An Important Trick to Living
While we waited for Matsumoto to arrive, I asked the ancient elf questions about the facilities.
“…I see. So these facilities…were built near dungeons with dragon veins, as it allowed them to gather the bare minimum of mana. And the mana was used to power the summoning experiments.”
‘Positive. However, there are only four facilities remaining that I can identify.’
“And are these experiments being carried out by actual ancient elves?”
‘Negative. The experiments would be carried out by the independent thought devices called ‘Nova.’ I am one myself.’
“Do you have a name?”
‘Positive. I was named Karma.’
So, she wasn’t an ancient elf, but an ‘independent thought device.’ An amazing tool that told you everything that you wanted to know. I was starting to wonder why it was telling me these things. You’d think they would be classified.
‘As there is an elf present, such restrictions have been lifted.’
That seemed a little lax…
‘Furthermore, if it becomes known that you have ties with enemy forces, you and this entire facility will be destroyed.’
And so extreme.
Just then, a door opened in the air and Rachel, Matsumoto, and Manager walked out.
“Mister Asagi… Master Rachel brought me here. Uh, where are we?”
“And I was dragged here too, for some reason. I was still talking to someone, so I would like to go back as soon as possible.”
“Hmph. Can’t you see that I gathered everyone together that is from Japan?”
Matsumoto looked at Manager and Rachel.
“…Ah, this person is Japanese! And master, you too?”
“Oh, so you didn’t know?”
“You never told me! I thought Mister Asagi was the only other one…ughhh…”
How lonely it must have been. But you haven’t felt anything yet.
“Matsumoto. Manager. Sorry for calling you like this, but there’s something I have to tell you.”
“Did you learn something then?”
This would hurt. But not as much as hiding it. I paced the room for a moment and then told them the truth.
□ □ □ □
I felt horrible. I could have gone the rest of life without seeing Manager cry like that.
“I…traveled all of this time…even though I felt like I was dying…even when I had to sell myself…it was all so I could one day return…! And yet…”
I hadn’t realized how hard it would have been for her to travel alone. Or maybe I hadn’t wanted to face it.
“Aaaah… No… No… Mom… Dad….! Aaahh…”
While he was a Hero, Matsumoto was still a kid. No matter how strong he was physically, he was still young mentally.
“Asagi…how…how can you be so calm…? You can never go back…! To your…family…!”
“I…I…wanted to go back too… But I made my decision…”
“…You’re a lucky one… I don’t have anything to keep me…”
I didn’t know what to say. I suppose I had been lucky in life. But…still…
“I’m sorry… But this doesn’t change anything between us.”
“Ah… I know. I was just…lashing out…yes…”
She nodded. There was nothing I could do. I could have held her and comforted her. But knowing how she felt, and how it couldn’t be reciprocated… It would only hurt and humiliate her in the end.
“You do not have to say anything. Go and help Yasushi.”
I had known this would happen… I was honestly regretting it now. But this was the only time I would be able to crush what little hope they had.
Matsumoto was staring at the floor as if he had lost his mind… No, he wasn’t staring anything at all.
He raised his head when I called him, but then it dropped back down again. I sat down next to him and stared at the floor.
“…Would you have preferred it if I hadn’t told you?”
“I…I was so sure that I would return one day. You know, isn’t that what always happens when you get sent to another world…?”
“But this…I guess it’s different…”