Arifureta - Chapter 185
Arifureta After - The Gathering of the Returnees
Inside the restaurant that was illuminated by warm orange light, although the atmosphere wasn't that of a high class restaurant, it was filled by a chic and calming atmosphere.
That famous restaurant that would be almost fully occupied in holiday when the evening came had not even a single guest today, it was completely empty.
「Yuuka, it will be time soon right? Nana-chan and Taeko-chan too, it's fine to stop already.」
「Is that so? Then let's stop around here.」
One of the returnee, Sonobe Yuuka said that and took off her apron. Following her, Miyasaki Nana and Sugawara Taeko also took a breath 'sigh' while taking off their apron.
The one who spoke to Yuuka was the owner of this restaurant, at the same time he was also the father of Yuuka, Sonobe Hiroshi. The mother Sonobe Yuuri was also standing at his side. Yes, this restaurant was the western style restaurant that Sonobe family was managing.
And then, Hiroshi was making her daughter and her two friends that were helping out to stop in this period of time of five o'clock at evening that originally would be busy for the restaurant, was because this restaurant would be the gathering place for the one year anniversary of Hajime and others' return. Yuuka and her two friends were only helping until the appointed time.
There was around fifteen more minutes until the arranged time. 'Somebody should be coming soon', it was at that time when Yuuka was beginning to think that, that the door of the restaurant opened with a good timing.
「Yo. By any chance, I'm the first one here?」
The one who was saying that while entering inside was Tamai Atsushi. Behind him Aikawa Noboru and Nimura Akiro were also entering while giving similar greeting.
「That's right. For you three to arrive fifteen minutes early, how admirable.」
「Haha, my stomach is empty here from playing since the afternoon. Can you give me something like snack or anything for the time being?」
「Look here, the party will start soon enough, so please be patient.」
It appeared that Atsushi and others were starving. It seemed they were playing through the afternoon until this time. Hearing what Yuuka said, they grumbled「Eee~」while going to sit at the reserved seat.
「Excuse me......I think it's me who came the first here though.」
「Uoo!? What the!?」
「E, Endo! So you are here!?」
「Eh, lies. Since when you are here!?」
「Even though I didn't hear the bell clinking!」
In fact, it seemed the one who arrived first was the man with shadow so thin even apostle of god overlooked him――Endo Kousuke. Kousuke was responding「I normally came in, gave a normal greeting, and normally took a seat, that's all you know?」with a faraway look, hearing that Yuuka and others spoke words of apology and consolation with awkward look.
Atsushi and others took their seat while speaking to Kousuke.
「Nevertheless you are really early huh. You aren't with Nagayama and others today?」
「Recently I am not really together with them after all. It seem that Juugo and Kentaro are going out playing with Tsuji-san's group but......as for me, I was studying.」
Yuuka nodded in understanding after hearing Kousuke's answer.
「Now that you mentioned it, Endo-kun, you are aiming to become a doctor isn't it? And then when you graduated you are going to migrate to the other side aren't you?」
「The beastmen like Rana-san and others of Hauria clan cannot use healing magic, so it is for their sake you are learning modern medical technique aren't you? Even though it's not actually a long distance relationship, but you are really going that far huh.」
Exactly as Nana said, Kousuke who publicly got a rabbit ear onee-san lover in Tortus was studying hard aiming for a medical university, in order to learn the modern medical technique――that was to say, a healing technique that didn't use magic medicine or healing magic, so that he could become strength for Hauria clan even for a bit in the future. Other than that, he was also learning various things extensively to polish his own assassination skill, like army hand-to-hand fighting technique or survival skill, and then also other knowledge like agriculture technique from negotiating technique, which made him greatly busy. He was doing all of that, for the sake of his beloved lover.
Although, during this one year it felt like his character as a man with thin shadow was crumbling, he got dragged into this and that behind the scene of the world, chased after by troublesome people (several people among them were girls)......in a sense, he was the one who got totally immersed at the world behind the scene more than anyone of the returnee group, which made the person himself to be at his wits end.
Looking at Kousuke who was having a faraway look, with a lukewarm gaze Yuuka and others sent a yell to their classmate who was doing his best day and night. While calling the name that was the proof of Kousuke being welcomed into Hauria clan as a new family.
「「「「「「Kousuke E Abyssgate-kun, do your best.」」」」」」
「Stop it! I told you guys already to not use that name when there is no Hauria clan beside me right!?」
The great shame caused Kousuke to suddenly cover his face with both hands and he fell prostrated on the table. It was name that was given by a beautiful onee-san, so it was a wonder just where was the need of feeling shame from that. Even though he was the great man who was introducing himself with that name while earning the most kill point at the legendary great war with the apostles as the opponent.
「Oi oi, what's the matter, Abyssgate-san. Is your body feeling unwell, Abyssgate-san.」
「Doesn't Abyssgate sounds cool, Abyssgate. Didn't the people of Hauria clan welcomed you greatly, Abyssgate.」
Atsushi and Yuuka were grinning widely while poking at Kousuke from both sides. Kousuke was holding his head while pleading「Stooop, stop it already!」, but
「Kousuke E Abyssgate, has arrived!」
「Fuh, so you cannot see me? Obviously. I who am lurking in darkness cannot be caught by anyone......」
「The name of Shippuu Kagetsume, engrave it in that body!」(TN: Gale Shadow Claw)
When Noboru said that in high spirits, Nana continued after him in the same spirit, then next even Akito took a pose while reproducing how Kousuke once was. The health point of Kousuke's heart was plunging into red zone. Taeko was earnestly shaking *puru puru* at the shoulders while averting his gaze.
But, at that timing, a voice that sounded as though it was shaking from Kousuke's disastrous condition, filled with sympathy from the bottom of the speaker's heart, such voice was resounding.
「You guys......doing something like that. There is a limit even in being nasty. Just what are you doing to Endo huh.」
「Na, Nagumooo! My kindred spirit! So you finally came!」
Looking at the direction of the voice, having entering the restaurant unnoticed, the group of Hajime had approached until right beside Kousuke and others. Kousuke energetically dashed as Hajime while half-crying. And then, he hid behind Hajime while raising voice of counterattack at Atsushi and others.
「You lot-, saying anything you like wretchedly like that! Just look, at this real harem man! And then recall it, the Nagumo of before! Just how do you thing Hauria clan is calling this guy! Don't you know that it overshadowed someone like!? No, I am not speaking about my naturally thin shadow here you know? Nagumo's chuunib――」
*bechikon-* A crack resounded, then Endo went through triple midair spin. Like that he crumbled down from both legs.
「......Just now, why did you hit me?」
「......Sorry. I wanted to do that for some reason.」
When Endo calmly asked with teary eyes, Hajime answered awkwardly while averting his eyes. Both of them had mutually received nickname from Hauria with gratitude(?), being equally a victim when those nicknames were spread grandly throughout the world, together with their activity at the world behind the scene in this one year, the two of them were actually in quite a good relationship. Feeling sympathy at each other's pain of heart and also their close affinity from both having lover of a female of Hauria clan were also the reason of that good relationship.
「Yuuka-san, thank you for lending your restaurant for today. Is there something that I can help with, like cooking or something?」
「It's fine Shia-san. Most of them is finished already with me and Nana and Tae, Otou-san and Okaa-san are also in high spirit.」
Yuuka shook her head at Shia's offer with a smile. And exactly as Yuuka said, Hiroshi who caught sight of Hajime's figure rested his hand and approached Hajime.
「Yaa, Hajime-kun. Welcome to my restaurant. I was thinking of inviting you all someday to here you know.」
「Much obliged for today. Letting us to reserve the whole restaurant......that saved us some trouble. Even if we have the gathering at other place, if there is other people then we are going to become a target of curiosity.」
「No no, something like this is nothing much. ......You are the person who had brought back our daughter back home. Just something like this won't even be enough for thanks. The most that I can do is only to let you all enjoy our family's prided cooking to your fill, but I have put all my skill into this just so you know. Have fun to your heart's content.」
「Yes, I had also heard from Endo and Tamai how delicious the food here, so I'll look forward to it.」
Seeing Hajime who was exchanging words really politely with Yuuka's father, Atsushi and others whispered at each other things like「As I thought, hearing Nagumo using polite language really feel wrong ain't it」, or「Demon king-sama has also mellowed out huh」, or「Well, as expected, suddenly pulling out a gun in Japan is just impossible. Naturally he is going to mellow out like that」, or「No no, Sugawara. We still don't know that. If it's Nagumo, something like hiding the evidence is as easy as turning his palm you know? The possibility that he has already killed several people is......」.
The ’’Treasure Warehouse’’ that was fixed on Hajime's left ring finger faintly shined. Sensing that Hajime was feeling like taking out something from the infinite armory, Atsushi and others instantly sat back on their chair and drank their drink with an atmosphere that was shamelessly relaxed. It seemed that they had been trained in the way of dealing with Hajime.
「Nevertheless, the wives of Hajime-kun are really all beautiful isn't it.」
From behind Hiroshi, Yuuri approached while wiping her hand on her apron, she was saying such thing and continued with a greeting「Welcome for today. Feel free to relax here」. Then Yue and others each gave her the greeting while expressing their thanks for lending the restaurant.
Yuuri floated a friendly smile at Yue and others, and then she nodded as though she had comprehended something before turning back her gaze at Hajime, and said a sentence,
「So, I wonder, when will Hajime-kun take Yuuka as your wife too?」
「Wai-, Okaa-san!? What are you saying!?」
The words of her mother that were suddenly let out caused Yuuka to spout out her drink *bufu-* while she raised her voice. Looking at that direction, Atsushi and co, Kaori, and also Shizuku were looking taken aback and they turned their gaze at Yuuri, and then their awareness turned toward Yuuka.
On the other hand, Yuuri who suddenly dropped that bomb was chuckling while saying thing like「Is that no good I wonder? Okaa-san is just thinking, that if it's Hajime-kun then there won't be any problem at all though~」.
The mother of Yuuka looked relatively gentle and calm, but it seemed that she was a type of person who would drop a bomb unconsciously. Yuuka ignored her mother that was like that and then she turned to Hajime in order to make excuse......but her expression grandly cramped after seeing the widely smiling face of Kaori who was right before her eyes.
「E, err, Kaori-chan? You see, I――」
「It's fine, it's fine you know, Yuuka-chan. I pro~perly understand after all. Anyway, how about going to the seat at the back for the time being? Because if you want to be at Hajime-kun's side, then there will be various things that I want you to know beforehand, so I'm going to teach you slowly.」
「No no no no, I'll hold back from that! It's not like I really need to know that!」
「Muu, by that, are you saying that something like the matter of Hajime-kun is trivial I wonder? I wonder?」
「Troublesome-. I have thought this since before, but when it is related to Nagumo-kun, Kaori-chan is troublesome-」
「I won't get tricked even with you saying that! Now, Yuuka-chan, let's talk?」
Saying that, Kaori dragged the resisting Yuuka with her hands gripping Yuuka's shoulders and she took her to the seat at the back. While being dragged, Yuuka sent a gaze that was asking for help at Atsushi and others, but with splendid synchronization everyone averted their eyes. Yuuka was in despair!
「Haa, Hajime. I'm worried about Yuuka, that's why I too will be at the seat in the back for a while.」
「Yeah, I'll leave Kaori to you. Help Sonobe before her soul is slipping out from her mouth.」
Even after a year passed since their return, Shizuku's worrying habit didn't change. Although, currently she had the lover who would give her the reward after her worrying, so it seemed that it wasn't a hardship for her at all. (TN: In the raw, the worrying habit implied that Shizuku was worrying for others, not herself, and she would go to great length to help the other party from their trouble even without them asking her. Anyone know a good word to express someone like this?)
Like that, while complicated noisiness could be heard from the back, the classmates of the returnee group were arriving one after another.
Nagayama Juugo and Nomura Kentarou, Tsuji Ayako, Yoshino Mao. Kentarou and Rinzu were holding hand. Both of them went out with each other right after their return to earth. After that, with Nakano Shinji and Saitou Yoshiki as first on the list, almost all of the returnee students had gathered.
The ones who still hadn't arrived in the invitation today were Ryutaro and Suzu, and Aiko. Everyone knew about Kouki being in Tortus, so there was no need to wait for him. Also, Aiko would be late because of her work and she had let them knew beforehand, so in actuality there were only Ryutaro and Suzu left.
「It's already past the agreed time......」
Hajime looked at the clock and whispered that. The clock had certainly turned to afternoon five o'clock. On the table, there wasn't only the standard western food, there were also small snacks like fried potato, karaage, mini pizza, and non-alcoholic drinks flooding the table.
Kaori was looking worried wondering whether something happened and took out her smartphone. She was thinking of trying to contact them. But, there was no need for Kaori to contact them.
「Whoops, my bad! We are late!」
「Sorry! Ryu-kun got high tensioned like idiot, it took time until he calmed down!」
Like that, Suzu and Ryutaro rushed in while apologizing. Hajime and others were about to say「Don't mind it」, but they reflexively swallowed back their words. And then, their gaze focused at one place.
......Their fingers were entangled with each other's, that was to say, the hands of the two were holding each other's hand in a lover holding.
The two noticed everyone's gaze. Suzu raised her voice「ah」and tried to separate their hand in panic. However, due to it being a lover holding with their fingers interlocked, Ryutaro's large hand was completely wrapping Suzu's small hand, so if Ryutaro's hand didn't let go then their hand wouldn't separate that easily.
「Come to think of it, Suzu-chi, just now, didn't you called Sakagami with ’’Ryu-kun’’?」
「......Seriously? No, or maybe I should say, finally. If it's Sakagami and Taniguchi then...」
Nana sharply didn't miss what Suzu said, how the way Suzu called Ryutaro changed (After receiving the confession, Suzu called Ryutaro as Ryu-kun because she wanted to show her affection even more compared to before the confession). Hearing what Nana mentioned, Atsushi leaked out his frustration of having beaten to the punch, but then he showed an expression that was half purely shocked and half understanding.
「Hee, you two, since when your relationship became like that?」
Hajime's mouth burst open in amusement while he was asking the two of them. Thereupon, Ryutaro, looking at the situation where it seemed that his relationship with Suzu was immediately got exposed by the classmates, he was growing embarrassed from that, but even so,
「An hour before!」
Saying that, he made a thumb up along with a lively laugh while informing the classmates. Immediately, Suzu's face became red, while the classmates raised admiring voice of「Oo~~!!」. Right after that, the congratulating voice of「Congratulation!」from the girls and「Sakagamiii, for a muscle brain like you to get a girlfriend......die!」「Just explode!」「I also want a lover! Someone, go out with me!」the envious voices from the boys were sent to Ryutaro and Suzu.
By the way, the voice that was soliciting for lover was smoothly ignored. Shinji was secretly crying after that.
The relationship of Suzu and Ryutaro that changed anew was grandly celebrated by the classmates with Shizuku and Kaori as the first in the list. Like that, after everyone had arrived, Hajime stood up and took a glass into his hand. The classmates, Yue and others too, they all took a glass into their hand.
「Now then, we have experienced something idiotic like having a trip at another world, but now, we are able to celebrate a year of our return at the land of our birthplace like this. That one year we spent at another world, and this one year after we returned home, those days were absurdly noisy and full of trouble......but, those days weren't bad. I think so from the bottom of my heart.」
Hajime's gentle gaze and expression that looked deep, calmly meshed into the feeling of all the classmates, including Yue and others, all of them then simultaneously nodded deeply.
There were also people who couldn't come home. But, even with that fact included, everyone certainly felt, that ’’it wasn't bad’’.
「In the future from here on, it is unclear what kind of path any of us will walk, but, if it is us who know about the meaning of ’’fighting’’, then there won't be any problem or anything. Isn't that right?」
Everyone returned back a strong nod. To that, Hajime also nodded deeply.
「That's why, these words are going to be enough for our toast. ......To the two years that we had overcome, and to the hardships from here on! Cheers-!」
Like that the party started.
They talked to each other about their memory in the other world Tortus, they expressed their feeling of this one year since their return home, they jeered loudly at the couples of old and new, they bullied Kousuke, they made uproar without any meaning, they ate and drank a lot, they lost sight of Kousuke, they got really noisy.
In the middle, Aiko who finished her work joined them and unfolded a lovey dovey flirting with Hajime quietly, there Yue nonchalantly cut in with her adult mode, then Shia and others also crowded Hajime undauntedly and formed their usual pink space, seeing that the classmates went into uproar once again, like that, they felt for real of the joy of living right now from their heart, and displayed great excitement in this first year return anniversary.
Before long, at the time when the party was at full swing, without any particular feeling there were voices that began to say their wish of going to Tortus. Of course, the meaning of that wish wasn't for living at the other side, those were only frivolous words of wanting to meet with their friends and acquaintances at Tortus.
While they were talking of their memories at each other, they were growing to want to meet Liliana and the maids at the palace, the war comrades they fought together with at the decisive battle, and the people they were cooperating with at the time of restoration.
Hajime grinned widely to those classmates,
「Then, how about we go to meet them a bit right now?」
Like that, that sentence was actually also sounded lighthearted.
To open a gate that crossed over the world, a vast amount of magic power was needed. When they returned to earth from Tortus, they had to do all kind of processes to capture the magic factor of the mother nature into a pseudo god crystal, then poured the magic power of the cheat group in full into it, and even so it took a month until the gate could be opened.
In the earth where there was almost no magic factor, to open a gate that crossed over the world, it should take at least five months at the fastest even with Hajime and others stocking all the magic power in their body.
Five months after they first returned to earth, they opened the gate once, and then after further five months they opened the gate again. And so, thinking normally it should take three more months before the gate could be opened.
「Oi, Nagumo. We ain't going to get surprised by what you are doing after this late, we ain't gonna doubting you. That's why just spit it up right away. What are you gonna do?」
Ryutaro asked with an expression that was a mix of exasperation and admiration. The classmates were also focusing at Hajime, in the middle of that Hajime suddenly lifted his right hand and activated ’’Lightning Clad’’, causing crimson sparks to crackle through him.
「This lightning clad is a characteristic magic that convert magic power into lightning strike. Magic power can be converted into electricity......then, don't you think that the reverse is also possible?」
「Please wait a second, Hajime-kun. I have a really bad premonition of this.」
Aiko's cheeks convulsed from Hajime's words. And then, with a small volume she said something like「A month ago, there is a city that blacked out completely. The electricity was immediately restored but......if I remember correctly, it seemed that there was a nuclear power plant nearby that city」, hearing that the classmates also realized what Hajime had done and their cheeks convulsed greatly.
「Exactly as you imagined. I converted the electricity of a nuclear power plant into magic power, just for a bit. It took a bit of labor to create the exclusive artifact for establishing this conversion method, but finally I succeeded in realizing it.」
「’’Success’’, that's not it! Aa, what had you done when I took off my eyes of you for just a bit......」
Looking at the triumphant look of Hajime who sto――received the electricity of a nuclear power plant, Aiko held her head as though enduring a headache, while the other people were getting a faraway look.
By the way, the city getting blackout was also something unexpected for Hajime, so he had fixed it that right now he was able to do magic power conversion without affecting the power supply of the city.
Giving a glance at them who were being absentminded, Hajime took out ’’Crystal Key’’ and ’’Compass’’ from ’’Treasure Warehouse II’’, he then stabbed the key without any hesitation whatsoever into an empty air and easily opened a gate to another world.
「What, you guys aren't going?」
Even though he was guilty of something preposterous, but as expected Hajime was acting like there was nothing wrong. The classmates thinking ’’ah, screw it’’ slipped through the gate while shouting.
The destination was a reception hall that was located at a corner of the new palace of Hairihi Kingdom.
Liliana and some other people were carrying artifacts that would inform them of Hajime and others opening a gate, so surely their arrival had been noticed.
As expected, the footstep sound of several people immediately became audible.
And then, at the other side of the door that was opened loudly, there was the figure of Liliana breathing hard. The moment Liliana caught sight of Hajime, *daa――――* she dashed.
Like that, everyone was thinking that she would embrace Hajime with a deeply moved expression just like usual but......
There, an unexpected sentence flew out from Liliana's mouth.
「Big trouble-! It's a really big trouble! ――Kouki-san, he seemed to be summoned to another world somewhere!」
The classmates also went「Ha?」as though empathizing with Hajime's idiotic sounding voice. That was only natural. Even with Liliana speaking about summoning, but this was the world that summoned Kouki. It couldn't be helped even if they tilted their head wondering what Liliana was speaking about.
To them who were like that,
「It's true! Suddenly there was a voice that came from the sky saying『I found you, hero-sama. I beg you, please save my beloved world』, then a magic circle that I had never seen before spread below Kouki-san――then he vanished! It happened about a week ago!」
Hearing that the situation finally penetrated the classmates' head.
In other words, it seemed that in this world where Kouki was summoned as hero, Kouki was further summoned as hero into another world somewhere......
「WHAT THE HEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLL-」
Ryutaro who looked forward to meet Kouki was the very first person that yelled up the tsukkomi that represented the voice of heart of everyone here.
It appeared, that the world was still not intending to leave alone Hajime and others.