“Katsuragi! Katsuragi! My stats are going up!”
“Shut up already. Now’s not the time nor place.”
“What’s with you? Don’t you have anything to say?”
“Yeah, yeah. Isn’t it great? Now you can actually do something helpful for once.”
“Who would do anything for you!?”
She’s still talking to me like that? You think she’d have understood the pecking order by now.
“… Hey, Hamakaze. There’s something I’d like to test out.”
My stats didn’t improve much, but I did manage to get more special abilities.
One of them was Absolute Command. According to its explanation, it looks like I have to be a higher level to use it.
So I assume that’s why it didn’t appear until now.
At any rate, for its condition to be that I need to be higher leveled… is it saying that a ruler should be stronger than their subordinates?
Let’s leave that alone for now.
Its effect is what anyone would be interested in.
Being able to make someone follow an order, no matter what it is. Teenage boys the world over would definitely envy me for it.
My gaze was pointed directly at a certain part of Hamakaze’s body.
Hamakaze turned around, hiding her two voluptuous hills from my view.
“Shaddup… Like I’d do it in a place like this? I’ll wait to take you until after we clear this dungeon. You can calm down.”
“Th-There’s no way I could!! What about my rights!?”
“You don’t have any.”
I declared it outright.
“You brute! You should just die!”
“I’d just power up and revive if I did.”
“I don’t get it!”
She beat against my chest. I was thinking about groping her chest in return if she did it again, but she continued speaking.
“You… me… everything, I don’t get any of it. Why, why do we have to fight monsters like those… why did we have to start being heroes…!?”
She put less and less strength into her fists as time went on.
“I don’t… I don’t get it…!”
Her voice losing its usual innocent and naive tone, it sounded feeble.
“I can’t take it anymore… what’s with this place… why did this have to happen…!?”
She crouched down and began to cry.
Did her will break after coming this far…?
With the reality of our situation thrust before her, the floodgates she’d somehow managed to hold back burst open.
It’s not like I don’t understand how she feels. I’m sure I’d be crying just as miserably as her if I were in her shoes right now.
I can guess at her mental state to some degree.
—Which is why I knew that now was my chance to make Hamakaze mine.
I’m such a horrible person, only able to think about stuff like that…
“… Hey, Hamakaze.”
“… … … What?”
“Who do you think caused us to fall into this mess?”
“… What good would answering that—”
“Just answer me. Who do you think caused it?”
“… The goddess, for summoning us?”
“Huh…? Th-Then, who?”
I immediately responded with the name of the person who was the target of my revenge.
“Wh-Why? I mean, it was that woman who asked us to do all of this, right?”
“Yeah, she did.”
“But we had the right to refuse her. The one to take that right from us was who, exactly?”
She knew exactly who the culprit was.
“It was him. He, at his own convenience, accepted her request. He, at his own convenience, got carried away and—”
I whispered into Hamakaze’s ear.
“—abandoned you, betrayed you.”
I heard her clench her teeth.
Looks like she’d been ignoring that truth, hiding herself from it. She bottled up the hatred that must have been there in her gut, letting it lay dormant.
She’d endured it. I don’t know why and I don’t want to know.
She just needs to drown herself in that anger now.
“… Why… was I… abandoned…?”
She barely managed to squeeze her voice out through her tears. Like a baby clinging onto their parent, Hamakaze grabbed my sleeve.
“Because you were weak.”
I shook my arm, causing her to let go.
“You know… I-I… liked… Samejima… I was trying hard, giving it my all. Even if I was afraid, I would kill those demons… I was trying to be strong…”
“There’s a lot of people who like him. He wouldn’t care about losing you.”
I spoke in a piercing, cold tone.
I didn’t sympathize with her.
—But that wasn’t enough. I will make her my ally. I will shove myself into her heart.
“… … Eh?”
I moved my arm around Hamakaze’s waist, holding her as she cried.
“K-Katsuragi? Wh-What are you—”
“I won’t abandon you.”
Her small body, her shattered mind, overreacted to my comforting.
“You won’t… abandon… me…?”
“I’m different from Samejima. I want you. I want you to be by my side forever.”
“No way… Katsuragi, even without me… y-you could…”
I put more strength into my embrace, conveying my feelings.
“Please… come with me. I will never abandon you. I’ll say it as many times as it takes. I… want you.”
There was only a faint glimmer of light left in her teary eyes as she gazed back into mine. If she was left alone now, left without anyone or anything to support her, she would likely die.
It was like looking at my past self.
“Will you… accept… me?”
She slowly lowered her eyelids and brought her teary face closer to mine.
I saw her lips, bloody from being bitten down on so hard.
I’m not sympathizing with her.
I’m not comforting her.
It’s fine. I’m just making her my ally.
I don’t need to overthink it.
I got an excellent subordinate.
My first kiss tasted like blood.
On that day, I obtained my first genuine slave.