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Past Arc ㉑
The dragons had attacked people suddenly. Mankind, which had been living in peace, was faced with a crisis that threatened its existence. Complete ruin was narrowly avoided thanks to the saviour known as Sariel, but if the dragons continued their offensive it would still be just a matter of time. However, just as suddenly as it began, the dragons’ attacks abruptly stopped. But, that wasn’t something to celebrate. As the dragons had triggered a form of destruction that was even more severe than their direct attacks.

To the dragons, while it couldn’t be said that it was trivial matter if the planet was destroyed, it wasn’t a big problem either. The dragons settled on this planet in order to eventually rule over it as part of their domain. For the dragons who considered themselves to be supreme beings, ruling over the planet was to be expected for them. Consequently, a planet that they couldn’t rule over had no merit. Being unable to get their plans back on track due to the interfering existence known as Sariel, with the planet due to be destroyed anyway, there was no point in trying to rule over it. Therefore, the dragons took action that would gain them a benefit, albeit a small one. That’s all it was to the dragons, all it was to send the planet towards destruction. Even if they took no action anyway, the planet would still be destroyed in a few centuries. In which case, there was no problem with bringing that forwards a bit. Besides, it would be bothersome if the inhabitants of this planet took off into space. Exterminating them before that could happen would be killing two birds with one stone. Thus, the dragons seized the planet’s MA Energy.

「Is this the end?」

The President muttered that. Nobody responded to that. The room was filled with a heavy atmosphere.

In the country of Dazdoldia, the use of MA Energy had been banned until the very end. The people had already become aware that MA Energy was the very life force of the planet, as well as the fact that if the usage of it continued then the planet would be on the path towards its collapse. And also, that the dragons had suddenly attacked for that reason. That was the explanation given via the Dragon Religion. The Sariel Society had issued a similar warning. Most countries had ignored that, and kept on using MA Energy to enjoy the benefits. While other countries gazed on it like it was sweet nectar, the President stubbornly refused to allow the use of MA Energy even so. Due to the bitter reaction from the citizens of the country, demonstrations seeking to lift the ban on MA Energy were almost a daily occurrence. However, the President refused to bend despite all that, responding that the usage of MA Energy inside the country would be severely punished. And now, the very same President was being called the wisest ruler in the world. Those who had been hurling abuse at him until just recently, were now singing his praises. Even on hearing that, the furrow in the President’s brow wouldn’t slacken.

「What’s the situation?」
「Abnormal weather has broken out in many places, and strange phenomenons are occurring.」
「There are frequent riots occurring between the citizens, with frequent murders and crimes being committed.」
「The rate of suicides is increasing. There are many mass suicides amongst the members of the Dragon Religion.」
「The distribution of food is facing delays.」

The successive reports expose the hopeless situation. Naturally it’s hopeless. Since the end is approaching.

「……How long… do we have left?」

In response to the President’s question, nobody offered an immediate reply. As if they were afraid to say it, not a single person opened their mouth to talk. However, that couldn’t last forever.

「In Potimas Hyphenath’s opinion, we might have a year.」

On hearing Potimas’s name, the President lays bare his annoyance. It wasn’t possible to lay all the blame for current situation at Potimas’s door. However, Potimas was the genesis of it all without doubt. Due to one man’s delusions, the planet was on the path towards collapse. However, the only one who had the potential to break through this situation was again, nobody else but Potimas. For that reason, no matter how repugnant it was, Potimas couldn’t be restrained. Due to those circumstances, the President would get in a bad mood just by hearing Potimas’s name.

「However, that was only for how long the planet could retain its original form, and in his opinion the time limit for sustaining life would be lower than that.」
「By the time that’s determined, the situation will have gotten proportionally worse.」

The implication being, if you’re going to make a decision then do it quickly. Since the others have come this far with the President, they would decide to follow the President’s will. So no matter how outrageous a decision he makes, once the President who is being called the wisest ruler in the world makes a decision, it will surely be accepted.

The President has the right to decide, but, he doesn’t seem about to state anything. Due to the ban on using MA Energy, the frequency of attacks on the country of Dazdoldia was low. While other countries have received catastrophic damage, here it was comparatively minor. In addition, with the reputation the President has, it could be said that no country can oppose Dazdoldia right now. For that very reason, the President must make a prudent decision. Since it was a situation where whatever Dazdoldia determines to be the right answer will be treated as the right answer even if it’s wrong.

「Sigh…」

The President breathes a long sigh. Not matter how much he thinks, in the end, the conclusion he arrives at is the same. As the President, as the person who stands for all the people, no matter how hard it is to accept, he must make that decision.

「Is there… no other way?」

Rather than being an inquiry, his mutter was instead to confirm the answer within himself. Also, there was nobody who responded to him. They couldn’t respond. A long, long silence enveloped the room.

「How goes it with Potimas Hyphenath?」
「We’ve found him.」
「Then, restrain him immediately!」
「Yessir!」
「Once he is restrained, have him start the preparations.」
「……Yessir!」

That was the moment when the man who could by no exaggeration be called the representative of mankind made his decision. In response to that decision, everyone in the conference room bowed their heads.

The President alone, stood up. Then, walked up to a wall. A dull sound resounded. It was the sound of the President beating the wall.

「Just who, just who is the wisest ruler in the world. I’m, I’m nothing but the most shameful one!」

While screaming, he punched the wall again. And again. Again, and again.

「President! President!」

He must have punched the wall really hard, as a cabinet minister rushed to stop him on seeing blood trickling down his fists. However, even so, the President continued to punch the wall. It took three people to pull the President away from the wall, and finally his self-mutilation stopped.

「I’m scum! Total scum!」

However, his words didn’t stop. He wouldn’t stop hurling abuse at himself.

「President! President! You are a splendid person! You are not scum in the least!」

A cabinet minister spoke his true feelings. However, that didn’t shake the President’s heart.

「To repay the kindness that was received with ingratitude. How can you say that I’m not scum!? Dammit, dammit!」

The President screamed while breathing heavily, and sat down in his chair as if losing his strength.

「My name, must be spoken as a curse forevermore.」
「That’s…」
「It must. It must be. Therefore, we must make that future.」

In front of the President’s tragic resolution, the cabinet ministers suck into silence.

「I shall stop at nothing now. Like the scum I am, I will do whatever it takes to protect the people. Until my own soul disappears. That is, the only thing someone as shameless as me can do.」

With bloodshot eyes, yet, with unwavering conviction. Thus, the President declared.

「We shall follow you to the depths of hell, President Dustin.」

The cabinet ministers bowed their heads. They were a shameless group, however, they had solidarity in their firm conviction.

And so, they began to move. Towards Potimas’s proposal to revive the planet. The proposal to revive the planet by returning what was lost – by converting the colossal amount of energy held by the Goddess Sariel into MA Energy. That amounted to asking Sariel to die for them. To one who had saved mankind by continuing to stand up against the dragons. They knew it was shameless, but even so they didn’t stop. They couldn’t stop. Everything was to save mankind from its own foolishness.