「But you know, with how the situation has developed, I really do not know if I should be feeling like a clown, or an entire goddamn circus. I thought that after coming to Little Garden I would leave my past in the Outer World behind me, and yet here it is, coming back to haunt me like a fucking boomerang, just when I thought that I was finally able to put all of that crap under the “chapter closed” category and move on.」
But now the fires of his old conflicts began to spread and catching up to him. His battle, which he thought that it was over was going to continue, but with different parties entering the fray.
「I will not let you anywhere near the battlefield.」
Canaria must have spoken those words to him while being fully aware that one day he will be strong enough to be standing on his own two feet without the need for anyone to support him from the back, and that he will make the decision about that himself.
「The Sixth Avatar, 「The Hero Slayer」 Parashurama. I do not know what kind of fate has made her manifest in the modern era, but whatever it is it cannot be anything good. Maybe it has something to do with『Avatara’s] individual goals, or maybe it was so that she could take part in the 2nd War for the Sun’s Authority. . . or maybe it was because of the recent happenings in the Outer World. And we also cannot rule out that she has something to do with the experiments with Star Particle Bodies as well, but in order to confirm or dispel that particular suspicion we would have to meet that bastard once more, which can be potentially problematic given our current circumstances.」
Izayoi’s hunch was telling him that everything that was going on right now was somehow connected. He also felt like the sinister shadow whose presence he was feeling ever since he defeated 「The Last Trial of Mankind」 three years ago was about to make its appearance.
「. . . . . . Now I see. Your story was certainly one hell of an emotional rollercoaster, there is no doubt about that.」
Now that Izayoi has seemingly finished recalling the story of his past, Pritt was nodding her head with her arms crossed on her chest. She then straightened herself out, and asked him with a very serious expression.
「In other words. . . if that Black Albino girl was not your first love, then was it actually Canaria? Are you actually into older sister type of women?」
「Earth’s Mother Goddess. . . I do not want to be rude, but if you do not drop this bullshit subject right this instant I am seriously going to kill you. And I think we both know that I can do that, and that I am not beneath throwing hands with a woman.」
Up until this moment Izayoi was convinced that Prithvi Mata was one of the few members of 『The Twelve Devas』 who had her head square on her shoulders, but apparently he was wrong in assuming that. She was just as fucked up in the brain as the rest of them.
Even though Pritt recognized that right now Izayoi was about 80% serious about really killing her, she still grinned in a smug manner and raised her index finger towards him.
「Do not even think about trying to deceive me. When it comes to those things, The Mother Goddess sees it all! even though you might have avoided talking about it purely out of respect for them since they are both already gone from this world, it is abundantly clear to me that your first love have had to be either that girl or Canaria! That is what I have deduced from your words!」
「Oh really? Then tell me, oh great goddess of deduction: if you are so good at figuring out the bits of my past from my words alone, then tell me, because I am oh so curious to hear it, what happened afterwards, according to you?」
「. . . . . . Nuhuhu, yes, of course I can do that! And it is really rather obvious. Taking everything that you have said into account, it is elementary that the next story is going to be about the lovey-dovey honeymoon you had with Canaria and your best friend!」
That outrageous statement almost made Izayoi throw up and bite off his tongue at the same time. He also swore to himself that this was the last time he told Pritt anything about his past and that he is never going to talk about it with her again. Placing the sleeping Black Albino girl on his back, Izayoi began to walk towards the inn’s door, intending to head east next. Pritt did not comment anything about this all-to-obvious escape attempt, but instead she followed after him and asked with a gentle smile.
「One last thing before we go! What was the name of that girl who became your best friend? Even though she was born in that facility, it’s hard for me to imagine that either you or Canaria did not give her even a provisional one.」
「She had one, that’s right, but not given by us. As you said, it was only a provisional, self-proclaimed one but she named herself 「Ishi」. Supposedly she read that in one of the books she happened to come across during our travel and was so impressed by it that she decided to call herself that as well, but I only learned the meaning of that name she adopted for herself long after she died.」
And with that, Izayoi left the inn with his back turned towards Pritt. Although she could not see his face, she could clearly sense the emotions in his voice. A facility that treats human beings like nothing but livestock, deprives them of their dignity and gender and treats them as little more than disposable bags of meat. And yet, even in the depths of such a hellish place Izayoi was still able to find someone who managed to remain 「human」 and become someone whom Izayoi would refer to as his 「best friend」. And although he ridiculed her as 「The number one crybaby in the entire goddamn world」, that nickname was also filled with affection that proved he did not really thought about her like that, but instead it was his way of honoring her dignity as a human being that she showed even though the time she had to truly 「live」 was extremely short. Crying because she thought the starry sky was beautiful. Crying because she thought the sunset was beautiful. Crying because she thought sunrise was beautiful. Those cries of hers, reminiscent of the cries of the newborn baby who saw the world around her for the first time ever showed just how gentle of a person she truly was, even if that world hurt her without any tangible reason. Izayoi must have chosen to call her as such precisely because of that.
That is who the only person in the world whom he could call his best friend truly was.
When the three of them left the ruins of the capital city, they headed east until they happened upon a a forest, which they were now traversing while making sure to keep quiet. It was not as unbearable as the Amazonian rainforest in Brazil, but the overall temperature in Atlantis was still rather hard to handle because of its resemblance to the Outer World’s tropical climate. According to Izayoi’s estimations, it must have been around 36°C, or maybe even more. One thing however remained the same as it was back in Amazon: the heat radiating off from the rays of the sun that were shining through the gaps in the foliage high above their heads were burning their skins, and the incredibly high humidity, which was just as unpleasant as before, caused them to sweat bullets even though they already reduced the amount of clothes that they were wearing. But even so, they chose to take this particular path because the natural barrier that the trees provided was still better than walking in that blazing sunlight directly. The girl on Izayoi’s back was sleeping, but her hot, pained breaths indicated that she was still suffering. It would have been ideal if they could find a place where she could have a rest, even if it would only be a short one, but for the time being it did not look like they would come upon such a place anytime soon.
「Izayoi. Have you decided on what our next move is going to be?」