Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 266: An Urgent Meeting, and an Island of No Return
The next day, I call for an urgent meeting on the representatives of the East-West Alliance to tell them the entirety of what has happened in Astal city. It’s troublesome to explain that the city has been destroyed, but the biggest issue is the cause of it.
From the examination that Flora conducted, she couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary from the three kunoichi, so there was still no clue on what had caused the people to turn into frazes.
After hearing my report, I see the rulers’ faces turn pale and become filled with dejection — of course, it’s reasonable for them to become anxious if the same thing can happen to their own countries.
It seems like there are stories from earlier times about humans with [Eaten Souls] turning into undead creatures, so it can be said that those reports about the undead didn’t surprise them that much. The problem lies with the scale of this event. They can’t seem to conclude whether the event is the work of some apparitions or the plot of the frazes.
I, however, believe that this was probably the work of the Frazes. Otherwise, how can those crystal skeletons be explained?
The only probable relief (I wouldn’t call it a relief though) is that ordinary soldiers or adventurers can bring down those skeleton frazes.
However, I can’t help but think that they’re likely just a byproduct of what has actually occurred, and that their only goal is probably to devour the souls of other humans.
As I’ve feared, the subordinate god is probably involved in this. According to Moroha-nee-san, he might be trying to give birth to this thing called an evil god.
I guess there’s no way I can tell to the kings in here about the role the subordinate god played in this event. Her Eminence The Pope might be able to understand it though.
For the time being, there’s nothing we can do about the situation at hand. We can only make sure not to overlook the small changes at best.
Thus, I’ve decided to pass the following news to Rerisha-san and leave it to her to inform only the guild masters of the adventurer guilds.
■ There’s a [Being] that eats souls called a [Soul Eater].
■Those humans with [Eaten souls] turn into skeleton Frazes.
■This one is just my speculation, but… they may appear in places full of [Negative Emotions].
To begin with, those who can draw out negative emotions are wraiths or specters which are apparitions belonging to the [Soul Eater] category, and the one who’s likely devouring those human emotions in order to be born is the evil god. I don’t intend to omit this common feature between the two.
It’s said that Astal city had many slaves and conducted large-scale slave-trading transactions so it became known as the [Slaves City].
No wonder that city was roused up in various [Negative Emotions] such as the desire of those who bought slaves, despair of the people who became slaves, the anguish of the oppressed slaves, and the haughtiness of those people who oppressed the slaves.
In the end, this is merely a hypothesis of mine, but I think my thoughts are not that far off from reality.
With that thought, I wonder if the surrounding areas of Yuuron don’t turn into something bad similar to Astal. However, the people there have become sparse, not enough to create a whirlpool of [Negative Emotions]. Though I won’t know that for sure, assuming dead souls are still roaming that land even now.
Well, this is only a conjecture of mine and not something absolute, I don’t even know the truth about this matter yet. That city may have just been targeted, for all I know.
For the time being, I decided to postpone the reconnaissance of Sandora for a little while. If my prediction becomes real, there’s a possibility that Sandora, which is whirling up with [Negative Emotions], will be harmed by the [Soul Eater] again. I’ve saved those three this time, but I’d like for them to avoid being embroiled in a situation similar to what has recently happened.
I don’t want for something like an evil god to be born though… Far from being a complete god either, my nee-sans will also not be able to intervene largely as gods. If that’s the case, then his opponent will most certainly be me, right?
… I wonder though, won’t a legendary hero appear from somewhere?
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With the meeting finished, I transfer to Babylon. There I see the professor in the second lab of [Hangar] tilting her head to the projected map of this world on the monitor.
There are a lot of documents, books, and pens scattered on the table. She also left a half-eaten biscuit along with a partially empty coffee. Clean up after yourself! Bugs will go here due to your mess!
「Did anything happen?」(Touya)
「Mm? Aah, Touya-kun? Saying “anything”, I’ve noticed something a bit mysterious」(Regina)
The professor projects another world map on the monitor to the right of the world map being currently projected by tapping on a console. Nn? Hmm? Is that map different? Both are similar, but it looks like they have minute differences between them…
「This is the world map from 5000 years ago where I lived, before the battle with the frazes, you see. It’s considerably different compared to the present due to the changes in earth’s crusts and large-scale magics capable of altering terrain, but you should know that, right? 」(Regina)
Saying this, she overlaps the two world maps. Aah, it’s true. I can even see the places where the coastline has whittled down, and the passages connecting the lands. Hee, so Reefrees and Rynie shared a border 5000 years ago, huh? And also, Gau river didn’t stretch till Misumido.
Have those changes in terrain been caused by the constant usage of magic? This is, by no means, due to a space colony falling down in this world now, is it?
「That’s because direct magic is ineffective against the frazes. You see, there was a country before that did a foolish act of destroying their country by making it explode together with the ground beneath by using the magic [Gran Break]」(Regina)
So it’s a magic that deals damage to a rock, making the ground explode, huh? Well, they might be thinking back then that they had to deal at least that much damage against an advanced-class, thus causing the ground to naturally change, I guess.
There are a lot of powerful spells among the ancient magics, so they should have understood how dangerous [Gran Break] is. It’s said that high-level earth magic is capable of causing cave-ins and elevate the ground at a wide scale.
Truth be told, I think they didn’t mind the appearance of the land. It was a crisis that involved the downfall of mankind after all.
「This is the Holy Empire Paruteno where I lived. It was a large empire occupying almost ⅓ of the continent starting from the current Belfast to Regulus, Brunhild, Ramisshu, Rodomea, Ferzen, Restia and even a part of the Horn Kingdom」(Regina)
Professor looks at the map as she indicates the dominion of Paruteno. That’s amazing. It was certainly a huge empire since it occupied most of the land from west to east, didn’t it? If that was my former world, I felt it would’ve stretched from Europe all the way to China.
「The fraze invasion came from the area around Zenoasu during our era, so the countries that had been ruined first were those around the current location of Yuuron, Nokia, and Hanock. That’s why there are so many changes in the terrain within those areas」(Regina)
There are certainly a lot of lakes in the direction of Zenoasu and Yuuron. Is she saying that those changes in terrain are remnants of battles that were fought before?
Even if they were ancient kingdoms, they probably opposed the Frazes with all their power, so the battle had probably been really fierce. I couldn’t imagine what kind of battles were those.
「And so? What’s this mysterious thing you’ve mentioned?」(Touya)
「Yeah. This… It’s about this island north from the kingdom which is now being called as “Elfrau”」(Regina)
There’s an island on the map from 5000 years ago that’s located north of where the current Elfrau Kingdom is, having the same geographical size as the Holy Kingdom of Ramissu. However, there’s no island on the map at present. That island must have sunk, right?
「This island was called the devil island during that time. The seas surrounding it were inhabited by sea magic beasts known as Sirens. No ship could ever get close to it, and a barrier of unknown origin would rise up if someone tried approaching the island in a flying boat, which would then cause that person to lose control of the craft and crash down. No one, who had aimed at this island that’s covered with fog and clouds, ever returned back alive. I don’t know who said it first, but people started to call it the [Island of no return]」(Regina)
That island is very dangerous then. She says that they haven’t understood everything about it yet even with the technologies of the ancient civilization… Could it be that the situation in that island is similar to the Spirit of Darkness of Ramisshu or the spirit of the great tree of the Great Forest Sea? Could there be some kind of spirit power at work there?
「For some reason, that island no longer exists nowadays. I thought that it probably sunk, and it made me a bit curious, you see. So I’ve tried using a detection magic in that area. This is the result 」(Regina)
There’s a red haze projected on the monitor — a magic reaction — spreading in the sea to the north of Elfrau. Is that… a barrier?!
Its location coincides with the devil island which existed 5000 years ago. Don’t tell me, has the barrier been concealing the island’s existence till now?!
「It’s also something that resembles my Babylon, which has been floating in the skies for more than 5000 years. I don’t think that doing something similar to my Babylon is impossible. However, the questions of [Who did it?] and [For what purpose did they do it?] still remain」(Regina)
「… Could it be that magicians or magic engineers of some country crossed over to the [Island of no return] to escape the frazes and applied a barrier so that no one could find them? 」(Touya)
「It’s not like it’s impossible but… When it comes to barriers of such magnitude, a person won’t be able to establish one unless he’s someone great. If we exclude me, only a legendary sorcerer proclaimed as the [Sage of Time] in those days would likely be able to do something like that, but he went senile before the invasion and died… 」(Regina)
Professor folds her arms and leans against the chair. It really is something that doesn’t look good since she became something like a little girl.
「[Sage of Time] ?」(Touya)
「Yes, it’s just as you say. He manipulates space-time magic which includes things like Future Vision, Teleportation, Time Suspension, Time Reversal, Space Cutting, etc… He was an unbelievable grandpa, you know? Well, he couldn’t cast those magics freely even if I say that he was skillful at them. Various conditions and preparations were necessary, and each of them only worked for an extremely short time」(Regina)
「You’ve said “Time Suspension”… but this space-time magic really is unthinkable…」(Touya)
「What are you saying? Don’t the magics [Gate], [Teleport] or [Storage], that you’re using belong to space-time magic too? What’s amazing about him was that he brought up and put together all of this into one magic system, but nobody was able to learn it. Thus it ended up becoming obsolete as a result 」(Regina)
Is that so? He made sure that a bigger number of people could use his magcs like the magic of the other attributes, and that it wouldn’t become like the non-attribute magic wherein only a few individuals could use it. He was certainly an unbelievable grandpa…
If it was this space-time manipulating grandpa, it wouldn’t have been difficult for him to place a barrier of that big, I guess. The other purpose of this barrier is to sever the connection to the rest of the material world, so there’s a definite connection to space-time magic.
「It might have been a disciple of this grandpa who had applied this barrier」(Touya)
「Disciple … a disciple, right? Well, we probably won’t find out unless we go to that island. Though it will be scary if we crash down due to equipment failure even if we fly there using [Gungnir], so I have been thinking about what can be done with that scenario」(Regina)
It’s indeed troubling. Even if I leap there with [Fly], I’ll just fall down if there’s a [Magic Interception] barrier like that time with [Gordian]…
I wonder if we can go there using a vehicle which doesn’t use magic?
「Will it be fine if we go there by flying on Ruli’s or Kougyoku’s back?」(Touya)
「Aah, that method also exists, huh? I guess so. I don’t think there’s a need to worry about being thrown down if we’re on a summoned beast. However, we may be lead astray if that barrier is the type of barrier which causes intruders to lose their way」(Regina)
I feel like going there, so I think about embarking toward that island immediately. However, Professor stops me.
She says that we’re not yet sure what might happen there and that it’s better to send a scout first. Therefore, I decided to send some avian subordinates of Kougyoku to that island first.
Aside from the barrier, there’s also the possibility that someone might be living there. However, this island has been keeping people away even during the Age of the Ancient Civilizations. It’s not a Galapagos archipelago, but it’s cut off from the rest of physical world completely. Therefore, it’s likely that it has achieved its own peculiar evolution which we cannot even begin to imagine.
I wonder, what the heck is there on that island?
ED: Blackswordsman, Empress