I want to go to the unimplemented land as fast as possible and search for new monsters, but there’s something I have to do before that.
Explain the situation first.
Maki had come to the mansion past noon and made a ruckus going ‘Eh?! We won’t be watching the last chapter?!’, but I somehow managed to convince her.
After that, I once again told everyone aside from Sazan that I will be using a fused forbidden spell, Death Flash, which is a forced logout, in order to return to my world.
I also explained to them that, aside from the Bubble Chain spell that I got from Leila’s event, I also need to get the Stardust Flare that can only be obtained in Sazan’s event.
It goes without saying that Stardust Flare is a super wide range AOE and high power destruction spell.
The bubbles that show up in the Bubble Chain spell will increase in their numbers when hit by a magic spell after its activation which is a nonsensical trait to have.
If you use both of these spells at the same time, your vision will be filled up with bubbles and the sound of explosions, and the safety system of the VR machine gets activated.
Well, to be more precise, a Death Flash happening is simply more certain if you use both Stardust Flare and Bubble Chain. I have heard that you can get a forced logout if you use two spells with intense effects.
However, not only is it not an assured method, those spells are hard to obtain, so I thought about just going for the standard two this time.
“Can you two really return to your world if you use that?” (Mitsuki)
The question Mitsuki brought straight out was sharp.
“I don’t know.” (Souma)
I have no way to tell if the will that created this world has taken the forced logout of Death Flash as a phenomenon in the game.
And if it did take it as a phenomenon in the game, how will it be replicated in this world? That’s the kernel of this plan.
There’s a high chance that this bug that included even the VR machine might have been judged to be an outside factor of the game, and doesn’t exist in this world.
I can’t deny the possibility that even if it did exist, the forced logout could be judged as death, and we end up dying the moment we use it.
“Isn’t there the possibility that this world will disappear at that instant?” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki makes a sharp statement.
That’s what bothered me the most.
“I can’t say the chances are not there. However, I think that won’t be happening.” (Souma)
Different from the cases where the game is forcefully closed, in the case of a forced logout, the actions until then will be saved to a certain degree.
I have not actually tried it myself, but if you choose ‘continue from the previous interrupted instance’, you can go back to the game screen…apparently.
I am worried about what happens with the magic effects at that time and whether there’s any issues when resuming, but the risks of forced logout → world destruction shouldn’t be that high.
“But it is also true that the game will stop unless the player resumes it, so if that part is replicated ‘the time in this world won’t move unless I return’.” (Souma)
“…That would be…ideal.” (Ringo)
Ringo cut into my hesitant words with strange confidence.
“…Cause Souma…will definitely return.” (Ringo)
‘It would be easier instead since there’s no need to wait’ -is what Ringo said after.
I could only fall silent in the face of those words that didn’t have a shred of doubt.
But it is true that if time doesn’t advance no matter how many years pass, this certainly would be a convenient world transfer method.
But the moment my thoughts reached that far, the ending of a certain SF story I read a long time ago showed up in my mind and I shook my head.
No no, I don’t think something like that can happen, so there’s any need to worry, but if I take it too easy…
“…But there’s still the possibility of losing your life the moment you use it.
Now that we have come this far, I don’t really want to be too negative about it though.” (Mitsuki)
That’s when Mitsuki adjusted my slightly deviated thoughts.
But the real body-san on top of Mitsuki’s head was shaking as if showing it is against this.
Ina and Ringo were also looking over here, worried.
“It is okay~, it is okay~. I will test out this Death Flash first.
Well, if that does destroy the world, the order wouldn’t matter though~.” (Maki)
The one who came in with a light mood was Maki.
But what she said was something I didn’t think of.
“No, what are you saying? The first one to test out this type of bugs is—” (Souma)
“Muuh, you must not… You are going back because I am here, right?
In that case, at least let me do the most dangerous stuff.” (Maki)
I was left speechless when she looked at me with eyes filled with strong determination.
Feeling that I would be overwhelmed here at this rate, I decided to put this matter on hold.
“…Let’s talk about that later. We should prioritize getting the Stardust Flare first.” (Souma)
“Got it. But I won’t be backing out from this one, okay?!” (Maki)
With the strong words of Maki as the wrapping statement, we decided to move on to our plan for today.
There was the suggestion of everyone heading to get the Stardust Flare, but this is honestly not an event where numbers are necessary.
And so, we ended up doing our own respective things for today. We are moving separately on the afternoon. Sazan, Maki, and I decided to go get the Stardust Flare.
As for why Maki is together with us, if a player is present when Sazan obtains the spell, the player can obtain the Stardust Flare too.
There’s the question of whether there’s an opportunity for us to use that spell, but it is a spell that you can only learn in this event.
And so, we concluded that it would be better for me and Maki to learn it since we both have the player attribute.
“Well then, I will go to Lamurick.
Uhm, Mitsuki-san, thank you so much for the Teleport Stones!” (Ina)
Ina got 3 Teleport Stones from Mitsuki and headed to Lamurick.
She is going to go meet her savior, comrade, and healer, Thiel.
She said she will stay there until night, and if Thiel wishes to, she will come back to the capital together with her using the Teleport Stone.
Ina doesn’t know, but Thiel is the only character that I wanted to marry in the game of Nekomimi Neko.
I honestly do have lingering feelings, but I barely have any interaction with Thiel in this world.
I told myself to be careful not to take a weird attitude even if I were to meet her.
“Then, me too.” (Mitsuki)
“I-I will be going. I will learn a whole lot of dishes that give energy!” (Leila)
“B-Be lenient.” (Souma)
Leila and Mitsuki went to the Hisame Dojo.
It seems like Leila has had an interest in the cooking of Mitsuki’s family, and she is using this opportunity to learn.
…I can only pray she doesn’t learn more weird stuff.
And the last one is the Ringo and Bear pair.
“…Hn.We are leaving too.” (Ringo)
It seems like they will be heading to the castle to meet the king and queen.
When it was decided that we would be moving freely in the afternoon, Maki said ‘then come to the castle and meet Father and the others’.
It seems like the Rihito king told her ‘how about bringing Ringo here?’ today too.
Ringo hesitated because of the sudden invitation, but if we are to believe the setting of the game, the king and queen of Rihito are good people, and they are the parents of Ringo.
Also, there will be the need to increase the personal connections of Ringo for the time when I am gone.
I pushed the back of the hesitating Ringo and she decided to visit the castle with that little push.
That said, it seems like they have already been notified by Maki, and Ringo has a reliable bodyguard sitting on her shoulder.
With this, there should be no worries for Ringo who doesn’t talk much…though the more I think about it, the more I worry.
Anyways, it is the mindset of letting a cute girl go on a journey.
“Well then, Ringo, be careful. Bear, counting on you with Ringo.” (Souma)
When I said this, the Bear that was on the shoulder of Ringo made a reliable grin.
Just when I was about to return to Sazan and Maki, relieved…
Ringo’s strangely high voice rang from my back.
I wondered if she was nervous here, so I turned around, and Ringo jumped at me…
I felt a soft sensation from my left cheek.
“Wa, eh…?” (Souma)
Even though I know what was done to me, my brain couldn’t keep up.
I placed a hand on my cheek by reflex, and Ringo blushed bright red just like her name, and…
“…S-See you later.” (Ringo)
She waved her hand lightly and ran off after saying those words that, depending on how you hear it, could be taken as having a hidden meaning.
The acquisition of the Stardust Flare went shockingly smooth.
Maki was in a bad mood at first for some reason, and was throwing complaints like ‘good grief, what a stupid grin you have there’, and Sazan seemed to be annoyed too. He gave me a weird sermon, telling me ‘you have been salacious lately’ or something. But both of them are people that live on the moment.
By the time we arrived at the small shrine where the Stardust Flare was sealed, they had completely forgotten that they were in a bad mood, and were having fun.
Nothing especially unexpected happened when we arrived at the shrine. With the medals that we got from the trials and the dark magic affinity of Sazan, we properly managed to go in, we managed to get inside, we half-listened to the awfully long story of the old mage that created the Stardust Flare, and we 3 safely obtained the spell.
The problem was actually after learning the spell.
“We are done. Hmm, but I feel like it would be a bit too soon to return.” (Maki)
The ones who went to the castle, the ones who went to the dojo, and Ina who went to Lamurick said that they would be returning late at night.
But our business is over here.
If we went straight back here, we will most likely be the fastest ones back.
We coincidentally finished our business quickly, and we would end up returning faster than everyone else to the mansion.
That’s right, by coincidence!
“Then, since there’s the opportunity, how about we go check out the marshland?” (Souma)
That’s why I calmly proposed this with a mood like that of having thought about it just now.
“That’s just you wanting to fight new enemies…” (Maki)
“I am also against fighting unknown enemies with these members.
I prefer engaging in battle when there’s an overwhelming advantage to trample on the enemies.” (Sazan)
Maki showed her disapproval as expected.
Sazan doesn’t seem too into the idea either.
But I can’t withdraw here.
I don’t think I would be allowed to do too dangerous things with Ringo or Mitsuki around, so this is my chance.
“B-But you know, we’ve got the time.
R-Right! You would also want to test out the Stardust Flare, right, Sazan?” (Souma)
Seeing Sazan nod, I grin internally.
It is two on one now.
We are on the advantage here if it is by majority vote.
I looked at Maki as if to say ‘how’s that?’ but Maki showed a grin.
“Haah, but there’s no need to worry that much.
I thought something like this would happen, so I brought an amazing thing.” (Maki)
“Yeah… Tadah!” (Maki)
What Maki brought out while making a sound effect was a way too familiar stone slate.
“Wa, that’s…!” (Souma)
That’s without doubt the stone slate of the Evil God Great War.
It is the stone slate I said I would take care of, but it would be troubling if the item were to be gone when I move through worlds, so I decided to leave it at the mansion.
Why does Maki have it with her?
“You see, I have had a thought.
Sazan-chan believes that you will definitely return and has decided not to watch the last chapter, right?” (Maki)
“Well, that’s true…but don’t call me Sazan-chan.” (Sazan)
Unknown whether she actually heard Sazan who sounded displeased, she nodded and said this.
“If you believe he is going to come back anyways, watching it now would be the same!!” (Maki)
This is what’s called an unstoppable mouth, huh.
“N-No, but that’s…” (Sazan)
Sazan seemed to be troubled by this too and muttered his disapproval.
I do understand that way of thinking that if we are going to be returning here anyways, there’s no need to go out of our way to leave things undone in this world.
But it is more about the message here, or like, wouldn’t this be a situation where we should respect the rare beautiful resolve of Sazan here?
“Right? So let’s watch it secretly. Aren’t you curious about it too, Sazan-chan?” (Maki)
“Uh, it would be a lie if I were to say I am not curious…” (Sazan)
It seems like the words of Maki have surprisingly shaken Sazan’s heart.
Moreover, the stars strangely aligned here and the light of the stone slate’s letters have already returned most likely because we watched the video yesterday at a pretty early time.
“Y-You shouldn’t. If we are going to be watching it, it should at least be at a place where everyone is present.” (Souma)
“Eeh, you are so stingy~!” (Maki)
“This is not a matter of being stingy. Come on, give it here.
It would be terrible if you were to push the last chapter button by mistake, right?” (Souma)
I say this and stretched my hand towards the stone slate, but Maki is not giving it back.
She instead raised it high as if to get it away from me and…
“Muuh, you are such a worrywart, Souma. There’s no way such a coincidence would—ah!” (Maki)
At that moment, the stone slate slipped from Maki’s hand.
The stone slate slid in such a miraculous fashion that her fingers ended up touching the letters for the last chapter, the 15th Chapter.
“Aah, geez, I told you.” (Souma)
I held my head and just when I was thinking about what to say to Maki for watching the last chapter on her own volition…
The stone slate fell on the ground.
The state of my cousin, who was standing there without noticing that she let the stone slate fall, was clearly strange.
Her mouth that was smiling happily just now had grown pale from the lack of blood and was shaking faintly.
Her eyes that were shining as if having fun were opened widely in disbelief, and were blank.
I have never seen Maki this scared before.
“What do we do, Souma? This might be terrible.” (Maki)
I thought that the last chapter of the stone slate was tragic. But would Maki be shaken this much just from that?
This looks as if she were not scared about a past happening, but a threat of the present…
“Calm down for now. What did you see?” (Souma)
I hold back my own agitation and asked this, and Maki began speaking with a trembling voice.
“Alex and his group couldn’t defeat the Evil God. That’s why they sealed the main body and the 4 divided fragments.” (Maki)
The Evil God being divided in 5 and sealed is knowledge that was told in the game too.
That alone wouldn’t merit surprise.
But Maki shook her head intensely and said ‘that’s not it’.
“The 2 small fragments were sealed underground Lamurick and the Sacrifice Altar.
The second biggest one was sealed at the south solitary island.
And the biggest one that couldn’t be sealed with normal means…was sealed with a special method.” (Maki)
“A special method?” (Souma)
“They made it so that the fragment that was now only its core part would have its movement sealed by hitting it with constant holy power!” (Maki)
If you hit it constantly with attacks that are as strong as its regeneration speed, you can stop it from moving.
But power that can continuously attack a big fragment of the Evil God…?
Thinking that far, I noticed one possibility.
“Could it be…” (Souma)
“Hero Alex made a magic circle on top of the biggest fragment, and created a city in order to continuously feed the magic circle with power!
That magic circle in Rihitel, the light of the Grand Church; they were in order to seal the Evil God Fragment!” (Maki)
The loud distressed scream of Maki.
But I have no reasoning to deny this.
In order to create a magic circle that uses the whole city, you will need the cooperation of the people.
That’s way too massive of an enterprise just for the sake of increasing the authority of the church.
“Wait, wait, if that’s true, what would happen?” (Souma)
The Mage Guild moved the magic circle for their own selfish reasons even if it was only for a small period of time.
And then, the ruckus with the Grand Church and the people saying they weren’t feeling well.
If those were not issues that came from the mind, and was instead the effect of the miasma that the Evil God releases…
—Doesn’t that mean that the seal of the Grand Church is about to be undone?
“What do we do? This must be what Father was worrying about.” (Maki)
What Maki is muttering here is most likely correct.
King Rihito immediately fixed the magic circle that you would normally assume only brings harm to the people.
That must be because the king knew about the Evil God Fragment sealed at the Grand Church…
“I-Is this the time to be talking here?! A-Anyways, wouldn’t it be better to go back to Rihitel?” (Sazan)
“R-Right. Maki, got a Teleport Stone?” (Souma)
I snapped back at the words of Sazan.
I can think at any time.
What we must do right now is act.
“I-I do. I will go talk to Father first then!” (Maki)
Saying this, she quickly took a Teleport Stone from her back, but…
“E-Eh? I can’t…teleport…” (Maki)
Maki couldn’t properly make an expression and looked over here with a face on the verge of tears.
“Give it here!” (Souma)
I test it out just in case, but the teleport to Rihitel is not going well for some reason.
This is not a place where you can’t teleport.
In that case, the problem lies in…
“…We are running. Sazan, I will carry you.” (Souma)
“Eh? W-wait, y-you are—” (Sazan)
“We are in a hurry here!” (Souma)
I carried Sazan, who was resisting, under my arm, and ran off without even confirming whether Maki was following.
I did want to say something to give Maki peace of mind.
But my mouth betrayed my feelings.
I have nothing but a bad feeling about this.
It was getting late and the path was gradually getting darker, but we ran at full speed.
We got close to Rihitel with almost no breaks, and what we saw there was…
“What is this…?” (Souma)
The capital completely covered in mist.
I have never seen something like this even in the game.
Just what happened to end up like this?
“…You came back pretty fast.”
I heard a familiar voice from the back.
“Mitsuki! What a relief!” (Souma)
I sighed at the appearance of the cat ear girl that looks as firm as always.
The heavy feeling in my chest softened slightly.
“What happened?” (Souma)
The reason Mitsuki came here must be because she saw that we had come back with the Explorer Ring.
If she was in the dojo, she should have an idea of Rihitel’s situation.
I asked her this and…
“…The Evil God Fragment resurrected, and the city of Rihitel was wiped out.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki answered this way too bluntly.
“Wiped out, you say…” (Souma)
“Exactly as I said. You can’t make calls or teleport inside the mist, but I could confirm the location of people with the Explorer Ring.
There should have been thousands of people in the capital, but it seems like it instead bit them back that they took refuge in the same place.
Also, I think the Evil God Fragment has a way to accurately detect the location of the people.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki spoke indifferently with a voice that had no emotion in it.
I can’t believe that.
There’s a lot of acquaintances of mine and Mitsuki.
Poison-tan who has a poisonous tongue, but I can’t bring myself to hate; the hearty greengrocer old lady; the determined item shop clerk; the king, queen, adventurers that looked after me in my game days, and…and…
“Anyways, I will go. Mitsuki, get Maki and the others somewhere el—” (Souma)
I was going to take a step forward and Mitsuki grabbed my arm.
“Stop it.” (Mitsuki)
Those emotionless words tried to stop me.
“…What are you trying to do?” (Souma)
I ended up speaking with a threatening tone.
“I have a lot of acquaintances and important people there.
I am the only one who has the chance to defeat the fragment of the Evil God.
That’s why I have to go at once…” (Souma)
“I know. But…” (Mitsuki)
She admits it.
But that’s not it.
It is not that.
“You don’t get it! It is not only my acquaintances there!
In that place…there’s also Ringo!” (Souma)
That figure of hers waving her hand lightly and saying ‘see you later’ as she went off to the castle with her blue hair disappearing in the distance surfaced in my mind.
“She said ‘see you later’!
That’s why I have to see her again…I have to go get her!
If I don’t, that would be…!” (Souma)
The emotionless face of Mitsuki warped for a moment at my desperate shout.
But that wasn’t the change I was hoping for. My emotions that I was holding back reached a breaking point…
But in the end, Mitsuki didn’t falter.
“I understand how you feel. But that’s pointless.” (Mitsuki)
“Pointless? What do you mean by pointless…?” (Souma)
I was thinking of shouting again.
I was thinking about complaining, that that’s not the case, that it is a lie…
And yet, my mouth didn’t move.
I couldn’t move as if I actually already knew what Mitsuki meant when she said that.
“I meant wiped out in the literal sense of the word.
The reaction of the last person in the city disappeared around 10 minutes ago.
In other words…” (Mitsuki)
Even though I was shouting in my heart to stop it already, my tongue was tied and couldn’t speak.
That’s why Mitsuki’s mouth moved slowly and…
“…Ringo-san…has died.” (Mitsuki)
Strength left my legs.
It is only after seeing the ground close to me that I noticed that my knees were on the ground.
I have to stand.
This is not the time to be resting here.
But why can’t I stand up?
My head was completely blank and I couldn’t think about anything.
What am I doing right now?
What should I do?
Everything…everything is a blank.
But a low voice rang inside my blank mind.
“Transcendent Souma, I shall give ye a prediction!”
The words I heard before were circling my mind.
“Ye will lose something irreplaceable in the near future!”
“That’s fate! An unavoidable future!”
And the prediction…fate caught up to me.