I unintentionally drew myself back. Just try looking at those at expressionless eyes and that smile. Who wouldn’t get scared of that!
「I was the stupid one. Although I knew that I was the only one who knows the most about how enchanting Seiichi-kun is …… I should have known that there was a possibility of this situation happening…」
Downcasted, Kannazuki senpai muttered something. Eventually, she raised her head slowly and smiled at me.
「Since it has come to this, I just need to tie your limbs and confine you so that no one can ever lay their eyes on you. 」
Imprisonment is straight lunacy! I don’t care who, anybody, bring over Telbert’s best guards!
「Fu fu fu … There’s no one who will bring a guard here. And do you think I’d let anyone get in my way? My heart and my body, they’re all yours, Seiichi. And, your body and mind are mine.… ‘kay…?」
「MY MIND IS BEING READ!? HALP!!! HAAALLPPP!!」
「Fufufufu. I’m pulling this stunt because I’m only thinking about you <3. Only you are reflected in my eyes right now. Ahh, I hope that you accept these crazy feelings of mine~」
Your passion literally makes me want to pass on! Wait, I can’t afford to make dad jokes nowI!? Oh how I hate myself for even thinking such a stupid joke! For whatever reason, Kannazuki senpai was saying these frightening lines while bashfully smiling… though, the light in her eyes were gone. As I hugged my trembling body, Al stepped in between us.
[I don’t really get what’s going on, but… for now, I need you to get away from m-my Seiichi]
Oh, Al-san… How cool! Hug me! Oh, how pathetic I am!
While Al and Kannazuki-senpai were glaring at each other, Beatrice-san timidly opened her mouth.
「Um … Shall we get some lunch?」
Beatrice-san, you are one of the few people with common sense here.
As Al and Kannazuki-senpai agreed on a temporary truce, we ordered some food in the dining hall then sat in the vacant seats. Saria was happily enjoying her hamburger next to me. She didn’t seem particularly concerned about Kannazuki-senpai. When I unintentionally smiled when looking at her, she tilted her head and looked at me.
「N? What’s wrong?」
「No… I was just thinking that it heals my heart just by watching you.」
「E? Really~? Ehehe~ It’s embarrassing, but … I’m happy!」
Saria resumed her meal, smiling. On the other side, Ogla-chan who was seemingly not really that interested in Kannazuki Senpai was, like me, eating omelet rice. And this doesn’t really need to be mentioned but, Rurune was working on three servings of meal … namely a『Hamburger Set』, an『Omelet Rice Set』, and a『Baked Fish Set』… all alone with gleaming eyes. …And this was with her already holding back her appetite. She really was unwavering, huh!?
Whilest I was envying her , Al asked Kannazuki-senpai with a serious expression.
[Well? Who the hell are you? You said you were Seiichi’s childhood friend…]
At Al’s sudden direct question, Kannazuki-senpai answered quite blatantly without hiding anything.
「As you had just said, Seiichi and I are childhood friends, in other words, those who you usually call 『Heroes』 from another world.」
「What? 『Heroes』? ……. Hm? Wait a minute… then that means… Seiichi is…」
Al turned her eyes to me with an astonished look. Beatrice-san, who got involved involuntary had the same expression as well.
…… I wasn’t deliberately hiding it and I just couldn’t find the good time to talk about it——Well, those were all but an excuse, huh.
And so, I sighed and started talking in a voice where everyone could hear.
「That’s right. I came from the same world as Kannazuki-senpai. ——However, I’m not an existence as great as a 『Hero』 or anything of the sort.」
Yes, I am definitely not 『Hero』. I wasn’t summoned as one after all.
Hah? What do you mean by that? From what I’ve heard Kaizer Empire summoned a large number of Heroes.
「Hahaha… Well, you see, I was kinda bullied back there in that world. When the transition happened, the 『Hero』 summoning magic just didn’t recognize me as one.」
Al was shocked by my words.
「Right now, I’m slimmer and taller but … back on Earth, my appearance was just horrible. Everyone hated me and, harassed me because of that.」
Although those time was hard, there were still some people who would accept me as a friend, giving me strength to pull through it. Turning to Al who was lost for words due to the shock, I asked her a question I was never able to muster my nerves for.
「Al… are you disappointed in me?」
「It’s an entirely different appearance, you know? To the extent where you’d be disgusted by it. My smelly odors and such are suppressed by skills now, but in the end, this current appearance of mine is nothing but a fake.」
As I thought, telling them that I, like the Heroes, also came from a different world, did not make me feel uneasy. However, what I was really scared of was what Al and the others would think after learning of my true appearance.
But, they told me they love me. And that’s why I wanted to tell them the truth. I know it’s a little late to be saying all this, even so I had continued to look away from this. Even if it’s only a little, I want Saria and the others to see my past appearance. That was why, meeting Kannazuki – senpai here was a good motivation for my resolve, and the perfect trigger to start the talk about myself.
In order to show the appearance of my old self, I collected my own shape from my memories and created a magic that envisioned it onto the palm of my hand.
When I casted the newly created magic, my old figure appeared on top of my palm. At that time, the classification 『Seiichi Magic』 was flowed again into my brain, but I paid it no mind.
Scrubby, fat body. Coarse face filled with foul acnes. Although it didn’t reproduce the smelly odor, it was enough to make anyone physiologically disgusted.
「This is the old me. One who was helpless and always bullied..」
Kannazuki-senpai looked at my palm with a sad expression.
…I guess it was hopeless after all. Rather than a person like me, there should be someone more suitable, much more deserving, for both Saria and Al. Therefore—.
「But Seiichi is Seiichi, aren’t you?」
As if it was the most natural thing the world, Saria just said so casually, tilted her head in wonder.
「As I said, Seiichi is Seiichi. Whether it is the past Seiichi, or it is the current Seiichi, nothing has really changed.」
「Bu, but is that not the case? I mean, look. Doesn’t it make you feel disgusted?」
「Why? Why does Seiichi disgust me?」
「Why, you ask … well, the looks are…」
「Even if your looks changed, your personality didn’t change, right?」
「Eh? W, well … I guess my personality didn’t change …」
「Yeah, his personality hasn’t changed.」
For some reason, I also got Kannazuki-senpai’s acknowledgement who had been observing me for a while.
「The one whom I love is Seiichi who gets easily surprised, tsukkomi’s , and jokes about little things … Seiichi who merrys everywhere, Seiichi who laughs wholeheartedly!!」
「Because it’s Seiichi I love you because you’re Seiichi! Whether it is the past, present, even from now on …… aaalways! Because it’s Seiichi… and I’ll only love Seiichi! 」
Saria floated a sweet smile and said it to me. At the dumbfounded me, Al likewise opened her mouth.
「I was wondering what you were going to say… So, what of it?」
「Even you, Al…」
「Seiichi. Tell me, what did you see back then in the Telbert? You think I’m going to hate you just because of mere appearances? ——Don’t make me misjudge you.」
「I’m not the only one. Telbert’s lot is the same. Why would those, who had accepted me, a person labelled a ‘calamity’, hate you for something like that? Just as my ‘calamity’ was nothing but a quirk to them, your appearance, everything that makes up who you are, ‘Seiichi’, will be nothing but a personal quirk to them too. Our personal issues don’t define us in front of them.」
The appearances of those from the guild headquarters, who lived a life faithful to their desires, appeared in my mind. What would happen if I had visited the guild headquarters while in my past form? That thought suddenly came to my mind, so I tried visualizing it.
『Mu! Seiichi-kun! Your belly is flabby! Now, let’s aim for brilliant muscles along with me! First, let’s do 1000 sit-ups for warmup!! 』
『Oh my, that body of yours… Doesn’t that make you want to show it to the people in the street? Doesn’t it? Now, let’s get naked! Liberate yourself, for the true freedom awaits you right outside the door……!』
『Want to do it? 』[Mabbo’s note: The RAW said: “Yaranaika?”. OMG, I’m dying of laughter!]
I could only imagine how easily they’ll accept me. On the contrary, they might even try to drag me to their kinks. That realization made me tremble instead. At that moment, a gentle smile crossed Al’s face as she said to me.
「Besides … As Saria said, I also like you because it’s you. You who accepted all of me, along with my «Calamity» ……」
「The way I put it might be, you know… but this is precisely why I can make it clear now.」
Saying that as the preamble, Al opened her mouth despite how bashful she was, ignoring the beet red cheeks she had. She declared it, loud and clear.
「There is no way for me to love anyone other than you, Seiichi. …I know it’s a bit too girly and doesn’t suit me, but … From the bottom of my heart, I truly believe you are my destined partner.」
「For now and forever, my companion is only you——Seiichi. No one else but you.」
Al said it to me as she blushed.
…Why, for you to have gone to that extent—–
「…… Seiichi onii-chan.」
「…… I’m was a slave, but … Seiichi onii-chan, didn’t care … I was very happy … 」
「…Back then and even now, Seiichi-oniichan remained the same. Even someone like me, who has been with you, for just a short time… understands that.」
「…… When it was hard … you hugged me … petted me … So, this time … it’s my turn.」
Olga said as she then approached me, hugging me with her small body, while stroking my head gently.
「… There, there」
Upon hearing Saria, Al, and Ohga-chan’s words… tears flooded down my cheeks before I knew it. Even though I believed them, I was afraid to reveal my past. Afraid to show them my former self. Even though I knew that, that wouldn’t happen, I was still scared. That was why … I was really happy. Happy, that they had accepted my past—-
At that instant, something abnormal happened to my body. No, calling it abnormal wasn’t the right word. It was as though my 『body』 and 『mind』 had united, giving me a sense of complete attunement with my body.
Of course, I had always been able to move my body as I wished, but this was different. Now that Saria and the others had accepted me of that time, I …… I was finally able to accept myself, both the me from the past and the present. As a result, I —- the individual called ‘Hiiragi Seiichi’, felt that my body had completely merged with me, becoming my own.
While I was feeling bewildered by the sudden change – though the sensations that remained wasn’t an unpleasant one – Beatrice-san, who had been silently observing the development said in a gentle tone.
「Seiichi-san, as Saria-san and the others said, you are what you are. Everyone loves you as is. Please don’t forget it.」
As I replied to her while wiping my tears, I suddenly noticed Rurune staring at the figure of my old self on my palm.
「Rurune? What’s wrong?」
「…Master. That appearance was the appearance of master’s former self, wasn’t it?」
「Eh? Ye, yeah. That’s right…」
「Wait, did you just slurped your saliva!?」
「HUH!? I, intentionally ……. The present figure of yours is already so wonderful, but my master’s old form also seems so greasy and appetizing …」
「You plan to eat me!?」
Rurune didn’t seem to be repulsed by my former self as well, but… for some reason, her eyes gleamed and she drooled as she looked at my former figure… In a way, wasn’t this dangerous?
On seeing Rurune, who didn’t seem to be fazed by anything, a smile floated on Saria’s face as she said.
「In addition, didn’t Seiichi eat 『The Seed of Evolution』? That’s why, Seiichi’s current appearance is undeniably the real thing!」
「Ju, just now … Did you say 『The Seed of Evolution』 just now!?」
Stupidly, I raised my voice at Saria’s words, while a look of astonishment crossed Beatrice-san’s face.
「Yup! 『The Seed of Evolution』! The thing I and Seiichi… also Rurune-chan ate!」
「Ah, that really nasty-tasting nut, right? That thing was unimaginably bitter even as I recalled it now!」
「N, no way … To think it actually exists …」
Come to think of it, 『The Seed of Evolution』 was the only thing which effects were unknown even after I appraised it. However, as Saria had lived in the 【Forest of Endless Sorrow】, she seemed to well-informed about it, though I hadn’t thought of asking her about it. All I knew was that it was purely an extraordinary seed. And now, another individual, aside from Saria, who seemed to be familiar with ‘The Seed of Evolution’, has appeared.
……From how surprised Beatrice-san was, it looked like it was a seed more ridiculous than what I thought. Until now, I had never tried to find out about it, but this might be a good opportunity for me to learn more about it as well.
「Um … Beatrice-san, do you know what 『The Seed of Evolution』 is?」
「Oh yea, that 『The Seed of Evolution』 thingy was also mentioned back then when Rurune was transformed into a human, huh …」
While Al was recalling the time when when Rurune’s transformation happened, Beatrice-san, who had regained her composure a little, started talking.
「Listen here, okay? 『The Seed of Evolution』 is, in fact——A fictional seed.」
「Eh? Fi, fiction?」
I inadvertently let out a dumb voice to her statement.
「Yes, it’s fictitious. Because no one knows where it comes from at all.」
「Eh? Th, then how could『The Seed of Evolution』 existence be known?」
「Your doubt is well-founded. However, there was one book that has recorded information regarding ‘The Seed of Evolution’. It’s said that ‘It’s a miraculous seed that is capable of raising the rank of an organism, the only absolute plant that the gods couldn’t predict.」
「Erm… so, what does that mean?」
「In other words, 『The Seed of Evolution』 …… originally never existed」
I became increasingly confused. No, it existed because eating it was what has allowed me to survive until now.
「Maybe I should put it this way to make it easier to understand? All the phenomena in this world are events planned by the gods… In other words, they are predestined, so the gods know everything about them.」
W-Well, how God was called omniscient and such was similar, even on Earth. I supposed God could probably have our lives in His grasp as well. However, if the story was true about how God oversees all the things in this world, then there should be nothing in this world that is beyond God’s grasp…
「And, ‘The Seed of Evolution’ is something that such gods have failed to grasp… An unpredictable existence, one that has completely detached itself from fate.」
「That is to say … For the Gods, 『The Seed of Evolution』 is a completely unidentified thing, a matter that perfectly shrouded in mystery?」
The level of the conversation had escalated through the roof, hadn’t it? Isn’t such complexity more than an ordinary person like me could handle? THIS. This was something only for enlightened men!
「B, but, how do you even ascertain it? Directly asking it to the Gods?」
「Now that’s unexpected!」
Directly asking the gods!? No, in a sense I also did have a conversation with a god, so it wouldn’t be all strange to directly converse huh!
「How do you ask them?」
「That’s right… I’ve now understood that Seiichi-san comes from a different world, so it’s not a surprise that you don’t know about it. Actually, this world has… already been abandoned by the gods.」
I’m sorry, I did know it.
「I’ve heard about the beings called ‘God’ that reside in places like dungeons and so on, but those are different… No, I guess it would be more accurate to say that the world has been deserted by the gods from the higher dimensions.」
Certainly, the 『Black Dragon God』 whom I’ve defeated were also revered by humans as a god as well, although he was nowhere near the 『God』 who transported us to this world, so I kind of understand.
「Be that as it may, long time ago, we were still blessed by the Gods’ bliss. But, at one point … a conflict happened amidst them.」
「One of the Pillar Gods attack the other gods, as he was aiming for the throne of the King of the Gods. The other gods didn’t stay silent as they got attacked, they put up resilient resistances, beginning a fierce war between gods. Because this world’s resident at that time were supporting that Pillar God, we were ultimately left all alone by ourselves. Of course, the war ended with the opposing side as the winner.」
「Um … May I ask why the people of this world supported that Pillar God?」
「There are various theories… but, the most likely one would be that we, humans, were spoiled by Him.」
Despite there were already so much mysteries shrouding 『The Seed of Evolution』, we’d come this far only to find more puzzles? Where was that certain High School detective with a child body when we need him?
Maybe she figured out I was at sixes and sevens, Beatrice-san courteously explained it to me.
「Seiichi-san, do you think it’s alright to always be pampered?」
「…I think I can envision it to a certain extent. Humans, who were spoiled by the God, who have lost the necessity to do anything… would just further degenerate.」
「Please think about it. A world without any disaster, where monsters no longer existed, and disputes among people ended before it could ever happen. I truly believe it would be a very beautiful world. However, we’d also lose the emulation named 『Competition』 between us, and would always be provided the best environment possible by the Gods, and eventually lost the desire to live an even better life. We would lose … our 『Evolution』 as a human.」
What Beatrice-san was trying to convey, I understood. Of course, if war were to disappear, it would be wonderful thing. A peaceful world would be a place where everyone dreamed of. One that resembled a utopia. However, as a result, it would also cause the value of the existence, known as ‘human’, to disappear as well.
If the story Beatrice-san told us were true, then not only conflicts, we would also live comfortably and provided with everything in all aspects. That was, until the extent where you wouldn’t even need to move at all.
To only stay alive. A world solely for that purpose. And Evolution wouldn’t exist there.
「I wasn’t saying that humans ‘evolve’ just to fight. It isn’t just wars. Humans, who were spoiled by the God, could grow an abundant crops of any kind. They could live efficiently with minimal effort… Because it had become such an environment that they abandoned the need to think for themselves, and change.」
「… Although the foreword got a became a bit longer than expected, I tried to tell you there were times like that. And so, that Pillar God who was defeated by other Gods is sealed beneath this land.」
「In this world!? Does that mean … he didn’t die yet!?」
「It is a God after all, he wouldn’t get destroyed that easily. Even more so, if he was a being of higher dimension, being humans, we could never even hope to lay even a finger on him. And the byproduct that showed up by chance when he was being sealed by the other Gods, was nothing but a seed——『The Seed of Evolution』.」
It was a no-joke; the story was too magnificent I couldn’t follow.
「The human who was able to discovered 『The Seed of Evolution』… was the author of the only book that scripted the description of 『The Seed of Evolution』, and the past Hero’s Sword Instructor——His Duchy Zeanos Zeford.」
And now the 【Forest of Endless Sorrow】’s Dark Aristocrat name, Zeanos, came out!?
「Zeanos’ tale of tragedy in the era where the Pillar God had been sealed, where monsters appeared and disasters occurred, wars waged and conflicts broke, is still being narrated to this day. He, who was betrayed by the kingdom he served, ditched by his beloved wife, disappeared from this world’s light. At the time before he vanished … the time he was yet to be betrayed by the kingdom, he discovered 『The Seed of Evolution』. And then he knew, as he asked the gods, that 『The Seed of Evolution』 was something even the Gods fail to predict. His Duchy judged that 『The Seed of Evolution』 was something he would never be able to handle, so he handed it to the Gods.」
「However, ‘The Seed of Evolution’… couldn’t be destroyed even by the power of the gods. There was speculation among researchers, but it was said that ‘The Seed of Evolution’ was probably the byproduct of the enormous power used by the gods when they sealed that one God to this place, the so-called ‘crystallization of power’… Present researchers consider ‘The Seed of Evolution’ to be merely a fictitious seed and haven’t studied it a great deal, so, for the time being, that theory is continued as a historical research.」
So that was why … that was the reason why Zeanos seemed familiar with 『The Seed of Evolution』 …
Because Zeanos holed himself inside that cave, the possibility of him went out to the forest to find them was low, huh. …Or maybe he just couldn’t get out from that cave. The dungeon’s name was 『Forest』 after all.
Also, wouldn’t Mary, the maid who served Zeanos not necessarily have to die if he found the 『Seed of Evolution』? Was what I thought, but she died long before that huh, it couldn’t be helped.
Nevertheless… if the 『Seed of Evolution』 exists in the 【Forest of Endless Sorrow】… that would mean that the gods threw the seed into that forest because they couldn’t manage it, right? That was it, wasn’t it?
「By the way, the gods who had received ‘The Fruit of Evolution’ from Lord Zeford were troubled over how they should deal with it, so it was sealed in a place unknown by us, just as the Pillar God was.」
「They definitely did not sealed it! They just threw it away!」
I have a feeling that that was definitely the case! They must have thrown it away! That’s because the clever monkey and aqua wolf were competing for it normally! If they wanted to seal it, they should’ve done it in a much stricter manner!
Oh yeah, when I read 『The Monologue of Zeanos the Dark Aristocrat』, it was said when he lost Mary, Zeanos was hiding in a certain forest …… Come to think of it, wasn’t『Revival Grass』 which is the basis of Elixir that could revive human, was why Zeanos was in the『Forest of Endless Sorrow』, not because the 『Gods』 sealed 『The Seed of Evolution』there?
I couldn’t hide my surprised expression from how the strings connected in weird places.
「Do you understand? If what Seiichi-san ate was really 『The Seed of Evolution』… it will bring a great impact to this world.」
「…You might not believe this, but my appearance has changed into my present one because I had eaten ‘The Seed of Evolution’.」
「Let’s see… If the description about ‘The Seed of Evolution’ left behind was correct, then though Seiichi-san’s look has changed, because your rank as an organism has increased, it would be more accurate to say that you have literally been ‘reborn’. That’s why, your current appearance is unmistakably your own appearance.」
All I could do was be stupefied. Then, Saria told me this with grins on her face.
「I told you, didn’t I? Seiichi is Seiichi!」
What flowed after hearing those words was not tears, but smiles.