Episode 1: New Game
......... I'm dead.
That was the last impression that Ira Takuto had.
His consciousness has already fallen into the darkness, and his five senses have been lost long ago.
If we're talking about incurable illness, it was a dramatic end.
But still, some parts of his heart can't accept it, and all he got was a worthless life that was wasted by spending a long time in the hospital bed.
It was unfortunate to pass away at the age of only 18, but it's kind of a blessing that his heart feels so peaceful.
Because he feels satisfied that he had lived long enough to find a miracle game that made him absorbed in it so much that made the doctors and nurses worry in the last few years.
Takuto Ira died with satisfaction, although the words he spoke were endless.
"...Hmm. Is this the world after death? Its kind a cold."
His consciousness returned again.
When Takuto opens his eyes, there was green that spreads out before his eyes. He can see the sunlight shining through the gaps of the trees high above him.
A firm feels on his back. He felt it was a stone pedestal or something because he can feel a rough texture when he touched it lightly with his hands.
The clothes that he wears are still the same, but the annoying drip needles and respirator masks have cleanly disappeared.
On the contrary, his body was as powerful as he could have felt.
"...Hmm. Is this the world after death? It's kind of cold."
"Ha-ha, the air feels good."
When he inhales the air in as much as he wants, the refreshing feels fills his lungs, and the green scenery in front of him paints out the memory of a dull hospital room that depresses him so much.
Takuto was deeply touched by the fact that his body was able to move lightly, which was difficult to move due to severe illness, and wondering if this is this really the world after death.
Suddenly a voice came to him as he was touching his body and checking his condition.
"Did you wake up?"
A humble voice that would belong to a girl if his expectations were correct.
Perhaps this is the appearance of a rumored angel.
If she is an angel who will guide you to the world after death, you cannot be rude.
He quickly fixes his disheveled clothes and raises his face toward the voice.
The unbelievable thing was the girl in front of her.
(――What? Just what's going on?)
It shocked him so much.
However, no matter how many times he blinks his eyes, the scene remains the same.
The girl in front of him stood quietly, waiting for Takuto to digest his confusion.
A girl with dull grey hair that reminds him of ash and wearing a jet-black robe.
The simple metal decoration has a twist that seems to ignore existing rules. Still, all of them are in perfect harmony.
And above all, the deep abyss eyes that look like it can suck people in. He recognized her.
Takuto knows her.
No, even if he died, he will never forget her.
The game he had been playing in his bed all the time.
A state running simulation game in the dark fantasy world, a hero unit that appears in "Eternal Nations".
"Yes. My King."
The girl was the most beloved character from his number one favorite game.
It's unclear if she notices about Takuto's confusion, the girl responds to Takuto's words with a refreshing smile and gratitude.
A little discomfort and a huge confusion surged inside him.
He didn't even have time to understand what happened to him, but the only thing he can understand is that 'she bears respects towards me'.
(I don't want to show my weak spots. Especially I don't want to be despised by the character of the game that I love the most.)
It was all about pride, but for him who stuck in the hospital room for so long, this is everything.
To him showing his pathetic part is not an option.
If she calls him "King" then he has no choice but to act like one.
It was a feeling that was close to delusion, but that was Takuto's belief and his most precious thing.
(What should I do?! Role-play!? I think the king is the leader of Mynoghra........ Should I behave like a king? But how!?)
A small smile makes his heart beating fast.
Before, such a thing will make a lot of nurses and doctors panicky run to him, but now his body condition won't drop anymore.
However, he still can't understand the meaning behind the girl's smile...
"It's okay. Takuto-sama"
The soft words were enough to melt his tense heart.
However, the words that sprung up next will surprise him even more...
"The unprecedented Nightmare difficulty has been cleared! The country "Mynoghra" that said to be the most difficult to use, is shining in the first place on the official user ranking. The Legendary Player, Ira Takuto!"
It was a miracle that he left behind in his life.
It is safe to say that most of Takuto's life was spent in the hospital room.
Every day is a series of inspections, and there is almost no time to rest.
His family was wealthy, but his parents probably didn't care much about his sickness.
When they forget their obligation to visit him, the only thing left behind is loneliness.
The only place where he could find his own worth was inside the well-known nationwide simulation game "Eternal Nations".
A game that uses various races and nations that exist in the fantasy world to conquer the world.
One run-through playtime was at least a dozen hours, so it was strangely matched with his lifestyle.
Forgetting his loneliness is the reason he plays so enthusiastically then eventually he's made it to the rankings, and there's no player who doesn't know him.
Yes, he was proud of having achieved the highest difficulty level of "Eternal Nations", which was said to be impossible for people to clear the game using "Mynoghra", the most difficult state to use.
Among the players, he is legendary, and of all that because of the existence of a girl in front of him--a unit called Atou.
"I remember everything, too."
Her short words answered all of Takuto's questions.
"About Takuto-sama talked to me, about how we conquered the world many times together, about how many game over we had. I remember everything."
The words she spoke sound to be flat, but he can feel that there are emotions in every corner.
Perhaps she has the same feeling as him.
Takuto feels his chest is being flooded with so much emotion.
"Don't worry. I remember Takuto-sama properly."
Takuto felt that the words made his eyes hot.
Maybe his tears have dropped.
He thought he should say something smart, but he couldn't calm down, and hiding his emotions was the only thing he could do now.
"Using you .... [Atou] was my unique play style and policy."
"Yes, I'm always with you."
Atou is a potential hero unit.
Hero is a powerful unit that is specifically owned by each country. And Atou, which can be used by a nation named Mynoghra, is a character with the weakest initial ability of all hero units.
On the other hand, she was also a unit that could grow into the strongest being.
It was natural that Takuto, who longed for the outside world, longed for freedom, continued to yearn for possibilities and future, to have some kind of attachment to her.
"Because my body was weak. I might have wanted to be like you."
"I had Takuto-sama show me the various worlds."
(I'm a little embarrassed to remember I was secretly talking to her when I was alone.
I was always waiting for someone to talk to me.)
"... I'm glad I could talk to you directly."
"I'm also happy to talk to Takuto-sama."
Even though I met her for the first time, the words flow like talking to an old friend.
No, it has a different form, but the trust that exists there has been cultivated over many years.
Takuto was impressed by unexpected events, but when he wondered if there would be such a miracle in the world after death, various questions began to emerge.
"Is this heaven? Did you call me here?"
"No, it's not. I was here when I woke up. I think that it is a little different from heaven. If anything, it feels more like.... It feels more like the world of Eternal Nations."
After looking around, Atou shook his head a little.
Strangely just by seeing that little gesture Takuto understood that she was not lying.
"I don't know this world..." Atou muttered while nodding a little, and he could get a rough idea of the gesture.
"Is it a miracle... would it be too cliché? But I don't mind even if it's too cliché. I'm happy I can meet Takuto-sama."
Takuto nodded as he replied.
Despite all the confusion dominating him, it was a pleasure for him to be able to talk with Atou.
However, we can't keep celebrating this happy moment.
The calm part which left inside him thought so.
In the past, staying alive was the only thing he can do, but now that limit is lifted.
Then, his life will need a purpose.
It was an idea derived from him because he was affected by an incurable disease and kept him thinking about death.
The life purposes.
He wanted to find life purpose that led him to this situation and set is as a new life target.
"Takuto-sama...Would you start with just two of us again?"
――Thus, her words flowed smoothly into his dead heart.
"Well, before that please stands up."
Gently encouraged and started to get up.
Apparently, a stone pedestal is a kind of bed, and it seems now he has some muscle, so he can get up lightly.
Atou looks at him with an affectionate look, paying close attention as not to disturb Takuto's actions, and choosing her words carefully to fill the gap.
"I don't know where this is. It might be the world of "Eternal Nations," it might be the real world where Takuto-sama was, or maybe a totally different world, but just like those days...... Let's start with just two of us.
Let's create our own kingdom."
Her wishes were simple and at the same time, unchanging.
Despite the relationship between the game characters and the players, they have made and raised a country so many times.
It was their way of life and their relationship.
Therefore, it can be said that her wish is not so strange.
Atou looks at Takuto with her deep dark eyes graciously bowing and waiting for the answer.
That eye, it was impossible that Takuto's heart would not be moved by it.
She was the character he loved the most, an important existence, and above all was the most admired thing.
(Haha, a kingdom...?)
A tiny human who has nothing, power, land, and treasure.
Takuto felt his heart moved by the Atou, who called himself a King.
No, it's a warm expression.
He is doing his best to control this turbulent emotion and trembling.
(I don't know what's happening to us. I don't know where this is. But it's permitted, let's try again. Let's recreate that brilliant day in this world.)
A healthy body that moves without any resistance. He who previously has an incurable illness and lost his hope now has unlimited possibilities.
He now has freedom.
"Yes. My King."
"Let's make our country. A kingdom that only belong to you and me."
The contract was made.
As soon as she heard the words, she switches her expression, from the fascinating figure to a gorgeous one and nods.
Then, she said, "Well then", and heeded her throat a little, a scene that Takuto has watched over and over in the game: the words of the contract spun when summoning heroes.
"My name is "Atou the Sludge". The child of the mud that destroys the world. From now, my body and my heart are yours.
――Now, let's fall together. My King!"
He nods firmly and responds to her words.
In this way, a man named Takuto Ira have died,
He had a dream He wanted to fulfill even if it will cost everything.
*New Game Start! *
Player: Ira Takuto
Well then, the story after that.
The two people who finished the rituals were enjoying the subtle atmosphere.
Atou, aside, Takuto has never taken such a crazy act in his life.
This is the first time for him pledge to a beautiful girl to create a country with only two people.
Actually, for Atou, it is also her first time to receive such words.
But to explain the situation in a straight forward manner... both were too embarrassed.
"...Well, it's kind of embarrassing."
"I also feel a little embarrassed. But more than that I am happy."
Two people are laughing and giggling like a new couple.
However, after some time, he gets serious.
This place is an unknown land beyond their imagination. Action is needed, no matter what.
Takuto decided to take one immediately.
"Then my one and only subordinate. My trusted retainer and also my second brain. My evil nation, Mynoghra, who will lead the world to ruin, do you understand what to do first!?"
"Of course! My King!"
Either he is trying to shake off the clumsy shame or maybe for other reason.
Takuto jumps on the pedestal and gives the word to his one and only trusted retainer like he was playing a drama scene.
Of course, the one who answers it is Atou, the strongest hero of Mynoghra.
Even though they didn't speak the words, they understood what kind of policy and what sort of guideline they will use to run the nation.
It was a thousand repeated actions. A standard guideline that has carved itself into every corner of their brain.
Their play style, how they fight, How to make their country, a condensed knowledge they gathered.
What kind of Mynoghra was led by Takuto?
"Let's shut in!"
"Let's shut in ourselves!"
Despite being officially set as the evilest state, when they are at its peak, it boasts the specialization in super-domestic politics, in which all their civilization features were favorable to domestic affairs and disadvantageous to war.
[Atou the Sludge] Combat Unit
Fighting Power: 3
<<Affinity of Ruin +2>> <<Affinity of Darkness+1>> <<Affinity of Chaos+1>>
《Evil》 《Heroes》 《Fantasy》
* This unit can obtain the ability of units destroyed by it with a certain probability.
~~ The Great God of Light created human from mud.
After that, a mysterious existence without a name created from dirty mud, and Atou was born to this world.
Atou is a hero unit of Mynoghra.
It is very weak at the beginning of the game, and sometimes inferior to regular units. Still, it has a strong affinity enough to make up for it.
In addition, she can gain the ability of the destroyed unit, and it has the highest growth potential of all hero units.