So near and yet so far.
Past Arc ⑲
Dragons are the supreme race. Regardless of whether or not that’s actually true, that’s what the dragons themselves believe. And so, there is no way that such supreme dragons would not be dissatisfied with the current situation where Sariel is restraining them. In the past, Gyurie was the same. At the same time, the dragons are staying on this planet for a particular objective, not due to charity. They couldn’t let the humans take actions that were contrary to that objective without responding. Even if that would result in hostilities with Sariel.
「So, you have been tasked with stalling me then?」
「It seems so.」
With Sariel staring right back at him, Gyurie self-consciously turns his gaze away. The location is the reception room at the orphanage. Gyurie was a frequent visitor to the orphanage, and would normally simply enter rather than wait at the reception. However, sensing something wrong, the receptionists guided Sariel to where Gyurie was. Anyone could tell that Gyurie’s state was strange at a glance, not just Sariel. With him making such suspicious behaviour, even someone slow on the uptake like Sariel could guess that something had happened. And then, while half-interrogating him, she got information about the dragons’ movements from Gyurie.
「So, what are you going to do?」
「I will obstruct them of course. That is my mission after all.」
To Gyurie’s question, Sariel gave an immediate reply. As normal.
「Is that really your mission?」
However, in response to Gyurie’s follow-on question, Sariel wasn’t able to give an immediate reply.
「It can’t be the case that you don’t understand the implications of what the humans are currently doing. If your mission is to protect the primitive creatures, then wouldn’t stopping the humans to prevent them from destroying this planet be the appropriate actions for you to take?」
Lifting his head, Gyurie continues to talk as if having resolved himself.
「Of course, I also think that eradicating the humans or something would be going too far. However, it would be better to take some kind of action. So long as that really is your mission.」
Gyurie gazes at her, as if testing her. Sariel cannot look away from that. However, she doesn’t even begin to speak either.
Sariel herself was aware that her actions were not optimal. However, she hadn’t doubted those actions until now. Sariel is a stray angel. Her existence is like that of a device without any will of her own, that does nothing except to faithfully carry out her mission. To be more precise, she has become an existence that is unable to decide anything by her own will, except when carrying out her mission. Just like a machine, she continues to naively process only the data that was established beforehand. Even if there is a bug in the data that was established beforehand. A machine cannot doubt itself. In the same way, even while Sariel is aware that her actions were not optimal, she hadn’t doubted those actions until now.
However, just now, from Gyurie’s question, Sariel thought this – is doing things this way really okay? For Sariel, this is the first time she had ever doubted. Thus far, Sariel has continued to think about and take actions for only one thing – how best to carry out her mission more efficiently. However, from another viewpoint, her thoughts are nothing other than a deviation from her original mission. Sariel’s original mission, is to protect the creatures living on this planet from the interference of other gods. So long as the other gods don’t interfere, there is nothing more for her to do. Despite that, Sariel has taken the initiative to intervene with mankind. Even though Sariel is a god. From that moment on, she has practically abandoned her mission herself. Despite that, Sariel had continued to believe that she was correctly carrying out her mission without any doubts. Then, Gyurie had tossed out that question. Due to that, Sariel experienced doubt about her own actions for the first time in her life.
「Sariel. Isn’t it about time that you stop binding yourself to your mission? You can live as you like. You can forget your mission, and live however you wish.」
It was impossible for Sariel to understand Gyurie’s words. Even though she could understand the meaning of the words themselves, she didn’t understand what it meant to live as she likes. For Sariel, living means to accomplish her mission, and her own preferences have nothing to do with it. Or rather, even if she could feel her own preferences, she couldn’t understand them. She could feel her own preferences of course. However, she wasn’t able to comprehend the meaning of those feelings. As a result, she had continued to ignore those preferences.
「I… do not understand.」
Gyurie hadn’t expected that words alone would be enough to untangle the blockage in Sariel’s heart. However, from Sariel’s behaviour, he could see that the result was better than he had expected.
「However, that does not change what I must do.」
If there was one miscalculation, it was that what Sariel wanted to do from the bottom of her heart and stopping the dragons were in alignment. Gyurie’s words of wanting her to live as she likes certainly did resound in Sariel’s heart. Precisely because they did resound, they blew away the faint doubt that had been born in her heart. Because what Sariel wanted to do was to protect the people. That blew away her doubts about whether her actions were really the optimal way to carry out her mission.
「Gyurie. I have taken the liberty to consider you a friend. Therefore, please do not do something that will make me kill you.」
Gyurie was surprised by those words. Both the fact that Gyurie was called her friend, and that despite that fact that she still intended to kill him if he got in the way. Then, while Gyurie was stiff with shock, Sariel left him behind in the reception room.
「While I am away, please take care of the orphans.」
While leaving, she made that selfish request. Gyurie silently stared at the closed door. With a confounded expression. As a dragon, as Sariel’s friend, and as a man who was fascinated by Sariel’s heart, Gyurie was unable to decide what actions he should take. The correct actions to take as a dragon, would be to stall Sariel at risk of his life. Even though there was an overwhelming difference in power between them, Gyurie would at least be able to stall for time. For example, by taking the children hostage or something. However, from the moment when he silently allowed Sariel to leave, he couldn’t accomplish that. Then, should he stay by Sariel’s side? That would mean betraying the dragons. For Gyurie who had prided himself on being a dragon until now, that wasn’t an option. In the end, Gyurie did nothing, a terribly half-baked and passive option.
A large-scale attack by dragons occurred simultaneously all over the world. That would normally have instantly resulted in severe damage to mankind. However, Sariel took prompt action. And above all, by using MA Energy there was a desperate resistance made by mankind using the many weapons that Potimas had designed, leading to the war becoming more bogged down than the dragons had expected. The dragons attacked mankind while escaping from Sariel, and until Sariel arrived at the scene the humans could withstand the attacks. That’s how the situation developed.