Chapter 262. < Image Breaking(Iconoclasm) (2) >
“Let them find out as much as they like.”
I spoke confidently to the Lady.
“No. I’d like to ask you to please let them find out. Didn’t you say that you’re going to play video clips of everything I’ve done for the goblins directly in their heads? Oh my god. How kind of you.”
My answer, while my companions were still hesitating, came out with astonishing freshness.
It was as if I had been waiting for the opportunity to say this.
“Even if we can’t say we raised the best race, we did our best to raise our races. Ah, I can really say this without leaving a stain on my heart. Can’t you?”
“Anastasia. What are you hesitating for? Are you worried that those kids will be shocked when they see our bare faces? Do you think they will lose themselves in despair and grief at the fact that we are just people* like them?”(*:Author keeps using ‘human’ here, but considering there is a race of humans, it doesn’t quite fit)
Anastasia didn’t reply. However, in my best friend’s black eyes, there was a clear sense of nervousness.
The nervousness in Anastasia’s eyes seemed to be murmuring.
『What if they become disappointed in me?』
『If they swear, complain, or curse me for being a fake god.』
『If so, then what should I do?』
That was a pressing concern.
I nodded slowly.
“Of course… naturally, you will be nervous.”
Parents know everything about their children.
That’s why, when they say they love you, they can love you without a doubt.
On the other hand, what about children?
Children know almost nothing about their parents.
Children are born when their parents are fully grown adults. What their parents used to do, where they were born, what kind of people they were in their hometowns, how they felt after leaving their hometowns— Children didn’t know those many things about their lives.
They didn’t want them to know.
Parents only wanted their children to know the aspects that they showed them. The gestures that had already matured to some extent. With a smile, while stroking their children’s heads, they became angels to these young children, who ruled over them.
“However, Anastasia. Please look me in the face.”
Getting up from my seat, I met Anastasia at eye level. Since she was shorter than me, I had no choice but to get down on one knee to look Anastasia in the eyes.
“The Director who raised me… really did a lot of things to raise us. How hard must it have been for him to run an orphanage since that time?”
I told my story.
In a deliberately light, casual tone, as if it was no big deal.
“When the grandfather of the District Head died, we just had to dress up in black clothing and attend the funeral, but not the Director. That person had nothing to do with us, and he wasn’t even close to the Director. But he still went to all of the condolence events in the city to show his face. He had to. Well, it’s called leaving an impression. This kind of impression is very important in our country.”
“If there is an event at the district office, he has to go immediately. There is a mountain of work to be done at the orphanage, but if he is told to go, he must go. Even if it is an event at the district office, there are a lot of bundle sellers*, who buy all kinds of colorful pottery, succulent plant pots no one needs, and handcrafted wallets no one likes, and set up a little market. All of these shops are supported by the district office, so you can call it a local business district, right? They’re just trying to make sales.”
(*:Bundle seller refers to a person who buys and sells goods by putting them in a bundle (a bundle wrapped in cloth). Nowadays, it is used in a negative way to refer to merchants who move secretly and trade goods on a small scale, unregulated by law or tax.)
“Whenever the Director went there, he would always stick with the District Head and buy three gifts. Saying, [this piece is so pretty]. He, who usually got nervous when spending 10,000won… would end up ‘casually’ spending 20,000won, or 30,000won.”
I close my eyes.
That day, I secretly followed the Director from a distance. The bundle seller local business market was like a festival and even sold colorful masks. Wearing a mask, I pretended to be a child moving together with nearby adults while peeping at the Director who was walking with the District Head.
-No, Head, how did they make such a pretty piece? Wow, there are only master craftsmen gathered on this street. Truly a street of masters. It seems there is one more thing for our district to brag about. I think the kids will love it too….
The Director’s expression, voice, and tone were completely different from when he was at the orphanage. If the children other than me had seen it, they probably would have received the shock of their lives. For us, the Director always appeared somewhat distant, a person who we could always visit, but at the same time covered in a layer of mysterious fog.
-Having said that, these are all handmade crafts aren’t they? Then can I entrust the people who made this to give an orphanage class?
-Mm? By orphanage class…
-Yes. The children are all well behaved. Although they are well behaved, they don’t have many things to play with or learn. Even if it is a succulent plant pot making class, if it is held once a week, I believe it would be good for the children’s character development… Wouldn’t it be worthwhile for you, Head? A workshop sponsored by the city hall and the district. That workshop now teaches classes to local children… isn’t that a pretty picture?
-Hmm. Then the tuition fee…
-Phew, it would be great if the district office could apply for it. Then it would become a project that is completely led by the district office. Head, don’t you know that our orphanage is very clean? Whether it’s manpower or other things, our orphanage is the cleanest place in the area when it comes to accounting. Wouldn’t that make the work more comfortable?
-…Director Lee’s orphanage certainly is famous for being a comfortable place to work. There are no issues with paperwork. You’ve never missed a form or deadline.
A middle aged man, whose name I don’t know, and whose face I don’t, probably forever, nodded.
-Then let the action officer take charge and get it done. I’ll take care of the direction… if the director were to take care of it, it might look a bit strange. What about kindergartens? Don’t kindergarteners like to play with sand and dirt? Let’s give them a pottery class and a handicrafts class to find out.
-Thank you! As expected of the Head, not only does he make the streets pretty, but he also makes the hearts of the people pretty! It is so relieving to have someone like the Head who can step forward to do the work.
-Haha. Our director speaks very well.
The group surrounding the District Head drew further and further away. I had to chase after them, but I couldn’t bear to keep up. It was a great shock to see the Director’s bare face.
At that time, the Director was my parent. He was something more than a parent. He was a teacher to all of us, a counselor who advised us whenever difficulties arose, and a lord who wisely ruled over the closed world of the orphanage.
Whenever it was time to go to sleep, the Director would tell us stories from thousands of years ago. Every expression, tone and voice we had were inherited from him. To grow on a continental scale. To always stay calm. To be rational. And above all, to be enraged by injustice…
To our young selves, how could the director not be a god?
I found out what kind of face the Director walked around with and what kind of voice he spoke with in [the outside world]. The Director was not our kind and wise god. The Director was just… when I saw him from a distance, talking to the District Head or action officer… just an uncle.
An ordinary uncle.
I opened my eyes.
Maybe because of the strange silence.
Anastasia was looking at my face without saying anything. The Heretic Questioner, Count, and Crusader were also looking at me. I nodded once before speaking quietly to them.
“How about being a bit embarrassed?”
“Because they’re young. They are young. In their young minds, the fact that their gods are actual normal people may make them feel immense shame. Ah. The person who gave us prophecies in a wonderful voice… is actually just someone who knew how to use aura. I thought they were looking down on us and taking care of us with great miracles, but they were just people who were running around and working hard in places we couldn’t see…”
A succulent plant pot making class was held at the orphanage.
To the children who were tired of cross stitching and caricature, the play of fiddling with clay to make bowls was surprisingly novel. Every time a class was held, as many as 15 kids would gather to touch the claw.
The pottery teacher was kind, and the children were delighted.
I didn’t attend.
Somehow, it felt embarrassing to attend. It felt like I was committing some kind of disloyalty to the Director.
And I went through life in silence, without telling anyone what I saw.
“If they see our true selves… they might feel embarrassed. No, they probably will, but.”
Recalling the burns of my younger years, I told my current companions.
“But that’s all.”
“After time passes, enough time for those children to accept it, they will eventually accept that we strived, put in effort, and worked hard for their sake. They will understand that we are people too.”
“Will… they? Really?”
“I’ve heard that such a thing is difficult even between normal parents and children. But if it’s between a god and their race like us…”
“It’s fine. We were never ordinary parents, and we didn’t raise normal children.”
In the hologram, there was a monster that shrunk and shrunk, until its size had fallen to the level of a large mammoth.
Hundreds of thousands of people cheered beside the monster and held a festival of colorful aura. That they had overcome the disaster without any losses, that they had led everything by themselves, and that they had achieved perfect success. Everyone, regardless of race, celebrated these facts.
We weren’t normal parents and children.
“Anastasia. We are just a group of the best among the people who entered the Tower.”
“And our children are, to be frank, just way better than the humans in our world. There is no reason why things won’t work out.”
I looked away from the hologram.
And spoke coolly to [The Lady Who Walks Through The Mirage].
“Tell those kids everything.”
“…seriously? Really? Do you not have to think about it any more?”
“What’s there to worry about? There is no one who could raise them with more devotion than me. To put it bluntly, regardless of if I’m a god, a human, or an alien monster with a hundred tentacles, they will accept me. So please tell the goblins everything right away.”
“Wow. As expected of the Death King. I can’t hate that overflowing confidence.”
The Lady turned to look at my other companions.
“What about the other kids? Do the other kids share the same opinion as the Death King?”
“You all cleared from the 31st Floor together. So if even one of you chooses not to, it would make things awkward. Well, only those who vote not to will be subjected to the special access restricting measures which will prevent them from moving past the 40th Floor…”
“I’ll do it.”
Anastasia opened her mouth.
Determination was already written across her face.
“I’ll do it. Regardless of if they despise me or not, that’s up to them. If I can’t do it because I’m afraid they won’t like me, I should have abstained from choosing a race in the beginning. I’ve already come this far, so even though I wish to raise those kids forever… that’s just my greed. So tell the truth to the vampires too.”
“Ah. I agree too!”
The Heretic Questioner raised his hand.
“I raised the snails to the best of my ability. Ahaha, my best might be different from other people’s best, but compared to those parents who don’t even do their best, I’m still considered good! Mm! I’m sure when the snails learn the truth, they will definitely think highly of me. So tell the truth to the snails, too!”
“…our innocent psychopath aside.”
The Crusader sighed.
“Children have the right to know about their parents. All the more when the children grow up. It is safe to say that the races living on the continent have entered their mature period. Tell the mermaids the truth.”
The Count agonized. Mm, mm, mm, she washed her face with her cat paws several times while groaning to herself. However, after about five minutes, the Count finally made up her mind.
“Well, fine! In any case, I didn’t let them starve. When you think about how many people die of starvation in this world, the favors the elves owe me are like a sea of stars. As long as they’re born an elf, don’t they enter the middle to upper class without doing anything? Come on, this is my greatest confidence. I’m proud!”
“Does the Count agree?”
“I agree. Show the elves the truth!”
Uhuhu, the Lady Who Walked Through The Mirage chuckled.
“Seriously. What cute kids. At this rate, I can’t keep showing favoritism like this… well, what do you know?”
The Lady clapped her hands.
“The Venomous Snake and the Sword Saint, who are still on this stage, have also agreed to disclose the information. Since all 7 of the people participating in the attack have agreed, with my authority as administrator, I will disclose the information to every race!”
[Information about the Heretic Questioner has been revealed to the entire Snail Race!]
On the other side of the hologram, a murmur began to be heard.
-What is this, rimu… a hallucination?
-No, to say that is a group hallucination…
The first race to respond was the snails.
The snails, who, while carrying their wrinkled shells on their backs, were dismantling the now useless wooden stairs and tools, raised their antennae while murmuring strangely.
As the Lady Who Walks Through The Mirage said, the
was automatically played to them.
-Our Great Puppy, what the hell….
However, the confusion showed no signs of abating.
Instead, it was as if the accelerator was pressed down all the way.
[Information about the Black Dragon Master has been revealed to the entire Vampire Race!]
‘Ki?’, ‘Kuu?’, the bats hanging upside down from the palm trees in the forest shook their heads. The stairs that had been built on the monster’s body trembled, and countless leaves in the forest fell.
[Information about the Crusader has been revealed to the entire Mermaid Race!]
The mermaids, who were transporting the food, drink and bedding for hundreds of thousands of people on their ships, flinched. Their swirling tails whipped up a spray, and several of the ships rocked violently.
That wasn’t all.
-What is this?!
-Wh-, what’s happening in front of our eyes?
-This… did that Energy Dragon or whatever guy cast a curse or something before he died?
-No. Just now in my head… I heard a clear voice. This is the truth of the Red Dolphin. Unless some devil is playing tricks on us…
-Ugor? Why are you guys like this all of a sudden?
The forest, the entire world, began to tremble. Wherever the races built their living spaces, commotions began to erupt one after the other. Villages. Towns. Cities. Or right there, at the Energy Dragon’s grave, where almost all the warriors were gathered.
[Information about the Count has been revealed to the entire Elf Race!]
[Information about the Venomous Snake has been revealed to the entire Oni Race!]
[Information about the Sword Saint has been revealed to the entire Human Race!]
[Information about the Death King has been revealed to the entire Goblin Race!]
The moment that had to come someday, finally came.
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