Two more days passed after that.
I was just as hungry as ever. But felt restless if I didn’t move.
“I’m going to get some exercise.”
“Yes, Sir Golan. I’ll have some food prepared for when you get back.”
I could tell just by moving a little.
My power had increased. Maybe more than I could make any use of.
“Oh? Golan. Are you finally finished eating then?”
Saifo walked towards me with his weapons.
He was surrounded in leaves and vines, so he must have been patrolling the forest.
“I feel like I have too much energy now.”
“First you had people bring food to you nonstop, and now it’s fighting, eh? …Well then, why not me?”
With Saifo, the difference in size was similar to an adult and a child.
But even then, Saifo was one of the toughest of Ogres.
“Alright, let’s do it. You can use that weapon and try your hardest. I’ll fight you with my bare hands.”
“You sure sound confident. Alright, I won’t hold back then.”
“As if you ever do.”
Did he forget the last few hundred times he challenged me?
“Good! Then I’ll give you a good beating!”
Saifo said as he held up his two clubs.
Apparently, he had been practicing dual wielding them.
With just the slightest delay between right and left, the metal clubs came flying towards me. It was a pretty thought out way to fight.
The old me would have dodged them before rushing in and putting him in a lock. Or I would bash one of his weak spots.
“I’ll just get hit.”
It was hard to believe that the metallic ring had come from my own body. And like that, the metal club bounced off.
I was not damaged at all.
“Damn, you’re hard.”
“Yeah. I’m surprised as well.”
What happened to my muscles?
When I moved my arms, they almost seemed to creak.
It reminded me of those wire ropes.
A long time ago, I had seen a hanging-type elevator. And my arms looked like the thick wires they had used.
Apparently, my muscles had become ridiculously hard without me realizing it.
—Clang, clang, gong!
Every time Saifo swung his metal clubs, they bounced right off of my muscles.
There was a different sound depending on where he hit.
I now knew that evolution meant that my body had been strengthened to a degree that I would never have imagined.
“Alright, now it’s my turn.”
I raised my fist, meaning only to punch him lightly, but…
Saifo was gone.
No, I had gone right past him.
“Huh!? You shot right past me at an incredible speed.”
“I was just trying to bridge the gap, but went too far.”
As I was only just within range of his clubs, I had to move a few steps closer.
And since I was ready to fight in both mind and body, I had not been able to control my movement.
It was quite shocking.
Saifo’s attacks continued, but this time I tried dodging.
“Wha! What are…you doing? Golan?”
“It’s hard to move.”
I had only meant to dodge Saifo’s attack, but ended up running far away.
So it wasn’t just attacks. I couldn’t control myself when dodging as well.
While I was faster now, it had become impossible to move with any precision. It was terribly difficult to fight.
It was like playing a really old game on the latest computer.
Moving the character and camera felt so quick that it was just harder to use. And…
I was assaulted by unbearable hunger. And so I decided to return to the tent.
It seemed less about being inefficient, and more about still not having the necessary amount of mana.
I thought about it all as I ate.
I would surely get used to moving eventually. And until then, I just had to keep forcing myself.
“Getting an upgrade is nice, but there’s no point if you can’t use it. I wonder what other people did when they evolved.”
It was a very simple but important question.
My guess was that the evolution was usually more mild, and so there was less to adjust to.
However, this time I had evolved into an original species.
Evolving while skipping steps was bound to be disorienting.
“But why me…?”
Usually I would have turned into a High Ogre.
I had been expecting it, if I were ever to evolve.
“Is it because of that world in the mist?”
What was that, anyway?
Let’s think about it.
As both me and the other me were there, it was likely inside of the soul.
After all, we were two souls that had been stuck together.
“It is said that the soul is inside of the vessel, so perhaps we were inside of the vessel.”
Yes, things were coming together nicely.
My power of reasoning was not to be underestimated. I once read through a whole series of detective comics when I was in Japan.
“In that case, it’s not like the vessel is filled with the soul, but that the world filled with mist was the vessel, and the soul is floating inside of it.”
From the outside, we looked like a single soul inside of the vessel.
But once inside, we existed as separate entities.
“…And so, maybe that’s why the other me is able to come out, as if our personalities have switched.”
Ah, I’m on a roll with this reasoning thing.
In that case, the problem is that hole. There was a whirlpool inside that was sucking in the mist.
I knew it once I was inside. It was a whirlpool of mana. It was the source of my power.
Because it was a hole, you would think it was the outside of the vessel, but it was actually still part of it.
It was said that you absorbed mana when you ate, and that the soul vessel expanded when you defeated enemies, so perhaps that’s where the mana is stored?
The whirlpool seemed to move without end. And while the mana didn’t go out of the hole, it stuck to us as soon as we got in.
Perhaps it was a part of the mana I had been storing all along.
And when I evolved, it became a part of me.
“It kind of reminds me of prize money in sumo wrestling.”
If you win at sumo and receive the prize money, the Sumo Society takes half of it, and returns it to the wrestler upon retirement, after deducting a fee.
When you take in mana, half of it becomes a part of you immediately, while the other is pooled away for future evolution.
It must be something like that.
The soul vessel must be something very complicated and mysterious. It wasn’t just something that simply contained the soul.
“So that hole… It must be the entrance to the mana that had been pooled.”
When you evolve, a hole opens in the wall. Perhaps that hole appears once you fulfill the requirements for evolution.
It would all make sense then.
When I jumped into the hole and the mana started to stick to me, Rig was watching my real body undergo a change.
The other me had said that the ‘Demon World was beyond the hole.’ Going through it had brought me back…in other other words, the place in the mist was like a drawing room.
While it was still vague, I was able to come up with a satisfying explanation for it all.
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
What were you supposed to do when you solved a mystery? Say your signature phrase?
There was one in the manga I had read…
“In the name of my uncle, I’ve solved all the mysteries!”
No, that’s not right.
It wasn’t his uncle.
My memory was sometimes foggy when it came to the past.
It was some other relative I think…oh, that’s right.
“The culprit is grandpa.”
No, that’s not right either.
In fact, that wasn’t the line at all.
It was something else. A real catchy phrase.
“Grandpa’s body and uncle’s brain.”
Yeah, something like that.
(Translator: The manga being referenced in this chapter is ‘The Kindaichi Case Files.’)
Thank you so much for the last donation. Last few months have been rough, so it really mean a lot!