The ship had been reduced to rubble save for the pool and deck, but it slowly resumed moving. Arriving above FeTUS HQ had apparently been a detour. Its true purpose in this city was the Fujita home, so it was drifting toward the residential district.
With the exchange of blazing fire over, a cool night breeze caressed their cheeks.
A gust of wind shook the deck.
Ange, Machina, and Lucia all stared blankly at the young man.
Their passion during the fight against Micha had not cooled and the there of them had lost sight of what they should do next.
They had to attack that young man. Lucia would use his power to interfere and pull Fujita Mutsuki out. Ange would defeat Lilith once she was all that remained.
Machina could interfere with angelic and demonic power, so her support would make that easier. Even if Lucia’s interference proved difficult, it was possible Machina could genetically separate them. There was no reason Ange could not handle Lilith now.
They knew what they had to do.
But they could not do it.
They could not find the will to act within themselves.
Interfering with that young man felt unnatural to them.
A single question filled their minds: why were they opposing him?
The young man standing before them was Fujita Mutsuki. He was too masculine to look all that much like the boy, but they could see that timid boy’s usual smile in those eyes.
“Come to me, you three.”
He spread his arms.
Lucia’s face lit up and he leaped toward the young man’s hand. Machina remained as expressionless as ever, but she approached with a faint flush of her cheeks.
He gently held them both close.
“Thank you for making it this far. That must have been a frightening ordeal.”
“Not at all.”
“It was nothing since it was for you, Mutsuki-kun.”
He kissed them both on the forehead.
Lucia looked bashful for once and Machina lowered her head without hiding the red on her face.
They both burst and turned to black liquid and a glowing seed each dropped into the pool.
Only Ange remained.
“Now, Ange. You come to me too.”
She approached as told.
Another five glowing seeds caught up to them and entered the pool from below. They had arrived above the Fujita home at some point, so the five sleeping there must have been transformed.
Ange could not even turn to watch them anymore.
She was only interested in viewing the young man she loved.
She could tell now that he could have done this from the beginning.
They had never needed to fight. If he had asked them to obey, they would have done so, just like they were now.
“I didn’t want to demand it of you.”
“Fujita Mutsuki’s memories told me you would all come to understand. They told me you three would understand what I wanted to do. They told me you would help me create a perfect world, so I didn’t have to command you. Same with Chiaki and the rest of my family.”
“But that was selfish of me. I am supposed to be bringing fulfillment to the world, so I shouldn’t have used you – used anyone – as a crutch.”
He placed his arm around her hips and gently stroked her messy red hair.
“I won’t do that anymore. I will guide you all to a world of bliss. A perfect world with no discord, no rivalry, and no unhappiness for anyone. That is my duty as the one born as Adam.”
He gently kissed her forehead.
“Come to me, Ange. You need not ever suffer again.”
Sensing the fulfillment, she shut her eyes.
She could see a room somewhere.
She was a child of four and she was terribly hungry.
But she felt no resentment toward anyone.
No one had abandoned her. She saw her mother in heavy makeup and her unreliable-looking father. Neither of them looked like they were adults quite yet, but they did at least love that girl of four.
“Ange, do you want something to eat?”
Mutsuki sat next to her and offered her a lunchbox.
They were in their usual classroom now. She could see all her familiar classmates, including Saya and Sakae. Machina was eating only an apple as usual and Lucia was clinging to Mutsuki. He began an irritating lecture on the nutrition of the strange and “unique” food in that lunchbox.
She felt her mind fading.
Her body transformed into fire and the core within her began to float away.
She knew this feeling.
Before, her body had been similarly engulfed in flames, but all the worries filling her heart had vanished and it had felt wonderful.
Two arms had embraced her back then.
Yes, and they had burned.
Ange shoved away the person holding her.
She forcibly broke free of the embrace.
Her body had started to become no more than flames, but it retook the shape of the redheaded girl.
She had rejected the young man. His eyes widened.
Rejection was the last thing he had wanted, yet here it was. That should have been impossible for a perfect being.
“This isn’t like that time,” she muttered.
“When I was swallowed up by Metatron’s flames.”
Her voice was quiet and unclear. Not even she was entirely sure what she was saying.
“All of my dark and unpleasant feelings burned away in Metatron.”
“That did happen, didn’t it?”
“But this isn’t like that. I feel so much happier.”
“Of course you do. And you should. Now, come to me, Ange. Accept my world of bliss and join the others.”
She took one and then another step away from the young man’s spread arms.
“I don’t have to be happy. I don’t have to be fulfilled.”
“Back then, it was what came after the fulfillment that made me even happier. So much happier.”
Even she was confused.
She loved this young man. It felt so right to love him and she knew she should listen to what he was saying. That was how the world worked.
But she had to say this.
This was probably an issue of her personality.
She had always been stubborn with the person she loved.
“I was glad you had come for me.”
“That you came for me and hugged me made me happier than anything else.”
She could not believe she was arguing with him. Once she had said this, she would probably accept oblivion like she had nearly done a moment before.
Defying this young man was a truly unrealistic choice in this world.
But she could not stop herself.
She saw that apartment again. She was horribly hungry.
But her parents were not there. This was the reality. She had been abandoned.
However, her empty stomach was filled by that classroom lunch.
She had only ended up in that classroom because her parents had left her.
“I don’t need a perfect world. I don’t need to be happy. I don’t need to be fulfilled.”
“I don’t want to go to some other world. I want you to come to me, Mutsuki. I want you to hug me. I want you to cook for me. And then I’ll complain about it and…and…”
The young man took a step forward, covering half of the two steps back she had taken.
She did not step back further. She no longer wanted to.
“What about you, Mutsuki?”
“Who can you hug in a perfect world of happiness?”
She knew what he was going to do next, so she spread her arms.
She knew this was what she had to do.
Because he had done the same for her earlier.
The young man hesitated for a moment.
And he took another step.
He covered the rest of the distance she had put between them.
Lilith, however, stepped back.
The step forward and the step back split the boy and woman who had formed that young man.
The boy’s arms embraced the redhead’s small body.
Ironically, the collapse of a perfect world was uniquely beautiful.
Billions and trillions of glowing specks burst from the pool and ocean and soared through the night sky. They became a band of light that lit up the city like it was midday.
But Mutsuki and Ange failed to see that dreamlike sight.
Because their lips were pressed together and their eyes were shut.
After a while, Ange finally laughed.
The world had changed. It was back to normal.
It no longer felt wrong to have rejected his suggestion. Yes. This was how it should be. What was wrong with not doing what he said?
And now that it no longer felt wrong, she knew exactly what to say first.
“What do you think you’re doing, stupid?”
She complained to the person who had been as right as it was possible to be until just now.
There was no longer any reason not to. He was no longer perfect.
A lot of the golden seeds that had been in the pool flew toward the deck nearby. Black liquid and flames surrounded them to regain their original forms.
They became Machina, Lucia, Micha, Rapha, and the 13 angels.
Although those two did not see it happen since they had begun a second kiss.
“Hey, quit stealing him, Jiyuuni.”
“My, my. Does this mean love saved the world?”
Lucia’s complaint and Micha’s teasing snapped her out of it. Ange shoved Mutsuki away.
Mutsuki staggered and Machina caught him in her arms with a silent frown on her face.
Lucia was livid and Ange was blushing. Micha and Rapha smiled happily as they watched on.
“How could you?”
A stir ran through the 13 angels.
They had cast off the ability to speak or think for themselves in order to optimize themselves for combat, but that gave them a more sensitive demon radar than even Ange or Micha.
They were the first to notice the violent evil growing there.
“How could youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!?”
But they did not have time to react.
The woman with long platinum blonde hair transformed into a massive white serpent. The 13 angels were thrust from the ship’s deck by her great mass.
The serpent did not even watch them fall as she turned her pitch-black left eye and human-looking right eye toward only Mutsuki.
“Why, Avalon? We had finally…finally become one.”
Large tears fell from the human right eye.
“Tch. Stand back, Mutsuki!”
Ange moved out front.
Blue wings burst from her back and surrounded that area. Her fire was especially effective against demons, so Lilith would be unable to even approach.
“I won’t allow it. I won’t give up. He is…”
But the serpent did not seem to care as her scales burned and fell away as ashes. More than not feeling pain, she did not seem to care about her body at all.
“He is mine!”
Her great maw opened wide enough to cover everything.
Machina and Lucia protected Mutsuki, but it did not mean much against something so large. Everything on the deck would be swallowed.
They all shut their eyes.
“I’m sorry, Lilith-san.”
Except for Mutsuki.
He looked her in the eye with his pitch-black right eye.
The serpent with gaping mouth immediately vanished.
All that remained was a long-haired maiden.
Just a girl who had decided, if she could not bite that boy, she would at least cling to him.
Her tears spilled onto his chest and all he could do was stroke her hair.
“Avalon is gone and I can’t replace him for you.”
“But even if I’m not Avalon.”
“Thank you for loving me.”