Interlude: The Remnants of Destruction and the Meaningless Choices
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— 99th layer of the Royal Academy Dungeon
A girl, who stepped into the depth, instinctively frowned when looking at the destruction spreading here.
The first thing she noticed was a large hole at her feet, and that made her opened her mouth wide. The diameter of the hole was approximately around ten meters. From there, she could barely see the bottom of it. It would be possible to come out if she fell in there, but no one would want to assertively fall in.
“…Well, I think that there is also a dense sign of death. It has been a whole day. I’m surprised.” (Girl)
The words uttered contained double meanings. The sign of death hadn’t disappeared, and this large hole hadn’t diminished.
Perhaps, the sign of death had been weakened, but… she was honestly surprised. In other words, how intense was the sign to begin with. Although it was nothing but a fragment of power, it was an existence called the Evil God.
As for the big hole, there was nothing to be surprised about if people considered that this was a dungeon. After all, the structure of the dungeon was basically indestructible. The walls, the floors, and the ceilings were all the same. No matter how much force was applied to them, these structures would never be penetrated.
The reason was simple. The structure of the dungeon was protected by the power of the Concept. Those who were given the Concept of [Indestructible] couldn’t be damaged by physical force because the rules were different. That was why there was no other way to go through the dungeon.
Well, if people did their best with the power of Special Rank skills, the result might be lacking, but it was meaningless in the end. In addition to the [Indestructible], the dungeon was given the power of another Concept. That was [Regression]. According to its effect, no matter how damaged or destroyed the dungeon was, it would soon return to its original form.
For that reason, this big hole at present was really unthinkable. The [Regression] took place in seconds, so it would be strange if this hole hadn’t been diminished. The girl was surprised at that.
“I wonder if the power of the Evil God is too strong? Well, even though the main body had already been destroyed, it might be natural since it was one of the two pillars that managed this world. …No, even if I understand that, it should be a good thing, right? How should I put it… I’m not going to praise if it is this much, anyway.” (Girl)
She said it while pouting. Then, she started walking along the edge of the hole.
It was really huge and it seemed to be about the same size as a hall. There were several holes in the walls, and if the ceiling was close, it would probably have been the same. She wasn’t sure whether she was lucky or not.
The center of explosion was likely to be in the interior part of the hall, and it seemed to be getting deeper as she moved forward. Apparently, the area near the entrance was still quite shallow, and it didn’t take long for the bottom to become invisible.
“Ugh, the sign of death is getting stronger. It’s going to be a serious problem if I fall down. I don’t know how deep it is. …The headmaster of the Academy should have checked all the way to the end, no? I have a little respect for her.” (Girl)
Even if she frowned, her feet didn’t stop. Eventually, she reached the end. She still couldn’t see the bottom, and as a matter of course, she didn’t even know if there was anything beyond that.
“I don’t understand anything. That is expected, but… By the way, don’t say that I got down here to check things out, alright? …Thanks. If you told me that, I was wondering what to do. …No, I don’t really care. It doesn’t matter what will happen after this, but everyone has been searching very hard. I am not insensitive enough to think that there are something overlooked there.” (Girl)
While saying so, no matter how she thought about it, she seemed to have no feeling at all. Anyhow, when she took her eyes off as if she had decided, she began to go back to where she came from. She wondered what was the meaning of the small sigh she let out just now.
“Even if I realize such things, I have to ignore it, right? Anyhow, even if I come here, I still don’t understand the reason why I woke up. Even if it is caused by the Evil god, there is too much difference in time. Such things happen recently, huh. …If it’s not a sign of omen, that’s good then. …Well, that is certainly true.” (Girl)
While exchanging words, the girl never stopped walking. She didn’t know what was going on, but the things she needed to do hadn’t changed.
Whether it was her original duty, she still didn’t know…
“…Nii-san, you are alive, right?” (Girl)
The murmur resembled a desire that represented a puzzled mind, but it never reached anywhere. It just dissolved in the darkness of the place, and faded away.
It was a place that was overgrown with greenery. It was a place where one could feel the sense of purity and freshness, and there was no such a thing like depression. However, that seemed to be not the case because of the people who were here in this place.
It was a man and a woman. However, there was no trace of sweet mood, but there was only the sense of suspicion in a different meaning.
“…Are you sure?” (Man)
“It took a lot of effort to get this information, and are you doubting me now? After all, this can’t be overlooked, you know?” (Woman)
While returning sharp gaze, the woman also spoke with sharp tone at the man who asked the question in similar tone. Coupled with his neat features, the mood created by the man was something on its own, but the woman didn’t seem to care about it. It was because the same tone received from the woman, the man made the sharper looking eyes.
The man glared at the woman like that for a while, but he turned away and snorted as if he gave up.
“Hmmph… with that attitude, I can’t really trust you right now.” (Man)
“Even if you say that, I already know it. You can’t trust the attitude of the business partner, so how about your attitude?” (Woman)
“…Hmmph. Well, fine… so, are you sure that is true?” (Man)
“Even if you ask the same thing again, my answer will not change. In the first place, no matter how much you told me that, you don’t get it, right? That’s why I brought it here.” (Woman)
The man snorted three times even if he understood that what she said was true. Then, he looked at a piece of parchment handed over by the woman, and that parchment should contain the information he wanted.
It seemed that she took a while to get the information, but… it was true that he got something that he wanted. However, when he double checked the content that he just read, he turned his eyes to the woman while suppressing the killing intent.
“The information remains the same no matter how much you glare at me, you know?” (Woman)
“Shut up. …Well it’s true. I will not know whether this is correct or not by asking you. But is this really something written about the Forest God? It’s hard to believe…!” (Man)
“That’s why I told you I don’t get it.” (Woman)
“Wha…!? You said that and yet, you brought this…!?” (Man)
“That’s right, but to begin with, the ones that say something about the Forest God are you guys, the Elves. Although I was suspicious at that time, and the information written was also suspicious, I don’t know, alright?” (Woman)
“You… are you insulting us…!?” (Man)
“It’s troubling when I’m saying the truth, and you say that I am insulting you. There are only two pillars of Gods in this world. The God called the Evil God, and the God called the Goddess. The ones that say there is a God called the Forest God are you guys only, am I right?” (Woman)
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The reason why the words stuck in his mouth was because he knew that was true. At least, other than the Elves, no one recognized the Forest God, the God that they believed in.
“The Forest God is definitely there…! That’s why I’m looking for a way to get him to sleep again…!” (Man)
“No, I don’t really doubt its existent, you know? I know that there’s something called by that name. I am just wondering whether it is really a God.” (Woman)
“You… that is disrespectful!” (Man)
“Even if you say that, I have no reason to give respect. Perhaps I should say that you are the one who are being disrespectful? You asked me how to put it to sleep, but isn’t that asking me how to seal it? Even as a joke, you guys are trying to do such things to the existence you called a God. Hmm, are you people, the Elves, believe in the Forest God?” (Woman)
“Aah, I’m sorry. I went too far.” (Woman)
While bearing the urge to hit at any moment, the man quietly clenched his fists. If he hit her, it meant that he admitted that was the fact.
Even if it was a fact…
“Anyhow, the way to seal the Forest God again is as written there. In other words, it means that you have no choice but to sacrifice someone from your own.” (Woman)
“How can that be…!” (Man)
“Rather, you are coming here without hesitation. Well, that must have been the intention from the beginning. That’s your specialty. And that’s how you sealed the Evil Dragon hundreds of years ago.” (Woman)
“…! You… why do you know that…!?” (Man)
It was supposed to be the secret of the tribe. They hadn’t told the method to the outsiders except a small number of it. Those who knew it were probably the descendants of those people.
“Eh? is that a secret? That’s a mistake.” (Woman)
“Just answer me…! That…!” (Man)
“I’m sorry, but there are things I have to keep secret here.” (Woman)
“Do you think I can be convinced with that–” (Man)
“Well, that is my mistake just now. Instead, let me tell you one good thing.” (Woman)
In a moment, his anger got cooled down because of her words. In the case of this woman saying a good thing, he wouldn’t be satisfied for the most part.
However, it was very important at the same time… so while having suspicion, he looked at her.
“Maybe… it’s fine. Depending on the content, I’ll ask you for now.” (Man)
“Alright. You absolutely can’t ignore this.” (Woman)
“Just tell me. What is that good thing?” (Man)
“It’s about… the witch that you guys are hiding.” (Woman)
The man opened his eyes to the incomprehensible words. The shock wasn’t equal to the previous one. That was because… it was absolutely something that shouldn’t be known to anyone.
“Goodness.. wouldn’t it be great if someone knew that you were hiding the enemy of the world?” (Woman)
The man reflexively extended his hand to the waist, and grabbed the handle of the knife there. The implication was clear. With the killing intent showed up on the surface, he tried to push it out, and…
“Well, I think it’s natural for you to reach this point, but… why don’t you try to consider a little bit more? The fact that it is easily disclosed means that the information is already known. There is no meaning by killing me here. Instead, you should just admit that it is a fact.” (Woman)
“…Is that similar to overlooking you?” (Man)
“Well, in that case, I will spread some fake information. If my important business partner is destroyed, I’ll be in trouble. Even so, I think that is good enough to buy some time, right? Look… you are in a situation where you need a sacrifice in the near future. In addition, the witch is most suitable for that purpose, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone, right?” (Woman)
“…Shut up.” (Man)
“Well, I can understand the feeling of wanting to keep the witch, you know? I’m just trying to be helpful, but there is a possibility that something will happen to you guys in the future. However, when the time comes, you will need other sacrifice, but… as expected, there is no way but to choose the royalties, yes? If you do that, the effectiveness of the seal becomes weak, and you have to periodically offer sacrifices… do you want that? So, what is the decision of the king of the royalties?” (Woman)
“…Shut up.” (Man)
“I don’t know when that will happen, but rather than preparing for the disaster, I think you should do something in front of you right now. If you try hard to deceive, you don’t know if they can be deceived. If it’s done poorly, you guys will wipe out, you know? So, I’m not sure which priority or options you have. The life of the whole tribe, or perhaps–…” (Woman)
“Shut up…!” (Man)
At the same time of the screaming, the man stabbed a knife at the woman. The knife point came close to the woman’s throat, and with a little more force, the blade would pierce the throat.
However, the woman was acting as if she didn’t mind it. Instead of avoiding it, she didn’t move from that spot. She just motionlessly looked at the eyes of the man, while opening her mouth.
“Wouldn’t it better for everyone to choose a meaningful death rather than a meaningless death? You… I think you have the right and obligation to choose, yes?” (Woman)
She seemed wanting to say that she didn’t mind to be killed as it was. The man hesitated at something that is similar to madness, and he barely stepped back.
“…Well, it’s not my business anyway. Again, I’m sorry for earlier. However, we are equal in status, so it’s even, right?” (Woman)
While looking at the woman who kept staring at him, the man hesitated for a while. He, then, pulled and kept it away. He turned his back and walked away from the woman.
“Eh? Are we done? So, what will you do?” (Woman)
“…I have paid the compensation, and I have received the information. There should be no reason to see each other anymore. I have no obligation to tell you what we are going to do after this.” (Man)
“Are you sure? Well, I’m counting on you again.” (Woman)
The man left without responding to the woman’s words. The woman didn’t say anything and saw him off. When his back was gone, she shrugged his shoulders.
“Good grief. Even if I don’t sound sincere, I really can’t help you. Whether it is meaningful or meaningless, it depends on which mouth that says it. However, I wasn’t thinking about saving you from the beginning. Anyhow… the witch’s curse, and the Demigod that keep storing power. I wonder which one is better. …Well, it doesn’t matter.” (Woman)
The result wouldn’t change anyway. This world wouldn’t change either.
Today, somewhere in the world, someone was dead, and someone was alive on the other hand. That was it.
“The resurrection of the Demon King-sama has failed, the Evil Dragon was resurrected but was soon defeated, and as for the recovery of the fragment of its power, that seems to have failed. The same guy interfered with all these, it is not a laughing matter. Well, this time I think… I wonder what they will do?” (Woman)
Nevertheless, the woman… who looked nothing but a girl, smiled. Perhaps, she was laughing.
About everything of this world. The people who live there. Above all, herself.
“Now, I wonder where on earth is this death that falls on this body? I think it’s about time to come to those three. …Well, until then, shall I do my best?” (Woman)
So, she wouldn’t change the way she did things, and she was proud of it. The woman looked up at the sky, and squinted her lonely looking eyes. She kept laughing with her crooked lips.
- The author’s vagueness strikes again! Ask me in later chapters LOL.
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