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Descending to the town, I used Yuuta’s phone to contact Kana. Not through mail, mind you; it was a direct call since people can understand each other better through verbal communication rather than through text. I also wanted to tell her how serious I am about wanting to stop her, so I need to know what sort of state of mind Kana currently is in.
“It’s me, Nakamoto. You know why I called you from this number, right?”
“…Yuuta is alive, right?”
“Fine and peachy.¹”
“I’m definitely reporting you to the police.”
Kana’s voice trembled, as if she’s truly at the end of her wits.
“Do that and Yuuta is dead, and honestly I prefer not to do that. I really want you to choose something that will lead to less victims.”
“…you’ve got some screws loose I swear.”
“Talk about pot calling a kettle black. I’ll be waiting in the summit of Mt. Shinbetsu. Conceal yourself and the other Kanas, shake off the reporters and come meet me” I said, and then I cut the line.
I returned the phone to Yuuta’s pocket and heaved a sigh.
Mount Shinbetsu is a deserted mountain two kilometers east of here, and since it’ll be a huge pain in the ass, so I went to a public lavatory nearby, sat him up on a toilet bowl and closed the door. Until he came to, we should have someone watching over him, so with heavy heart I had to call Keisuke C and Ayako-chan over to stand watch on the entrance.
Alright then, what would happen when Yuuta wakes up? He’ll go out of the lavatory and bump into Ayako-chan, who would then say to him something like “I wasn’t kidnapped though?” and fool him with it. I don’t know how much he would then start to question his sanity, nor is Ayako-chan the type that would be great at being fair-spoken, so I could only hope that his admiration of Ayako-chan would compromise his judgement.
Opening my smartphone, I shot a message to Keisuke C and told him my plan, to which he replied almost immediately.
[I just need to go there, right? I don’t mind but are you going to continue fighting Kana? I can switch over with you if you’re tired.]
[I’m fine. At this point I’m the one who’d fought Kana #1 the most, so I know her limits and habits. Focus on keeping guard, C.”
I find myself doubting my other self since I thought perhaps he wanted to switch over since just keeping guard was getting boring for him. It’s me who we’re talking about, so I know how his train of thought goes.
A couple of minutes later, Keisuke C came crashing like the wind with Ayako-chan in his arms. With a swing of his arm as a sign, I start to make my move.
“Let’s go then” I said towards Kana, as if ordering her to join my party after I captured her.
The two of us are mutual enemies, so if I were to cast Conceal upon ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to hear or see each other.
But if she’s an allied character, it’s yet another story. Even if both of us entered stealth condition, we can see and hear each other without issues.
【Hero Kana has accepted to join the party】
There are 2 conditions of someone joining the party: either the party leader invites someone to join the party, or someone who voluntarily wants to be your friend arbitrarily joins the party in their own accord. Although, at some point in my journey, there are some people who joined my party to which I would respond by saying “since when are you so friendly with me?” and this list of people includes Angelica, Rio, and even Ayako-chan.
Yeah, right now there are 3 girls who voluntarily holds me dear, and for their sake, I wouldn’t mind turning into a demon to subjugate Kana.
“Conceal” I cast the spell once again, rendering Kana and I invisible before we start heading for Mt. Shinbetsu.
Holding Kana in my arms, I dashed straight to the mountain. With the strength of my legs, 2 kilometers would take no time at all, but since it would be pretty awkward to keep running without saying anything, I struck a conversation with Kana in my arms.
“You must be thinking that I’m such a wretch, aren’t you?”
No response. All she did was send a gaze full of fear and hatred towards me.
“Listen, I actually did manage to clone myself like you did. I cast Regeneration spell on myself and sliced myself in half. Didn’t know if I spilled parts of my brains when I did that, but I just hoped that it wasn’t such a big deal. Now though I feel kind of scared. I’m pretty sure I’ll feel this in the morning.”
“How about you? You made six copies of yourself, right? You’ve got to have some amazing guts to do all of that six times.
Kana kept her silence, still glaring at me quietly.
“You also didn’t seem to have a problem living normally since you don’t have greatly enhanced strength, only just about enough. I’m pretty sure if you would just live normally, you’ll have a rainbow-colored future. Can’t you just make the best of your strengths and just live a proper life with that? Why would you go around trying to be a Demon Queen all of a sudden?”
“If it’s all about your brother, it’s such a waste since your feelings would remain to the extent that you’d go so far as to fight an unwinnable battle.”
I didn’t say all of this to persuade her; I was just directly telling her my honest feeling…something I feel that I could have from the experiences throughout the years. When I see someone young wasting their time and talent, I couldn’t help but to think that it’s such a waste. That’s why, I get that what I’m saying may come across as an old man trying to give bad advices to a young girl.
I judged that hearing about all of this is going to be no fun at all, so I decided to shut my trap. Besides, she’s someone who succumbed to my brute force, so even listening to me would be insulting enough for her.
You know what, I’ll just be quiet and keep moving for now.
But then, Kana started talking.
“…there’s nothing then” she said.
“Isn’t that right? I’ve got nothing here since I got back from that other world. I was a hero there, someone comparable to a queen. I saved a lot of people by slaying a lot of monsters, you know? But then when I came back to Japan, I’m back to being a nobody. I’m just another normal high school girl. How am I supposed to bear that fact? Everything I did came undone you know!”
“And that’s why you can’t accept this world?”
She asked, “How about you, Nakamoto-san? Don’t you think it’s unfair?”
“You must understand since you’re also a hero from another world, right? That world is heaven, and this world is hell. Why would you even try to get me to like this world?”
“The world I was sent to is nowhere close to being heaven, so much that I constantly thought that I really want to return to Japan. My first campaign over there was beyond excruciating, and just as I had finished having an audience with the King in that world I was thrown into a war with the demi humans. I was tossed to the front line and I was no more than a pawn for the army. I was only able to survive by eating up orcish flesh at that time. Pretty sure they taste like pork just as much as they look like one.”
“…what the hell.”
“I actually hate being cruel, that’s why once I stained my hands with blood, I came to hate myself.”
Kana grimaced, perhaps feeling disgusted that a middle-aged man started talking about himself so seriously.
“Still, there were someone who loved me in my place there, but in the end, she also got killed. By me even, so what could I do? Even when I came back to Japan, I started to care less about everything. Even if society treats me like garbage, I feel like I deserve every bit of it…like the value of my life is just that much.”
As I declared that, I came to notice something.
“Ah, that’s right. We’re similar with each other, but we’re just on different vectors.”
“…what do you mean?”
“Your self-evaluation was raised in that world, while mine greatly decreased. But that’s still why both of us can’t adapt to the current society.”
We’re nowhere similar, Kana objected, baring her rebellious nature bare. Still, she seemed to have regained her spirits to a certain degree, which caused me to hesitate whether to recast Terror to her.
But I decided against it. My gut is telling me that this is a good progression.
“Let’s just say the main antagonist here is the summons in the first place. If you could only live normally in Japan, you’ll simply be a girl who loves her brother.”
I wasn’t sure what my message is behind those words.
Kana kept her silence, biting her lips quietly.
Mount Shinbetsu is really close now. From here it looks like a hazy, blue triangle with a hat of pure white snow covering its peak, nowhere close to the Mt. Sagara we’ve been few minutes earlier as Mt. Shinbetsu’s height easily dwarfed the latter, which would make a great challenge for ordinary people to scale.
Fortunately, Kana and I are not ordinary people. We are heroes that has been tempered in another world.
We would probably reach the summit in several minutes.
Vigorously, I coursed through the mountain trail and ascended steadily as the change of atmospheric pressure affecting me in no particular way.
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