Ascension Rebirth – The demons of the past (Chapter 26)

Ascension Rebirth – The demons of the past

CHAPTER XXVI

PART ONE

“You say you wish to make [Ragnarok] a reality? I do apologize but I don’t seem to follow your logic. What exactly do you mean by that specifically?”

Confused by my rather backwards statement Enrich furrows his brows and asks for clarification. I was going to anyway.

“This is just a simple speculation on my part so do take it with a grain of salt. in my opinion ever has a misguided impression of the nature of [Ragnarok]. You seem to believe that it’s synonymous with the end of the world, but that is highly doubtful.”

Enrich, Lilith and Miko stared at each other in confusion. After confirming that they were all just as perplexed by my revelation they stared back at me, waiting for me to continue.

“Hmm, then you are saying that you know what [Ragnarok] truly is?”

Enrich asks, a little skeptical of me, but that was to be expected.

I shake my head. Truth be told, even I don’t know what form [Ragnarok] actually takes and most of my presumptions are based on my knowledge from hobby readings I did back on Earth. I know that even I shouldn’t refer to sketchy sources like those but for now they haven’t failed me.

“No, I wish I did, the only thing I can do is rationalize based on my pre-existing knowledge.”

“Pre-existing knowledge? So then what sort of conclusion have you come to?”

“Every 500 years or so the supreme being named [Nodens] invades [Eternis] in order to make [Ragnarok] come to fruition. Various heroes throughout the ages have risen up to thwart his plans and for the most part are believed to be successful in their endeavours. In doing so [Ragnarok] is prevented.”

“Well yes, that’s what most surviving documents seem to suggest. I do realize that they should be put to scrutiny but I seeing the current state of the world I don’t see where you can form a contrary opinion.”

If you’re basing it on documents from this world I would’ve came to the same conclusion.

“Yes, but such documents also suggest that [Ragnarok] has never actually taken place, so who’s to say that it was prevented at all? I posit that the opposite is true. That it was actually [Nodens] himself that wanted most to stop [Ragnarok].”

“But that makes no sense, why would he do such a thing? Besides this theory of yours is as equally groundless, and if you’re wrong it could end tragically.”

“You’re absolutely correct. That’s why I’ll continue to conduct more thorough research on the matter before I make any solid decisions.”

Enrich looked rather unsatisfied, I couldn’t blame him. I’m keeping the fact of my reincarnation a secret to everyone so I can’t just go on telling them about where I got this kind of information.

“Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to hear your reasoning.”

He gives me a chance. I’m grateful.

I give him a nod.

“This is just my theory but [Ragnarok] is possibly an event that takes place in order to change gods.”

“Change gods?”

“Do you think Gods are perfect beings; that they would never be wrong or become corrupt? The answer is ‘no’. in order to rectify that, a system is in place so that new gods will take place of the old gods when they become corrupt.”

“So you’re implying that Nodens wants to prevent [Ragnarok] to save himself? Then what’s the point of invading [Eternis]?”

“I can’t say, perhaps it’s required in order to stop [Ragnarok]?”

“And your basis for this speculation?”

Enrich asks.

“For now, it is simply my own knowledge.”

“You say that you’ll conduct more research but looking at our calendar we don’t have too much time. Next year it will become the 500th year after the great war and when the last [Ragnarok] occurred.”

“I can’t speak with absolutes but we probably have much more time than that.”

“Your reasoning being?”

“The current political landscape. The world’s greatest power is the [Ariadyne Tetrarchy] and as you know it’s a superpower that’s split into four different factions. To create and empire when there are four different heavy-weight powers would be rather difficult. It’s likely that Nodens has control of one of the four Tetrarch but that’s all, he can’t do anything to expand.”

“How much time frame are you estimating we have?”

“I’m just estimating but I’d say we have about 10 or so years before [Ragnarok] actually takes place. This estimate is completely arbitrary so don’t count on it too much.”

“…”

Enrich stares at me intently.

“What?”

“No, I was just wondering if you really were just a child.”

“How rude!”

“I do apologize. I didn’t intend any harm. So then what do you plan to do from now on?”

“I don’t intend to do anything at the moment, or rather, I can’t I don’t have enough power. If I go against Nodens in my current state I’ll 100% be decimated.”

“So your answer was [ascension]?”

Miko asks, she has an expression like the dots in her brain just connected.

“Well, that’s just one way, I’m not even sure [ascension] is even possible to attain, for now I’ll just have to figure out other ways to gain power.”

“I see then.”

Enrich takes a glance at the watch on his wrist. I also did the same with my pocket watch. It’s around 16:50 so we should wrap up the conversation.

“I think we should leave it at that for now and continue some other time.”

“Yes, I do quite agree. I’m feeling a tad tired myself so it would be best for me to retire for the day.”

I nod and turn towards Lilith.

“Yeah. Lilith, for now just continue on with what you’re doing here. If you ever run out of mana just come to me.”

“Y, yes!”

I then turn towards Miko.

“Then shall we go?”

She sighs heavily.

“Yeah, I need a rest myself.”

Thus Miko and I left the shop.

PART TWO

“Still, to think that your true identity was that. I thought you were unusually strong, this explains it.”

Miko says to me on our way home. I guess she was able to buy into that much faster since we did fight that one time.

“I’m thankful that you understand, but I’d hope you don’t put me together with the bunch from the demon army, I’m still pretty much independent.”

Miko carefully studies me. It’s a little embarrassing, I think I feel a blush coming on. Oh, Miko, we can’t!

“Why are you blushing? You’re creeping me out.”

“Ah, sorry.”

“Still, I know the kids at our orphanage usually grow up fairly fast because of their experiences but even then you’re an anomaly. Are you really just a kid?”

For the sake of keeping the peace, it’s probably better that I don’t tell me of my reincarnation. That’s not a thing anyone really needs to know, I don’t really want to be associated with that slick bastard anyway.

I warmly smile at her, not a fake one either.

“Yes, I’m just a child. A child of the orphanage, that will not change.”

“Mm~ I feel like you’re dodging the question but whatever. Let’s go.”

“Haha, sorry Miko, maybe someday I’ll tell you. Shall we go-”

As we were walking back to the orphanage something came into my sight. Something managed to freeze my entire body, as though I was paralyzed all over.

“Hmm? What’s wrong Morgant?”

Miko asked me, but I couldn’t answer, I was too stunned to.

What I saw was the figure of a woman. She had long, silky black hair and her stature was fairly short. She walked past us and disappeared into the corner. My body started to shake all over, my eyes were losing focus.

Her face was- it was a face that I had known for a very long time.

… Kyoko.

It was Kyoko!

That should’ve been impossible but I definitely saw her!

I tried running after her.

“Oi! Where are you going?!”

Miko tried to call out to me but my head was a jumbled mess, I didn’t even register what she said. I didn’t even care that this point. All I knew was that I had to go after her.

If it was just my imagination then so be it. If I was mistaking someone else for her then so be it, but I needed to know. I needed to confirm with my own eyes that it really was her.

I ran and ran, but I would always lose her behind a corner. Even though she was only walking I couldn’t even catch up to her with my running. Curse this pitiful body of mine! I needed to get just a little closer!

My body, even though it was a completely different body to my original self, it remembered. Her touch, her smell, the warmth of her skin and her silky hair running through my fingers as I stroke them.

I wanted to tell her!

At that airport, I wanted to tell her that I loved her dearly and that I wanted to stay behind.

I wanted to tell her that I was sorry for not listening to her.

I wanted to tell her that I was sorry for making her sad.

I wanted to tell her that I was sorry for leaving her all on her own.

I wanted to tell her!

I kept running and running.

I don’t know how long I’ve actually been running but I could feel my body start to lose breath. My vision was being blurred from the fatigue. This was pathetic, but I continued onwards to her.

There was no way I would lose sight of her again.

After a while she finally stopped.

In front of a large cliff overseeing the ocean. Her hair jet black hair swaying by the salty ocean air. She looked vacantly out towards the never ending sea as though she was looking for a purpose.

She then turned towards me and stared into my eyes.

It was Kyoko! It really was her.

There was no way I could mistake her for someone else.

Slowly I approached her.

As I did she smiled at me, waiting for me to get closer.

I walked a little faster and soon I was running towards her.

However, as I got a little too close she started to walk backwards to the edge of the cliff. I froze in place.

“No!”

I shouted out. I didn’t want to lose her again, why was she edging herself closer to the cliff?

I took a slow step towards her and she mimicked by edging back.

“Kyoko, stop! Please!”

I shouted but she would not listen. She simply smiled back and took one more step to the edge of the cliff. Another step and she will fall down. I didn’t know what to do and just stood there miserably watching her.

My heart felt like it was about to collapse on itself.

“Come.”

She whispered to me. An enchanting smile, I couldn’t resist. She finally took another step and fell with her back turned away from the cliff. Even then her smile did not break.

“No!”

I ran and jumped after her, when I finally realized it, she was nowhere to be seen. Her figure had disappeared, it was now only me that was plummeting to my death.

Why?

Was this retribution? For leaving her behind?

If it was then I will gladly accept it.

I closed my eyes and braced myself for death. However it never came.

Someone had caught be just as I was about to fall.

A familiar scent came to me. A womanly, motherly scent.

When I opened my eyes I could see the figure of a familiar silver haired wolf. Miko had caught me just in time.

“What the hell are you doing?”

How many times has this been? 2 or 3 times that I’ve been saved by Miko? Haha, I’m just the worst aren’t I? I keep causing unnecessary trouble for her. If she keeps this up I might even fall for her.

Tears rushed down the side of my face as I embraced her.

She was perplexed at first but embraced me back.

I don’t know why Kyoko appeared there, or if it even was her. Perhaps it was just a figment of my imagination, a construction of my own guilt for that time I left her alone at the airport.

Perhaps it was her spirit that was trying to get revenge on me. I don’t know.

At the very least, I wanted to at least tell her good bye.

PART THREE

That night, memories of the time on Earth came back to haunt me.

This had never happened to me since I’ve came to this world. This was probably due to what had happened in the afternoon.

The scene at the airport constantly replays in my head, taunting me, blaming me. Driving me insane.

Don’t go.”

Her small slender figure shaking as I told her I would be back.

The way she shook her head as tears fell down her face.

I could just hear her voice at that time. I should’ve listened to her. Why was I so stupid? Why did I think that my job was more important than her?

Did I not learn from the time with my mother? My own mother who I couldn’t be with at the hour of her death because of my god damned job. I did the exact same thing with Kyoko.

When I think about it like that I feel like tearing out my own hair of my own stupidity.

I couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed and just stood leaned next to the window. Like every night there is an ominous red moon floating over the horizon. It is a malicious shade of red, almost like blood.

Normally it would simply be a gentle shade of pink, but today it almost seemed to blame me.

It wasn’t just that one memory. All my memories with the time I’ve spent with Kyoko started to flood back to me.

Her days while we were children. She used to be very active, in some ways she was like Alice.

Her time during school, she was very assertive. The way she handled things were like Miko, she would always do and say as she wanted.

The time when we were adults, she had become much more mellow. It was almost like she lived her life in backwards, but at the same time she was a wonderful adult. Only to me she would act like a child, a soft cute child, like Celina.

I don’t know what I can do to make it up to her, I’m not even sure I can at this point, we’re more than 17 billion years apart. I haven’t forgotten, this world isn’t as simple as a ‘parallel world’. It’s a recreation of the universe in the future. As absurd as that concept may sound I have to accept it as truth. At this point not even her atoms remain.

The only thing that remains is memories of her within me.

PART FOUR

“Are you feeling okay?”

During out break time I was back at our ‘secret’ hiding spot with the children. Alice and Celina were talking about something by themselves so I was just sitting next to Ren.

He asked if I was feeling okay. Was I feeling okay? Probably not but I can’t tell that to a child, now can I?

“Yes, I’m just a little tired, I wasn’t able to get much sleep yesterday.”

I replied with a smile. It wasn’t particularly a lie either, I could feel bags forming under my eyes. That wasn’t good, if Diana finds out she will become fussy, I don’t really want to trouble her either.

“Hmm, you should go to sleep then.”

“That isn’t proper, we must sleep during the allocated time otherwise our growths will be stunted, but I guess I don’t have the right to say that.”

I noticed Ren was acting a little odd lately. He would always be tinkering with machines when we got together but lately he’s been distracted a bit. Actually I know the reason. Every time we meet he’s been staring at Celina, from a distance where she wouldn’t notice, mind you.

‘Ah, youth’. I thought to myself. I got a little chuckle out of it.

“What are you laughing at?”

Ren asks me.

“Nothing really. Do you have something you want to talk about?”

I ask. He hesitates a bit but decides to open his mouth. It seems that he sees me as the leader of this small group so he puts trust in me and often asks for advice.

“Actually…”

He starts but trails off.

“‘Actually’?”

I parrot, prompting him to continue.

“It, it’s about Celina.”

“Yes?”

“F, forget it!”

Come now, children should be bold with their wants and desires! I do understand his hesitation though, children at this age just can’t be honest with themselves huh?

“That you like her?”

“?!”

He double takes.

“H, how did you? Ah, never mind, you know everything after all.”

“Of course that’s not true.”

But I do know how to read people, it’s a skill I picked up during my businessman days, actually I didn’t even need it for this but it just made it easier.

“Anyway! Since you know you have to help me! Ah, but Celina likes you more.”

He brings himself up only to fall down again. This kind of things happen, though I do think that since his young this sort of thing shouldn’t bother him too much.

As for Celina, obviously I have noticed but the feeling she has for me is just something she picked up because of her circumstances. To some extent even Alice has them.

It’s not love, but a longing for a family. To them my actions may resemble their father’s, not surprising considering my actual age. It was only because I filled in that gap that I have their attention.

“I don’t think that quite it.”

I tell him.

“What are you saying, it’s obvious even to me that she likes you!”

I give a weighty smile.

“Even if that were true I couldn’t make her happy. Well, I don’t think you should worry about it too much, we’re still kids anyway. In the future her feelings are bound to change, so don’t be so glum like that.”

He looks at me and thinks about my words. He then nods.

“Okay, if Morgant says so then it must be true. Thanks.”

I mess up his hair a little.

“Yeah, that’s the spirit.”

The same dream came back to me for tonight as well. I could see Kyoko’s shaking figure as I left her behind at the airport.

Don’t go.”

I echoed through my mind over and over.

Don’t go.”

Don’t go.”

Don’t go.”

Don’t go.”

Don’t go.”

The most pathetic thing was that I couldn’t fight the voices.

If this was my retribution for leaving her back there then there was nothing I could do about it. Or perhaps I was going crazy, that does seem the most logical.

Even if it is like this, that I can hear her voice is somewhat comforting. Still, I couldn’t sleep, the guilt and stress was too much thus I repeated my actions from yesterday and sat by the window peering out into a snow covered town. Dyed bright red from the malicious moon it was as though the entire town was covered in blood.

I simply stood there, peer out into the distance.

PART FIVE

A few days have passed the dreams have started. Actually I’m not even sure how much time has passed, it could’ve only been a few days or a week or a month. I’m losing track of time.

I’ve only been able to sleep a few minutes each day. Not nearly enough, I know but I can’t help it, the dreams keep returning.

I must look considerable worn out, the other children give me sympathetic looks. I’ve managed to avoid Miko’s or Diana’s sight so I don’t think they know.

“Are you alright Morgant? You seem even more restless than yesterday.”

Ren asks me. I return with a forced smile and answer.

“… Yeah, I’m fine.”

No, I’m not fine, how could I be?

“***, ***?”

I think I hear something in the distance but I can’t hear it properly. My brain is too worn out to make the sound into a more coherent format.

“***!”

“gant!”

“Morgant!”

I suddenly hear Alice’s voice. I slowly turn my head towards her, she has a worried look on her face.

“Yes?”

I ask.

“You don’t look good, should I go call for Miko or Diana?”

“No, I’m quite fine. Just let me sit down for a moment.”

As I sit down and the children hurdle around me I feel the background start fading once more. It’s similar to the times I’m placed in that white void, I feel completely disoriented.

“***, *** ***.”

“***.”

I can hear something. The children are most likely talking about something.

“***?”

A question is posed to me.

“… Yeah.”

I half-heartedly answer, not know what the question was even about.

Don’t go.”

Kyoko’s voice rings in my head again. It’s not even the night but I can hear her voice. I give myself a defeated chuckle.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry Kyoko… Forgive me.”

I say to myself out aloud. Tears roll down the side of my face. This is truly pathetic; a grown man crying like a child. Alas I cannot help myself, the tears do not stop.

Diana comes to me and places her hand on my back. I think one of the children went to go get her.

‘How unnecessary’, I thought.

“Morgant, how are you feeling?”

Diana asks with that alluring voice of hers. I lift my head to see her furrowed brows.

Wiping the tears off my face I give her a smile.

“It’s okay, I’m fine now.”

“No you’re not, stop being a brat and tell us what’s wrong!”

That didn’t sound right, Diana wouldn’t say that. I was right, it was Miko who said it.

“No, I’m okay now.”

“You’re obviously not! You have bags under your eyes and you look horrible. What’s wrong with you?”

Hahaha. Indeed, what’s wrong with me? I want to know that as well, why am I feeling like this after all this time? It’s been 5 years so why?

“I don’t know.”

“Huh? What’s that supposed to mean? If you don’t tell us properly we can’t help you.”

Annoying.

“I said I’m fine. I don’t need help.”

“You think we can back off knowing you look like crap?!”

“I don’t need your help! I never asked for it! Stop bothering me!”

I lashed out at her. There was total silence in the room, everyone shocked at my outburst.

I let the feelings of guilt of what I just said to Miko sink in, the woman who had helped me at the expense of her own safety, and I lashed out like that. I really feel like trash at the moment.

Miko’s at fault too, she’s just way too nice and doesn’t give me space. That part of her, I don’t dislike but I right now isn’t what I need.

I slowly stood up from my seat and started to walk out of the room.

“Where are you going?”

Miko asks. I think she shook a little from my sudden outburst since normally she would just stop me without asking.

“I just want some fresh air.”

I leave the orphanage and wander around the snow. I glance at the forest that I usually frequented and shake my head.

“No, I promised I wouldn’t.”

I’m not suicidal, I just need some time to think.

“Morgant!”

From behind me I could hear the voices of the children.

Alice, Ren and Celina, along with Miko came out to get me back. I really can’t escape them.

I give a hearty sigh and decide to return. As I walked closer to them, I noticed myself losing footsteps. Eventually I fell over, but since I landed on the soft snow there wasn’t any sort of pain, only the cold.

I felt my consciousness start fading. If I sleep here, it won’t be good, though since Miko is here I don’t think there’s too much problem. After not being able to rest for a good few weeks now I found myself sleeping for the first time.

However I’m not sure if I should call this sleep, it’s more that I fainted.

I closed my eyes and let the darkness overtake me.

“***!”

“***!”

I was hearing something again. It must be the children, they’re probably worried that I just fainted on the spot. I have to get up and reassure them that everything was fine, but my body felt extremely heavy.

“Ma!”

‘Ma’?

“Hiyama!”

At the sudden announcement of my name I quickly jerked up and as I did I heard the screeching of my chair scraping across the tile floor. Wait, what? Actually why was my original name called out?

As my eyes came back into focus I was stunned to find what I was actually seeing. What came into my vision was the view of a class full with students. Everyone wore the same white and navy blue uniform and was looking at me.

In front of me was a female teacher. I remember her, she was my math teacher during my high school years. She looked slightly irritated at me for some reason. No, that wasn’t the main problem right now, just what was going on?

“Hiyama! Who told you that you could sleep in class?”

When her nostalgic voice reverberated within my ears, I finally realized that this wasn’t a hallucination, this was happening for real.

This wasn’t [Eternis] where I had lived for the past 5 years. This was [Earth].

Next to me was the window. I peered outside and onto the track field down below where students were practicing their sports and running. It appeared as though they were practicing for some sort of athletic competition.

“You have some guts ignoring me like that.”

The female teacher rolled up her thin text book and bonked me over the head. It slightly hurt as I was brought to realize the current situation.

It hurt. Was this no dream?

Wait, then this means!

I scanned the room in a desperate manner and there! There she was.

[Shinohara Kyoko]. Sitting in the seat next to me and giving me a perplex look. She had the same black hair made into a ponytail. She was a little younger than the most recent iterations in my mind, but it was still her. It was still Kyoko.

Without even thinking I jumped at her and embraced her with my whole body.

The class and Kyoko devolved into confusion. Whispers were being shared and even the teacher didn’t know what to make of the situation. I could feel my own body shaking as I made contact with her body.

The smell, the sensation of her skin, her surprised voice. They were all the same.

“Eh?! K, Kyousuke?!”

She shouted out at my seemingly odd actions. I didn’t care at the moment, I just wanted to stay like this a little longer.

“What’s going on?”

The teacher asked.

“I, umm, I’m not sure. Wait, his temperature is high.”

“I, is that so? Then Shinohara, can you take him to the nurse’s office?”

“Yes.”

My temperature wasn’t high, Kyoko was just saying that as an excuse to leave the classroom.

Upon entry of the nurse’s office the thin smell of medication entered my nose prompting me to cough. There were no such experiences in [Eternis] so this really drew me back into this world.

There weren’t any available seats so I was sat down on the edge of the bed. Kyoko placed her hands on my forehead to see if I really had a temperature, after confirming that I did not she gave a relieved smile.

I simply stared at her the whole time.

She then sat next to me. I guess she was expecting some sort of explanation for what I did during class. Honestly I don’t know what came over me, no I still don’t know what is coming over me because all I want to do is just push her down.

Even now I’m continuing to fight the urge. She wasn’t the same Kyoko I left behind at the airport but she was also Kyoko. Her slender body, her collar bones protruding; shaping out from under her uniform, her silky black hair, her deep brown eyes, her pink lips.

A high schooler Kyoko. She’s just too cute. I started blushing pathetically like some schoolgirl so I covered my face.

“Are you okay Kyousuke?”

I noticed that on my face there were glasses. I used to wear them from a young age, but I never did as Morgant Fallon. It was an odd feeling to have to wear them again.

“Kyoko…”

I called out.

“What is it Kyousuke? You’re acting weird today.”

“Is it really you Kyoko?”

“Well of course, who else would I be?”

I moved my hands closer to her face. My hands were ice cold, almost as though they were the hands of a dead man. When I touched her face she flinched from the cold.

I felt the warmth of her skin on my hands.

“K, Kyousuke?”

[Hiyama Kyousuke]. After so long, I was not used to that name, but I knew that this was my real name. Am I really back to my original world?

The sensation of her face on my hands and the smell of the room. They were all real to me right now. Had everything just been a dream?

Maybe there was no [Eternis]. Maybe there was no mad god going on about the destruction of the world. Maybe there was no demon lord.

Just maybe…

“Kyoko…”

Timidly I called out her name.

“What’s wrong?”

“Will you…”

“‘Will I’?”

“Will you marry me?”

“Eh?!”

She jumps up from the back in surprise. Her lips are moving but no sounds come out, it’s not surprising that she would be shocked after hearing that kind of sudden proposal, anyone would if their childhood friend suddenly asked to marry.

Just what am I doing?

However to me it’s different. Not a single day had gone by in that other world where I didn’t constantly think of the life I could’ve had with her. I really wanted to marry her, to seal the deal and make her truly mine. I couldn’t bear to think of the thought that maybe someone else could make her happy.

I wanted to have her, to posses her. Make her say that she was mine and only mine.

I am obsessed with her, but that was my own form of love towards her and I won’t let anyone say otherwise. Yet even with that kind of conviction, why was I so stupid enough to leave her? What kind of idiot am I?

“U, umm. Things like marriage, I’m happy you asked me but I think it’s too soon to think about you know? Besides! You didn’t even ask me out yet, aren’t you skipping one step ahead?!”

Meekly starting off she regained her usual vigour and composure. Kyoko was this kind of person all along, she was loud and annoying but assertive and honest.

“I see, you’re right sorry for the odd display right now.”

“N, no. it’s fine.”

During my high school years I didn’t even notice her. No, that isn’t quite right, I just ignored her. I put my focus on my studies and other girls. She started drifting apart from me during these years and I truly felt that something was missing in my life at this point. I didn’t like that she was seeing other men.

What about now? Is she going out with anyone now?

No, from that reaction this was the time before she moved onto other people. Does that mean I was given another chance to redo everything?

Or was this just another delusion of mine?

I just don’t know what’s what anymore.

We stayed in the nurse’s office in each other’s company for a good few hours. Eventually school had ended and the nostalgic tone of the afternoon bell had come to my ears. It had been over two decades since I’ve heard them but I can recall them like it was yesterday.

“Shall we go home?”

Without even waiting for my reply Kyoko stood up and pulled me with her.

The classroom had become vacant. The orange light of the setting sun came pouring into the room dying everything in that tinted color. I slowly walked to my desk and placed my hands on it. This place that I had been sitting in for three years, I remember it so dearly.

“Are you done packing up?”

She asked.

“Yeah…”

“Good, let’s go I’m starving.”

Her ability to return to a state of normalcy after I had even proposed to her was staggering. Normal people would be wracking their brains over this but she decided to give me an answer and return to normal as quickly as possible.

She reminds me of Miko. Even after the horrible things I do to her, she’s always there for me when I need it. I want to apologize to her as well.

I took a moment to drink it all in. the scenery and place. The buildings, cares and modern conveniences. They did not exist in that other world, they had equivalents but not the same things.

“What’s wrong? You’ve been spacing out so much today, Kyousuke.”

“Did I seem like that? I’m sorry.”

“You’re so weird. Whatever, let’s go home!”

As we were about to leave through the front gate a particular car pulled up before us. It was a red Porsche 911.

My eyes widened, it was a car that was familiar to me. My heart started to beat faster, angrily and violently. I wanted to just scream out aloud, because I knew who it was behind that wheel.

PART SIX

-SHINOHARA KYOKO’S SIDE-

I couldn’t believe my own eyes.

Kyousuke was being chewed out by the teacher for sleeping in class. THAT Kyousuke! The slimy, arrogant… childhood friend of mine. The always proper student council president and Kendo club’s captain was sleeping in class.

As I looked around everyone else had the same expressions and shock as me. No one would believe that he was sleeping in class; it was unthinkable!

Right now he was acting a little odd. He was looking around the classroom in confusion. A grim expression came on his face after a few seconds. Was he that scared of being labelled a s hypocrite?

He noticed me who was sitting right beside him and then something unbelievable happened!

He suddenly hugged me!

Not only myself but the entire class and even the teacher was flabbergasted at his actions.

“Eh?! K, Kyousuke?!”

I called out timidly. Why did he suddenly hug me? What?

“What’s going on?”

The teacher looked at me with a complicated face. She didn’t know what was going on and how to deal with this situation. It almost seemed like she was begging me to do something about him with her eyes.

“I, umm, I’m not sure. Wait, his temperature is high.”

Almost breathing a sigh of relief she told me to take him to the nurse’s office.

I sat him down and measured his temperature. He seemed normal but somewhat down right now. He had been staring at me the entire time, what? Was there something on my face?

“Will you marry me?”

When those words came out of his mouth a mixture of happiness and surprise overtook me. I instantly jumped off the bed and felt my face blush madly red.

D, did he just say that?!

Marriage as in that thing right? When a man and a woman agree to live together?! That thing?! The thing people do for taxation purposes?! No, never mind that last part.

But EH?!

Was he being serious? His face didn’t seem like he was joking, it almost looked like he was desperate.

I didn’t even think about marriage, heck I didn’t even know which collage I was going to go to. He didn’t even ask me out, he went straight for marriage, do people normally do that? Still, since he was asking me so seriously I had to answer him properly.

“U, umm. Things like marriage, I’m happy you asked me but I think it’s too soon to think about you know? Besides! You didn’t even ask me out yet, aren’t you skipping one step ahead?!”

“I see, you’re right sorry for the odd display right now.”

“N, no. it’s fine.”

I was a little bit happy so I’ll forgive him with that. Still, I can’t believe he asked me such a thing so out of the blue.

Since I was a bit worried about his odd behaviour I decided to stay with him in the nurse’s office. Unfortunately nothing happened. Eh? Did I say unfortunately?

After the school bell rang it was time to go. We packed our stuff and was leaving the school when a red car pulled up outside the gates.

For some reason Kyousuke’s body tensed up. He stared at the car and who came out.

He was a handsome looking man, most likely in his early thirties. He had straight black hair that was gelled back and wore thin framed glasses. The black business suit that he was wearing looked extremely expensive.

If I had to say, his ambiance was a bit reminiscent of Kyousuke’s. That extremely arrogant and self-important posture especially. The man started to walk towards us.

Wait, could he be some yakuza boss? That would explain why Kyousuke was so scared. I moved slightly forward to hid him.

The man was tall, a bit taller than Kyousuke who was a head taller than me.

The man pushed up his glasses in an irritated tone. Even that habit was similar to Kyousuke’s.

He sighed.

He moved past me and grabbed Kyousuke by the collar violently and glared at him maliciously. I tried to pry him away from Kyousuke but the man was so strong. Even though I’m by no means weak, I do various sports activities and Karate, but just touching this man’s arms I could feel the pressure.

“What are you doing?! Let go of him! I’ll call the cops!”

Not being able to do anything else I just yelled at him. He eyed me for a second and let go of Kyousuke, once more pushing up his glasses.

“You’re pathetic.”

“Yeah? Fuck you.”

He kicked Kyousuke across the face and against his red car. A loud thud sound could be heard as he was smashed back.

“What did you do that for?!”

I screamed at him. Just what was going on? From that exchange just now it seemed like they knew each other. I couldn’t think that Kyousuke would know such a scary person.

Suddenly he reached out his hands towards me. Reflexively I flinched and braced myself. However what he did was not assault me but pat me on my head.

I was very confused but then I felt an extremely familiar sensation. I looked back at the man and he looked at me gently. This sensation was too similar to how Kyousuke sometimes pats me on my head, but why?

He then turned his gaze towards Kyousuke who was bleeding from his mouth. I quickly ran up to him and tried to clean his wounds.

“You’re going to give up again? What happened to all that conviction you had just a few days ago?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Isn’t it time for you to stop living in a fantasy land, old man?”

They started bantering, I’ve never seen Kyousuke so irritated like this. His words held no power behind them and were just insults at best.

The man pushed Kyousuke’s head against the car with his foot.

“What?!”

I unintentionally screamed out. I tried to remove his foot. However Kyousuke didn’t seem to mind having been treated like this. Why?! He was being assault and all he was doing was insulting the man and not really retaliating.

He was being treated like a bug. So why?!

He was the kendo-club’s president so it would be simple to fight back, but he didn’t.

“They’re waiting for you to come back. Instead of dawdling around in this make-believe world it’s time for you to face reality.”

“You’re the one who should face reality! This is reality! This is my reality! This is all I’ve ever wanted, instead of some screwed up fantasy world all I ever wanted was to live a happy life with Kyoko!”

He lifts his foot.

I wish someone could give me some context.

“I get it. This place has everything that you’ve ever wanted. Instead of confronting an uncertain future you think it’s better to be here. Sure, I understand but this place isn’t where you belong.”

“As if you’d know that! You fucked up! You fucked up once more before, so stop dumping all your problems onto me! You let her go at that airport! You decided to leave!”

The man freezes in place as he lets the words Kyousuke say sink into him. He has a guilty face as he once more pushes up his glasses.

“I don’t need a ghost to tell me what I do is right or wrong.”

Kyousuke says. He then grabs my hand and walks away, leaving the man to ponder at his words.

We arrived at a small park on our way back home. It was a park that we used to play around a lot when we were younger. Just how many years had it been since I was here?

Kyousuke’s sitting on one of the benches. I try again to clean his wounds. I didn’t have any bandages so I used some of the tissue that was in my bag.

“Sorry you had to see that.”

Kyousuke apologizes.

“I don’t want an apology, I want to know what’s going on. Who was that man? Why did he hurt you like that? And why didn’t you do anything?”

He gives me a defeated laugh, scoffing at himself pathetically.

“He’s… someone I’ve known for a long time.”

“That’s impossible, I’ve known you the longest and I’ve never seen that man.”

“It’s fine if you don’t get it. He’s the devil incarnate.”

“I don’t get what you’re saying, but you’re not going to explain anything to me aren’t you?”

“… Sorry.”

“! Kyousuke you idiot! Fine, I don’t care anymore!”

I decide to run out on him. If he’s going to be like that then I won’t care anymore either!”

PART SEVEN

-HIYAMA KYOUSUKE’S SIDE-

Some time had passed since Kyoko left. I was feeling really horrible right now and the left side of my face throbbed. Dammit, why was that guy even here? I’m not Morgant right now so why?

I slowly walk myself back to my house. The house that I had grown up in.

Next door is Kyoko’s house. I can see her staring down at me from her room on the second floor. When our eyes meet she closes her blinds.

I guess I deserved that one.

Standing in front of me is a two storey house. I walk past the fence and see the front lawn. In it are the flowers and vegetable that my mother used to grow.

When I open the door I’m greeted by a cheerful voice.

“Welcome back, brother! What happened to your face?”

It’s my younger brother, [Hiyama Haruto]. He’s only in grade school at this age. I crouch down and greet him. He notices the bruises on my face from my earlier fight with myself.

“I’m back, I just fell down. How’s mother?”

“She’s making dinner.”

“I see.”

A familiar scent comes to me as I walk down the hallways. I glance into the living room which is connected to the kitchen. The TV is turned on, looks like Haruto was watching it and mother is cooking some sort of stew.

I can hear her audibly humming to herself. At the time I was in high school she was in her 40s.

“Hahaha… God.”

I can almost feel myself cry. Right now I was only a few years younger than her. 32 years and another 5 in Eternis. 37.

This was absurd.

I walked into the kitchen. Wearing an apron is the figure that I’ve always wanted to see. The woman that I was unable to meet even on her deathbed. Her long black hair is tied up into a ponytail as to prevent it from getting in the way of her cooking.

The homely aura that she has around her is unbeatable.

“Mother…”

I call out softly. I don’t even know if I have the right to call her that anymore.

When she notices my voice she turns around gracefully and offers me a smile. She doesn’t have the wrinkles that she had when she was at in the hospital. She has more energy in her than what I remember of her.

“Ah, Kyousuke you’re back. Hmm? What’s with those bruises on her face?”

She’s in a panic and runs to the closet to find some sort of first aid kit. She comes back with some sort of cream based product and smears it all over my wounds. It’s cold.

Cold, but my mother’s hands are warm.

Ah, I see now. This must be how Lina felt when she met her mother.

“What’s wrong Kyousuke? You’re shaking, are you cold? Should I get your jumper?”

I shake my head. I simply embrace her as I did with Kyoko before. She doesn’t know how to react but accepts it regardless.

“I’m sorry.”

“Eh? What for? Ah, did you get into a fight? Is that how you got those bruises?”

I shake my head.

“I’m sorry.”

I always wanted to tell her.

The image of Rio, Morgant’s mother comes to my mind. I’m the son who lost two mothers and I couldn’t be there for either during their passing. I must be the worst son.

I was unable to accept Rio’s love properly, even though I did love her too. I did consider her the mother of Morgant Fallon, but I could not connect the dots and see her as my mother. It’s only now that I can finally say that she too was my mother. All I can do is hope she forgives me from wherever she is.

I spend the night at my house. The warm feeling of family comes back to me.

I was unable to sleep but not because of my nightmares, but because I was too happy to see my family again. I even got to sleep with Haruto. I really have to apologize to him too.

The next day I dress up back into my school uniform, though I already have a feeling that I won’t be going.

I glance off in the distance and I can see a red Porsche.

Haruto and I stand in front of the door as my mother sees us leave.

“Mother. I’m sorry for everything. I know I haven’t been the best son but I do truly think you are an amazing woman. I really do love you.”

“What’s going on with you today?”

“It’s nothing, I really hope you can forgive me someday.”

She has a perplexed face. I crouch down to Haruto. He tilts his head waiting for me to speak.

“Haruto, you have to be strong okay? For mother’s sake.”

He doesn’t get it but he nods his head.

“I will!”

“That’s good. You have to make her happy. Both for you and your future partner.”

Leaving behind those words I leave the house. Mother goes back in and Haruto goes to school in a different direction.

I walk up the car and he’s standing there, waiting for me. He doesn’t seem to irritated from what I said yesterday, well, this guy was always like this anyway.

“Hmph, it seems like you’ve already made up your mind without me having to remind you.”

“I’m old enough.”

“Yeah, you’re an old man.”

I get the feeling that once I enter his car everything will turn back to the way it was supposed to. I will be back at the orphanage and Miko and the others will be huddling around me after I’ve fainted.

I take one last breath of the air I remember and slowly open the car door.

“Wait!”

I hear a desperate voice from behind me.

I turn around to see Kyoko running towards me. She looks incredibly distraught, almost like she’s about to cry.

I take a glance at my other self, he sighs and says I have five minutes.

Thanks.

“Kyoko I-”

Before I could even speak She runs to me and embraces me.

“Where are you going?!”

I don’t know how but it looks like she’s realized that I was going somewhere. Somewhere far away where I can never see her again.

“Kyoko… I’m sorry. I want to talk to you more, to be with you more and spend my days with you.”

“Then why are you leaving?!”

I can see tears dripping down her eyes as she looks up at me, still clinging onto me.

“Kyoko… there is somewhere else I have to be. People are waiting for me. Many people need my help.”

“I don’t get it! I don’t! You never told me anything! So why are you leaving?!”

I wish I could explain it to her in a way that made sense.

Alas I can’t. The only thing I can do is this.

I meet my lips with hers. Her eyes widen but she doesn’t resist. I truly do love her, I wish I could bring her with me but that wouldn’t be right.

“Sorry Kyoko. I’ll always love you.”

She looks at me with teary eyes.

This scene is reminiscent of the time I really left her. She shakes her head like back then. My heart starts to waver but I know what I have to do. I steel myself.

“Will you come back?”

“… No.”

“…”

“Sorry.”

She gently pushes me away and turns her back.

“I love you too Kyousuke. I always did and I always will. If you have to go, then I’d rather send you off with a smile.”

She turns around and gives me a smile. It’s a horrible smile, I can see her resisting the urge to cry again. She always was a cry baby. She takes something out of her pocket.

It’s a hairpin with a cute skull and crossbones on it. She did like these kinds of things too, huh.

“Good bye… Kyoko.”

“Good bye… Kyousuke.”

PART EIGHT

As I enter the car I’m overtaken by a great white void. The one that I always end up in.

My body returned to Morgant Fallon. Well, this is how it should be and standing in front of me is myself as usual.

He scoffs at me arrogantly.

“What was that for?”

“Nothing. It’s just like you said, I do regret leaving her behind. I’ve been forcing that on you.”

“Did you just realize that now? You bastard.”

“Well things will become difficult from now on.”

“Obviously.”

“And you have to live with the consequences of your choices.”

“Of course, because there are no ‘correct’ choices, only choices with consequences. I’m fully prepared now.”

“I see, well we’ll leave it at that for now.”

“Hmph, yeah. Well, thanks for bringing me back.”

He scoffs once more.

PART NINE

When I come to I’m in my bed. Huddling around it are the children, Miko and Diana. They all have worried faces but are somewhat relieved after I awoke.

“Morgant!”

Alice jumps onto me and hugs me. Seeing that Celina does the same. Although he’s a bit embarrassed Ren also jumps onto me.

“Oh, sorry guys. I made you worry needlessly.”

I turn my gaze filled with guilt towards Miko and Diana. Diana greets me with a soft smile while Miko always has her trademark perma-frown.

“Sorry.”

I apologize.

“As long as you’re okay that’s all that matters.”

Diana says to me kindly.

“Thank you. How long was I out for?”

“You’ve been sleeping for 2 weeks.”

Miko says to me. 2 weeks, it really only felt like a few hours to me but I suppose that’s how dreams work.

After a while the children fall asleep on my bed. From what I heard from Diana they’ve been sleeping next to be for the past 2 weeks. In such a small bed I’m impressed.

I get out of bed without them waking up and leave for downstairs with Diana and Miko. All of the other orphanage children are sleeping at this time now, since I’ve been in slumber for 2 weeks my body feels heavy but I can’t sleep now.

I noticed that something was in my pocket. When I took it out it was the hairclip that I received from Kyoko from within my dreams. I tightly grasped it. I will forever keep this dear to my heart.

Swearing to myself I placed it back into my pocket.

I peer out the window and the blood red moon has turned back into the soft pinkish color.

I notice one more thing outside. The figure of a woman. Kyoko…

However, I know it isn’t her, but someone else. It’s probably them that was the cause of my nightmares.

She’s calling to me.

When I stand up Miko turns to me.

I smile back as always.

“Do you want to come with me?”

I ask.

“Where?”

“To the perpetrator of everything of course.”

She gives me a sigh. I can’t blame her, everywhere I go trouble is about.

“Fine.”

This time the figure of Kyoko did not run away. She simply stood there gazing back at me.

Miko seemed to have noticed the woman as well. I thought it might be an apparition or a ghost but, no wait Miko is a [shaman]. So is this really another ghost?

The figure of Kyoko smiles darkly.

“You’ve been of great entertainment to me.”

‘Entertainment’ she says, I don’t like that she’s using Kyoko’s face to say things like that.

“Who are you?”

“[Pardon me, I’ve forgotten I was still in my disguise.]”

She spoke, but in English.

As she says a great oily shadow surrounds her. Entombs her and after a few seconds it dissipates leaving behind a different figure.

A dark skinned man. He stands tall at almost 2.4 meters. His naked from the waist up revealing his incredibly buff muscles and abs. He has bright orange colored irises that seem to stare back at me. On his head is an golden pschent. Perfect would be an understatement to his description.

His mere presence alone sent shivers down my spine. It was immense, it was worse than the time I was talking to Ciocal in his true form. From beneath him black shadows growled towards me.

It almost appeared as though reality was warping around him, it was impossible grasp his actual location, it appeared as though he was really close to me but at the same time it looked like he was far away. This logic defying being looked at me with his glowing golden/orange eyes.

I tried to focus myself and concentrated to see his title.

[?. Level ?, ?]

What the hell is this? Was my ability glitching out? I tried to ask her in English.

“[So? You going to tell me who you are?]”

“[Certainly. I am the servant of the Outer gods and the Great Old Ones.]”

“[You got to be shitting me… [Nyarlathotep].]”

“[Truly.]”

Miko stares between us, not knowing what language we were speaking.

“[For what purpose have you been tormenting me for?]”

“[My purpose has never changed since its inception. I did it simply because it amused me.]”

What am I some sort of TV show? My life isn’t for your own amusement.

“[What do you want from me?]”

“[I want a successor].”

“[What?]”

“[The Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones have all vanished. A cosmic collision that has left my empire to shambles. Thus ends the reason for my existence, yet I could not let my legacy die with me.]”

He’s talking about the collision of galaxies, right? No, in the first place to think that the Lovecraftian entities were real. Whatever, I don’t care anymore.

“[So you want me to take over. Is that it?]”

“[Correct. I’ve tested your resolve and believe you the one to continue our legacy.]”

So my dream about being back on earth was just his test. God dammit.

Then it came to me. The [Ankh]. I see, so that’s why I was having those nightmares.

“[So what? Do I get your powers or something?]”

“[You receive our entire legacy.]”

He drew closer to me in a flash of darkness. Before I could even register his actual location he was in front of me. With the body of a 5 year old a 2.4m tall man was a bit too large.

He grabbed my head and lifted me up. An excruciating pain went through my neck. In the next moment everything was engulfed in darkness.

I felt myself a sensation I’ve never felt before. The only way I could describe it was ‘flight’. As I opened my eyes a vast expansion of space peered endlessly out in front of me. I could see the stars in the distance, various gases and planets.

“Where am I?”

“You are at the heart of the cosmos. The greatest being was said to have lived here.”

If I’m recalling correctly he’s talking about [Azathoth], right?

“Your father?”

He nods. Azathoth was said to be the father of Nyarlathotep.

“You will fell a great pain, you may lose your sanity, but that to endure through that means to receive our legacy.”

I was caught off guard.

I was hurled through the space at great speeds. I felt as though my body was about to be ripped to shreds. During that time my head was becoming filled with images of unimaginable things.

The history of the universe. The rise and fall of the cosmic empire. All of the deaths and darkness. The eldritch abominations.

I’ve seen them all. I can never hope to describe or explain this in a manner that would be satisfactory but know that I was horrific beyond what any human should go through.

I vomited several times through me being hurled across space. My arms seemed to rip out from my shoulders. My legs from my hips. My head from my neck.

Just as suddenly as I was brought to this place I was brought back to reality. The slow falling snow fell down on my head.

“[Is it over]?”

As I say that everything went dark again. Motherfu- what now?

[System patch… 15%]

[System patch… 45%]

[System patch… 85%]

[System patch… complete]

[Custom Editor updated]

If I’m recalling correctly, TMAQI the robot back at Gladsheim said the [Custom Editor] was the name of this ability.

[Skill Evolution in progress… initializing… ]

Skill evolution?

[Life Drain] has successfully updated!

Adding [Avatar of Nyarlathotep] to skill menu

My [Life Drain] turned into a completely different skill. I pressed on the inspect tab next to it.

[Avatar of Nyarlathotep: Summon the avatar of the Dread God to siphon the health and sanity of enemies within the user’s radius. Afflicted targets will have their ability to differentiate between friend and foe disabled and will display erratic behaviour].

o… kay.

So this is a step up from [Life Drain]. I didn’t even know such a system existed.

Once more I was pulled back into reality.

Miko crouched down to see if I was unhurt and after confirming that I was indeed sighed. Sorry Miko.

[New Skill Developed: [Transformation – Black Pharaoh]

[Transforms the user into the [Black Pharaoh] granting increased strength, speed and dexterity].

Well, how generous of him.

I turned around to give my thanks for the lovely skills but Nyarlathotep was gone.

So I’ve become the successor to the Lovecraftian abominations.

I opened my [status menu] and noticed another ‘profession’ was added.

[Successor of the Cosmic Legacy]. I’m actually feeling quite good about this. It’s not every day that I get the chance to use the power of Lovecraftian abominations to do battle against Celtic and Norse gods.

Oh, this will be truly fun.

END REPORT

[Status Menu]

Morgant Fallon. Level 39

NECROMANCER/DEMON GENERAL/SUCCESSOR OF THE COSMIC LEGACY

Strength: 230 (155+75)

Dexterity: 60 (5+55)

Intelligence: 50 (5+45)

Insight: 100 (45+55)

[Status point: 10]

[Skill menu]

(AUGMENT) [Strike+]: Level 24

(ACTIVE) [Summon Skeleton Knight]: Level 19

(ACTIVE) [Transfer Life]: Level 19

(PASSIVE) [Life Force Sensory]: Level 50 (MAX)

(ACTIVE) [Avatar of Nyarlathotep]: Level 1

(ACTIVE) [Wither]: Level 24

(ACTIVE) [Decay]: Level 36

(AUGMENT) [Aura Field]: Level 23

(ACTIVE) [Soul Gambit]: Level 15

(PASSIVE) [Physical Damage Resistance]: Level 50 (MAX)

(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Lance]: Level 34

(ACTIVE) [Obsidian Shield]: Level 31

(ACTIVE) [Reanimate Dead]: Level 27

(AUGMENT) [Enchanting Voice]: Level 13

(PASSIVE) [Lord of Ghosts]: Level 12

(ACTIVE) [Phantasmal Maelstrom]: Level 17

(ACTIVE) [Transformation – Black Pharaoh]: Level 1

(Honestly I just wanted to introduce the [Skill Evolution] mechanic into this story. It didn’t feel right to just give it to the main character without some sort of remuneration. So I thought might as well tie it into the whole ‘character fights his inner demons’ shenanigans, and who better to reveal your innermost struggles than Nyarlathotep right? Also let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to see a battle between the horrific Lovecraftian abominations and Celtic/Norse gods?)

Ascension Rebirth - Conviction (Chapter 25)
Ascension Rebirth - The ancient apparition (Chapter 27)
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