I gave up.
I gave up living a long time ago.
Hamyuts Meseta is coming to kill me. I cannot hope to avoid her gravel bullets with my slow body. I cannot hope to escape her Sensory Threads with my horribly conspicuous body.
I gave up being rewarded quite a long while ago.
It is said that happiness has a fixed quantity in the world. My happiness might have been completely robbed by some happy person somewhere in the world. Fate has always been cruel to me.
I gave up being loved the other day.
Since my body became non-human, there is no one to love me.
If there is one thing that I cannot give up, that would be the driving force moving my body. My body that became non-human is moving by my unwillingness to give up.
Only one thing. I do not want to forget… the fact that I was in this world.
I want someone to know… that I once had a heart. That I thought the moon was beautiful when I looked at it. That I was sad when I saw dead people. That I thought someone was precious to me when I looked at that person.
Nobody knows that. All the people who knew this have died.
Hamyuts Meseta is coming. She’s coming to kill me. Even so, my body doesn’t give up and still keeps going.
1923, autumn. It was a year before the Dragon Pneumonia Incident.
Ismo Republic, East Coast. Near the northern border was an ocean called Allow Bay. Five Armed Librarians were there.
The sea was calm. All the seagulls flew high above the Armed Librarians in circles as if realizing that peace has returned.
There was nothing on the vast sea’s surface. Basked in the northern cold sunlight, the gently shaking waves sparkled.
Up until a few hours ago, that sea was a battlefield. That seemed unbelievable now.
The sea had swallowed it all. Both the ship covered with a powerful Magic barrier as well as the human bombs that approached the Armed Librarians. It swallowed and sank everything.
This battle was later called the Allow Bay Naval Assault Incident. That was the day it began – the longstanding fight of the Armed Librarians led by Hamyuts Meseta against the Indulging God Cult.
“…Volken, stop crying.”
A single Armed Librarian crawled on the cliff and pushed his forehead against the rocks. He was crying. He was the young Armed Librarian known as Volken.
The Armed Librarian Luimon was patting his back. He comforted him as if wrapping his large body around him.
“What’s wrong with Volken?”
Hamyuts inquired. She folded her arms next to the two and gazed at the sea.
“Director, please wait for a little while.”
Luimon answered. And he stroked the back of Volken who cried out in an especially loud voice.
The Armed Librarian Mirepoc was watching their backs. And she then sighed for the umpteenth time.
The battle of Allow Bay ended in the Armed Librarians’ victory. All those affiliated with the Indulging God Cult have died without any exception.
But no one was pleased with that victory.
It was not only the followers of the Indulging God Cult who have died. All the people that were kept on the ship by them were also dead. Hamyuts’s rescue team has failed.
That fact dropped a shadow of melancholy on the Armed Librarians’ expression.
“So, Mirepo. What about the seized goods?”
Asked Hamyuts. Mirepoc counted and checked the Books, documents and such items that they have brought from the ship.
“I’ve found something unexpected – a fragment of Shiron Booyacornish’s Book. I’ve found the pathogens of Dragon Pneumonia as well. There is also one of the Memorial Weapons – the Spinning Doll Ückück – and a matter transferring magic circle. To be frank, it’s quite the treasure trove.”
“They seem to have stockpiled quite a lot.”
“Also, that ship was probably not the Indulging God Cult’s headquarters. Looking at the documents, I am led to believe that there are many other Indulging God Cult facilities.”
“Hmm, not bad.”
Hamyuts mouthed her thoughts in a flat voice. Mirepoc spoke from behind her.
“Frankly, I cannot believe that the Indulging God Cult still exists in the world now.”
“Well, I can understand how you feel. It’s been 500 years since they last appeared, after all.”
She scratched her hair that was wet with sea-water.
500 years ago, the Indulging God Cult was destroyed along with the Ever-Laughing Witch. All Armed Librarians have thought so. It was understandable that Mirepoc would be surprised.
“But, Mirepo. When the Ever-Laughing Witch revealed herself, the same thing had been said. That 300 years back the Indulging God Cult had been destroyed by the Great Kingdom Uprising. Yet the Cult survived.
These people are tenacious. You kill them and you kill them but they resurrect.”
Mirepoc spoke in a melancholic tone.
“Besides, I wonder why those people ended up like that.”
She changed the subject. She was talking about the people kept inside the ship. The Armed Librarians found people smeared with dirt and grime that were robbed of their memories and reasoning power.
“That was probably human experimentation, or for example human bombs, something like that. That seems to be useful for plenty of other things though.”
Hamyuts said calmly.
“Unbelievable. How could humans do this?”
In contrast to Mirepoc whose voice roughened up, Hamyuts spoke without any emotion. She seemed to be frustrated but still had a bored expression.
“Oh well. Let’s keep our thoughts on winning the battle. Seems like it’s going to be long.”
“…Yes. Seems like it’ll be long.”
Mirepoc once again sighed. Given the battles with the Indulging God Cult in the past, no amount of sighs was enough. 500 years ago, the rampant Dragon Pneumonia had killed millions of people. 800 years ago, in the battles that took five years, four Acting Directors were killed in action.
Thinking about it, it might be said that the damage sustained in this battle was trivial.
Unexpectedly, Hamyuts chuckled.
“Well, the one silver lining is that we had this battle while I was here.”
What is that supposed to mean? Thought Mirepoc. Well, it certainly was fortunate that the Armed Librarian had Hamyuts, whose battle strength was prominent even in their whole history. However, she had a feeling this wasn’t all she meant.
Perhaps this allowed her to alleviate some of her boredom… that sort of meaning was hidden in Hamyuts’s words.
Mirepoc had the feeling that there was another ominous thing other than the existence of the Indulging God Cult.
Said Hamyuts, sounding upset.
“How long are you going to cry, Volken. C’mon, Mirepo, say something.”
Mirepoc approached Volken. She knew him well. They became trainees during the same time and graduated as Armed Librarians during the same time – they were classmates.
He was a gentle man with a strong sense of justice. He was strong and honorable.
“Volken… this is no time for you to cry.”
She put a hand on Volken’s shoulder.
“…We were supposed to save them.”
He moaned while pressing his forehead against the cliff.
“We had no choice. We couldn’t save them. You shouldn’t feel responsible.”
Volken banged his head against the rocks.
“We did have a choice…”
It was certainly true. She couldn’t say they didn’t. Not saving them was the Armed Librarians’ failure. However, saying so will bring no comfort.
“Forget about it. Our fight’s only just begun.”
Luimon also said the same.
“Right. We have to fight. Both me and Mirepo are relying on you.”
Even so, Volken kept crying for a while. Eventually, his crying voice faded and he rose up.
“Right. I have to fight.”
Saying so, he used his sleeve to wipe off the sand and tears from his face.
“But I won’t forget. I’ll never forget the fact we weren’t able to save these people. I’ll never forget we caused them to die.”
“That’s right. Those who kept these people in that state and those who killed them are the Indulging God Cult.”
“You should point all of your hatred at the Indulging God Cult. This isn’t the time to cry.”
They both encouraged Volken. He wiped his face again.
Three young Armed Librarians were encouraging each other. Seeing this, Hamyuts let out a faint voice. It was the voice of her desperately trying to suppress her urge to laugh.
Airplanes from Bantorra came to pick them up and they headed back home.
Feekiee and the three novices rode the airplane in the front, while the plane in the back had Mattalast and Hamyuts.
“So it was the Indulging God Cult as we thought, Director.”
“Yeah. They were quite flashy.”
“So the Overseer of Paradise deceived me after all. Damn it, I should’ve killed that bastard.”
He applied strength into his hand holding the steering wheel.
“That’s right, that man’s quite something. His thinking is more heretical than I thought.”
Hamyuts said with a merry voice.
“You sound like you’re having fun, Hammy.”
Mattalast’s expression wasn’t cheerful. He didn’t like fighting that much in the first place.
She laughed louder this time.
“Yeah, I’m having fun. I wonder how much entertainment they’re going to provide me.”
Mattalast looked at the airplane in front of them.
“Volken’s been crying, huh. This was quite the painful first job for him.”
“Yeah, even those people on the ship ended poorly.”
On the surface, Hamyuts’s words seemed to be grieving their deaths. But those weren’t her true feelings.
Mattalast turned around.
His words sounded a bit angry.
“You’re the one who probably killed all these people.”
The smile disappeared from Hamyuts’s face.
“…How did you find out?”
Mattalast held his forehead as if saying she’s hopeless.
“I just happened to think about it. Good grief, my intuition works only on bad things.”
Hamyuts scratched her head, attempting to dodge the question.
“I blew it. What will we do?”
“It’s fine. I’ll manage somehow.”
Mattalast sighed. His expression told of the fact that his troubles increased yet again.
“So, why did you kill them?”
He said in a cold voice. His tone indicated that he was not about to allow her to dodge or joke around.
“It’s just that there was a person that I had to kill no matter what on that ship.”
“I had to kill that person as soon as possible. And I also had to hide the fact that I killed them.”
“And that’s why you killed them all?”
“To hide a tree use a forest. To hide a murder use a massacre. That’s how it was.”
Mattalast couldn’t hide his displeasure. Innocent people were mixed up in that and died. Even he had the conscience to resent this result.
“So, were you able to kill them?”
“Probably. If they were on that ship, they died.”
Meaning that if that person wasn’t there, all these deaths were meaningless.
“So, who was the person you wanted to kill?”
“…A woman. Her name was Olivia Littolet.
I only know her name. I know neither her face nor age. She might not have been alive in the first place.”
“And who was she?”
“Right… she was probably a common enemy of us and the Indulging God Cult.”
Hamyuts started talking. She explained about the woman called Olivia Littolet. She explained about the other bloody side of the Armed Librarian that she couldn’t talk to anyone but Mattalast about.
He kept listening to her story while suppressing his discomfort.
A year later, the Armed Librarians clashed with Cigal Crukessa. After that was the Monster Incident. Then Mokkania’s rebellion, and then the hunt for Lascall Othello.
Olivia Littolet was completely unrelated to any of these incidents. Throughout these battles and busy times, her name had been forgotten.