LEVEL 4: Chapters of the Chosen and Choosers
(Part 1 of 2, translated by NanoDesu.)
The next morning (or maybe it’s better to say the morning of the same day), Haruhiro and the others waited at the North Gate until the clock bell chimed at ten o’clock, but Mary was nowhere to be found.
The next day, they waited for two hours, but Mary never came. Ranta loudly proposed that they should launch an attack on Mary’s inn, but Haruhiro and Shihoru strongly opposed the idea. Yume was still a bit funya-funya, but she had gotten better.
And then, the third day came.
Haruhiro and the others arrived at North Gate before the eight o’clock bell rang.
“Oh…” Ranta let out a breath.
Shihoru sucked in a breath.
“Unyaa,” went Yume.
Haruhiro let just a glimmer of a smile show on his face before covering his mouth with a hand. He still felt a dull pain in his chest every time he smiled.
One girl wearing priest clothes was standing in front of the North Gate, leaning on a short staff. She was looking down at the ground, almost as if she was busy counting her toes. She wasn’t a very small girl, but at that moment she seemed quite small for some reason.
When Haruhiro called out to her, Mary lifted her head and looked in his direction. And then she looked right back down. Or maybe she was trying to give him a nod of acknowledgment.
But either way, it was fine.
Indeed, it didn’t matter. Mary had come. Nobody was forcing her. And Haruhiro hadn’t resorted to begging either. Mary had come here of her own free will.
Haruhiro and the others walked over until they were next to Mary. Shihoru was the first to walk up to Mary, and she just silently gripped Mary’s hand in her own. Mary didn’t show any signs of resistance.
Yume suddenly threw her arms around Mary.
And Mary was completely caught off guard by that. Well, Haruhiro was surprised too, so he couldn’t blame her.
“Sorry, Mary.” Yume hugged Mary as tight as she could, rubbing her own cheeks all over Mary’s cheeks and neck like a fawning kitten. “Really really, I’m sorry.”
“Eh? S-Sorry about what…?”
“Sorry for leavin’ you alone. Yume always had Shihoru right there next to her, but Mary was always by herself. And at a time like this. Sorry. Yume won’t leave you alone anymore, so please forgive her. Yume’ll always be with you from now on.”
Mary’s eyes darted around desperately. Initially, Haruhiro thought that she must’ve just been flustered, but it seemed that initial impression was wrong. Mary’s face was completely red. All the way to the tips of her ears. And she was gritting her teeth. Like she was holding something in. Holding something in with all her might.
Could it be that she was holding back tears…?
“S’ okay now. Go ahead, say whatever you want. But Yume’s made up her mind. Yume won’t leave Mary alone anymore. So Yume is going to start staying at the same place Mary is at. That’s been decided. Shihoru is coming too.”
Haruhiro glanced at Shihoru. “… Is that so?”
“I… guess…?” Shihoru gave me a complicated look that was awkwardly somewhere in between a strained smile and an expression of bewilderment. “I guess… last night… we talked about something like that? It’s all a bit hazy though…”
“Oh?” Ranta scratched his nose with his thumb. “Well I guess there’s no point in arguing about it anymore. I’m gonna go rent a place over there too!”
“Not happening.” Mary did a 180 and sent Ranta a cold glare. “The inn I stay at is supposed to be for females only.”
“W-What?! B-But, can’t we… also, you said ‘supposed to,’ right?! That means they can make exceptions, right?! I’m a super special person anyways so of course I can be the exception, right?!”
“The only exception they make is for small children. So if you lived there with your parents, it would be fine.”
“Awesome! Okay, Mary, from today on I’m gonna be your son! I guess it might be hard to pass for your real son, so I can be adopted! Got it?! Now there’s no problem anymore, right?!”
“Pretty sure the problems just multiplied…”
“Shut up, Parupiro! Nobody’s asking the likes of you for any input here! Okay, Mary, from today on you’re my mama! Looking forward to it, mama!”
Mary continued to stroke Yume’s back as she let out a sigh. “Maybe I should just go back…”
“No no no!” Yume hugged Mary even tighter. “Don’t go back, Mary! You don’t have to listen to anything stupid Ranta has to say! Don’t listen to anything that twitty twit dimwit has to say!”
“Who the hell are you calling a twit, you flat-chested loser?!”
“Don’t call Yume flat!”
“But that’s what you are, so what do you want me to do?!”
“Yume’s breasts are waaaaaaay bigger than Ranta’s! Forever and ever!”
“I’m a guy, dammit! And it’s not like this was ever a breast size contest in the first place!”
“Okay, what size do you want to compare then?!”
“Hahh?! Well, I mean…” Ranta glanced down at his crotch before looking at Haruhiro. “…… Right?”
“Hey, don’t look at me…”
“Funyuu~?” Yume cocked her head to the side.
“… Excuse me…” Mary began to squirm around in Yume’s tight embrace. “I will not go back. So can you please let me go…?”
“Nyah?! Does it hurt! Sorry sorry… sometimes Yume doesn’t remember her own strength. Yume’s arms are coming along quite nicely, you see, and Yume was talking to Shihoru about how she might get a six pack soon too. And then Shihoru said, you see, she said maybe when Yume’s chest muscles come in, her breasts’ll get bigger too!”
“… Y-Yume. Just stop it with all that…”
“It’s not something we should be talking about in front of the guys…”
“Hah.” Ranta chuckled. “See, Yume? You don’t have a shred of class!”
“Well, you’re crass, too, Ranta!”
“What’s that got to do with it? Besides, I said class, not crass!”
Ugh, it seems things were getting a bit lively now. Haruhiro scratched himself a bit on the neck. But to be honest, because of Ranta and Yume’s antics, the mood had lightened considerably.
(Part 2 of 2, translated by Lono.)
First Haruhiro had a businesslike talk with Mary, and after that they decided to go to the Crimson Moon headquarters for the sake of dealing with the procedures. With that finished, they went to Yorozu’s Bank to trade the bounty bank note into actual cash; a whole 60 gold, which, needless to say, they would divide evenly. They also thought it would be a good idea to deposit The Chopper while they were there.
“—Then, about what we are going to do now.” Haruhiro tried to speak as light-heartedly as possible. They were already facing a harsh reality, and everyone was feeling devastated; there was no need to make things even gloomier.
“I have been doing some thinking on my own. How about we try going to Damroww for now?”
Yume gave a rough “Uooh,” breath and then continued “Been so long.”
“Heh,” Ranta crossed his arms and frowned “As I am now they wouldn’t be very worthy opponents.”
“… You mean, because you can’t handle them…”
“Hm? Did you say something, Shihoru?”
“It was nothing… don’t worry… there’s no cure for idiocy…”
“Hey! I totally heard that one, you know?!”
“Damroww…” Mary casted her eyes down.
“We are originally goblin slayers after all.”
Haruhiro tried to say that in a joking way, but Mary’s expression didn’t brighten up. Guess it’s impossible so soon. It will take some time. Yeah, let’s go step by step. Hurrying won’t do any good.
“Lately we have visited the Siren Mines and got used to fighting kobolds, but in the end we still need to go down until at least the third strata. I think it’s dangerous after all. We’re too complacent there now, and we know almost every nook and corner of Damroww’s Old Town. If we choose the location carefully and don’t push ourselves, I don’t think it will be too dangerous.”
“Always having that negative way of thinking eh, Haruhiro.” Ranta shrugged. “Isn’t it fine? I don’t think it’s a bad idea for now.”
“…For Ranta not to complain…”
“The hell you think I am, Shihoru? I have always been a fair and just man, you know? Good things are good! Bad things are bad! I say what I want to say! I do what I want to do! In other words, I am the man among men!”
“Haruhiro! No, Parupiro! Don’t you try to sweep that under the rug!”
“I would much rather sweep you under the rug.”
“Bring it on! Just try and sweep me! Just try and think of sweeping me! If you think you can sweep this great Ranta here then go right ahead, you shit!”
“No thanks. Sounds like a chore.”
Ranta stiffened up his entire body and started hopping up and down. Maybe he was trying to get a laugh with those weird movements, but there wasn’t even a single chuckle. However, Ranta didn’t give up and repeated it over and over.
“Boing! Boing! Boinnnggg!”
He kept doing it without getting any laughs. In fact, everyone was getting more and more bored. It was impressive how his spirit wouldn’t break. Ranta then started making weird faces while doing the Boing jump.
“Haah…” Yume sighed, shaking her head in extreme exasperation.
Mary was somehow giving Ranta a sad look.
Shihoru’s body shivered to her very bones. “…Disgusting.”
“Boing! Boing! Boing-boing-boing!”
Ranta seemed happy. To get happy from making people disgusted with you… is he a masochist? Either way, Shihoru is really playing along with Ranta today. She is probably thinking about a lot in her own way.
Haruhiro ignored Ranta and looked at the girls.
“Any other comments?”
“Yume thinks that’s okaaay.”
“…I also think it’s a good idea.”
“Me too.” Mary put her hand over her chest and let out a small sigh. “—I think that’s for the best.”
It won’t be like last time. For sure. Haruhiro and the others had already lost something they shouldn’t have. There’s nobody who will ever be able to replace Mogzo. Nowhere in this world. Someone like that simply doesn’t exist.
A big hole had been drilled inside and between them. A hole so big that they would probably never be able to fill it.
Then… just… just what are they supposed to do?
Right now Haruhiro didn’t know. But not knowing didn’t mean it was fine to just stay like that. If he didn’t know the answer, he had to look for it, search for it, and then find it.
Haruhiro gave an affirmative nod.