Ivan the Terrible

Ah...The Ivan the Terrible Murasaki Shikibu...

Narration: Ahh, my poor body. Ahh, my poor mind.

Narration: What could have happened to transform me so grotesquely?

Narration: I may have been known as “terrible” in my time, but I never imagined I would actually become so literally.

Narration: Ahh, and yet, my soul stirs with the desire to serve all of humanity.

Narration: It seems I must ask my faithful underling...

Narration: Or rather, my beloved Master, about this change in my circumstances.

Ivan the Terrible: Why am I an elephant?

Fujimaru 1: You're just bringing this up now!?

Mash: ......

Mash: Oh, I'm sorry! I was just so taken aback that I was genuinely at a loss for words.

Mash: I'm sorry, Ivan. Um, is it okay if I call you Ivan?

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, it is. I see no need for formalities here.

Ivan the Terrible: Still, I have thought my body seemed strangely heavy for a while now... And I also thought my tusks were getting a little long in the tooth. Literally.

Ivan the Terrible: At any rate, the question remains. Why am I an elephant?

Fujimaru 1: It's a long story.

Mash: Yes. A very, very long story...

Ivan the Terrible: No matter. Start at the beginning.

Fujimaru 1: Okay then...

Ivan the Terrible: Hmm, I see. So I was fused with Demonic Beasts...

Ivan the Terrible: Now I understand. That must have been a most trying time for both of you.

Mash: Yes, it was...

Ivan the Terrible: I will not ask that you forget what happened. But I will tell you not to let it hold you back.

Ivan the Terrible: After all, your battle is far from over.

Ivan the Terrible: All that aside, it sounds as though my archive did not exist in this Lostbelt place.

Mash: Archive? Do you mean your legendary library?

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, I do.

Ivan the Terrible: It contained all manner of books from throughout history and the world, including a number of grimoires. It was a tremendous cultural achievement, and my pride and joy.

Ivan the Terrible: Unfortunately, it was burned to the ground after my death, and any books that remained were scattered far and wide.

Mash: So it would seem. We don't have any records on your library in our database, either.

Mash: All it says is that mages have been trying to find it for a very long time.

Ivan the Terrible: They must have been searching for my grimoires and their accompanying instruments. I did gather quite a lot of them, after all.

Mash: It looks like there was even one family who kept searching for a particular book across three generations with only the barest of leads to go on...

Ivan the Terrible: Hmm. Speaking of books...

Ivan the Terrible: While I am certainly glad that Chaldea's database has managed to preserve some books in digital form...

Ivan the Terrible: ...it seems I will not get the chance to turn the pages of a paper book again, at least not while the world is in its present state.

Fujimaru 1: Don't be so sure.

Ivan the Terrible: What do you mean?

Mash: I know!

Mash: As a matter of fact, Novum Chaldea now has its very own library, underneath the first floor.

Ivan the Terrible: Does it now?

Mash: If you're interested, I'd be glad to show you the way.

Ivan the Terrible: Yes, please do.

Murasaki Shikibu: (Ahh, another peaceful day in the library.)

Murasaki Shikibu: (It has just the right amount of people; not too many, and not too few.)

Murasaki Shikibu: (It may no longer be as popular as it was when it was the hot new thing, but there remains a steady crowd of booklovers who visit regularly.)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Not only that, today, I get to read a brand-new work from the great William Shakespeare...)

Murasaki Shikibu: (...all while enjoying a plate of Japanese sweets Lady Tomoe Gozen made to practice her baking.)

Murasaki Shikibu: (This is truly shaping up to be a perfect afternoon...)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Hmm, interesting...)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Oh my! What a shocking development!)

Murasaki Shikibu: (I can't believe he brought in a guest character from Macbeth!)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Ahh, I can scarcely wait to turn the next page and see how it ends.)

Murasaki Shikibu: (And yet, at the same time, I can't help but wish it would never end...)

Murasaki Shikibu: (But then, I suppose those two conflicting emotions are the mark of any good book...)

Murasaki Shikibu: ...Oh my. Are those...footsteps?

Ivan the Terrible: It's me. Umu.

Ivan the Terrible: ...I mean, it is I.

Murasaki Shikibu: Eep! Lord Ivan the Terrible!

Ivan the Terrible: I have just learned of this underground library's existence and have come to pay it a quiet, unofficial visit.

Ivan the Terrible: Feel free to continue reading your book. I will find my own way around.

Murasaki Shikibu: O-oh no, I couldn't.

Murasaki Shikibu: As Chaldea's librarian, I have a duty to give new visitors a proper tour.

Ivan the Terrible: Is that so? Very well then, lead the way.

Murasaki Shikibu: Of course. Please, follow me.

Mash: (...Peek)

Fujimaru 1: That sweet bean jelly looks reeeally good...

Fou: Fou...

Mash: Please try to focus on the matter at hand, Senpai!

Murasaki Shikibu: And that, with the exception of the storeroom, is the library.

Ivan the Terrible: I see...

Murasaki Shikibu: Hm?

Murasaki Shikibu: Is there something not to your satisfaction?

Ivan the Terrible: Oh, I was just thinking how about how much this library's contents differ from my archive.

Fujimaru 1: Does that mean you found it disappointing?

Ivan the Terrible: No, it is not that.

Ivan the Terrible: Most of the books I collected were ancient philosophical texts, grimoires, and treatises on various subjects.

Ivan the Terrible: I had always meant to translate them into my mother tongue so that I could gain even greater wisdom, but it seems such books are few and far between here.

Murasaki Shikibu: True, not many patrons check out philosophy books or treatises, so we usually keep them in the archive.

Murasaki Shikibu: And as a rule, books in the archive are only meant to be read there and may not be checked out.

Murasaki Shikibu: Also, unfortunately...I'm afraid we have very little in the way of grimoires or books on magecraft.

Murasaki Shikibu: I'm so sorry. I know almost nothing about Western magecraft or sorcery, so...

Ivan the Terrible: All that aside, it seems to me that this library still has room for further expansion.

Murasaki Shikibu: Hm?

Murasaki Shikibu: Well, yes, this space was all constructed using magecraft, so there is still plenty of room left to expand...

Ivan the Terrible: Very good.

Ivan the Terrible: Master, I have made up my mind.

Ivan the Terrible: I am going to gather more books with which to further expand this library, and you are going to help me.

Murasaki Shikibu: !!!

Fujimaru 1: More books...?

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed.

Ivan the Terrible: This library holds great potential.

Ivan the Terrible: It deserves to be a singular collection with collections and rare books from every corner of the globe; one that is at least every bit the equal of my archive.

Murasaki Shikibu: O-oh my! That would be absolutely wonderful, but I'm afraid that, well...

Mash: Yes. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, Ivan, as it really is a lovely idea...

Mash: ...but we're just not allowed to bring back books or other important objects from Rayshifts.

Mash: That goes double for especially rare and notable books and grimoires.

Ivan the Terrible: True. However, I have an idea how to get around that.

Ivan the Terrible: Surely it cannot take much data to digitize a book.

Ivan the Terrible: Therefore, we should be able to bring back any books we find in digital form, then simply recreate them as physical copies.

Fujimaru 1: Isn't that counterfeiting!?

Ivan the Terrible: Hmm... Yes, I suppose it might be. However, humanity itself is currently on the verge of annihilation.

Ivan the Terrible: Thus, as lovers of the written word, it is our right– nay, our duty, to gather as many books as we can.

Murasaki Shikibu: ...!

E:???: Hahaha! I like the way you think, Ivan the Terrible!

Ivan the Terrible: Hm? That voice...

Iskandar: I see, I see.

Iskandar: You and I may not share a direct connection...

Iskandar: But as an avid reader who once made the Library of Alexandria a household name around the world, I just couldn't stay away from an endeavor such as this.

Ivan the Terrible: I see...

Ivan the Terrible: Does this mean you too will help me to expand this library, Iskandar, descendant of the great Zeus?

Iskandar: You need even ask?

Iskandar: My chariot can take us anywhere we wish to go in a single leap.

Iskandar: Of course, preserving books as data instead of just taking them by force isn't nearly as exciting from a conqueror's perspective.

Iskandar: But, circumstances being what they are, I suppose I can't complain.

Murasaki Shikibu: ... ...

Murasaki Shikibu: (Oh gosh, oh gosh, oh gosh. This is all becoming a far greater ordeal than I had expected!)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Which isn't to say I wouldn't also love to grow my library further, because I absolutely would, but still...!)

Murasaki Shikibu: (Oh gosh, oh gosh...)

Iskandar: Well then, shall we?

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, we shall.

Mash: It looks like there's no turning back now, Murasaki Shikibu.

Murasaki Shikibu: So it would seem...

Ivan the Terrible: By the way, Murasaki Shikibu, does this library have a proper name?

Murasaki Shikibu: Huh!?

Murasaki Shikibu: Y-yes. It's known as the underground library...

Ivan the Terrible: I see. Such modesty may be common among dignitaries in the Far East where you come from...

Ivan the Terrible: ...but if we are to collect books from all across the world here, a name as pedestrian as “underground library” will never do.

Iskandar: I see, I see.

Iskandar: After all, this place is about to become a second Library of Alexandria!

Iskandar: In fact, now that I mention it...

Iskandar: I see now that this library's new name will have to include “Great Library of Alexandria”!

Murasaki Shikibu: I-I suppose you're right!

Ivan the Terrible: Very well then, I shall try my hand at naming it.

Ivan the Terrible: “The Ivan the Terrible Great Library of Alexandria”... Hmm. I like the sound of that.

Iskandar: Agreed. But I'm afraid there's still a crucial name missing.

Murasaki Shikibu: Huh? (I've got a terrible feeling about this.)

Ivan the Terrible: Heh. Not to worry. I have of course already thought of that.

Ivan the Terrible: It is only proper that the rightful owner's name also be included.

Ivan the Terrible: Therefore, this library shall henceforth be known as...

Ivan the Terrible: “The Ivan the Terrible Murasaki Shikibu the Beautiful Great Library of Alexandria”!

Ivan the Terrible: Done and done!!!

Murasaki Shikibu: ... ...

Murasaki Shikibu: (Out cold)

Mash: M-Murasaki! Speak to us, Murasaki!

Ivan the Terrible: It is unfortunate that Murasaki Shikibu could not be here with us due to her suddenly and inexplicably feeling unwell...

Iskandar: Ah, don't worry! She'll be overjoyed to see our triumphant return with so many books and so much data that she'll be back to her old self in no time!

Fujimaru 1: (I've gotta figure out a way to change that name,or she might never recover!)

F:Mash: This is Mash Kyrielight, handling the comms for this Rayshift.

F:Mash: We set your first destination as London in the hope that you would be able to find plenty of rare books here.

Ivan the Terrible: Hm?

Iskandar: Oh?

Fujimaru 1: There's a lot of pressure in the air here...

F:Mash: Yes, there is. I can see it on my monitor here as well.

F:Mash: I'm afraid you'll just have to manage it as best you can, Master.

F:Mash: By the way, Ivan and Iskandar, I managed to uncover some data from nineteenth century London.

F:Mash: There's an old bookstore not too far from your current position that should have rare books in stock.

Iskandar: Then let's get plundering!

Fujimaru 1: Too far. Dial it back a notch.

F:Mash: P-plundering!? I-I really can't endorse that...

Ivan the Terrible: They are right, Great King. Plundering is solely a last resort.

Ivan the Terrible: In times of peace, it is only right that books be obtained with money rather than force.

Fujimaru 1: Only problem is, we don't have any money...

Ivan the Terrible: ... ...

Ivan the Terrible: Plundering it is.

Fujimaru 2: I'm guessing nobody's working there right now...

Ivan the Terrible: ... ...

Ivan the Terrible: I suppose we have no other choice then.

F:Mash: (He gave up on that awfully quickly...)

Ghost: Welcome.

Ivan & Iskandar: Let's kill it.

Fujimaru 1: Dial it back! Dial it back!

F:Mash: Strongly seconded!

F:Mash: It hasn't shown any signs of hostility so far! Please, let's just hear it out!

Ivan the Terrible: ...Very well, Mash. If you insist.

Ivan the Terrible: Go on, Master. I grant you permission to begin negotiations.

Iskandar: Haha, sorry about that. Old plundering habits die hard for men like us!

Ghost: Welcome. Anything I can help you find today?

Fujimaru 1: Yeah, we're actually looking for rare books.

Ghost: Right this way then. Just a moment.

Ivan the Terrible: Oho. Well now.

Ivan the Terrible: I am greatly surprised to see a complete copy of the original Gutenberg Bible in a shop such as this.

Iskandar: Well, well. A new translation of “The Iliad,” huh.

Iskandar: Hmm... I've only read a few pages here and there so far, but this seems to be quite an interesting version.

Iskandar: Let's get this one too, Master.

Fujimaru 1: Excuse me...

Ghost: Yes?

Fujimaru 1: We were actually hoping to, uh,copy these books instead of buying them...

Ghost: Hmm. I have no clue what you are talking about, but I understand the situation.

Ivan the Terrible: How does that work?

Ghost: Though I must say, I cannot imagine these copies will have anything to equal the love that went into making the originals.

Fujimaru 1: I get that, but still...

Ghost: So here's an idea. You and I fight each other in mortal combat.

Ghost: If you win, I will allow you to copy the books' data.

Iskandar: Plundering it is.

Ivan the Terrible: That it is.

F:Mash: (Is it just me, or do they both seem much more animated now?)

Ghost: I have been reading these books for over two hundred years, long after I became nothing but skin and bones, and eventually dust.

Ghost: I have read grimoires and rare books of every conceivable shape, size, and color. I've even read books that move about on their own.

Ghost: If you want to create an unauthorized digital facsimile my collection, then do your worst!

Fujimaru 1: How do you even know what all that is!?

Ghost: I've always been on top of the latest trends. Now come, let's take this outside.

Ghost: After all, I'd die if anything were to happen to my books.


Ivan the Terrible: Hrn!

Ghost: Bwaaa!

F:Mash: The ghost who may just love books more than anyone else in human history has been defeated!

Ivan the Terrible: Quite. I am most impressed at the power your soul possesses entirely as a result of your bibliophilia.

Ivan the Terrible: Nonetheless, I assume our victory means you no longer have an issue with our plundering–that is, our digitizing your books?

Ghost: Yes, I no longer have any issue with that.

Ghost: But I'm afraid that still leaves two other matters that need to be resolved.

Iskandar: Oh? And what might those be?

Ghost: First off: payment.

Fujimaru 1: Yeah... Should've seen that coming.

Ivan the Terrible: We would never need concern ourselves with payment if we had simply plundered the books to begin with...

Ivan the Terrible: But if this is your wish, Master, then so be it. I shall cover the charge myself.

Ghost: Finally, there's one last important thing I must tell you.

Ivan the Terrible: Oh?

Iskandar: What is it?

Fujimaru 1: Uh... Why do you keep scooting away?

Ghost: Yes, well, while I am obviously haunting this bookstore...

Ghost: ...I only do so because I was a very devoted customer. I don't actually own it.

Ghost: Still, as I love books more than anything, I felt an obligation to do my best to protect them.

Ghost: Which is why I'm going to use this money to open up my very own bookstore!

Ivan the Terrible: ... ...

Iskandar: ... ...

Fujimaru 1: ...

Fujimaru 2: ...

All: Get back heeere!!!

Iskandar: Well, that turned out to be quite the fine mess.

Fujimaru 1: I still can't believe we ended up having to fight it again...

Ivan the Terrible: Quite. I never thought a devoted bibliophile would exploit their bibliophilia for such blatant fraud and deception.

Ivan the Terrible: And that half-hearted devotion makes it that much more difficult to deal with.

Ivan the Terrible: It has been a long time since I so fervently wished to sit someone atop a keg filled with gunpowder and set it alight.

Helena: Excuse me, coming through...

Helena: ...Um, coming through?

Helena: Excuse me! I said, coming through!

Helena: Move over already!

Ivan the Terrible: Ah, I beg your pardon.

Helena: Ugh.

Helena: I swear, you guys need to be way more aware of how much space you take up. Especially in the hallway.

Iskandar: Hahaha, I haven't had a talking-to like that since I was a boy.

Ivan the Terrible: Quite.

Ivan the Terrible: It has been a long time indeed since anyone reprimanded me.

Ivan the Terrible: Once you become the tsar, most people do not dare to so much as raise their voice in your presence.

Ivan the Terrible: Especially little girls like her.

Spartacus: Oppress–I mean, excuse me, but would you mind making way?

Ivan the Terrible: Ah, right.

Spartacus: Hmm. I appreciate the attempt, but it's still a tight squeeze...

Spartacus: Hrn!

Spartacus: Oppressors, you should refrain from standing side by side.

Spartacus: You are both much too bulky for that.

Iskandar: Hahaha, I don't think you're in any position to talk.

Ivan the Terrible: ......I see.

Ivan the Terrible: I had forgotten I am an elephant now. It is no wonder I am so big.

Iskandar: What, you're telling me you really didn't know?

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, I did not.

Ivan the Terrible: I merely happened to look in a mirror for the first time in a long time...

Ivan the Terrible: ...and thought “Oh, right. What am I now, anyway?”

Iskandar: Hahaha, I see you're just as audacious as your body is spacious!

Mash: I finished reproducing the books. The copies turned out very well.

Mash: Of course, once everything is back to normal, I'm afraid we'll have to destroy them...

Iskandar: Why bother? What the higher-ups don't know won't hurt them!

Fujimaru 1: I see it takes audacity to know audacity...

Mash: At any rate, I'm sure Murasaki will be thrilled. Let's go bring them to her, Senpai!

Ivan the Terrible: Oh, yes, I still need to see a sculptor about ordering a nameplate that says:

Ivan the Terrible: “The Ivan the Terrible Murasaki Shikibu the Beautiful Great Library of Alexandria”!

Ivan the Terrible: ...Yes, this will be an excellent library indeed.

Spartacus: Hm.

Spartacus: You two. A word.

Ivan & Iskandar: !!!

Murasaki Shikibu: ... ...

Murasaki Shikibu: L-let me try saying it once again to see if I can get used to it.

Murasaki Shikibu: “The Ivan the Terrible Murasaki Shikibu the Beautiful Great Library of Alexandria”...

Murasaki Shikibu: ...I can't! I just can't bear it!

Murasaki Shikibu: I have to refuse their kind but misguided offer, or I'll be so embarrassed I'll collapse into a pile of ether!

Murasaki Shikibu: It won't be easy, but at least I know that both Lord Ivan and Lord Iskandar are willing to listen to reason.

Murasaki Shikibu: I'm sure they'll let me remove my name from the library as long as I plead my case earnestly.

Murasaki Shikibu: I just have to do my best to not be so bowled over by their intimidating auras that I'm unable to get a word in...

Murasaki Shikibu: (Inhale)... (Exhale)...

Mash: Hi, Murasaki! We're back!

Murasaki Shikibu: !

Murasaki Shikibu: O-oh, yes. Hello, Lady Mash, Master, Lord Ivan, and Lord Iskandar.

Murasaki Shikibu: Welcome back.

Iskandar: Take a look! Our book-finding expedition was a grand success!

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed.

Ivan the Terrible: A single Rayshift was all it took to find satisfactory spoils.

Mash: These are the copies we made from the data we brought back. Rare books, grimoires, limited editions, single print runs...

Mash: So! Where would you like us to put them!?

Murasaki Shikibu: !

Murasaki Shikibu: O-oh my goodness. What an extraordinary selection of precious books! This is amazing...

Iskandar: On another note, Murasaki Shikibu, Ivan and I wanted to apologize about getting carried away with the name.

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed.

Ivan the Terrible: Spartacus showed us the error of our ways in no uncertain terms.

Ivan the Terrible: He told us that it was the height of both tyranny and oppression...

Ivan the Terrible: ...to adorn this library with our names when you are its rightful custodian.

Murasaki Shikibu: Oh, yes, well...

Iskandar: Indeed. And he was right.

Iskandar: If this land was ours to rule, putting our names on an institution would be considered a great honor...

Ivan the Terrible: But this is not our land, and so different considerations hold greater weight here.

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, Spartacus's argument was most convincing.

Iskandar: However, all that being said...

Iskandar: We were still hoping you wouldn't mind leaving the adjectives associated with our names in the library's name.

Ivan the Terrible: Though of course, those adjectives suit you just as well as they do us.

Murasaki Shikibu: ... ...

Fujimaru 1: (Come on, Murasaki! Get your head out of the book clouds and listen to them!)

Fujimaru 2: (Murasaki! I really think you're gonna want to be mentally present for this decision!)

Iskandar: Which is why we have a new idea for this library's name.

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed. One that still preserves the best aspects of our last one.

Ivan the Terrible: “The Great and Terrible Yet Beautiful Murasaki Shikibu Library”

Ivan the Terrible: What do you think?

C:In-One-Ear-and-Out-the-Other Murasaki Shikibu: Sure, that's fine... Ahh, so many precious books...

Mash: ... ...

Iskandar: Wonderful! I'm delighted to hear it! That just leaves the nameplate.

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed.

Ivan the Terrible: Worry not, Murasaki Shikibu. I will order it straight away.

Iskandar: Oh yes, we still need to decide whether to order its construction from gold or silver.

Ivan the Terrible: Whichever we choose, we could also have it decorated with diamonds.

Iskandar: Yes! I like the way you think!

Murasaki Shikibu: (Contented sigh)...

Murasaki Shikibu: Copies or not, I never dreamed that I would ever get my hands on such rare and precious books.

Murasaki Shikibu: Ahh. Thank you, everyone. Thank you all so...

Murasaki Shikibu: Huh? Where is everyone?

Murasaki Shikibu: ... ...

Murasaki Shikibu: ...(Gasp)! O-oh no. Did I...?

Mash: I'm sorry, Murasaki, but–

Fujimaru 1: You're too late!

Murasaki Shikibu: Well, in spite of everything, it's still wonderful to have so many more rare books in the library.

Murasaki Shikibu: I'll have to write proper letters to Lord Ivan and Lord Iskandar thanking them for their trouble.

Murasaki Shikibu: That being said...

Charlotte Corday: I found it!

Charlotte Corday: This must be...

Charlotte Corday: ...“The Great and Terrible Yet Beautiful Murasaki Shikibu Library” I've heard so much about!

Charlotte Corday: The lovely nameplate makes it so very clear!

Charlotte Corday: All right! It's time to dive into a good book! Whichever should I read first?

Murasaki Shikibu: That's the one part I just can't get used to!

Ivan the Terrible: Read this treatise, and I am certain you too will understand that there are many different schools of thought.

Fujimaru 1: Right...

Ivan the Terrible: I am also certain the other Lostbelts you must face will vary greatly in shape and circumstance.

Ivan the Terrible: I suspect I am only here now because I was defeated in mine.

Ivan the Terrible: While I retain my consciousness from both the Lostbelt and Proper Human History, the reason why I chose this form over my more normal likeness from Proper Human History...

Ivan the Terrible: ...is not merely for its greater prowess in battle.

Ivan the Terrible: I represent both victory and defeat. My role here as a Heroic Spirit is to guide you in your next steps.

Ivan the Terrible: Remember this well, my Master.

Ivan the Terrible: I am simultaneously one defeated, and one meant to oversee your journey.

Ivan the Terrible: I am therefore placing all my trust in your conduct, your beliefs, your decisions...

Ivan the Terrible: Indeed, in your very way of life.

Ivan the Terrible: ...Betrayal will not be forgiven.

Ivan the Terrible: Not a betrayal of humanity...

Ivan the Terrible: ...but of myself, and those who watch over your journey with me.

Ivan the Terrible: That is the sort of betrayal I will never forgive.

Fujimaru 1: ...

Ivan the Terrible: Heh. Hahahaha!

Ivan the Terrible: Did I scare you? My apologies. It is really quite simple.

Ivan the Terrible: All you need do is live your life as you see fit. That is what I will place my trust in.

Ivan the Terrible: To rule effectively, a king requires fear, the ability to reward his subjects, and exaltation from the same subjects.

Ivan the Terrible: But to fight a king, a person needs only one thing: faith.

Ivan the Terrible: I have never once lost faith in my decision to fight by your side.

Ivan the Terrible: Now, let us read the next book and allow our thoughts to wander where they may.

Ivan the Terrible: For the road ahead is still long indeed...