The Man Picked up by the Gods – Volume 3 Chapter 316: By Hook or by Crook

Though the woman’s face remained in shock even as I split it in two and mana drifted from it, it quickly transformed into that of an unfamiliar woman’s, while I swung back with the sword to cut down the man posturing as my father and then my former colleagues. Only Tabuchi-kun managed to evade the sword with his ghostly movements and retreat to the entrance.

“Why?” [???]

He called out to me, but unlike the voice that was familiar until just awhile ago, what called out to me was that of a hoarse voice of an old man. He also no longer looked at me as a junior looking at his senior and was instead glaring sharply at me.

In the illusion just now, I’ve been released from our company, and I was able to reconcile with my old peers, even being recognized by them. My parents were there too. Evidently, it was meant to pacify me. Were this during the time when I’d just gotten to this world, it might have worked, but it’s too late now.

“Why didn’t the illusion work?” [???]

“It did. Everything was exactly as it was in my memory. I was really surprised.” [Ryouma]

However, despite the effectiveness, it just felt unpleasant. It was my first time seeing my late mother used without consent, and it was not a pleasant feeling.

“!?” [???]

He must have sensed my anger, as the something before me that looked like Tabuchi-kun twisted its expression before disappearing, then the world changed, and I found myself in a dark long corridor made of stones that smelled of the damp air of the forest. It seemed as though I’ve been brought back to reality, but…

“It looks like it hasn’t completely disappeared.” [Ryouma]

I still looked like Takebayashi Ryouma, and my weapon was again a business bag, but as long as I know the position and length of my own weapon, I can wield it just fine.

…This mansion was originally built for the first-generation village chief of Corni village, who was related to the feudal lord. It served not only as a private residence but also as a document storage room and a meeting place. It was later temporarily lent as a base for the development of the forest, and facilities such as barracks and warehouses were built around it. However, due to the worsening situation, the base had to be made smaller, and eventually, the facilities centered around the house were integrated, resulting in its current form. The former village chief’s residence still existed as a separate building at the center of the mansion. It is also the base of the monster I’m to hunt.

“I thought I’d be able to get in if I just remained quiet, but…” [Ryouma]

Well, there’s no point regretting. From I know, the enemy will be very close as soon as I cross the corridor. In fact, when I tried to advance, the scenery changed again. This time it was the office. My former workplace. What’s the point of showing me this?

“Takebayashi!!” [Section Chief]

“…The section chief?” [Ryouma]

“What’s with that attitude!?” [Section Chief]

The section chief appeared before me, but neither of us were even the slightest bit nostalgic about his appearance. My current attitude might be considered bad in my past life, while he was still the same person that would boil over like a kettle in an instant. The greasy shine of his bald head, his shaking belly upon yelling… The monster did a good job recreating him.

“What are you looking at!? You worthless trash! Stop slacking and get to work already!” [Section Chief]

He yelled and slammed a bundle of documents on my desk. There was enough to require overtime, but that was normal in our office.

“Quit slackin’ and sit down already!” [Section Chief]

He reached out to force me to sit down, so I punched him in the stomach, and he collapsed, sounding like some flattened frog.

“How could you punch?” [???]

That same voice from before called out again, and the section chief disappeared, while the scenery changed again. This time it was in the hallway of the company, in front of the tea room. Inside the open door, there were two young female employees.

“Ugh, I’m tired. Seriously, that middle-aged Takebayashi is such a pain.” [Female Worker 1]

“I know right! He criticizes our nails and makeup when he doesn’t know anything about that sort of stuff. He’s even worse than the section chief, since at least that guy just keeps quiet.” [Female Worker 2]

“True, true~ It takes time to put on makeup, and it could smudge, so it shouldn’t be a problem to put it on at work, right?” [Female Worker 1]

Oh, I remember this. It’s not that doing makeup is bad, but I told them it would be better to have a business-appropriate look during work hours. Moreover, doing your makeup 30 minutes after the start of the job, then not returning for two hours is actually spending too much time. Not to mention, repeating the same thing 30 minutes later and again until the end of the day.

“Doesn’t this count as workplace harassment? Can we fire him if we complain?” [Female Worker 2]

“Yeah, that might be possible.” [Female Worker 1]

“Nope.” [Ryouma]

I stepped forward and cut their heads off.

“How can you cut?” [???]

“How can you…” [???]

The fallen heads asked that like a pair of speakers, then everything disappeared.

I’m the one who should be asking questions here. They don’t attack, they don’t ensnare… The Tabuchi-kun and my mother from earlier still made sense actually, since at least they were trying to trap me, but these two just now just pissed me off. What is with this harassment? Why show me such things? Though not knowing that makes it creepy too, I guess.

“Hey! Do this too! Be sure to have it finished by tomorrow morning!” [Section Chief]

“Ugh, that person is being scolded by the section chief again. How old is that guy anyway? He’s almost 40 already, isn’t he? Yet he’s still so incompetent. What a waste of life. It’s because all he can do is follow orders that he gets treated like that.” [Officemate 1]

“Does he enjoy that kind of life? I don’t get it.” [Officemate 2]

“We should teach him to be more like us and be more successful. We’ll be inheriting our parents’ companies in the future too, so it’s only fitting that we be able to turn a useless employee into a competent one.” [Officemate 1]

“Nah, it’s not worth it. In the first place, he’s too old, so I doubt he’d be willing to listen. Though just because someone’s young, doesn’t mean they’ll listen to what you say either. If we’re going to waste our time teaching and working, we might as well just pick someone who could produce a decent profit right from the start.” [Officemate 2]

Unpleasant memories poured into my brain like a dam breaking, resonating with the floor, ceiling, and walls, as the undead grew like mushrooms from all over the place. The surrounding scenery changed again.

“Sensei! I don’t want to be in the same group as Takebayashi-kun!” [Student 1]

“You’re such a nuisance. You make everyone unhappy whenever you’re around.” {Student 2]

“Takebayashi-san, why are you the only one who’s healthy when there are so many people getting sick and leaving? Are you not working properly? Are you just making others work while you slack off? That’s not good, not good at all. So, from this month onwards, you’ll have to work three times as hard as before.” [Boss]

“Excuse me, we received a report from the neighbors. Could you accompany us to the station?” [Police]

“Hey, do you think you’re a human being who can talk to others as equals? Don’t get ahead of yourself.” [Friend]

“Does your life even have any worth?” [Friend 2]

“Takebayashi-kun, people need to experience setbacks. When you’re young, people say you should struggle even if you have to pay for it, right? Setbacks make people mentally and physically stronger. That’s why as your homeroom teacher, no matter how hard you work or how good your grades are on tests, I will never approve of you. It’s out of love for you that I crush your young spirit with a heavy heart, turning you away even if you put in three times the effort. Naturally, you understand, right?” [Teacher]

One memory after another attacked me as a storm of abusive language assaulted me. It was to the point where the conversations didn’t even connect. Of course, I could still understand the words, but trying to comprehend the unreasonable demands was just too exhausting.

“Annoying.” [Ryouma]

That was all I said in response as I cut off all the humanoid figures approaching me. One, two, three, four… There was no need to recognize their faces. Without giving them a chance to speak, I simply eliminated all my enemies as soon as they appeared. I felt the mana and swung my sword in response to the enemy’s movements, and gradually, the surrounding noise grew distant.

The martial arts that were useless in my past life was now helping me. Back then, people just used it to mock me and ask if I was still in my middle-school-sickness phase, but to be honest, I didn’t really like it. I continued training until death, perhaps because I wanted to immerse myself in the act of moving my body. After all, I could forget all my problems as long as I focused on my training. It was a form of escapism.

“…”

But even as I stop my thoughts, my body doesn’t slow down in the slightest. Soon, the weariness from the illusions ceased, and my movements grew sharper.

“How!?” [???]

“How can you move!?” [???]

“You shouldn’t have been able to do anything!?” [???]

I could hear all sorts of screams, from the hoarse to the childlike to the feminine—all of them were unmistakably the cries of that monster. At last, I understood. It wasn’t showing me these things to harass or provoke me. Everything until now was a reproduction of all the unpleasant things from my memories. At first, it might have altered them to suit my desires, but everything nonetheless came from my memories. In other words, the monster was likely reading my thoughts and memories to create its illusions.

If so, then I probably did feel that way in my past life. After all, I really was powerless back then in the sense that I never retaliated no matter how angry I got. The only exception would be when I thought my life was at stake, but otherwise, I never raised my hand against anyone. I didn’t think I could have offered any meaningful retort even when someone hurled vulgar abuse at me, so I was essentially in a punching bag state.

If the supervisor dumped work on me, I quietly worked on it, and if a woman gossiped about me in the break room, I would discreetly turn away. It seemed like the others believed I wouldn’t retaliate even if they freely spewed insults. So, the monster must’ve read my memories and thought that I would similarly be unable to do anything if he brought up those memories. Did I get that right?

“G-Guu…” [Monster]

“Looks like I’m right.” [Ryouma]

“—!!” [Monster]

“Hmm?” [Ryouma]

When I was sure that I’d gotten it right, the scenery changed again. This time, it was the dojo where I spent my childhood. My father appeared in his martial arts uniform and wielded a wooden sword. He appeared at the center and silently swung down with his word. It was a strike aimed at the top of my head, just like when I cut down that something resembling my mother.

I immediately deflected it and took a step, only to find a hilt right against my throat, so I took half a step back to open up my body, and as our arms passed each other, found our blades on each others throats, only for it to be swatted away at the last moment.

“This won’t do.” [Ryouma]

The movements were exactly those of my father, as they existed in my memories. In other words, it meant that he was using the same techniques, the same forms as me.

“Is that all?” [Father]

Amidst the swordplay, I could hear my father’s disappointed mutter, just like those days, and my father grew in size. No, I’d merely returned to my form when I was a child. I was dressed in a gi and had a wooden sword in hand.

My father wore a face as though he was teaching me out of duty. He seemed fed up. Considering how this was recreated from my memories, perhaps he did have such an expression on him back then.

“An overly accurate reenactment.” [Ryouma]

I softly received the sword thrust towards my heart, deftly unwound it in a circular motion to break it apart, and then slid the blade smoothly towards his neck. The sensation of the blade passing through flesh and neck bones without resistance, yet decisively, lingered as my father’s figure disappeared.

Being overwhelmed at the dojo was merely a story from my childhood. If the power dynamics of that time were faithfully recreated, I would have been defeated without even realizing the state of the hallucination. I’ve been training and fighting for more than 20 years after my father passed, so what I felt was really just discomfort. He couldn’t possibly pose a threat.

“Alright, you’ve pestered me enough. Show your face!” [Ryouma]

With all my strength, I swung down my sword at the dojo wall, and the scenery returned to reality. In front of me was the door leading to the main building. I could catch a glimpse of what lay beyond the door through the deep sword scars engraved on its surface, but of course, it was unnecessary.

The door opened with a rough sound to reveal a spacious hall. In the back could be found an emaciated old man resembling a skeleton, while a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces, a multitude of undead, stood ready to serve and confront.


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12 responses to “The Man Picked up by the Gods – Volume 3 Chapter 316: By Hook or by Crook”

  1. false Avatar

    Thanks for the chapter

  2. Zikol Avatar
    Zikol

    Amazing story change from the first. Well done.

    1.  Avatar
      Anonymous

      I was too lazy to read the old version because it’s incomplete and they said it doesn’t change much, could you tell me what changed?

      1.  Avatar
        Anonymous

        Without giving to much away, this chapter took the monster house incident from the pre-boot, set it in Cormi village instead of the labyrinth near the execution grounds, and added an “illusion of Ryouma’s life as he wished it could have been” trope. I recommend reading the pre-boot because, while it starts the same and isn’t really finished, it has enough changes to be a different, but entertaining story. Its loose ends also make it great for fan fiction.

  3. Philip Avatar

    Wow, what a nasty undead party. They really need to be slowly and painfully exorcised and exterminated.
    Thanks for the chapter! Awesome translation! May God bless you!

  4.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Thanks for the chapter

  5. Raidanzoup Avatar
    Raidanzoup

    I like chapters like this one, and this one pulled it off well.

  6. Otaku Hikikomori Avatar

    Thanks for the treat.

  7.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Good work out there.

  8. Belkar Avatar

    Thank you!

    “From I know” >>> From what* I know

  9. pokeperson1000 Avatar
    pokeperson1000

    Thank you for the quick translation.

    The beast Fernobia raised really has a potty personality huh. It needs reeducating. Or death. One of the two.

  10. Tanacetum parthenium Avatar
    Tanacetum parthenium

    Thank you for the translation!

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