On the sea to the east of Bantorra Library, Mattalast ran inside a battleship and thoroughly killed every moving being that he saw. Some of the survivors got in the way of his attack.
He returned to the deck. Kyasariro had caught and restrained a single sailor. He was probably a Private that carried cannonballs.
“Interrogate him immediately. We have no time to spare.”
Saying so, he instructed Kyasariro to let go of him. The sailor, now free, tried escaping, but Mattalast seized him. He drew a gun from his pocket. That gun was also easily taken away from him.
“He seems to have sticky fingers. We need to let him reflect on a bit.”
Saying so, Mattalast grabbed the sailor’s index finger. He then grasped it with his full strength. The man’s fingertip, with its concentration of nerves, became like a wrung-out dust cloth. His bones were broken and mixed with his flesh.
“Oops, I reversed the order of things… I’ve tortured him before my question. Oh well. We don’t have the time anyway. Please forgive me.”
Mattalast said while calmly looking at the crushed finger. Perhaps a too painful sight for a woman, Kyasariro averted her gaze.
“So, question time. Why are you attacking the Armed Librarians?”
“…We won’t… forgive you… Armed Librarians!”
The sailor groaned, covered with cold sweat.
“Hey now, you were the ones to attack us first. Should I next break two or three fingers?”
Mattalast put his hand on the sailor’s middle finger. He glared at him and raised his voice.
“We can’t forgive… the Armed Librarians… they can’t exist… in this world… we will kill… the Armed Librarians.”
“There’s no reason for you to say something like that.”
Mattalast crushed his middle finger. The sailor squirmed in pain.
“We have no time. Just say it. Why are you attacking the Armed Librarians?”
The sailor stayed silent. He didn’t look like he was about to lie. He was thinking about an answer.
“What’s wrong? You don’t even know why you’re fighting? Did someone order you to? Were you asked to do so by someone? Or do you want to go to Heaven?”
He asked but received no response. The sailor seemed to be truly hesitating. Their reason to fight, and the reason they had to kill the Armed Librarians…
“Uh, umm, uh…”
He acted strange. Something was occurring in his mind.
The sailor’s expression changed hectically. He burned with fear, surprise and anger. Is this a multiple personality disorder, wondered Mattalast. Several different emotions tried taking control of him.
He carefully listened to the sailor’s words.
“Because Noloty died.”
“Because Noloty died you will also die. All Armed Librarians must die!”
The sailor shouted. Mattalast was stunned.
“By Noloty you mean the trainee Noloty? Do you know her?”
Mattalast called. The face of the shouting soldier suddenly became befuddled.
“Noloty… I don’t know her. Who is Noloty?”
“Just what are you saying?”
The sailor vacantly opened his mouth. His face became frozen as is. Drool spilled from his mouth, his eyes became blank, and he fell backwards. Mattalast let him go without understanding anything.
“By Noloty they mean our Noloty…”
He called towards Kyasariro who was standing behind. She made a small nod. It was a rare name, so they didn’t know any other Noloty.
“Since Noloty died they will kill all Armed Librarians… is what he said.”
“He certainly did.”
Mattalast pondered. That was what the captured sailor said. The chances of him just happening to know Noloty were slim. Everyone who was fighting right now was probably thinking the same thing. However, what did Noloty have to do with it?
“Oh, didn’t you know that Noloty was Ismo’s princess?”
Mattalast feigned his composure by cracking a joke. Kyasariro slightly raised one hand.
“…Umm, I’m not sure if it’s even relevant, and it might just be confusing, but…”
“Just say it. I welcome anything. We can’t be more confused than we are right now.”
Kyasariro spoke hesitantly.
“I was a bit close to Noloty, so I’ve heard something once. Noloty said a strange thing.”
“What was it?”
“She said that the world was hers. I don’t really get it, though.”
The pair glanced at each other on the background of gunfire and cannon-fire echoing around the battlefield.
“So, does that mean that, uh, Noloty was the incarnation of God?”
“There’s no way…”
The two stood stunned for a while but then remembered their current situation. This was a battlefield. They had to fight.
“I don’t get it, but we should report to the Director for the time being. I’m waiting for contact from Mirepoc.”
Kyasariro spoke to Mattalast as he was about to rush away.
“Oh, what great timing. Here’s Mirepoc’s Thought Sharing.”
Kyasariro pointed at her forehead. She was exchanging her thoughts with Mirepoc who was at Bantorra Library.
“…Huh? That’s not possible? What?”
While sending her thoughts, Kyasariro seemed confused about something.
“But that can’t be. I mean, it’s impossible.”
Kyasariro paled. Mattalast had the intuition that a crisis was coming. The greatest crisis that might destroy Bantorra Library was coming.
The sailor was thinking inside the darkness of his consciousness.
Who was Noloty Malche? When did I hear that name? Why did I start hating the Armed Librarians?
Thinking about it, it started three days ago. He was loading his cargo at the port. At that time, something cold hit his back.
Turning around he saw a vagrant standing there. He held a black bottle in his hand. Looking at his trousers, they were dirty with some black liquid.
“What’re you doing!”
The sailor kicked the vagrant away. While rolling on the ground, he smiled.
“Yes, with that I will be going to Heaven.”
The vagrant started laughing while seeing the black stains. The sailor tried rubbing his fingers on the stain and sniffed. It was a lizard-like smell.
“With this you will also start hating the Armed Librarians. Everyone will hate them. Everyone, everyone, everyone. Since Noloty Malche died, eeeveryone on Ismo will hate the Armed Librarians.”
Thinking that this was no decent person, the sailor decided not to get involved with him.
“Well then, I have to keep going all over the place. Here and there. I’m so busy.”
You’re creepy, just go away, thought the sailor and continued loading the cargo.
Oh yeah. It was then that I started hating the Armed Librarians. At first it was only me. But after a day or so everyone shared my feelings. All our great soldiers, as well as politicians, started telling us to defeat the Armed Librarians.
That vagrant did something to me. Just who is Noloty?
But even so, I hate the Armed Librarians. I simple hate them.
The battleship the sailor was on was sinking. Embracing his worries and hatred, he was being swallowed by the sea.
Kachua was thinking alone inside the shack. I wonder how the war is going. He had no way to learn of the situation except by relying on the radio.
The biggest flaw of my plan is that I cannot see the collapse of the Armed Librarians with my own eyes, Kachua thought. If possible I would have liked to see it. Bantorra Library was the place where he had spent his youth. The Armed Librarians used to be his comrades. He wanted to burn their ruin into his eyes.
“Will Lascall Othello not come? I would like to ask him how things are going.”
No voice answered him and only the sounds coming from the radio kept reverberating inside the shack. Kachua leaned his body on his rocking chair.
“I wonder what Hamyuts is thinking about?”
He muttered. Did she conjecture he was using hypnotism? Did they think that the Ismo Republic was actually under the control of the Indulging God Cult?
Both missed the mark. No matter how much she racks her brains over this, she shouldn’t be able to understand how his outrageous plan worked. Only a genius could have thought it up and only another kind of genius could set in into motion. Without such a plan they would not have been able to destroy the Armed Librarians.
In one of the corners of Kachua’s shack was a single box. It was about the size of a coffin but was somewhat wide. It was made from the rare metal known as Divine Bronze, the toughest metal in the world that Hamyuts’s sling was also made of.
The lid attached to the side of the box opened with a dull sound. An extremely eerie creature came out of it.
Its appearance was something between a crocodile and a lizard. It had eleven eyes all the way from its pointed nose and up to the middle of its back. Its dark-green body was wet and slimy with some sort of ink-like liquid.
“Oh, did you want to breathe some fresh air?”
Kachua called at the creature. It was an artificial creature created by advanced Magic that was known as the Gloomy Lizard. Its bodily fluids were the pathogens of the Deep Blue Curse.
“After you walk around a bit please return to the box. We cannot tell what would happen. Please stay in a safe place.”
Just as Kachua told it to, the Gloomy Lizard walked around the shack. After soiling the floor with its black sickly liquid it returned to the box. Watching it, Kachua smiled happily.
Thirteen days ago, Kachua received news while inside that same shack. Daltom was the one to send them. It was a report about the current situation of Arkit Chroma.
Arkit fell into the hands of Noloty.
When he heard this, Kachua became speechless. He unintentionally stood up and then fell down on the chair again. He looked for words to shout at Daltom in front of his eyes, but his mind blanked out and he couldn’t find any.
“No no, Overseer of Paradise-sama, it’s simply bad luck.”
Daltom said and cackled.
What were you doing? Kachua felt the urge to kill the incompetent man in front of him. And he had also killed Uspa and the rest. Who asked you to do that?
Daltom had joined the Indulging God Cult very recently. Kachua didn’t rely on him from the very beginning. He was one who joined the Cult just for the size of the reward and had no interest in Kachua’s ideals.
However, he didn’t think he would be this incompetent.
“So, what are we going to do?”
“Shut up. I am trying to think now. Be quiet.”
Saying so, Kachua grinded his teeth.
Unbelievable. Why Noloty? Mirepoc would be fine. Even Mattalast. I would not mind even if it were Hamyuts. That would actually be convenient.
But only Noloty is no good. That girl is absolutely the worst option. Why was Noloty the one to come out of all Armed Librarians and trainees?
Luck has abandoned him. He could not help but feel so.
“Oh, but let me just say that if you intend on ordering me to kill Noloty-chan I’d like you to withdraw that. Fighting against that girl right now would definitely be my end.”
Daltom said and laughed. Feeling nauseous at the sound of his laughter, Kachua was thinking.
We must erase Noloty. Is there any warrior who could do that? Is there any warrior who can secretly deal with her despite her sudden growth?
No name rose to mind. Originally there were not a lot of warriors who could stand up against the Armed Librarians. Even the few remaining ones will probably not heed to Kachua’s orders.
The fierce attack made by the Armed Librarians for the past half year made the False Men despair. Followers were being killed one by one and maintaining the organization became difficult.
If that wasn’t enough, they were dealt another heavy blow; the incident where Olivia restored the Meats’ memories.
The False Men were shocked at the Meats’ rebellion. Their existence was in a sense a symbol of the Indulging God Cult. The Cult had no chance against them. The followers who have seen that scrambled to run away. The remaining people were only the few who’ve truly sworn their loyalty.
How miserable was the present condition of Kachua who plotted a rebellion against the Armed Librarians in order to establish a new world order?
There was no longer any pawn that could kill Noloty in the Indulging God Cult.
“What about you? Former First Grade Armed Librarian-san.”
Daltom said while laughing. Of course Kachua also thought about making a move. But it was difficult.
He wasn’t a monster like Ireia; in his old age he didn’t have the confidence he could beat Noloty.
With his ability he will be able to perfectly conceal himself. He will probably not get hit Noloty’s attacks. However, if he doesn’t beat her in one blow and Noloty comes to learn of his location, it will probably be his loss.
His chances of winning were 70%. No, if he took into account the speed of Noloty’s growth, it might be only 50%.
“Impossible. We have to promptly finish her without Arkit noticing. As I am now I cannot do it.”
“Then what will we do? If you don’t think of anything I will not be able to move.”
Kachua grinded his teeth. Is it impossible? At this rate he could do nothing but stay seated and wait for his defeat.
Don’t give up. Think. And manipulate. Kachua kept thinking while scolding himself. He desperately resisted the scene of defeat rising to his mind.
Before long, he spoke to Daltom as if squeezing out his words.
“I have a plan. If it fails there is nothing else. Daltom, I will have you do some work for me.”
Daltom nodded and he started telling him about the final strategy.
Kachua did not know if his plan was possible. Even if it succeeds, Noloty and Arkit might not move as expected. But he still had no choice but to bet on it.
For the first and last time, it appeared that everything was left to fate.
While walking north, Enlike touched Noloty’s Book.
Thirteen days ago, Noloty was also walking on this road. It was a dangerous wintry mountain, but when Noloty went it was safe. There was fortunately no snow so the pair was walking smoothly. Their goal was to meet the man known as Kachua.
She had actually wanted to contact the Armed Librarian in charge of Toatt Mines before leaving. However, she couldn’t find him no matter where she looked. Having no choice, Noloty took off without saying anything.
At that moment, she received Mirepoc’s thoughts.
‘Noloty. Can you still not reach that person?’
‘Yes, I can’t find him at all.’
‘Because for now we have all the necessary information, we will probably manage some way or the other later. Seems like you’ll be the one to solve everything this time.’
Mirepoc said. She was slightly angry but probably not at Noloty.
‘So, what will you do? Shouldn’t you come back already?’
Noloty reflexively opened her mouth and mumbled. She hesitated about how to report about Arkit. If she talked about it Mirepoc would definitely tell her to let him die. Also, she would be mad at her.
‘Umm, it seems there’s some guy named Kachua. I’m going to investigate him.’
‘Then I’ll arrange reinforcements. I’ll go talk to the Director.’
‘Uh, wait a minute…’
She could feel Mirepoc being disappointed from the other side of the Thought Sharing.
‘You’re thinking of something unnecessary again.’
‘I don’t know what you’re thinking but just do as you please. You’re not going to listen to me anyway.’
‘I will call you from time to time. Call for help as soon as it becomes dangerous. Understood?’
Saying so, Mirepoc severed the connection. Or so she thought, but it was connected again.
‘Say, haven’t you heard of Kachua before? Not in the Indulging God Cult but somewhere else.’
‘Huh? I have no idea.’
‘I see. Well, it’s a common name…’
The Thought Sharing was severed. Noloty tried thinking; she couldn’t remember anyone with that name though.
First Grade Armed Librarian Kachua Beeinhaus had retired forty years ago. It was not particularly strange for the two to not know that name.
“…What’re you doing?”
Noloty had sent her thoughts while walking. Arkit called to her from behind.
“Ah, sorry. It’s over. How about you, are you tired?”
Arkit kept walking without answering. Since he’s been that way ever since they set off, Noloty didn’t mind.
They were ten kilometers to the north of Toatt Mining Town. Half a day passed since they left. Reaching Kachua’s hideout that Arkit had told her about would take less than a day using her own feet. However, by taking Arkit along with her, it should take about two or three days.
Noloty carried heavy luggage on her back. Arkit only held a stick. However, he was the one to be tired. He probably grew up in the city and has no stamina, thought Noloty.
But I don’t really mind. We can just talk while walking.
“You were probably talking about killing me.”
“That’s not true.”
“You’re lying. Armed Librarians are always like that.”
Noloty sighed. No matter what she said, he would always call it a lie.