Hiiro: 「……Oi, what’s the meaning of this?」
Currently, Hiiro had just returned to the inn where he was staying at . Eveam had told him that because the 『Gabranth』 had unanimously retreated back to their country, they would be capable of somehow dealing with the rest by themselves . As Eveam had asked Hiiro to wait because she would contact him upon the completion of the process, Hiiro had returned . Yet……
For some reason, in his very own room, there were two strangers that Hiiro had neither conversed with nor looked directly at before . One of them was currently occupying the bed he slept in . The other was currently treating the wounds sustained by their body with healing magic .
Even though he could not see them well, Hiiro knew them . The two strangers were two of the four heroes . Although he couldn’t remember their names, Hiiro was not mistaken . Why were these two here? Also, what happened to the other two? He began to make an inquiry towards the one that had created this situation .
Hiiro: 「Give me an explanation, Baka-Deshi(1) . 」
He grabbed Nikki by the neck in a manner similar to lifting up a cat .
Nikki: 「Uu~(2) Please forgive me desu zoo~(3) . I forgot to mention it desu zoo~」
The one who was floating in midair dejectedly was Nikki . As she saw that, Mikazuki merrily laughed . 「Ba~ka Ba~ka, you got scolded~」(4) . Although Hiiro heard Mikazuki say this almost as if cursing Nikki, he simply ignored it for now .
From what Nikki said, at the time when Hiiro returned from the conference location, Nikki felt that they had something important that they had to communicate to Hiiro . Yet, due to an exchange with Mikazuki, Nikki appeared to have completely forgotten about it .
As he received Nikki’s explanation as to how this situation had come about, Hiiro involuntarily began to hold his temples .
Hiiro: 「I see . That would mean that as they were caught up by the tornado user’s attack, the other two were sent flying, huh?」
Shinobu: 「A-ano(5), Okamura-cchi?」
Hiiro: 「Shut up for a bit . 」
Shinobu: 「Ah……un(6) . 」
As Hiiro flatly cut off Akamori Shinobu who was trying to enter the conversation between him and Nikki, Shinobu, who had seen and understood that Hiiro was in a foul mood, remained silent .
Hiiro: 「What happened to Aka-Loli?(7)」
Nikki: 「Ah, about that . As she said she was going to go and pick up the Hentai(8) group, she went away somewhere desu zo!」
Hiiro: 「……haa, this is really a pain . 」
Although it seemed like she was going to pick up her companions that haven’t come back yet, it was no different than just running away because she didn’t want to deal with babysitting Nikki and Mikazuki .
As he scratched his head while expressing grief, Hiiro sent his gaze towards the one sleeping in his bed, Minamoto Shuri . Following this, he spat out a light sigh before directing his face towards Shinobu . She returned his gaze with uneasy eyes .
Hiiro: 「As it can’t be helped now I’ll lend you the bed . Just get out once it becomes night, alright?」
As he coldly shot out those words, Hiiro turned on his heels and tried to leave the room, yet, Shinobu hastily raised her voice .
Shinobu: 「Ah, w-wait a sec!」
Shinobu: 「Eh……ah, you know……you really are Okamura-cchi(9)……right?」
Hiiro: 「What of it?」
As Hiiro was currently taking the form of an 『Imp』, her confusion was not unreasonable . However, from what Shinobu could tell, his voice, physique, and even his attitude clearly belonged to Okamura Hiiro himself .
Shinobu: 「I’m so sorry-!」
Hiiro expressionlessly stared at Shinobu who had suddenly lowered her head with great momentum in apology .
Shinobu: 「I know that you have no obligation to listen to my request! But besides Okamura-cchi, I don’t have anyone else I can rely on!」
Shinobu: 「Since there’s so many 『Evilas』 around here, we can’t carelessly leave here……that’s why……」
Hiiro: 「Please shelter us for a while……is basically what you’re getting at, right?」
As Shinobu’s shoulders trembled, she gently raised her face .
Shinobu: 「……can’t you……do it?」
After staring at her eyes for a while, Hiiro let out a sigh .
Hiiro: 「Look here, you guys are the enemy that came to attack this place, you know? In addition, although it’s due to a request, I’m currently placed in a position where I have to protect this country . What kind of nerve do you have to be able to ask such a thing?」
Hiiro was truly amazed . It seemed that she did not understand her current position at all .
Hiiro: 「You guys are heroes, right? You are the saviors summoned by the 『Humas』 in order to destroy the 『Evila』 . Yet, you guys are asking ‘since we can’t fight anymore, can we please live here until our wounds heal?’ . You really have quite some nerve . 」
As she could not say anything in the face of Hiiro’s bitter words, Shinobu bit her lower lip .
Hiiro: 「In the first place, didn’t you guys think something was strange? For example, the reason why a group of carefree, game brains like you were sent to the battlefield」
Apparently, they were still unaware .
Hiiro: 「……haa, you guys are merely discarded pawns . 」
Shinobu: 「S-such a thing can’t be true!」
Hiiro: 「Nope, I confirmed it directly with the King . 」
Shinobu: 「Heh? You say directly but how……」
Although Hiiro was in this country, Shinobu did not know when he had confirmed it as she wore a blank look .
Hiiro: 「That stupid king, he didn’t deny it you know? I mean, when I told him that you guys were discarded pawns . 」
Shinobu: 「……i-it can’t be……」
Hiiro: 「Actually, how were you guys able to put your trust in such a king? A king that sacrifices his own daughters can’t possibly be a just king . 」
Impact ran through Hiiro’s words . It was as if Shinobu had been beaten over the head with a hammer .
Hiiro: 「In addition, there’s no magic that will send us back in this world . 」
Shinobu: 「……he? There isn’t?」
Hiiro: 「That’s right . 」
Shinobu: 「T-there’s no way! I mean, the King even said that the Demon Lord knows it!」
Hiiro: 「Did you really believe that? Stop and think about it . Why would the Demon Lord know of it? Suppose that they did know it, why would the 『Humas』 who know summoning magic not know it?」
Hiiro: 「Besides, have you guys read any of the literature and books of this world?」
Hiiro: 「Although it’s written that the summoned heroes certainly saved the 『Humas』, no matter which book you read, none of them say that the heroes returned to their original world . 」
As if she had received an incredible shock, Shinobu did not blink as she was rendered petrified . Following this, her face gradually grew pale .
Hiiro: 「You guys, ever since we came here over half a year ago, what exactly have you guys been doing?」
Hiiro: 「At any rate, you probably completed missions as instructed by the King, faced off against great opponents, and enjoyed every single day in the castle, am I wrong?」
As Shinobu recalled the past, due to the fact that it was exactly as Hiiro had indicated, Shinobu swallowed . Upon seeing such behaviour, Hiiro simply shook his head in disgust .
Hiiro: 「As I thought . As long as you walked on the rail laid out before you at the instructed pace, you thought that you would win the war? Aren’t you guys severely underestimating this world?」
Hiiro: 「Have you guys ever tried to leave on an adventure by yourself even if it was just once? Have you nearly been killed by a monster? Have you cut down a person with your very own hands? Have you killed?」
Hiiro: 「There’s absolutely no way that a dog tenderly raised in a comfortable environment would come out unscathed after being thrown out onto the battlefield of feral beasts and rabid dogs . 」
As Shinobu had been unable to stand any longer, her knees buckled .
Hiiro: 「The king was most likely aware, you know . The fact that you were a useless bunch that was incapable of killing people . That’s why he turned you into disposable pawns in this war . In the event that you guys were to die in this war, the King would use that as a reason to fuel the people’s anger and spark further war . Something along those lines . 」
Hiiro: 「The heroes fought with all their might . However, the 『Evila』 used cowardly methods to deceive and kill them . Can we allow such a thing? To dispel the regrets of those deceased heroes, everyone shall take their revenge for them……saying something like that, he would have handled your deaths as the detonator . 」
Shinobu: 「……that can’t be……if that’s the case, all that we’ve been doing up until now……」
As if she were expressing disbelief, Shinobu held both hands to her cheeks and made an expression filled with despair .
Hiiro: 「Well, although your misfortune was mainly caused due to the fact that no one around you had been aware of this, it’s normally something that one would notice, you know . That country’s dubiousness, I mean . That’s why I left . 」
Shinobu: 「N-No way! If that’s so, at that time, wouldn’t it have been fine if you had told us!」
Hiiro: 「Don’t be so fucking naive . 」
As she was assaulted by a gaze infused with killing intent, Shinobu was overwhelmed .
Hiiro: 「It’s something that anyone would understand if they thought about it a little . Anyway, you guys were in high spirits, right? This is a game-like world and we’re heroes . There’s nothing to be afraid of……or something to that effect . 」
Hiiro: 「That’s why you guys didn’t notice anything strange as you enthusiastically thought that things would somehow work out . Without properly looking at any of the uncertainties, you followed the words of a stranger as you lived your daily lives . This is the consequence you received due to living in such a dangerous world without a single care . 」
Hiiro: 「This world is not as accommodating as games . Although you may be heroes, this world is not so easy as to let you become saviours without doing anything . The current situation is the result that your naivety has invited . 」
Shinobu: 「T-that might be true, but……」
Rather than being unable to accept the situation, Hiiro saw that Shinobu did not want to accept it .
Hiiro: 「……when that foolish king spoke of return magic, I was certain that you two, unlike the other stupid duo, held slight doubt on your faces . However, it appears that I was simply mistaken . 」
As Hiiro continued to talk, he continued to recall the events that occurred when he was summoned .
Alt: Following this, during the time King Rudolf spoke of return magic- no, even up until the point where he spoke of others returning to their own world, he had arranged his sophistry infused words, his speech implying that those worlds did not exist . During this time, Hiiro remembered that, at the very least, Shinobu and Shuri’s themselves wore expressions that seemed to hold doubt towards those words .
As Hiiro saw Shinobu hang her head, wearing a downcast expression that indicated it was hard for her to speak, he was utterly convinced .
Hiiro: 「At any rate, you probably held these thoughts, right? ‘Although I’m not sure if it’s a lie or not, since there’s magic that brought us to this world, there must be magic that can send us back home’ . 」
Hiiro: 「In addition, after obtaining the title of heroes and being placed in this fantasy world, you guys were so ecstatic that you simply disregarded such critical doubt . ‘It will somehow work out . We have four friends on our side . As long as we look out for each other, we’ll someday return to our original world’……or something like that . 」
In the face of Hiiro’s words, Shinobu’s mouth stiffened . The fact that sweat gradually began to flow from her forehead demonstrated that Hiiro’s words had completely hit the nail on the head .
Hiiro: 「Although there was no conclusive evidence whatsoever to support such thoughts, you guys merely suppressed such considerable doubts . Should I just say it bluntly? It’s not an exaggeration to say that this situation was brought about by the both of you, the one sleeping in the bed included . 」
Hiiro: 「Even if the slightest doubt floated into your mind, if you discussed it with the other two, then you would have been able to hold doubt towards the king’s actions . The two of you who didn’t do so have brought about this result due to your naive situational decision making . Your foolishness is so deep that it’s astonishing . 」
The reason why Shinobu said nothing in response to Hiiro’s words was because she understood that what Hiiro was saying was right . Certainly, if she had voiced her doubts at that time, she might have been able to create an opportunity for the four of them to have a discussion .
At the very least, there was the possibility of being pulled out from the stupidity of not realising anything up until this very moment . However, she – no, as Shuri was also included, they, as Hiiro had indicated, were elated by the bright future before them, forgetting any of the small discrepancies that may have appeared .
Without knowing that those doubts would influence their own fate, they simply avoided it . The fact that this situation was their fault was completely irrefutable .
Silence followed soon after . As Nikki and Mikazuki who were nearby realised that the current atmosphere did not warrant any unnecessary banter, they remained silent .
Shuri: 「……we were horribly mistaken……weren’t we」
In the midst of that atmosphere, the one who had raised their voice was the one who was thought to have been asleep, Shuri .