Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 307

Dropped one bomb too many?

307 – Explosion

The reincarnators gaze in blank amazement at the image. The first one to recover was… Kudou-san.

「Say, if this image is real, then how long is this planet going to hold out for?」

At Kudou-san’s words, all the reincarnators are taken aback. Well, normally if you considered a situation like this, it might even sound reasonable to be told that the planet will collapse in a few days, and you’d certainly worry about something that clearly feels like “the end of days”.

「Do not worry. For the time being it will not turn into a scenario where it collapses during your lifetimes.」

If my calculations are correct, then if things continue as they are the planet will never collapse. At least, it should last long enough for the reincarnators to live out a whole lifetime. Though I cannot guarantee that for someone like sensei who is a long lived elf. Roughly speaking, since the biggest factor was Potimas’s squandering of energy and he has already been removed, the planet should slowly recover from now on.

Indeed, if you just give the planet time, it will recover. However, that will also require a certain sacrifice to be made. That sacrifice is the current nexus of the System – the Goddess Sariel. Sariel is already on the verge of being crushed by the System due to overuse. There’s no way that she will be able to endure for such a long time.

In addition, the deterioration of the souls of the people living within this world is about to reach the dangerous zone. The reason why the demons are suffering from a declining birth-rate is because they are no longer able to reincarnate due to the deterioration of the souls. Souls that are forced to reincarnate again and again will suffer from abrasion – they become damaged. If souls are forcibly reincarnated in such a state, then the soul will collapse. If that happens then the soul can never reincarnate again.

Kuro had isolated the people who had shown signs of deteriorated souls in a particular place, but then oni-kun came and smashed the place up. Besides, using such treatment as a countermeasure cannot solve the fundamental problem anyway. What Kuro had done, was to prevent the people from gaining skills as much as possible, which is that same thing that Potimas was doing to the reincarnators. By doing so, the soul does not have anything extra added to it during their lifetime. Just by adding skills the burden on the soul increases after all. That is not a problem for healthy souls, but for deteriorated souls it can be too much of a burden. However, preventing the acquisition of skills using such a method does not allow the soul to eventually recover. It’s something similar to merely stalling the progression of a disease. In order to allow a deteriorated soul to recover, the only way is to stop the soul from reincarnating for a while and to give it some rest.

Then, when the number of souls that are resting increases, the birth rate declines. Net result – the population of the world will steadily decrease. Since the humans have a bigger total population than the demons it hadn’t become obvious yet. However, with enough time that will gradually be exposed. If the population decreases then the recovery of the planet will slow, and then with enough time the degradation of the souls will continue. Will the planet recover first, or will the degradation of the souls reach the limit first? The situation will deteriorate into such a game of chicken.

Well, that aspect won’t matter to the reincarnators. When the reincarnators reach the end of their current life then they will not enter this world’s cycle of reincarnation, but return to the normal cycle of reincarnation. There’s no need for them to worry about such a future.

「You implied that’s only true for our lifetimes, so does that mean that our children’s generation would be at risk then?」

Kudou-san’s words were somewhat unexpected. Children? I had unconsciously focused my eyes on Kudou-san’s stomach, but when Kudou-san noticed my gaze she rushed to explain.

「I’m not pregnant of course. I’m talking about the future.」

Ahh. I see, I see. Children huh… I hadn’t thought about that at all. Perhaps that was a blind spot on my part, or maybe more of a difference in perception?

From my perspective, to go and have children in this world you’d have to be devoid of reason or something. In the first place, the concept of having children itself had never occurred to me. My babies? Those are, yeah, not so much my children but a special case.

To have children in this world basically means that someone will be reborn after all. That by giving birth from your own stomach, someone will be reborn. Well, that’s not something that’s limited to this planet though, but on this planet it could be that someone you know is reborn after all. Furthermore, if you’re unlucky it’s quite possible that someone that you yourself killed could be reborn.

If you knew the truth, then wouldn’t you not even consider having children? After all, that’s probably the reason why the pope of the Divine World Religion has caused the people to forget about that truth. That they are simply devices that are born to save up energy, continuously reincarnated forever for the sake of atonement. What would people do if they knew that? Suicide? They totally would. However, even if you suicide you’ll still be reborn. In that case, how could you possibly break out from purgatory? Just offer yourself up. Offer up your very existence, soul and all.

I would never think about doing such a thing, but for humans who feel trapped and want to disappear it wouldn’t be strange. Then, for each person who offers themselves up, the amount of energy recovered is small. The instantaneous amount might be okay, but considering the long term the total amount of energy that can be gained by continuing to reincarnate is far greater. It’s not unfortunate that people have forgotten the truth, but that they absolutely had to forget about it.

However, if I speak about that here, what would happen? If they knew that then achieving a happy family would be impossible I guess.

「At least, this planet will not collapse any time soon. In the first place, the attack on Potimas was in order to prevent the collapse. With Potimas gone, the collapse of the planet will stop, and afterwards it should slowly start to recover.」

I haven’t told a lie. It’s just that before that happens I intend to do all sorts things. I didn’t address the subject of having children and so on. Addressing that subject would only be a disaster anyway. There are many things in this world where “you are better off not knowing” after all. Well, since the birth rate is declining and all, don’t expect to be blessed with children though. Or rather, do you have a partner in the first place?

「“Potimas” is the guy who had us confined, right?」

Kudou-san asks while touching her hand to her forehead. She’s not looking at me, but at sensei instead. In sensei’s case, she doesn’t deny that they were confined, and currently she is in a daze as if her mind had burnt out and gone blank. Maybe it’s all been too much and she’s become unable to think. But, well, sensei is a strong person, so I’m sure she’ll be okay.

I change the displayed image. From the one showing the current status of this planet, to a recording from the recent battle. In this one countless sea urchins and the triangular pyramid are floating in the sky above the forest. There’s also the figures of the mechanical soldiers moving through the forest. This is something science fiction-like that doesn’t seem fitting in this fantasy-like world.

「Potimas wanted the energy in order to operate these weapons. That energy is the very life force of the planet itself. The reason why the planet is currently in such a condition is because he has been exploiting that energy.」

I’m sure that such images have never been seen in this world before, or even on screens in the previous world. The reincarnators are gazing at them intensely.

「The reason why Potimas gathered the reincarnators, was because he sought the unique powers that the reincarnators have and he planned to use that for something bad.」

In fact he had made plans to put the reincarnators into a mixer for his goal of perpetual youth and longevity, but I don’t want them to hear about something that sounds like it’s from a splatter movie so I won’t say it. In the first place, what’s the point in even talking about “perpetual youth and longevity”? Most people would probably laugh in derision. If I actually said something like “he did all these grandiose things because he was totally and utterly serious about achieving perpetual youth and longevity”, I would lose all credibility instead.

「Meaning what? That we were abducted and confined in order to be used?」

I agreed with Kudou-san’s blunt words. It’s basically the truth anyway.

「Be, fore, it, be, cause, wha, wha, t?」

Hm? Eh? On turning towards the voice that was making no sense, what I saw was the figure of sensei having collapsed from her chair and convulsing.


Translation notes:

“as if her mind had burnt out and gone blank” – this way of describing someone is made most famous by a scene in the Ashita no Joe manga.

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 306
Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 308