next to the counter and called to him.

It was Mattalast.

“It wasn’t a big deal.”

“That’s not true. A lot had happened but the result was the best case scenario, wasn’t it?”

After he ordered “the same as always”, high-grade whiskey was poured inside a glass with finely shredded ice. He began drinking it slowly as the ice melted on his tongue into a mist.

“Well, maybe.”

Minth answered and poured more alcohol into his mouth in one go.

The incident had apparently ended like this – Hamyuts Meseta found the Monster but soon understood that his real identity was different. She also was able to capture rather than kill him, and even pulled out information from his collaborators. Hamyuts let Noloty persuade him and aimed to revive the Monster in order to annihilate the followers of the Indulging God Cult.

The Monster was almost resurrected once, but was then safely sealed by Minth and Noloty. Enlike complied with Noloty’s dedicated persuasion, and promised to cooperate in the battle against the Cult while under Bantorra Library’s patronage.

This was the full story of this incident as announced by Minth. Enlike and Noloty were also instructed to leave it like that.

Getting a member of the Indulging God Cult to become a collaborator and an ally was a huge achievement. Even the problem of Hamyuts’s independent actions ended up unsettled due to this. Noloty had a problem with this, but seeing the result, she ended up leaving it alone for now.

Apparently this was a good conclusion. But if that were really so, Minth wouldn’t try to get drunk like this.

“…Did Hammy do something again?”

Mattalast asked in a silent voice.

“You sure know her well.”

“Because I’ve known her for a long time.”

Mattalast knew Hamyuts from before she became an Armed Librarian – Minth recalled that fact.

“Won’t you talk, Minth? What did you find out about her? I won’t be surprised to hear something happened after all this time.”

Minth ordered seven more glasses and began talking.

 

After the battle was over, the three people were wounded and exhausted. Minth couldn’t move his feet and Noloty had bruises and near fractures throughout her entire body. Even Enlike, who had his super regeneration, couldn’t stand easily due to his wounds.

“Are you alive, Minth?”

Enlike talked to him while getting up. Both of Minth’s feet were twisted so that he couldn’t move.

“It isn’t a life-threatening wound. Don’t worry.”

Minth bluffed and endured the pain.

“A message came from Mirepoc. She said she’s sending some people. In a while they’ll come from the city. We’ll just have to wait here quietly until then.”

And just as they were discussing this…

Hamyuts Meseta appeared with a completely calm expression.

“Good job.”

She said this with her usual smile. The head of an old man was hanging from her hand.

“…Ganbanzel.”

Enlike muttered after seeing that head.

“Right, I killed him. But even though I brought it with me, when I think about it I don’t have any use for it.”

Saying this, Hamyuts threw Ganbanzel’s head to the sea.

“It seems like it was dangerous. Wait a while and I’ll treat you.”

Hamyuts grabbed Minth’s legs and corrected the position of his bones. She fixated them with splints and bandages and cooled them with a wet cloth. It was hard to think of her as the mastermind behind this incident after seeing her work like this.

“Hey, Director.”

“What is it, Minth?”

“What a pity. You weren’t able to fight the monster.”

Minth spat out. He was angry. Rather than simply wanting to fight, she made a trap for Enlike and put Noloty in risk. She couldn’t possibly be forgiven. Minth swore that he would definitely act to force her out of office.

“What’re you saying?”

“Ha, always feigning innocence, huh?”

Minth directed his anger at Hamyuts.

“I didn’t really want to fight the monster, so it isn’t a pity.”

“…Say what?”

“Because you know, my opponent is right here, isn’t he?”

Hamyuts said and pointed at Enlike who lay atop the sand.

“Director! He is…!”

Noloty rose to shield him.

“I know. I heard about him from Ganbanzel. You’re Enlike-kun, right?”

Noloty lost her words. Enlike rose up and got in front as if shielding Noloty.

“Oh, you can go back and sleep until you recover. I’m very patient so you can keep resting.”

“What are you planning, Hamyuts?”

Hamyuts didn’t pay any heed to Minth’s angry roars and looked at Enlike.

“You have a good look in your eyes, Enlike-kun. You’re a different person than before. I’m glad I made Noloty meet you. Honestly, I wasn’t sure everything was working in the right direction, so I’m really happy.”

“…”

“Actually, I didn’t really expect anything from Zatoh. He fought just because he liked killing. He wasn’t all that strong.

The strongest people are always those who fight for the sake of others. Those who confront powerful enemies and never flinch in front of any hardships are those who fight for someone else.

Isn’t that right, Noloty?”

Hamyuts smiled.

At that moment, Minth noticed that he was shaking.

It was a fear he didn’t feel even when he fought the Monster.

That was natural. After all, the whole incident with Zatoh had been nothing more than a useless farce created by Hamyuts.

“I also have someone I would call my patron. They probably don’t think much of me, but I’ll probably remember them for the rest of my life. Yes, I also have that kind of person.

Enlike-kun. Right now you resemble them a bit.

Ever since they saved me, I always wanted us to try killing each other by all means.”

Enlike slowly came forward. Then, he said,

“…Even if you have a reason to fight, I don’t.”

“…Oh.”

“You’re only my past objective. I have no interest in you now.”

“…What a cruel thing to say.”

Hamyuts smiled like a little girl.

“You broke my heart.”

And after saying this,

“Oh well. You’ll come around one day. I’ll wait for that.”

 

Mattalast was silent.

“I thought of her as a difficult person, but I never thought she’d go that far. What should we do? Is it fine leaving her alone like this?”

Mattalast then spoke while smoking his pipe.

“Hey, Minth. I have some bad news. I actually invited Hammy to have a drink here today.”

“…”

Minth turned around. He could feel his drunkenness and all color in his face being washed away. Hamyuts waved at him from the entrance of the tavern. She calmly came and sat down next to the pale Minth. She didn’t behave as if she heard his words at all.

“The thing Minth’s been drinking looks good. I want the same.”

Hamyuts put the glass she was given to her mouth, but frowned.

“Wah, this is quite strong.”

“Say, Hammy.”

Mattalast talked while shaking his glass.

“Yeah?”

“…I believe you heard our conversation just now, but why didn’t you take Noloty as a hostage?”

“What are you talking about, Matt? Don’t be a weirdo.”

“I never thought I would be told that by you, Hammy.”

Mattalast held his head.

“Why would I have to take a cute kid like her hostage? I don’t like that at all.”

“But you want to fight, don’t you? It would be fine.”

“I don’t understand you. Besides, do I have any reason to fight? Fighting without any reason isn’t fun at all.”

“So that’s it.”

“It’s not that I like to fight anyone who’s strong just because of that. What’s important is how I feel. I want to feel like I’m going to get killed.”

While saying this, Hamyuts smiled.

“I want to fight to the death with the kind of opponent that can’t help but want to kill me.”

As Minth looked at her smile, he said,

“Director. I feel as if I’d end up fighting you some day.”

Hearing that, Hamyuts grinned at him.

“If you want to, I’m ready at any time. Because I’m patient, I’ll wait however long you want me to.”

Minth was thinking – perhaps the fight against the monster wasn’t yet over.

The monster known as Zatoh was defeated. However, the real monster was still right there.

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Fragment: The Real Monster

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