As the Guardian gestured that we should detrain, the old man and I got off.
After that, the Guardians also got off the steam train, then surrounded me and the old man as if to protect us.
“EREH DNOYEB SI TI. AMAS-TNIAS, GNITOOF RUOY FO LUFERAC EB.”
They were likely talking to me, since there was AMAS-TNIAS in their sentence, but I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
The Guardian in front of us started to walk. Seeing that, the old man and I started following him into the forest.
Inside the forest… it was quite peaceful.
A squirrel-like animal jumped around the trees, then landed briefly on my shoulder before jumping to a different tree.
A bird perched on a tree branch and started trilling. Between the trees, we saw a glimpse of a tiger-sized cat.
Which was it… was it a cat that evolved into a tiger-sized creature or a tiger that was so calm, it looked like a cat… Well, I guess whichever was fine.
Anyway it was a type of cat that didn’t exist on earth.
Thinking about it again though, I often hunted demons so I saw their variations, but I didn’t know much about this World’s animals.
“EREH TSAP SI TI.”
The Guardian stopped and gestured for us to go ahead.
A few steps ahead should be the so-called Prophet.
Well then, time to meet them.
The old man and I left the Guardian behind and started to move forward.
But as we did that, a voice was heard from further in.
“I have been waiting for you… Only Elrise may pass beyond here.”
Was that the voice of the Prophet?
To know my name before I introduced myself, it might be because they prophesied the Saint’s birth, but… I guess it wasn’t that, though.
Even if they knew the name of the Saint, I was a fake. So that wasn’t enough to explain it.
Since the old man worriedly turned to me, I nodded to him to calm him down then walked ahead alone.
The place I ended up at was an unnatural spot covered with trees.
What lay beyond there was just a lake. There was nothing else.
What’s with that? There’s no so-called Prophet here.
Should I just dive into the lake?
As I was thinking that, I had kept my attention toward the lake, and suddenly noticed the face of something rise up from the water.
The thing that came out — was a turtle.
Size-wise, its shell was around 5 meters.
The turtle was large enough that it could probably carry a human around and still comfortably swim.
I see, so I should ride it to enter the lake.
It kinda feels like Urashima Tarō.
“You made it here, fake Saint who has exceeded the real one. I’ve been waiting for you to come here. I am Propheter… Among humans, I am known as the Prophet.”
Right as I decided to ride it, the turtle opened its mouth and spoke.
I had thought the turtle was the guide to the Prophet’s place, but to think the turtle was the Prophet itself.
I see. So this was why the old man said, “You will understand if you meet them…”
I had imagined it as a human since it was called the Prophet, but to think that it was not even human…
Rather, since it was an animal that spoke, wasn’t it totally a demon? More like a Greater Demon.
Wasn’t it actually the Witch’s follower?
“Are you… a demon?”
“Kakaka, it’s only expected that you’d think that. But I am no demon. I was just a common turtle that happened to be selected as a spokesperson by the World.”
A common turtle that happened to be selected by the World, what a striking statement.
But I understood what it meant to say.
The Saint was, bluntly, just a human that had been selected by the World.
Similarly, Propheter was another existence that was selected by the World.
But I didn’t understand why it had to be a turtle.
“You are wondering why a turtle was selected? It’s nothing special. It’s simply because it has a longer lifespan than humans. My species is called the Millenium Turtle, and is capable of living over 1000 years. Such is the will of the World. It seeks individuals who could live long and continue to prophesy about the Saint’s birth.”
I see. So it’s to reduce the transition time between generations.
But then, that begged the question of whether it was possible that the Saint didn’t have to be human?
In the first place, humans were fundamentally unsuited for battle. If both sides had to go all out, even a pet cat could come out victorious; that was how weak humans were.
In this World, you could gain superhuman-like abilities just by training and magic also existed, so this wasn’t necessarily always true but generally, in terms of basic specs, it was still a beast > human.
So instead of humans, wouldn’t it be better to make a strong animal like a bear or tiger as the Saint, (?) then grant it magic and intelligence; this way, it could easily come out as stronger compared to past generations of Saints.
While they might not turn out as strong as me, I could confidently say that they would still be strong individuals.
So if we thought about making a strong animal as a Saint (?) then… then… then—
…No good. They still wouldn’t reach the Witch.
To let the Saint fight the Witch, you would need to do something about the demons and Greater Demons that follow her.
In other words, you still needed to use knights and soldiers as a sacrifice to press forward. But for example, if there was a bear Saint, then humans likely wouldn’t feel like protecting it.
Since it would be hard to differentiate them from a common demon.
Hypothetically, if the Prophet declared, “This bear is the Saint,” would the Knights really wholeheartedly protect it with their lives?
The one they’d have to protect was a bear, you know.
Since that was the case, they couldn’t use the same tactics just because humans wouldn’t help.
Even if a bear did become a Saint and had its intelligence increased, an animal was still an animal. They wouldn’t go out of their way to protect it.
So if something other than a human was made into a Saint, it was inevitable that such an existence would end up fighting alone.
It was an impossible situation, even if they were stronger. They would end up being overwhelmed by demons and getting killed.
“You called me a fake Saint. In that case, you know my identity…”
“Yes, I know. You are not the Saint. You just happened to be born in the same village with the Saint, a different person who happens to be overflowing with talent.”
Fumu, so it knew.
Well, since this individual itself was the one who prophesied the Saint’s birth, after all.
So it wasn’t a surprise for it to notice who the real Saint was and who wasn’t.
But what I didn’t understand was, why did it know my name? Why did it know I was coming?
“Well then, what do you want to ask about? I long for conversation here. I will answer almost anything you will ask. I can’t have a conversation with those monkeys, after all.”
“How do you know my name? Also, it sounds like you knew I would come here today, even beforehand…”
“Kakaka. Of course I know. I have the ability to know what happens in the World despite just staying here. That’s why I have seen all of it, your tale.”
Uwah, it was such a terrible ability. There was no such thing as privacy there.
But with that knowledge, it wasn’t weird for it to know my name or the fact I was coming here today.
I heard that the Prophet was God’s… The World’s spokesperson for its will.
If it was the World, then it was indeed capable of knowing everything, since everything would happen within it.
And the Prophet, who was capable of receiving the World’s will, would also be capable of grasping everything within it… I guess it was something like that.
Right then, as I was convinced about that, I asked Propheter another question.
“What do you mean you have been waiting?”
“Yes, I’ve been always waiting for you. I’ve been looking forward to having a conversation with you. After all, you are a point of singularity1.”
Singularity? What the hell does that mean?
I don’t understand what it means.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. Could you explain in more detail about it?”
“Well, I guess that makes sense. I need to explain about that first. But the thing I am going to talk about is in the realm of absurdity. It’s up to you whether you believe it or not.”
Realm of absurdity, huh.
Magic exists here, and the Witch and the Saint were made according to the World’s will. These were things I already understood, but… well, let’s listen for now.
Perhaps I could learn something that was unexpectedly new to me.
“I have mentioned before that I could learn about everything that happens in this World. But one day… perhaps it was because there was a soul that was about to reach the end of its lifespan and was about to be separated from the World, but I managed to get a glimpse of things from another World called EARTH.”
At this, I was immediately surprised.
It seemed that this turtle could catch sight of things that were happening on earth.
It slowly moved its head as it kept talking.
“Then there was this mysterious thing. It seems that there is something in that world called a GAME that records the things that have happened in this World… It’s called “Kuon no Sanka,” but it was like someone was peeking at the events that have happened in this World. Also, that World in that GAME is extremely similar to this World and is centered around the man called Vernell … the drawings are a little weird though. The eyes are big, yet the noses are merely dots…”
We, weird, it said? This turtle, it said that the 2D drawings were weird?
2D drawing was the result of much study and refinement by our forefathers, and with that it eventually reached art that was called moe culture. It wasn’t something that should be called weird.
Moe drawing was an art of deformation. It wasn’t something you drew realistically, you turtle!
…hey, that wasn’t important.
It seemed that this turtle possessed knowledge about the game.
“But within that, there was one part that was clearly strange… and that was you, Elrise.”
“I… was strange?”
“Yes. You indeed are a fake Saint, but… you are a fake that has exceeded the real Saint. In the past, there was never any Saint who had done as much as you have, or was more suited to be called Saint like you are. It’s ironic… For the fake to be the most authentic amongst them all. Even now, when I look at you directly, it’s still hard to believe you are actually a fake one… Yet for some reason, the “Elrise” in this GAME… was someone who looked nothing like you. She was portrayed as a woman who reached the pinnacle of evil.”
I took a deep breath as I heard Propheter speak of what they knew about the game.
The Elrise who was totally different from how I was and was a woman who had reached the pinnacle of evil… that was the original Elrise.
If we considered how I was internally, I wasn‘t much different compared to the original Elrise, but the original version never created a façade for herself.
It seemed that this turtle realized that I was a fake based on my appearance; there was no doubt that the “Elrise” it was talking about was the Pizzarise that I had known.
But why was Propheter only aware of the World before its change… I didn’t understand this.
Was it something similar to the case of stars?
It was like how the star I observed at night was probably not its current form, but actually the light it emitted from the past.
For example, since it took 8 minutes for sunlight to reach the earth, the sun I observed was actually the sun from 8 minutes ago.
This was the case with all stars; none of them could be observed in their current state.
A few years, a few dozen years, or even a few centuries… Anyway, it was all light that had been emitted a long time ago before reaching earth. That was the state of stars we see all the time.
Was it something similar to that due to the distance between worlds?
Which explained why Propheter was only capable of observing the past version of earth, and didn’t know that the scenario that has changed… was it something like that? Was this explanation a little bit of a reach?
Yep, it was totally a reach.
In the first place, if we were talking about the past, then I myself traveled to the past.
I played “Kuon no Sanka” until its end.
If the game called “Kuon no Sanka” was something that was made by observing this World, then that meant the story originally already met its end in this World.
Yet here I was, reincarnated and living life as Elrise.
This could be described as me traveling to the past.
Going back to what I had talked about with stars, it has been said in science fiction that to travel back to the past, you should be capable of moving faster than light.
I didn’t think the soul could fly faster than light, but the moment I reincarnated, it would mean that I had travelled 17 years to the past?
But as I traversed between these two worlds several times, I didn’t think there was a major time difference between the two.
On the other side, Niito (I) said there should be some time difference between Earth and this side of the World, but… but the clear difference was only the first 17 years. There was no major difference in the flow of time afterward.
For example, if a week passed here, then a week passed there as well… It was something like that.
I didn’t think that several days over there equaled a time difference of 17 years here.
Also I went to the other side to gradually collect parts of my soul that didn’t reincarnate, but… why was it only happening recently?
Didn’t that mean that, after 17 years had passed, I was finally returned to the same timeline?
I had returned to the original timeline. That was why I could go to the other side with no major time difference between the two Worlds’ flow of time… Was it something like that?
Well, it was just my speculation at the moment, so I planned to confirm it once I travelled there again.
But on the off chance that this speculation was true… then I was able to reach this World and reincarnate, which then sent me 17 years into the past.
But, wasn’t their observation merely events they’d seen in the past?
It seemed that Propheter had at least seen Earth after “Kuon no Sanka” was released.
“Kuon no Sanka” was released 4 years ago, so it had at least managed to observe the timeline beyond that.
Based on that, maybe it was able to get a glimpse of Earth somewhere between several days to several years ago. Did reincarnating make me pass through some sort of dimension wall, which caused a time difference to occur… so… anyway… basically… no good, I didn’t get it.
Whatever, let’s stop thinking about it.
I was originally stupid anyway, thinking about all that would only confuse me.
So I decided to leave all of that to the me on other side and Ijuuin-san.
“It’s quite hard to understand, so we compiled her speculations.” ※it’s strictly Elrise speculation.
1. Someone from earth observed Fiori, and created the scenario of “Kuon no Sanka.”
2. Fudou Niito who saw “Kuon no Sanka” left part of his soul on Earth and reincarnated. For some reason, there was a time difference and he reincarnated on Fiori 17 years ago.
3. Elrise reincarnated, spent 17 years there and eventually reached the original timeline. As the timeline matched, the connection with Fudou Niito grew stronger, and his consciousness alone went back to the other side to collect his soul.
4. Since Elrise changed from the inside, the story changed along with it (it was unknown why the game on Earth’s side also changed. It is for Niito and Ijuuin to investigate) but Propheter had observed the “Past Earth”, so it had seen the scenario before it was changed.
Q. Is this deduction correct? A. Did Elrise ever have any correct deductions?
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Chapter 49: To the Prophet
It was time for winter vacation in the academy, and it was so silent you would be hard-pressed to recall its usual noisiness.
There were students working hard on self-training and sparring at the athletic field, but it was still more quiet than usual.
At such a subdued academy, I was currently welcoming a person as a guest.
Well… just “a person” might have been the wrong way to put it.
Said person had brought a large group of people as escorts, so there were dozens of people to be exact.
It was on the academy’s 5th floor guest area, which had been subsequently assigned as my personal room. This supposed guest and I faced each other there.
“I appreciate this, King Aiz. But you didn’t have to come here yourself. I could have gone to you instead.”
“No. If you say you need me, I will come running, regardless of where it may be. Although I don’t think that is enough repayment for my sin…”
The one who sat in front of me was the main instigator responsible for the kidnapping incident from before, Billberry’s King Aiz.
Ever since the events that happened previously, this old man has become somewhat cooperative toward me.
…Well, he did put a cooperative front before as well though.
Anyway, I didn’t scold him whatsoever after the previous kidnapping incident and released him unscathed.
Well, since this old man also declared that Vernell’s group was not guilty, if I declared him as “GUILTY!” it would make me look like someone who was unable to read the room.
Also, Old man Aiz seemed very worried that I’d turn into the Witch after defeating her current host, so I could only tell him that such a thing was impossible.
If I told this old man everything, the danger may transfer to Eterna instead. As such, I didn’t give him a clear explanation, though for some reason, he seemed to believe in me.
Is that really okay? You didn’t believe in such uncertain things before; you were not that kind of character, right?
What the heck happened to you?
This time too, I had sent a letter saying I wish to meet directly to talk about something, yet instead of just replying to it first, the person himself came.
Aren’t you moving too freely despite being the king?
“Well then… you said you needed this old person’s knowledge. What do you wish to know?”
“I wish to know about person who called the ‘Prophet.’“
As I said this, Aiz cocked an eyebrow.
From the way he reacted, it was clear he knew something.
“For generations, there was a Prophet who prophesied about the birth of the Saints and divulged their birthplace to the King… Yet mysteriously, who this person is or where this person lives… I have no idea about it. In the first place, I don’t really understand how this prophecy works. I’m aware that to some extent I have some capabilities in using magic, but to see the future… There is no magic capable of that. That’s why I don’t know. What is the Prophet, really?”
“Fuh… if you are merely considered capable to some extent, then everyone else could only be seen as novices in magic.”
Aiz treated my words like a joke and laughed.
Ah, as expected? Well~, I was too much of a genius, after all. Though to be exact, I wasn’t referring to myself, but this body.
But then, wasn’t it a Japanese virtue to be humble?
I was well aware that I belonged to the top tier level of power when it comes to magic, but it was appropriate to give such lip service.
“To be exact, they’re not a Prophet, but rather, an Oracle… It has nothing to do with predicting the future. What we call the Prophet had simply heard the will of God and put it into words. If the Saint is the Representative of God, then the Prophet is the Spokesperson of God. Their existence is only revealed to kings of that generation, and their location is considered classified information.”
They didn’t predict the future, but rather, they heard from God… Though since it was most likely what also brought the Saints into existence, it was likely the World instead.
They heard its will, and prophesied on the Saint’s birth.
If this was the case, it made more sense than just “reading the future.”
Because it’s source was the same as the Saint’s, it made sense that they would know.
The problem then was why such an important person has been hidden all this time.
“Why was such a person hidden away? If they are such an important person, I would think that the royal family would surely go and ensure their safety.”
“As for why, you will understand if you meet them directly. When I first encountered them, I was stunned.”
You will understand if you meet them, huh.
If that’s really what you think, then let’s try to meet them.
Though of course, that’s only if such an action would be permitted.
“Will you really tell me about them?”
“Yes. But, only you may come along. No other person may accompany you… To be honest, I’m almost breaching the contract already just by bringing you along.”
So it would just be me. Well, it was no problem.
In the first place, I didn’t need a guard.
But for such a person to be capable of making a contract with this king and compelling him to protect them… perhaps this Prophet actually had higher political power, even more than the Saint.
On the surface, it seemed like the Saint held the highest political power in this world, but they were actually just sacrifices in the end.
“Please wait a moment. It’s very unsettling that only the two of you will go to this destination… At the very least, let me come along as a guard…”
Leila, who had been standing beside me, said this.
Oi, Stocco. Were you listening at all to what we had talked about?
Old Man Aiz glanced coldly toward Leila, and sternly replied.
“That can’t be allowed. Only those who succeed the King may know the location of the Prophet. It’s actually a location that not even Elrise-sama would normally be allowed to go to. I will not make any further exceptions.”
Even as the old man had rebuked her, Leila still insisted on going, so I cut in.
There was nothing to gain even if we complained here; and if Leila kept insisting, the Old man may end up thinking “whatever” and change his mind about letting me go to the Prophet’s place. That would be troublesome for me.
So I decided to make Leila shut up here.
“I will be alright. Please believe in me, and wait for me to come back.”
Certain kill: “Believe in me” Attack.
By saying those words, Leila had no choice then but to shut up.
Because I already declared that as her master, if she still insisted, then it would be no different from saying she “didn’t believe in me.”
But Leila, who served as my Prime Knight, couldn’t afford to blatantly voice any doubts toward me.
“… I understand. Since Elrise-sama said so…”
It looked like Leila still wanted to say more, but she stayed silent.
This was okay.
Well then, let’s immediately have the King escort me to the place where the Prophet resided.
Fortunately, it was winter vacation at this time. There were no major events that would occur.
There might be a Heroine personal event for Vernell to take but, there was nothing that would involve killing, so I didn’t need to pay attention to it.
The method we used to go to the Prophet’s location…! Surprisingly, it was a “steam train!”
I knew that there were steam trains in this World, but it was my first time actually riding one.
Most of the time, I’d fly by myself or ride a horse carriage, so it was a new experience.
I was sitting on the seat that faced Old Man Aiz. Since there was nothing to do, I just looked outside the window.
But since just doing that wasn’t enough to pass my free time, I also talked to him.
“Even though the location is classified, tracks have been laid down to go there…”
“Yes. Although, the steam train that goes there is exclusively for the royalty’s personal train. Common people definitely won’t be able to go there.”
I see… so it was the steam train…
When I thought about it, it was the obvious thing to do.
Only those who succeeded the King could go to the location of the Prophet.
So obviously, there wouldn’t be a way for horse carriages to go there, since a driver would be necessary… But at the same time, you couldn’t expect a King to walk to that location alone.
The World was currently peaceful so the possibility of being attacked by demons on road has already been reduced to below a thousandth of what it once was, but that meant encountering demons on the road was over a thousand times more likely back then.
There was no way a King could walk alone with such a risk.
But even a steam train could still be seen as dangerous.
The possibility of a demon getting inside the train was not 0.
In the first place, it was also likely that the demons could destroy the tracks.
“But even with a steam train, for the king to travel alone was surely a dangerous thing to do.”
“One is not worthy of being a king if he is unable to travel alone… that is a saying that has been passed down for generations. To meet the Prophet alone was a trial for the king to receive the oracle, as well as a ritual. There was a time when I, too… dreamed of becoming a king who could save Lilia, and was given this trial. My son also rode this steam train a long time ago.”
I couldn’t say anything to this old man who said such lonely words.
This feels heavy… Why would you bring up such a heavy topic here, old man?
It was that, right? He worked hard to become a king. But in the end, he was unable to save Lilia, the Saint who came before Alexia.
If I remembered correctly, that person was informed by the king of the truth about the Witch and the Saint. She recklessly fought against demons, and then ended up getting eaten and killed, right?
And also, your son rode this, you say… but, you are the current king, aren’t you?
If your son did the trial to become a king, yet you continued to be the one on the throne, it meant… that son of yours died, right?
I didn’t know if he either failed the trial, or if he died after successfully completing the trial.
Since this made the atmosphere heavy, I would have preferred it if you didn’t bring up this topic…
“…By the way, it had been said that only the king was allowed to know the location of the Prophet, but what about the people who drive the steam train?”
“That’s not a problem. The people who control this steam train are all people who have been chosen from the servants of the Prophet. We call them ‘Guardians.’“
According to the old man, the one who drove the steam train were not citizens of the Kingdom.
Guardians, huh… maybe it was my own imagination, but I imagined them as people who were half nude, wearing clothing only from the waist below, and who carried spears, while having weird patterns drawn on their face and speaking an unknown language.
Well, they wouldn’t be able to drive a steam train if that really was the case, so I concluded that they couldn’t be like that.
“Guardians… is it? I wonder what kind of people they are., I look forward to meeting them.”
Well, there was no way they could actually be like the undeveloped people I had imagined earlier.
They might look wiser and surprisingly similar to humans.
Or maybe, their civilization could unexpectedly be more advanced than ours was and they could be wearing futuristic looking clothes.
As I was thinking that, the door suddenly opened, and something came out.
“NOMED A SAW TI! YKS EHT MORF GNIKCATTA NOMED A2!”
“AMAS-TNIAS DNA AMAS-GINK! UOY TCETORP LLIW EW!”
The people who appeared after the door opened were… what were they… something?
They were similar to something like a monkey that wore clothes made from animal fur.
Well, they weren’t monkeys, they looked closer to humans than monkeys, but… Nah, they were monkeys, after all.
On top of that, I had no idea what they were talking about.
As I looked to the old man for confirmation, he silently nodded his head.
“They’re the guardians.”
Don’t screw with me! They’re totally primitive people, no matter how you look at it!
My observation was indeed correct, but I really wished it wasn’t!
Why, they looked even stupider than what I had imagined! These were not merely undeveloped people, but totally primitive people!
And the weapon they brought with them, it was totally just a cudgel with stone on the other end!?
“Err… what are they talking about?”
“I don’t know. It’s just, they seem to be panicking about something.”
It seemed that even the old man didn’t know what they were talking about.
But these guardians then stood and surrounded us in a protective circle. They took defensive stances and wielded their weapons.
At least… I think they were trying to protect us?
“WODNIW EHT RAEN SUOREGNAD SI TI! YAWA EVOM!”
They seemed to be telling us about something, but as expected, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Then, for some reason, they tried to make me move away from the window.
What? What do you mean?
But right as I was thinking that, the person who had tried to make me move away from the window got grabbed by a big birdlike claw and was taken away.
Ah — … I see. He was trying to tell me that it was dangerous near the window.
“It seems we are being attacked by a demon.”
The creature that was flying outside there was a big bird, with a wingspan of around 3 meters.
Its wings were black, while the rest of it was white.
It has a cute and seemingly likeable face.
The bird looked toward this direction and then let out a cry.
They sure cried in an annoying way.
Ah, I remembered. They were that STUPID-bird.
They were small fry that appeared in the game.
“EM DNIM T’NOD! MEHT FO HTOB TCETORP!”
The guardian who got caught seemed to be saying something, but as usual, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Perhaps he said something like, “Hurry up and help! I got caught because of you guys!” Maybe it was something like that?
I don’t have a hobby of helping monkeys, but… if I left this situation alone, it would bother me.
I will go for a bit.
I stepped out from the window and flew, instantly reaching the space above the STUPID-bird.
I immediately cut it down with a sword of light, then grabbed the guardian and brought him back to the steam train.
“GNIZAMA! GNORTS S’EHS!”
“AMAS-TNIAS! EDARMOC RUO DEUCSER EHS!”
When I returned to the steam train, the guardians started getting noisy.
Perhaps they were happy.
Then the guardian I saved grabbed my hand, and started saying something while crying.
“UOY KNAHT! UOY KNAHT! UOY YB DEVAS SAW EFIL YM!”
I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I guess he was thanking me… I think.
I don’t care about being thanked by a monkey though…
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“Calm down, Ijuuin-san. There should be related data stored in the company.”
Niito (I) tried to calm Ijuuin-san down, who forgot the name of the person who was in charge of writing the script.
Even if he did happen to forget the person’s name, the related data should have been recorded since they had sent the game sample there and it reached this person’s address.
Besides, the person who was in charge of the script was an important position, so regarding this person’s name and address, there was no way they would be purely depending on their memory instead of having the data recorded.
It was another thing if they were closely related, but they were merely fellow coworkers, and had never even met in person, so there was no way they hadn’t recorded such a person’s name and address and relied purely on memory.
As Niito (I) pointed that out, Ijuuin-san was convinced and raised his face.
“That is indeed the case. Fiori’s Turtle’s real name and address data is stored in the company. There is also a note written inside the computer about it. It’s okay, we will find out once we see that.”
Humans were creatures who forget.
No matter how much they believe they could remember it, they would keep the things they do not normally use deep inside their memory, and they would end up becoming unable to recall it.
That was why it was important to take notes.
Well, that’s good, that’s good.
With this, it’s possible to meet with the person who was in charge of the script.
Even so, that was after Ijuuin-san has obtained the data from his company, and I wouldn’t be there at the time, so I could only leave it to Niito (I) and Ijuuin-san.
Also, there was something that I’m curious about.
“By the way, the name of Fiori… isn’t that the name of the world I live in?”
Yes, regarding the name of the person in charge of the script.
Fiori was a name from the world where “Kuon no Sanka” took place.
I couldn’t shake off a bad feeling about that.
There’s no way, I thought.
But the act of overwriting one’s original memory, you would be unable to do that unless you were god.
Regarding the original story of “Kuon no Sanka”, no one remembered the scummy Saint Elrise who was hated by all, everyone remembered me as Elrise instead… The more I thought about it, the harder it was to explain this with logic.
“I don’t think that’s a strange thing to do. There are many writers who use their created character’s name as their pen name.”
“While that is indeed the case… this time alone, we can’t just let it settle at that, see?”
Ijuuin-san didn’t think there was anything weird about the pen name, but Niito (I) showed an objection to such an opinion.
Even so, you talked formally until just a few moments ago, yet before you knew it, you started to talk informally.
Well, it wasn’t my business.
“Ijuuin-san. According to the setting of “Kuon no Sanka”, the Saint is born when the World detects that a Witch came into being, then gives birth to a new Saint, right?”
“Yes. To be exact, when the World detects that, Mana forms a Saint by its will. In other words, both the Witch and Saint System were made by the world.”
What Niito (I) and Ijuuin-san discussed were the settings that influence the core of the story.
Both the birth of the Witch and the Saint were done by the will of the world.
That was the behind the scenes setting that was written on a walk-through interview with the producer, it was not revealed during the plot but… it was safe to say both the Witch and the Saint were created by the world.
But, it was unknown why the world made such things.
It had been said the mystery shall be revealed in the sequel, but that sequel was still in progress these 4 years and not yet released.
“Why did the world make such things… Do you know why?”
“…I did hear about such a setting. The Witch was originally the world’s representative to reprimand the humans who had grown arrogant as time passed. For humanity to rule for a long time, for them to not destroy too much, the Witch was made to be such a suppression device. But for some reason, the Witch went berserk and attempted to destroy humanity, then destroyed nature on top of that, so the world prepared the next world representative. That was the first Saint Alfrea who only appeared in name. But even when the Witch was defeated, the resentment and power ended up moving inside the Saint and turned them into the next Witch. Alexia did cut off part of her power and soul then transferred it to Vernell right? Just think it’s similar to that, but on a whole scale instead of just part of it. Then with the loss of a representative, the world prepares the next representative… and this cycle kept repeating itself… such was the explanation.”
Hee, so that was the setting.
So the one who was in the wrong was the first Witch.
If she didn’t go wrong at all, all of that wouldn’t have happened.
Hah-, such a troublesome thing to do.
“May I ask another thing? The birth of the Saint has been foretold by the Prophet is a setting known by anyone who played this game but… what is the Prophet in first place? Why is such a person capable of making a prophecy of the Saint’s birth? This one was totally ignored during the plot.”
The next thing Niito (I) questioned about was the Prophet who made the prophecy of the Saint’s birth.
Indeed, this person was unknown in various meanings.
It had been told during the game that Saint’s birth was foretold by the Prophet, then various nations’ higher ups went and collected them but, to begin with, what was the person who was capable of making such a prophecy in the first place?
But the said Prophet who was supposed to be important to the plot was totally ignored within the game. They hadn’t even appeared in person.
Not even hinted at, there was truly no discussion whatsoever.
“That’s… I don’t know. Even when I asked about that, I got ignored. Well, I thought it was just there to make the plot work or something…”
Ijuuin-san crossed his arms, and looked a little regretful.
Perhaps he thought it would have been better if he had forcefully asked about it.
Then he faced me and asked reservedly.
“Err… Elrise… san, is it okay I call you that? Do you know anything about it? Because you lived there, I thought it wouldn’t be weird if you knew something that we don’t…”
“No, there’s nothing on my side… it’s just that, I have been told there is such a person. I think King Aiz would know something about it. I will ask about it once I have returned to the other side.”
Ever since the last incident, old man Aiz was being cooperative, perhaps there was something to get if I asked.
As expected, you needed connections with high ranking people.
Well, I did think old man Aiz definitely has met the Prophet in person.
He already saw 4 generations of Saints, after all.
If you excluded me as a fake, then that would make 3 people. I didn’t think he wouldn’t know the Prophet since that was the case.
“Then it is decided what we have to do next. I and Ijuuin-san will search for the person who is in charge of the script. Elrise will search for the Prophet on the other side. I think there should be a hint that connects the 2 worlds somewhere.”
Toward Niito’s (I) word, Ijuuin-san and I nodded our heads.
If the other world’s situation changed, this world’s game’s content would change for some reason, and everyone’s memory regarding that except for ours would also change.
We didn’t know how this worked, perhaps it went far beyond the logic of humans.
Even so, we might still find our answer.
“By the way… may I ask something?”
As we finished with this topic, Niito (I) turned toward me.
What was it? It seemed he still had some questions, according to his expression.
He opened the computer, then silently clicked open the video site.
Inside the screen “Elrise” was being confined by the king, then Vernell’s group went for the rescue.
After that was the Capital raid but… it seemed the game treated it as a battle with Vernell’s party without Elrise in it and fought Crow.
It was actually different, but… well it was a game after all.
After that battle there was an event where “Elrise” beats down the enemies, and then Crow makes a desperate attack as the last stand.
Then Vernell protected “Elrise,” receiving a fatal wound…
… Which was followed by “Elrise” giving artificial respiration to Vernell. It was mouth to mouth.
Well yes, you do use one’s mouth to do artificial respiration, but…
HAAAAAAAAAAAAH?! What are you dooiiiiing?!
No, I didn’t do that! I didn’t do such a thing!!
As expected, I couldn’t settle that as merely “It’s actually different but it’s a game after all!”
In the video there are comments like “IT’S HERE~!” “Vernell, switch with me”, “Elrise, switch with me”, “You could manage using magic, why do you bother doing it using your mouth?” but wait, seriously, please wait.
I did handle that situation using magic right? I did place my hand on his mouth and sent oxygen in, right?
Why is the ‘I’ on the screen doing it mouth to mouth?
Are you a homo?!
And it was a drawn illustration on top of that…
“If Elrise’s favorability is below 50 she will merely respond curtly using her hand to send in air, but if your favorability is above 50 you get rewarded with a kiss. So there’s a need to die here, I see.”
The commentary said all they liked, but I still wouldn’t do it even with high favorability though!?
What the heck did I just see… was that really me?
Did I see a parallel world’s version of me who had completely turned into a female1? What a torture.
Unable to believe the situation on screen, I panicked, then Niito (I) smirked and asked.
“Well, did you truly do this?”
“There’s no way… there’s no way I did that! There’s no need to use lips so why would I need to go and do artificial respiration!”
That was dangerous, I almost let out the act despite Ijuuin-san being here.
Anyway, I wouldn’t do it. Definitely.
Well, you see? If that was truly the only way… well, maybe I would?
I’d been taught that time was most important during CPR, so if the situation called for it, there wouldn’t be time to say “I don’t want to since the other party is a man!”
But that was only when there was no other alternative.
If there’s another method, why would there be a need to choose that?
“As I thought… in that case, we could say this was something that originally didn’t exist and was a scene made purely for the sake of “adding some fanservice into the game”. It’s getting more suspicious if the game content truly changes according to our actions… Well, there was a chance you got too panicked and you forgot that you had an alternative and did it anyway.”
Niito (I) let out a sigh, and looked towards the computer as if looking at something suspicious.
All that was done until now that had been portrayed by the game, it was something that actually happened on the other side, or something that may have happened, or so we thought.
But that one was clearly a fake scene.
In that case, the premise until now was destroyed.
But that was all we knew.
It was still lacking materials to decide what might happen in the future.
In other words… As expected, we need the person in charge of the script or Prophet to move forward, for new data to be used for speculation to be added.
It has been decided what to do on the other side during winter vacation.
I think it was about time for me to wake up on the other side, so let’s end it here.
Well then Niito (I), do it properly.
I will also work hard in my own way.
Also forget that scene earlier. OK?
And so, here was a person who made up his goal and woke up freshly, the bastard inside, fake Saint Elrise was here.
Somehow, as I returned from the other side, I became really energetic.
It was HIGH! Like the feeling or something… if I needed to explain it was like I was feeling drowsy all this time, but suddenly, I started feeling completely awake and fresh.
I was clearly filled with power, and my mana has also increased.
It was like a power up I didn’t know about! Best condition!
… Sorry, I actually knew why.
Perhaps it was due to me taking a part of the other me’s soul.
So while I was feeling a lot better here, I on the other side should feel even weaker.
I think it was best if I don’t go to the other side too much.
Although it wasn’t like I could go there through my own will.
Well there was no helping it, even if I thought about it.
Anyway, I better think about what to do from now on.
It was currently on winter vacation, once it has ended, it will enter the 3rd term2 where the plot nears its end.
From now on, it was a jet coaster until the Witch’s fight.
But that was according to the game I knew.
Originally, regardless of the route Elrise would have already left the stage, and Eterna would have awakened as the Saint.
Then Eterna would fear the duties of the Saint. But with Vernell encouraging her, she would strengthen her resolve. Afterward, many things could happen, but all of the possible outcomes were dependent on the branching of the chosen route.
But, as you all know, I still had not left the stage yet, and Eterna was also not aware of herself being the true Saint yet.
So from now on, during the 3rd term my knowledge would become more unreliable.
Even so, let’s put it in order.
First, there were several events prior to the battle against the Witch but the major one would be the Academy Defense Battle.
This happened due to the Witch calling upon the demon horde which destroyed Rutin Kingdom to attack the Academy, then the students and teachers tried to resist, resulting in many mobs dying.
Finally, Eterna would awaken her Saint’s power, defeating the enemy leader along with Vernell’s group… The leader was the ogre-like monkey I bullied back in the past. Then the demon horde who has lost its commander would scatter to escape, and the Academy was saved that way.
But in this world, I already intercepted those demon hordes and made them into sandbags, so it was safe to assume they were no more.
Next one was an event regarding the Perverted Glasses Bastard stalking the Heroine and then confining them.
It would happen towards the heroine with the highest favorability but, in the Alexia route only the period would be pushed back, it would be triggered once Alexia became a member.
Finally, there was the battle against the Witch.
It has 3 different patterns for when it would happen: during the middle of the 3rd term, during the end of the 3rd term, or the pattern where the battle never triggered to begin with.
In the pattern when battle was never triggered, you had to complete Eterna’s conversation event to strengthen her resolve as the Saint then choose another heroine, in addition, Eterna’s favorability must be below a certain point while party level was above 40.
Eterna resolved herself to be the Saint, aware that her feelings won’t be answered by Vernell, but still tried to defeat the Witch for Vernell’s sake and brought many knights into the battle.
By the way during this time, depending on your choice and Leila’s favorability, Leila could end up dead.
Of course in this route, Eterna would become the Witch and the Final Boss.
Next was the pattern when the Witch was fought in the middle of the 3rd term.
This pattern happened the most often, and the Witch won’t last until the end.
Most of it was during the middle of the story, when there was still time left she appeared with a final battle atmosphere and the battle to defeat her began.
This happened in all but Eterna’s route. Once the Witch was defeated, Eterna would deal the last blow by a cutscene and it would flow like a happy ending, but…
Afterward due to Elrise’s bad history, those who hated the Saint failed to differentiate between Elrise and Eterna then destroyed Eterna’s hometown, killing everybody in it.
This was found out during the time of transition between Elrise to Eterna thus they were late to find out, and the attacker themselves did not even know what the Saint’s name was.
But said villagers were also idiots, they merely acted by the thought of “The Saint is unforgivable” on mistaken indignation that Elrise’s villainy was done by Eterna. Then when they received the information of “that village is where the Saint was born”, they did the most foolish thing they could3.
As the result, Eterna fell into despair and gave up on humanity. After killing them, she could no longer turn back.
Well, it was already too late the moment she defeated the Witch but, Eterna failed to even keep the peace for 5 years4.
By the way, in the Alexia route she didn’t die and became a comrade instead.
Of course, the moment she appeared, I took all her equipment and turned it into funds.
The pattern where the battle is at the end of the 3rd term was only the Eterna route.
In this route, the events related to Eterna would be expanded, and the battle would happen in the final period.
They defeated the Witch, and Eterna died in Vernell’s arms.
She might be happier compared to the other routes, but it still wasn’t worthy enough for all that she did.
This girl was way too pitiful.
It made one seriously think she was happiest when not portrayed whatsoever.
Well… in conclusion, the knowledge I had could no longer be depended on.
Because usually, this would be the moment when the trigger event for Eterna’s awakening happens.
With the demon horde already beaten down, if there was any flag left, it would be the Perverted Glasses Bastard Confinement event.
So from now on, it would be like advancing in the dark.
I really had no idea how the situation will develop.
But well, I decided do something about it. For the sake of my own feelings.
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“One cappuccino and an order of pancakes. Do you want anything Fudou-san?”
“No thanks, I have no appetite.”
Niito came to the company, then switched locations to a nearby cafe.
The person who ordered a cappuccino and pancake was Ijuuin Haruto, the person who accepted the interview.
He was the Project Leader of ‘Kuon no Sanka,’ the person who could be called God of that game.
He looked young, but it seemed like he was in his thirties.
He had short, neat black hair and black eyes. He wore sharp glasses, which gave the impression that he was an intellectual.
It was established since forever that anyone would have a wiser image when wearing glasses, but it was unknown if he really was wise.
In the current generation where smartphones and computers were widespread, people’s sight had gone down considerably, making people with glasses or contact lenses a dime a dozen.
“Well then… sorry to go straight to the point, but could you answer me? …What was the meaning of ‘Elrise, 102’?”
“That number was the original weight of the character named Elrise.”
Niito answered Ijuuin’s question without hiding anything.
Then Ijuuin snorted.
“Now that’s a weird thing to say. Elrise’s weight is officially stated as 44 kg. Did you even play the game?”
“If you truly think so, you wouldn’t have accepted this interview… Since you have some idea of it, you accepted this freelance web writer’s interview even at the cost of your precious time. Am I wrong?”
Niito said so with a decisive tone toward Ijuuin who played dumb.
Because if it was truly as Ijuuin said, then this meeting wouldn’t have happened in the first place.
He would have been refused with “We’re busy so we are unable to accept,” and it would end there.
Because Niito wasn’t a reporter of a famous magazine or anything.
He was just a freelance Web Writer… There wouldn’t be much merit for the other party to set aside time for someone like him. Just a waste of time.
Even so, the producer still accepted the interview.
At that point, it’s the same as saying he already had some idea about the bait.
Toward Ijuuin who stayed silent, Niito continued to talk.
“The role of the original Elrise is… not like the current one. She was more of an annoying person that blatantly hated and ostracized Eterna to raise her. Regardless of the route, in the second semester… she would become the villain from the period after summer break and until winter break, doing all acts of tyranny as she pleased, and eventually being ejected from the stage… That was her role.”
“…I see. Indeed, you know about it.”
Listening to Niito’s words, Ijuuin nodded slightly.
When his coffee and pancakes were served, he added two spoons of milk to his coffee and stirred it.
“Fudou-san… it is as you said. Elrise’s character was originally the troublemaker who took center stage… the villain that brought chaos. Yet for some reason, the current Elrise is more Saint-like than the original Saint and became a character that did a one-eighty from her original characterization. Also… everyone in the world recognized this as fact from the very beginning… The creator team of the game and everyone in the company. Actually, I even began to doubt if I was the one who’s wrong.”
“Regarding these changes, you guys weren’t involved?”
“There’s no way we could… get involved in such a thing, you know? Indeed, we’re capable of changing Elrise’s personality and releasing the game as a remake. But to change the reception of an already released game into “it was like that originally,” it’s only possible if you could twist the truth and the past.”
Ijuuin poured syrup on his pancakes and cut it with a knife.
Then, he used a fork to take a bite, and he drank a bit of coffee.
“I expected you’d know about it instead, which is why I agreed to this interview.”
“I knew… I guess you could say that. But it’s so absurd that it’s hard to believe it completely.”
“I’ll decide myself whether to believe it or not after hearing about it.”
Now this was getting weird, Niito thought.
I came seeking information, but here I was, giving the other person information instead.
But if I talked, a path could open.
As expected, if I were to say “I am Elrise!” he definitely wouldn’t believe it, so he might not talk without reservations.
“Elrise herself, while she became something that’s similar to a ghost, would sometimes come here. The in-game changes are according to her actions, and the world would change according to that. As for events that could not be seen yet, it hasn’t reached this place yet because it’s still happening on her side of the world… because it’s not yet a confirmed future, thus it is not possible to see it for now, is my opinion”
“…That is indeed absurd. Is there any proof for this?”
“It would be faster if you saw her directly, but… I don’t know when she will appear. It’s just that she usually appears wherever I currently happen to be. It’s due to this connection that I could remember the content of the game previously.”
Ijuuin rubbed the area in between his eyes while thinking about something deeply.
Afterward, he ate the bite-sized pancake and chewed on it to refresh the sugar content of his brain.
“Yes. My neighbor’s room is still open, it seems.”
“That’s convenient then.”
At Niito’s answer, Ijuuin nodded as if he felt something.
He drank his coffee then, as if he’d already decided, he said—
“I will stay in that apartment for a while. If Elrise comes, never mind the time, just call me.”
“Eh? But is… is that okay? Do you have the time for it?”
“I indeed don’t have that much free time. But more than that, if I don’t solve this mystery, I won’t be able to calm down. My own creation slowly changed outside my control. It’s too creepy to leave it alone.”
I see, Niito thought.
From Ijuuin’s POV that was indeed creepy.
It was like a portrait you drew suddenly started moving by itself.
Iijun’s understanding of the truth might be even stronger than Niito’s.
And the day to show Ijuuin “proof” came earlier than they expected.
Some days passed after successfully making peace (?) with Vernell.
A day before winter vacation, I returned to my previous world’s apartment before I knew it.
As he noticed my existence, Fudou Niito (I on the other side) slowly woke up from his futon.
“Ouh, you came.”
“Yes. I came again.”
But it was such a horrible face, even if I say it myself.
How do I say it, it was like he was already a zombie.
His skin was close to the earth’s color, his cheeks sank deeply and the area around his eyes were hollow.
The black marks below his eyes were thick and looked as hard as bone.
It seemed like he didn’t have much time left.
Niito (I) slowly took his smartphone, then called someone.
“Elrise, I’ll call another person here. It’s troublesome to tell our relationship because he might think we’re like a disgusting transvestite, so we must hide our connection. Don’t say anything unnecessary.”
“Eeh… is it okay to bring an outsider in?”
“He’s not an outsider. He’s one of the leading creators of ‘Kuon no Sanka’“
It seems Niito (I) would have to contact the game maker at some point.
You sure are aggressive despite being me.
If it was the game creator, then… as expected, it was to find out the connection between this side and the other side.
If you actually thought about it, being reincarnated into the game world was weird.
‘Kuon no Sanka’ was just a collection of pictures and illustrations, as well as sounds and programs mixed in as data. There were also battle scene effects and other stuff.
Anyway, that was not enough to form a world.
So what was the world I currently lived in?
Was it a world similar to a game?
Or was it that the other side existed first, then the game was made according to that?
…Considering how the game content changed according to my actions, I was leaning toward the latter.
“Oh, he came.”
From the other side of the door, someone’s footsteps echoed.
Niito (I) heard this and went closer. He looked outside through the peephole before opening the door.
Then, a glasses-wearing black-haired guy in his thirties (…no, forties?) came in.
Ho~ Ho~ So that’s the game creator.
When he saw me, his eyes turned wide and he froze on the spot.
“…I can’t believe it. She really is here…”
“Err… Hello, I’m Elrise.”
Let’s exchange greetings for now.
Since he was the game creator, he could be considered as a god from my world.
Perhaps he could destroy the world according to his mood, so it wouldn’t be good to incite his anger.
So it was better to be friendly now.
“A-aah… nice to meet you. I’m Ijuuin Haruto. For now, I’m a project leader of ‘Kuon no Sanka.’”
Fumu fumu, Ijuuin-san.
OK, I remember it.
“Then what do we talk about now?”
“It’s obvious. About the connection between that side of the world and this side of the world, and the connection to the game as well. Whenever you took action there, this world treated those changes as if it was like that in the first place… we want to know about that mystery.”
My question was answered by Niito (I) as if it was the most obvious thing to say.
“This mystery, would Ijuuin-san over there know about it?”
“N-No… I don’t know about it. Every member of the creator team except for me didn’t even notice that the content had changed. Everyone recognized the changes as if that was the case from the very beginning.”
I expected Ijuuin-san to know something about that, but the answer we got was nothing reliable.
It seemed that he, too, didn’t know anything about this mysterious change.
If the person who could be called the other side’s god also didn’t know, I actually had no other clue.
“Yes. But as expected, the key to solving this mystery lies in ‘Kuon no Sanka,’ I think. That’s why, while it might be late, let’s reanalyze the game from the very beginning. Maybe we can find hints there.”
Niito’s (I) words prompted Ijuuin-san to nod, and I went with the flow and nodded as well.
Since Ijuuin-san was here, we might be able to hear about the behind the scenes production, so the possibility of hints being uncovered was not zero.
At Niito’s (I) urging, Ijuuin-san began to explain
“‘Kuon no Sanka’ …its official name was ‘Kuon no Sanka ~Fiore caduto eterna~.’ It was produced 4 years ago, and has sold around 420,000 copies by now. The production company is Attimo Game Production Project. The creator team consisted of 6 people, and it became our company’s number one hit product. The sequel and spin-off where the popular character, Mary, would star as the main character is being planned, but it’s currently not progressing.”
“Why is it not progressing?”
“The writer who’s responsible for the script is very slow. Really… that person didn’t send the script no matter how long it took. This is why net writers who lack professionalism are just…”
The sequel of ‘Kuon no Sanka’ had been rumored to come out for a while now, yet a few years passed already and nothing came out of it.
The reason was the scenario writer, it seemed.
Well, there’s nothing to work on if there’s no script.
But… Net Writer?
“What kind of person was responsible for the script?”
“I actually also don’t know much about them. I never met the person directly after all… it’s the so-called masked writer. We did talk through the internet, but I don’t even know what the person looks like.”
“You didn’t meet directly? Even though both of you are fellow producers?”
“‘Kuon no Sanka’ was originally a popular novel that won in a contest. This contest awarded a guarantee to serialize on top of a big cash prize. And for those that won the game category award, they also turned that into a game… and the novel that won that category was ‘Kuon no Sanka.’ The writer… had the pen name of “Fiori’s turtle” put up with the condition of never meeting face to face and only talking online… Well it’s not rare for that to happen in the world. I did try to invite the person to a meal, but the answer was always NO. That’s why the scenario writer isn’t a member of our company.”
I feel like I understand what Ijuuin-san was saying.
In other words, the writer was a novice writer who managed to grab a chance to rise up.
“In a way, he… or she was the real creator. We merely added pictures and music to the sentences that person wrote. The one who drew the characters is another illustrator, but the one who decided their aesthetics was that person.”
“Then, let’s ask that person. Where does that person live and what’s that person’s name? You must know their real name, right?”
“Yes. When sending samples of the completed game, we needed to know their address and real name after all. There’s no problem there. I know that properly. Their real name should be… be…”
Ijuuin-san talked only until that point, then held his own head.
He tried to remember it for some time, then he rose from his seat with a troubled expression on his face.
“…Sorry, I forgot.”
…Oi oi, is this person okay?
Well, it might not be necessary to remember the real name of the person who wasn’t even an employee (and talked online exclusively using a handle), but he couldn’t even remember that properly.
This got me worried now.
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It had been a long time since he first felt that he was somewhat twisted compared to others.
Fudou Niito, from childhood, was already broken somewhere.
What exactly was weird and twisted about him? It was difficult to put it into words.
It wasn’t anything that could be pinpointed clearly, and he looked normal on the outside—at very least, for the life he had lived.
It wasn’t like he lacked or had too much emotion either. He wasn’t a good person, but he was also not a criminal.
He didn’t break the law, but he did consider the merit of doing so before.
He envied those who were more blessed than him, but also felt superior looking down on people who were not as privileged as himself.
He was a person you could find everywhere: normal… but slightly twisted and not really considered as a good person… but still the type of person you could find everywhere.
He looked dark and serious on the surface while he thought of many funny things inside… but it’s not a weird thing. In the current generation, there were more people than you could count who acted like Braggart and Net Benkei1.
At very least, he had no such abnormality that was apparent if you went by first impressions.
It wasn’t like he had a hobby of torturing insects and small animals, but instead he had common hobbies in the modern world, which were watching foreign movies and immersing himself in fiction.
Some may consider that as weird, but it was still within the normal scope of weirdness.
It was merely the level of “he might be a weird person, but such a person existed everywhere.”
But he really was twisted somewhere.
For example, there was this instance in his childhood —
On the way to school, he saw a lump of flesh on the street, which was actually a cat that was hit by a car, sprawled on the road.
His friends were terrified and tried not to look at it directly.
However, Niito didn’t feel any fear or disgust. Not even when he looked directly at it.
He did feel bad for the cat and also felt a slight contempt for the driver who ran over it.
In the end, he didn’t possess “something” that others had.
For example when he was in middle school —
He had one female classmate who was not at any fault whatsoever, she just happened to catch someone’s eye, then she ended up being bullied by male classmates.
It was a mass number of boys against just one girl who they treated as a toy for their entertainment.
They beat her up meaninglessly, made her cry, and also recorded a video of her in such a pitiful state using their cellphones…
He did feel disgusted by it and, going by his own moral compass, he felt that it was wrong.
So he bullied them back.
It wasn’t like Niito himself was bullied and he wasn’t particularly close with the girl either.
In the beginning, he tried to treat the bully group as friends on the surface.
But he couldn’t stand the disgusting sight that was repeated every day, so he tried to change it into something that was acceptable for him.
First, he tried to convince the group leader — but it was no good, so Niito hit him.
Of course the bully fought back, but Niito wasn’t fazed in the slightest.
It wasn’t like he had no sense of pain. It hurt a lot, but he still kept his fists in front of him to repay twice what he had taken.
Whether it was break time, in the middle of class, or during the commute to school, as long as Niito saw him, he would hit him. Over and over, he would keep hitting him until he cried.
Even if the teacher scolded him, or whether his parents were called and gave sermons as well, the same routine repeated.
That kept happening until the other side no longer came to school… then he continued again toward different bullies.
Ah, this is fun
I see, now I could understand why that bully group did all those disgusting acts.
This was fun. It’s very fun. It’s addicting.
Against those weaker than me, hitting others while feeling like a hero of justice was a very pleasant experience.
If one looked at the whole situation objectively, Niito was frightening during this time.
But at the same time, Niito’s heart still functioned normally.
While hitting and being hit, he felt like he was on a detached plane, as if he was only doing game commentary, trying to talk with other people he couldn’t see, all the while feeling delighted inside.
Ok, Player Niito did a full power attack! It was super effective!
Ooh, he received a counter-attack! He might be in a pinch!
But he won’t back down! And Megaton Punch here! He did it— he managed to overcome his low accuracy and hit the target!
Ok Punch BOOM!
KO! It’s a KO! Player Niito did it!
If one were to put what he thought into words, it would be like that.
Even as he was thrust into such situations like fighting with other people, he still thought this way so normally that it became weird.
It was the same as when he played games or read manga with his peers — he was still the bright and pleasant Fudou Niito.
During the time he did all that, he felt neither anger nor hatred.
Sometimes he felt remorseful for himself or felt like being drunk on the feeling, and other times he had the expression of a merciful smile.
After he bullied all the bully groups to the point that they no longer came to school, he approached the first bullied girl as if he was her savior.
It‘s already okay. Those who bullied you were already silenced.
As he said that, he thought things like that would raise flags, or that it would be troubling if she started to get attracted to him—those normal yet abnormal thoughts.
“No… don’t come closer! It’s scary!”
But what awaited him was rejection.
As he looked around once everything was over, the gazes that looked upon him were full of fear.
The teacher who once treated him normally now looked at him coldly, as if he was a problem child, and later his family would look at him like he was trash.
He was suspended from school for some time and, at one point, his actions were also featured on TV news.
It was an obvious result… Everyone but a fool knew it.
He had previously read a badly written “Kuon no Sanka” fanfic. The protagonist there was like “I beat down the bullies so I become popular!” but… reality wasn’t anything like that.
Those kinds of weird people only ended up being hated.
They receive bashing from people around them, get gossiped around, and then Niito thought—
“Ah… I see. Bullying was a bad thing after all. Wow, this is something. Since I bullied the bully, now I became the bully instead. It’s obvious that my actions are hated. Ah, I’ve done it. I need to reflect on this seriously.”
To him who still talked normally as if nothing happened, how did other people now perceive him?
Of course he did feel sad being treated coldly by friends, teachers, and family. But since he knew it couldn’t be helped, he no longer minded it.
Even so, while looking at the surrounding reaction, he finally realized he somehow became weird.
So he came to understand it then, but all the while still being light-hearted as usual.
— Ah, I see. I was that kind of person… the so-called scum, I guess.
Well, scum could use his scum ways to meld with his surroundings and live normally.
It’s okay, no problem.
You could do it if you work hard.
The thing he lacked was a sense of reality.
He always somehow — had a feeble sense of reality, as if his own body was a game character he was manipulating.
Just like gaming, if there was a very bad guy, it was obvious for that guy to be hated by others.
He did feel disgusted by the unlucky and sad development that the character went through, and it wasn’t weird to think that he wanted to do something about it.
There, the person who was branded as the bad guy by the game and hated by everyone like “what a cruel person” in this universe, then the next day the player controlled their protagonist to meaninglessly kill travelers, steal and run from shops, destroy buildings around him, basically doing so much scummy acts while having fun and laughing giddily. If it was like this, even the bad guy from yesterday would look comparatively decent.
It wasn’t a weird thing to do, and neither was his conscience destroyed.
It wasn’t like the said person suddenly conjured two extreme personalities. It was all normal.
Because it was not reality.
Within a fictional world, they only tried to have as much fun that was permissible within that world’s rules.
But if you brought that kind of behavior to the real world, it was clearly out of place.
Fudou Niito was that type of person.
He always saw the world in a third person point of view, and he wouldn’t even treat himself as his own self, but like somebody separate instead.
As if he himself was also a character within a game.
And one who controlled it was the other him who was out there somewhere.
It was reality, yet at the same time it’s not. He was living in such a bizarre mindset.
He was aware of his own unusual tendencies as he reached adulthood, and so he started restraining himself.
That’s why, he chose a way of life wherein he wouldn’t be involved with other humans as much as possible, and so he became a Web Writer that could work alone at his own home.
As his reality and hobbies lie in the fictional world, he didn’t understand the gravity of his own death, thinking “well such is life” and even enjoying it… Meanwhile, he truly immersed himself into the events within the game and felt burdened.
Elrise and Niito were the same at their core.
Both of them were twisted in some way or another.
They were serious about the weirdest things. While the things they should be serious about were treated as other people’s business.
But Niito had noticed that Elrise started to change.
Perhaps it was due to the fact that their bodies were different, or because they worried about different matters.
While Elrise and himself had the same roots, little by little… she had started to diverge from Niito.
It was currently just speculation. There was no proof.
But he did have some expectations for it.
If it was on the other side of the world… Perhaps, even he could change.
Perhaps he could see how he changed.
As he raised such expectations for his other self who split away from him, Fudou Niito took action.
After passing through a few stops on the train, Niito arrived at the address written on the back of the game package.
Because it was the company that sold such a game, he thought it would be bigger, but it seems to be a small company that merely occupied a section of a multi-tenant building.
There were signs attached next to the building, and there he saw the name of the game company.
It was located on the 5th floor.
Niito immediately entered the building and went to the 5th floor using the elevator.
He found the company he sought, then immediately asked the receptionist.
“Good afternoon. What can I do for you?”
“I’m Freelance Writer Fudou who made an appointment on the phone. Is Ijuuin-san here?”
“Ah, yes. Please wait a moment… Ijuuin-san! The person who asked to meet you has arrived!”
The receptionist directed some slight suspicion toward Niito’s appearance, but outwardly she was still a professional.
She didn’t care about it too deeply, and called for the man inside the company.
Before Niito came here, he did make an appointment, but this Ijuuin-san was the Project Leader of “Kuon no Sanka”.
Normally, there’s no way a person of high stature would attend to a small-time web writer, but while talking on the phone, Niito managed to bait the man with a few words.
And those words were… “Elrise, 102.”
That alone might be too vague for most, but 102 was the original Elrise’s weight.
Elrise, who was part of Niito’s reincarnated soul, only weighed 44 kg, so anyone who asked would answer with that number instead.
If anyone said, “Elrise is a 102 kg Pizza,” fans would beat that person up.
In other words, it was a code that wouldn’t incite a reaction if they didn’t know the game prior to its change.
The one who caught the code (bait) was a man called Ijuuin.
Without a doubt, he knew.
Since he was already sure of this, Niito let out a fearless smile.
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After having gone through a series of events that started with a kidnapping I had no prior knowledge of, I finally returned to the academy.
Upon coming back, all the Knights, soldiers and Stocco bowed down before me, assuming a dogeza position, and offered to become more loyal to me than ever. In response, I simply told them it was nothing.
Since I was a fake Saint, I did call them Traitor Knights in my heart, but strictly speaking, their actions wouldn’t be considered as betrayal.
In the first place, they did not know that the person they were serving was the wrong one and that the one they should be serving wasn’t me, but in any case, they should still be able to continue being Knights after this incident.
Stocco, on the other hand, for some reason could no longer wield the sword that was the Prime Knight’s proof, so for now she’d been given a decent quality sword to tide him over.
Anyhow, the person herself said, “The sword is too heavy for the current me.” It must be quite heavy, making it hard to use.
After returning to the academy, the uproar finally abated and we reached our winter vacation peacefully.
Once the vacation was over, all kinds of students would be invited to the tournament instead of it just being grade-limited, then after that, it would finally be the last battle against the Witch
One other thing I had to think about was my actual lifespan. My knowledge of the game was only the duration of one year, so I want to deal with everything smoothly during the current school year.
I was going to have to strengthen Vernell’s group as much as I could to lessen the death flags that would come their way once I sent them underground.
The role of wasting the Witch’s MP prior to putting up the barrier was… something that must be done by people other than me.
This put me in an awkward position, really, since I told Vernell that “I could do this alone (game face)” just a while ago.
I totally couldn’t do this alone. I needed someone to make sure the Witch wasted her MP, else she’d escape.
Uwah, uwah, I’ve done it. What should I do now?
If I were to say, “As expected, I can’t do everything alone. HELP ME!” after all that bravado, it would be totally uncool.
Should I do this without Vernell included in the plan?
But no, it actually wasn’t possible without Vernell.
Basically, all I needed to do was to make sure the Witch underground wouldn’t notice me, then proceed to make her waste MP until the point where she’d be unable to use Teleport and make Mana Vacuum at will.
This was why it was necessary for the following people to be beside me: anyone other than full-fledged Knights, and people who possessed enough strength to force the Witch to waste her MP.
Among everyone I could pick from among the students and teachers… Vernell was the only perfect fit, since he was already on the level of a Knight.
Of course he was. He had beaten Mary, who was said to be equivalent to a Knight, so it was natural to think he’d fit the bill.
He might be lacking compared to Leila, but Leila was a Prime Knight, so it was weird to compare them in first place.
Additionally, he also had dark power that allowed him to actually damage the Witch, so it would be disadvantageous to remove him from the group.
If I excluded Vernell, then only Eterna would be able to damage the Witch, but… I didn’t want Eterna to participate in the underground infiltration. I was worried about the possibility of her turning into the final boss.
At the moment, she seemed to be living up to her potential and overshadowing my presence, but perhaps she’d be happier this way.
When Eterna displayed her presence, she mostly ended up with a death flag, after all…
Anyway, it was disadvantageous to remove Vernell. If there was no one else who could manage to damage Witch, there would be a higher chance that the Witch wouldn’t waste much MP.
As expected, I needed to apologize to Vernell to make him participate, I guess.
But what could I say after all that?
I should hurry and secure his help before he started holding a grudge due being treated as a burden…
While I was in deep thought, I walked toward the athletic field.
It was something akin to a schoolyard that was located outside the school building. It was where students jogged, sparred, and had sword training with straw dolls as target practice.
I stopped by, in case I could spot someone else suitable for the group, but… uh, the more I searched, the more it became clear just how capable Vernell and his merry group were.
Everyone else was below Mob A. Not even worthy to be considered.
It wasn’t that everyone was bad.
I spotted a student doing practice swings who had great momentum. He held the same sword that I had given Vernell before, and it was admirable to see him concentrating on each individual swing without losing his balance over the sword’s weight.
He was exactly like Vernell.
…or rather it really was Vernell.
“Wa, wait a moment Elrise-sama!”
But too bad, I got noticed and he caught up to me in no time with those quick feet of his.
Vernell, who approached with surprisingly great speed, put on a serious face while looking straight at me.
That must be it. Maybe? Was he still angry from what I said before?
Well, there’s no way anyone would feel good about being treated as a burden.
I had no choice then, I will be the adult here and apologize.
Well, adult or not, I was totally 100% guilty here.
“About before, I deeply apologize!”
Huh? I haven’t apologized yet though?
I tried to but, Vernell went ahead and bowed his head down while apologizing before I could.
But I didn’t understand. Why did he do so?
If we put the things on other day in order, firstly, I got confined, so Vernell prepared to commit treason to rescue me.
Of course, I asked the king a favor so that Vernell wouldn’t end up getting punished after the entire ordeal, but even so, the fact stands that he still walked on thin ice just to rescue me.
After that, the Billberry capital was struck, so we hurriedly went for a rescue operation, then he used his own body to protect me from Crow’s attack.
It’s already been established that there wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t protect me or anything, but that might not be the case for Vernell—and toward such a person who was ready to risk his own life to save mine, I just declared him to be a hindrance.
Now that I thought about it again, I absolutely acted like the scum of the earth.
So, uh… There shouldn’t have been anything for Vernell to apologize about?
“After that, I heard it from Eterna and everyone… I was truly dead that time…”
Oh, that’s right. He should be grateful about that since he was really in a tight spot there.
“I intended to help, yet I ended up being helped instead… and I just arbitrarily tried to protect… it was obvious… that I was just disillusioned.
Somehow, Vernell seemed to have claimed that he was at fault here. Really though, he could have just been angry and said this directly: “I helped you, yet you return my goodwill with that attitude!”
Looking at it objectively, it was clear who was at fault.
If you talked about what I did, it was like how a hero would brave through danger and bet his life to rescue the princess who was trapped in the Demon Lord’s castle, yet the said princess already came out by herself, beat down the Demon Lord, and without giving a hero a single word of gratitude, she instead said “You’re too low level so I don’t want your help.”
It totally would make you break the game disk.
…Eh, that was right. I hadn’t even said thanks yet.
It has always been like this since back then in my past life.
Even then, I’d forget to show my appreciation because I thought I had already said my thanks.
Perhaps I felt that my gratitude would reach the other side without the need for actual words, but because of this, even if I somehow managed to snag a girlfriend, we’d break up soon after because of this nasty habit.
I’d yet to learn my lesson, it seemed.
Okay, this might not have been proper timing, but let’s say it now.
“No, I’m the one who should give my apologies. Vernell-kun and the others had bet your life trying to rescue me, yet all I said in return were heartless things toward you. I truly said such harsh things, and I’ve deeply reflected on it. Please forgive me.”
It was like an apology conference or something.
Be conscious of the camera, bend your waist to show off a beautiful bowing posture, and on a carefully prepared apology letter would be the words ‘I have deeply reflected.’
The ‘ojigi’ was the ultimate Japanese Lethal Weapon as it’s seen on television a lot. So now, let’s protect that sacred tradition1.
By the way, amongst those who did ojigi while saying these same words from those apology conferences on television, I didn’t know anyone who truly reflected on their wrongdoings.
Rather, was there anyone at all who did? Such was life.
Actually, “I’ve reflected on it” had about the same untrustworthy vibe as, “I will positively consider it.”
“That’s not right! There’s nothing for Elrise-sama to apologize about…”
Wasn’t Vernell being a little too good of a person?
It was okay to just respond like, “Then I guess I will forgive you” in this case.
“Also, about the time you came to save me… I’m glad you did. Thank you, Vernell-kun”
I truly was. I honestly hadn’t expected anyone to come.
When they arrived, I admit that I cursed them a bit silently, urging them to read the atmosphere, but even so.
It was touching to see how someone still took action for my sake, so I truly was grateful.
Then Vernell looked down, seemingly thinking deeply about something.
Oh, what is it?
He raised his eyes after some time, and uttered a declaration with such a serious expression on his face.
He always had to put on a serious face, didn’t he?
“Elrise-sama… I’m still weak but… I will definitely become much stronger than I am now. So I can become your Knight someday… I will definitely become stronger!”
Oh, oh, I see?
But you wouldn’t need to work so hard anymore, since you were practically the top student on the practical side of things. All you need was to take care of the theory side and you would make it as a Knight.
Not sure if I’d still be a Saint by that time—actually, I doubt it since Eterna would be the Saint then.
But work hard anyway.
“You will definitely get stronger. It’s Vernell-kun, after all.”
So let’s just randomly encourage him. If he leveled up enough, he could be strong enough to do a solo round against Witch. If it came to that, I could take it easy, so please, do become stronger.
Okay, reconciliation complete!
Ah- that was good, really good. I wasn’t sure how to secure his cooperation otherwise. Now all that was left was to make Vernell’s group stronger, and then send them underground.
Okay, victory is near!
—That was what she (Elrise) thought.
As he — Fudou Niito — saw the illustration shown on screen, he guessed what his other self, Elrise, thought and desperately tried to resist laughter.
If only I didn’t know the person inside was me, this scene would be what you call the scene of pledge between the protagonist and the heroine.
With the setting sun as their background, Vernell stood on the academy’s athletic grounds and vowed to become stronger while Elrise who slightly smiled as she heard that. It was what you’d commonly see in stories.
But he knew. Elrise’s will was part of himself… no, considering the him on this side was actually the part that had not made it into reincarnation, the one at the other side should be considered the real body… Anyway, it was something that should be far from existence called the heroine.
“An early confinement event didn’t exist in other routes, so Vernell ended up dying just to surprise me, but… well, he made it somehow. But, it’s really amazing how this route basically treated Eterna as air.”
While Niito smiled bitterly, the fact that Eterna’s presence as the main heroine was reduced into thin air made him feel complicated.
Because it was a galge, it’s not weird for the heroine’s presence to become less significant depending what route the protagonist was on.
Actually, one of the heroines was supposed to be a sickly girl named Lina Thomas, though she never appeared again after Elrise healed her.
This galge was a game that’s considered to be a monumental work, so depending on the choices one took, it was possible to have a run without ever meeting a certain heroine from beginning until the end.
Even so, Eterna had always been an initial party member with a preferential treatment because she was the Saint of this world, however, her presence had become so flimsy that it was doubtful how big her role as the Saint really was in this route.
By this logic, Elrise’s goal for Eterna’s survival with a Happy End might just happen.
“Well… the one inside was me. So I guess it can’t be helped… If I was wise and could adapt easily, I could live successfully here in reality in the first place instead.”
Elrise wasn’t skillful at such things, so he knew all too well to the point that he hated it.
Elrise was stupid, it was something he already knew so it went without saying, since Elrise was himself.
It was more like, “She did quite well despite being me,” was Niito’s honest evaluation.
Yes, I did quite well. If you looked at her by face value, she was an amazing person who accomplished feats that other people would be unable to do.
But… you could see her faults in various places. You could see she regarded many things too lightly.
The current events were some examples. Her time was already about to run out, yet she still honestly played the role of a kidnapped princess.
Indeed, the possibility for the Witch to have noticed that Elrise wasn’t present at the academy for a week was low. But it was merely low, not a zero percent possibility so Elrise should have already gone back to academy immediately.
In the end, it was all solved but… that was a hindsight-based opinion.
One wrong step and everything might go to waste.
Was this effect of a soul that got split up…?
“Regarding the fact that Eterna lacked presence, it can’t be helped, I guess. I don’t know how much of the game information was true, but it was already proven that the Eterna Route and the Elrise Route can’t exist at the same time.”
The fool on other side (Elrise) seemed to have a lapse in her memory, but actually the moment Elrise visited to academy, the Eterna Route disappeared because as we go by game the setting, the Elrise Route could only be entered through “New Game” while the Eterna Route could only be entered through “New Game+”.
This was why, once the choice for the Elrise Route opened, there was no way to switch to Eterna over the course of the plot, so the same could be said in reverse.
According to Niito’s experiment by playing several times, even if the Elrise Route opened, you could adjust favorability midway and end up in other routes like Mary’s route or Leila’s route, but no matter how you did it, it was impossible to switch back to Eterna.
In other words, for that fool on the other side (Elrise) who had been hoping to stick Eterna and Vernell together and achieve a Happy END, it was sadly already impossible.
… If this game information was true.
As Fudou Niito thought more, this game’s content… was everything true?
He had to question it because according to this one event he just saw:
The Capital Defense War where it started with a battle with Vernell and his party against the boss Crow. Once Crow’s HP would reach 0, the event would proceed with Vernell risking his life to protect Elrise and dying in the process.
At this time, Elrise was supposed to revive Vernell, but… if Elrise’s favorability was high enough, Elrise would give Vernell CPR, mouth to mouth.
—Will I really do such a thing?
If that was truly the only method left, maybe he really would have done it.
Saving the protagonist’s life was the number one priority. When I got my license for first aid, I was given a lecture about the proper way to administer heart massages and artificial respiration, but there was no fool out there who was taught, “If the other individual is a dude, then it’s okay to not do CPR!”
Well, if there was any other choice, he definitely wouldn’t choose to kiss a dude. Fudou Niito was a guy, and he had no hobby of kissing fellow men.
But then here, depending on the favorability level, Elrise would do it even though she had the magic to deliver oxygen directly.
Yet as if she herself wished for it… using lifesaving as an excuse so ‘she had no choice’ but to do the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
This scene was heated on the internet. Videos were also overflowing with comments.
Yes, if people didn’t know the backstory, it could be seen as a beautiful scene. If one didn’t know who was inside Elrise’s mind, it was quite moving.
It was truly a scene out of a movie, but for Fudou Niito, this scene was totally manufactured.
It was an overproduced imitation scene twisted by the game creators’ will, something that forcibly tried to fit the genre called galge, to replace the otherwise unromantic scene that should have been there.
As if something was stuck on his throat, he hurriedly blocked his own mouth with his palm.
While cough calmed down, he looked down at his palm and saw red sticky liquid there.
At that, Niito took the wet handkerchief he already prepared on top of the table to wipe his mouth while the corners of his lips rose in a slight arch.
“I don’t think I will last long… but before I go to the other side, I should do what I need to do here.”
Standing up from his seat, he went toward the front door, swaying on his feet.
There wasn’t much left for him to do here, so he sorted his affairs one by one.
The remaining cash he had left in his possession was around 30 million, which he had already withdrawn and had taken care of all things related to inheritance.
If it stayed in the bank, it would create various troubles like his account being frozen and whatnot, so he took care of all of them first hand then split it up into portions to be given to his mother and younger sister.
His life insurance was already taken care of, so once he died his family should receive a few tens of millions, but more than that, he thought about the connection of worlds between this and the other side.
It seemed… that it was still linked.
The game content indeed changed according Elrise’s actions, but even so, a game was still a game.
Bluntly speaking, it was merely text, CG, BGM, and programming. It was a record composed of abstract things, and yet it was not merely a world beyond the screen. What’s inside an LCD display was merely a polarized filter and glass substrate… it was only what composed it to form the things. It’s not something you need to think about. Anyone knew that.
Data is still a Data… 3D person entering a 2D world was theoretically impossible, and a real world beyond a game should not have existed.
But the other me actually reincarnated into the world of “Kuon no Sanka”, and I also recognize this to be a fact. I also met and conversed with Elrise…
At very least, she was not a being made from CG.
Since this was so, the world she was in was not just a game world, rather the game was adapted and shaped according to that world…
His doubt never ended.
Did Elrise enter the world of “Kuon no Sanka,” or did Elrise reincarnate into a world that was similar to “Kuon no Sanka”?
Or perhaps the premise was reversed. It was a real world in first place and the game named “Kuon no Sanka” merely projected what happened there.
It seemed like the same premise, but it was totally different.
In essence, what made things complicated was not only the game content, but the recognition that the world was being changed according to Elrise’s actions.
This game always had this kind of content, and everyone recognized this to be true, so then…
What was the meaning of this?
He didn’t believe in God, but considering what he already experienced, the only existence that could manipulate reality like this were those who were called Gods or Devils.
And, if there was anyone who would know about it… it would only be the Producer, was what Niito thought.
“The Producer… ‘Attimo Game Production Project’. The address is… 3 hours away by train.”
There were still things to be done even as one waited only for death.
As Elrise on the other side did her best in her own stupid way, so would he over here.
With the sheer force of willpower, Niito suppressed the pain that he felt and swallowed back the vomit he could feel crawling up his throat.
He searched for his coat before going out, which he found on the floor some distance away instead of where he usually kept it.
“…I don’t remember putting it there. That’s weird. I don’t think there’s a problem with my memory…”
He tilted his head to the side due to the mysterious phenomenon of why the coat moved by itself, but well, maybe he just moved it and forgot about it.
He didn’t use the painkiller given by the doctor. If he had taken it, the drowsiness it caused would be terrible and he’d no longer think decently. Sure, it meant he would taste torturous pain for every passing moment… but, even so Niito fearless smiled.
“Heh… such a bad face.”
Looking at his own face reflected in the mirror, he felt ridiculous.
His pallor was now close to a corpse, his cheeks were so sunken and the area around his eyes were so hollow that he looked like a zombie.
At the very least, he washed both hair and his face but… even so, you couldn’t say he looked prim and proper.
Despite it all, his eyes alone shone brightly due the happiness of finding one thing he could do.
It was different from the time when he only waited for death as it drew near. No matter how insignificant it was, he found something he wanted to do, and this became his reason for living.
“Well then… let’s go and meet a god. Expect a souvenir story from me, Elrise, me on the other side.”
Toward the computer screen that was still turned on… he talked to Elrise who was still shown, then Niito left home and set off for the one place he aimed for: the game company that made “Kuon no Sanka.”
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