Mokkania carried Renas on his back as he headed for battle. Winkeny saw him off. He couldn’t do anything else at this stage. The only pieces left were the white and black queen. He couldn’t believe in Mokkania’s victory even when he was the one to control him.
Their chances for success were slim. Hamyuts obtained Shlamuffen, thereby gaining a mean with which to oppose the ants. Mokkania’s advantage over her was the fact she couldn’t protect against them. As long as a miracle doesn’t occur, he will lose.
But still, he couldn’t give up. Winkeny bet his life on this plan. No, not just his life. Winkeny himself lived for this plan. He only existed so he could manipulate Mokkania.
Winkenny thought to himself – please, Mokkania. Defeat her. Prove that my life wasn’t in vain.
Winkeny Bize – a child born to an extremely normal household in the Ismo Republic. His father was a railway engineer and his mother a shoe polisher at the station. He was the youngest of three siblings, with his brother and sister far removed from him in age.
The young Winkeny never found out what happened. One day, when he returned home his mother simply told him that his father, brother and sister will not return anymore.
She also mentioned something about the Indulging God Cult. She said that his father and the rest opposed joining that Cult.
His mother asked him to come along with her. Winkeny nodded.
He didn’t know anything about the organization known as the Indulging God Cult. He just thought that his mother would become lonely. Winkeny swore together with her that he would dedicate his entire life to the Cult.
“Welcome to the Indulging God Cult, Winkeny Bize. The Cult sincerely welcomes you.”
In front of his eyes was the leader of the Cult. His title was the Overseer of Paradise.
This was the man who found those fitting to be True Men, managed the False Men, and employed the Meats – he was the Cult’s leader in every sense of the word. While sitting inside a small hotel room in Ismo Republic, he calmly played with chess pieces in his hands.
No-one was allowed to see his face. No-one was allowed to know his name.
“Being able to greet young people like you into the Cult is fortunate for us. We at the Cult wish to raise good people.”
Winkeny was able to see his face right in front of his eyes. However, by the effect of some sort of magic, as soon as he diverted his eyes he couldn’t recall the man’s face any longer. No matter how many times he had seen him, he couldn’t remember his features.
From his voice he could understand he was a man. But that voice might also not be the real thing.
“Unfortunately, you do not seem to possess “the entirety”. People who do not have “the entirety” do not have the qualifications to become True Men. From now on you will support those who will become True Men, you will become a game piece that accompanies their very lives.”
The voice of the Overseer of Paradise was calm and gentle. Winkeny felt as if he was wrapped in heat.
“As a piece, when you make any achievement, Lascall Othello will come and carry your Book to Heaven. Until that day comes, dedicate yourself to the Cult.”
Lascall Othello. Winkeny did not know the meaning of that name. However, he didn’t ask about it. There were things in the Cult that mustn’t be questioned.
“Be not afraid of death. Do not avoid hardships. Your life is transient. Your only happiness is the happiness of True Men.”
Winkeny nodded. The Overseer of Paradise seemed to like his attitude.
He gave him a single photograph.
“His name is Mokkania Fleur. Presently he is attending an Armed Librarian school. He’s not even a trainee yet.”
Winkeny took the photo. He stared at the boy’s face. Nothing came to his mind.
“And what about him?”
“A Magician who infiltrated the Predictive Magic Committee made a prediction about him. Within ten years, he will become one of the world’s strongest.”
“We cannot avoid our battle against the Armed Librarians. Within ten years, the Armed Librarians will certainly sniff us out and attempt to annihilate us. As we are anticipating this, we must take some measures.”
“We cannot surpass the Armed Librarians in our military capabilities. We are vastly outnumbered. But we will also not be easily annihilated.”
While saying so, the Overseer of Paradise began to nimbly move the chess pieces. Seemingly the black side was dominant.
“In the case of a stalemate, the Armed Librarians will move their strongest piece, Mokkania Fleur.”
The Overseer of Paradise moved the black queen. Winkeny had no deep knowledge in chess, but he understood that the queen is used to determine the victor.
“When that happens, the piece that will decide the outcome would be the natural enemy of this one. A piece that will kill the queen without paying any heed to the pawns or knights.”
“You will become that piece.”
The Overseer of Paradise tipped over the black queen with his fingers and it rolled away. It fell from the board into Winkeny’s hands.
As soon as he was brought in, Winkeny was separated from his mother. In this secretive cult, there were almost no relationships between fellow believers. They were forbidden to meet, and even letters or messages of any kind were not allowed.
Days of tough training were waiting for Winkeny. He did nothing but work on his Magic Deliberation from day till night. Furthermore he learned about disguises, infiltration and even ways to lie; he was trained as a spy.
He looked for ways to oppose Mokkania based on the ability he was taught. He imagined an ability that will allow him to withstand the attacks of ants, repeating his Magic Deliberation again and again. He didn’t have any battle training whatsoever. He even ignored bodily reinforcement Magic which was essential for warriors. He did nothing but acquire the ability needed to counteract Mokkania.
Gaining a Magic Right was only possible at the stage when a person’s spirit was still immature – no earlier than the teens and no later than the early twenties. Past this, the common sense and clear vision characteristic to adults that grew within one’s mind will hinder the growth of Magic.
Winkeny’s growth was slow. He didn’t have anything called a talent.
When he approached his twenties, the only thing he was able to get was the ability to change his body to petroleum.
“…This would certainly avoid attacks by Mokkania.”
His Magic teacher said.
“However, how are you going to attack?”
He didn’t have an answer. In the end Winkeny couldn’t get the ability to kill a person. His ability only allowed him to withstand Mokkania’s attacks. It wasn’t enough to become his natural enemy.
“There is no need for disappointment.”
The Overseer of Paradise said during their second meeting.
“Everyone has their own domain. You can work on something else that fits you.”
He wasn’t trying to console Winkeny. It was a verdict that he held no expectations of him.
Winkeny kept carrying the black queen he received from the Overseer of Paradise close to him. It was an old piece, symbolizing half of his lifetime.
He now clasped it tightly.
Starting that day, Winkeny conducted an investigation independent of the Cult’s orders.
Up till then, the only thing he knew about Mokkania was his ability. He began to gather data on him. Sometimes even putting himself in danger, Winkeny started investigating everything about Mokkania – his personality, his career, not to mention information about his family and interpersonal relationship, and even things such as his favorite color or food.
Before long, his comrades in the Cult started ridiculing him without understanding any of his actions.
Ignoring them, Winkeny examined the entirety of Mokkania.
It happened a few years after Winkeny was released from his duties as a warrior.
He went and visited Mokkania’s hometown.
It was a small town situated in the northern part of Rona Kingdom. The town was surrounded by apple groves and forests of beech trees, and Winkeny walked along a road lined up with poplar trees. It was a warm town with a short winter. The time flowed gently, making spending time there pleasant.
Mokkania was raised there from his birth until he was thirteen. It was a place Winkeny simply had to visit.
Winkeny stopped in the middle of the poplar tree-lined road. He looked around and muttered to himself.
“…I am Mokkania Fleur. I was born and raised in this town.”
The quiet landscape of the town reflected in his eyes. What did Mokkania think, see and feel here? Winkeny worked his imagination.
“This is a pleasant town. A beautiful town that wouldn’t lose to Bantorra. I think that I should keep living in this town.
However, I haven’t returned to this town in over a decade.”
His words were interrupted there.
Winkeny started walking again.
First, he went to the house Mokkania grew up in. It was the house of the feudal lord, located in the center of town. In this kingdom, which had nothing to do with Democracy or Capitalism, the lord’s authority was absolute.
“I welcome you. I have heard you are working for a newspaper in Ismo Republic…?”
Winkeny showed the identification from a certain newspaper, one of the several fake IDs he possessed.
“Thank you for allowing me to interview you today.”
The lord, while being confused because of Winkeny’s unusual appearance, led him to the drawing room.
He conducted his interview there. He inquired about the diplomatic relations between Rona Kingdom and the Present Management Agency under the pretext of asking the opinions of well-informed man. The interview itself wasn’t fake. In fact, after the article was written it was published. It was a newspaper under the patronage of the Cult.
He asked the lord’s opinion on their diplomatic relations. While he didn’t hear anything new, Winkeny kept patient.
Concluding the conversation in a reasonable spot, Winkeny went to the real issue in hand under the guise of idle talk. Naturally, it was about Mokkania.
“By the way, I heard that Armed Librarian Mokkania Fleur was born here.”
Hearing Mokkania’s name, the expression of the lord who was in a good mood until then suddenly changed.
“That person is indeed my child.”
The lord said without even attempting to hide his discomfort. A father calling his son “that person”. These words let Winkeny know of that man’s narrow-mindedness.
“I don’t think of him as having any connection to me.
No, it’s not since he became an Armed Librarian. That person was unworthy of my family since he was a child. Even if he were to return, I will not let him inherit my property. Only a commoner’s child would become something common like an Armed Librarian.”
The lord repeated the word “common” many times. He kept holding to the old-fashioned notion that noble children must not acquire professions such as an Armed Librarian.
Prepared to offend him even more, Winkeny asked further.
“What do you think of the Guinbex massacre done by Mokkania-shi?”
“What does that have to do with me? How unpleasant. Get out.”
He answered as expected. Winkeny stood up and thanked him.
“I am Mokkania. I don’t wish to return to this house. This isn’t my house.”
Winkeny muttered as he passed the gate.
“I grew up in this house from when I was five till thirteen. Living in this uncomfortable house probably left me with some mental scars. Getting out of town was undoubtedly in order to run away from this house… I…”
Winkeny stopped speaking there. There wasn’t any meaning in investigating those kinds of superficial emotions. He must arrive at the very core and depth of Mokkania’s mind.
What kind of child had Mokkania been as he lived in this town? Winkeny thought about hearing other people’s stories.
Guided by hearsay, Winkeny walked through the town. He was looking for the other house Mokkania lived in.
The town was beautiful when viewed from outside, but he noticed it wasn’t so when you entered inside.
Ten-year old children were helping with farming as a matter of course. Based on their social position, it was natural that only a limited number would go to things like schools.
Certainly, for people of this town, a method for a commoner to get into a higher position would be only by becoming an Armed Librarian. For them, your origin did not matter. As long as they have the ability, they would also accept people with an unknown background.
Why did Mokkania become an Armed Librarian? Was it the position he wanted? Or did he have another reason?
“I am Mokkania. I will become an Armed Librarian… do I want power? Do I want status? Do I love fighting? …I don’t know.”
“Mokkania? I remember him.”
An old woman busy with grinding flour answered. Winkeny was taking notes in the back of a bakery in one corner of the town.
“What kind of a child was he?”
“He was very quiet… very kind and gentle, much like a girl.”
Right. Winkeny had already found out that fundamentally, Mokkania was a very kind person. Almost all of the people who knew Mokkania said so.
Winkeny wanted to know the substance of that kindness. Did he adjoin his weakness with kindness, or was it a strong sort of kindness? How did he form it?
Winkeny asked further questions.
“Did he have any friends?”
“No specific children that come to mind. But, you see, my grandson used to bully him.”
“He was bullied?”
That was surprising to hear. This child, who became one of the world’s strongest, was once bullied.
“Yeah, that’s right, it was awful. He did things like dropping him in water or stealing his candy as a daily occurrence. Isn’t that right, you foolish grandson?”
The voice of a youth came from the front of the bakery.
“Grandma, please forgive me already. I know I did bad things.”
“What is this brat even saying…”
Winkeny became interested. This bullying might have influenced Mokkania’s personality.
“Whenever Mokkania would come home crying, his mother would come yelling at me. Do you know her? Renas-san.”
Mokkania lived without his father since he was five years old. After that, he was taken care of by his father.
“What kind of person was Renas Fleur?”
“Although she was quiet, she had a strong heart. We’ve lost a good person.”
The old woman sighed.
“Even so, this is unbelievable. I’ve never seen Mokkania engage in any fights. Did he really become an Armed Librarian?”
She was talking while still grinding flour.
“I would never have imagined him protecting us all back then.”
The old woman talked about the battle against Guinbex. A year ago, the Armed Librarian fought against the invading army of Guinbex and destroyed it. Many of the people in Rona Kingdom were grateful.
The old woman called the youth who was at the store’s front. Winkeny asked him further questions.
“Mokkania, huh? I remember him.”
The young baker said.
“It’s not like everyone especially bullied him. It’s just that… I was a bully, and I bullied everyone. It’s from long ago, though.”
Talking with shame, the youth scratched his head. He didn’t look like a bad person. He was probably a typical neighborhood bully back then.
“I would bully him and make Renas-san angry. You know her? She was Mokkania’s mother.”
Of course he did.
“She was kind. And also pretty. When I think about it, it was Renas who left a larger impression in my memories.”
“What kind of person was she?”
“A good person. She would round up the kids and tell them fairy tales.
But she was scary when angry. She would scold without giving the other party any chance to explain, asking us why we were doing bad things, and then look at us with sad eyes. I had to endure that.”
Saying this, the youth smiled.
“She really hated violence. If she was still alive, she would have probably been extremely angry at Mokkania. I think she wouldn’t have let him become an Armed Librarian in the first place.”
The youth directed a distant look up to the sky.
“Mokkania did protect Rona Kingdom, but I believe he would have pained Renas-san.”
Winkeny went away.