In front of me, there was an old man. Bright eyes, white hair, and a white beard. A really fascinating look I would say. Most people would be in a daze in front of this kind of features. I was in a white luminous space. There was nothing here except for the old man and strangely, I didn't even know if I was standing or not. I couldn't even see my body, but I knew that I could move it if I wanted to.
"Hello… I suppose."
I gave a slightly confused answer on purpose. That was enough to convey my confusion. The old man returned me a faint smile and resumed.
"Allow me to present myself. From your standing, I am one of the gods who stand above your world, and I hereby announce you that… you are dead."
"..." I didn't say anything. I was too busy thinking about the situation. I am dead. Okay. But I don't remember how I died. The last thing I remember is being at home. That's all. I am not stupid enough to think that this is a dream. I know perfectly what a mind feels like when it's awake.
Oddly enough, I've always been like this. Unbelievable, and incredible things didn't mean much to me. I have seen a lot of them as well.
Even right now, I am not excited, nor am I afraid. If I am dead, then so be it. I’m not going to miss living, and I've been wandering for a long time already.
"How did I die?" I was more curious about the cause of my death than anything else. I knew I was quite old, but I seriously doubted that I had passed away naturally.
"Well, cough, I was playing at 'Lightning catch’ with the other gods and I accidentally killed you by letting a lightning fall on your house." He smiled as if it was the most correct expression to make at the moment. He absolutely had no qualms saying that.
"..." Again, I didn't say anything. Actually, I was slightly irritated “(How do you kill a human while playing a game? And what the hell is this ‘Lightning catch’? Do you throw lightning at each other like snowballs or something? And what the fuck is that smile supposed to mean? Are you proud of yourself?)” That’s what I thought at the time.
I kept my mouth closed but stared at the ‘god’ in front of me. I already had got rid of any kind of respect in his title. A 'god', he said. After a moment, I sighed.
"Whatever. Tell me why I'm here."
"Oh, you forgave me, thank you." The god laughed and took a breath out of relief.
"What the hell...? In what broken reality do you think I would be able to forgive you? Hurry up and talk, old man."
"Old...man? I mean, yeah, I am. But you're 134 years old yourself, you know? You're an old man too…"
The god stopped halfway through. I was starting to get a little annoyed and just told him to shut up with my eyes.
I am 134 years old indeed. But I am still an ordinary man. In my world, recent technology has enabled humans to live beyond 100 years old and the record of longevity there is 168 years old. From those standards, yeah, I’m old. But I don't want to hear that from a god which has probably lived for thousands of years.
The god forced a cough. "Sorry. I'll talk now. So, I killed you, my bad. To redeem myself I will send you to another world with your current memories. I will also create a body for you that is the exact copy of your own at its prime age. And I'm sorry, I can't reincarnate you in your world because your soul imprint has already been destroyed."
"I see, what’s a soul imprint?" I nodded and asked out of curiosity.
"You can call it an identity. When you were born, an imprint was created from your soul and was listed in what you could call the ‘register’ of your world. When you died your soul imprint was transferred to the 'dead-list'. In fact, now, you are kind of banned from your world. Usually, the deceased’s souls are transformed into divine or magic energy, but there are rare cases where the soul is reincarnated after being purged of its memories. However, I personally retrieved yours in order to reincarnate you without erasing any memories.” He grinned while explaining that. Arima frowned at the same time for some reason.
“I succeeded only because you have a great soul, you know? Of course, I can only do that because I am going to send you to another world where your soul imprint is not registered. It’s impossible to live in a world where you don’t have any soul imprint. Even I cannot oppose that rule. This kind of rule is what we gods call ‘Original World Laws’; OWL's to be short. It's even a mystery for us... Well, actually the setting is that they were created by the Original God. Nowadays, not a single god is the ruler of others. We rule together. And as you can see, quite like you humans who worship divinities, we believe in the Original God, the Creator."
He clapped his hands and the noise echoed a bunch of times. “That's all, do you have any other questions?"
“(He just said 'setting', right?)” I retorted silently. “No, you've said quite enough already," I answered while shaking my head.
The god laughed, "Indeed."
"Where will you send me to?"
"I'll send you to a world where there is magic, not like your world. If you want, you can call it a world of swords and magic." He said while laughing.
"Magic, huh? Quite a fantasy you are giving to me."
"Yes, well, magic actually exists in almost all worlds. Yours is one of the rare ones which have no magic circuits and so, no magic. It's because of that too that the influence of the gods is really limited in your world and it's because of this that I almost failed to bring you here."
"Oh, is that so."
"When I will be sending you off to the other world, I'll transplant you some knowledge on magic and other miscellaneous things. After that, it will be up to you to gain a more profound understanding of it. And as a bonus, I will allow you to take something from your world with you"
"Something from my world, huh?" I hesitated and suddenly thought of something "If in the future, I have to fight, then I want my sword."
"Your sword? You have a sword? In your era? Let me see…" The god closed his eyes, and in a matter of seconds, a katana appeared in front of him. The old man smiled. "This one?"
"(As expected from a God.)" I thought.
"Yes, that’s the one." I grabbed the katana and observed it. Its length approached one meter. The scabbard was black and had a gray inscription of a wolf on it. I unsheathed it. The blade was of beautiful silver and seemed very sharp. I have always been fond of all kinds of sharp weapons, but my favorite was this type of Japanese sword because I specialized in quick movements. And let's be honest, this was the only kind of cold weapon which still attracted people's attention in a modern era.
When he saw the blade, the god's eyes glinted. "Ooh, It's a very good sword. For a simple mortal world at least."
I smiled wryly. "Thanks for that."
The god saw my reaction. "Was it perhaps you who forged this sword?"
"Yes, of course, I wouldn't have it otherwise. I forged it almost a hundred years ago, it's quite a relic now. The scabbard and the handle are made of titanium, the blade is made of refined and transformed sapphire, thanks to the technology of my world. Well, during the process of making this material eligible to become a blade, it lost most of its value but I just had nothing else to do."
The God looked dumbfounded at the sword. "Sapphire? Who in his right mind would use such a precious stone to forge a weapon? Not to mention what kind of refinement sapphire would need to work as a weapon without shattering... Well, I could do it in a second, but it would most likely take hours of continuous refining for humans."
"Well, I happened to find a seam and it all went down with the flow."
"…It's quite a masterpiece. Blacksmith Gods would praise you. Does it have a name?"
"Yes, its name is 'Karma'." I answered.
"Ooh, that's an interesting name, wait, I shall do something for you." The god smiled and pointed at my sword with his finger. Instantly, the katana transformed into a bright sphere of light which entered into my chest.
"I bounded it to your soul. It gives you the ability to call it whenever you want, and this way, your weapon will be able to evolve/improve in sturdiness, sharpness along with your soul and even change its form at will. Furthermore, if the weapon breaks at some point, it will find rest in your soul and repair itself. And as you may have noticed already, maintenance is unnecessary.” He explained and smiled. “Your sword seems to have been through a lot, it's like it has a killing intent of its own. This weapon will become fearsome if nurtured with your soul."
"It's really handy, thanks." I really was overjoyed. This soul binding thing was a great thing. "(Although his explanation kinda sounded like an advertising.)"
"Glad you like it. Well, I think it's time." Suddenly, a white door appeared behind me. I looked at it, then turned toward the god again and paused.
"Before I go, can I hit you? Even though I'm not sure if I have a body right now.”
The god smiled. "No, but if you reach Godhood, come and try."
Unable to say anything in return, the white tunnel was forced on me and I was sent out into the other world.
After Arimane left the white space, a person appeared like mist behind the god. It was a stunning woman with black hair and mesmerizing red eyes. One look at her and no one would ever forget her figure.
"Were you serious? Do you think he can reach Godhood?" Her pleasant voice resounded. She was looking sternly at the old god.
The old man turned back to look at her with a serious face. "Yes. His soul is terrifying. Even if we combined the souls of ten gods, I think we could barely be on par with half of his. In fact, I chose to reincarnate him because his soul was so powerful that I feared it would destroy his own world. I think that if this guy just enters a world with magic circuits, then he can already become one of the strongest humans who ever existed and possibly one of the strongest gods. It doesn't end here, even what he did as a simple human gives me goosebumps."
"What?" The beautiful woman exclaimed in surprise.
The old man laughed. "Let's see how far this fearful human will go."
"And here I was wondering why the God of Order had retrieved the soul of a human. Do you understand what that means? If he came to be too strong we'd have to kill him. A human is too much of an insecurity. We Gods cannot let a threat like that step into Godhood."
"Yes, I am aware. But it’d only be the case if he had not already become someone we cannot go against." The old God's eyes flashed with a strange light.
"Unbelievable..." The woman looked at the old man with strange eyes. "What are you scheming? Your domain is order, what happened for you to break the cycle of life and death? You could have just retrieved his soul and erased it."
The old man grinned. "Zesta, I represent order, but it also means that I represent the opposite. When the world is in disorder then I will be there to change it, and when the world is in order then I will be there to protect it. Tell me, do you think the world right now is in order?"
Zesta trembled hearing his words. "… What are you trying to fix?"
"I am one of the oldest gods but even I don't know if I'm born from order or disorder, good or evil. No... the notions of good and evil are obsolete. However, right now, I can see that something is not in order with our plane of existence, and I think this human will help me change it."
"Is the disorder you're talking about related to Heaven?" Zesta asked. The old god stayed silent and just smiled. "I hope you know what you're doing, Azes." She turned back and disappeared like mist.
Azes was left alone in that white space, looking at where Arimane left. With a countenance completely opposite to the comical one he presented earlier.