Chapter 1 Part 1
Placed on the execution platform, I was supposed to be killed just like that… or so I thought.
When my consciousness returned, I found myself on a bustling main street in a familiar city where people were laughing and having fun. There was no trace of the post-war atmosphere of violence and turmoil.
―― Huh? No… wait, calm down. Think about what is going on first.
If my memory was correct, this place was not within the territory of Kingdom Leshfeld. It was a completely neutral area located between the kingdom and the empire. The lively town of Filnots spread out around the Filnots Military Academy, built to train officers to command the military. It was a unique place that did not belong to any country. At the same time, the town’s surroundings were enclosed by high walls, making it a fortified city.
However, Filnots had disappeared without a trace due to the war between the kingdom and the empire. For both countries, this place was an important area that could greatly change the course of the war. It goes without saying that fierce battles were fought to secure this place.
―― Yet the town that was at the center of such a disastrous war was still alive and well, bustling with people.
This place should not exist right now, and yet, Filnots maintained its beautiful townscape and lively environment. It was impossible.
It felt like the lively atmosphere of Filnots that I had seen before the war. I have not breathed in such a peaceful atmosphere in a long time.
“This is… impossible.”
―― I felt like I was in a dream.
However, the scenery was so vivid, unlike a fleeting memory. I could feel the wind blowing on my skin and smell the scent of chicken skewers and alcohol coming from the food stalls. It was a normal and everyday atmosphere that surrounded me.
Was this a false world created by my own delusion?
“I don’t understand…”
“That’s my line.”
On my shoulders, someone’s hand was grabbing onto it while my thoughts were still a mess.
“Hey, Al. If you keep spacing out here, you’ll be late for graduation. Don’t mumble to yourself. Let’s go.”
When I turned around, my friend, who was supposed to be dead, was standing there.
“What’s with that look on your face?”
“Well… I mean, you…!”
“What? Are you so happy to see me? Geez, I’m not happy that a guy likes me at all.”
―― What is this…? Is this… still a dream?
“You’re… Steano, right?”
“Have you forgotten the face of your best friend, Al?”
I opened my eyes wide and froze.
It was impossible for him to be alive because I was the one who witnessed his death.
“H-Hey… your grip is too strong.”
I let go of his arm that I had unintentionally grabbed and looked down at the ground.
He was from the kingdom. When we attended the military academy, he was like a close friend who was always with me.
I became a knight of the kingdom and served my country as a knight, just like him.
“Why… are you… alive!?”
When I said that, Steano furrowed his brow and tilted his head. His face was filled with countless question marks, as if my words were incomprehensible.
“Huh? Of course, I’m alive. What, did you have some kind of elaborate joke about making me dead? I hate to say it, but you don’t have a shred of humor in you, huh?”
He was not an imposter. The light brown hair and gray eyes. The slightly playful attitude was undoubtedly the same person I knew. I could never mistake the face of my best friend, with whom I ran on the battlefield and entrusted my life to.
“I mean, there’s no way it’s a joke, right?”
“No, no, don’t give me that serious face… What’s wrong with you, really?”
He taps me on the back with a puzzled look on his face.
“Seriously, are you still half asleep? Did you have a nightmare or something? That’s not like you.”
“You were too excited for today and stayed up late, right? Haha, even Al can get carried away!”
Steano lightly taps my shoulder and quickly walks ahead.
“Hey, Al. We should get going soon, or Petra will nag us. The road is crowded, and we might even get a beating if we’re late.”
With a faint smile, he acts as if he’s forgotten about what just happened.
However, I had no room to spare for worrying about his behavior. Because the fact that he was talking to me like this was abnormal in itself.
―― I’ve never heard of anything like the dead coming back to life.
Certainly, he died a heroic death on the battlefield. In my eyes, he protected me and died a terrible death.
I also cremated his dead body…… Or rather ――
“…Hey, can I ask you something?”
―― I thought of something I wanted to confirm more than being able to talk to him.
I ask him, who seems to be thinking of nothing.
“What year is it in the kingdom’s calendar right now?”
It had been a question on my mind for a long time. I felt a sense of discomfort looking at the peaceful streets of Filnots. In addition, seeing the figure of my dead friend made me curious about it. It is important to organize my emotions, but I wanted to understand the current situation more than that.
‘Time Regression’… I could not help but think that this possibility was becoming a reality.
Steano had a face like, “What’s he talking about?”, but reluctantly told me.
“It’s now March of the year 1241 in the kingdom’s calendar… Why do you ask?”
“1241, huh… I thought so.”
The moment I heard his words, my previous doubts turned into certainty. I remember clearly the day I was executed.
It was June of the year 1247 in the kingdom’s calendar… and now it’s March of the year 1241.
In other words, this is six years before that day when everything came to an end. It is the era before I lost everything precious to me.
―― Just before the graduation ceremony of the military academy.
The idea of time regression gradually became clearer, replacing the vague notion from before. Did I get the chance to rewrite my history full of regrets from that time?
Either way, for now, that bloody war has not yet happened.
“Al. Are you really okay?”
Although he was worried that I might be feeling unwell, my state of mind was surprisingly calm.
“Well, you say that, but… Haa, forget it. Let’s hurry up and go, or we’ll definitely get glared at if we’re late.”
Even hearing his exasperated voice, I did not feel any discomfort.
It is a miracle to be able to have a conversation like this with an old friend.
This is what is called ‘regression’, I suppose. It is something I have only heard of in fairy tales and the like, but it clearly applies to my current situation.
Is this some sort of prank from God? I do not know how this happened, but it does not matter. Right now, all I have to do is firmly acknowledge the situation that has unfolded before my eyes.
―― I would not have this chance again.
I cannot afford to make a mistake this time. I have been given a chance to return to the stage where I can once again hope for a bright future that I missed before. There is nothing left for me to do but to do what I can. That is what I have decided in my heart.