Warning: There are a few graphic descriptions within this chapter, they shouldn’t be too bad but they do occur.
The solution that the goddess had thought of was simple.
If things went wrong because the goddess disappeared, then she would just need to make a new one!
To the goddess, this was a nice idea.
As such, the goddess began looking for a replacement.
Of course, the goddess looked for her replacement among humans. Since the ones that would be troubled by the goddess’s disappearance would be humans, it made sense that humans would be responsible for the problem.
Among the humans, the goddess picked out one person.
Sorry, but would you mind becoming my replacement in protecting the peace of this world?
To the chosen person, goddess’s words was felt like having water poured into one’s ears while sleeping , but to everyone else, it was a saving grace. “For the sake of the world. For the sake of mankind. I am sorry, but can I leave it to you.” Due to the expectations of those around, the chosen person stopped hesitating, and decided to accept the role.
However, there was one problem in having a replacement for the goddess.
The goddess was largely omnipotent, but every once in a while, there were things that even she could not do. For instance, she couldn’t create an existence that was at the same level as herself.
Being the goddess’s replacement didn’t mean that they could do everything like the goddess herself.
“Is there a way to fix this?” The goddess thought.
And so, the goddess decided to grant the her replacement one extra power.
It was one day in February, after New Year’s and Valentine’s Day had passed. As usual, Yuuki headed to the mansion, and opened the door to Sekai’s room.
“… Oh? That’s unusual.”
She was asleep. The owner of the room was sitting in a chair, her neck leaned back, eyes closed, and chest rising and falling with her breathing.
“Also… it stinks of alcohol.”
This was also very unusual. The smell of alcohol reached everywhere in the room, and every time a breath was taken the smell would stimulate the deepest parts of his nose. When taking note of his surroundings, many empty bottles could be seen lined up.
It was a parade of various types of hard alcohol. Judging by how the bottles weren’t cleaned up, the contents were probably emptied in a short amount of time. If you drank that much, your eyes would probably end up spinning.
Sekai woke up.
“Why are you here? Today shouldn’t be a day that you—no.” She muttered with her eyes still half open. It didn’t seem like she was sleep talking, her speaking was also normal. Seems like she wasn’t sleeping earlier and just had her eyes closed, or else, she was someone that just wakes up quickly. “Welcome. It’s fine if you make yourself at home.”
“Yeah. I will. For now, though, I’ll cleanup? At least, the empty bottles over there.”
“No. It’s fine.” She says, as she poured whiskey into an empty glass.
The amber liquid shimmered mysteriously against the setting sun as it moved around. In one gulp, she drank it all.
“Hey hey. Isn’t your pacing a little too fast?”
“Are you my guardian or something?”
“I’m asking because I’m worried for you.”
“It’s useless to worry. A goddess’s body won’t be harmed by something like this.”
“Didn’t you say that you were old and small?”
“…” Sekai had nothing to say in response to Yuuki’s teasing.
“What is it?”
“Did something bad happen?”
“It is not something you need to worry about.”
“So, something did happen.”
“…” Sekai stayed silent as she took a sip from her glass. She then gave a somewhat bitter smile as she clapped her cheeks lightly, “It seems that you have a misunderstanding, Yuuki. No, it’s probably my fault. I probably gave you a reason to make that misunderstanding.”
“Yuuki. Something bad happened, of course. But it was something inevitable.” She chewed on a chocolate cigarette and poured more alcohol down her throat, “After all, this world is filled with things I don’t like. I have no free will, I don’t get a bonus, nor do I have any freedom. Adding on to that, there is no one to support me, nor is there someone to take my place.”
“That’s a violation of the Labor Standards Act.”
“I know, right? Also, life isn’t like games, there is no end to it, you know? Indeed, doesn’t it seem to be something inevitable to you?”
“And that’s why your drinking?”
“That is correct. I must drink no matter what.” Saying that she gives him a wink.
It was innocent and lovable, a smile that would be worth protecting with your life. Yuuki’s heart throbbed.
However, he noticed.
He felt something that made him think that Sekai’s smile was forced. It wasn’t something bad, but it was obvious that she was trying to deceive, as if trying to hide something—like a mischievous child that acts nicely in front of other adults. That was what her smile felt like.
(Chie. What’s with her?) Yuuki was annoyed.
Sekai was hiding something, or rather, it was something else—ever since he met her, somewhere in his heart, an ominous feeling had piled up in his heart, building up until it was about to burst. Now, that irritation began to surface,
“That’s right. I’ll go ahead and make myself at home now.” Yuuki sat down on his own personal chair. “Actually, even if you asked me to leave, I wouldn’t be able to. The time for me to visit is always set, so I would be chased back by a certain maid, who really doesn’t hold back. I can’t really say that today is because of that, though.”
“I-in other words, it’s that, isn’t it? The manifestation of morning urges? A straightforward request of wanting my body? No, but taking that step might be a little too early don’t you think?”
“Don’t try to hide it from me, Sekai.” Yuuki didn’t play along with the goddess’s act. “Though, I haven’t really been listening carefully until now. Please tell me properly. I’ll listen.”
“…What is it exactly that you want to hear?”
“For one,” He stretched out his body, “I know that you like alcohol. After all, I’ve already seen you drinking many times with a satisfied expression. But you know, I didn’t know that you were such a heavy drinker. Well, I guess this is how you are normally, but it just so happened that I came on a day that you didn’t expect, and your normally hidden self was revealed to me.”
“Yeah. That was completely my failure.” Sekai complained with a bitter expression. “I usually refrain from drinking this much around you, but I just felt like it today. Knowing that I drink so much, you’re going to take back your proposal. Well, well, hiding things from you is so bothersome.”
“Don’t underestimate me idiot.” Yuuki wouldn’t accept it. “I have already been through some harsh times. As such, I can observe people pretty well. I won’t be fooled by such an obvious lie.”
“I haven’t told you a lie.”
“But you haven’t told the full truth either.”
“…What are dissatisfied with? What is it exactly that you want to know?”
“Everything of course, everything. The things you are hiding, the things you hid. All of it.”
“Then I’ll answer you.” She bit down on her chocolate cigarette and swallowed it in one gulp. Yuuki was like a curious child, burning their hand, as they tried to enter in on an adult conversation—that was what this seemed like. “As long as I can talk about it, I will. But if I don’t want to, I won’t talk about it. That is my decision, Yuuki.”
“Aren’t we a married couple?”
“It still hasn’t been long since we got married.”
“That’s true, but I don’t want our relationship to be superficial.”
“That’s a difference in perspective. Your way of thinking is different from me, who has lived for ten times longer than you have. The relationship that we have, isn’t even at the level where we can talk about whether it’s deep or shallow.”
Each argument that was made matched with another. The dialogue between Yuuki and Sekai promptly escalated.
“Then, let’s break up.” Yuuki went as far as to say that. “A divorce I say, a divorce. After all, we got married for no real reason. There isn’t anything that forces us to be married, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
Technically speaking, it was true.
However, as soon as it came out of his mouth, Yuuki regretted it. Still, he couldn’t stop. He knew or he believed that she would end up crying. And nothing feels worse for a guy than making a girl cry.
But despite that, he wanted to find out.
Yuuki had a feeling of frustration. An unfamiliar and impatient feeling of wanting to know something.
He had to know now, or else. Rather, he believed that it was essential for him to know.
But. The goddess’s reaction was different from what Yuuki had predicted.
“Then, after today, your duty is over.” She said.
She gave a bitter laugh as she continued. “I will not stop you from leaving. You should forget everything and return to your original life. That’s what I believe it should’ve been like from the start.”
It was like a married couple who had been together for decades choosing to divorce after having a serious discussion. That’s what her face looked like right now.
He wanted to match her reply. However, as expected, he could not give an immediate reaction.
“… Idiot.” Squeezing out his voice, Yuuki broke his silence. “Even if we accept it, the people around us will not. The Tsukumo organization won’t, Chiyo-san won’t. Most of all, I won’t.”
After saying that, he stood from his seat and left the room. He had a troubled smile on his face, even until the last moment as he closed the door to the goddess’s room.
“A fight is it? Such youth.” Without him needing to find her, Chiyo came calling from the other side. There she was, the maid, Chiyo-san, sweeping the front steps with a broom, “Between girls and guys, I feel that fights are common. However, do not trouble my mistress’s heart too much, I hope you will keep that in mind.”
“… Were you peeking on us?”
“It is as clear as the sound from a ringing bell. If you make a face like that, it is very clear to see.”
She returned a smile.
As usual, she was a difficult maid to deal with, but he still took up the offer when she asked “How about a cup of tea?”. There were still many things that Yuuki wanted to talk about.
“You won’t hear anything by trying to talk to me. I have nothing to say.” While brewing some Assam tea, Chiyo-san continued to speak, “However, I might accommodate slightly if you have something you want to talk about. Now, go on, tell me all you want about your youthful problems. Vent to me your dissatisfaction, your complaints, or even your desires. I will listen to it all.”
“…Somehow, I feel like you’re being rude to me.”
“That’s just your own imagination.”
“Actually, there’s a lot I want to talk about. It’s not exactly too clear, you know? About the circumstances that I have been placed in.”
“It is sometimes said that ignorance is bliss.”
“Aren’t I supposed to be a pretty important person? Yet, why am I handled so carelessly?”
“I am currently treating you according to your role, or at least that’s the intent.”
He couldn’t respond to that. But he couldn’t stay silent either.
“I would like to ask about the Tsukumo organization.”
“Go ahead. Just listening comes at no cost.”
“What exactly are they? Since when have they existed?”
“I wonder, who knows.”
“What type of power do they hold? Who is the boss, where is their base, and how far is their reach in this world?”
“I will leave that to your imagination.”
“What is the goal of the Tsukumo organization?”
“It is their job to make sure the world and the goddess lives for as long as possible. I think that I have told you many times already.”
There was no gap to take advantage of. He couldn’t even find a small crack in her guard.
Of course, Yuuki had done his own investigations to the extent of his own abilities. He ended up doing investigations about Chiyo, the maid who he only knew the name of, about who exactly is she.
However, he found out nothing.
She doesn’t give out any important information on her own. It’s as if what he was looking for doesn’t exist, her history, her origin, everything is unknown. Even her age was uncertain. If possible, he would’ve wanted to negotiate with her after finding one of her weaknesses, but…
“Chiyo-san, how long has it been since you started looking after Sekai?”
“I wonder, who knows.”
“How long has passed since you started on your current job?”
“I leave it up to your imagination.”
“By the way, where do you come from?”
“Hmmm, I wonder where.”
“How about a favorite food, do you have one?”
“I enjoy eating youkan and uirou , why?”
“So, you will answer properly when asked something like that… and that seems very old-fashioned, feels like an old woman.”
“If you’re looking for a fight, I’ll buy it, you know?”
“Even if I die, I wouldn’t sell one .”
Chiyo-san poured some more tea.
Yuuki took a sip after thanking her. It really is tasty. The tea that this maid makes is definitely top class.
Drinking the tea, it reminded him of his sister who also makes good tea. A duel between Haruko and Chiyo-san. Just imagining it made his heart burn. In a way, it would be a dream match. Meaning the nightmare type of dream of course.
“Chiyo-san, you manage the whole entire mansion, right?”
“That is correct, what about it?”
“Just you, right?”
“Also, do you live here?”
“So, the people living in the mansion, it’s you and Sekai, just the two of you?”
“The cleaning and the cooking, you do all that yourself?”
“Yeah, by myself.”
“Must be pretty troublesome, right? I would assume that it takes a lot of effort.”
“This extent of effort isn’t enough to tire me.”
“You really care a lot about Sekai.”
“Of course. Because she is someone who is irreplaceable.”
“Chiyo-san, what is your position within the Tsukumo organization?”
“I leave that to your imagination.”
So, she will respond to small talk. However, when it comes to important matters, she kept a tight lip. This maid really won’t give away anything.
She seems to be a really shrewd person, while she pretends to respond to his small talk, she tries to fulfill her own goals—in other words, even as Yuuki was searching for something from her, she was searching for something from him.
No, rather than looking for something, it was more like she was giving him a diagnosis. It was as if she was a psychiatrist, working with her patient in a roundabout way, but slowly and steadily working towards the core of the problem. It was obvious that this maid was trying to measure something. This “something” within Yuuki.
“Now then. I suppose you’ve finished venting by now.” After drinking her second cup of tea, Chiyo-san stood up. “Thank you for fulfilling your role today. You can come back another day. When the time comes, I will expect more from you.”
“I understand. It’s just like how it normally is.”
Nodding, Yuuki stood up from his seat. He didn’t gain anything today, and it seems he was going to leave empty handed again.
For this meeting, the days that passed before he was called was by no means short.
Meanwhile, he still couldn’t believe what had happened, but before he chose to marry the goddess, he was prepared at the time for his life to end, yet now, it had become a long-term war. He promised to make Kanaruzawa Sekai happy, and yet now, unlike what he expected, he spent his life in a somewhat calm manner.
But something will happen. When the time comes, he must be prepared for it.
Besides preparing for this long-term battle, he needed to look for a chance. The goddess and the maid both have tight lips, but he will definitely find a way to grab them by their tail. They were definitely both hiding something from him. To keep Yuuki from knowing, they have stubbornly shut their mouths. One day, Yuuki will break open their mouths and expose the truth under the white sun, and then, Yuuki can finally gain a better position—
“Soon, this world will be destroyed.” Chiyo-san said abruptly.
She said it just before he left the mansion, after parting with her at the entrance way and saying, “See you next time”.
“Not far into the future, maybe in about a year or to—no, even earlier, maybe a month, or even today, this world will disappear.”
“Well then, see you again. I wish you well.”
“Eh. Wait. Eh?” Yuuki blinks a few times.
Chiyo-san didn’t blink as she took in Yuuki’s reaction.
It didn’t look like she was lying. Still, he had to confirm.
“The world will be destroyed? No way, but how? Why?”
“Why don’t you try guessing how right now, because even I can’t say for sure.” Chiyo-san shrugs her shoulders.
“Well then, the world will probably not be engulfed by a nuclear war. Nor will a large meteor from the sky. Most likely, the Tsukumo organization has probably predicted that when the moment comes, this planet, this universe, will just disappear.”
“… You mean to say that it would be like having the power suddenly cut from your computer?”
“Yes. I think that’s pretty close to what I mean.”
Yuuki didn’t know everything. However, he has experienced more than the usual youth of his age. Therefore, he could feel it with by intuition.
What she said was not a lie, nor was she trying to fool him. This maid was just simply and directly conveying the inevitable truth.
That’s why he asked. “And, is she—Kanaruzawa Sekai, possibly involved in some way?”
“…” She answered with silence. She didn’t have her usual smile as she just kept her mouth shut. Then, after a short time, she gave a bow. “Well then, see you next time. Have a good day.”
… As usual, she showed no weaknesses.
After saying all she needed to say, Chiyo-san closed the gate, and the front door was locked. He could not pursue any further.
After hearing something like that, Yuuki really didn’t know what he should do. Under the cold winter sky, before the truth that was spelled out in front of him, before the truth that he wanted to know, Yuuki had no choice but to stand up and walk away—
“With that said, the world will be destroyed soon.”
“Fuun. Is that so. Hee~” Hearing Yuuki’s story, Koiwai Kurumi nods.
They were at Murakumo Private High School, Year 2 Class A’s classroom. After their classmates left after school, the two class representatives were busy sorting printouts for the class,
“Nono. Wait a second. Yuuki-kun?” Bishi. She made the form of a knife with her right hand, while she half smiled, “Even if your trying to fool around, try to be reasonable. Or else even I can’t give a proper reaction, right?”
“Yeah, I know, right? Normally, that would be the case.”
“Even something on the level of like, I suddenly got married, I could possibly believe you. But if you say something like the world is going to be destroyed? I can only give you a blank look. A blank look, you hear me.”
“Is that so. No, of course it’s like that…”
“First of all, if the world really was going to be destroyed, Yuuki-kun, you wouldn’t be here right now, right? You wouldn’t be normally coming to school and putting together these printouts. Wouldn’t you have better stuff to do?”
“You are absolutely correct. This isn’t the time to be doing something like this.” Her logic was correct. Yuuki wished whole-heartedly that he could support Kurumi’s statements. “But, you know? It’s not that I’m not doing anything, it’s that I have nothing to do at the moment.”
“Oh? Did you want some life counseling? Am I being relied upon, perhaps?”
“Well, yeah… It is true that I don’t have anyone else I can confide in…“
“Leave it to me.” Pon, she struck her chest with a fist, “After all, it is my job as a class representative to be relied upon during times like these.”
“I’m also a class representative technically, but… for the moment, please listen to my story. It’ll help me collect my thoughts by talking to someone.”
“Yeah. I’ll listen to you.”
“Also, if you feel the urge to give a retort, please let it go.”
“It’s fine if you continue working. You don’t have to listen so seriously.”
“The prologue to this seems super long.”
“Anyways, it seems that this world really will be destroyed.” Facing the person sitting across from him, Yuuki begins to speak. “Moreover, it seems that that day could even be tomorrow. After I was told such a thing, I was really troubled.”
“Yeah yeah. I see~”
“By the way, this world it seems, is protected by a single goddess. Because she is good at doing her job, we are able to live our current daily lives.”
“I see. She’s pretty amazing, this goddess.”
“Well, at least for about the past 1000 years, she has been the one protecting this world.”
“1000 years? That’s pretty amazing.”
“I know, right? I don’t know what she does or how though. However, in some unknown corner of the world, where no one else knows, she works on alone.” Yuuki held his hand to his cheek and looks at the scenery outside the window.
Outside, the soccer club and baseball club, without caring about the wind or the cold, could be seen enjoying their youthful lives.
“… Well, that doesn’t seem good~”
“Yeah, it’s bad.”
Kurumi tilted her head. “What is?”
“The goddess. I mean, the world is going to be destroyed. That means, something bad happened to the goddess if she cannot protect the world like she has been—if you think about it, that would be the first thing that comes to mind.”
“Fuun. What bad thing could’ve happened.”
“I have no idea. I wish someone would tell me.”
“I see. Well, nothing you can do about it then.”
“I guess… It’s hard to interfere personally with it.”
“Then?” Once again, Kurumi tilted her head. “Is it alright for you to not do anything? I mean, the world is going to be destroyed.”
“No. I don’t think that’s alright.”
“Then, do you know what you are going to do?”
“Yeah. To tell you the truth, I’m already doing something. What I have to do is well, it’s something that I have been doing secretly for a while now.”
“I see. You are doing something.”
“By the way, everything that has been said is to be kept a secret, okay? I’m only telling you this because it’s you, Koiwai-san”
“Yeees” Bishi, she gave a salute, “I have a rough idea of what has been said, Yuuki-kun. It sounds like quite the problem.”
“It is. It is very much a big problem.”
“But isn’t that alright? After all, you are doing what you can at least from what I can see. For whatever happens next, it’s all up to your luck I think. It’s like you’ve done all you can, and all you can do now is wait for fate to decide the rest.”
“That’s true… I guess, in the end, that is what it’s going to be like.”
“Then, have you reached a decision?”
“Yup. I guess you could say that.”
“Was I of use to you?” Mufun, Kurumi pushes out her chest.
Yuuki gave a bitter smile, thanking her ironically with a quick “Thanks”.
“If I could say one thing though, Yuuki-kun. I don’t think you need to think about it too much.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, Yuuki-kun, aren’t you in a somewhat special position? So, it’s likely that more special events will occur. From now on, a pattern like something that happened then would probably happen again.” They returned their attention to sorting out the printouts, “However, to the best of my knowledge, Yuuki-kun isn’t very adept at handling the current situation. Therefore, you would probably regret it if you failed, but you would feel even worse if you just let it go.”
“You think so…?”
“So, rest easy and try your best. Most likely, what you are doing right now, what you are trying to do, is a result of you trying your hardest. Please fight on with all your heart. I’m cheering for you.”
Yuuki quietly stared at the class representative across from him. Koiwai Kurumi accepted his gaze with a smile.
“What is it, Yuuki-kun?”
“Koiwai-san, you’re a nice girl, you know?”
“Thank you, really. It made me feel a lot better.”
“I’ll not only cheer you on, but also help you if you need it?”
“Thank you… If something comes up I’ll be relying on you.”
“By the way,” She smiled and puffed out her cheeks. Class representative, Koiwai Kurumi said this, “This is for a girl, right?”
“… Why would you think that ?”
“Moreover, she’s probably quite a beauty.”
“No, that’s why I ask. Why would you say that?”
“Well well~” Puhaa, she exhaled, “You’re just always surrounded by a bunch of beauties. Well, it can’t be helped I guess.”
“… Somehow, that wording seems to imply something.”
“By the way, I’m also included when I’m talking about you being surrounded by beautiful people.”
“Hey, Yuuki-kun. You messed up with the printouts over there. Do your job better.”
Being so strictly reprimanded, Yuuki hurriedly went back to work. The sound of a baseball being hit by a metal bat rung out in the background.
That was what he intended from the start. However, being pushed by Koiwai Kurumi, Yuuki renewed his determination with even more vigor.
What about his determination?
What is it that Kirishima Yuuki needs to do?
There is only one thing—that is to do as much as possible for Kanaruzawa Sekai. To protect her, to support her, to give his all in preserving her smile.
It was when he was five. When that mysterious man, with his fake smile, pointed his family into their ill-fated destiny, only unreasonable things have continued to come, even now, he is just being thrown about by the circumstances around him—struggling against the well thought out plans that others had decided for him.
However, inside all of that, he finally found a ray of light.
She was godly, dazzlingly beautiful—she had a habit of crying easily, and yet the world is protected by this one sole goddess. To Yuuki, she was his salvation, his reason for living.
That was why, he relied on it.
He desperately clung to it.
Now that he had grabbed on, he could never let go.
What he had to do.
He would bet everything, Yuuki felt that putting his whole life on the line would be the only way to fulfill his goal.
He believed that he could be forgiven for what he was going to do.
And now that he had thought this through, he finally felt relief.
“No, no. What am I even saying?” Returning to reality, he reprimanded himself.
Recently this sort of pattern has repeated quite often. Strangely, his heart has been in disarray, panicking, a feeling of wanting to do something, without knowing what it is—a feeling that had caused him frustration several times now.
It’s as if he was part of a never-ending nightmare that he could not wake up from.
“…What am I saying. Really.”
Bachin! Using both hands, he hit his cheeks, trying giving himself energy. This isn’t the time to be misled by some unfamiliar feeling.
First, he needed to face reality.
Step by step, slowly but surely. He must move forward.
“I was expecting you.”
On that day, it was March.
After a long time, Yuuki was called back to the goddess’s mansion.
“Please come in. I’ll show you the way.”
As usual, Chiyo-san lead him around after giving a bow. Although there were many clouds today, the weather was still nice. In the garden, thrushes were calling out and playing, while the plum blossoms stood in the background, glaringly white to the eyes.
“Umm” Yuuki asked while he chased behind the maid. “How is she? Sekai.”
“How is she? As in?”
“Is she doing well or… is she in an alright condition? I want to know about things like that.”
“Please confirm that yourself. She is alright.”
“Well, if possible, I would like to get some information ahead of time.”
Without any response, Chiyo-san continued ahead. After which Yuuki followed behind while scratching his head.
“Go on by yourself.” She repeated herself. “It would probably be better for you to check for yourself.”
“Well… I guess so.” Yuuki grudgingly accepted her response.
The awkwardness between him and Sekai is his own responsibility. Rather, as a man, he couldn’t let Chiyo-san help him.
“The things that you will be seeing with your own eyes are not an illusion; rather, they are the reason I called you here today.”
“Haa, I see. Is that so?”
Responding to Chiyo-san’s words, Yuuki looked up at the sky. Then, after replying, he realized. Being led around by Chiyo-san without being told a thing is normal. However, it was different from their normal course.
That is, they were not heading towards the usual room: Kanaruzawa Sekai’s room which is always overflowing with cigars and alcohol and has a somewhat lazy, stale, and stuffy feel to it. They were on their way to a different place.
Straight ahead lead to Sekai’s room. The maid, however, took a left down a corridor, through a break in the wall, and went downstairs into an underground area.
After first stepping into the area, there were several rooms just like on the first floor, however, they did not stop and continued on. In front, stood a single huge door that looked down upon visitors.
The door opened slowly creaked open. It revealed a tennis court sized space, with nothing but a stormy landscape.
“What is this place?”
Chiyo-san walked into the center of the hall. Afterwards, Yuuki follows her accordingly towards the center. The hall was completely empty. There was only the slightly damp air and the dim lights.
Chiyo-san faced Yuuki, who was confused. “How my mistress keeps the world from being destroyed. Do you want to know?”
“Of course. I want to know.”
“Very well, I will explain it so that even a fool can understand.” With a cool expression Chiyo-san continued on to explain, “In this world, there is much good, but there is also a lot of evil. If left alone, one or the other will increase too much, losing the balance within the world. Keeping the balance is my mistress’s job—sounds simple, right? In short, it’s like being in charge of garbage disposal. If there are positive things, there are also negative things. Cleaning up those negative things and taking on those burdens… no one wants to be that person, but it is something that must be done. The world that the goddess made was made in that way. In this way, the world can be kept on the positive side of things. Do you understand?”
“… I think so.”
“What you are going to be seeing is the sight of my mistress busying herself with this so-called garbage disposal.” With that said, Chiyo-san took a bow. A very deep bow. As if she was bowing towards her own master. “Have a safe trip. I hope nothing happens.”
“Wait a moment, wait a moment.” Yuuki gave a bitter smile, “Have a safe trip? Where are you sending me exactly? I don’t exactly understand where this is going? It seems like this is only half of the—”
The next moment. The world around him completely changed.
It was a world with nothing in it. At the same time, everything was in it.
There was depth to the end of this space. Black and white coexisted without mixing into grey. He couldn’t hear anything, yet it was overflowing with sounds. The end was in sight yet he could not see what was right in front of him.
Whatever it was, he had never seen it before.
Yet he felt familiarity at the same time.
There was no time and no space here. Perhaps, it was just a place, and that was the only meaning it held.
Of course, it was not the place Kirishima Yuuki was at until earlier.
Just what is going on?
He didn’t need to think about it. It was because of Chiyo-san. That sly maid had to have done something. And as a result, Yuuki was now standing in a place where he did not know left from right.
What is the meaning of this?
I didn’t hear anything about this? Why was I thrown into such a place?
“How my mistress keeps the world from being destroyed. Do you want to know?” Her voice echoed.
It transcended time and space as it seemed like it was being whispered into his ears.
That’s right. It’s definitely for that.
Kanaruzawa Sekai, that lonely goddess—the truth of a girl that lacked in many places, while sharp in weird places, and sometimes had eyes that seemed to be looking at another world. The moment he realized that he had come here to confirm it with his own eyes, a head came flying by.
In a world with and without sound, he definitely heard it within his ears.
It was Sekai.
The person that had accepted his sudden proposal without any question, who to Yuuki was probably his lifetime partner; her head, with a lump from the top of her neck. With bloodless skin, with an expression that seemed to give up on everything, with eyes that seemed transparent as they looked elsewhere, it was rolling around in front of Yuuki.
Time had stopped in a world without time.
He didn’t understand. Why? Why is this happening? What is she doing here? Did she die? Is that why her head is separated from her body? Why? Why, why, why, exactly what, what is going on?
His body moved during this confusion. While calling out her name, Yuuki runs over, entangling his legs. An unpleasant sweat came out, his mouth quickly dried up, and as he tried to pick up the pitiful Sekai with tears and snot running down his face, her head disappeared in front of his eyes.
Sekai’s head disappeared from in front of his eyes. Without a trace. Without even leaving a single drop of blood.
Spread out around Yuuki, there was only the place with nothing and everything in it at the same time.
(… Was I seeing a dream?)
No, that’s wrong.
It was certainly a world that was hard to grasp, and unclear what was true or not. However, Yuuki saw it. He felt it. Kanaruzawa Sekai’s death and her miserable appearance. Such despair could not have been a dream. His back trembled just remembering it, the sight of all the internal organs spread out in front of him as it flew.
She flew, while making bone piercing sounds, like manuscript paper being crumpled and thrown away after being written incorrectly.
It was not far from where he was looking.
It came flying at a tremendous speed without any warning, but he did not doubt it. Covered in blood and barely keeping its original shape was Kanruzawa Sekai, and without thinking, Yuuki rushed ahead.
He crawled over, ran to her, and lifted her cut up figure while calling out her name. Again and again. The red flesh, the white surface of bone, and the pink streaks of muscle were all exposed and were all still beautiful, but as expected, she was dead. It was just a dead body, a lump of flesh.
Realizing the inevitable truth, Yuuki’s arms and legs trembled as much as they would when he laughs, as he tried to squeeze out a scream from the depths of his stomach. Then, Sekai disappeared.
It happened again.
The same as before.
It was clearly real, and there was a clear feeling—the lukewarm feeling from the internal organs, the warmth from the blood that covered his hands were definitely still there. Yet it felt like a dream or hallucination that was not like reality, as she disappeared like a haze.
(… What is this? Really, what is this?)
Yuuki stood stunned in silence.
And then, he finally realized.
In this chaotic place without time or space, it was there. Various forms of death were spread out everywhere.
In some places, there were sharp knives, cutting her into two.
In some places, she was crushed by giant rocks.
In some places, she was stripped of her flesh little by little from her toes to the top of her head.
In some places, she drowned. In some places, she burned. In some places, she suffered while foaming at the mouth. Or her skin was peeled off, or whole body whole body pierced, twisted, blood bleeding from her eyes, mouth, and ears—
It was the city of death.
There were thousands and thousands of different forms of death and the people caught in that nightmare, all of them were Kanaruzawa Sekai.
That was the first word that came to mind.
It had to be the truth. If this sight was not called hell, then what else could you possibly call hell?
However, there were a few things that were strange.
One. The only person suffering in this place was Kanaruzawa Sekai alone.
One. The fact that Kanaruwaza Sekai, that harmless animal-like existence, could never commit a crime that would warrant such suffering.
One. Why is this god-like existence currently here like this? Rather shouldn’t she be the one that casts someone into hell for punishment?
He couldn’t understand anything at all.
He couldn’t do anything at all.
What could he do?
In this world which was completely unknown, where unbearable atrocities were committed, where the person that he reaches out to with his hands and feet disappear. What exactly could he do?
There was only one think that Yuuki could do.
Overcome his impatience and helplessness by calling out from the bottom of his stomach. He was unsure whether it would reach inside this dreamlike world. However, it had to reach. The her who is in the situation, at least, at least his voice.
He called. Again and again, he called.
As if he was throwing up blood, squeezing it out from the bottom of his stomach. Again, again, Sekai, Sekai, Sekai, SekaiSekaiSekaiSekai,
He felt some sort of response.
It was a world without sound, and yet Yuuki’s scream definitely reached.
But, shortly thereafter. He regretted it from the bottom of his heart.
Sekai looked his way.
All of them at once.
The thousands and thousands that were experiencing death, the thousands and thousands of Sekais, all at the same time. They turned their eyes towards Yuuki.
The thousands and thousands of pairs of red eyes all stared at the stunned Yuuki.
He felt a vague uneasiness.
It was as if he witnessed a scene that he would never be forgiven for seeing—
Or like a criminal that was exposed in the middle of the night—
“Is that… Yuuki?”
On one hand, Sekai was struggling.
On the other hand, she was shivering from fear.
Or maybe anger.
Her, or maybe their eyes contained glimpses of all these emotions—and all those emotions only spoke one thing.
Kirishima Yuuki shouldn’t be here.
Kirishima Yuuki shouldn’t be here.
Don’t look. Don’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlook. Please, why are you here when you should not be here, why—?
Tears came spilling out from the thousands and thousands of pairs of red eyes.
Even after she was given death, even after experiencing all this pain, she didn’t show any tears. Even though she had completely accepted the absurdity of the whole situation. Now, tears filled her eyes.
Yuuki felt the blood leave his body.
He was too late to notice it. That he was now looking at something that he should never have been allowed to see. That he had stepped into a place where he should never have stepped foot into.
And most likely, he had robbed her of her last bit of support. Sekai had lost her last thin bit of support as it was crushed into oblivion. He had taken down the sanctuary that the girl had barely kept up on her own.
Don’t get closer.
The countless wishes overwhelm Yuuki.
Don’t come closer.
Stay oblivious to all of this.
Don’t remember that you saw me like this.
I beg of you.
Yuuki trembled. He had clearly committed a sin. There is no way for him to redeem himself, no way to compensate, as the world begins to destroy Sekai again. Blood, bone, and flesh, scattered in thousands of different ways and filled his sight.
Of course, he reached out his hands.
He struggled over and over.
However, his hands and legs could never reach Sekai, as she continued to be slaughtered in front of him, until he was exhausted. Still, he tried to struggle, desperate to grab on to even a thin straw until he realized that there was nothing he could do and he screamed out like a strangled chicken before suddenly returning to reality.
“Welcome back.” She was bowing deeply. They were in a tennis court sized space, with nothing but a stormy landscape. The maid, Chiyo-san, gave a brilliant gesture that seemed to come straight out of a textbook.
“How was it? The world over there.” She said.
“…” Yuuki couldn’t respond with anything.
His heart was pounding. Sweat covered his whole body. An uncomfortable fatigue that he could not bear overcomes Yuuki.
“… That was…” He somehow squeezed out words with his trembling tongue. “Was that reality? Did that really happen? Sekai, she, like that…”
“No, that was not reality. Reality is even worse.” Chiyo said that lightly. “That was just a form that appeared before your eyes, a form that was seen because it was the only way a human could possibly understand it. What truly happens there, no one really understands. Most likely, if a normal human being were to see what actually happens there, they would instantly tremble just from seeing it.”
“… I don’t understand what you mean. What is that?”
“I completely agree with you, Yuuki. Even to me, it’s completely unknown. I only know that that is how my mistress cleanses the “inconveniences of the world”. In other words, it may be good to say that it’s like cleaning dirt. Anyways, thanks to my mistress fulfilling her duties, this world can remain in equilibrium.”
“She can endure that. All of it, really?”
“Yeah, she can. Almost every day. Except for the days where you are here at the mansion. That is the duty that has fallen to her as a god-like existence.”
He couldn’t say any more than that.
His anger didn’t rise.
Neither did sadness come.
Yuuki could only fall to the cold floor while stunned.
All he had to do was imagine it.
If Sekai was skinned from the tips of her toes up and cut into pieces before dying. Or she dies from a burning stake gouged through her mouth, like a skewered a fish.
Yuuki didn’t want to experience that way of dying even once. “You will be dying like that in the future” if that was prophesied. And there was no way he could avoid this destiny. He would probably hang himself on the spot from the fear of it all. What if he had to repeat this every single day?
It could be nothing but hell.
He felt a kind of pity or sympathy for her, so much that he wanted to embrace her no matter how rude it would be.
“Please…” Then, Yuuki said. “Please let me see her.”
“What are you going to do after meeting her?”
“I don’t know. I just want to meet and talk to her.”
“What will talking to her do?”
“What will it do!? There’s no way that would do anything!? Of course I understand that!”
He grits his teeth. He bit down so hard that he bled. Then, he took a deep breath to prepare himself.
“Still, even so. I want to see her. I want to meet and talk to her. Please.” Yuuki begs.
“I see. I understand what you are trying to say.” Despite that, Chiyo-san was cool and calm. “But, that’s probably impossible. Please pull back for today.”
“… Dammit!? Why!?”
“If you have to ask…” She stayed calm till the end, “It’s because you have almost fallen unconscious. You don’t seem to be aware of it yourself though.”
That was his limit.
The energy was pulled out from his upper body by some mysterious force.
Then, he saw the ceiling. The reason for that, he realized, was because he had now fallen on his back and at the same time he heard a voice speak, “I suppose this should be expected given that his living body was exposed to that side. At least he isn’t foaming at the mouth on the ground.”
That was the last thing he heard as Yuuki’s consciousness sank beneath the mud.
- This is a figure of speech that just means that what the goddess talking to him/her was a very surprising event to him/her.
- These are both traditional Japanese desserts. Youkan is made from red bean paste, agar, and sugar. It looks like this:
Uirou is made from rice flour and sugar and is much like mochi. It looks something like this:
- This is based off a Japanese figure of speech, 喧嘩を売ってのか. Which when translated literally is asking whether you’re selling a fight, but it’s just asking whether or not you’re looking for a fight.
- The gender might be obvious from an English perspective, but keep in mind that the Japanese phrase for god or goddess (神様) is completely gender neutral, much like a lot of Japanese as pronouns like him or her, he or she, are never used. That’s why this actually seems like a surprise.