Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 82: Second Coming
When I came to, I realized I was floating in an apartment room.
Apparently, I came here again.
But this should be the last time.
I did everything I had to do on the other side and died.
All that was left was to go to the afterlife that was supposed to exist in another world and live lazily there.
While sitting on a chair, Fudou Niito (I) spoke.
He looked far worse than the last time I saw him, and he seemed to be in a very bad mood.
I guess he also did not have much time remaining.
But this sure felt weird. For my past-life self to still be alive, when I, who was his next-life self, already died.
“Ou, it’s been a long time.”
I raised my hand slightly and greeted Niito (me).
It made Niito’s (my) expression turn grim.
“Oi, your tone…”
“It’s okay right? There’s no need to keep pretending anymore.”
I was dead already.
I did everything I was supposed to do, and it ought to be the HAPPY END, where everyone lived on.
That was why there was no need to keep pretending to be a Saint.
You should know that without me saying it, so why did your expression become worse instead?
“You sure sound like you did something great. I bet it sure feels great to not know what really happened… Looking at it objectively, I feel like crying when I watched myself act like such a fool.”
“What? You sure are retorting a lot today.”
I didn’t know why, but Niito’s (my) attitude sure felt prickly. Even though he were also me.
Niito (I) silently opened the laptop and opened “Kuon no Sanka.”
“We were mistaken.”
“It’s faster to have you see for yourself than have me explain it.”
As Niito (I) said that, he played the video.
What played there — was something totally different from my expectations.
There was Leila, who was crying like a child as she embracing the leftover husk of my body.
There was no trace of her usual coolness; her face was wet with tears and snot… it was totally a shocking sight to see, to say the least.
I did think Leila would cry a little for me, since she was kind, but I didn’t think it’d be at this level of crying.
Any thoughts I’d previously held about how she might get over it soon totally went out the window.
Looking at her expression and hearing her cries, I couldn’t imagine such a future where she could do such a thing.
Everyone else was also the same, especially Vernell, who was drowning in despair.
As the game kept going, Vernell shut himself in his own room, and he didn’t even eat food.
He even tried to commit suicide several times, though Eterna kept stopping him.
As for the people — even though they were supposed to know I was a fake by now, the whole nation was carrying a funereal mood; nobody depicted within the video had a smile on their face.
Everyone had a face that they might die at any moment, as if night had perpetually covered the world.
I could only see the lamenting of people, and then the after credits rolled as the video blacked out — that was the Ending.
…What is this?
“This was the ‘HAPPY END’ you talked about and reached.”
Niito’s (my) blaming voice struck my heart.
Was this the ending I wished to see…?
Wrong, this was not it.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
This wasn’t what I thought it would be like.
I didn’t wish for a scene like this.
“In the end, we were only thinking of ourselves all the way. We didn’t understand the feelings of our surroundings. We didn’t even put any effort into doing so. We always lacked a sense of reality, always felt like we were playing a game instead… and when we went to a game-like world, it stayed that way. And this was the result. They say you can’t cure stupidity until death, but it seems that even death can’t cure my stupidity.”
Niito (I) said it as if he was blaming himself.
It was condemnation toward me and toward himself.
As I looked at the black screen that continued on in vain, I screamed as I if couldn’t endure it.
“Even if you say that… there’s nothing left for me to do! It’s already over! Everything is already over!”
Ah, damn! Why did it end up like this?!
I didn’t intend to see this kind of BAD END.
I only wished for them to meet their HAPPY END with smiles on their faces.
What went wrong? Where did I make a mistake?
It was supposed to be perfect.
I had hunted demons to the point of extinction, solved their food problems, and helped with any other problems with everything I had.
I didn’t let anyone die, the Witch was defeated, and finally the scum called the fake Saint… in other words, me, had also left the stage.
All of these were factors for the HAPPY END.
Well, I did think that some people might feel a little sad.
But I was still a fake, a rotten scum. Why did everybody have to be this sad for such a person’s death?
An imitation who just pretended to be a Saint was dead; it was all good and happy. Wasn’t that what you all needed?
What was wrong? What were you guys dissatisfied with?
“We never understood other people’s hearts since long ago. Even if we did understand somehow, we were still unable to resonate with it; that’s why we got isolated and ended up as this kind of person.”
Niito (I) kept speaking such dismal, blunt words.
What of it? You meant to say that since we didn’t understand others, we were unable to create the HAPPY END?
“But you see… It sure feels mysterious. Now that death lies in front of me, I’ve finally managed to feel what reality feels like. The life I had lived is neither fake nor a game. It is, without a doubt, a reality … I can finally think that way now. How about you?”
As for me… how did I think about it?
At the very least, even at this moment, I still thought of everything as somebody else’s business in my helpless game-focused brain.
But… this sure felt weird. What I was feeling right now sure felt different from the mere irritation of just seeing a BAD END I didn’t like.
It felt helplessly constricting… It was very frustrating.
As I remembered Leila’s crying face, I felt like going crazy; it was similar to feeling like I needed to vent somehow… This kind of feeling was unfamiliar.
“At the very least, you didn’t think of them as simply mere characters within the game, right?”
“…But I’m already…”
The feeling I first was experiencing right now was definitely how it was to treat someone as precious.
But it was already too late.
There was nothing I could do anymore. I was already a dead person on the other side.
But it seemed that the BAD END still continued. As the dark screen continued rolling on, the game screen suddenly turned bright again.
And within the screen, there was a monster I had never seen before.
…Hah? What was this thing?
Dozens of women’s bodies mixed into a Giant.
And that thing began to destroy the city… even as the Vernell’s group tried to resist it, they were helpless and beaten down.
“…That was the Witch’s Power that had lost its host… from what it looks like. If we leave it alone after the ending is reached, this event will begin.”
As Niito (I) read the game message, it talked about the identity of this monster.
According to the message, this Giant seemed to be the collective curse of the past generations of Witches.
Thinking about it again, mysterious laughter always echoed when Vernell was the one who defeated the Witch; turned out it was this thing’s voice.
In other words… it wasn’t over at all.
I thought if people other than the Saint defeated the Witch, that power would lose its host and that would stop the cycle, but that was not the case.
As this power lost its host, it would materialize and go berserk. That was the truth.
Even as Alfrea and Eterna both fought against it, the enemy was practically all if the past generations of Witches combined together.
It wasn’t something that just two Saints could handle.
“Elrise-sama! Help, Elrise-sama!”
On the other side of the screen, people called out for me, asking for help.
Stop it… it was already impossible.
I was already done, and now there was nothing I could do.
— nothing I could do, but it sure made me upset.
What was this disgusting monster?
What were you thinking, bullying Leila and Eterna?
Just because I wasn’t there, you thought you could do all you like huh? OH?
“See… you’re being called upon, Elrise-sama?”
“…So it seems.”
I once again put on my facade and spoke in my usual tone.
It seemed that it was still too early to drop my act.
Like I care about what that Giant was.
Even if I had already died on the other side, I didn’t care.
I just couldn’t forgive it and I wouldn’t accept it.
How much effort do you think I’ve put into restoring the world to that point?
To dare laugh so disgustingly. I’ll go there immediately to kick your ass, you bastard.
“Oi Elrise… Take my life with you.”
“Even if there’s only a little bit of my life left, that should be enough time for you to destroy that monster, I think. I’m about to die tomorrow anyway. So I don’t care.”
Niito (I) let out a fearless laugh and touched his chest with his hand.
I also matched him and laughed.
Sorry, but I wouldn’t hold back. It was my own self, after all.
Also, the fact that only a little of his life remained seemed to be true too. Even without me doing anything, he would still die and fuse with me anyway.
I only made it happen a few hours earlier.
“I won’t hold back, you know?”
“Of course. Actually… I already called people to come over here. So my corpse will be found as soon as I die. I can’t let my neighbor be bothered by the smell of decay, after all.”
From the very beginning, it seemed that Niito (I) was aware that today was the day of his death.
Something like his sixth sense must have felt it.
So it was all prepared.
Since that was the case, there was really nothing for me to hesitate about anymore.
I grasped Niito’s (my) hand, and a light shone.
It made Niito’s (my) body collapse, like how a puppet fell after its strings were cut, and at the same time, Niito’s (my) memories flowed into me.
It felt like I was being filled with what I had been lacking all this time. Even though I was already dead, I felt like I was in optimal condition, almost like I was on a high.
Beyond the screen, the calls for Elrise kept echoing, to the point that it got irritating.
I know, I know. I am going there now.
Fudou Niito’s remaining lifespan should be around a few hours at most, but that should be enough.
I didn’t need to spend that much time to kill that monster. Maybe.
As I focused, the landscape changed. It seemed that I was being confined within something like a crystal.
This was… ah, Alfrea’s sealing magic.
It might be there to prevent my corpse from rotting. It seemed that my corpse had neither been incinerated nor buried but was kept preserved instead.
I was grateful for that. It was totally out if the corpse didn’t exist anymore, after all.
As I looked outside, people were crowded around the crystal and were praying.
And the person before me, wielding his sword… was Vernell.
Past him, there was a Giant; it raised its hand, perhaps intending to destroy me along with the crystal.
It seemed it sensed a threat or something.
But too bad, it was too late.
I released my mana, forcefully destroying the seal from inside, and blew away the Giant’s hand before it could reach Vernell.
Vernell kept on fighting against the “Witch.”
Several heads appeared on the “Witch” and attacked Vernell from all directions, all while letting out a high-pitched laughter.
Even as Vernell desperately blocked attacks using his great sword, there were still some attacks he failed to block; thus, wounds started to accumulate on his arms, legs, stomach, and chest.
This was a battle of attrition that already had clear results even from before. Even though he could block it, Vernell had no way to land damage, so the had no real chance of victory. Not even one in tens of thousands.
It was merely a difference of whether he died now or later.
How much time has already passed since this despairing fight began?
Vernell felt as if he had fought for hours, but it must be less than a minute or so.
Vernell’s whole body was already dyed in crimson, and the arm that was holding his sword already lost its strength.
“Don’t… underestimate me! You are just a mere leftover idea without intelligence!”
Alexia roared in anger. She used what little amount of mana that Vernell had recovered over this short period of time, and countered it.
But the amount he could recover within a minute was minimal, and it merely stopped the movement of the “Witch” for a few mere seconds.
From the stomach region of the “Witch”, Eve’s face appeared and opened its mouth, unleashing a torrent of mana.
Even though Vernell instantly guarded against it with his great sword, he only managed to endure for a few seconds before being blown away.
His back slammed against the crystal that confined Elrise, and Vernell powerlessly dropped to his knee.
Even so, he still didn’t collapse, and used his sword as a crutch as he desperately tried to stand up while trembling.
“No, not… yet…”
He somehow managed to stand, but everyone could see Vernell was at his limit.
One could say it was a miracle that he could still stand.
In front of that powerless young man, the footsteps of the “Witch” echoed as it approached.
“Useless… everything is useless…”
“Regardless of how hard you try.”
“It won’t be rewarded.”
All the faces of the Witches laughed together as they sneered at Vernell’s futile resistance.
This was a manifestation of the despair of all the past generations of Witches.
They fought for hope, but what awaited them in the end was the truth of despair; it was their final thoughts as they met their death.
As such, the “Witch” wouldn’t believe in hope.
It had already given up on everything.
Such resignation, approached to destroy Vernell’s life —
At the same time, the sound of something breaking echoed behind Vernell, and white light burst forth, blowing away the “Witch’s” arm.
Vernell’s thoughts couldn’t process what just happened and he blinked.
Before him, light was enveloping someone from behind.
Golden hair and a white dress fluttered in the wind.
A hush enveloped the crowd of people, and everyone went silent as if time stopped.
They needed a few seconds to understand what had just happened, and even when they understood it, they were unable to recognize it as reality.
Is this a dream?
Is this merely a convenient illusion?
I want to call out to her. I want to make sure of it.
But he hesitated, since this situation was too unreal, too convenient for the situation they currently faced.
That was why they doubted… whether it was some kind of dream or illusion.
He was afraid she would be gone the moment he called upon her. It made him so scared that his voice was unable to come out.
Because she was already dead.
It happened in front of him. By his own fault.
He had confirmed that she had stopped breathing. Her pulse had also stopped.
Her life had definitely ended back then.
And for her to reanimate herself with her own power while still being dead was an impossible miracle.
As Vernell was struck speechless before such a miracle, her back was still facing him as she spoke.
“I’ve heard it, everyone’s voices and prayers… also Vernell-kun, your voice as well.”
She — Elrise turned around and smiled.
That was, without a doubt, the symbol of light that the world has lost that day.
“Everyone… you’ve worked hard. As for the rest, I will take care of it.”
As Elrise said that, a joyful cry echoed.
People’s voices reached the sky, enough to make the “Witch” draw back.
It was a collective entity of negative feelings. As such, a strong hope-like feeling was what it hated the most.
With the “Witch” before her, Elrise pointed toward the sky, and the darkness instantly blew away, making sunlight shine below.
The clouds became a curtain through which light peeked and shone upon the earth, healing the wounded soldiers who collapsed.
As she saw the figure of her master, Leila started crying profusely.
Without a doubt, her master was alive.
She, who has been slumbered since that day, now moved and talked.
Elrise went in front of Leila, and she crouched and wiped at Leila’s tears using the sleeve of her dress.
“Really… is it really you… Elrise-sama?”
“Yes. It seems there is still something left for me to do on this side… so I came back to finish it.”
Elrise smiled at Leila and then looked toward the people.
Soldiers’ bodies were covered with blood everywhere. Their armor and swords were broken.
They were healed from the earlier magic, but it showed how wounded they had become and how hard they had fought.
It made her feel that everyone was really foolish.
They didn’t have to fight so hard for the sake of this fake.
She didn’t think she was worth that much.
She was not the Saint everyone thought she was. Ever since she came to this world… no, ever since her last life, she had always lacked a sense of reality and treated everything as a game; she treated everything as if it were other people’s problems… Even the things she did while she was here, were merely because of her Saint role-play.
She played the role of what she had thought of as ideal and just had fun by herself; it was no different from masturbation.
Bluntly, she was just hopeless scum.
But even so, everyone seemed to believe in “Saint Elrise.”
Even though they already knew she was not the Saint.
Even so, people still foolishly believed it.
In that case… then it’s fine.
I shall keep this act until the end.
Vernell had said if an act was kept until the end, then it became real.
Then it’s okay. Let’s do this… from the fake, patch up job of a saint to a real one.
Everyone already knew she was a fake Saint; her facade was already full of holes, but… even so, she would maintain her role as “Elrise” that everyone believed in.
“Why must we suffer this much, while an imitation gets worshiped…”
From the Generations of Witches’ mouths came words of anger and hatred toward Elrise.
But Elrise’s expression as she heard them was a refreshing expression instead.
“I am indeed a fake. I won’t deny that I am but an imitation who pretended to be Saint. But none of that matters anymore.”
Golden mana overflowed from Elrise’s body.
It was an amount that surpassed any that Elrise had ever released before this moment.
Since she had managed to collect her fragmented soul, she has finally became a complete person.
In other words, Elrise had lived her life in an incomplete state all this time.
And now that she was complete, her mana was incomparable to her past self.
Her soul was finally whole.
While it was still just slight, she now felt closer to this world than she ever felt.
Just like Fudou Niiito told her… no, her period as Fudou Niito-self had told Elrise?
…She was still a little confused, since she had just finished merging her soul, but anyway, he managed to face reality just before his death.
It was an obvious thing, but that world that she lived in was, without a doubt, a real one.
She had always treated it as a game… this world, the one that she had always treated like something she was looking at through screen was, without a doubt, real. An obvious thing that every other person was aware of, yet Elrise needed to die once to properly understand it.
At the same time, she also felt anger.
It wasn’t viewed through a filter of “my favorite character was being bullied, so I’m angry.”
It was “anger due to the people close to her getting hurt,” which was such a type of different anger that it actually made Elrise herself feel puzzled.
It seemed she was really angry… It was the first realization she had, including her past life.
“You said it is unforgivable. Yes, as I am right now, I am able to understand that. This must be the feeling of anger which I’ve never felt before.”
The “Witch” drew back slightly, as it felt the killing intent released by Elrise.
But Leila was more surprised than the “Witch” was.
In her memories, ever since she had served her, she had seen Elrise’s various expressions.
Her serious face, her sad face, her smiling face … but, as she thought back, she had never seen her get angry even once.
With a furious expression that had never been seen before, even by Elrise’s guard, she expressed her killing intent through words for the first time ever in this life.
“—’Unforgivable’ is what I’m supposed to say (That’s my line, you bastard).”
A gigantic sword of light fell from the sky, deeply piercing the “Witch’s” chest.
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