I don’t know how many simulated worlds it has been now, but Mister Friend arrived in the Taizu forest of one year ago.
Lady Ratzel is keeping an eye on Mister Friend’s body to prevent any pranks on his body by the Gold Demon Lord in the real world.
The ones given bodies in this world were me and Mister Friend.
The Gold Demon Lord is observing us with her spiritual body so she can interact with our minds.
“Sorry about that, Mix. The bandits around won’t be listening to reason here, so I need a bodyguard, but Ilias is famous as a knight of Taizu, and the chances they would be wary would be high.”
“No no, I don’t mind!” (Mix)
It is a simulated world, so it is not like a bodyguard is needed, but it would be a hard job to reach Dokora with Mister Friend’s strength. There’s a reason why Lady Ratzel can’t take this one, so I am undertaking that role.
Rakura-dono is a cleric of Mejis, so Dokora, who was an Anbu of Mejis, obviously knows her face.
As for Wolfe-chan…she would most likely be able to overwhelm the bandits, but she would have a hard time against Dokora.
Since the aim is a conversation with Dokora, that in itself is enough, but Mister Friend chose me.
There must be a variety of reasons behind Mister Friend’s choice.
Mister Friend was presented to me by Ani-sama. As expected from someone introduced by Ani-sama, even I can tell how special he is.
It is true that the hardships as a bodyguard increase because his battle power is nonexistent despite being a man, but Mister Friend completely understands this.
He leaves all the battles to us which really makes him worth protecting.
I can understand why Lady Ratzel is so motivated in protecting Mister Friend.
He is someone who lacks a bit of ambition, but he has left a good enough impression on me to want to protect him. The mysterious proactiveness he shows sometimes worries me, but that will depend on my efforts.
Also, regarding the warning Ani-sama gave me separately, I still haven’t understood the meaning of it. I need to observe him in more detail.
“Now then, it would be better for us to advance boldly here rather than try to hide unskillfully.”
After finding the base where Dokora is hiding in, Mister Friend invaded boldly. We obviously got surrounded by bandits in less than a minute.
If it is just this much, I can manage somehow by myself. The issue would be the corpses located in some of the tents that have been affected by necromancy.
Even if it is a simulated world, I would like to avoid seeing Mister Friend be injured in front of my very eyes when he has been entrusted to me by Ani-sama.
“Oi, who are you people?!”
“We are not suspicious people—is not something I can say, but we are not hostile. I have come to talk to the leader of the bandit alliance, Dokora. I would like to talk to him personally.”
“Don’t joke around! Do you think the boss is going to waste his time with a brat like you?!”
“He will. I am a far more decent guest of honor than you guys who are living in fear of necromancy the whole time.”
“Call him already. If you tell him my appearance, I am sure he will be coming to meet me himself.”
They are taking a pretty threatening attitude here, but…aah, two bandits have headed to the big tent in the center.
We glared at each other for a while and the bandits that left returned.
“—Boss is calling you. Come.”
It was truly easy. No turn for me here. However, the chances of them rushing at us were high if there had been a more quick tempered bandit here.
I don’t know if he can be this strong willed because it is a simulated world, or because I am here.
We head inside the tent while still surrounded. There’s the one-armed man, Dokora, sitting on a pointlessly big chair inside of it.
“You seem to be awfully knowledgeable about us, guest.” (Dokora)
This is Dokora. The leader of the bandits that flowed into the country of Ani-sama and made the Chivalric Order suffer for a long time.
I have to constantly tell myself that he is already dead, or I may end up attacking him right this instant…
Dokora glanced at me and then chased his subordinate out of the tent.
“That said, the lady at the back is boiling with killing intent there. She has adventurer attire, but…no, a former noble… Hmm, royalty.” (Dokora)
He managed to tell that much with just my appearance?!
I did hear he has high skills, but to think it would be to this extent…
“Just how—” (Mix)
“Simple. First is the weapon. The ornaments are a bit too fancy for something an adventurer uses. Next is the scent of perfume. I noticed that Dokora was breathing manually when he was thinking. It is most likely different from the ones used by the common populace. Also, that killing intent screams you have quite the grudge on him.”
“It is as that guy says. Adding to that, that face of yours reminds of a certain Wise King.” (Dokora)
He is a former Anbu, so it wouldn’t be strange for him to know the face of Ani-sama, but…to think he managed to see the shadow of him when we are of different genders…
Mister Friend also noticed quickly what points made him reach that conclusion. These two are similar.
“Bringing a royal lady with you to a conversation? Doesn’t sound peaceful.” (Dokora)
“What, would you have preferred a knight that has no intention to yield to a talk as a bodyguard? I unfortunately can only call Ilias Ratzel for that job.”
“Spare me from that. I will accept having a talk with you, but my question first. How did you learn of this place?” (Dokora)
“There’s several caves around here. In the case you have created a base under the premise of a 2nd and 3rd hideout, this is just the right spot, you see.”
“…There should be caves in forests elsewhere too.” (Dokora)
“Right. But this is the easiest place to run away to. You can use the undead you set at the tents as a diversion to escape after all.”
Dokora is staring intently at Mister Friend, and Mister Friend is also looking at Dokora’s eyes—!
The same as the eyes of Dokora that saw through me, no, even more than that…
Ani-sama warned me: ‘Please make sure his eyes don’t get too muddied’.
These eyes… So this is what Ani-sama warned me about.
If I had met him for the first time while he had these eyes, I would have misunderstood that Mister Friend looks at Ani-sama with those and would have been wary of him.
“How much do you know? No, are you a pursuer?” (Dokora)
“That’s not it. I am in a hostile relationship with the guy that took away your arm. Also, I am an Earthling.”
“…Ha! You answer every single thing I want to know. Moreover, to think there really was one out there!” (Dokora)
“Dokora, I already know that you pursued Raheight and ran into the moment when he was meeting with the Scarlet Demon Lord. Putting it bluntly, I want that information.”
“It is not like you got that information from them, right? Someone else… Hmm, are you the subordinate of a different Demon Lord or something?” (Dokora)
Just how perceptive is this man…?
No wonder he made things difficult for Ani-sama. It is not about his strength in battle, but his strength as an observer.
“I am not a subordinate though. I would say I am a friend of a Demon Lord that’s ruling Gahne.”
“Oi oi, stop joking—not a joke, huh. Seriously? The world is this corroded already?” (Dokora)
“All the Demon Lords aside from Black have already resurrected. And so, I am investigating the details of the other Demon Lords.”
“I see, so the Demon Lords are not really united, huh. Okay, let’s exchange information.” (Dokora)
Mister Friend and Dokora exchange information indifferently.
They are showing surprised reactions, but they are not confirming the credibility of that information at all.
The two must understand that the person in front of them won’t lie.
“To think the author of that book was Yugura himself… So this world was rotten that far back…? It was the right choice that I became a bandit.” (Dokora)
“It is not that rotten. Earth was in a worse state.”
“Must be. I can tell just by looking at your eyes. It is not only the existence of great evil, it must have been full of scum from left and right. Wasn’t it painful just to live?” (Dokora)
“Humans are surprisingly adaptive creatures, you see. This world is still on the better side. A whole lot better. What with one of the Demon Lords, who are considered the sworn enemies of humanity, raising a country properly.”
“Haha! I see. It is so much better it brings a tear to my eye!” (Dokora)
As for Dokora, even though this is the first time he has met him, he was in such a good mood; it is as if he is having a drink with an old pal of his.
That goes the same for Mister Friend as well. The mud in his eyes hasn’t changed, but I don’t feel a single sign of caution towards Dokora.
And then, they even began chit-chatting. Talk about the world of Mister Friend, what kind of missions Dokora performed in Mejis as an Anbu, what are his recommendations for alcohol.
Once they finished up those things, Mister Friend stood up.
“I have gotten the information I wanted. I don’t know if you will believe me or not, but I won’t be posing any harm to you guys in the future.”
“I do believe you in a way, but…no…this is… Hey, I am going to be asking something crazy here, but…is this world real?” (Dokora)
—How can this be? This man…has even noticed that this world is a simulated world?!
“Aah, I got my answer from the reaction of the girl at the back. So things like that can happen, huh… A transient dream kinda thing?” (Dokora)
“…Yeah, this world won’t last long.”
“The me from your world is already dead, right?” (Dokora)
“…Yeah, I cornered you and killed you.”
“I see, the pieces fit now. I entrusted the book to you, didn’t I?” (Dokora)
“…Yeah, thanks to you, I have managed to learn about the underbelly of this world -even at present.”
Dokora lit up a cigar, slowly inhaled, and puffed out smoke.
“To think I am not only dying while working as a bandit, but that the whole world will disappear after doing a good deed… You could have let me die a villain.” (Dokora)
“Don’t worry. You have been killed as a villain in the real world.”
“Of course. That’s called karma. Me being used like this is the rightful end for me!” (Dokora)
I heard that Lady Ratzel got her heart broken by Mister Friend when he learned that his world was a simulated world.
That Mister Friend held a grudge against the world he was left in.
But what about Dokora? This refreshed expression of his…
“Hey, lil lady over there, you are the little sister of Marito Taizu, right?” (Dokora)
“…Yeah, Mix Taizu.” (Mix)
“Aah, now that I think about it, I have heard about an adventurer by that name. Since the opportunity has been given here, how about taking the head of the guy that caused trouble to your nation once more? You wouldn’t be able to have a good sleep if a villain like me were to disappear in satisfaction, right?” (Dokora)
“…No, you are someone unrelated to me in this world. You could even say you are a benefactor that has provided us with information.” (Mix)
“I am being told that much by a princess, huh. This is so weird. Even though I have caused so much evil.” (Dokora)
“We haven’t come here to liquidate your evils. But we will be making use of the feelings you have left in the world.”
“Yeah, do that. If you make the world a better place, I will be able to regret doing evil in it after all.” (Dokora)
Dokora laughed impudently.
This man must have done many secret missions for the sake of the nation, and has dirtied those hands of his in the past.
And then, he despaired at how the world he had offered his life to had been rotten to the core, and threw away his allegiances.
I am aware that those are by no means forgivable deeds…but why is it that the killing intent I was directing to this man is gone?
Why is it that the mud in the eyes of Mister Friend is gone and has returned to normal?
“If you are not going to kill me, I guess I should go pick a fight with the mighty knights. Will it last long enough for that?” (Dokora)
“Yeah, it is okay. Rampage big at the end.”
“Got that right. Well then, I am heading off. Watch my performance, okay?” (Dokora)
Dokora laughed. This man most likely doesn’t even have any lingering regrets in this world anymore.
“I am impressed you can smile like that.”
“Can I ask for your name?” (Dokora)
We left that place after this.
Dokora suddenly dragged the bandit alliance with him and began invading Taizu.
It was an all out battle that utilized all the undead that the other bandits had prepared.
That battle was so one-sided, and the knights that clashed with the group of Dokora were wiped out in an instant.
After watching over this, Mister Friend ended that simulated world.
There were a number of useful pieces of information from Dokora that are useful in this world too.
It means this exhaustion was not wasted.
“So you are back. The Gold Demon Lord tried to do evil as expected.” (Ilias)
“That’s not true. Even though I simply tried to sleep together with ya just a bit. What an unreasonable bodyguard.” (Gold)
“Why do I have to be reasonable with you? My blade should be enough to reason with you.” (Ilias)
“So noisy. Even though that much should be permissible.”
“Right, right!” (Gold)
“Even if she tried to take off your clothes?” (Ilias)
Mix tapped my shoulder just when I was listening to the bickering of Ilias and the Gold Demon Lord.
“Mister Friend, can I have a talk with just the two of us for a bit? It is about the matter of just now.” (Mix)
“Yeah, I don’t mind. Ilias, I will be arranging the information with Mix for a bit. Wrap your quarrel with the Gold Demon Lord by then, okay?”
“Leave it to me. I will tell this lascivious fox right in her face.” (Ilias)
“Wait, why are ya unsheathing yer sword? Is that what ya mean by right in my face?!” (Gold)
We leave the noisy throne room that had metallic sounds echoing and go out to the hallway.
Thanks to the Gahne Castle not having maids or anything of the sort, it is as silent as the dead night.
“—You don’t need to worry that much. I won’t get affected by the matter of Dokora.”
“…It seems like you see through a lot of things, Mister Friend.” (Mix)
“Anyone would notice if you make a face like that. I don’t want to worry the others, so if there’s anything you want to say or ask, put them into words. I don’t promise any answers though.”
“You don’t regret having killed Dokora, Mister Friend? You seemed to be talking extremely amicably with Dokora -as if you were in front of Ani-sama…” (Mix)
She unexpectedly went right in. That’s fine though.
I haven’t been together with Mix for long. It is about time for Mix to begin understanding me just like Ilias.
I did think Mix would eventually be asking me this.
“It is true that I have reconfirmed that he was someone who I would have gotten along with. I was saved by Ilias and became the ally of Taizu. That’s why there was no path aside from becoming the enemy of Dokora and facing him. There may be a bit of sorrow, but no regrets.”
“I see…” (Mix)
“Also, I was talking about the Dokora from the simulated world, not the one from the real world. I told you before that that’s how things work and we should understand the distinction, right?”
“So you say, but you were getting attached to the Dokora from the simulated world.” (Mix)
Mix was watching my state the whole time while I was talking to Dokora.
She must have been trying to understand me as much as possible.
“Of course I would. But I would switch once it is over. It is the same as when reading a story.”
“Is it something so easy to switch?” (Mix)
“I have already gotten used to it.”
“Do you have siblings, Mister Friend?” (Mix)
“I can’t answer that one. Sorry.”
“…I see. Then, I will be telling you about what I have thought. After watching you, I felt like you are incredibly dangerous. As Ani-sama said, you are someone who can exist in many different spectrums. However, you won’t get dyed by any of those. It is not that you are unfaltering. You are someone who gets dyed easily and falters greatly. I am worried that you will one day not be able to return. I am sure the others think the same.” (Mix)
This girl says straight on what Ilias and Marito most likely think on the regular.
She doesn’t fear stepping in. She has courage.
It is personally the type I have a hard time with. What should I do to deal with this…? Right.
“I can’t do anything about this way of living. I would like to get moved like a regular person and would like to get angry too, but there are times when those get in the way. As I changed my way of acting to best suit my circumstances, I began to get better at switching, which is just natural. It is like being able to swiftly switch masks, but they are without doubt all equally me. If I were to deny any one of those, I might be able to carve out the ideal picture of myself, but…that will most likely be the same for the undesirable me.”
My current allies in this world feel the changes in my way of acting as unusual.
There’s no understanding of my stance of becoming a good person when in front of a good person, and becoming a bad person when in front of a bad person.
I am myself. Maintaining my identity is my default.
That said, this switching stance is one individual trait of mine though…
Of course, I am aware of the side-effects of this. That said, I am not thinking of fixing it either.
“Don’t you get tired of changing yourself depending on the other party?” (Mix)
“Everyone changes their attitude as well. It is simply that I include my values and ego in it.”
With a personality that doesn’t forgive deceiving people, I would end up clouding my judgment when I get angry when dealing with someone that deceives people.
Therefore, I stand in the same position as the other party to face them.
Fight poison with poison. If you don’t have the poison, become the poison yourself.
This is one of the defensive mechanisms I had for the relentless malice directed at me in the modern world; the stance I polished myself in.
“…Got it. So you won’t change that way of being, Mister Friend.” (Mix)
“It is something that has seeped in after all. You would have a hard time correcting me.”
“But I don’t think there’s no solution at all. For example; if you were with Lady Ratzel the whole time, you would stay the friend of Lady Ratzel, right?” (Mix)
“Then, in order for you to become the desirable Mister Friend, that means we just have to stay by your side at all times, right?!” (Mix)
I feel like it is flowing into a weird direction here… Well, I understand what she is trying to say here. She does find it troublesome, but she won’t try to force me.
“It is not like I don’t understand the worry of you guys. That’s why I will try to refrain as much as possible… Well, I will keep it in mind as payment for worrying you.”
“Yes, please do! I can’t ignore even Mister Friend if it worries Ani-sama! I myself also want you to become a good person after all!” (Mix)
“I am impressed that the people in this world can say such embarrassing lines as if nothing.”
I am weak to such straightforward words as someone who is easily influenced. Seriously, please spare me.
Especially Ilias. Getting hit hard by a person who specializes in my weak point is unfair.
“Isn’t it important to say what you think?” (Mix)
“About that, there’s a lot of cases when it would be an annoyance on Earth, you see.”
“Really?! T-Then could it be that my words from the heart just now were also…” (Mix)
“No, I am really happy about them. I should thank Marito for choosing you.”
There aren’t many opportunities to have these emotions. The comfort scares me after all.
The emotions of the residents of this world are really effective on an opportunist bastard, but this ticklish sensation isn’t bad either.
Mix must have been surprised by the face I made, she froze for a while and began to move in a flustered manner.
“U-Uhm…the Mister Friend right now is the Mister Friend that’s shown in front of me, right?” (Mix)
“That’s right. I hope the embarrassment I am feeling right now has been transmitted to you.”
“…I will be a bit more careful myself.” (Mix)
Please do. I don’t want to writhe in shame when I reminisce, yup.
After that, I entered the simulated world again, and tried to get confirmation of the information I got from Dokora.
Just when I was at my limits from the abstract theories, Ekdoik finally returned.
His skin is burnt to a wheat color for some reason. Seriously, what happened?
“Ha Ha Ha! Made you wait, Rakura Salf!” (Ekdoik)
“No way, according to the estimates of Counselor-sama, he shouldn’t be showing up with a loud laugh until after a few more times!” (Rakura)
Yeah, that’s what I thought, but the change of Ekdoik is far faster than I thought.
I need to analyze him a bit more—feels stupid, so let’s not.
“Comrade, I have certainly gathered the articles that you asked me about.” (Ekdoik)
“I didn’t expect you to gather them all in a few days. What’s up with your movement speed?”
“My chains can change their form and traits easily. Basically, I can just do something like this.” (Ekdoik)
Saying this, Ekdoik freely controlled the chains and created wings.
He flapped and freakin’ flew up.
I see. He would be faster than a horse if he could fly in the sky.
So this is why he has a suntan, huh… I hope he hasn’t been seen by anyone and mistaken for a monster.
Now then, what I have asked for has been carried off to the prison in the Gahne Castle.
It is a prison that has had no opportunity to be of use since facilities were made in the 4th Layer to accommodate the prisoners, so I decided to make use of them.
“Now then, let’s go ahead and verify.”
“Right. But before that, let me report to you about the other request. I found Girista, told her the message, and gave her my chains. I have made it so we can meet her in the future.” (Ekdoik)
It is like placing a GPS on a girl. This isn’t that praiseworthy, but it is her we are talking about. It can’t be helped.
This world doesn’t have convenient things like cellphones… Well, there’s something close to that, but it hasn’t been spread.
“I have also managed to make contact with the person in question. It took a lot of work to make them talk, but once I explained the situation, they showed more interest than expected. I finished the negotiations in the middle of the first request, so they might have already come to Gahne.” (Ekdoik)
That matter is without doubt good news. I got excited by the completion of this request I made of Ekdoik that I didn’t have much hopes of achieving.
“Shishou, did you call someone?” (Wolfe)
“Yeah, there’s someone I would like you to meet, Wolfe.”
Wolfe asked me while training with her chains.
She must want to show Ekdoik her progress.
“To Wolfe…?” (Wolfe)
“Yeah. I only had half expectations for this one, but to think they would really listen.”
“Uhm, Counselor-sama, I am not following here at all… Who is it?” (Rakura)
“Holy Fist Gradona. The former master of Pashuro.”