The number of Bonbo’s enemies has been halved. A large number of the battleships on the sea have capsized.
The whales were not unhurt, but Bonbo was already convinced of his victory.
However, he was puzzled. Not by the enemy’s fighting capabilities; the Ismo Navy was indeed the world’s strongest, but they weren’t stronger than what he expected.
He was puzzled due to the enemy’s behavior.
“Aim at the sea surface!”
A whale peeked up from the sea. At the same time, the surrounding battleships aimed a concentrated attack at that direction. The commanders’ loud voice reached the ears of Bonbo who stuck his head out from the whale’s mouth. He made it fly to the air to avoid the attack.
Further attacks from airplanes came from above. The whale sunk into the sea again while raising waves.
Normally, an army would be said to be annihilated if it lost 40% of its forces. Losing half of it was complete destruction. With so little left over, organized attacks would become nearly impossible. Thinking that they must give aid to their soldiers still alive, they shouldn’t be able to continue fighting after losing half of their forces.
Bonbo had already defeated more than half of them. Nevertheless, the enemy did not slow down their assault.
Bonbo was impatient. They were not his only enemies. He had others to take care of the moment he leaves this place.
He heard that Mattalast had sortied out. However, he knew that he would not be able to protect against the fleet.
100 kilometers to the northwest from the waters where Bonbo was fighting, the single Armed Librarian squad lead by Mattalast clashed with the Ismo Republic Army.
Mattalast and the rest jumped off from the airplanes piloted by trainees. They couldn’t just attack the fleet from the front like Bonbo. They had no choice but to land into each battleship and use guerilla warfare.
Mattalast lightly landed atop the gun barrel of the main battery.
In his left hand was the gun called the Soprano and in his right hand he held a short rifle about fifty centimeters long. It was Mattalast’s private-use rifle that he named the Tenor.
Outwardly it didn’t look like a special gun. Judging by its size, it was a gun that even women could use. But it was actually a monstrous gun with power like a tank cannon. It didn’t have the weight to suppress the recoil nor the sights to improve aiming. It was a gun impossible to control without overwhelming physical strength and marksmanship.
Mattalast rapid-fired his rifle. The bullets all hit the gun barrels equipped to the battleship. Even the main battery under his feet was destroyed and incapacitated in a few shots.
His aim was to destroy the weapons and engine. It was much faster than sinking the bulky battleship.
The enemy began their counterattack. The sailors were armed with heavy weaponry. It was the kind of weaponry unneeded on a battleship. It seemed that they were prepared to take on Armed Librarians.
Mattalast lightly dodged their shots. However, the troublesome thing was the recoilless guns that kept firing. He jumped off from the gun barrel to the deck. However, just before he did so, a cannonball exploded nearby.
The fragments and the hot wind made him frown. Even Mattalast, who could evade any kind of attack, was weak against attacks like this.
In addition, further surprises came from the sky. They were bombs dropped from the same army’s carrier aircrafts.
He incapacitated the battleship while frantically evading their attacks. His comrades were fighting on the other battleships.
Mattalast grinded his teeth. He didn’t have enough time. Even while they were doing this other fleets were advancing towards Bantorra Library.
Even securing the win here would only become a local victory. The Ismo Republic Army was spreading out and approaching Bantorra. By the time they defeat half of their enemies, the other half will have already reached the Library.
Mattalast kicked the deck and leapt onto the neighboring battleship. One of the comrades he brought along with him was fighting there. She was a young woman called Kyasariro. Mattalast spoke to her while kicking the sailors around.
“Kill all crewmen of this ship except for one person.”
“At this rate even if we win we will make no progress. Capture someone and ask them about the reasons for this attack.”
Kyasariro nodded hesitantly.
“Leave one. As long as he’s alive and able to speak, it doesn’t matter if he’s wounded.”
His bullets accurately killed the sailors. Kyasariro followed his lead.
More than fifty airplanes were flying in the skies of Bantorra Library. Ismo’s bombers headed for the center of the island. Their aim was aerial bombing of the main building of Bantorra Library.
Since the Armed Librarians didn’t anticipate air fights, they only had a few fighter aircrafts in reserve. They were forced to intercept the attack from a disadvantageous position.
“Shiiit, there’s no end to them! Where’s the Director?!”
An Armed Librarian named Tzamul was shouting. He carried a cannon with a gun barrel over five meters long on his shoulder and bombarded the skies.
“Shut up and fight! Don’t rely on the Director or Big Sister Ireia!”
The Armed Librarian named Hony answered him with an angry roar. Originally they were not Armed Librarians who fought on the frontlines, but the protection of Bantorra Library was left to all Second Grade Armed Librarians.
Most of the fighter crafts were shot down and fell into the garden or plaza. But it was not perfect. A crashing airplane destroyed the building. There were also places where the incendiary bombs created a fire.
Hony let one aircraft approach. It dropped dozens of bombs from the sky. However, just before hitting the ground, they all fell apart instantaneously. On Tzamul’s hand was the Memorial Weapon Shlamuffen. The Ever-Laughing Magic Blade could instantly mince everything that entered its effective range.
“Was it annihilated?”
Hony said. However, his expression wasn’t bright. They were able to protect the Library, but if Ismo were to extend the range of their attack downtown there was no way they would be able to defend it.
Another formation flew to attack. The fight of the Armed Librarians kept raging on.
With the sounds of battle echoing from nearby, three women sat inside the Acting Director’s Office. They were Hamyuts, Ireia and Mirepoc. In order for her to take command, Hamyuts couldn’t participate in battle. Mirepoc was also indispensable. And Ireia, who wasn’t suited for drawn-out battles, was retained as a trump card.
Ireia stared out of the window and gnashed her teeth at the disappointing fight. Mirepoc also couldn’t hide her unrest. The only one to stay calm was Hamyuts.
“Did anything come from those we have dispatched to Ismo?”
Mirepoc shook her head at Hamyuts’s question. There was still time until they arrived at Ismo and commenced their attack.
A trainee came running into the office.
“The six Armed Librarians and nine trainees dispatched to Guinbex have all returned safely!”
Hamyuts gave instructions immediately. Three of the Armed Librarians were to deal with the fighters aiming at Bantorra Library, while the remaining ones would go downtown to help evacuate the citizens.
Armed Librarians who have been dispatched to various parts of the world were returning one after another. However, there were also some that have yet to come back.
“Mirepo. Please contact Yukizona again.”
Mirepoc silently activated her Thought Sharing. But she shook her head to the side again.
“No good. I can connect but there’s no reply. I believe he is in the midst of battle.”
Hamyuts clicked her tongue.
“Weird. Just who is he fighting?”
First Grade Armed Librarian Yukizona Hamlow. Along with Hamyuts, Mattalast, Ireia and Bonbo, he was one of the five strongest Armed Librarians. He was in the Present Management offices but they haven’t received any contact from him.
“I will keep the connection until there’s a reply. Please wait by.”
“Stop. Try it again after a while. Take a break for five minutes.”
Since Mirepoc was exchanging her thoughts with people all around the world, she did start looking fatigued. She was essential for the Armed Librarians; they had to use her carefully.
“Hamyuts-san. Minth-san is also yet to return, huh?”
Ireia, who was silent for a while, opened her mouth. Her expression was sharp. Her spirit, as one who used to praised as the strongest Armed Librarian, was only sharpened as years went by.
“Old lady, you were fixated about Minth since a while ago. What’s wrong?”
“Minth-san was supposed to have culled the spies hidden in Ismo.”
“Were we not too naïve?”
“What do you mean?”
Mirepoc asked back.
“Perhaps our spy was overtaken by spies.”
“Impossible. Minth-san couldn’t have been a traitor.”
“During the incident with Volken everyone said the same. Especially you.”
Ireia stared at Mirepoc with a gaze that felt like it could cut.
“Minth-san did not see through Volken’s betrayal. On the contrary, he said that Volken being a traitor was impossible. His power isn’t perfect, but him not noticing anything about Volken’s behavior is unnatural.”
Hamyuts was silent. Only she knew the truth about Volken there.
Clapping her hands, she called out to the other two.
“Let’s stop this, old lady. This is not the time to doubt each other now. Let’s wait until Minth returns.”
“Understood. I am sorry, Hamyuts-san.”
At that moment, the lamp of the telegraph atop the desk lit. It was a direct telegram from the President of the Ismo Republic.
“Oh, here are some news. I wonder if it’s from Luik and Gamo.”
“I’ll try to contact them.”
Saying so, Mirepoc closed her eyes.
A few tens of minutes ago…
The presidential offices, which were the symbol of the Ismo Republic, were filled with the sounds of gunfire and shouting. The ones fighting were the two Armed Librarians dispatched there, Luik and Gamo.
Luik charged. He broke through walls with his body, kicked the trees in the garden, and knocked off even the guards attempting to stop him as he ran forward determinedly.
“You’re in my waaay!”
His ability was to strengthen his body. It was a truly simple power that only made his body hard. He just ran around without any technique and destroyed whatever came in his path.
“How strange… their defenses are thin.”
Gamo finished off Luik’s leftovers with a gun. The soldiers at the presidential offices weren’t much different from normal guards. Did they not predict the attack of the Armed Librarians there or did they not care if the place fell? Gamo was unsure.
“Luik! Leave it for later. We’re going in.”
The two rushed inside. They had complicated feelings upon treading into the symbol of their native country with dirty feet. They entered the president’s chambers, but there was no one inside the vast room. The desk was collapsed and the contents of drawers were scattered around.
“Did he escape?”
“No, he was here until fifteen minutes ago.”
Gamo decided this judging from the smell. He was an ability user who could sharpen his five senses to their utmost limit. There was no way he wouldn’t be able to distinguish bodily odors.
He put his ear to the floor. He could feel a vibration.
“He’s right there!”
The pair rushed to four rooms over. There was a locker in the corner of the room labeled “second secretarial office”. When Luik kicked it lightly a scream rose from inside.
Out of the locker came crawling out an exhausted man with unkempt hair and a dirty suit. He was the president of the Ismo Republic.
“…Is this him?”
Luik made a small voice. Gamo felt the same. He had seen his face in newspapers countless of times; they saw him not only once or twice. But was he really the president? This kind of unsightly, mediocre man? The president tried hurriedly standing up.
“No, I didn’t mean to run away…”
Luik grabbed his hair and made him stand. Gamo restrained him and then asked a question.
“Mr. President. We are Armed Librarians. Do not be afraid. More importantly, I would like to ask you the reason you started this war.”
“I-I didn’t start it. I didn’t order anything.”
“I don’t know. Everyone suddenly started acting on their own. I’ve tried to stop them but no one listened to me. I’m the president but no one listened to me…”
The president said, looking like he was about to burst into tears any moment.
“Do you have any idea who the mastermind might be? Is there anyone with such political authority that you can’t interfere with their actions?”
“None. You defeated those guys known as the Indulging God Cult, haven’t you?”
He said while shaking his head.
“…How did it turn out like this? It has nothing to do with me. I have nothing to do with that moldy religion. Please do something, Armed Librarians. Haven’t you helped us with a lot until now?”
“Hey, Gamo. Let’s try someone else. We didn’t manage to get anything out of him.”
The president clung to Luik.
“Please escort me. You’re Armed Librarians, right?”
Luik and Gamo glanced at each other. They had no time to take care of him.
“Well then, let’s go to the broadcasting station. Please tell the populace that the army’s movements were not made by the president’s will.”
“Got it. So write a copy of my speech. If newspaper reporters come here I will need to use my manual for answering questions, pick a suit, adjust my appearance…”
At that part, Luik hit the president from the back. He lightly collapsed to the floor and lost his consciousness. Gamo looked down on him in silence.
“For the meanwhile let’s contact Mirepoc. Even though we don’t have any huge information.”
“We can send a telegram to the Director.”
Gamo and Luik started running. Luik glanced back and muttered.
“I’m voting for a different party the next elections.”
Gamo then replied.
“…If there is a next election.”
Hamyuts and the rest listened to the information sent by Luik and Gamo with a sour expression. They have suppressed the president. However, it had no effect.
“Does that mean there’s no mastermind and the ones fighting now are all the followers of the Indulging God Cult?”
Ireia said. If that was true then the situation was much worse than expected.
The followers of the Cult should have been around ten thousand people at the most. Among those, only about five hundred people could use Magic – these were their estimations. Does that mean they have vastly underestimated them?
“It can’t be. If there were that many followers, us Armed Librarians would have lost a lot faster.”
Hamyuts shook her head.
“Let’s try thinking about the fight so far. We’ve fought in the Ismo Republic countless of times. It means they let us kill Cigal, Ganbanzel and Lascall Othello.”
Mirepoc then stated her opinion.
“Is it hypnotism? Are they controlling the entirety of the Ismo Army using some method?”
“I have no idea if it’s hypnotism or whatever, but I can’t think of anything else.”
However, controlling the behavior of people was difficult. Even among the Armed Librarians which gathered talent from all around the world there was no one with the ability to control people.
Besides, with that many people? Even using the Spinning Doll Ückück it would be impossible to control a thousand people.
So how did they control the army? Hamyuts and the rest couldn’t even guess.