Author note: This is the revised version of Tortus Travel Journal ? (After III). The first half is the same like before, while the later half after Adol made his appearance has been changed slightly. Because of the story of Tio’s return to her village before the final battle that I wrote as the extra story of volume 11, I revised this chapter to make it consistent with that story. Best regards.
――Keep living. Keep struggling, and struggling to live like you’re going to die from here on too. Do that, and one day……there is meaning in you surviving this day, the day you can think so is going to come for sure
Behind the roaring waterfall. Inside that natural cave, a voice that was heavy like rock, hard like steel, and unshakable like a great tree echoed.
At the northern mountain range, near the summit of the first mountain there. It was the place where Hajime and co found Will Cudeta who was stranded here.
The scene of that time was being watched through past replay.
He was a young master of a house of count. He asked for unreasonable things and accompanied some veteran adventurers. He wasn’t any use at all, yet he was the only one who survived. He harbored a terrible feeling of guilt about it, however at the same time he was helplessly happy of the fact that he survived.
Will sobbed with a crumpled face saying that he was an ugly human. Hajime grabbed his collar and threw those words on him.
Inside the past replay, Hajime immediately came back to his senses and let go of Will. It was as though he was feeling embarrassed that he got so heated up. He was giving off an awkward air.
「There is certainly a meaning of your survival huh?」
Shuu messed up Hajime’s hair with a rough stroke. Hajime averted his eyes as though he was faced with a black history. He slapped down Shuu’s hand with embarrassment.
But, even though he averted his gaze from his father, Sumire was lying in wait ahead of his gaze.
「You don’t need to be that embarrassed. Look, Will-kun is it? A bit of strength has returned into his eyes.」
「……It was mostly me venting out my anger. It was too childish of me I can’t bear to look at it.」
Hajime and Will’s circumstance overlapped at the aspect of “surviving alone inside a cave”. That Will spouting out words that it was shameful for him to survive sounded like he was saying that Hajime’s own survival was a mistake and he spontaneously spoke that line just now. Certainly, it could be called as him venting out.
「That’s not true! Papa, you were cool nano!」
Myuu tightly hugged the legs of the self-depreciating Hajime. Her perfectly round eyes were sparkling. At the same time, a kind tune could also be vaguely felt from her voice, it conveyed both her true feeling and consideration.
A smile naturally formed on Hajime’s face. He unconsciously stroked Myuu’s head. Myuu narrowed her eyes pleasantly, as though she was entering a warm bath. 「Myu~~」 An adorable voice that lacked tension slipped out.
Aiko’s expression loosened smilingly seeing such Myuu while showing her agreement.
「That’s right. Those words also echoed deeply at the bottom of our heart. Just how heavy the experience of Hajime-kun in the abyss. It felt like we were able to slightly sympathize with that experience that we could only imagine about.」
Just as Aiko said, Aiko and Yuuka and others inside the past replay were all showing expression as though they were greatly moved by something. It was like they were in front of a small hearth within harsh winter. Hajime who only showed his cold side to them since their reunion gave off a humane heat, and that heat melted the freezing part inside themselves. Their expression showed that.
Tomoichi and others who had actually watched the struggle for survival in the abyss were also feeling something from those words just now. They were sending gaze that was filled with warmth somewhere inside toward Hajime. Tomoichi asked with a gentle tone.
「Hajime-kun. Is he still an adventurer even now?」
「I’m sorry, I don’t really know how he is doing right now. After the final battle, he came with his parents and brothers one time for greeting but……it seemed they were really busy with the reconstruction, perhaps he is helping his parents right now.」
Hajime tilted his head in puzzlement, but Liliana told them the answer.
「Cudeta House’s contribution for the reconstruction is immense. They cooperated with Fuhren, and they even use their own private fortune in the effort. To reward that dedication, now they are the feudal lord that govern over the southern territory of the kingdom.」
It seemed they obtained great success where their influence was at duke level.
When the devil race invaded the capital, many high class nobles became sacrifices. And then the number of surviving nobles who perceived that as chance to fatten their own pocket also wasn’t just a few.
Liliana’s eyes for judging people were the real thing, so there was no problem in discerning that type of people but, it couldn’t be denied that “people who could be trusted” was lacking in supply.
In such situation, the count who underwent great hardships to fulfill his duty as noble and also returned the favor to his majesty the demon king who saved Will and helped Liliana who was the demon king’s wife seemed to be someone who could be strongly trusted even in Liliana’s eye. Right now he was even becoming one of the kingdom’s mainstay leaders.
「Inevitably the responsibility that the lord is shouldering is also becoming immense, so Will-san also washed his hand from being an adventurer and give his all in helping with his house’s work. Right now he is holding the post as the official responsible for the aid commodities and the like in Fuhren as the representative of Cudeta House.」
「Hee, so he is the one in charge of negotiating with that metropolis of commerce, that’s amazing. Your average joe will get cajoled and has all his possession stripped away from him in that job though.」
「Right now everyone is united so even Fuhren isn’t being that opportunist. If they are doing business greedily which cause the people’s dissatisfaction to pile up, and that news enter a certain someone’s ear……they’ll end up like a certain underground organization in the past! Or so they think.」
So that’s how it is. The tragedy that befell the underground organization that auctioned Myuu and caused dirty fireworks to bloom in a part of Fuhren seemed to left a lasting impression in the mind of the upper echelon there.
It wasn’t like Hajime was the ally of the people but, Liliana had worked hard doing everything she could. Then, seeing that Hajime would move……surely they couldn’t discard such possibility.
「Fufu. To say nothing of how Will-san is someone who his majesty the demon king personally saved. They can do nothing else but treating him with sincerity and good faith. Fufufu.」
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Oh? It felt like Princess Liliana’s smiling face was wicked……
「Hey, Lily. Could it be, you did something like advising the lord regarding Will’s placement……」
A lovely whistling voice echoed in the cave. What a cliché way to play innocent. Even though it was just whistling but the way it had absurdly delicate and beautiful tune was aggravating. Furthermore, the tune was from the magical girl song before this. What fast learning. The slight arrangement so that the tune was usable for whistling was even more irritaiting.
The tough princess who made use of her husband’s influence without reservation caused everyone to look conflicted. Setting that aside……Kaori returned her focus into the past replay.
「……Muu. Hajime-kun entered a world with Yue all alone again.」
「That’s right, Kaori-san. They’re creating this pink world anytime anywhere. Do you understand my feeling when we were still traveling with just the three of us?」
「Yes, I understand it, Shia. Because, Shia is making an amazing face even inside the projection. This face, filled with things like alienation or loneliness or emptiness, it’s like all those are all jumbled up. Surely I’ll also be like that in your position!」
Somehow the friendship value of Kaori and Shia was rising. They hugged each other tightly. It might be understandable. After all, inside the past projection, tightly grasping Hajime’s hand,
――It’s fine, Hajime isn’t wrong
――Live with your all. Keep living. Forever together with me. Okay?
Yue’s expression was compassionate like the holy mother. Hajime was lovingly staring at such Yue while caressing her cheek.
Of course, Yue was also rubbing her cheek on Hajime’s hand fawningly. There was the illusion of heart shaped bubbles were drifting airily and the air being colored pink. Even though it was inside the projection, somehow even the air felt sweet like cookies.
And then that sickly sweet scene became paused as a still image. The culprit was of course Yue-sama. Her face was smug. It was really smug. At the same time she was even pointing her finger and bending backward like a certain pirate empress when looking down on others.
With godspeed Kaori moved behind Yue and restrained her. In the same beat Shia carried out a tickling execution with her rabbit ears. Shizuku and Aiko and Liliana also joined in nonchalantly. Shia held Yue’s waist and lifted her up horizontally. Even her shoes were taken off and not just her sides, even the back of her feet were tickled.
「……Nh!? Nnh!? Sto, stop-, fuhih!? Hyawa!?」
The moment she tried to shake them off, 「That looks fun nano~!」 Myuu also joined in the tickling! Yue became unable to act roughly and screamed ‘ahi ahi’ with tearful eyes.
The parents were watching their frolicking with gaze that seemed to say ‘They’re really getting along’. During that, Hajime suddenly noticed. How Tio was strangely docile.
「Oi, what’s the matter Tio? You’re making a face like a normal dragon race like that.」
「I am a normal dragon race people though!?」
「Why art thou laughing!?」
‘How insulting!’ Tio huffed as though to say that. Seeing her like that Hajime narrowed his eyes thinking that something was strange as expected. Because, she wasn’t going ‘haa haa’ even though he just insulted her with something like 「You are a dragon race that is not dragon race. You’re dragon race (lol) right?」. It was abnormal.
「And, what’s wrong?」
「……Good grief, goshujin-sama art sharp. Well, it’s delightful that thou art watching me carefully like that――」
「A docile Tio is so strange that it’s conspicuous to anyone whether they want to notice or not, right?」
「Nh fuuh. Mine overwhelming gratitude for the sharp words that floweth like water and yet sharp like spear!」
「Enough, just say quickly what’s wrong.」
Hajime was slightly relived seeing Tio finally going ‘haa haa’ and urged her. Then Tio turned around and bared open her feeling while smiling bitterly.
「It’s nothing, it’s not something that needst to be worried about. I am merely a little ashamed of mine blunder.」
Hajime guessed Tio’s thought from those words.
Most likely, she was reminded once more from seeing Will inside the past projection. How she was controlled and killed the adventurers.
「It was truly, an irredeemable mistake.」
Indignation could be seen inside her bitter smile. Behind her golden pupils, there was a flicker of flame that blazed fiercely as though burning herself.
Yue and others stopped messing around seeing that. They looked at Tio with a quiet expression. And then the parents gasped and opened their eyes wide.
Kaoruko and Akiko got flustered by the stifling air. They gave a follow up toward Tio.
「Bu, but, if I remember right, Tio-san was controlled wasn’t it?」
「That was what I heard from Aiko too. Then――」
「Both of you, mine gratitude for thy consideration. But, human lives were lost. It couldst not be put away merely by saying that it couldst not be helped.」
Kaoruko and Akiko became speechless from Tio’s decisive reply. Shuuzou and other Yaegashi family members seemed to understand Tio’s feeling. They were watching her with a calm gaze.
Sumire and Shuu looked at each other and asked Tio.
「Didn’t you obtain the forgiveness from Will-kun and the other adventurers’ family?」
「After the final battle, you went to apologize to them before going to earth didn’t you? Hajime also accompanied you right?」
Actually, Tio already went to apologize to the families that were left behind by those adventurers. Not just from Will, she also obtained forgiveness from them. It seemed there was already explanation about the circumstance from Will beforehand, and there was also Tio’s achievement in the final battle and other place that they received Tio’s apologize with no ill feeling so much that Tio felt troubled instead but……
「That is that, this is this. Due to mine mistake, lives were lost needlessly. Whether I am forgiven or not for it, it’s something that I must not forget for mine whole life.」
Tio spun words of admonition like a strict judge, or perhaps like a priest that preached the truth.
From her words there was certainly the figure of strict and moral dragon race who wouldn’t allow any pampering for herself or averting her gaze from what she should shoulder.
With self-reproach and self-admonition, and then prayer to the death for happiness in the next world in her heart, Tio silently closed her eyes. While solemn atmosphere was filling the cave, a small silhouette came running with rapid steps.
「……Fufu, thank you. Myuu.」
Before it was to Hajime. Now it was to Tio. However, this time it wasn’t with words. Myuu was simply clinging on Tio’s leg.
Yue and others, also the parents too were praying for happiness in the next life for the dead. Time flowed solemnly for a while.
Before long, Hajime broke the silence.
「Well, she isn’t worrying or anything, if it’s something that Tio decided herself then I don’t really have anything to say but……」
「What is it goshujin-sama?」
Hajime didn’t mind if she wasn’t being tormented by guilty conscience and trapped in it. In that respect, Tio was more level headed than anyone else despite being a total pervert, so he wasn’t worried. Though although he said that, Hajime’s expression softened with consideration somewhere in it. Tio tilted her head seeing that.
「There might be negligence in your part. You must be really confident in the defense power of the unbreakable dragon scale. You were also undoubtedly very tired after flying continuously from the far away solitary island without stopping until here.」
「That’s, well……that art the case. However……」
Tio tried to argue back, however, Hajime interrupted her with his hand and continued.
「Above all else, you were unlucky. Even though you were hiding within a vast mountain range, you still encountered that guy. What’s more it was in a superb timing where he was in the middle of carrying out his plan. It made me wonder just what kind of coincidence was that.」
Hajime folded his arms while talking. Everyone focused on him. Hearing the word 「Unlucky」, her expression looked like she wanted to object 「That’s not an excuse」 so much, but she stayed quiet and lent her ear.
「Tio, should I say as expected from the dragon race, that mental strength of yours isn’t a joke. I’ve never seen you shaken no matter what kind of trial it was in the great dungeons.」
「……I hath, lived for more than five hundred years after all.」
Yes, whether it was at Great Dungeon Haltina, or the cave of ice and snow, against trial that tested the mind, she would face it with more firmness than anyone, and broke through it.
「Yeah, that’s why I’m saying this. You were unlucky.」
「Of all people, you got found out by an absurd genius like Shimizu.」
It was Shuuzou who was muttering with a questioning tone. But, it seemed everyone felt the same. They harbored surprise and puzzlement toward Hajime praising Shimizu Yukitoshi as genius without exaggerating.
Hajime shrugged sensing such atmosphere.
「Because that’s true right? Even though it took a whole day, he brainwashed this Tio you know? How else you’re going to call him other than a cheat level genius?」
Not only that. Even without looking too far back, the feat of dominating a large army of sixty thousand monsters within two week wasn’t normal.
Even if it was just him controlling the boss monsters within that army instead of all sixty thousand, that still counted of nearly a hundred monsters. Furthermore those monsters were the boss of several hundred or several thousand monsters, so naturally they were powerful monsters. And he completely brainwashed them under his control, so it could be seen how amazing that was.
「Perhaps it was actually Shimizu who was the natural enemy of the devil race. Exactly because of that they brought up the talk of accepting him as their comrade and when he was captured by us they immediately washed their hands off him……well, it’s nothing more than a speculation though.」
「Hajime-kun, what do you mean by natural enemy?」
「Shuuzou-san, I explained the situation at Tortus already didn’t I? Do you remember what was the absolute advantage of the devil race?」
「That’s……if I remember right, a general called Freed was leading a monster army……aa, so it’s something like that. Shimizu-kun was……could it be, there was a chance he might steal that monster army……」
「Yes. He controlled that large army while he was still inexperienced. If he trained diligently, there was enough possibility he could do that. Even if he could not, it was proved that numbers can be resisted with numbers.」
Aiko looked down hearing Hajime’s speculation.
「……If, Shimizu-kun stayed at our side, he might be able to become a hero just like he wanted.」
「I wonder about that. What that guy wanted was an environment where “he was the only special one”. If that’s the case than either way it’s only the devil race’s side that can grant his wish. I think the result wouldn’t change.」
「Is, that so?」
「That’s so. After all every last one of the guys in the class is a cheat.」
The biggest example was, Kouki. As a hero his spec didn’t allow anyone to catch up to him. And then, Eri. She developed the magic “Soul Bind” to bind the death’s soul and enslave them with her own effort. It was a skill that took a step inside the territory of soul magic which was an age of god magic.
Kaori was also like that. Even if she didn’t obtain the apostle’s strength, just by training diligently in recovery magic as she was, she would be able to become a healer who could heal in the scale of thousands by herself alone.
Shizuku too, she surpassed the hero if it was just in speed. If she increased her slashing ability and trained her skill and magic, she would literally be the strongest and fastest swordsman who could cut anything.
Suzu could deploy a barrier in the class of the capital’s great barrier with her own strength, Ryuutarou too, using his senses alone he was able to use “Vajra” from the start when Hajime needed to plunder that skill from monsters by repeatedly breaking down and regenerating his body, his toughness could only be described as abnormal.
There was no need to mention Aiko. Then there was a certain abyss lord and also others, they were abnormal since before coming to Tortus.
“Being the only one special” ――that environment that Shimizu wished for would undoubtedly never come to pass. And then, there was no doubt that his conceit wouldn’t accept that.
It was beyond doubt that the young man called Shimizu was a “threat” who possessed extraordinary power.
「Getting back on track, Tio.」
「If it was us who received the brainwashing, we might not be able to wake up just from getting hit by physical impact. You were hit by a threat of that level from the beginning. That’s why, I won’t tell you to not get too bothered by it, and I also respect your resolve to shoulder that responsibility, but……」
Hajime’s gaze wandered around at empty air while searching for words. And then he spoke with a troubled expression.
「The people with the right to blame you, they forgave you. That’s why, if it’s just for a bit, it should be alright for you to also forgive yourself shouldn’t it?」
Tio’s expression became very troubled. She couldn’t accept it……it wasn’t because she thought that. She couldn’t express it in words but, she fell into the sensation of her heart getting tightly clutched and became unable to understand what kind of expression she should make.
Hajime muttered 「You’re really, you’re only strict toward yourself rather than toward your surroundings」 before adding more words.
「……The war against god is over. The longstanding wish of the dragon race is also accomplished. That’s why, Tio. Isn’t it fine even if you spoil yourself just a bit more?」
「……Is that so?」
「Yeah, that’s what I think. Or perhaps it’s that? By treating yourself harshly, you’re getting self-‘haa haa’ inside? In that case I might be poking my nose unwontedly here……」
「I’m not self-‘haa haa’ or anything!? Pleasure art meaningful when it’s given from other people who thou couldst trust!」
「No, no one gives a damn」
Tio grabbed Hajime’s collar looking extremely angry, but no one tried to stop her. The reason was simple. Tio’s expression, it was loose like someone stuffing their cheeks with candy.
Everyone in that place was watching Tio hitting Hajime repeatedly *pow pow* with a gaze that wanted to say ‘even a dog won’t want to get near’.
*Pow pow, pow pow-!*
「……Nn, anyway, the past replay here is over. Let’s go out.」
The group headed outside following Yue’s command. *Pow pow, slap slap*.
「I wonder if she sensed the presence of Hajime and others? Hey, Tio, do you remember about that――」
「Eei, annoying! This useless dragon!」
「Thank you very much-, for supreme slap-!!!」
The useless dragon-san spun artistically like a figure skater while crumbling down. She was going ‘ahe ahe’ so much. It was a picturesque expression of ecstasy.
At the same time, Yue split open the waterfall at that timing so the scenery outside was visible. Inside the past image, a black dragon was glaring down with soul-stirring and fierce pressure. It was really giving off the atmosphere of a last boss. The surging out jet black magic power and the vast pressure that was conveyed even through the projection. The dragon eyes that were glaring fiercely were so sharp that all the parents jerked in surprise.
In front of such dragon that was like an evil dragon from a story,
「Goshujin-sama! I asked thee for a second helping-!!」
If your right cheek was slapped, then offering your left cheek was the way of the world! Tio pleaded for reward with an expecting gaze as though to say that. And then, the past Tio was growling.
The image was paused for the moment. Yue turned around toward everyone behind and said.
「……It’s this gap.」
Kaori and others, and also Sumire and other parents, they simultaneously looked at Tio who was sitting beside Hajime’s foot while going ‘woof woof auu?’. Their heart became as one.
Really, what a really hopeless legendary dragon……they thought.
In any case, the group exited the cave. With the waterfall behind them, they gathered on an empty lot that was still desolated from the scar of battle.
Hajime tossed away Tio who he dragged along with him and opened his mouth while glancing at the paused past replay.
「Now then, a shocking image will be playing after this……」
「It wouldst be the wonderful moment when a new door was opened for me! Please watch! I’m asking everyone to please watch-!」
Yue, Shia, and Aiko were staring like they were looking at an alien. Why would she herself wish for that moment to be publicized……they wondered.
「Honestly, it’s just a scene of a pervert being a pervert.」
「Hajime-kun. You shouldn’t mislead everyone. It’s “the scene of Hajime-kun creating a pervert”.」
「……Nn. It’s not good to nonchalantly direct the flow to make it look like it’s not your fault.」
「In the first place, it’s Hajime-san’s responsibility no matter how you look at it. Please shoulder your responsibility properly.」
「Cough-. It’s just-, a scene-, of me creating a pervert-」
The three different comments from three different people caused Hajime to reword his sentence with a look of self-abandonment. The wive~s were strict with their husband sometimes.
「And, will you watch? Or will you not? I strongly recommend that you don’t watch it.」
「There’s no way we won’t watch the current Tio’s beginning after coming this far!」
「Ri, right. It’s also a bit scary after hearing the story though……」
Hearing Kaori and Shizuku’s reply, the parents were also nodding even while looking slightly hesitant. Until now, they had been watching the track of Hajime and others that they actually didn’t even need to see, including the heavy and painful scenes. In that case, how could they refuse to watch something like shocking scene that the person herself wished to show off! They convinced themselves like that with a tension that they slightly didn’t understand.
Hajime sighed. He turned his gaze toward Myuu. Myuu twitched. She made an upward gaze and asked timidly. She didn’t want to go through ‘Up, u~p’, but she really wanted to watch.
「……Is it, no good? Nano」
「It’s fine. If Remia allow it.」
Myuu went 「Eh?」. It seemed she didn’t expect an okay to be given. When she hurriedly turned her gaze, Remia mama was looking slightly hesitant. This was also unexpected. A scene where a pervert was awakened to perversion, no matter how one thought about it, it would be bad for a child’s education. It would excessively bad. And yet she hesitated because……
「Ma, mama? Myuu, want to watch nano. The time when Tio-oneechan and papa met, Myuu want to watch it nano.」
「Ri, right……i, it might be fine, I think.」
「Uu……yes, if Myuu want to watch then」
Remia mama said that, looking like it was a really painful decision! Hajime said OK, Remia said OK, why would they do that……
Getting concerned, or rather getting worried, the man with common sense Tomoichi asked while sending Myuu a concerned gaze.
「Hajime-kun. Is it really okay? Or rather, why is it okay?」
「No, well, it’s about Tio after all.」
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Tomoichi and Kaoruko and others tilted their head. Hajime continued with a wry smile.
「No, it’s not really meaningful to not watch this scene with the excuse that it’s bad for her education. Look, even now she is going ‘haa haa’ from getting tossed away by me there.」
「So it’s because she is already a walking obscenity――」
「Thank you so much-」
「――It’s the same whether she watch or not. It’s the fetish of a family member, or rather it’s her major personality, so perhaps it’s fine even if Myuu doesn’t deny it so much.」
Looking at Remia, she nodded with a troubled expression. It seemed she was of the same opinion. If they told Myuu that ‘You can’t see this!’, then in the first place they should tell her ‘You must not look at Tio!’. For Remia, that kind of attitude toward family would be bad for Myuu’s education instead. Though it was a hard decision for her to make.
「Waa~~i! Nano! Myuu can watch Tio-oneechan’s scene nano!」
「Umu-, Myuu! Pay a close attention! Of mine way of life!!」
「Myuu will pay a close attention nano!」
Myuu hopped and hugged Tio. Tio was going ‘haa haa’ while accepting the hug. Someone breathing hard with expression of ecstasy while being hugged by a little girl, it was bad in a different sense.
Like that, even while harboring worry of ‘Is this really alright~, Myuu-chan won’t get traumatized from it riiight~’, they shared an unspoken understanding that if push came to shove a mosaic would be put on Tio’s existence itself using illusion, then Yue looked around with a gaze that said ‘Now, have you steeled yourself?’――at that timing.
「Nn? This presence……」
「Eh? Hajime-san, could this be……」
Hajime and Shia suddenly turned their gaze to other direction. The other people wondered what it was about and followed their gaze. There they started to see a black dot in the sky. It was gradually getting bigger and before long they could also see wings flapping.
「Oo? Is that……Jii-sama!?」
The figure that came into view was a gallant red dragon. An indigo blue dragon was also flying slightly behind it.
Like that, two dragons flapped their wings hard on the empty lot while landing. Right after that, the dragons were enveloped in light and took human form.
「Long time no see, Hajime-kun.」
The red haired good looking man wearing kimono――Tio’s grandfather Adol Clarus was wrapped in an aura that was like a great tree. His tone that was greeting him was also similarly powerful and yet calm.
「Long time no see, Adol-dono. It’s surprising to meet you here. A coincidence……it is not isn’t it?」
「Umu. I heard the story from the queen of Heiligh. I flew here to greet you and also to suggest something.」
Adol smiled a reassuring smile even though it was still filled with dignity. His gaze looked around toward the parents.
「It’s a honor to meet everyone. I am Tio’s grandfather, Adol Clarus. Because it was my dearest wish to be able to meet everyone, I was embarrassingly unable to contain myself and intrude on your trip like this. My apologies.」
Adol said that and lightly bowed his head. Shuu and others who were dumbfounded finally returned to their senses. This was someone who was one of the few people that Hajime would seriously show respect toward. Naturally Shuu and others were also feeling it. Of the majesty and refinement that made them wanted to kneel naturally. They held their breath, thinking that this was a real king.
「That’s, please raise your head. We’re the one who feel honored to be able to meet you, yes!」
「Tha, that’s right desu!」
「O, oi, Sumire! Tone! Your tone is weird, yes!」
「You are also acting strange desu!」
The Nagumo couple were plainly losing their cool. Hajime covered his face with both hands. A lighthearted laugh immediately came from Adol.
「I have heard about you two a little from Hajime-kun, but it seems you two are really a delightful parents.」
「Ha, hahaa, thank you for saying that~」
「Geez, really our son, just what has he been saying I wonder. Calling us the world’s most delightful and wonderful parents like that!」
「Tou-san, Kaa-san. Please. Calm down.」
Hajime begged at his parents who were starting to show the sign of running wild while sweating a lot. Of course Yue-sama immediately used soul magic.
Tomoichi and others were also slightly nervous from being swallowed by Adol’s atmosphere, but after looking at the two who were at their wits’ end from right nearby and,
「It’s Adol-ojiichan nano~~!!」
「Oo! Myuu! Long time no see! Has you grown slightly taller? Umu, you have also become slightly heavier.」
「Muu, Adol-ojiichan, bad nano. Talk of weight is “taboo~” for a lady nano.」
「Oops, indeed. I apologize. It was imprudent of me. Myuu is already a splendid lady.」
Adol hugged Myuu with a wide smile like they were normal grandfather and granddaughter. Seeing that, they recovered their cool. Each of them exchanged greeting with a calm face of an adult.
While the adults were deepening friendship with Adol at the center, Liliana silently approached Hajime who had various questions pasted on his face.
「I’m sorry, Hajime-san. I forgot to mention it.」
「Nn? You mean about Adol-dono?」
「Yes. Actually, Adol-sama and everyone of the dragon race are shouldering the role of communication and defending the whole continent.」
So it was like that. If it was the dragon race who could fly freely in the sky without anyone obstructing them anymore, they would be able to move quicker than anyone to resolve various problems like the quarrel that still existed between races, various areas that were still shaky in foundation, and so on. Regarding the communication and information sharing too, considering their nobility and trustworthiness, there would be no one else that could be reliably entrusted with such role.
「Oh my, is that so. If that art the case, then everyone in the village hast come to the continent?」
Tio approached and tilted her head. Yue and others also gathered and listened. Then it wasn’t Liliana who answered but the youth dragon race who accompanied Adol. Yes, it was the indigo blue dragon race who had been sending stern eyes toward Hajime all this time――Ristas.
「No, princess. Only around thirty percent of the village’s populace came here.」
「Oo, Ristas! Long time no see. So thou art here.」
「……I’m here. From the start.」
Eh? What’s this. It felt like there was a certain abyss lord who received this kind of treatment……
By the way, Ristas-kun’s first love was Princess Tio, in the past he was also one of her former fiancée candidates. It was a known fact, so Kaori and others were sending him a sad and sympathetic gaze.
Ristas-kun, he was making a face that wanted to say ‘If you guys are sympathetic then return back the proper princess!’, even so he continued explaining.
「Although the gap between demi-humans and human race is being closed, right now is an important period for both sides to understand and accept each other. All of us dragon race flying freely in the sky too much might cause a needless sentiment.」
「I see. Certainly it’s as thou say. It wouldst be inexcusable if we cause people to harbor feeling like fear toward other demi-humans.」
「Yes. Also, while everyone is busy doing reconstruction, it’s too much to ask them to secure a place for everyone in the village to stay here. And so currently we are selecting a place where a new village of the dragon race can be set up in the continent under the cooperation of the countries.」
「I see……so that’s how it is……」
Tio nodded several times looking somewhat deeply moved. More than five hundred years had passed since the dragon race escaped from the continent. Finally even the dragon race was able to come back to the continent.
「There are various prospects raised for the site. Fea Bergen was also generously proposing to set up an autonomous region for us to live together with them but……for good or bad our existence is mighty, so we’re making our decision carefully.」
「Umu. That’s good to hear.」
「Yes. And so, princess. The future of us dragon race is hanging on this period from now, so I beg you, please return back to the――」
「Stop that, Ristas.」
Ristas pitched forward to entreat earnestly, but those words were silenced by a gunshot from Hajime――before that could happen, Adol who seemed to pause his conversation with the parents for the moment interrupted him with an exasperated face while still carrying Myuu in his arms.
「Pa, patriarch-, however-」
Ristas tried to argue even then, but Adol shut him up with his gaze and said.
「Tio, don’t mind us. Rather, you should enjoy yourself. As for what will become of our new home, everyone is praying for your happiness, and they are in high spirit to one day display our new home to you and surprise you with it.」
「Jii-sama……I see. Umu, even without thee telling me, I shall do as I please. I wouldst not leave goshujin-sama’s side. I was also told just now that it wouldst be fine for me to spoil myself more.」
「Hou. So Hajime-kun said such thing……fufu, he said something good to you.」
The two calmly smiled to each other with the face of a grandfather and a granddaughter. Ristas was going 「Gununu」 with a vexed face like in manga while glaring at Hajime.
Hajime ignored that with a shrug while sending his gaze to Adol once more.
「And, Adol-dono. You mentioned something about a proposal……」
「Aa, that’s right. As mentioned just now, we will migrate here before long.」
「Yes. Congratulations, is it alright if I say that?」
「But of course. Thank you. Although, it’s a place where we had spent more than five hundred years there. We are quite attached to it. I heard about the trip of everyone here in such timing, so I was thinking if everyone together with your families will accept my invitation to visit the village once before we migrate.」
Certainly, this might be their last chance to see the settlement of a hidden village in an isolated island that was located at the northern sea far away. With that as the case, this invitation was truly a precious offer that they should be grateful for.
This wasn’t in their schedule but, ‘How about it?’ Hajime asked with his gaze.
「In mine opinion, I wish that we couldst visit no matter what.」
Added with that wish of Tio, the group’s heart decided immediately. Of course, the answer was yes.
「That’s how it is, Adol-sama. We will be in your care.」
「That’s great. The people in the village will be happy too.」
Hajime took Myuu while the two shook hand.
Seeing the respect that was visible on Hajime’s expression, Shuu muttered 「Eh? Have Hajime ever looked at me like that……」, Tomoichi replied 「I’ve also heard that before. Or rather, don’t compete with Adol-san, Nagumo Shuu. The difference in status as a person between the two of you is too far」. While the two of the them were silently grappling with each other, Adol continued his talk.
「And, I heard a little from Shuu-dono just now, but it seems everyone is planning to watch the battle at your first meeting with Tio?」
「Eh? Aa~, yes, that’s, right. Yes……」
Sweat trickled down Hajime’s cheek.
「Please allow me to watch it too.」
「Ha, hahaa, about that. As expected, the recording of defeat of a granddaughter isn’t something that should be seen by her family I think……I too, was a li~ttle bit merciless at that time you can say……」
In a super rare occasion, Hajime’s gaze was swimming around like a migratory fish. Tomoichi and others looked astonished seeing Hajime babling incoherently like that. Yue, Shia, and Aiko were making an expression that seemed to want to say 「Well, of course he will act like that」.
「You don’t need to finish those words, Hajime-kun.」
Adol shook his head with a pained expression seeing Hajime’s extreme awkwardness.
「I have heard about the gist of it. I had even fainted from that. I have steeled myself!」
「I’d rather you don’t steel yourself so much for this kind of thing!」
Certainly, Adol had the expression of a warrior that was going to challenge a diecisive battle.
The eyes of Ristas-kun who was standing behind him was staring at a world far away. It seemed this one hadn’t managed to steel himself. He loked like he was going to say 「There is nothing in my memory……」.
Hajime’s gaze asked Tio 「Oi Tio! Could it be you even talked to them about the matter of pile bunker in the ass!?」. In respond Tio dared to answer back with her gaze 「It was the beginning of mine love with Goshujin-sama. I wanted everyone in the village to know about it」 while looking bashful for some reason.
She had a terrible kind of sensitivity. As expected from the super perverted dragon.
「Certainly it was, a litte bit, unique method of attack, I say, that it might open, aa~, the door? that was hidden inside Tio.」
「Chief. It’s not just might. It was definitely that attack that pried open the door. And the result is that.」
「……Ristas. Haven’t you become, somewhat self-despairing right now?」
Ristas-kun looked like he was going to spit out ’keh’ even now. He was turning slightly delinquent when faced with the reality that was hard to accept.
It couldn’t be helped. After all before the legendary final battle, the village was almost met the bitter experience of annihilation due to the "story of the beginning of my love with Goshujin-sama" that was talked by Tio when she returned home.
The village fell into a hellish pandemonium by the completely changed figure of their princess. At that time Adol fainted while Ristas-kun also entered cardiac arrest due to the extreme shock.
If Tio didn’t stop with just showing the recording of the battle at the demon king castle and also showed the recording of the pile bunker in the ass incident……
Surely the figures of dragon race wouldn’t be seen when the legendary final battle broke out, no doubt about it.
Adol cleared his throat once and pulled himself together.
「Even so, Tio’s black scale was never brokenby anyone in the village. And yet you broke it and made Tio who boasted an undefeated record even if it was just in the small world that was our village to admit defeat. I wish to observe such battle by all means. No matter what kind of content it has, it is the event where the love between both of you began. I’m curious as Tio’s grandfather.」
It seemed Adol had already intended to accept everything that her granddaughter was as a grandfather.
Tio’s cheeks reddened seeing Adol’s grandfatherly expression. Ristas was sending his gaze to look at far away while he was starting to sit down and hugged his knees. And then he covered his ears with both hands. It seemed he intended to shut out all of the outside world from his senses.
「W-what now Tio? If he is going as far as saying all that, then I have no other choice except to show it but……if you don’t want to show――」
「Bring it on-」
「I’m an idiot for asking.」
Hajime looked up to the sky before looking toward Yue. Yue made a kind expression and sent him a thumb up. As expected from the first wife-sama. It seemed she also had the caliber to accept everything that Hajime was.
Tio was hugging herself and wriggling around because her grandfather was going to witness an even that was her "first time" in various senses. Ignoring her, Hajime signaled with his gaze for Yue to activate the past replay.
Well, it couldn’t be helped. That was just how impactful it was. Said Adol-san smilingly.
With a glance Hajime asked 「Oi, Tio! Could it be, you didn’t mention about the ass pile bunker!?」. Tio too replied back with her gaze 「I only showed the memory playback of the battle in the devil king castle! Because, it was really urgent at that time! As expected, I thought that it wouldst be bad if I showed them the ass pile bunker!」. It was really a wise decision. And then, the time to pay for that had come now.
「Wha, what now, Tio? This is more or less the record of your defeat. You don’t want to show it to the grandfather you respected don’t you?」
Hajime-san desperately tried to cover it up! Yue and others who somehow guessed his though sent a thumb up.
「U, umu. That’s right. As expected it’s embarrassing or rather……unlike Hahaue-dono and others who art already aware from the beginning that I am someone like this, the people of the village art still feeling respect toward me……」
As expected, unlike with the earth group who was interacting with her with the awareness that she was a pervert since the beginning, toward them who had only seen her side as a noble and wise last descendant of the royal family all this time since her birth, showing them the scene of her awakening through ass pile bunker was a bit……
Though she was saying that, Tio-san was also wriggling around at the same time.
「But-, it’s also difficult for me to suppress the desire to purposefully show the scene to those brethrens of mine so that they wouldst look at me with scornful gaze-. Aah, this conflicting desire-. Goshujin-sama! What should I do!?」
「It’ll be better if you enter the grave isn’t it?」
No matter what time it was, in the end Tio was Tio.
Ignoring Tio who was hugging herself and wriggling around, Hajime faced the greatly dignified Adol-san who was watching them warmly and Ristas whose expression was twitching before telling them the pre-screening warning.
「Adol-dono. In this world, I believe there are things that one is better off not knowing.」
「Fumu? That’s a wise saying. However, I believe that I’m not so narrow minded I will be offended just from my granddaughter’s defeat.」
「Even if, she lost in a horrible way?」
「Tio was controlled right? That battle should be a pure battle for survival. In that case, no matter what kind of method you used, I wouldn’t call it as cowardice or despicable.」
What a praiseworthy person. It wasn’t just for show how he was able to accept even the Tio who was transformed into a pervert as 「She simply have a slightly strange taste」 with unperturbed attitude.
Seeing that unshakeable gaze of Adol that was like a saint and his large hearted smile that felt like it could accept everything, Hajime resigned himself with 「Ah, this is impossible. I can’t easily divert his attention」.
Hajime turned his gaze toward Yue and told her to resume the past projection.
Like that the intense battle began.
Everyone held their breath at the scene where he blocked Tio’s breath with a large shield.
The scene after that too, the shooting, and the black scales that deflected it. Tio’s tenacity that evaded Shia’s iron hammer and counterattacked while under the attack of gravity magic caused admiring voice to be raised. Hajime’s tempestuous attack――the frontal attack from Schlagen that broke through the breath from the front and the storm of pinpoint sniping into the spots with weak defense――caused shocked yell to be raised.
It was a fierce battle. Whether it was the tough battle of Tio’s soul stirring figure, or the tyrannical might from Hajime’s artifact, it was a battle like the story that was passed down in myth……
Everyone was absorbed in watching without even any leeway to speak their impression to each other. Even Adol was going ooh and aah with an impressed expression. Ristas who was shutting out reality had also stood up before anyone noticed and watched the playback while clenching his sweaty palm.
Yes, they were all watching with rapt attention. Even though that moment, had finally come.
――Die from your butt. This useless dragon
A thick stake stabbed into the princess’s butt. A sad voice of ‘Please pull it ouuutt~’ echoed to the surrounding.
No one said anything. They were truly at a loss for words. Even though the past image continued to flow, it was like the time at the real world had stopped.
Looking closer, Kaoruko and Akiko were half fainting. Kirino covered her mouth as though she wanted to say 「Oh myy」, while Sumire was looking up to the sky. As expected, it seemed to be a shocking scene that surpassed their imagination.
Unable to keep watching, Remia’s face went bright red while she unconsciously pressed on her own butt with averted gaze. Or rather, the female camp including Yue and others were also pressing their butt with blushing cheeks. They were also trembling a little, perhaps because they were imagining what if something like that was done to them.
Myuu could only keep watching with her mouth gaping wide open. Her face seemed to say ‘An encounter with the unknown nano!’.
「Thi, this art embarrassing~」
「Normally it won’t stop with just embarrassment though.」
The hopeless dragon was wriggling shyly. It was like someone who was displaying their romantic kiss scene.
Even after that, the pile was punched hard & grinded while still piercing the butt and there was screaming, however, this scream was getting filled with luster bit by bit. Even the male camp became unable to watch and averted their gaze. It was during that time Tio finally dispelled her dragon transformation.
Over there, the princess Tio who was loved and respected by anyone was already gone. What was there was only a pervert who had opened a new door after going through ass pile bunker and moaning ‘haa haa’ with expression of ecstasy.
Inside the image, the group began to descend down the mountain. Tio got her foot grabbed and dragged on the ground carelessly even though she was a princess. Even then, she was making perverted ‘ahe ahe’ face that was terribly disgusting――in that moment,
「There is……THERE IS NO WAY THIS KIND OF PERVERT IS OUR PRINCESSSSSSSSSSS-!!」
Ristas-kun instantly transformed into dragon and flew to far beyond.
Even though he was trying to stick with the stance of not seeing, not listening, and not knowing anything! till the end, he carelessly got attracted by the soul-stirring battle and ended up witnessing it. His heart was at his limit after seeing that.
The tears that spilled down from Ristas-kun’s eyes were falling down glitteringly. His springtime of youth and first love became a rain that was pouring down.
「Ti, Tio-oneechan. Is your butt, alright, nano?」
Myuu approached Tio fearfully. Even while she was still dumbfounded from the shocking image, she at least understood that ass pile bunker was a deed that shouldn’t be done to humans.
She was worried that perhaps, Tio-oneechan’s butt was still in a terrible state even now? Her small hand was rubbing at that spot.
Tio shivered and her expression broke into a broad smile.
「Umu. It’s alright, Myuu. At first the pain felt as though it penetrated until mine brain, but when thou get used to it, it become a pleasure that couldst not be described with wo――」
「Tio-san? If you speak even one more word to Myuu, I’ll become slightly serious.」
「Fuwah!? U, understood, Remia……」
Behind Remia mama who was making ‘my my ufufu’ face that wasn’t smiling, there was something flickering! With high waves as the background, there was a blasphemous existence that couldn’t be described with words at all! Or something like that!
The strongest black dragon was easily defeated before the anger of a mother who was thinking of her child. She sat down in seiza posture beautifully. Her gaze wouldn’t meet Remia mama’s eyes no matter what. Large bead of sweats trickled down.
Yue erased the past replay while glancing at that. While the air was filled with indescribable atmosphere, Hajime silently stole glance at Adol.
Adol, was smiling. He was doing nothing but silently staring at the place where the past Tio was at with an aura that could even be called as peaceful.
It was shocking. No, certainly, the person himself said that he had already fainted when hearing the story and built up some resistance from there but……Hajime thought that even Adol would at least grimace when seeing what happened from up close like this.
And yet he was like usual, on his face was an expression of affection that felt like it could accept everything.
As expected fromt he leader of the dragon race. The grandfather of Tio. One couldn’t help but to take off their hat in admiration toward the depth of his heart……
……Hm? Adol-dono’s condition seemed……?
「Adol-dono. Are you alright――」
Adol stayed completely still without moving at the slightest while the affectionate expression was still pasted on his face. A thought crossed Hajime’s mind. He didn’t want to believe it, even so he tried calling out to him and placed his hand on Adol’s shoulder.
Then at the next moment.
Adol collapsed backward while still standing straight & smiling. It seemed, or rather, as expected, the resistance that he built up from simply hearing the story was unable to bear the weight of the sad reality.
*Bam* He collapsed splendidly, however, as expected the smile on his face was still there with his body not even twitching. His consciousness had completely flew away to somewhere. The place was frozen.
A beat later.
Tio’s shriek echoed through the vast north mountain range.
After that, Adol recovered somehow through getting showered with a lot of soul magic.
Before heading to the village that was located in the solitary island, Tio said that she wanted to join up with her servant who was also her wet mother Venri before teleporting to the village, so for the time being they headed to deep inside the northern mountain range area but……
It went without saying that the atmosphere along the way was so terrific it was beyond description.
Also, Ristas-kun never returned. After that it seemed nobody was able to contact him for a while.
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