During the same time, Enlike was walking in the mountains with Noloty’s Book in his pocket. He passed through such places as where Arkit cried and where Noloty and Kachua spoke with each other without looking back. His destination was the spot 80 kilometers to the north that Lascall Othello had told him about.
“Enlike-sama, have you looked through Noloty-sama’s Book?”
That same Lascall now appeared in front of him.
“I haven’t read everything.”
“It is very well that you read it. The tale I have entrusted you has been conveyed. The conclusion will arrive when you reach Noloty’s feelings that she was unable to convey.”
“Is Arkit the one she’d wanted to convey them to?”
“Did Noloty die for Arkit?”
Enlike clenched his teeth.
“Why? Why did she have to die for a boy just a few days after meeting him?”
“Because Noloty-sama was absurdly Noloty-sama.”
Lascall’s figure vanished. Left behind, Enlike put his fingers to his pocket. He was scared of reading. He felt as if he would die too by reading it.
Yet he touched the Book. In order to inherit Noloty’s tale, he started reading the moment of her death.
In December 18, on the mountain during dawn, Noloty faced Arkit. His face was wet with tears and he seemed exhausted despite only having woken up. However, he apparently had the will to talk with her.
Arkit then spoke.
“Was Kachua’s story true? That I might destroy not only the Armed Librarians but also the world.”
“I don’t know. It might not be, but it also might be true.”
Noloty had no choice but to answer like that. She didn’t think that Kachua had told them everything, but she couldn’t tell what was a lie and what was true. The only thing clear was that Kachua was trying to have him killed.
“If it’s true, what am I going to do from now on?”
She didn’t know that either. How would people like Hamyuts and Ireia deal with a person who might destroy the Armed Librarians? Will they really kill him, or will they let him live?
“Your position is too difficult. It’s not something I can deal with by myself.”
“More importantly, what do you want to do? That’s what important. Your position can change with your feelings.”
Arkit hesitated. And then he smiled faintly.
“I might be a bit happy.”
A chill ran through Noloty’s body.
“Why?! You don’t have to fight anymore. Didn’t you already understand the Armed Librarians are not bad people?”
“I only realized that the Indulging God Cult are bad people.”
“But the Armed Librarians…!”
At that moment, Arkit grabbed Noloty’s hand. He stopped her words.
“Noloty, what’s up with you? Do you still want to save me even if I destroy the world?”
He strongly grasped her hand. She then answered.
“Yes. Nothing’s changed.”
“Is that how you really feel?”
“Even though we came so far you still doubt me? If I didn’t feel like that why would I say all this?”
Arkit stayed silent for a while as he covered his face.
“Did you realize why I hate the Armed Librarians?”
“I already said it. If you understand my reasons I would stop fighting.”
She had certainly asked him about this. She knew the reasons for his hatred: someone important to Arkit was killed. And then Kachua incited him to think the Armed Librarians were evil. Therefore, when he realized the truth about Kachua, he should have stopped his fight.
“So as I thought you didn’t get it, you don’t know why I hate the Armed Librarians.”
At that moment, the ground at Noloty’s feet shook. She realized her own strong dizziness when her knees buckled down and she collapsed at Arkit’s feet.
Green stains appeared on her palm that was grabbed by Arkit. The moment she realized it was poison her face was on the ground.
“If you’d done it I planned on stopping. I really thought of ending it all.”
“Even you didn’t manage to stop me.”
Her lips were numb and couldn’t move. Arkit grabbed Noloty’s body and laid her on her back.
“This is my Magic Right. It’s the ability to put poison into anyone I touch with my hands.
It takes about a minute to kill and thirty seconds to make the person unable to move, so it’s useless. I could only do this to you.”
Her eyes trembled. She couldn’t see Arkit’s face. She could only hear his voice.
“Do you remember what happened four years ago? The Guinbex Imperial Army fought against Rona. The Armed Librarians intervened and fought against Guinbex. I was born in the Guinbex Empire.”
Noloty couldn’t reply.
“Guinbex was at fault in that war. Everyone says that and I’m also aware of that. But I can’t forgive the Armed Librarians. I can’t forgive the Armed Librarians since Mokkania Fleur was one of them.”
“Mokkania killed all the troops of my home country, leaving no survivors. He even killed all of the noncombatants.
Did you know, Noloty? There was a music corps in the army. They comforted and encouraged everyone’s tired minds. The Guinbex Empire gathered kids like me and made them into a music band.
You probably didn’t know this. On that day, a concert for the soldiers was being held.”
A voice leaked from Noloty’s mouth. Without paying it any heed, Arkit kept speaking.
“I had a fever that day so I didn’t go. Therefore I was the only one to survive. All of my band friends were killed by Mokkania.”
Noloty moaned. She knew of that incident.
I was so stupid, she cursed herself in her mind. She knew of that incident. However, she had forgotten about it.
“What I can’t forgive is not only the fact they were killed. The Armed Librarians paid reparation money to my friends’ families. I can’t forgive that. I thought that if I had died I would have become money as well.
What I can forgive even less is the Armed Librarians having said they protected peace. The people who killed my friends said they were allies of justice. Do you think I can forgive that, Noloty?”
She tried moving. However, her body didn’t listen to her.
“After the war was over, everyone forgot about the Armed Librarians’ killing. No one said they did anything wrong. No one spoke about me and the rest at all.
All the adults around didn’t say anything. They only said that there was nothing to be done about it, that Guinbex was at fault, and settled everything like that. No matter what I said, no one listened to me.”
“I’m not wrong, am I? But no one acknowledged me. They all feared the Armed Librarians and ignored my words.”
Arkit stepped on Noloty’s chest.
“You’re the same. You couldn’t understand. I wanted you to. I wanted someone to tell me that I wasn’t wrong!”
He put his body weight on top of Noloty.
“Only Kachua understood me. So I will never listen to you.”
He kicked her.
“Serves you right to suffer. It’s your fault, get it? It’s your fault!”
Arkit stepped on Noloty’s face. He kicked her body and spat on her. Since Noloty couldn’t move she was left helpless. But even if she could move, perhaps she would have resigned herself to receive that treatment anyway.
Without any of them noticing, Kachua approached. He held back Arkit who was busy kicking Noloty.
“Let us stop here. She was being desperate in her own way.”
The man grinned.
“I understand your feelings well. I have also decided to fight. I will give up at another time.”
“What will you do, Arkit? My nature is as you have heard. Will you still follow me?”
For a short while, Arkit and Kachua stared into each other’s eyes. Then, Arkit slowly nodded with his head.
“Let’s go, Kachua.”
Saying so, he tried walking away. At that time, Kachua returned to Noloty for some reason. Then, he whispered into her ears.
“Noloty. To tell you the truth, it all went just as planned. When I showed myself in front of you I have expected it would all happen like that. You cannot sway Arkit’s hatred.”
Were you lying? Noloty shook with anger, but her body did not move.
“This world is my chessboard. I fully control both enemies and allies. You were truly a difficult pawn. However, the world is interesting because there was such a pawn.”
Despite having finished her purpose, Kachua did not kill Noloty. Accompanying Arkit, he simply took his leave.
Dammit, she thought.
Grinding her teeth, trying to hold on to her dimming consciousness, Noloty glared at Kachua’s back. However, she fell into darkness.
Since Noloty lost her consciousness, she couldn’t know of what happened afterwards. Consequently Enlike couldn’t, either.
Arkit stopped in place. He turned around and looked towards the collapsed Noloty.
“Do not mind Noloty.”
“She is still alive. She will probably be back on her feet in about two or three hours. Or do you want to kill her?”
Arkit shook his head to the side. He then spoke.
“I wonder if Noloty hates me now.”
“Why are you thinking of that?”
“…Yeah, she definitely hates me. She will obviously come to kill me as soon as she opens her eyes. Let’s go quickly, before she wakes up.”
Arkit tried walking. However, after he took one step he stopped again and turned around.
“…But, if she doesn’t hate me, what should I do?”
“Arkit. Noloty is also an Armed Librarian. Well, strictly speaking it is not yet true, but she is still an Armed Librarian.”
“I know. I understand that! But…”
Tears welled up in Arkit’s eyes.
“I can’t kill Noloty.”
“No matter what?”
“If she ends up hating me and comes to kill me, I’ll kill her. But if… if that idiot says some stupid thing like ‘I want to save you’ while approaching me with a stupid face, what should I do?”
Arkit clung to the hem of Kachua’s clothes.
“Say, Kachua… Noloty hates me now, right? But if not, what should I do? If that happens, I wouldn’t be able to hate her…”
“…Arkit, let us go already. You should think about this carefully.”
He took Arkit’s hand and made him walk. The figure of Noloty grew smaller behind them.
While looking at Arkit holding his tears, Kachua started thinking.
What he needed was Arkit’s hatred. And it had to be pure.
His hatred towards the Armed Librarians was probably still pure. However, it was mixed with the impurity known as Noloty. If he is not able to remove her, that hatred will not be complete.
The first way was to have Arkit be killed by an Armed Librarian. His intention was to use Arkit’s regret when he’d have the tables turned on him just before victory to complete his hatred. However, that failed when Noloty appeared.
His next plan was to have Noloty kill Arkit. By being betrayed by someone he had connected with his hatred should have stirred up. But that also failed.
He also hoped that Arkit would cut off his feelings by himself. But in the end, he could not abandon his feelings for Noloty.
What was about to happen now was his final plan. He conveyed the arrangements to his subordinate. Now he could only wait for results.
On the rocky surface of the far mountain, a single man stood. He was the warrior of the Indulging God Cult, Daltom.
“Hmm, you’ve done well, aren’t you amazing Kachua-sama?”
Daltom was watching what happened with the three people using binoculars. Noloty collapsed and Kachua went away with Arkit. It all went according to the plan Kachua had told him.
He removed his binoculars. He removed the sword at his waist and checked the condition of the blade. The decorative blade had neither a single chip nor any mist on it. Retrieving his beloved sword to the scabbard, Daltom kept waiting.
This was the final job to complete Arkit’s hatred – that would be accomplished by erasing Noloty.
Daltom had to be the one to realize it. As Noloty was now even Kachua could easily kill her. However, it would have no meaning if it wasn’t Daltom killing her.
“The fact I’ve killed Vizac doesn’t guarantee my ascension to Heaven. I still have much more work to do.”
While saying so, Daltom observed Noloty attentively.
“Besides, how could I let Noloty-chan have such a fun life?”
He kept waiting for the right timing. Noloty could not notice the evil intent surrounding her.
Was it about thirty minutes? Noloty woke up from a voice echoing in her head.
‘Noloty, what’s wrong, please respond!’
It was Mirepoc’s Thought Sharing. Noloty tried responding. However, she couldn’t concentrate enough. The voice of her mind did not reach Mirepoc.
‘Please respond. You’re alive, right? You’re around the area of Toatt Mines. What’s happened? Respond!’
Noloty had to tell her about Kachua. However, she simply couldn’t send her thoughts back.
‘I will send you aid immediately. It will take some time but I will go as well. You can’t die until then, Noloty!”
She severed the Thought Sharing.
While breathing roughly, Noloty was thinking. I was so stupid. I can’t forgive my stupidity.
She said that she wanted to protect Arkit. And yet she didn’t even try thinking about his feelings. Even though she should have realized it if she had seriously thought about it. If only she did, it wouldn’t have turned out like this.
She moved her body. By putting her hands on the ground, she raised her body, exhausted herself and collapsed again.
Get up. Stand. Go. Then, she will be able to once again go after Arkit. She couldn’t forgive herself for being so stupid.
Noloty raised her body countless of times and collapsed countless of times. She crawled and advanced towards the direction Arkit left.
While seeing her, Enlike who was reading the Book started thinking.
That’s enough. Don’t go. Go to sleep. If you go you will die, and I will lose everything.
Why are you standing? Even if you don’t do it, no one will blame you. Even Arkit, who you’re trying to help, doesn’t want you to come.
It’s always like that. Even though no one asked you to, you try to save people. Even if you’re made fun of, even if you’re bothering other people, you still try to save them. You try to save people so much that you burden yourself with worries, doubts, and unneeded hardships.
There’s no reward in the end; the only thing waiting for you is death.
And yet you stand up. Why, Noloty?
At that moment, Enlike jumped to Noloty’s past. He read the memories of her days in her hometown from before she decided to become an Armed Librarian.
Islands of various sizes floated on the southern sea of the Guinbex Empire – this area was called the southern frontier. It was regarded as a place unsuitable to live in from ancient times, and so was almost completely detached from the state of affairs in the world. But even there people were living.
There was an island that was especially large even within the archipelago. This island, covered in mountains and crags that made it hard to live on, was Noloty’s homeland. Dwelling between mountains, the people lived while raising goats and growing wheat.
Noloty was the princess of her village.
There was nothing at all princess-like to be had at that poor village. It only meant that she was a descendant of the people who had founded it. Like all other kids, she made her living by harvesting wheat and sewing clothes.
Having lost her mother early on, Noloty lived with her sickly father. They lived with the help of the other villagers. The only benefit of her being born as a princess was receiving a bit of help from the villagers.
However, Noloty was a strangely cheerful child. She was the village’s biggest tomboy, and the leader of the children who had never lost in a fight.
Her cheerfulness was completely mysterious to the other villagers.
The village was heading for ruin. It was self-sufficient ever since ancient times. However, as the economics of the outside world started developing, when currency began spreading everywhere, that village also began to change.
The villagers learned the taste of luxury goods such as alcohol and tobacco. They sold the goats that produced their precious milk, sold all of their stored wheat, and bought alcohol.
The more their lives grew gradually poorer, the more their hearts became wild. And since it became so, they bought even more alcohol to drink. Since they had no education, no matter how much they were explained about the harms of it they wouldn’t listen. They simply kept indulging in it.
The one who got angry at that was Noloty’s father, the village chief. He frantically tried to persuade the villagers to return to a healthy lifestyle. Noloty also followed suit. She beat down those who bought alcohol and attacked the ships of merchants who came to sell them.
Gradually both father and daughter became estranged from the villagers.
Eventually, her father also died. Noloty became truly alone in the world.
When Noloty was ten years old, something that destroyed the village even further appeared. It was the Armed Librarians.
A new mine was found in the southern frontier. Bantorra Library urged the village to move away. The Acting Director Photona himself came and dealt with the negotiations.
Photona bought land on another island and presented it as a new place of residence. The Armed Librarians would handle all of the arrangements for the immigration. They would also take care of all expenses both for that and for their new lives. Furthermore, they would pay them a far too large amount of reparation money.
There would be no obstacles for their new lives. The new place was supposedly more plentiful and would be pleasant to live in.
However, the villagers wasted their money. They delayed the immigration and used money only for temporary pleasures. The village was overflowing with needless objects and money vanished as if it grew wings.
“I did everything I could do. You should accept the results of your deeds by yourselves.”
Photona left with these words of contempt.
The only thing left was even more poverty. The village was driven to the wall.
Noloty preached to the adults.
They no longer had the money to relocate and start their new lives. So she said they should leave the village. There was work in the city or at the mines. Let’s throw away the land we lived in and work in the outside world, she told them.
However, no one lent their ears to Noloty’s words. In the past they might have heeded the words of their princess. However, since she was an orphan with no one to rely on, nobody listened to her.
“There’s nothing we can do. We are useless people after all.”
Wasting their money was not the only thing that made the villagers poor. They resigned themselves to be useless at whatever they did. They despaired that they were inferior to the people of the outside world.
It might have actually been so. No one had persecuted or discriminated them. They actually received warm hospitality. The reason they were headed for destruction was only their foolishness.
The villagers began to desire their own destruction. They started saying that it was fine for both their village and its residents to become extinct.
Noloty resisted that notion. And so before long, the villagers started hating her.
Simply keeping their distance from her at first, they started actively alienating her. Noloty became unable to even live from day to day.
One day, she saw desperation in front of her eyes. A couple was trying to kill their child. They couldn’t feed her. Even if they fed her and let her grow into an adult nothing good would come out of it, so they tried culling her.
Noloty’s temper exploded. She kicked the father, punched the mother, and swung a stick to break all of their furniture. She was caught by other adults, shook them off and ran away. She left the village.
While hearing people shouting curses at her back, the princess went away from her village.