Chapter 22:【Atonement】My Hero
The day after the strategic meeting with Midori and Takahashi-kun, we moved according to our plan.
Actually, I felt ashamed for using such a plan.
「Ah, a message just came from Shinji. Let’s move Aoi! 」
「Wait for me Midori!」
After getting a confirmation from Takahashi-kun, Midori had rushed towards our destination at full speed. Wow, s-so fast.
Running after Midori, I arrived at Takahashi-kun’s classroom. Upon reaching, I heard someone call my name.
There, I saw Midori who had arrived before me, and Takahashi-kun who was holding onto his lunch and―― Toudou-kun.
Ah, the blonde youth who had saved me back then, was definitely Toudou-kun. His heroic appearance at that time was so amazing. Moreover, it’s been 3 years since the incident!
.Maybe it was because I had never really looked at him properly, but Toudou-kun’s gaze was strangely piercing. Feeling very nervous, I didn’t know how I should greet him.
Maybe because they could sense my tension, Takahashi-kun and Midori tried to do the greeting for me. Then suddenly,
「Nice to meet you, Fuyukawa-san. I’m called Toudou Souichiro, Shinji’s friend.」
W-What should I do? I have to greet him back! Thinking of the conversation Toudou-kun and I would be having, I couldn’t help but get even more nervous. This was the first time I would be talking to him!
However, before I could bring myself to talk to Toudou-kun, he suddenly stood up from his seat and tried to leave the classroom.
C-could it be that I did something to offend him? W-what should I do now? I was immediately panicked.
Then, I realised it was just my misunderstanding as Takahashi-kun started persuading Toudou-kun that he wasn’t being a hindrance to us.
I don’t feel that way in the least, but Toudou-kun wanting to leave might have something to do with me. I did do something terrible to him after all.
「They already know about your situation and are not the kind of people who will judge someone else just by their family circumstances and rumors, and appearance. So it’s okay Sou!」
Takahashi-kun’s words unintentionally pricked my heart. When I was saved by Toudou-kun in the past, I treated him in such cruel way without even knowing anything about him.
Turning around, Midori’s gaze pierced through my heart. She was telling me not to run away.
I steeled my resolution and decided, I will definitely apologize to Toudou-kun!
So I say to him, as he was made to look at me by Takahashi-kun,「Please become our friend!」
■ □ ■ □ ■
The next day, after the wonderful event of becoming Toudou-kun’s friend, I entered the world of IEO along with Midori.
「Well then, Shinji will invite Toudou-kun while we take a quest.」
「Uhm, let’s go with that!」
Takahashi-kun was waiting at the nearby gate for Toudou-kun to log in. According to him, Toudou-kun should be able to log in after lunch, so I think we can take it easy till then. But Takahashi-kun sure is amazing to know so much about Toudou-kun.
「Well then, I’ll go collect HP potions. I’ll leave the purchase for abnormal status potions to you Aoi.」
Midori and I had planned to purchase the necessary items for hunting while Takahashi-kun waited for Toudou-kun. Since I always become a hindrance to Takahashi-kun and Midori during our hunts, the useless me should at least do something to help.
Come to think of it, our guild is composed of only fighter jobs without anyone having a manufacturing job. Should I tell the rest I can cook and sew? If I did, w-what should I cook for Toudou-kun?
Just as I was walking along the southern part of the city, someone suddenly called out to me.
「Hey, that cute onee~chan there. How about playing with us? 」
That voice made me remember the overwhelming fear that I felt 2 years ago.
When I somehow managed to make my body which had stiffened due to fear turned around――
「She’s so cute!」
「Right? We hit the jackpot! 」
Those 3 players were speaking their thoughts out loud. Their looks were also similar to how those men from that day were looking at me, it’s as if they had just found an interesting toy.
「Don’t make such face, we’re not shady people you know.」
「Yeah. It’s our nature to not abandon someone who got into trouble!」
I’m not in troub– No, right now I’m in huge trouble! U~h.
It’s scary, I’m really scared right now, but I can’t say anything.
「Shall we go then?」
Tell them NO!
「Ha~h? You don’t want to come with us? 」
S-scary! Why, just why am I so weak…
「We can teach various things to you, you know.」
「We can even take you to a nice hunting ground you know. No need to worry since we’ll protect you!」
「Well, shall we go then? Just come already! 」
The man who said that last line grabbed my hand stongly. Trembling, I felt very scared and disgusted at my own inability to refuse them.
At that time――
「That onii-san over there, that girl doesn’t want to go with you guys. How about letting her go? 」
I heard a familiar voice, the voice that I’ve heard from somewhere before. When I raise my face to see the owner of that voice―― The figure of that youth《Hero》 of that time, was standing not too far from me.
However, despite him being there, the weak me couldn’t do anything but tremble in fear inside my own shell when those men started booing.
Toudou-kun is just so kind isn’t he ―― He said the same line he said that fated day.