123. Usually, loners have a hard time going far away alone
Yuri came to the inn, bringing many questions like how and why.
What bothered Atsushi the most was that Yuri Shirasawa, almost lost her expressionless face and was about to cry for real.
“Wait, what really happened?”
『”Can’t you guess it!? Think, how hard it was to follow you all the way here…!! Sure, all the way to the village was okay, but after that, I realized that I had to ask people for directions, and I couldn’t do that!! After several hours wandering around without knowing left or right, I was approached by a kind woman, and somehow managed to come this far… Do you understand… how hard it was for me, an introverted person, who is also not good at communicating with others… Hick… Hick…”』
“……Eh? Could it be that you were almost in tears just for that reason alone?”
To Kirishima’s words, Yuri countered with telepathy.
『”Just for that reason, you say!!? For me, going out alone is as lonely as going to a foreign country alone!! These days, whenever I went out, I was always with Atsushi-san and others, so it was okay, but how much courage, determination, and preparedness do you think it takes to come to such a remote country alone!!? Please don’t underestimate how introverted I am!!“』
“In the first place, I think it’s a personal problem of yours… am I wrong?”
Just as Kirishima said, Yuri’s opinion was somewhat biased even among someone like her. Or rather, she clearly understood how bad she was at going out alone.
After that, Atsushi cut into the conversation.
“Well, don’t be so mean Kirishima. Shirasawa did his best to get here. Don’t be so harsh.”
“Huh? Wait a minute. Why are you on her side?”
“Ah, umm, how should I put it… It’s so rare for this girl to almost burst into tears like this, so…”
To this day, it could be counted by finger how many times Atsushi had the chance to see Yuri lose her expressionless expression.
Yuri always had a fixed face. Seeing her tattered and trying to hold tears, Atsushi thought it would be so insensitive to be so harsh at her.
Saying this, Kirishima pulled Atsushi and began to whisper.
“(Now, what should we do? With her coming here…)”
“(What should we do?)”
“(The two of us were told to come here together, just the two of us, right? If this girl is here, wouldn’t it be bad? The culprit might do something, you know.)”
“(Well, may be?… but it’s already this time, we can’t just ask her go home. I mean, even if we ask, she would definitely not do that.)”
The sun had already set and it was dark outside. In the midst of all this, it would be a bad idea to let a girl go home alone, more so from a far place.
In addition, the number of buses that connected to this village was quite limited, and the time for today’s last bus had definitely passed. Either way, nothing would make Yuri consider going back home right now.
“(… whatever happens from now on, I won’t take responsible)”
“(Got it. I’ll do something about that. Also, I’ll do my best to make her not cause trouble for you.)”
In fact, when Yuri came here, Atsushi had no intention of entrusting her to Kirishima. Or rather, entrusting the dangerous Yuri to Kirishima, would only hurt his conscience, and for some reason, he just couldn’t leave her alone.
“But, how did you know we’re here?”
『”Hick… umm, the Chairman asked me to come here. He said, “Kirishima and Atsushi may be in danger. I know where they are, so please follow them quietly.”, he told me so this morning…』
“Hm? Wait a minute. The Chairman is in the hospital right now, right? How does he know where we are?”
『“I thought about that too, so I asked, but he only told me that he got the information from a certain credible source.”』
“A certain credible source…”
Atsushi was stunned by Hiiragi’s ability to gather any information that was out of the norm.
Hmm? It’s sure strange. Yesterday, we were told to come here after we left Hiiragi’s room and were on the way to go out of the hospital, so how…
Atsushi thought Hiiragi asked Yuri to follow them because they were acting weird, but that didn’t match the timeline of events.
So how did Hiiragi find out that Atsushi and Kirishima were in danger?
However, although Atsushi was curious about it, since Hiiragi wasn’t here, he couldn’t confirm it, so he stopped thinking about it any further.
“…… Still, to follow us all the way to a place like this. I’m sure you’re just that curious about what’s going on, right?”
『”Haaah? What are you talking about, Atsushi-san? There’s no way I would just do nothing if I know that my friend is in danger!”』
“Again, how can you say that kind of thing as if it’s natural.”
『”What? You have something to complain about?”』
“No, that’s not it. I’m honestly happy to hear you said that… so, yeah… thanks, Shirasawa.”
The words were sincere.
Just the fact that Yuri was around, was enough to change the atmosphere… No, to be precise, Atsushi felt relieved. He was a little surprised by this, but he once again understood the greatness of her existence being around him.
『“By the way, Atsushi-san, have you had dinner yet? I’m, super hungry you know? I’d like to eat a high-quality beef steak, a hamburg steak, and also an assortment of sashimi.”』
“Listen. Just because you came here, don’t think that you can just demand anything you want.”
And as usual, Atsushi couldn’t help but sigh at this side of Yuri.
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