Chapter 104: The Feelings of Miharu and the Others
After the three of Rio, Satsuki and Lilyana went to the audience chamber, the four people left in the room where Takahisa was staying at were finally able to calm themselves.
Sendou Takahisa, the hero, Sendou Aki, his step sister, and Sendou Masato, his little brother, and then Ayase Miharu, the friend of those three.
Though the four of them were always together as if it was natural back on Earth, they were talking about a lot of things in delighted manner since they can meet under the same room like this.
They were reunited.
Despite being separated for a while, they could survive and stay healthy under such harsh conditions and then reunited like this.
As if it was fated.
Takahisa could only feel bottomless gratitude as he thought so.
「And just like that, the three of us were living together with Haruto-san during these three months」
Aki who became the main narrator was telling about what happened to them during this few months.
The things that she told about to Takahisa were truly just trivial matters.
They were already told beforehand by Rio about the things that they absolutely can’t talk about to the third party, the things that shouldn’t be told if possible, and the things that can be told.
In order to not create any contradictions in their story, they decided to match their stories with Aki.
Takahisa showed a helpless expression for a moment after he heard the digest version of their stories.
He was frustated since he couldn’t protect Miharu and the others with his own hand.
“Why was the one who saved Miharu and the others Haruto and not me.”
「I’m glad then. Everyone’s escaping from the fate of becoming a slave…………」
In the first place, Takahisa held a strong reluctance to slavery.
Why they treat something like people life as a property.
Such savage and uncivilized system was downright contrary to the the justice held by Takahisa.
Though he knew that it’s something needed by the level of the civilization of this world, he still can’t give his consent to it.
He feels shivers running down his spine just by imagining the three in front of him serving other people as a slave.
Especially what kind of things that Aki and Miharu would have gone through as women.
Though he may be slightly biased about it, they might become playthings of nobles distorted by their own desires.
Takahisa turned pale in an instant as he imagined that.
Just thinking about it made him feel an extremely nauseated.
His body turned cold and yet hot at the same time.
For some reason his body shivered.
Takahisa was gritting his own lips to suppress that feeling.
「Are you alright, Oniichan？」
Aki anxiously asked Takahisa who showed such bad complexion.
Takahisa nodded with a pale face.
Though he could somehow stall things by nodding with a smile, it was impossible to hide it.
「Are you okay, Takahisa-kun？」
「Yes, your face is pale you know？」
Even Miharu and Masato were worried about Takahisa.
「I’m okay you see」
Takahisa somehow bluffed about his condition with cramped smile.
To put it bluntly, it had zero persuasive power.
「Rather than that, I was truly grateful that Haruto-san is here」
Those were Takahisa’s true feelings.
But, just by saying those words――
“Why does my chest also feel this kind of suffocating feeling？“
“Why am I thinking that I’m such a useless person？“
That was an envy and self-loathing.
He was vexed about the fact that he couldn’t save Miharu and the others by himself and the fact that Rio was the one who saved them. He hated that he was a coward and was jealous toward Rio.
But, Takahisa wasn’t aware of those feelings.
Since on the other hand, he also felt grateful to Rio for saving Miharu and the others.
「Uhn, Haruto-san. He’s a bit scary sometimes but, definitely a kind person」
「Yeah, his cooking is also delicious. He’s an awesome man whose cooking skill is on par with Miharu-neechan！」
Aki and Masato are praising Rio.
「I-I’m still less skilled than him you see. Haruto-san is awesome you know？ Though his hands are so big, his fingers are nimble, he also has an abundance of knowledge and experience………………….」
Miharu’s white cheeks were slowly turning red like ripe peach due to Masato praise.
Maybe because she knew just how much she was yearning for Rio in this current conversation.
With just that he can’t think of Rio as a despicable person.
But, he already didn’t want to hear them talk about how they’re on a good terms with Rio.
He didn’t have such composure to hear more about it.
The fact that Rio was together with them instead of himself, Takahisa didn’t want to hear nor did he want to believe just how much they were happily spending their time with Rio.
He didn’t have any confidence to do so.
He feels as if Miharu and the others are changing so much compared to the time when they were on Earth.
And yet, he feels as if his own self hasn’t changed that much compared to when he was on Earth.
He felt as if he was completely left behind by them.
Even now he wanted to just disappear somewhere due to his constant anxiety.
It made him want to rely on Lilyana.
（I can’t！ I swore. No, I have to change. Everyone is no longer separated. I’ll be the one who protects everyone！）
Takahisa was mustering all of his courage to make a new determination.
The future that he thought already lost is slowly returning to him.
He was absolutely unwilling to experience those feeling for a second time.
「Well, it’s the matter from now on but…………….」
Takahisa’s saying that while looking at them.
Thereupon, Miharu and the others eyes became slightly gloomy but, Takahisa failed to notice that and kept on going.
「You may want to discuss this later but, everyone………….. Won’t you come with me？ I want the four of us to always stay together from now on. I’ll protect everyone. I’ll definitely protect all of you」
Takahisa said so with pleading-like tone.
A few second of silent fell upon the room.
After asking so, Takahisa was looking at Aki cuddling his side closely.
「Ah, uhhm…………. You see」
Aki was at lost and unable to reply properly.
Her eyes are filled with anxiety.
Takahisa anxiously asked Aki who was stumbling with her words.
Maybe because Aki’s serious expression turned into hesitating one thus,
「I can finally meet after a long time, as expected, I want to be with oniichan. ……………. But, is that okay？ I feel much indebted to Haruto-san, and by separating like this………………..」
She replied timidly.
She wants to be together with Takahisa, her older brother.
That are her true feelings without any kind of falsehood.
Aki decided that by herself based on the stories told by Satsuki and Rio.
But, she couldn’t feel satisfied at the same time.
After living with Rio for few months, it has now also become something that feels natural to Aki.
She really can’t bring herself to just say 「Okay then, good bye」 just like that.
Moreover, they completely received the favor from Rio.
Maybe because leaving Rio’s place just as it is feels slightly ungrateful to her.
Even Aki came to feel that.
「EH? Ah, no, that is…………………..」
Takahisa was at lost for words to her unexpected reply.
He was believing in that Aki and the others will come under him unconditionally.
He didn’t even imagine anything about them doing something like hesitating to follow him.
（Maybe that just how much bigger his existance is for Aki and the others……………..）
Takahisa was tightly grasping his fist as if to divert the hard to describe feeling that was boiling inside him.
Though they were separated by no less than three months, those time felt like forever to them.
It seems as if there was an invisible wall which made him completely unable to break in.
「Naturally………… I’m thinking of giving my gratitude to Haruto-san. If you’re so inclined about it, you can even bring him along」
Takahisa said those words as if feeling embarrassed in some sense.
It’s not like he’s not understand the meaning of Aki’s words either.
Since he felt like giving his gratitude to Rio in the form of something without even a need to say it.
「Yeah. I think it’s okay if we could go along with Haruto-san but…………………..」
Aki’s speaking ambigously.
Though even she couldn’t understand the reason, Aki’s instinctively avoiding the figure of Rio amongst the four who’s in this place.
That might be why.
She really can’t bring the image of Rio coming along with them.
「I see……… So……….. What about you two？ 」
Takahisa’s asking to Miharu and Masato who’s sitting in front of him.
「Yup, I also don’t want to be separated from Haruto-anchan. It’s as Aki-neechan have said, And I’m also still in the middle of learning swordsmanship」
Masato’s replied awkwardly.
Takahisa’s eyes opened wide in astonishment.
Masato’s a kid who’s yet to be 12 years old.
Takahisa showed confused face as he thought so.
When one says swordsmanship, it’s basically a skill for the sake of combat with preamble to use it for killing someone.
He knew that very well since he himself is learning swordmanship in the castle.
Such young Masato also learning about combat skill.
「Yeah, it’s for self-defense. He even bought a real sword for me. I couldn’t bring it with me right now since I’m giving it to custody before entering the castle」
Takahisa’s dumbfounded in Masato who’s replying nonchalantly.
Masato’s still an elementary grade student if measured with Earth’s standard.
He couldn’t even make a moral decision like that of an adult.
And yet, teaching swordmanship to him by using real sword――
It was severely conflicting with Takahisa ethic as someone who was raised peacefully as Japanese person.
「You can’t hold a real sword. You’re still a kid, Masato」
Takahisa harshly reflexively rebuked on him as his brother.
Since he absolutely will protect Masato.
There’s no need for him to do something like fighting.
「What are you talking about. So is that to mean I can learn swordsmanship if I’m an adult？ There’s demon-like being around the world you know」
「You have no need to go to such dangerous place yourself！」
「Ha~h？ This is the kind of world in which large amount of demons are going as far as entering the city. It won’t be enough unless I can at least protecting my own safety」
「I’ve said that I’ll be the one who’s protecti-……….. Wait a minute. The demons are rushing toward the city？ Don’t tell me, everyone is being attacked too？ 」
Takahisa asked as if scolding Masato due to the shock from his remark.
His important younger brother is doing something like fighting with his life on the line in a place unknown to him, there’s no way he can overlook such situation.
「……….. We’re just being protected」
Masato’s pouting and replied with vexed tone.
Rio has already told them to not tell anyone about Aisia, Celia and the rock house.
Therefore, he has no choice but to be careful with his words.
「But, I thought that I can’t always become the protected side. At the beginning I treated it like sports or game but, now it’s different！ 」
「That’s just natural! This place isn’t a world of game！ It was a skill for the sake of killing human. When brandishing your sword in battle is when you’re going to kill someone」
「I know that！ Haruto-anchan taught me that too. He never let me to go to actual combat since it’s still too early for me. But, I hate it when I’m only being protected！ 」
「……………….. You might go kill someone you know！」
「I know that！」
Dangerous atmosphere is beginning to form between the two of them as they delivered such verbal war.
Takahisa being surprised by his little brother’s unreasonable train of thought and, Masato kept resisting his big brother’s oppression.
Takahisa only wants to protect his little brother, Masato’s hating the fact that he’s only on the side of the protected ones, it’s just like quarrel between siblings.
A form of anxiety is slowly forming inside Takahisa.
「As expected, you must come with me. Are you going to live such dangerous life?. You can be at ease in the castle」
Takahisa said those words stemming from his sense of responsibility as their guardian.
「Ha~h？ No way. I’ve said that I’m still in the middle of swordsmanship training」
Masato refused immediately.
「You can learn about that in the castle too. You can learn properly from the knight」
「NO. Haruto-anchan is better」
Both of them are staring at each other without any side willing to yield.
「H-Hey. Please stop it！ You two」
「Of course it is. We have finally reunited after a long time」
Aki and Miharu were trying to mediate the quarrel of this pair of siblings.
「It’s because Aniki is just too unreasonable 」
Masato was suddenly saying that while averting his face.
「………….. That isn’t something you should say after arriving this far right？」
Takahisa heaved a sigh as he said that to repel his anger.
「Certainly…………… At first, I also hated the sight of Masato learning swordsmanship and I don’t want to see him like that even now but,………….」
Aki’s speaking ambigously.
To be honest, Aki wasn’t be able to bring herself to see Masato learning swordsmanship.
Because despite the usually kind and gentle person, Rio is frightening when teaching swordsmanship.
But, recently she came to an understand the reason why Rio’s extremely strict training Masato.
When she saw the swarms of demons who came so close to the vicinities of the rock house that time, it couldn’t be helped that something like morals and reasons be blown away in front of such scene.
Above all else, Aki understood very well that learning swordsmanship is Masato’s own wish.
For this reason, a bud, a feeling of wanting to respect Masato determination as his older sister was born inside Aki.
But on the other hand, it doesn’t mean that she can’t understand Takahisa worries either.
She’s in pinch of choosing which one’s determination she should held respect to.
Aki couldn’t give an immediate reply.
「………………. Don’t tell me you guys are learning swordsmanship too？」
Takahisa asked Miharu and Aki with a stiff expression.
「We’re not. Uhm……….. The thing we learn is just a simple self-defense arts with stick」
Aki’s shaking her head in denial with “Uhuhn”.
Takahisa showed a slightly relieved expression.
It seems he doesn’t feel that much opposition if it’s just at the level of a stick.
Whether it’s edged tools or not, or whether it’s the assumption of killing people with further investigation in mind, that might be become a great separating line inside Takahisa.
「Anyway, I wish that everyone would come with me. Since I’ll be cooperating with Lilyana to protect everyone」
Takahisa said those words again with strong determination inside.
He wants to spend his time together with them, laughing along like back when they were on Earth.
He also wanted to introduce Lilyana to Miharu and the others.
If it’s her, she’ll be getting along very well with everyone.
There’s no one who’ll become a hindrance.
No one will make things difficult for them.
He’ll go back to Saint Stellar kingdom with everyone.
Takahisa was wishing as if yearning for it――
「Sorry. I won’t go with Takahisa-kun」
Miharu said that with a decisive expression but she also sounded sad like saying such a line that will make a clear cut to those yearnings.
Takahisa head become pure white after hearing the clear cut rejection of the girl he always loved.
Takahisa said those words with an haggard voice.
Weren’t the four of them always together back on Earth.
And he expected that it should be so in their future too.
Get back their time and their world, the future that should supposedly be lost, bit by bit.
And yet, why is this happening？
「I’m sorry. I’ll stay at Haruto-san’s place」
Miharu replied with bitter-like voice.
Her answer crushing Takahisa’s dream.
Is this Miharu’s choice.
Even more important than the childhood friend with whom she spend how many years till now.
For someone with whom she spent no less than three months with――
「E-Everyone has finally reunited you know？」
Takahisa said those words with almost crying-like voice.
「I want to be together with everyone too」
「Then, with everyone――」
「Is Satsuki-san included in the “Everyone” that Takahisa-kun just said？ Is Haruto-san included in it？ 」
Takahisa showed a befudled expression to Miharu words.
「……………… We’re currently not together with everyone you know. You should understand what I mean right？ 」
Miharu’s spinning her words in such an elegant manner.
Takahisa belonging to Saint Stellar kingdom, Satsuki belonging to Galwark kingdom, there’s Rio who lives by himself――
Following someone means that they must bid their farewell to someone else.
They’re bound to hurt someone with their choice.
Even so, they still have to make their choice.
After thinking carefully now, Miharu already found her answer.
She always worried by herself about this matter ever since she heard of Satsuki’s whereabouts from Rio.
And then, she felt that she had to give her own answer when the time came upon her.
「S-Such things shouldn’t be happening」
Takahisa’s saying that in reflex.
Thereupon, Miharu showed a sad smile for some reason.
「Such things have happened you know. It was truly difficult to meet Satsuki-san and Takahisa-kun in this way you know？ 」
「W-What………………… Is so difficult about it？」
「Everything is thanks to Haruto-san you know. Thanks to him we can meet again like this. We’ve become such burden to Haruto-san since we basically can’t do anything」
「I know about that. That’s why I’m truly grateful for him, moreover――」
「This gratitude is my own self」
Miharu’s words cut Takahisa’s sentence.
「I can’t let another person express my gratitude after troubling Haruto-san up till now. Of course that’s a different story if Haruto-san also doesn’t mind to be with me from now on but…………….」
Takahisa was speechless.
He wanted to keep Miharu by his side but, he can’t find any words to stop the current her.
Despite slightly faltering, the current Miharu has a resolute expression.
It’s the first time Takahisa has seen her reacting in this way.
「This……….. Is my own feeling」
Miharu said those words with slightly stiff voice while a transient smile surfaces on her face.
He felt strong resolution from that voice of her.
「But you see, there’s no need for Masato-kun and Aki-chan to go as far as following after me……….」
Aki and Masato were gulping in silence as they saw the smile that’s shown by Miharu.
Aki called Miharu’s name with an expression as if she was going to cry.
「All of us are siblings. If we can be together, I think we should be together. Of course it’s not on me to decided that but……………..」
Miharu told that to them with a vexed expression since she can properly convey her feelings.
「I gave my answer after properly thinking about it but, I want you to stop making us give out our answer quickly since I need to prepare myself. At least, not when Takahisa-kun and Masato-kun are having quarrelling atmosphere. ……Right？ 」
Miharu said those words to the three of Sendou family siblings as if gently soothing them.
Masato showing an awkward expression might be due to the repercussion of him suddenly getting on fire.
「If Miharu-neechan says so…………. Well, I’ll consider it」
Masato’s replied bluntly.
「Takahisa-kun too. You can’t scold Masato without understanding him you know？ 」
「I…………………. I know that but……………………….」
“It’s shouldn’t be like this.”
“I want to be together with you.”
“There’s no use unless you were there.”
His chest became awfully noisy and he unintentionally shouted his feeling aloud.
「Anyway, can’t we stop this talk for now？ It’s painful looking at us quarreling despite we finally reuniting again after such a long time. Let’s think about it slowly for today and talk about this again tomorrow. Right？ 」
It won’t turn into a peaceful conversation with their current situation.
She felt that they should just relish their feelings right now.
Moreover, Miharu thought that she needed a bit more time.
「U-Uhn. You’re right！ Though everyone could finally meet again after such long time, we can’t just go firing such dangerous air around. Right, Masato, Oniichan」
Aki forces herself to be as bright as possible as an approval to Miharu’s proposal.
Since Aki also felt that things will get dangerous at this rate.
Aki grasped Takahisa’s, sitting by her side, hand.
Takahisa’s line of sight met with Aki.
Takahisa’s eyes were like that of a baby who will cry at any time.
Aki chest tightened seeing her brother like that.
「Oniichan. I’ll go with you………….. Let’s think of a way to be together with everyone？ Right？ 」
Aki was muttering those words with a voice that only him can hear it.
「……Thank you. Thank you」
Due to Aki’s words, a glimmer of hope could be seen shining inside the pupils of Takahisa.
It’s not like the result has been decided.
There must be some kind of method.
“Didn’t I just swore to do that”.
“I won’t let go of anyone again, and I’ll protect them.”
“And yet, I can’t whine over something like this.”
“Since it’s as Miharu said before, we can meet again.”
“I still have time left.”
“No need to force her to quickly give her answer.”
“I’ve Aki and Lilyana, we definitely will be able to do somehting.”
“If it’s me who’s a hero, I definitely will be able to do that.”