When I came to, I found myself in the white dimension.
The usual white dimension.
I can count the number of times I’ve come to this place on the fingers of both my hands and yet this place remained the same empty white place every time.
And so whenever I came here, my appearance changed to that of my former self.
With a protruding belly and flabby soft fingers.
My body being helplessly overweight.
But strangely enough, there’s no longer that unpleasant feeling.
That irritating feeling that welled up from within my heart each time I came here was no longer.
And so I thought that it was nice in itself.
I wonder if it’s because it’s been a long time since I’ve came to this place.
I didn’t remember having removed my bracelet after such a long time.
There was no need to remove it.
Despite that, just why was I in this place?
Maybe it’s because I did something in the first place that I came here.
I couldn’t remember doing anything like that before I went to sleep today.
Maybe it’s one of the children’s doing.....
No, but I had the feeling of witnessing something that hadn't happened in a very long time.
Ten years felt like a long silence.
Somehow, my memory was fuzzy.
My memory was fuzzy but my vision was clear.
Within this white dimension, that guy was there as usual.
A lump of mosaic.
It was Hitogami.
But I wonder just what happened to him.
Hitogami’s condition looked somewhat strange.
His body was completely roughed up.
On top of that, each of his limbs were stitched up by a magic formation-like something, and it looked like he was tied up with translucent chains.
Like an RPG’s last boss.
It’s like we have to bring down his right leg or his resurrection magic will be troublesome.
Are you playing a make-believe game of a fallen angel getting sealed?
“I’ve been done in.”
“Do you really want to hear that?”
Just who will hear except me?
Just who is here except me?
“......Try looking behind you.”
When told to do so I turned back.
I saw many people standing there.
They were standing with their backs to me.
They were all unfamiliar people to me.
An unfamiliar male and an unfamiliar woman.
An unfamiliar Demon Race and an unfamiliar Human Race.
Probably a total of 8 people.
There was a familiar person within that group.
It was Orsted.
He never changes.
But there were some uncommon marks on him.
He didn’t have that black helmet.
Furthermore, he had a huge scar on his face.
Due to that scar, his face looked even fiercer than usual.
However, the people surrounding him were smiling in contrast to him.
Orsted wore that same angry face as usual, but a slightly happy expression could be seen on his face as well.
I couldn’t hear the contents of their conversation but I could tell that they all had mutual trust between them.
The one who was talking was....a boy.
Probably 17~18 years old.
With short hair, a good-looking guy with a sportsmanlike face.
That’s definitely the face of a Riajuu.1
He looked Oriental.
Still, that’s a nice smiling face he’s got there. I wonder if Orsted’s curse was ineffective on him.
When I was looking at him, one woman stood up from their group.
That child, who was sitting among them as if hiding herself, should be called a girl rather than a woman.
A girl with blue hair.
Near her, a gigantic white wolf was waiting.
Ah, I felt like I’d seen her somewhere before.
She looked like Roxy.
But she wasn’t Roxy.
I am certain that she’s from the Migurd Race, but I could never mistake someone for Roxy.
Then, just who is she?
Don’t tell me......Lara?
As I pondered, she faced towards me and waved her hand.
No, it couldn’t be me.
She’s probably waving her hand to Hitogami who was behind me.
When she did, the man beside her started talking with her.
Perhaps he was asking what she was doing.
She answered something to him and then that man turned this way with a surprised face.
He also had an Oriental face.
People with faces like that were few in this world.
Perhaps he’s Japanese?
He might be in his 20s....doesn’t feel like he’s in his 30s.
He faced this way and quickly bowed.
His actions seemed Japanese, so he’s Japanese after all.
In doing so, all of them now faced this way.
There were both young and old people.
I thought that there were only 8 people at first, but it seemed that there was a whole crowd of them. Under the mist, it was hard to see.
The only familiar face was Orsted but......
Ah, I wonder if that person is Eris.
A warrior with braided red hair was looking this way.
But she was a little different from Eris.....
Each of them faced this way and bowed in gratitude.
I wonder if it’s towards Hitogami.
No, it’s a little different considering their manners.
I wonder what.
As I pondered, they stepped on the magic formation made by Lara and disappeared somewhere.
All of them, suddenly vanished.
The magic formation remained and gave out a light blue color.
And then, after a while, the magic formation lost its light and disappeared as well.
“All of them joined forces to persecute me. They did this, roughed me up, and then sealed me.
Because if I die, then the final Human World may be destroyed as well, or so they say.”
It’s going to get destroyed?
“Don’t know. Cause I wouldn’t know about the destruction.”
Since no one knows what would happen after they die.
“Are you satisfied now?”
“This. The conclusion you desired for.
I will continue to live here alone with all of my powers sealed.
I will continue to live here so that the world keeps on going.
I can no longer see the world anymore. I can’t even talk with anyone.
After this, I will just continue to gaze at this empty white world, a scene without any boundaries.”
I wouldn’t know if you ask me something like if I’m satisfied.
My objective wasn’t to bring you to this state.
I simply wanted to live my life with Sylphy, Roxy, and Eris.
Earning money from a job, coming back home to have dinner with my family, and when night came, I would make children while all drenched in sweat.
An ordinary......yep, an ordinary lifestyle.
I would have been the most happy in that ordinary life of mine as far as I’m concerned.
“Your happiness is my unhappiness though.”
Then, I’m satisfied.
Because you look really unhappy right now.
If that’s what become of you, then I will definitely be happy.
“I see.....is that so.....that’s quite odious.”
I couldn’t understand Hitogami’s expression.
But his voice wasn’t filled with hatred.
It just felt like he was wrapped up by sorrow.
And then Hitogami spoke like he was about to cry.
“I really hate you.”
I see, but you know, I──
My consciousness paused.
When I woke up, I was on top of a bed.
A very large bed.
A bed so big that even three people could lie down comfortably, and it was a very soft bed as well.
No one was sleeping beside me.
I could move my neck and eyes but couldn’t move my body too much.
The blanket seemed a little too heavy.
While moving only my sight I looked at my surroundings.
When I did, I saw a red-haired girl sitting near me.
Stern slant-eyes and a firm jawline.
She looked exactly like Eris.
But she had a docile braided hairstyle, and was far smaller than Eris. Her height and breast too.
She was probably 5 years old.
When her eyes met mine, she dropped the thing that she was holding in her hand and jumped up in surprise.
The chair fell with a bump and as she was about to fall down I quickly supported her.
I wonder how I supported her even though I couldn’t move my body.
Even I didn’t really understand that.
But the girl put both her hands on the ground while in mid-air, reorganized her posture that was about to fall, and after she tapped the floor with her feet, she immediately ran out of the room.
“Mama! Mama! Great-Gramps has woken up!”
As she noisily ran outside I saw the thing that she had in her hand before.
It was the bracelet carved with the Dragon God’s insignia.
I didn’t remember removing it but it’s clear now. When I was sleeping, she removed it.
I unsteadily moved my hands and caught the bracelet.
It was awfully heavy.
No, it wasn't heavy, I simply had no strength.
My hand had become so thin that it couldn’t even lift up one bracelet.
And then, I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror.
I could see the figure of an old man, whose body was sunken in the bed and looked like he could die at any moment.
With white beard and white hair.
The shadow of death floated on his entire face.
Ah, I remember.
I was 74 years old right now.
I couldn't recall anything other than that.
Looks like my memories had taken a toll as well.
Was there such a room in my house....
The one who leaped inside the room was a white haired woman.
Probably 40 years old.
She had already become a fine woman.
When her eyes met mine, she quickly ran up to me and grasped my hand beneath the blanket.
“Yeah.....that’s it. That’s right, Rudi. It’s Sylphiette.”
Sylphy gently told me.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Yeah.....yeah, I know.”
“What happened to me?”
“Nothing. You just slept for a long time.”
I just slept.
I certainly felt a little sleepy.
“But I can’t move my body.”
“Yeah, looks like it.....yeah......”
Sylphy didn’t answer my question.
She just kept brushing my hand as if to sympathize.
Like she was accompanying a senile old man…….
Huh, perhaps I have….
I have become senile?
Was that the reason that I didn’t have any memories?
Even though age 74 isn’t an age like that.
But, was I really 74 years old?
I hadn’t aged a bit more or something, right?
Did I become senile because I slept for so long......?
Just how long have I been bed-ridden?
“It’s alright. Because I’m with you.”
Sylphy, who was gently brushing my hand, was now tightly holding it.
Just from that, my fear decreased by a little.
But, I was scared again.
As I pondered that, I could see many people entering the room in succession.
A child with red hair, a child with blue hair, a child with blond hair.
Young ones, middle-aged, and old-aged people.
They stood encircling the bed that I was sleeping in.
I had seen each one of those faces somewhere.
“Look, Rudi. Everyone’s here now.”
But I wonder why?
I couldn’t remember anyone’s name.
Ah, there was someone I recognized.
The person who was at the very back. She shut the door behind her and slowly walked towards me.
A girl with a small chest and blue hair.
Her hair was in a braid.
She hadn’t changed at all.
The moment she saw me, she made a crying face only for a moment.
But quickly came to the side opposite to Sylphy’s.
And then, she gently and slowly caressed my head.
“Rudi, thank you very much for your efforts.”
“Thank you, Roxy─.....master.”
Suddenly, the word master came out of my mind.
Tears started spilling out from Roxy’s eyes.
Although she hurriedly wiped them and gave a smile, her lips weren’t able to make a smile, resulting in a distorted face.
There, I raised one question.
“Where’s Eris? Is she not here?”
I couldn’t see the usual appearance of the woman who would come running to me the foremost.
“Rudi. Eris has already left, you know?”
“She’s waiting for you, Rudi.”
Ah, I see.
That’s how it is.
“Was I able to take care of her in her final moments?”
“Yeah. It’s alright. You cried for 3 days straight but you were nicely able to get over it, Rudi.”
Ah, as I recalled it came to me.
Eris was still training energetically even after crossing 70.
Then one day, after her usual morning-run and practise swinging, she came back home all tired and collapsed on the bed. After that, she didn’t wake up.
When I realized, she had already passed away.
If I had realized sooner then I could’ve saved her by using healing magic. I cried a lot that day......
But I get it.
I didn’t even remember something like that.
Then that means that even I didn’t have much time left.....
“Sorry. Even though everyone’s here, I can’t tell who is who.”
“Yeah. It’s alright. Let’s see.....from over there, they are all our grandchildren. That’s Lucy’s child, Roland. The one next to him is─”
Sylphy started telling me by pointing her finger to each and every one.
It seemed that most people here were grandchildren or great-grandchildren.
Then just where did all of our children go?
Ah, everyone became independent I see.
Everyone now lived away from us.
“And, that red-haired child, who looks exactly like Eris, is Ars’s grandchild and Rudi’s great-grandchild, Ferris.”
“Ah, the one who woke me up, is it?”
The red haired child looked somewhat uncomfortable.
She’s probably scared that I would get angry at her for taking off the bracelet.
But I felt like I had seen her somewhere before.
That’s right, it was during Hitogami’s dream.
She was there among the crowd as well.
Yeah, that’s right.
Indeed, she was there. She had grown a lot by that time but she was definitely there.
When I spoke, she came out from hiding and looked like she was about to cry.
“Were you the one who removed this?”
When I pointed my finger towards the bracelet, tears came falling down in large drops from her eyes.
Thinking that a scolding was now inevitable, so she thought that maybe she could get away by crying.
“Sorry. But it was so pretty.”
“I see. Then, I’ll give it to you.”
When I said that, she looked at me with a puzzled face.
“Is it fine?”
“In exchange, you must promise to never again take people’s possessions, OK?”
“.......OK, I promise.”
“Alright. Good girl.”
I slowly reached out my hand and brushed her hair.
Perhaps she might get a scolding after this but well I guess it’s fine.
It’s not as if it’s my responsibility if she ends up getting spoiled.
“Everyone looks lively.”
“Yeah. We’re all lively.”
I was relieved after hearing that.
If I had so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, then everyone should be lively.
“I’m glad. You all must’ve worked hard....”
When I lost my strength, my hand slipped away from Ferris’s head.
The surroundings got noisy.
Even I wouldn’t just drop dead like that.
I could continue living like a bedridden old man for a little while more.
When I was thinking that, someone entered the room.
A tall person.
Having silver hair and an angry look.
The moment he entered the room, the surrounding atmosphere changed.
No, it was something more loose.
It was relief and trust.
“Is it fine without the helmet on?”
“Yeah. Because if I wear it, one of your grandchildren will start crying.”
When Orsted said that, the surroundings were filled with laughter.
Various voices flew out like ‘I won’t cry anymore, geez’ or ‘You were such a crybaby before.’
“So your normal face is no longer feared, eh?”
“No, the curse hasn’t changed. It’s just that it doesn’t have any effect on your children and grandchildren.”
Orsted’s face now looked a lot calmer than I had saw him at first.
His scary face was still there but it could be said that it’s more relaxed now.
“Oh right, Orsted-sama.”
“What is it?”
“Just now, when the bracelet was removed, I saw Hitogami in my dream.”
“......Did you become an apostle?”
“Well, I wonder about that. It’s possible that it was just a normal dream.....if I have become an apostle, then what’ll you do? Will you just kill me like always?”
“Yeah, of course. Because I’m merciless against those who betray me.”
Orsted said that with a serious face but I quickly understood that it was a joke.
Because everyone started laughing, and Orsted wasn’t giving out any killing intent.
It felt like saying something like this in front of an bedridden old man on the verge of his death was uncalled for but......they might’ve let it slide as a joke.
“In the dream, Orsted-sama gains victory against Hitogami and Hitogami is sealed as a result.”
“That’s a nice dream.”
“Yes, it definitely is.”
I wonder if what I saw was the future.
It felt quite real, but then again, dreams are quite fully filled with reality.
“Please work hard so that my dream comes true.”
Orsted nodded in earnest.
As one would expect, after seeing his face every day for 50 years, I could now comprehend even that face.
“You’ve done a lot so far. You can sleep peacefully now.”
“Haha....it’s still too early for me to sleep, you know?”
I want to stay awake for a little while more.
I was feeling good.
I couldn’t move my body much, but the sunlight felt warm and pleasant.
“I’ll stay awake for a little bit more. Just a little bit more.....okay?”
Even if I stayed awake, it’s not like there was something in particular that I had to do.
Just a little bit more, a little bit more. I wanted to see the faces of all the people that were here for a little while longer.
So to speak.
I was just a little bit reluctant about parting.
I just wanted to see them for 1 or 2 more hours. It would be fine even if it’s 10 minutes.
It’s not like I had something to say to them.
I had no lingering affections.
Nor any regrets.
If I just stayed here for a little bit more, I’ll be satisfied.
“Just a little bit more....."
While thinking that, my eyelids started falling.
They fell ever so gradually.
In the end, I saw the child’s face that looked like Eris.
Then I saw Sylphy’s and Roxy’s face.
Finally, my eyelids shut.
Without change, my consciousness disappeared.