Arifureta - Chapter 162
Before the Decisive Battle
Shizuku was waiting to welcome Hajime and others ahead of the gate that they passed through.
’’Finally you all came. Everyone is waiting. Follow me.’’
Shizuku only said that before turning on her hell and walked ahead toward the boorish fortress right in front of them, from the plaza where the gate hole was set up.
In a glance it was obvious that it was a fortress of red brick that was constructed in hurry, however the scale of the fortress boasted a degree of completion that was unthinkable that the construction was done in just one or two days. Surely this was the result of overusing artifacts of age of god rank that raised up the ability of cheat earth elementalist Nomura Kentaro and the artisans of the kingdom and empire by several times over.
That fortress and the great plain in front of the kingdom capital where several hundred thousand battle force were camping were illuminated brightly by lighting artifacts, the area was bright like in the afternoon. The [Capital of Hairihi Kingdom] and [God Mountain] that were visible at far away looked different from usual with how it was illuminated with light from outside that shadow was shading it, making anyone seeing it feel a mysterious deep emotion.
The back figure of Shizuku who was leading them illuminated by such artificial light looked extremely ill-humored for some reason.
’’Yaegashi, had something happened?’’
Shizuku came to a standstill when Hajime unconsciously asked her that, right after that she vigorously turned back and with a brisk walk she approached him and grasped Hajime's arm tightly. Without any pause she buried Hajime's arm between the valley of her breast, it was 'linking arm' posture so to speak. While doing that she urged him forward.
Shia and others blinked their eyes at the unusual boldness of Shizuku's act.
’’Oi oi, Yaegashi. Really what's the matter?’’
’’It's Shizuku. Feels like it's too late already now, but please call me Shizuku. I too will call you Hajime.’’
Shizuku sighed tiredly toward the perplexed Hajime while explaining her true intention.
’’His majesty the emperor is irritating you know. He tried to put up some kind of made-up reason to put me at his side, he came to make advances to me...yet even so, all of his reasons were logical and on top of that he did what he needed to do perfectly so I couldn't complain at all.’’
It appeared that Shizuku was fed up because Gahard was making passes at her.
’’I told you that it's fine to give out my name at that kind of time right?’’
’’I told him. That the one that I, lo, love is, Nagu, Ha, Hajime.’’
’’You are being shy there. Then? If he was still coming at you even then you could just contact me right?’’
There Shizuku's expression turned from displeasure into a troubled look.
’’...I didn't want to be a trouble just from this much. After all, Ha, Hajime is the key of victory of the allied forces. Besides, in order to win against that Ehito, you need to work out various countermeasures correct?’’
’’It's fine even if you aren't that considerate you know. It would be over just by opening a gate and fill him full of bullets.’’
’’Fufu, because I thought that you would do that I held back from doing that. Even though it is rubber bullet but you are going to attack a leader of a country, isn't it? That's why for compensation, right now spoil me like this. His highness the emperor is also in the conference room so this will be also to flaunt at him though.’’
’’Because of that, Shia and others too, allow this a little okay?’’
To Shizuku who said that with a little apologetic look, Shia and others also returned a smile telling her to not worry about it.
By the way, Remia and Myuu weren't here with them but there were demon rangers who were accompanying the two. Myuu and Remia also wished to accompany them to the fortress because they could do the chore there, but Hajime obstinately didn't allow that. However, in this dangerous time that threatened the world where a serious affair was concerning Yue-oneechan, to not be able to do anything depressed Myuu's heart in not a slight amount, that was why Hajime attached remote control ability to the living golem.
This ability enabled the controller to share the sight and hearing of the golem from the safe zone that was Orcus's hideout, on top of that the controller could send their instruction precisely. With that Myuu could accept being left because she also had something she could do. Papa was really spoiling his daughter.
Along the way, the soldiers were whispering ’’That's...’’ while sending them gaze filled with reverence. Even while feeling shy from those gazes of the soldiers, but by acting spoiled to Haijme, Shizuku was able to endure and also reduced the stress that she got from Gahard, by the time she was able to heal to a certain degree, they arrived at a spacious hall inside the fortress.
A large table was put inside, at the seats of honor were Liliana and Randell, Gahart, and then Alfrerick, Karm, Aiko. They were the center where other people were sitting around them. Aiko was sitting small and quietly with a really nervous look. Just from looking at that it was obvious that the 'Goddess of Harvest' was forced to take the front stage.
When Hajime's gaze looked further around, there were a lot of faces that he knew. Ranzi and Viz of [Ankaji Dukedom], the guild masters Barus, Iruwa, Catherine, and for some reason the clothes store's monst――Christabel. The commanders that he saw in each respective countries and the aides of every representative, in addition, there were also Nagayama and Sonobe as the representatives of the classmates. Furthermore, although Randell was sitting at Liliana's side, but Liliana's presence was stronger, it seemed that Liliana was serving as the representative of Hairihi Kingdom.
The moment Hajime arrived, all of them made expressions that said ’’So he finally arrived!’’, next their cheeks cramped from looking how Shizuku was clinging all over him. Looking at the time it wasn't like Hajime was late, but to make the leaders of the world waiting for him and when he arrived he came with a girl waiting upon him, what nerve...that was how the impression looked like.
Although, the aides let go of the matter with only their expression could be seen reacting, but the leaders with authority even among all the leaders here, the representatives of each force were all standing up noisily from their chair.
’’Oi oi oi, Nagumo Hajimee. Making Shizuku waiting up on you like that, is that insinuation to me? Aaa?’’
’’Nagumo-san!? Why are you flirting with Shizuku!?’’
’’Ya, Yaegashi-san? Se, sensei is, thinking that kind of behavior is not healthy you know? Even though sensei thought that you are a person with a little bit more moderation that sensei can get along with...that's enviou...not that, that's really shameless!’’
’’You bastaard, in front of Kaori, you laid your hand even to her best friend-! Kaori! Just as I thought I won't give up on you! I will separate you from that demon without faiiil!’’
’’As expected-, Boss! Even now when your beloved woman is kidnapped, you still have the composure to make a new woman waiting upon you-! Are you going to do a debauched party for the cheering up before the decisive batt-heboo!?’’
In order from above, the ones speaking were Gahard, Liliana, Aiko, Randell, and Karm. Karm was sitting at a seat of honor was surely the proof that the name and deed of the head hunting rabbit had permeated everywhere, but looking at his figure that was shot by Hajime and writhed around on the floor, his dignity was nonexistence. Shia at the side was covering her face with both her hands while trembling all over from enduring her shame.
’’Shizuku is like this is Gahard's fault, all of it. Say your complaint at him. Also, Gahard, choose, are you going to be a manly woman or stop making a pass at Shizuku.’’
’’My my♡ Hajime-chan, you are going to increase my compatriot for me again? Geez-, you really aren't stingy with your present for mee! I love you!’’
Chrystable with her frilly costume that looked like a magical girl which looked painful in various meanings was wriggling her body excitedly while sending Hajime sidelong glances.
Hajime was desperately restraining his impulse to draw out Donner while conveying to Gahard with his gaze that said ’’I'm gonna turn you into this thing's comrade’’. Looking at that, Gahard shrunk back in terror that wasn't like the broadminded majestic emperor. For him, it seemed that Chrystabel's queerness was severe.
Those attitudes of the top group which was unthinkable for one to act before the decisive battle where the fate of mankind was gambled made the expression of other people inside the conference room to turn complicated. Should they felt it heartening or joyful that they had composure (seemingly) to act like that, or else should they felt uneasy that they were lacking in tension.
Hajime sat on a chair. Following him, Shia and others also took their seat. It was because they understood the importance of [Holy Precincts] storming group that seats were also prepared for everyone other than Hajime too.
Like that they pulled themselves together and began the last meeting. The placement and distribution of the equipment and weapons, the learning rate of the soldiers, the action guidelines at the time of the grand invasion, the confirmation of the chain of commands, etc., they confirmed all the matters from beginning to end where they ought to be on the same page. It seemed that while Hajime was mass producing artifacts, the top brasses were already talking to each other. In the first place, the human side had been dialoguing with each other for many years and tied an alliance in the preparation for the battle against the devil race, so there was no big problem.
Battle forces of adventurers and mercenaries and so on were also coordinated by the guild masters, so it seemed that they could properly coordinate with the army. That too seemed to be because it was the duty of the adventurers at war.
The problem was the demi-human races which were added to that system, they had their own characteristic chain of command, so forcefully inserting them into the human side was a bad move. And so it seemed the demi-human would be moved to fill the hole like hit and run attack or supporting the human race.
Currently the classmates seemed to become the core who taught the way to use and the effect of Hajime's artifacts, but because the artifacts didn't need particular magic circle or chanting, and also the characteristic convenience of modern weapon where everyone could use it, there didn't seem to be any particular problem in that aspect. Even now if they focused their ear, the sound of explosions and dry sound of shooting could be heard resounding at far away intermittently.
The fortress had been completed for the present, the work being done currently was for constructing the battlefield with things like digging trench and the likes. A fortress was useful for a place to put gun emplacement and taking various line of fire and obstructed the field of vision of the enemy, but the fortress didn't have the ability to oppose the disintegration ability of the apostle, so till the end it was only a simple thing. Their best bet was to make use of Hajime's new artifacts and constructed an advantageous battlefield for them.
’’The timeline is really narrow, but somehow it's taking shape. This too is the blessing of the 'Goddess of Harvest' I guess.’’
Hajime turned his gaze at Aiko and others with a bit of admiration. Actually, he was thinking before this that half of the situation that he was hearing currently wouldn't be in order even now. But the preparation had progressed to a level that surpassed Hajime's expectation, that must be solely because of the existence of a powerful flag.
This was the result of a clear sense of danger and righteous indignation, and also feeling of solidarity that was born inside the people's consciousness. Each people wasn't moving because 'they were told to do so', but because they were thinking that 'I also got to do this' that the preparation could be done this quickly.
’’...Isn't that right? In a sense, I felt like I was made to learn once more how terrifying mass psychology is. Aiko-san is scary.’’
’’Wha-. Liliana-san too, you were also inciting the people in high spirits weren't you! Your eyes were teary, you clasped your hands as though you were praying, and then with a lot of heroic you said something like [I will fight. Even if I am alone!]. I saw it clearly that time! When the people who were there had their spirit raised, saying that they will fight together, you secretly laughed weren't you! That time I really felt, a princess is scary!’’
’’I, I didn't laugh or anything. Please don't say something strange. I wasn't thinking anything like, perhaps I will receive praise from Hajime-san with this, not at all. It's the truth you know?’’
’’Both the princess and the goddess, whichever of them are plainly creepy. As for me, this can affect the throne of the emperor, so I'm the one that got creeped out the most.’’
At the side of the princess and goddess who was having a low-level quarrel, was his majesty the emperor who didn't even hide his attitude as though he had seen something unpleasant. Looking further it seemed the elder of the sea of trees, the guild masters, and the lord of the desert also had the same expression. Only the clan head of the head hunting rabbit who was sending a thumb up at Hajime for some reason though.
By the time that they finished speaking about the main points of this and that, when the end of the meeting was approaching, Ranzi of Ankaji Dukedom opened his mouth calmly.
’’Nevertheless, for the hero of my dukedom, he finally will be the hero of the world...as expected, it seemed that my decision at that time wasn't mistaken.’’
The receptionist lady of Brook Town's adventurer guild Catherine nodded deeply as though to agree with that,.
’’Since the first time he came to me, I thought that he would do something big for sure. But, never I imagine even in my dream that it would be something as big that controlled the fate of the world...as expected even me couldn't anticipate this.’’
’’That's right isn't it. That time when he rampaged at Fhuren, I thought that he would surely do something even much more than this, I thought that he could possibly be caught up in a strife that is related to the secret of the world but...for that to be a battle where the existence of the world will be at stake. Haa, my stomach hurt. The title of 'The Dagger of Iruwa's Branch Head' is already shamefully unusable with this.’’
’’My? As for me, I understood already from the very beginning. If it's Hajime-chan then someday he would defeat even the devil king. Besides, he was always sending manly woman for me, that was for the preparation of the coming day, I proooperly understood that. A good manly woman also has good sense you know!’’
Chrystabel winked intensely. Hajime absolutely didn't attempt to enlarge such excessively dangerous battle force though. Hajime's cheeks were twitching. However, the top brasses starting from Ranzi and others, he saw their eyes that were colored with complicated apprehension that could be taken as sympathy or sorrow, and he guessed Chrystabel's motive of intentionally acting cheerful like that.
Therefore, Hajime shrugged his shoulders as though it was nothing and returned a fearless smile at the members line up here that made him felt nostalgic.
’’It's not like this is really strange or anything you know? An idiot self-styled god that cannot read the mood laid his hand on my woman. That's why, he is going to die. That's all there is to it. You guys too, it's only a fight of this level, so survive with some composure to spare okay? When I bring back Yue, we are going to play at the towns of you guys one more time. This time it won't be with any adventure, just a carefree sightseeing yeah.’’
Naturally it wouldn't be an easy fight just like Hajime said. It would be a deadly combat piled up on deadlier combat, a historical and unprecedented decisive battle of the whole mankind. Without any doubt this was a holy war that would decorate a page of legend. But, exactly because of that, the boasting attitude of Hajime instead encouraged Ranzi and others, they were all ’’Aa, it can't be helped if we are told that. Let's win.’’ And all the people inside the conference room were also the same like that.
And, at that time, the outside suddenly became noisy. The people in the conference room were going ’’Uwah, is the invasion starting-’’ with their faces blurred by tension.
There, a soldier rushed in with flustered look and reported with a loud voice that had hope and awe mixed in it.
’’A, a great number of dragon appeared from the teleportation circle at the square! They are the dragon race that comes for reinforcement!’’
It appeared that the last reliable ally had come back.
Hajime lifted the corner of his lips and quietly stood up, he exited the conference room taking Shia and others with him. The other people too, after looking at each other for a moment, they chased after Hajime's back while feeling shaken from hearing about the legendary dragon race.
’’Goshujin-sama! Thy beloved servant hath come back! Now, let me receive the love!’’
Tio who instantly returned from the black dragon form to her human form beautifully ignored her dragonified compatriots and the people at the surrounding who were taken aback from seeing them. She dived toward Hajime's chest.
And so, naturally, Hajime discharged his gun.
Like that, the familiar sound reverberated, the special rubber bullet hit the forehead of Tio who was panting while performing Lup-n dive with a look of expectation. (TN: Lupin dive. Search it in google to see the pose.)
After rotating beautifully three times backward in midair, the back of her head hit hard on the ground before Hajime's eyes.
The place was filled with silence where even bug would hesitate to chirp. Amidst the people who were lost for words from being unable to grasp the situation, the shot down Tio was twitching in intoxication with an expression of ecstasy while her back arched like a bridge, and then she rose up smoothly without any preliminary motion. That disgusting movement and her slovenly expression creeped out the surrounding.
’’Th, the punishment after three days long...haa haa, aahn, because I endured too much I felt it excessively...nn-’’
’’Welcome back Tio. It's great that you made it in time. To arrive in dragonification state of all thing. ...That was a good demonstration yeah?’’
’’Fufu, art not that true? This is the legendary race that hath confined themselves for five hundred years. I thought that if we art going to do this then we might as well act the role to raise the morale. ...Yes, it's great that we art able to strike them all dumb.’’
As expected, the surrounding couldn't follow the pace of Hajime and Tio who progressed the talk as though nothing happened. Rather than saying that the people were struck dumb by the arrival of the dragon race, the exchange of Hajime and Tio was the main reason they were struck dumb, but Tio puffed up her chest thinking that her plan succeeded.
’’Tio-san, welcome back. But, if I have to say just in case, I think that this difficult atmosphere is because they are shown the relationship between Hajime-san and Tio-san that is showed too naturally even though it's abnormal you know?’’
’’Yep. I have been thinking this many times before but, Hajime-kun too is mostly in harmony with Tio-san isn't he.’’
’’In a sense, it feels like Hajime has to be Tio-san's master no matter what huh, like that? My own familiarity that feels that this is natural even though it should be a spectacle to be shocked about is scary.’’
Shia, Kaori, and Shizuku who were unable to be indifferent? were making tsukkomi with an exasperated face. Hajime and Tio were staring in puzzlement. It seemed that in various meaning it had been already too late for them to be treated.
It was at that timing that the six dragons that appeared in the square shined, the next moment six silhouettes of human appeared. All of them were male. Their muscular appearance was wearing clothes that looked similar to Tio's Japanese clothes. Every one of them was handsome guy. But, their hair colors were colorful, the color resembled the color of their scale when they transformed into a dragon. Scarlet, indigo blue, amber, navy blue, gray, deep green, the colors were all over the place.
From among them, the scarlet haired person, a man past middle age that emitted out a remarkable dignity walked forward until in front of Hajime and others. Liliana and others who chased behind Hajime――the leaders of each country were also here. Certain footsteps that weren't timid at all even in front of those leaders and a 'weight' that was like a really big tree was approaching, those factors were making everyone comprehending in a really natural way, that 'this person was king'.
Liliana, Gahard, Alfrerick, and others, the leaders of each country were slightly faltering due to this great man, however, the man's eyes narrowed the moment he saw Hajime who warded off his pressure like a flexible willow. Those eyes weren't giving dangerous look, but it was a gaze where deep interest and admiration were mixed.
’’Hairihi Kingdom's Liliana S B Hairihi-dono, Helsha Empire's Gahard D Helsha-dono, Fea Belgen's elder Alfrerick Haipist-dono. This is our first time meeting. I, am the leader of dragon race, Adol Claus. In the peril of this occasion, we the dragon race will also ask to be allowed to participate. Our compatriots are still waiting in the village and they can be summoned through the gate anytime. They will surely be useful at the battle against apostle. Please take care of us.’’
His voice wasn't loud by any mean, rather it even made the listener felt calm, even so the words could be heard even by the soldiers who were looking from afar at the corners, they raised a commotion ’’Oo’’ hearing the man's words. The race that only made their entrance in the legend was really surviving until now, and in this time of crisis they would fight together with them. With how the dragon race had displayed their dragon form from the beginning, the morale of the soldiers looked like it increased by quite a lot.
Liliana and others returned the greeting unanimously where Adol responded by nodding generously. It seemed that his personality was gentle, contrary to his stern appearance. He made anybody felt an intellectual tolerance that could envelope everything. Perhaps it should be said as expected from a race that Yue once treated as an example. This man was exactly a proper dragon race.
Hajime and other filled their eyes with disappointment in full power and sent their gaze at Tio. ’’Hm?’’ Tio cocked her head in puzzlement. It was as though she didn't understand why they looked at her like that.
In order to talk about the action guidelines when the invasion came, Adol was going to head to the conference room with Liliana and others. It was unrelated to the [Holy Precincts] storming group, so Hajime and others stayed behind. He had reunited back with Shizuku and Tio so it was necessary to hand over artifacts to them and talked about their action plan when they entered [Holy Precincts].
But, before that a dragon man with indigo hair was walking toward Hajime's direction. Actually at the point of time when Hajime appeared, this man immediately directed a fierce glint of eyes at Hajime, but it seemed that he understood the right place and time and waited until Adol's greeting was over. He was a good looking man in the age of early twenty. Come to think of it, all the dragon race people who came were all amazingly handsome guy.
’’...You bastard. Just what in the world you had done to princess?’’
The indigo-haired man asked that while glaring straight at Hajime with a voice that sounded like he wanted to kill. Hearing that, Hajime exposed a rare puzzled expression and he turned his gaze at Liliana's direction, Not just Hajime, everyone would think about Liliana if they heard the word 'princess'.
Gazes gathered at Liliana wondering if she had some kind of relationship with the dragon race that had been hiding from the front stage all this time, but Liliana herself had no knowledge of that at all and she shook her head left and right vigorously.
’’Where are you looking at! If a dragon race says the word princess then it's obviously about Tio-sama!’’
Those words made Hajime and co stiffened. They moved their gaze at Tio in a state where the sound of *gi-gi-gi* almost could be heard from their stiff movement. To that, Tio's cheeks puffed into crimson and she averted her gaze, as though she was a male in puberty that went shy because his classmates came to know that his family was calling him with '-chan' added.
And then, everyone whispered with their voices in unison.
’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’No waayy’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’
’’Wha, what! Is it bad if I am called princess! I am more or less the granddaughter of the clan head, so it's not strange even if I am called that!’’
’’Aaaa, yeah. You're right, princess Tio. It's nothing bad at all, princess Tio.’’
’’Forgive me princess Tio. It sounds bad for some reason but, you are asking us to call you princess Tio from now on aren't you, princess Tio?’’
’’Ye, yep, it's not strange at all you know? Princess Tio? Yep, I think it sounds fine you know, princess Tio.’’
’’I, I think it's fine. Even if, it sounds like that but a princess is a princess isn't it? Princess Tio.’’
Tio whose face was dyed bright red from shame was trembling while she howled once more with teary eyes.
’’Nugaa―! Stop it already! I feel extremely embarrassed somehow! I beg all of thou, call me just like how it is until now! This kind of shame doesn't feel good for even a bit!’’
’’What's with you, isn't it fine princess Tio. Isn't it cute princess Tio. It has amazing echo you know princess Tio. Teach us this kind of thing sooner princess Tio. From here on too you will forever be princess Tio.’’
’’Stop it alreadyyyyy’’
Approaching Tio who crouched down while covering her face and her body writhing, Hajime further called her princess repeatedly into her ear. In his face sadism and affection were splendidly existing in harmony, it was an 'S' face that could be called superb. As expected, Tio(pervert)'s master could be no one but Hajime. Everyone was comprehending that while sending their exasperated gaze at Hajime.
There, inside the atmosphere that became strange, the indigo haired man raised his voice at Hajime with a gaze that looked like a devilish homicide.
’’You bastaard, what disgrace are you doing toward princess...as I thought, you are using some kind of suspicious artifact to brainwash her right!’’
Somehow that statement closely resembled a certain hero (lol) somewhere.
’’Hey, Ristas. Don't say something so rude to Goshujin-sama. I had said this many times, but I long for Goshujin-sama from my heart. No matter even if thou art someone like my younger brother, I won't stay quiet if you are too rude.’’
’’-, princess! You are being tricked! Please open your eyes!’’
’’Muu, really someone like thou. On what basis thou art saying such thing.’’
The indigo-haired man that was called Ristas by Tio, when he was looked at by Tio with a gaze as though she was looking at a child throwing tantrum, it was as though his store of patience finally ran out, he raised angry voice from his heart, from his heart that was filled with extremely fierce emotion.
’’There is no way the princess of dragon race is this kind of pervert-!!!’’
’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’Indeed.’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’
All of the people in that place nodded in unison. Certainly, what he pointed out was truly correct.
’’Before princess left the village, she was wise and compassionate, her strength was also surpassing the clan head. She was a great lady to whom everyone harbored affection and reverence! By no means she is a person who will show expression of ecstasy from pain, or someone who would make a smile that look strangely joyful while she was crouching in shame and writhing from verbal abuse, she wasn't that kind of person at all! It's only natural to think that the human over there had done something sinister to her!’’
’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’Indeed.’’ ’’ ’’ ’’ ’’
Once more all the people in that place nodded in unison. Indeed, what he pointed out was the most correct.
’’No, not to mention, for princess to call that kind of human youth, Go, Goshujin-sama or, or or or, or the likes! Impossible!’’
Tio when she was at the hidden village of dragon race was surely a charming woman that no one could find fault at as the granddaughter of the clan head. Right now she was a hopeless pervert that couldn't be saved anymore, but her wisdom and prudence that she displayed at every turn, and then her deep compassion and courage that wouldn't consider even her own safety when it was for the sake of her comrades, all of those were also Tio's charm that had been conveyed enough at Hajime and others.
Looking from the view point of the dragon race people who only knew about Tio's good point, Tio who had turned into a pervert looked completely like a different person. Most likely when she returned to her village, in the process of showing the recorded image and explaining about Hajime and others, she freely displayed her perverted nature without restraint to her fellow clan.
When she came back, the princess that was loved by everyone had turned into a massive pervert...it was really easy to guess what would they think in their heart.
But, even so it also felt like that Ristas's fury was a little too far. The dragon people other than him didn't send gaze that was that unfriendly at Hajime. Rather they looked like they had interest at what kind of human the man that Tio chose.
Ristas looked like he was further heating up and about to argue even more vehemently, but it was at that time a remonstrating voice resounded.
’’Ristas, act properly.’’
’’Cla, clan head...but!’’
Although Adol remonstrated Ristas, Ristas's expression wasn't accepting that. To such Ristas, Adol opened his mouth with his eyes squinting in amusement.
’’This is something that Tio chose herself. If she is really brainwashed, there is no way I wouldn't notice it. The fact is that Tio is longing for him from her heart. Although Tio's change knocked me out of my wits, but...’’
’’But, that change too, if it makes Tio happy then I don't mind. That child was tired of the life in the hidden village. She had faithfully protected the law from her own pride as a dragon and her own position but...there is no doubt that her heart was drying from continuing to harbor dark and heavy matter without any outlet. She departed for the mission of this time half-forcibly was surely because she unconsciously was searching for 'something'. Tio had found that 'something'. And then, she is smiling in happiness. Isn't that enough?’’
’’Tha, that is...’’
’’Jii-sama...’’ (TN: Grandfather.)
Ristas was at lost for words. And then, Tio's expression too also loosened up from the gaze filled with affection that Adol sent to her.
’’Besides, Ristas. For a dragon race, to dress up your jealousy with official stance and vent your anger, that is not an admirable thing to do you know?’’
’’Wha, what are-’’
’’What are you getting agitated for. You trained yourself day by day following Tio's words that she wouldn't take a spouse that is weaker than herself, that matter is known by all the people in the village. Did you think that it wouldn't be known after you continuously challenged the fiancée candidates of Tio into a match?’’
Adol's expression turned a bit exasperated at Ristas who showed his agitation. When Hajime turned his gaze at Tio at his side, Tio looked back at him with an expression that looked troubled. It appeared Tio also knew about Ristas's feeling. Furthermore with a small voice, ’’Those guys art also fiancée candidates’’ she turned her gaze at the other dragon people.
They were talking in small voices with deep interest, their faces close to each other with their eyes narrowing at Hajime and Tio. Ristas's eyes lifted up once more. Of all thing, it seemed that Tio at the village was seriously a popular girl. At the very least they idolized her so much that even when her clan members had seen her perverted figure they didn't immediately get disillusionment.
Adol asked to Liliana and others ’’Please give me a bit of time’’, and then his gaze turned at Hajime.
’’I am glad to meet you, Nagumo Hajime-kun. I heard about you from Tio. I was also shown the recording of the battle at the devil king castle. It was splendid how you slaughtered a god. For us, even if we faced such opponent in a group we would be no match at all.’’
’’Nice to meet you, Adol-dono. I am the reason that caused a strange door to open for your granddaughter. The decisive battle will be soon, but I have the resolve for at least getting a punch in the face.’’
The surrounding was making a stir. The reason was mainly because of Hajime's honorific language. Here and there comments like ’’Someone cast healing magic-!’’ or ’’The demon king went mad!’’ or ’’In this kind of time the trump card of mankind is...the world is already over-!’’ could be heard.
At the same time, Hajime's body was enveloped in light. It was a healing magic from Kaori. Shia was readying her Vire Doryuken. She was thinking that Hajime would be fixed by hitting him. Shizuku was covering her face. It was as though she was witnessing a tragedy that couldn't be recovered from.
And then Tio at his side was creeped out and drew away from him.
Hajime's cheeks were grandly twitching.
’’Hmm. It seems that you are a little different from the image recording and the story that I heard but...from the reaction around us it looks like this is different from your usual.’’
’’Well, you are Tio's family. If it's against the clan head of dragon race then I'll talk normally, but if it's Tio's grandfather, then I'll pay attention to my speech at least.’’
’’Hou! So it's because I am Tio's grandfather. Fufu-, I see, I see.’’
Adol smiled broadly feeling a little happy at Hajime's words. His dignified aura until now instantly dispersed and his air became like a good-natured old man. Even the creeped out Tio, when she heard the reason for Hajime's abnormal attitude, her expression turned bright and soft as though she was made to eat something sweet.
’’Then, this is a great chance. How about I call you Hajime-kun. Hajime-kun, I don't have any plan to punch you. I also said this just now, but if Tio can smile from her heart then that's enough for me. Rather, I'm happy that you can accept this stubborn person who for the sake of her own creed persisted to be unmarried for five hundred years.’’
’’Is, that so?’’
’’Yes. If she is happy then things like a fetish or anything is trivial matter. Rather than that, what I want to ask is regarding your beloved princess.’’
Hajime whose expression turned complicated from Adol's large-hearted statement now made a doubtful expression from those words. If talking about his beloved princess then he couldn't think of anyone except Yue.
’’I had seen the image recording. I was surprised that the young vampire princess is alive. And then, for my granddaughter to love the same person with her, truly, fate is something mysterious. Princess Aleytia...no, she is Yue right now isn't she. That girl is your most beloved correct?’’
’’Yes, that's right.’’
Adol didn't really show any change of expression when he heard Hajime answering instantly. He just nodded. In exchange, the other dragon people narrowed their eyes dangerously. Ristas too right now looked like he wanted to raise angry yell. Surely they couldn't stomach that Hajime was building a relationship that was more than friendship with Tio while saying that another woman was his most beloved.
’’I too am a grandfather that is thinking of my granddaughter. At the occasion of the great persecution five hundred years ago, I swore to this child's parents who lost their lives――to my son and his wife. That I will protect her without fail. Therefore, if you are saying that you cannot love Tio, even if Tio say that she doesn't mind with that, as expected I cannot just accept that. The feeling of wanting to entrust the beloved granddaughter is what is called parental love isn't that correct?’’
Adol's gaze stabbed straight at Hajime.
Surely Adol wanted to ask. What was the true feeling of Hajime toward Tio. Exactly because Adol understood that Tio would step into [Holy Precincts] with Hajime, and also because he understood that he would commit to deadly combat against the apostles, in this time where it was possible that he would part away forever with his granddaughter in this life, that he couldn't help but wanting to know about the partner that his granddaughter gave her heart to.
Hajime slowly ran his gaze at the surrounding. To Ristas and others of the dragon race, Shia and others, Adol. And then, lastly to Tio.
Tio blushed slightly from being stared directly by Hajime and she was going to take a step back from the pressure she felt.
But, Hajime's arm reached out before she could step back. When that arm caught the waist of Tio who was going to draw back, it then pulled Tio close to him strongly. It really looked like as though Hajime was saying that this woman belongs to me. Tio was turning redder and redder. She looked really meek to the degree that made one wanted to tsukkomi just what happened with the usual pervert.
Hajime faced Adol once more with his arm still embracing Tio. And then, he opened his mouth with a calm but powerful voice.
’’Recently, everyone said it really often, that I am like a demon king.’’
’’That's why, I will take everything that I want, and send flying everything that is in the way.’’
The outsiders went noisy. Adol was listening quietly. Hajime declared clearly to the listening Adol.
’’I want Tio.’’
Tio who was embraced by Hajime twitched noticeably. Her eyes opened widely while she stared at Hajime wholeheartedly.
’’No matter what Tio is thinking, that's already irrelevant. I have no intention to let her go now after this far. Indeed, Yue is my most beloved but...even so, I feel that Tio is lovely. That's why――’’
Adol asked. Hajime turned his gaze at Ristas and others for a moment, then he showed a fearless smile at Adol while declaring.
’’Tio already belongs to me. If anyone cannot stomach that, then try to steal her with all your might. No matter when, no matter how many times, I'll take on anyone.’’
Those excessively unreasonable, selfish, and preposterous words made everyone who watched over the course of events with the dragon race people first on the lead to be lost for words. Only Shia and others were making an expression that seemed to say ’’Can't be helped huh’’.
And then, as for Adol who was curious of Hajime's true feeling,
’’Certainly you are an incarnation of unreasonableness――just like a demon king in a fairy tale. Fufu-, I see. So my granddaughter has fallen into the hand of demon king huh. In the hand of the demon king that might save the world. Kuhaha-’’
He raised a laughing voice that sounded amused. After laughing like that for a while, he turned his gaze at Tio and nodded as though consenting to something.
’’That's a good face. I have never seen your expression like that in the village at all. It's just like your explanation in the village, you are loved by everyone, and then you are in love with them.’’
’’Jii-sama. Exactly. Not only Goshujin-sama, I also love Yue and others. And then, right now I'm convinced. That everyone also loves me. I am too happy that it feels like right now I can murder even a god by myself.’’
Adol whose smile deepened even more from Tio's reply calmly straightened his posture and turned his gaze at Hajime. And then he lowered his head.
’’Then, demon king-dono. I ask you along with your beloved people, please take care of my granddaughter.’’
’’...Indeed, I have received your request. I will protect her until the end of this life of mine.’’
Hajime's way of talking returned back to honorific language once more, to that Adol looked like a weight had fallen off from his shoulder, he nodded with relieved expression and then turned on his heel toward Liliana and others. He apologized for taking time for his personal matter while urging them toward the conference room. He also took the opportunity to breathe life back into Ristas and others who had faltered from Hajime's declaration and urged them to follow him.
Liliana and Aiko were directing expression that looked absurdly jealous, and possibly even greedy toward Hajime, but urged by the surrounding they helplessly returned back inside the fortress even while they kept sending glances back with reluctance.
The onlookers were scattering gradually with the disappearance of the leaders, but the remaining people, especially the classmates who had gathered unnoticed were sounding out gossips like ’’Damn, Nagumo is seriously an ero game's MC’’ or ’’Haa haa, maou-sama(TN:Demon king-sama)...haa haa’’ or ’’That's just too unreasonable...but, I also want someone to act that unreasonable for me!’’ or ’’Hajime-sama's harem...if I added myself nonchalantly into there, it's possible’’.
Amidst such atmosphere, Tio who was clinging on Hajime's chest with slovenly expression ’’nihee~’’ softly separated herself from him.
’’Goshujin-sama. Those were truly, truly joyful words. However, there is one thing that I wished to confirm. For Goshujin-sama to speak your feeling for me that clearly, surely that's not because Goshujin-sama hath been thinking of the final possibility isn't it?’’
If those words came out from a feeling of him wanting to convey his feeling because he thought they might die in this battle, then Tio had to warn Hajime. But, based on what Hajime saw from Tio's expression, it seemed that until the end it was nothing more than just her confirming it without her really believing that Hajime was thinking like that.
’’A vow to be together in the time of death and thinking that we might die are different things. Naturally, the one who will die are those guys, not us. There is not even a speck of a chance for us to die. I merely didn't want to take a half-assed attitude in front of your family.’’
’’Kufufu, I see I see. Then that's fine. God or whatever isn't worthy to be feared. After all I feel like I can defeat even Ehito alone if it's the current me. Let's take back Yue and then do 'pii-' and 'pii-' with everyone happily!’’
’’...That's why, whether it's Shia or you, in the end you girls just spoiled up everything.’’
Behind Hajime, Shia was laughing ’’Ahaha, desuu~’’ shamelessly.
For the time being they changed the spot because they wanted to be spared of being a spectacle more than this. It was only the members of storming group that gathered at a corner of the fortress's rooftop and spent their time to master the artifacts or resting. There was still a few more hours until the sunrise, but no one tried to take a nap. In this situation where it was unclear when the great invasion would begin, no matter how much they relaxed but the subconscious tension couldn't let their mind to fall asleep.
In this kind of time, even Hajime who usually displayed a thick nerve, his sleepiness was naturally blown away when he thought of Yue. Right now he was just earnestly polishing his killing intent toward Ehito.
Before long the sunrise arrived. The face of the shining sun peeked out from the east horizon, large shadow stretched to the west.
The warm sunlight illuminated the world, at that time when the sun that blazed bright red completely revealed its appearance, Hajime quietly opened his closed eyes, and then he murmured.
It was at that moment.
The world was dyed reddish black and rumbled.
And then, ahead of the gaze that Hajime and others directed, a crack ran on the sky of God Mountain, there the abyss peeked out its face.
For god, this was the world's...
For mankind, this was the toyed history's...
Beginning of the end.