Along with Hajime and Yue’s words which sounded like a prayer, light explosively painted over the room as well as their consciousness. It was mainly Hajime and Yue’s strong wills supported in the alignment that were filled inside that light.
The large torrent of will made Shia and others unable to think of anything and they fell into unconsciousness, but that was only for a moment. Just before their limp bodies hit the floor, the pure white that overfilled their mind vanished like clearing mist.
Even while staggering for a bit, all present restored their postures and shook their heads. They then saw a beautiful radiance in their sight. Crimson and gold radiances that felt as if they were sucking up all the light covered every inch of the surface of that transparent key. It was a characteristic artifact that looked antique with its crystal form that had a complicated and delicate pattern and twelve exact sides―the ‘Crystal Key’.
“Wait, Hajime-san! Yue-san! Are you two okay-!”
Shia returned to her senses with a ‘hah’ and rushed toward them in a panic. Beside the Crystal Key, Hajime and Yue were lying down with their hands still holding each other while looking like they were passed out. Kaori and others were also rushing in a moment after Shia.
“Kaori-san, the two of them…”
“… Hm, they are fine. Looks like they just fainted. The cause is magic power exhaustion.”
After examining the two with a serious expression, Kaori answered with a smile towards the anxious Shia. The examination result made Tio and others breathe out in relief too.
Kaori extracted magic power from the magic crystal and gave it to both of them at the same time using the technique of magic power transfer. Then, as if to prove that her examination result was correct, Hajime and Yue leaked out groaning sounds while opening their eyes thinly.
“Aa? … What happened?”
“… Nnu. The artifact…”
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Kaori explained the situation as Hajime and Yue rose up while shaking their heads, she also handed over the Crystal Key as she explained.
“Both of you passed out from magic power exhaustion. For the moment, I divided the magic power of one magic crystal equally between both fo you. As for the artifact, I don’t really understand it but…”
“I see. Thanks, Kaori. It has been a long time since I passed out from magic power exhaustion. I didn’t really know the right amount needed, so we did it at full strength at that moment but… the next time we will be able to regulate it I think.”
“… Nn. It’s fine. I grasped the trick somehow. Though the problem is whether we can manifest a will to the degree that can be sublimed into the concept.”
Yue answered Hajime’s words while making a pondering look. Hajime examined the Crystal Key in his hand with his magic eye stone. The artifact contained the magic power that couldn’t be compared with all the other artifacts he had created until now.
“… It’s a satisfying result. I feel a large power in it. The sensation feels like the compass of guidance.”
Hajime made a satisfied smile while designating a coordinate towards a certain spot using the ‘Compass of Guidance’ for a test. Then he poured magic power into the crystal key to activate it and thrust it out to the front. Even if ‘Open the door to the desired place’ was said, but if the distance of the destination and the image of the connected place couldn’t be imagined to a certain degree, then the space wouldn’t be connected.
The thrust-out crystal key was similar like the space transfer key-shaped artifact ‘Gate Key’, it plunged into space where there was nothing and ripples spread just like the creator Hajime imagined.
However, it carried a magic power that couldn’t be compared with a ‘Gate Key’. Furthermore, different from the ‘Gate Key’ that had the coordinates fixed beforehand, there was a need to fix the space coordinate with just this one crystal key, so it took a little more time. In addition, it was sucking his magic power steadily.
Hajime frowned at the magic power that was flowing out as though the plugging cork had come out, even so, he still twisted the crystal key next. And the result was the space in front of him shook, an ellipse hole began to open.
From the hole for some reason there was beating sounds *bishi-bashi-* and captivating sound “Aan!” of a woman that were audible.
Before long, inside the gate that had opened completely…
“This shameless female pigggg. I’ll make you ascend to heaven!” (Note: The ascend to heaven should mean die/passing away in Japan, but the kanjis forming the word can also be read as rising to heaven)
“Aa! Kam-samaaa! As expected, from Shia’s honored fatherrr! Amaziiiiing!!”
The drooping figure of Arutena being lashed with an ecstatic expression on her face while the figure of Kam who was doing the lashing were displayed.
The suddenly manifested scene that looked extremely gruesome in a different meaning from the scene some time ago made Hajime and Yue’s jaws drop, as well as every other member other than Tio.
At the same time, perhaps sensing the presence of Hajime and others from across the gate, Kam was turning back with “Oh?” expression, he caught the appearances of Hajime and the others ahead of his gaze and his eyes opened wide with a snap.
“Bo, bossss!? Wh, why are boss’s gate, in this kind of place!”
“Eh? Wait, Shia! Also, Hajime-sama and group too!”
Toward the shocked Kam and Arutena, Hajime and Yue spoke with cool words.
“… Yoo. Looks like we are intruding in the middle of your fun.”
“… Nn. Who can imagine that you two are in that kind of relationship? Shia, live strong.”
“Fufu, oh my comrade, Arutena. It seems that thou found a good master.”
Ignoring Tio who was strangely joyful, Kam was “Thi, thi thi thi thi, this is misunderstanding desuu!”, he was desperately making excuses towards Hajime and Yue’s manner of speaking with a tone that was exactly like his daughter but…
There was a rabbit that returned to her senses while trembling all over. The violent emotion rising up from inside her body became undulating magic power that burst out. Shia who was standing up wordlessly took out Doryukken with a sway. And then with eyes that lost their light, she glared over at Kam and Arutena across the gate. *jakin!* Such sound was raised and the muzzle of the cannon mode for Doryukken was aimed.
“Wa, wait, Shia! You are making a severe misunderstanding! Father is by no means-“
“Shia! Kam-dono is a magnificent person, isn’t he! As expected of Shia’s honored father! I who was only trying to look at Shia’s personal effect just for a little is treated this violently! Furthermore, his strength control is exquisite!”
Kam’s desperate justification was violently smashed by Arutena smilingly. “You b*tchh, shut your mouth a bit!” Arutena’s body shuddered all over from the eye glint Kam directed at her. It appeared that it had been already too late for her.
And then it appeared that Arutena was being condemned for fishing through Shia’s left behind personal effects as she pleased. But even though there was such a circumstance which seemed plausible, Shia witnessed this abnormal scene where her flesh and blood father looked relatively high-spirited in swinging the whip against Arutena more or less? A girlfriend of the same age…
“Just die all of you-, these perverts-!”
The trigger was pulled with no questions asked. Burst slug bullets were fired. Hajime closed his eyes with a prayer so they could enter nirvana while closing the gate the moment the bullet passed. Just before the gate was completely closed, there was an explosion sound with audible “Gyaaaaa!” and “Aaaaaan!!” screams, yet there was nobody in this place who paid that attention.
“… Nn. Shia, be strong.”
“It’s fine Shia. That’s… right, that’s only a bit of momentary madness. Your father should have opened his eyes with the attack just now, surely.”
“… Hics, Yue-san, Kaori-san, thank you for your consideration desuu. But, my father surely won’t die with just that much, so before we depart to Hajime-san’s world I’ll stop his breathing first desuu … uu, I’ll make him into mince meat desuu.”
It appeared that in proportion to the amount of magic power the crystal key used it was possible to literally ‘open a door to the desired place’, the experimental use of the concept magic endowed artifact ‘Crystal Key’ which was done casually turned up a result that made a daughter resolve herself to kill her father.
“Aa, what to say, Shia? I’ll correct Kam’s fault, so anyway, stop crying.”
Shia leaped into the chest of the wryly smiling Hajime.
At the side, “Nagumo-kun and Tio-san’s relationship is not that different, though…” those words that Suzu whispered were beautifully ignored.
After that, the members whose expressions were at a loss for words because the serious atmosphere was blown away pulled themselves together as they gathered in the living room once more.
“Now then, in the first testing, there are various bad performances that stood out but…”
Hajime confirmed that everyone had sat down and he lifted up the crystal key so that everyone could see it, and then with a wide grin, he resounded those words, the words of hope.
“The method to go home is in our hands.”
At that moment, it was Suzu who was the first jumping up and expressing her joy. Lured by that, Ryuutaro raised a happy roar while making a guts pose. Shizuku and Kaori hugged each other with a wide smile. Even Kouki whose expression had been dark all this time smiled faintly.
“Even though I say that, to make a concept that will obstruct future summoning, it will be a harder compared to making a concept for going home. Especially as an aspect of the will. It seems that trial and error are going to be necessary, so we still cannot go home for a while.”
“That cannot be helped. Even so just with hearing that we can go home… that’s real… amazing. Hics, Hajime-kun, thank you…”
Kaori was moved to tears while clutching Hajime’s hand from the side tightly.
That ‘thank you’ was filled with various meanings. It was surely also including her feeling after looking at those images. About how he had survived, about how he didn’t give up not any one thing, about how he rushed to her when she was in danger, about how he got angry several times for her because she was important to him, and then now, about how he obtained the method to go back home… various meanings were really filled with that thanks.
Hajime scratched at his cheek using his hand that wasn’t clutched while shrugging his shoulders helplessly, then he gently hugged Kaori back. For a moment, Kaori’s eyes opened wide with her shock plain to see, but she quickly became all smiles and embraced back *gyuuuut* tightly. She also nuzzled her face on Hajime’s chest.
Even Yue gave an expression as if to say “Well, I’ll forgive it this once”. She shrugged her shoulders and smiled to the fawning Kaori.
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On the other hand, Shizuku was staring at Kaori with a little envy, but she instantly sent her gaze at Kouki and shook her head and her gaze became pleasant. If she had to speak her mind then she also wanted to be spoiled by Hajime, but thinking about the possibility of Kouki’s unstable mind, she restrained herself.
But, although she was reading the mood she also had resolved herself, to be honest just before this so she was scheming how to secretly get spoiled by Hajime later on. She didn’t understand whether she could overcome her shyness and properly asked to be spoiled but… at the very least she swore that she would hold his hand! She set that small objective.
Despite the fact she had already kissed his cheek, normally Shizuku was thoroughly innocent to the end.
Hajime somehow guessed Shizuku’s sentiment from her gaze where such cute ambition was residing, yet he looked the other way and gently caressed Kaori’s hair while talking about the matter from here on.
“Anyway, I’m thinking to go to meet Myuu and others while also striving to create the artifact for summoning obstruction. Opening a gate to their place is also fine but, the crystal key is something that uses magic power in proportion with the connecting of the space, so if we are going to open a gate until earth then magic power of three or four times my whole magic power is going to be necessary, that’s why I don’t want to use it as much as I can.”
By the way, the twelve surfaces crystal attached at the handle side of the crystal key had the function to store the amount of magic power that could be used to open a gate to earth once. Perhaps it should be said that it was expected from a concept magic that fuel consumption would be extremely bad.
Even the gate he experimentally opened to the sea of trees just now used up a considerable amount of the magic power Kaori restored to him. If it was transportation inside the same world, using the ‘Gate Key’ was far more convenient although it was necessary to set ‘Gate Hole’ as the destination beforehand.
By the way, ‘Gate Key’ was something developed while they were staying in the capital, so there was none put in the above sea city of Myuu and her mother Lemia. To go meet them, they would use the airship ‘Fernir’.
“Then, during that time when Suzu and others go to the territory of the devil. … since they got their hands on the age of god magic after much pain, it is possible if Suzu wants to go there she can be accompanied by a powerful monster but…”
Thanks to their well rest their magic power and vitality had almost recovered perfectly. If it was now, they could attempt to invoke age of god magic.
But, unfortunately, the inside of the ice and snow cavern only had frost type monsters. Putting aside they were inside the labyrinth where flame magic was hard to be used, it would be easy to have their weak point aimed at in the outside world. Also, their main strong point, that their regeneration ability made use of the surrounding ice, also couldn’t be expected. Saying it clearly, they were monsters that didn’t suit to follow them to the outside world. The reason why there was no frost type among Freed’s monster was also for this reason.
Hearing that, Hajime made a little thinking face and suddenly took out a ‘Gate Key’ that he threw at Suzu. In panic, Suzu’s hands moved and somehow caught it before she tilted her head.
“I and Yue will rest a little more until our magic power recovers completely. That gate key is connected at the gate hole set in Fair Bergen, so how about you try making the monsters from the Sea of Tree follow you? There are a lot of monsters there skillful in manipulating their presence. If you make them submit and strengthen them, I think they are going to be fairly useful.”
“I see… yes, Suzu will try it. Thank you, Nagumo-kun!”
Hajime waved his hand listlessly at Suzu who was smiling in delight.
As the result, Suzu and the others would go to the Sea of Trees to hunt for monster while Hajime and others were resting. Kouki went with Suzu’s group under the pretext of helping but surely that was simply because he hated to be left behind with Hajime, such hypothesis didn’t seem to be wrong looking from Kouki’s awfully complicated expression.
Furthermore, Yue, Shia, and Tio were staying behind. They weren’t going to embark to the devil territory, so it was unnecessary for them to expand their battle strength. Only Kaori who would go with Suzu’s group because she was worried for Shizuku.
After that Hajime and his group for a while focused on recovering their magic power and replenishing magic power into the magic crystal while passing the time in relaxation. Even Hajime was somewhat drifting off the calm atmosphere that he had never shown until now. He even allowed the wanting Tio to an embrace and caress, looking at Hajime who was exposing a somewhat sweet atmosphere, it was Tio herself who was the most shocked.
The procurement of the method to go home surely had granted leeway at Hajime’s heart. Tio who made a pass in the hope to get abused was unexpectedly embraced with gentle gaze and hand gesture, Tio was acting shy and fidgeting bashfully so much that it would make anyone watching want to tsukkomi “Just where has the usual pervert gone!?” while fawning at Hajime with her all.
“Muu, master is kind… I thought that being hurt was the best, but this is also not bad in its own way, or perhaps I should say that this is a frightfully happy feeling. Though it’s also embarrassing to the same degree.”
“Tio-san, if only normally you are also like this, you will be a charming female without any fault at all, yet despite so…”
“… Nn. As I thought, perhaps, Hajime should take responsibility.”
Looking at Tio who was entrusting her body on Hajime’s chest with melting expression while her face was bright red, Shia and Yue were smiling wryly while whispering. Yue’s statement made Hajime couldn’t help but smile bitterly.
“Well, after this far, if I hear Tio calling another man as master as it will really not be a good feeling in that case…”
“Ho, hou? Ma, master. Wha, what kind of meaning it has… by some possibility, similar like Shia, I too…”
“You know, like if a worthless mongrel that I’ve already got attached emotionally at suddenly wagged its tail at another guy as easily as flipping over the hand, it will feel irritating, right?”
“Nnn-, in a moment like this, to be treated like a dog… furthermore it had ‘worthless’ attached. Haa haa, to be spoiled and made to have an expectation before got abused, what an advanced technique. Haa, haa, nnaa, it’s just unbearable!”
The worthless dragon that was in heat eternally pushed her face nuzzlingly on Hajime’s chest while her lower body was rubbing close at his waist. However, looking objectively at Hajime who was continuously making such Tio delighted all the time, he was also just like her. Yue and Shia’s exasperated gazes stabbed on Hajime.
While doing such stupid thing, by the time the replenishment of magic power at all the magic crystals was over, a gate opened once more and Suzu and co went back. Behind the girls, large tiger, and wolf, and then snake and so on, monsters that were high ranked even inside the sea of trees were there. It appeared that they successfully managed to make those monsters submitted.
after that, Suzu and co increased the strength of the submitting monsters using reinforcement under the simple guidance of Yue and Tio. In addition to the help of Yue and Tio, the monsters that were considerably strengthened were attached to the collar made by Hajime. The collar had a gate hole inserted in it if Suzu and co used the gate key then they would be able to call the monsters anytime. In ordinary times, they could just leave the monsters to do as they pleased in the sea of trees or anywhere.
Like that the magic power of Hajime and Yue were also recovered, finally they were going leave the Ice and Snow Great Labyrinth. Hajime and his group would travel around all the places with people who wanted to go home together with them and the people they wanted to say goodbye to while endeavoring to create an artifact to hinder summoning. Suzu, Shizuku, Kaori, Ryuutaro, and Kouki, the five of them would head to the devil territory where Eri was located.
When they exited the ice mansion, Shia handed over a pendant that was modeled after a dripping water drop. Inside the bluish transparent stone that was like ice, the crest of Vandur Shune was hollowed. It was the proof that they had conquered the Ice and Snow Great Labyrinth. After Hajime and Yue fainted, a part of the wall inside the room melted and this proof appeared to be collected.
Receiving that, Hajime walked above the magic circle drawn on the foothold right in front of the fountain. The moment Hajime’s foot stepped into the magic circle…
Such a sound was audible and the fountain before their eyes began to freeze, it was gradually swelling up. Like that it became a huge egg-shaped ice mass that was almost ten meters, before long the expansion and freezing stopped, right after that, *barin!* such a sound was raised and the ice scattered apart.
What appeared from inside the broken remains was a dragon made from ice. A magnificent lustrous dragon that looked transparent as though it was created from crystal.
The ice dragon lowered its head directly below Hajime’s feet where its long neck made a slope. It appeared riding this ice dragon was the shortcut for this great labyrinth.
“This is also a fantastical shortcut, huh.”
“… Nn. A present?”
“This consideration is far removed from the repulsiveness of the trial’s content, isn’t it?”
Each of them let out their impression while nodding at each other, then they crossed the neck where the scales were like a bridge and rode on its back.
Immediately after, the ice dragon flapped its wings grandly and ascended in one go. The ice ceiling was approaching in the blink of an eye, but just before they crashed the ceiling melted and a hole opened, a cylinder pillar was created there.
The ice dragon didn’t drop its speed at all and charged into that path.
The sound of cutting wind resounded in their ears and chilly wind caressed their skin, “The only dragon who master can ride is just me… does master want to change rides[ even now?” while enjoying such nonsense from a certain someone, they soared inside the ice tunnel for ten-odd seconds. The ice dragon Hajime and the rest rode finally flew into the visible light of the surface.
They were thinking whether they would be let down on the ground right after that, but the ice dragon didn’t show any sign of stopping at all and continued to climb into sky. And then without stopping it charged into the cloudy sky of the Shunee Snowfield. *Boba!* With such sound, the dragon flew out and it began to elegantly soar above the cloud sea while being brilliantly illuminated by the sun.
“From the position of the sun we are heading to the northwest. … It seems that it is kindly sending us until the border of the snow field.”
“… Nn. Miledi and Meiru should follow this example.”
“I get the feeling that the female camp of the liberator is just unscrupulous.”
The west of the snowfield was the territory of the devil, at the north was Raisen’s Grand Canyon, at the east was Haltina’s Sea of Trees. Advancing at the northwest like this meant that they would be let down at a place where it would be easy to go to the devil territory or to the north continent. Furthermore, they didn’t really feel the cold air of the sky, so it seemed a simple barrier was spread from the intermediary of the ice dragon.
Indeed, they wanted to be spared from getting tossed out into the snowfield of extreme cold after conquering the great labyrinth, but after thinking about the deed of a part of the liberators, “Such consideration!” this made Hajime and others a bit emotionally moved like that.
And then Shia’s guess was surely not mistaken. A woman who was an expert in irritating people, a woman who tossed them into the sea while saying it was a shortcut, a woman who forcefully made people love cockroaches… surely the male liberators in the past was considerably made to go through hardships of this and that which were caused by those women without doubt.
While thinking of such a thing, the ice dragon was gradually beginning to lower its altitude. It appeared they had approached near the landing place. Perhaps the ice dragon couldn’t go out of the snowfield, it seemed that it wouldn’t go through the sky and brought them outside the boundary, it once more plunged into the cloudy sky.
And then it softly landed on a spot that was just a stone throw from the boundary. Hajime and others reflexively said a polite thanks to it. The ice dragon shook its tail as though to say not to mind it and once more it soared and vanished inside the snowfield.
Even while thinking gloomily about the snowfield that covered their sight, the boundary of the snowfield was just right there so Hajime and others moved with quick steps.
But, at that time, Hajime’s senses and Shia’s rabbit ears caught something. The eyes of the two narrowed dangerously.
“Everyone, be on guard. Various things are happening outside the boundary.”
Hajime’s caution made nervousness run through them. Everyone held their weapon in hand while coming out at the other side of the blizzard that blocked their sight.
Over there was…
“As expected you all are coming out from here. It’s the same like my time… And, has every one of you conquered the labyrinth? Oh, white-haired young man.”
“Fufu, Kouki-kun. Long time no see. Are you healthy?”
A white dragon that was two-sizes bigger and Freed that was riding above it, a lot of monsters that were mainly grey dragons, Eri who spread wings of gray magic power, and then, there must be a few hundred of them, many women with the same face growing silver wings ‘the apostle of true god’―Nointo, they all were lying in wait.
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