What’s the plan?
269 – Their respective decisions
「There really is no way other than those two options?」
I immediately dismiss the hope in oni-kun’s question, that he asks in a trembling voice. This world already has one foot in the grave. It’s already impossible to resolve this perfectly without any sacrifices. That’s just how much a quagmire it’s become.
「Say, since we have lots of skills, doesn’t that mean we’ll also die?」
Vampire girl’s voice doesn’t tremble. However, since her pupils are lurching, I can tell that she’s in turmoil.
「I will expand the System’s soul sheltering functionality, improving it so that at least the reincarnators can be saved.」
It’s not yet completed though, but I’ll make sure to have it ready before destroying the System. Or rather, while it’s incomplete I intend to even postpone the destruction of the System, so there’s no need to worry.
「If that’s the case, then apply it to everyone in the world!」
「Impossible. A massive amount of surplus energy would be required for that.」
Basically, the amount of energy required would be equivalent to having another god sacrifice themself. If we had that much spare energy, we could just pack it into the System and be done with it.
「After the System is destroyed, what will become of this world?」
I don’t care about that. The task that I was assigned, was to assist the Demon King. After the System is gone I have no intention of watching over the future of this world.
「I’m asking a serious question here, okay?」
「I gave a serious reply.」
As for what will happen to this world after the System is destroyed, that is up to the people of this world to decide, and is nothing to do with me. It’s fine if the humans and demons continue their strife. It’s also fine for them to work to revive the ruined hemisphere. Whatever they do is up to the residents of this world to decide. After that point, if another cataclysm occurs, there’d be no Goddess to save them next time though.
「Shiro-san, what will happen to those who die after the System is gone?」
「They’ll return to the normal cycle of reincarnation.」
While the System exists, the souls of those who die in this world, are simply reborn again in this world. However, that flow is something artificial. Normally, the dead go through the cycle of reincarnation, being reborn across all worlds. If the System goes away then things will just revert to that normal flow.
「Then, what if they die before the System is destroyed, and the System is destroyed before they are reborn?」
「In that situation they will also return to the cycle of reincarnation.」
The System is merely a temporary depository for souls. If it is gone, then they will all follow the laws of nature and return to the cycle of reincarnation. Trying to destroy the System obviously won’t destroy the souls it had gathered. However, for those who are alive when the System is destroyed, with the backlash from their skills being extracted, they may die and their souls may be destroyed. In short, contradictory it may be, but it’s safer to be dead than alive. Well, they’ll still be dead either way though.
「I see. They’re better off dead, huh.」
It seems that oni-kun has also understood that. And, has made his decision.
「I understand. Shiro-san, I will cooperate with you.」
Saying so, oni-kun holds out his hand. W, woah. This is, that, right? That handshake-like thing? It’d be odd not to accept, right?
I timidly extend my hand, then, a handshake. A rather strange feeling.
And, just when I’m feeling strangely embarrassed, vampire girl tears away oni-kun’s hand that is connected to mine. Then she firmly grasps my hand and shakes it up and down vigorously. What does this girl want?
I guess she was satisfied with shaking my hand for a while, as vampire girl lets go of my hand. Then for some reason she glares at oni-kun who snorted. I guess there’s some weird antagonism burning between them?
While I’m dumbfounded by this, next it was the Demon King who took my hand. Rather than the normal Demon King with her silly smile, her face is pointed at the ground.
While grasping my hand, she calls out to me with a voice that seems about to vanish.
When she whispered again, some water fell onto my hand. That drop of water, wasn’t just a single drop, and more fell onto our hands one by one.
What is the meaning of that apology?
What is the meaning of that gratitude?
The Demon King simply continued to sob.
All alone, the Demon King had continued to think about the Goddess.
She was neither god, nor human, nor demon.
She was weak.
Lacking the strength to save the Goddess.
She was strong.
All alone, she continued to hold to the Goddess’s ideals and watch over the world.
Her former comrades had already gone.
Even so, she continued her solitary battle.
Then, realising that the time of her death was approaching, she opposed the Goddess’s will for the first time.
Even though she opposed the Goddess’s will, it was for the sake of saving the Goddess.
I have seen her resolve and her wish. That only began when I devoured the soul of Mother, the Demon King’s subordinate, though that glimpse of her was only from the perspective of her follower. Even so, I was certainly able to see her true thoughts.
Personally, I don’t want to save the Goddess. To be honest, it’s better to say that I hate the Goddess herself. I find her methods to be nauseating. Whether or not I feel able to approve of her methods, I cannot like her.
However, I wanted to grant the Demon King’s wish. The wish of this weak yet strong girl. Like me, she doesn’t possess a cheat, and she truly was weak. Yet, she stayed alive, kept on struggling, this strong girl who kept her promise. I want her last moments to be glorious.
Demon King Ariel. Her soul has approached the limits. With the System, a part of the opponent’s soul is absorbed in the form of experience points. That distorts the soul itself, evolving it into an unnatural form. The Demon King’s soul, after such a long time, has amassed a lot of experience points. That is why the Demon King is so strong, but at the same time, her soul has been increasingly distorted. She couldn’t become a god. Her soul could not withstand becoming a god. It is only a matter of time before the Demon King’s soul collapses. That’s why, in order to accomplish a grand task in her last moments, she decided to become the Demon King.
At the beginning, I was doing all this because D forced me to. However, while I traveled together with the Demon King, she let me eat delicious food, and we chatted together. I’m not sure what I should call this emotion that welled up while doing so. I, out of respect for the Demon King’s purpose, want to grant her wish. Her wish to save the Goddess.