Kara no Kyoukai:Chapter05 012
/12 (Spiral Paradox, 9)
The red sun lights up the spiral tower.
Within the orange world confronted by the approach of sunset, Aozaki Touko set foot on the grounds of the apartment building.
The brown-dyed lizardskin longcoat doesn't suit her thin body. It looked more like armor than clothing.
She looked up at the building once, then lifted up the orange bag in one hand and started to walk.
Passing the lawn covered in green grass, she enters the mansion.
Constructed of glass, the lobby has been dyed a deep red by the light of the setting sun.
The floor, the wall, and even the column that holds the elevator leading upstairs, they are all as red as if they were inside the sun.
After thinking for a brief moment, she changes her destination.
And so she walks to the side that doesn't face the elevator, the east side of the lobby.
...Divided in two, this building has separate lobbies on the east and west sides.
She goes to one of those, the lobby on the first floor of the east building.
The lobby is a wide semicircular space.
The second-floor ceiling is clearly visible, so it feels like some huge reception hall. Here inside the building, there is no orange light from the setting sun. Only the yellow illumination of the overheads shines off the marble floor.
"How surprising. You are very impatient, aren't you."
High-pitched for one of his sex, a man's voice echoes through the lobby.
Touko doesn't say anything in response, and wordlessly lifts her gaze.
The stairway that connects to the second floor by way of its gentle incline. In the center stands a man in a red coat.
"But that's a delightful thing, too. Hurry on in, to my Gehenna. I welcome you, greatest of doll-makers."
Laughing joyfully, the mage Cornelius Alba greets her with an overdramatic gesture as if he were an actor on a stage.
"Of course. This is the recreation of the altar of fire that was in the Valley of Hinnom. It's a tool within which we've gathered the concepts from burning, killing, and torturing people (I think my translation of this is a little off). Although unfortunately, Moloch, who is the owner of this God's Palace (?), is away at the moment. How splendid is it? A twisted dimension of this level should be completely separated from the physical laws of the outside world. Preparations for opening the path were finished long ago, Aozaki."
The red mage looks down at Touko and speaks confidently.
Contrary to the energetic young man, she keeps her emotions locked away as she replies.
"How amusing for Agrippa's direct descendant to be wallowing in the religion of the Jews. That's why you still haven't understood the true nature of this place. Hell? That kind of thing exists somewhere on this Earth at this very moment. If you want to see murder on a scale that the human mind cannot comprehend, go to a battlefield. If you wish to see humans dying on a scale you could never believe, just go to any starving nation. Something like this isn't hell. It's merely purgatory, this."
And she puts her bag down upon the floor.
Tock. A dry sound.
"A place where eternally tormented souls who committed small crimes and cannot go to heaven or hell reside. That is the true identity of this place. A closed loop where the torture isn't carried out to fulfill some purpose, but where the whole purpose is to torture. In something like this, there isn't any thaumatergical effect --- or at least, not for a outsider like you."
The piercing words cause the red mage to twitch, and a spasm to run across his face.
She narrows her eyes, as if she was facing the building instead of the youth on the stairway.
"This Taeguekdo structure isn't of your doing is it? That's enough, so bring Araya out. You aren't competent enough, and there isn't anything that would benefit you in the events that will occur now. I'm not sure what your objectives are, but there aren't any values here that are easy enough for you to understand. I'll say that at least, in return for your warning last time."
Touko looks around as if saying, that's all. Without giving the red mage who is standing right in front of her another glance, she looks for someone who isn't even there.
The mage keeps looking at her acting like that.
With eyes full of hatred that looks as if tears could come out at any moment.
"You... were always like that."
That mutter was something that flowed out because he couldn't take it any longer.
"Yes. You were always like that. You always underestimated me like that. I specialized in Rune before you. I was also the one who was famed as a dollmaker, I alone. But those feeble-minded idiots were fooled by that attitude of yours. Your condescending attitude, it gave them the impression that I was inferior to you. It's obvious if you think about it! I'm the director of Suponheim, aren't I? I have spent over forty years as a mage. So why was it that I had to be below a little girl who had just entered her twenties...?!"
His muttering, growing steadily louder, now filled the lobby.
Touko-san stares disinterestedly at this person, who has now abandoned all pretense of friendliness and pours abuse upon her.
"Age isn't important when it comes to academics. It's all right to make yourself look young, Cornelius. But it's because you are so concerned with your outward appearance that the contents don't match up."
That one cold statement, it was a provocative insult like no other to the other mage.
The face of the handsome young man whose age has passed fifty contorts with hatred.
"--- Haven't I explained my objective yet?"
With a strained sense of calm, the red mage changes the flow of the conversation.
"You know, I don't care what happens to an useless thing like Araya's experiment. To tell you the truth, I don't have any interest in the Maelstrom of Origins. Chasing after something that may or may not exist, it's nonsense. If you wish to intrude upon the domain of God, all you have to do is devote yourself to gnosis. There's no reason to go upstream."
He falls back one step. As if to get to the second floor, little by little, he climbs the stairs.
"It was my own decision to tell you about Ryougi Shiki. Araya lost his life while capturing Ryougi Shiki. That fight was a draw. Following that, this ward became mine. But you know, I have no intention of continuing his experiment. It's obvious as to why. You see, Aozaki, the only reason I came to a godforsaken country like this was because I thought I could kill you!"
Laughing so wildly as to make one worry that he might hurt his throat, the mage leaps up the stairs.
She can only watch calmly as the mage goes up to the second floor.
Because... the first-floor lobby was already full of things that could have been the realization of the mage's ill will.
At that time, her words contained more scorn and hatred than ever before as she spoke.
"--- Slimes, is it?"
Aozaki quickly described the plasmous forms that were filling the space around her.
But the things that were spreading out from the lobby walls weren't as simple as that. The cream-colored mucus dripped down from the wall and quickly took on a shape.
Some took a human shape, others took the shapes of beasts.
Their faces looked like keloid and kept melting away, but these things that kept rebuilding themselves looked very real. If you were to take an example they were like real animals and humans who had rotted away for eternity, existences that were both disgusting and elaborate at the same time.
"To think that you could only realize these sort of things in a place like this. Alba, it would be better for you to switch to being a film director rather than continue as a mage. If it was you, there would be no reason to worry about the budget for preparing special effects. Of course, you would have to specialize in cheap horror movies, but it would still be a much more suitable job for you than director."
Surrounded by the objects that had filled the lobby, she muttered.
Certainly, this scene was reminiscent of a horror movie. If you were to point out a difference, it would only be that crosses and holy bullets had no effect against these things.
And so, although the slime-like objects had surrounded her on all sides but for a one-meter gap around her, she didn't bat a eyelash as she reached for the pocket inside her suit.
...Tch. She clicks her tongue. Now that she thought about it, she had entrusted Mikiya with her cigarettes. Touko was slightly regretful. If she had known things were going to turn out like this she would have bought some Japanese brands at least, she muttered to herself.
She hadn't expected such a boring outcome in her wildest dreams. How could she withstand this without smoking one cigarette at least ---.
"No, you couldn't even be a director. Your presentation is too clumsy. Audiences these days won't be satisfied with just this. I suppose there's no helping it; I'll give you an example. Alba, if you're going to put forward a mystery, you will have to maintain this level at least."
Tock. She kicked the bag beside her feet with the toe of her shoe.
"--- Come out."
An order full of authority, disallowing refusal.
In response to that, the bag opens. Clunk, and the bag opens up like a tulip, but there is nothing inside.
At the same time --- some black thing starts spinning around the mage called Aozaki Touko.
The black thing was a hurricane with a body.
With Touko as the eye of the storm, it spins round and round and round at a high speed.
That was a force which could drive one crazy.
Within a few seconds there is nothing in the lobby. Not a body or a shadow remained of the things that had flowed out of the walls. The only things there were Aozaki Touko and her closed bag. And the cat sitting in front of her.
Stunned, Alba could only look upon all this.
The cat is bigger than Touko. Its body is night black, but does not possess any depth. A flat black cat made from shadow. No, he can't even tell if it is a cat. A shadow that resembled a cat. About where its head would be, there is a eye that looks like an Egyptian hieroglyph.
"What, is that --- ?"
From the second floor, he looked down at the cat.
His gaze meets the cat's drawing-like eyes. When it does --- erasing the space where its mouth should have been, the cat gives him a broad smile.
Was he having a nightmare? Alba swallows his breath.
Touko doesn't say anything.
The only noise is a scratchy chkchkchk noise coming from somewhere.
"That's not right! Was the story that you lost your familiar to your sister only a lie...?!"
As if he couldn't stand the silence, Alba shouts.
She only replied with an 'I wonder' before shifting her glance to the black cat.
"--- I fed you some nasty things. But this next one should taste a bit better. Real human flesh instead of these chunks of ether. It should also have plenty of spiritual nutritional value. There's no need to go easy because he's my old schoolmate. I always told you, didn't I? That enemies are for eating."
Instantly, the black cat starts running.
Crossing the marble floor as if it were sliding along, it runs up the stairs. ...Even so, the cat's feet do not move. Only its eye moves as its sitting shadow races towards the red coated human.
To get from the first-floor lobby where Touko was to the second-floor stairwell where Alba was, it probably hadn't taken ten seconds.
But Alba wasn't some normal person to allow such a thing.
He was a mage.
"Go away, shadow.
It is impossible to touch things which are not visible.
Forget the darkness.
It is impossible to see things which are not touched.
The question is prohibited.
The answer is simple.
I have the flame in the left hand.
And I have everything in the right hand ---."
Carefully, but with a speed which approached human limits, Alba chants his spell.
--- Spells. Within the realm of mages, they were nothing more than suggestions aimed at oneself.
There is a magecraft for causing wind to blow. Just like a certain type of weapon, this was a power which had an ability that was determined from the start. No matter what mage used it, its effect would not change. Only the incantation was different.
The incantations called spells were for the purpose of activating the magecraft that one's body had become familiar with. Its contents showed the nature of the mage. That was because as long as you kept the necessary meanings and keywords for the activation of that particular piece of magecraft, the details of the incantation could be changed to suit the user's fancy.
The incantations of a narcissistic and pompous mage who easily got infatuated with themself was long. But it was also true that the more meaning you put into the spell, the more powerful the final effect. This was because the stronger the suggestion you put upon yourself, the stronger the ability you pulled out from yourself would be.
Taken in that light, Alba's incantation could be said to be outstanding. Not too long, holding the minimum required contents, and putting a phrase to fix his mind on top of that, the speaking of the incantation itself doesn't even take two seconds.
At that fact Touko let out an exclamation of surprise, and admired the performance.
The younger Alba had liked to use incantations that had been wasteful and longer then necessary, but it seemed that in the last few years he had definitely developed.
His method and speed of forming the incantation, and his way of connecting his circuits in order to manipulate the physical world is remarkably precise.
This incantation, in the realm of magecrafts that were designed to purely destroy things, was definitely first class.
"I am the order. Therefore,
'you will be defeated securely --- !"
Alba puts forward one arm.
The instant that the black cat stepped onto the first of the steps, the air wavered faintly --- then the stairway erupted into flame.
Like a wavering mirage rising up into the sky, a sea of blue flames fills the stairway.
In a matter of seconds, the top of the flames that emerged from the stairs themselves have burned through the second floor and disappear into the ceiling.
It looked like a geyser in some geothermal hotspot.
Sucking dry all the oxygen in the lobby in an instant, the sea of flame instantly erased the black cat from the world. That was only to be expected, too. These thaumatergical flames that were well over a 1000 degrees Celsius. Any animal that entered them would soon be melted like butter and turn from a solid to a gas. Passing through the liquid stage wouldn't have taken the time required for a comma.
But Alba saw it.
The impossible shape of the black cat, suddenly appearing once all the flames had burned themselves out.
"--- That can't be right."
Blue eyes stare at the stairs.
The black cat licked its thin black body as if it that last spell had been unsatisfactory, then shifted its gaze to the red mage.
The black monster resumes its charge.
Alba didn't even have the time to try and puzzle out the cat's nature.
"Repeat ... !"
With a tearing sharpness, Alba repeated his spell.
The stairs erupted into flames. But this time the cat didn't even stop. It raced straight towards the mage as if saying it had already gotten used to this kind of fire.
Once again the sea of flame roars up, and disappears.
The cat was already nearing the top of the stairs.
The fourth conflagration ended meaninglessly as well.
Once the black cat reached the second floor, it went up to Alba and opened up its mouth. The body of the cat, which was as big as a man, opened up from head to toe. As if opening a treasure chest with the crown of its head as a lid.
Inside of the flat, planar cat, the corpses of the protoplasmic creatures it had swallowed earlier are pasted like mud.
Alba realized only then. That this thing was only taking the shape of a cat, and that it was an organism that had only a mouth.
"Repeat --- !"
With death in front of his eyes, terror makes him repeat his final spell.
But before that, the shark's mouth in the body of a cat closes down upon the mage. When it swallowed him whole with his red coat, Alba lost consciousness.
Suddenly a brief word was spoken.
The cat that was in the process of biting Alba's body stopped moving.
Even Touko, who had been just standing there watching like a spectator, responds to that sound.
There is a man behind Alba.
With fierce eyes full of an endless suffering, the man is wearing a black coat.
There was no sign of his appearance, as if he had been there this whole time.
The black man grabbed Alba, then pulled him out of the cat and threw him to the floor. Caught in one of the threefold circles the man carries about him, the cat cannot move.
The man looks at the woman below him. With just that, the air in the lobby changed dramatically.
Was this what they meant when they said "the air froze over"?
The tranquil atmosphere disappears. As if the building itself was getting tense after welcoming its true owner.
"--- Long time no see, Aozaki."
"Yeah, although we probably didn't want to see each other."
The first floor and the second floor --- divided between heaven and earth, Touko confronted the one called Araya Souren, who was the source of this disturbance.
"It looks like Alba leapt about too much. I originally intended to finish this without your noticing. Well, it can't be helped. I could not prepare 64 bodies by myself. The fact that you are here in this city is probably coincidence as well as misfortune."
"I don't know which side dragged the other in. But coincidence is the jargon for mystery. In order to disguise a law we can't figure out, we bring out the word coincidence."
Giving that reply, Touko retreated towards the wall.
This opponent is on a completely different level than Alba. Ability-wise they may have been similar, but in this building Araya Souren was greater than anyone else. If she does not put her back to the wall and concentrate on the enemy before her, she is bound to leave herself wide open.
"--- So. What kind of mechanism is this mansion? It couldn't be that it is a box where the paradox of those who are dead being alive is made real, could it? It was concluded hundreds of years ago that fabricating a world where a day is complete and gathering the souls at the moment they die isn't effective. No matter how many hundreds of deaths you gather, you can't achieve your objective.
"Of course. But there is a fact that you don't know.
It's true that I was only pursuing the number of deaths. I was certain that if I experienced tens of thousands of different deaths among different people, I would be able to find a spiritual diffusion that led to the origin. However, with just that alone, I cannot reach the origin. The only thing that you can come close to with that is humanity's 'origin'. You cannot reach the origin of that totality known as the dominant organism.
The important thing is not the amount of deaths. It's the quality of the deaths. If you approach the origin, the ways of dying become surprisingly well-defined. By dissecting the road to death, I determined that there are 64 different methods of dying. The ones who are gathered here are people who die in everyone of those 64 ways. In other words, they are a miniature copy of the world. I experience their suffering, and engrave it into my heart. In order that I may soon simplify that from [insert here] ([insert here]: Eight divination tools drawn in the Chinese Book of Divination [insert here 8 types]. It is said that the first emperor of China created them after observing the heavens) to [insert here] ([insert here]: The four symbols of Yin-Yang. Formed by the merging of Yin and Yang there are four the manifestations called [insert here 4]), so that I may reach Yangyi."
"Hmph. Do you like things that are one that much, Araya? Light and darkness weren't divided because they had to oppose each other, but because that had the potential for containing the greatest number of things. Everything is lonely if it's by itself. That is everything tries to multiply. You were never able to forgive that. Investigating the various deaths of humans, and making that your own by researching those lives. You would probably take even my death and make it into a piece of knowledge about the life and death of a human called Aozaki Touko to be stored away in the corner of your brain. You mean to figure out the value of a human that way, but doing that is the role of Yanma. As a human yourself, all you can do is to continue existing in a hell that keeps sucking in deaths."
"--- I'm perfectly content with that. Whether it's heaven or hell, the fact that it is close to the floor doesn't change."
Araya's words contain not a hint of hesitation or regret.
His ridiculously powerful will that concludes that he is alone in this world.
Within this building that repeats the spiral of daily life, the original form of all the deaths that humans experience is swirling around. The records that the physical body called Araya Souren contained until now, this building has succeeded him as their container. This place was him, his will itself.
... So, that meant that she was inside his body.
Touko observed the atmosphere filling the lobby as she muttered to herself. The strained air wasn't for Araya's benefit. Rather, it was the soundless hatred of all the residents who had been murdered by this building.
This amount of hatred that threatens to crush even her, day by day, Araya keeps expanding it. To borrow his words it wasn't the amount he was increasing but the quality. Since in the end, all those hundreds of deaths were but one identical way of dying.
Murder born from love, in other words family, lover, mother, father, child.
Murder born of hatred, in other words family, lover, friend, upperclassman, stranger.
Various ways of dying for various reasons.
Repeated everyday, a conclusion that keeps getting clearer.
--- Death, becoming denser.
This building is a spell. An altar constructed to solidify Araya Soren's will. In order to carry out magecraft of a grand scale you needed not only an incantation and your own prana, but also the sacrifice of other lives and the strength of the land itself.
By constructing a magical temple in the present day, Araya is attempting to carry out magecraft of an even greater scale.
No, it wasn't magecraft. A mystery that used a twisted dimension of this level was already no longer on the level of magecraft.
This was --- that was right, a mystery of a province unreachable with today's knowledge.
There was no doubt that this was an act of absolute power that human hands could not reach, magic.
"--- Are you trying to open the road to the origin?
But, how? Even if you don't set out a magical ward to testify that you aren't a mage, you can't fool the will of the dominant race. The only ones you can fool by using a technological ward are other mages. If you use this building a path will definitely open. Since its the realization of the Taeguekdo, a hole would certainly appear. But the first thing to come out of that hole will be a Counter Guardian. As long as we are who we are, there is no way we can stand up to that."
"--- The Counter Force is already acting. The fact that you are in this city. The man who came to rob an empty house for no reason, as if he was possessed by something. The woman who was assaulted and killed on this road that has never known such things in the past. I tried this hard to hide my activities, but the Counter Force has already acted three times.
But that is all. I will not be going any closer to the origin. The many failures I have experienced will not go to waste. There was a time when I didn't know of the power called the Counter Force and tried to open a path, but I couldn't fool its eyes. One time I attempted this with a way to overthrow the Counter Force itself, but it always appeared with strength greater that any I could bring to bear.
There is only one conclusion. I do not have the ability."
For the first time --- the voice carries a sound which is close to emotion.
The black-clad man contains the mage beneath his eyes within his field of vision.
"The Counter Force interferes with any attempt to reach enlightenment to this extent. Because that is an act which leads to the power which humans cannot be allowed to attain, a return to nothingness. If the individual called a human becomes completed, all meaning of life disappears. In spite of that these rank and file humans unconsciously reject completion because of their desire to just keep on living. All humans from the point where they realise they are human, becoming things lower than animals. They exist in order to be completed, but in order to exist they reject completion. Humanity's beginning starts from that paradox.
In that case, why are there those who reached the origin? The answer is simple. There is no way of reaching it. There are just humans who have reached it. No matter what branch you study, magecraft is nothing but a descendant that was attached later on. Ability is like that. You have it from the moment that you are born. It is the difference between being chosen and not being chosen. A humans who is connected to the origin from the moment they are born. We are a dominant organism that has digressed too far from the first great element that was our origin by becoming complicated and diversified, but there are rarely people who are born from the origin. Colourless souls who are born connected to 「 」. That is probably the only existence that can reach the original source. In that case all that remains is to find it. In finding it, I spent ten years of my life."
"Is that so? So that's how you concluded that you had to destroy Ryougi Shiki."
She narrows her two eyes.
Ryougi Shiki. The Ryougi clan was a family who had toiled over the ages to give birth to one with an empty body who could act as a vessel, all in order to create a human with maximum uses. To be empty was 「 」. Without realising what a dangerous thing they were doing, they had given birth to a body called Shiki who was connected to 「 」.
"--- Is that why you used Fujoh Kirie and Asagami Fujino?
If you moved yourself you would get found out by the Counter Force. So you had to always be at arms length while you destroy Shiki without allowing it to notice your existence. Right? By making Shiki confront murderers who held concepts totally opposite to her own, you made Shiki realise her own nature. If you are trying to make someone realise an idea I guess it is faster to let them experience it than to teach them.
So, what was it that you wanted, Araya? For Shiki and SHIKI to tear each other apart and leave behind an empty shell? Or did you just want to meet Ryougi Shiki?"
"Two years ago was to draw 'her' out. But it's different now. I told you the conclusion was already out. Shiki does not require that body. That body which is connected to the origin, I shall be taking it and making it my own."
Upon hearing that undisguised statement, Touko went Huh, and her mouth hung open. Her mind that had instantly understood what Araya was saying had gone white with shock.
"It couldn't be, that you plan to move your brain to Shiki's body... ?!"
Araya does not reply to Touko's disbelieving remark. Seeing his stare that implied he had nothing to say, Touko mumbled something about him really having bad tastes.
"But still, the fact that you are still in that body must mean that Shiki is still unharmed. I'm just asking, but is there any chance of you returning Shiki?"
"If you want her do as you will."
"Oho. Does that mean I have no choice but to fight. Geez, I never was a combat specialist. It looks like I'm going to suffer a bit for the sin of knowing that person."
"I'll just ask as well but, Aozaki. Will you not join me?"
His hostile gaze or his determined will never changed, but amidst the tension Araya Soren asked that of her.
Saying, not a chance, with pumpkin-colored eyes that glared at him in the same manner.
"... Is that so. How disappointing. I always thought you were better than that. We once fought in order to reach the origin. To tell the truth I was interested in you."
Thump, Araya's feet made noise as he came foward.
As if he meant to get close to the stairway leading to the first floor.
"In that academy you at least weren't a part of the collective. I aimed for the original form of the soul, and you aimed for the original form of the body. I was certain that you would be the one to reach our goal first.
But --- you gave up. Why? The you right now has even thrown away the fact that you are a mage.
What did you study for, and what did you build up your power for?
What was it that your pilgrimage was meant to save, what was it meant to achieve?"
The black mage growls.
Quietly, with a voice no different from any other time, his two eyes alone are burning with rage.
Seeing that light in his eyes Touko replied.
"There was no great reason. I just became tired of creating more paradoxes every time I tried for the fundamental truth. The more we studied, the further away we got. It's the same as the Maelstrom of Origins. You can't approach it without the innocence we call emptiness, but in an empty state you aren't aware of it, so there's no point. --- It's the same as you. I accepted that, and you haven't. Just that, but it's a decisive difference."
Araya listened to the confession that was tinged with sadness without blinking an eyelash.
The gazes of the two collide.
Touko says to Araya. A mage's true nature, the paradox of becoming dumber the more wise you got.
Araya says to Touko. A mage's true quality, the fact of reaching higher and higher places the more you studied.
"You, have degenerated."
Briefly, he speaks with all his feelings.
"In that case what are you aiming for? Why do you stand there?"
"... Who knows. The reason I'm here, there really isn't much. I'm not even that interested in Shiki. Her body is full of black boxes so I can't even make anything similar."
That was right, she has no definite reason.
It could be that without her realising it she had been pushed into the act by some unidentifiable thing like the Counter Force.
However, that was alright even if that was the case. She had accepted the life she now led under the name of Aozaki Touko. She knew that this was something that had been built up through miracles and coincidence, and could never be formed again. Even supposing she was to repeat everything from the beginning like this paradoxical mansion, she would not be able to obtain a life like the one she had now.
So --- all that had happened was that she had decided to protect it if it could be protected.
"... Really, it's an incredible degeneration. I'm steadily getting weaker.
Araya. What I regard as the idealistic transcendent being is a hermit. Staying by themselves alone in a mountain, doing nothing even though they possess immense power and knowledge ---. I always admired such a way of existing. But when I realised what had happened I could no longer go back. A day when I can reach that state will never come to someone so full of greed like me. That, is what I believe.
You see, Araya. A mage always lives hurriedly. What for? If it was for themselves alone they wouldn't bother with the outside world. So why do they intrude upon the rest of the world? Why do they rely upon it? What will they achieve with that power? What will they save with the Ars Magna (Ars Magna: Meaning 'great secret technique', it stands not for a technique that is not learnt through study but for a mystery that is secretly passed down)? If that was the case it would have been better for them to become a king instead of a mage.
You think people live foully, but you yourself would not be able to live like that. You would not be able to live while accepting the fact that you know that everything is worthless and base. You would not be able to live without the pride of knowing that you alone are special, and that you alone can save this crumbling world. Of course, I was like that too. But that sort of thing has no meaning.
--- Accept it, Araya. We chose the path of transcendence called magecraft because we are weaker than everybody else."
The mage does not reply.
Taking one step after another, he approaches the stairs.
"... I have already obtained the road to the origin. With but a few steps more my hopes will come to fruition. Those who interfere, no matter who it is I will acknowledge as the Counter Force. Aozaki, you too were nothing more than human in the end."
The air in the lobby becomes tense.
A pressure that makes you wonder if space itself is not responding to the mage's killing intent and crumpling into itself.
Inside there, she gazed at her former comrade from a distance.
The long questioning in order to fill in the years they were apart ends here.
Lastly --- As a mage called Aozaki, she asks of Araya a few questions.
"Araya, what do you wish for?"
"Araya, where will you look for it?"
"Only, in myself."
The man answers without any hesitation.
The footsteps stopped at the end of the stairs.
In order to erase each other's existence from the world, both of them initiated their actions.