After an unexpected harmful misinformation about Vandre-san was created and it became known that Myuu had the qualification to become the holy mother of the inhuman beings.
「Yes, delicious. It’s warming.」
「Yue-chan, have you gotten better again?」
「……Nnfuu. Much obliged. Otou-sama (Father-in-law), Okaa-sama (Mother-in-law).」
The group had returned to the living room. They took a break for a while on the sofa while enjoying the snack and the reheated tea.
Yue’s small nose proudly twitched and her face turned smug from Shuu and Sumire’s words. Even Shia spoke up in admiration.
「Yue-san is decent only with brewing tea isn’t she?」
「……Wait, Shia. What do you mean decent? Your valuation standard is strange. Can’t you use words like skilled or delicious?」
「I wonder why she couldst only produce low-quality result when it come to cooking. Yue, art thou perhaps cursed by something?」
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「……Nnn. You’re just spouting whatever you like-」
Can’t you just praise me honestly!? Yue said with puffed cheeks. Kaori spoke up with a wry smile.
「Perhaps it’s your lineage that’s just like that? You know, you’re a vampire after all.」
「Don’t tell me……it’s not just because she had no cooking experience due to being royalty, but it’s like the adverse affect of consuming nothing but blood?」
「……Kaori and Shizuku, just what do you two think vampire race is? We usually ate normal food. Otou-sama──Den-ojiisama was someone who often traveled and cooked.」
「My, is that so? Even though he was a royalty, how unusual.」
Liliana’s expression turned into surprise.
Liliana was also a princess so she didn’t have cooking experience. Even when she left the capital, it was only because she was forced by emergency or necessity like escaping danger or diplomacy, so she had never experienced a genuine trip. In the first place a royalty wasn’t in a position that would be allowed to travel freely so it was only natural that she felt surprised.
「……Nn. Den-ojisama only ever made simple things for eating during travel, but I loved them. I always begged him to cook during memorial days or birthday.」
「Well, he was someone who obtained the creation magic and metamorphosis magic despite being the prime minister of a country. I guess it was no wonder that he was used to travel. And, was it delicious?」
Hajime gently caressed the head of Yue who was being nostalgic. He asked her the question also with a gentle expression.
Yue’s expression immediately became troubled.
「……It was troublingly, very, really…………bad.」
「So it was actually bad huh.」
「……Nn. But, apparently Den-ojisama himself thought that his cooking was “relatively good”.」
「I see nano. So Yue-oneechan’s dangerous cooking was inherited from Den-ojisan nano!」
「That’s not it though!?」
Myuu pointed her finger sharply like a detective who had discovered the criminal. Yue reflexively denied it. Don’t group me with Oji-sama! She argued.
Actually a similar conversation also happened a long time ago. At the end of it uncle Den cried a little after being told directly like that by his beloved niece.
Aiko and Remia smiled wryly while giving a follow up.
「W-well, certainly Yue-san’s palate is normal. It’s only her creative sense for cooking that is going off the rails.」
「I wonder why she would do unnecessary things only when cooking? Do you harbor some kind of grudge to recipe?」
It didn’t serve as follow up at all.
「……Eh? What? Even Aiko and Remia. Why am I getting dissed by everyone during the break time? Have Yue-san done something wrong?」
There would be no room for her to argue if she was told that it was caused by her usual behavior, but still, Yue-san cried a little from the sudden storm of criticism.
She was sulking by squirming her butt to snuggle closely on Hajime. She moved his arm to wrap around her neck as she buried her face on his chest.
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That action felt somehow funny and adorable. The atmosphere inside the room was heartwarming.
Actually, the parents like Shuu and Sumire had been accumulating mental fatigue without being aware of it. The sightseeing of their children’s mental trial was a bit hard on them.
The warm and fragrant tea, delicious snack, and the bright conversation of their children warmed the atmosphere. The fond look they were sporting was the proof of that. They also weren’t aware of it themselves, but their expression was becoming mor relaxed and relieved than usual.
Although it was undeniable that Yaegashi family alone was slightly absentminded.
Although they were struck dumb by Myuu’s deed (?) and the ice dragon goiem’s (Ururukuu) coming out, as expected the last past replay that they watched had hit them hard.
It was clear to see that they were recalling the past of their disciple that they had just seen while quietly putting their thought in order.
After that everyone had lighthearted talk for a while until they finished their first cup of tea. While several of them were asking for second,
「Ojii-chan. Otou-san and Okaa-san too……how was it?」
Shizuku asked the question with a gentle voice after she saw the change in atmosphere around Shuuzou and her parents. She sensed that they had finished sorting out their thought.
Shuuzou frowned and let out a deep sigh. And then,
「Ojii-chan, will stop being ninja.」
He said that with a cheerless gaze and a dry smile. Even Shizuku felt thunderstruck from that reply.
「So you admit that you’re a ninja!!」
「You’re wrong Shizuku-chan. That’s not the point.」
Everyone fiercely agreed with Kaori’s retort. They felt that Shuuzou must be really wrecked with guilty conscience that he wanted to retire from his hidden side. They also felt a bit exasperated at how much Shizuku wanted to make her family admit about their hidden side.
Koichi and Kirino shook their head with a somewhat tired look.
「Well, as expected that was just a joke, but that’s just how hard the revelation had hit us.」
「Hey Otou-san. Which one was the joke? About the retirement? Or about being ninja?」
「Shizuku-chan, calm down a little okay?」
Kaori forcefully wrapped Shizuku’s ponytail around her face. She not only put her in her cocoon guard, but also used it to tie her up and restrain her. Shizuku was still squirming and mumbling with muffled voice, so Kaori held her from behind.
「This is about that boy’s inner side so, I won’t talk about his trial’s actual content but……」
Kirino continued talking as though nothing had happened.
「I wonder why he turned out like that. To be honest it’s just too much. I had known that boy well ever since he was small……I’m feeling guilty to everyone. To Hajime-kun, and also to Shizuku, Kaori-chan, and everyone else, and also to Kouki-kun himself.」
In Yaegashi-style, a disciple was no different than a family. They couldn’t draw a clear line that they were simply student and disciple in a swordsmanship dojo.
Not to mention that Kirino had been friend with Kouki’s mother ever since they were still student. Seeing the boy who was entrusted to them falling to rock bottom and then seeing his act of violence after that, although there was the strong influence of the great dungeon at work that caused it, it still filled the three of them with shame as Kouki’s mentor and also as adult who he looked up to.
In addition they also felt guilt. After all Kouki definitely tried to kill Hajime. Furthermore Hajime spared Kouki’s life because of his consideration for their daughters. Their heart was flooded with feeling of gratitude and guilt.
「You three had also kept thanking and apologizing to me throughout the replay but, it’s really fine already. I’m sorry to say this but……for me, he isn’t someone who I care about whether it was at that time or at the present.」
Hajime intentionally spoke in a way that made him sounded heartless. He stated that for good or bad, Kouki wasn’t an existence who was worthy of his attention.
Right now he bluntly said something that usually should be said in round-about way toward close people. That was Hajime’s consideration toward Shuuzou, Koichi, and Kirino who were feeling guilty toward him.
Shuuzou accurately guessed that intention and nodded with a wry smile.
「……Certainly he couldn’t even scratch you but, that’s not the problem. I am one of his instructor regardless of everything. Kouki sinking into such state was partly because of our negligence too that kept postponing of correcting him, thinking optimistically to do it “one day”.」
「One day? What do you mean?」
「……You see, Kouki is too excellent. To a degree that it allowed him to stick with his idealistic thought.」
Shuu and Sumire and the others were listening without asking about the detail, though they could guess somewhat about what happened during Kouki’s trial from fragments of their words.
Kirino and Koichi also talked with a quiet atmosphere.
「Miya and Seiji-kun──Kouki-kun’s parents were also worrying for their son who never experienced a single failure you know?」
He could do anything if he got serious. There was nothing wrong with his choice.
It couldn’t be helped that Kouki gradually turned to think like that when everything had gone his way and every problem that he faced was successfully taken care of without much effort.
His parents, Shuuzou, Koichi, and Kirino had warned him about that. But Kouki who knew nothing but success couldn’t really get what they meant, so he unconsciously paid no mind to their words.
「Although, we too weren’t seriously worrying about Kouki’s way of life that was like that. After all it’s a good thing for children to strive to be righteous and keep moving forward. One day even Kouki will experience failure. It’s only coming a bit late with how capable he is. Because we were thinking like that……」
Koichi held his head with his hands. He thought that the experience would come one day when Kouki went out to society, but him getting summoned to another world was something that they never even dreamed about. Furthermore his failure came about in the worst way that they had also never imagined.
Kirino turned her gaze to Kaori and Shizuku while wearing a joking smile.
「Do you know? Miya-chan said that Kouki should just confess to Shizuku or Kaori-chan already. She said that it’ll make a good experience for him because he’s going to get completely turned down anyway.」
「「Eh? Is that true!?」」
Kirino mischievously revealed the thought of Kouki’s mother that she mentioned while they were having a drink together at night.
In the past Miya-okaasan was an adolescent biker girl who would shout “Who give a damn about school! Adult and society are enemyyy!” while carrying a metal bat and had the big ambition of subduing all the gangs in the country. For someone like her, failure and making the wrong choice were indispensable factor to make human walked an even better path of life. That was her pet theory.
That was why her excellent son who seemed to never experience something like that no matter how much time passed was a seed of worry for her, although she also felt proud of him as a mother. She had been acquainted with Kirino ever since they were still student, so she often grumbled and consulted about Kouki to her when she was drunk.
「It’s true you know? Miya was apparently convinced. She said that he has no hope with both Shizuku and Kaori-chan at that time.」
「Naturally. Even if it was Kouki-kun, there was no way our angel would easily get swayed by him. Besides, it was always on my mind. Even though they are childhood friends, I was wondering if perhaps he was getting together with boys including Ryuutarou-kun a bit too much──」
「Yes yes, be quite for a bit okay, dear.」
Tomoichi’s neck was choked by the madam and he fainted. Then with a slap he got waken up immediately. What a practiced fainting and awakening. 「I’m sorry Kaoruko. I got a bit excited there」「It’s fine dear」 They said, as though what happened was something daily for them. It gave everyone fear, so they continued the talk as though nothing had happened.
「Well, in fact I didn’t feel like accepting at all even if he confessed though.」
「I too never thought about that kind of thing in the first place I guess…… Rather when I was at elementary school, I was obsessed with Shizuku-chan……」
The voices of Yue, Shia, and Liliana harmonized. *Grin grin*. We can see the lily flowers blooming at the background you know! In addition Shizuku was blushing and fidgeting shyly!
「And when I entered middle school, my heart got stolen by Hajime-kun when he did his dogeza……」
「When I heard that again, Kaori, you’re a bit crazy huh.」
「What do you mean crazy?」
There was no doubt about it. Kaori-chan was a bit crazy. It was hard to put it into words but, it was like she was declaring Spare me from normal life yeah! Even if the summoning to another world never happened, perhaps the choices she made would still bring her through many ups and downs in her life.
There was a clear chain of event why Shizuku became unable to consider Kouki as a romantic interest, but normally a girl would be somewhat conscious toward a boy who was handsome and talented in every respect.
And yet, it was a plain boy doing dogeza who made her heart throbbed for the first time……
No, perhaps there was room for argument whether it was alright to call a boy who did a perfect 100 point dogeza boldly in the middle of city as plain, but in any case, if Hajime and Kouki at that time were compared, normally a girl would be conscious toward the latter.
Or perhaps, had she unconsciously sensed the landmine that Kouki held inside him……
「Come to think of it, Miya-san came to our home before this. It was just a little bit before Kouki-kun voluntarily dropped out from school I think. She came with her husband because she want to say thanks and sorry once more.」
「It looked like they had heard the story from Kouki-kun. On the surface it was for saying thanks for bringing their son back and sorry for the trouble that he caused Hajime but……」
Shuu and Sumire looked at each other.
At that time the Amanogawa couple were bowing their head deeply toward them, so both Shuu and Sumire were flustered and focused on making them lifted their head.
That was why they didn’t notice, but thinking back now, perhaps their thanks was also for Hajime becoming “reality not going the way he wanted” that Kouki had to be strongly aware of, however unintentionally it was.
Perhaps it was just them overthinking it but, the two somehow got that impression after hearing the story just now.
「This was, after the children returned safely but……Miya said this didn’t she.」
Kirino stared at empty space in recollection and said.
「In most story, the main character will go through tragedy and grow. A hero who is overflowing with hope and know no failure just sound unrealistic isn’t it? She said.」
That was nothing more than delusion. But, a fantasy like other world summoning happened in reality. In that case, perhaps Kouki would also go through something similar just like in story. Perhaps it couldn’t be helped that they imagined something bad like that.
And the most terrifying imagination was what if Kouki’s ideal occurred in a way that involved the people close to him. After all tragedy sometimes meant the death of the person’s precious people.
Akiko rubbed her arm as though she had suddenly felt a chill.
「……It also feel like a destiny for Hajime-kun to be called an irregular. After all Kaori-chan and Shizuku-chan were in danger at Orcus.」
Nobody didn’t grasp the meaning of what she said. Apparently everyone was imagining the same thing like Akiko. Yes, their mind recalled the scene of the past when Cattleya attacked at Orcus Great Dungeon.
Two girls who were the hero’s childhood friends were on the verge of dying.
Perhaps it would be Kaori, or perhaps Shizuku. Or perhaps both of them.
Certainly, if an irregular that was Hajime didn’t exist, thing might developed to be a classic tale of hero. The hero who insisted to “persist with the righteousness that he believed in” even when cornered lost his precious people. That tragedy served as the fuel for his growth──that kind of tale.
「Myuu don’t really like that kind of story nano……though it would be emotional instead if it turn out that they’re actually alive latter on!」
Myuu had come into contact with various creative work ever since moving to Japan. It seemed she had formed her own preference. She shook her head as though to drive away the unpleasant imagination.
Hajime waved his hand at Myuu invitingly toward his lap in order to reassure here. Myuu happily hop on his lap and he gently hugged her while squinting his eyes smilingly.
「That person looked like someone strong both in mind and body, but for her to be sentimental like that, it looks like she was really affected by it.」
「Certainly she’s a tough woman who can go hand-to-hand or using metal bat to fight equally even against Yaegashi-style instructor, but naturally even she has a weak side to her. After all she’s a human and a mother.」
「I think she’s already in the category of superhuman from how she can rival Yaegashi-style that look like it can behead even an actual oni even though she’s just using street brawling style.」
Kirino moved her hands on her sides to signal that she was finished with that topic and said 「Anyway」 with a smile.
「Surely it’s a good thing that Hajime-kun served as obstacle for Kouki-kun.」
「……That guy’s fall was also partly caused by me though.」
Amanogawa family and even Yaegashi family showed no sign of blaming Hajime at the slightest. Far from that, they even said that it was a good thing. As expected even Hajime felt strange from hearing it.
「You weren’t the cause. You were simply the trigger. One day the same thing would happen even if it wasn’t by Hajime-kun. And it would go even worse at that time with Shizuku or Kaori-chan getting killed and he sink rock bottom without growing up.」
「Even so, it was Shizuku and the others who dragged him back in the end you know?」
「And it was you who gave them every help you could so they could bring him back.」
「It might be just hindsight, and there were also things that were lost but……that boy right now is trying to move forward again on his own feet.」
「Normally a parent would stop their child from going back to other world when he just came back from one but……Miya seemed to be happy about it instead. It must be because she could see how her son didn’t run away from the harsh reality and determined to keep struggling.」
They still didn’t know how Kouki’s journey would end but, at the very least one of the reasons why he was able to return to the right path and struggled hard to make a comeback was definitely because of Hajime’s existence. That was what Shuuzou said with a wide smile.
Hajime’s expression became even more conflicted. Koichi gave him a glance and said 「In the end」 with a frown and a sigh.
「It was also like that with Shizuku, but the things that we adults can do are really insignificant huh. We’re feeling it keenly through this.」
The though If only we did more filled their mind no matter what after watching back the past like this. That was why they were feeling down.
「That’s, well……all of us are feeling the same you know, Koichi-kun.」
「Yeah. It’s just as Nagumo Shuu said.」
It was pointless even if they talked about it like this at this point. They understood that, even so because they were parents, they couldn’t stop from feeling lament and concern for their children, and feeling that they were pathetic. Shuu and Tomoichi exchanged a bitter smile.
Hajime drained his slightly cold tea in one gulp and put it on the saucer a bit loudly in order to change the mood.
「If you want, I can open a gate to where Amanogawa is. How about meeting him if there’s something that you want to say?」
Shuuzou showed a slight surprise, even so he gently shook his head.
「……No. He went out on a trip in order to reexamine himself. It’s already far too late for us to talk to him now.」
「Well, I guess so. That guy too has been aware of his own problem now. After all his childhood friend beat him up until he cried to tell him about it.」
Hajime glanced at Shizuku who shrugged her shoulders. Hajime nodded a little at her and turned his gaze toward Shuuzou and the others once more.
「I think it will be hard for that guy to meet his relatives as long as he hasn’t found the answer by himself, exactly because they’re relatives. He won’t know what to say at that situation.」
「Umu, it’s just as you say.」
「Then, the only thing you can do is to wait.」
「Wait until he return. Huh.」
「Yes. I think that guy still hasn’t finished his journey. I don’t mean that he’s going in another journey, but I think that his journey from when he was summoned for the first time is still continuing even now.」
Hajime talked about Kouki despite saying that he had no interest or concern for him before this. It surprised Shizuku and the others. His words about Kouki mysteriously entered their chest without resistance. It helped convincing them.
Surely it was because Hajime was someone who longed to return home more than anyone else. He understood what “the end of the journey” meant more than anyone else, to a degree that he was able to guess what was inside the heart of someone that he was apathetic with.
「That’s why, you can just talk together with him when he return home for real. Surely at that time the words that you want to say will naturally come out. The same with him.」
「……Is, that so?」
「Yes, that’s so. That guy isn’t a toddler that is still toddling around. Let’s have him do something about himself on his own. And if at the end he’s running wild again……」
「At that time Shizuku and the others will get worried and things will become troublesome anyway, so I’ll kidnap Amanogawa family and Yaegashi family and toss everyone in front of that guy. Please do something about it then.」
It was a statement that was just too irresponsible. Shuuzou, Koichi, and Kirino froze with their jaws hanging open. It was a cold act that was different from all his words and gestures until now that showed thoughtfulness and respect toward them. Sumire and Shuu panicked and said 「Oy, you-. Do you know what the word sugarcoat mean!?」「We’re sorry that our son is so dry-」
But there was a burst of laughter at the next moment.
「Fuhahah, you’re right. There’s nothing more pathetic than some mature adults keep acting dejected all the time-」
「Certainly it’s pathetic. For us to be scolded by a kid at this age.」
「We got scolded by our son-in-law. Fufu-」
Shuu and the others were dumbfounded seeing the Yaegashi family looking so happy for some reason, but they somehow understood the feeling of the three and their expressions softened.
They understood that Hajime’s words meant that rather than lamenting the past and acting irresolute at the present, they should think about what to do when problem occurred at the future.
「Myuu know what this is nano. This is what you call a tsundere nano.」
「I’m not though?」
He wondered why. Myuu who was looking back across her shoulder at him had a very kind smile. It was as though she was a holy mother.
It made Hajime felt strangely restless. He cleared his throat and then to cover it up,
「W-well, how about we avoid meeting that guy and simply see how he’s doing right now secretly?」
「……Really Hajime, are you actually a real tsunderee?」
「He’s a tsundere desuu.」
Ignoree. Seeing Hajime whose cheeks were a bit red made Kaori and the others writhed. Regardless of what he said, Hajime was soft with his relatives.
「I guess. We have come this far to Tortus. At the very least we should take a look at how hardworking he is from afar.」
「Yes, that’s true. It will also become a good story to tell Miya later.」
Koichi and Kirino chuckled while nodding to accept Hajime’s good will.
Hajime took out the compass and crystal key. Then he started adjusting the “gate” to be a small window that had a good view of below from the sky.
Meanwhile Liliana was talking to Yaegashi family in order to reassure them.
「Kouki-san is also using the palace as his base, so I’ve been paying attention to him. I’m assigning someone to accompany him so he will never be truly alone.」
「Thank you Lily-san.」
「Fufu, a princess is watching over him. What an extravagant journey. I’m relieved now.」
「Many thanks. Kouki too won’t be reckless if there’s someone at his side.」
Shuuzou and the others had apparently forgotten. Just who was the knight who was tasked with the role of accompanying Kouki right now.
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Or perhaps they had sealed that memory because it was too impactful. Liliana too had apparently forgotten, about that knight who went back on her own.
「Ah? The reaction came from the sea of trees……the north part? He should be at the northern mountain range……」
Hajime opened the “gate” even while feeling suspicious.
「Kuuuh, where di this strength come from-. But-, I won’t let you go any further than thissssssss!!」
Somehow they were looking at a battle to the death.
The trees in the forest were scattered to every direction. There was something at the center of that emitting extremely ominous dark aura like geyser. Kouki was facing it. He was clad in pure white light. It seemed he had already used “Limit Break”.
Everyone was speechless from the sight. They rubbed their eyes.
The situation kept changing hecticly even while they were doing that.
「What, deploying simple barriers at midair in succession!? W-wait! There’s Fea Bergen at that direction-」
Like a certain wizard at the dark side of a certain Harry Pot*er movie, the something that was clad in black mist or rather black veil was moving in hish speed. Kouki-kun were shocked. A new person made his entrance at that moment.
『Forgive me-, I’m late!』
Jii-sama!? Tio finally spoke up. The majestic crimson dragon was certainly Adol. He was shaking his head as though he was trying to clear his mind for some reason.
『I never expected that it can put up such powerful recognition blocking. It took me by surprise-. Now, Kouki-dono! Get on my back!』
「I’m sorry, I’m in your debt!」
『Don’t mind it! That is nothing more than a tragic beast that went mad from love now. A monster of yearning that is outside logic! We have to stop it here!』
「Yes-. I’ll somehow return her back to normal! I won’t hold back──HERE I GOOOOOOOO──”LIMIT BREAK - SUPREMEEEE”」
The crimson dragon king and the hero radiating pure white light on his back. That scene was like a page of a mythology coming to life.
However, their opponent wasn’t an evil god or even a demon king.
「ONEEEEEEEEEEESAMA──’S GAZE, I CAN FEEL, IT?」
There was no need for guessing. That was the self-proclaimed sister female knight who went crazy because of love.
Previously there was the incident of the chaperone being the one who asked for the most unreasonable demands to the hero.
Her figure wasn’t clear because of the black mist covering her body. Her eyes were shining fierily from the depth of that darkness. Most likely that was the effect of the dark element magic that she specialized in. Even so her state could only be described as abnormal.
According to Adol she was a tragic beast who went mad with love. Her eyes creepily turned to look over her shoulder to above.
「HIIH!? HAJIMEEE, CLOSE ITTT! QUICKLY CLOSE ITTT!!」
「STOP RIGHT THEREEEEE!!」
『Prepare yourself for some injuries! Knight of the kingdom-』
Shizuku’s scream, and Kouki’s roar that was resolved to fight to the death, and Adol’s angry voice echoed through the forest. Meanwhile Hajime quietly closed the “gate”.
The place became quiet like graveyard because what they had seen was just too much. Kaori and the others silently hugged the fiercely trembling Onee-sama.
A moment passed.
「Certainly it looks like that guy is working hard.」
「That was different from what I expected.」
Hajime’s words were responded by Shuuzou with a serious face.
Liliana-san quietly stood up from her chair and went to the corner of the room to crouch and cover her face with her hands, but nobody called her out on it.
And on in exchange,
Aiko casted her mind stabilizing magic. The targets were of course everyone. The SAN value that was shaved off by the tragic beast of love whose heart went cold and locked from the outside world was returning.
「Aiko, you’re also making your own contribution in a quiet way huh.」
Aiko was perhaps, no, she was definitely the one making the biggest contribution during this trip. Akiko said that while rubbing her arm that had recovered from the goosebumps.
「I didn’t want to make contribution in that way.」
Aiko let out a deep sigh.
There was the perverted elf of the forests, then the mad dog princess of the empire, then the self-proclaimed step sister of the kingdom, just why were tragic beasts getting born one after another like this?
Perhaps it was because of the strong influence from Hajime and also those who gathered around him toward the other people.
Shizuku and others somehow managed to recover from watching the shocking event and headed to the last sightseeing destination──the clearing room.
The past replay was showing rainbow and gold lights flooding the room. The two colored lights whirled while twinkling brightly. It was like watching a galaxy.
Actually they planned to also watch the recreation scene of the compass and crystal key at Fea Bergen, but the impact of Abyss Lord VS Demon King was too strong that they completely forgot about it.
And so, the scene of concept creation, the moment when Hajime’s wish was realized was so sublime and moving that everyone forgot the tiredness and shock from just now. Everyone was clearly entranced as though their heart was stolen from watching it.
Hajime’s trial and tribulation in the abyss could be seen as projection inside the projection. Their heart felt pain from recalling the gruesome scenes that made them wanted to avert their eyes.
「So, Myuu isn’t allowed to see it as expected. It’s fine though.」
「Your mood is so bad that your talking style changed. The projection seen from the projection like this is blurry, making it like there’s a light mosaic over it. So you can look if it’s just for a little.」
「Myuu has waited for that permission nano.」
Myuu who was tightly hugged so her ears and eyes were blocked talked with no inflection at all in her words. It finally made Hajime folded.
Certainly, Hajime’s past that was visible when creating the concept magic was just a projection that only appeared in short burst between all the magic lights, so they were blurry compared to the past replay. The past replay itself was also serving to cushion the image’s gruesomeness, so Hajime’s emotion at that time didn’t get directly transmitted to the watcher.
Even so, Myuu gulped seeing her papa soaked in blood and in pain. She tightly clung on Hajime’s arm and also took the arm of Remia who was similarly looking stiff. She was trembling slightly.
Even so she didn’t take off her eyes from the projection. Perhaps that was just to be expected from the demon king’s beloved daughter.
「Amazing brightness……it’s really like a scene from a myth.」
They understood even though Hajime’s emotion wasn’t directly transmitted like when the event actually took place. It had certainly gotten conveyed to both Sumire and Shuu.
I want to go home. That wholeheartedness was taking shape right in front of their eyes.
「From watching this, it feels like I can understand a little, just what does “extreme will” actually mean.」
Tomoichi and Kaoruko also sighed quietly in front of that overwhelming radiance.
Before long Hajime and Yue used up their strength and collapsed. The past replay ended there.
Shuu and Sumire kept quiet as they each placed their hand on Hajime’s shoulders. Their touch was accompanied with an expression of appreciation for all Hajime’s efforts. They also looked like they wanted to cry in happiness seeing how much Hajime wanted to go home.
The atmosphere was like in a movie theater where the audiences basked in the lingering sentiment after finishing to watch an emotionally moving long movie. Akiko turned her gaze toward Nagumo family as though she was looking at something heartwarming. There was also a touch of envy in her gaze.
「I have this thought from going through this trip but, Hajime-kun really love your home, no, your father and mother aren’t you?」
「「You really love us aren’t youu~?」」
「……Tou-san and Kaa-san, stop making that face.」
It went without saying what kind of face they were making.
Akiko let her gaze fell on Aiko who was at her side and said.
「As a parent I’m feeling a bit complicated, or perhaps it’s envy.」
「E-even I also really wanted to go home you know? ……Well, if I’m asked whether it’s also an extreme will like that then I’m not confident though……」
It seemed that Kaori and Shizuku also understood Aiko’s feeling.
「We too were strongly wishing to go back home but……」
「Yeah. We’re also a bit hesitant to answer I guess if we’re asked whether it’s at the level of an extreme will or not.」
Tomoichi and Kaoruko, as well as Shuuzou and Koichi and Kirino were also making a conflicted expression.
Hajime shook his head with a wry smile.
「It was just my situation that was a bit particular. Even Kaori and the others would strongly feel homesick if they got cornered into that kind of extreme situation or they had spent a long time in this world.」
This was a fantasy world of sword and magic. Everything here was something that they couldn’t experience in their original world. On top of that various happenings kept coming up like an avalanche. Normally it would be impossible for someone to solely focus on getting home.
Yes, it would be impossible unless they got pushed into the bottom of abyss and wandered at the edge of death.
Aiko agreed with Hajime and nodded.
「That’s true. In fact, everyone was like that after the invasion at the capital. They kept saying I want to go home, I want to go home. There were even a lot of students who shut themselves in their room and wouldn’t come out.」
Even the member of Nagayama party who fought at the frontline, they knew that Kouki was planning to fight the god, but they said that it was impossible for them and didn’t follow him. They just wanted to go home already. They were completely exhausted like that at that time.
「There is no difference or anything between me and Kaori and the others about our feeling toward our family.」
「……Yes, that’s true. I too wanted to meet with Otou-san and Okaa-san again.」
「Yes, the night we went home, I was crying while Okaa-san hugged me tight.」
「I too, I couldn’t stand at the house’s entrance because I felt too relieved.」
Hajime’s words toward the parents and the honest words of their daughters made the conflicted expression of Tomoichi and the others to soften slightly. They naturally approached their daughter and placed their hand on their respective daughter’s head.
They looked really embarrassed from getting their head caressed, especially Aiko, but just for now they obediently let their parents did what they wanted.
Yue and others were watching such family scene warmly. Meanwhile Hajime said 「Besides……」 and took out something from the “treasure warehouse”.
「Hm? Hajime, is that your handphone in the past?」
「Yeah, it’s the one I got before summoned.」
Hajime nodded at Shuu’s words. Currently Hajime was using hybrid handphone that was the latest model and had magical component added to it with transmutation, but apparently he was also still carefully keeping the old handphone that he had been using since middle school.
「I was able to aim to return home without my heart breaking even when getting insulted as incompetent or falling into abyss was in part thanks to this guy too.」
「……Nn? That’s the first time I heard that.」
「Isn’t that, the one that Kaori-san brought with her if I remember correctly? Together with Hajime-san’s uniform.」
「Umu. After the reunion at Orcus and she joined our journey, we found out that she actually brought it out from the palace and walked around without ever letting it go all the time. I saw how Goshujin-sama confiscated it from her together with the uniform.」
「T-this isn’t how it sounded like Otou-san! It was only because I believed in Hajime-kun’s survival that I took charge of his private properties so they wouldn’t get disposed of──」
「……On occasion, she also sniffed them all over to absorb Hajimenium.」
「……………………………Yue? I don’t really get what you’re saying.」
That “pause” was the clearest proof than anything else. Everyone was put off by that. No, Yue and Shia and Tio and Kaoruko-san were making a sympathetic look that seemed to say 「Of course you will want to sniff them all over」.
Nobody said anything. What the hell is Hajimenium? Nobody also asked that. After all it felt like they would peek into the abyss if they pursued it any further.
Tomoichi-san staggered. He never thought that his daughter would steal a man’s clothes and even sniffed it many times over……he couldn’t completely hide his shock.
「Err, so Hajime-san. Is that a communication device? How was that useful? It shouldn’t be usable in the world over here shouldn’t it?」
Liliana attempted to get the talk back on track. Myuu and others were also looking very curious.
Hajime’s gaze became slightly distant.
「You see, in the past we sometimes would talk seriously about our delusion like during dinner or something.」
「「「What do you mean??」」」
It was a custom that they had just never heard about before that the other families’ understanding couldn’t keep up. Only Yue and others who were now living with Nagumo family was going 「Aa~」 with a knowing face.
「You know, anyone would at least have wild imagination once right? Like what would you do if the world become like in zombie movie. Or how are you going to fight if the school get attacked by terrorist. That kind of thing.」
「Nagumo Shuu, you’re having that kind of discussion during family time?」
「That’s right. Sounds fun right?」
The reply that came back was just too confident that Tomoichi averted his gaze. His face looked like he wanted to say that the world they lived in was just too different. Shuuzou and Koichi and Kirino were smiling wryly. As expected they were showing some understanding with a creator family.
「I don’t know if Tou-san and Kaa-san remember but, once we also talked about what to do when getting summoned to another world.」
「……I remember that. Aa, I see. Come to think of it, at that time I put into your phone──」
「We got carried away and wrote a lot of things in the memo app didn’t we……」
The old phone’s battery had been charged. Hajime pushed the button and it activated.
Shuu and Sumire narrowed their eyes in nostalgia. Everyone else was tilting their head in confusion.
Hajime opened the still functioning memo app for them.
And then his gaze looked like he had seen something precious. He read the memo title that his parents wrote in the past half jokingly.
「──Other World Summoning - Seven Carefully Selected Guidelines」
There was the guideline ‘A guy who looked useless in a glance or had assassin type class is usually a strong character so befriend them’, or ‘I want to be adventurer!’.
The memo didn’t only consist of guidelines but also a lot of simple desire. There were a lot of points that could be retorted at.
「My my, it’s amazing how accurate they are……」
Remia reflexively muttered that with widened eyes. Everyone nodded in agreement with her. The Nagumo couple were looking smug.
「Other than that, there’s also warning that the princess of the country that summoned you is usually black-hearted.」
「Isn’t that horrible!? I tried my best to treat everyone with sincerity-」
「Lily, calm down. We understand how much care you had for us!」
「It’s just like Kaori said! We never thought of you as black-hearted or anything!」
「Well, she had this dark smile like when she was inciting the soldiers during the final battle though.」
「Aiko-san was also the same that time right!?」
Kaori and Shizuku gave Liliana a follow up but, for the people who knew how she smiled while saying something like 「Inciting the mass is really simple. Fuh」 at the end couldn’t help but feel astonished by the Nagumo couple’s keen insight.
Those seven guidelines, even though they were all seemed like a joke, no, Nagumo family’s creed was that it was when joking around that it was exactly the time that they had to get serious, that there were serious words written at the end of it.
Hajime read the last line with a calm tone but strong emotion filling his voice.
「──”Don’t give up! Come back no matter what!”. Haha, really, just what is this memo getting so serious for.」
「Haha, as expected we got too heated there.」
「When we imagined our son going to another world by himself, we just couldn’t help ourselves you see.」
Hajime’s smile deepened even more seeing his parents laughing in embarrassment.
「At the early days of the summoning, I was the only one who didn’t have talent, and at that time I couldn’t even imagine getting into a fight with monster or demon to kill them. I felt hopelessly uneasy then.」
He turned his gaze to Shizuku. His gaze was seemingly said that he was the same like Shizuku then. Shizuku also smiled and nodded.
「I wasn’t at my wits’ end yet. But, I want to at least have one thing to support myself. It was then I remembered about this memo.」
He didn’t remember how much time he had spent reading this memo. It was until the sun had completely set and only the screen’s light was illuminating the inside of his room.
「Aa, that’s right. I gotta go home. I just need to work hard in order to go home. I thought like that.」
It was none other than that inorganic light that he should be used to seeing, that mechanical light that was lit in the world of magic that became Hajime’s support, his guide.
Actually, there was already lighting fire in his heart from before he was broken once in the abyss.
The thought of going home wasn’t a feeling that budded when he defeated the claw bear. The feeling that he almost forgot due to the agony that beggared the imagination was resurrected at that time.
「……I see. The source of Hajime’s unyielding heart had been given from a long time ago by Okaa-sama and Otou-sama from across another world. Fufu, as expected from Okaa-sama and Otou-sama.」
Yue’s warm gaze and praise made Shuu and Sumire embarrassed and they couldn’t stop themselves from averting their gaze.
But, everyone had the same gaze like her when they looked around them.
「W-well, you know! Anyway it’s great that our joke actually was of some help yeah!」
「Yes, that’s true! From now on we will also keep joking around seriously!」
「Spare me from that.」
Shuu and Sumire talked loudly to cover up for their embarrassment. Hajime smiled wryly even while looking at them with a gaze filled with gratitude.
That too made them felt itchy for some reason. Sumire returned back a bashful smile while Shuu coughed once.
「N-now that you mentioned it Hajime. Even though we had gone through the trouble to write it, why didn’t you get close with Endou-kun from the start?」
Come to think of it that’s right, the girls and the parents thought. They turned their gazes toward Hajime.
Hajime’s gaze──turned distant.
「I tried but……I couldn’t find him.」
No wonder. Even when one kept him in mind and looked for him, there was some kind of greed sensor working and he couldn’t be found──that was the man named Endou Kousuke.
Actually at that time Kousuke himself also heard about how Hajime was looking for him and took initiative to seek him out and called out to him but……
That time it was Hajime instead who didn’t notice him and completely ignored him, so Kousuke thought 「Guess he isn’t looking for me anymore?」 and stopped calling out to him……
Everyone could easily imagine something like that happening that they said 「Aa~」 in understanding together. Their voices harmonized beautifully.
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