After the War Chapter 15
"Nervous?" Tsar asked his partner, who was still standing in front of a mirror with an unreadable expression.
"I don't even remember my old face. I barely remember them at all. What am I going to say to them?" Rigrit spoke more to her reflection than to Tsar.
"Why are you going through this? Wasn't your form on Earth just a prison you needed to be released from?" Tsar asked. His master and other players, including Rigrit had not given much detail on what really happened to them on Earth and how beings of their level could be imprisoned in weak human bodies.
'How can I explain it to him with this damn contract in place!' "I guess… I guess feelings were still real. At the time, they were my family." Rigrit exhaled slowly and then added with determination. "I have to go meet the family of my former self."
Ultimately, she did ask for a chance to visit her family, and her wish was granted. In the pocket of her pants was a small card signed by Ainz himself that let her travel to Earth and back once, and she was going to make the best of it.
It would be at least a year before more lax rules of travel between the worlds would be introduced.
"Good luck, then." Tsar hugged her from behind and leaned in, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
"You can come with me." Rigrit said as she combed her hand through his long hair.
"I would only get in the way. I am not familiar with Earth's customs." Tsar said, dismissing her suggestion.
"You'll have to at some point. There are a lot of places on Earth I want to visit when it's restored."
"I will learn the customs by then. I have a lot of time until travel restrictions are lifted."
"And you'll sleep most of it away, you lazy dragon." Rigrit chuckled.
"And whose fault is that?" He asked, raising his eyebrow.
"Pinning it all on me once again." Rigrit turned and slid her hand over his chest as she walked past Tsar.
"Be prepared, I may need to get a lot of emotions out once I'm back." She turned back with a cheeky smile.
"I am not faltering under your threats. I will be prepared for your worst." Tsar said back with a chuckle.
Tsar surely was getting better at the playful banter, but then again, he was also interacting with a lot more people these days. With his treasure gone after his death, Tsar had no reason to return to the floating city and go into prolonged solitude, not that his current duties as a regional ruler would allow such a thing in the first place.
The former Argland council's palace was rebuilt to be used by him and Rigrit and that included a massive treasure room for all the treasures that were recovered from the floating city which was getting repurposed to be the main base for the desert restoration project led by Blue Planet.
Returning back to the present moment, Rigrit teleported to the logistics department, which technically was run by Shalltear but in practicality, she was just in charge of providing transportation between worlds.
After consulting the rune panel on the nearest wall, she quickly located the vampire in one of the warehouses giving orders to the undead workers. By the looks of it, Shalltear sensed Rigrit's arrival and without turning around asked with a hint of annoyance. "Sanctuary of the Blessed Ones?"
"I am visiting people I put on the protection list."
"They are located in the Sanctuary." Shalltear said and cast the gate. "Message me when you want to return. You have up to six hours."
"Sure. Thank you." Rigrit said politely. 'Still not liking me. But I guess after being killed by human players many times she would hold at least some resentment.'
She walked through the gate, arriving in some sort of park area. A constant light hum made her look around. There was a tall antenna-like tower in the distance that radiated a bluish light resembling a clear sky.
"Welcome, honorable visitor from the prime world. I am Yago Panderano, administrator of the Sanctuary of the Blessed ones." A black-haired man with dark brown eyes dressed in a formal suit bowed and continued to speak. "I deeply apologize, but I have not been made aware of your arrival lady…" the man extended his hand, awaiting her answer.
"Good Day. I'm Rigrit Bers Caurau. I have come to visit people in my care." She responded politely.
"Ah, Lady Rigrit, one moment please." Yago straightened and quickly looked through the resident list on his tablet. He tapped it a few times as a young man ran up to them.
"Mauro, please guide Lady Rigrit to Caurau street." Yago addressed the younger man.
'Street named after me? How many of my relatives did they find and bring here?'
Mauro bowed as well and then guided Rigrit to the edge of the park, where a row of small vehicles that resembled golf carts were parked. She absentmindedly sat in the passenger seat as she looked around.
The scene was not that different from the one she was used to seeing in the parks of the capital city of Nazarick. People walking without hurry, children playing.
This place seemed almost unreal from what little she remembered from Earth. 'So this is what they can do on a small scale. I wonder how long it will take to do this to the entire planet.'
By the approximate size of the town they were now driving through, at least three to four thousand people lived here. With the only connection being the Ainz Ooal Gown guild members and her, that was quite a lot.
Soon they arrived at a cul-de-sac with two-story buildings and front lawns. One that she had only seen in movies before.
A group of people were waiting outside. In front of them stood a couple in their early forties.
'They… They are… were my parents.' Rigrit stared at them.
The cart stopped and the young man jumped out loudly announcing. "Presenting Lady Rigrit Bers Caurau."
'Gods, did they really need to make all this show.'
The group and her parents bowed in response, saying. "Thank you for giving us this blessing."
Rigrit got out of the cart and gave them a short wave back. "I will be here only for a short while, so I would like to talk with Kugo, Oda, and their children in private." She said in Japanese, which at this point was only possible with an auto-translate spell.
As she was led inside the biggest house at the end of the street, Rigrit couldn't help but stare at her once family. Her mother, father, and four siblings.
'Their house is so big, we had to live in one room.' Her memories started to come back. Back then, she and her younger sister shared a small bed that was just large enough for them to lay still without falling out. Back then the small apartment all seven of them lived in didn't have enough space.
"Thank you for blessing us. It is a great honor to be noticed by a Goddess." Her father said once again as she was led to a large table and sat down in the place of honor.
"I'm not a Goddess… just the same race as the Gods." Rigrit explained. The contract placed in her mind once again prevented her from saying the truth.
"We made you an altar! I hope you like it." Her youngest brother pointed at the altar she hadn't noticed that stood to the left of her. It was just a small stone table with a golden plaque with her name written in Kanji, but it was made for her.
'They think of me as some sort of God that pulled them out of poverty.' Rigrit did her best to keep a neutral expression.
"Nara!" Her father raised his voice at the boy and then bowed toward her. "I'm sorry for his outburst. The boy means no disrespect."
"It is fine. Please be at ease. There is no need for such formality. Treat me like an old family friend." Rigrit raised her hand. "I…" She needed to come up with some sort of excuse. "Yasumi had a deep connection with me. She wanted to help."
"Yasumi…" Rigrit's mother said solemnly. "My poor girl. She was so young…"
"She had her chance to live a fulfilling life elsewhere. She even became a hero of sorts." Speaking in the third person was so weird but at the same time, the girl she once was was long gone.
"Big sister is a Hero?" Nara spoke up once again, seemingly not fully grasping the situation, and thus being the least restrained. The rest of her siblings just sat down in silence, mostly looking wary at her presence.
'They fear I would take something as a payment. I'll just show them through my little brother that I mean only to help them.' "Yes. She was reborn in a world of magic and wonder and had many adventures. But she always remembered her former home and prayed for you all. Now that the Gods had set sight on this world I had a chance to fulfill her wish."
"Does she still live in that other world?" her mother asked.
"Yes, but she won't be able to cross over and come back ever again. I'm sorry." Rigrit said. The lie sounded convincing. 'They would never know the truth. But maybe that is for the best.'
"As long as she is happy and remembers us." Her father said and then asked. "Could it be possible to send some sort of message to her?"
"Yes, I can deliver it."
"Lady Rigrit, could you please tell her that we love her and are proud of her. I may have not told her when she was alive but if the Gods have blessed us with one more chance then I want for her to know it."
Rigrit bit her lip painfully. Her father was a good man but not the best at expressing his love for his family. To hear him say those words was too much. She remained silent trying to calm down.
To hide her reaction she closed her eyes and raised her hands casting a simple light spell that shot upward for a show. 'I can do it.' "She received the message."
"Thank you." her father said, bowing his head. "It means so much to us."
"Losing close ones is never easy. I am happy I could be part of this exchange."
Rigrit was about to stand up to say goodbyes when her mother asked. "Lady Rigrit, would you stay for dinner? We would be honored to have you."
Another set of memories came back. Back then, they would eat synthetic food just like everyone else for most days. But during big holidays and birthdays, they would always eat real food with everyone getting their share.
Even if the meal would not even be close to what was available in the prime world, the chance to spend a little bit of time with her family was not something she would pass.
Her worries, however, proved to be unfounded, as clearly, they had access to the best ingredients Earth could offer, which considering the technological advancement and artificial environments, were both healthy and nutritious.
She didn't stay much longer after that and returned home after a short tour and exchange of pleasantries with the rest of the people that were once part of her life.
Most families gave her some symbolic offerings as homemade alcoholic beverages or packed meals that were made out of rice, vegetables, and fruits. Even though religion was not a particularly big part of the world anymore, a lot of families still upheld old traditions and she was now seen as their protector deity.
Rigrit returned home with her hands full of various colorful packages and unloaded them on the table in her and Tsar's private resting area that was off limits to servants save for daily cleaning.
"Getting offerings?" Tsar asked, observing the gifts.
"They think I'm their protector deity. This is how my people venerate their protectors. I tried to explain to them that I am not a God." Rigrit said with a smile on her face. She unpacked what looked like homemade rice wine, removed the cork, and took a big gulp. "This one tastes so good."
"You can't help it. I was venerated as a protector during the Council State times as well. Although I received mostly piles of raw fish and meat." Tsar remarked.
"I hope you will like these. I'm not eating all this alone." Rigrit said and started to open one of the meal packages. "This one is from my aunt. I wonder if she still adds peaches to her special dish." Another forgotten memory came back as a response to the delicious smell.
Tsar, not wanting to argue about his tastes in food differing from hers, just sat down and awaited what sort of weird thing she would try to feed him.
Proofreading by Visur Nyxan, RottenPizza, and Sad Smiles.
AN: Thank you for reading the story, and if you have caught up to the latest chapter, you can check out my other work or join my discord server (Link is in my profile) where additional chapters are available.