Chapter 439 Tortus Travel Journal ? Please Rest in Peace
The trunk of a large tree was towering high in the center of a vast underground space. Countless very thick branches were stretching from there, forming midair corridors. The space of the final trial was filled with screams that contained a lot of grief.
They were mainly coming from Shirasaki family and Myuu.
Their gazes were fixed on the trunk of the large tree that was smashed on its surface, making a large round dent. A beautiful girl was half-buried on it with blood spurting out from all over her body.
She was the humanoid G who was anthropomorphed using Yue’s perception manipulation.
Because everyone required resistance against great swarm of G in order to sightsee the final trial, they considered changing the perception of the audiences instead of editing the past replay which resulted in this, but……
Let’s be blunt here.
It was just as Aiko said.
It was still fine at the beginning.
Squirming at the bottom was ☆ marks that were glittering and sparkling. The sight of all those stars flying up all at once looked like a fountain of light that many of them reflexively let out their voice in admiration.
And then, U-☆chan made her entrance from inside the radiantly shining globe. It was truly a charming entrance like a magical girl’s transformation scene. It was so amazing that applauses automatically broke out.
Myuu hopped up and down energetically *pyon pyon* in happiness. Seeing that satisfied the creator soul of Nagumo family and they grinned as though to say 「Got her!」.
Not to mention, inside the past replay,
──Aa, how very lovely
──Nn, they are truly lovely
Hajime and Yue said that with bright smile. Even Shizuku who was mentally dying while continuing to mutter 「Black sesame black sesame」 before this was commenting 「My, how adorable……」 with slight blush on her cheeks.
Although everyone knew that there was emotion reversal magic at work there, from their perception they were only seeing a lovely magical girl so those lines and the situation were magnificently conforming to each other.
Shuuzou, Koichi, Kirino, and even Tomoichi, Kaoruko, Akiko, and also Remia couldn’t help but sighing in relieve saying 「It’s watchable like this」 with a smile.
……They didn’t notice how around them, Shia and Kaori and others went 「Ah」 and turned pale as though they just recalled something. They couldn’t even imagine that soon they would make the same expression.
──For now, die
The words that were proclaimed after that with a fond look, with tone that was even radiating kindness, they were truly unexpected. And then Schlagen and “Sky Quake”, attacks with extreme killing intent were fired.
Her body’s left half was gouged, her whole body was crushed from shockwave, then as though to make doubly sure Hajime’s flying kick landed on her. It buried U-☆chan into the tree trunk. Time stopped.
Because of the perception manipulation, the body liquid wasn’t white but looked like normal crimson blood.
A beautiful girl. A cute magical girl was instantly turned blood-drenched by overwhelming violences……
The culprits were still enveloped in an atmosphere of friendship, even love while attempting to kill her dead without mercy. Such scene made the off-guard audiences felt like their brain matter would bug out.
The faces of Tomoichi and others froze in smiling expression while bewildered voices 「……Eh?」 slipped out as they tried to escape from reality.
Kaori and Shia thought 「This is bad!」 and asked Yue to stop the past replay but, Yue asked 「Is there any problem?」 with a dubious look and didn’t stop the projection right away.
And so the scene kept playing.
「Stop it alreadyyyy!」
「Aaah, the bullets keep raining down?!」
「U-☆chan! Run! Look, Yue is aiming──aa!? Her arm is torn off!?」
Yue & Hajime performed excellent teamwork even while hurling insults at one another. Due to them, U-☆chan got drilled, attacked by heavenly dragon, struck by lightning, she would regenerate and immediately got battered again into a horrific state!!
Myuu became teary. Remia reflexively averted her eyes. Even Shizuku who was unable to really watch what Hajime and Yue were doing at that time because she was busy dealing with herself was showing concern despite hating G more than the average people.
「Everyone, just what’s the matter?」
「……Nn. It’s the joint battle of Hajime and me. Isn’t it amazing that we were doing that even under the emotion reversal?」
Hajime and Yue looked puzzled by the reaction of Myuu and others. While they were being like that, inside the past replay that was still playing──
How sad. So sad. But die.
Even though you’re so adorable. Even though I won’t need to kill you if only you aren’t enemy, die.
There was the past Hajime and Yue displaying an act where their atmosphere and their action were completely mismatched.
「T-they’re like psychopath……」
Shuuzou-ojiisan’s twitching face and the trembling voice that he unintentionally let out was very impactful. Koichi and Kirino were also trembling slightly seeing Hajime and Yue’s puzzled expressions.
Of course, they had heard beforehand how the majority of Uroboros the Third and the swarm got annihilated in flame.
But, what they imagined from that was something like the common anime scene where the enemy got swallowed in light and vanished……that kind of scene.
To think, these two would be this proactively laying the beat down……
They should have predicted this beforehand but, their only excuse was that they got too distracted by the prospect of watching a great swarm of G and feeling relieved after that from avoiding such fate.
But, it seemed there were exceptions even among them.
「It’s true! You two are completely in sync even though you should be hating each other so much that you want to kill!」
「Oi oi, this is actually quite cool!」
「Nagumo Shuu! Even you Sumire-san! Just what kind of nerve of steel you two have!?」
Son and parents were making exactly the same puzzled face! Tomoichi-san trembled seeing them. Scary.
「No no-, normally your heart should feel pained right!? That kind of lovely girl is being beaten up so horrendously you know!?」
「Is your head alright, Tomoichi-kun? It looks like that but, it’s actually Uroboros the Third-san inside that image you know?」
「You’re the only one I don’t want to get pitied by about my head!! Or rather, I’m talking exactly about that appearance!!」
Even knowing the truth, it’s still painful to see a girl getting tortured like that isn’t it!? Tomoichi yelled. Kaoruko and others were also nodding in support to that. They weren’t watching the past replay any more. They were completely averting their eyes.
「Even Uroboros-san isn’t concerned about it. She’s even telling us to watch more. Everyone, aren’t you overreacting too much here?」
「Sumire-san-, we can’t draw the line like that so easily!」
「How can you be so calm like that! The situation over there is also turning horrible!」
Kaoruko and Akiko raised their voices while pointing out, but based from their expression, it didn’t feel like Shuu and Sumire were getting it. Just whyyy, Kaoruko-san and Akiko-san held each other’s hand as they stamped their feet in frustration.
After all, it wasn’t just Hajime and Yue’s battle, the “over there” that Akiko mentioned──the battle of Shia and others that were happening right nearby was also entering their sight.
Over there, the humanoid Gs──that had been deformed to look like “Nend*roid version”, also looking like adorable U-☆chan──let’s call them “Chibi U-☆chan” for the sake of convenience, they were going through an experience that was even more horrible than “U-☆chan” in a sense.
「Don’t watch-. This isn’t like how it looks! We didn’t have any other choice-」
「I’m sorry-. Aah, how could I do such thing……」
「Yue-san! Isn’t the presentation too graphic!? Like their expression, what’s the deal with that desu!?」
「U-uumu……the guilt art crushing.」
Many “Chibi U-☆chan” got bisected and blood sprayed everywhere. Because they were using direct weapons like katana and twin great swords that the scene looked completely like a great massacre of girls.
Shia was also inflicting extremely direct violence with blunt weapon and also kick and punch using her immense might. A girl who was slapped flying, a girl who crouched while holding her stomach, a girl whose body was squashed with her arms and legs twisted to the wrong direction. Such girls were being mass produced.
Around them there were girls falling to the bottom with their body writhing from getting carbonized by Tio’s flame……
Shizuku and Kaori were already covering their face with both hands while being in denial. Shia was demanding an explanation from Yue. Tio too was busily looking around everywhere to avoid anyone’s gaze while somehow managing to apply calming magic to everyone to protect their mind.
Nagumo family looked at each other while the group was completely falling into chaos like that.
And then, they looked around with genuine bewilderment seeing everyone’s SAN point decreasing for some reason, then they spoke.
「「「Eh, but……magical girl meeting tragic fate is common. That’s common sense right?」」」
「「「「「What’s with that common sense!?」」」」」
Tomoichi and others looked at them as though to say 「Do you have a screw loose!?」. In respond Nagumo family looked flustered and argued vehemently.
「E-eh, but! When talking about magical girl show, hard battle and serious story are indispensable parts of it!」
「That’s right that’s right! A magical girl who doesn’t wield violence isn’t a magical girl! Because, magic itself is violence!!」
「In fact, even Yue is like that! Her existence ought to be referred as a trueborn magical girl you know? In the past she was betrayed by the uncle who she trusted the most and got thoroughly beaten up by him and her vassals, then after that she was sealed for even three centuries! See, even a real magical girl had gone through such thing!」
Yue’s expression became really conflicted after Hajime pointed pointedly at her.
Although, Yue was able to watch the past replay with composure not because of the preconception that magical girl was fated to go through horrible experience, but because she was prioritizing the sense of value that any enemy should be removed no matter whether they were beautiful girl or whatever.
And so, her saying 「I don’t really get what you’re saying……」 to Tomoichi and others was her honest feeling.
「You see, papa, Ojii-chan, Obaa-chan」
Myuu timidly took a step forward in the place of the others who were holding back headache. She showed consideration to Uroboros the Third above her head while pointing at her.
「Myuu think, everyone is imagining……the magical girls from Sunday morning show nano.」
Nagumo family looked at each other once more. Understanding that there was a discrepancy in perception here gradually colored their faces and they began looking everywhere else but the others’ gaze.
Indeed. Certainly the presentation of the magical girls from that airtime was really mild. Even when the magical girl blew up the enemy, they would sparkle, vanished into the light, anyway the enemy would be defeated with good feeling. There wouldn’t be any blood spurting out like fountain, or head getting lopped off, and young girl getting treated like human woman, well, there wouldn’t be anything like that.
Their gazes quietly moved. Toward the past replay that was continuing to play in this space even now.
U-☆chan got her magic stone that was the core maintaining her human form exposed by Hajime, then she exploded to all directions. And that explosion, it was just super gory, like *Splaattt!!*.
Akiko-san who accidentally saw it quietly fainted. Aiko hurriedly caught her. Soul Repose output UUP!! Surpass the limit now! Even Hajime inside the projection was also doing “Limit Break”!
The three looked at each other once more, in front of Tomoichi and others who were turning pale, in front of Remia who was covering Myuu’s eyes with her hands, then a second passed.
「Everyone, listen! No, remember!! In the first place, it’s U-☆chan’s wish to be defeated! She was waiting for a very long, long time for someone to come and defeat her! She gave it her all even while praying 『If you think you can surpass me……then please surpass me! For the sake of the world!』, like that! A scene of a girl getting injured? No, you’re wrong! You’re completely misinterpreting thing here! I can only say that your understanding of the story is too shallow!! This is a STORY in the form of a deathly battle, of a guardian magical girl who wish to entrust her feeling across time, and of the challengers who held unbreakable bond between them you know!? What else is there other than hotblooded feeling!? Aah, U-☆chan! The magical girl who surpass time itself! Can she accomplish the mission that her friend entrusted to her! Can the challengers accept the feeling that she has shouldered for thousands of years!? In the end, what will become of this battle!? ──Magical Girl U-☆chan, For the Future of God Slaying──COMING SOOO~~~NN!!」
It was the rapid fire explanation that was the specialty of otaku. There was too much heat in it, causing the setting to somehow becoming even more exaggerated on its own, and it suddenly turning like movie version PV nearing the end there, but, well, what the speaker wanted to say was conveyed.
Of course, nobody sympathized with it.
「Kaa-sama (mother-in-law)……there won’t be any COMING SOON. It was already concluded……」
「What an eloquent and flowing speech……」
「It’s déjà vu……」
「The way she made up some random story so confidently with the truth mixed in……it’s exactly the same like a certain someone.」
「Aiko, there art no need to be ambiguous. Thou must say it clearly, like mother like son.」
Shia looked toward Sumire like she was looking at a hopeless human, Kaori and Shizuku’s lukewarm gazes were turned toward Hajime, and the words from the wryly smiling Aiko and the exasperated looking Tio made Tomoichi and others nodded simultaneously.
Like that, they completely averted their gaze from the final scene.
The scene of fifty humanoid G launching a furious attack, Yue began preparing her “Flame of Divine Punishment”, and Hajime intercepting the attack with everything he got in order to protect that Yue.
In other words, a lot of U-☆chans were……turned into unspeakable state. They averted their gaze from it.
Like that the “Flame of Divine Punishment” was casted.
Azure flame spread through the whole space in one go. Perhaps this should be called as the only silver lining (?). Because its firepower was also too high, the scene didn’t become gory and all the U-☆chans’ were reduced to ash as though they got swallowed into light.
After that nothing remained.
A deathly silent atmosphere drifted in the air. What an awkward mood. Nagumo family was shedding cold sweat in abnormal amount.
── Splendid!! Magnificent!! ──
Uroboros the Third-san whose policy was to basically ignore the mood and persisted in being imposing and dignified gave her applause. It changed the atmosphere.
Nagumo family’s expressions drastically brightened as though they were looking at a savior. Everyone else looked at them 「This is just how Nagumo family is huh……」 with exasperation and resignation.
Hajime started talking to make everything be water under the bridge.
「Hahaha, even so it’s always super uncomfortable seeing super Tio-san no matter how many times you’ve seen it huh!」
「Goshujin-sama art offering me as sacrifice without any hesitation in order to divert attention huh.」
Tio’s blank stare was unusually getting stronger instead of her getting excited. She must be wishing to avoid this topic if possible.
Because, even inside the past replay,
──S-she is, like an actual dragon race in the legend!
──Who, are you!?
Shia and Kaori were also saying such thing at her.
She suppressed the hate toward her friends from emotion reversal using her reason, talked of duty, remonstrated Suzu and others, scolded Kaori, and proclaimed that she would stake her honor as a guarding in order to protect everyone. Everyone had certainly heard all those. Though they didn’t see it because the scene of slaughter was too scary.
「If only Tio-san is like that normally, the Adol-san too will be able to have a peace of mind.」
「Akiko-dono!? That art how this Tio-san normally act though!? There art no way I’m actually aroused constantly!」
「「「「「Eh? ……? Eh?」」」」」
Bewilderment was expressed, especially from her relatives. This woman, just what is she saying……they thought with a gaze that was doubting her sanity.
「Super Tio Time is super, only because it’s extremely rare to happen you know?」
「……Nn. Tio, don’t sell short your own golden time.」
It seemed she was actually of the opinion that she had been living out a balanced life where she knew the right time and place to act like a pervert. Well, she was more or less acting in the mode of normal dragon race when there was no simulation so perhaps she wasn’t actually wrong.
Perhaps they were simply being half serious and half teasing. Though it seemed unexpected for her that Akiko-san was normally thinking that she was always acting perverted 24-hour.
Tio was starting to look seriously sullen, so Kirino-san turned her gaze toward her daughter and smirked. Perhaps she was thinking to create another teasing victim so Tio could have friend.
「Fufu, really Shizuku, you were completely conscious of him there. You tried your best to pretend not feeling anything but……that was cute.」
When they looked at the replay, certainly, they couldn’t help but agree. Hajime and Yue came back inside the past replay and talked with Shia and others. But for some reason at the back there was Shizuku who was looking at the faraway direction.
She kept changing her expression for some reason, then she pinched her own cheek, but then her gaze would naturally glance at Hajime, then she would avert her gaze in panic and shook her head strongly as though to deny something.
Kaori and Suzu noticed Shizuku’s strangeness 「Hm?」, but at that time Shiuzku’s face already returned to her serious look. After that she joined the conversation with unnatural naturalness.
「Oh my, really Shizuku-chan. Just how much you hated Hajime that time?」
After Kirino, even Sumire was asking her that while grinning annoyingly. A blush slowly formed on Shizuku’s cheeks.
「I’m not telling.」
「Isn’t it pointless to do that now?」
「Shut up Okaa-san-」
「By the way, it was that time I became convinced of Shizuku-chan’s feeling! It was transparent!」
「Even while fighting, I too was feeling great hate toward Shizuku-chan so my focus kept getting split toward her the whole time. That was why, I noticed it that time. Really Shizuku-chan, you did your best to fight rationally but when chance allowed your eyes would seek Hajime-kun and glared at him.」
Look, here! Here! Kaori-san said while intentionally interfering with the past replay to rewind it to certain point of time. She pointed at Shizuku when she was staring at Hajime hatefully, with a lot of passions in her gaze.
Shizuku’s gaze unconsciously turned toward Hajime. Her gaze met his. She was turning red really fast and then her hands covered her face as she crouched down.
Kaori was grinning cheerfully. Thanks for the food! It was as though she was saying that from looking at Shizuku-chan’s cute side. Kirino too seemed to be the same. 「As expected from Kaori-chan」 She crouched beside Shizuku together with Kaori while poking at her writhing daughter lovingly.
「So Hajime-kun. Hajime-kun who completely ignored about being glared or someone acting conscious toward him even after the trial ended. How are you feeling now when looking back at it?」
Hajime slightly faltered from being pressed for an answer by the serious looking uncle. But, he immediately turned speechless while scratching his cheek awkwardly.
「I had said this before but, at that time because of Kaori’s presence, I was under the impression that it was simply impossible for Shizuku to harbor any special feeling for me so……please spare me.」
「No, well……I think she’s cute.」
A groan 「Nn」 came out from Shizuku. She unconsciously began to hit Kaori repeatedly. It seemed her embarrassment had broken the limit and she couldn’t help but venting like that.
「Ahaha, Shizuku-chan, your face is so red──ouch!? Wait, Shizuku-chan, that’s quite painful──ah!? Ouch, sorry! I’m sorry so don’t claw my cheek!!」
Seeing the two frolicking like that apparently helped everyone’s cracked SAN to recover greatly after seeing U-☆chan’s gruesome state before this. The expressions of Tomoichi and others were also naturally relaxing.
Amidst that, Kaori who somehow got away from Shizuku who was pinching her cheek with teary eyes hurriedly attempted to change the topic.
She didn’t even consider how it would change the atmosphere that was starting to mellow down to be complicated.
「E-even so, Yue’s magic was really amazing now that I saw it again!」
「U-☆chan-san, it’s really amazing that you survived that.」
Uroboros the Third puffed out her chest proudly on Myuu’s head.
── Emergency Transfer! ──
Hajime pondered a little and spoke his speculation.
「? Aa, I see. So you can use teleport to retreat in emergency?」
── Affirmative!! ──
So it was like that. It seemed an emergency withdrawal method had been prepared exclusively for Uroboros the Third.
Kaori nodded in understanding and spoke to Shia and others with a wry smile.
「It was really scary at that time wasn’t it? The flame was super hot even though it didn’t touch us directly, the tip of our hair even got slightly scorched.」
From top to bottom, it was Shia, Tio, Shizuku, and last Kaori herself who spoke.
Shia and others definitely looked bewildered. They didn’t get what Kaori was saying. It was as though, Kaori was the only one who experienced that.
A second passed, and then everyone there guessed it. Their gazes snapped simultaneously toward Yue! Yue-sama averted her gaze in a flash.
Kaori’s smile stiffened. Then right after that, all expression fell off from her face.
She interfered with the past replay. She adjusted the replay with fast forward and rewind to reach a specific point of time while walking briskly toward the position of their past selves.
And then, she began to meticulously observe the state of each of them at that time with contracting pupils.
She was checking at each one from point blank range from head to toe as though licking them all over with her eyes. Her appearance when doing that looked really eerie. Like a certain apparition when counting the plates 「One platee~, two platee~」. Super scary.
Yue quietly turned around. Just like a kid whose past mischief got found out, 「C-come to think of it there was something like that huh」, trying to run away until the heat died down while getting cold sweat.
But, it was too late. Or rather, an exasperated looking Hajime grabbed her neck and lifted her up like a cat dangling from his hand. She couldn’t run away.
「Even Kouki-kun and Ryuutarou-kun………………aren’t burnnnnnttt!!」
Kaori-san’s neck rotated around like in horror movie. Not good. Even Myuu was trembling while escaping into the valley of Remia mama’s chest.
「……It was just a little bit of mischief! I’m sorry!」
「Don’t screw with me! There wasn’t anywhere to run, and also no way to block! I was really fearing for my life there!」
「……Uu. B-but! Kaori was also at fault!!」
「……You didn’t react! You didn’t react to my prank! You completely ignored it!」
「No, because that, Shia and others didn’t say anything! I thought everyone would think that I couldn’t read the mood if I complained just from getting scorched a little!」
Certainly, a new stair appeared inside the past replay and Hajime and co was walking toward it, but Yue was glancing at Kaori with an expression as though she was expecting something.
However, Kaori easily erased the scorch using her healing magic before acting like nothing had happened after that. It felt like the past Yue’s shoulders dropped slightly in despondency after seeing that.
Everyone thought, are you an attention seeker huh……
Most likely, due to the reversal of her emotion, Yue felt hate toward Kaori to an unexpected degree. In other words, it meant that she had taken a liking to Kaori to an unexpected degree.
The recoil of such fluctuation in her emotion made her played a mischief toward Kaori against her better judgment. And yet, Kaori didn’t react like usual and it made her sad.
「I’m amazed you had the leeway to play that kind of prank even though it was an attack to finish off the trial, and furthermore it was with magic that you used for the first time.」
「……I was the one in charge of the most important part when attaching Kaori’s soul into the apostle body. I know about Kaori’s soul far more than the person herself. I don’t even need to focus just for doing something at this level.」
「In other words, you know everything there is to know about Kaori that you can even do everything from targeting to any minute adjustment in unconscious level.」
「……That statement is a bit misleading! Kaori too, why’re you turning red!?」
「Geez, really Yue-chan, you actually like Kaori-chan so much.」
「Oh my, Kaori is also turning completely red. Fufufu.」
Sumire and Kaoruko’s warm gazes and words spread out to everyone else in the blink of eye. The atmosphere of everyone there became the same.
Yue and Kaori couldn’t bear it. They covered their face with both hands and crouched down just like Shizuku before this.
Hajime cackled seeing that before clapping his hands a second later.
「Now then, I guess this is it for the great dungeon’s sightseeing. Let’s go take a look at the goal’s garden for the last. I think the sight will also be superb when looking at it from above Fernier.」
Perhaps Uroboros the Third had been interfering with their route. The trunk stair that would lead to the garden appeared in good timing.
「……Nn! Let’s do that quickly!」
「We also got tight schedule here! Come on everyone, quickj!」
Yue and Kaori dashed forward quickly in order to cover up their embarrassment.
Hajime and co laughed even louder seeing the two acting exactly the same.
「Oo~, I can’t believe that we’re at the top of that great tree!」
「There’s really a garden here……so pretty……」
Tomoichi and Kaoruko spoke with a tone of admiration.
The scene that was unfolding before them──a ground that was like a verdant lawn with waterways crisscrossing in an intricated pattern. A lovely arch spanned over it with beautiful flowers and trees with ripe fruits around. There was a small chalk white residence and a splendid tree that was imbedded with lithographs inside it. Everyone was watching the scenery with sparkling eyes.
Only Sumire and Shuu were,
「This place is lovely, like we are inside a picture book.」
「This is……Lyutilis-san’s place? Impossible. I thought it would feel more, abnormal or something……」
Slightly bewildered like that. It must be because of all the irregular happenings and the abnormality the queen herself displayed before this. And there was how the contents of the trials were like that, so apparently they never imagined at the slightest that this place would be a fairy-tale-like house deep inside the forest where an adorable girl was living like this.
「Over there is the direction of Fea Belgen I guess. Well, we can’t see the city due to the trees and mist but the scenery is nice here.」
Hajime carried Myuu in his arms while showing her around.
Also, Uroboros the Third-san guessed Hajime’s intention and flew away from Myuu’s head. And then she sat on Hajime’s shoulder.
Hajime-san jerked in surprise. But, he endured! Uroboros the Third-san was someone who deserved respect! If it was the strangeness of her appearance then it wasn’t any different from Lee-san!!
「This is certainly a superb view.」
「Even though the altitude here should be lower than what Fernier can reach, it feels like we’re standing on top of cloud.」
「It’s a sea of cloud around us, at the north is a grand mountain range, and we can also see the sea at the east.」
Shuuzou and the others let out a heated sigh of admiration. The scenery of another world that was seen from the flying Fernier was certainly great but, this was certainly a different way to enjoy the sight. Looking over the world from the top of the great tree that was like a symbol of fantasy moved them emotionally in a way that was hard to describe with words.
The group enjoyed the sight to their heart’s content for a while. Then Myuu suddenly muttered.
「Lyutilis-oneesan, was surely, watching over the people of the sea of trees, over this world the whole time.」
「Unlike Miledy-oneesan and others who were in secluded places and couldn’t observe the going on of the outside world, Myuu think Lyutilis-oneesan was the only one who was watching the whole time nano. Elf has long life so, surely she had seen a lot of scenes.」
「I, guess. That might be so.」
Hajime and others looked taken aback, as though they had only noticed that fact just now. Shuu and Sumire and the rest too, everyone naturally listened carefully at Myuu’s words.
「Myuu think, it must be really painful. She was the queen after all. Everyone in the sea of trees must be very important for her nano. But, to be unable to do anything no matter what happened……Myuu is weak so, Myuu think she can understand the pain of not being able to do anything nano.」
「What are you saying, how can you call yourself being unable to do anything huh.」
「……Myuu is too lacking in self-awareness. Be more confident.」
「That’s right desu. Shia-oneechan doesn’t know of any other super little girl than Myuu-chan you know?」
「After all you even stopped Hajime-kun when he lost his senses.」
「And thou art able to befriend anyone right away no matter who.」
Myuu’s gazes wandered because everyone seriously replied that she must be joking saying that she was powerless. But, when she saw Remia mama’s proud look, she smiled brightly with some bashfulness in it.
Hajime squinted his eyes lovingly while urging her to continue.
「And? What is it that you want to say?」
「Uu, see, even so Lyutilis-oneesan stayed in this place nano. Even though she couldn’t do anything, she wouldn’t avert her eyes until her death. Myuu think that perhaps, that was how she felt nano.」
At the depth of darkness where it wasn’t possible to learn anything. At far high above where it was possible to learn but without being able to do anything.
There was no point asking which one was more painful. But, surely she kept acting as “the queen of the sea of trees” until that time her death came. There was no doubt she created her final abode in this place with the resolve of accepting everything, whether it was her people’s happiness or her people’s grief until the very end.
「What an amazing person nano. So cool nano.」
Myuu finished saying her hypothesis and stared at the sea of trees with a somewhat distant look. Hajime and others looked at each other……and suddenly laughed together. Because what Myuu said was something that they hadn’t even considered.
「As I thought, you’re an amazing kid.」
「My my, this child, really……ufufu」
「Really Remia-chan, you look so happy. Well, I can understand your feeling though.」
「She is the granddaughter we’re proud of.」
Nobody raised any objection to Nagumo family and Remia mama’s comments. The parents starting from Tomoichi were looking with wonderment at Myuu’s sensitive and inner feeling. Yue and others were looking at her with soft gaze that was a mix of fondness and admiration.
But the one who was especially moved even among them was,
── Admiration!! I admiration!!! ──
Uroboros the Third was greatly moved apparently. She was projecting letters in the air with thicker words than usual. Her atmosphere was like someone crying emotionally.
Not only that, she was beating her wings *bzzt bzzt bzzt* to fly around Hajime and Myuu with boisterous happy dance. The buzzing sound caused a bit of shudder and goosebumps all around.
「……Nn. Theeen, let’s go see that cool Lyutilis-oneesan’s message.」
「And also Hajime-kun at that time too!」
「You two are really recommending it but, did I really make such strange expression at that time?」
「「It wasn’t strange at all but you did!!」」
「You two are completely in sync huh, oi.」
Hajime followed with a wry smile behind Yue and Kaori who were heading toward the tree that was embedded with lithographs. The two of them were walking really energetically while humming. Even Shia, Tio, and also Shizuku said 「Well, that was certainly worth a look」. They sent a playful gaze at Myuu, Aiko, and Remia while urging the others to follow behind.
Like that, in front of the rear tree that was embedded with a lithograph, it was Kaori this time who casted the past replay. Inside the starting projection, the tree’s trunk transformed and a part of it jutted out while taking the shape of Lyutilis.
The shape was like a first-rate wooden doll, but they had seen that peerless beautiful face just now so everyone naturally overlaid that figure with this form.
「The gap is too wide.」
「Hajime-kun, read the mood!」
Now that they had caught a glimpse of her disappointing personality, seeing this completely serious Lyutilis was certainly bringing them great discomfort. Even though everyone isn’t saying anything even knowing what they know!, Yue and Kaori admonished him. It wasn’t only them, even Myuu was scolding Hajime by slapping his cheek *pechi pechi*.
Hajime’s shoulders dropped from being scolded by his daughter. Everyone ignored him and focused their ears toward the content of what being said.
What was being said was the message of trusting their bond with their friends and about the existence of concept magic.
And then, it was the presentation of the “Compass of Guidance” and the explanation of its ability.
How it was the secret treasure of the liberators that could show the way to the place that they wished. Yes, for example,
──Even the location of another world
They could see how the past Hajime inside the projection trembled from Lyutilis’s clear voice.
Even from the outside they could see how he was breathing hard and how his grip on the compass tightened. Inside his largely opened eyes, there were unprecedented amount of hope and passion gushing out. It was clear to see.
Shuu and others had seen the decision and resolve that Hajime made in Great Dungeon Orcus, that he would absolutely return home. They had also seen his other journey, even though there were still parts that they hadn’t seen yet. But that was exactly why they knew what Hajime was feeling at that time really well as though it was their own feeling.
Finally, he finally really grasped a lead to return home on the way of the path that he had been walking on with deathly desperation until then. Just how much light it brought to Hajime’s heart then? Just how much joy was filling the inside of his chest then?
Those like Kaoruko and Akiko were muttering 「That’s great」 with tears in their eyes as though Hajime’s feeling had infected them. Tomoichi and others too, they said 「I see, so there was finally a clue here……」 while looking with a praising gaze as though to say 「You’ve really worked hard」 to Hajime and co at that time.
「You did it huh, Hajime.」
「We’re also really thankful to Yue-chan and everyone, for overcoming so many hardships together with Hajime until this far.」
「Oi oi, you are exaggerating Tou-san and also Kaa-san. This was just me obtaining the method to determine the path home okay?」
「My, even though you said that, you were absurdly happy in there weren’t you?」
「You are trying really hard to stay calm there but, your voice is clearly shaking.」
His parents pointed out while chuckling with kind expressions. Hajime blushed slightly while looking aside. It seemed he was aware of it.
「Okaa-sama! Otou-sama! It’s here desu, here!」
「Wait for the right timing~~~~~~~, and stooopppp!!」
Kaori ignored Hajime’s retort as though she didn’t hear it at all and paused the past replay with a superb timing.
It was when Hajime said to let’s go home seeing that the trial is over.
Yue, Shia, Tio, and Kaori were making appeal at Hajime of giving him healing for his fatigue. Hajime who was slowly looking over the four of them showed that expression a second later.
「Waa~. Myuu love this expression of papaa~~」
「Hauu, I certainly understand why everyone want to show this-」
「My my……that’s lovely.」
Myuu, Aiko, and Remia blushed red. Tomoichi and others were also watching with widened eyes. That was just how different this expression from all the expressions that Hajime had shown during the journey until here. It was subtle but, there was definitely something different in his atmosphere there.
Sumire had no words, however, she squinted her eyes happily. Shuu crossed his arms and also smiled happily.
「What’s with you all. I was just smiling normally. Or rather, I looked a bit troubled there instead. Can’t you guys see it?」
「……Good grief, this isn’t about that, Hajime.」
「Really, you don’t get it at all Hajime-kun.」
「You two, are really completely in sync huh!」
The ferociousness and fearless atmosphere that he had until then due to his lack of leeway were still there, but from here it was as though the softness and kindness that he had before he got summoned were also getting mixed in. His smile was filled with mysterious emotion, as though he had regained his old self, just a little.
The amicable heart of young boy that should have disappeared in the abyss was just barely fastened by Yue’s existence. It was then protected by his encounter with Shia and others. And then that heart rose to the surface just a little together with the prospect of returning home.
Surely Hajime had the self-awareness of that. That was exactly why he was making such smile that softened the heart of those seeing it, while at the same time also tightened their heart painfully, no doubt about it.
「……Well, at that time I definitely thought, I’m glad that you guys are with me.」
「Oh dear, Goshujin-sama art being dere dere.」
「If only Hajime-san also said the same at that time desuu~」
Yue and others surrounded Hajime with smirking faces even while blushing a little. Myuu who was hugging him was also looking him with a somewhat kind smile. The parents were watching that with warm smiles. Hajime couldn’t endure the embarrassment and scratched his head roughly.
It wasn’t like he wanted to casually bat down Uroboros the Third-san who landed on his head while going 『Umu umu, tis’ a good thing!!』 with her arms held on her back like an uncle.
「Cough. It’s already enough with the great tree’s great dungeon sightseeing isn’t it? Let’s go to the next place after saying farewell to the elders. Uroboros the Third, no, U-san. I’m glad that we can talk. Till the next time.」
── Good! Reunion!! ──
Hajime brought the talk forward a bit forcefully. Shuu and others guessed what was going in his mind and chuckled while nodding. But, Yue called for them to stop at that timing.
「……Hajime, what are you saying! There is still an important event remaining. It won’t even be an exaggeration to call it the most important one!!」
「……You mean, as expected it’s that?」
It seemed he didn’t forget it by any means. Yue pouted while puffing her cheeks. Shia and others were also going 「Ee? Don’t ignore that one」 with baffled looks.
「……Don’t tell me, you planned to ignore it intentionally?」
Hajime took a deep breath while averting his gaze. It seemed that was really his intention.
「That’s horrible Hajime-san! That was a big moment you know!?」
「True true. Even though I hath been looking forward to see it.」
「Come on, let’s return to the root quickly!」
Shia, Tio, and Kaori were hounding Hajime. The parents looked puzzled by that sight.
Sumire asked 「Just what are you all talking about?」. Shizuku answered her with a wry smile. It seemed she was sympathizing with what was going in Hajime’s mind.
「Actually, the root of this great tree……is the place where Hajime proposed to yue.」
「「What, did you sayyy!?」」
「Is that so! That’s wonderful!」
「Please let us watch it by all means!」
The eyes of the Nagumo couple snapped wide open. Kaoruko and Akiko, and also Kirino were going kyaaa with shrill voice. Tomoichi and others were also looking very interested.
「No, I can’t show that.」
「……No way. Isn’t it a lovely memory with me?」
「That’s cruel Hajime-kun! You made Yue really sad!」
「Hajime-san, what’s the matter desu? You weren’t that reluctant when it was with the scene of my successful confession.」
「Well, that’s because it wasn’t a proposal, but more like a surrender declaration toward the rabbit who kept continuing her persistent approach.」
「What kind of perspective is that!? That’s a bit shocking to hear though!?」
In any case, according to Hajime, it seemed that he didn’t want to show it off because it was a really special memory. He wanted to keep it a memory for just the two of them.
That was exactly why, at that time too, he didn’t make a surprise proposal in front of public eyes like what sometimes showed in the television or internet video. Instead he intentionally told Yue his feeling when they were alone.
「……Nnu~, in other words, you want to monopolize the memory with me?」
Yue-sama’s mood drastically improved after hearing Hajime’s true feeling. She even fidgeted restlessly. A disquieting sound 「Something like that……tsk」 came from Kaori. Kaori papa’s eyes turned sad.
「Who cares about your feeling! The video of your various memories will get played out anyway at the wedding ceremony! I demand the viewing of the proposal scene as is my just right as a mother!!」
「You incarnation of unreasonableness」
「I’ll also combine my right as a father into that demand! Now, obediently bring out the thing!!」
「What’s with that, even father would hate it if his son watch his proposal scene right?」
「That is that, this is this!」
「You incarnation of unreasonableness」
There were a lot of gazes of expectation. They weren’t just from Shuu and Sumire, the sparkling gazes of the mothers stabbed into him. Myuu and Remia, and also Aiko and the others were also immensely curious.
「No, I’m not gonna fold even if you all are looking at me like that okay?」
Sumire and others were dripping with dissatisfaction but, Yue herself seemed to be understanding instead. She said 「If Hajime want to monopolize it that much, then it can’t be helped. Kufufu」 while showing a smug face at Kaori to display her superiority. Another 「Tsk!!」 came from Kaori. Kaori papa was further saddened.
「But……hm, we didn’t see it at Orcus, so I don’t mind if Yue want to show “that”. Of course, cut off the proposal scene okay?」
「What, are you saying that there is a scene that is more amusi──cough, lovelier than a son’s proposal scene?」
「Perhaps I should enter a late rebellious phase now.」
Even though a vein throbbed on his forehead, Hajime asked Yue using his gaze. His gaze was somewhat considerate and gentle. It seemed Yue also understood what he was meaning with that.
「It’s Yue’s important memory. That belongs to Yue. That’s why Yue should decide whether it’s alright or not to have others watch it.」
Yue thought for a bit before making a smile from reflecting upon her important and slightly painful memory. Then she nodded. She opened a space window that she connected to the root on the ground below, at the same time she activated the past replay.
What was projected in the window was Hajime who was sitting while leaning his back on the great tree’s root with Yue snugly settled on his lap. It was a clearly intimate scene.
But, everyone shut their mouth before they could allude to it. Because ahead of the two’s gazes, a middle aged man with golden hair and crimson eyes that looked really similar to Yue appeared.
「Ah」 leaked out from Kaori. Because she knew what was recorded into the diamond type image recording artifact that Hajime was holding with one hand.
A name that was unfamiliar to Shuu and others echoed. But, that voice was filled with affection. It was clear from a glance who that voice was directed toward from seeing how shaken the past Yue was.
「……It’s my uncle. That name, was something from the past.」
The uncle who cruelly betrayed Yue and locked her in the darkness for 300 years. Everyone here had heard the summary that actually it was done to protect Yue.
But, everyone here realized that in the end it was only a superficial knowledge. They were made to realize it.
Because the message that Denreed left behind for the future, his dying message was filled with great agony as though he was vomiting blood, and also bottomless gratitude toward the one who ended up saving his niece in the future, and also,
──I love you. Aletia. I love you from the bottom of my heart. I have never thought of you as troublesome, not even once. I thought of you as my own daughter.
Overflowing love toward his niece, no, his daughter.
Even though he was like her own father, he was unable to protect his beloved child who was being targeted by god. He could only hide her and entrust her to someone in the future.
Everything would end up in vain if he explained his real intention to her and it got leaked out to god by some chance, so he thoroughly acted as a fool who was drowning in his lust for power.
If it was a foolish man like him, it wouldn’t be strange at all for him to be jealous of his own niece who became the queen and even went as far as usurping the throne. With that he successfully deceived not only his home country, but also the whole world and even god.
That feeling of powerlessness, the anguish of having no other choice of hurting what he actually wanted to protect, the feeling of guilt toward his daughter that was crushing him, all of those were painfully conveyed to the listeners.
Nobody could say anything. They could only listen with stricken heart to the deep love and heavy decision of a father.
──To you who stand at the side of my most beloved. I ask you. It doesn’t matter how, please make that child to be the happiest girl in the world. Please, I beg you.
The past Hajime made a firm promise in respond. There wasn’t even any need to ask for it.
Like that, at the end,
──Sayonara, Aletia. I pray for the happiness of the whole world around you
Denreed’s wish echoed.
After that, the crying figure of Yue that had never been seen by anybody and the figure Hajime who was snuggling close to her and wouldn’t let go no matter what were left behind.
「……Ojii-sama, no, Otou-sama. Please look. They are, my new family.」
Yue spread out her hands with a wide smile that contained no gloom at all, to boast, and to give reassurance.
「……My world is, bursting with happiness. There is no need to worry. And then, please rest in peace.」
Yue looked up to the clear blue sky and made a declaration toward her father who was at the other side of it. Truly, her figure was just as Denreed wished for, she certainly looked like a symbol of happiness.
Sumire and Shuu couldn’t hold back and hugged Yue tightly. As though to do that in Denreed’s place. Tomoichi, the other parents, Shia, and everyone were also watching over that with the kindest gaze they could muster.
Like that, the garden was enveloped in warm atmosphere and pleasant silence for a while.
「Ah, Yue. Stop the past replay already. The past Yue is going to stop crying soon and that scene will start.」
Being unyielding was Hajime-san’s quality. He said what he wanted to say.
The eyes of Shia and others turned reproachful, while Sumire and Shuu became outraged and gave admonishment.
「Hajime! Can’t you read the mood for a bit!?」
「Stop being stubborn. You should let this melancholic atmosphere continue until the proposal scene, any other path than that just doesn’t exist!」
「Don’t care. Such adorable Yue will be kept for eternity inside my brain folder under lock and key forever.」
It seemed Yue’s expression when she got proposed was so great that Hajime wanted it to belong to him alone. We’re getting even more curious! Everyone thought. They wordlessly pleaded We really wanted to seee~ but……
Hajime was a man who absolutely wouldn’t lose to peer pressure so he ignored them.
「……Nn. Now I also want to monopolize the Hajime at that time so I’ll stop.」
「Even Yue-chan……it’s unfortunate but, it can’t be helped.」
「Well, if even Yue-chan say that then we can’t force it.」
Sumire and Shuu and also everyone else looked disappointed, but if even Yue decided that, then they couldn’t force her to. They shrugged in resignation.
Yue blushed bashfully while stopping the past replay──
It didn’t stop.
「……Nn? Eh? Why!?」
Yue finally began to stop crying inside the projection. Hajime was looking like he was firming his resolve!
「……No-, I already stopped the past replay──nn-, Kaoriii!」
Yue noticed the flow of magic power and her gaze snapped toward that direction. There Kaori was whistling poorly while looking away. She was a woman who would take the initiative to not listen to something like Yue’s request, so it couldn’t be helped.
While everyone was paying attention wondering what was going on, Hajime’s proposal finally──
It was right at such close timing.
The space between the projection and the group whirled! It was the sign of gate activation. What flew out from inside the connected space was, none other than that person. Yes,
「It’s already five days with the Hour Crystal’s conversion!! Finishing work with sleepless explosive speed, Liliana S B Heiligh is now BACKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!」
It was the kingdom’s princess whose complexion was like a corpse with the area around her eyes blackened like panda, her tension had become completely messed up!
She was making a pose that looked like Miledy’s. She was also doing tehe pero (sticking out her tongue and winking). But, her complexion was like a corpse with her eyes looking like panda. She was like a devil who committed crime for fun in real life. Creep.
It was just too aberrant, so of course, Hajime’s proposal that was going on behind her didn’t reach anyone’s ear, and Yue’s happy expression and kiss were also blocked from view!
Yue’s obstruction also made it in time. The past replay vanished with a poof.
It was truly a perfect intercept.
「H-hmm? Everyone? What’s the matter? Why are you all looking at me like looking at an unfortunate creature like that? I-I have worked very hard to finish my work in order to join everyone again you know!?」
「Yeah, exactly. Lily, you’re capable princess! I’m filled with the feeling of wanting to rain praises on you like never before! Good job returning back here!」
「……Nn! As expected from the kingdom’s prodigious woman! You’re electrifying, someone to look up attt!」
「Eh, is, is that so? Ehe, eheheh」
Hajime and Yue hugged her tightly from both sides. Liliana let out an embarrassed laugh. Of course, she still had the zombie face, so she looked really creepy. It was as though she found living human while feeling hungry and got excited for it.
Everyone else was watching that scene with their mouth hanging open. Then they all looked at each other and smiled wryly.
Shizuku and Kaori clapped their hands in prayer and walked toward Lily.
「Yeah, well, for now……」
「Go to sleep Lily, okay?」
「EH!? It’s still daytime you know!? What about my sightseeing!?」
I’m absolutely going to sightsee! I’ll have fun even if it kills me! It’s fine-, I can still go on for three days!! Liliana screamed such insane rubbish while throwing a tantrum. In the end she was forcefully put to sleep.
── Reunite!! ──
「Myu! Let’s meet again nano! U-chan!!」
Uroboros the Third and Myuu exchanged promise of friendship and reunion. The group watched that before leaving the great tree toward the next sightseeing destination──Schnee Snow Field. But before that they visited Fea Bergen to say farewell.
During that time, Alfrerick and others kept sending glances at one point. They were watching also with twitching expressions but……
That couldn’t be helped at all. After all,
「How should I put it……this is just like Dragon Que*t huh.」
「Just like when a party member died. Lily-chan……even though she’s a princess, she’s being treated crudely like this. I wonder how did thing turn out like this?」
It was just as Sumire and Shuu said. There was a coffin gently floating in the air, following behind the group as they went around saying farewell.
Of course, there was Liliana inside it. The kingdom’s princess was sleeping peacefully with her hands joined together on her chest.
Actually, the wooden coffin that Lyutilis presented to them also had sound sleep function in it. Uroboros the Third told them of it so the resisting Liliana was put to sleep and tossed into it. Then, Yue floated the coffin using gravity magic and making it followed behind the group.
At the end Hajime brought out Fernier at a clearing while the people of Fea Bergen and the Haurias were giving them a grand send-off. Hajime and others boarded the airship while dragging the coffin……
Depending on the perspective, it could also be seen like aliens packing a captured local into a box and kidnapping them away. What a very surreal sight.