Chapter 288: Damage Restitution
Uu.. what is this?
I’m in pain. It feels like I’ve been forced to watch a strange nightmare over and over again. My head is spinning.
Raphtalia’s voice returns consciousness to my body, and my eyes open, signaling the end of the dream.
Before my eyes is Raphtalia, who’s carrying me with a worried expression on her face.
“This is…?” (Naofumi)
I look around and find Ren, Itsuki, Rishia, and various others gazing in our direction. We’re in front of what appears to be ruins, near the ocean.
I think I was supposed to be in Melty’s manor…
“Raphtalia, where exactly are we? Why have I collapsed… I think I unlocked a curse…” (Naofumi)
“It’s Naofumi-sama! Right now, the one who’s here is definitely Naofumi-sama!”
“Hah? What do you mean?” (Naofumi)
I pick myself up, and I examine my surroundings once more.
The roar of the sea echoes in my ears, and I can easily understand that I’m not in the village.
From what I see, it’s the island that makes up Sadina’s secret base… yet still, something’s strange.
Some sort of structure had collapsed and turned into ruins.
Is it some sort of plant?
What I saw next, is a nearby cage containing Firo, Atlas, and Kiel.
“Why are Firo and the others locked up?” (Naofumi)
“Do you not remember anything?” (Raphtalia)
“About what?” (Naofumi)
“I see… Firo and the others took advantage of a commotion and acted up a bit. They’ll be in there for a while as punishment.” (Raphtalia)
For some reason, those three are looking at me with a sad expression.
When I look at my feet, I see what seems to be a mix between a small raccoon and a tanuki. A strange monster.
Its size is around that of a small dog, I guess.
What could this be?
It lifts its paw at Raphtalia and calls out.
“Be quiet!” (Raphtalia)
Even though she rarely gets mad, Raphtalia shouts at the monster and shoos it away.
Upon hearing her voice, the monster immediately flees.
What is the meaning of this?
Rat is glaring at me angrily.
Behind her is a tanuki-ish raccoon, larger in size than Firo’s Filo Rial form. It looks like a bigger version of that other monster.
It has quite a sleepy expression on its face.
“Raphtalia, what happened here?” (Naofumi)
“You truly do not remember anything?” (Raphtalia)
I have a bad premonition as I nod.
“Let me tell you exactly what happened. Listen carefully.” (Raphtalia)
“Are you really Naofumi?” (Ren)
Ren comes over and asks me.
“What’s that supposed to mean… did an impostor of me appear, or something?” (Naofumi)
“Well… I’m not sure if you could call that an impostor.” (Ren)
Now that I think about it, I feel strangely refreshed.
It’s a strange feeling, like that I had when fighting the Wrath Dragon.
… I’m getting a really bad premonition now.
“Um… Naofumi-sama had his consciousness stolen by a cursed shield. Because of it, he became unable to use the slave crest… though that turned out for the best.” (Raphtalia)
“… I see.” (Naofumi)
I have a vague feeling something like that happened.
My memory goes up to unlocking some strange series.
I believe it was the New Seven Deadly Sins.
“So what exactly did I do?” (Naofumi)
“What, you ask!?” (Rat)
Rat angles her eyebrows as she retorts.
What? What did I do to make Rat this angry?
“Yeah, please tell me in detail.” (Naofumi)
“Marquis, for some absurd reason, you occupied my laboratory, arbitrarily transferred it to this island, and on top of that, you went around modifying my precious Mii-kun to your whim!” (Rat)
In response to Rat’s scream, the large… Raccoon?… Behind Rat crys out.
“Mii-kun was the monster you cared for in the test-tube, right? I modified him?” (Naofumi)
“Not only that. You preached about how you were going to purify the world, carried out questionable research, and proclaimed you were going to dominate the world.” (Rat)
“… Luckily, before you did anything you couldn’t take back, everyone worked together to stop you. It didn’t turn into anything serious.” (Rat)
“I see.” (Naofumi)
“Melty-chan proclaimed that the Hero of the Shield-sama was doing special training for the wave, so he was using unique powers to release monsters. The messengers from Silt Welt also came to our assistance.” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia explains as she looks at Firo.
Firo starts shaking in fear as she extends her hand to me.
“Master… Firo wanted to protect that smile.” (Firo)
“Yes, no matter what happened, we stayed with you until the last moment.” (Atlas)
“It was really fun playing with Niichan.” (Kiel)
The three in the cage let out their opinions.
Smile? There’s no such thing. Don’t protect it.
“Master, you talked about Raphtalia-oneechan the whole time.” (Firo)
“Why Raphtalia?” (Naofumi)
“At the start, you approached me with strange mannerism and invited me to join you in conquest. But after I refused such an offer, you came to the conclusion that I was a fake and ran away.” (Raphtalia)
“Strange mannerism?” (Naofumi)
“First of all, you used ‘Thy’ and ‘Thou.’” (Raphtalia)
“That sure is strange.” (Naofumi)
What the hell is ‘Thy’?
I don’t get what that’s supposed to mean.
No, the same can be said for all the one’s I’ve seen under the influence of a curse.
To summarize, I was not an exception. My head turned strange.
“Next, it was something about how the world was rotten. About how before the wave did its work, you would purge it. You asked for my cooperation as well.” (Taniko)
From the sky, Taniko comes aboard Gaelion. She gets off and says as such.
“And after taking that old lady’s laboratory, you took all the monsters with you as well. You carried off quite a few of the village children while you were at it.” (Taniko)
“Is there no end to this?” (Naofumi)
“Firo, Atlas-chan, and Kiel-kun rode the wave and followed you. Next, you erected a huge Bioplant castle on top of Sadina-neesan’s house. I believe you called it the Castle Plant.” (Raphtalia)
Wow… what exactly was the cursed me thinking?
Could it be that I directly acted out my various dark feelings against this world’s nobility…?
I must’ve been an unreasonable fellow.
Though there are some personal matters mixed in with these complaints.
“By the way, how much time did we waste taking me down?” (Naofumi)
“A little over a week.”
“What was that!?” (Naofumi)
Wait a second, it’s already been more than a week!?
I use status magic to view the countdown to the next wave.
It’s true. There’s only a week and a half left.
“… I performed human experimentation on that group?” (Naofumi)
“Yes. Kiel-kun.” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia stares at Kiel, and she curls her tail into a ball in fear.
But sensing her intent, Kiel changes her form.
… It’s a small puppy with three heads. Cerberus?
But since Kiel is the base, I get more of a Kielberus impression from it.
“When I begged him for it, Niichan happily did it for me.” (Kiel)
“No matter how strange I was, that’s going too far.” (Naofumi)
It’s human modification, you know… Though she can turn back.
Did the cursed me plan to make her a disposable pawn?
“Niichan, your choice of words was strange, but you constantly worried about me, and you never hurt me. You made whatever changes that weren’t too dangerous for me!” (Kiel)
With a regretful expression, Kiel begins letting out tears.
She truly adored that person, but though it was me, it wasn’t me. I have no memory of it.
It feels like she’s complimenting a stranger.
“That person, while being Naofumi-sama, wasn’t Naofumi-sama!” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia cries out, and Kiel shuts up.
“Firo, you see, was given the ability to fly by Master.” (Firo)
In the cage, human form Firo bats her wings. Something glitters, and she begins floating.
She’s really flying…
But how would she lift off her normally huge body?
She seems built to run on the ground. It’s unsettling to imagine her flying around in the sky.
“FUOOOOOH! Firo-tan!” (Motoyasu)
Motoyasu assaults the cage with his overwhelming emotions.
“Mu! Go away!” (Firo)
With an extremely unpleasant face, Firo rejects him. Atlas thrusts at Motoyasu and drives him away.
“What about you, Atlas?” (Naofumi)
“You told me that it was no good… that I couldn’t be modified.” (Atlas)
“I see.” (Naofumi)
For Firo and Kiel to have been experimented on to this extent… I turn my head towards Raphtalia, while a bad feeling fills my stomach.
“What about the others?” (Naofumi)
“… The slaves undergoing treatment in the lab all became your test subjects, and…” (Raphtalia)
I did something I can never take back.
There’s no way I ever planned on doing anything this inhuman.
“They all underwent complete recoveries. After that, you modified them as per their own request, and they rushed into battle against us.” (Raphtalia)
“… What?” (Naofumi)
“At the moment, like Firo’s group, they are under our protection.” (Raphtalia)
“Ah, I see.” (Naofumi)
Per their own request… what exactly happened?
“Your charisma while under that curse was amazing. Everyone desperately tried to protect you.” (Ren)
“… That’s right. For some reason, Naofumi-san is always the target of everyone’s affections.” (Itsuki)
Ren and Itsuki answer.
Itsuki is expressionless, but I feel that he’s healing in a different direction from the past Itsuki.
Now that I think about it, since a week’s passed, has his curse healed to some extent?
“It’s alright. The current me can understand that they moved for Naofumi-san’s form of justice.” (Itsuki)
“Ah, also, there’s something that’s been bothering me for a while.” (Naofumi)
What exactly are those Raccoon-Tanuki hybrid monsters staring at us from the shadows of the ruins?
They all seem slightly different, and there are a couple of distinct varieties.
But without fail, each and every one of them looks like some sort of mix between a Raccoon, Red Panda, and Tanuki. Some of their parts seem vaguely familiar.
I point my finger at them.
“They’re the last remaining traces of the monsters that chose to follow you, mixed with a completely new race of monster you created, of course. They’re the first generation Raph race.” (Rat)
“Say what!?” (Naofumi)
Eh? Those are the monsters from my place!?
“Yeah. Everyone turned out like that, and they came to pick a fight with us.” (Taniko)
Taniko speaks with an irritated expression.
She definitely holds a grudge!
But she did hold the monsters quite close to her heart. I can’t really complain.
“And, like, why do they look like that?” (Naofumi)
There’s a bit of resemblance with Raphtalia’s tail and ears.
Their cries also sound something like: ‘Rafu~’ and ‘Tari~’ and ‘Ri~ya~’. Connecting them gives a certain name.
Each and every one of them seems to have a conditioned reflex where if they see Raphtalia, they raise their arms and…
Call out those words.
When I ask that, Sadina comes over, waving her hand. She gives a muffled laugh.
… Why is she brown? She’s also become relatively fluffy.
“After Raphtalia-chan rejected Naofumi-chan, you came under the impression that there was no way Raphtalia-chan would betray you. You started calling her a fake and started using her hair to try and revive the real Raphtalia-chan.” (Sadina)
“Even I can’t tell you that one. After my spying was exposed, you made me look like this.” (Sadina)
“Are you alright?” (Naofumi)
“According to Rat-chan, it’s fixable. I’ll be fine.” (Sadina)
Muu… what exactly was the other me thinking?
“And, in the end, what are we going to do with those monsters?” (Naofumi)
“They themselves wished for those forms, so… can’t we just introduce them to the world as new races?” (Rat)
Rat replies with a defeated expression.
“By the way, the strange Marquis named them Raph race, Tali race, Rafuta race, Riya Race, and Talia race, or something like that, it seems.” (Rat)
I truly can’t understand what that guy–me–was thinking!
What exactly was he planning on doing by making these strange life forms?
“Wait a second, you called those the first generation, right? Is there a second?” (Naofumi)
“Of course there is. It goes all the way up to seven. You remade a new generation every day, Marquis. What’s more, you made battle models, final weapon models, and some other specialized ones. They got closer and closer in appearance to Raphtalia-san, and it got harder for us to fight them.” (Rat)
Taniko presents a specimen to me.
“This is the seventh generation.” (Taniko)
An SD Raphtalia-esque lifeform greets me.
(TL: SD is super deformed. It’s an art style, pretty much the one you may recognize as chibi, with large head and small body.)
(ED: I really hate the word super-deformed :( It sounds so nasty. Why couldn’t we just leave it as chibi orz)
(TL: This is the original author’s sketch of child Raphtalia. I guess you could call it a SD Raphtalia, but SD is to an even greater extent.)
(ED: OMG LOLI RAPHTALIA)
If I change my viewpoint, I guess she looks a little like Raphtalia when she was small.
But even in this form, all she says is Rafu~.
“I don’t know what became of the eighth generation. There may be one exactly like the original walking around.” (Rat)
Uwah… That would be quite a development.
When I put my hands on my hanged head, Raphtalia places her hand on my shoulder.
“What happens after we overcome the wave?” (Raphtalia)
“I go home?” (Naofumi)
“… Yes.” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia puts on a sweet smile and nods.
“It’s alright. Though we had a late start, we can still get back on track. Let’s work hard together.” (Raphtalia)
“That’s right… GUHA!” (Naofumi)
I vomit blood all of a sudden.
“W-what is this!?” (Naofumi)
“I bet it’s the curse.” (Ren)
Ren scratches his head as he mutters this.
“You used your newly found intelligence to modify everyone using the minimum amount of your abilities, but it seems there’s still a bit of an after-effect.” (Ren)
Looking at Firo, Kiel, the Raph Race, and all the others I modified, I am aware that I must have done a lot.
I look at my status to find that my wounds are not healing. It’s a very minor curse.
I think I can just cover this one with medicine.
Next is… my EP isn’t recovering either. I can recover it through normal means, though.
I also found this out later. In daily intervals, the EXP that I got was taken away. The taken EXP went towards feeding the new Raph Race.
If I just fight, I can make up for it.
There may be more, but at present, these are the curses I’ve identified.
“Though you yourself, when under that curse, was quite weak.” (Ren)
“Is that so?” (Naofumi)
“Yes. Your defense was fatally low, and you didn’t strengthen that shield.” (Ren)
Muu. In the end, that may have saved me.
“Anyways… the one who’s going to be compensating for all the damage done in this incident is me, right?” (Naofumi)
Ah… I feel that I’m going to be losing all the fortune I reaped in the festival. I may even go into debt.
“Luckily, a portion of the research the strange Naofumi-sama conducted was picked up by Rat.” (Raphtalia)
“It was full of things I wanted to do. With this, my own research should take great leaps. Though I feel a bit regretful for using it.” (Rat)
Mii-kun… was it?… puts Rat on his shoulders and begins walking off.
“If you didn’t lend this child power, I still think he would have fought. You gave him a first generation Raph body, but he begged you for further strength, so you made him a special ‘Final Weapon’ body.” (Rat)
“I see… didn’t you want his body to function on the same system as Dragon cores? Something about versatility?” (Naofumi)
“It appears that you already did that.” (Rat)
“Oh, really…” (Naofumi)
“He was the lead actor in the end. If he didn’t turncoat in the end, I think we would still be fighting him right now.” (Ren)
Ren supplements some information.
Ah, for the love of… What exactly was I doing!?
… Mii-kun, was it?
The word of his betrayal irritates me.
In Sadina’s case, she stood by as Raphtalia’s ally and worked with her to stop me. Looking at the wider picture, I can’t really call that betrayal, and if I was in her position, I would have done the same.
And if I did regain sanity for a brief moment, that would be what I would request.
However this one made use of my insanity to strengthen himself.
From the start, he was an ally of Rat and no friend to me. It’s understandable, but unsatisfying.
Mii-kun starts Rafu-ing in Rat’s ear.
“Eh? What? He made you a test subject, and asked for experimental consent, but never asked you to swear loyalty?” (Rat)
Does that mean that if I had asked him to swear loyalty beforehand, he would have refused?
It’s the same sophism that I use every day.
Since I was the one at fault this time, I can’t complain. But still, how irritating.
To summarize, he wasn’t an ally from the start, so it wasn’t betrayal.
Because betrayal means to fool those who you think of as allies.
I just went and modified him, so he just quietly withstood it, is probably what he’ll try and argue.
I have no memories of the incident, but based on their testimonies, I was the cliché villain, and Raphtalia the main hero.
That truly does seem to be the case.
Don’t they appear a lot in fiction? Boss characters that get betrayed and attacked by their subordinates?
In Manga, after betraying the antagonist, the protagonists would welcome them onto their side.
It’s not like I hate characters like that.
In literary production, that is.
When you’re on the affected side, it feels quite unpleasant.
Though that wasn’t me.
Ah, right. I think Rat told me before that he was greedy for power.
It was the other me’s fault for not understanding his personality.
But… I guess I just don’t like him on a personal level.
I think I’ll be ignoring him from here on out.
“Rat-san appears to be angry at Naofumi-sama, but she’s truly quite thankful.” (Raphtalia)
“I see. I hope all’s well that ends well, but…” (Naofumi)
… I’m going to unload a few things.
It seems I went too far in various things.
Just modifying the Bioplant and displaying avarice was enough to awaken a curse series?
By the way, the current me cannot even bring up the New Seven Deadly Sins Shield. I can’t even remember what sort of shield it was.
And like this, the curtain closes on my recklessness.
“By the way, where’s Fohl?” (Naofumi)
From a distance, Fohl runs towards Raphtalia.
Aneki? (TL: Older sister, occasionally female leader)
“Did it go well?” (Fohl)
“Yes. Because Fohl-kun was able to stall the collapse…”
“The moments afterwards were quite hectic. The castle started crumbling on us all. But we were able to guide and evacuate everyone.”
When Fohl notices me, he starts glaring at me.
“Aneki? Did you start calling her that during the journey?” (Naofumi)
“No, during the current incident. When Atlas-chan went to Naofumi-sama’s side, Fohl-kun reluctantly followed her and became your subordinate. I… encouraged him, and brought him over to our camp.” (Raphtalia)
“Yes, Aneki told me this. If you truly cherish your little sister, then as a big brother, you shouldn’t pamper her so!” (Fohl)
“I see…” (Naofumi)
How should I say this. It seems that quite a soap opera played out when I wasn’t looking.
The rebellious Fohl now is this obedient to Raphtalia.
Will they marry when they grow up? I don’t approve of it, by the way.
“… Naofumi-sama? Are you thinking something sinister right now?” (Raphtalia)
“About what?” (Naofumi)
“No, there’s no problem, but…” (Raphtalia)
“My eyes were blinded. I was pulled around by the selfishness of my sister, who recently started getting better. However, love must also be strict. That’s what Raphtalia-aneki taught me.” (Fohl)
“Ah, I see…” (Naofumi)
He clenches his fist tightly. It was something I warned him about daily, but he was afraid of incurring his sister’s hate. I mean, Atlas even occasionally says she will curse him one day.
“It’s all your fault!” (Fohl)
“Yeah, that’s fine…” (Naofumi)
I mean, it’s true. I feel kinda tired.
“I definitely don’t approve of you, you know!” (Fohl)
“Ah, yes, yes.” (Naofumi)
Anyways, it seems Fohl became Raphtalia’s younger brother (Follower).
… But I think her real age is lower than his.