※Revision: PS2 → Dreamstation, a fictional game console.
Translator’s Note: Sorry for being so slow. I’ve been studying for SAT subject tests.
The accelerating monorail slid silently along the tracks. Whether it was powered by electricity or mana was of little importance to the passengers riding it. At most, the monorail was only slightly faster or slower.
The scenery, however, is another story. The magnificent waters blur by and a breathtaking city drifts in the midst of a lake as vast as the ocean. My chest wells up with curiosity and my heart throbs with anticipation. Even from within the monorail, I can make out every townsperson, tending to their daily routines. I felt like a child gazing out of a car window.
Stepping off of the monorail felt like entering a completely different country. The streets were mostly occupied by people with sharp-features and frail-bodies. Almost every one of them looked like they suffered from malnutrition. So much that you couldn’t help but worry that their thin frames might collapse at any moment. However, what especially caught my eyes were the long-eared beauties—elves.
In the game, elves typically never left the forest, secluding themselves in the thickest parts of the woods. But some things sure have changed in 200 years. Now, I could catch sight of elves strolling downtown or making small talk with humans. I could have sworn I even spotted a middle-aged human and a young elf holding hands in public.
But keep in mind that human and elven lifespans are different. That’s why when cleverly worded, you might not realize that the elf might have lived a far longer life. In simpler terms, he’s tied the knot with a timeless beauty. I hope he dies alone.
We found the library immediately. Luckily for me, the grand building was placed just steps away from the terminal. Moreover, the library towered over its surrounding buildings, easily making it the tallest structure on the block. I slipped through the entrance and made my way inside.
Midway, a female librarian cast me a sideways glance, but didn’t say anything in particular. The library is a public space after all. As long as I don’t break any rules, there’s no reason to question me.
It was a circular hall with desks lined throughout the middle. Shelves upon shelves stacked against the wall and books were crammed into every open space. Of course, this was not to say that the room was sealed off. There were proper corridors leading in and out of the hall so it wasn’t suffocating. I headed towards the history section and scanned the titles.
“Record of Midgard’s Genesis ~ Why Goddess Alovenas Created the World~”
“History of Midgard・The Birth of the Seven Races”
“Record of Midgard’s Wars—From the Appearance of the Demon Race to the Present Day”
These volumes… shouldn’t really matter. They don’t mention events of the last 200 years and probably won’t vary much from the game I knew. What I really want to know are the happenings after my supposed death.
“The Black Winged Overlord: Ruphas Mafahl’s Military Prowess”
“Legendary Figures of the Past: Ruphas Mafahl”
“Historical Analysis: Was Ruphas Mafahl really Evil?”
“Ruphas Mafahl: The only Ruler to achieve World Domination”
This area’s packed with books about myself. I’m curious to know how I’m perceived by society, so I’ll take the “Legendary Figures” and the “Historical Analysis” volumes and move on to the next section.
That, and I’m really starting to appreciate telekinesis. I would have leveled it to 100 instead of 50 if I had known it was this convenient… That said, the esper class didn’t yield the greatest results in combat, and sorting through books wasn’t something done in the game.
“The Seven Heroes – Brave Warriors who Defeated the Black-Winged Overlord”
“The Seven Heroes – Glories and Follies”
“Legendary Figures of the Past: Alioth”
“Legendary Figures of the Past: Dubhe”
“Legendary Figures of the Past: Mizar”
“Legendary Figures of the Past: Phecda”
“Mankind’s Rise and Fall. Was Humanity Mistaken!?”
“Death to the Seven Heroes! Historian Williams Talks about Mankind’s Greatest Blunder”
These shelves handle the history of the seven heroes, meaning it’ll talk about the 200 years I’ve missed out on. Come to think of it, the reason why Megrez and some others aren’t included in the “Figures of the Past” is most likely because they’re still alive. Living legends can’t become “figures of the past.”
Leaving that aside, a number of volumes openly criticize the seven heroes. Was that really acceptable? The founder of this country is none other than a living remnant of the seven heroes. Despite his retirement from the throne, there’s no escaping the fact that he was a hero of the legends. I wouldn’t find it strange if the author was charged with treason.
“Heheh, surprised? Turns out you aren’t actually held in such negative light.”
“…True, it’s strange. And I thought I played a cold-blooded villain that toppled nations for fun.”
“Well, while there are books written from that perspective, the initial fear has faded with time. At this point in time, some even see your era as one of peace and prosperity—a time when wars were nonexistent, and there was no reason to fear the demon race. Above all, Ruphas-sama wasn’t such a heartless tyrant to begin with.”
I was partly able to accept Dina’s words. This is to say that I can understand the public’s thoughts to a certain degree. Just a guess, but Ruphas is being treated as a historical figure like Napoleon or Nobunaga. If you think back to it, Oda Nobunaga did some messed up shit back then. But nowadays, people see him in a new light, often describing his character as “cool” or “badass”. He has even been handpicked as the protagonist of a number of comics, riling up a large fan base.
For the people who tasted the horrors of Nobunaga firsthand, such things were unimaginable. However, for those who perceive history from a textbook, it’s nothing more than a heartwarming story.
Therefore, we can safely assume that the author of this book wasn’t an elf.
“Well, I guess it’s time to hit the books. I’ll be secluding myself for a while—what about you, Dina?”
“Naturally, I’ll be joining you. There are some books I’d like to read as well.”
“Oh? What kind?”
“This! ‘Gunboy, Killed in Action: Volume 1 ~ Gunboy Dies on the Ground~’”
A light novel. Forgive me, but let’s get this straight. Why the hell does the first volume kill off the protagonist in the title of the novel? Well, it does make me oddly curious in its own regard.
“By the way, the second volume—‘Tragedy: Death on the Battlefield’—and the third—’Death by Chance’ are also masterpieces!”
“Don’t they all just die?”
I pushed down my sudden urge to read them and settled into one of the chairs. First, I’d like to research the 200 years of my absence. Having a clear goal in mind, I flipped a book open.
The goddess Alovenas governed the forces of water and money. Certain legends tell of a peerless beauty adorned with striking eyes and hair the color of the sea. Others tell of golden locks of hair that glistened like moonlight.
Some say she was a benevolent goddess who loved all in the world she created. Others recall a deity who held scorn for the repugnant races that tainted her name—
Ah, wrong book. I returned the volume to its rightful shelf. This time, I made sure I was holding the right title.
200 years ago, a supreme being brought the unification of the world. Her untarnished skin, sleek black wings, and alluring figure made her an unparalleled beauty on the face of Midgard. Such were the words of Merak, one of the seven heroes.
Powerfully, powerfully, she pressed forward. Whether they be man, beast, or even demons, all cowered under her rule. Yet to this day, her motivation to rule the world is still shrouded in mystery.
However, the people of that time knew… that although Ruphas Mafahl was a ruthless conqueror, she was by no means a heartless tyrant. Despite using brute force to unite the world, never did she abuse her power.
Noblesse Oblige. The nobility’s duty to society.
In exchange for power, a ruler holds the obligation to serve the common people. Such were the overlord’s favorite words, according to an elf of the time. Even if lands were obtained through military power, a ruler has the duty to ensure the people’s protection.
An overlord bore the responsibility to ensure the lives, the futures, and the prospects of his citizens and their offspring. Ruphas Mafahl preached such ideals.
Being an ambitious conqueror, perhaps such words were hypocritical. In fact, those who opposed her accused her so. However, the fact that she never imposed unreasonable burdens upon her countrymen was also an indisputable truth. On the contrary, the overlord had overthrown corrupt rulers on several occasions.
Ruphas Mafahl was not a woman of virtue. However, as to whether she was really wicked… is a question often raised by the scholars of today.
So then why did she conquer the world? Such is a mystery yet to be uncovered. The only ones aware of the truth being the Twelve Heavenly Stars, fearsome enemies of mankind, we have little chance of finding out. But considering her actions as a monarch, perhaps she did not conquer out of selfish desires.
We don’t know the facts. But what we do know is that we, as mankind, rejected, overthrew, and cast away her rule. However, these actions did not mark the dawn of mankind’s new era. Instead, they ended up pleasing the demon race.
The seven great races were not the only ones that felt threatened by Ruphas Mafahl. Demons also feared and kept wary of this powerful being. Dreading the power of the black-winged overlord, her twelve generals, and the heroes of mankind, the demon race had hid themselves away.
Losing their greatest threat, the demon race jumped at the opportunity. On the other hand, mankind dispersed without Ruphas’ rule.
In response, the warriors of the day stood in defense. However, the seven heroes had lost their original unity, and the scuffles almost always ended in crushing defeat for humanity. Hence, demons claimed 60 percent of the world, pushing mankind into a tight corner.
Today, mankind occupies a mere 30 percent of the world, a number that continues to diminish as we struggle for survival. Seven heroes were reduced to three, and they barely preserve the balance of our world—something that could crumble at a moment’s notice.
A temporary peace—like a calm before a storm.
The world we know could come to ruin as I write these pointless ponderings of a single man. Yet, humanity has not a single idea of how to break out of this deadlock.
—the world is on the verge of collapse!?
Having reached this point in the book, I was less surprised than I thought I would be. While I did know the Demon King was going strong enough for countries to resort to hero summonings, I had yet to take it to heart.
Expecting a hero to come along and solve the world’s problems was about as far as I got. I mean, at a glimpse, the countryside looks like the very definition of peace, You wouldn’t expect the world to be on the edge of destruction.
But this is the first time I’ve heard about mankind’s decreasing territory. Well, actually, I did have some doubts—like how the nations were kind of small, and how the entire country of Suvell could easily fit inside of Hokkaido. However, countries often being nothing more than slightly larger cities in games, I could easily dismiss those doubts. Well, that’s just what it boils down to.
I was naive. The world is in some pretty deep shit.
Then again, perhaps this was the obvious outcome. The demon race still retains its powerful leader, the Demon King. Moreover, several of the Twelve Heavenly Stars have turned over to join them. Even without the Heavenly Stars’ betrayal, the strength of the general public had drastically declined and four of the seven heroes have kicked the bucket… Naturally, humanity would be driven to a corner. The fact that mankind continues to struggle is nothing short of a miracle.
Unless I retrieve the Twelve Heavenly Stars, mankind’s going to be knee deep in shit. As far as I know, the only reason they fight is my “death” at the hands of mankind. Well, as their owner, I should be able to goad them back to my side… probably… hopefully. I’m trying to be optimistic here.
To think that the whimsical decisions I made in a game could influence the fate of another world… that its inhabitants would agonize over a victory I could brush aside as a game… there’s something about it…
There’s really something about it…
【Some Relatively Useless Information】
- The truth behind the orcs’ gentlemanly behavior
Originally, the orcs were depicted as fiendish beasts that forced their offspring upon the women they abducted. However, fearing customer complaints from parents, game administration altered the lore. With this, the orcs degraded into helpless and almost pitiful creatures.