I will make Katsuragi fall in love with me. For that reason, I have no choice but to first obtain Katsuragi’s trust. For that, I thought that the best thing was probably to recognize Samejima as an enemy together.
Therefore, I suggested it. If it’s Katsuragi he’d definitely agree to it.
Although he would hate me at first, I won’t mind even if he abused me. The process was important.
“… Oi, Tamaki.” (Daichi)
“Though you talked about defeating Samejima… can something like that really be done?” (Daichi)
My prediction came true. Katsuragi still wanted to defeat Samejima in his heart.
“It is possible. If Katsuragi perseveres it will be enough.” (Tamaki)
“Me… persevere?” (Daichi)
“Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Force for force.” (Tamaki)
“… Challenge him to a fight?” (Daichi)
“Yeah. You’d win against Samejima in a one-on-one match. He would be looking down on Katsuragi.” (Tamaki)
“Hey, are you being serious here…?” (Daichi)
“I’m serious.” (Tamaki)
I returned Katsuragi’s stare. Our stares met for a while, before Katsuragi looked away.
“… I understand. Let’s assume that I can defeat Samejima. How would you benefit?” (Daichi)
“I’ve said it many times. I want to spend school life together with Katsuragi.” (Tamaki)
“It’s difficult to believe what you’re saying.” (Daichi)
“I know.” (Tamaki)
I wrapped my hands around Katsuragi’s hand. I didn’t let go. I faced him.
“However, it would be nice to start from zero.” (Tamaki)
“… How?” (Daichi)
“I don’t know.” (Tamaki)
“I mean, isn’t that right? I don’t know how I could earn Katsuragi’s trust. So, please tell me. About Katsuragi. Lots, lots, I want to know about you.” (Tamaki)
Katsuragi’s dark eyes were moving about in confusion. I wondered if my words reached his heart. I wasn’t flustered, but I was taking into consideration the atmosphere.
“… … Understood.” (Daichi)
He said the word I was waiting for. I naturally smiled.
“Then, I will-!” (Tamaki)
—also work hard in order to defeat Samejima together, is what I was trying to say.
“Are you misunderstanding?” (Daichi)
“… … Eh?” (Tamaki)
“Though I understand what you’re saying I don’t think it is worth going through with your plan.” (Daichi)
Katsuragi shook off my hand that had lost its strength like an annoying bug.
“… Where was it no good?” (Tamaki)
I found that my voice was trembling. However, my feelings were limited by being dammed down to a muddy stream.
“I certainly hate Samejima. So extremely that I want to kill him.” (Daichi)
“If that’s the case-“ (Tamaki)
He gazed towards the heavens, and for a moment his eyes looked sad and distant.
“It’s unreasonable. I’m trash. I have no choice but to accept it, it’s reality!” (Daichi)
“… …” (Tamaki)
It was painful. Very painful, Katsuragi calling himself trash. I clenched my fists, fingernails digging in.
However, that was because Samejima’s acts, somehow or other, had made him accept that claim.
“How much effort did you think I used? How much trial and error do you think it took? You! What do you know!?” (Daichi)
Stop it. It hurts. I don’t want to hear anymore. Please don’t say it.
… However, I didn’t stop.
“… Giving up won’t do.” (Tamaki)
“It’s not possible! I can’t win! No matter how much I struggle!!” (Daichi)
Katsuragi spat it out, his breathing became rough and his shoulders rising up and down.
“… And I can’t trust you. What’s with that? Suddenly waking up to a sense of justice…” (Daichi)
“Just… leave me alone already…” (Daichi)
After exhausting his words, he looked like a soldier who had finally been released from service.
If I continued like this any further it would wound him. Of course, I understood that the future held joy for him.
My chest tightened.
… … I hardened my resolve. I reminded myself that this was not the real Katsuragi. This was only an illusion that Lily created.
The real Katsuragi wasn’t having to taste this suffering.
“… I don’t want… to give up. I recognize that Katsuragi has worth as a human being, and until Samejima is defeated… I won’t give up.” (Tamaki)
“… … Do whatever you like.” (Daichi)
Katsuragi sighed half in amazement and started to get off of the roof.
I had to tell him something immediately.
“I will be waiting here. During lunch breaks and after school. I believe that Katsuragi will come.” (Tamaki)
“… So persistent.” (Daichi)
Katsuragi left the roof.
When I heard the sound of the door closing, I sat down on the floor as though I had no waist.
… It can’t be helped, can it? That I could only do that much is a fact. Having come to this, I can’t complain.
I was able to learn a little more of Katsuragi’s feelings. I understood it again.
The fact that I didn’t know anything about Katsuragi.
I had to advance before being depressed.
What I can do is to believe in Katsuragi. Unless I believed in him from the bottom of my heart, there’s no way he would open up to me.
I had to stick to my word, to show that he wouldn’t be abandoned. Katsuragi will come here sooner or later.
… From now on I’ll be eating lunch on the rooftop, huh…
“… What do I do about this?” (Tamaki)
I still had two lunchboxes. It would be wasteful to throw them away, so do I eat them?
I leaned against the door so that no one could come out onto the roof.
… Is it okay now?
Today’s lunch was a little salty.
About two hours have passed since I went through the transfer magic formation on the 30th Floor I think?
It wasn’t possible to know the time because I didn’t have a clock, and was guessing by how fatigued I felt.
“Damn… those tenacious guys from a bit ago.” (Daichi)
I descended six floors since then to the temporary provisional 37th Floor and had spent the past thirty minutes on this floor alone.
It was due to the Iron Rabbits I’ve been fighting.
The rabbit could temporarily cause its body to become metal, and would be in groups of no less than three.
In other words, every encounter against them was many-on-one. Additionally, their bodies heated up because of the hot temperature.
Getting hit would become a considerable wound. They were small and quick.
“Kyui!!” (Iron Rabbit #1)
The head of Iron Rabbit #1 who was in front of the others had a shining luster and it flew towards my abdomen. Being in such a low floor they had satisfactory speed and a high physical strength too.
However, I’ve already fought them many times. To some extent, I’ve memorized their patterns. Seeing their white afterimages in both sides of my vision, I sidestepped the decoys.
I leapt, changing my posture so that my back was skimming the ceiling. With both rabbits’ heads approaching from the left and right, I put my hands out in front of me and fired Wind at them.
“Kyu!?” (Iron Rabbit #1)
“Kyuki!” (Iron Rabbit #2)
Both rabbits fell down from the sudden gust, there was no way I’d overlook it. I took the dagger out of its case and threw it at the Iron Rabbit on the left, while I slashed at the Iron Rabbit on the right. [TN: Double-edged military dagger.]
“This is your end!!” (Daichi)
I turned around in order to strike Iron Rabbit #1, who was trying to rocket head butt me from behind, with my sword.
An earsplitting metallic sound rang out. Because the Iron Rabbit took the vibrations directly to its brain, its movements became slow.
I seized its neck and put all of my strength in the grip to break it.
Three light particles ascended towards the sky when it died.
After confirming its death I wiped the sweat that had gathered on my brow with my arm.
“It’s hot!!” (Daichi)
I immediately redeployed the Ice Wind that had been stopped during it because I became too focused on the battle.
I-I thought I’d die…
I’d really hate to be dissolved and absorbed by this dungeon like slime. If I died I wouldn’t be able to touch Shuri’s body.
… Oi, no, wait up. I won’t die. Thanks to the power that goddess gave me.
… I was becoming very tired…
“Capturing a dungeon without taking a break is intense…” (Daichi)
Just in case some monster appeared, to be able to deal with them I sat in the middle of the pathway, sword in hand.
As expected, I felt the value of companions at times like this… back then, I didn’t try to rely on anyone. Since everyone around me were enemies.
Thinking about it, I’ve come far from back then by continually going through some unbelievable days.
Living with and liking a girl, depending on the idiot committee chairman, and laughing with a demon. Most recently a book girl started giving me her affection.
“… …” (Daichi)
My eyes were closed and I was recalling many things.
They were all indispensable. I want to protect them.
Those feelings stirred me.
“… I’ve got to quickly reach the bottom layer, to meet up with everyone.” (Daichi)
Standing up, I did some light stretched and started walking to the door of the room that was connected to the next floor.