A single flying boat landed in the port of the Past God’s Island. It was an old, small aircraft.
A young man came out from the flying boat slowly rocking on the waves. Mattalast came to greet him. The sun was already setting. A quiet air of intimidation came from Mattalast as his figure blended in the darkness.
“It’s been a while, Volken.”
“Long time no see, Mattalast-san.”
Volken said and bowed.
His age was barely below twenty. He was a slender and tall youth.
His hair was bright green. His expression gave the impression of an iceberg floating in the northern sea. It was cold, hard and unwavering. One glance at that face told both himself and others that he was a rigid individual.
He wore a black and brown colored cassock. The emblem of a lock was on his sleeve. It was the uniform of an Armed Librarian inherited from ancient times. Armed Librarians recently had a free dress code though; No-one wore such old-fashioned clothes nowadays.
However, because it was so old-fashioned, it truly suited him.
His name was Volken Macmani.
“We haven’t met since the Allow Bay Incident, I think?”
Saying this, Mattalast drew his gun. He aimed its muzzle at Volken’s heart. It was a gun that hit its target and brought certain death. Even with that muzzle in front of him, Volken was unperturbed. Neither his eyebrows nor fingers moved. Perhaps even his heart rate kept steady.
“Volken, let me just say this. The Armed Librarians have become nervous since Mokkania’s rebellion. Especially when it has to do with traitors.”
“I am not a traitor.”
“That’s easy for you to say.”
Mattalast’s finger touched the trigger.
“Will you kill me?”
“Well then, what shall I do…”
In contrast to Mattalast’s faint smile, Volken’s expression hasn’t changed at all. He wasn’t bothered by Mattalast’s bloodlust at all. He just had that much nerve and fighting ability.
“If you kill me, the truth will be revealed when my Book is read. If that is what the entire Armed Librarian body has decided I will comply. However, if that it your personal decision…”
Volken’s fingers moved. His fingertips touched the sword at his waist.
It was a strange sword. No, was it even a sword? Two short blades were contained within a hoop. Twelve pairs of these loops were hanging from Volken’s waist. From their function, these twelve rings were named Macmani’s Dancing Blades.
“I will resist will all of my power.”
The twelve Dancing Blades started swaying at the same time. Seeing that, Mattalast lowered his gun.
“It was my judgment. Please don’t think bad of me. I was just trying to make you confess.”
Mattalast started walking, keeping his back defenseless. Volken followed him.
Volken Macmani had been charged with serious felony. He was charged with assisting their enemy, the Indulging God Cult.
Two years ago, the Armed Librarians destroyed an Indulging God Cult ship at Allow Bay. They have seized the treasures kept inside the ship by the Cult. Among those was one of the Memorial Weapons, the Spinning Doll Ückück. It was then contained in the Fourth Sealed Archive of the Book Labyrinth and closely monitored.
The fact that the Spinning Doll had been replaced with a fake was confirmed lately. Although some have wondered if this was the work of Mokkania, the investigation lead to them figuring out that someone else was behind this criminal act. And it was then confirmed that the criminal was Volken.
It wasn’t mere theft. The stolen object was a weapon kept by the Indulging God Cult. The charges shifted from theft to acting in the interest of the Indulging God Cult.
“You have already been notified, but your trial is to be held tomorrow. Attending it will be the Director and all of the first-class Armed Librarians. Also, as per regulations, more than twenty five Armed Librarians as well. Since not everyone is in Bantorra right now, I’m not sure we’ll exceed 30 people.”
“If you can prove your innocence it’s all good. But if you’re guilty… well, you know what’ll happen.”
He’s quite calm, thought Mattalast. We already have all the evidence we need. Since it’s all but certain Volken did steal it, I wonder why he’s so calm.
He kept walking while having an inexplicable feeling.
“The moon is beautiful today.”
Volken looked up with a mechanical-like gesture. The moon was rising from the other side of the sea. It was slightly short of being a full moon. When the air was at its clearest, the moon shined silver. Its color was that of a brand-new spoon.
There was a strange atmosphere. His expression seemed to convey that the facts that he was suspected and about to receive a trial were completely natural. However, it wasn’t the expression of someone convinced in his innocence.
He had the face of someone going to fight. That was how Mattalast felt.
After the sun had set, there were no customers in Bantorra Library. In the reception hall there were only Armed Librarians who finished their work and the trainees who finished their training.
Mattalast opened the door. When they saw Volken standing behind him, the other Armed Librarians grew tense. Some of them even instinctively reached to the weapons at their waists.
“Calm down, everyone.”
Mattalast said, showing both his palms.
“We will kill him only when the charges are settled.”
These words did nothing to absolve the tension. They kept directing astonished and nervous gazes towards him.
Volken walked and calmly surveyed his surroundings. He’s quite calm, thought Mattalast.
“Who is that?”
He pointed at one person. He was a man who folded his arms in one corner of the hall and had transparent hair.
“That’s Enlike-kun. You don’t know him?”
“I’ve heard about him, but this is my first time seeing him.”
Saying so, Volken approached Enlike.
“Who are you? Are you an enemy or an ally?”
“An ally. I’m an Armed Librarian, someone who believes in justice.”
Enlike stared at Volken’s face. He seemed to be evaluating him. Was he strong or weak? Is he someone to kill or not?
“Nice to meet you.”
Volken extended his hand. Enlike grabbed it back.
“I’m Enlike Bishile.”
At that time, Mattalast heard Enlike muttering under his breath.
He immediately released Volken’s hand and then headed for the Library’s exit.
Mattalast asked as they passed each other.
Enlike said, looking around with some air of agitation around him.
“It seems like something had happened, but I have nothing to do with the Library’s internal affairs. I have someone to meet. I hope you don’t mind letting me go.”
“Is it a date?”
Enlike ignored the joke and went outside.
The atmosphere in the hall was slightly changing. When Volken came in there were only pure hostility and suspicions directed at him. However, the dignified attitude he had when speaking to Enlike… seeing Volken unperturbed, the hostility surrounding the hall had softened a bit.
This wasn’t how a traitor acted – Everyone started thinking so.
Volken started speaking. All Armed Librarians listened to his echoing voice.
“I was charged with… stealing the Spinning Doll Ückück.
And this accusation is…”
He let his words hang for a while. After the long silence passed, Volken declared,
The entire hall was shocked. Even Mattalast almost dropped his pipe.
“However, I did not do so to assist the Cult. I did it for our – the Armed Librarians’ – sake.”
A voice rose. Volken stopped talking for a while and thought.
“I cannot speak of it now. The time to do so will come tomorrow. I will talk of everything in the trial then.”
This time the Armed Librarians were confused.
“Listen well. It has been 1900 years since the Age of Paradise has ended and the world was passed into the hands of humans. Who protected peace and justice in the meanwhile?
Who protected people’s Books from the evils of the world?
Who kept fighting the Indulging God Cult and protected peace?
If the Armed Librarians were to lose their justice, justice itself will be lost from this world.”
“Right now, we Armed Librarians are about to lose our justice.
I am fighting because this cannot be forgiven.”
At that instant, Volken’s eyes were directed at the hall’s entrance. He saw a person that seemed to enter without anyone noticing.
“I will expel from this Library all those who deprive the Armed Librarians of justice. My actions will never stray from the proper path.”
In front of Volken’s eyes stood Hamyuts Meseta. With her close associate Mirepoc at her side, she had the usual smile of a carnivorous beast.
Saying this, Hamyuts started applauding.
By saying this, she got the other Armed Librarians to start clapping their hands. When the clapping stopped, she spoke with a delighted tone.
“It was a great speech, Volken. I haven’t seen you in a while, but have you grown a bit taller?”
Volken did not answer. His expression changed for the first time. He directed obvious hostility at Hamyuts.
“I like that look.”
Hamyuts grinned. It was the same kind of smile she adorned when she – who loved battles more than anything else – saw her enemy. All of the Armed Librarians felt fear as they saw this smile.
“I do feel like fighting for the death right now. But you probably prefer fighting at tomorrow’s assembly, right Volken?”
“It’s fine. I’ll play along. I look forward to tomorrow. Now then.”
Hamyuts clapped her hands loudly and called out to the Armed Librarians.
“Those who have work to do, keep going. Those who don’t, go home to rest. How long are you going to waste time like that, you naughty children?
You can be free until tomorrow, Volken. There is no need to monitor him. Since he came back, there’s no way he’ll run away.”
Saying so, she started walking towards the exit of the hall. She then turned around and spoke again.
“You are welcome to try a surprise attack. Come at me whenever.”
Volken kept silent and Hamyuts was looking at him.
All of the Armed Librarians knew – this was something completely different from Mokkania’s rebellion. All of them looked at Volken with very uneasy but slightly expectant eyes.
The Armed Librarians were about to lose their justice.
Those who deprived their justice will be expelled.
There was probably no one standing in that place who didn’t know who this was referring to.
Mattalast followed Hamyuts and spoke to her.
“Hammy. That was quite the declaration of war.”
“Even you pointed your gun at him. That’s no good. Don’t just do as you please.”
The two walked. Hamyuts was probably using her Sensory Threads to make sure no one was there to hear them. Mattalast said words that must not be heard by anyone else.
“He likely got started during the Allow Bay Incident.”
“Probably. He saw something during that incident. Something he shouldn’t have seen.”
While Mattalast was gloomy, Hamyuts spoke with true delight.
“That isn’t all. He probably also knows all sorts of things.”
“I wonder who told him. Did that stupid Overseer of Paradise do something unnecessary again? Or maybe Lascall showed him a Book. I wonder who of them.”
“What about Photona-san?”
“I don’t think so.”
The two kept walking.
“How much does he know?”
“Who knows. Since he made such a show, I believe he knows something serious.”
“Like the connection between the Indulging God Cult and the Armed Librarians?”
“Or perhaps the identity of Heaven?”
Hamyuts stopped in place and flashed a smile at Mattalast.
“Well, at the worst case scenario, you and I will be kicked out of the Library.”
“It’s not just that. There is a possibility that the Armed Librarians will be destroyed.”
“Well, whatever happens, I look forward to it ending favorably.”
Mattalast shook his head as if saying ‘dear me’.
“Well then, how much do you know? And how much did you obtain? Do your best, Volken.”
Volken was about to leave Bantorra Library when Mirepoc came to speak with him.
If it was someone who knew how she normally was, such as Noloty, they would have been surprised by her tone. It was a terribly weak and frightened voice. She wasn’t the sort of woman to let out such a defenseless voice.
“…Mirepoc, don’t get involved with me.”
Volken turned around only his head and asserted so.
“So it was true? I always believed it to be a lie…”
“I don’t tell lies. The one who stole the Spinning Doll Ückück had been me.”
Mirepoc shook her head in disbelief.
“For what reason?”
“That wasn’t what I wanted to do. I just had to. I just had to have it in order to take Hamyuts’s… the Acting Director’s seat.”
“Since you are Hamyuts’s aide, you should know her true nature. There’s no way a human such as yourself will not understand it.”
Mirepoc was speechless.
Hamyuts’s true nature. Outwardly she was someone much stronger and skillful than anyone else. Both in battle and outside of it, her achievements were great. So what was her true nature?
If she was told that Hamyuts was evil, she would have no problems being convinced of it. That much about her Mirepoc did know.
“Don’t get any closer to me. You’re Hamyuts’s aide.”
Saying so, Volken started walking away. Mirepoc grabbed his sleeve.
Volken’s feet stopped in place.
“I’ve always admired you, Volken. You are many times stronger than me and devoted for justice more than anyone.
I believed that we always had a relationship of trust between us.”
“Was I the only one to think so? Have you not taken me into any consideration at all, Volken?”
With his back turned to Mirepoc, Volken thought for a while.
“…I believe in you. That is also your problem.”
He said and tried to leave. However, Mirepoc didn’t let go of it.
“Let me say one more thing.”
Mirepoc spoke hesitantly.
“Can you win against the Director?”
Volken went silent for a while, and then answered,
Mirepoc let him go. At the same time, Volken left.
“Volken… your only weakness is that you’re bad at lying.”
She called to his back. He probably couldn’t hear her.
During that same, Enlike was walking by himself downtown. He was more or less interested in that Volken guy, but it was none of his business.
Although he was invited to become an Armed Librarian, he refused. He hated being bound by annoying rules and being ordered by other people. Him collaborating with the Armed Librarians was merely done to repay Noloty. This kind of selfishness was not much different from how he was on the Monster’s island.
Enlike arrived at the intersection they decided on. He looked around.
“…She’s not here, huh.”
It was a bit past their appointed time. Enlike waited for a while, but ended giving up.
“Is she still at the store?”
Saying so, he walked away. Going down a gentle slope, he went towards the shopping district. His destination was the tailor shop in one of its corners. The one he promised to meet with was Renas Fleur.
The door had a “closed” sign on it. However, it was not locked.
He stepped inside. Enlike then raised a small startled cry when he saw the inside.
Vomit was spread all over the floor. Some of it was also mixed with blood.
In one of the shop’s corners, Renas squatted down and held her knees. Seeing her face, anyone who knew how she normally was would want to turn their gazes away. Tears and dirt stuck to her face. She didn’t even seem to wipe it off.
Her shoulders feebly shaking, she was gazing vacantly at empty air and crying.
Enlike ran up to her. She made no response even as he called her.
He shook her shoulders. She moved without resistance as if she was a dead body. Enlike flicked his finger against her forehead. He then shot a lightning strike at his lowest capacity.
Renas’s body jumped up with a scream. Enlike shook her body again. This time she had a human-like response. She stared at Enlike with vacant eyes, and then looked around her.
Understanding the situation around her, Renas staggered to a standing position.
“I have, to clean it.”
“Wash your face first.”
Enlike grabbed Renas’s body and pushed her into the restroom. In the meantime he used a mop to wipe the floor.
“Have you calmed down?”
Renas came out of the restroom with her face back to normal except for it being a bit pale. Enlike casually squeezed the mop and threw it into the cabinet.
“…This is the second time. What’s more, this is way worse than last time.”
Renas hung her head and said. Enlike was slightly annoyed by her half-hearted attitude.
The two of them have started speaking only recently. Thinking about it, they had a lot in common. Both of their current bodies weren’t their original ones. Also, their original bodies had already died. In a sense, they were in the same position.
“Why did you not consult with the Armed Librarians?”
Renas held her tongue.
“Don’t rely on me. I can’t help you.”
“But… I’m sorry. Please let me wait a bit before consulting other people.”
Enlike scratched his transparent hair. It was a hard topic. Since there was no choice he changed the subject.
“So why did you call me today?”
“I started hearing strange words in my head. I don’t know what they mean.”
“What kind of words?”
Renas awkwardly recited those words. Enlike interrupted her midway.
“I know what they mean. There’s no way I wouldn’t. That’s what you chant during Magic Deliberation.”
“Why am I hearing such a thing…”
Enlike had a vague estimation – someone was performing Magic Deliberation.
But the one conducting it wasn’t Renas. It was her original personality before getting planted with another one.
Then what kind of Magic Deliberation was it?
“Renas. Your old memories are being revived. Memories you don’t know.”
Enlike started thinking. Perhaps she was trying to use Magic Deliberation in order to acquire the Magic Right of “restoring lost memories”. That would explain things.
But the problem was whether such a thing was possible.
The tool that stole her memories, the Memorial Weapon Fiction Obliterating Cup Argax, was powerful. There’s no way for a half-hearted Magic Right to be able to restore those. In fact, Enlike himself was also conducting Magic Deliberation to restore his memories, but wasn’t even close to success. He prided himself as a genius. But even he couldn’t do it.
For those who had comparable talent, even by wasting several years the success rate would be about 50%.
“…Anyway, this is my limit. I cannot help you by myself anymore.”
“Why are you hiding it!”
Enlike hit the wall with his fist. A crack ran through the wall made of oak.
Renas deeply lowered her head. Enlike became speechless.
“Enlike-san. Just who am I?”
“You are Renas Fleur.”
“…Who was I?”
“Don’t think about it. You are Renas Fleur. I don’t want to lose you. Noloty likes you. I’m here so I could protect her and whatever she holds dear.”
“You’re a good person, Enlike-san.”
Enlike snorted quietly. It upset him being told so. Just how much did he change from how he was before?
“There’s a place in Bantorra that I’d like to take you to right away, but it seems it will be a bit difficult right now. I’ll come again tomorrow. I’ll take you there even if you don’t want to.”
Saying this, Enlike went out of Renas’s shop in a quick pace.
She was thinking inside Renas. How disappointing. Just a bit longer and I would have been able to destroy Renas’s personality. She cursed Enlike who interrupted her.
I don’t like that Enlike either. Even though he was a Meat at the Indulging God Cult, he’s able to enjoy a peaceful life. He is definitely enjoying it. He is definitely happy. Just die. She murmured in her heart.
However, she could do nothing but curse. She, who didn’t have any fighting capabilities, will never be able to kill Enlike even if hell freezes over.
At any rate, it turned out bad. If the Armed Librarians were to discover her she would be in trouble. At worst, the memories she was finally able to retrieve would be erased by the water of Argax.
I’m in trouble. What should I do? She kept muttering in her heart.
I have to retrieve –… She simply couldn’t stand not retrieving it.
She had something she had to retrieve no matter what. But right now she couldn’t remember anything.