Mushoku Tensei (LN) - Volume 26 - Chapter 5.3

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Story 3:

The World After Death

I FOUND MYSELF in a white room.



The pixelated asshole here was in good shape as usual. Just because he was sealed in here, of course, didn’t mean he was moping. He was as pixelated as ever, so…

“That stuff I saw forty years back… That was future vision, huh?”

“You got it.”

The Man-God was the same as ever. But forty, even fifty years had passed since I saw him last. His “same as ever” qualities had long since faded into my distant memory. I did remember him being just as arrogant back when we first met as he was now, though.

“I thought if you saw that you might cut me a bit of slack.”

“Lost that bet, huh?”

“Whatever. I was doomed anyway.” 

I wasn’t so weak-willed that I’d give up on everything I’d worked for just because of one dream. Though admittedly, I might have if it hadn’t been in the form of a dream.

“That was what you looked like, huh,” he said.

I looked at myself. The big, blubbery body…was gone. At some point, my appearance had changed. I was in pretty good shape—you could see muscle definition, and my abs were trim and toned. It was the kind of body that looked like it could float like a butterfly. It was the body I’d grown used to in this world… The body of Rudeus Greyrat. I couldn’t see my own face, but I didn’t feel like it was very old.

“You didn’t know?”

“No. My eyes see straight to the soul. I knew there was something different between your body and your soul, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen you.”

He was really dropping some hot new information on me now! Then again, I didn’t know what the Man-God looked like either. Technically, we were even.

How come my body’s only just changed to look like this now? Actually, never mind. I don’t need an answer.

“Anyhow. This is the end of the line for you,” said the Man-God.

“Yeah,” I replied at length. 

I’d died, at seventy-four years old. It was hazy, but I remembered my final moments. I was surrounded by my children and my grandchildren. I think I was happy at the end. At the very least, it was a world away from the final moments in my previous life. When I compared it to that lonely, powerless, pathetic, pitiful end…

“It’ll make things easier for me with you out of the picture.”

“That so?”

“While you were alive, everything I tried to do came to nothing. So I had a think. I took a leaf from your book, and ever so slowly, I’ve been building up my allies.”

“You still haven’t quit, huh?”

The Man-God’s mood changed. Now he was angry. 

“Obviously,” he said. “Would you give up if you knew that future was coming? Always alone, unable to do anything, see anything—and spending ten or even a hundred thousand years like that. I know I couldn’t live like that. How could I give up?”

Okay, fair enough. Can’t imagine it turning into such an epic thing, though.

Still, I understood a little of what he felt. If you knew that something was going to happen to you, the sort of future that awaited you, and that you’d regret it unless you acted now, you wouldn’t be able to sit back and let it happen.

“Yeah, I guess you can’t quit.”

“What’re you acting so ambivalent for? Think you’ve already won or something?”

“You have a plan then?”

“I do. And now I know that Orsted loops through these same two hundred years. Also, you had too many descendants. I thought of a way to use that. Over the past fifty years, I’ve gotten everything ready…”

“That so?”

“Is what I’m saying getting through to you? I’m going to turn everything you built against you, then spoil it. Once you’re gone from this world, I’m going to use what you made to win. And there’s nothing you can do about it because, in the end, you’re dead! You can’t do anything to stop your descendants from feuding and murdering each other. You can’t come to me crying ‘Please, stop this!’. You won’t even be able to see it!”

While the Man-God’s gleeful spiel went on, I scratched my face, then while I was at it, I scratched the back of my head too. Not because I was itchy—I just wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to respond.

“You don’t say?” I said. 

“What the hell?!” he yelled, stamping his foot up and down. “Why the hell are you so smug?!”

“Probably because I’m dead,” I said promptly. The Man-God didn’t seem to know what to say to that.

I closed my eyes and thought back on everything that had happened up until now. In this world, I’d done the things I wanted to do. I got married, and I made friends. I had children and lots of grandchildren. I even excelled at my job. True, it troubled me to hear the Man-God talking about the future, and there were things I thought I ought to have done better. But somehow, mysteriously, I had no regrets. No…maybe I ought to say I had no unfinished business. I was worried and anxious, but I didn’t feel the urge to do something about it. Hearing the Man-God talk now, I wasn’t filled with the need to find some way to resurrect myself and save my children.

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because I thought all of them—kids and grandkids both—would work things out themselves from now on. Just as I’d done myself, I trusted the kids to apply themselves to whatever problems came at them and do their best to overcome them. 

I slowly walked towards the Man-God. He was far smaller than I’d thought. Up until now, neither of us had gotten any closer to the other than was necessary, so I hadn’t had a good idea of his size.

“I’m content,” I said. I’d lived plenty. I wouldn’t say everything was perfect, and I’d surely left a few things undone. When I closed my eyes, not all the memories I saw were good. There were failures as well as successes, but even so, I wouldn’t have done it over. I was dead. My job was over, and I could hand over what came next to the living. It was crazy to feel this way when the guy in front of me was telling me he planned on doing them harm. But I couldn’t do anything about it. My heart was so at peace I could scarcely believe it.

“Hey, Man-God?”

He didn’t say anything.

“I’m pretty sure I tried to tell you this once.”

“What,” he said finally.

“I don’t think I actually hated you that much.”

I think the Man-God looked sour. 

Sure, maybe I only thought it because right at that moment, I was winning. Sylphie and Roxy were still alive, and our children were all healthy. Eris had died before me, but she’d reached the end of her life—it hadn’t been the Man-God’s fault. If some little thing had gone differently, I could have ended up hating the Man-God with every fiber of my being. I might have turned into a machine whose only purpose was killing the Man-God, like the me from the future. I doubt he was able to die feeling as peaceful as I did now. The person I was now was a result of how things had happened to turn out, nothing more.

“What are you talking about?” the Man-God said.

“I don’t really know myself. But I think it’s thanks to you I’m able to feel so peaceful. If I hadn’t had such a clear enemy, I don’t think I’d be so content now.”

Right. That was it. If not for the Man-God, I’d probably have started getting lazy around when I turned twenty.

I’d have married Sylphie, worked reasonably hard, and tried a reasonable amount. I’d have come to the end of a reasonable life, feeling reasonably content, and then died. That would’ve been that. A life like that wouldn’t have been bad, in and of itself, but there’s no way it would have brought me the contentment I felt now. Even if I didn’t actually regret anything before I died, I might have wanted another chance, or to do something over, or to go back to some point in the past. 

It was only having a clear enemy and a clear goal that kept me moving to the end. That had turned me into the person I was now.

“Keep talking all you like,” the Man-God muttered. “I’m still not going to let them off easily.”

“Oh… I mean, um, that wasn’t why I said it…”

What was I trying to say? It wasn’t that there was anything I really wanted to say to the Man-God. Just because I didn’t hate him didn’t mean I particularly liked him. I obviously wasn’t planning on thanking him, either.

With that, our conversation petered out and we stood there in silence. The atmosphere was unbearable.

Then, suddenly, something occurred to me. “I wonder why I came to this world,” I said, trying out the words.

“Like I know,” the Man-God muttered.

“You really don’t know anything about it?”

“If I’d known, I’d have stopped it. You genuinely came out of nowhere—so out of nowhere that even I didn’t notice until the Displacement Incident.”


In the end, we never got to the bottom of the Displacement Incident during my lifetime either. Nanahoshi had come up with a weird hypothesis, and something else might happen in the future…

“If someone out there deliberately reincarnated me, thank them for me.”

“No way.”

“Yeah, figures.” He’d turned me down flat. Ah, well. The Man-God probably had a lot of bitterness he was dying to vent.

“So, what happens to me next? I mean, I know I died.”

“Yeah, about that.” The Man-God looked at me, still irritated. “Normally, your soul would turn back into mana, mix with other mana, and be reconstituted into something else. But you’re from another world, so I don’t know what happens in your case.”


I’d thought maybe I’d be able to see Paul and Geese again after I died, but I guess not. It made sense, but I was still disappointed… Oh, well. My bones should’ve been buried in the same place. I’d have to be content with that.

I noticed my body was slowly fading. Was this what turning back into mana looked like? This must be how death worked in this world. Perhaps, right before they died, the other residents of this world came to this white room too. Only, if the Man-God didn’t feel like seeing them, they’d just wait here to fade away. In that sense, he was a bit like Yama, the God who judged you after death. This guy showed up when people died to smirk and mock them about their lives, though…so a nasty Yama.


The Man-God wasn’t sporting his usual smirk. He was actually tapping his foot as though he couldn’t disguise his annoyance. He’d wanted to gloat to me about his victory and see me consumed by regret as I faded away, and he was pissed off because I’d shrugged him off.

He really was a piece of work.

I stood in front of him. “Look, maybe this isn’t for me to say,” I began. I vaguely put a hand on his shoulder. “But give it your all, okay?”

Is he going to get mad… I thought. But the Man-God only sighed and slumped his shoulders. Then, he fell silent.

As I looked down at him, I cast an eye over our surroundings. It was pure white, as usual. And empty. My body was on the verge of disappearing entirely, and little by little, my consciousness was fading too. Maybe I’d go back to my old world. Maybe I’d become something else in this world. Maybe I’d keep my memories. Maybe I wouldn’t. I didn’t know what would happen, but whatever it was, I didn’t mind. Even if my mind and memories remained, even if I was born into a place a million times worse than my former life, I’d be all right.

“See you around.”

Those were my last words. As my consciousness slipped away, I passed the Man-God and started to walk. I went on straight ahead and didn’t turn back…

The End

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