The inside of the research institute was, in a word, a ruin.
Grass grew all over the place.
The walls were cracked here and there, with decay making them crumble.
Numerous remnants of magic tools, whose purpose was unknown, were scattered about.
Furthermore, what caught my eye were the “bones”.
Bones of some sort were scattered here and there.
…….I don’t want to know what they were used for.
Next to me, Pururu was poking a bone with a tentacle.
That’s not good! Don’t touch that!
Smack it away! Smack!
I carry Pururu as I walk.
I picked up the bone she was poking at and threw it away.
Pururu seems dissatisfied that the bone was taken away.
She’s sulking a little in my arms.
But, even her angry look is cute.
『However, this is a very well-constructed building…』
It’s clearly advanced architecture, even if it is two hundred years old.
It’s old, but the construction this building doesn’t differ much from modern Japanese techniques.
Well, considerable technology was used in Elibel’s ruins and the grand hall of the 88th floor too.
Probably, it can be summed up with the word magic.
Magic is convenient.
「Hey, what are you doing? Over here, over here.」
Oops, I was captivated by the building.
Looking around, Elibel had gone quite ahead.
『Oops, not good. Pururu, shall we hurry?』
Pururu and I hurriedly followed Elibel.
And after a while of walking, we arrived at a large, open hall.
This is like the hall where balls are held in movies.
『Wow, it’s big…』
Both Pururu and I were captivated.
A large hole was open in the ceiling, and the two suns were shining on the center like spotlights.。
Elibel stood in the center as if basking in the spotlight.
The place is a mess with tables and equipment scattered everywhere, but it seems like a single painting, including that.
Really, it would be perfect just by appearance.
「Now, this should be fine.」
Saying that, Elibel sat down on a table nearby.
She motioned us to sit anywhere we liked.
「Well, what shall we talk about first… I hate long-winded stories, so let’s start with the conclusion.」
『By the way, Elibel. Isn’t it better to use memory transmission?』
That’s a convenient magic that sends the memory of the sender directly to others.
Wouldn’t it be easier if she just sent her memories directly?？
「No. I want to explain this properly with my own mouth…」
And, she says.
「………Memory transmission could be overheard, just in case. Besides, although this place is a ruin, there’s a barrier that doesn’t leak sound to the outside.」
She seems to be very cautious.
It doesn’t seem like there’s anyone here.
I checked with magic sense, but there should be no one other than us.
Who does she mean by “being overheard”?
No, in the first place, what does she mean by “overheard” in memory transmission?
『Hey, Elibel. Overheard by whom?』
Elibel doesn’t answer.
But I can tell she’s casting some sort of spell.
Pururu and I silently watch her work.
――――And after a while, her work is finished, and Elibel looks at us.
「I hope this would be enough. Sorry to keep you waiting.」
『No, it’s not a problem.』
I was playing with Pururu during that time.
If anything, it would’ve been okay to leave us alone for about two more hours.
Rather, I want to play forever.
I want to be healed.
But, since Elibel seems eager to talk, I turn towards her reluctantly.。
Pururu also gets on my lap, ready to listen.
And then, Elibel starts speaking.
「Let’s start with the conclusion. I want your help with the ‘cleaning up from two hundred years ago’――――― that is, to stop a certain fool.」
『A certain fool?』
An alpaca? [Sub29: It’s a word play, arubaka (that fool) sounds like arupaca (alpaca)]
No, that’s not it. Hehe.
「Yes, two hundred years ago, that person deceived me and Berg, imbued ‘dungeon destruction’ to the six weapons, stole all of my research achievements, and even lived comfortably until the present day. The task is to stop that damned fool. That’s my clean up.」
Elibel rattles on in one breath.
『Wait a minute, Elibel.』
『That happened two hundred years ago, right? Then, that person must be dead by now.』
The lifespan of a human is at most a hundred years.
The average lifespan of people in this world should be even shorter.
There’s no way a person could live for two hundred years.
「What are you talking about? That person is still alive.」
At those words, Pururu and I were stunned.
With a look as if seeing an idiot, Elibel looks at me.
Stop it, that disdainful look.
「You have the ‘example’ right in front of you.」
Elibel points at her chest.
When she said that, I finally realized.
A being that becomes a zombie when they die.
They’re living corpses without a will, but high-ranking undead possess high magical power and a will, in other words, a heart.
Furthermore, unlike normal humans, they are not bound by lifespan.
「That’s right, ‘she’ is also like me, a ‘former human’ who became immortal. Of course, she had been immortal long before me two hundred years ago. After all, it was her who taught me the method of ‘immortality’.」
Elibel speaks with a nostalgic tone.
But in the next moment, her eyes twist.
「But you know, she betrayed me at one point, and used the ‘Dungeon Destruction’ and ‘Super Large-scale Teleportation’, ‘Dimensional Corridor’, etc., which I was independently researching, however she liked. It’s really infuriating.」
I feel like I’ve heard several dangerous words.
Perhaps because she’s very upset, Elibel’s voice is shaking.
Despite being a fake body, the magical power emanating from her is distorting the surroundings like a heat haze.
The last time I saw her this angry was when I accidentally destroyed her research materials with a sneeze breath.
――――It was really scary at that time.
I was lucky it ended with just the skin off my arm.
She’s quite a daredevil to make her angry.
On the contrary, I’m interested.
『What’s her name, the person you mentioned?』
At the same time she utters that name, Elibel sighs deeply.
「Rias Aurora, the former Chief Advisor Magician of the Löwenherz House」
And as she finishes saying her full name, her expression becomes indescribable again. It’s an expression mixed with various emotions.
「She hammered the basics of magic into me――――in a word, she’s my master.」
She taught Elibel magic.
Probably, she’s also not normal in various ways.
Just by looking at her disciple, Elibel…
『But, she’s your master, right? Even so, you’re… going to take revenge?』
「Of course, I will. I’ll kill her a hundred times, half-kill her a thousand times, torture her ten thousand times, and turn her into a jar of mush.」
She casually says something terrifying.
I remember my skin being peeled off like that.
Ah, Pururu is shivering in fear and has shrunk.
Poor thing. But cute.
『But, this happened two hundred years ago, right? I’m not trying to nitpick the past, but it’s such an old―――』
「What are you saying? You’re a victim of her doing too, aren’t you?」
「The ‘Dungeon Destruction’ used by the Dragon Slayer with the Sacred Sword Leviathan, and likely the ‘Super Large-scale Teleportation’ used by the military with the Sacred Staff Caduceus. Both of those happened because that idiot took my research materials without permission two hundred years ago.」
When she says that, it makes sense.
My painstakingly crafted dungeon-cum-home.
It was destroyed in an instant.
Yeah. Thinking about it, I’m getting angry.
『Indeed, that person is a problem.』
Primarily for my safety.
「So, we have to stop her. While a spell of that level can’t be easily deciphered or mass-produced, it’s already been two hundred years… Well, it might be too late now, but we still need to settle the score.」
If anything, it’s a matter of feeling, Elibel says.
『I see. But, why did you come up with such dangerous spells and theories?』
In the first place, if you hadn’t come up with such super theories, we wouldn’t be in this situation, would we?
I say so indirectly.
「No, that…… well」
Elibel says, somewhat hesitantly.
「Those… when I was coming up with spells and weapons, it was fun, and I just… I was excited and created various spells and magic tools. At that time, I didn’t think at all about what would happen later.」
Really, is that okay?
Well, in a sense, it’s like a researcher.
「Well, it’s the folly of youth.」
Elibel laughs apologetically.
No, this is not a laughing matter.
You have to take responsibility for what you make.
As a creator.
Somehow, Pururu makes a puzzled noise and nudges me.
『Anyway, that person… her name is Rias, right? How do you plan on finding her? Do you have any leads?』
「That won’t be a problem.」
「Most likely, she will take some action on her own soon enough.」
『Eh, what do you mean?』
「That woman, I’ve never known what she’s thinking, but one thing for sure. She has a great obsession with ‘dungeons’.」
「Yes, especially massive and complex dungeons like the Eight Great Dungeons. She was particularly fixated on them. So, if a new dungeon is built, she’ll probably do something on her own. All I have to do is wait.」
After hearing this, I feel a sense of foreboding.
『Um, by that… you mean……』
To my tentative question, Elibel smiles.
「Of course, I’m going to need your help. Work hard to earn your reward.」
I knew it.
Ah, crap. I have a bad feeling about this.
These kinds of premonitions usually come true.
I’m sure when this Rias comes to my dungeon, something terrible is likely to happen.
I scratched my head in annoyance.
「Now, Earth, I’ve told you about me. It’s about time you told me about yourself.」
Elibel looks back at me again.
『Hmm, tell you… what?』
Did something happen?
Based on the flow of our conversation, I don’t think there was anything in particular I was supposed to talk about…?？
Or, is the explanation over already?
I feel like we’ve skipped over a lot of important details…?
And was there even anything for me to talk about?
Hm? I wrack my brain but nothing comes to mind.
Could it be that…?
『Don’t tell me, Elibel… You noticed that I used the magic stones from the storage again…』
「That’s not it!」
Thud! Elibel slams the desk.
Hey, don’t make such a loud noise.
You startled Pururu, and now she’s trembling.
That’s too bad. But cute.
「It’s not that… well, I’ll thoroughly investigate that later, but what I want to say now isn’t about that!」
『Huh? Then what is it?』
「…Don’t play dumb. We’ve come this far, there’s no need to hide anything anymore, is there?」
Smoothly, Elibel points at me.
「Earth―――――――You’re a ‘former human’, aren’t you?」
Elibel says it with a tone full of conviction.
Ah, right, I hadn’t mentioned that yet.