There was a term, déjà vu . It was a mysterious phenomenon of feeling like you had experienced or seen something before, even though you did not . This French term, déjà vu, was overused in many stories . And right now, I was feeling something stronger than this .
Aboard Tanaka, we arrived at Ruphas’ hometown where she was born and raised among the flügels…Vanaheimr .
Vanaheimr sat on top of the mountain, where the air and mana were thin . The local topography made it difficult to walk . Given how Gjallarhorn was like, it seemed that flügels instinctively preferred places like these .
It was strange . I was feeling nostalgic about this town . Although I never visited this place before, I felt nostalgia and disgust towards it . There was a crumbling bakery, where no bread was ever sold to the children of taboo . I (Ruphas) was even kicked by the shopkeeper before . There was a half-collapsed building, where a brat once threw rocks at me . There was a large, once-grand mansion, where Merak used to live and which I always stared in admiration .
…None of them were fond memories .
This town continued to stimulate the bad memories that I did not know I had . Even though I did not experience it myself, I had the impulse to use an area skill to destroy the entire place .
“Hmm . Ruphas-sama…Are you alright? Your face looks pale . ”
“Oh, no problem . Let’s go . First, let’s take a look at my family’s home . ”
Hearing Aries’ question, I realized my expression was stiff . For some reason, the frequency of me being influenced by “Ruphas” was increasing . Being in this town seemed to accelerate the process . If this continued, I would lose my sense of self .
No, perhaps I had already lost it long ago . I could not bring myself to say, “It was not like that . ” Furthermore, I did not think this was unpleasant . Perhaps, I was really going crazy .
…In any case, I should drop by at Ruphas’ home . The ghost of Parthenos might be there . There might also be some hints regarding Ruphas’ behavior before she was sealed .
“Is this Ruphas-sama’s hometown? It looks like a nice place . ”
“For me, it is a place of bitter memories . Most of them involve having the neighborhood brats throwing rocks at me . ”
At the same time as I casually answered Libra, the houses in my line of sight vanished in an explosion . I turned and saw Libra, Aries, and Aigokeros held out their hands in that direction . It was evident that they were the ones who made those attacks .
Hey, what were you people doing?
“I retract my previous statement . This is the crappiest town ever . ”
Libra rotated her wrist with a twirling sound and gave an opinion that was a hundred eighty degrees from the previous one . I had to admire that complete change of attitudes . Aries and Aigokeros also nodded . There wasn’t anything that I could say .
While I was stunned, Dina moved next to me and wrote in the air . She was using her finger to concentrate magical power and doing it quite skillfully .
“You have memories of your avatar?”
In response to Dina’s question, I silently nodded . It was a silent communication . Perhaps, she did not want Libra to hear it . However, it was doubtful if Libra would have noticed since she was busy shooting lasers out of her eyes to destroy Merak’s old home . Aries had reverted to his sheep form and was stomping around the town . Aigokeros was randomly destroying whatever was nearby . Virgo was scared .
“It’s not good to be led by your avatar too much . Your ego will disappear . If you think it is dangerous, consider leaving this town immediately . ”
I nodded again at Dina’s suggestion . I would pass at losing my ego . I should consider withdrawing as she suggested .
“Enough . Stop this . We did not come here to destroy the town . ”
Clap . I stopped the three idiots by hitting them with my hand . If this continued, something important might be destroyed . I stopped the rampages of those three and walked down the ruined town .
I was wondering where to go, yet my feet naturally moved on their own as if I was living here until yesterday . Guided by the memory of Ruphas inside me, I moved my legs and eventually arrived in front of a mansion . It was a building that was evidently splendid in the past but was now dilapidated .
“Oh, this is a decent house . Is this Ruphas-sama’s home?”
“That’s right . You could call it my house . Though I can count the number of times I have stepped inside . ”
I casually answered Aigokeros and went inside . Technically, this mansion was certainly my house . According to the memories, Ruphas’ father lived here as did her mother . But even so, this was not really my (Ruphas’) home . I (Ruphas) was living…in a shabby hut at the side .
“As you can see, it’s like a storehouse . Well, actually it is a storehouse . ”
Cobwebs were everywhere . The tiny hut was almost like a dog’s kennel . This former storehouse was where Ruphas grew up . I naturally did not know of such a setting . Ruphas was set to wear a dress mostly as a hobby and for better performance . In an exaggerated sense, if the strongest equipment was Dangerous Swimsuit, I would have equipped it on Ruphas without hesitation .
…Now I thought that it was a good thing the strongest equipment was not a swimsuit .
In terms of story, I never considered why Ruphas would be wearing a dress . But Ruphas of this world…could be like that because of the poverty of her youth . She admired, envied, thirsted, and looked up to the upper class . After she gained power, she collected fancy dresses and shiny objects to realize the dreams of her youth…
…No, maybe I was overthinking this .
“My father disliked me for being born with black wings . If it was allowed, he might have killed me . However, the respectability of being upper class and the desperate persuasion of my mother barely spared me from being killed . The result was me being isolated in the storehouse . ”
I spoke fluently of the unknown past as if I had experienced personally . I heard that memories were never forgotten, but merely buried so deeply that it was difficult to draw out . In other words, even forgotten memories could come gushing forth with the right stimulus . This body belonged to Ruphas, so the memories that I did not know about were still deep inside her brain . Perhaps coming to this town caused her memories to surge forth once more .
“…Master, I request permission to kill your father . ”
“Impossible . He’s already dead . ”
When I considered the matter of her father, I naturally gained the information that he was already dead . It was gradually becoming easier to access Ruphas’ memories . Anyway, I should persuade Libra who was saying dangerous things and also stop Aries who was trying to set fire to the mansion . The mansion must not burn since it might contain important clues .
“This is the most likely location for Parthenos to be . ”
I did not know if Parthenos knew about my home, but she should be able to find out after two hundred years . Besides, there might be something about Ruphas’ past which I was not aware of . No, even just a stimulus would be enough . That alone could allow me to draw out Ruphas’ memories . I thought so without speaking aloud and stepped into the storehouse .
I thought that it was a horrible place . I could hardly imagine anyone living here . There were only one small bed and all manners of unidentified junks . Since this was a storehouse, it was natural to store things here . There was nothing wrong with it . However, these junks were obviously thrown in here by her father out of frustration .
Well, it didn’t matter . The important thing was clues that led to what Ruphas uncovered about the goddess’ scenario two hundred years ago . However, there was nothing related here, which was somewhat disappointing .
…Well, if I thought about it, Ruphas only spent her childhood here . When she actively sought to eradicate the demons was after she reached Level 1000 as an adventurer . She probably did not realize anything so important when she was still a child . In other words, there was no clue here…This seemed to be a wasted trip .
“…The goddess’ scenario huh?”
I murmured softly . Everyone other than Dina looked at me strangely . They merely reacted to my words which did not seem familiar to them . On the other hand, Dina was unresponsive . I thought she might know something, but it seemed unfamiliar to her as well .
“Ruphas-sama, what is the goddess’ scenario?”
“Oh, it is something the Demon King mentioned the other day . He said that the world is moving according to the goddess’ scenario . Is any of you familiar with it?”
Everyone shook their heads or hands to indicate that they did not know . Even the Twelve Heavenly Stars did not know . It seemed Ruphas had been quite secretive two hundred years ago .
What were you doing, Ruphas? At least tell it to Libra .
“Allow me to answer that question . ”
A question that nobody could answer . As I thought so, a young girl’s voice was heard from the entrance of the storehouse . However, the voice was very unusual . It sounded as if it was transmitted directly into my mind . It was difficult to describe it . If I had to draw an analogy, it would be that an invisible and cheap earphone was put on me and I was forced to listen to a cracking voice . . . At least, this was not the voice of a living human .
A semi-transparent girl was standing at the entrance . The scenery behind her could be seen through her body, which was evidently not substantial . Her age was…young . Her outward appearance was about twelve years old . Her braided green hair extended to her knees . Dressed in a robe, she attracted all of our attention .
“It has been a while, Ruphas-sama . You appeared unchanged from two hundred years ago . This old woman is relieved . Oh dear, the lifespan of a flügel is such an enviable thing . On the other hand, I just keep getting older and have now become a ghost . Hehehe . ”
Contrary to her youthful appearance, her tone and composure were like those of an old woman . Her relaxed, long-winded speech was unbalanced when taking her appearance into consideration .
“Well, it has been a long two hundred years . I knew that you would be back someday . And I have kept Vanaheimr as you ordered back then . However, some time ago, I choked on a fruit and left my body . ”
Looking at the laughing ghost, I could think of nothing and merely responded with a dumb “Eh?” .
Wait, wait a minute . Those words and a span of two hundred years . And that line about keeping Vanaheimr . If you put all these together, then…
“Oh? What is it, Ruphas-sama? Have you forgotten the face of this old woman? Knowing about your resurrection, I hurriedly and painstakingly recreated my previous appearance . ”
“Wa—Wait? That tone…and two hundred years…Are you granny?”
Before I could ask, Virgo posed her question while pointing her finger at the girl . Virgo did not recognize her immediately, so it meant that she was an ordinary old woman when she was still alive . The girl laughed as if it was really funny and answered in the tone of an old woman:
“What is it, my grandchild? A little difference in appearance and you no longer know me?”
“N—No, this isn’t a little difference at all…”
The girl puffed her chest up in front of Virgo and grinned . Then, she looked at us and opened the edge of her mouth, declaring her name in a dignified manner . The name was as we expected . She was the person we were looking for—
“I’m the one who stayed next to the Black-Winged Overlord, a member of the Twelve Heavenly Stars—Parthenos of the Maiden . To become Ruphas-sama’s strength once again, I have refused the call of the heavens . ”