My consciousness surfaced.
Struggling against the other me and coming out like this. I have never done this before. Not once.
I don’t really know why. But there was one thing I can say with certainty.
—Get out! Get out!
Yes. The soul deep within me was shouting.
“…That being said, there is a time limit.”
Because the other me trained every day in order to increase the size of the soul vessel, my soul could only come out for a short time.
“You… Your…mana level…”
Halm was looking at me in shock.
I had thought that he already saw me like this during the last fight. But perhaps it felt different when you were this close.
“It just jumped up to being several times higher than mine! But more importantly, here they come.”
These residents of the Celestial World. They all had such uninteresting faces.
On the other hand, they oozed a ridiculous, overwhelming power.
However, unlike people of this world, it wasn’t from mana. It was something alien.
If this was the ‘holy power’ I heard about, then it’s no wonder that the Demon World and the Celestial World could never be compatible with each other.
I was no exception. I was overcome with an urge to destroy this ‘holy power’ immediately.
As I unsheathed my sword and waited, the residents of the Celestial World landed right in front of us.
“We have finally found the fragment.”
That’s what the one in front of me said.
My desire to rip them apart could not have been any stronger, and yet they were calmly talking nonsense.
Well, they wouldn’t be able to act like this for long. I’ll cut off their damn heads in a second.
I bared my teeth at them. But their faces remained the same. Like masks.
“I will now retrieve the specimen.”
An arm reached out towards me, but I slashed at it with my sword.
I was so sure that it would cut through, but the blade bounced off what felt like a hard membrane.
“What the hell?!”
An attack with my sword had not been enough to hurt them.
It didn’t even touch their body.
It was like they were wearing invisible armor… Just then, without even understanding what was happening to me, I began to scream.
I could see Halm in the corner of my vision.
He looked surprised, but there was nothing that he could do.
“I know…I know!”
I knew the reason that I had come out.
I could have left things to the other me. But I had to come out.
I knew them.
I remembered their presence. How had I ever forgotten?
Why did it take so long for me to notice it?
Yes, I knew them very, very well.
With all of the power within me, I attacked the residents of the Celestial World.
○ Crystal Dragon Halm
During the five hundred years that I have lived, a decent number of people have fallen from the Celestial World.
Apparently, while it was difficult to open a hole into the Demon World, it was relatively easy for people who have lost their holy power to fall into it.
Perhaps it was because mana and holy power fought against each other.
Even among those who fell, it was only a small few who were able to adapt to the mana. Many were unable to do it.
However, it was said that those who were able to adapt quickly were able to become beings that were even more powerful than they were in the Celestial World.
I had talked with one such fallen one, and learned many things.
The Celestial World was divided up into many Research Institutions. And while there were some who conducted their research alone, most lived in large groups. And there, they worked day in and day out.
Institutions that conducted research on the Demon World, Celestial World, Human World, and other worlds.
Institutions that researched time.
And even some who researched immortality. Every institution researched something different.
When I heard of these things, the first thing that came to mind was Lesser High King Yamato.
Even now, people in the Demon World believed that he was in a deadlock with someone from the Celestial World, and they were drifting somewhere between time and space.
No one really knew where he had gone. And no one knew who it was that he was fighting.
“It’s a terribly difficult question. After all, no one is told about what the other institutions are doing.”
“Why? It’s research, isn’t it? Shouldn’t they publish the results?”
“Publish? No, they would not do that even if there is a breakthrough. They just move on to the next problem.”
“Then what is the research for?”
The other day, the Leprechauns had developed a new type of fiber armor.
It didn’t have the highest defense ability, but it was easy to move in. And so it was likely to be used by people who had inferior muscle strength.
Like this, whenever something new was discovered, it was publicised and shown off.
“They conducted their research. There were results. Isn’t that enough? There is no reason to tell the others.”
Ultimately, it seemed like the residents of the Celestial World just wanted to research something.
“So you don’t know which institution fought against Lesser High King Yamato.”
“No, I do know. After all, they were the largest of the institutions at the time. In fact, their demise came as a great shock to us, as we usually care so little about the other institutions.”
“So, which one was it?”
“They were called Eira. Research Institution Eira… Of course, it’s all in the past now.”
“Eira… So that’s the name of Lesser High King Yamato’s enemy.”
“We don’t know what reason they had for heading to the Demon World. But it was here that Eira fought and were destroyed. Their research in the Celestial World was retrieved by others. But it was all written in code, and no one was able to decipher it. The only thing that could be confirmed from the tools they used for their experiments, was that they were researching the ‘soul.’”
“Souls, huh? Like the Orb of Control?”
“Yes. The Orb of Control is a soul and also a vessel. A pure soul does not have weight. And without weight, it can move through time and space.”
“…I don’t understand what you are saying.”
“Well, never mind. Eira was destroyed, and the research of the soul was lost. That is the result.”
“So, where did Lesser High King Yamato go?”
The Stone Tablet of control still had the name ‘Yamato’ under Lesser High King.
That was proof that he was not dead.
“Who knows? I have no way of knowing what kind of fight unfolded down here. However, if his current state is that of a soul, then he may be in a place that surpasses time and space. However, something that is only a soul will eventually wither away. So perhaps he will enter a vessel.”
“Be reborn…? To be reborn means to purify the soul. But then again, some research claims otherwise. In any case, I doubt there is anyone who knows the truth.”
That’s what he had said.
I then asked him many questions about Research Institution Eira.
The white band with the three bent, red lines. Their mark.
The words of the fallen one always stayed with me.
—Eira, the greatest institution, vanished, and the Celestial World was thrown into chaos. But that would not compare to the chaos that would erupt if the remnants of Eira were to be restored.
As the research institutions conducted many experiments, they always wanted land that would be advantageous. And so the residents of the Celestial World were often fighting each other.
The land once occupied by the Eira Research Facility was now being used by a different research institution.
If they wanted it back, it would mean war.
However, that was the last fallen one that I was able to talk to.
If these people in front of us now really were from Eira, that would mean they had battled in the Celestial World, and had won.
It was as such thoughts flashed in my mind, that Golan let out a painful scream.