The tall and slender Sun Goddess Althena-sama that stands out, Noah-sama, and Eir-sama were chatting.
The first time I met her, her cold gaze and pressure overwhelmed me.
The second time I met her, she gave me the impression that she is having an incredibly hard time.
And this time…
“So you have come, Takatsuki Makoto!” (Althena)
Althena-san turned over here with a smile like that of the sun.
“Althena-sama? I-It has been a while.” (Makoto)
“No need to be so stiff, Takatsuki Makoto. You have done well!” (Althena)
“It is a great honor…” (Makoto)
I am a bit nervous in front of Althena-sama who I haven’t seen in a while.
“This Althena wanted to thank you no matter what, Makoto.” (Noah)
Noah-sama crossed her arms while saying ‘isn’t she one free woman?’ and seemed like she was in a good mood.
“Yahoo~, Mako-kun☆, good work out there.” (Eir)
The ever happy Water Goddess petted my head.
Eir-sama really is the healing type.
(Eh…? What about Ira-sama?) (Makoto)
I thought for sure she had come, but I couldn’t see the small Goddess anywhere.
“About Ira-chan, she is currently buried in work. She is busy.” (Eir)
Eir-sama read my mind and told me.
I see, she is busy, huh.
“That girl…she should learn about leaving the work to her subordinates more.” (Althena)
“Right, Althena-sama? She is trying to do everything herself, so she is going to deflate from all the tasks.” (Eir)
Looks like Ira-sama is the same as always.
“Oh my, you are worrying quite a lot about Ira, Makoto. Could it be that you are thinking of switching religions to that Goddess?” (Noah)
Noah-sama had gotten to my back in an instant, and wrapped her arms around my neck.
“No way, I have no intentions to do that… Uhm, Noah-sama? Your nails are digging into my neck though. Ouch, it hurts a bit.” (Makoto)
“Aren’t you thinking too much about Ira only?” (Noah)
“No, she helped me out greatly 1,000 years ago, you know… Also, I haven’t heard her voice lately.” (Makoto)
“I see… That’s why you are feeling lonely?” (Noah)
“No, that’s not it. You are my only one, Noah-sama.” (Makoto)
What’s going on here?!
Noah-sama today is scary!
“Hoooh…that’s rare. To think Noah would get so attached to a believer.” (Althena)
Althena-sama raised her voice with interest.
“Isn’t that obvious?! Listen here! Makoto is my important important Apostle that I raised earnestly! He is totally different from other believers!” (Noah)
“…You raised me?” (Makoto)
If I had to describe it, I would say it was noninterference.
Because of that, I managed to do things freely though.
“Fuh… So that means he is your prided Apostle, Noah? You really are exemplary after all.” (Althena)
“Right, Althena-neesama? How about just letting Mako-kun enter the Divine Realm already?” (Eir)
“Fumu, if he manages to subjugate the Great Demon Lord too, that might be a good idea.” (Althena)
“Wait wait! What are you saying without my approval?! Enter the Divine Realm, you say?! That place is ruled by you Holy Gods, so Makoto would technically become your familiar!” (Noah)
Noah-sama hurriedly jumps into the conversation of Althena-sama and Eir-sama.
I was a bit interested in this conversation about entering the Divine Realm.
They must have heard that thought of mine, Eir-sama’s eyes sparkled.
“Mako-kun~, interested in entering the Divine Realm~? The Divine Realm is the place of us Gods, so it is a dreamland where there’s no diseases, no injuries, and no lifespan, you know? It is the last goal of all creation…” (Eir)
“Lifespan too?!” (Makoto)
Meaning that you don’t die?
What’s with that paradise?
“Yup yup, on Earth it is called paradise, right? Hey, Mako-kun, you want to go to paradise, right~?” (Eir)
Eir-sama whispers into my ear.
Fuwah~, it made me shudder.
“Stop it. Don’t, Makoto. Don’t get tempted.” (Noah)
“Isn’t it okay? You just have to join us Holy Gods, Noah-sama.” (Althena)
“Don’t wanna! Althena! We are sworn enemies, you know!” (Noah)
“No need to be so obstinate, right? Let’s get along like the old times.” (Althena)
“Hmph! I have no intention of getting chummy with you people!” (Noah)
Althena-sama smiling brightly, and Noah-sama facing the other way and pouting.
They are getting along right in front of me.
Looks like the Sun Goddess-sama is trying to bring in Noah-sama as an ally.
They even acknowledged Noah-sama as the 8th Goddess of the Goddess Church, so they must be serious here.
On the other hand, Noah-sama may be saying otherwise with her mouth, but doesn’t look too against the idea.
Could this be…the end of the long dispute between Holy Gods and Titan Gods?
Althena-sama and Eir-sama are coaxing Noah-sama.
They are convincing Noah-sama to choose a Hero and Oracle first.
Looks like they want her to match the style of the Holy Gods.
I was listening without intervening.
“Oh well, I will think about it.” (Noah)
Noah-sama answered that in the end and put it off for later.
At that moment…
…*Rin rin rin rin rin rin*
A bell-like noise resonated.
“Muuh… The call regarding the signs for the destruction of the world… Again, huh.” (Althena)
Althena-sama’s expression turned weary.
“A problem again in the 17th Universe, Althena-neesama? The Barbaric Gods there really don’t learn~.” (Eir)
“No, this time is the 53rd Universe’s Catastrophic Gods’ territory. An Evil God is apparently trying to revive.” (Althena)
“Oh my, that’s terrible.” (Eir)
“They lost to us, so they should just stay in Hades obediently.” (Althena)
Unknown terms were suddenly being spitted out like crazy.
17th Universe? Barbaric Gods?
“Althena is managing several universes. She isn’t just watching over this world only. There’s no need for you to pay it any mind, Makoto. It is basically the many parallel worlds out there.” (Noah)
“Several universes… Parallel worlds…” (Makoto)
Noah-sama told me.
Looks like Althena-sama’s jurisdiction is outstandingly vast.
It wasn’t only on the level of the whole universe.
“It is not like I am managing every detail. The worlds are technically made in a way where they can run even without us. I am simply called in emergencies. I am the one in charge after all.” (Althena)
Althena-sama does a wry smile.
“Just leave them be. The strong ones will survive by themselves. That’s the law of nature.” (Noah)
“Can’t do that. The duty of Gods is to properly guide the weak mortals. If we don’t show them the path that they should proceed towards, they will simply get lost.” (Althena)
Noah-sama’s and Althena-sama’s opinions were clashing.
While I was listening to that, I was remembering the things I learned in the library of the Water Temple’s library.
The words of the two Goddesses fell right into the creed of both the Holy Gods and the Titan Gods.
The creed of the Holy Gods is in foundation: order and diligence.
The weak should abide by the rules and survive.
And then, polish themselves and grow.
The creed of the Titan Gods is: freedom and harmony.
The life of the people in the Mortal Realm are short, so live freely.
However, get along with each other, okay?
(They are pretty different from each other…) (Makoto)
If Noah-sama were to join the Holy Gods, the creed in that area would probably change.
“Mako-kun’s way of living is the very definition of diligence, so isn’t that okay?” (Eir)
The Water Goddess retorted from the side.
“I will follow the teachings of Noah-sama and be free.” (Makoto)
“You are way too free, Mako-kun~.” (Eir)
Eir-sama laughed wryly.
At that moment, several rainbow magic circles appeared around Althena-sama.
“Althena, are you going?” (Noah)
“Yeah, at this rate, that world will perish. I will go guide them.” (Althena)
“My condolences.” (Noah)
“See you later, Noah. I will be coming back again. If you want to become a Holy God, tell me anytime.” (Althena)
“I told you already I will think about it.” (Noah)
“Eir, I leave the rest to you. I am sorry for not being able to take my time and talk with you, Takatsuki Makoto.” (Althena)
Saying this, Althena-sama left busily.
She is one restless Goddess in a different meaning from Ira-sama.
After that, Noah-sama and Eir-sama had a heated conversation about troubles of 1,000 years ago and stories about the present.
Noah-sama pestered me to hurry and advance my relationship between Lucy and Sa-san.
Eir-sama ordered me to put my hands on Princess Sofia.
Aah, this feeling…
I really have come back to the present…
My vision grew hazy.
This is the sign of waking up.
“Well then, I will be going.” (Makoto)
“Be careful, Makoto.” (Noah)
“See ya~☆ Mako-kun.” (Eir)
The sight of the two Goddesses waving their hands disappeared with the light.
The place I woke up in was the room of the Black Barrel Fortress…not.
A fluffy and high class carpet was stretching endlessly.
The doors and bookshelves flood the place.
Books of varying sizes were scattered all around.
And various cute plushies were restlessly moving around.
…Aah, this place…
A place that I have seen many times to the point of exhaustion.
The space of Ira-sama.
I hear a weak voice.
The one with bags under her eyes and slumped on her desk is Ira-sama.
“You look pretty tired there. Are you okay…?” (Makoto)
“Aah, yeah. I will be getting some sleep after finishing these documents… Oh? Where were the documents?” (Ira)
“You are hallucinating.” (Makoto)
I grabbed the hand of Ira-sama who was trying to grab something from somewhere that had nothing.
I pulled her to the bed just like that.
“Uuuh…I must not sleep yet~. Work~, I still haven’t finished my work~…” (Ira)
I have the rambling Ira-sama lie down on the bed.
Words that resembled that of a salaryman in a black company were coming out from the mouth of Ira-sama who looks like a middle schooler.
This Goddess doesn’t sleep until she finishes her job so it is dangerous.
It is so bad my 3 day all-nighter can’t even compare.
“Please sleep.” (Makoto)
I rolled up Ira-sama on the bed.
I began hearing steady breathing not long after .
A peaceful sleeping face.
Eh? Now that I think about it, didn’t Ira-sama call me here?
What should I do here?
For now, I should wait for her to wake up.
I train my water magic and destiny magic in the space of Ira-sama as I always do.
“Hah?! What time is it?!” (Ira)
Ira-sama jumps up from the bed and looks around restlessly.
You can control time, right?
“Good morning, Ira-sama. You are working too much.” (Makoto)
“…Sorry for worrying you.” (Ira)
Ira-sama gets up from the bed while fixing her messy hair.
Maybe she is still half-asleep, she looks absentminded.
“By the way, the reason why you haven’t spoken with me lately is because you have been busy?” (Makoto)
When I asked this, Ira-sama went ‘ah!’ and opened her eyes wide.
“I was troubled by that too! I suddenly can’t make thought transmissions with you, Takatsuki Makoto! Hey, come over here.” (Ira)
Being called by Ira-sama, I sat by her side.
Looks like the reason why she didn’t speak to me wasn’t because she was busy, but because she couldn’t use thought transmission on me.
Ira-sama touches the necklace around my neck.
“Hmmm… My mana still remains. Then, the reason why I can’t do thought transmissions with you must be because of the influence of Noah.” (Ira)
“Noah-sama’s influence?” (Makoto)
“You are back in the present and are back to being the Apostle of Noah, right? I think our connection was cut at that time.” (Ira)
“Noah-sama didn’t say anything though?” (Makoto)
I think Noah-sama would have told me.
“I have told you before, right? Noah is on the same level as Althena-oneesama. She has Divinity on an incomparable rank than a newbie Goddess like me. Noah probably isn’t aware of it, but it looks like the Divinity of Noah drowned out my connection.” (Ira)
“Hoh, Noah-sama’s impressive.” (Makoto)
“Even when she is sealed, it is still on this level after all. She is truly fearsome.” (Ira)
“But…that means I won’t be able to hear your voice from now on, Ira-sama?” (Makoto)
The voice of Ira-sama has helped me out the whole time in the past.
It would be disheartening to have the voice of Ira-sama gone.
“It is okay. Why do you think I called you to my room, Takatsuki Makoto? Now, come closer.” (Ira)
“Uhm…eh? Ira-sama?” (Makoto)
Even though I am already sitting by her side, Ira-sama pulled my arm further.
The body of Ira-sama that was as soft as a marshmallow sticks completely to mine.
Ira-sama wrapped both of her arms around my body.
In other words, she hugged me.
“Uhm…Ira-sama? What are you…” (Makoto)
I asked with my heart racing.
“I am concentrating here, so zip it! I am making a mana link between you and me.” (Ira)
I was told this with a serious tone, so I obeyed.
Ira-sama was hugging me harder and harder.
Even though she is petite, she is strong.
“Is the Divinity of Noah getting in the way…? It is not going well. Hey, Takatsuki Makoto, you hug me back too.” (Ira)
“O-Okay…excuse me.” (Makoto)
I wrap my arms around the small shoulders of Ira-sama.
How much strength should I be putting here?
Wouldn’t it be rude if I were to go too strong here?
“It is fine! More tightly!” (Ira)
It seems it was unnecessary consideration.
I hugged Ira-sama tightly as I was told.
I felt as if my whole body had pulsed just now.
I have a feeling as if my body temperature has increased.
“Fuuh…with this, a mana link has been made with you. We can have thought transmissions as we have before.” (Ira)
“Thank you very much.” (Makoto)
After saying this, I distanced myself from Ira-sama.
Clear Mind should be activated, but…my heartbeats were noisy.
I fix my breathing and regain my calm.
“Did you call me to your space for the sake of this, Ira-sama?” (Makoto)
“That’s right. Problem?” (Ira)
“No no, I am actually grateful. But Althena-sama and Eir-sama were in the space of Noah-sama just now, so I was wondering why you weren’t there too…” (Makoto)
After saying that, I noticed how stupid of a question that was.
Ira-sama looked at me baffled.
“You…do you want to do what we did just now in front of Noah?” (Ira)
“What we did just now…” (Makoto)
The objective may have been to form a mana link, but I was hugging Ira-sama for more than 5 minutes.
Doing that in front of Noah-sama…?
“That would be scary.” (Makoto)
“It would be so scary it would be impossible.” (Ira)
My body trembled.
It is not like we are doing anything bad though…
“Well, anyways, you will be fighting the Ancient Dragon King, right? If you run into any problems, consult with me.” (Ira)
“Thanks, Ira-sama.” (Makoto)
I gave her my thanks.
Even so, the support of Ira-sama is courteous despite me being the Apostle of a different God.
Is it okay to have her do so much for me?
Ira-sama read that thought of mine and spoke.
“It is the contrary. The Evil God…no, the Titan God Noah’s pious Apostle, Takatsuki Makoto, if I don’t go this far for you, my Clairvoyance doesn’t show your actions at all. The demons have low faith, so they are decently easy to see their future, but…it is impossible for the believers of Noah. That goes the same for the present and 1,000 years ago.” (Ira)
“Cain’s religious faith was also at MAX after all.” (Makoto)
At the time when we were challenging the Deep Sea Temple, we had lively conversations about Noah-sama.
“In this time’s war against the demons, I can see the path to victory, but if you -the person that doesn’t show in my Clairvoyance- does a weird move, all of my plans would be twisted around. That’s why there’s the need to have you connected even if by brute force.” (Ira)
“I see…” (Makoto)
It is not a courteous support, but more like a GPS placed on a wild beast.
I then noticed something that bothered me in the words of Ira-sama.
“You see a path to victory… In other words, we can defeat the Great Demon Lord?” (Makoto)
According to what I heard before, our winning chances were slightly worse than 50%.
“Yeah, the present Light Hero…your childhood friend Sakurai Ryosuke-kun will defeat the Great Demon Lord…or at least he is supposed to.” (Ira)
“I see, that’s great…” (Makoto)
I put a hand on my chest in relief.
“By the way, how…?” (Makoto)
I am curious.
“I don’t think you would get in the way if I told you, but you would definitely poke your head into it, right?” (Ira)
“I will just spectate.” (Makoto)
“I can’t trust that.” (Ira)
“So cruel.” (Makoto)
She said straight.
“Only a hint… The present Great Demon Lord has resurrected, but doesn’t have the same power as it had 1,000 years ago. It seems like he is hurriedly trying to regain his power, but it is not on the level where they can defeat the Alliance Army of the West Continent. There’s only a few Demon Lords left, and the number of strong demons have decreased. That’s why the Great Demon Lord will eventually be doing a surprise attack on the Light Hero.” (Ira)
“The Great Demon Lord himself?!” (Makoto)
That’s quite…the extreme action.
I feel like that’s not something the leader of the whole demons should be doing though.
“In the end, they have no cards left. It means that the demon side is in a worse numerical inferiority than the Great Demon Lord had expected.” (Ira)
“The Calamity Witch said that the Great Demon Lord would be resurrecting stronger than he was in the past though.” (Makoto)
“Even if you are strong by yourself, you can’t win against the strength in numbers. The present Heroes are still all alive, and the Moon Country is slowly becoming a power… They seem to be going a bit wild though.” (Ira)
“That’s right. Highland and Laphroaig hate each other way too much. Can’t we do something about that?” (Makoto)
I remember the mess that was the meeting a few days prior.
“How much effort do you think I have put in order to adjust things because of that…? All countries doing as they please…” (Ira)
“Aah, right.” (Makoto)
Looks like what’s troubling Ira-sama is exactly the dispute between countries.
“The scariest thing right now is having our forces split because of the discord between countries. It would be troubling if they don’t act as one.” (Ira)
“You are talking as if it is someone else’s business, but even Rozes has its problems, you know?” (Ira)
“The Water Country does?” (Makoto)
Princess Sofia barely spoke in the Alliance Army meeting though.
She is being docile as a weak country.
“The problem is that she is docile! The current Water Country has a new Legendary Hero, and the Moon Country and the Wood Country owe them greatly, so they are in an important position in the 7 country alliance. I would even want them to take command instead of the messy Sun Country, and yet, they are not being proactive at all.” (Ira)
“Princess Sofia is…?” (Makoto)
The top of the Water Country is of course the king, but Princess Sofia is in charge of the diplomacy.
Her pulling both the Moon Country and the Sun Country as the leader…I can’t even imagine that.
“It would be impossible.” (Makoto)
“Haah… I know I am asking for the impossible here.” (Ira)
Ira-sama groans dejectedly.
It is a shame, but I can’t do anything to take away the worries of Ira-sama.
She must have heard that thought of mine, she looks up at me.
“Well, fine. My number one worry that was not being able to contact the Apostle of Noah has been solved.” (Ira)
“…That’s great to hear.” (Makoto)
I was the reason for Ira-sama’s lack of sleep.
“Now then…I should be going back to work.” (Ira)
Ira-sama stretches heavily.
Looks like it would be better for me to leave before I get in the way.
If I have any problems, I will consult with her.
“Hey, Takatsuki Makoto.” (Ira)
Ira-sama speaks to me as if doing some casual everyday talk.
“You…won’t betray me, right?” (Ira)
I was about to give a wry smile while going ‘what are you saying?’, but her serious eyes made me choose my words.
“I don’t have any plans of betraying you though. Why ask something like that?” (Makoto)
“Even if Noah were to give you the order…?” (Ira)
Being told that, I think for a bit.
I can’t imagine Noah-sama turning sides to the Great Demon Lord.
“I go against the words of Noah-sama every so often, you know?” (Makoto)
I was hesitant about becoming her believer at first.
After that, there were a lot of times when, even when she ordered me to avoid danger, I would stick my head in them.
Ira-sama laughed at my words.
“I was confirming just in case. If the promising Spirit User that is the Apostle of Noah, Takatsuki Makoto, were to betray us, the war would flip on its head after all.” (Ira)
“It is okay. I spoke to Noah-sama just a few moments ago, and she seemed to be getting along well with Althena-sama and Eir-sama.” (Makoto)
“Seems so. Althena-oneesama is even trying to bring Noah into the Holy Gods and everything.” (Ira)
I remember the conversation just recently.
Althena-sama was trying to bring in Noah-sama into the side of the Holy Gods.
Noah-sama acted in a way as if she wasn’t completely against the idea.
“And so, I won’t betray you. Please don’t worry.” (Makoto)
I said this confidently.
“Is that so… That’s fine then.” (Ira)
Ira-sama yawned lightly and gulped down the coffee can that was close by.
…She should drink something better…
At the same time as that happened, my vision grew hazy.
Looks like I am finally waking up.
“Keep your work in moderation, Ira-sama. Please sleep properly, okay?” (Makoto)
“Worry more about yourself rather than me, Takatsuki Makoto. Don’t go out of control.” (Ira)
I woke up while we were having that talk.
What showed up in my eyes was the ceiling of the room in the Black Barrel Fortress.
After I woke up and changed, I had Lucy and Sa-san guide me around the facilities of the Black Barrel Fortress.
The place we went to after eating a simple meal in the cafeteria was…
“Makoto, this is the training ground.” (Lucy)
“It reeks of sweat, so I don’t really like it here.” (Aya)
The training ground of the soldiers is located underground.
Different from the knight training ground of the capital of Highland, it is dark and not that spacious.
But it is filled with the heat of many soldiers.
Just as Sa-san said, it stinks a bit like man.
We went for a lap around the training ground.
Everyone seemed to be concentrating on their training, so they didn’t really speak to us.
Must be because they have already finished their greetings at the party yesterday.
I wanted to train together with them as well but, unfortunately, there are really few Water Spirits in this underground facility.
The training efficiency here would be bad.
“Lucy, Sa-san, let’s go to the next pla—” (Makoto)
“Aya! Lucy! Found ya!”
Someone suddenly landed in front of us.
Brown skin and glossy black hair.
Battle armor that has a lot of exposed skin.
Most of all, the Aura around her that’s as if it were burning was familiar to me.
“Olga-chan~! Yahoo!” (Aya)
“Olga, you weren’t here yesterday.” (Lucy)
“That’s right! I was hunting monsters in the Demonic Continent yesterday! And then, I learned just now that you guys had come. Geez! If you had told me, I would have come flying back, you know!” (Olga)
That woman was talking familiarly with Lucy and Sa-san.
The girl in my memories had a more dangerous air around her.
She gave off the impression of a hungry wild beast, but the current her is friendly.
“It has been a while, the Water Country’s Hero-san.” (Olga)
She turned my way and smiled lightly.
The Scorching Hero whose hair is longer now and looks more mature, Olga Tariska-san.
>Where’s Ira-sama?! (TT_TT)
→She has arrived!
>Not noisy Gera-yan…cutesy Gera-yan…it really makes me feel the passing of time…
→I am sure he has had it hard.
I went and wrote way too much in this time’s chapter… It always ends up like this when Ira-sama shows up.