OmaeGotoki: Volume 3 007 - A Dream Is A Blight Of Happiness, And So Are You
Satils turns to leave as if she hadn’t even noticed them.
They stand and stare after her for a long moment, but they can’t just let her get away.
As they follow her, they discover that she seems to be visiting her businesses in the Central Quarter with her servants. After she finishes she heads right back home, not once making contact with anyone from the Church.
Flum considers stopping and interrogating her, but there’s a fair chance it’s a trap.
“I guess our first stop is back home to tell Eterna.”
Flum mutters to herself as she peers around a corner at the front gate of Satils’ mansion. Milkit, strengthening her grip on Flum’s arm, nods. Her face is pale.
Just when I thought I was finally freed of those nightmares…
“Seriously, how’s that possible? I don’t care how rich she is, there’s no way she could afford a second life.”
“She’s real, isn’t she…? I wish she was just an imposter, but…”
“I don’t have any proof, but the way she looked at me there’s no doubt. What do you think?”
“I believe she’s really Satils, too. Just looking at her makes my skin crawl…”
It might be very relative, but it’d be hard to replicate that feeling assuming it's even possible. In a sense it’s far more certain than any physical evidence could be.
“I was really thorough, so there’s no way I accidentally left her alive…”
“Do you think it might be because of an Origin Core?”
Of the Church’s three research teams, the most likely one is---
“Good guess, oneesan.”
The voice that responds isn’t Milkit’s but that of a child. Recognizing the presence behind her, she draws and swings the Zweihander as she turns around.
“Whoa, that’s a pretty rude way to say hello!”
Seeing him, Milkit freezes in fear.
“Oh, you remember me. That’s good to hear.”
Standing there is a young boy in a white shirt not even ten years old --- one of the Spiral Children, Nekt Linkedge. He laughs off Flum’s murderous glare.
“Aren’t you being a little too bold? I would’ve thought being hunted down by Gadio-san would’ve prevented you from walking out in the open like this.”
“Hunted down? Ahaha, no way. We’re keeping up our research just fine. In fact, we’re doing a lot better now that Ink’s not getting in the way anymore.”
“One more word, and…!”
Flum steps forwards, putting herself firmly between him and Milkit.
Nekt, however, makes no move to attack.
“C’mon, no need to snap at me like a wild dog. I doubt you’ll believe me, but I’m here to talk, not fight.”
“Your kind isn’t really the talking type.”
“Don’t lump me in with the other teams’ monsters. We Children are used to the Cores, unlike them. I’m me, not Papa’s puppet.”
He certainly sounds just like a cocky little kid, if nothing else.
On top of that, even if she’s stronger now than when they last met she doesn’t think she could take on someone that even Gadio struggled against.
I can’t just attack on impulse.
Flum lowers her sword.
“I’m glad you’re the talking type.”
“Cut the crap. What do you want?”
“I’ll keep it simple, then --- let’s team up.”
He says the last thing she expected.
“I’m not trying to trick you, just to be clear. You already know about Chimaera and Necromancy, right?”
“...I’ll hear you out, at least.”
She glares at him, and he shrugs.
“Jeez, just getting you to listen is a pain. You know how the Church has three research teams, right? Any guesses why there’s not just one?”
“To make them compete?”
“Correct! You’re a lot smarter than you look. I was pretty sure you just ran around stabbing things blindly. But anyway, the three teams aren’t exactly friends. Not surprising, since two of us are going to get scrapped eventually.”
“So you want my help crushing Necromancy, is that it?”
“Glad you’re quick on the uptake. It’s not a bad deal, if I do say so mys---”
“I refuse! You abducted Milkit and now you want me to team up with you!?”
Flum cuts him off, not interested in hearing anything else he has to say. Even now she can remember what it was like to have Milkit disappear so suddenly, and Milkit herself is probably even more scared of him.
There’s not a single good reason they should listen to him.
“I guess you do hate me, after all. Look, I only did that because that Dane jerk made me. I couldn’t care less what happened to that bandaged oneesan.”
“That’s what I hate about you most. You think Origin’s just talking to you, not controlling you, but you don’t even realize how twisted you are! That’s even worse!”
“Huh… I guess you might have a point there. I haven’t talked with people on the outside much so I really don’t know.”
“Glad you agree. Now get lost.”
Cutting off their conversation, Flum grabs Milkit by the hand and starts leading her away.
Nekt starts talking in an exaggeratedly loud voice.
“Looking to go to Eterna Rinebow for help, huh? You might want to reconsider that!”
“...What do you mean?”
“Don’t worry, I didn’t do a thing. Just think for a moment, though: That Satils lady suddenly came back to life with a Core, right? It’s got Necromancy written all over it. They’ve been slinking around in the shadows up until now, but they just hit you with a declaration of war! Isn’t it natural to think the other Chosen are at risk, too?”
“Kh… Hold on, Milkit!”
Scooping up Milkit, Flum sprints back to their house.
Nekt smugly waves them goodbye, stopping the moment they pass out of sight. The cocky smile disappears from his face and he lets out a heavy sigh.
“Hahh… I guess I’ve got to work from the ground up, huh? No, maybe she saw right through me. Maybe my perception’s just as twisted as she thinks…”
He turns his back, narrowing his eyes.
“I wasn’t lying, though. I said so, didn’t I --- the other Chosen are at risk.”
He really didn’t mean to deceive her --- but if she finds herself feeling cornered, well, that’ll just work out better for him.
Just as planned, Gadio leaves the guild early after wrapping up a few odd jobs.
He was hoping to find a lead or two on the Church using his position as guildmaster, but he hasn’t seen any results yet. His opponent essentially controls the whole Kingdom, so he shouldn’t get impatient and hope for immediate results.
Knowing full well that a lead won’t just fall into his lap, he decides to return to Kereina and Hallom for the time being.
“Hmph. This isn’t like me…”
A box of cakes hangs in his grip. He tires to remember the last time he felt so flustered doing something like that --- it hasn’t been since Tia’s time, at the very least.
“I hope Kereina and Hallom like it.”
I can’t keep dwelling in the past. Tia and Souma may be dead, but I’ve still got a life to live.
The only real challenge left to him is accepting that. Unless he forgets about his best friend, his beloved wife, and most of all the ‘Coward’ who abandoned them, he can’t move forward.
The cakes he’s carrying with him are his first step down that path.
The patisserie he bought them from, incidentally, was one that Flum recommended to him while they were both in the Party.
[Cyrill-chan and I had cake there together! It was soooo good!]
Her eyes had sparkled with happiness despite the countless hardships the Journey was forcing on her. If it was good enough for her to recommend the place to Gadio when he clearly isn’t the sweet-loving type, it must’ve been amazing.
Lost in thought, he arrives back home before he realizes it.
Before he can open the door, however, it flies open from the other side.
“Hahh… hahh… Thank gods you’re finally back, Gadio!”
“I bought some cake for Hallom---
“T-Thanks, but… it really isn’t the time for that now!”
Kereina herself seems fine --- something must’ve happened to Hallom.
She grabs him by the arm and tries to lead him inside, but spotting something she stops dead in her tracks.
Following her gaze, he sees the same person she does --- and stops in the same way.
“Welcome back… or wait, I guess it’s the opposite?”
Her voice is light and bright.
“I’m home, Ga-kun.”
Her cheerful smile is the same as it was six years ago.
“Is that really you… Tia…?”
The woman who sacrificed herself to save him, the love of his life --- his beloved dead wife is standing there before him.
“Of course it is! Who else could it be? It’s me, your partner-slash-wife, Tia Ruskett!”
Before he has a chance to be happy, his mind goes white with shock.
He saw her die with his own two eyes.
And yet, somehow, she’s standing there before him, just as she was in life.
It’s an impossible sight.
His mind blares warning signs.
His adventurer’s instincts scream at him to stay away from her.
All his caution is buried beneath an inestimable volume of happiness.
The box of cakes falls from his hand, and before he realizes it Gadio is hugging her with all his strength.
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