There’s a nice smell.
Senpai moved to sit next to me at some point during our conversation. The faint fragrance of her hair is making me feel at ease.
Japan, the wastelands, Tsige...
No matter the topic, Senpai nods as if she’s enjoying herself. She told me all kinds of things about her party.
Things like how her male knight’s growth is promising but unreliable.
Or how she respects the girl who faces her duties as a priestess head on, even though she is still small.
Or how when she watches the male mage who’s married, she realizes that even in another world, even if the husband is strong, men are still controlled by their wives.
She’s surrounded by enjoyable companions and things in her country are apparently going well, for the most part.
As one would expect.
In the Limia Kingdom, there have recently been cries for... something like democracy? I’ve heard a little about people voicing their dissent at the idea of nobles being treated as superior. Senpai tells me they’ve been gathering followers and slowly making their plans.
Doesn’t this mean that she’s involved in politics as well? I’m honestly surprised.
As I thought, someone who’s been a hero from the start and has become a key figure in the country is really something else.
I’m starting to get curious about the other hero as well.
Hibiki-senpai hasn’t given me too many details about him.
She told me it’s best if I meet him and talk to him myself.
However, when we were talking about the hero of the empire’s power of charming, Senpai’s expression changed.
It became a strange look that showed both surprise and agreement at the same time.
Though it quickly changed back into a smile and our topic of conversation moved once more, so I didn’t give it too much thought.
The question of how she met Beren and became close to him.
It’ll probably be good to hear it from Senpai herself.
I’m a little interested to know how outsiders other than myself perceive Beren.
Our conversation about Tsige ended up switching topics to Tomoe and Mio as well as a lot of discussion about Rembrandt-san, so I didn’t get to ask much about that kind of stuff.
「Ah, Hibiki-senpai. When you came to Tsige, how did you come to know Beren –」(Makoto)
I let out a stupid-sounding voice in response to the violent opening of the door.
Standing there, holding a tray of drinks is... Mio.
Huh, Mio didn’t have to bring them herself; she could’ve had someone else bring them.
Wait, Tomoe is there as well.
She suddenly pokes her head out from behind Mio with a smile.
Mio is kind of... really angry?
I mean, her eyes have a glassy look.
Her reaction to seeing me talking with other women has become calmer lately, but is she throwing some sort of fit?
「You two, I’m with a visitor. What is it, all of a sudden?」(Makoto)
「My apologies, Waka. I said to Mio that we should wait at least until your thighs were touching, but it seems that your shoulders were the limit for her.」(Tomoe)
Tomoe continues smiling as she directs her eyes at the gap between me and Senpai.
Now that she mentions it, I look to see what she’s talking about. Senpai was initially just sitting next to me, but now she’s really close to me.
Our shoulders are indeed touching!
I was so engrossed in our conversation that I didn’t notice!
For us to have been talking while this close without me noticing, I feel like I’ve been rude towards Senpai...
In any case, now that I’ve noticed, I put some normal distance between us.
Even if Mio wasn’t having a fit, these are indeed circumstances that would make her angry, yes.
I don’t have that kind of relationship with Senpai, and we weren’t talking about anything romantic.
「Ah, err. Sorry, I didn’t notice that kind of thing because I was so caught up in our conversation. I need to apologize to you as well, Hibiki-senpai.」(Makoto)
There’s no response from Senpai.
She’s looking at Mio.
「... Hibiki, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?」(Mio)
You know Senpai?
There’s no way that’s the case, huh.
They’ve never been in contact with each other.
「It has been some time, Mio-san. Because Raidou-san turned out to be Misumi-kun, I was half in doubt, but I suppose “Waka-sama” is referring to him after all.」(Hibiki)
「You don’t need to tell me why you’re here. But I didn’t think you were the kind of girl who repaid kindness with ingratitude, you know, Hibiki? I’m grateful for your help with cooking, so I’ll let you choose. Your left arm or your right. Which of them do you not need?」(Mio)
「Mio! I was careless! Calm down! This person is my senpai, we came from the same hometown. We just got nostalgic and caught up in talking about the past, that’s all, I’m telling you!」(Makoto)
What a dangerous thing she is saying!
This isn’t her usual light-hearted anger.
It seems that Senpai and Mio are acquainted with each other, but what is this?
And what did she mean by “help with cooking”?
If I recall, I heard from Mio that she learned some recipes similar to Japanese-style food from an adventurer in Tsige.
But Senpai didn’t say a single word about...
「Well, Mio earnestly... Wait, give me this tray.」(Tomoe)
As Tomoe says this, she takes the tray that Mio is holding in silence.
Oh, Tomoe and Mio have different degrees of enthusiasm.
「If you’re not answering, I’ll tear off both of them.」(Mio)
I’ve been sitting between Senpai and Mio from the beginning, so I don’t need to move.
I stand up where I am and face Mio.
Why does there have to be bloodshed over such a small thing?!
I’m living a more modest lifestyle than most men in this world, you know?!
Mio finally stops in her tracks.
Even so, just by being in this room, Senpai is already within Mio’s range.
I can’t relax.
I’ll deploy my magic power armor in an invisible state so I can protect Senpai just in case.
Senpai stands up quietly behind me.
At that moment, I see the evening sun shining through the window.
We started talking just after noon, so we talked for quite a while.
「Mio-san, I had no intentions of doing anything to him. Despite my appearance, I am a hero after all. I don’t have the time to be going out with a guy, anyway.」(Hibiki)
She’s perfectly right.
To be a hero and still have time to flirt with a lover, you’d need to be very skillful indeed.
I’m not even one of her party members; if Senpai and I were to date, it would have to be a long-distance relationship, right?
Not that there’s any way Senpai would consider someone like me in the first place.
「Hero? I couldn’t care less about something like that. Hibiki, are you saying you have no interest at all? Your expression said differently earlier. Weren’t you being quite flirtatious?」(Mio)
Couldn’t care less, huh.
Normally you’d have more of a reaction to a girl standing before your eyes telling you “I’m a hero”.
Th-that’s quite a cold tone.
What do you mean by “flirtatious”, it’s not like we’re animals with an uncontrollable urge to breed.
「I was able to meet my cute kouhai, that’s all. The sword that I received when I met you, Mio-san, I came to have it repaired and happened to meet him by coincidence.」(Hibiki)
「That right! It was a coincidence! She is acquainted to you and Beren for some reason, and she happened to come to the Kuzunoha company and ran into me by pure coincidence! Do you understand?」(Makoto)
「... For over three hours?」(Mio)
「Uh, w-we got caught up in talking.」(Makoto)
「Waka-sama, when there were meetings that went for three hours you would fall asleep. Yet you had an enjoyable conversation that you got caught up in for even longer than that?」(Mio)
The times I fell asleep just coincided with the times when I was the most busy, didn’t they?
Mio is being quite malicious today.
But I’m sorry.
I’ll be careful.
「Really, I’m sorry. I lost track of the time. This person and I have a senpai-kouhai relationship, nothing more.」(Makoto)
「Yes. We went to the same school, but we barely even knew each other’s names. I was in quite a high social position in that world, so I got ahead of myself without thinking. I was being inconsiderate of you, Mio-san, I’m sorry.」(Hibiki)
Hibiki-senpai lowers her head.
I don’t know the relationship between the two, but is Senpai the weaker one?
If they met in Tsige, were Senpai and her party among the babysitters in the wasteland?
I won’t know if I don’t ask about it later.
Thought transmission is blocked, so I can’t ask anyway?
It’s pretty hard to gain Mio’s favor here.
I’m quite depressed.
「Look, you’ve said this much to Waka already, you cannot be angry forever.」(Tomoe)
For some reason, thought transmission isn’t working on you either, but I can assume you’re not angry?
「... Waka-sama, Ema is calling. Also, there are a few things that I would like you to sample, so let us head to the mansion.」(Mio)
「I-I see. Well, then, Senpai. Please take care on your way to Lorel.」(Makoto)
「... Yes. Joshua-sama wanted to get in touch with you, so would you please contact him in the near future?」(Hibiki)
「Ah, I understand. I’ll do that in a few days’ time.」(Makoto)
Mio’s voice is sharp.
I have to hurry.
「Let us be on our way... He shouldn’t have given her that sword, mumble mumble...」(Mio)
As I walk towards Mio and Tomoe, who are standing at the door that was wrenched open, Mio starts to rush me even more.
She’s saying something inappropriate, too.
That sword of Beren’s, Mio had something to do with it as well, huh.
「Waka, please leave the hero in my care. Allow me escort her back.」(Tomoe)
「Tomoe? I don’t think you need to worry about Senpai that much, you know?」(Makoto)
「No no, it is just that she is a guest of the Kuzunoha company. We must treat her properly. Lime is busy at the moment and I, fortunately, happen to have some free time.」(Tomoe)
「Her left and right arms are off-limits, alright?」(Makoto)
「Please do not treat me like I am the same as Mio. We will just have a small conversation. I will not harm her.」(Tomoe)
「In that case, I’ll leave that to you.」(Makoto)
「As you wish.」(Tomoe)
It seems Tomoe isn’t that angry, so I guess it should be fine.
Could she be planning to look through Senpai’s memories?
Senpai has knowledge on some things that I don’t, so it’s possible.
Should I stop her?
If the depths of Asora’s knowledge isn’t seen, then it won’t be found, I suppose.
... I wonder why.
Maybe it’s because all of my own memories have been exposed; I feel a little reluctant to let it happen to someone else.
I have to change my way of thinking on these kinds of things.
I leave the company room together with Mio and head for Asora.
At this time of day, we can have a short break and still be able to return to the company before dinner, huh.
We can close the shop and check our inventory then.
Organizing information is a hectic thing.
Waka and Mio have returned to Asora, and I am accompanying the hero of Limia, Otonashi Hibiki, along the street as I told Waka I would.
She was sitting so close to Waka in the drawing room, but she did not show any expression of having an ulterior motive. Finding out exactly what this girl gained from that conversation is one of my objectives.
I’m secretly looking through her memories, but from the conversation with Waka earlier, it seems she has gathered most of the available information about Waka as Raidou of the Kuzunoha company.
「Err, Tomoe-san? I’ll be fine on my own.」(Hibiki)
「I am not sure if you are aware, hero-dono, but this city recently suffered great damage at the hands of monsters known as mutants. I cannot allow even the smallest chance of something happening to a guest of Waka’s. Please forgive me.」(Tomoe)
「I see... Umm, Tomoe-san, are you also one of Misumi-kun’s subordinates?」(Hibiki)
「Of course. Ah yes, hero-dono, I think you have heard that Waka is using the false name, “Raidou”. When you refer to Waka, please use either Misumi or Raidou. Since using the name “Makoto” would only invite chaos.」(Tomoe)
「I know. He told me the same. Well, I heard about this company that started in the wasteland, but you really do employ many demi-humans, don’t you?」(Hibiki)
To start with, I have been predominantly examining her memories of their earlier conversation.
Waka, you said quite a lot.
Though you were made to talk.
You seemed to have excluded your relationship with the goddess, but you talked about the wasteland, Tsige and Rotsgard.
You have given a considerable amount of information to this girl.
You have managed to keep quiet about Shiki, who she is acquainted with, and Asora. But you have talked a great deal about the academy lecturers and the mutant attack.
If I recall, that was the student that began the attack.
It seems that she is quite concerned about him, but even Waka does not know everything about that matter.
It seems that this girl, Hibiki, tried to learn something about that student but quickly gave up.
Even we have not got a full grasp of their relationship.
The students did about 80% of the damage, and Mio finished him off, huh?
All Waka knows is that the students defeated him.
The only ones who know about how he was finished are Mio and myself.
I should poke around this topic.
It would be troublesome if we allowed it to be an issue in the future.
Whatever the case may be, I am relieved that they seem not to have touched on the topic of Waka and Shiki going wild in Limia.
For some reason, in Hibiki’s mind, she has decided that the person dressed in a white suit is a hyuman.
I’ll find out how she came to that conclusion later.
Because Hibiki believes Waka is a human, she believes them to be two different people.
... But this is a little dangerous.
Waka has given enough information to Hibiki that she could assume that his parents were hyumans.
If we are not careful, she could come to that conclusion.
「Waka does not discriminate against demi-humans, so he can truly appreciate their great abilities. That is one reason. Since you are from the same town as him, hero-dono, would you not think the same?」(Tomoe)
「... Yes, at first. But as I learn of this this world’s customs and traditions, I realize that people who think like me are in the minority. I think that the relationship between humans and demi-humans is one of the problems that cause wars, but what we need to immediately deal with is the war that is happening right now. I will not condone the hyumans’ attitude towards demi-humans, but I will not outright deny it, either.」(Hibiki)
「So you tolerate their behavior.」(Tomoe)
That is a safe thing to do.
Even though Waka and Hibiki both lived in Japan, they have quite different ways of thinking.
「Though my common sense still hinders me in that regard. For us, demi-humans are just people who have different features like a tail or ears. But hyumans view them as servants and... to say it bluntly, livestock.」(Hibiki)
「Yes, you have a point.」(Tomoe)
「No matter how beneficial demi-humans are to hyumans, hyumans rarely acknowledge the rights of demi-humans. I’ve noticed recently that Misumi-kun treating demi-humans so well is causing him to be seen as some kind of unusual pet enthusiast. As a hero, it is difficult to conduct myself that way.」(Hibiki)
「For someone who exudes charisma, that is quite a calculative thing to say, hero-dono.」(Tomoe)
「It’s exactly as you say. I am a calculative, shrewd person. The aristocracy in Limia must be reformed and the empire must be held back through diplomacy before I can raise the societal status of demi-humans. Of course, this is assuming that we win the war.」(Hibiki)
「You desire a lot, hero-dono. You are different to what I imagined, but I do not dislike that. I see. Well, I can confirm that there was a passionate supporter in this city.」(Tomoe)
I suppose I will begin now.
「A supporter, you say? Supporting me? I am happy to hear that there are such people, even in this academy city that is so far from the kingdom.」(Hibiki)
「Indeed. He is deceased now, but he was an academy student. The second son of the Hoperaise* family from Limia, a boy by the name of Ilumgand. He had quite a troublesome personality, but he had considerable faith in you, hero-dono.」(Tomoe)
「But he was in quite a bad temper before the school festival. In the end, he turned into a monster during a team competition and began attacking the other students. If I recall, the king of your country also saw this incident.」(Tomoe)
So Ilumgand was acquainted with Hibiki.
Fu, he is speaking of his ideals with shining, innocent eyes.
They met when Hibiki was acting to remind the kingdom’s nobles of their duties.
The little I saw of Ilumgand was after he had already lost his sanity, but I understand now. The Ilumgand in Hibiki’s memories is indeed a respectable young man.
It seems that he was passionate about his ideals, enthusiastic in lectures and wanted to be of use to the hero once he graduated.
Words coming from a face whose expression is full of admiration cannot be lies.
I am curious as to why he turned insane and was killed.
「... Did Ilum-kun, Ilumgand, really do such coward-like acts, go on a rampage and finally get eliminated?」(Hibiki)
「There is no mistake. Waka also saw it. There may have been a reason for it, but it was something that Ilumgand caused himself. His strange behavior prior to that is also known by other academy students and employees of the Kuzunoha company.」(Tomoe)
「Even everyone in the Kuzunoha company?」(Hibiki)
「Indeed. Because for some reason, he saw Waka as his mortal enemy and interfered with his activities. He pressured the guild, used companies in Limia to harass Waka and even disturbed his students. I pity the students who were affected by that.」(Tomoe)
「... He was one of my sympathizers. Among the nobles, he was a rare person who put proper thought towards the well-being of the people. The Hoperaise family is mourning his passing.」(Hibiki)
「One’s reputation can change many times in the eyes of the people. But if he had such a side to him, it is unfortunate that he was lost.」(Tomoe)
「No matter what, I can’t bring myself to believe he transformed like that.」(Hibiki)
「Both the academy and the kingdom of Limia are investigating the cause. I am sure the truth will be revealed eventually.」(Tomoe)
「I think there was definitely something that caused it.」(Hibiki)
... She has no proof, but she believes there was a cause.
Is it some kind of intuition?
However, she is right.
Whether she will have the chance to find out just what kind of intervention the demons are capable of is another matter.
Fufu, and this is...
I’ve found something good.
This girl has learned kendo and swordsmanship!
This is good.
I may be able to touch on real swordsmanship.
「Hero-dono, if I recall, you were planning to leave the academy city?」(Tomoe)
「Huh, ah, yes. That’s right. Coming here was a decision that I made independently.」(Hibiki)
Hibiki is surprised by this abrupt change in conversation topic.
But I am also surprised.
Why did you and Waka learn swordsmanship from the same person?
And neither you nor Waka are aware of this.
I think I can see even more of their teacher’s swordsmanship in her memories than Waka’s.
What a stroke of good fortune this is.
「From the fact that you left a sword in our care, can I assume that you are a master of the sword?」(Tomoe)
「I don’t have it with me, but I’ve left a sword with the academy. Bastard swords are the easiest to use, aren’t they?」(Hibiki)
I do not have any interest in such swords.
「Since you are from the same town as Waka, can you use a katana?」(Tomoe)
Hibiki looks at the sword at my waist.
Has she sensed it?
I will not allow you to refuse.
I did defend you from Mio, though only through words.
「I did learn how to use Japanese katanas in my hometown. Speaking of which, Tomoe-san, you give off the impression of a samurai. Are there samurai and Japanese katanas in this world as well?」(Hibiki)
「No, this is just a hobby of mine. Since learning about this from Waka, I have been completely caught up in it.」(Tomoe)
「Hobby? Huh, I see.」(Hibiki)
「I would like to humbly request instruction!」(Tomoe)
「From me?! Err, if you are as strong as Mio-san, then you are far stronger than I am.」(Hibiki)
「A contest between swordswomen. I will prepare a katana for you. There are plenty of suitable places at the academy and I will not take much of your time!」(Tomoe)
Techniques with a Japanese sword.
I can see the details in Hibiki’s memories, but nothing could be better than seeing it in person.
「But I would like to hurry and meet up with everyone else...」(Hibiki)
「Then I shall escort you there after our contest! It is decided, let us go, hero-dono!」(Tomoe)
What do you mean by,「She is just a companion of Mio, they’re two similar people」?!
How dare you remember something so rude!
Even if I make selfish requests such as these, I make sure to prepare benefits for my opponents as well!