Before I noticed it, I had become 12 years old.
I realized it when I suddenly looked at my adventurer's card.
The number in the age column had become 12.
I wonder when my birthday passed.
While we were traveling my sense of time had deviated.
Nevertheless, it's already been two years since the teleport.
How time flies.
Conversely, you could say that it cost us a whole two years.
After spending two years, you can say that we've finally been able to return to the Central Continent.
If we've made it this far, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Asura Kingdom is right in front of us.
When I think about the things that happened on the way to the Milis Continent, it seems like the journey from here on will be easy.
We have the money and the means to travel.
If I had any worries, it would just be the fact that my family is still missing... but Paul is searching together with an organization; however, even with that, no one has been found yet.
I believe that they are still alive.
However, even if I were to put in my best effort, at this point it's not like they would suddenly be found.
Currently, we're at the Dragon King Kingdom's most eastern point, the port city, East Port.
It's the same as West Port, a town filled with marine products and transported goods.
After we found an inn we held an operations meeting.
It’s the same as usual with all three of us surrounding a map facing each other.
"Now then, let's talk about things from now on."
The two were looking at the map with serious faces.
It's something we've done many number of times, so you'd think we would get bored of it, but for Eris who is bad with the difficult talks, this is the only time when she listens with a serious face.
"In order to get from here to Asura Kingdom there are three routes."1
Just like that I pointed my finger at the map we just bought and started explaining.
It's a simple map that only marks out roughly the locations of villages and the forests.
Creating and selling detailed maps is severely forbidden in this kingdom and against its laws.
It seems they're afraid of other kingdoms acquiring one.
Well, it's fine as long as we understand the general terrain.
"The first route is the general one used by merchants for trade purposes."
Then I followed along the map with my finger.
It's a roundabout route that follows a path around the Eastern side of the Dragon King Mountain Range.
"It's the safest route of them all. With our movement speed, it should take around 10 months to arrive."
It's the one that costs the most time, but since it's the road that has the most maintenance done to it, it's also the safest.
"Why is it bad if we don't take the roundabout way?"
Then Eris raised an obvious question.
No matter what the time is she will come out with obvious questions.
Since she's honest, they're easy to explain.
"The route that circles around West is covered in a forest."
I pointed my finger to the Western side of the Dragon King Mountain Range while answering that question.
To the West of the Dragon King Kingdom, there's a large dense forest area spread out.
Essentially, you cannot pass through it with a carriage.
However, if you have someone who knows the details about that path, you can cut your movement time by several months.
The prerequisites include horse riding skills as well.
Eris and I cannot ride a horse.
Ruijerd can probably do it.
However, no matter how small we are, it's impossible to fit three people on a single horse.
Since that's the case, we would have to pass this route on foot.
In the case of going on foot, we have no idea how many days it will take us to get there.
It seems practically everyone chooses the safe Eastern roundabout route.
It might not be all that big of a difference in time, or the Eastern route might even be faster.
If you're in a hurry, going around is the way to go.
That more or less summarizes the explanation.
"I see, then West is no good."
Eris seems to have accepted it.
"Then, the third route is..."
While saying that I pointed my finger to the final route.
Get on a boat and cross over into Begaritto Continent, we can search as we go and pass straight through into Asura.
I don't know how many days this would take.
"Although, this route is already rejected."
"Because it's dangerous."
Begaritto Continent is said to have a stronger flow of magic power than the Magic Continent.
If you look at it, the average monsters are equal in strength to those of Magic Continent, but in addition, there are a large number of labyrinths that exist underground and above ground strange weather phenomena often appear.
That climate can be explained in a single word.
The continent is covered in sand.
And then, there are giant scorpions of the same size as the Great Land Turtles, and giant worms that eat those scorpions as their staple food are prevalent.
In the afternoon it's scorching heat, at night it's mid-winter.
There's almost no oasis, you can't take any breaks.
Also, if you head even further into the center of it, the sand disappears and for a while it turns into a snow-covered tundra.
From a desert it suddenly turns into a land covered in ice.
If you make it that far then monsters that you can eat almost entirely stop appearing.
Going to that sort of place to search and cut through... it's not realistic at all.
"Since that's the reason, we're going to take the route that goes around to the East."
"Rudeus is a coward, as usual."
"I am a person of many fears after all."
"I think it would be all right if it was us though?"
It seems like Eris wants to go to the Begaritto Continent.
Her eyes are sparkling.
However, the distance to go through the Begaritto Continent, it can't even be compared to the distance of going from Milis to the Central Continent.
"We would have to take a long boat trip, Eris are you alright with that?"
"Let's not go with Begaritto."
Since that's the case, we decided to go with passing the Eastern route.
I'm in a white room.
This feeling of something rising up from within my body.
It's a sensation which I'll never get used to no matter how many times, I'll sum it up in a single word.
"Suddenly going with shit, as always, you're vulgar."
A mosaic. It's Hitogami.
Cheh... what do you mean same as always.
I was finally starting to forget and then you appear again.
"It's been a year hasn't it."
Yeah, it's been a year.
It's been a fairly long time.
Could it be you can only show your face once a year?
If that's the case, then I would be able to feel a bit relieved in my heart.
"That's not the case."
I thought so.
The first time it wasn't even a week before you showed your face again after all.
"In any case, as always, you're so cold to me. Even though you managed to get your hands on a demon eye thanks to me."
I didn't ask for it.
These are things which wouldn't really change whether or not I had them, and I'd rather have an essential person that would have helped us on our voyage.
If I'd gotten that, I wouldn't have been thrown into a prison and I might not have ended up missing the information that got me into a fight with Paul.
I am sure it must have been quite amusing to you.
Without acquiring the correct information I got into a fight with Paul, got depressed, received some comfort, then somehow or other we discussed and reconciled; it must have been fun to watch!
"That really was quite enjoyable. However, isn't it fine?"
"Well, thinking of it all as my fault."
When I'm in this room, I feel like I returned to the past.
The time when I would always blame everything on others.
I reflected on it.
Reflected...Yeah, shit, I can't remember what kind of reflecting I did.
Why? Shit... damn it...
"Well, that is your flavor as well. After just reflecting on it a bit, you won't be able to advance forward at all."
Just for now.
When I open my eyes I'll remember. I'll be able to reflect.
That's why I'm going to get serious and accept it.
I'm going to get serious and listen to what you say.
"Listen? Ohhh, this time unusually you're going to honestly listen to my advice?"
Yeah, that's right.
However, you know, there's one bit of advice I want to know.
"What is it? If it's something that I know, it's fine if I answer it for you."
I'd like you to tell me the location of my family.
"Isn't your family in a different world?"
Don't make fun of me, Zenith, Lilia, Aisha, those three.
If possible I'd also like to know where Sylphy, Ghyslaine, Philip, and Sauros is as well.
What is it?
If a person is lowering their head and asking like this.
Quickly tell me.
"I wonder what I should do."
Why do you always take that viewpoint from above?
Just peeping into someone’s life, a peeping tom- bastards like that.
What are you?
Do you only tell me things that are convenient for you?
Even though you'll let me meet the Great Demon Emperor, you won't let me meet my family?
"Yeah yeah, sorry sorry. I was going a bit overboard."
It's fine if you understand.
"However, is it okay? This time, I might lie you know?"
Oh, a lie!
Finally I get to hear that kind of talk from you.
That's right, you are the type to lie aren't you.
"No, it's not really about whether I lie or not. I'm asking if you're willing to believe in my words."
No, I won't believe them.
Since right now is an emergency situation I'll move according to what you say, but if you were to lie even once, I would never listen to your advice again?
"Then, I'd like you to make a promise with me."
"If in the case that you reunite with your family following my next advice, I'd like you to believe in me from now on."
Believe in you, and become a puppet on strings you mean?
Listen to what you say and with a yes-yes, and serve you like a manservant?
"Nope, it's just, each and every time, you're belligerent like this and it's a bit tiring isn't it."
Even if I wasn't belligerent it's pretty tiring.
Don't you get it?
If possible I want to forget the sensation being dragged back into the past that I wish I could fix. I reflect on it and memory that started to fade becomes fresh in my mind. Then, when I wake up in the morning there's this amazingly degrading feeling and I start to feel depressed.
"That true? I've done something bad. Then, do you want to decide on a rule? For example, only getting my advice on a certain day next time."
Yeah, that's a good idea!
How about if we make the next time you appear 100 years later?
"In that case, you would be dead by then.”
Never show up again is what I'm saying.
"Hah... Well, I figured you would say that. Then, is it fine? Going without any advice this time."
...No, wait just a second.
I'm sorry about that.
I'll compromise as well.
If by following this advice I successfully manage to reunite with someone from my family, I'll stop being belligerent when I talk to you.
"Will you trust me?"
No, I can't go that far, but at the very least I'll stop with repeating the pointless "will I or will I not" dialogue.
"How positive of you."
That's why you should compromise as well.
Just like this time, don't just suddenly show your face.
Give me some time to prepare myself.
Otherwise enter some other guy's dreams and send me a letter.
"That is difficult. In order to appear in dreams, there are actually some conditions."
In other words, it's not like you can just show your face whenever you want?
"That's exactly what it means. Appearing in their dreams won't work unless our wavelengths match up. It's considerably uncommon. People who can match up with the timing to receive my advice. You're pretty lucky."
Yeah, I'm so happy that I feel like I'll shed tears.
To the point where I want to let others feel this happiness.
Like those trash bugs around there or so...
But, hmm, is that how it is?
So there are conditions.
Incidentally, what are those conditions?
"Well, I don't really understand them myself. I just think, 'Ah, will it work with this guy on this day' and then it connects."
In other words, that means you can't control it.
Then, we'll have to give up on rules.
We'll have to go with something different.
That's alright I guess.
I'd like if you'd at least give me a bit more details in your advice.
Go over here and then come over there, without knowing what it would be good to do, it confuses me.
It feels like I'm dancing on top of your palm and being played with, which is irritating as well.
"Okay, details. I get it, let's go with that."
Alright, then, I'm depending on you.
"[Cough] Now then, I'll give you this time's advice."
In the next instant, a vision flowed into my demon eye.
<There was a back alley in some country>
<A single young girl was being captured violently>
<The hands that had captured her were from soldiers>
<There were two soldiers>
<A hand that wasn't being used to capture her picked up the paper that the young girl was carrying and tore it into pieces>
<After the young girl saw that, she shouted something>
The vision went up to there.
Wha-what was that just now!?
"Oh~ Rudeus. Listen well. The young girls name is Aisha Greyrat. Currently, she's being detained in Shirone Kingdom. After seeing the scene from just now, you will most likely come across it and save her. However, you must absolutely not use your own name. Use 'The Owner of Dead End' to name yourself and listen to her circumstances. After that, send a letter to an acquaintance in the Shirone Royal Palace. If you do that, you will be able to save Aisha and Lilia from the Royal Palace."
No, wait, why?
"Was that just a bit too many details I wonder? If I give too many details then it's not as interesting, so it's just going to be like that, I guess. Now then, which of them will you get along with I wonder?"
Both Lilia and Aisha are together in the Shirone Kingdom?
If they're in that sort of place there's no reason why we shouldn't have found them.
What do you mean by get along with?
Does that mean I'll get into discord between either Lilia or Aisha?
"Well then, Rudeus. Give it your best.."
My consciousness sank as I continued to hear that echo.
I jumped up from bed.
My head was in pain like it was being smashed.
An overwhelming dizziness.
And then nausea came.
I left the bed, and half ran towards the exit of the room.
After I left the room, I entered the toilet.
After looking into the toilet, I immediately started to throw up.
My head hurts.
A tremendous headache and nausea.
My legs feel unsteady.
I left the toilet.
I felt like the room was very far away.
I put my hand on the wall, the power left my legs.
I slowly drop down to the floor.
I could hear an intense blowing sound from in the dark inn.
Searching the surrounding with just my eyes, I tried to find what it was.
I quickly realized it.
It's the sound of my breathing.
"What's wrong, are you all right...?"
As soon as I realize it, in the pitch darkness a white face is floating there.
He was looking at my face in a worried way.
"Yeah... I'm alright."
"What did you eat? Can you use antidote magic?"
Ruijerd pulled a cloth from his pocket and wiped my mouth.
The scent from the vomit caused my nausea to get even stronger.
However, it didn't disappear when I threw up- it felt like something was remaining in my chest.
I somehow managed to squeeze those words out from my throat.
In return to his worried voice I nodded.
I remember these headaches.
It was something I tasted in Wind Port.
"Yeah, it seems like I failed to adjust my demon eye when I was half asleep."
When I used the demon eye to try to look further than 10 seconds into the future, I got headaches like these.
When the headaches started was when I couldn't see beyond that point in the future.
However, I understood that intuitively that if it had gotten worse it would become like this.
Then, why it has become like this.
I can predict that as well.
That dream, that advice.
The vision I was shown in there, it's because of that.
Hitogami showed me a vision of the future.
Most likely, using the demon eye.
"Because of that, huh?"
After I slightly whispered that, Ruijerd made a puzzled face.
I remember the details about how I met the Great Demon Emperor in the port city and received the demon eye.
The sudden meeting, for what reason did I get my hands on this demon eye.
In regards to the journey the advice given was completely useless.
After all, the demon eye wasn't really all that useful.
No, thanks to the demon eye I feel like I've kept my life a number of times, but even without that I feel I could have managed somehow or other.
In hindsight, because of the demon eye, I let myself be negligent once or twice.
I could say the balance is zero.
For me it had no meaning.
However, for Hitogami, there was meaning.
Just because of that, for the sake of showing me the future, that might be why he let me meet with the Great Demon Emperor.
I have the feeling that some kind of plan is gradually being completed.
The anxiety is making my neck feel stiff.
Inside of me for the first time a fear was born of Hitogami.
It was the first time I really came to terms with the fact that 'that guy' is holding some kind of large power.
That guy wants me to do some kind of work.
That kind of premonition causes me to shiver.
"Rudeus, the color of your face is bad. Are you really alright?"
Ruijerd is making a very worried face.
And, just like that, I almost started to express my unease.
By the way, ever since the time I met you I've been observed by Hitogami and following his wishes, I've progressed with various things.
However, in that instant I realized a single truth.
(Since the time I met Ruijerd.)
The first time I made contact with Hitogami was just before I met with Ruijerd.
And then that guy gave me advice to join up with Ruijerd.
It's a strange talk.
Why had he never made contact until now?
Why did he suddenly come calling right after the magic power disaster?
Why did he not just give the advice to depend on Ruijerd, but also the advice to "save him"?
I feel like everything has a connection.
I think that guy is planning something.
I have no proof, but it's a type of distrust.
However, from one of the unjust suspicions, this thought rose to the surface.
(Maybe, I wonder if Hitogami wants Ruijerd to do something.)
Hitogami said there were conditions in order for him to appear in dreams.
It might be that he's caught in those conditions and can't directly control Ruijerd.
Therefore, he had me who met the conditions, get involved with the magic power disaster and get teleported, lead me into saving Ruijerd, and even had him escort us up to Central Continent?
...No, in that case, I don't understand the meaning in giving me the demon eye and advice to save Aisha.
I don't know.
What is that guy thinking??
In regards to that guy everything may be linked together, but I can't see those connecting points.
And thus I wonder if I should tell Ruijerd about Hitogami or not.
These worries, I really want to talk with someone and have them resolved.
However, I really can't burden this man with anymore than this is what I think.
If by talking to Ruijerd about Hitogami, some sort of condition is put into place, it could allow Hitogami to come into contact with Ruijerd.
This honest man would almost certainly be easily deceived by Hitogami.
I myself can't even think I'm not being deceived by him.
I don't think so, but...
At the very least, the fact that I take a belligerent attitude with him is something that isn't good for Hitogami.
I would like to think that while I'm being belligerent I won't be deceived.
"Ruijerd-san. If during a painful time someone whispers sweet words to you, please do not believe in them. During those painful times, there will be guys who will come along in order to deceive you."
...In the end I didn't say it.
I never put the matters of Hitogami into words.
"...I don't know what you're talking about, but understood."
Ruijerd nodded with a serious face while holding some kind of complicated feelings.
He trusts me.
And yet I keep things secret.
I made the decision that it was better to keep it hidden, but even with that my heart won't clear up.
Just as I realized it the headaches and nausea have cleared up.
With my dizziness and head still shaking, I returned to the room.
The clear eyes and head that has become a whirlpool of thoughts.
After closing my eyes, my thoughts kept rising to the surface one after another.
There were no meaningful thoughts.
It wasn't theoretical thinking.
Like being in a maze with no exit, thoughts without answers rising up and then disappearing.
Even when I was lying down on the bed, I didn't feel like I could sleep.
"What is it nya..."
Suddenly, I heard that sleep talk and moved my gaze to the side.
On the nearby bed Eris is sleeping with her arms and legs spread out to the four corners.
As usual her sleeping posture is bad.
She sleeps with her legs spread out wide.
I can see her healthy legs stretching out from the shorts-like pajama substitute.
There are risky openings in the cloth that seem like they could be looked into.
The clothes getting rolled up and a lovely belly button peeked out.
After looking just above there's hills that you can now tell are her breasts.
Probably because she doesn't use a bra while sleeping, if I concentrate my eyes, pocchi rises to the surface.
And then there’s that drooling face that is grinning and laughing to itself.
I made a bitter smile hearing that sleep talk and got up.
I pulled down the hem of her clothes and covered her in a blanket.
"Ruuudeus sure is ecchi..."
It was a loose face.
While people are being this considerate, of all things you call them ecchi.
Just as you say should I go ahead and grope your chest.
Just as I was thinking that my drowsiness returned.
While yawning I fell onto my bed.
As expected of Eris.
While thinking that I completely fell asleep.