Red: Warring Countries (Craist Kingdom and Liberitoa Trade Federation) and area (Carorolaia Vein)
Yellow: Controlled area under the Highserk Empire’s remnant army
Purple: Demon Territory
Light blue: Sea and Big Lakes
Brown: Neutral Countries, and Principality of Myard
Peach-Skin Colour: Galmud Archipelago
Blue: Republic of Maylis
Green: Aleinard Forest Alliance
Firstly, the Highserk Empire placed top priority on rebuilding the transportation routes between the remnant of the eastern and southern army, and aimed to rebuild the nation based on the funds collected from the magical silver mine.
Secondly, the Flame Emperor Dragon invasion route, called the Flame Emperor Dragon Corridor, would be incorporated into the isolated Myard to connect the community as well as a huge trade route and transportation route. When that was done, the remaining forces that survived the Dandurg Siege residing in Myard (Celta) would be collected.
Liberitoa and Craist tried to expand their territory surrounding the shore of the Celta Lake while keeping an eye out for the Flame Emperor Dragon where whereabouts were unknown. Although there was a logistical revolution called magic bags, water transportation on Lake Celta was the most important point in terms of logistics in the region, and it had great value from the perspective of water supply and sea product supply.
The influx of population from the surrounding area would be used as soldiers and to scrape the Demon Territory, strengthening the overall force. Some of them achieved remarkable results in a short period of time, ironically becoming important forces in the two countries, Craist and Liberitoa.
The magical silver mine would be placed under the joint control of the Dalimarx family and the remnant of Southern Army, and would be filled with most of the surplus population of the southern region of Highserk. Work that could lead to some serious mining injuries would be done by slaves obtained in the civil war, and with the same sweet words that labor was the way to freedom, the length of detention would also be reduced according to the degree of danger of the work.
Shino Toukain approached Kohaku Hatano with a very natural smile.
It was as if she just met him by chance.
“Ah, what a coincidence. Are you in the middle of doing some errands for the student council right now?”
“Yeah, well, it’s just to patrol around. Shino-san, are you taking a break?”
“Yes, but it’s a shame that I have to go back soon. I just got my stomach full and now wandering around to get some fresh air.”
Naturally having ordinary small talk. Such an encounter that could have happened anywhere, but of course, this wasn’t a coincidence. Shino had obtained information about the student council in advance and knew Kohaku’s schedule, so she scheduled her break time to coincide with the time he left the class. And of course, it wasn’t a coincidence that Shino now appeared in front of Kohaku.
She had been following Kohaku since he left class. Shino also confirmed that Kohaku had received letters from the others. She also had an idea of what her classmates had done, but decided to not get in the way, and approached him at the last minute of her break time.
In other words, most of the conversation was a lie.
“Oh, it’s time to go back. If only I met you earlier, we could go around longer.”
“Really, it’s unfortunate.”
Shino dropped her shoulders in disappointment. This time, the truth was mixed in the words, but she cocked back tears for her purpose.
Why did Shino act like this? Well, it was for the same reason as other girls.
“Aーh, I want to talk more, but I really have to go now…”
“I see. Well, see you later.”
“Yup… Ah! Kohaku-kun!”
Saying that, the moment Kohaku was about to leave, Shino shouted as if she remembered. This was an action to leave a better impression.
“Could I request one thing?”
“Thank you… Umm, you see…”
Seemingly hesitant, Shino continued her words.
“After today’s culture festival is over, there is a place I want you to go.”
“That’s fine, but where should I go?”
“Thank you. It’s a bit far… You know the 3rd class building, right? A little bit further than it, there is quite an open space. Around there, there is a big tree. I want you to go to that big tree.”
“Okay. Then, after today’s festival end, let’s go together.”
“That’s no good”
Shino refused Kohaku’s proposal with a straight face.
Then Shino said that Kohaku must not tell anyone and come there unnoticed.
After politely said so, the two parted ways.
Shino waved at Kohaku once again as she was leaving, and started walking to return to class.
On the way, Shino wondered why people were looking at her, and touched her face to see if there was something on her face. She then found herself walking with a big smile on her face.
Immediately, she changed her expression to normal.
That smile appeared unconsciously because things progressed as planned more than she thought.
Shino planned to confess to Kohaku today. From the time both entered school to the summer vacation trip, they should have grown closer. Shino thought that at the very least, Kohaku didn’t seem to hate her.
What made Shino decide to do that was the definitely successful confession spot at the school festival! It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it was a message from God telling her to confess.
But she had rivals. Rivals who had deepened their relationship in the same way and who had obtained information on the confession spot too! Well, one of the rivals had work to do and couldn’t come. Really, too bad. When that rival came home from work, that rival’s crush would be in her palm.
Shino couldn’t help but let out a “happy” voice.
As it would be difficult to predict the other rivals’ behavior if left alone. So, Shino decided to focus her actions from now.
When Shino was chatting with the rival girls, she casually put out an information magazine to check on trends and talk about popular sweets shops. And she showed everyone the special feature 『How to confess with a high success rate』 that was written in the magazine.
All of them didn’t mention that special feature, but their eyes clearly looked like the eyes of a wild beast that had found its prey.
And what was in the special feature was that 『Confession should be done on the last day of the event』 and 『The method of summoning the man should not be verbal, but should be by letter or email』
And today, just as we expected, they contacted Kohaku by letter. And the content would be 『I want you to come to “this place” on the last day』
Sorry all, but that article was all lie.
Such a convenient article couldn’t be featured at a perfect time… No, saying that a complete lie isn’t right. In fact, the atmosphere on the last day of the event is the best. And if you use a letter, or email, you can review the word before giving it to him, so the chance of success increases. Well, unfortunately, that article is in the hands of Toukain.
The largest base in the magical silver mine jointly managed by Edgar de Dalimarx, a Viscount of the Archipelago, and the former Highserk Southern Army, was the branch castle managed by Baron Josh. And at the foot of the mine, in one corner of the mining facility, there was a Highserk soldier’s fort.
The fort, which was built as per the proposal for joint management, was a base for surveying the area around the mine, for exploration and digging preparation of mineral veins, and also as a gathering place for supplies and an outpost to deal with monsters. However, now, monsters were out from the surroundings. All nearby monsters had been wiped out and thus, it became a waiting area for Highserk soldiers and an emergency refuge for coal miners.
And now, in a room inside the fort that was built for interpersonal purposes, thoroughly confirmed of its counterintelligence function, Hadro, the battalion commander of the reformed Southern Army of Higherk Empire, was having a secret meeting with a man who was feared of having many patches on his skin, called Duwei.
“Good job at coming all the way here from the east, Duwei.”
The remnants of the current Highserk Empire were this Southern Army, which Duwei was currently visiting, and the former Eastern Army, which now had been reformed, having the forces split to many places. Still, under the lead of two infantry battalions and Jaff cavalry battalion, the rest of the Eastern Army left at the border, was preparing to be ready for any battle with Liberitoa Trade Federation.
Since the main road connecting the two sides had been destroyed by monsters, they couldn’t have any direct contact, so, Duwei and other elite soldiers continued from one place to another to keep in touch with each other while paying close attention to the next move that should be made for Highserk Future.
“I came to tell you the message from Brigade Commander Seelev. “I couldn’t send any reinforcements from the East. I’m sorry.”, that was all the message he left to me.”
“It’s so like Brigadie Commander Seelev……It couldn’t be helped. We can’t let Liberitoa notice this.”
It was a frustrating situation for Duwei as well. The Eastern Army was still having a hard time increasing the number of troops or weapons, so the remaining forces were a hand that couldn’t be cut easily.
In addition to that, the transportation routes for moving large-scale forces were blocked by monsters.
Above all, if the Liberitoa Trade Federation, which was hoping for the slow collapse of the remnants through appeasement measures and tightening of trade routes, learned that the remnants of Highserk still have connections with each other, it was clear to anyone that the thought of rapid annihilation would arise within the Federation.
“That said, it’s not all bad things. 《Demon Fire》 has also returned from the Netherworld.”
“What a nostalgic word. All my subordinates at that time, were excellent. But they, those people, those shitheads were blown away.”
Gritting his teeth and growled as he imagined the battle of the Sarajevo fortress. A disastrous event where he lost his squad, the battalion he belonged to, the Liguria Battalion, that further elevated to the destruction of his homeland. Duwei couldn’t forget them. The area with patched skin couldn’t withstand the expansion of his hardened muscles, and blood oozed from the sewing. And finally, he realized that his tone had gone south.
“Sorry. Seems like I got a little too excited.”
Wiped off the bleeding with the cloth taken out from the bag and tried to stop the bleeding with a magical barrier.
“It couldn’t be helped. Even me, who is blessed with excellent soldiers, feels the same as you.”
Commander Hadro harbored a quiet, never-extinguishing flame of hatred. After all, Highserk was mercilessly thrown into a large pot filled with Flame Emperor Dragon and hundreds of thousands of monsters jostling for attention. It went without saying that Duwei still could remember it vividly like it was yesterday.
No matter how desperately they struggled and fought, they couldn’t prevent their country from being destroyed. On the contrary, hundreds of thousands of people were teased, raped, and eaten alive by monsters.
In the course of repeated battles in which the whole body was scraped off physically and mentally, even Willart, who had survived until then, decided to join the others who had reached the Netherworld. Their wish and grafted skin were now with Duwei.
“So, did you get the info?”
“It seems that those two young soldiers have been told a story about the old days, and when they realized that I was one of the former comrades, they told me honestly. And it seems, it’s true that Walm, thought that after what he had done in the branch castle, he might get executed, and so he ran away.”
Hadro held his head and let out a deep sigh.
“To execute someone who had achieved so many great battle results, is almost impossible. It was, really hard. Some of the soldiers were making a fuss when they saw the flames. Viscount Edgar and Baron Josh, thought that I slipped a soldier into their formations. So, they did a search for the person themselves, to prove it. It was full of misunderstandings. I tried my best to clear it up.”
“During battle, he’ll calmly annihilate enemies, but it seems, he has a cowardly side too, really, a troublesome fellow.”
“No doubt. Still, we need him.”
“Yes. To patch up our homeland, to gather the scattered remnants quickly, and to kill those who want the destruction of Highserk, I’m sure we need him.”
The Southern and Eastern Armies, which were in contact with each other, wanted the reconstruction of their homeland. In order to do so, they must gather as many soldiers as possible. And the “blue flames” that continued to burn those from Liberitoa and Craist, would certainly become an indispensable fighting force.
“But, there’s a little problem. It seems that he received a monster’s eye transplant in Dandurg, and it seems that the aftereffects have appeared recently. And that it won’t be long before he loses his sight completely. So, it seems he decided to go to the Labyrinth City, or even the circling around Aleinard Forest Alliance if needed, to find a cure.”
“Demon eyes huh… I don’t think ordinary remedies will help. “Crimson Grass” in the Labyrinth City or remedies made by those with long ears, other than that, the only choice he has would be the supreme healing magician who is said to be staying in Celta.”
“It seems that the person still has doubts about Liberitoa and Craist, whether they were really the ones which caused the Great Outbreak or not. For one of those disgusting piles of shit from another world, she has a not bad way of thinking. That said, I can’t help but has mixed feelings about relying on a former enemy.”
“Don’t say that. After going through the Great Outbreak and the War, even the new Grand Duchess of Myard came to face reality.”
Due to the policies of the Grand Duchess of Myard, the intake of Highserk soldiers and Ferrius soldiers was also intense. There were quite a few Highserk soldiers who had relationships with widows and had their hollow hearts filled. At least, that was what the one who accompanied Duwei coming here said. Those people would definitely make Celta their new home. Any man, even Duwei, would have a hard to deny it.
“The more Celta’s military strength increases, the more Craist’s military strength will be directed at Myard. It seems that they also intend to rebel against the two countries that backstab them, ruining their county with the Great Outbreak.”
“So, what about the alliance?”
“It will be proceeded out as soon as the main road connecting the south and east, the Flame Emperor Dragon Corridor, opens.”
The next question, Duwei asked in a tense tone.
“Then, what about the founding declaration?”
“His Majesty’s son will do it”
It was ironic. Almost all blood relatives of the Emperor, were swallowed up by the Flame Emperor Dragon and the Great Outbreak. Only one last son of the Emperor survived, however, he was only a 13-year-old, moreover an illegitimate child who didn’t have the right to succeed to the throne.
A small ray of hope to connect the divided Empire sparked. Without the child’s existence, the remnants of the Empire would have vanished without words, or those higher-ups in the military, who managed to survive, would have tried to rise higher. Although mixed, the blue blood still ran inside him, that fact alone had the power to bind the remnants together.
Therefore, their own health must be perfect.
The remnants of Highserk were about to come together in the name of that illegitimate son. If Liberitoa found this out, they would surely try to bury him, even if they must throw away everything. Until the preparations were complete, the South and East had to appear to be a military clique.
Once the road connecting the south and east was restored, the next step would be to connect with the surviving forces that escaped to the Myard territory, Celta. Fortunately, or rather, ironically, the groundwork had been finished. After all, the Flame Emperor Dragon, who was an existence out of logic, created a huge straight road. Even now, in secret, a small number of soldiers and escorted merchants went back and forth along the road.
“Duwei, you have the Republic’s ceremony ahead of you. As for Walm’s matter, we will send people from the Southern Army to find out where he is.”
“Understood. I’ll leave it to you.”
When Duwei left the room after exchanging the necessary information, he called out to someone following him in coming here from the east. The man he called was the only other survivor of the squad, a man with tanned skin.
“Yo, seems like I made you wait for too long.”
“So, what are we going to do? Return to the east once?”
“Is want I want to say, but no, we’re going to enter Aleinard Forest Alliance. Y’see, a fun ceremony that comes once every four years is waiting. A great opportunity to show the might of Highserk, ain’t it?”
“Good that it seems like you’re having fun, but, it has nothing to do with me.”
The reason the man was chosen to accompany Duwei was simply that, the man was familiar with Duwei’s methods and was accustomed to dealing with him when he went out of control. Also because, he hadn’t given up on being a normal human, like Duwei or Walm.
“But, just thinking about it, makes me look forward to it more. Those shitheads who chose to fly to the Netherworld first, surely, they’re also looking forward to it. So, let’s quickly eradicate those Liberitoa and Craist bastards, ‘kay? Walm.”
Duwei’s eyes were dyed in color darker than black, filled with unfading hatred. Standing next to him, who had been possessed by madness, was Jose, who let out a long sigh.
『”Fufufu, is that so? But what should I do… I don’t need you.”』
『”That can’t be! D-don’t throw me away!”』
『”Don’t say it in a bad way like that……Well, if you swear a lifelong loyalty to me, I will allow you to stay by my side.”』
『”Yes, then, I shall ask you to pledge allegiance now……”』
『”What should I do? Give as much money as I can. Or do you want me to make you the prime minister?”』
『”I don’t want that kind of thing. Just lick my feet as a token of loyalty.”』
『”What! But, I am, this country’sー”』
『”Fufufu, even if you say that, your body is already on all fours and your tongue is sticking out, you know?”』
A play was being performed on the stage by the members of the drama club.
This play seemed to be a major work in this world, and if I were to compare it to those in my previous life, perhaps it was something on the same level as Shakespeare?
Anyway, the story was about the rising of a boy who was born as a slave’s child, but the way of talking of the main character, that boy, was extremely brutal.
Well, that in itself wasn’t that bad, but what I couldn’t understand, was that the genre of this story was classified as pure love.
The people of this must even in past, must be crazy.
However, as a story for a play, it was interesting, and everyone was absorbed in watching it without saying a word.
The stage changed and the characters played by Maizumi-san and Yachigusa-san were talking to the main character.
『”Y-you want us to betray our sister?!!”』
『”No, no, I just want you both to prove, your love for me.”』
『”Can you do it?”』
The main character was smilling, and Yachigusa-san, who was standing next to the main character, shook her body after hearing the next words.
『”I want you to find out Lady Middin’s secret.”』
『”What? I won’t ask you to do anything wrong. So, rest assured.”』
Both Yachigusa-san and Maizumi-san were the characters who were in love with the main character, and their role would be taking advantage of the enemy’s weakness for the main character’s sake and making them falsely accused.
The two performed well. Really well… but I felt unpleasant seeing them getting played by someone else.
Even if it was in the play.
…Lately, I’ve been hanging out with them a lot, so maybe, I started to develop the desire to monopolize them?
…I see. This kind of thought is something that comes to mind no matter how old you are huh?
I remembered the memories of my previous life and thought that I had grown up mentally. But, it seems that I still haven’t matured enough to be regarded as a wise person, I guess?
…No, rather, it may be because I have memories of my previous life that I’m obsessed with monopolizing things.
That must be it…
I was watching the play while thinking about such things.
“Hatano-san, how was the play? Did I do well?”
“Fufumph. I did good, right?”
After the play ended, the two immediately found me and came to hear my impressions.
However, the two gave me a dubious look at my slow reaction.
“Are you okay?”
Certainly, both of them performed well in this large crowd. However, because I saw them getting played by another human being, I didn’t feel like giving them any praise honestly.
I put my hands around the waists of the two people who were looking at me worriedly and pulled them towards me.
Then bring my face closer to them. The two of them were completely stiff, not knowing what had suddenly happened.
I whispered in the ears of those two.
“I think you both did good acting… But, no matter what kind of role you get in a play, can’t you not get flustered by another man?’”
“!! But the one who acted the man was a girl…”
I whispered even more to the two who were trying to argue even though they were blushing.
“Hoo… making an excuse huh? Even though, you both were so honest with that person.”
Then, I received a promise from the two that they wouldn’t follow another man.
……Yeah, after all, I’m still young here!
“COUGH!!, that’s right, Hatano-san.”
“Please read this later.”
Saying that, Yachigusa-san handed me a piece of paper.
I didn’t know why, but today, I got a lot of notes.
“Then we will help the class from now on!”
“See you later!”
Saying that, I saw the two off.
Then I felt something strange in my chest.
I wondered what it was, and when I touched it, there was another memo inside the chest pocket.
…I got it directly from Yachigusa-san, so this memo must be from Maizumi-san.
Hmm… should I read the memos I received while eating lunch?
Thinking so while moving out of the gymnasium, I was called out.
Atsushi had expected it. And they were the world of a game. The situation that they were in, and the strange masked monster that appeared earlier. Based on those factors, it wasn’t hard to conclude that this game was a horror game.
However, proving it was true or not, wouldn’t help much in this situation.
『”Yes, I know you want to cry. Following the meta of this kind of thing, it’s supposed to be an RPG set in a fantasy world… No, wait, right now, this kind of game is more mainstream, so, it’s not all strange…”』
“Stop it. You’re saying something that doesn’t make sense.”
Atsushi was amazed at Yuri, who was still the same as usual, even at such a time.
“Hey you, can you stop playing around? So, what should we do now? Even if we run away, we can’t move without specific instructions.”
『“Your statement is true, but in reality, as I said earlier, Atsushi-san and you, have no choice but to run away. After all, the opponent is a monster that comes out in a horror game. They’re all immortal. Please, never do anything like fighting it head-on.”』
Monsters that came out in horror movies and mangas were usually couldn’t die normally or immortal. In the first place, people were afraid of something unidentified and immortal, that was why such a thing appeared in something horror.
So, as expected, Atsushi had no intention of fighting such unreasonable beings.
『“By the way, where are you two now?”』
“Inside an abandoned house.”
『”Abandoned house, abandoned house… ah… are you serious? You are in there?”』
“Oi oi, what is it? Is it, bad?”
『”Rather than bad, I would say that it’s a little troublesome… Once you enter that house, you can’t leave until the dawn.”』
Atsushi and Kirishima looked at each other, and they tried to open the front door or a nearby window. Then, as if to prove that Yuri’s words were correct, they were in a place, where it was impossible to open the passage leading to the outside at all.
“……Seems like it’s true”
“Are you kidding me……”
Indeed, this was also a standard development in horror movies. In particular, if it was a type of horror movie with ghosts coming out somewhere inside the house, as the theme.
With this, the option of escaping outside had been crushed, and Atsushi and Kirishima were trapped in this house with monsters.
『”That said, the abandoned house is made to be wider inside than it looks. In particular, the basement is spread out like a labyrinth, so even if you’re attacked by various people there, you’ll be able to run away.”』
“It’s possible to run away… is there a safe zone or something like that?”
『”Unfortunately. Even if there is a safe place, it only lasts for a certain amount of time. Like where Atsushi-san and you are now. But the setting has been changed so that monsters will attack after a while.”』
“In other words, even if we stay here until dawn, monsters will eventually come to attack us?”
Normally, there shouldn’t be such a thing as a safe place, but they were the inside of the game and not a horror movie. So, of course, the thought that there was a place like a ‘save point’ where the enemy could never enter came to mind, but it seemed that the mastermind was one step ahead there.
『”Yes, but I have some good news for you. Chairman has done some trick, or rather, he had done something that would occur a bug in the monsters.”』
『“He messed around with their status a bit. Nonetheless, since they are firmly set as monsters, it wasn’t possible to reduce their invulnerable powers such as immortality and superhuman strength. So, he changed another part.”』
Changed the stats…. Atsushi couldn’t quite understand how amazing what Hiiragi had done, but he could clearly affirm that Hiiragi, who was able to do such things even after the game got hacked, was truly inhuman.
To be honest, if Hiiragi could just erase the immortality status, Atsushi might be able to do something about the monsters, but there was no point in thinking it now.
“Is that so?…. Then, which stats did he change?”
Atsushi asked Yuri so.
『”INT and LUK……In other words, he changed the intelligence and luck status to the minimum.”』
Yuri calmly said so.
In response to Yuri’s answer, this time, Kirishima responded so while frowning.
“Wait, intelligence and luck… will anything change if you set those to the lowest level? None of the monsters that appear in horror movies seem to have intelligence… and luck? Is it even have any impact?”
『”No, no, something is going to change. Think about it, please. How the monsters in horror movies and horror games skillfully attack people. Do you think that people who attack people with such perfect timing are low in intelligence? I affirm, no, trust me!!”』
“Hmm, even if you insist on that…”
『“And, luck. This is to lower the luck stat of the monsters so that you two have more luck than theirs. After all, people who survive horror movies are the lucky ones. Conversely, if you are lucky, you can survive even if you are not the main character, right?! From that thought, those stats were changed.”』
“Hey, Yamagami-kun. Can we really trust this person as a guide?”
“I strongly agree with what you want to say, but don’t say that. I believe that she’s doing her best in her own way right now.”
When they were having a conversation without feeling tense.
At that moment,
Thinking that they heard a strange voice, Atsushi and Kirishima turned their eyes to the depths of the hallway at the same time.
They saw a woman lying on all fours, with a face facing up to them.
“ ”!!!!?” ”
The two of them held their breath at the sight of it.
Then, as if to take advantage of that opening, the woman approached Atsushi and Kirishima at a tremendous speed.
A voice that raised anxiety. Just by listening to it, it was as if your mind was being violated, something like that.
Normally, just hearing that would get you stuck on the spot and the woman would kill you.
As if to destroy the normal development of horror movies, the woman fell into the hole made by the masked monster earlier.
“ “ ………..” “
Seeing the unbelievable scene, Atsushi and Kirishima had no choice but to stare at the sight without blinking.
After parting with Mishima-san, I continued to look around, and naturally, I was called out again.
However, unlike the previous two gyaru girls, there weren’t many people who seemed to have a promising future, so I declined without any particular trouble.
……As expected, this patrol is a mistake in the first place. I mean, letting a man go around by himself. No matter how excellent I am, it’s still possible that I’ll just wander around following girls here and there, you know?
It was getting louder and louder in the distance. I wondered if there was a problem, so I went to see what was going on, and there, I saw Tamachi-kun wearing a butler uniform and holding a chocolate banana in his hand, and Vice-President Hibiya holding cotton candy.
Seems, they’re enjoying the school festival too huh…
Yep, seems they’re having fun.
When I was staring absentmindedly, the two also seemed to have noticed me, as our eyes met. As expected, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to ignore them when our eyes were perfectly aligned, so I raised my hand and approached them.
Then, the surrounding girls took out their smartphones, snapped photos, and uttered,
“It’s a precious moment!”
It suddenly became unnecessarily noisy.
As far as what I understand, this should be within the permissible range, and since it’s a festival, I don’t intend to be bothered by it, but if the two people in front of me feel uncomfortable, I may have to do something.
Thinking that, I asked the two about their feelings, and surprisingly, they didn’t change their expressions.
No, that wasn’t true… Vice President Hibiya had a genuinely disgusted expression on his face, but since he saw my face, it probably wasn’t caused by the actions of the girls around him, but by me.
…..Doesn’t this mean, his hatred towards me is greater than that towards girls?
I decided to stop thinking about it.
“Are you two taking a break?”
I gave the nicest smile I could make.
At that moment,
“B-bishounen!!” [TN: Pretty boy]
And, the shutter sound got louder.
“Yes. There are just many things at Kenran School Festival. It’s so much fun”
Tamachi-kun, who smiled back at me, replied so. His smile made people around us shout,
…Can’t they try to suppress their own desires a little better?
“Hmph, you seem to have a relaxed attitude. Let me tell you, this time we will beat you. Is it okay for you to take a long break in a place like this?”
Vice-President Hibiya provoking so.
The reaction of the surroundings was
“T-tsundere!! Thanks for your service!!”
…Aren’t they okay with anything?
I started to question their fetishes.
“Isn’t that the same for you?”
“Unfortunately, there are many other excellent boys in our school. But for yours, others than you are trash.”
I compared the boys from both schools in my head.
“…You, can’t you trust your comrades a little more?”
Vice-President Hibiya said so with an amazed expression.
I don’t want to hear it from someone who abused their own Student Council President!
“Anyway, it seems that both of you, are having fun, and as a member of Kenran Student Council, I’m happy that you’re feeling so.”
“…Certainly. If we rejected this joint cultural festival, we wouldn’t have been able to experience such a wide variety of things. In the sense of experiencing a new culture, it could have been called a perfect opportunity.”
…So, he’s agreeing with me?
“He said it turned out to be a good festival.”
Perhaps, feeling my doubts, Tamachi-kun told me so in a small voice.
Indeed, Vice-President Hibiya has become a lot more of a better person than when I first met him. Guess, this is for the better.
“Then I’ll go now. Have fun and enjoy yourselves, both of you.”
Saying so, I parted with them. When I checked the time, it was almost time for the play that Maizumi-san and Yachigusa-san, the drama club duo, had told me to come and see.
I decided to hurry to the gymnasium where the play would be performed.
Apparently, they were given roles that would appear a lot, even though they were first-year students, so they were quite enthusiastic.
…..Huff, so nostalgic
I remembered the time when Yachigusa-san was worried about the role of a magical girl.
This time, the play seems to be a love story between two people of different social statuses, but they didn’t tell me about their roles. I know they’ve worked hard and practiced for this. Getting results that match your efforts is really great.
I don’t know if their efforts will always bear fruit, but there’s no doubt that their efforts will help them to reach the star.
When I thought about such a thing, I felt that my existence, which was only aiming for money and status, was disgusting, so I decided to throw this thought in the trash can.
…Wait a minute, I haven’t neglected to improve myself for getting more money and better social status, so it’s no exaggeration to say that I’m also a hard worker. Mean, my efforts should be rewarded. Right?
Yeah, that should be the case!
I concluded that and stepped into the gymnasium where the play would be performed.
It had been two weeks since the battle over the Carorolaia Magical Silver Mine. The civil war and its aftermath had finally over, and so restoration work was proceeding at a rapid pace at the branch castle that served as a base against the Meizenav family. The magical silver mine that sipped the blood of many soldiers should have regained its peace by now.
However, it wasn’t the case.
“Hurry up, run!!”
Kalim called out to his childhood friend, Kuwen. With no time to respond to the call, Kuwen simply let out a sigh.
“Haah, Fuu, Haa…”
Kalim thought that it couldn’t be helped. Even though the wounds from the ice lance had closed and Kuwen was able to move, there was no doubt that he was still in the recovery process. On top of that, since he had lived with his legs covered for a while, his legs were shaking like a fawn due to fatigue, and also fear.
The root of the fear was the one-eyed giant, Cyclops, who was closing the distance. That was the true identity of the monster that was chasing Kalim and Kuwen, forcing them to run.
“Why are you, so persistent!”
Contrary to its outward appearance, its legs were very agile, befitting its gigantic build, which was about four or five meters. In fact, the unit to which Kuwen and Kalim were assigned, was attacked by Cyclops, and although they scattered and tried to escape, the corpses of all but two were exposed to the ground. Trampled, kicked, beaten to death with the uprooted tree. Kalim, of course, didn’t want to die like them.
If Kalim knew this would happen, perhaps he would have gone home earlier. Remorse ran through Kalim’s mind. The beginning of the matter was that the monsters around the Carorolaia Vein were attracted by the smell of flesh and blood caused by the war. Viscount Edgar didn’t want the Meisenav family exploiting the gap left by the monster’s attack, so until the branch castle was restored, he recruited temporary guards for the mine from the gathered soldiers that were supposed to be disbanded.
There were many monsters, but powerful and dangerous monsters were wiped out when the mine was claimed. For the future in a new village, so as to not have problems with money, Kalim and Kuwen were lured by the temporary bounty, and so the two were hired to guard the branch castle until it was restored.
The monsters that Kalim and the other hired guards encountered were small goblins and orcs, as well as wild boars that were treated as food. The information about strong monsters had been eliminated was indeed correct.
Kalim, who had gained experience through battles to the death, worked with Kuwen to kill two goblins without much problem. However, Kalim might have forgotten about one important fact, perhaps drunk in the satisfaction of having the wild boar that the whole unit clamoring around. The reason why the Demon Territory wasn’t the territory of the human race in the first place.
The Cyclops, who survived the subjugation, possessed intelligence, something that shouldn’t be possessed by a monster, right after it crawled out of the slope of the forest, it immediately crushed the 10-man Commander without hesitation. After that, it was a disaster. As soon as the quick-witted soldier spread out and shouted to flee, its huge legs kicked that soldier away, shattering all his bones.
Then it was the others’ turn. No matter how hard they kept running, the distance would only shrink. One by one the unit number was decreased.
And now, with impatience and impending signs of death causing his breathing to be disturbed, Kuwen finally reached his limit.
Then, his leg got stuck in a hole hidden in the fallen leaves and so he tripped.
Kuwen hurriedly tried to get up, but the Cyclops’ strong arm was already stretched out, ready to crush Kuwen.
Kalim’s face turned pale, and before he knew it, he had thrust the spear into The Cyclops’ arm. A blow from a human, especially a small child soldier, would be nothing more than a mosquito bite to a Cyclops. However, even so, the Cyclops roared in anger since it got counterattacked by the coward prey.
An intense bad breath was let out along with sticky saliva and leftover meat.
“Uh, haah, aaahh”
A rout was already impossible. Rather than abandoning his friend and running away to death, it would have been better to be killed with a single blow together. Mixed emotions made Kuwen spew out laughter. As for Kalim? He had been crying since a while ago. Still, he thrust his thin spear that couldn’t be compared to what was in Cyclops’ hand.
Of course, Cyclops, who survived the subjugation for a year, wasn’t an easy monster. A tree with its branches and roots still attached, which had just been pulled out, was sung like a club, approaching Kuwen and Kalim.
The two boys became minced meat… that was supposed to happen.
Waiting for the two who closed their eyes and braced themselves was not their death, but a heavy yet dry roar. The tip of the club was completely lost and flew off somewhere.
“Aren’t you having fun? Sorry, but I’ve got some business with them. And if you minced them, I won’t be able to ask them, y’know!?”
What appeared was a man carrying a massive battle axe. He wasn’t that tall, but his limbs and chest were bursting with muscle.
A very unique man. But what caught Kalim’s eye more than anything else was the battle wounds carved all over his body that made it difficult to find smooth skin. His skin was filled with a wide range of scars, as if his whole body had been stripped of its skin and multiple skins with different pigments had been forcibly joined together. His appearance was so extreme that if Kalim had seen him in the deserted darkness, Kalim might think that the man was a kind of undead.
“But, you’re still a brat, ain’t you? Still, you survived. Good job.”
Said the man tapping Kalim’s shoulder with the handle of the giant battle axe.
“ “That guy”, he was surprisingly good at taking care of others, perhaps, did he train you?”
On the side, the man talked to himself, entering his own world.
Being disturbed from the hunt and ignored, the Cyclops plunged its club into the ground, slamming the surrounding dirt and shrubs.
Amidst Kuwen’s screams, the man looked at it with a bored eye. Shortly, the wind blew through the forest. Kalim didn’t realize what it was until he saw the battle-axe piercing the earth. It was the wind pressure from the swing of his battle-axe. Also, he managed to see the faintly luminous light on the blade and thus, spoke its name.
The nasty explosive projectiles fired by the club were canceled out by 《Strike》 and wind pressure.
“Oho, bragging about your tricks huh? As a Cyclops, you’re really pathetic. Can you understand what I’m saying? Y’see, you’re just a blockhead. That’s why you’ll die here. Come! Let me have fun!!”
Something unbelievable happened. A man who was supposed to be a human was about to fight head-on against the one-eyed giant. Looking at the upper body that didn’t even consider evasion, also the waist that had been lowered, it was as if the man was inviting the monster.
However, what made Kalim doubt his eyes more, was the fact that the magical barrier, which should have been colorless, began to have color.
Perhaps the man’s words or demeanor conveyed it, the Cyclops opened its eyes to the limit, raised its club high in the sky, stepped on its huge legs, and swung its arms down.
“Good. As a monster, you sure have a lot of guts huh? A’right, I’ll end this fast!!”
Kalim and Kuwen screamed in unison at the approaching and unavoidable blow, gasping while waiting for the result.
After a moment of equilibrium between the battle-axe and the club, the club was destroyed and the shattered pieces of wood obscured the sky.
The Cyclops slammed its fist through the piece of wood, but its fist to elbow exploded. And, the man appeared from the explosion while laughing happily.
“Ahaha, Good. You sure worth my slash!”
The man kicked up the ground and jumped into the bosom of the Cyclops. The Cyclops tried to knock him down with its remaining arm, but it was quicker for the man to swing up his battle-axe from the bottom. The axe head cut through the Cyclops’ fingers and was sucked into its neck without stopping, sending its head to dance in the air.
Having lost its head, its giant body continued to move slightly, that was its last resistance. Fresh blood spouted from the neck, creating a pond of blood in the forest. Among them, a man who had just finished the job appeared while wiping blood stuck on him.
“Hahaha, I got a little wet.”
The man took something out of his bag on his waist and chewed it up. It was the notorious hard-baked biscuit. The man who noticed the gazes of the two then said.
“What? Wanna eat these? Here, take it. With that body, you won’t be able to be an excellent soldier, y’know?”
With a look reminiscent of a monster, the man handed hard-baked biscuits to Kalim and Kuwen, then patted them on the back.
“A’right, now, the main subject. Where did the soldier with the name “Walm” go? Y’see, that guy is kind of an old friend, and I’ve got some business with him. Course you can tell me, right?”
The face of the man with the bloody battle axe changed from a smiley face to a serious face, and just like that, the man slowly got closer.
Kalim looked at Kuwen, as he couldn’t answer, but Kuwen was as just as confused. Both couldn’t process the situation they were in. How did this happen to them? They didn’t know. The only thing they knew for sure was that the man, who was approaching them, was the kind of unknown existence that they couldn’t be able to dodge even if they wanted to.
105. It’s normal for monster or such to appear in something horror
A monster usually seen in a horror movie appeared.
There was only one course of action in such a situation. Run away. Nothing more could be done than that.
However, Atsushi and Kirishima didn’t immediately leave the place.
No, they couldn’t do it in this case…or should you could say, it was because there was no need to escape.
“―――, ―――, ―――!!”
“… Umm, what’s he doing?”
“… If you’re just talking about what you’ve seen with your eyes, a hatchet got stuck in the ceiling and he’s trying to pull it out?”
The far end of the corridor. In that room, a masked monster was trying to pull out a hatchet stuck in the ceiling.
It was the hatchet that was about to be swung down to Kirishima earlier. However, it pierced the ceiling. Thanks to that, Kirishima was able to escape safely to Atsushi’s side
What is it… I know he’s just trying his best, but really, he’s just making a fool of himself…
While Atsushi was thinking about such things, the monster-like man succeeded in pulling out the hatchet with both hands after he used all his might.
“Ah, he fell”
“Well, if you pull with that much force. Of course.”
The masked mysterious man held his head and turned in this direction.
And this time, he silently advanced toward Atsushi and Kirishima.
…It was supposed to be.
“Ah, this time he hit the wall above the door.”
“Well, if you’re that tall. Of course.”
The height of the masked man exceeded two meters. In contrast, the height of the doors of this abandoned building was less than two meters. Therefore, if the man didn’t lower his head down, his head would run into the wall. It was inevitable. He should be able to see that, but perhaps because of this darkness and the fact that he was wearing a mask, he couldn’t see it.
“―――, ―――, ―――!!”
“Umm, is he, getting angry at the wall?”
“Yeahー, I mean if you hit your head on something, you may get angry at the things nearby…”
The appearance of the man hitting the door several times with his fist and finally attacking with a hatchet was completely like the appearance of a child throwing a tantrum and hitting things.
However, it didn’t last forever, and after a certain amount of time, the man slowly turned around.
“Oh, no, he’s heading this way…!?”
There, Atsushi and Kirishima finally remember the danger again and tried to escape from the spot.
And the monster also stepped forward to chase them.
With the sound of cracking wood, the figure of the man disappeared in an instant.
Seeing that scene, Kirishima asked Atsushi a question.
“……………Let me ask again, what happened?”
“Hmm… he just walked down the corridor, but suddenly the wooden floor broke and so he fell down…”
Atsushi tried to say what happened just as it was.
……Well, even if he said so himself, he had no idea what he was talking about. It was so absurd.
“What, the hell, was that…”
“Well, even if you ask you…”
Atsushi and Kirishima were puzzled by what just happened.
At such time,
『”Aーh, test, test, can you hear me, Atsushi-san?”』
“Huh!? This voice! Is that you, Shirasawa!?”
Atsushi unintentionally raised his voice when he heard a familiar voice.
『”It seems you both are safe.”』
“In this situation, I wonder if I can say that we’re really safe… anyway, Shirasawa, do you know what is this all about?”
Atsushi, who wanted to know what was going on as soon as possible, asked Yuri.
『“To put it simply, the game is currently being hijacked by an external hacker, and now only the two of you are left behind. However, Chairman is doing his best to do something, and it looks like, things will work out somehow, so don’t worry. “』
“Wait, what do you mean by “Chairman is doing his best”…?”
Chairman, what are you doing? How can you fix this situation?
Atsushi wanted to comments more on Yuri’s remarks, but if in the end, Hiiragi could solve the current situation, nothing really matter.
『“However, even Chairman said that the situation is quite severe, and even now he’s so busy. That’s why I, who is an acquaintance of you two, was entrusted with the role of guide.”』
“I see… So, Shirasawa. What should we do now?”
『”Basically, you both don’t have to do anything. We’re preparing to force logout you two from here. However, it looks like it will take a little more time… so there is something I want you two to protect absolutely…”』
“Something to protect?”
『”Yes… Your own life. Please don’t die no matter what. If you die even once, we won’t be able to log you out.”』
“Please don’t die, huh… easier than said.”
『“Usually there should be no problem… However, as you may have already noticed, you both are currently playing a different game from the summer vacation game we were playing earlier. And it seems to be a game where the player dies at a fairly high rate…』
Hearing that, Atsushi murmured.
Even the location had changed. Of course, Atsushi had assumed that the game had changed.
“By the way, what kind of game is that?”
Although Atsushi vaguely understood, he asked to get a firm answer.
『” “Nightmare Carnival”. It’s a horror battle royale game where various monsters and masked men come out to kill you.”』
The battle over the Carorolaia magical silver mine ended in victory for the Dalimarx family, but the battle wasn’t over yet. The pursuit for the rest of Meisenav Family, which systematically retreated leaving behind scapegoats, had not slowed down, and the hunt for the remnants of the defeated army kept intensifying.
On the other hand, the captured prisoners weren’t killed. Many of the ordinary soldiers who didn’t have families with the financial means to pay the ransom were turned into slaves for mining. The aristocrats and wealthy people who were released couldn’t escape financial difficulties due to the payment of a large ransom.
Thanks to the efforts of healing magicians, many of the injured were able to maintain their composure, but there were also those who were unable to pass the harsh night to see the next morning’s sun. Luckily, the laceration on Kuwen’s thigh was calmed down by the cauterization and further treated by a healing magician. Herbs were ground and smeared on a cloth sterilized with alcohol, then used to cover the wound. So, there was no fear of leaving aftereffects, and as long as he didn’t force himself to move which might cause suppuration, the wound would eventually close.
“I got it”
The one who ran in was Kalim, holding his helmet with both hands.
Inside the removed helmet, which was turned upside down, were the provided hard black bread, small potatoes, withered cabbage and chives, and miscellaneous beans.
“Compared to before, it seems there are more items.”
Kuwen stood half up and smiled even though he looked pale as he was still lacking blood.
“We won in a shorter time than expected. Must be the leftover provisions prepared for a long war.”
The capture of supplies left behind by the enemy must be one of the other reasons too. After all, they left in that confusion. It wasn’t possible to burn all supplies when retreating. If even one-third of it could be destroyed, it would be a good one.
Walm didn’t participate in the raid on the enemy’s main camp because he devoted himself to the enemy of the branch castle. It was a real shame to miss the treasure trove, but he had to give up on it because of his eyes. If he had been targeted by many when he was in a bad shape, even though his opponents might be just the remnants, he might have been killed as well.
That said, although Walm couldn’t participate in the quest for gathering supplies from the enemy’s headquarters, he had been scavenging for the corpses of enemy soldiers who had been burned to death. While the other soldiers were slow to work due to the high temperature and the smell, Walm, who was used to it, was able to collect without much problem. He already had more than the promised prize prepared for those with silver plates, moreover, he got some coins too.
Half of the branch castle had turned into a pile of rubble, and there was no problem with getting things to burn. The broken wooden pillars and the wreckage of the abatis, which were used to block the invasion of enemies, were cut into reasonable sizes and set on a fire to heat the pot.
Cut vegetables with a knife, and sometimes tore them by hand. Then put it all together in, and sprinkle the salt.
Steam rose from the pot, raising the hungry level.
The bleeding had been stopped, but Kuwen had lost a lot of blood. He had preserved meat on hand, but it would be wise to avoid meat that would be difficult to digest. Besides, the boys might be not that happy to eat meat amidst the stench of burnt corpses.
“Here it is”
Walm received a bowl of soup from Kalim.
Carry the bowl to the mouth. It permeated the empty stomach. Let out a breath slightly and threw in a bite-sized piece of black bread. The black bread in hand brought back a distant memory.
“Eh? What happened?”
Kuwen asked Walm with a dubious expression.
“Nothing, I just remembered my comrades from the Highserk days.”
“I want to hear.”
Kalim’s eyes shone saying that he had the interest to hear more.
It’s not such a big deal, but, well…
Walm began to tell his story.
“My superior, the Squad Commander. On top of having a non-standard body, he did a lot of unreasonable things. He crushed the goblin’s head with his bare hands. Because he didn’t have a skewer, he uses his own hand to hold meats while grilling them on fire. He was the kind of person who would kill three enemies with a single swing.”
“…Umm, was that person really human?”
“Not an ogre or something?”
The two looked at Walm with suspicious eyes as they couldn’t believe the story.
“He should be a human. Well, many said that rather than fighting him, it would be better to fight an Ogre.”
That’s what the soldier who ran away from the ramparts on the Myard border said.
With that in mind, Walm continued the story.
“Anyway, he had a wild way of eating, and eats hard-baked biscuits without problem.”
Hard-baked biscuit, which had been carefully baked for preservation purposes and had lost its moisture, was a formidable opponent for teeth as its strength far exceeded the black bread. According to one theory, it was said that a soldier who had a hard-baked biscuit hidden in his chest could possibly block an enemy’s arrow infused with 《Strong Shoot》.
“Y-you mean, “that” things? What kind of chin he had?”
“I guess, he could even chew bones.”
Everyone had tasted the biscuits once, so it was easy for them to imagine.
Walm, who got the responses, continued further.
“Some challenged the hard-baked biscuits one after another, and were defeated. The viewer group, including me, couldn’t hold our laughter and laughed out loud at seeing the blood flowing from the gums and the chipped teeth. It escalated into a civil war between the members of the squad.”
In particular, the troublesome three idiots who talked about chivalrous spirits or those bullshits and immediately asked for a fight. It was so annoying.
“It’s so intense, to the point that other squads starting to bet. The face of those infight, including me, would get swollen due to the fistfight. In the end, the Platoon Commander who rushed to the commotion gave an order to suppress it. Then, after eating, everyone fell prey to the Squad Commander’s fist. I tried to escape, but I received a sharp blow to the head and went down to the ground. After that, the hard-baked biscuits were soaked in soup or water, except for the Squad Commander. Then we were given strict orders to eat it, saying that we’re soldiers, and not a child.”
Starting with small talk, the silly chat continued. Walm went to tell the story of him with his brothers running in his hometown forest from wild animals, and about how they went to pay respects to the land with a hoe and plow the next day. Also, about how his brothers led him to go peeping and got caught, then punished together in the center of the village, scolded for a whole day.
As Walm told stories of his childhood, Kuwen and Kalim told similar stories. After all, it was centered on failure stories.
Then, the topic switched to the claimed land.
New land had been claimed for development, and the two of them had captured goods and coins to the extent that they didn’t have to borrow money for buying agricultural tools from the Lord. If the two of them decided to grow up like this and had a family, they would surely be able to feed their descendants and children in the neighborhood while telling a story of their youthful bravery and actual experience of battle. They would be similar to the uncle in the Walm’s neighborhood who told about his military service days.
Several people of Baron Josh’s retainers passed behind Walm and the boys who were having such a conversation. It was strange. The branch castle was cleared of enemy soldiers during the day. Even if they were looking for a defeated soldier or a runaway prisoner of war, who would hide in a base full of enemies? Normally, they would be running away even one step further.
Walm suspected that it was about assassinating or recapturing a prisoner of war, but they were clearly looking for something else rather than an enemy.
The chat stopped and silence rose to the atmosphere. The sound of the firewood that had just been put in could be heard.
“…Walm-san’s fire is blue, right?”
It was Kalim who got to the point. Walm wasn’t so insensitive that he didn’t know what that word meant.
It was only natural that there were people who would associate the blue flame with the skill 《Demon Fire》. Most of the defenders of the corner tower and the surrounding ramparts were killed in action, but they weren’t completely annihilated. Even if Walm hid his face with a mask when he used 《Demon Fire》, he might be seen by someone from afar.
“Actually, it seems that Josh-sama and Edgar-sama’s retainers were looking for the soldier who set the branch castle on fire. When I went to pick up the food, I was asked if I had any idea…”
Walm exhaled a long breath and looked up at the sky.
Of course, right…
In a flashy way, Walm had set fire to the most important stronghold, the branch castle, and slaughtered and wounded many allies. It was more natural to think that he wouldn’t be able to escape some form of punishment or perhaps, even lynching.
“Of course, I said I didn’t know.”
It was a favorable word.
Walm struggled in thinking about how severe the punishment he would receive if he was caught. Would he get turned into a slave? Beheaded? He could only hold his forehead without knowing the answer.
“Walm-san, let’s run away.”
Kalim lifted his hips and approached Walm.
“That’s right, we were saved by Walm-san. If it wasn’t for that blue flame that was accompanied by the hot wind, I wonder if we would have won the battle.”
Walm was no saint. It was true that escape was the first option that came to mind. And he wasn’t persistent enough to deny it.
“…I’m glad I was able to fight you guys. When I first met you two, I honestly felt heavy at the thought of fighting with such rookies. But, the two of you fought well. Besides, the memories and feelings of the past that I had forgotten… albeit a little, I’m able to regain them back.”
Those were Walm’s sincere thoughts. The noisy but innocent words of the two people saved his heart. Otherwise, he would have been living with abominable memories forever.
“Haha, D-don’t cry.”
Walm let out a laugh at Kuwen, who was in tears.
“Our hometown is a village called Yulepez. But, after we go back, we plan to build a village on the claimed land. If you don’t have a place to go, why don’t we build a village together?”
It was a sweet, tempting offer. If Walm hadn’t participated in that war, if he had been a nomad with nowhere to go, and if it hadn’t been for his damn eyes, he would have been joining them.
“Thanks for inviting. Really, I mean it…. but, I can’t go. I lost my eyes during the war during my Highserk days.”
The two were seriously listening to Walm’s story. And they had questions. It would be so. Because both eyes of the person who said he lost his eyes were still there.
“It happened in a terrible place. Surrounded by more than 100,000 monsters, my comrades-in-arms, acquaintances, and many people all died. It was hell. In such a situation, I had the monster’s eyes transplanted.”
Walm circulated his mana, focusing on his head. And his eyes transformed. The pupils narrowed vertically like reptiles, cats, or perhaps monsters. The two, who gazed at it, were stiff.
“Are you scared?”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Bravado or Truth? Anyway, Kalim answered proudly.
“The transplant was a success, but I couldn’t receive any treatment afterward. It’s the after-effect. Without the medicine, my eyes would melt away. I was told so by a healing magician in the border city, Kopetsk. I need to travel to heal my eyes. That’s one of the reasons why I joined this civil war. I don’t know if I’ll find it. I might end up going to the Aleinard Forest Alliance instead of the Labyrinth City. So yeah, I have to go. Thanks to you guys, I’m able to make up my mind. Thank you.”
Thanking them from the bottom of his heart, Walm patted them on the shoulders.
“If, you finish your treatment, please come and visit us.”
“I’m not good at making promises… but I’ll try my best.”
The unfulfilled agreement Walm made with the girl crossed his mind. He wasn’t confident enough to say that it was a promise. Even though he himself thought it was cowardly, Walm decided to take precautions.
“I’m about to go. If I stay too long, I may get arrested. Stay healthy.”
Walm packed his things and left the place.
All in all, it was a somewhat peaceful war without much enthusiasm, but there were things he gained. After all, he was always avoiding memories of the past, but now that he had tried to face it face-to-face, it wasn’t all as bad as he expected.
Now, Walm was alone on the dimly lit night road, being immersed in sentimentality. In such a slow flow of time, the demon mask vibrated as if asserting itself. As usual, the reputation for being bad at reading the atmosphere wasn’t just a rumor. He didn’t know if it was comforting him or provoking him.
“I’ve never thought, the longest relationship I would have, would be with you. Really, the world, is revolving in a mysterious way.”
Even though Walm grumbled at the face, his feet didn’t stop. Slowly, his body completely blended into the darkness.
“Then, Hatano-kun, please patrol from the east club building.”
After parting with Minori-san, I went to the Student Council Room as planned and received instructions from President Sanada.
“Okay. Then I’ll go.”
“Well, umm… many girls are getting carried away with the atmosphere of the festival. I’m sure, many will try to invite you. Please act accordingly.”
“I mean, every year there are cases where several boys are swept away by the atmosphere and… well, yeah, be careful…”
So, you mean, be careful with flirty girls, right? President, aren’t you a worrywart? Do you think I’m going to get caught in some random pick-up? Seriously… You know I’m not that cheap of a guy.
“President…don’t worry, my type is those who have promising future. I won’t be easily caught by those who just want to play around”
I said with a smile so that the Sanada student council president would be relieved.
“Is that so? Then, it should be fine… right?”
“Then, I’ll go!”
President would be relieved if she know my type, right?
After saying that, I walked out of the room.
“Wait, what would you do if the girls who’re picking up on you have a promising future…”
….Hmm? Well, I’ll think about it when it happens! I don’t need to think about such a thing right now!
“Hey, you. Cutie, let’s play together!”
“Hey, wait a moment, please! You were on TV, weren’t you? Meeting you here right now, means it’s destiny!”
As soon as I came out of the room, I was approached by gyaru girls.
Usually, the police would come to help deal with persistent girls, but they wouldn’t come at the school festival.
And it would be annoying if people thought I was weak against a push. So, I decided to make a resolute attitude here.
“Sorry. No one can shake my heart unless she’s a woman with high education, high income, and good personality.”
And, I tried to stop them with a finishing move. Nice smile.
“I seeー, then we’re perfect!”
“That’s right, we’re the perfect candidate! I mean, we’re from Touto University. And you know that that school’s reputation is good, so you can say that our future is guaranteed. Moreover, our personality is exceptional!”
After being told that, I looked at the two gyaru girls again. This time, more properly.
The appearance of those two girls was very good, among the high ones according to the standards of girls in this world. Or rather, my strike zone was something that could be found here and there in this world. To be honest, there were many. Too many.
But even so, I wasn’t stupid enough to swallow these two’s words raw.
I laughed lightly and told the two,
“Do you think I’ll just believe those words? You must show things that can back up your words…”
“Look, our student ID cards.”
When I looked at the student ID cards that were handed out after saying that, on both were certainly written, “Touto University”.
“… Well, it might be a forgery, a fake.”
“Eeeeー then see this. This is the school’s website with a forum that only students can enter. You need a student ID number to log in, you know.”
…Then, it must be true that these two are students of Touto University. It’s said as the best school in the world. Moreover, they look like extroverts. I think it’ll be easy for them to get a job in a good place. They both have a promising future. Should I give them a chance?
When such an idea popped into my head, a loud voice called out to me.
“Aーh! I’ve been waiting for you! What are you doing?!”
“Hurry up! Let’s go!”
I was pulled by the hand, and in no time, I got pulled away from the two gyaru girls.
“Hatano-kun, that’s not good! You can’t let yourself caught by a pickup!”
Mishima-san, who dragged me along, said while breathing heavily.
“Hatano-kun is kind, and easily trusts other people. But! There are a lot of cruel people in this world! If those girls earlier managed to bring you home, after… they’ve done “this and that” to you, they may throw you right away! Or perhaps get sold away!”
“Hmm…? I’m sorry.”
I sincerely apologized. The reputational damage to those two gyaru girls was a bit odd. It hurt my heart for some reason. And if I argued with Mishima-san poorly, it would only make her more unnecessarily angry.
A man who could read the atmosphere like me, of course, wouldn’t say anything superfluous in such a situation.
“Please be more careful… Hatano-kun, you really worried me.”
The hand that was grabbed when Mishima-san pulled me away was tightly grasped.
“Ah… I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s fine.”
Then we both stared at our connected hands.
For a while, we were stuck in that position.
“Ah! I have something to do!”
I tried to let go of Mishima-san’s hand, thinking that it was somewhat regrettable. However, the hand was still held by Mishima-san. She just wouldn’t let it go.
“…Hatano-kun. After today’s cultural festival is over, there’s a place I want you to go!”
“Where do you want me to go?”
“I’ll let you know the location later. What do you think?!”
Mishima-san looked desperate. As if being sucked by that momentum, I nodded.
“Thank you! Then see you later!”
Mishima said so and ran off. Not long after, she turned around once and waved her hand.
I waved my hand, thinking about what she just said.