“What’s the matter?”
I was sitting by the campfire and absentmindedly chatting with Ark-san when he suddenly looked in the direction behind me. Having my doubts, I turned around to look. Ark-san seemed to have his attention focused on the carriage.
“It seems like there’s one more person who couldn’t fall asleep as well.”
The door was opened even though I closed it when I had gotten out of the carriage. I saw a figure of a girl through that opening. When our eyes met, she got out and started walking towards me.
“You can’t sleep?”
“You can’t sleep either, Usato?”
After saying so, Amako sat down and stared at the flames just like I was a moment ago.
However, why was she up so late? Leaving me aside, Amako should have been sound asleep beside Senpai.
“…Inukami kept on hugging me so I woke up.”
“Hahaha, that’s… Looks like Amako-dono met with a lot of trouble.”
“Really, that Senpai is..”
Seeing that we were reprimanding Senpai, Amako’s sour expression turned to a smiling one.
…Afterwards, I’ll talk with Senpai before letting Amako sleep again.
“What were the two of you talking about?”
“Just talking about what would happen tomorrow.”
It would be awkward to just say we were discussing the discrimination against non-humans in Luquis. Since that was the case, I just gave a rough explanation while omitting that part.
“Usato, do you remember the things I mentioned to you before during my stay at Luquis?”
“Hm? I remember. If I recall correctly… There was a beast kin who helped you out.”
“Is that so?”
Ark-san was somewhat surprised and turned to Amako for confirmation. Amako replied by nodding her head.
“I’m not sure whether they’re still here but.. Usato, could we visit them once you’re finished with your business?”
“I’m going too?”
I’m going as well huh… What should I do if they’re someone scary? No, I really don’t think anyone could match Rose but.. it didn’t change the fact that it was bad for my heart if I met someone so intimidating.
Luquis wasn’t a safe place for non-humans and yet they were living here. Maybe they also had some kind of special magic like Amako? At any rate, I won’t get anywhere without receiving permission first.
“Is it alright for us to go, Ark-san?”
“I think it should be fine? After delivering the letters, it’s not like they’ll make a decision immediately. We’ll be staying here for a bit and that should give you plenty of time to do what you want. It might even take longer than expected which may delay you from sending your own letters…”
“I don’t mind at all.”
“If that’s the case, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
Amako hugged her knees in delight, probably because she might see an old friend again soon. Seeing her appearance, it got me to remember that she had been separated from her own kind for a long time. It was probably hell for her until she met Salra-san.
When I was around Amako’s age before, I was just a whining brat that cried because I couldn’t go on a trip.
I couldn’t help but give a bitter smile when I compared my childhood to Amako’s.
“I’m starting to feel a little sleepy…”
After my exchange with Ark-san, I started to feel tired. I initially thought I would go for an all-nighter but now I really did feel sleepy. Thinking of going to bed, I got up but Ark-san called out to me as he remained seated.
“Usato-dono, look next to you.”
“Next to me?”
I was so absorbed in my own thoughts that I didn’t notice it until now but Amako was dozing off next to me and my knee was supporting her head. Before I realized it, her hands were also grabbing onto my sleeves.. Ark-san noticed this and probably pointed it out as he didn’t want to wake her up.
“As expected, she’s the most reassured by your side.”
“Is that so…? Well, I guess I can just sleep here. How about you, Ark-san?”
“I’ll be changing shifts to stand watch soon so… Are you going to fall asleep while sitting like that?”
“It’s okay, I’m used to it.”
During my time in the forest, I had to sleep like this while on a tree in case any monsters attacked. In comparison to that, this was nothing much. For the time being, I sat beside Amako and hung my uniform on my shoulders that I had folded up.
“Then, I’ll be counting on you tomorrow.”
“I should be the one saying so.”
After exchanging words with Ark-san, I closed my eyes while thinking that it had been a while since I slept with someone beside me. Perhaps it was because I wasn’t aware of how tired I was but I surprisingly felt my consciousness gradually fading without much resistance…
Someone was calling out my name.
I wonder who was calling me? While still half asleep, I opened my eyes. Before I knew it, I was lying down. I was certain that I slept sitting upright beside the campfire and next to Amako yesterday. In addition, I felt something soft like a pillow wrapping around my head.
While my head still wasn’t fully awake, I saw a figure of a person. Actually, even though my head wasn’t fully functioning.. I immediately recognized who it was.
“Haah… What the… Inukami-senpai huh.”
“W-wait a minute! I’m letting your head rest on my lap, you could at least give me a better reaction than this!”
Seeing through the obvious ulterior motive of Senpai, I got off her lap and looked around. It was quite bright already, it looks like I overslept. It seemed that everyone else that was inside the carriage, except for Amako who fell asleep at the same time as me, had already gotten up. Seeing as I was already up, I went to greet them.
“Did you carry me, Kazuki?”
“Nn? Yeah, but you don’t really need to thank me. It was a little heavy but it wasn’t too much trouble.”
Even though I ended up oversleeping, it really felt different to be able to just fall asleep surrounded by people you could trust. There was an unspoken rule in the Rescue Squad where you couldn’t oversleep so it’s been a while since I’ve been in an environment this carefree and lax.
“Leaving that aside Usato, please do something about Senpai.”
While giving a strained laugh, Kazuki turned his head towards Senpai. Sure enough, Senpai was sulking because of me and was patting the sleeping Amako on the head who was on the opposite side of the carriage.
“Really, so rude. A beautiful girl giving you a lap pillow and yet not being aroused at all.”
“I mean, it was obvious to see your intentions. Also calling yourself a beautiful girl feels somewhat deplorable…”
Honestly speaking, she really was the beautiful girl type. In addition, if I was bluntly asked if I was happy about the lap pillow.. I would answer ‘I was happy!’ in a loud voice. But I wasn’t a fish that would bite onto the fish hook in front of me with such obvious bait.
“Anyways, I heard from Amako. Senpai was hugging her so she couldn’t fall asleep..”
“Eh. B-but that’s because she’s so cute so I can’t help it!”
“Don’t try and make excuses… Well, don’t sulk so much. It’s not like I wasn’t happy, you know? Probably.”
It seemed that my words cheered her up since she cleared her throat with an ‘ahem’ and moved her hand away from Amako.
“Good grief. You’re not honest at all, Usato-kun.”
“Usato is unexpectedly shy and likes to change his wording after all.”
“You two are just too honest. I say people like me are normal.”
“There’s no way that’s possible.” They reply.
Grrr… Are these two trying to say my common sense was abnormal?
“Usato-sama being normal… I can’t help but think that this feels a little off.”
Welsey-san who had been scanning over the letter lifted her head and uttered so while giving a wry smile. If Amako was awake right now, she would definitely take this opportunity to side with everyone and say how abnormal I was. This time it was my turn to act sulky so I sat down and started to perform the magic training that Rose had previously mentioned.
“As expected, I’m not normal huh.”
“You know, doing this isn’t all that difficult.”
Welsey-san said so with her usual expression. She’s been saying this to me on every occasion ever since we started this journey. From what I heard, it takes several months of memorization before one usually learns a new magic spell. However, this wasn’t considered to be that difficult. As long as someone knew the procedure, anyone could easily do it. Welsey-san continued speaking…
“That’s why I’ve been telling you.. even if it’s easy to do, it’s still dangerous. If you mess up, the magic power you unleashed will blow up and inflict damage on yourself. Really, thinking it’s okay to do this just because you’re a healing magician… This is something you should only try once you’ve gotten better at controlling your magic power—“
From there I kept on getting lectured as usual by Welsey-san and I stiffly smiled as I operated my magic power.
To get from my dim green light color to something that resembled Olga-san’s dark green light, I repeated this process over many times. But without seeing anything in front of me, it was difficult to tell if I was making progress. However according to Welsey-san, I was making a considerable amount of progress.
“I wonder if I could do that too…”
“Senpai is a little irresponsible so it would be better to stop while you’re still only thinking about doing it…”
“There’s no problem if you’re here right, Usato-kun?”
No no. Even though I seemed to be doing everything naturally, I was really having a lot of trouble. If Senpai were to attempt this and easily succeed, I don’t think I could regain my confidence. Also, I was genuinely concerned that Senpai would cross a dangerous bridge and I didn’t want that. I didn’t have that much reaction since I was used to it by now but when my magic discharged, it hurt quite a bit.
Senpai was more or less still a female high school student. I was doubtful if Senpai would be able to endure it.
“You can’t do that! Suzune-sama!!”
“Isn’t it fine, Welsey-san? You think so too right, Kazuki?”
“Yeah… It’s not that I’m not curious but Welsey-san has been telling you to stop, Usato. It might be better to not try.”
Still, Kazuki really trusts me to this extent… Not that it’s a bad thing. It would have been nice to get along with each other sooner back in our former world. Thinking back to the days where I thought of you as a normie (Riajuu) who should go and explode, I really do feel sorry.
“Mmmmm, fine. I don’t want to trouble Usato-kun too much after all.”
You were already troubling me quite a bit, not that I would say it out loud. Seeing as Senpai had finally settled down, I lightly sighed.
…That reminds me, how long was I asleep? I heard we would reach Luquis today but…
“Oh yeah, how much longer?”
“You mean until we reach Luquis? Yeah, looking at our current location… Once we go over that hill in the distance, we should arrive.”
If that was the case, I estimate it’ll be around one hour or so? I don’t know if this world had something like a clock to tell the time though.
A place with students, its relation with non-humans, and someone who was part of the beast kin that helped out Amako… Although these all made me curious, what really piqued my interest was without a doubt—
“Luquis’ healing magician.”