The Beginning of Everything (9)
※ This is seen from Oohashi Rei’s perspective (the first loop).
“Rei…… I think it’s time for me to go.”
Even if we were wrinkled up grandmothers, my love for her remained the same.
I clasped onto Claire’s hand as I tried to say goodbye to her.
“I’ll see you again soon, Claire.”
“Yes…… I’ll be waiting for you…… in heaven……”
Right after she said that, Claire took her last breath.
We were the only two people in the room.
Our marriage was not recognized, but we were still happy with each other.
Living life in a magical civilization was fulfilling.
We ran away from the revolution, where she was supposed to die a noble death and went on with our lives together as lovers.
We were separated from our families, but because we were blessed with such good friends, we were not lonely.
Above all, we were deeply in love.
All I could say was we lived happy lives together with nothing to complain about.
Claire’s soul was quantized once again and recorded into TAIM.
She would lose her memories, but once the scientific civilization begins again, she would live again as Claire François.
“What is it?”
The housekeeper, whom we hired once Claire fell ill in order to spend more time together, answered in a flat voice.
TAIM showed up in every civilization to act as the coordinator of history.
“I’ll end this lap of my life here too.”
“Are you sure? According to my calculations, you should still be able to live out a few more years.”
“It’s fine. Life is meaningless if Claire isn’t here.”
“Understood. I will begin quantization now.”
I got under the same covers that were draped over Claire, who had fallen asleep, and closed my eyes as I hugged her body.
Her body was still warm.
“It was fun, Claire.”
I’ll see you next time.
“Welcome back, Rei.”
“I’m back, TAIM.”
When I returned to the administrator’s office, I began my work as an administrator once again.
After seeing the end of the magical civilization, I put all of humanity into a dormant state again and waited for the beginning of the scientific civilization.
“TAIM, I’m overriding an event in history with my administrative permissions.”
“Warning. Depending on the degree of what is being overwritten, serious distortions in history may occur.”
“I’ll make sure it works out well.”
I began to adjust the events in history.
“Rei, what are you planning to change?”
“I’m changing the lives for me and Claire. More specifically, when we’re born and our causes of death.”
I changed the time of our birth from the late 21st century to the early 21st century.
There were still many mysteries surrounding Claire’s cause of death, but TAIM had also managed to improve its own performance with every loop.
TAIM had managed to figure out that the pathogen that caused Claire’s death did not exist in the world during the early 21st century.
“If you make that change, the two of you will only be able to meet during your mid-thirties.”
“That doesn’t matter. I’ll make sure we’ll live as long as possible after we meet.”
I fell asleep as I dreamt about living a new life with Claire in the scientific civilization.
The next time I woke up was several thousands of years later.
“TAIM…… How’s the history in this world right now?”
“It’s almost the year 1990. In regards to the Japanese calendar, it’s the end of the Showa period and the start of the Heisei period.”
“In that case, it’s almost about time.”
“That’s right. Would you like to be reincarnated from childhood this time?”
During the magical civilization, the first time I met Claire was during our time in the academy.
“Yeah. I want to experience Japan in the first half of the 21st century, after all.”
“Understood. Good luck on the battlefield.”
“Like I said, I’m not going to war or anything.”
After TAIM saw me off, I was reincarnated in Japan.
I was reincarnated into a normal household.
It was a regular household in the Heisei era, something that I had only ever heard about in my previous life.
It was an era that was in the middle of transitioning from the old-fashioned Showa period into a new era, in which the values that I had experienced in my previous life were now being newly established.
Both of my parents were working, which was something that was relatively rare in this era, and I had a younger brother.
Having a younger brother was new to me, and I devoted myself to taking good care of him.
Because both of my parents were busy with work, I was the one who handled most of the housework.
Thanks to this, my cooking skills became better than in my previous lives.
I couldn’t get used to my school life.
Bullying wasn’t considered a crime in the current era, and I was often isolated from groups.
Fortunately, I wasn’t held back by my studies, and I was decently good at sports, so I wasn’t the main target for bullying, but I was still being ostracized by other groups.
I was only able to make my first friend in university.
But even so, I was fine with it.
I still had someone I was fated to meet, after all.
After graduating from university, I joined a trading company.
I was getting fed up with the old-fashioned work style―― also known as being a so-called “corporate slave”, but I persevered in order to meet Claire.
And then, a few years later, I met Claire at a business meeting.
“Nice to meet you. My name is Claire François. I’m looking forward to working with you.”
She spoke perfect Japanese and had lived as a hotshot career woman.
Naturally, the Claire of this era didn’t have a drill hairstyle, but instead, she kept her blonde hair in the style that I was most familiar with- long and straight.
It was refreshing to see her not wearing a lab coat.
At first, we were only meeting up for our jobs, but eventually, we hit it off and started dating within a year.
Claire was initially reluctant to engage in a homosexual relationship, but she probably had some bisexual qualities to her.
She was immediately able to adapt to our relationship.
“I love you, Claire.”
“Yes, I love you too, Rei.”
In hopes of not repeating the same mistakes I made in my previous life, I proactively whispered my love to Claire.
Claire duly reciprocated those feelings as well.
Despite our occasional fights, our relationship was quite good.
Although we met a little late into our lives, she managed to live a long life without falling into a mysterious illness.
“I…… was really happy……”
“Thank you, Rei……. My beloved Rei…… Goodbye…”
“We’ll only be apart for a little while. I’ll see you again later.”
I saw her off.
Her end was very peaceful.
When Claire passed away, I reincarnated once again.
I repeated it many times over.
As was originally planned, I succeeded in having an eternal romance with Claire.
No matter how many times I repeated it, things never played out the same way.
In both the scientific and the magical civilizations, our loved always evolved slightly differently in each loop.
But even so, what stayed the same was that we would always start dating and stay together until the very end.
I enjoyed a different and fresh romance every time with Claire.
Everything was going well – that was what I thought.
Humanity could continue its history forever, and I could fall in love with Claire for eternity.
I had done my job perfectly – was what I truly thought.
But after a while, the gears were starting to get jammed.
“…… This is frustrating.”
It was an event that happened somewhere in the tens of loops of the scientific civilization.
Claire and I were just exchanging our first kiss together in that life.
At that time, Claire uttered a certain line.
“You seem quite experienced at this. How many women’s hearts have you broken so far?”
Claire may have said it as a joke, but I felt like I had been struck in the back of the head by a rock.
That was supposed to be the first kiss I’d ever had in that loop.
However, after living through so many lives, before I even knew it, I had become accustomed to kissing.
I quickly tried to play it off as a misunderstanding, but Claire saw me as an experienced woman.
Although there were no other issues during that time, I had started to feel a little bit uncomfortable.
In the beginning, I was able to see Claire as a woman who was new to love, but gradually, she started to look more and more childish to me.
In reality, Claire was not childish at all.
I was just getting too old.
My relationship with Claire was getting more and more rocky with each loop.
I became more aware that my feelings for her were gradually losing their freshness.
No matter what heart-pounding words were spoken, how sweet a kiss was, or how kinky our sex life was, all of that eventually lost its freshness.
And then, after about a hundred loops in,
“Rei, you seem like you’re getting bored of me. I don’t want to continue a forced relationship with you. Let’s break up.”
In the end, I was unable to remain with Claire for life.
I was shocked by that reality; however, I had no choice but to accept the breakup.
My love for her was slowly wearing out.
I repeated way too many loops.
Somewhere down the line, both Oohashi Rei and Rei Taylor had stopped living their lives by Claire’s side and had become distant.
But things were still okay for now.
I still loved Claire, after all.
Even if she hated me, it still wasn’t the worst-case scenario.
But what if one day, I just felt absolutely nothing towards her……?
To me, that was the most terrifying thing I could ever imagine.
“Why don’t you just delete some of your memories with Claire?”
Perhaps she could tell what was going on, but TAIM gave me a suggestion.
But by this time, I had already tuned TAIM’s voice out as mere background noise, so her advice never reached my ears.
I had started thinking about ending the looping system entirely.
It wasn’t an easy decision.
After all, it was something that had to do with all of mankind.
As Claire once said, ending the lives of hundreds of millions of people was not a trivial matter.
I only realized now how real Claire’s fears were.
But I still loved Claire.
A world without her was completely meaningless to me.
If I had to choose between the world or Claire, I would always pick Claire.
In the end, I decided to end the loops.
But I had one problem with ending the loops.
I could never bear to erase Claire’s existence with my own two hands.
Even though I wanted the world to end, I didn’t want Claire’s existence to be wiped.
That was a huge self-contradiction.
So instead, I came up with an idea.
“If I can’t get it done myself, then I just need someone else to do it for me.”
I created the existence of a Demon Queen in the magical civilization and decided to reign as the ruler of the demons.
Originally, monsters and demons were designed as mere stage props for the magical civilization.
At the same time, they were also used as devices to reproduce fossil fuels during the middle of the scientific civilizations.
I decided to take advantage of it.
I gave the demons the power to nullify quantized souls.
Establish the magical civilization and have the demons kill Claire―― and after that, I decided that I would end mankind once and for all.
Oddly enough, in the civilization where I had reincarnated as the Demon Queen, there was another “Rei” that wasn’t me.
Moreover, she behaved just like me.
I did my best to avoid interfering with history and continued to observe the situation while I was still preparing the demon army to kill Claire off.
That “Rei” could feel fresh emotions of love towards Claire – something that I couldn’t do anymore.
Somewhere down the line, I developed a strong murderous intent towards her.
That being said, my objective did not change.
Kill Claire and end mankind―― that was all.
I knew that the decision I came to was selfish.
After all, it would mark the end of mankind.
It was more sinful than any other crime committed in the past.
But still, I couldn’t bring myself to stop anymore.
My feelings for Claire were fading.
I needed to finish things before they were completely gone.
I am the Demon Queen.
A true adversary of mankind.