Before the tutorial begins chapter 4

Chapter 4 – The Original Apocalypse Device Hymingreva-Albion (Part 2)


“—- In simpler terms, I will pay the price of the contract by facing all the Ultimas.”

Ultima. It is the general term for the most powerful spirits in the world of Danmagi.

Each Ultima represents a super-dimensional group with insane abilities and settings, such as the Dragon King who rules over all dragons, the embodiment of cosmic terror from ancient times, and the administrator of time who can freely manipulate space-time. They stand before players as the ultimate end-game content, often serving as super bosses throughout the series.

However, it has been discovered that even these formidable beings are incomplete.

“One thing we can say is that they become more powerful by encountering each other. …Hmm, describing it as becoming more powerful might be misleading. It’s more accurate to say that they move closer to completion. Even Ultimas are still in an incomplete state.”

These were the words spoken by the producer of Danmagi during a large-scale offline event.

The official revelation that Ultimas are incomplete and that they progress towards completion by encountering one another greatly excited the community at that time.

I remember those days when fan artists dreamed of an unseen perfect state, and their secondary creations spread all over the internet. I stayed up all night, captivated by their work. Even just reminiscing about those times ignites a sense of excitement within me.

But I digress. At this moment, there are three important factors to consider.

Firstly, the Ultimas in the story are incomplete.

Secondly, Ultimas move closer to completion by encountering one another.

Thirdly, I possess knowledge of the whereabouts and conditions for the appearance of all the Ultimas.

“So, once my sister recovers, I promise to assist you in your quest for completion. As an exceptional contractor, I will estimate your requirements, help meet the appearance conditions, and provide you with all the information about the Ultimas. This is the benefit of lending me your power. I assure you, I will offer a price worthy of saving a human life.”

“…………”

Hymingreva’s response to my proposal was silence.

An eerie silence that fills the pure white world.

It’s not indifference, I suppose. It’s impossible for her to feel nothing when she is face to face with a man who has unsealed and revealed the secrets of the Ultimas.

Is it suspicion? Or perhaps a careful examination of the information? I should remain silent here and not interrupt or worsen the impression.

“Understanding/Curiosity/Question. I report that my intelligence has shown considerable interest in the conditions you presented. However, at the same time, a new problem has been detected.”

“So, can I assume that you have something you want to ask?”

“Affirmative/Question. my intelligence asks you…”

The silver eyes of the white girl lock onto mine.

What I perceive from those clear gem-like eyes is a determination that does not tolerate lies or deception.

“Please provide the reason why you must help Shimizu Ayaka.”

I suppress the words that nearly slipped out, thinking it’s something obvious.

“…Just because I’m my sister’s brother doesn’t mean you’ll be convinced by that reason.”

“Affirmative/Incomprehensible. While Shimizu Kyoiichiro is Shimizu Ayaka’s brother, you are just a stranger borrowing Kyoiichiro’s body. Your actions to save her at the risk of your own life cannot be considered biological.”

Hymingreva’s counterargument was remarkably accurate.

In essence, what this hidden boss wants to convey is this:

It’s unreasonable for me, who became Ayaka’s brother just yesterday, to act like a little brother and engage in a life-or-death negotiation.

Seriously, that question is unfair.

I wish they could be more lenient about it, considering it’s a common trope in isekai stories.

However, since I was asked, I have to answer.

This is a negotiation. If I don’t convince the other party, I won’t get what I want.

“…Well, let me think. I can come up with three reasons right off the bat.”

I respond while extending my right index finger towards my ring finger, pointing it upward.

“One is for confirmation. As I mentioned earlier, Shimizu Kyoiichiro will die doing something stupid in the near future. I don’t know if that’s an unchangeable fate, so I’ll confirm it with my sister.”

I state it as dryly as possible.

Yes, in the main story of Danmagi, the Shimizu siblings are destined to die without fail.

Although the manner of their deaths may differ, the tragic ending of Shimizu’s life is the same in all routes.

The reason why we have to die like this is probably because of this person in front of us.

Hymingreva-Albion. A member of the world’s strongest spirit group, Ultima, and an antagonist closely related to the Shimizu family.

From a meta perspective, we are like sacrifices who die in order to trigger an event where the protagonist fights this person.

In fact, the Shimizu family is treated that way in the story.

Both my father and mother met their unfortunate demise in a cave-in accident several years ago.

Even my grandparents from both sides have also passed away. My only relative, my aunt, who I recently discovered was missing, was involved in a certain event mentioned in the main story. It goes without saying that my sister and I find ourselves in a similar predicament.

It’s truly an overwhelming curse that plagues the Shimizu family.

One would think that if there were no members of the Shimizu bloodline, the confrontation with Hymingreva would have never occurred in the first place. In that case, couldn’t they have simply altered the story’s setting itself? They could have made the Shimizu family unrelated ordinary people leading happy lives, with a slight modification to Hymingreva’s plot. That would have resolved everything! Eradicating an entire lineage just for the sake of fighting a hidden boss is utterly absurd!

Oh, sorry for digressing. The main point here is that I want you to understand that my sister and I are destined to die together. However, if we can somehow change the fate of one of us…

“To summarize, if you can prevent the death of Shimizu Ayaka, it will also ensure your own survival.”

“Ah, that explains why I also stand to gain something significant.”

“…”

The white-haired girl nodded silently, indicating that she wants me to continue.

“The second reason is highly personal… I have an immense love for this world.”

Dungeon Magia: The Great Spirit War. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this game has transformed my life. It was the first galge visual novel I played, and even after experiencing countless amazing games, I can confidently say it’s the best one. That’s Dungeon Magia. At that time, it saved me when I was feeling down for various reasons.

It taught me the greatness of otaku hobbies. It taught me the magnificence of otaku hobbies, revealing the joy of connecting with like-minded individuals and sharing our passions.

And then, unexpectedly, I found myself reborn into that very world.

I could meet my beloved characters in person and even indulge in homemade meals prepared with love.

As someone who lost their parents at a young age in the previous world, Ayaka, my sister’s hamburg steak brought tears of warmth and delight to my eyes. To receive a homemade meal from a character I admired so deeply was no small favor for an otaku like me.

“Otaku people are incredibly passionate. They willingly invest substantial amounts of money in game data and purchase merchandise adorned with illustrations of their favorite characters.”

Some may scoff and consider it foolishness.

Yes, it may indeed be foolish. To hell with conventional wisdom! What’s wrong with dedicating your life to your hobbies?

Crude? Immature? Let those fools bark all they want! I refuse to live a life where I have to pretend even about the things I love.

“They aren’t complete strangers, you know. They are cherished characters from beloved works. That person is currently in a life-threatening situation. If I don’t take a stand here, I won’t be able to forgive myself.”

Cost-effectiveness doesn’t apply to otaku.

If you think we base our actions solely on data or pieces of fabric, you couldn’t be more mistaken.

“Furthermore, otaku are impulsive. It wouldn’t be strange to find idiots who would risk their lives for a homemade dish from their favorite character.”

“Speechless. Are you suggesting that you would stake your life on the extension of your hobby preferences?”

“Absolutely.”

I declare from the depths of my heart.

A passionate and foolish otaku. I take pride in being just that.

“However, even I cannot make such a life-altering decision lightly. And that’s why there’s a third reason.”

Without hesitation, I present the third reason.

“To put it simply, this decision is not mine alone. It is the will to save my sister, which also emanates from the original owner of my body.”

Shimizu Kyōichirō.

The character form Danmagi tutorial, a pitiful mid-boss who couldn’t even become a lackey for the trash-tier scum.

To most players, he was nothing more than a comical character, and my own knowledge about him is limited to that extent.

However, now that I have been reborn as Kyōichirō in the world of Danmagi, various circumstances have come to light, leading to certain realizations.

Perhaps Kyōichirō had a deep desire to save his sister.

His actual sister, who was gradually weakening due to a curse.

He must have fought in his own way to find a means of saving her.

The fact that he had two low-level spirits under his command is undoubtedly the result of Kyōichirō’s efforts.

I believe that a man who defeated easily by the protagonist during the tutorial acquired those spirits through his struggles.

And now, I can somewhat comprehend why he randomly attacked the protagonists.

For players, it was an unexpected event, but from Kyōichirō’s perspective, one assumption becomes apparent and lingers in my thoughts.

[Hyahhaaaaaa! Bow down to my spirit arts!]

He attacked the protagonists because he sought the saint who stood by the protagonist’s side.

Bow down. In other words, it was a plea for surrender.

By attacking the protagonist’s party, where the saint was, he wanted to make them comply with his desires, even if it required forceful measures.

…Considering the circumstances, there is only one answer.

He must have intended to utilize the saint’s healing abilities, a cheat-like ability, to cure his sister.

“I don’t know how much of his essence still resides within me. But I can assert that this feeling, this determination, is not mine alone.”

As I express this, I grasp the true nature of the impulse surging from within me.

I want to save my sister.

I believe that this desire remained unchanged even in that despairing future.

“I don’t know why this transpired. However, now that I have been reborn as Shimizu Kyōichirō, I am determined to fulfill his wish. That’s what I firmly believe in at this moment.”

Confirmation, admiration, and impulse.

To put it succinctly, these are ordinary and natural motivations.

Yet, isn’t it true that every remarkable achievement begins with ordinary emotions?

There is no need to condemn it as abnormal or belittle it as commonplace.

The longing to live, the yearning to assist, the aspiration to fulfill—these accumulations of ordinary sentiments have led me to this juncture. And with pride in my heart for holding onto these beliefs, I proclaim to the concealed boss.

“Let me reiterate. Hymingreva, please lend us your power. We need your strength.”

My bow angle is precisely forty-five degrees, with creases meticulously formed.

After a few seconds of anticipation, expressing all the gratitude I can as a powerless individual, her composed voice resonates within the expanse of white.

“Understood. Your determination and will have been demonstrated. This sentient being acknowledges you as its provisional contractor.”

Surprise and joy well up within me simultaneously.

I did it… I did it, you bastard! I have successfully formed a contract with the most formidable hidden boss!

“Truly, is it real? Is it not some twist in a dream or a setup to raise our hopes and then shatter them?”

“No need to worry. By birthright, you are a [Dead End] blood relative. The ancient covenant has cleared the spiritual path between us. Furthermore, considering the significance of your own uniqueness and the directive to protect the [Dead End] bloodline, the contract is a necessary and fitting course of action.”

Although half of Hymingreva’s words were incomprehensible, one thing became crystal clear: she has acknowledged me as her contractor.

“Thank you, Hymingreva. And from this point onward, I will rely on you.”

“Understood. Yes. I shall be counting on you as well, Master.”

And so, the contract between the tutorial’s mid-boss and the mightiest hidden boss was sealed.

In some way or another, I have overcome the initial and greatest obstacle, defying this wretched fate.



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