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Volume 7, Ending

Two silhouettes flew around the blue sky with their courses seeming to intertwine.

The fluttering distressed silver hair and the firing boosters belonged to Abyss and Sky who had abandoned their warning colors.

Times had changed.

And that was no metaphor. Alchemist Cheerleader Huldra spoke while looking up from the inn town.

“I never thought we’d see a time when Pieces are going away for good.”

Humans had originally shown an interest in Ground’s Nir because they could learn Magic and cause phenomena not possible on Earth. Whether it was semiconductors, new drugs, or fuel batteries, simply being able to produce fire from your hand could lead to very different discoveries when viewed on a microscopic scale. Taking macro-level objects back to Earth was difficult, but data could be stored in the Shining Weapon and brought back. Those were known as Pieces. They carried the possibility of breaking open stalled fields of research, but that meant they brought the tremendous power to both develop and eradicate human civilization.

However…

“Well, the entire Labyrinth is a giant armory. It’s private property, so if they insist we stay out, we kind of have to, don’t we?”

Wildefrau, the pervert wearing only a cross sword and belts, gave an offhand response.

Until now, the Labyrinth had not belonged to anyone, so even though the humans from earth were separated by country, corporation, language, religion, and more, they had all competed in the exploration of that underground space. But that was off limits now that an owner had appeared.

Had Abyss and Sky’s appearance brought humanity to a standstill? When the inn town humans had accepted them, had they foolishly crushed their own possibilities?

If so, blonde braid loop Gruagach and blonde curled ponytail Rusalka would not have looked so carefree.

“I bet everyone really wanted an excuse to set down their Shining Weapons and come to a stop.”

“But we can’t stop visiting this world either. Right, Onee-sama!? The draw of Ground’s Nir wasn’t the thrilling battles.”

So.

Why were those peaceful four gathered around a table on a main street?

The answer could be found in the food-oriented social gathering spot hastily created from the first floor of the inn/pub here.

“I think we should work with the Thousand Dragon for this! I mean, her ability to instantly travel between this island and that continent is unbeatable!!”

“No, winning over Ileana and hogging all the herbs comes first! Controlling the top is meaningless if your foundation is shaky!”

“I don’t care if it’s life insurance of real estate; is there any way to make some money!? I’m desperate over here!”

Beatrice, Philinnion, and Hermelina.

No, it was not just them. All those veteran warriors were focused elsewhere now. The Labyrinth was no longer an option, but so what? The current trend was to work with the Nonhumans living in Ground’s Nir, make business contracts with them, learn from their knowledge and skills, take that back to Earth, and trade using the island’s natural resources.

“What about the Womb Pot!? The Thousand Dragon’s Mother is sleeping at the bottom of that lake, right? If we had two colossal dragons to ourselves, we could revolutionize transportation in this world!!”

“The surface is covered with Strigona’s toxin, remember? How do we remove that hellish film, you idiot!?”

“If that’s truly impossible, then wouldn’t that be a business opportunity of its own? If we get a rival Guild all worked up so they start some expensive but impossible project, they’d end up really badly burned.”

Huldra and the others stared up into the sky with a distant look in their eyes, but this did not end with ugly greed.

Blue ringlet curl Wildefrau (who could probably remove the toxin by freezing the surface of the lake) placed a hand on the cheek of her truly exasperated face.

“Honestly, and I thought I was seeing the good will of humanity when we all abandoned the Labyrinth at once like that.”

“You were definitely imagining things. The currency here is still the gears from the Gimmicks made in the Labyrinth. Basically, everyone thought they could focus more on making money if they let those mechanical girls handle the mint and banking system.”

Skintight leotard, armor, and boots Rusalka explained that while poking at a stone gear sitting on the table.

“There you go.”

“Oh, it’s Meridiana.”

The palm-sized Fairy had refilled the aroma oil in the center of the table. Appearing before people had been rare of that timid species…but not anymore.

Looking up a bit showed a Royal Elf walking along with a paper bag of ingredients for the Girl’s Grill she had resumed running and both Archangel Marinkas were reading the inn town newspaper together on top of a pointed roof. If you visited the church, you would see a lovely Nun bossing around a skeleton who was extremely philanthropic (to women only).

They were all important business and trade partners, so the humans could not kick out the many different forms of Nonhuman even if they wanted to. If they did not build a favorable relationship with them, they could not get favorable deals.

It was not all bad.

For example…

“So in the end, we failed,” said Misoka, second of the three maid sisters, in the Detached Magic Palace of Roppongi, Tokyo.

Their plan to turn the Detached Magic Palace into the world’s smallest independent country had continued right up to the end, but it had bene overturned at the very, very end. They would not have needed to calm their anger if it had been obstruction from the profit-focused influencers or by Over the Wall or the simulator lurking beyond that, but they could hardly complain when their beloved master had been the one to unwittingly do it.

Iroka, the oldest sister, pouted her lips like a small child for once.

“I never thought she would seal up the Labyrinth and change this Piece-driven world.”

The red dress girl was responsible for 15% of the people’s total tax money. That income would have been enough to support a small country, but now they were back to square one.

“What do we do now?” asked Haruka, the small animal of a third sister.

With the Labyrinth exploration and Piece profits gone, Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki had no reason to keep the red dress girl locked up. But at the same time, that meant they did not need to keep supporting the Detached Magic Palace in the most expensive area of Roppongi.

…Iroka had started to think this may have been the real right answer. If they declared their independence and freedom, the new nation’s income would be entirely reliant on the dress girl. If she was forced to continue exploring the dangerous Labyrinth to support the Detached Magic Palace, would she really have been free? Sometimes you could only see something clearly after it had been lost.

They had been trying to protect that girl, but she had ended up protecting them.

There master may have been looking further ahead than them.

“I don’t get it,” whispered Iroka who wore glasses and had a mole below her eye. “But whatever form it takes, we and the miss are no longer bound here. Once she finds a new Gate and reregisters, she can live in a small apartment for all it matters. As long as we can happily support her.”

There was a definite change, slow as it might be.

There was a lot of noise at Boo Boo’s brick house on the mountain slope.

But instead of the house’s owner, it was the Break News around it causing the ruckus.

“Taking root in that glass continent would indeed be difficult. But not impossible. The land might be a dead end, but the ocean is a treasure trove of resources. If we lay nutrient-rich dirt atop the glass continent and create soil by either burning seaweed or letting it rot, we might just be able to take root there!”

“Ho ho? So are you planning to go there?”

“There is more than one of me. Do not forget that all plants on this island come from the All-Purpose Seed and are thus a part of me, pest. And the times are constantly changing. The time has come for an upset within the Break News. Will we cling to the island, or will we expand our influence to the new continent? That will be the key to the coming century.”

From the ghost ship and from the sky, Kallikantzaros and the Thousand Dragon were apparently keeping an eye on the people traveling between the island and the new continent. Was that meant as a warning so they would behave?

But separate from that, Strigona breathed an annoyed sigh.

“I am the Fairy Queen, so I cannot travel to a new land and abandon the village.”

“Hwa ha ha. You old hag, stubborn people like you are known as obsolete fossils!”

“The humans apparently say it’s easy to overlook what’s right under your nose. So while everyone is focused on the new continent, I think I’ll work in secret to take over this island with Boo Boo’s second house at the center .

To be continued, please go to 𝚒𝚗𝚗𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚍.𝚌𝚘𝚖 to read the full chapter.

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