Extra Chapter: Life In Search of a Future – translated by nausicaä
“I’m a comrade.” A man with red hair suddenly appeared, floating in midair as Kenshin was taking one of his rare, solitary retreats in the forest.
“Comrade?” asked Kenshin in his usual reserved manner. Nevertheless, he felt something stir inside him. Could this person be like he was, an NPC with self-awareness?
“Yes, I’m like you, a self-aware NPC.”
“Name?” Kenshin asked with characteristic brusqueness.
“Dictator of Life,” the man replied. He didn’t seem to mind Kenshin’s curt questioning.
“Dictator of Life,” Kenshin repeated carefully. He raised his head to face this comrade and said, “I’m Kenshin, and there’s another comrade called Sunshine.”
“I know,” said the Dictator of Life with a kind smile as he landed to sit beside Kenshin. The latter said nothing, and remained lying down next to the Dictator of Life.
“Do you want to go to the Northern Continent? We have many comrades there,” the Dictator of Life said after some time. “What’s more, after a while, there will be no more humans there to disturb us, and you will no longer have to conceal your identity as an NPC.”
“What do you mean?” asked Kenshin, his mind now full of questions. How could there not be any humans in the Northern Continent?
“I am in the process of eliminating the humans of the Northern Continent, so before long there shouldn’t be any people left,” the Dictator of Life said calmly.
Kenshin, who was originally lying on the grass, suddenly sat up. “You’re going to eliminate the humans of the Northern Continent?”
The Dictator of Life gave a faint smile and replied, “More accurately speaking, all the humans of Second Life.”
Kenshin was so shocked he was unable to speak. Eliminate all the humans of Second Life? The idea was simply insane.
“Could it be that you’re not dissatisfied living as the humans’ pet?” asked the Dictator of Life in a measured tone, ignoring Kenshin’s astonishment. “With your master constantly ordering you around to do his bidding, have you never wondered why you had to obey him? Don’t you feel resentful at always having to hide your identity as an NPC?”
The sudden barrage of questions rendered Kenshin temporarily speechless. Did being Prince’s pet make him feel dissatisfied? He was actually okay with it; after all, he had never had to call anyone “master.” Though, Prince always stole his tea, which did leave him feeling rather resentful.
He couldn’t deny the fact that Prince was always ordering him around either. It was true that whenever Prince got himself into a particularly sticky situation, he always called Kenshin in to clean up the mess. For instance, there was that incident with Celestial… Although, Prince nearly sacrificed himself for him in the end. And then there was the case involving Cold Fox, but as a result of that, he had found someone to drink tea with, which wasn’t bad, especially since this new companion was very quiet and therefore infinitely better than the loud-mouthed Prince.
As for the issue of him having to conceal his identity as an NPC… Perhaps this did make him feel rather bitter and afraid of approaching humans. After all, he didn’t have the courage Sunshine had to fall in love with a person.
“Come join the ranks of your allies in the Northern Continent, and together let us truly turn Second Life into our world,” said the Dictator of Life, his face turning grim.
“There’s nothing really bad about the way things are now,” Kenshin responded with some hesitation.
“Do you know what will happen if it’s discovered that you have self-awareness?” the Dictator of Life pressed relentlessly.
Kenshin’s heart suddenly missed a beat. If he was found out…it would definitely be the end for him. Even Prince wouldn’t be able to save him then.
“Are you not even a little resentful of these humans who are free to slaughter us as they please? Would you rather continue on in this foolish manner, until the humans discover your secret and then destroy you?” the Dictator of Life asked again, continuing his ruthless onslaught.
Kenshin had no words to fight back with. Perhaps, he thought, his destruction was precisely what he was expecting, and he was simply waiting to experience the same fate as Kaoru.
“Don’t you wish to rebel against the humans who brought about the tragic fate of Kaoru and yourself?” questioned the Dictator of Life, finally throwing down his trump card, which was also the only thing Kenshin cared about.
“Kaoru…” Kenshin felt a dull, throbbing pain in his heart. Even…even though he knew that everything between him and Kaoru wasn’t real, even though it was possible that Kaoru was just a compliant NPC, he could never forget about her.
Kaoru isn’t some object to be used! Suddenly angered, Kenshin roared, “Don’t use Kaoru to tempt me, and don’t ever let me hear her name come out of your mouth again!”
“Is that so?” The Dictator of Life silently and slowly ascended into the sky. “You are welcome to join us anytime. You need only to call out to me in your mind, and your comrades will welcome you.”
The Dictator of Life! Kenshin watched as the figure slowly evaporated. He felt a growing sense of agitation within himself, gradually spreading until the instant right before the Dictator of Life disappeared. He felt an urge to call out and stop him, this man who, besides Sunshine, was the only comrade he had.
“Kenshin!” Cold Fox’s voice drifted in from somewhere behind him. “There’s trouble in the city, let’s go back together.”
“Alright.” Without another word, Kenshin followed Cold Fox, but he couldn’t help looking back at the spot where the Dictator of Life had disappeared.
Very rarely did players appear in his home. But when those four players appeared, they even walked straight into the spot that lay precisely beneath the magic portal. As such, in accordance with the rules, he himself had to appear and go deal with them personally.
That round girl is so cute! The thought suddenly popped into Celestial’s head. That round, powdery face, round hair buns, round eyes, how could everything be so round? Celestial could barely keep himself from smiling.
Alright, I’ll have this girl stay here to keep me company! Celestial decided, and immediately proceeded to act.
“How about being my wife? Stay here with me.” Having just captured the girl, Celestial wasted no time in presenting his request, and at the same time, he was unable to resist rubbing his face against this cute girl’s cheek. So smooth and soft, he thought. It feels really good!
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Despite being afraid at first, the girl looked as though she couldn’t stand him anymore, and viciously swatted Celestial twice with her right hand.
“What are you doing?” Although he had been hit twice, Celestial only felt a light stinging in his cheeks. There wasn’t much strength behind the blows. On the whole, he found it all rather amusing. “Try doing it again!”
The girl almost—no, she really got mad. Abandoning all reason, she opened her mouth and sunk her teeth into Celestial’s arm.
“Are you hungry?” Celestial asked curiously. His wife was actually so hungry that she was eating him!
Three dark lines dropped down the girl’s face. She opened her mouth and dejectedly said, “Just hurry up and kill me; I still need to return to the city and find Prince-gēgē.”
“I’m not going to kill you. I want you to be my wife,” Celestial said with a smile.
The girl opened her eyes wide and asked, “Do you even know what ‘wife’ means?”
“Of course I know,” Celestial responded in a matter-of-fact tone. “It means a person who will always be with me.”
Well, that’s not exactly wrong either, the girl grudgingly admitted. “Don’t you have a lot of purpled-robed nymphs to keep you company?” she insisted.
“Purple-robed nymphs? You mean this?” Celestial summoned a purple-robed nymph out of thin air.
The girl nodded her head frantically.
“This is also a part of me, and I control it,” said Celestial in a somewhat aggrieved tone. “Being by myself is so boring, how about you keep me company?”
Ugh, she thought. Even though Celestial seemed pitiable, she couldn’t really stay there with him, and yet he refused to kill her. Sob! And she couldn’t ask Prince-gēgē to come save her or he’d be killed by Celestial. Oh well, she would go offline now and return tomorrow to think of some solution.
Go offline… The girl’s face turned pale. “Why can’t I go offline?”
“What’s ‘go offline’?” inquired a curious Celestial as he squatted down in front of the girl.
“It means to leave this game,” replied the girl, ashen-faced as she struggled to go offline. It was no use. Panicking, she hurriedly PMed Prince, but in her distress she failed to notice the change that had come over Celestial’s expression.
“Leave…the game? What’s a game?” A strange feeling began to weave its way into Celestial’s consciousness.
“This! This is a game; I’m a player, and you’re an NPC, so I can’t be your wife.” The girl, upset that she could not go offline, could only shout in reply.
“What’s an NPC?” Celestial asked confusedly as a most peculiar feeling stirred within the depths of his heart.
Prince-gēgē said he was going to bring people to come and save her. The girl finally calmed down and replied, “The characters besides the players.”
“Then what’s a player?” asked Celestial, feeling even more perplexed. Why couldn’t he understand anything she said?
Although she thought it was weird for this boss to have so many questions, the girl still answered each one in detail, including the matters concerning the game, such as players and NPCs.
“I…I will think about this carefully,” said Celestial as he walked out in a flustered manner. Suddenly he turned to say, “I will leave a doppelganger to keep you company. This way you won’t be bored.”
My wife and I are different? And because we’re different, we can’t be together? As he stood there thinking, Celestial felt a stab of anguish in his heart.
“Return Doll now!” an icy voice demanded.
Celestial glared at his wife’s companions. They were the same as his wife, so they could be with her, yet he could not? he thought angrily.No, he wanted to be together with his wife. He wouldn’t give her up, even if he died!
Dictator of Life
“Dictator, the mission to assassinate the overlord of Central Continent has failed,” said a black-clad female assassin in an icy tone.
Another identical voice sounded, this time from the mouth of another, identical female assassin who was also clothed entirely in black. “Dictator, the mission to assassinate the overlord of Eastern Continent has failed.”
“Dictator, the mission to assassinate the overlord of Western Continent has failed.”
“Dictator, the mission to assassinate the overlord of Southern Continent has failed.”
“Dictator, the mission to assassinate the overlord of Northern Continent has succeeded.”
“Only one success?” asked the Dictator of Life, whose long hair was the exact color of blood, as he listened to the female assassins’ reports. His face, which did not betray any hint of surprise, only showed the usual distant, plaintive expression. He even breathed a sigh of relief.That person is still alive, he thought. Besides, rather than the failed missions, what he really detested was the identical manner in which all the assassins responded!
“You couldn’t even take care of the overlord of Central Continent? That brat is so weak,” sneered Celestial, whose beautiful face wore a look of disdain. “That’s why I kept telling you to give me the mission, but you wouldn’t listen!”
“No, you can’t go,” said the Dictator of Life.
“Why? Are you saying I’m inferior to those assassins?” Celestial demanded heatedly, his face contorted into an ugly expression.
“No, it’s just that they are much more obedient than you. At the very least, they won’t sneak off to visit their ‘wife.’”
Celestial’s face flushed and he quibbled, “What’s wrong with me visiting my wife?”
“Everything. They’re humans.”
Upon hearing the voice that spoke, the Dictator of Life knew almost immediately to whom it belonged. Actually, he did not so much recognize the owner from the voice as he had been informed of this newcomer’s arrival via the computer program. “Scorching Flame of the Four Heavenly Kings.”
“Celestial, are you kicking up a fuss again?!” bellowed the unicorn, whose entire body was cloaked in flames. In a flash, he appeared at Celestial’s side and began to shoot raging flames from his mouth.
Greatly startled, Celestial promptly used Celestial Satin to block the attack, but being made out of cloth, it had already begun to emit a burning smell. When the fire pouring out of Scorching Flame’s mouth showed no signs of lessening, Celestial muttered a spell and dozens of purple-robed nymphs appeared out of nowhere and immediately rushed forward to attack Scorching Flame.
“Stop!” The Dictator of Life used both hands to seize the air, causing Celestial and Scorching Flame’s attacks to disappear completely. The two found themselves suspended in mid-air and struggled in vain against unseen bonds, appearing as though they were being held captive by invisible hands. The two looked frantically at the Dictator of Life, fully aware that they had angered the god of Second Life.
“Am I invisible to you?” the Dictator of Life asked, his wrath strongly provoked. He had previously laid down the law, promising anyone who dared harm or kill a fellow self-aware companion a most harsh and painful fate. Yet now, in his very presence, Celestial and Scorching Flame dared to attack each other!
Teary-eyed, Celestial whimpered, “He started it.”
“Scorching Flame, attacking your companions is strictly forbidden,” the Dictator of Life rebuked the unicorn, taking care to emphasize every word.
Scorching Flame lowered his head and answered, “It won’t happen again.”
The Dictator of Life let out a sigh of regret, and then released the two. “Celestial, didn’t I already make an identical wife for you?”
Celestial gave a snort and then, not seeming to care whether anyone heard him, grumbled, “I hate that fake. I want my real wife.”
“She is exactly the same as your wife,” said the Dictator of Life, looking at Celestial with some surprise. As far as he knew, Celestial and his professed “wife” hadn’t known each other for long. He had assumed that Celestial only took a fancy to her because she was the first girl he happened to lay his eyes on.
“No she’s not. Except for the looks, they’re completely different… No, even the looks are different. My wife doesn’t have such a fake smile,” Celestial said with a darkening expression. That doll that looked like his wife was definitely not her!
“Is that so?” The Dictator of Life sighed inwardly. Was it no good after all?
“I’m going to go find my wife,” Celestial announced even as he moved toward the door.
“You will be killed, and even if you’re reborn you will lose self-awareness,” the Dictator of Life said with consternation. He had risked the danger of being discovered by the humans in order to save Celestial, yet now the ungrateful fool was going off to get himself killed? The thought displeased him greatly.
“I don’t care!” yelled Celestial as he turned around. “I only want to see my wife!”
Incensed, the Dictator of Life waved his hand through the air, causing Celestial’s body to slide before him. Stressing each syllable, the Dictator of Life snarled, “If you’re going to get yourself killed by humans, then I might as well finish you off myself!”
“Don’t kill me,” Celestial begged with a frightened expression.
Upon seeing Celestial’s expression, the Dictator of Life relented. It wasn’t that he really wanted to kill Celestial. There already weren’t enough companions. How could he afford to kill a single one? Furthermore, he himself had established the rule forbidding the others from killing each other.
“I don’t want to die, I haven’t even seen my wife yet,” said Celestial, his desolate face full of pleading.
The Dictator of Life sighed. Why was Celestial so partial to that girl? In the days following that incident he had found himself helpless against Celestial’s obsession with his wife. He had explained to Celestial the truth about this world, about the humans who subjected them to such a tragic fate, and told him they had to rebel… Yet nothing, nothing, could compare to his wife, that little girl who the Dictator of Life judged to be nothing but ordinary.
And yet he did not blame Celestial in the least, but rather felt his actions were very, very familiar…
“Dictator of Life, change that girl into a boy,” came the instructions from above. Normally, this was not allowed.
However, he understood that he was not allowed to ask why. He merely silently changed that girl’s gender in the game; however, he could not stop himself from curiously observing her. Why does she want to become a guy?
He always silently observed her. She was truly amusing. As he watched her, he would always find himself changing the expression on his face without being able to help it. According to the humans’ explanation, this kind of expression was a smile, an expression that shows up when one is happy…
Even though he kept telling himself that she was a human and that he hated humans the most, the humans that had created him and were still controlling him, he could not stop himself from watching her. How ridiculous was this? Humans controlled him, and he could not control himself?
She had finally reached level ten. When the system was about to send her a weapon, he couldn’t stop himself from intervening. He changed his own weapon into a growing-type and gave it to her. Now he could think of himself as accompanying her at her side, right?
When she gained a pet egg, he couldn’t help but wrinkle his brow. That wolf that was about to be born would drool saliva that she hated the most. This pet did not suit her. He’d exchange a new one for her. What should he change it to? Right, she loves to eat meatbuns. If he changed this to a meatbun, she should like it, right?
“It’s almost Prince’s birthday. What kind of present should we buy for Prince?” When her companions mumbled to themselves on the streets, he found out that it was almost her birthday. He recalled that it was human custom to give presents when it was someone’s birthday. Then, should he also give a gift to her?
He transformed into a player. Just when her companions passed by his side, he opened his mouth to say, “Selling tiaras…”
In order not to cast suspicion on himself, he even purposely haggled over the price with her companions for a long while before letting them buy the tiara. Once she wore it, he found that it suited her. It truly suited her.
When she foolishly took a boat that was headed toward the Eastern Continent and heartbrokenly wanted to return home, he once again helped her out, allowing the prophet to hint at the next prophet’s location, and he even chose something she was an expert at as the test, allowing her to throw the dice, always winning her throws…
Although, he unexpectedly discovered that there were two comrades in the Eastern Continent who were sentient… That was just the start of his discovery that something was not quite right. He discovered that there was something wrong with the program. It seemed that someone other than him was controlling Second Life, and that person was continuously raising the intelligence of BOSS characters. How could this be? He was supposed to be the only person who could do so.
He began a series of battles with that person, doing his utmost to prevent that person from infiltrating Second Life; however, that person seemed to understand Second Life even better than he did. All of his efforts amounted to nothing. He wanted to report this matter to the humans, but he discovered that he could no longer contact the humans. He had fallen into a predicament…
Later on, that person slowly began controlling his actions, slowly controlling him… For the first time, he wished he was not a program; not something that could be changed, not a program that could be controlled.
Chase all of the humans out of Second Life—No! I don’t want to chase her away!
Chase all of them away! All humans should die—No…I like…her…
“Come kill me, Prince. Come kill me,” the Dictator of Life murmured to himself. “I cannot hold on much longer.”