Arifureta - Chapter 307
Arifureta After III Abyss Lord Arc Chapter 2 ILS
TN: It has been two weeks, this is Shirakome.
The update will resume from today.
The content is becoming a bit vague, this chapter feels more for rehabilitation for me but,
A certain place in Britain.
Within the city where buildings were built cramped with each other, there was a restaurant with wooden plank standing quietly around the outskirt.
A cute letter font was decorating above the entrance in arch shape.
It seemed to be the name of the restaurant. It was really small, but there was a sentence ’’I Love Salmon’’ written under it, so it could be understood that it wasn't the abbreviation of some kind of organization or system, but a mere sentence of salmon lover.
The wooden plank had salmon dishes that seemed to be regular menu――ninety percent of it was salmon sandwich dish though――written on it, so it could be immediately comprehended that it was a caféthat was offering salmon food.
For some reason, a sentence ’’Those who pass through this door, throw away all your preconception’’ with oppressive calligraphic style. Two lines were drawn on top of it and a sentence ’’Enjoy salmon sandwich normally!’’ was written on empty space with cute font that felt mellow.
It was as though an obstinate cook wrote words that were strangely obsessive, but a girl completely rejected it and rewrote the sentence.
Well, in fact it was exactly like that.
「Boss~. Please look! I finished a cute salmon illustration! Let's put it in front of the café!」
Inside the shop, a cute female with brunette hair in short bob style――the employee in this cafénamed Samantha was holding up a sketch book energetically.
Seeing that, a hard faced and short haired large man who was continuing to polish a glass that was already shiny behind the counter――shop manager Woody completely rejected the proposal.
「Don't you understand!?」
It seemed Samantha-chan didn't get it. She looked puzzled.
Samantha――a university student who was nineteen years old this year, she was doing part time job at this shop while attending college. A pain in the neck who tended to be careless and blindly believed other people.
Previously, Samantha was working in the caféthat was chosen as the place for handing over Emily to Gamma Pharmaceutical in the Berserk incident. She carelessly declared 「This café's salmon sandwich isn't that delicious!」 loudly and got fired.
After that, she had her eyes opened to the deliciousness of salmon sandwich in ILS that she found by accident. She begged to manager Woody and got hired. That was the chronology of the event.
To be frank, Woody who came to that caféas unlawful agent from Gamma Pharmaceutical washed his hand from that business due to Kousuke's salmon sandwich transmission, and like this he opened a business of caféthat specialized in salmon sandwich.
Actually, beside the caféoccupation, manager Woody also doubled as an informant using his experience as former human of the underworld. At first, many suspicious people came and went from this caféand he didn't have intention to hire a civilian girl like Samantha but......
He completely recalled, 「Eh? This girl, isn't she the girl from that café? The girl who got addressed by boss and then blundered?」.
Somehow his awkwardness was growing knowing that. And then, seeing her figure that was stuffing her cheeks with his prided salmon sandwich while making rave review, and how with sparkling eyes and full mouth she said 「I will be the evangelist of salmon sandwich! Please hire me!」 which made him worried about her future, manager Woody folded.
Samantha who became an apprentice evangelist of salmon sandwich (?) with such sequence of event seemed to be greatly displeased with outer appearance and management of ILS.
The evangelist tried to do something in order to improve this caféthat tended to have slow business so that it would be advertised more.
Even now she was swinging around her sketch book while insisting her displeasure.
Manager Woody opened his mouth with a weary face.
「No matter how I see it, it ain't matching the atmosphere of this café. What's this, this excessively cute illustration. My caféis somber, a caféfor hardcore salmon sandwich lover.」
「That's the reason why there aren't that many customers here! Let's make this place cuter! The target should be the young girls!」
Indeed, the illustrations that were drawn on the sketch book was a cute deformed salmon swimming and picture of cute salmon that explained the menu. If the pictures were put on the signboard at the front, it would surely attract the attention of young woman.
Although, it wasn't like manager Woody wanted to make his cafémodernly stylish so that his caféwould be teeming with young females.
Rather, it was the opposite. A famous caféthat was known only to those in the know. It would be fine if it was a caféwhere only regular customers would gather and rejected first time customer that came without introduction. The caféwas barely scraping by with only the sale every month, but he was properly earning money as informant, so there was no problem with his living.
「Whyyyy! Boss, do you have any motivation!? Do you think you can take the world like that!?」
It seemed that within Samantha, manager Woody was like a master. Of course, it wasn't in the sense of the master of café. If it had to be said, it was a master in the sense of an expert.
He was the master of salmon sandwich road. What Samantha meant seemed to be something like 'How can you stay like this without having your name reverberating throughout the world!'.
「I understand. Then, not just young girls, how about this illustration so that boys will also visit!? I have confidence with this one!」
Saying that, Samantha lifted up her sketch book once more.
Manager Woody's expression convulsed. He massaged his temple as though enduring a headache while responding.
「I'm really unwilling, but let's say we make this cafécute. But still, no matter how I look that picture ain't cute at all! That's a monster! What kind of imagination you have to think that young man will come with that picture!? If we put up that kind of thing here, this caféwill completely turn strange! Just what are you planning with my caféhuh!?」
On the book, there was the picture of deformed salmon. Limbs were growing from fish torso, and for some reason it was wearing a skirt, while winking with fish eye.
Certainly, it was a monster no matter how one looked at it.
Manager Woody launched a tsukkomi, however, Samantha made an irritating gesture that looked like 「Good griefYare yare」, then she began to explain like a teacher remonstrating an ignorant student.
「Boss, don't you know? This is the so called ’’anthropomorphication’’. It's the essence of Japanese culture! It seems that Japanese people will love anything by anthropomorphing them. Such culture right now is getting prevalent to the degree it is spreading throughout the world.」
「Spit it out, Samantha. The one who planted that kind of half-baked and prejudiced knowledge, was it Paradis-neesan?」
「Yes! Vane-oneesan taught me!」
It seemed the two had been really close to the degree that she called Vanessa with a pet name. Even though he was an informant, he overlooked how the employee of his own cafégot encroached! Woody held his head.
But, at that time a somewhat awkward voice resounded.
「Oou!? Who――wait, ain't this boss!」
When he noticed, a Japanese youth was inside the cafésmiling wryly. Samantha raised her voice 「Kya!?」 in surprise.
Kousuke harbored a subtle feeling of guilt for some reason due to his inability of controlling the missionary work of the subculture evangelist Vanessa. He apologized while sporting a wry smile.
「I told you to stop calling me boss didn't I, Woody.」
「Aa~, sorry. It was a habit. Then, head. What is it today? Are you going to have a take home like usual?」 (TN: Head in the sense like headmaster, head director, etc. I know it sound strange, but that's how it is in the raw. Bear with it)
「No, calling me head is also a bit......well, for now, it's okay I guess. Today I came for a request of ’’that side’’.」
「Oops, is that so.」
Manager Woody's eyes narrowed slowly. It was a sharp gaze that was fitting for a former human of the underworld.
Kousuke sat on the counter seat. Samantha was looking alternately at Kousuke and manager Woody whose atmosphere changed while her eyes sparkled.
「Good afternoon, mister Kousuke. Seeing that you are here, how about a new salmon sandwich dish? It's a new concept that I thought of that the boss okayed.」
「Samantha, hi. So there was new recipe again. Right, I'll have that. I think I'll eat it while Woody is investigating.」
Not to mention Kousuke who often came to buy salmon sandwich, even Vanessa, Grant family, and furthermore the agents of security bureau were also frequently coming here as regular customer, so Samantha was acquainted with them.
By the way, regarding manager Woody's hidden face, he properly explained it in the interview, so Samantha also knew about it. It seemed Samantha who was full of curiosity was also unable to resist the little smell of the extraordinary.
Although, the point of how she was trying to reform such caféto have fancy atmosphere was a mark of how she was truly a pain in the neck. The visit of the agents would be receding like that.
Samantha went behind the counter with light footsteps and immediately began to prepare the new salmon sandwich variant. Manager Woody and Kousuke began to talk while glancing at her.
「And, what kind of situation you are poking your nose into this time? Is it related with the forest burning case by ’’that person’’?」
「As expected, your information is fast. About that matter, I also don't know anything about it. I cannot contact him.」
「Then......could it be, it's the explosion incident of Vatican?」
Manager Woody gave coffee to Kousuke while making a half-exasperated expression because it felt like this would be another troublesome case.
Also, ’’that person’’ manager Woody referred to was about demon king Hajime.
Kousuke couldn't help but smile wryly everytime at Woody's way of speaking that really sounded like talking about a mastermind of a secret society.
Kousuke explained blah-blah yadda-yadda about the incident at Vatican.
A fantasy human like Kousuke actually also existed in Vatican. Such information seemed to be a shocking fact for manager Woody who was a former human of underworld who worked under an occult organization.
「As I thought you didn't know huh.」
「Well, although I belonged to Hydra, I was like a private soldier of Kaysis. I was just an underling among underling. I can boast a wide information network due to my connection from my mercenary period, but a secret information of a country is something that doesn't reach my ear as expected.」
「Well, guess so. Rather, I wonder if the top brass of Hydra didn't know about this, like Kaysis and also Jefferson and others?」
「I wonder about that. I think they might know seeing that they were an organization with long history but......」
Actually, the top brass of Hydra knew about it. But, thinking about that organization's objective, it was meaningless even if they laid their hand on it. In addition, throughout long years, that organization had received painful retaliation many times throughout the process of confirming it, so they were unable to lay their hand on it even knowing about it.
Back to the topic
「More importantly, I want to know the connection of those guys. I think there is an organization that they belonged to but......」
Kousuke showed the recording of ID and face picture of five people――Leda and others who died strangely in the church to manager Woody.
Manager Woody took the smartphone and took a look. After that he transferred the data into his own smartphone.
「From a glance, there isn't anyone with big name in the underworld. Can I take a bit of time with this?」
「Around how long it will take?」
「It will depend on the comparison result in the database that I have and contacting my acquaintances, so I cannot say. Well, this is a request from head, so I'll do it super express. For now, please wait for thirty minutes.」
「Got it. Until then, I'll taste Samantha's new salmon sandwich.」
「I don't know about being evangelist, but her motivation is amazing and her skill is also good. Please enjoy to your heart's content.」
Samantha brought the new salmon sandwich at that timing. Manager Woody's evaluation about her seemed to make her got into a really good mood. Manager Woody's expression became one of 「Damn it」. Samantha-chan, she was the type who would blunder when she got carried away.
Kousuke waved his hand casually to Woody who was entering his work room as informant at the back while turning his gaze to the salmon sandwich that was brought to him.
「Here, please enjoy. It's the new work, ’’miso mustard salmon sandwich’’!」
The new recipe seemed to be a Japanese style salmon sandwich. It seemed that the influence of a certain SOUSAKANagent caused Samantha to develop interest to Japan. She seemed to get the idea from miso cutlet sandwich and set out to develop a salmon sandwich that used miso.
She didn't use raw salmon, but a salmon that was fried with thin coating with somewhat soft miso curstard coating it a lot. The shredded cripsy cabbage also had mayonaise applied on it.
Kousuke put it into his mouth a bit timidly.
A beat later
「Yes-! Yes! Yaaahaaaa!!」
Samantha, she made powerful guts pose repeatedly.
If manager Woody was a master for Samantha, then Kousuke was the grand master. Or perhaps a maestro. No, he was the founder of salmon sandwich road, he was already the salmon sandwich god......
As a trainee, the word of praise from the salmon sandwich god was truly the highest peak!
「Yep. It's seriously tasty. But, well, as expected, I like sandwich with raw salmon the best I guess.」
Samantha fell on all four. She was hitting the floor *bang bang* in vexation. Dust was going to rise up from her doing that, so Kousuke wished that she would stop it.
「Samantha. Can you give me the standard salmon sandwich too?」
「......Yes. I will bring it right away.」
Samantha disappeared behind the counter with a face that looked like the emoticon (´・ω・`). The day the title ’’trainee’’ was taken away from here seemed to be still far away.
Exactly thirty minutes after that.
While Kousuke was making trivial talk with Samantha about salmon sandwich, manager Woody got out from the back room.
「How is it?」
「......Sorry. I don't get any good information.」
Manager Woody scratched his head awkwardly. However, his expression looked conflicted and baffled to be said that he simply didn't obtain any information.
「If, there is an organization behind those guys, it feels like it will be better to rely on the intelligence bureau. If it's head, you will be able to request them through security bureau right?」
「I think I can do that but......」
From manager Woody's state, there must be something. Kousuke questioned him with his gaze. Manager Woody made a coffee for himself, then he drank it all with one gulp before starting to report his investigation result.
「I investigated using various pulls too, but I cannot believe that those guys has connection with underworld organization. Lawyer, university student, priest, retired former teacher. Everyone of them has clear background. Other than that Vatican's man called Leda that is. In addition, it's like these guys have nothing connecting them. Like participating in some kind of convention, or having transaction with each other......there is no connection at all.」
「Are they hiding it so thoroughly you cannot find it?」
「I cannot deny that possibility. That's why, in that case you better rely on the intelligence bureau, or give me a few days to put serious effort into investigating this.」
If it was manager Woody who had underworld information network, Kousuke thought that he would be able to pull out all information regarding their connection, but it seemed it couldn't go that easily.
「But you know, head. There is a bit of ’’common point’’ that bother me.」
「......All of these guys, the people close to them are dead. By so called tragic incidents.」
From what he was told, for the lawyer it was his fiancée, for the college student it was his parents, for the priest his wife and son, for the former teacher old man it was his son and daughter-in-law, for the laborer it was his wife. They lost their important people. Killed. What's more, all of those happened in the shape of betrayal by someone they trusted.
Kousuke recalled the scream of death agony from Leda.
――This world is hell. Human, is making it hell
Was that man, also saw a ’’tragedy’’ that made him thought like that......
「Also, there is one more point. The former teacher old man, and the college student, about them......」
Manager Woody's report caused Kousuke who was about to get absorbed into his thought to return to his senses feeling taken aback.
「After their incident, they got involved with police several times.」
「Police? Were they gotten involved with incident again?」
「No, it's the opposite. They caused incident.」
「Even if I said incident, it wasn't at the level of getting jailed. There were only things that only got them strictly warned......the former teacher was with his wife, while the college student was with several of his friends. Both of them tried to influence other people to stop believing in religion.」
――God won't answer. He won't grant salvation.
Leda's words crossed Kousuke's mind once more.
「The man called Leda, was someone from Vatican......the holy ground of religion right? Thinking about his act of betrayal too, I think this is really suspicious.」
Manager Woody had picked up good information in this short time. Kousuke didn't say that with words, but inside his heart he sent his praise to Woody.
Then, at that timing, Samantha who was endeavoring to make new anthromorph salmon illustration quietly so that she wouldn't be a bother seemed to be actually listening. She suddenly opened her mouth.
「Saay, Mister Kousuke.」
「Hm? Samantha, what's the matter?」
Even while addressing Kousuke, Samantha sent a glance at manager Woody. Just in case, she confirmed to the manager Woody whether it was alright for her to enter the conversation.
This point where she could discern that in the end she was just an employee made anyone couldn't hate her despite her being a pain in the neck. Manager Woody thought that while nodding with a wry smile.
「You see, that act of overdoing it in making someone to stop having faith? Actually, there is also my friend who experienced that......」
「Seriously. It was about two months ago I think? The boyfriend of my friend went through misfortune in his family. My friend, she said that she would support her boyfriend, but after that, the condition of that boyfriend seemed to turn strange.」
「Strange you say? Like what?」
「My friend said, that he was scary. It was like he was a bit not normal. And then, me and several other friends had discussion with her. But then, it seems that there also quite many friends of my other friends who are like that boyfriend too.」
It seemed that such kind of people had appeared here and there since around a year ago. After a while, those people would return to how they were before, so it didn't seem like to become a widespread topic, but......
「Yes. And also, that's......」
「Hm? What's wrong? Is there something else in your mind?」
Samantha faltered as though it was difficult to say. After she was urged to continue, she started with 「Saying it like this, is a bit bad but......」 while saying.
「Everyone said it. It's as though――’’they are possessed by demon’’, they said.」
*Silence*, inside the empty café, even more silence was falling. Even the air felt like it was getting colder somehow.
It was manager Woody who broke the silence.
「Head. Do you know about demon worshipping cult?」
「I heard about it before. It's that right? The cult that appeared in movie, doing ritual of sacrifice or something?」
「Well, something like that. Even in reality, that kind of demon worshipping organization existed. Of course, there isn't just hidden organization, they are a group that is recognized even at the surface. As expected, they aren't doing sacrifice or the like. They merely people who are charmed by the existence of demon.」
「Hm, well, it's everyone's freedom to believe anything.」
That kind of people also existed in the world.
In fact, there was also an organization like Hydra that seriously sought for occult. Because their objective was merely to ’’personally use the mystique’’ that was unrelated to god or demon, religiousness didn't take root within them, so they were of a type that was a bit different from the normal image of occult organization.
「About that demon worshipping organization, when I was still with Hydra, I heard a bit of rumor. In the end, it was just a talk that is like urban legend, there was no credibility in it.」
As an informant, he was somewhat reluctant to report about a mere rumor. Manager Woody talked while scratching his cheek.
「It's a group that is worshipping demon, but they aren't an organization.」
「They are a group, and yet not an organization? Do you mean they are like a mob without anyone controlling them?」
「No no, they are organized to a terrifying degree. They aren't an organization but a group.」
A lot of question marks floated above Kousuke's head. Even manager Woody smiled wryly saying 「It's incomprehensible isn't it」 while continuing.
「Every individual in the group has the same objective and belief. However, they aren't gathering at all. And yet, they will make a move when it's necessary without making arrangement with each other beforehand. A jogging woman, a man who is walking his dog, a child playing soccer, a patrolling police......anyone who is doing normal activity right in front of you. Normally they even go to the mass at Sunday, very normal people, but one day, they will suddenly make their move.」
「What, is that?」
While saying that, Kousuke recalled something as expected. When Leda and others were in the middle of talking, they saw Kousuke without any sign beforehand. It was at exactly the same timing, as though they had arranged it beforehand.
At that time, their eyes were shining mysteriously.
「With our business circles as they were, those guys that are behaving eccentrically, those guys doing stupid thing, those talks that are like urban legend, we called those things with ridicule like this――’’demon possession’’.」
If, there was actually people who were possessed by ’’demon’’ in the true meaning, not in figurative expression or just a mental problem, and they were normally living casually? They were slipping among society, into household, and then one day, they suddenly obeyed the voice inside themselves and then started acting like a different person?
Manager Woody operated his smartphone and sent something to Kousuke's smartphone. Seeing that, Kousuke tilted his head.
「A college professor?」
I don't really know the detail but, he is a professor in the field or something like religious study, and he is quiet famous in that area. ......The college student just now, he attended his seminar. In addition, that professor, in this half a year he took flight to Roma nearly thirty times.]
「......Hee. It's slight but, that's not a bad connection. As expected from Woody. It's not just for show that you opened your eyes to salmon sandwich.」
「Thanks to you head.」
Manager Woody mad a manly grin. In fact, he was really deserving praise to investigate this much in just thirty minutes.
Just having and knowing information didn't really mean anything. Only after analyzing, conjecturing, and connecting them that they became useful. There were many cases like that. Perhaps it was better to say instead that informant's work was to collect pieces of information into one complete information.
At that point, manager Woody was without a doubt first class. That was how he wasn't troubled about living expense despite his caféwas only scraping by. This was more of his lifework rather than being an underling under Kaysis's command.
Kousuke drank all his remaining coffee and stood from his seat.
But, at that time,
「E, err. Something like demon possession, they aren't real right?」
'I have to ask this at least!' Samantha asked with that kind of feeling. Seeing how her expression was greatly twitching, it seemed she was completely scared from the words of manager Woody and Kousuke's behavior just now.
Although, the fantasy man, and the man who was converted into salmon sandwich by that fantasy man couldn't say 「Obviously it's just nonsense」.
Kousuke and manager Woody looked at each other and smiled wryly at the same time.
「Wai-, what is it!? Why are you two smiling, at this timing! Tell me it's a lie boss!」
Manager Woody. He was making a smile filled with implication while taking payback for the monster illustration she showed him before this.
「Samantha......my bad. I should have you leave before we started talking.」
「Do you know? That kind of thing will visit those who know their existence.」
「Be careful when walking at night in the street okay?」
Shuddering chill caused Samantha to shiver from the tip of her foot until the crown of her head. Her eyes opened widely and her painstaking piece of work fell on the floor with a clatter.
Kousuke sent an exasperated gaze at manager Woody thinking 'This guy is really childish huuh'.
It seemed manager Woody noticed that gaze. He was about to open his mouth to say 「I'm joking」 with a wry smile but......
Before he could,
「Booss! Please give me shelter tonight-!」
「Is it alright for you if your important worker get attacked by demon!? Of course it's not! I understand! And so, tonight I'll stay in boss's house! Thank you very much!」
「Wait wait. I was only joking just now.」
Manager Woody, 41 years old. Single. Living in apartment. Recently he was half living together with a stray cat that settled down there.
Samantha-chan. 19 years old. Active college student.
「This is concerning.」
「Head, please don't make that kind of scorning gaze when you know the situation. It's not like I'm scaring her because I'm aiming for this.」
Manager Woody made an expression that seemed to say 'spare me' in respond to Kousuke's muttering.
He said 「I was joking」 one more time to Samantha, but,
「No, I won't get tricked! I understand. Yes, surely, those guys are already setting their eyes on me. Like that, when I go out from this café, behind me......at the street at night, people won't be around unnaturally, I will feel a bad premonition somehow, and I will quicken my pace. And then, there will be footsteps approaching from who know where! There won't be anyone when I turn around! But footsteps are certainly approaching! I will run away to escape, and somehow arrive in my home. After that, I'll lock the door securely, and peek outside from the peeking hole. There won't be anyone outside. Aa, I'm glad. I got away! Yep, perhaps it was just my imagination. Yup, surely that's it! I'm stupid! I was overly self-conscious! How embarrassing! Kyah. I will be like that while turning my gaze inside the room......over there is the demoooooonnn-. Boosss! Please save meeeeeeeeeeee!」
「Rather, it would be me who want to be saved by head.」
Samantha's bad habit――the habit of believing blindly. Or perhaps it should be said as bad habit of delusion. Anyway, if she had believed something like this!, she wouldn't believe anything else most of the time.
Even though she was still in the stage of delusion, Samantha was already throwing tantrum while clinging on manager Woody.
The face of manager Woody had zero happiness from having a young girl clinging on him. He was normally fed up, feeling creeped out at Samantha who was pleading to stay with him while crying. He sent a gaze that was pleading for help to Kousuke.
「Eh!? Head!? Wai-, it's fine if you don't be out of recognition only at this kind of time though!? You are here right!? You are still inside right!?」
「Boss! Who are you talking with!? If it's mister Kousuke, he already exited from long time ago! Hah, don't tell me-. The hand of the demon is already reaching me!? Help meee, booooosssss-!」
「That's why, it's me instead who want help......」
Manager Woody's tired voice was drowned out by Samantha's tantrum and didn't reach anyone.
After that, a staff of security bureau visited to fill his stomach, and saw Samantha who was crying while clinging on manager Woody, while he was holding her face with an eagle grip to tear her off from him......
The staff judged that manager Woody was doing assault to his female employee.
It almost became a big case......
In front of a splendid university in Britain, Kousuke was looking up to the window at the highest floor while muttering.
That spot was the classroom of the person who might become a lead from manager Woody's information――Professor Riley Littman.
Kousuke nodded once and entered inside the building.
He walked through a dimly lit corridor and climbed the stair that didn't have light shining in despite the fact it had skylight.
Kousuke had gone several times accompanying Emily to the university she was attending, but somehow this building felt ’’different’’.
He couldn't feel the impression of ’’a building of education that belonged to university’’ from it at all.
It was more, like......yes, as though he was getting lost inside a gloomy cave......
(Come to think of it......I'm not seeing anyone since some time ago. Is it holiday? No, but, only this building? There were students at other place normally......)
It was eerie. Kousuke gathered strength in his body naturally while thinking such thing.
Like that, Kousuke kept feeling strange tension while arriving in front Littman's classroom.
He didn't make an appointment. If he had some kind of connection with Leda and others, he might guessed Kousuke's intention and escaped.
And so, he infiltrated inside the room with stealth like usual――
「It's not locked. Don't just stand there like that, please come in.」
He was already activating his stealth. And yet,
Furthermore, it was from across a door.
「What's wrong? You won't enter? You come to visit me right?」
Kousuke hesitated for a moment, but he immediately resolved himself and put his hand on the door.
*Gii*, the door made small creaking sound. It echoed excessively.
「Welcome, to Littman's classroom. Although, aren't you a bit too late, exorcist?」
Inside the room was filled to the brim with vast number of books. Books that were placed flat and piled up formed several towers, creating a strained situation where it wouldn't be strange for the piles to fall anytime.
And then, the moment Kousuke stepped inside, he felt discomfort. *Splat* sound resounded from below his foot.
Looking there, the floor surface was flooded out. Flooded floor was the natural enemy of a room that was littered with books. It was just too strange.
Above all else, it smelt weird.
There was a strange smell. It was like something was scorched, a smell that pierced the nose terribly......
Kousuke's body took fighting stance.
He had smelt this before. This extremely unpleasant smell. Only recently.
In the foreign world at the another side of the mirror.
There was a man within the unpleasant smell, between the mountains of books. Gray hair laying flat limply on his head, and a face full with wrinkles that was lacking in vigor. Severe hook nose, and grey eyes with piercing glint.
His age was around the latter half of his seventy.
He was wearing a suit with good tailoring that was obvious from a glance. One hand was holding a stick, and his back was relatively straight for his age.
That man――Professor Littman raised an eyebrow at Kousuke's question.
「――’’What, are you’’. Hm, strange. I thought you came to me knowing the situation but......the exorcist who hindered ’’that person’’. No, perhaps I should call you Vatican's hidden ace? There is nothing about you at all in the information of Leda and others.」
(This guy, he know about what I did in that world!?)
Professor Littman pressed forward with his conjecture from Kousuke's faint agitation.
「You are agitated. So it's unexpected for you that I know. But, why is it unexpected? It's obvious that I know. You should know about the obvious. Because you are here by identifying me. ......Hm, if that premise is wrong, I see, you aren't related with Vatican. Or perhaps, even if you have relation with them, you aren't related with exorcist. Then, why did someone unrelated like you moved to rescue the ’’mother body’’? Why, are you here? Besides, although ’’that person’’ didn't display his original power, you escaped him. What is that power?」
Professor Littman spoke while linking one by one the information available and unraveled the mystery.
But, Kousuke was unable to cut in at the words of the professor that was like talking to himself.
(What? It's not just smell. This feeling......)
The coiling unpleasant presence.
Then, at that time, following some kind of thought process, professor Littman reached the answer.
「I see. You. You are――returnee huh.」
Kousuke lost count how many surprise he had felt. This room's abnormal atmosphere, and the way Professor Littman was talking, Kousuke felt how he almost getting swallowed by the other party's pace. He scolded himself inside his heart and pulled himself together quickly.
「I see, I see. If it's like that, then it's no wonder you still don't know.」
「About the people that are not of this world.」
*Clack clack*, Professor Littman was knocking the floor with his leather shoes and stick while adding on his words looking really like he was teaching.
「You, you must not be ignorant. Even if human cannot be all knowing, human has to fight ignorance constantly. That is the duty of the race that possess the highest intelligence.」
「Therefore, I will give you a lecture about ’’them’’ to the ignorant you. You, you who have fought and escaped ’’them’’ from ’’hell’’. After sealing the ’’mirror gate’’, are you relieved? Did you see hope in the future after taking back Claudia Barenberg?」
The question of Professor Littman in truth was nearly that of a mere monologue to himself. It looked like he was asking question to Kousuke, but his eyes were constantly wandering to empty air.
「You. Certainly, ’’they’’ cannot open the ’’mirror gate’’ and descend to this world. They who in essence are without flesh body are unable to cross the gap of ’’hell’’ and ’’this world’’. They have no strength to maintain their existence.」
「They have no flesh body?」
Certainly, no matter how many time he cut those ghoul like things, they kept regenerating. He was able to destroy them for the first time after using magic in conjunction with his attack. Although, he thought that they had flesh body. Therefore Kousuke spontaneously asked, but as expected Professor Littman continued talking without even looking at Kousuke.
「But, there is exception to everything. They can exert influence to this world even if only slightly. Sometimes, it will be as whispering voice, sometimes as shadow, sometimes it will be as something that seems to be predestined.」
The shadow that was visible inside the eyes of Leda and others. So that was the ’’people of hell’’ that Professor Littman mentioned.
「People who are strongly influenced. People who offer their own body. There are a lot of human who carry them inside their heart. Because they only have meager influence, they possess the way to make use of that influence to the maximum.」
'But'――Professor Littman's eyes caught Kousuke once more.
「The power of ’’that person’’ is immense, his influence is also vast. Humans who have connection with the other side are increasing, and then, finally ’’the wind of lamentation’’ is released to this world.」
「――What you mean by ’’wind of lamentation’’, is it that bloody wind?」
Professor Littman nodded slightly. His eyes weren't seeing empty air anymore. He was looking at Kousuke.
「The gap of ’’hell’’ and ’’this world’’ is wavering. Just now, I said that they cannot cross the gap of world without ’’mirror gate’’ but......now is different. In this time when this gap is wavering, if there is a medium that can easily connect the interval, they will be able to descend to ’’this world’’ with strong body maintaining their existence.」
For example, mirror. A mirror that reflected another world, especially when there was opposite mirror, the gap of world could be shaken just with that.
For example, thick mist. Heavy mist that shut the field of vision where it was impossible to look even an inch ahead, it could also shake the spot of ’’this world’’ itself.
And then, water.
The world was connected by water. Water was a natural ’’gate’’ that crossed every world.
Kousuke was taken aback and dropped his gaze to the floor.
「The lecture is over with this. Now, please experience hell after this.」
Swift attack. Kousuke closed the distance instantly, grabbed Professor Littman's neck and slammed him on the floor.
Professor Littman opened his eyes wide. But......his eyeballs immediately rolled and caught Kousuke. His eyes weren't grey. They were eyes that shined glaringly red.
「The gate, has opened you know?」
Kousuke's voice was drowned out.
Because right after that, the flooded floor bubbled fiercely, and countless ’’something’’ flew out along with a shriek.