“It was scary! So…scary…!” (Sazan)
Sazan had jumped onto my chest and clung onto me as if I am the only tie she has.
…No, it might not be ‘as if’.
“Alex and the others, Ringo, Mitsuki, everyone…everyone died…
I…I thought I had to do something. But…!” (Sazan)
The Soul Bracelet on the left arm of Sazan is the one I brought from the rewind world.
In other words, that bracelet has the memories of the Sazan from the previous world. The memories where our comrades were killed by the Evil God Fragment, and the last moments where she went with the resolve to die in order to hold back the Evil God.
“But I was actually scared!
I didn’t want to be left alone…there’s no way I would be able to do something like that.
But…But I had to make you reach there, even if it is only you alone…” (Sazan)
I can tell now.
Sazan must have freed the Evil God Fragment inside herself in order to stop the Evil God Fragment.
As someone who simply went through a few of the memories, I can’t tell how it works.
Is it the power of the Seal Priestess, or is it the trait of the Evil God?
But the result was that the Evil God Fragment sealed in the right arm of Sazan and the biggest fragment in the capital clashed and ended up kept in place.
“I thought about…doing my best until the very end.
Even if I was no match…I would…keep it in place for as long as possible…
But once it saw me, it laughed…and something flew away from me…” (Sazan)
However, I know the end of that.
After the ritual spell was activated, the fragment that was a size smaller that disappeared in front of my very eyes must have been the one from Sazan.
The Evil God Fragment sealed by Sazan lost and Sazan…
“My legs grew hot, I couldn’t move, couldn’t tell left from right…!
It hurt, it was…scary…and I couldn’t do anything!
I didn’t want to be…to be alone…that’s why I wanted…to be saved—” (Sazan)
I instinctively pulled Sazan’s body towards me as Sazan continued confessing with a trembling voice.
An absentminded voice.
The defenseless light body felt pitiful.
“…I am sorry.” (Souma)
Those words leaked out naturally from my mouth.
I once again hugged tightly that body that had left her heart in that previous world and muttered my name absentmindedly.
The words I couldn’t say until now.
I speak those words that I wanted to tell my gone comrades but couldn’t even if I wanted to.
“I am sorry for not being able to save you.
…You did well.” (Souma)
The moment I said this…
She raised her voice like a young child.
I supported that small back of hers and whispered once again with a flood of emotions.
“Thanks, Sazan… Welcome back.” (Souma)
“…Calmed down now?” (Souma)
When I said this, Sazan closed her eyes embarrassed, and nodded lightly with a ‘yes’.
Well, there’s no need to face away. I can’t tell your expression with the mask anyways. But I shouldn’t be saying that.
“I-I showed you a shameful sight…” (Sazan)
“Haha, isn’t that always the case?” (Souma)
“It is that part of you…aah, geez!” (Sazan)
Sazan pouted as if irritated, and said this in one breath without looking me in the eye.
“However, you did help me out here, so uhm…t-thanks.” (Sazan)
Hearing those way too Sazan-like words, I laughed out loud.
Sazan went ‘what’s with that reaction?!’ and pouted, but I was relieved by that state of hers.
“Looks like you are fine now. Well then, it is already late, so…” (Souma)
I was about to wrap it up here, but Sazan raised her voice.
“Can’t I…sleep together with you today…?” (Sazan)
I was flustered by the unexpected proposal.
I thought about it for a bit, but shook my head.
It is not like I don’t understand her being uneasy, but that’s not good.
“I told you before, didn’t I? You might not be conscious about it, but you are a girl too—” (Souma)
“H-Hey you!” (Sazan)
But my words were once again cut off by Sazan in a frantic state.
“I will say it because it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t, but…I-I saw it…a bit.
Your last feelings before the world was rewinded.” (Sazan)
Aah, I remember.
Right before the rewind, I picked up the bracelet and put it inside the bag.
It is true that I picked up the bracelet right before the rewind and put it inside the bag.
So my memories and feelings were burned into that bracelet a bit at that time, huh.
“And so, I was h-happy knowing that you treasured me.
T-That’s why…uhm…I-I trust you.” (Sazan)
I can only answer with an ‘ooh’ if I am told that all shily.
This and that are two separate matters, or like, it is exactly because of that, but it would be insensitive to say something like that in front of such a pure smile.
Yeah, I just have to keep my wits together.
It can’t be helped. This can’t be helped.
“…Only for today.” (Souma)
When I gave up and said this, Sazan went ‘okay!’ and nodded with a cheerful voice.
“H-Hey, tell me about it.” (Sazan)
“About what?” (Souma)
‘I-I will be intruding’ -she said deliberately arrogantly, but couldn’t hide her nervousness as she entered the bed.
The one who broke the strange tension lingering for a while in the air was Sazan.
“You were in a different world from our own, right?
I don’t know much about you, so…so I would like to hear about that.” (Sazan)
“About my world, huh…” (Souma)
I was stuck there for a moment.
In the isekai transfer stories that you see often in Japan, the transferred protagonists would use the modern knowledge they know in order to revolutionize the fantasy world despite most of them being high schoolers or somewhere around that age.
It is so destructive, it is to the point of the term Modern Knowledge Cheat being born.
But now that I think about it, even though I was a college student, I only played games, so I barely have knowledge that even normal highschoolers would have.
The mixture for gunpowder, old martial art techniques, the way to make soy sauce and miso, strategies used in past wars, the forging method of katanas, or even the correct method to make compost.
I am far from having that Modern Knowledge Cheat. I really only have feeble knowledge in this brain of mine.
“I-Is that a no? There’s no need to…” (Sazan)
Sazan must have taken my silence as refusing, she said this sadly.
I hurriedly denied it.
“No, sorry! It is not that I was refusing.
It is just that I don’t have many interesting stories to tell, you know.
I only have useless and pointless knowledge…” (Souma)
But Sazan only smiled amused once she heard that.
“That’s fine… That’s what I wanted.” (Sazan)
I don’t really get what she meant by ‘that’s what I wanted’, but I resolved myself with that.
I began speaking, carried by the flow without thinking much.
“Well then, what should I talk about first?
…Right, I think I have said this before, but there were no monsters in my world, and no magic.
Science developed in its place and…” (Souma)
After that, I spoke to Sazan about Japan and about modern times as much as possible.
It felt fresh to have Sazan be the listener when she was normally the one chattering away in the game, so my mouth moved smoothly.
It is to the point that it surprised me there were these many topics sleeping inside me.
Sazan unexpectedly wasn’t drawn in by the scientific developments like the planes, cars, or even the missiles. She would normally get drawn in by harmless daily life stuff.
Stuff like washing machines and microwaves.
Mail order, frozen food, and cup ramen.
Is her interest mostly tilting to food because of her own personality?
“There have been no wars in Japan lately, so I think it is a decently peaceful country, but there’s societal issues and problems that occur exactly due to this peace.” (Souma)
“Societal issues?” (Sazan)
“Uhm…how to say it… For example…” (Souma)
Would it be rude to say this is unexpected as well?
Sazan showed interest in social problems like the elder culture, the qualitative difference in society, NEETs** <not engaged in education, employment or training>, and the increase of unmarried people.
Also, we spoke a bit about game addicts and bottlers in that flow.
…Of course, I didn’t go too far.
And so, we were lying on the same bed as we continued talking and passing a harmless time.
“That’s why the downsides of digital sales were…Sazan?” (Souma)
I was finding it weird that there was no response, so I looked to the side, and our Seal Priestess-sama had at some point in time fallen asleep.
Judging from that happy looking smile on her face, it should be fine now.
“Good night, Sazan.” (Souma)
That’s why I whispered this, closed my eyes, and fell asleep soon after.
I was brought back by the sudden heat I felt.
I can faintly feel the presence of something in front of me.
But it was a pain to think about it, and I was about to return to the world of dreams…
“—Good morning, Souma.”
That mysterious voice that I feel I have heard countless times, yet have not heard once before brought me back from unconsciousness.
I slowly open my eyes and…
I opened my eyes wide at what immediately came into sight.
The face of the girl I know well but have only seen once.
I muttered this absentmindedly at the bare face of the girl.
“Yeah. Good morning, Souma.” (Mitia)
She greeted me cheerfully once again.
But this wasn’t the time for that in my eyes.
My dozy brain woke up in one go.
“What’s going on? What about your mask?” (Souma)
She pushed her left hand at me as she laughed at my flustered state.
“This Soul Bracelet can seal souls and memories, so it can serve to support the sealing of the Evil God.
I have two now, so it is okay for me to take off the Release Relic -the mask- for a bit.” (Mitia)
“I see…” (Souma)
Now that I think about it, Sazan did say before that if she had one more of this bracelet…
So that’s what she meant.
“Uhm, but Saza—Mitia.” (Souma)
I was troubled in what to say, and she giggled.
“You can call me Sazan. It is a bit ticklish when you call me Mitia.” (Sazan)
“Then, Sazan is fine, huh.” (Souma)
It feels a bit weird to call her Sazan when she has her mask off, but even if so, she really is still Sazan for me instead of Mitia.
I decided to call her that without reservations.
“Why did you go out of your way to take off the mask? It is not just to prove that it is okay to take off the mask, right?” (Souma)
When I asked this, Sazan tensed her face.
“It is because I have something important to say. I thought I should be saying this when I am not wearing the mask…when I am not in a state where I am influenced by the Evil God.” (Sazan)
“I see…” (Souma)
The mask of Sazan is used to bring out the power of the Evil God to the outside and release it.
Your personality is affected while you have it on.
It is not like you become a completely different person, but it is most likely an important talk that doesn’t allow even such influences.
Sazan’s serious face then crumbled a bit into shyness.
“I wanted the first face to see when you wake up to be my true face instead of the masked one.” (Sazan)
I held my breath at the sudden weird thing she said.
It is unfair to say that with your unmasked face.
Sazan must be aware that she said something she isn’t used to too, her face went bright red.
I made a deliberate cough to drive away the weird atmosphere and hurriedly urged her on.
“A-And so, what was this important talk?” (Souma)
“About that, I…I…” (Sazan)
“You can just speak in a way that’s more comfortable for you.” (Souma)
Sazan went out of her way to correct her tone, so I tell her that not really because I wanted to get back at her for before.
Sazan fell in thought for a while.
“Right… Yeah, it might not just be because of the mask. I have also changed.” (Sazan)
She said this a bit sad, but also a bit happy.
“Isn’t that fine? I would be troubled if the you as Sazan was all a lie after all.” (Souma)
Even if there was the influence of the Evil God, she has been living her life with a completely different personality for several years, so there’s no way that there would be no change in her.
The current her is most likely the middle point between Mitia and the masked Sazan.
This is not about this being good or bad, but just how it works.
Sazan stared at me once again, and after saying ‘thanks’ she once again made a serious face as she continued.
“I think you already know after seeing my memories, but the Evil God Fragment is still sealed in my right hand.
Also, even if you defeat this fragment, the power in that fragment will fly to the main body, and the seal of the main body will be undone.
In order to truly free my lineage, there’s no other choice but to not only defeat this fragment, but also the completed Evil God.” (Sazan)
“But, unfortunately, I can’t even defeat this one here on my own. That’s why I want you to help me, Souma.” (Sazan)
Sazan lowered her head there.
“—Please…defeat the Evil God together with me.” (Sazan)
Of course, the answer is already set.
Sazan is also my comrade.
There’s no way I could abandon her.
However, I was a bit embarrassed about telling her that straight up.
“…North from here, far above in the skies, there’s a dungeon called the Sky City.” (Souma)
I acted as if I didn’t notice Sazan getting confused at the sudden change in topic, and I continued.
“The Evil God Fragment’s core is located pretty high up, so it would be difficult to fight it without the Pegasus Boots there.
…That’s why.” (Souma)
Sazan blinked silently.
I smiled awkwardly at that face of hers.
“That’s why, you know, I could help you out after that if you want.” (Souma)
My roundabout words.
But she nodded happily.
I thought this would be the end of our talk, but there was still more.
“You see, I actually…wanted to tell you one more thing.” (Sazan)
“Tell me something?” (Souma)
Sazan nodded shily.
“Yeah. I have gotten an objective and a dream, so I wanted you to hear it.” (Sazan)
“Dream, you say…” (Souma)
I didn’t expect those words to come out here.
I was surprised at the unexpected development and Sazan began to talk as if having fun from the bottom of her heart.
“Until now, I didn’t want to do painful things, or wanted to defeat the Evil God to take it easy. All vague things with no clear vision.
But after hearing about your stories, your world, the stories of your peaceful world, I now have a clear idea of what I want to aim for.” (Sazan)
There was a firm will that wasn’t there yesterday in her decisive and lively words.
“Of course, even if the Evil God is gone, it is not like the world will immediately gain peace.
There’s a lot of things that are different from this world and your own, so I do think it won’t go that smoothly.
…But I have already decided.” (Sazan)
This is probably not her speaking as the seal bearer, but as a single girl living in this world.
She looked at me with sparkling eyes, spread both arms widely, and…
“I will definitely defeat the Evil God together with you. And then, make the world peaceful, and then…and then…” (Sazan)
She declared this loudly as if hitting me with those overflowing emotions, as if shaping those leaking feelings.
“—I will become a NEET!!” (Sazan)
Author: Modern Knowledge: NEET!!
With this, we have finally picked up the threads of Sazan. The intermission is over.
From here on, we will be entering the main story.