After the fight with the Demon King, Libra and I returned to our original location and pondered the Demon King’s words inside the car . It seemed there was a significant difference between this world and the game . Unknown settings appeared one after another . There was even a theory that the goddess was a villain . It was unbelievable .
However, if one thought about it, this world was rather strange in many ways . This was reality . I was not having a very realistic dream . There would be a limit to a dream’s realism, so this world most definitely existed . Yet this world was strangely influenced by the game, such as status and level being expressed in numerical values .
These could not have been natural phenomena . Such game elements must have been intentionally added by the goddess . Yet this begged the question: Where did these ideas come from? Unless the goddess herself knew about the game and created the world in its likeness, the situation could not be otherwise explained .
So this game existed in the past . After an epic story unfolded, it ended with “This is just a program in the game world . ” Yet another virtual world had developed into one where programs lived and monsters evolved . If this was such a world, then…no, impossible .
In that case, it was impossible to explain the difference of this world from X-Gate Online . If this was the virtual world of X-Gate Online, there would not be a time skip of two hundred years . This was because time did not pass within the game . It would be the same during the morning, afternoon, or night . Months and years did not pass .
When I started playing the game, it was Midgard Year 2800 . Six years later, it was still Midgard Year 2800 and not 2806 . The same year repeated itself indefinitely, just like the world of Sazae-san . However, it was clearly different from the world that I was currently in . Therefore, the hypothesis could not be established .
…No . I still could not understand . There was not enough information . I should have listened to what the Demon King had to say after all . I was so close to getting to the core of this world .
“Look, Ruphas-sama . It’s Vanaheimr!”
Hearing Dina, I was brought back to reality . Looking out the window, there was a towering mountain with a forest at its foot . It seemed we safely arrived at the location of another member of the Twelve Stars .
Although I was still concerned about what the Demon King said about the world, I could not make sense of it no matter how hard I thought . I guessed I should leave it for the time being . I needed to resolve the problem before me .
Still, this was Parthenos of the Maiden . Dina said that she was alive and well, but was this true? It wasn’t that I doubted her, but it was rather impossible for her to be alive after two hundred years . This was because her race was human .
Previously, I mentioned a tamer could capture an enemy, be it magical beast or human . This was nothing unusual . In most RPGs, humans, such as XX Soldier or XX Priest, generally appeared as monsters .
In the eighth series of a certain RPG, there was a cruel skill called “Eat”, which consumed the target to recover one’s HP . There were cases where players used it on human soldiers . It was horrifying when the main heroine charged towards the human soldiers and was followed by crunching sound effects of her eating .
It was essentially the same thing . Parthenos was originally a human bearing the title of “Maiden Who Serves the Goddess” and was treated as a mob . She appeared in a team with other mobs in a high difficulty dungeon that could only be challenged by Level 1000 players . She would annoyingly provide healing and support from the rear .
As an ally, that support would be very useful . I wanted one too, so I captured her . Although I trained her to some degree, her combat power was fairly weak . After all, she wasn’t meant to fight, but to provide healing and support .
Although she came from a high difficulty dungeon, she was only like an ordinary Level 800 player . In a normal fight, she was definitely the weakest of the Twelve Heavenly Stars . But it was fine for her to be weak . She had a vast amount of SP and very high Intelligence and Mind statuses . She could set up shields and heal from the rear . This alone was already very helpful . Trading blows in the frontline was Leon’s job…Well, I still had not recruited him yet .
Back on topic . Anyway, Parthenos was human, so her lifespan should be short . Even if she survived after two hundred years…well, it was impossible, considering her lifespan . But if she was still alive, she must be very old . I did not think she could endure the hardship of traveling . If I was right, she must be an (elderly) maiden .
For now, we should put an end to the occupation . It was fine even if she could not travel with us . For rearguard, Dina was enough…Otherwise, she might die just from walking .
As we approached the forest, there was indeed a barrier that completely covered it . We did not encounter any enemy, so we reached the center easily . Hmm . It seemed after so long, she was still on our side . In that case, we should not be ambushed here . We were probably recognized as allies .
As I walked through the forest, I realized this place could truly be called a “sanctuary” . Sunlight shone through the gaps between the trees, while animals ran about freely and fearlessly . There were many animals resembling squirrels and rabbits, further strengthening this atmosphere .
Libra did not seem to have any particular emotion, but for a sheep like Aries, this must be a cozy place . As for Aigokeros…He was too out of place, like a violent mismatch with the surroundings . It was too surreal for a goat-headed demon lord to be in a forest where small animals played . Well, it was actually the same for Aries who was over a hundred meters long . But he was a fancy rainbow sheep that just looked big, so it was marginally safe .
After walking for a while, we came to a cabin in the forest . Did Parthenos live here? This region was unapproachable because of Parthenos . Thus, there should be nobody else living here . I stood before the door and knocked lightly .
“…! Eh? A knock?! Im—Impossible! Why?!”
The sound of a young girl, who was shocked to her core, was heard from within the cabin . On the other side, I was really surprised too . I was certain that an old woman would answer, not a young girl . Perhaps it was Parthenos after all…Maybe she discovered the art of youthful rejuvenation .
After waiting for a while, the door opened gingerly . A young girl’s face appeared in the opening . She was a cute girl with big bright eyes . Her hair was light pink . She was about fifteen years old . But…this child was not Parthenos . As I recalled, Parthenos’ hair was green, not pink . Was it dyed?
As I thought about this, Aigokeros put his hand in the gap of the slightly opened door and forcefully opened it . Then, he reverted to his demonic form for some reasons and stood before the girl with his arms crossed .
“Young woman . You are being rude before our great lady…”
“Fool . You are the rude one . ”
I grabbed the foolish head of Aigokeros and tossed him aside with my arm strength . What should I do now? This was a really bad first impression . Frightened by the demon that suddenly appeared, she backed off quickly . Fear was evident on her face as she stiffened in surprise . A pair of white wings trembled on her back .
Eh? This girl was a flügel?
Then she definitely could not be Parthenos . Parthenos was a human, so she should not have wings . Seriously, who was this child?
“Oh, I’m sorry . My subordinate was rude . I’m not a suspicious person…probably . I do not intend to hurt you . I’m here to look for an acquaintance . Girl, do you know someone named Parthenos?”
“…Eh? Do you happen to know granny?”
Granny, was it? Then, there were two possibilities regarding this girl’s identity .
The first possibility was that she was of Parthenos’ bloodline . It was possible to have a half-breed between humans and flügels . Parthenos might have found a flügel husband and had a child, who in turn had a child . But if this was the case, where was Parthenos’ husband?
The second possibility was that she was adopted . For some reasons, Parthenos picked up this flügel girl and raised her . For now, I should just check her status . If I could confirm her race, it would be easy to determine which possibility was correct .
Class: Acolyte 100, Priest 200, Bard 20
STR (Strength): 1,200
DEX (Dexterity): 990
VIT (Vitality): 1,390
INT (Intelligence): 1,800
AGI (Agility): 1,270
MND (Mind): 3,102
LUK (Luck): 1,505
…She was her adopted granddaughter . There was no “half” prefix before her race, so there was no blood relation . Her level was quite high by the current standard . Perhaps she was trained by Parthenos .
“Oh, those black wings…Are you the Ruphas-san that granny talked about?”
“Yes . My full name is Ruphas Mafahl . Behind me are Aries and Libra of the Twelve Heavenly Stars . The idiot rolling over there is Aigokeros . The one with blue hair is Dina . ”
When I introduced them, Libra, Aries, and Dina bowed politely . And the young girl returned the bow accordingly . Hmm . What a nice, polite girl .
…Was I the most impolite person here, by any chance? I couldn’t use honorifics even if I wanted to . The words always came out in a pressuring tone .
“Um, just call me Virgo . Granny would be very happy to know that Ruphas-san is here . If you don’t mind, can you go over to granny’s place?”
“Is that okay? That would be a great help . ”
She was not wary of us . What a straightforward child . My face relaxed unconsciously . Maybe she was not so vigilant because of the barrier . As I thought this, Dina pulled on the hem of my clothes .
“Hmm? What is it, Dina?”
“Ruphas-sama, this is bad . That girl’s character somewhat overlaps with mine . ”
“As it is, my personality will become thinner and less noticeable . ”
“It was already like that from the start . ”
Talking about a topic like that with such a serious expression, was she an idiot? I ignored the traumatized Dina and followed behind the girl who was leading the way . After that, Libra and Aries followed behind . Aigokeros, who had literally filled his belly with grass, returned to my shadow .
…It seemed this guy really is a goat . Aries, don’t look so jealous . I will give you the corn later .
After walking for tens of minutes, the girl led us to an opening in the forest . Light shone down as if to avoid the trees, adding to the fantastic atmosphere of the forest .
And in the center was a tombstone made of marble .
…The stone was engraved with the name: Parthenos .
“This is granny . ”
“Granny fervently believed in the resurrection of Ruphas-san and lived on with that in mind . But last year, she choked while eating a fruit, then…”
I stared at Dina silently . She turned her gaze away to look at the sky, breaking out in cold sweat .
Hey, what is this…Parthenos, you are dead?!