༺ The Lord Is With Us (7) ༻
“Yo-you bastard! Even if you’re from the future, you still stole my friend’s body!”
Ian had become possessed after receiving the letter from the future and had gone down a completely new path.
Naturally, the path this Ian had taken was different.
The proof of that lay in Ian’s amnesia. If they had been similar, they would have shared memories.
Considering that, Leto had essentially lost his friend’s essence. It wasn’t strange that he felt angry.
Leto clenched his fist, prompting Ian to take a step back, evading the blow.
Leto grunted in frustration and followed up with a second punch.
‘Ian’ caught Leto’s fist.
A bitter smile tugged at the corners of Ian’s mouth. It was the only face that could even be called an expression.
“Don’t worry, I can’t stay long… I’m just doing what I have to do.”
Ian’s explanation did little to relieve Leto’s frustration. As Leto’s green eyes met with Ian’s, his intent to use a scroll became increasingly apparent.
It was then.
Leto felt a wind brushing past him as his view changed. ‘Ian’ had forcibly turned Leto’s body around before pinning him against the wall.
Leto’s arms were restrained behind his back, causing him to groan from the pain without even processing what had occurred.
With bloodshot eyes, a growl of animosity escaped his lips.
“What you have to do…? Do you have any idea how much Ian suffered because of your actions……? How many times does he have to go along with your antics……!”
“If he doesn’t, we will all die.”
His voice remained flat and completely devoid of emotion.
Leto regained his composure immediately as he sensed the deep remorse in the man’s voice.
As if a bucket of cold water had been thrown at him, he could only stare blankly into the man’s golden eyes.
The man’s gaze remained unwavering. As far as Leto could tell, the man was telling the truth.
Several times, his lips parted before closing.
Even while forcibly pressed against the wall, Leto managed to ask a question.
“…Just what the hell happened to yo-?”
With a grave expression, the man offered some heartfelt advice.
“Don’t try to know too much. The world won’t allow it, and you might end up hurt.”
That was all.
As if he believed Leto had calmed down, he released him and swiftly turned around without hesitation.
Leto was briefly speechless as he stretched his body.
A tangled web of theories began to form in his mind.
Everyone would die? Why? And if the world didn’t allow him to know, then how come Ian knew about it?
A myriad of questions entwined in his thoughts, forming an uncertainty. With the meager clues he had been given so far, it seemed impossible to solve them.
Thus, there was only one solution—To gather as much information as possible.
“……Why did you come back?”
The man’s stride halted.
As the man’s golden eyes flickered to him, Leto repeated his question, concerned that the man would change his mind and leave.
“To travel back from the future to the past is a miracle that even the most skilled mages have yet to accomplish. It must have required immense effort. Why did you go to such lengths and why is it that you’re the one who came back?”
The man pondered for a moment, his eyes darting from side to side before focusing back
Still devoid of emotion, he gave his answer.
“Because… I ‘failed’.”
It was yet another term that he didn’t know the meaning of. Leto’s head throb.
Soon after, ‘Ian’ walked out of the alleyway.
Unable to guess his destination, Leto couldn’t help but shout in panic.
“Hey, where do you think you’re going!”
“To meet someone.”
‘Ian’ waved his hand dismissively.
“I’m supposed to go meet Delphine Yurdina.”
Leto could only chase after him with his eyes.
That was where their conversation had ended.
Leto said that he hadn’t spoken to ‘Ian’ since.
At least, not until today.
As Leto finished recounting his story, I fell silent. All sorts of complicated thoughts filled my head, and there were many things I didn’t understand.
I asked Leto a question.
“What did you mean by I’m different from my future self?”
“Tsk. I knew you would ask that. As expected, the Knight Division is only filled with meatheads…….”
With a click of his tongue, Leto drew a solid line of light in the air with his mana.
Originally, this technique was used to draw magic circles, but it was also useful for explaining things like this.
A shimmering vertical line materialized.
Leto pointed at the lower end of the line and began to explain.
“Okay, this represents the past, and let’s say we continue straight into the future.”
His finger traced along the solid line, reaching the top.
As he did that, he asked me a question.
“Now, how do we get back to the past?”
“Can’t we just go back through the middle?”
Leto nodded and moved his finger to the middle of the solid line. His green eyes stared at me in silence.
“And then what? Would we just follow the same future as it’s already been drawn?”
I grasped my chin as I pondered the question. However, I shook my head as I didn’t need to think too hard about it.
“No, I guess something would change.”
“Okay, then let’s draw a new future.”
And he drew a new diagonal line. Like branches on a twig, two lines diverged from the center.
I looked at Leto questioningly, and he began his explanation, seemingly aware of my need for it.
“Now, look. There are two differing futures, correct?”
“Wouldn’t the first future be extinguished since we came back from that one?”
“Think about it, what happens to the ‘you’ who traveled back to the past? Aren’t ‘you’ the product of that initial future?”
I nodded, swallowing nervously.
I finally understood what Leto was trying to say. I asked a question in confirmation.
“So the branching future is me, and the one from the other future is the one possessing me?”
“Exactly. Time is something that can’t be erased. The moment that ‘Ian’ returned to the past, a whole other world of possibilities was born. That’s why you and the other ‘Ian’ must be distinct from each other.”
‘Unless your personalities merged,’ Leto thought silently.
But there was still an issue. The letter from the future told a different story.
That world was a peaceful and happy place.
“But the other letter I received was also from the future, and yet it claimed that the world would end if left unprotected.”
As if it were simple, Leto pointed to another branch.
“It must have originated from a separate branch of the future. I don’t know what ‘Ian’ did, but the entire timeline has been disrupted. It wouldn’t be strange for a letter to come from any possible future, but because you received that particular letter, I’d have to say that the world we’re in now is closest to the future of the letter..”
It was a complicated explanation, but I somehow managed to make sense of it.
It meant that the future ‘Ian’ who had taken possession of me and the love letter from seven years ahead belonged to different futures.
So was the man in my dream also a version of ‘me’?
I remembered the blood-soaked landscape. It was a battlefield resonating with ominous noises, corpses scattered about, and filled with the stench of ‘death’.
The thought saddened me, realizing it was a potential future I might have to face.
I was scared that if I didn’t follow the letter’s instructions, that future would become a reality.
Still, simply discovering this was a great accomplishment. Considering that the number of possible futures was practically infinite, it wasn’t surprising that the letters had different senders.
It didn’t matter that there were multiple senders because they were merely distant possibilities.
What mattered to me were the letters’ contents.
If I followed the instructions inside each letter to the best of my abilities, I realized I could also learn about my future lovers.
I looked at my best friend with admiration in my eyes. He looked proud of himself.
“I’m impressed, Leto. That helped a lot.”
“Heh, I am pretty smart. You should buy me a drink.”
If that was all he wanted, I would gladly buy him any amount of alcohol. Trust filled my gaze as I looked at Leto.
With high expectations, I asked him about my next course of action.
“So, what should I do now?”
Patting my shoulder, Leto smiled wryly.
“That’s for you to figure out.”
I stared blankly at Leto, a hint of betrayal hidden in my gaze.
“What can I do? I don’t even know the contents of your letter.”
I was about to retort but stopped.
Leto was right. Forming a plan required information, and only I could read the contents of the letters.
Right now, my main focus was on the practicum.
Still, I couldn’t help but think about the information ‘Ian’ had requested from the Saintess. If he had needed it so badly, perhaps the orphanage was connected to the future.
Since I didn’t have any information, it made sense to follow the leads he had received.
After silently observing me, Leto cleared his throat.
“Now that I think about it, ‘Ian’ said that he was going to see Senior Delphine, right?”
I heard that she hadn’t been seen since the Hunting Festival.
There was someone else I could talk to. Someone who had initially suggested the possibility that the letter originated from the future.
That person was Emma.
Two options weighed on my mind.
Delphine Yurdina, a woman of captivating beauty.
And Emma, my friend with a warm, friendly smile.
It seemed wise to meet both of them and recruit them as members for my practicum.
I also thought I should pay a visit to Senior Elsie.
I immediately started mapping out a route in my head.
I didn’t have much time. I only had a week left to assemble my group before the registration period closed.
Within that time, I had to gather both information and power.
The stench of blood grew more potent with each passing e minute.
That evening, I sought out Senior Delphine at the Aedalus Pavilion, but the news I received from the servants was as I had expected.
“Ms. Yurdina is in the Church’s intensive care unit…….”
I crossed my arms, tapping my fingers against my forearm.
That sounded about right. However, I had hoped her injury wasn’t severe enough to warrant a trip to the ICU.
A sigh escaped my lips as I realized I had no idea how Senior Delphine would react upon seeing me.
I shook my head and lamented, voicing my complaint to my future self.
What an impatient human being. If only he had even half of my peace-loving heart.
It was truly a pity.
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