Chapter 1. The Day Everything Began and Ended

 

 

At the tender age of 13, Amane Kaito, also known as the hero, found himself lost in Enefia, a foreign world. As the hero, he rescued the world from the evil clutches of the Demon Lord, allowing various races to live in harmony.

For whatever reason, he eventually returned to Earth with Justina, the former Demon Lord, and spent several years there in peace.

Kaito, who was now in his second year of high school, was having a pleasant nap during class, basking in the warm sunshine while seated next to the window. He was dreaming about the time just before he returned to Earth.

“…”

On that day, he looked up at the sky of Enefia for one last time. He was born on Earth and raised there for 13 years before being brought to this world.

He had stayed in Enefia for as much time as he did living on Earth. In fact, in terms of how much he remembered, he could say he’d spent the better majority of his life in this foreign world.

As such, there was an air of sadness surrounding him.

“…”

“…”

Two young men who were around the same age as Kaito sat beside him.

They were his best friends and brothers-in-arms that had fought alongside him in the great battle.

They seemed downcast as well, knowing Kaito was about to leave them.

“Must you go?” one of them asked. His name was Will, and he was the First Prince of the country that picked up Kaito after he drifted into this world.

His full name was Wistarias, and Will was a nickname he used during his journey with Kaito and the others, but he had gotten used to being called Will as all his peers called him such.

Kaito nodded in response.

“…Yeah. I shouldn’t stay here any longer,” he responded, a serene expression on his face.

He had tried his best to change the status quo. Ever since he saw how things were, he had tried to change it. He had made it clear that he wasn’t trying to cause trouble, but there were things he just couldn’t change no matter how hard he tried.

“We must have rushed too much. To change the world, it might’ve been better to take it one step at a time.”

“…”

Will fell silent hearing Kaito’s answer. After the war ended, they used the power they had acquired to bring about change in the world. It wasn’t as if they tried to change things for the worse either.

Feeling upset, the last of the three young men broke his silence.

“Why…you’ve always done the right thing. Yet why are you being banished?”

“…Lux, your manner of speech is returning to how it was before.”

Kaito laughed at the young man named Lux. However, the person in question was still feeling grumpy about their situation.

“Are you really okay with this?”

“Ahahaha…right and wrong, huh…this is just my personal opinion, but what’s right and wrong ultimately depends on the time period and the people living in that world. I seem to have overlooked that fact. I’m not of this world, nor am I someone from this time period. I’m someone from a different world after all. Just because I believe I’m right, and just because you agree with my vision, doesn’t mean I’m definitely right…right?”

Sounding helpless, Kaito tried to persuade Lux to see things from others’ perspectives.

He should’ve been the angriest about this situation, but seeing him like this, his best friends were powerless to do anything. It was true that this was the only solution to their problem.

“…We changed the world, but we rushed too much. What we did was probably for the better, or at least that’s what I’d like to believe…after all, we brought about these changes because of our beliefs.”

“Freeing the slaves, prohibiting discrimination against the demon race, reconciliating with the demons…”

Lux listed out all the things they had managed to change.

However, this was the root of their problem.

This all sounded natural from the perspective of someone from modern Earth. But if one were to study Earth’s history, they would know that the prohibition of slaves only came recently, and it had come with massive repercussions.

They were currently in a similar situation.

“They want me as the leader of the conservatives…”

Will laughed scornfully. No, scornfully wasn’t the right word. He downright disdained the very notion.

Nevertheless, he wasn’t so clueless as to not know what the masterminds were thinking.

“See? They want us to turn against each other.”

“…”

Frustration welled up within Will as he listened to Kaito.

It was just as he said. They changed their surroundings too much, and at the center of that change was Kaito. There was no doubt about that. Will was his right-hand man, so they were trying to cause a division between them.

They had what it took as well. The only thing stopping them from succeeding was Will’s firm refusal.

His refusal had left the opponents feeling deeply embarrassed. The conditions they put forth were such that they couldn’t understand why they were turned down. There shouldn’t be any reason to refuse, or so the majority of them thought in their hearts.

“…I’ll never become their leader,” Will said, determined.

Will saw Kaito as his little brother and would rather die than become his enemy. This he swore.

But that was also the reason behind Kaito’s decision.

“…You know it right? Some day they’ll turn to drastic measures in order to split us apart. Someone has to back down.”

“…I know. I do…”

As sad as it was, Will was of the same opinion as Kaito.

To begin with, he and some others were the ones that initially told Kaito of this possibility. So he obviously understood the big picture.

If nothing was done, a civil war might erupt. That was something they had to avoid.

They were the ones that created this peace. This was the only way to maintain it.

“I’m sure we’ll become legends in the future,” Will said bitterly.

This was Kaito’s goal.

“Be it in 10 years, 20 years, 100 years, or even 200 years. Our story will become legends.”

What a surreal feeling, Will thought.

However, this was the natural course of events.

Legends were tales that were told and passed down.

For those in the current era where the three were active, their story couldn’t be any more real. Everyone knew it was real as they were within reach.

And that was why Kaito was leaving.

If he, the protagonist of the story, left the stage, their story would start shifting towards becoming a legend. With the main character no longer present, a legend would be born. They had no idea how long this would take, but they knew it was bound to happen.

“…I guess this will be our last day together then.”

Coming to terms with his feelings, Lux reverted back to how he normally spoke and looked up at the sky like the other two.

On this day, the hero of their story would leave the stage. However, that would not be where the legend ends.

The holy knight and the prince that always followed the hero were still present. The legend would only be complete when they disappeared from the front stage of history.

For Kaito, this was his last day in Enefia, and for the trio, this was the last day they could spend their time together.

“…No matter how many years it takes, I’ll come back.”

Kaito lowered his gaze and declared so. He was able to always keep his body in optimal condition, and it was capable of going against the natural phenomenon known as aging.

Common sense dictated that such a thing would be impossible, but considering the fact that magic existed in Enefia, it made sense somewhat.

Starting from his early to mid-20s, the time when his body was at its best, he would not age.

Hence, even if a thousand years passed, he would be alive as long as he wasn’t killed by an external factor.

As such, no matter how many years it took him to return, it wouldn’t matter.

“Still, how far into the future are we talking about…”

Will didn’t hide how dejected he felt. As mentioned earlier, none of them knew how long it would take for their story to become a legend. What he did know, however, was that he wouldn’t be alive to witness it.

“…It is what it is.”

As Will continued to lament their situation, Kaito gave a scholarly response.

His return had been met with a mountain of problems, and dealing with them had naturally made him more mature and philosophical.

To change the heavy atmosphere, Kaito brought up a different topic.

“Hey, Will, how’s the kid?”

“He kept pestering me last night, demanding to see you.”

“Ahahaha, oh right. Lux, I have a request…”

“What is it?”

They transitioned to a different subject matter to avoid depressing their mood any further.

There were others watching them from a distance.

It was a bald giant and a female fairy, the latter of which was sitting on top of the former’s head.

“You sure you don’t want to join them?”

“The young’uns are having a hearty conversation. An old man shouldn’t barge in on that.”

The giant smiles and leaned against a tree as he answered the fairy’s question.

They too would become legends in the future.

The giant was named Ballantine, and he used to be a slave of a certain country. But now, he was a man known as the Martial God. He had made himself a name traveling with Kaito.

Will was often mentioned alongside Kaito as the best strategist, whereas Ballantine was mentioned alongside Kaito as the strongest martial artist.

Due to his age, he was somewhat their guardian, but at the same time, he was included in Kaito’s circle of best friends.

His eyes were downcast.

“…And…you know…ahh, damn it…I can’t put it into words…”

Ballantine tried to express his gratitude toward Kaito, only to bemoan his lack of eloquence.

He used to be a slave, and when he escaped to become an adventurer, his greatest goal in life had been to liberate other slaves like himself.

It was nothing but a pipe dream at the time, but Kaito had accomplished it. He hadn’t done it alone, but Ballantine was eternally grateful to Kaito. Words alone could not describe his gratitude.

“…Anyway, enough about me. How ’bout you?”

“…Hmm…I wonder?”

The fairy responded ambiguously, prompting Ballantine to let out a big sigh.

“Since you’re his partner, maybe there’s something only you understand.”

“Don’t know about that, but I just have this feeling that something’s about to happen for the last time.”

The fairy who was Kaito’s partner stared at the sky and gave it a strange look.

Her name was Yurishia. Her nickname was Yuri, and she was Kaito’s most trusted companion.

She was always with him wherever he went.

Now, she found herself looking at something.

“Ah.”

“Oh my…”

Breathing life into words. That was the only way to explain what was happening.

Dozens of black dots were reflected in Yuri’s eyes.

They were monsters, and in a sense, vermins.

“Lesser Sky Dragons…there’s one…two…three…Yuri, you little-”

“It wasn’t me! It’s just a coincidence!”

She hadn’t summoned them or anything, but under Ballantine’s stare, she desperately tried to explain herself. She had only meant it as a joke.

Regardless, Kaito and others soon noticed the shadows cast by the enemies.

“Yuri!”

“Hey, he’s calling for you.”

“I’m coming!”

Hearing Kaito’s call, Ballantine urged her to go, and she eventually plopped herself down on Kaito’s shoulder.

This would be their final battle, but as the lifespan of a fairy differed greatly from that of humans, Kaito phrased it in an interesting manner.

“Now then…this will be our last activity before we enter a short hiatus.”

“Yeah.”

To the two of them, nothing would change. They behaved as if they would meet each other even tomorrow. For them, this was a temporary goodbye rather than a permanent separation.

Since it was just a temporary leave, there was no need for tears, nor was there a need to make a fuss about it. And so, they left it at that.

Her partner had declared that he would return. In that case, she just had to wait. That was what being a partner was all about.

Soon, Lux and Will lined up beside the two with their equipment.

“Really…you’re a magnet of trouble, all the way from the beginning to the end.”

“Hey, I wanted to be seen off normally as well.”

“Ahaha, well, we’re more suited for this type of thing, so there’s that.”

Lux laughed heartily as he heard Kaito’s response to Will’s joke.

They were of the same heart. Being all sober and serious didn’t suit them.

Will let out a sigh.

“Even so…I feel sorry for them.”

“You think so? I’d say they’re lucky.”

“Well, in a way…but don’t forget, we aren’t exactly in a good mood right now.”

“Ahh, I see. I guess you’re right.”

Will and Lux glared at the shadows cast by the enemies.

This was an important occasion for them. They were trying to see off a friend who would be leaving for a long time. And yet these ill-mannered birds had disrupted them, and they were obviously not very pleased by that.

Rarely did this ever happen, but the two kicked off from the ground and shot toward the enemies before Kaito did.

“Oioi…”

“Kaito, we shouldn’t fall behind.”

“You’re right…Let’s go! Everyone, this will be my last day here! Let’s end this with a bang!”

Kaito gave his final order to those that have come to see him off. The hero that everyone admired was about to return to his world. He had decided to do so in secret, but many had come to say goodbye to him.

And so, despite it being the hero’s last day in Enefia, their final battle began.

*****

Several tens of minutes later, Kaito and the others had returned to their conversation, having finished their fight.

A flock of Lesser Sky Dragons was enough to wipe out a country, but for them, it was no different from pest extermination.

“…Yuri.”

“What’s up?”

“I have a request…I’ve already asked this of Will…but as you’ve always been there for me, I’d like to ask this of you as well. Please look after Aura and Kuzuha for me.”

Aura was the child of the household that had picked him up from the streets when he first wandered into Enefia. An old sage of that household had been the one to help him, and Aura was his granddaughter. She was a member of a unique race of Seraphs with wings on their backs, and she was like an elder sister to him.

Kuzuha, on the other hand, was a girl that came under Kaito’s protection during a war. She belonged to a race known as the High Elves, a species superior to the common Elves, and she was a member of the royal family. Through many twists and turns, she became an existence akin to a younger sister.

Both of their lifespans were much longer than that of humans.

“Well, I can do that, but…”

“Hmm? Of, you guys came as well?”

“Onii-sama!”

puff

Kuzuha had hugged Kaito. She had stubbornly tried to not show any tears, but there was still something glistening in the corners of her eyes.

“…I’ll be back real soon. From your perspective, it’ll be like the blink of an eye…”

“…yes…umm…Onii-sama.”

“Yes?”

“I’ll definitely become a beautiful woman worthy of Onii-sama! That’s why, please return as soon as you can…”

Kuzuha spoke her thoughts while still hugging Kaito.

Kaito nodded while stroking the head of the girl whose height only came to his waist.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it…and Aura, sorry to place this burden on you, but as the head of the household, I want you to take care of the house for me.”

“I will.”

Aura nodded. Both Aura and Kuzuha seemed like little girls, but that was just due to the difference in growth rate between different races.

In reality, Aura was older than Kaito and was in her thirties.

Having said that, even in their thirties, Seraphs and High Elves would not develop secondary sexual characteristics, which was the reason behind their appearances.

Aura opened her mouth to speak.

“Kaito…don’t worry too much even if you can’t come back. Onee-chan will do something about it.”

“…Please refrain from doing something reckless like using summoning spells.”

Kaito gave his stepsister a stern look to keep her in check. The reason behind his worry was Aura’s overprotective nature.

It couldn’t be helped considering what she had lost during the war, but it didn’t bode well for Earth all things considered.

However, as it was now a part of her, Kaito simply did his best to keep her in check.

Another woman approached Kaito as he was saying his goodbyes to his family.

“How long are you planning on holding her like that? Are you trying to lay your hands on them just because it’s your last day? Having a harem is something I recommend, so I won’t say anything to that, but attacking girls who can’t give birth yet…even I’m at a loss for words.”

“Hey, hey…try to keep it down, will you?”

“Well…”

Seeing Kaito shrug, a blond-haired, gold-eyed beauty pouted in dissatisfaction. She was the only woman Kaito was going to bring back to Earth. However, one look was enough to tell that it was not what she wanted.

Due to a slight misunderstanding that occurred between Kaito and the girl during the Great War ten years ago, she had been enslaved by Kaito. Because of that, based on the contract, if Kaito was to return to Earth, she had to cross over to Earth as well.

It was no wonder she felt grouchy. She was being forced to go to another world after all.

“As if anyone in their right mind would willingly cross over to a world without an inkling of magic.”

“Well, I have nowhere else to go other than there.”

“I know, I know.”

Though she wasn’t exactly happy about it, she knew that Kaito was right.

Having said that, while she knew in her head that this was the only logical option, whether her heart was willing to accept this was another story.

“Whatever. Come, it’s time for us to leave. The numbers have been slowly declining. If we don’t leave soon, something troublesome might happen.”

“Then we better hurry up.”

In response to the blond-haired beauty’s warning, Kaito let go of Kuzuha, albeit reluctantly.

Then, he confirmed with the beautiful woman one last time as she was going to be with him from now on.

“Tina, this is the final confirmation. Are you ready?”

“Yes, it’s me we’re talking about. I haven’t overlooked anything. I have plenty of materials with me as well, so for the time being, I should be able to carry out my research without any problem.”

“That so.”

Kaito laughed at Tina, the beauty’s, words. Tina was her nickname, and her full name was Justina. She was the former Demon Lord, but not the one that tried to cause chaos in the world. The one responsible for that was someone that had betrayed her. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as if she was completely absolved from blame, so she resigned from her position as a form of taking responsibility.

During her travels, she fell in love with Kaito, and with Kaito being a noble, she was now acting as his fiancé. In fact, she was secretly delighted that she would be the only woman to accompany Kaito on his journey to Earth.

Hence, she wasn’t as grumpy as she let out to be on the surface.

“Well then…see you all later!”

Kaito waved his hand at the people that had gathered to see him off.

However, the moment he took a step forward to exercise his magic, the ground beneath his feet disappeared.

And this was all happening inside Kaito’s dream.

What happens when someone falls inside a dream? Many people might have experienced this, but they would be startled awake and jerk up in the real world.

Kaito was no different. As strong as he was, he was still a person, and he couldn’t go against a physiological response.

“Ugyaa!”

The ground had suddenly disappeared in his dream, and Kaito jumped up in surprise.

As a matter of course, the people around him noticed, and so did the class teacher.

“…Amane. I know that your grade’s one of the highest in your year, and no doubt you’re pulling all-nighters for that, but that doesn’t excuse you from sleeping in class.”

“Aha…haha…I’m sorry…”

Having been found out, Kaito apologized sheepishly. However, the matter didn’t end there. Since dozing off in class was against the rules, naturally, a punishment awaited him.

“Come to the staff room after school ends. You’ll be helping me with my work.”

“Understood…”

“Very well. You may sit down.”

With his teacher’s permission, Kaito sat down while still blushing in embarrassment.

However, he wasn’t reflecting in his head. Instead, he was thinking about why the ground had disappeared.

(…Yuri…that girl…)

Kaito remembered the last prank his partner had pulled.

Naturally, there was no way the ground would cave in out of the blue.

At that time, his partner had secretly hollowed out a part of the ground using magic. Remembering this, he recalled all the mischief his partner had come up with over the years.

Notes

N/A

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