Record 2: Heaven
Heaven. Shio Charnier Roux
Brightly shining cloud seas spread over every nook and cranny of this realm.
Thus, there was no concept of ‘the ground’ here.
Shining, rainbow colored clouds were bunched together like cotton. You would feel a sensation of sinking after you stepped on top of them. But once you went down a few centimeters, there would be a definite sense of hardness present.
There were fruit trees which glittered like jewels.
Right to the side was a great heavenly river which flowed freely, till the edge of the cloud sea.
“This place is…”
“I welcome you to Heaven once more, Ren. How do you find it?”
“If I were to be told that this was a place inside a dreamland, I would believe them.”
The ways it is referred to are quite diverse. Yearned after by painters and writers of past and present. This often imagined, phantomlike scenery was now right before his eyes; real in every way.
“I can’t say anything other than ‘amazing’. I can only confirm that it exceeds all my expectations – just as expected.”
“Yes. In the first place, the Paradise that is often spoken about in the legends of humanity was derived from the experiences of people who mistakenly found themselves lost and wandering here in Heaven during ancient times.”
They continued to walk on top of the brightly shining cloud sea. As Fear gently guided him, Ren pointed towards the blue skies above.
“Hey, senpai. There’s also a ‘sky’ above Heaven huh?”
“That’s a great point to notice.”
The archangel halted her steps and looked at where Ren was indicating.
“You should have noticed when we crossed the Trial Gate earlier. Heaven is located in a place far above the Surface World. It is at an even higher altitude than the clouds.”
“Un… We climbed up so much earlier so I kind of get that.”
“It’s in the middle.”
Fear nudged a part of the fluffy cloud sea, which then sank down, with the tip of her boot.
“Strictly speaking, the realm called Heaven isn’t exactly the sky itself. It’s a space created in between the sky and the Surface World. The ones who live here are us angels and creatures like the Three Headed Beast [CHIMERA] you saw earlier.”
“Eh? So that means, you can actually find Heaven when you look up from the Surface World below?”
“You won’t be able to get a glimpse of it with the naked eye. Hiding things with concealment spells is the specialty of us angels, just like with the Trial Gates of Heaven. But still, covering away Heaven in its entirety is an immensely difficult undertaking, even for angels. The one who took up this task in our stead is the Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
The archangel had her arms spread wide open, as if highlighting the scenery.
“The place where Goddess Resflaze-sama resides in is called [The Garden of Seraphim], which is located at the very center of Heaven. That’s right. We will arrive there in a few moments after we walk a little further from here.”
“We’re already that close?”
One of the things Ren was curious about was just how wide Heaven was.
He didn’t think it was actually bigger than the whole Surface World. Yet he did mentally prepare himself for the possibility that the journey might last for at least a few days.
“The Trial Gates of Heaven are roads used by angels to travel to and from the Surface World after all. Almost every one of them is connected to places that are near the [Garden of Seraphim]. In fact, Heaven’s actually pretty big, you see.”
Fear resumed walking out front.
“By the way Ren, did you fight against anything else at the Valley of Dragons apart from Dragon Lord Calra?”
“Nope. Because that place is the Valley of Dragons. No matter where I looked, all I could see were dragons. Why’d you ask?”
“The Valley of Dragons is quite unique even among the various uncharted regions. Uncharted regions or, as some may call them, Ominous Lands, are places that have a lot of areas where various species of Greater Monsters (Kaijuu) make their lairs. But, as far as I know, only the uncharted region Re lnferiel has nothing except dragons. If you think of it as a reference to what an uncharted region is like, you’ll be in for quite the painful experience. Look. Over there.”
What Fear pointed at with a carefree tone was a huge treasure tree.
It was a dazzling tree with golden leaves adorning its silver colored trunk. The big creature sleeping beneath the shadow it cast was like the thing he just saw on the Trial Gate earlier—
“A Gate’s Sacred Beast [CHIMERA]!?”
“Shh! Don’t be so loud, or it’ll wake up.”
The archangel placed a finger on her luscious lips and winked.
“And also, there. Take a look above.”
He gazed towards the skies as he was told. Ren instantly froze in place soon after.
A flying statue. It held onto a bronze colored, three pronged spear [TRIDENT] and kept circling the skies, as if it was monitoring Ren and Fear.
“Even a Winged Statue [GARGOYLE]!?”
On the Surface World, just like the Mineral Golem, it typically served as a guardian of ancient ruins.
Even so, the number of cases when it was actually encountered was pitifully few. It was a sacred beast that didn’t appear unless the ruin was particularly old even among the ancient ruins. And now there was two of them. Three. Their numbers kept increasing as they gathered in the skies above.
“Right now, you should have understood the fact that Heaven isn’t just the dwelling place of angels.”
Fear’s calm and collected smile did not falter.
As if to say that this was how things were in Heaven. She was properly conveying these things with composure that did not waver even once.
“If the humans classify Greater Monsters (Kaijuu) as beings that could serve as threats to their normal lives, it is the opposite in this place.”
Like the case with the Sacred Beast of the Gate [CHIMERA].
As well as the Winged Statue [GARGOYLE].
The ones who could trample upon their peaceful lives over here were humans. Hence, the ones that should be called Greater Monsters here are actually humans themselves.
“……That’s right, I guess.”
He hadn’t thought about it much at the time when he was still at St. Fiora Journey Academy.
But right now, he could somehow understand.
『Human called Ren. You are the hated enemy of all dragons!』
The feelings of Dragon Lord Calra.
Fear had made him realize this hard truth.
“In order to search for the World Record [ENCORE], countless humans and Parties circle the world even now — exploring ancient ruins and overturning various uncharted regions. But, can you really conclude these matters as something ‘good’?”
“I want you to properly be aware of these matters, Ren. About why the Brave Hero Eleline hid away all the details of his expeditions in the various uncharted regions around the world from the rest of society, and only wrote them within the World Record [ENCORE].”
Search for the World Record [ENCORE].
Chase after the footsteps of the Brave Hero.
To never take such pronouncements lightly
Fear’s face as she looked at him, conveyed the sincerity of her message. Her hopes.
“……Mm. I’ll properly think about those things from now on.”
“I’m really glad that you put it that way. Not immediately answering ‘I get it’ or ‘I understand’ and promising to continue thinking about these matters from here on out instead. That earnestness is one of the good things about you. You’ve never changed ever since we’ve met. ……Mou! You’re really just sooo cute!”
“N– No… Do not mind me. I was just talking to myself for a bit.”
The archangel girl suddenly turned all formal and averted her gaze.
“Anyway, since we’re here already, I’ll take this chance to tour you around Heaven. The [Garden of Seraphim] where Goddess Resflaze-sama is at is just a bit beyond here. But let’s take a little detour on this road, okay.”
The ‘road’ in question that Fear pointed towards was completely covered by the cotton-like cloud sea, unlike any usual ‘road’ on the Surface World.
“You’re fine with most fruits, right Ren?”
“Me? Yeah. But I don’t really favor anything in particular.”
“That’s great. If so, would you like to take this rare opportunity to have a taste of the Jewel Trees fruits?”
Changing direction, Fear pointed towards a nearby jewel tree to her right.
A great, big tree sporting a silver colored trunk and branches.
Hanging on the tips of its branches covered by dense, golden leaves were shiny, multicoloured fruits.
“Let’s see… How about these ones?”
All the fruits were perfectly spherical in shape.
They all looked and felt like real jewels. Fear picked off orange colored and light green colored ones and held them aloft.
“Did you notice the difference, Ren? Here, try and have a whiff.”
“Hm? Huh? This orange colored one smells like liquor.”
Even though they outwardly looked like jewels, their insides were soft and juicy. But what caught Ren’s attention the most was, just as Fear pointed out, the smell.
A sweetly sour, citrus-like aroma came from the light green one.
Underneath the sweet smell of the orange fruit was the inviting and intoxicating aroma of alcohol.
“This yellow green one is an unripe fruit. The Jewel Trees fruits become orange colored once they ripen, and store an alcohol-like component within its pulp. Anyway, would you like to try these now?”
“…..This yellow green one then. I’m not yet of age so I still can’t have alcohol you know.”
“We’re in Heaven, so you don’t really have to follow the conventions of humans though.”
Said Fear, sporting an amused expression.
The archangel ate the orange colored fruit in place of Ren. The fruit was small enough to fit perfectly in ones hand, so women can eat it easily.
“How is it?”
“This surprisingly tastes like normal fruit huh.”
The taste was like a combination of a lemon and an apple, with plenty of honey thrown into the mix.
The flavour that was neither too sour nor too sweet was quite delightful.
It properly fit with the Surface World’s notion of what a ‘fruit’ was.
“Its skin is hard like a jewel but it does have a really wondrous taste, I think.”
“Fruit being generally sweet is a common point between Heaven and the Surface World. But over here, angels actually prefer the ripe ones instead.”
Fear then took another bite out of the orange colored fruit.
The fragrance of alcohol wafted out from it. It packed such a heavy punch that it made Ren involuntarily stop breathing in for a moment. And yet, Fear was savoring the fruit, as if charmed by its deliciousness.
The color of her face remained quite soberly pristine. There wasn’t even the slightest indication of her being drunk.
“…..I think I finally understand why you love drinking alcohol so much, Fear senpai.”
“That’s it. For me, the Surface World’s alcohol reminds me of the taste of home.”
Fear lovingly caressed the trees silver colored branches.
She then immediately pointed towards the far end of the cloud sea.
“Well then, let’s continue on from here. I think you’ve started to get a proper feel of what Heaven is like now. It’s time for us to go and meet the Goddess Resflaze-sama. I’d also like to introduce you to my fellow angels as well, while we’re at it.”
“Eh? Introduce me?”
“Of course. That’s why I’ve brought you to Heaven after all.”
“Wow. I’m getting real nervous now.”
Since ancient times, humans had always treated angels as transcendental existences.
It was much the same for Ren. Fear, whom he met at St. Fiora Journey Academy, was a rare exception. The thought of going to meet the angels made shivers of nervousness shoot up from his spine.
“Would it be more proper if I greet them in a real respectful manner?”
“That depends on the situation. It’s fine not to mull over those things in too complicated a manner though. For instance, this is a bit abrupt but, do you see what’s beyond your left hand side, Ren?”
Beyond the vastly expansive cloud sea.
Suspended several meters above the cloud sea, were a trio of lightly armed angels who were flying about.
A blonde angel who seems to be male held a spear in hand. Beside him were two angels who looked like young women. They respectively held a staff and a bow.
“Are those three soldiers or something?”
“They’re a patrol team. There are a lot of Trial Gates on the Surface World after all. Even if they are hidden by concealment spells, the ones which have been discovered by humans aren’t small in number. You can’t really tell when some bold intruders may attempt to sneak in. In those cases, we would have them leave immediately, even if we have to do it a bit forcefully. They’re guards who serve that purpose.”
In any case, what Ren found unexpected was the fact that they were armed with weapons. He’s heard about how angels were clad in mystical heavenly garments which seemed to be perfectly flawless but, the way they held weapons like a spear, staff or bow seemed not to be all that different from humans.
“I guess seeing angels armed with weapons like spears or staffs are a bit unexpected.”
“Those are something like props that are conjured by spells. It’s mainly for the human intruders who enter Heaven but, compared to being unarmed, wielding an exaggerated spear or brandishing a grandiose staff seems a lot more imposing right?”
“So, those are really just for appearances sake huh.”
“The main strength of angels is spellcraft after all. Even so, since they are conjured by spells, those weapons possess certain special abilities. They’re somewhat similar to the spirit armaments used by [SPIRIT]Spiriters.”
Before they climbed up the Trial Gate.
The scene of the arrow fired by the Love Angel [CUPID] freezing the sea surface was still fresh in their memories.
“But it sure is nostalgic.”
As she gazed at the weapon toting angels, Fear couldn’t help letting out a sigh.
“Actually, there was a time when I also brandished a bow and arrow like those Love Angel [CUPID]s.”
“Yes. Even looking like this, I’m actually quite confident in my bow skills you know.”
The archangel declared while closing one eye.
Certainly, in Ren’s view, compared to her beautiful figure wielding a sword or a spear, her elegant posture while knocking an arrow to a bow was easier to picture.
“You don’t use a bow anymore? It seems to really suit you senpai, so I would have wanted to see it.”
“I also think so too. But, well…”
Fear tilted her head to the side, giving off a sorrowful atmosphere.
“One day, I noticed a truly regrettable matter.”
“Frankly, 『Compared to firing an arrow from a bow, wouldn’t unreservedly punching stuff with my bare fists be more powerful?』or something like that. …..Talent sure is harsh. Compared to the bow and arrow skills I trained so hard in, I was more powerful in using simple brute strength.”
“There should be a limit to those kinds of regrets you know?!”
“In any case, ever since realizing that fact, I’ve fully dedicated myself to martial arts.”
Fear declared while sporting an expression that seemed to express arriving at a philosophical truth.
And, with that expression still on, she hurriedly turned towards the cloud sea in the distance once more.
“We sensed an extremely great power that was released on the Surface World earlier. So it truly was Fear-sama.”
The armed angel trio.
They noticed the pairs presence and crossed the sky, heading straight for them.
“It is truly wonderful that you have returned. The rest of our compatriots would surely be beyond pleased too.”
“Resflaze-sama has been awaiting you as well.”
The group of angels flying in the sky made their descent.
As soon as they landed on the cloud sea, they knelt in front of Fear and bowed their heads.
“Everyone, please raise your heads.”
Fear announced in a calm voice.
With pure white wings unfurled on her back, Heaven’s second ranked archangel thus replied while smiling.
“I have surely caused you trouble by being away from Heaven for so long. I trust that the Goddess Resflaze-sama is well?”
“Yes. She is at the [Garden of Seraphim] at the moment.”
From the trio of angels who just got up, the male one who wielded a spear hurriedly replied. On the other hand, the remaining two angels had their gazes fixed on Ren, who was standing behind Fear.
“By the way Fear-sama. That human. Is he possibly the Sword Emperor Eleline——”
“No. He is a different person whose name is Ren.”
Having anticipated that question, Fear shook her head while making an amused expression.
“My! A different person you say!?”
“Though it has been three hundred years since the time of the Sword Emperor, to find someone who resembles him so uncannily…”
The angels fixed their stares at him.
Their gazes contained undisguised interest, as well as some hints of testing within them.
『…..This is just normal, I guess. …..I’ve been looked at with those kinds of gazes countless times even when I was at St. Fiora Journey Academy.』
As Ren secretly made a bitter smile within his inner thoughts, Fear brought her hands together with a ‘pon’ sound to her front.
“That’s right. Depending on when his audience with Resflaze-sama ends, I might as well go ahead and introduce Ren to the rest of you.”
“Eh? Wa– Wait up a bit, Fear-senpai!”
“Hm. If I don’t arrange it like this, the angels who are curious about Ren will turn up one after another in droves. If that happens, it will be quite troublesome right?”
Fear stealthily whispered.
“Ren, look behind you.”
He did as he was told and turned around. His breath stalled and his eyes widened at the sight that unfolded before him.
——It was a scene of numerous angels, spread out as far as his eyes can see, all kneeling and gazing up at the two of them.
Several dozens of them. They might easily number in the hundreds if counted.
All of a sudden.
『…..Maybe it’s Heaven’s concealment spell techniques? …..To have so many angels suddenly appear just a few meters behind us.』
Aside from the angels sporting weapons, there were also ones who only donned their heavenly raiment.
There were ones who, like the Love Angel [CUPID]s, looked no more than ten year old little girls. There were also some who looked like hardily muscled men twice Ren’s size. The one common point among them was that they were all kneeling in silence as they gazed up at the two.
“They are the angels charged with the security of Heaven.”
Fear declared matter-of-factly as she gazed at the kneeling angels.
“Heaven is quite large you see. There are those who go on patrols. And there are those who stay in their various assigned areas on standby. These ones are the latter.”
“So, they use concealment spells to hide themselves because they’re on standby?…”
While being guided by Fear, he thought that the only ones they passed by on the way were Greater Monsters like the Gate’s Sacred Beast [CHIMERA] or the Winged Statue [GARGOYLE]. But it turns out that his appearance had already caught the attention of a lot of angels by that time.
“Ha… That sure surprised me.”
“That should be our line, human lad.”
Said the one at the front of the kneeling group.
A large bodied male angel sporting quite the strict countenance stared at him without so much as a blink.
“The Sword Emperor Eleline, who was supposed to have died three hundred years ago. For him to seemingly return to Heaven all of a sudden. Us being so shaken up shouldn’t be hard to imagine. Furthermore, you have Fear-sama personally accompanying you as well.”
“Ara. We didn’t mean to cause such trouble, Angel Commander Zedek.”
Fear said in an amused tone.
“As for the particulars regarding this human, I had already mentioned them to the Goddess Resflaze-sama before descending to the Surface World. The reason why I have decided to come here today should also be known to the Goddess Resflaze-sama as well.”
“Certainly! If so, then please go on to the [Garden of Seraphim].”
Angel Commander Zedek — the imposing angel overflowing with masculinity made a deep bow and picked up the huge mace he placed beneath his feet as he stood up.
“Well then. We shall be returning to our posts.”
“Yes. No, wait. Come to think of it, there’s still one thing I’m concerned about.”
Fear called out to the Angel Commander who was about to turn away.
“In order to welcome my return as well as Ren’s matter. I more or less understand why you all have gathered. But nevertheless, aren’t there too many of you here?”
After showing a brief look of hesitation, the Angel Commander grimly nodded.
“It’s as you say. We have just recently increased the number of security personnel in this area.”
“And the reason for this is?”
“A suspicious presence. About a year ago, we received a report by the Love Angel [CUPID]s, saying that they detected an unknown surge of power in the vicinity of the Trial Gates connecting to the Surface World.”
“Unknown, you say?”
“An extremely elusive presence. We’ve already received quite the number of reports but, whenever we come down to the Surface World to investigate, we can no longer find neither its shape nor shadow. As embarrassing as it is, we have no clue regarding ‘its’ identity even now.”
The one who answered was an angel who looked like a young girl by the Angel Commander Zedek’s side.
She outwardly appeared to be quite young. Her pure white wings wrapped around her whole body and seemed to be too big for her. The radiance she was releasing was also stronger compared to the other angels and was quite conspicuous.
She was probably second in rank after Angel Commander Zedek within the group.
He didn’t have any idea about how exactly the command hierarchy of the angels was structured. But it shouldn’t be wrong to conclude that she had some authority.
“I see. That’s why you have quite the number on standby. I thought it had something to do with me bringing Ren here.”
“Yes. And one more thing.”
Said the young angel girl as she gazed straight at Fear.
“I think the Goddess Resflaze-sama will also inform you of this herself but, coinciding with the mysterious unknown being appearing, humans on the Surface World have also made some movements.”
“Human Parties. According to reports from the [CUPID]s, groups of Knights clad in black have been repeatedly seen in the vicinity of the Trial Gates placed on the Surface World.”
“Knights clad in black? Fear-senpai, they should be…”
Black battle equipment.
There are a lot of Parties that have made their names famous all throughout the world. But there is only one that can perfectly be associated with this characteristic.
The Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK].
The largest Party in the world, based in the Supreme Metropolis Elmekia.
The [CUPID]s shouldn’t have been mistaken. And the fact that they managed to find the skillfully hidden Trial Gates, which only a number of Parties should be capable of, served as further proof.
“I understand the situation.”
Fear replied with a calm countenance.
“Angel Commander Zedek. Heavenly Minister Melusel. Take everyone and return to your duties.”
Angel Commander Zedek and the young angel girl beside him gave respectful salutes.
And at the same time.
The two of them, along with all the other angels, got their forms enveloped in mist and disappeared from view.
“They merely hid themselves from view. They put up a barrier which influences the fluctuations in the atmosphere. Due to it, one won’t be able to sense nor hear them even if they moved about. The only humans who would be able to detect them should be seasoned [ENCHANTER]Barrier Setters. But unfortunately, Ren is——”
“I’m sure I’m really not suited for those kinds of searching spells.”
Fear made a rarely seen strained smile when Ren honestly shrugged the matter off.
“You’re unable to see through an angels concealment spell techniques. And yet, you’re really sensitive to the voices of the Spirits. It’s just as Elise said. The thing about all your other parameters becoming unbalanced due to your talent in ancient summoning techniques may not be just a silly joke.”
“Even you’re saying that, Fear-senpai?!”
“It’s quite human so it’s fine. Being clear about one’s own strengths is something really important after all.”
Said the archangel while lightly flapping the wings on her back.
“What is it?”
“Mm. It’s just that I thought you were really impressive earlier senpai. There were a lot of angels just now. But you’re more distinguished compared to any of them. Right, Fear-senpai?”
In the Valley of the Dragons, Kyelse was grandly welcomed by all her kin.
It went much the same with Fear today. He was now made to realize that these girls he normally interacted with everyday were, in truth, actually such great beings.
It would surely be a similar case with Elise when they went to the Underworld.
It’d been said that the current Demon Lord was actually the previous Demon Lord Elise’ brother after all.
He continued to stare straight at Fear who was standing in front of him. ”
“Oh Ren, it’s really embarrassing for me if you stare so intensely.”
“Eh? N— No! It’s not like that——”
“But this sure feels fresh. When we were still at St. Fiora Journey Academy, I’ve always interacted with you while hiding the fact that I was an angel. To be honest… I really felt a bit guilty about it.”
Her eyes narrowed as if reminiscing something and her expression softened.
“At that time, I hid my wings and infiltrated into a human academy. Pretending to be an upperclassman going to the same school, I came in contact with the boy who was said to be the exact likeness of the Brave Hero. But… That boy, while having no idea about my identity and circumstances, thought of me as a kind and sincere senpai instead. It pained my heart so much.”
He could be the reincarnation of the Brave Hero.
Even if that were not the case, he may perhaps be a descendant who inherited the Brave Hero’s strength.
Hiding the fact that she was an angel and getting close to the boy in order to observe him. This conduct was probably what induced feelings of guilt in Fear.
“But now, I can be together with you like this without the need to hide my wings. I’m so happy right now. I feel so very free.”
The cheeks of the archangel faintly turned red in modest shyness.
This was surely what she was truly feeling at the moment. Her action of putting out both hands towards her back in order to hide her embarrassment illustrate this clearly.
——The beautifully smiling archangel.
——This was the first time she had actually bared the hidden weakness of her heart.
He somehow had this feeling.
“We— Well, we should really hurry along now.”
The archangel said after clearing her throat with a light cough.
“The [CUPID]s should have already reported our ascent to Heaven to the Goddess Resflaze-sama. Let us continue heading to the [Garden of Seraphim] then. It’s just a bit further from here.”
“That said, I can’t really see it because of that big hill made of clouds though.”
“True. We should be able to see it after we go over that hill.”
Fear said as she continued to walk with her wings still materialized on her back.
On the cloud road. After climbing up the hill of clouds, a field of freshly blooming flowering plants slowly spread out before their eyes. Due to only being able to see Jewel Trees in Heaven earlier, the lush flora which should be quite familiar, induced a nostalgic feeling instead.
“That’s the [Garden of Seraphim], where the Goddess Resflaze-sama resides.”
“Eh? But isn’t that just a normal field?”
On the scene of the verdant meadow that spread out before them, anyone resembling something like a goddess was not to be found. Even the figures of angels weren’t there to be seen.
“Perhaps, there’s also something hidden within this meadow?”
“That’s something you’ll have to find out for yourself later.”
He followed after Fear, who closed one eye suggestively as she replied, and went down the hill.
Towards the lush garden below. As soon as the tips of his toes touched the carpet of verdant greenery, a breeze carrying the smell of the fields swirled about and enveloped Ren’s body. The scenery before him changed in an instant.
“We welcome you to Heaven, o Child of Man, bearing the very likeness of the Sword Emperor of old.”
Ren found himself within the spacious halls of a temple covered in vines.
A white walled temple.
The hall was circular and seemed to be several dozens of meters wide. The ceiling was quite high from what Ren could gather when he looked up.
And what supported the ceiling were seven large pillars. They were also covered in green vines. There was a pervading sense of beauty in the contrasting colors of white and green.
But what attracted Ren’s attention the most was neither the temple’s beauty nor grandeur—
“You’re quite lucky Ren.”
“This is quite an exceedingly rare sight after all.”
Fear said in an amused tone.
“To be able to see the guardian deities of Heaven, [The Seven Luminaries] all gathered together like this.”
Seven large pillars.
Seven angels individually stood in front of each of the pillars. One looked like a considerably aged old man with tanned skin, while another looked like a tall and stately young man with an impressive head of long, flaxen hair. Conversely, there was also one who looked like a young girl who had white hair and skin, seemingly devoid of every other coloring. They were quite diverse in appearance.
——The Seven Luminaries.
——On the Surface World, they are better known as [The Seven Archangels of Heaven].
Similar to the legendary [Five Great Disasters] of the Underworld, who were the highest ranked demons answering only to the Demon Lord. Under the direct command of the Goddess, they were the high ranked angels tasked with administering divine providence and governing Heaven. They were truly famous existences.
Yes. Ren was currently the focus of attention of these seven angels.
The sense of oppression was immense.
He felt a burning sensation on his skin with just their stares.
He earlier felt that Angel Commander Zedek and Heavenly Minister Melusel were already quite impressive. But the overwhelming pressure he felt just by being in front of [The Seven Luminaries] completely eclipsed them.
“You don’t have to be so nervous you know. They just gathered here because they were interested in you. I personally brought you here after all. Not to mention, your appearance is like that as well.”
“Even if you say they’re interested… I’m really not all that impressive though.”
“This just goes to show that the human named (Sword Emperor Eleline) truly gave Heaven that much of a shock back then.”
Fear smoothly declared.
“If I might add, the term “Brave Hero Eleline” is more commonly used in the Surface World. But for the angels who were familiar with Eleline from before, he’s more known by the moniker “Sword Emperor”, which was given when he came to Heaven. By the way, these seven may seem all imposing like this. But in the past, they all ganged up against Eleline, who fought against them alone. And yet, they ended up being completely decimated instead.”
The one who spoke while displaying a greatly vexed expression was the tall and stately young man with flaxen hair.
“Don’t talk about the things of three hundred years past so frivolously. Didn’t you also taste defeat back then?”
“Ara? I didn’t do something so boorish like ganging up on one opponent though. And besides, I actually put up a better fight even if I challenged him alone you know.”
Fear retorted in a composed manner.
“Well, enough of that for now. If you continue to posture so grandly like that, Ren’s nervousness won’t go away. I understand your duty of serving as the Goddess Resflaze-sama’s guards. Yet I would ever be so grateful if you could allow yourselves to wait outside the hall for a short while.”
“You wish for us to take our leave from here?”
The angel who looked like a young maiden grumbled in a low voice as she combed her silky, pure white hair with her fingers.
“I’m not saying for you all to leave the [Garden of Seraphim]. You could just wait outside of the hall.”
“I don’t really mind, Pierre.”
A serene voice.
A voice filled with great love and compassion echoed throughout the hall.
“Myuna of the [Moon]. Shurato of [Mars]. Kona of [Mercury]. Yohan of [Jupiter]. Freodel of [Venus]. Rui of [Saturn]. And Pierre of the [Sun]. Everyone. I now give you a brief reprieve. Please take your leave for a while.”
“It shall be as you say, Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
The girl who combed her snow white hair earlier, grandly spread out her wings.
As her small body floated away, the rest of the [Seven Luminaries] disappeared from the front of the pillars as well.
“Well then, has your spirit calmed down a bit with this, I wonder?”
Ren finally realized that the voice was referring to him after Fear silently patted his shoulder.
“Eh? Ah! Well…”
“Do not let your body remain so stiff. Please do be at ease.”
In the center of the hall. The sunlight shining faintly through the curtains which hung from the high ceiling, revealed a hazy, small silhouette.
The master who ruled all of Heaven. She was just on the other side of a single piece of thin curtain. Telling one not to be nervous was pushing it quite a bit.
“Now then, is this alright Fear?”
The voice of the Goddess resounded from beyond the curtain.
“After descending to the Surface World, you have now brought the human you were so interested in here to Heaven. I presume you have something you wish to talk about with me alone, without any of the other angels present. The reason why you had the [Seven Luminaries] leave was not for alleviating the nervousness of that human. It’s because you want to talk with just me, you and the human present, correct?”
“As expected of Goddess Resflaze-sama. It’s precisely as you say.”
Fear laughed in jest openly as she nodded.
“And so. What do you want to talk about—”
“Yes. But first, since the three of us finally got this chance to talk, let us do so without hiding any secrets, shall we?”
The Goddess asked in a doubtful tone.
Fear walked towards the curtains where the Goddess sat behind with an unusually lively gait.
“Fear? Wa— Wait…… You…… W— What…… You can’t possibly be thinking of———?”
The tone of the Goddess suddenly became panicked for some reason.
The silhouette beyond the curtain also moved about in a flustered manner.
“H— Hey! Fear, please stop……”
“Ara. Forgive me. It seems my hands have slipped.”
The closed curtains parted horizontally.
Ignoring the voice of the Goddess who pleaded for her to stop.
Halting her steps just before where the Goddess was, Fear grabbed the ends of the curtains and forcibly opened them up.
On a gorgeous, white couch stuffed with fluffy downs. A couch large enough for Ren to lie prone on with room to spare—
“H— Hey, Fear?! You. Just what do you think you’re doing?!”
It was a young girl who had her legs crossed in a squatting position.
Strands of her nectarine colored hair, which was styled in a short bob, poked outwards haphazardly. Her figure was hard to distinguish earlier due to her sitting position. She appeared to be similar in age to the current Elise. At most, about two years younger.
Her heavenly raiment was embroidered with light green trimmings. It fit her small figure perfectly.
If he didn’t know better, Ren would have thought that the figure, who was severely lacking in impact when compared to the Angel Commander and the Seven Luminaries, was no different from the common Love Angel [CUPID].
But the one distinct feature of this young girl was her pupils.
—She had mesmerizing and rare heterochromia [Odd Eyes].
—A vivid, ever deepening azure and a fiercely burning crimson which seemingly reflected a blazing firmament.
Although there are many instances of contrasting blue and red colors in the world.
It was the first time Ren had seen such a deep and impressive degree of contrast.
“By the way.”
After blankly staring at the little girl.
Ren inclined his head towards Fear, who was standing at the side of the large couch.
“Fear-senpai. Is this little girl perhaps…”
“It’s the Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
At Fear’s answer, he unconsciously did a double take and stared at the young girl once more.
“It can’t be!? B— But the voice earlier sounded really mature you know. It didn’t seem to come from a little girl like her. And well… Honestly, this is kind of different from what I imagined.”
“Look, Goddess Resflaze-sama. It seems you’ve troubled Ren.”
The young girl looked at Fear with her brilliantly shining [Odd Eyes] and puffed out her cheeks.
Fear who stood beside her, was seemingly amused by her reactions and continuously poked her puffed cheeks.
“There. Hey, Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
“……F– Fool! What are doing Fear, you idiot!?”
In a fit of anger, the little girl cried out and stood up on the couch she was sitting on. She then repeatedly hit Fear, who was standing beside her, with her clenched fists, giving out cute *poka poka sounds.
“I— In order to preserve the grand image of Heaven…… I purposely hid my appearance, modulated my voice so it echoed out and talked in a real mystical manner. And you. Look at what you’ve done!”
“Like I said, my hands slipped. So it can’t be helped.”
“You’re lying! You obviously parted the curtains on purpose!”
“Well, well. Isn’t this okay? That appearance of yours is quite cute after all, Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
The young girl’s face was red in anger.
And Fear continued to hold her away with a sunny smile on her lips.
They actually looked like close sisters. And Fear appeared to be the beautiful and intelligent older sister. The young girl, on the other hand, seemed like the bratty little sister who always threw tantrums.
“Alright then, Resflaze-sama. For a Goddess like you to cry out like that. That kind of behavior would surely sully the dignity of Heaven, okay.”
“…Who’s fault do you think it is?!”
The young girl squatted down on the seat of the Goddess once more.
“Really now. You’re about the only person who behaves like this here in Heaven. An angel who has no qualms with suddenly opened my curtains. And you’re not one bit shy about it so it’s hard to keep up.”
“We’re really close after all, Resflaze-sama.”
Fear replied in an amused tone as she sat down on the seat of the Goddess as well.
“There you have it, Ren.”
“Even if you reveal this to me all of a sudden, I don’t exactly know how I’m supposed to react.”
The brilliantly shining azure and crimson colored [Odd Eyes] sure was impressive. But, conversely, all her other aspects apart from those were quite plain and ordinary. She didn’t have wings on her back like the other angels. Her short, frizzy hair which messily poked outwards was not too nice to look at. And most of all, her posture of folding her arms while sporting a sullen look was too childish.
“So, what was up with that voice of the Goddess which rang out earlier?”
“This appearance and voice isn’t really all like that of a Goddess, right? In the case of humans, there are a lot of those who judge things solely by their appearance. This hasn’t changed even after hundreds of years.”
The young girl propped herself up with her elbows
“Hence, whenever I grant an audience with humans, a curtain is hung upon the ceiling in order to conceal my appearance. I change the tone of my voice and my way of speaking as well. Don’t reveal this to other humans okay?”
It seemed she’d given up caring about her appearance now.
The way she talked now was strangely akin to that of an old person. But her voice was not at all like that of the mature one which was overflowing with love and mercy earlier. Instead, it sounded like a sweet and innocent voice of a child.
“So this means, you really are……?”
“Umu. I am the Goddess Resflaze jya. Maa, I suppose I should properly welcome you first. I cannot be rude to a human who was brought up to Heaven by Fear herself after all.”
The Goddess nodded her head while still resting her chin on her hands.
But the gaze she directed at Ren seemed to cloud over somewhat.
“An action is always taken with a goal in mind. The reason Sword Emperor Eleline had when he came to Heaven three hundred years ago was to implore for the longstanding conflict between Heaven and the Underworld to be stopped. Well then, Ren. As for you. What do you seek by coming here to Heaven?”
“The reason why I came here…”
“Although, seeing that you were brought here by Fear, I already have a few conjectures myself. When you were still in the Surface World, you managed to obtain one of the seals which would release the barrier surrounding [Apocalypse Island] from the Dragon Lord Calra. You came here in order to get a hold of the second one, correct?”
“As expected of you. You’ve already found out that much.”
“Of course. Once one of the three seals got transferred, it was set up so that the other owners of the seals would be able to sense it. The other seal owner, the present Demon Lord of the Underworld should already know of your actions as well.”
Goddess Resflaze replied as she narrowed her eyes.
Those brilliantly shining [Odd Eyes] of hers felt like they could see through ones innermost thoughts, past and even ones future with just a gaze.
“You are called Ren, correct? If you came to Heaven for the seal, then your final goal should be obtaining the World Record [ENCORE], is it not?”
“Yes. It’s the same for me and Fear-senpai.”
To search for the memento left behind by the Brave Hero together with Dragon Princess Kyelse, Archangel Fear and the previous Demon Lord Elise — the former companions of the Hero.
And so, Ren also set going on an adventure all around the world as one of his aims.
The existence of the World Record [ENCORE] was often the subject of rumors for the longest time. Countless Parties have roamed the uncharted regions of the world but have not been able to discover even the tiniest trace. If so, Kyelse surmised that it was perhaps located in a place no human has ever set foot in even once.
“Do you know the location of the [ENCORE], Resflaze-sama?”
“Nay. If that were the case, then I would have already told Fear about it earlier. Even I am also a bit interested in what that Sword Emperor had written when he neared his last breaths and just where he hid them, but…”
The one who led all angels displayed a mortified expression.
“If the location in question is actually within [Apocalypse Island], then it is a different story…”
“You. Why do you think did I, the Goddess, the Dragon Lord and the current Demon Lord cooperate in sealing [Apocalypse Island]?”
When asked back, he couldn’t immediately think of an answer in return.
—It was actually a mystery Ren himself badly wanted an answer to.
“To tell you honestly, that island hides a terrible secret humans do not want uncovered. It should be a truth that you, Ren, would not want to know the most.”
“This is as far as I am willing to tell. Fear, I assume you would also not want to disclose the matters beyond this point, correct?”
Resflaze gave a sidelong glance towards the archangel sitting beside her on the seat of the Goddess, who nodded with her lips pursed together stiffly.
“Yes. On this point I, Kyelse and Elise are all of one mind. We do not want to reveal anything about the Apocalyptic War. We do not want to influence Ren’s notions unnecessarily by conveying it in words after all.”
“That is so, isn’t it? In any case, a flimsy reason like ‘The World Record [ENCORE] might be there.’ does not warrant the lifting of the seal placed on that land at all, is my stance as the Goddess jya. That place has been sealed for three hundred years. Even I am not clear of the exact situation within it. Lifting the seal is accompanied by unknown dangers.”
“Accompanied by unknown dangers… Is that place really that dangerous?”
The land of the Apocalyptic War which even the Goddess feared.
The reason why the seals were divided into three between the dragons, angels and demons was not simply because it was an act of conciliation. Without gathering all the seals, no one would be able to enter within. It was a declaration of the collective wills of these transcendental existences.
“That is why I am troubled. To weigh the significance of ascertaining what exactly is written down within the World Record [ENCORE] and my unease regarding the un-sealing of the land of the Apocalyptic War against each other. Just where do I lean towards?”
“Um… May I ask just one thing?”
Seizing the timing to interject, Ren timidly spoke up.
The Goddess prompted him with a testing glint within her gaze.
“Well, for me, the Apocalyptic War… Honestly speaking, it was something that happened way before I was even born. It’s something I think of as an event that happened long in the past. I think the humans in the present age mostly feel the same as I do.”
“Fumu. And then?”
“Didn’t the Apocalyptic War end three hundred years ago already? Eleline, together with Kyelse, Fear-senpai and Elise fought together and ended it, right?”
Ending the Apocalyptic War.
That was the grandest accomplishment of the Brave Hero Eleline. And yet, why the dragons, angels and demons feared the land where the Apocalyptic War occurred far more than humanity did.
“The Apocalyptic War has ended. This notion of yours is quite mistaken.”
“Because the one who asked me, the Goddess, to seal [that island], one year after the outbreak of the Apocalyptic War was Eleline himself.”
The Brave Hero who ended the Apocalyptic War was the one who proposed to seal away the land where it occurred.
Just why did he?
“Did Eleline really ask for that?”
“That is so jya. A year after the Apocalyptic War, that fellow appeared before me all by himself. It was during the immediate aftermath of the Apocalyptic War. The Dragon Princess Kyelse was just recently sealed up and hidden away on the Surface World at the time. The Demon Empress Elise was also in the middle of performing the rite of reincarnation after she had lost her body. Fear over here, was also caught up with recuperating after suffering grievous injuries during the Apocalyptic War.”
“……I also know that much.”
To the current Ren, these were already common knowledge.
But in the historical records of humanity, the Three Great Princesses were said to have been killed during the Apocalyptic War.
In the aftermath of the Apocalyptic War, the only one who showed himself to the public was the [Sword Emperor] Eleline. As for the disappearance and whereabouts of the Three Great Princesses, he kept his silence till the end.
“In accordance with the wish of the Sword Emperor, I, the Dragon Lord and the present Demon Lord sealed away the [Apocalypse Island]. It was a request from the one who pacified the Apocalyptic War himself. Now, do you still think we can just thoughtlessly lift the seal?”
“But, Goddess Resflaze-sama, if that really was the case, then the actions of Dragon Lord Calra seem to be quite contradictory.”
As she continued to sit upon the seat of the Goddess, the gaze of Fear which was directed at the young girl beside her, was not accompanied by the usual elegant smile. Instead, it held acuity akin to piercing cold icicles within.
“According to Kyelse, Dragon Lord Calra had already entrusted the seal in the possession of the dragons to her. If the Dragon Lord was truly involved in the matters regarding the seal on [Apocalypse Island], she would not have simply handed the seal over, even if it was Kyelse who had requested it.”
“That is so jya. The Dragon Lord Calra has never granted the seal to anyone even once in these past three hundred years.”
“In other words, this time is a special case. Just why is that?”
“The Dragon Lord Calra, representing the Valley of Dragons, has granted her consent to lifting the seal on [Apocalypse Island], in accordance with Eleline’s other request.”
“A second request? Now please just wait a moment. I am unaware of that.”
Fear bent forward, to the extent of standing up from the seat of the Goddess. Her face became heavy. The revelation was surely shocking to her.
“Fear-senpai doesn’t know about it as well?”
“Yes. Immediately after the Apocalyptic War, I entered Paradise here in Heaven in order for my body to recuperate. I was mostly in a lethargic state while resting at that time… I only heard about Eleline coming to Heaven once again from Goddess Resflaze-sama. And when I finally heard about it, he had already passed away. But, Resflaze-sama, I don’t seem to remember anything mentioned about that second request of his?”
A truth not revealed even to the Archangel Fear.
Ever so slightly.
An element of anger slowly surfaced within Fear’s serious words.
“Why did you keep this from me until now? And exactly what is that second request of his?”
The Goddess Resflaze was being stared at by Fear. But the pair of brilliant and distinctive [Odd Eyes] the young girl had was not looking back at Fear, but was trained towards Ren instead.
“Please forgive me for interrupting, Goddess Resflaze-sama.”
A pure and clear voice of a maiden suddenly rang out.
When Ren turned backwards. Right in front of him, immediately within arm reach. The maiden with pure white hair who was within the hall from before had come back.
One of [The Seven Luminaries] — the archangel the Goddess called Pierre of the [Sun].
“What is it, Pierre? I granted you a reprieve, did I not?”
“This one has an urgent report to make.”
The maiden replied while brushing her hair to the back of her head with her fingers.
By her side was a weapon bearing young male angel who was kneeling on one knee, with his head bowed, facing the white floor. If not for the wings on his back, his appearance could easily be mistaken for a Knight who serves as a vanguard for a Party.
An angel serving as part of the patrol guards going around Heaven.
“You may raise your head. What is it jya?”
“Ha! That is… there are intruders who infiltrated Heaven!”
Of the pair of brilliant and distinctive [Odd Eyes] the young girl had, the right eye dyed in burning crimson had its glow faintly intensify.
“Human Parties. They felled the Sacred Beasts of two gates simultaneously and infiltrated. They ignored our warnings, and are currently heading towards [The Garden of Seraphim] as we speak.”
“Well, it isn’t that big a matter.”
The young girl with honey colored hair declared while smiling bitterly.
“As you can see, I am in the middle of a prior engagement. Swiftly take care of those mere human Parties.”
“But, owing to the black battle equipment they are wearing, our spells have all been reflected away. It would render the spells ineffective unless they were sufficiently powerful. We’re having trouble because our abilities are being suppressed as such. We’ve just learned it was such a hard battle earlier……”
There was a hint of doubt within the voice of the Goddess.
The Trial Gates of Heaven should have been hard to find, even for the Parties clad in black battle equipment. But they actually managed to launch two attacks simultaneously. Furthermore, they managed to slay the Sacred Beasts which served as the Gates guardians.
Following that momentum, they also broke through the angels barring their path.
The only ones who could do something like that were surely—
“Fear-senpai, the Parties with black battle equipment are definitely from The Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK].”
“I also think the same.”
The girl rose up from the seat of the Goddess and slowly approached.
“Pierre, what will you and the rest of the [Seven Luminaries] do?”
“We are the Guardians of the Goddess Resflaze-sama. We shall stand guard only within this hall.”
“I thought you’d say that. It can’t be helped then. I’m the most familiar when it comes to human Parties after all. I shall go and greet them.”
Fear headed towards the exit of the hall with elegant steps.
“I shall come back right away. Please just remain here, Ren.”
The archangel who had her back facing him turned towards him once more.
“……Please wait, Fear-senpai.”
She gave him a puzzled gaze and raised a questioning voice. Ren pointed towards the exit of the hall.
“I’m also going.”
Right next to Fear.
He lined up right beside the archangel and stood shoulder to shoulder with her.
“If they’re divided into two groups, we need to have two people go in order to intercept them, right?”
“And you will go?”
The one who reacted first to Ren’s words wasn’t Fear or the Seven Luminaries.
“What will you do jya? The opponents are humans like you. The same race as you. And you plan to go in the place of us angels in order to stop them?”
It was the master of Heaven, Goddess Resflaze.
The young girl who had always been sitting in place at the seat of the Goddess stood up from it. Her brilliant and distinctive [Odd Eyes] gazed straight at him without blinking.
“Why? It should be better for a human like you to stay in the sidelines. Why would you go so far to side with us angels?”
The one who represented all of Heaven asked as such.
After a few moments of silence, Ren exhaled the breath he held back.
Cold shivers faintly reverberated throughout his entire body.
Was this because of the Goddess and Fear staring intently at him?
『…No, it’s not. These shivers aren’t due to nervousness.』
『…Because I chose this due to my own will.』
“It’s nothing, really. It’s not about choosing a side or anything. It’s just that, I feel a little responsible. That’s a good enough reason for me, at least.”
“Responsibility? You do?”
“It’s because we’re both humans that I want to stop them.”
Ren slightly inclined his neck towards Fear, who was standing still beside him.
“I don’t know what their goals are by infiltrating and forcing their way here in Heaven. To intrude upon Heaven where you angels live is one thing. But I can’t just sit and watch while they run rampant all over the place.”
“Do you think you can stop them just by talking with them?”
“No idea. Anyway, it’ll be fine if I hold them off until they get exhausted and give up, right?”
He replied while sporting a bitter smile and shrugged.
The opponents were the Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK].
An organization of Parties which gathered quite a number of the best swordsmen in the world.
They fought the military force of angels guarding Heaven and broke through their defense. In front of such opponents, there wasn’t any guarantee that the situation would turn for the better even if he rushed over.
Just what use would discussing with words have?
“Let’s not mind about things like being humans or angels. I just don’t want to stay silent if I see something wrong. The ideal Brave Hero I looked up to even before Fear-senpai and Kyelse invited me to search for the [ENCORE] would never allow this as well.”
『To have comrades who acknowledged me form a Party together and go around various sacred grounds and uncharted regions. To journey to every corner of this ever expansive world.』
『To the very end of the world till its very beginning.』
『Eleline E. Maxwell. I want to follow the footsteps of that great hero, stand on the same earth he walked and see all the sights he had seen with my very own eyes.』
And, in order to do this—
“I want to hold my chest out proudly as I continue on this path. I don’t want to make a mess and destroy a sacred ground I just happened to find on the way. If I did, then I think the Brave Hero would become quite disappointed. If I were him, I also wouldn’t want the precious memoirs I left behind to be found by such people.”
Because he was slapped with the label of ‘Fake Brave Hero’, he felt even stronger about these matters.
Because he was called a ‘Fake Brave Hero’, he wanted to wipe away the disparaging word [Fake] more than anything. He wanted to walk ahead openly and proudly more than anyone else. Before he knew it, these thoughts overlapped with his ideal image of a Brave Hero.
The Goddess kept her silence.
During this moment, the maiden who was a member of the [Seven Luminaries] strode forward.
“Goddess Resflaze-sama, we are unfortunately short on time.”
“…I know. Do not rush me, Pierre.”
Goddess Resflaze waved her hand as she replied to the statement made by the white haired maiden.
“By the way, Ren. What do you want to do with that body of yours like that?”
“I shall at least give you a parting gift.”
When her brilliant and distinctive [Odd Eyes] let out a faint glow, the hand of the little lass who was actually the Goddess went up at the same time.
From the ceiling, brilliant rays resembling sunlight shone down. They fell on top of Ren and enveloped his entire body.
It was a warm and comfortable light.
That brilliance bathed him for just a few seconds. After being wrapped within the light, he felt that the fatigue as well as the grating pain he felt till his very bones all faded away.
“Ah, that’s so unfair Resflaze-sama. I was about to mention it too.”
Fear raised her voice seemingly after just remembering something.
“Ren, you got muscle pains on your whole body from training with me and Kyelse right? You’re saying something so bold like going out even in that condition?”
“……But, it can’t be helped right?”
Ren shrugged his shoulders at Fear, who didn’t manage to stifle her laughter due to exasperation.
“Just a bit of [Divine Protection] jya. It can be considered as just a little flashy [Blessing]. Well, we’re in a hurry after all jya. There’s no more time right now.”
The Goddess declared in a light tone.
Even so, it was a spell that cured the grueling body pain he thought he would have to suffer until the next day in an instant.
It wasn’t in the category of a simple healing ability anymore.
『…It must be one of the powers of the Goddess.』
『…As expected. It’s really amazing.』
“Thank you. I feel that my body’s become really nimble.”
“It wasn’t that much of a big deal. Anyway, we haven’t finished discussing. Do not let me wait too much. You decided to go out of your own will, so I will not stop you. So, end it right away and come straight back.”
The young girl sat on the seat of the Goddess once more.
“Ren, over here.”
He passed through the exit of the hall and went outside together with Fear.
Immediately afterwards, Ren found himself standing on top of the vast cloud sea once more.
When he looked back, what came to view was the expansive garden teeming with lush greenery. There wasn’t even a shape or shadow of the white hall or the large pillars, which should have been nearby.
“I was able to see something quite rare thanks to you Ren.”
“It has been a long time since I saw the Goddess Resflaze-sama stand up from the seat of the Goddess while facing a human. The last time should be during the Apocalyptic War, I guess. That person doesn’t easily bare her feelings after all.”
Fear narrowed her eyes and smiled happily.
“The opponents are from the Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK]. Do not forcefully try to drive them away. Stalling them should be sufficient. I’m also concerned about their objective. However, let’s save that for later. I’ll be troubling you for this, but I’ll leave the other side to you.”
“Senpai as well. I don’t get the thing about reflecting away spells but, what will you do?
“About that point, I already have some conjectures.”
The blonde archangel answered as such while looking ahead at the cloud sea.
“Anti-angel armament. At a time long before the Brave Hero was born into the world. A time when the angels, demons and dragons were caught in a three way deadlock while waging war on each other. The stage for the decisive battle was not Heaven nor the Underworld, but the Surface World.”
“…I think I’ve also heard of that.”
The war between the great beings.
The ones who suffered the most from it was none other than humanity. Faced with the aftereffects of the clash between beings wielding overwhelming powers, humans had no choice but to run.
“But humanity wasn’t purely a victim back then. Instead, once the great beings get exhausted from the wars, there were humans who plotted to take advantage of it and invade Heaven and the Underworld in order to increase their territory. Those humans ordered their researchers to come up with weapons and equipment that will allow them to contend with angels and demons.”
“…Weapons development that far in the past?”
“Yes. But that research ended up being halted halfway and faded into oblivion. Anti-angel armament. Anti-demon armament. Before the technology to produce these types of equipment was actually completed. It was because the [Sword Emperor] Eleline managed to end the war between the great beings all by himself.”
The angels stayed up in Heaven. The demons went down to the Underworld. And the dragons settled in the Valley of Dragons.
Swearing upon non-aggression between each respective territory, the great beings finally retired from waging war. Hence, the plan of humans to take advantage of the gap in order to invade Heaven and the Underworld did not come to fruition.
—And so, Lost Technology [OVER], having been stripped of its very purpose, was slowly swallowed by the swirling tides of time and was forgotten.
“They should have managed to rediscover that technology and revived it in the present time. For the researchers based in the Supreme Metropolis Elmekia, it isn’t at all impossible.”
The worlds largest military city — Supreme Metropolis Elmekia. If it had learned about Lost Technology [OVER] and granted it to The Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK], the angels who boasted of their great power being backed into a hard fight became an understandable conclusion.
“What should we do then? If we get faced with that, even Fear-senpai would…”
“Do not worry about that.”
The archangel elegantly nodded back.
“Anti-angel armament. I am impressed that they have managed to reproduce Lost Technology [OVER] from ancient times and deployed them with such a standard. But I am also quite confident in myself.”
“…..I understand. Shall we follow the plan earlier and split up?”
“Well then, I shall be going ahead. I’ll be leaving the responsibility of guiding Ren to you.”
Fear flapped her wings and rose up.
Her entire body shone like a bright star. Immediately afterwards, the blonde archangel drew up a trail of light particles in the sky and disappeared beyond the cloud sea.
“We should go as well.”
[CUPID]s descended from above the sky.
It was the two who appeared when they were at the Trial Gate earlier.
“We have been ordered by Fear-sama desu. We shall lead you to the place where the black clad Party is at.”
“Okay. I’ll leave it to you.”
Following the sound of parting wind, the [CUPID]s soared away. Ren began to run, trailing their forms which headed in the opposite direction from where Fear flew towards.
A hill which was made up of white, cotton-like clouds piled up high.
He quickly climbed up the hill which led to the [Garden of Seraphim], where Goddess Resflaze was located. Once he reached the summit, he hurriedly ran down.
“Where’s the place!? Where do I find the people with black clothing?”
“Straight ahead from here. But…”
Up in the sky, the pair of [CUPID]s displayed expressions akin to having swallowed something bitter.
“For Heaven’s matters to require the assistance of a human. And the opponents are humans as well… This is truly a blow against Heaven’s honor.”
“Really? I don’t really mind though.”
“For us who were entrusted with the protection of the Trial Gates, it raises some complicated feelings. Be that as it may, the fact that the spells used by us angels is ineffective remains.”
Anti-angel armament. If Fear’s conjectures proved to be true, it was technology that dated back to even before the Apocalyptic War three hundred years ago.
…Even among humanity, research that made use of Lost Technology [OVER].
Because Fear had spent time and acquired knowledge in the human world, she managed to barely remember details about it.
Other angels did not know of such things. It was no surprise that they did not remember such matters.
For angels, human Parties were thought to be inferior, aside from a few exceptions. Taking advantage of the opening made due to the angels disdain, The Royal Order of 72 Special Knight Brigades [ELMEKIA DUSK] launched their attack. Even if they were angels, they would not be able to put up countermeasures on time.
“What about the other angels? Are they still putting up a resistance?”
“They have retreated for the mean time. We have already somewhat understood that human technology is not to be underestimated. And so, in accordance with Goddess Resflaze-samas judgement…”
“So that’s the case.”
He wiped off the sweat that slightly flowed down from his brows. He then ran ahead on the cloud sea once more.
He passed by some Greater Monsters on the way.
The Gates Sacred Beast [CHIMERA] and Winged Statue [GARGOYLE]. Perhaps they sensed the abnormal happenings in Heaven. Or maybe they fled from the fight between [ELMEKIA DUSK] and the angels.
Even after he and the [CUPID] pair passed by them, they didn’t seem to care and just continued on.
“Just a bit further.”
His clenched fists slightly became damp with sweat.
Different from the sweat coming from his forehead, it was cold and sticky.
Within the pure white cloud sea, the Party clad in jet black was certainly there.
“It can’t be! The clouds are on fire?!”
A thick cover of fire and smoke. Flames were spreading all over the cloud sea, which can be said to be the ground of Heaven. Countless embers were flying around.
“This is impossible! I’ve never heard of a human spell strong enough to burn the cloud sea of Heaven!”
“Please get back.”
After holding the [CUPID]s back, Ren jumped down from the hill made of clouds.
The Party in jet black.
After sensing the presence of Ren, who had jumped right in front of them, the Knights immediately put up their guards.
“Well this is unexpected. For a human besides us to be in Heaven. Who are you?”
“I’m just a student Knight passing by.”
While under the glares of the Knights.
Ren headed onwards to the middle of the burning cloud sea.
“I want to discuss something with you. Where’s your Party Leader?”