Renas Fleur opened her eyes.
She muttered while holding her chin at her desk. She seemed to have dozed off for a while. Customers have stopped coming since afternoon. This kind of free day was rare lately.
Renas Fleur was sitting by herself at the front of the tailor shop, where the warm autumn setting sun shone on her.
Inside the shop various clothes for men and women were densely hanging together or stacked folded atop the shelves. The sharp scent of insect-repellent camphor drifted about. She could see the “open” sign hung on the other side of the glass door. The main street in front of the shop continued all the way to Bantorra Library. This was the tailor shop that supplied the Armed Librarians.
“…Today makes it exactly five months.”
Renas muttered. She saw a dream of a long time ago. She dreamt of Mokkania’s rebellion that shook Bantorra Library five months ago. A dream of when she was lost within the darkness and carried on the back of her grown-up son who walked along Bantorra Library.
Five months passed since then. In the meanwhile, peaceful days have continued for both Bantorra Library and Renas Fleur. Although she was a central figure of the incident, Renas had no abilities. She knew nothing to do with the Indulging God Cult. There were no benefits to restraining her, and there was no harm in releasing her.
Hamyuts and the rest have decided so and left Renas to her own devices. She got a job with Hamyuts’s referral and even had a small room. Although she was a person connected to an incident that remained in the Library’s history, Renas had an unbelievably peaceful life there.
The door opened with a woman’s voice. Inside came a girl with tanned skin and straw-rope wrapped around her fists. She held a paper bag to her chest. Renas recalled her name should be Noloty Malche.
“Welcome. Are you here for shopping?”
“No, I’d like to ask for a little repair.”
Saying so, Noloty put the paper bag on the desk. Inside were several clothes of the same design as the one she wore. All of them had tears and burn marks.
“Understood, I will estimate the price, so please wait for a bit.”
Renas checked every torn part one by one and calculated the price.
“Your eyes have been getting better, huh.”
“Yeah. Lately I’ve been able to see clearly even far.”
She said and smiled. Her smile was beautiful. The shape of her narrow eyes that gave a cold impression, along with the gentle light expressed by her pupils brought about a somewhat unbalanced charm.
Her long flaxen hair was tied by a white ribbon and was flung over the left shoulder and on her chest. She wore a pale-blue one-piece dress. Her thin, bewitching body was surrounded by some plain and frugal sort of air.
“Great to hear that!”
“Yeah. I was told I was given a drug that only made me temporarily unable to see, though. Here’s the price.”
After receiving payment from Noloty, Renas looked for the patched clothes.
Both Renas and Noloty haven’t noticed that at the time, someone was observing Renas. While she nimbly moved her hands to operate the scissors, hatred and murderous intention were directed at her.
She was gazing at Renas.
Her goal was to kill. She looked for a chance to kill her.
If she were to be asked if Renas had any sins she should be killed for, she could only answer no. However, her murderous intent never hesitated.
She has been living until now with an unbelievable amount of things deprived from her.
There were countless people who’ve lost their lives in this world. Everyone will have their lives taken away by time one day.
There were also plenty of people who’ve lost important things. After all everyone in the world was in competition with one another.
But was there another person who’s been deprived as much as her? Was there anyone who kept living after being deprived of their important things as much as her? Was there anyone in the world who was deprived of something that was absolutely not supposed to be able to be taken?
This was revenge. She was taking revenge against that world that kept on taking from her.
That woman – Renas Fleur – was more than one of the world’s residents; she was also a subject of her revenge.
And Renas Fleur was but the start. She had the determination to keep on fighting even after killing Renas.
In order to recover what was taken from her.
Renas spoke while threading the needle.
“At any rate, seems like you tear your clothes a lot on the job.”
“Well, it’s that kinda job after all.”
Noloty replied while sighing. There were small cuts and burns all over her body.
“Training has been especially tough lately. All the trainees are already worn out.”
Thanks to that, Renas’s business was flourishing. More than half of her customers were Armed Librarians and trainees. Using bodily reinforcement Magic, their wounds soon healed, but that didn’t work for clothes. They would suffer damage somewhere every day. No matter how high their salary was, tailor fees were nothing to sneeze at.
“I have always wondered, why do all of you fight in casual wear?
When heading to battle, wouldn’t it be better to use clothes that are easy to move in?”
“Armed Librarians never know when they will have to fight. We have to train every day so we can fight even in our casual wear.”
“Being an Armed Librarian seems tough.”
Renas spoke frankly. At that moment, a few customers entered the shop. They seemed to be about as young as Noloty. All of them had bandages wrapped around their bodies.
“Oh, did you all finish training?”
Noloty asked. Renas remembered seeing them before. They were Armed Librarian trainees.
“Hey Noloty. We’ll talk to you for sure today. You have to do something about that guy.”
A boy pointed at Noloty with a snap.
“By that guy, you mean Enlike?”
Noloty answered. The trainee held his head.
“Aah I don’t want to hear his name. Don’t use it. Call him ‘that guy’.”
Another one said while stroking the bandage on his head.
“That guy doesn’t know how to hold back.”
“No matter how you look at it, he seems like he wants to kill us. Is it fine letting him massacre us? He’ll do it even if we tell him not to. Or rather it’s impossible, we can’t beat him.”
“This isn’t combat training. It’s actual combat.”
The trainees all shot their complaints. Noloty seemed troubled.
“You know, even if you complain to me about Enlike I can’t do anything.”
“If we don’t tell you that who are we going to talk with?”
“But it still bothers me that you do. I mean, Enlike is just holding back in his Enlike-ish way. It’s just that his standards are a bit strange.”
“Those standards are the issue here!”
The trainees kept complaining. Even Renas knew about the man they were talking about, Enlike Bishile. He was once a member of the Indulging God Cult but was now collaborating with the Armed Librarians. He was a powerful man who could control lightning, and he seemed to be mainly working with the trainees.
“Also, he’s soft on Noloty.”
Caught by surprise, Noloty raised a voice.
“Yeah. Really soft.”
“That’s not true. He zaps even me.”
“No, he’s definitely soft on you. As soft as silk.”
“No no no, you’re misunderstanding.”
“No. You just haven’t noticed it.”
The trainees all spoke loudly at the store’s front. They seemed to have forgotten that Renas was there.
It was somewhat annoying, but not completely unpleasant. Their appearance that reflected the productive days they passed seemed very attractive to Renas’s eyes. Their bodies seemed to be brimming with youthful energy.
“More importantly, what about you two?”
“What about what?”
“Dense! You’re so dense! I’m asking how did your relationship progress!”
“Progress? What are you talking about?”
Noloty was flustered. The other trainees sighed.
“Hey now, he’ll get stolen like that. Only his face is good so there are plenty of girls aiming for him.”
“I-I-is that what you meant?”
Renas giggled without thinking. Hearing her, the trainees had their eyes focused on her.
“Oh, were we bothering you?”
“No, I don’t mind. It’s been fun.”
Renas said while smiling.
“I wonder if Mokkania was like you guys.”
The trainees sank into silence. It was probably awkward hearing Mokkania’s name.
“He was a good person. You would’ve liked him.”
Noloty said. Although the subject was almost taboo, she spoke without worrying about it. It was one of her good points.
“Did you know each other?”
“It wasn’t like that, but he’s a person who’s made us worried. We had to make sure he didn’t catch a cold and such.”
“…Thank you, Noloty-san.”
“No, there’s nothing to thank me about.”
The sun started setting. It seemed like all the trainees finally noticed the time.
“Well, we have to go back now. Goodbye.”
Saying so, Noloty and the rest left.
“This is quite the amusing place.”
Renas said while seeing them off.
“I wonder why did she say that?”
No reply came. Renas kept sewing clothes by herself.
She was intently looking at Renas. She was sitting in the tailor shop and working bravely.
I hate her, She thought. After all, Renas was living peacefully even after taking her important thing away. Wasn’t she just a pawn brought forth by the Indulging God Cult? Renas was revived only so she could be used for Mokkania’s rebellion. Since her role has ended, why is she still alive?
She bit her lips impatiently. I want to kill Renas already.
She simply couldn’t wait for it.
Another visitor came. He was a slim man wearing a black hat. Renas was pretty sure his name was Mattalast. Although he seemed aloof and not intimidating at all, he was known to be powerful among the Armed Librarians. He seemed to possess the capabilities of a first-class Armed Librarian, making him a candidate of becoming an Acting Director.
“Are the suits I requested ready?”
He calmly purchased five sets of these quite costly unique suits. He seemed to be a man who spent money on his clothes and hobbies.
“The trainees probably came here earlier. Did they disturb you?”
“It was fun. They were all lively kids.”
“I see, sorry for the trouble.”
Mattalast patted the brim of his hat ashamedly.
“How have you been lately?”
“I am living happily.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I’m talking about your body.”
Renas’s body was not her own. Originally Renas Fleur became ill and died 19 years ago. The one standing there was a fake Renas that had the memories and personality from Renas’s Book copied inside of her. In other words, she was merely a person who believed that she was Renas Fleur.
How long will she be Renas? No one could tell. The human spirit is delicate. They couldn’t deny the possibility of it getting ill. There was also the possibility of her original personality merging with that of Renas. Mattalast spoke about that.
“…Yeah, you don’t need to worry. I’m aware of myself and there is no change in my physical condition.”
Renas spread both hands and smiled as she answered.
“I see. That’s good then.”
Mattalast seemed relieved. The researchers from the Magic Association said that if no-one tries to destroy Renas’s personality there will be no problems.
“If anything happens please tell us. We Armed Librarians will help you.”
“Yes. But is that fine? You probably have plenty of other work.”
“It might seem a bit like meddling, but I want you to live peacefully if possible. I want you to be happy if you can.”
Mattalast lowered the brim of his hat. He was probably hiding his embarrassment.
“Yes, thank you.”
“This isn’t just my personal opinion. It’s the consensus of us Armed Librarians.
The incident with Mokkania was truly a nasty fight. Having such a flashy fight, losing comrades, and not being able to save anyone… is somewhat sad.”
“We sometimes act in vain. What we are fighting for, what did we become strong for… we think about those sorts of things.
Protecting someone’s happiness and feeling it’s not real makes us sad. That’s how it is.”
“Excuse me. I ended up ranting. Please forget it.
If anything happens please call us immediately. Well then.”
Mattalast left the shop. Renas saw off his dark back with a slight sense of guilt.
While seeing Mattalast off, she sneered.
He seemed to be close to being one of the strongest in the world, but was foolish; no matter how much power he had, it was impossible for him to protect Renas.
I will not let anyone interfere. Neither the Armed Librarians nor anyone else.
Well then, let’s start. It’s almost time. She thought in her mind.
After Mattalast left, Renas changed the “open” sign to a “closed” sign. She started tidying up the shop, arranging that day’s sales listing, and quickly finished up her work.
“…I’m sorry, Mattalast-san.”
Renas had lied. There was something unusual with her mind and she concealed it from Mattalast.
She began to feel the abnormality recently.
Sometimes feelings that were not hers began to well up inside her. They were always things like hatred, anger and murderous intent. These were pitch-dark emotions, completely unrelated to Renas until that point.
Sometimes she would dream of places she’d never seen. She could see a room filled with the scent of dirt and excreta.
And sometimes, words she never heard before floated in her mind.
“…ome will not come. The moon is the sun. Birds are fish. Living beings become corpses. Steel…”
She heard it again. Someone was whispering in her mind. Renas didn’t know what was happening to her. The only thing she could tell was that she was turning into someone who wasn’t Renas.
“…My head, hurts…”
Renas held hear head. The mysterious words echoed inside of it.
“…becomes dreams, and illusions become all of reality. Existent things cease existing, nonexistent things exist, everything is defined as false…”
“What are… those words…”
The moment she said this, a memory scattered like sparks inside her mind. Unknown memories were revived within her as if she was daydreaming.
“…What is, this…”
A nauseating rotten smell came forth from her forgotten past. She recalled the sensation of grabbing dry, moldy bread crumbs.
Next to her were people covered in filth and waste.
Renas was afraid from the people in these memories. Their eyes, blankly staring at empty air, were unfocused. She could not feel a shred of intelligence in their cloudy eyes.
They weren’t human. They were something with the shape of a human. Something unknown that was once human.
“What is, this… I don’t want to remember…”
Her thin fingers covered her face. A small scream leaked from between their gaps. It was a small, desperate scream that sounded as if it tore her lungs. If she could escape it she would want to. However, she could not escape from her memories no matter where she ran.
Renas’s body lost its balance. She extended her hand to support herself. It didn’t reach the wall, so her body collapsed.
Renas was on all fours and vomit scattered from her mouth. After burying her face in the polluted puddle, she once again raised a small scream.
While seeing it happen, she was thinking. It’s almost time. Just a bit more, when I have the chance, Renas will disappear from this world. Renas will be gone and her personality will be revived.
Mattalast was thinking of Renas while walking throughout the town. He had no way of knowing her current condition.
Renas is a strong woman. She didn’t let the fact that she lost Mokkania sadden her. She did accept that sadness, but hasn’t lost her smile. It isn’t something anybody could do. It’s strength of a different kind than what us Armed Librarians possess.
Mattalast thought that she was an admirable person.
“Even so, I wonder why Renas-san lied.”
When he asked her how she felt, Renas averted her gaze from him. This was a clear sign of her lying. Mattalast was walking around while thinking of why she would do so.
He suddenly stopped. He received Mirepoc’s thoughts.
‘Mattalast-san. I’m sorry to ask you while you’re on break, but I need to ask something.’
‘What is it?’
‘Volken is coming back to Bantorra. Will you go meet him?’
Mattalast’s body became tense. He put the matter of Renas in a lower priority. He also worried about her, but his job as an Armed Librarian came first.
“I see. So he came back.”
While muttering so, Mattalast touched the pistol at his waist.
“There’s no choice. I’ll go greet him.”
Mirepoc severed her Thought Sharing with Mattalast. Then, she started talking to the one who sat slovenly on the chair in the Acting Director’s Office, Hamyuts.
“I have three matters to report.”
Hamyuts replied while sewing embroidery of a bunny on a shirt. She spent the entire day making such embroideries on her own clothes. Sewing was Hamyuts’s hobby. She always did so when she had free time. Mirepoc didn’t even think of reproaching her at this stage.
“The first report came from Minth who is investigating the Guinbex Army. About the officer who was suspected to be sending supplies to the Indulging God Cult… it appears that he committed suicide before getting questioned by him.”
“Oh my. So the Indulging God Cult really were involved.”
Hamyuts didn’t seem perturbed at all.
“He said that he will now start investigating the acquaintances of that officer and look for other people related to the Indulging God Cult.”
“Great, Minth. That man’s better suited for jobs unrelated to combat.”
Hamyuts said while she turned over the shirt and checked her sewing.
“The second report. This came from Ireia-san who was investigating the mysterious facility she found in the Kuler Region.
This noon, she confirmed that it was a training facility for the Indulging God Cult and commenced an attack. They met resistance, but completely annihilated the facility in about three hours. Our side had no casualties.”
“Well, since it’s the old lady, Bonbo and Vizac, with the three of them together, it was obvious it would end like that.”
“Your decision to send three powerful people there had not been wrong, Director.”
Of course, Hamyuts smiled. She knotted the thread she was sewing and then cut it with her canines.
“We’re dominant in this fight.”
Mirepoc’s expression softened into a smile without her noticing. Ever since Mokkania’s rebellion, the Armed Librarians have not been under any major threat. Also, they were slowly peeling off the Indulging God Cult’s veils of darkness. Mirepoc herself had also greatly contributed to that.
Of course, just because they were superior didn’t mean they could relax. Nevertheless, it was also true that their day of victory was growing closer.
“That’s obvious. If they attack us from the front me and the others will win, we knew that since the very beginning.”
“Anyway, what about the third report?”
Hamyuts looked at the sewn embroidery, seemingly satisfied.
“Yes ma’am. It seems that in about ten minutes from now, Volken-san will return. I asked Mattalast to go greet him.”
At that moment, Hamyuts’s hand stopped. She threw the shirt on the desk. Her eyes were shining coldly.
“I see, so that guy’s back.”
Her expression was like a carnivorous beast smiling.
“That’s quite unexpected. So he returned just as he said. I wonder if that kid’s aware of what’s going to happen to him now.”
Mirepoc faintly shivered at her words and expression. Volken became an Armed Librarian the same time as her and was her friend. She couldn’t help but fear for his future.