Quarancinq, the City of Magic, was a large country located to the western side of Yggdrasia. It was where Marlene the Sage, the Heroine of Magic, was working with Brian, the mastermind behind the dark pixie incident that was turning the world upside down, to complete his plan. His goal was to take vengeance against the Dark Lady, and to do so, he was going to summon the Fairy King.
The Fairy King was a fictional character of nursery tales and children’s books. The stories went that bad kids would be taken to the Fairy World, while good kids would receive gifts from fairies. The King was nothing more than a made-up figure to fool children.
Marlene was aware of the existence of another dimension, and yet even she didn’t believe the Fairy King truly lived.
All the same, she still decided to lend Brian her expertise. For one, she would be paid, and for two, she thought the plan would be an opportunity for the stagnating field of magic to be given a new breath of life. But most importantly, it was the little bit of curiosity within her that had wanted to witness what comes at the end of Brian’s insanity.
With the cooperation of Brian’s allies — a group consisting of the worst criminals who had escaped from their respective incarceration all over the world — and the magicians of the Tower of Truth, Marlene had created a global-scale magic circle, the very first of its kind. By Marlene’s request, mana had been collected from the Saplings of multiple countries to power the circle. Activating the circle had given form to the thing in front of her.
“What… is that?”
It was a grotesque thing, its black, scraggly torso and limbs resembling nothing so much as a withered tree. Ragged, translucent insectile wings squirmed and twitched, the sight unsettling to all those watching.
At first, Marlene couldn’t feel any power coming from it. Its appearance was disturbing, granted, but it was doing nothing beside making a strange noi҉se. For a moment, she thought they’d made a mistake, that they’d summoned an unusual curio, nothing more.
But that wasn’t right.
Marlene’s instincts of a Hero was telling her that the thing in front of her was not what she had thought it to be.
No one else could understand its power. If she hadn’t had her experience of fighting a Dark General as a Hero, she wouldn’t have realized the dissonance.
When faced with an overly enormous pillar, a normal person would think it to be a wall, a dead end. They’d stop. But Marlene’s experience told her it was no wall, that there was more behind the pillar. She knew. She had, unfortunately, known.
A crack formed on the blank surface of its oval head. It was smiling. As the n͞o҉i͟se it emitted formed distinct words, Marlene finally understood its true nature.
An Evil G.o.d.
The very next moment, she ripped off the necklace on her chest, using her magic to pulverize the special magic stone enclosed in the center, and she shouted at the top of her lungs.
“Extreme threat warning! A Cataclysm-cla.s.s has been confirmed at Quarancinq! By the authority of a Hero, all countries are requested to enter maximum alertness!”
Saturated with magic power, the special magic stone disintegrated. At the same time, the magic circle sealed inside of it activated to transmit Marlene’s words to all the human countries of the world.
Alarms blared throughout the Tower of Truth. Armed with magic a.s.sault rifles supplied by Marlene, the magic knights serving as security for the Tower ran to her.
“Lady Marlene! What happened?!”
“What is this monster?!”
“A Cataclysm-cla.s.s monster…?”
“F-fire at will!!”
The hail of enchanted bullets rained upon the a.s.sumed Evil G.o.d. It showed not a single reaction.
In addition to the combat power identification, enemies of the human race such as monsters were also cla.s.sified according to another threat level system. This system also took into consideration special abilities and other factors immeasurable by the Total Combat Power indicator alone.
Disaster-cla.s.ses were capable of destroying a village or town. The country would deploy soldiers or knights.
Catastrophe-cla.s.ses were capable of destroying a capital city or a small country. Subjugation of the threat was a matter of national survival.
Calamity-cla.s.ses were capable of wiping out a continent’s population of humans. Defeating the threat required an alliance of multiple countries, with Heroes as the army’s center.
Generally, the ‘Dark Lord-cla.s.s’ began with the Dark Generals from the lower end to true Dark Lords officially recognized by multiple countries. The former correlated to the Catastrophe-cla.s.s, while the latter was Calamity-cla.s.s.
Humans had judged the Dark Lady of the current generation, Whitehare, to be a large threat to humankind due to her actions and ideology, and so had designated her as such. However, her goal was only restricted to ‘the destruction of World Saplings’, and her personal power was on the lower end when compared to the Dark Lords of ages past. It was why her threat level of Catastrophe-cla.s.s continued to be unchanged.
Cataclysm-cla.s.ses, however, were exponentially more dangerous than the Calamity-cla.s.ses of Dark Lords below it.
Those included in this cla.s.s were G.o.ds. They were far beyond anything humans could throw at them. The very survival of the world was at risk the moment they became an enemy.
They were to Dark Lords as adults were to babies. What Brian had done in an attempt to defeat Whitehare was practically equivalent to burning down the forest to kill a pest.
Marlene could not even begin to fathom what he had been thinking. She spared a glance to the man while keeping her attention on the Evil G.o.d. Brian began to speak to Whitehare on the screen, his expression enraptured.
“Finally, my wish shall be granted… or should I say your wish, little bunny? I had hated you so, so much, ever since you gave me this body. I could think of nothing else but you… but one day, I just… realized something, you know? I realized I wanted to break this world. The moment I did, I finally understood you. Hahah…maybe I’ve fallen in love with you. So I’ll break this world, I’ll break you, and I will break… for you…”
The madman desired the end of the world, and even of himself. Cold dread ran down Marlene’s spine as she listened to his insanity. She immediately chanted the most powerful spell she could use.
The sixth-rank spell would completely transform a single target into ice and shatter them, ignoring any remaining health. If the target could be affected by the spell, then death was guaranteed.
She had wanted to listen to her fury and kill Brian, at first, but the man didn’t pose a threat with his combat power. Instead, the pride and self-respect Marlene had as a Hero guided her spell toward the Evil G.o.d.
The spell of [Freeze] she’d casted with all her power shattered into nothing more than icy dust as it touched the skin of the Evil G.o.d.
Marlene had cut no corners with her spell, even when she had cast it in her rage. She had had a hand in summoning it to this world in the first place. If she didn’t take the lead in dealing with the threat, she was liable to lose everything she’d gained in her life until now.
So she’d shot her spell with everything she could muster, with every intention to kill. Even if her target resisted the spell, it would still give her a clue to its strength depending on how it defended itself.
Yet the Evil G.o.d had done nothing else other than floating in place. It hadn’t blocked, it hadn’t dodged, and still it was unscratched. It might as well be a knight in full plate mail being pelted with s…o…b..a.l.l.s by children. It didn’t even deign to spare her its attention.
No, that wasn’t quite right…
As Marlene’s attack hit the Evil G.o.d, for the very first time, it did something.
The Evil G.o.d uttered a sound… words.
An abrupt wave of rainbow light spread throughout the area. The magic knights who had gathered here by the threat warning found themselves changing.
“W-what is this?!”
“M-my arms! My leAAAGH!”
Their skin began to turn grey, bubbling and boiling. What looked like grey-colored flower buds began bursting out of their ashen flesh.
The knights writhed about, half-crazed, horrified by the impossibility that was happening to them. But they began to lose strength soon after, as if the flower buds were sucking up their energy. They couldn’t even pull off these parasites.
What were these plants? What was this transformation that the Evil G.o.d’s light had caused? Just a single burst of light had disabled the best knights of Quarancinq, without even allowing them a chance to do anything.
And yet it wasn’t even an attack. It was nothing more than a Blessing that the Evil G.o.d, the demon, had granted to herald the beginning.
One of the grey-tainted knights abruptly croaked. He collapsed, his expression ecstatic, his body fully subsumed by the color. The corpse slowly melted, leaving behind a patch of ash-colored flower buds all blooming in concert.
The sweet aroma of the grey flowers suffused the air. Those who smelled it soon found themselves suffering the same fate as the knights, to be nothing more than euphoric seedbeds for the plants. The blooming flowers released tiny dark pixies — winged, wicked fairies, as emaciated as mummies — and the creatures quickly overflowed.
Under the blissful control of the fragrance, the knights reached out to the dark pixies. The small creatures smirked, flying to the knights to rip out their throats with fangs and teeth.
One after another, the knights lacking magic power became nothing more than nutrients to feed the grey growth, giving birth to dark pixies, and dying to them.
Only Brian was untouched by the grey. His demented smile turned into mad laughter.
“Come on, Unseelie Lord, G.o.d of the Netherworld! Consume this world! Devour Earth! Purge all of existence!”
Looked like the flowers get those with lower magic power first, Marlene thought. She grunted in effort, using her own magic to hold at bay the grey corruption that was gradually claiming her left arm. As despair filled the hall, she activated the final disposable magitool she had to teleport away, escaping Quarancinq.
Surrounded by the knights who had all succ.u.mbed to the growth and the demonic Unseelie Lord itself, only Brian was still laughing in his madness.
Brian was safe only because he was in Yggdrasia as an Avatar, while his real body was on Earth. But the very fact that he was using an Avatar was hinting the presence of Earth to the Unseelie Lord, the planet attracting the demon’s interest with its generous population of corrupted souls.
The world of Yggdrasia, and the world of Earth. It had been by corruption that the Unseelie Lord heeded the call of the humans’ summoning and manifested itself. Joy filled it, as it discovered something special enough to catch its interest. It stretched out its arm, the black, withered stick of a limb heading for Brian, for the bridge between two worlds.
And at that exact moment, a straight sword appeared to pierce through Brian’s heart from the inside out.
He looked down on the blade and laughed, his euphoria undiminished. The blade slashed upward to cut through his head, and his body vanished in a shower of light particles.
The monitor screens shut themselves off one after another. On the last screen to shut down, the Unseelie Lord saw the sight of a white rabbit girl glaring at it with crimson eyes, her hands still holding onto the sword that was stuck inside the man sleeping in his capsule. Its faceless head cracked open into a grin.