Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Reunion Across Space-Time
Selica had been gone for half a day, and it was now late at night. Out in an open area, there was nothing to block off the intensely chill wind. However, the Four Stars of the East didn’t want to leave the rift, so they started a bonfire nearby instead.
There could still be monsters around these parts, and the fire was basically sending a signal for miles that “humans are here”. Reluctantly, Hikaru joined the ladies, keeping his Mana Detection active at all times.
What on earth is Selica doing?
Ever since Selica disappeared, the Four Stars had done nothing but talk about the rift. Of course, they asked Hikaru about it as well, but he had no idea what caused this thing to come into existence. He told them that there was a huge monster here, and nothing more.
—Did Selica return to Japan?
—Can Selica come back?
—Why can’t the other three members cross over the rift?
—Can I… cross it?
Exhausted from the fruitless discussion, Sarah and Sophie went to sleep, leaving Selyse on watch. Selyse had been watching Hikaru for a while, as if she wanted to say something, but he pretended to be asleep.
Hikaru lay on the ground wrapped in a blanket. Stars dotted the incredibly beautiful night sky.
I’ve never seen those constellations before… Is it night time in Japan right now?
It was dark beyond the rift, a long streetlight providing little illumination. Hikaru could see headlights from cars that passed every now and then.
Selica didn’t seem like she really wanted to go back.
Hikaru recalled what she said.
I have some lingering attachment over there. I love my Mom and Dad, and I had a cheeky little sister.
I have to go to the other side! This is something I need to do.
And… I had a close friend.
It hadn’t occurred to her that it was the Hazuki Hikaru knew, though.
I see… Selica wants to settle things on her end.
Hikaru finally realized what Selica was trying to do. She left to say goodbye to her father, mother, sister, and Hazuki.
I don’t really have anyone I want to say goodbye to… So even though I was shaken when I saw the rift, I didn’t have the urge to go.
Are you sure about that? A flicker of doubt flashed through his mind. Hikaru lifted his body up as if to push the question away. Paula and Lavia were asleep, but Selyse noticed Hikaru as he got up.
「Can’t sleep?」she asked.
Shaking his head, Hikaru rose to his feet. The wind flailed his cloak.
I do have some lingering attachment to that world…
It was then that Hikaru realized another fact. He and Selica both came to this world, sharing the same “Soul Link” named Hazuki.
Perhaps this rift was not a rift at all before. Maybe it was pure, shapeless energy. Then Hikaru and Selica, two people with souls from another world, came to this spot. What if the energy then shaped itself into a portal to another world?
『Then it’s almost certainly connected to Japan.』Hikaru unexpectedly muttered in Japanese.
Selyse looked at him dubiously.「Silver Face, are you…」
「Selyse. What kind of promise did you make with Selica?」
I’ll never forget my promise to you!
Selyse chuckled.「Nothing big. Just a silly little promise, really.」
It felt like Hikaru saw Selyse’s true face for the first time.
「I’m sure Selica will be back.」Hikaru said.「Maybe sooner than later.」
「What makes you think that? I didn’t expect you to know so much about Selica.」
「Just a feeling… My hunch is almost always right.」
Hikaru sauntered to the rift. Does the wind here reach the other side too? he wondered. Humans couldn’t pass through, but Hikaru smelled exhaust gas from the other side. I really don’t understand drakons.
Slowly, he reached out his hand to the rift. If Japan was beyond it, could he go home?
But Hikaru’s hand hit the rift solidly. His body couldn’t get through, just like Sophie and the others.
Is it because this body belonged to Roland? Because my body is of this world? Or maybe because I barely have any unfinished business on the other side? He felt disappointed, but at the same time, a part of him was relieved, and he hated himself for it.
He looked up, and his breath caught in his throat.
The streets late at night. Sidewalk illuminated by streetlights. Walking silhouettes. The girl wearing an orange cardigan over her shirt and tight jeans looked familiar.
Life will be rough for you. You may be clever, but you’re also reckless. Someday, somewhere, you might just die unexpectedly.
It was none other than Hazuki. The girl who foresaw Hikaru’s future, and Selica’s best friend in high school.
Her smooth, long black hair hung to the left. Her beautiful face, like someone straight out of a fairy tale, looked the same as it was back then. Or rather she looked more mature.
Hazuki stopped a few meters short of the rift, staring at it. Hikaru’s heart pounded in his chest. Why? What is she doing here?
Selica came running to her. She had a cloak under her arm, and she had changed into a T-shirt. The sports bag hanging from her shoulder was swinging heavily.
『Hehe, my bad. Surprised? Really?! So what if I lost weight?!』
Hikaru was surprised he could hear Selica’s voice but not Hazuki’s. I want to hear her voice, he thought. He wanted to go to the other side. Then the rift started making creaking sounds.
「What’s that noise? Wait, that’s Selica!」Selyse was panicking.
As she should be. The rift was gradually becoming smaller.
「Selica! It’s closing! Selica!」
「Hey! Look over here!」
Selyse and Hikaru shouted, but they didn’t seem to hear them. Selica had her back to them, talking to Hazuki, and although Hazuki glanced at their direction every now and then, she didn’t seem to see the rift.
「This is bad. It’s closing too fast.」
Selyse slammed her fist onto the rift to no avail. It was like she was hitting a thick fish tank. She drew her sword, its thin blade reflecting light as white as snow. Hikaru saw a vast amount of magical power contained in it.
The tip hit the rift. There was a sharp clang, and sparks flew. Selica turned around.
『What? It’s closing? Why?! Hazuki—』
『I still have things…』
The rift had shrunk to a size just barely enough for a person to pass through.
「What’s going on?」
The other four sleeping woke up.
『I still have—』
『You still have your promise with Selyse!』Hikaru shouted despite himself.
Selica wasn’t the only one startled. Hazuki too looked in his direction. At Silver Face. At Hikaru.
『Hazuki! I know it’s a little hurried, but this is goodbye for real.』
Hazuki’s eyes opened wide as Selica started running. I didn’t know she could make a face like that, Hikaru thought.
Hikaru reached for the rift. It had gotten too narrow now. Who knew if a human could even pass through it? Hikaru’s hand slipped through, grabbing Selica and pulling her in one breath.
Selica let out a shriek unbefitting of a high school girl, and turned a somersault. Her sports bag rolled across the ground.
Selica’s party members rushed over and hugged her. They then started bawling their eyes out.
「Wait, what’s going on?! I told you I’ll be right back!」
Hikaru glanced at the rift, only to find nothing there. Did Hazuki-senpai look at me?
Her image was burned into his eyes. She looked more mature. How did I look in her eyes?
But he couldn’t hear her voice from the other side, only Selica’s. Perhaps the rift itself was only visible to Selica.
But it wasn’t bitter regret that Hikaru felt, only a little disappointment. He sensed his chest becoming lighter. Then he felt tugs at his sleeves. Lavia and Paula.
「Thanks a lot, Silver Face!」Selica shouted as she was being crushed by her friends.「A second later, and I might not have made it back here! I brought a bunch of snacks. You can have some!」
「Why, thank you.」
The sports bag lying on the ground seemed light despite being packed. I see, Hikaru thought. Snacks, huh? That’s just like her, I guess.
「Hmm…? What happened to your cloak?」
「What? Oh, no! I think I dropped it on the way over here! Crap, that was expensive!」
Selica was at her wits’ end, groaning.
『Well, whatever. It’ll be my parting gift for Hazuki.』Selica muttered, then walked towards Hikaru.「Thanks a lot!」She held out her right hand.
Breathing a sigh, Hikaru grasped her hand back.「This is gonna cost you.」
「Whew! That trap just now packed some serious power! You’re crazy, Senkun.」
A group of three people wandered through the forest—the three-man party, Sweet Pleasure.
Whenever a monster appeared, Gilliam the gaudy elf bought time, while Senkun set traps to kill it. They used this tactic repeatedly, taking down countless monsters. Senkun laid all kinds of traps depending on the type of enemy—explosives, magic, coma, among others.
「Ha! Too easy for us!」Senkun said.
「Whew! You can say that again.」
The three skipped merrily through the forest, shoulder to shoulder, with Senkun on the right, Gilliam in the center and Nargo on the left. One was a head taller than the next.
They were doing well. Though they encountered some strong monsters, they were able to defeat them easily with great teamwork.
Perhaps they were optimistic, or perhaps it was the fact that they pushed through the forest at a quick pace. Or maybe it was just good luck. It may even be because of their skipping.
「What’s that? There’s a clearing.」
The simple map they had indicated there were woods ahead. But like Senkun just said, the forest ended, and sunlight poured in.
They found an area of land shaped like an antlion pit, like a mortar. There was a spiraling path that went downwards. The deepest part of the slope, about ten meters deep, was as wide as a house.
「Is that what I think it is?」
In the clearing was a hole with stairs that led further down. Eight pillars that emitted pale light stood all around it.
「It’s a dungeon!」
Grand Dream’s first dungeon, the Labyrinth of the Dream Chasers, had just been discovered.