That man held the ability which allowed him to cross the border between the living and the dead. He managed to change his soul into a Book while still living, in order to reach Heaven. Why and how did he go to Heaven? The answers to this weren’t recorded in the fragment.
The man’s Book entered Heaven.
“…What is this…”
He could see. He should have been dead but was able to see. And he could feel. He felt the surrounding landscape and in the far distance, a tremendous being.
At first he had seen a vast desert. The man walked along it and his feet sank. He didn’t know why, but he had to walk. He could understand something magnificent was in front of him. There was no reason for this. He only felt so.
In the meantime, it started raining. The man murmured as he got wet.
“…It’s raining. A rain of souls.”
The man basked in it. Inside the rain he felt joy like never before. The joy of loving. The joy of being loved. Joy he could obtain. Joy contained in him.
While smelling lovely flowers, he overlooked a splendid sea of clouds. Conquering various countries on horseback, days of peace have arrived. Feeling the sublime souls of saints, his heart fluttered in wicked bliss, and while admiring lovely women, the loving man’s body shivered in their embrace.
While struck by this rain of souls, the man felt all the kinds of happiness in the world.
Before long, the rain ceased. The man started walking again.
The man noticed that the sand was made of people’s souls. Those who ascended to Heaven become sand like this. And he also noticed at the same time that the rain was also made of people’s souls. The happiness evaporated from the sands, turned into rain and poured down again.
“Oh, right. These are True Men.”
He was drenched in the happiness of True Men. He had been reliving the happiness that True Men have tasted until now.
I want more happiness, the man thought. However, he approached the limits of his ability. The man’s soul left Heaven and came back to this world.
In his final moments the man had seen the huge presence that sat in the middle of Heaven. Both Heaven and that grand being were…
The man shouted.
The Book ended there.
“This is… Heaven.”
Alme muttered. Her face was sweating. Her heart beat like a prancing horse.
“How was it? Although it was only inside this Book, you felt happiness that probably surpassed all you have felt until now. If you go to Heaven, you can taste even more happiness forever.
Do you understand what Heaven is?”
“The Books of the believers of the Indulging God Cult go not to Bantorra Library, but are stored in Heaven. We protect this Heaven and fight so we could ascend to it.”
While putting away the Book showing Heaven, the Overseer of Paradise continued his explanation.
“What you have seen, that rain of souls, is a collection of people’s joy.
This happiness is extracted from the Books of dead people housed in Heaven and becomes a rain. Those who ascend to Heaven are basked in it and taste the ultimate happiness.
By collecting the Books of those who reached happiness, Heaven becomes an even more wonderful place. God wishes it and we also aim for that.”
Alme nodded, her face flushed.
“We must send the Books of people in bliss to Heaven. However, there is no meaning in sending people with only a small joy to Heaven.
Therefore, we produce happy people. We select people who should be happy, and we lend them our power so that their happiness will grow stronger. That is the mission of the Indulging God Cult.”
“…Umm, is Cigal one of the chosen people?”
“You truly are quick to understand.”
The Overseer of Paradise pointed at Alme with his index finger.
“We call those who were chosen, like Cigal, True Men.
The conditions to become a True Men are the size and purity of one’s desire. The greater the desire is, the purer the desire is, the greater their achieved happiness.
Cigal’s desire is immensely vast and truly pure. If he were to achieve his desire and become able to ascend to Heaven, it will make it a much more splendid place.”
The Overseer of Paradise kept talking.
“People like me and you, who don’t possess a pure desire, cannot become True Men. Therefore, we serve the happiness of those True Men. We are called False Men.
And, for our service to True Men and the Cult, we go to Heaven as a reward.
True Men exist for God. And False Men exist for True Men. We exert our efforts so that God, and those of us who serve God, will be able to taste all the happiness of this world in Heaven.”
The Overseer of Paradise spoke while looking into Alme’s eyes.
“Will you become our ally?”
Alme answered “yes” without any hesitation.
That surely was the sort of happiness she will not be able to know without joining the Cult. The joy of touching and devoting oneself to that sublime being.
She will offer herself for Cigal, for Heaven. This was something she couldn’t know if she played her violin her whole life.
Alme swore her loyalty to Cigal who wasn’t there.
Alme was headed for an island. There was a training facility of the Indulging God Cult on it. It was lonely for her to not see Cigal, but if she was useless for him she wouldn’t be able to be at his side. She had to master Magic and become a warrior.
On the ship were Alme and a boy close to her in age. He was a boy who wore glasses and looked serious. His name was Winkeny.
“Why did you join the Indulging God Cult?”
Winkeny started talking to her.
“In order to serve Cigal-sama. And you?”
Winkeny seemed troubled for a short while.
“Since my mother joined the Cult… I came with her.”
“Do you know Cigal-sama?”
“I heard about him.”
Alme spoke to Winkeny about how wonderful of a person Cigal was. He listened to her with a cold expression.
“I’m not really sure since I also just joined, but I think people like you are rare.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll see when we get there.”
Alme and the rest who’ve gathered on this solitary island at some distant sea withstood severe training. Those who gave up were discarded. Seeing dead people or those whose spirits were affected go out was a daily occurrence.
The morale of Alme’s group was high. Everyone became desperate to reach Heaven.
While living that sort of life, she started understanding the meaning of Winkeny’s words.
“No-one honors the True Men.”
She talked to Winkeny in between training. The two have become friends.
“Yeah. That’s true.”
“They’re all just thinking about themselves going to Heaven. They only think of True Men as tools that allow them to reach Heaven.”
“Right. Everyone’s objective is self-interest. These are False Men.”
Alme scorned her comrades. They’re so stupid.
“It just doesn’t fit them… they’re like pigs – they just greedily devour the bait known as happiness.”
“That is the Indulging God Cult.”
“Are you also like that?”
“I just happened to join the Cult. I have no place to go and nothing else to do. I only do my job.”
Winkeny was thoughtful and serious, but she didn’t like the way he spoke.
“Are you different, Alme?”
“I am. I am connected to Cigal-sama. Only I am different.”
She was different. This was Alme’s favorite phrase.
Once, an airplane came to the island. The False Men began clamoring. Winkeny came to call Alme who was resting in her room.
“Alme, Cigal-sama came to visit. He called for you.”
True Men never came to visit. And it was even the one she admired, Cigal. All of Alme’s comrades focused their attention on her.
“It’s been a while, Alme.”
She faced Cigal with her cheeks blushing. She had so much she wanted to say to him, but now that she actually met him she couldn’t form any words.
Cigal smiled as if telling her it’s fine, I understand.
“You seem to have gotten an interesting ability.”
“It’s the same ability as Hamyuts Meseta… our mortal enemy. Ha-ha, seems like it would become useful.”
The False Men looking at them from a distance started murmuring amongst themselves. Many of them wanted to work under Cigal. With just some brief words, Alme seemed to be the one to achieve a position close to him.
Alme looked around her and snorted. What’re you making a fuss about. It’s only natural.
It was a dark expression unlike that she had while facing Cigal. Looking at him she had the face of a simple girl, while looking down the people around her she had an expression of arrogance. Alme possessed these two expressions. Which one of them was the real Alme?
“Did you make any friends?”
“One. His name is Winkeny.”
“And why are you friends with him?”
Alme thought for a while. She simply talked with him, but she thought that kind of mundane answer will disappoint Cigal. What answer will make him happy?
“Because he appears to be useful.”
“That’s a good answer.”
Cigal smiled. Yes! She cheered in her heart.
“What about the other guys?”
Alme thought again. How could she answer to make Cigal happy…
“They only look like stupid pigs to me. I can’t make friends with them.”
“Indeed. They are pigs. As I thought you’re the kind of human I’ve imagined you to be.”
Cigal asked her about various topics. Alme thought and answered as to fulfill his expectations.
Before long, she could naturally answer in ways that made Cigal happy, and thought of what would make him happy.
Her way of thinking could be called wicked, and Alme also knew it. However, even acting wicked was fine if it made Cigal happy.
In this world, only Cigal and I are correct. Everyone else is but pigs. Alme reaffirmed this while talking to Cigal.
Cigal then told her he wanted to listen to her violin. Alme was surprised. She hadn’t practiced her violin in a while.
Although she was confused, she desperately played her violin. Cigal listened to it quietly.
“…A good sound. Much better than when we first met. Just as I anticipated.”
“It is a cruel sound.”
Alme finally understood. This man hadn’t listened to the violin’s sound. He listened to Alme’s heart. He could feel with his excellent hearing that he raised Alme into a cruel girl.
“Please become a full-fledged warrior soon. Then I could always listen to your violin.”
Alme was joyed. Cigal was waiting for her.
Afterwards, Winkeny had said to her,
“Cigal-sama seems to gain pleasure by making money.”
“…Frankly speaking, I don’t like him very much. Money being his entire happiness feels somewhat wrong.”
“You’re so stupid, Winkeny. You don’t know anything.”
Alme said and sneered at him.
After having grown strong and brutal, Alme left the training facility. Obviously she went to be at Cigal’s side.
Cigal had already dominated the top of the underworld. Not only the underworld, but he also had control on the public business world.
His assets have already become comparable to those of an entire country. If he kept going like this, it was thought that he would surpass the Ever-Laughing Witch in 10 years.
Even then Cigal wasn’t satisfied. He ordered everyone to find new ways of making money.
Drugs, gambling, extortion, exploitation.
Alme received orders that deviated from the proper course of men and gleefully conducted them.
The city was, in fact, under Cigal’s control. The citizens were drowning in drugs, and as for the security forces that were supposed to be cracking it down, Cigal had the government and bureaucrats that supervised them under his control as well.
The industry and commerce were also ruined, so the city became quiet. Everyone always clearly heard gunshots and cries of children.
Alme stopped a certain person in the city.
“Where are you going?”
The man turned around. Alme wasn’t Cigal’s only subordinate. This man, who worked as both Cigal’s secretary and chief of staff, was another close aide.
“…I’m leaving. I can’t follow Cigal-sama anymore.”
Alme asked with her hand on her sword hilt.
“I can’t follow Cigal-sama anymore.
Alme, look at this city. If we continue like that, the Armed Librarians will make some move.
We can handle the government or the Present Management Agency, but there’s nothing we can do against the Armed Librarians.”
“Also, I can’t understand how Cigal-sama thinks. He seems to be happy at people’s misfortune rather than at making money. Does he really desire money?
What is that guy thinking?”
“You can’t understand it because you’re trash.”
While saying so, Alme pulled out her sword.
“You can’t understand Cigal-sama’s noble feelings.”
Alme hammered the sword’s hilt into the man’s stomach while saying so. He collapsed while spewing out blood and vomit.
“You have no value in being a False Man. You should be a Meat.”
She made contact with the Indulging God Cult’s headquarters and told them she had a new Meat. The tied-up man had been deprived of his memories using the water of Argax and became cattle.
An errand man came from the headquarters. The one who came to recover the new Meat was Alme’s friend, Winkeny.
Alme thus greeted the friend she didn’t see for a long time. Cigal looked happily at this.
“Why did you turn this man to a Meat?”
“This bastard couldn’t understand Cigal-sama’s ideals.”
Alme kicked the tied-up man while saying so. He groaned. Winkeny looked at him, frowning.
“Alme. I ask this while being ashamed of my ignorance. I also don’t understand Cigal-sama’s ideals.”
“Since you’re useless explaining it to you would be a waste of a time.”
Cigal tilted his glass and put in between his lips.
“Hey Alme. Even if he’s useless, is he not your friend? Please explain it to him.”
Alme started talking. During this she trampled the man under her foot.
“This man – no, all of the trash in this world – made a misunderstanding.
They think that happiness is something to be shared. That everyone in the world can become happy. You are probably also like that.”
“I won’t deny this for now.”
“That is wrong. There is only a limited amount of happiness in the world. As all people in the world are struggling for their own share, they are competing for the happiness of the world. The world’s trash doesn’t know this.
Happiness should only belong to those that have value. Trash must not possess happiness.”
This was a word for word reproduction of what Cigal had once told her. The one talking now wasn’t Alme. It was Cigal, who sat behind, that talked while borrowing her mouth.
“…So that’s why people are unhappy.”
“You have always been one to quickly understand, Winkeny.”
Alme put more strength to her trampling foot.
“It is exactly so. If someone becomes unhappy, then another person receives only that portion of happiness. If everyone but Cigal-sama becomes unhappy, at that moment he will reach the perfect happiness.”
Winkeny hid the feelings in his chest and stared at Alme.
“You’ve changed, Alme.”
“No, nothing changed.”
Alme snorted and kicked the man at her feet. Winkeny grabbed his body.
“I have another question.”
“Can you make everyone in the world unhappy? Not only a single country. For this you have to destroy the Armed Librarians.”
“A good question, Winkeny-kun.”
This wasn’t Alme but Cigal who opened his mouth.
“There is a method. I have the means to defeat our nemesis, Hamyuts Meseta.”
A small Book fragment was in Cigal’s hands. Winkeny probably didn’t know the Book’s owner, but Alme of course did.
It was the Book fragment of the Ever-Laughing Witch, Shiron Booyacornish.
After Winkeny left, Alme and Cigal conversed. Alme snuggled up next to him, gently leaning on him.
“You’re the only one. The only one to understand my ideals. No-one else can understand them.”
“You don’t need this city anymore.”
“The time of Shiron’s prediction approaches. I must soon hasten my preparations in earnest.”
“Do you still need anything? We already have the bombs and the pathogens.”
“It’s still not enough. I must have the strength to kill Hamyuts.”
“Maybe add Ganbanzel’s Monster?”
“Alme. Don’t you want to see it? That arrogant woman, prostrating on the ground.”
“I see, I now understand, Cigal-sama.”
After saying this, he pulled out another Book fragment.
“I have received this Book from Lascall Othello yesterday. Recorded inside is the location of the Magic Blade hidden by the Ever-Laughing Witch.”
Alme understood even without being told. Going to get it was her job.
“Oh, Alme, it’s about time. Please detonate the Meats.”
Saying so, Cigal pointed out of the window.
They have been holding an experiment to confirm the power and efficiency of human bombs. Looking outside the window at the city, many explosions occurred here and there. From where Alme was it looked just like if gray flowers bloomed inside the city.
She muttered. She started walking towards the city that was filled with the dead and injured.
“Alme is happy. I wonder if it’s fine for someone of this position to be so happy.”
Even if it was evil, even if it was twisted, even if it was like an illness, she could probably call it nothing other than love.
Even Alme had to make a desperate effort to reach the depths of the mountains. Shiron hid her weapon there.
The Ever-Laughing Magic Blade Shlamuffen. It was known to be the most fierce and brutal among the Memorial Weapons. The spider legs happily attached themselves to Alme who liked fresh blood.
When she returned she showed this to Cigal.
Even while she wasn’t around the preparation kept steadily progressing. The bombs that would be used as a distraction; Dragon Pneumonia that would be spread in Toatt Mining Town; the intelligence about the movements of the Armed Librarians. The preparations to kill Hamyuts were getting completed.
“I shall use that Magic Blade.”
Alme said. Cigal himself was also quite good, but Alme would beat him. In order to not risk Cigal it would be better for her to challenge that woman one on one.
However, Cigal shook his head.
“No, this is mine.”
“Then I will stay around to assist.”
“Assist? That will not be necessary now.”
His voice sounded somewhat anxious. It was different than usual.
“Then what should I do?”
“Just go somewhere.”
Alme instinctively asked back. Cigal looked at himself. This was the look he once gave to Winkeny and his aide. It was the face of disdain he showed to everyone except Alme.
There was no reason for him to look at her like this. Alme was supposed to be the only one who understood him.
“So noisy. I told you to go somewhere.”
Alme tried clinging to him. However, Cigal no longer looked at her.
“Aah! Why doesn’t anyone understand my ideals!”
He threw his wine at the floor. And then he spit.
“You worthless trash. Why did I have such an idiot by my side? How could I think you understood me? Don’t be so conceited. I can’t even stand seeing you.”
Cigal kept cursing her for several hours. His handsome face was distorted in anger.
Alme pathetically withstood that. No matter how much she was abused by him, she couldn’t even think about talking back to him.
Why, she only kept asking this in her mind.