[Ask me about your plan.]
I take a long and gentle breath.
I don’t want to be perturbed.
Even if the God has been reading my mind.
I didn’t expect the God of Hope to know about the conversation I had with the God of Slow in her temple.
I thought that God could only read my superficial thoughts at best and would not know what occurred at other temples.
I finally understand why the God of Slow didn’t want to answer my questions.
The God of Hope’s laughter tickles my ears again.
He gave a soft smile after his chuckle.
The gentle and ambiguous murmur draws all my attention away.
“What do you mean?”
[You didn’t want me to ask me about your plans? My apologies.]
[Yes, I am. So why don’t you ask me about your plan?]
No God would be sad for such a thing.
There are two reasons.
First of all, there is no need to obtain the answer from other Gods if I’ve already gotten it from one God.
And the second one.
“I don’t think you will like my plan.”
[Why do you think so?]
“The hope you understand is stronger than anything else in the world. Therefore you’d actually like the System’s constraints and wouldn’t be bothered by it.”
I’ve been able to distinguish the Gods to some extent with my recent experiences.
Laughter echoes in my ears again.
[It’s rude to say so. I am hope.]
That’s just a personal interpretation of it by the God in front of me.
[Your thoughts are unimportant, ignorant, and foolish, human.]
“No, the only thing that matters are my thoughts. Just as you judge hope by what you believe.”
The laughter around my ears stops.
Even the sound I didn’t recognize disappears, what remains is a silent world that spread endlessly.
[I have something to tell you.]
“I’ve heard all I wanted to hear. Now I wish to proceed to the next stage. Please send me away.”
A portal appears by my feet as soon as I finish my words.
I didn’t expect the portal to appear by my will regardless if the God permitted it.
I hurry to the portal and to move onwards, but the God of Hope murmurs.
[Are you going to run away?]
I keep silent by the portal for a while.
The laughter of the God of Hope, which had disappeared, echoes again.
[Interesting. But it is inevitable. Your judgemental abilities are too bizarre to be human.]
[Now you dare to even command a God.]
The God of Hope’s presence began changing.
His presence that had felt like a small, frail insect in an open space became overwhelming and oppressive.
I can’t stop the force from pressuring my body.
I dare not even think about it.
Because I am still in this space.
Now I am the fruit fly standing before a God.
[Yes, I wanted to treat you like a disposable toy just as you worried. When the time is right, I will drop a fishing line for you who continues to swim deeper and deeper into despair. But it seems that you won’t bite my hook even if you died. It’s incredible to be in despair and refuse the hope. This helped me understand you better than any other God.]
The God of Hope is sending out ferocious power.
The voice of the buzzing little insect has been replaced by that of a giant monster with tusks exposed roaring around my ears.
[How does it feel to be oppressed by my power? Are you not happy? Aren’t you excited about the height of the wall you are going to climb? ]
The roaring God of Hope continues.
[Of course, I know about your ambitions. All the gods of the Hundred Gods Temple know of it. I only ask you one question. Is this goal truly for that Lizardman? Be honest, perhaps it’s just for your self-satisfaction. If you really want to save that lizardman, it is not too late to become an apostle of the God of Slow. You should accumulate enough contribution points to trade with the Hundred Gods Temple. It’ll only take 300 years. ]
Hearing what the God of Hope said, I understand his intentions now.
“… So this is what you wanted to tell me.”
[Yes. You are accustomed to fighting in despair, so I’m going to give you a little hope. There is nothing more harmful to a deep-sea fish than light. ]
The God’s goal is clear.
It doesn’t matter if I’m unpersuaded right now.
What the God wants is to leave a scar in my heart.
When the day where I tire and give up comes, this scar will whisper to me and tempt me to take a shortcut more comfortable than the current one.
[I used to think so too before. But now that I see you, you won’t waver so easily. The God of Slow spoke of your essence, a moth that wants to be a fire. For you, despair is not the darkness, but the light.]
The God’s vicious presence becomes as warm as the sun.
Then the God of Hope whispers with heat that would’ve melted my body.
[I’ll tell you what the God of Slow didn’t mention.]
[As you thought, the poor souls who are locked in the system are not only goblins and lizardmen, but also Gods.]
[There is certainly a God among us who wants to be released from that bondage. You should also know who that is.]
[You don’t have to feel anxious, go ahead. The most powerful God of the Hundred Gods Temples will support you. ]
* * *
I pondered about it for a while.
“I don’t understand.”
“I don’t understand why you told me this.”
[Are you curious?]
The God of Hope’s presence returned to that equal to an insect. Then he chuckles again as if it’s very interesting.
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