Before long their work was over. The fortress was wrapped in fire that was produced by Photona and raised smoke. Since Photona was careful, this was his decision in case someone was left hiding inside.
“I wonder if we really had to go that far.”
The Overseer of Paradise said while hanging his head.
“Weren’t you the one who asked us to do this?”
“But they were all my dear False Men. Killing them is still painful.”
Photona was still looking for survivors. Hamyuts wondered how much of a workaholic he was.
“These guys aren’t the type of enemy to die from crushing their heads.
All of the Violet Sinner’s followers fought while calculating their advantages, loss and gain and various other things. The Violet Sinner was everything to them. They abandoned all other paths except being destroyed or winning.
With such an opponent, there was no other choice.”
“The Violet Sinner used to be a mere girl. She simply possessed some strange power. Responding to her will, people became her comrades, their hearts became connected, and it finally became this large.”
“The violet is a weed, you see. If even one seedling remains, it would end up covering the entire field in violets again.”
“…As expected from the Acting Director candidate… is what I should say?”
The Overseer of Paradise said sadly. Hamyuts spoke with a slightly irritated tone.
“I don’t really mind, but how long are you going to pretend you’re a good person?”
The Overseer of Paradise flinched a little.
“Photona-san seems to be easily deceived, but I’m not that simple. Aren’t you hiding a lot of things?”
“How did you find out?”
“Well, let’s just call it woman’s intuition.”
Hamyuts said, smiling. Perhaps disturbed, the figure of the Overseer of Paradise shook and flickered for a moment.
“You probably intend to create a rebellion against the Armed Librarians. That Vend Ruga was the weapon you’ve created in order to oppose us Armed Librarians. Is that not so?”
“Outwardly you feign incompetence, but behind the scenes you’re devising a plan to rebel against us. You’re not bad at all.”
The Overseer of Paradise became speechless for a while.
“…Oh my, not good. It really is bad, young lady.”
He desperately feigned his calmness. Hamyuts thought there was no use trying to pretend at this stage, though.
“Exactly as you said, I plan on a rebellion against the Armed Librarians. Since I managed to deceive Photona-san I was relieved, but this is… not good.”
“So, do you have any way to beat the Armed Librarians?”
Hamyuts inquired. The Overseer of Paradise felt the situation was changing. It didn’t seem like she was about to kill him at all.
“No, it’s unthinkable. Completely impossible. Right now we have no chance of victory against the Armed Librarians. Not when Vend Ruga was supposed to be our main force and it ended up like that.”
I see. So he called Hamyuts and the rest here to check the performance of Vend Ruga. He annihilated the traitors and simultaneously gauged Vend Ruga’s power. It was killing two birds with one stone.
“Are you perhaps looking to be our ally, Hamyuts-san?”
Hamyuts shook her head.
“That’s also fine, but rather than that, fighting you seems a lot more fun.”
“It’s fun… you say? For you to fight?”
“Yeah. I have nothing else.”
“What a dreadful person.”
The Overseer of Paradise smiled.
“So, about how long do I need to wait until you could beat the Armed Librarians?”
“Let me think… preparations will take about ten years.”
“Ten years is a bit too much though… Oh well. Let us wait until then.”
“In that time the power of the Armed Librarians will also decline. Photona will concede his seat as the Acting Director and Ireia will probably also retire.
Besides, if you were to become Acting Director, it would make things easy for us.”
Hamyuts felt regretful.
“I’m stronger than Photona. Right now we’re probably equal, but I’ll grow stronger.”
“However, you’re easier to cooperate with.”
This time it was Hamyuts who became upset.
“Because you like playing. Photona doesn’t think of fighting as playing.”
“A truly terrifying enemy would not have let me off the hook here.”
“I see… yeah, that’s true.”
Saying so, Hamyuts smiled. The Overseer of Paradise did as well.
If, at that time, Hamyuts had killed the Overseer of Paradise, the following tragedies would not have come to pass. There would have been no people who would be converted to Meats and die, and no Armed Librarians would have lost their lives in battle. The main cause of the tragedies lay with the Overseer of Paradise and Hamyuts of that time.
After a while, Photona finished his work and returned. Seeing the two people smiling at each other, he spoke.
“You two being on good terms isn’t bad. After all, the peace between the Armed Librarians and the Indulging God Cult is the peace of the entire world.”
Hamyuts and the Overseer of Paradise exchanged glances with the eyes of brats who outwitted their master.
“I suppose that’s true.”
Perhaps the two of them really were children. With one of them possessing tremendous fighting capabilities, and the other possessing resourcefulness, ambitions and influence, they were two brutal kids. At the very least, that was how Hamyuts saw her relationship with the Overseer of Paradise.
They truly were horrible people.
However, in many cases disaster and tragedy struck due to silly reasons.
Hamyuts thought that the incident had ended with that.
However, the tie between her and Vend Ruga had only started in that moment.
At the place where the rebels’ fortress stood were the Dark Fossils brought from Moogunt mines. Souls were drawn into these small, soft rocks and became Books inside the ground. By disposing of all the excavated Books, the Violet Sinner finally received “true death”.
Photona has already returned to Bantorra Library. Hamyuts remained at the fort for about a month. The subordinates of the Overseer of Paradise dug out the Books. Hamyuts was monitoring them.
Watching the Overseer of Paradise leading the work, she had too much free time. And when she had free time, she would talk to him.
“Hey, what about Lascall Othello? Won’t he dig out the Books and give them to other people?”
“It is fine. That sword has been sealed. You have no need to worry about him.”
Lascall Othello. All owners of the Passed Stone Blade Yor carried that name.
Lascall Othello was essentially neither the subordinate of the Indulging God Cult nor affiliated with the Armed Librarians. He was temporarily sealed so that he wouldn’t do any unnecessary things. It would be troubling for him to get these Books.
“Then it’s all good.”
Hamyuts said and left him.
The subordinates of the Overseer of Paradise were digging out Books. The Books of the False Men and the Vend Rugas were thrown into a grinder used for construction work. It became no longer possible to read any information out of the Books if they were crushed to pieces.
Protecting Books was the duty of the Armed Librarians. Hamyuts was also a small part of that system. She somewhat pitied the demolished Books.
It was the proof they were alive. All the records of their love, hatred and eagerness were being erased. It was much more tragic than death because it erased the very fact that they existed.
But this was the verdict known as true death.
Hamyuts casually grabbed one Book.
“Let me see it for a bit.”
The Book’s owner was one of the lead dolls known as Vend Ruga.
The lead doll Vend Ruga. In addition to his body, some of his brain had been changed to lead as well. A Magic circuit had been implanted in his brain so he could move automatically. He could no longer be described as a remodeled human, but rather a doll that used the components of a human.
Hamyuts was surprised to find out such a being could become a Book.
The ones to become the raw materials for Vend Ruga were robust men gathered from all around the world. Their backgrounds varied. Some were Meats, some were False Men, and some were unrelated persons as well. There were criminals and good people. However, regardless of their background, their memories were stolen, their names were erased, and their bodies were remodeled.
Everyone became of the same personality and appearance – that of Vend Ruga.
“All of them share one thinking circuit. We reproduced the ability of Thought Sharing with technology.”
The Magician who created them explained to the Overseer of Paradise.
“If one of them knows something then all others will know as well. If one of them is ordered, that order will spread to all of them.”
“Seems to be quite useful.”
The Overseer of Paradise said his impressions. The Vend Rugas stared at him. Being called useful made them a little happy, but a little sad at the same time.
Some human emotions still remained in the people that turned into dolls.
All the dolls shared their suffering. Even the Magician who made them did not notice this fact.
For example, there was a certain day at spring.
They were doing gun training with perfectly coordinated movements. They were arranged in a row, held the same gun and fired it simultaneously. A butterfly flew in front of them. One of the bullets pierced through it.
The Vend Rugas all stopped at once. The magnificence of the butterfly’s movements, as well as the sorrow it was gone, as well as the regret for killing it, all passed through their hearts.
No-one there had noticed the movements of their hearts.
They could also think. They perceived beautiful things as beautiful, and were sad upon the death of living beings. However, no one knew this. They could not speak or change their expressions. They had no means with which to express their hearts.
If someone were to understand their feelings, Vend Ruga would probably be happy. Alternatively, if someone told them to throw away their emotions, perhaps that would also have been salvation for them.
No-one knew that. To be ignored was painful above all else. They were dolls. However, they were dolls with a heart.
No-one was aware of that.
They were brought along by the rebels and made to fight. Fighting was one of Vend Ruga’s functions, so they pursued it.
At first they felt nothing. They fought because they were ordered to. That was all.
One day, that feeling changed. A single Vend Ruga found a single girl. He was surprised that even a child was mixed up in battle.
The girl stared at the ground. She did so for a long time without tiring.
In front of her was a single violet.
How pretty, thought Vend Ruga.
“Pretty, isn’t it?”
The girl said. She just spoke nonchalantly. It was the sort of impression that she would forget soon after saying. However, that lone sentence filled Vend Ruga’s heart. That girl knew – Vend Ruga also had a heart.
It was the dearest wish for all of the Vend Rugas. For normal people these would be trivial words, but for Vend Ruga they were more important than anything else. The Vend Rugas decided to risk their lives protecting this girl.
However, their wish was in vain. Photona and Hamyuts visited the fort. There was no need to see any further. Hamyuts removed her hand from the Book.
Saying so, Hamyuts stopped killing time.
After all the Books were dug out and destroyed, Hamyuts left the fortress.
Before going back to Bantorra, she went to Fulbeck and saw two movies and one opera. After that she went browsing the food stands in the entertainment district, and drank a lot at a bar that played music. That was far more enjoyable and stimulating for her than the massacre.
While listening to music, Hamyuts reflected and came to the conclusion that it was a truly trivial job. And with that, the name of Vend Ruga vanished from her mind.
A while after that…
Hamyuts was called by Photona. Sitting in the Acting Director’s chair, he seemed to be glum more than usual as he looked at the documents on his desk.
“Is something the matter?”
Hamyuts lightly asked.
“…We’ve received troubling information from the area of the civil war in the Region of Kuler.”
“What is it?”
“Seems like a monster appeared. A moving doll made of lead.”
The X on top of the map was a mere 300 kilometers away from that fortress.
“You’ve said this yourself. The violet is a weed. If even one of them remains, they will cover the field again.”
“The existence of the Cult is a secret to normal people. And the truth about the Indulging God Cult is a secret for normal Armed Librarians and the Cult’s subordinates.
Go kill it before the secret’s out. As soon as possible.”
Hamyuts flew to the civil war zone. The reasons for it and its progress had nothing to do with her. It truly was just a civil war that began for boring reasons and had boring circumstances.
She spoke to a soldier who was walking alone, perhaps straying from his unit. When she introduced herself as Third Grade Armed Librarian Hamyuts Meseta, the soldier’s face lit.
“An Armed Librarian… is the Present Management Agency finally getting involved?”
Exhausted from the long fight, the soldier’s expectations rose upon hearing about a possibility of the war ending. When Hamyuts denied it, he hung his head.
Even here they have boring fights, thought Hamyuts. There was nothing more boring in the world than a battle that didn’t excite you. She loved fights, but it didn’t mean she loved every single one of them.
Besides, there was the matter of Vend Ruga. Just what was his goal? The story of the Violet Sinner should have ended. Not knowing his goals felt ominous.
“I heard a rumor about a monster appearing here.”
“Yeah, it’s true. But what of it? We have plenty of other enemies.”
He didn’t seem to interest the people on the battlefield.
Other information was flowing on the surface. The monster that appeared on the battlefield was a lifeless puppet made by some ancient Magician. Someone accidently booted it up and it started moving… that kind of thing.
Hamyuts searched for the monster. The battlefield was vast. Even her Sensory Threads couldn’t cover all of it. She talked to another soldier.
“…It’s quite the terrifying monster.”
The soldier said.
“It’s good you came to beat it. We thought even the Armed Librarians have abandoned us.”
“So, where is it?”
Hamyuts asked. She was told the place it appeared at. That would usually be enough, but she inquired further.
“What has that monster been doing there?”
“…Have you heard of children going missing around here?”
“That lead doll seems to be abducting them. The abducted children never return. We have no idea what happened to them.”
“I see, thank you. I’m going.”
After hearing the soldier’s story, she had a guess. Vend Ruga was probably trying to fight. He was gathering subordinates to fight bravely against Hamyuts. He was probably ordered by one of the rebels to keep on fighting. He tried to fulfill his functions even now.
He couldn’t win against Hamyuts by himself. He needed allies. Although he was a doll, he had that much intelligence. It was even more useless than their previous fight though.
Hamyuts found a lone boy and talked to him.
“Is there a lead monster around here?”
“Yeah. In a place about two days away from here.”
“Have you by any chance met with him?”
The boy nodded.
“He caught me and was trying to convey something. I don’t know what he wanted to say.”
“What do you mean?”
“…I can’t read.”
“I see. Sorry.”
Hamyuts left the boy and kept walking. Trying to succeed the death wish of the Violet Sinner and keep fighting was impossible. There should be no people who would fight alongside him.
Imagining Vend Ruga looking for allies, Hamyuts felt he was a bit pitiful and adorable.
Before long, the tips of her Sensory Thread found a body made of lead. Hamyuts approached it. Even as she walked closer, Vend Ruga did not move. He did not notice her approach.
There was no one around him. He was simply standing in place. What was he thinking about? Was he digesting the loneliness that came about from him being the only Vend Ruga? Was he resenting himself for not having any skills despite wanting to fight?
“Poor little Vend Ruga all alone.”
The lead body entered the range of her sling. She spun her weapon around and shot a gravel bullet. It penetrated Vend Ruga’s chest. The heavy body flew several meters away and collapsed.
With just that it stopped moving. She had no trouble at all.
This time it ends. Thinking this, Hamyuts left.
Ten years later…
It was after the name of Vend Ruga completely disappeared from Hamyuts’s mind. She then met with him again.
Hamyuts walked inside the slanted White Smoke. Her long-awaited battle against the Cult has begun. Hamyuts concealed her exhilaration of this fact.
While waiting for the rescue ship to come pick up the Meats, she strolled around the White Smoke. Aimlessly walking around, she stopped at a certain room. A scribbling made with faded ink entered her vision.
“Vend Ruga is alive. He is alive in Olivia Littolet’s heart.”
Momentarily she did not understand its meaning and overlooked it. But the moment she passed by it, she noticed Vend Ruga’s name.
She couldn’t have predicted the appearance of that name. Hamyuts was utterly shocked.
Vend Ruga was alive. For a while, she couldn’t understand what this meant.
Vend Ruga definitely died on that day. There was no doubt about it. So was there another Vend Ruga? Hamyuts denied that too. They were all definitely destroyed.
She could think of only one option. There was someone who met that Vend Ruga and inherited something from him. Even if Vend Ruga died, someone took over his fight.
Although Vend Ruga was dead, his will was still alive.
At the moment she thought of this… emotions Hamyuts never felt before scattered small sparks in her brain.
She was stunned for several dozens of seconds. If Volken hadn’t spoken to her, it would have been longer than that.
“Oh, it’s you Volken.”
Hamyuts pulled herself together when Volken entered her sight.
“What are you doing there, we have work to do.”
That was quite a clumsy recovery if I may say so myself. Thinking this, Hamyuts passed next to Volken.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, she had some small detonators in her pocket. Taking them out, Hamyuts walked for the room in the bottom of the ship that was packed with explosives.
“Why?! Why is this…”
Volken was crying. While watching the sinking ship, Hamyuts was thinking to herself.
Rationally thinking about it perhaps there was no need to go this far. No, there really wasn’t. I don’t know who this Olivia Littolet woman is. She didn’t even know whether she would be a threat to her. No, the chances of that being true were extremely slim.
However, Hamyuts had killed. She couldn’t stop herself from doing so.
Hamyuts was thinking while pursuing Volken on the plane.
Why did I sink the ship? What made me lose my reason at that time?
Ten years ago, she killed the Vend Rugas one after another.
At first it was in the rebels’ fortress. Next it was on the battlefield where a single Vend Ruga wandered. Finally, she tried killing the person who inherited his will on the White Smoke.
Even so, Vend Ruga was still alive.
He was living even now in the mind of the one flying ahead of her, Olivia Littolet.
Hamyuts called to the airplane ahead. She called towards Vend Ruga who kept living inside Olivia’s heart.
“Amazing, Vend Ruga. You made me scared.”
Other people would find Hamyuts’s fear hard to understand.
She was undoubtedly the strongest person in the world. After Mokkania had been erased, there remained no-one that could rival her. No matter where one looked in the world, there should be no-one to make Hamyuts afraid.
Despite this – no, because of it – Hamyuts feared Vend Ruga. He was an opponent she couldn’t kill despite being the strongest. He was an enemy that kept living even when she killed him.
Vend Ruga was in a domain unreachable by her sling.
Even when she was cornered by Cigal, even when she was drowned by Mokkania, she felt nothing like fear. That was because her powers could affect them. Because if she hit them with her sling they would die. However, against an enemy that wouldn’t die even if she killed it, she couldn’t win at all.
She didn’t know why she couldn’t kill him. And people feared the unknown.
It was truly bizarre. Vend Ruga was much weaker than those like Cigal or Mokkania. Olivia had no power at all. But Hamyuts still felt fear.
It was probably the kind of fear that no-one but Hamyuts herself would understand.
Laughter leaked from her mouth.
How wonderful. Something in this world can cause me fear.
Her body shook and trembled. It was a feeling similar to masochism.
I want to kill Olivia. At the same time, I want to feel more fear. As usual, two contradicting emotions filled Hamyuts’s chest.
Her heart throbbed. She was the same as a girl who imagined her first kiss the day before her date.
Hamyuts called aloud.
“Olivia Littolet. Just who are you?”
Something unknown was waiting for her at the flight’s destination. Her airplane kept flying while cutting through the clouds.