No matter how strong the Ismo Republic was, the Armed Librarians were the strongest. Even if Ismo would be destroyed, Bantorra Library would not. All Armed Librarians thought this way.
However, that conviction crumbled away in a single day.
There were signs of that happening. However, everyone turned their eyes away from them. People tended to avert their gazes from what they feared. They decided they didn’t see what they didn’t want to see. The Armed Librarians were no exception to this.
“Can you still not get in touch with Yukizona?”
Hamyuts grew impatient. Being unable to contact one of the five strongest during this emergency was unthinkable.
“It’s the same. It seems like he’s in the midst of battle without any leeway to reply.”
“Who is he fighting anyway? Is Ismo also fighting the Principality of Meliot?”
“I don’t know. There are also no other Armed Librarians in Meliot and no other person I can use my Thought Sharing on…”
Hamyuts hit her desk.
“What is he doing?”
An old aircraft was flying at a place 2000 kilometers to the west of Bantorra Library. Piloting it was the Armed Librarian who had been assigned to the southern border. He had no airplane that could fly back to Bantorra Library. Getting means of transportation took time, and so he was delayed.
“But if I go, what will happen here?”
That Armed Librarian muttered. He wasn’t very strong. He could understand this from the fact that he was removed from the conflict with the Indulging God Cult and appointed to the remote location at the southern border.
At that moment, he found ships in the horizon. Since he could see them from that distance, they were quite large. Furthermore there were many of them. It was probably a battleship fleet.
When he tried approaching he was surprised at their numbers. Perhaps it was a country’s entire fleet – no, it might have been even more than that. Circling the skies, he saw their flags fluttering in the wind. They were the allied forces of the Guinbex Empire and the Principality of Rona.
“Thankfully you’ve come to the rescue, huh.”
He sent a signal to the aircraft carrier that held fighter airplanes.
‘I’m an Armed Librarian. Requesting permission to land’
He thought of abandoning his shabby plane and switch to a newer model. Still, he was thankful. After all, three years ago they were two countries at war and now they were getting along to assist them.
He was delighted at the response that came from the battleship. He rotated his airplane and flew directly at the carrier. Until that very moment, he didn’t notice anything unusual.
The next instant, his aircraft greatly tilted. The right wing broke and the plane entered a tailspin. He hurriedly jumped out of it and fell into the sea.
The moment he raised his head he saw-
The ships’ guns were attacking him from all directions. Even if he was an Armed Librarian he couldn’t do anything to avoid them. Much less while in the sea.
The last thing he heard was a voice of delight. It was the voice of the sailors who were happy from the bottom of their hearts at the death of an Armed Librarian.
Mirepoc put a hand to her head. People who used Thought Sharing tended to make this gesture a lot.
“I received another Thought Sharing. They’re connected to me.”
“Another user of Thought Sharing? I wonder who that is.”
Hamyuts tilted her head. Mirepoc soon realized who. One of her seniors back when she was part of the Guinbex Imperial Army had this ability. She was acquainted with him.
‘Mirepoc Finedell, right?’
The sender of these thoughts said.
‘I’m sorry. I’m busy at the moment. Briefly state your business.’
‘I see, so it will be brief. Listen well.’
Mirepoc felt somewhat disturbed.
‘…What do you want?’
She had a feeling that she heard the sound of laughter from the other side. She felt goosebumps.
‘Die, Armed Librarian.’
‘…What are you saying?’
This time she clearly did hear laughter. He purposely sent a scornful laugh through the Thought Sharing.
‘Originally we would need formal documents, but since you will be destroyed anyway there is no need for that. Our great Guinbex Empire made a military alliance with Rona and Meliot to declare war against the Armed Librarians.’
Don’t be fooled, thought Mirepoc. This has to be a lie. The Indulging God Cult is just trying to confuse us.
“What’s wrong, Mirepoc?”
Hamyuts called. Mirepoc hesitated. Since it was an obvious lie, it was fine not reporting it. Since it was impossible there should be no need to say it.
“I think this is an utter falsehood, but…”
After that foolish preface, she started talking.
Ireia was speechless. Mirepoc couldn’t stop her body from shaking. Even Hamyuts – the same Hamyuts that found fighting the best pleasure – couldn’t smile at that time. She stood up, her face frozen with shock.
Meanwhile at the Principality of Meliot…
The center of the country had a large mountain. It was said that inside of it the Present God Toitorra had been slumbering for the past 2000 years. At the bottom of this mountain was the representative agency of one of the world’s Overseers just like Bantorra Library – the Present Management Agency. That place was now wrapped up in battle.
The ones fighting were the First Grade Armed Librarian Yukizona and his partner Yuri.
The fact they didn’t return was not because they had disobeyed orders; it was because that if they returned, all the enemies there would head for Bantorra Library.
It was an unbelievable situation. The Principality of Meliot gathered their whole army and assaulted the Present Management Agency where Yukizona was. He received contact from Mirepoc countless of times. However, he didn’t even have the leisure to connect to her Thought Sharing and inform her of the danger.
Halfway up through the frozen mountain, a black haired beauty stood on a cliff. Her tall body was wrapped in a white coat. She held machineguns in both hands. Originally they were guns fixed to be the ground that needed to be used by two people, but she was dual wielding them by herself.
A rain of bullets mowed down the advancing armies. However, the bullets only bounced off the tanks that were attacking from behind.
“Yuri. Hold out!”
The whisper-like voice of a man said from behind. This voice, which seemed like it shouldn’t be heard among the explosive sounds, was received by Armed Librarian Yuri.
She answered to the voice coming from behind. Her big brother, Yukizona, hid behind the cliff she was protecting.
She lowered one of her guns and threw the bombs at her feet. After flying high, all of them hit every tank precisely. She used hand grenades, fire bombs, and tank cannonballs – every throwable weapon she could get her hands on. However, there were few remaining.
Some shells fell close to the pair. Yuri shouted while enveloped by the shockwaves.
“Brother, are you fine?!”
“Ten more seconds.”
Tanks were crammed everywhere below. This sight reminded her of Mokkania using his ability to create herds of ants. It was in a completely different scale, though.
Yuri kept firing her machinegun. And at the moment she threw her final bombs, her brother’s voice echoed.
“Yuri. Get down.”
Yuri flopped backwards. In exchange Yukizona rushed up the rock. He was tall and slender just like his little sister. He wore a thick coat, fur gloves and a soft fur scarf. In addition, the lower half of his face was covered by a thick mask. Only the upper half was exposed to air.
From his right hand that was covered in a white glove something black was swirling around.
Swinging this hand as if mowing the enemies down, the black thing ran through the air.
How could one describe it? There was no natural phenomenon similar to it. If forced to put it into words, it would be something like a curse with color and form, or perhaps a black tidal wave floating in the air?
Along with a sound like that of scratching glass, the black wave mowed down nearly half of the troops packed together. At the same time, their movements stopped.
His ability was named Decay Wave. Any metal that touched the black wave he emitted from his hand would rust and break down. Whatever couldn’t rust would dissolve. Trees, clothes and food would all rot away. Flying objects would fall, moving objects would stop, and never move again.
And when those who were alive were touched, they would grow miserably old. All the young people who protected the Principality of Meliot became old men who couldn’t even move their legs.
When Yuri saw the sight ahead, she instinctively averted her eyes.
It was a far too cruel of a power, so Yukizona didn’t participate in the fight against the Indulging God Cult until now. He was given the easy job of protecting the Present Management Agency, effectively sealing his ability.
“Our fight isn’t over. Let us go to the Present Management Offices.”
Just as he rushed ahead, Yukizona’s feet tangled. Yuri caught him from behind. He made a small cough.
Yuri put her hand to Yukizona’s chest. An orange light shone there, and his coughs subsided. Her ability was made only in order to cure her sickly brother.
Yuri could understand – her brother’s body would not hold long enough until all the enemies were destroyed. Even though it was Yukizona, it was impossible for a single man to take on an entire country.
Ismo, Meliot, Guinbex, Rona. With them, half the world became their enemies. And they had no idea how other countries will move.
Once, the Armed Librarians overthrew the Guinbex Empire with no losses. However, that victory came about from the blitzkrieg tactics using their six elites. The amount of enemy forces was five times compared to that time. Moreover, this was an all-out war in which the difference in numbers was truly apparent.
The destruction of Bantorra Library. These seemingly impossible words were about to become reality.
The annihilation of the Indulging God Cult seemed to be close at hand just a few days ago. Was there ever a more brilliant reversal in all of history?
Scouts sent to the south have brought information. The entire armies of Rona and Guinbex were already nearby.
“Old lady, I leave the south to you. Take about five people with you.”
“Understood. I leave this place to you, Hamyuts-san.”
However, Hamyuts shook her head.
“I’m also going. We can’t get stingy about our forces anymore.”
What will we do here? Mirepoc was about to ask when Hamyuts turned around to her.
“I will leave all command to Mirepoc. I’m delegating all of it to you until I return.”
Mirepoc shook with astonishment. It was no less of a shock from when she learned that the entire world was rebelling against them. It was impossible for her, a newbie with power below that of a normal Armed Librarian, to take command of all of them.
I can’t. Mirepoc swallowed these words that rose up to her throat. Everyone else was taking part in this impossible fight. She had no excuse for being the only one to not to do so.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take full responsibility.”
“Hamyuts-san. I will arrange the aircraft and the people to take along. You come quickly too.”
Ireia exited the room first. Mirepoc thought that Hamyuts would also leave, but for some reason she didn’t appear to move. She stood in place with her arms crossed as if worrying about something.
“Say, Mirepo. This doesn’t really have to do with this fight, but can I ask something?”
Hamyuts’s voice suddenly lost its sense of urgency. Mirepoc was confused.
“Yes, what is it?”
“Am I smiling?”
Mirepoc was slightly dumbfounded. She fixedly looked at Hamyuts’s face. She was not smiling. She had downcast eyes as if she was worried about something.
“You’re not smiling.”
“I see. How strange.”
Hamyuts said. Thinking of it, there was something strange about her today. When there was a battle she would definitely start smiling. Hamyuts smiled as strongly as her enemy was strong. Nevertheless, today she was not smiling at all.
Did she fear defeat? No, that’s wrong. Rather it was like she desired defeat.
Hamyuts held her chin and thought.
“I wonder why I’m somewhat strange today. Even though there’s no way I wouldn’t have fun, or rather this should be most enjoyable to me… I wonder why.”
She kept thinking for a long while. Mirepoc then called out to her.
“Umm, Director. Please leave as soon as possible.”
“Oh, sorry. I have to go. There’s a battle after all.”
Hamyuts rushed away hurriedly. She jumped out of the window and landed in the backyard. She then ran towards the airport behind the Library building.
“Is Hamyuts-san still not here?”
Ireia stood at the airport. She had already gathered all of the troops that would accompany them. The Armed Librarians headed for the battleships, as well as the trainees that would take them there, were already lined up.
All of them had the uniform expression of suppressed fear. However, they could not allow themselves to lose their composure.
It was because Ireia was in front of them. She was even more reliable than Hamyuts or Mattalast. Why was she so reliable? She certainly possessed fighting capabilities that surpassed Photona and were on par with Mattalast, but that was not the reason.
Everyone there all knew Ireia from when they were little. Ever since they became aware of their surroundings, they equaled Ireia with “the strongest”. This imprinting hasn’t disappeared even now that they were adults.
Regardless of how strong Hamyuts was, Ireia was special.
A figure jumped down from the office’s window. She ran to Ireia’s side.
“Sorry I’m late.”
Ireia nodded and then shouted.
“Let us go!”
She disregarded Hamyuts and gave orders. She was the only person who could do such a thing.
They could no longer afford to sortie far away and make an ambush. The battlefield was the sea a mere 50 kilometers away from Bantorra Library. They were surrounded by enemies so they could only beat the concentrated armies. They had no other choice.
The Armed Librarians leapt off the fighter planes. Hamyuts also followed at the end. It was no longer a situation where she could leisurely attack from a long distance.
She stretched her flexible sling as far as she could. She kicked the antiaircraft guns and broke them off along with their pedestals. Tying the guns with her sling’s string, she swung them around with a war cry.
Hamyuts abandoned both distance and speed. She destroyed the battleships only using her strength.
Ireia was the same. She stopped the time of the bullets heading for her, and while kicking apart the sailors trying to hold her back, she struck the main gun battery with her hand.
A voice like the roar of some large animal leaked from between her clenched teeth. The floor at Ireia’s feet started warping due to the load it received. The physical strength of the strongest Armed Librarian was enough to twist off the battleship’s gun with bare hands.
This weapon, meant to shoot bullets, became a bludgeoning weapon instead. With her face all red, Ireia swung down the gun barrel. The ship shook violently. She attacked again.
Just before the ship was capsized, Ireia threw the gun barrel away. It pierced the deck of the neighboring ship like it was a joke.
The two monsters rampaged through the fleet.
Six hours passed since Hamyuts and Ireia sortied out. Mirepoc was also in a life-or-death struggle.
A massive quantity of maps were spread on the desk. Mirepoc was looking at the maps of the world, of Bantorra’s surrounding ocean, and of Past God Island.
Here and there were red circles on top of them. She also added scribbles next to these circles. The maps were dyed in deep red at the points of battle.
‘Reporting in! One of Ismo’s fleets took a large detour and is charging from the south!”
‘I know. I sent Kyasariro-san southward.”
Mirepoc used her Thought Sharing to the utmost and kept in contact with the various Armed Librarians. She was thinking desperately and issued orders.
Thinking of it, Kyasariro-san reported something earlier. It was about something strange Noloty had said. It might have been something important, but Mirepoc couldn’t afford to think of it right now.
At that moment, she could hear the sounds of bombing. The assembly hall in the eastern part of the building was burning. Even the trainees could no longer spare any people. She sent a message to the students, who weren’t even qualified, to extinguish the fire.
She received the thoughts of Hony, who was shooting down the bombers.
‘Mirepo! I can’t hold back the new enemies! Send our forces this way!’
‘I can’t! We don’t have enough people anywhere!’
The current defenses on Bantorra Library were far too thin. There were only a couple dozen formal Armed Librarians.
However, the forces defending the oceans were even more insufficient than at the Library. Mirepoc looked at the maps. Bonbo and Mattalast’s group were protecting the east, while Hamyuts and Ireia’s group was defending the west. However, detached forces slipped by them and came to attack the Library one after another.
The defense was at its thinnest in the south. Separate fleets from the Ismo Republic took a detour there to attack Bantorra. There was only one Armed Librarian in charge there. Kyasariro, who fought on the eastern side of the sea, assumed several battles.
‘Kyasariro-san, how many can you hold back?!’
‘It’s impossible Mirepo, it will never stop!’
She complained while fighting. She was as powerful as Volken, but it was impossible for her to take on the fleets by herself.
She stepped into a battlefield and scattered the sailors around. She destroyed the engine room and blew up the rudder. However, the other ships that Kyasariro didn’t fight on kept advancing towards Bantorra.
This repeated from a while ago. She had no way to stop them.
‘Send reinforcements. At this rate they’ll reach Bantorra.’
‘I can’t. Please handle it somehow.’
‘Even if you tell me that…!’
‘The situation is the same all around! Please do something.’
‘It’s absolutely impossible. Please do something!’
The Thought Sharing disconnected. Having no choice, Kyasariro kept fighting.
Mirepoc disconnected all her Thought Sharing. She glared at the maps that turned out completely red. She clenched her teeth and worried for several minutes.
Then, she grabbed the world map and the map of the great sea and threw them off the desk.
Mattalast was covered in seawater and heavy oil. He had scratches not only in one or two places on his body. However, there were only a few fleets left to be destroyed. At that moment, he received contact from Mirepoc.
‘Mattalast-san, how’s the situation?!’
‘I need probably 20 more minutes. After that, I plan on going south and sinking the eighth fleet.’
’20 more minutes… understood. Please withdraw.’
Mattalast stopped his movements without thinking. He couldn’t understand her order.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I’m reducing the warfront. We should concentrate the spread-out forces. We will meet the enemies in the water 30 kilometers around the Past God Island.’
‘…Retreating that far back?’
He just couldn’t comply with that order. That was Bantorra Library’s final line of defense.
‘We are inferior in numbers. It was a mistake to disperse our forces.’
‘Is this your decision?’
‘Understood. I will withdraw.’
How could they retreat while they were winning? What a nasty fight, thought Mattalast.
He had no idea… that numbers were such a fearsome enemy.
Everyone living on the Past God Island was evacuated. In case of an emergency they were supposed to be evacuated to Bantorra Library. However, this time the Library was in danger. There was no choice but to gather them at places like hospitals, which couldn’t be called shelters at all.
Two days have passed since they were evacuated. A small girl whined. The mother holding her admonished her.
“Please hold on. The Armed Librarians will soon do something.”
Every time an explosive sound was heard, people shrunk their bodies. The spirits of those people exposed to the bombing was starting to reach their limits.
“Why did this happen?”
“Please wait quietly.”
“Who’re the bad people here? Who needs to die to end the war?”
The mother looked at her child’s face. She suddenly started saying strange things.
“Who’re the bad people? Hey, mommy. Who are they?”