This chapter was long… but the feels…!
Story 3-26 『Starting Fresh』
Everyone is safe… though it’s hard to say for us who just finished the trial, we are going down a gloomy path.
Lily’s magic light lead the way with a shining light.
We were lined up behind Lily in the order of me, Shuri-chan, and then Hayase-san.
I was leading Shuri-chan by her hand. Or else she seemed as though she may disappear.
I called Shuri-chan’s name to check on her.
“… … …” (Shuri)
There was no reply. It felt like she was an empty container that lost its soul.
“… … Hmph…” (Lily)
From the related party that did this to her, Lily was giving Shuri-chan a sidelong glance.
Her gaze held astonishment and sympathy.
“… Hey, Lily. Where are we heading?” (Tamaki)
Shuri-chan definitely needs Katsuragi now. If we don’t have him, Shuri-chan won’t get better.
“… Where is Katsuragi? Since we passed, will you tell us where he is?” (Tamaki)
“… Don’t worry, Shield. I’ve also thought about that.” (Lily)
“… What do you mean?” (Tamaki)
“Something like… this!” (Lily)
Lily withdrew from the front and light filled my vision.
What appeared was a transfer magic formation. In the very center of it an unknown man, Katsuragi and Leadred were sitting down.
“Katsuragi! Leadred-san too!” (Tamaki)
『… … …』 (Katsuragi, Leadred)
Though I called their names, they didn’t seem to notice that us three arrived, and were staring at something.
“… What are you looking at?” (Tamaki)
I approached quietly and, looking from behind them, saw that they were looking into three crystal balls.
“… Crystal balls? Why are they here?” (Tamaki)
I had doubts about them incongruously being in this place. Lily gave the answer.
“Oh, those, it’s because Hero-sama’s group was watching them like me.” (Lily)
“Oh, I see. Then…” (Tamaki)
… … … Hmm?
Katsuragi was also… watching…?
What I had done in the trial rapidly flashed through my mind.
『Therefore… because of that, right now, would you warm me up…?』
Me, who who pleaded for him to embrace me.
『Even if you fail here, it’s alright because I will never leave Kasturagi.』
Me, who made a proposal-like remark and clung to him from behind.
『I love you, Katsuragi~… I have… always loved you…!!』
Me, who confessed my love.
Sure enough, I wasn’t able to endure the shame and screamed.
The transfer room. The so-called goal of the dungeon. I ended up here a few hours ago, though I’ll be omitting various things that happened for now.
I was busy keeping Tamaki, who let out a loud scream a moment ago, company after bringing her close.
“W-wait a minute! T-then, Katsuragi saw all of our trials?” (Tamaki)
Hearing Lily telling her, Tamaki asked me that question first.
We were certainly watching them at the school, and then fighting Lily.
“… Well, yeah.” (Daichi)
“N-no way…” (Tamaki)
Tamaki weakly sat down when I said that. Her face became so red that it wouldn’t lose to an octopus, and she was hiding it with her hands.
“Eh, then, everything, you saw, eh, eh!? (Fuuko)
Fuuko started to lose her composure and was becoming flustered. She was also sweating. For some reason she diverted her gaze from me with all her might.
“… … …” (Shuri)
However, the girl who liked me more than anyone—wore a heartless expression.
To be precise, her eyes felt like they had no vitality and appeared dead.
Hell, nightmares, despair, looking at her face like that was painful.
Each of the three had different reactions.
First of all, the one to speak first was Fuuko.
“T-that’s not it, Katsuragi-kun! F-from my position, I had no choice but to say… that…” (Fuuko)
“Don’t worry about it, Fuuko.” (Daichi)
“… … Eh?” (Fuuko)
“Since the reason you did that was because you like me right? I’m not used to being loved. I’m just really happy.” (Daichi)
Saying that, I clapped Fuuko’s shoulder with a *Pon*. She had on an entranced expression. It seems that her consciousness had taking a trip somewhere.
Next I went to the one who did the most in the trial, who was the first girl to return from it.
“… T-Tamaki.” (Daichi)
“… W-what?” (Tamaki)
“… …” (Tamaki)
I wonder what I should say? Though I had suspected she held good will towards me for a long time, I didn’t think her feelings were that intense until she was put in there.
She is also a gentle child who loves me. I have to respond cordially.
… … … Alright.
My name came from her before her name was called. Tamaki whispered into my ear with blushing cheeks. The distance was close enough to feel her breath.
“… Since I’m good for now… Shuri-chan needs you. Help her somehow…” (Tamaki)
Saying just that, Tamaki, as if to encourage me, clapped my back and went besides Leadred.
However, to the simple me it was motivation enough and I turned my feet towards the girl in question.
“… Shuri…” (Daichi)
“Katsuragi… …-kun.” (Shuri)
When Shuri saw my face approaching, she muttered my name.
Apparently she hadn’t noticed me until I approached her.
“… Katsuragi-kun.” (Shuri)
“That’s right, is something wrong?” (Daichi)
She touched from my arm, to my body and moved her hand up to my cheek.
“Ahaha, it’s Katsuragi-kun. It’s Katsuragi-kun.” (Shuri)
Her clouded eyes saw me.
Something happened to her… it must be related to that trial. Shuri only failed twice, though after that she didn’t return to the academy even once.
“As I thought… How pleasant, being called by name. I know, can I also… call you by first name? D-Daichi… Ehehe… It’s embarrassing. Since I’m not adding ‘-sama’, it’s somehow fresh!” (Shuri)
“… …!” (Daichi)
I sense madness.
If those words were Shuri’s true feelings, how happy must she be. She seemed so happy she, was going to faint.
However, right now Shuri is going mad. It’s abnormal.
“Hey, Daichi. I, was working hard in the trial you know. I even killed Samejima, to save Daichi… But you know, you know, Daichi ran away? Sure, it was because you were embarrassed because you liked me. I mean, Daichi is strong and would never run away from me. I’ve kissed Daichi time and time again, something… that’s happened… Which reminds me how many children shall we have? Of course I want to give birth as proof of my love for Daichi… I want at least three… Daichi can decide the names, I’m not good at things like that. Ah, I’ve gone off topic… Though I said that, I don’t mind. I know Daichi likes me. I like Daichi the most in the world, since I love him. Right? Isn’t that right? Say you love me, Daichi? Because I worked hard for that. Say it? Say it, Daichi. Say that you love me…?” (Shuri)
She changed from sorrow to smiling. She was begging and gripping my arm, digging her fingernails into it.
… I know that the words I should say are none other than 『I like you』.
I understand how dangerous her current condition is.
However, I know that if I were to do that, she’d become an empty lifeless doll.
Since we’ve had a mutually fondness until now, I’ve been putting off the bill to resolve this and make her better. I wonder if I’m being punished in a sense.
That’s why, I must send her the opposite words.
We have to face each other.
“… I hate it.” (Daichi)
“… … …” (Shuri)
“The Shuri right now, I hate.” (Daichi)
I clearly stare at her eyes and announce it plainly.
“Eh-… Ah-… Uwah-…” (Shuri)
Shuri couldn’t believe the scene in front of her and tried to run away. However, it was kind of easy to predict that. I used『Earth Chain Binding』, seizing her feet.
Shuri lost her balance and hit the ground with her face. I took her hand, and immediately embraced her closely when she got up.
“W-what are—“ (Shuri)
“… But you know. It’s my idiotic self that i hate even more.” (Daichi)
“… …!” (Shuri)
I applied more force to my arms.
“I… when I kissed you back in the first dungeon… that wasn’t because I liked you.” (Daichi)
“… Eh-…” (Shuri)
“I was going to use you and throw you away when you got in the way… I was going to. However, I gradually noticed Shuri’s merits… truly. I came to love that Shuri.” (Daichi)
I don’t know what kind of face Shuri has on. There’s a possibility that she disliked it.
However, I continued.
Because I thought that we need to get to know each other even more now.
“When Shuri confessed to me in front of the Royal Palace I was very happy. I have to protect Shuri, is what I thought. At the same time I became afraid of losing you. I was desperate to not be disliked by Shuri. I didn’t want to show you my ugly side, nor know about it. Therefore, I didn’t tell Shuri how I felt about my past… Sorry, Shuri. I’m the lowest—“ (Daichi)
“—You’re wrong!!” (Shuri)
Interrupting my apology, Shuri voiced her denial.
“Katsuragi-kun is… that is… I’ve probably been taking advantage of that since the beginning…? Although I was shocked, such a silly me received goodwill, compared to being protected so many times… If it weren’t for Katsuragi-kun, I wouldn’t be here right now. Therefore, Katsuragi-kun isn’t the lowest. I… I’m—“ (Shuri)
Now, sobs were mixing in with her words, and her words firmly reached my heart.
It’s the first time such a loud voice came from Shuri’s mouth. Knowing the extent of her feelings, I could surmise the meaning of her words.
“I also… I also… didn’t try to get to know Katsuragi-kun! I became too dependent! On Katsuragi-kun’s kindness!” (Shuri)
“… …” (Daichi)
“I was wrong… I was stupid! I fell in love with Katsuragi-kun, and Katsuragi-kun also fell in love with me… I was ecstatic…! I didn’t take you into consideration until someone told me!” (Shuri)
“… …” (Daichi)
“You’re favorite food, favorite color, favorite hobby… I really don’t know anything… While I kept saying that I love you, I didn’t even try to meet you halfway! And yet I wanted Katsuragi-kun to love me, I’m such a hopeless idiot…! And above all, I! I ran away from my crime… I’m sorry! Although it is late, for speaking bad about Katsuragi-kun, for the bullying, for not helping you… I’m really sorry!!” (Shuri)
… Shuri continued on with her really, really long apology. I understood the feelings of her words one by one.
… We knew so little of each other. I think we had gotten too drunk on words of 『Love』. We probably longed for each other after having gone through too much shock.
… However, while that’s true, my feelings right now aren’t temporary, nor are they fake. I seriously love Shuri.
“… Resist if you don’t like it.” (Daichi)
“… There’s no way I would do that.” (Shuri)
Now that I had her permission, I embraced her gently.
“Thank you, Shuri. For seriously apologizing…” (Daichi)
“… No, because I was in the wrong.” (Shuri)
“Although I don’t mind anymore… ah, no. Let’s stop this topic already. Let’s talk about the future from now on.” (Daichi)
“… The future?” (Shuri)
“Yeah, that’s right. Talk about the future.” (Daichi)
I gently stroked Shuri’s head. She seemed comfortable and smiled with her whole face.
I think that she calmed down a little. Therefore, I decided to speak about what I was thinking.
“I love Shuri. Because I love you… once more, shall we try to start over from being friends?” (Daichi)
“… I-I knew it, someone like me…” (Shuri)
Shuri’s shoulders trembled at my words, and she sent me an uneasy look.
“It’s different. Didn’t I tell you already? I love Shuri after all.” (Daichi)
“Then… why?” (Shuri)
Unconciously, I increased the force in my arms. She had truly told me her feelings.
“It’s like Shuri said. Shuri hardly knows me. However, the same can be said for me.” (Daichi)
“… Is that… so?” (Shuri)
“Don’t you agree that I’ve always left it to Shuri took cook, and to pick my clothes, and evaded topics that had to do with the previous world? Therefore, I think that this is a good opportunity to understand each other better. We’ll start properly from scratch, become friends, and deepen our relationship—from there, we’ll move on to love.” (Daichi)
“… I wonder if it will go that smoothly?” (Shuri)
“It will. I mean, we didn’t even know anything about each other, only that we dearly love each other.” (Daichi)
“Though it should be obvious already… does Shuri hate me?” (Daichi)
Shuri shook her head left and right. Because it was done so frantically, I let out a laugh.
“W-why are you laughing!?” (Shuri)
“I couldn’t endure it because Shuri was so cute.” (Daichi)
“C-come on…” (Shuri)
Shuri’s cheeks puffed up. That action was lovely, and from the bottom of my heart I was amazed by her, I knew that I loved her.
“Well then, first of all… That’s right, self-introductions huh.” (Daichi)
I stretched out my hand.
“I’m Katsuragi Daichi. I like reading and playing games.” (Daichi)
“I’m Hamakaze Shuri. My hobby is cooking and my strong point is fried rice! My belief is to always have on a smile! … Nice to meet you!” (Shuri)
Shuri was innocent as usual, and returned my grip with a big smile.