NOTE: I tried writing in another software, there’s probably no difference but, if there’s any, feel free to point out, for worse or better.
Minerva was surprised at the sudden change in attitude by Ardis.
「Well……, I see. Rona said it just now huh. There was another attack. 」
But faster than Minerva could answer Ardis, he had come to a conclusion by himself.
Rona seemed to be unbelieving as he asked in a skeptical tone.
He walked slowly to Ardis, and asked in a voice inaudible to Minerva and Moore.
「Which…… Ardis is this? 」
Although it would be confusing for anyone who didn’t understand the question, Ardis seemed a little embarrassed as he said.
「Yeah, both are me. They’re both me, I understand now that both are me. …… Although I still don’t really understand what’s the principle behind it, it’s probably because of Elion’s arts. 」
「Elion? Why him? 」
Ardis had sat down and while massaging his eyes in silence.
When eventually his thoughts seemed to settle, Ardis started his explanation on what he experienced to Rona.
「Hmm……. The two Al lived different lives, huh……」
「You’re believing me? 」
「Well I mean, believe or not. I already knew that both Al I met are the real deal, and if that’s the case, everything makes more sense. So, the reason is the arts that Elion used? 」
「It’s highly possible. What the heck did he mean by 『There’re still some detailed parts he hasn’t figured out』. What detailed parts are there when I was actually sent to another world, and then I was even split into two, rather, it’s full of shortcomings. 」
Ardis grumbled towards someone who isn’t even here, although he was grumbling, there was a surge of inexplicable emotions from his chest.
「Leaving aside that, there’re things to be worried now. You understand now right, Al? 」
「Yeah. The flow of time on the other side is different. Wasting any more time here will mean―― 」
「Many years would’ve passed in the other world. 」
Ardis and Rona are now on the same page and understood the consequences of wasting any more time.
「Aren’t you capable of getting back by yourself? 」
「Unn, yeah. 」
「So why didn’t you do it and check what happened on the other side, or procure some food supplies? 」
「Of course I would do it if I can make sure I’m able to come back here. 」
「What do you mean? 」
「I mean, I can go but, I’m not confident to return exactly here. Leaving aside if we actually chose where we were transported, we were forcibly transported this time after all. 」
Every time Rona crosses the world, it seems like he needs some kind of anchor point on the location he should arrive.
Rona can use his own lair on this world, and the house in the forest on the other world as anchor points.
Although it’s possible to travel without an anchor point, Rona didn’t know where would he end up at if he did that.
Because of that, it would be purely a gamble if he can return to here where he has no ties to.
It seems like having no anchors while 『Departing』 is not a concern but, 『Returning』 would be a problem.
Rona himself might be able to arrive at the house in the forest but, that would mean Ardis and the others would be left stranded in this world. If that’s the case, it would be hard for them to reunite.
If it’s just Ardis left behind, Rona wouldn’t worry much, but thinking about Minerva and Moore, he couldn’t experiment with it.
On top of that, if Rona were to tried it before they met with Ardis and if he couldn’t return, it would mean that Minerva and Moore would be left to die.
「Though I can now use Ardis’s mana as an anchor point……, I never tried it before, so there’s no guarantee I can succeed. 」
「An anchor point designating the destination……huh. 」
Ardis’s brows furrowed.
They’re now faced with the problem of ensuring Minerva and Moore’s safety, and also the time constraint.
They couldn’t rest easy and try when there’re too many uncertain factors in this situation.
「In the first place, when you all were sent here, my consciousness returned here as well. It’s too unnatural if both of them happened at the same time. I passed out in the organization’s base, and if the timing of you all getting sent here matches, it might mean that the reason behind us here could be the same but……. Since the reason is still unknown, anything now is just a conjecture. 」
「I felt the mana flowing unnaturally just before we were sent though. 」
「It felt like the mana was converging at a rapid rate, or was it focusing into one point……」
「Focusing into one point……」
That moment, it felt like Rona remembered something and suddenly raised a voice.
「What is it? 」
「No but, we encountered with some polluted water just now. 」
「Something like that came out in this season? 」
「Unn, I thought it was quite out of season as well but, it mentioned something like 『A place where vast mana gathers』, I didn’t give much thought about it at first but come to think of it, it’s strange. 」
「A place where mana gathers huh……. If that had woken up at this time, then it must’ve came into contact with that? That’s certainly something worth checking. 」
「What about going after the night? The Al today would have no complaints right? 」
Ardis nodded promptly at Rona’s question.
「Alright, since there’re no other clues at the moment, let’s head there when it’s bright. 」
After the plans had been settled, Ardis stood up and conveyed their intentions to Minerva and Moore.
「Minerva, Moore. We will head out as soon as the day breaks, rest well till then. Rona and I will be on the lookout for beasts, since it might be a marathon, recover your stamina well. 」
Moore was having skeptical gazes at Ardis who seemed to have his tone softened all of a sudden.
On the other hand, Minerva was confused but decided to ask to confirm.
「Eh, umm……. Is it…… Shishou? 」
「Of course――, oh right. 」
Ardis recalled just as he said something that was supposed to be obvious.
After all, his appearance was clearly different from the one they knew, and then he was treating them badly until he recovered his memories in the other world.
Of course they would be on guard. As for Ardis’s answer, it was his apology.
「Sorry for that just now. I didn’t phrase it right. 」
But in other words, although he chose his words wrongly, the meaning behind it wasn’t wrong.
In this world, Minerva and Moore are both too powerless. As for Minerva and Moore who was spared from Ardis’s thorny words now, they were still clueless how to talk to him.
With a weirdly awkward atmosphere in the air, the group decided to rest themselves for the departure in the early morning.
The dawn breaks, and the sunlight slowly warmed the surrounding air.
「Oi oi, why so hurry when the sun is barely visible. I mean, it’s good to arrive earlier but. 」
「Why are we in such a hurry? 」
Moore and Minerva asked seeing Ardis and Rona who had been preparing just as the morning came in order to depart.
「There’s no time to waste. 」
「Of course that’s the case but……」
「The worse it becomes the more time passes. 」
「What do you mean? 」
As Ardis’s words were spared from thorns, Minerva and Moore could speak more freely, and they became closer than yesterday.
Of course, there’s still some distance between them but, Ardis’s mind isn’t on that now. There’s time for an explanation later, as they hurried.
「Actually, Minerva. The world here and your world has a different flow of time. If we took our time slowly, a lot of time will have passed by the time we return. 」
「The flow of time? How much difference is there? 」
Rona answered instead of Ardis, and it was Moore who asked next.
「The exact isn’t clear but, a day here is approximately a year there. 」
「A year……! 」
Minerva and Moore were both shocked speechless.
「That’s why, we have to look for a way to return as soon as possible. 」
「B-But we can’t even find any signs of human……, how can we return……」
Hearing the vast difference in the flow of time, Minerva who had finally understood the graveness of the situation voiced out but her voice only died down.
「After talking with Al yesterday, there was a clue we found. It’s the polluted water at the river yesterday. Remember it? 」
Hearing that, Moore had a bitter expression as he said.
「The water demonic being that can speak? 」
「Let’s save the details for later, but there might be a clue at where that guy was. That’s why our only direction now is to head over to where that guy is still around and investigate. 」
「Still around? ……Didn’t you manage to kill it yesterday? 」
「No way, no way. I’m not a fire user at all. I can’t really win against it by myself. After all, they’re not small fries like Nedulos. 」
Rona explained like it was something obvious. Moore’s expression only became more surprised as he heard it.
「It was that strong……」
「It’s alright. We have Al here too, I mean, just take it as a good viewing experience. 」
「Leaving aside Minerva and Moore, you better fight properly. 」
Rona was laughing grandly when Ardis made sure to nail in the fact.
「Isn’t there a need to look after them just in case? Anyways, it’s an easy win for the Al now right? 」
「Then don’t treat it as some attraction, practice some restraint. 」
「Yes yes, I do have some restraint. But I will pass fighting it head on. It’s too much even for me anyways. 」
「I feel like you’re being too lazy and have just been living a life of eating and sleeping recently. Isn’t it good for you to break some sweat sometimes? 」
「What lazy―! Look at my amazing proportions. Filia and Riana would know my attractiveness. No matter day and night, they would surely stick to me and sleep on my belly. What cuties―― 」
「That, isn’t that because you gained more fat and became more comfortable to lie on than before? Isn’t that the proof of your muscles dwindling and being replaced as fat? 」
「Eeeh!? That’s impossible, I think……」
Ahead of Moore and Minerva who seemed nervous that they will be up against the water demonic being, Ardis and Rona were lightly joking with each other.
Rona who had peeked at his own belly in silence said so without a speck of nervousness.
「Should I try……dieting? 」