A Repeating World
“…… An apostle? You’re not Lily Lilium, the former cardinal?”
His Majesty Sein asked with a skeptical look on his face.
“Nice to meet you, Sein Bauer. Welcome, and thank you for coming all the way from Bauer Kingdom.”
“…… Seems like you really aren’t her, huh. Former cardinal Lily wouldn’t say something so silly.”
“I am honored that you would compliment me.”
The apostle gave a big bow as if they were an actor.
“Claire, explain what’s happening. Who’s this apostle? What do you know about them?”
Dor-sama, bewildered, demanded for an explanation.
Claire-sama glanced over at me, so I gave her a nod and prompted her to continue.
For the sake of improving our future, I thought it was best if everybody else was caught up to speed as well.
“They’re called the apostle. They claim to be associated with the Spirit God, and they are responsible for coordinating how this world works from the other side. I don’t know how much of this is the truth, though.”
“All of it is one hundred percent true, Claire François.”
The apostle corrected Claire-sama’s harsh explanation just for fun.
“I’m assuming everybody here wants to know more about the Demon Queen. I can answer those questions for you.”
“Ohh? If that’s the case, then I’d love for you to tell us. Not that I’d necessarily believe you right away, though.”
William-sama said with his usual tone.
“You can doubt me all you want. However, everything I say is the truth. What I’m concerned about is how much you’ll be able to understand what I’m going to tell you.”
“……. Are you questioning our intelligence levels?”
Dor-sama seemed a little displeased with the apostle.
“Rather than intelligence, this is more of a cultural―― no, it’s a difference in civilizations. However, Rei Taylor will definitely be able to understand it, so there shouldn’t be an issue.”
When the apostle said that, everybody’s eyes were pointed towards me.
Well, even if you say that…
“Apostle, why do the Demon Queen and her associates give me Claire-sama special treatment? If possible, I’d like it if you explained it to us clearly without any of your strange riddles.”
I was sick of them constantly feeding us only part of the story.
“I apologize for that. Well then, let me explain. But where should I start……”
“In that case, let me ask you a different question. Is the being that claims to be the Demon Queen really Rei?”
Claire-sama asked while the apostle was still not sure where to start.
“That’s a good question, Claire François. However, that cannot be answered that easily either. The Demon Queen is indeed Rei Taylor, but Rei Taylor is not the Demon Queen.”
“…… Are you just making fun of us? Please answer it seriously.”
Claire-sama wasn’t able to mask her frustration.
“It was not my intention to make fun of you. I apologize. My specifications do not allow for me to overlook logical inconsistencies.”
Claire-sama repeated the word that she seemed to be unfamiliar with.
“It basically means something like a design or base settings, Claire-sama.”
“I’m not familiar with those words. You sure know a lot, Rei.”
“Yes, but either way, none of those words are things that can be used to describe people―― they’re used to describe artificial things.”
“…… What did you say? In that case, does that mean the apostle is――”
“Your intuition is correct, Rei Taylor. That’s right. I am not a living thing. I was artificially created.”
Everybody in the conference room seemed confused.
“You’re not a living being……? What a silly thing to say. No matter how I look at it, you look just like a human being.”
“That is the biggest compliment I could ever receive, Claire François. However, none of what I said was a lie. I am unmistakably an artificial creation, made through an advanced level technology called science. Rei Taylor, you should be able to guess my true form by now, right?”
The apostle smiled as they directed their gaze towards me.
A non-living entity that resembles a human being, created through science――
“An AI―― Are you artificial intelligence?”
“You’re correct, Rei Taylor.”
The apostle applauded me.
Was the apostle an AI?
I was able to guess it correctly, but there were still so many things I was confused about.
“A-I? What is an AI?”
“Well, it’s an artificial creation of some sort that closely resembles how a human mind works. They’re 100% artificial, but the ones that are extremely advanced are said to be nearly indistinguishable from a real human being.”
However, back when I was still alive, those types of AI didn’t exist yet, so all of my knowledge came from all of the fiction that I’d read.
“Rei, why do you know so much about that?”
“I’ve mentioned this before, but this is common knowledge from the world that I used to live in. That world didn’t have anything like magic, but instead, we were developing our civilization through science.”
“That’s basically what the apostle was saying earlier, huh.”
William-sama seemed to be interested.
“Yes. An existence that was made to artificially reproduce the functions of the human mind through science―― that is what an AI is.”
I attempted to explain it in layman’s terms as best as I could, but I wasn’t sure if it got through to everyone or not.
“Somehow, I understand what you’re saying. In that case, for an AI like you to be here, does that mean there’s something going on between this world and the world that Rei was previously a part of?”
It seemed like that was a blind spot.
It was strange if you asked me.
If the apostle, which was artificially created through science, was here, that meant there was some sort of link between the two worlds I was a part of.
“That’s right, Claire François. Rei Taylorー…… Or more specifically, Oohashi Rei’s world and this world are basically the same.”
That was the biggest shock I’d heard today.
This world…… wasn’t a different world?
“Apostle, are you saying that I wasn’t reincarnated into a different world?”
“That is both correct and incorrect. You still are reincarnating through different worlds, but it’s an event that occurs repeatedly on the same planet.”
I wasn’t entirely sure of what the apostle was saying, but the gist of it was, I had not reincarnated into another world.
The whole premise that I had believed up until now seemed to have crumbled entirely.
“In that case, why am I here? Why did I, an OL in my past life, suddenly appear into this world?”
“I need to explain everything step by step. But first, please calm down, Rei Taylor. Your heart rate is showing abnormal values.”
Was the apostle seriously saying that at a time like this?
When I tried to approach the apostle,
“Rei, calm down. You have a scary look on your face that I’ve never seen before.”
Claire-sama’s voice returned me to my senses.
When I looked back towards her, Claire-sama looked concerned.
What was I doing to make Claire-sama wear such an expression on her face?
“…… I’m sorry. It seems like I got too worked up.”
“It’s no surprise that you are. This has to do with where you come from, after all.”
Claire-sama hugged me as she spoke.
Her soft touch and sweet scent soothed the ripples in my heart.
“That’s right. I’ve explained a bit already, but let’s have everyone experience it for themselves instead, shall we? That’ll definitely make things quicker.”
“….. What are you planning to do, Apostle?”
Claire-sama shot a sharp gaze over at the apostle while she was still holding me.
“I’ve decided that from this point onward, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to understand everything through my words alone. I would like you all to relive the origin and background of it all for yourselves.”
“Relive it? How do you plan to do that?”
The apostle ran their finger through the air and drew a complex pattern in the air with light.
“Rei Taylor, you might know what I’m referring to. From hereon, everybody will be reliving this through something called ‘virtual reality’.”
After they said that, I suddenly lost consciousness.