There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One MYSELF!
Chapter 13: The Final Cliché
Volume 4: The Newly-Built Ancient Ruins
What is the one thing that is most commonly spoken of together in the same context as the forging of evidence?
That’s right. The destruction of evidence.
We had forged these ancient ruins, and so we had to destroy them. Although we had done everything in our power to make them as real as possible, this place was, ultimately, something that had been created within a mere six months. Letting a small group of amateurs run through it was one thing; leaving it open to professional scrutiny by actual experts was something else entirely.
And so we needed to destroy the place. Since we were done with it, we had to completely wreck it so that the experts couldn’t go poking around inside. Well, technically, we weren’t destroying everything, but we can ignore that for now.
The whole ancient ruins exploration experience was not only getting the treasure sleeping deep within but also escaping while it crumbled, and so we had set up explosives at the base of the three pillars that were holding the whole place up. I just had to press a switch and the charges would go off, causing everything to collapse in a chain reaction. Now that it was time to actually press this switch, however, I found myself hesitating.
Do I actually have to destroy it all? Even though I’d worked so hard on it? Really?
I had done so much digging, opened up so many ventilation holes, carved and stacked so many rocks, etched so many reliefs, run so many waterways, planted so many wireless transmission relay nodes, positioned so many skeletons, transplanted so much moss, brought over so many insects… All the blood, sweat, and tears that I had spilled and all the headaches that I had suffered as a result of driving my brain to its full processing capacity for the sake of this one single day flashed through my mind.
All this, gone, with the press of a button. Everything.
So this is how villains in movies and manga feel when destroying their own lairs or ancient ruins in the hopes of bringing the protagonist down together with the place. Now I totally get it. Ugh, my chest hurts so much.
It’s such a waste. Such a terrible waste. I don’t want to destroy this place, not with all the memories packed within and all the effort that I’d poured in. Screw destroying it; I wanted to preserve it. Is there really no way to keep it? If I don’t destroy it, I would have so much shit to deal with. Knowing that, I still wanted to leave it be. What should I do?
As I kept putting my finger on the demolition switch and lifting it back up, internally torn and unable to bring myself to actually press down, Kaburagi-san’s voice came in over my headset.
“Yes, you’re speaking to Sago, the man currently struggling with mixed feelings.”
“Mixed…? I’m heading to the ruins now together with Ruu-denka. She said she’s really worried about Touka-chan and Shouta-kun, so much so that she really has to check up on them in person. When she gets like this, she’s not one to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
I looked out the window just in time to see the engine of the black luxury limo parked in front of the Kaburagi residence roar to life.
Noticing my gaze, Kaburagi-san casually winked at me through the window. Then the car suddenly leaped forward and, with a clamorous bellow, drifted around the corner, sending a cloud of white smoke into the air. Next thing I knew, it had already disappeared from sight. Looks like she’s really enjoying herself.
“I’ll handle Ruu-denka, so you focus on managing the end of the event, Sago-san.”
“Uhh, end of the, right, sure thing.”
I could hear Ruu-denka squealing excitedly in response to the high-speed driving through the comms. That girl’s got guts.
However, there wasn’t really any point to Ruu-denka going to the ruins now. There wasn’t anything for her to do.
Conversely, it was just danger all around. For example, she could get caught up in the crumbling ruins (not that we’d let her get caught up), the rock giant could get back up and start rampaging again (we have no such plans), or she could get into some sort of trouble at the cordon where onlookers and police were embroiled in a big ruckus (not that we’d let her get in trouble). She would be like those useless bosses who suddenly show up at the factory floor messing things up with random, uninformed orders. Ruu-denka’s concern was much appreciated, but we’d much rather she just stayed home and not do anything unnecessary. To be blunt, having to cater to her was just making things more difficult for us.
Then again, we were already in the last stages of the event. Kaburagi-san having to slip out did worry me a little, but I could probably still manage somehow by myself. In fact, if I was to put a positive spin on things, Kaburagi-san heading to the actual location could make for a pretty dramatic conclusion.
Hmm, I don’t really need the monitor from this point on, do I?
I stood up and grabbed my jacket.
“I’m also heading over.”
“I can manage by myself, if that’s what you worried about.”
“Nah, I want to go. I can keep an eye on the on-location group and provide necessary support even while moving.”
“All right, then. But just don’t forget to press the demolition switch.”
“……You are a good boy who knows how to put his toys away after playing with them, yes?”
Seemingly having read my mind, Kaburagi-san spoke to me as if to a kindergartener. It was a very cheap provocation.
Thing was, though, I was a cheap man who would be baited by such provocation.
“Farewell, my ruins.”
I pressed the switch, then rushed out of the Kaburagi residence and hurried towards where the ruins were on a mamachari bike.1
◇ ◇ ◇
So, back to the event.
Naturally, things were still progressing even as Kaburagi-san and I were dealing with things that had cropped up on our side. Long story short, all four participants had failed to get out in time and had completely gotten themselves buried alive. Although they weren’t dead, they weren’t in any state to move around either.
We had last left them with Tsukuyomi nabbing the Artifact and running ahead as Amaterasu chased them from behind. However, Miyama, being as exhausted as he was, soon lost momentum. Chris attempted to push him on, but tripped on a crack in the ground and totally fell flat on her face.
That was where Touka-chan caught up with the two of them. She cudgeled Chris’s head with her Buddha statue, grabbed her collar, and started literally shoving sutras down her throat — as in, a whole book of them.
Right after Shouta-kun finally managed to break up the catfight, he noticed the tunnel behind them collapsing in on itself. In a fluster, he suggested that they get out first, but it was already too late and all four (plus one) were completely swallowed up by the cave-in.
This wasn’t one of those scenes where the exit was just a short distance away and the characters only barely missed it. These guys still had more than a hundred meters to the exit. They had gotten well and truly trapped in.
The group had been protected from being crushed by the falling rubble thanks to Shouta-kun’s Eternal Guard Blizzard, but they were now stuck in their spherical area within all the loose rock. Due to their elevation being below sea level, water had also started seeping in almost immediately. Once again, Shouta-kun had come to the rescue by freezing up the cracks. However, there were too many tiny cracks to completely waterproof the walls, and the four of them were already submerged to their ankles. Furthermore, the amount of air inside a sphere with a diameter of 2 meters wasn’t all that much. They needed to bore through the eight-meter-thick rock wall that lay between them and the surface, and time was not on their side.
Aboveground, Ruu-denka was fretfully pacing about within the area of the primeval forest that had just expelled a large cloud of dust due to the cave-in. She almost tripped over a rock several times, but Kaburagi-san always managed to catch her in time.
Seriously, please just stay still, Ruu-denka.
I got caught at an intersection, so I took the opportunity to check my watch. I should be arriving in about 5 minutes. Once I arrive on-site, I can then use telekinesis to dig out all the rubble. There’s plenty of time before the water level rises high enough to be a threat. Everything should be over by sunset.
The light turned green, so I resumed pedaling. Suddenly, Shouta-kun started giving some sort of speech inside their little bubble.
“Okay, look, you two. The rubble isn’t budging. We have no way of knowing when help will arrive. All of us have already completely exhausted our superpowers. At this rate, we’ll all drown to death in 10 minutes’ time. So we need to blast our way to the top. We need your help. I’m serious.”
“Just saying, but it’s not like we like betraying you. Our lives are also on the line here; we’re not gonna do anything stupid. How can we help?”
Shouta-kun detached the fuel cartridge of World Slayer and held it up.
“This sword is able to use the blood of espers to unleash an amplified blast of their superpowers. The blood of one person might not be enough, but if we mix all our blood and amplify that, I’m sure it’d be more than enough to get rid of all the rubble in the way. Now is the time to combine all our powers together!”
Nice passionate speech, but would it actually work that way?
We had yet to actually conduct tests using mixed blood to fuel PSI drives. Shouta-kun could be right, and it could lead to the generation of some incredible, chaotic explosion of power. But equally, it could cause a straight-out explosion, the machinery might get plugged up and break down, or the superpowers could cancel each other out and misfire.
There was no way to tell without actually trying it out, but the trying was fraught with danger. Just like how adding gasoline to increase the heat of a stove could cause it to explode, there was no guarantee that adding or subtracting powers together would succeed.
Even as I watched on in worry, the four espers began eagerly donating their blood, slowly filling the cartridge drip by drip. Apparently, they were all too panicked to think about the possibility of this not working or blowing up in their faces. You guys sure are living on the edge.
But, well… this does seem like a pretty interesting idea, and I’m not one for raining on people’s parades.
“What would we do if this fails? Have I gathered enough merit to reach Nirvana…?”
“It’s fine, it’ll work out somehow. Believe in the Fire burning within you.”
“So this is the so-called ‘combining our powers parentheses physically’ from anime? Whoo! Pretty exciting stuff!”
“If I get back home safely, I’m definitely going to lose weight.”
The four of them finally finished filling up the cartridge around the time the water reached their chests. Shouta-kun loaded it into World Slayer, then held it out in front of himself.
Oh yeah, what about Ig’s blood? Did they forget about her existence, or were they assuming that the power of healing wouldn’t be helpful in this case?
I parked my mamachari against one of the giant trees in the primeval forest and walked towards where Ruu-denka was still pacing around under Kaburagi-san’s careful supervision. I raised a hand in greeting while still keeping an eye on what was going on underground.
Shouta-kun shifted his footing to adopt a firmer stance but then slipped. Touka-chan and Miyama caught him and steadied his wobbling body, and Chris put her hands on the handle next to Shouta-kun’s.
The two of them nodded at each other, then…
“Cleave the world —”
…thrust it at the ceiling with every last drop of their strength.
The blade, held at the end of its thrust, let out a dry poof.
An awkward silence filled the air.
It fucking misfired!!
Does reality really have to be truly so SHIT?!
I’d half-expected this and it still fucking pisses me off!
It’s like, fuck the mood, fuck the climaxing, fuck every last goddamn idea!
Fine, fine, I know the drill, I have to make it happen myself, right?!
Like hell I can let that silent fart be how this story ends!
I’ll act out the dramatic ending my fucking self!
I reached out with telekinesis to the internal mechanism of World Slayer and manually spun its motor.
Several seconds after what everyone thought was a misfire, World Slayer let out a loud vroom and started vibrating furiously! Shouta-kun and Chris immediately brought it back down and held it steady, pointing it upwards again.
You guys ready? Okay? All right, let’s do this.
WORLD FUCKING SLAYER!
I shot out a small ray of telekinesis with the tip of the blade as the origin. I even enveloped it with a light-isolating barrier to make it look black, cus where would the impact be in an invisible beam that no one can see?
The torrent of telekinesis that looked like a black flash bored its way into the rubble, grinded it down, reduced it to dust, and finally, plasmarized everything with its passage, ultimately piercing the sky and blowing a gigantic circular hole in the clouds above.
With eyes as wide as saucers, Ruu-denka looked up at the hole in the clouds, slowly peered into the hole in the ground, then for some reason, raised a small scream that sounded like “Pieh!” and fell back on her butt.
Damn, World Slayer’s so powerful. Wow. Amazing.
Kaburagi-san came up to stand next to me, so I asked,
“How should we do this? You going down?”
“Bring them out please.”
And so I used telekinesis to lift both the Amaterasu and Tsukuyomi pairs up at the same time. The four of them fell onto the ground and, looking up at the open sky, heaved a sigh of relief.
First thing Touka-chan did was to hand the Artifact over to Kaburagi-san.
“Here it is.”
“Good job. I knew I could count on you two.”
Kaburagi-san wrapped Touka-chan in a big hug and stroked her head in reward, paying no attention to all the mud getting onto her own outfit. The younger girl simply leaned in and took it, seemingly too exhausted to make any protest.
[Why did you dodge?!]
[S-Sorry. Uh, r-reflex?]
On the other hand, Shouta-kun had side-stepped Ruu-denka as she rushed over to hug him and was getting reproached for it. Looks like he’s gotten quite traumatized about getting hugs in general. He’s not going to forget Chris anytime soon, that’s for sure.
Speaking of Chris, she and Miyama had quickly slipped away into the forest as Amaterasu was occupied with welcoming back its two members.
I did find myself rather impressed by their quick thinking and swift action. However, just as they were leaving, they both sneaked a glance at me and threw me a flying kiss, which was something I definitely could have done without. Well, Chris’s was fine, but the other one… You guys really couldn’t leave without messing with me one last time, huh…
I used telekinesis to retrieve Ig from the pocket in Touka-chan’s backpack that she had stayed in during almost the entire duration of the event. The marmoset happily scrambled all over my arms and shoulders before eventually burrowing into a pocket in my jacket, proceeding to gorge herself on the monkey food that I kept in there. She ended up not getting all that much action, which is a relief, considering.
Shouta-kun pushed aside Ruu-denka — who was now trying, and failing, to toss him into the air in celebration — and approached me.
“Master, you’re done taking care of the rock giant?”
“Mm, it’s done. You did good, too, Shouta. What was that black flash at the end?”
“Ah, that was —”
The teenager looked down at his own empty hands. He touched his waist, turned around to look at Touka-chan, then whirled around to check his surroundings. After a short pause, he timidly asked,
“Um, Master… you wouldn’t happen to know where World Slayer is, would you?”
“……Did you lose it?”
“No, no, no, I remember clearly that I still had it when you pulled us out of the hole. I was holding it together with Nin…ja…”
Shouta-kun’s voice trembled.
A quick scan with telekinesis revealed Chris and Miyama running away through the forest, the latter holding a guitar with World Slayer stuffed inside.
I almost burst into laughter, but caught myself in the nick of time.
Those guys sure are shrewd!
They lost the Artifact, but managed to steal World Slayer in exchange!
“Those fucking assholes!! Seriously, they’re just, ARGH! Oh my Fire, just, FUCK! They’re fucking with us to the very end! I’d never forgive them! TOUKAAA! WE GOTTA LOOK FOR TSUKUYOMI! THEY GOT AWAY!!!!”
Shouta-kun’s roar of anger seemed to have also rekindled Touka-chan’s rage. The two young espers immediately dashed off into the forest, forgetting all about reporting what had happened to Kaburgai-san. Ruu-denka had no idea what was happening, but she still also took off after them in a big fluster.
I’m sure they’ll calm back down by nighttime. And Tsukuyomi will probably be able to get back by themselves since they got here by themselves in the first place. If they hit a snag, I can always secretly arrange things for them. As for the three teenagers, I can easily retrieve them with telekinesis or contact them on their comms or whatever.
With this, the event was well and truly over.
……It was indeed over, but there was actually one last part.
There was an omake2 that even Kaburagi-san did not know about.
I gave Kaburagi-san’s clothes a tug, interrupting her in the middle of some post-event managerial stuff that she was doing on her tablet.
“Kaburagi-san, you said before that you’ve always wanted to live in a magical castle, right?”
“What? Yes I did. What of it?”
“I made one.”
I snapped my fingers and unleashed my powers. For the nth time today, an earthquake shook the ground.
According to the ancient documents discovered by Kaburagi-san, the espers who had originally discovered this island eons ago had founded a whole civilization centered around their castle.
Not a temple, and not a pyramid.
A magical castle, created by espers.
From underneath the remains of the ancient ruins, a magical castle rose up, pushing aside all the rubble.
The design was something I had come up with by myself, using historic European castles and castles in magical girl animes as reference.
There were soaring towers and thick walls colored in white, an elegant fountain plaza and even a grandiose belltower. Every single part contained a tiny speck of my ground-up bone — each enchanted separately with differing telekinetic abilities and linked up as a whole network — that effectively helped to run the entire place like magic.
Each time the water from the fountain burst up, it drew a brand-new rainbow in the sky.
Every inch of the garden was filled with flowers of all shapes and colors (artificially created using telekinesis) in full bloom.
Magical suits of armor lined the halls, ready to spring into movement at a single command and subdue any who dared trespass.
Magically moving staircases? Check.
Mysterious crystal balls? Also check.
Whatever anyone could ever want in a magical castle, this one had it.
When the castle finished pushing its way up, it paused, with the setting sun painting it a madder red. Abruptly, a gigantic magical circle filled with complicated geometric designs appeared in the sky right above it.
As the magical circle started spinning and glowing brighter and brighter, the weathered trees in the garden and the grey, wilted vines that were wrapped around the walls and towers of the castle regained their green lushness at a visible rate. Soon enough, what was supposed to have been slumbering for dozens of centuries was spreading new leaves and bursting with life. All of this was possible thanks to the PSI drives loaded with Ig’s blood that I had installed in various places.
The magical circle had just been to make things look dramatic, but the reaction it elicited was tremendous.
After watching the castle seemingly revive before her eyes, Kaburagi-san clapped a hand over her mouth as tears streamed down from her eyes.
Those are tears of happiness… right? I had done my best to make this according to what I understood her preferences to be. If she didn’t like it, I would be the one who’d cry.
“So… yeah. I thought it’d be a good opportunity, y’know, if I didn’t do this now, I think I’d just keep dragging it on, never really getting to it, if you know what I mean? Um, I did consider gifting you a magical ring together at the same time, but well, step by step, I mean, in any case, I, uh, have something to say to you, Kaburagi-san.”
Kaburagi-san’s body jolted as if struck by lightning. Then she wiped her eyes and turned to look at me, her cheeks blushing furiously.
I used telekinesis to gather the Marineland bluebells nearby to create an impromptu flower bouquet, cleared my throat, took a deep breath, got down on one knee, and held the bouquet up towards Kaburagi-san.
Go on, you can do this.
“Please write off my hundred favors with this.”
Kaburagi-san’s face froze. She froze so completely that I almost suspected she had used her powers to stop her own time or something.
Wait, what’s with this reaction?
You were the one who said I owed you a hundred favors after I returned to Amaterasu! For all the trouble that I caused you in relation to the founding of Tsukuyomi!
What else could this be but payment for that debt?!
Nothing! There’s nothing else!
“……………………………… Okay. That debt is now paid.”
After a suuuuuper long pause, Kaburagi-san accepted the bouquet and heaved a suuuuuper long sigh. What a relief, she accepted it! She’s forgiven me. I’ve finally gotten it off my shoulder. Pheeew.
Okay, no, I’m not dumb. I know the reason for the pause.
If I’m not just a pathetic loser who’s grossly misunderstanding the way Kaburagi-san sees me in a conceited, self-serving way, then it means she was expecting a marriage proposal.
However, only a piece of shit would propose before returning such a massive debt. Even if Kaburagi-san is fine with it, I’m not. We haven’t even introduced ourselves to each other’s parents yet. In fact, we haven’t even officially started going out yet.
As I nodded to myself, Kaburagi-san used her other hand — the one that wasn’t holding the flowers — to grab one of mine and bring it to her chest. She then looked right into my eyes.
“Next time it’ll be the words I actually want to hear, I hope?”
“…… You can bet on it.”
“I’ll wait as long as you need.”
Kaburagi-san smiled with satisfaction, then walked off into the sunset.
Following close behind, with my hand still in hers, I, too, walked off into the sunset.
Note from Kurodome-sensei: Mamachari-kun being abandoned and seeing off the two people sharing a great moment and walking off #feelsbad
If you’re enjoying the series, please consider buying Volumes 1 and 2 in Japanese and English to support Kurodome-sensei and me!
All details in the Table of Contents page.
1 Technically, “mamachari” are city/urban bikes. The Japanese name is an amalgamation of “mama” (as in, mom) and “chari” (a nickname for bicycles). They often come with a basket (for putting things in, such as groceries) and a child’s seat. In short, it’s the most commonplace and most economic means of travel (aside from walking, of course). Obviously, this is meant to contrast Kaburagi’s luxury drifting limo hahaha.