After I finished Contracting and Threatening the President of this country — which I’d done just for the sake of it, really — I headed toward my original objective that had brought me to this compound: the mana collection facility.
It was where the dimensional-crossing equipment and the mana-gathering system were located. Once I destroyed them, I should still be able to buy myself quite some time even if they were reconstructed later.
To those creatures called humans, ‘pain’ was something very much forgettable. Intimidation was meaningless. The pain would pass from their memory in a blink of an eye, and history would repeat once more.
But if I could buy myself ten years’ time, then I could use it to destroy only the Saplings while keeping Yggdrasia’s environment as intact as possible. I would be able to grant new lives to all the ninety-nine secret alpha testers. The souls of my comrades would finally get their well-deserved peace…
And my power would surely have grown even further by then. Dealing with Earth could wait until it happened.
I left the command center and went further down the hallway. The AI-driven automatic self-defense system appeared from the walls and ceiling, apparently detecting noises. They couldn’t see me, however, and stayed inactive in malfunctioning confusion. I tore them apart with claws.
As the security system broke down, bulkhead walls began to slam down to block the hallway.
I clicked my tongue and immediately dashed forward, sliding under the first and second walls, slipped through the third as mist, but didn’t manage to pass through the fourth. They seemed to be airtight.
My ability to create cold mist could only take away heat, so it wasn’t very suited to breaking metals. I could probably use more magic power to force my way through, but my magic was getting low from all those extravagant attacks I’d been doing, so I decided to just take my time breaking the wall.
Well, I said that, but really I only needed a crack so that I could slip through as mist. The walls only delayed me, at best.
“Is this the place?”
After spending about an hour breaking through the walls and further progressing down the hallway, I saw a door that looked even sturdier than the one leading to the command center.
“…also disconnected too, huh.”
I couldn’t open it through cyberattacks. While my Dimensional Manipulation might allow me to mess with living beings and probably kill AIs from afar, getting it to do what I wanted was still difficult.
No other choice, then. Just going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. As I rubbed my shoulders, loosening my right arm, the closed door slowly opened.
Outside of all my expectations, the door unlocked.
But it looked like the people wearing white coats inside the door also shared my surprise. The three, possibly researchers, displayed an expression of absolute shock. The moment they saw me, the middle-aged woman and the somewhat-younger man hastily took out their guns. I immediately took my straight sword out from its black sheath and cut through their necks.
Their heads fell near the remaining geeky-looking young man. He squeaked in terror, his legs failing him.
He didn’t have a weapon, I noticed. I walked up to him, my razor-sharp high-heeled shoes loudly clacking in deliberate steps. I pointed my sword at him and he rapidly shook his head, looking deathly pale.
Oooh, right… I’d heard that this straight sword had once been used by the eastern mafia. It had drunk the blood of around a hundred people by the time I first got it, plus I also fed it a few more victims afterward. It was pretty much a ‘demon blade’ by now.
Yeah, I was quite sure killing anything with this would send their souls directly to hell… It looked so sinister I wouldn’t be surprised if it got an extra effect to terrify people.
…wait a minute.
[—] [Black-Scabbard Demon Blade] [Kin of Shedy, the Demon] ・A demon blade that strengthens itself with each life it takes. [Magic Points: 50/50] [Durability: 1494/1500] [Total Combat Power: 150] [Skill: <Fear> <Confusion> <Magic Regeneration>]
The demon blade turned into my kin… So weapons could become one too, I see. Surprising.
Ah, but it also had the same [Fear] I got, so I returned it to its sheath, otherwise the conversation would be getting nowhere. The color of the young man’s face improved just a little bit.
“Are you people the only one here?”
“Y-y-yes, yes, ah… no, no! M-mister Brian is here too!”
So that cockroach really was here.
“Right. What’s he doing here?”
“M-mister Brian is our o-observer… a-and…”
“Mmm, yeah. Where’s he now?”
“H-he’s, he’s been inside the VR capsule since a while ago! Don’t kill me!”
I had a bad feeling about this.
I took enough from the mana storage tank to refill myself. I left the smashing for later, instead heading for the VR room.
I stood in front of the door, and just as I got ready to wrench it open with brute force, it opened by itself once again.
…was all of this Brian inviting me in?
I took out the sword from its black scabbard and carefully entered. There was a row of around ten VR capsules inside the poorly lit room, and only one of them were lit up.
I peered inside. A man resembling Brian was deep in his cold-sleep, his two arms and one of his legs replaced with prosthetics, eerie pitch-black eyes of machinery still wide open.
Was his consciousness in Yggdrasia right now? I wasn’t sure what he was planning to do, but I knew leaving him alive would be dangerous. As I readied my cursed blade, one side of the wall suddenly turned into a screen to display a man with black prosthetic eyes, his surroundings unfamiliar.
“Hey, is my lovely Bunny there? You don’t show up on the screen, but my eyes can see there’s someone there.” He chuckled.
That’s him. That’s Brian’s voice.
The view I could see behind him resembled an old Western European town hall. There were a few other humans, as well as what looked like a lot of monitor screens showing different sceneries.
“…what are you planning?”
I ceased my manipulation of the cameras and showed myself.
“Ooh, I finally hear you… ooohhh! It’s the Bunny! We finally meet.”
Brian displayed a full-face grin, his motions exaggerated.
“Mmm, right, so—”
“My, did the Dark Lady Whitehare really show up where you wanted her? Doesn’t look so special up-close. She really is just a beastman girl, isn’t she?”
Interrupting Brian was a human woman in her mid-twenties barging onto the screen. Beautiful, but it was a flashy kind of beauty.
“…who are you?”
“Whaaat?! You don’t know me?! Are you really the Dark Lady?” The woman on the monitor scoffed in derision. “Fine then, stupid beast, I’ll tell you. I am one of the current generation of Heroes, Marlene the Sage. Do you understand now, idiot rabbit?”
Was she the rumored Heroine of Magic, then? I didn’t know how truthful she was, but with how haughty she’d been, calling herself the Sage without a single bit of shame, and surrounding herself with servile good-looking young boys, she was giving off the same vibe as that Perverted Hero.
“…and what do you plan on doing?”
“Why should I be telling you—”
“Aah, that’s my cue to explain!” Brian returned after being pushed outside the screen. “I’ve prepared the best present for you! Behold!”
The largest monitor being hung from the ceiling of the hall displayed a world map. It took me a moment to realize it was of Yggdrasia since I’d expected the World Tree to be in the center, but this map had pushed it to the side.
So the center was… the Western Continent… the City of Magic Quarancinq? The moment I recognized the place, a magic circle large enough to cover the whole world appeared on the screen, with Quarancinq as its center.
“Howsat, ever seen a magic circle this size—”
“Heheh, that’s my magic circle you’re seeing there, little Whitehare! Can you—”
“Indeed! This will allow us to call upon the supreme one, the Fairy King!”
“I might not really believe he exists, but this is still a great step forward in the study of magic!”
I had no idea if they were fighting or getting along. They just kept trying to push each other out of the screen.
“…the Fairy King?”
I think I saw that name in a Temple somewhere, if I remembered correctly.
“Alright, it’s showtime!” Brian announced.
All the monitors began to be colored blood-red, and the continent-spanning magic circle being displayed on the enormous monitor started shining faintly.
…no! That’s no fairy summoning!
I’d never had an actual look at a magic circle before, but I still knew. I was a demon now. I knew. Whatever coming out was not going to be a fairy!
I couldn’t return to Yggdrasia right away from here. [Causality Alteration], then. Brian and Marlene needed to go down right now!
I immediately stretched out my hands and crushed their pasts.
But instead of my intended targets, those coughing out blood and collapsing were instead the young boys that had been their shield.
My eyes widened. Marlene smugly cackled.
“Brian sent me records of your fights. You’ve given up one too many secrets, rabbit!”
She was right. My [Causality Alteration] prioritized visual information. It had misfired once before at the battle of Xontdix when the guards jumped into my aim.
The bloody light was gaining in strength, and something was trying to take shape.
“Brian’s prepared this trump card just for you, you know? Be grateful.”
“I sure did, little bunny. I sure did.”
“No, you don’t understand! That thing should never be summoned!”
The magical light filling the screen subsided, the room plunged into absolute silence.
Marlene looked to the ceiling, seemingly thinking it had failed. Only Brian still showed his demented, knowing smile.
The center of the hall was also likely to be the core of the magic circle. There, black light flashed. Slowly, quietly, it revealed itself.
“…what… is that?”
I couldn’t feel any power from that thing. Then where was this shivering coming from…?
Marlene had looked quizzical in the beginning. Soon afterwards, her face grew paler and paler. Had her instincts as a Hero revealed the Truth to her, then?
It was a thing of pure blackness. Arms and legs of over two meters, spindly like dried wood. Its torso was just as long, the surface as smooth as a slim length of log. Frayed insectile wings of translucent black grew from its back.
Perhaps its appearance could resemble fairies, if one squinted. But it wasn’t. I knew it was no fairy.
It smiled, its mouth looking like nothing more than a fracture on the smooth surface of the pitch-black egg that it had for a head, and it began to speak meaningless noises.
[Unseelie Lord・Fiorfata] [Race: Dark Pixie] [Demon Lord] [Magic Points: 600,000/600,000] [Total Combat Power: 670,000/670,000]
…is a demon of the Netherworld!