After about an hour or two, Mana woke up. She briefly paid me a smile before running over to a closet and rummaging around.
“What are you doing?” I ask, already knowing the answer
“Packing! Mana wants to see the outside world today!” She joyfully answers
I suppose she’s made her choice. I decided last night that I would go along with whatever she decided, so I suppose I’ll go lend a hand.
“Put all the clothes you want to bring in a pile over here,” I say as I go over to her and start looking through her closet
I must say, her father had quite a sense of style. The clothes she was wearing yesterday were simple and plain but the items in her closet are all quite beautiful. I wonder if he created all these himself?
As Mana excitedly places the clothes she wants to bring, I begin putting them away into my inventory. Mana looks at me with starry eyes when I do.
“Can Mana do that too?!” She excitedly asks
“Nope, and you have to keep it a secret that I can! You and I aren’t normal so we have to be careful that others don’t find that out.” I say as I continue shoveling clothes into my inventory.
As we continued to pack, I tried to explain to Mana what others consider “Normal”. It’s certainly not easy since I’m not quite sure myself about this world’s rules and customs.
“Is that all you want to bring?” I ask as we prepare to leave
“Yup!” she excitedly responds
I mentioned before that a large number of her clothes were extravagant and beautiful, but for some reason, she didn’t pack much of them. The clothes that she did pack were all things like a white one-piece dress, pajama-like garments, or loose plain colored clothes. In the end, I had to force her to bring at least one or two of the more extravagant pieces. It would just be a waste to leave them.
“I’m going to head back up to my friends. You should say your proper goodbyes before you follow, okay?” I say as I confirm that she has everything she needs in my inventory
“Do I have to?” She asks, puffing out her cheeks and looking disobedient
“You might be gone for a long time, that alone is going to make that clown sad. If you leave without saying a proper goodbye I don’t think he would be able to handle it.” I explain
Seriously, I don’t want to know what that annoying clown going on a rampage would be like. He might try to lock down the entire dungeon just so he could properly sulk. If something big like that happened just after I left, there would be some serious suspicion placed on me.
“What’s a clown?” Mana asks
“Ahem… well, don’t worry about that. Focus on saying your goodbyes” I say deflecting the question
I accidentally said what was on my mind there.
“…Okay, Mana will say goodbye to Teko.” Mana says in a dejected voice
Somewhere in her voice you can hear that she knows it’s the right thing to do though.
“I’ll see you in a little bit. Return” I say after giving a nod
Light floods around me again, anticipating it this time, I close my eyes. Regardless, it’s still painfully bright.
“Mano-san!” I hear before my eyes can adjust
“You certainly took your time.”
“You better feed me well for waiting so long”
As my eyes adjust I notice that I’m surrounded by all my comrades.
“How long have you all been waiting for me?” I ask with a faint smile
“About an hour?” Kiel says looking at Kera for confirmation
“Sounds about right.” She responds
“Shall we go then?” Kurobe asks as he gets up to don his cart again
“In a little bit, we have one more that we are waiting for.” I explain
I expected questions to follow, but instead everybody just smiled and reassumed their waiting position. I told them about the room I had been transported to and the conversation with the mysterious voice while we waited.
“I can’t get this one thing he said out of my head. ‘Has this world already become so weak?’. It almost sounds like he expected the world to be getting weaker. If the world he remembers was stronger than our current one it would explain why magical items can be found in dungeons wouldn’t it?” I say after recounting our conversation
“That’s quite a discovery there. That might support the withering human theory.” Kera says looking ahead somewhat blankly
“The withering human theory?” I ask, not understanding the term
gero gero gero “The withering human theory is the theory that over several generations, the human race becomes weaker. Historical documents suggests that during the reign of the first Yuusha, humans were roughly equal in strength to him initially and that his true power was shown after training rigorously.” Gero explains with a bow
“There is no proof though. Personally I just think it’s another way to make the Yuusha sound like a hero. It’s hard to admire someone that is handed everything on a silver platter right? The entire concept just seems like a way to explain why the current Yuusha doesn’t need to train in the same way to be more powerful than the common folk.” Kiel interrupts
Admittedly I’ve heard of things like this before. Religions tend to use tricks like that quite a bit to explain the differences in their scripture and things that the current day people can’t confirm or deny. The Yuusha seems to be treated similarly to religious figures in this world as well, so it’s common sense that some lies are going to be spread to make sure they keep that position.
“…The theory also encompasses the power of the first Maou. The theory suggests that the Maou was supremely powerful and grew more powerful by absorbing the malice and fear from those around him.” Gero continue while staring at Kiel
Although he doesn’t have any facial features he somehow conveys the feeling of being annoyed while he’s talking.
A light begins to emanate suddenly from behind me, and as I turn I see Mana in its place.
Tears are streaming down her face.
“What happened? Did he try to stop you?” I try to ask considerately
I’m sure I just looked like I was floundering about though.
“Nuh-uh.” She says shaking her head
“Teko was nice, and I said my goodbyes,” She says hugging me
“Then why are you crying?” I ask continuing to flounder
“Mana was mean to Teko, but Teko didn’t get mad at all. Teko was sad that Mana was leaving, but Teko was nice. Mana was a bad girl!” She explains before burying her head into me and crying loudly
A faint smile makes its way onto my face as I simply pet her head and let her cry.