Since we agreed to take turns to watch the fire, I woke Inukami-senpai up and lied down.
“Muu—, Usato-kun should have been someone more righteous and noble. I was supposed to wake up on my own…… Just how much do you want to go above my expectations?”
“That might be the case for Kazuki and Senpai but staying up all night would be nonsense for us. Showing this excessive goodwill would also be dragging us down if you think about it.”
“Well, yeah but…”
I wasn’t like Kazuki either. I would definitely be sorry later on if I didn’t sleep while my magic wasn’t fully recovered. One of the many things I was taught in the Rescue Squad was to be sure to rest during the times that would allow it.
“Besides, when you were sleeping, it seemed like Senpai wouldn’t be waking up until morning.”
After I declared so to Senpai, I closed my eyes.
As usual, monster cries could be heard in distance.
However, it should be alright with Senpai awake now.
“Usato-kun…. Are you still awake?”
“………What’s the matter?”
Only 10 minutes had passed. I was about to doze off but Inukami-senpai’s clear voice reached my ears.
Turning myself over, I faced Inukami-senpai.
“What are your thoughts after being summoned to this world?”
I wonder why she was asking me this question.
Was she just casually asking? Or was it something much deeper…?
She could also be feeling guilty for getting me involved in the hero summoning.
“What I think you say… Well, Rose’s training is tough, I also have to see my team’s bunch of grim-looking faces every day… To begin with, doing something like fighting against the Maou’s army, it still doesn’t feel real to me.”
“Do you want to go back?”
“….Hmm, it’s difficult to say.”
I felt like going back, I also felt like not going back.
It seemed like I was contradicting myself but I didn’t want to part with this world’s healing magic that I cultivated and that could be considered my own power. There was also the fact that it would be a little sad to separate with all the people I’ve met here. It hasn’t been long but I’ve already gotten used to living here.
But of course, I was also worried about my family.
While I was having these conflicting thoughts, Inukami-senpai spoke these words to me,
“As for me, I don’t want to go back.”
I don’t know what weighed behind those words of hers but… As for my own thoughts, I still wasn’t too sure. The answer Senpai’s expecting from me might not come out.
At any rate, I should reply.
“Isn’t that fine?”
“……You aren’t going to ask me why?”
“Do you want me to ask?”
“I want you to ask.”
Even if you ask me so directly like this…
And why are you saying it so shamelessly too…
“No, it’s fine. Sounds like a pain. I’m sleepy.”
“T-to refuse to this extent…. Just exactly what difficulty mode is this, Usato-kun?”
Difficulty mode… this isn’t a game you know.
Either way, I can more or less guess the reason why you don’t want to go back. When we were summoned, out of the three of us, it was Inukami-senpai who was the most energetic. Which means it’s ‘that’.
For her, the place where she belonged wasn’t our former world, it’s this world.
Since Senpai had no attachments to our previous world, I should respect that.
“….Haah, don’t I look like an idiot now for being so oddly nervous?”
“Someone like Inukami-senpai, nervous?”
“Muu, how rude. Even I’m human and can get nervous.”
Inukami-senpai looked at me with reproachful eyes as I lied down.
As if trying to escape her line of sight, I turned my body the other way, with my back towards the fire. It seemed like the conversation was over, I should sleep soon.
“Fufu, you’re ‘normal’ eh.”
As my conscious was gradually fading, I could hear Senpai’s voice as she seemed to be enjoying herself.
The next morning, we were walking through the forest with the sunrise.
I still somewhat remember where the forest’s exit was when Rose led me out of here last time.
I was confident in my sense of direction.
“I really do wonder… Do you think Bluerin will be able to find us by our scent?”
“Unfortunately, we fell into a river, so no.”
I just hope that glutton isn’t causing trouble for those guards.
We were slowly walking. There were two reasons for this.
One, we didn’t want to attract monsters as we were moving. This time I didn’t have the monster Kururu with me and its sense for danger.
Two, it was so we wouldn’t lose sight of the direction we were going in. This forest had tall trees that completely covered the surroundings and it’d be very easy to lose our way if we weren’t careful. To prevent that from happening, it was important to pay attention to the environment as we were walking.
These things were in the book that Rose made me read.
After walking cautiously for a few hours, the exit was still nowhere to be seen. Just then, above Inukami-senpai, ‘something’ flew out from the tree.
Following with it my eyes, I could see that it was a group of monsters similar to monkeys with a green poisonous color. Those are…
“You’ve met them before?”
“No… I learned about them in a book before but this is my first time seeing one.”
[Venom Monkey] like its name suggests was a monster with deadly poison.
According to the book, it used to be a gentle species. To prevent their group from starving, they chose to consume poisonous fruits. It was also stated that the poison kept accumulating and a powerful paralysis was contained within their bodies.
Their fur had also grown to be green, a natural deterrence for predators. In addition, there was paralytic poison within their claws and fangs.
The real thing was now in front of me, climbing from tree to tree.
At this timing, one of the Venom Monkeys descended and separated from its group and appeared before us.
It seemed to be a child and showed no fear towards humans. The small monkey approached and gave us a curious look.
….Yeah, I should probably give a warning in advance.
“Inukami-senpai, this monkey is poisonous, please don’t touch it.”
“Come here, don’t be scared.”
This Senpai is hopeless.
I couldn’t help but speak without honorifics there.
Leaving that aside, my head hurt when I saw Inukami-senpai presenting her hand to the small monkey. To stop this eccentric girl, I seized Senpai’s arm.
“It’s dangerous! You’ll get poisoned!”
“…..Even if I get tricked, it’ll be because this child is just too cute! I’ll be corrupted by its cuteness!”1
“Please don’t say such incomprehensible things…”
It’s useless even when I try to explain it.
Aah, Senpai is still technically a girl so I can’t use force to hold her back.
The money curiously tilted its head towards Inukami-senpai’s extended hand. Senpai seemed to be delighted since she seemed to have succeeded from the monkey’s actions but———
Kapu. The small monkey bit on Senpai’s index finger.
Senpai was still smiling and my expectations weren’t betrayed so I wasn’t too surprised.
I said in my mind… See, I told you so.
Senpai, finally realizing what happened; her smile was stiff and said this while the monkey was still biting her,
“See, there’s nothing to be afraid of.”
The monkey ran away.
I mean, going back to its group was definitely the correct choice in this situation.
In front of me, all I could see was Senpai’s back full of sorrow. Without saying anything, I placed my hand on her shoulder and poured my magic in, treating her poisonous bite.
“Inukami-senpai, I guess there’s no helping it that you’re feeling down but… there’s still better monsters out here for Senpai.”
After curing Senpai, we should have started quickly heading for the exit but… For some time now, she hasn’t raised her head at all and was still feeling devastated due to what happened earlier.
To be honest, this was bothersome. Which was why I was just looking the other way.
Both of us weren’t talking and as time passed in silence, Inukami-senpai walked in front of me and started speaking,
“Aren’t you going to comfort me?”
End of conversation.
I felt that she was a bit pitiable but our situation seemed to be getting complicated so I ended this conversation for now.
Gradually, the trees around us started decreasing. At this rate, I think we should be close to the exit.
“Senpai, we’re almost out.”
“Kuh…. Only talking to me when it’s about this. You need a better understanding for timings, Usato-kun.”
What are you even talking about? Ignoring Inukami-senpai who was being noisy, I looked in front.
I caught sight of what seemed to be a blue clump.
“What’s wrong, Usato-kun? Stopping so suddenly… Is there something in front…?”
“You’re kidding right… Even though we’re all the way over here…”
Blue Grizzly…. What’s more, it seemed to be the dangerous type.
It was very big and was sharpening its claws on a tree.
“We’re going to take a detour around it. Even if I’m wrong, please don’t start hugging it or licking it okay?”
“Aren’t you misunderstanding me as a pervert or something?”
“Why aren’t you saying anything!?”
We started moving backwards while carefully paying attention to the Blue Grizzly. Luckily, it was too busy sharpening its claws and hasn’t noticed us. Alright, just like this, we’ll be able to take a wide detour around it———
“Usato-kun, behind us too….”
“There’s two of them..!?”
We paid so much our attention to the front that we didn’t notice what was approaching us from behind. Dammit, it’s at times like these where I wish Kururu was here….
The one in front of us stopped sharpening its claws and noticed us as well. It started coming towards us.
We were blocked from the front and rear.
These guy’s legs are fast and their noses are good too. No matter where we go, they’ll catch up to us. We could also go into a river but that would mean going back into the forest.
What should I do? Should I carry Senpai in my arms and run?
Or should I be the bait? No, they might target Inukami-senpai instead.
How about using Senpai’s firepower to mow them down? Can’t do that either, the whole forest would become a sea of flames.
If that’s so, should I try fighting them and see what happens?
Rose said that I would win in a fight against a Grand Grizzly, whether that’s a lie or not, I don’t know but… The only way to know is to try. If it’s no good, we’ll run.
“Senpai, do you think you can win against one of them?”
“….I can probably win.”
“Then, I’ll hold one down. I’ll leave the other one to you. Let’s each take one down.”
“I understand. ….Be careful.”
Senpai went for the one behind us while I went for the one in front.
The one in front raised its voice in a groan and stood up.
Excluding the Fall Boars, I haven’t fought since that snake. I didn’t have my knife or spear this time. However, strangely, I wasn’t afraid. Was it because I wasn’t alone this time?
The Blue Grizzly gradually got closer to me and raised both its claws up to intimidate me. It was a weird feeling; it was similar to when Rose first tossed me into this forest.
Letting out a deep breath, I put on a thin veil of healing magic. Lowering my waist, I put power in them as I used all my strength to give a powerful tackle towards the Blue Grizzly.
The tackle was aimed towards the Blue Grizzly’s body portion and it took a direct hit.
Brandishing its claws, it flailed its arms but because I was too close to it, the attack couldn’t connect.
While the Blue Grizzly was trying to aim with its arms, I kept advancing and pushing its large body.
“Gu….. Gu gu….”
As expected, compared to Bluerin, an adult Blue Grizzly’s strength wasn’t to be underestimated. The obvious difference was in their body weight.
However, I ran every day to train these legs of mine!
Clenching my teeth, I drove my strength to its very limit. One step at a time, I was pushing the Blue Grizzly back.
I ran all the time, whether it was day or night. Abandoning everything… just leaving it all to my strength…!
Gradually I could feel the Blue Grizzly putting more strength into its arms—— I faced against this head on. Because of that, I could feel my own arms’ bones starting to break and creak. I forcibly used healing magic as the pain kept assaulting me.
Elevating the Blue Grizzly’s body, I broke into a run.
My entire body was in pain but I kept running. My body didn’t break even while bearing the weight of this Blue Grizzly. I absolutely couldn’t let it move from here.
I had to keep this guy down for Senpai, that’s why——
Using brute force, I rammed the Blue Grizzly into a tree.
Along with a severe crashing sound, I was sent back from the repelling force and fell backwards.
“Haa——— I thought I was going to die. But it’s just like Rose said…”
Lying down on the ground like the 大 character, I looked towards the Blue Grizzly.
There was an unconscious Blue Grizzly and a tree that snapped in two. Seeing that the Blue Grizzly wasn’t dead, I was relieved and got up from the ground.
For now I should try to recover a bit with healing magic. Once I’ve healed up a bit, I should head towards Inukami-senpai.
With those thoughts, I was about to stand up but from Inukami-senpai’s direction, all I could see were flashes of lightning which illuminated the surroundings.
“…..I guess my worry is unnecessary.”
I sat back down.
After a short while, Inukami-senpai seemed to be coming towards me. I should have probably gone over but my body felt wobbly from lifting the Blue Grizzly in an odd position. My injuries should be healed after a bit but there was still some mental fatigue.
Sure enough, Inukami-senpai came. Her clothes seem to have some dirt on them now but other than that I couldn’t see any wounds on her. Seeing that she was alright, I waved my hand to her. After looking shocked at the fallen tree and collapsed Blue Grizzly, she ran up to me and sat down with me.
“Are you alright!?”
“I’m fine…. How about Inukami-senpai? …..Did you kill it?”
“I didn’t, I just simply knocked it out.”
As expected, I didn’t really want to harm a monster that was similar to Bluerin. It seemed like Inukami-senpai was thinking the same thing as well.
Well then, before this Blue Grizzly wakes up, we should hurry up and leave—————
“These voices are…”
“Those guard’s voices…”
Maybe they were wandering around the entrance waiting for us or they were looking for us all night… I don’t know which but Inukami-senpai’s lightning earlier probably caught their attention.
While leaning on Inukami-senpai’s shoulder, we headed towards the direction of the voices. Somehow these two days felt very long, maybe even longer than my previous time here.
“….It was tiring.”
“I enjoyed it…. Usato-kun was here with me.”
Are you serious?
Normally I would misunderstand these words but it’s Senpai after all, therefore, I paid no mind to them.
““We found them!! You guys really worried us~!””
I glanced from the side and saw Senpai’s flower-like smile. We waved our hands to the worn-out guards and Bluerin while heading towards them.
Kurokata: I made the battle descriptions somewhat short.