A Best Friend and a Lover
We were talking about what had happened up until the point I revived as we headed to the room that had the teleportation magic formation in it.
“Still though, that was a close one. I was dipping in and out of consciousness midway, so I didn’t see all of it.”
Unleashed from her chains, Leadred was busy using a small ball of fire to warm herself up by moving it from one part of her body to another. I’d given her my robe so that she wouldn’t catch a cold.
“Sorry… I was defeated. I don’t know what happened.”
Shuri put her arms around my neck and leaned against my back, apologizing. Ever since she came to, she’d been acting spoiled and has been clinging to me.
I mean, it’s definitely a good thing for me as a man.
Those things touching my back…
They were battling against my ability to think.
I’d rescued the two of them without any other problems happening after Fantra was dealt with.
As Shuri’s chest had been stabbed through, I was carrying her on my back. Leadred refrained, instead opting to walk on her own.
“Not being able to die when you’re trapped in ice is common sense1. Yet, Hero, you came back with Revenge of the Grudgebearer…”
“Oh, yeah. I used Deadly Poison‘s effect.”
“” Deadly poison? “”
“Yeah! The Deadly Poison status effect!”
Shuri and Leadred responded at the same time, their voices overlapping. The person to answer them wasn’t me, though, it was Tamaki.
“Remember when I took out all those things from Katsuragi’s pouch when he wasn’t able to move because of Fantra’s imperial rank magic? One of those things stood out when I was looking through it—I saw a yanu leaf.”
Seeing her best friend still looking confused, Tamaki continued.
“You’ll get the Deadly Poison status effect if you overdose on yanu leaves. That is, you’ll lose a hundred stamina every minute, regardless of how it happened. Moreover, if you run out of stamina during the effect, you’ll die. In other words, him being trapped in that ice didn’t matter.”
“I see. But when did he eat it? I didn’t see him eat anything?”
“That was what that kiss with him was for.”
Tamaki put on airs to look like she didn’t think anything of it and glossed over the matter.
“I put the yanu leaves in my mouth. That way, I could pass them to him by pretending to kiss. So—”
Tamaki pat her best friend’s head with a gentle touch.
“… Katsuragi didn’t throw you away, Shuri. You don’t have to keep up your act anymore, alright?”
The affection in her voice was plenty enough to make Shuri cry.
Surprised at being seen through, Shuri looked up at her and blinked in surprise.
“Of course I did. You’re my best friend.”
“What you just said… was the truth, right?”
“… B-But, still…”
“Oh, come on! If you’re going to be like that then just keep up with how you’ve been! Go ahead and whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears! Us third wheels will leave you two alone!”
Tamaki clapped her on the back to pep her up.
“Normies should go explode! Leadred, let’s go!”
Tamaki took Leadred’s hand and ran ahead to the teleportation room.
We were left alone.
As would obviously happen, we looked into each other’s eyes.
There was no one around us.
What Tamaki was wanting to say, what she wished for this girl before me… I knew.
“Katsuragi… do you love me?”
“Of course. Shuri, I love you. More than anyone.”
With that, I—
After joining back up with the others a few minutes later, we were on the teleportation magic formation. It was already shining and was just waiting for the final word.
“Come to think of it, we didn’t manage to team up with another demon did we?”
Shuri, who’d grown much more spirited than before, spoke up about our original purpose in coming to this dungeon as though she’d just remembered it.
“There’s nothing we can do about that. That guy wouldn’t have made a good person to have with us anyway. More importantly, I managed to get some welcomed information, so I don’t mind.”
“What kind of information? Something about another dungeon to go to?”
“Well, something like that. It was about two people who we’ll pick up to join us.”
“Heeeh, are they demons too?”
“I’ll let you find out when we meet them. Everyone ready to go?”
Leadred shrugged, Shuri clasped my hand, and Tamaki watched over Shuri with a gentle gaze.
Everyone showed their readiness in their own ways.
“Three, two, one—”
“””” Teleport!! “”””
We invoked the magic formation.
This time, a sunflower-yellow light pulsed up from the ground and overwhelmed everything, teleporting us to the surface.
We had finally returned from Trance Labyrinth.