Chapter 1 − Hideo’s Saga
As before, only the humming sound of the refrigerator echoed in the living room.
Speaking of Yasuo, he was just sitting in front of his father with his mouth open, unable to comprehend even a part of what his father had said.
“What do you mean by ‘what’?”
“Umm, Dad, can you repeat what you just said?”
It’s not that he didn’t hear what was said. He had just lost the thread of the conversation because what he heard was so far removed from the sort of troubles he had steeled himself for.
“You want to go where? To do what?”
“It’s like I said.”
His father probably didn’t expect to be be questioned in return, so he had a discomfited look as he cleared his throat and repeated his words.
“I said, I want to go to another world, and become a Hero.”
“Wait a minute. I heard you properly this time, but I still didn’t understand a single word.”
“What don’t you understand?”
His father asked with a slightly annoyed expression, but the only answer he could give was that he didn’t understand any of it. In any case, Yasuo ignored his father and desperately tried to extract the meaning of “Another world” and “Hero” from his general knowledge as a high school student, accumulated over the eighteen years of his life.
“Isekai… ise… ise… Ise? And the ‘kai’ is… the ocean? The ocean near Ise? The Mie Prefecture?”
(TL Note: “Isekai” is written in katakana here. )
“Oh, I get it now. So you’re being transferred for work?”
“Transferred? Ah, yes, I guess you could put it that way.”
“Ah, I see. Now, for ‘Yuusha’… yuu and sha… yuu… a merger, and a company? A company merger… Oh, so that’s how it is. There’s a merger happening in the Mie Prefecture, so you’re being sent there? ”
(TL Note: “Yuusha” is written in katakana here.)
Yasuo’s mind was still somewhat paralyzed, and by the time he had realized it, he was spouting such words. At this frenzied answer that he had arrived at while attempting to return his racing thoughts to normal, his father made a puzzled face.
“What on Earth are you talking about?”
Just as he was about to reflexively reply, ‘That’s what I want to ask you!’, he heard the sound of a toilet being flushed, coming from outside the room.
Yasuo jumped and turned his head towards the door so quickly that it was in danger of flying off his neck. All of the family members were in this room. So, who was using the toilet?
Just as he was about to ask that question, Yasuo realized something. The other three people weren’t surprised at the sound of the toilet flush. Which meant, they knew who was in the bathroom.
“Is there a guest in the house?”
He asked that question to the room at large, but no one replied.
Instead, he heard the sound of someone walking on the floorboards of the hallway, and the clinking sound of metal surfaces hitting each other. Could it be that the toilet was blocked and they had called a plumber to fix it, in spite of this situation?
That was the only reason he could think of for that sound. When the person making that sound opened the door to the living room, this time, Yasuo was at a loss for words, stopped breathing, and even his mind went blank.
“I’m sorry for leaving in the middle of the conversation. I’ve never used a flush toilet before. It seems very convenient. ”
While the family members were all being strangely flustered, an unknown girl wearing light armour put on an apologetic expression and made a comment regarding the usability of flush toilets.
If there was someone who would not be confused at this situation, he must be a god.
The girl who had dropped Yasuo into such a fearsome state of confusion noticed his presence and her face lit up.
“Ah! You must be-!”
As Yasuo continued to be be confused, the mysterious girl quickly came close enough for him to be able to feel her breath, grabbed his hand and said with shining eyes,
“So, you are Hideo’s son, Yasuo, right?”
“Eh? Huh? Ehh?”
“I knew it as soon as I saw you. You’ve inherited that look from Hideo, you have such courageous features!”
“Umm, ok… Ehh?”
His relatives often said that he resembled his father at his age, but he had never heard anyone praise him so eloquently and courteously, so his confusion just increased.
“I’m sorry for making you take the time to listen to me, in spite of your important schedule! Thank you for accepting me into your house, in spite of appearing unannounced!”
His didn’t even know what to do anymore.
He was supposed to attend prep school after school today, but he took a day off. At around 4:00 PM, right after school had ended, he received a message from his mother on the messaging application, 『ROPE』, to come home as soon as possible.
Since the message said to forget about prep school and come home right away, he sent a message to his prep school that he would be absent that day and came home only to find this situation, so his head was overheating.
Unlike Yasuo who was confused, the unknown young lady suddenly recovered her wits and corrected her posture while blushing.
“I’m sorry! I acted so rudely without even introducing myself!”
“No, that’s okay….”
Yasuo’s expression stiffened after seeing that she was kneeling next to his chair while he had been spacing out.
After seeing a bonafide kneeling that he had only seen in historical dramas, Yasuo partly rose from his chair.
“I’m from a different dimension, specifically, the Resteria Kingdom on the world of Ante Lande. My name is Dianaze Krone, and I’m a Magitech soldier. I’ve come here as an envoy to summon the legendary hero, Kenzaki Hideo-dono, who is the hero of salvation.”
Yasuo had remained frozen in his half-standing position since the speech began.
There’s that word again, ‘Isekai’. What’s more, it’s called Ante Lande.
“I was just explaining the situation to the family members of the Hero, Hideo, but we were waiting for you to return before going into the details, Yasuo.”
Yasuo just noticed that this girl who looked like she had jumped out of a game, Dia-whatever her name was, had blonde hair and green eyes.
She was definitely not from Japan. However, she was speaking fluent Japanese, without an accent. She was also the most beautiful girl Yasuo had ever seen, which caused him to get even more flustered. He finally stood up properly and shook his head.
“Umm, what does an employee of a theme park from the Mie Prefecture want with my dad? We’ve never gone to Mie, even during our family vacations. B-By the way, please stand up. There’s a stain over there that looks like it came from soy sauce…”
The girl with the beautiful hair color blinked at Yasuo’s response.
“Umm, has Yasuo not heard anything about the situation yet?“
Well, he had heard something which sounded like Japanese, and yet made no sense.
The girl was still kneeling even though he had asked her to stand up, and gave off an air of bewilderment. However, Yasuo was still far ahead of her in his degree of confusion. It hadn’t even been ten minutes since he came back home, and there were already so many things that couldn’t be explained by common sense.
“Well, both of you take a seat for now. Diana-chan, can you start explaining from the beginning again? Yasuo still doesn’t understand the situation.”
“It’s not just a matter of ‘understanding’…”
“Ah, okay. I understand. I’ll take a seat, then.”
Yasuo’s father wasn’t able to watch the scene any longer, so he stepped up and sent a lifeboat to Yasuo. However Yasuo wasn’t able to recognize it as a boat, and the young lady wearing light armor meekly stood up as asked while looking at Yasuo’s face, and what’s more, seeing her sit at the head of the table like it was only natural made him feel like he was going crazy. Also, his father had shortened her name and was referring to her by some sort of nickname…
“Ahem. Well then, let me introduce myself again. Yasuo, Nodoka, my name is Dianaze Krone. People who are close to me call me Diana. Please feel free to call me that as well.”
Yasuo gave a dazed answer, and Nodoka didn’t look at her even though she was spoken to.
“I assume you are confused by this sudden turn of events, and I sympathise with you. However, the matter is urgent, so we would like to begin summoning the Hero, Hideo, as soon as possible.”
“Um, hang on for a second, please stop right there.”
Although Yasuo looked to be the same age as her, the girl called Dia-whatever, now known as Diana, had a mature air about her that couldn’t be compared to him. Yasuo stopped her from speaking and asked in an unsure voice,
“To start with… what do you mean by ‘The Hero, Hideo’?”
Of course, Yasuo knew what the word ‘Hero’ meant. It was a job or title that often popped up in manga, novels, and games, and was usually awarded to the protagonist or a similarly important person. It has the connotation of simply meaning ‘A brave person’, but judging from what Diana had said so far, the ‘Hero’ she was talking about seemed like someone who wielded overwhelming power in a fantasy world, defeated monsters by the dozens, and saved humanity from destruction.
However, coming to that deduction and accepting the phrase ‘The Hero, Hideo’ were different matters. Diana still continued to speak like there was nothing wrong.
“Exactly what it sounds like. It is a title given by the people to praise the person who saved Ante Lande by repelling the all-encompassing darkness. The Hero of Salvation and the Holy Swordsman of the Wind, Hideo Kenzaki.”
Hideo Kenzaki. There was no doubt, that was his father’s name. However, she said some words that made no sense again. What the heck is a ‘Holy Swordsman of the Wind’?
“I personally find that name to be kind of embarrassing.”
And the person under discussion, Hideo Kensaki, was uncharacteristically blushing after hearing Diana’s serious words. Yasuo wished he’d shut up as he was only making the discussion more complicated, and besides, if he was embarrassed at being called the ‘The Holy Swordsman of the Wind’, he should have been showing a thousand times more shame than he was now.
“This happened more than thirty years ago. The people of Ante Lande were facing an unprecedented crisis. The world was almost destroyed by the invasion of an army from the Demon World, under the command of the Demon King Kaul.”
“Okay. Demon King Kaul…”
That makes sense. The enemy of the Hero is the Demon King. Yasuo accepted that without really believing it.
“The humans were being defeated continuously, and the world had almost fallen into despair, when Hideo Kenzaki appeared like a comet cutting through the night sky. He singlehandedly defeated the forces of General Belial, one of Kaul’s subordinates, who was about to attack my home country, the Resteria Kingdom. It is said that even the people who had witnessed that sight doubted their eyes afterwards.”
“Ah, no, that’s an exaggeration. I just went on a rampage without knowing what was going on. In the end, I would have definitely died if not for the Erijina… your mother’s help.”
“Mother told me that you would probably say that, Hideo. She also told me that your valiant fighting is what roused the spirits of the Kingdom’s Knights.”
“Haha, thanks. Hearing about the old days again is really embarrassing.”
Yasuo felt that his head was spinning as he heard his father and Diana talking like old friends in game-like terms.
“After that, many people assembled under Hideo, including the person he mentioned earlier, my mother Erijina who was the leader of the Mage Squad. At the end of their journey filled with trials, they defeated the Demon King Kaul. Hideo then returned to this world, but people from all over Ante Lande still praise the efforts of Hideo, and continue to pass on the legend of Hideo Kenzaki.”
“The legend of Hideo Kenzaki? You can’t be serious.”
That retort slipped out of his mouth, but no one could blame him for that.
“That’s really exaggerated, I didn’t do anything that grand…”
“Stop being bashful, Dad! I wasn’t talking about that anyways!”
“But the shadow of Demon King Kaul is once again trying to cover Ante Lande. We don’t know if he has come back after being defeated thirty years ago. However, the situation calls for immediate action. Hideo Kenzaki is still the only person strong enough to fight against Demon King Kaul. Under orders from my mother Erijina, who now commands the Kingdom’s Knights, I have come to Japan to once again ask for Hideo’s assistance.”
Since the conversation had gone on for quite some time, Yasuo was still confused, but he was now able to follow the thread of the conversation. So basically, whatever bad things that had happened in that place called Ante Lande in the past were once again beginning to occur.
To resolve that issue, they needed his father’s help. That much, he understood. But…
“So, that’s how it is? You’re talking about some MMO that is popular all over the world, right? I can see you’ve put a lot of effort into your cosplay, and it’s surprising that my dad knows people abroad, and a young girl at that. So there’s going to be an offline meeting of players from all over the world, and you’ve come to attend that meeting while taking a tour of Japan? Your Japanese is really good, too…”
In that way, Yasuo said such things while wishing for them to be true. Rather than his father or Diana, he said it for the sake of his mother and Nodoka.
However, Diana was truly confused by what Yasuo was saying, and looked at Hideo for help. Hideo let out a long and deep sigh.
“Your reaction is not really surprising, but enough joking around, Yasuo. This is a serious matter.”
“‘Serious’? Look, Dad, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings, but you mean that like games are not just for fun, right? Ever since I started attending prep school, I’ve only played games on my Slimphone, I haven’t done any serious gaming that requires a PC…”
That heavy, single word from his father forestalled the rest of Yasuo’s unexpectedly shrill answer. It was the same tone he had used in the past when Yasuo was scolded for playing a prank.
“It seems like Ante Lande is in serious trouble. Even if nothing bad happens today or tomorrow, there’s no guessing what kind of bad things will happen within half an year. I plan on accepting this request.”
“What… are you saying…?”
“I can’t say anything for certain until I go there and talk to her mother, and see the situation for myself. However, if Kaul’s presence is indeed starting to eat away at that world once again, I probably won’t be able to come back easily. That’s why…”
Hideo locked gazes with his son as if attempting to convey the depth of his resolve.
“I’m going to quit my job, and go to Ante Lande.”
“W-Wait just a minute! What are you saying all of a sudden?”
He was willing to dismiss all the things until now as a bad joke. But at this statement, he couldn’t stay silent.
Basically, this sentence was a lot more realistic to Yasuo compared to the words of Diana who appeared to be a teenager.
“You’re going to quit your job? You can’t be serious. What are we going to do from now on if you quit!?”
Nodoka looked at her shouting brother with a dull expression, but Yasuo didn’t notice that.
“I would understand if you were being transferred because of your job, and had to live apart from us for that reason. But quitting your job because of a game, that’s not acceptable in these times! Do you even understand what you’re saying!?”
“Yasuo, it’s not a game. I’m being serious.”
“There’s not a single person who would believe that! I don’t understand you at all! You always warn us to not play too many games and stuff, and now you’re ditching your family because of a game!?”
“Yasuo, about that…”
“Think about it again! It’s not normal to quit your job for a thing like this! Do you understand? Both Nodoka and I have entrance exams this year. Depending on what school we get into, it’ll cost a fair bit of money, and besides, quitting a job that you’ve been working at until you’re nearly fifty years old is unheard of!”
Yasuo went on a rant, his excitement causing the blood flow to his head to reduce. However, the stiff atmosphere in that place did not change.
His mother was still sitting silently with a serious expression on her face, Nodoka was shrugging with a stunned expression, and the main person, his father, didn’t show any hint of wavering after hearing his son’s words.
Hideo worked for a company called Yamahata. It was a company that had seen a sudden rise in popularity among women, due to publishing a diet recipe book that overturned the conventional practices.
Yasuo didn’t know any details about what his father did at work. However, there was a time when he mentioned his father’s company name in a discussion with friends about their parents’ jobs, and even girls he usually didn’t talk to were suddenly very interested, and this incident left a strange impression on him. After that, he sat down and did some proper research and found out that they sold recipie books and books related to the retail business.
Later, he finally remembered talking to his father about this, and he initially assumed that the company produced foodstuffs, but he was astonished to learn that their real business was actually the development and sale of measurement devices.
His father held some managerial position there, with a western name that he didn’t really understand. By not understanding, he meant that he didn’t know if it was a head of a section or a head of a department, it didn’t correspond with any of the usual Japanese designations. Combined with the fact that his father didn’t usually talk about his work at home, there weren’t many opportunities for Yasuo to learn more.
Regardless of that, he still knew that it was too soon for his father to retire from work. Considering their lifestyle, and from hearing snatches of conversation as his father spoke over the phone, he also knew that his father was in a considerably important position in the company.
Quitting such a job for the sake of some weird game was definitely not something a sane person would do.
“It’ll be fine.”
However, Hideo looked straight at his son and daughter as though trying to say how strong his determination was.
“The loan on the house has already been paid up in full. Even if both of you want to go to a private college, we still have enough savings for that, and to help with your wedding ceremonies as well.”
“I’m not talking about stuff like that!!”
“It can’t be helped. I’m too old to take a sabbatical. I can’t move around like I used to anymore, and I can’t very well keep my job when I have no idea when I’ll be able to return.”
Taking early retirement due to health issues was not that strange for a middle-aged salaryman, but having a reason like ‘going to another world to be a hero’ sounded strange no matter how you looked at it.
Diana, who was dismayed by Yasuo’s anger, interjected with a comment as if trying to soothe the atmosphere.
“Umm, we have taken into account the fact that Hideo might have formed a family during these last thirty years. During the period when Hideo is absent, The Resteria Kingdom will take full responsibility for the well-being of the family-”
However, what she said only irritated Yasuo even more.
“You be quiet! The currency from an MMO can’t be used to buy food, nor can it be used to pay for school! Besides, it’s not really a matter of money anymore!”
“B-But what I’m talking about is real! G-Games are a type of entertainment in this world, right? I’m not talking about playing around, this is a serious-”
“Didn’t I tell you to shut up!?”
At Yasuo’s loudest shout so far, Diana shook like a child who has been scolded, and stopped talking while looking like she was about to cry.
“Onii-chan, you’re being noisy.”
“The window in the kitchen is open. I’ll go close it.”
After hearing what his sister and mother said, Yasuo felt a twinge of guilt and a sense of unease. Since earlier, he was the only one who had been chewing out his father in a loud voice. How were his mother and Nodoka able to stay calm after hearing something so idiotic?
Yasuo felt an unpleasant sense of impatience, but he was able to calm down a little after looking around the room once.
“…Say, Dad. I don’t know what working in a company is like, but wouldn’t the other people be inconvenienced if you were to quit?”
“Well, yeah, that’s true.”
Seeing a hint of wavering in his father’s expression for the first time, Yasuo continued to press him for answers without any delay.
“The same goes for us. Especially Nodoka, who is taking an entrance exam for the first time, and what are we supposed to say if the neighbors ask about you?”
“I do feel sorry about that. Having to do something like this even though it is an important time for you two…”
His father’s words depressed words and defeated appearance just made Yasuo more irritated.
What’s more, from beside Yasuo,
“I’m not that worried about my exams, actually.”
“I wonder if there are any neighbors who will ask about your father…”
Hearing the words of Nodoka and his mother that seemed like they were supporting his father, Yasuo once again got angry.
“If you understand, stop talking about such nonsense! Games are just games! Your son and daughter have entrance exams this year, you know? And yet you still want to quit your job because of some game?”
In contrast to Yasuo’s anger, his father’s expression just got more sorrowful.
“Yasuo! It’s not a game! Ante Lande is not a world from some game or manga! It really exists, and I spent two years there, and gained many important friends and comrades! I’m here thanks to those people. If they are once again in danger, I want to help them!”
“How do you expect me to believe something like that!?”
At that point, Yasuo finally calmed down.
Yasuo knew that his father was being serious. However, the conversation was too absurd.
He wasn’t young enough to believe in things like the existence of different worlds and Demon Kings without question.
Besides, regardless of the circumstances, it was not okay for a man to abruptly bring a strange girl over and talk about quitting his job and leaving his wife, a son in his third year of high school, and a daughter in her third year of middle school behind while he went somewhere far away. If he didn’t stop him, then they couldn’t even be considered a family.
However, his father’s expression indicated that he was resolved to do just that. That’s why, Yasuo wanted to stop his father’s insanity, no matter what kind of oppressive, rude, and dirty words he had to use.
However, even Yasuo’s shout failed to move his father’s heart. After looking at Diana, Hideo looked like he had become even more resolute, and stood up slowly.
“Right now, I cannot prove that Ante Lande exists. However, I can show you proof that I was a Hero, ‘The Holy Swordsman of the Wind’. I hope that will be enough to satisfy you.”
As Yasuo started to get a headache due to his confusion, his father slowly moved away from the table.
“……It’s been a while, my other half.”
His father slowly raised his arms up to eye level. In that instant, a gust of wind blew through the living room even though the windows were closed and the AC was switched off, and both Yasuo and Nodoka opened their eyes wide.
-End of Ch1.Part1-