Clash of Hexennacht:Volume4 Chapter 7
Chapter 7: What Do You Think?
I thought I was going to
Make some kind of gag
But unwanted memories replayed one after another
Shouko woke up. She felt like she was peeling herself up from the sticky weariness.
She was only opening her eyes, but it felt like lifting her entire body. As for why…
She felt like she had been elsewhere a moment before. In fact, she really had been.
She sat up, looked around, and saw a book by the pillow.
It had a black leather cover and decorations in gold thread.
“My, you sure slept soundly, Shouko.”
She probably had. She could definitely sense the feedback reaching her body.
…It’s been a while since I materialized one of my dreams.
“What was that? It feels like I dreamed about meeting and arguing with my sister.”
“That was the truth in one of the world, Shouko.”
“You always say such confusing things, Amaze.”
She lay back down and looked out the window where she saw the earth.
A bit above horizontal, the blue planet floated at an angle that placed Japan in the center. The view out the window showed a wasteland of rocks and black shadows leading out to the earth which floated in the black background.
“Being on the moon isn’t that much of an issue when I’m inside my home.”
“That’s because you’ve spent so much time asleep. And more importantly,” continued Amaze. “Shouko, will you create a new world’s story?”
Shouko had heard Amaze’s invitation countless times before.
“I am incredibly thankful and happy that your imagination is always changing its technique and quality while always creating an ending.”
“Really. …Techniques are developed and create derivations, but the old ones will end. You are quite fascinating because you carry that out at the level of entire worlds. After all, that means you are approving of me in my entirety.”
“Maybe so, but I’m not really aware of doing any of that.”
She began working her mind as she said that.
She gradually recalled what she had thought and done a moment ago on the earth in that materialized dream.
She had caused a lot of trouble for that girl named Fleur.
She was unsure if she could say the same about her sister. Or was that just her being stubborn?
“I can’t believe this…”
She leaned her upper body down toward the blanket. It felt surprisingly cool on her forehead.
…But my mood kept shifting up and down because it was a “dream”.
It was all reliant on the dream, but with Hexennacht approaching, she had suddenly dreamed of that region where her home had once been.
It also may have had to do with knowing her sister was there. So she had tried materializing her dream, but…
“I went too far. …I was even conceited enough to think I was changing.”
Even if it was a “dream” for her, it was reality for her sister. And for everyone else there.
She was not ignorant of what she had done to the many worlds she had crushed in the past. Nor was she ignorant of how her sister saw her after being caught in that destruction as a character.
…I really don’t want her to scold me.
But despite thinking that, she still destroyed the worlds.
Because she knew she had created them poorly, so they would eventually fall out of balance and collapse on their own. A large part of that had to do with the way she created stories. Because of her chronic disease, her tendency to stay home, and the pressure she felt from her sister, the worlds she created were always twisted in some way.
Amaze would praise the worlds she made, but that was always about the world’s techniques and the various aspects of the setting, not because of the twisted part.
At first, she had not wanted to destroy them.
But that had not stopped it. The worlds had collapsed on their own.
So at first, she had made her identity known and participated just like her sister was doing now. But once it had become clear that there was no stopping it, they had demanded she take responsibility.
They had asked her why.
But there was nothing she could have done. Those worlds had been doomed to that fate from the moment they had been made. The small distortion that had slipped past her notice would ultimately make an appearance far after the story she wanted to tell had ended.
She had created those worlds because she wanted to tell a story, so she had not thought about what would happen afterwards.
But they had all blamed her. They had insisted she take responsibility.
They’re probably right, she had thought. I made it, so of course they’ll say that.
It came down to the limits of her imagination.
But after several of the worlds had broken, she had made up her mind: she would take responsibility.
“If a world is going to break, then I will destroy it as its creator.”
She had made up her mind and acted on that conviction.
As she did, she had realized something.
When she acted as a world’s enemy, its residents would resist her. She had created them. She had thought up a story for them and she had cried, laughed, and felt anger about them, but they had all sent their anger and resentment her way.
To be honest, that was hard to bear, but she could not blame them either. It was her fault for her insufficient imagination.
She had made the same excuse over and over again:
“If you can stop me, then your world will not be destroyed. So do your best.”
And so she had destroyed those worlds.
She thought it was her fault that the worlds would break down and die. So she wanted the residents to do their best. Their very, very best. She wished she could create a world that would not be destroyed, but she also hoped the residents would do their best. However…
A few signs had informed her that her sister was pursuing her.
A few times they had just missed each other as she left the world and her sister entered it. But…
That vague response was not a confirmation or denial and it seemed something like both.
“This is unusual,” said Amaze. “No, this is how you were when we had just met. Should I continue on as I am?”
“Please don’t be too strict. And as for me…it seems I still haven’t changed.”
…I can’t believe this.
With that thought, she got up. She always felt kind of refreshed when she got up, but she would feel terribly worn out just a few minutes later.
“What is it?”
“Am I doing this right?”
“You…well, according to my standards, you are. You create things and you end them. Nothing could be better for a responsible creator.”
“Nothing could be better, hm?”
“Indeed. …Although I doubt my creators ever thought I would be used for a girl’s entertainment.”
“And I never thought there would be a world where people lived on the moon because you get magic power from moonlight. But…”
“But what, Shouko?”
“Can you tell me about yourself again, Amaze?”
She badgered the book to talk about itself.
Whenever it complied, the story was fairly ridiculous, but she kind of understood some of it. After all…
“Tell me about the people who made you.”
It helped relax her to hear that there had been people like her in the past.
“Which era should I talk about?”
“I know it was from a time when years and calendars don’t apply, so don’t bother with that.”
“Then which region?”
“There were four floods, so nothing but latitude and longitude has any meaning, right? Compared to now, I mean.”
“Then as an introductory remark…”
“Amaze, you’re a terrible singer.”
“You love to cut out everything necessary for a proper ritual, don’t you!?”
“You can stick all that stuff at the end. C’mon, get on with it.”
“Well,” said the book as Shouko thought to herself.
…There was an old spy movie where a recording medium disguised as a book gave people verbal instructions, wasn’t there?
“Amaze, you aren’t going to shoot out smoke and burn away afterwards, are you?”
“You’re expecting some weird things from me, aren’t you?”
The book grew cautious, but it also began talking.
“Let’s go with an older period than usual. Before the events in this world.”
“Before the 3rd person?”
“Yes. This is back when I was created.”
“…You remember that?”
“Well, yes. Besides, I didn’t have this form originally.”
She remembered hearing a bit about this before.
“You were a collection of thin slates, right?”
“Right. I was originally a holder that contained the magic power of your world. But that magic power interfered with itself and produced my consciousness.”
“You were a bug?”
“No, I was probably made to do that. After all, my will thinks in human terms and I prioritize being read by someone. Also…”
“My creator respected me, but I do in fact know who it was that made me.”
Shouko had a feeling this was the first time Amaze had shown any emotion toward its creator.
She considered asking about it, but Amaze did not seem aware of it.
So she decided against it.
Instead, she asked about something else she had noticed.
“What were you created to do when you had that form? Were you just a storehouse for power?”
“I was originally made to respond to someone’s will and, if possible, create whatever it was that person imagined.”
“So you were an all-powerful creation device?”
“That’s a tad blunt, but I suppose so. Of course, it had to be someone with a will capable of communicating with me, which was apparently rare. But in my case, I could use my knowledge to supplement the imagination of the will communicating with me.”
“So like an AI supporter.”
“Exactly. …Now, you know how there are discussions about where the wheel or steel were first invented, right? I helped in the creation of such things.”
“…Now you’re just bragging.”
“No, no, no. It’s true. To create those, someone had to first wish for a technology to carry things more efficiently or a material sturdier than wood or dirt, right? I wasn’t the right answer myself, but I could help reach the answer and actually produce it for them once they settled on the answer.”
“What if what you made wasn’t the same thing the user wanted?”
“The user can only imagine something fairly vague, so as long as it functions properly, I don’t see how there could be a problem.”
“Ahhh… But there are things better than wheels and better than steel, so I feel bad for the civilizations that drew the short straw there.”
“You can be rather harsh, you know that!? But anyway,” continued Amaze. “I was created to assist in people’s development like that. The power in our world was thin, so I concentrated it together to guarantee it could be used for creation.”
“And how did you end up at our house?”
“People were no longer able to communicate with me.”
“You’re speaking with me. And weren’t you given a will of your own to make communication easier?”
“Have you forgotten that your family couldn’t communicate with me?”
Now that Amaze mentioned it, that was true.
“I hope I haven’t gone insane and I’m just sitting here talking to a book.”
“Do you really think I would confirm that even if it was true?”
This book has a point… she thought, but then Amaze sighed and asked a question.
“Once people begin to doubt that god even exists, they start looking at themselves. They want to have a logical explanation for why they came to be. Because they assumed they had originally been created by someone.”
“I was glad I could communicate with you, Shouko.”
“Yeah, you say that.”
“It’s true,” said Amaze in a shrugging tone. But if what the book said was to be believed, it had not spoken with anyone for at least several hundred years.
…I wouldn’t be able to stand that.
She did not want to imagine her life coming to an end while everyone ignored her.
“Your imagination is incredible,” said Amaze. “There is no greed for money or fame. You simply construct worlds. You can imagine good, evil, and everything in between. That is your talent.”
“I have a feeling that’s not quite a compliment, but I do sometimes wonder something.”
She had wondered it in the past and in the earlier “dream”.
“Even if the worlds are fictional…is it really okay to destroy them?”
“It is.” The response was carefree. “I mean, you imagined them. They might have been created, but they are essentially fictional. You only have one reality. You cannot let your worries about the product of your imagination affect the imagination needed to create something.”
Shouko thought Amaze was right.
At the same time, they both knew it was only a slight difference.
“But, Shouko? You see more than just functionality and invention within the fictional things your imagination creates, don’t you? You also see value in them, don’t you?”
Amaze’s tone grew more mature when it was thinking more rapidly. And at times like that, Amaze became an innocent being that valued creation. So Shouko…
“If anything, when you’re writing a novel, the background world exists to establish the characters’ techniques and lifestyles, so what matters most is the characters’ story created from that.”
“Is it like the difference between a playwright and a prop master?”
Shouko was not sure. She did not have any direct experience with plays.
“But when my sister heard my stories, she would laugh and cry.”
“It’s weird, isn’t it? It’s in our imaginations, it’s fictional, and it’s all fake, so why do we laugh and cry?”
She called out Amaze’s name.
“What we’re doing might be wrong and I might be realizing how to do the right thing.”
“But when you tried to do that, you ultimately chose to take responsibility. …If there is a better means of doing something about the worlds you have created, then I will assist you. But you will end what you have created. And I will help with that. Do not think in terms of right and wrong; think in terms of can and can’t.”
She had no response to that. And…
“When I think about it, Amaze, I’m controlling you, aren’t I?”
“Yes. I caught a glimpse of this in your ‘dream’, but if you are drunk on my power, then that would mean you are controlling me.”
“Am I drunk?”
“You used to be. …You know, like when you wrote that one about Robins, the handsome brother of the king, and Maris, princess of Crystal Grande, meeting and fighting back against the king: ‘Maris! I missed you! I was willing to cross a billion nights to see you!’ ”
“Ahhhhhhh! You didn’t have to mention that!!”
“Just to be clear, of the worlds you materialized, you were drunk on my power during at least the first 70 or so.”
“What about now?”
“For the 2000 or so after that, I suppose you were sober even after materializing them.”
I’ve made that many? she thought. But I’ve still got a ways to go to reach 3000 worlds, she also thought.
“However,” said Amaze. “When you were trying to keep the worlds from being destroyed, you noticed I could never do anything more than you asked of me, didn’t you? I can mix together and mash up your imagination, but I am a Book of Creation that cannot create anything from nothing.”
“Then the real question is why I materialized those worlds in the first place.”
“You have done nothing wrong, Shouko. You have simply used and enjoyed your imagination.”
“Once you decided you wanted to see whether or not your imagination was correct, you decided you wanted to view it as reality instead of fiction. …And I complied. I thought your imagination was correct, so I created it. And the resultant worlds are beautifully complete worlds that are born, develop, and then vanish.”
“But, Shouko, if you do not want to see your worlds disappear, then you should make even more worlds. Or-…”
“I know that,” she said, cutting off Amaze.
She looked to the planet visible outside the window and thought about what and who was there.
“If they are to stop us, they can’t let themselves be stopped by us. …Perhaps this is the world that will accomplish that. But…”
“If not, prepare for the next one, Amaze. …I will erase this world and create the next.”
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