School Arc – Chapter 24
I felt as if my head was being physically swung around, but fortunately, the person I could hurl my questions at, was here right now.
「… Were you the one who wrote this, Oria?」
Oria tried to stubbornly keep silent and avert his eyes from me, but after he’d been persuaded (threatened?) by Ru Xiang who told him to 「answer the question」, Oria hanged his head.
「Y-yes. That’s right…」
「This… What on earth–」
I hesitated, unable to form the words I wanted to ask.
「E-err… in short, it’s a novel. I used people in the academy as the models…」
It’s obvious that wasn’t all. There had to be a reason why it has a pretty obvious resemblance to my memories of the 『actual game』 .
「Oria, do you have memories of a past life?」
「No? Then, what on earth…」
「I(boku)… No, I(watashi), uhm, actually have a slightly unusual magical aptitude…」
「Magic? Then, don’t tell me, you can tell people’s『fate』 ?」
When Oria sent me a puzzled expression, I stared back with an expression that must’ve been awfully stiff.
「Fate? No, that kind of magic is…」
「But, you’re writing the knowledge you acquire through magic here, right?」
「Y-yes. That’s right」
「Isn’t this in other words『fate』? There might be various ways to call it, but isn’t this honestly what it should roughly be..?」
「N-no, an exaggeration like that is…」
Hung up on a thought that came to mind, I must’ve lost my composure. Oria had gotten completely pressured by my intensity that seemed to press him hard for answers. Only after Ru Xiang stepped in, saying「Lycoris-sempai, may I bother you for a moment?」, did I finally realize this.
「Ah… I’m sorry」
「I don’t know why Sempai keeps calling the things written here as 『fate』. But at the very least, the contents haven’t materialized right now. I feel it shouldn’t be called『fate』」
With Ru Xiang’s well-organized and gentle spoken words, I was able to calm down a little.
「Erhm, that’s probably, because I– no, uhm, because there’s someone who’s going against fate」
「But, is fate something that can be gone against? 」
「…………I’m sorry. I got confused」
In fact, after I proceeded to read the notebook, my brain got awfully confused.
「Oria’s magic is seeing 『possibilities』 concerning a person’s life」
「Yes. It’s possible to mostly see the past and, at times, the future, but visions of the past and visions of the future are strictly different. The difference lies in seeing a number of varying possibilities. What Lycoris-sempai read was just one story written in the notebook. Please, try reading the next stories as well」
Under Ru Xiang’s prompting, I opened the notebook once more. Written next after Lily and Wolf’s story was… some kind of love story between me and Art. Even though I’d only skimmed through the story, that had been all I could bear to read of that.
「Eh? What is this」
A story like this was naturally not in the game. I attempted to go on reading the page after that and, this time, it was a story about my friendship with Lily… or, so I thought, the situation was looking ominous. At a scene where Lily was was going to kiss me, I closed the book and held my head.
What I read was probably no less than a tenth of a page, but it packed quite the punch.
The notebook that has now been placed on my hands…
… was clearly at the top of『strange things』 in my life so far. The notebook’s cover was a leather that could be found anywhere, but the part that hinted that the contents would be so confusing that it’d defy description, was nowhere to be found.
「Umm….」 , the creator of this chaos raised his voice.
「I’m sorry. That is… I didn’t mean any harm! Somehow or the other, I felt bad that these poor unpicked possibilities would end up disappearing without a trace, so…!」
With his slender arms, Ru Xiang poked the back of the energetically explaining Oria with a thump.
「I’m sorry, it’s a hobby. It’s my hobby, I can’t get myself stop. The story between Dorm Head Wolfgang and Liliam-san is actually my favorite tragedy… And, the story between Arutad-san and Dorm Head Lycoris with a childish boy and an older onee-sama seemed really nice… As for the story between Dorm Head Lycoris and Liliam-san, how do they put it – a “man’s fantasy”…?」
Once Oria was done talking about his excessively broad range of preferences like he’d been in a trance, he spoke with a somewhat faraway look.
「Since way back, it’s been my hobby to write down the stories that interest me when I see the『possibilities』of the surrounding people. Every time it’s found out, I’d get kicked out no matter how seriously I did my job and had to make work as a stray…」
「Please learn from your experiences already」
Oria had tears filling the corner of his eyes at my straight up retort, but he hadn’t said “I’ll do that, I’ll stop already”. This was hopeless.
「To begin with, isn’t this misuse of magic?」
「It might not seem like it, but he did get some kind of coaching from the association regarding his use of magic」
Ru Xiang wore a wry a smile as he explained that Oria was allowed to use magic that only related to being Ru Xiang’s guard.
However, in Oria’s country of birth — which was a small country, different from Ru Xiang’s — there wasn’t an organization like the association or an institution like this academy. Because of that, it seems Oria had barely any control of his magic and invoking magic pretty often had nothing to do with his own will.
With his head hanging low like he was apologizing, Oria’s behavior seemed admirable at first glance, but I couldn’t quite gush forth a tolerant attitude when I consider the notebook’s existence which was sort of the 『embodiment of chaos』.
「…at any rate, what Oria sees are nothing but things that won’t happen in tandem, so even if they are『possibilities』, it’s impossible for them to be all just one『fate』. Rather, if there had been a magical user who could accurately see the past or future, he wouldn’t be able to live with this much freedom, don’t you agree?」
‘That’s true’, I thought, while feeling as though the string that I nearly had in my hands was gradually slipping away.
I’m acquainted with possibilities. I guess it’s like knowing the events regarding a parallel world. Like, had Wolf lost his father in the poisoning incident, or had Shade been raised under the care of Uncle Narcissus, maybe Oria would’ve been able to learn about a world with such an incredibly frightening possibility by now.
I sort of understood his peculiar magic now. But it didn’t become the key to solving my question 『regarding the relationship of this world and the game』 like I thought it would.
「…Oria, do words like『Yandere』 or 『PC games』 ring a bell?」
Since Oria, who shook his head with a care, showed interest, I tried giving a little explanation. The explanation itself regarding computers was difficult, so I put suitable emphasis on what yandere and games were. Explaining 『Flag』,『branches』, or『multi-end』was difficult, but I used so called stories that branches out with choices as examples. (1)
It seems Oria had a strong imagination and somehow managed to understand, after hearing my explanation, his eyes gradually brightened up.
「Incredible! That seems pretty fun! The concept of『branches』 is good! If that’s the case, you can weave a lot of possibilities into one and differ from the usual novels! Even the thing you call 『yandere』 sounds awesome!」
It’s wonderful that he seemed happy, but it doesn’t seem like Oria knew about the『actual game』 .
Disappointed as I was, before me, Oria continued chattering on excitedly.
「I definitely want to be reborn in a world that has this『game』!! Then with all these possibilities, I’ll incorporate the『yandere』 into the『game』and make–」
The unrepentant Oria had been speaking while touting the notebook that he seemed to treasure when Ru Xiang nailed a splendid elbow strike at his servant’s solar plexus.
And then I muttered, overcome with surprise.
「Aah, is it not a too common concept in this country? In our country, we have the concept of reincarnation…」
Ru Xiang had kindly given me an explaination, but I knew that even without hearing it. If anything, I was a living testament to that.
There was reincarnation.
I can’t claim that I didn’t consider my example when Oria claimed the possibility that he’d be reborn on earth – in Japan.
In this regard, what’s to say that Oria won’t be reborn in Japan long before I died? I mean, there’s no guarantee that reincarnation will always follow the time axis. And, will Oria be the one to make the game by relying on his past life’s memories? Will I play it?
Was the resemblance of the events between the game and this world patterned from the knowledge he obtained with his own magic — in the style of a vision of the past, after all?
It’s as if someone whispered ‘That’s correct’, right then. At that exact moment, I recalled the title of the 『actual game』.
The game’s title was 『Deja Vu』.
Even though the word floated in my mind numerous times when I was young, I couldn’t connect it with the game’s title until this very moment.
Déjà vu. <Kishikan>.
Whose <Kishikan> was it referring to?
The accepted theory among fans was that the game was named after the game system wherein the player must keep playing numerous times to arrive at the happy end.
In the game, if, say, the first round had a tragedy that couldn’t be avoided, in the second round, it could be avoided with a newly appearing choice. It was such a system that seemed as through a simple deja vu was coming to save the heroine’s future.
The specification was unpopular with the users who preferred seeing only the happy endings, but I rather liked it. When you know the tragic, painful episodes, you’ll be able to enjoy the happy endings more.
But the truth was…
『Deja Vu』 was referring to the famed creator’s deja vu. In other words, his past life’s memories, perhaps?
Then, were the people in our world the originals and the game characters modelled after us?
There’s no way to verify it.
But, there’s no way to deny it either.
「…wouldn’t you forget your past life if you’re reborn?」
「Through will power! I’ll remember!」
But, based from my experience, you can recall past memories when you connect this life’s knowledge with the past’s. In my case, that knowledge had been 『Wolf』. In Oria’s case, what if that’s when I was telling him about 『PC games』, 『flag』, or 『Yandere』 just now?
As I sank into silence, Oria seemed to have misunderstood somehow.
「Uhm, I’m sorry. I went overboard… Err… I hope you won’t misunderstand me, but it’s not like I thought, ‘if reality was like this, it would be great’. I do like the『world of possibilities』that have different facets, but that’s because I can more vividly understand the value of things I have in real life… I can’t explain it properly, but…」
Oria shrank, looking a little insecure.
I understood a little of what he said. After all, I was happy right now. I had Wolf, Shade, Lily, and Father, and I knew about Mom’s smiling face.
I could meet Duke Ranunculas whenever I wanted to. I got letters from Crinum and Aunt saying they were doing well, too.
It feels vividly clear to me that the value of what I have now was more prevalent when I think of what I didn’t get. It’s like when the game’s happy ending looked lovelier after seeing the bad endings.
Finally, I could smile at Oria.
I don’t know the answer. Just what I thought might be the answer. There’s no way to really know for sure.
But there was one thing I can do. And that, was to live to the fullest.
(1) i.e. those ‘Choose your adventure’ books.