A little back in time.
Hairihi Royal Palace, in a room given to the summoned, Yaegashi Shizuku was staring at her best friend sleep in the dark.
5 days have passed since they had a taste of battle and loss in the Dungeon. When they exited the Dungeon, they stayed overnight at Horald. The party came back to the capital on a high-speed carriage early in the morning. There was no one in the mood to continue the combat exercises in the Dungeon. Incompetence was the cause of death for a brave man. Both the king and church would need to hear the report. They were not allowed to break in this place. Before something worse happened, they needed to care for the party of heroes.
Shizuku remembered when they returned to the kingdom. She wanted to wake Kaori up in the morning, so she went to sleep early. When they returned the news of Hajime death was reported. Everyone was astonished, but they breathed a sigh of relief when it was the “useless” Hajime that passed. Even the king and Ishtar was the same. There wasn’t any of the strong heroes to die in the Dungeon. If they could not return alive from just exploring the dungeon, how would they fight the Devils? The chosen heroes of God must be unrivaled.
The king and Ishtar had discretion. There had been among them that had slandered and abused Hajime. It was not spoken to the public, but it was a talked about in secret in the noble society. They thought it was good that the incompetent one died. An apostle of God that was useless; naturally they would die. Now they were speaking ill as one pleased. Shizuku really wanted to go berserk and kill those people many times.
Kouki and his strong sense of justice did not stand up against such mistreatment; she thought something was weird. Did he think that if he protested against the king and church, it would leave a bad impression. People who cursed Hajime seemed to be penalized…rumors were spread that Kouki was an anxious brave hero who pondered his incompetence. Hajime’s reputation was not going to change just because a few people said so.
At that time, it was undeniable who saved them. Hajime was the one that kept the Behemoth in check to allow them to escape. To think that he died because of a stray shot from a classmate…though that is what he said.
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She did not talk her classmates about her thoughts of the attempted friendly fire at that time. They should have a grasp of their magic, when she tried to approach the suspect it unmentionable because of the countless magic casted at that time. Because it would prove he was a murderer.
To escape reality, she wondered what Hajime did to cause such a thing. Dead man tell no tales. Rather than look for the culprit recklessly, if she left it alone than it would be done. The classmates opinion was in harmony and they did not communicate it.
To clarify the details at the time, Meld thought it was necessary to interview the students. Just like the students he choose to escape from reality, even if it was hard to regard as a mistake. Even if it was negligence he carried it out for the benefit of the students. To leave such a thing unsettled would only bring trouble later on. Above all, Meld wanted to make clear. Meld failed his promise to save Hajime and his heart ached at that.
Meld action did not come true. Ishtar had banned any scrutiny of the students. Meld clung to it, but even the king forbid it.
“If you knew, you will get angry.”
Kaori had not woken up since that day. There was no abnormalities discovered by the doctor’s diagnosis. The body, probably because of mental shock, went into a deep sleep as a defense mechanism. Time will pass normally if they sobered up.
Shizuku held Kaori’s hands. She prayed to not let her best friend hurt anymore.
Kaori’s hand twitched at that.
“Kaori! Can you hear me!? Kaori!”
Shizuku desperately called out. Kaori’s closed eyelids started to shiver. Further, Shizuku called out for her friend. In response to that call Kaori gripped her friend’s hand, then she slowly awoke.
Learning on the bed, Kaori saw Shizuku overlooking her with tears in her eyes. Kaori just blindly looked over her surrounding. Shizuku looked at her and waited until Kaori gathered herself more before calling her.
“Yeah, its me. Kaori. how is your body? No discomfort?”
“I’m fine. Just weary because I was sleeping…”
“Well, you have been sleeping for 5 days…”
Shizuku forced a smile and tried to assist Kaori in standing up, who was trying to ask Shizuku how much she slept. Kaori reacted at that.
“5 days? Why…I…I went to the Dungeon…and then…”
Her eyes gradually came into focus. Shizuku tried to change the topic when she had a bad feeling. However, Kaori recalled her memories too fast.
Shizuku’s face morphed into a painful expression when wondering what she should tell her. Kaori realized the tragedy in her memories when she saw the state Shizuku was in. However, it wasn’t easy for her to accept such a reality.
“…Lies. Isn’t it? Shizuku-chan. When I fainted, you guys saved Nagumo-kun, right? Right? Isn’t it? This is the castle room. Everyone came back, right? I wonder if Nagumo-kun is training. In the training center. I’ll head over for a moment. I have to thank Nagumo-kun. Say something, Shizuku-chan…”
Kaori who wanted to escape from the harsh reality spun her words over and over again; while she mention about searching for Hajime. Shizuku caught her arm and didn’t let go. She had a sorrowful expression, but still she stared at Kaori.
“…Kaori, you understand, right?…He’s not here.”
“No, stop…please, stop!”
“Kaori! He’s dead!”
“Wrong! He can’t die! He absolutely can’t have! How can you say such a horrible thing? Even if it’s Shizuku-chan, I will not forgive!”
Kaori shaked her and started to escape from Shizuku’s grasp. Shizuku did not let her go and embraced her. She was trying to nurse Kaori through her hug.
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“Let me go! Let me go! If I don’t search for Nagumo-kun! I beg you…he is absolutely alive…let me go~”
Kaori dropped her face into Shizuku’s chest while shouting “Let me go!” and sobbed. Clinging to each other, she started to shout louder. Shizuku just continued to hug her. Hoping it would soften just a little of her pain.
How long did they stay like that? The sky was dyed red by the setting sun. Kaori was motionless in Shizuku’s arms while she sniffed. Shizuku asked in worry.
“…Shizuku-chan…Nagumo-kun…He fell…He isn’t here…”
Kaori whispered in a voice so quiet it sounded like it would disappear. Shizuku did not want to sugar coat it, it would only be a temporary comfort. The lie could come back and hurt more than it was softened. She did not want to see her friend in pain.
“That time, whose magic hit Nagumo-kun? Who?
“I don’t know. No one wants to mention that moment. Its scary. What if it was me…”
“Do you have a grudge?”
“…I’m not sure. If someone knew…I will surely blame them. But…no one knows…I think this is better. For sure, I wouldn’t be able to stand it…”
Kaori looked downcast as she talks. She wiped her face and eyes and faced Shizuku, and declared resolutely.
“Shizuku-chan. I, I don’t believe it. Nagumo-kun is alive. I don’t believe he is dead.”
“Kaori, that is…”
Shizuku had another sorrowful expression trying to persuade Kaori. Kaori clasped Shizuku’s cheeks with both hands, and said with a smile.
“I now. I know its weird to think that someone could survive that. …But its not like we checked. The possibility is less than 1%. If we did not check, its not 0%. I’m going to believe.”
“I’ll become stronger. I’ll become strong enough to prevent an event like that from happening. I will make sure with my own eyes. Nagumo-kun’s fate…Shizuku-chan.”
“Please help me.”
They both stared at each other. Kaori’s eyes did not show any signs of insanity. She will not give up until she genuinely find out. This kind of Kaori will not be moved. Kaori is known for being stubborn when she gets going.
Usually, you wouldn’t take what Kaori said seriously and let it go. Believing that someone could a fall into that abyss was just crazy. Everyone would try to correct her. That’s why…
“Of course, I’ll agree. Until you are satisfied I’ll tag along.”
Kaori hugged and thanked her. Shizuku said “No need more thanks. What are friends for?” The title of Samurai Girl wasn’t just for show.
At that time the door opened.
“Shizuku! Kaori woke up…”
“Oh, How are you, Kaori?”
It was Kouki and Ryutaro. They had come to check on her. Training had just finished and they choose to come here afterwards. From “that” day, they concentrated even more in training. Wonder what they thought of Hajime’s death. They reluctantly withdrew and wanted revenge. Hajime was the one that saved them from a crisis. Never will they be that useless again.
Two more people entered that caused them to stiffen. Shizuku was doubtful.
“You guys, how did…”
“W-We got in the way.”
They quickly left the room and didn’t answer her question. She finally became aware of what they saw. Kaor was staring at them blankly. Shizuku noticed the cause.
Currently, Kaori sat on Shizuku’s knee, while she had both hands on her cheeks. It looked like they were about to kiss. Shizuku was supporting Kaori but it looked like she was embracing her.
This scene looked like a Yuri scene and it was splendidly done. If this was the manga world there would be flowers blooming in the background.
Shizuku sighed deeply. She couldn’t bare the situation so she yelled.
“Hurry up and get back here! You freaking fools!
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