|Author: Eltria||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Tunandir||English Source: Re:Library|
Aurora remained silent as she glanced back and forth between me and the goddess who had just appeared.
“Hey, say something!” Fortuna urged.
“…It’s because I cannot accept your proposal, Fortuna,” Aurora finally responded after being pressed.
“Ugh, are you going to play the good girl again and make decisions on your own?” Fortuna expressed her displeasure without restraint. The chair she had been seated on plummeted and settled on the floor without a sound.
Fortuna looked at me with a smirk, boldly switching her crossed legs, causing her metal armor and shoes to clink coldly.
“Nice to meet you, Glass Dimelia,” she said, looking down at me with an air of condescension, her red-tinged wings spreading aggressively.
“Step down, Fortuna,” Aurora interjected softly, attempting to moderate her companion, but Fortuna only arched an eyebrow and ignored her.
“Did you hear about the conditions for reincarnation?” Fortuna asked, toying with her phoenix-decorated staff. I shook my head; no conditions had been mentioned to me.
“There’s no need to tell him. I will take care of the reincarnation,” Aurora asserted.
“You won’t. It’s Chronos’s role,” Fortuna shot back.
“But it’s I who has the right to decide,” Aurora stated firmly.
“And I have that right too, don’t I?” Fortuna challenged, the brief exchange revealing a rift between their intentions.
Fortuna’s assertive presence made me question the sincerity behind Aurora’s seemingly gentle and soothing words. My adoptive father, whom I had killed, had behaved similarly before revealing his true intentions.
“Fortuna. Are there conditions tied to my reincarnation?” I cut through their argument to address Fortuna directly.
“See, you didn’t inform him,” Fortuna said, glancing at Aurora with a triumphant look. She moved her chair closer to my crystal enclosure.
“Aurora prefers to simply place souls in pleasant environments for their new lives. But for a valuable hero such as yourself, we should leverage your knowledge or else it wouldn’t truly be a reward,” Fortuna explained.
“That’s dangerous. It’s precisely because we are goddesses and can interfere with people’s destinies that we should limit our power,” Aurora interjected before I could respond.
“How old-fashioned. I never said we should use the ‘Akashic Record’ to bend destiny. I’m just suggesting we reincarnate them as they are,” Fortuna countered.
I didn’t understand the specifics of reincarnation, but it was clear the conditions proposed by Aurora and Fortuna differed significantly.
“And you, don’t be deceived just because a goddess is speaking to you. In fact, it was Aurora who ordered your execution through Cassius because you tampered with the process of reincarnation,” Fortuna revealed.
I had already sensed this truth dimly, but even with full knowledge of my execution’s circumstances, there was nothing I could do about the past.
“I thought we could wait until we had confirmed that the homunculus had properly accepted your soul. Only then could it be considered complete,” Fortuna stated.
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“At that level of perfection, I couldn’t imagine it failing,” Aurora interjected with a wave of her hand.
“Sure, whatever. It’s in the name of justice, right?” Fortuna rose from her chair, waving her hand dismissively to cut off Aurora’s words. The clink of her metal shoes and armor resonated in the space.
“Now, which would you prefer? To be reborn as an infant, your memories erased, or to be reincarnated with all the memories you possess now?” Fortuna posed the question, making it clear that there was a choice to be made regarding the conditions of my reincarnation.
It seemed that Aurora’s condition for reincarnation involved starting anew without memories. If I had agreed to reincarnation without being informed of these terms, my essence, ‘I,’ would have ceased to exist. Yet, Fortuna’s proposition to maintain my memories intrigued me.
“…Is that really possible?” I asked, seeking clarification.
“Certainly. So, what’s your decision?” Fortuna pressed, awaiting my choice.
I had anticipated more conditions might be presented, but it appeared to be solely a question of memory retention.
“…If I am reincarnated with my memories intact, could I redo my life? When you talk about conditions, are we talking only about memory?” I wanted to be sure.
“Yes. And I’ll ensure you’re born into a better situation than before, so you’ll feel much better than in your previous miserable existence. Although, it might be hard for you to find happiness, given you never really experienced it before,” Fortuna explained, her tone sharp yet holding a flicker of empathy.
I did have a better impression of Fortuna, who smiled as she spoke. Rather than acting sympathetic like Aurora, it was strangely easier for me to accept the way she presented my situation clearly and objectively.
If what Fortuna said was right, what would life have been like without the loneliness and misery I was born into?
“You see, you’re getting interested, aren’t you? And since you have your memory, maybe you can continue your study of alchemy?” Fortuna suggested, a hint of encouragement in her tone.
“Fortuna,” Aurora addressed her, wary of the risk of brushing up against those unpredictable taboos again. As evidence of her concern, her tone grew more serious.
“…That’s not a decision to be made lightly.”
“Ah, you poor thing. Are you frightened?” Fortuna turned her attention to me, her words a mixture of comfort and condescension, then glanced at Aurora dismissively, “And you, no need for such a scowl.”
“It’s not Glass, but you I’m angry at,” Aurora clarified.
“Why? It’s not like it’s forbidden. We have just always followed your style,” Fortuna retorted before turning back to me. “You have already been executed once, so you won’t misbehave again, will you?”
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“I would prefer to spend my new life without worrying about that,” I replied. After all, if I were to be granted a new life, there would be no need to break the taboo again. The idea of leading a life without alchemy also intrigued me.
“See? It’s fine. I also thought it would be good to observe how this hero would live if he was reincarnated with his memories,” Fortuna mused.
“…I cannot accept that you distort the process of reincarnation for your own amusement,” Aurora expressed her disapproval, but Fortuna pointed her finger and laughed off the criticism.
“Disapproval is written all over your face!”
“If you understand, then stop at once.”
“Like hell I will!” Fortuna’s voice was defiant, and without paying any mind to Aurora’s trembling anger, she gestured with her staff towards the air.
“Chronos! Wake up, you sleepyhead!” The empty chair floating in midair began to glow with a pale light. A figure with reddish flaxen hair, dressed in matching clothes, and holding a gold cane resembling a mechanism like a hairspring, materialized, sitting quietly with her eyes closed.
Fortuna looked up at her and clicked her heels in annoyance. “I said wake up!” She flapped her wings, and a gust of wind rushed through, jolting the chair and its occupant. The girl, presumably Chronos, shuddered and sluggishly stood up midair, yawning.
“That’s terrible, Sis For,” she murmured.
“The quicker you reincarnate this guy, the quicker you can go back to your afternoon nap,” Fortuna commanded sternly. Chronos, now identified as a little goddess who seemed to have just woken up, blinked sleepily and looked at me.
“You can’t, Chronos. That person still has his memories—”
“Aren’t you listening to what I’m saying?” Fortuna interrupted Aurora, insisting on her command. Chronos, acquiescing, waved her golden, mechanically intricate staff.
“I agree with his reincarnation. A new life for this person—” As Chronos spoke, the spring on her staff began to move, and simultaneously, unfamiliar words lit up on the floor around me.
“I don’t remember consenting to this!” I shouted as a brilliant surge of light rushed towards me. The crystal cage shattered, and the light enveloped me in an instant.
“You don’t have the right to refuse. At least become a good experimental subject!” Fortuna’s mocking voice was the last thing I heard.