◆ 4-01 The beginning of the level measurement
It is autumn. The first harvest festival since I came to Dolknes territory is approaching.
It feels like I’ve spent several years in this place, but it hasn’t even been a year since I graduated from the academy. Maybe my sense of time has been off since I prevented Duke Hillrose’s spectacular suicide, Yumiela #2, who is my parallel universe self, and many other things have happened.
Almost a month has passed since I defeated the evil god. After rewinding time in the parallel universe, my exhausted body is in good shape. My body is in excellent condition, but my mind is still damaged. Holy Dolknes Empire….
Let’s forget about how quickly #2-chan established a nation. Let’s think about something fun.
Fun and interesting… I saw my fiance’s face in the back of my mind. Right! Level measurement!
We have that crystal-shaped magical instrument in our house that was used at the academy’s entrance ceremony. A level-measuring device, one for each family. The price was quite expensive, but there was no choice not to buy it. Every once in a while, I pulled out that device. Seeing the number 99, I can’t help but grin.
The crystal can also measure Patrick’s level. He should be at level 99 by now.
We should celebrate it if it were true. Somehow, the congratulatory party I planned was replaced by the wedding plans, which will be a quiet one.
Besides, I also want to verify my level. Due to the shock caused by #2-chan’s fiasco, I had completely forgotten about it. But I had reached way past the level cap. Am I in a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand range? There are many things I would like to know, such as whether a new limit has been set or the sky’s the limit.
“The level will go up, everywhere~. In the sunken hearth and asymmetry bamboo thicket diverge~.”
While singing an original song about leveling up, I headed out to get the crystal mentioned.
In case the first half lyrics happened to be similar to an existing song, I took measures against copyright in the second half. I tried to write lyrics with a lot of originality to avoid being accused of plagiarism.
The melody has also been made eccentric to dispel suspicions that it’s a parody song. The music feels like a mixture of folk music and metal.
At last, the chorus. I sang it by blending enka-like and opera-like elements.
“A vicious device teaches hunters about meteorites~.”
“Please quit! You’re making me very anxious!”
In the mansion’s hallway. Eleanora stopped me while I was singing in a good mood, looking pale. I have known her since our school days, as a former Duke’s daughter and now my housemate, it is rare to see her look so blatantly uncomfortable.
When I went to karaoke in my previous life, my friends gave me a hard time. I was even told I had weird radio waves. Maybe I’m tone-deaf and don’t know it.
“Ah, I’m sorry. My singing was terrible, wasn’t it?”
“It’s not that you were terrible… but I feel like it’s way beyond that.”
Expecting to be told that I wasn’t that bad, but Eleanora poured salt on my wound. I’m way beyond terrible… could it be?
“Does that mean you’re thinking that I was good?”
“No, it means it is driving me insane.”
Eleanora’s eyes are scary. The mood is half-serious and angry.
She is surprisingly knowledgeable about art-related matters. She probably could not stand my half-hearted song. The lyrics were fine, but the melody might have been too wacky.
“Which parts of the song didn’t work? Was it the way I sang? The melody?”
“The worst part is the lyrics! What is it with those anxiety-inducing words!”
She even rejected the lyrics that I was confident in. You don’t have to go that far…. It hurts me. It’s even more painful because someone like Eleanora said it.
Most people would have given up singing in front of an audience, but I’m not discouraged. I want to practice hard and improve enough to get her approval.
“I understand. Next time, I’ll perform it again, so please listen to it.”
“…Where were you going?”
“I was going to get the level measurement crystal and—”
“Let me tag along! I wanna see, too!”
Huh? I didn’t think Eleanora would bite so hard.
Before this, she didn’t seem interested, but what caused her sudden behavior change? Has she been raising her level behind my back? No wonder she has this eagerness to check on her growth.
“Shall we measure it together?”
“Okay! I love level measurement!”
Ah, it’s fun to share my hobby with friends.
We are level measuring buddies. I wouldn’t say I like singing that much, so I left it for later.
Time to fetch the crystal. As I moved my halted foot, a voice whispered from behind me.
“Phew… I’m saved.”
“Eh? What did you say?”
“Let’s measure our level now! Hurry!”
With the level increase, my hearing has been enhanced. Yet, it is common for me to miss what people are saying. When voices are low or quiet, it is as if the frequencies do not match, and my brain does not recognize them.
If I were to recognize all the sounds that enter my ears for twenty-four hours, my brain would combust.
For this reason, I didn’t know what Eleanora was muttering. She was rushing me along the hallway.
“The crystal is used at the entrance ceremony. You had one at home.”
“Yup, that crystal. It’s nostalgic, isn’t it? The reason why I’m in the spotlight.”
“In the spotlight? I don’t remember much about the entrance ceremony.”
“Remember how they make a big deal about my level? You saw it too, didn’t you?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t get to know you until after the entrance ceremony. But I knew you must be there.”
While reminiscing about the old days, a shocking revelation was made. Eleanora didn’t remember seeing someone with level 99.
I had thought the whole school had noticed me. She was one of those influential people, and I had to take another look at her.
Feeling guilty for not recognizing me, she forces herself to raise her tone and says.
“Speaking of entrance ceremony! Wasn’t this the fateful moment when Yumiela-san and Patrick met? Have you had any feelings since then?”
“Uh, I didn’t recognize him at the entrance ceremony. I only remember that some of them were slightly higher level than others.”
“Does your heart beat faster the moment your eyes meet—”
“That didn’t happen.”
Eleanora was stunned by my answer, which had zero romantic elements. That’s just the way it is in reality. Not every day do you meet someone’s eyes and fall in love.
While we were reminiscing, we arrived at our destination. It is located on the first floor, in a room turned into a storage room. The unused furniture and other items are stuffed in there.
Rita and others would not be happy to see me go to the storage room, but I would feel worse if I went out of my way to call the servants to bring the crystal to me.
“I used it before. Where did I put it… oh, there it is.”
The crystal was placed on a shelf right at the entrance.
Holding it with both hands, I showed it to Eleanora.
“Here, you can use it.”
Huh? Eleanora’s reaction to the level measurement, which she was excited about earlier, was lackluster.
Since this is a special occasion, I want it to be fun. How can I make it a little more exciting?
“Should I sing?”
“Aaaaah! The crystal! Right! Let’s measure it quickly!”
“Eh, ah, okay.”
Eleanora’s excitement rose rapidly. I knew she wanted to check her level.
In that case, she can use it first.
And we’re doing it here. There is no need to take the crystal to my room because I eat the snacks I buy in front of the convenience store.
There was a small, tall desk within my reach. I placed the crystal on the small desk and urged Eleanora to put her hand on it.
“Go ahead, put your hand on this.”
She shakes her head and holds out her right hand.
I had always assumed that Eleanora was level 1. Not surprising is he had never defeated a monster. But judging from her interest in the crystal, she must have raised her level in hiding.
That was why she and Ryuu had been going out together so often. With the strongest dragon, her safety was assured.
What was her level—
“Oh, you’re level 1.”
“Of course I am.”
She was level 1. And she knew it. Why? Why did she decide to measure it?
My brain was filled with questions, so the weakest Ojousama retreated from the crystal.
“Now is your turn, Yumiela.”
“I’ll be last after Patrick.”
“Huh? Are you still not feeling well?”
“…I have my reasons.”
She suspected that I was feeling unwell just because I refrained from measuring my level. It can’t be helped when I always feel like I must be the first to do something.
Of course, there is a reason why I have to be the last.
With the recent event, I surpassed the level limit. My level could be way higher than what I expected.
They are entirely out of the norm. This is why I have cheat-level strength. This is a situation where I could get a dumb title like I’m the only Level 999999999 in a world where Level 99 is the maximum.
Uh, sorry if the book really exists. I think there is something similar, if not an exact match. Forgive me, I am in the mind-boggling situation where I have become the level 99 villainess.
We are getting off-topic. A classic development in such stories is that the level-measuring crystal is broken. The magical instrument can’t withstand the power that exceeds its limits.
According to my estimation, there is about an 80% probability of the crystal breaking. Whether it cracks or explodes to pieces, it will break. The remaining 20% would be an error display due to unmeasurability or the level above 99.
I won’t be disappointed when that happens. Errors are akin to breakage, it’s good to know the probability.
Long story short. This is why I’ll use the crystal after Patrick.
After I explained, Eleanora looked convinced.
“I see. It’s because you keep breaking things, right?!”
“Keep breaking things?!”
“Huh… am I?”
I was gonna argue against it when many things I’ve broken in the past came to my mind. I have broken many things, from dangerous things to valuable stuff, haven’t I?
Not wanting to affirm her assumption, I choose to keep my silence.
“Let’s look for him. I had a feeling he would have shown up without us looking for him.”
“Patrick wouldn’t show up that suddenly.”
Despite her skepticism, the rate Patrick conveniently shows up is extraordinary. Will he come? He’ll be here before I know it.
Saying he’s convenient doesn’t sit well with me. He has good timing.
Uh… I know! He’s always come when I’m in a pinch! Yes, he’s that kind of guy.
“Couldn’t you put more emotion into it?”
“But he will come. If you kidnap a child, he will come faster.”
“Is that a thing?”
Yup. He will come. He will surely come. Trust me, he will come.
—Five minutes later.
“He’s not coming.”
“Yes, he will.”
He didn’t come. Reality is cruel. Happiness is not something waiting for you, but something you go looking for.
The blue bird of happiness ended up at Tyltyl and Mytyl’s house. But their journey and their process to find the blue bird were meaningful.
You may find happiness close to home. But the attitude required to look for happiness on your own is more precious than anything else! Oh, I’m talking about the housemate not coming at the right time.
Eleanora lifts the crystal abruptly as I ponder about happiness.
“You are thinking strangely again. I’ll go quickly.”
“Please don’t drop it.”
Watching Eleanora lift the crystal and walk away is dangerous.
Please don’t drop it, okay? It is supposed to break because it can’t withstand my level, so I can’t allow it to fall on the floor and break.