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Side Story 3[B]
The Perverted Glasses Bastard talked with a euphoric expression at first, but as expected, he went “Huh?” after he heard my name and returned to his neutral visage.
Then he looked at my face sternly and laughed.
“I see, so that filth was also imitating the name of the real Saint… she wasn’t satisfied with only pretending to be a Saint, so she also tainted your name. It is truly unforgivable.”
I went LOL inside as I heard him refer to her as filth.
I was already aware of it, but Elrise (True) was really hated everywhere.
“The real one is Eterna-san. I’m merely a human who is a little more capable in magic compared to other people.”
“I don’t think your capability could simply be called ‘a little more capable’ though. Also El, I have some questions I want to ask you.”
Why am I referred to as the Saint by this Glasses, even though I’m not even pretending to be the Saint in this World line?
That was my thought before Vernell-san stepped in front of me and looked down.
While he didn’t have any intention to intimidate me, I felt cowed by the difference in height and his scary face.
“What is that last attack you used against it? Unlike the others, that one is clearly effective against that thing, at least according to what I saw.”
“That was magic made of positive emotion imbued by the mana.”
“The ‘Witch’ is an amalgamation of curses from the previous generations of Witches, that is to say, it was ‘mana itself made out of negative emotion that moves.’ Because of its nature as mana, no attack could affect it. No, to be precise, the attack itself could affect it, but a normal attack had no way to disperse the curse which was the core of its existence, so it would quickly absorb surrounding mana to revive itself. However, there is one exception to this; by hitting it with positive emotion, it could offset the curse within it.”
It made me think again as I said it myself, that this was essentially a shitty game.
This boss was bugged, since the end of the battle looped back to the start, so the battle itself wouldn’t end, right?
Was the bug fix update not yet implemented?
“Why does that become an exception?”
“It is simply offsetting the balance of emotion. Will it be easier to understand if I say that having fun would make your sad feelings fade? And what the ‘Witch’ is made of is the compilation of the curse of the generation of Witches toward the world… and their despair to their respective fates.”
“So, we need something opposite of that, which is hope… that is the rarest virtue in the current state of the world.”
That was exactly it. The situation was really bad.
The more the “Witch” rampaged, the more people lost their hope and fell to despair, which meant we lost the means to defeat it.
The more time passed, the better it would be for the “Witch.” It was a setup which would eventually erase humanity’s chance for victory.
By that same logic, back in my world line I was fighting it in a field that had been greatly advantageous for me, now that I thought about it.
After all, when I thought of “Let’s do MP regen for a bit” and circulate my mana, the feeling of hope came rushing at me with the momentum of an avalanche, causing me to break from my real personality due to the sheer amount of it.
Then, since I felt I didn’t need the lump of hope, I expelled it toward the “Witch” but somehow, that thing defeated it. That was the awkward truth of that battle.
By contrast, I gathered the light of the hearts on purpose this time, yet the amount I got wasn’t enough to finish it. The difference between the two situations was great.
“The emotion of hope was a threat to it… then don’t tell me, the reason it came here was…”
“That’s right. Since it felt the positive emotions emitted by everyone in this village, it went out of its way to crush it.”
“It’s screwing with us… it won’t even allow a little bit of happiness to exist?”
Vernell-san said that with hatred, and it wasn’t like I couldn’t understand how he felt.
The “Witch” would prioritize a place where people who tried to achieve their happiness and destroy it. Such things were truly vile.
Vernell-san wrinkled his eyebrows more than ever before, then he looked at me.
Ou, that was scary… But when I looked closer at his expression, it seemed like he was trying to cling on something.
“…Do you have… any method to get Eterna back…?”
“Vernell-san. As expected, that was your true reason for…”
“…That’s right. I actually don’t give a damn about either ‘Witch’ or the World… I only want to take her back. I am well aware that Eterna isn’t here anymore… I am also aware how unscrupulous it is of me to ask for this. But, even so! Even so… I wish to give her that deserved, peaceful rest…”
Vernell-san looked down and cried out his true feelings.
Mary looked painfully at him.
That was his reason to keep challenging the “Witch” despite zero chance of victory.
Although it was also partially due to his hatred toward the “Witch,” more than that, it was due to his wish to retrieve Eterna’s body.
However, I thought it was still too early to feel sad about it.
Because earlier, I found a happy miscalculation I didn’t expect.
“— Eterna-san, she is still alive.”
I spoke that truth out loud.
As they heard that, both Vernell-san and Mary became rigid.
Vernell-san blinked many times, and stared at me with a doubtful expression.
“I’m sure of it after I touched her directly a while ago. She was in a state of apparent death, but Eterna-san wasn’t completely gone yet. She was ‘still’ there.”
“…No…way…Is that…really, true…?”
“We could consider it a sealed state of some sort. What we knew as the power of darkness was actually not magic that manipulated the darkness itself, but a magic that manipulates ‘space’ which prevents even light from passing through it. Due to that power, Eterna-san was sealed along with the space she was in, and preserved that way.”
I had seen three similar cases similar to this.
First was the First Saint Alfrea, who was sealed by First Witch Eve.
Second was Alexia, who was sealed by Alfrea.
And finally was my own corpse, which was sealed for the purpose of preservation when I’d died once.
Yes, it was a simple story once you knew about it.
That “Witch” was a thing that began with the curse of First Witch Eve. Therefore, it was natural for it to be able to use the same skill as Eve.
In that case, there was a new question of why it didn’t use the Witch’s method for protection, but… I guess, it made use of the little power Eterna still had in her state of apparent death to forcefully seal her like that.
Because of that, the “Witch” ended up in a defenseless state, which was a really stupid thing to do.
After all, the “Witch” was merely a compilation of curses that took form. Although it supposedly had the skill to manipulate space, it had no power to do so on its own.
“This is just my speculation, but I think Eterna-san became a Witch in an incomplete state. I heard that Alexia and Eterna finished each other off… but the order was still ‘Alexia died first.’ Then the power of the Witch transferred to her about the same moment of her death.”
Once I thought about it, it was really a simple story.
In the Eterna route I was aware of, Eterna and Alexia finished each other off.
However, the time of their death wasn’t the same.
After Alexia died, although there was only a difference of a few seconds, Eterna still conversed with Vernell in his embrace.
It might only be a short time, but that was when the power of the Witch transferred to her.
“I think Vernell-san is also aware of this, but the Witch’s power of darkness had the function of forcefully trying to keep its host alive. That power stopped Eterna-san from falling into the abyss of death. However, it lacked power to restore Eterna-san who was in a confirmed death state as she received fatal injury, therefore it couldn’t use her as its next host. However, the ‘Witch’ is merely an object without intelligence that was made out of negative emotions… it couldn’t understand the fact that Eterna-san was no longer functioning as a vessel to contain it, so it was still clinging to Eterna-san and treated her as its next host. Therefore, it appeared as if it was trapping Eterna-san.”
By the way, I don’t understand why she ended up naked.
Perhaps the space preservation was only used on Eterna herself, therefore her clothes were eliminated as they were external, foreign matters.
And maybe, if foreign matter was mixed with the seal, it would make it even more fragile.
Thinking about it, Alfrea was sealed naked.
In fact, when I was sealed along with my clothes, I could break it from the inside quite easily and escaped successfully.
For example, if you put tempered glass on a screen when there was still dust there, it would allow air to intrude in, which would make it easier to remove it… perhaps it was something similar to that.
“…She’s alive… you mean… she is still alive…?”
“Yes. She is one step away from her death, but she was still barely alive. If I’m the one who does it, I can recover her.”
Even if it was me, I couldn’t restore her if a long time passed since her death.
I could fix the rotten body through magic. I could also restore the broken organs. I could make a stopped heart beat again, and I could also reactivate a dead brain.
However, if her soul already departed to the afterlife, there was nothing I could do about it.
Fortunately, Eterna was still there. Ironically, because of “Witch’s” action, her state was frozen just before her death and therefore, she wasn’t completely dead yet.
In that case, I could still make it.
While I was thinking about that, I was suddenly grabbed by Vernell-san.
“Please… help her… please save, Eterna…! If there’s anything you asked me for, I’ll give you anything… even my own life! That’s why…”
Hm? Did you just say you’ll do anything?
Leaving such a joke aside, I would still do it even if you don’t ask me to.
To be honest, I would still do it even if you said you would do anything to make me NOT help her.
This kind of reversal of Happy END was something I coveted as a fan.
“Anything… is it? In that case, do not treat your own life poorly, and continue to live on. You’re the place Eterna-san will return to, after all.”
Anyway, I told him to not die on his own as requested, and Vernell-san grabbed my hand and nodded silently.
Well then… I figured this would motivate me quite a bit?
In my World line, I did anything I liked and took it too far which destroyed the Eterna Route altogether, but to think I could see it directly in this World line.
OK, in that case, I would do my best to complete it.
There was still a problem about how to get rid of the “Witch”, the undefeatable boss, but… Well, I had no choice but to win.
Anyway, I needed to prepare everything I could for the upcoming final battle.
So I decided to heal Vernell-san, whom I didn’t heal on purpose (in the unlikely case that he became hostile to me) and used the recovery magic on Vernell-san’s missing arm.
A light appeared and became the shape of an arm, and Vernell-san seemed surprised.
By the way, I could do it without a light effect, but if I didn’t put that on, then they would end up seeing grotesque scenes of bone, blood vessels, flesh, and skin growing out of the wound.
The light eventually disappeared, and Vernell-san’s arm was recreated there.
Then I also restored his left eye and removed the eyepatch that Vernell-san wore, which surprised him once again.
Ah, by the way, I left the scars as they were. It has been said that the scar was a man’s mark of honor, and I didn’t want to hear complaints about restoring it without asking him.
“Unbelievable… my arm… and also, my eye…”
“You can’t embrace Eterna-san with a single arm once she returns, and you can’t look at her face well with a single eye. That’s why I healed it without asking for your opinion.”
“…Thank you. I have a debt I can never repay now.”
Vernell-san opened and closed his right hand then he began to search along his bosom.
He took out something and pushed on to me.
It was a shining blue stone, quite different from jewels.
Was it a power stone of some sort?
“Uhm, this is…?”
“It was something I picked up during my journey, an ore with the name of Augurare 1 … there’s a superstition that one’s wish will come true if they have it. I carried it around, hoping my wish would come true, but I’ll give it to you. I’m well aware this thing isn’t worth a shit in the current state of the world, but this is the only thing I could give you that is worth something. Please take it.”
“No, it’s not like I want anything in return…”
“I’ll feel bad for having my arm and eye restored without paying anything. Just consider it my payment and take it without saying anything.”
It appeared that I had to receive it no matter what.
Well, it did seem bad if they kept receiving things for nothing.
So it was an ore to fulfill one’s wish, huh… even if I got it, I doubted I had a use for it.
Should I just sell it once I return to my World line?
Three days after the previous battle against “Witch,” it approached the village once again.
As expected, it would come and attack here if we just waited.
By the nature of the “Witch,” it hated emotions of hope so it would go and destroy its source, so it would eventually come to this place sooner or later.
Moreover, when it came to this village last time, I learned that while I only managed to repel the “Witch” last time, it wasn’t like I had no way to defeat it.
Because of that, the hope in this place grew stronger, so this place clearly stood out, since everywhere else in the world was drowned in despair.
I did think it was quite stupid to come back to the same place that forced it to flee after withstanding an unknown attack, but… well, since “Witch” had no intelligence to begin with, it worked better for me, I guess.
As if it had completely forgotten what happened to it last time, the “Witch” laughed as the dark cloud gathered and it materialized.
This thing re-materialized itself every time I encountered it. As expected, it was hard to maintain its shape all the time.
Otherwise, it wouldn’t seek a vessel to host, after all.
Well then, let’s get started!
First, learning from my mistake last time, I cast magic on an area with a radius of 500 meters to cover it and me, to prevent it from escaping.
It was the same barrier I’d used against Alexia, the mana blockage barrier. With this, the “Witch” could no longer escape as long as I maintained the barrier.
Of course, I should have done this when it escaped last time…
But this method also had its drawbacks.
Since the barrier would also block the light of the human heart, the effective means against “Witch,” from entering, I also need to include the village within the radius of the barrier.
Although I got permission from the Perverted Glasses Bastard, the village head and all the villagers, it still put them at risk.
Therefore, I requested Vernell-san, Mary, Perverted Glasses Bastard, Farah-sensei, and the rest of the fighting power beside myself, to do all they could to protect the village.
In other words, this battle was me one on one with the “Witch.” Well, since the person who could utilize the light of the human heart was only me, it would naturally end up this way.
“The Sun Shines Upon All Alike.”
I raised my hand up, gathering light of the hearts from the villagers and made the ball of light.
And the pitcher throws the first pitch!
With throwing light of the hearts as the greeting, the “Witch” dispersed.
It would restore itself anyway, but I prepared my next magic while it was still not recovered.
“Fortune favors the bold.”
Eight swords of light fell down from the sky, piercing the ground around me.
The swords of light then floated up while their handles went inside the blades, forming a spinning ring of light with blades facing outward.2
Then the ring that was made out of swords of light moved to my back and continued to spin.3
…Hm? Was there any meaning to doing this, you asked?
…Didn’t it look cool to have a ring of light behind one’s back?! That was my reason, so do you have any complaints about that?
By the way, I kept myself floating in the sky, so the “Witch’s” attack wouldn’t cause collateral damage to the village.
The “Witch” restored itself again, but since there were less faces of the generations of Witches, it was okay!
Anyway, I managed to confirm that when the face of the Saint three generations before Eterna… the face of Griselda-obasan disappeared.
The “Witch” attacked me with its countless tentacles, but the ring of light behind me, which was made out of swords, shot itself toward some of the tentacles and struck them.
The swords of lights cut down the tentacles, and returned back to my back once they did their duty.
I felt like a Provixxxce Gundam4.
Funxxx was a romance in my book. Those were Draxxxx though5.
Then here you go! The second miniature sun slams into you, BOOM!
The “Witch” dispersed once again, and the villagers started cheering.
Yes, yes, continue to be like that and try hard to get more excited.
Because this battle, so to speak, depended on how excited these people were…
Even this ring of light that I formed with swords was partially made for appearance’s sake, so people would think “Doesn’t that look strong?” or “We might even win, right?” Well, things like that.
The other half of the reason was purely because I felt like doing it.
This battle was a so-called “appeal battle”, a fight to keep and raise the excitement gauge of the audience, which were the villagers!
Unless they kept outpouring emotions like hope, I really had no way to deal with the “Witch.”
Therefore, I had to avoid making them feel like I was stuck in a rut.
If I kept repeating the same method over and over, the villagers would likely think “Is it impossible after all?” Once that happened, I would be stuck.
So anyway, I had to keep making appeals to them so they would maintain their hopeful mood.
I had to keep doing something that was visually amazing to manage that.
The eight swords on my back were shot in rapid succession and surrounded the “Witch.”
Then, beams were shot from the tips of the blades, shooting at the “Witch” one after another, which also shot down the mana cannon that the “Witch” unleashed.
Those blades then returned to form a ring on my back, while I gathered light of the hearts to attack.
Couldn’t I just shoot in rapid succession, you ask? No, you see… There were only a few people in the area, so it took some time for me to gather enough firepower to damage the “Witch.”
Uhn, wait… it really seemed that it took a little longer to charge than before, didn’t it?
Anyway, here comes the third shot! The “Witch” dispersed once again, and the threat it posed became smaller.
Unlike the time I fought against it in my World line, I was in my optimal physical state, so I didn’t get fatigued, but this battle was exhausting in another way.
“She’s fighting…! With that ‘Witch’ as an opponent!”
“She’s good! She could do it.”
“But… didn’t it keep reviving despite being shot many times over…?”
Ah, no good. People who calmed down and questioned the situation began to appear.
Well, indeed… since they were watching from afar, they couldn’t see how it was effective.
Just in case of a situation like this, I already gave Vernell-san and the others the explanations, so they could follow up.
In fact, Vernell-san already began to explain that my attack was effective despite didn’t seeming to be, but it would be hard for the villagers who understood neither magic nor the “Witch” to get that.
Afterward, I used “Giant of Light (tough guy)”, bombed it with a beam from the sky, and grew a flower field without any purpose just to appeal to them, but it was clear that the charging speed of the light of the hearts was getting slower as time passed.
The number of faces of the “Witch” was reduced by quite a lot, so there was only a push needed to end it, but that one push seemed far away.
As I thought about that, the “Witch” began to twitch about and change its form.
Since I covered the area with a barrier, I doubt it would change into something that covered the whole sky like when I fought it in my World line.
Well then, what form would it take… no, it seriously did that?
“…So that’s the form you chose to take.”
As I saw the “Witch” in front of me, I couldn’t help but take a breath.
The next form that “Witch” took was a human-like form similar in size to me.
No, to be precise, it didn’t even change its form.
What the “Witch” did was forcefully insert itself into Eterna’s body, using it as a host.
On top of that, the darkness covered Eterna’s surroundings, decorating her like a black dress.
However, this was weird… If it could do that, it should have done so from the very beginning.
In the first place, because Eterna didn’t function as a host, the “Witch” had no choice but to materialize itself in the world, so the phenomenon in front of me completely overturned that requirement.
Eterna was indeed not completely dead yet. However, since she was in a state of apparent death, the “Witch” shouldn’t be able to use her as its host.
The size of the “Witch” wasn’t small enough to use a Saint in a state of apparent death as its host.
Ah, so it’s my fault.
I see, I see, I understand what happened.
Since I kept throwing the light of the hearts at it, it was weakened enough to be able to use Eterna as its host. I was convinced.
…Hey, was I an idiot?! This situation totally turned out for the worse!
Not good… what should I do about this…?
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Also, Tsukii has picked up a new series called “A Story of a Cannon Fodder who Firmly Believed He was the Protagonist, Misunderstood the Actual Protagonist as the Cannon Fodder, and Ended up Victorious!” The title really says it all. Early access to more chapters for this story is available on Patreon.