Chapter 361: An Enemy of an Enemy is
It’s not like we’re just going there to die.
We’re leaving to protect everyone.
I envisioned that wish strongly in my mind.
Even if we don’t have the power to defeat Medea, I’ll go.
But if possible, I want to protect them.
Even if my body is to rot away.
It felt as if I had suddenly run into a wall at full force.
But there was absolutely no pain.
It was as if I had crashed into a sponge.
What surrounded me was the darkness of night, and in the sky, stars much bigger than normal were glittering.
No, gem-like stars so big that it was offsetting glowed around me.
But the ground was too dark, and I couldn’t really see it.
… As I looked around, I realized that Raphtalia wasn’t by my side.
Even if I call out, there’s no answer
I call out her name multiple times, but no voice rises to respond.
Is this already the other world?
I check to see if I can pull up my Status Magic.
… There’s no response.
By the light of the stars, I began searching the area.
I trampled the ground of the gentle slope one step at a time as I rose up.
… Just how long have I been walking?
I think it’s been around 30 minutes.
On top of the hill, on top of a large stone, I met someone clad in a robe that covered their entire body.
The figure was sitting on the ground as they gazed at the night sky.
Around him, many small lights gathered like fireflies.
His build was… short.
About up to my hip.
But, he had quite a bit of width to him, so I can’t imagine him being human.
“You’re finally here… I was watching from the top of the hill.”
Like that, the robed figure called out to me.
He was watching? In this mountain so dark I can barely see my own feet?
Anyways, I’ll try talking to him.
Depending on the outcome, I may end up fighting.
“I’ve lost my way. Did you happen to see a pretty girl anywhere?” (Naofumi)
“Eh? What are you talking about?”
This guy looks really shady.
The robe covering his entire body is just way too suspicious.
While he’s sitting, there’s something off about the way he’s wearing it.
There’s a strange extension in the back.
I guess I should assume he has a tail under there.
A Demi-human, or perhaps a Beastman. That possibility is high.
“More importantly, if you tell Me where you were trying to go, I may be of some help.”
“My, how kind of you. Sorry, but I don’t have a personality that lets me trust people like that.” (Naofumi)
“I see… then why don’t I start by telling you about Me?”
He dismounted the rock, and started to walk towards me as he answered.
The light of his fireflies illuminated the area.
“To put it bluntly, you guys ran into Me. That’s why I was a bit curious.”
“When you got here, did you not feel yourself running into something? That was Me.”
“I… see…” (Naofumi)
So that back there was his fault?
Does that mean we failed in transporting to the other world?
“You sure made a mess of things!” (Naofumi)
“W-why are you getting angry? I was just walking around normally. The ones who suddenly changed your path and crashed into Me was you guys, wasn’t it?”
Thinking back, Atlas told me to wish strongly to return to the world. Instead, I… wished to protect everyone.
I was also thinking about beating that Goddess.
This train of thought… could it be it altered my course?
Ge… Then only Raphtalia was able to go back? What should I do!?
Shield! Please respond!
I think that as I confirm the Shield Strap.
A light comes out of it, and starts circling the robed figure before me.
And wait, aren’t those fireflies circling the area the Holy Weapon Spirits!?
“You… just who are you!? Why are you accompanied by the Spirits?” (Naofumi)
“So you can see them?”
The dubious robed figure seems surprised.
“Well, even if you say I’m accompanied by them… unfortunately, I can’t really see them, you know.”
“Are you blind?” (Naofumi)
(TL: Not an insult, an honest question)
“No, it’s not that. I can’t see Spirits, or beings of that sort. I guess it has something to do with My constitution?”
Something clicks, and the robed guy started to bring something out from the robe’s depths.
Is it a weapon!?
I braced myself without thinking, but the figure merely opened his hands to show it to me.
It was an expensive-looking necklace with intricate ornaments fastened on it.
“This is what’s attracting the Spirits here. You see, the Spirits can’t perceive Me either.”
He threw the necklace to the ground at my feet.
And the surrounding spirits started swarming around it.
… He doesn’t appear to be lying.
“Even if you ask me who I am, I’m not sure if you’d be able to understand any answer I give. If circumstances permitted, I would like to tell you, I guess. About how a normal person ended up in a place like this.”
Even the Spirit of the Shield left it to approach him.
There may be some merit in listening to what he has to say.
In the first place, there’s also the question of where it is I am.
“Can I ask you something?” (Naofumi)
“I’ll give you as many answers as you want.”
“… Then, where is this?” (Naofumi)
I do think the starry sky is pretty, but I really can’t see where I’m going.
Even with the light of the spirits, that doesn’t really change.
“Here? Would you understand if I called it the dimensional rift?”
“It’s the space between one world and another. Each and every light you see floating in the sky is but another world.”
(TL: Wait a second, does this robed figure happen to have a drill on him?)
The man points his finger to the sky as he answers.
As I squinted my eyes, I could see that they were, indeed, not stars.
They kinda looked like crystal balls floating in space, I guess? Not like true stars.
And they looked closer that I thought. As If I could reach out and grab one if I had a ladder.
“This is the rift you can reach from any world. You seem to have come from a world without magic, so I guess if I put it simply, this would be space? Well, something similar to that. A rule-less world of disorder. A normal human would be guaranteed to get lost here.”
“Well… I do understand that my sense of common sense isn’t working here.” (Naofumi)
“So it isn’t.”
I gaze up at the sky.
I saw the circular stars shining brightly.
These orbs, so each and every one of them is its own world… Where is the one I want to reach?
Unless the Spirit of the Shield tells me, I have no way of knowing.
“Let’s see… who are you?” (Naofumi)
Let’s assume the Spirit of the Shield can guide me where I need to go. Now why did this spirit draw closer to him?
“Before that, I’d like you to tell me a little about yourself. Or else, I’ll have no way of answering.”
Yeah, before pressing a guy for information, it’s best that I at least name myself.
Even I’ve hidden my rank to do things in that world.
If you want to ask for money, you have to find out what the other person wants first.
Meaning I’ll have to give him an understanding of my situation.
His robe’s been suspicious from the start, but he seems to be earnestly answering my questions.
“My name is Iwatani Naofumi. In a modern world without magic, I’m a college student, and in a certain world, I was summoned as the Hero of the Shield.” (Naofumi)
“Is that so? About how far advanced is the world you call modern?”
“You didn’t get that? The fact that there are so many worlds out there means there’s magic civilizations, machine civilizations, and many, many more. So when you tell me a modern world… is it a world with robots, or one that runs on magic? I’d just like a general idea on what sort of world it is.”
The only response I could give to that was silence.
What sort of civilization?
Just how far along is my own world?
I was raised on Manga and Games, so I have a slight grasp of it, but I only have my own world, and a magical middle age-ish world to compare, so it’s a bit hard to determine.
“Let’s see… Having an idea of its tendencies and structure is enough. How old is it? Does it have autonomous sentient AI robots? Just how great is its ability to transfer information?”
“Its age is…”
I answered the robe’s questions to some extent.
And he nodded, as if he was satisfied.
“I see. Thanks. And so, you were summoned to another world by the spirits to lend them your power.”
“Well… you’re not wrong.” (Naofumi)
“Well, that’s just how most summons go nowadays. And?”
“Yeah, I was summoned to a world on the brink of ruin. And there, I fought the wave, a phenomenon of world assimilation. But a girl who called herself God used a mysterious attack, and when I thought I had been killed, I was sent back to my own modern world. After that… well, I’m in the middle of going back to the world I was summoned to once more.” (Naofumi)
I make things short, as I explain my own situation to the robe.
He nods again and again.
“So you’ve made me say all that. I’ll have you answer my questions.” (Naofumi)
“Naturally. Then I’ll speak of everything that is within the scope of what I’m allowed to say.”
He cleared his throat, before speaking once more.
“I’m a being who has crossed many worlds to kill the one you are fighting, a slayer of gods. That’s perfect for you, right?”
Wait, wait, wait. What’s this supposed to mean?
Someone that convenient actually exists?
“It appears you don’t believe Me.”
“Of course not. If someone like you existed, then why isn’t she dead yet?” (Naofumi)
“Hey, you see… please look up at the sky.”
As told, I look up.
Infinite worlds stacked up next to one another.
“I’m just a single person, you know? There are as many people plotting such things as there are stars in this sky. And for a long time, many of these problems have been breaking out simultaneously. There’s no way I could deal with all of them.”
“As many as there are stars in the sky?” (Naofumi)
“Yeah. Since you’ve kept up with me this far, I guess I can tell you what sort of beings they are.”
The robe started explaining things one at a time.
“They’re generally the results of worlds too ancient.”
“Putting it in your world’s standards, if science and technology continued to advance without end, what do you think would happen?”
“I wonder…” (Naofumi)
I don’t really like getting sucked into his pace, but let’s try thinking about it.
A world with advanced technology.
The world I knew had magic, and heroes, and monsters.
If you were to give it a genre, it would be fantasy.
So a technological one would be Sci-fi.
ESPers, and giant robots. Things like that would fight.
“According to Manga, I guess there would be giant robot wars across the cosmos.” (Naofumi)
“After that. Try thinking of what comes next.”
“… I don’t know.” (Naofumi)
There are plenty of diverging possibilities.
Humanity could decline, it could continue to advance, it could migrate to another star.
“Well, they number few, but there are some who put their efforts into stopping death.”
“I… see…” (Naofumi)
“Eventually, that research comes to fruition, and the populace becomes immortal. Bodies that don’t die no matter how much you cut them up. Souls that don’t wither no matter how many millions of years pass.”
That’s already transitioning into the realm of literary creation.
I’ve read stories about immortal bodies. They were always harsh ones.
Even so, if they even modified souls not to wither, then maybe they could stand the test of time.
And it’s not like only a single individual’s immortal, so I guess that can be called the completion of one civilization.
(TL: And then there’s boredom, and sleep, and angels falling from the sky)
“When that happens, there’s always that one guy who proclaims themselves god, and looks down on all those that are of the same make as them. That’s still fine in itself. They make moves to control more and more, and conquer their entire world. Then, what’s next? How about expanding to yet another world?”
… I see. How simple. How idiotic.
Stuff like that was done in my world, and that world as well.
“So they start invasions of other worlds?” (Naofumi)
“Correct. This time, they take the magic they call science to another world, and go to war. And the amount of worlds they control increases. In order to fulfill their greed, I guess. Some of them get killed, but I’ll bet most of them see success.”
“That’s more troublesome than anything. So is that her identity?” (Naofumi)
“No, that was just an example, so it’s probably different. There are countless ways to ascend to that level, and if you had to say, I think she leans towards the magic side of the spectrum. You can imagine it to some extent, right?”
“Then tell me. What is her goal? She said she wanted EXP.” (Naofumi)
“It’s probably just as she said. She wants to get stronger.”
“Yeah. She sucks magic and life out of the world, and converts it to her own power. And if that happens, the only thing left for the parched world is to disappear. Well, I’ll bet the number of worlds she can turn to power is limited.”
I tried to get into the robe’s in-depth explanation.
So she came to suck all the power from that world, and she can’t do anything to a world without magic.
“She used attacks with things like infinity, and 100% and unlimited in their names. If you don’t know exactly what she did… I guess they were conceptual attacks. Since she attacked past, present, and future, it looks like she can do temporal attacks too. If she even attacked parallel worlds, she really, REALLY wanted you dead, man.”
“Conceptual attack…” (Naofumi)
I try to remember that Damn Goddess’s attack.
I died without knowing anything.
It was probably that.
“Right. She just faces her enemies, and declares as such. It’s like the logic of a child’s game. The means don’t actually matter, as long as she transmits the message 『The Enemy has Died』 across. Even if you used all the means in the world I doubt you would be able to beat an enemy like that. She politely told you she was eternal, and immortal, and perpetual, or something like that, and she seemed to be obsessive over her speed too, so she must be quite the battle maniac.”
Pushing messages onto people…
Honestly, I have no idea what he’s talking about, but let’s forget common sense for a second.
Normally, you would have to damage an enemy, and they would die in a pool of their own blood.
If you take away the damage and the blood, the enemy dies without anything happening to them.
I really doubt such a thing is possible, but she definitely did something crazy and illogical like that.
“For someone like that… how can I win?” (Naofumi)
“So I think it’s best to wait for someone in a similar position to her, don’t you think? The spirit lending you power was probably waiting for something like that to come.”
“Ah, sorry, I forgot the explanation. Of course, for every world that tries to conquer another, there’s another that tries to protect. There’s an unlimited number of worlds out there. For pleasure, to satisfy their senses of justice, there are some like that too.”’
Sense of Justice, is it?
The past Itsuki, Motoyasu, and Ren pop up in my head.
It’s true that helping others can make you feel good.
There’s rarely a person who finds the honest thanks of others to be displeasing.
And that feeling is amplified the worse the greater the depravity of their opponents.
But this guy… the way he put it seems to be concealing some meaning.
No, that may be to make me feel relieved.
We were just having a normal conversation, but it’s not like we’re allies, and I’m not sure if I can trust him.
There’s no defining rule that says the enemy of an enemy is a friend.
There’s plenty a chance that the enemy of an enemy is but another enemy.