I was in the center of a large, dark, and ominous room.
Below my feet was an expensive-looking carpet. Above me were beautiful chandeliers that didn’t fit the atmosphere of this room. But upon closer inspection, everything around me was broken and crumbling. It was pitch-black and I couldn’t find anything resembling a window.
I didn’t bother questioning why I was in a room like this. I only focused on the current situation and tried to face what was ahead of me. I was able to confirm that Usato and Ark-san were both in this room as well.
However, Ark-san looked worn-out and held his sword while facing Usato.
As for Usato, his back was facing me and he was talking to someone.
“You’re truly an idiot.”
“If you regret it, then why didn’t you notice it earlier? The thing that you desired was already in your hands. But of all things, you were the one to let it go from your own hands… Regardless of your intentions.”
I wonder who he was talking to.
I couldn’t see who was in front of Usato from my position. Although I couldn’t see that person’s face, I could tell that they were injured… That person was leaning against the wall.
Looking closely, Usato’s clothes were tattered. They didn’t tear as he was wearing that special Rescue Squad uniform… But it was awfully dirty. I could also see dried blood on the temple of his forehead. It looked like the aftermath of an intense fight.
The person in front of Usato said something to him. Afterwards, that person drew closer to Usato and squatted.
At that instant, I could see the appearance of that person for a few moments. It was really only for just an instant. It was hard to tell in the darkness but I felt like I saw that person’s mouth distort into a crescent moon’s shape. Once I saw those sharp fangs, ‘My’ vision greatly shook.
“Usato! Avoid it!!”
I jumped out and screamed.
At the same time, ‘That person’ suddenly pulled out a dagger and thrust it at Usato. I couldn’t tell whether it pierced Usato or not as I couldn’t see the front.
—However, I ended up seeing blood drip down from Usato’s legs.
My vision became blurred.
It felt like a scene from a dream. I couldn’t reach my hand out towards it… It felt like it was going somewhere far away.
I want to know what would happen next.
What happens to Usato?
Is he injured?
Is he okay?
He’s alive, right?
Am I going to…… Be all alone again……?
I couldn’t help but think of the worst case scenarios in my head… I was scared.
It was always like this for me. The essential things and the important things… They always ‘end’ for me. Regardless of my will, the scenes I want to see the most never come. I won’t be able to see past those parts.
I always feel vexed at myself when I wake up after seeing them. It was frustrating that I couldn’t do anything…
Was Kaa-san always holding such a heavy burden?
I had to face against a reality and future that couldn’t be opposed…… The thing called fate was really absurd…..
“Eh? You saw a dream where someone stabbed me?”
After hearing Amako’s dream from her, I grimaced.
It had been a few days since we left Luquis. We hadn’t encountered any bandits or monsters. Our journey was smooth so far. But Amako had just told me of her premonition, leading me to believe that things won’t be as easy from now on.
Amako’s prediction of the future will definitely come true.
Unless she tries to do something about it, the future will absolutely not change. Lyngle would have already fallen were it not for Amako urging me back then…
“Is that really true, Amako-dono?”
“I don’t know exactly when it’ll come but I can somehow tell that it’ll be in the near future.”
Amako nodded and replied to Ark-san who was riding on the horse.
“Where was I stabbed?”
“…I don’t know. I think around your stomach area.”
Stomach area, huh…
“…..Eh, that’s it?”
I mean… I wasn’t really afraid of something like being stabbed in the stomach at this point.
I think my battle against that snake was much more painful. Besides, I would only be stabbed by a little knife. As long as it doesn’t hit one of my vitals, I can immediately counterattack.
Honestly, I was more afraid of Leader’s fists.
Did you know Amako? Once a person continuously receives blows that far exceed their limit, they won’t feel anything anymore at some point.
“……No, no no no, what if the knife is coated with deadly poison or something…!?”
“I’ll use healing magic to cure myself…”
If it’s poison, I have experience with that against the snake too. It should be no problem.
“You were also bleeding…”
“………..Just a bit.”
Just a scratch then. It’s something I can manage.
“No problem then.”
“Wait a moment. Stop looking at me with those eyes.”
It’s like she didn’t understand what I was saying and thought I was something beyond human.
Why am I being treated like a monster just because I have resistance to poison and damage?
…..Actually. If I thought about it, I did sound like a monster. But I’m sure there are even more incredible monsters out there…
“But perhaps we ought to be careful. If we take into consideration what Amako-dono has said, we’ll definitely be involved in a troublesome situation in the near future.”
“That’s true. Well, we know what will happen but we can’t do much… Amako, is it possible to change this future like at that time with Lyngle?”
Amako shook her head.
In that case, it looks like I’ll be stabbed by a knife no matter what.
“Should I start tempering my abdominal muscles right away? No, how about I start fighting before I get stabbed? Actually, wouldn’t it faster to beat the hell of the person stabbing me with a knife? What do you think, Amako?”
“You already know it’s going to happen so why are you trying to overturn it…?”
Well, yeah. Still, if I know something is going to happen, I would obviously try to do something to quickly resolve it.
It’s better to do something than not doing anything and regretting it.
“For the time being, I should do some training. Bluerin, you want to train too?”
I see, I see. You want to do it too.
As expected of my partner.
It seemed Bluerin was really happy as he kept beating on my legs. While laughing, I looked at Amako. I thought this before but, Amako is a little thin. If I consider our journey ahead, it might be a good idea to forge her body a bit.
“How about you, Amako? You can build some muscle. It might come in handy.”
I didn’t think she would reject so strongly.
I was shocked as Amako gave a clear refusal and distanced herself from me. Bluerin was also still beating on my legs.
Ark-san, who had seen this exchange, gave a heartfelt laugh.
The three of us, plus one horse, continued our journey with a favorable atmosphere like this.
“Ark-san, have we still not arrived at Samariel yet?”
Night time. We stopped near the path we were on and set up a campfire. We would be here till morning. It was dark and the only source of light came from the moon. The monsters were also more active during the night. With that being the case, Ark-san and I would take turns watching over the fire.
Amako had already fallen asleep and was lying on Bluerin.
It was still a little early for bed so I decided to ask Ark-san about this journey while tossing some dry wood into the fire.
“We still have quite a bit of distance to travel.”
Our next destination, Samariel, was still far away.
Well, there weren’t any cars or trains in this world. It was obvious it would take time to travel to distant countries. I understood that but there was another problem.
It was necessary to have food and water while traveling.
We could obtain water from rivers but our food supply was gradually diminishing. We had to think of a way to procure some more… I wonder if there were any good methods.
“Our food supply is running a bit short. Any idea where we could procure some more?”
“Let’s see… Umm, there should be a village not far from here. Let’s obtain some food from there.”
Ark-san obtained a map from his leather satchel. After looking at it for a moment, he nodded.
Approaching a village… It really feels like an RPG. I’m excited.
“Well, if we’re really in need of food, Bluerin and I could do some fishing or hunt for some animals.”
“Don’t growl like that. It’s like you’re saying it’s a pain in the ass. You’re the one who eats the most here.”
“Hahaha, how reliable.”
I lightly smacked Bluerin on the head.
Seriously, you’re the one who eats the most. You should be more like a wild monster and go hunt.
Ark-san looked at the map once more.
“There are some strange rumors in the surroundings of this village.”
Not the village itself but the surroundings? I wonder what kind of rumors they are. Just as I thought about asking, Ark-san had a mysterious expression and started talking.
“I’ve heard that skilled knights, adventurers, and bandits have suddenly disappeared in this area. They haven’t contacted anyone either.”
“I don’t think that’s a strange rumor. Rather, doesn’t that sound like a dangerous one…?”
Completely disappearing all of a sudden is quite disturbing.
In my world, I guess it would be called spirited away? It was like how we were summoned into another world from our original world but… To disappear from this world, I could think of several causes.
Like being captured by bandits, getting attacked by monsters, or falling off a cliff…
“No, I say they have gone missing but… They show up again after a while. The shortest is around a few months while the longest is several years.”
“What’s with that? Are those people fine?”
It was certainly strange…… No, if I had to word it better, it was eerie.
If the people who disappeared returned after a while and they were fine… I wonder what happened to them during the time they were gone.
“I don’t know much either, this is just what I’ve heard… It seems like the people who have returned after their disappearance lost their memory of the time while they were gone.”
“Lost.. their memory?”
“There are various guesses. It could be that the people are overwhelmed at their own situation because they have crossed over time. It’s also possible someone stole their memories…”
“Yes, it’s possible that it could be some kind of rare magic at work here…”
In my former world, this case would be labeled as something like the mysterious disappearances event. But magic existed in this world and it was commonplace. A possibility like this certainly existed.
Honestly, I wasn’t good with topics like this.
In fact, I wasn’t good with ghost stories or the Horror genre in general. If a ghost appeared in front of me, I would be scared. I mean, it’s not like I could punch it.
Seeing that my face looked a little pale, Ark-san gently smiled. He then folded his arms and spoke reassuringly to me.
“Well, there haven’t been any rumors of anyone going missing in these past few years. I think it should be okay. Just think of it as an interesting story I’ve heard from traders.”
“I-is that so…”
I’m glad. There hasn’t been any thing in these few years. In that case, it’ll be fine.
I imagined a scenario where we would be caught in this spirited away rumor as we walked on this path to the village. But it looks like I don’t need to be afraid of that anymore.
A Fantasy world like this didn’t need something like the Horror genre. Merging the two together is a big no.
Besides, something like a ghost doesn’t———
Bluerin, who was drowsily sleeping just a moment ago, suddenly gave a small growl towards a bush.
I exchanged looks with Ark-san. He picked up the sword beside him and stood up.
Something had entered Bluerin’s view just now in that bush.
Whether it was a monster or someone lying in ambush… In either case, the fact that the other party was concealing themselves means that they didn’t come with friendly intentions.
I’ll leave Amako, who was still sleeping, to Bluerin. Ark-san and I both drew closer to the bush.
Once I see them, I guess I’ll knock them out hard with a Healing Punch, for the time being.
If it isn’t an enemy, I’ll apologize afterwards.
If it’s a monster, I’ll knock them unconscious without any reservations.
If it’s a ghost, I’ll carry everyone and run away.
I advanced while coating my fist with healing magic. I placed my hands on the bush and spread it apart—
—At that moment, a black figure jumped out.
While I was surprised, I lowered my fist. I took a closer look at what had just flown away.
It had large wings and a round silhouette. It gave an awfully high-pitched hoot before disappearing within the forest.
Ark-san saw the owl as well and laid down his sword. He smiled in relief and said,
“…..It looks like we were a bit too tense.”
“Hahaha… Seems to be the case.”
I probably still wasn’t used to traveling on a journey like this yet. It was just Ark-san said, I was too tense.
It might be a better idea to relax a little. If I’m on guard all the time, I might overstrain myself and not be able to react in time when something does happen.
I sat back down where I was previously sitting and quieted my thoughts. As I did so, something about what just happened attracted my curiosity.
“Wait… Do owls hoot like that?”
And why was it in a bush? I’m pretty sure it started flying from the ground too.
I didn’t know if that was how a real owl was supposed to sound but, it just felt bizarre to me for some reason. I blankly stared at the gloomy forest where the owl disappeared.