North to the premises of Bantorra Library were shabby lodging facilities that were not normally in use. At the moment, the Meats who had escaped from the Indulging God Cult lodged there. They had nowhere to go, so they were temporarily sheltered by the Armed Librarians. Although they have recovered fragments of their memories, it would still take some until they were able to live like normal human beings.
They were people who wished for the destruction of the Indulging God Cult more than anyone else.
They watched the bombing outside with a blank expression. One person then spoke.
“Is the Indulging God Cult winning?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will the Armed Librarians be destroyed?”
“I don’t know.”
They silently watched the battle.
Under Mirepoc’s instructions, the warfront was diminished. By allowing their enemies to approach, the attacks on Bantorra Library grew in intensity. But still, by fighting in concentration, the war situation was gradually approaching fifty-fifty.
Bonbo alone took over the east. Hamyuts and the rest were protecting the west. Mattalast made it in time to aid against a fleet that broke through the south.
They were able to defend themselves. Although they were fighting all of the world’s countries, the Armed Librarians would not lose. Mirepoc embraced this wish.
She sent her thoughts to one of the Armed Librarians headed west.
‘How is the west?’
‘Seems like we’re going to win, but it’s tiresome.’
Mirepoc immediately guessed the situation.
‘It’s Ireia-san, huh.’
As I thought, Mirepoc clenched her teeth.
“Clad! Please rescue the old lady!”
Hamyuts shouted. She just sank a cruiser by striking it with an antiaircraft gun wrapped by her sling.
The Armed Librarians all made a great leap and moved to the next battleship. Ireia was fighting there.
“Ireia-san, are you alright?!”
Her fellow Armed Librarians rushed to her. Ireia was gasping for breath. Blood was flowing from all over her body. She had been using her ability to control time in order to defend against bullets for a long time. However, her defenses were weakened throughout the long fight.
If she was in her golden age she would have probably stayed unharmed. But even Ireia couldn’t do anything about the decline of her stamina.
Hamyuts checked her using her Sensory Threads. She understood that she was approaching her limit.
‘Director, please make Ireia-san withdraw. Let her rest for three hours. Please hold out in the meanwhile.’
“Oh my, don’t be unreasonable, Mirepoc.”
Hamyuts faintly smiled. They were already barely able to defend. And yet they probably had no choice. At this rate Ireia would collapse. They could do nothing but fight knowing fully well that one or two ships will slip by them.
Hamyuts rushed over to Ireia.
“Old lady, get back.”
“I cannot. If I retreat now, Past God Island will be attacked.”
Saying so, she was ready to keep fighting. However, no matter how determined she was, she couldn’t recover her stamina.
“It’s an order. I won’t allow even you to go against it, old lady.”
Their plane that was on standby in a place far from the battlefield approached. It was coming to pick up Ireia while avoiding enemy attacks.
Ireia was still trying to fight. Hamyuts held her back.
“Leave this place to me, old lady.”
“I can’t leave this place to you lot. Watch this, Hamyuts-san!”
Ireia shook her off. Her war cry echoed over the ocean and she opened her eyes to control time.
Even Hamyuts was amazed at this sight. Half of the fleets sailing on the sea stopped their movements. Simultaneously Ireia lost her consciousness.
“Amazing, old lady. I admire you.”
Hamyuts lifted Ireia’s heavy body and leapt onto the airplane.
“Carry her safely to the Library, understood? I won’t forgive you getting shot down.”
The trainees nodded. Hamyuts jumped off and resumed fighting.
She focused on aiming for the ships that weren’t stuck. We can defend against them like this. Hamyuts was convinced of it.
The aircraft was going to reach Bantorra Library in about ten minutes. I hate my weak body. While thinking so, Ireia felt the airplane’s vibrations.
“We are going back, huh…”
“Ireia-san, please don’t think of pushing yourself. Your battle right now is to rest.”
A young trainee said to Ireia. Given his age, he was probably a student of her student. It seemed that she had gotten so weak she even had to be admonished by such a child. Her sight darkened. Her head hurt so much that she could barely think.
The plane got off in the airport behind Bantorra Library. The trainee tried to support her body. She shook his hands.
“Go back to the battlefield. Don’t mind me.”
While saying this, she walked towards Bantorra Library. The trainees flew back.
On her way back, she saw the destroyed building. I will not forgive those who have hurt my Bantorra Library. Anger and hatred slightly restored some of her exhausted body’s strength.
It should be safe inside the Library. I shall rest there. I also have to help Mirepoc. I have to go quickly. Let us hurry, she thought, but couldn’t run anymore.
Suddenly, a figure approached her.
“…Oh, it is you.”
The fugitives from the Indulging God Cult approached Ireia.
“Do not worry. We will not lose. We have people to protect after all.”
They probably couldn’t hear her weak voice, so they grew even closer.
“Please go back. Your battle is to stay in a safe place.”
Because she had overused her powers she couldn’t see very well. Therefore, Ireia couldn’t notice until the very end. Their eyes… and what they held in their arms…
The Armed Librarians who protected Bantorra Library shouted at Ireia. They scrambled to rush towards her. Mirepoc forgot all about her Thought Sharing and tried jumping out of the window.
But still Ireia couldn’t notice.
Until the very end she only thought of protecting Bantorra Library.
The fugitives closing in on Ireia… what they held in their arms were Bantorra Library’s excess bombs. Although they were supposed to have been released from their fate, they once again became human bombs.
“Kill… the Armed Librarians.”
Several dozen human bombs took Ireia out along with them. Only one person was obviously not enough to destroy her heavy, sturdy body.
At the east coast of Past God Island, Bonbo’s whales rampaged on the sea’s surface. His fellow Armed Librarians started covering him from the coast.
Suddenly Bonbo noticed that the state of the coast was strange. There were also people who weren’t Armed Librarians there. Furthermore, they were a hundred or even more people.
What are the guys at Bantorra Library doing? Can they not evacuate the citizens? Just as he was about to swear, he noticed a further abnormality.
The people on the island yelled towards the Armed Librarians. They were throwing stones at them.
“Die Armed Librarians!”
“Kill the Armed Librarians!”
These changes have occurred even inside the hospital that served as a shelter. The people there didn’t tremble at the sounds of the bombing anymore. They merrily stared at the ceiling, and every time they could hear an explosion they would clap their hands and cheer.
“Mommy, the Armed Librarians are dying.”
“Yeah, they’re dying.”
The young girl leaned out of the window and looked at Bantorra Library. Her eyes were filled with hatred and great joy.
Voices kept echoing from the radio. People all around the Ismo Republic listened to the announcer’s voice.
“The armies of Guinbex and Rona are drawing near Bantorra Library! We have received information that the Library’s main building has already been attacked! We have not received any report from the Armed Librarian side!
What is going to happen with the Armed Librarians? Did Hamyuts die? How many Armed Librarians died? When will the Armed Librarians be destroyed… no, excuse me.”
The announcer became excited. He could not understand what he was saying.
“Although this is unconfirmed, we also have information that the Principality of Meliot’s army started pursuing the Armed Librarians… no, we have information that Armed Librarians are being slaughtered… no, this is wrong, no…”
The sounds of the radio were becoming increasingly choppy. It didn’t sound like any sort of broadcasting anymore.
“Currently, the Armed Librarians are being cornered, the Armed Librarians, are approaching annihilation, our country, no, our, the, a, Armed Librarians, Armed Librarians, kill, kill, Armed Librarians, die, Armed Librarians, kill, kill, die, die, diediediediediedie! Kill the Armed Librarians, kill the Armed Librarians! Die! Die! Die! Yesss, yesss, the Armed Librarians will be destroyed! They will be destroyeeeeed!!!”
The broadcast stopped. It never resumed.
All countries of the world became their enemies – even the Armed Librarians acknowledging this have been too naïve. All people living in the world became their enemies.
The movements of the Armed Librarians protecting Bantorra Library stopped. They saw the scorched field and the ruins that remained. They were all waiting for the moment they could confirm Ireia’s safety.
They didn’t know how she could do it, but they were all looking for the figure of Ireia who was surely able to miraculously survive this.
They mustn’t get upset by the death of their comrade. Grieving was out of the question. But even though the Armed Librarians were taught this, this was the only exception.
Because the one who died was the very person who taught them this.
“This can’t be, Ireia-san…”
Someone, please say something. So Mirepoc thought. She couldn’t think anymore. Someone tell me what to do. While thinking so, she stood stock-still. Even if a bomb fell near her she would not come to her senses.
During that time Mirepoc didn’t notice that the lines of defense were broken one by one. Even if she did, there was nothing she could have done about it.
The battleships which Ireia stopped started moving again. Hamyuts and the rest weren’t able to respond to the unexpected situation. No way, did Ireia die? All the Armed Librarians were shocked.
“Where’s the contact from Mirepoc?”
Hamyuts scolded them.
“Don’t stop, keep fighting!”
She kept swinging her sling. Without needing to think of it, Hamyuts understood that Ireia died. And she also understood that defense would now become impossible.
“…We have… to fight.”
Muttering this, Mirepoc returned to the office. Bombers were flying through the skies as if they owned the place, dropping bombs.
“Have to fight…”
Mirepoc muttered. She returned to the office and held her head. They couldn’t even keep up the last line of defense anymore.
So she had to make a decision. Mirepoc hesitated. But if she won’t make any decision the situation will only get worse.
There was a single weapon inside the office. The authority to use it was also left to her. Do I have to use it? This weapon that they thought they would never use…
Mirepoc hesitated and finally abandoned all thought. She held the final weapon – the Spinning Doll Ückück. Then, she sent her thoughts to all Armed Librarian around the Past God Island.
‘Give up all defense lines! All Armed Librarians currently engaged in defense, please return to Bantorra Library!’
The many thoughts replying to her made her head hurt. Mirepoc was also tired. Her vision was darkening and she felt as if sparks were scattering inside her head.
‘I will invoke the Mist Film Barrier to defend Bantorra Library. Abandon all defenses and come hole up here!’
Voices of objection and doubt were being sent to her. She ignored them all and transmitted again.
‘My orders have the same authority as the Acting Director! Comply with them right now!’
Just before she was about to sever her Thought Sharing, she heard Mattalast.
‘Understood. Your decision is correct.’
The Spinning Doll Ückück was in Mirepoc’s hand. This delicate doll had the power to protect Bantorra Library embedded inside of it.
“Is this all we can do?”
Mirepoc could still not shake off her doubts.
The Armed Librarians abandoned their battlefields and returned to Bantorra Library. They gasped at the current state of its premises and became speechless at Ireia’s death.
The Spinning Doll’s barrier had not yet been activated. A thousand years ago, the low-level Armed Librarians of that time have embedded their powers into that barrier. If activated, a hemisphere made of light would be erected with the radius of a kilometer, Bantorra Library in its center. They would be able to protect almost the entire area.
The only people able to freely enter and exit would be the ones inside the barrier when activated. She had to wait until her comrades all returned.
Mattalast arrived. Bonbo’s whale made an emergency landing in the training ground. Hamyuts and the rest have also returned by airplane.
“…Your decision was correct. You were a perfect commander.”
Hamyuts encouraged her. However, Mirepoc felt ashamed. Would this really be the result brought by a perfect commander?
“It’s about time to invoke the barrier. If we wait any longer, it will also allow our enemies in.”
Mattalast said. All of the Armed Librarians who’ve fought in the surrounding waters have returned by now.
“But there are people yet to return.”
“It can’t be helped. Let us make them work outside the barrier.”
But just as Mirepoc nodded and extended her hand…
“Wait a bit, Mirepo.”
Hamyuts held back Mirepoc’s hand. She felt something with her Sensory Threads. After a little while she could see an aircraft from the window. It emitted smoke from its rear and was headed their way while tilting.
“It’s fine. Activate the barrier.”
Mirepoc nodded and did so. The winged doll seemed to be tired of waiting as it started to dance. A thin film of light was released from it. It spread widely and covered the vast grounds of Bantorra Library.
The bombs from the sky were stopped, blocked by the barrier of light. The only thing flying in the skies right now was the tilting, worn-out plane.
“Did someone come back?”
Mirepoc asked Hamyuts. It was probably one of their comrades piloting it.
“I really forgot about him now that I think of it.”
Hamyuts started running. Mirepoc and Mattalast also followed her.
The airplane failed landing and burst into flames. Just before that, its pilot jumped out and rolled on the ground. The blood-covered man rose up. Mattalast ran up to him and lent him his shoulder.
“Are you fine?”
“Sorry I’m late. I was attacked by Rona’s army so I couldn’t come back. Mirepoc tried contacting me countless of times but it was too noisy so I couldn’t reply.”
The one to return was Minth. After he was dispatched to Rona he abstained from contact for a while. Mirepoc was busy with command and so she forgot about him.
“Let’s talk later. We need to treat you.”
Mattalast said. Minth’s face was paling due to his excessive bleeding.
“No, we’ll talk first. I found out the enemy’s plan.”
“You found out… what do you mean?”
“I’m saying that I found out how the Indulging God Cult’s controlling people.”
Minth’s body shook and collapsed. But he still continued talking.
“It’s only a guess but there’s no doubt. Because we’ve had a hint.”
Hamyuts asked him.
“…Do you remember Renas Fleur? That impostor Renas. She was the key.”
The three people were surprised at the sudden name.
“It’s a horrifying plan…”
Saying so, Minth became exhausted and lost his consciousness.
Ten days before the great rebellion shook the world…
Kachua stood alone in the mountain north to the Toatt Mines. The time was the middle of the night approaching dawn. He had walked around looking for Noloty and Arkit for two days, and now finally found them.
Arkit was sleeping inside the tent. The final, incomplete trump card of the Indulging God Cult was asleep.
If he is able to complete Arkit as a weapon, the whole world will turn into the enemies of the Armed Librarians. All of the world’s armies would besiege Bantorra Library and all of the people in the world would act to kill the Armed Librarians.
However, that trump card was in Noloty’s grasp. If she is not eliminated they couldn’t win.
“…What will I do?”
It would probably not be impossible to assassinate her. However, he couldn’t choose to do that. Arkit had most likely already became attached to her. If he kills her now, Arkit’s worst hatred would be directed at the Indulging God Cult.
“Noloty, huh. A strange girl.”
The information about all Armed Librarians was contained inside Kachua’s mind. Not only their fighting capabilities and history, but he also knew their personalities, interpersonal relationships and potential.
However, only Noloty he wasn’t able to properly gauge. At first, she seemed to be a girl whose only redeeming feature was her kindness. Her growth was excellent, but she lacked something essential. He thought that she was of low importance.
But that very same Noloty took their Monster away. Kachua’s expectations were completely betrayed. He thought that it would be impossible for Enlike, who tired of living, to choose to live.
He couldn’t understand it. Did she only appear to be foolish and was actually an able person? Or was she a natural con-artist? Or perhaps it was only a coincidence she saved Enlike and she really was a foolish girl?
“Is there no other way but to contact her?”
Kachua muttered. In order to complete Arkit, he couldn’t avoid going through Noloty.
At that moment, she appeared like a gust of wind. She got out of the tent and ran at dreadful speed. She tried grabbing Kachua’s illusory body but slipped through him and stopped. She stood in place and immediately retreated. She stood in front of the tent Arkit was sleeping in as if protecting it.
Noloty was looking for Kachua. Probably aware that she couldn’t find him with her eyes, she was trying to sense him with her entire body.
“Wait, Noloty Malche. I only came here to talk.”
By saying so, Noloty relaxed her vigilant stance.
Well then, this is the critical part. Kachua’s old body shivered.
Both Noloty that slept inside the tent and Enlike who was reading her Book felt a presence outside.
Noloty woke up with a start and leapt outside. Her attack that she thought would land a final blow slipped through the man’s body.
She returned to the tent and looked at the enemy again.
Noloty could see a strange phenomenon. Although she was seeing her enemy, she couldn’t remember his form. I understand he’s the enemy, but how and where from should I attack?
“Wait, Noloty Malche. I only came here to talk.”
The strange enemy said. Putting herself on guard, Noloty was unsure whether or not to believe him. He might be luring Noloty away so he could target Arkit. She couldn’t lower her guard.
Still, she decided on listening to her enemy’s words for the time being.
“Even if I tell you to not be so cautious it will probably be unreasonable. However, could you not come a bit this way?”
Saying so, the illusory man walked in the other direction.
“I don’t want Arkit to hear this. This is why I chose to come at night.”
“I can’t trust you.”
“I see, so I will do this.”
At that moment, the illusion standing in front of her disappeared. And about five meters next to it appeared the figure of an old man.
“My ability is manipulating the perception of people. Right now I dispelled it. If you are anxious you can come and touch me. You will understand that this form is no illusion.”
While hesitant, Noloty approached step by step. As she did, she could clearly see the small stature and wrinkled face.
She extended her hand and touched the man’s face. The feel of his dry skin was definitely transmitted. He was not an illusion.
“Who are you?”
The old man answered.
“Leader of the Indulging God Cult – the Overseer of Paradise. My name is Kachua Beeinhaus.”
Noloty gulped. She forgot she had to defend Arkit for a second.
The enemy leader, the Overseer of Paradise. If she were to beat him right here and now, the long fight with the Indulging God Cult would end. She clenched her fist. There was an old man in the perfect distance to receive that fist were she to strike with it.
But Noloty did not hit him. Even she couldn’t understand why.
“It is somewhat shameful. For you see, it has been forty years since I let any person see this form.”
Saying so, Kachua turned his back to Noloty and started walking. She ended up following him without thinking. He was full of openings, but she couldn’t attack him from the back.
The two moved to a location away from Arkit’s tent.
“It hurts to keep standing. Please excuse me.”
Kachua sat down on the ground. Noloty stood while looking down on him.
“What did you come here to talk about?”
Sitting cross-legged, Kachua’s upturned eyes looked at Noloty. She could see that his eyes were definitely laughing.
“We should have nothing to talk about in this current situation. I ran away but showed myself. The topic should be obvious.”
“The Indulging God Cult surrenders to the Armed Librarians. This is what I came to convey.”
Noloty was astonished. Seeing her face, Kachua chuckled.
As she was barely able to say that, Kachua raised his voice and laughed.
“Why did I come now? Do you not know? We are already losing to you.
Mokkania’s rebellion was half a year ago. That was our final plan. Since it failed, we now have no means with which to fight you.”
“That’s certainly true, but why didn’t you surrender earlier?”
“A fight is not something you can give up immediately. At that time we still had many pawns left. We were also raising a new generation of warriors. Volken was in the palm of my hands as well. If I were to say we should surrender my subordinates would have not consented.”
“Besides, I still held a sliver of hope. Do I not have some way with which I could keep on fighting? By thinking this I could not surrender.”
Kachua laughed with self-deprecation. Noloty had no idea if he was truly laughing or just faking it.
“All of my subordinates died. I also made up my mind. Therefore we are talking now.
Will you believe me, Noloty?”
Noloty said nothing. Whether or not she believed him, the conversation was too heavy for her so she couldn’t judge it probably. Will Mirepoc contact me? She thought. I want to hear some opinions from Mirepoc or the Director. However, her wish did not come true and it all fell on her shoulders.
Enlike, who was reading the Book, knew it was all a lie. But Noloty of that time didn’t know. Don’t believe him, attack him, Enlike called out to her. However, the records of the Book would never change.