Story 4-15 『Because of Love』
Three days passed since Katsuragi-kun left. The rain continued to fall.
The sky was cloudy, the black clouds swirling.
There was no sign of it clearing up at all. As though the beautiful weather from before was a lie.
The leader’s disappearance visibly shook the members at home.
Conversations decreased significantly. Arianne-san became busy with Selen-san’s nursing, Lily-san and Yuuma-san stayed in their rooms.
There seemed to be no impact on Leadred-san, Ninya-san and Kayber-kun.
The twin brother and sister made efforts to search alternatingly for Katsuragi-kun.
“Haah… no results today as well huh…”
“… Sorry. Leadred-san.”
“No, there’s nothing to blame you for. Rather, Hero-sama who left without telling us anything is at fault.”
“… But, since I’m unreliable… Katsuragi-kun didn’t tell me anything…”
“… I don’t think that’s it at all…”
Forcibly changing the topic, I handed a towel to the girl who had gone out in the bad weather to look for Katsuragi-kun and recommended her to take a bath.
“Oi oi, onis don’t get things like colds you know?”
“That’s not it. I just want Leadred-san to rest since she didn’t sleep yesterday.”
“Even if you say that didn’t you also…?”
“As for me… I’m fine. It’s a reward from having perfect attendance on the other side. So, before me… ‘kay?”
I steadily pushed her sweaty back, taking her to the bathroom.
“I-I got it… Shuri will also take a rest right?”
“Hmm, I have to help Hayase-san change clothes.”
“Huh!? You’re joking!? You haven’t had a wink of sleep since Hero-sama left! … Ah, I can’t stand it any longer!”
Leadred-san suddenly turned around and secretly put her hands around my side, picking me up before I knew it.
… Wait, eh?
“L-Leadred-san!? What are you doing!?”
“‘What’ you ask, I’m taking you. To make you rest even a bit.”
I struggled for her to release me but she didn’t even mind it, easily arriving in the changing room.
“Clothes… tch-… troublesome.”
“Right? Right? You’ll let me go because I’ll take off my own clothes?”
“Rejected. You’d run away… Preferably, I’ll strip them off.”
Arguing was useless. She wouldn’t listen to my comments. Leadred-san prepared to rip off my clothes by hand. As she said, she began to strip off my clothes.
“W-wai-!? Leadred-san!? It’s embarrassi-!?”
“We’re both women so don’t worry about it… You still have a huge chest as ever…”
“Ah-, wai-, sto-! Don’t rub…”
“Then be obedient.”
Still, I reluctantly followed what she said since I didn’t like her massaging my chest.
The bathroom… it was too large to call it that. It was a bathhouse.
Originally, this house was owned by a millionaire, and the size was necessary for us all to live here.
In the first place it was so big there would be room for two people to get in next to each other and still have surplus room.
“Hah~… I’m revived~”
“… You old man.”
I complained in a tiny voice as a revenge for a moment ago.
“No, the other day, when I went into the bath with Hero-sama he said such a thing… So I imitated him.”
“Hey, when was-!? When did you go in!?”
“Scary! For now, calm down! I was joking! Don’t pinch my chee-, ow ow ow!”
What, a lie…? I’m relieved…
With relief, I stopped pinching her cheek and sank my body into the tub.
“Ow… Just how much strength did you use, Shuri…”
“It’s because Leadred-san said a joke that wasn’t funny.”
“… Well, I never thought you would take me seriously…”
“Stop it, already. Even though Leadred-san knows that I’ve known him the longest.”
“… Yeah, that’s right. I know how much you like Hero-sama.”
Her playful tone until a moment ago unbelievably became serious. But, it only lasted a moment as she pulled my shoulders and screwed her fists into my head.
“Ouch! That really hurts!”
“Shaddup, it’s revenge… Rather, I do have something I want to tell. If you like Hero-sama that much, you should honestly tell him your feelings.”
“… Well, that’s…”
“Worrying is necessary. With a liking like love, you want your partner to also love you. Even I’m the same. Because of love, you want to tell them. Because of love, you want them to know. That’s a good thing. There doesn’t need to be a difficult reason. Not relied on? Not trusted? Just thinking about it is useless, useless. Because you love him. It can be settled with a single phrase. Step by step, your thinking has gone in a strange direction. Once in a while, you need to just act according to what you feel. Above all, for a more simple and clean reason, 『Love』 doesn’t happen often.”
Just as I thought I’d been released from her strong fists in my hair, she poked my forehead.
“Therefore, when Shuri meets Hero-sama, you need to tell him. It’s fine to clash against each other. Confess everything you’re thinking. Otherwise, he won’t be able to understand. Then, Hero-sama will also respond… yeah?”
“… Tch. I’m done saying everything… Sorry. I’m getting out first.”
She got up from the tub scratching her cheek bashfully, disappearing into the dressing area.
Alone, I put my hand to my chest and thought.
… I wonder why. That pessimism from before left, my mood lightened.
It was a strange feeling.
“… Because I love him, huh…”
Again, I muttered it.
“I… love Katsuragi-kun.”
His defenseless side in the mornings, different from normal. His figure that stuffs home cooking into his mouth with a smile as if to say it’s delicious. His spirit that would never succumb. His dignified face as he gives orders. His gentleness towards comrades. The light in his eyes that never give up hope. All of him, all of him.
Therefore, I don’t need to think deeply about it.
That he doesn’t trust me. That he won’t bring me close. On my own, I was under the wrong impression and took a strange direction… I am an idiot.
But the basis hasn’t changed.
I only need to move with this simple motive.
Because I love him. Nothing more and nothing less, that’s my one and only driving force.
“… Alright! I’ve decided, I will immediately look for Katsuragi-kun!”
With the gloomy feeling she’d had removed, she felt refreshed and got out of the bath triumphantly.
“Hayase-san, I’ll give you a hand!”
I, who was able to break through something in my heart, decided to collaborate with Hayase-san who was continuously staring at the magic she was using in the living room.
She was also looking for Katsuragi-kun’s position the entire time, as well as looking for a way to revive Yui-chan, as well as checking on the kingdom’s situation. She was using her ability to its fullest.
Apparently, she was asked by Katsuragi-kun to investigate a means to revive Yui-chan, and it seems she told him she hadn’t found a way when they were talking at that time.
Therefore, I felt responsible for him leaving by lacking ability.
Of course, no one else thought that at all… she also went through the same thing as me.
“Ah, Hamakaze-san… I’m fine. This is all I can do after all. Other than that I want to show you something…”
“Nn, what is it?”
Handing it over, Hayase-san gave me the book that appeared from her 『Global Search』. On it was the details of the kingdom’s war progress.
『Yesterday. The dungeon 【Rigal’s Den】 fell.
Few were injured. Armor’s damage was intense.
As soon as new armor is secured, we will set out to capture 【Labyrinth of the Dreamless Sleep】.』
“No way… it already fell?”
That’s fast. Too fast. We, somehow or other, were heroes, so the kingdom’s forces…
“Yes… It’s hard to believe. But, there’s something more serious written below that.”
After she said that, I looked further down.
Then, there was a sentence obviously out of place there.
『Tomorrow night. I’ll be waiting at the western entrance, Shuri-chan. By Sajima Nanami』
A message from Nanamin was recorded in the book Hayase-san showed. To use 『Global Search』’s ability to make us read the letter… I didn’t even think of that.
… Perhaps she exposed the tactics from the previous war to us on purpose… there’s no way…?
… But it was convincing seeing Katsuragi-kun’s sudden change.
That’s right. She knows about Hayase-san’s unique ability.
Normally the amount of people and outline of strategy wouldn’t be written down on paper.
It was guidance.
If it’s Nanamin she should have predicted that Katsuragi-kun would feel himself responsible for Yui-chan dying from heading into his tough battle. Then she could induce him to some extent into being in charge of the west entrance using the battlefield information.
Then it’s very likely that she talked one on one to Katsuragi-kun.
What did she tell Katsuragi-kun?
Causing his determination to shake, some upsetting fact…
For instance… ‘only I know the method of how to revive Yui-chan’…
According to Hayase-san, Katsuragi-kun had her look for a way to revive Yui-chan. But she wasn’t able to find any helpful information.
So he left here.
… Probably to find out information by questioning Nanamin. He didn’t involve us, going alone.
However, it’s strange. It probably isn’t just that.
Because there was no advantage to Nanamin.
… Just one. Just one, I had a hypothesis.
Though I don’t want to consider it, though I don’t want to believe it… I looked at the letter about 『【Rigal’s Den】’s fall』.
Only we knew the method to escape that dungeon.
… And to demonstrate that fact…
“… Hayase-san… I figured it out. Where Katsuragi-kun is.”
“Yeah. If my hypothesis is correct… that is. I think I’m almost definitely right.”
“If so, let’s go immediately! To get Katsuragi-kun!”
“I don’t think that’s possible. Because, Katsuragi-kun is… where Nanamin is.”
“Eh…? With Sajima-san…? Why…?”
“I’ll explain now. So can we call everyone first?”
Flexing my biceps, I laughed full of confidence.
“It’s our chance to get Katsuragi-kun back.”