This will be our last chapter, since a another translation suddenly came to light, which is already halfway through volume 2. Check it out if you’re interested.
And thus, the world interchanges
Reddish brown-colored ground.
On this wasteland, dotted with heavy rocks and pebbles, there was no presence of any living being. Barely any bushes or grass were springing forth from this harsh ground—
A single gun truck was parked there, heavily armored and equipped with autocannons.
“2pm. Perfectly on time.”
Jumping down from the load-carrying tray, the patrolling soldier—Kai Sakura Vento took out his binoculars.
The boy’s age was about 17, and he had dark ultramarine hair, with similarly colored eyes. His body was protected by the Humanity Protection Agency uniform and said body, undergoing rigorous training every day, packed sensible strength and determination.
“Beginning the observation of the ‘graveyard’. Saki, Ashlan, you too.”
Past the leveled ground, Kai was peeking through the binoculars, gazing at a bizarre structure.
A jet black pyramid.
A triangular pyramid, its corners cut perfectly. With the surface being black on top of black, this structure naturally stood out in this reddish brown wasteland.
“I told you, no irregularity.”
Resting his legs on the dashboard, the young man gave a listless complaint.
Ashlan Highrole, one year older than Kai at 18 years of age, is also a fellow patrolling soldier with a respectable height.
“Nothing’s happening. Right, Kai?”
“It’s only been 70 seconds. We’re ordered to observe the graveyard for 300 seconds.”
Graveyard was the name given to the jet black pyramid. The structure that Kai was peeking at with his binoculars, reached up for about 200 meters and could rival current super-sized buildings. Kai was currently observing this pyramid that could reach the heavens.
“Look, it’s been 300 seconds already. Nothing’s happening.”
“It’s only been 170.”
“Ah……man. Isn’t that enough already? If I’m riding in a car this long, my motion sickness is gonna come bite me in the ass, so I’d like to get this over with as fast as possible.”
Writing ‘No Irregularities’ on the report paper, Ashlan limply leaned back into the passenger seat. Kai on his part let go of the binoculars.
“…Y-Yeah. As stuck-up as always…”
“Reporting. No irregularities at the Ulza Federation’s graveyard. The demons are perfectly sealed.”
Letting out a deep sigh, Ashlan turned towards the driver’s seat.
“Hey, Saki, you say something as well. We’ve gotten no irregularities yesterday or today, and I tell you, we ain’t getting any tomorrow either.”
The girl called Saki, with orange-colored hair, lifted her body up. Chewing on her favorite gum, she had a tendency to feel relaxed when she could lean against the driver seat and steering wheel.
“What’s it matter? If Kai’s doing it seriously, then we can take it easy.”
“I’m saying that there’s gotta be a limit to being this stuck-up. It’s been 100 years. A 100 years! Did the records mention even a single one of those sealed-in bastards escaping? Huh, Kai?”
“We’re here to observe and to make sure that one escape doesn’t happen.”
“…………Logical. But my shoulders are getting stiff here,” added Saki, biting down on her gum. “What’s it matter if we’re the only region that does it seriously? There are four other graveyards in the world after all.”
“The other regions are watching their respective graveyards just as diligently as we are of course.”
Responding to the complaint, Kai headed back towards the gun truck.
“It’s an important mission, even if it’s just a one in a million chance, it would be a disaster if any demons actually managed to escape.”
Four of these jet black pyramids existed in this world. These so-called graveyards act as a prison for the other races that humans had to battle before.
—Being able to wield powerful magic, the demon race.
—Consisting of beings such as angels, elves and dwarfs, the foreign deities.
—Owners of peculiar, ghost like bodies, the spirit race.
—With dragons at their peak and consisting of giant, powerful beasts, the mystical beasts.
With strength that overpowered human intellect, humanity had to live in fear of those four races. However, around 100 years ago, their counterattack succeeded.
Including the humans as the fifth race, history’s greatest war, the Great War of the Five Races, ensued. Through this war, humanity managed to seal the four other races into the jet black pyramids called ‘graveyards’.
Ever since, humans have continued to assiduously observe the graveyards like this.
“Oh right. Kai, I almost forgot something important.”
Saki brought her body forward, still sitting in the driver’s seat.
“The gift for Jeanne’s promotion, we were talking about a present before.”
“We’re still in the middle of our duty. Sorry, but leave that for later.”
“……Hmpf. I’m telling you, nothing’s happening anyway! It’s fine to talk about it now!” Saki raised her voice in protest.
On the passenger’s seat next to her, Ashlan was still leaning back.
This was the current mentality, ‘the world is at peace’. The four races should have no hopes of escaping from the graveyards—
Not just Saki or Ashlan, it was the general opinion of every soldier in his or her twenties. One could say that Kai was the rare exception.
“Even if nothing’s happening, I don’t want to let my guard down. Although half of it is just my stubbornness.”
Saki and Ashlan certainly weren’t lazy per se. Her opinion was perfectly justified. One wouldn’t expect that those graveyards, which had stood strong for about 100 years now in sealing the other races, would just crumble and collapse the very next day.
There was a particular reason why Kai couldn’t let his guard down when it came to those graveyards.
“It’s because I saw them.”
Ten years ago, he had fallen into the demon race’s graveyard. He saw them, the demons, squirming and crawling within the walls of this very pyramid.
“We’re talking about that again? Both Ashlan and I have heard that story 20 times already.”
“I’m telling you, it was just your imagination. Falling into the graveyard and then being saved? That pyramid is the demons’ nest, you know?”
Just as Ashlan stated, even Kai thought that it was a miracle that he had survived. Despite all that, he was still standing here, alive and well. Being assaulted by countless demons, the young Kai lost consciousness and when he woke up, he was found laying outside the graveyard. However, there was nothing to prove his memories were true.
…That intense pressure from the demons. That couldn’t have been my imagination. There’s no way that it was a dream.
The fear that he definitely felt was from the demons. Even if the people around him don’t share the same opinion, the possibility of those powerful demons breaking free of the graveyard’s seal was more than probable. And Kai decided he had to be prepared for said counterattack.
Therefore, for the past ten years, Kai had been undergoing training more rigorous than anybody else. Using every free minute at his disposal, he immersed himself in his training even during his dinner and bathing time. Even receiving the title ‘training freak’ from his superior, that’s how Kai was.
“Kai would have been seven or eight at that time, right? With only one entrance to the graveyard, there’s no way that the guards around it wouldn’t have spotted you.”
“Not to mention the surveillance cameras. Kai, you weren’t shown on them, right?”
There were no eyewitnesses for Kai’s fall. Even the adults that were with him said that they ‘don’t remember anything’.
“I’m telling you, it was a dream, you know? A dream. A scary dream you saw when you were a kid! Did you forget about the face our instructor made when you told him this in a super serious manner?”
“No, I remember perfectly.”
Yup yup, Saki nodded.
“It’s just a slip of your memory, Kai.”
“Leaving that aside, we can’t abandon our duty to watch over the graveyard.”
“Gaaaaaaaah?!” Both Saki and Ashlan raised their voices.
“Let’s report back to the headquarters. 2pm observation, completed. No irregularities at the graveyard.”
Kai said so, without paying attention to his coworkers as he looked back at the graveyard.
The Humanity Protection Agency—
Standing victorious at the end of the Great War of the Five Races, humanity created the anti foreign races institution to prepare for the what-if.
What if an irregularity occurred at the graveyards?
What if the four races managed to escape from graveyards and attacked humanity?
What if the Great War of the Five Races broke out anew?
Following the invention of weapons with great firepower, the construction of highways and railways, the world’s greatest powers formed the Humanity Protection Agency. It implemented mandatory military service:
Every citizen was made to attend two-years of military service as a soldier at the Humanity Protection Agency, which was accompanied by fitting training.
That being said, it was a rather old system. The ones that were still diligently undertaking this role were few in numbers.
“Ahh, so tired. I’m taking a break now!”
At the training space of the Humanity Protection Agency. In the corner of that room, Saki, who was clad in running-wear sat down on a bench.
“Your enemy’s a machine doll, you know? If we hit them, our hands abrade, and if we miss a dodge, we’ll get fractured bones. I’m not putting up with this anymore! This is way too ridiculous!”
“Kai, you listening?”
“The mythical beasts are that kind of race, so you can’t help it.”
Standing in front of Kai was a machine doll, modeled after a giant three meter tall dragon.
What if the mythical beasts managed to escape from the graveyard?
This special training existed for this scenario, but the majority of people agreed with Saki’s opinion that ‘This is useless!’.
—There is no way to win.
In the records of the great war, the skin of the dragons, who stood at the apex of the mythical beasts, could even withhold a gun shot of a cannon-equipped tank.
“You’re right, this might be a bit meaningless.”
Contrary to his words, Kai dashed under the machine dragon’s legs.
“Hey, Kai?!” Saki’s scream could be heard.
If he made one misstep, his spine would be crushed. Ignoring the impending risk, he nonetheless closed in, heading towards the legs as thick as logs and, sinking down with his whole body— Hurled himself forwards with all his strength.
Arts (Four World’s Fighting Style)! The Martial Arts, techniques taught and adopted by the Human Protection Agency to fight the other races. However, the machine dragon showed no reaction to Kai’s attack that utilised these Martial Arts.
“……Didn’t work, huh.”
“What are you doing?! You’ll die if you get trampled! And also, didn’t the instructor tell you countless times that you’re not supposed to use the mystical beasts machine without supervision?!”
“I’ve gotta be prepared to take a risk if I want to make an impact.”
“…Goodness. Kai, you really were born in the wrong period,” Saki showed a bitter smile as she pressed a water bottle to her mouth.
Her expression showed that she was concerned but also that she was engrossed in looking at the scene, as if she was looking at an attraction at the zoo.
“Don’t you think so, Ashlan?
“…Don’t…talk to…me…My stomach…is trembling…”
The weeping young man who was next to Saki, didn’t move an inch. Up until now, he had been fighting a different machine doll than Kai and as a result, had received a direct hit to his flank in return.
“Well, let’s leave Ashlan be for now. Even the instructor said something similar about Kai. If you were born in the time period of the great war, your name might have gone down in history and not Sid’s.”
“I’m not cut out for that. I just don’t want to lose my touch.”
Looking up at the machine dragon, Kai said this as if it was something completely natural.
One hundred years ago, the demon race, foreign deities, mythical beasts and the spirit race each had a strongest individual. An elder, a chief, a leader, and so on. Many words existed to describe the strongest individual of a race, but for the four hostile races, humanity created another title for the mightiest existences.
The four heroes—
The Hero of Demons ‘Dark Empress Vanessa’.
The Hero of the foreign deities ‘Saint Alfreya’.
The Hero of the mythical beasts ‘Fang King Rath Ie’
The Hero of the spirit race ‘Lord of Spirits Rikugen Kyouko’
Boasting incomparable strength, every one of these ‘Heroes’ commanded one of the four races. And, facing these four heroes, humanity found itself in a predicament.
However, he appeared. The Hero of the Humans, bringing about the end of the Great War of the Five Races, by defeating every one of the four heroes.
“The Prophet Sid, huh,” Saki commented, as she gazed up at the ceiling. “The Hero of the Humans, ‘The Prophet Sid’. With a glittering sword that you’d never expect to exist in this world, he struck down the four races’ heroes and sealed them into the graveyards— That’s what the legends say, right?”
“There’s no mistaking that this Sid really existed 100 years ago. We even have some photos.”
The picture of a robed man. The photo claiming to show the Prophet Sid, Kai had seen it countless times in documents.
“But, Kai? All the historians doubt the legends about Sid, right?” Saki shrugged.
The Hero of Humanity, ‘The Prophet Sid’, doesn’t exist. That is the theory right now. Firstly, this ‘glittering sword’ was nowhere to be found. Neither are there any records of Sid actually striking down the four heroes.
“There’s no proof that Sid really fought the four heroes. There are no pictures of his battles, and we can’t find that sword he supposedly used anywhere.”
No records to prove his existence. Exactly the same as Kai’s fall into the demons’ graveyard. No pictures of him during the war. It’d be weird that if Sid really fought them, you wouldn’t be able to find any proof. Thus, the number of people believing in this legend were sparse in number.
“That’s just how it is. Maybe Sid the human did exist, but just didn’t have as much of an influence as we made him out to have had. What do you think, Kai?
“I have to agree. But—”
Kai swiped away the sweat on his forehead.
“It’s fine if I wish for it to be true, right?”
“Well, yeah. Anyway, to change up the topic a bit…Come on Ashlan, wake up.”
Without holding back, Saki rammed her foot into her comrade.
“I brought it up this afternoon, but what should we do for her promotion gift? We don’t have much more time left.”
“Excuse me? A bouquet should be perfectly fine for that, don’t you think?”
Having finally gotten up, Ashlan planted himself on the bench.
“Isn’t something orthodox the best idea?”
“No can do. It’s Jeanne, you know? She gets a bouquet every year as an award for being a scholarship student. She definitely won’t be happy getting one for such a special occasion. Right, Kai? You agree with me, don’t you?”
“Ah, Kai? Earth to Kai?”
With his back turned to Saki, the communication equipment in Kai’s hands gave a short sound that exact moment.
The name displayed on the screen was that of his childhood friend. Just like Saki and Ashlan, she was a recruit and coworker of Kai.
“Mmm? What’s with Jeanne?”
“My my my, I didn’t get any messages. Only Kai, huh?”
Kai’s coworkers got up from the bench. In front of the two that stretched out their necks to catch a glimpse of the contents, Kai opened up the message.
You’re off-duty tomorrow, right? Meet me at 10am, in front of the kitten statue at the 9th terminal! But, keep this a secret from Saki and Ashlan, okay?]
Wait a second. She told me to keep this a secret, but right now, the two people I’m not supposed to tell are gradually closing in on me to take a peek.
“Kai, what did Jeanne say?”
“I didn’t get a message either. Weird…do I smell a secret here that you’re keeping from us? Hey, Kai, you don’t mean to tell me that you got into some sort of wicked relationship with Jeanne, right?”
Kai pushed both his hands out in front himself to keep them off.
“My mistake. I actually didn’t get a message.”
“Ohhh? Then, what was that incoming message sound that we heard just now?”
“Did you get such a special message that you’d have to lie to us about it, Kai-kun?”
Saki threw him a grin, while Ashlan’s expression looked more ghastly and even know, they were closing in on him to take a look at the message.
“…That reminds me.”
Tightly grasping the device in his hand, Kai turned his back to the two of them and he started running at full speed.
“I didn’t do any running today yet. I’ll go and run my 10km!”
“Ah, hey, you bastard!”
“Someone! Help us in holding down Kai! He’s committed a grave crime, basically being in a lewd relationship with Jeanne!”
“You’re wrong about that…Ahhh, come on, I’m just doing some diligent training, nothing more!”
Jeanne, don’t use the HPA’s communication devices for your private affairs!
Screaming out inside his chest, Kai gave it his all to escape from the two coworkers chasing him.
The Ulza Federation—
With the imperial capital Ulzark as its center, it’s developed itself into a vast nation. This country, located on the northern parts of the continent, was at one point invaded by the demons and completely annihilated, becoming their territory. The one that enabled this was the demons’ Hero, the ‘Dark Empress’ Vanessa.
However, as history told, one hundred years ago.
With humanity ending up the victors ofGreat War of the Five Races, this land once again came back into the humans’ hands.
“10am. Since it’s Jeanne, she’ll probably be an hour late and arrive at 11am.”
The 9th terminal. Using the underground railway from his school dormitory, it took Kai about ten minutes to get there. With this zone being relatively close to the capital, more and more modern buildings started to appear, turning this part into a shopping district of sorts.
“Kai, thanks for waiting,” a lively voice reached his ears.
Kai turned around and found a silver-haired girl holding a handbag in her hands.
“Jeanne’s perfectly on time? I thought I’d have to wait another hour.”
“Hmpf? So rude~” She puffed out her cheeks.
However, after a short breath, she showed him a bright smile.
“I’ll be transfered to the capital next week, so time is precious right now.”
Jeanne E Anith—
With a stature a tad bit taller than most girls her age, she had a slim physique. Her long silver hair and gallant facial features accumulated to make her a girl you could find in a model magazine. Living next to Kai, she was 17 as well. Her gentle looks were perfectly matched with a long-sleeved blouse and skinny jeans. Because of her tendency to prefer male oriented clothing, her feminine charms were emphasized even more intensely in return with her current outfit.
“Come on, let’s go. Recruit Kai, crawl your way along the ground towards that building over there!”
“In the middle of the city?”
“I was joking. I mean…”
Jeanne pointed at the clothes that Kai was wearing. It was the combatant gear of the HPA and hanging down his shoulder was the close-combat rifle. Of course, taking it out in the middle of the city was not allowed, so he had properly locked it up.
“You should be off-duty today, right? Then why’d you have to wear your equipment?”
“I was doing some self-practice before I came here, that’s why.”
“…I know. It was just sarcasm. My god,” the silver-haired girl scoffed. “Really, Kai’s the only one that would come in full gear when I invited him on his day off.”
“You go out with other people on your days off?”
“I don’t. Again, sarcasm!”
Pouting once more, Jeanne gave Kai’s stomach a straight jab with her elbow. As if it was funny, she continued with a bright voice.
“…Just kidding. You’re fine just like this.”
The both of them started marching into the mass of people. The buildings lined up on their sides were commercial buildings, the street was filled with famous clothing brand stores and candy stores. Jeanne on her part watched every single store they passed with a serious expression.
“Which store should we try? It’s been a while since I went shopping like this, and I quite frankly am a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of choices.”
“By the way, why did you invite me today?”
“Shopping. For Saki and Ashlan.”
The names of his comrades passed through the girl’s lips.
“Including Kai, that’s the three of you. The three of you are planning on getting me a present for my upcoming transfer to the capital, right?”
“…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
She hit the bulls-eye perfectly with the present. The three of them did indeed plan on getting Jeanne a present. But, since they had planned on keeping it a secret until the final day, he couldn’t just go “Yes we are” in front of the person in question.
“It’s fine it’s fine. I’m
thinking the same thing after all.”
“The same thing?”
“A present for the occasion. I wanted to give it to you before I’m off to Ulzark.”
As it stood, Jeanne came from a renowned family that belonged to the elite, bringing forth influential and successful top brass of the HPA one after another. Her father is actually a well-known commanding officer of the HPA Ulza branch and her grandfather was stationed as a governor. Now Jeanne, inheriting that blood, was to be promoted even faster than her coworkers.
—The 17 year-old beauty was to be transferred to the capital.
Receiving this promotion faster than anyone before her, she was featured in the news a few weeks prior. There were rumours going around that she’ll eventually surpass her father and grandfather.
“That reminds me, all the boys were crying tears of blood because you’ll be gone.”
A war maiden.
That’s what her coworkers and instructors call her. Being taught about commanding at an organization like this from a young age by retired veterans, she has a reputation as a suitable successor to the leading commander. Adding her beautiful face onto that, the girl called Jeanne had accumulated enough fame through her charisma that even the higher ups of the Ulza headquarters could not ignore her. With the announcement of her transfer to the capital, all her male co workers must have been devastated.
“Even Ashlan was pretty depressed about it. Saki as well.”
“…It might be the last time I see them after all.”
“You’re over exaggerating. You’ll only be stationed in the capital for about two years, right?”
Once those two years had passed, they would be reunited with the then commander candidate Jeanne. Kai firmly believed that this wasn’t something to be in low spirits about. Until he heard the girl’s response at least.
“When I come back, Saki’s and Ashlan’s military service will be over, you know?”
“………Ahhh, I see.”
The obligatory military service lasted two years. Once it ended, the various youngsters would each go their own way again.
“Kai’s the only friend that’ll stay, you know?”
“Yeah, makes sense.”
With the conclusion of the mandatory military service, the majority of their coworkers would turn their backs to the HPA. In the midst of that, being one that would voluntarily elongate his service, Kai could be called an irregularity.
“I’m doing the military service because I like it, but that’s quite the rarity nowadays.”
“I’m the same, you know?”
“I know I know. I want to surpass my father’s rank, you always say, right? Though I don’t remember how many tens of times you’ve told me about that already.”
“Add another zero to that.”
Jeanne, walking through an alley with the sunlight filtering through the trees and lifted her head up with a giggle.
“I’ve told you so many times, that you must’ve gotten a sore ear by this point.”
“I’m sure that her father is happy that you’re working this hard to surpass him and becoming a splendid daughter .But, only us, huh. There aren’t many weird people that want to continue their military service after two years.”
“You always say that it’s your duty to watch over the graveyards, right? That it wouldn’t be weird for a large flock of demons to one day break out again. And, to once again find Sid’s sword.”
The Prophet Sid definitely existed. The fact that the person who fought the four races’ heroes was alive at some point, Kai didn’t doubt that for a second.
…I saw it.
…Ten years ago, I saw Sid’s sword with my own eyes.
The hero’s sword exists, without a doubt.
Inside the demons’ graveyard.
That time I had fallen into the jet black pyramid, I definitely saw it. Illuminating its surroundings with a radiance comparable to the sun. Being surrounded by the mass of demons, standing at death’s door, I was desperately reaching out towards the sword with my hand—
That’s as far as Kai’s memories brought him.
“Well…it’s certainly not like I believe that will definitely happen.”
Inside the graveyard, filled with the sealed-off demons, why was Sid’s sword hidden in there?
That question still remains, but what I saw back then the ‘Light-emitting sword’ was definitely the one you would hear about in all the legends concerning Sid.
Though, Kai was about the only person that believed in them in the first place.
“I know that Jeanne’s only going to tease me if I bring it up.”
“I won’t tease you though?” said Jeanne, her mouth forming a broad smile.
“I’m really serious here.”
“I’m not mocking your resolution. What I’m teasing is your attitude, Kai. That sullen look is just so cute that I can’t help myself.”
“…Ahh, is that so?”
“How many years has it been? When you suddenly started saying ‘I saw Sid’s sword’, I mean. We should’ve been about ten back then. We were playing together a lot back then.”
The two of them once again walked through the mass of people. Perfectly in the middle of an intersection, the girl walking next to him suddenly came to a stop.
“It’s just Kai. Playing with me when I was a kid, and staying with me even now, I’m sure that this won’t change when I come back from the capital either.”
Her profile as she turned around showed her unwavering and unblinking eyes which looked straight at Kai’s face.
“Hey, Kai. What do you think will happen with the two of us from now on?”
“From now on…You’ll go to the capital, right? And after two years, you’ll come back.”
“No, I’m saying even further.”
His female childhood friend who was also his coworker, took another step forward.
“Hey Kai, what if I———”
——Jeanne’s body began distorting.
“Eh? What’s wrong, Kai?”
While her appearance was shaking and warping like ripples running through water, Jeanne responded as if nothing had happened. But, it wasn’t just the girl. Everything in front of Kai’s eyes began distorting. Multistoried buildings, the neatly lined-up rows of trees, even the passing people, everything was warping grotestically. Following that, a gust of wind, with black particles mixed in it, that slowly turned into a sandstorm.
…Nobody’s realizing this? What’s happening to them and the sandstorm?
…What—What’s going on?!
When Kai looked up, the sky in front of him had turned pitch black. The white clouds and sky which were stretched as thin as threads, as if having been cut into a thousand pieces headed towards a single dot in the sky at a terrifying speed.
—The sky was being sucked up by this black dot.
And not just the sky, the distorted buildings were being lifted up from the ground, followed by the pavement on the street. Everything was pulled towards the sky. The trees were uprooted and even the passing people weren’t spared from its pull.
Just like a giant black hole, sucking up everything in its surroundings.
…Nobody’s noticed this?
…Don’t tell me, I’m the only one that can see this happening?!
And then, his childhood friend stood out in this darkness.
“Eh? What’s with you, Kai…If you call out my name in front of so many people…Uhm…Ahh…Is it okay, if I get my hopes up?”
Her smile emerged even stronger from this obscurity. Not knowing what was happening around her, the girl’s body slowly ascended towards the sky.
“Jeanne, take my hand—”
He desperately reached out with his hand amidst the sandstorm. That same moment, Kai’s field of view became pitch black.
Commence ‘World Reincarnation’
Executing the world’s ‘overwriting’—
Right after the sandstorm had passed, Kai, with his mental state having taken a turn for the worse, was still standing at the intersection of the 9th terminal.
Jeanne, who should have been standing in front of him, was nowhere to be found. The same was true for the passersby and the hundreds of people nonchalantly entering and exiting the multistoried buildings on their shopping trips.
“…What is going on. Hey, Jeanne? Jeanne, where did you go!? Playing hide and seek now is in bad taste, so please come out!”
The deserted 9th terminal, what might be the meaning of this?
The paved road beneath his feet was heavily trampled and the trees close to him were gone, replaced by a giant crater. The windows of the multistoried buildings were completely shattered and the buildings themselves were all close to ruin.
Like ruins. The scenery of the 9th terminal seemed to have changed into that of the end of the world.
“What happened…? Jeanne and everyone else is gone…”
Not a single human in sight. Way too abnormal. A phenomenon exceeding logic had occured—
With that feeling, Kai gazed at the metal case hanging from his shoulder.
The Humanity Protection Agency’s bayonet. Kai did not have the key for the case, which belonged to the Ulza headquarters, so he could not take it out. Find a method of protecting yourself, that’s what his instincts were screaming at him right now. Searching for Jeanne and everything else came after that.
“It’s not that close by, but I should hurry…”
Towards the Ulza headquarters of the HPA. That moment, behind Kai’s back in the shadows of a building, a small stone rolled down.
“A sound? Is someone there?”
Be it a stray dog, a stray cat or anything. If it was a living being, that would bring Kai a bit of relief. It would mean that humans should be nearby.
“Hey, who is…?”
It slowly showed itself from the shadows. It was neither a dog nor a cat. Seeing that, Kai forgot to breathe for a second.
It was standing on two feet, and it’s height surely must’ve surpassed two meters.
A body with pitch black skin, looking almost like solid armor. On its back, were two jet black wings and beneath that, a wriggling tail. The structure of it’s head, almost triangular, was clearly different from that of humans, its eye sockets were a pure white.
…It’s the same as 10 years ago.
…It’s the same as the things I saw when I fell into the graveyard.
During his military service, he didn’t forget about it once. About the chance that these monsters could one day come crawling out of the graveyard again.
—A jet black demon.
Such a monster was indeed standing there.
…A machine doll…? No, doesn’t look like it.
…Not in the middle of the city.
The machine dolls that the HPA had developed were virtual enemies, only usable inside the training grounds. They shouldn’t be able to move in this place.
A torn voice escaped the demon’s mouth. Maybe the difference in the structure of the vocal cords made it difficult to understand what it said, but it definitely just used human words.
“——Human? In this place?”
“It can speak?!”
It was said that the demons and the four heroes weren’t be able to understand human language and only a handful could vocalize words. That’s how it had been in the history that Kai knew.
A light was lit. From the protruding object of the demon’s wings, light was born and that gradually turned into a flame, growing in size more and more.
It was comparable to the shots of a machine gun. Barely grazing Kai, they hit the wall of the building behind him at full force and ended up coloring the surface a deep black. If Kai hadn’t moved, those flaming bullets would have probably put innumerable holes in his body.
Right before the magic hit, Kai had jumped backwards.
Magic—or as it was known as long ago, miracles and sorceries, were the general names for this power. Strong magic was comparable to humanity’s heavy weaponry and the higher ranked demons could fire high-level magic like it was nothing.
This was the first time he had seen ‘the real deal’. But, it would be a false statement to say he had survived this by pure coincidence.
—His body had moved unconsciously.
All because he had expected this day to come eventually, anti demon techniques and knowledge were burned into his body after all that rigorous training. Thanks to that, his body reacted in time and his life was spared.
“…I have absolutely no clue what’s even happening right now.”
Something must have happened. This demon isn’t just a machine doll and, it’s clearly hostile towards humans.
“————That’s just fine.”
Click, a sound came from the metal case. What was hit by the demon’s rain of flame bullets just now wasn’t Kai himself, but the locked case with the weapon inside. Now that the lock had been blown open, a black bayonet laid there.
“I’ll be your opponent.”
Pointing the blade mounted gun towards the demon, Kai put his finger on the trigger. It was the all-purpose type assault bayonet ‘Drake Nail’. The name came from the blade that imitated a drake’s claw, which was a member of the mythical beasts. It was an anti races weapon that the HPA developed using the records of the great war.
“………A human is?”
Traces of flames were in the air. Again, numerous ‘bullets’ were brought forth by the demon’s mighty magic.
“You’re an eyesore!”
“Simplified elvish bullet.”
A white spark. The bullet that Kai shot with the Drake Nail was both transparent and shining brightly like the fragment of a crystal. That same bullet—destroyed the tens of flame bullets altogether.
The demon’s eyes swelled up, like a human’s eyes would open wide.
“No, this is the result of human intellect and hardwork.”
An experimental weapon developed after the great war. Chipping a certain magic dispersing crystal into the form of a bullet, it scatters the chanted magic—effectively, erasing it.
“The elves from the spirit race were using tools like this during the great war, right?”
However, those tools had elvish magic imbued into them. The humans, unable to use magic, made up for that with technology and science, hence it was nothing more than a pseudo weapon. That resulted in the ‘simplified’ part of its name.
“Let’s do this.”
He started running on the broken, shredded road. On the way, a deep red circle appeared beneath Kai’s feet. This ring with a five meter radius completely surrounded Kai and tongue like flames colored a deep red began ramming out of the ground.
Pillars of fire reached up to the sky. The flames, born of the circle that appeared on the ground, were moving upwards to turn everything on their way to cinders.
No room to fire the simplified elvish bullet. The moment Kai guessed that, he kicked off the ground and jumped outside the circle.
“………You dodged it?!”
“I’ve been training my ass off so that I can fight you guys after all.”
Slipping towards the demon’s chest, Kai swung the Drake Nail and aimed at his flank.
At the tip of the Drake Nail, sparks burst out like blooming flowers. The shock made the giant body of the demon tremble, the ensuing black smoke and flames concealed its body.
“Let me tell you one thing. What us humans managed to come up with wasn’t just the elvish bullet.”
The huge body of the demon collapsed. This must’ve been the first time that this bullet was used in a real fight against something from the four races.
—The simplified drake bullet.
It was a bomb that imitated the fire breath of drakes. The same moment you hit your target with the Drake Nail, the detonation followed. It’s designed to strike down the four races at point-black range.
With no sign of the demon getting up again, Kai slowly lowered his Drake Nail holding hands, which were tingling from the explosion and let out a sigh.
…It was just one shot. I just pulled the trigger for the simplified elvish bullet and simplified drake bullet.
…My whole body is shivering from the tension.
It was his first fight with the ‘real deal’, the same applied for that magic. If his reaction had been even just one step later, he would’ve been engulfed in the flames and wouldn’t be standing here with these minor injuries.
“But, I did it!”
All this time, training himself to death almost, it wasn’t for naught.
“I can do this…Even if my enemy’s a demon, I can fight them.”
Even now, Kai had no idea what was actually going on. But, he found validation. Even humans could fight against the powerful demons. Depending on your training regime, it was possible to surpass them.
“What, who are you?”
The ominous sound of wings fluttering immediately blew away the sweet aftertaste of victory. The sound, too strong for it to be from a bird’s feathers, came directly from above Kai’s head.
“A human…? One of my kin…was defeated by a human…?”
A second one. Judging from its appearance, it wasn’t all that different from the first demon, except the one now flying in front of his eyes was smaller. With its height almost on Kai’s level, if one compared it to the first one, it would seem rather powerless.
…But, this overwhelming pressure.
…Judging from the size, the first one definitely looked stronger, but just by it’s use of words, it most surely has a higher intellect.
“What are you?”
“As you can see, I’m a human.”
This one’s far more dangerous than the first one.
With Kai’s intuition telling him that, he slowly responded.
“You too, you’re pretty fluent with human words, aren’t you?”
The slim-figured demon stared down at Kai. With its wings widened, it seemed as if the second demon was just hovering in the air, it’s mouth, which stretched till it’s cheeks, slowly moved.
“For us, and for the other races, it’s far more convenient to be at least knowledgeable in the human language.”
What did it mean by that?
As if it wanted to ridicule Kai, who was waiting for it to continue, the demon waited a moment before he brought down these words.
“It’s far more effective to give your slaves your orders in their mother tongue.”
Humans were made into slaves.
Those words were—
Nevermind the reason for why this sudden change had occurred, in this world, the way things were meant to be was cruelly different and perfectly demonstrated right here.
The humans were defeated by the four races?
“Our slaves are sufficing as of now. Her majesty Vanessa said so.”
Kai knit his eyebrows at this familiar sounding name. Dark Empress. It was the name of the ‘Hero of the Demons’, who led the demon race itself.
“…Dark Empress Vanessa?! That archdemon?!”
“Human, you reek of danger. Disappear.”
A ring lit up at the demon’s fingertip. A second later, it expanded into a sinister, violet colored circle. From there light resembling a lighting bolt was starting to gush out.
“——Close your eyes!”
It was a voice Kai had heard before. But, before Kai wasn’t given any time to reminisce on who that voice belonged to, an intense flash of light obstructed his view.
“!” The demon groaned.
Looking directly into the blast of light, it’s eyes must’ve been burned severely.
It was something easily recognizable that the HPA made proper use of. As long as the enemy didn’t belong to the fairy race, who held special ‘eyes’, it was very effective against the other races.
But, who threw that?
“Over here! If you don’t hurry up, a flock of demons will be coming soon!”
Turning his back to the blinding light, Kai ran. Towards the beckoning human-shaped being.
“Hop on. That bullet might be effective, but it won’t last more than ten seconds!”
His hand was grabbed and out of the corner of his still recovering eyes he saw the figure of a single girl. Without stopping, she pulled Kai into the armoured vehicle.
“Succeeded in securing the stray. Ashlan, step on the gas!”
The wheels started spinning at high speed. Coupled with a high-pitched noise from the tire gaining traction, the car separated from the demon with great speed.
“Those guys can fly through the sky, but they won’t be able to keep up with our speed. They definitely won’t catch us in this car…It’s okay now…But still, that might’ve cost us a few years of our life expectancy.”
Sitting in the back seat, the girl let out a relieved sigh.
“Really, you got a death wish or something? Where are you from? A prisoner of those guys? Though you look less like an escapee. Your clothes look similar to ours.”
“Eh? You know me?”
The girl’s eyes went wide in astonishment.
Her age should be around the same as Kai’s, she had natural, unsettling short orange hair, big, round cat eyes with high canines in the back of her mouth and freckles on her cheeks.
There’s no way that Kai could be mistaken. She was a coworker from the same unit.
“Of course I know you. Thanks for saving me, Saki, whatever’s going on in here…”
“Again, who are you?”
Both of them were taking a long hard look at each other. Until yesterday, she was Kai’s training partner. He couldn’t possibly mistake her for someone else.
“You’re Saki, right. Saki Miscotti…correct?”
“You are part of the Humanity Protection Agency during your military service—”
The girl tilted her head and glanced over at person sitting in the driver’s seat.
“Ashlan, have you heard of that? This humanity protection whatsit thing? Did we have that in the Ulza Federation?”
“Nope, never heard of it,” the young man used nimble movements on the steering wheel as he responded.
His profile as well, undoubtedly belonged to the Ashlan that Kai knew very well.
“Hey, Ashlan?! You’re Ashlan Highrole, right? Stop with the bad jokes, will you? It’s me, Kai Sakura Vento!”
“Have we met somewhere before?”
Kai became speechless. He probably couldn’t find any appropriate way to react to it.
“You really…don’t remember me?”
“Again, have we even met before? Ahh, but you know my name.”
Of course I do. We’ve been working in the same unit for over a year now.
“Your favorite flavour of gum is orange, and you hate coffee-flavored gum. You always brag about your body’s flexibility, and you can spread your legs more than 190°.”
“Eh?! H-Hey, why do you know about that!”
“Ashlan has had very bad motion sickness ever since you were born, you were always suffering from that when we were riding a car. Not to mention that driving was impossible for you…”
Shortly after he finished his words, Kai suddenly returned back to himself.
Ashlan is driving a car? Not in a hundred years. He would leave driving to the graveyard to Saki or Kai and would instead sleep in the passenger seat.
“Ashlan…What happened to your motion sickness?”
“Haa? I got over that a long time ago.”
The armored vehicle drove past a destroyed building at high speed. Driving on the wrecked road with all the debris, his skill might be higher than Kai’s.
“In this world, if you can’t drive a car, you’ll be caught by the demons and made into a slave, you know? Motion sickness is a no-go here…Wait? You, why do you know about my weak semicircular canals?”
“It’s weird that he even knows about my favorite gum flavour.”
Saki nodded in agreement.
“You…who are you?”
“…………You really don’t remember, huh.”
Saki’s and Ashlan’s memories were perfectly normal. They were the exact same people that Kai knew. Even so…
“Wait a second…What the hell happened here…?”
Kai was the one that had been one-sidedly forgotten.