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BOOK 3:
Paraporopurun Peroporoparapon


I prayed with all my hearts that she could live happily in this beautiful world.

Thousands upon tens of thousands upon billions of stars twinkled outside the spaceship, illuminating the ash I held.
I hoped she, who would one day be absorbed into the cosmos, could smile and laugh forever. Such silly thoughts I entertained.
At the same time, an image of her from back then arose in the back of my mind.

"Hey... what does it mean to live?"

I recalled it in empty space.
The words she told me one hundred billion years ago.
I still thought back on it fondly, as if it were yesterday.


"I love youuu!"

Peroporoparapon-chan said to me, staring directly into my seventy-six eyes.
She was highly intoxicated after having swallowed down a macaron, and her cheeks were turning a faint emerald green.
I was disoriented to see this Peroporoparapon-chan, so different from her usual.
After all, Peroporoparapon-chan always said such rude things to me. It was the first time she'd ever said something so whimsically sweet.
Her perfectly round seventy eyes were so cute, I was too embarrassed to look directly at her thirty-five faces.
And after she'd said that to me while slithering a green tentacle, my own faces went completely red.
I looked down in silence.
But my three-thousand-five-hundred-four hearts beat like alarms at a hundred and twenty decibels.

I wondered if Peroporoparapon-chan could hear my hearts too.
Being so drunk, she'd probably forget this in a matter of seconds. But if she didn't, it would be just too embarrassing.

Peroporoparapon-chan was so very adorable.
Her violet skin, her slimy green tentacles, the yellowish-green fluid that leaked from her seventieth digestive system... What was there not to love?
Sometimes I thought how odd it was that she would ever be with someone like me.
Peroporoparapon-chan could have spent time with someone much cooler than me. So why?

"What do you love about me?"

I nervously asked her.
She was too drunk to get angry at me now, I thought.
Peroporoparapon-chan giggled and hugged me.
"Well, I like your three thousand arms with all the lungs on them! And I like your bulging seventy-six eyes! Also, I like your reddish-purple skin... I love all of it! I love you!", she concluded, beginning to tear off my tentacles.
"Heeheehee," she laughed, tearing off one after another.

Adorable.
Adorable as heck.
I wanted to marry her.

But I knew that could never happen.
Peroporoparapon-chan had thirty-five trillion fiancés. That was because she was the sole daughter of the queen of the Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapolings.
A mere Roronopusun Ganopiririnronron Peroporoling like me could never be her husband.
I knew. I knew that.
So it would only be for a little longer that I would even get to enjoy Peroporoparapon-chan's company.
When the time came, no doubt Peroporoparapon-chan would leave me, and marry one of her thirty-five trillion fiancés. And she would live happily with him. No doubt.

My mood sank.
And I had just been so happy.
There was no escaping reality, always so harsh to me.

I sighed, decimating a grassy plain. Suddenly, the light returned to Peroporoparapon-chan's eyes.
"Huh? What?", she said, her seventy eyes bulging.
Perhaps she'd sobered up.
"Morning."
"Huh? Was I perhaps drunk?"
"Yeah. Just a little."
For sixteen years, to be accurate. Peroporoparapon-chan had been drunk for a while, but I lied about it.
"My heads kinda hurt," she said, rubbing her thirty-third head. Even her casual actions were cute. Too cute. Like she'd gotten mixed with an angel. Her thirty-five faces were especially angelic.

"This is all your fault."
"Huh, why?!", Peroporoparapon-chan asked, smashing seven of my hearts.
Classic Peroporoparapon-chan.
She was always harsh and punishing with me.
But just a while ago, I'd learned how Peroporoparapon-chan really felt.
Of course, I absolutely couldn't tell her I knew. I wouldn't be able to take it if she smashed more of my hearts.

"I'm feeling kinda bored. Guess I should go," Peroporoparapon-chan said, glancing toward me.
She could and should have just left without saying that.
But it made me happy to see Peroporoparapon-chan caring about me.
"Don't go. Stay a little longer."
"Hmm... If you say so, then I will, but..."
"Hooray! Thanks, Peroporoparapon-chan!"
"H-Hmph. I'm not happy in the least that you're thanking me, you know!"
Twenty-four of Peroporoparapon-chan's thirty-five faces weren't able to hide their smiles. Ohh, too cute.
"You decide what we're going to do."
"Hmm. What do you want to do, Peroporoparapon-chan?"
"I can't be bothered to make decisions, you dummy!"
Peroporoparapon-chan slapped my body, sending seventy-two tentacles flying off. She was cute even when she was angry.

After that, we had fun annihilating a planet three planets away from ours.
It was a kiddy kind of game about who could kill the most inhabitants, so I was uneasy about whether Peroporoparapon-chan would be satisfied.
I was nervous all throughout my slaughter, but Peroporoparapon-chan seemed to enjoy it more than I expected.
She seemed a little pouty at first, but now she was laughing it up and gleefully killing the inhabitants of the planet three planets away from ours. She was so cute when she was all smiles and killing people.

"Hmph, not a bad game, considering you thought it up."
"Right? I'm glad you had fun!"
Peroporoparapon-chan's cheeks turned just a little emerald green.
Perhaps childish games were fresh to Peroporoparapon-chan, having been raised as a princess.

I wish it could just keep going on like this, I thought.
I really thought so.

*

One thousand seven hundred and sixty-six years passed after my killing spree with Peroporoparapon-chan on the distant-neighbor planet. Finally, I was able to meet her again.
We had both been too busy to see each other lately.
It slipped my mind from time to time since she spent time with me, but she was the princess of Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapo, so of course she was much busier than I'd ever be.

"Oh my, it's been a while."
"It has. You haven't changed."
"But I have. Haven't I gotten much prettier? Rude."
Peroporoparapon-chan who I hadn't met in so long had become very pretty.
For some reason I was excessively sad, and said "You haven't changed" to pretend I hadn't noticed. But of course I knew that wasn't true.
Her once-thirty-five faces had doubled, and she grew three thousand new feet. Her body was oozing with slippery yellowish-green fluid, and the lungs on her tentacles were like new.
I knew every little thing that had changed about Peroporoparapon-chan.
Downy hair grew out of her abdomen toward her seventh belly button.
This was the proof of adulthood for a Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapoling.
While I wasn't looking, Peroporoparapon-chan had become a grown girl.

"Harumph. I've become very popular with the guys lately, you see."
"I'll bet. You're so cute, Peroporoparapon-chan."
Peroporoparapon-chan's faces turned deep green and lowered.
She grumbled something at about fifty decibels, but I couldn't catch it.
I was amused by this reaction, and looked into Peroporoparapon-chan's seventy faces.
"A hit with the guys... That's great, Peroporoparapon-chan."
"No, well, that's just..."
"Just nothing. Of course they'd think you're attractive. Because you're just so cute."
"Oogh..."
"D'aww, adorable!"
"Ohh, shut up, you idiot!", she screamed, taking off at Mach 100.

Her appearance had changed, but inside, Peroporoparapon-chan seemed the same as ever.
That made me so happy, so relieved, that I couldn't stop grinning as I destroyed a distant planet.

*

As I spent about a hundred years destroying planets, I got a telepathic message from Peroporoparapon-chan, which I paid a monthly fee for.
"Are you free next year?"
"You can't have much time on your hands if you were in such a hurry to leave a hundred years ago, Peroporoparapon-chan."
"Shut up. I just want to know, are you free then?"
Peroporoparapon-chan sent me a telepathic message as if the event a hundred years ago hadn't happened.
I felt like if I pressed it any further she'd beat me senseless once we met up, so I telepathically said "Yeah, I'm free."
"I see. Well then, go out with me next year. There's somewhere I want to visit."

This was the first time Peroporoparapon-chan ever invited me to hang out.
Before, I'd always invited her. It made my seventy-six [sic] hearts beat fast.
Trying hard not to reveal my exaltation, I replied "Sure!"
"Alright, we'll meet up at the start of next year, on Pisoronopokorun which I destroyed with you before."
"Got it. I look forward to it!"
Filled with cheer, I lept off the planet I was currently annihilating.

*

"So yeah, I'm going on a date with Peroporoparapon-chan next year. What do you think I should do?"
As soon as I got home, I went running to my neighbor Yuuka.
I didn't know the first thing about romance, so I always asked my childhood friend Yuuka when I needed help.
Though she found it tiresome, she always talked things out with me.
Yuuka's name was one of those weird, embarrassing "unique" names for your kid, and she wasn't looked upon favorably by adults. But I knew that she was a kind girl.

"Again with Peroporoparapon-chan? Learn to think for yourself!"
"I did that! But I just couldn't figure out what to do..."
Yuuka let out a big sigh. "You really need to stop relying on me already."
"Please! Just this once!"
"Ugh, fine. Sighhh... Why do you have to fall for a girl like her, anyway..."
Yuuka seemed to say something at about fifty decibels, but I couldn't make it out.
"Hm? What's that?"
"Nothing. Right, strategy meeting." Yuuka scratched her head with her two arms.
"Thanks! You're a lifesaver. You're so nice, Yuuka."
"But kindness alone doesn't turn any heads..."
"Hm? What?"
"Oh, forget it. Let's start."

Yuuka took out a pen and paper to write a list of points I needed to improve on.
"First off, there's so much that's hopeless about you. I'm going to list all of it."
Yuuka moved the pen with terrifying speed.



- Your tentacles are shaped grossly. Cut them evenly every year.
- You're desperately lacking in legs. Grow one more.
- Your reddish-purple body is gross. Make it ivory or something.
- You have way too little sympathy. Think about your partner's feelings.
- Your destructive game is hella weak. Eat people like all the go-getter guys do.
- Get a better understanding of the female mind. That's why you're a virgin.
Etcetera, etcetera...

"Stop it already, you're breaking my hearts..."
"I gotta stress how little you understand women."
"Am I that clueless?"
"If you ask me, you're trash."
"Trash...?"
"Worse than trash, highly radioactive waste. Your very existence is a bother."
"I see..."
One of Yuuka's best qualities was that she told it like it is. I couldn't say I didn't like that.

But sometimes it depressed me. Highly radioactive waste...
"W-Well. I guess I kind of like that about you, though..."
"Hm? What was that?"
Just then, a sudden ninety-meter-per-second squall passing through made me unable to catch what Yuuka said.
Yuuka's face was all red, though, so I wondered what had happened.
"Shut up. Just shut up."
"Huh? I'm curious! Tell me!"
"Shut up!" Yuuka looked away.

Yuuka would sometimes do things like this which I didn't understand. I mean, if she had a problem, she could just tell me. Given how long we'd known each other, it's not like I'd get mad over some little thing.
"Well, whatever. Get your tentacles in order and study the heart of a woman. I've got stuff to do."
"Got it. Thanks for everything. I'd be hopeless without you, Yuuka."
Yuuka laughed hollowly. "You really would be."
"Absolutely!"
"Now leave me alone and go be happy with Peroporoparapon-chan."
"I hope it goes that way..."
"Bye, and tell me if it does go well with her."
"Got it!"
"Okay, good luck!"
"I'll do my best!"
With that, I said goodbye to Yuuka for the day.

*

Next year, I went to the desolate and empty Pisoronopokorun.
My tentacles were neatly cut. I'd worked hard to grow another leg.
I didn't know how to study the heart of a woman, so I tried reading the akashic records, but it was too hard to understand and I gave up.
But I figured I was fine for now. Now I just had to wait for Peroporoparapon-chan.

At our appointed meeting time, Peroporoparapon-chan flew in at Mach 30.
"Sorry. Were you waiting?"
"I just got here."
I lied. I'd been waiting for thirty-seven days.
But it was too embarrassing to admit, so I lied about it.
"Where are we going today?"
"We're going to a fixed star for some sunbathing."
Fixed-star sunbathing was such a common date idea for the raised-princess Peroporoparapon-chan.
Perhaps it was to suit me? If she had anticipated in advance what kind of date I'd enjoy, that would make me extremely happy.
"Wow, fixed-star sunbathing?"
"You don't like it?"
"No, that's not it at all. I love it!"
"Hmph, is that right. Well, not that it matters whether you like it or not," Peroporoparapon-chan bluntly said, but let out a small sigh of relief.

"Did you pick it for me?", I asked.
Peroporoparapon-chan's faces turned green and she shook her tentacles.
"Hahh? A-Absolutely nothing of the sort! I just wanted to go do it myself! I only invited you later!"
"I see! Well, I'm still really glad!"
Peroporoparapon-chan tore off one of my legs in fuming anger.
It had been too long since she demonstrated such violence.
It was so nostalgic, I was almost about to cry.
I wondered how long it could be like this.
There was a sudden anxiety in the back of my mind, but I shook it away.
We headed off for the fixed star.

*

"Mmm, feels good..."
Peroporoparapon-chan was bathing in the flares of the star with her upper-body clothes off. It was an ordinary thing, but it made me excited.
True, I had seen Peroporoparapon-chan naked when we were young.
Indeed, there was nothing significant to a Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapoling about being seen in the nude.
But on my planet, there was a bit of an implication in the act of nudity after becoming an adult.
There, once you were an adult, you were normally not to be seen nude. Only couples who loved each other could hug in the nude to ascertain their love.
I wondered if Peroporoparapon-chan knew that or not.

"Feels good, doesn't it? Such nice flares!"
"Y-Yeah. You're right."
I couldn't look Peroporoparapon-chan in any of her faces. It took all I had to say that over the rapid beating of my hearts.
"Not having fun?"
"Of course I am! I'm just having so much fun and I'm so happy that it's making me a little nervous, that's all!"
"I see. Well, all right," Peroporoparapon-chan said a little sadly.
Then she turned to me and said something, with some difficulty.

"Um, err... I actually invited you today because there was something I wanted to tell you."
Peroporoparapon-chan's sudden remark made my hearts beat like alarms.
"What?"
"You see..."
She took a breath, then quietly spoke.

"This might be the last year I can hang out with you like this."

My hearts exploded like they were hit by bombs.
I froze up, unable to say anything.
"See, papa and mama told me to get ready for marriage. You know about my thirty-five trillion fiancés, right?"
"Yeah. I do."
"The potential grooms are going to have a tournament of mutual killing next year. Then I'm going to marry the top hundred."
Marriage to her fiancés. A common event in the realm of royalty. I thought I was prepared for when it would happen for Peroporoparapon-chan.

But Peroporoparapon-chan was a regular girl who was extremely violent with me, a girl who was usually cross with me, a cute girl who suddenly became sweet when she ate a macaron, and a girl I loved very much.
I understood it in my mind, but I simply couldn't accept the reality.
Even hearing it from Peroporoparapon-chan, it felt unreal, like it had to do with someone else far, far away.
Looking into my faces as I said nothing, Peroporoparapon-chan spoke.
"That's why I invited you here to make some final memories this year. I felt like that was the least I could do. But... but..."
Before she could finish that sentence, tears flooded out of Peroporoparapon-chan's one hundred forty eyes.

"I don't want this to be the last time. I want to stay. I want to spend more time with you. To destroy more planets with you, and fixed-star sunbathe with you. I want to know more about you. And stay with you forever."

I said nothing.
My body didn't move, as hard as tungsten.
I had to say something.

Something...

"I'm sorry. I'm such an annoyance."
"Not at all. That's not true at all..."
"Oh, but I am... If I stayed with you, papa and mama would kill you for sure. I'm going to have to marry my fiancés. I'm sorry for bothering you. I could never be honest around you..."

Something to stop Peroporoparapon-chan...

"I'm leaving for the year. I had fun meeting you again."
"Wait -"
Without waiting for me to finish, Peroporoparapon-chan's tentacles fluttered.
The tentacles visibly changed form, eventually becoming wings of a sort.
"Well... Goodbye."
Peroporoparapon-chan flapped her wings and flew off at Mach 200.
I could only look on in shock.

*

The next day, the fiancé tournament on Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapo was all over the news.
When I heard it, Peroporoparapon-chan who had once been so close at hand suddenly felt incredibly distant.
I returned to the planet I'd been in the middle of destroying to cheer myself up, but nothing worked.
Black clouds seemed to cover my hearts, and everything I did hurt.
I aggressively destroyed planets to forget the reality.

A hundred years later, I was done destroying planets. With nothing left to do, I holed up at home.
One day, the news said that Peroporoparapon-chan's fiancés had been whittled down to a thousand.
At this rate, her husbands would be decided in a matter of days.
I couldn't bear it.
Imagining one of those husbands drinking her yellowish-green fluid of love that leaked from her seventieth digestive system made me want to burst.
My hearts hurt. I felt like I was going mad.
But I couldn't do a thing.
I couldn't be one of Peroporoparapon-chan's husbands.
I couldn't marry Peroporoparapon-chan.

"Hey! Open up!"

My house shook. When I looked outside, I found Yuuka.
"What are you doing?! I saw the news!"
"I know. Leave me alone."
"At least let me come in!"
Yuuka let herself in and grabbed me by the collar with her two arms.
"Didn't you go on a date with her?"
"You said you saw the news, didn't you? It's too late."
Perhaps I had resigned myself to despair.
So I said that to Yuuka despite her worry for me.
Irritated, I performed nuclear fusion in the center of my house, showing her all my anger.

Just stay away from me!

I know I'm absolutely hopeless.
But it hurts to think about Peroporoparapon-chan anymore.
Just leave me alone.

Yuuka approached and slapped me with all her might. The force of her slap caused earthquakes within a two thousand kilometer radius.
As I stood there dumbfounded, Yuuka screamed at me.
"That's not how you really feel, dammit! You've loved Peroporoparapon-chan for thousands, tens of thousands of years! You really want it to end like this?!"
"Of course I don't!!", I yelled back. "I love Peroporoparapon-chan! I really do! I've always wanted to marry her!"
"Then go do it!"
"Shut up! Even if I could go and marry her, you think I would make Peroporoparapon-chan happy?! Obviously Peroporoparapon-chan would be happier marrying good partners her parents picked for her, not some remote Roronopusun Ganopiririnronron Peroporoling!! You don't know anything, you moron!"
"But I do know!" Tears fell from Yuuka's two eyes.
"I know all the good things about you... Because I've always loved you myself."
"Wha..."
Yuuka's sudden confession blew away my anger at once. I couldn't say anything more.

"But now, I hate you. You were always so earnest about your love for Peroporoparapon-chan. No matter how inferior you felt, how cold she was, you never stopped loving Peroporoparapon-chan, right?"
I said nothing. I was waiting on Yuuka's every word, spoken between tears.
"There's nothing charming about you at all now. Now you really are highly radioactive waste. Do you want that?"
"But..."
"Shut up! No excuses!" Yuuka slapped me again.
A light cracking echoed. Unlike the previous slap, this one was very kind.
"And can you really say that Peroporoparapon-chan will be happy marrying her fiancés?"
"I didn't say that."
"Then don't go talking like you know how Peroporoparapon-chan feels. You don't know anything!"

Wait... That's right. Peroporoparapon-chan had said...

"I want to spend more time with you. I want to stay with you forever."

I recalled what Peroporoparapon-chan said the last day we met.
That's it. That's how it was.
I was a fool.
Though Peroporoparapon-chan usually didn't let her true feelings be known, she told me that without having even eaten a macaron.
It must have taken immense bravery. A whole lifetime's worth, absolutely.
And yet I didn't do anything.
I didn't do anything at all to respond to Peroporoparapon-chan's feelings.
Dammit. I was a fool among fools.
I had to go. I had to hurry.

"Yuuka, I have to go," I said, hurrying to depart.
"You're going?"
"Yeah. I am."
"I see. So you're turning me down..."
"I'm sorry."
"It's fine. I didn't like you that much anyway."
"I'm sorry."
"Don't worry! Hurry up and go! Peroporoparapon-chan will get married soon!"
"Right. I'm off."
"Bye!"
Yuuka was always strong-willed, but it looked like she was crying a little then.

"Thank you."

I left her with that.
Without waiting for a reply, I kicked off from the ground with all my might.

I didn't look back.
I flew off straight into the stars at Mach 400.

*

When I arrived at the tournament grounds, I found the ground littered with hundreds of fiancé corpses.
I could tell that the fiancé tournament was already over.
"What are you doing here?! Authorized personnel only! Go home!"
A guard-like Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapoling saw me and shouted very threateningly.
I vomited highly corrosive sulphuric acid at him, and he soon disintegrated in a sea of it.
"What's this?!"
"Who goes there?!"
Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapolings who saw this gathered around.
"Bring out Peroporoparapon-chan! There's something I need to tell her!"
"Peroporoparapon-chan is preparing for the wedding. Leave at once!"
I ran for where the ceremony was being held while decimating them like bits of sand.

Please, let me make it in time.
There's something I need to tell her.
My legs, my body, move as fast as you can.
My tentacles were being torn off, and my muscles came off in clumps.
But that was fine.
The pain in my body was nothing compared to the pain in Peroporoparapon-chan's heart.
I ran at Mach 1000.

"Peroporoparapon-chan!"

After reducing the super-reinforced tungsten door to atoms, I found Peroporoparapon-chan and a hundred grooms.
Seeing this, I screamed at two hundred decibels, blowing some of the weaker ones' semicircular canals to pieces.
With a look at Peroporoparapon-chan, it was clear that she was about to be married.

There was a groom made of sticky slime, and a squarish mineral-like groom. There was a seventy-meter-tall cylindrical groom, and a smog-like groom, and grooms of all varieties.
And they were all cool-looking, and socially speaking, they all made good couples with Peroporoparapon-chan.
But I'd stopped worrying about that.
I didn't care what the world thought.
What mattered were my and Peroporoparapon-chan's feelings.

It had only been a hundred years since we last met, but Peroporoparapon-chan had changed drastically.
She'd removed her usual violet clothes, letting her beautiful ivory skin show. She was also covered in pale, slippery fluids, as was the marriage tradition.
"Why are you here?! Didn't I say goodbye?!", Peroporoparapon-chan shouted in anger.
"Lady Peroporoparapon! Stand back!"
An attendant-like Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapoling held back Peroporoparapon-chan.
The hundred grooms looked at me coldly. Peroporoparapon-chan's father and mother looked ready to burst into rage.
But it didn't matter. It doesn't matter!

"Peroporoparapon-chan, listen!"
"Now what is it?! Leave me alone!"
"I love you, Peroporoparapon-chan! I love you!"

Peroporoparapon-chan's mouths hung open in shock. Ah, it looked so cute.
"W-What..."
"I love how you act coy with me, Peroporoparapon-chan! I love how when you get shy, your skin turns emerald green right away! I love your slimy tentacles! I love all of it! There's nothing I don't love! Marry me!"
Peroporoparapon-chan's was visibly turning emerald green.
It made me happy deep within my hearts.

"Let's go!"
Taking Peroporoparapon-chan by the tentacle, we ran at the speed of light.
The grooms made a commotion behind us. The angry shouts of Peroporoparapon-chan's parents resounded in my ears thanks to the Doppler effect.
I felt wonderful, like the hero of a story.
As I held tight to Peroporoparapon-chan's tentacle, she held on tight to mine.
I would never let go of it ever again.
Our tentacles gripped each other so, so tightly.

*

"Geez, you startled me..."
We had run about twenty light years from the ceremony, and there was no sign of our pursuers.
Peroporoparapon-chan seemed relieved.
"So, what you said back there... Was it true?", Peroporoparapon-chan bashfully asked, her faces still emerald green.
"It's true. I love you. Please, marry me!", I said, holding onto Peroporoparapon-chan's thirty-two-thousand-four tentacles.
"Oh, it's so embarrassing when you say it so firmly..."
"But you've done that too, Peroporoparapon-chan. Like when you ate that macaron."
"Wait, what?! What did I say?!"
"That's a secret."
"What! Geeeeez!"
Peroporoparapon-chan ripped off seven of my tentacles.
I was happy.
I sincerely hoped this time could last forever.

"Hey, Peroporoparapon-chan?"
"Hm? What?"
"Smooch!"
"Wha!"
Without waiting for her reply, I gently kissed the lips on Peroporoparapon-chan's seventh face.
Peroporoparapon-chan froze in place. It was so funny, I burst into laughter after the kiss.

"Dummy!"
Her faces a deep green, Peroporoparapon-chan punched away at my body.
"Haha! Sorry, sorry!"
"Geez! That was the WORST first kiss!"
"Then let's do it right this time. Now you go, Peroporoparapon-chan."
"U-Um..."
"I'll stay still."
"R-Right. Okay."
This time, Peroporoparapon-chan kissed me.
It lasted much, much longer than the previous one.
We kissed for about three years.

*

We were married.
After Peroporoparapon-chan left Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapo, it was apparently in chaos, with her mother and father in an angry search for her.

We didn't hold a particularly large ceremony; we just destroyed a planet we were passing by and had a bare-bones one with no one around.
"Sorry this had to be our ceremony," I said, and Peroporoparapon-chan smiled back.
"Oh, it's okay."
"I couldn't invite anyone, so it's just the two of us."
"Don't worry! I love planets where I'm the only one alive."
"I see... Well, that's good."
"And in fact, I'd say a wedding on a planet with only us two is really romantic. It's like we're in the center of the world," Peroporoparapon-chan happily reassured me.
Even if the whole universe were destroyed, as long as Peroporoparapon-chan was smiling, it was all fine.

*

"Hey. Do you remember when we first met?", Peroporoparapon-chan suddenly asked.
"I do."

I could never forget.
At the time, I was small and powerless, a prisoner on a certain planet.
I could see no future. I didn't know why I was still living.
I knew nothing of hope.
It was a hell of only having three-thousand-six meals a day.
We prisoners gradually died of starvation.
In those days of despair, suddenly Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapolings arrived to destroy the planet.
Among them, I saw Peroporoparapon-chan.
Peroporoparapon-chan seemed to live a life far more free and blessed, and beat up those who had worked me to the bone as if it bored her.

It was a beautiful sight.
Yet somehow, so very sad.
Thinking about it, until our marriage, Peroporoparapon-chan had never deviated one bit from the path laid out for her.
She lived a life planned out by her parents, and was to be wedded as they saw fit.
Perhaps Peroporoparapon-chan had become fed up with it all.

Peroporoparapon-chan's tentacles drew an orbit of sadness, destroying numerous satellites above their orbit. The people in the bases on those satellites fell to the ground like sparkling shooting stars. The sky glowed, illuminating Peroporoparapon-chan's over ten thousand tentacles.
I stared at the beautiful scene, Peroporoparapon-chan shining like a fixed star.
And Peroporoparapon-chan's arms approached me.
"Ah... She's going to kill me too," I thought. I unconsciously closed my seventy-six eyes.
But minutes later, I was not dead. I timidly opened my eyes to Peroporoparapon-chan smiling.
She spoke on the verge of tears.

"Hey... what does it mean to live?"

I could never forget. Even to this very moment, I can't answer Peroporoparapon-chan's question.

I was freed from imprisonment.
The Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapolings who destroyed the planet left like nothing had happened.
I later learned that Peroporoparapon-chan's father had ordered its destruction on a whim. There was no real purpose.
At any rate, I survived, and I met Peroporoparapon-chan.

"I know the answer to that question I asked when we first met," Peroporoparapon-chan said, then kissed me.
"To live... It must be to be here with you."
Her faces were deep green, but she looked right into my eyes.
Ah, I was so happy. I was glad to be alive.

"I love you, Peroporoparapon-chan."
"I love you, too."

On that empty planet, we became one.

*

Peroporoparapon-chan and I were together for eighty-four million years after that.
We were happy.
I had never been so satisfied before.
But the lifespans of Ferogaron Sutegoronopusupero Poroparapolings are much, much smaller than mine.
So Peroporoparapon-chan's time came before mine did.
Her tentacles gradually stopped moving. Her body crumbled.
I could only watch as Peroporoparapon-chan's body became like ash.

"It won't be long," Peroporoparapon-chan said one day while we were living on a ruined planet.
The tentacle she put on my shoulder crumbled apart into ash.
I decided that I wouldn't cry.
I knew that if I did, Peroporoparapon-chan wouldn't be happy.
But I couldn't stop it from pouring out of my seventy-six eyes.
I wanted to be with her longer.
I wanted to be together until the whole universe perished.
She had always helped me, and I could do nothing in return.

I love you.
I love you so much.
I want to eat magma with you, and destroy planets.
I want to get stuffed with plutonium, and bathe in flares.
I want to fight sometimes, cry together, and laugh together.
I want to be with you forever. Forever and ever.
I'll never forget you, Peroporoparapon-chan.
I don't want to forget.
So... So...
Let's be...

"Thank you."

Peroporoparapon-chan muttered as she turned to ash.
She could hardly speak. Her vocal cords were beginning to crumble.
I cried. I couldn't stop the crimson tears running down my red cheeks.
Peroporoparapon-chan ripped off a feeble tentacle of mine and spoke with a smile.
"Really, don't cry. Don't worry, I'll always be with you."
"But your body, Peroporoparapon-chan..."
"It's all right. Even if I die, and my body crumbles to pieces, I'll still exist in this universe. I won't go away. I'll just become one with the world."
Lastly, she said my name like a faint whisper.

"Paraporopurun-kun... I was so glad to have you in my life. I hope we can get along for a long time hereafter."

Peroporoparapon-chan vanished into white ash.
Her body would become the soil of this planet, the sky, and someday would be absorbed into the cosmos.
Her final words saved me.
Unlike Peroporoparapon-chan who was so smart, I was still too dumb to know what it meant to live.
But thinking about Peroporoparapon-chan warmed my thirty-five hundred hearts.

And perhaps that's what it means to live.
It was just a feeling, but that's what I thought.

*

In a spaceship, I thought back on Peroporoparapon-chan.
Those glittering memories of her.
Colorful days that would never fade.
Now, I was voyaging toward a certain planet.
I decided to destroy one for old times' sake. The spaceship would soon arrive at one with intelligent lifeforms.

I held a pot containing the ashes of what was once Peroporoparapon-chan.
I'd never failed in invading a planet before, but this time especially, I could not fail.
I had to aggressively level it to the ground.
To ensure my success, I decided to split up into a hundred bodies once I arrived. Connected by a spirit link, we would be able to bring annihilation with all certainty.
Once it was all destroyed, I was going to scatter Peroporoparapon-chan's ashes in the wasteland. Across a barren planet, like she always loved.
The ashes would spread, someday becoming one with this beautiful world. That way, Peroporoparapon-chan would live on forever.
And when it was all over, I'd forever scream my love in the center of that uninhabited planet.
Because that's the one thing I could do for Peroporoparapon-chan.

The planet was coming into sight.
It was many tens of thousands of light years from Roronopusun Ganopiririnronron Peroporo where I'm from. Extremely far away.
It was brimming with intelligent lifeforms, and covered with shining blue seas. A perfect planet to spread Peroporoparapon-chan's ashes.
Well, time to get to work. This is my final mission for Peroporoparapon-chan.

I landed on that azure-gleaming planet Earth. The impact of my landing sent out an explosive sound.
Surprised by the thunderous roar, the people of Earth started squirming closer.
As I scattered and decimated them, I made a quiet prayer.
"I hope she can live happily."


Miin-min-min. Miin-min-min.

Under the clear blue sky, one could hear nothing but the buzzing of unknown creatures.



Part 4
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