Chapter 364: Two Years
Right now, the only one by Melty’s side is Firo.
But it will be hard for Firo to defeat the Reincarnators alone.
Quickly. As fast as we can, we have to go save her.
“Don’t worry. You guys don’t seem to believe in me, but let me explain. With your origin of power, and the Spirits’ help, I don’t think that Goddess can sense you.”
“In the end, are you an enemy? An ally?” (Raphtalia)
“I just fight by my rules. I’m a God Slayer. And by My rules, I will expel those who destroy the order of this world. As long as… the Spirits who chose you continue to want you around, then I’m probably an ally.”
Around Arc, spirits begin to circle.
“I can’t see them, but aren’t you guys quite well liked by the Spirits?”
The lights surrounding him crowd around me and Raphtalia.
“Those are the Spirits of worlds destroyed. So I think they’re praying for you to protect for their share as well.”
“Aren’t they invisible to you?” (Naofumi)
“I can’t see Spirits, but by listening to the wills dwelling in the weapons, I can hear them. Your Shield… has a Spirit with a relatively moderate personality, right?”
On his words, something rises to the surface of the Shield, and begins to take shape.
The figure that appeared suddenly clung to me.
It was… Atlas.
A soul resting in the Shield.
She really did work hard with the Spirit of the Shield for my sake.
Her will, the regrets of the Spirits, everything… I won’t let it go to waste.
“Oy, you. The one who’s been trying to talk to me for a while. Are you… a Spirit? Or are you a being with nothing but a soul left behind? You’re half transparent, and I can’t really see you, but it seems a strong power dwells within you.”
After gripping me tightly for a while, Raphtalia wrenched her off, and Atlas answered the question.
“Yes. Together with the Spirit of the Shield, we’re sharing our power to turn it into Naofumi-sama’s. Eventually… My consciousness, and the Spirit of the Shield’s will mix together, and I will become both a Spirit, and a being with a soul.” (Atlas)
“Ah, good luck with that…”
Though Arc’s explanations defined me as a God, I’m not really feeling it.
It’s just that I’m aware that the amount of things I can do has increased, so the only thing left is to test it in battle.
“Naofumi-sama, it’s alright.” (Atlas)
As she said that, the Spirits started rotating around Atlas.
I begin to feel my own power increasing.
“Just now… the Spirits have granted us some power. Naofumi-sama, do you feel it?” (Atlas)
I’m aware of the process Atlas describes.
We’re being given something strange from them.
But while I can receive their power, I cannot steal it.
My nature as the Shield binds me, but it also becomes my power.
“Isn’t it about time you left? I have some other things to do, so I can’t really follow, though.”
“For teaching us quite a few things, I thank you.” (Raphtalia)
Raphtalia and Atlas lower their heads to him
“Oh, don’t worry about it. It’s a power you guys realized yourselves, and built up from scratch. As long as you don’t forget the thing you wanted when you obtained that power, remember that you guys are not my enemy.”
And Arc smiled happily.
But if you look at it from the other perspective, if we stray from our paths in the slightest, it’ll be all-out-war.
Anyways, I understand my goal, which had once been unclear.
But for now, we’re in a situation where neither of us considers the other an enemy.
We’re pretty much unrelated now
He did do us quite a few favors, so if something happens in the future, perhaps helping him isn’t the worst option.
Of course, that’s only if me and Arc share the same interests at the time.
“If you ever find pain in the path you walk, and want to sleep; if you want it to end, just search for me. Granting an end to some things is my job as well.”
“Yeah… okay. If I ever get tired with life, perhaps I’ll leave it to you.” (Naofumi)
“Well then, I’ll see you then. Best regards.”
For those barred from rest for eternity, they will eventually say this.
I just want a peaceful sleep.
I wonder if he’s the one granted that role.
But ’Best Regard’… he returned my cynicism with some of his own.
No, is it common courtesy?
Not that it matters. Now, we don’t have the time to worry about such things.
“Listen here. Before you enter the world, the first thing you have to do is make sure you’re not sensed by the enemy. Your Shield’s become something like the lynchpin that protects the world, right? In order to put in a new pin, I guess you’ll have to remove the old one.”
Lynchpin… I see.
Right now, the one protecting that world is Itsuki… the Hero of the Bow, and his Spirit.
The heroes and Spirits from Glasses world probably hold similar positions.
But that pin could easily be pulled out by the Bitch Goddess at any time.
And when they’re gone, the world falls apart.
Then… should I just increase the amount of pins holding it together?
Right now, me and Raphtalia can serve as a stronger and bigger bolt than before.
But with that, it’s unreliable.
Even so, more. To increase the chances of our victory.
“Fine, I know. Let’s go pick up Ren and Motoyasu.” (Naofumi)
We should be able to find and bring those two back.
Like us, they should be clinging onto life somewhere.
We prepare ourselves to cross worlds once more, as we start drifting through space.
I concentrate… those two’s locations.
… Motoyasu is close. He’s somewhere parallel to that world.
On the contrary, Ren is far.
If I were to compare it to Outer space, it’s like he’s a world a galaxy away.
Is that Ren’s world?
“Ah, when you’re fighting, I think this will prove handy to you. Whatever happens, remember it’s only for spirits. Don’t go about drinking it.”
Saying that, Ark tossed the medicine of immortality over to me.
It’s not the watered down version, It’s the real thing.
Just how high would be the output on the skills unlocked through the undiluted formula?
“I pray for success in your battle to come.”
Ark waves his hand.
“Your arrogant attitude… I definitely will never be able to trust you from the depths of my heart.” (Naofumi)
The way he offers trials to people is somewhat irritating.
The result is fine, but I hate how it feels like I’m dancing on the palm of his hand.
“Ahaha… as expected of you. But I don’t hate you. Yep, good luck.”
“I’ll definitely pay back this favor. I’m a man who keeps promises.” (Naofumi)
“I see. If I need help, I’ll call for you then. See, I’m just a single man.”
Good grief… he doesn’t seem to have everything in one place, this guy.
Anyways, we need to take action to save the world now.
Even if we do end up repaying that’ll be after this mess is over.
“Raphtalia, Atlas. Let’s go.”
We change to light, and head off to Ren and Motoyasu.
Even from the outside, I could tell Ren’s world was one out of a Sci-Fi novel.
As I approaches it, I could see it, but it seems that the fact that other worlds exist is common sense to them.
They can’t traverse between them yet, but perhaps in a few decades, they could put their knowledge to practical applications.
“Then should we enter?”
Me, Raphtalia and Atlas infiltrated Ren’s world.
We materialize our bodies within it, and begin our descent.
The location is… it seems to be Ren’s room, for when he’s alone.
We land on the floor, and look around.
It looks like a world of the near future, but Ren’s room’s structure isn’t any different from those of my world.
It just looks like an exceedingly normal apartment room.
There’s curtains hanging on the windows, and when I look outside, I see there’s not much of a gap between us.
I imagined flying cars, but there’s nothing of the sort.
Well, even if our civilizations are on different levels, it’s still Japan.
Ren is… sitting at his desk. On his head is a large helmet.
I’ll bet it’s some sort of tool to dive into the world of the net.
If we weren’t in such a hurry, I would like to try it on for a bit.
I mean, I’m an Otaku, am I not?
Ren is… stuck in that position. He really isn’t moving.
He’s breathing fine, so he isn’t dead and he’s no vegetable.
Is he asleep?
“What should we do?” (Naofumi)
“For now, just try tapping his shoulder a bit.” (Raphtalia)
“Yes, I think that’s the best option.” (Atlas)
I start poking the person I thought to be Ren’s shoulders.
His body convulses for a second, before he slowly starts removing the helmet.
“… Who is it? Mom?”
And as he turned around and saw us, he was at a loss for words.
At the same time, I moved my hand to my chin.
“Sorry, I got the wrong person. Goodbye.” (Naofumi)
Raphtalia and Atlas have a questioning expression on their faces, as they bow and prepare to leave.
I mean, even if he gave off a similar feeling as Ren, his appearance was completely different.
No, I’m not saying his face was bad.
It’s not like he came to that world with his game character.
The person I thought was Ren really did look like him, but he was a head taller than him in stature.
From what I can see, he’s a bit different than Ren, who still had a hint of his youth. He seems older.
And his physique is better than the Ren I know. It looks like he’s never missed a day of training.
There’s no doubt he’s Ren’s brother, or some other relative.
Where did that guy go?
I know for a fact that he isn’t dead yet…
And when I was preparing to jump through dimensions…
The Ren-like man grabbed my hand.
“You! You’re Naofumi, aren’t you! And there’s Raphtalia-san… and there’s even Atlas-san, who’s supposed to be dead. What’s happening?”
The one who looked much like Ren made the face of a person meeting someone of their childhood.
Eh? Could it be that this is Ren?
“Wait a second, you’re… Ren?” (Naofumi)
“That’s right. More importantly, I’d like you to tell me. Why is Naofumi in my world?” (Ren(?))
So it really is Ren.
I spent a large amount of time in that space, so I’m not one to say it, but he’s sure gotten big.
Right now, my overgrown hair war restored to normal when I got back my Shield.
And my body is telling me that not much time actually passed.
“Um… let’s organize our information. Ren, why have you… grown so big?” (Naofumi)
“Why, you ask… because two years have passed since I returned here from that world, of course.” (Ren)
… Ren’s story goes like this.
As I thought, after he was killed in that world, it seems he was sent back to this one.
And after various things happened, he tried to see if there was any way to go back.
But in the end, the Sword remained silent.
Luckily, it still had enough power left in it to be used as a weapon if necessary.
So for the past two years, he did various things, and while wondering if the time would ever come, he continued to train for the day he would return.
Or so it seems.
This is a failure… before we entered his world, we should have looked into its perception of time, and taken that into account. I’ll bet the Spirit of the Shield was doing various regulations for me in that aspect.
“And… why is it that you people haven’t changed in the slightest? Well… it’s possible you just didn’t grow in that time, though.” (Ren)
“The Spirit Dwelling in your Sword is…”
Atlas starts talking to Ren’s Sword.
“Without enough power, the distance was just too far… it was waiting for the time when the worlds would approach one another.” (Atlas)
With that distance, wouldn’t it take quite a while for Ren’s world to get there?
Perhaps they were on a path towards each other, but…
I wonder just how much time that would take.
And wait, two years… the flow of time in Ren’s world seems fast.
“Um, it only took a week for me to be able to go, you know.” (Naofumi)
Ren is dumbfound.
“Then is the final battle already over?” (Ren)
“No, the flow of time in your world is just fast.” (Naofumi)
We explain the circumstances to Ren.
Of how, while crossing through worlds, we were able to work out the mechanics of various powers.
Ren fell into his chair, and sunk his head.
“Just what were my two years for…” (Ren)
It’s not like I don’t get where he’s coming from.
If me and Raphtalia had to spend two years in that world, it would probably feel like this.
But perhaps that would have been okay in itself.
“Okay, then we’ll jump through time, and grab the you right after you got here. Is that fine?” (Naofumi)
With the powers we have as Gods, and the Spirits abilities to change cause and effect, it’s not impossible.
It will take a bit of power, but I don’t think anyone will complain about it.
It’ll be like rewinding Ren alone.
Ren calls out again to stop me.
“What’s wrong? You hate the fact that you wasted two years of your life, right?” (Naofumi)
“I’m stronger now than I was two years ago! So please take me with you!” (Ren)
“That means… your past self will have to spend two years waiting, but is that alright?” (Naofumi)
On my response, Ren’s eyes fill with water for a moment, but after that, he clenched his fist strongly.
“Y-yeah! If I have to wait two years to go back, I’ll bear it!” (Ren)
Well, for this Ren, I think he would hate it if we abandoned him for a Ren two years prior.
There’s no guarantee what’ll happen to him if we do that.
And messing with cause and effect is messy. In the worst case, he’ll wait here forever.
“After that, I experienced various things. I’m confident that I’m definitely stronger than before! I mean I even went to another alternate world once!” (Ren)
So the progress I saw in that field from the outside was no lie.
And Ren was dragged into that.
If I just go about dragging Rens from the past, perhaps the amount of Rens will just increase.
And he’ll just become a person with a Ren-like personality. Though Ren will become him one day.
“I got it, I got it. Then I’ll be taking you to that world now, but are you alright with that?” (Naofumi)
I think he’ll be of help, but Ren has a place here.
He has the right to live peacefully in a world without war.
I ask Ren the same thing the Spirit of the Shield asked me.
“…Yeah. If it gives everything I’ve done up to this day a meaning, I’ll nod without hesitation. I will return to that land!” (Ren)
“I see… are you prepared?” (Naofumi)
Ren nods right away.
Damn. He’s saying things like me.
It’s a bit late, but those are some embarrassing lines he’s spitting out.
Though I said something quite similar.
“Then let’s go.” (Naofumi)
As if to make an offer to him, I extend my hand to Ren, and hy grips it without hesitation.
I activate our dimensional transportation ability, and we cross the void with him.
The current me and Ren are different sorts of existences now, so while moving like this, we can’t hold conversations.
Next is Motoyasu, right?
He’s apparently in a space parallel to that world.
But by the world’s order, or something like that, I can’t enter it.
“What should we do?” (Raphtalia)
I tried to touch the barrier surrounding his world a few times, but I was repelled.
Is it because it’s a parallel world? I also get the feeling I’m not using my own power properly.
I can’t get a grip on what the rules are.
If I get to close, I’m sure the Goddess will notice us.
On the other hand, Raphtalia can enter it just fine.
“Okay, in order to hit the lynchpin, I’ll leave Motoyasu to Raphtalia.” (Naofumi)
“Understood, Naofumi-sama.” (Atlas)
“Naofumi-sama, I’ll pursue you after I retrieve the Hero of the Spear.” (Raphtalia)
(TL: And here starts Raphtalia’s days of mental anguish)
And so we put off getting Motoyasu, and prepared to enter the world.
“Yes. I’ll strengthen the power of the Spirits as much as I can, and try to conceal Naofumi-sama.” (Atlas)
Atlas changes to a ball of light, and returns to my Shield.
… The girl who wanted to become a Shield really did just that, and now she’s protecting me.
It’s worthy of praise just how far she stuck to her words.
In the world we’re going to, what sort of form will she take?
Ren was able to sense her when we were in his world, but each world operates on different principles.
So we won’t know what will happen until we go and see for ourselves.
Anyways, Melty’s in trouble right now.
We were able to quickly recover Ren.
I strengthen my resolve, and broke into the other world.
(TL: So is he her type now?)