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[There's a small dining hall over there that is suitable for chatting. We often use it because it has a cozy atmosphere similar to the school canteen back in our original world, so we often use it…… but some of the people here in the castle don't really like it. Well, there are times when we are the only ones there, so it can't be helped.]


After that, Asagi offered to have a chat with me over a meal.


I'm currently following behind Asagi.


It can be said that this is a natural opportunity coming from the other side.


I wasn't the one who invited her, Asagi invited me.


As our conversation started, the strain in the atmosphere around us gradually disappeared.


I wanted to find out what Asagi was thinking.


If it's possible———- I also wanted to find out the true identity of her Inherent Skill.


Most of all……


Whether they were aware of my true identity or not……


Conversing with them certainly is risky when I want to hide my true identity.


However, I wanted to find out about this even if I have to accept such a risk.


In this situation———- I would need to have a better acting ability than others.


As for whether Ikusaba Asagi is a step more skillful than me or not……


It could be said that this was a match to decide that.


Though I say that, the real factor when it comes to my identity being revealed is probably Kashima.


This time, I would like to probe into another part of the situation.


As soon as Asagi entered the dining hall, she asked the cook for a light meal. Her tone sounded like she was rather familiar with them.


Next she picked up a wooden cup filled with Tonoa water and urged me towards the corner of the dining hall with her chin.


[Why don't we take this to the corner?]


Taking the corner seats, we sat down facing each other.


As soon as we sat down……


[Now, now, let's hydrate our throats first.]


Asagi urged me to drink.


[Ahh, I should say this first———]


[You won't drink it huh.]


[My apologies.]


This Tonoa water placed in front of me…..


It seems that she tried to see if I would take off my mask to drink it or not.


[It must be troublesome having to hide your true identity. Aren't you hot over there?]


[It's actually more breathable here than it looks.]


[Goddess-sama, do you hate her?]


……That one's a strike out of the blue.


[I can't say I like her.]


[Was it because she attacked the Faraway Country, who is taking care of Fly King-chin's people?]


[Well, that's also part of the reason. From what I've heard, she doesn't seem to be a God with a very praiseworthy background…… What about you, who brought up such a question?]


[Tonoa water's so d*mn tastyyyy~~! I want to sell this in my original world! Hmm? Me?]


[You were a Hero from Another World, but is there a reason why you side with the Goddess' enemies?]


[Hmmm, the Goddess said she would return us to our original world after we defeat the Great Demon Emperor, right? From what Asagi-san here sees, it doesn't seem like the Goddess is the type of person that would just keep her promise.]


[Did something happen that made you sure of this?]


[Unnyaaa, nadda. Let's see…… Guess you can say it's the result of my findings after my human observation? Can you really call it that though? I mean, we're not dealing with a human here, but a God.]


[For someone who claims you aren't sure, you sound quite confident.]


[I mean, she has that too, you know?]


Asagi continued.


[Even though she's supposedly a God, her emotions and actions are directed towards a direction, just like us.]


[Fumu.]


[You see, the Gods of this world are like, the Gods of Greek mythology. Even though they're Gods, their emotions are very human-like. Jealousy, for example.]


[This "Greek mythology" you speak of, I suppose it's a myth from your world?]


[Whoa there…… Other than gourmet food and names, it's better for people of this world not to know too much about our world, right? I heard that if people from this world know too much, disaster will befall them.]


Hearing her words, I shrugged.


[Right. Let's stop with this topic before I dig in too deep.]


I had heard about this from Erika and Seras.


If I was going to play the role of a resident of this world, I had no choice but to answer in this way.


[————Well, returning to our earlier subject, you have determined from your experience of human observation that the Goddess also possess human tendencies. As a result, you have come to the conclusion that she is not to be trusted.]


[That might be so. Well, what you think is the truth is the "truth" after all. Most people only see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear, and believe what they want to believe. Sometimes, even the facts are kept beyond what the mosquito net that the creatures known as humans know. Therefore, you may believe whatever "truth" you like". Ahh, of course, I'm just quoting the words of someone else here.]


At that moment, a light meal was placed in front of Asagi.


A small piece of seared boneless meat, garnished with herbs.


On the same plate were mashed potatoes and a thin layer of green sauce.


There were also some sliced fruits on the plate.


……Even so……


She's bringing up some small, subtle sophistry over there.


In the end, Asagi eventually blurted out her conclusion.


Yes.


As if to avoid having her words be "judged whether it's the truth or not".


[Anyway, you are a Hero from Another World, but you chose to be hostile with the Goddess.]


Swallowing her fruit, Asagi offered me the piece of boneless meat.


[Do you want some? Do you really not like to take off that mask? What is Fly King-chin's true identity?]


[I used to be a member of the Ashinto.]


An encroaching question came my way.


It doesn't feel like a question she would ask if she had known my identity.


For the time being……


It seems like Asagi is still unaware of my true identity.


[Then, what is Sorcery? How is that different with Magic Techniques, Chanting Spells or our Skills?]


[If I had to describe it, sorcery would be spells that borrow the power of the God of Curses. As for classification, it would be something similar to the Spirit Techniques used by the Elves.]


[Is Sorcery something even I can use?]


[No, Sorcery can only be used by those who were innately beholden to the God of Curses.]


[In other words, it's some kind of magic you were born with?]


[Yes.]


[……Reaaaaaaaally?]


[That was also what I've been told.]


[Civit Gartland.]


……………………….


[He was a strong fellow.]


[Was he seriously the humanity's strongest?]


[Most probably.]


[However, Fly King-chin won against him.]


[Yes, by sheer luck, that is.]


[You just got lucky?]


[At the end of the day, I think the deciding factor for my victory was luck.]


My battle with him had been quite a gamble.


I thought I had raised the odds as high as I could.


Even with such odds though, I still had no guarantee that I would win.


"Hmmm", after Asagi licked off the oil from her finger……


[Fly King-chin is by no means a confident man. However, I also couldn't say you're a servile and humble man. You're a calm person, seeing things through facts.]


[Do you like analyzing people?]


[Just as much as other people, I guess. However, Asagi-chin isn't motivated to do that unless I'm interested in the person. I just can't bring myself to do that around boring people.]


[Fumu…… In that case, it's just for example, but are you interested in the Mad Emperor? If you are, I'm interested to hear your character assessment of him.]


This is something normal for me to be curious about.


Hearing my question, Asagi wiped her thumb on the hem of her clothes……


[Zine-chin is that, you know…… an active person. He is cool-headed, but he is very attentive to his people. He miraculously manages to walk on the tightrope between idealism and reality…… Yes, I feel like he's like an acrobat walking on a tightrope. A beautiful acrobat. The heck is with that guy, living in a world of beauty. He should just come with us back to our world and do some cosplay!]


……I see.


Putting aside the second half of her words……


The first half is pretty close to my impression of him.



No———— Asagi is better at verbalizing her thoughts than I am.


[Would you say he's more trustworthy than the Goddess?]


[Umumumu…… Asagi-san can't say. Well, with us being on his side, wouldn't that be the case?]


She's certainly very skillful at evading.


She intentionally avoids making declarations that clearly affirms things.


[In any case, you were trying to gain his trust and using this trump card of yours———- to drag down the Goddess.]


As she continued to mash her potatoes with the back of her fork, she spoke.


[It seems like you want to know my trump card?]


[I am interested in it. Just as how you're interested in the true nature of my Sorcery.]


[I see nyow, you wanted a give and take huh——– Well, fine.]


The mashed potato she had been mashing squirmed out of the crevices in the fork.


[It's my Inherent Skill.]


She answered simply.


……I guess that really would be the answer huh.


[That is…… the more special kind of ability among the special abilities held by the Heroes from Another World, isn't it?]


[Thinking about it again, they really are strong. If it were effective, it could probably take down Goddess-chin…… I was even treated better at Mira after they learned about my Inherent Skill. In other words, I've been upgraded from the Persuader of the S-Rank Heroes to Top-on-the-line War Potential. It's just, nyou see…… Asagi-san is still concerned about that <Dispel Bubble>.]


(T/N: Goddess' Spell Breaker / Dispel Bubble)


[The Mad Emperor had also mentioned it. He also said that in order to increase the certainty of your trump card, we may need to unlock the secret behind the sealed room.]


Repeatedly poking at the mashed potatoes she had been playing with her fork……


[Although my Inherent Skill could be counted as under the Abnormal State Skill system…… I don't really think it's the same though.]


It was then that it happened.


[……Hmmm?]


Asagi averted her gaze to the side and raised an eyebrow.


It was as if she had just realized something.


[Just before the Goddess discarded Mimori-kun…… Yes, when he used his Abnormal State Skill in a desperate attempt to strike back. As I recall, what she said…… was that her barrier "defends against state abnormalities". She hasn't mentioned anything about it nullifying other systems since then. It seems like offensive abilities were effective…… In other words, does she not have an automatic barrier against other systems? That being the case…… Was there a time long ago when the Abnormal State Skill had been quite a threat? It's just like online game admins who nerfed a new class that was too strong…… and they nerfed it so much that it can't be used anymore? In short, from being " a skill that is extremely useful"…… It became a useless one? I feel like…… that would indeed be the case…… Otherwise, it would be hard to explain why the Goddess would especially be equipped with "a barrier that nullifies the supposedly sh*tty and weak Abnormal State Skill".]


[……………….]


The Heroes' skills are divided into five systems.


Although they have undergone a remarkable transformation, the Inherent Skills are also derived from one of them.


This was explained by the Goddess immediately after we were summoned.


【Offensive】


【Defensive】


【Recovery】


【Reinforcement】


【Abnormal State】


Asagi just said that the offensive abilities seem to be effective.


As for defensive abilities, it doesn't seem like it's capable of defeating the Goddess.


The same goes for recovery abilities.


And she says her ability is different from abnormal state abilities.


In other words, I can infer that Asagi's Inherent Skill…… is categorized as a Reinforcement Skill huh.


I guess debuffs———- abilities that weaken an opponent also count under the Reinforcement system huh?


"The power to bring down even Gods"


[…………………….]


She had an Inherent Weakening Skill huh?


……EVen so, the words Asagi said earlier……


Even though she was talking to herself, I think her insight about this matter was interesting.


The Abnormal State system is supposed to be considered useless.


However, the Goddess "specially" has a barrier against it.


A divine defensive ability———- limited only to countering Abnormal State abilities huh.


[…………………….]


Well, in any case, the current situation is that it's ineffective without the Forbidden Curse.


That fact still remains.


There's little point in digging deeper into Asagi's insight here.


……I guess that's all I'll be able to find out about her trump card huh.


Let's change the subject.


[By the way, Ikusaba-dono.]


[Ahh…… Can you please call me Asagi-dono instead? I dislike being called by my surname.]


[Please excuse me then. Well then, Asagi-dono…… In our negotiations last time, there was a girl next to you who looked sick, right?]


[Bato-chin?]


[ ? ]


[Her name is Kobato Kashima. That's why she's Bato-chin. She's also known as Poppo-chan.]


[Is she a Hero too?]


[That's right.]


Making sure to avoid making her feel like I'm focused on Kashima here, I continued.


[Can I infer that there are also other Heroes in your group?]


[We have more than five in our group.]


[Did they all agree to betray the Goddess? No…… I feel like you may have made them do as such. I feel like Asagi-dono is good at persuading people.]


[I haven't done that though.]


[ ? ]


Klank……


Putting down her fork, Asagi leans back, holding the back of her head behind her hands.


[I have imposed a mission on myself…… In order to achieve it, I will perform the best "manipulation" I could. There's nothing more interesting than real-life manipulation. For example, if you can drive someone to suicide through manipulation alone…… You can even kill some indirectly without getting your own hands dirty.]


It feels as if……


She had already done such a thing in the past.


At that moment, Asagi stuck out her tongue———– with a serious look on her face.


[It's my real father, you know? He commit suicide——— I made him commit suicide.]


Whether she dared commit such a thing or not……


In mid-sentence, Asagi rephrased her statement.


[My condolences.]


[I made him die.]


……Clap, clap, clap……


With her tongue sticking out, Asagi dryly clapped her hands with that serious look on her face.


Only…… Her eyes drew an eerie arc.


[Thanks to that, I was able to protect Mama. All's well that ends well…… Kukakaka. Seriously———– With his own hands, he died.]


I don't know anything about Asagi's family situation.


However, I feel like I had a pretty good idea of what was going on.


"I feel like she and I are similar."


I feel like I understand why I was thinking like that.


I could tell from the nuances of her words.


She too——— had a sh*tty parent.


Unlike me though, her mother seemed to be on her side.


……I'm not without sympathy for her situation.


However……


I can only think "So what?" here.


That information isn't very useful in the current situation.


Closing her eyes, Asagi rubbed the base of her brow with her fingers.


[……Mhmm, mumumu? Why am I suddenly telling you this deranged personal story? Well…… Just now was, you see, just an improvised story to draw sympathy. Yes, Asagi-san here is actually a compulsive liar. Ahh, errr…… Well, all the Heroes here had agreed to joining. I hope the other Heroes will join us in the end and everyone will harmoniously gather here…… or something like that! Nufufu. Did Asagi-san scare you earlier? However, don't curse me to death, ‘kay~~]


At that moment……


[Belzegia-dono——— ……Ah, I see Asagi-dono is here too.]


Hawk noticed us as soon as he entered the dining hall.


It feels like he came to call for me but———-


[Were you looking for me?]


[His Majesty wants to see———–! Y- Your Majesty!?]


[Excuse my intrusion to your pleasant chat.]


With the size of this castle, this dining hall isn't large at all.


However, entering such a dining hall with graceful steps was the Mad Emperor.



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