"I wonder if I'm really back..."
This place looked familiar to me.
I was so moved that tears started to well up in my eyes as soon as I realized that this was my room.
I had thought that I had already dried up all the tears...
After all, every day, my heart was worn out by disappointment and despair. And yet, the thought of longing for home was the only thing that motivated me to live.
My fellow adventurers, taking advantage of my language barrier, made a one-sided contract with me and tried to use me as a decoy for monsters.
There was a slave trader who tried to trick me into slavery.
And in a world where I couldn't trust anyone, the only woman who was kind to me eventually betrayed me.
I hated that world.
I hated the inhabitants of that world, I hated the fact that no one came to help me, and I hated God for giving me such a fate.
I was not summoned by anyone, as in some stories.
I never met the tutorial god, nor did any event happen in which the king asked me to save the world.
I just found myself standing alone in the wilderness of another world.
The reason I was able to survive in such a harsh environment is that I had an ability that can be described as a kind of cheat.
I don't know why I had such an ability.
In fact, I thought of the possibility that I had forgotten that I had met God.
But then, there must be a role for me, and yet, I don't have any idea what it is.
If there is someone who gave me this ability, it is hard to imagine that it has no meaning at all. I wonder what they wanted me to do.
However, one thing I can say is that I would not have survived more than a month without this ability.
Even if I had been lucky enough to reach a human-inhabited town with relative ease. For me, who had been immersed in the lukewarm world of civilization for 25 years, that world was extremely harsh and cruel.
I almost died many times.
Still, I managed to survive and searched for a way to return home.
For about eight years, I traveled to many places and studied every book I could find. As a result, I came to a conclusion. The way to return home should be found in magic or alchemy.
The technologies called magic and alchemy in that world ignore the laws of physics, and make possible phenomena that are unthinkable in modern Japanese science. This is the reason why I thought that there is still a possibility of returning to Japan.
At first, I was thinking of a magic method. However, the more I learned about magic, the more I realized that it is impossible to return by magic.
This is because magic is a miracle that is performed by the spirits by offering my magic power to them.
The general understanding is that magic can never cause phenomena that the spirits themselves do not know or understand. This is probably true.
I also concluded that the phenomena that happened to me were too unclear and that it would be difficult to create the same phenomena in the opposite direction. Because of these several reasons, I gave up on the idea of a return by magic very early.
So, in the first year, I was looking hard for cases of summoning or wandering people or something like that. But no one knew of such things.
If it was caused by someone in that world, it's one thing, but if it was a natural phenomenon, it's probably impossible for an individual to figure it out.
Finally, I found a book of ancient alchemy, Algabana.
In one of the verses of Algabana was the existence of a time traveler's potion.
If time could be turned back...
Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything will go well. Even if time were to return, there was a good chance that my existence would remain in the other world.
And there is another problem.
That was obtaining the materials needed for the secret potion.
It is said to be unbelievably difficult to obtain.
Petals of millennium grass, which is said to bloom only once in a thousand years. The living blood of an ancient dragon. Tears of Frapple, the Spirit of Time.
These were not the only materials needed, but these three were especially difficult to obtain. All of them were said to be difficult to obtain even for S-rank adventurers in that world.
Yes, if I don't have the such ability...
But I had the ability to see the direction of the object I had in my mind.
A body that can regenerate itself in a day from minor injuries, immune to disease, poison, or any other abnormality.
And although there is no such concept as level-up, my physical strength is so strong that it is obviously unnatural.
In addition, I can identify the emotions of my opponents as colored auras, and possess the existence of interdimensional storage.
These are the advantages that no one else in this world, even those with magic or alchemical skills, has, and that I alone have been bestowed with.
Eight years seems like a long time.
In the first year, I didn't know what was going on, and I just survived.
In the second and third years, I decided to live as an inhabitant of the other world, learning the language and the letters desperately, and being disappointed by everything along the way.
The remaining five years of my life were spent studying and searching for a way to return home, with minimal contact with others.
And at last...
"I'm not dreaming, am I? No, even if it's a dream, don't wake up."
I look around the room.
It was definitely a scene from a corner of my memory.
Even the lights were on, and so was the PC.
The carpets and curtains were fresh and spotless. The beds looked clean, and I wanted to fall into that safe sleep right away.
All of this is something that would not be possible in the other world.
At once I feel nostalgic. It was Earth, no doubt, and it was my old room.
However, as I slowly recall things, I notice a slight discomfort.
I quickly turn on my PC and check the date.
I think it was October of 2019 when I was involved in an abnormal situation. Although I don't remember the date clearly, there is a time lag of about eight years.
If the time travel potion I prepared is effective, it would take me back to that day eight years ago when I was involved in an abnormal situation. If it is more than that, the number of materials to be prepared would be larger, and the number of failures would increase in proportion to the number of years to return.
I could get the Blood of the Ancient Dragon and Tears of Flapple, but it is not so easy to get the Millennial Grass.
You see, it took me about three years just to find a millennium grass with flowers because I could find only non-flowering millennium grass when I thought of flowering millennium grass.
Well, as it turns out, I have no idea why this happened, but it was not on that day eight years ago when I was caught in the anomaly, but eight more years back from that day.
As if to confirm this calculation, I looked down at my body and saw that it had changed to look weak and rather feeble.
"Well, it doesn't matter if I'm unexpectedly young. It's rather convenient to think about the future."
There is still a problem.
If I don't do anything, when that day comes, there is a high possibility that I will be caught in another abnormal situation. I should have prepared a barrier to prevent the interference of magic from the outside, but I am not sure if it is magic or not, and I was not sure if it would work or not.
Frankly speaking, it is only a happy miscalculation that I have been given a chance to prepare a complete countermeasure in eight years. Compared to the experience of being suddenly transported to another world by myself with nothing in my possession, this kind of anomaly is not so serious.
And, considering the possibility that this house, or rather this place, might be one of the factors, I could move out of the house in eight years.
But I would have to convince my parents to do so...
"Well, I remember that my father and mother were in Hokkaido at that time..."
In the spring of my second year of high school, my father was suddenly transferred to a branch office in Hokkaido, and I remember that my mother went with him.
I don't know what it would be like for a couple to be transferred to Hokkaido without their high school student son, but at the time I was more excited about the freedom I would enjoy, and I threw my hands up in the air and watched my parents leave. I'm sure that they are now making out with each other in Hokkaido.
I pick up the cell phone on the desk and call my mother's number from memory.
Within three calls, I hear a familiar voice on the other end of the line.
'What's wrong? Did something happen?'
I felt a hot sensation rising up from deep inside my chest. I swallow the words that are about to come out of my mouth.
What had happened to me?
How much pain I'd been through.
I wanted to tell her everything.
"No, I'm fine. I just wanted to know if Mom and Dad were okay. That's all."
'Hehe... That's so unusual. Shuu being worried about me. Mom is fine. Of course, your father is too. Is Shuu eating well? You need to eat your vegetables too. If not, Mom will come back.'
"Don't worry so much. I'm doing fine here."
I wonder if it's really safe to talk to her, even though she is my mother.
That her son has killed many people in other worlds.
That he did what he had to do to survive.
And maybe they weren't all bad people. Maybe they were people whom he could understand if he talked to them. But this is a world where a moment's lapse can be fatal. Even if I can regenerate my injuries, it does not mean that I am invulnerable.
'I'll be back once in early December. Your father, it's hard for me to get a decent amount of time off. So please take good care of yourself.'
"Okay, okay. I gotta go. See you later."
'Yes, see you later. I'll tell your father...'
After all, I can't talk about that.
Then, should I just hide the bad part?
Well, if I hide that part, it's the same as not talking at all. And if I don't hide the important part, I don't think she'll believe me, even if she's my mother. She would probably be worried that her son has lost his mind.
Now, after I hang up the phone, I go downstairs and lay down on the living room sofa.
I want to sleep now.
I felt like I had finally achieved what I had hoped for so long, but I didn't feel better at all. I had lived my whole life with this one thought in mind, and I hadn't thought about what I would do if I could go back home.
What would I do after that?
Will I, a murderer, really be able to go back to being a normal high school student?
I often hear stories about soldiers returning from war and suffering from PTSD. Will it happen to me? Or maybe I already have it?
With these agonizing thoughts in my mind, my consciousness slowly sinks into the darkness.
* * *
The chime of the front door awakened me.
It made me grumpy. After all, it was my first good sleep in a long time.
Besides, I don't like to have my sleep disturbed by others. Or, I should say, I have come to dislike it.
Because in the other world, there are only a few places where I can get a good night's sleep.
I have to go to sleep always alert, always on the lookout for bandits or monsters. Therefore, a safe place to sleep was precious.
That's why, if anyone disturbed my sleep in such a place, I would beat them to silence without any question.
I looked at the hands of the clock, and it was 11:30 P.M. I must have slept for about three hours.
I wake up quietly and go to see the uninvited guest on the intercom monitor.
My memory is not so clear, but it is probably not the person I had promised. I don't remember inviting someone at this time of night.
The person I saw on the monitor was a girl.
She was in her late teens. Her face was familiar, but her name did not come to my mind immediately. After all, it had been 16 years since I had last seen her. I try desperately to pull the threads of my memory together.
"Was it Ayano?"
That's right. It's definitely Ayano Kato, a classmate of mine who lives next door. A childhood friend who I had known until about the second year of high school, but gradually drifted apart.
As my memory comes back to me, I realize that I've understood many things, and I call out to Ayano over the intercom.
"Hmm? What do you want? If it's a 'Kairanban', leave it there."
"Ayano, did you have a fight with Aunt again?"
'What do you care about? It's none of your business. It's raining too.'
We were pretty good friends in middle school. Yeah, we went back and forth to each other's houses.
To tell the truth, she had a good face and style, and I even thought of taking her as my girlfriend at one point. Her personality was a little bit bad, but I thought she was cute, partly because of my childhood friend's favoritism.
However, she changed when she entered high school.
Especially in the second year of high school, when she started dating a guy named Sakaki in the group, her behavior became so bad that I couldn't handle it. And I, too, started to keep my distance from her.
"You're still as foul-mouthed as ever. And your selfishness. All right, hold on a minute."
I unlock the front door and open it.
There stood a soaking wet Ayano Kato, staring at me.
"Shuu, can I borrow a towel?"
Ayano, who was still wearing a sullen expression on her face, opened her mouth reproachfully.
But at that moment, I had barely heard Ayano's words.
I saw something I would never be able to see in this world-the color of her aura.
 Kairanban is a bulletin board for circulating correspondence, etc., at neighborhood associations in Japan. It is mainly used as a means of communication within the village.
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