Hello friends! Ivanov117 here!
This is a new story that I published, as you can tell. I got interested in writing an Isekai version of Oregairu, and this is the result!
Anyway, please enjoy! :)
THE GOD HACHIMAN OF RHOZGELIA
Seeing piles upon piles of paperwork to be checked and revised on my desk, on the first thing in the morning would crack anyone's spirit. Even I am not an exemption to that. My legs felt shaky, and I instinctively reached to the short girl beside me for support.
She was surprised but managed to grab onto my arms. "Woah! Senpai! What's gotten into you?!"
"W-When I said that we'll do the work for today, I didn't expect this much…" I mutter to myself and turn to the cheeky little girl beside me.
She giggled from my words, skipped away and then sat on my desk, crossing her legs in the process. Uwaaah, just a little more, and I could have see it… "Hehehehe~! Remember what you said yesterday, Senpai~? Since Shiromeguri-senpai and the others are away on an important event, it's up to us as their Juniors to lighten their load when they come back~!" She said and wiggled her finger at me.
I didn't register her words as I walked back and collapsed on the sofa. The impact causing the legs that supported it to make a creaking sound.
"Senpai?! Are you okay?!" She exclaimed, I heard her footsteps come closer to check on me, until she stopped and sat down next to my head.
I flip myself and saw Isshiki looking down on me with a thoughtful expression before giggling. "Senpai, you already look drained! We haven't even started yet~!" I moved a bit until I rested myself on her warm and soft thighs. She doesn't really mind, in fact, she started copying Shiromeguri-senpai since she does it to me too. Even though hers felt nice, Shiromeguri-senpai's thighs were still world class! Isshiki smiled down on me and started running her fingers through my hair, while occasionally poking my cheek.
I close my eyes. I haven't even had my morning coffee yet, or anything for that matter since I skipped breakfast this morning. I did so because I wanted to finish things quickly in the StuCo room, and then eat my breakfast and lunch here too. I don't really have to worry about my classes since we have informed the teachers on out current situation. Hina also takes notes for me, so I literally don't have to worry about anything.
"Isshiki, be a good Kouhai and get me some coffee, will you?" I say.
She smiled and clapped her hands once. "Of course! Anything for Senpai~!" After carefully moving my head, she skipped away towards the coffee maker in the corner of the room on a cabinet that also stored our snacks, coffee and tea.
Uwaah, she's such a good girl, really cute too. If I'm not careful, I may lunge at her and maker her mine… Oh but that would leave Hiratsuka-sensei all alone… I am going to marry Hiratsuka-sensei after all! Just you wait Sensei! I'll never make you feel lonely again!
She came back shortly afterwards holding two mugs of coffee. I slowly sat up after she put it down on the coffee table and sat back down next to me. "Thanks Isshiki. Your Kouhai points just went up!" I say and patted her head, causing a giggle from her.
"It's all thanks to you, Senpai~!" She said and then latched onto me and rubbed the side of her face on my left arm. "It's the least that I could do. Since you're always spoiling me rotten, the least that I could do is to follow whatever you say."
I put a hand on my chin, and stroked my non-existent beard in thought. "Hmm, 'whatever you say', huh."
She looked up at me, her pearly white teeth and her foxy grin making her even cuter. "Yes, Senpai… Whatever you say~…" Her words ended with a sultry and suggestive tone that I didn't expect from someone so innocent-looking such as her.
I narrowed my eyes, causing a giggle from her. "You're very lewd aren't you…" Without warning she wrapped her arms around my neck, letting her hands go limp as she leaned in to whisper into my ear.
"By the way Senpai, you haven't hung out with Shiromeguri-senpai and I in a while. You're always with your classmates or at your club thing. Your girl friends are lookers too. Are you sure that you're not going out with at least one of them? You're the only male club member, right? I wonder if you do lewd things with your clubmates while locking the door… My friend saw you and the girl who wears glasses hanging out outside school the other day." Her breath was hot as her lips would brush themselves against my ear as she spoke.
"Isshiki, you're imagining things. Hina is just a friend. Do you really think that I'm that kind of guy…? You hurt me, really." I roll my eyes and feign hurt and pain in my voice. What's gotten into her today, she's being extra touchy.
She laughed and put some distance between us. "Oh I wouldn't even think of hurting my beloved Hikigaya-senpai~! I was just teasing you hehehehe~! Senpai is really cute when he blushes~!"
If someone aside from the other members of the StuCo caught us, they would undoubtedly declare that we are shamelessly flirting with each other. Eh, this is just Isshiki I guess. And I like this side of her, she reminds me of Komachi. I think that's why I have such a soft spot for her.
We even have the point system that Komachi and I have, only that it's Senpai and Kouhai version this time!
I hope this doesn't count as NTR.
I chopped her head, then she started pouting and rubbing the spot where I hit her. "Yes yes you're my beloved cute little Kouhai too. Come on, let's finish our coffee so we can start working." I say while reaching for my cup and then lightly blowing over it to cool it down.
Though the spot where I hit her was still red, she smiled. "Yes, Senpai!" When she leaned forward to get her own cup, I pinched her side, causing a loud shriek of surprise from her. Of course I know her weak spots.
"KYAH! PERVERT!" She exclaimed before I went back to her forehead and gave it a strong flick. She started rubbing it again while complaining. "Eeeehh… Senpai… What was that for…?"
"Cheeky little brat…! That was for putting your soft ass on my desk! You don't sit on desks, especially when the owner is right in front of you!" I rubbed the tip of my pointed finger on her forehead with each word that I spoke.
"Sorry Senpai, I'll never do it again…" Isshiki bowed several times with an apologetic voice. When I was about to tell her to raise her head, she suddenly straightened up and did a 'Tehee~!' pose. Complete with her knuckle on her head and her tongue sticking out.
"Tehee~!" Even though she is cute, I still couldn't help but cringe on the inside.
Uwaaah, I think several thousand brain cells inside me just died…
*Six hours later*
Just a few more…
Just a few more…
J-Just a- oh, there's still several folders left…
"Senpaaaaaai! That's enough! Let's have lunch! I'm staaaaaarving!" Isshiki complained with a loud voice and took my arm again, trying to force me to get up. There's nothing she can do, she's not strong enough to do anything really.
"Isshiki, let my arm go…" I say lamely as I continued to write with my other hand.
"No! Let's gooooo!" She yanked my arm again, her face turning into a "o". It didn't even made me budge. Knowing that her efforts were useless, she pouted and stomped the floor with her foot.
"Stop doing that. Do you want the room under us to file a complaint?" I sighed and turned to her. "Isshiki, the only thing that you're doing is rubbing my arm against your chest. Do you really want me to feel your chest that badly? Well come here then..." I say to her with tired half-lidded eyes.
As much as I love her antics, I really want to finish my current task first. I can fool around with her later to her heart's content. In school or outside if she wants.
Wait, that sounded wrong…
She immediately let go and pouted while covering her chest. "Lech…"
"Yes yes I'm a lech. So please be a dear and fetch my bag please." I say after I returned my attention to what I was currently doing. She quietly lingered for a second or two until finally going on her way to fulfill my request. Once she handed it to me, I reached inside and brought out my wallet. 2000 Yen should be enough…
"Here," I say give it to her. "get us some lunch. I'll have the usual, you can get whatever you want." She hopped with joy from my words and hugged me. She rubbed her face on my neck and my nose felt ticklish when she did it. I caught the scent of her perfume and shampoo. She smells really nice, why do all girls smell nice? It's really unfair.
"Thanks alot Senpai!" She says separating from me. "The lines might be a bit long, but I'll tell them that it's Council stuff so they'll give way!"
"Don't say-" Before I could finish, she ran off towards the door, closing it behind her while going full speed towards the cafeteria. "-that… Uwaah, she's even running in the hallways. I'll have to twist her ear for that later…" I mutter to myself and let go of the pen that I was holding. It rolled away and fell on the floor.
I stretched my arms, back and legs, causing several loud pops from my stiff joints. Have I really not moved much in the last six hours? I feel like a corporate slave for God's sake. To my left were two cans of MAXX COFFEE that I had taken earlier since I almost nodded off several times. Isshiki may be a cheeky little brat, but at least she's dutiful and does what she's told. She'll be a great secretary in the future.
I yawned and stretched my arms one more time before reaching into one of the drawers to my left and taking out my pillow with cute cat designs. As I recall, Shiromeguri-senpai gave this to me last Christmas… I gave her a scarf, the brand itself being owned by a daughter company under my Father.
Once I made found myself a comfortable position, I finally closed my eyes.
"Just a quick nap before having lunch, and then going back to work…"
What is this…?
What is happening…?
My body is gone. I don't feel anything. I have lost all my senses. I can't sense anything. Absolutely nothing. I can't see. I can't feel. I can't smell. I can't taste. What…
With all that said… Why am I thinking? How can I think? Am I a spirit…? Am I dead?
And most of all…
Why can't I remember anything…?
Even though I can't feel nor have a body, a strange sensation went through me. As if every cell within me was being held by an invisible force. I was violently pulled forward at an impossible speed, or something similar to that feeling, at least. I have lost my sense of sight in this form, but I still instinctively looked behind me. How that was possible, I don't know. As expected there was nothing but darkness. I don't know how long it was, it could have been a moment, it could have been hours or even years, but my sense of time also seems to have been stripped away from me.
The sensation of being pulled slowly stopped.
Then from darkness, my world exploded into a myriad of a million colours dancing around and flying past me. I don't have eyes, but I know that they were there. I can't explain it, I just knew. The colours started taking shape until it formed into a cylinder of some sort, then it opened and I was once again pulled inside. This time, at a slower speed. It is also the same as before, I don't know how long I was inside it.
Amazingly my "spirit" has started to take the shape of a body. I am terrified, or at least an emotion akin to it. The first thing that I notice was that I finally feel some sort of weight on me. I still can't move, so all I can is wait and be patient. The sensation of something touching my leg startled me, but it also made me aware that I can "feel" now, if only by a tiny bit.
At first I could barely move my finger, but as time went by, I felt sensation and then I could move my hand as well. The feeling started from my feet, legs, torso, arms, chest and then neck and head. The most startling discovery was when I tried to touch my stomach.
My hand went through.
Where the skin was supposed to be, there was a ticklish sensation when my hand entered my body. I can sense the colours, I don't know how that's possible, but I can't see myself since I still don't have eyes. I couldn't walk, since I was floating and being pulled forwards. All I could do was stand still and wait.
And wait I did.
Until the tunnel around me narrowed, the colours fading back into darkness, and at the end of the tunnel was a bright light. I can sense the light, just like how you can see a sudden burst of light even when you're closing your eyes. When I was enveloped by the light, the feeling of being pulled stopped, just like last time.
Instead, I slowly started falling.
But it wasn't fast and sudden like last time, it felt slow. As if I was underwater, only this time, I don't know how long will I have to wait again. I didn't feel wind or something like that as I was descending. It was when I was just thinking on when my vision would come back, when I started seeing blurry shapes around me. Whether it was cold or warm, I don't really know. I instinctively rubbed my eyes, but my hands went through my skull as expected. Little by little, my vision started to improve. The first thing that I noticed was that aside from the fact that my body was blue, glowing and transparent, I could also see the bones inside. Where the flesh should be, was a slightly darker shade of blue, I can see my blood vessels, arteries, as well as my internal organs too.
In a way, it was fascinating.
Soon after that, I felt my feet hit something soft and I braced both of my legs. The "ground", if it exists at all in this void, was soft and I lightly bounced back into the "air" a few times. I didn't dare move since I was still waiting for the transitional travel to come once more. After several moments, the soft sensation beneath my feet gradually hardened. My legs feel normal, so I decided to walk around. There was nothing but pitch black darkness in all direction. I tried to yell and call out, but I had lost my voice.
Strangely, I was very calm. And for some reason, I figured that the best thing to do was to sit down and wait. It was strange since when I did so, my legs crossed each other and partially merged.
The transition came, this time it was even faster than the first. Instead of a colourful tunnel in my first, and a dark tunnel in my second, this time I was travelling through space surrounded by a white transparent "wall". I must have been travelling extremely fast, since I passed by a blue planet in a span of three seconds. I don't know how large it was compared to Earth, but it had three moons orbiting it, complete with their own rings. Then my surroundings changed again, I was back in a tunnel and colours were flowing through it and also through me. When I look forward, I see that I am in a collision course with a comet. It is massive, must be several kilometers in diameter and a trail of ice was in its tail. I closed my eyes at the last moment. Thankfully, nothing happened, and I went through giant rock completely unaffected. When I exited it, another wormhole appeared and sucked me in.
I blacked out for who knows how long, but when I opened them again…
I found myself standing in a very large room. The room itself was something from medieval times, or maybe even older. Above me, a chandelier lit by bright glowing stones gave light to the room. There was a fireplace, swords, shields and spears hung on the walls, an armour rack and what appears to be a luxurious sofa and bed. When I took a closer look, everything here was either lined with gold, or with other precious gems that I couldn't name. There was a mini library in the corner, and I went to it and took out an old random book and flipped its pages. The writing looked like something of a mix between Cyrillic and Arabic text, yet I understood it perfectly. It was a collection of short stories by an author, and for some reason, I remembered that I had already read this book before. This place feels like a room of a King or an Emperor. The armour was unlike anything that I've ever seen before. It looked like a mix of influences from the middle east and Japan put together. There was also a table, filled with all kinds of strange-looking meat, fruits, flasks, mugs and golden plates.
The fireplace came alive, which startled me. When I approached it, I felt no warmth, even when I directly touched the red coals that kept the fire going.
It was then that I realize that I am naked when I walked by a large shield and saw my own reflection. It appears that I am a male and I don't recognize the person staring back at me. I open several large closets nearby and see robes, tunics, dresses, pants and coats all too large for me to wear. I was lucky that I found a red robe lined with golden fur small enough to fit me. There was also a comb nearby, and I used it to fix my messy black hair.
Then I hear a knock.
I turn my head to the source, it came from behind a very large and heavy-looking door, that I didn't see before. I swore that wasn't there I arrived. The door is made of wood and was carved with designs with what appears to be a black two-headed dragon spreading its massive wings, while holding a sword and arrows in its legs.
Another knock came after several seconds.
I should be panicking, terrified, crying or hiding after everything that just happened. Strangely, I felt very calm.
"Hachiman-sama? May I come in?" I hear a female's voice from behind the door.
Hachiman…? Who is that?
Is that my name? Or is that the name of the owner of this room? And wait, "-sama"?
"Hachiman-sama, I'm coming in." The voice declared and the door unlocked itself and slowly opened.
A lady walked inside, wearing a tight-fitting green robe over herself while a violet veil covered the bottom half of her face, from the middle of her nose down. She wore her brown hair in a braid which rested on the right side of her chest. From her right shoulder to her left hip was a beautiful golden raiment. Since the room was so large, it took her several moments to present herself before me. She smiled and bowed deeply once she was near enough.
"Hachiman-sama. Thank goodness. How was your transition?"
I titled my head to the side. Does she mean the travel thing? That must be it. And also, she doesn't seem bothered by me. I must be the person that she's talking about then.
"Umm, it took a while I guess…" I say and unconsciously tightened the robe that I had around myself more tightly.
She bowed deeply from my words. "Apologies. There were some unexpected developments on this side of the Relay… We should have seen it coming… On behalf of the others, please forgive me." She remained bowing, and then I realized that she must be waiting for my word.
"You can raise your head…" Really, bossing around this lady isn't my thing… She's older than me and looks pretty too... From behind her veil, I saw that she looked regretful and in pain. Did something terrible happen, I wonder?
She took a deep breathe before regaining her regal and formal composure once more. "Hachiman-sama, forgive me once more. We were waiting for such a long time. We thought that something might have happened…"
I just stared at her, waiting for her to continue. She wouldn't meet my eyes. "Hachiman-sama, is something wrong? Please forgive me if I may anger you for saying this, but why have you taken your younger form?"
I didn't answer her question and decided to ask one of my own. "I'm sorry, what is your name?"
She looked horrified when I spoke, and she took a step closer to me. "Hachiman-sama please do not apologize. It is my fault that I have not taken into consideration your current state." She sounds like a Mother correcting her child… "Do you remember anything?" She asked softly.
I shook my head. "I… I remember some things from before the…'transition' as you called it. Some trivial things really, but I do know about where I came from. I don't know who I am."
She gulped and looked grim before speaking again. "I may be overstepping my bounds, but may I hold your hand?"
I wordlessly reached out and offered her my left hand. She looked reluctant to touch me, but I felt her warm hand against my own, softly poking around before focusing on one single point. Then I felt a warm sensation that I felt through me in a single moment, like a pulse. "Ah, I see. So that is what happened…" She shook her head and let go.
"Why? What happened?" I ask. I really want to find out what is going on. Who am I? Why can't I remember anything? What is this place? Why was I called here? And who is this lady who seems to treat me like some sort of King?
"Your journey through the Relay was too violent and unstable. How long was the travel?"
I looked down and frowned as I rested my chin on my hands. "I… I don't know. It felt such a long time, yet it was over before I knew it." I say.
The news must have been incredibly shocking since she put a hand over her mouth, her lower lip quivering. "O-Oh my Goodness… That must be why your memories are missing…"
I gulped and felt cold sweat all over my body. "Could you explain to me what exactly is happening?"
She quickly bowed and sat to my right side of this long table. I don't care for the food and drink before me, I want answers. And this lady seems to know what is going on.
She cleared her throat before speaking. Her eyes were a beautiful shade of indigo and I had to force myself from staring too long. "Hachiman-sama, I am ready for whatever questions that you may ask. I am your humble servant."
I was really put off by the last part but I ignored it for now. "Okay. First of all, what is your name?"
She smiled and then got back up again.
I realized that she was taller than me, maybe by a full head. Her skin was light olive, yet the shape of her eyes and her other facial features looked Japanese. She smiled and showed me her brilliant pearly white teeth, there was something familiar about her smile. It feels like I've seen it many many times before and it made me feel at ease.
"Hachiman-sama, allow me to introduce myself again." She bowed. "My name is Mai, short of Magical Artificial Intelligence. I was born from your thoughts and you gave me some of your own essence. Think of me as your Familiar." She straightened up and smiled.
Familiar…? An assistant…?
"Pleased to meet you, Mai." I say and she bowed once more. Just like before, she kept standing and waiting for my command. "Y-You may sit down…"
"Thank you Hachiman-sama."
"You're welcome. Okay then, where am I? What is this place?" I took a quick look around for emphasis. It could have been my imagination, but I think the room got even bigger as we spoke and some things were added. Am I seeing things…?
"This place, is in your mind." She said calmly.
I waited for a few seconds, trying to see if she was joking. "In..my mind…?" I ask again.
She nodded. "Yes, this is your own pocket reality or dimension inside your psyche. You are a very unique Divine, Hachiman-sama. You are the only Divine known to possess this kind of power." She finished by smiling and puffing out her rather large bosom, looking very proud of herself. I literally have no idea what she said so I can't exactly share her sentiment.
A question answered, yet more questions reveal themselves… "Divine? What do you mean?"
"You, Hachiman-sama, are a God. You are the Patron God of our great nation. Some call themselves as Gods, some Divines. You are one of the former but you also don't mind being called the latter." She said and I felt nothing but conviction, loyalty and faith in her words. She is telling the truth.
Me… A God…? I don't really feel like one…
"I-I'm a God of what, exactly?" I ask, making sure to listen and remember every word that she says.
She smiled and I had a feeling that she would love explaining this part to me. "Hachiman-sama, you are the God of the Sky, Fertility, Parenthood, Nature and revered symbol of the royal family. I will gladly explain everything in great detail, should you wish it." She offered and I nodded at her to continue.
"As a God of the Sky, you reign over the Heavens, the sky is your main domain Hachiman-sama. For Fertility, you bless our crops and fields with bountiful harvests, as well as men and women who seek to have healthy children of their own one day. Our people also seek your blessing in marriage and Parenthood, to give them guidance and the wisdom to raise their children into good citizens. The forests are your secondary domain, you love the trees and the animals that live there. Wherever you walk, wilting flowers bloom to life and fruit-bearing trees grow faster, their fruit more nutritious when they receive your blessing. You also bring rain to our fields when the weather is too hot, or clear away the skies when the rain floods too much." She spoke and delved deeper into the first four things that I apparently represent. After what felt like hours, she finally finished everything that she has to say on the subject. She doesn't seem tired in the slightest and looked keen to speak some more.
"And what about the last part?"
"In ancient times, you once appeared as a mighty Dragon. You were not one to clash with the other Gods, but when you did, entire landscapes would change because of your battles. It is said that you protected several tribes from hostile Gods, yet you did not ask anything in exchange from them. You were loved and worshiped as their Patron. The tribes came together to form a nation of their own, and with your blessing and guidance, you helped them grow and advance while not meddling with their internal affairs. Though you are a God who always takes human form, on the rare times that you do battle, you either fight in the form of a human or the form of a great dragon. Because of that, the ruling family of our nation made that particular form of yours as the symbol and coat of arms."
I looked to the door, the same one where she came through. A two-headed dragon, holding a sword and arrows. So that's me…?
"I see.. I see…" I stayed quiet and went over what I just discovered.
I'm a God of the Sky, Fertility, Parenthood, Nature and a revered symbol…
Could this get any crazier…?
I tapped the table and spaced out for several minutes. She was patiently waiting for me, should I ask again.
"What happened? Why am I here?" I ask after getting my bearings.
She pursed lips shortly before continuing. "There was a war. A long and terrible war that destroyed entire nations in our continent. A faction of Gods declared that they no longer wish to guide, but to rule with an iron fist, in direct violation to the treaty that all Gods have agreed to eons ago. They clashed, one side guiding the people that they protect, the other seeking to rule all of creation. It lasted for 56 years. Some nations from the former, grew fearful and desperate. They… They turned on their very Patrons, the Gods who have guided and loved them from the very beginning. They bound them in unbreakable chains and used them as sources of energy to fuel their war. Using their very essences until they fade away. With their Patrons lost, they turned into the very things they sought to stop, and so lusted for domination and rule, declaring themselves as the rightful rulers of the world…"
The pain in her voice was real. She stopped for a moment before continuing.
"With all the hatred, violence and carnage, another calamity was born. The Demon Lords rose from the depths and waged war with all the races from the surface world. It was chaos, no side was winning. The nations around us collapsed one after another in a storm of war, fire and death…"
This wold of theirs must be very violent, or maybe I just arrived at the worst time…
"And? What was I doing?"
"A group of enemy Gods banded together and managed to defeat you, but you escaped before they destroyed your Core. From what you said before, they offered you to join their ranks, but you refused. You flew and crashed in your Central Temple in the Capital. The High Priests and Priestesses tried their best, but they could not repair the damage in your Core. After evacuating the women and children, the capital made their last stand to buy some time for you to recover, a garrison of 80,000 strong. The siege was long and your defenders loyal and brave but the walls eventually broke on the 48th day…
The close quarters fighting was extremely fierce and vicious, it lasted for 14 days. Daemons, hellspawn and other vile entities flooded into the city. In a last attempt to get some of your strength back, you reached out and went past the Black Void, the thing that separates our reality and universe from others, seeking your other Selves and gain their assistance.
There was a flash of bright light, and then you were gone…" She said sadly and looked down.
"...What became of the city?" I ask after gulping.
"Before you disappeared, the King burst into the Temple and knelt down on your form. Vowing to give his life and all the defender's just to give you time. They declared that they will all fight to the last. I do not know what happened after that…"
That is terrible. I can't imagine something so horrendous and horrific like that ever happening…
"Hachiman-sama. The 'You' right now is a combination of the 'You' from the world where you came from, and this world's Hachiman-sama. But you are still one and the same. If you were not, then it would have been impossible for you to access your pocket reality. I believe something went wrong that caused you to lose your memories. Insufficient energy perhaps? Or maybe it was caused by your damaged Core… In any case, you look good as new Hachiman-sama. It is as if you never left at all."
I partially opened my robe and felt around my body. True, nothing seems to be missing or anything like that. And I don't feel weird either, maybe a little light headed from all the information that I learned but aside from that I feel fine. I felt her curious eyes on my exposed upper body and I immediately covered myself.
"Hachiman-sama's body is rather young…" She muttered to herself as her eyes continued to bore themselves on my chest, causing a blush on my cheeks.
I quickly covered myself. "So… What am I supposed to do here?" I ask and look around. There was a large glass window, but all I could see outside was a blizzard of snow and ice. Strangely, the glass didn't feel cold, and when I pressed my ear against it earlier, I didn't hear anything.
She snapped out of it when I called her name. "A-Ah, forgive me, Hachiman-sama. I had something on my mind…"
"What is it? You can say or do anything that can help me understand my current state." I say.
She fidgeted a bit, looking a bit embarrassed. "W-Well, it is a strange request would Hachiman-sama allow me to touch your chest?"
"Alright." I shrugged and opened the upper part of my robe for her. She got closer and did the same movements when she did my hand earlier. Her touch was light, going right and left before touching my center with her palm. Just like before, there was a warm sensation within me that pulsed from my center outwards the rest of my body. The first pulse felt warm and nice, but the second pulse was heavier and it felt weird. Mai frowned and broke away from me.
I put my robe back on and tied it. "Well?"
"The 'You' in this world summoned you here to merge with him and do battle, that succeeded, at a price. Hachiman-sama's powers are still within you, you just have to discover and learn them once again. His memories are also locked and hidden, but they will return after some time. You are the same entity after all." She put her warm hand over mine. "It seems that you also gained some Divinity from your own world, Hachiman-sama. I sense a foreign Divine essence within your Core, but it is not malevolent. It seems that you have your own abilities as well."
Okay, so there's the "Me" from here, and the "Me" from my own world(which I still barely remember) that also absorbed something else. I don't really remember much, just some trivial information here and there. I think I live in a country called Japan but that's about it.
"I see. What does the 'Me' from this world usually does when he's here?"
She spread her arms and gestured to the room. "Hachiman-sama comes here as an escape. Currently, time has very little meaning here." She pointed to the cabinets, closets and shelves in the room. It might be my imagination, but the room feels like it got bigger. It looks…alive. The walls, ceiling and floor were moving and expanding on their own.
"You store your own treasures here. From books, vehicles, weapons and armour to food and even drink. This place has no end. You have collected many things over the last few centuries." When I looked up, I couldn't see the ceiling anymore. The walls were filled with all sorts of things: strange weapons, animal heads, plants, strange machines, bones, tools, clothes and literally anything. And behind me was a library that seemed to go on forever.
"You are the only God to have this kind of ability." She said.
Uwaah, so the Me from this world is a hoarder? Isn't that unhealthy…?
And far above me were floating… Wait, are those flying vehicles from this world…? They look like Chinese Junks with steel and wooden wings. There were so many, I saw one the size of a small car and another that must have been as large as a modern-day aircraft carrier. I was alarmed when the colossal thing was about to hit the wall, but it slowly went through it without resistance.
Mai continued. "Many Gods see little value in what Humans create, as they see their works and achievements as something temporary and will be inevitably forgotten in the future. And in a way, that is true. The only thing that they want from their worshipers are beautiful temples, offerings and faith. Hachiman-sama is different, you love collecting even the most mundane of things if it has slightly piqued your interest. You even have structures here that you have stored and projected into this pocket reality."
It was disorienting since whatever came to my mind immediately became a reality. One side was sucking everything in, and the other was turning the room into whatever I desired. When I thought of books, the room changed into a library that had no end, I couldn't even see the ceiling when I looked up. When I thought of weapons and armour, it became a gigantic armoury. When I thought of clothes, the walls transformed, and on it was an innumerable number of all sorts of clothes stacked and hanged neatly with each other. When I thought of food, it became a kitchen with things that I couldn't describe from this world. Food, both raw and cooked filled the tables that were so long, I couldn't see the end.
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to clear my mind and the room went back to normal.
She turned to the strange-looking food. But it wasn't strange anymore. It was food from my own world that I immediately recognized. "The food and drink on this table replenishes itself. However, whatever you eat here does not sate your appetite in the real world. You must physically bring it back to you when you return. As a God, Hachiman-sama does not need nourishment, but you still loved collecting dishes from all over the world."
I looked around me, and imagined that we were on the snowy top of a mountain. The walls, ceiling and floor faded. The ground became rock covered in ice as the sky was blue and clear of clouds. In the distance was a massive mountain range. The wind howled, but it had no effect on us. The table that we sat on didn't change and was unaffected by gravity or the wind, we were floating maybe a meter above its peak. I took a metal mug and dropped it. It stopped on an invisible floor, but when I thought of it falling, it tumbled down the mountain where it disappeared from my view. I held out my hand, a low humming sound, then a small shining golden circle appeared, and out came the same mug that I dropped a few moments ago.
Mai widened her eyes in surprise. "Already bending your pocket dimension to your will… So quickly! You are absolutely amazing, Hachiman-sama!" She smiled and clapped.
I bashfully scratched my cheek from her praise and returned our surroundings back to the room before. "A-Ah, thanks…"
"Hachiman-sama, at this rate you will be back to your former self in no time!"
I returned her smile, but something suddenly came to mind. It was only for a fraction of a second, but I imagined her having cat ears and wearing a maid outfit. In an instant, her clothes shone brightly, and in place of her robes, was the maid outfit that I had thought of in my mind. It was intricately woven, the sleeves, the band on her head, the skirt, the footwear that she wore, and the black and white frilly dress itself, every detail perfectly matched what I had thought that it was scary.
Is this something that I like? Wow I'm really weird.
Mai blinked several times, just staring at me and then looked down on the new set of clothes that she wore. She examined the chest that showed a large amount of her beautiful skin, sleeves and long skirt and then nodded in satisfaction, her cat ears moving as well.
"I have to say Hachiman-sama," She giggled and covered her mouth. "are these clothes from your world? These are strange, but I do not dislike them. I will wear whatever you wish, I am your Familiar after all." She bowed and I saw her breasts sway and move with her. I immediately apologized after I realized what I had done then returned her to her original clothes. A bright flash of light, and then she was back to normal.
She looked amused at how I was testing out these abilities and didn't really mind at all. In fact, she looked disappointed at the end.
These powers are way too scary!
I have to be really careful with this!
"Hachiman-sama," She called my attention, thankfully she's not mad or anything like that. "even though it is only by a small fraction, you are partially human right now. You may feel what Humans feel. Gods do not need to eat, drink, nor sleep, but you need to do those with at least the bare minimum everyday. Gods also do not feel libido nor lust, they cannot comprehend the nature of it. They see it as just a means to multiply, any reason other than that is barbaric and savagery to them. This form of yours seems young. Being a male and all, it would not be strange if you started thinking about certain things. Therefore…" She stood up and spread her arms in an inviting and welcoming fashion with a warm smile, my eyes automatically glued themselves to her sizable bust. W-Wow…the tight robe around her chest really brings out its very impressive shape… Those are quite large…
I gulped at what she was about to say.
She better not say it…
SHE DAMN WELL BETTER NOT SAY IT…!
"Please feel free to come here and take me whenever you wi-" Before she could finish what she was about to say, several portals opened all around her and out came long sheets of red cloth. The portals remained suspended in the air as the cloth flew and wrapped her body tightly, from her legs, hips, arms and chest until it covered and stopped at her mouth. She was also raised slightly above the ground. It came so fast that all of it was a blur, the next thing I knew, she was a red mummy save for her head which was exposed.
She tried to say something, but her mouth was covered, the only thing that came out of her was a muffled sound.
"OH SHIT I'M SO SORRY!" I stand up and exclaimed. As fast as it came, the small portals closed on their own along with the red cloth that faded into nothingness. Was I the one who did that? It was instantaneous, there wasn't even a single moment of delay. I just wanted her to cover her mouth, and those things appeared out of nowhere…
I immediately checked her arms and neck, she looked unhurt. She wasn't upset, she looked absolutely elated even. "H-Hachiman-sama, I am amazed! You are already opening the Gates on your own! Even though you did it subconsciously, the fact that you managed to do it is amazing in itself! Wonderful! This is so wonderful!" She said and started clapping like a proud mother or older sister.
I turned away and covered my face with my hand.
Fuck me that was so embarrassing…
The woman in front of me didn't seem to sense how I was truly feeling, and tilted her head to the side. "Hachiman-sama? Is something wrong…?"
"No." I sigh and distract myself by looking at the food on the table. "Sorry, about that."
From the corner of my eye, her expression of confusion turned into a slight frown. "Hachiman-sama, please do not apologize. It was my fault for suddenly bringing it up." She said and immediately bowed low. I forced my eyes away from her blobs of flesh that seemed to draw me to them.
Looking at her like this after she said that, I couldn't really deny her. "Well, you're right about that I guess…" I say admittedly.
She straightened up, her face determined and I had a bad feeling on what she's going to say next. "Still, I must stand by what I said. I am here should you feel the urge to relieve yourself. So please do not hesitate to use me as you see fit, whether here or when you call for me to the outside world."
"I… Eh… Umm… Okay okay fine just…just drop the topic already…" I say while waving her off and sat back down on my seat with an exasperated sigh. I nodded at her to sit down as well.
W-Wouldn't that be incest? She did say that she was born from my thoughts. If so, then that would make her my daughter…? W-What about my body fluids? Do they "replenish" after I spend some here…? And how does that even work? Libido can be treated here, but not eating and drinking? So physiological needs can't be satisfied then, she also said that time "currently" has little meaning here, that must mean that something happened to cause that. Therefore, if I sleep for 8 hours here, and then go back the real world where little to no time has passed ever since I came here, then…
Hmm… I see… I see…
This is all so confusing…
I'll need to ask about this some other time.
"Wait, you said 'outside world', does that mean that you can manifest outside of my mind too?" I ask curiously.
She nodded. "Yes. I can exist outside for some time and become flesh and blood. Though with how you are right now, I believe that I can do it for only an hour or two at most before I must return to you. As your Familiar, I assisted you in battles during the war, relayed messages to the generals and even treated the sick and eased the passing of the dying. " She said proudly. Oh, I guess she's a really big help to me huh. I hope my other self treated well and paid her handsomely.
"During peacetime, what do I do?" Being a God sounds really easygoing, so aside from warfare, collecting stuff, going to my Temple to receive offerings and blessing the people, I really want to know what the Me from here did.
"Well, you seldom leave your Temple and you are also always in your own pocket reality, only leaving a bit of your consciousness in the Temple for when the people need you for something or you feel the urge to add something to your mental vault and treasury. Here, time flows extremely slow because of your current state and also because you have just arrived, but back then you allow it to be the same as that of the outside world."
I may not remember much of my other life, but I think that is something I would definitely do. I asked her to explain it some more, the specifics and details, no matter how small. I listened for what felt like hours until I finally understood everything.
"As for me, I would assist in tending to your Temple and would barter and trade with the offerings that you received on your behalf. You give me complete freedom over myself, my favourite pastime is speaking with the people and spreading your glory and greatness, as well as bestowing small blessings with the power that I have from you." She paused and smiled at a memory before continuing. "I always have to hide my identity when I barter and trade since they would refuse the things that I would give them, and instead just give everything that they could to me."
I nod at her words. Hmm, I guess the Me here is a really good guy huh. "Did my other Self treat you well?" Mai sounds very hardworking, endearing and loyal, so it would really leave a bad taste in my mouth if the Me from here treated her badly.
Her smile brimmed, and caused much of my worry to instantly disappear. "Oh yes! Hachiman-sama is the greatest Master to serve! You give me freedom and will to choose for myself, you never raised a hand nor punished me for my past mistakes and most of all, you give me something to work hard for! Being an undying Familiar can be boring if your Master forbids you from manifesting outside, but there is never a boring day with you as my Master. Why, you even commissioned the construction of a beautiful manse, only for you to open the Gates and send it here to me as a gift!"
When she laughed, I couldn't help laugh with her. She is a good person, I'm sure she was loved and adored by the people as well.
We spoke for quite a while after that until her tone turned serious. "Hachiman-sama, would you like to wake up? Or would you stay here? You can come back here anytime by meditating. The preparations are complete for your return to the Temple."
I wanted to stay here some more, to try out and explore. But my gut feeling told me that it was time for me to return.
"Yes, I would like to."
"Wonderful. Now all you need to do is close your eyes. You still don't know how to do this by yourself as of the moment, but I know that Hachiman-sama can learn this again in no time." Mai said as I followed her and then I felt a familiar feeling slowly envelop me as everything, even the robes that I wore seemed to melt away.
I was back in the white tunnel again, but this time I felt Mai's presence inside me. At least I have someone to talk to.
"Hachiman-sama, I am your Familiar. Therefore you do not need to say out loud. Just think of me and I will answer. But only if you want. I cannot hear your thoughts unless you explicitly want me to." Her voice came from within, I was startled but then laughed it off. "Oh, so that must be why you didn't reply to my earlier monologues and such."
Even though I can't see her, I sensed her apprehension. "H-Hachiman-sama? Have I offended you? Please forgive me…"
"Don't worry. It's fine." When I opened my eyes, the tunnel was still there.
"Hachiman-sama, I may have said this earlier but I will say it again. You are two of the same being, the other from this world, and the other from your world. You have some Divinity from a local Deity, but it does not affect you negatively. We can only see what these abilities are once we arrive at your Temple. Also, you have the partial body of a mortal now, but the soul and essence of a God. I believe you may require the minimum amount nourishment like a normal human being." She explained as I went deeper into the tunnel. Sometimes the walls would flash and reveal images and scenes from my world, but nothing that really made me remember anything notable from it.
"There may be some moments where you do or say things instinctively, that is perfectly normal as well. That includes casting spells, incantations, citing rituals and your innate abilities as a God. It means that some of your powers and abilities are returning."
"I see. Anything else I should know?" I ask her in my mind.
"I do not know what happened after you disappeared since I can only exist in you. After you were captured, I too was damaged and had difficulty manifesting within you, I also have gaps and missing pieces in my memories. But before you disappeared, the Capital was overrun by your enemies. I suggest that you immediately prepare for battle."
"B-Battle?! But-" I reply to her but couldn't finish what I was about to say.
Suddenly, I saw continents, mountain ranges, a forest, wide expanses of plains, a large city surrounded by massive walls, and at the center was a structure that was too blurry for me to see clearly. It was like I was slammed into the ground at light speed. There was no pain nor damage to my surroundings, but the shock of it rattled me to the Core. Then I felt like my entire being was ripped apart several times, and then reconstructed within a span of a single second.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" I screamed and immediately sat up. My voice echoed and shook the entire place. I mentally told Mai that I was fine before she could ask then rubbed my eyes and looked around, there was nothing but darkness. I seem to have woken up on what appears to be an offering table, or a bed. I was sweating and naked, the air was still and chilly.
I snapped my finger, and a very bright ball of light hovered over my head and rose a meter or two before finally stopping. What the… How did I know how to do that…?
Mai was also kind enough to send forth the robe that I wore earlier, a golden light appeared above and the robe fell comfortably over me. Another smaller one appeared and out fell two fur-lined leather boots.
When my eyes finally adjusted, I realized that I was surrounded by skeletons. I was so startled that I lost my balance and fell back on the stone bed.
"Mai! What is this?!" I call out to her, and a moment later I heard her voice.
"Skeletons, Hachiman-sama. I did a quick scan of the place. There are seven skeletons surrounding you."
Once the initial shock had passed, I saw that what she said was true. There were seven skeletons surrounding the altar, kneeling on one knee with their heads down. I got up to get a closer look at each of them. It was when I just stepped down from the altar when another bright light entered the room. It came from behind me, a crystal ball floated in the air before falling. It dimmed down and would blink its white light every few seconds.
"What is that…? Hachiman-sama, please practice caution!" Mai warned but I was already drawn to it. When I touched it, it floated once more and projected a very large screen before me. Perhaps 10 meters in width and 6 in height. After a second or two of nothing but blur, the images came to life and I saw a middle-aged man wearing ornamented and ceremonial armour. The image was extremely clear, clearer than any technology I have seen. Aside from him, there were other people running around in the background, preparing something. And their voices sounded like they were in a hurry. I heard explosions in the background, and the place regularly shook.
"It works! It works!" The man said, and two more figures emerged, two women. The first one wore what looked like a mage's robes, while the other was the same except hers was more simpler and pure white.
A voice called out to them, its owner currently off-screen. "My King! We must hurry! The Temple's gates have been breached!" The King must be the one holding the orb since he grunted in the direction of the source of the voice.
He moved the orb and placed it to where the altar was. The orb's field of vision also extended, until I saw seven people standing in a line, with the king at its head surrounding me. Then I heard an all too-familiar voice, it was strained and in pain.
It was familiar since it was mine. I sounded several years older. I could not see him, but I knew that he was me.
"Fraxien, Reun, Torschi, Aaman, Lunoa, Iri and Xenia. Forgive this stubborn Patron God of yours, I should not have come. I led them here."
The man at the head vigorously shook his head. "Hachiman-sama! Do no blame yourself! You were right to come here, this is your home after all!"
A laugh came from my other Self's voice. "Ahaha. That it true. How fares the defense?"
The King looked grim and looked down. His gauntlet clad hand trembled. "14 days ago, the walls were breached. I have also just received news that you're Temple's gates have been broken. They are closing in on us."
Another laugh. "Ahahahaha! Be proud! It took them 48 days of siege to break the city's walls! Since the ones that I battled are absent, I must have inflicted some -HNG!" A sudden grunt of pain and seven people winced all at once.
Even though I can't see him, I sensed a smile from the Hachiman of this world. "Now my friends. I give you one last advice. Escape from here, you still have time." They nodded in unison and bowed. "As for me, I will seek the help of alternate versions of myself across the stars."
"Hachiman-sama, can we not persuade you to do this?" A woman standing 6th from the left spoke out.
"I must agree with Iri. It is too dangerous Hachiman-sama. Your Core is damaged, who knows what will happen once you enter the Relay and the transition starts… You are missing both of your legs, even your left arm was blasted..." The woman to her right added.
"It must be done. As your Patron God, it is my duty. I must try at least. And I cannot escape from here anymore. This is the only thing that I can do at the moment. It's better than dying and waiting for several hundred years for me to return to my form. Do not wait for me, for I do not know how long I will be gone. Only know that I will return one day."
The two women started tearing up, yet they and the other five people replied at once. "Yes!"
"By the way…" I heard something akin to a microphone being poked, the screen slightly moved from the sound. "Iri, Xenia, what is this?"
The last woman spoke. "It will help you on your first transition through the Relay, Hachiman-sama. We prepared this ever since you fell from the sky 48 days ago. Since you had mentioned this idea before, we made this specifically for your journey. As for your return, well…" Her voice trailed off as she looked troubled.
There was some silence, until I heard myself speak again. "Ah, I see. Thank you for your effort. Tell everyone else involved in this endeavor that they have my thanks…"
I hear myself chuckle, then his next words were full of resignation. "Goodbye for now."
And then there was a bright flash of light, followed by a booming sound so loud that it even shook the place that we were in.
The seven looked unfazed and once I was gone, the King stood up and faced the other six. "Forgive us for the deception, Hachiman-sama." he turned to the others behind him. "Lunoa, Iri, prepare the siphoning ritual." After wiping away their tears, they started muttering incantations, until the room was filled with purple light from the magic circle with runic encryption. All seven of them were in their own circle, their faces grim, yet determined.
"We do no know when Hachiman-sama might return, but we must have this emergency plan in place. His Core is damaged, his initial journey might be successful but his return is extremely dangerous. He might temporarily lose his powers and memory once finally comes back. He might come back tomorrow, he might come back a year from now, maybe even in a hundred years. But he will come back. He is a part of this World, the World will not allow him to permanently leave. I do not doubt, Mai, but I think even she would appreciate our help given that she is also unable to manifest within Hachiman-sama's mind from the damage after his battle."
I heard a sharp intake of air, it was Mai. "So that is why there are gaps in my memories… No, no no this can't be…! The skeletons are-!" My eyes widened from her words and I looked behind me. I should have made the connection earlier.
The seven people, while surrounded by purple magic swirling around them stood straight and faced the orb. Four women and three men.
"King Fraxien Un Drenya IX, ruler of the Kingdom of Rhozgelia!" He was covered in armour from head to toe. Black and gold, with large shoulder pads. His joints were exposed to provide some movement and he wasn't as heavily armoured on his lower half, and on his back was a large lance. The pointed tip on the end was black, and there was a red cloth on where the steel and the tip met.
"Reun Ingrin, Head of the Smithies in the Capital!" This man looked to be the oldest in the group. He was short and stocky, his beard neatly trimmed and bald, he looked as everything a smith should be. The arms that he had were large and muscular. His clothes were filled with dirt, soot and blood and his left arm seems to be bleeding.
"Torschi Treunt Bol, Minister of Architecture!" A woman, she wore a robe and a veil over the lower half of her face. Her robe was bright yellow, the white strap on her waist had floral designs and on the left side of her chest was a black two-headed dragon imprinted over the cloth. I couldn't see how she did her hair because of the dim lighting.
"Aaman Quent, Master of Arms!" This man wore a simple tunic over himself and loose pants, he looked like a peasant. He was also the only one smiling as he introduced himself. On both sides of his hips were two swords and on his foot was a small dagger. He also had a stubble on his chin, his hair was fiery red and tied in a ponytail. On his left hand was a tattoo of the same black two-headed dragon.
"Lunoa Geila, High Priestess!" This one wore a pure white robe, her veil was also white, but her strap was yellow. She wore golden bracelets on her wrists, and also one on her left foot. Her robe was different from the rest since it was cut diagonally from from a little above her left knee to the middle part of her right leg. It could be just me, but the air surrounding her shimmered with invisible energy and force. Her hair was black as night and was styled the same as Mai's, she also had a golden raiment over herself that floated around her. I believe she was the one who set up this ritual, together with the next woman. When she opened her eyes, they were glowing and sparked with every few seconds.
"Iri Russmoni, Court Mage!" This woman was the tallest of the seven she wore a bright crimson robe but no veil over her face. Her long white hair flowed freely on her sides, but she had a small portion of black hair on the top of her forehead tied separately. I couldn't see where her black dragon tattoo or symbol was.
"Xenia Einforvoz, Headmaster of the Institute!" She was the only woman not wearing a robe, instead, she wore something of a cross between a tunic and a blouse for her blue top, and a long flowing black skirt that covered her feet for her bottom. Over her left eye was a golden monocle that also covered a part of her face.
The one at the head, the King, stood straighter and put slammed his gauntlet over his chest. "Hachiman-sama! If you are seeing this, then the Capital has fallen. If you still retain your memories and powers, then wonderful! If not, then we have prepared this countermeasure for that scenario. This ritual will strip us of our mortal bodies, but will transfer our souls and minds into the orb. There is a high possibility that you may not be your usual self on your return, your memories and abilities… All of it. With that, the seven here, including myself, are the best and brightest. That is why we will guide you, as you have guided our nation ever since its birth." He looked behind him.
"Are all of you ready?"
"Yes!" The six spoke as one and knelt on one knee. The air itself was shaking, rocks and pebbles that fell from the ceiling were floating around, the ritual is complete. The only thing to do is to activate it.
The King knelt as well, but not before giving one last look at the orb. It looked like he was staring directly at me. "Know this, Hachiman-sama. That whatever may be the state of the capital or our nation when you return, it is not your fault. You have done everything in your power to save us. It is only proper for us to make our last stand on our own. Though the end is inevitable, what we can do is assist you in the future. Once the ritual is complete, this orb will seal itself within your Temple. It will only activate on your return. As the current King, it pains me to leave my Kingdom like this, but I have no choice…" he gulped and took a deep breath. "Lunoa! Iri! Do it now!"
Just as he said those words, the speed of the runes floating around them intensified tenfold. Magic circles appeared here and there, too many and too fast to count. The air and the ground shook as they activated and unleashed the spell. They remained unnmoving, their heads low as they continued to kneel.
It started with their legs. A red light suddenly appeared before making their way upwards their body. The light took their flesh, armour, clothes, weapons, jewelry, everything, and dissolved then sent it in the middle of the room where it turned into a tempest of pure energy and magic. If they screamed from the pain, I couldn't hear them over the sound of rumbling, sparks of energy flying and hitting the walls, and the sounds of explosions and fighting outside.
Before long, the light had completely absorbed them, leaving their bones still kneeling, ominous, yet loyal to the very end. The chaotic storm in the middle of the room calmed, and then went up and flew towards the orb, violently shaking as it absorbed the souls and essence of the seven people, to the point where I was afraid that it would crack. When all of it was funneled into the orb, it floated in the air. I saw the skeletons below, and in front of it was the bed-like altar where I woke. There was a terrible rumbling, stronger than what the recording showed before, it shook so much that some parts of the ceiling and walls collapsed. The screen went white for several seconds and the orb turned off on its own.
I was at a loss of words.
The ball of light must have been affected by how I was feeling since it flickered several times. I slowly walked back to the altar and sat down. I took the orb and put it inside my robe, strangely, it got smaller to fit the size of my inner pocket. Now that I know what happened, the seven skeletons kneeling in front of me don't scare me anymore. All I felt was sadness and regret. I heard a small pinging sound in me, it was Mai.
"Hachiman-sama…" She sounded worried, rightly so. "Are you alright?"
I shook my head. "No, I need some time to think on what just happened…"
I had a mental image of her. She was still sitting down on the chair where we left off in the room. She looked very worried at me and tightly gripped her sleeve. I don't know how long I spaced out, there is just too much information for me to process. This is too much...
I don't know how much time has passed, but Mai called out to me again. "Hachiman-sama, would you like something to eat and drink? I can send anything that you want…" She offered helpfully.
"Yes. Choose for me..." I say in a dazed voice.
Several seconds later, a golden light appeared. A small table softly floated down, complete with utensils, goblets, plates, placemats and a tablecloth under all of it. On the center of it was a small pile of strange meats, vegetables and fruits of some kind. I sat back down on the polished slab of stone where I woke up.
I slowly ate during the first few minutes, I can't taste anything but that changed as time went on. The roasted meat tasted like chicken, sweet and spicy and covered in tiny edible herbs. There were different types of meat but they were all cooked the same way. They tasted similar to the farm animals back in my own world. The drink was good, it calmed my nerves and cleared my mind. It was a mix of water, fruit juices and something that left an aftertaste in my mouth. I didn't even bother using the utensils, I just ate everything with my bare hands.
"Hachiman-sama, that drink contains invigorating properties that soothes your muscles and restores your energy. It is laced with special spells, potions and magical elements for Gods like yourself." Mai said.
I lost track of time as I continued eating, Mai had automatically refilled the plates once or twice when they were almost empty. It was at that moment that I realized that I must have been extremely starved after I saw how much I ate. The transition must have been very taxing on my body. The hunger and thirst that I feel right now must have been blocked or negated when I was in my pocket reality earlier.
It's strange eating all of this delicious food and drink, in this large and empty decrypt room lit by a ball of light above me with seven kneeling skeletons in front.
Once I was finished, Mai opened the portal again and returned everything back inside my mind. I held out my arms, then a blue flame that emitted no hear appeared and purified my hands of all the grease, oil and fat from what I had just eaten. It felt so natural to do, I wasn't even surprised when it happened. I just knew.
Maybe my memories are coming back faster then Mai and I had anticipated.
I lied on my back and just stared at the ball of light for some time, making it fly here and there as I was contemplating on what to do next. I stared at my surroundings where the light shined, rubble everywhere, ruined walls and some parts of the floor had given in. I then remembered the orb and took it from my pocket. It grew back to it's original size and weight. It was slightly larger than my fist and weight perhaps 1/4th of a kilogram.
"Mai, analyze this for me." I lightly threw the ball upwards and was vacuumed by a golden circle that appeared not a second too soon. She didn't reply immediately, and in my mind, I saw her fixated on it while scratching her head several times. Sticking it close to her eye and feeling its weight. A book from far away flew at high speed to her hand and it started flipping pages by itself while floating in the air. From above, a contraption that looked like a microscope landed on the table and the food and drink moved away just in time. That looked really cool.
My point of view while peering inside my mind while not fully entering my pocket reality was something like a floating camera. I can fly around and even stay right on Mai's shoulder while she worked on the orb. Or in more understandable terms, it feels like I'm a spectator of an online game after I lost and died.
Woah! Some of my memories came back! That's it! That's exactly it! I remember some of now, I love collecting video games!
My happiness was short-lived when I saw Mai's expression. "Mai? Do you need my help?" I say but then I realize that I have no idea how that thing works in the first place.
She turned to me and I slightly back away. "My apologies Hachiman-sama. It appears that the Seven have locked themselves with numerous seals and spells. I believe it is designed to open when the amount of memories that have come back to you have reached a certain point… Or maybe…" Her voice trailed off.
"Are they fine inside?" I ask as I took a closer look at what she was doing.
She nodded. "More or less. Their souls are in suspended thought and will, once they are out, everything will feel like a single moment for them."
I sighed in relief and looked at the Seven in front of me. So they have been waiting all this ti-
The magical recording in the orb showed white and golden walls, drapes and lit bonfires around before they were toppled by some explosions outside. Even with that said, it was still fine at the end of the ritual. What I see right now are many parts of the walls that might give in at any moment, the paintings have faded and the drapes that showed the country's black two-headed dragon insignia was on the floor, the prints and cloth ruined beyond recognition.
Without thinking about it, I summoned more lights to fill the entire place. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty. This place was larger than I thought. The ceiling was very high above me, its chandeliers barely hanging on to its hinges. Around the place were many broken fire pedestals with ornate and intricate designs. There was a hallway behind the Seven, bordered by broken busts, statues and paintings. As I walked deeper, I saw one still in recognizable condition.
This must be an older version of myself. His eyes were stern and hard.
"Mai, send me a mirror." A second later, a circular mirror floated in front of me. My black hair was a mess and reached my shoulders. I looked…what, 16? 17? Personally, I didn't look ugly, but I wasn't handsome as well. I don't really look special to be honest. The only unique feature that I had were my scary eyes, they were like slits.
I continued walking and left the mirror as it is and heard the distinct low humming sound when I open and close a portal. I think Mai called these things "Gates". The floor and walls were charred, with some parts slightly melted. An intense source of heat must have entered this place before. I turned at a corner where there was some light entering and covered my eyes as I started walking to the exit. A sudden cold gust came in, chilling my face even more and I wrapped my robe over myself more tightly. Mai asked if I wanted gloves, but I said that I was fine.
When I was finally outside, I was standing on a massive pyramid or ziggurat, at least 20 stories high. The sky was partially covered with clouds, it looks like it may rain soon. The long stairs that led the way to the ground far below was bordered by broken pillars and statues. Many parts of it were full of holes caused by impact craters I believe.
And around me…
were the ruins of large city surrounded by very tall walls. Massive craters were all around, strongholds were reduced to rubble. Many portions of the walls had already collapsed, from battle and time itself. Nature had claimed much of the city, some houses and buildings that were still standing were now covered in grass and parts of the once busy streets were filled with tall trees. A river snaked its way through the broken buildings where it flowed out from one of the fallen portion of the walls.
My mouth was agape as I saw the sight and collapsed on my knees.
"What…?" I whisper to myself. This isn't the one that I saw in my earlier vision as I was transitioning back. Even though there was a battle, it shouldn't look like this. Mai was at a loss as well, she must also be able to see through my eyes or at least to some extent.
"M-Mai…" I say.
"Yes, Hachiman-sama…?" She sounded horrified and on the verge of breaking down. The orb was on the table and she looked like she was in a trance.
"Do you have any way of knowing how long I was gone…?" I say, my voice came out dry and raspy.
She suddenly stood up and vigorously nodded at me. Her eyes full of hope. "Yes! I will need a sample! Anything will do!" She exclaimed. I looked around and spotted a broken part of the stone floor. The outside of the Temple was filled with impact craters so charred rocks were not scarce. I took a single glance at the closest one and immediately sent it to her. From inside my mind, a small golden circle appeared and shined, then dropped the rock on her waiting hand.
Immediately, she summoned a contraption to her. The table was swallowed by the floor and the thing floated in front of her. It looked like a mix between a loom and a pottery wheel. Mai put the piece of rock at the center, then pressed something using her legs from under it. It came to life and some wooden appendages raised themselves, each carrying on its tip a small circular glass. Mai peered into the closest one, and all of them aligned perfectly as she inspected the rock. She pressed some buttons on the sides, the glass glowed and fired something at the rock, like a laser of some sorts. She carefully took the tiny debris using the wooden appendages and a magic circle appeared around the rock on a raised platform.
After several moments, the magic circle disappeared and the contraption produced a small paper from one of its openings. Mai immediately took it, almost ripping it in the process. When she laid her eyes on it, she slumped back on her seat, the piece of paper falling on the floor.
I was so taken aback and surprised by how she lost her composure, that I had unknowingly and partially reentered my mental realm. My sense of self was split between what I saw before me, and what I saw within my mind. Some parts of the walls that held my things shimmered and faded, as if there were a mirage. The floor was shaky it was like it would collapse at any moment. There were gaps on the floor and the abyss was beneath it, I don't know what would happen if I fell there. So many of my things on the walls were falling, but they faded and disappeared before they could hit me, Mai or the ground. It was chaos and the noise was deafening as they began to hit and crash into each other. The current state of my mind seems to be affecting my world here. My other self had materialized on a throne beside the fire place. She was far away, but with I single step I was already beside her.
I lightly shook her shoulder and I couldn't control the alarm in my voice anymore. "Mai! Mai! How long?! How long was I gone?!" My voice echoed and shook the place even more.
She slowly turned to me, her eyes hollow and empty.
"H-Hachiman-sama… You were gone for...178 years..." She said.
The part of me beside her collapsed into himself, and I was instantly brought back to reality from her words with a start. With the ruins of once a great city before my eyes, I slowly walk and sit down on the highest step of the Temple built in my name and look down on the distressing scene below.
"178 years…?" I mutter to myself, still not believing it.
The clouds above seemed to grow even darker. Thunder rumbled above, there were flashes of lightning and shortly after that, it began to rain. I don't know if the weather is affected by how I am feeling, or maybe I am doing it subconsciously. An invisible wall prevented me from getting wet, but that is the last thing on my mind right now.
I was gone for too long…
I am too late.
Yeah so this is what I have been working on for the past week. I think this was overkill to be honest, it was supposed to end at the 8k word mark but this prelude exceeded 14k words damn.
For the new readers who haven't read my main FanFic and were confused at the first part: Hachiman is a member of the StuCo in his 2nd Year and he's friends with the cast and call them by their first names, except Yukino and Hayato. Check it out if you want!
Anyway, what do you think? Love it? Hate it? Let me know by writing a review!
As always, follow and favourite if you want!
Please look forward to the next chapter!