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The governments of nations all over Origin were in a state of chaos, and the chaos was more profound for the developed nations that were supposed to be leading the world.
The Federal States was at the top of that list.
The vice-president was in an operations control room with rows of liquid crystal display panels and monitors, trying to deal with this emergency situation.
“Why can’t the president be reached?!” he shouted, greatly agitated by the president’s absence. “The army sent a fighter aircraft into another country’s airspace without permission, and the military bases in Japan provided equipment to members of the Bravers without authorization! And there’s an unidentified monster flying around in the sky! We are already having diplomatic issues!”
“The president is currently visiting the Nordic Federation. We are trying to reach him through the embassy, but we haven’t heard back from them.”
“General Fortland of the Air Force and Chief Advisor George of the National Department of Magic have been found dead! We believe they have been murdered by someone!”
“The chief of the Secret Services Department has vanished. We believe he has already fled overseas. The Secret Services Department headquarters has been destroyed by an explosion, but the magical investigation teams are trying to reconstruct the memory media!”
“The monster appears to be using the credit card of the ‘Balor’ Johnny Yamaoka for its shopping. Should we freeze his account? Though it seems that a considerable amount of cash has already been withdrawn.”
The reports that were reaching the vice-president all delivered terrible news… though he didn’t care about that last one.
“Those damned treasonous traitors!” the vice-president spat. “What about the Bravers?! Are we unable to contact Mr. Rikudou as well?!”
“That’s… He seems to be ignoring our attempts to contact him,” said one of his aides.
“… Goddamn it! So they’re involved as well!”
The Federal States was one of the two most powerful nations in the world of Origin, and Rikudou hadn’t underestimated it. He had found collaborators in the Secret Services and Intelligence Departments, the army, and the Department of Magic to ensure that he was able to paralyze the nation’s governmental functions whenever he needed to – by dangling the carrot of immortality and eternal life in front of them.
“… We can’t get in contact with the presidents of the European Union, either. It seems that there are emergency situations happening in the Middle East, Africa, and South America as well. Thanks to that, no countries have started protesting the scandals occurring in our own country yet, however,” said an aide.
“The only exceptions are the Nordic Federation and the Chinese Republic… They’re so blatant about it that it makes me wonder if they’re trying to mislead us,” said the vice-president.
He suspected that the masterminds behind these global events were Rikudou of the Bravers, the Nordic Federation, and the Chinese Republic. And his suspicions were stronger towards the Nordic Federation, where the president was supposed to be visiting but was currently impossible to get in contact with.
However, that didn’t mean that he could directly attack the Nordic Federation – Doing that would start a war.
“Times like these are what the Secret Services Department is for… What the hell are they planning to do? Are they trying to start a World War? Do they want to destroy the world?” the vice-president muttered.
Unlike Earth, Origin had only experienced a single World War. This was because this war had occurred after the industrial revolution brought about by the invention of the steam engine, and it was the first war where the use of Magic Items was rampant. As a result, it caused greater damage to the world than anticipated.
Regions where the battles had mainly taken place had suffered abnormal weather conditions for several decades, and magical beasts – animals that had mutated due to being exposed to abnormal Mana – appeared more frequently. The harm caused by these phenomena was vast… So much so that even the nations that had been victorious in the war had lost more than they had gained when taking into account the post-war recovery and international economy.
Even the Federal States had suffered great losses despite no battles being fought on its land due to being unable to collect reparations from the nations that had been defeated in the war, as they had ceased to exist.
Thus, the nations of the world had avoided large-scale wars after that. There were still proxy wars between large nations that were fought in their colonies or battles limited to small regions, but nothing more than that.
But weapons had never stopped improving, and the use of magic had become more widespread. Now, there were military Golems that were often said to be tanks in humanoid form, and power suits that enhanced soldiers through magic. Even things like magically-controlled missiles that used curses to track their targets had been invented.
If such advanced military Magic Items were to be used in conflict, there was no telling how much of a disaster it would be for the world. There were even scholars who predicted that if humanity were to go extinct, it would not be directly caused by war itself, but by the Mana disasters brought about by the war.
But if this country is going to go down without even fighting, then… it would be better to…! thought the vice-president.
Rather than ceasing to exist without even making a move, the Federal States should seize victory through bloodshed – This thought briefly flashed through the vice-president’s mind, but he shook it off.
“What is the media doing? If we can’t rely on the Secret Services Department, can we make use of their information network instead?” the vice president asked.
“That is… Major media outlets have announced an article denouncing our nation’s scandals about five minutes ago,” an aide replied. “We suspect that there’s been an information leak, and have started investigating, but… the article’s script was sent from overseas. From the Nordic Federation, most likely…”
“How could this be… To think that the media would betray this country,” the vice president muttered.
Someone representing the survivors of the Investigation Agency came running into the room.
“Vice president! We have finished recovering a memory medium that was left at the Secret Services Department! According to its records, the mastermind is the ‘Avalon’ Rikudou Hijiri after all! He’s conducting research into death-attribute magic, and he seems to be targeting the ‘Braver’ Amemiya Hiroto’s daughter, believing that she is a true death-attribute mage!” he reported.
“I see. The president and the others have betrayed us with the goal of acquiring the death attribute. A personal gain that was worth selling out the country… I’m sure Mr. Rikudou must have offered them immortality,” said the vice president.
Immortality – A dream of humanity. Many had whispered that it might be achievable, ever since the discovery of the death attribute’s existence.
But according to the logs of the experiments performed using the ‘Undead,’ all it could do was delay death, and even though Pluto of the Eighth Guidance had been able to save severely ill people who didn’t have long to live, she hadn’t been able to prolong the lives of the elderly.
But if research were to continue, then these things might be possible. And Rikudou had made it possible.
Believing that, the president and his collaborators had sold him their nation.
“That damned Rikudou, joining forces with the Nordic Federation rather than us… He must have decided that it would be too difficult to carry out secret research in a democratic country!”
It was well within Rikudou’s calculations for his main base and his identity as the mastermind behind these events to be revealed at this stage. He had known beforehand that there was no way such bold moves would go unnoticed.
What was outside his calculations at this stage was that none of his goals had been completely accomplished. He had succeeded in scattering many of the Bravers all over the world, and he had succeeded in plunging various nations into a state of chaos, rendering them unable to act. But he hadn’t acquired the crucial Amemiya Mei, nor had he gotten rid of the reincarnated individuals that posed a threat to him and could interfere with his plans – in fact, Mei had escaped, and the reincarnated individuals were gathering.
Rikudou’s victory was already supposed to have been decided before the Federal States became aware of anything.
“Now that it has come to this, we must secure Amemiya Mei ourselves,” said the vice president. “This is for the sake of the Federal States surviving and continuing to be a great nation! With the military forces that we currently have left, is it possible to acquire her before the Nordic Federation or Rikudou to get to her?”
“Unfortunately, I believe that would be difficult. The target is being protected by… a monster,” said one of the aides.
“What…? The nonsense being posted about that monstrosity on the internet by worshipers of the Eighth Guidance, are you saying that parts of it are true?”
On the internet, there were some worshipers of the Eighth Guidance who did not believe that this monstrosity was a remnant of the Eighth Guidance. They regarded the monstrosity as a sacred being, a god who would bring the ‘Eighth Guidance’ upon humanity.
“If Amemiya Mei is a death-attribute magic user, and the monster is something that has been created by her magic, then I believe our military capabilities will be insufficient. And it seems that they have already been joined by individuals such as the ‘Angel’ Amemiya Narumi and the ‘Braver’ Amemiya Hiroto,” the aide said.
“Vice president, how about leaving things to them?” suggested the Investigation Agency representative. “The fact that they are heading to the Nordic Federation suggests that Mr. Amemiya is attempting to take responsibility as head of the organization and resolve the situation himself. Perhaps it would be best for us to focus on what to do after the situation is resolved?”
If Amemiya did something about Rikudou, the Nordic Federation, and the traitors who had committed treason against their own nation, the whole world would go through a period of change. The Nordic Federation would be dissolved, and the people who had betrayed their nations for the promise of immortality would be arrested and sentenced. The world’s leaders would change.
The Federal States would be the first to recover from the chaos, take a leadership role in dealing with the aftermath, and secure the research data on death attribute magic, as well as Amemiya Mei.
Officially, they would be ‘protecting’ her. And they would indeed protect her. They would prepare a comfortable living environment for her where the agents of other nations couldn’t reach her, and allow her parents to visit her whenever they wished – or even arrange for them to live together, if they wished.
They would even make an extravagant miniature garden for her.
That was how valuable she was – though this was also partially because the Federal States did not have the ability to confine her through force. After all, any modern weapon would be turned into scrap in a spectacular fashion within a matter of minutes by that monster.
There was truly nothing to be done about that monster, as it was not only powerful in combat, but mobile and capable of flight as well. If Amemiya Mei were to be acquired, it would have to be through persuasion.
That was what the Investigation Agency representative thought after hearing the vice-president’s suggestion… Ordinarily, they would not be in a position to decide on national policy, but those who normally were in this position had either betrayed the country or been assassinated, so nobody would blame them for making these decisions.
But it seemed that the vice president had reached a different answer. “No,” he said. “Fire missiles at the monster. We must exterminate Amemiya Mei.”
“W-what?!” the Investigation Agency representative exclaimed. “Are you sure, vice president?! If we do that…”
“Oh right, ‘Echo’ is with them as well. Then fly a fighter aircraft loaded with missiles near the thing, then detonate the missiles. We can have the fighter aircraft piloted remotely… No, let’s sacrifice a pilot who hasn’t been informed of the plan. Check whether we can activate and detonate the missiles remotely. Of course, make sure to use a pilot and an aircraft from an aircraft carrier that is currently already deployed, not from an air base that might have already been infiltrated by the enemy,” the vice president ordered.
The reflection ability of ‘Echo’ was an ability that could reflect projectiles back to where they had been fired from, regardless of the distance. Missiles were no exception to that.
But the Federal States army believed that it would not be able to reflect the heat of a missile that was directly detonated next to her without being fired. Even if ‘Echo’ managed to reflect heat, it wouldn’t cause any damage to the Federal States.
And it was surely impossible for her to reflect the heat for the other passengers as well.
“Vice president, have you lost your mind?!” shouted the Investigation Agency representative. “That would mean losing a precious death-attribute mage… and Amemiya Hiroto would become our enemy! Just like that monstrosity, he’s also a monster who surpasses the limits of a single human!”
Amemiya Hiroto’s ‘Ignore Defense’ had caused many headaches for those involved in national security all over the world. After all, it completely ignored defense. If he were to fire a machine gun, bulletproof vests worn by soldiers and the armoring of tanks would be filled with holes as if they were weaker than paper.
The only way to deal with this would be to dodge the bullets, attempt to attack the bullets rather than block them, or get out of range of his weapon. But all of these were difficult to do. After all, ordinary soldiers and pieces of military hardware weren’t capable of dodging bullets, shooting down enemy bullets mid-flight with their own, or escaping faster than a bullet could reach them.
Amemiya also possessed an affinity for every attribute (except for the time attribute, which didn’t exist in Origin, and the death attribute). If he were to multi-cast offensive spells rather than use a machine gun, anyone on the receiving end would truly have no hope.
That would mean that the only way of taking him down would be to bomb him with a fighter aircraft from a high altitude… In the past, a military dictatorship in Africa had tried this. Amemiya had struggled a little but managed to shoot down the aircraft without suffering even light injuries.
If the Federal States made this monster parent and child their enemies, it would be dissolved faster than the Nordic Federation.
The vice president looked up with a dangerous gleam in his eye – the one of someone who has been driven into a corner. “I will not allow any nation but our own to lead the world. As long as the possibility of that happening exists, we must not allow her to live! Even if our nation is destroyed as a result! If nobody is victorious, then nobody is defeated, either!”
The general of the army entered the room. He was carrying the paper that bore the Constitution of the Federal States – for the oaths that needed to be sworn in order for the vice-president to become the acting president when the current president became unable to carry out his duties.
“I have been listening to your conversation, but first of all, you must swear the oaths. The supreme commander of our nation’s military is the president, after all,” the general said.
“Yes, let’s get it over and done with,” said the vice president, raising one hand to begin swearing the oaths. “I swear that I –”
But he was interrupted by the general grabbing his head. There was the noise of something bursting, and a burnt stench filled the room. The vice president made strange, gurgling noises as he collapsed onto the ground.
“G-General?! What have you done to the vice president?!” shouted the Investigation agency representative.
He and the security personnel tried to draw their weapons, but the general’s men were already aiming their weapons at them.
“What is the meaning of this, General?!” the Investigation agency representative demanded.
“This is a coup d’état, Director. I, Sergei Dallant, am assuming the position of President of the Federal States,” said the general. “And don’t worry about the vice president. He’ll live. This spell makes people unconscious more safely than a stun gun.”
An uproar began at the words ‘coup d’état’ among everyone other than Sergei Dallant and his men. They stared at him in astonishment, unable to believe that he had been a subordinate of Rikudou as well.
Sergei Dallant swore his oaths in front of everyone in the operations command room, and then gave them his first orders as president. “Forget the orders you were just given by the vice president. It seems that he is fatigued, so let us throw him into a solitary cell where he can rest as much as he needs to. And since something has happened in the Nordic Federation, deport all of their embassy staff, including the ambassador. The military will go on standby and maintain its current operations. Leave the monster and Mr. Amemiya alone. There is nothing that we can do about them.”
“… Huh? Is that not the same as doing nothing at all?” said the Investigation Agency representative.
“That’s right, Director. I am adopting the plan that you suggested,” said Sergei.
“Wait. I am not a Director…”
“Yes, you are. From now on, you are the Director of the Investigation Agency. Or are you dissatisfied with this?”
The Investigation Agency’s top brass had either betrayed the country or been assassinated, so this man had become its representative as a result.
But he responded to Sergei’s words with a salute. “No, sir! I will carry out my duties to the best of my abilities, President Sergei Dallant!”
“Excellent… Let us go to the river bearing silver coins.”
Sergei Dallant had a son who was born with a hereditary disease, which had been cured by Pluto and the others of the Eighth Guidance before he was appointed as general. Ever since then, he had been a secret worshipper of theirs.
He had been unable to do anything to prevent the collapse of the Eighth Guidance several years ago. And so, he had gained power within the military and gathered subordinates that he could trust, waiting for this day to come.
“Let us go to the river bearing silver coins,” Sergei’s subordinates said, repeating the phrase after him.
It was said that one needed to offer silver coins as payment to cross the river in the underworld that separated the living from the dead.
The modern worshippers of the Eighth Guidance had adopted the silver coin as a symbol of their faith. They had carried out this coup d’état while carrying these silver coins – in the name of aiding the ‘God’ and his blessed ‘Saintess,’ whom they had encountered in their dreams.
The leaders of the forces who could have stopped Sergei’s coup d’état were absent, and the people left in the government realized that even if they got rid of him, the vice president who would replace him as president was a dangerous person. And so, the coup d’état was a success.
“Rikudou’s main base is beneath the mountains on the border between the Nordic Federation and Chinese Republic,” said the ‘Metamorph’ Shihouin Mari. “Its exact location is –” she drew a mark on the map in front of her.
It seemed that Rikudou was using that space as his main headquarters, with a military base in the Nordic Federation and a mine in the Chinese Republic as its entrances.
“Back when the Eighth Guidance were still around, the research was being done in the underground parts of the base of the Federal States Air Force, but it was moved to the Nordic Federation and Chinese Republic after the Eighth Guidance was wiped out,” Mari explained. “More recently, the land in the Chinese Republic is acting as a dummy to mislead any investigators in the unlikely event that the research was discovered, and the research is mainly being carried out on the border between the two countries.”
“… To think that they would agree with Rikudou’s actions. He’s been attending frequent conferences and negotiations with the Chinese Republic over the past few years. So I suppose he’s been visiting the Nordic Federation while he’s there, and switching places with you,” said Amemiya.
Mari had finally revealed the location of Rikudou’s main headquarters, after uniting with Banda.
“He normally planned to build an underground facility in either the Nordic Federation or the Chinese Republic, but… he apparently built it on their border because he feared being betrayed by the country he didn’t choose,” said Mari.
Mei and Hiroshi were listening to her as well.
“Even though they’re neighbors?” asked a curious Mei.
“That’s right, Mama. Sometimes, people don’t get along, even if they’re neighbors,” said Mari.
“… Umm, Mari? You’re calling Mei ‘Mama’… Your mother passed away a long time ago, didn’t she?” said Narumi.
“That’s right, Narumi. I can call you Narumi, right? If I call you Amemiya, it’ll be hard to tell which member of the family I’m talking to,” said Mari.
“I don’t mind, but…?”
“Thank you. Now then, allow me to continue.”
Narumi was puzzled by Mari calling Mei ‘Mama,’ but Mari seemed to be uninterested in spending time to answer her question. Her body language and tone showed confusion as to why Narumi would ask her something like that when the answer was so obvious, and also made it clear that this wasn’t the time for that.
Narumi’s husband and Iwao put their hands on Narumi’s shoulders and shook their heads, telling her to give up… They had asked Mari the same question before Narumi and the others joined them, to no avail.
“Nii-chan! Mei’s a Mama now!” Mei said happily.
“Y-yeah, that’s amazing, Mei… I suppose that makes me that person’s uncle?” said Hiroshi.
“In my dreams, it just looked like Mari had gotten a little attached to Meh-kun, but…” said Banda.
He and the others were confused as well. Joseph, Ulrika, Youdou, and Nanamori were careful not to provoke Mari, however, as they suspected that this was how she was keeping her mind stable.
“Now then, what shall we do next?” said Banda.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” said Derrick. “We’ll go and defeat Rikudou and the traitors –”
“Derrick, that’s not what I mean… I am wondering what we will do, not what you people will do.”
Amemiya Hiroto, Narumi, and everyone else was taken aback.
“From my perspective, I’m not obligated to deal with Rikudou, the other traitors, and their collaborators. That’s the work of the Bravers, the police, and the army. Now that I have grouped up with Mari and everyone else, I just need to keep Meh-kun safe and happy, and everything else is secondary.”
It was true that it would be best for Banda to kill Rikudou and the reincarnated individuals who were working with him to either break their souls or break their minds to the point that they would not become his enemies after they were reincarnated.
But in order to do that, Banda would have to bring Mei with him and work with the Bravers.
Banda and Mei alone couldn’t nullify the fortunes that protected the reincarnated individuals. He could deal with them as he had dealt with the reincarnated individuals he had encountered in the past – by cornering them to the point that no fortune would save them from death or destruction. However… Banda was nothing more than a split entity of Vandalieu, and he was uncertain as to whether he could achieve this while also protecting Mei.
… Having his main body invade Origin and attack Rikudou and his subordinates would involve too many unknown variables, so he wanted to keep that as a last resort.
It would be meaningless if he were to do something reckless and cause problems with all the preparations he had made for Mei and the others.
“What shall we do, Meh-kun?” Banda asked.
But it was Amemiya who answered. “You said your name is Banda, right? Personally, I don’t want to expose Mei to danger. Of course, the same goes for Hiroshi. But I believe that stopping Rikudou is my responsibility.”
“Of course. It is, in a variety of ways,” Banda agreed.
There was no future for the Bravers if they didn’t do their utmost to resolve this incident that Rikudou had masterminded.
They would be denounced as an organization that had spread destruction and chaos across the world, and Amemiya and the others would be treated as criminals.
“But that’s precisely why I want you to lend us your aid. I’m not asking you to fight Rikudou. I want you to protect Mei and the others in a safe location,” said Amemiya. “Currently, there’s no safer place in the world than where you are.”
“Well, that’s what your daddy says,” said Banda, turning to Mei. “Meh-kun, what do you want to do?”
“I want to go and meh the naughty uncle!” said Mei.
“Yes, let’s go and meh the naughty Uncle Rikudou, then.”
Banda didn’t want to get directly involved in the battle between Rikudou and Amemiya, but he wanted to watch from a safe distance and assist Amemiya if possible. It would be troublesome if Rikudou were to defeat Amemiya, and he wanted to destroy Rikudou’s soul if he could.
In order to do that, he would need to go with Amemiya.
“And I want to go and help Mari-chan’s friends!” said Mei.
“My friends? Mama, are you talking about the people who were turned into experimental subjects like me?”
“It is true that there must be experimental subjects other than us inside his research facility…” said Bokor.
It was certain that there were more experimental subjects and people who had been kidnapped for experiments inside Rikudou’s main headquarters that Mei hadn’t met in her dreams yet. Mei seemed to want to save those people.
“Let’s do that, then, Meh-kun. Well, I intended to do that from the very beginning, anyway,” said Banda.
Mari and Bokor and the others weren’t the only experimental subjects that Banda and Mei had met in their dreams. There were dozens more. Ignoring them would bring Banda’s – and Vandalieu’s – religious morals and reason to exist into question.
“What I’m saying is… No, I suppose you have no reason to listen to my requests. I knew it for sure after speaking with you a little, but you really do have a completely separate personality from Mei’s,” said Amemiya, realizing that he couldn’t give Banda orders. “I don’t care where you decide to go, but please keep the children safe.”
Banda turned to him and nodded, deciding that it would set a bad example to Mei and Hiroshi to simply ignore their father right in front of them. “Even if you didn’t ask that of me, I will give absolutely everything I have to protect them.”
“Wait… there’s something I want to talk about – about you,” Narumi said suddenly, a brooding expression on her face. “Somewhere where the children won’t hear.”
“I see… Very well,” said Banda.
Amemiya Hiroto seemed to have agreed to the plan, but Narumi was likely still apprehensive about leaving her children in the care of a grotesque being whose identity she didn’t know. That apprehension would be even greater now that she had realized that it had its own separate personality; it wasn’t something that had been created through Mei’s magic or abilities.
Assuming that this was what was on Narumi’s mind, Banda stepped away from Mei.
“Bokor, Gabriel, Yukijoro, please take care of Meh-kun for me for a little while. Ah, I’ll extend my antennae over to you, so please use them to keep her amused,” Banda said, stretching two antennae from his head like ropes.
“Banda? Wriggle-wriggle!” said Mei, playing with the tentacles.
“Mei, Banda says he has to talk with your mom and the others for a little bit. So don’t pull on the antennae… don’t roll up the wriggle-wriggles and pull yourself closer, okay?” said Ulrika.
“The sight of the Saintess spinning around while holding the antennae of God… How sublime!” said Bokor, infatuated.
“Banda! This Bokobor guy seems kind of hopeless!” said Hiroshi.
“It is alright, Hiroshi-sama. All of us are the same. You are the only one who can be relied on. Also, my name is Bokor,” Bokor corrected him.
“You’re kidding me, right?!” Hiroshi exclaimed. “Even Aunt Ulrika is reliable when we need her!”
“I-I’m considered to be reliable?!” Ulrika said in surprise.
“… Ulrika, you’ve become very positive, haven’t you?” said Joseph.
Banda, the Amemiyas, Derrick, and Iwao stepped away from this lively scene, about thirty meters away from Mei, and began talking.
“Banda, your true identity – You’re the ‘Undead,’ aren’t you?” said Narumi.
“Yes, my true identity… Hmm? If I recall correctly, I do believe that was the codename that I was given, I think? Nobody has really called me that, so I don’t really know,” said Banda, who had been contemplating how much of his identity he should reveal.
But it seemed that Narumi had a pretty good idea of who he was.
“As I thought… I couldn’t think of anyone else who could possibly teach Mei death-attribute magic,” said Narumi.
She seemed to have reached the conclusion that there was nobody other than the ‘Undead’ who was capable of teaching death-attribute magic, as he was the only complete death-attribute mage to have existed in this world until Mei and Mari became able to use it – though in truth, the ‘Undead’ under the control of the researchers had not been all that proficient in the use of death-attribute magic.
Well, if she’ll accept this as my true identity, then that would be convenient… I think? Banda thought.
Banda’s actual true identity was that he was a split entity of Vandalieu – Amamiya Hiroto, another reincarnated individual, and he knew that the Amemiyas would be extremely shocked if they were to find out.
He had made a conscious effort to not learn how they had fallen in love and married, but… given that their son’s name was Hiroshi, he got the feeling that things would become very bothersome if they were to learn the truth.
TLN: As previously revealed (many chapters ago), the Amemiyas named Hiroshi (博) after Hiroto (博人), Vandalieu’s original given name.
Eventually, he intended to let them know that there was another life waiting for them and talk to them to make sure they wouldn’t become enemies after they were reincarnated, but… it was best to minimize any possible mental discomposure before the final battle against Rikudou.
“I don’t know why you’re protecting Mei and Hiroshi, but… I’m sorry. I know you saved Pluto and the others, but we couldn’t save them. Not only that, we failed to realize that Rikudou-kun… I mean Rikudou, is trying to repeat the same tragedy that was inflicted on them,” said Narumi. “I’m truly sorry, and thank –”
“Ah, I’m not bothered by those things. I’ll accept your apology, and you feeling that way is enough for me. So please don’t lower your head any further,” said Banda.
Banda – Vandalieu – had never had high expectations of the Bravers, including during the events surrounding Pluto and the others.
And Pluto and the others didn’t have any resentment towards the Bravers – or rather, they weren’t interested in them at all. As long as the Bravers didn’t get involved with them again, they were less significant than a pebble on the roadside.
The same was true for Vandalieu, but… he didn’t want Mei and Hiroshi to become distant from their parents as a result of his own past.
Thus, he was fine with simply accepting this apology and forgetting about it altogether.
In any case, the Bravers would likely be worked to the bone in this world after all of this was over, and they would be punished plenty even without Banda going out of his way to drive them into a corner as well.
But Amemiya foiled this plan. “Wait, if you’re the ‘Undead,’ then… are you Amamiya Hiroto? Another reincarnated individual like us –”
“Please shut up,” said Banda, slapping a mass of mucus he had produced from his mouth on Amemiya’s face to silence him.
Caught by surprise, Amemiya flipped over and fell to the ground, his head enveloped in mucus.
“Amemiya?! A-are you alright?!” Iwao exclaimed, running over to him. “Wait, what were you saying just now… Amamiya? If I recall, that’s who Narumi…”
In the next second, he let out a muffled scream as a lightning-fast tentacle extended from Banda to wrap itself around his mouth.
“I did ask you to shut up… Derrick, Narumi, how about you?” said Banda, turning to the other two. “Would you like to have your mouths harmlessly sealed by my mucus, tentacles, or tongue?”
Narumi froze, shocked by Banda’s sudden display of force, and Derrick froze as well, obeying his survival instincts. Both of them shook their heads furiously.
“Excellent. Let us leave the discussion of my true identity for another time. You might be dissatisfied, and I am sure you have your questions, but let’s leave it for another time, yes?” Banda said. “I am an ally of Meh-kun and Hiroshi, as well as Ulrika, Joseph, Mari, Bokor, and everyone else. The reason for that is that they are all my friends. There is no other reason. I have no hidden thoughts, no ulterior motives, no ‘real intentions’ that you need to worry about. Do you understand?”
Amemiya, who had somehow managed to remove the mucus and avoid suffocation, nodded with a pale face. “Alright. I’ll tell the other Bravers that as well… though I do want to hear the details later.”
And so, the Bravers’ policy on how to treat Banda was decided.
In Rikudou’s main headquarters, preparations for repelling the Bravers were complete.
Tanks, military Golems, heavily-armed soldiers… and experimental subjects.
It wasn’t just orphans with no relatives and abducted people that Rikudou had used for his death-attribute magic experiments. He had also used many convicts on death row from the Nordic Federation and Chinese Republic.
The ones that had been sent to Africa were these vicious criminals.
One of them chuckled. “I’ll finally get to go wild.”
“We didn’t get to do anything in Africa, after all,” said another.
“I’m gonna melt their pretty faces,” said the first, chuckling again. “I prefer killing kids in front of their parents, but it can’t be helped if I can’t get my hands on ‘em. I guess I’ll have to settle for rotting the parents until they’re nothing but puddles in front of their kids!”
“You aren’t going to do shit against the ‘Bravers,’” sneered the second, mocking him. “Just make sure you don’t get into my line of fire, since my gun is going to be strengthened by ‘Strengthen Lethality.’”
These criminals had been turned into limited death-attribute magic users. One had the ability to rot anything he touched, and the other had the ability to increase the lethality of the weapons they used.
“You guys are so loud. Should I make you my puppets?” said a third, a woman who could ‘Possess’ the bodies of others.
As the most capable of the experimental subjects stationed here, she was their leader.
Still, the experimental subjects were nothing more than guinea pigs. They provided numbers to use in battle, but they weren’t treated as human.
They were being forced to obey the soldiers and mercenaries of the Nordic Federation and Chinese Republic.
“But are they really going to come to a place like this? There’s nothing past this point other than people who haven’t even been used for experiments yet, you know?” one of them questioned.
“The boss thinks that’s why they’ll come. The heroes won’t just abandon the victims, he said. So do as you’re told and stay alert,” said a soldier. “If you disobey, the explosives planted in your heads will go off. All I’d need to do is recite an incantation or have my buddy press a button on his remote control, and –”
But before the soldier could finish his sentence, his body was riddled with bullets.
The man with the ‘Strengthen Lethality’ ability had pulled the trigger on his weapon.
“You bastard! You’re betraying us?!” shouted the soldier next to him, pressing the button on the remote control he was carrying to detonate the explosives inside the man’s brain.
“Use me!” said the man.
“Got it!” the woman with the ‘Possession’ ability said in response.
As the explosive destroyed his brain, the woman’s mind entered his body. Though his heart should have stopped due to the destruction of his brain, she forcibly kept his heart and lungs moving as she opened fire on the soldier with the remote control, who screamed and crumbled to the floor as well.
“You traitorous bastards!” the man with the ‘Decomposition’ ability shouted, but he seemed delighted. “This is perfect! I’ve been wanting to try decomposing a pretty face like yours!”
He thrusted his arm out, not at the man with ‘Strengthen Lethality,’ but at the woman with ‘Possession.’ He knew that her ability had a weakness – When she used it, her own body became completely defenseless.
If he went after her body, she wouldn’t be able to control the man with ‘Strengthen Lethality’ to fire at him, since her own body would be in her line of fire. She would be full of openings as she desperately tried to protect her own body. He would then exploit that to take the gun from her and shoot them both. Even with the ‘Possess’ ability, the woman wouldn’t be able to survive if both the body she was possessing and her own body had bullet holes in their hearts.
Behind his degenerate smile, the man with ‘Decomposition’ was calmly calculating all of this.
Ordinarily, these calculations would be correct. But he was a serial killer who didn’t understand the pain of others. Because of that, he didn’t understand others at all. And because of that, he couldn’t predict the actions of others outside of thought patterns like, ‘If it were me, I would do this.’
Society for him consisted of only himself, and he didn’t understand a single thing about the other experimental subjects or the two people he was currently facing, who had been a part of real battles like he had.
That was why the man with ‘Decomposition’ was unable to foresee that the woman with ‘Possession,’ who was controlling the body of the man with ‘Strengthen Lethality,’ would open fire without hesitation.
Before he could reach the face of the woman with ‘Possession,’ bullet holes appeared in the back of his head and in his back.
“If we were afraid of dying, we wouldn’t be doing this in the first place,” the remaining two said in unison.
After they made sure there were no more surviving enemies, they left – to help their comrades.
“Ah, how fortunate I (male) and I (female) am. Just by killing people, we get to go to the country of God,” they said as they gathered the assault rifles and ammunition magazines that the soldiers had been carrying.
TLN: They are speaking together, and use different gendered pronouns for themselves.
Soon, the sound of an explosion reached their ears.
It seemed that the heroes had arrived.
“That is all well and good, but… will God be with them? It would be nice if we could join Bokor and the others, but… will my (male) body and my (female) Mana last until then?”
The spells cast by Amemiya easily tore through tanks and swept away armored vehicles.
“… This performance is amazing,” he murmured.
His power came from his cheat-like abilities such as ‘Multi-cast’ and ‘Ignore Defense,’ but the power suit he was wearing was enhancing his physical capabilities and assisting in controlling his Mana for more efficient use.
It was completely unharmed by regular bullets and could even withstand the heat of an incendiary bomb. As a magical medium, it was far superior to even the most modern military media.
The power suit’s performance was tremendous. Even the weakest soldiers would quickly form an elite force if they were given suits like this.
“So I suppose it would be selfish of me to complain about the design,” he sighed in resignation.
Amemiya Hiroto’s power suit… or rather transformation equipment, was a simple one that covered his entire body, with a helmet and cape included.
But the cape, helmet, and the chest of the suit itself bore the Bravers’ logo and Amemiya’s own signature, as well as lights and flame-like decorations in bright and flashy colors.
No matter how one looked at it, it looked just like a hero suit from a tokusatsu show.
“… Let’s go, everyone!” he said.
The people he was leading were the Bravers, who were wearing silver-colored body suits of their own.
One minute earlier.
“Rikudou-san! Amemiya and the others have arrived in costumes!” Moriya reported.
“I see, so they have finally reached… Wait, c-costumes?!”