000 Pursuit of Perpetuity pt.1

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Ouroboros Record was written by Yamashita Minato and this chapter was translated by yAmi on www.yamitranslations.com

 — If darkness was called the lack of light, this was certainly darkness.


 A suspending feeling of falling.
 Like a ball of wool unwinding, the elements that made him unravelled through the tail of wool.
 Memories, language, senses, emotions.
 And then everything fell out. What will remain of him afterwards?


 — Nothing.


 Being conscious of that in a split second, he became terrified, horrified and was unable to endure it.
 Even as he frantically tried to piece together his dispersing self, trying to hold it back, they continued to disappear.
 No matter how much he struggled, he was unable to prevent his defeat.
 I am going to vanish. I am going to die.


 — Lies.


 It had been likened to sleeping but it was definitely not such a gentle experience.
 Parting with your core as though as you were melting, it’s violence can be compared to being digested inside the stomach of a beast.
 There was no such thing as tranquility. It was simply an uneasy feeling of losing your faculties.
 And at some point, you would feel emptiness. You don’t even feel nothing. You become zero.


 — I hate it.


 Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it!
 I hate for this to have ended!
 Am I destined to remain in this emptiness, this world where nothing exists?
 Are you saying all that I have lived for to this day, was to welcome such an end!?


 “……That would be, too much”






 I was stirred awake by my own sleep talk.
 The view of the place plunged into my eyes, the flickering light from the lamp, a wooden desk, and on top of it, a rat cage, and countless number of medicine. It was an underground laboratory that I was used to seeing.
 It seems like I had fallen asleep while in an experiment.
 It was a nightmare earlier. A nightmare that I saw many times over, it seems like I have seen it again today.
 It could have been because I have seen this so many times that now, I no longer scream and jump off awake. However, the terrible feeling was real.
 Getting up from the chair, I could feel the soaking sensation of sweat throughout my body despite it not being warm here. It was always like this after seeing that dream.


 — The dream before I was reborn.
 — Or the dream after I died.


 “Even though I having seen that dream recently……Why am I having this dream now?”


 “Chi, Chi, Chi!” Towards my monologue, the caged rats squeaked. It felt like they were mocking me.
 ……Ahh, that’s right. I have decided on the cause.
 It was because I have reached the limits of my research.
 A research that I absolutely had to do because of that. The research to achieve everlasting youth and longevity.


 “……It should have been longer. And yet, only 10 minutes has passed.”


 As I said, my hands were raised towards the luminance. Their smallness cannot be compared at all with their original size.
 The fingers were small, and the hands that had never stopped growing were without a doubt, the hands of a child.
 My own voice that sent vibrations to my eardrums was the high-pitched voice of a child that has not broken his voice.
 Even the hair that was entwined into my fingers that were scratching my head, had the colour red, a copper-like red. It was absolutely not the usual black.
 I see.
 This was the me that had been reincarnated after experiencing death in my old world.
 Talese Shernan Obeniel, who just became eight years old.


 — The Cycle of Transmigration.


 No matter how I see it, that was the phenomenon that I had underwent.
 After dying once, I was reincarnated with my memories and personality intact.
 Why was I reborn? To that question, I have a never-ending supply of interest but at present, the reason was unclear. At the very least, there were no similar kinds of people near me and even if such a person existed, it was just myths and fairy-tales which couldn’t be distinguished from fiction.
 What kind of life did I bid farewell to in my previous lifetime was something that I did not have to say, I believe.
 Just like my current life, I was a male and was born in 21st Century Japan. I died young without experiencing any bit of adult life. If that was all I remembered about my previous life, I wonder if it would be particularly problematic.
 Anyways, what was important was that I died once and had been reincarnated with some memories retained.
 ……Yes, I still have memories of my death.
 Was it the effect of being shown something by the brain or was it a vision I had after my soul melted away from my flesh? I was forced to taste the sensation of returning to nothing, a taste that can only be described as revolting.
 What happened after that and what kind of good fortune passed my way? Somehow I was given a second life.
 However, whenever I dreamt about that moment, I would go crazy. No, perhaps I have already gone mad.
 After all, I am still seized by this fear of death.
 …...Humans have to die one day. That has been the unbending providence of the world. Even if I reincarnated like this, one day I would grow old and fall ill, or I might meet with a mishap —— under the most brutal circumstances I might be killed but either way, all paths lead to death.
 I don’t want that.
 The reason as to how I reincarnated was not yet known. This means that I have no way of figuring out if I would be reincarnated if I died again.
 I have a hunch that I won’t be coming back this time. The feeling of dispersing after dying. That and also because my good fortune might not show itself a second time, these were more than sufficient reasons to convince myself.
 That’s why before I was even ten, I had been conducting this research.
 Eh? What kind of research?

 “I have repeated this research over and over again so that there are no more failures though…...”

 I threw out a rat from the cage as I said.
 That rat’s forefeet was missing on one side. I had cut it off for the sake of the experiment.
 Probably remembering it’s leg being cut off in its tiny brain, the rat struggled endlessly. I paid no heed to it, and applied a suitable amount of [Ingredient] on its missing leg.
 Next, I sang the [Incantation].

 “<<Alchemise>>”

 Faint glittery particles gathered on the ingredients and just when it started sparkling, the light that had been collected in that one place took on a different shape.
 It was the rat’s forefoot. The part which had I had purposely cut off had begun regenerating. By none other than my hands, regeneration had been achieved.

 ——Alchemy.

 A form of magic to turn materials into a higher-value item such as transmuting iron or lead into gold.
 To go into extremes, it could also be called a magic that extracts the soul to lift humans into the plane of greater existence.
 That was what I, Talese Shernan Obeniel, had been studying. A study to investigate the possibility of evading death.
 …...I might have forgotten to mention this but in this world where I had reincarnated to, stuff like magic exists.














 Alcael Kingdom, Royal capital Brolsenul.
 This was not a name that your average Japanese, born in the beginning of the 21st Century, would remember hearing.
 In truth, before I came to being in this world, I had not known of this name too.
 It was a fortress city that was protected by stone walls that were built in the shape of a circle around the city’s outer circumference. The city was divided into two sections approximately by the Amon River that crawls and flows from the north-east to the south-west. From a bird’s eye view, the landscape of the city should appear as what they call an Yin-Yang circle in the Orient.
 The mansion of the Obeniel Family, where I resided in, was also in this city.

 “Talese. Are you still fooling around with that vulgar business?”

 At the head of a long table which could easily seat 10 people in each row, a middle-aged man’s voice bellowed. He was my father.
 He was wearing a loose gown. Peeking inside the well-tailored clothes was also…ahem, an equally liberal arc was drawn. It was an impressive potbelly. His complexion was good and his physique wasn’t that bad so it would have been better if he did more exercises to strengthen his body.

 “Please stop saying that, father.”

 I assumed he would continue with his lecturing and lifted my eyes absentmindedly. The scenery of the mansion’s dining room encroached into my sight.
 With the break of dawn, the extravagant ornamental chandelier glittered upon being struck by rays of sunlight from the window. That was about the size of it. I inadvertently imagined that if the lamp was lighted up, night would feel as though it was noon. My father, who was the current head of family, was seated and behind him was, a painting was hanged from the wall. The painting was drawn in an enigmatic style and illustrated a scene from two hundred years ago, of the founding head of family who completed a meritorious deed in battle and was being given appointment by the king of that time.
 Whether it was the glossy carpet laying on the floor or the expensive-looking vase placed along the wall, the vivid hues and shine from just about everything was hurting my eyes. For me who has yet to fully cut off the connection of being a plebeian in my previous life, I could not get used to this excessively pompous interior design.
 It was as though this was a palace for royalty and titled aristocrats but,

 “Something as lowly as alchemy, what else could I have called it? It is no good for the child of the Count Obeniel Family to be getting his hands stained in such a crude activity.”

 Said father curtly.
 That’s right, the family I was born into in this life was somehow aristocratic. Furthermore, it was a fairly a high position of peerage, at the Count level.
 The Obeniel Count Family established itself two hundred years ago but in comparison to this country which holds a history of five hundred years, it was a relatively new family. In any case, the founder of the family was a descendent of a powerful aristocratic family that has gone largely extinct but, earning merit from the war with a neighbouring country, he was returned the peerage of count by the king of that time. Honestly, to what extent is this true bears doubts. For a person of an originally low social status to rise that much in rank, it could have been that, the person in question obtained a pedigree family’s ancestry after buying it. After all, it has happened before in the history of my previous world. Tokugawa Ieyasu is a conspicuous example for this. I remember having read from some book that there was a rather ridiculous theory that he was, as a matter of fact, an imposter who bought the name of Ieyasu.
 Well, I shall depart from this topic of family lineage. To have been born into the Obeniel Family was to me, extremely lucky. That was because in this world, as can be seen, the aristocrats held considerable powers – a feudalistic hierarchical society. Had I been born the child of a peasant or something of the like, I would not have been able to face the future at all. Let alone studying about immortality, just trying to maintain a daily life would be more than enough to handle. To have been born into affluence was, in combination with my reincarnation, an inconceivable blessing from the heavens.
 Living in the capital was also good. Father did not have much zeal in the aspect of managing the territory, and as such, devolves that job to his retainers while giving his all to his social life in the capital. Thanks to that, instead of living in an inconvenient place like the countryside, I could live with little hassle in the city with infrastructure all built up.
 The exception to this lifestyle was that the pressing problem of father objections with my alchemy research.

 “In any case. Oh Talese, if you had that much talent, hmm, why don’t you stop relying on this narrow-minded skill and work on being a magician like everyone? That way, even as a second son, you would be able to be an imperial magician and create a path to be renowned. Isn’t being an alchemist a vulgar occupation? It is as good as a dubious roadside peddler selling drugs.”

 “Yes……”

 I gave the default reply which I have always referred to when responding to his incessant nagging.
 Just as he has said, alchemy’s place in this world was unfairly low. The reason being that magic was often made the yardstick for alchemy in this world, and magic was quite a strong thing to compare against. Of course it was possible to summon fire or lightning from staffs. In general, injuries and illnesses can be treated if you request treatment from the priests of churches. Even if you carry around medication made from pounding of mortar and pestle or weapons infused with magic, backwards compatibility of most magic at present was great in that they would be able to easily substitute them.
 From the perspective of a modern person like myself, it would be a theory that would make one burst out in laughter. Substitute them? Won’t that be awesome? Being able to substitute all sorts of items effectively would conversely mean that it would be able to mass produce. Though, it was rather lacking flexibility given that magic was an innate talent limited to few users.
 That being said, to most people, their reply to people who use alchemy and the like, to create things as a job, would be that magic was more than enough for them.
 …...What are they saying? The cost would inevitably go down with mass production and considering that the entrance space for magic is so narrow, the number of people who are able to receive the blessings of magic would number few. Furthermore, recovery magic for medical treatment is oligopolised by the fellas at church and so, no matter how much time passes, the medical fees remain stubbornly high. For the peasantry who do not have money, if ever an epidemic strikes, they would only die in a struggle. This was why population growth is sluggish and the development of the borders cannot proceed. Despite all this having repeated itself countless of times, there were no signs that things was about to change.
 Well, all this comes from my logic as a former modern Japanese who hails from the world of advanced science, philosophy and economics. If majority of the inhabitants of this world—the Itousera continent— lived prosperously, I don’t suppose they would interfere with the status quo though.
 That was a hindrance to my research, however.
 Father’s dagger eyes continued to appear stern, attacking me regarding what he calls a vulgar business.


 “Do you not think it would be good for you to scold him over such a minor matter, father?”


 Cutting into father’s lecturing with a calm and classy tone was a youth who had been watching over the course of events while in silence. He had luxuriant, soft golden hair and blue eyes. The facial features on his slender face was neat and tidy, and the expression that was suspended on his face oozed of well upbringing.
 Lynes Strein Obeniel. My elder brother who was born seven years before me.


 “Talese is a clever child. That he holds so much enthusiasm in tackling this path, won’t be it better to support him to some extent?”


 “Ohh! As expected from elder brother, he said it with so much understanding!”


 I shouted with exultation.
 He was different from father who constantly neglects his domain. When it comes to father, he always claims that he was busy with social relations but in reality, he has only been indulging himself in opulence while in the capital. It wasn’t just once or twice when I heard invited guests at night parties badmouthing father’s extravagant lifestyle. In complete opposite, Brother Lynes was a studious worker. The only luxurious thing to speak of him was his interest in teas. Otherwise, he was a person who lives his life unaffected and sincere, with fortitude and vigour. All I can think of is that if after today or tomorrow and father passes away,  it was likely that the current situation would be better compared to now if he inherited the family. That’s my review of my brother. He has been a great help to me.
 Nevertheless, father looked like he was sulking as he slurped his soup and snorted with displeasure.


 “You decided to talk insolently huh, Lynes.”


 A greater displeasure compared, to how he usually preaches, surfaced in his eyes.


 “That’s because it would be very convenient for you as an unworthy heir.”


 He remarked. Why exactly was he finding fault with brother.


 “Father…...”


 Brother gulped.
 It was true that there if there was strife among us brothers to be the next head of family, it would be convenient for him for his rival to be indulgent in a shady hobby. However, that convenience extends to me too. If elder brother was an able successor, I would be able to dedicate myself to my own research after all.


 “If someone as splendid as elder brother was considered as unworthy, father’s expectations must be too high,” I interjected in an amazed tone, “if you so desire such a capable successor, why don’t you get yourself a second wife?”


 “Oi, Talese.”


 Father’s eyes opened up widely in extreme upsetness. He has, currently, a widower. The woman who was the mother of both brother and I died soon after giving birth to me. It was said that her postpartum recovery was difficult.
 Even though father’s white hair has started to stand out, he was still in his primes. A second wife would not be out of question for him but, he already has two sons and consequently, had little luck with a new one. Even though he might be a joke of a Count, his financial standing was not too bad. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were one or two ladies out there scheming to gain money and social status by marrying into a Count Family.


 He said with a foul expression.


 “......If you wash your hands of alchemy, how about me fulfilling that wish of yours?”


 What is this person saying?


 “Please stop. Despite there not being any clear deficiency in brother’s conduct, the order of young and old has been thrown out of order — this meaningless quarrel must be the root cause. I beg for your forgiveness father.”


 Something like eliminating the eldest son who did not comment on the younger son’s cuteness was a very famous death flag in the Annals of the Three Kingdoms. Among the big camps that Cao Cao destroyed, was both the Yuan Family and the Jing Province Liu Family which both fit this current situation very well. It was the same in that era when either Liu Bei or Sun Quan was the stronger party. There was no reason for the Obeniel Family to follow down that path as well. After all, one of the most fundamental of the fundamentals in the Alcael Kingdom, was that the eldest son would succeed the family.


 I openly articulated my thoughts about it but, father who was calmly ignoring my warning must be quite the imbecile.


 “It is common in the world for parents to favour more capable children that were born later. All the more, it being irrational to treat our family property as a play thing. First of all, no matter how I, as the younger brother see it, elder brother is a worthy successor. Right?”


 I sent a gaze that demanded agreement and brother’s face stiffened grandly.


 “A-Ahh…...to hear you say that, I am very happy, Talese”


 Then he sighed while muttering.


 “......Really, you are just a child yet you are acting so impertinently, this is how you grown up to eh”


 I can hear you, brother. You must have intended to say it quietly though.
 Father was likely thinking that perhaps I must be child prodigy that has surpassed elder brother from the adult-like way I have spoken.
 They were simply what I remembered of my behaviour when I was an adult before I reincarnated. In short, a scam, also known as a cheat. If I had to say it, my fifteen years old elder brother was an excellent child that has devoted himself to study for the sake of being the successor. Compared to the fifteen year old me of the past, he was definitely more outstanding.
 Having said that, I do not plan to act like a child now. I was resigned to my fate as a baby, when I could not stop myself from soiling myself from bottom to top and also had to suck milk from the breasts of the nursing mother. That kind of play was, for a human who has no such inclinations, only agony and suffering. I had endured that over a year. If I was able to have the consciousness of an adult, and was able to walk upright on my own, it was only human that I wanted to assume that kind of adult-like tone.
 Though it can be said that not having patience and not keeping a low profile was overly childish move.
 “Ahem,” father cleared his throat.


 “Well, we shall leave that be. You are already eight. You can’t be spending your years playing and amusing yourself?”


 This coming from the aristocrat who makes merry everyday, but I shall bear with it in the meantime and nod my head. The authority of the family head was absolute. It was one of the rules of a aristocrat’s family.


 “You are also roughly around the age when an aristocratic boy should learn how to use people. That being that, you will leave for the slave market in the afternoon to get one.”


 “A slave?”


 I could tell that my facial expression was turning grim.
 Slaves. They were at the lowest end of the hierarchy in this society. This was a world which was indifferent to the modern day concept of human rights. And thus, there exists slaves. As long as there was a harsh environment such as a mine, slaves were mainly the ones employed for the task.
 Also, there were among the aristocrats and commoners in the affluent class, who would buy these slaves to do their housework. It goes without saying that slaves were made to do anything and everything for everyone. When it comes to one’s future wealth and rank though, it was essential that the vassal serving you was compatible to your family’s status.
 In the case of the Obeniel Family, given that our peerage was that of a Count, a compatible status would largely refer to plebeians. As for close aides or personnel who participates in governmental affairs, a secondary retainer (think of it as a retainer serving a retainer) from a lower class aristocrat family would be serving them. For a Count Family to hire a slave back home would mean having to do the tough and dirty jobs…...or maybe being the subordinate of a child who has not gotten used to using people. Starting of with slaves, then moving on to commoners, and finally lower aristocrats, all in order. This was how it goes to get used to ordering people.
 Certainly it was appropriate for an eight year old to start practicing that, yet I have nothing but bad premonitions about it.
 I asked timidly.


 “Hmm, I do not mind but…...how much would the estimated budget be?”


 “Your worries are unnecessary. I will give you an advance on next month’s allowance and send it over.”


 I knew it! I shifted my sight into skies instinctively.
 The funds for my research were naturally from the allowance that I received from father. Although it may be an allowance for a child, it was an allowance as part of the only two sons of the Count, and besides, it was money that was simply passed by hand. It was an ample budget beyond the means of a normal eight year old child.
 However, using next month’s portion of allowance on buying a slave, what would happen to my research? Without sufficient cash, wouldn’t that cause trouble to the expenditures of my research for the next month? It’s not like the materials and experiment equipment come by free, so just using them as per normal would lead to a decrease in my cash-flow.
 There was also the problem of maintaining a slave. Even if we have her eat leftovers and thus save food costs as much as possible, there was also clothing expenses to consider. As the vassal of the son of a Count, it is important that the slave has a fitting appearance. Moreover, if the slave gets sick or is injured, there would also be treatment costs incurred.
 For all these expenditures, would father cover it? Nope, there was no way he was forking out the cash. Since the allowance every month is more than adequate, it would be the end of the story by simply diverting money from that front. Raising the discussion that I would be unable to conduct my alchemy research would bring father back to his previous objection.
 Father smiled with a “got ya” expression.

 “A fine opportunity. It would serve to help you shift your mind’s focus, and put you back on the right path as the son of an aristocrat.”


 To put simply, this was a stop research order taking on a different shape.
 Stop joking. For me to have given up on alchemy research would mean that I must have died and that my life has come to an end because only then I could accept it. Despite being blessed with much luck and reincarnating into this world, there was no way I can accept being sent back to that world of emptiness without having lived for at least a hundred years!
 I have to repeal this somehow ——
 ……
 No, wait?
 Having a slave would mean getting the slave to do as I will. For instance, if one human moves as I will without any problems, oh that’s it.
 If that was the case…...being a helping hand in alchemy would not be problematic, yes?
 Even if I have to say so myself, that was an interesting notion.
 At any rate, I feel like I am mired in a deadlock in my research recently. No matter how much of mature knowledge and intelligence I possess, it would seem that I have reached the limits of what a person can do alone. Furthermore, with an increase in manpower, the breadth of what I am able to achieve should be greater. At the very least, if the slave was at the same frequency as myself, the headcount would be raised from one to two and by simple calculation, it means a doubling of manpower.
 Of course, if it was a slave that barely has any knowledge, time would have to be spent into training the slave in alchemy but, if I am able to make the slave skillful in alchemy, the returns would be higher.
 Now that I think of it, this wasn’t that bad of a trade. Anything but a windfall, or like how one finds a boat just when one needs to cross a river.


 “Indeed, as Father has mentioned — it is perhaps a golden opportunity.”


 I concealed the emotions on my face, and tried as much to appear crestfallen while replying.
 It was so that I can hide my scorn for the party that I am deceiving that I have to hide my joy which might suggest that this was actually a good idea for myself.
 This should be sufficient. It was a purchase that would nearly completely wipe out next month’s allowance. I would at least procure a slave that stands out from the crowd as much as possible!
 Towards my reply, father did not even bother hiding his self-satisfaction, whereas brother gave a scrutinising eye to me, as though something feels off.
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8 comments

  1. Oh! This seems good. Keep it up.
    Thanks for the translation

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  2. Wow this seems like it's gonna be good I hope you continue to translate this when you have the time :D

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  3. Thanks for the chapter!

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  4. "As long as there was a harsh environment such as a mine, slaves were mainly the ones employed for the task."

    That doesn't make much sense? The harsher the environment the more slaves will die which means you need to use more money to buy new slaves...

    while if you just hire bottom feeders (assuming they haven't all been made into slaves) who have nowhere else to go then you just need to pay them a small amount and if they die to the harsh environment it isn't much of a problem

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    Replies
    1. if they are so desperate as to accept that they may as well sell themselves as slaves

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    2. Historically this is accurate. Slaves were used for most of the harshest tasks in ancient societies (and even relatively modern ones). The Roman Empire mainly used slaves to work their fields, and they were worked hard. If a kingdom has a good supply of slaves (from subjugating surrounding tribes or nations) then it isn't hard to keep up with the demand. But one of the factors of Rome's decline was the fact that they stopped conquering new territory and the supply of slaves lessened.

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  5. Seems interesting. Yori Shasha was here.

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  6. "He has, currently, a widower"

    Did you mean "He was, currently, a widower"

    ReplyDelete

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