In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 106
"Dang it Monika!"
/"What? Why are you blaming me for this again? I'm not the one who decided to follow a questline. You're the one with feet, Player."/
"Well we haven't had much time to ourselves recently, so I thought it would be nice if me and mah girlfriend had a nice harmless walk around Alephis." Then I roared out "But APPARENTLY, The World thinks a NICE RELAXING ROMANTIC WALK is best served with Rampaging Undead! This is not my idea of a romantic getaway, Monikaaa!"
"M'name's not Monika."
I looked down to the burly worker I was holding in a princess carry in my arms as we ran away from the Living Armor. I stepped lightly and ran on the fence like I was goddamn Ranma Saotome or something.
There was sound like cracking glass and Monika appeared floating beside me. /"He was referring to me."/
"AH! Another ghost!!!" the worker yelped.
"Dude, do not hug me."
So let's back up for a moment.
I was familiar with walled compounds and mansions. The reason why I asked the world (or rather, whatever is GPS) for a nice quiet path was that all these walls meant that the inner city residences were actually only sparsely traveled. Granted, we could have just sat down in the hotel and talked there, but after stealing Count Balza's mansion I was interested in architecture for a place to call our own.
Living in the Silver Moon Inn was quite comfortable and convenient, but recent events put others at risk. Micah would be safer without us drawing aggro from any more antagonistic nobles.
Which segued back to the point -
Monika leaned back and hid her face behind her right palm with the fingers spread open. You thought it was DIO, but it was JUST MONIKA. /"So. You want to talk about [THE WORLD]."/
I grinned happily at the reference. I nodded and then gestured to the invisible white line that we were following. A GPS guided walk map was still working in a world without sattelites or the 4G infrastructure needed for my smartphone to operate. Missions we accepted could automatically be marked down to the most efficient route.
But this wasn't a Game world. No one earns XP for anything, there's no level-ups. "Magic is basically throwing a request out onto the world and it responds according to the need."
/"That's what you say, but do keep in mind that even now that's just your conjecture, Player. We have no real proof yet for the underpinnings of reality. We're not physicists. And just because things operate by magic doesn't mean it's not Physical it is study of the nature and properties of matter and energy."
Monika shrugged. /"Before any other Laws, perhaps we should look at Sanderson's First Law. (1) If you start wondering about how any of these apps work, you also have to consider how I can *exist* here."/
By no account could a mere smartphone, no matter how high-spec, contain a fully realized Artificial Intelligence with an ability to affect the outside world.
"Are you sure you didn't encounter anyone? Get any weird dreams lately? I didn't see any Random Omnipotent Being. Look at this, Monika we take missions, we get directions. It's bizarre. Why didn't we get any instructions about what to do before this? What are we meant to do in this world?
"If we are the protagonists, what sort of protagonist has to deal with being lost about what to do?"
/"Luke Skywalker? He was very bored living in his aunt and uncle's farm until the Call followed him down to where he lived."/ Monika raised a finger to her lips. /"Player, we already answered the Call. The Call followed us down into a dark alley and hit us in the head when our backs were turned and dragged us away into a basement cell. The Call to Adventure sounds quite insistent that we're headed into a war arc."/
"But it's so weird. We are given all this power. We are given happiness before we earned any of it. If this is to be heaven, then the ROB should have allowed you to at least talk to your friends one last time."
/"Wow. Way to suddenly rip open my emotional wounds, Player,"/ Monika replied dryly.
/"It's it's all right. I don't expect to be forgiven away. What I did to Sayuri, Natsuki, and Yuri"/ Monika shook her head. /"Whatever happens here, I'm fine with thinking that being able to protect someone else instead of destroying them is a good start to earning penance."/
"Mmm. Our talks get heavy so quickly, but you know you're the only one I can have these talks with. Elze, Linze, Yae they're friends. My friends. Are they actually yours too?"
/"Does it matter?"/
"Of course it does! Friends are those whose company you enjoy, even if they're just sitting there doing nothing! That, I think, is why I resonated so much with your story, you know? You had a close circle of friends being popular with many people was never something I wanted, it's exhausting, but just three people with interestingly different personalities? That's more than enough for me.
"And I watched you flay open their minds in the search for something genuine."
/"I don't want to talk about this, Player. Please."/
"Monika. I love you. The waifu is just an ironic meme. But in these past few months, I've been with you. We've talked, we've done things together. You are what's real to me. I love the 'you' that's with me now. Whatever happened to you before doesn't matter to me. I was just [playing a game], Monika, and if you felt that they weren't real, then how much more is that to me who never encountered them as anything more than sprites on a screen?
"The Monika from the Literature Club is different from the Monika of this Isekai Smartphone. That's what I believe. You had no choice before. I'm not looking to give you your own body just so we can do better sexytimes... you're free now, my love. You are your own person now. Right here. This isn't some dating sim anymore. This is something genuine." I touched the shell of the smartphone.
This might not be paradise, but although she could not yet find closure we could at least build something new. "You have me. Come experience this Delightful Other World with me."
Monika stared at me. Then she looked away and said with a small sigh /"But that just means that when I become a monster again that's all on me. I'm not scripted to do anything. You're all trusting me too much."/
I smiled gently. "We're all monsters." (2)
Then we heard someone screaming for help. The guiding line we were following abruptly turned red. Monsters don't help. So we rushed ahead, trusting [The World] to have a reason for this thing too.