“My first name is Yukihisa, Arleaf.”
“Okay, then, Yukihisa. Are you sure you’re okay? I’m about to finish making an antidote, so please take it.”
After informing me so, Arleaf gets back to her mortar and pestle and starts grinding some medicinal herbs. She finishes by putting the herb paste inside a glass bottle filled with water and then handing it to me.
Am I... supposed to drink this? It looks like it’s gonna be super bitter.
“Though it’s only just a Simple Antidote, it should still be effective. Please go ahead.”
I’ve been dragged along into this, but my body feels fine.
Maybe actually, the power nap did my body some good.
Well, no, it could be that I’m still riding the high of coming out of a death march.
In any case, let me take a look at this mysterious liquid Arleaf handed me.
Medicine with a detoxifying effect. Can counteract weak toxins.
Some weird arrow pointer and message just popped up!
What is this?!
“Now, quickly! Before it reverts back to poison.”
This is poison?! No way! I know I like video games, but to like it so much that I’m hallucinating? That’s a bit extreme!
But since Arleaf suggested me to take it, down the hatch it goes.
The aftertaste is a little minty, I guess? It’s kinda refreshing and not nearly as gross as it looks.
“You should be fine after taking the antidote. I believe your condition will start to improve.”
“Ah, thank you very much.”
I understand that she’s worried over me out of kindness, but something seems kinda off.
Well, for starters, her name isn’t Japanese. Then, though I don’t know what kind of closed off settlement this is, but either way, I get that she’s helping me because of goodwill.
“Umm, then Yukihisa? I’m sorry that this is all I can do to treat your condition, but since it’s rather dangerous here, it would be a good idea to quickly move to a safe location.
“I’ll take you to the village nearby, alright?”
“Thanks so much for everything you’ve done for me.”
“No, not at all. This is how things should be when we’re in times of need. Well then, it’s this way. Just to be safe, I’ll light up some monster-repelling incense.”
With Arleaf’s guidance, we begin setting off from this mysterious marsh.
The incense smells rather nice too.
Taking an unpaved trail, we arrive at the village in 30 minutes or so.
It’s... tranquil? No, that’s not it.
I can’t help but feels like this village is starting to be deserted.
“You should be fine from here on. Do you have any money on you?”
“Hmm, lemme check real quick...”
I have a few bills in my wallet.
If I need to, I have my debit card as well. I can take out money wherever.
“Okay, you’re alright then? If anything happens, try going to the town hall. They might be able to help. Well, then, I should probably get back to work...”
“Umm, while I am very worried about your situation, I do have a job...”
Ah, I get it. She found me deep in the mountains and nursed me back to health, then took me back to civilization. Still, Arleaf has work to do.
I would’ve liked to keep chatting with a cutie like her though.
“Thank you very much for everything. I will have to pay you back.”
“No, please do not worry about it.”
“That wouldn’t be right. I’ll pay you back soon, so could I please get your contact details?”
“Is that right? Then, in that case, I’m the apothecary in this village of Nisua, That building over there is my home.”
Arleaf points to a Western-looking house that’s a little out of place in this village.
Wow, there’s a chimney on top.
“Well, I’ll have to get back to work now...”
With that, Arleaf goes back the way we came from.
The name of this place isn’t really Japanese either, eh? The Village of Nisua... I wonder where this is.
I wave her goodbye until I lose sight of her then walk towards town.
Thinking that I came back to civilization, I was about to call out to one of these villagers, but I hesitated.
Seriously, their ears.
There are people with dog-like ears.
Is that cosplay? A dude putting on dog years is a little gross, don’tcha think?
Even if you play it off as an ironic joke, this isn’t like a cosplay convention or anything.
That, and they look real shady. I’m gonna avoid picking a fight with these guys.
With all these weird things going on, I feel like I’m still dreaming.
... am I really, though?
This... is pretty long for a dream and it’s not even a nice one.
Maybe it’s because I’m in an unfamiliar place, but still, something’s wrong.
Furthermore, the people walking around have animal ears and tails growing out of them, adding to my ongoing list of confusions.
And Arleaf was speaking in a foreign language, yet I could perfect understand her. What a stange feeling.
What in the world is going on?
Then right after that thought went through my mind...
‘Hey. Can you hear me?’
I hear a voice in my head and I look around frantically.
I see no one behind that voice. Rather, I see no one speaking to me.
‘Finally, I am getting through to you. It was quite the bother fine-tuning this.’
“Wh—Who are you?!”
It’s no surprise that a sudden voice in my head would be surprising.
What happened to me? A dream? Is this a dream?
‘Calm down. Making a racket would trouble the both of us. You might even die.’
What? Aren’t you asking a little too much for me to calm down?
But, he’s got a point. Kicking up a fuss here would cause trouble for everyone around here.
Luckily, the voice isn’t doing anything to me, so I comply with his instructions.
‘Good. The priority currently is for me to explain the situation at hand.’
You’re just telling me to smarten up, aren’t you?
‘Fear not. But you wish not to simply perish right now, correct?’
“Perish”? That’s a little extreme.
‘It is not.’
—?! You can hear what I’m thinking?!
‘Aye, I can. Perhaps this channel’s frequency is a bit too sensitive?’
What are you?!
Am I hallucinating from working too many all-nighters in a row? Or rather, did working in that sweatshop mess with my mind?
‘I said to calm yourself! Augh, you are really pissing me off... Aye, as you said, I can read your thoughts, but in actuality, it is not quite exact. So calm down.’
Ah, jeez... the mysterious voice in my head keeps going on.
I did as he says, but isn’t this getting worse and worse?
‘Worry not, just calm down! I was going to have you go somewhere so that people will not see you, but you just will not listen. No choice but to do it here and now. I shall have you understand your condition by confirming it together.’
As the voice spoke, in my vision out comes a status screen, as if straight out from a game.
Acquired skills: Spirit Link, Poison Absorption (Weak), Poison Release
What the hell is this?!
Didn’t the antidote Arleaf got me to drink cure my hallucinations?!
‘As I thought, you are still not misunderstanding it. This is how the world measures your power, the strength you possess in numerical values.’
“Just like a video game, huh?”
I blurted it out loud, without thinking.
‘A game, hmm...? As suspected, parallel universes do exist.’
‘Ah, I also understand that you are from a parallel universe. That is where I should begin to explain.’
To be inconspicuous—and more importantly, safe—I move to a corner of the town square. A place close enough to where everyone can see and with lots of pedestrian traffic.
I realize I’ve got to first understand the situation I’m in.
‘Surprisingly, you can actually calm down.’
“What the hell is going on? What happened to me? I guess it’s good that you’re not just my imagination?”
‘It is fine that you are asking many questions, but will you be able to understand the status quo? ... well, in any case, you will have to understand somehow. I can but pray that you will keep calm.’
He continued on to explain, taking breaks once in a while.
‘To answer your first question, yes, it is the same as you think—a status screen from a video game of your world.’
Yeah, and as I said, what the hell is this shit? So, will you goddamn answer my question?
‘I know not what to say to you; I have no other answer. But to explain another way... aye. Long ago, a... an acquaintance of mine had once said it this way. I was told that other worlds may not have such an ability to objectively determine abilities. And in that case... why do living beings need to air to live? is an equivalent question, I heard. It is a rule of this world.’
It’s because I’ll friggin’ die if I don’t breathe... but I get it.
Whatever. I’ll just drop it. This isn’t the place to get into an argument anyway.
‘The answers to the rest of your questions will be related. First, you were forcibly summoned here from your world to ours by an evil magic performed. In order to subdue me, they are using you as a scapegoat and a sacrifice.’
Scapegoat? Sacrifice? Subdue?
‘The magic goes by the name of Forced Possession Summoning. It is a magic used to defeat the strongest of opponents with no effort. It is an underhanded tactic that can lay waste to true heroes. And I am disgusted by the barbarous actions of them and their country.’
The voice bridled with offhanded sighs.
‘It is black magic used by weak men to easily overthrow the strong. Conjuring the spell also allows the user to tap into the target’s mana to summon an otherworldly being, forcibly bringing them to this world.’
Summoned to an alternate universe?
... I’ve seen something like that before.
A guy gets summoned and turns into a hero. It was popular at the same time as those mecha pilot stories.
Wait, no... isn’t it still pretty popular amongst online novels right now?
Working in an environment like mine unfortunately doesn’t give me much time to read, but I’ve seen novels in bookstores advertising **** million page views! as a selling point.
... I digress.
So you cast that sorcery on your opponent, control their power—their mana—and strong-arm them into doing the dirty work.
And that spell is a summoning one... calling upon people from a parallel universe...
I know I’m just parroting back what I’ve been told, but I’ve got to sort this out in my head too.
And in this situation, the one who had the spell casted on is the guy behind the voice and I’m the one who was summoned... right?
‘Rather than to think about it, first, listen to me. The target—the being on whom the spell was placed—lives on as a parasite on the one summoned. And if the weak and unexperienced person from another world were to be killed... the original target shall simultaneously be annihilated. This detestable sorcery essentially causes a battle by proxy.’
A battle by proxy... like a proxy war?
This might be a little easier to understand.
In a cold war between two superpowers, each side usually backs up a smaller nation to do the fighting. The superpower who backs the emerging victor will profit somehow.
The advantage of this is that it greatly reduces risk for the superpower.
But in our situation... the man behind the voice is the superpower and I’m the small nation getting the backup. It seems like how it differs is that in our case is that if I die, the voice dies as well.
Well, the ones who are behind this have basically nothing on the line.
So basically, the whole idea is to weaken your opponent and to destroy them after.
Man, this is some bullshit.
‘Aye... I am glad you are quick to pick up on this. It seems like somehow you were able to grasp my explanation well.’
“And just for reference, to be hit by this spell... what in the world are you?
Suddenly, I remember the dream I had.
This has got to be the result of the battle where the dragon gets blasted by the sorcerers.
‘Oh? Would I be correct in saying that you have foreseen the battle? This is an expected turn of events. Indeed, you are likely correct in saying that this is the outcome of the Forced Possession Summoning. I had mustered all of my power and wisdom to resist the enemy. But alas, though I have escaped the battlefield, this is where we are at. I am known to you humans as a dragon; to my friends, Veno Yveval.’
I thought that was all just a dream! You’re telling me it was the situation right before I was brought here to this world?!
What a headache.
This doesn’t feel like real life... but I know this isn’t a dream either.
I mean, I’ve always wanted to get out of that sweatshop of a company, but being summoned to a parallel universe? Never would I have imagined that happening.
Aren’t I too old it anyway? That’s like a teenager’s fantasy.
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