Story 4-11 『Broken Heart』
One day has passed since separating from Katsuragi-kun in the Forest of the Demonic Dragon. Leaving Selen-san in the town’s inn, Arianne and I turned back to the battlefield.
However, our expressions were grim.
Last night, Katsuragi-kun didn’t come back.
What did that mean? I didn’t want to think about it.
I wanted to think it was a lie.
I unintentionally sighed. Arianne-san, who had been walking next to me, reacted to it.
“What’s wrong… you sound off.”
“No, it’s nothing… Thanks, Arianne-san. For helping me with my selfishness.”
I couldn’t help being anxious and suggested to everyone that I would go back by myself. Arianne-san approved of it and accompanied me.
“No, since I considered the same thing as Hamakaze-san as well. Besides…”
Arriane-san clenched her fists, frustrated.
“… I don’t know if I’ll be able to help even if I’m there.”
Her strength was highly ranked amongst humans. However, we have power than far exceeds human beings, so-called monsters.
I was careless, Arianne-san couldn’t bare just being a hindrance. She felt it keenly in that last fight.
… Still, I was honestly happy that she was vexed and not being able to be helpful for Katsuragi-kun. Since that was evidence that she hasn’t given up yet.
“What is it, Hamakaze-san?”
“Could you please stop calling me Hamakaze-san? Shuri is fine you know?”
Probably due to my words, Arianne-san was surprised.
She’d called us all by our last names since joining us in the 【Scorching Execution Ground】. Arianne-san definitely thought it was polite to draw the line there.
Therefore, with that conduct, even Katsuragi-kun wouldn’t down her attitude as usual… But more than that it’s likely that he had resistance to [Forsake] someone.
“Though we met you like that… we already trust Arianne-san. Of course, Selen-san as well.”
“So call me by my first name okay? Since we’re comrades.”
Arianne-san did an exaggerated reaction and clasped my hand, shaking it.
“I, this feeling… I was being thought of in such a way-“
“I never thought Katsuragi-san’s legal wife would include me as a partner…!” [TN: ‘仲間’ -> nakama -> anything from friend, to associate, to comrade, etc.]
I was taken aback by the sudden rival declaration.
W-what?? The good feeling atmosphere that was here up till a moment ago quickly became awkward. That’s not what I meant by comrade!? M-moreover, legal wife…
W-what a wonderful ring it has to it…
… That’s right… I’m seen as Katsuragi-kun’s wife…
“Wha~t? Ah, in any event, should I call for Katsuragi-kun?”
“Too soon! I take back what I said, it’s too soon!”
Arianne tsukkomi’d loudly.
After such a silly exchange, we unintentionally smiled. We pointed at each other and laughed.
“… Mou. You’re really amusing. Have you developed any wild ideas about Katsuragi-kun yet?”
“I-it’s nothing like that!? It’ll be a reality some day!”
“How so? Since there’s both Hayase-san and Tamaki-san… is it tough?”
“N-no it’s not. Katsuragi-kun chose me you know!?”
“… Then, should we ask the person himself?”
“… Yeah, let’s! Then, I’ll try to find him around here!”
I stopped in place and looked for Katsuragi-kun’s magic again. Though in general it’s almost impossible to sense an individual’s magic, it’s a different story if they have a huge amount of magic power like him and Terias. Since there isn’t anyone as powerful as them, I’d immediately know who they are.
Though Katsuragi-kun seems to be able to specify individuals, I can’t do a feat like that. In this way, I sharpened my perception of magic in all directions.
… There. Someone with a lot of magic power.
Magic that I’ve felt before. Katsuragi-kun’s.
However, I felt uneasy. Even after searching around, I couldn’t feel Terias’ magic.
Arianne seems to have sensed it too. Our eyes met.
“Yeah! Katsuragi-kun defeated Terias!”
Katsuragi-kun kept his promise. That must be it. I never doubted him.
He’s defeated all kinds of difficult situations so far. He destroyed them.
He pulled it off this time too.
We hurried, sprinting through the trees and slipping through the rough terrain.
Now everyone can live peacefully.
Katsuragi-kun, Yui-chan, Nanamin, Hayase-san, and everyone can live.
Our future was bright.
Then our narrow field of view finally opened up.
Like our future!
–It’s a lie.
I’d never imagined a scene like this, not a bit of it.
It was a sea of blood.
A picture of hell. Leadred-san and Lily-san were collapsed against a tree. Yuuma-san’s body was ragged… and Yui-chan wasn’t there.
Neither were Nanamin nor Terias.
“Eh… what, is this…?”
Red, red, red.
The ground was dyed in that single color.
As though this grotesque space was cut off. There was a boy in the middle of it. The only body wrapped in clothes of mourning, free of dirt.
“Wait for me, Yuina… I’ll go there too.”
I heard the sound of trickling water and noticed he was ripping up his throat with his own hands as large tears overflowed from him.
After witnessing that tragic scene that I don’t want to remember, we naturally confined each one in their rooms at our home, which was nearby.
No, everyone was being taken care of. Their whole bodies were so ragged that you couldn’t look at them.
Katsuragi-kun was unhurt due to his ability… but his heart was wounded.
If she was just killed, there was still a way to rescue her.
However, according to what I heard from Katsuragi-kun there wasn’t even a corpse left. She turned into particles of light and disappeared. Even her soul had disappeared.
We don’t have the means to rescue Yui-chan right now.
And now, he mourns Yui-chan’s death.
Why? I don’t know why I’m able to think about this so calmly.
It’s probably because this doesn’t feel real. I don’t feel sad at all.
The impact was too big.
Terias’ revival. Nanamin’s betrayal. I can’t swallow it.
The death of my best friend on top of that.
What kind of expression should I have to react to that…?
My inexperienced heart can’t keep up. I don’t have words to express this feeling.
I carried on this burden alone and became depressed, sitting on a chair in the living room while moping.
Then I heard the sound of someone coming down the stairs. I lifted my head up and saw Arianne-san, who was nursing everyone, sit on the seat next to me. She put the used towel and bucket on the table and turned to face me.
“Shuri-san. Are you alright?”
“… Yeah, I’m fine.”
I didn’t want to increase the burden on her any more, I didn’t want her to worry about me as well. I’m already a senior high school student, a worthy adventurer. Thinking that, I gave her a thumbs up and changed the topic.
“More importantly… how is everyone?”
“Fine… they’re sound asleep after Shuri-san used healing magic on them. Katsuragi-sama also revived Shuraham-sama.”
“That so… Thanks.”
“It’s nothing. This is the little I can do.”
Though she acted stout-hearted, she still expressed a worrying smile. It was fleeting.
Seeing that, I remembered what I decided by myself and pinched my cheeks.
“… Shuri-san? What are you doing?”
“Let’s see… Because it’s my belief to always smile, I’ll smile and encourage everyone.”
“That face is unbecoming of a girl.”
Her whisper unintentionally leaked out. Even so, Arianne-san’s facial expression was still bright and beautiful. I was slightly relieved.
… I would be troubled if she went into pervert mode here.
“… You’re strong, Shuri-san.”
“No, I’m not something like that… However, I know that I won’t advance forward if I stop here. I’d just be depressed.”
Right. I am not strong.
Back in the trial in 【Scorching Execution Ground】, I failed. Recovering from that, I have a bit of endurance. Because I thought I’d tasted the highest level of despair.
“This time, everyone, and me… it’s our turn to support Katsuragi-kun.”
“… Is Katsuragi-kun alright?”
“He’ll definitely be okay. Because he is strong.”
Even if I spoke like that, I felt unpleasantly uneasy.
… Do I really think that from the bottom of my heart?
At least… I don’t think I can say it with confidence.
A few hours ago, Katsuragi-kun’s eyes looked dead when he talked with us.
Even his voice was frail, like a corpse.
When he was bullied in school, his eyes had strength.
He didn’t yield fighting Fantra in this world either.
From someone like him, his energy and vigor was gone.
In an instant, the mood that had lightened sank back down. It once again became quiet. To destroy that atmosphere, I forcibly stood up.
“Arianne-san! Do you want to go outside for a change of pace?”
“I’ll come too.”
Stretching greatly, I invited Arianne-san. She silently nodded her head and accepted. She actually made an ‘x’ with her fingers near her mouth.
Therefore, she didn’t answer. However, the low voice of a man reached my ear.
I looked behind me.
He was there. Katsuragi-kun was standing there.
“Hm? Is something wrong, Shuri?”
When I called out to him, her walked over to me as if nothing had happened at all. He was behaving as he normally would.
However, his words felt like they had no strength, I couldn’t feel his willpower… I shouldn’t dwell on it. There’s no way he’d become lively immediately.
I have been watching him forever. Let’s have some confidence.
“Umm… wouldn’t it be better for you to rest a bit longer? Physically and… emotionally.”
“I’m fine. It is definitely painful, but it’s not set in stone that we can’t save Yuina. In that case I have no choice but to persevere you know?”
Katsuragi-kun flexed his biceps to show his recovery.
Ah, so it’s like that.
He’s overworking himself. At this rate he’ll become like me.
… However, I don’t know what words I should say right now.
Comfort him? Encourage him? Show sympathy?
I feel as though he would dodge and run away from anything I choose. It’s unlikely to have any effect either.
So, what should I do?
“… I see. Then, let’s not rush. Since we’re comrades you can tell us anything.”
“Yeah! Then would it be fine for me to ask something right away?”
“Okay! Bring it on!”
In the end, I knew that I couldn’t do anything for him.
At the very least, I will always smile. Because that is Hamakaze Shuri’s trademark as a human.
If I can save his heart even a little, I’ll be happy.
… Even so. Despite that, he–
“Because I’m going to commit suicide now, could you keep a lookout in the meantime?”
The world–is cruel.