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TL Note: The wording here is not the same is used to refer to the Great Calamity of 400 years ago. The Great Calamity, caused by the Witch of Envy, is written as “大災厄”, while the title of this chapter (and later uses of the same expression) is written as “大災”. Hence the different localization. This localization was already utilized in one line in Chapter 55.
――Abandon the city and beat a retreat.
In response to the declaration of the man in the oni mask, Yorna’s cheeks stiffened and her gaze sharpened.
She had just now decided to respect the opinion of the man in front of her, because Yorna believed it was the best way to protect her domain, Chaosflame.
But contrary to Yorna’s resolution, the man spoke of the abandonment of the city,
Yorna: [I cannot possibly accept such an opinion.]
Abel: [Ho. Why is that?]
Yorna: [Is it not obvious? This is the Demon City of Chaosflame, the last place for those who have been pursued by the Empire and have no one to turn to, nowhere to go… To throw that away…]
Abel: [Is unacceptable, is it? ――Worthless sentimentality.]
Yorna: [――Hk, Vincent Vollachia…!]
Gritting her teeth and the coldhearted words spoken by the man crossing his arms, the ruler of the Empire, Yorna called out his name, accompanied by a stern gaze. In reply, the man touched the oni mask with his hand.
And once the black eyes, visible even through the oni mask, reflected Yorna,
Abel: [I go by the name of Abel now, so it is inappropriate to call me that. And if you are planning on begging benevolence from the Emperor, that would be quite thoughtless.]
Yorna: [――. The people of the Empire are strong, is it?]
The Emperor―― or rather, the man who called himself Abel, proclaimed that that exactly was the way of the Empire.
The Emperor, the pinnacle of the Vollachian Empire, must be the embodiment of the iron-blooded code which the people of the Empire believed in, revered. Whether it was true or not, the Emperor had to affirm it.
With Abel’s assertion, Yorna admonished herself for wrongfully making a request.
Was Abel aware of the identity of that shadow to begin with? Of the titanic blackness that had engulfed Crimson Lapis Castle whole?
Was that why he had come to the callous decision to abandon the city?
Yorna: [Do you deem it so dangerous that we have to flee immediately? What in the world is that?] 
Abel: [――The Great Disaster.]
Yorna: [Great, Disaster…?]
What followed to Yorna’s spree of questions were a scant few hushed words.
However, running opposite to the quietness of his tone, the weight of the words he had spun was enough to stir bewilderment in Yorna. ――A large tragedy, it meant.
Yorna: [By “Great Disaster”, what exactly do you mean?]
Abel: [Something that endangers the existence of the Empire, and brings about ruin that not even the light of the sun can reach… That was what the Stargazer spoke of it. When I first heard it, I assessed it as an overstatement.]
Abel: [Looking at that thing, you will find that there was not the least bit of exaggeration in the expression used.]
Pointing at it with his chin, at the manifested darkness―― at the Great Disaster that brought about ruin, as Abel had named it.
Yorna could not help but feel some bitterness inside as the word “Stargazer” echoed, spoken by his mouth. The existence of the Stargazer was one of the Vollachian Empire’s evil practices.
At least, that was the only way Yorna could describe it.
To begin with, the genesis of Yorna’s strong, fervent wish was by no means unrelated to the Stargazer.
Yorna: [So, will you take the Stargazer’s word for it and turn tail and run away? If so, that’d surely be an expression of gutlessness. I think you’re the embodiment of the Empire’s way of doing things… A very, very good example of it.]
Abel: [If you believe you are able to sway me with some cheap provocation, you would do better to correct that misconception post-haste. First of all, I was not the one who took the Stargazer’s words at face value, and perpetrated this outrage.]
Yorna: […I see that you also have some thoughts on what the Stargazer foretold.]
Abel: [Any owner of sound judgment would have no pleasant thoughts of it. But even if those are unnecessary and ignored, more shall follow. That is the troublesome thing about them. ――Hm.]
As he spoke, Abel’s words were interrupted by the eager Louis’s growl.
She seemed to be reproaching Abel and Yorna for having a conversation not directly related to how the Great Disaster would be quelled.
That would be only natural. The Great Disaster had――,
Abel: [――.Yorna Mishigure, I want to make sure of one thing.]
Yorna: […What, is it?]
Narrowing his eyes at Louis’s strong appeal, Abel pointed to the Great Disaster wriggling about wildly. Once he directed his question at her, Yorna narrowed her almond-shaped eyes.
She could roughly envision what words would follow, and what questions would be asked.
Abel: [If you and this girl are together, there must be one more person, a black-haired child. Where has that one vanished to?]
Yorna: [――. If you mean that child…]
As she took a glance, Yorna’s gaze conveyed the answer to the question far more eloquently than words would.
Yorna’s line of sight turned towards the Great Disaster, to which Louis was franticly pointing at. The boy was present when the darkness that had swallowed up the Crimson Lapis Castle first poured out.
――No, from what Yorna had seen, the Great Disaster had apparently overflowed from within the boy.
Abel: [As I expected.]
In response to Yorna’s silent reply, Abel placed the last piece of the puzzle, in his mind.
It sounded like an ultimatum, and Yorna looked at Abel, calling out, “You…”. But at the call, Abel gave a slow sideways shake of his head. 
Abel: [Though our intentions have gone awry, there is no way around it. No point in obsessing over plans, if ultimately no results are obtained.]
Yorna: [So, that means?]
Abel: [The strategy is yet the same. Abandon the Demon City and beat a retreat. ――But damage shall still occur. We shan’t be able to avoid it wholly.]
Yorna: [――Hk, I can’t agree to someth…]
And, at the moment Yorna was about to tell him that she could not accept such a decision, something happened.
Louis: [Aa, uh!]
Letting out a cry of pain, Abel fell to his knees on the spot, clutching his stomach in his hands.
Faster than Yorna could close the distance between him and herself, Louis rushed into the gap, driving a palm strike into him with her short little arm.
She threw a glare at the one who had made a ruthless decision, Abel, and growled in her throat with a violent snort,
Louis: [Uau… Uau!]
Exclaiming this, she turned around and disappeared from sight in the blink of an eye.
It was the instantaneous teleport that she had displayed during the battle atop the castle tower against Olbart. Not being able to teleport long distances, Louis teleported repeatedly, returning once more to the battlefield dominated by the Great Disaster.
Far in the distance, Kafma was stalling the Great Disaster using the insects within his own body.
For Yorna, it was hard to believe that the girl possessed anything that could deal a decisive blow against the Great Disaster.
If she did, they would have tried to rescue that boy on their own, instead of relying on Abel. So she was without a trump card.
If there was such a thing as a trump card, it would be――,
Yorna: [――Wouldn’t it be possible to oppose it with the Flame of the Yang Sword?]
Still clutching his stomach, Abel knelt on the roof of the building.
While she believed that Abel deserved the blow from Louis, Yorna also believed that Abel was the only one who held the key to overcoming the situation.
The Emperor of the Vollachian Empire was endowed with a truly Enchanted Sword, a sword counted as one of the Holy Swords.
With the Flame of the Yang Sword, even that Great Disaster’s existence would――,
Abel: [――I have no intention of drawing it out.]
However, Abel’s answer to Yorna’s appeal was not the one she had hoped for.
And Yorna could not consider that this answer was one a normal person would have given. Even if she was aware that the Great Disaster was an unusual occurrence, one that prompted a readiness to abandon the Demon City in him while deeming the thing as something of utmost danger.
Yorna: [But still, you won’t draw the Yang Sword… How could you possibly just let that be?]
Yorna: [Answer me, Vincent Vollachia! If you are the… If you are the Emperor of this Empire, then there must be a role for you to carry out! If you are the Emperor, then…!]
Her vision grew red, and Yorna grabbed Abel by the collar as he was kneeling down, making him face her gaze.
During all that, the city governed by Yorna, Chaosflame, was in dire peril. To what extent could Kafma and Louis resist the Great Disaster? To what extent had the impact of the Crimson Lapis Castle’s explosion assisted in diminishing the power of the Great Disaster?
She did not understand anything. What she did understand was that she could not leave things as they were.
At this rate, Yorna’s vow, her desire, would go unfulfilled.
For that, no matter what, whatever the cost, she required the cooperation of the man in front of her.
Yorna: [If you are the Emperor of the Vollachian Empire…]
Abel: […I shall not utilize the Yang Sword.]
Yorna: [――Hk, you…]
By displaying her sharp canine teeth, Yorna attempted to intimidate Abel, stubbornly refusing to change his opinion.
Rarely would she make a gesture as crude as showing the fangs in her mouth. However, if such was her wish, these fangs of hers could easily tear the slender neck of the man in front of her to scraps.
But such threats were routine for the man in front of her, Abel.
The Emperor of the Vollachian Empire was an entity holding a position in which he was constantly confronted with the unceasing murderous intent and hostility of those around him. It was for this reason that the man held that sort of position――,
Yorna: [If you are the Vollachian Empire’s…]
Abel: [――When shall you understand, Yorna Mishigure?]
Abel: [The Emperor of the current generation, Vincent Vollachia, differs from the Emperor you envision. I am not obligated to perform the likes of acting according to your desires and ideals.]
Faced with his stance, clearly severed from her own, Yorna let leak a small sigh.
Finally, her hand parted from the neck of the man it had grasped, and she took a single unhurried step backward. Stepping back, Yorna gnashed her teeth as she fixed her gaze on Abel, holding his own neck.
She understood it, without being told so.
With or without the oni mask, the man before her eyes did not bear the slightest resemblance to the man Yorna envisioned. Even if the blood of Yorna’s beloved ran through his veins.
Yorna: […I cannot accept your words.]
Abel: [If you do not abandon the Demon City, you shall lose everything else as well.]
Yorna: [This Demon City right now is my everything!]
Yorna answered with open arms, pulling out the kiseru she had inserted into her bosom and lit its tip. Immediately after, she sucked the smoke from the kiseru with all her might, before blowing it into the sky.
The purple smoke spreading out formed a massive, humongous cloud which headed for the outskirts of the battlefield in which the Great Disaster was stirring―― over the heads of the people of the Demon City, many of whom were terrified at the sight of that menace.
Following that, the puff of purple smoke slowly dissipated and fell down upon each of the residents―― upon each of her children, purple smoke settling within their hands.
Yorna: [――Love me.]
Yorna’s murmur was so faint that only Abel, present in the same place, could hear it.
However, Yorna’s will was understood by all those who held the purple smoke that had descended upon them. Therefore, although her voice did not reach them, they collectively tossed the purple smoke into their open mouths.
Yorna: [――Be loved by me.]
Yorna’s continued words, her mutterings did not serve anyone or anything.
If anything, the words were surely an indulgence offered to Yorna, by Yorna herself. It was a necessary ritual, an invocation, for the sake of pushing herself forward.
Those whom Yorna’s purple smoke reached, those who ingested it, slowly, unhurriedly raised their gazes. ――And, within one of the eyes of each one of them, a flame alighteth.
Those loved by Yorna, those who loved Yorna; their souls commenced blazing, looking up towards the Great Disaster.
Without a doubt, this was a communion of souls―― the power of the Soul Marriage Technique completely enveloped the Demon City.
Yorna: [This city, the city of Chaosflame won’t be lost. ――I wish that you all, alongside me, get that ill-mannered guest of ours to return from where it came.]
While adopting a stance, Yorna swung her kiseru in front of her.
What could be heard from all around and throughout the city, was the earth rumbling. Fiercely and fearfully, the noise of innumerable shoes resounded, of innumerable footsteps, of innumerable breaths, and of innumerable wills to fight.
In accordance with the loving call of the leader of the Demon City, the converging loved ones advanced.
Witnessing them, Yorna bent her knees slightly, then leapt high into the air.
The destination of this leap, that which awaited her, was the shadow of disaster, filled with great darkness.
As the one repelling all things that threatened the Demon City――,
Yorna: [――I, Yorna Mishigure, the Flamboyant, will serve as your opponent.]
As the sound of the earth rumbling echoed, there was a furious war cry, akin to the entire city clamoring.
With the world dominated by those, Abel dropped the hand from his neck, as he observed the battlefield.
Performing a reckless charge during her shout, Yorna easily manipulated the wreckage of the cityscape and the Crimson Lapis Castle alike, hammering a fierce attack on the Great Disaster.
Using a building to strike at something of ambiguous nature could be called quite the unorthodox attack; yet, due to that nature, the jet-black darkness nevertheless expanded itself―― what effect the attack had borne on the Great Disaster remained unclear.
Had it been effective to some degree, or had it been wholly meaningless?
Abel: [――It sure shall not be wholly meaningless.]
It was not that he was moved by Yorna’s reckless assault, but, for certain, the enemy was not one that would be completely immune to such an attack, as was noticeable from how it stopped taking action as often.
Crimson Lapis Castle had been engulfed by the Great Disaster as of the latter’s appearance; in spite of her attachment to this castle that had served as her long-time abode, Yorna had performed an attack by transforming it into a destructive force, certainly slowing the momentum of the Great Disaster.
If not for that, the Great Disaster would have continued to grow at its initial pace, and swallowed the Demon City whole, and in that manner, stretched its abyss to the entire Empire.
――However, the collapse of the Empire had only been delayed. If left in this current state, it was inescapable.
Abel: [That is the most detestable part about it.]
Grinding his molars, Abel recalled the details of the man who had foreseen the Great Disaster.
A convenient being who had foreseen the coming threat, yet refused to be asked for more. Or should he call said being, a pawn of the Observers?
In any event, his resentment of that person did not help him here. If he had to, it was perhaps worth pondering about that individual as one in a similar position.
Abel: [――Natsuki Subaru, you are…]
With his focus on the Great Disaster that continued writhing about, muttering, Abel mentioned the name he had been avoiding.
And at that moment.
???: [Abel-chin! We’re back!]
Amidst all the noise that was not unlikely to be swallowed by the rumbling and bellowing of the earth, a high-pitched voice firmly reached Abel’s ears.
Turning his head back, the owner of the voice fell from the sky. Landing behind Abel with a light thud, was a girl waving her hand, and a brown-skinned woman holding her.
Abel: [You have returned, Medium, Taritta.]
Medium: [Somehow! Isn’t this situation different from what you talked about before, Abel-chin? Where’s Yorna-chan?]
Abel: [――. Over there.]
Freed from Taritta’s arms, Medium directed a question at Abel as she descended onto the rooftop, to which Abel cocked his chin. Ahead of them, skipping about in midair, Yorna attacked the Great Disaster with physical strikes repeatedly by freely manipulating buildings.
In addition, Yorna was assisted in her challenge against the Great Disaster by another, by Kafma, who likewise had the means of using long-ranged attacks.
However, since Kafma’s thorn vines were also “insects” raised inside his body, it was not a good idea to let them be swallowed up by the inexhaustible Great Disaster.
In addition, the residents of Chaosflame had assembled, each of them dismantling the buildings in their environs, then attacking by having several people throw chunks of buildings like cannonballs into the Great Disaster.
In the past, at the time Yorna had raised the banner of revolt against the Imperial Capital, the very city itself had been wielded as a weapon. A fearsome collective tactic that had caused great distress to the Imperial Soldiers to gain total control of the city.
However, it was unclear whether that tactic, which had been effective against a group of hostiles, would be effective against a Great Disaster whose strength was unfathomable.
To begin with, he could see from a distance――,
Taritta: [The Great Disaster, is it getting bigger…?]
Medium: [That thing, we can’t leave it be!? Abel-chin, what should we do?]
As they witnessed the Great Disaster spread slowly but surely, Medium and Taritta requested for Abel’s decision.
Originally, the goal was to withdraw and abandon the Demon City with Yorna’s assistance, but that would go unfilled due to Yorna’s obsession with the Demon City.
In that case, the tide would change depending on what Vincent did. ――No,
Abel: [――Or, before that, can you change the situation, Taritta?]
With Abel having mentioned her by name in his question, Taritta opened her narrow eyes in surprise, at a loss for words.
However, that surprise was not because she had no clue as to what he was talking about, but rather because she had not expected that to be told to her at this time.
In other words, she had an idea of what Abel had just pointed out.
Medium: [T-the way you said that was kinda strange, wasn’t it? What do you mean?]
Abel: [It concerns you not. Taritta, what did you call that thing?]
Taritta: [W-what are you talking about…]
Abel: [――The Great Disaster, that is what you called it. Where did you obtain knowledge of that name?]
To Abel’s pressing words, Taritta gasped.
The exchange between the two of them left the dumbfounded Medium wide-eyed, letting out a “Grate Disastur…?”, as that was a term unfamiliar to her. 
But Medium’s response was natural.
Laying eyes upon the existence of an unknown being such as that, and calling it a “Great Disaster”, did not mesh well. Only those who knew of its existence could rightfully call it the Great Disaster.
In other words――,
Abel: [Have the stars taught you how to escape annihilation?]
Taritta: [――Hk! W-wait a moment, I…!]
Taritta advanced a single step, putting a hand over her chest, yet words beyond those got stuck.
Her face was pale, her eyes began moving frantically; Taritta’s appearance became an unusual one for her, and Medium rushed to stand beside her, to support her body with a “Taritta-chan!”.
However, Taritta did not have the luxury to respond to Medium’s compassion.
Perhaps she had believed she could hide it all along. She had believed that, just maybe, she could have remained silent forevermore.
There was no such thing as a well-kept secret or an unexposed truth.
At the very least, if no effort was made whatsoever to cover up that secret or truth, the day when it would be revealed would surely come. All one could do, was to delay the inevitable.
Or perhaps, it could be delayed till death; the way she perceived it, she could keep it as a secret as long as she remained in the world of the living.
Abel: [Taritta, if you do know about the Great Disaster, do you regret it?]
Medium: [Regret? Regret what… Abel-chin! What are you talking about!? What’s Taritta-chan…]
Abel: [Is it not obvious. ――I am speaking of how, back in that forest, you failed to kill me with an arrow.]
Aghast, all color now drained from Taritta’s face, the light in her eyes wavering feebly.
Looking straight into her two eyes, Abel paused, let out a sigh, and continued.
Abel: [Or, shall you respond to that commandment above from this moment on, hunter of the jungle. No, should I instead approach you in this manner?]
Abel: [The one who has inherited the commandment to prevent the Great Disaster, the one to become the new Stargazer.]
The tempestuous rumbling of the earth, the reverberation of howls, it was as if they were clamoring for the end of the world.
???: [Uh, uhh, uhhh… Hk!]
If he were to try holding his head and covering his ears, he would be unable to do so.
It was the curse of possessing only a sole arm. He was unable to use both his hands to cover his own ears, as to completely dissociate his consciousness from this end of the world.
Putting his right ear against his lifted shoulder, he stuck the fingers of his outstretched hand into his left ear, attempting to counter with an inadequate earplug. It was impossible.
The ground trembled. The air was terrified. The world was dying.
All of them were symbolic of the horror that was eating away at Al and robbing his whole body of strength.
Al: [Why… Why, here… Hk!]
His voice trailed off, as he cursed and cursed all the despairing events that had taken place until this moment.
Of course, such cursing meant naught. Because that was no curse at all. He was merely being a poor loser, doing nothing more than comforting himself after the game was over, saying that it would have been better to do it like this or like that.
He was prepared for this to happen, or so he had believed.
――No, he did not. He had never been prepared for it. He had just averted his eyes from it, pretending to be optimistic that it would not come to pass, even when the possibility crossed his mind.
The danger that this would happen, as long as he was working with Natsuki Subaru, was plenty. Not just a little, but more than enough.
Rather, this situation would not have occurred had he acted alongside anyone besides Natsuki Subaru.
Even so, it could not be helped. Because he could not leave him alone. There was no way he could have left him alone. Back then, Natsuki Subaru should not have given in.
As a result of that, because it was necessary, was why he himself――,
???: [――Mymy, I was wonderin’ who was cryin’, turns out it’s ya.]
???: [Kakakakka! Look at how ya jumped just now! Ya were like a caterpillar, so funny, so darn funny!]
Hearing a sudden voice in the middle of the room, he jolted his body in a panic and turned his head.
Witnessing his overwhelmingly uncouth appearance, the other party clapped their hands―― Nay, stomped their feet, as they let out a burst of laughter.
Unfortunately, clapping their hands was apparently not something the other person was likely to ever do again.
???: [Geez, the right hand that’s been with me for more than ninety years went on ahead without me. I’m screwed. How am I ever gonna make ration balls from now on? Kakakakka!]
Having said that, a cheerfully laughing, monstruous old man―― Olbart Dunkelkenn, was waving, showing his right hand which had vanished from the wrist down.
 Yorna usually employs “主さん” as a second-person pronoun, which has been translated as a simple “you”, however, from this point onwards, she always uses just “主” (removing the “san” honorific) to refer to Abel. The implication is that she sees differently from others, possibly to signify that she has recognized him as the Emperor.
 The nuance usually conveyed with “You…” or “You!” is usually one of anger, but you should picture these lines as using Abel’s name, rather than that. The only reason we have not used that is because it feels awfully tone-deaf as to the relationship between Yorna and Abel.
 The change here is to represent Medium “misspelling” it. “Great Disaster” is usually written as “大災”, whereas Medium here is using the Katakana spelling, “タイサイ”, to signify that she’s slightly mispronouncing it.