"Is anyone there?"
Oops, I have to respond..
"Yeah, I can hear you.."
I say those words, not out loud. But towards my own head..
There was a moment of silence after..
Like he was just startled from hearing someone answer him..
I can't believe it took him this quick to contact me..
I guess it had something to do with that new skill I got, but still..
"Ah, sorry I was surprised for a minute there. I-is that you, Jun?"
I knew it..
"Yeah, it's me. Finally woke up?"
"No, I've been searching my way through this godforsaken labyrinth of doors to find this room...probably.."
What do you mean probably?
Well, let's ignore it..
"Where are you right now?"
I hear the sound of rustling around after I asked..
"U-umm, I'm not sure. I think I'm in my subconscious but I don't know where exactly here is.."
"What do you mean you don't know?"
"Well, it's a long story so I'll make it quick.."
"After I gave up looking for a way out of the labyrinth, an elevator suddenly appeared in front of me."
"Umu, that's right.."
"Continue, what did you do when it appeared?"
"I went inside."
"You, you what?"
"I went inside the elevator."
"So you just went inside a strange elevator that suddenly appeared, and didn't think twice about it?"
"Wha-what? I couldn't help it. By the time I noticed, I was already inside, and the doors were closed.."
Ah, I'm getting a headache listening to this..
"Then? Did you get out soon after?"
"No, I went up."
I unconsciously found my palm stuck to my forehead..
Does this guy have no sense of hesitation?
"*Sigh* Then, what happened next?"
I decided to ignore it and get on with the story..
"After I went up, I walked through a hallway with lights, and found a huge doorway.."
Wait a minute..
"Lights? You found lights?"
"Yeah, they were fluorescent ones. Why?"
This was peculiar, I never saw any fluorescent lights inside the labyrinth before..
"Ah, it's nothing. What was inside the doorway?"
But I decided to gather more information from this..
"Well, inside the room, I found a large television, a coffee table, and a leather couch. There was a mouse on the table, and soon after the television turned on, these headphones suddenly appeared out of nowhere.."
This was getting more complicated..
"Okay, what was on the television then?"
After I heard the words he saw on the television, my hunch became a reality..
It was that new skill that did this..
I don't know why or how I got it, but it had to be important. Since it suddenly materialized things from Earth..
I had to learn more about this somehow..
So I asked him to elaborate on the options on screen..
Based on what he told me, the skill enabled my other persona to view my memories, see and hear the world through me right at this moment, send messages to the outer persona, and finally change places with each other..
This skill was so elaborate, that it made me feel that something was off..
Like someone meant to give me this skill right at the moment my personality came back..
Of course this was just me being paranoid without any evidence to prove it, so let's sit back for now..
But seeing as how he had a television to browse memories instead of how I meditated, connecting to the inner subconscious, makes me slightly angry..
"Alright, I think I got the gist of it. Now, have you come to terms about your existence?"
"Ah-ah, I'm ready to know what I am now.."
"Huh? What are you talking about? You're whole existence is a mystery, even I don't know how you were created.."
"Eh?!? What's with that? Isn't that strange? Hey, hey, aren't you the original? How could you not know what I am and how I got here?!? This isn't some camera show, is it? Is the cameras over there?"
Just speaking with this guy candidly is giving me the urge to bang my head against a wall...
"Even if you scream at me, it's futile. I only remember a voice, taking my memories when I was a child. The next thing I knew, I was replaced with you.."
A deep silence followed after, bringing a moment of tranquility to my head..
I never knew how I took silence for granted..
Such a blessing..
I didn't know how good I had it..
"Ne, you're joking right? I don't even know who I am, you know? Aren't you a genius? I browsed through your memories just now, so think of something to fix this please, I'm begging you here bro.."
"Shut up. I can't even hear myself think with your incessant complaining! I don't know why you were created nor do I know how, so don't expect the impossible from me without any relevant information. Also why are you calling me bro?!? Why are you treating me over-familiarly? This was only one of the few times we spoke to each other clearly, and yet you automatically treat me as a bro?"
This wasn't like me..
Somehow, when I listen to this guy, I can't keep calm, and inadvertently tsukkomi everything he says without thinking. Just like those gag comedy shows I saw on television once..
And why am I suddenly the straight man in this conversation?
"Ah, I got it, I got it, I was just scared because I didn't know where I came from. You know, like those cases of identity theft you see in the movies? But it seems that it won't be that easy huh.."
Honestly, his argument has a point. Anyone would freak out over not knowing their origins..
I might have raised my voice because my emotions are out of order..
Considering how I was deliberating over my overconfidence just a moment ago, this is a nice change of pace..
"Alright, first calm down. Nothing is going to be solved by asking questions no one has the answers to. There is a lot of time to find out about the one who created you. But for now, I'm sorry I yelled at you.."
"Nah, it's fine. It would be weird not to when I was acting like that. So, what do we do now?"
"Well, can you access my senses first?"
"Hmm, okay...*Click*... Now what?"
"Alright, now do-"
"Wait, I think something just popped out! What's this? [Aura Pocket] has connected to [API]?"
"Huh, what are you talking about?"
"I don't really know, it just suddenl-Uwahhh! *Crash*"
The line suddenly cut off with the sound of static, then silence..
My instincts say that this is going to be troublesome if I pursue it further, so let's ignore it for now..
Yes, let's wait till he calls me again in the future..
Besides, I have no way of contacting him from here in the first place..
Now, where was I..
Oh yeah, I should start preparing to leave tomorrow..
Just as I was about to move towards the chief's house, there was a tug on my cloak..
When I turned around, it was the one I expected, Jin...
"A-are you leaving now Onii-san?"
Guh, that look, don't stare at me like I just took away your favorite toy..
But this time, I must harden my heart..
Yes, resist it, me..
"Ah, I have to go west tomorrow.."
"Tomorrow? Isn't it going to be hard with the winter blizzards? You'll die out there Onii-san!"
I nearly forgot about that..
It was still the start of the winter season, and it will only get worse from hereon out..
I don't have anything that can protect me against the cold except the clothes teacher made me..
Still, I doubt it would perfectly repel the cold though..
"Onii-san, why don't you stay here for a while, just until winter passes. I don't want you to die from the cold.."
"Really? That's great!"
Oh no, that was bad..
I instantly replied to his question because of how cute he looked..
But I won't ever admit those thoughts out loud. Not until I die..
Well, it's fine..
I could stay here until spring comes..
The war should be at a stalemate due to the cold anyway..
Also, I had to cure the other children of the village too..
Why was I so forgetful now?
Is it a side effect of having your memories looked over?
I hope that guy isn't doing anything weird to my memories..
Knowing his luck, I might be better off wishing pigs could fly..
I let out a deep breath, that turned into steam, dispersing into the ever-chilling atmosphere..
"Well, it's getting colder now, let's go back inside, shall we?"
Germundo said to the me who was daydreaming..
"Ah, let's go back then.."
When we were walking towards the front of the house, something warm touched my fingertips..
It was the little wolf-kid's hand..
"Just as I thought, onii-san's hand is warm.."
*Cough* I mean, that's just the gloves..
"A-ah, yours is too.."
I can't believe I said that out loud..
I want to shoot myself..
Maybe I could..
As I was contemplating on materializing one of my guns with [Aura Weapon Creation], a man suddenly rushed towards us, running with bated breath..
Naturally, I put myself on guard..
But it seemed that he was a normal villager, seeing his clothing that looked peasant-like..
Still, let's keep an eye on him..
I've learned my lesson in taking people lightly..
He seemed to be calling out to Germundo at my side..
When he made it towards us, he suddenly dropped to the cold ground in a bowing position..
It looked like the "dogeza" from my previous world..
"Please! Please save my child! Chief, she's dying!"
The village man said with tears dropping to the ground..
"What!? Kael? Of course we'll help! Orion-dono!"
"Really? You can cure my daughter?"
The man suddenly got suspicious and at the same time, hopeful towards the chief's words..
I couldn't blame him, since the disease was deemed incurable..
Then, did he ran here, even with the thought that it was futile?
Maybe he was just running away from reality, or he was desperate in finding a way to cure his child..
I will never know, neither will I ask about it..
For now, let's not let another life get taken..
So, I express an affirming nod towards Germundo, and his lips curled up into a relieved smile soon after..
He turned towards the groveling man beneath our feet while helping him stand up and said..
"Ah, let's go! Lead the way Kael!"
The man's face suddenly brightened up, and after, he wiped his tears with his right hand sleeve..
"Thank you, thank you so much. Follow me!"
He expressed his gratitude while standing up, even though we haven't done anything yet..
While gesturing us to follow him while he started sprinting, we followed soon after..
So he was just a desperate father in the end, trying to save his daughter..
That was close..
My eyes suddenly turned empty for a moment there..
When I looked towards the groveling position that I was so sick of looking at in the past, my habit almost resurfaced..
As to what that is exactly, I try not to remember it..
When we stopped running for a few minutes, we were in front of a dilapidated house, looking at the roof starting to fall apart, and the wood showing its age..
But this was no time to judge their place of dwelling..
We swiftly entered through the doorway with the man who was named Kael, leading the way..
Inside, there were various cloths and furs neatly folded into bundles, placed at the sides..
There was also a counter at the farthest end, with a door placed behind it..
I guessed this was some kind of tailor shop..
When Kael led us through the door behind the counter, I could hear soft, erratic breathing noises..
Which meant that the child was in the room..
I scanned the small space, and found a woman with brown hair, crying a river of tears whilst holding the hand of a young girl, laying on cloth made out of an animal's fur..
She looked like she was going to break if you just touched her a little bit..
Those thin arms and legs, with a pale complexion..
When I touched her other hand without permission, it was cold as expected..
The woman who seemed to be this child's mother suddenly noticed me by then, and looked up towards me with a perplexed expression on her face, but her tears still did not stop flowing down her cheeks..
Since I don't want to look at a woman crying, let's finish this quickly..
After a few minutes, I've confirmed that the kid's health condition is stable, and told the parents my diagnosis and the results of the healing method I did. Of course I didn't divulge how, but they were still overjoyed after I said it..
Whilst wiping sweat off my brow, I stood up, and spoke to Germundo..
This was the third time I used this skill combination, so I had gotten better control over it..
I told Germundo, the village chief, to gather all the sick in one place, so I could heal them..
He grinned at me when he heard those words, like he expected it from the beginning..
Please give me a break..
I just wanted to help the weak, it is nothing that major..
After, I told him about my plan to renovate the houses inside the village..
He was shocked at how I told him that this was the main reason the sickness was rampant during winter..
But, to my surprise, he immediately turned serious, and started talking..
Should I say, as expected of a village chief?
He told me that he had always thought of improving the villager's houses, thereby improving their lifestyle, way back then. But it had always been stopped at the idea stage, since it would cost a lot of money to do..
It seemed that money was important in many aspects even in a different world..
I didn't particularly think about wealth, since I had more than I could spend in an entire lifetime..
So, I told him that I would pay for it myself..
His eyes nearly popped out of his sockets when he heard me sponsoring an entire village's renovation alone..
He tried to explain to me how much it would cost, and such..
But it only amounted to three large gold coins..
Was this village that poor?
It couldn't be helped, so I used a bit of [Fear Aura] in my voice, and the chief quickly agreed to let me take over..
Then, he immediately rushed outside in a hurry..
I could have sworn I smelled urine in the air, but it must have been my imagination..
There were much more people than I thought..
Wasn't this a village? How many kids can each family bring, honestly...
When I was done healing all the children, I let Germundo take over, and explain to the villagers the name of the disease, its cause, and how to prevent it in the future. All leading up to announcing the start of the renovation project..
Just like we rehearsed..
After the villagers heard the last bit, they were screaming in joy and happiness..
They also asked where would we get the gold to fund such a big project..
Naturally, Germundo said that there was an anonymous donor..
I couldn't let people know I was wealthy, or else they would flock to me in hordes like in my past life..
So I had Germundo keep my identity a secret..
When night came, he informed me that there was a blacksmith in the village who could make the windows, and the men would replace the rooves and walls..
There was no problem with the wood, since we could buy it from the village woodcutter, but there wasn't any materials for glass-making inside the village..
I was about to suggest buying it from another town, but since the weather was dreadful, and the distance between the village and the nearest town would take a week at best, I held my tongue..
Instead, I thought up another way to procure materials, and told the chief to leave it all to me..
I told him that I would elaborate on the details tomorrow, since it was late..
Yes, the whole day was spent, healing and going over the plans..
I was walking to the room I was allocated to rest my tired self, when I passed by the two children playing..
When Jin noticed me, he waved to me and said..
"Good night, onii-san!"
Ah, how I wish I could hear that every night before I go to bed..
It was just so relaxing..
Ah, no, no, this is bad..
I am slowly turning into something I'm not..
The chief's daughter also noticed me and shyly waved to me but I didn't notice it..
I quickly went inside the room and plopped onto the bed made of fur..
For a bed in a village, this was unexpectedly soft..
The person who tailored this must have adept skills..
I was slowly thinking about idle thoughts to keep me away from thinking about the cute kids outside..
While staying like that, I slowly drifted to sleep..
When I came to, I was stuck in a cramped space..
Well, not exactly cramped, but still smaller than I remember..
Judging by the soft, feeling in my fingertips, like I was touching a carpet, I was not in the other world..
Since this level of detail and softness was not present there..
So where was I?
When I look up, I saw two bright silver metallic doors, and a machine placed on the wall next to it..
Strange, this looked exactly like..
Now I see where this is going..
I calmly stood up, and placed my hand on the machine that had an outline of a palm, and invoked aura..
Aura Detected: Identifying..
Identify Complete: Confirmed Identity..
User: Orion (1st Persona)
A window suddenly appeared in front of me, confirming my identity..
Suddenly, the elevator started to move upwards..
Soon after, it stopped, and the doors split, revealing a long hallway, illuminated with lights..
I get out, and the elevator suddenly vanishes into thin air..
Then, I walked up to a light, and examined it by touching it..
I could feel a faint trace of heat emanating from the fluorescent light, leading me to believe it was authentic..
After confirming the authenticity of the item that should not even be here, I walk through the long hallway..
Whilst walking, the sound of my steps echoed throughout the corridor, bouncing off the walls..
I wasn't perturbed since I didn't believe in the occult or the like..
Only an idiot would trust in those regretful spirits and such..
About a few minutes had passed when I reached the two large doors that guy told me about..
I guess he wasn't kidding..
These are over 4 meters tall..
The size of the doorway was overbearing, and got me curious on who was it meant for..
Just as I was about to try to open the door, the smell of smoke wafted through the air..
There was another indescribable smell with it, but the smoke usually signified danger..
Was there a fire inside?
Is that guy really safe?
Was he trapped, and unable to get out?
My mind moved rapidly thinking of various hypotheses and questions..
But first, I had to calm down..
No matter what, standing around here worrying won't do anything..
I ready myself, and held the large doorknobs..
Then, I didn't forget to armor my whole body with [Dragon King's Aura] to repel the heat inside..
With the sound of a lock opening, the large gates swung open revealing..
A white haired youth turning his back, that seemed to be doing something with a frying pan over a high flame..
The large room was filled with various items and metal coins, etc to the brim..
Over at the far end of the room, between all the mess, and beyond a large television and couch set, was a man squatting down before the fire that was emitting black smoke..
He was taking pieces of delicious smelling meat strips, and was placing them on the pan one by one..
"Man, this is going to be so-hmm?"
The person in question broke the awkward silence..
Which was pretty impressive, since I did coldly stare at him for a long time..
"Oi, what are you doing?"
"Huh? Can't you tell? I was coo-wait, wait, why are you even here in the first place!?"
"The hell if I knew, I suddenly woke up in an elevator.."
"Ah, it might be because of those windows huh, now that I think about it.."
Windows? Was he talking about when he suddenly cut off from me?
"What do you mean window?"
"Well, there was a window that said [API Guest List] and your name was listed as invited, but never mind that.."
What do you mean never mind? Do you just completely disregard everything that seems important?
Ah, my headaches is coming back..
Which is ironic, since I was, technically, in my head..
It's just that I think that this person had a very small amount of common sense, or a sense of danger for that matter..
In turn, makes it hard to deal with him..
"Never mind then, more importantly, what happened when you got cut off?"
"Well, you see, windows started appearing when I enabled myself to see the world through your eyes for some reason, and items suddenly appeared in waves, which almost drowned me.."
I guess that's what the earlier window did, something about the storage mixing with this room..
"So, what did you do with it?"
"There were doors which appeared at the same time as the items, so I swam there, and opened it, only to find that it was a large closet that spanned maybe miles.."
"So, you stuffed most of them in there?"
"Yep, but I kept the useful stuff in this room though, I wanted to make living here easier.."
You only got here today, and you decided to make this room your home already?
I suppress my inner thoughts and continue..
"And, you decided to cook?"
"Of course, cooking calms me down. Oh! here, the meat is done, try one.."
He takes a seared strip of brownish-red meat, and places it on a plate..
When he presented it to me, I took a fork, and took a bite out of it..
I was rendered speechless..
This wasn't anything I've ever tasted before..
So this was what those memories showed..
I could only see, hear, and feel, through the outside, by fully immersing in meditation before..
I couldn't come close to tasting..
This wasn't like those gourmet restaurants I used to frequent when I was a kid..
It had a more, oomph taste..
I can't express it in words..
The words flow through my lips as smooth as butter..
I unconsciously muttered my real feelings after I tasted the simple dish..
"Right? I tried a new spicing method on that dish. Glad to know you like it!"
A glowing smile..
An expression that could say that he was happy at the sight of someone eating his food..
But with a hint of passion, maybe concerning his drive to catch up with teacher..
Naturally, I couldn't relate to it, since I had never tasted teacher's meals..
After that, I kept talking to my other persona about how we were going to go about this..
But after a few minutes, he got bored and talked about his stories instead..
I knew about this already through his memories, but I was interested in the things about teacher..
He really must have treated him like a father figure..
At the end of the talk that spanned a few hours, the plate of cooked meat was licked clean..
It seemed that I could enter this room every night unconsciously until I could learn how to control it..
Until then, this is going to be a daily occurrence..
It is strange to think of two minds living in one body but I could learn to live with it..
As I finalized the details on tomorrow's plans, I could feel my body glowing..
"Ah, it's time. The skill is sending you back I suppose.."
"I guess it is morning now, huh?"
I was slightly closer to my other persona now due to him sharing his stories, and maybe because of the food too..
"Oh, I almost forgot. If you want to contact me instead, use this!"
He suddenly threw me a small, black device, that glittered like a star in the air..
I hurriedly caught it between my fingers using my right hand..
"Why can't you contact me instead?"
I was thankful for the gesture but at the same time, curious on why he did it..
"Ah, I found a way to watch videos on the internet for some reason, so I'm gonna be preoccupied for a while.."
With his fist lightly hitting his head, one of his eyes closed, and a goofy grin on his face, he said that..
That strange gesture somehow makes me want to punch him..
But, I'll endure for now..
I look towards the item in my hands..
It was a small, dark earpiece that was abundant on Earth. It was used in calling..
I think its name was, hands-free blue tooth device..
But I didn't have time to examine the device more clearly, since I was fully engulfed in light soon after..