“I’m running out of time.”
A female voice could be heard in a panicked state. She was sitting at a table shuffling stacks of documents containing information about tons of people. A window refracted light from the outside into the room. It was like a timer to her. When the sun sets, time is out and she failed her task.
“Josh Evans? No, it looks like he gives up too easily. Tsukasa Ryuga? Strong, but not the kind of person I’m looking for. Mia Russo? Just about to get a job.”
The stress of finding someone was starting to get to her. With the current position of the sun, she only had two hours before the sun sets. She took a sip of tea to try and calm herself, then continued looking.
“Pablo Garcia? They'll get depressed without their family. Can’t do that to him. Shihara Keisuke.”
Her eyes widened while looking at the bio.
“I think I found my hero.”
I looked down at my desk where a piece of paper lay. It was some questions that I needed to answer for an assignment I had in school.
The assignment was to read any piece of fiction of our choice and answer questions about the book. The teacher was cool with us reading anything as long as it was not a manga. Luckily for me, that meant light novels were fair game.
At first, I was hesitant to choose a light novel since it would out myself to my teacher, but it was the easiest for me to read since they tend to be shorter than normal novels. Due to the length, I guess that about 70% of the class will be reading light novels.
The light novel I chose was one that I wanted to read for a long time, but never had the chance to. Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World. A story about a girl named kino and her talking Motorad named Hermes who travels from country to country. Learning about their culture and their people all within a 3-day limit.
As a child, I watched its anime adaptation and it captivated me. The world, the people, everything about it was something that I enjoyed. It made me want to go around the world and see it for myself. Instead of looking at it through a screen.
For the longest time, I was unable to find a copy of the original light novel. Due to that, I ended up reading a similar series called Wandering Witch. A story about a witch named Elaina traveling from country to country.
Oddly enough, she wanted to travel the world due to reading a book by a witch. While I felt attached to Elaina as a character due to her goals aligning with mine, I still felt somewhat disconnected as the world was much more fantastical than the world of Kino’s Journey.
Eventually, I came across a used bookshop where my search finally ended. A copy of volume one was lying under a pile of other used light novels. I was ecstatic to finally be able to read the light novel.
A day later and my class got the current assignment that I’m doing. Which soon leads to now.
The first question on the paper was to give a brief description of what I read. A simple task I easily finished within a minute.
The second question was who the important characters are in the story.
Another simple question. Kino and Hermes are who we tend to follow. However, we also get introduced to Shizu and Riku in the first volume. Shizu is another traveler like Kino, who travels with his talking dog Riku. I knew from watching the anime there are some other important characters that are introduced in the future, but they weren’t introduced in volume one.
Question three asked what the goals of the characters were.
I sat in silence trying to answer the question. While the characters are out exploring the world, there was no end goal in site for anyone. They had a reason for doing it sure, but not a goal. Seeing the world may be their goal, but that seems like too simple of an answer.
For the time being, I moved on to the next question; How do your characters feel while achieving their goals?
My mind went blank. Though we follow the characters, we never really get to read what the characters think. It was written from the third-person perspective with no internal dialogue. So how am I supposed to answer this?
Is Kino sad about leaving her home?
Does she feel sad about hurting people?
What does she truly think about the people she met?
After tons of internal questions, I decided the best course of action was to sleep on it. The homework wasn’t due till next Monday anyways, so I have days to try and answer the questions.
I left my desk and walked over to my bed. Laying down the moment I was able to. All I had in my mind were questions surrounding the assignment. As much as it bugs me, it’s best to sleep on it instead of getting too stressed out over it.
Minutes passed and my eyes finally became heavy. It didn’t take long after that when I finally drifted off to sleep.
An hour passed when I realized my throat was getting dry. I reached towards my nightstand to grab a bottle of water. However, the nightstand wasn’t there. As much as my eyes wanted to stay shut, my dry throat was getting to the point of being uncomfortable.
My eyes slowly opened, revealing a sunset occurring down the horizon. Instead of laying down in a bed, I was sitting down inside a gazebo with two chairs and a coffee table. Surrounding it was a huge garden. Full of different types of flowers. Past that was a three-story mansion. It looked like something from the 1800s, but then again, I’m not an expert.
At first, I thought it was a dream. But it felt too "Real" to be a dream. There is a chance though it's a lucid dream.
I quickly tried to gain control of the “dream”, but nothing happened.
“Oh, you’re finally awake.”
A feminine voice entered my ears, causing me to jump from shock.
I turned my head towards the voice to see a young girl, who appeared to be in her mid-teens, entering the gazebo holding a tray with tea cups and some ingredients to help change the flavor of the tea. She wore a white dress which made her look like a sort of princess. Her long blonde hair, emerald green eyes, and her crown of flowers gave the further impression that she was of royalty. Around her shoulder was a brown messenger bag.
After reaching the coffee table, she carefully placed it down and sat down across from me with a smile. She picked up a cup of tea and took a quick sip before putting it back down.
Sitting in silence, I was both shocked and confused. It was obvious that the girl could tell too, as she broke my silence with a question.
“Are you alright?”
“Erm. Yes, sorry. Am I dreaming?”
“I can see why you would think that as you were in a different environment before you woke up. But I can assure you that this is not a dream.”
It was difficult to respond thanks to my dry throat, so I picked up the teacup and took a sip. To my surprise, the tea was warm and tasted better than I thought. It was my first time ever drinking tea so after that, I can officially say I crossed that off of my bucket list of things to try.
Other than that, the tea told me something else. Usually, when I dream or have a lucid dream my senses are lightened. But when I drank the tea, my senses felt the same as when I was awake.
While that answered my question, many more popped up.
“If you don’t mind me asking, who are you?”
“Ah yes. I guess I should introduce myself. My name’s Seia. The goddess of life.”
Did she just say, goddess? As much as I want to
“Nice to meet you,” I said with a bow. “My name is Shi-”
Before I could finish introducing myself, Seia interrupted my sentence.
“Shihara Keisuke. Correct?”
Though it felt odd for someone I never met before to know my name, I didn’t question it at all. With everything that happened so far it made some sense that a goddess knows my name.
“Yes. That’s right.”
“Nice to meet you too,” Seia said with a gentle smile.
“So, what am I doing here?”
“Right. I need to explain that to you. Right now, you and many others are speaking to chosen gods and goddesses. All of whom are going to be sent down to the world of Sylia to be our chosen heroes. All to help stop a world-ending war that we estimate is to happen in five years.”
“I see... Wait a hero?”
“That's right. Shihara Keisuke. I chose you to be the hero of the goddess of life.”
This all sounded too unreal to be real. I read and watched some isekai stories before but having been sent to another world is completely different than reading or watching it. Even then after hearing, I was chosen to be a hero; a lingering question was still in my mind.
“But why me?”
“I chose you because I wanted to try something. Everyone else is summoning a hero chose someone talented that fits their ideals of a hero. But they all are willing to kill for the safety of the world. As the goddess who created all life on Sylia, it felt wrong sending someone who will go and hurt and kill others under my name. I wanted to find someone who would break the mold of what people consider a hero. Not one who fights with swords or magic, but one who uses their mind to come up with a way where everyone can be happy and peaceful. This may all be wishful thinking, but the only way to prove something is to put it into action. So that’s what I'm doing. Finding someone who can help save the world without killing anyone.”
After hearing Seia say that I couldn’t help but agree. It was the same mindset I had back on earth Afterall.
“Wouldn’t it be better to have summoned an experienced humanitarian then?”
“Well, that’s the thing... The god of your world only lets us summon people to other worlds if they fit a certain requirement. If they die, they can reincarnate into a world. But with a five-year limit, they would have to save the world as a child. If we are to summon people, they would have to be someone who won’t hurt the social structure too much if they were to disappear.”
It felt like a personal attack to hear that. Even though I know it's true.
“So, I was the only one who fits your ideals and my god's rules?”
“Well, there may have been more, but I had a time limit until summoning was cut off.”
I sat in silence trying to think about this whole situation. If I was to agree then I would be put into possible life-ending situations. But this can also be the chance I was waiting for. The chance to explore the world, and help people. I may not be the best person for the role, but I’m willing to try.
“Alright. I’ll try to be your hero.”
A warm smile came from Seia as she reaches into her messenger bag. She quickly took out a book and placed it on the table.
“Then you’ll need this.”
“Yes. But it’s a special kind of book. This is called a skill book. Upon putting your hand on the book, you will gain a skill instantly to help you in your journey.”
I leaned over to take a look at the book. There was a title, but unfortunately, I couldn’t read it as it seemed to be in some sort of runic language. All it had was a picture of a brain imbraided on the spine of the book.
“What skill is it?”
“You’ll see,” Seia responded with a wink.
I took a deep breath and cautiously put my hand on the book. Suddenly the pages started emitting a blue aura. That which resulted in a mind-numbing headache. Reflexively I put my hand off the book and onto my forehead.
“Are you alright?” Seia asked in a panic.
“Yeah. I’m fine. Just a headache.”
“The skill from the book should be transferred to you now. I guess the headache was the result of the influx of information.”
After the headache died down a bit, I released my hand from my forehead and looked back down at the skill book. Shockingly to me, the title I wasn’t able to read was finally revealed to me. “Polyglot Mastery”.
“Err, what's a polyglot?” I asked looking back at Seia.
“It means that you know several languages. This skill will help a ton with our end goal.”
“Yeah, that does. It saves a lot of time and effort to learn the languages of the world.”
For how helpful the skill is, something else popped into my mind. Though I’m planning on trying to be a hero without hurting anyone, that doesn’t mean I’m susceptible to harm.
“Is there any chance there are any skill books to help keep me out of danger?”
Seia shook her head.
“There was, but recently the library where we keep all the skill books were burnt down. All we were only able to salvage a few skill books.”
“I see. Well, that’s unfortunate.”
Seia looked behind her towards the sunset. About 20% of the sun was left until it was fully gone.
“When the sun fully sets you will be sent over to Sylia. The starting location for your journey should be in the sacred forest. There you should find Verde Village. They are my followers so once they see that you are my hero, they’ll help get you situated for the journey.”
“How do they see that I'm your hero anyways?”
Seia sat in silence for a second before responding.
“That's true. Most gods and goddesses get a tattoo on the hand of their heroes as a sign to the people, but we don’t have much time to get you one... I got it! Come follow me for a second.”
Seia stood up from her seat. I did the same and followed her into her garden. A few turns later we stopped at a pure white flower with four big pedals on it. Seia plucked it out of the ground and handed it over to me.
“This is an Ichsei flower. It was the first flower that I ever created for the Sylia. Unfortunately, it became extinct over a thousand years ago due to excessive crossbreeding. Show them this and tell them you’re my hero. Then that should be enough.”
“Thank you. Sorry for having you do this to your garden for me”
“No worries. Now let's get back to the gazebo. I’ll give you my messenger bag as a safe place to store the flower.”
I nodded as we promptly headed back to the gazebo. When we arrived, Seia handed over her messenger bag. I thanked her and promptly put the Ichsei flower in the bag. We sat down and took a sip of tea.
“Oh, I forgot another important detail. If you are able to stop the war, then you get a wish.”
Seia nodded and took another sip of tea.
“You can wish for whatever you want. No need to tell me what you want now. Since it’s in five years until we can grant your wish.”
It’s nice to hear I don't need to respond with my wish now. After all, I have no clue what I would want to wish for now.
I nodded and looked back at the sun. There was still some time left so Seia and I both had a nice little chat to get to know each other better. Time passed and the sun fully set. Suddenly a light formed around me.
“Looks like time is up.” Stated Seia. “I wish you good luck. My hero.”