One hour before Takeru defeated Sougetsu.
After they were swallowed by Hyakki Yakou, Lapis Lazuli heard from Mother Goose about the method to save the world and fell silent.
Killing God and becoming God. Just as Mother Goose said, it was theoretically possible. However, for that sake Lapis would have to fuse with Takeru's soul to raise it to a higher level.
In other words, they had to maintain God-Hunter form.
While 《God Hunter form》 and 《Deification》 seemed similar, they were different things. After absorbing the God's Vessel with 《Ragnarøkkr Enchant》, 《Deification》 was activated to pour the contractor's and Sacred Treasure's own soul into the vessel, allowing them to become the God. Although Gungnir could use both at the same time, it was impossible for Mistilteinn. That's why it was necessary for Lapis to receive magic power from Gungnir and instead of using her own magic power, she had to use "God's Authority" magic power to activate 《Deification》.
Lapis interrupted the silence and raised her face.
"I have a question."
"There is no time. Hurry."
"Is it possible for me to activate 《Deification》 without fusing with Host?"
Hearing Lapis' question, Mother Goose squinted sharply.
Mother Goose must have understood what was she thinking.
"...Are you asking, whether you can become God by yourself?"
Lapis replied without hesitation. Mother Goose sighed and shook her head.
"Impossible. A Sacred Treasure's soul alone isn't enough. That is why we need a contractor. Originally, we Sacred Treasures were weapons contracted ourselves to gods in order to fight for the position of Chief God."
"...Then what about mine and your soul?"
"It won't work. Two Sacred Treasures cannot fuse souls."
Lapis continued to think without an expression.
She was thinking about a way to become God without involving Takeru.
Mother Goose cast her down eyes at her with compassion.
"...Those feelings of yours are noble. However, what's impossible can not be done. Even a demon's and a Sacred Treasure's souls aren't enough... even with those, it's barely enough to become a concept of a God."
"——Would it be possible were it to be God's soul?"
Hearing Lapis' words, Mother Goose tilted her head, puzzled.
"............It can't be, you..."
"Would Ootori Sougetsu's soul be enough?"
Even Lapis herself knew she was saying something outrageous.
Mother Goose understood what that meant better than anyone.
"You intend to contract with Ootori Sougetsu and fuse your souls with him...?!"
"No. I'd rather die than do that. Rather, I am asking whether I will be able to become God if I devour that man's soul."
"............Devour... his soul?"
Pondering over Lapis' words, Mother Goose asked.
"You want to become not a god-slayer, but a god-eater?"
"Ridiculous. There is no precedent of this."
"I have experienced eating a human soul before. I once devoured my previous contractor's soul."
A memory of Kusanagi Mikoto passed through Lapis' mind and she felt pain in her chest. Because of soul fusion's failure, Kusanagi Mikoto's soul was eaten by Lapis.
It wasn't intended, it was caused by the fact Mikoto's soul was human.
The soul that doesn't balance out is sucked out and extinguished.
It has a completely different result from fusion.
To compare it with human's, it was like eating another human's meat.
"He isn't human, but a God."
"That man is half-human is he not? Isn't it because he was incomplete that he became a half-baked existence such as living god?"
"I will never lose to that man's soul."
Looking at Lapis as she tried to suggest another method, Mother Goose felt tenacity similar to madness. This girl would never yield. She had no intention at all of becoming God together with Kusanagi Takeru.
"You... you think of that boy this strongly..."
"Yes. I love him."
The answer was instant and devoid of hesitation. Although she was expressionless, she spoke without looking away from Mother Goose. Mother relaxed her shoulders a little and looked at Lapis distantly.
"...You are my replica. There is no guarantee you will be able to do it. Also, whether you will be able to become God just by eating a god..."
"If there is possibility, I will make it succeed."
"If you fail... the world will be destroyed."
That is what Mother Goose was concerned about. Because she and Orochi failed to reach God's seat, she entrusted it to Lapis. It would be meaningless were Lapis to fail.
"Even if there is a possibility of the world being destroyed, I wish for Host to live in peace."
"For him to return to that place... to return to happy days with everyone is what I wish."
In this moment, Lapis' eyes shook for the first time in front of Mother Goose as tears trickled down her cheeks.
Inside Lapis, two hearts were in conflict.
One wanted to return Takeru to where he should be. And one more. The other wanted to become an eternal existence together with Takeru, become on and spend eternity together with him.
Both were her true feelings. Both were her earnest wishes.
These tears were caused by sacrificing one of those choices.
Mother Goose stared back at Lapis.
As if seeing through everything, enveloping... she watched over Lapis like a mother.
"Lapis... are you all right with that? Knowing your feelings, I cannot help but wish for you happiness."
"If you love him... then why not choose to walk the same path together?"
Hearing Mother Goose's kindness-filled words, Lapis wiped away her tears.
"Thank you very much."
And with a bright, clear smile she wasn't used to making, she said.
"But... I am his sword."
That was Sacred Treasure Mistilteinn's,
Lapis Lazuli's choice.
In this moment, because she loved him, she decided to deceive her master.
Feeling very comfortable, Kusanagi Takeru woke up.
He was sitting on a sofa. It was a very soft and worn-out sofa.
When he pushed onto it with his hand, the elasticity felt very pleasant making him smile.
He raised his face.
There was a small table and on it, freshly-brewed tea and biscuits.
Takeru picked up the teacup with familiar gestures and raised his back from the sofa.
He walked on the wooden floor. Whenever he stepped on the room's floor, he heard a pleasant sound of wood.
Hearing the sound of his footsteps he squinted, continuing to walk inside the room.
He passed by a laptop which was out of power.
No one was sitting in the chair, but the way cushion was depressed was telling enough to see how much time had the person spent on it. The worn-out keyboard had worn-out keys, there were multiple sticky notes on the display and a glass bottle next to it, containing a lot of mint candies and mint sticks.
Takeru caressed the chair's edge.
Parts of pistols and rifles could be seen placed on the workbench. Among them, there was one old-fashioned rifle.
A sticker was placed on the stock part. A deformed, cutely rabbit.
Looking at it, Takeru brought tea to his mouth with a smile.
As he walked along the wall, a clothing rest came into his sight.
Hanging on it were a belt and guns. A dark blue hat and a striped muffler.
The belt was worn-out and leather on it, cracked-up. The pistols were old and he could tell at a glance that they were well-maintained. Bullets were removed properly and the magazine was put inside the pouch. Safety measures were maintained, he could tell the owner was methodical.
Because the hat was washed many times it felt worn out when he poked it with his finger. As he looked at the muffler, he noticed it was mended many times.
Since the person doing it didn't seem too good at knitting, rather than fine mesh, it was thickly mended and distorted.
Unable to bear it, Takeru laughed quietly.
After laughing for a moment, Takeru turned around and looked around the room again.
In this not too wide room, there were lots of things marking memories.
As he took a deep breath, there were various scents in it.
The smell of gunpowder and oil. Also soft scent of tea and sweets, as well as mint mixing in.
It was very complex and could not be said to be a nice smell,
But it made Takeru's heart incredibly at ease.
After finishing to drink tea he returned the cup to the table.
Pinching just one biscuit in his fingers he threw it into his mouth.
He took a step back as he chewed it.
Swallowed it and exhaled.
And he turned around.
Towards the exit. Towards an old wooden door with varnish peeling off it.
He put his hand on the doorknob and turned it around.
Slowly opening the door, he let in soft light.
He knew she was there. He smiled towards the girl waiting for him to come out.
In the corridor, stood a girl wearing an azure-colored dress.
Lapis. Lapis Lazuli. My sword. My precious sword. My beloved sword.
He remembered her. She alone, was his only salvation. Losing his memory of his precious people, he was about to let go of their remnants.
But he was no longer lonely.
Because she would be together with him forever.
Takeru raised one hand in greeting towards Lapis.
"Hey... did you wait?"
"No, not really? I just came here myself."
Lapis made a soft, happy smile. They made it seem a little like a date, so he was embarrassed. Rubbing his nose with his fingers, Takeru smiled as well.
"Well then, let's go, Lapis."
Outside the room... the platoon's room.
He tried to take a step forward to cross the doorstep.
But for some reason, he was unable to.
His leg didn't move.
Strange, thinking so Takeru looked at this feet. There was nothing abnormal in there. And yet, his body didn't move forward.
While Takeru stood there slightly flustered, Lapis' hair swayed as she took a step forward.
"Host. You stay in there."
"You have to stay in there. You have to go back."
Turning her arms behind her waist, she said while tilting her head slightly.
Astonished, Takeru looked at her smile. There was no way he could stay in there. While it was true he wanted to stay there, if he remained in there he wouldn't get what he wanted.
Saving everything, his selfishness wouldn't come true.
"We're going, right... together."
"No. I will be going alone."
Takeru's pupils shook strongly.
"...What do you mean?"
"I alone am enough to become God. Host, go back to where you were."
Straightforwardly, briefly, Lapis said so with a smile.
His lips trembled as he was unable to understand.
"...——What is this about?!"
Takeru questioned her without hesitation.
But Lapis did not budge and just smiled towards him.
"You... you said... that you'll be with me...! You said you're okay becoming God together with me!"
"Yes. I said so. I want to be together. Forever, forever together."
"Then...——why?! Why just you... why are you leaving me behind?!"
Unable to bear it, tears gathered in his eyes. What Lapis was trying to do made his heart ache incredibly.
Why? Why? That question was all that appeared in his head.
It was close to anger. He could only consider it a betrayal. They supposedly agreed on doing something... so why did she steal a march on him?
Anger without an outlet had welled up inside him and he nearly started shouting.
But seeing Lapis' face, his voice was stuck.
"...Please... would you not bully me?"
Lapis raised her eyebrows with a smile and shed large tears one after another.
"I... love looking at you when you are together with everyone. I really love everyone when they are together with you."
With agitated voice she tried to convey her feelings.
"I was connected with your soul. That's why I know, just how much you love everyone... just how much you hold that place precious, I know that more than enough."
"I know. Just like you love everyone, you love me the same, I know that... to a painful extent."
With her face wet with tears Lapis opened her eyes wide and looked at Takeru dearly.
"But, that is why... I cannot take you with me. I don't want to take you... please understand."
Lapis' selfish words made it seem like his chest was about to burst.
However, Takeru didn't reach his hand out, only embraced his own shoulders.
Facing this situation, he was made realize.
Yeah... I see... that's right.
Staring at the tears falling on the floor, he clenched his teeth.
What I was trying to do to my comrades... was this.
Comrades... although only faintly, he could remember. Surely Lapis must have cancelled her fusion with Takeru's soul. Or maybe gave her memories to him?
It didn't matter. Anyway, he recalled it.
Takeru did the same thing to his comrades as Lapis did to him.
Kept silent, betrayed, and tried to sacrifice himself alone. He thought that was fine. He knew his comrades would be in pain, he could imagine just how painful it was.
But in the end, that was just his imagination. Having it pointed out at him this way, he realized the truth for the first time.
...This is... unbearable...! As if I could withstand this... pain...!
Just how selfish he was, just how much he made light of his comrades feelings, he was made realized all of this.
His tears overflowed without stopping, he was irritated by himself not being able to do anything. His comrades watched over Takeru as he went off alone. Although it was urgent, Ouka and Mari, Ikaruga and Usagi... they all had no choice but to send him off. Now, he could tell very well just how did they feel.
What "everyone will be all right without me if they're together"... what "you are not alone"...! I had no right to tell them anything like that...!
Takeru fell on his knees and curled up. He sobbed, unable to withstand the pain.
Lapis approached him as he cried.
She gently pat his head.
The warmth of her hand healed Takeru's pained heart.
"...I'm... sorry. Please, forgive me."
"Please...go back...please...be happy..."
He held Lapis' hand stroking his head and put it against his cheek.
In order to feel her warmth, in order not to lose it.
Unable to hold her back. Unable to hold on to her existence. Crushed by helplessness, Takeru called Lapis' name time after time again.
Pathetically shedding tears he clung onto Lapis' hand.
Lapis too, made a same expression as Takeru and stroked his cheek to feel his warmth.
Feeling that wasn't enough, Lapis stretched her both arms towards Takeru's head.
Takeru too, embraced her body.
The two's lips overlapped as they confirmed each other's existences. Because they knew this is the last time, they overlapped their lips fiercely, passionately.
Their first meeting was the worst of all.
Thinking back on it, he was deceived and made to form contract. Having his life and contract on scales, he wasn't allowed to refuse...
However, the two were always together. In difficult times, when in pain, during casual life, and when happy.
Although it definitely wasn't a long time, the two were always moving on together.
As sword and its user.
Host and partner.
Being precious existences to one another.
When their lips separated, with a face flushed red, Lapis exhaled hotly and looked up at Takeru.
"I will be by your side... forever... even if you don't notice me."
Takeru had stopped crying and stared intently back at Lapis.
"I will continue to protect your happiness forever..."
Lapis also stopped crying and gently smiled.
Takeru too, greeted the parting with a smile.
"I'll notice. After all you are——"
Hearing those words, Lapis.
———That's right, exactly. Host.
Lapis made the happiest ever,
Like that of a maiden whose love was fulfilled,