Dolls

Chapter 60 – Finale – Awakening from the predicament, and then–

 

Why did the Earl say Ruthe’s name here? I was confused, but did not have time to think of it right now.

“Hindrance.” For as soon as the Earl said that, a strong blizzard covered the entire area.

And it’s not just cold. It is also filling the area with magical power… This is bad.

“Cover in ice, everything, everything, shall sleep for eternity–!” The Earl exclaimed.

I remember it. The Earl used to encase people in ice, and store them in his collection… This power was now being used against us without any reservation.

“Gu… Ah…” It instantly froze up all knights of my house, including Fromos and the dolls. Probably because they had a low magic resistance.

I wanted to help them, but everything below my knees was already frozen too… And the ice was slowly climbing up my legs as well.

(Even I can’t prevent it… And ice is my specialty…!) Weisster groaned, (Damn it! What’s going on!? The Earl shouldn’t have such an incredible power… Uh… Guh…) And then, Weisster too was completely frozen. He stopped talking after this…

And ice stretched into my hands from my grip on his sword-self. It took me too long to realize it, and by the time I tried to let go, it was already too late, as my wrists too were covered in ice.

… And I wasn’t the only one in a pinch.

Both Phillka and Feria were completely frozen already.

Tourus and Kajero were somewhat safe at least, so they tried rushing to help me. Tourus was kept safe by his negation magic, and Kajero was a really high-rank spirit, so he somehow managed to keep the ice at bay… Weisster probably would have been able to do this too if he wasn’t trying to protect me from it.

And even then, there was some ice already clinging to the edges of Tourus’ and Kajero’s bodies, making their movement sluggish.

“Alty, I’m coming to help!” Brother Tourus exclaimed, ignoring his own predicament.

(Young lady, I’m almost there!) Kajero too, rushed my way.

However, a silhouette appeared in front of them, blocking their path.

That slender man was silently wielding a sword in his hands.

Neither Tourus nor Kajero could get past him, and not just because of the ice.

After all… “No… Way…” I muttered to myself.

It was hard to breathe when facing him.

Because I knew that man very well.

The same golden hair as me.

The same deep blue eyes that I have.

His toned body was so mesmerizing, that even I, his daughter, could be entranced by him.

Yes… Solute Wisp.

My father.

My father, who had always been by my side, has now, somehow, turned into an enemy. Perhaps because he was manipulated by the future Altirea, or perhaps by Asklasua.

… At this point, my heart calmed down.

Too many unexpected events occurred at once… Right now, my emotions just reached the saturation point.

We are in an overwhelmingly disadvantageous position. Neither brother Tourus nor Kajero can help me because father is blocking their path… Moreover, they too are slowly being frozen.

And everything below my neck is already covered in ice.

There is just no way to turn the tide at this point–

–That’s not true.

True doll magic.

While doll magic at is basis just allows me to create moving dolls, there are actually many more things I can do.

Let’s look back at what I did in the past.

I put spirits within the dolls. That’s how Kajero, Walf and Cactus were born.

I could also interfere with the mind of others and literally turn them into dolls. It’s what I did back in Malgaroid. When I manipulated king Lereol to prepare a fast ship for me.

But that’s not all. If I put my all into it, I can essentially do anything I want.

Like when Kajero was about to disappear… I extinguished the flame magic near him, and decided that he would not die.

That was a power akin to a god’s.

If this world is a doll show, then the true doll magic would be the power to change the script.

Brother Tourus didn’t want me to use this power… Perhaps there are unexpected side effects to it.

Well, that’s only natural. I’m only a human being, yet I’m trying to do something on the realm of the divine.

However, at present we are in a difficult situation, where our lives are at risk. I cannot hold back if I want us to survive.

I took a deep breath.

Last time I used the true doll magic, I heard a voice from within my heart.

I imitated and hummed those words again.

–Isn’t this just a doll show?

–If you don’t like it, why not rewrite the storyline?

–I can do that. It’s allowed.

And then… My consciousness flew far away. I felt like my very soul came out of my body.

By the time I realized it, I was looking at the entire world from a faraway place. Somewhere higher than the sky, higher than the whole universe even.

It was a pure white space in a separate dimension.

When I looked down, I could see the empire’s capital wrapped in a blizzard.

Squinting my eyes further, I could see Tourus, Kajero and myself being encased in ice.

I waved my right hand.

At the next moment, many changes occurred at once.

The ice that covered me and everyone else broke, melted, and disappeared.

The blizzard covering the capital was also stopped.

The Earl and father were still being manipulated by future me though, so I disabled her control and returned them to sanity.

It was a really aggressive solution, but there was no other way.

And I understood it now. If I wanted to, I could make even more drastic changes to the whole world.

I could easily erase everything up to today and start over from whenever I’d like. I could change the situation and the setting however I saw fit.

I could make it so that I regained my past life memories when I was 9 instead of when I was 7 for one.

Or maybe study abroad at a different country instead of in Malgaroid.

I could also confront Asklasua in a different location and restart from there…

But I don’t want to do any of that.

I used the true doll magic because there was no other solution for the predicament I was facing. I don’t want the days I’ve been living through to be completely changed. I don’t want them to stop mattering to me.

It would be… Too hypocritical to do so.

***

While I was wondering how to get back to the ground, I heard a male voice, “–Looks like you finally mastered doll magic.”

That light-blue hair, paired together with deep blue eyes that are somewhat unfocused…

Sage Asklasua.

Once he came to this white space, I immediately understood his true identity.

Asklasua is the same as me.

Weiss told me before, that Asklasua came from another world and killed all gods with a single movement.

He may be from a different world that is not modern Japan, but that is not important.

What matters, is that he too uses doll magic.

In a way, Asklasua can be said to be my predecessor.

He erased all the gods with the true doll magic, then became the ruler of this world himself.

And then, a long time passed–

Until I was called to be his successor.

“Asklasua, just what was your goal?” I asked him.

Even if I understood his circumstances and background, I still couldn’t understand why he acted the way he did. Why did he cause so much trouble?

“Even I forgot it at this point. The shell may look young, but the insides are quite old. It’s been over 8000 years since the gods were destroyed.

“But then, after a while, a successor appeared. Always with doll magic… And then, time was rewound.

“Time and time again. I might have gone through billions or even trillions of years.” He told me.

“That’s quite a lot of time… Even then, I can’t help being amazed by the fact that even gods can become senile.” I replied.

“You sure don’t hold back with your words, do you?” Asklasua looked down for a bit, but then he smiled, “But you too will be like that one day. In a distant future, you’ll be faced with old age, and with the fact that a new successor will come. Be prepared.”

“Thank you for your worries, but it’s hard to imagine that when it’s so far away.” I told him honestly.

“Well… After all this, I guess everything will be over in an instant… If I could, I wish I could have played a bit more in this world.” Asklasua muttered.

“I see.” I said.

Those words finally made me understand it.

He wanted to play a bit more in this world… That was Asklasua’s purpose all along.

In order to extend his time as a god, he tried to deny my awakening as his successor.

Now that I became the same kind of being as Asklasua — a god-like being — I can understand him.

Even after I reincarnated in this world, Asklasua kept on rewinding time. Over and over again.

During this process, an ‘error’ was probably born, which is the future Altirea that I faced the other day. She couldn’t become a god, so perhaps Asklasua thought that the situation might change if he put her against me… But his plan failed.

“Well, I guess I’ll be taking over now. It’s time to leave the stage, Asklasua.” I told him.

Asklasua is weaker than he was at his prime. He can no longer rewind time, not even for a single second.

Even I, who just became a god, can compete with him as more than an equal.

Furthermore, Asklasua’s power is weakened with each passing second, and conversely, my power is also strengthening.

The outcome of the fight was clear.

“If you have anything to confess, now would be the right time for it. Is there anything you want to say?” I asked him.

“Confess? No, I don’t need any repentance. I simply lived in the way I wanted to, what’s wrong with that?

“If you have any complaints, then tell them to this world that summoned me.” He replied.

This was our last conversation.

Me and Asklasua… Our two forces collided, and eventually, one was swallowed up and disappeared.

——

Author’s Note: What comes next is an afterword. Please read it if you’d like, and thank you for the 4 years and 5 months of support since the publication started.

Afterword:

Thank you all for the support. I’m Touno Kokonoe, and this is the end of ‘Dolls.’

I received a lot of comments during the publication, and I’d like to address some of them.

So, ‘Dolls’ was the first full-length novel I wrote in my life. It was a very different experience from writing short-stories, and I had to learn a lot on how to properly structure a plot, developments and etc.

Then, Arian Rose suddenly gave me the offer of a Light Novel publication in early 2014. At that point I had to, in a hurry, start studying long novels to have a better basis to work with for the Light Novel (and I also had to secretly re-do my studies of Japanese, because my Japanese skills were in tatters).

And as long readers know, Dolls has been rewritten twice.

After the battle against the sage (chapter 37), I posted about 20 more chapters, but then I deleted them while thinking ‘this is no good at all’!

Then, I wrote yet another 20 or so new chapters, and… After all that, I decided ‘I’ll try again’! So I deleted them once more.

The third attempt is what led to the proper conclusion of the novel. I’m sorry for still being inexperienced.

Next, I’d like to address something related to the final chapter of ‘Dolls’.

For those of you that read the ‘waking up’ and the ‘another world’ paths, you might be wondering how I arrived at a ‘God End’…

But the truth is that I actually planned for the ‘God End’ from the start. I just didn’t know how to get there. But after going through the ‘waking up’ and the ‘another world’ paths, I was finally able to find a way to bring life to the ‘God End’ (even if a bit forcibly). This finally allowed me to give a proper ending to ‘Dolls’.

However, there are still some issues with this, because there were aspects of the ‘waking up’ and ‘another world’ paths that I wanted to pack into the story, but there was simply not enough space for it (Too much reflection would take away the magnificence of any moonlight).

Finally, I’d like to introduce some spoilers (or well, ideas that I wasn’t able to properly develop):

The web version Altirea became a god, then rewound time and restarted the world which led to the Light Novel version… Not.

Please think of those two as parallel worlds that are similar, but still fundamentally different. There is no doomsday dragon in the web version, for example.

As for Rune Knight Concerto, it was actually not an Otome Game that ended up having its original story creating a new world.

In the world of ‘Dolls’, the search for a new god begins when the time for the change of gods approaches.

Specifically, it is a system that generates a story that describes the events of the world of ‘Dolls’, spreads it through multiple worlds, then summons the people that react the most strongly to it.

Essentially, one could say that the world of ‘Dolls’ was the original all along, and the Otome Game was based on it.

That’s mostly it. There are other background settings that I couldn’t put on the story, but I think I might make use of them in future works, so I won’t share them here.

I also wanted to say that the first post of ‘Dolls’ was on 1:46am of 2013/11/25, and that I started writing the first episode around 8pm of the 24th, the previous day. I actually started writing this story by picking it up from a dream I had while dozing off at work.

From that day to now, it’s been 4 years and 5 months since I started writing my first full-length novel.

Although the pace was slow, I was able to slowly add more to it, one step at a time.

I’d truly appreciate it if you could continue supporting me in the future.

Well then, please excuse me, for this is the end.

——

Translator’s Note: And that’s the end of it all, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the ride!

This Author’s Note wasn’t a part of the chapter itself, for the record. It was posted separately on a blog post within syosetu. I’ll link to it here in case anyone wants to check the original, since it’s a bit hard to find manually (it took me a while to find it myself, as the author only mentioned that there was an afterword on the blog part of syosetu at the end of this chapter): https://mypage.syosetu.com/mypageblog/view/userid/365820/blogkey/2021596/

And well, as the author said in the note, the last part was written and rewritten a few times, so that’s why there are some plotholes, inconsistencies, and loose ends that weren’t properly tied up.

To give a bit of context, Arc 3 ended in 2014. The final version of Arc 4 was written in 2016… And the final chapter of Arc 4 was written in 2018. It took 2 years for the author to write a version of Arc 4 that they were okay with, and another 2 years just for the last chapter…

Also, I should note that the author probably made a mistake when referring to the writing and rewriting of chapters. Because like, chapter 38 came out four days after chapter 37… I doubt that they actually re-did 20 chapters twice in the spam of four days, so… The author most likely was referring to the chapters from c45 onwards, not from c38 onwards.

On another note, the LN of Dolls didn’t get a single new volume since 2016. NU still lists it as ongoing, so I guess it’s in semi-permanent hiatus? I dunno, I didn’t read the LN, but I know it differs quite a bit from the WN.

I don’t have much more to say. This was one of my favorite novels, so I was kinda disappointed when I saw that this was the ending. I really loved everything up until the end of the third arc, but the entirely of the fourth arc felt like it was a mess to me… But after reading this afterword, I think I kinda get why it ended up this way.

On a side note, I have no idea what the author’s notes on c51 and c56 mean. Both of them seem to directly contradict the true nature of Tourus’ power and the personality of the future Altirea… The second one of those in particular bugged me so much, that I asked 3 different translators for their take on the sentence, and they all arrived to a translation very similar to my own, so… Take it for what it is.

I think that’s all from me. Once again, I hope you all enjoyed the ride! I certainly loved translating this novel, even if I wasn’t that happy with the ending, so I’d be really glad if you enjoyed reading it too.

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