Slowly, Joker makes his way through the dungeon.
After walking for a while, he notices something strange.
This is odd. What’s going on here?
（…There aren’t any monsters or traps to be seen.）
Or rather, to be more accurate, there were several golem-like monsters present.
However, not one of them attacked him.
It was as if they were treating him as a “non-existent being”.
The traps were the same.
Obvious traps that screamed “there’s a trap here!” and ingeniously hidden traps alike didn’t react at all as he passed by.
（…Even though I’m extremely suppressing my magical power and presence, they’re all blatantly ignoring me…?）
Are they not noticing me—no, could it be they’re not even recognizing my existence?
（…Could it be…?）
Joker carefully removes his mask and drops it on the ground.
The white mask reminiscent of a clown’s mask clatters as it hits the floor.
At that, the golems simultaneously turn in his direction.
Towards the fallen mask that is, not him.
After tilting their heads quizzically, they resume wandering around.
（…As I thought, they really aren’t “recognizing” me…）
It’s not as if I have some ability like that.
While it’s true his lower species the Pathless can only be recognized by those who fulfill certain conditions, he lacks any such trait.
Even without an ability like that, he could’ve just used his mist to prevent them from perceiving his existence.
However, right now he isn’t even using that mist power.
（It’s reasonable to think that dying, or nearly dying rather, caused some kind of change to me as well.）
Joker’s current magical power is far weaker compared to his peak.
In that case, not being recognized in this situation is quite helpful.
I’ll just slip through this dungeon like this.
With that thought, Joker proceeds through the dungeon.
Joker suddenly feels uneasy.
（…I haven’t gotten lost at all so far…）
It’s like he instinctively knows which way to go and how to proceed.
（Even though I shouldn’t know anything about Fáfnir’s depths.）
It’s as if his feet know which path to take, steadily marching towards some destination from the very beginning.
Before long, an open space spreads out before his eyes.
（…What is this place?）
He glances around the surroundings.
And then, he sees “it” enshrined there.
In that moment—his consciousness fades into darkness.
The battle ended several minutes ago, and Elibel and Léna-Lloyd regained consciousness.
「Ugh…my body really hurts for some reason…what happened?」
Elibel mutters while holding her head.
It seems Elibel has lost her memories of the past few minutes.
Perhaps it was from the severe blow to her head by my Breath.
Well, if she doesn’t remember, that’s for the best.
Forget about that horrible incident quickly.
I hear Léna-Lloyd’s thought transmission.
…Huh? Come to think of it, didn’t she get hit by the after-effects of my Breath too?
She was bleeding quite a bit, I wonder if she’s alright?
『Léna-Lloyd? Are you okay?』
『Well, I was right on the brink, to be honest. For a moment, I saw the dead captains across a beautiful river…』
Looks like it was pretty bad for her too.
『That aside, you don’t think Eli lost her memories by coincidence, do you?』
Could it be…?
Léna-Lloyd nods firmly.
『To be precise, I just put a “lid” on her memories. Since we don’t know what could trigger her to recall them, don’t say anything careless about it in front of Eli.』
Léna-Lloyd smiles, making a shushing gesture.
『You may have forgotten it, but memory manipulation and suppression are my specialties. I supported Rugios at the Continental Congress, remember?』
…Did that happen?
…Oh right, I remember now.
At the continental congress, her subordinate Rugios was active in the imperial capital.
Una and Dos got caught up in it too.
『Sorry about that time. I didn’t expect it would involve “Gale” and “Water Princess” too, that was unexpected.』
『…Well, it’s water under the bridge now. No worries…』
In the end, those two were unharmed, and she helped me considerably in the fight against Agil this time.
I have no intention of dredging up that old incident now.
「Oh right, why are you two in my lab anyway?」
Elibel suddenly asks.
I explained my current situation to Elibel again.
By the way, Baal has already evacuated.
He’s probably enjoying juice and snacks in another room now.
He might be traumatized by this incident though…
If it’s really bad, I’ll ask Léna-Lloyd to suppress the memories.
「I see. So it’s soul separation huh. It does resemble the ‘Abyss’ cases I dealt with when I was alive.」
Sipping her tea, Elibel rests her chin on her hand.
「So Eli, any good ideas on how to restore him?」
When Léna-Lloyd asks, Elibel hums thoughtfully.
「Well…to conclude, it should be possible.」
『Really!? You sure!?』
「Yes. There are several methods, but the most certain one would be to ‘undo’ the fact that your soul got split into two in the first place.」
What does she mean?
「More precisely, revert to the state before the soul split happened. Using my ‘Sanctuary Breach’.」
I see. So that method exists huh.
Elibel’s forbidden art, ‘Sanctuary Breach’, can freely manipulate a target’s form and specs to any point in the past, present or future.
Specifying the target’s past, she could restore to her peak self. Specifying the target’s future, she forcibly aged me into an adult. It is the ultimate interference spell that can freely alter a target’s form.
That is ‘Sanctuary Breach’.
If we use that, our souls certainly could revert to their original state.
『I-I see. Then let’s do it rig―――』
「But that method is impossible I’m afraid.」
Elibel casually crushes my hopes.
「That’s only if it could be executed. Without someone who can use ‘Sanctuary Breach’, it’s just a theoretical discussion, right?」
Current Elibel can’t use magic after all…
That absurd spell can probably only be used by Elibel.
『No but. Ah right, there’s the treasured Vajra!
We could use something resembling like it―――』
「You won’t readily find such super high magic tool like that out there.」
And I destroyed Vajra itself when I transformed into an adult.
If we at least had a similar magic tool…hmm no, in that case—
「Oh hey, can I say something」
Léna-Lloyd raises her hand.
「You’re operating on the assumption that no one but Eli can use ‘Sanctuary Breach’, but there’s someone else who can, isn’t there? Someone besides Eli who can use it.」
『Someone else…? Who?』
「Isn’t it obvious? Him.」
After a deliberate pause, Léna-Lloyd says the name.
「―――The ‘Emperor Beast’ Agil Dakar Reynolds.」
The atmosphere in the room instantly changes.
「Oi hag, have you gone senile?」
Elibel’s merciless tsukkomi strikes true.
While it’s a terrible way to put it, I understand what she’s getting at.
After all, that guy was our enemy who we were killing each other with just earlier!
「H-Hey, I’m not senile you know!?」
Léna-Lloyd frantically denies it, taken aback.
「Purely in terms of magical skill, Agil is probably on par with Eli right? He clearly used ‘Sanctuary Breach’ and was trying to invoke some ‘even more advanced spell’ too, wasn’t he?」
Some more advanced spell…?
Could she mean that magical formation floating in the sky?
…Come to think of it, what kind of spell was that anyway?
「So what’s your point? Don’t tell me you seriously expect us to lower our heads and ask for his cooperation or something?」
「Yes, precisely that.」
Léna-Lloyd nods frankly at Elibel’s sarcastic remark.
This time, Elibel and I are completely dumbfounded.
「We just need to have Agil use ‘Sanctuary Breach’ and restore Earth. Don’t worry, I’ll persuade him. After all, I was his partner once! Earth and Eli can just relax and enjoy the ride! Hahaha!」
Elibel and I exchange silent glances.
（…This doesn’t seem good.）
We immediately understand each other’s thoughts.
Yeah, this is probably a terrible idea.
Meanwhile, at that time,
「Fal, how are you feeling?」
Tsumugi visits the medical facility in Fáfnir’s dungeon depths.
「Oh, Tsumugi huh. I’m doing well. The Dungeon Core has been even more docile lately too.」
「I see, that’s good to hear.」
Seeing the energetic Fáfnir puts Tsumugi at ease.
To separate him from the Dungeon Core and prolong his life, numerous tubes are attached to Fáfnir’s body, rendering him completely immobilized.
That’s why Tsumugi was so worried whether anything happened to this facility during the earlier battle against Agil.
（I’m really glad Fal is safe…）
She heaves a big sigh of relief.
Seeing her like that makes Fáfnir chuckle wryly.
「More importantly Tsumugi, it seems you’ve had it rough huh.」
While she didn’t participate in the battle against Agil, Fáfnir himself also knows what happened. He had been watching the battlefield to some extent through Gijie.
Of course, he also knows Tsumugi evolved into a “Dream Mist”.
Even so, Tsumugi probably wanted to talk about it directly.
Using gestures, she explains to Fáfnir what kind of battle it was and what active role she played.
「I see… you’ve gotten stronger, Tsumugi.」
「Yes! I evolved, and I’ll get even stronger to protect Fal and everyone!」
She still can’t fully control that power, but with more experience, it will likely become something worthy of the title ‘Evil God-class’.
Seeing Tsumugi tightly clench her fist, Fáfnir sways his tail slightly.
「Tsumugi…I could be mistaken, but don’t you think you’re already plenty strong?」
「Eh? You think so?」
「Yes, you’ve become so much stronger than before, it’s incomparable.」
「Ehehe…you’re making me embarrassed…」
Praised by Fáfnir, Tsumugi beams happily.
「But but, I was only able to get stronger thanks to Fal and everyone else! Dad is so kind, Ann is reliable, even Elibel…she can be a bit scary sometimes, but she knows a lot of things. Hanging out with Tres and Pururu is fun too…I really love this dungeon. So it’s thanks to everyone that I was able to get stronger.」
「Fufu, the very fact that you can honestly say that is why you have gotten stronger. Those bonds are your power, you see.」
Flustered, Tsumugi’s face turns even redder.
（To think that weak girl has changed this much… She really has gotten stronger.）
It makes him happy yet lonely at the same time.
Is this how a parent feels watching their child grow up?
Fáfnir narrows his eyes and strokes Tsumugi with his tail.
His current body can only move a little, but still Tsumugi looks overjoyed, narrowing her eyes.
「Come to think of it, Tsumugi.」
「Yes, what is it?」
「I’ve been wondering for a while now but…what’s that ‘white mask’ you’re holding in your hand there?」
Promptted by him, Tsumugi looks at her right hand.
Grasped there is a white mask reminiscent of a clown.
「…What is this?」
Why does she have something like this?
Not having a clue, Tsumugi tilts her head puzzled.
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