Volume 5 Chapter 4 Part 1



Now that the new moon has passed, the time has come for it to start showing its face to the world after casting off the veil of darkness that has been wrapped around it. The only thing that illuminated the darkness of the night now were the lights of the bonfires scattered all around the village, and if you were to take even one step outside of the range of the light cast by the fires, you would not even be able to see your own feet, and stepping off the beaten path into the darkness sprawling out at the either side of it would undoubtedly give you the illusion like it could swallow you whole from bottom to the top without spitting you backout. The Players whom Lalah the Assistant Priest invited to take part in her Gift Game were all preparing to go to sleep to get some well-deserved rest and relaxation before the game’s commencement, which was scheduled for tomorrow morning.


「Haa. . . I am glad that we managed to resolve things without anyone (mostly) getting hurt. . . but I have to say, Big Bro Iza’s friends are just as weird as he is.」


Homura said to himself while he was cleaning up and arranging the medical equipment in his rented room as he was recalling the entire slapstick comedy bit drama that occurred in the morning when Izayoi got reunited with the other two problem children and his most trusted companions: Kasukabe You and Kudou Asuka. Thankfully, all of his most delicate equipment like microscopes and particle counters used in geological surveys were safely stored in his Gift Card, and hopefully, if the rest of the {Lost Continent of Atlantis} Gift Game is going to proceed smoothly, then maybe there is not even going to be any need for him to be busting them out. But then, just as he was about to wrap up his cleaning and then go to sleep himself. . .


*Knock Knock*

He heard the sound of someone knocking onto the door of his rented building at the corner of the village, and when he went to see who was it that was trying to pay him a visit at such a late hour, he saw someone whom she was honestly not expecting see standing outside of his door.


It was Arjuna, Mikado Tokuteru’s son who has been missing ever since the other day.


「Homura. I know this might be more than a little sudden. . . but do you have time now?」


「Hmm. . . . hey, now wait just a goddamn minute! Arjuna?! What are you doing here at such a late hour? And more importantly, where the hell have you been all this time?!」


Homura shouted while slamming the door open rather vigorously to have a better look at Arjuna, who was standing in the doorway with a troubled face as he shook his head to the sides.


「I wish I could tell you where I was and what I was doing. . . . but unfortunately, I cannot do that. I do not know how it happened or who or what brought me there because my head has been clouded with fog for the last day, but when I finally regained my consciousness to such a degree that I could wrap my head around my surroundings, I noticed that I have been wandering around a dark forest. For hours I just kept on walking and walking wherever my feet would take me without even knowing if I was heading in any meaningful direction . . . and then finally, I was somehow able to stumble back into this village.

「You were alone the entire time? Well, in that case it must have been pretty difficult on you, so you have my condolences. But wait. . . .  you were alone all the time? What about Suzuka and Asterios? Were they not supposed to be with you?」


「We must have gotten separated somewhere along the way, but I am not sure when exactly that was. However, if she had Asterios with her, then I am sure that he would be more than enough to keep her from getting in harms way a long as they did not end up running into some especially viscous monsters.」


「. . . I see. Well, do not just stand there, come on in. If you were trekking through the forest for an entire day, then surely you must feel very tired, huh? You want some tea to warm yourself up? Because I can brew some of it for you no problem.」


When prompted by Homura to hurry up and walk inside, Arjuna entered the room with tattered steps. And when he did, hie eyes immediately went so round with surprise that it looked like they were about to pop up from his eye sockets. So while Homura was keeping himself busy with brewing tea, Arjuna asked him with bewildered voice while he continued to eye all of Homura’s medical equipment with a mysterious, distrustful gaze:


「I have never seen such elaborate yet suspicious-looking . . . instruments for as long as I live. What is this? Did you bring all of it with you here?」


「Well, I did bring all of these medical instruments and appliances with me, that much is true, but I was not the one who bought it and crammed all of it into my Gift Card. Tokuteru was the one who did that.」


「Indra did something like that? But how? And why?」


「As for how: because he bought it all with the money he embezzled from me after I got paid for defeating the Minotaur and dealing with the smallpox virus spread by {The Bull of Heaven} in the Outer World. It was five hundred million yet, if you are curious about the exact amount of it. Initially both Suzuka and I were pretty pissed at him for that, but in hindsight, it was that embezzlement of his that allowed me to have both Parashurama and that Albino girl Big Bro Iza brought in with him, and it also turned out to be quite handy when performing our geological surveys. . . . here, have a seat.」


When Homura handed Arjuna a freshly made cup of hot tea, he promptly sat down on the chair that was offered to him. For a moment he was inspecting the cup and its contents with utmost curiosity, most likely because that was his first time ever seeing a teabag from the Outer World, but once he was finished admiring its craftsmanship and complexity with which the tea leaves have been grinded into powder and then  packed inside of such a small, frail-looking container, he put the cup to his mouth and drank the contents with utmost eagerness.


「Fuuuuuuuuuuh. . . . . finally, a moment to catch by breath. Also, this tea is very good.」


「I am glad to see that you are enjoying it. So, care to tell me why did you bother to pay me such a late-night visit? Do you have any business to take care of that would require my help?」


「As a matter of fact, yes, I do have some business with you. You see, while I was in the forest, I happened to run across an old friend of mine. He told me some interesting things, and once I heard about them, I decided that I definitely needed to have a word with you, Homura.」


「Hmm. . . . . .? That so?」


Homura remarked while sipping on his own cup of tea without a care in the world.


「Let me guess. . . . . is the thing that you want to talk to me about related to Krishna?」


「Yes. And as you probably already know, he is someone whom I consider to be an irreplaceable friend of mine. At the same time, he is also the one who opened my heart and taught me to embrace my duty and responsibilities when I was about to cast them aside and abandoned them, so I guess you can also call him my spiritual mentor.」

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