Ridiculously Idealized Library of Ruina - Chapter 2 - weird_shipper341 (2024)

Chapter Text

“Whoa, this whole place looks surreal as hell,” Roland muttered.

Upon stepping through the glowing doorway, he found himself within a very large, bright open area. An area that seemed to be impossibly large to fit witihin any building with walls. Even stranger, however, was the existence of a sky above his head, completely with small white, ispy clouds

And even stranger than that, everything in this small pocket world seemed to be entirely comprised of books.

It made up the ground under his feet, more than just countless amounts of them stretching for as far as the eye could see. Large spires of them dotted the landscape in every direction.

Roland was really starting to get the impression that he was way over his head in this case.

“Really, Urban Nightmare my ass,” he uttered before turning to face the small group of people in front of him.

Before him, there were five people. The one standing in the middle was a man, seemingly middle-aged in his thirties, with short, black hair and bright, honey-golden eyes, just as striking as those belonging to the woman who he had just encountered. He was dressed in black and white garments of some kind that Roland didn’t quite recognize. There was an enigmatic smile on his face, and held securely against his chest with one arm, a seemingly normal, leather-padded notebook.

The other four people around him, however, were the ones that really caught Roland’s attention. The Fixer immediately recognized their unique form of wear, that being sharp black suits with white cloaks draping down their backs, swords at their hips, with each having their own unique type of blade, and the signature form of apparel for all Index Proselytes: a black piece of cloth, outlined with gold, wrapped around their eyes.

Index Proselytes? What the heck are they doing here? I thought they died.

“Greetings,” the man in the middle said. The Proselytes just remained silent, facing Roland. “You can call me X, the patron librarian of General Works. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Roland’s brow scrunched slightly. His hand went to Durendal’s hilt, ready to draw it at a moment’s notice. “Hello.”

The man, X’s, smile seemed to widen slightly.

“It seems you’re eager to get started. Well then, shall we?”

The man opened his book onto a seemingly random page.

As if on cue, the four Index Proselytes sprang into motion. They were onto him in an instant.

Durendal was drawn out of its scabbard with a shing, its dark blade gleaming under the light of the false sky.

The first Proselyte jabbed his sword at him twice in quick succession. Roland swung his sword twice, just as quickly batting away both jabs. At the same time, another Proselyte swung his own more standard-looking blade at him, dashing past his side while bringing his sword along in a wide, sideways slash. Roland blocked that too, along with the upwards slash that followed. The third and fourth Proselyte attacked together, one bringing his bulkier blade down on him while the other swung at him with another slash attack.

The Proselytes threw almost a dozen attacks at him from multiple different directions with speed befitting of members of a finger. However, not a single one found its mark.

Yep, these guys are Index Proselytes alright. They definitely fight like them based on what I remember.

But even in my current state, I could eat these guys for breakfast. Especially if there are only four of them.

Roland’s counterattack was just as quick. His opponents stood no chance.

Roland’s darksteel broadblade was no more than a dark blur as he slashed away the Proselytes with ease. His flurry of attacks, seemingly without abandon, quickly cut them away, each attack calculated to do the most damage possible without leaving him open for any possible counterattacks. It only took a short several seconds to be rid of them, blood, limbs, and heads flying everywhere.

He ran Durendal through the last Proselyte’s heart, his armless body falling lifelessly to the ground. His body, instead of remaining there, exploded into dozens of small, glowing, golden pages. A bit of a strange phenomenon that he had observed with the other Proselytes, but as long as they didn’t suddenly re-materialize out of nowhere, he didn’t really care.

Once he finished, he turned to the patron librarian, swinging his sword beside him to clean it of the blood on its blade. More of a display of dominance more than anything.

A bit of distance away, X had a startled look on his face. He was a bit surprised to see that particular expression, considering that a member of an Urban Nightmare syndicate, especially one that led men, would be more than used to seeing people being killed, but didn’t give it much thought past that.

His body slung forward, swinging Durendal at the librarian’s neck.

X lifted his hand, the book under his arm beginning to glow as it floated up into the air. It shot open, facing its empty, glowing pages towards Roland.

A dozen red hands and arms shot out of it. A dozen hands grabbed at Roland’s blade, effectively stopping it in place.

What the-

Roland changed the trajectory of his swing, twisting his blade and swinging it diagonally downwards, cutting through the hands with Durendal’s sharp blade.

X wasted no time, sending more red hands and arms shooting towards the fixer. Roland sliced through them before jumping backwards, just as another storm of hands tried to grab at him from the left and right sides of his body.

Is that some kind of singularity? Roland thought to himself, gripping Durendal’s hilt with both his hands.

He watched as X reached a hand towards the book’s glowing pages. To his surprise, the patron librarian’s hand disappeared into the pages. What Roland could see of his arm even shrunk as if he were really reaching into it.

Does that book have its own pocket dimension inside of it?

He wasn’t too unfamiliar with such objects. After all, his wife’s gloves also held a mini pocket dimension inside of it from which she could put or pull weapons in or out of at a whim. However, he hadn’t ever seen anything like those gloves. This would be his second time that he would see an object like it.

Roland dashed forward again, Durendal at the ready by his side. At the same time, X pulled his hand out of his book.

In his grasp was a spear, made out of some kind of transparent, blue-white material, with a long handle and a moderately-sized blade sharpened to a tip at the top of it.

Roland swung Durendal at X, an attack that the librarian was easily able to block. More red hands shot out of his floating book, forcing Roland to dodge or waste precious time dissipating them with his blade. At the same time, the librarian attacked with his own flurry jabs with his spear.

The two-fold attack did pressure him about, more than the Proselytes did, but it was far from anything that he couldn’t handle. In fact, he was already starting to get the gist of X’s attacks. The man himself was fairly fast, but not that good or experienced as a fighter as far as he could tell. Plus, the hands from his book didn’t attack him randomly, as if with a mind of its own. He quickly found a way to make them much less of a problem to deal with.

Another exchange of attacks. This time, however, Roland quickly got the upper hand. By keeping close proximity to the librarian, he could limit the number of options X could attack him with the constant barrage of hands that wouldn’t either hit or deter both him and the librarian. Aside from that, the librarian himself used a fighting style very reminiscent of how the Zwei fought, making adjustments that made it more suitable for a spear than a signature Zwei-style zweihander.

However, he did find it a bit odd that X would choose that specific fighting style. It was one that was meant to be fought with two people, one acting as a “shield” for another acting as a “sword.” Any combination of the two forms had proven to be impractical in the past.

As a Library that supposedly absorbed the knowledge of the people whose lives it claimed, he’d think there was a better choice to choose from.

Roland threw a particularly heavy slash at X’s chest just as the librarian was bringing it down from a prior attack. X managed to block it, though his guard was sloppy. The force of the attack sent him staggering backwards, his guard flying wide open.

It was an opportunity Roland couldn’t miss. He was onto X in an instant. Roland swung a deadly diagonal slash at the librarian’s chest.

Right before the blade could reach its target, for just an instant, Roland saw a transparent, red barrier suddenly pop into existence just over his body. However, his swing was pulled down too far to stop it.

Blood splattered onto the ground as the blade ripped through X’s body unhindered, leaving behind a deep, bloodied wound. The librarian let out a grunt of pain.

More blood-red hands shot from the book, soaring into the air before slamming right onto Roland. The fixer quickly hops backwards, putting some distance between him and the librarian.

He would’ve normally done the opposite: close the distance and maybe go for another hit. However, his more cautious instincts pulled him away from doing so.

Something about that hit didn’t feel right, he thought. I should’ve been able to separate his upper body from his torso with that one…

He bent his knees, preparing for another assault.

It doesn’t matter though. I’m way out of his league. I’ll just get him with the next one.

The librarian let out another pained exhale. His golden eyes focused onto the man in front of him as he gripped his spear tightly with both hands.

Geez, he’s way above everyone else I’ve fought before, he thought. Grade Ones sure are something else. It’s a good thing Bloodbath is such a powerfully defensive Abnormality. But even then, my life is still very much in danger. And although I’m able to shorten the strength gap with Snow Queen’s EGO, he still holds a noticeable advantage over me.

He grit his teeth, biting back another hiss of pain.

Angela must have foreseen this when she told me to do this reception myself and just take some of the Proselytes instead of the assistant librarians. If I were to distribute the Abnos’ abilities towards multiple people, they’d just be quickly slaughtered. And it’s no coincidence that my floor is also the one that specializes in one-on-one interactions…

I’ll bring out the Heart of Aspiration. Let’s see if I’ll at least be able to match with him.

His book, floating by his side, began to flip itself through its various pages.

That was the moment that the Grade One Fixer shot forward, that deadly broadsword of his cutting through the air. The heavy-looking blade dissolved into a mere dark blur, barely even visible to X’s eyes. An overwhelmingly fast attack befitting of a Fixer designated the second highest rank on the Fixer hierarchy.

Before, X would’ve been barely able to block an attack of that speed. Not at all if he didn’t have his spear in a ready position.

But now, he didn’t have to rely on just his own speed anymore.

He could already feel power begin to flood into him as a second, more powerful heart began to beat with discernible force within his body. For a moment, the beating felt so forceful that it felt as if it was about to rip his body apart from the inside. His body quickly adapted, the painful thumping dissolving away.

In a flash, with a burst of speed unseen from him before, X jabbed the EGO right at Roland’s face.

The Fixer’s eyes widened for a moment, before he quickly moved to the side, the tip of the spear’s blade grazing Roland’s cheek.

It was such a superficial wound, one that normally wouldn’t have made any kind of impact in a fight.

However, X’s spear was an EGO weapon directly extracted from an Abnormality. It was far from normal.

The wound, just as quickly as it had appeared, frosted over, a layer of blood-red ice coating the opening of the wound. However, the real damage was what was happening inside of the Fixer’s body.

Just a tiny bit of the Snow Queen’s frigid winds had entered his body. However, even that much was enough to slow him down. Not by much, but by enough to even out the playing field.

The Fixer suddenly fell onto one knee, his eyes widening as he coughed, expelling a puff of frigid air from his mouth as he did so. He jammed Durendal into the ground, supporting himself with one hand on its hilt.

The Heart of Aspiration beating inside him, X lunged forward. His spear seemed to blur out of existence as he shot three jabs at Roland, one after the other in very quick succession.

Roland quickly pulled Durendal out of the ground, parrying the quick jabs with relative ease, even as it expelled another cough of icy air from him.

The two exchanged another multitude of blows, metal clashing against metal as they blocked and dodged each other’s attacks. Black and gray blurs danced around each other in a waltz of death, neither able to afford even a moment of lost concentration.

X grit his teeth as he went in for another barrage of jabs.

Geez, just when I think I could get a speed advantage over him with the Heart and slowing him down with some frost from Snow Queen’s EGO, he speeds up to match my speed! It’s getting harder to get another hit in.

As a Grade One, he has more experience than me. If this battle draws out, things will ultimately tilt in his favor.

I have to end things as quickly as possible.

That was when he got a crazy idea.

Roland goes for a two-fold slash, both of which X dodges. Before he could fix his posture, Roland brought Durendal back and thrusted it right into the librarian’s open chest.

X would’ve normally been able to dodge or block the strike with ease. However, doing so wouldn’t net him any more advantage than he already had. He had to go for a riskier approach.

X’s left arm shot up, right in front of the path of the Fixer’s sword. The dark blade stabbed into his arm, effectively stopping it, but not without a grunt of pain from the librarian.

Roland’s eyes widened as X moved his arm aside, forcefully moving his blade out of the way and, as a result, opening up his guard. At the same time, gritting his teeth, he jabbed his spear right at the Fixer’s chest with all the strength he could muster.

That guard wouldn’t be open for long. However, with how fast the patron librarian was currently, combined with how much the sudden, absurd move had startled Roland, he’d have more than enough time to pierce through the Fixer’s chest with his spear.

For all intents and purposes, the battle should’ve ended there.

Except, he apparently didn’t quite have a grasp of just who his opponent was.

As if in slow motion, as the spear tip neared Roland’s chest, X saw him close his eyes. Briefly, the librarian wondered why, but then pitted it to him accepting death. But just as the thought passed through his head…

Quiet as a whisper, so quiet that X almost missed it, the Fixer uttered one word.

“Furioso.”

The next thing he knew, X had suddenly lost all feeling in his left arm. He still held his determined expression, even as his spear pierce through mere air. It would take him a moment to realize that he had just missed.

He heard the sound of a blade cutting through the air as a dark blur shot past his side.

Then an explosion of pain as blood spilled from two newly created gashes along his abdomen.

X’s eyes widened, unable to even gasp as coughed up blood.

What in the-! How did he-?!

Unbelievable. He’s inhuman…

X clutched his wounds, just barely managing to hold onto his spear. He fell onto one knee, stabbing the speartip into the ground and using it to support himself. Bearing through the pain, he got back onto his feet as quickly as he could and turned to Roland, wondering why the Fixer hadn’t delivered the final blow just yet. He shortly got his answer when he turned around.

The Fixer was also barely on his feet, his whole body slumped forward. He was also breathing hard with exhaustion, each exhale leaving behind an icy huff, a testament to the Snow Queen’s icy winds still taking a toll on the Fixer from within. He seemed just as winded as X did, though, noticeably, he was completely unscathed save for the tiny slice wound on his cheek.

X was borrowing power from three Abnormalities, one of which he was using the EGO of. And although none of them were above the He risk classification, it was no less than taking on three Abnormalities at once. Nobody who had been invited to the Library up to that point had been able to accomplish anything close to that.

I have a feeling…that I’m going to be having nightmares about this in the future, X thought.

The two men remained there for a moment, facing each other as they took a moment to catch their breaths. The librarian ever so slightly raised his spear, a movement that Roland responded to by also doing so with Durendal.

Then, it was as if the two had disappeared, the sparks flying between their individual weapons being the only indication of their next exchange of blows.

Roland grit his teeth as he blocked another quick jab aimed at his head.

He cursed himself for not ending the fight sooner. If he did, then he wouldn’t be in his current situation, every movement feeling more labored than the last due to the strange chill running through his veins, freezing his bones and forcing him to use more effort to move at the same speed he would normally be able to move in without nearly as much effort. Seriously, even a single, half-baked Furioso took so much out of him, which he found embarrassing

He’d have to dig into what workshop made that spear. However, he’d have to get out of here first.

The librarian, however, was also obviously exhausting. He was fast and strong, probably a consequence of the abnormally strong heartbeat Roland could hear coming from him with his augmented hearing, but his movements weren’t as sharpened as those of an experienced fighter. Moreso, he was missing an arm. If the Fixer could keep this up for just a bit longer, he could outlast the patron librarian in a battle of attrition.

The battle raged on for another couple of long minutes. Just as before, neither were finding purchase against the other as sparks exploded with each powerful blow against each other.

However, soon, that was all about to change.

He sent another flurry of slashes at X, all of which the librarian barely managed to block. Roland’s eyes widened as he huffed out another puff of icy air.

He’s slowing down! Now’s my chance to end it!

Roland feinted a swing to X’s left, the librarian’s obvious weak point. The librarian moved to guard his right side, his arm moving across his body in order to hold it defensively by his side. The moment he saw that, the Fixer pulled back his strike.

X was fast, but he wasn’t that fast. Definitely not fast enough to abruptly change the trajectory of his spear so quickly.

Roland sliced at his side with a wide slash. More blood spilled as the blade cut through X’s skin, the same red barrier that appeared before preventing his blade from slicing deep enough to cut open his stomach.

Roland didn’t stop though.

Rather, his eyes shadowed over, widening ever so slightly with murderous focus. An ominous shadow loomed over his expression.

He stopped! His amateurism at fighting is starting to show, at this crucial moment! I have enough of an opportunity to try that again. Not a half-baked three-hit version like the last one, but the entire thing! Now’s my chance to end it!

TO KILL HIM!

Roland raised Durendal, X staring wide-eyed at the dark blade that would deliver him to his end. The heavy thumping of the librarian’s very resonant heartbeat began to slow down ever so slightly. His lips opened ever so slightly as he uttered a single word.

“Furioso.”

Roland immediately swung Durendal at the librarian’s exposed neck, aiming to end it right then and there.

X just stared, wide-eyed, as Roland’s broadsword neared his neck.

Time itself seemed to have slowed to a crawl. A chill spread across his whole body, locking his limbs in place even as the obvious danger that was to claim his life neared.

But the Fixer, even despite everything X tried to equalize their speed, was just simply too fast for him. He might be able to block the first attack, yes, but there was no way he’d be able to do so for the subsequent ones. Especially not with an arm missing.

Perspiration flowed down his forehead, a result of both his exhaustion and the fear brewing within him. A fear of death, something he had gotten used to seeing in the eyes of others.

Unknown to him, a certain object, beating heartily inside of him, would respond to those feelings.

At first, the beating remained as it did, at a steady enough pace to empower its vessel without posing any direct danger. It hadn’t diverted from that pace ever since X had borrowed it for the power it provided, even as Roland attacked him with Furioso the first time.

Now, however, such reservations were no longer of any need.

The beating began to pick up speed. At first, by an almost unnoticeable amount, not enough to divert X’s attention from his impending doom.

Then it got faster. Faster and stronger. Only then did X finally begin to give it notice.

For a moment, it felt as if there was an earthquake going on within his body. The thumping had grown to such a level that it felt like his insides were being torn apart (which they probably were). He almost doubled over in pain.

But soon after, following that painful beating, another feeling quickly overwhelmed it.

A feeling of power. Much like the one he felt when he first accepted the Heart of Aspiration, but at a much higher measure.

With newfound speed that he didn’t even believe was possible for him, X moved his spear back across his body, just in time to put it between himself and Durendal’s path.

Sparks flew as the dark blade collided against the spear’s handle.

Roland’s eyes widened slightly upon seeing that. But his barely apparent surprise didn’t stop him.

Three nigh-simultaneous slashes were sent towards the librarian’s neck, waistline, and legs. X grit, just barely bringing his spear across to block both slashes.

Four strikes! He’d only did three last time! he thought, hissing slightly at the pain of a newly-created slice wound just along his side left behind by the dark broadsword. But there’s no way he’ll just stop there.

X’s intuition was confirmed when Roland went in for another two slashes, this time an upwards and a downwards one at seemingly the same time. Had X not been moving just as fast as Roland was, he’d have questioned how such a feat was even possible for a human. Though at this point, he was convinced that the Fixer was more superhuman than human…

X dodged the downwards slash while raising the handle of his spear to block the upwards slash.

His block was sloppy though due to how quickly he had to move. And he hadn’t taken into account the fact that although Roland’s attack had picked up in speed…it didn’t trade off any power in exchange for it.

The upwards swing bludgeoned through the poorly-made guard. X was caught by complete surprise at the sudden burst of strength from the attack, his guard completely breaking as his spear was sent flying into the air…

Roland brought Durendal down for the final slash.

Although X had been cut many times during this fight, he had managed to barely remain on his feet and able to move, mostly due to the help of Bloodbath shielding him from a majority of the force from the Fixer’s attacks. However, had he been hit just one more time, he knew that even with Bloodbath, the resulting wounds would be too severe for him to sustain.

It was an unfortunate truth that rose back to the forefront of his mind when the pitch-black broadsword cut right through his chest. Even Bloodbath, with its extensive defensive capabilities, was barely able to keep him from being sliced into two.

The whole interaction, from when Roland began Furioso, couldn’t have lasted more than a couple seconds.

Blood spilled from his mouth as his eyes widened. Missing an arm and riddled with slash wounds, there was almost no chance that he would be able to hold onto life for much longer.

Except, he was surprised to see that he didn’t feel all-too…startled at the unfortunate way events had unfolded for him. It was as if, despite his defiance in the face of death, his unconscious mind had already accepted that he wouldn’t be making out of this battle with his life.

However, his mind, still not having been completely snapped out of a battle-attentive state, picked up on a…pretty big detail.

The fact that Roland, after finishing his attack with that one last heavy swing, had stopped moving.

And it may be only for a moment, but a moment was all X needed. With the little bit of life he had left and the bit of control he still had over his own body, he moved.

From stillness at his side, like a viper, his arm suddenly rose and jabbed the icy spear forward.

X didn’t fear death. There was no reason to, he knew that even if he died, he’d be brought back as if nothing had ever happened to him. It was a mindset that most of the librarians still had. The pain of dying a painful death in battle was enough reason to fear death itself. But X had already gotten past that.

What he feared was not accomplishing his objective, which was not gathering his guest’s book. Thus, even if he did die, he wouldn’t have minded as long as he got the book. It was an mindset that allowed him to finish things off in situations where most others couldn’t.

He was always an objective-driven man, after all.

The Fixer, due to a mix of having evidently believed that he had already ended the fight and being exhausted, was caught by complete surprise.

He was completely unable to respond as the spear tip was stabbed right through his chest, coming out the other side.

A strike through the body. The only actually damaging attack and the second out of the whole fight he had managed to land. Not as fatal compared to the many heavy slash wounds X took during their fight, he actually wasn’t sure if he even hit any fatal organs, but still fatal nonetheless.

This was the Snow Queen’s EGO weapon, after all. And if a mere scratch on the cheek was enough to flood the Fixer’s body with enough frigidity to bring his speed down to X’s level, being completely run through was more than enough to completely freeze his innards, effectively killing him. It didn’t matter how enhanced or augmented his organs were, they wouldn’t be able to do anything to fight back against the freezing winds that were flooding his systems.

X smiled as he stared at the Fixer, who was frozen in front of him, that very same wide-eyed expression still on his face. It looked a bit dopey and X almost felt the need to comment on it, had he not known that Roland wouldn’t have been able to hear him anyway.

“It’s my…win…” he coughed out, before he slowly closed his eyes.

Then, simultaneously, both men exploded into stacks of golden pages.

Book of Retired, Kickass Grade One Fixer Acquired

**********

CURTAIN CALL FOR THE RECEPTION OF A RETIRED, KICKASS GRADE ONE FIXER

**********

Ridiculously Idealized Library of Ruina - Chapter 2 - weird_shipper341 (2024)

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