The soldiers of the citizens of light quickly removed the body of the pacifist man who had ambushed us.
Hagan, who had been killed in the attack, was also taken away.
They said that they would deliver Hagan’s body to his remaining brothers.
So he did have relatives that were still alive.
And in spite of that, he had rushed to his death… No, that time he had been saved by Arisu’s magic.
But ultimately, even Arisu’s actions had been in vain.
I felt hopeless.
As I shook my head in dismay, Mia started to tug at my sleeve.
“A lot of people will die from here on you know.”
“I won’t obsess over it. But thank you.”
I forced myself to smile for her.
Mia nodded back solemnly.
She didn’t make any jokes like she usually did… I think that she too was putting on a brave face.
I patted her on the head.
As hard as I could.
Mia glared up at me with a “Ughhh…”
“Kazucchi, this is where you’re supposed to hold her tightly.”
“Unfortunately, I’m a little shy.”
I shook my head and looked towards Lucia.
Lucia nodded with a “Let’s go then.”
She was right. We couldn’t stay here and wallow in our emotions.
Hagan’s wish was to kill as many monsters as possible.
In order to fulfill that wish, we had to go and pay Rin a visit.
Just as before, we were in the hollow of a tree.
We all sat directly facing Rin.
“First of all, you must forgive our blunder in allowing you to be ambushed by the pacifist.”
There was no energy in her voice as she apologized.
Apparently, she had been given a nasty shock at having this terrorist attack occur in this stronghold.
The security measures during our escort here had seemed extra severe.
All the soldiers were on edge now.
It was no wonder after such an attack.
“These pacifists, who are they? In the first place, is it really possible to negotiate with the monsters?”
But the thing that I wanted to ask the most was…
“That man who attacked us, he used mana or something to conjure numerous spears and control them. What was that?”
“I heard the report. It likely was… A special parasitic monster. The details will have to wait until after the autopsy.”
A monster that combined with a human?
“So that was a monster’s special ability?”
“The man who attacked you was one of a number of brilliant soldiers who protected this land. But he did not have any special powers.”
So they knew who he was.
Even so, a parasitic monster combining with a human… It was horrifying.
But seeing Rin’s reaction made it seem that this was not a particularly unconventional method for the pacifists.
In any case, what had happened was basically the betrayal of one of their bodyguards.
It was no wonder that Rin looked so downcast.
“Do you mean that the man was being controlled by the parasitic monster?”
“Yes, that is a possibility. He was not one who was ever sent out to fight in the frontlines. Most likely, someone had come in contact with him and planted that evil seed.”
Someone had snuck up close to him and exposed the parasite to him.
Though we were still not sure at this point if his ambush had been against his own will, or if it was something that he had wanted to do…
Regardless of which it was, it meant that the citizens of light had troublemakers within.
Furthermore, this disaster had happened very close to where Rin was.
This was not an issue that could be hand waved.
This was a very serious problem.
She had an appropriately grave expression.
“Currently, we have arrested the man’s wife and daughter for questioning. I can only hope that we learn something from the them…”
Mia suddenly looked very attentive.
Hey, this was not the moment to look happy.
Seriously, you are the most imprudent, unfortunate little…
“No. We have ways of using magic to draw out the truth from people.”
I see, that seems quite useful.
So, I suppose we are just going to have to wait for the next report to get further information.
“Well, Rin, there is one other thing…”
Let’s get to the real subject.
I adjusted myself on the cushion.
I straightened my back and looked directly at Rin.
“Please tell me in detail, about how the world will end tomorrow. Also, tell me how it can be avoided.”
“Yes. I will tell you.”
Rin obviously knew that this question would come. And she nodded intently.
“The first thing to establish is that this world… No, this continent that we are in is supported by five temples which allow it to float on the ocean.”
And so her story began.
It was like a myth. The story about this continent we stood on.
Long ago, the only landmasses that existed in this world were archipelagos.
The old gods created their own descendants, in other words, ‘people’ in their image and made them live on the islands that they ruled.
This meant that the humans, elves and the citizens of light who were called beastfolk by the humans, were all made to resemble the old gods.
However, the knowledge about which of the gods had given birth to which race has been lost.
For the old gods had left this world long, long ago.
But even after being abandoned by the old gods who made them, the humans, elves, and citizens of light had survived, prospered and increased in numbers.
Eventually, they did not have enough land to accommodate them.
All of the races began to fight each other for resources.
It was around this time that completely different gods descended into this world.
Unlike the old gods who abandoned this world, these were called the new gods, or simply gods.
One of these gods, Rugol, the God of Magic, took pity on these people who did not have enough land to live on.
“I shall offer you a great land.”
And true to his words, he lifted a great landmass from the depths of the sea.
That landmass would become this continent that we are on right now.
And, so that this continent would not sink once again, five wedges were pierced into the ground at different points on the continent.
As the people cheered, Rugol gave them one warning.
“Should three of the five wedges ever fall, then this continent will surely sink back into the sea. The following waves will cause the surrounding islands to be destroyed. All living things that dwell on the land will meet their doom.”
The people built five great temples around the five wedges and they became places of worship.
Predictably, none of the races ever did anything to spoil the sanctity of those holy lands.
The temples for the wedges had the ability to make the surrounding lands fertile through mana.
This resulted in people gathering around those areas.
And so they became the centers of civilization, flourishing for many years.
However…things changed quickly when the monsters appeared one hundred years ago.
It appeared that these five great temples were an important facility to the monsters as well.
The monster forces attacked all five temples.
A terrible battle raged…
“Among the great five, the Underground Temple in Rown and the Storm Temple in Gal Yarth have already fallen into the hands of the monsters. The only ones that remain are the Holy City Akasha, Harulan Tower and…”
Rin closed her mouth for a moment and lowered her eyes.
She whispered what sounded like the words of a prayer.
Then she raised her head again and looked at us.
“I’m sure you’ve all seen it. The world tree in this land is also one of the five great temples.”
We all nodded with understanding.
So that was why a force of twenty thousand had attacked.
Well, it was also true that there were not many human strongholds left to attack.
Just what the monsters intended to do after taking another temple, what was going to happen to this world, none of it was yet clear.
However, given the words of the oracles, it was obvious that something fatal would occur.
They were already being forced to retreat. If they lost even one of the remaining three temples, then humanity’s defeat would be decided.
This world, it was really in a pickle.
It was surprising that everyone was not completely in despair.
In other words…
“Rin. None of this information has been given to the citizens has it?”
Lucia said with a severe tone.
Well, there seemed to be a gag order.
But I did think that it was the right decision.
“Yes. We too have collected information after hearing from the oracle. But it was only recently that we became sure that these oral traditions were indeed true. ”
“So then, what you’ve just said…”
“We do not know what the monsters intend to do with the five great temples. But we are certain that something fatal will occur. And… We know that we will not be able to protect the remaining three if we continue to resist as we have. We have calculated as much.”
So, as I had heard earlier. A counter-offensive strategy.
They would strike out even if the odds were against them.
The problem was the details of the strategy…
“Our plan is split into two parts. We will rally what surviving forces that we can from across the land and take back the Underground Temple in Rown and the Storm Temple in Gal Yarth. At the same time, we will purposely surrender the Holy City Akasha and Harulan Tower to the monsters. And… When the monsters have gathered around these two lands, we will detonate these two temples that are thick with mana. According to our calculations, the land will turn to ash far out into the horizon. Even if there are many divine soldier class monsters gathered there, we should be able to annihilate all of them.”
Interesting. Purposely attract the enemy into the castle and then trigger a bomb.
It was a desperate measure, but it just might work.
But doing that alone would cause the destruction of the continent, so they would take back two of the temples at the same time…
“Those two temples that were taken… The Underground Temple and Storm Temple, I think? Is there a possibility that the wedges there are of no use anymore?”
“According to the oracles, there has been no damage to the ability of the wedges. At least not at this point.”
Ahh, they asked a god.
What a handy god.
“This world tree has the strongest defenses of the remaining bases. We citizens of light will focus on protecting it. We will want all of you to be part of the two teams that take the temples back.”
“Will we be able to travel there with a teleport gate?”
“Yes. We have already made preparations for that. We have readied a secret fortress in an area near to your destination.”
They act fast.
Perhaps it was because they use familiars like when they called us.
Magic is so useful.
“Do we have to decide immediately?”
Rin shook her head.
“This will affect your future. You should consult each other and the people you left on the mountain. You can give me your answer in the morning.”
She seemed quite confident.
Ah, well, I guess it meant that she knew.
That we really had no choice but to agree to this plan…
She just said something incredibly provocative as if it were nothing.
“Do you mean that you’ve found our mountain?”
“Yes, a moment ago.”
Ahh, I wish she had said this sooner.
That was mean of her.
Perhaps she meant to use it as part of the negotiation should this talk not go as she had planned.
This meant that she did not fully trust us yet.
“We will open the teleport gate when you are all ready.”
Rin said as nodded towards us.
Well, the fact that she shared this plan with us so quickly might mean that she trusted us after all…maybe.
I didn’t really know.