1 Do I have to?

One day I woke up under the open sky.

I may be the type to carelessly fall asleep in different places but... yeah this time is a bit different.

Why?

Well... Why don't we ask everyone who's bowing in this direction, offering prayers and laying down alms in front of me?

Me, who is currently laid in a wooden box like a casket, overflowing with flower petals.

Even if I tried to step out of this box right now, I would be unable to plant my feet on the ground.

Why?

Well.... the ground is covered in prostrated persons as well as innumerable offerings piled high against the wooden box that's overflowing with flower petals.

Oh yeah, there's one other reason waking up here is a bit odd.

I died.

It's hard to see my body from this angle, but I'm quite certain this body is entirely different from my last one.

I lightly groaned but it couldn't be heard over the chanting of those who surrounded me.

I closed my eyes and recalled the circumstances that lead to this very moment.

I was just living a fairly ordinary life when one day I had somehow been catapulted into a different world.

Yeah, that so-called transmigration.

Since it was transmigration, even if I lost just about everything I had, at least I was able to take along my purse and the clothes on my back. That and one other thing I had taken for granted.

My body.

It turns out that I was pulled into another world was for a grand and noble purpose.... or not.

In truth, I got dragged there completely on accident. The people who saw me when I arrived were actually quite troubled.

It was... an unfortunate incident for them, they told me.

Hey!! Who's the most unfortunate one here!!

...Is what I should have retorted right away but I was so shocked I forgot to speak up right away.

Anyway, they told me that they had been trying to summon a demon but somehow I was all that came through.

They said the coordinates to the demon realm are very precise and any small error can lead to completely different results.

...I was a bit disturbed they crazy people actually wanted to associate with demons but I was desperate enough to ask them to send me back.

After listening to their explanation, it seems that just how they screwed up by taking me when they meant to take a demon from the demon realm, they could just as easily send me to the demon realm or an entirely different world if they were to fail again.

Besides... it seems a lot of sacrifices are necessary to open the portal... so-called 'resources' that they aren't willing to spare for me. Carefully looking around I saw... yeah a lot of blood. I tried to calmly ask them to let me go but... it seems they used a lot of resources to summon me (accidentally) so they found it a waste of 'materials' to just let me go.

"Maybe if we sacrifice a human from another world we will get a different result this time!"

The sinister blood-soaked people smiled gleefully, as they sank a dagger into my chest.

And that... is the story of how I transmigrated and died in a new world in what I assume to be less than one hour.

I wasn't a legendary hero or priestess. I didn't have any extraordinary powers.

I simply was moved from one world to another accidentally before dying unceremoniously.

But does the story end there with my death?

Surprisingly, not at all.

As I was bleeding out, the people around me started to shout,

"It worked! It finally worked!!"

As a rift with black mist pouring out opened in mid-space.

But at the same time I saw a bright white light and lost consciousness.

When I reawakened, I was in an empty white space.

'Maybe I actually died back on Earth and this is just my brain spewing out nonsense as I die.'

I no sooner thought that pessimistically when I heard a response to my thoughts.

"You died in this world, not in your own."

The voice reverberated all around me despite my being alone in that empty space.

Of course I wouldn't be so easily convinced but I had nothing else to do at this point but try responding.

"Either way, I'm dead then. What' the difference?"

I heard a sigh come from the bodiless ephemeral sounding voice.

"The difference is that you're here not there."

'Is that so important?'

I thought to myself again.

"It's important because your soul doesn't fit into this world. Your soul is as much of an outsider as the demons your murders wish to summon. I can't reincarnate you into a human in this world because you don't fit the mold."

The flow of conversation was odd, but after the day I've had, I really can't be bothered to keep acting surprised.

"Can't you just send me back then?"

"There is a large sacrifice required for such an act. It's beyond the scope of my abilities. Besides I have a personal policy of not getting too involved in the humans' business."

"Aren't you like the God of this world or something?

If humans can bring me here, why can't you send me back?"

The bodiless voice chuckled.

"Why do you think I'm something like that?"

Hm. Yeah I guess I have absolutely no proof of that.

"Ah, just how I died and showed up in front of you and this whole image you have going on here really reminded me of that that kinda thing... you know...God."

"You aren't entirely wrong, but it's still quite different that what you think. To begin with.... there is no such thing as an omnipotent being."

"No?"

"How many worlds, time periods, dimensions, do you think there are? There's no way anything would be able to see and comprehend all of that at once. Between all the places of existences, there aren't just billions or trillions, it's more than you could ever comprehend."

'Yeah, and honestly, why should I even care? I'm dead.'

I let out a sigh.

"But what is going to happen to me now then? If I'm dead shouldn't I just stop existing?"

"The course of life varies for different universes and different species, but in this case, you can't simply 'disappear'. But I can't just toss you into any human or animal since you don't fit this world's mold."

I groaned. Why must dying be so complicated?

Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to die but... I did. Why does it have to get drawn out for so long.

Just get it over with.

The bodiless voice chuckled again.

"The people who summoned you really screwed up. They brought you from an impossibly far away galaxy only to kill you right away. I then stole away your soul before what they were trying to summon came through. I'm not one to get involved in their affairs, but that's only when the humans play amongst themselves. They threatened the balance when they brought someone who wouldn't fit into the cycle of reincarnation. It would have been easier if they had just summoned a demon from the beginning."

'Is this weird voice telling me I'm harder to handle than a demon?'

"I suppose that's one way to think about it."

The voice continued to cheerfully continue on the conversation despite my silence.

'Also despite my grim situation, it seems to be quite carefree....'

"Don't worry, I found somewhere I can insert you in this world. Unfortunately, I can't give you a human body you are used to, nor can I give you any other creature within the cycle of reincarnation."

"Yeah, yeah. You told me, I don't fit the mold. But then, where can I go? Doesn't that already rule out anything alive?"

"Haha, perhaps in your world, but here, there are other sorts of existences that don't fit within normal expectations."

Other existences? Like...

As I tried to imagine what the voice meant, it began to speak to me again.

"There is something that is a bit like a summoning but at the same time not. If I slip you in there, no one would be any the wiser. You would simply fill a vacancy before anyone or anything else can. I wouldn't normally mess with this sort of thing? But I do believe it to be the quickest solution for this dilemma.

...Quickest?

If that's all this voice is thinking about... shouldn't I be worried?

I looked around the empty room dubiously.

"What am I to do then?"

"Hm~ Really that's up to you, I suppose. Because of the void you're filling, you might be expected to move in one direction or another, but I won't interfere any further than this. Do as you wish, misplaced soul."

Ugh. I really don't want to be addressed as that.

Was my cringe or shiver stronger just now?

"Well then, off you go."

"Huh?"

I snapped out of my thoughts.

'Now? It's sending me off now!?'

I just got moved from Earth, to that weird summoning circle, to this empty space, now I'm being moved again??

The white light dispersed around me and my vision began to fade.

I heard a few last words as my vision faded.

"There's some people trying to summon something or other for some reason I guess. Their wishes and sacrifices are what will give birth to the new vessel for your soul. Don't feel as if you owe them anything though, their ceremony was half likely to fail to summon anything, so you can just take advantage of the opportunity."

'Wait!! That doesn't tell me anything!!!'

I shouted in my head before blacking out.

And so that brings me to the present.

I still have no idea what's happening, but I do know one thing.

'That irresponsible voice just dumped me here cause it didn't know what to do with me!!'

I wanted to peek over what I sincerely hope is not a casket, but I was scared what would happen if all those surrounding me realized I was awake. Last time I was summoned, I got stabbed after all.

And you know? It still feels really recent!! This is a different body, but I can still feel the sensation of a dagger in my heart!! Its a fresh wound! In my mind, you know!!

...Will I survive this time?

I took a deep breath before standing up.

The flower petals covering my body as if I had been buried in them scattered as I rose.

My legs wobbled as if I were a baby fawn standing for the first time. I looked down at my legs and willed them to stand me up and step out from inside the wooden box.

I then realized.

'It's quiet.'

I looked up and around.

The chanting had ceased and everyone's eyes were fixated on me.

'Their gaze is burdensome.'

They all looked like they wanted something.

'At least it doesn't look I'll be killed like last time.'

But still, just like that voice said, I don't want to feel like I owe these strangers anything.

I just died, you know? Why should I feel obligated to work in the interest of strangers?

I didn't ask to be send to another world.

I didn't ask to die.

And I sure didn't ask to wake up covered in nothing but a white dress and countless flower petals, surrounded by strangers!!

I looked an old man in the eyes, he was taller than me but... as soon as he noticed I was looking at him, he fainted...

Large men and intimidating looking women trembled as they looked in my direction.

One of the men roared.

"Our Goddess has arisen!!"

'Your...what, now?'

...I didn't ask for any of this.