“Then can you specify who exactly the curse affects?” [Ryouma]
“Even taking into account the treatment I provided—” [Gayn]
To summarize the specifics into four points:
1. Only humans are affected.
In other words, monster beasts are unaffected, and it won’t affect my familiars either. Reinbach-sama’s dragon just didn’t know who I was, so it looked menacingly at me. It could have also felt the mana of the curse and grew wary of me, but in any case, it wasn’t the curse itself that caused its attitude.
2. Others will come to hold ill will toward me.
The main effect of the curse is the increase of negative feelings, so if the person doesn’t hold negative feelings in the first place, it won’t have an effect. It’s the same concept as how zero will always be zero regardless what number it’s multiplied by.
3. The target must not favor me more than they hate me.
The curse is less effective the more favorable and trusted I am by someone. That’s why the curse had no effect on Reinbach-sama and the others.
4. I need to come into contact with the person or recognize them.
The core of the curse is inside me, so I need to speak to someone, see them, or touch them for the curse to affect them. So communication through indirect methods like through letters or messages won’t allow the curse to take effect.
…After hearing all of that, I realized.
“This curse actually isn’t that big of a deal, is it?” [Ryouma]
“Really? I thought it would be problematic for you, actually.” [Gayn]
It’s true that the curse worsening my interpersonal relationships is worrying. But it can’t worsen my relationship with people that I already get along with, so if I just isolate myself and not meet people, then the curse is pretty much useless.
I might have regained my youth, but in my past life, I was a nearly 40 year-old otaku that’s both single and childless. Fortunately, I did have a job, but I had a lot on my resume that would make people look down on me. In fact, people were distrustful of me a lot, and whatever credibility I had could easily be blown away.
I have people I can leave the management of the store to, and I’ve also already handed over the authority to accomplish that. It’s about time I headed to the Great Shurus Forest anyway, and it should be fine as long as I keep in touch via letters.
My savings are good too, and I should be able to live well even for a year. There’s no need to wear myself out working, body and soul, like I did in my past life. And even if I didn’t have money, I’m confident I’d still be able to live. It really is a weight off my mind not to have to worry about money. That might be why I don’t think it’s that serious of a problem.
“There are a lot of things I want to study about and run experiments on, so if I just turn my attention to that, then a year should go by in the blink of an eye.” [Ryouma]
When I said that, the gods all nodded. Meltrize-sama alone just observed me… She was completely void of expression, so maybe she’s just not interested.
“You did stay cooped up all alone in a forest for three years with nothing.” [Kufo]
“That certainly makes him seem a lot more reliable in that regard, but… Well, if you’re not going to worry about it, then I suppose nothing could be better.” [Tekun]
“It’s a curse left behind by a god more superior to us, though. Moreover, a curse cast after expending all of his remaining strength.” [Rurutia]
“It was discovered before it could do anything and then it was even brought to us. There’s no way to put it other than that that demon king has no luck.” [Fernoberia]
The gods said, and I reckon Gayn must have thought along the same lines. As the atmosphere grew softer, the conversation continued.
“If you’re going to isolate yourself, then I suggest you spend half the year when you can still be leisurely to prepare for the remaining half. What we’re doing is basically gradually pulling out the fragment from your soul, and while it’s necessary, the further along the treatment we progress, the easier it will be for the curse to surface, and the effects will also be stronger.” [Gayn]
“So, inversely, that means that the curse right now is at its weakest.” [Ryouma]
“Exactly. You only need to cut off communication with others in the last few months. If you really need to appear before others, you can use a spell to weaken the curse. I was planning on telling you that if you looked worried, but you’re not worried at all.” [Gayn]
We wrapped up the topic of curses there. Gayn turned to Fernoberia-sama, and they instantly changed places. Fernoberia-sama quietly spoke.
“I have something to give you, or rather, return to you.” [Fernoberia]
Just when I was wondering what it was, the magic gem I found floated in mid air.
“That thing?” [Ryouma]
“What am I to do with the Fragment of the Demon King?” [Ryouma]
“Don’t worry, the power of the demon king inside has already been dealt with. It’s just a magic gem right now. You found it, so it’s only right that you keep it. It’s up to you to decide what to do with it. However, I would recommend you not sell it, as it’s bound to cause a commotion. Instead, consider using it to make a staff. In that regard, it is decent material. You can also see it as compensation for all the trouble.” [Fernoberia]
In that case, I suppose there’s no harm in taking it, so I obediently accepted it and stored it into my Item Box.
Then Tekun wrapped his arm around my shoulders.
“Come to think of it, Ryouma, you don’t have a staff, do you?” [Tekun]
“Nope. I was starting to think of getting one, though.” [Ryouma]
I know how to make a traditional staff now after meeting Remilie-san, so given time I do intend to make one.
“Then it’s perfect! You should use that magic gem. As for the body of the staff, didn’t you get an elder treant’s mutated branch?” [Tekun]
“Now that you mention it, there is indeed something like that. It’s just been collecting dust in my Item Box this whole time, though.” [Ryouma]
When I said that, Tekun made an obviously unsatisfied face.
“What a waste! Materials are meaningful only when they’re used. You know a bit about woodworking, right? You should use this opportunity to craft something for yourself then. On top of the knowhow, you also need to know how to pick the right material, detect mana, and various other things, but… Right. Since you have to drop by regularly anyway, how about I teach you?” [Tekun]
“You’d go so far?” [Ryouma]
“I don’t mind if it’s just the basics. The knowledge and techniques for this sort of stuff accumulate through the passing down of knowledge to the younger generation by the older. Watching over that, and from time to time, giving them a push on the back is the task of I, the God of Artisans and Technology. I don’t do much woodwork myself nowadays, but I used to do it quite a bit in the past. So don’t hold back.” [Tekun]
Tekun said with a laugh while drinking as though nothing could be more normal. I’m sure he really does think that way, but I sure am lucky to have the God of Artisans himself willing to teach me. Nah, you probably can’t describe this as just luck anymore. Anyhow, since he’s offering it, I’ll gratefully accept.
“In that case, I’ll take you up on your offer and ask for your help once I get back from the Great forest.” [Ryouma]
Tekun suddenly stopped laughing. Then as though he remembered something, he turned to the other gods. The other goods too other than Meltrize-sama looked awkward. Did I say something weird?
“…What a waste of time.” [Meltrize]
While the other goods looked like they were worrying over what to say, Meltrize said that and appeared before me. Then she said—
“Takebayashi Ryouma. I request your cooperation.” [Meltrize]
An exceedingly simple yet undetailed statement.