Mushoku Tensei Redundancy / Mushoku Tensei Redundancy Chapter 25 extra
Aisha and Ars disappeared.
The household fell into a state of panic.
As soon I read their note, I sprinted out the house.
I have no clue where they might hide, but I got to look for them.
I begin with places they (particularly Aisha) would frequent in the city.
But they couldn’t be found.
Not even after a full day of search.
Rude Mercenary Company.
Mercenary Corp’s various warehouses around the city.
Aisha’s favorite cafe, clothing and fabric stores, grocers, and wholesalers.
I even went by Orsted’s office to look.
No sight of them anywhere.
Looks like they’re no longer in the city.
It wasn’t like there were no eyewitnesses.
Early in the morning, they walked past the city gates.
Early in the morning, they left in a horse carriage.
Early in the morning, they borrowed horses from the stable and left.
And other intel like these.
But every intel conflicts with another.
So I don’t even know whether they’re still inside the city or out.
I’m afraid this has all been part of Aisha’s misinformation campaign.
But Aisha could not have spread all these misinformation alone.
Who could have helped?
Who could Aisha command at will?
The answer is obvious.
The Mercenary Corp.
As soon as I reached the conclusion, I headed back to Rude Mercenary Company HQ.
Rinia and Pursena need to be properly interrogated.
“Rude Mercenary Company, Rule Number One!”
“Proper greeting etiquette! Bow hard, head low!”
“Rude Mercenary Company, Rule Number Two!”
“Back straight, yell loud!”
“Rude Mercenary Company, Rule Number Three!”
“Never forget, treat patrons with courtesy!”
On my return, Rinia and Pursena are side by side, standing imposingly, giving instruction to the corp members on the company creeds.
“Never forget ~nya.”
“Internalize them nano!”
They alternated the instructions as a tag team.
Like some kind of underground society.
I guess Aisha taught them this.
“Rinia, Pursena, come here for a bit.”
“Nyaa? The boss is back. Speaking of which, the financial advisor hasn’t ~nya.”
“I was just going to ask about that.”
“Alright, you’re all dismissed. Work hard today!”
After the company members scatter, I followed them to the office.
A nice, steady set of table and chairs, seem awfully expensive.
A statue of an unknown creature.
It looked like a fierce monster.
A magic tool I I gave them to keep meat fresh, a fridge.
A room decorated with Rinia, Pursena, and Aisha’s favorite things.
Aisha likes cute stuff.
Even though she lacks the talent to make them, she has a good eye for them.
Don’t know why would I suddenly recall something like that, but as soon as they sat down I begin the interrogation.
“So you two haven’t heard nothing?”
“W-we don’t know nothing ~nya?”
“That’s right. We got nothing, not even any meat nano.”
Rinia whistled crudely, and Pursena’s voice dropped at the first mention of meat.
Looks like they do have some idea.
“Sounds like you actually know something. Now fess up.”
I said with the grimmest face I can muster.
Instantly terrified, hugging each other, they nod heavily.
“We don’t know exactly where they went ~nya!”
“Really don’t nano!”
“Just that first thing in the morning, she told us to spread rumours around ~nya!”
“We are not lying, please believe us! Even though we don’t have any proof nano…”
No proof, huh?
In other words, no way to figure out which intel is true, and which is false.
At least, not without Aisha’s skills in shifting through intel…
At least I finally found a clue.
Aisha was here.
Ultimately, only the Mercenary Corp would answer to her every beck and call.
Instructed them to spread rumours first thing in the morning, then took one of the routes mentioned, or perhaps a different one altogether.
Sounds like one of Aisha’s clever schemes.
It won’t end just here.
Even if I follow the correct trail, more and more traps would certainly awaits me.
“I believe you. But in return, you two will help me search for Aisha.”
Is it a good idea to rely on the Mercenary Corp?
Perhaps they’ll just fake the search.
Or Corp itself would leak intel to Aisha.
That possibility certainly exists.
Relying on others and have it backfire, that kind of things happens all the time.
But right now I can leave no stone unturned.
Despite my thoughts, Rinia and Pursena looked rather troubled.
“Well, can I persuade you to give up ~nya? The advisor warned us before to think very carefully about whose side we’re on, when push comes to shove.”
“If that gets exposed, it’ll ruin our reputation! No one will ever respect us again nano.”
Looks like Aisha had something on them.
“It’s hard to find anyone in the Corp willing to make an enemy out of Aisha ~nya.”
“She got something on everyone nano.”
So it’s not just them.
And all the mercenaries working here owe Aisha favors too.
In other words, Aisha had the entire Corp under wraps.
“… I’m not trying to hurt Aisha. I just want to talk…”
“And I don’t know what we’ll be talking about. Don’t you think it’ll be terribly lonely if we never get to met again?”
My words might not be particularly convincing, but my heart wrenches at the thought that we’ll never see Ars and Aisha again.
At least exchange a few words.
That’s my true feeling.
But right now if we cross paths, it’ll just be a repeat of yesterday…
“I’m counting on you.”
Rinia turned toward Pursena as she listen.
Pursena looked troubled still, but she finally nod, her ears drooped.
Rinia said after clearing her throat,
“I understand ~nya. If the advisor really intent on running away, I think there’s not much we can do to help, but at least we can give you a hand.”
“Are you sure?”
“When I became a slave, I also thought I would never get to see my family again ~nya. I understand how you feel.”
Now that she mentioned it, that did happened.
Hadn’t her debt been repaid?
I don’t really know, since I left Aisha to take care of it.
If there’s any debt remaining, maybe I can get to her repaid in merit.
“I owe you one.”
With that said, I made my leave.
The Mercenary Corp may be mine, but for searching Aisha it’s not the ideal.
In times like this, I need to borrow the power of other organizations.
First are the Magic University and the Magic Guild.
They’re the primary power brokers of magic city Sharia.
If Aisha’s trying to misdirect me away from the city, they can be of help.
As long as I put up a bulletin on the school boards, I might get intel from the student body.
“Right, I should go check in with Zanoba.”
Originally set up as small store front for the sole purpose of selling the Ruijerd picture books.
But due to the solid foundations build by Zanoba and Julie in the early days, its operations have expanded massively in recent years.
Not only did it have major factories in Asura Kingdom, its branch stores have spread all over the world.
Even though Zanoba Company frequently employ Rude Mercenary Company for protection, Aisha doesn’t frequent here.
But I do.
So I suspect the chance of Aisha showing up here is low…
Anyways, I should check in with Zanoba, Julie, and Ginger.
Inform the three of them (and one doll) what happened.
Even though I rather not discuss in public a family scandal.
I think at least Zanoba should know.
“That was rather out of character for you, Shishou, to not make your reasons clear.”
After hearing my story, Zanoba said.
“It’s not like I don’t want to explain myself, just that Ars’ too young still…”
“Kids grow up fast. It’s only a matter of years, a fact who matured early like Shishou is no doubt aware.”
When Zanoba and I first met, we were not much older than Ars.
Well, there’s a difference, if I count my previous life too…
“Perhaps it was because Shishou knew this, that Shishou use age to refute them.”
Everyone grows up.
Maybe just not right away.
So long as they reflect on their actions, then work hard to better themselves, they’ll grow.
With effort, just like I had.
Even useless trash like me ended up being somewhat respectable.
So I do believe noone is beyond help, personal growth is possible for everyone.
“So what should I have said?”
“Well… first off, you might been too stubborn. If Shishou forcefully separate them without discretion, they have little option but to elope.”
“But I thought that if this was to continue, Ars would always stay utterly dependent on Aisha.”
“What’s so bad about that? Even in those conditions, he can still mature. It might just take a bit more time.”
Indeed, no matter how dependent, no matter how slowly, he would eventually grow up.
Maybe lacking in certain areas.
But even then it’s fine, as long as there’re those around him willing to come to his aid.
… I certainly am well aware.
So why was I so strongly against it?
“Julie, what do you think?”
Anyways, let’s get a female’s point-of-view.
She looks downcast and pale.
“What’s wrong, Julie?”
“Julie, do you know something? Don’t tell me, you’re hiding something from Zanoba-sama?”
Seeing that Julie refused to talk, Ginger who had remained silent until now spoke.
“I saw it.”
“This morning, I saw Aisha and Ars heading to the basement.”
That made me jumped.
A new clue!
There’re Teleportation Circles set up in the Zanoba Company basement.
They connect to our secret laboratory in Asura Kingdom Fittoa Region.
“Julie, why didn’t you say something earlier?”
“Because Zanoba-sama and Rudeus-sama had been sneaking in and out the basement too…”
Zanoba looks away.
Maybe he thought we missed our chance to catch Aisha, because of what we have been working on in secret.
But it’s just like Aisha, to find a weakness to exploit.
Alternatively, if we hadn’t been sneaking about, she won’t have took this escape route.
“You didn’t notice, Zanoba?”
“I stayed overnight at the store yesterday.”
Likely that Aisha knew of Zanoba’s travel plans.
Since there’re probably Corp members undercover among Zanoba Company’s bodyguards.
“So they did head to Asura Kingdom.”
“In that case… we’re going to need Ariel’s help to find Aisha and Ars.”
“Yeah, I’ll do that.”
First I should visit with Ariel.
Zanoba stops me as I was about to leave.
“Whether be with your siblings or kids, when you’re at odds, make sure you sit down and talk it out. With the younger generation, you have to listen and consider their views. Even if you’re right.”
“You might think I’m speaking out of turn as a third party…”
“No, thank you.”
It’s rare for Zanoba to lecture me.
Maybe he spoke out of regret for his brother Pax. I can appreciate the weight behind his words.
He’s right though.
This time around, I never tried to hear what Ars has to say.
Because he never spoke up, I just spoke to Aisha and ignored him.
Never gave him a chance to explain what he wants to do.
Never considered his opinions.
Back then, if I have handled it better, maybe they won’t have eloped.
If I could find them, I got to listen to what Ars has to say.
I’ll do that.
Aisha and Ars are presumed in hiding in Asura Kingdom, the largest country in the world.
Of course, it’s also the most populated.
Like hiding forest amongst the trees, No one keep track of when new faces show up.
More importantly, because it’s a wealthy nation, eaking out a living won’t be a problem.
Of course, Asura Kingdom is also a military society.
There’re soldiers stationed everywhere.
If given portraits of Ars and Aisha, they should able to find them.
I’ll try to get cooperation of the knighthood and army.
I hurriedly rushed toward Ariel’s residence.
By the time I arrived, it was already evening.
When I said it was an emergency, I was led directly to Ariel’s sleeping quarters.
Ariel was already in her pajamas, her hair a mess.
She must been asleep already.
All tense when I first arrived, as soon as I finished she could only wearily complaint.
“What you mean, ‘that’s it’?”
“It’s just trouble at home.”
“I was wondering what it could be, when I heard you had an emergency.”
Ariel is a busy monarch.
Recently, it became impossible to meet her without prior scheduling.
But I got audience as soon I asked.
Being told an emergency, she must had assumed it was Hitogami-related or Teleportation Circle-related.
So agreed to meet me.
In other words, she only allowed my audience because of the trust vested in me.
But my issue is merely family troubles.
A little inappropriate.
“You’re right. My apologies.”
“… No need for apologies. An advisor for Rude Mercenary Company disappeared. A capable one. Her going missing will have adverse impact on our future plans.”
“It meant a lot for you to say that.”
“Anyways, I’ll have Sylvester assist with the search. But if she really doesn’t want to be found, I’m afraid that won’t be much help…”
Rapidly Ariel wrote a note and send it off with a servant.
Sylvester is in charge of security, one of the Seven Knights of Asura.
I have seen him quite often recently, but only exchanged pleasantries. We never really had a chance to talk, so I don’t really know much about him.
“I really appreciate it.”
In that case, I can just leave the Asura side to them.
I need to figure out what I should do next.
As I was about to make my leave, Ariel spoke out.
“I guess it runs in the family.”
“Running away due to family rules, haven’t your father done the same?”
Now that she mentions it, Paul became a runaway after a disagreement with his father.
He never returned.
I don’t think they ever reconciled either.
Am I following their footsteps?
Aisha, and Ars too, are we never going to see each other again?
“Be honest with me, why are you so against it?”
“Even if you ask…”
“Just let them get married. Consider it a reward for Aisha, of all her royal years of service.”
You hear these kind of story in Asura all the time.
The master rewards a capable servant the hand of his daughter.
Of course, with their mutual consent.
Ariel once said, when the kids grow up, let one marry one of her daughters.
It’s not unreasonable.
Truth is, there are many unhappy with me, for taking advantage as my role as Ariel’s confidant and acting freely within Asura Kingdom.
Stuck around for all the advantages, just because I was once of assistance to Ariel.
I’m only installing Teleportation Circles within Asura for the associated privileges, some said.
Basically, I’m just a clinger-on who has long stayed beyond Ariel’s welcome.
That’s why, if one of my children, particularly a son, end up marrying into the royal family, it’ll demonstrate to the public the depth of our friendship.
That was Ariel’s desire.
“Because it’s Aisha and Ars! That can’t be right?”
“One is the aunt, and the other the troublesome nephew she helped raised… What’s wrong with that relationship? Just because Ars is the firstborn son? You’re not nobility. He doesn’t have to continue the family legacy, didn’t you said that before?”
“It’s not that.. Just that, marrying so close within the family is not good?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
What is wrong with that?
Why do I find it so repulsive?
That might be forbidden in the previous world, but this world lacks such prohibition.
For those families that find import in bloodlines, marriage between nephews and aunts are not uncommon.
So why I reject it so?
Is it jealousy?
That I do in fact love Aisha, and had long considered her mine?
If that’s really the case, why would I refuse to make a move on her?
No, it’s something else all together.
Maybe it was as Aisha had said, that I consider her property?
Even if I adamantly refuse, in my heart I already thought so, but instead projected that anger on Ars?
Not impossible… but that doesn’t feel right.
Because it impedes Ars’ growth?
That’s true, but that’s a secondary issue at best.
What made me so resistent is another all together.
“I don’t know.”
“Then you should spend some time thinking it through. I’m sure Aisha would really want to hear it.”
Just like Ariel said.
Before I talk with Aisha again, I need to get my thoughts in order.
Or it would happen all over again.
Before I get to convey my thoughts and feelings, Aisha will escape again.
“Then I’ll take my leave. I’m sorry for intruding you in your sleeping quarters.”
On my way out, I greeted Doga, who’s standing guard by the door.
Full of concern he said, “I’ll help you find your sister.”
After returning from Ariel’s, I headed to Orsted’s Office.
It was already late into night.
Way too late for house calls.
But there’re more people I require assistance from.
Even though I wanted to continue my work tomorrow, for now I need to request leave.
“Ah, Rudeus-sama, found Aisha and Ars yet?”
“Not yet. Is Orsted-sama in?”
“At his office.”
I greet Alek, nod at the secretary Felia, and head toward the office.
Before I enter Orsted’s office, I hesitated a bit.
Is it appropriate for me to request an extended leave?
Orsted never put any guidelines for me on requesting leaves.
Normally, as long as I asked, he’ll give me as many days of rest as I like.
On the other hand, leaving work unattended for days due to family matters is certainly inappropriate.
No, this is important to me.
Just do it.
Orsted peers over from across the room.
Just a glance, but it felt like he observed me intensely.
Looks like he already knew what I’m here for.
It made me nervous and sweaty.
“I have something to ask.”
“About Ars and Aisha?”
“… So you heard?”
“Roxy mentioned it.”
She’s also on the moves.
Well, even though I went out on my own, Sylphy and Eris must have been busy too.
I need to thank them when I get home.
“Aisha seems to have ran away.”
“Right, and Ars too. I’m looking for them.”
“If Aisha’s serious, she’ll be hard to find.”
“… So said everyone, but I have to look for them. May I take some time off?”
I said, resisting Orsted’s terrifying sight.
Like always, killing intent emanated from Orsted eyes.
“I’ll speak to Perugius about this.”
For what purpose?
“He spend time monitoring the ground. Maybe he can find them.”
“Oh… Of course! I’m counting on you!”
Looks like Orsted will lend a hand too.
“You refuse to listen and deny them, there must be reason?”
“… I couldn’t explain it either.”
Orsted seemed surprised to hear that.
Well, now I really got to think this though.
After that, I requested assistance from my acquaintances around the world.
Milis, the Great Forest, Kingdom of the Dragon King, Magic Continent, Basherant Dukedom.
I explained the situation to every organization that I have allied.
Cliff lectured me too. While a troubling situation, with three wives already, you really shouldn’t be the one to balk. Be more considerate.
Elinalise was shocked that I didn’t just approve of them.
Norn was surprised by Aisha’s actions. She was angry and said I acted appropriately.
Ruijerd stayed silent after hearing what happened. Only in the end did he said, “I’ll help with the search.”
Even though they all have various opinions, they all agreed to help with the search.
For the Demon Continent, I’ll have to depend on the Atofe Imperial Guards.
But Atofe is missing and Moore has not yet returned.
An headless mob… That’s going a bit too far, particularly since it was me that picked a fight with Atofe in the first place, but without direction from above, I can’t expect them to act in force.
I wanted to find the missing-person-tracing-machine Kishirika… but she’s missing.
I feel like she can track them down instantly if I find her, but that plan failed.
Afterwards, I got everyone I knew in the hunt.
Even Leo is helping, and Ruijerd has left home to join the search.
Perugius was less than enthused, but agreed to search from above.
Orsted and Alek agreed to help in their spare time.
But we came up empty.
Even with the world’s most talented trackers and headhunters, no one found a clue.
It’s like Aisha and Ars have disappeared from this world, not a trace remained.
It’s been a month since then.
Lilia turned bedridden from shock.
Lying in her bed, all she could say was, “I’m so sorry, if I taught her better this wouldn’t had happen.”
She probably convinced herself that she carried responsibility that Aisha and Ars would elope.
Even though her health has improved, she remained despondent, troubled.
Once I overheard her weeping in her room, but when I check in on her, Zenith was patting her head.
Zenith slapped me once.
When I had Lara translate for me, she said, “She’s just sad.”
Seems like she approves of Ars and Aisha getting married.
Even though I was sure she would be against it…
Perhaps in Zenith’s mind, the vision she saw was quite wonderful.
Or perhaps she’s just happy for them.
Sylphy has been depressed, “if only I left them with another option…” She also picked up Aisha and Lilia’s share of housework.
She couldn’t help with the search, but she took over all the housework like laundry, breakfast, etc.
It’s all thank to her that we managed some semblance of normalcy in a family crisis like this.
Eris hadn’t said much.
She just pouts as she clenches the wooden sword that Ars has left behind.
As if with her mind made up, she started practicing her sword swing.
Roxy said “I’ll go look for them” and began packing. I had to rush to stop her.
I felt like if Roxy disappears too at this moment, this family would just completely fall apart.
Even so, she is still helping with the search via her own connections.
The kids are all nervous.
Lara looks unfazed, but even her mischiefs have lessened in recent days.
Sieg hasn’t talked much, even though he’s usually quite the talker, but he doesn’t speak up at home anymore.
Lily used to prefer indoors, but now occasionally she would go to the gate, climb up Beat, and look out the main road.
Chris would say, “What happened to Ars-nii and Aisha-nee? I want to see them again…” and start crying.
Lucy is worried about them.
She already graduated from Magic University, and is currently attending Asura Royal Academy.
She’s boarding there.
Even though she’s plenty busy with her own stuff, she made sure to reach out to her old Magic University classmates for help.
As time pass, I returned to work.
Not that I gave up on the search.
Aisha and Ars are both very important to us.
But there’re stuff that I can’t left unattended.
As time spent searching decline, time spent thinking increased.
When eating, while bathing, before sleep, after waking up.
I was always thinking.
Why did I reject them with no explanation?
No matter what, it wasn’t right for me to disregard their opinions.
Disregard their opinions, refused to explain myself. That was certainly wrong.
I shouldn’t have done that, I should have knew better.
But the answer never came. A month pass, then another.
Aisha and Ars are nowhere to be found.
Half a year after they disappeared.
I met up with Nanahoshi.
It was the first time we met after they disappeared.
So that was what we talked about.
When I brought up Aisha and Ars, she just listened in silence.
She didn’t raise any concerned, simply listened.
That day, we also talked about other stuff.
Of the past life.
The topic meandered aimlessly.
About the takoyaki shop near Nanahoshi’s home.
A takoyaki shop that was always there, one that I visited many times since I was young.
How we could really use some takoyaki and rice right now.
Stuff like that.
Suddenly, while reminiscing, I remembered.
Something that happened over thirty years ago.
Something I should have never forgot.
It was before I was born… before my life in this world has begun.
Or perhaps, the start of it all.
It was my previous life.
The day I passed away.
I had brothers and sisters.
Brother was married already.
And had kids.
Two of them.
They look different from Norn and Aisha, they’re Japanese after all, but their shared in their innocence.
Brother’s house and my house (that is, our parents) are close by, so they’ll stay over often.
Along with his wife and kids.
I took advantage of that.
Setup a hidden camera in the bath for my niece.
In other words, I took voyeur shots.
Not that I’m particularly interested in my niece.
Just that it was convenient, that was the only reason I did it.
Then that day arrived.
The day my parents passed away.
That day I also setup my camera.
And brother found out.
That day, I felt brother was still willing to have a talk with me.
At least, I thought so.
If it were my sisters or younger brother, they would certainly beat me up right away.
But brother was different.
He might be ready to give up, but he was still willing to give me one last chance.
Our parents are gone, I can’t protect you anymore.
It’s finally time for you to step out on your own.
If there’s something I can help with, just ask.
In that moment, I probably would feel a little motivated myself, to give life another shot.
Because the fact is, he’ll help however he can.
Brother was that kind of man.
Since after so long, he never gave up on me.
Until he saw that photo.
Then my brother snapped.
Now that I thought about it, that was the first time anyone ever beat me.
Not the sister that long gave up on me, nor the younger brother who threatened me with a stick.
Seeing that photo, he paused for five seconds, then shouting nonsense as he beated me.
The me now could understand.
I would have done the same.
In that situation, if I was in my brother’s shoes, I would have beat Aisha without question.
In other words, that was what happened.
The me that day, was my brother back then.
But not only Aisha was a girl, compared to me in my past life she was ever more diligently working, living, and responsible.
So I didn’t beat her.
But I couldn’t help but feel so repulsed by what happened between Aisha and Ars, so I forcely split them apart.
I was emotional.
Because of guilt toward brother, I impulsively acted that way.
Because my instinct convinced myself the same mistakes are being repeated.
That must be why I rejected them.
But Aisha’s circumstance is different.
Superficially similar, but completely different.
The feelings between Aisha and Ars are mutual.
I was just taking voyeur shots.
Given time, they would definitely form a healthy relationship.
Even though Ars is indeed a little young, and he was probably acting on instincts.
But it had been ten years.
For over a decade, Aisha was with Ars.
Ten years are a long, long time.
Impeding Ars’ personal growth was a mere excuse.
It was purely my own overreaction.
So I acted just like brother.
That day, brother cut me off.
After I died, our relationship were forever severed.
But even if I had lived and wished to apologize, what could be done?
Even if our relationship was over, I could have at least apologize.
He won’t forgive me, and we’ll never be the same.
But there must be something I could have done.
Even though I don’t know what…
All in all, at least I now know the source of my repulsion.
That day carved in my heart a scar that never healed.
So I always forbade myself from making another move on family.
Even if my scar and repulsion can’t compare to brother’s.
If I met Aisha again, I need to apologize.
Apologize for wanting to force them them apart without reason.
If I don’t, there’s no room for discussion.
Nothing would change.
In that family meeting, Aisha had already apologized to me.
Then she asked me for a reason she could accept.
So now it’s my turn.
Apologize, and explain to her what happened in my past life.
After that, I need to discuss with them about their future.
Next time, I got to communicate better.
Even I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but I don’t want to force them to agree again.
That was what I decided on.
The search for them continues, since the day Aisha left that note, for over a year.