「……Are you alright, Claire?」
Kousuke’s slightly convulsing voice resounded.
The location was the outskirt of a small runway inside Rome. They were descending from Omnibus’s private plane at an airport that was also exclusive for Omnibus.
It was dusk. The sun that was illuminating this day was sinking toward the west.
The sky had beautiful madder red color. The wind of the evening was cool. And then, the saint who was pressing on her butt with teary eyes below the ramp looked really painful.
「He, hehe, just as you can see, I’m fine.」
「No, I’m asking because you don’t look fine though.」
‘Ehehe’, that shy smile that emitted loveliness――wasn’t there anymore. If he had to say what kind of smile it was, Claudia-san was exposing an expression like a person who got carried away easily saying 「Heheh, sorry boss」 to cover up one’s own mistake.
She stood up while her hand was holding her butt, then she lifted up the Holy Cross and supported it with effort. She was dressed in a neat and clean appearance of a long-sleeved dress with white as the base color, but the outfit was slightly dirty all over.
It wasn’t like he was slipping up just now on the ramp and slid down on her butt. She also wasn’t attacked by demons and cultists in the middle of going back from Britain and got involved into a fierce battle.
The cause was just one.
The numerous self-destructions that Claudia generated until they reached here.
After getting out of the security bureau, Kousuke and others first joined up with two exorcists who were dispatched to Britain, but even until then, well, Claudia self-destructed.
When she climbed up a stair, she would get dragged by the cross and stumbled with her shin getting hit hard, and when she went down a stair instead, her balance would crumble due to the Holy Cross’s weight. She would misstep and slid down on her butt.
She would stumble at place where there was no obstacle and got pinned under the Holy Cross. She would look the other way and crashed onto wall or pillar and fell, and got pinned under the Holy Cross as expected. She even got completely caught inside the revolving door in the airport.
Inside the private plane, she would wear eye mask and took a nap, and when she woke up she would struggle 「I, it’s pitch black! Did something happen!?」 while kicking around. And then she would fell off from her reclining chair.
Claudia who went through numerous self-destructions like that at first would gave scream or embarrassed laugh that looked cute, but from the middle, her voice was gradually turning into a voice without any composure like 「higih」 or 「hebuu」, and at this point even her embarrassed laugh 「he, heheh」 had became something really disappointing.
「No no, Kousuke-sama. Look, I’m not injured anywhere. I’m unharmed.」
「Right, it’s really mysterious.」
‘This saint, could it be she is the same kind like Bernard?’ he tilted his head with such doubt. Just like he was holding doubt that Bernard might be loved by the death god and the goddess of fortune at the same time, there was a possibility that she was also loved by the god of clumsy girl and a god who protected her from the self-destructions at the same time. She was a saint after all.
Claudia-sama made a banzai pose to appeal that she was unharmed. Naturally, because her hands let go, the Holy Cross-san lost its support and bared its fang toward its master. It tilted toward the head of Claudia who was smiling ‘heheh’――
「That’s why, are you doing that purposefully!?」
Just before it hit, Kousuke leaped forward and stopped the violence of the Holy Cross-san. He supported the Holy Cross with one hand where Claudia was sandwiched between him and the cross.
It was a posture where she was practically hugged on his chest. The sudden approach of the opposite sex, furthermore it was Kousuke who she was strangely conscious against caused her cheeks to be dyed red. While that was happening, Kousuke looked behind him and raised his voice.
「Or rather, you guys too, give her a bit more warning too!」
In respond to that voice, Wynn, Anna, and then the other two exorcists who were carrying down the luggage stopped their hand and turned their gaze to Kousuke simultaneously.
「Kousuke-dono. We too」
「Have a lot」
「If it’s Claudia-sama, it’s always like this so――」
What coordination. What strength of bond. The connecting speech as though it had been arranged beforehand was excellent.
Normally they would be acting a bit worried and gave follow-up for Claudia, but right now there was Kousuke who was doing that, so they left it to him.
Claudia was smiling with strangely dead eyes at her comrade’s trust (?) on her. Kousuke’s expression was cramping a bit at the exorcists who were doing their work briskly with serious face.
「Ah. Right, somehow sorry. Thank you for your hard work. Also, Claire, stop it with that smile yeah? Somehow, I cannot bear to look anymore. At least, add “e” at the beginning, make it ehehe, okay?」
「Right, like that.」
He couldn’t bear to look at either anyway.
Like that, Kousuke was supporting Claudia who was swung around by the Holy Cross so much she got injured that he was suspecting that perhaps the Holy Cross was hating her?, while the group got into a private car and departed toward Vatican.
The distance from the airport was close. The wall of Vatican came into view in just around ten minutes.
「Come to think of it, that place that was like a secret base, the second library got exploded and there was a hole opened but, are we heading there now? It still hasn’t been repaired right?」
Kousuke suddenly recalled and asked.
Claudia was going to drink at that time, but she then tried to answer.
「Ah, about that. Actually――AA!?」
*Bump* The car shook. The drink flew. The destination? Of course, the face of the saint.
Anna quickly said 「Here Claudia-sama. It’s fine~」 while taking out a handkerchief to wipe Claudia’s face. During that time Wynn was groaning 「Really, it’s worse than usual……h~mm」 while answering in Claudia’s place.
「Just as Kousuke-dono said, the repair hasn’t finished. Right now we are using the old headquarters. We are heading there right now.」
「Yeah, Omnibus’s underground facility isn’t just there. That place was a new facility that was created around ten years ago with various conveniences taken into consideration by the power of the current director.」
「Hee, certainly, there was a lot of passages there. I thought that the underground space is really vast but, so I’m actually right.」
While they were talking like that, ignoring Claudia who were frowning sadly at the orange juice color leaving spots on her white clothes, the car entered an underground parking lot of a building that was slightly at the outskirt of Vatican.
「Hm? We aren’t going directly to inside Vatican?」
「Yeah. Our existence is generally kept secret even to the people inside the city. If we show ourselves too much, then people will have question like ‘which department those guys who often show up here belong to?’. That’s why, the coming and going of Omnibus members fundamentally use secret passage from outside the city.」
Actually, ‘the home is constantly underground is harsh……’, that was the opinion of a director several generations ago, so Omnibus’s office also existed inside Vatican palace and the hidden room of Vatican art museum. Of course, there was also a single building outside Vatican that was wholly used as Omnibus’s facility.
While they were talking, the car parked on the space at the corner that seemed the most inconvenient spot.
Kousuke completely thought that they would walk from here, but right after that, a mechanical sound resounded. At the same time, the ground was sinking along with the car. Kousuke raised a surprised voice 「Oo!?」.
Wynn and others smiled a bit happily at Kousuke’s surprise.
「If you previously infiltrated by tailing Aziz, then you surely used the passage that is managed by Madame Marie, but that is exclusive for walking. This is an exclusive passage for car. We can go until inside Vatican riding the car.」(TN: Previously it was Madam Maya in chapter 302, but here it’s Marie. I don’t know if the author make a mistake or what)
「……Even though it’s a secret organization that exist since the ancient time, this is like a world of spy movie. The genre is mistaken.」
「Ahahah, Kousuke-san. You are watching movie too much. Even us are using computer and smartphone normally.」
Anna laughed teasingly. Kousuke smiled wryly thinking that it was true. Thinking back, the impetus that made him infiltrated Vatican also originated from the data that Aziz pulled out from a company’s computer.
Before long, they entered an underground passage and the car advanced. They then reached a vast underground parking lot. They got out of the car, Claudia bumped her head on the roof part, and then they headed toward a metallic door deeper inside that had a cross carved on it.
When the door was unlocked by biometrics authentication and they entered inside, they came out into an underground space that was far older than the previous underground facility he saw before, but it boasted the same spaciousness.
At the same time, it seemed that the exorcists had contacted beforehand. There was that old man wearing cassock with absurd pressure there. His face that had a lot of wrinkles was frowning even more sternly, so it gave a dreadfulness that would make children cried 「Demon!?」 if they saw it.
For now, he wasn’t carrying that book which was made from metal, so surely there wouldn’t be any battle. He wished that there wouldn’t be. The old man’s atmosphere felt like he was going to attack him while saying 「You bastard, I’ll kill you!」 anytime, but surely it was just his misunderstanding.
「Claire, also Wynn and others, good work. Looks like you all have concluded the talk safely.」
「Yes, director. Then, this person is――」
Claudia jogged toward the director happily and she was going to introduce Kousuke. But, the director stopped her with his hand and slowly walked forward. Just by doing that, he gave off a pressure that made one hallucinated as though the surface area of his face became three times bigger.
「I am Omnibus’s director, Patrick Dime. Mr. Endou. I had acted rudely in the previous incident. My subordinates……they are like my own children. Therefore, I lost my calm. Although, one of my children getting possessed by demon and my inability to keep my calm, all of them were incurred by my immaturity. I will accept any kind of punishment that you give.」
There was no lie in his eyes that were staring fixedly on Kousuke. At the very least, that was what he thought.
And so, he concluded that the director’s eye glint that seemed as though to say 「You bastard, I’ll strangle you to death!」 even while saying his apology was just his feeling. Kousuke shook his head with a somewhat twitching face.
「I’ll just accept your apology. I have been asked by Anna-san and Wynn-san for forgiveness in exchange of their life. If I received an apology with such resolve, then I’ll have no intention to put any blame to anyone anymore. I don’t look like a narrow-minded man am I?」
The gaze of Director Dime snapped wide open. Kousuke twitched, but the brunt of that eye glint that seemed to say 「All you bastards, I’ll obliterate you all together!」 was pointed to Wynn and Anna.
The two of them averted their gaze with all their strength. It seemed, Director Dime was angry at the two who were offering their life as they pleased. It looked like it was true that he was treasuring his subordinates like his own children.
Though it didn’t look like that at all seeing at only his eyes.
「Punishment for sin. It’s something natural. It’s not narrow-mindedness. But, I offer my admiration and gratitude toward that disposition.」
Director Dime offered his hand. It seemed he was asking for a handshake of reconciliation. Naturally, Kousuke also responded. The terribly hard and rugged palm was more like a veteran warrior rather than a clergyman as expected.
Coupled with his eye glint that seemed to want to say 「I’ll twist and crush your hand you bastard!」, Kousuke kept twitching.
Beside them, Claudia was smiling cheerfully looking really happy was the minimum salvation. She was splendidly softening the place’s atmosphere.
As expected from the saint. In his mind the word “phony” was slightly attached with that title, but inside his heart he was sending applause saying 「You are a saint just as I thought!」.
But, the smiling face of such Claudia was changing the flow of event slightly.
Kousuke was going to let go of the handshake, but for some reason Director Dime wouldn’t let go. The strength of the grip was like a vise.
‘Eh?’ Kousuke thought. Director Dime’s words came toward such Kousuke.
「By the way, I wish to offer my gratitude for taking back Claire from the Unknown. If there is anything you want, then I wish to accommodate it as much as possible.」
「Ri, right, your welcome? But, I don’t really wish any――」
*Clench*, strength entered Director Dime’s hand. The glint of his eye seemed to say 「Shut your mouth. If not I’ll annihilate you!」.
「However, in the end it’s only as much as possible. It will be helpful if I can ask you to please refrain from asking something that cross the limit. Yes, for example like asking for Claire or something, you understand me?」
「Wai-, director!? What are you saying!?」
‘Really, just what is this old man saying. Rather, the hand! Your hand is gripping too hard! My hand is making creaking sound! The pressure is too much!’
Kousuke read the mood and refrained from saying that no matter how much he wanted to.
But, seeing Claudia who was flustered and panicked with bright red face, Director Dime’s eye glint was growing even sharper. It was already a sharpness that seemed to say 「Curse you world, I’ll kill you!」!
「I, I won’t wish for something like that!」
「Something, like that?」
Now he understood. Director Dime, right now he wasn’t a director. He was just a stupid parent! He was just a stupid parent who was giving his everything to put a check on the opposite sex that his daughter the saint was harboring interest to for the first time!
At the corner of his sight, the dejected Claudia, Wynn and others who were holding their head, and then the members of Omnibus who were gathering around were sending their gaze to him. Kousuke let out cold sweat.
But, Kousuke was a man who could learn. He wouldn’t do the same failure like the time with Emily for the second time. Being unable to speak out would result in scene of carnage (lol), the experience of bothering the airport staffs once was enough!
「I, I! Have a lover! I know that your daughter, is a really charming woman but! I have a lover so I absolutely won’t lay my hand on her!」
「……Oh. Is that so? Oh dear, I jumped to a wrong conclusion. Really, growing old is a fearful thing.」
The idiot parent Director Patrick Dime smoothly let go of his hand. His eye glint was also calming down to a mere 「You bastard, I’ll send you to hospital!」.
「Cla, Claudia-sama? Are you alright?」
Claudia was throwing his gaze to empty air ‘hoe~’ while she was there in body but not in spirit. Anna guessed various things while calling out to her.
The people of Omnibus also looked at each other’s face while smiling wryly. They sighed in relieve and turned a complicated gaze toward Kousuke……
In any case, it was really clear that Claudia was loved by everyone.
Most likely, after the attempt to capture Kousuke before this, Claudia was giving a fervent speech about Kousuke. And then, there was no doubt that she was also unprecedentedly angry at that time.
Their saint who had never got involved in romantic talk to the level of being a sheltered girl was holding interest to a man for the first time. She was talking about him while blushing. Including the fact that the man was one of the returnees, there was no doubt that they were paying attention to Kousuke in various meaning.
But, when the lid was opened, it was like this. The saint sunk instantly before the romance could begin……
Of course, Claudia’s feeling still wasn’t something so clear that she would wish for such relationship, so in a sense, it was good that the existence of Kousuke’s lover was exposed here but……
「O lord, please grant punishment to this deeply sinful me! My heart is encroached by dark cloud, heavy thunder roared inside, it is raging violently like a hail of ice! Please, bestow a tribulation to me who has lost my pure heart! O lord-!」
「Cla, Claudia-sama! Please calm do~~wn! Ah, hey, what are you planning to do by activating the Holy Cross!? Ah, no, it’s just going out of control? Anyway please calm do~~wn!」
The place became chaos.
Anna desperately tried to make Claudia who suddenly started confessing to god to return to her senses. The other people also rushed toward her in panic.
「……Err, director. Perhaps it will be better to give a tour to Endou……sama about this facility? The preparation for the Obelisk and also the saint barrier is also still continuing.」
「Hm. I guess so, Aziz. Mr. Endou, if you like, let me give you a tour inside Omnibus. If you don’t need it, we have prepared a room so you can build up your readiness there. We have also prepared meal although it’s nothing much. I will assign Aziz for your assistance, so if you need something you can tell Aziz.」
「Ye, yeah, thank you for that.」
He was thinking whether it would be fine to disregard that saint, but for some reason she was kneeling while praying passionately, so Kousuke quickly averted his gaze.
And then, Director Dime gave instructions one after another while sending away the gathering Omnibus members. Young man Aziz came in front of Kousuke during that.
「Endou……sama. I am Aziz Stein. Thank you very much for that time. For saving me, and also Nee-san……」
「Ah, Aziz-kun. You were seriously injured but, are you fine already?」
「……I won’t mind if you call me Aziz without honorific. My injury, yes, thanks to the medicine that Endou, sama applied, it is mostly healed.」
「That’s great. Well, Wynn-san and others too, although they should be injured quite seriously too, they look like they are completely recovered, so I guess Omnibus also has something like healing type magic――aa~, you call it miracle here right? Yeah, look like you guys here also have something like that, so that might be a needless aid. Ah, also don’t call me with “sama”. It’s fine if you call me Kousuke you know? It looks like it’s difficult to call me like that after all.」
「……I’m sorry, then I’ll call you Kousuke-san.」
Aziz seemed like he had expressionless face as his default state, but the look of his eyes relaxed slightly at Kousuke’s words.
From a glance, he looked like he had difficult personality, but his atmosphere toward Kousuke was soft. As expected, him saving his life and taking back Claudia in respond to his wish must be leaving great impression inside Aziz.
By the way, just as Kousuke guessed, there was also exorcist at Omnibus’s side who was handling sacred vessel of healing. It was that exorcist who healed Wynn and others. A male exorcist who was called by others as “elder sister”.
「……So, what do you want to do, Kousuke-san? Do you want to have a tour or taking rest in your room?」
「Let’s see. I think I want to see things like Obelisk or the saint barrier. Besides, there is also something I want to ask for a bit away from here.」
Aziz nodded and he led him forward. They were receiving gaze from Omnibus’s members while leaving the old underground headquarters.
It looked like that Aziz was someone taciturn in the first place. He didn’t really talk along the way. But, it seemed he was curious about Kousuke and kept sending glances to him.
They rode an old elevator that connected to upper floor while Kousuke opened his mouth in the place of Aziz who was a poor talker.
「By the way, Omnibus’s supreme commander is Rome’s pope right? I will be too nervous to meet someone like him, but as I thought, perhaps I should at least give a greeting?」
「……I think it’s impossible for now. That person is our face at the surface. Certainly he is our supreme commander but, regarding the matter of this side of the world, he leaves everything to Director Dime.」
It seemed the pope of Rome was being pressed to deal with the bombing incident. For the person himself, he certainly wished to talk with the returnees no matter what, but from the view point of the people around him who didn’t know about the circumstance, the returnees were just a Japanese group with unknown background.
If they were going to meet, it inevitably needed to be behind closed door. Also, the pope of Rome himself had no power of exorcist, so he was leaving everything in regard to demon to Director Dime.
The meeting would have to be after they overcame the danger this time and waited for a good time……that was how it would be.
「……Now that the plaza would be turned into battlefield, it will also be troubling if there other people who aren’t Omnibus member. So, his holiness is working to not let people at the surface to get closer until the time the fate of the world is decided.」
It wasn’t like there would not be anyone inside the Vatican, like staffs or clergymen. But at the very least no one would get closer to the plaza. And then, when the saint barrier by 140 statues was activated, no one would be able to notice what was going on inside the plaza. Sound and sight would be intercepted, and an image of peaceful plaza would be projected to the outside world.
「Aziz will also be in the assault team?」
「……Yes. There will be Claudia-sama, me, Wynn-san and Anna. Other than them, we will also send 80 percent of our whole force.」
「What about the director?」
「The director, he will act as fighting force along with several remaining exorcists against the demons in case they appear here. Though honestly speaking, I got the feeling that the director alone will be enough……」
Young man Aziz was making a distant look for some reason.
When Kousuke asked, it seemed Patrick-san was previously the strongest exorcist who held the title of “Holy Apostle”. Because the previous director died, he was in his current position as replacement, but different from Claudia who was the strongest in the aspect of being a fortified gun battery, it seemed the director was the strongest solely in physical aspect. Even now when his age had gone past 70.
「Eh, wait a second. That person, didn’t he carry a metal book that seems like a grimoire? I completely thought he would draw spell or something and then using that to cause miracle from the rear.」
「……You must mean the “Book of Sacred Destruction”. Certainly, it’s a sacred vessel of the highest class that can use five miracles of barrier, binding, attack, healing, and strengthening.」
「Ain’t that right.」
「……But, the director used it solely as blunt weapon.」
「Hm? Blunt weapon?」
According to Aziz, just like how a teacher would use book to hit a sleeping student awake, it seemed the director directly used that metal book to hit demon. Or else he would wrapped chain around it and used it as flail, or else he would hold it up as shield, sometimes he would throw it to shot down the enemy.
Like that, his nicknames when he was young were “Beating Priest”, “Desecrator of Book”, “That guy, he actually got no fait at all ain’t he?”, Absolute Demon Killerman”, “Physical Miracle User”, and so on.
「……He is a person who had created many legends. In the past, there were four demons who were members of the Solomon 72 Pillars appearing at the same time. He chased them away alone, and he also mounted the last one and then beat it up black and blue. It was still talked even now. It’s also written in our teaching material, that we absolutely mustn’t try to copy that.」
The exorcist comrades who came running to the scene of battle at that time saw Patrick-san continuing to beat up the demon using “Book of Sacred Destruction” expressionlessly and for a moment it seemed they thought he was the demon. ‘We have to save the assaulted victimdemon!’ they thought.
「Seriously? If it’s like that, isn’t it better to send the director to attack hell instead……」
「……No, to kill Unknown, the “King Class” with certainty, it has to be Claudia-sama no matter what. There was no user of Holy Cross for decades. There is no sacred vessel that surpass it.」
‘Besides’, Aziz continued. According to him, putting aside when he was in this world, Director Dime was old, so he wouldn’t be able to endure the “Wind of Lamentation” in hell for long.
「Eh? There is countermeasure against it?」
「……Yes. It’s by using holy water. If we consume it, we will be able to hold out for around one hour.」
‘Short’, Kousuke thought. It might not be a problem if they could immediately face the enemy right after entering hell, but although they understood the location, it would be a battle after investigating the vast hell. He couldn’t help but thought that it was a really severe limitation.
「……In any case, not everyone will be able to reach Unknown. More than half will become sacrificial pawn in order to send Claudia-sama to reach the Unknown. I said one hour because it’s the possible survival time for a person in case the holy water is divided equally.」
From the beginning no one intended to have everyone returned alive from hell. Perhaps, even Claudia wasn’t thinking about the path to return home after defeating the Unknown.
「Hey, Aziz. To be frank, I think it’s pointless. When Yue-san get serious, there is no being who can win against her. What’s more Shirasaki and others will also be with her, even I will join in. No matter how powerful a demon Unknown is, our victory is unwavering. This isn’t being overconfident or being optimistic, it’s a fact.」
‘That’s why, stop with your plan of going to hell’, Kousuke spoke implicitly.
However, even after hearing the words that could be taken as humiliation to all the exorcists, Aziz gazed back straightforwardly at him without even looking angry at all.
「……Even so, we are exorcist.」
That was why, we couldn’t just watch. Even if there wasn’t even a one in thousand chance, there might be a one in hundred million chance the worst could happen. That was why, even if it was pointless they would risk their life.
Seeing the exorcist who was younger than him showing a will of steel, Kousuke also returned a straightforward gaze in respond.
But, the continuation of the words that Aziz was going to say didn’t come out. It seemed he recalled just barely that it was something he shouldn’t say.
Aziz didn’t open his mouth even after waiting for a while. While they were talking while walking, they came out into a room inside the Vatican Palace. From there, they passed through a passage inside a wall once more, and they unexpectedly came out to the rooftop of Vatican Palace.
They could take an unbroken view of St. Peter’s Plaza from here. The traces of bombing here and there were dirtying the beautiful plaza. It was really sad. The members of Omnibus were busily running around the plaza. There were also a lot of saint statues at the surrounding. They were praying to the statues, or placing some kind of tool around.
Depending on the situation, it would become the last fortress that protected earth. Every single one of them looked desperate.
Here, Bernard and others would also arrive in a few more hours.
Kousuke stared at the plaza for a while, and then he brought up the important subject to Aziz.
「About the continuation of “besides” that you said before, is it about Claire?」
It seemed he hit the bull’s eye. Aziz’s face seemed to ask how did he know.
「When Yue-san said to leave it to us, Claire, she made a face as though she was enduring something. Her expression immediately returned to normal but……Wynn-san said that Claire’s clumsiness is worse than usual. I was wondering that perhaps, it wasn’t just her being freed from her tension after the discussion ended, that perhaps her focus was on other things and she was distracted.」
「I’m only guessing but, Claire, does she want to defeat Unknown by her own hand?」
「tsu……Kousuke-san, you, how far you……」
「I don’t know anything about Claire’s circumstance. I’m only wondering that she is being targeted by Unknown to become a mother body, could it be related somehow to “twelve years ago” when that guy was confirmed for the first time?」
Kousuke’s gaze that was directed to the plaza glanced at Aziz. Aziz reflexively averted his gaze quickly.
Aziz fell silent. He could be seen hesitating. He wanted to talk. But, it wasn’t something that he should say. Kousuke could clearly understand that Aziz was thinking like that.
Kousuke shrugged and spoke with a wry smile.
「My bad, I don’t think it will trouble you that much. I only thought of asking about what you know of the incident twelve years ago while you are giving me a tour……it seems, it’s not a story that can be talked that easily huh.」
Silence filled the place for a while. There was only the hustling and bustling of people reaching their ears.
Before long, Kousuke was going to suggest for them to return back. But before he could, Aziz opened his mouth.
「……I, I don’t want Nee-san to die.」
「As an exorcist, it’s out of the question to be holding one’s life dear before a battle against demon. But, even so, I want Nee-san to live. She is the person who saved me from that cold place. Kindness, warmth, those kind of things, it was Nee-san who gave them all to me.」
Aziz Stein, He was born between parents who worshipped demon. He was raised as sacrifice for the sake of summoning a greater demon.
Six years ago. Before he was safeguarded at eight years old, he didn’t even have his own will. He wasn’t allowed to. That was only natural. There was no need at all to grant humanity to a child who would be sacrificed someday.
General education and the minimum skill to interact with other people were crammed into him so they wouldn’t be suspected by the surrounding. Even so in the end that was just an acting that he was made to learn. It was like programming a robot to take action A if action B was taken against him.
Far from acting like a child, he didn’t even have human-like emotion. Aziz was like a puppet. It was Director Dime who adopted him because he had the quality to become exorcist. And then, it was Claudia who taught him humanity from zero.
That was why, it was only Aziz who wasn’t Claudia’s subordinate or comrade, but a little brother.
「The truth is, if the returnees will end everything, I don’t want Nee-san to go to hell. If I have power, I want to defeat Unknown.」
「But, that’s not Nee-san’s wish……. I don’t want to let Nee-san go to her death but, I also want to grant her wish just as much.」
Aziz turned his gaze toward Kousuke glaringly. A drop of tear was gathering at the corner of his eye.
「I thought it was a miracle. It was already hopeless, I understood that I’ll be dead, reality is always cruel, that was why, I thought that it was over already. And yet, you appeared. Like a miracle, you smashed even the cold reality. For me you, it’s you who are exactly, the messenger of god.」
Aziz turned his body along to fully face him. Kousuke also turned fully toward him.
「Can you, save Nee-san for me?」
Aziz thought that it was a wish that was only convenient for him. His face was thinking, ‘no way miracle can happen that many times in human’s life’.
Even so, he was cursing his own weakness that couldn’t help but cling on other while helplessly trying to grasp the string of salvation that was hanging before his eyes……
‘Aa, surely this is how those cultists think’, Aziz thought. He who was born as their child and understood their feeling was disqualified as an exorcist, and as a servant of god. Surely he wouldn’t be welcomed into the heaven.
The wind blew gently and caressed Aziz’s front hair. His look that peeked out made it even clearer how young he was when seen from nearby. It could be seen from his desperate expression how much he didn’t want to let go of the family that he finally obtained.
For a little while, Kousuke stared fixedly at Aziz who was waiting for answer. Before long he scratched his head. With a small voice he was muttering 「This is bad, really bad, me. Depending on the case, it will be a bit of deathly situation even before facing the demons……」.
But, a beat later, he roughly stroked Aziz’s head that was tilted in confusion. And then, he smiled wryly at the surprised Aziz while,
「For now, I’ll go to where Claire is.」
Saying that, he turned on his heel. 「Ah……」 Aziz’s voice slipped out. Kousuke turned to look across his shoulder while adding more words.
「Well, it will work out somehow.」
Aziz was dumbfounded. And then, the next moment his face turned like he would burst out crying and he deeply bowed his head.
He kept doing so until that back which looked extremely big vanished from view.
Inside the church. There was someone kneeling in front of the altar offering prayer. It was Claudia.
Her bright atmosphere when she arrived at Omnibus’s underground facility didn’t remain at the slightest. She was simply maintaining the silence. But, seeing how the two hands that were clasped together in front of her chest were turning white, it was clear how hard she was tightly clenching her hands. It shed light how her mind wasn’t calm by any mean.
Suddenly, Claudia lifted her face. And then she turned around.
「Oo, you notice me just as I thought. Even though I was hiding myself a bit.」
Claudia smiled a bright and gentle smile. Kousuke too also smiled happily that he was being noticed.
「How did you notice?」
「Why do you think that I won’t notice?」
Both of them tilted their head in confusion looking like they were wondering from the bottom of their heart. A beat later, they laughed together at the funny situation.
「What are you praying for?」
「For everyone’s safety, and for the people’s peace.」
「Hm~m, is that so?」
Kousuke’s reply felt like it was implying something. Claudia’s eyes twitched for an instant.
「This is a dangerous time for the world. Isn’t such prayer only natural?」
「No, I completely thought that you are praying to the god of clumsy girl for betterment……」
「What is god clumsy girl!? There is no such god! Or rather, it make it sounds like my god is a clumsy girl!」
As expected, it seemed she couldn’t overlook making joke of god. She pointed straight with her index finger looking like a big sister scolding 「Bad!」 to a naughty kid. She was glaring at Kousuke. But, as expected her appearance and atmosphere were gentle and soft, so it was lacking in pressure.
That kind of aspect was really like the image of saint in general. Kousuke was thinking things like whether Claire’s vocation was something like childcare worker or the like.
「My bad. I guess it was a joke that isn’t suitable for a clergy. But well, it’s also a fact that it didn’t look like that your prayer was wholeheartedly for the peace of the world.」
Claudia spontaneously held her breath. Kousuke stood at her side and stared at the large cross that was hung up in the church.
「Why are you going to hell?」
It was a question that could be considered as philosophical question, but Claudia guessed the meaning accurately.
「Of course, it’s because that is the mission of us exorcists. ……From the view point of Kousuke-sama and others, perhaps you think that we are unreliable or that it will be meaningless but……」
‘That’s not true’, he couldn’t say that.
In fact, Kousuke thought that it was meaningless. Inside Kousuke, Hajime, Yue, and others were the world’s strongest without any room for argument. If something brought them harm then they would obliterate it, whether it was demon or god. They were transcendental people who could possibly do that.
Although, for the exorcists who didn’t have that deep of connection with the returnees, it was natural that they couldn’t have that much trust. Thus, he had no intention to reject their ardor to also ride into hell as insurance.
They also had their own pride. They were literally risking their life for the mission of protecting mankind from demon. Even if it would end up meaningless, there wasn’t the slightest reason for them to not take action.
Just like how Omnibus had no right to stop the returnees, the returnees also had no right to stop Omnibus.
「Mission is it? You all have been fighting all this time for that. You cannot just concede the fate of the world to some group that you don’t really know although you have confirmed their strength and achievement to a certain degree. I understand that.」
「But, for Claudia, that’s not all right?」
Kousuke moved his gaze from the cross toward Claudia.
「Did something happen twelve years ago?」
Claudia held her tongue. This time it was her who turned her gaze toward the cross. But it was an action that should be called “averting one’s gaze”.
「……An incident happened when Unknown’s existence was confirmed for the first time. I mentioned that.」
「Yep. And, Claudia is related to that incident, that’s why, you actually don’t want us to subjugate the Unknown. Isn’t that right?」
「The, there is no way I’m thinking like that-」
Claudia’s voice turned panicky. That was the greatest proof that he hit the bull’s eye.
Surely even she herself also thought so. Claudia gasped and closed her mouth, however she sighed in resignation knowing that she couldn’t cover it up.
「Kousuke-sama is actually a terrible person aren’t you? Doing something like trying to forcefully expose a maiden’s secret like this.」
Even though she was doing her best to suppress the emotion that wanted to overflow out. Even though she wanted to be a saint, a model exorcist and desperately formed her determination.
‘Isn’t it fine for me to be an exorcist that pushed forward for the mission?’, Claudia glared at Kousuke reproachfully with such gaze.
Kousuke’s wry smile deepened while he opened his mouth.
「Frankly speaking, for me, the incident this time has stopped being a serious problem by the time Yue-san and others came out. I can see that Claire and others are going to ride into hell with the resolve to die but, well, you all won’t die. I won’t let that happen after all.」
Claudia glared while her cheeks were reddening slightly.
Kousuke didn’t really let that bother him and he continued.
「The exorcist called Leda. I heard his last scream.」
「Leda……we recovered his body. As I thought, it was Kousuke-sama.」
「Yes. That guy, he was crying. He said, please save me.」
Claudia’s gentle look warped into anguish. The traitor exorcist――Leda Rocca. She was acquainted with him for a long time. To the degree that she thought of him as big brother.
With what kind of feeling he betrayed them? Did he give his heart to the demon? Hearing Leda’s last words, Claudia guessed it. Not a few number of exorcist, especially exorcist with abundant experience, would one day become suddenly seized by a feeling.
Her chest was flooded with a feeling of shame from her inability to sense his completely exhausted heart.
「Also, I was also told, save her, by someone.」
「……It’s Aziz isn’t it?」
Kousuke shrugged. Claudia was making a conflicted expression that was in hesitation, wondering whether she should be happy, or should she be angry at her step-brother who was making a mistaken wish as exorcist.
Kousuke turned his body to fully face Clauda, and then peered into her jade colored eyes so that she wouldn’t dodge the matter.
「If I didn’t notice, then that would be fine too. But, if I have noticed, then it’s a bit difficult to act clueless. If it was some time ago, then I might avert my eyes but, it seems, I am a hero for the people who are idolizing me.」
Claudia puffed up her cheeks, thinking that he really was a terrible person. After all when he said such thing while staring at her, the first on the list of those “people who idolized him” must be another woman, yes, surely it was that cute girl with blonde hair.
She puffed up her cheeks like balloon, however, she didn’t avert her gaze at all. A feeling of embarrassment was welling up inside her, thinking that her face that was reflected on the eyes of Kousuke who was staring on her, was able to make this kind of face.
Without minding something like Claudia’s state of mind, Kousuke asked the thing that he wanted to know the most with a powerful voice.
「We will finish everything, with that――」
――’Will Claudia Barenberg be saved?’
She would be saved. Obviously she would be saved. It didn’t matter who would be the one to defeat that greater demon who was attempting to rule this world. The peace of her important people. If the powerful enemy of human race could be destroyed, she would happily bow her head, offer her life, and took every possible method that was more certain.
That was only natural. Whether as an exorcist, and also as a human.
Something like personal feeling……
Something like personal grudge……
There wasn’t even any need to weigh the two choices……
And yet, when she noticed,
「――The truth is-, I want to defeat him-」
She yelled so.
「Having it ended in some place I don’t know, by people who I don’t know, such thing-」
The gaze that didn’t allow her to avert her eyes dragged out the heart that she was desperately pushing down.
「Just how much do you think I have worked hard!? I vomited blood-, I even threw away normal life-. I risked my life-. Everything is for defeating that guy-, Unknown-. I gave my everything!!」
「In order to take revenge for my father and mother!!」
From frustration, from sadness, tears were overflowing in large drops from Claudia’s eyes.
It was only one time, for her to cry like this, expressing her emotion. That day, the day she lost everything, in front of Director Dime who became her second father, the day she declared to become exorcist.
Since that day she swore the oath to defeat Unknown without fail someday until today, she had never shouted and cried like this.
But, the dam of her heart once broken couldn’t be fixed that easily……
Claudia grabbed Kousuke’s clothes as though to vent her anger and strongly pressed her forehead on his chest.
Kousuke softly patted her back, *pon pon* in consideration.
Like that, what she spoke mumblingly along with words that were spilling out from her mouth, it was certainly a “commonarifureta story” for those who fought demon. It was something that was helplessly tragic.
Twelve years ago.
When Claudia was nine years old. It was her father’s birthday.
The impetus was from a long time friend of her father.
Her father himself wouldn’t hesitate to call that person his best friend. That man would be invited several times a month to their house for meal. Claudia was also looking up to him as a kind uncle who she often played with.
She would even rely on that “uncle who was father’s best friend” and consulted of things that she couldn’t say to her parents from embarrassment. For example, yes, like what present would make her father the happiest in his birthday.
Uncle smiled brightly and told her. The dread that ran on her back for an instant that time was something that Claudia should be more concerned about but……it was too unfair to ask that from a nine year old girl.
Uncle lowered his voice, as though he would speak a secret, as though he was going to reveal something confidential.
――’How about I teach you a method to have angel come to your house?’
Claudia didn’t doubt his words. The reason was because Barenberg family was devoted Catholic for generations. And then, uncle was also a priest.
‘Uncle is amazing! To think you know a method to meet angel!’
Being able to invite angel in father’s birthday. Surely father would be happy!
Of course, this was a tragic story.
Therefore, the summoning succeeded. And then, what appeared was,
「So it was Unknown.」
Claudia’s magic power that was tremendous for an earthling, and the correct summoning method. And then, using the medium of Claudia herself who was the best sacrifice, Unknown that was summoned by uncle killed Claudia’s father who was the target.
「I only knew this later but, that man, it looked like he was harboring feeling toward my mother.」
With the man’s position as a priest, they wouldn’t be able to marry, therefore he had also never confessed his feeling. Before long Claudia’s mother married with her father, and Claudia was born.
There wasn’t anything like a big impetus that made him threw away his faith. After continuing to watch the happiness that might be obtained by him, he was unable to distance himself even though he understood that he should, and before long his dissatisfaction became hatred to god, and it accumulated……
Yes, he then succumbed to temptation.
The man who was going mad bit by bit in the end sold his soul to demon.
What was unexpected was Claudia’s disposition that was too excellent as medium, no, it could even be said as the best.
「I don’t know if it was an accident, or inevitability. It was Unknown who was summoned. That guy obeyed the contract and killed father, and just before he took me as sacrifice, he noticed my value.」
「As a mother body?」
「Yes. In the first place, that man’s summoning ceremony didn’t have that much power to be able to restrain Unknown. Unknown killed that man, and then he also killed mother in front of me just to make me despair. In front of me, mama and papa’s necks were-」
Her hand clenched hard on Kousuke’s chest. Even though she was looking down, he knew. Surely, her expression was distorted into hatred. It wasn’t a saint there, but the woman called Claudia Barenberg was laid bare there.
The story after that was exactly like what he heard in the security bureau.
Actually, from slightly before that, Omnibus that grasped the information that there was a person who was deeply investigating about demon even while being a priest was investigating that man. Therefore, after Unknown was summoned, exorcists came running relatively quickly.
But, with his power that was already mighty from the beginning, Unknown’s power in the state of half materialized from obtaining Claudia’s magic power was tremendous. The exorcists were helpless against him, however, just before they were annihilated, Unknown was pulled back due to intervention from hell.
He was dragged away while screaming that when the time came, he would come for Claudia to use her as mother body.
「Since that day twelve years ago, I have trained until now for the sake of this day. I understand-. I really understand-. It’s the best choice to leave this to Kousuke-sama and others! But, however, then what about my twelve years!? This pitch black feeling of mine, how should I clear it up!?」
Above all else,
「How should I apologize to mama and papa!?」
Yes, that was exactly the foundation of Claudia.
She had desire of revenge. Her body was also burning with hatred.
However, her prime feeling was that.
Something that was called out by her shallow self killed her father and mother. Creating a tragedy that couldn’t be taken back.
Even though she couldn’t even apologize anymore. Even though the people who she should repent toward weren’t in this world anymore.
If she couldn’t even end this matter with her own hand, then how should she apologize to her father and mother.
Even if they wouldn’t forgive her, even if Claudia herself wouldn’t be able to forgive herself for her whole life, killing the enemy was the only remaining atonement for her.
Claudia’s yell that was as though she was vomiting blood echoed inside the church.
That voice resounded excessively clearly. When it completely vanished, even when silence returned to the church, there wasn’t any words from the two for a while.
Before long, Claudia slowly separated her body from Kousuke.
「……This is how I am. It’s ugly right? I desperately persuaded myself that it’s my mission as an exorcist, and I was finally able to keep up my respectability. Even so, I vented my feeling like this to you, I’m only a human of this level.」
Dark eyes, and clumsy stiff smile.
‘I have nothing more to say’, ‘please leave me alone’, or perhaps she was unable to endure Kousuke’s straightforward gaze, she averted her gaze as though to say those. Claudia kneeled in front of the cross in order to deceive her heart once more.
But, before that,
「If you use the Holy Cross, will you be able to kill that guy for sure?」
It wasn’t scorning words or even consoling words. It was just confirming words, which caused Claudia to become befuddled spontaneously.
Kousuke lightly ignored such bewildered state of Claudia and asked more.
「So? Will you be able to defeat him with certainty? Or else is it just a gamble with low odd?」
「Eh, ah, err, I, I think I can defeat him.」
Kousuke repeated with a sharp gaze and tone that sounded criticizing. Claudia corrected herself in panic.
「I, I can defeat him. The Holy Cross, it’s different from the other sacred vessel. The opponent’s strength is irrelevant, it will display tremendous effect simply because the opponent is demon. There are also several records that mentioned how it destroyed King Class demon in the past.」
「I see. Can you use it perfectly?」
Kousuke’s question that was too serious and pressuring caused Claudia to only be able to nod up and down repeatedly in high speed.
Seeing that, Kousuke nodded 「Yosh」. After that, for some reason, with a stiff expression as though he was going to head toward a certain death, while he was trickling out cold sweat as though he was facing a death god――he pressed the buttons of his smartphone *pi-po-pa*.
*Turururu* Kousuke was listening to the calling sound with an expression like a prisoner who was listening to the countdown of the execution.
『……Nn. Endou. Finished preparing?』
「Not yet, Yue-san. There is a chance in strategy, so I’m contacting you.」 (TN: Endou used extremely polite language here.)
From the other side of the phone, voice of 「Nn?」 resounded continued with 「Heh?」 from right beside him.
『……What do you mean?』
「It’s a switch of the assault team and the reserve team. The main force will be the exorcist force lead by the saint and me. Yue-san and others, please remain as the reserve force.」
‘The silence, it’s terrifying!’ As though to say that, Kousuke’s hand was trembling in contrast with his strong tone.
『……I said, I will exterminated that lot. They picked a fight, I accepted. Any complaint?』
「I, I have. It will be troubling if Yue-san exterminates them. Claire has accepted the fight first. Claire will be the one to settle the bill.」
In the middle of the conversation, Yue must felt doubtful at Kousuke’s incomprehensible request and put the call to speaker mode. From the other side of the phone, the agitated commotion of the classmates were conveyed. 「He, he is, talking back to Yue-sama!? Kousuke-, do you want to die!?」「Endou-kun-, you mustn’t be hasty! Come back to your senses!」「Lord, will die」「What a novel way of suicide」, and so on could be heard.
Kousuke was trembling fiercely, but seeing at his side Claudia was holding her breath while covering her mouth with her hands, he firmly held his position.
「I understand that Yue-san is angry, I also understand that leaving this to Yue-san will be the quickest and surest way to end this matter. But, it’s no good like that. There won’t be salvation. I’m begging you, Yue-san. First, please let us do it.」
『……Even though it’s concerning the fate of the world?』
「Ko, Kousuke-sama!? This is concerning the fate of the world you know!?」
Yue talked indifferently while Claudia talked nervously.
Kousuke looked at Claudia, however, his focus turned toward the scaa~ry vampire princess at the other side of the phone and he snorted 「Hah」.
「So what if it’s the fate of the world. I’m the right-hand man of the man who murdered the hell out of a god for the sake of a single woman y’know? What’s the point weighing the world and a woman at this point huh. Don’t say anything worthless like that if you are the first wife of the demon king.」
Screams resounded from the other side of the phone. It was the voices of the classmates. 「Kousuke! Kowtow right away! Life is the most important thing!」 or 「Yue-san! That guy, his head is a bit like that! Please forgive him!」 and so on could be heard.
Kousuke, his tone was strong, however, with a face that was the color of ash, he raised his voice in a desperation that was already abandoning everything.
「In the first place, this is an extension of the job that Nagumo entrusted to me. That’s why, I’ll take care of it my way. Yue-san and others should butt out from this.」
‘I said it! I really said it! I’m sorry please forgive me!’ The abyss lord of his heart was kowtowing.
Time that was equal to eternity was flowing. The other side of the phone was also dead silent. Air of tension where even the sound of gulping might be audible was hanging within the silence.
『……Endou, turn on the speaker.』
Kousuke who swiftly obeyed Yue’s instruction. It felt like his trembling hand would cut the phone call by itself, but he desperately controlled himself. If he cut the call right now, Kousuke’s nether region would also get cut. It wouldn’t be smash, but a slash coming for that spot. Seriously spare him from that.
Yue must had heard the voice of Claudia before this. It was Claudia who Yue was speaking to.
Claudia replied with a nervous state. Her back was stiffly straight.
After a bit of silence, Yue silently asked.
『……Speak the important thing, with your own words. What do you want to do?』
It seemed Yue had guessed various things from Kousuke’s words and the discussion in security bureau. She directly asked Claudia of her feeling.
Claudia was at a loss for words. Her mission as exorcist resounded in her heart. She could hear the voice of god scolding her ugly heart. That voice insisted ‘throw away personal feeling’.
A voice reached such Claudia.
「What’s so bad about revenge?」
「Is it that bad to have ugly heart huh. We’re human. Even that, is a “heart” that everyone naturally have right?」
「A heart, that human, have……」
Kousuke walked toward Claudia and he began to speak while forgetting that the speaker mode was already on.
「Even exorcists are human. Leda wanted to be saved. Even Aziz was asking for salvation. Wynn-san and Anna-san, other people of Omnibus, even the director are surely like that too. Selfless devotion――yeah, those are wonderful words. I respect that. But, if people you want to save cannot be saved because of that, then it can eat shit.」
Claudia’s eyes snapped wide open. Kousuke grabbed Claudia’s shoulder and turned a blazing gaze toward her.
「I am strong you know? I’ll crush any obstacle whatever it is, I’ll open the door that Claire wished for. That’s why, don’t line up tedious apology and just say it. What do you have to do so that Claire, Claire and everyone else can be saved?」
A face that was going to cry was reflected on Kousuke’s eyes. However, compared to the stiff smile that looked despairing before this, it was a far better face. Kousuke’s lips split open into a wide fearless grin.
Claudia scrubbed her eyes hard. While thinking of things like ‘Aa, this person, he is certainly suitable to be a demon king’s right-hand man. It’s unthinkable that he is god’s messenger. After all he is giving this kind of sweet temptation like a demon’.
And then, with a voice that was filled with spirit, she yelled toward Yue who was waiting for an answer at the other side of the phone while her gaze was still fixed on Kousuke.
「I will be the one to defeat that guy! Since that day twelve years ago, that guy is my prey! Please don’t get involved!」
The noisy other side of the phone fell silent *shi~n* once more.
A beat later, Yue opened her mouth.
『…..I see. It can’t be helped if there is a prior reservation.』
「Tsu…..is it, really fine?」
The voice didn’t contain anger or even displeasure. Rather, Yue continued her words with a voice that even emitted warmth.
『……However, if you show too much unsightliness, I’ll take care of it right away.』
「That’s, yes. But of course.」
『……Nn. Even if you fail……I won’t hand over this world. So don’t worry, do your best.』
Understanding that it was Yue’s encouragement in her own way, Claudia was at a loss for words. ‘You can follow your own feeling and realize it without feeling troubled……’, because she understood that Yue was meaning like that.
However, before she could actually convey her gratitude, Yue’s voice returned to being cold and called Kousuke.
『……Endou. You are getting conceited huh. Remember this when you go back.』
「EE!? Wai-, Yue-san!? Just now, how should I say it, it was like the flow of the atmosphere or-」
『……Emirin’s eyes are also pitch black. My lightning dragon is growling. And then, everyone here is grinning.』
From the other side of the phone,
『Kousuke!? That person is really that fine!? Because she has big breast!?』
『Emily, calm down. Kousuke-san. As someone who will become a father-in-law, I want to have a little bit of talk with you later, it’s fine right?』
『Kousuke. Right now, Onii-chan is feeling unprecedented respect and desire to kill.』
『Ko, Kou-nii, spare me alreadyyy. Speaking out such embarrassing line in front of this many people……just what kind of face I should make as your little sister~?』
『……Dear, what should we do? That Kousuke, making a new wife again……』
『That’s, right. Shuu-san, next time, how about having meal together with Hajime-kun with only us men? Regarding Kousuke’s future, I want to ask for consultation about various things though.』
『Ha-ha-ha, of course it’s okay. I’ll give you a lecture about the way to spend a fun life with a lot of daughter-in-law!』
Such voices from family came. And then the usual voices from the male classmates that were like ‘Abyss lord should die no mercy, but I respect you a bit. Please introduce to us cute exorcist girl’ also came through.
「Ko, Kousuke-sama? Are you all right?」
「Kousuke……isn’t fine, desu.」(TN: Perhaps a reference to Haruna of Kantai Collection)
With a roundabout talk that felt familiar from somewhere, his complexion was busily changing from blue to red, from white to yellow, and then back to red again, while his eyes was changing into the dead eyes of rotten fish. Claudia-san, she was a bit creeped out, thinking 「Hu, human, can change complexion color like this?」.
Kousuke was muttering ‘I don’t want to return to homeJapan……’ with a small voice. Yue-sama sent her words toward such Kousuke. Her voice was fearless, while sounding a bit amused.
『……Endou. You are recognized by many as someone who Hajime trust. And then, you are someone who will become Shia’s relative. Mere big talk won’t be tolerated.』
「……I will surely take responsibility for the words that I spat out.」
『……Nn. Endou, I’ll say it in Hajime’s place.』
『……I’ll leave the rest to you.』
「Roger. I’ll take care of the rest. ……Thank you very much, Yue-san.」
At the end Yue replied 「Nn」 and cut the call.
Kousuke sighed in relieve. Claudia approached him timidly, and then she looked up with an expression of reflection. Naturally, her eyes that were gazing up at him were glistening with passion and tears og gratitude.
It was an expression that would surely make anyone staggered in one hit if they were a man.
Claudia was opening her mouth to say something, but it seemed she couldn’t find the words, that her mouth closed and opened several times. The feeling welling up inside was too strong that any kind of words of gratitude felt clichéd, and no words that felt worthy would come out.
Seeing Claudia in such state, Kousuke smiled wryly and shrugged.
「Let’s do something like that when everything is over. What, there is no need to get worked up. Claire can just beat up that bastard to your heart’s content. I’ll cut open the path. The strongest wive~s are guaranteeing the world’s safety. See, there is no problem right?」
Overcame by emotion, Claudia buried her face on Kousuke’s chest once more. Kousuke smiled wryly while patting her back.
But, at that time,