Right after returning, the first thing that greeted Shiro are his comrades who had suddenly lost consciousness. He peered through time using [Mysteries] and saw that the unusual connection on each of them wasn't there any longer.
"They've come back."
Unknown as to whom he is pertaining with, he acted when he saw the shadow domain collapsing. Cracks appeared in its corners, showing the starry night of this "real world".
He caught Kuroneko and Kal'tsit while Touka got Shinji. Madoka also contributed and made Altair float.
"Sensei, what was that?" She asked.
"It's a long story."
Truly, he could not put what he had learned just now in words. Although he forgot most of it, the information that remained made him unsettled. After all, it is the continuation of what he sought to prevent.
"The world could be ending with one wrong step."
Shiro isn't someone who jests when asked during crucial times. That, Madoka knew too well.
"Kuroneko, Shinji, and Kal'tsit who descended here just now... They're from the future."
"That's why." Touka commented from the side. "That feeling of disarray... It's only a guess, but who could've thought that time travel is a thing now."
Her long hair fluttered as the night breeze brushed past them. Right now, they are above Ginza. The entire city was barricaded by the JSDFs, so there weren't any people in this place.
"Right, I almost forgot something."
With [Sage] and [Mysteries], he placed an illusion on the cameras, showing the pre-medicated scene that he prepared beforehand. There's no way that he would allow the "audience" to intrude on their privacy, which is why he thought of this countermeasure early on.
"You're putting up a show?"
"It can't be helped. The birdcage might have been broken, but leaving it as it makes me uncomfortable."
It is akin to cutting a movie in its climax. No way the audience could've forgiven the dastardly production team if it occurs.
Unexpectedly, the troublesome girl woke up first.
Her words were cut off as she met Shiro's gaze. His eyes possessed a distinct charm due to his [Six Eyes] and max-level charm overlapping. Even so, the reason she was caught in a trance was due to another matter.
The man who accompanied her since the beginning. From the days she was known as "Shimazaki Setsuna", he was the closest person to her.
In a way, Altair is the conglomeration of Setsuna's thoughts, will, and grudges. It wasn't wrong to say that she is, in fact, Shimazaki Setsuna herself in another form. The information held by "Setsuna" became "Altair's" the moment she was born.
Thus, she possessed Setsuna's feelings toward this special someone.
She staggered as she struggled against Madoka's powers which were soon broken. She used her flight ability as she—
—embraced Shiro tightly.
"It's you! It's really you!"
Meanwhile, Touka and his student, Madoka, sent looks of confusion that turned into acceptance.
"As expected of you..."
"Sensei really is..."
The person of interest tried to defend himself.
"Wait. I don't know what's happening..."
Unfortunately, his voice was drowned when Altair got too overexcited and buried him in her chest. Tears continuously fell from her eyes. Just as he was about to act and comfort a pitiable girl, his mind was sent into spiraling darkness.
After a blink, he found himself in the seashore.
"You have arrived."
A man that bore striking similarities to him stood beside the ocean. He has sea-blue pupils and pure white hair. He is different from Shiro he seems out of this world. Nevertheless, his appearance reigns in the upper class.
"Nothing is preventing us from meeting anymore, eh?" Shiro replied. "You made things hard for us, past self."
The man—Shibuya Reo—faced him with his eyes reminiscent of the sea.
"I didn't prefer it to be like this. I am the only one left in our prior preparations. Who would've thought that the future is even more messed up than before."
Before he "self-destructed", he made a total of three preparations. Two of them were spent when he fixed the flaw of his <ORIGIN STATE>. As for the final one, it remained as a sentinel to his "past" in case of unexpected situations.
"I'm bound to disappear as well."
Due to the clues that he intercepted, he left his station. He meddled with things before he landed in the "World of Gods". The majority of his power was left in his station he used the remaining portion to travel in this place.
"Sorry about that." Shiro apologized. "Our suffering is shared throughout our iterations, it seems."
"...Anyways, I want to pass that responsibility to you."
"It's time to take a trip to our homeland."
In his first life, he was an ordinary child.
In his second life, he was the Commander who led humanity against outer invaders.
In his third life, he was a Hero and an Emperor who changed the fate of an entire world.
In his fourth life, he caught onto each of his previous selves and converged into one.
The word homeland is a special word for Shiro. One such home of his is the world of KANSENs—Shikikan's world.
"After you settle everything, reach the end. Everything would come to a conclusion at that point. You already have the required knowledge for it."
[Unlocking secret archives under Set "RCSF:120400"]
"That should do it."
Reo untied the final knot present in the chat group. From now on, everything from his past would be presented to him. There wouldn't be any more secrets kept away from him.
As soon as it was unlocked, memories came overflowing. Each one of them is Shiro's experience since his first life. Upon its completion, he felt dull as he felt like in a daydream. It wasn't until a few seconds later that he snapped out of it.
"I... I have a lot of work to do."
"It's time to fulfill our promise."
It is none other than coming back to his home world and resolving the problems plaguing it once and for all.
Shiro took out a familiar golden transparent cube. At this time, it is glowing with great intensity. Its status became (Unsealed) as its rarity became [???].
"I'll be seeing them soon."
"I-is that so?"
Altair asked before heaving a sigh of relief. However, this action of hers was met with confounded stares from others.
"The gap is too huge."
"I can't believe what I'm seeing."
"...I want a smoke."
Blitz's creator went out and lit a cigarette. If she could not handle Altair's sudden change, how could the others do so? The only person in this room unaffected by it is none other than Meteora.
"It's good that there are cooking abilities in my archive..." She mumbled lowly.
"Who cooks with a broken ability in her arsenal? You match well with her, Shiro."
As someone who had similar experiences in cooking with absurd skills, Shiro could sympathize with her. Albeit, this side comment was met by two hostile gazes of the cats in this room.
"Hah... I thought it was only Kuroneko... but Doctor, you too..?"
"Cease the misunderstanding in your mind. All I was thinking about is the sudden shift of this enemy of ours. With something like [Holopsicon] at her side, nobody could easily prevent her rampage. Moreover, traveling between worlds could make her an unstable and unknown factor. I could understand and empathize with her plight, but I am thinking about the practical consequences that her belonging could have brought..."
She spewed out words in a stable manner. It's as if she is reverting to her past self as her ears twitched now and then.
"That is so! I shall cooperate with my fellow kin to fend the external threats!"
For some reason, Kuroneko became bolder from the moment she woke up—as if knowing that threats would be appearing now and then. Of course, the definition of "threats" depends on herself.
Altair silently smiled at the sidelines. She knew that everything was her fault, so it was not helping her. Even so, she wouldn't let go of her precious someone after meeting him once again.
Meanwhile, Shiro had a terrifying thought:
'What if they all met?'
It is unknown what would happen if the girls who romantically viewed him met each other. One thing is for sure, however: