“Um, how far do we plan to go?”
Alexia called out to the head librarian walking in front of her.
His tall back was moving down a dark corridor.
“We’re almost there.”
“We can talk in the classroom if you want.”
“…. Then let’s do it here.”
With these words, the head librarian stopped.
In the middle of the hallway.
“Yes, since everything is all set.”
He turned and smiled thinly.
A smile she didn’t like. Alexia frowned.
Claire, behind her, tapped Alexia on the shoulder.
“The fog ……”
She looked around, and before she knew it, the hallway was filled with a white fog.
“Why, why is there fog here ……”
The fog was rapidly getting thicker and thicker.
From somewhere, a sound like something cracking can be heard.
“This is the same …… as when I was attacked.”
And then the world shattered.
The scenery shatters as if a mirror is broken.
“W-what the hell is this!”
The air was completely different, even though they were in the corridor of the school.
The world is enveloped in a white mist.
A sweet smell is coming from somewhere.
“Alexia, draw your sword.”
Claire urged Alexia to draw her sword.
“We are surrounded.”
There were several people behind the thick fog.
They are gradually closing the distance between them, while looking at them. They do not seem to be in a friendly mood.
“I’m surprised you noticed, Claire.”
“The ghost is very talented.”
“I see. So, head librarian.”
Alexia lowered her voice and pointed her sword at the head librarian.
He stood there in the fog with a thin smile on his face.
“What is it, Princess Alexia?”
“What is the meaning of all this?”
Alexia was not dumb enough to trust him at this point.
“Yare yare, you are more perceptive than I thought.”
The head librarian pulled out large machetes from his pocket.
One in his left hand and one in his right.
“A very dangerous weapon. I would think that a librarian should fight with pen and paper.”
“Pen and paper are for ideals. The reality is built with the sword.”
Saying this, he held a machete in both hands.
“I’ll take the head librarian. Claire, you take care of the enemies around us.”
The battle began as the two stood back to back.
Two machete blows struck out of the white fog.
Alexia dodged the first blow by taking a half step back and parried the second blow with her sword.
Alexia counterattacks the head librarian, who looks up at her.
The sword, natural and without hesitation, carved a shallow wound on the head librarian’s cheek.
“Now, would you look at this”
He moved out of the way to regroup and wiped the blood from his cheek.
“I am astonished. You move like a different person from the Princess Alexia I know.”
There was honest admiration in the librarian’s voice.
“It’s a growth spurt.”
“If so, it’s wonderful. A sword holds a person’s accumulation of things. Before, you only imitated Princess Iris. But now you have sublimated it. No, I think it would be more appropriate to describe it as something else mixed in.”
“Do you have time to analyze it?”
“Yes, of course.”
It was Claire behind her who said that.
Around her, several figures were collapsed, which gradually shattered and disappeared.
The librarian’s eyebrows moved in surprise.
“The second seven people have been wiped out? Claire Kagenou. You were this year’s winner of the Bhushin Festival, right? I’m sure you weren’t this good, but something tells me you use strange powers.”
“You used red tentacles. Interesting.”
He had not missed Claire’s battle while fighting Alexia.
Alexia and Claire faced the head librarian.
“It’s now two against one.”
“The tables have turned.”
“Does it look that way to you?”
He had a certain composure.
“You’re strong. But the two of us can beat you.”
“Can you handle it?”
“I have given up.”
“I’ve given up the sword. This world is big. There are higher ups. That’s why I don’t mind seeing talented swords like yours. Surely, you will overtake me in no time.”
“If you’ve given up, just surrender. I’m going to make you tell me everything.”
Alexia smiled thinly at the head librarian.
“I am young, after all. If I don’t insist on using a sword, I can fight in a different way.”
A sweet smell tickled her nose.
The two sounds, clang, clang, overlapped.
Alexia and Claire’s swords fell to the floor.
“This sweet smell is a potion that relaxes the muscles and confuses the magic.”
The two girls crouched on the floor, unable to endure, the head librarian looked down at the two girls crouched on the floor.
“You said …… you would fight with this sword.”
“You are talented and have a bright future ahead of you. That’s why people like me can sweep you off your feet.”
The head librarian took out a rope and tied their arms together.
“Tell me,…… why did you do this,……”
“……I wonder why.”
“You are strong. So why are you doing this ……?”
“……There is a higher power above me. My sword is already broken.”
“Broken ……? What do you mean?”
He looked at them as if he were looking somewhere far away.
“There once was a magical swordsman called ‘Fenrir’. Have you ever heard of him?”
“…No I dont”
“You should be. Everyone who lives in this country knows him.”
Alexia thought of the contestants of the Bhushin Festival, and of the swordsman who had been rumored in other countries, but she had no idea who he was.
“The swordsman called ‘Fenrir’ ……, you don’t mean the one from the fairy tale?”
“It’s that ‘Fenrir’. He was once known as the strongest swordsman in the world.”
“Wait! The magic swordsman Fenrir lived hundreds of years ago! We don’t even know if he really existed.”
“He really existed. Besides, he is still alive.”
“It can’t be, he’s alive…… You don’t mean a drop of diabolos?!”
Alexia remembered the story she had heard in the sanctuary.
There are beings called ” Rounds,” who have gained eternal life by a drop of Diabolos.
“I am surprised that you even knew about the Diabolos Drop. After all, we can’t let them live.”
“What are you going to do to us ……?”
“Sacrifice you. I did not intend to touch you guys, but we have hardly been able to collect any demon possessions lately.”
He took a bottle of liquid from his pocket and brought it to Alexia’s mouth.
There was a strong sweet smell.
“Then go to sleep. To an eternal sleep from which you will never awaken. ……”
Alexia held her breath and turned her face away. Still, her consciousness was slowly slipping away.
Then, with a crunch, something was forcefully torn out of her.
The sound of something being forcibly torn apart echoed around the area.
It was as if the world was being torn apart by a powerful pressure.
And then the ceiling cracked.
“What….is going on?”
The head librarian put down the bottle and looked up.
From the cracking ceiling, a black shadow descended.
The black shadow stood up with a small landing sound that seemed out of place.
“You are ……”
“You are ……”
Wearing a jet-black long coat, a man stands in the white mist.
He pulled out his sword with a flick, his long coat fluttering in the air.
The head librarian held up a large machete with a grim look on his face.
“I didn’t expect Shadow to appear in person… but there wasn’t any report of that”
“—-You’ve got terrible taste.”
Shadow took one look at the head librarian and said.
“Well, what bad taste?”
“The way you are.”
“Something like …….”
The head librarian’s face contorted. Then he laughed, as if disgusted with himself.
“Life is an unforgiving thing. I wandered around in that vortex and was broken. And I am exposed to the shame of my life. If you say I have bad taste, you are right.”
In a calm voice, the head librarian said.
“But it was worth it.”
“Shadow. My journey ends with you. A fitting end for a fool who has broken his sword and betrayed his country.”
“….Have you made up your mind?”
“I knew this would happen from the moment Xenon was killed. At least, in my last moments, as a swordsman… I will fight.”
A large machete cleaves away the mist and strikes Shadow.
The sword is a pile of things.
Alexia’s mind replayed the head librarian’s words.
His slash shone beautifully.
“─ ─ Splendid.”
Shadow layered his sword on that brilliance.
All he had to do was lay it on top of the other.
The large machete shattered, fragile and delicate.
The machete, reduced to its hilt, made a lonely sound as it clanked and cracked.
Shadow swung his sword.
Delayed, the wind pressure of the slash drowned out the white mist.
The world cracked. With a tinkling sound, the whole area was covered in cracks.
And then the world shattered.
The world returned to its original state, as if everything had been an illusion.
No, the head librarian, who collapsed in a pool of blood, shows that it was not an illusion.
“Shadow …… he didn’t even try……”
The head librarian coughed and spat out a clump of blood.
“—The summit is not yet in sight.”
Shadow disappeared, his long jet-black coat billowing in the air.
“…… that is the sword of Shadow.”
Claire muttered a few words. The strength with which he kicked out the head librarian, a man of considerable ability, without letting him do anything, sent a shiver down her spine.
“He’s getting stronger again. ……”
Alexia muttered in frustration.
Claire and Alexia worked together to break the restraints and stand up. Then they looked down at the head librarian.
“Head Librarian …….”
“I can no longer …… help.”
He had a deep wound in his chest.
“Aren’t you perhaps a famous magic swordsman?”
Alexia could not help but ask. There was a beauty in his final blow that only the best could possess.
“No,…… I am a demon swordsman without a name.”
He shook his head and answered.
Even Alexia knew that was a lie. Looking at his arms, she saw that he still had old scars on them.
“Your arms ……?”
“They’re cut …… on the Order’s technology chain, but they don’t work the same way anymore. I used to be able to use a more delicate sword.”
“Who cut it?”
“…… Fenrir. My sword was broken that day.”
“May I ask what happened?”
“Very well,…… I will tell you until the end of my life.”
He says looking down at the wound in his chest.
Alexia and Claire sat down beside him.
“It was about fifty years ago. That was when I was in the Knights order of this country. ……”
The head librarian looked up through the corridor window at the misty night sky, as if to bring back a distant memory.
“I won the Bhushin Festival and joined the Knights Order. I exposed injustice, caught the bad guys, and was promised a future career.”
“So you were an excellent swordsman after all.”
“I only had momentum. So I found evidence of injustice that I should not have touched. I have found evidence of a pest that is nesting in the Kingdom of Midgar…. no, all over the world. Princess Alexia would have noticed.”
“…… the Diabolos Order right?”
“Yes. At the time I did not know of the existence of the Diabolos Order. So, mistakenly believing that the priests of the Holy Church were committing fraud, I went to the church.”
“To the church?”
“I was still young. I believed that if it was right, everything would be forgiven. I wanted to bring the iron hammer of justice down on the corrupt Holy Church.
I, along with my subordinates, investigated the church and tried to gather conclusive evidence of wrongdoing.
But …… ordinary priests had nothing to do with the injustice. They just genuinely believed in the Holy Faith and spread the teachings.
The same was true of the believers. They were only pure followers of the Holy Faith to all intents and purposes.
It was only a small percentage of the high-ranking priests who were dishonest.
We patiently watched the priests and discovered a secret room in the basement of the church. We descended a long staircase and found a horrifying sight.
A multitude of rotten demonic possessions were moaning and groaning in their prison cells. They were wounded, and some had something unidentifiable implanted in them.
While we were stunned, the door behind us closed.
It was a trap.
I felt the deadly force and quickly defended myself.
Then a tremendous impact knocked me to the floor.
When I got up, I saw my left arm that had been cut off, the decapitated corpses of my men, and the magic swordsman “Fenrir” standing in the center of it all.
I gripped my sword with my remaining right arm and angrily slashed at him. As a result, I lost my right arm as well.
The Diabolos Order was accustomed to eliminating ‘righteous allies’ like me.”
He looked down at the old scars on both arms.
“It was an overwhelming force. Fenrir brought a woman unconscious before me when I fell. She was my wife. As the winner of the Bhushin Festival and a rising star in the Knight’s Order, I must have been of use to the organization. I sold my soul to the Order of Diabolos in exchange for my wife’s safety. ……”
“……What happened to your wife? If she is safe, I will protect her.”
Fortunately, she passed away without knowing anything about it.
“You didn’t try to fight back?”
The head librarian shook his head sadly.
“The will to rebel was severed with these two arms. Princess Alexia, please be careful. You are about to walk the same path as me. What lies ahead is despair and endless darkness.”
Alexia meets the librarian’s steely gaze without averting her eyes.
“…… but I have to do it. As the princess of this country.”
The head librarian narrowed his eyes with a dazzling glare.
“You’ve become a great woman, you know. Then I have one last piece of advice for you…….”
The head librarian drew in a thin breath and coughed up blood from the corner of his mouth.
“Do you know the purpose of the Diabolos Order, …… Princess Alexia?”
“The resurrection of the demon Diabolos, I believe.”
“Then why is the Order trying to resurrect the demon Diabolos?”
“Uhm, that’s …….”
Alexia was at a loss for words.
Even though she knew of the Order’s goals, she had never thought about its motives.
“There are two reasons. One is to gain more power. All three heroes were women. All the demons possessed were also women. The diabolos cells were only adapted to women, you see. That’s why the Order could only gain power through imperfect medicine.”
Saying this, the head librarian took a red pill from his pocket.
“That medicine Xenon used to use.”
“An inadequate disciple.”
“You didn’t use it.”
“It’s a shame for a demon swordsman. …… But the Order saw the potential in this medicine. They tried to develop a perfect medicine, one that had no side effects and was highly effective. That is why they have been studying the blood of heroes for many years. If the demon Diabolos could be revived, it would probably be perfected. An overwhelming power that surpasses even heroes will be obtained.”
“That’s not good.”
“But the second reason is more serious for the Order. You are aware of the Diabolos Drop, right?”
“The drops that give eternal life?”
“Only twelve drops can be collected every year. If you drink the “Diabolos Drop,” you can stop aging for only one year. But now, the amount of these drops is decreasing.”
“What do you mean, the amount is decreasing?”
“I don’t know the cause. The amount is decreasing. If the amount continues to decrease, eternal life will be lost in the near future. For the highest executives of the Order, that was something they would never tolerate. They wanted to resurrect the demon Diabolos in order to collect a large amount of “Diabolos Drops” again and make eternal life complete. They have been ruling this world from the shadows, and have continued to be run by the highest executives with eternal life in their hands. However, if the “Diabolos Drop” is lost, that will be shaken. …… Gohoho.”
The head librarian caught his breath and looked up at the moon in the night sky.
“Perhaps it is no coincidence that Shadow Gardens appeared in these times. It is the beginning of the end, of a long reign. That is why you must be …… careful. Are they really the …… righteous protectors of world peace?”
Alexia could not answer.
The only thing Alexia knew about Shadow Garden was that it was hostile to the Diabolos Order. Other than that, almost everything else was a mystery.
“Perhaps they are trying to steal from the Order…”
“Steal? Steal what?”
“Eternal life …… and this world …… gosh, gosh!”
“After the fall of the Order, the …… world will be ruled by …… Shadow …… Garden. ……gosh!”
The head librarian vomited a lot of blood.
“P-Princess Alexia …….”
He sucked in a painful breath and spun the words.
“The future of this country is …… in your hands…….”
And then the head librarian drew her last breath.