The place Alte Barrette was headed to was clear.
There’s two Goddess Apostles in the present age.
To the side of the Limia Hero that they were originally supposed to have met up and cooperated with.
But Alte, who learned about the plan of the Anti-Goddess Cult to take over a major power, thought that this would be a great gift to the hero, and took a detour to save the Aion Kingdom.
Thinking back on it, this was the biggest mistake of Alte.
The wasteland that’s the gathering of the trash in this world, and the remote city of Tsige that serves as its lid.
What was hidden there were crazed merchants, and a monster that wore the skin of a company.
Their faith in the Goddess and Spirits is on a burning low, and in the eyes of Alte, it looked as nothing else but a metropolis of degeneration.
That’s why she thought that there was a need for the Aion Kingdom to restructure the city and guide it to the right path.
She ended up thinking that.
The wasteland is where the people, who the Goddess herself deemed as unnecessary, were thrown into and abandoned. There’s no way they would have faith in the Goddess.
Depending on the way you see it, the Aion Kingdom ignored the wasteland’s threats and left it to the merchants. Even if they managed to change that mistreatment into a chance and profited from it, there’s no way they would have high loyalty towards the kingdom.
The wasteland was recognized as a place of high risk and high reward in the world, and Tsige had caught the attention of the people as a city of profit…loyalty and faith are not something that just rises as time goes.
“Quick… To the place of the Hero and the Geezer…! I must not meet my end here. I finally learned the reason for it… The reason for there being two Apostles, the descent of Heroes…there’s no way it was only to counter mere demons!” (Alte)
She pushed back the revolutionary army with overwhelming power.
Using the intelligence gathering ability of Aion to its full extent, she learned of the contact between the Revolutionary Army and the Anti-Goddess Cult, and the internal affairs of Tsige that declared independence.
On top of that, she utilized any exploitable internal cracks and drove a wedge in them, weakening both sides.
That’s what Alte thought.
That plan of hers was actually half successful.
The miscalculation she did was truly a small one.
They were what you would call the luck of the moment, and for Alte, they were all small negligible factors.
She trivialized them all by saying ‘If it is something of that extent’.
Alte Barrette wasn’t a weakling who relied on the elements, and didn’t neglect her acquisition of knowledge. She was without doubt an outstanding woman that guides the hyumans as one of the Grants…and one of the few Apostles of the Goddess in history.
But due to the clever schemer by the name of Patrick Rembrandt, and the irregular called Raidou from the Kuzunoha Company, she had mercilessly bitten into the only experience she was lacking.
There’s no other word to describe it but unfortunate.
In order to see through the tricks of a magician, you need a decent amount of knowledge, experience, and revelations.
Even if you are sitting at the best spot to see through the magic trick of someone in your first time, it is almost impossible to guess it right straight away.
That goes the same when dealing with unprecedented natural disasters.
Even when you have some degree of knowledge to avoid it, it is hard to say whether you can put your knowledge to full use at the times when you have faced your first natural disaster like a big earthquake or a tsunami, and survive.
Sadly to say, it would be pretty difficult to do so.
“…There you are! We have to hurry on the treatment of my body. Even the recovery of the magic power… Who knows how long it would take…” (Alte)
The style that Alte is not that good at with her lightning element is cladding lightning onto her body. Within that category, there’s one high level spell that allows her to do something similar to teleportation.
It allows movement at a slightly decreased rate as lightning, and it is in essence the same as instant transmission.
It is a dream-like spell that’s said to allow you to run across the country in the blink of an eye, but the burden in the body is heavy, and it is mostly a physical type of skill that requires quite the physical training.
Taking into consideration the state of Alte, it would be like demanding someone heavily injured to do a full power sprint for 50 meters.
In that state that Makoto described as coming straight out of a horror film, having arrows lodged in her at several supposedly vital points, she had to run all the distance on the shortest route she could think of.
She crashed onto demonic beasts and people on the way, but she had absolutely no leeway to care about them.
And in this way, Alte Barrette is now in the present place.
At the training grounds of the capital where the Hero Hibiki and her party are at.
“! Is that you, Alte?!”
The sudden thunderous sound and destruction as if lightning had struck.
Only one member of the party -an aged man- noticed the being that was clad in light and had suddenly destroyed the surroundings.
At a glance, it looks like nothing but an attack, however, his words made the guard of Hibiki and the others loosen a bit.
“Geezer…I have messed up.” (Alte)
“I can tell just by looking. The fact that you lost despite all the preparations you did… Was your opponent that Raidou that Jou-chan <young lady> spoke of?”
Without minding being called geezer, the man looked at Alte, the prince, and Hibiki.
Seeing the wounds of Alte -the arrows pierced in her- he guessed who it was, and Hibiki herself had a pale white face.
The man saw the equipment of Alte and could tell how serious Alte was, which made cold sweat run down internally, but he was acting as if he were calm.
“If I hadn’t been sharing souls, I would be dead already.” (Alte)
“I have to question that way of using a sacred treasure, but…well, if you are alive, that’s good. Alte, even though we warned you that much to not go too deep…”
“Uuh…I don’t have the time right now. Please heal me. Also, hear me out on what I have to say.” (Alte)
Alte reluctantly accepted the painful sermon, and prioritized the urgent matters.
She had to tell them about Raidou.
His dangerous way of thinking which might be far more dangerous than that of the Anti-Goddess Cult.
“Hmm. Chiya, can I ask this of you? First, let’s take out the arrow and pour as much healing magic on her as possible. As you can see, she is also an ill-suited Goddess Apostle comrade of mine. She has a better brain than me, so she will be of use.”
“Good grief, you lowered your guard too much, Alte.”
Chiya and the man approach Alte to provide treatment to her and check her state.
At that moment, Hibiki, who was silently watching the events unfold, speaks with a grim expression.
“What, Hero? Right now I am trying to talk about Raidou; about that Devil of the Kuzunoha Company…” (Alte)
“I know. If you have something to say, say it at once. I am sure you don’t have much time left anymore. Hurry.” (Hibiki)
She didn’t stop the man and Chiya, she simply hurried Alte.
“? Yeah, I know that. Listen here, Raidou has no interest in Aion, Tsige, and the wasteland. He was probably happy to have encountered me.” (Alte)
Hibiki didn’t react to the call of the man at all as she looked at Alte.
“He is waiting for the chaos of the world. Waiting for the result which would be the Goddess-sama having no choice but to descend.” (Alte)
“And then, he will face the Goddess-sama.” (Alte)
“I can tell now that…Raidou was trying to gauge the power of an Apostle, the power of a God. He wasn’t even focusing on me at all -me, an Apostle! That guy…!” (Alte)
Anger and wrath take over the words of Alte.
The man, who had grabbed the arrow on her forehead, opened his eyes wide at the raw emotions Alte was showing from the bottom of her heart.
Chiya was already healing her.
The surroundings were getting noisy, and only Hibiki was calm while biting her lips.
“…Raidou will defeat the Goddess. I am sure he will. But he won’t become the new god. Because order, ruling, peace, and chaos are of no worth to him.” (Alte)
“…I see.” (Hibiki)
She groaned lightly, and responded weakly as if she had been expecting that answer, or had received backing for her thoughts.
“The meaning of several Apostles and Heroes gathering in the same era must be…not because of mere demons, but because there’s a being that can shake the order of this world…no, its very life. Rather than the demons, we should all be joining forces to defeat that Devil and his group together with the Godde—?!” (Alte)
“Aah…as expected. It was already over…” (Hibiki)
The man jumped back from the surprise.
The left eye of Alte that was okay had been pierced by an arrow.
The same type of arrow she had many pierced in her before.
Hibiki remembers that she has been hit by that attack before.
It is far more polished than that time, and it was a bone chilling way of using his power.
(The difference in power is getting wider and wider, huh. Makoto-kun, you…) (Hibiki)
Hibiki remembers her reunion with him in Limia, and the words of Mio.
Alte was shaking from the shock of completely losing her sight.
But she knows the reason for her shock.
But that was an event in Aion, and there’s no way she should be getting hit by an attack in Limia that’s far far away.
“Raidou…! Could it be… Could i—!” (Alte)
*Thwack Thwack Thwack!*
Several arrows appeared on her back with exquisite rhythm.
Accurately piercing through the openings of the spine, and crushing the bones; an attack to the vitals.
“What’s going on?! From where is it coming from?!”
“Most likely from Aion, Reverent Gai.” (Hibiki)
Hibiki mutters bitterly.
The robust elderly man called Gai was showing agitation.
He moved to the back of Alte and prepared for any further attacks while searching for the location of the enemy, but it couldn’t be helped that he would feel confused being told that the attack was coming from Aion which is unrealistic.
An arrow pierced deep into the back of Alte’s head.
It was impossible.
Gai should have been in its trajectory.
It shouldn’t have reached the head of Alte without hitting Gai first.
But it did hit her.
“He…also crushed…the Sky Nue that I…raised.” (Alte)
Alte was now gasping for breath between words.
“I see. I really…was…pitiful prey…that was caught…in the palm of your hands…in your spider web… Ugh…” (Alte)
Hibiki, Chiya, and Woody react to the word ‘spider’ for an instant.
It is due to having recalled an old memory of theirs.
Arrows were piercing vital spots one after the other from a variety of angles.
The arrows that were hitting her were accurately aimed at the spots that allowed for easy passing of magic power, and were crushing them.
“No…way…he saw…through me…? Aah…why…did I go to a place like Aion…? I was supposed…to have met up here…and bettered my—!” (Alte)
Her mouth was covered.
“…Thanks, Alte-san. He is not the type of person who would show mercy to their opponent at this point. Please rest in peace already.” (Hibiki)
“Hibiki! That’s not it! Alte serves an ancient one! She has entrusted a part of her soul into a sacred treasure, and is currently in a state of semi-immortality and can even resurrect!” (Gai)
Gai explains the situation, but Hibiki closed her eyes and shook her head to the sides.
“No, Reverent Gai. Raidou…Makoto-kun wouldn’t confront an enemy he intends to kill and leave them go. Vitals from the body, vitals for a mage, and equipment; and if she doesn’t die with that either, he will go with the brute force method and won’t loosen his hand till he turns her into scraps of meat.” (Hibiki)
“Alte is an Apostle, you know? There’s no way a Fake Apostle like him would be able to…” (Gai)
In Raidou’s case, it was other people who spread names like Apostle and Devil as they wished.
And even if he were to call himself an Apostle, it doesn’t mean that he would be inferior to one.
Hibiki swallowed those words she wanted to say.
She placed strength in her throat as if she were enduring tears.
And then, as if betraying the words of Gai, as if affirming the words of Hibiki…the pace of the arrows increased.
*Thuck Thuck Thuck Thuck!*
It was already at the point where they couldn’t tell where the new arrows were hitting anymore.
From several directions, with the will of scraping away the meat, with the will of crushing everything; doing this methodically like that of working at a conveyor belt, continuing endlessly as the speed rose up.
“If there’s any chance, it would be through resurrection. The sacred treasure you meant is that scythe?” (Hibiki)
“…Umu. The strongest one is that scythe. Rather than calling it a weapon, it is more of a catalyst for magic. If it is to put your soul into, it would be that no doubt.” (Gai)
“Then secure that sacred treasure alone. Woody, do the preparations for the resurrection spell! Chiya-chan, keep a proper eye on her state. Just for the time that you think healing magic is still effective.” (Hibiki)
(There’s no mistake in terms of instructions. But…will she be able to maintain her fighting spirit after suffering this much? If this just serves to lengthen her suffering…I think it would be better to just have her accept her death. Even if it is a resurrection that isn’t that long after her death, with a body injured to this extent…) (Hibiki)
Within the secret techniques of Limia, there does exist resurrection magic. But this was a recent result of research.
The success rate is pretty low, and there haven’t been any cases of succeeding with bodies that are not in perfect state.
The secret technique of the undead mage called Shiki to pull the souls which he showed at the time when the capital was burning.
Hibiki and Chiya had burned that sight into their eyes.
Combined with the limited medical knowledge of the modern era that Hibiki had that gave birth to many powerful magic tools, Limia managed to recreate a part of this miraculous thing called resurrection.
(In the first place…) (Hibiki)
Hibiki thought this as she saw Alte who had turned into a porcupine.
People say that when fear passes a certain threshold, they end up laughing, and Hibiki was in that very state.
She was in a state of mind where she would even compare her to a porcupine.
Chiya shook her head to the sides.
The scariest part is that the arrows are not showing any signs of stopping, Hibiki thought.
The porcupine is still moving.
He is most likely shooting arrows with no thought in mind, simply for the sake of bringing certain death.
He most likely has a carefree face, like the time when she was talking with him before.
Hibiki couldn’t stop the trembling that was attacking her body.
(If it is him…he might be able to kill even your soul.) (Hibiki)
The root of resurrection is the relink of the body and soul.
If there’s death for the soul as well, if there’s an attack that makes that death possible, it would bring a result where it is impossible to revive her.
A despairing hypothesis.
And so…the resurrections that were cast on Alte Barrette the whole day and night all ended in failures.
They couldn’t manage to regenerate her body, and couldn’t confirm the presence of her soul.
A number of the sacred treasures that somehow maintained their shape had their effects completely destroyed, and had turned into just divine articles.
On this day, only one Apostle of the Goddess was left in this world.