Who gets to have the last laugh?
Decision Time ⑥
Author’s comments: Pope Dustin’s perspective. A bit short due the denouement
『Pope Dustin of the Divine Word Religion』
My name was called. At the time when Ariel-sama was named, I could predict that this would happen. There is no person more suitable than me to represent our faction. Thus, it was inevitable that I would be called upon like this. From the moment when I predicted something like that happening, I immediately started to think about the contents of my speech.
However, all of those details were completely blown away by Ariel-sama’s speech.
Without any intention to gather votes, without any attempt to curry favour at all, she declared that she and her friends would win solely through their own power. In addition, she declared war on all of mankind, demanding that they die for the sake of the Goddess, as straight-forward and upfront as can be. The way of being true to yourself… is just… so dazzling.
The broadcasting of my words to the whole of humanity has already begun I’m sure. However, I was not able to talk at all. That silence… continued for several minutes.
「……It has been a long, painful journey.」
When I was finally able to squeeze out some words, my voice seemed terribly weak.
「Thus far, what has been accomplished, has been extensive.」
The time when… during the chaos immediately following the System going into operation, together with my comrades we struggled to overcome it all. The time when…. the first generation Demon King Foddway bared his fangs, and all of humanity was subjected to the very real threat of extinction. The time when… standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the first generation Hero, we overcame that threat. The time when… my first life had ended and during my second life I watched the era change before my very eyes. The time when… as the generations changed, the people who knew about the world before the System went into operation began to dwindle and I felt the incredible loneliness of being left behind. The time when… in order to create something to rely on for the people who were falling into despair, I founded the organisation known as the Divine Word Religion.
All those times, I always endeavoured to take the best possible action. However, when I reflected upon them later, there were an enormous number of times when I felt regret that maybe I could have found a better way. Time and time again, I was forced to realise that I was merely human in the end. Again and again. Although I endeavoured to do my best, I kept on failing. Even so, step by step. Accomplishments were made. Anything and everything, whether they were good deeds or evil deeds. Everything was simply to save humanity.
「I will believe in what I have accomplished. Thus, further words are not necessary.」
This should have been more in line with a normal speech. If Ariel-sama had given a standard speech, I’m sure it would have been simple enough for me to use the art of conversation to skillfully move the hearts of the people in my direction. Even so, I could not bring myself to speak it.
「I am Dustin, the last president of Dazdoldia and the first pope of the Divine Word Religion. I am the man who has shamelessly continued to repay the kindness of the Goddess Sariel-sama with ingratitude.」
The logical part of my head tells me that by saying these things, the trust of the people will fade. However, at the very end, I wanted to speak my true feelings instead of being covered in affectation like normal. It has been so painful the whole time. I have always expected my name to be cursed for eternity. Indeed. All of myself, all of my deeds, I detest it all.
「For that very reason, I have the obligation to carry this through to the very end.」
Even so, once I made my choice, I had to follow it through.
「I will save humanity. No matter what has to be done. Therefore……」
I take a deep breath. These words… are momentous.
「Gods, for the sake of humanity, please die.」
Compared to Ariel-sama’s speech, it pledges the exact opposite. I’m sure a better speech was possible. However, this is fine. Having said this, I can no longer go back. I will not. If the gods are in fact sacrificed… then humanity… humanity shall be saved.
『This concludes the views of each representative.』
Immediately following the end of my speech, those Divine Words resounded. It was the usual voice of Sariel-sama who I have continued to hear for a long time.
However, the following words… were by a voice I did not recognise.
『thus the stage is set. Now then, to all those living in this word. Make your choice. Take action. World Quest, final sequence. Will the Evil God succeed or fail?』
Unlike the normal mechanical voice of Sariel-sama’s announcements, this voice has a penetrating coldness. Whoever this is, just by hearing these words I’m getting goosebumps. There’s only one person I can think of. The god whose assistance was requested by Black Dragon-sama, and who created the System for us.
『Now then, please entertain me.』
The words of that very god, were the signal that started it. The battle with the fate of the world at stake.