|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3480 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1609 words|
Mira muttered confused. She was in a room inside the Fifty Bells’ spirit flying ship, which was stationed in the garden of the prime minister’s residence in Sentopolly.
「I didn’t expect that at all…」
Kagura sounded just as surprised as Mira next to her. Their shocked eyes were focused on the person sitting in front of them.
「I’m truly sorry for everything you had to go through. I’m sorry.」
The girl in front of them apologized profusely. Her voice was more subdued than her appearance suggested, and she sat with an air of tidiness around her. She was the girl that had been possessed by the Demon Princess’ ghost. She had been under Kagura’s care, sleeping in a safe room in the spirit flying ship until she finally woke up that day.
Mira and Kagura rushed to the room when they heard she was awake. When they asked who she was, she answered she was an angel.
「Say, Grandpa, what do you think?」
「Hmm, considering everything that happened I don’t exactly doubt her. The response I got when I Examined her was the same as the angel I saw before.」
Kagura and Mira stepped back a bit from the girl, looking at her attentively while whispering to each other. They discussed the information they obtained with Examine, or the lack of it to be precise. It was the same as the angel Mira had encountered once during a quest for the Three Gods’ Countries.
「So you think so too. But why would an angel be there, possessed by a ghost no less?」
「Well, maybe she’ll tell us herself.」
Saying that, the two returned to the bed where the angel sat. She lifted her head and asked with a smile, 「Are you done discussing secrets?」
「Yes, sorry for making you wait.」
「It’s fine. Feel free to ask anything you want, I’ll answer everything I know.」
The angel’s features still looked somewhat infantile, but her demeanor was mature and she looked at the two with determined eyes. Kagura’s first question was how an angel like her ended up being possessed by the Demon Princess.
「I’ll have to explain from the start if that’s what you wish to know.」
With that preface, the angel began telling a story from a past long gone, when the demon race still existed.
At the time they were not a numerous race, but they had a unique ability. They could absorb a special type of mana that resided in plants and the ground. The demons used that special mana to defend themselves, fight, and sometimes even as sustenance.
Since there were only a few demons, even if they withered entire forests, the damage could always be undone. There were many monsters and beasts at the time too, so the demons needed all the power they could obtain to defend themselves, so the spirits tolerated their destruction and focused on regrowing the forests instead.
But then one day there was a sharp increase in the number of demons. That was the day the demons met the Ancient Humans, a predecessor of the human race. They had the unique and valuable ability to reproduce even with other races.
A new, mixed race was born. Their powers were inferior compared to demons, but it was merely a decrease from ‘exceedingly powerful’ bodies, into simply ‘very powerful’ bodies. They were called demon-men, and since they inherited the Ancient Human’s reproductive abilities, they increased in numbers at a staggering rate.
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That led to new problems. Given their rapid growth, they never had a chance to truly develop an identity, which led to conflict amongst themselves. The demon-men formed multiple smaller groups where their ideals coincided, and moved out to different places. They spread through most of the world, increasing in number even more, and eventually became more numerous than any other race.
Because of their multiple settlements and clans, the demon-men began to take new names, including demons of the depths, sea demons, iron demons, and others. There were at least fifteen different varieties at the time, and most of them referred to themselves as some sort of demon.
All of them still gained power and resources by destroying nature, and as conflicts and wars sprouted, large forests were destroyed in exchange. That was when the spirits could no longer ignore the damage they caused. The spirits showed themselves to the demon-men, asking them to at least spare nature when fighting against other races. But they felt pride in calling themselves the strongest race in the world, so they refused the spirits’ plea. They treated the spirits as enemies, and yet another war broke out.
What happened after that was just like the Spirit King described, the demons were exterminated by the spirits to end the war.
「But there was another issue, as the demon’s power changed.」
The angel explained how after the spirits exterminated the demons, a black curse took root in their bones. Soon after they found out that the curse would devour spirits, though apparently back then it was far more powerful and they had no way to cleanse it. But if left untreated, it would spread through the world and taint it all, erasing spiritual power from the land.
They had to avoid that at all costs, so all races banded together with the spirits to try stopping the curse from spreading. But no matter what they tried, it had no effect, until she, an angel, arrived.
She came up with the plan to create a set of catacombs sealed from the outside world, coffins where the curse would be contained until it vanished. An angel would remain inside, making sure it was kept sealed, and to keep the demons company. Everything was then buried deep underground.
That was the identity of the Graveyard of War Memorials. The resting place of the warring race that always sought power, and those who followed them.
「Hmm… so you basically became a human sacrifice to contain them?」
Mira had a grim look, looking silently at the angel sitting in front of them. According to the Spirit King, that war had ended hundreds of millenia ago. It was hard to imagine just how long the angel had been down there alone.
「That’s… hard to imagine…」
Angels were usually touted as the opposite of demons and devils. That applied to this world as well, and Mira and Kagura had met one before when it was still a game. At the time, the angel looked like an imposing and powerful figure.
But either because she had spent so much of her power containing the curse, or because of her long stay down there, the angel they saw now looked frail and weak. It made one wonder just what she had endured. Kagura could not find any words to say, simply frowning as she thought of it all.
「I offered to do it myself. Don’t be so concerned about myself.」
Noticing the pity or compassion in Mira and Kagura’s eyes, the angel smiled and told them not to feel that way.
「There’s one thing I’d like to know myself though. May I ask you something?」
She continued talking. Her voice sounded resolute, leaving Mira and Kagura stunned seeing someone with such a cute appearance acting so strong.
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「Err, sure. Go ahead.」
Kagura was left speechless for a bit, but eventually nodded. The angel thanked her happily, then tilted her head slightly to ask how humans came to find the resting place of the demons.
「It should have been impossible for anyone to find that place, at least as long as I’m alive.」
The angel then explained a bit more about the burial site.
The entire place had been built by a secret material produced by angels. That created a special barrier around it, essentially phasing out half of the location’s presence away from this world. That made it impossible for anyone to stumble on it by chance, or even detect its presence.
Yet somehow the coffin had been blown open, and all the evils contained within spilled out onto the world. At the same time, the demon’s curse that had largely stabilized after so many millenia seemed to gather into a single entity, a ghost. Since the location’s connection to the world had been restored, the anger and resentment of the curse was reactivated.
The ghost quickly possessed the closest entity it found, the angel. She had spent so many years fighting and keeping the curse under control that she had no strength left to resist, losing consciousness and turning into the Demon Princess that Kagura found.
「The plan was that once the curse was completely gone, the coffin would return to this realm, and become one with the ground again. For some reason it was pulled back here prematurely though.」
The angel had been composed so far, but she looked frustrated as she said that. She had been confident in her plan’s success. According to her, the only beings capable of bringing back the coffin were other angels, a more powerful god, or an entity like the Spirit King with power equal to a god, yet all those options were unlikely. Everyone who knew of her plan, had supported the creation of the coffin, and the Spirit King would only be undoing his past work by bringing it back. All of them would have preferred to keep it sealed for the rest of eternity.
「I’m positive there was no fault in my seal. Yet… why… how…」