I untied the necklace I was wearing and grabbed it with my hand. There was a key hanging on it by the end. A key with a unique design that seemed as if it was assembled and weaved with dozens of pieces of metals. It was a keepsake left behind by the man that was said to be my biological father.
'Come to think of it, I haven't really thought about what this is used for.'
Seeing that it was shaped like a key, it was most probably used to open something, but I had never really wondered about where I would use this. Because from the moment I came to the universe, there was no such thing as a keyhole anywhere.
In fact, what was in front of me might be the first(?) keyhole I came across in the universe.
"What are you looking at?"
"Oh, it's nothing. It's just, I received a key." I lifted the key as I said so. Just like her earrings, this key was not taken away by the demi-humans and it probably meant that the demi-humans weren't able to perceive it. However, no matter how much I thought about it, the method in which it went undetected was probably not because it became transparent.
Indeed, she could perceive the key that I held in my hand, and her expression turned stiff.
"No, wait. Can you give that to me for a bit?"
"Alright." I handed it over to her meekly. Whatever it was, it wasn't as if she was going to run away with it in the situation we were in right now. But the moment I put the key on her hand.
'Chiikiinggg!' A sudden roar that sounded like a hammer striking a steel plate resonated. I could also hear a suppressed groan accompanying it. When I came back to my senses, Celestia was nowhere to be seen, and the key I placed on her hand had returned back to my hands.
She literally disappeared in front of my eyes as if the lights went out, and I looked around for Cel. Fortunately, she didn't disappear or anything, so I was able to find her. She had her back stuck against the corner of the room where the walls and ceiling met, and she clinged to the corner like a spider.
"…What are you doing?"
"Ah, no-, nothing much."
Celestia stared at me for a moment, no, to be precise, she silently glared at the key on my hand, and then carefully stepped on the floor. Her body was already shining gently as it was surrounded by a golden light, but it seemed like she could control the intensity and it soon subsided.
However, not all the golden light had disappeared.
"Your right arm…"
Celestia walked towards me, and as I looked at her arm, I could see her white and slender fingers swollen, like a balloon filled with wind. Her skin and muscles were a given, but even the state of her bones were pretty battered up. But she shrugged it off like she was okay.
"I just injured myself a little. I'm in the middle of healing, so don't worry too much."
"Your right hand turned out like that, and you're telling me not to worry?"
"I was in an even worse condition than this a while ago alright? It's not like I was in the military for only one or two years, so I'll be troubled if you give me the Princess treatment. Plus, I'm already healing myself with the Golden Lion Aura."
Certainly, I could see her arms were enveloped in golden aura and recovering little by little. The deadly amount of blood flowing down her skin was clotting. I could also hear the sound of bones aligning back. It felt as if she would recover back to normal after a while.
"Well, if you say you're okay, then it's fine. What happened in the end? Looking at the atmosphere, it seems like this key was attacking you."
"It didn't attack me. Judging by the vibe it was emitting, it looks like a Transcendence Weapon. It would have turned out worse if it was an actual act filled with hostility."
"…Transcendence Weapon? This key?"
I expressed my doubts. If it was a Transcendence Weapon, then wasn't it a fearsome armament that was in the same realm as a God-rank Gigas? I had often heard that there were some weapons that overpowered a Terra-class battleship even though it was small enough to be held by humans. But this wasn't a blade nor a gun, it was a key, and she was saying that it was a Transcendence Weapon?
Celestia looked at me as if I said something idiotic and explained, "Generally, items that possess fighting power are lumped together and categorized as weapons, but not all Transcendence Weapons are weaponry. After all, Transcendence Weapon is just another name for Godly Artifacts. Though rare, there were cases where a Transcendence Weapon was shaped like a gate which was capable of teleportation. There was also one in the shape of a kettle which was capable of producing holy water that could heal injuries. Ah, this is just a rumor, but I heard that within Transcendence Weapons in the 100 numberings,  there was a refrigerator that could infinitely make food that you wanted to eat."
"…The hell? What do you mean a refrigerator?"
The image that I had of Transcendence Weapons was collapsing, but even so, I sneakily glanced at the key with a golden string on one of my hands.
'He left me a Transcendence Weapon as a keepsake?'
It sounded plausible. They said that my biological father was a high-ranking transcendent… If he was a high-ranking transcendent, then it wouldn't be strange for him to possess a Transcendence Weapon. And if he had a Transcendence Weapon, it was natural for him to want to pass it down to his future descendent.
'But I can't believe he just left this key without any usage manual.'
I quietly fiddled with the key in my hand. It obviously looked like a metal object, but it felt warm to the touch. It might be a funny thing to say, but it felt as if I was touching a small hamster. And I organized my thoughts as I was feeling that sort of sensation.
'Perhaps, he foresaw all this and sent me to space?'
I recalled a movie I watched in the past. I remember it was a movie about a main character that made a time machine and went back in time to support his past self; it was something along that sort of cliché storyline.
I remembered it was something about the main character's future self sending his present self some items to save himself from a crisis. The items that was sent were all kinds of useless things such as bus card, car key and construction cap, however, whenever the situation called for it, these items would prove to be useful and helped him magically escape a seemingly unavoidable crisis, and in the end, he would strike back at the enemy. His future self knew how the future would pan out, so he could prepare the gadgets that were required at any situation.
I stared at the key in an instant. Then I looked at the Legion girl in front of me; she was lying down with her head looking up. I could see a keyhole on the cuffs on her neck.
'I don't really want to have this kind of assumption, but…'
I thought maybe all of this was the future my mother foresaw. Coming to the universe, getting on board Albatross because of that, and even the fact that I participated in the war. She might have even foresaw me getting kidnapped by the demi-humans.
'But what exactly was the danger that I had to avoid so much that we had to go this far?'
I wasn't sure. If my mother could really see the future, was there really a need to complicate things like this? Did that mean that the Legion girl in front of had that much value to do so?
"No, wait, I'll know once I test it out."
"Yes, hold on for a bit."
Celestia's hand was almost fully recovered and she was doing the clench and release exercise with her hands. I left her behind and approached the Legion girl. I could see a seal that looked like a dog collar hanging around her neck.
"Whooooo." I slightly took a deep breath. And I inserted the key in—
It didn't go in.
"...What are you doing?"
"Huh? Uhhh? Wait-, wait a minute."
I was so embarrassed that I tried to push the key in recklessly, but even then, it wouldn't go in. The key shape was completely different. The size of the key was slightly larger than the keyhole.
I tried pushing the key roughly in a rush, but there was no way it would be able to be inserted into a keyhole that didn't fit. Just in case, I tried inserting it into the keyhole of the handcuffs, but this time the hole was too big.
"...I don't think you're stupid. But you don't actually think the key would fit in just because there was a keyhole, do you?"
"It's not like that! Thi-, there's a reason for all of this!"
"And what's that?"
"…It's a secret."
I turned my head around. I couldn't bear the sight of Celestia looking at me pitifully. Uaghhhhhh! I tried to let my imagination run wild, but to think that I tried doing everything alone!
'I thought something was going to happen!'
My mother was born with the talent of a Great Witch, and it was said that she had the Foresight ability capable of predicting the future, so I thought she might have seen this crisis coming. If so, then I thought this artifact would be of help. But there was no such thing. Then, did it mean that I would be able to escape a crisis of this level right now on my own?
"Ah, damn it. What the hell am I supposed to do?"
In a quick fit of temper, I threw the key at the wall. In actual fact, I had dropped it from my body a few times before, but every time, it would come back to me, so it was something I did without giving it much thought.
And then, the key that I threw like that was stuck on the wall.
Celestia stood rooted to the ground. She put on an incomprehensible expression while looking at me.
"What the hell? I striked it with my Golden Lion Aura but it didn't even leave a scratch, but the key is stuck on the wall?"
"Is that perhaps a secret device? A key-shaped secret device."
"'What kind of bullshit are you spouting!' is what I would like to say, but it's not entirely unconvincing. Don't tell me, it was stuck on the wall just by you throwing it?"
I stared at the wall as I listened to the dumbfounded Celestia. But there was something else that was strange.
"But it's not coming back to me."
"What do you mean it's not coming back to you? Does it have a return function?"
"Yeah. It would always come back if I let it slip past my hands. That's why I thought it was a secret device." I mumbled as I approached the wall and grabbed the key. It was to pull the key out from the wall, but I felt something strange with the key that I grabbed.
It didn't just feel like it was stuck tight on the wall. It felt like if I turned the key, it would really turn or something… It felt similar to the feeling when a key was inserted into a door. So I twisted my hand casually without thinking much about it.
With a sound that sounded when a door was unlocked, the key turned and a text popped up in front of my eyes.
The seal is released.
"…What the hell does this mean?"
I was bewildered for a moment.
With a 'Wiiiiiiing' sound, a deep groan that sounded like a cry reverberated around as if it was crushing the surroundings. I took out the key in surprise and stuck close beside Celestia. Flustered, Celestia emitted her golden aura and asked, "What is this? What have you done?"
"I don't know either!"
"What do you mean you don't know! What kind of irresponsible... Watch out!"
Celetia hugged me and jumped into the air. Everything around us was already melting down. The steel bars that kept me locked in, the prison uniforms that laid on the floor, and even the chains and handcuffs that bound the Legion girl. The only thing left was the dog collar on her neck.
-You impertinent—! Impudent—! I'll kill you!
A roar filled with murderous intent echoed. Then, the prison that used to look normal turned into a black piece of flesh and began to narrow down in a matter of minutes. Flustered, Celestia released her Golden Lion Aura, but she couldn't even properly scratch the wall when she was locked inside the First-Tier Demon, so would it even be possible for her to resist the narrowing walls?
But it was then.
The rumbling wall shook violently in an instant along with the explosions, and then there was a large hole on the wall. It literally took only a moment, but Celestia, who was hugging me, aimed for the instant a gap was made and nimbly escaped outside. It was as if she had been waiting for this chance.
"This fucking shit! What the hell is going on?! That monster's spirit was definitely destroyed by the Captain-nim!"
"Captain-nim! Get the Captain immediately! We need the Captain if we're to stop that monster!"
"But we're in the middle of the war now! If we don't stop that monster by ourselves...!"
"How do you expect us to stop that First-Tier Demon inside this ship! The main armament that was prepared as a measure for times of emergencies… He's already recovered even after being hit by that!"
Screams could be heard from all directions. Countless demi-humans and Gigas appeared from all over the place, but it was useless in the face of a monster equivalent to a 10-story building.
I focused on the status in the monster's title and looked above his head.
Corps of Gluttony
Awakened from his slumber, Hell's Hand
That's right. That thing that was on a rampage right now was the First-Tier Demon that had us in his belly.
"What the hell is this…"
I stared at the key that was in my hand and turned pale. He definitely became a fool, so are you telling me that this brought him back to normal? Despite being shaped like a key, was it a healing-type Transcendence Weapon?
"Holy shit! The prisoners have escaped!"
However, the situation wasn't one where I could afford to be lost in thought. Some of the demi-humans who flocked together because of Hell's Hand discovered us.
"Damn, I don't know if this situation is any better or worse!"
"...Aren't you looking too excited despite that?"
"Oh my, really?" I gushed forward with a smile. I had no choice but to grab on to Celestia's neck tightly and hang on in an unsightly manner.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Anyone felt so betrayed by the author? I thought it was heading towards unlocking the Legion girl but then it became something else -_- There's really no predicting what the author has planned.