Entrusting The Girl
“… —ro! … … —ro!”
… I heard someone’s voice.
My body was shaken several times and the fog clouding my mind eventually cleared.
“… Where am I?”
The bright light overpowered my vision. Dazzled, I sat up.
“Hero! You’re awake!?”
Following that, a man reacted loudly. The man was the guard sent along with Yuuji to escort us, Lynn Wade.
He looked different than before, like he was in a hurry. He hadn’t said much on the way here and instead focused on keeping watch, so maybe I’d just gotten used to that… but it really did seem like he was acting differently.
“Yeah… Did something happen?”
Lynn had trouble continuing.
Looking around, I finally started to regain my usual composure.
There was no one around us. Not Tamaki, Mahara, or Minamoto. Not even Yuuji.
I was back on the surface, but none of them being here with me was strange. They weren’t such terrible people as to leave behind a fallen comrade.
… Well, Mahara and Minamoto might’ve.
The reason I thought that was because I saw them bully a certain boy in our class.
They used violence against a classmate that hadn’t really done anything to warrant it. They’d use reasons as simple as just not liking him to bully him.
To be honest, I couldn’t keep watching it. After all, they were just fabricating a reality where someone was below them to make themselves feel better.
To validate their superiority, they abused a human, just wanting to humiliate him.
To top that off, when they felt that they themselves were in danger, they used him as a decoy. However, that was also my sin.
I couldn’t do anything. Just like back at the school.
If only I could have told them to stop it, even just a single word… But the thought of them bullying me instead was scary.
I regretted it. If I met him again, I wonder if he could ever forgive me? Even if not, I’d at least want to apologize. It might just me wanting to do it for myself, but I think it’s something I’d have to do.
“Hero? Are you unwell?”
“Oh, no. I was just thinking about something…”
Lynn’s voice pulled me back to reality.
Oh right. What what was I doing before I collapsed?
We’d entered Trance Labyrinth.
But when Mahara and Minamoto ran off midway, Yuuji ran after them.
Tamaki and I were waiting in a safe spot when Yuuji came back with a few injuries. And then I fainted… right. Someone struck me on my neck.
—Everyone’s in danger!
Realizing that, I jolted up.
“Hero! Please calm down!”
Lynn stopped me by grabbing onto my arm.
“Let me go! I have—I have to help them!”
“Even if you went by yourself, you couldn’t do anything! You don’t have a combat-oriented ability!”
Hitting my weak spot, I stopped resisted. He was right, my Grand Library wasn’t a special ability meant for fighting.
It only excelled when used to support others.
Moreover, my status wasn’t that high, either. That downside came to light after my level hadn’t increased in the previous dungeon.
“Th-Then what are you saying I should do? Leave them?”
I don’t want to abandon them. I never want to do something like that again.
Lynn quickly answered my question.
“Hero. I have a message for you from Yuuji.”
“Yes. He went back into the dungeon to save everyone after bringing you here. He also told me to tell you something if you attempted to return to the dungeon.”
“Wh-What did he want you to tell me?”
“To please return to the royal palace and tell them of what happened here, as well as request for rescue. To quote him: Fuuko, you’re the only one that can do it. He’s relying on you, so we should go as soon as we—”
“I’ll do it! Let’s go back to the royal palace!”
I shouted, drowning out the end of Lynn’s words.
It was as Yuuji said. I might be able to get them a rescue team if I go back to the royal palace. It’s something only I could do.
And… he used my first name…!
Just that was enough to fire me up.
The person I like used my first name…!
“Hero? Do you have a fever? Your face is red…”
“Oh, n-no! Rather, let’s go! We can’t waste any time!”
We rode back on horses with Lynn taking the lead.
Please wait, everyone!
I’ll definitely call for help!
◆ ◆ ◆
Several hours later, I had returned to the royal palace and told them everything that had happened. Then, when I was returning to the room that was assigned to me, I came across three girls in the hallway.
They were from Minamoto’s group. From right to left, there was Inoma, Nijima, and Horitani.
They each had piercings, broke school regulations, and were overall disbehaving students.
“Hayase. How dare you…”
“Playing dumb!? We know you ran away and left Kureha1 and everyone behind to die!”
I couldn’t hide my surprise at what Horitani said. Why does she know that?
I mean, it’s not a problem for people to know, but…
What matters is that the facts got twisted.
“Th-That’s not what happened! There was a Monster House, I would have just gotten in the way!”
“A Monster House!? Why would they go into one of those!?”
“We tried to stop them! J-Just, Minamoto and Maharu didn’t listen and ran off…”
“Kureha wouldn’t have done that!”
She swung her arm down, slapping my cheek with her palm.
“Either way, you’re just trying to make yourself look useful so you don’t get thrown away like that Katsuragi guy!!”
“N-No I’m not! Please, listen—”
“F*ck you! Shut up!”
I took a punch to the abdomen. Horitani’s fist went far in.
I staggered forward, unaccustomed to pain. Then, along with the others verbally abusing me, I took a kick to the side.
Unable to do anything but endure their violence, I could only use my arms to protect my head.
How long do I have to suffer this pain? How much suffering do I have to go through?
Tears started to overflow from my eyes. Why did I have to go through this?
What did I do wrong?
“Whatever! Don’t think you’re off the hook! Be ready, I’m going to tell everyone what you did!”
Temporarily satisfied at seeing me fall over, the three of them walked down the hallway.
It was night out. They were probably heading to the dining hall. I obviously didn’t have the willpower to follow them.
I leaned back against the wall.
I couldn’t shed anymore tears. Instead, all I felt was frustration and worthlessness.
Frustration at my weakness. Worthlessness at how helpless I was.
I’m weak, so I couldn’t do anything. I’m weak, so I…
“… What should I do?”
Horitani said that she’d tell everyone that I caused them to die. They’d all definitely label me a murderer and abuse me however they wanted.
I knew that. Because… because I’d seen them do it to someone else already. Because of their own selfishness. Because of their own convenience. They would do the same thing to me.
If I had to be stared at like that… if I had to be thought of like that…
“… I’ll just kill myself.”
My hands approached my neck. If I invoked magic, I’d die instantly.
Just then, Yuuji’s face appeared in my mind. The first man to treat me that kindly and acknowledge my existence.
He encouraged me so much, so I felt that I had to do my best.
I didn’t want to let him down.
“What should I do, Yuuji?”
The hallway had no one in it.
Even so, I heard a voice answer me.
Do you desire power?
Even once I looked around, I didn’t see anyone. Even so, I heard the voice again.
Sorry, but I won’t be showing you my appearance. I won’t be telling you who I am, either.
Calm down. I am conveying my words directly to you through magic. Will you answer my question?
Hohoh, how obedient of you. There is something I would like to tell you first, then. —The person you call Yuuji is still alive.
No need to shout, now.
There was no one there, but I bowed my head nonetheless.
Yuuji is alive… Just that was enough to ease my mind.
Tamaki Yui is still alive as well. However, the other two lost their lives due to an accident. Unable to defend them, he will be punished for allowing the heroes to die.
“N-No way…! I mean, they ran off on their own!”
This world is a cruel one. That would merely be treated as an excuse. So, the two of them are heading to the next dungeon while recruiting more people to their cause. Thusly, I have a question to ask.
Yes. Will you swear to become their comrade and to support him?
It was a silly question. She could help and stand beside him? Could anything bring her more happiness?
“I swear it. I want to help Yuuji, more than anyone.
—You are as I expected, child.
It felt like the owner of the voice was laughing.
In that case, I shall bestow you with power.
Yes. Try it out after this. I want you to aid him with this power. He is waiting for you.
“W-Waiting… for me…?”
They are heading to a dungeon named Blazing Execution Grounds. Early tomorrow morning, you are to leave this place and head there. Make sure you are not followed. Am I understood?
“Yes. I will definitely, definitely go to Yuuji…”
As I said that, I heard the voice laugh once more and break off. Nothing followed after that.
Now there’s only one thing I have to do.
It felt like the pain I’d been enduring lessened. Was it because of my uplifted mood?
I wasn’t sure, but I did know that Yuuji wanted me. He was waiting for me.
I had to meet his expectations!
My mind was filled by him.
Entering my room, I prepared for my journey.