Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka? 216

216 Temporary Return

It stunk.
The assault of the worst stench of my life made me reflexively lower the sensitivity of my nose.
A nose as good as a dog’s turned into one as good as a human’s.
Still, the unpleasantness had taken hold and didn’t quite go away.

The wind caressed my skin.
Another hardly pleasant sensation.
Frankly, it was cold.

All kinds of sounds reached my ears.
The people walking past me talking.
The cars driving by.
Music leaking from the apartment buildings.

I was in front of the station in a town that set the delicate line between rural and metropolitan.

I had returned to Japan.

Among the duties I had given my clones, the most important had been finding a way to teleport to earth.
There were a number of reasons.
Games, manga, sweets, instant noodles.
There’s no good reason coming to mind?
Oh, whatever.

First, I entered a convenience store.
By the way, I wasn’t wearing my usual robe.
It screamed “fantasy” way too clearly. Instead I had changed into clothes that wouldn’t feel out of place in Japan.
It seemed to be winter, so I was wearing an appropriate white coat as well as a skirt and boots.
I was completely white, so with my white clothes, I did stand out.
Changing their color wasn’t impossible, but it’s a pain.
I’d go back soon anyway, so as long as they don’t call the police on me, standing out a bit is no problem.
Having my eyes closed all the time might be a bit dangerous though.

Inside the convenience store, I grabbed the next best magazine.
Then, I checked the issue.
Seeing the date, although not entirely unexpected, gave me a little surprise.

Although more than five earth-years had passed in the other world, here only half a year had gone by.
Apparently the flow of time differed.
Was this the special theory of relativity?
Nah, I only wanted to say that once. I don’t know the special theory of relativity, so I wouldn’t know anyway.
Welp, being hung-up over physics in a world with magic energy and stuff is weird anyway.

But still, half a year, huh…
Figures that things still look like I remember them.
After five years, the buildings and so may very well look different, so I thought it was strange when that wasn’t the case.
So when I thought “No way” and checked, I turned out to be right.

Since I was already there, I caught up reading the weekly manga inside the store and left without buying anything.
Buy something?
I’m broke. Got a problem?

Besides, the clerk gave me those dubious looks when I kept reading manga eyes closed~
I hurriedly made my exit.
My X-ray vision works properly on earth, too.
In the first place, if magic didn’t work here, I wouldn’t have been able to teleport here. My safe arrival proved that wrong.
In literature, earth often doesn’t develop magic for reasons like having no magic energy, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
No idea why it didn’t develop though.
Somebody might be pulling strings behind the scenes, but what do I know.

Still, I wanted to head to the likely candidate for that string-pulling.
It goes without saying that candidate is D.

My biggest reason for coming to earth was meeting D in person.
Entertainment and such were only secondary.
Really, okay?

I knew about D, but that was it.
We’d never met.
But my pride didn’t allow me becoming the kin of someone I’d never met.
I originally really didn’t want to become someone’s underling.
Even if I was to make a concession and unwillingly give in there, I at least wanted it to be for someone I can accept.
That’s why I had to judge D with my own eyes.
Was that person worthy for me to work for?

Unfortunately, I probably wouldn’t be able to win with power.
D was the creator behind a super-complex, large scale magic like the System, if nothing else.
Knowing a fraction of that, I caught a glimpse of its artistic perfection.
That alone told of our difference in power.
Even after becoming a god, being the lowest class god who can’t even properly utilize her power, I had no chance of winning.

Besides, if I was to blindly believe fragmented information and what D disclosed, then D was particularly strong even among gods.
If I was to blindly believe it, that is.

That’s why I wouldn’t look at D’s power.
I’d see whether D gave me the right feeling or not.
Nothing more, nothing less.

If, by chance, it wasn’t right, then I’ll think about it when the time comes.
I could pretend to submit for a while and run away, or build up power and overthrow D, depending on how I feel.
Just like I’d always done so far.

I walked towards my destination.
There was none of the earthy smell I was used to, only various stenches.
The concrete road stretched on endlessly.
The town felt somewhat cramped.

None of those sensations particularly moved me.
I didn’t feel like I’d come home.
You could say it’s natural.
If I had to say, there was only that hazy feeling.

Ah, a Gyuudon stall.
Ahh, I wanna eat~.
But, no money.
I wonder if D will give me an allowance?
If so, then I’d have no problem making D my master, yep.

I walked from the station to a residential area.
Compared to downtown, there were less people here, and shops slowly disappeared.
I walked on.
There was a single house, hiding in the shadows between the others.
A single house, around 10 years old, without any particular features.

I opened the gate and walked towards the entrance.
I thrust my finger between the roots of the potted plant standing next to the door.
There was the key there.
With the key, I opened the front door.

The inside was ruled by silence.
Right after coming inside, there were the stairs up.
Without hesitation, I climbed them.

Arriving on the second floor, I opened the door right next to me.
I could hear the faint sounds of a computer inside.
The screen shows a game, a bald, old man magnificently dodging his enemies’ attacks.
Every time he does, the controller rattles.

“Welcome. Or maybe I should say ‘Welcome back’?” The girl holding the controller said without turning around.

“It’s the first time in my life that I’m here, so it would be ‘Welcome’?”

Curiously, my words came out fluently.
The demon queen aside, that might be the first person I could talk to properly.
And I knew why.

“Nice to meet you, I suppose? Wakaba Hiiro-san. Or should I call you D?”

The girl turned around.
My face as I remember it.
A girl looking exactly like me.
The difference was that she let her hair down, and her slightly different expression.

“Nice to meet you, my substitute.”

Said my expressionless original.

Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka? 215
Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 217