Arifureta After IV Demon King & Hero Arc Epilogue
Hajime opened his eyes from the pleasant sensation of wind caressing his skin and the warmth of the radiant light from the other side of his eyelid.
Mother’s body was right in front of his eye.
The body was staring at him with robotic eyes that looked like glass spheres. It seemed the body was on all four above his body while staring at him. It was horror.
And so, he reflexively averted his gaze. But ahead of his gaze was also opened eyes that were like glass spheres which belonged to Neunte’s body……
The eyes were staring. They were staring fixedly at him with the eyes of the death that didn’t contain the slightest sign of life within them. The body had beautiful face that was thoughtlessly formed by a god, so it felt very ghastly to see such face as the face of a corpse. Furthermore this body that was lying down together with him was damaged all over, doubling the gruesome value twice over. It was horror.
The average person would definitely scream in this situation, but Hajime was simply turning his gaze back to the Mother’s body calmly.
「……And, what are you doing?」
「The devoted Netemp-san who watched over master from night until morning? You’re too fussy.」
Hajime’s gaze was turning colder while he pushed aside the face of Netemp who was possessing Mother’s body. He got up and felt that the sun felt really close. Yes, the sun was visible from the gap of the large leaves that could envelop a single adult with just one of them.
He looked around. He realized where he was and his expression loosened up slightly.
「We’re above the sacred tree huh……」
「Yeah, now that you mentioned it, I fainted after that huh……and so you laid me down here I see.」
It seemed Netemp had prepared a simple bed by piling up leaves on the base of a branch that was near the top of sacred tree. This was a city of machine where no human lived, so there was no other place to rest other than here.
Although, the sacred tree’s branch was so wide that three or four people could easily sleep side by side on it. The large leaves were also soft and pleasant to sleep on. The tip of the branch was also surrounded by leaves above and below it, so this spot felt like a bedroom. There was also the warmth from the ray of light that shined through the leaves. This was a really luxurious bedroom.
If only there was no Neunte’s corpse and a Terminat○r sleeping together with him that is.
「I slept together with master……poh, what’s with that cutesy act? I’ll scrap you like this apostle body if you don’t cut it out.」
Netemp-san put her hands on her cheeks while fidgeting, but then she raised her hands in banzai posture as though to say 『Master got angryyy』 while flying down from the branch as though going down a stair.
「O, oi! What about Endou and G10――」
「Ah, is that so. I’ll leave it to you then.」
It seemed that she only pretended to run away while she was actually going to tell Kousuke and G10 that Hajime had woken up.
After Netemp vanished from view, Hajime turned his gaze toward the Neunte body while sighing.
「It seems that is undoubtedly Neunte but……as I thought she isn’t like before anymore huh. I still don’t know about the mechanism of this possession, so perhaps I should think that it caused some kind of change in her for now……」
While thinking that, his body was screaming in protest from pain all over, so for the time being he put away this matter for later consideration. When he tried emitting magic power as a test, just as he expected after seeing the sacred tree energetically growing in abundance, the magic power wasn’t dispersing anymore.
「It’s possible with this.」
Hajime activated his “treasure warehouse”. The thick branch and large leaves were getting in the way, so he summoned a huge object at a space a little distance away where there were few branches and leaves.
It was a regular octahedron with each side having size of three meters. A circle that was turning sideways was surrounding it. It was the satellite type regeneration magic illumination artifact, “Bel Agharta”.
The circle lit up and the crimson light ran on the surface of the regular octahedron at the center. Light of regeneration softly illuminated the area. The light that poured down through the leaves and branches looked like sunlight filtering through trees.
Hajime’s eyes partly closed in pleasure as though he was basking in the sun while feeling his body being healed. He also took the opportunity to mend the damage on Neunte body too. After he finished he stored back the body into the “treasure warehouse”.
After a short interval, the memory that was blown away by the horror impact from Netemp Mother watching him sleeping was also freshly resurrected in his mind.
It was after G10 finished off Mother.
Hajime thoroughly checked using the compass after that, even so there wasn’t any sign that there was any body double of Mother. There was also no machine soldier, fighter aircraft, or battleship that moved on their own. They stopped functioning and fell to the ground as though to show the fall of the paradise.
After seeing that sight, Hajime finally let go of his tension but……
A lot of damage had accumulated from him being forced into continuous battles that pushed him to the very limit while his abilities were restricted to the extreme. On top of that he forcefully dragged out energy from his soul to use “Limit Break – Supreme” twice. As expected, even the demon king wished to rest after all that.
Or rather, his soul and flesh were declaring that enough was enough and ordered him to rest.
He didn’t even remember to heal himself using Bel Agharta that he had been putting off in order to prioritize annihilating Mother swiftly. He thought it would be alright with Kousuke here while ignoring the problem of how Kousuke would get out now that the hollow inside the sacred tree that was leading to its deepest part was already closed. And so Hajime somehow performed an emergency landing near the tower and let go of his consciousness.
But……the last sight that he saw before he fainted.
Naturally he hadn’t recovered the Grim Reapers that he let out. The sight of all them cocking their head together toward Hajime and then leaping toward him all at once……
「That was real bad huh. Even though Endou was nearby, I let down my guard too quickly that time……」
Even so, if at that last scene he saw the people inside the Grim Reapers were actually letting out killing intent or hostility, Hajime had the confidence that he would immediately shot up to his feet even if he had let go of his consciousness.
From what he saw, their rush toward him felt more like 『Your majesty!? Are you alright!?』『His majesty collapsed!?』『I’ll be there at your side right away-』『Gather at his majesty’s sideeeee!!』, so Hajime’s sense of danger also didn’t react.
But, if they actually had thinking like 『That most evilness……fainted?』『Could this be a chance to rise up in the world?』『Eh? He is wide open right now? This is a chance to be the next demon king?』『Is this a chance that will never appear again forever?』, it would be really bad at that time.
「It really made things a lot more convenient that each of the Grim Reapers has their own passenger but……even though they should be my weapon, I have to be careful of the risk of rebellion. What’s with this……」
Because, the inside of the Grim Reapers were authentic demons.
Compared to Hajime controlling all of the Grim Reapers by himself, the scale of the application was in a different level with this arrangement. It was Hajime himself who accepted this situation because the combat ability of each Grim Reaper and their ability to carry out strategy couldn’t even be compared from before. And so, as expected he couldn’t decide to just fire all of the demons after this late, but perhaps it would be better if he prepared a bit more safety measure from now.
While Hajime was thinking of such things deeply,
「Oo~i! Nagumo! You finally woke up!」
「Hm? It feels like I heard a voice just now? Am I mishearing thing……」
「I’ll put you to sleep again you bastard-!」
Kousuke who hopped up on the branch quickly got a bulging vein on his forehead.
「So you were able to get out from underground……you look really battered up over there.」
「Well yeah, the guardians attacked me after I inserted the update after all. I put my body on the line to protect the console.」
Kousuke shrugged as though it was not a big deal at all, but his body was actually wounded all over. His state wasn’t at all better than Hajime’s previous state.
It was just as he said, Kousuke must have protected the linchpin of their strategy in desperation so that it didn’t get destroyed physically.
「Dangerous craps came without end at me. It would be really awful for me if the magic power didn’t become usable at that timing. Well, thanks to the enemies rushing on me anxiously like that, the bulkhead that connected to the surface was kept open all that time, so I was able to get out easily.」
「I see. You managed to weather the danger again like a cockro――cough. I mean you used your clones like there is no tomorrow to get out of another tight spot huh.」
「Oi, what were you going to say just now? Just because the frequency of me wearing black outfit kept increasing, what were you going to call me just now!?」
「……Now see here, don’t answer so honestly like that. Nagumo, do you know about the word sugarcoat?」
「Obviously. It’s this convenient thing that can be used to coat snacks or words.」
「Then use sugarcoat! For your words that stab at people’s heart like Gae Bolg!」
「Pretty energetic aren’t you. Aren’t your wounds opening up again?」
「It’s your fault! I’m literally complaining at you like I’m going to vomit blood here!」
「Now now, sit over here.」
Kousuke looked like he was going to grab at Hajime’s collar even now. Hajime gestured with his hand for him to enter the illumination range of Bel Agharta. Kousuke stared coldly at Hajime, even so his condition was severe as expected. He sat down on the ground heavily and sat cross legged.
「Sheesh, You’re like this right after you woke up even though you had been sleeping for nearly two days.
「What? Two days, you say?」
「Yeah, two days.」
Hajime followed the sunlight that shined down through the trees and looked up to the sun. The sun that was shining brilliantly was currently closer to the east. It would be noon within several more hours. In other words, he had slept for nearly 40 hours.
「That’s my line. Looks like the case this time was tiresome even for the demon king-sama as expected.」
Kousuke laughed. The demon king was so tired he slept like a log, finally he was able to see a human side to this demon king!
「You were also really tired weren’t you? My bad, I made you kept watch for two days.」
「Well, I’m the demon king’s right hand man after all.」
「……Could it be, you’re the lord right now?」
「What part of me is like that! I was replying to you normally! ……I was, right?」
Kousuke sounded a bit unsure.
There, the two’s wounds had completely recovered. The fundamental weariness that came from the fatigue in Hajime’s soul was still remaining, even so he had recovered enough to move.
「And, did something happen during these two days? What are the Grim Reapers doing? Was there any contact from Amanogawa and others?」
「Aa~, about that. Where should I start explaining from……」
Kousuke looked slightly worried, then he clapped his hands together in decision and stood up. And then, he beckoned at Hajime to follow him and led him to the top of the branch.
「For now, there is still no contact from Coltran. I thought that it might be possible for them to come here already if they used transport aircraft other than the high speed plane we used, but there is still isn’t anyone coming until now.」
「The electricity died over there after all, so they can’t use the facility to contact us here. I should hand a gate key for them to use in this kind of situation.」
「You never thought that the magic power dispersion effect would vanish right? It can’t be helped.」
Hajime and Kousuke arrived until the tip of the branch while conversing. Large leaves were overlapping like a wall. Kousuke used his hand to brush them aside like pushing aside “norencurtain hung at shop entrance”.
「Amazing huh. It only takes two days.」
Below there was nothing but green, green, and even more green. Tree roots were jutting out like twisting snakes, and weeds were protruding out from the cracks of the ground, forming a green carpet.
Ivies were twining around the tower with flowers blooming from them. It was like there were many giant trees growing.
The battleships, fighter jets, and machine army that stopped functioning had also started to get buried under the plants. The most magnificent view was the ground outside the machine city that was turning into a plain.
The only thing that stayed the same from before was the part where the liquid metal that turned into magma was gathered. They had cooled down and turned into hard metals that were forming hills.
「This sight is like “a millennium after civilization broke down”.」
「You sometimes saw this at movie or manga.」
Hajime resumed breathing after feeling dumbfounded by the scene and watched the sight of nature. Then he suddenly took out the “Orb of Lutria” from his pocket.
The sacred tree immediately shined faintly even though he didn’t use the orb to interfere with it.
「It feels like it’s saying thanks.」
Kousuke turned around with a faint smile. Hajime wordlessly agreed with his words.
Right after that,
The ground went astir. It felt like there was repulsive cries 『AaAAAAAAA-』 coming from below. Even though warm sunlight was shining down, the body temperature felt like it was going down slightly……
「Ah, come to think of it, the Grim Reapers are searching throughout the holy land. They’re looking for any useful looking parts that they might be able to offer to you.」
The moment Kousuke said that, shadows flew out from throughout the holy lands. It was the Grim Reapers. Strangely, the shapes of the shadows that were reflected on the ground or tower were different from the shape of the body frame. The shadows……were hard to describe, with shapes like gargoyle thingy, or undefined form something……
「They’re your subordinates.」
Hajime reflexively muttered. Right after Kousuke’s calm tsukkomi pierced into him, around 4500 Grim Reapers and 500 machine soldiers lined up orderly on the air in front of Hajime. They all bowed toward him like retainers. In addition, the 500 machine soldiers were also shouldering damaged Grim Reapers. It seemed they had switched body.
And then they conveyed their congratulations one after another, things like 『Your majesty, please receive my heartfelt congratulations for your recovery!』 or 『We have already collected the enemies’ main weapons as well as your majesty weapons, especially the Cross Velts!』『Contratulations for the victory this time!』『As expected from our king!』『Now we have some tales to tell the princess later on!』.
「Aa~, yeah. You guys did good work for our first total mobilization. ――You guys, good job.」
Instantly, repulsive cheers of 『AaAAAAAA!!』 burst out loudly and thundered throughout the holy land. It felt like the mind was getting scrapped off just from listening to it. Perhaps this was actually an attack?
「Mission complete! All troops, return!」
I can’t listen to this! Although Hajime thought that, he at least maintained his dignity as their superior and lifted the treasure warehouse. Crimson radiance fanned out and the Grim Reapers were vanishing in good mood.
Their atmosphere was like people who just participated in an event and returned home with the feeling of 『It was su~per fu~~n』 while carrying a lot of souvenirs.
「I need to write the list of the retrieved items later.」
「It feels like they are carrying back everything they can get hold of. They are really like tourists who go into shopping spree.」
The demons’ presences vanished from the holy land.
And all was well.
Refreshing wind blew through. Hajime and Kousuke took a breath.
「Come to think of it, where is Netemp and G10?」
Hajime put away “Lutria’s Orb” while taking out the compass and Crystal Key next.
「……Netemp-san is bringing G10 here right now.」
「……Did something happen to G10?」
Hajime scrutinized Kousuke who sounded evasive. When he last saw G10, she was already on the verge of stopped functioning after getting into an electronic war where she literally spent everything she had. The worst case flashed inside Hajime’s mind.
「I think, she isn’t dead. According to Netemp-san, she might entered sleep mode in order to hold out just barely.」
According to Kousuke, when he ran to where G10 was, she was lying on the ground close to Hajime without showing any reaction at all. Most likely she mustered her last strength to float toward Hajime.
「She is placed in the underground facility right now. Just in case, Netemp-san had tested various things like supplying her with electricity or connecting with the facility’s console to check if it’s possible to replace G10’s CPU or something.」
But, there was no sign of her waking up.
「Yeah. Netemp-san is bringing her here right now. We don’t know if anything might worsen her state, so she is extremely careful in carrying her.」
「Well, it will be fine. Everything will return back to normal by using Bel Agartha. As expected it will be impossible to return her back to her prime 200 years ago but……now, it might be possible now.」
「I left Grasp Gloria and the conversion system where they are. The conversion system you see, it’s stuck in the sacred tree, on top of that it’s as huge as the energy tower we saw at Coltran, so it will be impossible to carry it around.」
Now that Hajime had obtained unlimited magic power, it might be possible to perform regeneration that went back to 200 years ago. The sacred tree and the system could also be separated from each other if he used the orb. Even so, he would put it off for later.
「Endou, I’ll bring Amanogawa here. Wait here together with Netemp and G10 when they got here. I’ll be back soon.」
Hajime used the compass. He searched Kouki’s location accurately and checked if he was alone or not. He confirmed that there were only Jasper and others around him and nobody else.
There was no problem.
Hajime opened a gate and instantly traveled through 12000 kilometers.
The demon king was there when she turned around. Mindy fell on her butt at the scene that looked like an encounter with the unknown with how there was someone who came out from a membrane of light that appeared from thin air. Her mouth was closing and opening wordlessly from the shock.
Beside her, a small silhouette ran past with rapid footsteps *shutatatatatata-*. There was no agitation from the silhouette. As though to say, There was only one thing to do! Charge!
The charging little girl who came flying――Listy. When Hajime caught her firmly in his arms, Listy rubbed her face on Hajime’s chest with all her power. She displayed her wordless happiness with 「Nn~-, Nn~~-」.
Then she lifted her face and grinned widely with tearful eyes squinted in happiness,
「Welcome home, Otou-san.」
The demon king who had committed numerous amount of ignoring the atmosphere. But even the demon king who was renowned as a complete savage was reading the mood this time as expected. Or perhaps it should be said that he was made to read the mood by Listy-chan. He was finally unable to refute being called Otou-san.
Hajime sighed. He fixed his hold on Listy and caressed her head. Listy-chan buried her head on his chest once more in satisfaction and quietly transformed into a burr that was stuck on Hajime’s clothes.
「L-Listy……you are really…」
Mindy was dumbfounded. She was in admiration of how lacking in hesitation Listy was. She finally got on her feet.
「Sorry to surprise you.」
「N-no. I’m doing my best……to get used to this kind of thing. More importantly, it’s great that you are safe. That’s, what about Mother……」
「Of course she is defeated. This side too, it looks you’re your whole family is safe. It was worth it that I hurried up. And……」
Mindy patted her chest in relief. Hajime looked behind her――at Kouki who was sleeping on something that looked like an operating table. Blankets were placed there to be replacement for quilt where Kouki was laid down carefully. His breathing was stable. There was a water jug and towel nearby. Hajime could see that Mindy and Listy were taking care of him.
But, there wasn’t any sign of him waking up even after the commotion just now.
「Ah, yes. Kouki-san is……sleeping like this after the battle was over. He hasn’t woke up at all even now.」
It seemed Kouki also fainted after the battle. Etemp collected him to this isolated place in heaven where he could rest without any disturbance.
「It was like something from a fairy tale. If Kouki-san was left at the open where everyone can see him, it felt like they would deify him.」
Of course that would happen. The sacred mountain Coltran shined. At the same time there was a swordsman who controlled a dragon of light that was shining with the same radiance. It was explained to the people beforehand that there was a sword type secret weapon, even so Kouki was considered as a special existence for being chosen as its wielder. That sentiment deepened even more after he saved Coltran.
「But, you guys are following the scenario right?」
「Yes. Nii-san is running around to lead the people even now.」
Scenario――the holy sword was connected to Mother. Mother’s death meant the death of the holy sword too. In other words, Mother sacrificed herself to take down the enemy with her in order to protect mankind. And then, the user of the holy sword, Kouki also lost his life as the price of using the holy sword. That was the scenario.
Mother and supernatural power weren’t necessary in the history of the new mankind.
「Is Jasper doing his role well?」
Mindy awkwardly looked around. Hajime thought that perhaps it was as expected, the burden was too great for Jasper who was an underworlder and didn’t even receive any decent education……but, it seemed it was the opposite.
「Rather, Nii-san is doing his role too well. He looks really troubled, bu he is managing somehow. From where I stand, I’m really puzzled watching that, “Is that really Nii-san?” I questioned in my mind……」
「Just what is going on?」
In other words, Jasper’s speech before the battle, his encouragement at the middle of the battle, his leadership action, his never give up attitude that continued to fight until the very end for his comrades’ sake, Jasper who continued to give instructions naturally was still relied on as the “mankind’s leader” even after the battle was over.
「Mother’s death is already told to everyone. Although there is no more enemy, the people has lost the support of their heart. Right now Nii-san is the only one that they can rely on.」
「Seriously……? From the beginning I thought that he has the disposition to be leader but……」
Of course Jasper was meeting a lot of difficulty because of lack of knowledge. But, the upperworlders who originally should be the one managing Coltran had that knowledge. They followed Jasper as the one who was taking the initiative and supported him.
Jasper himself was relying on the upperworlders without hesitation in areas where he was lacking. During these two days, there was no large turmoil even after Mother’s death had become public knowledge. They managed to take care of the minimum required matters like healing the wounded, distributing food, and assigning sleeping place to everyone.
Everything was thanks to everyone, from upperworlders to underworlders obeying or helping Jasper while thinking 「Well, if that’s what Jasper said then alright」.
「I see. I also said this before but……as expected of the only man in this controlled fake paradise who thought of the future and took action.」
「For use Nii-san is just Nii-san though……but, it feels like he is going to far away. It makes me feel a bit lonely.」
「But, you feel proud right? That’s written on your face.」
「Fufu, yes. It’s true that I’m thinking, as expected from my Nii-san!」
While Hajime was having that talk with Mindy, the door opened and the person in question came with a good timing into the room.
「Oo!? Boss-, when did you come back――」
It seemed Jasper came to check on the situation here. Etemp-san used his head as a stepping stone and flew. She showed her happiness by twisting for seven turns midair and landed on Hajime’s head snugly.
Then right after that, 「Ii-Ii-Ii-」 she poked on his head with her front leg.
It seemed she was saying something like 「Master, bring me with you next time no matter what! Netemp is no good! You can’t put your trust on her!」.
「You, don’t sell out your little sister like that.」
I will never acknowledge a little sister who got prioritized over her big sister! She was saying something like that.
「Then fight. The thing that your heart desire lies ahead of victory!」
「Are you a conquering king from somewhere huh? Or rather, aren’t you getting along well with Etemp for some reason?」
Listy-chan raised her head from Hajime’s chest where she was rubbing her cheeks and spoke such thing to Etemp above his head with a serious expression. Etemp responded to that with a sharp salute.
「Err~, I don’t know what is going on but……」
Jasper approached with a bewildered expression.
「It’s not anything complicated. I crushed Mother. Coltran’s people is liberated. I recovered my strength so I returned. That’s how it is.」
「……I see. ……Mother, is defeated……I see」
That was certainly something he understood.
If not, there was no way Kouki would be able to fight like something from a fairy tale like that. The sacred mountain Coltran also wouldn’t shine. There was no way the battle would be over like this in that case.
And above all else, there was no way they would be able to still survive like this.
However, now that he was told clearly like this……
Jasper reflexively covered his eyes with his hand. Tears slowly trickled down from the gap. Mindy smiled and put her hand above Jasper’s hand.
「It’s over……for real.」
Hajime decisively cut down Jasper’s emotional muttering. Jasper unconsciously moved his hand away from his face and made a puzzled look. Hajime walked toward Kouki while speaking.
「It’s just the beginning isn’t it? The hard part is starting from now.」
Hajime took out Bel Agartha and illuminated Kouki with crimson light while looking back across his shoulder.
「Are you resolved?」
The false paradise had vanished. The caged bird was going out from the solid cage right now. They would have to fight the reality that would be even harsher in a sense from here on. They would have to walk with their own feet. A lot of problem would occur down the line. Surely there would be a lot of conflict between humans too.
「Boss, don’t look down on us. If it’s resolve then I already got them since a long time ago.」
Jasper resolutely wiped his tears and made a fearless smile that looked somewhat similar with Hajime and Kouki.
「That’s what it means to be human right?」
He wasn’t a caged bird from the start. He was beaten up to the ground, messed up with his stupid choice, even so he still advanced forward step by step. That’s what it means to be human ain’t it? Jasper looked back at Hajime with such unsaid feeling in his eyes.
In respond Hajime too,
He said that and smiled slightly.
「Go all out, Coltran’s new leader.」
「Ugu……I got it.」
Jasper nodded strongly. He seemed a bit awkward with his role, but he possessed both resolve and ambition in his aura.
Hajime turned back at Kouki with a smile still on his face.
Ten seconds later, even though the light of regeneration was beaming continuously, Kouki only twitched slightly but he still hadn’t woke up. The external wounds had already healed completely but……as expected, he had also fought extremely severe battles every day at the desert world, so the damage that he shouldered was even more serious than Hajime.
「Get up already.」
Hajime tried waking him up with a punch on the stomach.
Hajime couldn’t endure watching the sleeping face of a guy, and the hero at that, so it couldn’t be helped! Jasper and others were huddled with each other as though they had seen something terrifying.
「W-what!? Enemy attack!?」
Kouki’s eyes opened wide. He rolled down from the bed and immediately entered a fighting stance.
And then, he saw the demon king making a fist with his artificial arm,
「Kuh, it’s really an enemy attack!」
Kouki thrust open his right arm. Holy sword-chan responded and flew in godspeed into his grasp. Sword was drawn in an instant!
「! You bastard, are you still half asleep!?」
「No, I’m wide awake, thanks to teh pain on my stomach!」
「Then what do you mean by “enemy attack” huh!」
「You’re the demon king after all!」
「Real blunt ain’t ya! This shitty hero-」
「I don’t want to hear that from the hitty demon king who woke up someone with a punch at the gut-」
*Clang-clang-dopan-dopan-* The two fought.
Also, Listy-chan was still carried in Hajime’s arm even now, but she showed no sign of feeling scared at all. Rather her eyes were sparkling.
Five minutes later.
Jasper got between them (with the resolve of dying) and somehow stopped the quarrel (it felt like he narrowly escaped death by a hair’s breadth).
And so, Hajime brought Kouki to the holy land with Jasper and others in tow temporarily.
One of their reasons of coming was because they wanted to see the holy land, but they also wanted to meet G10. After all, G10 would never return to Coltran anymore after this. She would part with Jasper and others for life.
Of course, she would continue giving support to mankind by sending advice to Jasper through the holy land’s telecommunication, sending support supplies at some random place near Coltran, giving support that could be dressed up as an accidental discovery, etc. But, it was the truth that they wouldn’t meet each other directly anymore.
And so, Mindy went to call the other children while Jasper went to explain to his subordinates that he would be gone for a bit to take a a nap because he practically hadn’t rest for two days (in fact he really hadn’t rest at all during these two days, but that exhaustion was cured using Bel Agharta). Then the whole group passed through the gate to the holy land.
「And, why are you two so edgy with each other like that?」
Jasper and his family were watching the sight of the holy land from above the sacred tree with indescribable excitement and admiration. Behind them was Netemp Mother who was making the pose of a certain pirate empress when she was looking down on other too much and Etemp-san who was stamping her foot in frustration.
Kousuke sent them a glance before he sent a blank stare at another branch.
He was looking toward the demon king and the hero who wouldn’t look at each other’s eye since some time ago.
「It’s that asshole demon king’s fault.」
「It’s that asshole hero’s fault.」
「You two are like shitty brats.」
The displeasure aura that was relentlessly emitted from the hero and demon king was attacking Kousuke’s stomach painfully.
「Listen to me Endou. That bastard Nagumo, he woke me up with a punch to the gut.」
「I see. I got the gist now. Nagumo is in the wrong.」
Hajime averted his gaze. Kousuke thought 「Why do I have to do something like this……」 while speaking to Hajime to smooth things over between the two.
「Nagumo, how about apologizing once? The talk won’t progress like this.」
「Listen to me, Endou.」
Hajime looked at Kousuke with a sharp expression and spoke.
「Even if it was 100% my fault――I will not bow to anyone against my will!」
「No, you should bow! If you are aware that you’re at fault! You’re just acting like a brat throwing tantrum!」
The worst demon king spoke the famous line of a certain familiar to use it in the worst way so brazenly.
The hero’s hand moved toward his holy sword’s handle.
Seeing that, Kousuke held forward the thing that he had been holding since some time ago in panic.
「Aa geez, stop acting like idiot and revive G10 already! Why are you two at odds with each other so much like this and will get into a fight at the drop of hat……」
「You, you have become like a mom huh.」
「Endou, you feel a little like Shizuku.」
「You two, be a little bit more considerate to my stomach if you guys know how hard you two are making it for me!?」
He had enough already with this demon king and hero……Kousuke grumbled while Bel Agartha’s light evenloped G10.
G10’s eye lit up once more in just ten seconds.
「System reboot……40 hours 32 minutes and 7 seconds has passed since entering conservation mode……」
G10 suddenly floated with her floating ability while her eye was flickering faintly. And then the sight that entered her eye at first――the state of the holy land made her froze.
It was unknown what was the feeling that was making her let out such voice.
She was simply staring still.
G10 continued to stare at the holy land that was overflowing with greenery as though to burn the sight into her memory storage.
Behind G10, Hajime, Kouki, and Kousuke were silently standing. They wanted to talk to G10 after her revival, but as expected, the state she was in made it hard to disturb her. Jasper and family and even Etemp and Netemp were falling quiet while watching G10.
Some time passed in such silence.
Before long, G10 slowly turned and turned her eye toward the three there.
「A lot of people survived. Not all of them survived but, many of the humans lived.」
「I, see. I’m glad……」
She said few words.
However, exactly because of that, everyone understood that every single word of G10 contained overflowing emotion.
G10 fell silent for a bit more to digest the emotion that was flooding within her. No one tried to hurry her up.
She had been fighting alone by herself for 200 years without any rest. There was no way they could easily understood the thought of such warrior. Any words that Hajime and others could say right now would be nothing more than the height of boorishness.
G10 slowly looked up to the sacred tree. She stared at the grasslands that continued until the horizon. And then she turned her gaze to Hajime and others.
「To think, that kind of strategy can go well……as a tactical support AI, such strategy that was like a tightrope walking is something that I can’t recommend at all.」
「What, so you didn’t believe on the tactic huh.」
Surely she was trying to change the atmosphere. G10 said that with a jesting tone looking like she wanted to say that everything was alright already. Hajime guessed her intention and shrugged with the same jesting tone.
Smile also formed on the faces of Kouki and others.
「Well, that tactic was really insane. As expected from Nagumo.」
「Do you want to implicitly say that I’m insane by saying that?」
「Eh? Do you actually think that you are sane!?」
「Yosh, I’ll kill you.」
「That’s why, stop fighting for every single thing!」
Kousuke stopped the two who were naturally trying to kill each other (lol). G10’s body shook in amusement and the atmosphere of the place softened.
「Aa~, I don’t really get what kind of tactic it was though……」
There was no time at all before this, so Jasper held back his question and only focused on his own role. G10 glanced briefly at the quarrel of the three otherworlders before she explained gently, of the disturbing details.
According to her, the tactic was roughly divided to four stages.
The first stage was breaking through Mother’s force and the barrier that was covering the holy land.
The second stage was peeling off the liquid metal structure that was surrounding the sacred tree.
The third stage was creating a direct passage to the deepest part of the sacred tree to send Kousuke to the place of the conversion system.
The fourth stage was using the conversion system and Grasp Gloria to obtain unlimited magic power and counterattack.
Actually, the high altitude kamikaze attack using high speed cargo plane at the opening of battle had one more objective other than as camouflage for Hajime and others to push through the force field.
It was to allow Kousuke who was already on the ground to invade inside the force field without getting detected by Mother.
「Good grief, I was dropped at the sky and ran marathon for dozens of kilometers. I want to cry at how absurd my superior is.」
It seemed Hajime and Kouki had stopped quarreling. Kousuke was standing between them with his arms folded and sighed.
It was just as he said, Kousuke jumped down at the middle and ran with his own power until the outer edge of the holy land. Body strengthening wasn’t affected by the magic power dispersion effect, so even a full marathon wasn’t difficult at all. And so Hajime and others were going around the holy land from some distance for around thirty minutes until Kousuke arrived.
And so, Hajime dropped an artifact (little stone type) at the other side of the barrier among the scattered fragments of the plane that was shot down. This artifact functioned as the starting point for Kousuke to teleport to.
Of course such magic consumed the majority of Kousuke’s magic power, but the fuel consumption was far better than opening a gate.
After infiltrating the holy land like that, Hajime fought fiercely as a distraction while Kousuke was circling to behind the sacred tree.
「Is Kousuke-sama really a human?」
「I understand what G10 want to say. I also feeling doubt about it sometimes.」
「Even with the combat uniform knitted from arachne’s string that he wore under his clothes so that it increased the chance to slip through infrared or machine sensor, he was practically strolling through that large army. He is more ghostly than even ghost.」
「Ok. I’m crying okay? I’m already crying here.」
Kousuke started sitting while hugging his knees because it wasn’t just Hajime, even Kouki was saying something like that.
Kouki naturally ignored that and spoke while putting his hand on his chin.
「Well, if it’s under the extravagant situation where the demon king acted as the diversion, I can understand that there was no way the abyss lord wouldn’t get found out but……to be honest, it was the matter of the sacred tree reacting that I found hard to believe.」
It was the cornerstone of the tactic. Even for the abyss lord, it was impossible to slip through the multiple layers of security system that was in the way until the deepest part of the tree. His path would be completely obstructed with just a single partitioning wall on his way.
That was why, their greatest trump card to slip through all of that――the direct intervention to sacred tree was the tactic’s most important requirement.
「Well yeah. If I hadn’t confirmed it beforehand with the great tree Ua Alto, as expected even I won’t dare to use this tactic. I had prepared the second and third plan just in case it was no good though.」
The second plan was possessing a machine soldier using Netemp’s possession ability. The apostle body getting shot down was actually half a bluff.
Apostle body that was relying on magic power supply from the holy precincts at Tortus had no way to produce magic power naturally by itself. Even so, there would be no problem with moving the body itself.
The possession ability was a trump card that Mother wasn’t aware of, therefore in case the sacred tree didn’t react, Hajime would try if it was possible for Netemp to open the path to underground using possessed machine soldier.
Of course, in such case they would need to explore the route until the deepest part. It would definitely take a lot of time. It would expose Hajime’s life to even more danger to buy time.
The third plan came into play there. This plan could be said as originally the first plan.
In other words, a temporary retreat to Tortus.
Hajime had fired the Squirm Shell at a battleship at the beginning in order to secure the magic power for that. Originally the Squirm Shell wasn’t for taking over the battlefield. An Elemagia was loaded together with the Squirm Shell. It was to allow the small arachnes to steal electricity from the battleship and stocked magic power.
「Haa~, I don’t really get it even after hearing it once more but……I at least get this one. Mother’s mistake was turning boss into an enemy.」
「Listy? Why are you the one looking proud like that?」
Jasper was looking half astonished and half amazed. Beside him Listy was puffing up her chest with a huff. Mindy made a tsukkomi at her with a troubled face. The other children also looked puzzled, but it seemed they decided to think Anyway it’s amazing! for the time being. Their eyes were sparkling.
Netemp was also looking smug. As though to say「I was playing a really big role!」. Etemp was biting a handkerchief that she knitted with her spider string to act an「Kiii~~~, how frustratiiing-」.
G10 suddenly looked up to the sacred tree and muttered.
「The sacred tree also exist at other worlds. The words are, connected……is it?」
「My theory is still in the stage of conjecture though. But Harden’s conversion system lent a credence at my theory.」
「Element, was it?」
The revived Kousuke tilted his head while asking. Kouki continued after him with a pondering face.
「If I remember it right, magic power, blessing power, and even the sky dragon power in Grasp Gloria, all will lead to the element if you follow them back to their root. That was what you said right?」
「That’s right. The sacred tree and great tree――let’s just call of them the world tree. This thing is most likely a natural conversion system.」
The energies that were flowing in each of their respective world were like elementary particle at physics. It seemed they were made from very small grains that were smaller than each of them.
That was “element”. It was the smallest material that became the base of any kind of energy.
And then, the world trees that existed at each world were absorbing those elements from somewhere and converted them into energy that suited each world they were in and released them out. That was Hajime’s theory.
「There is this kind of legend at my world. There are nine worlds. All of those worlds are contained and supported by a single giant tree.」
After explained till that point, Hajime turned his gaze to G10.
「I don’t know whether it’s just a myth or a fact. The number of worlds that I have confirmed right now is seven. Perhaps it won’t stop at nine and there are a lot more worlds……」
Hajime slowly walked toward G10. She spoke to him with a puzzled tone. She wasn’t even aware that she was lost in Hajime’s story.
「Or perhaps, there might even be the core world that produced the elements. Perhaps this giant tree that exist in every world, is nothing more than the branch of the true world tree that is soaring high in that core world.」
「W-what a grand story.」
Hajime stopped walking at G10’s side and stared at the holy land while talking. It wasn’t just G10, even Kouki and others were also watching Hajime in bewilderment.
Hajime asked a question in the middle of everyone’s attention.
「Isn’t it exciting just from imagining it?」
It was immediately obvious to whom that question was directed to. Even if his eye was staring at the holy land below, his focus was directed to G10.
「……Yes, I think so. To turn the unknown to be known. It’s exactly that insatiable pursuit that is the radiance of human.」
G10’s tone was somewhat lacking in intonation, however, a part of her sentence was sounding in agreement.
Hajime turned back to that G10. Kouki and others seemed to guess what he was going to say and silently watched the conversation.
「G10. From here on, you are going to support the people of Coltran from the shadow. You mentioned that you will destroy yourself after you are convinced that they will be able to head to the future on their own feet.」
「Affirmative. That is my last mission.」
When they heard that matter confirmed once more, Kouki, Kousuke, Jasper and his family, all of them couldn’t help but grimaced.
Because, such thing was just too lacking in salvation.
This was the existence who had wholeheartedly thought about mankind’s future and continued to fight until she finally accomplished her mission. And yet such an end wouldn’t provide her any salvation at all.
「You said, that you shouldn’t be born?」
「Affirmative. We AI shouldn’t be born. This world doesn’t need us. No, we are more of a harm to it instead.」
Things like supernatural guidance or supervisor would be nothing but a harmful influence to the people of Coltran. After all human’s future had to be built with human’s own hand.
Hajime understood G10’s feeling.
That was why Hajime didn’t try resurrecting the people of Coltran, he didn’t even have the intention for that.
Human had to advance forward step by step. For the sake of their future from here on, showing them paranormal power where the dead came back to life so conveniently was something that absolutely couldn’t be showed.
Because doing such thing was the same as trampling G10’s feeling for these 200 years.
「Then G10. Fulfill your mission and die.」
「Aa geez, that’s why you should learn to sugarcoat things a little-」
「Boss! That’s saying too much-」
Kouki, Kousuke, and Jasper spontaneously raised their voices loudly at Hajime’s words.
But, before G10 could answer that she naturally would do so, Hajime continued adding on his words.
「And then, be reborn when everything is over.」
G10 was bewildered. Kouki and others also looked bewildered. Hajime quietly stretched out his hand as though to grab the sky.
Right after that, a tremendous light was emitted from the “treasure warehouse” that was on that finger. Crimson torrent rose to teh sky of the holy land. Kouki and others covered their face from the overwhelming light and wind pressure.
And then, that appeared.
「This thing is formerly the strongest battleship of a certain world.」
Its total length was around 400 meters. Its size was like two of the the greatest class of aircraft carrier of earth getting enlarged to be two sizes bigger and lined side by side. It was astonishingly huge.
「It followed an eventful fate and became a single nation that protected the people on board of it.」
At the sky world where dragons and humans coexisted with each other, the queen there let go of this ship as the proof of their determination that they didn’t need such immense power anymore, the same like this world.
「I made a promise with those guys who had lived together with this ship for many years.」
That ship was so large that the sun was completely blocked by it. It was floating not with sky dragon power, but with countless gravity stones that were installed later on, so it was consuming Hajime’s magic power like water even at this moment. But Hajime only nodded without showing any sign of it on his face.
「I’ll turn this thing into a luxury cruise ship. It won’t be a sad battleship anymore. But to be the world’s greatest passenger ship to go to adventure through the endless spacesky toward the unknown worlds. A ship that can bring anyone and anything on board of it.」
G10 looked up in astonishment. Hajime’s words echoed like a dream.
「You were once reborn. From the AI who managed an investigation ship that helped travelers to a tactical support AI who protected her comrades from war.」
「Then, it’s fine if you’re reborn once more isn’t it?」
Hajime quietly held out his hand in invitation. He was telling her to take his hand.
「The luxury cruise ship that travel through worlds――Avenst. I’m looking for someone who I can entrust with this ship, no for an excellent navigation officer who can be entrusted with such thing. Where I will be able to find the most qualified person for it I wonder?」
「Tsu……someone like you are really……」
G10 was swaying unsteadily. Her eye was slowly flickering many times. Anyone who saw her right now would think that she was crying.
Before long, after a lot of time passed, G10 muttered in a small voice.
「……Will it be allowed?」
It was clear what she was talking about even without any subject in her sentence. Even though all of her comrades in the past had died, would it be allowed for her alone to live for the sake of something else than her mission? Surely her decision to self-destruct at the end was also the influence from such thought.
「There is no way, that comrades, will curse the survival of their fellow comrade.」
It was Kouki who answered. He was staring at G10 with a kind expression.
「I know how you feel, it’s painful to have things entrusted to you and survive by yourself. But, I think that’s exactly why, that you should live desperately until you die.」
Kousuke put his hands on the back of his head and spoke those words with a smile.
「I’m begging you, G10. You were the one who showed me the dream. You were the one who saved us! For me, you are my benefactor! That’s whyyy-, yeah, I want you to be saved too!」
「That’s right-. To say here alone again and then vanishing without anyone to accompany you when everything is over, that’s not what we are hoping at all.」
Jasper, Mindy, Listy, and then the other children also yelled together that they wanted her to live.
G10’s voice was shaking.
「I’m asking you one more time.」
Hajime held out his hand once more.
「Won’t you become the worlds’ best navigation officer to travel together with us somewhere?」
G10 stared fixedly at that hand.
Various feelings must be coming and going within G10. Her eye was flickering faintly, and then――
「There is no way, there can be anybody else than me. The one who can be the worlds’ best navigation officer, is none other than me. There is nobody else other than me, who is suitable to become your ship, Hajime-sama.」
Her eye’s light quietly settled down.
「One day, after I accomplished my mission, please allow me to get on board.」
That voice was strong and resounded with dignity.
「It will be me, and nobody else――who shall be Avenst.」
However, as expected, a part of her voice sounded shaky with tears.
「Best regards, future Avenst.」
「Yes. Best regards from here on. Hajime-sama――no, my captain.」
The AI who had been continuously cornering her own existence toward demise finally found her own future. She quietly entrusted her body on the hand of her new comrade.
After that, Avenst crashed.
It was too tiring for Hajime who was still exhausted to keep that giant ship floating while he wasn’t even using unlimited magic power. After all, the mass of that ship was around twenty of the airship Ferner.
Avenst landed on the ground with the holy ground’s towers under it getting mostly squashed by the emergency landing (?). It was then left there for G10 to improve later using the holy land’s facilities.
Although the ground was covered by the sacred tree’s nature, the main facilities underground were mostly undamaged. For G10 who had recovered her full capability once more using Bel Agharta and unlimited magic power, seizing control of the facilities and reusing them wasn’t anything difficult.
Sooner or later, she would create a dock for Avenst, then she would use the “The Greatest Luxury Cruise Ship That Nagumo Family Thought Up – Request List” as reference to combine the technology of this world with Avenst and constructed a hybrid Avenst Rebirth.
In the meanwhile, Hajime was investigating various things to see if he could minimize the size of the Element Arrangement Equal Conversion System.
In the end, he only understood that it would be difficult unless he first properly understood the system until its littlest detail. At present he was in front the deepest part of the system while in deep thought of what to do.
「Amanogawa, what’s your business?」
Kouki came to call on him. Hajime replied without even looking back.
「Does it look like you can manage?」
「If it’s just at the level of somehow managing, I can……but, at present the only way I can think of is stuffing the whole thing into treasure warehouse while taking out only the magic power as needed.」
「Can you fiddle with it while it’s inside the treasure warehouse? Like activating or turning it off, adjusting the output, that kind of things?」
「……It’s impossible at present. I can only make a separate artifact like a terminal that can operate the artifact inside the ring without taking it out.」
Hajime said that with a complicated expression while looking up to the energy tower.
However, in reality he thought that it wouldn’t be that difficult.
Actually, he was already researching the method to use treasure warehouse in a more practical application. That research itself had already progressed a lot. It was also related to Hajime bringing “Lutria’s Orb” with him.
Yes, originally “Altria’s Orb” was stored inside the treasure warehouse that was installed in Shia’s Drucken. That treasure warehouse that became the dwelling of the divine spirits with abundant nature filling it.
Then, why was “Lutria’s Orb” that should be in Shia’s possession was carried by Hajime……
It was caused by the new practical application of treasure warehouse where the space contained inside was shared.
Hajime too was directing his focus to the environment within the treasure warehouse at the time he welcomed existence with their own will like the demons into the treasure warehouse.
The result he found was that perhaps the spaces contained inside the treasure warehouses might be connected. With that, several treasure warehouses could be connected to secure a huge space. Then if the divine spirits and “Lutria’s Orb” cultivated nature inside those spaces, the demons would be able to live there without getting bored.
That conception was splendidly realized and now the inside of the treasure warehouses of Hajime and others were connected with space magic.
And then, when it came to deciding which treasure warehouse would become the center of the contained worlds, as expected it was decided that Hajime’s treasure warehouse would become the center and “Lutria’s Orb” was also transferred to there.
Of course, it was impossible to keep the spaces connected when the treasure warehouses were separated in different worlds like now.
The divine spirits stayed in Shia’s treasure warehouse. The majority of the demons stayed in Hajime’s treasure warehouse. The people inside Deadly Sins Ranger and the horrific demons that seemed to come out from some grimoire stayed inside Myuu’s treasure warehouse. All of them were living separately from each other as though they each had their own turf, so when Hajime and co travelled across worlds, the paths that connected to other treasure warehouse got closed.
Like that, the practical use of treasure warehouse had developed, so Hajime thought that it might be possible to use a terminal to remotely control an artifact that was placed inside the treasure warehouse to supply magic power to him.
「Then there is no problem if you can do that. What are you dissatisfied about?」
「That’s not beautiful.」
「In the past, Oscar Orcus loved functional beauty while Vandre Schnee loved artistic beauty. Apparently they couldn’t like each other because of that and scuffled with each other frequently.」
※From Oscar-san’s diary
「But, I’ll say this even knowing that. I want to pursue both beauties!」
「Ah, that so.」
「Artistically beautiful and wonderfully functional. I want to create that kind of artifact-」
「It seems Jasper and others need to return to Coltran soon, It’s also this time already, so we’re going to have lunch first before they return.」
「Super small Element Arrangement Equal Conversion System in the shape of pendant. You grasp the pendant in front of your chest, chant the words of power loudly, and then infinite magic power will overflow.」
「I provided the ingredients. The food is finished already, so come quickly.」
「Don’t you think that will be magnificent?」
「I think the foods are quite well done you know?」
They were male cooking type of foods after all. Kouki said.
Hajime and Kouki met each other’s eye.
It went without saying that gunshots and metal clangs were resounding loudly until Kousuke came to pick them up. Kousuke’s scream also resounded for a bit after that.
And so, they finished the lunch on the sacred tree and made a little chat with each other.
It wouldn’t be just Jasper and others who returned. Hajime and co would also return to the desert world first.
「No-! I’m going with Otou-san! There is no other path than that!」
「Why are you this extreme huh.」
Listy-chan was throwing a tantrum. While Hajime and co were persuading her――
Kouki suddenly looked around restlessly.
「Amanogawa? What’s the matter?」
「Eh? Ah, no, it’s nothing……I think. I suddenly felt a chill for some reason.」(TN: The Japanese words for chill is okan)
「Is something going on with Shizuku?」
「Not that kind of okan.」 (TN: The kanji of mother could also be read as okan, this is a wordplay.)
The two made a small talk that would make Shizuku drew out her katana is she heard. It was at that instant,
――Aah, a miracle! To think that the worlds are connected once more!
A voice resounded directly inside the brain like that.
Hajime’s movement froze. Kouki’s movement also froze. Kousuke was going「Eh? Eh?」 while looking around in bewilderment.
The sacred tree instantly started shining.
Hajime and Kouki looked at each other. The instantly reached an understanding with each other.
「I won’t let you get away dammit-」
「Don’t screw with me-. You shitty hero! Aby Barrier!!」
「Wait, what are yo-gyaaah!?」
Kouki-kun stepped forward in a flash with a desperate look. Kousuke got thrown away despite being called a barrier. He was blocked with a sheath after the sword inside it had been drawn out. Kousuke’s body bent into the shape of “<” while a groan of「Guhee!?」 leaked out from his mouth. The holy sword stretched out while ignoring that.
「You bastard-, enough already with this, seriously! How many times are you going to do this huh!」
「It’s not my fault!」
「I want to go home to where Yue and others are at! I don’t know anyone like you anymore!」
「We are, friends right!?」
「This guy! Saying that only when it’s convenient-」
The sounds of *clang clang clang* that was accompanied with sword flashes and Donner & artificial hand deflecting that sword were resounding loudly.
「O-oi both of you, what are you two doing!?」
「O-oi! The sacred tree is shining really bright for some reason, is everything alright!?」
G10 and Jasper couldn’t understand the situation and could only look flustered. Mindy were busy leading the children away to put some distance away.
「Damn you-, you don’t know when to give up! Demon king!」
「Shaddup-, once more Aby Barrier!」
「Wha-, even though I was putting up my invisibility!? Nagumo, you’re too desperate――」
Kousuke who was secretly trying to escape was caught by Hajime’s anchor wire. Then Kouki immediately looked like he got a hint from that and ,
「Respond to me! Holy sword!」
He conveyed an image to the holy sword. Holy sword-chan responded commendably. Right after that, the lengthened holy sword split like branches and they bent like whips.
There was a sword that originated from ancient India that was called Urumi. The holy sword turned into such sword with even more elasticity and even more branches that it looked more like countless whips now rather than sword.
「Then Aby Brett――」
「Fuh, my friend. There is no need to worry.」
「With the three of us together, there won’t be any problem no matter what kind of trial is waiting ahead! Haaa-ha-ha-ha!!」
It seemed Kousuke-san had snapped and turned into the lord. He produced a clone and restrained Hajime. There the holy sword Urumi mode entangled them――
Right after that.
First Kouki’s body was quietly turning transparent. The light of the sacred tree had coiled around him