Arifureta - Volume 8 - Chapter 10
Declaration of War
’’Papaa~!! Welcome back~!!’’
A cheerful little girl's voice rang out inside the plaza of «Orcus Great Dungeon»'s entrance gate.
Adventurers and mercenaries, who were going to dive into the dungeon, were noisily negotiating with the merchants who were also advertising themselves in various crowded stalls. However, Myuu's raised voice, which rivaled their own, made the experts of battle look at her and smile as their gazes softened.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap ! Myuu ran straight towards Hajime while making such lovely footsteps, and then jumped into Hajime. Hajime failed to receive her since he hadn't even dreamed she would do that.
In a normal situation, the little girl's head would have thrust into his stomach like a rocket and made him writhe in pain. But fortunately, Hajime's body was not that weak. Moreover, he completely warded off the impact so he would not injure Myuu, and firmly caught her.
’’Myuu, you came to welcome us? Where's Tio?’’
’’Un. Tio-oneechan thought it was about time for Papa to come back. That's why we came here. Tio-oneechan is...’’
’’This one is here.’’
Separating the crowd, a beautiful, black-haired, golden-eyed, young woman appeared. Needless to say, it was Tio. Since she was within the crowd where it wasn't odd for one to get lost made, Hajime began to complain about her being separated from Myuu.
’’Oi oi, Tio. Don't separate from Myuu in such a place.’’
’’This one kept her along her sight. It just that there were some rude fellows. And this one doth not want to let Myuu see a ghastly spectacle.’’
’’I see. Then it couldn't be helped... So, where are the suicide candidates?’’
’’Well, Master. This one has completely settled it down.’’
’’... Tch, well whatever.’’
’’... Doth Master truly believe thee will return her again?’’
Apparently, there were some idiots who tried to kidnap Myuu. Because Myuu was a child from the Sea-dweller tribe, she put on a hood so she wouldn't stand out in such a public location. As such, not knowing she was a child from Sea-dweller tribe protected by the Kingdom, there were people thinking of insolence. One of the reasons might be because under the hood, she had the face of a young child with lovely features. It was unknown whether their objective was ransom or not though.
Hajime asked for the criminals' whereabout with a dark smile and the obviousness that he'd kill them, made Tio admonish him in half-amazement. In the beginning, Hajime disliked being called Papa from the bottom of his heart, but now he had become her Papa. When we arrive at Elisen, can Master separate from her... Hajime was more worrisome than Myuu.
Hearing the conversation between Hajime and Tio, Kouki's party stood in blank surprise. Though they understood Hajime had become strong in the past four months because he experienced various things they couldn't even imagine, ’’How can he be a father!’’ Everyone was dumbfounded by this thought. The male students thought, ’’Just what kind of experiences has he piled up!?’’ and they moved their gazes to Yue and Shia, and next they looked at the black-haired, big-breasted, beautiful woman who suddenly appeared, and they clearly thought of something rude. This surprise might even be greater than the time Hajime displayed his peerlessness inside the dungeon.
If they calmly thought about it, it's unbelievable for him to make a child after being missing for just four months, but the various impacts in succession, along with them just returning from life and death battle made them lost their composure and splendidly make such a misunderstanding.
Following that, one person unsteadily moved within Kouki's party. With a smile plastered on her face which didn't reach the eyes... it was Kaori. Kaori unsteadily approached him and suddenly, glare, her eyes opened wide then she caught Hajime.
’’Hajime-kun! What does this mean!? Is she really Hajime-kun's daughter!? Who's the mother!? Yue-san!? Shia-san!? Or, is it that black-haired person!? Don't tell me, there are others!? Just how many did you make pregnant!? Answer me! Hajime-kun!’’
Gripping Hajime's collar, Kaori shook Hajime in confusion. Although Hajime tried to say it was a misunderstanding and get away from her, he couldn't get away because Kaori gripped him with such ridiculous strength he had no idea she had. From behind Kaori, ’’Kaori, please calm down! There's no way she is his daughter, you know!’’ Shizuku admonished and pinioned her, but it seemed like Kaori did not hear her.
On the other hand, they could hear whispers and rumours coming from the surroundings.
’’What's this? A scene of carnage?’’
’’It looks like, he got another woman pregnant while he has another woman?’’
’’And not only one or two.’’
’’Doesn't it seem like he got five pregnant at the same time?’’
’’Well, I heard he created a harem and made tens of women pregnant, I think?’’
’’But, he seemed to have hidden it from the wife.’’
’’I see... so today he got found out huh.’’
’’To create a harem... how enviable.’’
’’What an honorable man... he is better off dead though.’’
Apparently, it turned out that Hajime was a married brute who hid the fact that he was the master of a harem and made tens of women pregnant while keeping it a secret from his wife. Hajime, who was currently being shaken by Kaori, was looking at the ceiling with half-closed eyes, and then he leaked a deep sigh while patting Myuu, who wondered what happened and tilted her head.
* * *
The appearance of Kaori, whose head was buried in Shizuku's chest with a crimson face, looked as though she wanted to bury herself in a hole. Regaining her composure, she noticed she had shouted something unbelievable, and her embarrassment came in at mach-speed. ’’It's okay~, it's okay,’’ the appearance of Shizuku comforting her was just like a mother... no, let's stop here.
Hajime and the others had moved away from the entrance gate and arrived at the plaza in the town's entrance. After his honor, which had gone up made a sharp fall in the public eyes, he reported to the branch head, Lorr, about the accomplishment of the request. And after two or three conversations, he decided to leave the town quickly to escape the various commotions. To begin with, he had only come here to deliver the letter from Ilwa to Lorr, so there was neither a need to resupply nor problem if they left immediately.
Kouki's party came back one by one after the leaving Hajime's party due to following Kaori. Kaori, still writhing in embarrassment, was desperately thinking about what she should do. She had to decide whether she would separate from Hajime as she was or follow him. Her feelings were more inclined to follow him. She didn't want to separate after they were finally reunited.
However, she could not make a clear decision because of her her guilt from leaving Kouki's party and how she was shaken by Hajime's changes. Moreover, there was the effect from her shaking being seen through and sneered at.
Kaori, just like what Yue did to her, had guessed how strong Yue's feelings were towards Hajime. Following that, more than anything, how Hajime thought of Yue as someone important to him became a thorn that pierced and stuck onto her heart. The two thought of each other. Then, the one-sidedly ridicule, ’’So that's the extent of your feelings’’ doubted the strength of Kaori's shaken feelings.
She was wondering whether her feelings would lose to Yue's, and now, whether her feelings should be set aside so it would not become a nuisance. But more importantly, was she really looking at the current Hajime beside her? Or was she only thinking of the past Hajime? That, coupled with Yue's extraordinarily high abilities as his partner and how dignified she was made Kaori... overwhelmed. In short, she had lost her confidence in herself as a woman, as a magic-user, and even her feelings towards Hajime.
Finally, it was the time for Hajime's party to leave, and for some reason the atmosphere was full of unrest. Noticing that and raising her face, Kaori saw around ten of men blocking their way.
’’Oi oi, just where do you think you are going? You made our comrades into such rag-tags, do you think you can go without an apology? Ah? Ah!?’’
The dirty looking armed man smiled inappropriately as he looked at Tio and said. Apparently, they were the comrades of the fellows who previously tried to kidnap Myuu. They came to take revenge on Tio. But, those vulgar gazes were obviously not looking for retribution but something else.
In this town, adventurers should know of the commotion inside the guild and would not go looking for a fight against Hajime. That's why, these men were probably stray mercenaries.
Hajime and some others were gritting their teeth while being amazed at the template-like situation coming from these scum. However, mistaking that as shaking in fear, the failed excuses for mercenaries began to get carried away.
Their gazes moved towards Yue and Shia, too. The gazes that seemed to licking them made Yue and Shia feel disturbed from the bottom of their hearts and hid behind Hajime. Misunderstanding their actions as being frightened, they began to threaten Hajime who was surrounded by Yue and the girls.
’’BRAT! You understand right? Leave the women and quickly disappear if you don't want to die! Whaa~t, I'll return them if you properly apologize!’’
’’Well, they'll already be broken by that time though.’’
Thinking it was amusing, GYAHAHA , the men laughed. One of them was even lusting after the frightened Myuu, while another was lusting after the Rabbitman, a race usually used as an outlet for human se*ual desire. And their fate had been decided now.
Just like the usual, the pressure came attacked the mercenary-like men like a giant waterfall that even made creaks in the air. However, being enraged and could not endure the men's speeches, Kouki moved out only to get wrapped inside the pressure and trembled. Then, he saw Hajime, not caring about him, walked towards the men from the corner of his view.
Though it was too late, the men tried to apologize because they noticed they had picked a fight against someone they must not. But, on all-fours due from the pressure, they could not even open their mouths, so they could not apologize.
Hajime also didn't want to hear their words anymore. There was already enough reason for Hajime to become mad because they were thinking of making Shia an outlet for their lust, but their malice also had frightened Myuu, so that led to a decision of making them live a life more painful than death.
Hajime loosened the pressure a little and lined up the men who were on their knees, then he unhesitatingly and devilishly shot the symbol of a man starting from the one at the edge. Furthermore, one by one the screaming, groin-holding men were kicked away and piled up in the corner of the plaza with their smashed pelvises. With this, they wouldn't be able to make child or even walk. It was up to each person whether they'd work hard in the future to stay alive or not.
The overly excessive and merciless counterattack made Kouki's party back away. The male students were especially affected and turned pale as they covered their nether regions.
Leering at Kouki's party, Hajime returned to where Yue and the girls were.
’’Once again, a merciless one, huh~. As expected of Master. Even though those art women's enemy, doesth not a little sympathy spring up?’’
’’Usually Hajime-san would not be angry right~. As expected, is it because of Myuu-chan? Looks like the overprotectiveness keeps rising.’’
’’... Nh, though there's that... Hajime was also angry for Shia.’’
’’Eh!? Angry for my sake? Ehehe, Hajime-san... thank you very much~.’’
’’... Yue can immediately seen through me.’’
’’Nh... of course. It is because I am always looking at Hajime.’’
In the end, Hajime and Yue began to create their own world, which Shia retorted, then Myuu jumped to Hajime to be spoiled, and lastly Tio let out perverted remarks that ended in her panting from Hajime's coldness. These spectacles were connected with Hajime as the core.
Kaori was silently watching Hajime who carried Myuu while being surrounded by Yue and the girls. With the previous spectacle, she understood that Hajime would not hesitate to use violence. It was something vastly different compared to the previous Hajime, and just by seeing it, it became a denial of Hajime's kindness.
However, she wondered about the reason for Hajime's anger, which made him resort to violence. It was for the sake of the girls that were close to him, so they could enjoy themselves and laugh happily. Really, just how can a person who lost his kindness be surrounded by such smiles. Just how can such a young child yearn for him as a father.
Following that, the disturbance in her mind due to Hajime's changes had dissipated. To begin with, Hajime had returned to the dungeon for the sake of relieving Kaori by informing her his survival. And just like his words, he had returned to the dungeon only for Kaori, but he didn't cast the others away. He saved Meld who received mortal wounds and told his companion to protect Kouki's party.
Kaori noticed it. The reason Hajime unhesitatingly displayed such violence and mercilessness towards his enemy was for the sake of protecting his important people. Of course Kaori herself might also be included inside, but it was a fact that Hajime was thinking for the others' sake. The proof was the smiles from the girls surrounding Hajime.
Kaori guessed it. Hajime had lost his hair color, right eye and left arm, surely because of the severe environment he had lived through. He certainly almost broken down mentally and physically many times. No, it was possible... it was possible that he had already broken which resulted in his changes. Even so, Hajime walked on his path surrounded by those smiles.
That fact made the fog inside Kaori's mind disperse. She could hear the sound of puzzle pieces being rightfully placed. Just what I was hesitating about. There's ’’Hajime’’ before her. There's the boy that her heart always thought of. The one who was called ’’incompetent,’’ but crawled from the abyss, gained enormous power, and came to save her.
There were parts that had changed, but there was also unchanged parts. However, that's something natural. After all, people would always change with time, experiences, and meetings. That's why, there was no need for her to feel fear. There's no need for her to lose her confidence. There's no need for her to back away from him.
If there's something I don't know, then it'll okay if I come to know it while being by his side. Up until now, just like the time we were inside the class. There's no way the strength of my feelings will lose! There's nothing wrong with me joining the circle that surrounds Hajime! I won't let anyone laugh at my feelings anymore!
Resolution and determination were born inside Kaori's eyes. Shizuku, by her side, was smiling at her best friend's change. Following that, she silently pushed Kaori's back. Kaori , with eyes radiating more ’’strength’’ than before, nodded to thank Shizuku and moved towards her next battlefield. That's right, toward her fight as a woman!
Hajime's party noticed that Kaori was walking towards them. Hajime thought she came to see them off, while Yue by his side, ’’Muh?,’’ became wary as she frowned. ’’Arara?,’’ Shia was looking at Kaori as her interest deepened, and Tio murmured, ’’Looks like it'll be a bloodbath huh~.’’ Because she was apparently not coming to see them off, Hajime was looking at Kaori, frowning due at the ominous feeling.
’’Hajime-kun, can I come with you, too? ... No, that's not it, I will absolutely come with you, so please take care of me, okay?’’
From the first words spoken, with neither preface nor wish-washing, it became a development where everything was decided and made Hajime's eyes turn into dots. Inadvertently, he leaked such a stupefied voice. In place of Hajime, who could not immediately regain his composure due to being dumbfounded, Yue moved out.
’’... You are not qualified for that.’’
’’What qualification? Is it to always think of Hajime? Then, I won't lose to anyone, you know?’’
Kaori calmly replied Yue's words. Yue, ’’Mmhmp,’’ made her mouth into ^.
Kaori matched her gaze to Yue's, then she abruptly moved her unshakable gaze towards Hajime. Following that, she united her hand before her chest with blushing cheeks, took a deep breath, then with desperate and trembling voice, she spoke to him... thus she conveyed it.
’’I love you.’’
Kaori's expression was mix of embarrassment, worrying while she was expecting Hajime's answer, and happiness coming from being able to convey her feelings to him. Thus, with those mixed feeling, she didn't back away, displaying her determination.
That gaze, filled with determination and sincerity made Hajime answered her with serious eyes.
’’I have a woman I am in love with. So I can't answer Shirasaki's feelings. Therefore, I can't take you with me.’’
Hajime's clear answer made Kaori immediately bite her lip as if she wanted to cry, but in the next moment, power was born inside the eyes that were about to spill tears and she raised her face. Thus she nodded to tell him she understood. Behind Kaori, Kouki and the others were in blank surprise, agape, and in a pandemonium-like situation, but not minding them, Kaori spun her desired words.
’’... Un, I know. It's Yue-san, right?’’
’’Yeah, that's why...’’
’’But, I don't think that can be a reason for me not to be at Hajime-kun's side.’’
’’Because, Shia-san and the slightly strange Tio-san are also in love with Hajime-kun, right? Especially Shia-san, I feel she is pretty serious about it.’’
’’Even though Hajime-kun, with you already having your own special person, she still doesn't give up and wants to be at Hajime-kun's side, and also, Hajime-kun lets her be so. That's why, it wouldn't be a problem if I am there too, right? After all, my feelings for Hajime-kun... won't lose to anyone.’’
Saying so, Kaori turned her blazing, strong gaze towards Yue. What was expressed was, My feelings won't lose to you! I won't let you laugh at them!, and Yue could see Kaori's strong will. That was definitely a declaration of war. It was a declaration that she'd steal the one and only ’’special seat’’ from Yue.
Receiving Kaori's piercing gaze from the front, Yue, unusually, turned her lips in a smile that could be understood by anyone as fearless.
’’... I see, then come with us. And there I will teach you. Our differences, that is.’’
’’Not you, it's Kaori.’’
’’... Then, just call me Yue. I accept Kaori's challange.’’
’’Fufu, Yue. Don't cry if you lose, kay?’’
’’... Fu, fufufufufu.’’
Yue and Kaori created a world of their own with a different meaning than the time Yue did it with Hajime. Even though Hajime was the one confessed to, he was being put aside before he was aware of it, and, in such a manner, in the end it was decided Kaori would enter his party making Hajime look into the far distance. Seeing Yue and Kaori who were laughing together, Shia and Myuu by his side were hugging him, trembling.
’’Ha-Hajime-san! Is something wrong with my eyes? I can see dark clouds and draconic lightning behind Yue-san!’’
’’... Isn't that normal? Even I can see a katana holding Hanya behind Shirasaki.’’
’’Papaa~! Those Onee-chan are scaryy.’’
’’Haa haa, thee are somehow... if you turn your gazes to this one... ngh, can't hold it.’’
With Satan? appearing behind each of them, Yue and Kaori laughed with daunting pose. Were you those kinds of characters?, Hajime wanted to retort with that, but he decided to wait for them to stop while soothing Myuu, who was clinging to him, because those words would become a boomerang back at him. He is now the so called good-for-nothing.
But, there was someone who objected towards Kaori's will... and of course it was the ’’Hero’’, Amanokawa Kouki.
’’Wa-Wait! Please wait a sec! I don't understand this. Kaori likes Nagumo? She wants to follow him? Eh? What does this mean? How, how did it suddenly come to this? Nagumo! You, just what have you done to Kaori.’’
’’... the heck is with this one.’’
Apparently, Kouki could not admit the reality of Kaori falling for Hajime. It was not something that came out of the blue as Kouki was the only one who didn't notice it, but in Kouki's eyes, he only saw it as Kaori suddenly doing something strange and the cause being Hajime. Really, Kouki's mind that only saw things in the way that would be convenient for him made Hajime retort instinctively.
Being completely convinced that Hajime did something to Kaori, Kouki indignantly moved with partly drawn Holy Sword in hand which made Shizuku admonish him, with a gesture was as though she was enduring a headache.
’’Kouki. Can't you see Nagumo-kun didn't do anything? Please think about it calmly. Though it looks like you didn't notice it, Kaori has thought of him in that way since long ago. I mean, since the time we were still in Japan. Just try to think about what Kaori always talked about.’’
’’Shizuku... what are you saying... that's, that's because Kaori is kind, so she feels sorry for Hajime who was always alone, right? There's neither connection nor motive, so there's no way Kaori would like an otaku like Hajime.’’
Hearing Kouki and Shizuku's conversation, Hajime unexpectedly became agitated as that was said straight to his face, his cheek twitching.
Noticing the commotion from Kouki and the others, Kaori spoke towards Kouki and the classmates behind him to make herself clear.
’’Kouki-kun, everyone, I am sorry. I know it is selfish of me... but I, I want to go with Hajime-kun by any means. That's why, I will leave your party. Truly, I am sorry.’’
Kaori said so as she bowed deeply, making Suzu, Eri, Ayako, and Mao, the female circle, yell Kyaa Kyaa . Nagayama, Endou, and Nomura, the three who had guessed Kaori's feelings were waving their hands to tell her not to worry about it with wry smiles.
However, Kouki, of course, could not accept Kaori's words.
’’It's a lie, right? After all, that's weird. Kaori has always been by my side... so shouldn't it be the same from now on too? Kaori is my childhood friend... that's why... it's natural for her to be by my side. Isn't that so, Kaori?’’
’’Umm... Kouki-kun. It is true that we are childhood friends... but, it doesn't mean we will be always together, you know? I think this is the natural way...’’
’’That's right, Kouki. It's not like Kaori is yours, and it's Kaori herself that will choose what she does. So, drop it already.’’
Being told so by his two childhood friends, Kouki was dumbfounded. His gaze immediately moved towards Hajime. Hajime was looking in the distance, expressing that this had nothing to do with him. Beside Hajime were a beautiful woman and beautiful girls in attendance. Seeing that spectacle, Kouki's eyes began to gradually looking up. Inside him, he was thinking about his Kaori, and dark feeling he never felt before sprang up. Thus following his impulse, he fully interpreted things at his own convenience.
’’Kaori. You must not go with him. I am saying this for your sake. Just look at that Nagumo. He is attended by several girls, even a small child like that... moreover, he even made a girl from the Rabbitman tribe wear a slave collar. Even that black-haired woman called Hajime ’’Master’’ before. Surely, she was compelled to call him that. I am sure Nagumo is collecting women or something along those lines. He is the worst. He easily killed a person and he didn't want to cooperate with us, his comrades, even though he has those powerful weapons. Kaori, you'll only be unhappy if you go along with him. That's why, it is better if you stay here. No, just stay here. Even if you are going to hate me, I am going to stop you for your sake. I will absolutely not let you go with him!’’
Kouki's overly erratic objection made Kaori and the others dumbfounded. However, the heated up Kouki couldn't be stopped. His gaze which was looking at Kaori to persuade her turned towards Yue and the girls by Hajime's side as if he thought of something.
’’You girls, too. There's no more need for you to be by that man's side. Come with me! I welcome people with abilities like you. Let's save people together. Shia, was it? There's no need to worry, I will immediately release you from slavery if you come with me. Tio too, it's okay for you to not call him Master.’’
Saying so with a refreshing smile, Kouki outstretched his hand towards Yue and the girls. Shizuku was facepalming and looking at the sky while Kaori was covering her opened mouth.
Yue and the girls who received the invitation along with Kouki's smile were...
They were speechless. They averted their gazes from Kouki and rubbed both of their own arms. If one looked carefully, Yue and the girls were having goosebumps. In a way, they received considerable damage. Even Tio said, ’’Somehow, this feels wrong...,’’ as she frowned at the cold feeling she felt.
Seeing their appearances, Kouki who outstretched his hand had his smile cramped. Far from looking at him, the girls were hurriedly hiding behind Hajime while looking disgustedly at him which shocked Kouki.
Then, that shock changed into anger which displayed in his action. He rashly drew the Holy Sword, aiming at Hajime. Kouki could no longer be stopped by words, he thrust the Holy Sword into the ground and pointed his finger at Hajime as he declared,
’’Nagumo Hajime! Duel me! Throw away your weapon and fight me barehanded! If I win, don't ever come close to Kaori again! Also, you must release those girls!’’
’’... Ouch, ouch, ouch. This is bad. It's a more painful hero than I expected. It looks like he couldn't see that he is being a pain though.’’
’’What are you mumbling about! Are you scared?!’’
Stabbing the Holy Sword into the ground and declaring a bare-handed duel after drawing the sword was surely because he felt that he'd lose to Hajime if they used weapons. Though it was actually unknown whether he did it intentionally or not... Yue, Shia, Myuu, Tio, Kaori and the others were indeed taken aback by Kouki's speech and behavior.
However, Kouki firmly believed that he was in the right and got worked up on saving his childhood friend and the unhappy girls from Hajime which made him unable to notice the surrounding atmosphere. To begin with, the strong conviction that made him doing such a reckless thing was the ’’envy’’ he that he felt for the first time, and he was completely out of control.
Without hearing Hajime's approval, Kouki dashed out. Sighing, Hajime took two, three steps back. Seeing that, Kouki thought Hajime was frightened from fighting without a weapon and put more power into his dash. Just several steps before his fist reached Hajime, Hajime lowered his hands, not reacting to anything in particular. Kouki thought Hajime couldn't react to him and was convinced of his victory.
At that moment,
More accurately, at the moment he put maximum power to his last step to put more power into his fist, he fell. He fell into a pitfall. At the beginning, the reason Hajime moved back two, three steps was to create transmutation magic array using his shoes to create a hole with a four meter depth under the surface.
The pitfall was immediately returned into stone pavement after it swallowed Kouki. Next, explosions could be heard from under the surface. At the moment Hajime transmuted the pitfall, he used that opportunity to transfer flash grenade, shock grenade, paralyze grenade, and tear grenade from ’’Treasure Box’’ into the hole.
While he was underground, the impact from explosions attacked Kouki who tried to escape, then his vision went dark with the flash, his eyes and nose flooded from the tear grenade, and lastly his body was in agony and stiffening because of the paralysis.
Hajime silently used transmutation again and hardened the ground around Kouki as hard as the two-tailed wolf. And now, because he'd likely to die due to being deprived of fresh air, he created a small hole for ventilation.
During that time, to the onlookers, it looked like Hajime didn't do anything but stood only to take Kouki's resentment, and then Kouki rushed forward, alone which ended with him disappearing down the hole alone;it made him looked terribly... silly.
’’Ah~, Yaegashi. He is still alive, so dig him out later.’’
’’... I have a lot of things I want to ask... but, roger that.’’
Leave the troublesome Kouki to Yaegashi Shizuku!, it was a tacit understanding since the time they were in Japan. Hajime pushing the troublesome thing onto her made Shizuku leak a sigh while covering one of her eyes. Finally, the nuisance was gone.
... Was what he thought, but this time Hiyama's gang made a commotion. As for the reason, the hole left by Kaori was just too great. There was also the previous incident with the demon race woman, and they'd likely to die in the future if Kaori left them. That's why they repeatedly tried to persuade Kaori to remain with them. Especially Hiyama, he intensely objected. His appearance... was in a panic, as though the thing he desired for so long which was about to come into his possession was disappearing.
Hiyama's gang of four realized it was difficult to persuade or change Kaori's decision, and this time they began to persuade Hajime to remain with them. We apologize about the past, so let's get along from now on, such and so forth was said unabashedly.
They didn't actually mean what they said, but they made friendly smiles as they snuck peeks at Hajime's mood, but not only Hajime, but Shizuku and the others were also disgusted by them. Within that situation, Hajime, for the first time looked at Hiyama's eyes from a close distance since their reunion. Inside those eyes, maybe due to the effect of Kaori leaving, Hajime could see madness.
Shizuku and the others admonished Hiyama's gang and once again it turned into a commotion, but because there was such an opportunity, Hajime decided to talk to Hiyama to confirm the truth about that day and to resolve the current situation.
’’Naa, Hiyama. Has your fire magic skill increased?’’
The sudden question made Hiyama dumbfounded. However, his complexion gradually turned pale as he noticed the meaning behind it.
’’Wh-What are you saying. I am the vanguard... and my element with the highest aptitude is Wind.’’
’’Hee, I thought you were surely had a fire element.’’
’’A-Aren't you mistaken? Just what are you trying to say all of a sudden...’’
’’Then, you must have liked fire element magic. Especially something like fireball. I wonder if you would unintentionally use it?’’
Now, the color of Hiyama's face had changed from blue to white. Seeing that reaction, Hajime was convinced. Next, Hajime guessed his motive from his panicked attitude from Kaori separating from them. Well,as for why Hajime hadn't attacked Hiyama up till now was because he was sneaking looks at Kaori.
Hajime himself, currently, had not even a shred of feeling burning with revenge. Though he'd be merciless if one was hostile to him, he planned to leave Hiyama as he was. If he retaliated here, it would be troublesome as there was no value in being burdened by a dispute against Kouki's party just because of Hiyama. For Hajime, the existences of Hiyama and his gang were truly worthless just like the pebbles by the roadside.
Hajime moved away from the silent Hiyama and mercilessly informed Hiyama's gang, with Kondou and the others included.
’’There's no need for you to apologize as I don't mind the past. For me, you guys are worthless. Thus I don't want to know what you are going to say. If you understand, scram now! You're so irritating!’’
Although Kondou and the others were angered by Hajime's words, ’’Hiyamaaa. You should understand, right?,’’ Hajime said so with full smile, and then Hiyama's body shook and he silently nodded, followed by him telling Kondou and the others to stop. Hiyama once again came to know that Hajime had noticed something about him, including what Hajime didn't express, and he matched him.
Kondou and the others were dubious due at the sudden change in Hiyama's attitude, but Hiyama's abnormal attitude, as if he was killing his emotions, made them reluctantly give up on persuading Hajime.
Finally, truly finally, the nuisances who disturbed the departure of Hajime's party had gone. Kaori went back to the inn to get her luggage (Hajime used his ’’Pressure’’ to stop Hiyama's gang from following her). Leering at Ryuutarou and the others trying to dig Kouki up, Hajime now was talking with Shizuku.
’’What can I say... I am sorry for everything. Also, let me thank you again. Thank you, for saving us, for surviving, and for coming here to meet with Kaori...’’
Shizuku, who apologized about the trouble and thanked him for rescuing them and returning to Kaori, made Hajime laugh, inadvertently. Shizuku showed a dubious expression due to Hajime sudden burst of laughter. Her gaze was asking, ’’What is it?’’
’’No, sorry. What can I say, I thought you are worldly-wise as usual, so I inadvertently laughed. Even while we were in Japan, you were the one who quietly did the apologizing and thanking. It's still the same, even in this different world... but keep it in moderation or your wrinkle will increase, you know?’’
’’... You've been a big help. Also, you have considerably changed. To have that many girls to wait upon you, along with a daughter... I couldn't imagine this from you while we were still in Japan...’’
’’I only love one person though...’’
’’... I don't have the obligation to say anything and I also understand that it is not my place to say it... but at least I want you to take care of Kaori. I implore you.’’
Hajime didn't answer. More than that he didn't want to answer Kaori's feelings, honestly, he never thought of letting her come along. But in the end, he let Yue have her way... but he wondered why the woman he fell for permitted one woman after another... Why did it come to this?, Hajime was looking into the far distance as he thought that he was spoiling Yue too much.
Towards Hajime, whose attitude said he didn't hear anything, Shizuku's spirit as a best friend raised a growl.
’’... If you don't take care of her... it'll become serious matter.’’
’’ ? Serious matter? What do you...’’
’’Have you heard ’’White-haired, eye-patched Punisher’’?’’
’’Or maybe, written as ’’Round of Destruction’’ and read as ’’Outbreak,’’ how about it?’’
’’Wait a sec, you, just what are you...’’
’’There are also others such as ’’Jet-black Tyrant’’ or ’’Transmutation Master of Red Thunder,’’ you know?’’
’’Y-Yo-You, don't tell me...’’
Shizuku suddenly began to enumerate unknown names, which made Hajime look dubious at the beginning. But, noticing Shizuku joyfully looking at Hajime from head to toe, he turned pale as he understood what she meant.
’’Fufufu, right now I am a ’’God's Apostle’’ and a member of the Hero's party. What I said will surely spread. It is equal to the network of neighboring housewives. Well then, Nagumo-kun, what kind of nickname do you want... I will make one that fairly describes your appearance and grandly make it known, okay?’’
’’Wait, just, wait! Why, how did you know such a damaging thing!?’’
’’It is because I studied about it with Kaori. That girl wanted to talk with Nagumo-kun, so she studied otaku culture like manga and anime so they could become a topic of conversation. I went along with her every time... that's why I've gathered quite the knowledge about it. Certainly, people like the current Nagumo-kun are called ’’chuuni...’’’’
’’Stoop-! Please stop that’’
’’O-Oh my, it is more effective than what I imagined... looks like you are aware of it yourself.’’
Hajime had already fallen to his knees. The black history that truly happened in his middle school years was revived. The memory that had been sealed deep inside him, ’’You rang?’’ said thus as it peeked out its face.
’’Fufu, so, take care of Kaori, okay?’’
’’Fuu, Requiem of Ruin (Shotgun of Chaos), Revived Disaster (Reverse Calamity)...’’
’’Okay! I will do it, so please don't make such painful nicknames.’’
’’Take care of Kaori, okay?’’
’’... At the very least, I promise that I won't treat her unkindly.’’
’’Eeh, that's enough for me. After all, it seems you'll be mad at me if I go any further than this... if you break the promise, be prepared for a novel with you as the main character published in this world and Japan too, okay?’’
’’You, aren't you actually the last boss here? You are, right?’’
Hajime held his head as he was on the verge of going mad from embarrassment. Yue, the girls, and the other classmates that were looking at Hajime from a slight distance were shuddering at how Shizuku used only words to make the overwhelmingly powerful Hajime fall to his knees.
While Hajime was fighting against his dark history due to this and that from his appearance, Kaori came back, running. Next, she became pop-eyed when she saw Hajime hanging his head before Shizuku.
Worried about Shizuku, Kaori asked the details from Yue and they exchanged information. Finishing their conversation, Yue, ’’Muu~,’’ groaned at Shizuku who defeated Hajime with only words. Kaori had also remembered that the two often talked with each other quietly... and she looked alternately between Hajime and Shizuku. Following that, the two reached a conclusion. Don't tell me, is she the last boss of this fight as a woman?, something like that.
Yue wore an indescribable expression and Kaori was worrying. Then, it was finally time for Hajime's party to leave. Shizuku, Suzu, the other female students, and Nagayama's party, along with Meld who finished reporting, were gathered at Hol-ad's entrance to see them off. Following that, when Hajime took out the magic-driven four-wheeler, all of them were once again surprised.
While Shizuku and Kaori mutually struggling to separate their hands in regret, Hajime took out a sword with a black sheath from ’’Treasure Box’’ and handed it to Shizuku.
’’Yaegashi, you are losing the one who can spoil you, right? Then, just take it. Even if you are worldly-wise, you can't be ’’healed (mentally)’’ from being separated from Shirasaki. Maa, there's also the various things I am indebted to you for from Japan.’’
Shizuku accepted the sword from Hajime and slowly drew it from its sheath, and a jet-black sword that seemed to absorb even light appeared. There was no blade crest, it had a slight curve and became double edged around the tip. It resembled the sword called Shoukarasuma. Though Hajime only knew a little about Japanese swords, it was created similarly using transmutation just like the short swords he handed over to the Haulia.
’’I can guarantee its strength because it was made from the compressed, hardest ore in this world, and its sharpness is at the level where even an amateur can cut steel by swinging it. About the maintenance... there's no need to say it to Yaegashi, but please take care of it.’’
’’... Such an amazing thing... as expected of a Transmutation Master. Thank you. I won't hold back and will accept it.’’
After one swing, two swings, the balance as it cut through the wind made Shizuku respond with admiration, and she honestly thanked him as she smiled. Truthfully, because Shizuku's swordsmanship was Yaegashi-styled, naturally it required a Japanese sword, and she felt disoriented every time she used her techniques using her previous sword. That's why she was truly happy to obtain a Katana which made her float a natural, lovely smile.
’’... Last Boss?’’
’’Eh? What? You two, why are you looking at me with such eyes?’’
Yue's gaze, full of caution, and Kaori's gaze, full of worry, made Shizuku flustered as she didn't know the meaning behind them. Leaving behind that indescribable atmosphere, Shizuku and the others saw Hajime's party out of Hol-ad.
The weather was good. Their destination was one of the Seven Great Dungeons «Guryuu-en Great Volcano»in «Guryuu-en Great Desert». With increasing liveliness from acquiring a new companion, Hajime continued his journey.