Chapter 40 – Dina, Get?
Raw link: http://ncode.syosetu.com/n2211cx/41/ (2015/12/28)
Translator: twomorefreethoughts / TpstT (2019/01/12)
Editor 1: Hands of Vecna / Vecna (2018/12/12)
Editor 2: Keii (2020/10/24)
Translation link: https://twomorefreethoughts.wordpress.com/awlba-c040/
“So… I hope you’ll tell me now. Why did you do something like this?”
I somewhat forcefully directed that question towards a slightly depressed Dina.
Right now, I wasn’t actually particularly angry at her. However, if I asked her too lightly, there was a chance that she would try to deceive me again.
After all, there were times when pretence was important.
“… I was… a test player who arrived in this world… just around the Midgard Year of 2800, which… was right around when you were sealed. When I came to, I had somehow possessed the avatar that I had been playing and had already arrived in this world.”
That situation was the same as mine.
I had also ended up in this world by possessing my avatar… – Ruphas Mafahl, who I was using.
But that was information that I already knew about and not what I wanted to find out.
As such, I stayed quiet and urged her to continue on with her story.
“Back then, there were still a lot of strong people. Of course, there weren’t quite as many as in the game, where there had been numerous level 1000 players who had doped themselves. But there were still quite a lot of strong people who were comparable to level 500 players from the game.”
“What? Is it not like that anymore?”
“Yes. Also, some players… More specifically, players whose ‘names were not mentioned in the novel’ had disappeared without a trace, as if they had never existed in the first place. So in my opinion, we’re currently not in the game, but instead… in a world where the game has been written into a novel.”
I involuntarily bit my lower lip when I heard this.
That… was pretty bad.
And if you asked me why it was bad, it was because there were not many people who would be mentioned when the story in the game was turned into a novel.
The reason for that was because, compared to the large number of players in the game, there were clearly a smaller and limited number of authors.
Therefore, with the exception of some fan-fiction writers who were paid a large commission, small events or adventures were usually not turned or written into the novel. On the other hand, there was only a very limited number of events that were automatically included in the official novel.
Needless to say, besides the Seven Heroes, there were still a few other level 1000 players who had left their names in the official story.
There were… but the total number of them barely reached three digits.
Additionally, there were some high-level freelance players who had not become citizens under me.
There were some people who thought, “Isn’t it cool to be able to move in the shadows without being mentioned in the lore and stories?” Such players, who were dedicated to playing the game without being involved in the novel, were unlikely to be in this world.
There were also some avatars that were designed in such a way that they would have breached copyright laws. Naturally, including them in the official novel history was out of the question.
In other words, even though X-Gate Online’s worldwide constant playerbase reached into the tens of thousands, the majority of those players did not even exist in this world in the first place.
“There was nobody else who was in the same situation as I was. Everyone… acted as if they were the original inhabitants of this world… No, in reality, for them, that really was the case. I alone was the only irregular in this entire world.”
“How about the possibility that you just didn’t notice that there were others with the same circumstances as you?”
“That may have been the case. But now… there’s no way of verifying that…”
Had Dina been mentioned in the novel even though she was a test player?
Well, that was an irrelevant question at this point.
What was important now was to try and ask her about what had happened in the past.
I could always ask about the novel history later on.
“But… even then… all of those people were just a small number of acquaintances that I had made since I came to this world. At the very least, their names were the last remnants of the ‘real world’ that I knew of. But…”
“… Everyone… passed away, didn’t they?”
Hearing that, I instinctively wanted to sigh.
Ahh, I see… I guessed it couldn’t be helped that they had lost.
To begin with, it was an issue that I should have thought about from the very start.
If it had been the same as in the game, where there were more than a million high-level players… Even if the enemy was the Demon King himself, it was not plausible for the humanoids to lose.
Think about it for a moment. Even Dina, who had fought me just now, had a base level of 1000 and had not doped herself.
Now imagine a scene where there were a million Dinas present, and they all used Dawn Star at the same time.
… There was no way that you would be able to guard against something like that.
Back in the game, excluding during wartime, the maximum party size was set to 12 people.
In other words, there was no way for 13 or more people to simultaneously challenge the Demon King… But something like that would not have mattered in this world.
All you had to do was challenge him with a million high-level people and crush him to death.
The fact that they had lost without doing so meant that it could not be done.
Due to that point alone, I needed to overturn my underlying assumption that “this is a world within a game”.
Nevertheless, I was unable to reach that conclusion.
“I was mortified. I felt hatred. Even the final remnants of the ‘real world’ that I knew was stolen from me. That feeling as I watched the world that I knew of be violated was painful beyond anything else to me. The other demons aside, with just me alone, there was no way for me to win against the Demon King. Although I managed to infiltrate them as one of the Seven Luminaries thanks to how disorderly they were and sabotage them from within in order to delay their invasion, that was all that I could manage.”
“That’s when you thought of the Twelve Heavenly Stars and I… huh.”
“… Yes. I remembered that there was a young girl who was no different from a background character in Mafahl Tower, so I took her place. And I thought that if I could skillfully lead you to fight against the Demon King, you would be able to defeat him.”
It was there again. I could feel that uncomfortable feeling from before again.
Was there anything strange or out of place about what Dina had just said?
I thought that there was nothing in particular that I could point out, but…
Well, whatever. I decided to just continue listening to her.
“And what was the true meaning of Jupiter’s scream?”
“At the time that he had specified, I was to take Libra-sama away. I promised that I would create a 20 minute time window for him. But I broke that promise and brought Libra-sama back while he was still in the city. It’s exactly what he had screamed out at the end, I had planned to lure him into a trap from the very start.”
I see, no wonder he was able to show up the instant that Libra left.
It seemed that was only possible because Dina was pulling the strings from behind the scenes.
As a side note, when Libra had first spotted Jupiter, he had been moments away from coming into contact with Dina. That contact had probably been set up for the purpose of exchanging some information.
“Anyways, my next question will be my last. In the end, are you my enemy?”
“No, I don’t have any plans of being hostile towards you. Though, since I attempted to use you, it would not be strange for you to take that as a sign of hostility.”
Dina’s answer to my question was a no.
She had planned to use me, but she was not directly hostile towards me.
I crossed my arms and thought deeply, trying to use my brain that was by no means fast.
The main issue was how to deal with Dina after all of this.
Honestly speaking, the option to outright kill her now was out of the question. Regardless of what had happened, she had taken care of me, and I could not come to hate her.
Irrespective of whether she was using me or not, a debt of gratitude was still a debt. If she had not been there, I wouldn’t have known what to do and have gotten lost on the way.
Yet, if I just let her go free, then I wouldn’t know what she would do in the future.
If, for the sake of defeating the Demon King, she started getting the countries of Svalinn or Gjallarhorn involved, then I would not be able to stand it.
… It couldn’t be helped.
“Then it’s fine. Continue to serve me.”
“I said I’ll let this incident slide and forget about it.”
Dina had deceived and used me.
But what about it? Had her deception caused me any harm whatsoever?
Had I suffered a single detriment as a result of her deception?
— No, none at all. Let alone a single detriment, I had actually benefited a lot as a result.
Furthermore, Dina’s aim was to kill the Demon King, and in truth, it was not that different from my own intentions.
Indeed, I did not feel like I should actively go and kill him, but as long as I was still Ruphas, I was unable to escape eventually clashing with the Demon King.
So in this particular situation, it would be advantageous for me to take in Dina, who was connected to the inner workings of the enemy.
“U, umm, is that fine? I…”
“I don’t mind. After all, you helped me a lot in this world, and for that, I owe you a debt. I’m not short tempered enough to ignore all of that and dispose of you before I pay back my debt. Not to mention…”
I curled my lips a bit and looked down at Dina, who looked dumbfounded.
“’An adviser who might be hiding some secrets’, I think that’s interesting enough on its own. In a way, to have someone dangerous as a subordinate is an exciting scenario.”
“… Umm, you, you really are a player on the inside, right? And not Ruphas-sama herself with the memories of a player?”
“Haha, well, who knows? Our memories have been crossing over too often and for too long, so even I’ve started to realise that I’ve changed and may not be one or the other. Personally, I can’t even distinguish if my thoughts right now belong to to ‘Ruphas’ or ‘the player’.”
Right. I probably wasn’t the original “me” anymore.
I did not feel a thing about killing a living thing, nor did I have any hesitation before getting into a fight.
Neither of those were reactions that “I” would have felt.
However, it was also different for “Ruphas”.
At the very least, I was still unable to be as cold-hearted or vicious as Ruphas was described to have been in the stories I had heard.
For instance, if I really was the real Ruphas, at the very least, Dina’s head would have flown off by now.
Well, it was a good degree of mixture from both sides. Probably.
Either way, my individuality had not been extinguished and I was able to continue maintaining my own consciousness, so there was still nothing to fear.
“Above all else, this is a long-awaited meeting between two people from the same world. I can look the other way if it’s for the sake of some mischief.”
In the end, neither Megrez nor Merak was from the same world as me.
With the way things were going, Benetnash was unlikely to be a player on the inside as well.
Which meant that, in this world, Dina and I were the only two people who were irregular.
I extended my hands towards Dina, who was still sitting down on the ground, and laughed.
“Come with me. And use your knowledge and power for my sake.”
For a while, Dina looked at my outstretched hands with an idiotic expression on her face.
But eventually, she looked up at me and raised her voice with overflowing joy and enthusiasm.
“As expected of Ruphas-sama. You are exactly the kind of person I expected you to be… no, more than I expected. Without a doubt, the only person who can defeat the Demon King and unite this world is you.”
Well, no, I don’t really have any intention of unifying the world, but.
Ignoring my thoughts, Dina took my outstretched hands and stood up.
“I have heard and received your decree, and I shall hereby comply. Milady, until the day you defeat the Demon King, I shall remain as your adviser.”
“Hmm. I’ll be relying on you just as I was before.”
“As you wish.”
Dina and I firmly shook hands with each other. Subsequently, I looked behind me.
Aries and the others had probably sensed the large amount of magic power that had been used earlier, as I could see them heading towards our location.
Now then, how should I fool them?
The Sky King, Merak, was sitting on the throne.
At the moment, there were a few white-winged men making an appeal.
All of them were men who had actively formed the volunteer army in order to crush the Black Town and start a rebellion, notwithstanding that they had been induced to some degree by Jupiter’s words.
The men were ceaselessly shouting their excuses in front of the throne, even though they had not received permission to speak from Merak.
This was yet another sign that Merak was not respected in his position as king.
“King, please, this is too much! We were only doing what we thought was best for the country!”
“That’s right, everything was for the best of the country.”
“Yeah, we were fooled by the demon, but to begin with, it only happened because we were trying to normalise this country in your stead.”
They continued to string stories and excuses that could not be called anything other than rude remarks.
They were looking down on him. They were convinced that, despite all of their remarks, the king would not do anything of his own accord.
They believed that they would not be punished. They believed that, at worst, they would only be put under house arrest for a while.
They believed such a thing and thus acted contemptuously.
As such, even the people that should have been trying to stop them from talking out of line did not do anything to stop them.
Each individual had their own feelings of dissatisfaction towards the king’s weak attitude… And that was evidence that they were looking down and making light of the person who occupied the position of king.
Merak quietly closed his eyes and pondered.
The one who had allowed them to become like this was himself.
It was his weak attitude that had welcomed the impudence of these people.
As such, the one who had to correct their behavior had to be none other than himself.
The moment that he decided on this – A heavenly pressure that overwhelmed and pushed everything down was suddenly activated in that place.
“You lot… Who gave you permission to open your noisy mouths?”
At that moment, everyone there was assaulted by that pressure as if they were being held down by a large hand.
It was the Coercion skill, an innate racial ability available to all flugels that allowed them to suppress others.
Originally used to domesticate animals and magical beasts, it was called the power gifted by the gods. But ever since they were born, they had never felt such a violent pressure.
It was the weight of a king, only made possible because it was being used by Merak, who was level 500.
Having become subjected to this for the first time in their lives, they were forced to recognise that the existence before their eyes was indeed the Sky King.
“Let alone run your mouths, I don’t believe I’ve even given you permission to raise your heads… Yet you lot ignored that and started speaking out of place, and now you’ve even reached the point of shifting the blame and making me take responsibility for your actions… … Hey, you lot… I suppose I can take that as a cue that you don’t mind losing your heads for committing the crime of insulting the king, huh?”
The men who were being exposed to Coercion finally started shaking in fear and breaking out into cold sweats.
They wanted to say no.
They wanted to shake their heads from side to side.
But they could not. They were in so much fear that they couldn’t even do something that simple.
“I’ve been very tolerant towards you fools until now. When you lot started trickling in and said that you had lost your homes, I allowed you to stay, and I even gave you a town. I permitted some amount of rudeness and allowed you to conduct yourselves without fear. … But… it seems that I was wrong.”
The pressure increased even more.
Now that it had come to this point, it was no different from violent oppression.
Those who were being subjected to Coercion could hardly breathe. And even the nearby knights and ministers who were not directly subjected to it started breathing heavily, whilst their knees shook uncontrollably in fear.
“— Do not make the mistake of thinking that I will be kind forever.”
Merak’s eyes almost resembled that of a predatory bird’s.
An overwhelming disparity. A gap in ability that could not be filled.
Everyone there instinctively reacted and cowered in fear.
The king that they had believed to be weak and unassertive up until that point had suddenly become far more terrifying than any demon.
Once the pressure weakened and they regained some of their freedom, the first action those men took was to prostrate.
They stuck their heads onto the floor and begged for their king to have mercy whilst their teeth clattered.
It was not just them. Even the ministers and knights were taking the same submissive posture and attitude. They were unable to not do so.
They had misunderstood everything up until now.
This man was their king. He was the king of the sky and the one who ruled over all those who possessed wings.
As Merak looked down on the people who had submitted to him, he somehow managed to push a sigh back down his throat.
As I thought, I dislike things like this.
I don’t like the feeling of stepping down on others.
However, it’s my duty and my obligation to make sure that my citizens do not look down on the position of king.
And in the first place, we were in the position that we were in because I had neglected that obligation. In other words, now, I am merely fulfilling my duty and paying back the debt that I owe.
… This is fine, right, Ruphas…? There are still a lot of things I have to worry about, but I’m alright now. There are still mountains’ worth of problems that I have to deal with, but I will show you that I can handle and overcome them. I will not make you look like a foolish clown. So please… don’t worry about me and keep moving forward.
A grin surfaced on Merak’s face as he thought of his friend from the past, who had probably long left his country by now.
He was determined to become someone that he could be proud of by their next meeting.
Although a (little) bit of his unreliable look still remained, the face of the man who had made his resolve now looked quite dependable.
—10 minutes later.
Top (above the arrow): People that were from the White Town.
Left (in spikey box): Ruphas—-!!
Right (on the head): Merak)
 Refer to chapter 1 of the manga (Chapter 1 page 7) or webnovel (ctrl+f “novel system”) for the explanation of the novel system.
 If you are not aware of how most MMORPG character creation works, character creation in most of the famous and more well-made MMORPGs nowadays allow you to “create” and “customise” your own avatar in such a way that you can create a very detailed and specific “look” that you want. It can range from basic stuff like the colour of your eyes/hair, body proportions, and height to very specific things like hairstyle, the size of your fingers, angle of your eyes/eyebrows, etc etc. And of course, there are players who model their character after something that looks very much like a real-life celebrity or a fictional character from an anime or manga. Bringing it back to context, if the publishers of X-Gate were to use those characters and describe their appearance in the “official novel”, it would be breach some copyright law.
If you still can’t figure out how MMORPG character customisation works, please Google “___ character creation” and replace the ___ part with one of the following games: Blade and Soul, Black Desert Online, Revelation Online or Aion.
 So… it’s not a mistranslation. Above, it says “tens of thousands”, while here it says “million”. There are 2 options. (1) The constant playerbase means “active players” whereas “million” refers to the entire population/player base. In MMOs, there’s often “dead” players/characters. Dead players referring to players who don’t play frequently or have already quit the game. Dead characters often refer to “alts”, which are players’ secondary+ characters that don’t get played often. The author is probably referring to every character when he says “million”. (2) The author just can’t count… :3
 Coercion was used in Shurim’s translation. Intimidation was used by LHTranslation.
 Merak used Haoushoku no Haki/Reiatsu. Critical Hit! It’s super effective! :’)
 Picture from the Web Novel Chapter 40 in the author’s footnote. – the link is at the start of the chapter.