Chapter 1 – Prelude of Civil War
Although it was February, but Los Angeles was reasonably warm.
It wasn’t a land where the cold of winter was harsh. It was a metropolis of warm coast. But, it was also an area that couldn’t be said of having a good public order.
At night, it was a neighborhood that wasn’t suited for a female to walk alone.
And then right now, Annie Charlton was walking at such downtown at night. It was at the area that was nearby Little Tokyo which was a district of Japanese descent and also a sight-seeing area.
「……It looks like, this place is indeed not place that by any means is comfortable.」
Annie murmured with small volume.
The time had went past midnight, so there was few people who were passing through. But, sometimes she passed by another passerby. In addition those passerbies were also didn’t seem of the right sort. This was a neighborhood where street gang and homeless people weren’t rare, so, well this was only natural.
A single woman was walking alone in this kind of place late at night――.
The people here were mostly related to the night industry, or those people who came to play around in such industry.
But, the figure of Annie who was clad in a suit tensely didn’t seem like any of those people. Perhaps it was because of that, that the men who passed her by was frankly gazing at her suspiciously.
However, relatively to that.
The men were mysteriously not calling at her rudely or anything.
By any chance, it might be because of the『atmosphere without opening』that Annie was clad in.
The bearing of a man of valor where an omen of danger could be discovered altogether just from nonchalant gaze――. Perhaps such thing could be felt from Annie. In actuality, it wasn’t rare for Annie to be thought as plainclothes police officer or a female bodyguard of a rough business world.
「Well it’s fine. It helps that I don’t get involved in any strange crime.」
Even while whispering like that, for some reason Annie didn’t look fully satisfied with that.
She arrived at her destination. At Los Angeles, it wasn’t rare for a shop to open their business in a one-story house. This place was also one of those places. However, what this store was selling was things like dream, future, or reduction of stress.
「Mystic Reader by Bianki……it’s this place.」
A maisonette front door. At the side there was a small plate that was written with that name.
The letters were handwritten with permanent marker, it was a rough penmanship. This place should be the so called『fortuneteller shop』, but the shop owner didn’t seem to be passionate in his business.
Even when she peeked across the glass door into inside the shop, there was no light inside.
No matter how she saw it the shop was closed. But, even like this the shop was properly open in business.
「It’s just like the information say.」
This place was a downtown with bad public order.
If the shop was really being closed then the shutter would be lowered down so that the glass door couldn’t be touched. If such thing was not done then the glass door could be broken with a bat or stone.
Annie opened the door without hesitation and passed through the corridor.
She went through the shop space and also passed through the corridor.
There was not a single lighting until that point. She relied only on the lighting of the street lamp that shined from outside through the glass window.
However, a faint light was leaking out from a room deep inside the corridor.
The door was left open. Annie entered inside with brisk steps. The source of light of this room came not from fluorescent lamp or even LED light.
Traditional candlesticks that were attached on the wall held several dozen candles where orange flames were flickering…….
「Welcome, to the mansion of David Bianki.」
At the center of the room, there was a refined handsome man.
He was a Caucasian. Perhaps he was about at his twenty. The dot patterned business shirt and the necktie he wore gave a considerably stylish air.
「Love consultation, instruction of business management, solving life worry……I’ll give you consultation about anything without reservation. I guess you must have know it already but, if it is with my art of physiognomy, the I can give any answer that you wished for.」
His way of talking that was putting on airs was slightly frivolous.
But, as a magician that was straying here from southern Europe a few months ago, he was an expert in art of divination by using the lay of the land. The region and aura of a person――by reading the flow of those, various information could be obtained by this art of divination.
It seemed that he was a practitioner that had accumulated legitimate training at the center of sorcery Europe.
In reality, the bookshelf inside the gloomy room was tightly packed with old book of sorcery.
Antiques and curios that appeared to be excavated from historic ruins somewhere, old map and so on could be found scattered everywhere inside the room. The room was like a warehouse of a museum or art gallery. All those things weren’t just mere reference material. It was likely that they were also catalyst for sorcery.
Everything was articles that verified Bianki’s self-respect and competency as magician.
Just why such man was drifted until California and now earning small change by acting as a sham fortuneteller? Annie knew the reason for that.
Wasting no time, she whispered this.
「Carry out the matter that thy willed, that is exactly the entirety of law.」
Bianki smiled after listening to the given password.
「Of course, I’ll also undertake the business of that side. ――Welcome to my school of heretical teachings. What are you wishing for from this evil sorcerer David Bianki? Death. Slaughter. Death of many. The death of innocent people. Grief. The death of the loved one. Immorality. Degeneration. Ruin……. If you pay the appropriate compensation, then I’ll devote my poor ability in order to call chaos and calamity into this world.」
It seemed that Bianki had perpetrated a great error even while being a magician of a noted family from a righteous faction.
He was being considered as a criminal by all magic society in the whole Europe and so he escaped until here the West Coast of North America.
In the end he sold his soul to evil and black arts, and his self fell until becoming an evil sorcerer.
A hound of a cult where degeneration and madness and vice were their only behavioral principle. Terrorist of magic world. And then above all an enemy of the patron saint of Los Angeles, John Pluto Smith――.
The man in front of Annie’s eyes, was that kind of fellow.
Since the evil sorcerer cult《King of Flies》that was the greatest even in Los Angeles was destroyed a few months ago, this kind of small fry was increasing in number. And then in order to secretly investigate the work of a newcomer who was repeatedly being “naughty” even among those small fries, Annie came to this place tonight.
Suddenly Bianki frowned. He stared hard at Annie in suspicion.
「What’s the matter? Is there something in my face?」
「Aa, no. There is something that concerned me a bit. You are……have you often get told like this? That you have an appearance where it’s hard to read your fortune.」
「Appearance? In other words, you mean my face or my expression?」
「That kind of thing. More strictly it’s not only the face, the appearance of the whole body, the style, the color of the aura that such personage is clad with……the『appearance』that I meant is such thing that lump all of those together.」
「Now that you mentioned it, you are an expert in that area aren’t you.」
Annie nodded and then she said.
「Unfortunately, tonight is the first time I met a master of physiognomy. I have no memory of receiving a comment like what you said just now.」
「I……see. Then I’ll explain it to you, you are possessing an appearance that is extremely unique.」
The right hand of Bianki that was being opened until now――nonchalantly clenched.
It was just a small gesture. But, Annie’s observing eye didn’t overlook that. At this point of time her interception attack switch had been turned on.
「If I have to say it is an『appearance of a supreme ruler』. In your mind and body there are good fortune and bad fortune. Both of those fortunes are overflowing violently in great amount to absurd degree. You should be a transcendental being, that has long surpassed thing like the normal scale of good luck and bad luck.」
Before Annie knew. Bianki’s expression had turned into a serious one.
Frivolous airs had vanished from his way of talking. Taking its place, was a sharp gaze that was like a drill which was staring straight at Annie’s face.
「Before this, there is only one time I have ever seen the same appearance like yours. At that time……I was unable to understand well the significance of that. But, now is different――」
Annie smiled faintly.
She guessed that David Bianki had experience of facing against her “fellow kind”.
And then, he most likely committed an error. Whether that experience was good or bad, it became nourishment for him that should be the impetus that made him grew greatly as a practitioner.
It was to the degree that by looking at Annie Charlton, he was able to catch a glimpse of the essence of champion in a glance.
「What a really intriguing story that is, Bianki-san. If you don’t mind, I wonder if you can let me listen more to that story while you divine my fortune?」
「Unfortunately, that’s a request that I find it hard to accept!」
Bianki quickly swung his right hand that he clenched.
At the same time he opened his palm. Metallic dust that he summoned beforehand inside his hand using sorcery was scattered inside the room, and then, all the dust caused combustion and explosion――.
Flame and explosion impact swallowed Annie whole.
However, the hero of Los Angeles wouldn’t flinch just from that. She smiled still with relaxed composure.
「Fufufufu. That’s quite a passionate welcome.」
「As I thought you are also like that……. The worst monster with only your appearance pretending to be human, the very disaster of earth itself that murder the revered gods!」
「Can an evil sorcerer like you say that? Well, indeed I am the devil king itself though.」
Two seconds ago, she was Annie Charlton.
However, the instant flame and explosion swallowed her, Annie changed her clothes using magic.
Right now her face was hidden by a steel mask and that body was clad in a black cape. On the waist was a holster that was holding a metallic magic gun. The feet were wearing boots attached with metal.
She faced Bianki with the appearance of the demon king, John Pluto Smith.
Due to the explosive sorcery that assaulted Smith, the inside of the room was being enveloped with fierce flame. But, something that was produced by human sorcery wouldn’t harm a Campione.
Even while flaring up burning flame was scorching, there was not a single scorch on Smith’s costume.
「Just in case I suppressed the magic, because even like this it doesn’t change that it is something hot.」
When Smith chuckled, the vibration of his stifled laughter caused his mask to shake.
The voice that came out from her lips became lower, changing into a gallant tenor.
Furthermore, if she concentrated her mind a little to raise her endurance against sorcery, the magic flame that was burning around her should be extinguished instantly. That was also the privilege of the demon king Campione.
However, Smith instead didn’t do that.
A black clothed demon king standing inside fierce flame――. Such thing was a picturesque scene, that was the reason Smith didn’t blow away the flame.
John Pluto Smith, had the duty to enact dramatics in his self!
Besides above all else, David Bianki who was swallowed in the dignity of『Masked King Clad in Flame』forgot to even escape. It was fine for Smith to still keep like this.
「Now then Bianki-kun. Is it necessary for me to introduce myself?」
「Very well. So it’s fine to cut the introduction. Today I planned to only investigate secretly, but it is an emergency situation just as you see. As a vigilante that contribute in the peace of Los Angeles no matter how meager it is, let’s get through with this arrest of yourself.」
Smith drew out his magic gun from his waist.
It was a large caliber revolver with six shots. It was different from all gun that existed in eart.
「That gun――you are planning to use something like that to the likes of me!?」
Bianki yelled in astonishment.
「Against me who is not even a heretic god, who is not even a demon king who slew a god――!?」
「It appears that you know about my gun. Exactly because it is loaded with magic bullets that ruin even god, it can only fire six shots in one month. The bullets are terribly precious. I want to avoid using it excessively but…..」
*click* The firing hammer was set, the gun muzzle was aimed at Bianki’s heart.
「Be relieved. Actually it can also be used like this.」
*klik-* The trigger rang. Bianki screamed from great terror. However, there was no light bullet that came out from the steel muzzle. The gun was empty.
But, the shockwave that was vomited out from the gun muzzle blew off the southern Europe evil sorcerer.
「This is a magic tool exclusive for demon king that was created for my sake by the blacksmith of astral world. Just by shooting out lump of air it will become a sufficient force. Well, it is just an additional function that won’t be useful against gods though.」
Smith noticed while he bragged casually.
The shot just now not only made Bianki crashed onto wall and knocked him out.
The shockwave that was launched from the gun muzzle also cleanly blew away the burning flame at the surrounding and accomplished the role of fire extinguisher.
What was left was only blackly scorched room, and the stinky smell of burned things――.
Also, the shockwave pulverized the glasses of this shop, and turned the fragile items into small bits…….
Smith shrugged slightly.
「I let out too much force.」
If it was like this, then didn’t the shockwave rush through not only the shop of Bianki but also the whole one district of downtown?
Inside that range, the scene should also be the same like this place where many things were pulverized.
「This is a meager compensation for the sake of victory.」
Smith calmly whispered and returned his magic gun into the holster.
John Pluto Smith. The people close to him that knew him really well called this masked hero as『gambler of ‘it turned out all right in the end’』, it was also said that they scowled every time they heard the sacrifice (of the surrounding) that accompanied his philanthropic activity――.
「But Dennis. If we think about the damage that will reach the people of Los Angeles in the future by this inhuman evil sorcerer」
Annie pointed out dispassionately after returning to her home.
「The things that break easily in the buildings of one block were all broken into pieces. It cannot be said as a wonderfully insignificant damage don’t you think?」
「I agree that such point of view can hold true. However」
The old butler that managed and maintained the Charlton residence, Dennis. He who was a solemn and honest person while also a sarcastic person was rebutting his master pricklingly.
「Not only that one block, the damage range considerably affected five blocks. Also, the type of precision equipment that normally cannot break also obtained serious damage. The computers and cell phones inside the area were all instantly broken by the ultrasonic waves, let’s just say, it was just as expected from the weapon of fairy world.」
Annie nodded at the stern report.
「Anyway, I’ll send the complaint about this case toward Smith. I think that this is a necessary compensation for the sake of victory, but he cannot forget the fact that there will be also the slight effect to the livelihood of the people, I’ll properly remind him of that.」
A black person who was an accomplice of the godslayer queen Annie Charlton called out to that Annie.
Joe West. He was a professor of faculty of humanities at Samantha University, and also one of the《Magician of Virtue》that supported the black costumed demon king.
While he was in advanced age, he was also a close friend for Annie.
「Even if you said that you are going to tell it to Smith or whatever, aren’t you John Pluto Smith himself?」
「Certainly that is true.」
Even with that really obvious fact pointed out to her, Annie murmured as though it was about other people’s matter.
「But it’s also a fact that his behavior philosophy and moral value are really different from me personally. If there are points that I can agree with him, there are also a lot of his points that I cannot agree with. As expected, it’s more proper in various aspects to talk about him and Annie Charlton with distinction between them.」
「Surely Smith also feels the same.」
Professor West murmured「hou」after receiving Annie’s statement while the butler Dennis noncommittally parried the statement with「hahaa」. Actually this kind of exchange was a dialogue that had been repeated at every opportunity in these few years, but it seemed that these two old men still couldn’t agree with such point of view.
However, inside Annie and the black costumed demon king there was also a really natural conclusion.
「Well, for the moment let’s shelve up the matter about the case tonight.」
Professor West coughed.
Annie’s visit to the fortunetelling shop at downtown happened two hours ago. Annie had already returned home to her grand estate at Los Felis district.
The transfer of David Bianki to the mental hospital that was managed by《Magician of Virtue》had been finished.
It was a facility for the sake of housing――no, imprisoning the dangerous evil sorcerers. At the surface it was a hospital, but actually it was similar like a prison.
He would become a subject of correction program that could extend from a few months until a few dozen years there――.
「I heard from Dennis just now but……Annie, it seems that you are planning to depart tonight huh. Toward Tokyo――Japan, to the town where the Campione of Japan and『King of the End』had just confronted each other.」
「Yes. I think the other will also start to move.」
She received a contact from Princess Alice last night.
She was told that,『King of the End』, the war god Ramachandra and Kusanagi Godou stuck each other simultaneously and her old friend that young man was barely able to win.
However, Smith then stated calmly like this.
『In the end, the root of problem is not taken care at all. I think that at the current stage, there is no meaning even if we keep worrying.』
As long as there was Campione on earth, Prince Rama would be resurrected no matter how many times.
That was why, Annie/John Pluto Smith would depart. For the sake of terminating the source of the great problem that was the hero of godslayer killer until its root.
Annie informed his old friends dispassionately.
「According to the princess of the wise man congress, the volcanic belt of all over the world would continue to be active just by Prince Rama being in action, like that the global warming at earth scale would keep progressing without end. Someone has to stop him.」
「But Annie. If it’s just like your conjecture, then what are you going to do?」
Professor West inquired anxiously.
「Didn’t you say this last night? ……If the power of Prince Rama increase as much as the number of godslayers that were birthed on earth――then it will be a battle royale between fellow godslayers, and the last surviving one would be the representative who fight……」
「I and also Smith……will have no choice but to participate in that demon king civil war.」
「Is there no other option?」
「There is none. You two know it right? Putting me aside……having Smith and the other Campiones talking to each other won’t work.」
Around ten years had passed since she first murdered a god.
During that time, she had learned that rule from many of her actual experiences. It should be absolutely impossible for the seven Campiones to have coinciding opinion, but in regard to this rule all of them should be in agreement.
Annie sighed with a feeling of regret.
「If a civil war of seven Campiones intensified, the collapse of earth might start even without waiting for Prince Rama’s second coming……. In that case, there is only one path that I should take. Become the victor of the demon king civil war for even a second faster and restrain the scale of destruction as much as possible.」
Professor West seemed like he wanted to object for some reason that he made a frown.
However twenty second later he gave up and shook his head silently. His distressed expression was blatantly showing what was inside his heart.
「Even though that theory is so full of places that I can retort at, I cannot make a single objection to it. I’ll just accept it. Indeed it is just as you say, Annie.」
Professor West quietly held out his right hand.
「I’ll pray for your good luck. May the blessing of good luck be with you.」
「Thank you. Your prayer is supporting me even more than a million ally can do.」
Annie firmly clasped the hand of her old friend and she nodded.
「However, how are you planning to win through that super troublesome civil war? All seven godslayers where each one is supposed to be mighty and unparalleled will all be present, you are going to turn every Campione other than yourself into enemy right?」
「What will be the important point might be, her existence.」
「Madam Aisha. That person’s authority, and her behavioral principle is completely different from the other six. If she manage to open the『Fairy Corridor』at appropriate moment, she will be able to even send all the Campiones altogether to beyond the time.」
「I see, indeed.」
「Depending on how Madam Aisha is dealt with, the transition of the civil war will change considerably. However, the matter of how Madam Aisha’s existence will be the key of the battle royale――」
Annie asserted with confidence.
「All Campiones other than the madam surely are aware of that too.」
If it was seen from the calendar of the mortal mankind, then it was about ten year before――
The new generation godsalyers were beginning to be born one by one.
First was Alexander Gascoigne. And then John Pluto Smith. A few years later was Salvatore Doni. And recently was Kusanagi Godou.
Every one of them was all peculiar person who possessed unique personality. But, as expected, the existence who was especially standing out among them was
「It’s Annie for sure.」
Goddess Pandora murmured seriously.
「I have seen all my children the godslayers but, the first child who put on a mask by herself is Annie as expected.」
Different from heretic god, she who was a true god was a residence of『Domain of Immortality』.
She was not allowed to interfere with earth as she pleased. By no meant she was also able to converse that frequently with the demon kings who were the illegitimate children of the fool Epimetheus and Pandora.
The most that she could do was making contact by aiming when they arrived at the『Boundary of Life and Immortality』.
(The mortal humans called this domain as astral world, realm of the dead, and so on. Rather than material, in that domain it was spirit that had weight, even Pandora could freely intervene there compared to earth.)
「It is only Annie who always unexpectedly showed up at the interstice of life and immortality, she stayed here as she pleased, and her authority as king of fairy can also be used……」
Annie Charlton had defeated the evil god Tezcatlipoca and became a godslayer.
She also won against moon goddess Artemis. Against the King Oberon who ruled as the fairy king at the boundary of life and immortality, she also won.
As the result, Annie obtained『Ruling Power of Fairy King』as authority――.
Right now she was also using that authority and entered into the boundary of life and immortality. Even though the demon king civil war would start soon.
「Just what in the world she is scheming about I wonder~?」
Curiosity was throbbing itchingly inside Pandora.
Among the godslayers, there were people who could come to『Boundary of Life and Immortality』with their own power. Like Aisha who could open fairy corridor or Luo Hao who could cross over the world with magic.
However, there was no person who could “world travel” so easily like Annie who was also the fairy king.
That was why in reality, the adopted child that the goddess Pandora could contact the easiest was Annie Charlton.
「Perhaps I should call out to her a bit――」
The authority that was usurped from Oberon, one of the fairy kings. wise man congress named this authority as『The Imperial Crown of Fairy King』.
This ability enabled Annie to visit the old territory of Oberon that was located in astral world as easy as taking a stroll where she was able to act cocky there as the “new fairy king”.
Though it was an authority that was relatively hard to find a chance to use.
「As long I have it, then I will want to use it effectively somehow.」
For that reason, John Pluto Smith visited the astral world.
Rather than physical material or flesh body, soul and mind were the most important here――.
That was the rule of astral world. Things like feet or transportation facilities were unusable when someone traveled around in this place. In exchange, they had to put in their mind the place that they wanted to go to.
Like that they would be able to teleport instantly to their destination.
It was a world where hardships of long travel was nonexistence. Even the travel wasn’t making use of physical body but using mind.
(Although people without grounding in sorcery wouldn’t be able to skillfully image their destination and they would become a lost kid of the underworld).
However――there also existed “confined land” that couldn’t be directly entered using instant teleportation.
For that kind of place, they would need to first teleport to a nearby place, and then they could only go there by moving steadily using their legs, or wings, or swimming.
Smith too right now was in the middle of such travel.
He was walking silently on white desert while being bathed under the glaring sunlight.
On top of the white sand where cloud of sand was dancing, a mysterious person with black mask and black clothing was wandering. In a sense that appearance was also similar with the Bedouin people of the desert.
And then, a yellow butterfly was flying at Smith’s side.
The insect that was too unsuited for this kind of desert was asking at Smith with a lovely voice.
「By any chance, are you in the middle of heading toward the evil god castle of Shaitan, Annie?」
「Haha-ue huh.」(TN: Haha-ue, polite words for mother used in samurai family prior to Meiji period. Also the kanji used here refer to step mother.)
A butterfly that emitted human language, of course there was no way it was a mere butterfly.
It was something that was dispatched as the messenger of the goddess that was the step mother of all the Campione. Smith saw through that with a glance and he spoke.
「It’s exactly as you pointed out. If I have to add, I have already visited the palace of princess Salome previously, after this I plan to head for the wasteland of the north storm king(Boreas).」
「My. You are going only to troublesome places aren’t you―」
After the goddess commented with her usual easygoingness, she then asked with interest.
「What are you planning by walking around the sacred precincts that the fairy king reign over at the boundary of life and immortality? Even you are planning to participate at the earth――at the aforementioned civil war aren’t you, Annie?」
「This is a simple courtesy call. There is no particular meaning in it.」
Smith spoke smoothly.
「Even if it’s me, there is no guarantee that I will be able to come back alive from a civil war between fellow devil kings. In preparation of the unlikely event, it’s not strange for me to give my greeting to my fellow fairy kings isn’t it?」
Actually, in astral world there were people like『former heretic god that left the earth』,『demi-god who although unable to rise until godhood but their divinity was quite superior』, 『former human who abandoned their living flesh body and became immortal』, and so on who were hiding and living here.
In rare occasion such people entered the ruling class of the astral world as fairy king.
These fairy kings were mostly inside their own private space that was the confined land.
As a barrier space where entering rudely using instant teleportation was impossible, the door of the sacred precinct was only opened when a visitor that was worthy to be welcomed in arrived.
「Rather than that Haha-ue. I want you to call me with that name when I am in this appearance.」
「Aa―. That name eh, okay okay. The current you is not Annie but John right. Really, a child who say this kind of thing, even in my long history this is the first time for me……」
The goddess Pandora who was always following her own pace murmured with deep feeling.
She mostly never appeared at the real world, she could only meet her children exclusively at astral world. Interaction between true god and humans were just that difficult.
Surely it was because of that.
When other Campiones returned to earth, they completely lost their memory of meeting their stepmother.
But, it was only John Pluto Smith who was different. Since he earned the authority of fairy king, he remembered most of the exchanges he had with Pandora.
「The one with the most eccentric personality among the senior children is Aisha, while the one who is the most eccentric among the youth group is as expected John. The authority that you are possessing is also just a little bit special.」
The butterfly that contained the will of the goddess Pandora was murmuring happily.
「Well……even so it cannot be said that it will be John or Aisha who will win because of that or even that you two are in advantage or not, and that’s what is interesting about all of you. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who will be the one who fight prince Rama, it’s only to that guy that losing is absolutely no good! You understand what I’m saying!?」
Smith was thinking while half listening to his stepmother’s scolding.
Indeed, it was doubtful whether a trick for touring the astral world like this could become a decisive blow but――
This should become an advantage that the other Campiones didn’t have.
A trump card that only John Pluto Smith possessed. The problem was when to use this card. There would only be one chance…….
Three days later after the decisive battle against prince Rama.
Godou was visiting Shinjuku Kabukichou after so long.
But, he was unable to meet with the youth who he wanted to meet and the people related to that youth, he whispered to himself.
「Completely deserted, huh……」
「The people here had gone somewhere aren’t they……」
Seishuin Ena who came along with him was also looking dubious.
The time now had just reached seven o’clock. If speaking from the standard of this district, then it was a period of time that was nothing more than the start of the night.
「The hideout of Hong Kong’s Lu family, it should be here isn’t it?」
「Yeah. I too have come here before. That guy Linghua should be staying here, generally there should be someone here.」
They were at the top floor of a certain multi-tenant building.
This place――was the Japan branch of Hong Kong’s Lu family where the personal pupil of sect founder Luo Hao, Lu Yinghua was acting as the leader. Cheap looking business desks and chairs were lined up in this place that looked like an office of a small company.
There was no one here.
Not to mention Lu Yinghua, not even one of his underlings could be found here.
……For the time being, their personal effects and PC, things like paperwork and so one were mostly left behind.
But not even a single person was here. The whole floor was『completely deserted』. Of course, not even a single lamp at the ceiling was turned on.
The moonlight and neon light that were shining in from outside the window became the source of light for the pitch dark office.
It was a really lonely sight.
Furthermore, the key that Godou used to open this door was hidden at the rusty mailbox near the common entrance. Previously Lu Yinghua was the one who taught him of that hiding place.
「Yinghua-kun of Lu family, he doesn’t even answer the call from your majesty right?」
「It didn’t connect no matter how many times I called, he doesn’t even call back. On top of that even Nee-san has disappeared from the Sky Tree……. Perhaps, they have start preparing I guess.」
「For the demon king civil war where all the Campiones will crush each other, is it……」
Godou and Ena sighed together.
Even the girl who was always being an optimistic nature child was feeling anxious. She had sensed the nearing of the battle royal opening where the one who would confront prince Rama would be decided.
「Let’s go your majesty. If it’s about where the underlings of Lu family has disappeared to, then let’s have Amakasu-san or someone else to investigate it. Ena and others――also need to prepare too.」
「I……guess. Nevertheless that Nee-san.」
Godou whispered to himself while nodding at the princess shrine maiden of the sword.
「Disappearing like this without even a single message to me, she is really motivated huh. I think that she is surely full of spirit intending to fight me.」
It was a statement that was filled with conviction.
Ena also didn’t refute that statement. Normally that would be a possibility that was too erratic, but thinking of Luo Hao’s disposition, it could even be thought as the natural development instead.
In any case, the two returned to the downtown of Kabukichou.
The downtown at night was very lively. There were too many people neon lighting and people. The two of them were loitering around in this kind of place while being underage, so naturally they had changed from their school uniform.
Godou was wearing a simple grey coat and sweater, and also jeans.
He didn’t look good or bad. It should be said that his appearance in civilian clothes was just like an average high school student without any particular consideration to look stylish.
Ena too had taken off her usual uniform.
She was wearing a black loose sweater with flare miniskirt. And then her feet were dressed with black tights and short boots that reached until her heel.
Her look was fitting for a Yamato Nadeshiko of a good family with pedigree, where she was looking really like a daughter of a high class family.
But, she was also walking around while carrying a cloth bag that was storing a long sword a meter and half long. The bag was fastened with a string and she carried it by hanging it on her shoulder. Because of that large baggage, she also looked like a girl who was in a band.
「What’s the matter, Seishuin?」
Godou asked her. His girl company was suddenly clenching her fist.
「Ena is thinking that if it’s like this then Ena and others has to resolve themselves, even if the likes of Sect founder-sama or his majesty Salvatore turn into our enemy altogether.」
Ena recovered her usual liveliness and she strongly declared so.
「So that Kusanagi Godou can confront prince Rama without fail, Ena and others will back up your majesty!」
「Eh? Your majesty, you yourself don’t have the motivation for that?」
「See here. I have said this many times but I am a pacifist. Something like a battle royal where all the Campiones will come out uninvited is something that I don’t want to participate even in the slightest you know.」
Even after hearing Godou’s reply, Ena still spoke calmly.
「Even if his majesty don’t have the motivation to fight gladly, your majesty is still planning to participate right?」
「Isn’t that right. If that’s not the case then your majesty won’t remain in Tokyo!」
「Speaking frankly, that’s because the Campiones other than me cannot be trusted. Though personally I think someone like Nee-san or America’s Smith is quite reliable even though they are like that.」
Godou quietly declared.
「But whether they can be depended or not is another story.」
Perhaps Ena had guessed what he wanted to express with his complicated round about talk.
Ena was laughing without any worry. This girl who was like an amiable male friend for him, was one of his comrades that he could rely and depend on.
Leaning on that sense of security, Godou suddenly murmured.
「Besides, among the current Campiones, the one who had fought that Rama the most……is me. That’s why I think I should be the one who fight that guy.」
If it wasn’t him, the it was impossible to win against that powerful enemy Ramachandra――wasn’t what he was thinking.
It was because this feeling was completely different from emotion like self-confidence or fighting spirit or anything, that Godou talked matter-of-factly. By any chance, that might be because of the something that was forming between him and the war god Rama.
Godou nonchalantly talked without even a speck of fervor.
「Yep. As expected I have to have a match with that guy.」
「Is that so?」
「Yeah. I think, that will be something for the sake of both me and him.」
Ena was suddenly letting out a chuckle with hidden meaning, so Godou tilted his head.
「What’s the matter Seishuin? Did I say something strange?」
「It’s not strange your majesty. It’s the reverse. Because, Ena love that aspect of your majesty.」
「!? Do, don’t say something strange so suddenly!」
「Isn’t it fine. It’s the relationship of your majesty and Ena. There is nothing strange at all.」
The princess shrine maiden of the sword hugged Godou’s arm laughingly.
With a wide cheerful smile on her face, she was looking really happy. Godou unintentionally also smiled from the lure of that smile, both of them was sharing to each other a relaxed mood.
……It was by chance.
Young male and female couple passed through in front of the two of them.
Surely they must be around university student age. The girl was hugging at the man’s arm while they were talking intimately with smile on their face. The two looked just like Godou and Ena just now…….
Godou and Ena came to their senses and their faces turned bright red.
「Co, come to think of it. Going out like this with your majesty, this might be the first time isn’t it……」
「Ce, certainly. Seishuin is often shutting yourself inside mountain, and a lot of time we go out together was when there was awful incident.」
He was walking alone with Seishuin Ena who was wearing plain clothes, at night in an amusement district.
Thinking about it, it was a situation that had never happened before. It was like they were a normal male and female doing a normal date…….
The instant he became aware of that, Godou became excessively startled.
Perhaps Ena was also feeling the same like him, she suddenly looked down and fidgeted her body.
She looked meek that her usual cheerful and openhearted attitude as a nature child felt like a lie. But, even so Ena was still hugging at Godou’s arm and――.
「I, I didn’t notice though-. In this area, people in group of two of a boy and girl looking close with each other……are quite a lot isn’t it……」
Ena was murmuring with small volume while her eyes weren’t meeting with Godou’s.
It was a gesture that wasn’t like Seishuin Ena. But when she became conscious about the genders, she suddenly drew back seemingly in rumination. This too was also a personality of this girl.
And then, in this kind of time Godou was also someone who could not act with composure.
「I, I too normally didn’t come here so I forgot but……this place is also that kind of place huh……. this place is like the best place for drinking party or something……」
「What’s the matter Seishuin!?」
「I, it’s nothing at all your majesty-!」
Ena tried to dodge the question. However, ahead of the gaze of Ena who had lifted up her face once more, there was the couple of just now. And then, that couple was entering into――a hotel that could be found several in Shinjuku Kabukichou.
As the result, the two of them became quiet「…………」.
Ena who was clinging on Godou’s arm strengthened her embrace『gyu-』and glued closer to him, to that Godou’s heart went『doki-!』with his heart beat going through sudden rise――
It was a moment where all kind of momentum was swelling up.
Suddenly, Godou’s cell phone began to play the melody of receiving call.
Even while feeling taken aback along with Ena, Godou took out his cell phone from his coat’s inner pocket in fluster. It was a call from Liliana.
Hamarikyuu’s Onshi Garden.
It was one of the battlefields where goddess Athena and Kusanagi Godou confronted each other.
Originally it was the garden of the villa of the house of Shogun Tokugawa. After Meiji Restoration it was turned over to the imperial household and later on it was opened for public.
The place was facing at the mouth of Sumida River, the pond inside the garden was drawn in from sea water.
Godou arrived once more at that Hanarikyuu two hours after he visited the hideout of Hong Kong’s Lu family at Kabukichou.
He came there not because of nostalgia.
As rendezvous point, this place was the most convenient.
「You arrived, Godou.」
「The preparation over here is all finished. What’s left is depending on the will of the goddess. If she plan to depart following her declaration then――」
「So there is no problem at all then.」
When Godou entered inside the ground of Onshi Garden, Erica and Liliana called out at him.
Erica was wearing a wine red coat like it was only natural as the replacement of her rossonero(red and black). The coat’s length was rather short until her waist.
That outfit was completed with white top and black denim jeans.
As for Liliana she was the heaven-sent child of nerazzurro(blue and black). On top of her grey short blouse was a combination of blue coat and black tights, it was then added with white muffler and knitted hat.
Of course, Seishuin Ena was still accompanying him right from Kabukichou.
However, there was no figure of Mariya Yuri here. The princess shrine maiden who boasted of the greatest spirit sight was still separated from Godou all the time since Godou’s decisive battle against prince Rama.
At the occasion when Yuri went to the realm of the dead for the sake of ascertaining the true name of the『King of the End』, she then stayed behind there.
Even now she was watching over the battle of Kusanagi Godou from the other side…….
「But it’s unexpected isn’t it. For that goddess-sama to so suddenly give in.」
Ena murmured seriously.
They were in the middle of walking deeper inside Onshi Garden.
「True it’s really unexpected. Even though she wouldn’t agree even after Godou had recommended to her to move to astral world many times after the battle against prince Rama.」
「And today, she suddenly said『I don’t mind to do that』like this.」
Liliana also nodded at Erika’s words.
Moving to realm of the dead/astral world――perhaps it should be called as『retirement』to be more accurately.
It was something that was done once in a while by some heretic gods. A heretic god would grow tired of days of wandering on earth and chose to live quietly in astral world…….
Even the guardian of Ena, the “gramps” Susanoo also one of the retired gods.
And then this time the goddess in question would also――
「That Athena, even though until yesterday she was saying things like『Rather than leaving the battlefield with half-baked feeling, I’d rather suicide』, that she wouldn’t mind even if she die anytime or whatever.」
Godou spoke the name of his long time enemy the goddess with whom he had a deep tie with.
The goddess Athena had died once, but even while she was reincarnated into divine ancestor Palas Athena, she recovered her previous divinity and memory and returned to earth.
But when prince Rama was revived she lost most of her life force and currently she was in a state that was in the verge of death.
It was to the degree that she wouldn’t be able to last even for a few days――.
If she abandoned her dying flesh body and retired to the realm of the dead, perhaps it would be possible for her to prolong her life. Betting on that possibility, Godou recommended to her『Leave this world』many times. He was starting to be giving up thinking that there was no way the highly proud Athena would agree.
「……Looks like she arrived.」
Strength was brimming inside his body, so Godou spoke.
When gods approached near, a Campione’s heart and body would immediately adjusting in battle preparation. With conviction Godou looked up at the night sky of Onshi Garden.
An owl traversed though above his head.
It was without doubt the avatar of the goddess. Since after the showdown against Rama, Athen completely hidden herself.
But when he called her name, she would suddenly manifest out of nowhere with her figure transformed as little snake or owl.
And then this morning, she appeared in front of Godou at a roadside where there was no presence of people and informed him.
『About the matter thou have been talking about――that I should depart to the boundary of life and immortality. I won’t mind to respond to that. Mine feeling changed a little.』Was what she said to him.
There was a wharf right after walking from Hamarikyuu.
It was at the bank of Sumida River. Usually there would be several civilian ships anchored there, but tonight all the ships had been taken care of.
It was the arrangement of the history compilation committee and its person in charge, Sayanomiya Kaoru.
This wharf and Hamarikyuu’s Onshi Garden were blockaded, and it was arranged so that only Kusanagi Godou and the people related could use the place.
That was why right now, here there were only Godou and――a silver haired girl.
Athena. In Greek Mythology she was a goddess of wisdom and war, but at an older mythology she was made as a mother earth goddess that governed over death and life.
She was a girl that looked in her early teens possessing short silver hair and eyes with color of darkness.
That was the material body of Athena on earth. In addition, it was unknown from where it was provided, but tonight too she was wearing an outfit of the designated uniform of a school that she at times was wearing at the past.
「This night, I will depart from here.」
「Yeah. We also have cleared away the people from here, my companions purified the air around this area, they are adjusting the surrounding to make it easier for you to use your power.」
A goddess and godslayer who had repeated several duel where their life was at stake.
Now they were exchanging words between the two of them calmly, as though all those duels were lie.
「This morning you suddenly said things like you are okay with retirement, because of that it seemed that it was terrible to make the preparation so suddenly you know. You still haven’t change your feeling right?」
「In the first place, just why did you change your mind so suddenly?」
「……I felt an omen.」
There was a distance around three meter between Godou and Athena.
However, none of them tried to close the distance. It was fine like this. If they felt like it, they could close the distance right away and began to grapple each other in a mortal combat. Athena could even change her breath into curse of death and blew it into the mouth of Kusanagi Godou.
It was a delicate sense of distance, where it felt close yet far, felt far yet close――.
This distance itself was exactly the relationship between the two.
「If you don’t mind, then teach your reason to me so even I can understand.」
「It’s an unusual omen. I still don’t understand the particulars. But, at this metropolis――the outside of this metropolis where the battle between fellow godslayers will begin, something unusual is starting to move.」
Obtaining a lot of wisdom and knowledge in the shape of divine revelation, intuition, and so on.
That was also an authority of Athena. It was because of that that she was a goddess of wisdom.
「Unusual? As expected that’s……」
「First there is no doubt, that the main cause will be someone among you the seven godslayers. Perhaps it will be even something perpetrated by the seven of you.」
「The dispute that will be happening at outside this metropolis――Tokyo, something is?」
After Godou said it by himself, he immediately realized.
「By any chance……that unusualness, it will happen at the realm of the dead? That place that you all called as the boundary of life and immortality.」
Athena only smiled coldly.
But, he had associated with this goddess for long in regard of one thing or another. Godou discovered her affirmation from the slight movement of her lips and he finally understood.
「And it’s because of this, that you suddenly okayed the retirement talk.」
「It’s unclear how much that unusualness will influence the war against crown prince Rama. But, if it doesn’t cause any influence, then I can just do a trick to make it have influence……. Though I cannot read how much mine body that almost run out of life can accomplish.」
‘kukuku’ Atena chuckled.
「Perhaps it will be mine last chance to deal an attack of revenge to that person. Then, it will not be bad to use up――the rotting life of Athena for that.」
Even when she had reached this stage, she still hadn’t lost her fighting spirit.
This goddess would depart not for prolonging her life, but for the sake of taking a chance of revenge. Godou nodded, thinking that it was really like Athena for her to do this.
「I got it. Then, you can do whatever you like. At the other side Mariya……my companion is there. The time that dangerous unusualness or whatever happen, please protect her if you can.」
「It’s not mine business. There is not a single reason, about why I hath to rack mine brain for such trivial matter.」
Perhaps he should say that it was only to be expected. She didn’t compromise even in this kind of matter.
Godou didn’t request her more than that and he shrugged. And then, Athena spoke concisely with a really smooth intimation.
「Let me say these words in this occasion. Farewell, Kusanagi Godou.」
Last time, when Athena was vanishing she said this. That she wouldn’t speak any farewell.
This change was exactly because of something that was like a bond created between Godou and the goddess――perhaps it was something like that or not. Or possibly, this was merely her whim.
Either way, the body of Athena was changing into dust from the edge.
The thin tips of her silver hair, the fingertips of her white slender hand, and so on, they were all starting to crumble rustlingly, that collapse was immediately spreading to her whole body, she was losing her girl shape in the blink of eye.
And then, from between the dusts dancing in the air riding the night sky, a ball of bluish white light came out.
Perhaps it was the soul of goddess Athena.
At any rate the ball of light was flying out toward the mouth of Sumida River and like that it flightily drifted toward Tokyo Bay――toward the sea.
In ancient time, the territory of sea seemed to be also the metaphor of another world.
The nirvana in regard to this world. The world over here in regard to the world over there. Legends in many countries were talking that there was Sukhavati (Amitabha’s Pure Land) at the end of the sea――.
Godou recalled the knowledge that Amakasu Touma taught him from his extensive knowledge.
That was why the place for the departing was prepared at the seaside, so that it would be easier to go to the realm of the dead.
As though to endorse that theory, the ball of light was getting smaller bit by bit as it was flying toward the offshore, before long it suddenly vanished completely.
The soul of the goddess was right now departing toward the world beyond.
「She is gone already isn’t she.」
The one who called out to Godou was Amakasu Touma.
He was a member of history compilation committee who liked to talk about extensive knowledge. He was wearing his usual worn out business suit. Even he who was in possession of abundant experience was keenly gazing toward the sea.
「I am greatly wishing that it’s the end with this and I can receive a break though.」
「As expected is it impossible?」
「Yes. Kusanagi-san’s colleagues are arriving in Japan one after another you know?」
Black Price Alec.
King of Sword Salvatore Doni.
And then the one who should even be called as the star performer, Marquis Voban.
Amakasu reported that it had been confirmed that the four godslayers had already arrived in Japan,
There was the addition of sect founder Luo Hao and Kusanagi Godou here. It was only John Pluto Smith whose whereabouts could not be confirmed yet from the report.
The agent of history compilation committee spoke with deep emotion.
「Oh dear, this happen even though there is no pervious arrangement beforehand among all of you, that’s why the gentlemen and ladies of Campiones are truly existences that has railed off the proper track.」
「I can sympathize but, I want you to not mix me among them there……」
While glancing at Amakasu who was laughing evasively, Godou suddenly inserted his hand inside his coat pocket.
There he noticed. Something was inside his pocket. Even though at the very least before he arrived at Hamarikyuu, there was nothing inside this pocket at all.
When he took the thing out, it was a folded up paper piece.
「A letter huh……」
On the paper piece that he unfolded, a short piece of writing with beautiful penmanship was written there.
It was a message from a certain person that was addressed toward Kusanagi Godou.