|Author: Firehead||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Hands of Vecna||English Source: Hands of Vecna|
There was a term, déjà vu. It was a mysterious phenomenon of feeling like you had experienced or seen something before, even though you did not. This French term, déjà vu, was overused in many stories. And right now, I was feeling something stronger than this.
Aboard Tanaka, we arrived at Ruphas’ hometown where she was born and raised among the flügels…Vanaheim.
Vanaheim sat on top of the mountain, where the air and mana were thin. The local topography made it difficult to walk. Given how Gjallarhorn was like, it seemed that flügels instinctively preferred places like these.
It was strange. I was feeling nostalgic about this town. Although I never visited this place before, I felt nostalgia and disgust towards it. There was a crumbling bakery, where no bread was ever sold to the children of taboo. I (Ruphas) was even kicked by the shopkeeper before. There was a half-collapsed building, where a brat once threw rocks at me. There was a large, once-grand mansion, where Merak used to live and which I always stared in admiration.
…None of them were fond memories.
This town continued to stimulate the bad memories that I did not know I had. Even though I did not experience it myself, I had the impulse to use an area skill to destroy the entire place.
“Hmm. Ruphas-sama…Are you alright? Your face looks pale.”
“Oh, no problem. Let’s go. First, let’s take a look at my family’s home.”
Hearing Aries’ question, I realized my expression was stiff. For some reason, the frequency of me being influenced by “Ruphas” was increasing. Being in this town seemed to accelerate the process. If this continued, I would lose my sense of self.
No, perhaps I had already lost it long ago. I could not bring myself to say, “It was not like that.” Furthermore, I did not think this was unpleasant. Perhaps, I was really going crazy.
…In any case, I should drop by at Ruphas’ home. The ghost of Parthenos might be there. There might also be some hints regarding Ruphas’ behavior before she was sealed.
“Is this Ruphas-sama’s hometown? It looks like a nice place.”
“For me, it is a place of bitter memories. Most of them involve having the neighborhood brats throwing rocks at me.”
At the same time as I casually answered Libra, the houses in my line of sight vanished in an explosion. I turned and saw Libra, Aries, and Aigokeros held out their hands in that direction. It was evident that they were the ones who made those attacks.
Hey, what were you people doing?
“I retract my previous statement. This is the crappiest town ever.”
Libra rotated her wrist with a twirling sound and gave an opinion that was a hundred eighty degrees from the previous one. I had to admire that complete change of attitudes. Aries and Aigokeros also nodded. There wasn’t anything that I could say.
While I was stunned, Dina moved next to me and wrote in the air. She was using her finger to concentrate magical power and doing it quite skillfully.
“You have memories of your avatar?”
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In response to Dina’s question, I silently nodded. It was a silent communication. Perhaps, she did not want Libra to hear it. However, it was doubtful if Libra would have noticed since she was busy shooting lasers out of her eyes to destroy Merak’s old home. Aries had reverted to his sheep form and was stomping around the town. Aigokeros was randomly destroying whatever was nearby. Virgo was scared.
“It’s not good to be led by your avatar too much. Your ego will disappear. If you think it is dangerous, consider leaving this town immediately.”
I nodded again at Dina’s suggestion. I would pass at losing my ego. I should consider withdrawing as she suggested.
“Enough. Stop this. We did not come here to destroy the town.”
Clap. I stopped the three idiots by hitting them with my hand. If this continued, something important might be destroyed. I stopped the rampages of those three and walked down the ruined town.
I was wondering where to go, yet my feet naturally moved on their own as if I was living here until yesterday. Guided by the memory of Ruphas inside me, I moved my legs and eventually arrived in front of a mansion. It was a building that was evidently splendid in the past but was now dilapidated.
“Oh, this is a decent house. Is this Ruphas-sama’s home?”
“That’s right. You could call it my house. Though I can count the number of times I have stepped inside.”
I casually answered Aigokeros and went inside. Technically, this mansion was certainly my house. According to the memories, Ruphas’ father lived here as did her mother. But even so, this was not really my (Ruphas’) home. I (Ruphas) was living…in a shabby hut at the side.
“As you can see, it’s like a storehouse. Well, actually it is a storehouse.”
Cobwebs were everywhere. The tiny hut was almost like a dog’s kennel. This former storehouse was where Ruphas grew up. I naturally did not know of such a setting. Ruphas was set to wear a dress mostly as a hobby and for better performance. In an exaggerated sense, if the strongest equipment was Dangerous Swimsuit, I would have equipped it on Ruphas without hesitation.
…Now I thought that it was a good thing the strongest equipment was not a swimsuit.
In terms of story, I never considered why Ruphas would be wearing a dress. But Ruphas of this world…could be like that because of the poverty of her youth. She admired, envied, thirsted, and looked up to the upper class. After she gained power, she collected fancy dresses and shiny objects to realize the dreams of her youth…
…No, maybe I was overthinking this.
“My father disliked me for being born with black wings. If it was allowed, he might have killed me. However, the respectability of being upper class and the desperate persuasion of my mother barely spared me from being killed. The result was me being isolated in the storehouse.”
I spoke fluently of the unknown past as if I had experienced personally. I heard that memories were never forgotten, but merely buried so deeply that it was difficult to draw out. In other words, even forgotten memories could come gushing forth with the right stimulus. This body belonged to Ruphas, so the memories that I did not know about were still deep inside her brain. Perhaps coming to this town caused her memories to surge forth once more.
“…Master, I request permission to kill your father.”
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“Impossible. He’s already dead.”
When I considered the matter of her father, I naturally gained the information that he was already dead. It was gradually becoming easier to access Ruphas’ memories. Anyway, I should persuade Libra who was saying dangerous things and also stop Aries who was trying to set fire to the mansion. The mansion must not burn since it might contain important clues.
“This is the most likely location for Parthenos to be.”
I did not know if Parthenos knew about my home, but she should be able to find out after two hundred years. Besides, there might be something about Ruphas’ past which I was not aware of. No, even just a stimulus would be enough. That alone could allow me to draw out Ruphas’ memories. I thought so without speaking aloud and stepped into the storehouse.
I thought that it was a horrible place. I could hardly imagine anyone living here. There were only one small bed and all manners of unidentified junks. Since this was a storehouse, it was natural to store things here. There was nothing wrong with it. However, these junks were obviously thrown in here by her father out of frustration.
Well, it didn’t matter. The important thing was clues that led to what Ruphas uncovered about the goddess’ scenario two hundred years ago. However, there was nothing related here, which was somewhat disappointing.
…Well, if I thought about it, Ruphas only spent her childhood here. When she actively sought to eradicate the demons was after she reached Level 1000 as an adventurer. She probably did not realize anything so important when she was still a child. In other words, there was no clue here…This seemed to be a wasted trip.
“…The goddess’ scenario huh?”
I murmured softly. Everyone other than Dina looked at me strangely. They merely reacted to my words which did not seem familiar to them. On the other hand, Dina was unresponsive. I thought she might know something, but it seemed unfamiliar to her as well.
“Ruphas-sama, what is the goddess’ scenario?”
“Oh, it is something the Demon King mentioned the other day. He said that the world is moving according to the goddess’ scenario. Is any of you familiar with it?”
Everyone shook their heads or hands to indicate that they did not know. Even the Twelve Heavenly Stars did not know. It seemed Ruphas had been quite secretive two hundred years ago.
What were you doing, Ruphas? At least tell it to Libra.
“Allow me to answer that question.”
A question that nobody could answer. As I thought so, a young girl’s voice was heard from the entrance of the storehouse. However, the voice was very unusual. It sounded as if it was transmitted directly into my mind. It was difficult to describe it. If I had to draw an analogy, it would be that an invisible and cheap earphone was put on me and I was forced to listen to a cracking voice…At least, this was not the voice of a living human.
A semi-transparent girl was standing at the entrance. The scenery behind her could be seen through her body, which was evidently not substantial. Her age was…young. Her outward appearance was about twelve years old. Her braided green hair extended to her knees. Dressed in a robe, she attracted all of our attention.
“It has been a while, Ruphas-sama. You appeared unchanged from two hundred years ago. This old woman is relieved. Oh dear, the lifespan of a flügel is such an enviable thing. On the other hand, I just keep getting older and have now become a ghost. Hehehe.”
Contrary to her youthful appearance, her tone and composure were like those of an old woman. Her relaxed, long-winded speech was unbalanced when taking her appearance into consideration.
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“Well, it has been a long two hundred years. I knew that you would be back someday. And I have kept Vanaheim as you ordered back then. However, some time ago, I choked on a fruit and left my body.”
Looking at the laughing ghost, I could think of nothing and merely responded with a dumb “Eh?”.
Wait, wait a minute. Those words and a span of two hundred years. And that line about keeping Vanaheim. If you put all these together, then…
“Oh? What is it, Ruphas-sama? Have you forgotten the face of this old woman? Knowing about your resurrection, I hurriedly and painstakingly recreated my previous appearance.”
“Wa—Wait? That tone…and two hundred years…Are you granny?”
Before I could ask, Virgo posed her question while pointing her finger at the girl. Virgo did not recognize her immediately, so it meant that she was an ordinary old woman when she was still alive. The girl laughed as if it was really funny and answered in the tone of an old woman:
“What is it, my grandchild? A little difference in appearance and you no longer know me?”
“N—No, this isn’t a little difference at all…”
The girl puffed her chest up in front of Virgo and grinned. Then, she looked at us and opened the edge of her mouth, declaring her name in a dignified manner. The name was as we expected. She was the person we were looking for—
“I’m the one who stayed next to the Black-Winged Overlord, a member of the Twelve Heavenly Stars—Parthenos of the Maiden. To become Ruphas-sama’s strength once again, I have refused the call of the heavens.”