Chapter 18. The Hero Vents
（Hmmm… A part of me wants to say that I just forgot how she looked because of how long it’s been, but another part of me is sure that her eyes were green back when I first met her.）
Not all people with red eyes had the Scarlet Eyes skill, but the opposite was true. Scarlet Eyes was an innate ability, everyone that had it was born with it. In other words, it was impossible for anyone that had it to have green eyes.
I very clearly remembered the events that’d taken place here during my first time through. This city was the one in which I fought my first battle against a group of enemies that numbered far more than just 10 or 20. Yumis’ little sister had left an especially deep impression because of her elf-like appearance, and thus, I felt like I could really get behind the idea that, back then, her eyes had been green. I would’ve been able to confirm my suspicions if I had been able to appraise her the first time I met her, as I would’ve been able to double check my notes on her. But unfortunately, I hadn’t unlocked the【Eight Eyed Bookblade of Transparency】until I was about halfway through my journey, meaning there was no data for me to check in the first place.
（It doesn’t look like she’s planning on kicking up a fuss, at least not right away.）
My first instinct was to immediately flee, but I managed to stop myself after realizing that there was no real need for me to do so.
I instead began contemplating the fact that I had just discovered one of Yumis’ secrets. I arrived at the conclusion that I had finally found a side of Yumis I’d yet to see, half through intuition, and half through logical deduction.
（The only problem is that I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do next…）
「I want to say something like, “don’t worry, I’m not anyone suspicious,” but I doubt you’d actually believe me.」
I altered my form to give it substance. Specifically, I created a sort of pseudo-body so I could speak. It went without saying that my actual body was still laying in bed back at the inn, I hadn’t teleported myself or anything. The form I had just created was one composed entirely of magical energy, so it was a good bit weaker than even the average person.
My appearance hadn’t actually changed. Not even she would see me any differently than she had before even with her Scarlet Eyes.
The reason I had called out to her was because I was confident that she wouldn’t feel as creeped out if I spoke to her instead of just silently standing around before finally leaving. I needed to buy enough time for me to investigate the room so I could determine both what its purpose and the reason for which she was here.
「You… don’t seem to be a ghost. Does that mean you’re a spirit?」
「Huh? Uh, wait, hold up, calm down.」
I seemed to have somehow set the girl off, as she stood up from her chair and immediately approached me. Her expression hadn’t changed much, but she radiated an aura that seemed to indicate she was interested in me.
「I’ve lived in the forest for almost all my life, but this is my first time ever seeing a real spirit.」
I could see stars in her eyes; the look on her face was like that of an elementary schooler as they stared straight at someone they looked up to.
「There are so many things I want to ask you! Where do spirits normally live? Do you guys live in the forests just outside town? What do you eat?」
「Uhhh, I think you might be misunderstanding something. I’m not a spirit.」
（What the hell is going on? I don’t remember her being anything like this. Is my memory really just that bad?）
Shuria was, at least in my memories, a quiet girl whose expression wouldn’t really change regardless of how she was addressed. Her answers had always been short, and, for the most part, consisted only of yeses and nos. We spoke on multiple occasions, but she’d never been the one to initiate any of our interactions. I’d always thought that she might as well have just been a doll.
That was why I was so surprised by her as she was now. That said, she did still bear a bit of a resemblance to how she was during my first run through. Namely, her voice was quiet, her tone was flat, and her emotions couldn’t really be discerned from her expression. She was a bit weirder now than she was then. The gap between her distinct lack of emotion and the ideas she seemed to be trying to express led to a sense of dissonance.
I couldn’t deny the possibility that I was jumping to conclusions, as it could very well just be that she happened to really like spirits.
「Oh, uhmm…. then… uh…」
「How about you try calming down before you keep talki—」
The overexcited young lady accidentally grabbed my arm and tore it off.
My body hadn’t been any stronger than one made of styrofoam to begin with, and my lack of concentration had caused it to become even weaker, so the result didn’t come to me as a surprise.
「PI… pa… pyu…」
「Hey uh, you okay?」
I asked the girl a question.
I myself was doing perfectly fine. I didn’t feel any real pain, and fixing the arm that’d been snapped was something I could easily do at a moment’s notice. She, however, didn’t really seem to be doing too well. Her soul almost seemed to be slowly leaving her body through her mouth.
I fixed my arm and waved it in front of her to demonstrate that I was fine, but she didn’t recover regardless.
「Well, that didn’t work.」
I sighed before resigning myself to waiting until the girl somehow managed to mend her mind.
It took her a few minutes to finally regain her sanity.
She took a seat once she did. This time, she’d chosen to sit at the table in the room’s centre as opposed to returning to the windowsill. I had done the same; the two of us more or less found ourselves across from each other.
「That… was embarrassing. I’m sorry I panicked, I’m feeling much better now. My name is Shuria. Is your arm okay?」
「Yeah, I’m fine. As I’m sure you can see, my body’s basically composed entirely of magical energy.」
「Wow… Spirits sure are amazing.」
「I told you, I’m n-, ah screw it. Nevermind.」
It seemed like it would be easier for me to get Shuria to talk if I just left things as is and had her think of me as a sort of spirit. To that end, I decided to try imitating a speech pattern belonging to one of the priests I knew back before I was transported to another world.
「So umm… Why are you here, Mr. Spirit? Are you running some sort of errand?」
「I believe your name was…」
「Shuria, please call me Shuiria.」
「Right… Shuria, I happened to have something I wanted ask of you. Have you eyes allowed you to discern that the magic cast upon this room is one that acts upon you?」
I’d focused quite a bit of my magical energy in order to appraise the magic circle within this room during the time Shuria had spent staring off into space.
The result of that appraisal was an interesting one.
【Six Coloured Magic Circle of Time-Based Transition】
This magic circle allows its target to grant their proficiencies and aptitudes in fire, water, wind, earth, light, and darkness magic to its secondary target through the act of remaining within the magic circle’s confines.
The target’s soul must be as compatible with the secondary target’s soul as that of a blood relative’s. The transfer will begin to occur once this spell progresses past the 50% point.
Secondary Target: Yumis Erumia
《Current Progress》 96% (7 additional days required for 100% completion)
The magic circle’s effect was a pretty nasty one. It took both one’s skill levels and affinities, so it wasn’t actually possible for the person who’s stats had been taken to ever regain their lost power.
In other words, it basically made it so its target would never be able to use magic ever again.
I once again used appraisal, and this time, examined Shuria in more detail. She should’ve had high magical affinities given that she had elven blood, but her all six of her elemental ones were basically moot. The few remaining magic-related skills listed on her page clearly should’ve been higher leveled given her the rest of her stats.
The spell’s ability to steal one’s skills and affinities meant it had to be capable of operating on the soul, which in turn meant it was something that needed time, and lots of it. Shuria clearly hadn’t left her room for quite the extended duration.
「The magic circle is helping me give my sister my magical talents. I was really surprised to learn that something like this could actually exist!」
（Well yeah, no shit. It’s something only demons are supposed to be capable of using and not something that a normal person’s supposed to be aware of.）
Her having Scarlet Eyes meant that she must’ve been able to see her magical powers slowly drain from her body.
I was able to see it as well because of the passive ability my ghost blade gave me, and honestly, all I had to say was that it really wasn’t much of a pretty sight at all. It wasn’t something I wanted to watch happen.
「So why exactly did you want to give her your magical talents?」
「Shelmy, my younger sister, caught a disease that couldn’t be treated without an expensive elixir. I couldn’t afford it, so I struck a deal with Yumis, my elder sister, and gave her my magical powers in exchange for the cure.」
（Her younger sister? They had another sister?）
「Ohhh. Wait, why would you have to pay? Yumis and Shelmy are sisters, aren’t they? Shouldn’t Yumis have just bought her the cure?」
「Shelmy and I are only Yumis’ half sisters. We’d lived our entire lives apart from one another, so I couldn’t just go ask her for money just because we were all related.」
「Did you consider it a fair trade?」
「Yup. I’m a bit dissapointed that I’ll lose my ability to use magic, but, Yumis promised to give my family enough money to live out the rest of their days. Magic had never been anything more than just a means to earn money so we could get by in the first place.」
Shuria paused for a bit before continuing.
「Another reason I don’t mind handing over my magical abilities is because Yumis said that she’d be using my magical talents in order to fulfill her dream. I’m glad I can be of help to her.」
「I guess that must mean you really like your big sister?」
「Mhm! I love her! Yumis is an amazing person. She works super hard and is capable of carrying out the fuedal lord’s duties even though she’s only just a few years older than me…」
An ever so slight smile appeared on Shuria’s face as she attempted to describe just how much she loved Yumis, the first real change in expression that she’d displayed ever since initiating conversation.
I smiled back at her as I got myself lost in thought. The overly cold calculations I had going through my mind functioned to shut all her words out; everything she said went in one ear and out the other.
（She stole the magical talents her younger sister inhereted from her ancestors in order to move her own research forward? And in exchange, she cured another one of their sisters and handed their family enough cash to get by…?）
That explained why Yumis’ magical affinities had been so much higher than those of the average human.
Knowing the source of Yumis’ talents wasn’t really going to help me in any which way seeing as how the curse Shuria was currently afflicted with was near completion. Moreover, her actions hadn’t really been particularly notable, as she had seemingly engaged in a fair exchange.
Or at least that was how things seemed before you really started to think about them. A multitude of questions began flowing through my mind the moment I looked even the slightest bit deeper.
How exactly did Yumis learn about this magic circle, and how did she activate it? Why was the Shuria I had in front of me so obviously different from the Shuria I’d met during my first run through?
It was possible that I merely had the wrong impression of Shuria, but I didn’t believe that to be the case. Something about this whole thing just felt too off for that to be true. Shuria, in her current form, didn’t quite seem capable of expressing herself, but she’d clearly demonstrated her ability to feel strong emotions. The Shuria I remembered had almost seemed dead on the inside. Her emotions hadn’t run nearly as deep.
I couldn’t help but feel bothered by the strange sense of discontinuity that continued to assault me. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
「『How have you been doing lately, Shuria?』」
「Wait, is that…?」
I suddenly heard a voice right as I found myself stuck at a sort of critical junction.
（Hmmm… It looks like one.）
I looked over at the windowsill in order to find the sound’s source, a letter situated atop a desk. Its state seemed to indicate that I happened to enter the room right as Shuria broke its seal.
The water blue sheet stamped with the Erumia family seal was a device that would play the voice preloaded onto it whenever one ran anything across its surface.
「Oops. It looks like one of the flowers fell.」
One of the purple and yellow petaled flowers disconnected from its stem, fell onto the letter, and caused it to start playing the voice file it contained.
「『The village is looking wonderful again this year. Your Sunset Flowers have bloomed, the flowerbed is looking really great. Shelmy started taking care of them after she recovered, so they’ve turned out really well.』」
（Something about this just makes me feel… wrong.）
「Is that your mom?」
The female voice I heard coming from the letter was one that I couldn’t help but feel to be strangely familiar.
「Yup! And this is my sister, Shelmy.」
「『Hey, how have you been doing lately? Are you sick? Have you been sleeping without anything covering your stomach? Me, I’m feeling a lot better. You always say you’re doing fine, but I still can’t help but worry. You’re really bad at talking to people, so I can never be too sure you’re actually fitting in. I’ve been spending a bit of my time taking care of your garden. I heard we’ll be able to see each other again soon! I can’t wait!』」
「…Shelmy always makes fun of me even though I’m older than her.」
「Ahaha, she sounds like a pretty interesting person to have around.」
I couldn’t help but think about my own little sister as I watched an ever so slight expression of embarrassment show up on Shuria’s face. Unlike me, my sister always had her shit together. She would always admonish me much in the same manner Shuria’s younger sister did to her.
Several strong emotions surged within me, but, in spite of that, I couldn’t help but feel that something was just… off.
The second voice was higher pitched than the first, but it still gave off that sense of incongruity.
（…That’s it! The voices seem… forced. They lack emotion.）
They weren’t monotone, and it didn’t seem like someone was reading them off a script, but they failed to carry the intonations natural speech tended to contain.
Their voices were too patterned, regular, and mechanical.
It was like they sounded exactly like the Shuria I’d known in the past.
Everything clicked and fell into place to form a single hypothesis the moment that exact thought passed through my mind.
（Ahaha… Is that what’s going on here? If so, it’d totally make sense for her to have not realized. Yumis could’ve just told her that that’s just how those letters are.）
Shuria wouldn’t have suspected a thing even if she thought something was off, so long as Yumis, her “kind sister,” told her told her she wasn’t experiencing anything outside the norm.
（The thing with contractual curses is… Yeah, she must’ve either used that or had them come from a demon that’d devoured their magical energies… The cost is definitely… Yeah, everything makes sense if you just take what Yumis does in the future into account.）
My imagination birthed an overarching plot so horrid that even just thinking about it made me feel all dizzy.
（Ugh… Not this shit again…）
The world began to spin.
Her situation was too similar to my own. I couldn’t help but want to empathize. The dark emotions I always tried to hold back began flaring up with me.
「Mind if I ask you something?」
I gently called out to Shuria sometime after the letter finished playing the sound it contained.
「Is the flower that just fell onto the letter the same type as the ones you have growing in your garden?」
「Yup. They’re a type of plant capable of growing under almost any sort of condition. They grow really well, but they don’t seem to be able to multiply.」
「They look really pretty.」
I stood up from the table as I spoke.
「I have to go. Could you please keep everything about me a secret? The truth is, I wasn’t actually supposed to talk to you.」
「R-Really? O-Okay! I won’t say a thing!」
Shuria balled up one of her hands into a fist and squeezed down on it as she made me a promise. I was confident that she wouldn’t tell anyone about me, not even Yumis, because the look on her face was pretty much identical to how it’d been when she first ran up to me earlier.
「Um, could you tell me your name before you go, Mr. Spirit?」
「Sure, why not? My name’s Kaito.」
「Kaito… Okay! Do you think we’ll ever meet again?」
「Yeah, I’m sure we will.」
I transformed my body back into that of a ghost’s and dispersed the effect brought about by the【Heart Flame Ghost Blade】in order to return to my body.
「Haah… The world sure is full of scum, isn’t it?」
I returned to my body after experiencing a strange floaty sensation not too different from the kind I felt when I teleported.
I was currently the only one present, Minnalis had yet to come home.
「Alright, I guess I should get going.」
I felt my anger flare up again as I reflected on what I had just discovered. I felt like it had come time for me to vent all the rage I had built up. The original plan was for me to grab Minnalis in two or three days so we could have her experience fighting a horde of enemies while also farming exp, but, I felt like I had to change it. My encounter with Shuria had come off to me as a twist of fate.
I’d been planning to test out my trump card some time soon anyway. I needed to know just how effective it would be against Yumis with my stats as they currently were before actually putting it into practice.
Moreover was the fact that I simply couldn’t stand what was happening.
I decided to stop trying to justify myself. I was fully aware that my drive came not from reason, but instead from emotion.
I wanted to just go on a rampage and destroy everything around me. I felt like a ball of flame that’d escaped its container and no longer had anywhere to direct itself.
「Gulp gulp gulp.」
I drank a potion to replenish the mana that becoming a ghost had drained before leaving the inn and heading out the eastern gate.
I detached myself from the crowd and headed down the path that lead into the forest all by myself.
Logically, I understood that what I was just wasting my time, and that I should’ve instead focused on conducting additional investigations. I knew that I should’ve been focusing on verifying my hypothesis, but I just couldn’t.
I didn’t want to see Yumis’ face. I didn’t feel like I would be able to hold back any longer if I did.
「Oh sweet, there they are, the perfect things for me to use to both blow off all my stress and test out my trump card.」
There were many more monsters here now than there were back when we killed Barkas and his companions. It came to me as no surprise that my current impression was that the place would soon be overrun.
My lips curved up into a smile. The more things I had to hit for no real reason, the better.
I walked into the forest with casual gait, only to be attacked by a pair of goblins before even taking ten steps. I cut down through both, bones and all, asI summoned the【Soulblade of Origin】in my right and the【Emerald Crystal Blade】in my right.
「Sorry, I don’t particularly have anything against either of you. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.」
I used a decorative string to mount the【Emerald Crystal Blade】to my hip drawing【Holy Blade of Vengeance】in my left as if to replace it.
「This isn’t going anywhere. I can’t seem to calm down. I must look really pathetic right now, I should make sure I never let Minnalis, my accomplice, see me like this.」
I went on a killing spree; I annihilated all the monsters that approached me, and went around rushing down the ones that didn’t. Their dying cries filled my ears, there wasn’t a moment in which I didn’t hear at least one monster scream in pain.
「Again, I’m really sorry.」
It only took me a few minutes to more or less completely exterminate all the monsters located within the forest’s shallower part, so I moved towards a clearing that happened to have a huge swarm within it.
The clearing was about as large as a gym, and had so many monsters present that it almost seemed to resemble a sort of camping ground.
There were all sorts of monsters, namely red caps, green boars, hobgoblins, sword goblins, grey garms, orcs, and trolls. At a glance, it seemed to me that there were actually enough monsters here for me to fight to my heart’s content. Many of the 100-odd individuals had already began putting on a display of either fear or hostility.
「Gulp gulp gulp.」
I downed an entire MP potion in a single swig and chucked its container skywards.
I didn’t really think about my approach and instead just dove straight in. My first target was a group of three goblins that happened to be just a bit cut off from all the other monsters. I impaled them all spilled their blood all over as I extracted my blades from their corpses.
「I’m going to have all of you die so I can vent my stress.」
I shifted gears, honed my focus, removed my body’s limiters, and went an entire step beyond just using the full extent of my strength.
Heads flew and hearts stopped as my blades engaged in a merciless act of violence.
「Die! Man, this feels amazing! I can’t get enough of it!」
The blood that’d risen to my head impaired my ability to think. I’d almost felt like I’d downed a hard couple shots of liquor; my thoughts were drowned in both intoxication and exhilitartion. My instincts drove me to kill and think about nothing but the act of murder.
I was glad that there existed something I could kill for fun.
A seemingly insane laugh continued to leave my throat despite the fact that I hadn’t intended on it.
I continued to move and trample anything in my path.
I didn’t bother attempting to kill my enemies in the most efficient manner possible. I didn’t go for vital points or aim for weak spots. I simply used the strength I’d obtained from removing my limiters to bash my weapons into them the moment I saw them.
It only took me five minutes to finish my rampage and pile the monsters’ corpses into a sort of hill. The blood that drained from their bodies soaked into the ground and turned into a sort of crimson mud. The only thing left alive in the midst of all that chaos was me.
「Hah… Hah… Whew.」
I sighed deeply after making sure there were no more living things in the surrounding area. I’d finished venting. I was still a bit pissed off, but the flames of hatred within me had already been reduced to mere embers. The only thing I was really still feeling was a sense of emptiness.
「How come I can never figure anything out until it’s already too late for me to do anything about it?」
Words began to leak out of me, one by one.
（You were right, Retishia. This world is… as real as can be. There are good parts to it, but its filled with all sorts of scum.）
My nails dug into my palms; I squeezed my hands so hard I began to bleed.
I felt like trash. I knew that I would choose the course of action that worked best for the purposes of my revenge regardless of what ultimately ended up happening to Shuria. I only sympathized her and selfishly vented my anger because I knew she wouldn’t be able to get in the way of my revenge
「…Why can’t things ever just be undone?」
I gave voice to a complaint that’d been swirling around inside of me. I knew, but didn’t want to acknowledge that it was just a pretext, something I was saying because I was throwing a child-like tantrum.
…Why did I have to be taken back to the moment I was summoned?
It was too late.
I’d already lost everything by then.
Why couldn’t time be pushed even further back?
「Ahaha… How pathetic of me.」
The fact that I was given a chance to enact my revenge was already, in and of itself, a miracle.
I knew that the world didn’t exist for my sake. Time would continue to tick regardless of how I felt. I’d been given a second chance, but that unbreakable rule still did apply. I’d sworn vengeance, but that didn’t mean I’d actually wanted a second chance.
But again, my feelings were utterly irrelevant. I ended up going back in time regardless because that was what some Goddess had dictated would happen upon my death.
I knew that I didn’t have any say in it, and that it was something that would’ve happened regardless, but, I still wanted to pathetically lament just how unreasonable my circumstances were.
That was the real reason why I’d thrown a fit of rage, the real reason for which I’d needed to vent. Seeing Shuria and coming to understand her situation had been the same as a blow to the nuts. It hit me right where I was weakest.
「Oh man, I’m being really lame right now. I have to make sure no one ever sees me like this.」
I wanted to take back everything I’d lost.
My lingering affections for the past, for everything that I’d held dear prior to my summoning, caused me to break down, almost into tears — a sight I didn’t want anyone to see.
Because that wasn’t how an avenger was supposed to be.
「I’ll kill them. I’ll murder every single last one of them in cold blood, and trample over their emotions for my own enjoyment.」
I honed my thoughts and concentrated them on my bloodlust.
I’d already made my choice, all I needed to do now was abide by it.
I cleansed my heart of any remaining weakness and focused the entirety of my being on enacting my revenge. I burnt away all the impurities I had within me and left nothing but the a filthy, cold vengeful flame.
I renewed my vow to kill every single last one of the bastards that’d betrayed me.
There was no point in wasting time being sentimental when my prey was right before my eyes.
…I was going to torture and torment her in every which way before finally killing her as she wallowed in despair.
Revenge was a twisted, jealous mistress. I needed to focus on it and nothing else as enacted it.
「Haah… Okay, looks like I’ve finally managed to calm down a bit.」
Spitting out all my excess emotions had allowed me to immerse my entire mind in displeasure and rage.
「Ahaha… Aw crap. This… isn’t really a laughing matter, is it?」
I only just realized that my body was covered from head to toe in monster blood. I hadn’t noticed it when I was running about swinging my sword around, but now that I had, I realized I was extremely uncomfortable.
I still had about 30% of my mana left, I was feeling really mana drunk because of how high my rate of consumption had been. I normally hated the feeling, but today, I kinda seemed to like it. It felt like it was warming me up.
（It took me longer to wipe them out than I’d been expecting even though I used my trump card. I guess I’m still far, far off from what I used to be.）
I decided, after entertaining the thought, that I wanted to clean myself off immediately, so I pulled out a barrel I normally used to store water I could drink in an emergency and raised it overhead so I could wash myself clean.
And as I did, I recalled a bit of the conversation I had with Shuria.
『So um, Kaito… Do you think we’ll ever meet again?』
「Yeah, I’m sure we will.」
I decided, there and then, that, if she so desired, I would lead her down my heretical path, much as would a demon in fairytale.
I shook myself dry and stretched after washing myself off before allowing my shoulders to drop back to their usual positions.
「Man, I’m starving, tired, and I feeling kinda sluggish.」
I rubbed my stomach as I voiced a few complaints.
It was about 3 in the afternoon. I knew I already had lunch, but for some odd reason, I was feeling as hungry as I would’ve had I not eaten all day.
The method I had employed to wipe out all my enemies not only made it easy for me to get mana drunk, but also made me hella hungry.
I ignored the bloody landscape around me and immediately grabbed a piece of dried meat within my round pouch and immediately chowed down. I knew I couldn’t just leave all these corpses here, so I had Slucky devour them. He wasn’t able to get rid of the scent of blood that filled the area, but that wasn’t really something I could do much of anything about.
I didn’t really have any reason to stay around, so I left the area so I would no longer have to smell the scent of blood as I continued to chew on a chunk of jerky.