“Is Tzeeneth here?”
With my heart pounding from excitement and anxiety, I finally asked the question I’ve been meaning to ask since the moment I met Phiria. However, in return to my question, she puffed her cheeks in displeasure and looked the other way.
“Hmph, why did you have to go and ask about that cursed weapon and ruin the mood……?”
Cursed? Well, I can somewhat see why she would say that.
“Answer the question, Phiria.”
“Haaah.” She sighed. “Yes, your first lover is here.”
Hmmm hmmmm hmmmmmmmmm
“Kukukukuku, hehehehehehhe, bahahahahahahahahahahaha! Splendid, Phiria! You’ve done a really good job!”
I was so excited at the thought of reuniting with Tzeeneth that I couldn’t control myself and broke out laughing like a maniac.
“Good job?” Phiria’s eyes brightened. “Then that means you’ll reward me with something better than head pats, right?”
“Uhhhh….. Isn’t that a bit extreme? You did a good job, yes, but…….”
Huh. My uncontrolled excitement landed me into yet another predicament. How can I get out of this situation?
“How about this?” Jack interjected after pondering over it for a bit. “If my assumptions are correct, then the God’s Realm will be forced to attach an overseer with Sam when he goes to Meteron’s world. So-”
“So I can be that overseer! Impressive, Hargreave!”
Phiria exclaimed in delight and gave Jack a thumbs up. I guess she liked the thought of being able to legally stick to me.
But sorry to say this Phiria, but I was already thinking of asking you to be my overseer; in fact, I would have brought it up myself had Jack not mentioned it. In other words, this is a trap where something which was already yours was presented to you as a gift. But it’ll be troublesome to point it out, so it would be better to just play along.
It would be safe to assume that Jack already predicted it, so he made this offer. As expected, their rivalry is really beneficial to me.
“Haaaahh…” I made a show of sighing. “Alright then. Phiria will be coming with me.”
Phiria jumped in joy. The ease with which she can be pleased sometimes concerns me.
“Anyway, I assume you’ve already made the necessary arrangements required to enlist us into the Hero programme and then go save the world under the direct jurisdiction of Meteron.”
“Of course. That was the main reason you were summoned into this world after all. If you want, then we can proceed with it right away.”
Main reason, eh? So, there were some other reasons as well, reasons which I had not been made aware of.
“Then, as I expected, I was the reason you summoned Susan into this world, huh.”
“Hmm? Ah, yes. Susan was summoned during the war with Balgaar. Since they were up against Balgaar, I knew that the strongest beings of my world would be forced to cooperate. The dragons had Shiggurath, the demons had Regina, while the Hero Susan was provided to mankind by me. And as expected, Lucius betrayed Susan and saved Balgaar. Using the wraith lords, he cast an illusion which made everyone- with the exception of Regina- think that Susan was betrayed by Regina and that Balgaar had died. He then made use of Regina by keeping Susan as hostage, and he would have continued to do so and ultimately sacrificed her had you not appeared. You were a variable larger than he could have ever imagined, forcing him to make those reckless moves, which were ultimately predicted by you.”
Good grief. Despite how dumb she looks; she is actually a terrifying genius.
“So, it was you who manipulated Lucius behind the scenes.”
“Although I did not do it directly to avoid leaving behind any traces, but, yes, I was involved in it. The entire scenario was planned in such a way that you would discover the necessary conditions required to complete the ideal scenario, which in turn would have made you a viable candidate to be enlisted in the Hero Programme.”
Hmm, everything is as I thought. The entire time Phiria was pulling the strings behind the scenes. And she had been doing it for 5000 years. Good thing she’s on my side. But there’s one thing that’s still bugging me.
“Well, that’s all well and good, but I would like to ask you a question, Phiria.”
“Why did you summon Chloe? No, the better question would be, why did you go against me and return her memories to her?”
Phiria’s expression stiffened the moment I indirectly called her actions a betrayal.
Yes, that was the one thing that was bugging me. As far as I could see, there was practically no reason to return her memories to her, let alone summon her along with me.
“It was necessary.”
“Necessary for what?”
“Necessary for the upcoming fight. Chloe has a natural disposition for space manipulation magic. With the right guidance, she would become more talented than even you. And I’m sure that you would need someone like her in the fight against Meteron.”
“But was there a need to specifically select her? If it’s space manipulation magic that you wanted, I could have called Walter here-”
But before I could finish what I was saying, Jack interfered.
“If Phiria chose Chloe, then she must have had a reason for doing so.”
“And what reason would that be? You aren’t trying to say that she can surpass Walter, are you?”
“Of course, she cannot surpass Walter when it comes to space manipulation.” Phiria spoke up. “But similarly, Walter cannot surpass Meteron. And no one can enter Meteron’s world without his permission. That’s why I chose Chloe. If she becomes a part of the Hero programme, then she can enter his world.”
“How can you be so sure of that?”
Phiria muttered in confusion.
“What I’m saying is, how can you be so sure that Walter cannot surpass Meteron? He may not be able to do it right now, but if he trains enough then I’m sure that he will one day outclass Meteron. When that happens-”
“Sam…….. what are you saying?”
Phiria asked as her expression contorted into disbelief.
“Walter cannot defeat Meteron, and you know that better than us. All of us know what a monster Meteron is. When it comes to space-time manipulation, he rivals his father and is second only to the Hell Guards. So why are you saying such illogical things now?”
“I noticed this before, but your unhealthy obsession of keeping Chloe out of this matter may cause our defeat. You are Samuel Hayden, the very incarnation of ruthlessness. You are supposed to use whatever you can use, and cast away whatever you cannot.”
Jack supported Phiria.
“What is it, Sam? Why are you going to such lengths to protect Chloe? Don’t tell me…… you now love her?”
Now? Now love her? What is that supposed to mean? Do they…….
“You seriously aren’t asking me that question, are you?”
“Oh, but we are.” Jack replied. “And unless you can tell us why are so fixated on Chloe, we’ll keep asking this question.”
He added with a cold expression.
“The only reason I did that was because……….. I felt she was my responsibility. She was one of my only two friends, and I was the cause for her descent into despair, so to make up for that I wanted her to remain out of this. Nothing more than that. If you were thinking that I’d fallen in love with Chloe and forgotten her, you should know that’s impossible. After all-”
“You are no longer capable of loving anyone.” Phiria finished my sentence ruefully. “Yes, I know that………… please forgive me for doubting you.”
“Yes. If you think that Chloe is necessary to win the upcoming fight, then use her as you see fit; I won’t interfere.”
There were many things I was still dissatisfied with, but for the time being I had no other choice but to give this answer.
Forgive me, Chloe. But seems like you are going to be another stepping stone for me.
Well, I guess it cannot be helped.
“Well, forget about Chloe, but what about the others? Why did you agree to Cornellia, Shiggurath and Susan joining that programme?”
“It’s simple. Cornellia, like Chloe, is talented in time manipulation. Shiggurath is the First Dragon and the former Dragon Emperor, and her powers have been unlocked by Hargreave, so she will be very useful as an ally. Susan is also very talented as a Hero, so she will be very useful in Meteron’s world.”
I see, the more pawns I have, the better my chances of winning. Well, fair enough, I guess. But what to do about Chloe……..?
“And the last question. Why did you stop Simone from resurrecting?”
This pissed me off so much goddamnit.
⟦Hey! I already apologised for that incident, didn’t I?⟧
Simone retorted from inside me.
⟦And I keep telling you to stop saying ‘inside me’!⟧
⟦Hmm? Ah, that incident where I was assaulted by Chloe and you made fun of me? Nope, I’m not at all angry over that.⟧
⟦You sounded so angry just now though!⟧
I cut the connection with that.
Like I said, I was not angry over that. I had already forgotten about it, in fact (I hadn’t). But I didn’t like the idea of having another free useless soul inside me. Maxwell was already enough, not to mention that he was much more useful than Simone.
⟦Who are you calling useless?!⟧
⟦You, of course. Tell, can you do anything which would be beneficial for me?⟧
⟦See? That’s what I was talking about.⟧
⟦B-but I can be useful too! Just tell me what I have to do!⟧
She replied with determination.
⟦Hoooh, pretty big words for you. Hmm, yes, I will task you with the maintenance of Tzeeneth.⟧
⟦Huh? Say, you keep saying Tzeeneth this and Tzeeneth that, but what actually is Tzeeneth?⟧
⟦Oh, you’ll know soon enough. Just wait till then.⟧
I stopped the conversation with that. It was now time to hear Phiria’s answer.
“Well, about that……..” She fidgeted. “I just had a hunch that she would be useful……”