In a certain room at Bantorra Library, Noloty Malche raised her voice. This happened during the day she returned to work after recovering from her injuries gotten during the Mokkania incident.
“You’re taking a vacation, Mirepoc-san?”
“Yes. Is that so surprising?”
Mirepoc Finedell answered. Why are everyone so surprised, she wondered. One takes a vacation when they have things to do. It’s normal.
“It is surprising… because it’s you.”
“Yes, but… why?”
Noloty tilted her head. What a strange girl as always, Mirepoc thought.
The two of them were in the Armed Librarian offices. The wide rooms were divided by large screens, and half of them looked like a private room that had an Armed Librarian desk in it. Everyone’s desks were there with the exception of Hamyuts.
However, the majority of people dove into the Labyrinth or were out of Bantorra on some mission. Only Mirepoc, Noloty and Minth were in the offices at that time.
“Why are you so surprised?”
Mirepoc asked again. Instead of Noloty, it was Minth who answered after hearing their conversation from the side.
“It is surprising. It’s because you’re a workaholic who didn’t take any days off in three months.”
“Yeah. Even at lunch break you always take exactly fifteen minutes, Mirepoc-san.”
Everyone told her the same. Mirepoc became increasingly sullen at seeing them so surprised.
“Anyway, Minth-san. While I’m gone, I’m leaving Noloty’s supervision for you. Is that fine with you, Noloty?”
The two nodded.
With this, she finished passing over her work. All that remained was gathering her luggage and leaving Bantorra Library.
“So, where are you going, Mirepoc-san? Back to your hometown?”
Noloty started talking with her. Explaining it would be bothersome, but I should probably just tell her.
“Fulbeck. Fulbeck in the Ismo Republic.”
“So you’re going to have fun?”
Mirepoc shook her head.
“I’m going to search for Lascall Othello.”
Mirepoc first heard that name about a year ago. She heard about him in her hospital bed after the Dragon Pneumonia incident at Toatt Mining Town was over.
Lascall Othello was a fairytale character whose story passed quietly between girls around the world. Somewhere around the world, a strange Book-seller goes around selling Books. He gathers those Books with an unknown power, and flies around the world with some mysterious power. He is said to take the Books of girls who died without confessing their feelings and then deliver them to the person of their affection.
Ireia told her there was such a rumor.
She also said that perhaps it was the person who chose to give the Book of the Ever-Laughing Witch to her lover across time, Colio Tonies.
Mirepoc departed Bantorra Library and went for the harbor. The ticket for the flying boat bound for Fulbeck was already in her pocket.
“Why are you searching for that Lascall or whatever now?”
Noloty came to her later and asked. She came to the harbor to see her off.
“Wasn’t this investigated some years ago and found out to be just a rumor?”
“The investigation was called off in the middle. So it’s not yet sure he doesn’t exist.”
“The man who sold Books to Colio Tonies was just a plain, unrelated Book-seller.”
“That seems to be the case for now.”
Mirepoc said in a cold voice.
“You don’t believe it?”
Noloty asked. Mirepoc nodded.
“Thinking rationally, there’s no way a simple Book-seller would have the Book of the Ever-Laughing Witch. He’s undoubtedly not an ordinary person.”
“…So you think he’s Lascall Othello?”
“That’s not all. There’s also the incident with Mokkania. The Indulging God Cult tried taking Haiza’s Book.”
“And what about it?”
“Haiza was tasked with the mission of looking for Lascall Othello.”
“…But, he didn’t manage to find him, right?”
“Right. But perhaps he came close to him.”
Noloty titled her head.
“In other words, Lascall Othello exists and has some connection to the Indulging God Cult. Lascall Othello had Shiron-san’s Book, and the Indulging God Cult attempted to hide information about him by stealing Haiza’s Book.”
“Yes, that is my reasoning.”
Noloty thought for a while as she walked.
“Aren’t you overthinking this?”
Mirepoc instinctively sighed.
“…It’s fine, Noloty. I’m already used to people telling me that.”
Mirepoc held the same conversation with Minth, Mattalast, Enlike and the Director. However, no one agreed with her.
“Lascall Othello doesn’t exist.”
Everyone unanimously told her so with a smile.
Therefore, Mirepoc took a vacation. Since no-one agreed with her, she will search by herself.
“Well, we part here, Noloty.”
Noloty stopped walking, and Mirepoc got on the flying boat. Ever after they parted, Noloty stood there for a while, tilting her head and thinking.
That was ten hours ago.
Mirepoc got off the flying boat that brought her from Bantorra to Fulbeck and went into town.
She exclaimed without thinking. She hastily closed her mouth. Raising a voice of surprise at seeing the city’s streets made her sound like some hillbilly.
Visible from the harbors were overwhelming lines of skyscrapers. All these buildings that were the same size as Bantorra Library were crowded together.
The amount of cars was incredible as well. Only those who had high-paying jobs like Armed Librarians should have these, and yet they were running all around the city.
The getup of people walking around was also different from that of other cities. The men wore good suits of the kind that only someone like Mattalast would wear at Bantorra Library. Women wore all kinds of gorgeous dresses or new designer suits as if competing with each other.
Fulbeck was one of the most prosperous cities in the world. It was true not only for their economics and industry, but they were also among the world’s best in art and culture as well. It didn’t seem like Toatt Mining Town – which she went into some time ago – was in the same country at all. They appeared to be a whole century apart.
It wasn’t the time to be amazed. Mirepoc pulled herself together and started walking. While pacing around the streets, she noticed that she looked horribly out of place in her attire. She had a military uniform. Moreover, it wasn’t one of Ismo’s army.
Passersby all shot glances at her. She’s shouldn’t be worried about public gaze so much, but it was hard for her to bear such staring directed at her.
“Oh dear me!”
While walking, she suddenly heard a voice from behind. It was a middle-aged woman dressed luxuriously. She had a ridiculous amount of jewelry on her neck and fingers. She looked like someone covered in insects.
“Such a lovely attire! Where did you find it?”
Mirepoc reflexively replied.
“Tight clothes are actually quite sexy. This androgynous look really fits you. Where did you find this?”
The woman talked in an over-familiar manner. Mirepoc wondered if this was the norm here.
“…This is the uniform of the Guinbex Imperial Army.”
Mirepoc honestly answered.
“Well now, isn’t that amazing! Butler! I have decided, I will wear this for the next party!”
Her butler calmly bowed.
“So, where did you get it?”
“The army supplied it to me once.”
“I see. Butler! Arrange this immediately!”
Saying that, the woman walked away while shaking her jewelry around. She seemed to be misunderstanding something, but did not bother to ask again.
She seems to be living in a different world, Mirepoc thought.
Mirepoc came to this town because Haiza’s Book focused on a certain woman. She was one of the people he met while investigating the rumor of Lascall Othello.
Her name was Parney Parlmanta. Her real name seemed to be different, but Mirepoc didn’t know it.
She was an actress. A big actress who started a new era in this Cinema City of Fulbeck. She remembered that, eight years ago, the news of her murder shook the entire world.
Mirepoc recalled her appearance as documented in Haiza’s Book.
The Book’s owner was called Haiza Meeken. He served as an Armed Librarian for a long time, but his abilities weren’t of a high level. Although he was slightly stronger than Mirepoc, he was probably weaker than Minth. Since both she and Minth had support abilities, his overall evaluation could be therefore said to be low. Later on he sold himself to the Guinbex Imperial Army and was punished for it, but this event had nothing to do with it.
The issue at hand was his work.
- Half a year before getting killed by Hamyuts, he came to Fulbeck. Haiza did so in order to investigate the rumors about Lascall Othello spreading around during that time.
Haiza looked at the map in the sheriff’s office. It was the map of the Ismo Republic spread on a full desk. A large amount of red dots were scattered on top of it.
“Lascall Othello, huh…”
Haiza mumbled. He was looking for the source of the rumors for more than a year. The map on the desk was the fruits of his labor.
The red dots pointed the places of people who knew about the rumor. They were mostly concentrated in the gulf coast of the northern continent. It was close to the central city, Fulbeck. This was undoubtedly the source of the rumor.
“Good grief, isn’t this work supposed to be for normal librarians or trainees…? Why do I have to take care of this?”
While smoking a cigarette in a hurry, Haiza threw his legs on top of the desk.
At that moment, the door opened and a lone man came inside. He was the trainee Armed Librarian Feekiee. At that time Haiza was his supervisor.
“Haiza-san. We seem to have gotten hold of Parney Parlmanta.”
“Is that so.”
Haiza lowered his legs and then rose up.
“Good grief, since when does an actress have more authority than us Armed Librarians?”
They inquired people who knew Lascall’s name and asked where they have heard it. Then, by asking those who told them of the rumor, they explored its source. Haiza repeated this process again and again.
While repeating this work, Haiza made a single hypothesis. Didn’t the rumor’s origin come from Parney Parlmanta? Needless to say, she was a huge actress. She was extremely busy. Haiza requested a meeting with her many times, and today it was finally about to come true.
“But even meeting her might not help.”
Feekiee said while walking behind Haiza.
“What do you mean?”
“She is drunk.”
Haiza laid his eyes on Parney for the first time inside her mansion. He saw her several times on screen, but seeing her directly like this had a completely different effect.
Parney wore a dress revealing her chest and sat listlessly on a sofa.
She wasn’t short or tall. She had a slightly curly and dull golden hair. It was short, just as women liked to wear their hair during these days. Her facial features were distinct, her body seemed to be overly thin, and she probably looked more attractive while on the screen. Her lips, as red as blood, etched themselves into Haiza’s eyes. Her slightly discolored makeup, her sleepy-looking eyes, and her drunk, uncertain hand movements were terribly captivating.
However, Haiza still felt that he wasn’t expecting this. She would seem beautiful while around ordinary people, but it wasn’t enough for her to be called “The most beautiful woman in history” or “A miracle of the Creator Deity”.
Even Mirepoc thought the same while reading the Book. She wondered if the figure reflected in the cinema screen was that of the same person.
“Who are you?”
Parney said. Although it was midday, she was completely drunk.
“Armed Librarian Haiza. For the last years, I’ve been investigating the rumors about Lascall Othello that are widespread around this area.”
She laughed noisily. Haiza began to feel discomfort, but kept his expression calm.
“My, aren’t you dull-looking.”
Parney extended her shaking hand and grabbed a cigarette. After some failures she lit the match and then smoked restlessly.
“I’ve played… The role of an Armed Librarian… so aren’t I better?”
Saying so, Parney convulsed with laughter.
“Did you watch it? I was in the leading role there. ‘The Duel at Tanieze Plains’. I’m an Armed Librarian there. I’m fighting the Ever-Laughing Witch one on one, and I drag her out to her execution. You’ve seen it, right?”
Haiza shook his head.
She threw the still-lit cigarette at Haiza.
“What’s the matter with you. I don’t know anymore.”
Sick of it all, Haiza cut to the chase.
“Umm, so you must know about the rumors of Lascall Othello spread around here. It’s circulating all around the Ismo Republic with Fulbeck as the center, but we’re unable to find the source.”
“I don’t want to hear about that anymore. Go away.”
“According to our investigation, we believe that you’re the source of the rumors.”
Her mood ruined further, Parney became angry.
“Aren’t you the one spreading the rumors about Lascall Othello?”
“What’re you saying? Are you stupid?”
“So, you don’t know anything about Lascall?”
“Really, don’t say stupid things.”
Parney drank some liquor straight from the bottle.
“Hey, since you’re so stupid, I’ll tell you. Lascall actually, does exist.”
“…Where is he?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you try to find him, you won’t be able to. If you don’t try to find him, you will. That’s the kind of person Lascall Othello is.
That’s why I wasn’t able to meet him. I don’t really want to see Lascall. I don’t know him at all. If I think that way, I will be able to meet him. So, I don’t know anything about Lascall.”
“…Why do you want to meet Lascall?”
“Why are you Armed Librarians looking for him!”
Parney suddenly started yelling.
“You lot refused to show me a Book you claimed to be sealed, so aren’t you the bad ones?!
You’re the ones hiding Lascall, aren’t you?! So why did you come and ask me about him?
I can’t get it at all. Just what are you doing?!”
Haiza waited for her to calm down, and then asked her again.
“When did you come to know of Lascall?”
“Where did you find out about him?”
“I’ve met him.”
“You’ve met him?”
“I did. I also talked to him. I’ve even made a promise that he would take my Book.”
“…Where? When? What kind of a person is he?”
“I don’t know. I’ve forgotten it all!”
Haiza felt like this whole thing was pointless.
“It seems I’m going crazy. I have to meet Lascall again, but he wouldn’t come to me. If I die right now, what would happen to my Book? Huh? What would happen to it?”
“If I won’t meet Lascall again, I will become no good at all. Everything will end.”
It already ended enough, thought Haiza.
They finished the conversation at that point and he left. Haiza thought it was a complete waste of time.
A man looking like some attendant was waiting outside the room and Haiza struck conversation with him.
“Completely useless. Since when is she like that?”
“It’s been like this for a while.”
“Do you know anything about Lascall Othello?”
The manager shook his head.
“She speaks about him once in a while, yet I cannot understand the meaning of it all.”
Haiza left the room behind him with a tired expression.