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Satou here. In ghost or reincarnation stories, you tend to see scenes where the protagonists watch their own funerals. In older works, those scenes usually take place in the protagonists' homes, while newer works feature mortuaries, a sign of changing periods. Not like I want to experience something like that regardless of settings though.
Innumerable lights disperse.
A sense of helplessness like I'm in a zero gravity assaults my body.
I can't collect my thoughts.
What was I doing?
What has become of me?
A golden light and a purple light flashed in the corner of my vision.
Someones are fighting.
Someones important to me.
"Arisa-chan, I've taken care of the greater demon!"
"Got it! Mia, release the next demon!"
Arisa's space magic [Dimension Labyrinth] and Mia's artificial spirits are holding demons down so they won't have to fight more than one at a time.
"Revenge brings nothing so I persuade."
Receiving Nana's Provocation-invoked shout, a knight-type demon, Avenger, lunged toward Nana's deployed barrier.
"Shadow Stitch no jutsu~?"
The shadow below Avenger stretched out and bound its legs, stopping it.
"Now's the time for finishing move, charge, Vorpal Strike Luxion nanodesu!"
Pochi clad in a golden colored light charged at Avenger.
If I remember right, that's the new official name Arisa indoctrinated Pochi who couldn't say 'Extra Mode Excellion' correctly, Arisa was like 'Yep yep, the new mode's called Luxion.'
Avenger blocked Pochi's charge with its jet black shield.
"Tail burst nanodesu!"
Pochi shot out unfocused Magic Edge Cannon from her tail to forcefully accelerate herself, piercing through the shield.
However, Avenger tilted its head to dodge her attack by a hair's breadth.
"Nin nin~? Tama's a precocious headhunter~?"
Tama appeared out of nowhere and swiftly cut off Avenger's defenseless neck.
Even Avenger couldn't react fast enough to a ninja that showed up of nowhere inside its barrier.
Avenger swung its sword at Tama even without its head.
Lulu's bullet flicked that sword away in the nick of time.
Flutter~ Tama escaped into Avenger's blind spot.
Avenger is still chasing after Tama.
Nana undid her defensive posture, and rushed toward Avenger with a boost from her powered exoskeleton's thrusters.
"Overlap, Blast Armor!"
Nana invoked her finisher successively, blasting away Avenger's barriers one after another.
"All defensive barriers destroyed, so I report."
Multiple utility pole-sized transparent spears rained down upon Avenger.
"I've sewed it down!"
After confirming Hikaru's report, Liza activated her golden armor's acceleration circle, launching herself from catapult mid-air.
Liza's finishing move drilled open six holes on Avenger's body, blue lights overflowed out of those holes, tearing open Avenger from the inside before dispersing it into black mist.
They managed to defeat an opponent stronger than an average demon lord without a hitch.
Looks like all the girls including Arisa and Hikaru have broken through level 100. Wonder if there's no level limit in Netherworld, or it's just easier to level up here?
Every one of them has gotten so much more stronger than when I first met them.
I can leave my back to them worry-free.
I could see black stagnation-like thing on the aura covering these girls, or am I just imagining things?
That's not a good thing.
I don't know why, yet I'm convinced of that fact.
I stretch out my who-knows-where hands toward the girls and get rid of those black stagnations.
Done, they should be fine now.
As I watched over them, Arisa seemed to be surprised at something.
Did something happen?
Perhaps, Zena-san and the girls at the space ship are having trouble?
Light streamed, my view moved above the hanging garden where our large spaceship parked.
Countless demons are encircling the space ship.
Most are lesser and middle demons, but a few greater ones are also mixed among them.
Karina in her heavy exosuit unleashed her finishing move at a greater demon while exterminating all the lesser demons that were in her way.
Unlike the ordinary exoskeleton, this one looks like a robot outwardly as you can't see the person wearing inside.
Losing to Arisa's and Hikaru's plea and getting carried away during their construction might have been a mistake.
"Karina-sama! Don't get too far ahead!"
Zena-san wearing the same heavy exosuit as lady Karina's exterminated a middle demon that was creeping in behind lady Karina.
I saw a cannon-type demon trying to snipe Zena-san from her blind spot.
Zena-san, watch out--.
Either my murmur reached her, or her sixth sense was at work, Zena-san made a sudden turn to dodge the cannon.
Gotta pay attention to your surroundings with these many enemies.
"Set the ship's defense at maximum output, intercept enemies coming from the sky with anti-aircraft guns."
"Defensive output is already at max. Deploying wand ship to buff up with sacred magic. Core two, please raise generator's output."
"No no can do! The generator won't hold up if we do that!"
"We'll think about that once we overcome this. Our top priority is to secure a place for Satou-sama and the others to come back at."
Princess Sistina, Sera and Core Two seem to be stressed out.
I've made it so the generator won't break easily.
Since Core Two isn't as experienced as Nana on this, I'll do it for her and raise the output temporarily. It might cost a bit of the generator's life span, but all is fine so long it's enough to get us out of Netherworld.
"Huh? The output's stabilized. Your side is getting power, Sera. We can afford anti-aircraft bombardment now. Will auto-tracking do?"
"Yes, Core Two, please focus on commanding ship repair golems. Turn over damages beyond self-repair functions to my golem units."
A golem army under princess Sistina's control are hard at work warding off lesser demons closing in above ground.
"Third golem unit, switch to close quarter defense. Fourth unit, continue to support Zena."
"… ■■■■ Sacred Dome."
Sera's magic passed over the space ship along with the light from her Unique Skill.
Looks like Sera's sacred magic is their final defensive line.
"Tina, done repairing the main ship. Only void sky circuits left."
"Thank you, Core Two. Sera, is the Miasma Barrier holding up fine?"
"It's consuming more power than predicted, but it should last us three hours more."
That's shorter than anticipated.
I turn my sight at the generator maintaining Miasma Barrier.
An improvement plan unknown to me during the generator's initial construction emerged in my mind somehow.
I'll fix it up real quick.
My fingers tempered with the circuits here and there.
The adjustment was a cinch since I could see mana flow and miasma law better than ever.
"Tina-sama! Miasma Barrier's generation circuits have regained power. We should be fine for eight hours more with this."
Yup, that's good news.
Everyone, give it your all.
My mind went blank due to the relief.
It kinds of feel like I'm watching a dream.
I saw Aze-san worrying about me and her guards, Shiro and Crow trying to cheer her up.
In the same view, I saw Sage Mouse Chuu Fat and his subjects, Raven Riders of Underground Empire patrolling Shiga Kingdom's skies.
Godbird Hisui is noisily singing 'pipiru piru piru', seemingly bothered about something.
You're making the little princess Doris anxious, pipe down a bit.
Hard working Echigoya Firm's personnels, Muno Marquisdom's people, Labyrinth City's populace, lady Ringrande and her entourage, I saw many people in various locations.
It's as if my consciousness has been dissolved over the entire world.
My vision suddenly refocused in a spot above Demon God's Castle hallway.
Looks like I was drawn by Arisa who was calling for me.
Arisa and the girls are advancing ahead in a fluster.
A reckless march without a hint of their safe tactics earlier.
"OUTTA MY WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!"
Dark purple light pulsed over Arisa's body, a dazzling white flame burned demons down.
"Arisa, advising to hold back the usage of Unique Skill!"
"Forget about me, it's Master! Hurry! I've gotta hurry to him!"
"That's not good, Arisa. Master wouldn't wish you acting recklessly like this, Arisa."
Yup, listen to Nana and Liza.
Look, you're turning into a demon lord already.
I brush Arisa's hair, and gently restores her [Soul's Vessel] which was on the verge of breaking.
It should be fine now, but considering Arisa's state, it's probably gonna break again soon.
Guess I'll make it a bit sturdier?
I tore off a part of myself and used it to reinforce Arisa's soul.
Yup, it should be fine now.
A huge army of demons surged in ahead of the girls.
"Stop flocking out en masse like roaches youuu!"
"Arisa-chan, there's demon lords among those."
"Pochi's seen that broken horned Avenger person before too nodesu!"
Demon lords and knight Avenger they just defeated earlier were among the crowd of demons.
『As long as Demon God-sama wills it, we are indestructible』
A demon lord bragged.
That word echoed in my head.
"Ooh, Satou. Just what happened, how could you die."
An altar-like location shining rainbow colored lights was reflected in my hazy vision.
The mysterious little girl in the painting is mimicking a shinto priest.
I know who she is now.
"Are you still sleepy?"
"No, I'm fine."
I straighten myself up.
I stare at the mysterious little girl.
The patron god enshrined at Hikaru's family shrine--.
"Dragon God Akon Kagura who summoned me to this world, aren't you?"
The mysterious little girl stared at me from top to bottom before saying, "Correct."
"When did you find out?"
"I had my suspicion since quite a while ago, but that only turned into conviction just now."
That phrase was her most favorite within my memories of us playing games together.
"Where are we?"
"We're in an interstice between life and death."
"You mean, I'm going to come back to life?"
At my question, the mysterious little girl--Kagura nodded.
"Since you're a beginner at dying, Ichirou, your souls had gotten scattered all over the place. Those needed to be collected and recomposed here."
Souls got scattered all over the place?
--One worth of soul is not enough, you've gotta unite a great number of them.
That word suddenly crossed my mind.
"So you're saying I'm a unified collective being of Suzuki Ichirou from multiple worlds, right?"
"Correct. You're the collective one of all Suzuki Ichirou except the one that became Demon God. I said summon earlier, but reincarnation would be more correct here. You're the unification of every Suzuki Ichirou, while being Suzuki Ichirou himself."
So that's the reason for the hazy part of my memories, and the sense of having experienced something I had never done.
It didn't come as great of a shock, either because I had expected this, or because of this space.
Some things still bug me.
"So why isn't Demon God among those?"
"That Ichirou was special."
Kagura's nostalgic yet sorrowful words slightly pierced my heart.
I peer into Kagura's rainbow eyes.
"Among the great many worlds, that child was the only lolicon."
My body fell limp.
"I'm being serious--"
"It's the truth. All other Ichirou saw me as his very best friend in every world, that child was the only one who sought me and my young figure as a love interest."
No clue how many is that 'great many', but from what I could feel from the souls inside me, that number must easily exceeds thousands, tens of thousands.
That there's only one lolicon among that many really merits a praise in itself.
That aside, some questions remain.
"Then, is there really a need to summon a collective of me?"
"I did it precisely because it was needed."
"Is it in order to fuse me with Demon God, perfecting him?"
That'd be sad if true.
Since that would mean she only regards me as a mere part to bolster her loved one despite me seeing Kagura as my best friend.
"No! That's wrong!"
"I wanted you, Ichirou to stop Demon God."
Kagura said that she wished for me to reform Demon God, who has been twisted from his failure to accept that he would never take hold of his ideal, by my own hand. She couldn't bear to look at his miserable self.
"Can't you do it yourself, Kagura?"
"I can't do that, I would never try to destroy Ichirou. I don't want to, ever."
Well, I suppose one wouldn't want to kill their dearly beloved.
"Can't we turn him back to his pre-twisted self?"
"It can't be done with ordinary methods."
"How about by rewinding time back?"
"Time manipulation is a taboo act, you know. Attempting that means the same as throwing oneself into an infinite circle. What awaits there is a vicious circle where you have to keep correcting yourself for all eternity."
No wonder there's no time magic.
Suppose that's the reason for my summon--.
"So you got yourself killed by my Meteor Shower on purpose then?"
"Un, Indestructible won't function until you've adapted yourself with the collective souls of Ichirou, thus I made you kill me and my familiars to raise your level so you won't die easily."
"Since you're a god and all, can't you just let me raise my level right after the unification?"
"Ichirou dreams too much of god. I didn't want to warp the newly unified Ichirou, so I made use of this world's system."
I see, so there's a reason for her roundabout method.
"Did you sacrifice your familiars for that?"
Arisa's smile flashed across my mind.
Familiars are like family to me, is that not the case with Kagura?
"Don't worry. Those children would come back along with me when I get revived."
So, no need to hold back from using the bodies in your Storage, Kagura gave her approval.
"Now that you mention it, why didn't you revive yourself sooner?"
I remember Kagura saying something about [God being omnipresent] back in Japan.
"Ahaha, it's mostly for your sake, Ichirou. I function like an adhesive that glues your souls together. I'll get revived on its own once that's over. The signal for that will be when your last Unique Skill gets activated, Ichirou."
I see, [Indestructible] is the only thing that gets activated this time, [Unit Creation] is still grayed out.
"Any other questions?"
"No, this is good enough."
"--Really. Then, can I hear your answer?"
Kagura is looking at me with a slightly anxious look on her face.
"I got it. I'll do it. I've got a lot to say about you abruptly ending my life in Japan without asking, prepare yourself then, okay."
"Oh, don't worry about that. The Ichirou now can resume your life in Japan if you want."
Whoa, that's good news.
I'll have Kagura teach me how once this is all over.
I'm probably gonna lose my power once I do that though, so that's a story for after I'm done with all the sightseeing I want.
"Well then, here I go."
"--Un. Ichirou, please take care of Demon God--the other you."
"Yea, leave it to me."
I left the rainbow space with that word.
"--This cannot be! How are you revived?"
Demon God was right in front of me as I opened my eyes.
"I see you must have 『Return from Death』 Unique Skill!"
[Indestructible] to be exact.
Can't rewind time after all.
"Very well then, I shall completely obliterate your very soul into oblivion impossible to get revived."
Demon God produced Dimensional Sword and Nihilistic Sword on both his hands.
Well now, dunno how far I could go in this fight at level 1, but guess I'll give it my all and fulfill Kagura's request.
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