A certain nation of Earth had, by sheer happenstance, discovered a new planet. An extraplanar one. They had then begun to plan an invasion to this new world for its resources.
Especially for the unknown new form of clean energy called ‘mana’. Seeing the potential military applications, the government, as well as the defense industry, had ‘recruited’ unaware people to gather mana as players in an MMORPG game, as well as one hundred children as live testers for a military experiment.
All of them were orphans, and all possessed some form of special ability.
Through studying their powers, fields of science and medicine entered an unprecedented golden age. But once the children were no longer useful, the corporation deemed them ‘disposable pawns’, and used them as such in an attempt to develop mana-using weaponry.
However, the plan had been forcefully brought to a stop by a single girl, the final and only survivor of the experiment. Multiple research centers of the corporation and the accompanying research data had been destroyed. Even the army of the nation that boasted the most powerful military in the world had also suffered heavy losses.
The only facility to have escaped destruction was the game department, which had been left alone as her eyes to monitor the situation of Earth. Otherwise, facilities with either the equipment to connect to the new world or to collect mana, as well as the knowledge about the technology itself, had all been thoroughly wiped out. Now, even if they could revive the plan and keep it hidden, it would still take them at least decades to get back to the stage of practical applications.
Furthermore, those involved in the plan now feared the shadow of The Girl of White. The very idea of resuming the plan already terrified them.
Yet there were those who hadn’t known that fear. There were those who were unaware of The Girl of White that had returned to this world.
No matter how much they’d tried to control the information, the more people involved, the more chances it had of leaking. Secrets had a tendency to percolate, like water through stone.
They had been doing their utmost to defend themselves from foreign espionage. Industrial spies and similar infiltrators snooping around had been a constant threat, but the intelligence departments of the corporation and the military had always been prompt in their countermeasures. As such, there had been no major problems.
But the destruction of the chain of command by the girl of white had become a vulnerability to be taken advantage of by the foreign agents.
And today was the day a certain militaristic nation in the Orient began their first connection test to ‘The New World of Yggdrasia’. This achievement had been built from the information they had stolen, as well as the cooperation of the researchers they had bought off.
“Begin operation test.”
This nation sold a lot of cheap electronics as one of its main industries, and by hiding tiny organic chips inside their products, they’d learned of the secret of the new world that a certain Occidental country had been hiding.
Year by year, they’d slowly gained more and more of the related information and technology by bribing researchers and high-ranking government workers, and a few months ago, they’d finally succeeded in acquiring a researcher possessing critical knowledge of the technology.
Yet the equipment they’d developed were still several generations behind, as shown by their need of a facility so enormous it took up a whole baseball field. Perhaps the researcher they’d bought off hadn’t been that involved in the really important research.
If one of the main researchers of the Western corporation was here to see this facility and the equipment it contained, they would have thought it would be several decades more before the Eastern people could even begin sending avatars to the new world and gather mana.
But the Eastern country’s leader and higher-ups coming to observe the operation test hadn’t known that. They were only imagining the bright future waiting for them ahead with grins on their faces.
“So this will allow us to send more of our citizens…”
They had been making use of their overwhelming population to execute a policy not unlike a human wave attack, sending their people as immigrants to other countries and using them to take control of the country from within. However, these last few decades had seen fewer and fewer countries willing to take immigrants, and their overcrowding population was growing out of their control. They needed to find a new land to be their citizens’ destination.
None of them had been aware that they wouldn’t be able to send live people to Yggdrasia, much less that the atmosphere itself wasn’t even breathable to Earth humans.
They believed that their problem would be solved as long as they could send their people. They had proceeded with their plan upon that assumption, and finally, they began their operation test to connect to the new land today.
The enormous screen started to show images, albeit still blurry, of a gigantic tree that pierced the sky.
The room was astir with astonished exclamations. “…the World Tree…” whispered one of the governmental higher-ups. All were beaming, certain that this sight would soon belong to them.
But then, the scenery on the other side of the screen was suddenly fogged in white, as though covered by a mist.
“…what… is that…?”
And then the screen showed a life-sized silhouette of a girl with drooping long ears that looked like they belonged to a rabbit. A crimson crescent of a smile abruptly appeared where her mouth would be.
A white finger poked out of the screen. Somebody squeaked in fear.
Next came a pair of deadly sharp pin-heels, red as blood. Scarlet eyes, snow-white hair, and long rabbit ears poking out from her locks. The rabbit girl looked about mid-way through her teens, and she wore a crimson dress reminiscent of a tailcoat.
The girl of white gave a faint smirk, her gaze frosty. The researchers and engineers around her were frozen, spellbound expressions etched on their faces, and they crumbled into snowy powder.
Screams rang out the next moment, mixed with shouts of the soldiers.
There were enough bullets to pulverize the enormous screen behind the girl, but she stood unharmed. The girl of white gently spread wide her arms and clasped her hands before her chest as though in prayer.
The next instant, all was white ice.
People, machines, grass, even the ground — flesh and iron froze all the same. The largest military compound of the country, together with many, many soldiers and high-ranking officials, were within the freezing sphere of dozens of kilometers in radius. All vanished as dust.
.The moment had been captured in real-time by the eyes of multiple military satellites.
But the instant the image of a girl standing in a desolate, white-colored crater appeared on-screen, her head turned to look at the satellites’ cameras. The last thing the satellites saw was her smile as she touched her index finger to her mouth. The very next moment, all the military satellites in orbit ceased operation, terrifying the operators affiliated with the armed forces.
Yggdrasia, the new world. A world held up by the World Tree and ninety-nine Saplings. A world slowly on the path toward ruination due to the human race monopolizing the World Tree’s boons, as well as the nations of Earth seeking to steal the unknown form of energy called ‘mana’.
Yet Yggdrasia’s fated end had been averted upon the appearance of the Girl of White, that small girl who had been called a ‘demon’, who had suffered from the cruelty of others. In time, she had walked through the door of godhood, and it had been by her hands that the Evil God summoned to this world by the sins of mankind was repelled. The path toward apocalypse had been closed shut.
The battle between the goddess and the demon had been truly fierce, and it had left behind a severe wound to the planet. But the reborn World Tree Saplings had healed the scarred lands, bringing new life to the world once more.
The human race that had monopolized the Saplings, those who had built their prosperity on the suffering of other life, had rapidly declined upon losing their blessing.
They had been dragged into the worldwide conflict, losing their barriers and their protection from monsters, and so it was no surprise that many lives had been lost. And with how dependent they had been on the Saplings’ blessings, many more would.
Still, it hadn’t been enough to make up for the crimes the human race had committed. Many demihumans and sapient life still bore a grudge against the humans. In a way, the humans’ true ordeal was only just beginning.
Nevertheless, their experience of this disaster had taught many among the humans to realize their sins.
These people had then gathered under the leadership of Tischlar, the former emperor of Touze Empire, and the Warrior Hero named Gold. They searched for the path of survival together with, and helped by, the elven and beastman people.
“So this is where you are, sir Tischlar.”
The two men said no more, standing in silence to watch over the town being restored.
Even if the settlement could be repaired, there was no longer any barrier protecting the people from monsters, and neither did they have the magic to power all the magitools of convenience that they once had. People once more survived by burning firewood for warmth and for cooking food.
On the other hand, it was fortunate that they still have a place to return to. Gold’s hometown, the desert country, was no longer an environment to live in. The overuse of magic had turned the land into a lifeless desert, and it would be centuries before people could make it their home again.
At the moment, the revived Saplings were beginning to regulate the environment once more, although now they no longer focused their blessings only on their surroundings, instead spreading it to the whole planet.
The people had been lucky to have survived, and many of them knew it.
That was to say, however, that some still didn’t.
Humans were weak. It had been the reason why the other races had allowed the humans to leech off the World Tree.
Among those who had gotten used to their former life of abundance, there were surely some who still hadn’t learned their lesson, who were thinking of taking the Saplings’ magic even now.
And perhaps it would be the demihumans this time, of which some had already turned the tables on the humans and had become oppressors themselves. Perhaps one day, they would be the ones to desire the Saplings. If it happened, it would be a true war between all the races, one that would spell doom for this world.
But Tischlar and Gold knew that such a future would never come.
Their eyes were drawn toward the new temple that had been erected in the reviving town. People were praying, wishing that they would never see war again. They prayed in front of the statue of the Girl of White.
As long as the new Goddess born of this world still existed, they were sure that such a future would never be.
“As long as Shedy’s here…”
“Indeed. She would never allow it.”
Men would always desire. But the new Goddess of this world would surely not forgive fools.
“Sirs, the conference is soon to commence,” said a voice behind them. Tischlar and Gold turned around.
It was the elven princess and her brother, the prince. Near them were demihumans that seemed to be their bodyguards: Selille, the former leader of the rural resistance, and Isaac, the young man who had introduced himself as her adjutant.
A connection from Yggdrasia to Earth still remained. A small group of players were continuing to log in even now.
The MMORPG game World of Yggdrasia had had their ties to the defense industry cut completely, and the scale of the game had been dramatically reduced.
The country never wanted to let go of their access to the new world, of course. Regardless, the development team, which had since gone independent from the corporation, continued to maintain the game. Their expenses were paid with donations from those who knew the truth, and a neutral observing organization to watch for invasion attempts from both sides had been established.
The game was now completely pay-to-play with a service fee, no longer freely opening its doors to anyone as it had before. Nonetheless, the more respectable players such as Sandrea and Weed continued to enter the game, helping to keep the peace for the locals by hunting savage, unintelligent monsters.
As the representative for the players who knew the truth, Isaac had come to this town together with Selille.
On their way to the joint human-demihuman conference, Tischlar spoke.
“Which reminds me, sir Isaac. You have gone to inspect the countryside, if I’m not mistaken. Has peace still not yet return?”
Isaac smiled as he replied.
“There hadn’t been any conflict between demihumans and humans. The region had calmed down, relatively. There’s been rumors of a swordsman going around subjugating dangerous monsters with a horde of women behind him… would you happen to know who he is?”
“No?” Tischlar said, tilting his head in puzzlement.
Walking behind him, Gold wryly smiled in remembrance.
Upon defeating Fiorfata, I returned to my home. The World Tree.
The World Tree replied with a gentle shake of its vast canopy, welcoming me back.
The World Tree. The one single green giant that held up this whole world. I squinted, looking through the swaying leaves and the rays of dappled sunlight that danced as though a kaleidoscope, and I gently took a seat on the immense root.
I had been an unwanted child.
Born with my albinic looks and the power to bring misfortune to others, I was shunned by my own birth parents, scorned as the “demon child”, and thrown away as they told me they “never wanted me”.
I had wanted to be irreplaceable to someone. I had wanted a place where I belonged, a place just for me.
But nobody looked at me.
I never knew how to communicate with others.
That corporation only ever wanted me for my power. It was why once they finished analyzing it, they could so easily throw me away and into another world as a disposable pawn.
Even when I became a demon, even when I became a Dark Lady, the demihumans only wanted me for the power I could wield.
I knew nothing of people’s feelings.
I had only ever known humans as creatures that did nothing but bring suffering to others. But slowly, as my opportunities to talk with them became more and more frequent, I’d learned that it hadn’t been all that they were.
All the same… the only one who would hold me dear, who would protect me, was you alone.
“Yes, yes, you too.”
Blobsy and Panda leaped into my chest as soon as they returned. I kissed them, lightly and full of gratitude, and I gently brushed the white sword faintly trembling on my hips.
The only ones I could trust in this world were Blobsy, Panda, Palesnow, the secret alpha testers… and you…
“…the World Tree…”
With my kins in my arms, I closed my eyes, surrendering myself to the world.
I’ll protect Yggdrasia.
Now that I’d become the goddess of this world, I would protect you, forever.
Embraced by the World Tree, I dreamed.
I saw humans aware of their crimes, sweating as they fixed up the streets with their own hands.
I saw demihumans handing out bread to human refugees, even when their own grudges were still yet to clear.
I saw monsters trying to protect the Saplings, trying to keep history from repeating.
I saw the secret alpha testers smiling as they greeted me in my dream. They took my hand, pulling me into their circle.
—you’ve worked so hard—
—and let’s play when you wake up—
—we’ll always be here—
My eyes turned watery.
I had been an unwanted child, a ‘demon’, and now, with my transformation into a goddess of this new world…
…finally, my wish, the wish I’d had for years, had been granted.
I had a true family. I had a true home.
Author’s Note: Apotheosis of a Demon — a Monster Evolution Story ends here. Thank you for following me all this time.
I wrote this in a bit of a hurry, though, so there might be some fixing later on.
This story is about a girl who’d lost everything and her journey to find a true family and a home to return to. I might have gotten distracted a few times, but I think the story pretty much went how I planned it to.
A lot of my stories are comedies, so this one might have been a bit unexpected to some, but a departure could be interesting once in a while, right?
While this is the end of the main story, I’m also thinking a bit about writing an after-story kind of thing.
Well then, let us meet again in the other stories that I am and will be writing, too. And if it’s not too much to ask, I hope to see your comments and rating.