‘Well then, over here’, the landscape changed instantly without even giving me the chance to nod.
Under a sky that doesn’t have a single cloud in the sky, the sides and up and down were surrounded by deep darkness.
The presence of Azu-san and Tomoe has disappeared.
I was the only one who was separated?
But I didn’t feel hostility from that dragon that called itself Futsu.
It doesn’t seem to be an attack.
I don’t know how the world of the dead works, so I am troubled by what to do.
I can’t see anything aside from my own body.
No matter where I look, it is the same.
I also don’t feel as if something is hiding or erasing its presence and observing me. Not being able to grasp a presence at all is exactly how this feels.
…Well, it would be a different matter if this were a world where people like Rokuya are all around the place though.
“It took me a bit of time to prepare. Sorry for making a guest of mine wait.”
A voice reverberated in my head, and the snake-like dragon from just a while ago was floating in front of my eyes.
What, so it didn’t go to change or transform huh.
“How tasteless. So I am in this form.” (Futsu)
No well, you are the one that presented yourself in that figure.
Even I find it rare to be in a place like this where there’s nothing.
If you want to change your appearance, just go change it yourself. If you are an incredible dragon, something of that level shouldn’t be hard.
“I was the one who was told ‘well then, over here’, so receiving that impression of yours troubles me though.” (Makoto)
“…Right, sorry. I am currently entertaining the three of you in different places, so I tried my best so that the space were to recreate the place you wished for, but it looks like I made a mistake somewhere.” (Futsu)
“Wished for?” (Makoto)
But there’s nothing here though.
“Aznoval is in a forest that shines brilliantly with life, and Tomoe seems to be in a place of retirement in seclusion. In that case, this might be the kind of place that your heart finds respite in…” (Futsu)
“Stop it. That makes me feel kind of sad.” (Makoto)
I felt like I was told my imagination was abysmal, and that made me sad.
Not only that, it was vexing.
If at least some stars were shining here, it would have turned into a starry sky.
There really is nothing here.
“In this world of the dead that serves as the temporary residence of the souls, their outer appearance and landscape can be changed as much as one wants. That’s why the landscape that the souls wish for spreads in this land here and there, and in the cases when living beings like you guys visit it, I can change its look to a certain extent. For example, like this.” (Futsu)
The words of Futsu stop, and then, right in front of me, a plain chair and table appeared as if it had risen from the darkness.
“So you can create things as much as you want huh. That’s impressive.” (Makoto)
This probably means she wants me to take a seat, so I do so.
I could clearly feel how the seat received my weight at my back.
“It is completely different from Creation. Please view it similarly to the one your follower Tomoe uses, where she temporarily provides substance to her illusions.” (Futsu)
“Tomoe’s… I see.” (Makoto)
I do know that Tomoe has obtained the ability to grant substance to her illusions.
If it is in battle, there’s absolutely no problem at all, but to use it in daily life situation, the bottleneck is that it is a power that can only be used for a short period of time. When Tomoe is silver haired, she obtains the ability to strengthen the vague sensation of the boundary between reality and void.
“The invitation to come here was mainly for Tomoe. I thought about having you give your opinions regarding this, so I asked you to come along as well.” (Futsu)
“Business with Tomoe?” (Makoto)
Oho, looks like this is not good.
Feels like I will have to be cautious.
The other party is an existence that stood on par with Root.
Just what kind of unreasonable request will it be asking my important aide for.
“Yeah. Aznoval said that this might serve as a mood-changer for you too. Of course, I will be lending my help in that aspect. If you want to learn about this world, experience it, and on top of that, there’s something you want to ask about, I promise you to answer whatever you want.” (Futsu)
…Even if you tell me that…
The world of the dead and things about souls; I might have a lot of things to ask about that unknown and mysterious topic, but…what about things I myself want to ask about?
As I thought, the thing that bothers me the most is regarding Tomoe.
She is an important family member after all.
Now that I think about it, using that as an excuse, I have done something cruel to Mio. And I might have hurt Tomoe as well with it.
That’s probably why she broke so grandly when the talk about children was brought out.
Regarding Mio, there’s also the issue with Rokuya-san and… damn it.
When I leave here and return to Tsige, I must resolve myself properly regarding that matter.
Leaving aside the other matters, I have already reached an answer regarding those two a long time ago after all.
“It is true that this is an important experience, and a chance. But right now, the thing I am the most interested about is what you plan on having Tomoe do. There’s no other thing that bothers me aside from that.” (Makoto)
“There’s no need for you to worry. Not only do I currently not have the power to hurt you, I don’t possess the power to hurt the current Tomoe either.” (Futsu)
“This is the world of the dead, right? When I was told that, it reminded of many old stories and myths. For example; an existence that had been semi-imprisoned in this world and was searching for someone to take its place and tried to deceive that person into it.” (Makoto)
“That’s a myth passed down between the Wise -between Japanese people huh. Ah, I see. It is true that this place has a number of rules that are unique to this place alone, but I don’t have any plans on leaving this place, you know. That’s why, when I learned about Tomoe’s existence, I thought about calling her here. I asked this of Aznoval, but I didn’t think it would be fulfilled so soon.” (Futsu)
“I don’t understand what you are trying to say. I also don’t understand at all why you are aiming for Tomoe. Those words didn’t serve much in erasing my suspicions.” (Makoto)
“Fufu. In terms of binding the living to this place, well, putting it in an easy to understand way, there’s one that states that you can do it by having them eat food of this world while they are in this world.” (Futsu)
In the stories I know of, most of them are basically like that too.
Most of the myths I only know about them roughly, but the times the world of the dead appear in the story, they are mostly because they wish to revive a specific important someone. And in those kind of stories, it is filled with traps like: ‘don’t drink, don’t eat, don’t turn back, don’t open your eyes’.
She easily revealed it, but it looks like this place really does have those kind of rules.
“…As I thought. Owa?!” (Makoto)
A short mutter leaks out from my mouth.
As if using my conviction as a signal, Futsu’s figure shrinks to a size similar to that of mine.
‘Ooh, in this size, even Dragons are cute’, is the stupid thing I was thinking when a broadleaf tree, which wasn’t too big, sprouted at the side of Futsu
It blossomed, withered, and stays in a form in between yellow and orange and a number of colorful fruits had sprouted from it.
It looked like tangerines.
“For example, if you were to eat the fruits -that are called *Golden Apples* by Aznoval- here in this place, your mind and body will be powerfully bound to this side, and even if you try to leave, it would take quite a lot of time and work.” (Futsu) <TLN: ときじく not really sure of this one. Just found the closest one that fit the description which can be the Golden Apples or the Peaches of Immortality –might be something more obscure though.>
I remember hearing about it. If I remember correctly, eating it would grant you immortality?
Eh, or was it longevity? Heal diseases? Or was it simply a symbol of eternity?
Crap, it is incredibly vague.
I feel like it had a longer name than that.
But why did he put a name like that to a thing that would entrap you in the world of the dead?
That’s a fruit that would imprison you in this side forever.
“Golden Apples huh. I remember hearing that name in myths.” (Makoto)
“Must be. He said that he used that as a reference. About those Golden Apples, if you were to bring them to the outside world and have a living being eat it, they can obtain an immortal body. If you want to, please take a few with you.” (Futsu)
Is that why.
“I don’t need a single one of them.” (Makoto)
“With a person that holds this kind of landscape inside of them, I did think that you would be saying that, but to think you would answer instantly. From what I heard, you are supposed to be a merchant. I don’t think there’s any article that would make you as much profit than this, you know.” (Futsu)
“No need to mind it.” (Makoto)
“Understood. I won’t force you. Fufufu, but really, you…” (Futsu)
“…What is it?” (Makoto)
“I simply thought that the Goddess and Root must be having quite the hard time with you. I personally don’t like the two of them, so from my point of view peeking at you from this side, you are the best. Please do drag them around to the brim of their patience. Yeah, without any restraint -thoroughly.” (Futsu)
I could tell that the cute-looking Futsu in front of me was laughing in an evil way.
So even if she doesn’t have any plans on revenge, she doesn’t hold that much of a good impression towards the Goddess and Root huh.
She says she doesn’t like them, but in truth, she probably actually hates them to the core. Yeah.
“…*Cough*, a bit of resent got mixed in there, but I personally am looking forward to what you will be achieving in the future. That’s why I have no intentions of imprisoning you here, and I also have no intentions of stealing your important companion, Tomoe. What I wish from Tomoe is…to transfer my power.” (Futsu)
“Transfer your power?” (Makoto)
Even when she has told me, I don’t understand the meaning.
Is there a reason why she wants to get weaker?
“For someone like me who passes her days managing souls, the past powers that are still inside this body of mine are a waste of a treasure. To be more specific, it is the strongest power of I, who was called Mother Earth Silver Dragon, ‘Dragon Mother’.” (Futsu)
“Mother Earth Silver Dragon…Dragon Mother?” (Makoto)
Now that she mentions it, when I pour a lot of my power to Tomoe, her hair turns silver.
Is there a connection to that?
Also, what kind of power is Dragon Mother to begin with?
“I have already said this before, but I have no intentions of binding Tomoe. ‘Dragon Mother’ is a power that is related to the nucleus of life. It is difficult to explain it in words, and it would be best to understand it from intuition and experience. Hm…Azu…I see. I understand.” (Futsu)
It looks like Futsu’s mind is currently not here right now.
From how she is talking, it seems as if she is thinking about something.
It feels like the times when someone is having a talk in thought transmission.
…Ah, could it be that Futsu is currently speaking with all three of us at the same time?
If that’s the case, she is quite skilled.
Having a conversation with three people separately at the same time; just thinking about it makes me confused.
Anyways, Futsu, who is most likely concentrating on her conversation with Azu-san, seems to be gentle.
It is pretty different from her attitude towards me that is as if she is receiving a guest.
It must be true that Azu-san and his group are in a close relationship with Futsu.
“I’m sorry about that. I received a small advice just now.” (Futsu)
“No, I don’t really mind.” (Makoto)
“About the power of ‘Dragon Mother’, putting it plainly, it is a power that lets you understand the world’s dragon pulse and utilize them.” (Futsu)
World’s *dragon pulse*. <Ryuumyaku>
Like the Ley-lines.
Even if you tell me that, I only know that it is like the energy of the earth. I am not knowledgeable about feng shui or things of that matter.
Did Azu-san think I would be able to understand with this?
It is true that this gave me a clearer image in that part about nucleus of life though.
“Regarding the part about comparing it to this so called ‘Dragon Pulse’, I would also like to ask Aznoval about that later, but putting it in a different way, it is like the fossilization of the soul of all things. Because of the result of something that’s similar to friction produced in the moment when the souls come and go from that side to this side, at the depths of the whole world, there’s a mass of power that flows like a river and— no, as I thought, it really is difficult to explain.” (Futsu)
“…You are saying that Tomoe has the ability to utilize this?” (Makoto)
“I certainly did feel it. From the current Superior Dragons, the only ones that can obtain this specialty are Tomoe or Root. And for a certain reason, it is impossible for Root. Also, seeing Tomoe with silver hair, I was convinced.” (Futsu)
“By accepting it, will it forcefully affect Tomoe’s position and personality in some way?” (Makoto)
“No. I ascertain this. Strictly speaking, this is like an access permission of sorts. It will be done in an instant.” (Futsu)
In reality, it sounds like a sweet deal.
She says that she will be giving power for free, so it is extraordinarily sweet.
But you know…no matter how much you don’t like the Goddess and Root, would she really go to such lengths?
“From what I see, you are seriously intending on confronting that God. In that case, the power of ‘Dragon Mother’ should serve to protect Tomoe. Even if Tomoe wishes for it, if you as her master rejects it, it is impossible to transfer the power. Can you please give me the answer? What do you think about it?” (Futsu)
“If there’s no demerit at all. In my personal opinion, I want Tomoe to get stronger. BUT! If she herself doesn’t wish for it, it is a definite no. That’s my conclusion.” (Makoto)
“Okay. You guys have a nice relationship formed there. That scarily powerful Spirit, and the hyuman corpse that has obtained growth are probably the same as Tomoe. I am slightly jealous.” (Futsu)
Spirit and Corpse.
Tamaki’s existence hasn’t been noticed by even the Goddess, so…is she talking about Mio and Shiki?
I somewhat understand about Shiki, but is Mio categorized as a Spirit? Not in the Calamity category?
“Tomoe said the same thing. That if it will serve to protect you and sweep away your uneasiness, she would want as much power as possible. But she also said that if it is something you don’t wish for, she will not put a single finger on it.” (Futsu)
That Tomoe, she sometimes says really admirable things.
I seriously am only blessed by people.
“Understood. Tomoe will be taking that ‘Dragon Mother’ power. But, when something abnormal happens…” (Makoto)
I definitely won’t forgive you.
“You definitely won’t forgive me, right? I know. I was sure you would say that. As I thought, you really do resemble him. It is vexing, but I understand why Root is so stuck onto you.” (Futsu)
“If you understand…that’s good.” (Makoto)
Honestly, receiving power for free in a state where I still can’t trust the other party completely, is something that I don’t really want to do much. It doesn’t feel good.
Even so, thinking about the battle with the Goddess that will be coming in time, it wouldn’t be bad to have the others aside from me also gain a lot of powers.
“Ah right, if you are thinking that it doesn’t feel good to receive power for free…” (Futsu)
As if seeing through my heart, Futsu speaks.
Is my way of thinking that similar to this guy she is talking about?
I don’t think I am similar to a guy that would take Root as his bride though.
“Can you please take care of the trouble in Kannaoi? About that matter, if we were to trace it to its origin, it is a fight that stems from their love for their country and territory. That’s why, you should be able to take care of it even through their tricks. It is originally something that I wouldn’t be getting involved with, but thanks to one of the two royalties that the Goddess has bestowed being up to no good…things have gotten quite complicated.” (Futsu)
“Royalties? Are you talking about the charm eye?” (Makoto)
What does she mean by ‘the royalty that the Goddess has bestowed’?
That’s the power of Tomoki’s demonic eye, and that’s certainly something that the Goddess bestowed upon him but…
“The power that the Goddess has bestowed to the heroes is royalty conferment. A strong body and magic power, also a power that is fitting for them as rulers has been selected and manifested. I don’t know how she explained it to them, and that’s something only the person herself knows though.” (Futsu)
“The Goddess has invited two heroes. The likes of the Goddess are biased, and the power of the sacred treasures she gave them may have differences, but it seems like the power they obtained is pretty similar.” (Futsu)
“So that’s a part of their power huh…” (Makoto)
“Without meeting each other, without speaking with each other, without being in contact with each other; a disgusting thing to see and touch that has the power to cut into pieces the bonds between people and capsize it. In this Lorel, in this country that loves Wise, there’s no need for this disease.” (Futsu)
“It is true that I did think badly of it since it was something done by a Japanese person.” (Makoto)
I didn’t think the charm power would evolve into such a way of using after all.
“Of course, I will have the Adventurers of Origin cooperate as well. But they have a limit in how much they can intervene, so I want to ask of you -who lives in the present- to bring a close to this.” (Futsu)
…Could it be she also knows about my relationship with Iroha-chan?
If Rokuya-san has told her about it via Azu-san, it might be possible.
But if the Adventurers of Origin can’t stand at the front stage of history and are trying to reduce their influence to it, even if it is possible, it is most likely impossible for them to solve the problem.
A happy ending where everyone views the dawn with a smile doesn’t exist. That includes matters where a country has turned muddy.
There’s people who wish to reach even if it’s only a bit better of a conclusion, and without minding the amount, they do their best without sparing any effort.
And, I know about that girl to a certain extent.
That eager figure of hers.
“I will be telling you this in advance. It is not certain that it will reach the conclusion that you wish for, you know?” (Makoto)
“I am already aware of that. Many lives will most likely come here. But that’s also the usual. I won’t blame you for that.” (Futsu)
“In that case, as an honorarium for giving power to Tomoe, I will try to do as much as I can.” (Makoto)
It makes me feel more relaxed when it is a work that has a reward after all.
“Your arrival to Kannaoi probably made the issue proceed in an accelerated manner. Revolts will most likely be occurring in the towns at the vicinity. Please go at it at your own discretion.” (Futsu)
Leaving an ominous prognostic, the darkness is wiped, and returned to the previous landscape where Azu-san and Tomoe are also in.
Well, it doesn’t matter whatever it is.
At a glance, it doesn’t look like Tomoe has changed, and Azu-san is probably the same.
Mio and the others are probably waiting, so this is a good time.
Let’s return to the world of the living.
There’s no traps, right? We can return, right?