Chapter 116: Awakening and Resolve
A few days have passed since Napoon decided to be an Eta in order to die.
Today, the God’s realm was peaceful and sunny, even though I felt the heavy weight on my back because of my Death Flag. At a distance, I saw that John Dae and Kiriko swung their wooden swords, while Celseus brought tea at his cafe’s garden table where Aria and Adenela chatted together.
Such a peaceful daily life. However, I felt that Aria stiffened immediately upon seeing my presence. The surrounding air was dense.
「What’s wrong, Aria? 」
When I approached her and asked what happened, Aria looked at me with serious eyes.
「Lista. I have a message for you from Lady Isister. She wants to see you in her room with some urgency.」
「Ye…Yes! I understand! 」
I rushed straightaway to the temple where the room of the Great Goddess Isister was located. My heart was beating violently.
When I opened the door, she changed her usual calm expression and spoke to me without hesitating.
「Artemaeus, the Demon King of Exfolia, has awakened. 」
…Ugh! At…At last…!
“An urgent call from the Great Goddess Isister given the current circumstances”…Of course, I felt an ominous premonition about it. Still, my heart wanted to deny it. My tension was at level MAX.
「The Demon King, who had covered himself with a dark haze, temporarily revealed its existence. Somehow, I felt that he let me sense the signal of his awakening…」
「I…I…I have to tell Seiya about this! 」
「It seems that Ryuguuin Seiya is at the plaza right now. 」
I thanked the Great Goddess Isister and jumped out of her room.
Just as the Great Goddess Isister told me, I saw that Seiya was in the plaza talking with a strange-looking god.
「…No, you see. I am the God of Sake. So, I don’t know what you’re talking about.」
It seemed that Seiya was seeking information from the chubby God of Sake. Still, this was an emergency, so I had to interrupt his conversation.
「Seiya!! I have an urgent message from the Great Goddess Isister!! It seems that the Demon King has finally awakened!!」
「I see. 」
The God of Sake touched his cheeks with his fingers.
「I don’t know what’s happening, but it sounds very serious. I shall take my leave now…」
After the God of Sake left us, I immediately suggested to Seiya that I could open the portal to Exfolia at this precise moment. Yet, Seiya shook his head quietly.
「Wait a little longer. 」
「What!? You’re not going now!? 」
That surprised me. I thought that he wanted to leave immediately if he heard that the Demon King had finally awakened.
「Is…Is that so. Okay, so just a little longer… 」
It looked like Seiya wasn’t ready yet. Therefore, I decided it would be a good idea to wait until he felt ready to go…
「Hero. You said “a little longer”, how long is that? 」
I heard a somber voice. Looking back, I saw that John Dae and Kiriko were standing next to us. Apparently, they were listening to our conversation.
「Wha…What’s wrong, John Dae? Why do you have such a scary look on your face?」
John Dae spoke to Seiya without paying attention to me.
「When I look at everything that has happened so far, I realize that you carry a huge burden on your shoulders. I understand why you want to keep training between battles. I heard that your previous failure was the result of your impatience, because you wanted to save Exfolia as soon as possible. Still, let me tell you something. You seem to be wasting your time in the heavenly world these days. There’s no meaning in being here.」
「Se…Seiya didn’t come to the God’s realm without a purpose!! 」
I thought that Seiya would say,「That’s right. 」. Nonetheless, Seiya remained silent.
「It’s meaningless. Just moments ago, he was having a weird talk about souls with the God of Sake as if he were having an unpreoccupied chat. I don’t think that was a significant conversation that it will help him defeat the Demon King.」
Given Seiya’s personality, I expected him to say,「Noisy, shup up. 」, or that he’d splash some tea onto John Dae’s face. Nevertheless, Seiya avoided John Dae’s gaze and turned away.
「…I will call you here when I’m ready. 」
Surprisingly, he left without saying much. John Dae sighed frustratingly. While Kiriko murmured next to me.
「Mister Seiya…I feel like he’s waiting for something. 」
「“For something”? Kiri, what do you mean? 」
「I don’t know. But, I can feel it. 」
Kiriko’s intuitions were always sharp at such times. Still, like Kiriko, I had no idea what he was waiting for.
When I went to Celseus’ cafe, Aria opened her eyes wide when she looked at me.
「Lista…!! Are…Are you still in the God’s realm!? 」
「Yes. Seiya isn’t ready yet. 」
I giggled a little given the awkward situation, yet Aria came to me with a distressed attitude.
「No…No way!! I thought that you had already left!! 」
I saw that Aria’s face was extremely red. I felt wary when I saw how angry she was. Aria noticed her strange behavior and immediately put a smile on her face.
「I’m…I’m sorry. It seems that this time you’re taking much longer than usual…No…Actually, it makes sense. It’s the final battle against the Demon King after all.」
She reluctantly left to some place after panicking so much.
I’ve never seen Aria behaving like that before. When I became a little worried about it, Kiriko touched my back from behind.
「Miss Lista. Excuse me…You see, about Miss Aria… 」
「We…Well, it’s expected! I understand why she got angry because we’re still in the God’s realm even though the Demon King has awakened!」
「No. It’s not that. It’s about yesterday. 」
「Hmm? What happened? 」
「Yesterday, when Miss Lista was sitting in the chair at the cafe, I saw that Miss Aria had a very scary face as she approached Miss Lista from behind your back. I noticed that she tried to grab something out of her chest…」
「I…I got scared and dropped the tea cup I was carrying! When Miss Lista heard the sound and you looked back, Miss Aria looked impatient and walked away!」
…You…You’re kidding, right…!! What on earth was this story!? What was Aria trying to do behind my back!?
「I was wondering whether to say this or not. Actually, I don’t think that Miss Aria was going to do anything strange to Miss Lista, but…」
「Of…Of course! Aria is like a big sister to me! She’s been taking care of me since I was little!」
「You’re right! Maybe it was just my imagination! 」
「Yes, yes! You probably mistook her actions! 」
…Even though I said that, the “suspicious Aria behavior” and my “Death Flag” really made my heart extremely unsettled.
I was anxious about all of this; therefore, I wanted to ask for Adenela’s opinion. Celseus was carrying a coffee cup to Adenela, who was alone at a garden table.
They both frowned for some reason when I approached them.
「Li…Lista. It…It’s not that easy for me…me to say this, but… 」
「Eh, what is it? 」
「We…Well…Ah, nothing. Yes, nothing at all. I…I don’t know… 」
「What on earth is going on!? 」
I yelled, but Adenela moved her gaze away from mine. And then, Celseus, who was nearby…
He suddenly started to cough.
「It…It’s nothing! I’m going because I have to cook! … *cough* 」
He put his hand on his mouth and tried to run away.
…What was wrong with the attitude of these two…Ehhhhhhh!?
When I looked around, I saw that the gods in the plaza stared at me with strange faces! When our eyes met, they looked down awkwardly! My spine froze because of this odd atmosphere.
Wha…What was happening!? Was something wrong with me!?
In the meantime, the strongest deity, the Goddess of Destruction, passed by the plaza wrapped in chains. I felt desperate, so I ran to Valkyrie in order to seek an answer.
「Lady Valkyrie!! Please, help me!! This is weird!! All of the gods look at me and make strange faces!!」
Then, Valkyrie wrinkled between her eyebrows.
「You’re the strange one, Listarte…Today, I’m losing my motivation because of you.」
「Wha…What do you mean!? Please tell me!! 」
「I will say it clearly since no other god has the guts to do it. Listen well, Listarte… 」
Then, Valkyrie pointed at me.
「You stink so badly!! 」
“Stink”, she said…Did she mean my body odor!? I mean, everyone was avoiding me because I smelled so bad!?…That’s cruel, hey!!
「You used to smell a little, but today your stench is really intense!! Go take a bath!!」
「Tha…That’s rude!! I take a bath every single day!! 」
I never took proper baths while in Exfolia, therefore, I tried to wash myself carefully when I came to the God’s realm…Speaking of which, wait, wait a minute!! I just woke up and took a shower today!! Even so, I smelled already!?…Was my body odor that strong!? No, no!! No matter how much I thought about it, this didn’t make any sense!!
At that time, I heard a loud voice from behind.
「Kiriko! Ple…Please let go! 」
「I…I refuse, Miss Aria! I won’t allow you to hurt Miss Lista! 」
I turned around…and it surprised me! Kiriko held Aria’s arm while putting some distance away from her because of Aria’s godliness!
It shocked me when I saw the thing that fell to the ground from Aria’s hand! It was a small bottle with a skull mark!
Valkyrie picked up the small bottle and looked fixedly at it.
「Aria. This is…Don’t tell me that you… 」
Aria spoke with a disconsolate tone.
「It seems…that you finally found out… 」
It…It was a lie, right!? Was that thing, perhaps, a bottle of poison!?
「Aria. Wha…What’s inside of this little bottle!? 」
I got an unexpected response when I asked about it reluctantly.
「This is “Yagate Kusakunaru”*…It’s a perfume made by Ochshale, the God of Smell. 」
「Yagate Kusaku…What the hell is that!? 」
「It contains a strong ingredient that will increase your body odor for hundreds of times more. Lista. I’ve been sprinkling this perfume on you until now.」
「Aria. Why did you do such a terrible thing to me!? 」
That meant that my “disgusting smell” and “sour odor like vinegar” that I often heard during Geabrande and now Exfolia, was Aria’s fault this entire time!?
「This perfume is great, you know. It won’t be effective immediately even if I sprinkled it on you. In addition, you can adjust the time when the strong odor occurs by the number of times one has to sprinkle the perfume.」
「No, that’s not the point. Why did you sprinkle that perfume on me… 」
I asked her a direct question. Yet, Aria began to cry.
「You saw what happened in the crystal ball, right? One year ago, the Demon King Artemaeus swallowed me when we tried to save Exfolia for the first time. It’s so pathetic that I’m in tears right now.」
Next to me, Kiriko spoke when she realized what happened.
「Miss Aria…Are you doing this so that no monster will eat Miss Lista?」
Aria showed a smile while in tears.
「That’s right. I didn’t want Lista to have the same fate as mine…」
Ce…Certainly, the pig beast man, Bunogeos, screamed at me when he felt my sour smell and said, 「What a rotten thing. 」. Therefore, he didn’t eat me! I could have lost my life during that time…but…I see…I was saved thanks to the Yagate Kusakunaru!
「If…If that’s true, then why didn’t you tell me this before! 」
「Because Lista…If you knew that I was sprinkling on you some “before long stinky smell”, you wouldn’t have allowed it, am I correct?」
「Yes. Well, thinking about it, I’d probably hate that idea…」
I put my hand on the shoulder of a crying Aria.
「But, I’m happy you know! Aria has been taking care of me! 」
「Yagate Kusakunaru…From now on, I will sprinkle that perfume on myself. 」
Then, Aria embraced me while crying.
「Lista! I beg you! Please, save Exfolia! 」
「Leave it to me! I’ll do my best! 」
After watching us hugging each other, Valkyrie laughed extremely loud. And then, she hit my back with a strong grip.
「Great!! Good luck, Goddess of Body Odor!! 」
「I’m the Goddess of Healing, you know!? 」
Kiriko laughed happily when she saw how energetic I were.
That night. As usual, I slept in bed with Kiriko in a room I rented from Celseus.
「Miss Lista… 」
Kiriko spoke next to me in the dark room.
「Wha…What’s wrong, Kiri? Do I smell? It’s weird! I’ve adjusted the sprinkles so that the stench would smell later on!」
「That’s not it. 」
「The…Then, it’s my natural body odor!? Do I really smell for real!? 」
「No. I’m not talking about your smell. 」
Kiriko giggled and laughed.
「You know, I…I have so much fun every day whenever I am with Miss Lista!!」
「Is…Is that so? 」
「John Dae wants to save Exfolia as soon as possible. I feel the same way, of course. But…on the other hand, I hoped that these fun days could last forever.」
After saying those words, Kiriko scratched her head as if she were embarrassed.
「I’m a little greedy…Don’t you agree…? 」
「Hmm. I think I’m like that too. I want to live happily forever. 」
It was the unmistakable truth.
「Miss Lista. When I was depressed after we went to the Baracuda continent, you said, “A good girl will always have a wonderful future ahead of her”, right?」
Then, Kiriko held my hands. Despite being a machine, Kiriko’s hands always seemed warm.
「I’m the happiest when Miss Lista is cheerful and have fun! 」
My chest got hot. At the same time, I felt ashamed.
Kiri always cared more about others than herself. I always worried about myself even though I was a goddess…
Hmm. Some thoughts came to my mind.
Whenever I was with Kiriko, I felt that I wanted to avoid the battle against the Demon King no matter what happened. I really felt those feelings somewhere in my heart. It felt as if “I feared that I might be killed”, that kind of feeling. But…What if Seiya saw my feelings? If so, maybe that was the reason why Seiya wanted to “wait a little longer”. I firmly believed on that…Surely!
Next day. I went to the Great Goddess Isister’s room on my own.
「Great Goddess Isister. I have a favor to ask. 」
I spoke with the great goddess in front of me.
「In the upcoming battle with the Demon King Artemaeus, Seiya will probably use Valkyrie’s final destruction technique “Valhala Gate”. On that moment, I’m going to Order, so that I can save Seiya. I’m going to do that regardless of what could happen to me, yes, even if I were to receive further punishment from the almighty gods of innermost world of gods…」
After being silent for a while, the Great Goddess Isister nodded with a serious look.
「Your resolve has been conveyed. If that time comes, I will allow you to Order.」
「Thank you very much. 」
I extended my back with full confidence to declare the following words.
「We will defeat Artemaeus and save Exfolia, even if I have to bet my life on this!」
「Bet your life…you say… 」
「Yes! I’m a goddess! Saving the world is more important than my life! 」
「Of course, I don’t intend to die! But, Seiya told me this when I was cursed by Ceremonic! “Don’t give up that easily. Keep fighting until the very last moment”!」
Throughout the night, I was able to express my resolve. Every trouble and fear that I felt disappeared immediately. And finally, my mind was clear and sunny again.
I smiled to the Great Goddess Isister, and left her room after bowing deeply.
At the Cafe De Celseus, Seiya sat on a garden table chair with his arms crossed. He also had his eyes closed. He created an atmosphere that was difficult to approach, but I continued to walk without hesitation.
「Seiya. Are you ready? 」
「…I said that I’d call you here when I felt ready to go. 」
After taking a deep breath, I raised my voice against Seiya.
「I’m ready to go now! I will accept any fate! 」
Then, Seiya started at me. After a while, I noticed that his gaze also went behind me.
Looking back, there were John Dae and Kiriko behind me. Both of them had serious looks on their faces while they stared fixedly at Seiya.
「Hero! I’m ready if you’re ready! 」
「Me…Me too! 」
After a moment of silence, Seiya moved his gaze towards me. Still, I didn’t lose to the strong eyes of my hero. I tried my hardest to move my resolve will into words to convince Seiya to go.
「Seiya! Let’s defeat the Demon King! We will save Exfolia this time! 」
「Mister Seiya! 」
…Defeat Artemaeus and bring back the peaceful days of Exfolia, so that Queen Carmilla and Kiri could live in peace forever! That’s right! I wouldn’t mind giving my body in order to let them hope for a better future…!
「Let’s go, Ryuguuin Seiya! For the sake of 100 years later, or 200 years later! For the sake of Exfolia’s future!」
…Soon after, Seiya stood up. After seeing how Kiriko, John Dae and I were full of resolve, Seiya threw his sharp glance towards the sky of the God’s realm.
「Perfectly Ready. 」
…He finally proclaimed those words.
Last time, Seiya didn’t say those words for the final battle in Geabrande.
Yet, this time. Seiya said his infamous lines. The lines where he firmly believed that he could surely defeat the enemy.
*We decided to leave the romaji translation of Yagate Kusakunaru since it was written in katakana (ヤガテ・クサクナール). The real meaning is (やがて臭くなる). Yagate means “before long”; “soon”. Kusakunaru comes from the word Kusai, which means “stinking”; “smelly”. Finished with Naru that means “to become”; “to get”; “to grow”; “to be”…
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