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KENS Chapter 33

(T/N: If you guys haven’t read the post I made earlier or for this one, please do so.)

Chapter 33 Yamada-kun and Utano-san

Who was it that was crying?

Due to the major portions of the castle, that was probably carved out from a rock-face, having been destroyed, the ceiling had disappeared and the sky was visible. The sky was a brilliant azure and the sun shined at its brightest. Along with the beautiful wind, it should have made one feel pleasant but it only made me feel more irritated right now.

The sound of swords clashing, magic exploding, the terrain in the surroundings getting destroyed, the cries of those fucking monsters, the desperate voices of my comrades, and the voice right beside me that was calling me——all of them felt irritating.

I won’t be able to hear it, like this.

Her last words.

The voice of _____, who was disappearing right inside my embrace.

“Sorry.”

When I said that, the girl in my arms laughed as if troubled. Even though red blood was flowing out of her body due to getting slashed by the dark Demon God. But even so, she laughed. So that her last expression was neither crying nor a pained one—–but one that was smiling.

It was so painful to look at her like this that I put more strength in my arms holding her.

But even so, as if my comrade beside me couldn’t see her in my arms, they shook my shoulders. Called my name in a loud voice.

“Even though I said I’d protect you. Even though—–I promised you.”

Once again, the girl laughed. This time, with a smile, she shook her head.

Her golden hair swayed, and her jade-green coloured eyes became softer. That expression that she’d show occasionally was so beautiful that if it was not for the fact that she was bleeding out right in my arms, one would have completely fallen in love with her.

But even the red blood, the source of life, only made her look more beautiful.

As I gently caressed her cheek, her lips moved slightly. But I heard no words. Only, her lips moved.

Aah, why am I always like this? Unable to protect those who I really want to. Always getting protected by others, the weakest Hero. A failure who can’t utilise his own power properly. Why? Why? Why? —— Why did I ask for this kind of power? If it was going to be this saddening, if it was going to be this painful…….

“—–”

In memories, a noise disrupted her words. I can’t recall it. Her last words.

An immense magic shook the world. The slash from the Brave and the Demonic Sword user, the breath from the Ancient Dragon, the attack from the Demon Lord; turned the castle of the Demon God into rubble.

Everyone is fighting hard, working together. They are trying to defeat the enemy of the world. Even then I, the one who holds the weapon to defeat that enemy held not the weapon but her instead.

I held her small, soft, blood-stained, warm hand. Even though this wasn’t the first time I did so, it felt like it was.

It felt as if it was not  ____’s hand anymore, and as if to not forget that sensation, I put it near my cheek.

“You’ll get dirty.”

“Like I care. It’s your blood.”

“……..As usual, you’re such a fool.”

Yeah, that’s right. I’m a fool. An utter fool. An idiot who can’t protect anything he wants to. And even then, I still wish to protect her………a hopeless, irredeemable fool.

And she said  _______ to me. Because I was like this, she said _______ to me. That’s why I swore that I won’t change the way I live.

Before my comrades, before the world, before the Demon God, I chose this girl in front of me.

And, that girl looked at me with a smile.

“Don’t cry.”

At her voice, I finally realized who was crying.

It was me. I was the one who was crying.

“…….Don’t cry, idiot.”

Even though she’s about to die, ______’s voice was gentle and warm as always. Her hand holding me started losing strength so I put more strength in my hand and held her even more tightly. Even though I’m holding her so tight that it should be painful, let alone cry in pain, ______ didn’t even show a change in her expression.

She simply, kept on looking at me with a smile.

“I, rather than your crying face………like your smiling face more.”

She laughed. With a smile, the smile I loved, she told that to me.

Till the very end, with a smile. With a dazzling, almost painful to watch, smile.

“That’s why, don’t cry.”

That’s why, I made a promise.

.

.

.

.

.

When I opened my eyes, a familiar ceiling entered my view. A magnificent chandelier hung on the wooden ceiling.  Moving my head to look to the side, very expensive, thick curtains hung over the glass windows.

A fire seemed to be burning in the fireplace as the room was perfectly warm. Judging by the water drops forming on the window, it should be pretty cold outside.

Looking back towards the ceiling again, I gave a sigh.

“Ermenhilde?”

I called but there was no answer. It wasn’t by my side it seems making me sigh again.

I am pretty certain that I know where I am right now. This place—–this room is the one that had been allotted to me. After being summoned here, I resided in this room while I learnt more about this world. Whether it be the alignment of the furniture or the view from the window, both felt nostalgic. As the tension in my body left, I relaxed into my bed again.

But, I can’t understand how I’m here. After the battle in that forest……whatever happened to that shitty Skeleton?

“—–”

When I tried to get up, a pain ran through my right arm. On looking I realized that it had been bandaged. Oh right, I had taken quite a lot of damage from that skeleton.

After that, after meeting up with Aya and others——I have not a single bit of memory. I must have stayed fainted for the whole time. I recalled that my condition headed towards the worse after getting my right arm damaged. I must have been poisoned back then as well. It must be due to that poison that my body feels so sluggish. Even moving a little feels like a pain.

While confirming the condition of my body, I felt amazed that I actually survived after all that. Let alone Ms Francesca, even Aya or Feirona cannot use detoxifying magic. Apparently you cannot detoxify a poison if you don’t understand its composition perfectly. No matter how much of a genius magician Aya is, she’s still only 18. On top of that, in a world like this where science is very lacking in progress, there’s no way they could learn about poisons and its composition. A poison from a descendant of the Demon God wouldn’t have any antidote easily available either. Obviously, unlike games, this world doesn’t have a single antidote for all kinds of poisoning.

Thus, only Yayoi-chan and one more has the ability in this whole world to nullify the Demon God’s poison. If this really is the Imnesia Royal Castle as I think it is, then I must have been cured by the Witch of the Capital.

“*yawn*..”

While I kept thinking of such things, I ended up yawning while feeling sleepy. Is body still tired or have I simply overslept and still want to sleep? I don’t even know the current situation but since I wasn’t woken up means that it must not be an emergency. While I tried to keep my consciousness as I felt more sleepy, finally I realized that someone else was  also in the room.

That certain black haired person was currently sleeping while sitting on a chair and using her hand on the table in front of her as a pillow. I could easily recognise that face.

“Oi, Aya.”

I called out but there was no response. She must be in deep sleep. Sleeping in that pose is gonna make her body hurt all over later though, I think.

After trying to call her a few more times, I gave up on waking her. Well, the room is warm, she won’t catch a cold at least. Though I feel like I’ll get scolded for looking at her sleeping face later though. Well, I’ll deal with that when it comes. Since I had nothing else to look at, I decided to observe her sleeping face. Since she’s always acting uptight and dignified, such moments are precious. I’ll tease her later.

Her eyelids and her small shoulders moved as she breathed. Her expression was also gentler suitable of her age. Her usual expression also suits her but her current expression had a charm of its own. She’s called an honour student back at the academy but I wonder if she sleeps through her classes or not. I wonder how many boys have seen her face like this.

But soon I got bored of that as well and I once again started looking outside the window. How should I say this, I am too used to seeing her sleep like this. After all she always slept before me when we were journeying.

Since it still hurts to move my body, I’ll have to just laze around like this.

“…….”

Royal capital Imnesia. Located at the centre of the continent, it’s the largest city. With the 4 great cities in every direction, this is the capital where the king lives.

From the forest of rotting souls, where my memories ended, it should have still taken 5 days even with horses to get here. It’s really amazing I survived that long of a journey while being poisoned.

Suddenly, the door was knocked. Without waiting for a reply, the door was opened and a familiar woman’s face peeked in.

“Ah, so you’re awake.”

As if she was here just to chat, she spoke. I’m an injured guy here who had fainted due to my wounds you know. Well, if I were to say that, it will not end well for me, in fact I’ll probably get scolded for making Aya and the others worry or something like that.

Somehow, I can never win with words against her. I have lost so many times that I have become consciously aware of that fact that I’ll lose an argument.

While playing with her flaxen hair drooping from her shoulders, she slowly closed the door back. To make sure that Aya didn’t wake up, I didn’t even hear a small sound. She really is skilled.

She wore a magician like robe and a had glasses, that were rare in this world. Her slightly reddish eyes that showed her strong will looked directly at me without wavering. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who thinks that her gaze is scary.  As she walked over the carpet without making even a single sound, she really did give off the feeling of a Witch seen in legends and fables. Though, once again, I was perfectly aware of what was waiting for me if I said that out loud.

Since it’d be weird to stay lying down like this, I tried to get up when her gaze seemed to have become slightly warmer. Was she worried about me?

Probably, I think. Her gaze and presence was scary but I know that this woman isn’t really that cold. She must have been worried about me, I think. But well, the fact that she’s here means that my deductions weren’t wrong. I ended up sighing again.

“So we really are at the Imnesia Castle?”(renji)

“Yes. You were brought in with incredible wounds, Yamada-kun.”

While saying that, the Witch of the capital slightly caressed the sleeping Aya’s hair.

—–Utano-san.

Utano-san’s finger must have felt nice since Aya’s sleeping expression felt even gentler. They looked so much like a family that I felt pleasant as well. And, though it was easy to understand, Aya did have affection for Utano-san like she was her mother. Whenever she had trouble she’d go to Utano-san as well. I think she does so even now. I felt a bit jealous of their relationship to be honest.

Having realized my gaze, Utano-san looked at me with a teasing gaze.

“If you look at a girl’s sleeping face so seriously, you’ll be treated as a pervert you know?”

“How rude. I wasn’t looking that seriously.”

“fufu. No matter what Yamada-kun is thinking, this girl wouldn’t really mind it though.”

As she kept on caressing Aya’s hair, her hand then reached Aya’s cheek. As if it tickled, Aya shrunk back from it. It was as if she was a cat.

“After all, her special person saw her sleeping face. That’s very important you know.”(utano0

“………”

I could only avert my gaze from Utano-san who said that.

I could also predict what she’d say next. That’s why I simply decided to look out of the window instead. Ahh, where the hell is Ermenhilde?

“Treasure them properly.”(utano)

“I do. In my own way, that is.”

Her gaze cold and sharp and turned towards me. But still, I can’t help it.

It’s very vague what Aya and I want from each other. If I tried to change that, I would only fail. Probably.

“It seems even after a year, your incompetence hasn’t changed at all.”(utano)

“……..so harsh. I’m not trying to be incompetent you know?”

“If it was me, I’d take a more straight approach.”

“Well, that’s how you always are after all.”

I’m, unlike you, not strong enough to believe in myself. Aya is……I don’t know how she thinks.

Taking a straight approach and then magnificently failing, it’s not a laughing matter at all. Well, that’s no more than an excuse. In fact, it’s exactly how Utano-san said that I was incompetent. I know Aya’s feelings towards me. But, I’m still avoiding it.

If Aya doesn’t know what she seeks from me, then we simply have to look for it together. She’s still 18yrs old, she was just a 16 yrd old child when she developed those feelings. It’s wrong to ask for an answer to such a thing from a child like her. But still, I did so. And I’m getting spoiled by her. Even though my answer………had already appeared an year ago.

“She was crying after you fainted you know?”(utano)

“I see.”

“To make a girl cry. You’re the worst.”

“I know.”

When I shrugged my shoulders, she gave a sigh.

Am I the worst because I’m simply weak or because I still haven’t accepted Aya? It’s probably both. Yeah, I’m definitely incompetent. Taking a damage from a different person than the usual Ermenhilde, I hung my head in shame.

“And, I as well——–“(utano)

“Hm?”

Her next words were in such a small voice that I couldn’t hear it clearly.

I looked at her so that she could repeat it but she simply looked at me with the cold eyes of the great Witch.

“So I heard you rampaged in the forest of rotting souls?”(utano)

“No, I simply ran all over the place from monsters. It was Aya who dealt the finishing blow.”

“What’s that? That’s completely different from what I heard.”

Apparently she wasn’t going to repeat what she had said before so I simply decided to answer her next question.

When I did, she laughed while hiding her mouth. That gesture was very womanly, in a completely different sense from Aya or Miss Francesca. She loses to both of them in the chest department but she’s definitely an adult.

“It’s the truth though.”(renji)

“It may be to you but it seemed different to Aya though. Well, people do glorify every action of the person they like after all.”

“in the first place, Aya wasn’t even there though.”

I recalled that shitty skeleton. Aya wasn’t there but it was definitely Aya who killed it. The high output bombardment that she fired from underground had blown half of that demon away.

Seeing an attack like that really makes me realize how weak I really am once again. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and has a good personality as well. The only thing I surpass Aya in is age. What a pitiful thing it is.

“Then, all the more so. To this child, you are that special.”(utano)

“That’s troublesome in its own way though. I’m not a special person after all.”

While we talked in low voice so as to not wake AYa up, we looked at her sleeping face again.

“So, why am I here?”(renji)

“You don’t remember?”

“Unfortunately, I have no memories after fighting the demon in the forest.”

“My oh my. It seems you even missed Aya’s crying face.”

“To be honest I’m glad I didn’t see that though.”

If I saw something like that, I’ll be filled with a guilty conscience.

Crying faces are one thing—–I really don’t want to see. It’s fine if they are tears of happiness though. But if I don’t want to see tears of sadness……at all.

“I’m a crybaby as well after all. If I see someone crying, I’ll start to tear up as well.”(renji)

“That’s true.”

Enough of that, I averted my face to run from her gaze. Why is it that only at such times she shows a gentle expression? I really am not good with dealing with Utano-san. She’s fun to talk to but I feel as if she can see through my inner thoughts sometimes.

“Yui carried you all the way here from the forest.”(utano)

“Yui-chan did?”

I ended up asking again due to hearing a familiar name.

Yui-chan. Hiyuu Yui. One of the 13 summoned, the same as us. A girl that tames monsters. I didn’t know where she was currently but was she luckily near the forest?

“She was actually in the Elfreim continent but apparently Koutarou-kun brought her here. He had seen a future where you would die it seems. You should be sure to thank both of them.”(utano)

Where do I even start with this? I’m already surprised with Yui-chan and Koutarou’s names coming up and now you’re telling me that I was predicted to be dead?…….That bastard Koutarou, if he saw something like that, tell that to me directly!

Well, I’m also at fault since I was hiding where I was living I guess.

Why is it that everytime he sees me in a future, I’m about to die? Am I that weak? I do consider myself to be stronger than the normal adventurers of this world but is that also wrong? I really feel like crying now.

Seeing me like that, Utano-san started laughing again. Aya kept on sleeping as usual though.

“Yui-chan and Koutarou……are you trying to gather everyone up in the capital?”(renji)

“Well, now. The event is close but I have no intention of doing that.”

Saying that ‘she’ has no intention to do so means that someone else is planning to do so from the dark.

For example, the person who created this world, or maybe it’s just some absurd fate working. Well, that person is not a human but a goddess though. I hope that my intuition telling me that another problem is coming is really wrong. Everything that she brings up is in a different level of trouble. On top of that, it’s always concerned with me somehow. Am I the only one who thinks that she’s just messing around with me now?

As if she had read my thoughts, Utano-san also gave an amused smile.

“Work hard.”(utano)

“I refuse. I worked hard enough for my whole life on that day an year ago.”

“That’s irrelevant. She’s a goddess, and it’s always your duty to take her requests.”

What kind of logic is that?! That’s messed up. I have to deal with that woman for my whole life?

Ignoring me who dropped his shoulders in dissapointment, Utano-san stood up.

“But certainly, it seems everyone is gathering together. It’s as if some kind of fate is working at it.”(utano)

“Oh please no. The Demon God is dead. The most troublesome thing is gone……..i just don’t want anymore fighting.”

“I agree. I have a lot of things I have to do in this country.”

Her tone, was even deeper than before when she said those last words. She must be feeling depressed while thinking about all the work she has.

It doesn’t show much on her expression usually but, only at times like these she’s easy to understand.

“…….you seem to be working hard as well, with all sorts of things.”(renji)

“Yes, all thanks to a certain someone quickly disappearing out of nowhere.”

I decided to ignore that and look at Aya’s sleeping face instead.

I really do feel sorry about it. For running away from all the trouble, from Aya and for hiding myself my other comrades……and to have left everything to Utano-san.

But even then, Utano-san never seriously blamed me for anything and still talk to me like back then. I wonder if this woman knows how happy that makes me. Even though I’d be in no position to refute her no matter what she says to me.

“fufu, for the time being, first heal your wounds. It’s safe here after all.”(utano)

“Oh please, can’t I at least move to an inn in the town instead?”

If I were to stay here, I’ll start meeting all sorts of people that know me. How will I even face them after hiding from them for one whole year?

Even while knowing that, Utano-san’s gaze was cold. Extremely cold—–an Absolute zero level gaze was sent towards me.

“That’s impossible. Everyone already knows that you’re here.”(utano)

“—-Wha?!”

“Eru is the insurance. Without her, you won’t slip out of the castle either. Am I right?”

I looked at Utano-san blackly.

And she looked at me with a smile of a child that just succeeded in her prank. Though it was rare expression from her, I could only feel chills from it.

“Utano-san, may I ask an abrupt question?”

“What is it, Yamada-kun?”

“I, how long was I……asleep I wonder?” (T/N: it’s difficult in english but basically Renji is talking in a very polite manner to her.)

“Today would be the fifth day, so basically around 100 hours I guess?”

I covered my face with my left hand. No wonder my body feels so sluggish. I must have been rushed to the capital but I didn’t think I had been asleep for so long.

“Aya’s here so what about them…….Feirona and the others?”(renji)

“I met them. A noble daughter, an elf, and a beast woman. You’re once again travelling with very interesting people, eh?”

“So they were safe. That’s good…….”

That’s a relief. I did think that they’d be safe considering Aya’s here but even I would get worried seeing it’s been 5 days already.

They’re probably not in the castle so they must be in the town, resting in an inn. If I am able to slip out later, I should go meet them. Well, first I’ll have to find which inn they’re staying inn though.

“You can be relieved. I’ll send a messenger by tomorrow and invite them to the castle later.”(utano)

“Ah, I see.”

She really can read minds, right? Or am I simply that easy to read? I hope it’s the former.

“But even still, you’ve brought something troublesome again with you.”(utano)

“Hm?”

From her pocket, she brought out a black crystal. I have no memory of this but I doubt its something good. Not to mention colour—-it made me recall that goddamn fucking monster. Probably because I dreamt of the past just now, I felt even worse than before. From just the looks, it looks like a pretty crystal ore that hasn’t been shaped yet.

“And what’s that?”(renji)

“It’s what the beast woman called Mururu brought from the Elfreim continent.”

“……Mururu did?”

Or rather, so she’s from the Elfreim continent. How did she manage to get a ship needed to cross over to this continent? Especially how she didn’t even know how money worked.

Well, I should ask that the next time we meet. I can’t find an answer like this.

“Then, that’s the content of the request from the Spirit God?”(renji)

“Oh my. You didn’t know that?”

“Because she refused to show it to anyone but Utano-san. And I felt that it’d be better to open it with you as well.”

Though in truth, I just wanted to avoid any responsibility. But let’s not tell her that. Honesty may be a virtue but too much of honesty is just foolish.

“So, what is it?”(renji)

“A fragment of the Demon God’s heart.”

Ah, so that’s why I felt so sick suddenly. Even after hearing that, I didn’t feel disturbed in the slightest. In fact, I feel more satisfied. If Ermenhilde was with me, I would have smashed it to pieces. Utano-san said that she took Ermenhilde so that I don’t run away but probably this was the main reason. To have thought so far, so annoying.

“Is the Demon God reviving?”(renji)

“No, we won’t let it.”

I recalled what that demon said back at the Magic CIty.

But Utano-san denied it strongly. It really encouraged me as well.

“That’s the reason why we exist here, Yamada-kun.”

Away from the window, she said that while sitting at the side of the bed. Her reddish black eyes looked at me from an even closer distance than before.

Too close, or am I the only one who is thinking that.

“Aya still hasn’t woken up?”(renji)

Averting my gaze, I looked at Aya.

No matter how much we talked she showed no signs of waking up.

“Yes, I made her sleep with magic after all.”(utano)

“Wha——-”

‘What are you saying?’ Before I could say that, my lips were blocked. With soft lips of a woman’s.

It was just a peck, like a child’s kiss. That too, only lasted an instant before she moved away. But even then, it was sweet and smelled nice.

When I opened my eyes, that I had closed who knows when, my gaze met Utano-san’s slightly moist gaze. That also only lasted an instant. She quickly stood back up again and quickly moved towards the door. She must be embarrassed. Even though she’s usually assertive, in the end, her heart is still that of an innocent child’s. It seems that hasn’t changed either.

“Then, I’ll leave you take care of Aya, Yamada-kun.”

She snapped her fingers.

When she did, as if nothing had happened, Aya lifted up her sleepy body. Since she was sleeping on the table, she stretched her body while sitting with sleepy eyes.

“Good Morning, Aya.”(utano)

“Eh, ah—-Yuu…..”

At that, she finally realized that I was awake and her body hardened up. Her expression changed into various ones, one by one. I can never get bored of this no matter how many times I see it. Now if I were to say that I saw your sleeping face right now, I wonder what kind of face she’d make?

“I’ll go prepare a meal, you’re hungry right?”(utano)

And the woman who left only problems behind her left the room after saying just that.

 

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