I stood atop the bell tower located on the outskirts of Fauno City.
Dusk was gradually falling over town. Following the setting of the sun, one’s eyes would fall in the direction of the Crow’s Nest.
“…Melby, can you take that out?”
“You always say ‘that’, don’t you.
Then again, me understanding it is also something, I suppose…”
Melby grumbles, but still retrieves ‘that’ from her dimension storage.
It was a gun.
I had assembled the gun components found in the historic remains inside the Crow’s Nest―in Mr Heydrich’s living room―and succeeded in reconstructing a gun.
Even though I wasn’t all that well-acquainted with military affairs in my previous life, this gun took on a form that even I knew of.
If I remember correctly, its name is――Walther P38.
The German gun that was famous for being the favourite of the third generation phantom thief from a certain anime.
“It utilises the explosive power of gunpowder to send lead flying at a high speed… hmm.
It’s quite the horrific instrument.”
Melby said, her body shuddering at the thought.
“If you’re talking about a tool for killing people, then aren’t swords the same?”
“Yes, but… to make such a complex contraption, it makes me realise that people really do like killing people.
When I imagine how many people racked their brains and concentrated their ingenuity together in order to construct this, it makes me sick.”
“If it’s about killing people efficiently, there aren’t that many people who can match Mr Heydrich.
The country that Mr Heydrich was affiliated with thought certain people to be demonic and sought to exterminate them.”
“I heard you talk about this before, but it’s a startling tale.”
“That isn’t just a tale about other people, Melby.
It seems Mr Heydrich was the perpetrator behind the internal strife in Sonoraat.”
While talking with Melby, I inspected the gun I was holding.
Through Father Solow’s [Oracle], I learnt that I had the aptitude for wielding guns.
There was no method I wouldn’t use.
This gun was a copy of something from World War II so it seemed very antiquated to a modern person like me, but on the other hand, it could also be said to be a gun that had proven itself time and time again in actual combat.
It had more than enough of a track record in regards to being combat proven.
Some of the bullets collected from Mr Heydrich’s living room had had the [Condition Stasis] skill cast on them by Mr Heydrich.
I had previously tried pulling the trigger in the underground space made inside the Nest, using [Psychokinesis] in case there was an accidental gun discharge, and discovered that the gun was functioning without a problem.
I had prepared this Walther as a final trump card against Gazaine, but I didn’t want to use it if possible.
The biggest reason for this was because I didn’t want to show this weapon called a gun in front of the crowd of emissaries, but there were other reasons too.
――To put it simply, I didn’t want to use it.
It seemed like I would be dragged into the “evil of being weak” that the consummate villain Mr Heydrich was guilty of, so I felt great reluctance to even take hold of this gun itself.
If it was about killing people, I was the same.
Even after coming to Marquekt, I came to kill “enemies” without feeling many pangs from my conscience.
Since I might be killed if I didn’t kill, I didn’t feel any regret about that.
I didn’t, but――consider the slasher named Kizaki Tooru.
Why did he become a lust murderer despite being called a genius surgeon?
I couldn’t understand his perverted emotions, but there are some things I could imagine.
Just what was a life where you obtained everything you wanted?
All in all, I feel like it would be a monotonous life with no excitement.
My previous life was, quite frankly, dull.
It’s not like I had a great salary, nor did I have a pretty girlfriend.
I wasn’t hindered by my job, but I didn’t really get along with my co-workers at the company.
My hobby was playing fighting games at the game centre.
My usual game centre was a famous place where challengers would gather no matter the region, but I was somehow competent enough to have more wins than losses even among them.
However, I couldn’t win enough to truly be called a pro player like those who won championships in overseas tournaments and had sponsors.
Of course, I could find points to improve on even if I couldn’t win so it was still enjoyable, but it’s not like I was strong enough to be throwing my weight around.
That said, I didn’t have any major complaints about such a life.
Instead, I had plenty of minor insecurities.
I had reached 30 years of age with neither a lover, nor did I have many acquaintances outside of work.
Because I lost my parents early, I didn’t have anyone to call family.
And because of the depression, my salary didn’t rise by much, nor was there much hope for a promotion.
No, the company’s business model had started to become outdated since the beginning, so a personnel cut was likely to have come.
Even for the fighting games I played for fun, it might have become harder for me to go to game centres as I grew even older, when I turned 35 or 40.
These sorts of things―― I had worries, as everyone would have one or two of them, and there was no hope of these worries ever disappearing no matter how much time passed.
I think that word is appropriate to describe my condition back then.
There were also times when I thought I would rather it be either alive or dead.
The company withstood the depression while slowly withdrawing, and I myself also lived every day as it came, with no lovers and few friends.
As I wondered how long this manner of low-altitude flying would continue for, I felt an unavoidable oppression accompanying the security of not dying.
Fighting games were the shining beacon within those grey days, with their distinct wins and losses after moments of attacking and defending.
It was only when I was playing those games that my consciousness became clearer than usual.
I could clearly sense the “intent” behind my opponent’s every move clearly, and I was able to send a clear “response” back to them.
I relished in this battle where 1F (frame) would change every 1/60th of a second with my entire being, and was able to immerse myself in the pursuit of victory that came afterwards.
Countless struggles to the death unfolded on this ruthless battlefield where the extreme result known as victory or defeat was thrust upon us.
And then, I thought this:
‘――Ah, I’m living the life.’
I wonder if Kizaki Tooru, who possessed just about everything, was familiar with this feeling?
I’m sure he wasn’t.
This is because despite living in a proper environment where he was satisfied both physically and mentally, Kizaki became enthralled in the study of demons, eventually coming into contact with the Evil God.
As for me, I felt unsatisfied with this superficial reality and sought the virtual “battles” known as fighting games.
I think satisfying myself with the virtual world when I couldn’t be satisfied in the real world couldn’t be considered bad.
That’s the way people are, more or less.
Fighting in games was more fun than fighting in reality, and you could make friends with your opponents.
There were no downsides.
As it is, I think I was able to satisfy myself in this life that only consisted of work and gaming.
However, my body moved right away during that random slasher incident. Was that because I wanted a strange situation like that to occur in some respect?
There are parts of me that think that way.
I felt stifled in Japan, where my life was never in any real danger regardless of the path I took, and so I possessed a strange yearning for a fight where my life was at stake, didn’t I?
Such thoughts have been endlessly flooding my mind ever since I escaped from <Yatagarasu>.
Such being the case, how big was the difference between, on one side, he who had been exhausted of the never-ending “grey” and eventually became a street slasher, and on the other side, the police that had been constantly lying in wait in order to arrest that slasher?
I can’t say for certain whether this was the same mentality I had had back when I discovered an “enemy” I needed to defeat at Ranzrack Fortress.
Gazaine said that I was similar to him.
I think what he said hadn’t been a lie.
I personally agreed, and was happy that Gazaine told me that――happy that someone understood me.
In my previous life, the only time I felt that way was when I was earnestly playing bouts at the game centre, but the feeling of someone understanding me from the bottom of their heart definitely existed at that moment.
So when I was recognised by Gazaine and he invited me to become his comrade, I was delighted enough that it seemed like could end up agreeing.
However, Gazaine was a murderer.
In addition to that, he was an assassin who killed people he didn’t even bear any grudges against, just for the sake of money and his ambitions.
Unsatisfied with just killing by himself, he also became the founder of a heretic organisation that kidnapped and brainwashed innocent children, raising them as assassins.
He was an extraordinary villain who had once carelessly remarked that he only felt alive when slaughtering and spreading enmity.
I unsheathed the knife that was hanging at my waist and used [Appraisal].
《Dagger of Mana Dispersal: A dagger that possesses the ability to disperse mana by slashing. Ancient relic. Disperses up to 50MP of mana. Made by shaving down the fang of a Light Dragon and coating it with Mithril.》
It was the dagger that Gazaine had carried.
It seemed to be a worthy blade.
By 50MP, it meant that it could disperse most of the spells that would be used against individuals.
I wielded this dagger without hesitation.
Even though I feel some aversion to the gun that was Mr Heydrich’s legacy, I don’t feel much aversion to the dagger relinquished by Gazaine.
I felt averse at this lack of aversion.
If I decide to use what I am able to use regardless their previous owners, then I should use both weapons.
On the other hand, if I’m particular about their previous owners, then I shouldn’t use either.
Gun and dagger.
Why was there such a difference between these two?
“…Somehow I feel like I can’t fully conclude that Gazaine was evil.
Mr Heydrich was evil.
Even if he was weak, evil is evil.
However, Gazaine was strong.
He was a villain, but he had charisma.
Frankly, instead of forming <Yatagarasu>, becoming the boss of bandits or the leader of a mercenary troop… If he so wished, even becoming the head of an army of shock troops seems like it would’ve gone more smoothly.
I even feel a strange sense of pride for inheriting the dagger and techniques of such a man.
It’s very disturbing.”
I grumble as I gaze at the polychromatic blade crest on the dagger as it shone.
Melby tilted her head at my words.
“Hmm… I don’t really get it, but are you really that worried about it?
Gazaine was a charming villain, and those combat techniques were out of the ordinary.
Use what you learned in gratitude… I don’t think it’s something to be discarded.”
“That might be so, but more than that, I’m scared.
What I am doing, is it really correct?
Sticking to my own principles sounds good, but there are also cases like Gazaine’s.
I’m afraid that I will end up enjoying fighting――enjoy battles to the death in some respect…”
I think my lacklustre moves in that mock fight with Moria-san earlier were also because of that hesitation.
“Edgar is doing well, you know?
Protecting those you ought to protect, defeating those you ought to defeat.
Of course, the bad guys would have their own circumstances, and you might not be a perfect ally of justice, but… that’s the same for everyone, isn’t it?
Being happy about winning a fight as well, everyone is like that.”
“That… I see.”
“You understand Mr Heydrich’s feelings. You understand Gazaine’s feelings. You understand that slasher’s feelings.
It certainly might be disturbing, but that alone isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
It wouldn’t be good if you were to be guilty of the same things as them, but since you’re confronting them and trying to bring them down, understanding can even be more useful than not understanding.
On top of understanding them, it’s just a matter of trying not to become like them, no?”
“…But, the fact that I understand them means that I have such elements inside of me…”
But on the other hand, there’s no reason to be an unreliable ‘Ally of Justice’ who doesn’t care about the feelings of those bad guys.
People like that will inevitably make a mistake someday.
No, they may even have made a mistake already.
Because they would have averted their eyes to the dark parts of humans that people would want to overlook.”
I could see that those who fuss over their own justice are the most dangerous from looking at the first half of Mr Heydrich’s life.
“Furthermore, being able to understand the feelings of those guys, Edgar, is thanks to your life experiences thus far.
It was because of that power of understanding that you were able to save those people who had been brainwashed by <Yatagarasu>, you know?
Shady parts inside of you? Of course they exist.
And yet you’re able to look at them seriously without being captivated by them.
Be confident, Edgar.”
“….I see. That’s right.”
Thanks to Melby’s words, I became a lot more at ease.
“――And, what are you going to do with those?”
As she said that, Melby pointed to the gun and dagger I was holding in my hands.
“The gun, I’m going to disassemble and use as a reference to make one from scratch.
If I leave it as it is now, I’m sure to feel unsettled, and I want a skill related to the machine production class for making an automated device for the Separation Barrier, so this will be practice for that.
The dagger, I will use as is. When I think about it, it’s something that Gazaine originally acquired from someone else anyway, so it’s not like I was really concerned about it.”
“So, you came up with a rather rational conclusion to your worries, didn’t you?”
“It seems that rather than be strangely fixated on it, this is better.”
After descending the bell tower, I make my way back home.
Melby stopped me when we had only just returned from the Fairy Hamlet earlier. This time, however, she didn’t say a word.
I arrived back at the Chrebl estate which was roughly 20 minutes from the bell tower.
With the impressions from my past life, I originally felt rather unaccustomed to the fact that such a splendid estate was my home, but after these two weeks, I’ve finally stopped paying attention to the disparity for the first time.
I call out with an “I’m home~” as I open the door to the foyer.
However, I couldn’t hear any replies from inside.
As I was frowning, Melby spoke.
“It’s already dinner time.
Perhaps they’re in the dining room?”
She then fluttered over towards the dining room.
Stopping right before the door, she turns back in my direction.
“So, shall we enter?”
Melby then moved to open the door.
I said, lowering my voice.
At the same time, I face the dining room and use [Sense Presence].
Strange. Although there are definitely humans presences inside, they’re keeping completely silent.
“Melby. I will burst in through the door.
Please take care of the follow-up in case of an emergency.”
Switching to [Telepathic Communication], I said to Melby.
“W-what!? I-I understand…”
Feeling suspicious of Melby who was stuttering questionably, I mentally picture a few spells to cast for an indoor battle as I unsheathe Gazaine’s dagger.
In a situation like this, this dagger is handy.
Because I can deal with both physical and magical attacks with a single weapon.
“Let’s go, Melby.”
The moment I opened the door――several explosive noises sounded from inside the room!