Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden - Volume 7 - Chapter 5

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Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden Volume 7, Final Chapter - Blank Baptism

Part 1
Sophia, floor 287.


Ymy didn't know how to describe what she had seen.

The images she had seen in the nature district via clairvoyance. Even though there was no possibility of error, she couldn't accept what had happened immediately.

........................lost............and fell............

Suddenly, the images being sent became unclear.

'Ahhhh,, nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!?'


Syun-rei, who was sitting beside her, opened her eyes wide and screamed.

"Syun-rei, Syun-rei, calm down! Syun-rei!?"

Even though Ymy hugged her around the shoulders, her body was stiff like iron and she didn't react. Tears flowed nonstop from her wide open eyes, staining her vestments. Her throat had been strained from screaming so it had ceased to be a scream anymore but she still wouldn't stop wailing.



'Something major has to have happened for Syun-rei to be screaming like this.'

"Eh, does that mean──"

I'm not the only one hearing Syun-rei's cry? In this distressed state, she's broadcasting her telepathy as far as it will go?

'Ran's also getting it. I guess everybody in the tower can hear Syun-rei screaming. So make your report quick. What happened?'


Where do I start? Leon was supposed to be at Lagoon but suddenly appeared on Orbie Clar and fought with somebody that looked just like him......

'Just state the conclusion. What happened to who?'

"............Leon was badly wounded and fell into a waterfall basin."

'A waterfall basin? In Lagoon?'

There were few islands in Lagoon capable of housing a waterfall. In these desperate times, Meimel immediately caught onto that abnormality.

"Y-yes! Leon should have been at Lagoon but Syun-rei said he suddenly appeared on Orbie Clar. So we watched his battle......"

'Where on Orbie Clar?'

"Syun-rei said it was the nature district's eastern area."

"Good work."

The telepathy ended and Meimel's voice came from her side. The room's door slid aside and and a beautiful, tall Priestess quickly moved into the living room.

"Knowing this much is plenty. Syun-rei, can you hear me?"

Her coworker was staring absently at the ceiling. She extended a white hand to her cheeks──

"Syun-rei, listen to me. I'll be sending a rescue squad for Leon now."


"Leon's not dead for sure, right? There's no way he'd die."


"What you can do right now is send help as soon as possible."

Meimel cradled both Syun-rei cheeks and looked directly into her eyes.

"I'll order a party patrolling the nature district that's the closest to where Leon is. So tell me, where was Leon fighting?"

"............Eastern......area......eighth ward. There was a ravine......and waterfall."

Eastern area, eighth ward.

It's probably the large waterfall at Mio Ravine that empties into the large river which continues into the Biotope. It's deep and flows fast so he could just keep going if we don't get him.

"We'll save him before he drifts into the Biotope. ──Ran, can you hear me? Give out the order for a search at the base of Mio Ravine. Send out four medical squads with clairvoyants, combat squads and communications squads. Hurry."

"......That's great. Thank you, Meimel."

They had done what they could for now. They could only believe in Leon and the rescue squads now.

"Now then, could I hear what happened?"

Meimel took hold of Syun-rei's hands and pulled her up, then carried her to the sofa.

"I've heard what happened up until your clairvoyance was blocked. What happened after? Why did Leon appear on Orbie Clar and who was he fighting with?"

"I......don't know why he appeared on Orbie Clar. It really felt like he just suddenly showed up."

"Was his opponent a Lord of Unusual Books?"


"I'll change my question. Do we still have no information on the other members?"

Right, that was the thing.
Why did Leon appear on Orbie Clar? Maybe Sheltis and Horn have also returned from Lagoon.

"............I'll check."

Syun-rei whispered while reclined on the sofa.

"Okay. I would like to tell you not to push yourself but I have no choice this time. For now, check Orbie Clar via clairvoyance──"

Just before Meimel sighed.

' is, ............Ymy and're saying......'

'To be, ......Eden............truth itself was dis, tor......ted............ You......three years a, ............what............'

──This is Sheltis' voice.

It's not telepathy. Is it coming from the tower's speaker system?

"Is Sheltis back!?"

"No, this isn't coming from within the tower. Considering the noise in the's a remote broadcast. From somewhere on the border of Orbie Clar."

Meimel had her arms folded as she glared as the speakers.

"I don't know why they're playing this but it's intentional. They're going to all this trouble for some reason."


......It's breathe.
Weighed down by a weight on her chest, Ymy leaned against the wall next to her and closed her eyes.


What is this feeling? The voice that's playing together with Sheltis'...... It's high even for a tenor voice...... I feel like I've heard this voice before.

But I can't remember.

Have I heard this voice somewhere in the past?

Part 2

The faint smell of blood mixed with the smell of earth.

"............Now then."

She slightly opened her eyes. A brown tree and brown earth. Before her eyes, several strange vines were hanging down and swaying gently.

......This wound is a bother.

Looking down at the bullet wound in her left flank, Horn gingerly took a breath.

This wound was inflicted by Beltoma's bullet. She had washed the wound out with disinfectant and wrapped bandages above a gauze to stop the bleeding. ......Even then, the bandage was slowly being dyed red.

After settling the score with Beltoma, I should head back to the airship first.
Or maybe I'll lose consciousness from excessive blood loss first.

"......I'm going to hate this from the bottom of my heart."

'I don't want to but I'll keep you company for a long fight.'

That was just a bluff. Going for a drawn-out battle with this wound would be digging her own grave.

......But I had no choice but to say that back there.
She had to disinfect her wound as quickly as possible. It would be pointless if she died even if she managed to beat Beltoma in a gunfight.


She tossed the disinfectant bottle and once again gripped her SMG. She still had strength left. Her sole concern would be missing due to pain but she couldn't afford to worry about that.

......'Dark Grey' Beltoma.
On top of his supersonic bullets, he also had shooting speed and precision. Quite honestly the personification of a gun.


With her SMG in one hand, she took a glance at the silver pistol in the holster on the left side of her waist.

Rusty Height ── it fired special bullets that fragmented into twelve bullets upon discharge. Even Beltoma would be hard pressed to shoot all of them down if this was fired point blank.


I doubt I can get that close against him with this wound. And Rusty Height is a pistol; it won't work for long-range sniping.
If I have to hit him──

"Long-range sniping. You need to snipe me from a distance where I won't notice......right?"

──He found me first!?


Withstanding the intense pain, she twisted only the top half of her body. Still seated on the ground, she used just her upper arm muscles to hoist up her gun and aim behind her. She prepared to shoot and be shot at the same time.

"......He's gone?"

The slim man with a gun painted grey. He was nowhere in sight.

──Impossible, where did he go?

He wasn't naive enough of an opponent to give up such an absolute advantage of an assault from behind. That he didn't attack instead brought her unease. The tension that stopped her breathing slowly spread throughout the forest......

The bushes to her side rustled with unnatural timing.


"Nuuuuu. Wait, Horn-chan, hold, hold! We're allies, allies!"


"Like, I, said. Aww, it can't be helped."

The bushes rustled and what first came into sight was a metal spear taller than an adult. Right behind it, a blonde woman poked her face out.


"Yeah, yeah. Ahh, how scary. I thought I'd be shot by mistake."

She sighed in an exaggerated way.

......This is hard to swallow so suddenly.
This woman should be on standby at the tower. Why would she be at Lagoon? And why is she here before me?

"......Are you the real Ishtar?"

"Ehhh? Why are you doubting me?"

"The real Ishtar shouldn't be here. If the one at the tower is the real one, then who the hell are you?"

"──Then would you like to test it?"

The air suddenly froze over.

"If you think I'm not Ishtar, shall we have a battle here? You'll understand whether you like it or not."


The spear user standing there gave off a bottomless sense of intimidation. She glared at her eyes which gave off the feel of a fearless smile──


With a small sigh, Horn lowered her gun.

"I knew you'd understand, Horn-chan! Ishtar is so happy─"

"I don't think there's anybody that can mimic that part of you."

As the woman writhed her body and raised a voice of praise, Horn truly sighed with all her spirit this time.

"Explain the circumstances briefly."

"Why Ishtar is here? Well, if I had to say, it was Meimel-sama's order."

"The Priestess'?"

Impossible. The one who told Ishtar to remain at the tower was Meimel herself to begin with.

"To fool you enemies, you must first fool your allies."

She casually tossed a change of bandages over.

"Ishtar got into the cargo hold of your airship sometime yesterday. The reason none of you were told was as a countermeasure in the off-chance the third organization has a spy within the tower. No matter who the spy could be, it wouldn't be found out like this, right?"

They were led to believe she remained at the tower but she had instead tailed Horn of the detached unit.
As only she and Meimel were aware of this, there would be no way for a spy to know of it even if there was one.

"And what about that spy?"

"It looks like it was needless worry. ──But just that is good enough."

Ishtar made a childish smile and stared at Horn's stomach.

"That's not like you. Are you having a hard time?"

"......You have bad tastes."

She finally understood. Before Beltoma could launch an assault from behind, he was assaulted by this spear user behind him.

"What about Beltoma?"

"He went somewhere. He said something like 'That's enough time' so I don't think he'll be back."

"......I'm being mocked."

She spat out a wad of blood and put her hand against a tree trunk. She scolded herself for growing dizzy from the pain and blood loss and stood up while trembling all over.

......Enough time?
......So he only planned to block me from the start.

"Well, there's no need to beat yourself up so much!"

"What do you mean?"

"Beltoma was his name? When Ishtar got behind him, he didn't notice until she got really close. I think he had to stay focused with you as his opponent."


Ishtar held out her hand but Horn stopped her with her eyes and started walking.

"Where's your communicator?"

"It broke."

"So you were also attacked. Was it a Lord of Unusual Books?"

"No......I wouldn't say it was them. It broke yesterday. It was my cute little sister though so I'll let it slide."

She sidestepped the question with a troubled expression that was rare for her.

"Horn-chan, do you know where the base is?"

"I've heard that much from the main unit. It's less than thirty minutes away from here. ......Just to note, don't leave me behind and go on ahead."

"Okay, okay."

Ishtar didn't even attempt to hide her wry smile as she looked up at the heavens.



A Priestess' voice rang directly within the back of her head, wiping out Ishtar's.

"Ymy Ele Soufflenictole. There's been no communication for a while so I thought something happened."

'That was...... I-I'll tell you about it later! More important right now, Sheltis...... Did you already link up with the main unit!?'

"I was just about to head over. What happened?"

'Please......quickly link up with the main unit and contact Sheltis. Tell stop. If you don't stop him soon, there will be no turning back──'

Part 3

Now we'll return about one hour prior.
A summer breeze blew across the green land.


Holding down his billowing coat, Sheltis looked at the surroundings.

"This is?"

As far as he could see, it was an expansive prairie of deep green. A vast forest could be seen in the distance, bordering the field of rolling hills.

"Do you remember this place?"

"......It resembles the place where 'Golden' Maha was protecting that water tank with a Yuugenshu in it."

"That's it."

Stab. Igun-I stabbed his twin needle-like swords into the ground and clapped.

"It is exactly the place you fought at with Maha-san save for one thing. Look over there. Only the area over there has the grass torn up and the ground beneath exposed, right?"


The earth that Igun-I indicated looked as if it had been gouged out with an explosion. He also remembered seeing those massive slabs of bedrock jutting out of the ground in several places.

──What does this mean?

I should be at Lagoon, far from Orbie Clar but somehow I've ended up in Orbie Clar's nature district before I realized it?


"Yes, it is my handiwork. It is an ability that operates on yet another set of laws different from those of shinryoku arts...... To be more precise, it is a shinryoku art that advanced in a world without Yuugenshu."

A world without Yuugenshu?

"That kind of"

"Did you think Yuugenshu were prevalent throughout the entire world? That's not the case. Even within Eden, there are places in which Yuugenshu do not exist."

"......I don't believe you."

The world shrouded in deadly miasma.
Eden is a world overflowing with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Yuugenshu. That was common sense for anybody on Orbie Clar.

"My, my, how unlike you."

Beneath the black hat, Sheltis could tell there was a smile on his shapely face.

"You should understand, having fallen into Eden."

"......So it really was you."

The culprit behind contacting every terminal in Sophia and spreading information that a Yuugenshu assuming human form was lurking in the tower.

"Ahh, the message to the tower. It made it safely, I'm glad."

"Screw off!"

The land returned to silence.

"Why...... Why use such underhanded tricks?"

"You won't fool me. There's something else you'd rather ask."


"Don't hold back, I'm sure you have something you want to know more than that. Let's see, for example......'Why do you know that I fell into Eden!?'."

Shing. He rubbed the tips of his drawn swords together.

"Right, Sheltis!"


The Lord of Unusual Books rotated his body like a spinning top and dodged the upward slash then swung down the sword opposite Sheltis' from diagonally above. After repelling that sword, Igun-I's movements didn't stop. As if having foreseen his defense beforehand, he warded off the force and closed in instantaneously with a kick off the ground.

......He's fast!?
......No, what's more concerning is......those movements. It's as if.

"Just as I'd expect, even if you're shaken up, your body responds properly."

The black shadow went from being right up against the ground to standing in a heartbeat. Or so Sheltis thought, but he was suddenly hidden in his blind spot, connecting that into a sideways sweep with the might of a whirlwind.

──Even if he's blocked or dodged, he chains it into his next action.
──I have to stop him even if I have to force it a bit.


"I'm done repelling."

He clashed with Igun-I's swords head-on. Sheltis glared at Igun-I as the four swords between them scraped against each other, raising shrill noises.

"Well done, but I suppose my moves were easy to read."

"......Why do you think so?"

"Because these are your movements from three years ago. I'm just copying them."


"Oopsie-daisy. I just can't compete with you in arm strength. I'm as frail as I look."

......What's going on?
......It's true that Igun-I's movements were extremely easy to predict.

He could tell the timing attacks would come at and his body had responded naturally to the combos from just now.

"You look like you just chewed a bitter bug. But information of this degree is easily gathered through contact with Mikuva's Crimson Eye. It's nothing major."

That he had fallen into Eden. His swordplay from three years ago. I see, it really is easily available information. But why would he be so particular about me──

"Ah, before you misunderstand, I'll correct one thing. The information that can be obtained about you throug the 'Crimson Eye' is simply related to your dual swords. Your fall to Eden is unobtainable from the 'Crimson Eye'."


"The fact that you fell into Eden isn't recorded."

Mikuva's Crimson Eye.
A treasure of the Governmental Sector and massive shinryoku system which recorded all happenings within the world as images through the use of territory shinryoku arts. Even though that's what I've heard?

"Now that's the issue. You fell into Eden but Mikuva's Crimson Eye has no records of it. Which one is the truth in this case? That a boy by the name of Sheltis fell into Eden? Or that he didn't?"

"......So I'm not proof enough?"

The mateki residing within my body itself is proof. This body can't touch Ymy and takes damage from shinryoku arts. It is the most solid evidence that I fell into Eden.

──Clap, clap clap.

"Splendid. Yes, that's right. That was what I wanted to hear."

Igun-I's claps resounded throughout the deep green meadow.

"But Sheltis, try remembering a little harder? How did you fall into Eden? More specifically, what were you doing just before you fell into Eden?"

"I was......asked that many times at the tower."

But I couldn't answer. I don't remember. I have no recollection of anything from just before I fell into Eden to when I returned to Orbie Clar.

"Yes, and that is where the key to this contradiction lies. The contradiction between your truth and that of Mikuva's Crimson Eye."

The wind blew through the grasslands. His pale blond hair swaying beneath his black hat, the Lord of Unusual Books spread both arms.

"Sheltis Magna Yehle──
You were not the one who should have fallen to Eden.
That you would fall into Eden is an event that lay outside the purview of this world."

He gently, oh so gently conveyed his words as if to a child of his own.

Those words crossed over the plains, over the nature district, over Orbie Clar and permeated to the ends of the world.

Part 4


"What, did you see something strange? Was there a flying lizard or something?"


Tsali said so teasingly and Eyriey shook her head then turned to look at the path they'd walked through.

"I was just thinking that it's been smooth sailing this whole way."

"Even though there were a bunch of a standalone mechanical soldiers?"

"Ah, that's not what I meant...... Umm, I just thought we might have barely missed them."

There were turns but it didn't branch off. She felt as if she'd walked a fair distance but they had yet to meet Sheltis or anybody else she knew.

"C'mon, there was a single branch. It split off to the left and right and there was a large, fallen mechanical soldier off to the right side."

"Ahh, that was a long while ago."

"Yeahhh...... I wonder if it would've been better to pick the left route at that time. Right was out because that lug was clogging it up and it would be hard to pass by. What to to do?"

They hadn't met up despite having traveled this far. Even if there was a room ahead of this, she felt that the chances of everybody being there were low.

"I am Eyriey-nee's escort. I'll go with you where you want to go."

Tsali gave her okay with her hand on Eyriey's head.

"But we're strapped for time. If we're turning back, you need to make the call fast."

"Hmmmm, then let's turn──"

Just before she was about to grab Tsali's hand and change directions.

'Ahh! Onee-chan, wait, wait!'

'You came all this way so come play. We've been waiting all this time......'


Two voices echoed directly within her head like music played through earphones. These innocent, youthful voices......whose are they?

'It's just a little further so keep going!'

'Just go ten meters more and turn the corner!'

Hrm, what to do.

It's not Sheltis' group so I could just ignore them. But they might know where to go. And they've gone to the trouble of asking me to 'come' so I don't really want to refuse.

"Alright, I'll go, I'll go. So Tsali-san, they said it's just around that corner."

"So you're changing plans again from heading back."

She took the hand of her escort who was wearing a forced smile and started walking. Just like the twins', or so it seemed, voices said, there was certainly a corner just ahead of them. She could also see a slightly strong light coming from there.

......Ummm, they said we just had to turn and head straight.

Gigantic double doors.

The crimson metal door gave off a strange pressure just by looking up at it.

"......What a large door. And it's closed."

"Now, now, little twins, I could force it open but what would you have me do?"

Tsali had one eye closed and looked to be enjoying herself.

'Ahh, no violence. That's no good.'

'Yeah, that's no good. We'll open it now so just wait a second.'

They waited several seconds.

The face of the crimson door was became bathed in glittering particles of blue and green.

"Ohhh, how pretty."

"The blue is barrier type shinryoku and the green is territory type. By the way, the red for the door might be reminiscent of baptism types. All three of them are essential in battles against Yuugenshu."

Tsuli said so while combing the hair next to her ear.


'Welcome, onee-chan, onee-san.'

'To our base, the base of The Lords of Unusual Books. We shall guide you two.'

An enormous lab lay on the other side of the open door.

A pair of twins submersed in solution within water tanks were there.

'I am Neue. I'm in the blue water tank and I'm Noesis' younger brother.'

'I am Noesis. I'm in the green water tank and I'm Neue's older sister.'

Each of the twins had their eyes shut within the water tanks. Their hair colors......couldn't be ascertained because of the solutions' colors but they were slightly taller than Yuto. They looked to be about ten years old.

"Ohh, so polite. My name is Eyriey and the tall lady behind me is Tsali-san."

'We know. Tsali-san was calling you Eyri-nee.'

'Eyri-nee. Yup, it's a good name. Can I call you that too?'

"Sure, sure...... What's wrong, Tsali-san?"

She looked to her side and saw Tsali-san seemingly puffing her cheeks.

"......It's nothing. I'm not pouting at all."


"......Really............ The only one allowed to call Eyri-nee by Eyri-nee is............Yuto only............"

"Tsali-san, did you say something?"

"No, more importantly──"

The person in question cleared her throat as if nothing had happened.

"Eyri-nee, didn't you have something to ask these two?"

"Ah, right, right! Hey, hey, I'm looking for somebody called Sheltis and wanted to ask if you know anything? I think he should be somewhere in this facility."

'Sheltis. Ahh, the boy that Igun-I really likes. Hrmm...... He might not be in this base. I think he might have left Lagoon.'

'Yeah, he left. I think he's returned to Orbie Clar.'

"Orbie Clar...... Wait, Orbie Clar?"

The continent with Sophia towering over it came to mind and Eyriey tilted her head in wonder.

It took several hours by airship so just when did he go?

"And wait, you mean Sheltis just went back ahead of us on his own?"

'Nope, Igun-I went with him.'

'Yeah, he went with him. He said he wanted to speak with him alone so I think Igun-I used some weird art to move to Orbie Clar. Also, Armadel is missing.'

'Eyri-nee, do you know a man called Leon? That person is also missing from this base.'

"......Ugh, what's with that!"

She screamed out before thinking. Even though she'd worked up the courage and come out here, neither Sheltis nor Leon were here so there was no point.

"Wait a second, wait a second, lemme confirm. I don't know how but Sheltis and Leon went back to Orbie Clar. The ones still here at Lagoon are me, Tsali-san, Yuto and......"

'Two officials from the Governmental Sector and a lady with a blindfold.'

'Also, a spear-wielding lady showed up sometime.'

"Hm-hm. A spear-wielding lady...... I don't know who that is but okay. Hey, Tsali-san, what should we do?"

"Wouldn't it be a good time to pull back?"

The woman seemed indifferent as she looked over the room.

"I've already confirmed Shel-nii isn't here in Lagoon just like those twins said."


"......My mistake. ............Ahem. But before we return, I'd like to ask a few things first. There's no way you're trying to live in seclusion by building this cave-like facility out in the middle of nowhere, right?"

Tsali briskly walked up to the twins' water tanks.

"It's that 'Layered World Project' of yours."

'Arere? So you know about that. Then maybe we can talk about it.'

'Yeah, I think it's fine. It's only restricted for people from Sophia or the Governmental Sector. Eyri-nee doesn't seem to be from either and Tsali-san looks like she already knows.'

Layered World Project.
What is this thing I've never heard of?

'Look, Neue, Eyri-nee's confused.'

'Yeah, she's confused. ──Then before we explain, look over here. It's the all-important first reveal of our country. This is a special just for you, okay?'

Kusukusu, kusukusukusu......

The twins' voices echoed together with the sound of bubbles popping. Immediately afterwards, the imposing sound of a machine starting up resounded throughout the area.

"The wall is!?"

The wall just behind the twins' water tanks began to sink into the floor and the space behind it slowly came into view.

"Eyri-nee, you should back up a little. It might be too much of a shock if you're this close."

"What do you mean?"

Her hand was grabbed by her escort and she was dragged right up to the wall. During that time, the wall continued to descend and a dimly lit room came into view. A single small water tank was in there all by its lonesome.

'This is the beginning of the 'Layered World Project'.'

'The beginning and the most important component.'

The light reached into that dim space. When the contents of the water tank were lit up──


She scraped out her voice but no words would form. She was seeing it from a distance but that dark purple beast......

The third water tank that had appeared.

Eyriey was speechless as she was faced with that water tank which was cultivating a Yuugenshu.

Part 5

"You are not the one who should have fallen to Eden. You are not the qualified person that Eden seeks."

"......I don't get what you mean."

"I expected you to say that so I have also prepared a different explanation."

Meticulously stretching his glove to remove the wrinkles, Igun-I pointed down at his feet.

"Eden ── At times, there are people that fall down there by accident but the incident I speak of is not so. They are a qualified individual which was chosen by Eden and beckoned."

"Qualified individual?"

"Yes, I believe you have heard of this before. The activation of 'Mikuva's Crimson Eye' also used the term. In this case, it's Eden...... To be more precise, it's the entity that sleeps deep within Eden who has chosen."

One short pause.

After a fractional period which was not enough time for neither a breath nor reverberation of his words, Igun-I continued.

"The person chosen by the Forbidden Crystal."

"! That......?"

"Yes. I don't plan to speak in detail of the Forbidden Crystal here but if I had to summarize, it's like the core of Hyouketsu Kyoukai. It delved into the depths of Eden itself and sealed Eden. You can think of the Forbidden Crystal as such."

......So I wasn't mistaken.
In the underground facility he'd gone to with Leon, there was an image of a girl. That girl which had talked to him was──

"Wait...... So you're saying the Forbidden Crystal......beckoned somebody?"

The person summoned by the Forbidden Crystal would fall to Eden. But he who had fallen to Eden was not the correct person?

"Do you want to know who is the correct person?"

"......Not if you're not planning to say."

"Fufu, I'm joking. I just wanted to tease you."

Childishness that was short of being malice. With childish speech that betrayed no ill will, the Lord of Unusual Books continued.

"The qualified person's name is Ymy Ele Soufflenictole."


"That's right. She is the qualified person chosen by the Forbidden Crystal. As the successor to the previous qualified person of one thousand years ago, Shasa Endens Lin Kale, she should have received the power of the Forbidden Crystal. But that requires her to come into direct contact with the Forbidden Crystal. As such, she would have to fall once into Eden where it awaits."


"It looks like you can't believe it."

"It would be stranger to. If Ymy is the qualified person, then she should have fallen into Eden by now, right?"

"Yes, that's right. ......Sheltis, you really have forgotten everything."

Igun-I's lonely, sad whisper was penetrating.

"Sheltis, remember.
Three years ago, you were an Elite Guard and you fell into Eden instead of Ymy when you protected her."


In that instant, something deep within his chest gave off a sound and cracked.

"Three years ago......the girl, who was an apprentice Priestess, arrived at a 'certain place' and should have fallen as ordained by the Forbidden Crystal. She would contact the Forbidden Crystal, house its power and once again rise back to Orbie Clar."


"The girl began to fall. Everything was as the Forbidden Crystal had planned.

However......this is when something that was not intended occurred. While the girl had gone to this 'certain place', a boy had stealthily followed her. It was her childhood friend who was worried about the girl."

Those were distant, forgotten memories.
But little by little......just like the snow covering the land melts away, the events of 'that time' returned as images in a flashback.

"She would fall to Eden and contact the Forbidden Crystal ── but there was no way the childhood friend would know this truth which not even the girl herself knew. The girl falling to Eden looked no different than the other common incidents of falling into Eden. The next action the boy took...... I believe it need not be said."

The boy threw himself into Eden to save the girl who was falling.

"......And you're saying that was Ymy and me?"

Igun-I didn't answer.

But the lonely smile upon his lips spoke of the truth more clearly than any answer.

"The boy who jumped into Eden was assaulted by mateki but even then took the girl's hand...... In the end, he succeeded in her rescue and sent her 'up'. But the boy had no strength for his own return remaining. That is the truth of three years ago which no one remembers."

The girl remained on Orbie Clar.

The boy who had exhausted his strength fell to Eden.

"In the Sacred Hall of the Governmental Sector, I said this to you. Mikuva's Crimson Eye is a replica of the original, the Forbidden Crystal. All that Mikuva's Crimson Eye records is also committed to memory by the Forbidden Crystal. However, because it is a replica, even if it an record events in this world, it cannot record those within Eden. With that as the case, do you understand?"

 [T/N: Sacred Hall used to be Holy Hall but that sounds bad.]

"The event of 'Ymy Ele Soufflenictole fell to Eden' that the Forbidden Crystal ordained was eliminated and the event that should not have happened of 'Sheltis Magna Yehle fell to Eden' occurred."

The Forbidden Crystal which lay in the deepest part of Eden saw the falling boy and perceived that event. On the other hand, Mikuva's Crimson Eye which was fixated in the Governmental Sector could not record that.

"The world's memory was distorted. Unaffected by the boy who fell to Eden's existence, Mikuva's Crimson Eye which records the events of this world had no way to know. To be rid of this contradiction, the Forbidden Crystal came up with a plan."

"A plan......"

"It would make the 'Crimson Eye' record a fabricated story where 'Sheltis Magna Yehle fell off the edge of Orbie Clar and into Eden while patrolling the Biotope' and pass that off as the truth of the world."

"──! That...... That's a fabrication?"

That was what Ymy, Leon and even Sheltis himself remembered. He had fallen to Eden while patrolling the Biotope ── everybody should remember it as such.

......I can't believe it.
......Though I......really have nothing but muddled memories myself.

"But that isn't really necessary, right!? It would be fine if it just let Mikuva's Crimson Eye record that I had fallen into Eden!"

"That's the natural doubt to have. And of course, there was a reason the Forbidden Crystal would spread false information to the world through Mikuva's Crimson Eye."

Hand pressed down on the rim of his hat, Igun-I's words held no unevenness.

"It was the place. I used the vague description of a 'certain place' just now to describe where the two childhood friends went. In other words, the place you fell into Eden from is the issue."

"......So you're saying it wasn't the Biotope?"

"Where do you think it was?"

If his falling into Eden from the Biotope was not the truth, then that would mean the place being Biotope was the falsity.
But nothing readily came to mind. Maybe someplace in Lagoon?

"It's a place you know well. Come now, though you can't see it from here."

The pitch black Lord of Unusual Books pointed far into the distance.
Towards the living districts which were far from the nature districts.

"It was Sophia.
You and Ymy fell to Eden from the top floor of that tower."

Those words had surpassed his understanding.


"Now isn't that the face of speechlessness? If you don't understand, try to remember the top floor of the tower. What is the top floor of Sophia known as?"

The top floor of the tower was floor 291.
It was known as 'Paradise' and he had heard it was connected to the Queen and Priestesses' prayers for Hyouketsu Kyoukai.

"Do you know how many floors there are in Sophia?"

"......291. That's obvious."

"That's right. But isn't that strange? It's such an odd number to stop at. In creating a massive structure like Sophia, to make it easier to keep in mind the whole thing, it would be common sense to simplify everything to the extreme. For example......yes, adding another nine floors to make it 300 would be good? It's a very clean number."

"......Where are you going with this hypothetical story?"

Everybody on Orbie Clar knew of the peculiarity of the tower's floor numbering. But complaining about that now was pointless.

"Ahh, right, right. If we're talking about having nine floors──”

Beneath his hat, his shapely lips curled up.

"Eden happens to be exactly nine floors."


Somewhere deep within his memories──

'Welcome, you who have fallen to Eden and returned to Orbie Clar. The Paradise which has been frozen for a thousand years was awaiting you.'

'I just want to ask you one thing. How far into Eden did you fall? The fifth or sixth surface? Or did you hear 'that song' which flows within the deepest parts?' 

[T/N: Unusual counter for floors. It uses "mirror surfaces", implying that the floors are being counted in the opposite order.]

......I remember the sound of falling rain.
......There was a woman who held her hand out to me within my greyed-out vision.

"If you add together Sophia's 291 floors and Eden's 9, you get a clean 300 floors. Like this, you could say it was a tidy construction. If so, wouldn't it be natural to think they were set to be such in the first place?"

"......What are you trying to say?"

"It's a mirror. Sophia and Eden. Going further, Orbie Clar and Eden are mirror images on opposite sides of the mirror called Hyouketsu Kyoukai."

The Lord of Unusual Books spread his arms widely and looked up at the heavens.
That posture looked as if he was trying to embrace the blue skies.

"Because it is a reflection, the highest becomes the lowest and the lowest becomes the highest ── You understand now, right? Sophia's highest floor is Eden's deepest. Within the tower's 291st floor, 'Paradise', there exists an invisible door which connects to Eden. And......"

"......Ymy and I fell to Eden from there."

"Yes. With this, you also understand why the prayers for Hyouketsu Kyoukai are done at the highest floor, correct? The Queen and Priestesses are constantly activating the barrier from the location closest to Eden. Activating a barrier from closer up is guaranteed to be more effective."

............I didn't know.

No, nobody knew. Not the Elite Guards, nor the instructors and probably not even the Sennenshi. The art of Hyouketsu Kyoukai should be a secret of the utmost importance circulated only between the Queen and the Priestesses.

"Ahh, by the way, not even the Priestesses know of this. That the tower and Eden are connected."

"......So not even the Priestesses know."

"Only three people do. Only those who contacted the Forbidden Crystal a thousand years ago. Amongst them in one man and two women."

"Are you one of them?"

"No, I am no one that important. I am an exception."

The tone of Lord of Unusual Books changed as he said that.

Despite knowing things beyond the ordinary, he took no pride in it. Instead, he seemed to be embarrassed of the fact as he tightened his lips together and readjusted his hat over his eyes.

"At any rate, you understand now, right?"

"So this is the reason the Forbidden Crystal operated Mikuva's Crimson Eye......"

"Yes. I suppose you could say it was panicked."

The top floor of the tower was connected to Eden and that's where Hyouketsu Kyoukai was established.

If the masses of Orbie Clar knew of this, it would cause a great stir, and that was still within acceptable limits. The problem was the Yuugenshu. If those monsters knew the secret of Hyouketsu Kyoukai, that might become the cause for another weakness in Hyouketsu Kyoukai.

"And so you fell into Eden without knowing the truth and only the result of your harboring mateki was left within the world."

Igun-I pointed his finger straight at Sheltis.

"That is also the reason you survived falling into Eden. In exchange of Ymy who should have received the Forbidden Crystal's power, you were granted the protection of the Forbidden Crystal which was for 'returning to Orbie Clar once more'. But because you were not qualified, you could not be given the Forbidden Crystal's power and it took time for you to rise back up to Orbie Clar."

That was the one year.

......And that's why I have no memory of my time in Eden.

While he was in Eden, he remained outside the purview of Mikuva's Crimson Eye. Because of the efforts of the Forbidden Crystal, placeholder memories of him 'falling from the Biotope' hid it.

"How about it?"

"......I still don't know which to believe."

But I know. This Lord of Unusual Books is not lying. I can feel that everything he has said is the truth.

"But I think that you......are not lying."

"Then that's good."

He smiled and then.

"Rather than not knowing anything, I would rather you despair after knowing everything."

The pitch black Lord of Unusual Books declared with wholehearted joy.


"Whoa now, don't be in such a panic. Everything I have explained is the truth. There are no embellishments to it."

Igun-I raised a hand to stop his reflexive tensing.

"I.....didn't believe that you would just explain this for no reason. Say it already! What's your purpose?"

Even after hearing all he'd said until now, he still did not have a grasp on Igun-I's objective.

Is it a diversion or is he buying time? But I don't see a point to buying time at the edge of a grasslands like this. Even if this was a distraction, he's being too honest.

"You will understand eventually. Yes...... It's almost time...... You will understand soon."

The Lord of Unusual Books draw his swords out from the ground. Not a fleck of earth was stuck onto those needle-like swords.

"Now then, let us enjoy our alone time for a while longer."

Part 6

Bright lights shone down from above in the room.

A multitude of cables snaked along the ground haphazardly and connected into varying sizes of machines which were painted all black.

But she wasn't concerned about any of that──

'Aha, Eyri-nee, are you surprised? But that's natural.'

'Yeah, yeah, it's natural. If a normal person sees a Yuugenshu, they get surprised.'

"──H-hey! I'm not surprised at all!"

Eyriey shouted out without thinking and took a step back. She clutched onto Tsali's clothing beside her and timidly leered at the interior of the water tank.

"H-hey, Tsali-san. Is...... Is that a Yuugenshu?"

"That's right."

She nodded as that's what it was. There was not a shred of unease in her.

......I guess a Yuugenshu's nothing to her since she's a Guard.
......I'm just not comfortable with Yuugenshu and only them. I have nothing but scary memories of them.

It was the same thing when she went on that barbecue with Sheltis and Yuto and when Sophia came under attack by a large group of them. For she who could not use shinryoku, there was almost nothing she could do to resist them. Most of the people on Orbie Clar were the same and even within the tower, only the Guards and Priestesses were exceptions.

"Eyri-nee, are you scared?"

"......Yeah. Only Yuugenshu do this. I don't know when it might attack after all."

"That's the correct thinking. But that concern doesn't seem to be warranted this time."


"There are two reasons the Yuugenshu before us is not to be feared. The first is that a single Yuugenshu or two aren't even enough to count as killing time against me, a simple matter of strength. The other is that there is practically no mateki coming from the water tank over there."

Narrowing her eyes to slits, Tsali glared at the water tank.

"Eyri-nee, what does that water tank look like to you?"

"......Isn't it a breeding tank? There are bubbles rising up from the bottom."

"That's right, there are similar apparatuses in Sophia as well...... I see, if you look at reality, it's immediately obvious."

Her eyes were smiling combatively in a way that clearly suited a grin.

[T/N: It's actually an onomatopoeia for smiling (niyari) that we don't have an equivalent for in English. The SFX is suited to a smile that is not friendly by any stretch of the imagination.]

"Breeding as a word is only partially correct. The goal does not appear to be breeding itself."


"If they just stuck it in a water tank, the Yuugenshu would grow in size and spread mateki. But what about that? It doesn't have the mateki mist and it's not moving even a bit."

"That's true......"

Even if it was being bred in the water tank, it was unnaturally still. Its movements were stopped as if it was asleep.

"Their goal is an experimental barrier to seal away Yuugenshu through sleep. It looks like they're breeding Yuugenshu because that's a necessary step in their experiments."



Mixed into the twins' voices was awe at the sage before them.

"So this is the 'Layered World Project'?"

'That's right. Our final goal is an eternal world.'

'Yeah, it's amazing. If this is completed, we won't need the Queen or Priestesses. We can make Orbie Clar an eternal paradise in place of Hyouketsu Kyoukai. The 'will of the world' said so. If this barrier is completed, Orbie Clar will transform from a false paradise into a real one. We Lords of Unusual Books will end this illusionary paradise.'

"......Illusionary paradise, huh."

Closing her eyes, Tsali ruminated over the twins' words.

"But that could also be considered to not be much of a difference to Hyouketsu Kyoukai. Isn't it just a difference of whether the Priestesses are maintaining the barrier or you two?"

'Hyouketsu Kyoukai won't hold much longer.'

'Yeah, it's at its limit. The Forbidden Crystal's power is basically used up. Ymy Ele Soufflenictole who should have been the final qualified person also didn't fall into Eden and failed to contact the Forbidden Crystal, extinguishing the final hope.'


"Eh? W-wait a second. What's this about Ymy falling into Eden ── mngh!?"

"I see, I've got the gist of it."

She tried to say something but had her mouth covered by the Guard beside her.

"Eyri-nee, let's head back."


"I've already asked all I wanted to. And it seems there are Lords of Unusual Books heading towards our airship."

'Ah, she found out.'

'She found out─'

Kusukusu. Innocent malice could be felt in their telepathic communications.

"Your older sister here will teach you kids something."

With her back towards the twins, Tsali turned just her head to face them sideways.

"Shasa's...... No, the Queen's strength is not in Hyouketsu Kyoukai nor the Forbidden Crystal. It is the unwavering 'will of the people' that has persisted a thousand years. A true paradise is not a place, it is the succession of that will."

'? Neue doesn't understand.'

'? Noesis doesn't understand.'

She returned a slight smile to the twins floating in their water tanks──

Immediately after.

Tsali picked Eyriey up and disappeared from the room.

Part 7

The murderous heat rays poured down mercilessly upon the sandy soil.

When there was no wind, the temperature would even get up to fifty degrees. Long periods of training in such an environment presented an extreme burden on both the body and mind. For Cadet Guards, even in independent training, it was an ironclad rule to be in a group of two or more.

"Even then......why do I gotta pair with you?"

"Sheltis is not here. Monica said she would go buy the squad's emergency rations. I think she'll be back soon."

Vaiel continued his squats and Kagura was riding his shoulders as she looked down at him.

"You don't like being together with me?"

"Always the same shit...... Oww! Bitch, don't go slappin' my head!"

"Come on, focus. But I'm insufficient as a weight. We need a Guard with a little more body weight."

She looked around with her helmet on her head.

It was easy to see around her because she was on his shoulders but because it was the hottest time of day, it looked like all the other groups had taken cover in the shade beneath the trees.

"You think I'm gonna carry some damned fat ass in this damned heat? Hey, how much more?"

"Another nineteen times. After that appears to be conquering a full marathon while handstanding."

"......What kind of joke is that?"

"It looks like it's one of the new menus that Instructor Yumelda came up with by staying up all night. It appears to have come into effect yesterday but there have unfortunately been no successes thus far."


He just silently continued his squats. From his exasperated expression, he seemed to have lost the will to respond.

"Still, how rare of you to participate in independent training of your own free will."

"It's 'cause our cap'n there's in strangely high spirits. Thanks to that, the Instructor comes to beat my ass if I'm dozing and tells me to come to training if I'm so free...... It's a crying tragedy."

"It's because Monica's also worked up."

......Being excluded from the mission Sheltis is on must have been that hard on her.
The twin swords user that became Monica's impetus for becoming a Guard fell to Eden three years ago and was declared KIA. However, he had actually lived and that was Sheltis. The only one who knew that within the squad was Kagura.

......Of course he resembles that Guard since he is that person.

Kagura was of course aware of the complicated feelings Monica held for Sheltis. But she couldn't tell her the truth. If she were to tell her, Monica would happy but also receive a big shock.

"Somehow or other, that might be a cause for worry within our squad."

"You say something?"

"No, no, nothing at all. Rather than that, after this is──"

Another five times.
Just before Kagura said that.

'Why are you──'

'I shall tell you everything. That which you want to know and that which you do not, in its entirety, plain and simple. That is why I am here.'

This unusual phenomenon suddenly occurred at the tower.


Was that my imagination? A voice I know just came from the tower's speakers──

'Do you remember this place?'

'......It resembles the place 'Golden' Maha was protecting that water tank with a Yuugenshu in it.'

'It is exactly the place you fought at with Maha-san save for one thing. Look over there. Only the area over there has the grass torn up and the ground beneath exposed, right?'

Maha? A water tank with a Yuugenshu in it?
What's going on? Why can I hear Sheltis' voice from the tower's speakers...... And who is he speaking with?

"Oi, oi, that bastard's back at the tower?"

Vaiel also raised his head while wiping off his sweat.

There was no mistake that he was also hearing this. This voice was Sheltis' and it was coming from the tower's speakers.

"I wonder who he's talking to."

That was what she was curious about. Considering that Maha's name had come up, it was somebody related to the Lords of Unusual Books. The person Sheltis was talking to should not be some random civilian.

'Did you think Yuugenshu were prevalent throughout the entire world? That's not the case. Even within Eden, there are places in which Yuugenshu do not exist.'

'......I don't believe you.'

──What is this tone of Sheltis'?

He was showing anger far removed from his normal self in his words...... No, is this impatience? A feeling of unease with strong intonation. This isn't the kind of feeling you'd give off if you were talking to an ally. It's highly likely that he's talking to an enemy from the place he was infiltrating.

During this time, the conversation between the two continued to play through the speakers──

'You should understand, having fallen into Eden.'

'......So it really was you.'

'Ahh, the message to the tower. It made it safely, I'm glad.'

"......Mm. Eden? The message to the tower?"

Vaiel scrunched his face in puzzlement and she looked at that reaction of his.

──So that's what this is!
Chills enough to make her shiver accompanied a single premonition that popped up in her head.


There was no way her voice would reach through this one-way speaker. Even though she knew that, Kagura ran towards the speaker.

......This is bad, I have to stop him!
......I already understand what's going on from what was said just now. This is──

"Sheltis, you can't! You can't say anymore than that!"

"What is it, Kagura? Shouting like that and even going so far as to take off your helmet."


She had probably intended to bring refreshments. With two bottles of drinks in her hands, she came right up to Kagura ── that is, she came right up to the speaker.

......This is bad!
......Only Monica......must not hear this.

"Monica, you've come at a good time. I have something to do so come with me!"

"Wha? O-oi, what is it?"

She pushed her back and tried to open up whatever distance she could from the speaker.

'Why...... Why use such underhanded tricks?'

'Don't hold back, I'm sure you have something you want to know more than that. Let's see, for example......'Why do you know that I fell into Eden!?'.'

"............Sheltis? ............Eden......?

Monica's back was trembling slightly. Kagura could not come up with words for her before the continuation brought yet more despair.

'Sheltis, remember.'

'Three years ago, you were an Elite Guard and you fell into Eden instead of Ymy when you protected her.'

The speaker's voice quietly, quietly yet rejecting all interference, spread through the tower.

What started as a small commotion grew larger with every passing moment.

Part 8


The beautiful reverberation of a sword. Before that sound finished, another one rang out and the cascading resonance became an odd sort of song.


"Whoopsie, that was close."

Igun-I dodged just before Sheltis' sword tore through the tip of his hat. The backhand blow he deliverd to Igun-I's landing point was also stopped and instead, he barely managed to defend against the down-up sweep from his side.

"Your breathing is getting quicker. Is it fatigue or perhaps impatience?"


He paid no attention to those words and launched a kick at Igun-I's chin below him.
Tchch ── a sharp sound could be heard but his boot only managed to slightly sway some of his opponent's blond hair. As if his action had been read, he was dodged by a hair's breadth.

"Ohh, close again."

My attacks aren't landing.
......What's going on? Why does it feel like something doesn't add up?


He didn't understand Igun-I's degree of skill.
He could reproduce Sheltis' sword skills from three years ago, just before he had fallen to Eden. He really did have a sense of having seen each and every one of these movements with their tendencies and the combinations of them. That's why it was a given that he would also be able to avoid Igun-I's attacks.

......But why am I not able to land my own attacks?

Now that he had grown taller and gained more muscle, his swordplay had changed forms from the core. There should be no way Igun-I would be able to read his attacks by replicating him from three years ago.

"I'm happy."

The Lord of Unusual Books had perfectly level breathing and whispered in a tone overcome with emotion.

"You understand deep within your heart. Who I am."

"......I understand who you are?"

"Yes. You are subconsciously making your attacks miss. That is the reason your attacks aren't landing."

Putting a hand to his chest, Igun-I continued.

"For I am the most important person to you."

"......What did you say!"

"It's true, you know? Since you don't know what I look like beneath my hat."

He pinched the corner of his hat between his fingertips.

"But you can't look. I won't show you yet. Figuring out who I am will have to wait until everything is over."

"──Jokes should be kept in moderation!"

"Ohh, close again."

He swung down from overhead and his opponent swung up while backing up. But even though he had pretty much perfectly directed his attention above, the combined attack from below didn't hit.

......I'm making my attacks miss subconsciously?
......That shouldn' the case.

"Who you are is of no concern to me."

"Why would that be?"

"......I made a promise to somebody."

"That would be Ymy Ele Soufflenictole?"

He didn't feel any surprise at his promise with Ymy being known. For somebody who knew truths that neither Ymy nor he knew despite being those involved, he was prepared for anything to be known.

"I also feel that it is a beautiful thing."

The smile upon his lips had disappeared at some point and the Lord of Unusual Books' tone was serious as he said that.

"Ymy would become a Priestess protecting Orbie Clar and you would protect her from Yuugenshu. You would go on to become a Sennenshi and protect her. That was the promise."

"And what of it?"


It was a lively voice which even gave off the impression of deep affection.

"Ahh, how rude of me. I just thought you really do treasure her. I'm sure you treasure others as well but she alone is special."

"......She's just a childhood friend."

"You don't have to be embarrassed. I think that simplicity of yours is good. That's why......"

Igun-I took something out of his pocket.

"I will destroy all those precious relationships around you."

A black box. Red and green lamps flashed consecutively.


"It's nothing dangerous so be at ease. It's just a listening device. But I don't need this anymore. It has already been more than helpful."

Igun-I threw the device into the air and split it into two perfect halves.

"......A listening device."

"Yes. You didn't realize that none of the conversation from just now was focused around me?"

Igun-I pointed his index finger at the heavens.

"I've taken the liberty of extracting only the convenient parts of our conversation and broadcasting it. Now here's the question: where did I broadcast it to?"

"............You're kidding."

Cold sweat flowed down his face and onto the ground.

Considering Igun-I's mail that was sent several days ago to every corner of the tower, it was a foregone conclusion. As much as he thought, the worst answer was──

"I've forcefully broadcasted our conversation just now to every floor of the tower."

Igun-I's shoulders shook as he laughed innocently.

"Arara, how terrible. It looks like your past, your relationship with Ymy and every secret you wished to keep hidden has been exposed to everybody?"

Part 9

'Sheltis, remember.'

'Three years ago, you were an Elite Guard and you fell into Eden instead of Ymy when you protected her.'

Sophia floor 33, the Regular Guard training floor.


Leaving the four iron balls she was controlling stalled in the air, I'sa Ish Ismael wordlessly listened to the voices coming from the speaker.

"............An Elite Guard."

The bald dual gunner that came up to her only muttered that single phrase.

"So that's why his ability was beyond a Cadet Guard."

"......Hey, Jin."

Her face remained downcast as I'sa unconsciously clenched her fists.

"Do you think onee-sama......knew about this?"

"Who knows. But she's also an Elite Guard so I don't think you can say she didn't know for sure."


She bit down on the inside of her cheek.

──That dual swordsman is an Elite Guard? And the childhood friend of Ymy-sama?

......No, more importantly......he fell into Eden?
......So a person who fell into Eden has come back to Orbie Clar.

"What should we do?"

"We won't do anything. We just wait for orders from above."

She recalled her iron balls back to her side.

"This will cause a stir."

"It won't be something so minor. Somebody that returned from Eden is here in the tower. There's no way the division chiefs will leave this alone."

I'sa looked unblinkingly at the roof of the floor and gnashed her molars.

"............This flame will grow."

Part 10

'......What are you trying to say?'

'It's a mirror. Sophia and Eden. Going further, Orbie Clar and Eden are mirror images on opposite sides of the mirror called Hyouketsu Kyoukai.'

Sophia ground floor.

A black-haired male Cadet Guard was sitting at the edge of a fountain located in the lobby with his eyes shut.

"Nash, did you hear that just now!?"

"Don't be so loud, Myun-fa. I couldn't ignore it if I wanted to."

The boy that was called ── Nash G. Endolfin opened one eye.

"Myun-fa, you entered the tower as an apprentice Priestess."

"I'm part of the group that quit and ran away after one year though. I know what you're trying to say though."

With her zither tucked under her arm, the shinryoku caster sighed as if telling him to look.

"......There's no way I'd know. The top floor of the tower is connected to Eden? I've never heard of something that scary. The apprentice Priestesses won't know and I guess it's just Priestesses that would be informed?"

"In any case, there's no need to let the underlings know, huh."

"Are you angry?"

"No. It's just that I don't like things becoming a bother."

He quickly looked over the lobby which was in an uproar and his face warped into a bitter expression.

"Even the civilians that came to the tower have heard it. It won't even take a day for this to circulate throughout Orbie Clar as a rumor...... The truth they were hiding was just too big."

"Will Orbie Clar fall into chaos?"

"This will also draw in the Governmental Sector. It'll be world-scale mayhem."

Part 11

Sophia floor 287.

"Ran, where are you!? Please, if you can hear me──"

"I hear you, Ymy. I'm here so don't worry."

The door opened sideways and a tanned tomboy quickly walked to her.

"Oh my, you moved fast. As expected of you, Ran."

"Not like I have a choice after hearing that broadcast just now. It's been a while since I ran up five floors using the emergency stairs."

Even though she shrugged her shoulders in a joking way, her tone was serious as usual.

"So that really is the case."

"Yeah, my subordinates and I also heard it. It'd be fine to say that every floor of the tower heard that conversation just now."

Ran replied in the affirmative to Meimel who walked over.


The strength drained out of her waist and Ymy used the chair near her as a crutch as she struggled her way over.

......For this kind of thing...... Who did it and for what reason............

My being childhood friends with Sheltis is fine to be publicized. But for his past of having fallen to Eden to come out is the worst.

To begin with, the general populace will be stricken with worry. The division chiefs of the tower's upper management wouldn't let that slide.

......This time, Sheltis will be outed from the tower for sure.
......No, that much would be fine. Depending on what happens, he might be unable to go to the living districts and be eternally confined in a facility.

"Meimel, what about that talk about Eden?"

"The thing about the top floor of the tower being connected to Eden? Hrmmm. Come to think of it, I might have heard something about it from Salah-sama. I don't know whose voice that was in the broadcast but they're trying to force their side of the truth without any confirmation."

"Got it, that side will be settled if the Priestesses publicize their opinion. ......So the problem is with the Guards."

Ran furrowed her brow.

"First of all, the Elite Guards will be doubtful that Sheltis was an Elite Guard. They're still leaders so they won't cause a ruckus but there won't be any shortage of people wanting to confirm the truth. Also, there are the Cadet Guards. There are many of them and it looks like there are those agitated that are kicking up a fuss. It's that mail that said there's a Yuugenshu in human form lurking here. They're saying that he's the Guard carrying mateki."

"Hrmm...... It's true that the matter isn't unrelated to them as Cadet Guards. A Cadet Guard that was training with them until just yesterday actually fell into Eden and is housing mateki."

Meimel put a hand to her cheek and sighed.

"The ones we should be concerned about are the Cadet Guards that were close to him. Aren't we infected with mateki because we were with him ── They might be thinking something like that. That would spread anxiety in a flash and cause a big panic."



Syun-rei feebly stood up from the sofa.


......I had planned to forget about it until this mission was over.

I remembered because of Meimel's words just now. My worries that would still be here after this mission ended. I'd put it out of mind because it might have been a hindrance to the mission.

'It looks like I've fallen in love with him.'

......If Monica-senpai heard that broadcast just now.

Senpai would also be shocked if she suddenly heard that...... No, it might not end with just that. She would definitely be shocked.

"......That wasn't......what I wanted────"

That wasn't why she had hid her relationship as childhood friends with Sheltis either. She had intended to take her time and consider the time and place to discuss it.

......I listened to Monica-senpai's worries so I was really worried about her.
......But what do I do? How do I explain this to her?

Senpai will also be uneasy in this situation. This is the worst possible way she could have learned about Sheltis.

"............Why did it......come to this."

Ymy lost the strength to even hold onto the chair back and collapsed to her knees.

"That makes everything."

The Lord of Unusual Books watched the divided listening device fall to the ground.

"With this, I have taken away everything."


He had his fists clenched tight enough to draw blood.

......No, hold it in.
......He's provoking me. I can't give in to anger and just scream.

"Oya, that's unexpected? I thought for sure that you'd be indignant."

"What...... What is your goal?"

"To interfere."

Igun-I's answer was a single phrase.

"My goal is to interfere with all those people hanging around you. I'd like to cut them all away cleanly. If I do, then you'll be alone. You'll be really, really sad, right?"

"Do you have some kind of grudge against me......"

Even now, Igun-I's identity was unknown. But he had no idea who he could have angered so badly no matter how much he thought back.

"No way, it's the opposite."

With his hand on his hat, Igun-I shook his head.

"If you become alone, then I'll be the only one that would extend their hand to you, right? I will be able to become everything to you. That's why."

"......You're insane."

"You will come to understand. When you come to know of 'the other half of the truth reflected in the mirror'. You will be able to accept me when you know the entirety of the truth from three years ago."

Igun-I gave a courteous bow and turned his back to Sheltis.

"Sheltis, you have heard only half of the truth. Let us meet once more when you have heard it all."

"──Do you think I'll let you get away?"

"Rather than worrying about other people, you should worry about yourself."

Stab. The raw impact of something cutting through flesh was conveyed not through sound but pain.

......My leg?


An enormous white snake was coiled around his knee with its fangs buried into his thigh. Viscous and clear venom was dripping from those fangs.

"Good timing, Maha-san. It's just as we discussed."



The pain traveling from his thigh to his buttocks and from his buttocks to his back prevent his voice from coming out. Unable to stay standing, Sheltis collapsed on the grasslands.

......I've seen this snake before...... It's the poisonous snake from Maha's Golden Hexahedral arts.

"It's a venom that destroys muscles and organs at the cellular level, causing hemorrhaging. It's a deadly poison so I think you won't be able to breathe for a while from the pain."

The Lord of Unusual Books looked over at him with a graceful smile.

"Maha-san, after you're done, meet up with Armadel-san at the aforementioned spot. I'll also head over as soon as I'm done at Sophia."


"You want to know what I'm going to do at Sophia? I told you, there's 'the other half of the truth'. In order to convey that to you, I'll just be taking one of the Priestesses."


"Ahh, I don't mean Ymy. It'll be the fourth Priestess, Syun-rei Pia Nucclene. Her territory arts will be a hindrance to my goal............ Ymy is last."

He announced his plans which should be critical without a care.

It's not like you can stop me, right? The challenging gaze from beneath his hat said as much.

"Well then, Sheltis, until the next time."

Igun-I raised his brimmed hat.
His pale blond hair swayed in the wind......and the Lord of Unusual Books disappeared as if spirited away by that wind.

The only one remaining there was a single boy squirming on the ground with control over his body stolen away by deadly venom.

In the fields where only the whispering of the wind was blowing.


Sheltis raised a voiceless scream.

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