I noticed my cheeks were wet.
My eyelids felt heavy and instinctively closed as tears welled up.
Sara-chan was falling to degeneration…
A lonely Solan-kun…
A desperate Irene-sama…
And the Knight Commander driven to madness…
Those images I’d been made to see bounced around my head.
“This was the future that was not chosen.“
The Heavenly Dragon put what I had been thinking into words.
A voice whispered in the back of my head– This was the future and world that ‘I’ didn’t choose.
As I felt the warmth of the tears on my face, I was relieved that the future I was shown would not come to pass.
But even so…
The voice kept asking me in whispers, “Was any of that really true?”
What about everyone else…? The whole country…? Can you honestly say that your choices will be best for them, too?
The voice was calm as it told me not to make judgments unless they come from a comprehensive-based perspective.
It was a cold, inorganic, and disturbing voice.
I looked at the Heavenly Dragon as conflicting thoughts rolled around in my head.
He looked down at me as he continued speaking…
“Half of the world will be destroyed, but a unified nation will rise out of it, leading to a glorious future without war.“
“There will be a rift with the magicians, and the world will change direction towards scientific advancement… Leading to an age of prosperity.“
“The people will rise, the monarchy will be abolished, and it will go down in history as the world’s first democracy.“
“The bloody war will cull the demonic population, leading to an era of peace for humanity.“
I was wrapped up in the whirlpool of information the Heavenly Dragon had given me.
A vibrant country where many ethnic groups and races could come together in equality.
Masses of people living in large buildings that touched the sky.
People actively discussing their opinions with lively expressions.
A city of people in loose clothing, beautiful music, and constant laughter.
…The future I didn’t choose.
I heard a mocking voice in my ear say, “Look at what you just gave up? Was that really the right choice?”
I couldn’t firmly deny it.
I wanted to say, “At least everyone is safe.”
I kept thinking as I tried to process this massive amount of information I had been given.
Had I made the wrong decisions?
Had it really been that wrong?
“Selection is neither good nor evil, just a crossroads for determining the future.“
Even with the Heavenly Dragon saying that, I couldn’t shake my fears. Ah… This is so scary… So, so scary.
I didn’t know what kind of decision I needed to make.
I didn’t know choosing how the future would turn out was like this.
As doubts welled up in my head, I could hear mocking laughter inside my ears.
When I looked back at the Heavenly Dragon, he returned my gaze with merciful and compassionate eyes.
“The earth is like a flowing river. But if it continues to flow wantonly, it becomes a raging force. That is why someone must choose a route for it to follow.“
And that someone… Was me?
I understand that ‘the one who makes the decision‘ was needed.
And that it was me about to choose what direction this world will take… But even so…
I heard my voice leave my mouth, no longer a whisper.
I didn’t think I had spoken.
Was this me from the future I didn’t choose?
“Well, I’m not sure,” a voice replied instead of me, though it really felt like it was me.
Putting my confusion aside, I turned back to the Heavenly Dragon.
“I wonder if you can tell me why it had to be me?”
The Heavenly Dragon was perplexed as he opened his mouth like it expected me to know the answer already.
“The moment you were born, no, the moment the stars split apart, you were already born.“
“In that instant, it was determined that you would inevitably be the one to decide the flow of this world.“
…Could that really be true?
“It was just a coincidence, wasn’t it?”
Just a chance of probability that those two events happened together?
Deep in my heart, I felt a low voice say, “It would have been better if it wasn’t for you.”
I didn’t want to listen to that selfish voice.
“…That’s what made you into ‘the one who decides’“
My surroundings swirled around me as he spoke.
I reached my hand out to my Dragon as he was wrapped in black.
I didn’t want him to disappear, and I wanted him to go home with me, too.
I felt a horrifying force on the edge of my hand, so I lowered it so that I wouldn’t die.
I felt power building up in my body. I wanted someone to blame as I looked up at the sky.
…But there was nothing there.
I felt the faint bond that connected me and the Dragon fade away… I screamed the surprise I felt up to the sky.
Scanning my surroundings, everyone I knew was all around me.
Some had stifled their expressions…. While others were shedding tears… Some also seemed filled with regret.
Despite the somber atmosphere, I felt satisfied and calm for some reason. I was happy.
I looked around in slow motion. I couldn’t see clearly.
They may have seemed cold, but they were warm and friendly. They’d helped me a lot.
As I sighed, I felt the last of my life force spill out.
I couldn’t open my eyes any longer– I’ll just sleep a bit.
Just outside of my dimming view, someone was calling my name.
I couldn’t really understand their words, but they seemed despairingly sad.
…I slowly opened my eyes.
My final tears spilled out and disappeared.
My eyes were dry again.
There was nothing left.
“As a mere human child, the choice was too much for you.“
The Heavenly Dragon spoke to me– Was this how this ends?
“Ah, you were able to play your part and get some rest… But you did choose. It was a narrow road, but it was this one.“
I understood his words impersonally, like I was someone not connected to the situation.
The scene I had just viewed earlier appeared to be the end of my life, at the end of the best possible choice.
In the back of my head, I wondered who that ending was good for, but that doubt faded away.
…That’s for the world to decide.
I saw the overlapping futures and pasts, those I’ve chosen and those I’ve not, rippling, flowing, and swirling around.
I was adrift in a whirlpool of information and felt like some part of me was being washed away little by little.
It may have been an emotion, or a piece of my heart… It might have even my humanity.
Regardless, I kept looking… Dazzled.
I tried to pick apart only the necessary information, and I found that my conclusions had been correct.
should have chosen a calm end without saving my Dragon.
But that option had already gone away. So now I had to think about my next move.
I wracked my brain, and the conclusion came quickly…
I shouldn’t go back.
If I go back, I’ll have to make more and more decisions. That will be my existence.
Eventually, that will lead to a turning point where my existence will be consumed– And I’ll die.
There’s probably no hope i me having a calm and peaceful death.
Because I didn’t choose that path.
Furthermore, by reading this flow of information…
If I stayed here side by side with the Heavenly Dragon, I can be a link between people and dragons.
This will impact the world and allow magic to develop dramatically.
If I don’t stay here, the world that would collapse and then will be revived by science… And everything sad will come to pass.
Of course, there were better things about that option, too—a peaceful world without conflict.
Looking around… More and more branches were leading off to a devastated world. I whispered, “What if I reason?”
The answer was clear.
If it leads to a slightly better world, then I shouldn’t return.
I concluded my thoughts, looked up, and saw, not a dragon, but the human form of the Heavenly Dragon in front of me.
A smile appeared on his innocent, boyish face, extending his hand out to me.
“Come with me then… If that is what you choose.“
I leaned forward to take his extended hand.
A crack ran across the world.
Soundless vibration echoed through space as the world tore itself apart.
A black shadow passed by at a tremendous speed from the cracked spaces, falling to the ground.
I looked at him as he stood up slowly.
It was the Knight commander… Covered in blood.
“I wonder if he reached her safely…”
“It will be alright. They’ll be back soon.”
“We have to make preparations for when they get back.”
“Maybe add some more weird titles, or something?”
“Or build a statue in the square?”
“Fufu. Ria would hate that.”
The three began to hold hands as they stared at the wedge in reality…
…Hoping that she would come back soon.