“But what could you possibly gain from allying yourself with me? Is this part of some elaborate plan to manipulate my power and take over the world? If so, allow me to be upfront and say that I haven’t the slightest intention of using my powers for that.”
“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I’m really not one for lofty ambitions. There’s a much more rational reason for this.”
“You don’t say. And that would be?”
“…I want you to get rid of every last one of the Seven Angels of the Stars.”
I really can’t say I expected to hear those words coming out of Sasha’s mouth.
“You already know this, I think, but a lot of humans have been getting their souls stolen by the Seven Angels of the Stars. I have to stop them, and do whatever it takes to do so.”
She even knows about the true culprits behind the soul-stealing incidents. This has to be another mark in favor of her Clairvoyance and Clairvoyant Hearing spells.
“Do you know why the Seven Angels are collecting human souls?”
“I really don’t, I’m afraid. Even my spells won’t reach as far as the Heavenly Sanctuary.”
The Heavenly Sanctuary… I guess that’s where the Seven Angels hole themselves up. I’m actually curious to see what kind of place they live in with my own eyes.
“So you’re asking me to become friends with you so that you can kill the Seven Angels. That’s your real motive, is it?”
“Well, I won’t lie, it’s definitely part of it. But here’s the thing. The Seven Angels of the Stars are out there stealing human souls. That’s why I believe that the one to put an end to them should be one himself.”
“Are you implying that humans can put them down? I’d ask you to forget about that. It will do you no end of good. The Seven Angels might be complete weaklings to me, but to humans, they’re still something much more powerful.”
“I know. I have first-hand experience.”
“…Experience, you say? You’ve fought with the Seven Angels?”
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Sasha gestures to her left leg.
“I just told you I injured a leg, didn’t I? One of the Seven Angels of the Stars did this to me. The one called Ceal.”
Ceal. The leader of the Seven Angels, and the puppet-master behind this whole case.
“I challenged Ceal to a fight. I’d always been confident in what I could do, but I didn’t even stand a ghost of a chance. The fight ended up with me being disgraced. All I could really do was run away.”
“I see. Quite foolhardy of you, even if you claim to have had faith in your skills.”
“You’ll get no argument from me there. With my Foresight, I perceived a future where Ceal was out and stealing human souls. I just couldn’t stand around and do nothing. It’s true, however, that I severely underestimated the true power of one of the Angels of the Seven Stars.”
“…If you’re that aware of your situation, can you truly still claim that you humans will be the ones to defeat the Seven Angels?”
“Of course. I have a plan in mind, see. Ever hear about the Mad Demon Hand-Mirror?”
Mad Demon Hand-Mirror? Can’t say I have, no…
“That look on your face says you never have. The Mad Demon Hand-Mirror is an artifact that was created a few hundred years ago to be used against the angels. We actually don’t know if it was made by a demon or a human, or even what kind of materials were used in its construction.”
“If it was meant to be used against angels as you say, then am I to assume that the mirror seals away their powers?”
“That’s right. Whatever angels finds himself reflected in the mirror is weakened until he barely has more power than a human babe. All manner of spells become unusable to them, too.”
“I see. If humans had that mirror, they might just manage to have an advantage over the angels.”
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That’s got to be quite the mirror. How did they even manage to make anything like it so long ago?
“There’s no one around who knows where it is, not anymore. Until a few days ago, that is. That’s when its location was finally uncovered. Still, it’s only a matter of time until the angels catch on. Actually, it’s just as reasonable to assume that they already have.”
“The angels would waste no time and destroy the thing the second they find it. Then why waste yours by standing here and engaging me in idle banter instead of going to retrieve it right away? Or is it just that you can’t retrieve it yet?”
Upon my last question, Sasha lets out a sigh.
“This wouldn’t be as hard as it is if we could just go and get it for ourselves. The Mad Demon Hand-Mirror is hidden away in a place called the Cave of the Wicked Dragons.”
“…The Cave of the Wicked Dragons?”
“The cave is guarded by three dragons, each one of them above level 700. To make things worse, the place is teeming with monsters that all have three digits to their level. I’ll be honest. That makes it as hard as it can be to even just slip in and steal the mirror.”
She makes a good point, that sounds like an atrociously hard cave to get through. The bigger picture’s starting to become clearer, though.
“In other words, you seek to befriend me so that you may have backing when you go to take the mirror.”
“Well, my explanation was a little longer, but that sums it up well enough.”
“…Quite the roundabout way to do this, don’t you think? You could just have asked me to massacre the Seven Angels.”
“I already told you – I firmly believe that the end of the Seven Angels of the Stars should be brought about by human hands. I’m also the type who can’t rest easy until I give others a taste of their own medicine.”
Sasha’s eyes wander to her left leg.
“Perhaps, but I would have no stake in any of this. There is no merit to be had from signing an alliance with you. I can easily defeat the Seven Angels, with or without human help.”
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“I thought you might say that. So, rest easy. I already have the perfect offer in mind.”
“Do you know how angels can move between the surface and heavenly realms?”
I let an audible hum resound in my throat. Now that the question comes up, I notice that I’ve never given the issue much thought. Even when I picture their supposed Heavenly Sanctuary, or whatever other place might serve as their base of operations, the image in my head is always that of a place a great deal away from the surface world. Normal transportation would take up a lot of time.
“Do they use some manner of teleportation spell?”
“Normally, spells can’t be used to transport someone between the surface world and the heavenly one. If there really were some kind of spell like that, I’m sure you would’ve used it long ago.”
“…A valid point.
In all honesty, the idea of using Teleportation to travel from here to the heavenly realms hasn’t even crossed my mind yet.
“There’s a kind of ‘gate’ somewhere around here that connects both realms. The angels use it to travel back and forth.”
“…I see. So, you’re saying you know where this gate is?”
“That’s right. If the two of us can work together, then I’d be more than willing to tell you where it is. See, not such a bad deal for you, is it?”
Gabri told me that he was going to deliver the human souls he’d stolen to a place called the Luminous Fort, and there’s little doubt in my mind that the fort’s somewhere in the Heavenly Sanctuary. If I can find out where this ‘gate’ is, then I might be able to travel there and get all those souls back.
“I won’t press the matter should you choose to find the gate on your own, but do remember that this world is a wide, wide place. If you just use Clairvoyance to find it, it might take you a good year before you do, and that’s being extremely generous. I myself only found the gate fairly recently.”
I still have to wonder if a gate like that can even exist. Even if it does, then what guarantee do I have that this woman in front of me actually has the right answers? It’s just as likely that she’s spoon-feeding me nothing but hogwash.
Oh boy. I should’ve just taken one of the lesser angels hostage back when they all came over to have their way. That way, I might’ve found a way to extract the information about the gate from them directly.