I greeted the being in front of me lazily, but with power in my eyes, and the great spirit, sitting atop a great white serpent, greeted me with an expression that was half confusion and half admiration.
“I was surprised that a human could really break through. Well, it was a complete force majeure.” (Valus)
The woman sitting on top of the snake, with her cheekbones and an expression that doesn’t match the mood of her languid words, speaks to me.
The strangely aged woman, who looks like she could be anywhere in terms of facial features, does not turn hostile toward me, but she still exudes an atmosphere of assessing me.
I look squarely at such a woman.
She is featureless, the kind of woman I could meet at the supermarket.
If I had to single out a characteristic, I would say that she is a woman who can be described as slightly plump from the rounded contours that can be seen on her face.
Such a woman is sitting on a throne on top of a snake, looking down at me.
What else can I say about his appearance?
Can I just call it a unique folk costume with black and white mottled patterns?
Her skin was kept to the bare minimum except for her face, and her clothes were loose at best, and sloppy at worst, or just plain simple.
And contrary to their superficial appearance, their presence is overwhelming.
I know it because I’m facing her.
I can feel the pressure on my skin.
From the presence of such a strong person, I was convinced that it was definitely Valus, the spirit of space-time, whom I had tried to meet and who had given me the ordeal. [T/N: So, Valus might be a woman or feminine. I’ll be using she/her instead.]
“Did you put me through a trial that is impossible to do?” (Jiro)
“Fufu, I did no such thing. It’s a trial that even a child can do if they want to do it. My trial is a simple one that anyone with perseverance can do. If you accomplish all 1,348 steps correctly, you will be out of that space in about three days. Well, if you have the patience.” (Valus)
And when I sarcastically questioned the words of the Spirit of Time and Space, she brushed off the barbs of my words as if they were nothing, and declared that this trial was not impossible, as if those who had challenged the trial up until now were unworthy of it.
She then laughed and briefly explained the strategy for the trial.
I am aware of how difficult it is to do what she said, but I am also aware of how difficult it is to do it even under the right conditions.
“Even with with no hint?” (Jiro)
This trial is not like a game, where you are given information before you begin, and you can tackle it with a little bit of thought.
It was a difficult task that required me to find the solution on a blank piece of paper without any objective or clue written.
It would be impossible for even the wisest person to complete such a test with no information at all. [T/N: It’s for the muscle brains like you. Hahaha.]
If one were to be able to conquer it by the correct method, they would have to be a person with great luck, who would be blessed with good fortune at every step, or a person of bad luck, who would cause something to happen while acting like a madman. [T/N: Your single-digit luck is proof.]
I know I’m the one who took the job, but her words were so lackadaisical that I wanted to ask if she was willing to help me.
“If you get even the slightest clue that you’re off the starting point, you have to start by trying to figure out where you are. But isn’t that the whole point of a trial? If you’re going to ask for help from beyond, you have to pay for it, and in my case, I’m being nice, you know? Some spirits reap a challenger’s life from a single trial.” (Valus)
They didn’t even notice my barbed voice.
Rather, they are just spewing answerless words and information about the trial.
I could not help but let out a wry smile at such a spirit.
The three cheers of “impossible, reckless, and hopeless” made my tone of voice turn into one of dismay.
“As I can see, I think the word ‘impossible’ applies to this matter, don’t you think?” (Jiro)
The spirit Valus, without paying any attention to my feelings, explained that the ordeal of the high-rank spirits must be like this.
“I don’t know what you are talking about, but you have done it without any regard for the process. It’s my fault, I didn’t think that someone who could cut through that space would challenge my ordeal.” (Valus)
And then, as if to just throw anything to the void, she pointed out to me that I, who literally cut and threw away the impossible and reckless trial, should not say such a thing.
I think “similar” is the most apt word for this moment.
“I’m not going to talk about what’s already done. Do you want some tea?” (Valus)
“If you have some.” (Jiro)
Since we both understand each other, we avoided discussing this topic any further.
This is because even if we continue, it will definitely become a quagmire and we will not be able to bring up the talk about a contract.
“Now that you’ve gone through the trial, you have the right to make a contract with me, but what are you going to do? I have quite a few quirks, you know?” (Valus)
“I was able to figure it out somehow from the conversation after the trial. This is sweet.” (Jiro)
“It’s delicious, isn’t it?” (Valus)
The yellow liquid in a wooden cup made of a bamboo-like material was quickly brought by a small white snake.
The way the snake offered the yellow liquid into the cup was like a neighborhood woman giving a drink to her child, and my mouth relaxed a little.
I understood that it was a warm drink because of the steam coming out of it, and since the spirit in front of me sipped it without hesitation, I thought it wouldn’t be harmful. Although I was a little surprised by the sweetness of the drink, I honestly thought it was delicious and drank it as is.
“So, for you who seem to be quick to understand, I’ll move on to the contract right away.” (Valus)
I look at the spirit who cut to the chase without interrupting the chit-chat, and I urge her onward.
Well, by overcoming the trial, I was able to obtain the right to make a contract.
However, in the end, it was just a matter of obtaining the right, and how much power I could borrow from here depended on the negotiation.
“To put it bluntly, I don’t want to fight, so please make a contract with that in mind, okay?” (Valus)
“Frankly. From the perspective of those who came to make a contract for the purpose of spirits able to fight, if they heard such a story after the trial was over, they might go insane.” (Jiro)
“It might be the norm, but I’m not a normal spirit.” (Valus)
I thought about the words of the Spirit, who said that it was fine to make a contract but that she didn’t want to fight, without showing any signs of caring as our tones changed from formal to casual.
I was going to reply no if someone asked if I would rely on the power of the spirit, but if I was asked if it was essential, I would also say no.
What I wanted from the spirit this time wasn’t an eternity, but I wanted a time where I could live with my wives.
Ultimately, it can be judged that there is no problem as long as my strength does not decay even if she does not become a fighting force.
“By the way, are you strong when you fight?” (Jiro)
“Well? A long time ago, there was a fight between a special class of fire and a special class of earth.” (Valus)
“There was?” (Jiro)
“I remember beating both up with one hand holding sweets.” (Valus)
“You’re quite strong then.” (Jiro)
“Not to that extent. It’s more fun to listen to stories about love. I’m not that strong. But just because you are strong doesn’t mean you like to fight. It is not a joke to fight badly and incur a grudge. And if it’s about good food, that’s even better.” (Valus)
I thought she was asking me to give her a break from fighting because she lacked the strength to fight, but even though she looks like an ordinary auntie, she is a special class spirit.
Her fighting ability also seems to be quite high.
Such a spirit simply doesn’t like fighting and is purely acting on defense.
There, I understood the meaning of the gaze of the spirit Valus, who was still watching me.