[Shuumatsu] V5 C5 Can I Lie Next to You?

Normal, everyday life is always on the verge of coming to an end.

The repetition of each single day, all on the verge of the end, forms that normalcy.

Sometimes newcomers may enter, but at the same time others must leave.

Changing ever so slightly bit by bit, it continues all the way up until that moment when it meets its true end.

The newspapers reported the attack by a group of Beasts to be the doing of The Order of Annihilation Service History. Owing to their already widespread reputation as a group of violent troublemakers, the news naturally became assimilated and believed within the population.

As for what kind of transaction took place between Elpis and Collinadiluche, and the Winged Guard too, no one knew. Morally speaking, spreading the truth would have been ideal, but, in the worst case scenario, that could lead to a war.

However, if nothing else, the Elpis National Defense Force suffered a major loss of influence as a result of the incident. There was also apparently a large change of personnel in the higher ups of the Winged Guard, so it’s safe to say that Elpis won’t be able to pull off anything similar anytime soon.

—It’s also worth mentioning that in one corner of that newspaper, there was a small article reporting the discovery of the transformed corpse of an Orc on the outskirts of Collinadiluche.


Elq Harksten returned home.

This fact literally shook the 2nd Floating Island, a consecrated land and also the most secretive place in all of Regul Aire.

“WaaaaaaaahhhhhhhElqqqqqqqqq” wailed a giant black skull. The One who Sleeps in Death. The One who Shines Darkness in the Garden of Light. Known by various over the top sounding names, Ebon Candle, one of the three Poteau, threw away any shred of dignity and simply wailed and wailed.

A strange light flickered on and off violently in the insides of his hollow eye sockets, and his lipless teeth clattered together vigorously. “I’m I’m so glad you’re ssaaaffeeeeeee.”

“Shut up you useless oaf,” scolded a huge red floating fish. Also one of the three Poteau, Carmine Lake swam around the surrounding air restlessly, making no attempt to hide her irritation. “In the first place, what the hell have you been doing for five hundred years!? I mean, I understand that you used the master’s soul to protect the world and all, but, after all that time, how have you not made any progress on the star boat’s repairs!?”

“W-What am I supposed to do!? Look at me! I don’t even have enough power to repair my own physical body.”

“That’s just because you’re wasting your energy! Just sink this stupid floating island already!”

“You think I could do such a thing!?”

“Both of you, be quiet!” screamed Elq, sandwiched between the two gods.

“But Elq, if we don’t hurry up and get this guy to regain his power and undo the curse, you’ll be in that half dead body forever, you know? Don’t you want to return to your original form as quickly as possible?”

“T-That’s a little optimistic, but…” Ebon Candle commented.

“I’m fine,” Elq said.

“Huh?” “Hm?” The two gods raised confused voices.

“I’m fine like this.”

“W-W-Whyy!? If you don’t properly come back to life, even if we fix the star boat, your body won’t be able to handle riding on it, you know? You won’t be able to leave this world, you know?”

“I won’t go anywhere. I kinda like this world.”

“No no no! This world is coming to an end! There’s hardly anything here! It’s only a matter of seconds before there’s nothing at all!”

“But, there’s still a few seconds left.”

“Where did that attitude come from!? Hey, Ebon Candle, you say something too!”

“H-Hm?” The skull’s teeth clattered confusedly as he was suddenly drawn into the conversation. “Did you meet some nice people while living on the floating islands?”

“… yes.”

“I see I see. Find a special someone you’re interested in?”

“……… no, not exactly.”

“Wait a second! What kind of questions are you asking!? And what kind of answer is that!?”

“He’s only the slightest bit handsome. Kutori and Leila lowered their standards too far.”

“I see I see.” Like a kind and gentle old man, the skull chuckled softly and nodded repeatedly.

Around them, the floating fish circled and circled, wailing about this and that.

Meanwhile, Nephren gazed blankly at their exchange. Carmine Lake still hadn’t acquired a physical form or whatever, instead residing in a part of Nephren’s mind. However, as long as Nephren stayed in this special barrier surrounding the 2nd Island, Carmine Lake could move and act freely within the boundaries. She mentioned something about the island being an archive of models of the primal world, so it could mix together the mind and body, but Nephren didn’t really understand, and Carmine Lake never explained in more detail. Nephren wished she had a book.

“Kaiya,” she said to the young Ayrantrobos lady, Ebon Candle’s servant.

“Yes, Miss Nephren?”

“What’s for dinner tonight?”

“I haven’t decided yet, but, since the fruits from the summer garden have been good, I’m thinking of making something with those.”

“Okay, I’ll help you out later,” Nephren said, then started to leave the room.

“Where are you going?”

“To Willem.”


The corpse of Willem Kumesh had been carried to the 2nd Floating Island and stored in a deep, secluded place. Ebon Candle suggested that they place him in ice again, but Elq and Nephren rejected that idea. Instead, they placed him on a decoratively and neatly arranged bed, where he now lay dead, almost as if simply in a peaceful sleep.

“… are you cold?”

Nephren touched Willem’s hand. Cold.

“Are you lonely?”

She touched his cheek. Cold as well.

She wanted to put a blanket over him, but, of course, doing so would have no meaning. She wanted to lie next to him and nap, like she often did back then, but, again, doing so no longer had any meaning.

“Ebo said it wouldn’t be that hard to revive him.” When she got there Nephren didn’t notice, but Elq stood in the doorway. “He’s the same as me. If Seniolis’ curse is loosened just a little, he’ll become not-a-corpse just a little and come back to life.”

“As a Beast, though, right?”

“Of course, but you wouldn’t mind, right? You’re a Beast too, after all.”

“It’s meaningless.” Nephren shook her head. “Hogging a broken Willem all for myself wouldn’t bring me any joy. I don’t…” She thought a little. “I don’t want to bring him unhappiness.”

“Hmph. You have bad taste too,” Elq said, unimpressed, and stepped inside the room. Then, cheerfully, she lied down next to Willem.

“What are you doing?” Nephren asked.

“Resting.”

“Why here?”

“No particular reason. I just feel sort of calm here… ow!”

Pulling her by the ear, Nephren dragged Elq off of the bed and continued straight out the room.

“No sleeping together.”

“Why not why not!? We’re both corpses, so it’s not a problem, right!?”

“That’s my assigned seat. I won’t give it up to any corpse or god.”

“This is tyranny!”


Inside a dream, he could see the orange of the twilight sky as the sun sank below the pitch dark horizon. He stood upon a small foothold which seemed to be made of tightly packed ashen hexagons. Besides that foothold, only an empty black nothingness lay below.

Only the half disappeared evening sun and the barely remaining foothold existed here. Nothing else. It was an aged world, on the verge of the end, on the verge of perishing.

In that place, there stood a young man. With nothing to do nor think about, he simply gazed blankly at the sinking sun.

Suddenly, the young man noticed a presence beside him: a small crystal lump lying on the ground. What is this? As he looked at it, the lump began to emit a clattering noise then split, swelled, bent, shrunk, and, in the end, took a shape very similar to that of a person.

Ah, I see.

This is the Beast inside of me, the young man realized. It was none other than the half of his being which awoke after he swallowed the fragments of the Shiantor. How many hundreds or thousands of years he didn’t know, but he must have been neighbors with this thing for as long as human history. However, they never knew each other before. They never even noticed each other’s existence.

“Hey, you,” he called out, but it didn’t budge. “Nice to meet you… that sounds kinda weird. Since we’ve been together this whole time and all.” Still no response. The Beast simply stood still, not looking at anywhere in particular. “Sorry for always ignoring you. You’re something like a victim too, huh.”

As before, still no response. Instead—

“—Yo.”

Hearing a familiar voice, he turned around. There, illuminated by the fading scarlet of the sky, he found the ambiguously aged, nostalgic face of a man.

“Good-for-nothing master.”

“Looks like you’ve been through a lot. Have any regrets?”

“So many I can’t count.”

“Glad to hear it.” Taking a seat next to Willem, Nils chuckled. “That’s proof you led a fulfilling life until the very end.”

Willem didn’t think it was anything to laugh about.

“I finally understand. These guys just wanted to go home,” he said as he looked at the crystal lump beside him.

“Hm?”’

“They just wanted to reclaim that ashen sea. The Visitors stole it. Moreover, they stole it because they longed for home themselves. As a result of that clash of homesicknesses, the land fell into ruin, and those who lost their home were driven up to Regul Aire. Everyone just wanted to return home. Just wanted to reclaim.”

The movements of the sun shook Nils’ shadow ever so slightly.

“There’s no need for evil to destroy the world. It always begins with a small wish that no one would ever find fault with. Such a tiny thing leads so simply to the end.”

“You’re right. This world is already done for,” Nils said as he scratched his head. “It’s almost time for me to get going as well. I can only stop in a world and use my power as a Visitor six times, and I used the last one to seal your memories. Now I need to look for a new world and start another journey.”

“… so you were a Visitor, huh.”

It should have been a shocking fact, but Willem wasn’t particularly surprised, perhaps because of his mind’s extreme exhaustion, or perhaps because, from the start, he realized that no matter what this man’s true identity was it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising.

“Want to tag along?”
“Huh?”

“This world is already coming to a close. You are dead, and there’s nothing you can do. So how about going to a new realm with me? If all turns out well, you might be able to life an easier life. At the very least, you’ll be able to life a more meaningful life than just being dead for an eternity here.”

“Ah…” Willem thought for a bit. “So in other words, you’re telling me to become a Visitor too?”

Nils nodded bitterly.

“That sounds fun.”

“I think you could be fine no matter where you went.”

“Maybe.”

It was tough losing home. Painful. But he was able to stand back up. He was able to think of a new place as home. That experience and those memories had now become precious assets to him.

“In the end, I couldn’t do a single thing for you or this world. So this is the last thing I can do for you as a good-for-nothing master,” Nils said, gesturing to the crystal lump with his eyes. “Right now, you guys are just barely separated. I can leave the Beast here and bring just you along.”

“Ahh… that’s what you were talking about, huh,” Willem said as he scratched his head. “Sorry, but, I can’t go.”

“I see.” Nils nodded.

“Losing my home, losing my place to return to, it’s been painful and miserable. But still. It’s always possible to find somewhere new. Anyone can.”

Those valiant people who call Regul Aire home were once residents of the land. How much blood was shed before they were able to accept their new home?

“But it doesn’t go well if you try to rush things. It takes time,” Willem continued. “Standing back up after the pain of loss. Meeting someone new. Getting used to a new place. They all failed at those. The Visitors, and the Beasts too. They tried to reclaim their homeland all in one go, so they chose the wrong method.

Well, at first I couldn’t realize either. But, if you try raising your head and actually looking around you, sometimes, right beside you, there’ll be someone to teach you.”

Willem closed his eyes. In his case, who stood right beside him? Grick, Naigrat, Nephren, … Kutori. They taught him so much it almost seemed wasteful. They saved him, who had been thrown out even farther past the end of the world.

“I want to be by this guy’s side.”

“You’re saying you want to talk with it? That’s impossible. Your mental structures and modes of life are different, you know?”

“I know. I’m not dreaming that big.” In a friendly gesture, Willem wrapped his arm around the crystal lump’s shoulder (?). “These guys can’t see anything except the world of their home. Only what they’ve lost is in their field of view. That’s why they can’t accept Regul Aire, and why they’re so desperate to demolish us.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it? That’s why I want to do something for them. Putting aside the past, something strange is beside me now. I want to help them think that.”

“Are you stupid?”

“I’ve been starting to suspect that myself lately.”

The two of them laughed together one last time.

“You really are a busy guy, worrying about an ended world even after you’re dead.”

“Well, it seems that’s all I can do, seeing as I could never become anyone.”

“… ah—” As he began to say something, Nil’s silhouette suddenly began to blur. “That’s fine too, isn’t it? It’s like you.”

“I’ve been started to suspect that myself lately as well.”

With that, their conversation came to a halt.

Sitting side by side, the two of them gazed blankly at the evening sun.

Suddenly snapping out of his trance and looking to his side, Willem saw that no signs of Nils were anywhere to be seen.

He was now all alone with the crystal lump, the fragment of a Beast’s delusional convictions, in this ending world.

“… well, it looks like we’re going to be together for a while.”

Willem lied down. Enough space remained on the foothold for that. Above, there was nothing, not even the night sky.

“Oh yeah, it’ll be inconvenient if you don’t have a name. Should I give you a nice one?” he said leisurely, then shut his eyes.


—A short while after.

“Hey! Wait, Eudea!”

“Oh, close one!”

Two girls sprinted down the hallways of a broken down house. The floor seemed like it could collapse at any moment, but, both of them having grown used to that, the two girls ran at full speed, skillfully dodging the particularly dangerous looking spots.

“Tonight’s dinner is a celebration for our seniors coming home, so you can’t snack beforehand. I told you that, right!?”

“Well, it just smelled so delicious. Almita, your cooking really is good! I’m sure our big sisters will be very pleased, mhm. Of course I’m very pleased too.”

“Aah you really are annoying! Let me spank you once!”

“Nope!”

The building shook with their rapid footsteps.

“Both of you, be quiet.”

“What, are those two at it again?”

“Hey hey, let’s make a bet. Who do you think will win today?”

“Ooh, good idea. I bet tonight’s dessert on Eudea getting away.”

“Okay, then I’ll be the opposite… Tazeka, you want to join too?”

“Hm? Ah… then I’ll bet on Kana. Also tonight’s dessert.”

“Eh, why? This is about Eudea and Almita.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

Poking their heads out of windows here and there, the girls watched the pair’s escape drama.


“—Today’s lively as always, huh.”

Elsewhere within the same house, in the reference room, a blonde haired lady sitting in a wheelchair laughed cheerfully.

“It kicks up dust, so I’d wish they wouldn’t run around so violently. The big cleaning we just did is going to waste.” While flipping through a bundle of documents, a pink haired lady laughed back.

“That’s the fate of this run down lodge. I think it could really use a nice renovation sometime soon.”

“That’s true.”

The pink haired lady, Naigrat, put a finger to her cheek and tilted her head. It is often said that the true age of a Troll rarely reveals itself on the outside. As if to prove that stereotype, Naigrat’s appearance had hardly changed since those times.

“Memories are engraved all over the place, so whenever I think about hiring workers, I stop at the last minute. Do you remember the notches on the cafeteria wall? From when Noft and Lantolq used to compare heights.”

“Ah, when they made marks too often and we couldn’t tell which marks belonged to who anymore.” The blonde haired lady smiled with a nostalgic look in her eyes. “Speaking of them, does it look like they’ll be able to come home this year?”

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’ll happen. Their current job is pretty far away.”

“Ah, that’s too bad.”

A lot happened. For example, the rules restricting the fairies’ freedom were loosened, some with conditions attached. As a result, a few fully grown fairies were now living outside the fairy warehouse.

Lantolq held an unofficial position at the Orlandri Trading Company managing any affairs related to the fairy warehouse and Dug Weapons. On the other hand, Noft acted as a sort of part time soldier for the Winged Guard, accompanying salvager voyages to the land to ensure their safety. Both were working hard far, far away from the 68th Floating Island. They couldn’t be called home so simply.

“… oh yeah, how about Collon and the others? Are they back yet?”

“Eh? No, not yet. It should be sometime in the evening.”

“Oh, well then it must have been unrelated. A little while ago, I thought I saw a non-civilian looking airship land in the harbor district.”

“A little while ago? That’s strange, I haven’t heard anything about it.” Naigrat tilted her head again.

Just then, a soft knock sounded at the door, and a girl peeked her face in. “Excuse me, Naigrat and Aiseia. Have you seen Riel?”

The two women looked at each other.

“No. Why?”

“I can’t seem to find her anywhere. If she went off to play in the forest again that’s dangerous, so I got a little worried.”

A rather thick forest surrounded the fairy warehouse, complete with pools of water in hard to see places. For the inexperienced or young children, it could be pretty risky terrain.

“Oh no! I need to go find her!” Thrusting away the documents in her hand, Naigrat immediately stood up.

“I don’t think we need to worry that much. Aren’t you being a little overprotective?” Aiseia commented.

“Being overprotective is the special privilege of a guardian!” Naigrat said with almost a shout, then dashed out of the reference room.

“Umm… what should I do?” The young girl left behind said with a confused look.

“I don’t think you need to worry.” Aiseia shrugged.


“Kana! What are you doing?”

“Hehe. Taking advantage of this delicious situation.”

“W-Wait a second! Wait there to be spanked!”

“Ah… I guess Tazeka wins the bet.”

“Hmm, I never thought I’d actually be right.”

“Waaait!”


“… the place really is lively, huh.” Aiseia, left all alone in the reference room, smiled with a tinge of melancholy.

Still seated in her wheelchair, she reached out and touched the glass pane of the window. Once, long ago, he and she had been there, beyond that window, that young man and young girl who dashed restlessly through that short-lived time of the end.

“A lot’s happened, but I’m doing pretty well.” They were no longer here, so Aiseia had no choice but to voice her report in the vague direction of the blue sea above. “What about you guys? Where are you? What are you doing?”

However, the sky, ever so high and infinitely vast, only sucked up her words, returning no answer.


A girl fell out of the sky. Judging from her figure, she was probably a little younger than ten. She must have taken a wrong step while walking on a tree branch, for she was currently plummeting downwards head first. At that rate, she would no doubt have a violent collision with the hard ground, leaving a scene unfit for a peaceful spring afternoon.

“Uh oh.”

The young man stretched out his hands and tried to catch the girl. However, right as he did so his feet slipped, causing him to completely lose balance and fall over with a crash. As a result,

“Ahggh!?”

He ended up stuck under the girl’s body and let out a shriek similar to a crushed frog’s.

“… ouch.”

“S-Sorry!!” After a few second’s delay, the girl, seeming to have grasped the situation, jumped away in a panic. “A-Are you hurt!? Are you alive!? Are any organs crushed!?”

“Ah—I’m fine. I’m tougher than I look.” Wiping the dirt off his clothes, the young man stood up. “But I did get pretty filthy. Are you oka—”

He looked at the young girl. She had blue hair the color of a clear sky and eyes with the deep color of the calm ocean surface. He felt like he had seen her before.

“—Hm?” The two of them locked eyes and froze. “Have I met you somewhere?”

“N-No? I don’t think so… probably…” The girl tilted her head. “I’ve never left this island, and you’re not from around here, are you?”

“Ah—well, it’s been a while,” he answered vaguely.

“Since you’re walking on this path, I assume you have some business with our warehouse?”

“Yeah.”

“Well then, you’re our guest. Follow me, I’ll be your guide.” The girl whirled around and started walking off with a mature step.

The young man gazed blankly at her back.

“What’s wrong?”

“Ah… it’s nothing.” Scratching his head, the man started walking after her.

“Riel!” A voice sounded from the direction in which they were headed. It drew closer. “Riel… ah! There you are!” A tall woman came jogging over. “Don’t make me worry like that. How many times do I need to tell you that you can’t go into the forest alo…”

“Sorry, but, ah, there was a strange animal, well, it got away, but I chased it all the way up that tree, and…”

The girl’s explanation, ambiguous as to whether it was an excuse or a brag, cut off midway. The woman wasn’t looking at her.

“No… way,” the woman murmured with a quivering voice, both hands covering her mouth. “No… that can’t be…”

“Sorry. I’ve been away for a pretty long while.”

“Eh? Eh? Eh?” The girl, unable to comprehend the situation, rapidly looked back and forth between the young man and the woman.

However, the two didn’t explain anything, instead simply exchanging gazes, as if some mutual understanding had passed between them and only them.

“I’m home,” the man said.

The woman’s eyes opened wide, blinked, then began to fill with tears. Her expression turned into a jumbled mixture of crying and joy. Then, with a trembling voice and many pauses, she managed to reply,

“Welcome… back!”

 

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update

Some of you may be wondering why there have been no updates. Again, I’m sorry, but college started and I am a lot busier than expected. I lessened my coursework to have a more manageable schedule, so hopefully that makes things better. I just started translating the next and final chapter, so it should be up sometime in the next week or so if all goes well.

Also, I know people will ask, so I will say it now: I do not currently plan on translating SukaMoka in the near future. The main reason for this is that I simply don’t have the time that I had last semester.

This also means that I encourage any other translators out there to pick up the sequel or EX should they be up to the challenge.

Anyway, I will say all this again in more detail after the final chapter.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

[Shuumatsu] V5 C4 In This Twilight World, Even Now P4

The Character of a Brave

It was widespread common knowledge that the 17 Beasts held the position of the largest threat to all living beings, but the concrete nature of the Beasts was not very well known, mainly for two reasons. First of all, many mysteries surrounded them, so not even researches knew any details. Secondly, since, as a general rule, those who encountered the Beasts never returned home alive, hardly anyone actually had any direct experience with the creatures.

In other words, almost no one living on Regul Aire had ever considered the possibility of a Beast attack. Even for soldiers of the Winged Guard, the situation hardly differed. The large majority of them had never directly seen a Beast, so, regardless of mental preparation, they simply weren’t used to these enemies.

On top of all that, the Beasts couldn’t fly. The Teimerre could drift through the air under the right conditions, but that was about it. As a result, the chances of spotting a Beast other than the 6th without going all the way down to the surface were zero.

Basically, Collinadiluche had a fatal lack of knowledge regarding the Aurora.


Terrible chaos descended upon the command headquarters of the Winged Guard. Damage reports came flying in from this way and that. Actual wreckage caused by the Beasts took up about half of those, while the other half consisted of accidents or incidents caused by panicked citizens. And most likely, the majority of the events reported in both categories never actually occurred. Reliable information was a hopeless dream in the midst of the nightmare encompassing the city. Yet still, reports of trouble necessitated military action… the serious soldiers just trying to do their job only contributed to the chaos.

“I guess this is where we come in,” Aiseia said with a yawn as she rubbed her eyes.

Sitting inside, she pretty much had no idea what was going on outside. That Beasts had fallen from the sky and that, based on witness information, the specific type appeared to be the Aurora about summed up the extent of her knowledge.

If she remembered correctly, relatively detailed material on the Aurora had been piled up in the reference room of the fairy warehouse. However, no one expected a sudden battle with them to break out, so those resources had yet to be seriously read. The sole exception, Nephren, who would read any material, no matter how boring, from beginning to end, was no longer with them.

Well, lack of information against the Beasts had been a constant factor in all of their previous battles as well, so it didn’t exactly present that much of a problem. However…

“This is a pretty irregular battlefield for us. It makes me a little uneasy that this is gonna be someone’s first battle.”

“That’s true.”

Tiat, fully donned in her pajamas, let out a silly gasp at Aiseia and Lantolq’s comments.

“I-I’ll go too! Let me fight!” Lakish raised her hand fervently as she hurriedly thrusted proper clothes into Tiat’s arms.

“No.” Naigrat shook her head. “Your weapon hasn’t even been decided yet, you know?”

“But we have swords, don’t we?”

Naigrat fell silent. They did have swords: Valgalis, Historia, Ignareo, and, in addition to the Kaliyons of those three fairies, one more sword that Naigrat brought as a good luck charm. No one, as far as they knew, was capable of wielding it, so it really served no purpose other than a charm. Even as they spoke, its hilt peeked out of Naigrat’s jumbo sized backpack.

“But…”

“I don’t want to just wait around. I won’t be able to sit still. I want to… maybe I won’t be of much use, but I at least won’t drag them down!”

A slight spike of pain struck Naigrat in the chest.

“No, you can’t go. I can’t expose a child who hasn’t finished post tuning basic training to such danger. You’ve only successfully used that sword in a test. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it in a real battle, you know?”

“But!” Lakish raised her voice even louder. Just then,

“Excuse me, young ladies,” a man’s voice butted in from the side.

Turning around, Naigrat spotted a few men standing there wearing fresh new suits. An Orc stepped out from amongst the group and smiled. Looking closer, she noticed bandages wrapped around his body here and there under his suit.

“You’re… the one from Elpis!” It only took a split second for anger to fill Naigrat’s voice.

“Ah!?”

“M-Miss Naigrat, what a coincidence meeting you here.” As the rest of the men cowered in surprise, the orc managed to stand his ground. “It seems like the situation has become quite grave. While I may not have much to offer, I came here wondering if I could be of any assistance.”

“How dare you say that!”

According to what Naigrat had heard, Elpis smuggled Beasts onto the island. In other words, the men standing in front of her could very well be responsible for this entire mess. Even as they spoke, dozens were being slaughtered in the streets. The Winged Guard and city forces were probably moving on the defense, but their ordinary guns and cannons would have little effect on the Beasts. Coupled with the utter confusion enveloping the city, she didn’t see how they could accomplish much.

“It seems we have a misunderstanding. The chaos outside was not caused by us. According to witnesses, it seems to be an act of the Annihilation something or rather, a criminal organization in this city.” The Orc continued to boldly spout blatant lies. “Please don’t make such a frightening face. We have come here today solely with the pure intention of lending a helping hand.” He waved his bandaged hands in an attempt to show his lack of hostility.

“With the firepower that the Winged Guard can formally utilize, excuse my rudeness, I doubt they will be able to stand up to their foes. However, today, we just happen to have an airship with our weapons on board docked in the harbor.” Then, as if just remembering something, he added, “Oh, of course, we brought the weapons here following the proper procedures. I wish to utilize them to exterminate our enemies.”

“Th…” Naigrat understood the significance of another island’s army being deployed in the city. Anyone who studied the slightest bit of history would know. “That will never be allowed! Under the Constitution of Regul Aire, this falls under the jurisdiction of the Winged Guard!”

“No, no, you are mistaken.” The Orc’s entire face went into making one grand smile, as if he came all this way just to say these words. “We’ve already talked with the higher ups of the Winged Guard.”

“… eh?”

“Oh, one more thing. I think the Orlandri Trading Company will contact you soon enough, but, out of the kindness of my heart, I will tell you now.” Acting as if he suddenly remembered something, he added on, “Concerning your post and that little shack, things have already been decided, including a concrete schedule. Also including, of course, the equipment stored there.”

“L-Lies.”

“Aw, don’t make that face. The facial expressions of the markless are so hard to read, but that face they make when contemplating their helplessness alone is different. It’s so obvious I can’t help but smile.”

The Orc spread out his hands, spun a cane around, and put on a silk hat, both of which seemed to come out of nowhere. “Well there you have it, Miss Naigrat. This town is our stage, so it would be best to avoid foolish actions like deploying the fairies without permission. The treatment your cute, precious dolls will receive once they leave your hands… being as wise as you are, I’m sure you understand the right decision.”

With that, the men went off towards the command room, led by the Orc, who stopped just short of bursting out in laughter.


“… whew, the Winged Guard’s more rotten than I thought up there,” Aiseia mumbled.

“Eh?” Tiat raised her head.

“It’s possible that they were forced to agree to a contract before knowing that it would be this large scale. Like doing a little dirty work just to make some extra spending cash but then realizing that it’s gone too far to turn back,” Lantolq added on.

“Ehh?” Tiat looked over at her.

“So basically, Elpis is confident that they can clean up the Beasts rampaging around right now and look cool, right? … it’s kind of frustrating, but if they can do it, then maybe that’s fine,” Lakish said.

“Ehhhhh!?” Tiat screamed. “L-L-Lakish, did you understand all that talk!?”

“Y-Yeah… not the difficult parts, but I think I got the general picture, maybe…”

“I’m that only one that didn’t get it!?”

“I-It’s okay, I’ll explain it now, so calm down.” Lakish pushed back Tiat, who looked just about ready to latch on to her. “Let’s see, you know Elpis, right? On the 13th Floating Island, sort of like a slightly distant neighbor country to here. Well, technically a city state.”

“Yeah, the country that’s always mean in ‘The Flames of Elpis and Shadows of Pitos’, right?”

“Well, yes, but forget about your impression from crystal movies. Anyways, Elpis, uh… this is just a guess, but they probably want to start a war.”

“Why,” Tiat said with a face of complete not understanding.

Lakish looked over to Aiseia, who continued the explanation.

“You see, war has this magical effect that can postpone all the problems within a country. For example, no matter how much you and your neighbors hate each other, if someone with an axe might come and attack at any time, you can’t afford to be fighting with your neighbors, right? Also, even if you’re poor or hungry, in a kill or be killed situation, there’s no room for complaining. The existence of an external enemy obscures any internal problems.”

As she explained, Aiseia made a scowl fitting of the unpleasant topic. “But when peace returns, so do all those problems that were swept under the rug. When no guys with axes are coming to attack you, you can’t help but remember how much you hate your neighbors. When it comes to that, there are two choices, both of which lead to the same outcome. Either start a war with your neighbors, or find another external enemy to start a war with.”

“… is getting along with your neighbors not a choice?” Tiat asked timidly.

“It is. You just gotta find your next enemy. Until recently, the Teimerre served as that external enemy, so, in general, everyone in Regul Aire got along. But now that word is out that the Teimerre won’t be showing up for a while, some countries are beginning to remember ‘oh yeah I actually used to hate those guys’. And the one country among those which immediately took action is Elpis.

They chose a pretty clever method too. If they simply attacked their neighbors, they would be known as a threat to the peace of Regul Aire and made into a new external enemy. So they changed their approach. They called in an enemy from outside and let them go wild in their neighbor’s backyard. Then all they have to do is walk into their neighbor’s backyard and valiantly slay the intruders. Their neighbors will thank them and willingly come under their control and everyone lives happily ever after.” Aiseia clapped sarcastically.

“So basically, they’re the ones who brought in the bad guys, but they’re going to play the hero and force others to be indebted to them?!” Tiat exclaimed.

“Oh, yes that’s exactly it. You catch on pretty fast, huh.”

“B-But, being the hero is the Winged Guard’s job, right!? Someone else can’t just take it.”

“They took care of that first. If the Winged Guard, who are supposed to be the heroes, can’t be of any use, then Elpis can swoop in and save the day, stealing all of the public trust that the Winged Guard’s built up over the years.”

“But… that’s…” All out of questions, Tiat fell silent.

With nothing more to explain, Aiseia and Lakish followed suit.


“There you are.” With light and swift footsteps unbefitting of his giant body, Limeskin came running down the hallway. “Naigrat. Return the fairies to their rooms.”

“… yes, I know,” Naigrat answered softly.

“Wait a second. Don’t tell me you’re planning to do as they said!” Lantolq stepped in between the two.

“That is exactly right. That is my superiors’ orders, and also one method to end this danger with the least possible damage,” Limeskin answered.

“But, in order to not let them have their way, we need to make it so that their weapons don’t produce the results they’re hoping for. Also, if we go out now, we might be able to reduce the damage to the city, even if just a little bit,” Lantolq protested.

“And then you guys might suffer more than just a little bit of damage,” Naigrat said, her voice sounding almost like that of a frightened kitten. “We’ve continued to send you guys out to battle all this time because we had no other choice. No one else but you guys could stand on that battlefield. If that weren’t the case, I never would have let you do anything so dangerous. But…”

Strength returned to Naigrat’s eyes. “This is not one of those battlefields. This is no more than a hunting ground for Elpis to release, fight, and capture their own prey. There’s no reason for you guys to have to risk your lives for this.”

“Then everything will go as they planned, you know? Are you going to just keep quiet and let them crush the fairy warehouse?”

“Of course not. I’ll resist until the very end. But that’s my battle, not something for you guys to shed blood over.”

“Hmph.” Meanwhile, Limeskin nodded with a somewhat calm face. “I will ask one question. Has the guidance of the wind reached the caverns of your hearts?”

“… what?” An utterly incomprehensible lizard line came out of nowhere for the first time in a while.

“A single blade does not choose its battlefield on its own. If there is a battlefield one wishes for, one must be a warrior. In one’s fingers gripping the hilt, in one’s arms supporting the blade, one must carry the wind.”

“… um…?” It was no use. Lantolq had no idea what he was trying to say. “Aiseia.” Poking her friend sitting beside her with her elbow, she whispered, “You know a lot of weird random things. Do you get what he’s talking about?”

“You’re the one who’s studied ancient languages and stuff,” Aiseia whispered back. “You’re more qualified than me when it comes to different cultures.”

“I just do it for fun, I’m not actually good at it. All that reading isn’t being of any use right now.”

“Well I have no idea what’s going on either.”

“… um, First Officer Limeskin.” As the older ones went back and forth with each other, Tiat took half a step forward. “We love this city. Does that count as a reason?”

“Should you fall here, the next land to come under attack will be further hurt. Do you understand that?”

“No, not really, sir.”

“Hm?”

“But if Kutori were here, I’m sure she’d say this. Who cares about the next place? A fairy soldier fights for what’s important. No matter the reason, I can’t run away in such a crucial moment… something like that.”

Naigrat gulped. Aiseia made a weird noise. Lantolq gawked silently with eyes wide open. Lakish alone showed no signs of surprise.

“One who chases after the back of a warrior will one day grow up to be a warrior as well… I see.” Limeskin, perhaps in a cheerful mood, emitted an odd sound from his throat. “I grant you permission to attack. However, do not overexert yourselves.”

“First Officer!?” Naigrat exclaimed, almost like a scream.

“There is no way around it. If we force them to stay, they may decide to break orders and move on their own.”

“That’s… true, but…”

“And more than anything, this young warrior has without doubt displayed the wind.” The Reptrace’s giant palm lightly patted Tiat’s hair. “Not just anyone can tie together the wind, nor are they allowed to. That is all.”


As the others notified her beforehand, Lakish stayed behind. Seen off by Lakish’s pale face as Naigrat embraced her with full strength, Lantolq, Aiseia, and Tiat flew off into the morning sky.

Looking down from above, Lantolq realized that she had never flew even once since coming to Collinadiluche. Gazing at the town from a different angle gave her a strange sense of excitement, like being able to peek backstage, or like neatly returning a book to the shelf after enjoying it, then taking a step back and looking at its spine.

However, when she dropped her altitude just a little bit, she could see the wounds infecting the city. Rows and columns of fallen buildings, flat as if cut down in one fell swoop. A single wrecked airship sitting right in the middle. And then, here and there, people lying on the ground, transformed into fountains of blood. Some had red blood, some blue, and some close to colorless. The corpses of a variety of races dotted the streets of town like broken dolls.

To put it objectively, it was quite a ghastly sight. As an extension of their weak sense of fear, the fairies didn’t have a very strong reaction to events or scenes related to death. A few corpses lying around wouldn’t be enough to evoke any fright or similar emotions. That being said, such a sight overflowing with irrational death and destruction naturally made her angry.

“Ah! Over there, over there! The new weapons!” Tiat exclaimed, her whole body showing the excitement at her big discovery.

Turning to where she pointed, Lantolq spotted a giant suit of metal armor walking down a large avenue below them. It looked big enough to fit two or three giants the size of Limeskin. From its awkward movements, though, she could tell that whatever was inside didn’t seem to be an actual Giant.

A few Aurora noticed the giant armor suit’s presence and attacked. Using their countless hairs, they crawled up to the armor’s feet in the blink of an eye, then attached onto its shins, like leeches in a swamp. However, their needles, supposedly strong enough to pierce steel when hardened, bounced right off the armor, and the Beasts were thrown back onto the stone pavement. A moment later, a colossal war hammer crushed them to bits.

“It’s… a bit stronger than I expected,” Aiseia commented.

“I agree completely,” Lantolq said.

Until just recently, she had thought of the guys from Elpis as arrogant fools. She figured that they didn’t actually know anything about the Beasts and had no actual evidence to back up their confidence of victory. However, she seemed to have been mistaken.

The metal armor suit bore a constant covering of intensely ignited Venom, and so did the war hammer. Beasts couldn’t be destroyed by normal means, and furthermore didn’t take any appreciable damage from anything other than a Venom attack powerful enough to send their body systems into disarray. For that reason, the combination of the Leprechauns and their Dug Weapons had been considered necessary for defeating the Beasts. But before Lantolq’s eyes, that metal suit continued to output Venom rivalling that of a Dug Weapon wielding Leprechaun.

“That could really be an anti-Beast trump card…” she murmured.

What piqued Lantolq’s curiosity was the source of the armor’s Venom, that force on the opposite end of the spectrum from life. Those closer to death could wield stronger Venom. If the armor suit were a mere machine with nothing inside, it shouldn’t have been able to use any Venom in the first place. On the other hand, Lantolq couldn’t imagine that a race muscular enough to freely move around while wearing that suit would be deficient enough in life force to use Venom either.

This power… it even rivals the output at the instant of the opening of the gate to the fairy homeland. The phenomenon known as the gate to the fairy world, a type of self destruction resulting from a Leprechaun, a very unstable existence, igniting Venom beyond her limit. The literally explosive amount of Venom obtained instantaneously could vaporize any Beast who bathed in the heat directly. To say the least, it wasn’t something that could be replicated with technology and engineering.

How in the world… Unfortunately, it wasn’t the type of problem that thinking alone could solve. There was probably some cutting edge technology incomprehensible to an amateur like Lantolq at work. But still, she couldn’t help but ponder.

She spotted objects which looked like droplets of light pouring out from the area around the armor suit’s right elbow. It looked familiar, but, before she had time to remember where she had seen it, a Beast bit onto the suit’s right arm, transformed its countless body hairs into needles, then pierced. The Venom defense failed to withstand the attack. Penetrated by myriad thorns, the armor plating, most likely forged from steel, weakened and split apart.

“Ah…”

The contents of the armor suit spilled out. Hovering in the sky some distance away, Lantolq still clearly saw it: a large number of the same droplets of light from earlier, and, inside of them, some kind of soft water blue object.

“… eh?”

The next instant after she thought she saw them, they disappeared. As for the armor suit, even after losing one arm, it didn’t stop moving. After re-adjusting its grip on the war hammer with its right hand, it brought it down and crushed the Beast who just ripped off its left arm with a fluid motion that almost made it seem like the wound didn’t have even the slightest effect.

“Just now…”

She only saw it for a split second. In that split second, she could guess what it was. But that split second wasn’t enough to be certain.

“No…”

No doubt, it served as the root of the armor suit’s strength. A top secret among top secrets. If what Lantolq just thought of were true, why the armor could ignite and manipulate such an immense amount of Venom could be easily explained.

— No… could it… really be? But no, that’s a complete violation of the Constitution. Even if they may obtain that authority in the near future, they don’t have the permission now.

Reality and imagination, things she wanted to believe and things she didn’t, they all mixed into a jumbled mess inside her head, and, for just one moment, Lantolq’s mind turned blank.

Meanwhile, Willem was situated in a place even closer to the metal armor suit than Lantolq, and this place also provided him a clearer view of the ruptured right arm. As a result, he could see everything that happened in that split second when that thing in the armor fractured into light and disappeared. It was enough to know everything.

Inside the right arm of the metal armor suit, there was one small girl, bound to the armor’s rivets by countless threads. She had bright blue hair the color of water. Moreover, her hornless and fangless appearance matched that of a markless. Due to a black mask, Willem couldn’t see her face. Her entire body had been faintly emitting light. Her entire body had also been pierced by the Aurora. Her over-ignited Venom had been running berserk. Put together, those two made for a fatal combination. He instantly knew that the girl could never be saved.

And then, the light glowed noticeably stronger. Then burst. And disappeared. The figure of the little girl was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished from the world for eternity. Then, suddenly, Willem got that intense headache again.

— If… this is a hypothetical question, okay?

If I were to die in five days, would you be a little nicer to me?

A voice. Willem heard a voice that should have been locked in a box and sunken to the deep, deep depths of his mind.

— If you were going to die, you at least wouldn’t want to disappear, right? You would want to be remembered by someone. To have a connection with someone.

“Ah…”

Fog blanketed his memory. He couldn’t recall the face of that girl who spoke those words. The strong feeling that it was something he must not remember blocked his memories from fully replaying.

— Then, what about butter cake?

Blue hair. She had blue hair the color of a clear, cloudless sky. Her eyes bore the deep blue of the ocean. She wasn’t honest at all yet honest at the same time, always put others before herself yet was incredibly selfish. She had that kind of contradicting, impossible to understand personality, but she seemed to be confused at herself too, which meant that there was someone who just recently made her that way.

— W-Wait! Ow! It hurts! I can’t breathe! This is embarrassing! I’m covered in dirt and scratches and I haven’t taken a bath and everyone’s looking — are you listening!?

No. The water blue that Willem saw for a split second just now wasn’t the same as the sky blue from his memory. That life that he just witnessed disappear before his eyes was not her’s. Obviously. She was already gone.

— I did… I really did…

Willem had wanted to make her happy. He had wanted to cling onto that wish. He had wanted to forget that past and only think about the present and the future. But then, just like now, in the next moment after he made those wishes, he lost both that present and that future.

— Thank you.

That water blue was not her. There was no doubt about it. That little girl was a completely different fairy, but the trigger was strong enough. He had already started to remember. Kutori Nota Seniolis, the girl who wished to be remembered by someone even after she had gone.

“Damn… it…”

A curse escaped his lips, but who was it aimed at? At himself who had forgotten about her? At himself who couldn’t maintain his body without forgetting about her? At himself who had now passed the point of no return due to the fragments of his sealed memory surfacing? Or all of them at the same time?

“Willem!” Elq came running over.

“Don’t come!”

“It’s okay. There aren’t any of those Beasts around us anymore.”

“No, not that! There’s one right here!”

Her leather shoes scraping against the ground, Elq stopped mid sprint and stood still. “Willem, don’t tell me…”

“I’m right on the border. I might still be able to turn back now,” he answered in a groaning voice.

He wasn’t just saying that to act strong. The seal that Nils Didek, that good for nothing master who was still living for some reason which Willem couldn’t understand at all, applied to his memory was strong and flexible. Willem Kumesh was on the verge of becoming a mere Beast. His spirit or soul or whatever had mixed with the substance which fell off of the Shiantor, resulting in a transformation of his physical body. His external appearance hardly changed at all, but, on the inside, he had already stepped outside the framework of normal life.

Nil’s seal essentially separated the milk tea inside a cup into two distinct and stable sections of milk and tea. Being stable, some moderate shaking wouldn’t be enough to disrupt the balance. As long as Willem didn’t put a spoon into the cup and mix everything up, the memories that had resurged just now would have eventually faded into oblivion. Then, once that happened, everything would go back to normal. He would be able to return to those leisurely days in the inn.

But it wasn’t too late. He could still turn back. He just needed to wish for it.

“Willem.”

“Don’t come.”

He stood up and patted all over his body, checking its condition. There didn’t seem to be any major problems. He couldn’t see very much due to one eye being closed shut, and his head was overcome with dizzying pain as if someone was banging on a giant bell in there as always, but his four limbs moved. He still had the bones and muscles of an Emnetwyte. Taking a deep breath and exhaling confirmed that his lungs and diaphragm were in order as well. He could still use all his techniques as usual.

“Wait,” Elq protested.

“Go back to Carmine Lake, Elq Harksten,” Willem ordered sharply as he turned his back to her. “I’m thankful that you stuck with me until now. Now it’s time for you to go where you belong.”

“But…”

“Please, do as I say.” He turned his head around to look at her and let out a cackling laugh. “I can’t bring anyone along with me from here on.”

“Willem!”

Without answering that last plead, he faced forward again.

 

What am I? Willem thought to himself. An Emnetwyte. Former Quasi Brave. No specialized Kaliyon. Second Enchanted Weapons Technician of the Winged Guard. Just a decoration. The manager of the fairy warehouse.

The world ended long, long ago. The story of the Braves came to a conclusion in the distant past. So now, what am I doing here?

He couldn’t remain himself for much longer. In that short interval, he needed to do all that he could. He had no time to be dwelling on the past. The Beasts seemed to have some method of sharing information with each other, for they all came from their original places scattered around the city to gather around their newfound enemy, the metal armor suit.

Each time the armor swung its hammer, the number of Beasts decreased by one. While there was a large gap in numbers, it was clear who had more raw strength. Not many methods existed for facing the overwhelmingly unreasonable enemies that the Beasts were, but an overwhelming amount of Venom was one of them. While working at full strength, such Venom could not only stand toe to toe with the Beasts, but even overwhelm them.

As time passed, the Aurora steadily disappeared.

“That sure is strong,” Willem muttered.

He could form a general guess as to just what, exactly, the metal armor was. A new anti-Beast weapon developed by some army organization, by constantly utilizing a ridiculously overwhelming amount of Venom in both offense and defense, it could both endure the Beasts’ attacks and make effective attacks of its own, without relying on the amplification of a Kaliyon. I see. If you can get this stabilized, it’s easier to use than unstable girls wielding swords. It really was a magnificent invention. If he hadn’t caught a glimpse of what was inside, Willem might’ve wanted one for himself.

“Development must’ve been a pain. If word of what they were doing got out before they could explain themselves, everyone involved would’ve gotten sent straight to jail.”

They must have planned meticulously and prepared thoroughly, devoting vast amounts of time and resources. Willem vaguely recalled being struck by similar feelings of admiration once before. That time, he smashed that crystallization of hard work and effort without hesitation, and this time would be no different.

“Sorry, but I can’t let weapons like you be used.”

He tore off the eyepatch covering his right eye and opened it wide up, exposing his golden pupil. An ashen gray color filled with fury covered his field of vision.

Looks like my inner Beast is pissed off, Willem thought. Destroy erase return send them home crumble — an intense urge to destroy welled up from within, along with an endless flurry of words. But, since he had prepared his mind beforehand, he could resist. For about five minutes, he could move this body while maintaining his own will as Willem Kumesh.

Demolishing Nightingale Dash. With a full force descent forward, Willem closed the distance between him and the metal armor in the blink of an eye. For once I agree with this voice. Let’s reduce this guy to sand. The armor suit, appearing to have recognized Willem as an enemy, brought its war hammer down with terrifying speed and unthinkable strength. After a brief pause, a violent gust of wind followed the hammer’s path.

Damn, that’s scary.

While watching his bangs fluttering around, Willem took the last step forward. That small space of a little over half a step provided the perfect distance. Throwing his body into the air, he spun once horizontally to build momentum, then pummeled his fist into one of the joints of the armor suit.

A noise like an iron board smacking against oil rang throughout the air. The Venom from the armor, its pressure raised explosively for one instant, tried to force his fist away. Ignoring the intense pain of his skin melting and flesh burning, Willem continued to push his fist forward. When his arm was jammed into the armor up to the elbow, he grabbed onto the thing inside, then, while snapping countless threads, pulled it out.

A young girl with dandelion yellow hair came out. As Willem expected, she was already deep into a berserk state as a result of igniting an excess amount of Venom. Her entire body emitted faint light. She could explode at any moment.

“Do you want the pain to end?” Willem asked, although he didn’t think she could hear him anyway.

The girl smiled faintly, or at least Willem felt like she did. He put his finger to the girl’s chest, then, in a gap between heartbeats, lightly pushed inward. Her heart, having its rhythm disrupted with fatal timing, stopped in an instant. With the flow of blood ceased, the Venom could no longer continue to run berserk. The Leprechaun girl, name unknown to him, passed away silently.

No longer able to acquire sufficient Venom to operate, the metal armor suit stopped its movements. Willem pulled out one more girl from within the machine and put an end to her life in the same way. With a small clap, the two corpses burst into grains of light and disappeared. Standing amidst the grains as they flowed away in the wind, Willem closed his mouth for a moment, as if to mourn their loss.

Inhale. Exhale. He didn’t know them. They weren’t from the warehouse. In other words, they appeared somewhere in Regul Aire and were captured and used for this weapon before they could be brought to the warehouse. If their luck had been just a tad better, they would’ve been gathered at the fairy warehouse with the other kids and lived a carefree… even if they would still meet the same end as a weapon, their life up until that point would have been relatively fun. But things didn’t turn out that way.

Willem bit down on his lip. This was nothing unusual. From the day he set out to be a Brave, these thoughts and feelings ran through his head time and time again. Whenever he found someone he wanted to save, the situation had already progressed beyond his control.

“… do it.” Glaring at the remnants of the metal armor suit with his right eye, Willem gave permission to the Beast inside him.

With a silent cry of joy, the part of him inherited from the Shiantor was released. Its very existence reverted its surrounding environment to its primal form. In other words, almost anything created after the Visitors’ arrival returned to either a Beast, dirt, or sand. Once, long ago, the Visitors, or more accurately the Poteau who served them, used the vast land with nothing but ashen sand on it as a base ingredient to create a fertile world. But anything created out of that fertile land could still be called back to its original form.

Whoosh.

With an undramatic sound, the broken suit of armor turned into a mere mountain of ashen sand.

Silence had descended on the area. It was only natural, considering that no one in their right mind would want to stay for long in a place with a violent Beast thrashing about. The townspeople had wisely and swiftly evacuated. Looking around, Willem could only spot one figure.

“Lantolq.”

Once he called her name, the girl, as if having steeled her resolve, took a few steps closer. However, she showed no signs of closing the distance any further.

The Kaliyon Historia in her hand faintly emitted light, signaling its battle stance. Willem expected no less from Lantolq.

In general, the fairies, perhaps because of their true nature as children, tended to be trusting. Once they got close to someone, they never doubted that someone no matter what. Lantolq, however, was unusual in that she could make rational decisions… or at least that’s what Willem’s faint memories told him. So now, even after seeing Willem’s face, Lantolq didn’t let her guard down and noticed something irregular… Willem decided to not think about the possibility that she had just hated him from the start.

“Since you’re up here, that means the Plantaginesta made it home safely, huh. I was really worried, you know? What are you doing in this city?”

“What are you talking about? I should be the one asking that. Long time no see, technician.”

“Mhm. Are you by yourself today?”

“I wonder. Maybe others are hiding nearby.”

Not only did Lantolq not hide her suspicion, she even used it to restrain him. Willem was once again impressed by her ability to remain calm and think fast. His usual self could detect the presence of a fairy with no problem. The possibility of others waiting in ambush nearby wouldn’t have any effect as a threat. However, in his current state, talking while enduring a constant headache, things were different.

“Is the talk of the fairy warehouse going away related to this guy?” Willem asked as he lightly kicked the mountain of sand.

“Where did you hear about that?”
He heard it from Nephren when she came to visit the inn. At the time, due to his lack of memories, he didn’t think much of it, but now he understood the meaning of those words.

“A lot happened. Well?”

“You are correct. The Elpis National Defense Force, plotting to steal the authority to fight with the Beasts from the Winged Guard, developed this weapon and is showing it off as something stronger than us.”

Lantolq’s answer basically matched Willem’s predictions, but at the same time surpassed them too. Elpis’ intentions were easy to understand, but, given that they actually produced such a powerful weapon, it was hard to do anything to stop them. Wait, no. There was one way that Willem could think of, although he couldn’t exactly call it a wise way of doing things.

Agh. His headache continued to intensify. As they stood there chatting, his remaining time only decreased. There was no time to be spending on question and answer.

“I have a question too. Up until now, what–”

“Sorry, but I’m gonna have to refuse any long questions. I’ll tell you what you probably want to know most right now.”

“Eh… ah!?” Lantolq took a huge leap back. At the same time, a lamp, bench, and sign which, up until a second ago, had been nearby where Lantolq was standing transformed into ashen sand and crumbled down. “That power… have you really become a Beast!?”

Willem laughed. “A subspecies of Shiantor. Probably.”

“You’re kidding.”

“The Beast inside me is a hulk of homesickness. It wants to take back the world it once lived in. And that desire leads to the desire to annihilate this current world.”

“But…”

“Living in a world where your hometown’s disappeared is pretty rough, you know?”

Lantolq gulped.

“Well, that’s about it for questions. Shall we begin? Miss guardian of Regul Aire–”

Willem cut off his own words and slightly tilted his body. Then, using what remained of his human body to its fullest extent, began to ‘fall’ sideways at top speed. Demolishing Nightingale Dash, one of the pinnacles of wisdom which the Emnetwyte once created and entrusted their fate to.

Observing Lantolq’s breathing, he aimed for a moment in which she wouldn’t be able to react and closed the distance. She can’t react in time, she’s done for… or so Willem was convinced. As always, he stopped a little more than half a step short, then twisted his body. Just like when he killed the two earlier, he aimed for the critical spot in the center of the chest and, going through Lantolq’s blind spots, moved two fingers in for the finishing blow–

He stopped midway. In the narrow gap between Willem and Lantolq, a single large blade had been thrusted in. A tiny burst of heat ran through Willem’s fingertips for a split second. Lantolq’s bangs fluttered.

The Kaliyon, Valgalis.

“Don’t you think doing that just with the two of you is a little lewd?” Right beside Willem, when she got there he had no idea, stood Aiseia with her usual smile. “Can I join in?”

“That’s okay, but I can’t be nice to you, you know?”

“Haha, that response is already nice enough.”

With a flick of her wrist, Aiseia sent Valgalis’ blade into an unnaturally sharp path straight toward Willem’s neck. After bending down to dodge it, the blade, which had been on track to pass overhead, bore straight down.

“Whoa!?”

Rolling backwards, Willem barely dodged the second attack.

“Oh my, dodging that, huh,” Aiseia said, pretending to be surprised. “It hasn’t missed once yet in actual battle.”

“I can see why.” Willem’s mouth stiffened. Sweat streamed down his cheeks. So I can still sweat after becoming a Beast, he thought to himself. “Starting out with an inertial control surprise attack, huh… you seriously have no mercy.”

“Well, truth be told, I am pretty serious about you, technician.” Even as she responded with a joke, Aiseia took no rest and came at him again. He couldn’t feel that much pressure from the Venom on her blade, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt.

“W-Wait, what are you two doing!?” After a few seconds delay, Lantolq let out a scream.

“It’s obvious, isn’t it? I’m accepting the technician’s love.”

“That’s not something for the one on the offensive to say!” Willem shot back.

“I don’t want to hear jokes!”

“Jokes?” After having Valgalis blocked by Willem’s fist, Aiseia crouched down, then, before Willem knew it, had kicked off the stone paving and leaped backwards, opening up distance between them. “We’re not joking, ya know? Lan, you still don’t get why he’s doing this?”

“… eh?”

“You don’t need to tell her too much,” Willem complained.

Aiseia, however, continued, still crouching with one knee on the ground. “He’s giving us a role.”

“I said there’s no need to tell her.”

“The last and strongest fortresses, protecting Regul Aire from the threat of the Beasts. That title drove us off to the battlefield, yet at the same time protected us. The humongous armor suit from earlier is good proof. Now I clearly see how the guys at Elpis want to use us.”

It truly was a magnificent piece of technology. It managed to control all of the enormous amount of Venom resulting from opening the gate to the fairy homeland and running berserk. Instead of ending in a moment’s explosion, the Venom served as fuel sustainable through the machine’s operation. The fairies’ lives met the same end either way, but that way had to be much easier to use them as weapons.

“The technician is going to give us that title once again.” Aiseia looked down slightly. “That giant suit didn’t stand a chance against him — this Beast. If we can defeat this Beast, that proves that our worth on the battlefield cannot be ignored. At the very least, Elpis’ plan will be totally ruined.”

Lantolq let out a gasp before covering her mouth with her hand.

Aiseia slowly stood up as she wiped her eyes. “… he wants to protect the fairy warehouse. And he’s giving his life for it, that idiot.”

“You didn’t need to…” Willem didn’t need his plan to be understood. If he just played his role as an evil Beast needing to be defeated, the rest would have gone smoothly. “… so, you guys. Do you like the little ones at the warehouse?”

“Huh?” Lantolq, caught off guard, opened her eyes wide.

“Hm?” Aiseia tilted her head.

“The reason you fight with your lives on the line, is it to protect them?”

“W…” Lantolq’s face turned bright red. “Who cares about that!?”

Willem burst out laughing. “Ha… haha!” A strong sense of nostalgia came over him. That’s right, he remembered. I once asked Kutori the same question. That time, he heard the exact same answer that Lantolq just gave. “Ahh, you guys. I really… really…” Love you guys. He remembered.

He remembered what he had been trying to do in this world. There were no more battles for him in this world, but if there were those fighting with the same thoughts and feelings as he and his companions once did, then he wanted to at least support them. In place of him, who couldn’t save anyone, he wanted to help them carry out their wish to protect those precious to them.

“Let’s go.”

In his current state, Willem could not ignite Venom. The closer to death one is, the stronger Venom, a force opposite of life, one can ignite. In return, one gets dragged closer to death at an accelerating rate. On the other side of things, those far from death don’t go very well together with Venom. For example, Limeskin and Naigrat, being born as strong and tough races, couldn’t even ignite any Venom in the first place.

Willem’s body had already ceased to be that of an Emnetwyte. It was questionable whether death even awaited him down the road anymore. Because of that, he could no longer ignite Venom. On top of that, he was unarmed, meaning the only weapons available to him were the martial techniques he acquired over the years and his ability as a Beast to turn his opponent to ashes. The latter, however, probably wouldn’t work very effectively against the fairies, who didn’t strictly have a physical body. His human skills were the only thing he could rely on.

This’ll be a hard battle, but I’ll do my best. This time for sure I’ll put an end to my fight. Taking in a deep breath, Willem slid his body. Blazing Sun Walk. Detecting the danger, Aiseia’s sword suppressed the surrounding air with traces of lightning. Willem slipped through all that and completely closed the distance between them. He spotted Lantolq starting to move just a tad later, but she wouldn’t make it in time. His right elbow aimed for Aiseia’s chin, while his left fist aimed for her side. Aiseia let go of Valgalis. Having suddenly let go of the heavy object she had been in the middle of swinging around, her posture of course collapsed, causing Willem’s elbow and fist to miss their targets slightly. Aiseia’s hand reached out and grabbed Willem’s hair, then pulled his entire head towards her chest. He couldn’t swat her hand away, as her Venom greatly strengthened her arms.

“Lan!” Aiseia screamed. “Quickly!”

“U–”

Even as she carried doubts, Lantolq began moving to do what she needed to do. Historia’s tip pierced straight into Willem’s stomach. The Venom infused blade sunk deeper and deeper into his abdomen, ripping apart flesh as it went. Red blood gushed out. Lantolq’s face contorted, as if she were about to cry, and the strength disappeared from her arm.

“Ah… ah…”

“Is that all?” Willem pressed his fist against Aiseia’s chest and pounded in a blow from above her Venom defense. Her lungs crushed, Aiseia silently writhed in agony and loosened her grip on Willem’s head.

“There are two things that Aiseia forgot to mention. If you guys aren’t strong enough, then you die here and this is the end. This is a common saying, but it’s better to die now than to suffer later.” Willem pushed Aiseia away and grabbed the blade of Historia stuck inside his stomach. “One more thing, I’m already a Beast. My sense of self that’s allowing me to talk like this will soon disappear. If you can’t defeat me, you’re gonna need to sink the 11th Island.”

Lantolq’s face further twisted in pain. She pulled out Historia, revealing a blade dripping wet with red. Then, she took a large swing. Her movements were slow. Full of gaps. Willem could aim and strike wherever he wanted.

She wants me to attack? Willem sent a punch with his left fist and a kick with his right leg at her. Neither were intended to be true attacks, but rather counter provocations meant to draw out Lantolq’s real intentions. She twisted her body, evading the trajectories of his attacks, then put all her momentum into Historia’s swing.

A fierce wind bearing the sharpness of an executioner’s blade roared past Willem’s head.

“I see,” Willem, who had crept up behind Lantolq, whispered into her ears. “Glad to see your doubts have disappeared. But, if that’s the best you can do, there’s no way I’m gonna be–”

“Ahhhhh!!”

Closeby, he heard the mighty yet cute war cry of a third fairy.

— wha?

Tiat. Ah, that’s right. I had forgotten. Even though it was none other than me who first took her to this city. This girl is also a fairy soldier. A Kaliyon wielding guardian of Regul Aire. A proper successor to us Braves.

— Ignareo!

The Kaliyon which Tiat held, Ignareo, was by no means a high class sword. At best, it was a standard sword just a little better than the mass produced models. It’s personalized Talent did nothing more than make the sword not stand out.

— She’s already gotten the hang of it? How did she grow so fast!?

Of course, this was the result of Willem devoting all his attention to Aiseia and Lantolq. His ceaseless headache probably didn’t help either. But even so, being able to get so close without being noticed by Willem at all deserved some admiration.

In the first place, the Talent of a sword was not something that could be understood right away. If one didn’t sincerely sit face to face with one’s sword, it was impossible to even get a feeling of what to do or what would happen. She’ll make a good soldier. Willem remembered the words that a Kikuroppe doctor once mentioned. Ah, you were right. Spot on. You’re a great doctor.

However, Tiat still had one step left. Willem pushed Lantolq away and turned to face the newcomer. She had plenty of momentum and spirit, and no doubts or hesitations dulled her movements. But she had a critical lack of stature, physical strength, technique, and experience. While a complete surprise attack might have gotten through, giving Willem Kumesh enough time to respond to her attack meant that there was no hope le–

“… ah?”

A giant blade seemed to be growing out of Willem’s chest. Its shape looked familiar to him. One of the highest tier ancient holy swords, Seniolis.

— Kutori? No, it can’t be.

Confused thoughts whirling through his head, Willem tried to turn around. His body, however, had stiffened. With painful effort, he managed to turn at least his head around.

“Ah… uh… ah…”

There, he found a face streaked with tears. It was a face he knew well, and also a face he hadn’t been expecting.

“La… kish…?”

“Uah, ah… W-Wil… lem…”

Why is she here? She’s still a little kid… wait, no. That’s wrong. Kids grow up. If you look away for one moment, they change just like that. While Willem had been away, new strength had been growing up one after the other in the fairy warehouse.

“… haha.”

I’m glad, Willem thought. The half broken souls of children who had supported this half broken world up until now. As he thought, they really were strong. Much stronger than him, who had been lost on the road the entire time.

There was no need to worry about the future. Even if he wasn’t with them, even if he couldn’t do anything more for them, they would be fine. He could finally put the final period on this story of a failed Brave, which had continued up until now by repeating meaningless words and passages over and over.

“Not bad. Barely a passing score.” Willem chuckled. Blood poured out from his mouth. “Ahh, but Lakish. For Seniolis’ usage, you’re still short of full points. If you’re gonna go up against an immortal, then properly use this guy as an immortal killer. It’s pretty amazing. I mean, it managed to seal the Visitor Elq Harksten for five hundred years.”

“Eh…?”

“Watch carefully. This is what you do.”

Willem held his palm to the blade. Kaliyons increase their Venom in response to their opponent’s strength. Willem could no longer ignite Venom, but an excess of power flowed through the inside of Seniolis. All that had to be enough to activate Seniolis’ miracle. One by one, he plucked the spell lines running through the interior of the blade. Soft noises filled the air and harmonized together, making it sound as if he were playing a clumsy lullaby on a harp.

As one of the highest tier ancient holy swords, Seniolis was said to be of especially superior quality among the vast number of Kaliyons. As a result, only an extremely limited number of people could wield it. The conditions, when properly written out, would go something like this. One who had no place to call home, one who had given up on returning to the place where they longed to return to, one who had completely thrown out his future. Only then could one be qualified to wield Seniolis.

Not just one whose life was fraught with tragedy. Not just one who had conquered tragedy. Not just one who held no hope. Not just one who had thrown away hope. Only one who had a strongly desired future but accepted that such a future would never be obtainable could pick up this blade and reach out to a different future.

The fissures in the large blade widened. Faint light flowed out from the gaps. The personalized Talent of Seniolis, the mightiest Kaliyon in the human world, had revealed itself. That power, the power to bring death to anything and everything, accepted no exceptions, even immortal beings. The faint light gradually weakened, then disappeared.

“Technician…?” Lantolq looked up and murmured softly.

“Willem…?” With no one to bring the Ignareo she held above her head down on, Tiat blankly called his name.

“Uuu… uaaahh…” Lakish simply cried and cried.

Idiots. Willem could no longer use his voice, so he chuckled bitterly in his mind. You guys won. You defeated a dangerous Beast and saved the island. You are heroes. You proved your worth. You secured your future with your own hands.

So be happy. Rejoice. If you guys are just gonna cry, why am I here on the ground about to die? This is all Aiseia’s fault. She spoiled everything, so my plan to become the villain was all ruined.

Ahh, damn it. A failure up until the very end. Why does nothing I try to do ever go well?

— That’s fine, isn’t it? Always desperately trying your best, that’s more like you.

He felt like someone giggled at him. It was a voice he shouldn’t have been able to hear. He knew it had to be a hallucination. But still, he was glad to hear her voice one last time.

He had many words he wanted to say to her. Many feelings he wanted to convey. But he had neither the time nor the composure to do so.

Thank you.

All he could do was utter those mere two words inside his head.

Suddenly, his field of view turned pitch black, as if a curtain had been drawn over it. A floating sensation enveloped him. He felt as if he had begun an eternal fall into an endless abyss. Deeper and deeper he went into a vast darkness.


Meanwhile, on the 2nd Floating Island, Nephren abruptly turned around. Before her lay a truly bizarre garden in which the four seasons had been mixed and jumbled together. And beyond that lay only the blue sky, rolling on and on forever and ever in every which way.

“What’s wrong?” the Great Sage asked.

Nephren didn’t answer. Instead, she muttered, “… that idiot.”

A single, small droplet streamed down her cheek before falling to the ground.

 

update

The next part might take a while. To be honest I’ve been staying late at school studying everyday and haven’t had the energy to translate when I get back. Hopefully I can use the weekend to get back in the habit. Sorry for the inconvenience.

[Shuumatsu] V5 C4 In This Twilight World, Even Now P3

That Morning

At that moment, Naigrat was faced with a decision of extreme gravity, the likes of which she had only come across less than ten times in her entire life: a sandwich with thickly sliced bacon, or a milk stew with chamo cow liver. Which one should she choose for her breakfast?

She already knew that the bacon sandwich here was top notch, but the problem lied in the fact that she had never heard of a chamo cow. Liver tended to differ greatly from restaurant to restaurant, so, in essence, ordering the stew would be a bit of an adventure.

Eating is living. Choosing what to eat is equivalent to choosing how to live.

“Ughhh…”

With a dead serious face, Naigrat glared at the breakfast menu.


At that moment, Lantolq was deep in thought. Spacing out with her eyes on her Dug Weapon, she thought and thought in attempt to resolve her adolescent troubles. What were they? Where did they come from, and where did they go? And once gone, that cycle repeated over and over again naturally. What should they do?

Suddenly being told that they were fragments of a god, she of course found it hard to believe yet, at the same time, for some reason, also extremely persuasive. Rather than gaining new knowledge, she felt as if something which had been lurking at the bottom of her stomach for many years had been translated into words. She couldn’t deny it, but, what in the world should she do?

I wanted to be like Kutori, Lantolq thought for the first time. Kutori threw away things like the reason she was born as a Leprechaun or the reason she had lived so far and held her own reason to live on. She found that reason and lived a proper life. Lantolq knew it wasn’t something to casually aspire after, but, still, she couldn’t help but be envious of that strength.


At that moment, Aiseia was reading a book. To be specific, she was reading a cheap fiction novel, not related in any way to the important books stored in the Grand Library. She bought it at a bookstore in town just the other day. The new brand new seventh volume of “The Torn Triangle”, it, like its prequels, told of people devoting their hearts to cheating and adultery in the name of true love.

But it was exactly in times like these, reading such exaggeratingly comical stories, that she could really look at herself and the other fairies objectively — that’s what was running through Aiseia’s head. Almost all of the romantic relationships appearing in the book ended in disaster. A love in which finding happiness is forbidden ends in a way where no one finds happiness. She felt a strange sense of closeness with that theme.

“Haha.”

The main female character found her sixth adultery partner, counting from the first volume. He happened to be a junior to her third partner and, perhaps trying to make a personality for himself, always stuck a strange ending onto everything he said.

“Sixth guy, huh…” she murmured with a laugh. “If there was little more time, maybe I could’ve slipped in too…”


At that moment, Grick was on the west coast of the 13th Floating Island, in the harbor district of the Elpis Mercantile Federation. On the surface, he was there as a pilot hired by an influential merchant from Collinadiluche, and, in secret, he was there to gather intelligence on the various merchant groups and large movements of money within the country. Someone high up in the Winged Guard, apparently even higher than Baroni Makish, had requested him to do the job. Since the gray haired young lady, Nephren, said that she was fine alone, he didn’t need to forcefully stay by her side, so he accepted.

“I don’t think I’m very suited for this though…”

After all, why should a salvager who dedicated his heart to the treasures of the land have to be stuck observing some stranger’s back up in the sky? He had complaints, but, of course, no man abandons work he already accepted.

Sighing internally and taking a look around, he spotted a few curious faces. A few wealthy merchants hailing from Elpis but residing in Collinadiluche were coming into the 13th Island, all separately.

Could there be some kind of big conference? No, if that were the case, merchants from other islands would be here too. Why are a bunch of merchants all from the same city coming here as if they planned to meet beforehand… or maybe they did plan beforehand.

The merchants almost seemed like birds escaping from a sinking ship.

“… no, it can’t be…”

Grick got a bad feeling.

At that moment, Nephren was aboard an airship bound for the 2nd Floating Island.

“I met your friend,” an old man said without the least bit of a smile.

At the meeting with Naigrat earlier, the man called himself an advisor to the Winged Guard. In truth, though, he was none other than the Great Sage Suwon Candel, the creator of Regul Aire and its eternal guardian. Upon some consideration, Nephren realized how amazing it was to meet face to face with a legendary figure. However, feelings of admiration did not stir inside her as much as she expected. That was probably, or actually most definitely, because of Willem. After being around him for so long, she had gotten used to the non-amazingness of amazing people and the amazingness of non-amazing people.

“Friend?” she asked.

“I didn’t get her name. She had long blue hair, and seemed strong on the inside.”

“Ah.” Nephren quickly understood that it had to be Ran.

“She was a good girl. She was trying to live with all her might.”

“?”
Nephren didn’t understand what the old man was saying. Obviously, a living being lives with all its might. The Leprechauns were no different, despite not technically being alive.

She heard that many more of her friends besides Naigrat were currently in Collinadiluche. However, she ended up here on this airship without seeing any of them.

“I suppose you wanted to meet her?” the old man asked.

“Of course. But I understand why you don’t want to let me.”

Now that the fairy warehouse had gathered so much attention, if Nephren went anywhere near it, her irregular existence would be discovered by multiple parties. That spill of information presented a great risk which would no doubt negatively affect future developments. If she really insisted on meeting them, she probably could have gone in secret. However, setting aside Lan and Aiseia, Tiat and Lakish really didn’t seem like they would be able to keep quiet about Nephren forever. And, even if they did, she didn’t want to force them to carry such a heavy secret.

“If they’re doing fine, then that’s good enough,” Nephren said.

“Ahh, how strong… I think I might cry.”

Nephren swatted away the floating fish who suddenly decided to appear.

Outside the window, far in the distance, Nephren spotted a giant flower pot made of black quartz floating through the air.

“… could that interesting object be the 2nd Floating Island?”

“That’s right.”

“The person you want me to meet is there?”

“That’s right. He’s not a person though.”

Nephren once read in a book about one of the few secluded regions left in Regul Aire. Called the Heart of the World Tree, it supposedly hid great secrets within.

“Oh my, what a nostalgic presence. I see he’s holed himself up in another rather grand place.”

Nephren swatted away the floating fish once again.


At that moment, Willem and Elq were out grocery shopping.

The hustle and bustle of morning started very early in the city of Collinadiluche. The morning grocery market served as one of the main causes of this. Numerous stalls packed tightly into a few plazas, all displaying fresh goods in front: beans, vegetables, salad, meat, potatoes, eggs, bread, ice, chicken, spices. And lastly, of course, there were the hordes of customers, overflowing with energy.

Willem looked down at his shopping list. Today, he needed to buy a bit more ingredients than usual, so taking a moment to think first seemed like it would be much more efficient than simply wandering around the stalls without a plan.

“Hey, hey Willem! What’s that? Is it food?” Elq tugged at his sleeve, pointing to a stall with stones of various colors out for display.

“Not a food, more like a utensil. Some Reptrace put that in their stomachs to grind down their food instead of chewing with their teeths.

“Ohh…” Elq stared with sparkling eyes, as if the stones had precious gems.

“Don’t get any funny ideas. When it comes to bodily functions, the race wall is mercilessly thick.”

“Aww…”

Elq looked disappointed, but, no matter how much she begged, this was one thing that Willem could never let her try. At the very least, it would lead to a rather upset stomach. At worst, it could lead to death.

“Then… oh, what’s that? What is it? Can I try too?”

“That’s exactly what it looks like: wood. Doesn’t go too well with your stomach or mine.”

“Aww…”

Her voice sounded disappointed again, but her eyes soon began darting around the market, searching for the next interesting object. Willem figured it would be best to finish up their business before she found anything too weird.

“Ah.”

“Hm?”

However, right after that thought passed through Willem’s head, Elq’s eyes stopped. Their gaze focused on not a stall in the market but a regular shop beyond, an old hat shop. Following her gaze closer, Willem saw that the thing which captured her attention was a large brimmed hat displayed through the window.

“Hm? You want that?” he asked.

The clothes Elq now wore were apparently those worn by Astaltus’ daughter at a young age. At the moment, she had also borrowed a hat whose color matched her outfit. Willem thought her clothes looked perfectly fine on her, but, if Elq wanted to be more fashionable, then he didn’t want to stop her.

“Eh… n-no–”

“No need to hold back. It’s not that expensive, I’ll get it for you. Since I don’t spend too much usually, I have quite a bit saved up.”

“No, I don’t want it. Really, it’s something else!” Elq shook her head rapidly.

“I see.” It was a bit unfortunate, but he had no choice but to give up after hearing her deny so much. “In that case, I guess we’ll finish up our shopping without any detours.”

“O… kay.”

Once again, he set out amongst the sea of people. Elq followed close behind, but once every few seconds she turned around. She obviously still had interest in that hat. Maybe I should buy it in secret and give it as a present, Willem thought. It might be hard to find time to go buy it without Elq noticing, but he figured it was worth a shot.

Then, one moment, for no real reason, Willem looked up at the sky. He spotted a single middle sized airship leisurely hovering above. By itself, that didn’t present a very unusual scene. After all, Collinadiluche originally developed as a trading town, so many airships constantly flew in and out of the harbor district. At any given time, day or night, not finding anything at all flying through the sky would probably be more rare.

Despite that, Willem got a strange feeling about that airship hovering above. Something just felt… off. He couldn’t explain it very well. To raise an example, its altitude was oddly low, not low enough that it risked crashing into any buildings, but still low enough that Willem could make out the organization name written on the ship’s hull. In addition, that name gave off a rather strange impression: The Order of Annihilation Service History.

The name sounded so much like a joke that Willem couldn’t help but read it over and over again. Also, for some reason, he felt like he had heard it before. He began to feel his head hurting a tiny bit as well. Could it have some connection to his past? He wanted to believe that he never belonged to an organization with such an embarrassing name.

“Willem? What’s wrong?”

A tug on the sleeve pulled Willem out of his thoughts and back into reality. “Ah, it’s nothing.” He returned his gaze from the sky back to earth. “Let’s get going. If we don’t hurry up, we’ll miss all the good meat, and Astaltus will probably be disappointed.”

“No doubt about that.”

The two of them laughed.

Boom.

“Huh?”

Instinctively, Willem returned his gaze to the sky. He spotted black smoke gushing out of the bottom of that airship, from the area near the burning spell reactor. After a moment’s delay, someone let out a scream, then, after another moment, a collective scream rose up from the crowd. Within seconds, a panic broke out. The airship lost its balance, its ability to keep afloat clearly damaged. From the eyes of anyone at the scene, it was obvious that the ship would soon fall completely.

In the midst of the chaos, the waves of people threatened to sweep Elq away.

“Stay close!”

“O-Okay!”

Willem stretched out his hand. Their fingertips touched, connecting them as they tried to reel each other in.

Then, once more, he looked up at the sky. The column of black smoke only grew thicker, the airship tilted downward at an accelerating rate, and the ship body began to warp as it failed to support the weight, all while the screams coming from the ground grew ever louder.

Next, Willem saw it. Towards the back of the airship, where stabilizing ballast would usually be piled up, a large rupture had opened, and, out from there, something, obviously not gravel or burlap sacks, poured into the sky.

What is that?

Due to the sun, he couldn’t see it very well, but he could make out a faint silhouette. Overall, the objects took the shape of ribbons, or, to make a comparison, large snakes. However, instead of scales, countless hair like protrusions grew out from their bodies. They were strange animals. Or rather, they were strange things which he didn’t know if he could call animals or not. And, for some reason, their name popped into his head, as if it had welled up from the bottom of his stomach.

“No… they can’t be…”

Apparently, Elq had seen the same thing and arrived at the same possibility. Willem knew those things very well. They had given him memories he would never forget. Even with his memory sealed, his mind and entire body were trying to recall them, those things that once, in a faraway dream, stole everything and anything he held dear.

“Aurora…” he muttered, standing frozen in shock.

 

[Shuumatsu] V5 C4 In This Twilight World, Even Now P2

The Brave and the Visitor

Suddenly, Elq fell over. While they were cleaning a guest’s room, she simply collapsed to the ground, like a string puppet which had its string cut.

“Are you okay!?”

Willem hurried over and held her in his arms. She was cold to the touch. Hardly breathing. She’s like a corpse, he thought, then realized that she really was a corpse, just one that moved around as if living.

A living person would have gotten a fever or started breathing roughly, and he would have been able to discern the severeness of the condition from that. However, he had no idea what to do when it came to corpses. He also couldn’t think of any treatment methods. Calling a doctor seemed pretty useless. What should I do? What can I do?

For the time being, he carried her to the bed and let her sleep, although he didn’t know if that would help anything. He got the feeling that long ago, or perhaps just recently, something similar happened: someone who wouldn’t wake up was lying on a bed, and he was sitting by their side, unable to do anything but shiver. Eventually he couldn’t take it anymore and stood up, convinced that there was something he could do, then went to punch someone.

Ah damn it. If punching someone this time would change Elq’s condition, even with just a slight probability, he would do it without hesitation. However, now, of all times, he couldn’t think of anyone or anything to drive his hardened fist into.

“A wet towel… wait no, is there any point in keeping her cool? Should I warm her up instead? … she’s not going to rot or anything, right?”

He stood up every time he thought of a new idea, only to immediately sit down again. This had been going on for a while. Astaltus told him to forget about work for now and stick with Elq. However, sticking with her while being powerless to do anything actually made him feel worse. I guess I should go back to work. But I don’t want to leave her side. A debate raging in his troubled mind, he stared intently at his palm.

“Uu…”

Upon hearing a faint groan, Willem’s face shot up.

“Wha…?”

He leaned over to take a peek at her face. The color of her skin didn’t look as sickly as before. She also didn’t seem to be in pain. Seeing the lack of any apparent problems, Willem relaxed his expression.

“Yo.” Before revealing his sloppy face, he did his best to smile, activating every muscle in his face. “Finally awake? Work skipping princess.”

“Me…? Wha? Did I fall asleep? What about the cleaning?”

“You suddenly fell down in the middle of it. I was worried, you know?”

“Worried…”

“You’re really cold.”

“Am I?”

While tilting her head, Elq touched her palm to her forehead. Her face remained confused. Well, of course, she couldn’t measure her body temperature by touching it with her own body. Willem put his own hand on top of hers.

“Warm,” she said.

“Like I said, you’re cold. Usually, it’s the opposite for overwork and exhaustion. People get fevers. But you’re not normal, so I have no idea how to treat you. I really panicked. Thought you might never wake up again or something.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“Yes, reflect on your actions. Well, are you all good now?”

“Yeah. I was just a little tired, so, after sleeping, I feel fine.”

Willem felt like his entire body relaxed upon hearing those words. He still had some doubts, like whether that state could really be called just ‘sleeping’, but he didn’t have the energy to pursue that any further.

“I see… is there something you want to drink or anything? Something you want to eat? An apple? Should I peel one?” He asked the spaced out Elq in a gentle voice.

“Warm milk. Something a little sweet.”

“Alright, leave it to me.” He stood up.

“You’re kind of nice today.”

“I’m always nice.”

For some reason, hearing his answer, Elq laughed out loud.

“Here you go.” A sweet scent wafted out from the pot which Willem brought over. Inside was heated milk mixed with a little honey and a pinch of cinnamon. “I made it a little on the warm side, but don’t try to drink it all at once, okay?”

“It would have been fine hot,” Elq pouted as she took a sip. “It’s good.”

“Right? I’ve pretty much understood your taste preferences.”

“Hmph.” Maybe because she interpreted that as meaning a child’s preferences, Elq made a sour face. However, either because she realized that she really did have the tastes of a child, or because she was holding undeniable evidence, she didn’t complain in response. “… um, can I ask you something?”

“Hm?” Willem looked up as he poured seconds from the pot into his empty cup. “What is it?”

“If… this is just a hypothetical situation…”

“No need to make a big deal out of it, just spit it out.”

“If I were to die in five days, would you be a little nicer to me?”

“Huh?” Willem frowned. He got the feeling that he heard those words before. But more importantly, that means… “What are you talking about? Five days is pretty specific… is something wrong?”

Elq’s face clearly read ‘oops’. “Eh? N-No, nothing… sorry, forget about it.” She tightly held her palm against her chest area, right around where the large wound gaped.

“W-Wait, Elq, don’t tell me…”

“I shouldn’t have asked. I thought that maybe I could be the same as Kutori, but I shouldn’t have tried.”

Suddenly, pain shot through area behind Willem’s temples. Memories began trying to surface again.

“Sorry. Let me sleep a bit more.” Hugging her blanket, Elq turned so her back faced Willem.

“Alright. I’ll leave the milk here, so get some yourself.” Suppressing a small headache, Willem left Elq’s room.


Willem and Elq’s rooms were remodeled previously unused rooms in the corner of the inn’s second floor. As he walked down to the first floor, the creaking of the stairs filled the hallways. The inn didn’t usually have very many guests staying the night, but the spacious lounge on the first floor served as a space for customers to enjoy a light meal and some alcohol. In the middle of that lounge, Astaltus sat around a small circular table, drinking from a small glass.

“I heard some talking. Did she wake up?”

“Yeah, apparently she was just tired.”

“That’s good.” Astaltus nodded a few times, a kind smile on his face.

“Wait, didn’t you say you can’t drink? The other day when you declined an offer from a drunk customer. Was that just an excuse?”

“Well, not exactly.” He chuckled in embarrassment. “My drinking habits aren’t too good. It seems like when I drink I go on a rampage. I don’t remember them myself though.”

“Ah… that is pretty bad.”

“My wife and daughter always used to get mad at me, saying that it’s a lot of trouble to calm me down. So, usually, I try my best to not drink. This will be my only drink today.”

“That’s unfortunate. I guess I can’t join you then,” Willem joked with a shrug. Astaltus apologized with a laugh. “But still, I am thirsty. Maybe I’ll have tea instead. You want some too?”

“Yes, I will join you.”

Willem went to the kitchen, scooped some water out of a jar and into a pot, then put it over the crystal stove.

“… about Nils…” Astaltus started.

“Hm?”

“The day he brought you guys here, Nils’ eyes looked very kind. After saying that he would leave the rest to me, he added on ‘I want him to live a normal life this time’.”

“… I see.”

Willem could imagine. He only spoke with Nils for a very brief time, but he understood what kind of man he was to a surprising degree.

“Neither you nor Elq have normal bodies. Also, it seems like you were not born that way… ah, I have confidence in my judgement of meat. I am a troll, after all.”

Willem wished he wouldn’t brag about that.

“I’m guessing you two lived a very rough life of exposing yourselves to harm, and that is now over. Your body and mind are exhausted. If you two can live a different life, then I want you to… that’s probably what Nils wanted to say.”

“So he acts like an actual master when no one’s looking, huh.”
“Hm?”
“Nothing.” Willem didn’t actually know what that self proclaimed master had been to him in the past, but he could tell how importantly Nils treated both him and Elq. So he figured that Astaltus’ speculation was most likely correct… probably. “Well I’m glad for the concern, but that kind of thing is better if you hear it from–” An uncomfortable feeling suddenly clung onto the back of Willem’s neck. “– Hm?”

Did a bug land on me? No, that’s not it. He didn’t recognize that feeling of discomfort grasping at his skin, but he knew its form.

“Are there any guests staying overnight?”
“What’s this all of a sudden? No guests tonight as usual.”

“Did you ever piss off a lot of people?”

“Well… I don’t particularly remember doing anything that would earn me a long lasting grudge.”

Astaltus’ answer felt a bit uncertain, but Willem decided to take it literally for the moment. “So it must be a group robbery or something of the sort.”

He felt a few hostile presences surrounding the inn. It did make for a good target. The inn, which mainly targeted guests traveling along the highway, was just a little separated from nearby villages. Its relatively large size and clean appearance also gave off an impression slightly on the rich side. And of course, the stores of beer and food must have seemed very attractive to starving brigands.

“Oh my, is it already that season?” Astaltus asked.

“Wait, the seasons have nothing to do with this… also, why are you so calm?”

“When spring draws near, those type of people increase.”

You say that like they’re insects…

“You can drink tea or whatever, I’ll handle them,” Astaltus said.

“No, I’m the one being hired, so that won’t do. I’ll handle them, so you just drink some beer… oh wait… I’ll prepare some tea now so drink that.”

“You don’t need to worry. I’m used to it.”

“That’s not a good reason… also, you shouldn’t get used to that.”

Willem stood up. His memory was still as sealed as ever, but, even in this situation, he felt no fear nor nervousness. He even felt a sort of nostalgia, as if returning to an old home. Apparently, he lived in a rather dangerous world before.

“Really, it’s fine,” Astaltus insisted.

“No, no, just take a seat.” Willem cracked his knuckles.


If you want to disable someone in silence, then you must first understand your target’s breathing. That holds when you knock him unconscious and also when you steal his life with a blade. If any air remains in the lungs, it makes sound when it comes out. Even if you knock him unconscious in a single blow, he could emit a sound upon impact with the ground. That’s why any skilled assassin knows how to steal a target’s breath so well it almost becomes like an everyday activity.

“… I wonder if I was a skilled assassin or something…”

Willem crept out from the darkness and, aiming for the split second when his target’s breath was depleted, wrapped his fingers around his target’s neck, then gave his head a jerk, silently stealing his consciousness. The attack succeeded so smoothly Willem almost gave himself chills.

He took a good look at the person collapsed in his arms. First, he could immediately tell that his image of a starving robber was mistaken: the beast man wore an army uniform. In his hands, he bore a gun with a long barrel. They weren’t the kind of clothes or firearms which any regular old ruffian could obtain.

“This uniform… the Winged Guard?” In the darkness, Willem couldn’t clearly make out the color or shape, but, for some reason, he got that feeling. “But why would the Winged Guard surround our inn?”

The first reason to come to his mind was that a dangerous person was staying there. But that wasn’t possible, given their lack of any overnight customers.

The next possibility to come to his mind was that Astaltus was being pursued by the army. Considering his personality, that hypothesis seemed unrealistic yet strangely plausible at the same time. However, Willem felt it leaned more towards the unrealistic side. After all, pursuing a criminal would be a job for the law enforcement agencies of each individual city or island. The Winged Guard, being an organization which protected Regul Aire as a whole, didn’t hold the authority to search for or arrest criminals.

The next possibility…

“Me…?”

Almost at the exact moment that question popped into his mind, the light of a lantern suddenly illuminated his body.

“Don’t move!”

When they got there he didn’t notice, but a few guns now pointed directly at Willem. Well, he expected nothing less from the guardians of Regul Aire. However, even with devices aimed straight at him threatening to take his life, his mind remained as calm as ever. He felt no fear nor threat.

“What business do you have with our inn? Food? Lodging?”

“I told you to not move!”

“If possible, I’d prefer to keep this quiet. Wouldn’t want to bother our sleeping guests.” Of course, there was only one of those.

“We have found the target. We will disable him upon being granted permission.”

“I grant you permission. Attack!”

Responding to orders, the presences blended in with the darkness all moved forth at once. Putting everything else aside for the moment, Willem focused on the six opponents before him. Guns hidden in the darkness would be a bit bothersome, but nothing he couldn’t deal with. First he would deal blows to the two closest to him, then throw their bodies to destroy the lamps. If the lights went out, it might cause them to accidentally shoot each other, and it would be easier to deal with them one by one. Alright, let’s go with that.

Just as Willem made up his mind and prepared to carry his plan out–

“No good.” The voice of a small girl, completely unfitting of the situation, sounded from somewhere in darkness. “Even all together, you don’t stand a chance.”

“I believe I told you to stay back!”

“You did. But I believe I said that I’d move by my own will when necessary.”

The girl stepped forth into the narrow space illuminated by the lanterns. A gray haired, small statured markless. She wore a blank expression which rendered any attempts to read it useless. A simple eyepatch covered her left eye.

“……”

Did I… see her before? Meet her before? No, more than that. We shared something very important… I remember…

“Agh.”

Overwhelmed by intense pain, Willem instinctively suppressed his forehead.

“Willem.”

She called my name without hesitation. We really must be acquaintances.

“Willem,” the girl called again. “Willem, Willem, Willem!” With each repetition, more emotion seeped into her voice. The girl ran forward, straight through the darkness towards Willem. “I finally found you.” She threw her warm body into his chest. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep my promise. I was scared.”

The girl’s shoulders, so thin they seemed like they would break if he touched them, shivered slightly. Unable to push her away nor embrace her, Willem stood there motionless. He felt a bit envious of the soldiers surrounding them. They too were caught off guard by the situation, but at least they weren’t suffering from a splitting headache.

“Do I know you?” he asked, deciding to confirm the situation first.

“Eh?” the girl looked up.

“Sorry, but I can’t remember you at all.”

“Wha–”

“WHAT!?”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a soundless scream split the air extremely close by. Knocked off balance by the shock, Willem somehow managed to stand straight up again. In front of him floated a strange creature… he had no idea when it got there, or perhaps it had been there the whole time. A large floating fish, covered with beautiful red and white scales. Or at least, that’s what it looked like. However, that couldn’t be right. It seemed as if a separate image had been hung up amidst the darkness; the floating fish stood out so much from its surroundings. Without needing much thought, Willem could tell that it had to be an illusion or something of the sort.

“No no no, you think you can get away with saying that!? Now, I may be a little too old to be a representative of a young maiden, and it’s true that sometimes my overabundance of life experience prevents me from commenting what I really think, and it’s true that I’m too busy worrying about my own family to stick my nose in the business of some random girl, but, as someone who was once a young maiden very long ago, I can’t let that comment just now slip by!” The illusion started rambling on about something.

“… uhh…”

“Be quiet, Carma.”

“How could I stay quiet what’s with this guy does he think of girls he knew in the past as already used up what a typical piece of trash this is too different from what I heard from Elq she really looked up to this guy like the hero of a story so why is he like this like I can’t remember you at all what did you get your memory sealed or something I mean come on.”

The illusion’s rambling suddenly came to a stop. It floating elegantly towards Willem, then poked his forehead with its mouth. “Oh, his memory really is sealed.”

“Eh?” The girl blinked in confusion.

“Moreover, only one part of his memory is closed off. I guess there must be some pretty skilled curse casters still left in this world. This sortilege is so high level it might be able to erase an entire concept from the world if used well. Being able to use that on an individual with such precision… that goes beyond great and into just plain creepy territory.”

“… apparently I won’t be able to maintain my personality if I remember my past. That’s why he sealed only the memories related to my past,” Willem explained.

“Ahh, I see… wait–” The illusion took a step back in midair. “You can hear me!?”
“Unfortunately.”

“What!? Right now I’m supposed to be only seen by my host!”

“It’s not that hard to understand,” the gray haired girl said with her eyes faced down. “Willem and I both have a part of the same soul inside us. I can’t explain the details logically, but that’s probably why.”

“A soul?”

Without answering Willem’s question, the girl removed the eyepatch covering her left eye, then, very slowly, opened that previously closed shut eye, revealing a vivid gold iris, completely different than that of her right eye.

“… that eye.” Instinctively, Willem’s hand went to his own right eye.
“That side changed color for you, right Willem?”

“I don’t really know what’s going on, but you really do seem to be familiar with my situation.” While his headache was calming down a little, it still continued to shake his brain about. With each heartbeat, his brain screamed in pain as if about to rupture.

“Willem. I have a request.”

“I decline.” By now, he had figured out that the girl was someone important to him, and that he was someone important to the girl as well, so a large feeling of guilt accompanied those words.

“Listen. The fairy warehouse is going to disappear. I’m not a fairy anymore, but I don’t know what’s going to happen to everyone else. Naigrat is more worried than I’ve ever seen her been.”

Another wave of pain pulsed through Willem’s head. “I said, I decline,” he said, biting down on his back teeth. “I decided to not remember my past. So I can’t listen to your request.”

“… Willem.”

“Well, maybe there’s nothing we can do.” The illusory fish sighed despite its lack of lungs. “Seal some memories to prevent the Beast from appearing. It’s easy to say, but this is a reckless feat. It could break at the slightest opportunity, and, once that happens, resealing is impossible. Given that situation, it’s only natural that he doesn’t want to get involved with his past.”

“But…”

“Anything more is just you being selfish, Nephren. Do you want to make Willem into a complete Beast?”

“……” The girl called Nephren fell silent.

She probably still had words to say. Feelings to release. But she held onto all of them inside her small, tightly squeezed fist next to her chest. Sorry, Willem apologized in his mind. It probably wasn’t the kind of thing that an apology would resolve. If his past self saw him now, it would probably throw a punch with all its might and send his head flying. But still, his current self already decided its course.

“Well then, Willem. Moving from the past back to the present, do you happen to know anything about Elq?”

“Yes,” he answered immediately. Earlier, this Nephren girl called the illusion ‘Carma’. He had heard the name before: it was the name of the family member who Elq said would one day come to pick her up. “I’ve been waiting for you. Right now she’s ill, sleeping on the second floor.”

“Ill? Eh?” the illusion said, confused. “She’s still a corpse, isn’t she?”

“The guy that sealed my memory said he chipped away a little at the curse cast on Elq’s body. Said that right now she’s an undying being infinitely close to a corpse or something.”

“Whaa!?”

From that bewildered shriek, Willem inferred that Elq’s current situation and Nils’ doings were irregular even to an irregular being.

“Take her with you. She’s been waiting for her family to come too.”


With guns pointed at him, Willem lead Nephren and Carma to Elq. As the three of them talked, he waited outside the room. He didn’t try to listen in, so he had no idea what they talked about. After about thirty minutes, the gray haired girl and Carma came out.

“We’ll take our leave for today.” Carma had become much less talkative than before.

“You’re not going to take her with you?”

“I’d like to, but she told me to give her time. She isn’t usually very selfish, but, when she is, she really doesn’t listen.” The giant floating fish let out a giant sigh. “I know I shouldn’t ask for favors when we just met for the first time, but can I leave her to you for a little while longer?”

“I don’t mind, but, are you sure? Isn’t she the daughter of the family you serve or something?”

“Uhh, well, if you put it in really rough terms, then yeah kinda like that.”

“I was opposed,” Nephren said with a slightly irritated face. “I think we should take her away, even if it means wrapping a chain around her neck.”

“Pretty sure you’re just jealous,” the fish said in return.

“Elq’s kind of like a kitten.”

“You could at least try to deny it, geez.”

What are they talking about? Willem thought.

“We’ll come again,” Nephren said, then started to leave the inn.

“O-Oi! Where are you going!?” Soldiers followed after her.

“Home. There isn’t any dangerous Beast here.”

“Wait, abandoning our post will not be forgiven!”

“There’s no work to be done here. I’m the one with the authority to decide that, right?”

“That… damn it. What is the officer thinking!”

The soldiers chased after the girl as she walked without hesitation off into the distance. And with that, their unwelcome guests of the night vanished from sight.


“… so who were they?” Astaltus asked, his head tilted in confusion.

“Our pasts chased after us, it seems,” Willem answered jokingly.

“Was it okay for you to send it back home?”

“I don’t have a past,” Willem said with a shrug. “Of course, I don’t know about that one.” He looked up at the second floor.

“Someone from her family came to pick her up, correct? What did Elq herself say?”

“Nothing. She just told me ‘I’m tired so get out’ and drove me out of the room.”

“I wonder if it was okay for her to not go home with them.”

“Who knows. I can never really tell what kids are thinking.”

That wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the truth either. The reason why Elq remained behind was probably because she didn’t want to leave Willem by himself. He was half convinced of that, but, put another way, only half convinced of that. Also, he was deeply thankful for that.

“Anyways, she’s here, so it seems we’re still going to be under your care, boss.”

“Well, of course I welcome that, but…” Astaltus made a conflicted face. “It’s difficult to put this in the right words, but, at the very least, please live so that you won’t have any regrets.”

“I’ll do my best,” Willem answered with some effort. He had no past. Accordingly, declining that girl’s request without listening to it had to have been the correct decision. But that correctness would most likely worsen the girl’s situation. For some reason, that thought left a bitter feeling deep inside his chest.

“… this is just something I’ve heard,” Astaltus started.

“Hm?”

“In children’s stories or fairy tales, there’s the cliche ‘lived happily ever after’ ending, right? But that itself is something so far separated from reality, only allowed to exist inside children’s stories and fairy tales. A dream unrealizable in reality, similar to magic swords or majestic castles and such. Unconsciously, we all realize the futility of the word ‘ever after’.”

“I’m pretty sure magic swords and castles actually exist, don’t they?”

“Now that you mention it, I guess that’s true.” Astaltus thought for a moment, not seeming to be phased by Willem’s little jab. With his index finger pointed up, he continued, “Basically, we unconsciously think of the phrase ‘ever after’ as as fictional object.”

“O-Oh.”

“The same time will not continue on forever. Eventually, an end will come to the entire world itself. The important thing is to accept that change occurs and to figure out how to best utilize that to meet tomorrow. No matter how different tomorrow is from today, we can live on. And as long as we are living, we can try to obtain happiness.”

“… ‘try’, huh. At least you’re being honest.”

“Happiness is not so cheap that even those who do not try can obtain it.” Astaltus shrugged. “No matter how long you stay here, I don’t mind. However, should an opportunity present itself, please don’t hesitate to leave. The place where you belong is wherever you are at that moment.”

“I know.”

Of course, Willem knew why Astaltus suddenly started talking about this stuff. He could regain his memories at any time, and Elq could become a plain old corpse at any time. No matter how much they denied the past or clung on to the present, these peaceful days at the inn would most likely not continue for long.

If, when the end came, he still hadn’t accepted that fact, he would end up cursing the world or fate or some other greater force. He would carry enmity not faced at any concrete person or thing, grudging his inability to simply live everyday normally and peacefully. He would forget how much effort and sacrifice was required to make such a greedy wish come true.

“I know,” he repeated.

These days would not continue for long. But, they were still continuing right now, thanks to Astaltus, Elq, and also the disappeared Nils. So at the moment, he just wanted to be thankful for this time.

With those thoughts running through his mind, Willem put his mouth to his yet untouched cup of tea. Naturally, after sitting out for so long, it had grown incredibly bitter.


The military began to keep watch around the inn, rotating through three shifts. The number of guards went up and down depending on the time of day, but usually hovered around three or four. They mainly occupied two places: the shadow of the neighboring farm’s stone fence and the watchman’s hut at the public bridge a little ways away. Both were separated enough from the inn to render observation with the naked eye impossible, so the soldiers most likely had devices for viewing from afar. They really put a lot of effort into it.

While it proved to be quite annoying, if Willem and Elq just sat still, the guards wouldn’t bring them any harm. As for Astaltus, he took the optimistic stance, pointing out that the army would step in if anything happened, and that they provided free protection from thieves.

Considering that, the soldiers were taking care of them in a way, so Willem once tried offering them some coffee, only to be met with the sourest of faces. He had been planning to start up a conversation and ask why he and Elq were being targeted, but the foul mood of the soldiers didn’t exactly provide the most conducive environment for that.

“Guess I can’t torture them or anything.”

If he wanted to, though, Willem figured he probably could. His body seemed to know various techniques for no apparent reason, like massages and assassination style combat. If he used his skills well, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to destroy a target’s will and dignity without destroying their body.

Of course, doing so would certainly destroy his current lifestyle, so there was no point. Accordingly, Willem decided to continue living normally, trying his best to not think about who he was or why he was being watched by the army.

However, normal everyday life began to turn into a somewhat uncomfortable and twisted thing. He knew that the end to these gentle days was slowly, but surely, approaching.

[Shuumatsu] V5 C4 In This Twilight World, Even Now P1

The Fairies of Collinadiluche

After being tapped and touched all over her body, Aiseia then had a light shone up against her eyes to check their movement, was forced to drink medicine for test purposes and answer questions about her mood, and, while a small amount, had her blood drawn.

“Uhhh, having my body played with like this, I can’t get married anymore…” Wearing only a gown over her bare skin, Aiseia sat up on the patient bed. “Anyways, the inspection’s over now, right?”

No response. The Kikuroppe doctor made a troubled face as he stared at her medical records. As a general rule, reading the expressions of other races with different facial structures was no easy task, but, still, there were times when the message got across.

“… you really pushed yourself,” the doctor said faintly, as if struggling to speak.

“Ahaha, well, my stubbornness is the one thing I always have confidence in.” Aiseia shrugged off his comment with her usual laugh as she buttoned up her gown.

“Your life force is all wilted. Your body is forgetting what it means to live. If you receive a wound, it most likely will not heal. The strength depleted by igniting Venom will never return.”

“Mhm, I had a feeling that was the case.” She responded to the Kikuroppe’s serious tone with the most cheerful voice she could manage.

“Next time you stand on the battlefield, I don’t know whether you’ll be able to come home.”

“I guess so. Well, it’s finally my turn, huh.” Still sitting on the patient bed, Aiseia swung her feet back and forth. “To be honest, living so long, my mind’s been the one suffering lately. The ones I want to live keep dying off, and meanwhile I keep living this meaningless life.”

“There is no such thing as meaningless life.”

“Ah… true, we aren’t even life.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to mean it that way? It’s not good to sympathize with a disposable tool.”

“It’s true that many people think that way, but they are all people who don’t know you guys directly, people who aren’t even told that the fairies have individual personalities. We don’t think of you guys as dis–”

“If you doctors don’t send us off to our deaths, Regul Aire can’t be protected.” Aiseia cut the Kikuroppe’s words off midway. “That’s why we’re not recognized as a race. That’s why we’re treated as weapons without rights. It’s necessary, because everyone needs to be able to properly use and dispose of us without hesitation, am I right?”

“Yes,” the doctor said in a bitter voice with a heavy sigh. “I’ll recognize that much. But what we think individually is our own choice.”

“If there are too many adults who spoil us, we might start saying ‘I don’t want to die so I won’t fight’, ya know?”

“… I suppose.” The Kikuroppe’s single eye turned away.

“Hm. You’re acting a little suspicious. Are you hiding something?”

“Well, it’s nothing important, but… if, just hypothetically, you guys maybe didn’t have to fight anymore, you could maybe continue living, what would you want to do?”

“Ah, a very sudden question.” Aiseia thought for just a little. “If this is just hypothetical, then, I guess pretty much just what I’ve been doing this whole time.”

“This whole time?”
“Spending everyday leisurely over at the warehouse in the forest. The little ones playing noisily, our childlike mother figure scurrying around… watching all of that while relaxing with a book. It’s so stress free, my life span keeps getting longer.”

“… haha, I see. Yes, I see.” The Kikuroppe nodded repeatedly. “Like I thought, you should live a long life,” he said, defeating the whole purpose of their conversation.


Lakish’s body tuning ended. The good numbers indicating her impressive natural ability earned her praise from the doctors. And with each compliment, Naigrat’s mood sunk deeper and deeper. After all, how could a girl be happy after hearing praise of her high functionality as a blade or a bomb? If Lakish had talent, then it would be better if an opportunity to use that talent never came. Naigrat hoped it wouldn’t. Stay away!

“Ooohh!”

“Ahh….”

Tiat and Lakish let out synchronized sighs of admiration.

The Barley Market, one of Collinadiluche’s foremost tourist attractions. Originally, it was, as the name implies, a wholesale market which dealt only with barley. Once another market was built close to the harbor district, it lost its role and became just a popular plaza. Various artists displaying their talents dotted the wide open space. A Ballman clown juggled countless knives, a Frogger magician breathed a thin column of fire, and a group all wearing matching masks filled the air with lively music.

“Wow, wow, wow!” The curiosity of a child, once unleashed, knows no bounds. Tiat sprinted this way and that from one crowd to the next. She pulled Lakish along, who let out screams as they went.

“H-Hey, don’t run so fast! Don’t forget that you guys are being watched!” Because of the formal procedures for handling weapons in the Winged Guard, when the Leprechauns went outside, they required one accompanying officer at the very least. The pitiable fourth officer who got stuck with the job chased the two around as he yelled after them helplessly.

Naigrat watched with mixed feelings. “… it would have been nice if we really did come here just to sightsee.”

She knew it was a hopeless wish. The girls were here to prepare for battle, a battle which they shouldn’t have needed to be involved in. But only because of that was a little sightseeing allowed, a selfish request which would have usually never gone through.

Speaking of selfish, there was Nephren, who, as Naigrat saw earlier, was not dead after all. However, she wasn’t exactly fine either. Having gone through a transformation in a different meaning than Kutori, Nephren would never again return to the fairy warehouse. Naigrat felt lonely, but not sad. The world is a big place, and the sky is a narrow part of it. Being able to believe that Nephren was off somewhere doing well gave Naigrat enough comfort. For those who had already passed away, however, she couldn’t even wish that.

“Hey, Naigrat, this way this way! They’re having an arm wrestling competition! Want to enter with this guy!?”

Looking over, Naigrat saw Tiat waving her hand enthusiastically, the fourth officer managing a confused smile yet still rolling up his sleeves, and Lakish bowing in apology. So cheerful, without the slightest clue of what’s going through my head… that’s very good.

“… alright, but…” Naigrat waved her hand in return. “If I enter, the competition will end right away!” she said, then ran over to where the kids stood.


For all things, always try asking. Upon asking if she could enter the Central Grand Library with the expectation of receiving a ‘no’, Lantolq instead got a firm ‘okay!’ from the mayor’s daughter, Firacolulivia… or Firu, as she preferred to be called. Then, before half a day had passed, Lantolq got permission to enter.

This gave Lantolq, the one who asked, quite a surprise. After all, they were country bumpkin fairies with no rights. On the other hand, the Collinadiluche Central Grand Library was one of the foremost places where the wisdom of all Regul Aire gathered. The huge difference in calibre made Lantolq feel as if some punishment would be brought down upon her just for being near the library.

The entrance permission card, handed over to her in an envelope, also looked somewhat like a dangerous weapon. Underneath many imposing stamps were the mysterious words ‘The holder is granted permission to view up until secret archive B-47’. What the heck is B-47? Does it have the kind of secrets where if you know you have to be disposed of?

“… you think of some reckless things too, Lan,” Aiseia mumbled, holding the same entrance permission card.

“Please don’t point it out. I am already well aware, and it’s crushing me.”

“Well then, let’s go! I may not be very useful, but I will help you with your research to the best of my ability!” Firu, getting hyped up all by herself, walked forth with strong strides. “I cannot be of any help in your original battle. Even trying would be an insult to the determination of the fairies. So for things that I can do, I will do my best!” A red flame burned in her eyes.

“When she turns on like this, she gets really troublesome…” Aiseia remarked.

“Has this happened before?”

“The technician messed things up a bit…”

That guy again? Why does everyone reveal their annoying side when it comes to him?


They brawled with countless books. Lantolq thought her head would boil over. She liked reading books. She also didn’t hate thinking. But all things have a limit. After being stuffed with information beyond its capacity, her head felt very feverish.

“Should we go outside for a bit to rest and organize our notes?” she suggested.

“Hmm, I think I’m gonna stick with this book for a little longer. You can go first,” Aiseia responded.

“I’m going to help Aiseia, so you go ahead. Oh, there’s a good pudding cafe behind this library, so how about you wait there and we’ll meet up?” Firu said.

They’re tougher than they look. “No, we probably shouldn’t split up. Since we’re fairies and all,” Lantolq said, then glanced at the man in the military uniform standing idly beside them.

“I was told by the First Officer to let you act freely as much as possible. But don’t go too far.”

Unexpectedly, he gave them permission. Lantolq had doubts about whether or not it was actually okay, but, if he said it was fine, she wasn’t going to argue.

“… I see. Well then, I might as well,” she said, then, with notebook in hand, stood up.


She found the cafe that Firu mentioned rather quickly. Perhaps because it was located off the main street, not very many customers were present. However, apparently, almost all of those customers were not tourists but locals, meaning that the cafe was good enough to attract regulars.

After taking a seat on an outdoor terrace, Lantolq picked out a milk tea and apple pie from the menu full of delicious looking choices. She then opened her notebook and looked back over some of the things she copied from various books.

“Hmmm…”

What even are Leprechauns in the first place? Why do they exist? Where do they come from, and where do they go? Those were the questions which Aiseia raised one day in the fairy warehouse. The list gave off the impression of the troubles of a pubescent teenager. And, unfortunately, they were precisely pubescent teenagers. Children of other races would probably look for answers to such questions in philosophy books or fiction, but they were poring over necromancy research books, and the most advanced ones available in Regul Aire at that.

“We really are suspicious things, aren’t we…” Lantolq mumbled, then remembered that she was alone.

Since they had been together for so long, she always got the feeling that Noft was right there by her side. Noft herself didn’t think too much about things and overall wasn’t exactly the brightest, but she was good at listening. Noft could pull words out of Lantolq even when she was deep in thought. As a result, Lantolq picked up the habit of talking to herself. Well this is no good, she thought. She was aiming to be an independent woman with everything together, but it didn’t seem to be going too well.

“I don’t seem to be getting anywhere, no matter what I do…”

Lantolq took a bite of the crisp apple pie. Delicious. Just then, a strong wind blew. It scooped a few pages of notes out of Lantolq’s hand and carried them up into the sky.

“Ah…”

She reached out in a panic but couldn’t reach them in time. The moment she stood up to try to stretch further, another gust of wind sent her remaining notes flying.

“A — Ahh!!”

Deeply regretting her carelessness, Lantolq stared dumbfoundedly up at the sky. Ignite Venom in a hurry and chase them? No, I won’t make it in time. Run and chase them? No, I won’t be able to catch them, and I feel like I’ll just mess something else up. What to do… what can I do? As she hesitated, time continued to flow, and her notes went up higher and higher and…

“Huh?”

Not higher? As if a snapshot of time had been frozen in place, all the papers suddenly stopped moving.

“What…”

After a brief pause, the notes began to move again. However, this time, they ignored the wind and, as if being reeled in, gathered in the hands of a man standing in the street, an old man with an imposing face wearing a rather conspicuous white mantle.

“A-Ah!? You!?”

“Oh, the girl from the other day! What a coincidence!” Not seeming particularly surprised, the old man in the street started to make his way over, the bundle of notes in hand. “Studying hard, even in a place like this? Very good, very good. The things you learn while young will become your weapons in the future. Of course, you must also learn how to use them or else it’s meaningless… hm?” The old man looked at the bundle of notes and frowned.

“Thank you. They are very important notes,” Lantolq responded.

“Hm, advanced necromancy? A rather strange subject for a student to choose for a research project.”

“Well, I am not a student, and I’m not exactly doing anything as noble as ‘studying’. I’m also not trying to prepare for the future. I just want to know something now.”

“What?” The old man handed the notes over. “… I see. Your hair color. You are also a Leprechaun.”

“Yes.”

For a moment, various emotions whirled around in Lantolq’s head. Those who knew of the Leprechauns did not necessarily have a very good impression of them. She braced herself, afraid of what expression would cross the old man’s face next.

“Oh, then the other young lady must have been your manager. My apologies. I once decided to never see them in person, but now I ended up meeting you and even exchanging conversation.”

What could this mean? The old man’s face twisted in pain ever so slightly, but surely. Neither hate nor discrimination, but rather guilt seeped out from that expression.

“Um, are you okay?” Lantolq thought it was a foolish question herself. If the man wasn’t okay, it was very clearly her own fault. She wasn’t in the position to put on a nice face and act worried.

“… haha. You’re worried about me? You’re one kind girl.”

“Uh…”

For some reason, he complimented her. Well, ever since they first met, Lantolq got the feeling that they weren’t really on the same page during their conversations. It was a kind of frustrating feeling, as if some important gears didn’t match up yet kept on turning.

“Guess there’s no unmeeting someone you’ve already met. Coincidences are coincidences. Whether you take them as good or bad luck only depends on how you handle the situation.”

“Uh…”

What is this guy saying? In front of a bewildered Lantolq, the old man pulled out a chair and sat down across from her. His large frame looked just a little odd on the small cafe chair.

“There’s something you want to know involving necromancy, correct? Try asking me. I will answer.”

“Ah, the thing we’re trying to research is a bit difficult…”

“I figured. I don’t mind, so ask away.”

He won’t give up. Earlier, the old man took one look at Lantolq’s notes and understood them to be about necromancy. From that, she guessed that he was fairly knowledgeable. However, what they wanted to know definitely wasn’t something that any old wise man would know.

“… what are Leprechauns?” Lantolq tried asking anyway, doubting he would be able to answer.

“I see. You’re getting right to the point. Very good, very good.” The old man nodded happily for some reason. “Now then, from where shall I start.” He thought for a moment. “Long ago, the Visitors ordered the Poteau to create the Emnetwyte.”

“Huh?” This has nothing to do with my question, Lantolq thought.

Not paying attention to her apparent confusion, the old man continued. “They didn’t create them from nothing. They prepared base materials and modified them. There were roughly two types of these base materials. One consisted of the only life which existed on the planet before the Visitors’ coming, the ‘Primal Beasts’. The other consisted of the souls of the Visitors themselves, tired of living a life of endless wandering. As for the modification method…”

The old man pointed to the half eaten apple pie on Lantolq’s plate. “It was the same as that. They wrapped the ‘Primal Beasts’ with their souls, which they shattered into fragments. The souls forcibly overwrote the Beasts’ flesh, casting a large curse on them. What were once ‘Beasts’ transformed into entirely different beings with figures similar to those of the Visitors, in other words, the Emnetwyte.”

“Uh… um, ehh?”

It didn’t match up with the commonly accepted world creation myth. The grand scale of it all confused Lantolq. And, first of all, he still didn’t answer her question. She didn’t even know where to start. However, there was one part that caught her attention: the Visitors used the ‘Primal Beasts’ to create the Emnetwyte.

“But, well, after that, the Emnetwyte grew too much. The number of pies increased, but, unfortunately, the amount of crust didn’t. The crust, the souls of the Visitors, never increased beyond the original amount present when they were shattered. So, with each passing day, the crust grew thinner and thinner.”

“… could that be what is meant by ‘the beasts were released from within’…?” That was a hypothesis which Lantolq arrived at the other day on the land. However, that thought came from an old book she just happened to find. Why was the old man, who didn’t have a chance to read the same book, saying something similar?

“Yes, very good. Did you already figure out that much?” Impressed, the old man looked over the notes on the table. “The ‘Primal Beasts’ were originally undying and indestructible beings. By being sealed inside the mortal Emnetwyte, they changed. Regret. Hope. Spoiledness. Justice. Kindness. Fear. Disinterest. Ignorance. Dragged along by all those various things which lead humans to death, they became beings which represented seventeen types of death.

If those things got released, the Emnetwyte would go extinct. The humans, realizing that, thought of a plan. Luckily, at the time, Visitors still remained, albeit only two of them.”

The Visitors. Even now that legend is passed down, how, a little more than five hundred years ago, the Emnetwyte Braves slew the last Visitor.

“They wanted to use those souls to create new pie crust. However, it failed. They couldn’t recreate what the Poteau did with human technology. The Visitor’s soul didn’t shatter cleanly and ended up in a mess of countless scattered chunks. With no way to cook all the new pie, the end came as expected. Well, I left out quite a bit, but that’s the gist of it.”

“… um.” Hesitantly, Lantolq raised her hand. “That was a very interesting story, but it only explained what the Emnetwyte are, right? I asked about the Leprechauns.”

“Of course, I answered that too.”

Argh, we really aren’t on the same page. However, even if they weren’t on the same page, they were still having a proper conversation. All Lantolq needed to do was decipher his words as if she were reading a difficult old book. If she did that, then surely she would understand. With that in mind, she thought back over his story.

“… could it be…” Then, Lantolq realized. The soul of the last Visitor didn’t shatter smoothly. The new pie remained unbaked, and the ingredients, the soul fragments, remained scattered. “The failed next generation of Emnetwyte that the Emnetwyte couldn’t complete. That is our true nature?”

“Hm. Your understanding is not mistaken.” The old man nodded. “However, I wouldn’t say ‘failed’. Well, the interpretation depends on the person. You can take it optimistically or pessimistically.”

Before that, there was something more important. If what gramps said was really true, then that answered many mysteries that had remained unsolved on Regul Aire for centuries. That couldn’t be right, but Lantolq somehow felt like it was.

“Why do you know this?”

“I’ve lived a somewhat long life,” the old man answered with a shrug.

“If what you said is true, it is not known at all in this world. Why would you tell something like that to someone like me?”

“I owe you girls something.” He smiled with just a slight hint of sorrow. “I cannot apologize nor take anything back. Nor would I be qualified to do so. But I can at least do this much. Anyway, it’s nothing more than a cowardly and selfish old man comforting himself.” He stood up. “I doubt we’ll meet again, but this was valuable time.”

“Ah–”

Trying to stop the old man from going, Lantolq stood up in a hurry, but, in that moment, a gust of wind blew by. Worried that her notes would fly off again, she panicked and closed the notebook. When she looked up again, the old man was nowhere to be seen.


“Whew… I’m exhausted.” Like a student on the way home from school, Aiseia walked over with eyes spinning from overwork. Firu, her condition unreadable beneath her Lucantrobos fur, followed close behind. “What happened, Lan? You’re spacing out.”

“… what are we? Why do we exist? Where do we come from and where do we go”?”

“Laaan?”

“Actually receiving the answer feels… unexpectedly empty…”

“Laan? Hello? Lantolq?” Aiseia waved her hands back and forth in front of Lantolq’s face.

The fork sitting on the plate of half eaten apple pie clanked slightly.