“Ah, a message came. Let’s see here… ‘The black haired one there is Hikaru’…?” (Alex)
Alex tapped something in midair and said that.
I ended up looking at Alex unconsciously from that.
Our gazes clash.
The relaxing atmosphere until now made a complete turn.
Piercing gazes and sneers I felt were coming from somewhere.
Cold sweat ran down my back.
The two party members of Alex were also looking dubiously over here.
They are looking over here with eyes as if saying ‘who is this guy?’, and my body is paralyzed I can’t even move.
At some unknown point in time, it seems I have begun feeling a strong fear towards gazes.
I am probably growing blue and red in an amusing way.
Even though I dipped in hot water, my whole body feels cold.
My fingers are trembling, and even though I want to run away, my body isn’t responding.
“Hikaru…? You are that Hikaru? The chinese guy?” (Alex)
Alex spoke to me.
Looks like he didn’t hear about me and Nanami from messages, he spoke to me normally.
…No, thinking about it normally, there’s no way he didn’t.
It might just be me being too self-conscious here, but I was the highest ranked in viewers among the 1,000 Chosen. Those numbers wouldn’t have been possible without the matter of Nanami.
Even so, I don’t have the courage to throw that topic in.
More importantly, I am currently in a mental state where it would be hard to even make simple responses here.
“…I am japanese.” (Hikaru)
When I answered that, Alex made a happy expression. He closed the distance to me.
“Hoh, a japanese person! This is my first time meeting a Chosen! I am Jack Alexander Fox! I came from Ontario, Canada. I am mostly called Alex.” (Alex)
“I-I see.” (Hikaru)
“I didn’t know left and right being suddenly sent to a parallel world, but I was shocked that it was really a world like those of movies. Ain’t that the same for you too, Hikaru?” (Alex)
“I thought I would be fine going to a place where I don’t have a single acquaintance, but it was actually pretty rough. But I got messages from my friends saying I can just go to the guild and make comrades, and I am somehow managing like that. Are you alone, Hikaru?” (Alex)
“Well, yeah…I guess.” (Hikaru)
“I see. They do say japanese people are stoic after all.” (Alex)
Alex was a cheerful guy.
I could see pure happiness as if he had met someone of the same village from that friendly smile of his.
But I couldn’t take that sincerely.
“I had a lot of friends in our world that wanted to go visit Japan. You have a lot of anime and manga, right?” (Alex)
“Hm…? You don’t look well. Are you okay?” (Alex)
“Y-Yeah…no problems.” (Hikaru)
The 3 were looking at me.
And most of all, Alex’s viewers and my viewers together definitely make up several millions of people.
Everyone is watching this encounter with amusement.
When I think about that, I can’t even have a conversation.
“Oi oi, are you from the same place as Alex? You said your name was Hikaru, right? He said he came from a parallel world, but is that true?”
Even his companions were joining the conversation now, and I was honestly at my limit.
“Sorry…I have business to attend to. Can we talk about this at another time?” (Hikaru)
“Oh, is that so? Sorry for suddenly speaking to you. There’s no people here that I can talk about Earth with, you see. I come here every now and then, so let’s talk again!” (Alex)
Alex was a good guy till the end.
I felt embarrassed about myself and left the public bathhouse as if running away.
No, I actually did run away.
I left the public bathhouse, returned to the inn, and lied down there as if collapsing onto it.
(I should have spoken more normally.) (Hikaru)
I didn’t kill Nanami. I was suddenly chosen to be transferred to the parallel world…no, you could even say I was dragged into it. To put it bluntly, I am a victim.
There’s no need for me to be so distant.
And yet, I ran away.
Even though I could have made proper conversation.
He could have understood my circumstances.
And yet, I ended up running away as if I felt guilty about something.
I escaped from it.
Even though it was a Chosen from Earth I finally met.
Even though he was a comrade who faced the same hardship as me.
I ended up escaping that place while speaking practically nothing.
I was scared.
My heart was churning at the thought of speaking with a stranger, and most of all, the moment I was bathed by attention, I lost my sense of self.
The moment those rude gazes of strangers began gathering at me, my vision flickered, and my head went completely blank.
My heart rampaged, blood rushed my head, the tips of my limbs went numb, and just standing there was taking my all.
It was impossible to speak properly there.
Even so, if I had pushed myself to talk there, I am sure tears would have fallen before words came out.
It must also be because I hadn’t prepared myself mentally.
It was sudden, and I barely managed to hide it.
I hate it.
Bright places, and righteousness.
I wasn’t like this before coming to this world.
I was more normal.
…I was, and yet…
He should know that I am being suspected of killing my childhood friend.
And yet, he spoke to me as if he didn’t know about it.
Did we meet by coincidence?
Or maybe he was being notified of my every action, my location at all times, and came to check me out while pretending it was a coincidence?
My imagination was running in bad directions.
There’s no way I can see the truth with just that degree of a conversation.
I don’t know anything.
I don’t know, but I am being hated, and all the Chosen can become my enemies; that alone, I know.
I am aware that I have become a pessimist.
I don’t know when I was warped in this manner.
Was it at the time when I got out of the forest and read those horrible messages for the first time?
Or maybe when I hid in the dungeon, scavenged for bodies, and sold them to the black market?
Was it when I sold those Spirit Stones that were once humans, and bought sustenance with that money?
Or was I always that kind of person?
Anyways, everyone is laughing at this sight of me.
They are all wishing for me to fail.
When I was laughing weirdly, when I was awkwardly responding…
Waiting for me to die pathetically.
Laughing, saying ‘Don’t try talking as if you are on the same standing even though you are Hikaru’.
‘You are a small man that has been hiding in the darkness and living sneakily in the dungeon. An inferior being that’s different from the others that are living a proper life, right?’, they would say while laughing mockingly.
…I understand it.
They are all just delusions that I myself am just creating.
And yet, voices were coming from the depths of my heart.
<<No matter what excuses you give, it is the truth, right? You may cry as much as you want about how this truth is wrong, but that would be a lie. You can lie all you want, but…you understand it yourself.>>
And that’s how I just freeze.
I was enveloped by a pitch black something in the depths of my heart, and I ended up not being able to move at all. I lose my ability to speak.
A demon lord is living in my heart.
I should have spoken more.
Alex might have properly listened to me.
He might have been able to explain to the viewers.
Even if he knew about the incident, he might have believed me.
He might have become my friend.
…No, my thinking in that way in itself might be my weakness.
What if he believes me and the situation worsens?
I don’t even know about Alex either. He might have only looked like a nice guy because it was our first meeting.
He is a Chosen, so he must be strengthening himself with Points too. He could snap me with his arms like a twig.
With this meeting, countless messages about me will reach him, and his mind might change into seeking my death.
After tossing and turning on the bed for a whole hour, my mind steadily grew calmer.
Acting that way was fine.
There’s nothing but risks in Chosen acquaintances.
I was about to make the wrong choice from my desire for human interaction.
I am not wrong.
I hear laughing from somewhere.
Someone is laughing at my foolishness.
It is fine.
Laugh all you want.
I am the fool, Kurose Hikaru.