‘I’m scared of fighting’ those words came weakly from the timid Kazuki.
Generally, that would be the normal reaction. Also, we were still only in high school. Excluding Inukami-senpai, Kazuki’s reaction was the expected response.
It wasn’t like he was a hero from a story or an arrogant protagonist; he was just a normal young man.
“During the time when I fought outside of the Kingdom… Fighting with monsters, I was really scared. I nearly froze in place when I first encountered them.”
“But when they attacked, I desperately… desperately resisted…… When I defeated them… I once again realized just how optimistic I was viewing this world.”
“Calm down, Kazuki.”
Kazuki was different from Inukami-senpai and he was highly sensitive.
In Inukami-senpai’s case, she truly accepted this world while Kazuki only accepted this world to a necessary degree and didn’t think much about it. I could imagine that he was having a mental breakdown.
In reality, Kazuki was getting worked up on his emotions as his light magic was leaking out from both of his hands and illuminated the surroundings. Noticing my words, he suppressed the light magic but his expression was still dark.
“Even the Maou’s army, they’ve come to attack us and will try to kill me… That makes me tremendously afraid. But even though I was being a coward, the people in this kingdom were kind and cheered me on. They had expectations… Right now, that’s putting more pressure on me than anything else.”
It was a burden shared by past heroes. Just by being a hero, other people’s gazes would revere you. I was sure that a great burden was being placed on Kazuki because of that. This wasn’t something people would normally experience.
That was why I could only say one thing to him.
“Kazuki, it’s fine even if you don’t fight.”
This conversation with Kazuki… how much it would decrease our war potential… that was irrelevant. There was no need to involve ourselves in this war since we got dragged into it. No matter how heartless that seemed, Kazuki had that right.
“I mean… No one wants to die. I really do understand.”
“W-wait a moment! If I don’t fight, what are you going to do, Usato!?”
“I’ll be going. It’s hard for me to die after all.”
Also, I unexpectedly had other reasons too.
Inside the Rescue Squad, for people like Olga-san or Uluru-san… Also for Rose’s sake.
“That’s not the problem right!?!? Usato, aren’t you also scared of dying!?!?”
“I’ll be fine!”
Without thinking, I replied like that.
“I don’t mean it like that, what do you want to do!? You’re scared of fighting, right!? If that’s so, it’s okay to run away!! I… and probably Inukami-senpai, the King, Sergio-san, Welsey-san, Sigris-san, Seria-sama won’t blame you!!”
Crap, did I overdo it a little?
Kazuki hung his head low while covering his eyes with both of his hands.
I’m such a pathetic person.
I avoided everything around me… In the end, I couldn’t even face myself. I had no idea what to say to the other party so that everyone would be happy. It was always like this. It was the vice president that everyone wanted after all. It was everyone who wanted to fight that Maou’s army. Always, always, always, always, always, I would always try to match with my surroundings. Since everyone wanted it, they would be delighted. I say ‘everyone’ but majority are always girls.
That was why being told by Usato to ‘it’s fine to not fight’…… If he were to say instead, ‘Don’t go out and fight’, I would surely decide to not fight.
But he knew something about me and said those words instead.
“….I’m scared of fighting… But you know—”
At first, I was furious.
They called us out of their own convenience, telling the heroes to fight with the Maou’s army and everything… But you know, everyone in this country were really good people.
The King, Seria…. Everyone, everyone… warm and gentle people who didn’t have anything hidden under them. That was why there was no way I could let danger approach these people.
That was why… Even if it was for such a small reason… I—
“I guess I don’t want to die.”
After a brief period of silence while Kazuki was thinking, I heard the words ‘I guess I don’t want to die’ from him. Did he find his resolve…?
“….Yeah, I’m afraid. But… I’ll try it…”
….He found his determination.
I didn’t know what kind of answer he found within himself but I wouldn’t say anything since it was something that Kazuki convinced himself with. ….Or rather, I didn’t have the qualifications to do so.
“We’re friends, don’t mind it.”
I wanted to find a hole and hide in it! This wasn’t my character at all! I was supposed to be more of a dry character but—! Ah I should stop it, I can’t change what’s done even if I wanted to.
“Erm, I should probably return to the castle now. Sorry for waking you up at night. Afterwards, I’ll think about it and reach answers on my own.”
“Then, good night.”
With the moonlight illuminating the path, Kazuki jogged away. His back somehow seemed stronger than before.
I saw him off till I couldn’t see his back anymore. I started walking back to the lodgings while giving a big yawn. Tomorrow I would have training to prepare for the Maou’s army. It wouldn’t do if I didn’t go back to my bed soon.
“Fuah~ …..I’m tired, I’ll go back and sleep.”
“Wellll~ was that what people refer to as men’s friendship? I sure got to see something nice.”
I heard a voice from behind.
But as I knew who was speaking, I didn’t turn around. For the time being, I should say something back.
“I am truly sorry, I’m sleepy so I have no time to bother with you… So if it’s possible, leave it for tomorrow… Inukami-senpai….”
I didn’t notice her at all but I wasn’t that surprised since it wasn’t that weird for her to be here.
“….Huh? Your reaction is a little odd? In this kind of situation it should be ‘W-why is Suzune-senpai here right now!?’ or ‘Uwaaaah!! Suzu-tan is hereeeee!!!!’ shouldn’t you be raising your voice like that!?”
“Please don’t change how I address Senpai… Well anyhow, I bet since it’s Senpai, you noticed that Kazuki was acting odd…”
‘Suzune-senpai’ and ‘Suzu-tan’ I had never called her like that even once.
From what it looked like, Inukami-senpai noticed Kazuki’s unusual state as she was the president of the student council. Most likely, she chased after Kazuki when she saw that he left in the middle of the night.
Good grief, she should have come out in the beginning if she was here…. Well, she was reading the situation in a sense.
“Hey, why is it that Usato-kun is somewhat dry towards me? Did I do something to offend you? If you can, I want you to tell me so I can fix it right away.”
“Why are you that frantic about it… Or rather, Senpai should return back to the castle…”
“….I’m almost about to cry.”
Something like Senpai crying.
No, if she really cried, I would probably be kneeling down on the ground (Dogeza) but since she said ‘I’m almost about to cry’ herself, it should still be fine.
I thought I would be walking back but thanks to the appearance of Inukami-senpai, I was once again stopped.
Next to me was Inukami-senpai who was looking at the moon while emotionally muttering,
“It seems Kazuki-kun has gotten over it now. In a certain sense, he was always lacking something from being isolated by the same sex…”
“….I…. really did want Kazuki to run away…”
The words I spoke to Kazuki were my true thoughts.
If you didn’t want to fight, wasn’t it fine to just not fight? Was it absolutely necessary to go to a place full of death and dangers? Somehow that was sad.
While I thought so, I looked towards the direction where Kazuki took off.
I didn’t know what she was thinking but Inukami-senpai placed her hand on my shoulder.
“…Usato-kun… do you not want me to fight?”
“That’s for sure. But Senpai doesn’t think ‘I don’t want to fight’ at all so…”
“……….Then, if I told you I didn’t want to fight, would you comfort me!?”
“What are you saying? You.”
“Fufufu, you’ve finally dropped the honorifics.”
I really don’t know this person anymore.
As expected, Kazuki and Inukami-senpai were fundamentally different.
“I wouldn’t comfort you, Inukami-senpai is Inukami-senpai, isn’t that right? Would you be alright with a junior comforting you, Senpai?”
“Muu, being a senpai is irrelevant right…?”
“Kazuki is a classmate friend. That’s more than sufficient for me.”
Turning my back to Inukami-senpai, I started walking back towards the house.
Looking back, I could see Senpai had her eyes casted down.
….Maybe I exaggerated it a little too much?
I should follow-up. I felt somewhat bad.
“Usato-kun, the bar for capturing and clearing you is a little too high. You should show more of your ‘dere’ side. ….Nn? Were you about to say something just now?”
“I-I see. I should..… return back to the castle soon….… good night.”
“Good night, Senpai.”
The words I was about to say were stopped by Inukami-senpai’s and I could only remain silent. After bidding farewell to her, I quickly returned back to the lodgings.
…..What was Inukami-senpai trying to do with me? I felt that it was relatively serious.