“You´ve come… To grant my wishes?”
Rook´s body trembled by those alluring words.
It wasn´t fear; his body was trembling with the joy that was welling up deep inside.
At the moment the person in front of his eyes named himself as a [shinigami], Rook misunderstood, thinking he had come to take his life. However, it seems he was overthinking. Something like granting wishes was exactly what Rook would have wanted.
Rook´s hand calmly moved away from the handle of his sword. With his eyes shining, he looked at the shinigami.
“Is this true?”
“Yes, it´s the truth.”
The shinigami made a gentle smile. Looking at the smile, Rook swallowed the saliva in his mouth.
The things he wished for were many that it wouldn´t be enough to count with his fingers. First of all, he wanted to redo the actions he had made before. The reality had already started to deviate from the plot of the game. He wanted to correct the mistakes. Besides that, he wanted power. He wanted the power of a main character who wouldn´t know defeat. He also wanted the people that had died to come back to life. The more he thought, the more desires showed up in his mind.
Rook was about to say his wishes, but he suddenly gave up on the idea.
He remembered the anime and manga he used to see a long time ago in his previous word. The characters in the stories that would be saying things like “Shall I grant your desires?” or something like that were all villains for the most part. Even if it wasn´t a villain, it wouldn´t be a good person. They would whisper words one would want to hear and then take one´s most precious things as the compensation. Sometimes it would be your soul, and sometimes it would be someone important to you. Even if they don´t steal anything from you in the surface, it was possible to think that they would distort the meaning of the wish in a bad way.
Thinking about that, his feeling of wariness that was dispersing once again started to grow.
“What´s the matter? Say your wishes.”
The shinigami seemed to be a good person from the expression she was showing. However, it was impossible to see it as anything other than a false smile.
In order to take distance from the shinigami, he gave on step back. Grasping the handle of his sword once again, he readied himself to unsheathe it anytime.
“Before telling you my wishes, there are many things I would like to ask you.”
“Hou, what would they be?”
“This… What is the compensation for the wishes?”
Rook timidly asked.
Doing that, the shinigami´s wings trembled in happiness. He was showing a face full of ecstasy that was as the shinigami had been waiting for his question. The shinigami pressed at him an old sheet of paper.
“Of course, it is your soul.”
Rook glanced at the paper. With the tiny letters written there, there were many important detail concerning the contract. As the shinigami had said, the written content was talking about it being one soul per wish. With doubting eyes, he looked from one corner to another to confirm there were no loopholes. After reading many times from the first letter to the last one, he started to think if he didn´t have anything else to ask.
“Is what it is written here all the truth?”
“Yes, it´s the truth. In exchange for your soul, I may grant you your wishes. However…”
Full of maliciousness, he continued his words.
“Do not forget you are getting it in exchange for soul. Think thoroughly so that you can wish something worth exchanging your soul.”
“It´s obvious I will. Is it something you need to go your way to tell me?”
With Rook saying that in an untrusting manner, the shinigami licked his lips. The gross tongue looked like a cunning snake. It looked that if Rook was to lower his guard, he would be eaten. While raising his guard, he took the paper.
“Of course. Whether it is a human, whether it is a demon, each fundamentally have only one soul. Therefore, they can only ask for a single wish. Whether they desire for riches that wouldn´t be used up even in a lifetime or desire a woman more beautiful than the princess of the Shiidoru kingdom as a wife. However, the world is wide. There are a few existences that can be considered exceptions.”
As if Rook´s wariness didn´t matter, the shinigami kept speaking. It was like he was an actor that had been given a role to act. Rook narrowed his eyes.
Rook became unease with the word “exception”. It´s not like he had already decided to go with the shinigami´s deal yet, but it was necessary to get a grasp of everything related to the contract, and that even more if considering he would be trading a wish for his soul. If something unexpected was to happen later, it would have already been too late.
“What do you mean by saying exception? Are you saying that I am a exception or something?”
“Exception… Is what I was going to say, but you have only one soul. Do you know about the caterpillar fungus? It is a mushroom that parasites the insect, and once it becomes spring, it spouts from its body. Its roots stretch through the body of the insect, taking control over it. The parasitized insect has everything stolen from it and dies, while on the other hand, the mushroom would have its life connected to the body. It´s very interesting, isn´t it? …Hm? You are making a face that is asking what this has to do with the contract, aren´t you? Well, well, since I am in good spirits, I will tell you. …Well then, let me tell you a story… It is a story of fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago, a little boy has been born at the Barusak family.”
Rook became perplexed at the shinigami´s explanation.
He couldn´t understand what his wishes, the things about that mushroom, and his own birth had to do with each other. However, suddenly, a dreadful feeling went through him at the nape of his neck. It felt as if he shouldn´t ask the shinigami any more than that. He had the feeling that, in order for him to keep being himself, he mustn´t ask about it.
However, on the other hand… the thought of wanting to have the compensation become as much viable as possible so that he could have his wish granted was also strong. Without interrupting the shinigami´s words, Rook decided to hear it out.
“It was a boy of good appearances; he had taken all the good parts of his father and mother. However, there was a problem with his soul. When he had just been born, he had been parasitized… by another soul. With the many years passing, bit by bit, his own soul was overwritten, with the other soul successfully taking the control. This is what it would be the you of now… Rook Barusak.”
The shinigami calmly declared. His white and thin finger that was just like a woman´s was pointed to Rook. Because of the surprise, Rook wasn´t able to say anything.
In other words, Rook wasn´t truly the main character. All he did was nothing more than killing the main character he yearned for and standing in his place. An eerie aftertaste that couldn´t be described started to fill his heart. But without caring about how Rook was, the shinigami gave the final blow.
“At any rate, you have been impersonating your “original” soul. You would make decisions that seemed to be what it would choose, and saying charming words, you´ve been winning over many beautiful girls. Ah, please, don´t misunderstand. I am praising you. The you that was desperately acting while adding in some improvisation of your own was the best. You´ve made me have enough of fun. …However, you know, the soul that is tasty looking is yours, and not the one you are parasitizing. That soul had become completely dried up and is not edible anymore.”
The shinigami kept speaking in his tone of voice that looked as if he was performing in a drama.
“…And because of that, I can only grant you one wish. That´s why it is better if you carefully think it through. What does your real self truly desires? Please, think until your brain juice seeps out. The more your suffer, the more the soul becomes tasty.”
Each of the words spoken by the shinigami heavily weighted onto him.
It was just as the shinigami had said. He was Rook Barusak, but he wasn´t Rook Barusak.
The Rook of his previous world yearned for the Rook of the game. Without any flaws in his appearance, using his strong spiritualist powers, he quickly rose in the world; he had cute girls falling in love for him and was liked by everyone. The Rook of his previous life couldn´t get away his mediocre limits. No, it was a bit worse than mediocre. He wanted to become like Rook. Maybe that´s why he became absorbed in the game, and after he reincarnated in this world, he started to act like Rook.
…However, he was only acting like the main character.
Even if the himself of now was Rook Barusak, he wasn´t the main character.
Rook became agitated. If he wasn´t the main character, then what was all he had been doing until now? Wasn´t he only a farce pretending to be the main character? What in the world his true self wished for?
“Your own decisions also caused interesting results. …You might know about it already.”
Despite all that happened, Rook wanted to think the ones at his surroundings to be the ones in the wrong.
He did nothing bad. He caused the death of many heroines and subordinates, and moreover, of the real Rook, but it wasn´t his own fault. It was all bad luck and because they had been too weak.
“It seems you will take a long time. When you decide on your wish, call me in a loud voice.”
Saying that, he came closer to Rook´s face. And then, before he left, he whispered next to his ears. From this whisper, Rook felt a feeling of fear; it was as if someone touched the back of his neck with a wet hand.
“Think well… What the real you longs for.”
Those words greatly affected him.
While laughing in a irritant way, he vanished from Rook´s eyes. It was as if his figure had dissolved into the air. However, there were many black feathers scattered in the floor. This meant that all this conversation until now wasn´t a dream. Bending down, Rook took one of these feathers. The feeling the it gave and its weight were just like of the feathers in a wing of a bird.
“The real me… What do I want to do?”
He wanted to have the bearing of pride just like a main character, he wanted to be surrounded by heroines just like a main character, and he wanted a talent acknowledged by everyone just like a main character.
However, he felt the true himself also desired many other things.
Maybe he had wanted to become a true resident of this world. No, it wasn´t that. Rook pushed aside. Starting to think that he must also have desire for other things, he looked deep into himself. And at that moment, he trembled.
Deep inside himself, there was nothing. It was only a empty dark hole. Rook was being pulled to hole that its bottom couldn´t be seen. He became scared. Bringing himself out of that hole, he hurriedly put its lid on. Rook turned his eye away from. However, he would not forget that scene he had seen.
That was the himself when he wasn´t acting as the main character, the true Rook Barusak.
In the dark room, Rook kept looking at the feathers left by the shinigami with empty eyes.