Mushoku Tensei (LN) - Volume 26 - Chapter Ep

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Prologue Zero

IN THE YEAR 500 of the Armored Dragon Era, there lived a girl called the Blessed Child of Restoration. There was no life in her eyes. Ever since she was born, they had been empty save for despair. The adults around her found her uncanny and kept their distance.

The girl knew what fate had in store for her. She had known since before birth—only, to say “before birth” is misleading. She had not known before her first, true birth. For this girl had been reborn many times. Again and again, she had repeated the same life. Again and again, she had repeated a life with minute differences each time. Different lives, albeit only slightly…and they all ended the same way. Her life was always fixed. There were never any great upheavals, and those lives always came to the same end.

That end was death. She died. No one living creature may escape death, but her death was a particularly awful one. After being manipulated as a tool by her country, she was captured and murdered by an enemy nation. She was like a toy fought over by children. Sometimes she was brutally raped, sometimes she was eaten alive by monsters, sometimes she was bound and thrown into water…

The girl died in suffering and despair. To her, life was a road that ended in despair. Every day was nothing but another step closer to the executioner’s block. She was without hope.

The girl had a power. She could reverse time for an object by, at most, a single day. With this power, she restored broken things. She could even bring people back from the dead.

A single day. But even the power to bring the dead back to life for just a single day was enough for the Blessed Child to be pressed into service for the nation. The king kept her all to himself. 

Her power to reverse a single day freed the king from injury and illness. Mysteriously, she could not stop him from aging, but this was of little importance to the king.

The girl had known three versions of the king. Though his name and appearance never changed, there were small variances in his personality and his conduct. Every time she died, and a new nightmare began, the king she served changed a little. Another, seeing these slight changes, might have praised the king for his wisdom, or condemned him as a fool. None of it mattered to the girl. There was no difference in how any of the kings treated her. To her, the kings all blended into the same monster. 

The power that made her a Blessed Child brought her no happiness. She could not turn back her own time, nor could she use her power for her own purposes. All it did was shackle her to the palace that served as her prison.

And then, she died. She was kept like an animal in a corner of the palace, meeting slightly different people ­every time, until she finally perished. Sometimes her power was insufficient, and she incurred the wrath of the king. Sometimes another nation invaded the kingdom, and she was taken prisoner. Sometimes the kingdom was overrun by demons who slaughtered them all. Her life faded away in misery. And then, she returned to the beginning. She started again from her birth in a remote, rural corner of the kingdom. After spending her early years enduring the adults’ disgust, she was taken to the palace, where she would ultimately die yet again.

The girl tried to escape her fate in the beginning. She hid her power so that she could stay with her mother and father. It did no good. For some reason, just before her fifth birthday, soldiers came from the palace and took her away with them. She tried to run away from the village before the soldiers came, but that too was futile. She was either killed by a monster or captured by bandits or kidnappers. Who she was sold on to next varied, but she ended up at the palace without fail. Fate dragged her back to the palace like an antlion’s trap, crushed her hope, then murdered her. It was hell—an eternal, unceasing hell ­cycle that utterly destroyed her. She ceased to feel anything. She followed the king’s orders, her face as devoid of expression as a machine. A hundred years passed, then two hundred. Or was it a thousand? Two thousand? Perhaps ten, or twenty thousand. She no longer remembered how many times she had died, or how long she had lived. Her memory was perpetually hazy, and she couldn’t recall a single instance of joy.

The moment of her murder was always crystal clear.

Perhaps it was instinct. Some pure animal urge within her that clung to life, that recorded the memory of her murder as something to be avoided. Alas, the result was that her whole life was blotted out by her own deaths. She no longer recalled anything else. Nothing but a chain of memories of death.

Immersed in an endless stream of death, the girl made a wish. She wished with all her heart. 

I can’t bear this anymore… Somebody, help me…

In that moment, the laws of the world shifted.


Things in her next life had changed. 

She was born in a provincial village she couldn’t even name and was taken to the palace. She obeyed the king’s every whim and used her power day in and day out. None of this had changed. But when she was ten, something different happened. Something that had never happened before. It was her tenth birthday. As though to celebrate the occasion, the girl was taken away. She was taken beneath the palace, to a space with a vast magic circle. The girl hadn’t known there was such a magic circle in the palace, for she had never been allowed to walk freely within it.

Several dozen adults stood around the magic circle. They held staffs and wore black robes. Hoods covered their faces. The knowledge she had gleaned from her eternal hell told her that these people were magicians. But what would happen to her next, she did not know. She knew little about magic and magic circles. She had never had the opportunity to learn such things in her hellish prison.

The girl was bound to the magic circle. Her eyes were empty as always. Something new had happened, but it failed to stir her heart at all. She would still die in the end. No matter what happened along the way, nothing would change. This sense of resignation crowded out everything else.

The ritual began. The magic circle relentlessly drew the mana from her body. Blessed Children held an inconceivable volume of mana within their bodies. It was a different stripe of mana to that which was used in magic and swordcraft, and in theory, it could not typically have been used for a magic circle like this one. Was it chance, then, that the magic circle was drawing out her mana? No. This magic circle had been created for a purpose. It was designed to be activated using the mana of the Blessed Child of Restoration. Who had made it? Though they were out of the girl’s sight, the architect was present at the ritual. She observed the magic circle looking only a little less bored than the girl. 

The ritual was a success. The magic circle blazed with light. Light in a prism of seven colors—the light of summoning.

Then, when the light died away, there was a boy standing in the middle of the circle.

“It worked.”

“We did it!”

“The kingdom is saved!”

While the magicians celebrated, the boy looked around at his surroundings in amazement. Then, his gaze turned to the girl with empty eyes who sat on the ground in front of him.

“Um… Could you tell me where this is? I was just with Nana and Kuro…huh?”

The language he spoke was unknown to all there, and yet somehow, the girl understood. Perhaps it was because her own mana had been used, or perhaps it was because she was connected to his presence here.

“Oh, um, my name’s Shinohara Akito,” he said. “How about you?”

“I am the Blessed Child of Restoration.”

“Blessed…? Um, I wanted to know your name.”

The girl realized that in every iteration of her personal hell, and in particular after she came to the palace, no one ever asked her name.

A Blessed Child had no name. Perhaps if they were royalty, an exception might be made, but as a rule, Blessed Children had their names taken from them. From that point on. They were only ever referred to as “Blessed Child.” The girl was no exception. 

But while usually, Blessed Children had their names taken before they could learn them, the girl remembered her name. She remembered it precisely because she had died so many times.

It was the name her mother and father had given her.

“Lyria,” she said.

“Lyria? That’s a nice name.” The boy smiled, and the girl’s heart sang.


The girl felt something had changed. The king released her from her duties as Blessed Child. Instead, she was made the boy’s interpreter. After a mage knight joined them as a bodyguard, the three of them wandered freely through the palace.

“Lilia, what’s that?” The boy from another world asked her about everything—about the world, about how they lived, about the people in it. Despite dying so many times, the girl knew nothing.

“He asked…what that is.”

“That? That’s a magical implement. When you put magic into it, fire comes out of the end. I wonder if they’re going to the forest to drive out monsters.”

The girl, knowing nothing, asked the knight and the knight answered. The mage knight, who was said to be a genius, looked half-asleep but answered all her questions. Unlike the girl, she knew everything.

“Ohh, so it’s like a flamethrower…” the boy said. “Come to think of it, there are lots of tree monsters in this world, aren’t there? Have you ever seen one, Lilia?”

“Several times,” Lilia said slowly. “They…swooshed.”

“‘Swooshed’…?” The boy laughed. “I can’t picture it. No, wait! Actually, I’ve seen them in movies.”


“Yeah, a movie is—” 

Her life as an interpreter was nothing like her life before. Everything was fresh. Every time the boy learned something about the world, he smiled his easy smile, and every time, the girl’s heart sang.

At first, she’d thought nothing would change. She’d thought everything was over for her. But she could dream about the stories the boy sometimes told her about his world. When the knight answered the boy’s questions, she felt her world expanding. She learned that this world was unimaginably vast and full of all sorts of people she had never known.

A little while after the boy came, she realized that her food had taste. Her ears opened to the chirping of the birds when she woke in the morning and to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

She felt alive. She believed her stint in hell was over. The boy had come to save her. He had come to pull her out of this long, hellish cycle. She had been born to meet him. Now, her real life would begin.

This is fate, she thought. The boy was so strong and so gentle, and such a support to her, that it seemed true.

But fate betrayed her.


War engulfed the kingdom. The girl knew that every time this war came, it swept her up and she died. She knew it better than anyone. But there were things she didn’t know: that the boy had been summoned to win the war. That the kingdom’s prophet had advised that they summon a champion from another world and have him fight for them. And that after the kingdom had taken the prophet’s advice and spent ten years summoning the boy, they were now at a point of no return. 

The girl knew nothing. And the boy fought. He did not know war, however. The people of the kingdom knew that the boy did not know how to fight, yet still, they sent him out on the battlefield. They clad him in armor, put a sword in his hand, and placed him on the army’s front line. This was what they had summoned him for.

And the boy died. He was mercilessly cut down on the battlefield. As he stood there on trembling legs, an enemy general cut his head off in a single blow, and he died. The enemy general took his head, so it was only his body that came back to the girl. The people of the kingdom, when they saw the dead boy, only sighed and muttered in disgust that, in the end, their champion from another world had been useless. They had been fools to trust the prophet’s ravings. 

The girl embraced the boy’s corpse and tried desperately to restore him, but it was futile. Already more than a day had passed since his death, and he was beginning to rot. The girl’s power was of no use here. 

She wept and screamed, asking why, why must always suffer so, why was fate so cruel to her alone. She wept, but not only out of grief. She felt like fate was toying with her, laughing at her for trying when no matter what she did, she was doomed. She was overcome with a sense of powerlessness. 

Then, the kingdom fell. The girl was captured and, as she had every time before, died in the depths of despair.

Unlike every time before, the girl made a wish. For the first time since she was first born, she wished and wished with all her heart, I want to live! 

Not that she didn’t want to die, or that she wanted someone to save her. 

I want to live with him…!

The time she had spent living with the boy had not been long. But even in that short span, he had stolen her heart and usurped all the memories of death that had filled it.

The boy was hope. He was the first hope the girl had known. That hope kept her head raised high and facing forward. For the first time since she was first born, she turned an eye to her own power. The moment she died, she bit her lip hard enough to draw blood, then used her power.

Her power could turn back time for a single day. Or at least, it was believed to do so. Everyone had a vague sense that something was strange about her power, but the ability was so convenient that no one had bothered to investigate any further. Now, the girl forced out so much of her own might that she thought her mind would burst. She used the Power to Alter the Past.

The world looped, with the girl at its center.


The girl’s power stretched back into the past to the year 400 of the Armored Dragon Era, to the Citadel of Roa in Fittoa, where the boy she loved had lost his life. 

A rift in spacetime opened in the sky above the town. In the depths of the rift was a being with a powerful connection to the boy. This being bore a striking resemblance to the soul of the girl who had wanted to live together with the boy. Thus, to create a future where the boy would be spared, she altered the world and opened a path for him to live. As a result, in the year 500 of the Armored Dragon Era, the boy was saved—or he should have been. Even with the girl’s great power, causing a person who was not supposed to have a future to exist in the past was impossible. It was nothing like preventing someone from being injured or contracting a disease. Though the rift in space-time remained, the being within did not come down into the world. The girl’s power became locked in a bitter stalemate with the power of the world itself.

The world moved on, uncaring: 400, 401, 402, 403. But as it did, a single lost soul found its way through the rift. This soul bore no connection to the boy. When the boy was transported, before the girl’s power had been used to summon him, this soul had simply happened to be close by. But it was a soul, and so it managed to slip unseen through the rift, even as the world was trying to block it up. The soul wandered aimlessly for a while, until it came across an infant on the verge of death and slipped inside it. That soul belonged to the person who would be named Rudeus Greyrat.

Rudeus Greyrat’s existence left the smallest of alterations on the world. He changed the thinking of Roxy Migurdia, he derailed the life of Sylphiette, and he imparted knowledge to Eris Boreas Greyrat. These actions weakened the world’s ability to resist, and the rift expanded outwards. 

In the year 417 of the Armored Dragon Era, Nanahoshi Shizuka was summoned.

Rudeus Greyrat’s existence had altered the world more than the girl had hoped for. It was only supposed to have been enough change that the boy would be saved, but it did not stop there. History branched off in an unknown direction. The world changed. It is impossible to know if these changes were those that the girl wished for, as she has not yet been born. A few years after Rudeus’s death, she will be. In exchange for the loops, she will be born as an empty shell of a Blessed Child, losing all but the slightest hint of her powers. To grant her wish, she will be born into one final world. Whether she will survive to the end is a tale for another time.

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