There was still time until evening. Yet the sun should have been sinking already.
The sky that was clear a short while ago was now covered in dark clouds. Dull sounds of lightning reverberated continuously. They were the clouds called by Nieniu to announce the end of the world.
“So is this the end?”
A figure stood on top of the beer hall in Bantorra Library’s downtown. It was a woman whose face was covered by a veil. That figure’s name was Lascall Othello, alias Passed Stone Blade Yor. He gazed at Ruruta’s body being controlled by Nieniu that stood atop the needle piercing Bantorra Library.
“I have thought that the end will come in no time once Rurutsama awakens, yet it seems the disturbance just keeps going on and on.”
Lascall was speaking to himself.
“The Armed Librarians’ brave fight was marvelous. And I could not believe it when Colio-sama had appeared. Hamyuts-sama’s activities were also amazing.
However, as I thought the end of the world could not be evaded. Because it was a world meant to be destroyed in the first place. Was it inevitable?”
Thunder roared. Although no one was there to hear him, Lascall waited until the thunder settled down.
“It was pleasant. Truly, truly pleasant. This Lascall Othello was satisfied from the bottom of his heart.”
Lascall smiled from behind the veil. He had been trying to wear a serene expression, yet his face loosened to a smile as if unable to bear it any longer.
“All that remains is to wait for the credits roll. I am convinced I will see a splendid conclusion. I believe I shall be thoroughly entertained by the time of ruin.”
There no longer was any possibility of reversal. All humans sank into despair and the only thing that could save them was the mercy known as death. In this ending no one had wished for Lascall alone was smiling.
It wasn’t that he had wished for this conclusion either. He didn’t work to reach this ending. And yet Lascall Othello was smiling.
If Ruruta had destroyed the world Lascall would still be smiling the same way. And even if Ruruta had been defeated and the world was saved he would still be smiling the same.
It had nothing to do with life or death. Happiness and misfortune were equivalent. He didn’t care whether the world was destroyed or saved.
His goal was to spectate. It was fine as long as it was enjoyable.
That was the sort of being Lascall Othello was.
“How about this!”
Hamyuts’s shout echoed inside the Imaginary Entrails covered by dark clouds. She wrapped her sling around an Elephant Soldier and hurled it away. Since she used too much force there was a sound of her shoulder muscles ripping. The Elephant Soldier’s body crashed into Nieniu, and black flesh was scattered around.
The Beasts of the Final Chapter were being produced incessantly. Yet Hamyuts was able to use even them as her weapons. Wanting to kill Nieniu with her own Beasts, she kept swinging her sling.
However, she wasn’t able to inflict Nieniu a single wound.
“…Please forgive me, Hamyuts-san.”
Nieniu spoke gently.
“…I have yet to retrieve all of my functions. Since I have so few Beasts I cannot kill you. But please be relieved. I will soon kill you.”
“Shut up! Shuddup shuddup shuddup!”
She kept pounding the Beasts of the Final Chapter into Nieniu while shouting.
Hamyuts of the past was not there. She could no longer stay calm no matter the crisis she faced.
“The one to die will be you, you piece of junk!”
How pitiful. How unsightly. A barking puppy. Hamyuts was crushed in the face of true fear she had felt for the first time. If pushed any further she might even start crying.
It seemed that Nieniu didn’t use the power of the needle Ruruta had used before. These powers should have been transferred to her along with the Book-Eating ability, but she didn’t seem to attack with any of them. She was probably not constructed with the ability to use the low level powers of humans.
Yet this wasn’t anything to be happy about. Nieniu herself was much too powerful. Hamyuts definitely didn’t have enough power. Ruruta’s powers, the powers of the Memorial Weapons and the destructive power of an asteroid… Unless one could gather all that it was impossible to destroy her.
“You lot! Show some guts!”
Hamyuts shouted to the warriors fighting alongside her. Yet they were also reduced in numbers in the blink of an eye. Most of them showed no fighting spirits, fought apathetically and collapsed. They were weakened by Ruruta, defeated by the Beasts and only 30 or so remained.
“…I am sorry, Hamyuts-san. It is my fault. Please forgive me.”
A black explosion erupted at her feet. Innumerable Beasts of the Final Chapter were born there. She couldn’t even count their numbers.
The sling wasn’t enough to deal with all of them. Hamyuts had no choice but to retreat.
No matter how much she struggled she couldn’t win. Yet Hamyuts still fought. She had to fight.
Because she couldn’t do anything else but fight.
Tired of screaming, Ruruta collapsed on the sand. He didn’t want to do anything. He didn’t want to think of anything. He didn’t even want to have any hope.
He had already died. He was breathing, his heart was beating, but his spirit was dead.
Hamyuts was fighting far away. He could hear it with his ears, but his dead heart felt nothing.
Nieniu would never become happy. That unshakable truth killed his heart.
A figure stood next to Ruruta.
“…The world might as well be destroyed.”
It was Miena Yammo. She was the needle-user girl reborn from the distant past. She was the wife of Hihak who possessed the ability to turn into a tree and the mother of Carloy.
“There’s no one I love in this world. I have no lingering regrets.”
Miena’s leg hit Ruruta’s head. His skull creaked and his face sank into the sand.
“Suffer! Suffer and die! I don’t care about the world! I’m fine as long as you suffer!”
It would probably be unsatisfying to use her needle power. She probably wouldn’t feel better unless she beats him down with her own body. She devotedly stepped on him and showered him with insults.
“Are you in pain?! That’s right! How thrilling! You’ve been thrown away by Nieniu after all!”
Pulling him up by his hair, she spat on his face.
“…Please… kill me. I wish I hadn’t… been born.”
Miena laughed and rubbed Ruruta’s face on sand.
“Who’s going to kill you! If you ask me to kill you I won’t do it! How satisfying! Just seeing your face makes me satisfied!”
First one, then two other people gathered next to Miena. Just like her they stepped on him, kicked him, beat him, and showered him with jeers. They kept tormenting Ruruta who wanted to die.
On top of the beer hall’s roof, Lascall watched all of them.
“…It is pleasant. Truly pleasant.”
He watched Hamyuts, Ruruta, Miena and the rest in satisfaction.
The Passed Stone Blade Yor, also known as Lascall Othello. It was a name transmitted to ordinary humans as a character from a fairytale. The only ones to know about this being were very few people - the Acting Director and some of the Armed Librarians, the Overseer of Paradise and his aides, as well as Ruruta, Nieniu, and the souls inside the Imaginary Entrails.
However, Lascall Othello’s existence was far too big in this world.
If Lascall hadn’t been there, Ruruta was unable to receive power and would’ve been defeated by the Beasts of the Final Chapter. If Lascall hadn’t been there Ruruta wouldn’t have been able to collect Books for Nieniu’s happiness. Neither the Armed Librarians nor the Indulging God Cult would’ve come into existence if it weren’t for him.
Colio wouldn’t have met Shiron and Enlike would’ve remained Eaten by Zatoh. Parney Parlmanta wouldn’t have been killed, Volken wouldn’t have come to know of Hamyuts’s crimes, and Noloty’s Book wouldn’t have reached Enlike.
He always hid in the shadows and even his own existence not set in stone. He was neither the enemy of anyone nor the ally of anyone. Even so, he always had great influence.
As if he was the mastermind controlling the entire world.
What were his goals? Ruruta, the Acting Directors, the Overseers of Paradise, and countless other people have inquired him this.
Being asked this, Lascall always answered thusly without any hesitation.
I have no goal.
Humans were strange, so they couldn’t acknowledge answers that didn’t satisfy them as answers. Even though Lascall was honest with them. No way you don’t have one, most of them persisted. Lascall, slightly disturbed, answered thus.
“My purpose is to grant continuation to tales.
To bring forth yet another development to a story approaching its conclusion. To sow the seeds of disturbance in a story that heads to an undeniable conclusion.
Stories that have ended bring nothing but tedium. It pains me to see an obvious conclusion.
I want to see the stories spun by people. Therefore I grant continuation to finished stories.
That is Lascall Othello’s only raison d’être and his pleasure.”
Although not fully understanding him, the people told this were tentatively convinced.
He watched the stories of humans interweave. There was no greater pleasure in the world.
For example, once during Toatt Mining Town’s Dragon Pneumonia Incident, Lascall showed a Book to Colio Tonies. That action bound Colio with the Ever-Laughing Witch Shiron. It then connected to Colio slaying Cigal, stopping the spread of Dragon Pneumonia.
But this didn’t mean that Lascall wanted to help Colio. He also didn’t want to fulfill Shiron’s wishes. Neither did he want to kill Cigal, to say nothing of wanting to save Hamyuts.
He simply wanted to see it - what influence would Shiron’s feelings have on Colio? By showing him Shiron’s Book, what would happen in Toatt? Would Shiron’s predictions come true or would another future be born? He wanted to see what sort of conclusion he could bring forth there.
Even if Colio had been killed by Hamyuts, or if he had lost to Cigal and perished, it would be fine. If that was his ending Lascall had no complaints. He would be slightly disappointed at such a dull conclusion, though.
If someone called Lascall the mastermind behind everything he wouldn’t be able to hold back his laughter. A mastermind was someone who controlled people and made them move. Lascall never thought of manipulating people. He only wished to see how humans lived and what stories were born of them. What fun would there be in watching people move the way you want them to?
He wanted to see disturbances. He wanted to see miracles. He wanted to see the moment when things he couldn’t predict, things he couldn’t imagine, things that were impossible happened. By controlling people he wouldn’t be able to enjoy disturbances or miracles. Therefore Lascall was neither anyone’s enemy nor anyone’s ally, and, while intervening only slightly, he simply kept watching humans.
If this world was a story, he was its reader.
Ruruta Coozancoona. If Lascall were to mention the story he had enjoyed the most, there were none other than him. His greatest purpose was to see Ruruta’s story.
The story of the illusion known as love. The story of a powerless boy waiting for a miracle. He watched it while expecting both a happy ending and a cruel ending. Was love powerless, or could it save everything? He thought that Ruruta’s story would show him the answer.
And the conclusion has come. Love was powerless. Ruruta’s days were useless effort. Tragedy could also look like comedy if viewed from afar. The catharsis of something which was built up and then crumbled down was here.
Lascall was satisfied. What he sought for was there.
In this ending where no one obtained anything, Lascall alone was content.
This happened long ago in the Paradise Era. There were the beings known as Librarian Angels.
They were one of the mechanisms created by Past Overseer Bantorra to help him oversee the world. They were meant to excavate people’s Books and bring them to the Library. Although they could think they had no will and they only heeded to Bantorra’s orders. At present time no Librarian Angels existed. At end of the Paradise Era Bantorra ceased governing Books and at the same time annihilated all of them.
Lascall was once one of the Librarian Angels. He was the mere shadow of a fallen angel. That was the Passed Stone Blade Yor.
During the Paradise Era, Books were something that no human could get their hands on.
People’s souls would, after their death, crystalize inside the ground and become Books. Inside these Books the memories and entire life of the deceased would be recorded. Books were dug out by Librarian Angels and kept at Bantorra Library.
The Library was located on a solitary island where even birds didn’t pass, and the Archives where Books were stored were at unfathomable depths. An ordinary person could never get there. Even the rare people who could surpass that were blocked from invading the archives by Bantorra’s causality-erasing barrier. They would never be able to touch Books.
At the end of the Paradise Era people aimed for Books. They were the Books meant to be Eaten by Ruruta Coozancoona, the world’s savior who would appear before long. Without any Books Ruruta would be a mere powerless boy, and he would have no way to stop the world’s destruction.
However, obtaining Books was close to impossible.
There was once a Librarian Angel in the frontier that would later come to be known as the Aizel Region of Rona.
His body was made of copper. His form was that of a robust man in the prime of his life. In his right hand he held a one-handed stone blade. When he stabbed it into the ground, a Book would be produced from it. The Book would then be stored in the box he held in his left hand. Next the Librarian Angel would move around by twisting space, carrying the Book to the Library.
Many Librarian Angels were shot by raining arrows, attacked by fire, ice and all kinds of Magic, or assaulted by swords and spears or clubs and fists.
Yet they were protected by Past Overseer Bantorra’s causality erasure. The acts of trying to obtain a Book and of trying to hurt the Librarian Angels would be nullified beyond their cause-and-effect.
Attacks against Librarian Angels would never have any effect. Unable to inflict them even a single wound, people would only repeat useless effort.
Thousands of people challenged them to try to rob their Books. Several people lost their lives and even more people than that wasted their whole lives.
The absolute was absolute because it couldn’t be overturned. People have realized that and eventually gave up. At that time, an old man appeared in front of the Librarian Angel.
The man’s name was Lascall Othello. Having the exact same name as the later Lascall Othello was not a coincidence. His name became the alias of the Memorial Weapon as is.
That old man clashed with the Librarian Angel all alone. His attacks surpassed Past Overseer Bantorra’s causality erasure. It was shocking. It was the first of miracles humans could make.
Wielding a stone club in his hand, he fought the Librarian Angel. When he tried to escape by flying away the man would seal him with telekinesis, and even when he tried to use his power of spatial transposition the man would offset it with a Magic that denied the distorting of space.
By limiting the activation of his ability to once in his life and by limiting the target to a single Librarian Angel, the effectiveness of his Magic was doubled. However, even with that in mind the man’s powers were beyond human knowledge. Perhaps there were never any warriors that surpassed him even when taking into account the later era.
After a long time, the Librarian Angel succumbed in front of the old man known as Lascall Othello.
‘Splendid, warrior Lascall Othello.’
Said the Librarian Angel who fell on the ground with a voiceless voice.
‘However, your fight is meaningless. Books will never go into human’s hands.’
The Librarian Angel’s box fell to the ground and vanished. The Books inside have crossed space and were sent to Bantorra Library. Even if a single Librarian Angel disappears it would not be a huge blow to Past God Bantorra. It was only one of many after all.
“With all due respect, I do not care about one or two Books at all.”
Said old Lascall calmly. He sat down quietly next to the collapsed Librarian Angel.
‘Humans will never beat Gods. No matter how much this Ruruta person acquires power, no matter how hard you work, you will never surpass the Gods.’
The Librarian Angel asserted. Old Lascall replied derisively.
“It does not matter at all. It does not matter whether the world is destroyed or not.”
‘…What are you even saying?’
Old Lascall had a serious expression. The Librarian Angel became interested in him for the first time.
“Yes, it does not matter at all. You may as well destroy it. But I have one single request. Please show it to this old man.”
“Even if you ask me why…”
The old man made a smile that wasn’t quite wicked but mysterious.
“Because it seems fun. No matter the screams we raise, what face we make as we cry, the way we despair and die… do you not want to see it? This Lascall Othello cannot die without viewing something so enjoyable.”
‘…What are you thinking about?’
“Well, it is surely something not decent.”
Saying this, the old man laid his hand atop the Librarian Angel. His hand was inserted into the copper-made body. It vanished as if it was an illusion.
“This is a power that allows me to fuse with you. You will remain the main body. I will merely become a parasite that resides within you. So do not worry. You will lose none of your functions.”
Even having lost one hand, the old man kept talking calmly.
‘Do you want to continue living inside my body?’
“Exactly. I have defeated you for that reason. To become one with you and see the world be destroyed.”
The Librarian Angel then thought. This man is abnormal. Is he still human even so? If that also counts as human, just what are humans?
“I also have my doubts. Just what humans are? There is probably no one who knows. Even the Gods who have created them.”
Lascall spoke as if reading the Librarian Angel’s heart.
A change occurred in the Librarian Angel. Curiosity that should have not existed was born in his heart. He had no idea whether it came because of his fusion with Lascall or spontaneously.
The resistance to the fusion disappeared from the Librarian Angel’s mind. He didn’t want to go back to such dull jobs as excavating and carrying Books. More than that he wanted to understand what humans were. He wanted to, along with this old man, see the interweaving stories of humans.
‘Lascall. I now also want to know. What are humans? Are they the failed products of the Gods or developing beings that could someday reach paradise? Or perhaps they are something no one can even imagine.’
“You want to see the actions of humans. I want to see the destruction of humans. If we become one, which of our wishes will be granted?”
They were fusing. Lascall, who wanted to see the destruction, and the Librarian Angel that wanted to know humans. Their wishes were becoming one.
“Let us go look at the destruction of the world.”
‘Let us go look at the interweaving stories of humans.’
The old man’s body was completely absorbed by the Librarian Angel. By combining one human and one being, a truly different something that didn’t exist so far was born.
At the same time, the copper body too cracked and crumbled.
The only thing left behind was the Librarian Angel’s stone sword. Its form started changing. Its plain hilt transformed into a bizarre form patterned after human hands. The stone melted into the ground and vanished. It went to look for a body to control. It possessed the body of a dead person somewhere and controlled it.
And thus Lascall Othello was born. That, which was once a single human and a single Librarian Angel, later became known as the Passed Stone Blade Yor.
Approximately 2000 years later, Lascall Othello was on Past God Island. Keeping watch of people’s interweaving stories, he was trying to see the destruction of the world.
If the world ends Lascall would also probably end. And after humanity is dead Future Overseer Orntorra and Past Overseer Bantorra would be reborn. There was no doubt that Lascall, who would only be a foreign body in the new paradise, would be erased.
But that was fine. After watching over the end of the world he would have no objections to be annihilated.
What could he look forward to in a world controlled by Orntorra? What was interesting about watching endless happiness? The stories of humans and the destruction of the world were that much pleasant.
Among this delight that made him tremble, and while feeling a slight reluctance, Lascall watched over the end of the world.
Suddenly, at that moment, he muttered.
Lascall saw something abnormal being born in this world that has ended.
Colio was holding his knees and crying. As his tears ran out, he kept repeating small weeps. Just like he was as a Meat before meeting Shiron.
Yet his hand suddenly moved. His strongly clenched fist hit his own face. And it wasn’t a gentle strike. That hit was as if he was killing a hated enemy.
“You idiot, you incompetent!”
Anger welled from within him. He couldn’t forgive himself for simply shuddering, for being unable to do anything.
“Have you really loved someone like me?!”
The face of his beloved Shiron rose to the back of his mind. Colio recalled himself throwing away his life to face the Indulging God Cult.
Who Shiron loved wasn’t me like I am now. I’m not worthy of her loving me.
I have to fight, thought Colio. But I have no power. I can do nothing. I only have a single knife and the bomb in my chest. It’s not even enough to take down a Beast of the Final Chapter along with me.
“But if I can do nothing other than that…”
Colio touched the bomb inside his chest. He rose up and gazed at the Beast swarms.
The moment he started running, he heard someone’s voice.
He stopped in place and looked around. That was Shiron’s voice for sure now.
There was no one in the area. Obviously Shiron wouldn’t be there. Yet he definitely heard her voice.
He removed the hand from his bomb. And he averted his gaze from the Beasts.
He was about to lose something precious. Who Shiron loved wasn’t a bomb. It was a human. He had to fight as a human until the very end.
Colio ran in the opposite direction from the Beasts of the Final Chapter.
He had no idea what he should do or what he could do. He was powerless, foolish and small. Yet he regained his will to fight.
So he could stay human until the very last moment. So he could fight as a human.
Turning around, he could see clouds of sand rising from the desert. Inside them, the Beasts of the Final Chapter were chasing Hamyuts.
All of the Beasts were aiming for Hamyuts. She desperately ran away. She was getting far away from Nieniu. She could not even see the theater with the naked eye anymore.
She would catch the pursuing Beast with her sling and throw it at another. Then, running away again, she would repeat the same process. Yet even when she was doing that the Beasts’ numbers increased endlessly.
There were apparently no other people in the fight. Were they all annihilated by the Beasts? What was Colio doing? Where has that foolish girl known as Miena went to? It was useless to think of them.
Hamyuts simply wielded her sling so that she could live one second longer.
“…Please stop. Why do you fight so much?”
Nieniu inquired. Hamyuts replied as if sighing.
“…Please relax already. When you suffer it pains me as well.”
“Shuddup! Stop running your mouth!”
She knew she couldn’t win. Hamyuts fought in order to not acknowledge defeat. If she were to lose here then what had she lived for? She had been implanted with the Suicidal Wish and underwent hellish days. She fought not wanting to think of all that as meaningless.
“…If you entrust your body to your wish of death, you will be able to die happy. That is the best path for you.”
It was definitely true. She had the desire to die. But if she succumbed to it nothing would come out of it. It was much more unbearable than death.
“…It is useless. Everything was meaningless.”
“No! I wasn’t meaningless!”
By shouting she recovered her broken spirit. In order to keep fighting for even a moment longer.
A single phrase floated to Ruruta’s mind: just desserts. Whatever someone does they would definitely pay for it someday. Meaning, this was his punishment.
“Feeling the pain?! Tell me it hurts Ruruta!”
About ten warriors encircled Ruruta and continued his torture. Ruruta simply received it without resisting or moving a single finger.
“Shit! Shit! Why are you making that indifferent face!”
At some point Hamyuts’s Suicidal Wish had already been lifted. Pain now tormented Ruruta without turning into pleasure. Yet their torture was nothing. At least when compared to the pain that filled his chest.
He wished for only one thing. Kill me already. That was it.
“Cry! Cry and wail! We still haven’t seen your tears!”
Ruruta started thinking. I’ve never cried. I’ve lost the function to shed tears long ago. Even when I was made to fight as a hero, and even after I became the demon lord who rules the world, even when Nieniu died, I never cried. I wasn’t allowed to even cry. That’s how my life went.
Would crying make him feel better? Even if he thought so, no tears came out.
“That’s enough… let’s kill him. He no longer feels anything.”
One person said. Miena replied to them.
“My heart is not yet clear. My only wish is to see this man crying.”
Even while listening to their conversation, Ruruta’s now apathetic heart was not swayed even a little.
What have I done wrong? Now he knew. It was his birth.
“But it’s useless. That man’s heart is already dead.”
“…So no choice huh. Maybe we’ll kill him.”
Miena said in a sorrowful voice. Is this it, wondered Ruruta. He, who now wished he wouldn’t have been born, was about to die. However, at that moment a shout echoed.
Miena and the rest turned back. Ruruta also looked toward the sound. A boy was there. Even when he saw him Ruruta felt nothing. So you’re still alive, he just coldly thought.
“Stop, don’t… don’t torment Ruruta any further!”
Colio Tonies was standing on the sand.