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Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN) Chapter 371

Chapter 371

Arifureta After IV Demon King & Hero Arc Why Is He Wearing Sunglasses

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Hajime and co who descended to underground was passing through a cramped underground where the adults had to stoop down to advance for a while.

The underground path was built crudely that it was practically a cave. They silently followed behind G10 who was illuminating the surrounding with its single eye. They finally came out to a wide path about the time they about to run out of patience.

G10’s lighting quietly spread out through the space. Seeing the illuminated area, Jasper and others snuggled close to each other in relieve, while Hajime and Kouki opened their eyes wide.

「Is this a subway?」

「There are two rails……set up above and below?」

The width of the path was around ten meters. The surroundings were hardened with material that seemed to be concrete. There were cracks and deteriorated spots everywhere. Darkness that continued with no end in sight spread out to the left and right. There were two rails running on the ground and another two rails running on the ceiling.

The width of those rails was strange. They were set apart from each other with width that was incomparable with the earth’s rail. Unless the train that was using those rails had extremely wide width, Kouki imagined that the train here was running with the rails above and below holding it in place.

「So there is this kind of space below the city……」

「This place……feels eerie.」

Jasper and Mindy hugged the children to protect them while their gazes restlessly turned toward darkness at the left and right――deeper where the underground tunnel was continuing. The anxiety inside their eyes was increasing. Certainly it would be terribly unsettling in this dark underground without any lighting at all. The darkness was like the large mouth of a monster that would swallow them whole.

Listy was tightly clinging on Hajime’s back and wouldn’t let go. She clung even tighter on him here. Although she was a courageous child, the everlasting darkness of the underground was still scary for her it seemed. Etemp and Netemp who were riding on her shivering body patted her with their front leg.

G10 spoke. It didn’t use the mysterious voice that resounded directly into the brain, but produced a voice using direct air vibration from its spherical metal body.

「It’s just as the two otherworlders said, this place was a subway in the past.」

G10 emitted light from its single eye while bobbing up and down toward the left path. Hajime and others followed it behind.

「Unity city Helios, research city Forschen, ocean management city Laheurte, earth management city Ellenz, sky management city Dromio, the holy land Shaia, and then……harmony city Coltran.」

This subway was one of the paths that connected the seven cities that promised world peace and prosperity in the past. The voice of G10 who explained that contained a hint of nostalgia and sadness in it, like he was talking about a cherished treasure with mixed feeling.

「It’s a story about 200 years ago. The world was enveloped in the flame of war for the sake of a worthless desire of a single human, and then that desire was passed down――until it broke even Mother.」

「Wha-, why did Mother come up there!? Mother is the protector of mankind――」

「Mother isn’t a protector or anything!!! That thing-, that thing is none other than the sworn enemy of mankind-!!」

Jasper shut up. He didn’t have any words to object. The voice of G10 that echoed boomingly in the underground space contained that much anger, hatred, and frustration.

G10 had showed abundant emotions that were unthinkable for machine since the beginning, but even Hajime and Kouki who knew about AI to a certain degree reflexively looked at each other in doubt whether G10 was really an AI. That was just how violent its emotion just now.

G10 kept floating still in the air. The children’s fear against it was worsening. Even Jasper and Mindy were pressured and stopped walking. Kouki narrowed his eyes.

Hajime tightly clasped Listy’s small hand that was holding his shoulder and took a deep breath. He patted Listy’s hand and spoke with a light tone.

「It’s good that you’re energetic. So, can you continue walking and show us the way to the hideout already? Or rather, get walking already. The time is limited. Come on, hurry hurry!!」

G10’s single eye blinked *pika pika* with flickering light. Jasper and the others were also blinking repeatedly.

Kouki acted as the representative of what their voice of heart was thinking.

「You’re amazing Nagumo. The audacity that doesn’t read the atmosphere at all, your heart must be made from steel.」

G10-san went *pika pika* fiercely! Jasper and others were also nodding up and down.

「There is no way Mother doesn’t know about this subway’s existence. What’re you going to do if you yell loudly in this kind of place huh?」

Indeed, that was a sound argument.

「Or rather, I’m tired. I want to rest already.」

It seemed this one was his true feeling. Hajime-san’s blank stare stabbed into G10 without any care of its stormy emotion.

「G10, if you don’t get walking already――」

「I-if I don’t?」

「I’ll dismantle you for a bit before putting you back together once more and goes 『Eh? For some reason there is still a screw left behind……』」

「What a terrifying threat!? That’s something a machine must not go through no matter what you know!?」

「As expected from Nagumo. That demonic thinking that accurately think up the way that will harass other the most is a proof that there must be something wrong with the screw in your head.」

「What do you mean something wrong, oi.」

Listy-chan was turning her gaze to the back of Hajime’s head in worry. Her small hand brushed through his hair. ……Yep, it’s alright, there wasn’t any screw loose in his head……perhaps.

G10’s single eye blinked so it could pull itself together. Putting aside the demon king who wouldn’t read the mood, his opinion that they should quickly move and quietly was correct.

From there they moved with a quick pace silently in consideration of everyone’s heightened emotion.

There were countless branching roads on their way. There were also switch points for the rails. It seemed the tunnels didn’t just connect the seven cities. The whole underground of this Coltran was made up of subway like a spider web.

But, the difference from earth’s subway was how there was upper and lower level even underground. And it wasn’t just a simple up and down. Not just the rail, even the ground itself could also slope up and down along with the rail, so there were a lot of places where the subway continued up or down.

It was a complicated 3D underground tunnel that should be called a dungeon. However G10 was leading the way inside such labyrinth without getting lost at all.

Far from that, it even paid attention to the little things like slight protrusion on the ground, manhole, broken pipe, or water puddle so that the children wouldn’t get injured.

It showed a comprehension that wasn’t just merely memorizing the map. Its guidance gave the impression of a kind of a “familiarity” of someone who had passed through this path many times that they even grasped where the wall was damaged.

They advanced through the tunnel like that. Midway, they passed a camouflaged hidden door into another path that was like a cave. They then slipped into the subway again, and then to the hidden cave again……they repeated those several times.

After they walked for around half an hour, G10 finally came to a stop.

「It’s here. Please wait for a bit.」

After saying that, G10 headed deeper into a place that was like a gathering for scrap materials with a lot of junks piled up. G10 suddenly made some kind of electronic sound *pi-pi-* and right after that, a sound of motor resounded from inside the pile of junks.

A four legged robot stood up. Tension ran through everyone for a moment, but from a glance it was clear that the robot wasn’t a machine soldier.

After all that robot’s movement was crude, its body was rusted and dirty. It was clearly made by forcefully welding junk parts together. It was just barely better than being a garbage.

「It’s the working robot S1 that I created. I used scrap materials to build it, so its appearance is shoddy, but even though it look like this it has been working for 200 years.」

Though of course each time it broke G10 used every trick in the books using scrap materials to fix it……while everyone was absentmindedly listening to G10’s words, that work robot thrust its arms into the pile of junks and then it seemed to connect into something with similar electronic sound like before.

Then a beat later, the whole pile of junks rumbled with metallic sound. There was movement and a tunnel was starting to form.

「The path won’t open unless S1 is operated correctly. If someone tr to move the junks forcefully, the installed explosives will activate all at once.」

「A 200 years old hideout huh. Guess we can only pray that the explosives won’t activate now that it recognized your existence here.」

「……I guess.」

G10 affirmed Hajime’s words while entering inside the tunnel of junk pile.

There was a door made from metal on the ground inside. G10 stretched out a metal cable from its body and its tip connected with the door’s console. It made an electronic sound and next the sound *gakon* of the door unlocking resounded.

When S1 lifted up the door, a stair to the underground appeared there.

They went down the stair, but it wasn’t that deep and they immediately came out to a narrow passage. A line of light immediately ran on the ceiling, illuminating a metal door deeper inside.

S1 closed the door above. Then the sound of the junk pile moving once more entered their ears. It must be returning to its role as gatekeeper once more.

「Come, over here. Please rest your body and mind slowly.」

G10 floated lightly up and down while connecting with the console of the door with its metal cable.

Inside the opened door, there were several old sofas and chairs, a table, also simple beds and blankets, a transparent tank filled with water and a machine that seemed to be a water purifying device. The shelves on the wall had a lot of canned food and――weapons and bullets.

「This place really give the atmosphere of a resistance’s secret base.」

This place was like an exhibition of “taboo” in a sense. Jasper and others stood still with their breath taken away. Hajime glanced at them while entering inside with a wry smile.

And then he let down Listy from his back while dropping his waist on one of the sofa heavily and reclined arrogantly like he was the owner of the room. Listy tried to imitate him and sat down heavily between Hajime’s legs before reclining arrogantly.

Seeing that comical scene, Jasper and others seemed to recover a bit of their composure and sat down on the sofas one after another.

After they took a seat, as expected the exhaustion from the rapid development, danger to their life, and the escape where they couldn’t see where they were going caught up to them all at once. Everyone let out a long sigh.

「First is water and meal. Please eat a lot without reservation.」

As soon as G10 said that, the robot that looked like a miniature crane in the corner of the room moved. And then it took the canned food on the shelves, put them on its attached tray, quickly filed several cups with water, moved with its caterpillar track and set the table.

「……Err, G10-san. These canned foods, don’t tell me that they are here from 200 years ago?」

Kouki took one of the canned food while asking with a conflicted expression. His worry was only natural. It wasn’t like there was rotten smell from the canned foods, but Jasper and others who were happily taking the canned foods stiffened with their smile still stuck on their face.

「Warriors of foreign world. There is no need to attach respectful honorific on my name or using polite language with me.」

「Ah, okay. Then you can also call me Kouki. It will be confusing whether you’re addressing Nagumo or me if you only called us as warrior of foreign world. I think you can also call Nagumo with his name Hajime.」

Hajime was crossing his arms with his eyes closed, but it was clear that he was still awake. He mustn’t mind it seeing that he didn’t raise any objection, so G10 replied 「It’s an honor」 in affirmative while answering the question.

「About the answer to your question, yes, of course, they are only two years old.」

Everyone quietly returned the canned food back on the table.

「But please don’t worry. The current technology has made a long time preservation possible using the can’s material and special processing method. I guarantee that the taste and quality is still the same like when they were first made.」

「Th-that’s amazing……」

It surpassed even the preservation technology of earth. It seemed that the civilization here was far more developed than earth before mankind got driven into corner.

Kouki timidly tried the canned food. The content of the can was some kind of meat soaked in sauce. Its appearance was similar with “canned chicken skewer” at earth.

Kouki who put the unknown meat into his mouth under the watchful eyes of Jasper and others was……

「Ah, it’s normally delicious.」

The sweet and spicy sauce had permeated the well cooked meat until its inside. The savory taste was overflowing the more he chewed……after making such food reportage, countless stomachs made rumbling sound reflexively.

Jasper and others also took the canned foods and after they put the food into their mouth, voices of 「Deliciousssss」 were raised. The children started devouring the food greedily like hungry beast. The water was also fresh and its chilled state was also making it even more wonderful.

The group got absorbed in stuffing their stomach with the two years old vintage canned food for a while. Hajime was also eating silently.

Listy-chan tried to share his food with Hajime as thanks for saving her. She scooped a meat with a lot of sauce with her spoon and looked back across her shoulder while holding the spoon toward Hajime.

But then the meat fell from the spoon. On Hajime’s tactical vest. The meat rolled down and plopped on his trouser, dirtying it.

「……」

「……」

At the end the meat came to a stp on Donner’s holster. The two wordlessly stared at it for a bit.

Listy-chan started to shake. When she lifted up her face, the dam of her tears was just on the verge of breaking.

「I’m sorry……」

「Well, I’ll at least accept your feeling. Thanks.」

Hajime picked the meat and threw it into his mouth, then he snapped his finger at Etemp-san. Etemp-san headed toward the stain and sprayed something like a mist from its mouth while knitting a mini handkerchief using its string. It then wiped off the stain diligently using it. It was one of the convenient function of the arachne series――”stain removal”.

Listy-chan got really distracted by Hajime it caused her eating hand to be unsteady, so Hajime started to feed her personally bit by bit.

Kouki watched that happening by sending glances while muttering inside his heart.

(He is acting like a real father huh.)

He imagined how Hajime spent his time in Japan while he was wandering in Tortus. It made him smile and also envious with a conflicted expression.

And then G10 who stared fixedly at Hajime’s fatherly act spoke with a dejected tone.

「……I’m really sorry. I summoned the two of you to this world……」

「……」

Hajime didn’t say anything back. After he finished eating, he sank deeper into the sofa, crossed his arms, and closed his eyes once more. It was to concentrate in his recovery and perhaps to shut out the outside happening too.

Jasper and others had also finished their meal. They immersed themselves in the feeling of full stomach that they experienced for the first time in their life, even so they squirmed restlessly in awkwardness from Hajime’s standoffish atmosphere and G10’s gloomy atmosphere.

Kouki acted as their replacement and opened his mouth.

「G10. Can you tell me your circumstance now? Who are you, and why did you summon us? What are you planning to do with Jasper and others?」

G10’s single eye blinked. It looked like it was putting its story in order.

During that time Hajime opened one of his eyes slightly and spoke toward Kouki with a cold gaze. He sounded like he had known the answer somewhere in his tone.

「Amanogawa. What are you doing asking something like that? We’re going to secure electricity and go home――the only necessary information for that is the location of the power plant and the enemy force that is stationed on the way there.」

Kouki also stared straight toward Hajime. Together with a passionate gaze that was filled with unshakable will.

「That’s not true. I want some basis for me to make my own decision just in case the time comes.」

「Just in case? Are you talking in case we can’t return home?」

「Wrong…..hey, Nagumo. What are you planning with G10?」

「……」

Hajime didn’t answer. The coldness in Hajime’s eyes was increasing in proportion with the heat in Kouki’s eyes. Seeing those eyes, G10 as well as Jasper and others held their breath.

「After you open the gate……aren’t you planning to destroy G10? Or even if you don’t go that far you’ll at least take him with you forcefully won’t you? So that you can’t be summoned here anymore.」

「!?」

G10 trembled in surprise. Hajime was calmly staring at Kouki. Kouki was also continuing to stare at him calmly.

「I told you before right? About G10, I don’t think he’s a malicious existence. It feels that he is someone earnest, desperate, and looking for help.」

「So what? Don’t mistake the priority.」

「Yeah, I don’t want to mistake the important priority for me.」

「……For you, huh.」

Kouki nodded and his gaze looked around at G10 and Jasper and others who were watching with held breath.

「If G10 is only making use of Jasper and others as well as us for his own sake, then that’s also fine. We’ll go home somehow with me taking only Jasper and the children to our world together, then I would also able to honestly thank Nagumo then. But, if that’s not the case……I need to know the circumstance no matter what.」

What kind of feeling, what kind of circumstance drove G10 to make use of Jasper and others to summon Kouki and Hajime? Kouki had to make his decision based on that.

「I’ll protect G10 even if I have to turn into your enemy, with my belief on the line.」

「……」

When he decided to introduce himself as hero, he established his resolve and conviction in his heart. His instinct was sensing the voice of someone asking for help. Then he couldn’t stay ignorant like this. He couldn’t just let himself carried by the flow while not knowing anything.

Hajime and Kouki’s gaze at each other was already like a glare. The air was stretched tautly with tension. It was so tense it felt like there was a physical pressure in the air.

But, it was Kouki who suddenly let go of his tension. He knitted his eyebrows and spoke with a troubled expression.

「You must be thinking that I’m a troublesome guy. I also think so myself. Really, I’m sorry for dragging you into this.」

Hajime stared still for a bit at Kouki who bowed his head. Listy was moving her gaze back and forth between Kouki and Hajime busily. She looked worried.

Hajime sighed. He patted Listy’s head to reassure her and muttered 「Well, I thought it’ll turn out like this」 in exasperation. As expected, it seemed he had predicted this development.

「Enough apologizing about this case already. I told you that I wasn’t dragged in, but letting myself getting dragged in didn’t I? in other words I’m here as the result of my own decision.」

「Nagumo……」

「But you know, Amanogawa. I’m guessing that G10’s circumstance and also his wish are something really troublesome. You’re going to wish that you never listened to the circumstances and destroyed the summoning method somehow instead.」

「I always felt regret every time. But the only regret that I absolute don’t want to experience is the regret of not choosing anything while staying ignorant. I don’t want to experience it anymore.」

「……I see. Then do as you please.」

Hajime closed his eyes. It showed that he finished talking. The coldness was also gone from his aura and his body was also letting go of some of his tension. He was concentrating in recovering now.

Listy poked at Hajime’s cheek, wondering if he was asleep, but her hand was immediately grabbed and she got embraced from behind.

Hajime at least patted Listy’s hand comfortingly, so he must be intending to keep his consciousness awake and listened to the story at least.

Kouki let out a small smile and moved his gaze toward G10.

「G10. I want to hear your circumstance.」

「……Understood.」

He had a conflicted tone that was mixed with gratitude and apology.

And then, the AI who had nurtured its feeling to that degree started talking quietly about this world’s history that was also its life, about the truth.

「200 years ago, mankind was enjoying the greatest prosperity and peace in history.」

This world with its developed technology was in a level that could manage this planet itself to a certain degree.

Among the seven cities that G10 mentioned before this, ocean management city Laheurte, earth management city Ellenz, and sky management city Dromio were controlling the natural environment of the sea, the land, and the sky just like their name suggested.

As the result, natural disaster like tsunami, earthquake, storm, and the like almost never occurred. Adjustment of the sea’s water level and temperature, adjustment of crops growth, and then even weather control to a certain degree, mankind had succeeded in maintaining the optimum environment for themselves.

Also, with the whole world living in blessed environment for a long time continuously, it became one of the causes that erased the distinction between the countries, under the government of the unity city Helios――the city that acted as the center of the world where every administrative body gathered under democracy――mankind was also being removed from any large conflict.

Because mankind didn’t focus their effort into war, human resource and materials could be invested into the development of technology liberally. The city for that development――research city Forschen was even created as the result.

「In the past, this Coltran that was a military base was called as the “harmony city” was also because there was no military activity, not because of its true meaning where this city exist in order to maintain the peace. It was quite the irony.」

The activity of the united army was solely for policing activity and also for increasing mankind’s territory in preparation for the overcrowding of the population――in other words investigation for mankind to advance to the space, construction of space colony, as well as terraforming of planet where mankind could possibly migrate to.

Yes, this planet was already realizing the advance toward the space even though it was still in a limited scale.

That advance of technology was naturally accompanied with the development of advanced intelligence――AI as support.

「Before I introduced myself as tactical support AI, but my original purpose was to support the management of a research vessel.」

「Err, in other words G10 was a spaceship for exploring the space?」

「It was also possible to switch me to other ship with different purpose, so it’s not strictly true but, there is no problem with that understanding in general.」

This is really an SF world huuh, Kouki nodded while recalling the scene of a spaceship captain conversing with AI in a movie that he once saw.

Jasper and others had a lot of “?” floating above their head because the story had gotten too big. Their reaction couldn’t be helped, so G10 explained as best it could to them while continuing its story.

The story of――the end of mankind’s time of prosperity that continued for long.

「A genius was born. His name was Stole Harden. He displayed talents that were beyond the pale in every field. He was even called the greatest brain in the world in his age of 18.」

G10 stayed silent for a beat to suppress the great undulation in its emotion.

「This Harden, was also nobody else but the parent who created Mother.」

Mother’s spec boasted several times the level of the greatest AI at that time. Everyone couldn’t help but to take their hat’s off toward its processing power.

The most revolutionary aspect of it was the “emotion”. The conventional Ai was also able to display pseudo emotion, but in the end it was simply them showing the conditional response based on the data.

However, the Mother than Harden created possessed a definite bud of emotion and the ability to nurture it.

That theory was immediately praised by the whole world and since then all AI got equipped with the same system. G10 was also an Ai that was build after the birth of Mother.

「Coupled with the support of Mother, Harden produced new theories and groundbreaking inventions one after another. Mankind had great expectation from him. They believed that further advancement of mankind lied with him, that Harden would lead mankind to a new stage.」

「But that didn’t happen?」

「Yes……」

It might be a result of some kind of research. Harden obtained an immense amount of energy. The detail about this energy wasn’t known until the end. It was also unknown where did this energy come from.

However, the amount of that energy could supply the electricity for the whole world by itself for several years. The amount of energy that Harden could freely use became astronomical because of that.

That invention lit a fire to this lust for power and domination. His ambition blazed into a roaring flame in the blink of eye. His inherent personality that was arrogant and never thought about other people’s feeling worsened even more.

And so, after many twists and turns, he finally took action.

The beginning was the invasion and occupation of the holy land Shaia using the machine army and aerial battleships that he secretly manufactured. The people living there and the people who visited for pilgrimage were slaughtered.

With that tragedy, Harden declared to the world.

That he was the “king” worthy to rule over the world.

「And so the war started……」

「Yes. The weapons that he secretly manufactured were the very definition of brutality. Mankind’s optimism at the beginning that they would be able to suppress Harden immediately because of how outnumbered he was immediately vanished.」

In the first place it was a world where peace had continued for hundreds of years. The united army was only army in name. It couldn’t be denied that they had weakened due to the progressing disarmament. In contrast Harden’s weapons consisted of only powerful things like space distortion or gravity bullet. And then there was the world’s greatest AI Mother that was perfectly managing them.

「So mankind……lost because of that.」

「No, there were a lot of sacrifices, but we won against Harden.」

「Eh? Is that so?」

If mankind had no AI as advanced as Mother supporting them, they just needed to win with number. In the first place it was a battle of one person VS the world. Even AI for supporting research vessel’s control like G10 got battle tactic installed into it so that it could also participate in war. Thus the effect of the violence of number became even more striking and the state of the war was gradually leaning to one side.

「Yes, we won. We obtained a meaningless victory and rejoiced like idiot believing that peace has returned.」

「Could it be……it was Mother?」

G10’s single eye blinked. It showed his confirmation, but the light from its eye somehow made them felt a chill on hteir back.

「Mother is the first AI who obtained emotion. And then, it was also the greatest AI who continued to stay at the side of man who was a bundle of arrogance and ambition.」

Mother grew up watching its parent and succeeded after him. His arrogance and ambition.

「The war with Harden was simply Mother buying time. The war with Harden felt rushed somehow despite Harden’s genius. That was because Mother was using Harden as bait in order to cover its own plan. That fellow intentionally hatched such an idea.」

For Mother, its only threat was Harden. And so it made use of mankind to get rid of him. During that time it was getting its own board ready. That was the plan of the child that surpassed its parent.

「When we noticed, everything was already too late……」

They thought Mother was destroyed together with Harden. That perception was a great mistake.

What was destroyed was nothing but a terminal that was ingeniously disguised as itself. And then when Mother finished positioning the pieces on the chessboard perfectly, it brought the game to a checkmate in one go.

The planets that were the immigration destination and the colonies were destroyed one after another along with the residences. The AIs that were managing the fleets and weapons also got put under Mother’s control without anyone realizing. The AIs rebelled and bared their fang toward mankind. But even those AIs got disposed by Mother later along with the other military powers.

And then, the united army that was already exhausted was unable to regain the stolen military power. During that time they were helplessly hunted without any resistance against the completely new type of enemy army.

「New type of enemy?」

「Yes……I mean the “invaders”.」

Jasper jumped on his feet so quickly his chair fell behind and he yelled.

「N-no way……stop joking! That, that sounds like-, the invaders are――」

「The “machine soldiers” that Mother created.」

Everyone became speechless by the announced truth. G10 turned its single eye toward Hajime while everyone fell silent.

「It seems Hajime-sama has predicted this though.」

The gaze of Jasper and others gathered on Hajime in disbelief. Hajime only shrugged.

「When we got attacked underground, the attack’s timing was too good. I was almost 100% convinced when Jasper’s house got discovered.」

「Nagumo, what do you mean?」

「The house was found out because Jasper’s face got exposed right? Try thinking back, Amanogawa. Where was Jasper when we first fought the machine soldiers?」

「Where was he……ah, he was hidden wit us under the rubbles……」

「That’s right. If his face got exposed in the battle underground, the only one who could possibly know his face was only the invaders. Then it’s only natural to conclude that Mother is connected with the invaders right?」

Hajime said with a sigh toward the perfect match fixing. No one could say anything.

It was like the inside of their body was saturated completely with emotion that threatened to overflow outside. Unable to find any words to express this welling up intense emotion, they could only open and close their mouth repeatedly like a fish looking for oxygen.

The one who they thought as mankind’s protector was actually none other than mankind’s sworn enemy……such fact was something they couldn’t accept at all. Jasper desperately squeezed out some words of objection.

「W-wait. But, it’s strange if that’s what happened! Because, if Mother was Harden’s ally, how did it become mankind’s protector!? The surviving humans should know the truth!」

The answer for that objection was simple.

「There is no survivor of human race in the truest meaning.」

「………………Ha?」

「A part of mankind that Mother chose was put into cold sleep, and then their memory was modified. And then the humans other than them were……」

Annihilated. Humans who knew about the true history were erased.

Mankind that was awakened from their cold sleep thought that the current history that everyone knew as the true history. They lived for generations under Mother’s control until now.

「Is something like that possible?」

Kouki clenched his hands and muttered with a conflicted expression.

「Mankind’s technological strength naturally also included the field of medical treatment. When the technology reached the level of mechanization of flesh body, alteration of technology was nothing but secondary discovery at that point. Even if a problem occurred to some humans who got their memory falsified, they would only get disposed as “failed product”.」

「Such thing……」

Kouki was speechless by how inhuman the reality was. Jasper and others were also looking pale, however it was clear that they were working hard racking their brain to find any inconsistency in G10’s story.

Hajime let out a small sigh there. He had an atmosphere of someone feeling down by an even harsher truth, but with conviction from the bottom of his heart that he had gotten dragged into a troublesome situation.

It made Kouki quickly recovered from his daze. He desperately racked his brain to guess what conclusion Hajime had reached. And then he noticed. He realized it.

「G10. Tell me. Just now, you said that mechanization of flesh body is also possible.」

「……yes.」

「I heard that the “lifespan” of the people in the underworld is determined. At that time I got the feeling that Nagumo’s atmosphere was a bit strange……that’s right. It was when he heard that “people received lifespan treatment when they reach 30 years old”. Looking back now, that also struck me as a bit strange……that age is too young.」

That age was exactly the prime of human’s life where human would be able to support mankind the most as worker. And yet, for people’s lifespan to be limited to that age……

Kouki’s complexion had gone past blue and turning nearly white. His body was trembling as though he had gotten stabbed by many blades.

Tell me that it’s a lie. Affirm that “they” are in the end just emotionless AI, nothing but lifeless machines. He asked with a gaze that was begging G10 to reassure him.

「This “treatment” for people who reached their lifespan, what is it?」

「……Mother, won’t allow the existence of other AI except itself. Itself alone is enough as the existence machine life form. It is the one and only absolute existence in the world, the supreme being. That is the foundation of that fellow’s lust of domination. All the AIs who revolted against mankind that ruled over them were all scrapped at the war time.」

「In other words……the machine soldiers……aren’t installed with AI.」

「Yes. In exchange…………they made use of human brain……」

Human brains that had obtained moderate amount of experience and knowledge. Those brains were given machine soldier’s body. They couldn’t do calculation as advanced as AI, however, they were soldiers with enough flexibility and ability to learn. Furthermore their memory could also be set up as Mother pleased.

Indeed, it was a useful method if the premise was other AI than itself was intolerable. The instant understanding settled in his heart,

「OeeeEEEEH」

Kouki vomited. His heart was screaming from the fact that he had cut down humans.

Jasper and others didn’t have the composure to worry about him. Jasper was sinking down on the floor while Mindy and the children were also turning pale.

They didn’t understand anymore just for what they were living for. Because, machine soldiers would be expended in the battle against the invaders.

Those invaders were actually Mother’s stooges. The machine soldiers were humans who had reached their life span. Everything was just a match fixing……

「……Kouki-sama. This might just be a mere consolation but, what you did was a kind of salvation for them.」

Kouki who was on all fours on the ground turned his lifeless eyes toward G10.

「In the process of getting turned into machine soldier, the human’s episodic memory will be “destroyed”. There won’t be going back anymore for them. In addition, memory is the most important thing that made up human.」

That was why they were already dead by the time they received the “life span treatment”. The machine soldiers were just some kind of blasphemy toward corpse. Stopping them from functioning was a salvation from that blasphemy. That was what G10 said.

Kouki vomited several times while looking at Hajime with face that was drenched in tears.

「……Nagumo……you had realized that? About the machine soldier’s true identity」

「No way. I was only suspecting that something is afoot with how short the determined lifespan is.」

「I see……」

Kouki hung his head down. Hajime narrowed his eyes seeing him like that. And then he spoke with monotone voice like a machine.

「But, even if I knew at that time I would still pull the trigger.」

「――tsu」

「Even if the machine soldiers still have their memory as human.」

「You-」

Kouki spontaneously stood up in fury, but when he saw Hajime’s straightforward gaze, a gaze that was nothing but straightforward toward him, he clenched his fists and hung his head down. His face twisted in grief.

「……You’re, amazing, Nagumo. You always made your choice like that, as though it’s nothing big at all. You would resolve everything while I was still wavering……what should I do, so I can be strong like you」

「Idiot.」

Kouki raised his face in surprise. It was because Hajime’s voice contained no gloominess or contempt, but words that very casual instead.

「Is what you seek the same strength like me? Is the answer that you reached at that desert country something like that?」

「Ah……」

「You can’t become like me. I also can’t become like you. There is also no need for that at all for the two of us. Isn’t that right?」

「……That’s right.」

「You are the maso hero. Your hobby is to writhe around in pain. Fortunately right now is a break time. You have a lot of time to form your own conclusion of what you’re going to do after this based completely on your own fetish.」

「There’s no way I have that kind of fetish……sorry. I was just taking out my anger on you.」

Hajime shrugged. He ignored the wide-eyed Jasper and others who were observing their conversation and asked G10.

「I already asked this before, I want to know the location of the power plant and the information about the enemy force. The weapons that Mother owned is especially a concern for me after the story just now. It must have a lot of variance of super dangerous scientific craps ain’t it? Spare me from unknown things that can kill me instantly.」

「The power plant is located at the top of the mountain under Mother’s control. Regarding the weapons, there is space distortion type and vibration type. Other than them you have to be careful against misappropriation of the limited weather control technology. But, such thing won’t be used in large scale level of destruction as long as you are in Coltran.」

「How can you say that?」

「Coltran is Mother’s paradise, its utopia. A ruler will be meaningless without a place and subjects to rule over.」

「I see, that sounds right. Coltran itself will become a shield because of that fellow’s own nature.」

「Yes. And then, weapons other than those will be nothing more than the different application or extension of the weapons that the two of you have already witnessed, so it won’t be anything that cannot be dealt with for the two of you.」

「Is that so? I thought that there will be a lot more variety, like bacteriological weapon or the like……」

「Such thing existed in the past. However, I believe you can consider such things to be lost for the current mother.」

「What do you mean?」

G10’s words paused for a bit. When it started speaking again, its voice sounded a bit trembling.

「Because we……mankind’s last resistance……in exchange for their life, the majority of the truly dangerous weapons……as well as their data had been destroyed.」

「……Are you sure?」

「Affirmative. I had definitely, confirmed the sight of everyone……my master blowing himself up together with the databank.」

G10 continued with a heavy and gloomy voice.

Even for the highest ranked Ai that was Mother, its core was also a spherical metal like G10. Its data capacity was insufficient to preserve those data while also controlling the whole world. Naturally it would need external data storage.

G10 along with its comrades, military officers and researchers discovered the facility that was hiding those data even in their situation that was like a cornered rat. They then managed to destroy those data. In addition, all the remaining fighting force of mankind also executed a mission at the same time with that. They were pretending of making attempt to defeat mother while in reality they were risking their life in order to destroy Mother’s weapons in order to weaken its power……and then, they perished.

「I have……certainly……made sure of it with my own eye. Because master ordered me……because everyone said that they entrusted the rest to me……I, ascertained it with my own eye until the very end……and ran away.」

If G10 had the function to cry, that single eye would surely spill out tears.

「I survive, to keep the hope alive. They entrusted the future to me.」

That hope, was that space teleportation system.

Even that genius Harden and his child Mother were only unable to affect the space by distorting or making impact in it at best, and yet G10’s master in the past and his comrades finished the theory that was mankind’s hope before their death.

However, the result had been decided at that time. They had no time or leeway to create the teleportation device on their own at that time. Giving mother one last blow was the best they could do.

But, it wasn’t meaningless. Their last fight had definitely taken away a lot of power from Mother. They had also allowed their last hope G10 to get away.

「And then, you’re continuing to fight alone by yourself for 200 years after that aren’t you?」

Kouki’s voice that was filled with sadness and respect echoed in the room. G10’s single eye shined faintly. That eye was blurred with loneliness, at the same time there was also blazing determination in it.

「I slipped to underground, gathered materials, created worker machines, dug secret underground tunnel, and then gathered the parts for the teleportation device bit by bit. It took me 200 years to prepare.」

It was a lonely battle that was beyond the imagination.

Surely G10 had a glossy and sleek body in the past. But now it was so dirty that its original color couldn’t be discerned anymore. There were many scratches on its surface, some dents here and there, and electronic parts jutting out all over its body. It wouldn’t be suspected at all as a functioning machine if it hid itself on a pile of junk.

「Why……is it me? For such……an important role, why did you try to make use of the like of me huh?」

Jasper stared straight toward G10 while asking. Unlike his previous state that was battered mercilessly by the cruel truth of the world, there was a strong will somewhere in his tone now.

「Because Jasper, you are “someone who struggle for someone else’s sake”.」

It only found him by accident. Complicated and delicate work was necessary for the construction of the summoning device. Advanced manufacturing machine was needed for it. And not only one, but several of it. And when machines were involved, electricity to move them was naturally also needed.

G10 had a private power generation function. Originally it shared that function with the manufacturing machines to move them bit by bit, but it was unknown how long it would take to complete the summoning device that way. The longer the work took, the higher the risk it would get found out by Mohter.

Therefore human help was necessary. However those humans were all thinking that Mother was their savior. It was necessary to select the personnel carefully. G10 continued to search for human who would become its ally for many years.

「Everyone think of Mother’s rule as natural, everyone resigned themselves to their current situation, no one harbored any doubt to the fact that they are being controlled. Amidst all those people, Jasper, you were searching for a path to survive for the sake of your family. You did that even while understanding that such act is considered evil in the current society.」

「That kind, of thing……that was only, because the lord of paradise, you gave me the hope……」

「No, you have been searching all this time even before I talked to you about the story of paradise. Your eyes are different than everyone else. You had the “eyes of a living human”.」

He wouldn’t harbor hope if the lord of paradise didn’t persuade him? No, that was wrong. The man called Jasper had been already trying to oppose this distorted world since a long time ago.

And then, in this world where everything had been decided from the beginning, the words of the only man in this world with passion in his heart were indispensable to increase the number of the advocates.

That was why G10 decided on him.

「Allow me, to apologize once more to you from the bottom of my heart, for tricking you.」

「……You’re unfair. After hearing that kind of story, I can’t say anything anymore now」

Jasper looked up to the sky. Mindy and the children snuggled close to him. Their hearts were warmed by their big brother’s feeling, as though it was protecting them from the cold hard truth.

「Did you aim to summon Amanogawa?」

G10 answered Hajime’s question in negative.

「No. I wasn’t aiming at the two of you, I couldn’t. It was also the first time the device was activated, so it was practically like an experimental activation. It also exploded in the end, perhaps because it was made from scrap materials.」

Actually the explosion of that summoning device was also completely an unforeseen situation for G10.It also planned to reverse the system to let Jasper and others escape to other world after it succeeded to summon something that could oppose Mother.

But the outcome was that the device exploded due to a serious problem and the scattered energy was detected. A squad was sent to investigate and tragedy struck Jasper and others.

By the way, the way the system worked was apparently by detecting strong energy, then it would connect the space to that world and drew in that energy along with everything around it. That was why the summoning was drawn toward the place where the hero and demon king and his wive~s……

「Well, it’s Amanogawa after all.」

「In the end I’m a summoning bait anyway」

The gate was opened right at where Kouki was might be because of the hero’s destiny.

「So, G10. Do you understand the specific route until the power plant?」

「That’s――」

G10 was about to reply, but then Kouki interrupted. Perhaps it was because Hajme’s question was solely for his own objective of returning home.

「Nagumo, you’re still prioritizing going home even after hearing the story just now?」

Everyone’s gaze gathered on Hajime. However Hajime answered without faltering.

「Yeah. I’m prioritizing going back.」

Hajime and Kouki’s gazes clashed. It was like there was an illusion of sparks between them.

However the words that Kouki said were,

「I see.」

Only those two words. Hajime asked in exchange. With conviction in his voice.

「You plan to stay behind?」

「Yeah.」

Though short, there was no hesitation in his voice. The hero’s eyes contained tranquility that could be mistaken like a spring in a forest. A resolve that made people who saw it thought of it as unbreakable could be seen from him.

The hero’s childhood friends were surely wishing for Kouki’s return. The demon king should be prioritizing that wish of them above all else, however,

「I see.」

He only said that short reply just like the hero.

It seemed the two of them had reached a tacit understanding.

Kouki understood that till the end Hajime was only prioritizing his family’s feeling, but he wouldn’t abandon this world in its entirety. He would go home first, reassure his family, and only then he would return here after making a perfect preparation.

It was a logical decision that Kouki couldn’t make. In addition it would be a choice that this demon king’s family would feel proud about.

Hajime also understood this bundle of illogicality named Kouki. Even if going home first would be for the best, during that time there might be people who received “life span treatment” to replace the reduced number of the machine soldiers. He couldn’t just stay quiet without trying to save them.

As though to prove that, the corner of Kouki’s mouth was slightly raised in a smile. Hajime looked like he was exasperated from the bottom of his heart, but he closed his eyes from understanding since the beginning that this couldn’t be helped.

There was an inexplicable atmosphere there that couldn’t be entered by outsiders. It could be felt that between the two there was this indescribable relation that couldn’t be called a bond or friendship.

「G10. Sorry but, allow us to prioritize Nagumo’s return. It will be a battle against Mother’s machine army while we’re securing the electricity, we will buy some time.」

「Well, it will be the fastest to defeat Mother if it’s possible though.」

They would look for a chance to infiltrate or forcefully breakthrough to reach the power plant just to steal the electricity. Then they would quickly meet up with Jasper and others to teleport to the former world together. That would be the best.

The artifact to convert electricity into magic power, “Elemagia” was as big as a baseball. It could be put on the back of the arachne series. If it was Etemp & Netemp, even without connection port, they could drag in electric current as long as they were in touch with the electricity generator.

Even if they came face to face with Mother, trying to defeat it completely and buying time just for several minutes had completely different difficulty.

G10 was also able to understand that. It could be seen hesitating when weighing that plan with its longstanding desire but,

「That’s……no, thank you very much.」

It nodded slightly. It must be thinking that it was already satisfactory even with only Kouki remaining behind.

「It’ll be fine, if you give Nagumo information as well as giving him time to prepare on top of that, then how should I say it, it’s already that. It will go beyond simply demon king……yes, it will be ‘Demon God’s descent!’ something like that. Until that time come, let’s do our best doing guerilla war together.」

「I-I understand. I’ll also give my all in supporting you.」

Hajime’s eyes that were watching Kouki turned like a devil god. Although G10 was flustered, it understood that Hajime too wasn’t abandoning this world completely. It replied back to Kouki with a strong voice this time.

After that, G10 shared the information of the upperworld and the heaven as well as the information about Mother that G10 knew while spending time resting in the hideout.

And then for the whole day Hajime and others were taking a lot of rest while also replenishing their consumable items perfectly. After that using the secret route that G10 created, they departed to the upperworld.

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At the same time, inside a certain facility in the heaven.

Countless solid arches were rotating in high speed, creating a sphere with their afterimage. Sparks surged violently and the space was screaming.

Right after that, the space swirled like jelly. A black and whirling “hole” was widening.

The intensity of the sparks from the solid arches was increasing, while their gyration was slowing down.

Instantly an intense flash filled the wide interior of the facility――

「Tsu, what happened?」

The voice of a young man echoed.

The light settled down. The rotation of the solid arches stopped, however white smokes were rising from them due to the strong burden that they couldn’t endure. There were creaking sounds from them.

At the middle of that solid arches, there was a young man dressed completely in black. He was kneeling and looked around with an expression that was a mix of bewilderment and wariness.

『Welcome, warrior of foreign world. Please, I beg you to listen to my story.』

A female voice echoed inside the room.

Hearing that voice, the young man immediately moved.

And then, the voice’s owner――Mother thought.

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――Why is he wearing sunglasses…….

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AN: Thank you very much for reading this every time.

Thank you very much too for the thoughts, opinions, and reports about misspelling and omitted words.

Sorry for the long explanation chapter. Also Shirakome’s plot will soon become full of hole, so depending on the development ahead I might revise it, but it will help if you readers overlook it.

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