The two returned to the hotel. They talked in Mirepoc’s room while drinking coffee.
A story book she got from Kalon was in front of her eyes. While Mirepoc was somewhat excited, Mattalast looked terribly glum. He smoked his pipe in silence, looking at the book.
“This fairy tale and the Indulging God Cult – do they have any connection?”
Mirepoc waited for a reply, but Mattalast didn’t say anything. She reluctantly had to answer herself.
“I believe that the fact we can’t excavate the Books of the Indulging God Cult’s followers is probably due to this Lascall Othello.”
Mattalast made an indifferent reply.
“Which means that Lascall Othello is an existence that can be said to be close to the core of the Indulging God Cult. This also explains their reason to risk themselves so far to take their Books.”
“Looks like we’ve reeled up some big fish.”
Why does Mattalast look so gloomy? We might be approaching the core of the Indulging God Cult’s mysteries here.
“I don’t want to be beaten to the punch by that rusty woman. We must find Parney Parlmanta’s Book before her.”
Mattalast’s voice still sounded depressed.
“What’s wrong, Mattalast-san?”
He smiled. However, it was a terribly forced smile.
Mattalast started talking.
“Our enemy also looks for Parney Parlmanta’s Book. It seems to be the only thing that could be a hint of Lascall Othello at present. We need to consider finding that Book our highest priority.”
“Let’s split. You’ll investigate Parney Parlmanta using surviving material and people who’ve known her. I’ll look for her Book together with Keith.”
It was a somewhat half-hearted strategy, but she didn’t say anything against it.
Mattalast then stood up.
“Are you going already?”
“Yeah. You start tomorrow. Watch out for that rusty woman.”
Saying this, he left.
Mirepoc stayed at the hotel. He told her to start tomorrow, but she couldn’t sleep. She looked through the picture book she got from Kalon and ruminated. Just who is Lascall Othello?
Mirepoc closed her eyes and invoked her Magic Right.
The destination of her thoughts was Noloty at Bantorra Library. Thinking of the time difference, she should still be at the Library at this time.
‘Mirepoc-san, is that you?’
‘Noloty. Do you have some time?’
‘I just thought of heading back home, but…’
How convenient, Mirepoc thought. She would feel awkward to make her junior work during her off hours, but since the timing was good Noloty would have to endure her a bit.
‘I have something to ask of you, is that fine?’
Unhesitatingly answering ‘yes’ at times like these was part of Noloty’s charm.
‘I want you to go and read Haiza’s Book.’
Haiza’s Book should have been stored under strict security in the Acting Director’s room. However, just viewing it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
‘Since I’m trying to get permission from the Director, please wait a bit.’
The thoughts sent from Noloty were interrupted. She was probably negotiating with the Director.
‘Permission received. I will now view the Book.’
‘I see. Wait a bit.’
Mirepoc concentrated her consciousness so she could share the memories of the Book Noloty was reading.
‘…Alright, go ahead, Noloty.’
She confirmed the connection was stronger than usual.
‘What do I need to read?’
‘The part where he investigates Lascall Othello.’
Mirepoc could feel the memories from Haiza’s Book flowing into Noloty. And then she read them from her mind.
During his investigation of Lascall Othello, Haiza didn’t talk to just Parney Parlmanta. He also met various other people.
Most of them were people who said that someone told them of the rumors. However, Noloty and Mirepoc found out there was a person who wasn’t like that.
The one replying so was a young newspaper reporter.
“Yeah, I’ve heard of that. Who told me about it? I can’t remember…”
The reporter said bluntly. However, he tilted his head and thought.
“There’s one point of interest though.”
The newspaper reporter showed Haiza an article.
“Serial Bank Robbers Arrested”
“I’ve created the opportunity for this arrest. When I was interviewing people at the mines, I found the Book of one of the incident’s victims by chance.”
The reporter smiled.
“Thanks to that incident my value surged. Maybe it will help you find Lascall Othello.”
While reading the Book, Noloty inquired Mirepoc.
‘Mirepoc-san, does this mean anything?’
‘Sorry, please keep going a little.’
A youth quietly drank beer in front of a single Book.
“This Book belongs to my old friend.”
The youth said.
“I didn’t know… that she loved me. We haven’t met in a long time, so I thought she forgot me already.”
“Where did you get this?”
“A Book-seller told me something like, ‘this is your acquaintance’, and sold it to me.”
“…Where is that Book-seller?”
“He was caught by you Armed Librarians and quit his job.”
“Is that so…”
“I don’t know if Lascall Othello exists, but that Book-seller was Lascall for me, at least.”
An old woman was talking.
“I really don’t know anything. One day I woke up early and the Book was inside my house.”
While saying this, the old woman showed a single Book.
“It was my son’s Book. He left home long ago… and returned like this.”
She started shedding tears.
“He was a devoted son. Even though he turned into this form, he still came back.”
The woman said while holding out the Book.
“Sorry. I am aware the Book must be taken to the Library. I also thought about sending it there countless times, but I just couldn’t do it…”
The old woman was crying again. Haiza received the Book.
“…Where did you find it in the house?”
“It was in the mailbox. It was sent here in an envelope.”
Haiza looked at the envelope. The forwarding address was Toatt Mining Town. The sender’s name had not been written down.
‘That’s enough. Thank you, Noloty.’
Being told this, Noloty exited the Book.
‘You’re looking for Lascall Othello, right, Mirepoc-san?’
Noloty sent a worried thought.
‘…Yeah, that’s right.’
‘So he’s connected to the Indulging God Cult like you’ve thought?’
‘I’m investigating it. I still can’t say anything.’
Noloty seemed to be thinking about something.
‘But, Lascall Othello somehow seems like a good person.’
‘He delivered a Book to that old lady, and to that man, so he did good things.’
‘Books need to be in the Library.’
Mirepoc instinctually laughed at Noloty’s cute flustered thoughts.
She cut the connection.
“A good person, huh…”
Mumbled Mirepoc. She thought of Lascall Othello. That didn’t seem right.
She thought of the conversations Haiza had with people.
And of the legends she heard about from Kalon.
Noloty’s words that he seemed like a good person were certainly on mark. If he really was a member of the Indulging God Cult Mirepoc thought there were some unexplained things.
As she thought, the most important were Parney Parlmanta’s Book and Lascall Othello’s identity.
She didn’t think of the rusty woman as that important. She was about evenly matched with Mirepoc with a slight disadvantage for Mirepoc. For Mattalast this kind of opponent wouldn’t give any trouble at all.
She suddenly recalled their battle.
“…I never killed anyone, huh.”
The rusty woman saw through that fact with a single glance and sneered at her.
But what of it? Mirepoc’s ability was that of logistical support. She would obviously not come to fight in the front line. If a time comes where she has to kill, she will definitely be able to do so. When the moment comes, she will not hesitate.
However, Mirepoc still felt something like defeat at the woman’s words.
A while ago, Mirepoc spoke with Enlike. He was once the Indulging God Cult’s Meat but took over the body of the Monster Zatoh. Now he collaborated with the Armed Librarians.
Mirepoc slightly hesitated while talking with him. She once ordered Noloty to kill him.
However, Enlike said that he didn’t mind.
“At that point in time, it was the proper decision.”
Mirepoc felt relieved.
“I also think that way. Noloty’s judgment was right in the result, but that’s based on hindsight.”
Enlike looked at Mirepoc with cold, gloomy eyes.
In fact, there was some anxiety. Perhaps Noloty’s decision wasn’t correct?
“But I respect Noloty.”
“It doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong. She’s doing what she wants to.
She’s different from me, and probably from you as well.”
“That is the wrong way to act as an Armed Librarian.”
That was everything she spoke with Enlike about.
Thinking about it, she also felt like she lost to Noloty in something hard to put in words. She wasn’t wrong – but while she thought so, what was that sense of defeat she felt?
They were similar. The sense of defeat against that rusty woman was like that against Noloty.
What was that feeling?
While thinking of this, Mirepoc went to sleep.
“Mattalast began moving. Is Mirepoc resting?”
Alme monitored the hotel the two were staying in. She saw the lights in Mirepoc’s room turn off. Mattalast went outside the front door a while ago.
Should I kill Mirepoc immediately? She thought.
But she determined it wasn’t efficient.
Currently, it was a three-way struggle between her, the Armed Librarians and the Indulging God Cult. The Cult hasn’t made a move yet, but they will soon come to attack Alme and the Armed Librarians.
For Alme, who was severely lacking in power, this situation was favorable.
Alme was burning with the urge to kill, but her thinking was always composed.
“I should look for Parney’s Book.”
Alme flipped her body and jumped into the nighttime city.
For a few days afterwards, Fullbeck City was at peace. The massacre at Keith’s mansion wasn’t reported in the newspapers. He probably used his power to silence them.
Mirepoc and Mattalast started going around the city. Mattalast started exhaustively scouring places that had Books and Mirepoc tried following Parney’s footsteps.
They kept in touch from time to time and continued their research.
The rusty woman was ominously silent as the investigation advanced.
At night, they rejoined in the hotel.
“Did you find Parney’s Book?”
Mattalast shook his head.
“I didn’t find any clues either.”
It was understandable. They have been searching for Parney Parlmanta’s Book from before they suspected her connection with the Indulging God Cult. There’s no way it would be found so easily.
“Is it really in this city?”
“We have no choice but to look for it. More importantly, how’s your side?”
Mirepoc thought for a while.
“I heard testimony from several related persons. Unfortunately I found no evidence Parney was involved with the Indulging God Cult, but I have found plenty of points of suspicion.”
“What do you mean?”
“Some say that Parney Parlmanta’s popularity had been fabricated.”
Mattalast leaned forward.
“Parney was a mediocre actress who made no money for a long time. From those who knew her at the time, no one had praised her acting skills. However, starting from a certain point her evaluation completely changed.”
“Her talent bloomed, didn’t it?”
“It seemingly became so. But there are also those who claim that it’s wrong. She had no soul in her acting – just the technique. She was completely a third-rate actress. Many people claimed this here and there.
There were those who praised her and those who criticized her. I don’t know enough so I don’t really understand, but they seem incredibly divided in opinion.
Furthermore, when people have criticized her, there were countless testimonies of them being put under pressure. You’ve also said this, Mattalast-san. Parney’s acting wasn’t a big deal.”
“I haven’t been able to confirm this, but there’s also talk about people who consistently badmouthed Parney getting erased. Alternatively, there were also many cases of actresses who seemed like they could become her rivals that suddenly quit or resigned their parts.”
“…So what do you think about that?”
“I have one guess about Parney.”
“What do you mean?”
“Parney probably belonged to the Indulging God Cult. I believe the Cult made secret maneuvers from behind the scenes for her success.”
“I believe that Parney was one of the Indulging God Cult’s leaders – the people referred to as True Men.”
They knew the fact that there were several different ranks inside the Cult.
The lowest were Meats. The bombs from Toatt Mining Town, Enlike and the rest who were eaten by the Monster, the woman who became Renas Fleur during the Mokkania incident, and more. They were cattle with the shape of a human that existed only to be used.
Above them were regular members. From Enlike’s story they found out that they were called False Men. From what the Armed Librarians side had been able to confirm so far, they were men such as Winkeny and Locolo from the Mokkania incident as well as the cloth-user Boramot from Enlike’s island. The Ever-Laughing Witch Shiron and the Monster Zatoh probably also belonged to that category.
The position above it was that of True Men. Thus far they only managed to confirm Cigal Crukessa and Ganbanzel Grof.
Do what your heart desires. The only teaching of the Indulging God Cult applied just for the True Men. Everyone else existed only to serve as the True Men’s arms and legs.
“Do all that your heart desires. This is the teaching of the Indulging God Cult and the only principle behind those who are called True Men.
Parney wished to become a famous actress. So she became a member of the Indulging God Cult and used underhanded methods to achieve that position.”
Mattalast thought for a while.
“You’re only guessing, but that guess seems right.”
Mirepoc felt relieved at this approval.
“But Parney was erased. That was probably also the Indulging God Cult’s doing.”
“Perhaps the reason for her erasure was her connection with Lascall Othello.”
The conversation ended there. Their entire conversation was made of speculation. Since they couldn’t find Parney’s Book at present, they couldn’t know anything else.
“Besides, we don’t really understand the Indulging God Cult.”
Mirepoc looked outside the window.
“Do what your heart desires. This is a natural idea at some level. Everyone in this world follows their desires.”
She looked at the city’s lights through the window and at the various people living underneath those lights.
“There are countless women who want to become actresses just like Parney in this city. There are many people in the world who desire money just like Cigal. Even Ganbanzel who desires power is just like us Armed Librarians.”
“…They’re different. Normal people fulfill their desires in accordance to law and justice. The Indulging God Cult commits evil for their cause.”
“But there are also plenty of people who commit evil for their cause in the world.”
Mirepoc recalled Keith’s fat face.
“If the True Men had no subordinates to follow them, people like Cigal would be mere criminals. Ganbanzel would be a powerless man. Parney would be an unsuccessful actress.
What makes them the Armed Librarians’ enemies are the False Men and Meats accompanying them.”
“Why do the False Men serve the True Men? They’re all readily submissive for the True Men, at time even going as far as throwing away their lives for them.
I don’t believe Cigal and Ganbanzel have had that sort of charisma.
I wonder just what False Men think about when they join the Cult?”
“Well, never mind that. Every person has their own beliefs.”
This might have been a useless talk. Mirepoc changed the subject.
“Speaking of which, what about the rusty woman?”
“Seems like she’s still in the city. There were several eyewitnesses. She even showed herself to the one I introduced you to, Kalon-kun.”
Mirepoc was startled.
“Is he fine?”
“It would be more of a fuss if he was killed. Seems like she just asked him about Lascall and went off.”
“Why did she go to Kalon’s?”
“Inspecting the enemy’s movements, probably. She’s probably investigating how far we’ve reached.”
That woman was probably also looking for Parney Parlmanta’s Book – so that she could conceal the truth about Lascall Othello.
“How about we try to capture her before moving on?”
“I have been looking for her. But it didn’t go well. I can’t seem to find her.”
“She probably has some ability. She seems to be able to perceive my approach and run away.”
“An ability like that of the Director’s, isn’t it…”
“It might be the same. Sensory Threads aren’t that difficult and rare of an ability.”
The two sighed at the same time.
“I’ll go look for her now. Be cautious. We can’t tell where that rusty woman will attack from.”
Should they stop investigating Parney Parlmanta? Mirepoc decided to look for her Book with Mattalast starting from tomorrow. Drinking a cup of tea before heading to bed, she thought about such things.
But, while she understood about Parney to a certain extent, there were still plenty of mysteries.
She could especially say that she didn’t know a single thing about Lascall Othello’s identity.
He was the man who gave Books to Colio. An existence that passed Books to people. A strange legend passed from old times.
Was he good? Was he evil? Was he an enemy? Was he an ally?
And just what kind of a being was he?