Mondaiji-tachi ga isekai kara kuru soudesu yo:Volume 8 Lily's Big Adventure
Lily's Big Adventure
— [TheUnderground City, Underwood], Eve of the Harvest Festival.
As time passed, it was three days prior to the rehosting of the Harvest Festival.
The [No Name]’s Senior Group were helping out with the hosting preparations as a favor for having extended the invitation of the Harvest Festival to them. And today, Lily, who was appointed as the commander for the Senior Group, was running errands in the Underground City.
Lily and Kirino were transporting a basket when a cool breeze swept through the Underground City, disturbing the Great Tree’s branches and leaves in its passing.
Due to the wind, Lily’s kitsunemimi were pressed against her head as she gave a startle cry in surprise. Pressing on her hair accessory which added a bonus to her fine features, Kirino the dryad gave a laugh as she walked alongside Lily.
“The winds that blow down into [Underwood] are quite strong. Be careful ne, Lily.”
“Mhm. Thank you, Kirino.”
*Beishi*Her kitsunemimi perked up. The duo carefully rearranged the messed up ingredients in the full basket before making their way towards the designated location for the ingredient delivery errand in their swaying smock-frocks. The basket was filled with many cobs of corn and pumpkins that were contributed from individuals involved in the Harvest Festival. The fragrance of the freshly harvested corn from the fields made Lily’s spirit soar in happiness and her steps made a merry pitter patter on the pavement.
“The corn looks really delicious right~? Are we cooking it in the Harvest Festival or roasting it?”
“I heard that the night time stalls are going to roast it. They are to be grilled on the wire rack after the stripping of the corn silk and husk. This is because Garol-Tairo has said that the freshly harvested corn would surely be sweet and tasty.”
“Is that so~? This really makes me look forward to the harvest festival~”
*Beishi*Her kitsunemimi perked up in joy.
Breaking into a run due to their uncontainable excitement in anticipation for the Harvest Festival, they quickly arrived at the location for the delivery.
—Despite the fierce assault of the Huge Dragon on [Underwood], the Harvest Festival is once again ready to be re-hosted, thanks to the nearby Communities who have come forth with materials for the relief and revival efforts. However, even though it is said to be nearby, but the next Outer Gate in this vast place called Little Garden would already be a world away. Due to that reason, it has also resulted in a non-uniform array of relief materials and food.
Take for example, in the water-rich place of [Underwood], wheat is both the staple food and the popular grain of production. But corn is a grain that loves a drier climate and it is an ingredient that is only cultivated in small amounts in the neighboring lands. Then why would there be such a large amount found in the Harvest Festival?
That is because these ingredients were all harvested by a Community located three Outer Gates away, in the midst of the wilderness, and donated to the Harvest Festival of [Underwood].
Besides being a source of food, corn is a grain which could also be utilized as a source of oil. Therefore [Six Scars] had also signed a contract to import from the different donors. The other party would surely be happy as well about getting the new contracts.
Although it might seem like a devious plan to try taking advantage of another’s plight to donate for the sake of engaging in commerce, the advantage of receiving such donations and having relations established with the other Communities of far off lands is much weightier in proportion. Hence, that is the agenda behind the delivering of donated relief items to Communities damaged by the wars with Demon Lords.
This is an indispensable wisdom for one to prosper in this vast world of Little Garden.
(Ah, but what a pity. If only the fields of [No Name] were complete, we could have also provided scrumptious rice to the list.)
Though Lily might have a merry skip to her steps, she was still a little disappointed that they missed a chance to make a debut in the Harvest Festival. After all, the food ritual that came in the form of the Harvest Festival was the best stage for them to showcase their daily efforts.
Being a Herald divine beast of the Uka God of grains, it was her truest wish to participate as a Host.
However, Lily immediately dismissed the thought as she clasped her hands together.
(But, now I must hold it in. That sort of selfishness can wait and be done after repaying my debts to Izayoi-sama and Kuro Usagi Onee-san.)
The farmlands of [No Name] had indeed started its recovery of fertility. Lily had once given up on it with the thought that the lands would not be usable ever again in her generation. However, it was a different matter now.
The fields of the [No Name] are likely to be capable of supporting a swaying golden yellow sea of grains in the following year.
“Is something the matter?”
“No, nothing. Let’s quickly send the basket over……Kyaah.”
Thunk! It is not known who collided into her rear end and it caused the corn and pumpkins contained within the basket to fly and scatter on the road.
“Oh my, sorry Lily. I didn’t notice where I’m walking.”
It was Sakamaki Izayoi, who stood at the place where the ingredients were to be offloaded.
Lily frantically picked the ingredients up and waved her twin tails while bowing her head.
“Sor, Sorry! It was me who did not notice you……"
“No, it’s okay. Just get the basket over quickly…… yeah?!”
"Izayoi-san why are you at the ingredient drop-off storage point?”
“Mhm~, just a little bored. It’s rare to have the opportunity to use any kind of ingredient so I was just entertaining the thought of whipping up a little something. It has been a long time since I last cooked after all.”
Saying that, he bit into the apple picked from the food storage, tasting to ascertain its flavor.
Lily widened her eyes in surprise.
“Iz, Izayoi-san can cook?”
“Oi. Although I have left the preparation of meals to you guys during my stay in Little Garden and did not have much chance to enter the kitchen, but I have been living alone initially. Moreover, that old home of mine also had a cyclical shift system for the house chore of cooking. You could say that I’ve already done most types of house chores even when I was just a little brat.”
Izayoi replied nonchalantly while looking through the mountain of ingredients for his selection.
In contrast, Lily’s small mouth was agape as she stood in a daze. For the members of the [No Name] Senior Group, Izayoi was the main force of the Community and he was one of the key personnel of the hub that the Community was established around.
He, who could take on opponents on the level of Demigods and Deities to be actually capable of helping out in house chores? Lily was seriously taken aback.
“Izayoi-san…… Wouldn’t you have felt unsatisfied by that sort of life?”
“What are you referring to?”
“I mean, Izayoi-san is a really amazing individual. Your strength is for the purpose of taking on beings on the level of the gods, and not for handling only a kitchen knife. Yet, those people have simply asked you to handle the house chores and such……”
Lily’s ears drooped as she puffed her cheeks.
From the “simply asked you to handle” phrase, it must have been a misunderstanding that Izayoi was forced into doing work that did not suit his capabilities.
Izayoi, who picked up on that underlying misunderstanding, couldn’t help but to smile bitterly.
Although he did understand what Lily was trying to say, but it was a fact that the world of Little Garden and the Outside World came with a different set of cultural values. The structure of the societies were also vastly different.
In Little Garden, those with power were to depend on those without power to live. But that isn’t everything. Even after winning lands or obtaining water sources, there was still a need to utilize the workforce effectively.
To be victorious in the face of battles with Demigods and Deities, only individuals who can utilize various Gifts are able to survive the encounters. And age and strength did not matter. To effectively utilize the workforce of powerful individuals and the powerless. That would be the culture of the world known as Little Garden.
But it was different in Izayoi’s world. Regardless of one’s talents, children were to be brought up by adults and they would not learn how to be independent until they were out into the society. Even though compulsory education may include some pointers on living, it was still unable to equip one with the practical knowledge and skills. Especially in Japan where Izayoi had lived in, it was in an excess of material comfort where exceptional talents were easily substituted with modern equipment of the civilization. His personality that should have taken effect in the society was hence exposed to the atmosphere of decadence.
The era where evil deeds go unpunished.
The eager voices of the common man calling for equality.
Celebrating the equality of mankind when it is actually unable to have it achieved even in oneself.
Japan, the country that relies on the monitoring system amongst neighbors to successfully regulate crime and generate crime, he had already deemed it to be a boring place even before Canaria’s arrival. “The civilians who hope for their ideal society (Utopia), but yet the civilians who create the management system in society (dystopia). It was truly a rare example.”—And that was a nicely arranged and straightforward summary of the situation.
If Izayoi with his absurd talents were to be presented to the world in that sort of country, it is without a shred of doubt that he would be seen as a troublesome fellow. That is something that even Izayoi did not want to encounter.
After all his personality was one that was merciless towards his opponents. Regarding those puny weaklings that are influenced by the workings of the world to become his enemy, it would still be an inevitable ending even if he felt pity for them.
What made Izayoi to have no interest in the workings of the world, did not mean that he had an interest in bullying the weak.
It is only cool to use a great power against powerful foes.
“…… Aahh, no. It’s not like that.”
Izayoi had said it in a way that made himself out to be humbled and he had to think up another way to explain it to achieve the imagery of a different perspective.
“It isn’t like it was compulsory labour. It’s just that the country that I’m from— Mah, we would use swords that can cleave mountains and rivers to peel apples and use fire that can incinerate forests to light a lamp. It is just a peaceful and prosperous place that would allow us to have these sort of meaningless splurge of resources.
Giving a loud “Wahaha” laugh, he then bit another mouthful of that ruby red apple. If it had been the warring eras like Asuka’s time, Izayoi would have had a different future. However, these advantages were only deemed to be useless in his own time.
Lily’s eyes were getting wider by the moment but she seemed to have gotten the idea as she smiled and nodded.
“That really is…… a very peaceful country.”
“Aahh. It is only thanks to that, that my culinary skills were improved. …… So whatcha think? If you have any requests, I can put it together for you, you know?”
Finishing the apple, Izayoi smiled confidently.
Lily happily perked her kitsunemimi.
“If that’s so, I would like you to whip up a dish using the ingredients in this basket!”
“Heh~? Those items that you have just delivered?”
“Yes. They are corns, pumpkin, cherry eggs and there’s also some cheese.”
Smilingly, Izayoi peered into the basket of ingredients. The large sized basket was filled with freshly delivered ingredients and the one that drew the most attention would be the large and brightly colored eggs that were of the color of cherry blossoms.
“Hey, it’s cherry blossom colored eggs. Does it taste good?”
“Yes. It’s a type of bird egg from the Sakuramiru Bird that builds its nest on the cherry blossom trees. I heard that it is an egg that is frequently used in pies.”
“Huoh? Pies, eh?”
Giving the basket another cursory glance, Izayoi eyed the ingredients with a bewildered look.
He then suddenly looked up with the expression of having recalled something.
“Pumpkins, Eggs and cheese. If there’s some bacon and wheat flour, I think I can whip up a Salty Pumpkin Pie.”
“A Salty…… Pumpkin pie?”
“Mhm. It’s a local cuisine in Europe…… Just talking about it would be difficult to understand right? Mixing the eggs and pumpkin puree together before pouring the batter across the pie dough and topping it with whipped cream and cheese. That is a European style baked cuisine. Although I’ve tasted it once during my journeys, it has really struck me well in the strike zone.”
Picking up a pumpkin while having an expression of being lost in reminiscence that allowed his lips to part slightly in relaxation. It was a rare expression coming from him.
And Lily, who had also lost herself in her imagination of that Salty Pumpkin Pie which she had yet to see, was having a blissful smile.
“Just listening to the description is already enough for me to judge it as a delicacy.”
“Oh! I will also guarantee that it tastes just as great.”
Laughing loudly, Izayoi spun the pumpkin on his hand while standing up.
“If we are making salty pumpkin pie, we would still need wheat flour and other ingredients. Lily, do you know anywhere that we can get those items?”
“Ah, yes! I’ll lead the way!”
*Pi* Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up.
After saying their farewells to Kirino, who stayed behind at the food storage warehouse, the duo left for the plaza where there were small stalls for the purchasing of meat and wheat.
—Bazaar of [Underwood]
The figures of Kudou Asuka and Kasukabe Yō appeared in the Bazaar grounds.
The Bazaar, which was really lively due to the visitors and guests for the Harvest Festival, did not only vend food. It had also displayed a wide variety of fabric, weavings and clothes that were dyed with a selection of uniquely local dyes, and offering a range for the customers to choose from.
However, due to the blessing of the warm climate in the South Side for the whole year, the dimensions of which the fabric constitutes the clothing were relatively small. In other words, they were relatively revealing.
Asuka stared pointedly at the South Side costume in her hand.
“……This, is a little embarrassing.”
“Is that so? I think it really suits you, Asuka.”
Yō, who accompanied Asuka for shopping, stretched her head over to have a look.
Held in her hand was a hakama that had its midriff portion boldly removed and its lower portion replaced by a tight fitting miniskirt. The skirt with red floral patterns seemed to be designed with the intention to completely reveal one’s legs.
Although Asuka had taken a liking to the floral designs, the thought of having her thighs fully exposed was enough to put a pained expression on her face.
“This sort of clothes, I think I will still ……”
“Oh okay. Then what sort of clothes would Asuka like? Western Dresses?”
“Regardless of the Eastern or Western styles, I’m just fine with anything that is kawaii. I’ve also often worn kimonos in the past.”
Oohh, a glow was lighted up within Yō’s eyes.
“I like the kimono too. There’s this closely hugging feel when you wear them.”
“Fufu, right. It’s better to have one set with us just in case. Let’s go visit [Thousand Eyes] to browse for one when we get a chance then.”
The duo smiled and nodded to each other.
And turned to look at the direction where there was a sudden stream of voices. They then spotted Lily and Izayoi, whose hands were full with items he had purchased.
Noticing Asuka’s wave, Izayoi waved at them in return.
“Hey, you girls are also here to buy stuff?”
“Mhm. We currently have some time on our hands.”
“We were taking the opportunity to prepare that plan…… to find a present for Kuso Usagi.”
Yō pointed to the Bazaar stalls that displayed many small goods.
Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up immediately as she smiled.
“Kuro Usagi Onee-san…… will be happy upon receiving the presents?”
“Well, that will have to depend on the individual’s effort. But back to the topic, how are you girls faring?”
“Fufu. This is a red painted comb that is made from the craving of a Water Tree branch.”
“This is a good comb that can moisturize a bed hair into being smooth and obedient. And we got three of them of different designs for the three of us.”
Heheh, the duo proudly lifted their heads and puffed their chests. A comb that is carved from the Water Tree branch probably worked by giving moisture to the hair when made into a product like this.
Izayoi, who has not decided on his present, was impressed by their unexpectedly quick and forthright choice.
“Huoh? An exquisite piece of the local crafts is quite a good choice indeed. Although there isn’t a wow factor to it, but it is quite a formal gift.”
“I guess I must thank you for your gracious attitude. So, have you decided on yours yet, Izayoi?”
“No, I’ve not chosen mine yet. I’m just here in the market for other things.”
The other two tilted their heads and Lily, who stood at the side, quickly supplied an explanation.
“Because Izayoi-san says that he wants to treat me to a Salty Pumpkin Pie….. Would you two like to come along?”
Lily extended the invitation to the two as her tails went pitter pattering in their waving motions.
Asuka and Yō were so surprised that they were stunned but they immediately gave a big smile while nodding in assent.
“Hm~……… Izayoi doing the cooking. Can you really do it?”
“Heheh, of course. I bet it will be better than you guys too, you know?”
“……My, I guess I cannot let that comment pass.”
The two were fired up by Izayoi’s challenge to them. It was a challenge that the girl’s camp could not ignore.
The trio who were eyeing each other had simultaneously,
“Western style cuisine. The main dish is salty pie and there’s the remaining choices for the soup and the entrée.”
“Got it. Let’s go, Asuka!”
Asuka and Yō sped off towards the ingredient storage warehouse and Izayoi sent them off with his eyes before laughing loudly in satisfaction.
“We did it, Lily! The number of dishes have increased now!”
“Hehe, we did it-?”
*Pi* Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up in joy.
Subsequently, Izayoi, who had procured the necessary ingredients, seemed really motivated when he parted ways with Lily after saying “Let’s meet up here after an hour from now”.
With the spare time in the schedule, Lily started to wander around the Bazaar while searching for a present to give to Kuro Usagi, just like Asuka and the others.
For the preparations in the Harvest Festival, the Senior Group were also given a small amount of salary that was roughly around the amount for their pocket money. But that was only to be calculated and paid to them after the completion of the jobs. Bouncing along while wagging her two tails which went pitter patter, Lily started to search for a present in the small gift shops.
(Initially, I wanted to give Kuro Usagi Onee-san a hairpin….but after some thought, it would be best to give her something else right? )
Mhm~, Lily was troubled. What she had initially considered was a hair pin that would accentuate on the wearer’s beauty just like the one worn by Kirino. Then again, although Kuro Usagi liked wearing exquisite costumes, she wasn’t the kind who would care for accessories. And that was Lily’s take on the matter.
(Although there’s this white and yellow gorgeous hair accessory and such a beautiful hair ornament would sit well with KuroUsagi Onee-san’s preferences, but if Asuka-san and Yō-san are gifting to her a comb…… Mhm Mhm~~ It does seem to match too. )
“WUAAAAAAHHHHHHH! There’s a runaway cow running WAIIIIILLLLLDDDD!!!!”
EH? Hearing that shout, she then turned to look towards the crowd. Subsequently, from the opposite side of the street that converged into the market, a sound of pounding hooves*Don Don Don DonDonDon!!!* and a swirl of dust accompanied the runaway cow as it charged violently into the Bazaar.
Unable to avoid the sudden onset of the incident, she was sent flying from the collision on her back. The great momentum of the collision caused Lily to somersault in the air for a few complete rounds before being bounced about. Knocked into the crowd and continuing to bounce about, Lily’s eyes were already traveling in spirals.
Kya~, with a scream in surprise, and even though the world around her continued to spin and cause her to see stars, she managed to force herself upright.
Then, after some difficulty, she noticed the changes in her surroundings.
(AH…..A Re? It was still midday a moment ago, how did it become so dark…..? )
She looked around herself in all directions.
It would seem that she had rolled into a crevice in a certain cliff of the Underground City. The cliff walls rose all around her and that prevented sunlight from filtering in. Thus making it seem dark. Looking overhead, one could see that the tree roots had grown over the crevice of the cliff like a stitching of a wound and seemed to be the support for this place in addition to the reason for making it seem dark.
However, there was a light from a man-made source that could be barely made out in the depths of the cliff.
“There’s a shop…… in this sort of place?”
The passage that connected to the depths was wide enough to barely fit a grown man, but it was without doubt that there truly was a torch or something similar ahead as it was flickering unsteadily.
Lily was torn between the urge to leave this dark location and the interest which had started to burn out of curiosity about the shop in this incredibly absurd place.
(For all I know, maybe I might just find the perfect gift in this place too……)
—Because in this world of Little Garden, it was a place that many Demigods and deities resided. Perhaps there is a chance to dig up some treasure unknown to man in this sort of unlikely place too. Lily’s curiosity suppressed her timid inner voice as she continued to press forward.
After moving some distance towards the light source, the passage from the cliff crevice had widened up to enter a trimmed little alley and a look behind told Lily that she had already travelled quite a distance from the original spot .
Could I have lost my way in a terrifying place? Her body started to tremble when she entertained that thought. Even so, she pressed on to walk up to the luxuriously styled elegant doors. And these must be the entrance to the store.
Pieces of glass were hung on the sides of the luxurious doors and they spun while catching the light. The jet black base color of the doors were matched with a gold leaf pattern running along its length. Although it was a cause for hesitation to see such a classy store, which anyone could have recognized with a glance, in this place, it would be a waste to have come this far only to turn back the way she came.
Lily slowly turned the handle of the door to secretly investigate the interior of the shop.
—[Underwood], Dinner in the Main Guest Quarters.
The sun had set and night has fallen. Listening to the gurgling water from the Great Tree, the [No Name]s have started their dinner feast.
Hearing word that the problem children were going to display their skills, Garol from [Six Scars] and Sala from [One Horn] had also joined in to make it a rowdier banquet than originally planned.
Garol, who brought his rum, was happily drinking in the food while showing praises upon the cooks who presented their cuisines for the banquet that night.
“Kuu Ha!! My, My! You guys also have to be better than the average in your cooking as well? It would be such a pity if you guys did not turn up for the culinary meet with this standard!”
“…… Oh, don’t kid around. My cooking skills are still within the range of personal interest. If you really want us to play in the competitive field, I think we can only choose Kasukabe to be the representative.”
Izayoi was slightly glum as he gnawed at his salty pie.
Asuka, who sat beside him, had also added listlessly.
“You’re right…… I really didn’t expect Kasukabe to be that proficient in cooking. And in turn, that really gives me a little bit of anxiety……”
“Is, Is that so?”
Yō scratched her head while revealing an embarrassed smile.
Before her was the vegetable soup that was ready to be served.
The aroma of the spices wafted up together with the steam from the hot soup to stimulate the noses of the diners. And it looked more appetizing in the cold evening of [Underwood].
Sala, who sat with them, took a scoop of the hot steaming potato to deliver it into her mouth with deliberation. A reddish glow then spread across Sala’s cheeks and her mouth relaxed as she nodded her head.
“No, this is really done quite well. It isn’t just the method of cooking, it looks like even the selection of ingredients have been taken into careful consideration.”
“Mhm. I specialize in the finding of the best parts of good. After all, I did live alone and in my goal of making delicious meals for myself, I have unknowingly reached this stage.”
Yō nodded and replied with a bit of pride. Izayoi only grew gloomier as he took another bite of the salty pie.
Just then, she turned her line of sight to watch Lily who sat directly before her.
“…… What’s wrong, Lily? Aren’t you going to start eating?”
“Aye…… ah, right! Itadakimasu!”
Clasping her hands together for a while before frantically digging into her food. Everyone would have thought that Lily would immediately be happily cheering. But time passed and there was no sign of Lily giving that sort of response. Even looking to be distracted when she tucked into her food.
Noticing that, Asuka asked worriedly.
“Lily, what’s wrong? Do you have something bothering you?”
“No, that’s not it. It’s not like that.”
“But this doesn’t seem to be the usual you. In reality, something must have happened right?”
Leaning forward while pressing the questions.
Although Lily lapsed into a short troubled silence, she then quietly lifted her head a moment later to recount the incident in a way that seemed to be voicing her inner thoughts.
“Actually, I found a really amazing shop today…… there is this really beautiful brooch on the display which I really wanted to give to Kuro Usagi Onee-san.”
“Heh? Isn’t that good for you?”
“Yes. But…… I’m unable to buy it……”
Her kitsunemimi drooped dejectedly. Making a guess at the reason, Yō immediately followed it up.
“If you are short of pocket money, would you like me to chip in the rest?”
“No, it’s not like that! Although my pocket money is indeed insufficient, but it is also a shop that does not allow me to buy the items in another sense.”
“A shop that does not allow you to buy the items in another sense?”
Everyone turned to look at each other, puzzled.
But only Izayoi had this sharp glint in his eyes as he gave a grin.
“Could it be that this involves a Gift Game of sorts?”
“…… Yes. There is this [Geass Roll] stuck to the entrance of the shop that has the meaning of ‘only those who can pass the game, may purchase the goods as a customer’.”
“What a shop that doesn’t have the intention to sell stuff. Is that sort of shop common?”
Izayoi looked towards the Host, Sala and Garol.
The two of them had pained expressions but did not deny it.
“It is not like it does not exist. Many shops that have a high sense of pride in their Community’s Flag may set these sort of conditions.”
“That’s right. Even the shops of [Six Scars] also have the condition for new customers to pass a Game ….. but it is rare to see this sort of behavior when it is in a bazaar open to everyone.”
Garol supplemented the information with a tinge of displeasure in his voice. It must be the dissatisfaction of having a shop that is keen on selecting its own customers in the bazaar hosted by himself. In a normal context, this would have been a very impolite behavior.
But Lily shook her head in negation.
“About that, I feel that it isn’t a Gift Game with that sort of meaning to it. Because there isn’t any store owner in that shop.”
Garol had really shouted in earnest surprise now. Lily then repeated the incident about the encounter with that store in the unlikely location with more supplements to it.
From the quietly extending dim passage way in the crevice of the cliff.
The black painted luxurious doors that were patterned with gold leaves.
The displayed goods that exhibited a different feel of condensed elegance.
The blue eyed doll that held the [Geass Roll].
“Houh. A maze-like passage way, luxurious doors, many grandiose displays in addition to the lack of a shop keeper…… usually for that sort of scenario, it is a type of trap set to deal with robbers isn’t it?”
“Yeah. If it weren’t a pure minded child, such as Lily, the person might be attacked upon taking the treasure.”
Asuka also nodded her head with her vigilance heightened at that thought. The topic was now floating in the midst of suspicions.
“Then, what were the contents of the [Geass Roll]?”
“Well, although I can’t recall the full text…… In the depth of the shop, there is this chair that seems to be placed for the shop keeper. And the contents seems to point to the repair of the doll that seats upon the chair……that seems to be all.”
“…… sounds really vague.”
Yō slightly tilted her head while Lily wagged her two tails and looked down with a troubled expression.
Perhaps they felt that thinking too much about it would not help things either, the problem children trio then stood up from their chairs,
“Anyways, if there exists a shop that is rigged with a lure and trap, it would spell trouble for us.”
“Yeah. We won’t be able to conclude anything if we do not see it with our own eyes.”
“Mhm. The most important part is that it sounds really interesting. “
After Yō said that, Izayoi and Asuka also nodded their heads in strong agreement.
Garol and Sala stared at the trio in a daze for a while before giving a slight shrug of their shoulders.
“Oi, Representative-san. Could I ask of you to come have a look at the location as one of the Hosts?’
“Understood. If it is a threatening existence, it would be okay to destroy it right?”
“Aahh. Destroy it before it causes any casualties.”
As the banquet ended, the direction of the next course of action was decided.
The problem children trio, Sala, and Lily left the Main Guest Quarters.
—Eve of the Harvest Festival, [Underwood, Underground City]’s Bazaar.
Breaking away from the noisy and bustling crowd at the bazaar, due to the impatient participants milling around the bazaar in wait for the start of the Festival, the gang soon arrived at the cliff crevice. And they scrunched their brows upon the sensation of the strange atmosphere that surrounded the unnatural crack.
Even though the crevice was clearly wide enough to allow a person to pass through, was it really possible to have no one notice it up till now? The mobile shops and clamor of the crowds weren't even close to this area and it seemed rather desolate.
Holding his suspicions about the place, Izayoi glanced around and grinned.
“I see. It was intentionally made to seem difficult to fit anyone, huh?”
“It appears to be so…… maybe there’s a Gift that drives people away being used.”
“Ara, then how did Lily find this crevice?”
“That, That’s , because……when I was sent flying by a rampaging cow……”
What? Everyone asked in unison.
“Oi Oi…… What do you mean by rampaging cow? Have you entered a bullfighting ring?”
“Yeah. To be sent flying into the crevice by a rampaging cow……wouldn’t that be too coincidental?”
“Mhm. There happened to be a rampaging cow and it happened to send Lily flying. How can such a coincidence…”
“Wuaaaaahhhh! There are rampaging HORSSSSEEEEEssssssss!!!!!!!!”
*Neigh NEIGH~!!!!* A herd of rampaging horses were neighing as they appeared.
Lily who stood at the rear was once again “Kyaa~!?” sent flying into the crevice with a scream.
“Oi! What are you guys waiting for?! Quickly go after that child!”
Sala shouted at them before dragging the Problem Children Trio behind her.
Coming to their senses, the trio immediately ran to chase after Lily.
After a five minute trek in the crevice of the Underground City, Izayoi and the others found Lily in a pretty neat location that has a similarly neatly arranged shop.
Asuka hurriedly strode over to hug her in worry.
“Are, Are you alright, Lily?!”
“Ye, Yes…… I’m just feeling a little dizzy until now……”
Even though the stars were still spinning above her head, Lily was still able to give a polite reply. And after everyone felt relieved, the spears of anger were then pointed towards the rampaging horses from before.
“Kasukabe. What do you think about horse meat sashimi for tomorrow’s dinner?”
“Agreed. Let’s just throw in barbecued rampaging beef on the side as well.”
Mhm, they gave a hard nod of their heads at each other. Although Sala was very surprised, she proceeded to light a fire at the end of her finger as a substitute light source, illuminating the area while taking the lead. After all, the moonlight overhead was blocked off by the network of roots from the Great Tree.
The territory of the crack was still slightly moist and this meant that it was created during the appearance of the Huge Dragon. Then at the very least, this shop would have appeared during the span of ten days prior to the discovery.
(This, could this be……? )
Even though there was a bad premonition that nagged at Sala’s mind, she continued to walk on the path that was painted and tidied in quite a neat condition.
Finally arriving before the shop, the group of five stood before the black doors which were the topic of their journey. The Geass Roll that stated “Only accepting the patronage of customers who have passed the Game” was stuck to it and the extravagant style coupled with the gold leafed patterns gave an undeniably posh feeling to their senses.
The group of five glanced at each other before placing their hands on the door in a slow motion.
In the midst of opening the doors, the blinding light streamed into their eyes.
The thing that emitted the blinding radiance was found to be a large amount of indescribably elegant jewelry and antiques. Draped across the display cabinets, which were lined with ruby and gold rings, was an iridescent piece of tapestry that seemed to be a work produced with the finest techniques of craftsmanship. If one were to look for the highest priced item in the shop, it would most likely be that veil for it was emitting a fine radiance that would not lose if it were to be compared to other precious metals and it was definitely the work of a famous craftsman of some unknown lands.
Just a little distance away, in the forefront of the slightly too exquisite carpet, there stood a finely crafted antique made with the most detailed of techniques.
The entire room was efficiently utilized to display the items that ranged from large clothing racks, longcase clocks, and miniature models of water wheels that are powered by the principle of buoyancy, tumblers that do not stop rocking and many other items of unknown uses. The space was clearly larger than what it had appeared to be on the outside.
“This really …. Looks more of a museum than a shop house to me.”
“Ara, but it seems like that isn’t the case. If you take a closer look, you will be able to find the price tags on all the items right?”
What? Asuka asked in reply but immediately took a ring off a nearby shelf to have a closer look.
Stuck to it was a small price tag that was equivalent to ten years of living expenses for their current [No Name] Community.
“…… . This is really sickening.” Izayoi commented while giving a light shrug of his shoulders.
It didn’t matter how much those items glittered or caught the eye for the moment because it would be no different from a museum when the prices deter any desire to purchase.
On the other hand, Yō and Sala had strode ahead, having no interest in those gems and treasures. The duo, who moved in a straight line down the shops aisle, soon discovered the shopkeeper’s chair and the blue eyed female doll. And true to Lily’s description, a [Geass Roll] was held in her hand. Although Yō read the document held in her hand, she fell into a contemplative silence after a single glance.
“That’s….the [Geass Roll]?”
“Although it is quite an unusual style in the content arrangement, it would most likely be so.”
Sala gazed through the contents of the scroll with a serious focus in her eyes, but after reading through it once, she simply gave up.
“Sorry about this, but I really can’t understand it at all. I guess I will leave it to you guys then.”
“Oi Oi. How can the newly appointed [Floor Master] be like that?”
Hearing Izayoi’s teasing comment, Sala gave a reply while giving a rare pout of her lips.
“I’m not good at this sort of intellectually stimulating games. Although in [Salamandra], there is this specialized department for the solving of riddles……”
“But there is no such department in the [Draco Greif] Alliance right? So what happens if you were to be faced with an intellectual type of Demon Lord in the next battle?”
Ugu, she fell silent at that. It was the pain of having hit the mark that stopped any other retorts.
Sala’s red hair shook as she turned her head away, while her cheeks reddened slightly.
“……I know that. But not everyone can be a jack of all trades like you or Shiroyasha-sama you know?”
Sala was slightly displeased. However, she then relented with a shrug of her shoulders to pick up the scroll again to have another look. Although Izayoi temporarily rested his hand on his chin while delving into his thoughts…… he suddenly squinted his eyes to stare into the distance.
“For those who comply, will reach the truth……? Ha, this really is quite a cruel game.”
Yō and Asuka were in concerto when they made that exclamation. But soon after, the shop suddenly started to be filled with the sounds of a tremor.
“What…. What’s happening……?!”
Although there were no windows close to them for them to ascertain the situation, it was clear enough that it was no normal earthquake. It was the shop itself that was shaking. Within this dazzling shop, there was some sort of thing that was crawling through.
Sensing that, Sala and Yō gave the shout to sound the alarm.
“Be careful! There seems to be something coming!”
“And it is probably…….more than a few……!”
Yō opened up her senses to pinpoint the source of the tremor and discovered its source to be in the exact opposite direction from the entrance. In the very depths of the shop, where the signage of “No entry for unauthorized personnel” was, there seemed to be a type of threat coming closer.
Izayoi wordlessly placed Lily onto his shoulders,
“Lily. Stay close, no matter what.”
“— here they come!”
With Yō’s words as the lighted fuse, they then appeared at the doorway, in numbers of a hundred strong and of different sizes—
A group of strong men dolls.
“ “ “ ——Waaaah! ” ” ”
The trio gave a horrified scream at the same time. Just like a timed reaction that did not have any discrepancy of a delay, it was truly the epitome of being united as one.
Even Sala, who had entered combat mode, was impacted to the extent that her beautiful red hair had lost its sheen to be a state of grayish white. While Lily was already scared to the point of tearing at the corner of her eyes.
The metal arms of the enemy were crafted with the details of a glossy muscle. Any expert would have understood the beauty of those muscles with just a look. From the brown tanned muscles and the majestic tyranny of clothes which was a pair of briefs, to the subtly twitching chest and back muscles, one could see the fine craftsmanship in the detailed work. The person who created these dolls was undoubtedly a fine doll designer. And after posing a few graceful poses, the strong men dolls flashed a bright smile that showed off their dazzling white teeth,
“It said angry right?!! It just said angry right??!”
“Hey, the girl’s camp should calm down. What you’ve heard just now, should not be their voices.”
Izayoi tried to calm down the girl’s camp that was entering a state of confusion. Though this sort of scenario was also quite a rare sight to behold.
Taking this opportunity, the atmosphere around the muscled dolls had changed to enter a combat state,
“…… Strong men!”
“Strong men?!! It definitely said strong men just now!”
“Yes they did. It did shout strong man just now.”
Regarding the extremely chaotic state of mind that the girl’s camp were in at the moment, Izayoi judged that there was no other cards for him to play and promptly gave up. On the other hand, Lily was already *Ka Da Ka Da*ing away, trembling on Izayoi’s shoulder.
The scouting party which had lost its chain of command Vs the assortment of Strong men dolls of different sizes.
Izayoi’s group had entered an unprecedented state of emergency.
Both parties were temporarily eying each other — And the first to react was from the side of the strong men.
Charging bravely, yes, charging bravely is the only phrase that could describe the approaching group of strong men dolls which were howling in their charge.
It would also be not too much to call the scene of rippling tanned muscles, in the midst of their charge, as a fantasy like moment. The big muscles that were filled with a wondrous sense of touching beauty did not only represent muscles in itself but the energetic run that they were engaging at the moment.
In the face of such ideal muscles, gold and gemstones were unable to hold a candle in comparison and the strong men’s stride ploughed through the precious metals and smashed them to powder. It would seem that being caught by them would not be a joking matter after all.
But what caused the girl’s camp to fear, was another aspect of the matter.
“It’s, It’s disgusting! Really disgusting!!”
“No way, this sort of thing should not exist.”
The faces of Asuka and Yō were pale and they were backing away from the sight of these men with ideal muscles. As for Sala, she was already out of the door by then. It would seem that she’s also quite scared by this. No matter how stern the atmosphere around her was in the usual situation, it would seem that she had just been faced with the bottom line of biologically induced disgust that should have never been touched in her lifetime.
Izayoi was the only one who was backing away while saying softly,
“……I would like to have one.”
“Please, Please do not do that Izayoi-san!”
*Uu* giving that unfortunate sound that sounded like a sigh in resignation.
Izayoi then grabbed Asuka under his arm to break into a dash in the attempt to break away from the crowd of strong men.
At the last moment before exiting the shop—Izayoi gave a sidelong glance towards the silent and lonely looking doll which sat upon the shopkeeper’s chair.
“…… . No matter what, I must come here again.”
It was rare for Yō to have the moment of being as loud and vocal as Asuka in voicing her thoughts like this.
Up till the point of the cliff crevice entrance, the group of four who escaped the shop were continuously pursued by the group of strong men.
In the depths of the extravagantly decorated shop house, the doll quietly watched the backs of the retreating invaders.
When the sound of the door closing echoed in the room, the doll started to rock left and right with the sounds of *Ka Chi Ka Chi*.
—Sigh *Ahh*, the customers this time are still unable to be satisfied?
The doll with translucent azure blue eyes and the pale blond hair that would leave an impression on anyone’s mind would have given the illusion of being a real human as it gracefully sat up straight. The eyes were also filled with the glow of life while its skin seemed flushed and similar to the coloration of having a body’s heat and blood coursing within it.
Stepping off from her seat, her short skirt fluttered in the wind as she danced through the smashed up shop with small spinning steps.
Those graceful steps would have given the illusion of belonging to the dance of a ballerina.
No, that wasn’t a metaphor— She was indeed dancing the “Dancing Doll (Coppelia)."
Humming a song in the store that had no music, her skirt whipped through the air as she made leaps and sharp turns in her dance steps.
In unison with her brisk steps around the shop, the wreckage were also made to return to its original forms and locations. The doll, which looked around the shop in inspection of her sweep’s completion, then returned to her original position without another stray thought.
“Would the next customer— Desire me?”
Seeming in anticipation for this moment, the light in the shop went off as the sign of life left the azure blue eyes.
As the intruders left the area, the “Dancing Doll” resumed her deep sleep.
Until the day that her fated love appears.
— Nightfall, [Underwood]’s bazaar.
The underground city, constructed from the excavation of the soil under the great tree, continued to be bustling with life as it was the few nights prior to the Harvest Festival. And in the bazaar, which saw no difference in the crowds be it night or day, a lone sign to restrict entry was set at the side to block the way into an unnatural crack in the cliff.
The fox girl who wore a smock-frock —Lily, stood before the board while clenching her fists tightly.
“It’s just as I thought. That brooch is really the cutest……”
*Pa Da Pa Da* Lily looked at the crevice while wagging her tails.
Besides the main Communities of Agriculture and Huntsmen, there were also Communities of the herdsmen tribes, performance, and many other visitors of various professions. Although the goods that they brought with them were unique and not shoddy in the slightest, it still felt a little lacking somewhere if it were to be given to Kuro Usagi as a present.
It was then that she had found the impossible existence— the shop which was located in the depths of the cracked ground.
The interior was decked with many luxurious decorations and filled with glittery goods which would surely dazzle the eyes of the beholder. It was in this shop, which was filled with goods which Lily could never hope to purchase with those exorbitant price tags, that Lily found a plain wooden brooch that sat in a solitary corner in the shop. It was a brooch that could not be called an exquisite piece of work but its pretty design was filled with a simple sense of a delicate beauty and she could tell that it is something that Kuro Usagi would like at first glance.
“Even if it is just that brooch, I wonder if I’m able to buy it……”
Mhm~, holding her head between her hands, she pondered over her troubles.
And the reason for her to be outside, trying to muster her courage, is due to her fear of the shop’s residents. Although there did not seem to be any ill-will from them, the muscle group that was overflowing with a lively bounce to them would surely trigger a biological sense of disgust.
Although Lily really wanted to make Kuro Usagi happy, much more than anyone else, she still needed someone to help give a push from behind.
“There are rampaging HORSSSSEEEEEssssssss!!!”
“There’s a runaway cow running WAIIIIILLLLLDDDD!!!!”
*Aye?* Turning her head.
In the next moment, due to the rampage of runaway horse and cow, Lily was sent flying into the crevice.
Kyah-! While screaming, she was sent rolling into the passage like a cart wheel. With two times the horse power than before, Lily was naturally sent rolling two times the distance into the passage and the back shaft of her head directly connected with the door in the deepest recesses of the place.
Standing up with much difficulty as her head swam and saw stars, Lily faced the posh looking black based doors with gold leafed patterns while steeling her resolve.
“……Let’s try this another time. Wait for me, Kuro Usagi-Onee-san!”
*Pi* Her kitsunemimi were perked up as she turned the handle of the door.
Lily, by herself, then opened the door to the dubious shop.
—[Underwood], Kitchen number 14.
Although it need not be mentioned at this point in time anymore.
Sakamaki Izayoi has a side that would stubbornly not concede defeat.
Although he was gifted with many congenital talents, it wasn’t as if he would always be victorious and not be defeated in any battles. Especially in the contest of culinary skills which was a very subjective matter, the times of defeat had been quite a number. He had also paid it no mind due to his assumption that the field of expertise was different for him.
However, the dinner for the previous night was slightly different.
Kasukabe Yō and Sakamaki Izayoi, the two who stood on the same ground as the main force of the Community. And it was in that contest with a person of the same position and of the same cooking style that the dishes were brought to the table for a judging between the superior and inferior of the dishes. Since Izayoi also concurred that those dishes were “better than mine”, then he must put in his utmost effort for the next time. Else it would not sit well with him.
“—okay. With this, it is done.”
With a look of satisfaction, he stood akimbo while confirming the dough.
The dish was the same as previously, a salty pumpkin pie. But the ingredients used for the pie was completely different from before. After all, the ingredients delivered to the Harvest Festival are of a superior quality that cannot be found on normal days.
Using the bacon smoked from the horned pig, cheese from the white cows, the Sakura Eggs and incorporated with the special margarine extracted from the pumpkins of [Will O’ Wisp] and many more.
In fact, there was this strong and intimidating presence in Izayoi’s shadow as he put his utmost effort into the preparation of the dish. Maybe and perhaps unfortunately, he might be more focused in this than in any normal Gift Games.
As one of the helpers for the dish preparation—Shirayuki gave a sigh in surprise.
“Hmph. My master, to go to this extent just for the dinner, it really shows the lack of magnanimity in you.”
“Well, it’s your mouth to say that. …… But come to think about it, I did ask you to slice the bacon into thin slices right? How did it become diced? This does not seem to be a problem with being just clumsy anymore.”
“This, this is the fault of the brat who asked a Divinity possessor to handle the kitchen knife!”
Shirayuki bared her teeth as her face was flushed red.
In the end, Izayoi concluded that she was of no help and only shrugged his shoulders.
He then placed the salty pie dough into the old-looking clay oven to be baked.
“Let’s test with one for now. It will be some time before it is done. Just in time Shirayuki, can you accompany me for a little?”
“The Gift Game Riddle that I’ve mentioned earlier. Although I’ve given it much thought, it is highly possible to be a lure and trap type of Game and it is for the best to destroy it before anyone participates in it by accident.”
—Mhm? Shirayuki slightly tilted her head.
“That’s a really rare opinion from one who’s always so confident. Not to clear but to destroy?”
“Aahh. It is the same conclusion that Garol oji-san and I came to after much discussion.”
Untying his apron, Izayoi made preparations to set out.
Shirayuki continued to frown in disapproval. For her, who have hosted many games as a Divinity possessor, this topic was definitely a bad one to hold.
—Gift Games can be broadly divided into two categories.
And they were for the purpose of commerce or the trails set by demigods and gods for Mankind.
Especially the latter, those kinds would mostly be difficult and arduous games. But the difficulty of the trial is also a way for the gods to show their confidence in their participants as well as their love. Although a trial might be made to be of a tough level, the game is hosted for the bestowing of their godly Gifts to others without any conditions attached. So there has to be some mercy attached to the game for the participants.
To say that the trial “should be destroyed because it is too dangerous”, would be a little hard to stomach.
“…… What an unpleasant topic. Isn’t there the method of restricting the participants instead of destroying the game?”
“I get what you are trying to say…… but that game will not do. That game does not have an established method to be cleared.”
—what? Shirayuki uttered her thoughts.
Izayoi supplemented the last portion as he pulled on his top.
“It’s also the first that I’ve heard from Garol Oji-san…… Shirayuki, have you heard of the [Game of Paradox]?”
—[Underwood], Office of the Alliance’s Representative.
Sala, the [Dragon Greif] Alliance representative, took a glance at the pile of documents that seemed to have accumulated to the size of a small mountain and sagged her shoulders as energy seemed to drain out of her.
“These are all the documents regarding the resistance against the Demon Lord that I will have to tidy up?”
The office table was not stacked with information concerning the activities of the Alliance. Instead, it was the information for the [Floor Master] to study, regarding the establishing of specialized departments required for the organization.
And those were the required information for the establishing of an [Anti-Demon Lord troop].
A [Floor Master] need not necessarily take a trip down to solve all the battles. It is also needless to say that there is a need for experts in various realms of game aspects when it came to battles with demon lords.
If one were to go into the detailed categories, it would be an endless topic. However, there were at least three major classifications for the troops.
The Military squad, Knowledge squad — and the Game Controller who will lead them through the Game to attain victory.
If one were to be a [Floor Master], the aspect of military might would not be a worry. Of course, to be able to prepare more personnel for that realm will definitely be welcomed, but there needs to be a minimum requirement for the strength levels.
However, the talents who possess knowledge about Little Garden and the other worlds would have to be nurtured from scratch. Even if the role of Game Controller were to be given to Sala, the Alliance would still lack talented individuals to provide knowledge required to clear the games.
“Then, that leaves the only option of taking it up myself. I will just give it a go and see what happens……”
Sala scratched her red head and sighed once more.
In the previous Community which she had belonged to— [Salamandra], the leader of the North, had specialized departments and that allowed her to slack off. However, there wasn’t any foundation of that sort in the [Draco Grief] Alliance. The only one who could be trusted to take on the task, Elder Garol was also unavailable for them to depend upon, as [Six Scars] have decided to break away.
……For all we know, it was due to their foresight of this problem that they decided to break away.
Just as Sala was thinking about these things while hugging her head, a knock came from the door of the Representative’s office.
“Sala. May we enter?”
“Asuka? Yes, you may, what’s wrong?”
After obtaining the permission, Kudou Asuka and Kasukabe Yō walked into the office.
After the courteous bow, Yō looked at Sala.
“…… Could it be that you are busy at the moment?”
“No, I was just in the middle of resting, while hugging my head. —Well then, is something the matter?”
Upon hearing Sala’s question, Asuka’s face broke into a dauntless grin.
“Regarding the Gift Game’s riddle that we went to look yesterday, we hope to obtain the permission to participate in it.”
“When we went there earlier, we found the sign that restricted entry, so we hope to obtain the permission.”
The duo cast their confident gazes at Sala.
Sala was deeply taken aback to the extent of gaping and staring at them with wide eyes.
“Could it be that you guys have unravelled the Game?!”
“Uh, Mhm Mhm. …… Although the one who unravelled it was Kasukabe-san.”
“Mhm. That kind of realm is one of the compulsory subjects in my era.”
Yō lightly clenched her fists.
She seemed to have a wise and learned side of her that did not seem to match her appearance. During the time of the Huge Dragon’s game, Yō had also used her knowledge and actions to unravel the game to the point of clearance. Greatly interested, Sala readjusted the position of her propped up legs while asking once more.
“This seems to be a very interesting topic. May I ask Kasukabe-san to talk it through?”
Mhm. Nodding and opening the copied out [Geass Roll].
The contents were as follow.
Yō pointed to the first “me” in the document.
“The first conjecture is that the “me” in this document does not refer to a particular person and let’s assume it to be a created item X.”
“The second conjecture is that the “father” is the creator who undergone various processes to achieve created item X, and they are the Creators A, B and C.”
“ “me” is said to be the same way each time but in contrast, the “father” is annotated in an indexed form. With these conjectures, it would then unravel the contradiction between the “me” and “father” in the document.”
Hearing Asuka’s supplement to the explanations, Sala nodded her head in admiration.
“I see…… So the reason for the numbered “father” is to hint at the point that the “me” is a man-made object, right?”
—Understanding up to this point, the riddle could be said to be almost unravelled.
The structure of this Gift Game was divided into three stanzas.
They were each describing a different construction progress.
The first stanza was on the failure of Creator A.
The second stanza is on the success of Creator B.
The third stanza is on the future of Creation X and Creator C.
Then, the host of the game would be — the creation from the research of those three times and might already be one that possess the spiritual attainment for anthropomorphization.
And she was afraid that it might even be an existence close to the concepts pertaining to the Gods or Demons.
“Through the research in the three eras to analyze and construct “a certain object”, that should roughly be the Creation X we are talking about.”
The knowledge problem would then come thereafter. The underlying tone of the stanza was a desire for a similar process to arrive at Creation X. Then, it would be solved if they were to gather the documents needed to provide the answer required by the riddle.
And in most cases, the first step to these sort of games would be to find the identity of the Host.
As long as the identity of “me” is understood, there would be hope of clearing the game.
While Sala was deeply impressed by their conjectures, Sala gave Yō an intrigued look.
“I’m impressed. You aren’t only stronger than expected for a girl, but you also possess such a great wealth of knowledge. That’s really impressive. …… Kasukabe-dono, do you have any dissatisfaction with your current Community?”
The duo squawked in their confusion.
Sala firmly grabbed Yō’s shoulder,
“Well, take for example, any dissatisfaction with your comrades, the lack of money, wanting to have a better place to stay or eat, any part of your living standards and such…”
“No, I don’t have any…… Lily’s cooking has always been tasty.”
“Oh, I see, I see. The treatment that Kasukabe-san is getting from the Community is mainly secured by food, is it? Regarding that point, there’s no problem at all. —-Just mentioning on the side, we, comrades of the [Draco Grief] always get the chance to have a scrumptious feast every night.”
“Wait, No, No will do, Sala! I will not allow you to continue in your touting and poaching.” At this point in time, Asuka then realized the goal of Sala and immediately interrupted her words.
Although Yō’s thoughts were confused by the sudden poaching and touting conversation, she still gave a bitter smile as she replied.
“Is that so…… Thank you for your warm welcome then, Sala.”
“Okay, leave it to me!”
“NO, This is not allowed! I will definitely not allow this!! [No Name] forbids poaching!!!”
Asuka hugged Yō’s head under her arm before retreating rapidly. The amusing part was that it was a real reaction stemming from anxiety.
Sala’s eyes were also narrowed and sharp like a predator and she was unusually serious about the matter.
Happily watching the two of them, Yō suppressed her desire to laugh as she looked towards Sala.
“Sorry, Sala, it would seem that [No Name] forbids poaching.”
“Uu…… Then, I guess that leaves me no choice. Even though the feast is only open to comrades of the Alliance only.”
“Wavering the hearts of others is also forbidden! Kasukabe-san is a hundred percent on our side—!!!”
In a certain perspective, Asuka, who sensed the situation to be worse than the threat of a Demon Lord, hugged Yō as they left the Representative’s office. Walking down the Great Tree while shouting those words.
Pretty serious about the poaching attempt, Sala then watched the retreating figures with a tinge of pity.
—However, her expression immediately changed upon remembering the matter that the duo were about to attempt.
“Drats……! Oi, is there anyone around?”
“Ye, Yes! Is something the matter?!”
“Immediately set out to the entrance of the Gift Game entrance and issue the warning for people to stay away from that area! I repeat, do not let anyone pass by that area!”
Receiving the orders from Sala, the subordinate frantically rushed down the Great Tree.
Confirming it once more, Sala flopped back onto her chair while hugging her head.
“With that sort of unique style in the [Geass Roll]……I’m afraid it might just be—“
—a Trial hosted with the use of an [Authority of Host Master]. And for it to have a unique style of poetry to mystify the contents, it would seem to be the work of a Host with quite a high spiritual power who pulls the strings in the background.
Hence Sala guessed that it is a trap type of Game created by a Demon Lord.
No matter how good Asuka and Yō may be in their talents, it was always better to have some preparation, just in case. Even if the identity of the enemy is understood, there still needs to be some preparation required to meet the problem.
“Mah…… I’ve already sent a person, I guess there won’t be anyone forcing their way in.”
Shaking her head to dismiss the uneasiness.
Readjusting her mood, Sala motivated herself as she restarted the battle with the pile of documents on her office table.
—[Underwood], Large crevice in the earth.
Lily was in the midst of opening the door when the same blinding radiance filtered out to strike her eyes.
There were countless indescribably elegant decorations and antiques placed upon the glass display shelves. Draped across the display cabinets, which were lined with ruby and gold rings, was an iridescent piece of tapestry that seemed to be a work produced with the finest techniques of craftsmanship.
A veil that emitted a fine radiance, which would not lose if it were to be compared to other precious metals, was unmistakably the work of a famous craftsman of some unknown lands.
Just a little distance away, in the forefront of the slightly too exquisite carpet, there stood a finely crafted antique made with the most detailed of techniques.
The entire room was efficiently utilized to display the items that ranged from large clothing racks, longcase clocks, and miniature models of water wheels that are powered by the principle of buoyancy, tumblers that do not stop rocking and many other items of unknown uses. The space was clearly larger than what it appeared to be on the outside.
Lily’s voice echoed in the shop which had no one else. However, that sound was not an amazed gasp from the sight of the amazing workpieces which lay before her.
What lay before her eyes were still the same gorgeous and luxuriously designed shop interior.
And it did not have any damages, when compared to the last visit.
Yes—Not a bit of damage at all.
“No …. No way……?!”
Lily’s low moan was closer to the feelings of horror. But that is to be expected.
Previously in this shop last night, the interior had been clearly destroyed and smashed up when Izayoi and the others escaped. The accessories that were the display of refined skills of craftsmen had been smashed while the closets were destroyed and the tapestry torn.
Even so, the current decorations of the interior were no different from the last.
Seeing the restored decorations just like the developing of photos from a film roll, Lily’s kitsunemimi drooped down timidly.
(This is…… a real Gift Game……! )
The radiance in the shop was no longer able to hide that strange atmosphere.
This was the Golden Demon mirror. The stomach of the monster that is famed for swallowing its prey whole with the lure of fame and riches.
Even though her young heart had felt that sort of malicious intent, Lily continued to cheer herself on to push forward into the shop.
Just as she had expected, the brilliantly lighted shop was devoid of human presence. And at the very depths of the shop was the azure blue eyed doll that sat on the shop keeper’s stool, holding the [Geass Roll] like before.
Beside the shop keeper’s stool, a table was displaying the item that Lily wanted.
“Found it! …… But just as I thought, I really can’t buy it right?”
Mhm~, she thought about it while wagging her two tails.
Not long after, someone struck up a conversation from behind.
“—what an intriguing customer. It isn’t gold and jewels that capture your fancy, but you would like that wooden craved brooch?”
Eeeya!? Giving a startled cry, she turned her head. Behind her was a doll which had an atmosphere that was completely different from before.
Those eyes were filled with the glow of a will, the skin was flushed like the coloration of blood vessels under the skin. Her steps were light and graceful, and her posture was the impeccable appearance of a maiden.
Even though she was startled by the doll that suddenly came to life, Lily continued with a timid question.
“May I ask…….Are you the Host of this Game?”
“You are mistaken. I’m the emcee for the Game and at the same time, I double up as the shop keeper of this shop house. My name is Coppelia. For the purpose of serving customer, I’m here to await orders. …… And, please kindly be quiet in this store.”
Lightly touch her index finger to her lovely lips, she advised Lily to be quiet.
*Pi* Knowing that the doll called Coppelia did not have any animosity towards her, Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up as she gave a small nod.
“That’s right. Just like that, young fox.”
After Coppelia nodded her head in reply, Lily leaned forward with sparkles in her eyes.
“Wuah……! It’s my first time seeing such a beautiful ningyo-san!”
*Pi!* Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up as she clasped her hands together.
Coppelia, who possessed eyes which could only be described as innocent-looking, accepted the forthcoming praise. Although there wasn’t a change in her expression, but in between the increased blinks of the eyes, she lifted her skirt slightly to perform a curtsy.
“I appreciate your praise, young fox. Your kitsunemimi are also quite attractive.”
“Is, Is that, right?”
“Yes. Just looking at those innocent and yet bold- looking kitsunemimi, it kind of gives me the impulsive idea to place my hands on my head.”
Hearing Coppelia’s confession, Lily giggled shyly. Although it was not known if it were to be an insult or praise, it seems that the duo had matching personalities.
Lily and Coppelia, who finished their self-introductions, then sat on the chair and started the conversation on the situation surrounding this shop.
“Coppe-chan, may, may I ask.”
“Aye? Ah, Mhm. Is Coppe-chan the owner of this shop?”
Coppelia had returned a question due to her surprise from receiving such an intimate nickname out of nowhere but Lily did not pay it any mind and continued with her question. Coppelia’s poker expression relaxed for an instant before recovering on her doll-like expression once more to answer the question.
“Yes. My role is to deal with all the activities concerning the sales in this shop. Although it only requires money to seal the trade deal.”
“Is that for real?! Then, can this brooch be sold to me ne……!”
*Pi!*<nowiki> With her Kitsunemimi perked up and eyes shining with excitement, she took out the brooch to show Coppelia. Coppelia silently accepted the brooch and looked down with a slightly troubled expression. “……this, isn’t a product to be sold in the shop.” “Aye?” “It is just a little carving that I’ve made to pass time. Hence it has no value what so ever to it. If you want it, you may take it, young fox.” Lightly placing it back onto Lily’s hands. But the two tails of Lily started to wag with a higher intensity as her gaze sparkled even more. “Coppe, this brooch was made by you?!” “Yes. But it is an inferior piece of work that is an eyesore……” “That’s, That’s not true! It’s a really kawaii brooch!” <nowiki>*Pi!* The kitsunemimi perked up as she gave her praise.
Her innocent eyes showed that there was no underlying intentions or crafty calculations to her words. Feeling touched by the frankness, Coppelia seemed a little troubled as her cheeks were flushed.
While looking at happily at the brooch, Lily suddenly remembered the other thing she had wanted to ask.
“…… Coppe-chan, why are you alone in this shop?”
Asking about the most obvious suspicious thing. But it was something that is supposed to be secret, right? Coppelia’s blushing face turned pale and hugged her slender man-made body, causing it to emit a sound.
While suppressing her intense feelings that were straining against her will, Coppelia calmly answered.
“Because….. I was abandoned. It is not by any other, but my father who had planned to create me.”
—Abandoned by a family member.
Those words struck a chord in Lily’s heart.
“Abandoned……by your father……?”
“…… Yes. My raison d’être is my father’s love. But that love has been long lost. The fathers who have gathered by my side are only interested in my value. But I’ve mistakenly taken it as a desire of Mankind for my existence and continuously wait for the person who can complete me. When such a fated person— clearly won’t come for me……!!”
Coppelia broke into tears.
The pain of losing her father’s love.
Unable to bear the pain of the degradation of her raison d’être, large droplets of tears flowed from her eyes.
(Abandoned by her father….. in this shop, alone……!! )
Although Lily did not know the full story and the reasons, the pain of such a deep loss was one that she understood fully.
Three years ago—when she had to part with her mother.
Lily still remembered how painful the parting had been. The pain of being abandoned by her family would likely to be a deeper and more intense one.
Lily timidly reached over to touch Coppelia’s hair, stroking her head to console her.
“It’s alright you know? My oka-sama has said it before. No matter how far we are, parents will always think of their children.”
“……That is just a fantasy, young fox. This shop is the place where all the abandoned are gathered. If you go further into the shop, you will find that the abandoned are full to the brim.”
“So…So it is like that, Mhm.”
In a sudden flash—that particular thing appeared in her mind, and Lily was struggling to focus on Coppelia’s words.
“Then, the [Geass Roll] that Coppe is holding is,”
“…… That is something prepared to search for the one who can complete me. But that game is—“
Ku! She unnaturally shut her mouth. Lily was unsure what that movement meant. But she understood that she should not let this doll be and ignore the situation.
Holding the hand of Coppelia, who had a sorrowful look in her eyes, Lily pointed to the exit.
“Coppe-chan, let’s leave this place. Even if you stay in this sort of place, there is no way for you to meet your new father.”
“……I can’t do that. If I were to escape…… That will attack……!!”
“No, No problem! If it is the muscled dolls, Izayoi-san will beat them down,”
“No, it’s not that……!! This shop is being guarded by a much more terrifying existence……!!!”
*Ka Chi Ka Chi* The slender body of Coppelia was shaking.
Soon after—*Saa* a dark grey wind blew between the two of them.
Lily tilted her head at the sight of that unnatural and visible wind.
But Coppelia’s reaction became more intense.
“Please, Please run away now, young fox!”
“That guy…… ‘End Emptiness’ is coming—!!!”
In an instant, the golden yellow shop house was surrounded by a dark grey wind.
The dark grey winds weathered away everything that made up the luxurious interior, seeming to rampage in its desire to swallow anything that has radiance. The violent winds that were capable of gluttony had immediately engulfed the duo.
—But who would have known.
This Wind is the strongest god killing Demon that is capable of wiping out hundreds of gods and demigods.
The formless Demon Lord called ‘End Emptiness’.
The spreading ‘natural disaster’ in Little Garden has also taken the world as its enemy.
The extensively gorgeous decorations of the golden shop interior — had finally materialized its true self as the embodiment of destruction.
Even amongst the Demon Lords, he was the real culprit for their classification as ‘natural disasters’. Because this particular Demon Lord is a ‘natural disaster’, and it does not have the same goals as the other Demon Lords.
Sometimes, it acted as the logic in a Trial.
Sometimes, it acted as the ravaging wave of trends.
An existence that is summoned from the end of time and leaves towards the direction of our memories.
Known as the Demon Lord ‘End Emptiness’.
It is a formless Demon Lord that causes faith to be abandoned, fear to be forgotten and research to be halted.
It did not matter that one might attempt to bring many noble aspirations to bear against ‘End Emptiness’. These winds would wear those objects and concepts that stand before it into dust as it is the arrival of the ends of time.
This dark grey Wind is the strongest god killing Demon that is capable of wiping out hundreds of gods and demigods.
“Please, Please hurry and escape, young fox!”
Coppelia’s expression was pale as she urged Lily to escape. But it was too late.
This shop had already been thrown into the ends of memories, just like the traces of dreams dreamt by brave warriors. It would require an equivalent price to get out of it—to surpass the trial and display a spiritual power that would never be ravaged by the waves of time.
Those who are not even capable of doing that much will have their souls swallowed up by the gaping jaws of ‘End Emptiness’.
The dark grey winds, which surrounded them from all corners, swooped in to assault the two young girls while baring its fangs.
“—Lily, get down!!”
A yell. The voice of a girl travelled to Lily’s ears.
The dark grey wind storm which was violently raking away at the golden shophouse.
Was blocked by a flash of sparkling wings.
“Wha….t, to halt the advancement of ‘End Emptiness’?! Who in the world is—-?!”
“Asuka, protect them! Shirayuki, provide cover!”
The two girls landed before a stunned Coppelia.
*Pi* Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up as she walked over to her two saviors.
“Asuka-san! Yō-san! Even Shirayuki-san! Why have you come to this shop,”
“That’s our line! Why would Lily come to this shop?! Didn’t we say that it is too dangerous for anyone to approach?!”
Receiving a chiding from Asuka, Lily’s kitsunemimi drooped weakly.
Shirayuki and Yō formed a Water twister to push back ‘End Emptiness’. But the flow of water that Shirayuki conjured was rendered ineffective, being dissipated like smoke, even without contact with the dark grey air.
Seeing that sort of bone-chilling phenomenon, Shirayuki turned pale and shouted,
“Ai Ai, what sort of unfortunate day is it?!! I’ve never heard of ‘End Emptiness’ residing in a specific location!!”
“…… ‘End Emptiness’?”
“It’s the name of this monster! It also has many other synonymous names in the world of Little Gardens where many gods reside! ‘Last Décadence’! ‘Greed Crown’! ‘The Cannibalistic Demon Lord’! The pure Demon Lord that engulfs the radiance of life, stars and the gods— that is the true face of this wind!!!”
Even as she shouted, Shirayuki continued to release a flow of water. But not only did it not stop the advancement of ‘End Emptiness’, it also dissipated upon contact and it wasn’t a phenomenon of evaporation.
If one were to cite an example— it would be similar to a storm that have the capacity to stomach all that the world’s artist palette has to offer. This is precisely that sort of wind.
‘End Emptiness’ had dyed the waters of Shirayuki into a murky grey.
“Do not touch the winds! These winds will swallow you up even if you have Gifts! Any sort of power will also turn to scrap before it! The instant that you come into contact with it, your spiritual power will undergo abrasion till it completely disappears……!”
Although Shirayuki knew that it was of no use, she continued to release a steady stream of water to protect Asuka and the rest.
On the other hand, Yō was using the shimmering winds produced from the ‘Radiant Winged Horse (Pegasus)” shoes to block the ‘Winds of Decadence’. But it did not work to repulse the onslaught. Just the power of the Pegasus is unable to stop the ‘Winds of Decadence’. After all, this wind is a Demon Lord that only allows a one-sided battle and will not be defeated.
Hence, Yō did not use her power—and was using the attribute of the ‘Winds of Decadence’ to protect the other three.
(— These dark grey winds seem to rage and ravage at the golden radiance in its gluttonous greed. It would also mean that these winds are also internally programmed to seek the congregation of light. )
But that was something that she could not confirm with all her certainty. It could only be said of as a desperate act.
If Yō’s speculation were to be off its mark, they would be completely swallowed up by the ‘Winds of Decadence’.
Facing the raging storm of gluttony, Yō felt cold sweat flow down her back as she took in the sight before her.
(This is the first time ever……that I’m seeing such a terrifying wind that I wouldn’t even dream of getting into contact with……!!!)
Yō did not know what kind of power the ‘Winds of Decadence’ held.
But the animal instincts within Yō were able to recognize the evil chills that were prophesying her defeat.
Those winds were a completely different sort of threat from the Demon Lords that they have faced so far, be it the Huge Dragon or the God of Death. If they were to engage in a head-on battle against it, there would be no chance for victory.
When the ‘Winds of Decadence’ started to devour at the shimmering winds, Yō grabbed the hands of the trio to take to the skies.
“Asuka! Lily! And…..you, the one whom I do not know! Hold on tight, we are leaving this shop now!”
“No, you can’t! If I were to leave this shop,”
“I will hear of your reason later! It is of utmost importance to escape now!”
“Mhm! Kasukabe! Lure the ‘Winds of Decadence’ to the depths of the shop!”
Yō gave her best to release a cluster of the shimmering winds to lure the ‘Winds of Decadence’ into the depths of the shop. In response to that radiance, the ‘Winds of Decadence’ had also pursued after the bait like a gluttonous wild beast.
In that interval of respite, the five of them escaped from the golden museum—the prison of memories.
— [Underwood], Main Guest Room
The streets of the Great Tree were lively and noisy due to the preparations for the Harvest Festival. And everyone was assembled within the main guest room, which had a view overlooking the large number of faerie folk who reside at the river banks.
When Izayoi was done with the preparations of the salty pumpkin pie and was about to make a trip to the shop, he had coincidentally met Asuka and Yō along the way and decided to hand Shirayuki over to them.
“YareYare…… I left it to you guys because of your spirited talk about having solved the game. Looks like it was a total defeat huh?”
Izayoi sat on a chair in the main guest room and shrugged his shoulders while mocking Asuka and the others. Although Asuka and Yō pouted their lips, they were unable to retort and decided to remain silent.
The five of them were then gathered in the main guest room with Izayoi and Garol.
After listening to the whole incident, a change came over the expressions of the duo.
With a brief soft whispered conversation between Garol and Izayoi, Garol then put on an especially serious look to gaze at Asuka and gang.
“…… I understand the situation now. It means that this doll is the target of the ‘Winds of Decadence’ right?”
“Then that makes things simple. Immediately return that doll to the shop right now.”
Garol immediately made his judgement in an imperative tone.
Lily’s kitsunemimi perked up agitatedly in protest.
“How can we do that?! IF we return Cope-chan to the shop now, she will be in danger!”
“It will probably be that way. But at this current state, the whole region of [Underwood] would be in threatened and dragged into the whole incident. ……In addition, our opponent is the ‘Winds of Decadence’. And it can be said to be one of the highest threats of natural disaster in the world of Little Garden. It is already assumed to be a monster that is deemed to be an undefeatable opponent, so what do you ladies want to do?”
Lily’s kitsunemimi trembled as she wagged her two tails in her intense protest. But a normal girl like her would not be able to come up with a counter measure for that sort of situation. And soon enough, her kitsunemimi and two tails drooped in silent disappointment.
Shirayuki also had a serious look but there was a slight difference to it.
“Strictly speaking, there is a way to chase away the ‘Winds of Decadence’.”
“Is that true?!”
“Uh, Mhm…… Fox girl, do you remember the color of the wind?”
Color? She tilted her head slightly as she countered with a question.
Shirayuki maintained her serious expression as she supplemented the explanation.
“The ‘Winds of Decadence’ is a Demon Lord that will have a change in its color in relation to its different power level. Black would mean that it is at its strongest while white would be at its weakest. The one that we met was at a shade of dark grey —I think we can assume it to be at the level of the five digits.”
“It is unable to ravage the low level spiritual powers. …… No, there’s a difference. To be accurate, it is more acceptable to say that ‘it does not allow the gluttony’.”
Seeming to speak to herself, Shirayuki mumbled softly.
Seeing Lily who was getting more confused by the moment, she pretended to cough before turning to face the others.
“The main thing is— ‘we need to have a Flag above that level to chase off those winds’.”
—not possible. Lily forcefully swallowed the words that were about to come out of her mouth.
A Community that is above the five digits would be a Community based in the upper echelons of Little Garden. The current [No Name] was one that was unable to borrow their flag based on previous relations.
Lily gripped the hand of Coppelia, who was bending her head in silence, while looking to Izayoi for help as she pinned her last hopes on him.
“Izayoi-san…… is there no other way?”
Izayoi crossed his arms as he allowed his consciousness to recede into the depths of his thoughts.
But he already knew the answer in his heart. If it is just as Garol says, that the ‘Winds of Decadence’ is an undefeatable monster, Izayoi was also doubtful about his ability to defeat it.
Be it the Star class spirit Algor, Death God Percher or even the Sun Dragon, he who had never felt a tinge of fear from those was now feeling uneasy about that sensation of ‘a certain something’ which was a class above all those.
Even if that is the case, if one were to continue in the attempt to save Coppelia—
“…… then we can only clear the game, is it?”
“Oi, Garol Oji-san. The ‘Winds of Decadence’ is a Demon Lord summoned to act as the logic of Gift Games right?”
“…… Mhm. From what I know, the game this time is of that sort of classification.”
“Good. Then comes Ojou-sama. Do you have Deen with you now?”
“Of course. But it is currently in the state of a destroyed single arm. An intense battle would be…”
“It is fine. I do not intend for it to go into battle. What’s left to confirm is—.”
Turning to face and grab Coppelia.
The silver haired girl continued to look down and not meet Izayoi’s gaze— but Izayoi forcefully cupped Coppelia’s face to lift it up.
Staring at the blue eyes at a close distance, Izayoi narrowed his gaze to observe it.
“Oi, you stupid doll. When are you going to quit sulking? Everyone’s here to discuss the problem of your situation, you know?”
“…… situation or whatever it is, there’s no need to discuss for you to know the answer as clear as day. As long as you return me to the prison of memories, it will be solved.”
“Ah Ah, right. That is the simplest and safest method. Ask a hundred individuals and a hundred would give that same safest course of action. Because even I’m thinking of it as the best method for this case.”
“But, you know? The little fox girl of my Community will never be able to accept that.”
Wha, Coppelia turned to look at Lily.
The silent but unbending will was transmitted through the action of the tight grip of the young fox girl’s hand over her own.
No problem— we will definitely save you.
“…… but it is impossible to clear the game! It means to clear the business of completing ‘me’! There have been many a hundred and even thousands who have researched and taken the challenge but are still unable to succeed. Because the ‘me’ is the final fantasy of the dream of Mankind—“
“The third perpetual motion mechanism. Although it was assumed to be workable, but it was taken to be an effort of building castles in the air and it was soon abandoned as a decadent theory of motion.”
Is that right? Izayoi smiled triumphantly while Coppelia was stumped, wide eyed and in shock.
But the ones who were more surprised by the unravelling of the riddle, were Asuka and Yō who had been listening quietly.
“…… Isn’t the answer to the Game, the Third Perpetual motion machine?”
“You are mistaken. The real answer to the game is the completion of the third perpetual motion machine. It is also precisely that, which cause the game to have no answer…… a Trial that cannot be surpassed. Hence it is what we call the ‘Game of Paradox’.”
In the world of Little Garden where many gods and deities gather, to set the answer as an uncompleted technique would not be breaking the rules.
Take for example the creation of the perpetual motion machine that has a paradoxical production process in the techniques. If it were to be incomplete, it would be seen to be a failure. In a lure and trap game, this would undoubtedly be the most horrid type.
Coppelia took on a lonely look as Izayoi’s figure was reflected in her eyes which were filled with self-blame.
“Is that so……You were summoned from the twenty first century huh. Then you should know about it right? The end of the Mankind’s dream for the perpetual machine.”
“……Aahh. About that point, I will offer you some sympathy.”
Izayoi released his hold and quietly nodded.
His voice had become gentle and perhaps this was his way of showing compassion.
—The third perpetual motion machine.
As the name suggests, it is a machine that is able to function indefinitely.
The final fantasy that mankind had faith of accomplishing by themselves.
It had become the highest peak of attainment for the masses of inventors who aspired for the accompanied wealth and glory that it would bring. However, following the change in the times, the perpetual motion machine had fallen to become a delusional project.
In Izayoi’s time of the twenty first century, the perpetual motion machine has already been taken as technique similar to building castles in the skies. Hence there were only a few who would aspire towards it.
Even though there continues to be people who chase after the project, they are by no means inventors who aspire towards the dream but are mostly con artists who hope to take advantage of this sweet dream of the perpetual motion machine. The dreams of those who actually believed in its existence have now transformed into a cash cow for a few evil doers.
She who had been known as the final point of mankind—the perpetual motion machine, Coppelia and her honor, glory and raison d’être were then sullied by the muddy footprints of those tainted by greed.
“The residue of the radiance in wealth and glory…. That is the true face of ‘me’. The existence of ‘me’ is a paradox in itself. With my existence as the premise, and given the name of a perpetual motion machine, I was prepared to be the Gift of the Trial and the existence that cannot be completed. Becoming the indefinite buffet bait for its insatiable gluttony.
To stop the ‘Winds of Decadence’, one can only attempt to clear the game and obtain the radiance of the perpetual motion machine—”
“That’s why I already said that I will give that radiance to you.”
—Wha? This time, Coppelia was truly speechless.
Izayoi gave a mischievous smile as he flicked at Coppelia’s forehead to proclaim.
“You stupid doll, what do you think this world is? It is the world of Little Garden, the playground that gathers all the gods and deities. The perpetual motion machine is definitely unattainable by the hands of Mankind alone…… but if we used Gifts, it might just become a similar existence.”
Coppelia pressed onto her red and swollen forehead as her gaze wavered in surprise.
Standing at akimbo, Izayoi declared to Coppelia.
“From today onwards, you will not be the perpetual motion machine Coppelia. But the new doll that [No Name] has created— Divine craft Perpetual machine Coppelia.”
—Crevice at the [Underwood] Harvest Festival Bazaar.
It was the time when the new moon had risen to its zenith.
There was an emergency evacuation order issued to the Harvest Festival Bazaar section and the still atmosphere reigned the surroundings currently. Despite the fact that it should have been the liveliest moment of the Harvest Festival’s Eve, the Great Tree City was silent, as if asleep. The only sounds that could be heard on the streets were that of the gurgling waters of the river and the rustle of leaves on the Great Tree.
In the heart of the Bazaar, which was difficult for one to associate with the Bazaar that was still being prepared just moments ago, there stood Kasukabe Yō, Shirayuki and the little fox girl, Lily.
“There’s still an hour to a day before the ‘Winds of Decadence’ spews out of the museum. Until Coppelia is complete, we will have to stop it.”
“Oi, don’t make it sound so simple. Even if it isn’t in its strongest state, that is still a pure Demon Lord, you know?”
Shirayuki looked as if she had just drawn the unluckiest fortune slip as she glared at Yō spitefully.
Busily wagging her tail that went pitter patter, Lily looked at them apologetically.
“I’m really sorry…… I didn’t think that it would come to this.”
Lily’s kitsunemimi were pressed flat against her head which was bending to look at the ground. Taken aback that her words were taken to be a complaint in annoyance for a drudgery, Shirayuki placed her hands on her hips while shaking her head to deny the assumption.
“Even if I may say so, that is not something that you should be apologizing for. …… Mhm. If I were to say it truthfully, it is quite admirable. That sort of chivalrous heart to fight for one’s friend is something that I would rate highly.”
Expressing her admiration, Shirayuki placed her hand on Lily’s head while stroking it together with the kitsunemimi, causing it to produce a soothing rustling sound.
Yō smiled at that scene, but slightly resumed her tensed expression.
“I will be counting on you guys to follow the plan then. Escape if it becomes dangerous. I will just handle the rest.”
“Mhm, you are the last line of defense. Don’t fail, okay?”
“Yō-san, we will count on you for the rest then!”
*Pi* Energetically perking her kitsunemimi and giving a bow.
Just when the trio were confirming their roles, there came a low rumble like a tremor originating from the crevice in the bazaar.
—[Underwood] Underground workshop.
“……Although we did talk about it the other time, it seems like we are still the ones to do the work, huh?”
Let’s rewind the time a little, the location is at the Underground workshop.
The one spoke was the strategist under the Flag of the Azure Flames, Jack o’ Lantern of [Will O’ Wisp], as they were below ground of the Great Tree.
Hearing the story from Izayoi, he bobbled his pumpkin head while turning his head left and right to look at Coppelia and the other doll— the Red Iron Doll crafted from Rare Sacred Iron, Deen.
Placing part of Deen’s fragments into the furnace, Jack gave a laugh in surprise.
“But to actually think of creating a perpetual motion machine mechanism? That’s a really unexpended request. I will state it now that I’m just a metal smith, you know?”
“I know that. But there isn’t any other Community for us to entrust this task to. Moreover, that also applies to the unavailability of Communities who can succeed in the project. …… You do know of the theories behind the perpetual motion machine mechanism right?”
In contrast to Izayoi’s challenging speech, Jack replied in a calm manner.
“About that. Hm, I do remember that it is a ‘mechanism that will continue to function without an input of energy from the outside’, am I right? But that is due to the laws of thermodynamics……After the law of entropy was established, wasn’t it concluded as an impossible task?”
“Regarding that point, as long as we utilise the rare metals of Little Garden, the problem would be solved. This is because Deen is the real life example of that.”
Yahoho? Jack tilted his pumpkin head as he pondered over it.
Asuka, who was awaiting orders, had also tilted her head as she asked Izayoi.
“Well, that…Izayoi-san, what do you mean?”
“It is just a simple theory. Ojou-sama, do you know of the principles behind the operation of a steam powered vehicle?”
“Don’t underestimate me that much. I still know of that sort of trivial stuff. ……Well about that, it uses the heat and pressure to move the wheels right?”
“That’s right. The steam powered vehicle’s engine is powered by the difference in temperature created from the burning of coal and it causes the piston to move. However, if there isn’t a difference in temperature, the piston will be unable to move and it results in a cut off of energy. This is the famous second law of thermodynamics. Also known as the principle of entropy.”
“…… Ye, Yeah I guess.”
Using an obscure response to pull herself through. This must have been slightly too much for a fifteen year old girl representing the Showa era to understand.
Izayoi bit back his bitter smile to turn his focus back to Jack to continue the topic.
“But if we were to use the Rare Sacred Iron, the problem would be solved. If I were to say why, it would be the attributes of that metal that allows it to extend and contract at will. If the most important component, the piston, were to be replaced by a material that had the characteristic of extending and contracting at will, it would be possible to create a simple design for the perpetual motion mechanism.”
*Don!* Jack hammered his fist on his palm as he nodded in understanding.
“Yahohoho! I get it now! If the structure were to be simplified to that extent, it would be no problem at all to leave the task of refining the metals to me!”
“Mhm. I will also provide some suggestions by the side for the structure and component crafting. The only problem left is…… whether Ojou-sama is willing to agree or not.”
Flashing a sidelong glance at Asuka. In Izayoi’s hands were the shards of rare sacred metal chipped off from Deen’s battle with the Huge Dragon. It would seem that it was a request for the permission to use a part of those shards.
The spiritual power level of the Rare Sacred Metal items were determined by the volume of its biggest expansion. Even if it were to be a few shards taken from it, the spiritual power of Deen would be reduced in the same small proportion.
“Hu……Is that the reason why you needed Deen?”
“Yes. Because if we do not have Ojou-sama’s permission, we will not be able to get to work. …… So, what do you say?”
Slightly unwilling, Asuka gave a sigh.
Seeing that, Jack gave a thumbs up as he thought of a good idea.
“Then let’s do it this way. In return for the permission to use the Sacred Rare Iron from Asuka-san, Izayoi-san will have to take on the whole cost of repairing Deen. What do you think about that?”
In the face of such a sudden suggestion, the involved parties gave a cry in surprise.
The reaction of Asuka was especially larger. Her unsatisfied expression from before was changed as she gripped Jack’s hand to exclaim excitedly.
“Could it be that Deen can be repaired?!”
“Yahohoho! That’s a simple task! Although the additional refinery of the Rare Sacred Iron is a little troublesome, it should be alright to get it done within a month!…… Mah, but it will just have a considerable amount charged for it.”
— Flashing a sidelong glance at Izayoi.
At this end, albeit having a disgruntled expression and scratching his head, but since the person who had requested was none other than Izayoi himself, he raised his hands in defeat as he gave a bitter smile.
“OK, got it. If you do not mind the payment to be made later, I will take on the whole cost.”
“Yahohoho! Of course, it is of no problem! We accept the method of payment in a one off full payment or even a thirty six installment system.”
Jack bobbled his pumpkin head as he laughed heartily. It might even be possible that the one who got the most out of it is this pumpkin head monster.
On the other hand, Coppelia was lying on a chair in the workshop, waiting quietly for the operation to begin.
(Rare Sacred Iron….. The iron that retracts as willed. If it were to be utilized, it would no doubt complete the perpetual motion machine mechanism. Even though that would not be counted as a lone accomplishment by Mankind.)
Shaking her head, seemingly in an attempt to rid herself of all the unhappy feelings in her heart.
It wasn’t the time to be concerned about those stuff. The current priority is to chase away the ‘Winds of Decadence’. As long as that is not accomplished, she did not have the qualification to ponder about the future.
(Young fox. It’s just as you said. I’ve always prayed for the fated person to find ‘me’. But if I really wanted to realize my dream…… it should be ‘me’ looking for my fated person.)
For that, she would abandon her own reserved attitude.
She needed to escape the shackles of the glory in the distant past.
Now was the time for her to leave the prison of memories to move onwards on her own.
“Then, it is time for the modifications, have you prepared yourself, Coppelia-san?”
“—yes. I will be in your care, Pumpkin smith.”
Currently at the Harvest Festival’s bazaar, the rampaging tyrant’s low roar echoed from the depths of the area.
This Demon Lord did not have any goals or sanity.
Yō and Shirayuki instantly entered their combat stances as they watched the depths of the Crevice.
“…… It’s coming. Both of you, be prepared!”
Obeying Yō’s orders, Shirayuki and Lily lighted the torches in the vicinity.
The bazaar which was lighted by the lights casted by the torches illuminated the large amounts of combustible materials and wood that were stockpiled at the sides.
“The wind has an attribute of seeking light! Try your best to make it disperse and shave away at its strength!”
With that, the trio dispersed in different directions. Lily continuously ran to light the wood smeared with oil while Shirayuki headed to the small hill of waste wood.
Equipping her Pegasus leg guards, Yō cloaked herself in a glittery wind to take to the skies.
To disperse the winds in from left, right, up and down, it would only slightly reduce the damage wrought by the ‘Winds of Decadence’.
(In the worst case scenario, Garol said that he would bring Coppelia back to the shop. We got to buy more time to prevent that end.)
Looking towards the observation deck of [Underwood] from the skies, it was the place where Garol was observing them. In the case that Yō, Lily or any others were to be in danger of being caught by the winds, he would immediately take action.
To prevent the situation from progressing to that point, Yō needed to command the duo.
(……Here it comes! )
From a tremor that quaked the earth to an explosion, the Demon Lord, who devoured all of the radiance in the shop, showed itself as it blew apart the black doors to stream out from the crevice in the land.
Just the aftershock of that blast was enough to cause the crevice to collapse and the gluttonous ‘Winds of Decadence’ erased all traces of the earth that came into contact with it. However, it would seem that devouring more earth would not be able to sate its hunger.
Lily and Shirayuki, who were lighting up the combustible materials continuously, gave cries of surprise.
Wanting to possess and have a taste of that blinding radiance emitted by the Pegasus boots, the ‘Winds of Decadence’ ignored the puny lights of the bonfires and zoomed in on Yō as its prey.
The unexpected turn of events caused Yō to panic but she knew that she should not remain in her original location in a daze.
Immediately manoeuvring in the air, she unleashed the shimmering winds in all directions.
“In this situation……!”
What should I do? Yō used all her might to lure the ‘Winds of Decadence’ into her waltz.
Unfortunately, the effect was too little. Even if it did manage to disperse it somewhat, the aggressiveness of the ‘Winds of Decadence’ in its pursuit only increased. Hence Yō finally realized the real aim of the enemy.
(This wind…… is trying to devour me!! )
No matter how blinding her shimmering winds are, they were all insubstantial and devoured like fog, unable to appease its hunger. Having had its appetizer in the form of the golden museum, the gluttonous winds were lusting after the shimmering winds that was decided to be the prey for the main dish.
In this sort of direct confrontation, it would only be a matter of suicide.
Understanding that the situation was not advantageous for her, Yō turned tail to run from the ‘Winds of Decadence’.
“This, This is bad! If she is targeted, she will not be able to escape!”
The two gave similarly pained cries.
Yō, who was chased by the rapidly nearing threat behind her back, was also shivering from the thoughts of the end that shall befall if she were to be caught by the wind. Dying without a trace as her body would be devoured to nothingness.
She released her shimmering winds towards her back with all her remaining strength. But to the ‘Winds of Decadence’, this was only an exaggerated show of might that only needed to be dyed with its own color and destroyed before discarding.
(I was too naïve……! Even if it did not have any intellect, this wind is also a Demon Lord……!!! )
Yō ran till her forehead was streaming with perspiration but the distance between them continued to close rapidly.
(I can’t make it…… It’s inevitable—!!! )
In the instant that the fingers of Death were to be clamped onto Yō’s head.
The fiercely pursued target of the dark grey winds disappeared.
“—Oi Oi. That’s too early to give up, Kasukabe!!”
The figure that moved at a speed sufficient to combust the air in the atmosphere had used the branch of the Great Tree as a foothold to make the full powered jump.
Izayoi then landed with Yō in his arms with a force sufficient to shake the 500 meter Great Tree.
Standing like a Nio in the large crater, Izayoi gave Yō a mocking smile.
“Aiyaya, that really scared me. Because Kasukabe gave people the impression of having more guts than that. I really didn’t expect you to be so quick at cutting off that bravado.”
“……Mu. If Izayoi thinks that way, why not try having yourself chased by that?”
“Well, I will politely decline that offer. Although it is just a glance, I see that it truly is a little different. I would not want to have a direct confrontation with it. — Moreover, all the players have assembled.”
Izayoi looked towards the sky. The dark grey storm that was fiercely pursuing up till a moment ago had collected itself into a slow billowing clump.
Directing its will to look at the observation deck of [Underwood].
The formless Demon Lord was looking at— with a brilliant head of silver hair that waved in the wind, the azure blue eyed Coppelia stood at that location.
“Sorry to make everyone wait. The operation has safely ended. And—“
Coppelia unfurled the goatskin parchment.
At the same moment that the goatskin parchment [Geass Roll] radiated a blinding light, it also underwent a tremendous change to become a huge Flag that flew above [Underwood].
“—The game is cleared. ‘End Emptiness”, you do not have the means to destroy me anymore……!!”
Emblazoned on the Red based cloth of the Flag were the overlapping design of Gears and the petals of a budding fantasy.
That flag was the evidence of immense wealth and glory.
Representing the undying petals of Mankind’s last fantasy.
The Flag of the Community— [Last Embryo]
“Depart with haste, ‘End Emptiness’. The ‘paradox Game’ of — the never ending dream of ‘me’ has ended. If you continue to show your presence here, you will be seen to be breaking the rules. Even if you are an undefeatable Demon Lord, you will still be hard pressed in escaping the fate of being chased out of Little Garden.
Coppelia emitted a silvery radiance as she announced calmly. There was not a shred of melancholy and it was just as though the dream doll that mankind have dreamed off in the past was now standing before them.
The formless Demon Lord stopped in the airspace above the city, shifting restlessly like its balance had been thrown off.
— Indeed, the contract had ended. But it would seem that this whole region was about to become mountain load of food.
Suppressing its havoc, the movements were similar to the licking of one’s lips, just like an internal struggle against its hideous desires.
Want to eat,
Want to eat,
Want to eat. Its stance was similar to a hunting dog that was salivating.
Looking up from the city and noticing that stance, Izayoi couldn’t bear it anymore as he clicked his tongue and roared.
“OI, You formless Demon Lord-sama. If you try to tear up the agreement and go on a one-sided rampage— we on this end will also be using a similar rule breaking ability to mete judgement on you, alright?
Instantly, a bright light was emitted from Izayoi’s right hand.
The light from his hand was comparable to the intensity of the Sun and it illuminated the whole city in the night.
Even though the Dark grey Demon Lord was a little disturbed by the unexpected radiance, it did not seem to withdraw its presence. Instead, that presence was gradually filled with a sense of joy.
—A special dish was found this time. The Demon Lord that was, logically speaking, without a form had laughed.
In the instant that did not even feel like a fraction of a second, it seem to give the feeling of having smiled in that storm but it disappeared without a trace in the next second.
Just as ‘End Emptiness’ swelled up, it then shot off in a straight light towards the centre of Little Garden—leaving towards the world Axis.
The path of ‘End Emptiness’ ripped through the sea of clouds and swallowed the starlight from amongst the clouds.
“……I guess this marks an end to this business, right?”
“I guess, so?”
Yō echoed Izayoi’s words. Although the situation had gone out of expectations, but the damage was limited to its smallest and there could be no better result than that. Izayoi stood akimbo as he looked up at the starry skies with a satisfied look while slowly shifting his gaze towards [Underwood].
Seeing the eternal buds emblazoned on the flag of [Last Embryo], he mumbled in an emotional moment.
“A perpetual motion mechanism…. Eh? Ha, although it is said to be abandoned, it sure is ridiculous. Because Mankind who had struggled to make those petals bloom have already built the twenty-first century.
Izayoi narrowed his eyes as he reminisced his past.
—The huge hydroelectric facility that towered over the Iguazu Falls which he had seen during his younger days.
To recycle the energy of the great river that circulates the planet to convert it into a form of energy for the illumination of the streets. That sort of technique is only something that Man can achieve only through the basics found in the pursuing of the perpetual motion mechanism dream.
Perhaps it is not possible to create the perpetual motion mechanism by Man’s abilities alone. But with the accompaniment of great will and the prosperity of the years, that radiance of the flag would not be too exaggerating to be called the radiance obtained by Man. Just as he was filled with the emotions from watching the [Last Embryo]’s flag, he noticed the figures of Lily and Shirayuki rushing over from the distance.
“Izayoi-san—! Yō-san—! Are you two alright—?!”
“Oh, we are alright over here.”
“Although it was a little dangerous.”
Panting as she ran over, Lily wagged her tails with a pitter pattering sound.
Letting Yō off from his arms, Izayoi then spread his arms in a smile.
“Okay, now that the problematic stuff is resolved, to substitute the celebratory dinner, would you guys like to have some Pumpkin Salty Pie?”
—[Underwood], VIP Quarters
The group who repulsed the ‘Winds of Decadence’ were having a happy conversation in the VIP quarters while getting a serving of Izayoi’s baked Pumpkin Salty Pie as their dinner.
The warm moist and fragrant smell was enough to relax anyone’s cheeks. Identifying the grilled white cow cheese within the pastry, Yō’s eyes were sparkling as she looked at the crust of the pie.
“Ooh~…… This is packs a punch. Looks like this is much tastier than the Pumpkin Salty Pie you made yesterday.”
“Of course. That’s because all the ingredients are the choicest picks of the Harvest Festival ingredient supplies.”
“Yahohoho! It’s because of the ripe pumpkin that we have provided as well! Of course it would be tasty!”
Izayoi responded with a loud laugh while Jack replied with a proud laugh of a Yahoho.
Lily, who sliced up the Pumpkin Salty Pie into divisions, handed a slice to Coppelia on a plate.
“Here, Coppelia’s plate.”
“Thank you, young fox. ……It’s all thanks to you that I get to be here, having this meal with everyone.”
“No, that’s not true! Izayoi-san and Yō-san were the ones who helped you.”
“That’s not true. Although I would really want to repay the debt…… but the embarrassing thing is that the only possession that I have is this body of mine. It will be my pleasure if you have something that I can help out with.”
Coppelia bowed her head as she touched her chest with a troubled look.
But Lily’s eyes sparkled and her kitsunemimi perked up,
“Then, I would like you to sell me that brooch! I have someone in mind whom that accessory would really match, I would like to gift it to that person as a present!”
“But, young fox, that brooch…. If it were to be given a price, it would be quite a sum, you know? Because the material that the brooch was carved from was a piece of divine wood.”
Uu, Lily felt silent as she began to look troubled. Seeing her like that, Garol spoke up to offer a solution.
“There’s no way around it then. If kitsune ojou-chan is willing, I can help you find a few jobs, you know? Another helping hand is always welcomed in the hosting of the Harvest Festival.”
“Ye Yes, I’m really thankful!”
*Pi!* Her kitsunemimi perked up. Lily turned to face Coppelia,
“My oka-san has always taught me that we need to pay an equivalent price for another’s efforts. Since the crafter of the brooch is Coppelia, if I do not pay an equivalent price for it, I would be turning my back on my teachings.”
Mhm! She clenched her fists spiritedly.
Bowing her head in embarrassment, Coppelia gave a smile to seal the deal.
As everyone were seated at the dining table with a plate of salty pie before them and at the instant when their hands were clasped in prayer— the situation took a sudden turn.
“Wuaaaahhhh! There are rampaging strong men dolls AAAAAaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!”
The belligerent cries of that sort were sounding throughout the Underground City.
As Izayoi stopped in his act of delivering the salty pie to his mouth, he turned his cold gaze to Coppelia.
“…… Oi, that mass of muscles aren’t a part of the Game?”
“That’s a nice joke. Those are just the materialization of a certain item that has been released into the realms of the memory.”
“Houeh. Then they are of your kind?”
“…… That is a really interesting joke you have, Mister. Even if you are my benefactor, I will not ignore that sort of insulting comment.”
“Then that’s really interesting. Show me a little power of that perpetual motion machine. The Game will be called <<~The Strong Men difficulty level Hunt~On the eve of the Harvest Festival>> How does that sound?”
Although annoyed as she was, Coppelia nodded her head at Izayoi’s suggestion.
Still in the position of ‘almost taking a bite’ of the salty pie, Asuka and Yō sighed in annoyance.
“That game…… could it be that we need to turn up for it as well?”
“At, At least let us finish the pumpkin salty pie before,”
“Stop talking nonsense. Of course, the female camp will have to make an appearance as well.”
Izayoi grabbed the collars of the desperately struggling duo and wearily dragged them to the window,
“No matter which world it is and of any time period, great men have always said this— ‘Those who do not work, do not get to eat’—-Here!”
And threw them from the branch of the Great Tree into the crowd of strong men.
- [BionicMeerkat notes - Fox ears. Kitsune = fox. Mimi = ears.]
- [magrefnotes: woah, so many different usages of ending sounds… learning up a little to help with the accents. Quoted from nice gaijin (“What does “…ne”” mean, 2006): ne, when placed at the end of a sentence, tends to soften the expression and make it seem more like you are inviting the other party to indicate either that they confirm what you have just said, or that they have merely been listening to you (known as 相槌 あいづち). In terms of placement, it is similar to “yo,” but its intended meaning is quite different. ne can be used all by itself, as a way to get someone’s attention, usually to ask a question, such as Bucko’s “hey” example. (comment para 4) Source: http://www.jref.com/forum/threads/what-does-ne-mean.25458/]
- [magrefnotes: Cool, didn’t realize that it was called a smock-frock. According to Wikipedia, it refers to the outer garment traditionally worn by rural workers, especially shepherds and waggoners. An apron like dressing and a frock under it. Lily’s dressing.]
- [magrefnotes: According to the mixture of information from the ch translator and Wikipedia, Tairō is the position for officials in the Edo era of Japan when they work for the Tokugawa shogunate. Literally meaning great elder. Roughly comparable to a prime minister in today’s context. Second in command to the shogunate.]
- [magrefnotes: Red Lotus TL says: This ‘atmosphere of decadence’ is actually translated from ‘the winds of decadence’]
- [magrefnotes: I really dunno how to translate this o_O, tried the web to search for the term to describe ‘one eye big, one eye small’, requesting for suggestions, there are some who say that it refers to a confused face.]
- [magrefnotes: it is metaphorically referencing to a game of soccer. I think this sounds like right, but I do not play soccer nor watch it, so I’m not confident about the phrase usage.]
- [magrefnotes: I translate the sound of the perked up ears as pi. The word pronunciation would be beng in Chinese, but I’m sure that is not the same in Japanese. Looking for help with the sounds.]
- [magrefnotes: entrée the starters course.]
- [magrefnotes: itadakimasu is like Let’s eat/ I humbly receive, I will be tucking in. I converted it back to Japanese because my guess is that the meaning is lost if I translate the Chinese version which would be ‘I won’t stand on occasion then.’]
- [magrefnotes: waterwheel http://www.the-philosopher.co.uk/miniwaterwheel1.jpg]
- [magrefnotes: should I change it to japanese as Tsuyoi Dansei Dolls? Strong men dolls sound weird… XD but it is supposed to be weird :P]
- [magrefnotes: please note that the sound of charging bravely and WUOOOOHHHHH sounds alike in jap.]
- [magrefnotes: Coppelia is a ballet play about a story of a doll maker and yeah, dolls.]
- [magrefnotes: Just a little side information, the phrase for clear and destroy is just one character difference, so it is a pun or something that I will not be able to catch in English. ]
- [magrefnotes: the ch translator wrote the English as Dragon Greif, and I think that means it is in the real text as well… but just gonna use Dragon Greif for now. The other names will still be Draco Greif.]
- [magrefnotes: I got no idea what the Golden Demon mirror means but there seems to be an acclaimed Japanese epic about the destructive powers of wealth on the lives of 2 starcrossed lovers in medieval Japan written by Koyo Ozaki, Konjiki Yasha 1953.]
- [magrefnotes: Ningyo means doll in english… just for fun in japanese…or it would be doll-san maybe these conversation parts may need to have a font size decrease or something, but just a suggestion. My guess is that these are all whispers.]
- [BionicMeerkat notes - the most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence.]
- [magrefnotes: the direct translation of the phrase End Emptiness would have been Winds of Decadence.]
- [magrefnotes:“徘徊的末世论（Last Décadence）”direct translation is (The wandering eschatology)！According to wiki, Eschatology, from two Greek words meaning “last” (ἔσχατος) and “study” (-λογία), is the study of ‘end things’, whether the end of an individual life, the end of the age, the end of the world and the nature of the Kingdom of God.（ch translator’s note：Décadence，has the meaning of decay.“最尽头的暴君（Greed Crown）”can also be directly translated as ‘The Tyrant of the Ends of Time’]
- [magrefnotes: This point onwards, I’m using direct translation of winds of Decadence instead of End Emptiness. Faster for me to direct translate.]
- [magrefnotes: Although translated to my Community in this case, it can also be translated into my household, my home, my family.]
- [magrefnotes: decadent was used even if it sounds too big a word for this description. As the ch translator noted, it might be possible that the author is hinting at the possible relation between the theory and the winds itself.]
- [magrefnotes: they used 参谋, I’ve always translated it as strategist. But the direct translation would be at staff officer in the military. According to wiki, the role played by this position would be the administrative, operational and logistical needs of the unit. Looking for a term to replace strategist.]
Might I suggest using "tactitian" instead of strategist?