Towards Iino who not even the entire family’s all-out-attack matched, Lily charged alone.
Her favourite black spear wasn’t in her hand. It was taken during the combat from earlier, she didn’t seem to have had enough time to retrieve it.
“What can you do with your bare hands?”
Dumbfounded, Iino looked at me and asked so.
She looked not at Lily, but towards me……
……Since a while ago, for some reason, Iino has only been talking to me.
The lines that would normally be said to Lily, were instead directed to me.
If it’s repeated this many times, even I would think it as strange.
Her attitude, was as if she didn’t recognize Lily and the others’ personalities.
She doesn’t recognize the personality of monsters. ……Come to think of it, earlier, when Iino went head-to-head with Gerbera, she yelled “to a monster manipulated by a villain, I will not lose.”
A person whose ability is to control monsters.
What comes to mind, is a person similar to me, but definitely different.
Was this really, a coincidence?
In the first place, why did Iino attack us?
She became hostile without any question, and because of that, we were nearly steamrolled, that didn’t happen but, perhaps, Iino is having a terrible misunderstanding……
Before I even had the time to answer that question, I witnessed Iino thrusting a kick into Lily’s stomach.
Lily who was without even a weapon, took the blow on her unprotected stomach.
However, the one who lifted the corners of her mouth, was Lily, who was on the receiving end of the attack, and conversely, the face of Iino, who was on the attacking end, showed a slight bit of surprise.
“Tsu!? This, feel is……?”
Iino’s foot, sunk unnaturally deep into Lily’s stomach.
If all of her internal organs were mangled, then this would be the case, but that wasn’t the case.
I immediately, realized what Lily had done.
She must have partially released her mimicry on her stomach, and reverted it back to slime body tissue.
A slime’s body is flexible and strong. It can absorb a simple blow.
With the momentary gap from when she stiffened in surprise, Lily grabbed Iino’s leg.
A presence of magic power rose immediately. Deployed, was a green magic circle.
一一Third rank wind magic. Its range is small, but its density is proportionally as high.
The magic was activated just as Iino and Lily were surrounded by it.
This will get through.
She’s manipulating her magic as well as possible, to stay out of the area of effect, but still, Lily can’t avoid taking damage herself, it’s a desperation attack. There’s no way that no damage will go through.
The next moment after I thought that.
Iino sank down a tiny distance.
‘No way,’ when I thought that, Iino took action.
Bending one of her legs as a spring, she kicked the ground with her [idaten] leg strength. The result, was the creation of an explosive burst.
“……That, can’t be!?”
Lily screamed. Both of her feet lifted off the ground.
After that, there was no longer anything to hold back [idaten]’s speed.
Iino withdrew from the magic activation’s area in an instant.
Lily’s air of determination, was carried away by the wind in vain.
“……You do some terrible things, Majima”
Shaking her leg that swung off Lily, Iino tossed some words my way.
“Although it’s convenient toy, I can’t believe you would just throw away a monster you love”
Behind her eyes, a flame of anger blazed.
Seeing her attitude一一I was convinced that she was having a misunderstanding.
At that moment. As if to divide the two of us who were glaring at each other, a sharp voice rang out.
Iino, who was about to hit me at any moment, raised her eyebrows.
She turned to the owner of that voice. It was a very natural reaction, but since Iino arrived here, it was the first time that she had done it.
“E-to, I believe you were……”
“Serving as the second-in-command of the Alliance’s third order, I am called Silane”
“Aah, that’s right. Silane-san. We’ve spoken once haven’t we”
Obviously, her reaction was different from the one given to Lily and the others.
Although her voice was a bit cold, at the very least, there was room for conversation between Silane and Iino.
That meant, that Iino went as far as to ignore Lily and the others, and more importantly, it meant that all of the disasters that have occurred since Iino arrived here were due to her own misunderstanding.
“Why did you so suddenly attack us? I would like to inquire on your true intentions”
Perhaps she was waiting for a chance to intervene, Silane pressed her for answers here.
You could see a slight tension on her stern face, and that was probably because she understood exactly how bad the situation was for us, who she was defending.
Even if Silane were to join in, the situation would not reverse itself. There was just that much of a difference with Iino’s combat strength.
“……Rather than me, why you’re acting with Majima Takahiro, is what I’m more suspicious of though”
To Silane who didn’t hide her criticism, Iino replied with a thorny tone.
“This guy is a criminal, that manipulated monsters to attack Fort Tillia you know?”
Silane’s eyes widened, and I, on the contrary, squinted my eyes and furrowed my brows.
My belief was correct. But that didn’t make me any happier though.
I’m able to read most of the situation.
Nearly two months ago, Iino left Fort Tillia to the depths of the sea of trees.
When she came back, she must have witnessed the ruins of Fort Tillia. As for what happened there, she should know to some extent.
However……only to a certain extent. It wasn’t complete.
As I wasn’t there, the information that Iino received, could only be in the form of hearsay. There may be a lack of information. Some may be wrong.
If that was it, then it was terrible.
I don’t know what happened, but Iino seems to have been reported that I was the culprit of the attack on Fort Tillia.
Of course, it was a total misunderstanding.
The problem was, that this misunderstanding was of a rather troublesome kind.
“tsu!? Th, that is wrong, Yuna-dono”
“What part of that was wrong?”
“The monster user that attacked Fort Tillia, was Kudō Riku. It was not Takahiro-dono”
“I’ve heard about Kudō Riku though”
“Th, then we may cut straight to the point! Takahiro-dono is unrelated to the attack. After all, the one to defeat Juumonji Tatsuya who attacked Fort Tillia, as well as to defeat the one who was manipulating monsters behind the scenes, Kudō Riku, was none other than Takahiro-dono!”
It was the truth. Silane, didn’t speak a single lie.
But, Iino shook her head.
“I haven’t heard of that story”
“H, how could that……!”
As far as Iino is concerned, the story she heard earlier and Silane’s claim, were both hearsay from other people all the same.
If so, then which one should she trust?
Silane is my companion.
Rather, as one of my comrades, her credibility may be valued lowly.
“Besides……You said that Juumonji-kun attacked Fort Tillia?”
Iino did not believe Silane’s words. On the contrary, her tone was sharp and pointed.
“Fuun. I was told that some people were gossiping about such rumours, so it was true”
Juumonji was one of the members on the first expedition force along with Iino, a companion with whom she traveled through the sea of trees with.
Even if he was one of the many, there was no doubt that they knew each other.
On top of that, some people apparently told her at the beginning that there “was such a ridiculous rumour” somewhere.
If she was told something like that, then now, we won’t be able to get along no matter who tells it to her. It would simply make our impression worse.
And……the worst part, was that the one who said that was none other than my companion.
Iino knows the fact that I made Lily eat Mizushima Miho.
So it’s possible, that she may even think that I killed Mizushima Miho.
Of course, I haven’t done that, but there wasn’t any evidence to even back that claim, and even if I could clear that prove my innocence, it doesn’t change the fact that Lily ate her corpse.
At this point, even if I think that saying that was crucial to survive, such a thing, wouldn’t even be an excuse.
Majima Takahiro is an evil existence, it wouldn’t be strange for him to attack Fort Tillia.
As long as this premise persists, Iino will not back down.
Head-on, it would be impossible to defeat [idaten] with the cards in my hand.
But that didn’t mean, that she couldn’t be persuaded. But even Silane, a third party, couldn’t do it.
I regrasp, reanalyze, then understand the situation. I’m screwed on all fronts. There’s nothing I can do.
“……Anosaa. Come on, why don’t you just give up?”
Iino, who moved her gaze off Silane, called out to me with a somewhat fed up tone.
“You already know that you can’t win right?”
She gave a glance, over to where Lily was gathering magic power.
In her expression, was a strength different from that of Iino’s.
An unyielding will. She hadn’t given up.
If so……no, even if not.
I cannot give up. I could see it through the pass. No one in my family, had given up. I can’t give up.
When I made up my mind.
Something unexpected happened.
I wasn’t me. Nor was it Lily, nor Gerbera nor Rose.
Raising her voice as if in desperation, the one who ran by me, was the girl that should have been powerless.
On the mountain path that ran as if clinging to the cliff surface, holding a knife backhanded, she ran with steps that couldn’t be called sharp.
Because it was a completely unexpected situation, my reaction was delayed.
This was the same for everybody else here一一but even with the delay, [idaten] was the fastest.
“What are you doing?”
In no time at all, Kato-san was held down by Iino.
“From the looks of it, she hasn’t even awoken her cheat ability though……”
Iino looked at Kato-san’s painfully grimacing face up close as she was pinned down on the ground, and suddenly raised her eyebrows.
“You-, are you……by any chance, Kato Mana?”
“Why, do you know about……nh”
With a stifled scream, from the hand that Iino placed on its back, the knife Rose made fell out.
Keeping an eye on us, who were about to involuntarily run up to them, Iino answered Kato-san’s question.
“It’s because your appearance, is similar to the one I heard from Takaya-kun”
“Aah. Come to think of it, Takaya joined up with the expedition force didn’t he……”
“……I don’t understand”
The tone of Iino’s voice dropped.
“From Takaya-kun, I heard that you were a kouhai1 who was very close with Mizushima-san though. Despite that, why would you be with Majima, who fed Mizushima-san to a monster?”
“Saa. Isn’t it because my standards of judgement are different from yours?”
Even while tensing with a painful expression, Kato-san’s reply was somewhat easygoing.
I also, in a different way than Iino, couldn’t understand Kato-san.
“Iino-san. The things that you’re saying, I think they’re correct”
The way she was acting, wasn’t as if she was cornered and at her wits end.
“What senpai did was wrong. So, senpai is a villain. I see. That makes you, a good person, doesn’t it. In addition. You’re overflowing with a sense of justice that you wouldn’t see often. Even in the event, that we otherworlders weren’t treated as heroes, you would have acted the same way, wouldn’t have you. People like you, may truly be what heroes are huh”
“What do you……”
“However, even so, the one who saved me was Majiima-senpai. It wasn’t you”
Kato-san glared at the confused Iino.
“From my point of view, you who hurt Majima-senpai is evil”
“I, I’m, evil……?”
“Whether you’re a good person or not, it doesn’t matter. Aah, no. I would dare say, that it’s convenient for us isn’t it”
It was a strange argument. I wondered what it meant.
“Iino-san, you were holding back the entire time earlier, right?”
While I was dumbfounded while listening from the side, Kato-san continued.
“If you felt like it, then at this moment, the heads of Lily-san and the others would all have fallen”
‘What are you talking about?’
I thought at first, but now that she mentions it……
Despite this overwhelming difference in ability, there were still no dead among us. She should have had plenty of opportunities to kill us.
Iino only swung her sword, when facing off against Gerbera.
And when she did so, she only cut off her spider legs.
“Even if you know it’s a monster, did you have opposition, in swinging a sword at something with the form of a human? Moreover, even with senpai, it was the same. Instead of hitting him, you should have been able to cut him down”
“I-, if I did that, he would have died woudn’t he!”
Iino replied with a startled look, as for me, I couldn’t help but be stunned by her difference in perception.
Looking back, Iino said from the beginning that she was going to “beat me up,” and in fact, I was hit in the face.
With the fist that was holding her sword. Instead of being slashed.
While I was desperate and thinking that I was going to be killed, she was fighting while holding back huh……
The facts I was told seemed to indicate an extremely hopeless situation, but that seemed to be different for Kato-san.
“That’s right isn’t it. It would be terrible if you were to die. As expected, you are a true hero. I’m glad that you were this kind of person”
Her face covered in greasy sweat, showed a confident smile.
“Please remember that. As you said earlier, I am just an ordinary human. Since I don’t have the power to fight, there are no techniques for me to survive with when something happens. I am even willing to take advantage of the weakness of others when necessary, I am a weak human after all”
“What, are you trying to……”
Iino, who was about to say something, made a surprised face.
“Kuu……kukukuu. Kato-dono. Thou, art the most terrifying one after all”
At the end of her line of sight, was Gerbera, who should have been completely tattered.
She had seemingly been able to rebuild her stance while Kato-san was buying time.
“T’is as if thou aren’t sane”
“That’s terrible. I already said it earlier, but I, am still scared even now you know”
“That t’is why, thou art terrifying”
Gerbera, who was conversing with Kato-san, firmly pierced the ground of the mountain path with her few remaining spider legs, and in one hand, she was holding the handle of the car she was towing.
When she was sent flying by Iino a while ago, at the place where Gerbera landed was the car that we borrowed from the Alliance Knights.
Gerbera was holding that up in one hand.
Iino had a slightly dumbfounded face.
“That’s a pretty poor striking weapon”
With Rose’s customizations, the car had a sturdy body that could be carried around.
Lifting it up like a club, must be exerting an unreasonable amount of pressure on every corner of it, but it didn’t collapse in mid air despite creaking.
It would be possible to use it as a striking weapon.
But, I don’t think that that could compete with Iino. For Gerbera, who had lost her legs, it was even worse since she couldn’t move properly.
“Majima. I know that this one is your strongest card. But, no matter what, don’t you think it’s impossible to rely on this one right now?”
It was natural for Iino to think that……but, I was more concerned by someone else.
Gerbera. Yes, it’s Gerbera.
I remembered, what the thing that felt out of place was.
Iino doesn’t know about it, but Kato-san is really close to Rose.
Yet, without paying any care to Rose, who was slammed into the cliff face, she rushed straight to Gerbera.
She seemed distraught, but if that was the case, then her behavior was even more puzzling.
Given that, then, it’s rather the opposite.
Kato-san wasn’t in a panic. She was calmly, cool-headedly, looking at the situation and moving accordingly. So, her rushing to Gerbera, must have an obvious reason一一…… .
“With this, it’s over一一!”
Iino started to run, displaying the true power of [idaten].
Her opponent Gerbera, swung the car as hard as she could.
Of course, that wouldn’t be able to reach that [idaten].
Gerbera wasn’t even aiming for her in the first place.
The car that was treated as just a blunt weapon left Gerbera’s hand, and after it passed over Silane’s and Kei’s heads, it slammed into the fragile cliff face running on one side of the mountain path with all its might.
Iino hadn’t even reached where Gerbera was yet. She couldn’t stop it.
The cliff face that looked as if it was about to collapse just from when Iino had hit Rose, was, with the full power of the white arachne, struck by a sturdy car frame.
The car frame as well, as with the cliff face that it struck, was completely crushed.
As a result, the phenomenon that has stopped us on this path countless times一一a landslide was triggered.
The mountain path, collapsed into the stream at the bottom of the cliff.
Of course, [idaten] wouldn’t receive damage from something like this. With her speed, it would be easy to get out from here.
Yes. If it’s just her, it would be simple.
Iino, who began to speak, became surprised.
She must have remembered. The lines Kato-san spoke earlier.
一一Please remember that. As you said earlier, I am just an ordinary human. Since I don’t have the power to fight, there are no techniques for me to survive with when something happens.
“It couldn’t be-”
She looked back. In front of her, extending hand with a smile, was the figure of Kato-san.
When I thought about it, I shuddered.
Simply triggering a landslide, wouldn’t be enough to escape from [idaten]. At the very least, Iino would have secured me alone.
But, this situation.
In front of her, was a person that would die if no one helped her, a lone weak girl without any power.
Will she defeat the evil, or will she save the weak.
Iino, who weighed them, chose to take Kato-san’s hand without hesitation.
However. Iino had one misunderstanding.
Kato-san doesn’t have the power to fight directly. That is a fact.
But, she was never simply a weak person.
Her weapon, is her resolve.
Her way of being, isn’t justice. On the other hand, it isn’t evil either. Kato Mana, is only simply a desperate girl.
Therefore the hand she extended, was not a plea for help.
The bracelet around her wrist, was a magic tool I gave to her for self-protection.
The jewel fitted on it, was an imitation flash magic stone. It was a one use, blinding tool that didn’t have any killing ability.
一一I am even willing to take advantage of the weakness of others when necessary, I am a weak human after all.
There were no lies in that girl’s words.
The crumbling mountain path, was enveloped in an explosion of white light.
She probably didn’t think, that the girl she was heading to save would ever make her eat a surprise attack. Defenselessly, Iino plunged into the white light.
“Rea……you’re really an idiott一一!?”
With a scream, Idaten fell. ___________________________________________________________________________
- Underclassman. Kept untranslated for consistency with senpai.