Ash: Hello, here’s chapter 8 which got delayed by Garudina for a long long time lol. I’m probably going to focus on Astarte more from now on because it’s actually so much more fun to translate :D.
The 8th Story: Status Rising and Naming
Me and Astarte headed towards another room on the same floor.
A red carpet continued towards the room’s center.
Cutting off the carpet was a large drawn hexagram magic formation, capable of surrounding a single person.
In the four corners there were four torches emitting purple flames.
Apart from those, it was a cold room with nothing much placed in it.
This room certainly had the feeling of “the ritual will commence now”.
The slow-footed me was pulled by Astarte by my hand, and I was led into the room.
The slime made a dirty noise with a *nucha* *nucha*.
Even so, there’s that.
This child really doesn’t care about getting dirty from touching a Ghoul’s hand.
Even now the sticky slime was clinging to her palm and sleeves.=
I don’t know whether it’s because Astarte’s a child or it’s just her own personality, but to be honest, up until now, I think she is the first person who came into contact with me favorably.
If my parents were to see the me of right now…nope, I’ll pass. Imagination cut.
Why was she so kind to me up until now?
As far as I’m concerned, there’s the reason of “because I saved her when she was being kidnapped by humans,” but I believe it would have been solved in the end even if I wasn’t there.
I only changed the scenario where those two humans would be killed by the other demons in the castle.
Besides, didn’t Astarte come to my place before that?
Come to think of it, didn’t she say it was something like sympathy?
Doing this much for that? Normal.
“You know, I feel grateful.”
Astarte talked as if she read my mind.
“Living in this castle is super strict.”
Because she’s the castle lord’s daughter, I thought she could be haughty and selfish as much as she likes.
“Unless I have no work, I’m told to not go to the lower levels . Where I can go is really only this floor and Rinne’s lab. Outside of this castle is a dream within a dream.”
Rinne must be that huge breasted woman in a white robe.
Without interjecting, I listened carefully to Astarte’s words.
“I really understand that Otou-sama really treasures me. Besides he told me there are alot of “bad humans”. But it’s suffocating no matter what, and I go to the lower floors to play sometimes.”
“The people in the lower floors are so amusing! There’s a person with a human body and a pig’s head, and a Mr. Bird that can talk. It’s so fun, as if I’m lost in a picture book’s world. But everybody runs away when I get close…”
I get it.
Astarte is that old man’s daughter.
The way I see it, that old man has a rather bad case of musumecon (abbrievation of daughter complex), and if they say anything rude to Astarte and her father hears it, they would be immediately decapitated! I could imagine such a sight easily.
Fearing that, the castle’s demons try not to have anything to do with Astarte.
“In the end, because no one wanted to play with me, I went to the lowest floor, the “Ghoul” floor…”
Ahh. Is that why she always appeared where I was?
“But it’s not like the ghouls would listen to me talk. And even if I talked to them, they wouldn’t react…”
There, Astarte looked at me in the eye again and talked.
“But I met you.”
“It was my first time. A person who would deal with me as I am. You actually have intelligence, right? Everyone looks down on you, but I think they’re wrong.”
“Because you are my first fr-…friend…”
She was awfully embarrassed at saying the phrase “friend”.
There probably was never someone who could talk to her as an equal up until now.
And now, Astarte gulped down her saliva with a “gokuri” (*gulp*) and seriously hesitated as though she were confessing. But she certainly said it strongly.
“So please be by my side from now on! As a knight!”
I never experienced someone strongly requesting something up until now.
Frankly, I didn’t know what on earth I should reply her words with.
A moment of silence.
There, my lifeboat appeared.
“Eh~, gohon (*ahem*)”
Behind me, the old man cleared his throat.
Astarte was startled! And she floated up a few centimeters from the ground.
“To think you were that excited about this ghoul…”
The figure of a stale sulking father was there.
He has an “I don’t care what happens in my life anymore” face.
“I don’t care what happens in my life anymore…”
Yep, that’s right.
“Then shall we start, Astarte?”
While behaving a little sulkish, the old man advanced into the inside of the room.
There for the first time, the old man looked at me in the eye and talked to me instead of Astarte.
Come to think of it, this is the first time he’s directly talked to me.
He’s been ignoring my existence all this time.
But you can say that’s natural.
In which world would you find parents who would ask a pet for its opinion in a family council on whether to keep it or not?
I responded to the old man’s words and upon advancing, I felt some admiration as if saying “Hoh, it actually has intelligence…”
The rank up ceremony was finished relatively fast.
First the old man and Astarte collected their blood using a silver needle.
I felt somewhat sorry after looking at Astarte grimace with an “Ow…!”.
I thought “it would be fine to not do this if you’re going to make such a face”…but to this girl, this might be an extremely important ritual.
The old man recited an incantation, their blood formed the shape of words, and it was absorbed into the massive spell book the old man held in his hand.
After that, what happened was the chanting of an boring, pointless, meaningless lengthy incantation like the closing ceremony speech of a school principal.
Frankly, I didn’t understand what meaning it might of had, but what I got was what I was accustomed to for this one month.
But as it finally approached its final sentence.
“As the Castle Lord Sanjelman, I command you, corpse, become ferocious. Serve as my knight to rigorously safeguard my magic power!”
As those words began, a shock broke out in the room.
Ashen steam from the center of my body filled the room.
Honestly, it was unbearably smoky.
“Geho! Geho! (*cough cough*) What is this…!”
I muttered this.
A voice came out. It wasn’t a voice given emitted from decayed vocal cords.
It was a proper human voice.
I touched my throat.
There is skin.
It might be gross hearing a guy say this, but it is a silky smooth skin.
At least it is cleaner than the decayed and sludge covered ghoul skin.
My Adam’s apple is properly attached. Even though it was flat up until now!
I touched my hands. Nails that I never had until now grew there.
I touched my face. My nose which was function-less up until now was breathing.
I touched my teeth. All of them are there.
All of my body’s ghoul features disappeared.
In other words.
“My appearance became that of a human’s! Me!”
“Don’t be so happy, that’s just the rank up’s supplementary-stage function. Your body’s true nature is large unchanged, and it’s not possible to maintain that form for 24 hours.”
The old man said that from behind me.
“I’m surprised, did you actually have intelligence from the start? Or is this also a power from the rank-up? I do not know, as I have never heard of anyone strengthening a ghoul…”
“Who is a old man! I am Count Sanjelman. Call me Count-sama.”
Astarte hugged my head.
The force was so strong that I thought it would break my head.
“Like this, we can chat now!”
“So we can chat, you… did you do this for this sake?”
“Yup! I thought you would definitely be able to talk if you became a knight! Besides.”
“Being a “pet” even though you’re a friend is just weird!”
Then, Astarte blinked her eyes in surprise.
“Wait…are you actually a man?”
“Yes I am?”
After her mouth was gaping for one second, Astarte’s face quickly dyed red with a “kaa” (*blush*).
And then she suddenly jumped back even though she was innocently hugging me up until now.
“Eh? What is it?”
“It’s because I always thought you were a girl…to think you were a man…”
Come to think of it, it was “my first friend”.
Well, a girl’s friend is a girl, normally.
Thinking about it like this, I understood her reckless and intimate attitude up until now.
Was her innocent friendliness because her companion was of the same sex?”
And now she’s blushing because she found out the person inside was in reality a boy.
I was able to obtain a good mutual understanding with her, but it seems like the number one more fundamental issue wasn’t transmitted.
“Hey, Astarte. Why did you think I was a girl?”
“Because when I asked about ‘things you were good at,’ you replied with ‘washing and cooking’…”
Ahh, now that she mentions it, something like that was said.
It’s just that I couldn’t help but become self-independent because of my environment.
It seems a big part of what Astarte thoughtlessly adored me for was my aspect as a teacher in girl power.
“Eh~, sorry. Can I continue?”
The Count-sama gave a forced cough.
“Astarte, does he have a name?”
“Th-, that’s right. What’s your name? I didn’t know it up until now!”
The two of them gazed at my face with a “jii” (*stare*).
Fufu, you want to hear it that much?
Then fine, I shall inform you.
My name is……………….
What was it?
I completely forgot because it wasn’t really called out recently.
In the first place, I already had a weak attachment towards my name because my parents only called me “you.”
No, that is such a boring lie…
I actually hate it. The name I got from those parents.
I just don’t want to bring it along to my new start in life.
“I don’t have a name. You can decide.”
I faced Astarte, and said that.
This person saved the current me.
I wish for this person to decide my name.
I won’t have any complaints if the name was decided by Astarte.
“Eh? Then, Pochi or Tama, which one is better?”
(TLN: Stereotypical name for a dog (Pochi) or cat (Tama))
“Sorry, I’ll decide on it myself.”
Are there no good names?…
Hell has Western-like names.
Because it’s hell, an evil sounding name might be better.
Here, I remembered that Astarte’s blood was used at the ritual’s start.
“Then, please call me “Blood.”
“I was reborn from a ritual that used Astarte’s blood. Therefore, Blood.”
“It feels kind of ‘simple’…”
Isn’t it better than Pochi or Tama?
But it feels sort of chuuni for me to do this.
(TLN: Chuuni as in Chuunibyou.)
“Then, nice to meet you! Blood!”
“Same here. Err, Astarte…-sama?”
“You don’t have to be so respectful! Because starting from today you’re a part of my family!”
I felt a shock like I had been hit hard on the back of my head at those words.
What was a family again?
Because the “family” I know was that good-for-nothing family.
But then is Astarte, who was in front of me, my family?
That I’m a member of her family?
Is it… alright for me to be here?
Right now, does —- someone need me?
“Go buy some sake! You fucking idiot!”
“Don’t do anything more painful to this child!”
“Everything would have been fine if you weren’t born!”
“You ghouls are only useful as our sandbags!”
“I also want a birthday party like the one at Sutou-kun’s house—Otou-san…”
“We’ll be together from now on!”
“It’s because… you are my first friend…”
Many words said up until now, past or present, are running about inside of me.
The inside of my head became disordered.
My thinking was obstructed.
“Huh? What is this…”
My field of vision became blurred. My head was hazy and I couldn’t think.
What’s happening to me?
Somehow I feel as if my face is randomly becoming wet.
Only after I put my hand on my face there, I realized.
I was crying.
“Wh-, what’s wrong!? Are you that against it!?”
Astarte got into a panic with an “oro oro” (*panic*).
It wasn’t that the current me couldn’t understand the feelings and character of my 6 year-old self.
For example, even though it just happened a moment ago, I can understand the reason why I’m crying.
“It’s because I’m too happy…”
And I gave off a small groan like the ones during my time as a Ghoul.
Seeing this, Astarte gently hugged me, who was sitting on the floor, with a gyuu (*hug*).
This time she didn’t care whether it was a man or someone of the same sex.
“We’ll always be together after this, Blood.”
I didn’t reply back to those words.
My functions of thought already stopped, because I was frantically resisting the urge to sob.
But within my heart, there was certainly a strong reply.
Best regards, my master–
The second life that I have obtained on god’s whim.
I’ll devote it all for the sake of this child.
For the sake of Astarte, who was the first to treasure this human, me.
You said I “don’t need to be so respectful,” but behind you, your father definitely has a face of “you better be respectful!”…
“Rinne’s Research Journal”
Race: Ghoul (Kai)
(TLN: Kai as in something like “Remodeled/ Upgraded”. Like in Kantai Collection)
Remarks: The first ranked-up ghoul in Hell’s history. I must keep an eye on him as a sample.
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