My name is Satou Tarou, I am a 30-year-old who works at the local construction company.
I finally became the site foreman and I am currently building the steel framework for a three-story office. There was nobody in the building right now because all the workers were on lunch break.
At my own discretion I chose to take a selfie on the third floor of the construction grounds. If people were still working here it would be obstructive to take a picture. With a blackboard in one hand, I tried to get the best angle for my picture.
It was when I stepped on the veneer around the size of one tatami mat laid on the floor, that it suddenly happened. I fell straight through a hole that was concealed by the veneer.
The veneer showed no sign of supporting my weight and it seemed like a piece of paper that broke as I stepped on it.
Along with the fragments of veneer, my body dropped down.
I was experiencing the horrifying feeling of free falling downwards when I remembered something. There is a duct opening around here.
The duct opening is connected to the second floor and it is in the same position on all three floors. That’s why I was dropping straight down to the first floor.
(This veneer is way too thin! such a thin piece of wood covering the opening of a hole is a freaking trap waiting in ambush!)
While shouting in my own mind, my body passes through the opening of the second floor and crashed into the first floor.
I am drifting along a dark space.
I see a mass lump of light appearing in the distance and I am being pulled buoyantly towards the source.
(Ahh, I guess I died huh…)
Is what I thought. I accepted the fact.
(Director, I’m sorry. On the final day of promoting safety in the summer campaign, I caused an accident.)
Moreover, it’s a fatal accident.
I guess the director isn’t going to have any happy holidays. No, according to our company structure, all the members may have to deal with the accident without being able to take any breaks.
I really want to apologise to everyone, the frustration I feel for dying like this and my indignation against my own stupidity keeps getting higher and higher.
And after imagining the face of the middle aged man who planted that thin veneer to cover the duct made me seethe with fury.
It’s really sketchy to do a job only half-way done.
Just today they were working around the duct.
He probably thought that it was going to cut into his lunch time, so when he saw the opening and didn’t want to leave it as it was, he tried to cover it up. However, none of the right materials were available and since a thin piece of veneer was available he thought to just use that instead.
If it was something that minor, there is no way anything would happen within the lunch break, is probably what he thought.
The problem is that if such a thin veneer is placed in that type of hole, it’s much better to just leave the hole open.
Well, if I did find a hole just being left unattended, I probably would have raged at them so…
Thinking about these types of frivolous things, a voice spoke to me from behind.
Rather than hearing sound, it was a type of feeling that directly entered into my mind.
『Will you hear my request?』
When I turned around, I could see this thick book which resembled a 4-meter-wide dictionary that was just floating in the air.
At the center of the book’s cover, there was this huge human face made out of stone. Moreover, it’s eyes were staring right at me.
『… Will you hear my request?』
I wasn’t able to react because of how surprised I was and the stone statue merely repeated the same words slowly.
「Did you say….. a request?」
I somehow managed to calm down and reply. This is probably the afterworld. Even if a monster looking thing were to exist, it wouldn’t be that weird.
It is natural to use polite speech. After all, I don’t have the courage to speak in a casual manner with such a badass looking monster.
The statue nods its head indicating the affirmative and continued on with its words.
『Go to the world that I designate, then I want you to live there.』
I thought for a little while. But no matter how long I thought about it, I didn’t understand what it meant. So I decided to ask for an explanation.
「I’m sorry but, I don’t quite understand the situation. If it is possible, would you be kind enough to explain it to me?」
『Of course. If you are able to calm down and listen to me, then this would also save me the trouble.』
Hearing those words, I vaguely understood.
If a person were to die and be brought to this place after their death, then upon arrival they were forced to see a huge statue monster talking to them all of a sudden, it wouldn’t be weird for people to freak out and panic.
On the other hand, I am intrigued as to why I can stay so calm without that much effort?
Well, I did have many instances in which I had to face against scary old men when I worked as the foreman, so perhaps that experience has given me more guts then a regular person.
『First of all, you are already dead. Though you were already aware of this fact, correct?』
『Moreover, the usual case would be to have your soul collect in one place and then be reborn as a new soul.』
The eyes of the stone statue looked in a particular direction, as if to point out the place I would have gone to. It was the mass gathering of white light that I saw earlier.
『However, before this occurs, I would like to send you to a certain world to live out the rest of your life.』
「For what reason?」
『I do not intend to explain the reasons.』
Hearing this I was mind blown. Nobody in their right mind would accept the request after hearing that explanation right?
「Well in that case I don’t think I can accept your request.」
Even I was surprised at my own answer.
『Is that so, how disappointing. In that case, I bid you farewell.』
Readily moving away from me, the stone monster likely headed in a new direction where it could appear behind another dead soul.
Seeing such a response, I panicked.
Right now I have no information on my current situation. Regardless of whether I accept this stone monsters request or not, I was hoping to garner some more information from it.
Besides, there is no other existence around that seems to know what is going on around here.
「Pl-Please hang on for a moment!」
『Will you accept it?』
「I’m not going to accept it but…」
『Then, it’s a waste of time.』
Crap, this stone statue has absolutely no attachment to me. I have a feeling that if I refuse a third time, it will just disappear. This isn’t a negotiation on equal footing. The other party has more leverage.
Darn it! It’s almost like the really popular job interview I received back in my school days.
To add to that, I don’t feel like I have much time left over.
The big mass of light is getting closer and closer to me. No, it could be that the light is pulling me closer towards it.
It mentioned something about absorbing my soul, I have a feeling that if I get sucked into that thing, all questions and answers will become useless.
「No! I will accept your request after all…. I’m willing to do it so please give me a little more explanation!」
Humph, the stone statue nods.
『An explanation…. No, you may ask the questions you want to hear for yourself.』
If I repeated my first question “For what reason?”. I have a feeling that this will end the Question and Answer session and it will tell me to take care of myself.
「What kind of existence are you?」
『For your comprehension, I would be something that is close to a god. I am not a creation god. In relation to other gods, I am merely a single speck amongst the galaxy of stars.』
「What is your name? How should I address you by?」
『You may call me as you wish.』
This guy really doesn’t want to answer any questions does he?
「In that case, what did you mean by “absorption” of my soul.」
『You will be sent to various places as a new life.』
「At that time, would I be able to retain my memories or my consciousness?」
『It won’t remain.』
I see, it would be a like a substantive death.
「What if I accept your request to go to this world of yours?」
『You will retain your consciousness, memory and current appearance.』
「Then what should I do when I get there?」
『Abiding to your own desires, I want you to live freely.』
Hmm, I don’t really know the meaning of this. If I live freely, is there some sort of advantage that this stone statue is going to derive from it?
Uh, more importantly the mass of light is coming even closer to me.
「I’m sorry but, before I continue the questions, the mass of light is approaching closer so would you mind if it if you pull me away from here?」
The stone statue moves its entire book body left and right shaking its face.
『That cannot be done. I do not have the power to resist the force for a soul that moves towards the resolution area.』
Eh, is it telling the truth? I hope it isn’t just trying to gain even more leverage over the negotiations?
『I am not lying. You do not have much time left.』
Perhaps it showed on my face or it has the ability to read my mind.
Even if there isn’t much time left, the information is still insufficient to make a proper decision.
「You’ve told me to live as I like in this world, but within this place will I be given the opportunity and circumstances to live as I like?」
If I am about to suffer from poverty, suffer from sickness and live with heavy taxes, I’m afraid that I will have to refuse!
『I will lend you a piece of my powers. You will obtain the highest form of magic within this world.』
Alright! I’m going to become a cheat!!
If I’m going to obtain a cheat, I am definitely going to accept. I still have regrets from my previous life after all.
Though I was determined to receive its request, I had one problem.
Is it really okay to believe in the words of this stone statue?
After all, I’m going to be reborn in this new world as a cheat character and yet this stone statue is not even willing to tell me what benefits it will gain from all of this.
After believing it’s words, it may be that it will use my soul as it’s food source, or perhaps it wants to torture me for eternity or perhaps it’s just an evil being, the chances aren’t that low.
….. However, if I don’t accept the request, there is only one alternative, my soul will be reduced to nothing and the person known as Satou Tarou will cease to exist as an individual.
Though if I truly doubted it, it could also have been lying about how my soul would be absorbed into the light.
It could be that when I enter that light, I will regain my consciousness and be in a hospital bed, or perhaps that light will guide me towards something like heaven.
Nevertheless, though it may only be my intuition, I have a feeling that the light absorbing and restructuring souls is not a lie.
That light is bad news, it will annihilate me, such strong feelings were coursing through me.
There is also the stone statues attitude. Its indifferent attitude towards me, makes me feel like it doesn’t really care enough to lie to me.
Perhaps it’s just my own individual sensitivity, but in my case, even if someone truly acted with good intentions, if they were too desperate to convince me, I would keep my guard up instead.
If you refuse their offer, they will continue to upgrade the deal over and over again, and if you continue walking away they will forcefully give you the upgraded price without your permission.
or in some cases, it may be that they state you will automatically accept their terms if you did not click the refuse button.
Those are the type of deals I would refuse on reflex.
I restored my derailed thoughts. If I don’t accept its request, I will be reduced to nothing and disappear. If I accept, I have the potential to be transported into another world with a cheat.
In any case, I have no ability nor the time to confirm the truth or falsehood of the stone statue’s words.
Then, I may as well make a bet here.
「One last question. Is there a reward if I receive this request?」
『A person who has already finished their life midway, being able to retain their character, have their memory intact and powers that put them above others and being able to restart their life again. Whether you consider these facts a reward or not, I shall leave up to your judgement.』
It is exactly as it says. This is enough as a reward.
「I will accept it! Allow me to accept your request!」
To my reply, the statue nods its head as it closed its eyes.
Immediately afterwards, the main body of the stone statue, being the back cover of the book opens up (I’m assuming the one with the face of the stone statue is the front cover), the pages of the book swirls as it flips through the pages.
Then it comes to a stop, it rips a single page out from the book and that piece of paper flew quietly in front of me.
And then that piece of paper was folded and bound, turning into a book.
『Receive it, this is my power. The details are described within it.』
I reach my hands out towards the book and hold it up reverently.
When I turned the front cover of the book and saw a glimpse inside the book, I instantly grasped the knowledge of using healing magic and manufacturing potions.
「Excuse me, but in this sort of case, would it not be possible for me to choose what kind of magic I learn for myself?」
I asked the question timidly.
『I am not giving it to you, this is a loan.』
Ohh, that’s important to know. I understand.
『This power will greatly help you in maintaining your health and it will be useful to get money. If you have both health and money, would you not be able to live freely?』
Well, it really doesn’t beat around the bush and just comes out straight when it answers doesn’t it?
I think there may be a lot of opinions in regards to this type of matter, but as for me, I don’t really have any objections against it.
I shake my head up and down.
『Well then, there should be no more problems?』
To be honest here, I was hoping to get an overwhelming attack magic so that I could show off to make people get down on their knees. A power I could arrogantly and proudly flaunt…. Just for a second, I was anticipating such an outcome.
Naturally I am not going to state such a thing.
While thinking about such things, the big ball of light which was supposed to absorb me was now very close by. As it approaches I could tell how huge it actually is.
I would approximate it to be at least 100 meters in diameter? The actual distance between me and the ball of light is probably around 200 meters now.
However, because of how big it is and the fact that it is glowing, you can only really see a big wall of light from this distance. It’s so dazzling that I can’t keep looking straight at it. Facing my back towards the ball of light, I exchanged my last set of words with the stone statue.
「Thank you very much. Then, I am going to set off.」
The stone statue nods slowly.
『Live as you like.』
Even until the last moment of when I was supposedly being transferred to another world, I was closely watching the stone statue for any form of deception, to see if it would say “Hahaha you got tricked, sucker!!” or “You just got screwed over!”, but it never showed any such signs.
It was just indifferent to it all. I felt relieved and I was convinced once again.
Yeah, this guy isn’t trying to deceive me.
And then my field of view turned dark.