She pushed her way through the miners and normal librarians to enter the mines. She ignored the guards standing at the main entrance and ran inside. She didn’t have the leisure to do anything like ask if the medical team was there.
As she entered the mines, a roaring sound made her body shake. Under her feet was a mining ground. Jackhammers and pulleys were operated in order to excavate the Books lying deep underground. Above were the power reactors needed to move all of the machinery. Without stopping for a second, Noloty ran upwards.
She conjectured that the medical team was from the Indulging God Cult.
Giving the townspeople medicine to drink was a preliminary preparation for something. And they will act after finishing their preparations. The most suitable place for them to spread Deep Blue Curse from would be the mines.
A chimney pierced through the middle of the mountain. The smoke blowing out from the power reactors went through it and covered the entire town.
By using this smoke to spread the pathogens, it would probably take less than 30 minutes to cover the town.
Her guess had been right. Noloty found a collapsed person halfway through the path to the power reactors. From his clothes he appeared to be a mining engineer. He was breathing; he was merely asleep.
“Sorry, I’ll take care of you later.”
Saying so, she ran ahead. She then shouted while running.
Her angry shouting drowned out the drilling sounds and probably echoed through the entire mines.
Perhaps surprised by Noloty’s voice, the white-clothed men standing in front of the power reactors opened their eyes wide.
She shuddered for a second. She truly just made it in the last second. One of the men was about to open the chimney’s door. Putting the pathogens inside there would cover up the town in no time.
“An Armed Librarian!”
The white-wearing men all drew out their guns at the same time. With that Noloty was able to assess their capabilities.
She had three enemies. Among them, only one used bodily reinforcement Magic. He was a giant holding a conspicuously long gun. Without paying any attention to the other two, she charged straight at the giant.
They shot their guns all at once. However, Noloty evaded only the giant man’s shot. Ordinary people couldn’t follow her speed.
The fight was settled in an instant. That instant showcased the difference in fighting capabilities between Noloty and the three men.
She threw away the giant man’s gun using her palm. Then she used her elbow to strike his solar plexus. She could feel the impact penetrate through his armor of muscles and strike his internal organs. Noloty had spent her youth hitting people. There was no mistake she would be able to finish him like that.
The giant collapsed facing forward. His remaining comrades were no problem at all. She finished them both as gently as one handled raw eggs.
Noloty weakly clenched her fist. She hated killing people, but didn’t hesitate on hitting them.
And at that moment, she felt a strange presence. She took her eyes off the three men and looked around.
She found the figure of a person from behind the power reactor. It was small – a child. She didn’t have the time to confirm whether it was a boy or a girl.
That was because the giant man took his gun and headed for them.
Just before the shot she kicked the barrel up. At the same time she leapt to the side and grabbed the child.
She either went too easy on him or he was just that tenacious, as the giant man rose up. He directed his gun at Noloty and the child.
The second bullet was shot. Noloty made a gamble. She struck her fist straight ahead without evading. A sharp impact transmitted through her fist. Noloty’s fist, protected by the hard straw rope, reflected the bullet. It grazed the giant man’s foot.
Perhaps realizing the different in strength between them, the giant started his escape. He held his two collapsed companion using both arms and ran to the exit.
She needed to chase after them and finish them off. However, Noloty didn’t. It would risk the child she was holding. She also couldn’t just leave the child there. The enemies weren’t limited to only those three people.
Noloty concentrated all of her senses to search around her. She gazed around, listened to any sounds, and concentrated on her sixth sense. She was looking for the small discomfort known as murderous intent that would be felt just before an attack.
At this time, if Noloty was even a bit careless, she might have died. Even Luimon was killed by a bomb, for example. Even normal people could kill Armed Librarians in cases where they were completely defenseless.
She reflexively threw away the child she was holding. The child rolled on the ground and hit the wall. A knife fell from their hands.
Noloty’s stomach suffered a small cut. She felt slight dizziness. It was a poisoned knife.
“…Right, there’s no way an ordinary child would be here.”
She looked at the child again. She couldn’t tell clearly because of the hat he wore low on his head, but it was probably a boy.
The dirty overall he wore was cute in a child-like way.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
Noloty asked. The boy tried to escape without answering. She caught him immediately. She collapsed him face down and pinned him down from his neck.
The boy called somebody’s name. At that time, another man came out of the shadows. He was probably hiding till then. He held a grenade in his hand.
“…Come on, kill us together!”
The boy told the man. The man grasped the grenade tightly with shaking hands.
“Kill! Kill her!”
The man pulled off the grenade’s pin. He then threw it towards Noloty.
“I, I can’t do it!”
The grenade rolled besides Noloty. She let go of the boy and took it. She grasped it with all of her strength, destroying the detonator and the gunpowder. The man who threw it ran off at full speed.
She ended letting go of the boy. Now released, he stood far from Noloty. He held a bottle in his hand.
The boy grinned. He threw the bottle at Noloty’s feet. Without any time to think she grabbed it with her hand. There was a black liquid inside of it.
“I did it!”
The boy raised a cry of joy. This bottle probably contained the pathogens they had tried to spread. The lid was open. Thin smoke rose from inside of it.
“I did it, I did it, ahahahahahaha, ahahahahahahaha!”
If this bottle contained the pathogens for the Deep Blue Curse, Noloty had already been infected. There was no remedy for that disease. She then muttered at him.
“…You got me. It’s my loss.”
The boy’s face distorted. It was too broken of an expression to call it a smile. He kept clapping his hands and laughing.
Noloty looked at the bottle’s label. Sure enough, the words “Deep Blue Curse” were written on it.
When she saw the boy stopped laughing she asked him a question.
“Say, can you tell me before I die? Why did you attack this place?”
“Hahahahahaha, it didn’t matter where. It could be anyone, I just had to kill you! Serves you right, serves you right Armed Librarian!”
The boy kept laughing.
“What’s your name?”
“This is your punishment, Armed Librarian. Punishment for your crimes!”
“I asked your name, boy.”
The boy said his name as if it hitting her with it.
“I’m Arkit. Remember, the one to punish you was Arkit Chroma!”
“I see. So you were the mastermind.”
Saying so, Noloty took the bottle to her mouth. She drank all of the Deep Blue Curse pathogens in one gulp.
“Ugh, tastes horrible.”
While saying this, Noloty picked up the lid and closed the bottle. Arkit opened his eyes in blank amazement.
“There’s no cure for the Deep Blue Curse… but have you not known that a preventive medicine has been completed?”
She put the bottle in her pocket.
“Biological attacks are scary, you see. We have at least some measures against it. Most diseases will not work against Armed Librarians.”
The befuddled Arkit’s face was contorted in sorrow. In the next moment it turned to anger as if bursting apart.
Screaming with an insane voice, he started running. He raised both of his fists and tried swinging them at Noloty’s stomach. As not to kill him, she struck his face with her open palm.
The collapsed boy grabbed his poisoned knife. He swung it clumsily and charged at Noloty.
She knocked off the knife and hit his face. His hat fell off at that moment. Below it was the boy’s unhealthy, pale face.
Shouting, Arkit charged at Noloty. He didn’t even know if he was trying to hit her or grab her. She seized his arm as he ran recklessly. Arkit kept using his other arm to hit her stomach and chest.
While being beaten, Noloty picked up Arkit’s hat and then set it gently atop his head.
Until now Noloty had been making great efforts so she could fight strong enemies. Therefore, she had no idea how to act against weak enemies.
Noloty kept receiving his frail fists until he grew tired and could not move.
The mining engineers and security guards started gathering from below. Noloty made them go back. She wanted to speak with Arkit alone. The existence of the Indulging God Cult was a secret for the general public after all.
“So you planned this?”
Noloty asked. She did feel some sympathy for Arkit, but she would not forgive him.
“I hate that kind of selfishness. You were going to kill a lot of the townspeople. You can’t just go and die on your own. I’m pretty angry.”
“Don’t screw with me. I didn’t involve any of the townspeople!”
“Even though you were going to spread the Deep Blue Curse?”
Arkit spat on Noloty’s face. She wiped it off silently.
“Don’t lump me in with them. I was going to infect only Armed Librarians.”
“I made the townspeople drink preventive medicine. Only the Armed Librarian didn’t drink it.”
Noloty recalled what the innkeeper had told her. So was that the so-called test medicine? He was probably not lying. A person who was still shouting for her to die wouldn’t lie now.
“So your only target was Armed Librarians.”
Her anger towards Arkit lessened. But it still didn’t change the fact he was her enemy.
“I’ll have you come to the Library with me. We have to ask you about plenty of things.”
Saying so, she pulled on Arkit’s hand. Then, he picked up the knife at his feet and directed it at his own chest.
“What’re you doing?!”
Noloty grabbed his knife. Arkit struggled, but her hand didn’t move. At the next moment, he opened his mouth wide. He was about to bite off his tongue. Noloty quickly thrust her fingers inside his mouth.
Arkit bit down on her.
“O-ow, ow, stop, it hurts!”
Her fingers creaked. It was somewhat painful. While biting her fingers, Arkit tried stabbing his chest with the knife. Noloty hit his head and shouted.
“I told you that you can’t do it! You can’t go and die like that!”
Arkit hung his head, breathing hard. After staying silent for a while, he suddenly opened his mouth. Contrary to his frenzy just now, he spoke in a terribly calm voice.
“Please stop it.”
Noloty replied. Arkit was staring at the knife that fell to the ground.
“Please finish it.”
“If I die I don’t mind not fighting. I can also stop hating. So I want to die.”
Nothing answered him but silence. She was shocked at the fact that such words came from the mouth of a boy who appeared to be around ten years old or so. It was something that an old person who spent decades in hatred would say.
“So you want to end it all?”
“If I win it will be over. The same if I die. But if I keep living I have to keep fighting. I want to end it all.”
While speaking, Arkit kept staring at the knife. He had an expression that was despairing to see. The boy’s innocent face was painful to look at.
His expression overlapped with that of Enlike in Noloty’s mind. When she met him he was living only so he could die, and so it seemed somewhat similar.
Noloty’s words this time had a slightly different meaning than before.
“You can’t die. That’s no ending.”
Arkit sobbed quietly. In a short amount of time the boy was angry and then broke into tears. He is a child after all, Noloty thought. Adults were not so open about their feelings.
She then had a certain premonition. If she lets this child die she will feel horrible regret. Her anger had vanished before she noticed it. She couldn’t stay angry at a child who did nothing but cry.
After Arkit stopped crying, the two exited the mines while holding hands. There was no need to stay there.
Where did his followers go? Seeing how they ran away, they’re probably not coming back. Such heartless guys, Noloty thought.
What will we do now? she started considering. For the time being I’ll stop him from committing suicide. The moment I take my eyes off of him he will probably immediately do it.
“Say, what can I do for you?”
“How can I make you not kill yourself?”
Arkit, who had been crying until now, widened his eyes.
This voice sounded like he spit it out from the very depths of his stomach. His face regained the expression full of hatred he had before crying.
“If you do so I’ll feel better. I also won’t kill myself. So die.”
“I actually want to kill every last Armed Librarian. But there’s no way I’d be able to. So I’d like to kill at least one if possible. So die.”
Arkit kept spitting out curses. It didn’t seem like the boy was made to fight against his will; he hated Armed Librarians from the bottom of his heart.
A food vendor walked next to Noloty. She bought one hotdog and tried giving a half of it to Arkit. He shook his head, however, so she had no choice but to eat it herself.
“I don’t want to die, you know.”
“So just kill me.”
“I don’t want to do that either.”
“Then let me kill myself. Why are you keeping me alive?”
“I have no reason. I don’t want to let you die.”
“But why! Shit!”
After spitting these words out, Arkit once again fell silent. The two kept strolling around the town’s streets while holding hands. We probably look like we get along well from the side, thought Noloty.
“If you can’t die then kill someone else. Doesn’t matter which Armed Librarian it is.”
“I can’t do that. Like I said, I won’t kill or die nor will I let you kill yourself.”
“What’s the matter with you! I can’t understand!”
He started crying again. He probably felt humiliated getting his hand pulled and walking around with a person he wanted to kill.
“Really, what am I supposed to do…”
Noloty was utterly perplexed. She couldn’t think up of any way to keep him from committing suicide. Why did it trouble her so much? Such unreasonable thoughts surfaced to her mind.
However, Enlike was thinking while reading the Book. The one creating problems for Noloty was only herself. Any other Armed Librarian would have let Arkit kill himself without any hesitation. That alone would have solved the problem. At the end Noloty was the one to create her own problems all by herself.
“Suicide is bad. So don’t do it.”
“Shuddup. I don’t care. Die.”
“How horrible. Listen to me.”
“I have no reason to listen to you. I don’t want to hear anything from an Armed Librarian!”
“But if you won’t listen we can’t do anything.”
“I don’t care! Die, just die!”
He was completely unapproachable. Noloty decided on trying to change the subject.
“Then, what can I do to get you to listen to me?”
Caught off-guard, Arkit was confused.
“I’ll do anything that I can do for you, so at least listen to me.”
“Anything you can do?”
“I won’t do just everything you tell me to, though.”
Arkit distorted his lips as if mocking Noloty.
“Become my minion. If you’re my minion I can at least listen to what you say.”
Arkit was the one surprised. Even Enlike reading the Book was surprised. Noloty was completely calm.
“Are you okay with that?”
“I mean, I have no choice. I can’t think of anything.”
Arkit stayed with his mouth agape for a while.
“No, thinking rationally it’s not okay at all, or even a bit strange… It’s really strange and not okay at all… but there’s no other way…”
Noloty cocked her head while emitting cold sweat.
“Are you stupid?”
She was deeply pierced by these words she didn’t want to be told. But she had no way to reply.
“Well, that seems to be true…”
“You really are stupid.”
Arkit spat out. However, his expression lost its edge. Since he was flabbergasted by Noloty he seemed to lose his desire to die.
“I feel like that’s how it was before…”
“Nothing. It’s unrelated to you.”
Saying so, Noloty sighed. When she had met Enlike nine months ago it also happened like that. She didn’t know why, but it seemed to be her fate getting involved in this sort of business.
However, she hadn’t noticed that this was essentially different from the previous incident. She saved Enlike because Hamyuts ordered her to. This time she was acting on her own.
Noloty would have probably tried to save Enlike even without Hamyuts’s orders. She was that kind of girl in the first place. Therefore Enlike was saved.
She was a girl who acted on her own will and was a nuisance to others. It was all the more worse because she didn’t notice she was causing trouble for other people.
Why is she doing this sort of thing? Enlike couldn’t help but think. What was her reason to save both Arkit who had no connection to her and Enlike whose life was worthless?
Enlike turned time back and started reading Noloty’s past.