Approximately 20 hours passed since Volken and Olivia left Bantorra.
Hamyuts pursued and Volken ran away. There was no change in that situation. No contact from Mirepoc came in a while so Volken knew nothing about the current situation. Where was Hamyuts flying? And who was coming after him?
Olivia made no move as well. She was sitting motionlessly in the passenger seat. She stayed silent, her gaze directed at her feet. She was probably trying to retrieve her lost memories.
“Does it seem like your memories are about to return?”
Volken asked although he didn’t need to. If her memories returned she would have told him so. Since she didn’t, they didn’t.
“Just talk about something. Anything that has to do with me.”
“Shouldn’t you focus on remembering?”
“No, stupid. I need an opportunity. When you told me my name some of memories returned. When that piece of shit Enlike called me it was also like that.
I need something to help me evoke my memories.”
Volken considered. He didn’t know much about her.
“You used the Spinning Doll Ückück and commanded some Meats to conduct a Magic Deliberation.”
Olivia thought for a while. She then shook her head and scratched it.
“It’s useless… I can’t recall anything.”
If given some chance she could remember. That was probably not wrong. However, what Volken told her by itself was not enough.
Without Olivia’s memories, all of his plans will collapse. He could do nothing but pray for her to retrieve her memories.
At that time, Hamyuts felt unpleasant vibrations from her airplane.
Its condition wasn’t good. It was an overused aircraft in the first place. Moreover it was flying at its top speed ever since morning.
There would no problems if she was to lower her flying speed, but she would not be able to catch up to Volken.
Hamyuts clicked her tongue.
She was worried about Olivia, but Volken was also a problem.
If she fought him she would undoubtedly win. However, her problem was different. She had to protect the secret.
How much did Volken know?
Did he know about Lascall Othello?
The truth about the Indulging God Cult? Its connections to the Armed Librarians?
If those facts became known to the Armed Librarians, their organization will collapse.
Above all she was concerned about Mirepoc. If she were to know the truth and convey it to all Armed Librarians, Hamyuts would be finished. And the Armed Librarians as well.
Mirepoc and Volken were on good terms. There was a chance Mirepoc would have some ideas.
This might turn out to be more of a predicament than what she thought.
At that moment, she received Mirepoc’s thoughts. Hamyuts understood that something has happened.
Olivia kept thinking while muttering something under her breath. Volken was piloting in silence. At that moment, a thought was sent to him. It was Mirepoc.
‘Volken. There are two things you need to know.’
“Did something happen?”
Olivia asked. He told her to be quiet. He had to focus on the Thought Sharing.
‘What is it? Good news or bad news?’
‘I wonder. Where are you now?’
‘I’ll soon pass over the Kuler Region. I have about two hours until my destination.’
‘Then that’s good. The Director is still above sea.’
‘Still only there?!’
He was truly surprised. It wouldn’t be strange for Bantorra’s fastest airplane to already catch up to him.
‘She says she has engine trouble.’
‘So she can’t accelerate any further.’
‘And the second thing?’
‘That is good news for you. There were unofficial discussions between the Armed Librarians about how to judge the current situation.’
‘This is obviously not official, but overall everyone supports you.’
It was unbelievably sudden. Since he escaped from the Library, he was prepared to be branded as a criminal just like Mokkania.
‘This surprised even me, but Mattalast started supporting you.’
‘…Mattalast-san really did? Isn’t he the person closest to Hamyuts…’
‘He didn’t say too much, but… he said something like ‘there are also things that only I can understand’.’
‘I see… Please tell him my thanks.’
‘I can’t. On the surface you and I are not in contact.’
‘I see. Thank you.’
Mirepoc was considering something.
‘Volken. What’s your goal? Isn’t it about time to speak about it?’
He looked at Olivia in the back seat. Her memories still haven’t fully returned. He also didn’t yet know why Hamyuts sank the ship.
‘I can’t say yet. Sorry.’
Saying this, Mirepoc suddenly severed the Thought Sharing.
“You’re smiling, so did something good happen?”
Olivia inquired. Turning back to her, his expression was bright.
“Yeah. It seems we escaped from Hamyuts. With this all of our obstacles are gone.”
Olivia exclaimed bluntly.
“Really? Did that monster let us go so easily?”
“The circumstances are on our side. We weren’t as lonely as I thought.”
Olivia was not yet convinced. She was wary.
“Just don’t grow lax yet.”
Volken nodded. However, he no longer felt the heavy pressure of Hamyuts on his back.
Olivia was not convinced at all. Will that Hamyuts really let them escape so easily? No, it wouldn’t help either way. The only thing she could do was restore her memories.
She suddenly looked down from the aircraft’s windscreen. A hilly area covered in brown dead grass and burnt ground spread before her eyes.
Where are we? Thought Olivia. She had no knowledge of the world map. She either had it taken from her when she became a Meat or didn’t know it in the first place.
“Where is this?”
“…The Region of Kuler.”
As soon as she heard that, words came leaking out of her mind.
“Is the war over?”
She didn’t know why these words came out. Why did she know there was once a war there? Volken then answered.
“The civil war has ended. The Independent Army won and they’re now under a ceasefire, but what of it?”
Olivia remembered – she was once there. This dreary hill was Olivia’s birthplace.
At that instant, a man’s figure suddenly entered her mind. For the small Olivia, it was a large man that she had to look up at. A man with khaki-colored worn out clothes. From the holes in his clothes and under his wide-brimmed hat, lead-colored skin was visible.
Olivia remembered – it was there that she met with Vend Ruga.
“Volken! Get down! Get down here!”
Olivia grabbed Volken’s shoulder. The aircraft shook.
“I was here. I also met Vend Ruga here! Get down! My memories might return!”
Volken was confused and hesitated. He was probably measuring the danger of Hamyuts catching up against Olivia’s request.
“…Although there’s a small chance she will catch up to us, Hamyuts is still a threat.”
“Please. If I won’t go it now I won’t be able to remember.”
“…Only fifteen minutes. I won’t wait any longer.”
Saying this, he let the airplane descend. He landed the airplane on a river flowing between two hills a bit too hard.
Olivia got off the plane. Volken went behind her.
“How is it? Are your memories returning?”
She didn’t answer. The dry, dusty wind lifted her hair. As she walked around, she could hear her every step on the ground.
Nostalgia filled her heart. With just this, her memory was revived. They were the memories of her childhood, before she became a Meat.
The place Olivia was born in was a battlefield.
It seemed to not be the case when she was born, but Olivia knew her hometown as nothing else but a battlefield. She grew up with bullets and corpses as her toys.
Occasionally tired soldiers gave her things to eat. Eventually, she learned how to exchange things she took from dead soldiers or remains of tanks. Eventually, she learned how to steal food directly.
Every day she watched people lose their lives in front of her eyes. The country wasted the lives of soldiers, and the lives of people disappeared in vain. Olivia only thought of this as natural, so she didn’t feel anything. She only thought about eating every day. She was no different than an animal that wore clothes.
Even she had allies. They were the children living in the same circumstances.
“There are strange people.”
Olivia was told by one of the children.
Although they were companions, they didn’t feel any connection. They also didn’t help each other. If they had the chance, they would kill and loot each other. Being careless led to you getting killed. Such was their relationship.
“They’re kidnappers. They seem to be kidnapping children like us.”
“What kind of people are they?”
“I dunno. They don’t seem to be part of either the Independent Army or the National Army. They slip between the two of them and kidnap children.”
She heard various rumors about them. It seems that the children that were caught never returned. It seemed like they were caught and then made to drink water that made them lose their memories.
She later came to know they were False Men from the Indulging God Cult. Amongst the turmoil of the battlefield, they caught children in order to turn them to Meats.
After a while Olivia encountered those kidnappers.
They were the guys she was told about. They had the military uniforms of both sides. Olivia did not resist. If she were to resist, the enemies’ guns would turn her into Swiss cheese. It was better getting kidnapped.
The kidnappers held Olivia’s body and brought a cup full of water to her mouth.
“…Don’t be scared, this water won’t do anything to you.”
It was useless resisting. Olivia opened her mouth. Just as she was about to drink, the cup was removed from her. One of the kidnappers then shouted.
She saw a single man coming. He wore tattered, khaki-colored clothes and a wide-brimmed hat.
The kidnappers aimed their guns and shot without warning. The bullets hit his body but were reflected with a dull sound. The man moved.
He knocked out the kidnappers. He wasn’t very fast. Neither was he smooth. Even from Olivia’s viewpoint it seemed like a clumsy way of fighting.
She saw his face from underneath the hat. At first she thought it was a mask because it was made from lead just like bullets. The hatted man saw Olivia and his lead eyes were moving. It was not a mask.
Olivia recalled a different rumor. There was supposed to be some man fighting the kidnappers. Nobody knew his name or identity. There was a man, perhaps not human, a warrior made of lead.
Vend Ruga. She came to know his name quite a while after meeting him.
Olivia opened her eyes and looked around. The nostalgic battlefield was no longer there. In this land, no longer a battlefield, there was no one else but her.
Her restored memories only went that far.
After that, Olivia received something from Vend Ruga. She fought in order to retrieve it. Just what did she receive from him?
“Seems like I can remember things from before I turned into a Meat.”
Volken spoke while looking at the direction Hamyuts should come from.
“I’m sorry for saying this, but if possible I’d like you to remember the time that you were a Meat.”
“Yeah. I’ll make an effort.”
Saying this, Olivia closed her eyes again.
She recalled the figure of Vend Ruga. However, what she wanted to restore wasn’t just his appearance. She wanted to remember the most important thing handed to her by him.
The fact that she recalled his form became a chance for her. She ended up being able to retrieve her memories from when she was on the White Smoke.
She first retrieved the memory of a Magic Deliberation.
She was in a storage room that wasn’t used. It was the memory of a dusty room that had barrels, pots and whips casually placed around. Olivia spent most of her time there.
“Those who go will not go, and those who come will not come. The moon is the sun. Birds are fish. Living beings become corpses. Steel becomes weak. All of reality becomes dreams, and illusions become all of reality.”
Several dozen Meats sat in a circle, and at their middle was the Spinning Doll Ückück. The Magic Right they acquired wasn’t theirs, but was stored inside Ückück.
The Spinning Doll Ückück, attached to a steel stand, didn’t look like a doll children would have. When it gains enough Magic Rights for it to activate a Grand Magic, the doll moves. And when its owner Olivia commands it to move, the doll would start spinning around.
The Meats continued their Magic Deliberation. Olivia softly opened her eyes and looked at the doll.
The doll was eagerly shaking its body as if it was hesitating whether to dance or not.
Several Meats have probably succeeded in their Deliberation. The Spinning Doll seemed to be grasping their Magic Rights. Today was good. Olivia smiled in her heart.
“Everything is defined as false, and thus I undergo the Magic Deliberation.”
Just a bit more. Activating that Spinning Doll was Olivia’s one and only goal. In order to retrieve … she would perform this outrageous Grand Magic.
Retrieve … and thus retrieve Vend Ruga.
At that moment, one of the Meats suddenly sprang up. Still sitting cross-legged, he floated high, and then collapsed on his back. Bending his body like a shrimp, he suffered violent convulsions. His trembling nails scratched the wooden floor, and in the blink of an eye his fingers started bleeding.
Shit, just when we got to a good part… Olivia’s face distorted.
The Meats opened their eyes and stopped the Magic Deliberation. Don’t stop, you pieces of trash. Olivia cursed them in her mind.
One Meat called to Olivia with a hollow voice. Having no choice, Olivia stood up and sat down next to the convulsing Meat.
Seems like he overdid the Deliberation. Magic Deliberation was an act of distorting the axioms of the world. If one distorts them too radically, they might end up getting caught by the distortions they made themselves. They will lose their sanity.
Olivia clicked her tongue. The tongue of the convulsing Meat was blocking his throat. There was no use anymore.
In order to prevent such a situation there would usually be a Magician appointed to directing the process. If the Deliberation was being overdone, it had to be stopped altogether.
However, they had no supervisor. Olivia, being an amateur in Magic, could not serve the part.
“Good grief, what a lame way to die.”
“Keep the Magic Deliberation going. Also, someone come here to throw this away.”
The Meats gazed at Olivia with broad eyes. None of them stood up. Since they were deprived of their memories and personalities, they didn’t know how to act independently.
“You, come here.”
Olivia kicked around the knees of one of them. He rose up sluggishly.
The sky was indigo blue. A white light could be faintly seen from the east. Without them noticing, it was almost morning. Tidying up the place before their caretakers woke up would be troublesome.
Olivia held the head of the faintly moving Meat. Another person held his legs. The two of them climbed the narrow staircase.
Dying from suffocation, the movements of the dragged Meat stopped. Olivia felt as if his body, now left powerless, became heavier.
The Meat holding his legs looked at his dying face and thought of something. He was probably sad.
If Olivia was a kind commander, she would probably raise her voice and say…
“Do not be sad. Keep fighting for him.”
And if she was a severe commander she would probably say…
“Forget about him.”
However, she said nothing.
It was because Meats were no people to command, but people to use. She would use them and then throw them away. Olivia wasn’t a commander. She was a consumer.
They reached the edge of the boat’s deck. She shadows of fish could be seen in the sea’s surface that was slightly illuminated by the sun.
“Oh, here they are.”
Olivia muttered. They mustered their strength, lifted up the Meat’s corpse and threw it into the sea. The sea became suddenly disturbed and a red color spread around.
Recently sharks have been wandering around the ship, aiming for the Meats thrown off of it. Because of the steady supply of good-quality food they were given, the sharks were growing comfortably fat.
Watching them dance around, Olivia laughed listlessly. It was a pity losing one Meat. However, there was nothing to be done about it. She couldn’t retrieve … without any sacrifices.
“Volken, I remembered.”
Olivia said. Volken nodded. But it’s strange. I can remember my past but not my goal. Why’s that?
Thinking so, Olivia closed her eyes again.
It was about three years since she started conducting the Magic Deliberation. She didn’t know the exact time. She couldn’t even tell her age.
At that time Olivia wasn’t in the Meats’ filthy cabin. She was in a cabin meant for the False Men below deck, which was like a whole different world. It had a clean bathroom, nutritious food and a soft bed. Everything not in the Meats’ room was there.
Olivia was allowed to use all of it.
Olivia rose up from the bed. She fixed her disheveled bustier half unconsciously. Before doing it, it was fine like that. After doing it, it was better to wear it properly. She understood this by her experience. At the very least, it was like that for that man.
She didn’t know any other men, so she didn’t know if this was common.
She called at the relaxed man next to her in bed. Olivia had a distinction over when to use just his name or add an honorific. At rough times she would use only his name, and at peaceful times she would add a “sama”. Olivia made no mistakes in that distinction.
“Good morning, Olivia.”
Charlot spoke with a gentle voice very different from the one he had a while earlier.
He was a man more than fifty years old. He wasn’t particularly fat, but his belly was swollen accordingly to his age and his face was wrinkled.
He was said to be the best Magician in the Indulging God Cult.
He was a man who managed to realize the fabled Magic sought after by many Magicians – Spatial Magic. That power was said to be a match to Magicians such as Ireia. However, its reputation was not spread to the world. Those who served the Indulging God Cult couldn’t come out publicly. It was said that he abandoned fame and instead sought to complete his research.
Perhaps he was important, but for Olivia he was merely a man. He was nothing more than a middle-aged man who indulged in her body.
It was morning. However, Olivia hadn’t slept. She planned on diving under the blanket again and sleep until after noon. Charlot spoke to her while getting dressed.
“Olivia. Do you love me?”
Olivia answered with a smile.
“I like you, Charlot-sama.”
It seemed that man preferred being told he was liked rather than loved. She didn’t care about his feelings. She simply used him because that middle-aged man could get whatever he wanted. She took a glance at an object. Her goal was casually placed in a cupboard inside the room.
“Oh yeah. Today we are going to anchor after a long time. Is there anything you want?”
Olivia suppressed her welling desire. She resisted pointing at one of the room’s corners and saying ‘I want that’. She wanted the object on the desk, the Spinning Doll Ückück.
This was one of the many treasures that belonged to the Great Magician Charlot. It was one of the Memorial Weapons, but for Charlot it was merely a trivial tool. He didn’t have any plans to use it.
If she begged him he might give it to her. However, it was too early.
Olivia devoted herself to Charlot in order to get the Spinning Doll. She must not let him notice that fact. She had to keep up the illusion that she truly loved him.
She will let him indulge more and more such that he will not be able to live a single day without her. She will get the Spinning Doll Ückück afterwards.
Letting him lose his head with infatuation, the rest will be easy. He will create his own delusions.
She must be cautious. These filthy times were a necessary process in order to retrieve Vend Ruga.
Having restored her memory, Olivia thought. Right, that also happened.
Her actions were quite impure, but Olivia’s insides were still beautiful. For her goal she would betray the love of a naïve middle-aged man hundreds of times.
She did many more dirty deeds. Olivia in the past was a woman much more heretical than the people of the Indulging God Cult.