Crystalia was born in the creation hall of the second layer of the Celestial World and was placed into the Angel Education Programme, where she would be taught the necessary skills to be an angel.
As all new trainee angels are, she was given a residence.
This residence was pretty far from the school so she had to commute quite a distance every day, but this was not a problem for her. She was extremely determined to perform well.
The reason for this determination was because she had once witnessed the splendour of the Goddesses. From that moment, she decided that she would become one.
There was only one thing. Goddesses, where the elites of the elites. In order to be considered one, one had to become an archangel, which was a step above an angel, and to do so was no easy task.
Crystalia put all of her energy into her studies, and her progress reflected it. She was clearly a step ahead of her peers, which caused them no small amount of jealousy.
A combination of her single-minded focus on her studies and her stellar performance caused her to become an outcast among her peers.
She didn’t mind this though. She never had any need for friends. Sure it would be nice to have some, but friends wouldn’t help her become a Goddess.
She would go to school every day, study dutifully, then go home and practice on her own.
Assessment after assessment, she would achieve flawless grades and was seen by the higher-ups as a sure candidate to become an archangel in the future.
Things had all been great for her, but one day, all her momentum halted.
This was the day of the final assessment, no less. The graduation assessment for becoming an angel that she had been working towards her entire life.
Crystalia performed horrendously.
All of the previous attention on her faded, and her peers, who she ignored, launched vicious verbal attacks at her.
Contrary to the way most would have been affected, this didn’t get Crystalia down. She redoubled her efforts and studied hard for the next year’s assessment.
She was now in a class of students a year younger than her, and everyone knew her story.
Again, at the final assessment, she failed miserably.
Crystalia couldn’t understand what was going on. She knew that she should easily be able to pass the assessment. There weren’t any problems when she practised by herself at home. But when it came to the actual assessment, all of the knowledge and ability she had painstakingly worked for, day in and day out, were nowhere to be found.
She once had the thought that someone must have been influencing her performance, but she quickly removed this idea from her mind.
‘How could anyone in the celestial world commit such atrocious acts?’
She had no choice but to face the reality that she had no talent. It was likely performance anxiety or some other mental shackle, that she would have to discover and remedy.
After having failed twice in a row, Crystalia had exceeded the funded period of her studies, she now had to pay tuition fees if she wanted to continue.
Left with few choices, Crystalia accepted an offer to become the personal secretary of a mid-level angel. Even though she felt that something was wrong with the whole situation. It was her only way to become a Goddess, so she gritted her teeth and did what she had to. It would all be worth it when she achieved her goal.
This job paid just enough to cover her tuition fees, but she was overworked. She barely had enough time to study. Normally, apprentice angels would be given more money, but Crystalia couldn’t even complain. It was like she was an illness. No one else would hire her, so she could only stay in her current position.
After another year and another group of classmates, Crystalia failed once more.
At this point, she came to a realisation.
‘I will never become a Goddess…’
She was heartbroken, but she had to face reality. Goddesses were stars shining above all, she was a worm who would burrow out of the ground every now and then. The difference was simply too big.
Just as she was about to give up and resign from the Angel Education Programme, a mandatory assignment for all angels and angels in training came in.
They all had to select a human participant from the lower worlds and have them undergo a trial to gather divinity.
There were various rewards for the overseers whose participants collected enough divinity. These ranged from new residences to high status. Everything of value in the Celestial World was available.
Crystalia was deeply moved when she saw the highest prize, a direct promotion to archangel!
‘This… I have not been forsaken.’
She had unspeakable joy in her heart.
Excited at this unbelievable chance, Crystalia quickly registered and was given an area of influence to select a participant from.
Her excitement faded almost completely when she saw her area of influence.
To Crystalia’s dismay, she was given the Barren Wasteland. In this entire area, there was only one human race, that was the human race of Earth who were born without any outstanding abilities.
This on its own wouldn’t be too bad, but hey had no World Energy Assimilation System. Due to this, the level of the average person was far below that of other human races.
Even given this, Crystalia still had some hope. It wasn’t impossible to find a suitable candidate. Perhaps she would stumble upon a miraculous one. She had a whole month to choose, so she wasn’t strained for time.
There was only one rule for selecting a participant, they must have died during the selection period. Any angel or angel in training who selected a participant out of these parameters would be disqualified and their actions would forever be marked in the tome of shameful misconduct.
‘H-How is this possible? The human race of this Earth, shouldn’t they be extremely susceptible to disease and violence? How could this happen?’
Unfortunately for Crystalia, up until the last minute, no one had died in her area of influence.
Left with no other choice, Crystalia decided to commit misconduct in hopes that no one would discover. At this rate, she would never become an angel anyway. To be marked in the tome of shameful misconduct didn’t seem too bad.
‘Hm. Who am I assigned to today?’
In addition to the candidate, all angels in training were assigned to observe a human for each day.
‘Hm. Twenty-two-year-old male. Coincidentally the same age as me.’
‘No outstanding abilities to speak of. That’s just fantastic.’
‘Lives with his parents… OK… Wouldn’t most… Never mind, that’s irrelevant.’
‘Dichromatic Disposition? That’s interesting. You don’t see too many of those.’
After reading that last point in her book, she gained a small amount of interest in this assignment of hers.
Those with Dichromatic Dispositions tended to be at the extremes of potential. They were either rarely seen typhoons that brought major change wherever they went, or they were complete oddballs. And even among those oddballs, there would still be a few typhoons.
‘With someone like this, my chances improve. The average person from this Earth would be useless anyway. May as well risk the possibility of total failure in exchange for a chance at a stellar performance.’
Crystalia didn’t value any of the other prizes. She only cared for the top prize of becoming a Goddess. She would go all in to achieve this. Whatever happened, no one could say she didn’t try her best.
‘OK. Let’s see what we’re working with.’
With that, Crystalia turned to a page in her book and a scene appeared before her. It was a man on a bed and a woman standing beside him.
“Do you have to do this every day?”
“How would I switch off the alarm otherwise?”
The woman slapped the man on the head.
“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m not an alarm? Sigh. What am I going to do with you?”
“This was the seventy-third time. I feel like we’re getting close. When it reaches ninety-nine something special may happen. Let’s do our best.”
“I’m sorry mother, I have been an unfilial son.”
Crystalia watched in silence.
“Sigh. Whatever. Breakfast is ready, so brush your teeth and join your father and me.”
After the woman left, the man got up while rubbing his head. He paused for a moment and turned his gaze to a certain direction.
‘W-What exactly is this? H-How can…’
Crystalia was thoroughly confused. The man was looking straight at her. He had a serious face of contemplation as he was staring intently as if he was trying to study her.
‘N-No way, It’s impossible. No one can detect me from this room.’
Slightly confused at what he was doing, and also slightly apprehensive, she then decided to observe the woman as well.
“Haha. Same as always.”
The woman walked into the dining room and was greeted by a man.
After a while, Crystalia’s assignment walked in.
“Good morning son.”
“Paying respect to Mother! Hey Dad, what’s up?”
“This. Why do I feel like your mother’s greeting was sincerer?”
‘It does sound that way.’
Crystalia agreed with the notion.
“And why do you call me Dad, but you refer to your mother as Mother?”
“Dad, you must understand. Seniority is based on ability, not on age. I have recognised Mother’s mastery over martial arts and while you do have a domineering presence, it is nothing in the face of Mother’s martial prowess. Need I remind you of the Flying Slipper Slaying Dragon incident of three years ago?”
‘Martial arts? Slaying dragon? There are dragons here? That wasn’t recorded in my information.’
Crystalia became intrigued. This seemingly weak woman, was able to slay a dragon? With a slipper no less? Didn’t she fear the retaliation of the Paragon Dragon? Maybe she would be the better candidate.
‘There really are hidden gems everywhere.’
Crystalia was slightly relieved at this point. She was still wondering why there was no information about this in her book. She didn’t really consider the possibility of it not being true, after all, there was absolutely no way they would be able to detect that she was observing them… right? No one else was observing them either and they seemed to all know about the incident.
“Oh? You think because your mother can subdue me, it makes me weak?”
“Enough! I thought we agreed not to bring that up again.”
Crystalia saw both men sit down timidly.
‘Wow, she really does have authority here!’
Crystalia was further impressed by this woman, easily able to subdue two men, who both looked stronger than her.
‘Dragon slaying mother. Dichromatic Disposition. Surely he will be a typhoon.’
Crystalia was now becoming more confident in this fellow.
“You really want to continue like this for two years, son?”
“Well that was the condition of our soul pact, so I don’t think it would be beneficial to anyone if we were to change things now.”
‘Eh? Soul pact? They have such things? My information is really unreliable. Is this still the Barren Wasteland?’
“Sigh. I thought you would have grown up a little after going to university and broadening your horizons.”
“Why are you so inclined to the mundane, Dad? Can’t you see that I’m living the pinnacle existence? I am able to hone myself daily and study under an expert of Mother’s calibre. This is something you can only stumble upon and can’t search for.”
‘I would have to agree with that. You are obviously trying to limit your son’s potential. He should continue to train under the dragon slayer.’
“But your ‘pinnacle existence’ is based on my mundanity.”
“This. Sigh. You’re right, Dad. And I understand this. I only ask for two years. Just two years and I’ll join the mundane world. Please just allow me this much.”
‘N-No! Why would you do that?’
“What I say is true, but it is also important to keep your commitments. Two years is what we agreed, so two years is what you shall have.”
“Hahaha! Your will is weak, Dad. You succumbed to my Kitten Tames Tiger technique. This is why you will never match up to mother.”
‘Oh? He performed some kind of psychological technique? This just keeps getting better.’
“So, what are you going to do now?”
“Let me guess, you are going to head to the cultivation hall to study ancient Chinese texts?”
“Cultivation hall? Ancient Chinese texts? You mean going on his phone to read those web novels? What was it, Narakuto?”
“That’s a manga and it’s called Naru- never mind. This is another reason why your martial arts stagnate Dad. I can’t believe you aren’t able to see through such a simple illusion formation. Mother was able to peer into the truth the first time and you still see me ‘going on my phone to read web novels’, truly embarrassing.”
‘… What illusion formation? I’m fully confident that there is no such thing.’
Crystalia started to worry.
“Anyway, once again Mother, your foresight has left me speechless. I will indeed be heading to the cultivation hall as I have had some insights today that I would like to corroborate with the ancient teachings.”
“That’s fine but I’ll need you to enter the grey later today to pick up a few things from the store.”
“Y-yes mother. I was just thinking I needed to practice my Beseech the Heavens mantra.”
“Enter the grey? Beseech the Heavens? What’re those?”
“Still unfamiliar with the language of the upper realm? Tsk-tsk. To ‘enter the grey’ is to go outside and to ‘Beseech the Heavens’ is to pray for guidance. I say ‘enter the grey’ because it is a literal description and ‘Beseech the Heavens’ sounds cooler than ‘Pray for Guidance’ doesn’t it?”
‘What upper realm? He embellishes his words? Does that mean everything was an exaggeration? Sigh. It turns out he’s an oddball.’
Crystalia felt her heart shatter to pieces like glass. She wanted to pull her hair out. How could she believe the words of mortals over her book? There was no way there were dragons here. And how could the Paragon Dragon not retaliate if one were slain here?
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to consult with the elders. I’ll be taking my leave Mother. Later Dad.”
With that, her assignment left and returned to his room. She decided to continue observing the woman.
“Shouldn’t we put a stop to this?”
“My, whatever are you referring to dear?”
“Don’t dear me. His behaviour. Isn’t it getting out of hand?”
“Oh? If I recall correctly, your mother had told me many stories of how you behaved in a similar way when you were younger.”
‘Ah. Another oddball.’
Crystalia drew in a cold breath. How did she land in this madhouse?
She decided to stop observing the woman at this point and resumed her observation of her assignment.
He was reading… For the entire day, he was reading, until his mother walked in and gave him some instructions. What was notable, was that he uttered the words ‘truck-kun’. Crystalia did a little investigation and found out what it was.
‘… A full-blown chuuni… This is just perfect… Guess becoming a Goddess is out of the question. But who knows, maybe… Ah, forget it.’
Crystalia was severely disappointed at this point, but she hung on to the hope of the oddball eventually becoming a typhoon.
As her candidate left his house, she made her move.
‘Time to put my practice to use.’
Crystalia turned her room pitch black, donned her favourite set of armour, which complimented her hair wonderfully, and activated the radiant aura she got as an addition. She pulled out all the stops for her first encounter with a lower being.
Her candidate turned around.
‘Good! He is fully focused on me.’
“I am the Goddess Crystalia and you ha-”
The man knelt on one knee.
‘Excellent! My disposition commands respect. This is going better than expected.’
“Mm. Yes, that is the appropriate response for one such as yourself upon meeting a Goddess. Your show of respect has been duly noted.”
“Hm? What? No, I-my shoelaces are untied so…”
Crystalia was stunned.
‘Sure presenting yourself properly is appropriate but couldn’t you just let me have this?’
Her candidate then turned around.
“What are you doing?”
“It’s a secret.”
“Now what were you saying again? Goddess? What’s that?”
Crystalia was stunned for a moment.
“Um, yes, yes, you can’t be blamed for your ignorance. Yes, what is a Goddess? They are, I mean, hm. Among the angels, you have a notion of angels correct?”
“Yes, among the angels, there are particularly proficient individuals who perform at a level far above their peers. These would be referred to as archangels. And among the archangels, those with female forms have taken to calling themselves Goddesses, which would be why you are unaware of them. Yes, Goddesses are basically high-level angels. Hm, yes, does that answer your question?”
Crystalia was a little flustered. She didn’t expect her candidate to be so unknowledgeable.
“I see. However, I noticed you were speaking in the third person there. Could it be that you aren’t actually one of those so-called Goddesses?”
Crystalia lost her composure for a second.
‘It’s true, I’m not a Goddess but why do you have to point it out?’
“It’s true, calling myself a Goddess is a bit of a stretch.”
“So, what are you then?”
“Sigh. You are in the presence of the angel Crystalia. It would be prudent to be more respectful.”
“Oh? An angel? But didn’t you just lie to me about being a Goddess? Are angels allowed to do that?”
Lying was a great taboo in the Celestial World. Crystalia couldn’t afford to have this attached to her name so she hurriedly responded while frantically waving her hands.
“Wait, no! I didn’t lie! Hear me out now, yes. Yes, as I described before, a Goddess is a high-level angel, and we both know that ‘high-level’ is an abstract concept. In essence, we could say that all except the worst is high level, yes? Even the worst could be considered high level if you’re looking at a group of elites, yes? So when I refer to myself as a Goddess, a ‘high-level’ angel, it isn’t completely erroneous. Not to mention that the position of a ‘Goddess’ is unrecognised in our hierarchy so my claiming to be one isn’t in breach of any formalities. You agree, yes?”
“I suppose. Unless you are in fact the worst angel, which wouldn’t surprise me. I wouldn’t even bat an eye if someone were to tell me that you aren’t even an angel at all and are something else entirely. Also, I wonder how your big sisters would react to you claiming to be a Goddess. You said you haven’t breached any formalities, but they are so conceited as to create an entire category for themselves, I’m guessing they wouldn’t take too kindly to a lowly one such as yourself diluting their image.”
Crystalia was visibly shaken. Truth be told she had a great amount of fear and envy for those Goddesses.
Unable to withstand the blow, Crystalia descended to the ground, her radiant aura nowhere to be found. The place returned to pitch black.
Crystalia had changed her form now that she had been discovered. She didn’t want to put any more effort into this ruthlessly honest candidate of hers.
She was now in the form of a little girl. This was herself from a few years ago, back when she still had high hopes of becoming a Goddess. She didn’t know why she liked to take this form, but it gave her some comfort in times of doubt.
“Um, who are you?”
Her candidate spoke.
She couldn’t be bothered to deal with him anymore and it showed on her face. She responded through gritted teeth while rubbing her eyes with one hand:
“Angel in training, Secretary Crystalia at your service.”
“Crystalia? The same Crystalia from a moment ago?”
“Who else would it be huh? Did you get dropped on the head as a baby?”
Seeing that he was silent, Crystalia placed her book on her bed, then removed its cloaking. She then lay down on it and started to flip through the pages of her book.
“This. Are we in your bedroom?”
“What does it look like?”
“Ok. So why did you bring me here?”
‘Heh. I brought you here because I ran out of options’
She pulled a party horn out of nowhere and proceeded to blow it.
“You have been selected to become the hero who slays the demon lord! Isn’t this everything you ever wanted?”
“Not interested, take me back.”
Crystalia was surprised. She looked at him with widened eyes.
The truth is when Crystalia had said ‘you have been selected’ what she meant was ‘my deadline is coming up and you happened to be the one I was assigned to observe today, so you’ll have to do’. It was after observing Kaner for the whole day that she knew he would be overjoyed with this arrangement. So, it thoroughly surprised her when he rejected the proposal.
“Wait, wait, wait, shouldn’t you be jumping for joy right now? I thought you would agree to this no questions asked.”
“And why would you think that?”
“Because from what I saw today, shouldn’t you be extremely immature? Since you woke up until you left the house, you have been full chuuni.”
“Oh? So you’ve been spying on me?”
“You see? That right there! Shouldn’t you have said something like, ‘I see you have considerable mastery over divination techniques, impressive’? That’s what I would expect after having observed you today.”
“W-Why would I say something so ridiculous?”
“Eh? Are you the same person from five minutes ago, who told his mother that he would complete the mission lest truck-kun strike him down?”
“Cut the nonsense! I already told you I want no part of your arrangements. Return me to my home, I have things to do.”
“Sorry, but that’s not an option. Besides, why are you in such a rush? Time is frozen here, it doesn’t matter how long you stay, you won’t keep your mother waiting.”
“How is that possible? You, an angel in training, has dominion over time?”
“No, no of course not. It’s this room that has that ability. It was granted to me for the purpose of finding the hero-to-be.”
“I see. But regardless I have no intention of agreeing to slay this demon lord. First of all, my mother has instructed me to avoid causing intentional harm to others so it’s impossible. And secondly, I don’t have time for that. As you know, I have to go pick up some groceries. What would my parents think if I were to just disappear? Anyway, don’t most situations like this involve a dead person? As far as I’m aware, I’m still alive.”
“That’s right but no one died in my area of influence so… Anyway, you needn’t worry about these small matters. As for the first issue you raised, It isn’t necessary for you to slay the demon lord with your own hands. Just gather a group of companions and have them do it.”
“This what? You eat meat, right? That’s causing harm to others but you don’t care. As long as you aren’t the one causing the harm what’s the problem?”
“True… What about the second issue?”
“Simple. Upon completion of the task, I’ll return you back here as if nothing had happened. You can then get the groceries for your mother and all will be well.”
“Hm. What if I fail?”
“There are two possibilities in the event of failure to complete the task. The first is if you died trying to complete the task. If you die then it will be treated as having completed the task. If you still live however and just abandon the task, then you shall spend the remainder of your life there and shall not see your family again.”
“But what if someone slays the demon lord before I have a chance, or if the demon lord commits suicide or if they hide somewhere I can’t reach, what if-”
“Don’t worry about these things. The settings are pretty fair, the demon lord won’t die unless you lead the attack and they won’t run away either.”
“Hm. Since you mentioned a demon lord, is it correct to assume that there will be magic and other such things?”
“Yup! It’s your fantasy world. In fact, the world you live in is the least interesting of them all.”
“Hm, I see, in that case, what’s in it for me?”
“What? You want benefits? Like what?”
‘You little, shouldn’t this be enough for you?’
Crystalia was surprised that he was still asking for more. Honestly speaking, in these cases, the participants didn’t usually have the option to return home after the task. This particular instance was different because the participant was alive and was essentially kidnapped. If he were to find a way to complain to the higher-ups, Crystalia would be in a lot of trouble.
“Well, let me get some incredibly good fortune. I expect fortunate encounters to fall out of the sky for me. Give me the ability to find talented subordinates and throw in some kind of lie detector as well, with a personality module. Hm, I want a treasure detector and a danger detector. Throw in some unbelievable comprehension ability and talent. I want to start off with a healing ability and understanding of all of the languages of the world. I want an unlimited and undetectable portable storage space that negates weight and can hold living beings. Also, throw in high affinity with the power source of the world and a pet dragon. How about it?”
‘Krch. How can he ask for so much? Wouldn’t most people ask for one or two things? And usually, they’re given options from which to choose. But no. He wants to make up his own cheat items!’
Crystalia was surprised at Kaner’s shamelessness. It had to be known that a participant’s abilities would be extracted from their overseer. With what Kaner requested, Crystalia would lose a lot of her divinity. Left with no other choice, with a dejected tone she said:
“Sigh. Apart from the dragon, everything else is granted. The storage space’s size will adjust based on your strength. Are you ready to go now?”
“Why not the dragon?”
“We had an agreement with the Paragon Dragon to not restrict the freedom of pure-blooded dragons. They are essentially allowed to do whatever they want so I can’t give you one as a pet, but if you have the ability you can get one for yourself. Just that you may make yourself some powerful enemies so do so at your own discretion.”
“Hm, I see. Just one more thing then.”
Unknowingly, the two had gotten comfortable with one another. Crystalia was running out of time, so she felt that she was being pressed to failure again. But after hearing Kaner’s requests and noticing how they were mostly practical in helping him to complete the task, as opposed to letting him live a carefree life in another world, she grew more tolerant towards him.
At least she didn’t hear ‘make me a woman magnet’ or ‘I want to be born a handsome prince’ which according to her fellow apprentice angels, she heard other participants demanded. The request that particularly changed her view of him was the request to detect capable subordinates. Clearly, he was already thinking of how he would muster his forces to slay the demon lord and wasn’t trying to take his time either.
‘Maybe if it’s him… No, never mind, I’m grasping at straws.’
Crystalia remembered her childhood dream but quickly put it out of her mind. This world was out to get her and there was nothing she could do about it. All she could do was hope this candidate of hers would become a typhoon.
“You have been an angel in training for a long time, haven’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
Crystalia was perplexed at his off-topic question.
“It’s just that your entrance was fairly spectacular. It looked pretty angelic to me, even though I don’t have much to compare it to. And your aura had a lot of pride and dignity. It didn’t look like someone pretending.”
“Yes, well, I practised a lot.”
“Do you have any friends?”
“Why did you change to this appearance from your previous one?”
“You saw through my act so what was the point in perpetuating?”
“So because of me, you lost your dignity?”
“If you want to put it that way.”
“Hm. I see.”
“What do you see? What are you getting at?”
“I’m going to guess, you want to be a Goddess?”
“Well, I used to.”
“Why used to?”
“Because I tried and I failed. I won’t put myself through the hope and despair again.”
“Mm. Shining Star Swallowed By Void.”
“My mother taught me this when I was in school. Sometimes those who show hope are an eyesore to those who are content. If one is too focused on their goal and is unwilling to share with others, it is often the case that others will wish to see their failure. When one gives up on their hope, their opponents achieve victory.”
Crystalia took a deeper look at Kaner. She also knew this, but what was the point when the road ahead was blocked?
“Everyone else from my cohort has already graduated. I’m the only one left. Even two more classes have come and gone. Obviously, I’m incapable. What is the use in continuing this foolish pursuit?”
“One should not focus on the achievements of others. The important thing is that you are better this day than you were yesterday. You are better this week than you were last week. Instead of seeking to keep up with or even surpass others, surpass yourself!
“Work harder today than you did yesterday, achieve more today than you did yesterday. By surpassing yourself, what height can you not reach?”
Crystalia suddenly got up off her bed and stared at Kaner’s face.
“What was supposed to happen?”
“Um. You were supposed to have an epiphany or something you know? Mind over matter and stuff.”
“But this is the real world.”
“Cough. Well, I guess, just don’t give up. Watch me slay the demon lord and you may learn something. You would learn even more by observing my mother, but you kind of froze time, right?”
“Mm. Actually, the faster you do it the better for both of us. So we’re kind of in this together. Let’s do our best”
She said in a guts pose.
Looking at him, Crystalia noticed that her candidate was unresponsive.
“Hm? N-no. Uh, yes. Just keep your promises and I’ll do my part.”
“Mm. Brace yourself.”
After saying this Crystalia flipped her book to a particular page and a dazzling radiance burst forth from it.
“You will start a new life in this new world complete with parents and maybe some siblings. Use the early years to understand the general situation and figure out how you want to approach the task.”
“Crystalia, one more thing.”
“What is it?”
“Another of my mother’s teachings. When in doubt, beseech the heavens.”
After saying that, her candidate was drawn into the book.
‘Beseech the heavens? Oh, how I’ve tried. Kaner, you’re still too naïve.’
At this moment, Crystalia noticed a dark purple miasma flowing from her hands into the book.
‘What? How could this be? Someone really was sabotaging me? Oh no, Kaner!’