While working as a contact, Alme began investigating confidential information of the Cult. She decrypted their cipher, wiretapped the executives, looking for clues about Lascall Othello.
She couldn’t find classified information easily. At the end of her hardships, Alme managed to get her hand on a single clue.
After Ganbanzel died, in a correspondence about the measures to be taken after his death, she found that hated name.
“What should we do about Haiza’s Book we left behind on the Monster’s island? He met with Parney Parlmanta.”
The Overseer of Paradise answered that message thus,
“Leave it be. Reaching Lascall Othello from Haiza’s Book is exceedingly improbable.”
After Alme read this, she abandoned her job in the Indulging God Cult and went to one of its laboratories.
“What is it, Alme?”
Winkeny was there. Luckily, he was her acquaintance.
“I have a message from the Overseer of Paradise. When you assault Bantorra Library, steal Haiza’s Book.”
“A strange order… I wanted to devote myself to defeating Hamyuts, but…”
Winkeny looked suspicious.
“Hamyuts is the main priority. You can get Haiza’s Book if you have some leeway.”
“Understood. It would probably be possible.”
“If you manage to bring it, I will come to you. Pass it to me.”
Those were her preparations. She didn’t know what was written inside that Armed Librarian Haiza’s Book, but it probably wasn’t much of a clue.
Her goal was getting another source of information – Parney Parlmanta’s Book.
She determined the Book was in Fullbeck City. She won’t give it up to Mirepoc and the rest. And also not to the Indulging God Cult.
If Lascall was such an absolute secret, she will expose it. It would be his retribution for letting Cigal die.
The next day, Mirepoc chartered a car and headed for Fullbeck’s suburbs. A luxurious residential area had been expanded in it. The people who set up vast mansions lived away from the complex and cramped city center.
‘I’m somewhat angry.’
While sitting in the back seat, Mirepoc recalled Mattalast’s words.
What he said was obvious. She was shocked that she didn’t notice it was so obvious.
But she put off thinking about it for later. He didn’t tell her to return to Bantorra. Since she could do something, she would do it. That was all.
The car parked in one corner in front of a mansion. The size of the large gates rivaled those of the underground labyrinth in Bantorra. Mirepoc got off the car and walked to the gate.
“…State your business.”
A gatekeeper was standing ahead of it. From his demeanor, she could see that he would be able to match her. Well, at least for a normal person who couldn’t use Magic.
“State your business!”
Mirepoc was silent.
“Do you know whose house this is?”
“Isn’t this the residence of Keith Clin, boss of a Book-stealing organization?”
Mirepoc said. The man’s hostility rose.
“And as for you, do you know who I am?”
She showed him a glance of the lock emblem attached to her chest.
“…An Armed Librarian?”
The gatekeeper faltered.
“Let me pass through.”
The gatekeeper’s high-handed attitude was changed in an instant.
“Keith-sama will not be able to meet you due to a sudden illness.”
“I only told you to let me pass through. Didn’t you hear me?”
Mirepoc took a step closer. The gatekeeper promptly reached for the gun at his waist. Mirepoc watched him with cold eyes.
“What is it? Are you not going to shoot?”
Lured by her words, the gatekeeper pulled out his gun. Mirepoc’s hand moved.
Her hand pulling out the sword was invisible to the man. The bullet he shot was repelled by the hilt of the rapier grasped lightly in her hand. The man became speechless while holding the gun.
“This is a normal gun, right? It won’t be able to hit an Armed Librarian.”
Mirepoc stepped up.
“Once you realize it’s useless, I will make you let me pass through.”
Jumping while holding her skirt, she went past the gate and landed in the garden.
“…Umm, us stealing and selling Books is a complete misunderstanding.”
The unbelievably fat man spoke while restlessly wiping off his sweat. He was the boss of the Book-stealing organization, the man called Keith Clin.
He was dealing with Mirepoc as if nothing has happened. He was probably trying to send her away without stirring up trouble.
“We, lovers of Books as pure works of art, have received permission from the government of the Ismo Republic to cooperate with you Armed Librarians and manage Books.”
The boss kept throwing his excuses on and on. A pure form of art? Mirepoc felt angry.
They only gathered Books because of their interest in sex. Meaning, porn.
Even the Book of an ordinary woman can get a good value from some weirdoes. Normal people couldn’t get the Books of some high-level prostitute or a famous beauty even if they were to work for their entire lives. If it’s a world-renowned beauty, one Book would be worth enough to buy an entire castle.
Slipping away from the law – and at times using it as a shield, they conducted their filthy business. If it were the Armed Librarians of the old days, they would attack them with no questions asked. But since lately people have been advocating for human rights, they couldn’t do so.
Mirepoc felt sick thinking of her Book sold for such purposes. Should I burn the entire house down? She wondered.
“Enough self-advertisement. Where’s Parney Parlmanta’s Book?”
Mirepoc skipped ahead to the real issue at hand. Keith started sweating a little more.
“Even if you ask such a thing of me…”
“It’s not in Bantorra Library. We already know it’s been excavated and kept somewhere in this city.”
“That is nothing but a rumor… more importantly, I have some valued wine, so let us commemorate our acquaintance.”
What are we supposed to commemorate?
Mirepoc kept adding more pressure on Keith.
But he didn’t easily break in. He kept evading the subject. He kept telling Mirepoc he wanted to cooperate with her, but it was obvious he didn’t really mean it.
“Is that so. I’m glad to have heard your input on it.”
Mirepoc, feeling numb, rose from her seat. Keith, thinking he got away, was all smiles.
“Hey, call a car for miss Armed Librarian here. I’ll also send her off.”
“That will not be necessary!”
Mirepoc exited the room as if trying to break the door.
The car that took her there had already returned. Although walking back to the city took some time, it was far better than borrowing a car from those guys. She walked for about an hour. A car suddenly parked up next to Mirepoc. The gatekeeper from earlier was inside.
“I said I don’t need seeing off!”
Mirepoc started telling, but she then realized something was wrong.
“Please… no, I beg you. Save us please…”
The gatekeeper was shaking in fear.
“They’re killing them. A monster attacked…”
Mirepoc thrust the gatekeeper from the driver’s seat and got inside. She drove back to Keith’s mansion while barely avoiding accidents.
After parking the car next to the gate while smoke rose from the tires, Mirepoc rushed inside.
“…What is, that…”
A woman servant was crying in front of the mansion. Another servant was besides her, crouching and shaking. One shed blood and the other was covered in that spurt of blood – everyone would be scared of that.
“What’s going on inside?”
She asked them. However, they only shook their heads to the side, so it remained unsettled. Mirepoc grabbed her sword and ran into the mansion.
The interior was quiet. She found several fresh corpses. They were probably the murdered servants. They were wounded by one blow of a blade – which seemed quite skillful. All corpses lying around were killed using the same weapon.
They were people she thought about killing, but she wasn’t actually happy about the fact they were killed. While looking around carefully, Mirepoc headed for the room Keith was in.
“…Keith! Are you alive?”
She walked in the corridor that was covered by a carpet of red. She could hear a sound coming from her side – a sound like dripping water. She instinctively turned her head.
At that moment, she heard a voice in her head.
In an instant, Mirepoc’s body got on the floor. A sharp object went above her head, scattering dancing blood in front of her.
Mirepoc rose on her legs and looked above as she jumped to the side.
A woman was clinging to the ceiling. With one hand and both legs catching on to a protuberance, she used her free hand to wield a sword. The rusty-red sword was stained in blood, sporadically letting down droplets of it.
“How did you dodge?”
The woman kicked at the ceiling and landed on the floor.
‘…Are you alive, Mirepoc?’
Mirepoc answered to the oncoming thoughts,
‘Yes, thank you very much.’
The voice talking to her was that of Mattalast. They didn’t talk in a long time, but she kept the connection just as he told her. He kept predicting two seconds ahead for Mirepoc.
“You… who are you?”
It was a straightforward reply. Mirepoc blocked the oncoming mowing attack with her rapier. It became slightly distorted.
She shook off her opponent with a kick. Mirepoc also flew back from that and the space between them became about ten meters. Her enemy immediately came chasing her. She avoided the attack while falling backwards.
Mirepoc thought it would be hard to move with her fluttering dress, but she noticed it wasn’t so. When you have to fight in an emergency, you have no time to worry about such things as the skirt’s hem.
“The Indulging God Cult?”
Even now Mirepoc inquired her. No reply came. She carefully observed Mirepoc. Mirepoc once again checked her opponent’s appearance.
She wore a black men’s frock-coat. Beneath that coat she could see a tight red dress on a dark skin. Her hair was a rust-like red. She had strangely young facial features, and she coldly gazed at Mirepoc.
“What a strange sword.”
Mirepoc murmured. It was a short yet bulky straight sword. The blade was covered in rust. In that state, it was probably almost only used as a bludgeoning weapon.
No, that’s wrong. Looking at her warped rapier, Mirepoc noticed – it was used as a bludgeoning weapon, but with her brute strength, she didn’t need the blade to be sharp. She probably increased the durability of the weapon at the expense of its sharpness. That was reasonable.
She had no time for admiration. The woman wielding the rusty sword kicked at the floor.
The danger wasn’t the sword dropping from overhead; it was the kick coming from below. Mirepoc threw her head back to avoid the sword and received the kick using her knee. Her kneecap creaked.
‘Mattalast-san. Where are you now?’
‘I’ll be there in 15 minutes. Enemies?”
‘A woman. Her ability is still unknown.’
Fifteen minutes. Difficult, she thought while evading her enemy’s swordplay. It would pass in the blink of an eye if she were to preserve the stalemate, but not if she were dragged into a decisive battle.
Standing against Mirepoc’s sword meant for stabbing was the rusty woman’s sword wielded for bludgeoning. In an arc or a straight line Mirepoc was slightly faster. But if she were to take a killing stance, they would both be killed.
They were tied even in their skill and physical abilities. But she still didn’t know her special abilities. What should she do?
Slowly but surely the rusty woman grew closer. Mirepoc slowly retreated so that she would not create an opening.
And then, the woman suddenly stopped her advance.
“That’s no good at all, girl.”
“You can’t win like that. Come at me.”
The rusty woman approached, acting defenselessly on purpose. The cautious Mirepoc made no move. It wasn’t a good opportunity. She’ll fall for her trick if she attacks.
“Eh, so that’s how it is?”
The rusty woman laughed. What’s so funny?
“You’ve probably never killed a person.”
Mirepoc’s eyes widened. The rusty woman could see she was disturbed. At that moment, she suddenly turned her body around. Mirepoc dispensed her gun and shot. The other woman lightly dodged.
She escaped. Mirepoc bit her lips in regret.
She didn’t manage to escape because she was in shock.
Although she was sent day after day for long battles, Mirepoc never killed a person by her own hands.
She was probably seen through with a single glance.
After the fight was over, Mirepoc found Keith hiding under his bed. His legs and behind peeked out. He looked just like an ostrich burying its head in the sand.
“There are no longer any enemies. Please come out.”
“N-no. They will definitely come again.”
Mirepoc sighed. Then, Mattalast finally arrived and came rushing inside.
“I don’t know. I was just about to ask myself.”
She pointed at Keith while saying so.
“Even I have no idea. She suddenly came and started swinging her sword around.”
Mattalast lightly kicked the bed. They could hear a frightened sound come from within.
“You’d better not be hiding anything.”
“I understand. Please save me.”
Keith started telling them about the time when the rusty woman attacked.
It was about three hours ago. Alme assaulted Keith’s mansion. She wasn’t like Mirepoc who cared about her opponents. She started killing people one by one so she could be found by Keith.
Keith was ungracefully hiding under the bed. Alme thrust her sword at it.
“…Where’s Parney Parlmanta’s Book?”
“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know!”
“Even you don’t know?”
“Everyone thinks I have it. But I really don’t. I heard the rumor, but I’ve never seen the Book.”
“And you didn’t search for it?”
“I did. But every person who searched for Parney’s Book died.”
Hearing this was enough for Alme. She prepared for her battle with Mirepoc.
After this, the battle went just as planned. As she didn’t manage to kill her in one blow, she planned to escape. She easily succeeded at that.
It wasn’t Mirepoc she ran away from – but Mattalast. She could tell by Mirepoc’s expression that she called him with her Thought Sharing.
And she understood when fighting her – Mirepoc wasn’t her enemy. She could deal with her whenever.
She had some skill. However, her spirit was decisively weak. She didn’t have the drive for inflicting a fatal blow.
“…You’ve probably never killed a person.”
She was disturbed by these words to the extent Alme wanted to laugh. She endured laughing as she recalled this.
Keith finished speaking of the rusty woman.
“This is everything. I’m not lying.”
Leaving the trembling Keith behind, the two have left the room.
“Hey, aren’t you going to save me?”
Keith panicked, but they ignored him.
“Now it’s clear.”
“The enemy attacks us, and looks for Parney Parlmanta’s Book. There’s no doubt that the Indulging God Cult and Lascall Othello are connected.”
“…So that means you were right.”
Mirepoc nodded heavily.
“But, just who is Lascall Othello?”
“I don’t know. I can’t even make a guess.”
Mirepoc couldn’t tell that Mattalast lied. Neither then nor later.
The man who called himself a liar and the girl who was proud of herself being honest – there was an insurmountable gap between the two.