Story 4-14 『Crossing Paths』
While a tornado and extended sword slash mowed down the trees, the remaining soldiers were cut down. Corpses and red blood flew into the sky, falling down to the ground.
There were no kingdom soldiers left.
The remnants were… just slightly difficult opponents.
“H-Hamakaze? W-what are you…”
“W-why did you ally with demons!?”
Frightened, Inoma fell down in place. Horitani fainted at Niijima’s incontinence. They were all former girl classmates.
… Which reminds me, these kids were also in the same group as Minamoto weren’t they? The same as Umahara, Minamoto was an execution target for Katsuragi-kun. That is to say, these girls injured Katsuragi-kun.
… Then it’s fine.
I approached them while playing with the dagger dyed red in the blood of the soldiers from the battle. Since her squeals were noisy, I pushed my blade to her neck.
“… Hey, have you three repented?”
“You bullied Katsuragi-kun.”
When I said that, Inoma-san’s expression looked like she wasn’t able to understand from the bottom of her heart.
“H-huh!? W-why is, something like–hyu-“
One person down.
Sticky liquid spouted and clinged to the nearby Niijima-san.
Her face had been made a mess by the fear and the tears. As a fellow girl I couldn’t bear to see any more than this. So, I had to make her at ease asap, right?
“… Leadred-san, sorry. Umm, can I ask something?”
“Sure, leave it to me. This is the role of an oni anyways.”
Passing the baton to Leadred-san who readily accepted it, I washed off the dirt that stuck to my hands and face with the towel that I brought.
It felt just a little refreshing.
“Shuri–. It’s done.”
Leadred-san, who didn’t particularly know them, ended it immediately and finished without hesitation.
With that, the north side’s suppression had finished. Safe, no one was able to pass through and were annihilated.
I heaved a sigh of relief.
I was glad to be able to help help Katsuragi-kun. Let’s report in as soon as possible.
His mood should even recover a little.
“You’re smiling, Shuri.”
“Yeah, I’m happy we won after all. I could finally do my part… Since I’ve been useless up till now.”
“… I don’t think Hero-sama thought about something like that.”
“Yeah, I know… But I’ve also learned that it’s bad to take advantage of someone.”
Though it was painful, what I received from 【Burning Execution Ground】 was good to such a respect. It gave me a chance to step forward.
“… Then, shall we return soon? Katsuragi-kun is waiting.”
“… Hero-sama is a lucky person huh.”
Using 『Wind』, I ran.
Leadred-san shrugged, following after me.
“Eh-!? Katsuragi-kun still isn’t back?”
The house’s living room. She was surprised when Hayase-san, who was searching with 『Global Search』, told her.
Katsuragi has yet to return.
It’s been an hour since we started fighting. No matter how many there were, Katsuragi-kun who has ability values far ahead of us couldn’t have had a hard time.
In other words…
“… Some problem happened…?”
“… The possibility can’t be denied… However, it’s limited to Katsuragi-kun…”
Hayase-san hesitated saying that.
She must be thinking of something. Because she’s the same as me, we like Katsuragi-kun.
“… Hey, Hayase-san. Are you hiding something?”
“Fuhaha! This silence, we’re first! The Ninya and Kayber pair have returned, My Lord!”
A loud sound overlapped my words. Pushing the door open excitedly, our new comrades Ninya-san and Kayber-kun came back. It seems they guarded the goddess Messiah instead of their father in the [Forest of the Demonic Dragon], so they had no problems. In fact, they were practically uninjured.
However, her ears turned red when she saw us in the living room.
“Unfortunate, Ninya. You aren’t the first.”
“By the way, if since Lily is resting upstairs you guys are last.”
When Leadred laughed while poking fun, Ninya-san’s eyes steadily teared up. Though I felt kind of sorry for her, I decided to watch since she disturbed us a moment ago.
My question to Hayase-san… when I thought that, a rusted metallic sound rang out.
“Welcome home, Katsuragi-kun… wait, what happened!?”
Hayase-san gave words of greeting towards her important person from behind me. Looking at the entrance, Katsuragi-kun was leaning against the wall soaking wet as though he was covered with rain.
He was also breathing shallow, he looked exhausted.
“No… It’s just raining.”
“I-is that so…? Then, come change your clothes and use a towel.”
“No, I’m fine. Other than that, Fuuko. The matter I asked about… how was it?”
Hayase-san bitterly bit her lip. Without continuing to speak, she shook her head left and right.
“… You’re joking… Then…”
Katsuragi-kun muttered something and sat down. His head dropped forward into his hands, tearing at it.
What kind of meaning was there in that exchange with Hayase-san?
Because I’m not told anything.
For a long time, it’s been like that. Suffering from losing Yui-chan and from continuing to die… his feelings, he doesn’t tell us anything.
He’s strange. Odd.
This morning, everyone was in front of the house yelling together. Everyone was brimming with motivation.
Katsuragi-kun didn’t have any traces of that now.
Hey, what are you concealing in your heart? What burden are you carrying on your back?
… Don’t be shy.
I won’t understand if you don’t tell me.
I approached him, leaning over.
“… Hey, Katsuragi-kun… Are you telling the truth?”
He looked up in reaction to my words. He looked haggard.
“… What’s wrong, Shuri? You don’t need to worry if it’s my health.”
“It’s not alright you know? You don’t need to endure it you know?”
“… What are you talking about…? Perhaps… are you pouting because I haven’t paid attention to you recently?”
“It can’t be helped… here.”
Misunderstanding, Katsuragi-kun pat my head.
But, there was no feeling in it all. Just his hand moved.
He’s holding on to something after all. He’s overworking himself.
“… That’s not it. Katsuragi-kun. You’re completely different.”
“What’s different? Is it impossible without a kiss after all?”
“I want Katsuragi-kun to tell me what he’s hiding.”
“… It’s the day of our long-awaited victory. I want to eat Shuri’s home cooking today.”
“Don’t change the topic!”
The roar echoed through the small room.
He shouted. For the first time, Katsuragi-kun vented his anger.
The eyes looking at me weren’t the usual ones filled with gentle light, they were gloomy and corrupted.
Flinching, I unintentionally fell on my backside.
The time that his switch was flipped stopped and he recovered.
An awkward air pervaded the room. Katsuragi-kun reached out his hand, confused, but withdrew it.
“… Sorry. Let’s cool off for a moment… Everyone should take a properly rest their bodies.”
Saying that, Katsuragi-kun left the house.
Leadred-san and Hayase-san chased after him.
However, they stopped chasing after he showed me a pained face.
Why.. why do you have on a look like that?
Why don’t you talk to me?
Painful things, pleasant things, sad things, happy things. Don’t you share those with your friends?
Like that, we can understand each other don’t you think?
Don’t you—-trust me?
Then, that day, Katsuragi-kun didn’t return at all.