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Side Story 2[A]
Sorry for the short notice, but the atmosphere was a bit heavy this time.
For some reason, I somehow managed to peek into the parallel world of “Kuon no Sanka.” This world was more similar to the game scenario that I was familiar with. And then, the moment I thought, Since Vernell and Mary were in a pinch, I might as well go there and save them if I could! I got sent to that place. Yup, I didn’t really understand how this happened either.
Did I unconsciously use teleport magic? I briefly considered this idea, but… it wasn’t possible. Even I couldn’t use magic that would allow me to go through the World line.
In the first place, the moment anyone besides the Witch used teleport, they would die. It was that kind of garbage skill. I never had any intention of using it to begin with.
And then, since I ended up going there anyway, I went all ME STRONK against demons for the first time in a while to save them. And then Vernell asked me, “Are you god?” to which I answered, “I am L.1” As a result, the atmosphere between us was currently cold.
Well, that was only natural.
The killing intent that Vernell was emitting with his gaze was no joke. Rather, wasn’t Vernell’s character way too different from the Vernell I currently know? Seriously, who was this guy? He was so different that he could be mistaken as a different person. Simply changing one’s image wouldn’t get this result.
Indeed, Vernell’s personality would vary depending on the route and how players raised him in the game. He was that kind of protagonist. Depending on the choices the player took, he could end up as some sort of brute.
Even so, wasn’t this change way too extreme? It was the kind of change that seemed more appropriate for someone who had to survive an apocalypse.
As I took a closer look at him, I noticed that, while the features of his face were similar for the most part, his gaze carried a singular pessimism and his brow was more furrowed.
On top of that, he had a combo look of an eyepatch + a single arm, and he was much taller, so the pressure he let out was not a joke.
Also, he just casually defeated a Minotaur with a single hit, and while that monster was not considered to be at the level of a Greater Demon (Boss), they did qualify as having the strength of a quasi-Greater Demon (Mid Boss), you know? How did he do that?
Even in my world, the Minotaur was a strong demon that ended up becoming one of Alexia’s close subordinates.
Yet he managed to kill it with a single hit… There was no doubt about it, this Vernell-san was at MAX level. His stats already reached the counter stop.
I figured he could probably even solo Alexia easily.
Ah, by the way, I didn’t restore his lost eye and arm on purpose when I healed him.
Speaking in meta-terms, once a character loses their chuuni attribute, they might end up weaker… Well, that was just a joke though. If I were to heal him all the way, there was still a chance he would still be hostile to me and then the situation would become even more troublesome.
Because if my prediction wasn’t wrong, then this Vernell-san’s life had gone according to the game original’s scenario… and likely Vernell-san went through the Eterna route.
No, it could still be another route, I guess? Considering the current existence of “Witch,” any route would’ve ultimately led to this conclusion anyway. Well, it was fine either way.
In any case, the important part was that he already went through so much trouble because of Elrise (true) so he was extremely hostile toward her.
And because of that, there was a possibility that he might end up attacking me.
WIth that in mind, there actually was no reason for me to honestly reveal my actual name, and I could’ve just introduced myself as Fudou Niito, but it would be more troublesome for me to hide it.
It was better to reveal things from the beginning. It would just make the inevitable reveal more painful the more I delay it.
And so, I was currently on the receiving end of Vernell-san’s killing intent.
“Elrise… you say…?”
Vernell-san scowled as his glare became vitriolic.
His one functional eye rolled back and showed most of the white of his eye… no, it was practically all white already. Could he actually still see things in that state? The eye also started to bulge and it looked really scary.
Veins started popping out all over his face, forming a truly demonic expression.
Was it really possible for a human face to have that many veins pop out…?
But suddenly, the extremely tense atmosphere around Vernell-san abated, and he let out a wry laugh.
“…There’s no way it could be that, I guess.”
Vernell-san scratched the back of his head and seemed to reach this conclusion on his own. He looked at me once more.
I couldn’t feel any pressure in his gaze this time.
“Sorry. I reacted like that since you happen to have the same name as someone I used to know. I guess even if you have the same name, you’re still completely different people.”
It seemed that Vernell-san came to the conclusion that I wasn’t the person he’d thought of, but just a different person who happened to have the same name.
Well, the Elrise in this world has supposedly been dead for a long time already, and our physical appearance was also quite different, so it seemed inconceivable that we were actually based on the same person.
It might be better if I bluntly explained that I really was the person who he thought of just then, just from a parallel world instead, but… It would be difficult for me to explain this to Vernell-san, who understood nothing about the concept of the parallel worlds.
Since I didn’t know how to explain it in a way that he could easily understand, I decided to just leave the misunderstanding as it was.
In the first place, there was still a possibility that he might attack me the moment he learned that I actually was the same person as Elrise he knew… It definitely wasn’t because I got scared off by the killing intent he released earlier. It really wasn’t that, okay?
I-I-I-I wasn’t afraid. It took more than that to scare me.
“So there is a person with the same name as I am… what kind of person are they?”
“She was an asshole who was in no way similar to you. Ever heard of the Saint Elrise?”
“…Just a bit.”
“Simply put, she was a bitch who just did as she liked and abused all the authority granted to the Saint, just because she got mistaken for one. Because of her, the people’s trust toward the Saint hit rock bottom.”
“Where is she right now?”
I could clearly sense his feelings about her from how he blatantly declared that she was in hell instead of just saying she’d died.
While this was obvious even from my perspective, I still felt my pulse race at how his hatred of her almost directed to his hostility toward me.
“Hell… is it? Is there no chance of her having survived?
“There’s none. We already confirmed her corpse… also.”
As he spoke, his expression twisted.
It seemed… to be anger, maybe.
However, he was so angry that his mouth curled into a smile that showed off his fangs instead, as if he might bite off his enemy’s throat at any moment.
“In the unlikely case that she did survive, I’d kill her personally. I’d kill her over and over.”
Vernell-san’s expression quickly returned to how it was, but it was clear how much he hated Elrise (true) from his expression just now.
Anyway, I shouldn’t say anything unnecessary, and should just focus on gathering information.
I think this was definitely the original scenario … in other words, the future that took place in the “scenario without my interference” that Yamoto-san had speculated about before.
Then, perhaps after Eterna’s death, the “Witch” appeared and pushed the world to the brink of destruction… It was a scenario that wasn’t depicted in the game, the ‘World after ending’ that Yamoto-san was unaware of.
If it was just a game, we could begin a New Game+ after the ending. However, there was no way that’d be possible in reality, and now Vernell-san and others still had to continue living in this world.
This was nothing but speculation on my part though.
In the meantime, I should begin by thoroughly getting some information on the current situation from Vernell-san.
After extensive questioning, I came to learn that it was as I had speculated; it really was the world I’d imagined it to be.
I already confirmed that this was the world that followed the Eterna route.
Of course I couldn’t just directly ask about such things as it might cause them to be suspicious of me and think “Why the hell doesn’t she know about this?” so I made use of information I was already aware of to push him to give me the answers I wanted. Through this method, I managed to resolve most of my questions, but my biggest problem hasn’t been resolved at all.
I had no idea how the hell I was supposed to return to my original world.
I had the choice to remain in this world as it was… but naturally, I didn’t want to choose this if possible.
Everything everywhere had been torn down, so it would be an uncomfortable place for me to live in, and Stocco might end up crying if I just suddenly disappeared without any notice.
Recently, I just learned that Stocco-chan’s mentality was quite fragile.
She was the type of knight who would say, ‘Kuh, kill me!’ when she was caught by goblins, but then quickly lost herself in depraved pleasure after that.
Therefore, I decided to go home. Though I still had no idea on how to do so.
Could I go home once I defeat the “Witch”?
“What are you going to do from now on?”
“I’ll go to defeat the ‘Witch.’”
I didn’t know if defeating the “Witch” would really allow me to return. Rather it was likely that the “Witch” and world line transfer were completely unrelated, but I wanted to try every possible course of action that came into my mind.
Well, I should probably be able to win. It was something I’d already defeated before after all. I also knew how to defeat it.
On top of that, when I had defeated the “Witch” back then, I was in a state where I’d just recently powered up due to the fusion of my souls + was in a low batt state in terms of my lifespan; I was not even in full power back then.
However, my lifespan was currently in an excessive amount, and my soul has already stabilized by now.
In other words, I was much stronger compared to when I’d fought it last time.
It would be my victory. Gahaha.
“So you want to defeat the “Witch” … then our goals are the same. Why don’t we travel together to achieve it?”
Thus, I was invited to become a party member.
I think it also served as their surveillance of me.
Well, I understood his feelings though. From his perspective, I was way too suspicious.
I appeared out of nowhere, and my name was Elrise.
There was nothing about me that wasn’t suspicious
Therefore, he wanted to keep me where he could observe me so he could judge the kind of person I was.
Well, it would be troublesome if I argued with them here. I decided to go along with them for the meantime.
The “Witch” would appear before us when it felt like it anyway, so I could just fight it when that happened.
“If you don’t mind having me, then please.”
I held my hand out toward him.
Then Vernell-san grasped my hand firmly, after which Mary also hesitatingly grasped my hand.
She didn’t say a single word all this time. Perhaps she was still wary of me.
Well, she was originally a woman of few words anyway, so I decided to just let her open up to me at her own pace.
Anyway… since their first impression of me was the worst due to my name, I would do my best to show them that Elrise (true) and I were different people.
“While There is Life, There is Hope.”
Secret move~ Make use of random, cool-sounding, foreign words as skill names!
I condensed healing magic on both of my hands and then scattered it, spreading the healing effect to random mob characters in the area.
It has been a month since I started traveling along with Vernell-san and Mary.
We were currently at a village we decided to enter along our way; the village was filled with wounded people and a heavy atmosphere had settled throughout it. So, in an effort to change this, I gathered all the wounded and healed them altogether.
Even though we only stayed for a day, we could clearly see that everyone in the village had empty eyes that reminded us of dead fish. It made me so uncomfortable that I had to take some action.
“Thank you… thank you…”
“It feels like a dream… to think I could stand on my own feet once again…”
The people I healed worshipped me in tears, but since they were in such a weakened state where they could be killed with a mere poke, I honestly couldn’t feel too happy for myself about it.
The situation had been quite bad when I first became active as a fake Saint on my World line, but this side of the World line was way worse than that, so much so that I couldn’t even compare the two.
This sounded like a joke, but every person I met was so weak that it wouldn’t be strange for them to die at any moment. They were emaciated and covered everywhere with bandages, like a mummy. Also, there were corpses abandoned everywhere. Was this a depiction of hell?
They didn’t have any food on them, so if we were to eat in front of them, I could easily see the whole village ganging up and attacking us.
Rather, even if we did nothing, they might still turn into bandits and attack us for food. That was how terrible the situation was.
This wasn’t me being too paranoid; it was something that had actually happened over and over as I traveled together with Vernell and Mary.
There was even a case where, since the whole village turned into bandits and attacked us, we had no choice but to cut them all down. Hiee.
Therefore, to prevent the villagers from attacking us and for me to eat in peace, I used magic to forcefully accelerate plant growth, or we cooked a random bird demon that we’d cut down into soup and shared it with the people.
What, you think that it would likely lead villagers to attack us to gain food later? Think of it this way instead… Just think that it was okay to share food.
By the way, the soup was just seasoned with salt. What crude cooking!
But we had no choice. We could procure as much salt as we needed from sea water, but that also meant that it was the only seasoning we could get at the moment.
There was no way I could have convenient seasoning options like soy sauce or miso in this kind of situation.
Therefore, I couldn’t just say, “I found an ingredient!” randomly like in fiction.
…Well, the ingredient itself also had its own taste… though that also meant that its own natural taste was already the best I could offer… I had no seasoning to add despite it being soup…
It might taste better if I made it into egg porridge, but… eh? You already ate all the poultry that produced eggs? And there was no rice available to begin with? … I see.
“Thank you… thank you…”
“It’s delicious… it tastes delicious…”
“I wonder when the last time was that I had proper food like this…”
The villagers really appreciated the food, although it was merely half-assed cooking on my part.
O, ou… somehow… I felt sorry. For giving them half-assed cooking.
This world was seriously in the deep end. Humanity was already on its final countdown.
According to Vernell, most of the villages felt the same.
Well, I realized that. It was practically the same situation in all the places I’d seen during the past month.
This village was actually in a considerably better state when compared to most of the villages we’d passed since there were still villagers in it.
Anyway, I used magic to forcefully grow some plants which would secure their food consumption for a while.
We were sent off by the villagers when we left, and when they came to personally give their gratitude me, I encouraged each one of them with words like “We live in tough times, but please never gave up on living” or “Even if the situation is akin to a dark night right now, the day will surely come” or “You are like barley. You would still grow straight regardless of how many times you get stepped on.”
Sorry, the last one was a lie. Even I couldn’t joke with them in this kind of grim situation.
“Thank you… thank you…”
Was that person unable to say anything else besides “thank you”?
Or so I felt like retorting, but I managed to endure it.
Although I did feel like this was all they said though.
“We will definitely never forget about you.”
“Please be safe out there…”
With such words from the villagers behind us, we resumed our journey in search of the “Witch.”
They waved their arms in farewell to send us off until we disappeared from their sight.
Or rather, when I peeked at them using the power of the Prophet, they were still waving at us even after we disappeared.
“You are amazing as usual, El. You are treated like a Saint-sama wherever you go.”
Vernell-san said this with a smile, but was he being sarcastic?
He must have been thinking things like, “She happened to have the same name as the fake Saint, but now she is treated like a real Saint LOLOL.”
By the way, Vernell-san called me El instead of Elrise.
He must really hate even uttering the name of Elrise. I-understand-man. 2
“Yes… El is really amazing.”
The person who said that while gazing at me with pure eyes was Mary.
She also called me El like Vernell-san, but I think the distance between us has already lessened.
Well, I used all of my efforts this past month to show them that I wasn’t the same as the Elrise they had known.
But this favorability was probably going to be reduced to dust instantly when I revealed my identity as “Elrise herself from a different World line.”
Both of them seemed to think that I was a completely different person who just happened to have the same name.
Well, we were practically different people. Even our souls were different.
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