Chapter 57 God
It was, a completely empty place.
As far as the eye could see, in all 360 degrees, both up and down; it was all pure white. Not a tinge of any other colour existed here and that is why ‘She’ was the one who lived here.
Praying to the Goddess’ statue, that prayer would then reach her, and only after gaining her permission, one could enter this place.
It was tranquil and pure.
A sacred land where only a chosen few were allowed to enter.
It was that kind of a place.
“You’re finally here, eh?”
While in this place, even though she’s supposed to not be not visible, or rather just made of light, or should I say looks like a distortion……….anyway, even though she’s not supposed to have a physical body, she was currently, for some reason, sitting on a throne right in front of me completely visible.
Inside this white world, she was there with silver hair, elegantly wearing a white dress with silver embroidery, and the white skin that peeked out of her dress could charm anyone. Even the throne was made of silver, and the cushions on it were made of a white material. Even though everything was so related to white, only her golden eyes, which was a different colour, stood out.
Her almost cold looking, calm eyes stared at me and her mouth was straight as a line.
Clearly, she was displeased.
Her smiling expression shown in her silver statue felt like it was nothing more than a rare expression from her. But still to think of her as beautiful even now, I guess as expected of a Goddess eh?
Goddess Astraera. The creator of humankind and the Goddess of light.
The one who summoned us to this world and asked us to kill the Demon God.
And she, while looking more like a Queen, sat on her throne, with her legs crossed, looking down towards me.
“Why, Astraera-sama, you seem to be well——“(renji)
“No need for empty flattery. Raise your head.”
Floor——-well, since everything was white, it didn’t really feel like a floor but still, I tried to greet her normally while giving a customary kneel when she cut me off instantly. I knew she was not in a good mood but she actually seems pretty damn pissed right now.
Probably because I didn’t come to see her not a single time in the past one year.
As I raised my while thinking of a way to apologise to her, she continued to stare at me coldly. Because she had incredibly sharp features, she looked really scary. Almost as scary as an angry Utano-san, if I had to compare.
“Took you a while to come here, eh?”(ast) (T/N: ‘Ast’ for Astraera.)
But in her next words, I also felt some warm feelings of ‘thanking for the troubles’, or something like that.
She uncrossed her legs, as I heard some rustling of her clothes. And inside the tranquil space, I felt a more gentle atmosphere seep in.
“This past one year, how were you?”(ast)
“……..Just as always.”
When I said that, it seems she understood what I meant as her way of speaking was very gentle. As I stood up and faced her directly, now her eyes were narrow with gentleness instead.
So she was just bluffing……….that’s really bad for my heart.
Feeling with my own body that her pressure had reduced, I felt relieved. It looks like in this one year, she’s grown even more human like as well.
While wondering whether I should be happy about that, I gave a deep sigh without letting her realize.
“How rude, the first thing you do after meeting me in such a long time is give a sigh?”(ast)
“It’s probably because you have become more human-like though.”
“Really? I don’t really understand though.”
She sure can talk.
While thinking about how serious she was, I gave another sigh. At that, her, almost cold, beautiful face gave a smile.
Her expression was, really similar to Eru’s. Well I guess it’s only obvious. After all, Eru was born by dividing out a part of Astraera’s own magical energy. It’s normal for Eru to be similar to Astraera in many ways.
Though their appearances are similar, their personalities are completely opposite. They’re more, if I had to say, like mother and her daughter.
Astraera, Eru and Ermenhilde. If I had to speak of their relationship, that’s the best way to describe it.
“The fact that you’re finally here means, I am allowed to presume that you’re finally ready to look forward again right?”(ast)
“Do as you please. But, its only because the world seems to be in danger again.”
“I see. Then, you will save the world once more, right?”
“If, the world really is in mortal danger that is.”
After a short pause.
“As long as my opponent is not another God.”(renji)
AS I said that while shrugging, she said that while sighing in relief. Looks like she really thought that I’d refuse.
She really still has a lot to learn.
I will, no matter what she says next, no matter what she wishes of me………if it is to save this world from danger, I will not refuse. That alone, I can say with pride.
But, I will not face another God.
It’s the same even for this Goddess. Even though she once said that she hates fighting but after having faced the Demon God, I can tell. This Goddess is in a completely different dimension of power.
I can’t even think that I could kill her easily even if I fought seriously.
——–To kill Gods, a sacrifice is needed. A lot of precious people need to be sacrificed for such a thing.
“Renji, are you aware of the abnormality widespread in this world right now?”(ast)
“The fact that the Demon God’s descendants are appearing in Imnesia, and that the monsters have begun to move more actively, is it?”
“Exactly. The more serious one is the former—-the fact that those descendants are still being born.”
So, as expected, they weren’t a random natural occurrence, but are truly the descendants of the Demon God. I was pretty sure already but being told that surely makes it easier to accept.
I recalled that black orc, and the black ogre that attacked the Magic city.
The skeleton I fought in the forest was——I wonder about that one.
There was one thing common between the black orc and the ogre. That was that they were both too weak for the Demon God’s descendants. No matter how specialised Ermenhilde is to kill gods, the descendants aren’t weak enough that they can be taken down by me alone. In contrast, the Skeleton was strong enough that even me along with Mururu couldn’t beat it at all.
Those two were newborn, but the latter one was there from a long time. That was the only way to possibly make it coherent. We had simply failed to find and kill that Skeleton during our journey to subjugate the Demon God. The Orc and the ogre were newborn and had not yet grown mature. That’s why they lacked experience, and——-were weak.
Considering that we didn’t go near the forest back then indeed, it all makes sense.
“I definitely killed the Demon God Nayfell, with these two hands.”
“Yes, you did.”
“Then why are new descendants being born still? Wasn’t it the Demon God himself who gave birth to them?”
“It’s because Nayfell’s corpse still exists.”
Those few words, made me choke. As if my heart had been grabbed, it felt tight and painful inside.
“Yes. You should have received something from Zwenelia correct?”
Being told that, I recalled——the Demon Go’s heart. Beautiful like a crystal but much harder than that——-ominous, abominable, detestable fragment of his heart.
It’s what the Spirit God Zwenelia sent to us through Mururu.
“That fragment of his heart?”
“Does it look like his heart to you?”
Her words seemed to imply as if our perception of it was not correct.
No, it’s not impossible. All we think we know about the Gods is nothing more than what we theorized and nothing more. Maybe our perception is flawed. And because of that we accepted that without a doubt.
Games, movies, mangas and novels. A lot of things existed in our world. In such things a lot of diverse ‘info’ about such beings of other world, like monsters, Gods, beastmen, demihumans, and fairies exist in mass quantity. And some of it did seem applicable in this world as well.
Like monsters and beasts in forest being afraid of fire, water monsters being weak to lightning. Water beast fire, lightning beats water, earth beats lightning, and winds beats earth. The basic knowledge and concepts about elements etc did indeed become one of our weapons in this world.
Though as this wasn’t a game there were different set of problems but still——the knowledge we held was used by us with confidence.
That’s why even against the Demon God……..by smashing the [heart] that lay in the centre of his body that surely seemed like just his weakness, I destroyed all of his body till nothing remained. I thought that it was enough but……..it seems like that [heart] was its actual true body.
“Since you broke its main body, the number of parts it broke into turned into descendants in turn.”
The moment I heard that, my shoulders felt unbearably heavy. My head hurt like crazy and I used my fingers to press on the temple of head.
Does that mean, I am the cause of this?
“But, the problem doesn’t lie there.”(ast)
“Felt a bit relieved?”
“…….thanks for the kind words.”
“Oh, you’re way of speaking has turned back to normal.”
“Thank you very much.” (T/N: Renji speaks formally with her but in the previous line he speaks like would normally so he fixes it here.)
When I spoke it that way again, she gave a laugh.
Even though the world is in danger, she’s calm as usual. Seeing her, I gave a sigh again.
“So, do I have to go around killing the descendants now?”(renjI)
“That would be great on its own but, I doubt you’d make it in time.”
“What do you mean?”
I felt an ill omen when she said that.
If the newborn descendants are the threat to the world, why does she say that I won’t make it in time? Exactly [what] will I be late for?
Waiting for her answer, I stayed quiet.
“The danger to the world is that the Demons are trying to revive Nayfell.”
Repeating what she said like parrot, I searched through my memories thinking of something similar I had heard before.
I found it soon enough. Back when I faced that demon at magic city, this is what that demon had said. That the Demon Lord Shelfa was refusing to revive the Demon God.
Thinking of that, it seems a portion of demons, whether it be the majority or the minority, are in favour of this and the Demon Lord isn’t interested in it.
I can’t imagine what that battle maniac is thinking at all but I don’t really need to either. I won’t know till I ask it directly myself.
“But the result will be—–Renji, you should know it well as you made a similar wish.”(ast)
When I wished to revive Eru, Ermenhilde was born…….it seems Nayfell will also be revived as a completely different existence.
That must be what Astraera means.
Now what kind of a God this [completely different existence ]is——is that not the problem?
“Even I do not know what kind of existence it is.”(ast)
“What do you mean?”
“That is, whether it will hold the will of Nayfell—one of the 3 pillars of this world or will it be nothing more than an avatar of destruction…….or is it just a mere vessel.”
“And you don’t know that.”
“There have been countless times when Gods have revived beings of their own creation, for eg. humans or demihumans, but for an existence that isn’t even a descendant to revive a God, this is the first case after all.”
I guess, it is.
Even though Eru was born of the Godess’ own magical energy, even the Goddess herself was unable to revive her properly.
Then what would happen if mere Demons tried to revive their Demon God, I can’t even imagine.
Even though the world was in danger, I felt a bit of déjà vu,—–probably because I did something similar.
I got to meet my partner Ermenhilde but I’m sure Nayfell—-will become something different as well. It was a sad thing and painful……….once more, so many will get sacrificed.
That Demon God, no amount of hate is enough for that thing. If it revived as he was before…….I will again, fight with all my strength. Even while knowing how many sacrifices may arise to do that.
He said he was bored.
Just like Astraera wishes to look over the people who live in this world, just like Zwenelia like to sleep in peace and quiet,…….that monster, wished for strife and conflict.
Whether his will remains, or just his strength, or maybe he would be just a vessel. But—–I will not ignore a God who wishes for strife.
(Part 2 )
“So, you said that I won’t make it time?”(renji)
“The number of fragments into which the main body of Nayfell has been smashed into is simply too big. I’m sure that by the time they revive him, you will not be able to kill all the descendants in time.”
Is the number that big?
I felt like asking how many, but decided not to in the end. I feel like I’ll only lose my motivation hearing some insane number.
If it was impossible for me alone, Souichi and the others can also help……….I thought but, if Astraera said that, the number should be so big that we won’t make it in time even then.
“Then, what should I do? If you’re going to tell me to kill a revived Nayfell again, I……….”
I alone, am not sufficient……..in terms of power, and life…….in everything.
——-the seven constraints set on Ermenhilde. Now that I know all of them, I know I cannot fight against a God all alone.
[My will to fight.]
[My will to protect someone.]
[To keep a promise to my comrades.]
[Fighting against the Demon God or his descendants.]
[Receiving Astraera’s protection.]
[Death of a comrade.]
……….and the seventh one.
I cannot fight alone. If I don’t have comrades——if I don’t have a lot of comrades, I cannot release my full strength. And above all—–I need to make a huge amount of sacrifices as well.
I am not strong enough, to once again fulfil all those conditions.
I’m sure, that if all 7 of the covenants were released, I can fight one on one with Nayfell. No, I know I can win. Because my and Eru’s……..Ermenhilde’s power specialise in killing Gods.
“That’s not it.”(ast)
As if she could read my mind, Astraera spoke up with a smile.
“I, after the influence of monsters had reduced a bit more, was planning to prepare a replacement in place of nayfell.”(ast)
“A replacement for Nayfell?”
“Right now the world, due to Nayfell’s influence as well, is tilted towards the monsters’ advantage. So, I was thinking of increasing the influence of the humans (Goddess) and the demihumans and beastmen (Spirit God) to restore the balance in the world.”
This is the first time I’m hearing of something like this.
But still, true, the world was currently overrun with monsters but there was no influence of humans or demihumans in Abenelm where the demons and Monsters live. That’s because the monsters and demons continue to increase in Abenelm.
While the humans get killed and decrease due to monsters, Monsters themselves keep on getting born. That does destroy the balance. That’s why, right now while the Demon God was not in existence, it was the best time to fix the balance between the 3 pillars.
“But, the demons are trying to revive Nayfell by themselves.”(renji)
“Yes. If that happens, the demons will once more point their fangs towards humans and demihumans.”
I don’t even have to think to imagine what the result would be. War will start, once more.
Children and elders will have to take up weapons once more, and instead of working on fields peacefully, it’ll turn the world into a kill or be killed world once again. That hell, will start again.
………just thinking of it made me feel dizzy.
“And this time, the world, being already exhausted from fighting against the Demon God once, will not be able to survive.”(ast)
“You say that but you still sound pretty calm…….Or is it just my imagination?”(renji)
When I asked that, she shook her head. Her silky silver hair swayed from her movements.
“Renji, I have only one wish to make of you.”
“A new Demon God—-Lead a new demon God that hates fighting to the throne of Gods.”
But, the words she spoke were completely out of my expectations.
“Did you not hear me? I am asking you to lead a new Demon God to the Abenelm continent.”
“No, I get that but………”
I understand that its necessary and important but still…
I am one the Heroes who saved mankind and the Demon God is an enemy that mankind must defeat. He’s the natural enemy of all living beings of this world. And she’s asking me to arrange for a new Demon God………..I can already imagine how people will react to this.
Because I did not give her a reply, Astraera tilted her head in confusion as she looked at me. No even if you make such a cute gesture, I still can’t easily nod my head to something like that you know?
“Do you perhaps need further explanation?”(ast)
My voice was so flat that it surprised even me.
Looking at me like that and laughing slightly, she once again crossed her slender legs. If she wore glasses as well, she’d really look like a sexy teacher, I’m sure.
The reason I thought that was because Kudou did the same action as Astraera many times before while saying that. Really, both Kudou and Koutarou are nothing more than bad influences to everyone.
“This world has not yet recovered to survive another war. So, we need to put a Demon God on the throne who doesn’t fight. If we can do that, even the monsters will go silent.”(ast)
“……….Wait, why would monsters?”
“In fact, I should be the one to ask that of you.”
“Why did you all not realize why the monsters have become more and more active after Nayfell died?”
From just those words, everything connected inside my head.
At the same time, a heavy, very heavy……from the depths of my stomach, I leaked a sigh.
“Do I have to say everything out loud for you to understand? Or do you simply want me to say it?”
And , after coming into this space, for the first time……..Astraera, though only a small one, but she gave a laugh that I could clearly hear.
While looking at her, my heart only felt heavier.
Basically, now that a overpowering entity like the Demon God had disappeared, the monsters had begun to rampage and do whatever they felt like. They eat when they want, and go on rampages when they feel like it. And the one who was suppressing these natural instinct of monsters was the Demon God Nayfell. That means, the reason why the monsters were rampaging about right now was because I killed the Demon God. No, that also needed to be done but…….realizing that I’m the cause behind it, I really can’t laugh.
………..in the end, what did that monster truly want to do?
I hate nayfell.
And I’m sure, he wished for someone like me as well.
He wanted to kill and destroy the world. Yet, because he existed, the monsters were kept in check as well.
In the end,—–what lied at the end of his path? If I had lost and Nayfell had lived,……..what would have the world been like?
“Renji, when will you come back next?”
While I was feeling like scratching my head, a calm voice came to me.
It was as calm as the surface of a lake, it was Astraera’s normal voice. When I heard the same voice I had heard the first time I met her, I felt a bit relieved.
But, what she spoke was completely different from that time, it was a personal thing instead.
“You won’t come again?”
“No, I will, I think.”
Maybe because she has a physical body right now, but being shown a smile like that made me extremely conscious about her.
Though, even if she had been nothing but light, or should I say, a distortion in space, I still would have listened to her anyway.
“I don’t like waiting. Please, come meet sooner next time.”
While giving a vague reply, I lightly shook my head that felt a bit heavy.
“Since it was a rare festival, I was hoping you’d call me out in the city.”
“……….if you showed up in the city, it won’t be just a bustling festival anymore, you know?”
That’s what you care about?
When I gave a sigh while averting my gaze, I felt the pressure from her increase a bit.
“Even though I was waiting for so long.”(ast)
“……..I don’t care.”
Saying words that would be normally considered almost blasphemous, I gave a loud sigh.
“Though this body doesn’t require food, I still have a sense of taste you know?”(ast)
I had taken her to so many stalls before so of course, I know.
I’m sure that must have awakened the gourmet inside of her. Now leaving aside whether that was a good thing or not, why am I the only who is asked to do such things?
Even if its not me, tehre’s Souichi and Kuuki—–in fact, I’m sure Koutarou would immediately listen to anything Astraera asked. It must be because I was the first to have ever brought her out of this space, I guess.
“Freshly roasted meat is really tasty you know?”
Saying things that should be weird for a Goddess, she looked at me sulkily. Though Gods require that they are worshipped, this Goddess still loves festivals more than prayers and offerings.
I don’t know who would want to watch a peerless beauty like her eating skewered Orc meat from a stall on some street. I definitely don’t want to.
But still, this goddess really wants to eat it. I really can’t understand what gods are thinking.
“The next time I come, I’ll bring some for you, okay?”(renji)
“No, Renji, I want to eat a freshly roasted one.”
“……..is that so?”
Looks she really wants to get out of this space.
Well, I can understand her. Once you learn to enjoy such things, this empty space will always feel boring. I guess this also my responsibility as I was the one who brought her out of here.
“Even though back then, you’d always take me out.”(ast)
Even though she says ‘me’, she’s just one part of Goddess Astrara’s will.
“It was a youthful indiscretion on my part.” (renji)
“You still look pretty young from my point of view though?”(ast)
“Why, thank you.”
“Also, I find your normal way of talking is much more likeable than this.”
After that, the conversation ended.
“So, where’s this Demon God I’m supposed to lead?”(renji)
But, at that she made a really surprised face.
“Are you really asking me that?”(ast)
“What, did I ask something strange?”
“No. You really are sensitive to just hostility and nothing else, aren’t you?”
Wait, is she calling me dense?
Feeling slightly sullen, it must have shown on my face as Astraera gave a gentle smile.
“The descendant you people called as a tortoise. It’s the girl you found where you slaughtered that descendant.”
Tilting my head on a word that doesn’t exist in this world, I quickly recalled something.
Tortoise. Or rather the descendant Koutarou named [Genbu]. (T/N: Genbu refers to: Black Tortoise, a Chinese constellation symbol. Google for more info.)
It was giant like a mountain, and very slow. From above, it really did look like a tortoise……it was once called the strongest descendant that lived ion Imnesia. Hearing that old name, I recalled the place where we killed it. Meaning…….
“………So it’s Solnea, eh?”
When I said that name, the Goddess’ smile deepened.