“Why did you take a break?”
A while after her reunion with Mel, the False Man Olt came to visit Parney in her mansion. She had canceled her scheduled job at the last minute.
“Isn’t it fine that I want to take a break?”
Parney said while drinking liquor.
“You can’t do that. You must pursue your acting.”
“Stop. I’m tired of it.”
Olt responded in anger.
“Wasn’t acting your happiness? Aren’t you an ordinary woman then?”
“If you are a True Man, devote yourself to happiness.”
Parney answered with some hesitation.
“Right, that’s how it was…”
She continued acting. The high praise she received ever since joining the Cult was the same. But even that didn’t encourage her. Parney spoke to the Overseer of Paradise when he visited her.
“Hey, I’d like to go to Heaven soon. It’s been enough, right?”
“No, you cannot. Your quantity of happiness is not yet sufficient.”
“Do I have to continue?”
“Are you perhaps not happy anymore?”
Parney immediately showed him a smile.
“Did you really think it could happen? I’m a True Man after all.”
However, she was acting. Parney ended up acting even when the camera wasn’t rolling – acting out her happiness.
Only Zackie understood her true intentions.
“Hey, will I be able to ascend to Heaven?”
Parney often asked him. Zackie shook his head to the side.
“I don’t know. We should ask Lascall.”
“But Lascall wouldn’t come. How can I meet him?”
Even Zackie didn’t have any answer. Lascall was an unreachable being for him.
“If I remember correctly… it’s been said that Lascall would appear when you speak of him.”
“Search for Lascall.”
“Was it you? The one who’s been spreading rumors on Lascall Othello.”
The Overseer of Paradise and the executive leaders came to reprimand Parney.
“What do you mean that you want to meet Lascall? Aren’t you a True Man? Have you forgotten your duty?”
Ever since then she drowned herself in alcohol. She asked Zackie for things even enjoyable fun than liquor and he brought them.
“There’s no way we’ve been sniffed out by the Armed Librarians, right?”
“Didn’t that Haiza or something came?”
“…You haven’t talked to him about Lascall, right?”
“Who knows… I forgot.”
Parney laughed. It was a masochistic kind of laugh.
“What shall we do about her, Overseer of Paradise?”
“There is no problem at all. I will take some measures.”
“Hmm… If that’s what you say.”
Parney spoke to the Overseer of Paradise after calming down.
“Hey, let me meet Lascall. I’m a True Man and I’m telling you I want to meet Lascall. Aren’t you all False Men? Let me meet him already.”
“We cannot allow that.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“If we unnecessarily let you meet with Lascall, you might learn the location of Heaven. Therefore, we cannot allow even a member of the Indulging God Cult to know about him.”
“What’s all this bullshit about Heaven! I’m a True Man. Obey me!”
The Overseer of Paradise and the executives looked at her with cold eyes. She was clearly completely drunk.
“We’ve made a mistake, Overseer of Paradise.”
“…It seems so.”
“We should have plucked her off sooner. When she was at the peak of her happiness.”
“What are you talking about?”
Parney started shaking.
“We have no need for True Men who have lost their happiness. We don’t mind killing you.”
“Perhaps we can still squeeze out some happiness from her. Let us wait a little. Her desire seems weak though.”
“What do you mean, what do you mean!”
After the Overseer of Paradise and the rest left, only Parney and Zackie remained.
“Zackie. Am I going to be killed?”
There was no reply.
“What’s a True Man? What’s the Indulging God Cult?”
“Zackie. Please. Look for Lascall. I have nothing more than that.”
“Do you want me to conduct treason?”
He will probably not comply. Zackie was also a believer of the Indulging God Cult. He had no reason to listen to someone like Parney who’s already been thrown away.
However, his answer was different.
“Parney-sama. I’ve been always looking at you.”
She could hear the frustration and anger in his words.
“I will say this clearly. Right now you are at your lowest. Even so, I thought that you were once fit to go to Heaven. I’ve sworn my loyalty to the you of those days. And that loyalty does not waver.”
Just like in the day they’ve first met, Zackie kissed Parney’s feet.
Parney cancelled all of her work plans and did nothing but wait for contact from Zackie. She met no-one. No contact came. No-one came to visit her. In her boredom, she left memos to pass the time.
If I were to die, this will become my last will. Parney thought so and laughed.
One night, she woke with a start. She found a letter near her pillow. Zackie was inside a storehouse in the harbor – thus was written inside.
She could trust no-one but Zackie. Parney went to the storehouse alone. There were no people around, but only a single Book was left there.
With that alone she understood everything. Who was that Book’s owner?
Parney extended her fingers. She touched the Book of the one who was faithful to her, Zackie.
Having received the secret orders from Parney, Zackie slipped through the watchful eyes of the Cult and searched for Lascall. Parney saw him fight for the first time.
Zackie was an excellent warrior. His only weapon was his body. His battle style was lurking in the darkness and finally pouncing and breaking his opponent’s neck in an instant, just like a leopard.
Seeking clues about Lascall Othello, he sneaked into a mansion belonging to an executive False Man. The executive he found called out to him.
“Zackie. I have a nice story for you.”
Zackie stopped his attack, and listened to the man’s story.
“You seem to be looking for Lascall Othello. I actually also think I want to meet him. I’ve had enough of being a subordinate. That’s why I plan on killing the Overseer of Paradise and Lascall and snatch Heaven.”
Parney’s plan was just appealing for Lascall, but the executive had a much more daring idea in mind.
“Can you do it?”
“The Overseer of Paradise should have no fighting ability. If we kill him I can control the Cult. Then you and Parney could go to Heaven.”
Zackie joined that executive’s attack plan.
And just when they were about to attack the hotel the Overseer of Paradise stayed in, Zackie withdrew.
The attackers asked.
“Sorry, but I’m not going to help you.”
Saying so, after he hid himself within the darkness, another man appeared of that darkness.
He was a man who wore a flat mask with no eyes or mouth. He held an iron bar in his hands.
“Who are you?”
The executive asked. The reply came in the form of slaughter.
Even Zackie wasn’t able to see the movement of that iron bar. That bladeless rod tore into the body of the men like a sickle. They hadn’t the slight idea over what his Magic Right was.
But that strength… Zackie involuntarily let out a voice as he lurked. The trivial difference in their abilities became overwhelming. Was there such a warrior in the Cult? Someone like that should be in the caliber of the Armed Librarian Acting Director.
In the blink of an eye he erased the executive and his group.
Zackie was the one to inform the Overseer of Paradise of the attack plan. Parney’s orders were to let her meet Lascall. He had a different goal in the first place.
The faceless man spoke as Zackie looked in front of him.
“It’s about time for you to come out, Lascall.”
Lascall Othello appeared. He stabbed his stone sword in the ground and withdrew the False Men’s Books.
How convenient, thought Zackie. He planned on exchanging the information about the attack with the right to meet Lascall. Unexpectedly, he became able to appeal to Lascall directly. The lurking Zackie showed himself.
“Oh my, and who might you be, sir?”
“I’m the informer who stopped this plot. There is something I’d like to request for this achievement.”
Zackie prostrated himself.
“I know that I won’t get rewarded on this achievement. But please take Parney-sama’s Book to Heaven.”
However, Lascall’s reply was ruthless. With a soft, cold smile he said the following.
“It is an impossible request. Those who have lost their happiness will not go to Heaven.”
“I know that. But please have some mercy…”
At the exact moment he said this and tried getting closer to Lascall… the faceless man stood behind him.
“I will kill all those who pursue Lascall.”
Along with the sounds of air being cut, Zackie felt his body being split into two.
Having finished reading the Book, Parney sank down to the ground.
It was then that Lascall Othello appeared. He stood in front of Parney as if he had grown from the ground.
“At his final moments he wished to be with you. Although he was a traitor to the Indulging God Cult, those feelings were genuine.”
Saying that, he took Zackie’s Book away from Parney.
“Showing you this Book was my last act of mercy.”
Furthermore, the faceless man appeared from hiding.
“Those who pursue Lascall will die. There are no exceptions.”
The faceless man raised a wooden stick fallen on the ground. Parney realized her fate.
“Just what is a True Man?”
“Although you said that we were for Heaven, for God, if we’re unneeded we just become trash?”
Lascall thought for a while and answered.
“What are the True Men… Let us liken them to clowns. Clowns that exist to entertain God. Aren’t clowns who can’t dance anymore unnecessary?”
Parney felt her vision darkening.
“No, that’s wrong, Lascall.”
The faceless man interjected.
“True Men are livestock. Livestock that produces happiness for God.”
The faceless man raised the wooden stick.
“Then, who is God?”
Parney’s head rolled off.
Olt spoke to Alme who finished reading the Book.
“What if she did not become a True Man and earnestly kept acting. She wouldn’t stand on the top. She wouldn’t shine on the stage. Nevertheless, wouldn’t she still be able to make a performance that would resonate in a person’s heart?”
Olt quietly shed tears.
“We are the ones who have nipped off her soul. We were fools.”
Alme made no voice. She also had a True Man die because of her failure. Therefore, she had nothing to say.
“Seems like you’ve been looking for Lascall.”
At the end she wasn’t able to find out the truth about Lascall Othello. Zackie tried reaching his identity, but got no answer. This would certainly be something important were it handed to an Armed Librarian, but Alme had no use for it.
Perhaps if it was Mirepoc she would be able to get closer to Lascall’s identity.
However, that was fine. Her goal wasn’t to know anything. It was to kill Lascall.
“You should understand now. Please give up. You cannot touch the truth of the Cult.”
“No, I understood one thing. I found out a way to meet Lascall Othello.”
“When a follower of the Indulging God Cult dies, Lascall comes to collect their Book.”
Alme raised her sword. Olt’s head flew off surprisingly easy.
While looking down at the corpse, she started thinking. That was quite the detour. I’m glad that’s it. If I wait here, Lascall Othello will come.
Come on, Lascall Othello.
I don’t know your identity. I don’t even know if I can win. But at least I was able to make my revenge.
Mirepoc sat by her own in a café with few people inside it. She was aimlessly waiting for contact from Mattalast.
She was fighting while looking for the correct answer. Alme’s words still echoed in her ears. Her doubts were deep and the exit was far away. As long as she didn’t clear her doubts, she will probably not return to the fight.
Having finished her coffee, Mirepoc thought of moving to another place. But even if she switched places she will continue to worry anyway.
At that time, a boy started talking to her.
“Umm, are you an Armed Librarian?”
Mirepoc noticed – that boy’s appearance matched the features Kalon told her about.
“You were looking for me.”
Mirepoc nodded. She prompted the boy to sit down. The boy hesitatingly sat to her opposite. He appeared to be around 13 or 14 years old. He was a pretty boy with a slender, young body.
“I’m just confirming, but are you the one who came to ask Kalon about Lascall Othello?”
“I’d like to ask you some things. Can we speak?”
As if realizing Mirepoc had no malicious intent, the boy sighed in relief. She relayed to Mattalast about having found the boy. She then listened to his story.
“My name is Rully Strite. I am a student.”
“Why do you want to know about Lascall?”
Rully looked away, apparently finding it difficult to speak. Why did he want to know if an Armed Librarian was looking for him?
“Umm… I’m interested in him.”
It was obviously a lie.
“I’d like you to speak honestly with me.”
“It’s hard to speak of, right?”
“I’m sorry, but if you don’t want to talk we should finish this here.”
Mirepoc said and waited for him to speak.
After the steam from the boy’s milk coffee disappeared, he opened his mouth.
“I had a father. His name was Charl Strite. My dad said that he’s Lascall Othello.”
In order not to interrupt the boy’s story, Mirepoc stayed silent and listened.
“I don’t know much about my dad. He was a travelling merchant, but he sometimes brought great sums of money. Thinking about it he was suspicious starting from then. At that time dad used to collect ancient documents. It seemed to be his hobby. I heard the legend of Lascall Othello then.”
“What did your father say about Lascall?”
“He said something like, ‘doesn’t he resemble what your dad’s doing?'”
Mirepoc listened even more attentively.
“As I grew older, my dad disappeared. He sent me enough money to live with once in a while, but other than that made no contact.
I searched for my dad. I visited many towns, advertised in newspapers, and things like that. But one day, dad appeared in front of me. He brought along with him a lot of scary people. Dad told me to forget him. I promised I wouldn’t look for him anymore. I thought I was going to be killed.”
Rully spoke while trembling.
“At that time, my dad’s subordinates have called him Lascall Othello…”
“At the end I asked him – why did he take Lascall Othello’s name? And he answered – that it was “convenient”, he said.”
“I promised I wouldn’t look for him, but… I wanted to know about dad no matter what.”
The boy finished his tale.
Mirepoc felt laughter rising up from her. It was funny because of how afraid of Lascall she was until now.
“Nothing, that’s on me. So that’s how it was…”
Mirepoc thought of herself as a fool. She was dancing to her own tune.
She was caught in the enemy’s trap. She now understood Mattalast’s words. Lascall Othello – no, Charl Strite imitated the legend.
Using that legend as a front, he concealed his identity. Mirepoc was absolutely tricked by this.
Once she understood, it all amounted to nothing. Lascall Othello was merely a man.
During that time, Alme waited for Lascall Othello.
What will happen once she kills Lascall? Cigal was already dead. Those who have died can never return. It was all in vain. This was her first time at revenge, but did everyone feel this way before conducting it?
Why had she continued to fight? For Cigal? But he wasn’t in this world anymore.
Alme shouted at herself.
What will it help her to think about that? If she were to regret everything at this point, she would be nothing but a fool.
At that moment, the ground began to dribble as if it was water and rose up. It then became the shape of a person.
It was a bit similar to Winkeny, but a different ability altogether. That man appeared out of nothing. She knew his identity without him saying anything. He was the same as when he appeared in Parney’s Book – it was Lascall Othello.
“Oh my, it is you.”
Lascall said. Alme pulled out her sword.
“Well then, I came here to collect Olt-sama’s Book. I have no intention of fighting with you. Or rather, I am not made able to fight in the first place.”
Alme gathered strength into her feet. So she could break Lascall’s head in one hit.
“If you want the Book then do it. In the meantime I’ll smash your head.”
Lascall thought for a while.
“Seems like this work would take a bit of time. Seems like I had better finish up a simple job first.”
“Work, you say?”
Immediately after Alme asking, Lascall disappeared. She was left behind with her sword drawn.
Lascall talked about some work. Did he not even plan on fighting her?
Alme clenched her teeth and waited for him to return.
Mirepoc conveyed Rully’s story to Mattalast. He told her to protect the boy.
Rully spoke to her.
“Are you planning on fighting my dad?”
He was a smart boy. Mirepoc answered.
“If your father is a good person we will settle this without fighting.”
It was a cruel reply. The boy must’ve known what his father was like.
In order to leave him with Security, the two started walking around the city. Suddenly, Rully started running in an opposite direction from Mirepoc.
Mirepoc asked while running.
“Dad’s over there!”
A single man entered a building’s shadow from the main street. Mirepoc grabbed and stopped Rully who tried rushing forward.
“Wait… that man…”
While reaching for her sword, Mirepoc looked at the man. His expression seemed to be laughing, seeing through everything around him, and yet not thinking about anything.
“…It’s fine. After all, he’s my dad.”
Saying so, Rully approached him. How dangerous, Mirepoc thought.
“Dad, it’s me. I’m sorry for breaking my promise.”
Lascall and Mirepoc looked at him from the two sides. She needs to protect him. And she must catch Lascall. How could she do both at the same time?
Where was the correct answer? What actions should she take?
“I’m really sorry. But I had no choice.”
Just as Rully approached, Lascall took out his dagger.
Mirepoc charged and thrust Rully away at almost the same time Lascall swung the sword with his right hand. It was supposed to be a deadly hit, but the blade’s tip hadn’t touched her.
Did they avoid him? No. There was no-one in Mirepoc’s sight.
“How truly lenient of you.”
She heard the voice coming from another direction. To Mirepoc’s right. Just before she threw Rully away.
After being thrust by Mirepoc, Rully rolled on the ground. Lascall was next to where he collapsed.
The stone blade pierced his chest.
“Which of the two is better, I wonder. Will you kill me, or will you save Rully?”
Mirepoc reflexively pulled out her gun and shot. However, the bullet slipped through his body and hit the wall behind him. He disappeared again.
“It is probably futile to give advice, but please take care of yourself.”
Hearing the voice from behind her, Mirepoc turned around. However, there was no-one there.
“Why did you kill him!”
Mirepoc shouted. Lascall appeared somewhere far.
“Isn’t it basic to finish up business starting from the most simple ones? Rully first. After that Alme. Then you and Mattalast. That is the order.”
Who asked about that?! Why did you kill your own son who came looking for you!
“Have you no heart?”
Lascall smiled and sunk into the ground.
“If the world is a story, then I am an existence like its reader. I am merely watching it.”
“Don’t make fun of me!”
Mirepoc’s bullets struck in vain as Lascall disappeared. Only the collapsed Rully remained in front of her. Even the stone blade piercing his chest was gone at some point.
“…Y…es, I’ve broken… my promise…”
Rully muttered. Mirepoc held him and tried applying first-aid. Even though she knew it was useless.
Rully weakly grabbed her hand.
Rully’s words were cut in the middle. Feebly grasping Mirepoc’s hand, he coughed violently as if his chest ruptured.
Even when he stopped breathing, Rully didn’t release Mirepoc’s hand.