Chapter 362: Immortality
“Did you find My explanation strange?”
“But, I mean… rules are relative to each world. What’s right and wrong is dependent on the person, right? It’s not like I don’t see that. And to fulfill a sense of justice, there’s plenty a world that would lend its power and cause the fall of another.”
“What? Weren’t they supposed to save the world from its collapse?” (Naofumi)
“In your world’s words, would you fight an armed criminal empty-handed? In order to replenish the power expended saving the world, they’ll probably use some of it as fodder.”
“That’s putting the cart before the horse.” (Naofumi)
“The larger bug kills the smaller ones to survive. Is that wrong?”
… I can’t deny it.
Rules are whatever was made by the people there. There’s some logic to that.
From my experience I can say that persecuting the Hero of the Shield is Melromark’s rule.
In truth, from the perspective of the many different forces I fought, I’m seen as the bad guy.
Since I’m evil, the right thing to do is defeat evil.
“But… she’s already descended to the world, right?”
“Yeah, and she’s dragged eight different worlds together.” (Naofumi)
“It’s probable that in the world that you’re trying to go to, the conditions needed for her to descend was the linking of eight worlds.”
“I don’t know the exact logic behind it, but that seemed to be the case.” (Naofumi)
Putting together the information I have, that seems right.
Or else, all she would have to do is come down and kill everyone in order to level.
If there was a reason she couldn’t, that’s the safest guess by process of elimination.
“That’s right. Let’s compare this all to a paper. You can place a light stone on it, right? But what about if the stone were heavier? You’ll need a paper thick enough to support it. The paper is the world, and the stone, god. No, it’s probably completely different, but I guess if she just came down as she pleased, there would be terrible aftereffects.”
A paper and a stone…
After the world assimilation started, the monsters levels all rose drastically.
The paper’s capacity wasn’t high enough, so it spiked its level?
The world has its own width, and a set amount of weight it can carry.
She gets it just big enough to sustain her before coming down.
I guess there’s some sense to it.
“… I get what you’re saying. Then if we report it to a defending world, will we be saved?” (Naofumi)
“It’s probably impossible. It’ll be hard to get all the way there.”
“What do you mean?” (Naofumi)
“The one who latched onto your world seems to be playing. Like a game, she makes the countries and people of the world fight just to see who will win. And regardless of whatever country comes out on top, if she senses a threat coming closer, she’ll immediately suck up all the power in the world, pack up, and run away. In order to see those that believed in her, those that were delighted at their own victory, fall into despair, and laugh. I’ve heard about something like that. People who find delight in things like that.”
Just how much of a bitch is she?
Nothing’s happened yet, but I still feel anger building in my stomach.
“To put it simply, it’s devolved down to a situation where the world will be destroyed at the push of a button. It’s not within the scope where it can be saved. Too late. Even with her grand talks of the past, present, or future, once the world itself is gone, there’s no reversing time. There’s only something like migrating to another world.”
“But that doesn’t mean I can give up!” (Naofumi)
I have a single wish. To bring peace to that place.
I decided. I will save that world.
“I know. I never told you to give up. Even so… with her doing that much, I guess she’s at least being monitored, but there’s… Internal discord, was it called?”
As the robed figure muttered to himself, I imagined a criminal infiltrating the ranks of a police force.
While earning trust, he continues to perpetrate crimes.
Even if he makes a report to the Spirits, if the person reporting is on the other side to start with, help won’t come.
“Then are you… a citizen of one of those protecting worlds?” (Naofumi)
“No. I’m different. I’m just in this line of work because I want to be. I’m just doing whatever I believe in. And so, I have as many reasons to fight as there are people in this world.”
“Truly infinite?” (Naofumi)
“Right. Whatever’s the right course of action varies by place. Though I think the one you’re fighting has a bit too twisted of a personality.”
I see… I mutter, as the robed figure takes a few steps forward, and points.
“The world you’re trying to reach is probably that one. But even if you can see it from here, it’s quite far.”
He points into the distant sky.
And there, a single large ball floated.
But from a glance, I could tell it was warping into a more elliptical shape.
Inside, some force was acting to try to contract the ball, and make it smaller. That’s how it looked.
“If it’s that one, then I’ve been there before. There should have been someone to protect it as well, but it seems he isn’t there anymore.”
“So you’ve been to that world?” (Naofumi)
“I’ve lent a little bit of my power to that one. I sometimes lend power to children like you too.”
“Let’s say I gave you three wishes. Now then, what is it that you want?”
He suddenly brought up a question.
… I suddenly remember a demon of a lamp.
“Will it be money? Reviving the dead? Power? Having the one you like look your way? Or could it be… immortality?”
“I gave that world the power to kill those immortal. And that world on the other side just watched as an immortal made a mess of another.”
So there are fiends in every world.
It’s not just that Bitch Goddess… This really is an unfair place.
“Is your world a paradise? With the movies, and manga, and anime you know of, isn’t that world like the story you’ve always dreamed of?”
“No, it’s more of a pain.” (Naofumi)
“I see. And, in the worlds I’ve stopped by, so that they can manage on their own, so with opponents of that level, they’ll be able to manage to some extent, I lend them my power. The reason you were able to survive after getting hit by a conceptual attack is probably due to that…”
So that’s why I was able to survive her attacks that had things like infinite and eternal in their names, and flee to my world?
Atlas did say something like that before we left.
I think it connects to that story before.
What is it that an immortal will do?
Make their own kingdom, and show off their own immortal status?
“What do you do about Evil Gods? If things go well, can’t they be defeated?” (Naofumi)
“Gods like that are just in it for the pleasure, so they give up quite quickly. As long as they can’t die, there are plenty of opportunities, and plenty of worlds out there. But this time is different. She’s just bloodthirsty. There’s no way you can win.”
“I understand what you’re saying. I can only take this as an elaborate joke, but it’s not like you’re devoid of logic. Then what should I do?” (Naofumi)
“Want Me to go beat her? You won’t have any part in it, but it serves to benefit both of us.”
“If you get close, isn’t the world done for?” (Naofumi)
“That’s because she can sense protecting worlds. I… can’t be sensed by the Spirits, so I can go undetected to some extent. I think it’ll be fine.”
He did say he can’t be sensed by Spirits.
It’s safe to assume there’s something special about him.
“But protecting the world will be difficult. If I’m right before her eyes, then of course she’ll notice me, and if I try defeating her from afar, I’ll end up erasing all foreign matter in that world along with her. I’m not that skillful. In the worst case, she’ll disappear along with the world.”
“Foreign matter? Can’t you just erase all of that from the world?” (Naofumi)
“Wait, what I mean by foreign matter is all those who came from another world. Those whose bodies are disjointed from the world’s truth, and a few other things. I’ll end up eliminating them regardless if they be friend or foe. That will probably end with the deaths of the Heroes too…”
The robed figure’s right armed overflowed with light.
And what appeared on it was a claw of light identical in form to the Claw of 0.
But the size was quite different.
Firo’s Claw of 0 preserved its shape and size as a claw while it was used.
But the claw the robe showed me looked as if several swords had been stacked next to one another.
It’s probable that the power he lent that world was that bottle Fitoria kept in the ruins.
That means… this guy is my life’s savior.
Then perhaps I should believe in him.
No, if you think about it, I came here knowing fully well I would probably die.
If there’s any measure we have to beat her, if along with the world, we die, and this guy beats the bitch Goddess, then perhaps my regrets will fade.
If we beat her, then it’s for the sake of protecting the world.
It’s because we couldn’t do that that we’re so troubled. I can’t let this come to pass.
“There’s a possibility the world will fall to ruin, but I’m sure I can kill that Goddess. In order to prevent any more havoc by her hand, should I end it here?”
I grab the shoulder of the robe.
I decided at that time. That I would protect the world.
“Is there no other way?” (Naofumi)
“None… if I said that, would you give up?”
I silently shake my head.
“As I thought.”
The robed man dissolved the claw in his hand, and turned to me.
“I… decided to save that world.” (Naofumi)
“Then with that resolve in mind, do you swear to never look back? Can you live on without regrets? Will you hate the world if, in order to save it, you become a sacrifice to it?”
“How foolish. Would someone who couldn’t do that crawl his way back from death?” (Naofumi)
There are people I want to protect.
There are people I want to save.
There are people I love.
If I become a sacrifice for them, then that’s a cheap price to pay.
And wait, that really isn’t any different than before.
“I’ve kept you talking for a while. I have to go there as soon as I can.” (Naofumi)
I turn my feet to the world the robed man had pointed to.
“If a normal person tried walking there, they’d get into a world of problems. I’ll take you, so just wait a little longer.”
“Like I care! There’s a place I must go. I don’t care what happens to me on the way.” (Naofumi)
I say the words that had been on my tongue since the moment I decided to go.
“I’ll never regret it.” (Naofumi)
As if the robed man had given up, he hung his shoulders.
“… Got it.”
The robed figure took off his robe, and started folding is.
There… stood the strange lifeform depicted in Fitoria’s murals.
Summing it all up, he was something like a cat. He was bipedal, and his width was a bit unnatural.
But not to the extent of the beckoning cat, or earless blue robot.
He was wearing overalls, and his tail had the appearance of that of a lizard’s. I can only see him as some sort of cat beastman.
The Spirit of the Shield starts to circle me.
It’s as if he’s saying, ‘I believe in you.’
“You’re going to die, you know? You’re fine with that?”
“When I first went to that world, I discovered that life itself was a battle. Even if you’re simply basking in a warm bath one day, you know that an end will eventually come. There’s a time when you’ll die. And in order not to have any regrets, I’m going to go ahead.” (Naofumi)
Even if this choice leads to ruin… I won’t hold a grudge.
“Well then… just keep on going far, far in that direction, and you should get there. That’s the path you were on before you bumped into Me.”
“I see. I won’t say this discussion was useless. Thank you.” (Naofumi)
Well, I really don’t know. But I’ll believe him for as much as the favor of indirectly saving my life is worth.
Hmm? Wait a second.
Can you get to a star in the sky by foot? No, I don’t have any other means in the first place.
It doesn’t seem the Spirit of the Shield can do anything to send me there right now.
Even so, it would be worse to have the suspicious guy I just met take me there.
I understand that he was going to do something with an unclear result.
In the first place, the world I’m looking for is right before my eyes, so shouldn’t I just get up and go?
“Come to think of it, you had me introduce myself, and you never gave your name.” (Naofumi)
“My name? I have quite a few, but are you fine with the one I’ve been called for the longest amount of time?”
“I see. Well, Later then.” (Naofumi)
“Just a moment. I’ll cast a charm to make your journey go well.”
“What is it?” (Naofumi)
“First, shake My hand.”
Hmm… I don’t really think I have the time for something like this.
“Now concentrate your mind… I’ll know if you’re not doing it, so make sure to do it properly.”
“Quit nagging.” (Naofumi)
“Calm yourself… yep, I’m done. Fare thee well.”
I part from Arc, and started treading down the path.
The light given off by the Spirit of the Shield didn’t go forward to lead me.
Thoughts of stopping by another world to get a car or rocket pass through my mind.
But that’s not my problem.
I mean, there’s no looking back, right?
And if I waited for the Spirit of the Shield to guide me back there, I doubt anything would happen.
Atlas did say that was the last bit of his power.
It seems that Arc fellow wanted to take me, but I’ll bet that would be just as slow.
Will things get hectic? Don’t worry. They already are.