Tanaka helplessly hung his head. Maybe that was only natural, though, since he had just learned of his own outstanding powerlessness. However, upon hearing the General’s following words, he feebly looked up and asked back.
「About what to do from now on?」
His face was filled with the melancholy of a middle-aged man who had been elevated up to heaven only to get smacked back down to hell. Seeing such a Tanaka, the General continued.
「That’s right. Well, I don’t think there are many choices available for you in the first place, but just in case, I think it’d be better for you to consider it yourself. I’ll help you with whittling your ideas down.」
「So you’re going to whittle them down?!」
Tanaka involuntarily retorted. It felt like he was getting caught up in the General’s pace. However, thanks to that, Tanaka seemed to have regained some of his vigor. And so, he proceeded to express the idea that first came to mind.
「Geez… in that case, how about returning to my original world?」
「No, you can’t. I don’t know the way to send you back. At the very least, in the whole history up to this day, not a single Hero has ever returned to his or her home world.」
Tanaka’s idea was swiftly dismissed. Not to mention that the explanation even included a rather serious matter about not being able to return to his original world. However, Tanaka didn’t seem to be bothered by it in the least. That was because his chuunibyou had shown him a dream known as otherworld harem. At any rate, Tanaka continued to offer his idea.
「Then… how about staying here?」
「No, you can’t. That’d be a pain for me.」
「Kuh, I totally want to retort to that, but I’m in no position to do it.」
Tanaka was about to retort, but stopped himself. Seeing such Tanaka, the General smiled and added.
「Just kidding. However, let alone this residence, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to stay in this country. Frankly speaking, you look nothing more than a suspicious foreigner. If you stay here, you will definitely be arrested and imprisoned by the country without even a proper trial.」
The General explained such a harsh matter in a smile. Upon hearing that, Tanaka involuntarily snapped.
「Just why?! It was this country’s fault that I came to this world in the first place! They’d summoned me here, so shouldn’t they at least give me some protection?」
From Tanaka’s point of view, that was a justified request. However, what the General said next was an even harsher reality.
「Impossible. I may be in no place to say it, but the people of this country are very concerned about face. For them to summon a Hero that’s on the same level as a baby, they definitely wouldn’t find that funny. So if the people of this country were ever to somehow get a wind of this matter… well, the highest possibility would be without a doubt for them to dispose of you.」
Tanaka wanted to strongly object to the General’s outrageous explanation. However, what the General said was most likely the closest to reality. Facing that, Tanaka was forced to cool down his excitement.
「Scary! This country is too scary!」
「There’s almost no country without such a dark side to them. But well, I can’t deny that this country may be especially dark, though.」
When he said that, the General’s face became slightly cloudy. That was the face of a patriot who was lamenting over the grave situation of his country. Feeling somewhat awkward, Tanaka decided to continue the discussion.
「Umm, do I have no other choice but to leave this country then?」
Perhaps because his ideas had been dismissed one after another, Tanaka timidly asked so. The General crossed his arms, closed his eyes, and nodded his head before answering.
「That’s right. Before that, though, I’m sure you don’t know much about this world, so let me give you a brief explanation about it. First of all, this world is divided into north and south sides. The north side is called the monster world, and it has harsh environments. Then the south side is called the human world. About a thousand years ago, a great war broke out between humanity and monsters. In that war, humanity managed to drive the monsters into the north side. Since then, the world has been divided into north and south.」
The General gave a brief explanation about this world. It was quite a stimulating story.
「Oh, so there is a world where only monsters exist, huh… scary! There are too many scary things in this world.」
Tanaka honestly expressed his thought. Casually ignoring Tanaka’s opinion, the General continued on with his explanation.
「And then, this Purin Kingdom is located at the center of the human world. To the west of Purin Kingdom is Republic of Gokuri, which is recently on a bad term with us. Originally, it was a region consisted of numerous city-states, but one day one Gokuri grew powerful enough to unify all of the city-states around, thus born the Republic of Gokuri. Nowadays, there are movements to regain independence here and there, so civil war is brewing there, though.」
「It’s a country with a name that sounds like it would be swallowed up. Or rather, the heck is civil war?! What ominous sounding words.」
Tanaka honestly expressed his thoughts again.
「To the east of Purin Kingdom is Haru Empire. However, they are an Empire in name only, and their military power is weak. It could be said that they’re nothing more than a group of city-states. About 20 years ago our country moved to invade them, but after being thoroughly crushed, we immediately scurried home.」
Being ignored, as expected Tanaka felt a little lonely. However, he wasn’t a man who’d easily back down because of a simple setback. Promptly, he let out a retort to the General again.
「You actually lost, huh! The empire isn’t weak at all then.」
Seeing such a Tanaka, the General showed a bitter smile and replied.
「The empire itself is indeed weak, but instead each city has their own force. When their forces were assembled, they splendidly sent us packing.」
The General replied with a smile, seemingly not bothered by the defeat in the slightest. Seeing such the General, Tanaka was slightly astonished.
「’they splendidly sent us packing’ you say… but well, whatever. So what’s there in the south?」
「There’s ocean. By the way, to the west of Gokuri and to the east of Haru are also oceans. There are several other smaller countries, but since most of them are under either Gokuri or Haru, I won’t really recommend going there.」
The explanation seemed to be mostly done. Tanaka then crossed his arms and pondered for a moment.
「In other words… my only choice is to flee to Haru Empire?」
Tanaka timidly concluded as such.
「Yes, it is.」
The General swiftly affirmed the conclusions that Tanaka had timidly stated. The way he swiftly affirmed it, most likely it was because the General had thought that it was the only available choice for him from the beginning.
「Well, fine, I get it. But then again, I don’t really know how to actually carrying that idea out…」
He had more or less decided on his course of action. However, Tanaka was at a loss about how to put it into actions. So many things had happened in such a short amount of time, so his mind was overheated. More importantly, for Tanaka this was a different world. Not only were things there different from what he was used to, he was also unfamiliar with the lands. And above all, he had nothing on his possession. It was no small wonder that Tanaka was at a loss. Seeing such a Tanaka, the General offered his help.
「I’ll do something about that. It’s originally my country’s fault, after all. I’m going to arrange various things that you may need, so wait a bit.」
Saying that, the General strode out of the parlor. Tanaka, who was left alone and had nothing better to do, collected himself and sat in thought.
He who had involuntarily come to another world. He who had to live in this unfamiliar world, without any means to return to his former world. And then, his power that was of a baby. Tanaka used what little time he had to rearrange his thoughts.
◇ ◇ ◇
Quite a while had passed since Tanaka was left alone in the parlor. He was still absorbed in thoughts when the General came in with a large number of clothes in hands.
「For the time being, I’ve brought you a few clothes to change into. The first step is for you to change out of that conspicuous outfit of yours. After changing, you can put that outfit and the rest into the item box.」
Once again, Tanaka was greeted by unfamiliar words.
「Item box? Looks like a fantasy-ish thing that can tickle my soul is about to show up.」
His words were calm, but inside, Tanaka was excitedly screaming ‘something is coming!’. The General then proceeded to give instructions to such a Tanaka.