Mushoku Tensei (LN) - Volume 26 - Chapter Aft

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(Excerpted from The Book of Rudeus, Vol. 26)

RIGHT, SO UP UNTIL NOW I’ve just been scribbling things down in this diary. Now that I’ve filled over twenty-five books and made a bit of a name for myself, I’ve had this strange idea. Maybe, just maybe, someone might read this.

I wrote it all in Japanese, so theoretically, no one in this world should be able to read it. Still, someone with too much free time might decode it, and after I die, someone else who came from the same world as me might read it.

…I’d feel pretty bad if someone actually put all the effort into decoding these when there’s nothing all that important written in them. But I mean, that’s just what diaries are like, right? 

Whatever purpose someone decodes it for, it won’t go out into the world until after I’m dead. I’d like to record for later generations that Dragon God Orsted wasn’t a bad person.

And then there’s that other thing…

Okay, so as I’ve written a few times in these diaries, I’m not originally from this world. I died in another world and was reborn here. I’ve decided not to write my name from my previous life. If the person reading this knew the person I was in my old world, they might get the wrong idea. Still, I might have a previous life, but aside from that I’m not actually special. If you’ve decoded this diary and are reading it, you’ll know that I lived an ordinary life in this world. I didn’t choose to be reborn, and in the end, I never found out what caused it. No big deal.

I just lived the best life I could—so that if I died the next day, I’d have no regrets. That’s what’s important.

You may scoff at that, whoever it is who’s reading this diary. Maybe you’re thinking, “He was just lucky with where he was born,” or, “Easy for this guy to say when he was blessed with talent.” Or maybe you’ve seen my portrait, so you put it down to my pretty face…

I mean, as I wrote in here the other day, Cliff told me his classmates said things like that. They said he had an unfair advantage because he’d been born into good circumstances, and they hadn’t. He said he felt really uncomfortable about it. That made me think about my own privileges. To be honest, my own upbringing was pretty cushy. Paul, my father, was a scumbag when it came to women, but he wasn’t a bad person. The real scumbag stuff was how he got caught cheating, then lied about it even though there was damning evidence, then played dumb, then lashed out like he was the victim… If I cheated, then tried to pull something like that, Eris would beat me up, Sylphie would hate me, and Roxy would have nothing but contempt. I’d end up losing everything.

Jeez, that’s a scary thought.

I couldn’t have asked for a better mother than Zenith. She was young when her mind failed, but when you consider what it’s usually like to care for a bedridden person by comparison, it wasn’t so bad. I did end up pretty much entirely handing her off to Lilia and Sylphie, but compared to my previous life, where I wasn’t able to do anything for my parents, I think I did all right by her. The point is, I was born to parents who loved me. I can’t say we wanted for nothing, but at the very least we didn’t have any debt, and my parents weren’t fighting over money every day. That was kinda lucky.

I also had a talent for magic. I had a leg up from the knowledge from my past life and a vast pool of mana from the Laplace aspect. It’s thanks to both that I was able to excel in unvoiced magic. Even if you searched the world over you’d have a hard time finding anyone who can shoot a Stone Cannon harder or faster than me. While I’d like to chalk it up to my own hard work, I’m pretty sure it was the gifts I was born with. Just luck, really.

So far as my looks go, I reckon I’m better off now than I was, but for all that…I still haven’t had many women take an interest in me just for my face. On the flip side, I have been treated unfairly because people didn’t like my face before. Soldat, for example, said he didn’t like the look of me. He might have been talking about my expression, though. Expressions are important, too.

Most people aren’t repelled by my face, at any rate. More luck.

I don’t doubt it’s that good luck that gave me the motivation to try hard. Still, I wonder. What if I’d been even better off? How would I have turned out if, say, I’d been born an Asuran aristocrat, never wanting for money or women or anything else? I know I’m a bit of a perv, and there’ve been times when that perviness motivated me to work hard. Not having those sorts of things for all those years is what allowed me to appreciate them.

If it’d been easy for me to get with women, if I’d had women throwing themselves at me, and all without having to lift a finger, would I have seen the value in it? I wonder if I wouldn’t have just gotten bored early on and stopped making any effort to make women like me.

The same goes for magic. I’ve worked my ass off practicing magic every single day. My training looks tedious from the outside, but it’s because I kept going with it that I can now wield magic with a high level of precision. What if the first time I picked up a magic textbook I’d been able to cast not just Beginner-tier, but Advanced-tier—or even God-tier magic? Would I have gone on training hard after that?

I think people find value and strive for the things they can’t have—the things that don’t come easily. In the end, we all have to play with the hand we’re dealt, but there’ll always be something in our hand we’re unhappy with. Someone else will be envious of one of your cards while you yourself are unable to see its worth. 

I know I sound like I’m bragging, but I do have a past life. My home in my past life was even better off than Paul’s, and as far as talent goes, if I hadn’t given up, I could’ve made something of myself. I’m probably better looking now, but if I’d exercised and slimmed down a bit, and groomed my hair and eyebrows, I wouldn’t have looked half bad. Looking back, I had way more advantages back then than in this life. Despite all that, despite the privilege I had, I stayed a garbage person. When I died, that was what I regretted. So even if I hadn’t been born in a peaceful village like Buena, even if it had been the slums of the Conflict Zone, or if I’d been abused by my parents, or if when I first opened a magic textbook I hadn’t managed to whip up so much as a water bomb… I feel like I’d have still tried my best. I doubt my life would have been as happy as this one. I might have resented the world more. But if nothing else, I think I’d have acted more than I did in my previous life. I think I would have lived with the desperation of a drowning man. I’m sure that life would have been worth more than my previous one.

If anything, even if that truck didn’t hit me and I went on living in my original world without getting reincarnated, if I’d only had a bit of luck, I might have been able to apply myself. Well, okay, it wouldn’t have been easy. I was an incredible sulk back then, so it took the jumbo-size helping of luck that let me be reincarnated to finally get me moving.

What I’m trying to say is that circumstances are all relative, and sometimes “good circumstances” actually means having a few things that seem like disadvantages.

I’m not here to tell you not to blame things on the way things are for you. I know I’ve been privileged. I try to remember there are people in terrible circumstances out there. I don’t mean to pretend to know what that’s like. All I’m saying is that, whether you get a good hand or a bad one, if you want to be satisfied with your life, you have to live life as hard and as fully as you can.

It’s not like those classmates of Cliff’s were that badly off. I guess they were unlucky with their parents, but they had enough drive to get into school through their own efforts and to work towards their goals. 

Anyway, for my part, I’ve given my all to my life in this world. Naturally, I’m going to continue to do so. Maybe to others, my “all” seemed a little shallow and unserious. Don’t other people’s lives always seem that way? And no matter what anyone says about you, it’s not going to change your life, so why care about it? You know?

So, hey, if you’re reading this, live your life to the fullest… Ugh, we’re getting real preachy here, huh? I must be getting old. I guess it’s happened. I’ve become a dad.

Right, that’s enough talk about circumstances. It turned into a bit of a lecture.

Now, I wonder who decoded my language. Maybe a scholar or something? Or a magician, expecting some amazing magical secret concealed within the pages of my diary… Either way, sorry for the lack of amazing secrets. I’ve said pretty much all of what I know about magic to Roxy, so it should all be available for you to learn about at the Ranoa Magic University or the Asuran Institute of Magic.

If I were to give one piece of advice to those who follow in my footsteps, it would be that whether you want to learn voiced casting, unvoiced casting, casting with magic circles, or whatever happens to be the hot thing in your day, then reader, you must practice. You cast the same spell over and over again until your head’s spinning, then when you’re resting, you think up clever ways to use it. You devote yourself to it fully.

If you do that, even if you’re not a once-in-a-­generation genius, you’ll be skilled enough to earn the respect of your peers.

Right! One more thing. If you’re thinking about translating this diary to offer it up to the ruler of some country, don’t. I get it, translating the language of a different world is impressive, and you want your success to be praised. You want appropriate compensation for your efforts. Thing is, there’s some stuff written in here that looks bad for the Asuran royal family in particular. There’s no way they’ll stand for claims like “the Asuran queen was Dragon God Orsted’s puppet!” It’s their prestige on the line, you know? Ariel might settle for just locking you up, but I can’t guarantee her descendants will spare your life. I guess if all the nations that appear in this diary have disappeared clean off the face of the world, then you can do what you like. 

Huh. I suppose if that much time has passed, you might be a historian. If so, I hope you’ll reference this extensively as an example of an ordinary family in this period. Only, I did use my knowledge from my past life to reinvent some uncommon gadgets, so don’t rely on it too much.

And yeah…one more thing. Just in case whoever’s reading this is someone from the same world as me. If, unlike me, you want to go home…I’ll give you a piece of advice.

“There is a way to return to your old world. Follow in the footsteps of Silent Sevenstar.”

Oh yeah, and if you ever dream of a white space with some pixelated asshole giving you advice, hard pass. He’s a liar, got it?

Rudeus, over and out.

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