Volume 8, Chapter 30: Side Story, Earth: When I got trapped, part 1.
AN: This story is about the time before Yuzu gets stabbed and awakens as Yurushia.
As for where it stands in the timeline, it’s around the time where Yurushia visits earth and has been sealed for 6 months, but it contains part of the [Spoilers].
No matter how much civilization flourished, and no matter how much the towns were flooded with light, wherever there are “people”, there is always “darkness”.
However, even though it seemed like there was nothing, this place was overflowing with life.
The sound of insects playing about at night. The birds rested their wings in the branches of trees, whilst small animals gnawed on nuts that had fallen onto the leaves below.
But this calm “night” was suddenly disturbed.
The sounds of all the insects suddenly vanished, and the animals ran away as if frightened of something.
As the sound of “something” bursting open resounded…… two small figures appeared in the forest where there were none before.
One of them was a girl with gorgeous golden hair in curls.
The other had glimmering silver hair.
As the two of them glanced at each other, looking about strangely while dressed in a beautifully fitted maids’ outfit, the silver-haired one opened her mouth.
“Hey, this is the right place, right~?”
“There’s no way I would make a mistake about Mistress’ “scent”. And I only showed you the direction, you were the one to bring us here, no?”
“I just sort of understood the way here~. But, it seems that it’s still impossible for those two.”
“…… It can’t be helped. If they didn’t help us with their [Absorption] and [Release] we wouldn’t have been able to get here either.”
The two of them had arrived “here” early.
Even though the four of them had great power, it was impossible for them to cross worlds with just power alone without a road.
“But the “path” has been secured. Before the other two catch up, we have to make sure of the Mistress’ whereabouts.”
The silver-haired one responded with an energetic smile at the words coming from the emotionless blonde girl.
On that day, that particular night…… This world, which had been exposed to the great threat of “evil”, greeted two new disasters.
* * *
“Is it here……?”
Shijima Yuuki was sightseeing in the Kansai region.
About fifteen years ago, Yuuki had been manipulated by “something” that nested within this country, and turned against a girl he considered his friend, resulting in her death.
But Yuuki didn’t kill her. Rather, Yuuki regretted that it was because she had left a “gap” open with her abilities that exceeded his.
Yuuki was in her debt. He had been forced to take his revenge on the spot, exhausting her energy, and he had been so stunned by her death that he retreated, unable to involve her friends in this.
But that friend – Onzada – refused to give up.
Onzada seemed to believe that she was still alive because the sealing ceremony that was to be conducted against the “evil” hadn’t been stopped, despite the fact that she had died and everyone had been to her funeral.
The time-sealing extermination art – [Twelve-Period Hourglass].
The “evil” that would have appeared in the future had been sealed in the past, and over a dozen years, their existence would be whittled down to nothing.
At that time, had she not died, then the technique would have been broken. According to Onzada, if the seal of the “real her” that was supposed to appear in the future was unsealed, then she would be revived.
But there was no way for Yuuki to check that this was true. Still, he decided to believe fight for his friend…… in order to repay his debt.
And more so, he couldn’t forgive that “existence” that had manipulated him.
To have let her honor be hurt, to have let her die, and to watch her family grieve over her death, as a former “Hero”, he could not allow it for the sake of his beloved wife.
Several months ago, Onzada had called him about an “evil” appearing in the world that had been immediately sealed.
How he wished that he could have interfered at that point, but even as a former hero, he could not deal with thousands of demon-sealing monks. So Yuuki and Onzada began moving to weaken the seal.
Onzada had been collecting information about this, but he was still being monitored by the organization called [Miyama] thanks to past events.
Yuuki was working as the arms of the operation, backed by the Kuon and Nikku families who wanted to know the truth.
Even today, hundreds of people continued to pour effort into the seals around the temple in Kanto, day and night, with hundreds of satellite locations using their techniques to reinforce the seal.
Yuuki teleported with his [Hero’s Secret Arts], crushing the sites and purifying them, and now this was the next location on his list.
It’s not that he couldn’t move about in broad daylight. Although he could teleport in daylight, information about this couldn’t be leaked out, so it was better for him to attack and leave in darkness.
He was leaving his home with a variety of reasons, like getting groceries or a business trip, but somehow, he sensed that his wife knew what he was doing. Still, he couldn’t afford to speak honestly and cause her worry, so he left while it was still bright, and only had a little time left.
And at that time, he decided to eat the local ramen. His brother-in-law had “franchised” the ramen shop out to him and was still the owner of a ramen shop himself.
If the ramen was particularly delicious, he might sometimes bring ramen home to the delight of his wife.
“…… this is also for the sake of training.”
Throwing out excuses even though nobody was around to hear him, Yuuki went around the various famous ramen shops that he had been investigating in advance.
Along the way, Yuuki saw some very unnatural-looking girls.
There were a lot of tourist destinations and foreign tourists, but the two of them had blonde and silver hair and looked to be about 12 or 13. Also, more notably, that they were wearing full-fledged maid’s clothing that was rarely seen in this country. It was certainly very eye-catching.
As the two of them seemed to be getting hit on and picked up by some high school boys who were on a school excursion, Yuuki, who ought to have been unconcerned, rushed over to “help” them.
“You guys, leave these girls alone.”
“What, you old geezer……”
Even as a twenty-something, he was an “old geezer” to these high schoolers.
That didn’t bother him in the slightest, but as Yuuki let out the faintest hint of his killing intent, the high schoolers immediately turned blue and left.
“Thank you very much.”
“Thanks, old man–”
The two girls immediately thanked him formally.
Yuuki also replied sort of offhandedly.
He hadn’t been the ones to help them. From the way they carried themselves and their beautiful appearance, he could feel the same atmosphere as that friend he had had, and his body had unintentionally moved to help them against the high schoolers.
“By the way, I’d like to ask something of you. What is that “raboumen” written on the board over there?”
“…… Ra–〈Bo〉 men.”
Yuuki mulled the words over for about two seconds, thinking that it clearly couldn’t be read that way, and as realization stunned him, he spoke.
“You guys don’t know what ramen is?”
“Hoho, is this the so-called “ra-men”? I remember hearing Mistress speak of such a dish before.”
“Ahaha–! I can feel the deep-seated grudges of stewed pig, though.”
Yuuki couldn’t believe that there were tourists who could not know about ramen even though their Japanese was so good, decided to explain a little to them about ramen, pretending that the silver-haired one hadn’t said anything.
“Ramen differs according to the shop, and while it has the image of being a local dish made quickly, in reality, it’s quite rich and unique. Of course, there are also some with lighter tastes. But I recommend the stronger-tasting ones. Shirayu’s chicken soup, which is made by boiling chicken until it turns to mush, is great, and I recommend you try it at least once. Shirayu is famous for their Hakata-style pork bone broth, and newbies tend to shy away from it thanks to its strong smell, but once you get used to it it’s addictive. I was wondering how it’d taste like in a warmer region, but the thinness and solidity of the noodles are great. When you eat it, you should order hard noodles, and so when you get tired of the taste, you can add the red ginger and refresh the palate again, which is also quite addictive.”
“…… Ah, I see.”
As Yuuki ran his mouth along, the little golden-haired one bowed her head and thanked him.
The silver-haired one had already left and was posing with for the students on school excursion and tourists as if she was a cosplayer.
* * *
“Come out, “Black Mask!”“
As Yuuki attacked the old shrine where they were performing the ritual, there were more demon-sealing monks than expected, since he’d been raiding several places.
A storm blew into the bamboo forest, blowing away the demon-sealing monks along with the soil and dead leaves.
But even so, after battling them for ten years, Yuuki’s attack magic was now countered with Ki. Despite Yuuki going easy on them since he’d decided to live in this world, a majority of the monks were still taken out of the fight.
“Strangely hardworking people.”
In Yuuki’s original world, Tess, they would have immediately given up when they realized their situation couldn’t be mitigated with their skills, but since this world lacked skills, they would all try desperately to counter him with their skills.
“Corner him! Encircle him with Ki-… kurgh!”
But nonetheless, Yuuki was still the strongest human, the ultimate weapon of humanity, a [Hero].
And he had been repeatedly training himself bloodily since he was born, and after learning the magic of another world from that “evil” from another world, the Yuuki of today was more than capable of fighting more than one person, even if they were the “hero of another world” like Tess’.
Yuuki swung his greatsword about him lightly, defeating the monks handily as he ran through the bamboo forest like the wind rapidly at a speed that were several times faster than a normal human.
“How many people are there? I don’t want to use so much magic……”
If Yuuki was going to annihilate them all, he would have settled it by now, but it took a long time since he wasn’t.
The reason why he was avoiding the use of his magic was also because of the land rather than his aversity to wasting it.
The demon-sealing monks used this place as a field of “strong spiritual power” to help seal evil, but it also meant that this land’s “magic” was strongly influenced by that “evil”.
And in such places, it was possible for there to be monsters. If Yuuki used a lot of magic, monsters would definitely appear. And if that happened, the demon-sealing monks would be in danger, but they would not be able to deal with them since they had never dealt with, or even seen, real monsters before.
If it was possible, he’d like to just purify the land and then leave. But just as he began thinking of the worst, purifying the land and then teleporting away …… it appeared.[[[……!?]]]
Yuuki and the demon-sealing monks stopped their fight for an instant.
Yuuki could feel sweat bead up on his forehead beneath his mask.
In the depths of the bamboo forest…… from the endless darkness beyond, he could feel the presence of an immense “evil” approaching.
The evil presence felt similar in scale to that of the “evil dragon” Yuuki had faced in the past.
Would Yuuki be able to beat it now? At that time, it had taken not only Yuuki’s party, but the combined might of the other hero parties to defeat it……
And in that instant, Yuuki moved immediately as he caught a glimpse of innumerable snakes slithering out of the bamboo grove, spotting something looming over them.
“Everyone, retreat! Don’t look back! You’ll die!”
As he shouted, Yuuki began to run immediately, not looking back at the monks.
He knew with a look. That wasn’t some “normal monster”. Yuuki had unconsciously used [Appraisal] just had he had when he had been a hero.
The report was: [Unknown]. It indicated that whatever it was, it was something that overwhelmed Yuuki, a hero. Violence and destruction incarnate. If Yuuki wanted to kill it, he would have to stake his life on the line.
He didn’t look back at all, but he could tell that the monks who had heard him were fleeing. Whether they would make it or not was entirely dependent on their luck.
He had actually considered the possibility that there would have been some evil monster coming out, but he never imagined that would appear instead.
“……If you can release Yuzu, I will help you defeat them.”
Yuuki thought that if it was because of Yuzu who had been sealed, she would gladly take responsibility, but if someone asked Yuuki whose fault it was, it wasn’t quite his, either.
“…… I’m sorry.”
As the presence faded, a silver-haired girl – Fannie appeared from the darkness, and the golden-haired girl – Tina, raised her eyebrows as she returned the golden snakes to her curly hair.
“Ah, but isn’t it good that we didn’t show your true nature?”
The two of them, who had come all this way for a certain task, felt the presence of a strong soul by luck and was thinking of recovering it.
“There seems to be a “custom” here that girls “transform” whenever they fight, no–?”
“…… Where did you get this information?”
“I heard it from that “TV” thing.”
“Then I guess it can’t be helped.”
Tina consented quickly and resumed her original business with Fannie.
It was to collect the magic that had accumulated in this place. In the blink of an eye, they had absorbed all of the magic around them, and then imitating their Mistress, they put their palms together.
““Thank you for the meal.””
The two of them, who had recovered the magic power that they had lost through crossing dimensions from this “snack”, weakened the seal without realising it, and the demon-sealing monks of [Miyama] began to “fear” these unknown monsters, and as a result, helped Yuuki and Onzada’s movements.
Next time, the Onzada story.
A pleasant bit of slice of life here, just a bit to go!