*zudon-*, the demon king-sama fell from the sky with speed and impact like a falling meteor.
The bizarreness of the Agni - Orkan his shoulder carried was excessively eye-catching.
Starting from Koone, Lilin, Spike, and also all the other escort squad members similarly had their mouth gaping open. Their gaze was busily moving from the explosion hypocenter where there was a mushroom shaped cloud generated, then to Kouki, and then to the incarnation of absurdity.
Kouki murmured his name. Hajime stored back Agni - Orkan into his treasure warehouse while walking up toward Kouki, and then he asked with a tone that sounded like it was only an afterthought.
「Anyway, they looked like they are going to be nuisance so I killed them but……they aren’t your acquaintance right?」
That question was asked while glancing at Koone and co. It seemed that Hajime couldn’t deny the possibility that perhaps the
For now, Kouki thought this.
That question should be asked before moving to killing, was his thought.
「Ye, yeah. That was dangerous and we might get killed, so you saved us just now. You came, to pick me up right? Thanks, Nagumo.」
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Hajime raised an eyebrow hearing the words “might get killed” and then he stared scrutinizingly at Kouki. Just from that it seemed he perceived Kouki’s unfit state. And then, perhaps he guessed something because for a moment he made an expression of feeling unpleasant and then looked at Koone and co.
「……Well, doesn’t matter. If it’s thanks say it too Shizuku and others. If they didn’t ask me I won’t purposefully spent magic power like stupid to come here. This world is absurdly far just so you know.」
「Is that so……as expected it’s Shizuku and others. Are they coming?」
「Just as you can see, it’s only me who came here.」
Kouki felt something out of place from that strange roundabout sentence, but right now wasn’t the time to pry so he shelved it away.
「Come on, we’re going back right away.」
Hajime turned around on his heel with an atmosphere of wanting to finish the troublesome matter right away.
Koone didn’t really understand about the matter of Hajime, even so she guessed that the “going home prospect” that Kouki once mentioned had finally arrived and she grasped Kouki’s sleeve with an expression that was going to cry.
Kouki smiled to such Koone to reassure her, and then he conveyed his will toward the back of Hajime who was taking out Crystal Key and about to point it to an empty space.
「Sorry, I cannot go back.」
Hajime looked back across his shoulder. And then, seeing Koone holding Kouki’s sleeve, he showed an exasperated face that said 「This guy’s hero sickness relapse back again」.
「This is troublesome. If it’s like this I’ll call someone here to lecture──」
「No matter who it is and what they are going to say to me, I have made my decision. Even if you for example tell me that this is my last chance to go back home, I won’t go back. I believe I understand what will Shizuku and also my family feel about that but still……sorry.」
The situation just now, and then the very young girl who while looking childish but also gave off dignity vaguely, and also the tough looking men who appeared to be the girl’s guards. If all those factors were combined, it could be imagined how Kouki was poking his nose into a troublesome conflict.
If this was only like before, when Kouki got worked up saying 「I swear I’ll save everything!」 in mere heroic aspiration, Hajime would just say 「I don’t give a damn」 before punching Kouki and then dragging his unconscious body back, but……
Hajime couldn’t make that prompt decision.
Because Kouki’s eyes were determined.
It wasn’t a gaze that was carried away, hesitating, or looking at a dream far away. Those were eyes that showed determination which was created while his feet was stepping firmly on reality, with resolve to accept the caused result. The eyes of a person who was struggling without giving up.
Hajime wondered just what had happened. He couldn’t see the “lightness” from when they were summoned to Tortus or the “insecurity” after the decisive battle from Kouki.
「I had killed a lot. They also had their own will, it was necessary to survive, that was why I was fighting……but, I was unable to abandon the people of the city and I fought. I cut down several thousand lives.」
Hajime looked at Kouki once more. Kouki’s weakened state, his body that was wounded all over told Hajime more eloquently than anything the carnage that Kouki had experienced to the extreme.
「Many times I thought I was going to die. While fighting, I also saw past images like revolving lantern. And then──I found my answer.」
Kouki nodded while feeling surprise and happiness that Hajime was listening to his talk.
「I cannot stop dreaming. I want to save everything. But if I’m forced to choose no matter what──I will choose “the many” rather than “one important person”. I’ll choose, but even so I’ll continue to dream and struggle without giving up.」
「……Idiot. Are you planning to suffer until you die? You might be masochist huh.」
「Haha, it’s certainly idiotic. But I’ll deny being a masochist.」
Hajime looked at Kouki with eyes as though he was looking at a genuine idiot after hearing Kouki deciding a way of living of hardship.
Then, at that timing, Koone who had been silently watching the conversation between Kouki and Hajime all this time raised her words by throwing away her usual audaciousness, and spoke as a mere young little girl.
「E, excuse me, Nagumo-sama? I beg you, please I ask you to save my one-chan! Please.」
Koone letting out a sigh of relieve seeing that she wasn’t ignored, and then she explained to Hajime about the situation in general and about Kouki’s choice.
「Kouki-sama is still not giving up. He is going to save the people at the rear, and after that he is planning to save onee-chan.」
She didn’t notice it before. She only felt despair thinking that Kouki abandoned her big sister.
Indeed, speaking pragmatically Kouki wouldn’t make it in time. Therefore, Koone’s conclusion that he was abandoning Moana wasn’t mistaken. However, when she recalled back how Kouki repeatedly said 「Sorry」 looking as though he was going to vomit blood while clenching his fist so hard, she understood that Kouki’s heart was demanding him to go to where Moana was quickly for even a second faster.
However, right now light could be seen in that pragmatic problem. Kouki’s connection brought about hope.
The curbstomp just now. A power that annihilated a thousand
Koone pleaded. In order to save her big sister, and Kouki who injured his own heart by swinging down blade of penance and resolve toward himself who was unable to choose Moana.
「Please lend your strength in order to grant the dream of Kouki-sama. Nagumo-sama is Kouki-sama’s friend correct? Please──」
「Don’t say such corny thing. There is no way I’m his friend.」
Koone was astonished. She didn’t know about the how, but this person came here by crossing world like this in order to pick Kouki and the first thing he did when he arrived was to remove the danger that was approaching Kouki. It seemed that they knew each other, and Kouki was expressing out his feeling toward him without hiding anything, Koone completely thought that the two of them had close relationship but……
Ignoring the shaken up Koone, Hajime moved his gaze toward Kouki. His eyes were cold without emotion in it. Kouki reflexively held his breath.
「You are close with this so called “big sister”?」
「……She is my benefactor. Since I came to this world, she was kind to me who only kept hesitating. Because of reasons I couldn’t control myself and vented angrily at her several times, and yet she accepted the hesitating me. ……I made a promise with her, that I’ll talk more to her someday.」
「And you abandoned her?」
「……Yeah, that’s right-. Right now, even in this moment, she is trying to end the war by offering her own life. But at the same time, a lot of people is in the verge of dying right in this moment. That’s why, I──」
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「And so rather than “one important person”, you chose “the many that you don’t even know their face”.」
From Kouki’s fist that was clenched once more, and then from the lip that he was biting, blood was trickling down. From his eyes that looked like they would break down crying anytime, perhaps there would even be blood flowing from there.
Seeing such Kouki, Hajime calmly asked.
「You aren’t going to beg me?」
「Will you move if I beg you? Even though I don’t have anything to compensate you!? I’ll do anything if you save Moana! I’ll even be your slave! But, you aren’t going to move by something like that right!?」
Hajime stared still at Kouki. And then, his expression turned complicated, no, a bit of displeased feeling seeped out from his face, before he suddenly started talking to empty air.
『Can you hear me? The situation is somewhat unpleasant though……yeah, right, well, I already know you all are going to say that. In that case inevitably──what? You want me to decide? Why……don’t say disgusting thing. Even if you ask me how about the current Amanogawa……』
Koone and co were dumbfounded seeing Hajime suddenly started talking to empty air, but Kouki guessed that Hajime was talking with Shizuku and others and his eyes blinked.
If he remembered correctly, he had heard about the development of smartphone that could connect to even another world, but he didn’t hear that such thing could be done just by using telepathy.
In that case, right, the strange roundabout way of talking before.
Most likely, Shizuku and others came to this world. And then, just in case that there was an existence like Ehito in this world, they must be hiding somewhere so as to not attract attention as much as possible. That was Kouki’s guess about the situation.
As a matter of fact, that guess was right on the spot. For caution’s sake, there were only Shizuku, Kaori, Yue, Shia, Tio, Ryutaro, and Suzu, the Holy Precincts members here, they already arrived in this world. Right now, while Hajime was going out to observe the situation, the others were hiding in concealed state in the middle of a mountain at the south.
Furthermore, about a certain abyss-san whose forte was in reconnaissance, it should rather be left unsaid that Hajime only recalled him after arriving in this world where he then whispered 「Ah…the scout role……」.
With a displeased expression where this time Hajime didn’t even bother to hide it, he faced Kouki and then asked after a bit of indecision.
「Amanogawa. There are a lots of things that I should confirm but, in this occasion, I’ll put them aside. That’s why, just answer me this──that choice of yours, is it “the right choice” for you?」
‘Aa’, Kouki thought. If it was called unexpected, then it was unexpected. If it was called not so unexpected, it was also not really unexpected. He had been conscious toward this person to that degree, and he had also obstinately picked a quarrel with him to that degree. It wasn’t strange even if this person accurately grasped about his bottleneck.
However, if he was asked that here──he keenly felt that to the end, he really couldn’t help but be conscious of this unreasonable man.
Kouki answered along with feeling some amount of happiness.
「Something like that, doesn’t matter.」
Perhaps Kouki’s feeling was transmitted. Even Hajime let out a laugh that sounded happy from hearing that answer. It felt like he could hear a voice that sounded like「Fine」.
Hajime shook his head once, and then his hand took out a compass. And then, he ascertained something while turning his back on Kouki once more.
「This is the first and the last. I’ll eradicate the worry about the future.」
Kouki’s face warped when he guessed the meaning of that sentence.
The direction Hajime was facing was toward the rear territory. That was to say, that he was taking responsibility for the many territories that were being attacked. What he meant by the first and the last, was surely about Kouki being able to go saving his “one important person”.
Kouki silently turned his back toward Hajime. He faced toward the direction of the capital.
「A farewell gift. I’ll kill you if you make a blunder even after I set up the table to this degree.」
Around Kouki who was making a small smile, possessing upper body and wings of eagle, and torso of lion──Gryphon(Grim Reaper), ten of them appeared. Hajime must meant for them to be the ride until the capital.
For Hajime to expressly prepare even the share for Koone and others, Kouki thought that it seemed Hajime had really mellowed up. It appeared that while himself was spending days of brutality in Tortus, Nagumo was also doing his best to acclimate himself to peace. Laughter welled up inside Kouki even more.
Thinking that if it was now he could say it, Kouki called at Hajime with a bright expression.
「Hey, Nagumo. Actually while I was about to die, I was thinking that there is something that I’m absolutely going to say to you if I could survive.」
Hajime who seemed to be confirming the battlefield using the compass raised his face and looked back across his shoulder.
Kouki slightly looked up to the sky with his back still facing Hajime,
「As I thought, I really hate you.」
This man was able to do what he was unable to do like it was nothing. He was able to push his way through his own path without hesitation.
Truly enviable. He helplessly admired that. The way of living that he couldn’t possibly imitate was so dazzling it burned his eyes.
Such emotion was included inside Kouki’s words.
Hajime who heard those words clicked his tongue. He returned his gaze forward and while staring at at the far rear direction,
「What a coincidence. Actually I also thought the same just a little while ago.」
Kouki’s eyes instantly opened wide.
「I, I see-. So you hate me! Ahahahahah」
The coldest reaction in relationship with people was “apathy”.
Kouki couldn’t hold it, he couldn’t endure it. He raised a laughter that was bright and clear like a cloudless sky.
Normally it was an exchange of words that would cause the atmosphere to turn stormy. And yet, for some reason he even felt his feeling was cool and clear.
Koone and others couldn’t do anything except looking alternately at Hajime and Kouki with totally no idea of what was going on.
Kouki climbed up on a mechanized gryphon while prompting Koone and others to follow. Koone and co were timidly climbing on the back of the bizarre mythical beasts that they had never seen before.
With Koone at his front and Lilin who for some reason was getting on gleefully behind him, Kouki corrected his sitting posture without looking back. At that time, Koone who was looking up at Kouki’s expression gulped seeing his solemn expression and atmosphere.
Kouki took a deep breath, and then with a heavy emotion in his voice,
「Take care of the rear──demon king.」
In response Hajime opened a gate while also without looking back,
「Just face to the front──hero.」
He said that with a voice that sounded a bit different with how he said that word until now──
The hero went to the sky, while the demon king vanished into a gate.
Hero and demon king.
The thinking of the two couldn’t complement each other, their path ran parallel from the other. Their back facing each other was only natural.
However, two paths running parallel to each other arriving at the same place, and also two backs kept facing each other while pushing aside innumerable obstacles without worrying about their back, might be something that could possibly happen.
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