Chapter 366: Paranoia Begets Paranoia
“Anyways, for now…”
When I looked to see what Fohl was doing, I saw he was being hard pressed by an imitation of Atlas.
“Onii-sama, you’re in the way.”
As if she could see, the fake followed Fohl’s movements with her eyes while she one-sidedly attacked Fohl, who was on the defense.
She looks a little more childish than the real one, and a little bit prettied up.
What’s more, her breasts are strangely large.
Was someone’s wishes mixed into this one?
The Shield lets out a pinging sound.
Ah, so you want me to go there.
I lightly jump towards them, instantly arrive at the fake attacking Fohl, and grab her head with one hand.
『Onii-sama, are you telling me you can’t differentiate between the real me and an imposter?』
Atlas exposes herself from the Shield, and begins glaring at Fohl.
And Fohl’s eyes expand as if he’s witnessing a portrait of hell.
Well, being attacked by comrades revived from the dead is a sort of Hell in itself.
『If you can’t tell a fake like this from me, I’ll scorn you.』
“Move aside, ugly!” (Nise Atlas)
“You’re not Atlas! Atlas would never talk to Aniki like that!” (Fohl)
Fake Atlas begins to abuse me.
At the same time, Fohl swings his fist towards her.
「Dragon of Ruin Inferno Fist X」,
「Vicious Tiger Piercing Foot X」!
Calling out finishers one after the other, Fohl aims kicking skills on the fake Atlas.
His attacks are deciding this.
Fake Atlas unsteadily retreats a few steps, before muttering.
Oh… like the Demi-Human Shadow I defeated once before, her body turns black before she completely fades away.
I guess that’s a fake for ya.
The real Atlas would have been able to dodge that.
『Good grief… it seems Onii-sama hasn’t changed at all.』
“Atlas… and Aniki?” (Fohl)
“Are you… real?” (Fohl)
“It seems there was a Fake Atlas here. Did that Goddess look through someone’s head and make it?” (Naofumi)
It seemed to have no standard of quality.
That was probably what Fohl once desired.
Though that is questionable in itself.
“Aniki, what happened? Atlas too.” (Fohl)
“This and that. I’ll explain it in detail later, but now…” (Naofumi)
On top of being fused with the Spirit of the Shield, various powers from various worlds have been injected into her, so Atlas was able to show herself.
Seeing Atlas, Fohl rushed over to her with teary eyes.
“Ah, Onii-sama.” (Atlas)
Fohl tried to hug her, but he merely passed through.
She’s a mixture of a spirit, and a soul, so holding her may prove to be a bit difficult.
I guess if I had to say, Atlas is currently the highest level form of a ghost.
“I have no body, so it’s impossible.” (Atlas)?
“Ah, but I can touch Naofumi-sama, you know.” (Atlas)
Atlas starts nuzzling me.
Please stop doing things to provoke people…
I mean, Fohl’s finally started to get around to calling me Aniki. What are you trying to do by turning him hostile?
“Don’t make such a jealous face. Oy, oy, don’t cry, it’s alright.” (Naofumi)
Perhaps he’s become overcome with emotions on having met his deceased sister. Fohl breaks into tears.
When Atlas is around, he really turns into an idiotic brother.
“What? By the way, I’m not a fake.” (Naofumi)
Fohl clings to me.
I don’t really enjoy being embraced by guys, but… I guess it’s fine for today.
I mean, he seems to be happy.
Even so, Firo and Melty won’t come closer to hug me.
And their treating me as a mysterious enemy.
I’m well aware they have their reasons, but I’ll remember this.
“You survived!” (Fohl)
“Pretty much. But I’m about to burst into tears because no one believes me.” (Naofumi)
While that conversation was going on…
“Ara ara, if it isn’t a little visitor from hell.”
Medea instantly appears in the air above us. She calmly starts talking to us.
“I was sure I had killed you, but you’re surprisingly tough.” (Medea)
“It was just a bit of a miracle. Luck was on my side, and I was able to survive your attack.” (Naofumi)
She seems to be laughing, but she’s also thinking about something.
I assume she’s figuring out that I was saved by what the God Slayer left behind.
She’s not wrong, or anything.
But I don’t think she’ll be able to figure out I’ve become a being close to her.
IF she had, she would have immediately erased me with a conceptual attack, or something.
If that happened, I would immediately counterattack, though.
I’ve even made countermeasures for that attack.
With the long time I’ve spent, I’ve thought long and hard about defeating her.
But to do that, I’ll need to stall for a bit more time.
Honestly, it’s best to think that I have absolutely no means of attacking until Raphtalia gets here.
“No matter. I’ll retreat for today. Offer as many thank as you want to your miracle. I was just getting bored, but now it seems we can play a little longer.” (Medea)
Medea snaps her fingers.
And the Reincarnators that had been on the field, as well as their comrades, the enemy soldiers disappeared in an instant.
“Well then, let’s play some more games tomorrow. Goodbye.” (Medea)
Just as with when she appeared, she vanished in an instant.
It appears that she’s really gone.
Even so, games…
So this battle is nothing more but a bit of fun for her.
Damn her! Well, I’ll let her have fun with her games for now.
We just have to be the ones preparing for battle.
“Well then, isn’t it about time… you stop looking at me like that?” (Naofumi)
Starting with Melty, even Firo is vigilant of my presence. It’s an unpleasant feeling.
“Firo? You don’t recognize me?” (Naofumi)
“Um, you’re probably Master, Firo think. But like Mel-chan’s mom, and the Musou Grandma, you may be being controlled after death, Firo thinks.” (Firo)
I let out a deep sigh.
Ah… this world really is crappy.
It never lets things go my way.
The second I get here, I’m already getting regrets.
Can’t this world get destroyed already? Not that I’ll let it.
Itsuki and Rishia ran over.
The enemy had completely disappeared, so it’s natural that he reunited with the main forces.
“Yo, Itsuki. You sure worked hard. And, I understand that you may be wary of me, but please believe me.” (Naofumi)
Itsuki seems half in doubt as he stares at me.
I think he’ll be a reliable comrade, but it’s troubling that he’s approaching bow in hand.
“Itsuki! It’s been a while!”
“Um… who is that over there? He looks kinda like Ren.” (Itsuki)
“Yeah, that’s Ren. Before coming back here, he spent two whole years in his original world.” (Naofumi)
Itsuki’s face is colored with surprise.
I mean, even I was quite shocked at it.
“I know it may be a bit much to believe us here.” (Naofumi)
Female Knight is still giving Ren a suspicious look.
Ren is trying to find words to return.
But that Bitch Goddess really never does anything decent.
“Oh? If it isn’t Raph-chan.” (Naofumi)
If even Raph-chan was wary of me, I’d get depressed, but Raph-chan lovingly brushes up against my side.
Oh… It seems the ones here who believe me are only Raph-chan and Fohl.
I’ll give him a lot of pats.
“Aniki is the real deal. I can tell that he’s not being used.” (Fohl)
“That’s right. It is exceedingly unpleasant to see you handle Naofumi-sama like that.” (Atlas)
“Looking closely, that Atlas-chan. She doesn’t have a body?”
“I kinda became one with the Spirit of the Shield. I’m different from some fake that was made with someone’s memories at the base, right?” (Atlas)
Seeing Atlas distance herself from Fohl, Melty and Firo drop their guard.
Is that really enough to convince them?
“It’s not like I believe you, or anything, you got that!?” (Melty)
“Ah, yes, got it.” (Naofumi)
Paranoia really is something else.
“I know how things generally progressed, but I’d like the specifics.” (Naofumi)
“Um, so Naofumi. Raphtalia-san is…” (Melty)
Troubled with how to ask the question, Melty tries talking to me.
It’s not strange for them to think she died with me back then.
“She’s in the middle of another job. Just like we brought Ren, she’s off to go drag Motoyasu here.” (Naofumi)
Hmm? They were listening in? Midori and the other two draw closer.
These guys love Motoyasu. It’s probably best if I tell them.
“Is Motoyasu-san alive as well?” (Midori)
“Yep, he’s still kicking. It seems he was sent to a world parallel this one, so finding him was quite a trial.” (Naofumi)
“So Mokkun isn’t in his original world?” (Kuu)
“That seems to be the case. I thought I would try searching his world, but I got a response from him around here.” (Naofumi)
“Where’s this parallel world? Is that where Mou-chan is?” (Marin)
“It’s hard to explain. It’s a different world almost exactly the same as this one, to put it simply.” (Naofumi)
“Different, and yet the same?”
“If, at that time… wait, that guy can have regret? If, at that time, he had a regret, and wanted to make another choice, then he’s in a world where that can happen.” (Naofumi)
Midori, Firo and the other Filo Rials tilt their heads.
They’re definitely not getting any of this.
But Midori is supposed to be smarter than Firo, so I think he understands more. He mutters to himself before seemingly accepting it.
“To put it so Future Queen of the Filo Rials, Firo, can understand it, there’s a world where you never met Naofumi-san, and you were born and raised as a normal Filo Rial.” (Midori)
“That’s how it is.” (Naofumi)
Firo tilts her head again.
With her head, I think it’ll be impossible to get this through.
Well, that’s just how she is.
I really don’t want to meet a smart Firo someday.
“Anyways, there’s no need for us to stand around here to talk. Shouldn’t we return to somewhere safe?” (Naofumi)
I mean, we already intercepted the enemy.
“… Understood. Let’s leave this to a person who can determine whether this Naofumi is real or fake. Until then, we’ll put that matter on hold.” (Melty)
“There’s someone who can do that?” (NAofumi)
What a convenient special ability.
Does that mean there’s a reincarnator on our side?
“What are you talking about? It’s Sadina-san.” (Melty)
Does she have the ability to determine my authenticity?
No… I’ve been with her for a long time, so perhaps she can.
There’s no helping it. If that’s what it takes to get them to believe me, I’ll undertake Sadina’s appraisal.
And like that, we left Melromark’s battlefield, and started moving towards the Castle Town.