In front of my eyes is a pure-white space, stretching far, far away to who knows where.
There’s nothing else—just an expanse of white. I float about in it. Before me is a pale woman who is also floating along. She’s wrapped in soft milky cloth, her garments fluttering, a twirling design entwining her body. Her lips, cheeks, and pupils are of the same color: a subtle shade of pink.
She’s extremely beautiful, a gentle smile on her face.
However, there’s this one thing: she’s got otherworldly body parts. Sprouting from her back are large white wings. Each time they move, sparkles and beads of light dance through the air.
What the heck. I wonder if I’m dreaming. No, this has got to be a dream. No doubt about it. Despite this, if I have to say so myself, this dream is weird.
For some reason, the incredibly divine woman narrows her cherry-blossom-toned eyes, tilting her head with a grin.
“—We finally meet. I am the goddess called Crouture (クロートゥア).”
It speaks! That surprises me.
I mean, did this person just refer to herself as a “goddess”? Wow. You can call yourself a goddess by yourself. Although I’m in the camp that believes role-playing is an individual freedom, this is some next-level shenanigans right here…
“Excuse me. Hello? Are you listening? I wonder if he heard me… It can’t be helped. Shall we do this again? —We finally meet. I am the goddess called Crouture.”
“The goddess, Crouture?”
After her self-introduction, the goddess smiles, her pale hair swinging slightly.
Are you serious? How so? But it’s true that she’s carrying genuine feathers on her back. A lovely symmetrical face. A perfect ethereal body. Not to mention, those inexplicable colors.
How curious. I feel as if I had met this self-proclaimed goddess somewhere before. White wings. Long, pale, and fluffy hair. Light pink eyes. White attire coupled with an affectionate smile.
I arrive to a conclusion in my thoughts.
After playing a certain game four times, I’d been longing to see the goddess from the story. My wish is granted—she resembles the goddess from that game to a staggering extent.
The title of that game is “Arcadia.”
Countless hearts were kindled in this world of sword and magic. It’s a story-oriented RPG that develops a world view and a heavy plot, the latter which seems to have been kneaded in like clay. The system direction is built intently in a reliable manner, garnering a favorable impression from the masses.
As for the level of difficulty, while many games can be cleared without a sweat, this one reigns at the top of its class in how challenging it is. Battle requires considerable thought. If you indecisive, you won’t be able to defeat your opponent, nor will you be able to rescue anyone. Well, the feeling of achievement after each clear is great, though. The plot toddles along in my mind and recites like a summary:
In a small village within the frontier, a vagrant boy struggled on to his destination. The boy had blonde hair, sky-blue eyes, and pale skin. In this country, such traits were rare, whereas tawny hair and brown eyes were commonplace.
Within the tiny village, there was a small orphanage ran solely by an aging nun. There, the nun took care of children who had lost their parents to sickness or war.
Several years passed.
The boy was now eighteen years old.
There were three large countries on the continent. In order to seize the world, the king of one of those countries summoned the Demon King.
However, the summoned Demon King proved too strong to control. His power spread throughout the continent, rousing the surrounding magical beasts from their slumber.
The ferocious monsters began to attack the villagers one by one. The demon’s army proceeded to invade the neighboring countries in succession.
Countless people were killed.
The earth shook.
Then, one day…
…A beautiful young nun arrived at the small village alone. She was dispatched to attend to the aged former nun and study under her. Like that boy, the girl also had blonde hair and sky blue eyes.
Using her healing powers generously and extending her arms without distinction, the kindhearted girl became known by everyone as the Holy Maiden.
Then came that fateful night.
It started off calm but then a crowd of demons arrived.
The villagers could not oppose those dreadful demons that grew ever more ferocious, and were slain one after the other.
Such a terrible tragedy. Only the boy and the girl survived that horrific event.
They had received God’s blessing, drawing the blood of the old nation. The two held divine and extraordinary power, battling through the night to protect the village.
However, the demon forces were overwhelming in number.
Even the old nun who had raised the children like siblings died. The majority of the villagers were exterminated. Eventually, the whole village was set ablaze. Just about everything burnt to a crisp and the village was no more.
The boy lost everything.
With regret toward everyone locked in his chest and bent on destroying the Demon King, the boy and the girl embarked on a journey—
—And that’s the heroic-fantasy story.
What happens next is as follows: he travels the world gathering comrades, overthrows the king of the evil country, defeats the Demon King, gets closer to the Holy Maiden, and bam! Cue the ending credits.
What an old-fashioned fantasy! The feeling really hits me.
And then the Hero will, I will, save everyone in the world!
It’s a good thing I don’t have an impatient personality. I watched everything in the game with indifferent eyes, watched as the severe reality unfolded. I didn’t go as far as becoming a dark hero in the game, just a hero who was somewhat shady.
I was totally addicted. I even completed all the side quests. Several endings were available. Your actions affected which ending you received.
I was finally able to see the true ending, which was criticized for setting its conditions too strict. The survival of all the characters served as the absolute requirement.
After locating and assembling each of the thirteen goddesses’ individual blessed items, the goddesses would supervise the Great Goddess Trials. Once those were conquered, you would receive the strongest sword to defeat the true final boss. Only then would you pull the true ending.
It was quite arduous.
The enemy who came forward was incredibly strong. As such, even though my level was maxed, I could have still lost if I wasn’t paying attention.
Another problem was that the goddess who appeared from time to time spouted philosophical nonsense and was difficult to deal with.
Anyway as I was saying, in order to gain the world’s strongest sword, thirteen goddesses must bestow their blessed items. However, the conditions to acquire the items were unusual and strict. First, you must speak to an NPC that appeared in whatever place at whatever time. Then you must repeat this with the next NPC on the list. If the items didn’t pop out from any of the NPCs, then that meant you made a mistake. If you made a mistake or if the events were interrupted, you must load a previous save file. A single blunder would call for a total restart.
There were a lot of events that consumed real time, testing my perseverance and endurance. Therefore, the sense of accomplishment and fatigue from clearing were significant.
“Excuse me… Hello? Excuse me, are you listening?”
“Haah. Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Well, what is it?”
The goddess looks at me, sighing in regret.
“So you were not listening… That is too bad. It cannot be helped. I will say it again, so please listen carefully. Is that okay? I implore you. Please?
“Ahh, yes. Sorry. One more time, please.”
The goddess recovers, clearing her throat in the process.
“Well, I will repeat myself: I beseech you. Please save the world.”
I remain reticent for several seconds.
I feel as if I said something that was the staple in games like Arcadia.
Perhaps it’s the mental system. Yeah. That must be it.
Besides, this is all a dream.
“Yeah. I’m watching a strange dream unfold… It’s probably because I stayed up late last night playing games.”
“No. This is not a dream.” She denies immediately.
“No no no. It is a dream. This scenario is impossible no matter how you think about it.”
“That’s why I am saying it is not a dream.”
“Ehh? I see. Still, you… Aren’t you the goddess from that game?”
“Wrong! Although it is true I resemble that goddess to a great extent, to say that is kind of…”
“Eh? How could that be? You look just like her.”
“Although she takes after me, we are not the same. I will return to my story. At any rate, I need to take the divine promotion exam.”
…What the heck.
What a sudden development.
I won’t be able to read such a development at all. Well, dreams are usually incoherent. I mean, what the heck’s a divine promotion exam? I wonder if it’s similar to a certification test.
Required to take tests, even the gods of this world have it hard.
“The final exam consists of creating one of the first worlds capable of governing itself.”
“But creating a world is so, SO hard. My upperclassmen struggle, failing over and over again. Some have failed over a hundred times.”
“One hundred times. That’s a bit unsuccessful.”
“Agreed. I think so too. Anyway, I have a friend who likes games. She recommended the game titled “Arcadia” to me. It’s one of my favorites.”
“Ah! That! I also played it! It’s good, isn’t it? The feeling of a noble fantasy!”
“Isn’t that right? The game has a good traditional feeling!”
Oh, I actually have a companion in such a place! I’m happy!
“Because I enjoyed the plot and the world view of “Arcadia” so much, I decided to model a world after it.”
“Ohhhh! That’s great! Sounds good!”
“Indeed, indeed! Surely it will be a wonderful world! Well, that’s what I thought…” The goddess’ expression turns dark and cloudy. “…World creation is truly a challenging miracle. Despite using my full power to create it perfectly, no matter how many times I reset or remake it, the world does not conform to the events within that game nor does it follow the story line…”
“Why is this so…?”
“Well. I don’t understand it either. If the world you create can’t be identical to the one in the game, then it can’t be helped.”
“It cannot be helped, huh.”
“Yep. People’s hearts are complex. Even though their circumstances are identical, they will not necessarily think the same as the characters within the game. Just a trivial thing, something small, can change people’s feelings.”
“Yes… I see. It is as you say. I also feel the same toward the exam. Still, I cannot give up. By all means, I want to guide this lovely world that I have created. I do not want to lose. I want to protect it. That is why, please, may you provide your assistance? Please, save this world.”
“Save the world.”
Such an event is too magnificent. The back of my neck itches. I don’t think I should agree to her demands, though.
Moreover, I wonder if the kids with sparkly eyes are a better fit for the job. They’re not someone who’s in the process of job hunting like me. Additionally, such a line of affirmation should be said by an amazing and charismatic person.
Like hero or a savior. It’ll make sense for those types of people to accept this request.
“Hm. Even if you tell me to save you, unfortunately I have no power. I’m just an ordinary person.”
I’m just a guy with no relatives.
When I was in elementary school, my parents got into an accident while traveling, ending up in the netherworld. Afterward, I was brought to my grandpa’s house. My grandpa reared me, often saying how happy he was to be able to see me enter high school.
The day after he said those words, I attended the high school’s entrance ceremony. When I returned home, my grandfather had already passed away. It was as if he had been pushing forward all this time, and finally let go after being relieved.
I have no other relatives. I’ve been living alone since.
Yet, I’m not lonely. Grandpa left me his house and money. Right now, the problem is getting employed.
As humans, if you don’t work, then you don’t eat. On television reporters claim the employment rate is high, but in reality that’s not the case.
Ahh, yesterday I was contacted by one of the companies that gave me a good reception. They denied me. No, it’s too early to give up. I still haven’t received word from three other companies. It’ll be okay if anyone of them accepts me. I’m begging you, accept me. I just need one. Just one, please! Seriously. Please. God. Buddha. Goddess.
“Excuse me. Hello? Are you listening?”
“Haah! Oh, I’m sorry. Um, what is it?”
“Again… Please listen carefully. I want to guide you in saving the world.”
“Well, even if you say this, what should I do? Sadly, I have neither the power nor the energy. Wouldn’t it be better for you to ask someone who can actually save the world?” I explain this well. Yet, the goddess still shakes her head.
“No. I would like to ask you. Just your power.”
Once at a decision, she’s the type not to move or let go. What a disagreeable goddess. I’m in trouble. How can I get her to give up?
I want to see this world that is modeled after “Arcadia,” but in order to do so I must save it. That’s something I can’t do.
“No, no. No matter what you say, I am sorry but I can’t do much to help. Besides, I’m busy job hunting right now. I can’t afford to waste time on such a troublesome matter, especially on an adventure that might last for who knows how long.”
“Somehow, the latter half’s intention is leaking out, but please don’t say such a sad thing! I believe you are like me and love ‘Arcadia’ very much. Such warm sentiments reach my core, resonating strongly in my heart.”
What the. My thoughts reached your feelings? Sympathy. What a romantic. I don’t dislike it, though.
“Please. I have no choice but to call on you. No matter what I do, I always receive a sad ending. I tried everything I could, but the result was the same. That is why, please. Please guide this world to a better future!”
“No, but, to me…”
“I implore you. Some way or another, please help me!” The goddess hits her face with both hands, bursting into tears.
Ahh. Watching you cry on your own is bad for my heart.
“That, please stop crying. Well, if I am able to accomplish your task, then I won’t be reluctant to assist you. I can’t do anything crazy, but if your tasks are easy and physically possible, then I’ll lend my help.”
“R-really?” She lifts her face at once, still shedding tears. “T-thank you! As I thought, of course the warm sentiments I had felt from you were not a mistake. You are a very, very kind individual. Oh, you…”
“Seriously though, I can’t help you with anything great. I can only perform simple acts, whether or not they benefit you.”
“Yes, yes. That is fine. As you would expect, if you attempt it, that is already enough by itself.”
The goddess wipes away her tears and smiles. She stops crying. However, I still feel bothered.
“So, what do you want me to do?”
“Yes… They say, first impressions are everything.”
“Ah, well that’s correct. I agree. Things that are stingy in the beginning will stay stingy until the end.”
“Exactly! For that reason, I believe we should watch and improve the first area.”
“I have already done what I can do. You…”
“Yes. Like throwing pebbles across a stagnant pool of water… As you proceed, other things will move and change…”
“Ehh? No matter how I carry myself I doubt anything would change… So, what’s okay for me to do?”
“Please enter that world 〈 Arcadia〉 and guide the Hero.”
I steel myself. “Y-yes?”
What did she say just now? Please wait a second. Give me one moment.
Guide the Hero…?
“Wait!! No, that’s not an easy task at all, is it?! Did you even listen to what I said?!”
“Then, thank you very much. I have other matters to address. It’ll be fine if you just help in the starting village arc. Please guide the Hero well.”
The goddess crosses both hands on her chest, smiling a beautiful smile.
“H-hold on! Please wait!! You don’t care but I do!! This isn’t easy, not one bit—”
White surrounds my field of vision, growing increasingly obstructive. The goddess’ figure becomes hazy, until it fades out, swallowed up by the white. She gives a slight yawn. I hear her muttering that she would sleep well tonight.
But, I won’t sleep at all!!
At last, everything is enveloped by white and my consciousness fades away.
Holy FUCK this was long. What do you guys think? No BL yet, duh. It’s still the prologue.
Also, huge shout out to Nome and arashichan12 for checking my translation.
Edited 3/3/18 (large-scale)