13 – Divine Intervention
I opened my eyes to a misty forest canopy, one I had seen countless times before. But this time was different. For one, my faithful companion (stick) was already in my hand. For another, I wasn’t alone.
A beautiful woman with silver hair and sapphire eyes stared at me from nearby. She was also completely naked, her skin bared for all to see. Yet, there wasn’t a shred of embarrassment on her face at all, only concern. When she saw that I was awake, she smiled and quickly came over. “My Master. You are finally awake.”
I blinked. “Saphira?”
The woman nodded and said, “Yes, my Master. It is Saphira, your lowly servant.”
I frowned and sat up. “This… I see. So that’s what happened.” A thought recalled everything that occurred before I woke up. Going to the Northern Empire, meeting the emperor, and then Titania’s appearance with an anti-magic weapon.
“…I failed her again, huh?”
I said that Aria would have nothing to fear with me around, yet I allowed her to die right before my eyes. Was it arrogance, or the assurance of another chance that led to her death?
The pleasant times walking around the Northern Empire, the reassurances given along the way out of the Ancient Forest… all of that was undone.
“Yes, my Master?”
I frowned and stared at her.
Silver hair, blue eyes. Stark naked… it was like right after I defeated her. No, was this right when I defeated her?
“…First, put on some clothes.” I made a quick dress from dark mana and tossed it towards her.
She nodded and quickly changed while I waited. When she was finished, I said, “What do you remember?”
“This…” Saphira frowned. “I was hoping that my Master could tell me. The last thing I can recall is an attack by a hidden interloper in the Northern Empire.”
So this wasn’t right after I used Dragon’s Grasp. But then…
“Did you take me here?”
Saphira shook her head. “I did not, my Master. When I awoke, I was already next to you and my senior.”
“Hm…” That meant this shouldn’t be much further past the point where I first woke up. But then why was Saphira already here?
Isn’t it obvious? Not even time can free someone held within the Dragon’s Grasp.
A feminine voice echoed in my mind, one I hadn’t heard for a long time.
Oh? So you finally decided to speak my name. How polite of you.
I ignored Saphira for now and focused.
“I guess you found out, huh?”
I did. To think that memory could be used in such a strange manner… I truly underestimated it. However, it was quite amusing to watch you flail about for a while.
I sighed and moved over to lean against a tree. “So you know everything then. And here I was thinking that I was being smart about it.”
Not everything. I *did* swear on my name to not read your thoughts. However, even though your concealing ability is potent, I *am* the Goddess of this world. When your ability rewinds your time, although the effect is subtle, it still leaves a trace.
“…Tch. Then I suppose you’re here to tell me to do your bidding? Should I go kill the Demon Lord for you? Or how about that emperor that’s dabbled in chaos magic?”
Oh no. I don’t want to make you do anything at all.
“…You don’t? Then why contact me?”
The hero, failing to save his companion, receives a power-up and strives to undo his mistakes. Doesn’t that sound like an interesting twist? Ah, though I did warn you.
“…So you were the one Aria was talking about.”
Guilty as charged.
I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. This goddess… she really was too chaotic. Trying to get a read on her backfired.
“Alright. Then you obviously have something important to tell me, otherwise you would have contacted me earlier.”
Considering the countless times that I had rewound time for myself, it was odd that the goddess chose now of all times to talk to me.
Right again! I just wanted to tell you that you don’t have to be so secretive. It’s not like I’m a controlling evil person who wants to see you suffer, you know? I told you at the start didn’t I? ‘With you around, the world is definitely going to become a lot more interesting.’
“Says the sketchy goddess who read my mind and said I died under unbelievable circumstances.”
Hey! You really did die that way!
“Physics doesn’t work like that.”
Well it happened! And anyway, you don’t need to worry about me interfering with your plans. In fact, I’m looking forward to it! Restoring the Wrathful Sin Dragon to her divine status and then subordinating her, exploiting your power to gain strength equal to a fallen dragon… even somehow granting a soul to a weapon by having it accumulate countless memories-
“Hold on. What was that last part?”
Getting strength equal to a fallen dragon?
“No, the soul and weapon part.”
Oh. Well you know the stick you keep calling your ‘faithful companion’?
It’s alive. Hm… think of it as the cliché of a weapon coming to life to protect its wielder? You picked it up and turned it from an ordinary stick to a weapon that could destroy half of the divine blades I scattered across the world you know. Did you think nothing would change in the process?
I couldn’t say anything in response.
Anyway… Right. I wanted to tell you that you should act more aggressively! You’re strong, but there are still a lot of hidden players right now. With your concealment skills and ‘cheat’, you can eventually beat them, but then only you, Ki- I mean, Saphira, and your faithful companion will remember what happened. If you want that innocent little elf to be at your side, you’re going to need to put in a lot of work.
She had a point. I was acting overly cautious. Slowly gathering information, slowly gathering power… acting like that would eventually lead me to a future where Aria was saved and could live a carefree life, but what point would it be if everything along the way was lost?
Now, one last thing. First, that little elf girl of yours plays a key role in the upcoming events. She is also extremely prone to death.
“I figured as much.”
Aria seemed to be born with misfortune.
Second, your ‘Absolute Memory’ and ‘Information Concealment’ can do a lot more than what you’re using them for. Since they were born from, I quote, ‘humanity’s infinite potential’, and grant you a ‘concept’, they’re extremely flexible. In fact, you can probably take them to my level if you work at it hard enough!
“Thank you for the advice… though aren’t you afraid that I’ll try and kill you to take your power in that case?”
“Huh?” I blinked, caught off guard at the response. “Er. Isn’t this the part where you condemn me for daring to desire a god’s power?”
Ha! Who do you think I am, Lunaris? I’m nowhere near as power-crazed as that ruthless Bi- *ahem*. But no, I won’t condemn you. In fact, do it. The sooner the better.
This was the person I was on guard against? The one I thought would try to control me the moment I arrived? “…You’re really an odd goddess.”
It’s really boring being the only divine being in charge of this world, you know? I mean, I sent who knows how many people over and gave so many blessings, but there hasn’t been a single person in the million or so years the planet’s been around to reach me.
What was I talking about? Oh, right! Your powers are stronger than you think they are and you need to work on improving them. There are a bunch of other crazy strong people in the world right now, and another one is due ten years later. The emperor and the Demon Lord are only the least of your worries.
The headache I felt starting became a full migraine.
And all of them want that young elf girl you saved! She’s the key to a lot of things. Really, I was surprised when you asked for the Lost Woods, because that’s where-
“Is that it?”
…Hmph, impertinent and impatient as always. Still, you’re my favorite person now, so I’ll let it slide. I’ll give you a last hint before sitting back to watch: both time and memories eventually blend together.
Leaving those mysterious words behind, the goddess’s voice went silent.
“…Was that the goddess, my Master?”
I nodded and then shifted my faithful companion (stick) to my right hand. “It was. And now my plans have changed.”
Aria. The person I saved in my first life on a whim, causing me to gain the titles ‘Martyr’ and ‘Aria’s Savior’. From what the goddess told me, she would play a key role in the future events, as well as be targeted by the major world powers.
Why, I didn’t know. But what I did know what that there were too many hands in the dark to protect her going about like I did.
I was strong, but I wasn’t skilled in warfare or shadowy maneuvers. I possessed the ability for it, but lacked the talent.
In that case…
“Yes, my Master?”
Although it wasn’t my initial intent on coming to this world, the hand I was dealt suited it perfectly.
“If the emperor wants his people to believe the elves joined up with the Demon Lord…”
I clenched my left hand and darkness surged, wrapping me in its aura. “Let’s turn that lie into a reality.”
I smiled and turned towards Saphira.
Seeing me, her face twisted into a smile as well, although one filled with malice. From her, darkness also flared. When it died down, her silver hair had become jet black and her azure eyes became crimson. “Finally, my Master. I hope you won’t restrain me too much this time around?”
I stretched out my hand. “Against those disgusting soldiers? Of course not. Now… after listening to that goddess, I’ve got something to try out. Let’s make a dramatic entrance.”
Saphira grabbed my hand.
A new usage of Absolute Memory has been discovered. ‘Spatial Leap’ has been unlocked. Through recalling spatial coordinates, it becomes possible to leap through space.