Chapter 14 – The Tale of the Witch of Ashes, Filled With All Manner of Commonplace Things
Let me tell you a tale about myself.
Well, I suppose all the tales I’ve told so far are about myself, but even so, I will call this a tale about myself.
I wear a black robe and a tricorne. I am a witch, as well as a traveler.
I am always traveling all over the world, wandering around aimlessly as I meet strange people, visit strange countries, or get caught up in strange events.
However, it is not as if I always encounter precious experiences like that.
If the stories of my travels were to be published as a book, it might appear that I am always caught up in strange events, but that is not actually the case. Of all the countries I have visited, the places where I was able to complete my sightseeing and leave without any incidents are overwhelmingly greater in number.
It is really only very rarely that I get caught up in strange events. Even if I want to encounter some strange or exciting events, most of the time it doesn’t end up that way, and when I feel that it would be a pain in the neck, the strange events come after me relentlessly.
To travel means to be faced with continuous meetings and partings, and at the same time, it is a continuous series of choices as well. Looking back on my choices, there have been times when I missed meeting some strange and interesting people, and times when I got to know some strange and weird people as well.
However, there is no point in feeling regret. As long as you travel, you have no choice but to push forward.
And so, I am continuing my travel today as well.
I had a premonition that I would have another one of those strange meetings a little while later, after flying on my broom for some distance.
“『The Country That Will Grant Your Wish』, is it? Hmm….”
It was a place in the middle of wide plains.
I found a country with those words written on the gate.
Oh my, now this is certainly something.
The wording of that interests me greatly.
How does it work? If I wish to become wealthy, will I actually become wealthy?
Also written on the gate was the sentence 『If you’re curious, please come inside』. It looks like they are welcoming everyone with open arms, no matter who they are.
Still, just how are they granting the wishes of people? What exactly is this country?
The gate that was built into the walls of the country was not very big, but I still couldn’t see what was inside from here. I couldn’t tell what kind of country it was either.
At this point, I have many questions, but no answers.
However I could tell that this promised to be fairly interesting, and so,
That’s exactly why I opened the gate of that country.
There was certainly a country on the other side of the gate; however, for some reason, there was not a single person to be found.
It was as silent as the grave, with just rows of houses standing next to each other. Not only could I not hear any people, there was no sign of any people there at all. The only sound I heard was the echoing of my own footsteps.
The city didn’t seem to be abandoned. The houses that lined both sides of the street were quite mismatched as they were either faced with brickwork, or had white plaster walls, or were finished in a riot of colors. It was a chaotic city that looked like sights from all sorts of different cities had been stuffed into one place.
Despite the fact that there is no sign of people anywhere, there are clothes lines with laundry hanging to dry strung up between the buildings, and I can see what look like street stalls on the sides of the street. The stands have things like fruit and other food on them as well, but it looks like they are all self-service. Signboards that said『Please leave the appropriate amount of money for your purchase』 stood leaning against the stalls.
However, I still haven’t seen a single person. No matter if I look to the left or the right, I don’t see people anywhere.
All I can see are signs that people were living here.
Wait a minute, weren’t they going to grant my wish? What’s going on?
I tilted my head to one side in confusion at this mysterious reality.
At any rate, there is no doubt that I have come to a strange place.
After walking for a while along the street, I saw a royal palace.
It was a weathered old palace, and doesn’t match the rest of the city which has traces of human habitation. There are so many cracks running through the walls that it looks like it will collapse if I hit it.
There was a clocktower standing near to the palace, and it was relentlessly marking the passage of seconds. According to the clock, it was currently a little past noon.
Why am I feeling such a sense of deja vu?
Everything I’ve seen so far looks vaguely familiar. The surroundings looks like an aggregation of the various sights I’ve seen during my travels so far, And the royal palace looks identical to the one in the ruined country where only the princess had been left behind. As for the clock tower, it looks a lot like the one I saw just recently in the Clocktower Country, Rostalf.
Just what is going on here?
It looks like the whole city was designed just for me—however, that wasn’t the only strange thing. Despite the fact that there were many buildings that were clearly taller than the gate, why didn’t I notice any of them until after I entered the country?
At this point I started to feel like this country is made up of nothing by strange things.
While tilting in head in confusion, I was groaning from the sense of bafflement and took a right turn on the street, when,
“Huh? Are you perhaps one of the residents of this country?”
I ran into that person all of a sudden. It looked like she was a traveler like me who happened to come across this place, and as soon as he saw me she came over while speaking in a carefree tone and waving her hand.
“Hmm. Looks like I was wrong. You’re not a resident of this country, right? For some reason, your face gives me that impression.”
By the way, the girl who appeared before me was quite strange, just like the rest of the country.
She was wearing a black robe, a tricorne, and a star-shaped brooch. She appears to be a witch. She has ash-grey hair and azure eyes. She looks about as old as me—
Just who was that witch?
That’s right, it was me.
She appeared to be me but was not me—a girl whose appearance was exactly the same as mine is standing before me.
She was like my doppelganger.
“Hey there. Are you like one of my fans or something? Oh look, you’re cosplaying as me! Cosplaying without permission is a bit annoying, though. I should charge you for copying my dressing style, you know?”
By the way, it looked like the similarity was restricted only to the appearance. A severe lack of intelligence could be felt from the way she behaved.
“My name is Elaina. The Witch of Ashes, Elaina. I am a traveler.”
“My name is Elaina too. I am the Witch of Ashes and a traveler. Ah, cosplaying as me without permission goes against that copyright thingy and the fine is one million gold coins, so take care of that, would you?”
I ignored the second half of that as it was just silly talk.
“Actually, I wonder why there are two of me here…”
“Eh? I’m me, and you’re a cosplayer, right? What the heck are you talking about?”
Right back at you, what are you talking about? Are you an idiot? Is your skull filled with nothing but air?
“I’m sorry, but could you list out the countries that you have visited so far?”
I decided to focus on finding out if the version of me in front of me is an impostor or not. To make sure I don’t forget about the countries I’ve visited, I keep a hidden diary in the pocket of my robe.
I’ve never told anyone about it, and I definitely don’t take it out when other people are around. If she really is me, I thought that she should be able to use that to list out the countries she has visited so far.
“Why are you asking me about that? Wait, let me guess, you want to turn all those places I’ve visited into holy sites and go on a pilgrimage, is that right? You’re such a nerd.”
“……What’s with this person, she’s so annoying to deal with.”
Nothing she says makes any sense. I was sorely tempted to conclude that this kind of person was definitely not me.
And then, unfortunately, the girl pulled out a diary from the pocket of her robe. What’s with that, after rejecting my question? Everything about her is so hard to understand.
“Right then, to start with—”
And then, after listening to her list out the countries she had visited, I had to conclude that she was undoubtedly me, although there were a few minor differences. I had no idea what was going on and I felt like I was going to get a headache.
However, considering how my surroundings were like the epitome of strangeness, I decided to stop thinking about it for the time being.
“Oh well, it must have been some strange quirk of fate that we met here like this, so would you like to go around and look at the city together?”
“Oops, did you fall in love with me after seeing how cute I am? Or maybe you already fell in love with me before, seeing as you’re cosplaying as me? Oh well, it’s fine. I’ll soothe you for a while, although I don’t particularly want to.”
After another five hundred words or so of such depressing one-sided conversation, she said, “Sure, I’ll tag along” and so that’s what we ended up doing.
We walked side by side through the city.
Since it was around lunchtime and I was feeling a little hungry, I was eating an apple and the carefree girl who looked identical to me was eating a kebab…hang on, why a kebab?
“Umm, what should I call you?”
“Eh? My name is Elaina.”
“Yes, but my name is Elaina as well.”
I furrowed my eyebrows to show that I was perplexed, but the carefree girl who looked identical to me puffed up her cheeks in annoyance at the same time.
“Hey. That’s because you’re getting into character as me, right? I’m the real me, okay?”
From my perspective you’re the imposter… No, if we start arguing here we will never come to an agreement. Just like a foreigner would see me as a foreigner instead, it is obvious that arguing about something that holds true from the other person’s perspective will just go on without end.
As it’s getting annoying, I’ll just give the carefree version the temporary name of “High Me”. Seeing as she’s constantly in high spirits.
“By the way, what was the wish you wanted fulfilled when you came in here? This place is 『The Country That Will Grant Your Wish』, right? Did you have a wish in mind?”
“What I wish for? That’s obvious!”
She spoke after chomping on the kebab in a wild manner.
“I don’t have anything in particular!”
Uwaah, how idiotic.
“By the way, I came here thinking that it would be nice if I could become wealthy.”
“Uwaah, how idiotic.”
“Sorry, but you’re the last person I want to hear that from.”
“What? Continuing to travel based on your feelings and without thinking about anything is the real fun of being a traveler! Isn’t that right?”
You have a point there, but in your case it’s just that the inside of your head is completely empty, right?
Still, our wishes are completely different, and more importantly, I wonder why the two of us were made to meet each other even though what I wished for was to become rich?
I felt like there was some unseen connection at work here.
After exploring the country for a while, there are two things that I understood.
Firstly, I confirmed that the surroundings here were indeed replicated from places that I had visited on my travels until now.
And as for the second thing…
Apart from those things, there is absolutely nothing else here.
There is not a single thing that is new to me. No matter how many times I looked around my surroundings, There is not a single thing that I don’t know about, and it was indeed looked like a city made from my deja vu.
“This is starting to get boring.”
High Me, who just finished eating her seventh kebab skewer of the day, said that. She’s eating too much.
“Well, that’s because there is nothing here which is new.”
I replied to her.
We had already completed a few laps, repeatedly going around the country. In spite of that I couldn’t find out a single thing about what kind of place this was, which was troubling.
The idea of a city where there is nothing new is certainly interesting, but if that’s all there is to it then it can be visited in one’s imagination as well.
No matter how strange it is, after seeing it several times, you get used to it.
“Hmm… I’m full already.”
“You’ve eaten too much kebab.”
“Maybe. That could be part of the reason, but these surroundings are to blame as well. It looks like a replica of the different cities I’ve seen so far, but putting it another way, that’s all there is. I’m getting sick and tired of it.”
It looked like she was quite similar to me, despite usually being in such high spirits. She was pretty much thinking about the same things as me.
This city had apparently been constructed based on my thoughts. Just as our boredom was reaching the limit, there was a new development in the tale.
A woman suddenly appeared before my eyes.
There are two twisted horns on her head, and on her back are two bat-like wings.
Unfortunately, this being who appeared before me was not a stranger either, she just looked like another version of me with horns and wings.
“Sheesh, you two are so greedy. Acting like this after i took the trouble to make this city and show you a good time.”
Her voice and intonation were basically the same as mine. She just looked like a fairly older version of me, and had a composed demeanor.
Despite the fact that she looked like me, I could tell for sure that she was definitely somebody else.
“Are you one of the residents of this country?”
“That’s right. This 『Country That Will Grant Your Wish』 is a country that was built for travelers like yourselves.”
“Hoho. Then that makes things simple. What exactly is up with this place? The only things here are those that I have already seen before.”
High Me pulled out the eight kebab.
“It’s 『The Country That Will Grant Your Wish』, right? In order to grant your wish, iit is necessary to look into the minds of travelers and replicate the things that are there. In that case, it is obvious that everything will look familiar.”
“But my wish was not to revisit all the countries that I had seen before. I came here with the wish to become wealthy.”
“Sure, maybe that was your wish on the surface, but nobody knows what they truly yearn for. Perhaps you were wishing to visit these countries once again, somewhere deep in your heart.”
High Me who was standing beside me and munching on her kebab stated her understanding.
“In other words, this is a country that grants the wishes that are hidden away deep inside a person’s heart. Make sure you have a good time. The time limit for this country is another three days. Feel free to relax until then.”
“That’s very generous of you.”
That last line was again said by High Me who was chomping on her kebab.
“By the way, you don’t need to pay a fee.”
“Well, I am the person who founded this country, after all.”
That version of me who gave a small cough and stood with one hand on her hip. I’ll give her the temporary name of 『Imp Me』for now. That’s because she looks like a small fry despite being a demon.
And then, Imp Me said,
“Well, that’s how things are, so please use the time to take a break from your traveling. My wish is to give travelers a place where they can relax.”
After saying that, she opened her wings and flew off into the sky.
She appeared all of a sudden and disappeared in the same way.
However, it sounded almost too good to be true. It feels somewhat suspicious. Her appearance is obviously that of a demon, after all.
“……What do you think about the person from earlier?”
After she had disappeared beyond the horizon, I turned towards High Me and asked that question.
“She’s really generous! Just as I would expect from someone who looks like me!”
Not only is High Me carefree, she is also far too trusting.
I was surprised that she could still continue to live as a traveler despite this.
Even though I was told to take it easy and relax, I couldn’t seem to get in the mood to do that at all.
I was staying at a cheap hotel (also unmanned) with High Me, but even then I would stay up until late in the night, unable to fall asleep.
Just think about it. There is a person who looks just like me, but her personality is something completely unexpected and she’s carefree to a fault. However, when I spoke to her, I realized that she had also begun her travels in the same way as me, and visited various countries, just like I did.
It’s all so mysterious that I can hardly bear it.
However, there aren’t enough clues for me to look more closely into that mystery.
I wonder what kind of wish led me to meet another version of me in this manner.
Even though it’s about me, I have no idea what kind of wish it was.
On the next day as well, I started exploring the city.
“How about we try going to the royal palace today?”
“Royal Palace? Oh, the place where I met Milarosé-san?”
“That’s right. We just spent the whole day yesterday looking around the city and didn’t go into any of the buildings, right? So let’s take the time today to go through all the buildings that we saw so far.”
“Hoho. You think we’ll find something?”
“We’re going in there to find out.”
In that way, the two of us ended up heading towards the palace.
Just as I had done in the past, I used magic to turn the wooden gate into ash, and the two of us entered the palace.
Immediately after that,
I understood who that was immediately from the voice. It looked like there was another version of me here as well. Standing in the courtyard on the other side of the gate was me, holding a staff and pointing it in my direction. By the way, she was wearing nerdy looking black-rimmed glasses. I guess I’ll call her 『Glasses Me』.
“Are the two of you safe me? Or are you bad me?”
Glasses Me glared at us while asking that question.
However, I had no idea what she was saying.
“What the heck is a bad me? I am myself. I am not a bad person or anything.”
“How much did you pay for those glasses~?”
Those were our replies.
It looks like she understood something from our responses. Glasses Me slowly lowered her staff and said,
“I see—tell me something, how many other versions of me did the two of you meet so far? Assuming that the imp version of me with the horns and wings is not me, how many versions of me have you seen including me?”
There were so many ‘me’ in that sentence that I felt a headache coming on.
“You with the glasses would be the second one. We haven’t met any other versions of me~”
Actually, hang on.
“Excuse me, but how many version of me are there in total?”
“I don’t know how many there are in total…but until now I’ve met fourteen others.”
“Woah, that’s awesome.”
“By the way, adding the two of you would bring the count up to sixteen.”
“There are so many people cosplaying as me…? Wow, don’t tell me I’m actually famous……?”
Oh come on. Sixteen people?
That’s just way too many to handle.
Just like Glasses Me said, there were multiple me’s in the throne room of the palace.
While Glasses Me was showing us around, she made us stand in front of all the others, and said in a loud voice,
“Everyone, let me introduce these two. They are Me No.15 and Me No.16.”
I heard several replies in my voice coming from various corners of the room. Stuff like, “Ah, nice to meet you.” and “Seriously, No.15 and No.16? Don’t even think about trying to assert your individuality here, you low-rankers.” and “I don’t caaaare~”. You get the idea.
I see, well I certainly understood that we are not particularly welcome.
“Okay then, newbie me’s. Let me introduce the others to you.”
And then Glasses Me started pointing them out one by one.
“That’s Simpleton Me.”
“Hey there, No.15 and No.16! I’m the cutest me here! Ehe~ ☆”
A loud one appeared right off the bat.
“The one acting suspiciously over here is Girl-loving Me.”
“Ufufu…… Sixteen me’s…. Ah, there are so many me’s… This place must be heaven.”
Rather than saying she loves girls, saying she loves herself might be more appropriate.
“This here is the me who has a bizarre complex about the size of her chest.”
“Oh, what’s this? The two of you are supposed to be the same as me, but for some reason your breasts are even smaller than mine. What happened? Are you making sure to drink milk regularly? Hmm?”
I honestly came close to falling into despair. By the way, she apparently pads her chest with balls of cotton. How fruitless.
“This here is Slightly Delinquent Me.”
“Huh? Could you not stare at me like that? Know your place, newbies. What is it, assholes? You wanna go? You wanna have a go at me right here? Huh?”
Wow, she looks weak.
“This here is Disgusting Me.”
“Fufufu… If I steal the money from all the me’s here I’ll be rich in no time…..”
Isn’t she’s already pretty much the same as my usual self?
“This here is Unfortunate Me.”
“Uwaah! The Black Dragon thingy that is trapped in my eye is going on a rampage! Everyone, run away!”
True, she is unfortunate, in more ways than one. She’s wearing an eyepatch for some reason as well.
“This here is Maiden-in-love Me.”
“Ehehe…. Saya-san, Saya-san, Saya-san, Saya-san…..”
……? Why Saya-san?
“Hiding over there is the me who is carrying a deep despair within her heart.”
“……………………………………………….I want to die.”
What happened to make her that way?
“Over here is the me who is carrying a deep despair within her heart (version 2)”
“Don’t wanna… Outside is scary…”
Then why is she a traveler?
“The one over there is also the me who is carrying a deep despair within her heart (version 3)”
“I can’t take it anymore… I just wish all the other me’s here would die…”
How many of them are there? There’s way too much despair over here.
“This one here is Foreigner-influenced Me.”
What is that supposed to mean?
“This here is Gelatinous Me.”
This one is not even human.
“And this one is Ghoul Me.”
What on earth happened? Nevermind, I have a pretty good guess.
“And finally, I am Genius Me.”
“You’re saying that about yourself?”
“Well, it’s the truth after all.”
She was puffing out her chest and looking proud of herself. It was somewhat annoying.
Glasses Me, now called Genius Me (self-proclaimed), said,
“I’m sure you already understand, but I’ve been giving all the other me’s here special nicknames to keep from getting them mixed up. In accordance with their individuality.”
“So I’d like to think of nicknames for you two as well, but—everyone, what do you think would be good? What kind of character do you think No.15 has?”
Genius Me put her hand on my shoulder and called out the others in the room.
A number of replies came back from all over the room.
“Individuality? I don’t think she has that.”
“No individuality to speak of.”
“No breasts to speak of.”
“Yep, no individuality at all~”
“Her lack of personality knows no bounds. She’s not even wearing an eyepatch.”
“I want to die.”
“I want a death resembling sleep.”
“I see, I see. Everyone, thank you for the feedback. It was very helpful.”
I see, these bastards have no intention of having a serious conversation.
Genius Me put on a proud expression and looked at me.
“In that case, I want to give No.15 the nickname ‘Protagonist Me’. What do the rest of you think?”
“What kind of train of thought leads to coming up with such an ambiguous nickname?”
“I tried to forcefully show the demerit of having no individuality in a more positive light.”
“I’m sorry, but I really can’t be happy about it after being told that I have no individuality so many times.”
And then, Genius Me said,
“But isn’t it nice to have no individuality? It means that you can become anything you want, right? It’s the perfect trait for a protagonist.”
It feels like she’s somehow making fun of protagonists.
“By the way, what about No.16?”
“I call her High Me.”
Although this is the first time I’ve said that aloud.
“I see, then we will call her that as well.”
Despite being a genius, it looked like Genius Me was quite irresponsible.
“By the way, why are all of you holed up inside this place?”
As I went around introducing myself, I asked each of the others about their journeys so far, and confirmed that although they had traveled to various countries just like me, their experiences varied somewhat from my own.
Genius Me answered my question.
I think I touched upon the reason for that a little when we first met—it’s because there is apparently an evil me who snuck into the country and is hiding somewhere. She is a violent me who attacks the others the moment she encounters them.
“Seeing as she’s violent, the rest of us call her Violent Me.”
“Quite an obvious name, I see.”
From what I heard, it looked like while High Me and I were wandering around the city, the others were being attacked by this Violent Me. Luckily, the two of us were spared from meeting her.
“And so you’re staying in here to avoid running into that Violent Me, is that right?”
I was exasperated.
“But the opponent is also the same as us, right? If you fight head on, you should at least be able to force a tie, correct?”
Hearing that, Genius Me slumped her shoulders as if it was her turn to be exasperated.
“Come on, Protagonist Me. Think about it properly. Since the opponent is also me, fighting her would mean hurting myself. If she happened to die, can you imagine what would happen?”
“At the very least, the fourteen of us here had no idea what sort of consequences that might have. As there was nothing we could do, we gathered here to discuss the matter and find some solution. Right now, we are split between waiting out the time limit which is another three days, and taking the initiative to go out and fight.”
“I see. By the way, what do you plan to do if this place is attacked?”
“If that happens we will fight, albeit reluctantly. However that is our last resort. Basically, our choices right now are to either continue to stay holed up in here or to capture Violent Me. In other words, we are discussing whether to run away or make a move ourselves.”
“Now that you have all the facts, which choice do you think is better?”
“Asking me to decide something like that is troubling.”
“What are you talking about? You’re Protagonist Me, aren’t you? If the protagonist doesn’t take the helm at such a critical time, we would be troubled.”
By the way, I am the advisor who assists the protagonist—After adding on that additional comment, Genius Me pushed her glasses up with her fingers.
……I see, so she orchestrated things from the start and gave me the name Protagonist Me on purpose so that she could make use of me.
Her tactics are brilliant. As expected of me.
However, if that’s how they want to play, then I have a surprise for them as well.
I sat down on the throne and looked down towards the others.
“In that case, everyone here except for me, go out into the city and start the search. I’ll sit here and wait for you to return—How’s that for a plan?”
Almost immediately, the booing started.
“What does this asshole think she’s saying?”
“I am opposed to dictatorship!”
“Stop fooling around, is your brain even below that of a flea?”
“I cannot agree to that.”
“Completely out of the question.”
“Please resign from being the protagonist.”
Et cetera. My one statement caused a massive reaction.
Look at them, saying whatever they want.
What the hell, after arbitrarily setting me up to the protagonist, this is what I get when I act like one and take command. There should be a limit for looking down on people.
I might turn into a Violent Me as well, you know?
“In that case, let me hear what ideas you have come up with—”
That’s when it happened.
Sitting on the throne, I locked away the murky feelings that threatened to rise to the surface and raised my voice, when,
The door to the throne room was opened quite violently—no, it was blown off its hinges, and fell heavily on top of two of me who were relaxing in the chamber.
Splat. Along with the roar of the explosion, a wet sound could be heard.
“Aah! Ghoul Me died! She got squashed!”
“Ugh, that’s so gross!”
“Uwaah, the rotting smell is so bad.”
“I bet she died in an instant.”
“Oh, she’s alive.”
I’m glad she’s okay.
“Oh, Gelatinous Me got squashed as well and turned into some sort of gel.”
“Wasn’t she gel to begin with?”
“Yeah, I suppose so.”
“Sorry for making a scene, it looks like both of them are fine after all.”
I’m glad they’re fine.
“Aah, no wonder I couldn’t find any of you. You were all gathered here, huh?”
In this sort of loose atmosphere lacking any tension, an extremely cold voice echoed from near the door. Of course, this was my voice as well, and the one who blew open the door was also certainly me.
“That’s perfect. I’ll just dispose of all of you here without letting a single one of you escape.”
After saying that, she showed a slight smile and walked over towards me.
Her hair had been cut short—in fact, it looked to be about the same length as when my hair had been cut off by a doll in a certain country.
She was also giving off the same sort of sullen atmosphere that I had back then.
Don’t tell me…
“Excuse me. Is that Violent Me?”
Genius Me nodded once and replied.
“……The one sitting in the throne over there, are you the leader of this lot?”
Violent Me glared at me.
“I don’t know whether I am the leader or not, but the others here call me Protagonist Me.”
“I see, I see—so that’s how it is. You’re the protagonist, are you? You, sitting there and laughing frivolously, are the protagonist?”
Saying that, she pointed her staff at me.
Immediately after that.
A number of spears appeared from the tip of the staff, and,
“This displeases me. Please die.”
Along with Violent Me’s cold declaration, the spears came hurtling towards me.
As the spears rushed straight toward me as if they were being drawn towards the throne, I created the same number of spears and shot them out in the opposite direction while following the same trajectory, thereby intercepting all of her attacks.
As the sound of metal objects colliding echoed, the fragments of what had been spears rained down and were scattered all over the room.
I looked down towards her.
“I have no idea what is driving you to attack all of us, but—do you think you can win against all sixteen of us?”
“Ah, Gelatinous Me and Ghoul Me were crushed by the door, so it’s only fourteen of us.”
Genius Me interjected with a correction from beside me.
“………Do you think you can win against all fourteen of us?”
However, despite the fact that she was obviously at a disadvantage, Violent Me laughed.
It was a daring and cold laugh that made me unable to feel anything.
“I don’t live in the sort of carefree world that all of you are from. I am different from all of you.”
What on earth is she talking about?
“Don’t tell me, haven’t any of you looked in a mirror? Are you all really supposed to be me?”
And so the war had officially begun.
Me and the the thirteen others threw ourselves at her in an attempt to subdue her.
Violent Me took that scene in calmly, and started to deal with us one by one.
The first victim was Simpleton Me. With a dull ‘Eiyah” shout that lacked any will to fight, she created iron chains from the tip of her staff, but the chains were reflected back towards her immediately and she ended up bound head to toe in iron chains, squirming like a caterpillar.
Next was was the one who had a bizarre complex about the size of her chest. Violent Me closed the distance with her in an instant, ripped the cotton pads out of her chest, and sent her flying with a kick.
“Aaaah, my breasts……”
And so, her consciousness was taken away along with her cotton pads. Goodbye.
After that came the three who were carrying a deep despair within their hearts. These three actually put up a decent fight.
“I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared, I’m scared!”
“Hiiiii! Don’t come any closer!”
“I want to go home!”
Despite saying such things, they created a beam of fire, a beam of water, and a beam of lightning from their staffs respectively. The three beams writhed and entangled with each other, and fell up Violent Me.
Violent Me retreated as she avoided their attacks and ran outside the castle.
I found out that her movements were actually a trap when the three who were carrying a deep despair within their hearts chased after her. When the three of them ran outside, they found that the ground outside the palace had been turned soft like a swamp. The three of them sank into the ground up to their necks, at which point the ground turned solid again.
“…Fufufu. It feels like we are about to be executed.”
“The ground feels nice and cold, I feel like it’s calming me down.”
“I want to just become part of the soil like this…”
After glancing at the three who were feeling relaxed for some reason after getting trapped easily, the rest of us took to the sky on our brooms. However, Violent Me was nowhere to be found, and we kept looking all over the surroundings for her.
And then, out of the nine of us who remained, four were suddenly ensnared by rope that came flying out of one of the houses, and were pulled down and smashed against the roof of the house.
By the time Violent Me appeared in front of us once again, Foreigner-influenced Me, Maiden-in-love Me, Disgusting Me, and Girl-loving Me had been taken down in one swoop.
The remaining five of us tried our best to fight against her, but for some reason there seemed to be a great difference in ability between her and us, as she was able to stay calm and composed even when taking on five of us at the same time.
Slightly Delinquent Me let out a cute war cry like that and attempted to close the distance with her while flying on her broom, but Violent Me easily dodged her, and almost like it was an afterthought, she knocked the staff out of Slightly Delinquent Me’s hand, thereby rendering her harmless. Violent Me then hit her on the back of her neck with the staff in her own hand and rendered her unconscious.
Seeing Slightly Delinquent Me fall down on the roof of a house like a rag doll, Unfortunate Me, Genius Me, and High Me surrounded Violent Me and started firing magic towards her from their staves.
A rain of spears, a writhing dragon made from water that moved like it was intelligent, and a mass of magical energy that gave off a pale blue light all flew towards her, but Violent Me still dealt with all of them in a calm and composed manner.
She intercepted the rain of spears by hitting them with spears of her own just as I had done in the palace, turned the writhing water into ice and smashed it to pieces, and dodged the mass of magical energy. She then escaped from the sight of the three of them, and hit them with magic of her own to restrain them.
Unable to move and stuck to each other, the three of them fell to the ground near the palace entrance.
The three of them slightly nodded their heads in greeting towards the three who were carrying a deep despair within their hearts, who were stuck in the ground with just their heads above the surface.
After taking care of all the others except for me in a few minutes, Violent Me landed on one of the roofs that resembled the ones from a certain country where I had taught magic to a certain black-haired girl, and got off her broom.
That was because I was there.
“Aren’t you going to fight? Although all the others were being defeated, you chose to just watch?”
She looked at me with a reproachful expression.
“That’s because you appeared to be very confident about yourself. If you’re confident, that means you have some sort of plan. It’s obvious that I don’t stand a chance if I just rushed in towards you without thinking”
“Well then, what is the result of your observation?”
“I thought that you are not the sort of opponent whom I have no chance of beating.”
In the end, the enemy opponent is still me.
“Indeed. Just like you.”
Violent Me just glared back at me without saying anything.
I looked straight back into her eyes, and asked,
“—By the way, why is your hair cut short?”
Oh wait, let me rephrase that.
“Why is your hair still cut short?”
If I remember correctly, that incident where my hair was cut short happened a few weeks ago when I visited that country where the buildings were all faced with red bricks. After my hair was cut short by the Slasher who used dolls to cut off the hair of young girls, I had managed to capture the criminal on the very next day.
Why is Violent Me still stuck with that appearance?
“You know the reason why my hair was cut off like this, correct?”
“Well, yes, as mine was cut off too.”
On the other hand, in the stories of all the others, there was no incident of having had their hair cut off. I spent some time to ask every one of them about their stories when we were inside that palace, but although they had met Sheila-san, it was apparently after she had settled the issue by herself.
It appears that while we are all me, we did not follow the exact same paths in life.
“It is true that my hair was cut off in that country. However, I lacked the willpower to return my hair to normal. That’s why I have continued to travel like this, with my short hairstyle.”
She lacked the willpower? Why was that?
“Did you visit the Clocktower City, Rostalf?”
Violet Me was looking at me with her eyes clouded with darkness. They were like the eyes of a dead person.
“Yes, I did.”
I naturally nodded in answer to her question. I even pointed to the clocktower that stood to the side of the roof we were standing on and added, “It was a good country.”
“………It was a good country? That place? You call that a good country?”
It was a lovely country with a clocktower standing in the heart of the country with popular plays. In particular, the play about 『Estelle of the Second District』 was perfect for passing the time. It was a play about the life of a witch called Estelle, who came to detest evildoers after her close friend was killed by a random attacker when she was a child. The fact that they cheaped out on the ending and just said『Her fight will not end until the day she finds the one who killed her best friend』 was slightly regrettable, but it served quite well to keep me from getting bored.
“Was there something else?”
I tilted my head and looked towards her.
That’s when I realized that Violent Me, who was standing in front of me, was acting strangely.
“As I thought, I am different from the rest of you.”
She spoke in a matter-of-fact tone while gripping her staff tightly.
“In that country, I went ten years back in time. I went back in time to save a person. However, what I saw there was a reality that was more horrible than anything, and in the end not a single person was saved…..have you ever seen it? The instant when love turns to hate, right before your eyes? The instant during which a person tries to kill a person whom they loved until just a short while ago—”
“No, I haven’t.”
I interrupted her before she could finish.
“I have no idea what happened to you, but in short, because of those horrible things that you saw, you didn’t have the willpower to restore your hair when it was cut off and have been living like that in self-abandonment?”
In the next instant.
She pointed her staff at me and fired off several spheres of ice.
And what’s more, she also said,
“I am not living in self-abandonment. I am so angry that I can’t control myself.”
“Hou. What are you angry at?”
I asked her that while dodging all the ice spheres.
“That’s obvious—I’m angry at myself.”
She continued to speak.
“I’m angry at the others who are nonchalantly continuing their travels unlike me. I am angry at myself for not being able to do anything even when those horrible things were happening right before me.”
What a horrible temper tantrum.
As expected of me.
After that, the two of us began a small war.
To begin with, she created a number of icicles using her staff and shot them towards me. After dodging them, I paid her back in kind by lifting the roof tiles at my feet with magic and firing them at her from all directions.
As if she had known all along that I would do that, she shot the roof tiles out of the air with icicles and then created a massive ball of ice in mid air. It looked like Violent Me really liked to attack using ice.
The large sphere of ice fell straight down toward me, but big attacks like that just look flashy and are actually not that hard to handle.
I got on my broom and easily avoided it. The house it landed on ended up getting crushed instead, but that doesn’t really matter.
Seeing as roof tiles weren’t of any use, this time I lifted up an entire house with magic and threw it at her. However, she came out of that without a scratch. It looks like she made a wall of ice around herself just before impact. Damn this ice-loving maniac.
The fight after that was extremely simple.
She would use magic to create ice and throw it at me. I would dodge that, and use magic to throw one of the several houses that were around that area at her.
Since it looked like she liked flashy attacks, I chose to respond with flashy attacks as well.
Still creating ice as she had been doing since before, she shouted,
“People like you—People like you should just disappear!”
“Who are you saying that to? Is it me? Or yourself?”
She continued to speak.
“Don’t you understand why I was led to this country? This is a country that grants wishes. I’m sure that I came here because I could not forgive you for traveling nonchalantly without experiencing any painful memories. I came here to make sure that all of you experience the sort of things that I did—That’s why you’re here as well.”
“That may be your wish, but it is not ours.”
I tried to stay as calm as possible while I replied in that manner.
“While it is true that this country will grant my wish, it will also grant all of our wishes. That is why, your perception of the situation is flawed. It is very, very flawed.”
After coming to this country and running into so many other versions of me, there is one thing I thought of.
Didn’t Imp Me—in other words, the creator of this country—say it as well?
—Nobody knows what they truly yearn for.
—Perhaps you were wishing to visit these countries once again, somewhere deep in your heart.
In other words, there might be something that I wished for more strongly in my heart, than the frivolous wish of 『wanting to become rich』 that I was thinking about on the surface.
“Even if that is true—”
Her voice was trembling.
“Even if that is true, so what!? What caused all of us to assemble here, in this place!?”
“Do you not understand?”
I gave a simple answer to her question.
“Or are you pretending to not understand?”
“Don’t look down on me!”
She started firing masses of ice towards me one after the other.
As for me, I continued to endlessly turn the inside of the country into rubble.
Unfortunately, our abilities were basically the same, and no matter how much magic we threw at each other, there was no clear end in sight—although since I was equal to her even though she had fought with and defeated the others before me, I might be just a little bit weaker in comparison.
Right then, this might sound like a question out of the blue, but do you know how the wars that have been fought in history came to an end? In my opinion, most of them ended in either of two ways.
The first is where one side obtained a perfect victory. The one who is stronger becomes righteous, and the loser becomes the bad guy. It is a way of winning that leaves a very bad aftertaste.
Fortunately, the fight between us did not come to such an end. Our abilities were completely equal, so there was no way that one of us could dominate and win against the other.
In other words, the battle between us came to the other type of ending.
It was probably a few hours since we had started fighting.
By the time we realized it, the two of us were staring up at the sky in the country where half of the buildings had been turned into rubble, and the country was quite literally half destroyed.
The sky was somewhat refreshing, like a storm had just passed. There was a light grey cloud floating in the sky and spreading out.
Both of us were almost completely out of magical energy.
We both exhausted our stores of energy, and the concepts of good and evil became blurred as we both ran out of strength. This was the second method I was talking about, and it was also the way in which our fight ended.
And every once in a while, this sort of conclusion will only lead to one thing.
“………Just why did I come to this country?”
She muttered those words.
“Before I answer that, let me tell you what I vaguely wished for in my heart.”
I answered her while gazing at the sky.
“I’m sure that I came here to meet all these different versions of myself.”
It is said that this country grants wishes.
I’m sure that I strongly desired to explore more possibilities.
To travel means to be faced with continuous meetings and partings, and at the same time, it is a continuous series of choices as well. Looking back on my choices, there have been times when I missed meeting some strange and interesting people, and sometimes when I got to know some strange and weird people as well.
However, what would my life have been like if I didn’t miss meeting those interesting people? What would my life have been like if I managed to avoid meeting those weird people?
What would my life have been like if I had other possibilities instead of my own?
I’m sure that I was wishing for those possibilities. That is why I came to this country and met the other versions of myself.
“That still doesn’t explain why I came here.”
Oh, that is not the case at all.
“It explains it perfectly. You, just like me, were yearning to see a different side of yourself. What led you here is your yearning to find a version of yourself who wasn’t caught in the whirlpool of sadness that you found in the Clocktower City, Rostalf.”
“I don’t think you hate us as much as you think you do. You came here because you wished for different possibilities—a version of you that did not experience those sad events. By no means did you come here to hurt the rest of us, you came here because you wished for those different possibilities somewhere in your heart.”
She definitely did not come here because she wished to hurt the rest of us.
She came here to be healed instead.
I’m sure it’s the same for the rest of us. We all came here because we wished to explore those other possibilities.
“……That’s pretty selfish.”
She pretended to not understand as she spoke in a critical tone.
“It’s not wrong to wish for other possibilities for yourself, you know.”
“You said it was selfish, but the only people here are yourself, right?”
Saying that, I held her hand.
Her slender, white fingers initially twitched as if rejecting my touch, but then intertwined themselves with mine.
“……Are you willing to hear me out? About what I experienced in that country, when I traveled ten years back in time?”
She stopped gazing at the sky, and looked at me instead.
I also looked back at her.
“That’s why I came here.”
And so, our battle came to an end.
The second method of finishing a battle, where there are no winners or losers.
We reached an amicable settlement.
Let’s talk about what happened afterwards.
I walked around with Violent Me, now renamed to Short-haired Me, and looked for the other versions of me.
Seeing as the city had been basically reduced to rubble, we were worried that some of them might have been crushed by falling buildings or masses of ice, but every one of them somehow made it out of that just fine.
“Still, it was an amazing battle.”
“Do you have any idea how hard it was to pull everyone out of that mess?”
“Please keep the idiotic horseplay to a minimum.”
“Fighting with ourselves, we’ve done some pretty silly stuff, haven’t we?”
Or rather, they had already been found and recovered.
The others had already been taken back to the royal palace before we had a chance to do anything.
By the way, the ones who were scolding us a moment ago were other versions of me whom we hadn’t met yet, and they had retrieved the others from the rubble.
If you’re wondering what they had been doing all this while, apparently they had been hiding somewhere in the country and waiting for the time limit to expire.
Since there are so many version of me, I’m sure that these were the ones who wanted to remain as bystanders during this incident.
“Still, seeing so many versions of me in the same place is pretty strange. It’s kind of unsettling.”
Hearing that, High Me responded,
“It’s a little late for that. Actually, you’re all just cosplaying as me, right? I’m sure you are all just getting into character as me.”
It looks like her head is still in the clouds.
“So, what do you plan to do now? According to Imp Me—the one that looks like a demon, we still have around one day of time left.”
As Genius Me said that while touching her glasses, the versions of me who wanted to be bystanders made suspicious expressions.
“In the first place, is it okay to trust that demon-looking version of me?”
“That girl is pretty shady.”
“I’m sure she’s hiding something.”
“I’m sure she’s been controlling everything from the shadows.”
They were all valid observations.
“Putting it another way, it means that we can do whatever we want for one more day, right? Since she said the time limit of this country was another three days, then that means something bad will only happen after those three days, correct?”
“As expected of the one who proclaims herself to be the protagonist.”
“That means it should be fine to stay here until those three days end, right?”
“I’m saving a lot of money on inn charges, so it’s great.”
It looks like the bystander versions basically had no interest in earning money but they were also against wasteful expenditure, and greatly liked this country where everything was free of cost.
And so, we all went into the city and had fun to our hearts content.
We ate whatever we wanted, and drank whatever we wanted.
After going wild as much as I wanted, I held up a glass of wine and stood in front of the others.
“Everyone, playing around is fine and all—but may I suggest something?”
It’s not everyday that so many versions of me all assemble in one place.
Just spending our time playing would be a waste.
“Everyone, do you have a diary in the pocket of your robe?”
That is why, while we are still basking in the memories of our travel, let’s do something to remember it by.
All of us brought our diaries out and collected them together.
It looked like all of us had indeed walked different paths in our lives. For example, a particular day that I spent while just being bored turned out to be a day when another version of me had a destined meeting, etc.
Just like Short-haired Me had experienced very painful memories in the Clocktower Country of Rostalf whereas I had just spent several days there sightseeing, even though we were all the same person, we each had different tales to tell.
I had been thinking that it might be unexpectedly interesting to collate the stories from everyone’s diaries, ever since I met High Me and we went to the palace together.
Since I have one day left over in any case, I decided to implement that idea.
All of us assembled in the hall of the palace, and read each other’s diaries in turn.
“Oh I see, in that country where the prices of commodities were being jacked up, it would have been fine to just pretend to be a fortune teller…”
“It looks like Fran-sensei was the same, no matter which version of us she was dealing with.”
“Her personality as a worthless person is unshakeable.”
“Ah, the Country of Honesty…”
“Saya-san was so incredibly cute in that country, it was the best.”
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“Don’t you mean incredibly crazy?”
“You say that, but weren’t you happy when she gave you that necklace?”
“I wonder how Ghoul Me turned into a ghoul.”
“She probably didn’t manage to escape from the Paradise of the Dead.”
“How stupid of her.”
“By the way, why are you wearing an eyepatch?”
“This is because of the Black Dragon—”
“Ah, that’s enough.”
“Hey, aren’t your breasts kind of large?”
“This is because I used cotton pads—”
“Ah, that’s enough.”
I sat in the throne while looking at the others sitting on the ground and talking noisily.
“As promised, I will listen to your story.”
Sitting on the armrest of the throne and leaning her shoulder against the backrest, Short-haired Me pulled her diary out of her pocket.
“In that country, I—”
And so, I accepted her diary from her, and gave her mine instead.
For a little while after that, the two of us were engrossed in reading each other’s tales.
There were several things that we all had in common.
In every country we visited, we met those people that we were fated to meet without fail. For example, all of us met Saya-san in the Country of Magicians, and we all met her again in the Country of Honesty. In that manner, we all met the same people in the same countries.
And we also parted from them in the same way.
Also, this might be only natural, but we all started our travels for the same reason, and we all had the same teacher. The differences in our tales regarding these were trivial, and the manner in which we all aimed to become witches because of 『The Adventures of Nike』 and then trained under Fran-sensei was identical.
After we had finished reading each other’s tales, one of us suddenly made a proposal.
“Wouldn’t this make for a pretty interesting book? It would kind of be like 『The Adventures of Nike 』.”
Not a single one of us was opposed to that idea, and as if it was something that we all wished for, we nodded in unison.
In the end, we managed to agree upon a title for the finished book.
There were multiple contenders, but in the end, my suggestion was picked by a majority vote.
Since our favorite book was called 『The Adventures of Nike』, it would have been okay to call our book 『The Adventures of Elaina』, but if we did that we would just be repeating the mistakes of a certain person somewhere who wants to erase their embarrassing past. Moreover, the title would just be lacking in originality.
As expected, a contrary title would be best for a contrary person like me.
And that is why we ended up with this title.
『Majo no Tabitabi』
On the morning of the third day.
There were many versions of me (especially the bystander versions) who strongly refused to leave the country, but there was no way to tell what would happen here after this.
And so, we ended up (somewhat forcefully) giving all of them a copy of 『Majo no Tabitabi』 and chasing them out of the country.
As reparation for turning the country into rubble, Short-haired Me and I stayed back in the country and went around looking for other versions of me who might still be hiding somewhere.
“Looks like there wasn’t anyone else, after all.”
I nodded to Short-haired Me.
After looking at me for a while, she turned back to look at the country. The morning sun shined on us from one part of the city that we had barely managed to keep from destroying, and gave her ash-grey hair a pale scarlet sheen.
Looking at the beautiful spectacle, she had a slightly lonely expression on her face.
“What do you plan on doing from now on?”
When I asked her that, she lightly stroked her hair that had become short.
“I think I’ll go back and retrieve my hair. It’s probably still implanted in some doll.”
“Yes—The criminal is already in custody, after all, so all that’s left is to find the doll.”
“I hope you find it.”
Neither one of us said goodbye.
Since we are both the same person, calling it a parting would be strange. I felt that it would be strange to say goodbye to someone whom I would see every time I looked in a mirror.
Or at least, that was the reason on the surface.
The truth was probably that we just didn’t want to say goodbye.
“Thank you, Elaina-san.”
And I replied,
“You’re welcome, Elaina-san.”
After just exchanging those words, she went out of the country.
There was one last thing that I had to do.
“I’m alone now.”
I spoke out to nobody in particular. My voice echoed loudly in the country that had fallen completely silent, I felt like it would have carried throughout the country even if I didn’t raise my voice.
As if to prove that, the girl I was waiting for heard my voice and came to me.
The girl, who possessed two twisted horns, flapped her bat-like wings as she landed in front of me.
It was Imp Me.
“Yes. There was something that I wanted to talk to you about, no matter what.”
“I don’t have anything I want to talk to you about in particular, though.”
I shot a glance towards the girl who trying to crack jokes.
“Somewhere along the line, I realized your true identity.”
“Rather than talk about my true identity, I want to make you take responsibility for wrecking my country instead.”
Hah, very funny.
“This place is inside a dream, isn’t it? I don’t think there is anything to take responsibility for.”
Coming to a country that is said to grant wishes, meeting several different versions of myself, and moreover, the country is patterned after the various places I had visited in the past.
There was one conclusion that I drew from this place where so many impossible events overlapped.
This whole place is inside my dream, and this entire dream is being shown to me by this Imp Me.
That is my line of reasoning, although I had no proof.
However, this argument was pretty convincing.
“From the appearance of this country—the appearance of this country that seems to be crammed full of ideal things, I remembered what happened at a certain country.”
It was the sad incident that happened in a certain country where all the citizens fell into their dreams and became lifeless husks—except for one young woman who was left behind all alone.
All the citizens of that country who fell into a peaceful sleep were lured into their ideal dreams that were created by a certain demon, and once three days passed, they died for no apparent reason.
It was the same as the time limit that Imp Me had indicated.
“You were probably feeding on the lives of people by interfering with their dreams and locking them away in their ideal dreams. I am also one such person—Am I wrong?”
After giving a slight smile, she shook her head.
“Close, but not quite. You are not one of them yet.”
“Well, that’s true. Strictly speaking, it hasn’t been three days yet.”
There are still a few hours left.
“So, what do you plan to do? Stay here and become food for me?”
“Of course not. Why do you think I wrecked the country to such an extent and drove all the others out from here?”
Well, the fact that the country was wrecked so badly is more or less a coincidence, but the reason I drove all the others out of the country was because I had a plan.
Most likely, the other versions of me that I met this time were created from other possibilities that she saw in my memories. In other words, they are all my imagination and I created them because I longed to explore those other opportunities.
“If this place is solely within my dream and no one else’s, then this place no longer contains any of my hopes or wishes. There is absolutely no reason for me to stay within this dream.”
“……Well played. That’s quite unfortunate. I thought that a witch’s life would be quite delicious.”
“Playing this sort of underhanded trick on witches to feed on their lives will have the opposite effect.”
I took out my staff.
“Now, let me out of this world right now. Or else—”
“Or what, you’re going to punish me? Hahaha, are you an idiot or something?”
After cackling, she continued to speak.
“You can go back to the regular world if you just go through the gate. In the first place, I accept everyone who comes to me, and don’t chase those who wish to leave. If you want to run away, feel free.”
Saying so, she waved her hand as if telling me to run along.
“………Have you consumed the lives of many people in this manner to date?”
Has she been giving three ideal days to people, and devouring the lives of those who want to stay even after the time limit is crossed?
“Well, of course. If I didn’t do that, I’d starve.”
“…..So human lives are your food, huh. Don’t you feel any guilt about ruining the lives of people who have done nothing wrong?”
“To me, human lives are nothing more than ingredients. It’s not like you feel sorry about eating meat from livestock, right?”
“Your expression tells me that you can’t sympathize with me. I didn’t particularly want you to sympathize with me either. Beings like me are fundamentally different from humans. I never expected that we would come to an understanding in the first place.”
“……That’s unfortunate. If you used that power for a better purpose, you could have helped a lot of people.”
“Hahaha, as I thought, you’re an idiot. Why would I want to work so hard for the sake of mere livestock?”
She said it frankly.
—Fundamentally different from humans.
I see, it appears that demons are indeed that sort of beings.
“Oh, I remembered something. I don’t mean to hold you back here, but I have a little bit of good news for you.”
“……What is it?”
She spoke out to me just as I was about to leave the country.
She spoke in her usual light-hearted manner.
“—You were not the only version of you to come to this place.”
Every version of you that you saw here was real—that’s what she told me.
The sky was somewhat refreshing, like a storm had just passed. There was a light grey cloud floating in the sky and spreading out.
The wind blew over the grass-covered plain while making a rustling sound, and caused a light-green ripple to spread out. Underneath the warm sunlight, the scent of the newly arriving spring that still had traces of winter in it tickled my nose.
The only things that I saw were blue, green, and just a little bit of white.
“……Where am I?”
It looks like had fallen into a deep sleep, right in the middle of a wide prairie.
How long had I been asleep? My memories from before falling asleep are vague, and I can’t really remember. Why on earth was I sleeping in the middle of a prairie?
However, my memories of the time when I was asleep are very clear.
And so, I had a sudden idea.
Since I can’t remember what happened before I fell asleep, let me check my diary. It’s the perfect tool for when your memories are vague. It should be right here, in my pocket.
When I was fishing inside my robe, I found my diary, along with one other book.
On the front page of the simply bound book were the title and my name. Handwritten.
It was, without a doubt, the book that we had created inside that dream. Ah, now that I think about it, I seem to remember that people who manage to leave the dream are allowed to take any one thing with them when they leave.
I see, so in my case it was this book.
I stared at the two books for a while, and eventually returned one of them to my pocket.
“……I can read the diary later.”
I can go back to traveling after I finish reading this book. Spending that amount of time for my leisure should be fine.
Besides, right now I feel like immersing myself in my memories a for a while.
And so, I sat down on the prairie with my knees bent.
I turned the cover page of the book, as if the cool wind was hurrying me along.
What was written inside was certainly my tale.