Chapter 108. < 1 DAYS. (3) >
Translator: thursdays Editor: Yahiko PR: LightBrin
Beyond the darkness.
Someone I did not know was grinding their teeth.
Unlike earlier, everything they said was being [translated].
“Calm down, infant. The fragments of the Padak’s days are showing.”
However, their voices were still muddied. It was like hearing a song filled with noise; one moment, the voice seemed far away, and the next, it was right by my ear.
“Anger and jealousy won’t get us anywhere.”
“I’ll kill him!”
“That’s Death King, right? It’s been a while since we had to convene twice for a single person. How long has it been since the Constellation Killer?”
“Moreover, the connection between the two of them is growing stronger. Is this by chance?”
It was then.
The voices instantly stopped chattering. The surroundings fell into a hush. Only one unaffected voice swept through the space where idle talk and conversation had occupied.
“If the immersion was 100% complete, he could be sent to the day before from the butler’s perspective. If the immersion was less than 90%, we could just send him back from Death King’s timeline. But of all things, it had to be 99%.”
I had heard this voice before.
“It’s iffy. Which one should I side with?”
The Master of the Tower.
“I think… I need to regress from the butler’s perspective.”
“First, please look at the numbers. Since the immersion rate is 99%, that means the butler has 99% control and I only have 1%. The butler has an overwhelming proportion of the self, so it would be right to lean toward the butler.”
“True. However, the [Returner’s Clockwork Watch] is a skill that you’ve won. Death King, it is a skill that you own. Only the owners of the skill can use it.”
The gaze hidden in the darkness scanned my expression.
“Isn’t it right for you to be the one to regress?”
“Don’t be nervous. I’m asking because I’m curious.”
The voice had kindly told me not to be nervous. However, I could not respond to that consideration. Every word, every measure of the voice, made me feel like a long snake was crawling up the back of my neck.
“…That way of thinking is overly biased.”
“Please consider the butler’s standpoint. The butler and I have been fighting all throughout the stage for control of the body. I was consumed by the butler, but that means the butler has consumed me.”
In other words.
“The butler defeated me fair and square, and in return, he stole my skills. The [Returner’s Clockwork Watch] is now the butler’s skill.”
The snake voice wobbled strangely.
A moment later, I realized that it was due to laughter.
“There’s some truth to that. Indeed. It’s like how you, Death King, copied and acquired the Flame Emperor’s skill.”
“I had wondered who would win if two regressors confronted each other. Who would have thought you went back to the point before he had a skill? Even my lowly self was impressed by the innovation. No, all of us were amazed.”
The absolute being of the Tower referred to themself as lowly. They spoke politely, as if to respect everyone.
I felt an even greater sense of foreboding at that.
“It was astounding. You could have chosen to simply run away from the Flame Emperor’s eyes. But you didn’t. Why was that?”
Those who had been silent opened their mouths at the Tower Master’s questions.
“Of course, it was for revenge. That son of a bitch won’t forget being wronged even when he dies. That’s why he chased the guy who burned him all the way to the end. And he died, what, 4050 times? Asshole.”
[The Moon Contemplating Blindness curses you.]
“It was for justice. The Flame Emperor killed many people and would have killed many more. He must have thought that he couldn’t let that man go. Death King moved because he thought, ‘Things shouldn’t be this way.’ Surely, he is a righteous human.”
[The Lady Who Walks In The Mirage supports you.]
The snake voice nodded.
“Yes. That must be so. He sometimes stabbed his neck for revenge, at other times for justice. However, both vengeance and righteousness are common traits. There was only one aspect that my lowly self admired.”
Someone replied to the Master of the Tower’s words.
“That was the only way to beat the Flame Emperor perfectly.”
[The One Who Wrote The Beginning quietly declares the words.]
The Master of the Tower laughed.
“Death King. Your heart is tender and heated, but your mind is cunning. You’re always searching for the way to win completely. So I am looking forward to this. Did you come up with a way to persuade us thoroughly?”
Now was the time for battle.
I could not retreat from here.
“I… We did nothing wrong.”
The coiling serpent’s voice seemed to turn to me. I continued to speak.
“This error was entirely the mistake of the Tower. The problem is that it is difficult to judge whether the regression should be in the [butler’s point of view] or [my point of view]. If the Tower was perfect, this error never would have happened.”
“Yes, I admit that. So what?”
“We are the victims of an error, so please compensate us.”
I tried to speak confidently.
“And we were responsible for finding the error. If it weren’t for us, would you ever have known that the error existed? Please give us a reward.”
There was silence.
A little while later—
[The God Who Dances In The Void is glowering at you.]
“Look at how this pleb is talking to us. Do you want your existence to be ripped to pieces?”
[The Moon Contemplating Blindness is about to kill you.]
The voices were boiling.
But when the serpent voice opened its lips, everyone was silent again.
“The thing that’s interesting about it, yes, is that you really believe that my lowly self will properly [compensate] and [reward] you. Why? Why must I do that? I can easily ignore you.”
I said clearly.
“Because you always wish us luck.”
Every time a stage was cleared, we Hunters heard a voice.
『Those who climb the tower…』
『May luck be with you all.』
It wasn’t much.
However, without a doubt, it was ‘rooting’ for us.
“Though you are the absolute being, you never mock us. You don’t scorn us. You don’t try to push us in any direction. Hunters who want to stay on the first floor can stay there forever. To the Hunters who climb higher, you wish us luck and tell us to be careful.”
A haven for those who wanted to rest.
Well wishes for the challengers.
“And that’s not all.”
The children of the Hellfire Residence.
The Devil King showering red rain.
A peony that was perpetually alone in a snowfield.
A heart that endlessly repeats ten days.
“The people you’ve given the floors of the Tower to are all sad and lonely. You gathered those whose lives end in tragedy and built a Tower for them.”
The Tower Master before me was an absolute being who was good.
“You never interfere when we fight and kill among ourselves. You respect our freedom. However, if something was the Tower’s error, you would definitely compensate for any damages.”
Because it was the Tower’s fault, not ours.
“Thank you for building the Tower.”
“I’ve always wanted to tell you that. There wasn’t a good opportunity before. I’ve always wanted to thank you… Without the Tower, I would have lived like trash in the outside world anyway. Ah. I mean, even after entering the Tower, I lived like trash…”
I had lived wrongly.
I lived wrongly, but I was able to reclaim my life.
“If it weren’t for you… I wouldn’t have been able to regress over 4000 days on my own. Never. Everyone said it was for vengeance or justice, but… I could barely endure it because I knew someone was watching over me. That’s all there is to it.”
I bowed my head.
I bent my back.
“With all my heart, thank you.”
There was a long silence.
“I definitely like you.”
[The Lady Who Walks In The Mirage indicates her goodwill toward you.]
“Me too. I don’t even remember the last time a human came to show gratitude. Have there even been any? This might be the first time.”
[The Wand of Ages indicates goodwill toward you.]
“…I don’t know why, but kids these days are hostile to beings like us. Maybe it’s because the world itself is so ugly. They need someone to take the blame.”
[The God Who Dances In The Void shows goodwill toward you.]
“Ha. They just don’t want to admit there are beings above them.”
[The Moon Contemplating Blindness looks at you unhappily.]
Then, I heard laughter.
It was the laughter of the Master of the Tower.
“There certainly is a cute side to you.”
“I am just a mirror. Death King, if you believe me to be good, it’s because you yourself are good.”
The snake voice smiled.
“Tell me what you want as your compensation.”
“Please send me back 24 hours from the butler’s perspective.”
“And your reward?”
“The Lady of the Silver Lily…”
My heart pounded with tension.
“Please retain my lover’s memories.”
The snake voice snickered.
“You do know you can ask for a marvelous skill as a reward? You’ve done well by discovering an error with the Tower. I can reward you generously. Shall I strengthen the [Returner’s Clockwork Watch]?”
“I could make it so that you can turn back time as you please, not just a day. Or how about the [Hundred Ghosts Reincarnation]? I can let your spirits have not just the memories but also the skills from their lives.”
“I don’t need those.”
I got down on my knees.
Respectfully, I lowered my forehead toward the direction of the voice.
“I want to live with the one I love.”
A hand caressed my lowered head.
[The meeting is ending.]
“May luck be with you.”
[May luck be with you.]
[Re-adjusting the immersion rate.]
[Currently, your immersion rate is 99%.]
[You are regressing to 24 hours ago.]
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I noticed was the scent of spring flowers blowing in from the window.
My head was blank.
It seemed like I had a very long dream.
Nearby, I heard a voice, both familiar and unfamiliar.
“You’re finally awake, butler. Your nap was a little long.”
The Lady of the Golden Silk.
“Yes. Your one and only lady.”
The Lady of the Golden Silk chuckled. Was my reaction amusing? She was staring at me with half-open eyes.
The Lady of the Golden Silk now looked to everyone like a proper young lady who had adjusted to the capital. There was no trace of the lady who was famous as a tomboy in her hometown. I felt a little regretful of that fact. Of course, she was the same on the inside. It was just her appearance that had become more sophisticated.
…What was it?
“I came back from dinner with His Highness, but I noticed that you were sleeping soundly in the chair. It’s a little disappointing that you left your master alone to go sleep, but I’ll let you go since your sleeping face is so cute.”
“Oh? You look like you’re about to cry. Did you have a nightmare?”
A nightmare? Was that it? Was it just a nightmare?
An unexplainable frustration filled my heart. I felt like I forgot something, something extremely important. The more I tried to remember it, the further my thoughts seemed to wander, as if I could never grasp it.
“The crown prince…”
To shake off that feeling, I deliberately changed the subject.
“Did you enjoy your dinner with His Highness?”
“Yes, very much. Listen to this, butler. His Highness gave me a blue coral ring today!”
The Lady of the Golden Silk smiled wide. ‘Blue coral’ was the name of the gem. It wasn’t worth much, but it was often used for proposals in the southern regions of the empire.
“Also, it happened in the student cafeteria, right in front of all the other ladies and gentlemen! The prince is dumb, but he’s a dummy who knows how to make someone happy. I wonder what kind of face the Ivansia heiress will make when she hears the news!
Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe.
“The Ivansia heiress…”
“Ah. Butler, are you curious, too?”
What was it?
The shaking of my heart vibrated in my throat.
The Lady of the Golden Silk stared at me in shock.
“Butler? You shouldn’t be calling her by her name… Even if it’s just the two of us here, it’s too rude. Be more polite. It’s about manners. Sometimes, you’re more ignorant of the capital’s etiquette than I am.”
At that moment.
-■■■, ■■ ■ ■■■. ■■ ■■■ ■ ■■ ■■■■!
My head was buzzing.
[■■■■ ■■■■ ■■■■.]
I grabbed my forehead in pain.
“Milady… D-do you hear that?”
The Lady of the Golden Silk tilted her head.
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m not sure, either. It’s like someone is shouting…”
“Um, butler. I thought you were joking at first, but now, I’m getting nervous. Are you sick? Does your head feel hot? Shall we go to the infirmary?”
“…That’s all right. I apologize. I keep saying strange things.”
I got up from the chair.
“I seem to have a slight headache. It doesn’t feel like a cold… I’ll just go out to get some fresh air. Is that all right, milady?”
“Ah. Yes, go ahead.”
The Lady of the Golden Silk looked at me with worried eyes.
“Do you want me to accompany you?”
“No, milady. I’m really all—”
-■ Gong■ ■ dog■■!! ■■ ■■! ■ ■■ ■!!
“—right. I’ll get better if I walk a little.”
“I understand. Then, be careful. Don’t come back too late.”
“Yes. Thank you.”
I left the lady’s room and the dormitory.
In the night, the magnolia bloomed white like the moon.
However, the discomfort in my heart did not stop even when I entered the garden.
『Back when I was not yet a regressor.』
『His Majesty the Prince became infatuated with the Lady of the Golden Silk.』
I walked without thinking.
Like I was in a dream, like I was sleepwalking.
『I was resentful, and I made a wish to my family sword.』
『Please let my love last forever.』
『Then, my life became eternal.』
Ridiculously, at the end of my path, there was the large building in which Heiress Ivansia resided. I passed by it before, but I had never voluntarily come here before.
The place had no relation to me.
『My heart has become immovable since that day.』
There shouldn’t have been.
Why did I come to a place like this?
‘I should go back.’
To the place where my master was waiting.
‘I’m going back.’
Thinking that, I moved my feet.
‘I have to go back.’
But for some reason, my feet didn’t turn back. I kept thinking I had to go back, but my feet stepped forward. My hand pushed on the iron bar at the gate.
The door opened easily.
The duchy’s guards were not present.
It was really a strange thing.
Maybe I was still trapped in a dream.
That would explain everything.
It would explain how my legs, by themselves, took me through the gate and across the garden.
How the cherry trees and magnolias made my heart ache for no reason.
How I so naturally went deeper into Heiress Ivansia’s mansion, despite never having been invited.
Why the duke’s daughter was standing at the end of a corridor.
『I’ll be waiting for you.』
Even her small smile as she looked at me.
“I’ve been waiting.”