Meanwhile, the Demon Lord army was marching.
Although they were slowly moving, they were certainly heading towards the location of the seal. They would go through forests and valleys people wouldn´t go to and march through the main road at night. Although it would take time, they decided to take a safe posture so that they wouldn´t be detected by the spiritualists.
In the middle of the knights and footsoldiers the army was composed by, there was a single small carriage. The plain cloth covering the carriage fluttered with the wind, and at those times, a face would show up peeking from the iron bars. In the carriage, there was the figure of a young man pressing his face by the iron bars.
It was Rook Barusak.
“Ah-ah. In a certain way, this is just like the development in the game.”
Rook Barusak dropped his shoulders.
The metallic sound of the chains binding his wrists disturbingly reached his ears. His favorite two-handed sword and his bow and arrow were taken away, and even all the kinds of grenades he had were seized from him.
“They are giving me food and water, so I think I will be able to keep living until we reach the location of the seal, but…. After all, Charlotte-chan isn´t here anymore…”
Not knowing what to do, Rook was at loss.
Being captured by the Demon Lord army and brought to the location of the seal was the route that appeared when you got in a love relationship with the maiden of the demons. With their prohibited love being exposed, the protagonist would be captured and transported together with the princess.
Working together with the princess, the protagonist would plan their escape. But during that time, Charlotte would stop their advance, claiming that using Rook for the revival of the Demon Lord was a trap planned by Raimon Barusak.
However, the maiden of the demons he would have gone out with wasn´t there.
And besides, the princess that was locked in together with him wasn´t in a state that she could be talked to.
The princess Catarinne had completely changed.
The face that was acclaimed as the number one in the kingdom was broken. There weren´t any signs of its previous form left. Many of her teeth fell down and the sight of her grumbling meaningless words was pitiful.
“Uhm… Princess Catarinne-sama?”
Mustering courage, Rook tried to call for her once again… but the princess wouldn´t even look to Rook´s direction. While looking at the nothing, she kept muttering nonsense.
This couldn´t be helped. To say the least, the princess in the game wouldn´t get hurt to that point. To the princess that was carefully raised with a silver spoon in her mouth, this was a very psychological blow.
“Sorry, princess… This is my fault.”
Rook started to feel very miserable. If he was able to notice Riku´s disguise at that time, the situation wouldn´t have grown worse to this point.
No matter how much he regretted over it, he fully understood he was too late. His cowardice tightened his heart. If he was willing to do something to apologize, he first needed to think of a plan so that her situation wouldn´t become even worse… However, right now, Rook pretty much didn´t have any plans remaining.
“…Should I take Charlotte-chan´s place and tell Riku-ane about the truth? But it really seems like she wouldn´t believe me… No, to begin with, she wouldn´t even hear my words.”
Turning his back to the iron bars, he dejectedly bent down.
While hanging his head, he fell in thought as he looked at the floor.
It wasn´t like he didn´t have any plans for escaping from there. However, this wasn´t a plan the main character used in the game, but one completely original to him. There was no assurance it would go well.
He didn´t know if he would succeed.
He really couldn´t get the courage to throw himself into such a risky gamble.
“Ah-ah, what am I supposed to do… Ah, but please don´t worry! I will protect princess Catarinne!”
Despite knowing the end result, without having learned from his previous experiences, Rook called for Catarinne. As expected, Catarinne didn´t look at Rook. Having the realization of her situation confirmed, Rook became a bit depressed.
The sound of the carriage was stronger than the sound of the marching of the demons.
It had been many hours the time Rook had been listening to it. The light that would get in from the gaps of the cloth covering the carriage were gradually becoming red. The day would soon end.
After how many days were they going to arrive at the location of the seal of the Demon Lord, [the Valley of Twilight]?
It happened right as Rook was wondering about it.
“Hey, have you been doing well?”
A voice he was familiar with came from above.
Hurriedly raising his face, Rook saw the shinigami. He was showing a proud face as he flapped his black wings.
“Wait, it´s bad if you appear at a place like this!”
Rook hastily pointed his finger to somewhere at the other side of the cloth covering the carriage.
At all times and even by now, there would probably be a demon that was keeping eyes on Rook so that him and the princess wouldn´t run away. It was obvious the situation would get chaotic if that demon found out about the shinigami.
However, the shinigami broke up in laughs at Rook´s anxiety.
“Ah, don´t worry. I am standing at a place they can´t see me. More importantly… what do you think about that girl there? I came here to ask you about that.”
With his finger that was similar to a dead branch, he pointed at the princess.
Even though someone suspicious just suddenly appeared, the princess didn´t show any reactions. Nobody reflected at her empty eyes anymore.
“…Because of me, her life is over. That´s why, until the end… I need to take responsibility.”
Even if the princess Catarinne was to not recover for her whole life, Rook would continue to stay beside her.
Even if his voice didn´t reach her, he would keep calling for her as much as he could.
He believed this was his atonement for her…
“Maybe it is impossible. As it is, she won´t be getting back to normal after all.”
“Don´t decide that by yourself. Maybe a miracle might happen!”
When the shinigami looked at Rook with a suspiciously happy expression, Rook took distance from the shinigami.
Rook had the feeling he saw figure of the shinigami and the figure of a salesman that would speak of beautiful words and try to take its contractor down to despair overlapping.
“You… It´s your plan to steal my soul, right?”
“How disgraceful of you to say “steal”. I am simply having the soul as the reward for granting your wishes.”
“Isn´t it the same?”
Rook stiffened slightly.
He came to realize the danger of the shinigami on how he appeared under this hopelessly unadvantageous position. The shinigami definitely came there to have him make a contract so he could break through his situation.
“Don´t you want to make a contract with me so that you can have the princess go back to how she used to be? After all, aren´t you responsible for her to have become like that?”
“That… is the case, but…”
It was just as the shinigami said.
Originally, the reason why the princess Catarinne became like that was him.
It was the fact that he was feeling responsible of it. In his true feelings, he wanted to jump into the shinigami´s proposal. In fact, he couldn´t imagine that Catarinne would revert back by him staying by her side. Unless a miracle or some magic happened, it was something impossible. That was why if there was the possibility for her to get back to normal, he would gladly offer his soul.
But even so, he couldn´t agree to that.
Gazing at the shinigami, Rook flatly declared.
“But… I have other people I need to take responsibility on.”
Strongly, he closed his eyes.
The image that appeared in the back of his mind was that of the one thing that made destiny turn chaotic; the figure of his sister Riku Barusak.
The fear of falling into the dark depths of the ocean was unfathomable; Rook didn´t know of the pain of being abandoned by his whole family. Rook couldn´t imagine how much pain Riku had to go through after that happened.
It was impossible for him to comprehend Riku´s feelings. However, if he only had thrown away those self-centered thoughts such as “she isn´t really strong in the game”, “Riku isn´t cute, so it´s fine even if she isn´t in my harem” or “in either case, Riku-ane isn´t useful in the game, so she isn´t necessary anyway” at that time and extended his hand to her even if for a little… Perhaps she would have been able to meet a different future.
“The time for games is over. The one that changed Riku-ane´s destiny was me. This is just like the one that killed Seles-chan, Rebecca, Kurumi and Mary being myself. I said it before, but I… While I don´t think Riku-ane will forgive me, I need to make up to her. Until then, I can´t give my soul to anyone else.”
Rook slowly opened his eyes.
As if he couldn´t understand Rook´s words, the shinigami tilted his head as if he had just saw something weird.
“Hmph… You brother and sister… I really can´t understand you. Why won´t either of the two of you just give me your souls. Everything would go so easily if only you would have your wishes.”
“Brother and sister? You mean me… and Riku-ane? Or are you talking about Raku-ane?”
With that question, the shinigami put his finger in front of his mouth.
“Who knows, I wonder who it is about. If you want to know, give me your soul.”
The shinigami mischievously laughed.
As Rook stared at the shinigami, he wondered about his intentions.
By chance did the shinigami say [You brother and sister]. This meant that the shinigami had either approached Riku or Raku and had been refused. However, why would he go all his way to go after one of his sisters to get a contract out of them?
After thinking for a bit, Rook reached in one conclusion.
“…Wait a second. Could it be…”
The reason why the shinigami came to Rook was to steal his soul.
If his memories were correct, the shinigami should have said that the reason why he was going after him was because [his soul looked delicious]. If his words were true, it meant that he wanted Rook to give him the soul of his previous life as a japanese. It wouldn´t be weird to think that this would be the shinigami´s favorite dish.
In other words, if his thought process was correct…
“So either Riku-ane or Raku-ane have two souls like me?”
“Which of them do you think it is?”
As far as Rook was concerned, Raku was his sister, was a scientist, and also a capture target for his harem. Rook would be observing her actions and would proceed her route just like the game while he would learn about her character. Also, he would sometimes ask her to make something that he remembered from the memories of his previous life.
If Raku was also a reincarnator, he wouldn´t have been able to get her heart to fall in love with him by using the game walkthrough.
Besides, except for the things Rook asked her to make for him, the items she created were similar to the ones she would make in the game. If she was a reincarnator, she would have also made things more leaned towards the things of the previous world.
In that case, by elimination, there was only one person.
“Was Riku-ane also japanese?”
“Who knows? I don´t have interest in this kind of thing.”
The shinigami put on a hat.
Holding a cane he took from nowhere, he made a jovial smile.
“The game is still going after all.”
Those words stickly resounded.
As if the words had form, they wrapped around Rook´s body. Rook was feeling a discomfort that felt as if silk wadding was tightening around his neck.
“There is no way. After all, Charlotte-chan isn´t here anymore, the princess became broken and Riku-ane is commanding the army too.”
“Yes, you don´t know, right. In that case, I will do a special service and tell you a few things.”
Moving his tongue close to Rook´s ear, the shinigami said the truth with a feeble voice.
“Riku was discharged. The one leading those troops is Leivein Adlar!”
Rook´s body shrunk in as if he had been splashed cold water.
In an instant, the part of the story of the game that was related to the words of the shinigami started to spread out in his mind.
“Leivein Adlar is leading the Demon Lord army? It isn´t Riku-ane? Even though Charlotte-chan isn´t here!?”
Wanting to deny it, Rook kept rattling on. However, with his bold smile, the shinigami wouldn´t shook his head. As he was patting his cane in anticipation with his right hand, he looked at Rook with a malicious gaze.
“Rather, it is because Charlotte had died that it became like that. You should understand that, right? Understand what will be happening from now on.”
Rook couldn´t respond to the shinigami.
No, he wasn´t able to say the answer in words to the shinigami. While imagining about what was going to happen in the future, he was hit by a fear that was similar to the one of sitting with bare feet in a mountain of needles in hell.
Leivein Adlar was leading the Demon Lord army.
They were heading towards the [valley of twilight], the location of the seal.
It was the route that would happen after Charlotte was confined and Rook get brought to the land of the seal.
It was a ending that was at an insane level of difficulty and that would lead you to the bad end if you were to choose even one wrong choice.
In his previous world, by challenging it more than ten times, the times Rook was able to get “game clear” were about two or three… The expected dangerous climax of the story was to the point it could be said that it would have been impossible for Rook to clear the game if he hadn´t looked at the walkthrough site while he played.
Just like the description would tell… it was the bad end the world would be destroyed.
“The time period of the game didn´t end. If you are so ambitious to the point of not wanting to give me your soul, then you might as well be part of the play until the very end… protagonist-san!”