Nanahoshi is standing in the center of the magic circle.
She’s standing there facing me, wearing a traveling outfit and carrying a large backpack.
The backpack was packed to deal with any conceivable situation.
Even though I say that, neither Nanahoshi or I have any experience traveling overseas in our previous world.
She should need identification and something to exchange for cash, also we don’t know if things like magic crystals or scrolls will be usable over there.
So we packed roughly what we thought was needed for a journey.
After that, it’s up to her wisdom and courage to get her through.
At Perugius’ signal, I placed my hands on the teleportation apparatus.
Everything’s proceeding as usual.
We’ve practiced this experiment many times already.
Although not all of the attempts were successful, any points of failure were identified and fixed.
At this point Perugius and I are veterans.
Well, even if I call myself a veteran, all I really do is supply the mana.
That’s all there was to Perugius and Nanahoshi’s farewell.
After that, they immediately went back to focusing on what they were doing.
Nanahoshi faced me, and Perugius signaled to one of his servants.
Everything is proceeding as usual.
Perugius and his servants placed their hands on the magic circle.
As I begin supplying magic power, the edges of the magic circle begin to faintly give off light.
My mana is being drained at a tremendous rate, but I’m already accustomed to that.
Then, reacting to my mana, the magic circle began to shine brightly.
First blue, then green, then white.
While the magic circle was giving off tremendous amounts of light, I was focused on properly supplying the mana.
Thanks to repeating the experiment so many times, I’m accustomed to the timing I need to allocate my mana.
Evenly, without waste, not too much, but not too little.
As instructed, I increased the amount of power pouring into the magic circle.
My legs are getting weak, even my vision is going hazy from using this much power.
Yet the black magic circle shows no sign of change.
But, I have a feeling like something’s overflowing in my arm.
This is the first time I’ve felt this.
This might be dangerous.
Very dangerous, should I cut the power?
But, Perugius said we needed more magic power, I need to have faith–
Then, as if a breaker tripped, the magic circle lost its light.
All in a split second.
The light normally disappears slowly, but this time it happened in an instant.
Almost as if all the magic was suddenly absorbed by something.
The supply of magic was cut?
But I didn’t reduce the amount of mana. Rather, I increased it.
Somehow it felt different.
No mana was being released from my hands?
But, I still feel the fatigue from using up an enormous amount of mana.
He said [It fails at the very end.]
Although I don’t know if this is the end, or there’s more to come.
I never heard the specifics of the failure.
It’s not something I would have understood.
I don’t even know whether the experiment turned out differently.
Thinking back now, I should have asked for more details, but regrets won’t help.
But, I don’t know how to respond.
Failure can happen to anyone, it’s no use worrying about, that’s… normal.
Even my future self should have said something like that.
No, because my future self became such a hardened person, he might not have said anything at all.
In fact, he might have said something horrible and driven Nanahoshi away.
He was a considerably horrible person, he might have even said something like, [It’s probably impossible to return anyway, just become my woman.] and attacked her.
“Um, Nanahoshi-san. Can we talk?”
“Huh? I’m busy.”
“Well, even so… being alone at a time like this, it might be better to talk things out, even if it isn’t easy, even if it doesn’t solve the problem, we can work on that afterwards, getting your spirit back is more important.”
“Because a person who should not originally exist was placed in the past, history changed. The balance of the world’s aggregate magic power was broken, causing an adjustment on the scale of the Fedoa Region disappearing to occur.”
Ah, I remember hearing about this.
But at the time I had other things on my mind, so I don’t remember much.
It’s a nonsensical conversation but…
She’s become more energetic, she seems to be recovering from the shock.
No, it’s too soon to say that.
She might just be distracted.
I should still keep her company.
“From here on is the main issue.
Someone in the future modified history and I was the outcome.
Allow me to explain why it’s because of [The Future].
I was able to come to this conclusion because of Orsted.
He is sent from the [Past] and does a loop in the [Present].
In the present, Orsted can’t really intervene, and his loop is the strongest existence until he wins.”
Orsted’s father, the first Dragon God sent him.
The first generation Dragon God used a secret technique to send Orsted into a fixed-interval time loop.
According to Orsted, he can only escape the loop by defeating Hitogami.
Until now, he hasn’t been able to, but sooner or later he should succeed.
He’s definitely strong enough.
“I think the fact that we were sent here is related to the fight between the Dragon God and Human God.”
“Why is that?”
“Immediately after I was transferred, the first person I met was Orsted. Afterwards I met you, and greatly changed Orsted’s fate. We intervened in Orsted’s loop.”
Orsted loops in order to defeat Hitogami.
I don’t know what will happen after he wins.
But, to defeat him, the past might have to somehow be altered.
Nanahoshi and I might have been placed here as some sort of strategic move…
Because, even without modifying the past, Orsted would eventually win.
Even if Orsted could alter the past, rather than interfering with his loop, it would make more sense to change events before that.
Like preventing Laplace from being divided during the second Human-Demon Great War.
Orsted wasn’t aware of Gisu’s existence.
Therefore, he was supposed to win a little later.
Like tripping over a small stone, it’s completely unexpected.
In this loop, without us, Hitogami would definitely win. That’s why there would be no reason for Hitogami to change the past.
Nanahoshi lightly tapped a name written in her notebook.
Written there, the name [Shinohara Akihito].
And, directly beneath it was written [Kuroki Seiji], with an X through it and [Rudeus Greyrat] written to its side.
“It’s too coincidental that you were transferred, and then I was.
So, it would make sense if Shinohara Akihito was transferred to the future.
And, Shinohara Akihito met Orsted.
This is the first time this has happened in Orsted’s loops.
Future Orsted befriended Shinohara Akihito and, realizing he couldn’t beat Hitogami… moved to secure victory.”
“… Then, that led to the Fedoa Region’s disappearance? That guy, Shinohara Akihito, came up with a method to modify the past?”
“It’s not something he could do himself. However, just like we’ve met many people here, he must have met various people as well.
That’s how, he must have found someone with the power to alter the past…”
That word suddenly flashed across my mind.
Zanoba has superhuman strength,
The miko in Milis can read memories just by looking into her target’s eyes.
It wouldn’t be strange if there’s a miko with the power to alter the past.
“I considered that. I was looking for Shinohara Akihito, and he was looking for me.”
“Well, it’s only a hypothesis…
I am unable to return now because I am supposed to return with Shinohara Akihito in the future.
Or perhaps I can’t return until some event comes to pass.
Or maybe both.”
In the future.
For some reason, a man named Shinohara Akihito was summoned.
Shinohara collaborated with Orsted.
However, it was impossible to win against Hitogami in that state.
Upon investigating, he found the cause was in the past.
Therefore, by amplifying the miko’s power he modified the past.
…. Perhaps that’s why I was summoned here.
That’s why Hitogami saw that he would be killed by my descendants in the future.
So, the unknown person who was there with Orsted and my descendants was Shinohara Akihito.
However, there’s a problem.
He had no way to return to his original world.
So Shinohara Akihito borrowed the miko’s power again.
This time summoning Nanahoshi who’s dying to return home.
And because of that, she made the teleportation magic circle.
Thinking about it, I’m starting to get annoyed at this Shinohara Akihito guy.
If this hypothesis is correct, the entire Fedoa Region was annihilated because Shinohara Akihito was selfish.
Although it’s only a hypothesis.
I can’t really blame him.
It’s possible that Shinohara Akihito was out of other options, his only choice might have been modifying the past.
Doing something like that is dangerous, he may have chosen to modify the past in order to protect something important, even if it could cost him his life.
When I came to this world, my number of important things increased.
My wives, my children, my sisters.
In order to protect them, I became Orsted’s subordinate.
Orsted turned out to be a surprisingly good guy, but I didn’t know that at the time.
I was sure I would have been ordered to do inhumane things.
And I’m sure I would have obeyed those orders, in order to protect my family.
We might be the same in that regard.
The only difference is what we consider important.
“I see… then, Nanahoshi. If you assume your hypothesis is correct, what are you going to do?”
“Well… until I play my part it won’t be possible for me to return home. I already finished the teleportation device. So there’s nothing left for me to do.”
If Nanahoshi’s role is completing the teleportation device, then I wonder what my role is.
Leading Orsted to victory?
Or maybe my purpose is to kill Gisu, when all of our enemies are gathered at one point… thinking about it, dealing with Gisu is my primary concern.
Hitogami may have others besides Gisu hiding.
“But, I’m unable to return. So there must be something else I have to do.”
“If I think about it, my purpose here must be to send Shinohara Akihito back to our original world in the future.”
“That’s just it, isn’t it? I made the device. But if he doesn’t know how to use it, he can’t return.”
Yeah, even if there’s a mana battery like me, it would be difficult to operate the device.
It seems unlikely that Perugius would still be alive.
But, this way of thinking, isn’t it too much.
It should be fine to make a manual or something.
Ah, that could be problematic.
If a time paradox occurs, it might not be possible to return.
If Nanahoshi returns now, future Nanahoshi won’t exist.
If it’s the future that’s changing the past, then the future is the priority, so the magic device’s operation might become ambiguous.
As Nanahoshi said that, she looked towards a teacup in the corner of the room.
It’s easy to forget, but Nanahoshi is already suffering from a chronic illness.
A parallel-world AIDS.
Presently the symptoms are suppressed by routinely drinking tea made from Sokasu grass.
However, she doesn’t know when she’ll contract another disease.
Projecting 80 years into the future, her survival rate lowers.
With that power, Nanahoshi can definitely survive.
For a long time, though it’s unlikely to last the entire time,
Perugius won’t be able to leave Sukeakoto idle when Laplace revives.
Laplace will revive in 80 years, 50 at the soonest.
And, if Orsted cannot reach Hitogami without defeating Laplace, then Mr. Shinohara will help him…
Nanahoshi will wake up at the perfect time.
“You have to make sure Shinohara Akihito does not overlook my existence.
I’ll leave this book to you, to help you set up more teleportation sites.
After that, even though it’s taboo, I want you to announce the existence of teleportation magic circles to the world and help advance its research.”
“… Will that be necessary?”
“What if my hypothesis is incorrect? I mean, it would be strange if everything fit together just like that. 80% of it could be considered a delusion, there’s no insurance. If my hypothesis is wrong, then 80 years later, I’ll be able to return properly.”
That hypothesis seems pretty reliable.
Even if it’s slightly off, I feel like it’s pretty much correct.
But that’s just it.
It’s not necessarily correct.
Even if Shinohara was transferred too, it’s not limited to just that.
The reason Nanahoshi can’t return might actually be due to a defect in the magic circle.
Although we think it’s perfect now, there might be some obscure problem that can’t be resolved without a breakthrough.
The situation can change.
Her hypothesis isn’t necessarily correct either.
And, I want to help Nanahoshi return home to the best of my abilities.
I, also have a reason.
I went through great pains to write the letter I entrusted to her.
But, it was still impossible.
As if it was being obstructed by someone, the mana supply was insufficient.
Because I know it’s not a problem on my end, unless Perugius is lying, it might really be interference from the future.
… Or it could be Hitogami’s interference.
I thought Perugius might object, but he readily accepted.
After being asked to lend Sukeakoto of Time to put Nanahoshi to sleep, after seeing her inconsolable expression for a moment, he just muttered [Is that so] and consented.
They might have discussed it beforehand.
Regarding what would happen if it fails.
When I think about the fact that I’ve basically been estranged from Nanahoshi for the past few years, I don’t really feel lonely.
It’s almost like she’s going somewhere far away.
I don’t exactly feel lonely, but some other emotions are swirling about in my chest.
I wonder what this feeling is.
In any case, I don’t feel very refreshed.
“I believe the magic circle was defective.”
“Nanahoshi seems to have already given up, but I will not. While she is asleep, I will complete the magic circle. I swear it on my title of Dragon King.”
“For the past, this is the future. It was the past just now. And now it’s the future. I believe my pupil has made a foolish mistake, and want to correct it. Until Laplace’s revival, this is just killing time.”
It was a comfortable exchange, I couldn’t help but let out a little laugh.
Maybe, Nanahoshi might not return in my lifetime.
But, if, for some reason, she isn’t able to return, there are people who care for her.
Perhaps, even without me, Nanahoshi can return in the future.
Since my future self had a sad expression, without hearing her hypothesis, he must have assumed she committed suicide after hearing from Perugius.
The next place on the list is Sword God Gull Farion.
Let’s go with Eris and two other people.
Simple is best.
Though I’m a little uneasy going without backup, I’ve heard that the Holy Land of Swords doesn’t have many bright guys.
It’s full of guys that have discussions with their fists.
While replying, I entered the president’s office.
After entering, I closed the door, took a stance with my feet shoulder width apart, and put my hands behind my back.
As always, I bowed to Orsted, who was sitting at his desk.
“What did Perugius say?”
“That he believes the failure was caused by a defect in the magic circle, and that he will improve the magic circle in order to return Nanahoshi…”
“Is that it?”
“And that the past cannot be determined by the future.”
“That’s right. That sounds like something Perugius would say.”
“You’ve heard about Nanahoshi’s matter. What are you going to do?”
“For the time being, I’ll gradually consider Nanahoshi’s matter,
I think I should head to the Sword God, Gull Farion.
As usual, I would like to request the details.”
“I see… I’ve already compiled information regarding Gull Farion.”
Orsted retrieved a stack of papers from a cabinet.
Preparations are good this time.
I’d be fine just talking, but this is good too.
Shouldn’t compiling these kinds of documents be my role?
No, it’s too late for that.
I’m tempted to look as well.
There, stones are lined up in a row.
Although they look like tombstones, they’re the communication lithographs I’ve installed in various locations.
At the bottom of each lithograph, the name of the installation location is written.
1. Logic might be a bit loose here, needs a double-check. 現在では、Orstedは誰にも介入されず、勝利するまでループする最強の存在よ
2. Never noticed this before, but she’s referring to Hitogami as Hitokami(人神)
3. Stone monuments? I don’t know what else she could be referring to.