The Executioner and Her Way of Life, Vol. 5: The Promised Land
Around the time that the battle between Master Flare and Menou began while the lost one Akari Tokitou looked on…
…a figure slipped into the cylindrical building left behind when the holy land dissipated. The lone intruder was Manon Libelle.
When the door refused to budge, Manon’s body sank into darkness.
Her shadow remained even when her physical body was gone, allowing her to move through the thin gap beneath the door.
Once she was inside, she regained her physical form. With the holy land gone, no conjured barriers were left to stand in her way.
It was surprisingly bright within the cylindrical structure.
No windows adorned the walls. Instead, the illumination came from many Guiding lamps. Although the holy land was in ruins, the lights of this place still seemed to function.
Manon turned her gaze downward. A large hole sat in the center of the floor.
From the outside, this building looked to only possess one floor. It was clear from the interior that the true heart of this facility lay underground. The center of the structure was hollow, and it continued down so deep that the bottom was impossible to see.
Bookshelves reminiscent of a grandiose bookstore or lavish personal library covered the walls. Each and every one of the tomes contained someone’s memories.
The Star Memory.
Guiding Force, which was connected to all bodies, spirits, and souls, retained the memories of intelligent life. This place bound those collected recollections into books and preserved them. They were given visible form and occasionally consumed.
This was the storehouse for all the world’s experiences.
In the ancient civilization of a thousand years ago, there existed technology to collect people’s thoughts as information and store them.
It eliminated the risk of anyone becoming a Human Error—at least in theory.
Why, then, had the calamity known as the Four Major Human Errors occurred?
Why had the Star Memories gone all but extinct?
It was because the Four Major Human Errors and one other individual had used those facilities to wreak havoc in an attempt to return to their world.
During their battle against the four, the Star Memories were shut down to cut them off from their supply of recollections. And the results were beyond disastrous.
Only one facility remained after the Four Major Human Errors were born.
A thousand years ago, a barrier was created to prevent those known as the Four Major Human Errors from using the apparatus that could supplement their memories. The barrier city became a bastion against the raging group.
The massive conjured barrier known as the holy land existed solely to safeguard this place and keep it isolated.
It gathered thoughts from the entire continent. By retaining people’s memories, one could manage the course of the future.
“…So this is the place?”
Descending the seemingly endless spiral staircase, Manon finally arrived at the bottom of the structure. The storage facility extended further in four directions out from the central cylinder, but there was no need to explore more.
A lone young woman stood waiting.
She raised her head upon sensing Manon’s arrival. Her bangs had grown out so long that they covered her face. Her unusually long hair was pitch-black, and her clothes were of a style Manon didn’t recognize.
“Hmm?” The girl looked mystified by Manon. “Who are you? Why would someone who isn’t Akari come here, I wonder? What happened to Flare? Or Elcami?”
Manon ignored the question. She felt no need to respond and understood this girl’s identity without needing to ask.
“Are you the one who manages this place?”
“Who, me? The manager…? Well, yes, I suppose you could say that.”
She giggled, as if Manon’s inquiry had been very silly indeed.
“And your name… Oh yes. It’s Manon Libelle, isn’t it?”
“That’s correct. So you know of me?”
“Mm-hmm. Everything my eyes see is recorded in my brain, so of course I know. It’s unusual that you survived, though. Congratulations.”
Manon smiled at the tone of the young woman’s voice as well as the meaning of her words. Now she was certain her hunch was right.
“Well, if you’re the manager of the Star Memory, then I imagine you know where to find what I’m looking for?”
“Of course. It’s this, yes?”
The manager extended her hand, and a book flew off the shelves. It floated through the air with no regard for gravity, gently landing in the girl’s palm.
For a physical form of a person’s memories, the tome looked remarkably similar to Menou’s scripture. Perhaps the device they were based on was the same.
Manon’s eyes sparkled at the ease with which she’d found what she sought.
“Why, thank you very much… Surely it’s not fake or anything, I presume?”
“How rude. Of course it’s not. What are you going to do with it?”
“I’ll take it back with me.”
The manager had only posed the question out of curiosity, evidently harboring no desire to stop Manon.
“While I’m here, would you happen to possess the memories of Ms. Menou’s childhood?”
“Nope, I sure don’t.”
Manon blinked. “I thought the recollections of all the people of this continent were stored here.”
“Yep. Those ones don’t exist.”
The memories of the entire continent.
The manager confirmed that this building did catalog all those thoughts, then explained why Menou’s childhood was absent.
“When she was completed, she was set at around five years old, so no memories from before that exist anywhere.”
Upon hearing this, satisfied acceptance rose in Manon’s chest. This was why she’d advised Menou, to the point of pestering her, to investigate her roots.
“That thing is a piece of my eyes and brain. Since I can’t leave this place, I created that version of me to travel with Akari, who I knew would come someday. In Japanese,
means ‘eyes’ and
means ‘brain,’ so I’m guessing she calls herself
because some part of her spirit still remembers her role. I admit, that gave me a chuckle.”
Something about that remark sent a shiver down Manon’s spine. She was going to press further about what the girl meant by
being a role instead of a name, but then stopped.
The long-haired young woman was clutching the shadow that had sustained Manon’s life since her first death.
“This is the Pseudo-Concept of
, isn’t it? Since the body that once held the Pure Concept was used as materials for the Original Sin Conjuring to recreate you, it pays the price for maintaining your existence.”
Manon’s life was in the girl’s hands.
How absurd Manon was to have assumed the manager wouldn’t stop her. In truth, the girl had only been so forthcoming because she never intended to let Manon escape.
But that didn’t matter at all. Manon silently approached the girl and lifted her bangs. The face hidden beneath was one she knew well.
Seeing the girl’s visage finally confirmed the suspicions Manon had been harboring.
“Ah, just as I suspected.”
At last, she’d discovered what she wanted to know most.
It was just as Manon had said to Menou.
Menou’s true identity was hidden in the mystery of the cathedral, and she needed to learn what she didn’t understand about herself.
“So you really are…the founder of the Faust as described in the scripture—the Lord.”
“That’s right. Although since you travel with Pandæmonium, perhaps it would make more sense for you to call me the Pure Concept of
,” she confessed in a casual tone.
The person in front of Manon was the Otherworlder who had annihilated the other Four Major Human Errors—the Pure Concept of
. And she was the Lord, the restorer of civilization revered in the scripture.
Manon’s shadow, which the girl had peeled off the floor, was slowly being crushed in her grip.
It was resisting, but to little avail. The difference between them was far too large.
Manon’s life was being worn away, and the sins and deaths she’d accumulated were being cleansed. She didn’t possess the strength to resist. Realizing that she couldn’t escape this time, she gave a small sigh.
She did have regrets, but there was no helping that. Manon had never expected to be able to achieve all her goals anyway.
Even when she perished, she would still leave something behind. She couldn’t ask for more.
, then. So Ms. Menou is your—”
Manon’s shadow was destroyed before she completed her final words.
Manon’s body crumpled to the ground like a puppet with cut strings.
The girl who had ended Manon’s life walked forward, still wearing a faint smile.
“Honestly, I don’t really care about being the Lord, the Pure Concept of
, or any of that. And I care even less about that thing that calls itself Menou.”
She went on in soliloquy, her audience gone. The person she was waiting for hadn’t come. Thus, she walked toward the exit, intending to go to her instead. She swept Manon’s remains aside with her hand as she climbed the stairs and stepped outside.
“Ahh, I can’t wait to return to good old Nishibori High School.”
The return of the Lord. Elcami had stated that they couldn’t let anything stop it, and Master Flare agreed. Now this girl alluded to the true meaning of those words.
didn’t mean the secluded Lord would retake the center stage.
It was an elaborate plan meant to send the Otherworlder who had somehow come to be known as the Lord back to her original world.
“Back to year one, class three, where I can be with Akari.”
She wanted to go home to Japan.
The girl clad in a sailor uniform, whose face was identical to Menou’s, muttered happily to herself as she took another step.