Chapter 4 – And Then to the Fairy Realm
「Ahhahaha. We did it everyone!」
「Yes. This is a great step forward toward our objective!」
The two Campiones were innocently in joy.
Of course, they were Salvatore Doni and Madam Aisha. In contrast with the kings, the two knights accompanying them were making completely exhausted face.
「What fell from the sky at the end there……was it a meteorite?」
「Different from Lord Lancelot’s rush, it looked like it really fell from space. I think the one who called it was Lord Salvatore though.」
Liliana and Erica grumbled.
Falling star was rushing down through the night sky, approaching closer toward them steadily――somehow the ritual of world transfer succeeded under such acute situation.
Marquis Voban transformed into dragon and breathed out crimson flame.
Sect Founder Luo Hao put ultrasonic wave on her song and heightened her destructive power indiscriminately. But, they finally arrived here by driving off all danger.
――The place was a city made of stone.
There were only houses made of brick. The pavement of the road was also using brick.
There wasn’t any modern rebar construction building anywhere, it had stylish bearing of European rural town’s appearance. This place had the atmosphere of the Middle Age.
However, there wasn’t any sign of human. It was an uninhabited city. A corner of Astral world.
「I had come here before. Previously when I wandered in Astral world together with Godou, this is the place that we slipped into by chance.」
「Then, surely this place is dragged out by the memory of that time.」
Liliana nodded at Erica’s report.
「This time――it was because I didn’t have the composure to clearly imagined the transfer destination. Or rather, I think that I did really well to make the ritual work under such situation if I say so myself……」
「Hahahaha. As expected from Godou’s knights.」
「Anyway, we now have to search for the rumored temple. It will be fine if we can ask someone who seem to know about it.」
The devil kings were acting completely like usual. Liliana sighed deeply.
「It was only once, but I had gone there before.」
「Is that true, Liliana-san!?」
「Yes. It’s just, it was a really unique sacred ground, so I don’t know if I will really be able to guide you there well without actually trying it. If Mariya Yuri who is familiar with Astral world is here, it will be very reassuring but……」
「It will be great if we can contact Yuri though.」
Erica nodded at her sworn friend’s words.
After ascertaining the name of the hero Rama, Mariya Yuri stayed behind at Astral world.
They heard that at that time she relied on the person that was the princess of glass. That person was an acquaintance of Seishuuin Ena’s “grampsy” Susanoo, and seemed to be the reincarnation of goddess Sita.
In that case, if they searched at nearby Susanoo’s residence, perhaps they would be able to meet Yuri.
But, there was no guarantee. Erica glanced at Doni.
「Lord Salvatore. How is your body condition right now?」
「It’s not the worst, but it’s also not really good huuh.」
The scar running from vertically from left shoulder that looked like『hardened melting metal』――.
There wasn’t any sign at all that it was healing. It was a damage that was hard to conquer even with the abnormal flesh body of Campione. Perhaps it should be said as expected from the result of the joint effort of King of Sword and the Black Prince. Although Doni was acting carefree, but his complexion wasn’t well.
At this rate wouldn’t it worsen the more time passed?
(I don’t want to do it at all though, I don’t plan to do it one hundred percent sure.)
Erica secretly thought.
About should she consider applying healing magic using oral administration to the King of Sword.
But, she immediately rejected that option. A wound this serious would need a healing power at the level of Madam Aisha’s authority to heal. It wasn’t something that the power of a mere magician could do something about.
「It can’t be helped. Let’s give up reuniting with Yuri for now.」
「I see. Something like a meteorite fell on Hachiouji……」
(Fortunately it was in a mountain that was far from urban area, and it was already night, so it ended up with only the minimum damage……)
Yuri gave additional information to Godou who was whispering seriously. She chased after her comrades’ movements with her spiritual power of telepathy.
「And, the presence of everyone in that place vanished huh.」
「It’s possible……that they don’t exist anywhere on earth right now.」
In contrast with Yuri who seemed a bit worried, Ena who actually had excellence academic performance spoke a bit of trivia.
「Come to think of it, Ena had heard before. In the past, at the Bunka era of Edo period, a meteor fell on Hachiouji. As expected someone among the kings reproduced that event once more there.」
「Other than Aisha-san who lost her power, everyone else are suspect. What a horrible story.」
「Fumu. If four Campiones are removed with this then」
John Pluto Smith jokingly spoke to Godou who was feeling exasperated already.
「The participants of devil king civil war are decreased by more than half. What do you think, Kusanagi Godou?」
「This one and that one. Didn’t you also go through something like that with the corridor.」
「Then, let’s not be optimistic that they were annihilated. Now, just where the six Campiones and magicians vanished to……」
Even though Smith replied noncommittally with relaxed attitude that left the burden to him, but Smith was guessing what he was feeling.
Godou felt a mysterious bond with the eccentric that didn’t show his bare face, it was at that time a light melody was playing, notifying them of a coming call in a mobile phone.
It came from the skirt of the uniform that Ena was wearing――from her pocket.
The princess shrine maiden of the sword took out her favorite mobile phone and put it on her ear. They were at a ridge with great clear view, so the signal’s reach should be better than inside dense mountain forest. However.
Generally speaking, Seishuuin Ena was careless with the charging of her battery.
A contact reached this girl that was unbecoming as modern person in this timing. Could it be.
「It’s message for your majesty.」
「Is it from that gramps?」
「Ahaha, right on the mark. Let’s see, 『The people you all are looking for are all coming here, so come here to deal with them!』, that’s what grampsy said.」
The elder that took guardianship of the princess shrine maiden of the sword, Haya Susanoo no Mikoto.
It was information from the hermit that was once a『Heretic God』.
「Hou. So you too have an acquaintance in the Astral world.」
「You notice it even though I still haven’t told you anything huh.」
Smith spoke as though it was obvious to the admiring Godou.
「Let me repeat, I’m a fairy king even if an unimportant one. I would immediately know about the news from over there. And then, perhaps this isn’t something I should say but……I am blessed with perception greater than your average person.」
「That’s really not something you should say yourself.」
This time Godou smiled wryly. This masked man really couldn’t speak less.
Yuri’s telepathy came to him.
(If everyone is in the realm of the dead, then I’ll try searching for them with my power.)
「Mariya’s body is over there after all. Also we too……should head over there.」
「Grampsy also told us so already.」
「Seishuuin. Can Susanoo summon us from the realm of the death like before――」
「Wait, Kusanagi Godou.」
Smith interjected when Godou was consulting with the princess shrine maidens.
「I should have told you already, I’m a fairy king. If I used that authority, it’s a trifling matter to take you all to the world over there.」
「Yeah. However I’ll put on a condition.」
Smith stared fixedly at Godou through the visor of his mask.
「I’ll have you take separate action from the shrine maidens over there and also from your other comrades too.」
「This John Pluto Smith will become the guide and lead you to a certain place. It’s a journey of two fellow devil kings without any outsider present. During that time, if you refuse an instruction from me then……fufufufu. It will be a restart of the suspended devil king civil war.」
「A journey――of just the two of us?」
「Yeah. If you can accept that condition, then I’ll be generous and open the gate to the fairy realm.」
It went without saying.
There was no way the ruler of the martial world would die by getting dragged into something like meteor impact.
As soon as she saw the catastrophe descending from the sky, Luo Cuilian realized. That it was impossible already to escape from that star with normal method.
But of course, she who was at the height of martial art and magic was an exception――.
「Shih!」(TN: This one is written with the kanji of rapid)
She chanted a short spell and used the magic of ground shrinker.
Shrinking the ground meant『shrinking the distance between the spot the user was currently at with the destination point at far away.』
That was to say an instant teleportation. Thus Luo Cuilian easily accomplished her escape from the shockwave and impact rampaging at the site of the meteor impact.
「For the king of Italia country to possess such sword……the sword of falling star.」
She chuckled due to her admiration due to that mister Salvatore.
A foolish person that was still immature in anything other than sword art. There was no doubt of that. However, he polished his only strong point to an insane degree and now he was stepping into a territory that surpassed Luo Cuilian’s imagination.
Yes. Even if other didn’t understand, but only she understood.
That was a special move that was unleashed based from the principle of sword or katana art, like drawing out a sheathed katana instantly.
Only Luo Cuilian understood because of her discernment as someone who was at the height of martial realm and her spiritual sense as a Daogu――.
「I have to chase after those people……」
The subordinates of Kusanagi Godou were also accompanying those two devil kings.
She had seen through with a glance that one of them was striving to carry out the secret ritual to transfer to the realm of the dead――the area that was called as Astral world by western practicioner. Of course, she had the knowledge of the same magic.
Like this――she transferred to realm of the dead completely with her own power.
What greeted her were nymphs that seemed familiar with her.
「Holy sect founder-sama.」
「It has been a long time.」
「To be able to burn the sight of holy sect founder-sama’s august countenance into our eyes once more, there is nothing more joyful than this! Aa, it’s truly an honor to be in the presence of Sect Founder Luo Hao’s virtue and authority!」
The place was a peach orchard.
Several thousand peach trees were growing comfortably inside vast plot of land, they were beautifully tended to and received bright sunlight of spring in plenty.
Ten-odd nymphs were playing as they pleased in that peach garden.
They admired flowers, recited poem, tasted high-grade wine, and laughed at each other’s jokes. And then, the elegant nymphs were gathering in great hurry to the side of the beauty that wasn’t inferior to anyone among them, Luo Cuilian, and gave her a warm welcome with their reverence and deep affection in full display.
This was truly a Shangri-la――.
This was the stronghold of Luo Cuilian at the realm of the dead.
Of course, because she was a residence of earth, she wouldn’t come here except in a special case. Those with limited length of life didn’t have the qualification to live here. But since she became godslayer, her chance to visit the realm of the dead was also a lot. Before she realized, this Shangri-la became her provisional dwelling.
「I command all of you.」
That was what Luo Cuilian said the first thing from her mouth without even any greeting.
「A little while ago, two Campiones should have arrived here from earth. Search for the whereabouts of those people. Do it as fast as possible.」
Certainly! The nymphs immediately bowed their head.
If the other party was shutting themselves in a holy ground that was designated as forbidden, or if they were putting up barrier magic for their self-protection, the search would turn really difficult. But, the pursuit target this time were the two names who were the most careless among the seven devil kings.
Their whereabouts would surely be discovered. Luo Cuilian was convinced of that.
A few hours later, Luo Cuilian finally departed.
The information of the “stratum” where the targeted group was at had been reported to her by the nymphs. She strongly imagined the destination spot based from that, and transferred――.
(In the realm of the dead there were infinite stratums, this was the fastest travel method to cross between them.)
「Fufufufu. My powerful enemy is somewhere in this land.」
Cherubic smile emerged on the visage that was like flower.
There was a green grasslands that was continuing forever before her eyes. Sheeps, goats, and horses could happily run here. And then, it was right beside a sea.
There would be a steep cliff if anyone went until where the grasslands cut off.
If one peered below, they would see rough wave pushing from the sea, hitting and smashing the rock. Thick clouds were hiding the sky, and wind was blowing strongly on the inhabited grasslands.
The temperature was cool, while the air was dry and clear.
Of course, it was a place that was unlike anywhere on earth but――Luo Cuilian recalled. She had the recollection in the far past, when she traveled Greek country, that she witnessed a similar scenery.
「Now then……let’s search the holy ground that the nymphs were saying about.」
She sent her usual『eye』to the sky and obtained overhead view of this area.
There was a temple more than a hundred kilometer ahead. It had construction style where thick round pillars were lined up, resembling the Doria style of ancient Greek.
And then, there was one other thing.
Luo Cuilian whispered after discovering a certain thing.
At an area that wasn’t really far from where she was currently at――there was an army that was marching solemnly.
「As expected from the wolf king. He has marched into here this quickly.」
When Salvatore Doni’s meteor fell.
Voban was in “jet black dragon” transformation. It seemed that this authority was named as something like『Otherland’s Dragon』by those gloomy wise man association bunches (though there wasn’t any other information written in the public material other than that it was an authority to transform into dragon).
……Actually, strictly speaking it wasn’t transformation.
Voban himself was sleeping, while his soul separated from his body and turned into a dragon.
It was such an authority. Because his flesh body became defenseless in temporary death, it was hard to find the time to use it. But, Voban’s soul that turned into dragon was halfway indestructible. Even if the dragon body was destroyed, the soul would be able to return from the realm of the dead like a ghost――.
He usurped the authority from ancient Mesopotamia’s mother earth goddess, Inanna.
While she was an existence that brought about good harvest on the land, she was also the goddess of the realm of the dead.
Just like how a lot of earth mother goddess that governed death be, she was also a divinity with second true character that was dragon = snake (the same like Athena of Greek myth).
The body of the black dragon was swallowed by the explosion of the meteor impact and got terribly wounded.
But, it wasn’t a fatal injury. There he summoned the dead servant witch, and when he asked where did the enemy escape to――he was told they went to Astral world.
Then, it was simple.
Voban dragged out his own heart from the chest of his dragon body.
He severed his own life. In other words, it had the same meaning with『traveling to the realm of the dead』. And then, the realm of the dead and Astral world――were extremely close things.
Hades, afterlife, world of the dead, idea world, spirit world, astral world.
There were various ways of calling it throughout the world. In short it was “a region to hangout for those who escaped death without life”. It seemed that it was called as『the boundary between life and immortality』among the heretic gods and the true gods…….
Anyway, Voban arrived at Astral word through the realm of the dead.
Next he could just choose the best magic user among his Dead Servants and made them carried out the secret ritual of underworld transfer to transport the “sleeping Dejanstahl Voban” from earth to here――.
He had already called off his dragon avatar and returned to his human body.
「The army preparation is also finished. The whereabouts of that self-proclaimed little sister of mine and that idiot is also discovered by my servants. What’s left is only to pursue them.」
Currently, there were three hundred horsemen around the demon wolf king.
Dead Servants――furthermore they were the same kind with those that were summoned at Okutama for cornering Salvatore Doni. All of them were notorious warrior during their lifetime. With sword, spear, bow, axe, or halberd as their weapon, they were also wearing armor just as they liked.
On top of that, they were riding the wolves that Voban called.
They were called out as horse replacement using the authority of demon wolf. Every single one was huge wolf that wasn’t lesser than even fierce bull.
Even Voban himself was straddling one of the wolves.
Along with his servants that were marching calmly, their aim was the end of this stratum.
The temple that was built there was a holy ground that was preeminent even in this Astral world, it seemed that it was the terribly important place for managing『the secret of the world』…….
Voban squinted his eyes.
He could hear sound of horse’s hooves. A red horse was――dashing on the sky, the sound of its hooves were also loud, as though it was sprinting on paved road.
The rider of the red horse that was rapidly approaching this way was naturally an old acquaintance of Voban.
Furthermore, the person was sitting facing the side on the saddle without even holding the rein, their Han clothing fluttering by the wind.
While it was a posture that was unsuited for riding horse, but the running showed a unity of rider and horse.
「So you also came, wolf king!」
「I can say the same to you, it seems we arrived at the same conclusion!」
Voban replied to Sect Founder Luo Hao who was spurring on the divine horse galloping in the sky.
This horse looked like it had red body from afar, but it was actually different. It was a horse with common brown fur. However, the sweat that its whole body was drenched with was blood colored.
Surely it was summoned from her specialty magic.
The blood sweating horse was lightly sprinting beside the army of the death and wolves that was led by Voban, but from the height of two, three meter from the ground.
「If it’s alright with you, should I attack from different directions?」
Sect Founder Luo Hao said.
「There is no need to disorder your command for that.」
「Let’s not be like that. The chance to lead an army together with the Sect Founder Luo Hao, it’s something that is unlikely to arrive for the second time in the future. Let’s take enjoyment from this.」
Since the forming of the alliance――
Even though they didn’t match their pace, but they still happened to meet each other in the same place, in the same timing a lot instead. In other words, this was because they were equal.
In strength, instinct, fighting spirit, fighting experience, discernment, insight, and so on as warriors.
Although their way of doing things were greatly different, as veteran godslayer, the numerous strength they had acquired――was almost equal, that was the reason they conformed each other like this.
As expected, perhaps the godslayer in front of their eye would be their strongest obstacle.
It was possible, that the other would be the greatest wall standing in their way compared to the youngster of their kind.
Pursuing the shadow of the formidable enemy they should have a showdown with eventually, the demon wolf king and the supernatural sect founder advanced through the battlefield…….
And then, at the same time when the two old devil kings carried out their reunion.
「What have you done!」
A white haired and white bearded old man cursed looking like he would vomit out blood.
As usual he was wearing a toga of ancient Rome and held a bronze pen.
In front of him, Liliana Krancjar and Erica Blandelly were standing. Together with the two Campiones that had been always with them as baggage through their journey in Astral world.
「Of all people, it is these two――the two whose nature of foolishness is towering above the rest even among the godslayers who are all the heaven-sent children of fools, and you bring them here to this mansion!」
「He is a gramps with really bad mouth huuh.」
「To call someone he first met an idiot to their face, how unbelievable-」
Doni keenly whispered so while Madam Aisha was feeling indignation by the old man.
This old man was the master of『Plutarch Mansion』.
This was the place that Liliana and Mariya Yuri once visited through the guidance of John Pluto Smith. The secret holy ground that Princess Alice also knew about――.
「Shit-. Of all thing, just when I cannot make contact with the master of this domain John Pluto Smith……they marched into here right in such situation!」
「My. So we are able to intrude in just the right timing then.」
「The opposite! You guys intentionally came picking the worst timing!」
The witch that stirred up history as she pleased and the observer of history.
These two who were making talk like a straight man and a funny man were actually fellow rival through long years. Though of course Madam Aisha wasn’t aware of it at all.
Putting that aside, the two knights were whispering at each other in low volume.
「We easily arrived here easier than I thought.」
「That’s because since the expedition in the ancient Gallia, Liliana’s spiritual sight has rose really much. Perhaps, it’s because of that I believe.」
These two girls were prodigious genius that towered above the rest as human magicians.
However, in front of this lineup, even they were nothing more but minor role.
「Well, just as the venerable senior say, the act of guiding these two here itself……is certainly also a failure in our part.」
「It can’t be helped. Even if there was other choice, we had no leeway to choose it.」
In contrast with Liliana that was faintly regretful, Erica just shrugged her shoulders.
Liliana was relying on the image when they visited previously to lead the group until the temple of ancient Greek style. They dived into underground it and went through a long passage.
This white haired white bearded old man was at the hall that they finally came out to.
Colossal number of stone slab was floating in the air at the underground passage. The history of the world and mankind――everything of those were recorded there.
The room of the old man was also littered with the same stone slab innumerably on the floor.
It was hard to even find the place for their foot to step on. And then, the old man that was serving as observer of history in this uncomfortable place――yelled like a tragedy actor.
「Aa……furthermore if you all came here! Then even the senile old devil kings that hungered for battle will also get lured to this mansion too you know!? That’s something that I don’t even want to think about……if, this holy ground is destroyed, just how much impact it will have at the advance of history that should be――!」
「Looks like Godou is sleeping soundly.」
「If there is allowance to rest even for a bit, don’t let it get away and rest. That’s what is called as the disposition of warrior. Well, though perhaps it’s simply being impudent.」
「I guess. Even though this place is also the same as enemy territory in a sense.」
That was a conversation between the voice of a calm woman and a theatrical man.
It was a talk that was exchanged between Annie Charlton and “one other person”. Kusanagi Godou was sleeping like log while being watched over by them.
He was sound asleep while still wearing his clothes, with only his shoes taken off.
The Japanese young man was making the back seat of a red convertible car as his bed.
It was pulled out from the treasure warehouse and turned into the front of the entrance of the palace. Of course, it was something to be the rode for the travel. And then, while Annie and “the other” were preparing for the departure, Kusanagi Godou shrewdly crawled onto the seat…….
「What a really impudent person, to act like this after coming into the secondary residence of the fairy king and also godslayer John Pluto Smith and――Annie Charlton. Fufufufu.」
“The other” that was chuckling was put at the assistant driver’s seat.
As for Annie, she was riding on the driver seat. Today she was also wearing the black pants suit that she often wore.
「Or else this might be a proof of trust? Something like, even in the middle of this extremely devil king civil war, it’s only John Pluto Smith that I can trust.」
「If that’s the case, than my natural virtue ought to be praised.」
The convertible car was parked in front of a simple mansion.
The building had the size that looked like it could be used by thirty, forty people to live together, but it was completely made from wood, the internal and also external looked like extremely simple and plain residence mansion.
If Celtic people in the fourth ~ fifth century were building something, then perhaps it would turn out into this kind of construction.
And then, the mansion was located at the center of a forest.
It was a vast woods to the degree that it filled a whole stratum of Astral world. Green broad leafed trees that were centered on oak were growing in abundance, and there were a lot of fairies.
Those with appearance that were completely like human children or girl, but they were fairy’s with wings growing on their back. (TN: The fairy here is written in English in the raw. The word fairy written before this was written in Japanese and that word could cover fairy, sprite, or elf)
Those that looked like old men with growing beards while having short heights that didn’t reach three feet, were the leprechaun.
Mischievous small demons with large noses, goblin. According to the land they were born at, fairy race of Europe could become ugly giant that was a troll, or they could even be old men or small men wearing hat.
Races of fairy females in the form of beautiful woman or girls existed in every country.
Other than those there were also banshee, dullahan, satros, silenos, and so on. So many kind of fairy’s were living here, that there would be no end to it if it was listed one by one.
This was the forest where once fairy king Oberon and his people were living at.
Since he who was dyed in madness was exterminated by the masked godslayer, it became John Pluto Smith’s territory. Since then, each time Smith/Annie came to Astral world as a part-time fairy king, this mansion was used as base-camp and secondary residence…….
The spare of equipment was generally prepared inside the treasure warehouse of the king.
This convertible car was also one of those. It was a kind of high-class car that was also known to be used by America’s president. However it was an old model from year 1959.
It was unclear whether it was drifted away to Astral world by some kind of situation.
Smith also thought to take it to earth and sell it to old car maniacs, but the blacksmiths who lived in Oberon’s forest had learned the method to maintenance it.
Thanks to that, it could be used as exclusive car of Annie/Smith.
「Annie. We should depart soon.」
“The other” that was put at the assistant driver seat spoke his opinion.
It was a jet black mask. It was the item that was worn by Annie’s other self, the hero of Los Angeles『John Pluto Smith』.
Smith’s personality dwelled in the mask and talked with the main body Annie.
It was a mystery that occurred only when she came to Astral world. Surely it was because in this place, mind and soul were emphasized more than the flesh body.
Usually Annie changed her voice tone and let out tenor voice.
But, it was only right now that the mask was speaking with Smith’s voice.
「Seeing from the messenger report sent just now, those guys are starting to gather at the conference room in this time.」
「I guess. I believe Godou will also wake up eventually.」
She inserted the car key and put her hand on the handle.
Annie drove her beloved car forward. Currently, there were several roads that were maintained inside this 『Forest of Oberon』.
Trees and underbrush were cut, the ground hardened, and wide roads were laid out to every direction.
They were so that beasts like horse, and also carts and the like that could easily pass through.
Although this place was a forest, but it was the royal capital. In a sense, it was the natural consideration. Annie’s beloved car was accelerating without any danger.
Annie murmured while moving fast against the wind on the driver seat.
「I overlooked a crucial point. The reason that Godou can act this defenselessly in front of me.」
「Hou, what is it?」
「That’s because the relationship between me and him is progressing. Thinking back, when I said『fruits of wife’s labor』in the middle of battle, Godou didn’t look like he was that dissatisfied. If through this and that, it caused a feeling toward Annie Charlton to ferment inside his heart, than this attitude of his can be completely explained.」
「Even this time, I let him take the active role while it’s me instead that is rotated into the support role. Perhaps that kind of detailed consideration is raising his feeling toward me, stimulating his desire of『wanting to love and be loved by an older woman that he can trust and also respect』.」
「This is troubling. The location where we live and the age between us are just too separated. And the burden we are both shouldering is also too big. Even if the relation between the two of us is advancing like this, perhaps it will bring unhappiness to everyone at the surrounding because of that……」
「You know, he sometimes sent me meaningful glances with expression that seemed to say『If it’s you then you understand right?』. He fully believes in me. Hey, are you listening Smith?」
While Annie was talking dispassionately, the mask was persisting in its silence.
The mask stopped with only pouring its flood of emotions into its slight grunt before suddenly changing the topic.
「Let me just express my opinion at some future date after I finished putting my thoughts in order. For now, how about you changed clothes soon? We are going to come out of the forest before long and exit our barrier.」
「Certainly it’s just as you say. ――Birth, death. And then infinity!」
Right after she chanted the transformation’s words of power.
The mask vanished from the assistant driver seat and was instantly equipped on Annie’s face. Black cape and highly dignified blue costume were renewed on her body.
The driver of the convertible car became that person, John Pluto Smith.
He imaged the destination and transferred.
Smith repeatedly transferred through stratum along with the convertible car with his usual method.
Stratum of intensely cold ice field that was exposed with blizzards.
Stratum with dry ground that had flame pillars spurting out like geyser from it one after another.
Stratum, a city where souls that were formerly human became shadows that possess living humans and wander aimlessly.
Stratum where white horizon was continuing endlessly, and so on.
Smith was driving very detachedly like an automatic driving machine.
If a traveler didn’t go around the stratums following the designated order, they wouldn’t be able to arrive at the destination they aimed at――. Such magic of ground confinement was working, so the travel became troublesome no matter what.
En route, Kusanagi Godou at the back seat awoke.
「You really slept soundly there, Kusanagi Godou.」
「Isn’t it fine. Yesterday was really busy.」
「Even though I might assassinate you while you were sleeping?」
「If I’m concerned with that, then I wouldn’t accept your proposal right from the start.」
Kusanagi Godou easily accepted to『travel with Smith just the two of them』with this mood.
He instructed his princess shrine maidens companion to chase after Salvatore Doni’s party and linked up with them while went until the forest of Oberon.
Smith smiled behind his mask.
Fighting slyly as godslayer devil king, and not hesitating to make a friend.
Godslayer that was able to make these two actions coexisted without any contradiction would be Kusanagi Godou and――Salvatore Doni (though in the case of the Italian that was too optimistic, the implication of that was slightly different……).
Was it as he thought, should this Japanese be left as the last?
Smith was toying with that thought because he had different reason with Annie who had ulterior motive.
「So, how much you are able to recover?」
「My stamina is at 100%. As for my authority……all of it will be okay in a few more hours.」
「Hou. It’s unexpectedly quick.」
The authority『The Persian Warlord』that Kusanagi Godou owned. Each of its abilities that were related to the respective ten avatars that god Verethragna boasted could only be used once per day.
And then, it seemed that an avatar that had been used once couldn’t be used anymore for the whole day.
That was what the wise man parliament of Greenwhich conjectured.
However, it should be only half a day that had passed since the battle at Okutama…….
「I guess I should confess.」
Kusanagi Godou said, perhaps because he was sensing something from Smith’s silence.
「The time for my――Verethragna’s power until it become usable once more, it had been shrinking even though only little by little. Perhaps right now……it only needs half the time compared to the start. The time for me to revive once I died was also gradually shrinking.」
「That’s really honest of you.」
Smith smiled wryly.
「Is it okay to reveal such matter to me?」
「Someone that will abuse this kind of info won’t let me sleep peacefully in the first place.」
This defenselessness in opposite of his determination as warrior.
It would become an opening that was hard to cover, at the same time it would also become impetus that attracted even his arch-enemy the gods. That was why, he heard from rumor that even the goddess Athena too――.
「Come to think of it, the princess with glass colored eye, she is also your acquaintance isn’t it?」
「You, so you know about that person?」
「I had a bit of chance to meet her before the civil war began. I should say that she is really a lady that left an impression.」
The princess of glass and the former divine ancestor.
That it was preferable for Kusanagi Godou to be at the last battle, and also the reason for that. At that time, she said that she wanted to bet on this man’s defenselessness――.
Smith was recalling that while finishing the last transfer.
「It will be our destination soon.」
「Somehow this is a scenery I have recollection of.」
「Personally I think this scenery is resembling the southern part of Britain……of the area of Cornwall.」
It was grassland that was rampant with verdant grass.
As far as the eye could see, there was green spreading out without end like sea.
Above the head was vast starry sky. This stratum was constantly night. And then, the artificial things that were blending into this grandeur nature without any out of place feeling――.
「Eh, isn’t that the thing called menhir?」
Kusanagi Godou said. Menhir(Large stone structure). Stones larger than even human height (it was generally long and narrow stone pillar) were lined up in good order, while just one was made to stand tall like a stone monument, they were proof of a sacred place. They were the legacy from Europe’s prehistoric civilization.
Those menhir clusters were standing here and there at the too vast grassland.
And then, there was also a single road connecting to the far beyond. The convertible car ran through the road for around five kilometer before finally arriving at the destination. As expected, there was also menhir there.
So to speak it was a stone circle.
Dizens of cuboid huge stones with height that could reach five meter were lined up to form a ring.
The size of the circle was around the diamond shape of a baseball field. There were more than twenty attendances gathering inside there. Faces that Godou saw for the first time weren’t few.
The fairy kings of Astral world were also taking along expert who wasn’t king with them.
「Here is a discussion place for the kings that reign in the fairy realm and the wise men to gather and have discussion. Today I wish for you to participate in this gathering too by all means.」
Smith informed Kusanagi Godou.
「It seems that the beautiful glass princess is absent, but I heard that there is also your acquaintance here.」
「My acquaintance is――hm?」
As soon as he got down from the car along with Smith, Kusanagi Godou focused his eyes.
Ahead there was a white haired old man wearing oriental clothing, and a girl wearing chiton, a clothing that represented ancient Greece. Smith wasn’t acquaintance with any of them.
The girl one left special impression with her silver hair and beautiful face, she was clad in divine aura.
「Isn’t this old man Susanoo and……Athena.」
Kusanagi Godou whispered in amazement.
Godou more or less received introduction about the background of the members gathering in this conference place.
First, there were around ten fairy kings other than Smith.
The master of genie palace, the spirit of desert Al Shaitan. Princess of specter Salome. Tyrant of north wind Boreas. The black dwarf that stood at the summit of all fairy blacksmith Alberich. The king of sandstorm Simoun. Abandoning earthly life and living in hiding at Kunlun Mountain, Great Sage Renhu (TN: Renhu = weretiger in China). The spirit king of sacred rain that governed the forest of holy tree Chinese banyan. The ghost king that invited death just by its laughing voice, and so on.
At first he could still memorize them, but he was gradually becoming unable to remember what he was told.
And then, there were the hermit, sage, and elders of Astral world that were brought here by the kings.
There was former『Heretic God』that lost interest in wandering earth, then there was also the grand magicians and saints that were human and should have died yet they obtained immortality, high rank fairies and spirits that possessed divine power that wasn’t inferior even when compared with fairy king, and so on.
Among them there were Haya Susanoo no Mikoto, and Athena who he saw off before the start of the civil war.
「It’s a surprise that there are two of my acquaintances here.」
「Hmph. Something like that isn’t anything that strange.」
Susanoo who was also the patron of Seishuuin Ena snorted.
「The hot-blooded godslayers are rushing out from earth and bring their battlefield until『the boundary of life and immortality』. It’s a story that can often be heard. When that happens, you will be able to normally make one or two acquaintance or enemies.」
「Though as expected, it was the first time when that godslayer over there become as far as a fairy king.」
Those words were said with a glance at John Pluto Smith.
Susanoo today was wearing a garment with tight sleeves with a loose hakama worn over it. The color was all white. His appearance looked as though he came straight from picture book of Japanese myth, but his white hair wasn’t tied. It wasn’t “mizura” hairstyle, but disheveled hair. (TN: Google this word, みづら to look at what kind of hairstyle it is.)
That hairstyle suited Susanoo who was wild despite his advanced age.
As for Athena, she looked like a girl in her low teens.
She was speaking to Godou dispassionately without showing any joy of their reunion after a few days.
「It hath still been a short time since I arrived here. But notables fairy king were calling out to me. In order to settle down the turmoil of this time, they wished to borrow mine opinion.」
「Obviously I refer toward the second coming of『King of the End』.」
Athena grinned fearlessly.
As divine ancestor Pallas Athena, she transformed into snake goddess by converting her life. In the end, her life force was thoroughly stolen by the revived Rama.
Because of that she came to the realm of the death in order to escape the nearly approaching death.
As expected, it appeared that it was better this way. It was visible that she had recovered back her power somewhat compared to when the parted on earth.
The current Athena was nostalgically awe-inspiring――she had the visage of a war god.
But, of course Godou didn’t say anything like『I’m glad』about it. He accepted her strength and fortitude like it was only natural and exchanged words with her like usual.
「Then, the people here are――」
Rather the human here numbered fewer but, Godou spoke while ignoring that. (TN: The kanji of people Godou used meant human.)
「thinking that they want to do something about that Rama?」
「Truly. Doth you forget, I came here with such intention in the first place.」
「That’s because it’s you. But, the other guys here……they all are like former god or something like half-god right? Aren’t they Rama’s comrade?」
Godou boldly asked.
However, the responds he received was really complicated.
The fairy kings and the well-informed residents of Astral world――no one gave affirmative respond. Some were silent, some ignored the question, some were smiling meaningfully, some were shrugging their shoulders.
Come to think of it.
Godou stared once more at the “grampsy”.
The elderly nobleman Susanoo, he was a retired old man that was interfering to the History Compilation Committee in the present world from the realm of the dead.
Susanoo too was also gloating a bit unkindly.
「Well……certainly I’m like a relative of that brat. But you see, if the official stance is taken off, it’s not that unusual for me to have various things that I want to complain to him. And then」
Susanoo’s lips slackened into a grin that looked like a mischievous kid.
「There ain’t any problem even if I speak what’s inside my heart here, this place is a secret hideout after all.」
「You and your group, I remember you hindered with Rama’s revival now and then……. Even that guy’s former wife is also your comrade.」
Godou nodded. The goddess that was once called Sita. She reincarnated and became a divine ancestor, drifted into Japan, and in the end she retired to the realm of the dead――.
According to the information from Smith, the glass princess wasn’t here.
Even now he was secretly carrying the thing that was entrusted from her…….
「So everyone gathering here is also the same?」
「That’s right. I also told you before. Even a retired person like me is a god. It’s not allowed to convey knowledge that exist only at the world of god, the『Domain of Immortality』to the surface world.」
He referred to at the end of the year last year, when Susanoo’s soul was called to earth.
Now he was repeating once more what he informed to Godou and others at that time.
「What we ought to value is『the balance between this world and that world』. In other words, it means for the world of you humans and the world of the gods to continue existing with the proper relationship.」
Balance. Those words pulled at the heart.
The speech was continuing further in front of Godou who was leaning forward.
「Human is to be like human. And god is to be like god. Human should be toyed around helplessly in front of great gods and nature. From the beginning of the universe until the end, everything progress as how it should be, and the thread of history must be spun free from accident. ……That’s why」
Susanoo solemnly said.
With his wildness still as it was, he was clad in aura of a transcendental god.
「A world where the likes of human can kill god――is totally out of mind. It ought to be corrected. That is the kind of expectation that make the mastermind sending the brat Rama here to persist. If that guy is allowed to keep at it, the balance between human world and god world will rapidly go out of order I tell you.」
「You don’t remember? He should have told you already.」
「Don’t tell me……you mean the thing?」
Rama said before. I am the warrior that was entrusted with the fate to exterminate devil king.
The godslayer that was Rama’s longstanding foe spat out. There is mountain of things that I want to say to that fate bastard that was giving birth to an existence like you.
Even Godou himself said. From the bottom of my heart I’m thinking that something like fate should just eat shit.
「Bulls-eye. The fate of devil king extermination. Well, though if a really hot-blooded guy who is barely a god like me can speak――then really fate should just eat shit.」
「Wait, is it okay for you to say that, huh.」
The old god Susanoo was about to say something at Godou who was wide-eyed.
However, faster than he could――Athena quickly interjected in.
「Of course there art no problem. It’s obvious anyone wouldth say that.」
「This time it’s the goddess of wisdom-sama who makes the reckless remark……」
「Hmph. God and godslayer, if they meet then they couldth just fight with their life on the line. Even if the side of god who is lacking in power die, that is nothing more than the custom of a battlefield. A state that art unable to even recognize the existence of equal enemy――how can one claimeth to be god like that.」
Athena proclaimed proudly with a sentence that was worthy for the goddess that governed over wisdom and battle.
「Even without the protection of this so-called warrior of fate, one ought to just fight with one’s own power, that’s all there is to it. To say nothing of how that warrior is――the repulsive hero of steel don’t thou see?」
It was a fierce disgust toward the existence that should be called as the natural enemy of mother earth goddess and snake.
It was exactly right now when Godou truly witnessed the true worth of Athena.
「I absolutely cannot recognizedth it. And also」
Athena suddenly waved her arm.
That gesture was in order to point at the supernaturals of the Astral world gathering here.
「There art various reasons but――it seem that at the point where it’s difficult to recognize the existence of King Rama, the notables here also hath the same opinion.」
The black dwarf fairy king Alberich said shortly.「He is excessively too powerful.」
The king of north wind Boreas gravely spoke.「It’s unthinkable to let the real world to be burned to ash by King Rama’s heat to try to destroy the godslayers」. Each time he who looked like a Caucasian male in his prime spoke something, cold wind was blowing with whistling sound.
The beautiful princess Salome listlessly whispered「Whether dying or living, it can be decided by oneself」.
The fairy king Al Shaitan who looked like a genie that appeared in Arabian night went「This is a problem that had been discussed to exhaustion. There is nothing to say other than the conclusion that King Rama should perish」.
Not a single person attempted to vindicate Rama.
And then, as though to put together the recollection of the fairy kings――John Pluto Smith who persisted in silent until now finally opened his mouth.
「Kusanagi Godou. The former Heretic Gods and hermits leading secluded life in this Astral world, are so to speak the strays of god world and spirit world. In addition they chose that way of existence by their own will. For that reason they can declare their own opinion without shrinking back――even toward an exaggerated existence like whatsoever.」
「Looks like it.」
Godou could accept all the reasons that he had heard just now. However, that kind of pleasant man was being avoided by his fellows like this.
That was just really lonely. It was unthinkable that it was a worthy situation for that man.
And then, Smith――was staring fixedly at such Godou. It was as though he was looking for something, as though he was trying to determine the innermost depth of Kusanagi Godou’s heart.
When Godou reflexively stared back, Smith then said something like this.
「However……still. Even the various wise individuals of Astral world gathering here has ties of obligation as gods no matter how minimum it is. And above all else, as someone retired, they also cannot proactively interfere with phenomenon o thef real world. That’s why, they seem to wish to lend their hand to us.」
「What does that mean?」
「I too only hath heard about it not long ago. It was a really foolish scheme……perhaps it will suit you godslayer.」
The corner of Athena’s lips twisted faintly.
She whispered the words of guidance while smiling with fortitude as goddess of war.
「Deceiving the fate of devil king extermination, then maketh one godslayer and King Rama――to duel under conditions that art as equal as possible. It’s a scheme for that.」
Equal duel. It was a phrase that strongly attracted Godou.
「Can I hear about it in more detail?」
「Right. What is compelling the hero Rama into the ultimate warrior is the fate of devil king extermination. However, even the immensely unparalleled power of fate cannot reinforceth that personage unconditionally. Until the end it only heighten the power of King Rama based on the number of godslayers born on earth.」
「Eh, just why is that?」
It was a nice timing that a goddess of wisdom was here. He tried to ask Athena.
「If it’s going to be like that, it’s better to just strengthen Rama unlimitedly.」
「That cannot be done. Until the end, 『The Great Ritual of the Old Covenant』is “corrective power” after all.」
It was a term that he relatively heard recently.
He had also experienced it himself by his own body. Yes. In the middle of the time travel induced by Madam Aisha, time and time again…….
The masked godslayer interjected after seeing Godou’s complexion.
「Let’s change the way to say it so you can understand it easier. For this world, the birth of us Campione seem to be an extraordinary irregularity. Something that shouldn’t occur in world’s history――an emergency situation that must not happen. For example, Madam Aisha’s mix up into the past.」
As expected from Smith, he named a problem character.
「To correct that irregularity, there is this system that temporarily support the hero Rama in order to carry out the plot of “a hero destroying all the devil kings”. And that is『The Great Ritual of the Old Covenant』. It’s truly the same kind with『history corrective force』that we know.」
「So it’s something like that……」
The time when Laksmana displayed an unexpected latent power at Okutama.
It seemed that the intuition of princess shrine maiden that connected it with Madam Aisha was correct.
Athena talked once more to Godou who was looking down.
「The civil war that thou art carrying out right now. It is something logical, but its efficiency is bad. If internal strife is repeated until six people among the seven art defeated, the last one standing――will be exhausted, and they wouldn’t be in the state to confront King Rama.」
「Isn’t that right. I also faintly noticed that since around yesterday.」
Two whole days had passed since the start of the civil war. In only such a short time, there was already several times where bitter fight was done.
Furthermore, there still wasn’t even one person that dropped out of the war.
Well, Madam Aisha could also be considered as retired already though.
「Then Kusanagi Godou――will it be you, or will it be the masked godslayer.」
Athena gazed at the two Campiones before her and announced.
「Any of you can use this scheme. Make that foolish witch to open the『Fairy Corridor』once more and pushed down six godslayers into there, erasing them from the real world.」
「Eh? Wait a second!」
Godou yelled after noticing a problematic point right away.
「Aisha-san has lost all of her strength. There is no way she can open the corridor!」