“Will you be alright, Enbos?” asks Hachirou, as he holds my skull and jaw in place.
“Yeah, my mana will hold everything together and the fractures will disappear once I… um, “eat”.”
“Actually, I’m happier my mask didn’t break. It’s a good thing she hit me beneath my chin and my head came off so easily.”
“No it was not! My daughter was too disrespectful.”
After Chiyoko’s attack, I found myself looking at my decapitated body. Takashi immediately dismissed Chiyoko. Hachirou rigidly clutched my head, paralysed from shock.
I’m glad I’m still alive, but like the numerous times I’ve lost my arm, my senses tied to that part are still linked. Funny enough, the mana link with my skull eventually dissipated and my sense of sight and sound started coming from the vertebrae in my neck.
Still, losing a limb cuts off a portion of my HP, regardless of the actual damage. Let’s take a look:
… That was one hell of a punch! Again, I’m glad I’m still alive.
But now that’s over, let’s discuss the main topic…
“Allow me to start over. Takashi, are you a Worldfarer like me?”
“Indeed I am. In my past life, I was a high school freshman in Japan. I’ve been living in Garea for the past 30 years.”
Wow, I never thought I’ll encounter a kindred soul so soon. The relief I’m feeling is indescribable. Unlike my encounter with Si, I feel he could understand my predicament far better than anyone else. That said, he’s not an undead like me… why the hell am I being resentful!?
“So you really were from Japan. You’re rather fluent with English, though.”
“That’s because I’m using <Gift of Tongues> to translate. I had my suspicions when you said, “This world,” so I decided to gauge your reaction. Just so you know, my highest grade in English was 28 marks.”
“How convenient. I sometimes wonder if I should have acquired <Gift of Tongues> instead of spending a year learning Arenish.”
That’s a lie of course. Otherwise, I would never have met Helena.
“You make it sound like I cheated! I only learnt <Gift of Tongues> to communicate with other demi-human tribes. I also took time to study Arenish… mostly.”
We both break out into unrestrained mirth. I can tell by his change in demeanour that I’m the only other Worldfarer he has ever encountered, and the same will probably be true for me.
Unfortunately, Hachirou is completely lost with our foreign conversation.
“By the way Enbos, those in my family already know I’m a Worldfarer. It’s okay to include Hachirou in our discussion.”
“In that case, allow me to introduce myself again. My name is Tyler Suesa, a fellow Worldfarer like Takashi, though I’ve only lived in this world for little more than a year.”
“How is that possible!?”
It seems Chiyoko was listening in, as she suddenly barges back in with a yell. She really doesn’t trust me. Takashi gives her daughter a sharp glare, but sighs in resignation and invites her back inside.
Well, I best tell them about my “reincarnation”, though I’ll exclude a few details like the necromancer’s book or Helena’s life.
As they listen to my story, they all wear different expressions. Takashi appears sympathetic. I want to hear his story too. Hachirou has a depressed look. I feel uneasy telling him I’m a murderer. Chiyoko is scrutinising my past. I know it’s suspicious, but please believe me!
I finish my recount with my disastrous debut in Lennon and subsequent encounter with Hachirou.
“So, this benevolent teacher who lives in the forest named you Enbos?”
“Indeed. I will forever treasure this name, so please refer to me as such.”
Everybody looks at each other with uneasy expressions. Actually, is Chiyoko stifling a laugh?
“.mih llet ton s’teL …”
“.rehtaf ,eerga I”
“!deedni rehcaet tneloveneb A”
“Why is everyone whispering?”
“Nothing special, bones,” says Chiyoko with eyes full of pity. I guess she believes my struggles.
“An-anyway, you are truly fortunate to have met such a wonderful person.”
“You are right. I am forever grateful to her.”
“T-then, will you see her again after your travels?”
“Of course I will!”
I say this with such conviction that Takashi raises an eyebrow.
At that moment, a kobold politely calls out to Takashi whilst delivering four cups of tea. I quickly wear my mask before she enters. I later notice Takashi whisper something into her ear before she leaves.
“Now, I have something to ask you, Tyler.”
“Ever since I passed away on Earth, there was one thing that has always haunted me. I hope you can answer this question I have harboured for all these years.”
What could it be? Since he reincarnated 30 years ago, I guess I come from a future after his death. It would be nice if I could put his past life to rest.
“I will try.”
“I thank you. Please tell me…
… does straw hat ever become pirate king?”
“Oh, sorry. I was talking about One…”
“I know what you’re talking about! I’m just confused… by the way, it’s still ongoing.”
“What, it hasn’t ended yet!? I thought for sure it would finish after 30 years.”
“I didn’t know it was running for… No, no, no, that can’t be right!”
Everybody is now thoroughly confused.
What does this mean? It sounds like his death wasn’t far from mine. Have I been drifting in the World Stream for decades? In that case, why do I remember so much? Did my <Wordfarer> title retain everything? Then why can’t I recall my death?
“When did you die?” asks Takashi.
“I can’t actually remember my final moments, but I think the last date was…”
We share our last recollections and uncover a huge revelation. Takashi… died 5 months after me.
“H-how… is this possible? Have I been drifting in the World Stream for that long?”
“Hmmm, maybe but… Enbos, I’ve had this suspicion for a long time, but it seems the link between Garea and Earth crosses both space and time.”
“Think about it. Why do humans use the same number of months, and days within months, as on Earth? In addition, <Gift of Tongues> translates every language in this world, which means modern English must have existed beforehand.”
“T-then there must have been other Worldfarers in the past which helped shape the Aren of today?”
“I believe so. No, we have no choice but to say it is so.”
“I-I see… But in that case, why is this world is so backward? Shouldn’t there be more technology or modern science?”
“Perhaps, but did you know this world once had an apocalypse?”
“According to the Church of Eden, the world was once a technological and magical paradise where everyone, regardless of race, was happy. But 3000 years ago, the demons arrived and tainted the hearts of all. Each race warred with one another and incurred divine punishment: the apocalypse. Only humanity, still bearing good in their souls, were given a second chance to reclaim Eden. Thus, all of Aren is rightfully theirs.”
“I very much doubt it. Regardless, I say turning Aren into a utopia or restoring it from a dark age is achievement enough for any Worldfarer. Besides, I suspect not all reincarnated souls possess the <Worldfarer> title.”
“Is that so?”
“Umu. After all, I only started remembering at the age of five, before acquiring <Worldfarer> at the age of eight. Even now, I’m not sure I can recall as much as I did in my last life.”
“I guess that explains why I can’t remember my death.”
“You’re a special case. You weren’t reincarnated in a growing body, but a prearranged vessel, so your memories were more readily unlocked.”
“Still, five years is pretty quick.”
“Is that so? Do I look like a middle-aged kobold to you?”
No, he doesn’t. He’s clearly the oldest one in this village, with translucent white fur and a wrinkled snout, and yet he’s only 30 years old.
“Enbos, compared to humans we mature much sooner. My sister and I are only nine years of age,” explains Hachirou.
But that means you will die much sooner…
“Sigh, the true tragedy here is I will never know the ending…”
“Oi! I find your last regret woefully lacking!”
“How dare you say that about father!? I’ll make you eat my…”
“Ah, that reminds me. Dinner should be ready now. Please join us as our guest of honour.”
Upon hearing that, I wasn’t the only one with a slack jaw.