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Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou Vol 13 Chapter 4

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Chapter 4: Countless Universes

Opening up all possibilities may have been a mistake.

The s.p.a.ce itself was finite and the characters were finite, but the combinations were infinite. Opening up the possibilities was not just a concept. It actually released the walls of the world that supposedly existed within Akuto.

This was similar to further universes being born within him.

The props used naturally extended beyond him.

In other words, even the extra-universal G.o.ds became possibilities in the story.

As a result, all stories fell into chaos.

What is it called when stories fall into chaos?

The answer was included in a certain story from the past: the Tower of Babel.

Until then, it could be said that the story was shared by all. They had all been playing a part in that story and thus the world had not been allowed to interfere with the stories other than Akuto’s.

So what if the people ceased to share the story?

That led to chaos.

The extra-universal G.o.ds all contained their own unique stories and were thus the protagonists of those stories. Those multiple protagonists had tried to advance their stories in the same s.p.a.ce.

That may have caused a great disturbance, but it was not conflict. After all, the “weak” stories existed there in addition to the “strong” stories that attempted take the lead. The weak yet large ones ran everyday life. The strong yet small ones ran the oddities of life.

The concepts that explained the world’s structure and made people aware of their ident.i.ty were large, but they had mostly blended into everyday life to the point of not being noticed. The stories of individuals’ lives were carved deeply into people’s hearts, but they naturally went no further than that individual.

Individuals.

It was only now that mankind truly became “individuals”. Even if they could speak to each other, no kind of relationship could be formed if they did not share the same stories. The relationships of friends, enemies, and even strangers could not be established.

When the possibilities were infinite, stories instantly became impossible.

Countless isolated individuals were formed.

First person.

Even so, stories…no, something even before that began.

I slept in darkness. No, I simply lay in darkness. I had given up. I did nothing.

I heard a voice.

It was distant. Or was it close? I could not tell.

Who was the voice calling for? Me? Someone else?

I had no way of finding out. It was even possible I had been the one to utter it.

It was possible I could confirm the existence of time for as long as the voice lasted. But it had no units. It was permanent. There was no guarantee the same word was not being repeated again and again. Even if a bell continued ringing for all eternity, there were no words to indicate a single, unique ringing of the bell. Which ring was it? Based on what division? In which eternity?

I decided to a.s.sume the voice was mine.

A story still had not been established. There was not even solitude here. After all, the first person was all that existed.

I produced sound.

There was sound.

I produced sound in order to speak.

There was speech.

There was language.

The correct answer could not be found.

It had no meaning.

It was not wrong or right.

It was meaninglessness. It was mistaken. It was a failure. Nothing existed there.

I moved my body.

There was movement.

Outside and inside. That division just barely existed.

There was movement.

Where to? Inside the s.p.a.ce or outside the s.p.a.ce? Heading inside led to nothingness and heading outside led to nothingness, but it was still a division. Even if a bell continued ringing for all eternity, there were no words to indicate a single, unique ringing of the bell. Which ring was it? Based on what division? In which eternity?

Even so, I counted.

I made a division.

The divisions increased.

I separated the heavens from the earth.

I moved.

I could move.

I could move the earth.

I stood. I stood using bones and the muscles of my back.

I hurt. But the pain was not everywhere. The pain was inside, but it was not outside.

I cried out.

It was meaninglessness. It was mistaken. It was a failure. That was all I had.

That mistaken noise was the only place a voice could be found. That error was all that was inside. The pain alone was there.

It was not there. I could not be sure. Mistakes were all I had.

So I made mistakes.

I made more mistakes.

I did whatever I could to make mistakes.

I made mistakes with a powerful will.

I made mistakes again and again.

And that led to…nothing.

I looked.

I mistook what I saw.

I mistook more of what I saw.

I did whatever I could to mistake what I saw.

I mistook what I saw with a powerful will.

I mistook what I saw again and again.

There was a mistake there.

I could see it.

I could see you.

Second person.

You stood in the light. No, you stood still in the light. You were there. You did nothing.

You heard a voice.

It was distant.

It was calling out to someone. You? Someone else?

You made a division between you and others, between here and there.

You decided to a.s.sume the voice came from “there”.

It may have been a story. You may have been solitary. After all, the voice may have come from someone other than you. After all, the second person existed.

You produced sound.

There was sound.

You produced sound in order to speak.

There was speech.

There was language.

The correct answer could not be found.

It had meaning.

It could also be mistaken.

You cried out.

It was meaningful. It was mistaken. It was a failure. You had all that.

That mistaken noise was the only place a voice could be found. That error was everywhere. The pain was there.

Mistakes were all you had.

So you made mistakes.

You made more mistakes.

You did whatever you could to make mistakes.

You made mistakes with a powerful will.

You made mistakes again and again.

And that led to…a story.

With that, reality became reality.

A story was needed to perceive reality because that was where a relationship with another was found.

But to reconstruct the story possibilities, Akuto needed a period of time bordering on the infinite. After all, he had to test all possible stories.

Even so, the stories immediately grew complex. In modern times, the number of stories grew explosively. That was because machines and cities became new elements for the stories.

However, the most troublesome part of the work was the elements brought in by the extra-universal G.o.ds. That included things not possessed by the Law of Ident.i.ty.

Akuto fought with those extra-universal G.o.ds a few times.

Sometimes he won.

A story was created in which Akuto attended an academy in an unnamed alternate world. He was dominated by Fujiko and he struggled to help her take over the world. It ended with Fujiko’s world domination never coming to fruition and the two of them never even kissing. He finished testing that possibility.

Sometimes the extra-universal G.o.ds won.

Akuto was in Dresden on February 13, 1945. The Allies performed a completely meaningless bombing and he was caught in the firestorm along with Junko. He was badly injured yet did not die, but he had watch helpless as Junko died before his eyes. Afterwards, he lived by standing in the city as a wounded soldier and begging for money from people, but he eventually died of malnutrition. That possibility ended there.


Akuto was born with the mysterious power to see ghosts. He used that power to work with a ghost version of Korone and resolve incidents related to complex human relationships. That story had no ending. Tens of thousands of stories were inspected and the testing of that possibility ended once they had all been completed.

Korea, July 1950. Members of the Bodo League were gathered from neighboring areas and killed in a cobalt mine of the former Imperial j.a.panese Army. They were killed because they were thought to be communists, but the league had actually been created to reeducate communists. Not only that, to increase the number of converts, people were given jobs and other incentives for naming themselves, so most of them were villagers who knew nothing of communism. Almost none of them were actual communists who were working with North Korea. The cobalt mine was chosen in order to bury the bodies. Akuto was killed there as one of the converts. What frightened him most before he died was that the Korean police a.s.sisting in the killing did not even know what communism was.

Yoshie was reincarnated in a different world and retained her memories of her previous life as a modern person. The other world’s science was at the level of the middle ages, so she did great things with her scientific abilities. This story’s conclusion was not a story, so the test of the possibility ended quickly. This was because he was unable to deny the value of finally affirming the modern.

Junko ran away from home. She was a delinquent, so her family did not call the police to search for her. But as she wandered alone on the streets at night, she was abducted by a van carrying multiple thugs. They got her to tell them her situation and they were delighted to hear no one would be searching for her. They drugged her, raped her, and abandoned her in the mountains. Either they had drugged her too much or she simply ran out of strength before finding her way out of the mountains because she died there. The body was later found, but the criminals were never arrested.

A ninja arrived before Akuto, a normal boy. Junko, the ninja, was beautiful, but she had been raised in a rural area and had no knowledge of normal life. Her arrival brought chaos to the peaceful city. He attempted tens of thousands of variations on this story, but that was not enough and he proved that he could continue doing so almost without end. For that reason, he ended the investigation.

Fujiko was born as the daughter of a well-off family, but her parents loved flashy things and neglected her. Despite having plenty of money, they were oddly intent on raising her themselves. As if it were normal, they abused Fujiko before she was old enough to understand what was happening. She had no one but her parents to rely on and she possessed no concept of G.o.d, so she continued adoring the parents who hurt her and that fact actually frightened those parents. The actual killing was carried out by her father. He swung her by her feet and slammed her into the wall. Her skull was split open and she died. Her parents paid off a doctor who was a childhood friend to hide what had happened. A year later, her parents had completely forgotten about their daughter.

Akuto developed supernatural powers that only appeared in girls and transferred into a girl’s school for training supernatural powers. He was the only boy in the entire school.

At that point, Akuto ended the story creation.

He had decided it was all meaningless.

The stories were developing, but the ones he created were nothing more than projections of his longing for a ridiculous world where the pleasant things would continue forever.

Most likely, he would have no choice but to call that a variation of the ultimate form of a story. If one focused on an age of limited resources, they could even find stories that were nothing but eating one’s fill. In every age, people wished to interact with others who were more fortunate.

On the other hand, the stories created by the extra-universal G.o.ds were intended to destroy his desires. Also, its outer surface as a story was hidden, so it was shown as if it were the truth. That too was a final shape of a story.

He had already used millennia on this, but he began to have more than just a suspicion that the stories were hiding within humans.

To keep the story more flat, he prepared an infinite surface, chairs, a table, drinks, and a few fruits. Even that was enough to create a story, but it would keep the story to a minimum.

People could only perceive reality as a story and they would search for the ending of that story. That ending would be the end of reality. It would also be the end of the flow of time.

The story made clear attempts to resist. The story seemed to be making attempts to survive even if it meant destroying mankind.

Akuto called a guest to the s.p.a.ce containing the infinite surface. There were few personalities that were not influenced by him and there had only been one person from whom he had been able to receive advice.

Hiroshi was there with a sheepish smile.

“Is this the first time we’ve spoken like this?” asked Hiroshi.

He was not wearing the Brave suit, but he was definitely still Brave.

“We’ve been apart for a very long time,” said Akuto.

“I never really thought about speaking with you as an equal.”

“Perhaps not, but I feel like we both realized this moment was coming.”

“I didn’t come here because you called for me. I chose to transfer to this time and s.p.a.ce because I knew this moment was coming. For me it’s been a few months, but has it been millennia for you? Either way, it’s been a while.”

“Sorry about having you come here.”

Akuto smiled and held out a drink.

“This place is like a never-ending plain…or desert.”

Hiroshi looked around.

“I could make it into any form, but I want to produce as few stories as possible.”

“This really is your world.”

“Yes, I suppose it is. What do you want to drink? I hadn’t decided on that yet.”

Akuto spoke casually and Hiroshi peered into the cup to find what had no form beyond being a liquid.

“Water. Carbonated water.”

As soon as Hiroshi said that, the contents of the cup transformed into cold mineral water with bubbles inside.

“I see.”

He drank the water and it refreshingly wet his throat.

“What does it feel like to be able to do anything?” he asked after taking a breath.

“It feels like arriving at the farthest reaches of biological pleasure,” immediately replied Akuto.

Hiroshi smiled a bit.

“I’ve never felt that.”

“No, you wouldn’t have.” Akuto smiled too. “But we stand on the same stage. We’re probably the only ones who haven’t become a concept.”

“A concept?”

“You can’t understand someone’s personality just by looking at them, but now I can truly experience them. Even if other people’s reactions are mechanical in nature, we have no way of determining it. What resides within me right now may be the countless personalities of all existing people.”

“If a different object with the same name is placed in a box that only the individual can open, can conversation still be achieved?” asked Hiroshi. “If a foreign language dictionary has a sample greeting section and you communicate using that, can you still call it a conversation?”

Akuto looked amused.

“Yes. It definitely isn’t like you to respond like that.”

“While here, I am a synthesis of the concept of Brave,” explained Hiroshi with a grin.

“I see. So a concept is a concept.”

“I do understand what you’re saying, though. The only ones given an incarnation in the Law of Ident.i.ty’s world are you and me. Wouldn’t incarnation be the best term for being equal concepts before the creator? So in your world, the people inside are equally given an incarnation.”

“I may be the creator here, but I don’t feel like a G.o.d. What I can feel is that stories are binding us. Even when I create worlds, I am only free in which story I choose and to what degree I take that story. In the end, I want to destroy that and escape this world.”

Akuto sounded sad.

“You want to destroy the stories? You’ve reconfirmed what your ultimate objective is, haven’t you?”

“It seems so. I thought it would be easy when I first made up my mind. That was back when I decided to kill the G.o.ds.”

Akuto sounded exasperated with himself and Hiroshi gave a bitter smile.

“Make sure you’re able to go through with that. If you include the stories created after that, how many normal lives and how many trouble-filled lives have we lived? Also, Keena-chan and Korone-chan are still sleeping. They should last a few millennia, though.”

Despite what he said, his tone made it clear he was not criticizing Akuto.

“That is exactly why I decided to consult you, the one who exists outside my story,” said Akuto in a serious voice.

“I’m fine with complaints like that. After all, we were always a poor match. I was always lighter than you,” said Hiroshi jokingly.

The two of them exchanged embarra.s.sed smiles.

“That’s right. You were always the more reasonable of the two of us. But I can’t imagine that someone who thinks normally would be suited for this.”

Hiroshi confidently shook his head.

“That is no longer the case and that is why I can bring this story to an end.”

Akuto did not seem able to believe that.

“Does that mean you’re determined to kill me?”

However, Hiroshi showed no sign of faltering.

“Of course. Without you, I can rewind time and restart the many types of stories. You can even be there just not as the demon king.”

“But that didn’t work, did it? You’ve already killed me countless times, haven’t you?”

Akuto merely sounded curious.

“Exactly.” Hiroshi pointed at Akuto. “And that’s the problem! In this world – yes, even your world – everyone wants to kill the demon king. And that includes you. The reason that doesn’t work is because the Law of Ident.i.ty’s power is still at work here!”

That comment finally caused Akuto to flinch.

“Come to think of it, the blond Keena stopped my destruction.”

“Yes. The Law of Ident.i.ty must be killed before killing the demon king. That is the only way to resolve this.”

A cruel smile appeared on Hiroshi’s lips.

Akuto sighed and gave a sulking expression.

“You shouldn’t say that when you know it isn’t possible.”

“I am fused with Bouichirou right now. I have his knowledge and it makes me somewhat bitter. I’ve been given a worthless life this entire time. That’s the life of a side character.”

Hiroshi reached for one of the fruits on the table. He was only able to recognize it as a peach after grabbing it.

“I do feel bad about that, but I’m not sure I’d say it was worthless. …No, I suppose I view my own life as worthless now.”

Akuto also grabbed a peach, produced a knife, opened a slit, and used a finger to peel it.

“That is why I can’t come up with an effective solution,” he said. “In the end, there may be nothing I can do. I feel like I called you here to have you destroy everything.”

His expression was dark, but Hiroshi laughed aloud.

“Ha ha. How about you stop being so mean-spirited?”

“Mean-spirited?”

Akuto peered into Hiroshi’s eyes.

“I’m just saying there’s still something you can do. I have an idea.”

Hiroshi sliced off a piece of peach flesh and carried it to his mouth with the knife.

“Is there really something I can do?” asked Akuto.

“If you feel bad, it means you can at least feel responsibility,” immediately replied Hiroshi. “The people inside you are nothing but p.a.w.ns, but you don’t view them that way.”

Akuto gasped.

“That’s right. My responsibility extends beyond you. There are also the ghosts of former personalities. When you get down to it, I’m the ruler of ghosts.”

He bit into the peach as if he suddenly remembered he held it.

“Mankind was wiped out and you could say the people were turned to data.”

“But people’s actions were preserved as data in the past as well.”

“The only ones you turned to data were the ones with existing souls. You can thank Bouichirou for that tidbit of information.”

“Existing souls? You mean the existence that makes you yourself? That’s the concept that appeared within Zero and can be synonymous with the Law of Ident.i.ty.”

“Yes. It’s nothing but a concept, but it must be viewed as if it exists. You must a.s.sume that anything under the Law of Ident.i.ty’s influence possesses a soul.”

“I see. If you view it as if it exists, it creates a difference between ghosts and data. The black magicians did say that necromancy was incomplete.”

“What I’m saying is that you can summon ghosts.”

“Ghosts, hm? If I do that, I may be able to learn what my mistakes were and understand this world.”

Akuto threw the half-eaten peach and a long table appeared there. Four chairs were now lined up.

Finally, a figure appeared beyond the horizon. The figure flickered like a flame and its features grew more and more distinct as it approached. It was a girl.

Either due to not expecting it or the influence of Bouichirou’s memories, Hiroshi let out a cry of surprise.

“Teruya Eiko!”

That tall body with a nice figure and long hair tied back was indeed the girl who had once dealt in conspiracy and brought a deal to Akuto.

“My memories are pretty horrible,” she complained as if it had all happened yesterday.

When she leaned forward as if to push Hiroshi out of the way, Akuto used his chin to point in the other direction.

“I know,” he said calmly. “You were living in prison, weren’t you? But if you’re used to thinking, nothing is easier than solitary confinement. More importantly, sit down. I have prepared a table and chairs so we can have a long chat.”

“Hah! What a terrible guy! Let’s do that. I’m hoping my grudge is enough to banish your heart to some distant place.”

She circled around the table, placed a seat in the middle, and sat in it while folding her legs as if to show them off. Her panties were visible below her short skirt, but she seemed to be showing them off as well.

“I never could like you,” said Akuto.

She snorted.

“In relationships between men and women, there are some things that can’t be changed by liking or not liking someone. Even after living for thousands of years, you’re still a little boy, aren’t you, Sai Akuto?”

“I’m less than twenty, you know,” cut in Hiroshi.

She gave him a cynical look.

“Age isn’t everything. You did look like an adult before, though.”

“When I was fixated on the Law of Ident.i.ty, you carried out a betrayal.”

“Did you bring me here to criticize me?” She smiled. “At any rate, I did what was right.”

“What was right?” Akuto’s eyebrows rose. “How was that right? All you did was obey the computer G.o.ds and attempt to raise your social status in the real world.”

“I don’t feel bad about doing that.” Eiko looked angry. “Even if the world was going to be destroyed, it was going to happen after my generation. I was going to enjoy my life and leave a decent society to the next generation. If the destruction is so far away, what else could I do? If you and I had been reformed, Bouichirou and I would have been able to travel to the future.”

“You were trying to control society. You even tried to change the G.o.ds’ data to trick the people.”

“And what’s wrong with that? You’re too arrogant. Right now, you’re treating the people as a single whole. The people, the ma.s.ses, the populace, the citizenry, or whatever you want to call them. At the very least, they’ve faded into the background. With this afterlife, you should have realized that you too are controlling all the fools. You thought about giving them a religion to control them.”

Akuto fell silent.

“You’re the same. I may not have known the truth of some distant future, but you did the same thing when you were given an eternity of time.”

“You’re right.” Akuto squeezed out the words. “It is the same thing.”

“Just like you, I had no religious belief. Just like you, I looked down on those who did not think for themselves. The reason you didn’t join me was because you ultimately believed the end of the world was coming and that someone had created the world. You actually did have faith. Faith in something irrational.”

Eiko rebuked Akuto.

All of her words were convincing to him and he could only sink further down in his chair. Just like Bouichirou, he had believed in the Law of Ident.i.ty.

“I haven’t felt this good since before I died,” said Eiko with a victorious smile.

“Normally, the dead do not have a chance to explain themselves,” cut in Hiroshi. “The imprisoned truly are not on the side of justice.”

His tone of voice changed as he left Akuto’s small table and circled around to the long table.

“It may go without saying seeing as you are the demon king, but you do not need that kind of forgiveness. Not that you want to refer to yourself as the demon king.”

Hiroshi’s expression had become Bouichirou’s at some point.

“It is my turn now. My prediction has been proven true, but that is simply because I based it on accurate data and experience. It is only natural that it came true. You ignored my warning. The extra-universal G.o.ds are now invading and throwing everything into chaos.”

“And I must accept that as a mistake on my part,” agreed Akuto.

“I was unable to exchange vows with the Law of Ident.i.ty, but you could have done it. If you had, the world would have been saved. It could have continued eternally in some other universe without changing form.”

Bouichirou’s words were pa.s.sionate.

“You say that, but you were obsessed with Keena…no, with Sudou Rimu,” pointed out Akuto. “You weren’t talking about the world.”

“If my ego and the benefit lined up, why does it matter?” immediately reb.u.t.ted Bouichirou. “You had the right to destroy the world. Your mistake was choosing to resolve it all by killing the G.o.ds.”

“You’re right. I gave up on thinking about it back then. I simply acted on impulse and resolved it in what Keena calls ‘the boy way’. But I was trying to do what Keena told me when I did it.”

Akuto began mumbling and Bouichirou smiled bitterly.

“The extra-universal G.o.ds are invading even the s.p.a.ce where you can act freely, so the actual universe is likely the same. If you obtain true satisfaction and accept death, this s.p.a.ce will come to an end. That will cause it all to scatter. Even those of us who were reincarnated here as eternal beings with a role to play will disappear.”

“There’s no way for me to save Keena, is there?”

“Keena and the extra-universal G.o.ds are of equal importance once you leave this world. And that includes the Law of Ident.i.ty.”

Akuto thought on Bouichirou’s words for a while and then suddenly spoke.

“I’ll summon the extra-universal G.o.ds.”

Even Bouichirou looked surprised at that.

“Can you do that?”

“They should have been made a part of the story, too. I’m not sure how much we can understand each other since we don’t share a story, but it should still be possible.”

As soon as he said it, a black figure appeared in the chair. Everyone there could tell it were there.

They looked toward it and found nothing but shadows. Not even its species could be determined. However, when one looked away, someone was definitely there. It could only be seen out of the corner of the eye, so its s.e.x and expression could not be seen. But when one looked back, there was nothing but shadow.

“I am the Empty Universe,” said one black figure.

Just like their visual form, the voice could only be heard when not trying to hear it.

“The Empty Universe?”

Akuto’s question seemed to get through and a faint sound that was not made of words carried a distinct answer.

“It is a universe with no stories, no matter, and only a single voice. There is nothing but an occasional voice meaning ‘you’, ‘du’, ‘vous’, or ‘sue’.”

The meaning of the black figure’s words reached Akuto. After putting the unique subject matter to memory, he asked a further question to hear more.

“So that voice saying ‘you’ is all that exists?”

“That cry of ‘you’ creates self-ident.i.ty. That created a story upon entering this world. The second person. I am but a voice. ‘You!’ ‘You!’ ‘You!’ ”

“But if there is a story, it can’t be empty.”

“The one calling out can never be met. Not by anyone. The voice merely continues to call out without change.”

Akuto’s image of the Empty Universe expanded in his mind.

It was darkness without darkness.

It was emptiness without light.

It only contained an echoing voice. It was nothing a monosyllabic cry that repeated over and over.

The voice reached nothing. There was nothing but a being that thought someone else must exist.

It was not even clear if such a being was alone or if there were multiple such beings.

Either way, it could only eternally seek out another.

“That’s h.e.l.l,” muttered Akuto.

“It is not even h.e.l.l,” denied the black figure. “There is not even suffering. There is nothing.”

“The Empty Universe contains only beings,” said a different voice.

Akuto looked over and found no one. When he looked away, a red-clothed figure appeared there. It had the same odd traits as the black-clothed one.

“I am the Formless Universe.”

This voice was different from the black-clothed one’s, but the voice would still vanish if one tried to hear it as words.

“Is that the universe of the Formless Power?” he asked.

The red-clothed figure gave no response and merely continued speaking.

“In the Formless Universe, beings blend together. The archetypal creatures have the boundaries needed to exist, but when creatures come into contact, those boundaries are destroyed. They devour each other. In this case, the beings indicate each other and let out a shout of ‘you!’ ”

His image of the Formless Universe expanded in his mind.

Many beings were there.

Beings resembling an amoeba, water in zero gravity, or a cloud wriggled through the emptiness in pursuit of each other.

They produced the same sound as the being in the Empty Universe.

As they searched for each other, they would sometimes coincidentally come into contact.

And then…

It was the same sound, but it became a cry of joy.

“The word ‘you’ means something different from in the emptiness, doesn’t it?” muttered Akuto. “Now it means ‘found you!’ ”

“They devour each other,” affirmed the being in red. “They only notice the other in that instant. ‘You! I finally found you!’ ”

The image in his mind changed.

Two beings b.u.mped into each other and became a single being.

A new voice came from within the being.

“But a moment later, neither knows which they are. And despite becoming a single being, they are filled with a voice. ‘Who!’ ‘Who!’ ‘Who!’ In the Formless Universe, the cry of ‘you!’ lasts only an instant. Afterwards, there is only a being that is exposed to an unpleasant and never-ending voice.”

“As soon as they find someone else, that other person disappears, but that other person forces them to learn what they themselves are,” said Akuto as he gathered his thoughts. Once he did, his voice then grew sharper. “The unpleasant feeling of learning of oneself and gaining self-ident.i.ty… The Law of Ident.i.ty!”

That realization was immediately followed by another new voice.

“The Law of Ident.i.ty can exist in the Formless Universe.”

This one was wearing blue.

“I am the Gravity Universe. There, the beings have become one with their boundaries and possess matter.”

The image in Akuto’s head changed to be the Gravity Universe.

There was light and darkness there.

The beings there still resembled amoebae, but they had a distinct boundary around them. That boundary could be likened to a cell wall and it glittered as it reflected the light.

The voice rang out once more.

It was the same sound again, but it was now a shout of anger.

This time, the beings were clearly moving towards each other. They advanced through the universe choosing paths that would cause collisions.

“The boundary forces down the cry of ‘who!’ and they search out others to advance their own being.”

The words of the being in blue caused the image to move further.

The beings collided and the one with the weaker boundary would burst. That being would mostly dissolve into the universe, but one part would be taken in as part of the more powerful one’s boundary.

“They prey on each other?”

Akuto’s voice trembled and a voice he had yet to hear came from the being.

“When their barrier is lost, the being itself disappears, so in the instant that barrier is struck, they cry out. ‘Death!’ ‘Death!’ ‘Death!’ ”

Akuto was left speechless and the voice of another universe spoke.

“Pleasure can exist in the Gravity Universe.”

This one wore white.

The image in Akuto’s head grew bright and the twinkling of stars was present.

It was primitive, but life forms were there.

The single cell organisms began to divide.

“I am the Anti-Gravity Universe. There, the beings multiply. The barriers grow and divide. It is filled with voices. ‘Me!’ ‘Me!’ ‘Me!’ ”

Those were the voices of delight at being born.

“Love can exist in the Anti-Gravity Universe.”

The beings there also preyed on each other, but when they collided, they each split off a part of themselves which combined to produce a new being.

The universe was filled with lively voices.

“This is only a step away from the universe I know,” said Akuto. “Is this all the other universes?”

The variously colored extra-universal G.o.ds gave a denial.

“These are the archetypes that created the different universes.”

The extra-universal G.o.ds urged him to look behind him.

He looked toward the horizon without looking directly at it.

The entire horizon was filled with shadows. They were humanoid and countless in number.

They were not as simple as the ones he had seen so far. They wore many different kinds of clothes and they had clear s.e.xes. Their shadows flickered only in the corner of his vision and each and every one undoubtedly contained hundreds of millions of beings. They all contained ghosts just like he did.

“Are they the same as me?” he asked.

The differently-colored extra-universal G.o.ds vanished without answering.

The other people representing universes that he had only caught a glimpse of finally faded into nothingness.

Only Akuto and Bouichirou remained at the table.

“They are likely the same as us.”

For a while, the two of them were too shocked to speak, but Bouichirou finally agreed with Akuto.

“You and they are both universes. Perhaps we should refer to you as G.o.d universes. Before you released all of the world’s possibilities, it may have been only you that was the same as them.”

Bouichirou pointed at him and he let out a long breath and nodded.

“The birth of the universe resembled the birth of stories. If the universe really is multiple stories, then there must be countless beings like me outside of it.”

“If so, there should be a spectrum,” said Bouichirou confidently.

“A spectrum? What’s that?” asked Akuto.

“It means they are divided into multiple levels. You could call it their story density. Think of them as having become stories to varying degrees.”

“And we’ve done so to a much higher degree?”

“We know that the world is fictional. Doesn’t that seem like a very high degree?’

Bouichirou’s comment brought something to Akuto’s mind.

The story of interference from outside the universe was centered on not perceiving the world as fictional. That was a story based on the a.s.sumption that one lived as only a single incarnation.

“I feel like I only came to understand myself once I saw the outside,” agreed Akuto.

“But when you get down to it, even the extra-universal G.o.ds are fictional. They merely cannot distinguish between G.o.d, mankind, and ghost. Only once you inform the higher being and create an enclosure within a single universe can you make a clear distinction between the three. That allows you to understand who it is you are inside.”

Akuto thought about Bouichirou’s a.n.a.lysis.

“Okay. That means I need to think about how to respond to that higher being,” said Akuto. “I don’t just want to save the beings inside me. I want to save all the beings inside the Law of Ident.i.ty’s universe. I want to free them from the stories. That is my wish.”

It was now Bouichirou’s turn to think.

“The stories can only be viewed as a virus. Originally, life should have been complete once it was created in the Anti-Gravity Universe. No matter how complex the cells grew or how complex the reflection became, the life forms would only hunt, kill, and reproduce. That is all. There would be no sin or forgiveness there.”

“But the extra-universal G.o.ds brought the story of unreasonable death into me. Its story density should be fairly low.”

“In that case, unreasonable death is a natural thing. No reason is needed to kill. That would explain it.”

“Nevertheless, we avoid meaningless killing.”

“Avoidance of killing is due to the stories, yet you claimed the stories were the cause of ma.s.s murder.”

Bouichirou’s words caused Akuto to think once more and he summoned someone else.

He waved his hand toward the horizon and a muscular man with dark skin walked from that distant horizon.

It was Marine. He had once ruled the Republic, wielded the Formless Power, and fought Akuto. He had not wished for it, but he had caused the destruction of the world.

“I feel like I was called here to represent an ideology and it annoys me a little.”

Just like the other summoned ghosts, Marine started by complaining.

“It seems like ghosts are always complaining to me,” said Akuto with a shrug.

“Of course they are. You killed us. But you at least had the courage to face me without fearing criticism. I’ll grant you that.”

Marine gave a hearty laugh and did not hesitate to sit in one of the chairs.

“Since you’re my ghost, that might count as self-praise,” complained Akuto.

“Don’t worry about it,” said Marine. “Both humans and ghosts cannot distinguish themselves from others.”

“Yes. That is exactly why I think we hesitate to kill. If we truly viewed ourselves as distinct, humans would have no laws outside of the biological ones.”

“That is a positive side to the stories. Others exist inside us as ghosts and our love for that fact leads us to avoid preying on and killing them. Reproduction and dividing must hold the advantage.”

Marine looked at Akuto as if to ask him if he finally understood.

“But I view you as a manifestation of the negative side.” Akuto looked back at Marine. “That is why you are here.”

“This could easily revert to a rudimentary argument. The state of ghosts creates others. The ghosts of the Republic’s people are persecuted by the ghosts of the imperial people. Pointing that out as an illusion is to cast aside the positive side.”

Marine’s reply was decisive and Akuto grimaced as if it had hit him where it hurt.

“I see. So I was the type to throw out the positive side along with the negative side.”

“You are a loveless man,” said Marine with a smile.

“So that is my sin.”

Akuto’s expression as always serious, but it grew completely stiff now.

Marine then showed a perfectly natural smile.

“Friend, you have found the answer to why I must criticize you. Isn’t that enough?”

“But what does that mean?” Akuto exposed his emotions as he spoke. “I’ve more or less found something within me that I can’t break through. I can’t free everyone. I hold a contradiction and I know I can’t resolve it.”

“In that case,” began Bouichirou. “Start by eliminating everyone but us.”

Akuto hesitated to do so.

“What are you going to do?”

“Just do it.”

There was great resolve in Bouichirou’s words, so Akuto did as he was asked and eliminated Marine and the long table.

Silence fell and as Akuto and Hiroshi sat facing each other.

“Is this good?”

“Yes.” Hiroshi nodded and seemed to have difficulty saying what came next. “I had actually made up my mind from the beginning.”

“Made up your mind?”

“I knew from the beginning that this might be something you couldn’t resolve on your own.”

“I want to say I’m surprised, but I’m really not. I was called the demon king and that’s exactly what I am. I’m a weapon and all I have is logic. I don’t have love.”

“I wish you’d realized that while still alive.”

Hiroshi smiled and Akuto did the same.

“So do I.”

“Now, let’s get down to business.” Hiroshi leaned forward. “Please create a world where I’m the protagonist.”

“Eh?”

Akuto was confused.

“Create a world where I’m the protagonist and keep the story density as low as you can.”

“It sounds like there’s more to this than just a desire to be the protagonist.”

“There is. Make it a world where I live as a normal person.”

Hiroshi was serious and that alone kept Akuto from understanding what the boy was thinking.

“What will that accomplish?”

“In that world with a low story density, I will redo my life with my memories of the past intact and there I will write a story to eliminate the story.”

Akuto’s eyes opened wide.

“That is…surprising to hear.”

“Stories have a positive side too, so it may be impossible to eliminate stories altogether. However, I can at least bring your story to an end.”

“So you will write my story there…and bring it to an end?”

“Yes.”

Akuto had never considered the idea, so he was bewildered.

“Can I really ask that of you?”

He could not predict what would happen, but he knew it would lead to a final ending if it succeeded.

“You can. This is something only I can do and, if you recall, killing you was my objective. And I have a feeling doing so will save this entire world.”

Hiroshi’s words were calm and he faced straight forward.

After a while, Akuto nodded.

“Understood. I will now reconstruct this world of the afterlife. Will allowing a high influence from the extra-universal G.o.ds and returning to before the mana civilization work?”

“Yes. Around 1990 should be good.”

“Let’s try this. I’m leaving it up to you.”

Akuto once more balled the world up in his hand and spread it out again.


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Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou Vol 13 Chapter 4 summary

You're reading Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Mizuki Shoutarou. Already has 1311 views.

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