“This city has 4 places where there’s Great Spirit churches. They are pretty tall buildings, so I don’t think you will be getting close to them as long as you are careful, but please watch out for that, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
“Yeah. The fact that the fried noodles store was out before must mean that it should be okay as long as I am around 100 meters away.” (Hikaru)
“Right. I tried asking inconspicuously before on a break day to a Priest-sama, and it seems like the distance a Great Spirit-sama can find a Loved One is around 100 meters. However, it would be better to take distance from a church with a bit of breathing room.” (Rifreya)
“I will be careful.” (Hikaru)
It was so natural that I was about to just pass it off, but Rifreya used ‘meters’ which is a word from Earth. The automatic translation is working here, so it probably changed it naturally to the measurement of the place, but in my ears, her voice is being heard in japanese, so it really is mysterious.
Or more like, I am imagining that she is speaking in japanese. She obviously isn’t actually speaking japanese, and there’s no way she would know what meters are.
I am a bit scared about what would happen if this translation were to suddenly disappear.
Are there people who have begun without the automatic translation?
“Speaking of that, are Great Spirits strong in battle? Like, have there been records of humans having subjugated one? There’s the possibility of me being chased again by chance, so it would be a lot easier on me if I knew whether I can run away from them with Darkness Fog or not.” (Hikaru)
“Eh? Eeeh, Hikaru, you really are foolhardy… A Great Spirit-sama is so strong that they could defeat a Demon Lord without a single scratch, you know…? Also, I don’t think there has been any past instances of humans defeating a Great Spirit-sama. Or more like, they wouldn’t even think about it, you know? Normally… You are unexpectedly aggressive, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
“Aggressive, you say… I just wanted to confirm. I don’t want to be eaten after all.” (Hikaru)
“The reason why there’s no record of defeating a Great Spirit-sama is because they are the allies of us humans. The Great Spirit-samas are kind and gentle, you know… Just that they have an attachment towards Loved Ones…” (Rifreya)
“That’s the problem…” (Hikaru)
The Avatar of Darkness that I met in the forest must have been the Great Dark Spirit. And that Great Dark Spirit defeated the Flame Orangutan in an instant. Well, that giant monkey was sleeping at that time, so you could say it was a surprise attack, but even with that, it wasn’t a normal opponent.
That she says there’s no record of being defeated means that they can be defeated?
Whichever the case, I should be careful of Great Spirits at least.
“Hikaru, have you gone to the ruling territory of the Great Wind Spirit-sama?” (Rifreya)
“Is it the east side? Haven’t. It is full of cultivation fields, right?” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, and also windmills. Have you seen windmills before, Hikaru?” (Rifreya)
“I haven’t…” (Hikaru)
I actually have.
There was a giant white windmill in my hometown on Earth for energy generation.
But the windmills in this world are probably not like that.
“Then, let’s go see them for a bit! The scenery there is good and I like it.” (Rifreya)
And then, I was half-forced to the east side of the city.
Rifreya was a bit pushy.
I wasn’t displeased about being pulled along by her.
Maybe because I haven’t walked through the city on the day when the warm sun shines on it.
After passing the ruling territory of the Great Water Spirit that has stores lined up, we suddenly arrive at the ruling territory of the Great Wind Spirit where there’s huge plantations spread far and wide. It was a shocking drastic change, but it mysteriously felt harmonious.
That’s most likely the standard of this world. A world that stands together with Spirits and nature. Even though I haven’t thought about it once since coming to this world… How mysterious.
I hold hands with Rifreya, and walk through the small path at the side of the fields.
The fields continued on all the way to the horizon, and hundreds of farmers were endeavouring in their work.
There’s white mountains at the other side of the horizon peeking out slightly, and in terms of direction, the forest I got out from should be at the other side of those mountains.
The small stream was reflecting the light of the afternoon and it was pretty.
“The wind is not as strong as I thought it would be. I thought it would be strong since there’s windmills.” (Hikaru)
“It is the contrary. The wind is being controlled by the Great Wind Spirit-sama so that strong winds don’t happen. Also, sending the wind towards only the places where the windmills are.” (Rifreya)
“You can use them in such a convenient manner…?” (Hikaru)
Great Spirits are like natural phenomena, and are close to gods.
And yet, they are using beings like that as a convenient energy source, so the people of this world are pretty fearless.
“Ah! You can see them there, the windmills.” (Rifreya)
There were 3 windmills where Rifreya pointed at.
They are currently not moving as if saying it is not the time yet, but they are quite big.
It feels like it is the size of a 5 story building. The body is made of stone bricks, and the windmill part…
“Isn’t the material used to make those fans…mithril?” (Hikaru)
“Ah, I am surprised you could tell. It is a light and sturdy material, and it doesn’t rust from the rain, so mithril is used.” (Rifreya)
“It feels like it is prone to stealing…” (Hikaru)
“If you steal that, you would be killed by the Great Spirit-sama…probably.” (Rifreya)
That’s scary. With the eyes of the Great Spirit, there’s no one who would try to steal those, huh. Or more like, it would be impossible to steal a metal sheet of around 10 meters in size.
When I take a glance at the inside of it, they seem to be using them for grinding. That probably means you can get wheat from around here.
And so, we made a long turn, and continued our walk in the Great Earth Spirit ruling territory at the north.
The Great Earth Spirit’s ruling territory is mostly fields too.
“Aah, great weather, isn’t it? How is it? Being under the sun every now and then is nice, right?” (Rifreya)
“Right. Now that I think about it, it has been a while since I have spent time like this.” (Hikaru)
Really, I wonder when was the last time I walked through a place so bright it even hurts my eyes.
It might be the first time since coming to this world.
Now that I think back on it, it has already been quite a while since I have come to this world. Even so, I have been cooped in the dungeon the whole time till now, and didn’t watch this world properly.
(It is truly beautiful… Was this world always this colorful?) (Hikaru)
I wanted to think that coming to this world was something of a dream, or a mistake of some sort. I dreamed countless times that maybe the real me was in my original world even now, watching the Chosen carefreely together with my little sisters.
But no matter how many times I wake up, I am always in the dark room of the inn.
It is no dream or mistake; I am living in this world.
The Viewer Count Race had begun, and by concentrating on getting 1st place, I wanted to forget about this reality.
…But even if I get 1st place or not, this reality will continue till death.
Me being here…
Rifreya smiling at my side…
All of these are my reality.
It is until now that I managed to notice this.
Rifreya made me notice.
“Then, I am glad I brought you with me even if by force. I don’t know what’s pressing you to this extent, but…living on the edge that much is definitely painful.” (Rifreya)
“Did I look like I was pushing myself that much?” (Hikaru)
“Cause you know, even when you are so strong, even when the explorations go well, even when you are earning that much money, you are not smiling at all.” (Rifreya)
Since that time when I read the messages from Earth, I have become weird.
My mind was being ravished by the idea that people were watching me while wishing for my death.
Even if my exploration is going well, even if I have a surplus of money, I couldn’t feel worth in them.
But it is just as she says. Things are going well.
Well enough for it to be fine to smile.
“There’s no end to the things you teach me, Rifreya. Thanks.” (Hikaru)
I try to push myself a bit here to smile, and Rifreya made a face as if she had seen a ghost, and then, made a radiant smile.
- Chapter 086: Unexpected Gift and Shaking off the Light
“Haha! I seriously thought you would hate me because I brought you out forcefully. I have been worried about that this whole time, you know… I am so glad…” (Rifreya)
“There’s no one who would hate you, Rifreya.” (Hikaru)
“Then, you like me?” (Rifreya)
“Hmm, no comment.” (Hikaru)
“Ahaha, as for me, I like you!” (Rifreya)
I jokingly answer like that and play around.
Even while we are like this, the Viewer Count Race continues, and it might break my chances to get 1st place.
That thought was swirling in my head the whole time, but it is also true that my vision was narrowed.
If I were to fight the Demon Lord, my viewer count would increase, and I might get first place. Even though it would turn to nothing if I were to die, I thought it would work out somehow…without anything backing that confidence.
Even though I can’t even win against the Garden Panther by myself, and it might even be impossible to run away from it.
(Why did I think like that?) (Hikaru)
…I have been tired of living in this world this whole time.
I was making an excuse for myself by saying I have to push myself in order to get 1st place, and in the end, I might have been searching for a reason to die.
Even though wanting to revive Nanami is without doubt my true feelings, I myself wasn’t strong enough to sincerely face that.
It is impossible for me to get 1st place. That it would be impossible for me unless I am reckless to the point that I could die. Maybe I have been using that as an excuse.
Maybe what I have been doing has been a slow suicide…
There’s no way I haven’t been pushing myself. Before coming to this world, I was just a normal high school student that no one paid attention to.
…The truth is…I have long passed my limit.
“…You always manage to find me, Rifreya.” (Hikaru)
If I hadn’t met her, I would have been even more reckless for the Viewer Count Race. Not only the 4th Floor, I might have even gone down to the 5th Floor.
The meeting of people with people really is a mysterious thing.
If this cheerfully smiling girl hadn’t found me, I might have long given up on living in this world.
“Eh? Did you say something?” (Rifreya)
“No, nothing.” (Hikaru)
“Eeh~? Now I’m curious. Geez, Hikaru, making such a kind expression…” (Rifreya)
“Don’t say such weird things. My face is normal.” (Hikaru)
However, it has been a while since my heart has been at peace.
That might have shown in my face.
The vegetables in the ruling territory of the Great Earth Spirit are tasty, so we had dinner at a diner that Rifreya has come to once before.
I feel like it has been a while since I have eaten vegetables properly. It has been a whole lot of meat and shrimp after all.
After our meal and leaving the establishment, just before we went our separate ways…
Rifreya asked me as if making sure.
“Hikaru, I will be going to participate in the Demon Lord subjugation tomorrow, but…you are not going to be pushing yourself anymore, right? Like going down to the dungeon alone.” (Rifreya)
This is probably something she has wanted to ask me this whole day.
Someone like me that’s in the lowest rank of explorers can’t dive into the dungeon until the Demon Lord has been subjugated.
On the other hand, the silver rank Rifreya will be participating in the subjugation.
If she were to be together with me the whole day like today, she would be able to keep an eye on me, but that’s obviously not feasible.
She is worried about me.
I want to answer that kindness.
I do have that feeling as well.
“…Sorry, I can’t promise that. I will be participating in the Demon Lord subjugation even if I have to sneak in on the confusion.” (Hikaru)
“No matter what?” (Rifreya)
“Yeah. I know I shouldn’t do that, but…I have to go.” (Hikaru)
I have no intention of going alone anymore.
But if it is with the subjugation team that has silver rank and higher explorers all around, and maybe even templars, I should be able to reduce the danger to the minimum.
If I fight on my own and manage to win, I might be able to get 1st place, but it is equally important to calmly think about what I can do and act upon it.
If it is for the sake of bringing back Nanami, I don’t mind dying. There’s no lie to those feelings of mine.
However, that doesn’t mean it is okay for me to die without being able to even revive her.
“Hikaru, you really are going…no matter what, right? Is it that important to fight the Demon Lord?” (Rifreya)
“Yeah. If I don’t, I probably will regret it for the rest of my life. I know that that’s not good though… Also, it is weird saying it myself, but I don’t think I will be deadweight.” (Hikaru)
As long as I am not stingy with my abilities, my Dark Spirit Abilities should be pretty useful assisting in battle.
There’s apparently no Dark Spirit Users in this city, so that’s even more the case.
“Then, since you tagged along with me today, this is my thanks!” (Rifreya)
She stopped in the middle of the road, let go of my hand that she hadn’t let go this whole time, and she gave me something.
It looks like a black board.
“This is?” (Hikaru)
“A porter authorization proof for the Demon Lord subjugation team. I plucked one out real hard!” (Rifreya)
“Wait….what does this mean?” (Hikaru)
“It means that, with this, you will be able to cross the gates as a porter, and enter the dungeon together with the subjugation team. I figured you would be saying you will be going anyway. Normally, I wouldn’t be able to get a porter just for myself, but I told them my achievements until now were thanks to my porter and some random stuff in order to have them issue this… Was it a bother?” (Rifreya)
That’s a surprise.
I didn’t think Rifreya would do something like that.
Because I haven’t told her the reason why I go dungeon diving…the reason why I must go down into the dungeon no matter what.
However, she noticed that I wanted to fight the Demon Lord, and made it so I could enter the dungeon.
“Can I really…enter with this? That I am a porter means that I can’t fight?” (Hikaru)
“Once the battle starts, it doesn’t matter. Let’s go get that reward!” (Rifreya)
If it is the pattern where I stealthily go with them, if I get caught, I would get thrown out, and there would even be the possibility of Rifreya’s standing worsening since she is from the same party.
But with this authorization proof, everything is cleared.
“T-Thank you…! Thanks, Rifreya. I am truly happy…!” (Hikaru)
“Ufufu, Hikaru too… Maybe you didn’t want to let go of me?” (Rifreya)
I was about to say it, but I couldn’t voice out the remaining part.
The expectation-filled face of Rifreya.
As if she were enduring a smile, as if enduring tears; making such a face, I didn’t know what to do.
There’s 5 days remaining… No, 4 days before the Viewer Count Race ends.
I plan on being alone again after that.
It was clear to anyone -no matter how dense they are- that Rifreya still wants to continue exploring with me.
Stuff like ‘are you fine with your templar exams?’ or ‘is it okay to not train your Spirit Abilities?’ I don’t know her circumstances well, but she wants to prioritize her time with me.
Even without telling me outright, I can tell that from seeing her attitude and expressions.
I also find dungeon diving together with Rifreya and Grapefull to be fun.
There’s a sense of fulfillment that I didn’t feel at the time when I emptied my heart and dove alone.
If this had been a normal isekai transfer, I could have chosen that.
But…it can’t be done.
The more pure and beautiful she is, the less I can be with her.
“…Then, I will come pick you up tomorrow morning.” (Hikaru)
I take one…two steps away from her, and give my farewells.
…She has her own dreams.
…I have my own unavoidable circumstances.
I close my eyes in order to not see the uneasy face of Rifreya.
I make my heart hard and cold as steel, and turn my back to her.
“Good night!” (Hikaru)
I run with my all…
So that the lingering feelings and emotions can’t catch up with me.
Carrying those heavy emotions in my heart…