The sensation that felt like drifting at the bottom of dark water was gradually brightening. Faint light began to turn visible from behind closed eyelids, the ears that were soaked in silence began to catch noises.
“Open you――, Hajime――”
Multiple voices that seemed to feel desperate naturally shook Hajime’s consciousness. An awful sense of weariness made Hajime want to give an exaggerated cliché speech like “Five more years”, but he somehow swallowed back that impulse and awoke.
At the same time, the warmth enveloping his body was permeating gently to his core, it was sweeping away his weariness while producing vitality like a fuel poured into an engine.
Due to that, while feeling his consciousness rapidly surfacing, Hajime quietly opened his eyes.
Right away in his sight, there were several faces reflected in a circle like a roulette board. If a man of the world went through the same experience, he surely couldn’t help but to whisper “Aa, I’m dead. This place is heaven…” because of the beautiful women, beautiful girl, and beautiful little girl that lined up there.
Myuu, Shia, Kaori, Tio, Shizuku, each of them called Hajime’s name with their respective way of calling along with a sigh of relieve. Without exception, at the corner of the girls’ eyes, something shining gathered. Surely, they were greatly worried.
“… aa. I made you all worry. My damage… Kaori huh. Thank you.”
“It’s fine. Something like that doesn’t matter. I’m really glad. Your heart even stopped for a moment there……hics, really, I’m really glad…”
“S, so my heart stopped. … That makes me, even more grateful.”
“Good grief desu. If it wasn’t Kaori-san, just what would happen there… really, Hajime-san was too reckless desu”
From the words of Kaori who was overcome with emotion and began to cry, Hajime guessed that he was quite in a pickle just now, with cramped cheeks he expressed his gratitude. To such a Hajime, Shia tightly hugged his one remaining arm while huffing in anger.
“… Really my bad. I’m not going to run wild anymore.”
“Papa, you are fine already?”
“Yeah. … Myuu too, I’m sorry. I showed you something uncool. Also, thanks. For stopping papa. Myuu, you are already far stronger than papa, huh.”
“Ehehe. Myuu is papa’s daughter nano~. That’s why that’s only obvious nano”
Myuu showed a really wide smile while pressing her face at Hajime’s chest and nuzzling there. It seemed that other than feeling proud, she was also feeling embarrassed from getting praised. Hajime used his right hand that was liberated by Shia and gently caressed Myuu’s head.
“Well, at any rate. The most important thing is that Goshujin-sama is safe. It’s vexing that I couldn’t do the ‘mouth to mouth’ though…”
“You, just what were you trying to do while I was wandering between the border of life and death…”
“Oi, Yaegashi. Why are you looking away with an awkward face?”
“No, nothing, it’s not like I wanted to kiss or a, ny, nything you know?”
Shizuku looked plenty agitated. Around the time when she spoke about kissing, it made it impossible already to even try to use artificial respiration as an excuse, but it seemed the person herself didn’t notice. Hajime spontaneously wanted to insert a tsukkomi there, “Where has the Yamato Nadeshiko gone?” like that.
Looking carefully, Shia and Kaori were also turning their gaze beyond, their worried faces just now had gone somewhere else.
It appeared that it ended only with an attempt, but it seemed that everyone had the feeling of wanting to attack Hajime in his sleep. Considering how Hajime awoke right after the healing, and the devils were still kneeling with perplexed expressions, it, fortunately, seemed like not much time had passed since Hajime lost consciousness.
Although, all in all, Hajime noticed how this joking atmosphere was purposefully created. By all rights, there should be one more person here, an important companion who usually emitted a sense of presence that no one could ignore should be here.
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She wasn’t here――the one who was hurt by that fact wasn’t just Hajime. Even so, Shia and the others acted in their own capacity to be considerate to Hajime, so that his heart wouldn’t be lonely and break, they supported him with a clowning antic atmosphere like this.
(Really, this is just pathetic for me. This ‘me’ that was so hung up on Yue that I got supported by these girls, to give up everything by myself… )
Not just Hajime, even Yue, before at the Ice and Snow Cavern she was beaten into shape by Shia. Surely not just Shia, even Kaori, and others also supported and saved them.
This journey began only with the two of them at the bottom of the abyss with the resolve to turn the world into an enemy. But before they realized it, those that would try to protect monstrous people like them had gathered so many.
Coming here, Hajime strongly felt this obvious thing once again. The memory of bitter defeat was repainted by the smile of his reliable comrades. He quietly made a vow. He looked up to the sky and thought of his beloved who was waiting for him there.
Looking at such a Hajime who was making a hard to describe expression where pain and resolve were tangled with each other, Shia and the others immediately opened their mouths to call him…
However, as expected, the little girl with remarkable growth easily beat the lined up female camp to the punch.
“Papa, it’s fine nano.”
The sudden words made Hajime tilt his head, in contrast, Myuu showed a smile that looked a little bit like an ‘Onee-san’. That smile somehow made him feel déjà vu, yes…
(By any chance, is she, mimicking Yue?)
Before this, when she stepped forward into a dangerous ground in order to stop Hajime, Myuu mimicked Hajime and wrung out her courage. Inside the short but dense time that they spent together, Myuu obtained one kind of strength. But the thing that Myuu obtained wasn’t only from Hajime.
While the people themselves weren’t aware, it seemed that Myuu was absorbing various things from Yue who was always snuggling by Hajime’s side with her heart connected to him. It appeared that Myuu thought if it was for encouraging Hajime, then she just needed to be like ‘Yue-oneechan’!
Really, toward that encouragement from his gallant daughter, Hajime’s expression also slackened slowly.
But, Hajime was still underestimating Myuu. Myuu’s lexicon who had come this far looking at Hajime and the others didn’t seem to have the word of compromise or halfway. If you do something, do it thoroughly! As though to say that, Myuu sent a straightforward gaze and with that hand that was small like a maple leaf she propped up Hajime’s cheek.
“In place of Yue-oneechan, Myuu will make papa energetic nano!”
“No, Myuu, what are yoooou!?”
Hajime was still lying down so he couldn’t draw back, his hand was propped on Myuu’s back so he also couldn’t pin her down, Hajime who couldn’t stop her had his lips――corner (he barely averted his face) came into contact *muchuuu!* with Myuu’s lips. It was a childish kiss with her lips pointed like an octopus, but a kiss was a kiss.
“ “ “Aa~~~!!” “ “
“Hmm, far from just us, to even take Goshujin-sama by surprise… Myuu, what a terrifying child!”
The shriek of Shia, Kaori, and Shizuku and Tio’s off-point admiration resounded. Hajime didn’t see because he was closely surrounded by Shia and others, but Aiko and others seemed to be also right behind Shia and company making a crowd, as their screams were also raised. It went without saying just who was it that was screaming.
Due to the immediate evasion that he somehow performed, Hajime at least avoided the abnormal situation of becoming the partner of a young girl. Furthermore, it was his daughter’s first kiss, although for the people around it seemed that it didn’t really matter.
If looked from the side, it was a scene of Hajime getting pushed down by a little girl and then kissed with her all. It was understandable. What was fearsome was the reproduction ratio of Myuu’s imitation of Yue. Or else was it the eroticism of the vampire princess that often pushed down Hajime that Myuu could copy it…
But, at that time, in the hall that was displaying the hellish situation, a nonchalant voice resounded as though it didn’t read the situation or place.
“My my, well well. Even for my daughter, that is really bold. But you see, Myuu. Myuu is the daughter, that’s why you must not aim at the lips. Husband’s lips belong to mama, you know?”
“Just who is the ‘husband’ and what’s with that ‘belong to mama’ desu-! Please don’t slip into the confusing and act like a married couple!”
Unnoticed Remia had twisted in her body beside Shia and prattled such thing. Shia vigorously put her tsukkomi there.
Myuu who was wrenched away by a panicked Kaori pouted her lips in dissatisfaction. “No~! Myuu is doing chuu with papa nano! It’s at the mouth nano!” She threw a tantrum on top of Hajime.
From the classmates who gathered at slightly distanced spot something like “His poisonous fang even went to that kind of small child… Sex maniac demon king” or “… Lolicon” or “That kind of thing, with father and daughter… that’s too abnormal-“ or “Nagumo-san, that’s seriously screwed up -su” were audible, but Hajime didn’t hear anything at all, truly. He was making an expression that made even the devils shudder, but he said that he wasn’t bothered and so he wasn’t bothered.
Hajime pulled himself together and made a serious expression while raising his upper body. And then with his gaze, he somehow mentally conveyed about taking care of Myuu to Remia.
Eventually, Myuu would surely need some education. At this rate, she would grow into a high spec girl in various meanings imitating all of them, smiling fearlessly while picking a fight (Note: Shia, I think), normally acting innocent (Note: Shizuku), not forgetting to be gentle and considerate to others (Note: Kaori), but scattering charm everywhere on a whim (Note: Yue). Hajime wanted so that Myuu absolutely wouldn’t learn from the remaining person who was a matchless pervert.
Hajime shook his head as though to sweep away an unpleasant imagination, and then he suddenly performed transmutation and created a sword that looked like a katana from the stone floor.
It was slender and made from stone, but using compression transmutation it had high density and super heavyweight. Also, wind claw was enchanted on it so the surrounding of the blade looked to be faintly swaying, as a stone katana that was made improvised it possessed an abnormal intimidating air.
The eyes of Shia and the others turned around from Hajime’s sudden act, and then Hajime’s gaze turned to the devils which made them stiffen slightly in nervousness.
Toward Kaori who called to him with a worried voice, Hajime stood up while sending her a glance. After that, he turned his gaze at Myuu who was staring fixedly at him from inside Remia’s arms. Hajime shrugged his shoulders while lightly chuckling, implicitly conveying “It’s fine”.
There was no emptiness in Hajime’s eyes, recognizing that he was drifting off his usual air of aloofness, Kaori and others sighed in relieve. Myuu also smiled widely.
Hajime confirmed that and turned on his heel, while everyone was watching him attentively, he stood up imposingly in front of the devils.
“Now then, I don’t really have any expectation, but there is something that I must ask you guys. If you don’t know then I don’t mind, but I won’t tolerate any falsehood or silence. Of course, it’s your personal freedom to be stubborn… know that the compensation will be expensive. If the person beside you is important then be honest.”
Hajime tapped the stone katana on his shoulder while threatening naturally. Behind him, he could hear someone among the classmates whispered “It’s just like a thug…” but he ignored it.
“I, if we answer, will you let us live?”
“Aa? You think you are in a position where you can negotiate? Something like that is obviously depending on my mood. You better endeavor your best to rub your hands together with a smile while talking. We here got thoroughly aimed with killing intent by the devil race with that Freed at the top of the list. Right now, you should be bawling in tears and be grateful instead, just by me letting you all live like this.”
From behind a whisper of “This is not really different from before, is it?” could be heard but Hajime ignored it.
Hajime opened his mouth while glaring at the surviving devils who went quiet.
“Spit out what you know regarding the Holy Precincts. Also, I remember you guys saying something like wanting Kaori… the apostle to open the Divine Gate, but can an apostle open the Divine Gate alone?”
That question was answered with hesitation by a devil who seemed to be the father who covered his child before this.
“Regarding the Holy Precincts, we only heard that it was a paradise for us, the devil race. If we can be welcomed there, we heard that we can become an even more excellent race. There is also something like prospering even more in the new land… I don’t understand much about the Divine Gate. It’s just, we only thought that perhaps if it’s the apostle-sama, then she could do something somehow…”
“Aa? That’s all you got? You aren’t trying to trick me here, are you? Your faith and your child, what you can protect is just one between the two just so you know, eh.”
Hajime lightly slapped the stone katana on the cheek of the man. The young boy hugged by the man shrieked “hii” while sending Hajime a gaze of terror.
From behind a whisper of “No matter how you see it, that’s a yakuza…” was audible but Hajime beautifully ignored it. Further the whisper of “Papa, that’s so cool!” from Myuu and a shocked voice of “Eh!? It’s fine like that!?” were raised, but those too were masterfully ignored.
“It, it’s true! I, it’s not like that question tests my faith or anything so I don’t lie in this! Even more, this concerns my child’s life here! Really, other than this, I don’t know anything!”
“Chih, useless. What about the other?”
“N, no, anything, more than that is…”
“Me, me too…”
“Ple, please, at least only my child’s life-“
Hajime once more tapped his stone katana on his shoulder *tap tap* while his eyes narrowed in displeasure, it made the devils tremble with fear and beg for their lives. From behind a whisper of “No matter how you look, the villain is Nagumo…” was audible but it was godly ignored.
“Haa, can’t be helped huh. It’s different matter if it’s Freed’s aide or perhaps a soldier, but civilian is just that, yeah.”
Even while sighing deeply, Hajime didn’t look that discouraged. He then shook his head once and quietly narrowed his eyes. “No way, are we going to be cut down just like this!?” The devils thought that and their bodies twitched in shivers.
Red sparks ran around them. But, right after they imagined the worst, the stone floor around them transformed and became a cage in a few seconds.
“For the time being stay quiet there. If you think of something no good and get troublesome… you got it right?”
Space magic was enchanted on the cage, fixing it in the space itself, it was impossible to escape from there with average strength. Making that cage to imprison the devils in other words also meant that they wouldn’t have even their lives taken. Understanding that, the devils sighed in relief, although their nervousness was still there.
The classmates too, although it was the devil race, they were glad that this ended without them needing to see the scene of scared children getting slaughtered before their eyes.
As for Hajime, although he had recovered his sanity, he had the thought to just cut down these devils who tried to kill Hajime and the others so they could go to Holy Precincts, but…
As expected, although eighty percent of it was that Hajime returned to his sanity, Myuu had also put her body at risk to protect them. Just simply killing them felt wrong. To say nothing of how in the middle of the drifting atmosphere of “There shouldn’t be any slaughtering of unresisting people anymore… there won’t be any right?”, if he said something like “Eh? I’m going to normally massacre them but, is there any problem?” and carried it out… undoubtedly the atmosphere would die. Surely it would become an incomparably unbearable atmosphere there.
And so, with the intention of quickly lopping off their necks if they made any stupid movements, for the time being, Hajime put the matter regarding the treatment to the devils on hold.
Hajime turned his back to the imprisoned devils and returned to Shia and the others. And then, he performed a transmutation that was the most conspicuous from everything until now and in the blink of an eye, he created a table and chairs according to the number of people.
“For the time being, all of you sit down. Let’s talk about the matter from here on.”
Shia and the others nodded powerfully at those words while the classmates were taking their breaths with bewilderment.
By the way, there were two table sets. The side where Hajime, Shia, Kaori, Tio, Shizuku, Suzu, Ryutaro, then Aiko, Liliana, Remia, and Myuu gathered. The classmates other than those people were at the other. Although Myuu was throwing a tantrum that it was better to be on Hajime’s lap, Remia who read the atmosphere held Myuu in her arms.
Putting aside the displeased Myuu, Hajime looked over all present with a serious gaze and opened his mouth.
“First, sorting the information. The god that introduced himself as Ehito took over Yue’s body, but, if Ehito’s words are true then to completely grasp that body at the very least will take three days.”
Once Hajime cut off his words, everyone made a pained expression. Everyone understood well just how much Hajime treasured Yue coupled with his rampage just now, so they couldn’t help but sympathize with him.
Although, Shia and Kaori, Tio, and then Shizuku were returning strong gazes that didn’t shake for even a bit.
Inside the girls’ minds, the recovery of Yue was already determined fact. They believed that they would take her back without fail. That was why there was no reason to be gloomy or behave seriously. The joking conversation and frivolous talk from before this were also mostly displaying that attitude.
Shia continued after Hajime’s words.
“To take back Yue-san, we have to go to this Holy precinct they mentioned, is it? But, that golden gate didn’t let Hajime-san pass. If the people who can pass through are limited by Ehito, then a different plan is necessary desu.”
“You’re right. … We needed either obtaining a different method to go to the Holy Precincts, or possibly a method that can break through the Divine Gate that is expected to manifest at the large invasion three days later.”
“Hmm, as for the method to go directly… Goshujin-sama. As expected, the crystal key…”
Tio asked Hajime. To that, Hajime sighed deeply while shaking his head.
“No good. It was together in the treasure warehouse. Indeed, if we have that it will be surely possible to directly ride into the Holy Precincts but… without Yue, at best, perhaps I can make a degraded version of it.”
Aiko and the others who didn’t know about crystal key tilted their head, so Shizuku who was at Aiko’s side explained with a pained look. Actually, Hajime had already obtained the method to return to earth. Aiko and the classmates who were told that quieted down, a moment later the audience hall was filled with shocked voices.
“You guys are noisy. Either way, it was destroyed so there is no meaning. Don’t make a fuss.”
“But, but, even though perhaps we can finally go home…”
“That’s right! Can’t you make it one more time somehow!?”
“I beg you, Nagumo! Show us your guts!”
Sonobe, Imura, and Tamai sent Hajime pleading words. The other classmates also made a loud ruckus while sending Hajime imploring gazes.
The gaze of Hajime who scowled in irritation went toward the table of the classmates in strain. Aiko who got a really bad premonition let out a scolding in panic.
“Everyone, be quiet! Please don’t make a fuss! Calm down!”
“Bu, but Aiko-chan-sensei…”
Toward Aiko who was hopping up and down while remonstrating them, the students quieted down for the moment. Even so, the students who were in the mental state like a horse that had a carrot dangled in front of their eyes were mumbling their mouth wanting to say something.
Aiko talked toward them who were like that in a very kind and detailed way.
“Listen well, everyone. Sensei really understand how you all are feeling, but please listen to Nagumo-kun’s words calmly. The artifact for going home was already lost, to make that one more time, Yue-san’s power is necessary. Even if all of you make a fuss here, that truth won’t change.”
“However, the possibility that Nagumo is lying because he prioritizes taking back the girl is…”
“Nagumo-kun won’t lie like that! … He won’t. … He won’t, you know? … He will… … not won’t you?”
For some reason, after Aiko strongly objected, she was gradually losing momentum and directed a troubled gaze at Hajime. As might be expected from someone who had been made to experience various things using the name of the ‘Goddess of Harvest’, Aiko noticed that she couldn’t declare that Hajime wouldn’t lie in the middle and her confidence was gone.
Hajime in his heart gripped ‘Keep pushing through right there!’ to Aiko, but it was also him reaping what he sowed, so Hajime stopped with only making a scowl. Hajime let out merciless words at the classmates who were not in a calm state from the sudden good news and the disappointment that followed right after.
“I’m not lying, I guess. Either way, I don’t have any intention to waste my time just so you guys can go home. After this, I will focus all my strength in taking back Yue after all. Going home is secondary.”
‘No way-!’ The classmates began to clamor once more, but Hajime’s ‘Coercion’ that he released forcefully shut them up while he spoke out the words that made them reconfirm the current situation.
“Besides, you lot, if you can go home right away then what are you going to do afterward, huh? If the sheetty god isn’t murdered, his next target is earth, you know? That’s just meaningless.”
“Uu, now that you say that…”
“Certainly, he said something like that…”
“Damn it all… just leave us alone already.”
Hajime’s words made the classmates covered their face, falling prostrated on the table, or grieving. Giving a glance at them who were like that, Hajime brought the talk back on track.
“And so. Returning to the talk, if it is with a degraded version of the crystal key perhaps it’s possible to break through that Divine Gate. It’s vexing but… there is nothing to do but wait until the large invasion three days from now when the apostles reappear.”
“it will be easier if Ehito is worried when Aruvheit doesn’t come back and he come out himself from the other side, though…”
Kaori murmured that, but the possibility seemed low. Ehito most likely wouldn’t come out until he became able to completely control the body, and the time that he was able to do that would be the time of the large invasion. In that case, it didn’t change that it would be the other side who came and this side who had to go to them.
“… Before talking about that, can we win, I wonder?”
The one who murmured that was Suzu. She was looking down and a thick shadow covered her face. Surely, she was remembering when they were unable to do any single thing when facing Ehito.
Everyone made a complicated expression. In the middle of that, it was Hajime who easily answered.
Suzu objected at that light tone with a slightly sullen expression.
“… even though you couldn’t do anything towards him?”
“Yeah. Even so, I’ll win the next time.”
“How, can you say that-! He can do anything to us just with a word, his magic is powerful without compare. To make matters worse, the apostles, Freed, monsters… and Eri… even Kouki-kun are on the other side… that guy is genuinely a monster, you know?”
It appeared Suzu’s heart was almost breaking a little bit. Eri who she wished to be reunited with didn’t listen to her at all. Far from that, she was thrown into confusion easily and unable to do anything. Actually, the monsters that she summoned using the simple gate in the middle of battle were also instantly killed by the apostles.
Although it couldn’t be denied that she was still not used to metamorphosis magic, even the age of god magic that she finally obtained with great pain ended up as nothing. Suzu was gritting her teeth from her powerlessness.
And then above all, the illusion that Ehito put her into――at that time, Suzu and the others tasted the sensation of being torn into pieces within an instant that felt so real they mistook it for reality. Their hands and legs severed with blood spraying everywhere, and while they tumbled down and fell down, their upper body and lower body separated, their shoulders fell, and last their neck went flying.
The sensation of an invisible sword caressing from outside to inside, even now Suzu could remember it. She remembered it clearly. Ryuutaro and Shizuku were also the same. They patted their necks and limbs with expressions of discomfort. They also didn’t have any sensation in their own limbs for a while. Amidst such a situation, the mental strength of Shizuku who went as far as undoing her binding curse and recovered her movement to fight was worthy of praise.
But, for Suzu, remembering the fear she felt of being dead while alive was something that was hard to endure. Just from thinking that she might be made to feel that one more time made her body naturally wither.
Hajime said without even any care to such a Suzu.
Suzu reflexively looked up. Hajime continued.
“The opponent is a monster? We are outnumbered? Will something like that become any kind of obstacle?”
“Yo, you ask if it will become an obstacle… of course it…”
“Do you forget? When I was called incompetent by you guys, I fell into the abyss and crawled up until here, you know?”
Suzu was spontaneously befuddled. The classmates who looked down with an expression of despair thinking there was no way they could win against god also raised their faces.
“There was nobody helping, there was also no food. The surrounding was teeming with monsters. What’s more, I also got no talent with magic, even my left hand was gone… But, I survived.”
The audience hall became as still as death. Everyone was naturally listening closely to Hajime’s words.
“This is the same thing. Whether the opponent is a god or his army, doesn’t matter… Right now, I’m alive. That guy missed his chance to kill me. In addition, he also gave us the information himself.”
Hajime’s eyes were shining fiercely, blazing with killing intent. The corner of his mouth was lifted up, his canine was bared as though he was going to bite his enemy to death. That savage appearance that made anyone hallucinate a wild wolf aiming for its prey. A sound of someone gulping their saliva resounded.
“I’ll steal Yue back, and kill that guy. It’s time to change the attacker and defensive sides. I am the hunter, that guy is the prey. I’ll chase him until the end of the world and make him raise a scream of death and agony. I’ll teach that self-proclaimed god who believed without a doubt that he was special, just who is the monster here.”
Hajime sent his gaze that was still fiercely glaring at Suzu. Then, Hajime asked Suzu who for some reason blushing even while trembling.
“Taniguchi. If you said that it’s impossible already for you then close your eyes and plug your ears. I’ll make all these ends, everything.”
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Those words weren’t Hajime’s consideration for Suzu. It was the reverse. Those words were testing Suzu. Those words asked her whether it was fine if it ended like this. Where she still couldn’t say what she wanted to say satisfactorily. Where the other party still didn’t even look at her. If Suzu said that she was fine with that, then while she was closing her eyes and plugging her ears, everything――including dealing with Eri, would be finished by Hajime.
Saying it in reverse, as long as Suzu was still standing up then Hajime would let her do as she pleased about the matter of Eri.
Hajime’s gaze was also further directed at Ryuutaro and Shizuku.
Both of them noticed the implicit words filled in that gaze. Namely, whether they would leave the matter of Kouki to Hajime, or would they do something themselves. Those choices were entrusted to them. Naturally, in case they left it to Hajime, there was only the one choice of obliteration. That too was also clearly conveyed to the two.
There was silence for a while. Hajime’s severe words and atmosphere made the classmates lose their words. If there were people who shrunk back in fear from that, then there were also people who directed sparkling bright gazes or people who stared with blushing cheeks, or people whose expression turned into a face that concealed some kind of determination.
Among them, the first one who opened her mouth was Suzu. With a gloomy and weak atmosphere until just now blown away, she stared back straight at Hajime with a determined look.
“That’s unnecessary you know, Nagumo-kun. Leave the matter of Eri and also Kouki to Suzu. Because I’ll walk to where they are whether it’s the Holy Precincts or where ever!”
While emitting the air of the usual mood she made, Suzu grinned fearlessly.
As though getting triggered by such girl, the quiet Ryuutaro raised a roar.
“DAAAAAAAAA-! Yosh-, I have enough acting wishy-washy like this! I ain’t gonna let only Nagumo and Suzu be the one that keeps acting cool! I’m gonna beat up that stupid idiot Kouki and make him return to his senses, yeah!”
Ryuutaro punched his fist in his other hand’s palm in front of his chest and made a similar fearless smile. It seemed that this muscle brain was actually also plainly feeling down. His best friend was turned to the enemy side, and when even Suzu showed a slight resistance, he himself was unable to resist the binding curse and the illusion. He lost his confidence feeling that he was worthless, but now it seemed he was already fine.
Looking at that, Shizuku “Fufufu” chuckled.
“I guess. That idiot Kouki needs to be punished hard, not just hard but really haa~rd, also my feeling won’t be cleared without knocking down that irritating grin on Eri… Be, besides, if it’s the place where Nagumo-kun is going, I intend to follow no matter where it is… not just now, but from here on too, okay…”
Looking at Shizuku who was saying that kind of thing while stealing glances at Hajime with blushing cheeks, the classmates sent her a suspecting glance. They didn’t know about Shizuku’s feeling, so they never even in their wildest imagination thought that even Shizuku who was one of the two great beauties of their class would be felled.
No, it seemed that with Nagayama’s party and Sonobe’s group of Ai-chan protection squad as first in the list, several students――especially the girl students had sensitively guessed it. And then, after they alternately stared at Shizuku and Hajime with a little surprise, they then nodded as though in comprehension of something.
A part of the girls went “It’s Don Juan. He is the Don Juan of the modern times. … Nagumo-kun is just too dreadfulll” with blushing cheeks while sending glancing looks at Hajime, but right now was a serious time so Hajime ignored it. (EN: Hajime’s ignore has become the 8th God’s Age Magic)
“I see. Then the one that will enter into the Holy Precincts will be us and Taniguchi, then Sakagami… well. It’s just the usual members recent, I guess. If Amanogawa comes out at the other side then you guys do as you like. However… I’m not going to allow any halfhearted effort.”
“Yep, thank you Nagumo-kun.”
Suzu and Ryuutaro said their thanks cheerfully. Hajime waved his hand lazily to tell them to not mind it while moving on to the next talk. But, there Liliana called for a halt.
“Sa, say~, Nagumo-san, can I speak for a bit?”
“Hm? What is it, princess.”
“You see. At the time of the great invasion, Hajime-san, and the others, the strongest battle force will ride into the Holy Precincts, while all of you are there, what should the capital who receives the attack… if Ehito-sama’s words are correct then they will come from the God Mountain as the origin, right? Thinking about the strength of the apostle, it’s unthinkable that even the great barrier will be able to hold out for long… is there something, a way to temporarily seal the Divine Gate?”
It was a natural worry for a princess of Hairihi Kingdom. If the apostle’s disintegration ability was used in full, even the great barrier wouldn’t hold out for long. To say nothing of fighting the apostle honestly from the front, the only one who could do that was someone like Hajime. It was unknown how long it would take until Hajime and others could beat Ehito, but during that time it was clear as day that at the very least a great number of people would be slaughtered.
Hajime who was looked at with pleading gaze nodded once.
“I was thinking to talk about that now.”
“And what do you have to say?”
“I cannot stomach that Ehito. That’s why, from here on, I’m not going to let anything, not a single thing, go according to that guy’s plan. I don’t care what will happen to the people of this world but… nevertheless, it’s extremely unpleasant if I let that guy laugh loudly in his dying moments thinking of all the people he slaughtered. That’s why, whether it is his apostles or underlings, Freed or all those monsters, wholesale slaughter is on the menu for all of them. Everything that guy has, even his expectation that he has, I’ll wreck them all thoroughly to the root and branch.”
‘Ku-ku-ku’ Looking at Hajime who was actually chuckling with a crooked face made the classmates draw back. Even Liliana who asked him was making a cramped face. Although, as expected, there were some of the girls who were staring at Hajime with red cheeks and heated expressions.
“E, err, in other words, are you saying that you will be able to do something about the invading large army of apostles?”
“Let’s see. Putting aside the detail of the concrete method for later. For now, what I’m thinking is to freely share my artifacts. I’ll super strengthen the common soldiers, adventurers, and the mercenaries. I’ll equip everyone with a weapon, I also planned to implement anti-aircraft weapons. We only have three days so it will be severe, but about that, you guys will also cooperate, right?”
When Hajime looked around, powerful nods were returned conveying that naturally, they would cooperate. Unexpectedly, even several of the students whose hearts had broken and withdrew from battle also sent him powerful gazes. Perhaps they were provoked by Hajime’s strong fighting spirit.
Liliana closed her eyes while pondering. After a beat, she opened her mouth.
“I think there will be pandemonium from the apostle’s attack, but fortunately, when we were kidnapped they were only focusing on that so there should not be that much damage to the soldiers and knights. However, even so, I think there is a limit of the battle strength that we can mobilize within three days. Whether they will be enough against the mighty apostle as the opponent or not is… in addition, even for argument’s sake we can gather the number, can Nagumo-san prepare powerful artifacts that can even oppose the apostle in that many numbers?”
“Yeah, I can. About the number of people, we will use the gate and gather them from various places. For that sake, while I’m preparing the artifacts, you guys have to fly around the world to all the places.”
“Gate, is it? Goshujin-sama. Weren’t all the artifacts hath been destroyed already?”
Tio tilted her head while asking. Certainly, the key hole type artifact ‘Gate Hole’ was installed all over the world so they were safe, but the essential key type artifact ‘Gate Key’ to open the gate was stored inside the ‘Treasure Warehouse’, so it was supposed to be destroyed together.
Indeed, if they could use a gate then it would be easy to gather battle forces from all over the world within three days, but…
“Actually, things like items that cannot be replaced or several important things, before we passed through the gate at the border of Shunee snow field, I transferred them behind, inside the ground.”
“What! Then, the gate key too?”
“Yeah. In case something happened, so that Myuu and others can escape I brought the crystal key that can be used effectively here but that backfired, but… items like the compass, the proof of dungeon conquer, and the remaining god water… of course, the gate key too should be buried there. Ah, also, Kaori’s former body too. It’s underground so it must be relatively cold, I think it will be okay but… if we don’t dig it out quickly the ice will melt and it will turn into a grave.”
“Re, retrieve it-! If we don’t hurry to retrieve it-! My body will…”
When Hajime talked about Kaori’s former body, everyone’s expression turned into realization. If Hajime didn’t prepare for the unexpected situation, right about now Kaori’s body would be dust. It was a fine play from Hajime.
Although, Kaori couldn’t help but become fretful when the grave was mentioned. Hajime stroked the flustered Kaori to calm her down.
“I see, I understand well. … However, there is one more problem. As expected, if we speak that the world might end three days later, just how many people will believe that and gather… to say nothing of how what we will fight the apostles. In the worst case, there is the possibility that we will be the bad guys…”
Liliana was making a complicated expression while pointing out even more issues. But, it seemed that in regard to those too, Hajime happened to have the answer in hand.
“Regarding that, I think we can manage somehow. We will have Kaori or Tio to use regeneration magic.”
Liliana tilted her head. In contrast, Kaori guessed what Hajime wanted to say and clapped her hand.
“You mean ‘regenerating’ the scene of the past isn’t it? Just like what we experienced at the great labyrinth of Merujiine.”
“That’s right. Regenerate of what happened here and preserve it in an artifact for image recording. Then show it to the upper brass of every place. The guys that we had met and talked with until now… Catherine of Brook, Iruwa of Fuhren, Roa of Holuad, Ranzi of Ankaji, Alfrerick of Fea Belgen, Gahard of the empire, if it’s those guys then they won’t doubt us. It will be easy to gather the battle force.”
Naturally, princess Liliana of the kingdom and the guild master of the adventurer guild were also included. Even in this world, they were all key people with power.
Despite saying that he had no interest in the people of this world, he had an extravagant line-up of connections. While feeling dizzy at the mentioned names who she knew were quite the big shots, Liliana thought that indeed if it was those members, then they would surely treat this seriously.
“Next is… that’s right. It’s better if we also use sensei to give incitement.”
“Ee!? M, me!? No, wait, incitement!?”
Aiko who suddenly had the talk turned to her trembled. Toward such an Aiko, Hajime raised his voice loudly.
“Now, stand up everybody! We will smash the ambition of the evil fake Ehito who dared to falsify himself as the virtuous Ehito-sama and manipulate fake apostles, who right now is about to trample this world! Fight together with this messenger of god, the ‘Goddess of Harvest’! Something like that. Do your best.”
“Do your best, that’s not it! Just what is with that speech! How can you say those kinds of words so smoothly… it’s Nagumo-kun who is the great agitator here.”
“Don’t mind the little thing here sensei. The seed we sprinkled is almost blooming. Then isn’t it fine if we water and grow it up, and then harvest all the yummy crops? As might be expected from a farmer.”
“Just who was the one who did all that…”
Aiko stared fixedly at Hajime with an exasperated face. It was also like this in the town of Ur, Aiko was convinced that Hajime absolutely possessed the talent of an agitator.
It seemed that the classmates were also of the same opinion. They somehow got the vision of Hajime in front of stars dangling manipulating string down while chuckling with a cool pose, “Eh? Isn’t this the same like Ehito?” they were tilting their heads pondering. Though several of the girls were whispering “Nagumo… no, Hajime-sama…” with red cheeks, but here they must return to their sanity immediately.
Hajime smiled wryly at Aiko who although she realized that the method was effective and understood that this had to be done, but for some reason, she wasn’t fully accepting it.
“This is a battle that will become an all out war of humanity. Even if the battle force is gathered but a mere disorderly crowd will be meaningless. A powerful leader is necessary. And someone like a king of a country will be insufficient for that. The only one who can do this is just Aiko-sensei. Really please.”
Hajime’s words made Aiko twitched for a moment. Since a while ago she kept trembling. It was as though she was a small animal. And then such an Aiko who was like a small animal, for some reason she began to send glancing looks at Hajime while fidgeting. And then, she timidly asked the doubtful Hajime.
“Na, Nagumo-kun. Just now, at the end there, what did you say?”
“Hm? Really please…”
“N, no, not that……about me, you called me, A, Aiko-sensei weren’t you?”
“… Is there, any problem?”
“N, no. Nagumo-kun, usually you only call me ‘sensei’ so…”
“Is that so?”
Hajime tilted his head. Aiko was fidgety, or rather she was being bashful while she opened her mouth with looking up eyes.
“You did. … That… can you, say that just now, one more time?”
“… Just now, about the last bit?”
“Yes. However, this time, say it without ‘sensei’…”
Hajime’s cheeks were cramping. At the same time, the small animal who kept glancing at him with an upward glance while blushing at the opposite seat made him wanted to put a tsukkomi whether she understood her own standpoint and the surrounding situation.
Aiko’s ‘coaxing’ made the classmates to make a fuss. “Eh, what is this?” or “What, this atmosphere…” or “I, it’s a lie right…” or “Hajime-sama… as expected” Murmurs like those could be heard. Incidentally, the sound of grinding teeth was resounding from the lot of Ai-chan protection squad.
Perhaps because of nervousness, but the voice of the surrounding didn’t reach Aiko. If she was speaking like this understanding everything… then how terrifying that was. That was because Ai-chan had thrown to the winds various things to charge until this far. Doing something like abandoning her teacher self had the risk of collapsing her identity. Hajime could only pray that she wasn’t acting like this while knowing that it should not be.
However it was also a problem for her to lose strength just before the final battle, having said that, it didn’t seem like any deception would work on the current Aiko who was running wild. Even when he sent his gaze at Shia, Kaori, and Shizuku, everyone was only smiling wryly and didn’t send him any lifeboat. He wished that they wouldn’t sympathize with the complicated heart of a maiden at this kind of time.
Hajime was sighing deeply, in the middle of the gathering piercing attention, he resolved himself and opened his mouth.
“… Aiko, please.”
“-!! Yes! Leave it to me! I’m going to incite them like mad! This is the time for a teacher of social study to show her real ability!”
Was incitement the real ability of a social study teacher… he wanted her to apologize to all the social study teachers in the country. Hajime once again sighed while taking off his gaze from Aiko who was absurdly in high spirit.
Toward his ears, “Te, teacher and student… is this ero game-“ or ‘A, Aiko-chan got the poisonous fang of the demon king…” or “Casanova… the guy there is a Casanova! You mustn’t meet his eyes! You will get pregnant!” those murmurs could be heard. The twitching of Hajime’s cheeks couldn’t be stopped.
“Co, cough-! Na, Nagumo-san… I, I will work hard too!”
For some reason, Liliana raised her voice. Her cheeks were dyed bright red, her almond shaped eyes were shining in sparkles with some kind of expectation.
“… Yeah, do your best, princess.”
“… I will work hard!”
“I will work hard!”
“I will work hard!”
“I, I will work, hard, hics-“
“… … … … … …Please, Liliana.”
“Guu… please, Lily.”
“Yes! You can rely on me! Please look at the influence and popularity of a princess! The likes of the masses will be beaten hand down!”
He got the feeling that something a princess absolutely must not say had been said somehow, but surely it was just his imagination. The princess-sama who was always loved by the masses should not be thinking of something like ‘it’s so easy to manipulate the mass huh’.
The clamor of the classmates knew no end. The eyes looking at Hajime were already becoming gaze filled with awe or gaze containing strange heat. Perhaps it could be said that these gazes were even more emotional than the one directed at Ehito or Aruvheit.
“… Haa. Let’s conclude this.”
Hajime let out a sigh and then he looked around at everyone, changing the atmosphere stiffly in one breath. Hajime went on with Aiko and Liliana’s words and tolerated the mood of his classmates, were also with the intention of softening the atmosphere somewhat.
With the danger to the world approaching, to say nothing of the danger that was threatening even their birthplace, Earth too, there was nobody here that wasn’t feeling the mental burden. So that none of the classmates would run wild from pessimism, Hajime regulated the atmosphere so that it wouldn’t be too tense.
Hajime’s serious expression changed the soft atmosphere into one with nervousness in one go. Aiko and Liliana were also properly changing their atmospheres to the degree that made anybody wonder just where the embarrassing or sweet air they had been exposing until now had gone to. This attitude in this aspect was truly as expected from a teacher and a princess.
Surely their ‘coaxing’ was something from their heart, but if the atmosphere was tensed like this from the start then they undoubtedly wouldn’t say such things. Looked like they were reading the mood sensitively. Although it was unknown whether they were doing it intentionally or unintentionally.
The classmates were also lured by that, even while their bodies were quite relaxed, they also seemed able to feel the tension.
Hajime confirmed that and opened his mouth.
“The objective that I prioritize most is taking back Yue. In order to do that at the great invasion three days from now, I will go through the Divine Gate that we think will be open at that time and enter the Holy Precincts. Regarding Nakamura and Amanogawa, I leave them to Taniguchi and others. What’s left is the interception of the invading apostles.”
Hajime stopped talking for once and confirmed whether they understood. Everyone strongly nodded, so judging that, there was no problem, Hajime continued his words.
“I’m telling you the plans from now until three days later. First, I plan to head to the deepest part of Orcus. To mass produce artifacts, the environment of Orcus is the most optimum, after all. For this, I want Kaori, Myuu, and Remia to come along as helpers.”
“Yes, got it Hajime-kun.”
“Yes, nano! Myuu will help nano!”
“Please say anything about what I can do.”
Kaori, Myuu, and Remia gave back a pleasant reply. Hajime put Myuu and Lemia at his side was in preparation in the unlikely event so that they wouldn’t be taken hostage again, but he also had the intention to make them take care of his needs (EN: Giggity) while he was concentrating in mining and transmuting, so his reason also wasn’t just something on the surface.
Hajime nodded back at Kaori and the rest, then this time he moved his gaze to Shia.
“Shia, you go to Raisen great labyrinth.”
“… I see. I will ask for Miledy’s cooperation, am I?”
“Correct. If she has the information about Ehito or the Holy Precincts even just for a little, then that’s a good deal already. That time we were forcefully ejected so it’s unknown whether there is a shortcut or not. At least we got the proof of conquering, but if it doesn’t react at the spring at Brook’s outskirts, then you have to go through inside the labyrinth again.”
“I think that perhaps, she will let me pass but… even if it’s no good, this time I swear I’ll clear the labyrinth in half a day. If it’s the current me, that great labyrinth is no different than a playground.”
“I also think so. I’ll leave it to you.”
Hajime smiled at Shia who nodded energetically. Next, Hajime called to Tio.
“Yes. I understand. Goshujin-sama is asking me to return home, correct?”
“As expected. If there is a danger to the world, then the law of dragon race also doesn’t matter. Even if they aren’t as strong as Tio, if the strength of the dragon race is added with my artifacts, they should be able to fight even the apostles.”
“I think so. As expected, there is no choice for the dragon race to not move in this situation. Let me guarantee their strength too. However, the hidden village is… quite far. Truly accomplishing it within three days is not possible…”
“About that, let’s manage it somehow using the artifact.”
Hajime was rearranging the order of priority in his head while moving his gaze further.
“Yaegashi, you go to the empire. The same like the Hairihi Kingdom, it’s possible to go there using the gate, I’ll duplicate the gate key to go to the kingdom before you depart after persuading Gahard to send the battle force to the kingdom.”
“That’s… fine but, why am I the one going?”
“That’s because Yaegashi is Gahard’s favorite. Just to be sure, I’m taking into account so that the talk will be smooth. After all, there must be some people there that hold a grudge from the case with the restriction choker. Thinking about the negotiating ability and battle strength, there is no one else I can leave this to.”
“Mu. I understand that, more or less, but… you know my feeling, yet you send me at the place of a man wooing me, that’s a little shocking. Well, I understand that this is not the time to say that kind of thing so it’s fine but…”
“… My bad. If Gahard screws around then just give my name. Say that if he tried wooing Yaegashi Shizuku, then Nagumo Hajime won’t stay quiet.”
“-… Su, a surprise attack is cowardly.”
Shizuku slightly blushed while conveying her consent.
“The students and Liliana will go to the capital. Gather the battle force and raise their moral with their speech. Incite them skillfully so that they can fight mercilessly even against apostles. And then, the battlefield will be the plain in front of the capital. There is no way we are going to fight inside the capital even after knowing that they will attack from the God Mountain at the back of the capital, after all.”
“In that case, we need to evacuate the people out of the capital then. Although the gate can be used, evacuating all the people in three days is… looks like we need to hurry.”
“It’s fine if we send the civilians to the empire capital in place of their battle force that we will pull on our side. right?”
“But, Nagumo-kun. To fight the apostles who can fly at the sky on a plain is disadvantageous…”
“I plan to take a measure of an anti-aircraft weapons and heavy weapons, and so on. Also, Nomura-!”
Nomura Kentarou of Nagayama party whose name was suddenly called went “oO!?” with a strange voice. Not even in his wildest dream, he imagined that his name would be called in this timing.
“You are an earth elementalist, right?”
“Eh? A, yeah. That’s right but…”
“Then, collect the workers in the capital and the guys with an aptitude for earth element magic, it’s fine even if it’s simple but create a fortress on the plain.”
“For, a fortress?”
“It’s better to have shelter right? Ask about the detail to the specialist in the capital. Later I’ll send you an artifact exclusively for you, so create a place that is easy to fight on the plain.”
“Go, got it. I’ll try.”
Further after Nomura, Hajime also gave instructions at other classmates too here and there. They nodded from being swallowed by the momentum. Hajime gave them some kind of concrete roles with the intention that they could finish this without them getting crushed by the tension that was heightening moment by moment.
Also, as soon as the production of the heavy weapons were finished, Hajime planned to send them to the capital in order, but for the lecture on how to use the weapon, it was more effective to have the classmates to do it. Even if they didn’t know the detail of the mechanism, but they should be able to handle the weapon compared to the resident of this world who in the first place didn’t know the concept of heavy firearms.
“Taniguchi, Sakagami, you two go to the forest of trees. Talk to the lot of Haulia and Fair Bergen and send the bunches that can fight to the capital. If you finished with that, contact me. I’ll receive you in Orcus. Until the time limit, you two will focus on subjugating the monsters of the abyss and strengthening them. After all, you two finally manage to get metamorphosis magic.”
After that, they talked a little bit more about the details, and then while floating a fearless smile before the three days that surely would be the densest time of their life, Hajime once more ran his gaze to everyone.
And then, a beat later, his mouth slowly opened.
“The enemy introduced himself as a god. In addition, he boasted mightiness that corresponds to it. Every single member of his army consist of a one man army. There are even monsters outside of common sense and strengthened puppet soldiers that don’t fear death.”
Calm voice. Yet, it resounded extremely clearly.
“But, that’s all. Those guys are not invincible or anything. Just like what I did, the god and his apostle can be killed. Humans can bring down the paranormal existence.”
The figure of the talking Hajime was one armed and one eyed with white hair that looked as though his life was sucked out from him. Those things showed the path this man who was called incompetent had walked until this point. Those were the proof of how he butchered a great number of monsters, turned them into his nourishment and crawled up here. And then, he actually showed the proof in front of everyone in this place. That human could win even against god.
That was why they naturally could understand. Even if he had lost once, even after his important person had been stolen, he would make even those situations into his nourishment. The bloodied and wounded young man in front of their eyes, turned any kind of impossible into possible.
The words that shook the heart whether one wanted it to or not continued.
“There is no need to think that this fight is for the sake of someone whose face you don’t know, much less the world. There is no need to shoulder that kind of thing. Like how I am fighting for the sake of taking back my beloved, it’s fine for everyone here to fight each for your own reason. There is nothing large or small about those reasons. There is no weight or anything. Because you want to go home. Because you want to meet your family, for the sake of your friend, for your lover, merely just for surviving, merely because you cannot stomach this… whatever is fine.”
For a beat, Hajime’s words cut off. But, everyone in this place became self-aware of their own wishes. Impulses welled up inside their chests.
As though waiting for that, Hajime unleashed his words. Blazing like flame, yet permeating like water, powerful like earth, yet enveloping like wind, it was such words…
“If there is a time where you must muster your all for once in your life, then now is exactly that time-. Right now, in this time, burn your soul! Take the step for the sake of your wish! And then, all of you survive! If you manage to do that, then I’ll present you the reward of the ticket for going home!”
The sound of gulping reverberated. A throbbing sound like alarm bell could be heard. The clenched fists, the firmly stepping feet, the gritting teeth groaned creakingly. It was as though their will naturally rose up like a roar.
Among the people who were delirious with fever, Hajime enchanted them with gleam and fangs like a wild wolf.
And then a word.
What came back was naturally countless roars.
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