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Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN) Chapter 392.1

Arifureta Blu-ray SS Chapter 3

Chapter 3 – World of Mirage

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Strong light and a slight heat could be felt from the other side of his eyelid.

There was a hard and coarse sensation at the back of his head. His mind was filled with an unpleasant refreshing feeling as though the inside had been wiped clean thoroughly.

And then, at the same time when he was experiencing that sensation,

「Eh? What’s that, cosplay?」

「Is there some kind of event nearby?」

「Wait-, those girls are seriously cute though!」

「No, before that call ambulance first! You guys, are you alright!?」

A lot of noises and the nostalgic sound of cars were piercing his eardrums and mind.

He immediately came to his senses. Hajime bent his body that was lying face up and sprang up on his feet like a spring.

「Uwah, you? A-are you alright?」

The middle aged man who was crouching in front of him was taken aback and fell on his butt.

Hajime turned speechless when he saw that man, no, the moment he perceived his surrounding.

The middle aged man who stood up had the face of an easterner. He was wearing a common suit.

Behind him was a young woman holding a mobile phone in one hand. Beside her was a young man wearing a shirt and jeans and carrying a guitar case on his back. Other than them there were also boys and girls wearing blazer type school uniform……

Around them there were benches, drinking fountain, neatly lined up trees. The ground he was standing on right now was made from asphalt. At the other side of the crowd he could see high rise buildings standing in a disorderly fashion and cars coming and going through the well maintained road.

「……Is this, Japan?」

Yes, what was reflected in Hajime’s eyes was the birthplace that he strongly desired──Japan.

「You, how about at least replying back when other is talking to you?」

The voice of the man who seemed to be a salaryman who had been talking to him since some time ago finally penetrated Hajime’s head. At the same time he gasped and noticed something extremely important.

「Everyone!?」

「……Nn. I’m alright.」

「Uu, where in the world is this desuu?」

「What a very strange place we art at.」

It seemed that Yue, Shia, and Tio also woke up at the same time with Hajime. They were behind Hajime looking similarly speechless……or rather it seemed they were on their guard. Unlike Hajime, they were perceiving this place as a completely unknown and bizarre place.

He sighed in relieve seeing the three of them, but then his tension immediately returned. Because the number didn’t add up.

「Where is Myuu and Kaori?」

「……It doesn’t look like they are around.」

「I also can’t feel their presence……」

Shia’s presence detection ability surpassed Hajime if she concentrated on it. Her rabbit ears were twitching while she was focusing into them, but it seemed she couldn’t pick up the sound of the two. Shia’s face was slightly frowning. The sound of running cars must be too noisy for her.

「oo? They are moving-, those rabbit ears! It’s really well made.」

「Or rather, that girl, doesn’t she expose too much? Her style is also amazing. Is she a model?」

「Are they filming something? Surely they are doing it nearby before they came here to take a break!」

The boys and girls who seemed to be in high school were making a clamor. Shia’s rabbit ears that were moving by themselves and her clothes that exposed a lot of skin like a swimsuit were making the male students ogling her.

Hearing that, the women and the salary men around who were watching with a worried look went 「What, a filming huh」 in understanding before they quickly left. They were checking their watch looking like they had a busy schedule.

「A break? ……You guys, was that what you were doing? If that’s true then you guys were being too defenseless even if this is a public park.」

The salary man seemed like a good person. His expression turned really exasperated, and then he turned around seeing that it looked like there was no need to worry about them.

「Wait a second. Did you happen to see a girl around high school student age and a small girl around four years old? ……They should also wear outfit for filming like us.」

「Eh? No, I didn’t see them……good grief, the youth recently has stopped paying attention to their language.」

Hajime immediately borrowed the setting that the students conjectured and asked the salary man, but the man replied back to him with a very natural reaction that didn’t look like he was lying at all.

Hajime didn’t even glance at the man who was leaving and he tried asking the other onlookers, but as expected none of them had seen Kaori and Myuu.

Why were the two people who he was worried about the most weren’t here? Hajime was feeling anxious, even so he kept trying everything like contacting them with telepathy for example.

Setting aside Myuu, he had given a telepathy stone artifact to Kaori for communication. It was an improved version that could be used after chanting the spell. She should answer if she noticed the call from Hajime.

Ten seconds passed, twenty seconds……

Hajime was waiting while impatience was burning his skin, but no reply came.

「Goshujin-sama, what shouldst we do? People art gathering.」

It was noon. The working people were mostly leaving, but youths who looked like student or part-timer were conversely gathering as each second passed. Even now,

「M-miss rabbit ear over there! Can you tell me your name! Can you also give me autograph!?」

「Eh? Eh? What’s with you desu!?」

「Uwah, she looks even cuter up close-. Miss blonde haired beauty, what is your name?」

「……You have guts treating me like a child.」

「Wawa-, her Japanese is really good! Hey! Hey! Can I take a picture together!」

They were acting like fans that were swarming around celebrity.

While there was also their novel outfits to consider, Shia’s rabbit ears were also naturally swaying around, and most of all the two of them were too beautiful. The people were getting attracted like there was gravity magic in effect. It went without saying that Tio also had the same effect to them because of her appearance as a Yamato Nadeshiko in kimono.

Hajime was avoided because his atmosphere was too dangerous, but he was attracting enough attention too.

He had also said his excuse loudly that they were filming, so the crowd was getting even more serious. There was no more time until this turned into a commotion.

Hajime looked around once more at the surrounding buildings and his fellow countrymen who were wearing modern clothing. A deep scowl was etched on his forehead and he swallowed his swelling emotion. And then,

「For now, let’s move to a place where we won’t attract attention. This way.」

He pushed his way through the crown while leading Yue and others. It was as though he had clearly determined where they were going.

The many onlookers were also following them in droves because of curiosity. It was like a daimyo’s procession. The gazes of the surrounding people were also locking on them completely.

Hajime thought of releasing his pressure in full power to make them faint, but he shook his head after hesitating slightly.

「Shia, put on a coat. Cover your head with a hood too. Don’t let your rabbit ears out.」

「Eh, ah, yes desu!」

The rabbit man race fundamentally hated thick clothing, so Shia took off her cloak when inside the car. Naturally she didn’t have any coat with her right now, so Hajime activated his treasure warehouse behind his coat and took out a spare coat for Shia.

As for Yue and Tio, although they were also standing out, other than beauty their appearance wasn’t so novel even Japan.

The problem was Hajime’s artificial arm. So he took off his coat with a swish and blocked the surrounding’s sight on him for an instant. He used his transmutation in that opening and transformed his artificial arm to look slender before taking out a coat with both sleeves attached from inside his treasure warehouse. At the same time he stored his coat that was lacking the left sleeve.

The way Hajime hid his artificial arm was like a magic trick. Yue and others raised their voice 「Oo~」 in admiration. Of course the onlookers were also getting noisy 「Eh? How did he do it just now!」.

Hajime ignored all those and kept walking.

「When I give the signal, run to the other side of the street. Enter into that alley. After that follow me.」

There was a road in front of the park. Vehicles like Brieze and Schutaif were coming and going through it.

It was clear that this place wasn’t Tortus. Yue and others looked at Hajime seeming like they wanted to say something. But they shut their mouth seeing Hajime’s expressionless face that was clearly him suppressing his emotion with a lot of effort. They somehow guessed where was this place. At the same time they were also harboring the thought 「Could it be」.

「Now. Run.」

The road was wide with six lanes for cars coming and going. The flow of vehicles were cut off just for a moment. There all four of them immediately crossed the street with a dash that could make even professional sprinter definitely dumbfounded.

It was a spot where pedestrian crossing wasn’t allowed at all. Naturally the passing cars blared their claxon. That was exactly why the onlookers couldn’t follow them.

Women who seemed to be office lady at the other side of the road opened their eyes wide seeing the four of them crossing the road like that. There were also some elderly who frowned at their traffic law violation. Hajime observed them while continuing to run toward the alley between the buildings.

Behind him Yue, Shia, and Tio were following him.

They turned right, left, and sometimes came out to another street, then entered another alley……Hajime continued to ascertain the surrounding even while leading the others without any hesitation at all in his steps.

After running for five minutes, the number of traffic and people suddenly became few. The surrounding scenery was gradually changing to have the atmosphere of a quiet neighborhood as though the previous business district where skyscrapers were lined up was just like a lie.

「Under that bridge. That spot is dark even when it’s noon. It’s an eerie spot and on top of that there is a pedestrian bridge right nearby. Almost no people pass through it.」

Certainly, there was a dismal and musty tunnel there. There were a lot of graffiti and stains on its wall and the place was dirty. No one would pass through there voluntarily. However that was the perfect place to avoid people’s gaze and talked privately.

Yue and others exchanged gaze. And then they became convinced. As expected, Hajime was deeply familiar with this place.

Hajime advanced until the middle of the tunnel and stopped walking. Right after that *gatan gatan* a sound echoed noisily. Yue and others felt a vibration that made them doubted the endurance of the tunnel.

「W-what’s that!? It’s noisy desuu!」

「It seems something art passing through above us.」

Shia reflexively pressed down her rabbit ears with both hands over the hood and she crouched down. Tio was frowning, even so she calmly looked up and analyzed the situation.

「It’s a train. Think of it as a vehicle similar to Brieze pulling a lot of carriages behind it to transport a lot of things.」

「……Nn. Something like that don’t exist in Tortus. Hajime.」

Yue looked up straight toward Hajime. A painful silence filled the area after the train passed through. Yue asked a question to Hajime who was still expressionless.

「……Is this place, Hajime’s birthplace?」

Hajime didn’t answer right away. He leaned on the wall and folded his arms.

It was hard to describe his expression right now.

It was like the expression of an adventurer who believed that there was a treasure deep inside the dungeon, it was like the expression of a cool-headed scholar who put his faith in fact and logic, but it also looked like a child who got loss.

However that expression only lasted for a moment. After he let out a sigh, the light of rationality and thought that had been sharpened to the limit resided at the back of his eyes. It was the usual Hajime there.

「I don’t know. There are too many suspicious aspects. But, this is a scenery that I know very well. ……The company name, the clothing and personal belongings, the car maker’s logo, everything is exactly like in my memory.」

According to Hajime, it seemed that the game maker company that his father was managing was nearby. Hajime often visited this part of the city to help with the work there. That park was also a place that he often visited when it was break time.

「The onlookers’ reaction was also natural. ……This place is too well made for me to judge it as an illusion.」

「Then, this place is really Hajime-san’s birthplace!」

「Wait wait, Shia. Goshujin-sama art saying that he isn’t sure.」

Tio’s golden pupils shined with deep wisdom.

「This kind of illusion doth not exist in mine knowledge. Whether it’s the people’s reaction, or everything that I sense with mine five senses, everything look like reality. Even so this happening art too sudden for me to accept that we hath really cross over worlds.」

「Exactly. I feel like an adventurer who challenge a dungeon with the resolve to find a secret treasure and yet I find that secret treasure rolling on my feet right after I stepped inside.」

Hajime made a small wry smile, but he immediately altered his expression after that.

「Let’s postpone thinking whether that desert’s legend is correct or not for now. Our biggest priority is──」

「……Nn. Finding Myuu.」

「Yue-san, Yue-san. You forget to mention Kaori-san.」

「………………………………also, Kaori too if we have the time.」

「Thy look very unmotivated.」

Yue pressed her lips together with a reluctant expression. Her comical look made Hajime suddenly felt like his bewilderment toward this world that looked like Japan to lessen slightly.

「Anyway, let’s split to search those two. Originally it’s a bad move to split up in this kind of situation, but there is no other choice.」

「……Nn. Myuu has no way to protect herself. We have to secure her quickly.」

「Kaori-san too is mainly a healer.」

「In that regard, if it’s us we wouldst be able to deal with any danger to some degree even if we art alone. By the way Goshujin-sama, we hath heard about Japan to some degree from Goshujin-sama’s reminiscences but……let me ask this just in case. Art there any dangerous area or creature that we hath to be careful against? 」

「No, in the first place there is no monster or demonic haunt at earth. If you make a ruckus than the police……a kind of authorities would immediately come running, but Japan is a peaceful country even if you look at it globally.」

If forced to say, then they had to be careful against traffic incident and delinquents, but even those weren’t anything that could harm Yue and others.

「For now take action with the assumption that this place is Japan. There is no magic here and the people’s physical ability is only around the average people of Tortus. However, don’t forget that we are still “assuming” that this place might be Japan okay? I want you all to take action as unassumingly as possible, but we don’t know what might happen here, so your first priority far above everything else is your own safety. Absolutely don’t forget that.」

「Goshujin-sama doth not need to tell us.」

「……Nn. For now there are four of us, so should we spread to the four directions?」

「No, you three should cover the area to three directions. For now search within the ten kilometer area around that public park. It’s the range where the telepathy stone can contact each other without any problem as well as a range where we can come running to each other’s location within several minutes.」

「What is Hajime-san going to do?」

「I’ll try to go directly to the locations that I have in mind. Like the places where Kaori might go or the place where she might be thinking that she would be able to meet me if she go there. I’ll be able to search over a wide area effectively if I spread out the reconnaissance planes.」

「I see. When art we going to meet up again?」

「One hour later, here. I’ll leave it to you guys how are you going to do your search but……」

Hajime cut off his words for a moment. Then he smiled wryly as his gaze looked over their outfit.

Tio’s outfit looked like Japanese clothes, but there weren’t anyone who wore such clothing in the middle of city. She would definitely stand out. Hajime and Yue’s appearance too. They wouldn’t look that strange when seen from afar , but as expected there were a lot of things in their appearance that looked slightly out of place compared to the fashion of modern Japan. They couldn’t deny that they would stand out.

「……If your outfit cause a hindrance for your search, strip off the possession of some random fellow or snatch some from the shops. I’ll allow it.」

After saying that, Hajime too out Drucken that he stored inside his treasure warehouse. He changed it into its smallest mode and wrapped it in leather that was also attached with a belt before tossing it to Shia.

Hajime was just prioritizing weapon more than not standing out in case the worst happened, but this was right after he spoke such dangerous statement. Shia couldn’t help but wonder 「……Could it be, Hajime-san means that I should “do it” with this?」 with a twitching expression.

「S-say, Hajime-san. Isn’t that, simply a crime?」

Could it be that such thing was commonplace in Hajime-san’s birthplace? Was this a world of dog ate dog……Shia asked fearfully.

In respond to that question, Hajime slowly stared at Shia from the top of her head until her toes. Then he half smiled and thrust the sensitivity of Japanese person to her.

「You are far more criminal with your appearance that is only wearing a thin coat that when opened will show outfit that looks like swimsuit like that.」

「Horrible desuuu!?」

Do you have any complain for the traditional outfit of rabbit man race!? Shia thought with a shock. Hajime ignored her.

「When you change clothes, use the appearance of the people around you as reference about what kind of look won’t make you stand out.」

「……Nn. Understood.」

「For a proud dragon race to perform robbery……uumu. Depending on the situation, perhaps I shouldst leave behind ornament or jewelry for payment.」

「Barter isn’t recognized in Japan. It’s possible to exchange goods with money in pawnshop, but it will be a waste of time. In the first place you are just “a proud dragon race (lol)” anyway so what’s the point of worrying about it at this point. There is no problem at all.」

「Gufuh!? Mine overwhelming thanks for Goshujin-sama’s abrupt spear of sharp words! Haa haah!」

Hajime was someone who could easily perform absurd thing that left things like morality or ethics at the wayside, but certainly right now wasn’t the time to be considerate. Although Yue and Shia were making a conflicted expression (Tio was the only one having an ecstatic expression), they nodded in acceptance.

「Ask me through the telepathy stone if you meet some kind of problem. In an emergency situation where you can’t use the stone, don’t hesitate to fire magic or make a ruckus to make the rest of us notice.」

Hajime emphasized his order to Yue, Shia, and Tio. Certainly his decision was overflowing with composure and also backbone. He looked like his usual self but……

As expected from his lover, to Yue it looked like the current Hajime was lacking composure somewhat. He pulled at the sleeve of Hajime who hurriedly turned around to start his search.

「Yue? What’s wr──」

What’s wrong? That question was blocked. By the kiss that Yue did by standing on her tiptoes and her hand grabbing at his collar to pull him toward her lips.

「Aa!?」Shia raised her voice. 「Hohou~」 Tio grinned. Hajime watched them from the corner of his eyes while his eyes also turned wide in surprise.

The sound of moist lips rubbing could be heard faintly. Then Yue’s pink lips slowly let go.

「……It’s alright. I, we are with you.」

Her words were terribly abstract. It didn’t have any clear solution or answer at all.

However, her gaze that was overflowing with melting love and her voice that was sweet as though it was dripping with honey, and her aura that made him felt absolute confidence from her made Hajime unconditionally believed her words.

Aa, that’s right. Everything will be fine as long as we are together no matter what happen.

He intended to be calm and composed, but as expected his heart must be wavering because of the scene of his homeland that he longed for. His heart that felt like it was floating weightlessly in space was enveloped with a feeling like stepping firmly on the ground. Hajime let out a long sigh. And then his forehead bumped lightly on the forehead of Yue who was looking back at him from so close where their nose even touched each other.

「Thanks.」

「……Nn-」

Both of them exchanged a smile that was bright like the spring’s sun.

「Are you two finished? We have to search Myuu-chan and Kaori-san quickly here!」

「I wouldst go on ahead~. You two, keep it in moderation okay~」

Shia whose rabbit ears were flapping around noisily *usa usa* and Tio who was chuckling while hiding her lips with her sleeve left the tunnel together.

Hajime and Yue smiled wryly at each other before the two of them rushed to continue the search too.

.

Hajime who separated from the rest was standing on the rooftop of a certain building.

He was standing at the outer side of the fence. He would free fall if he took a step forward from there.

This was a scene that could often be seen in creative work before he got summoned to Tortus. The “competent type character” who made appearance in the story standing stylishly at a tall place. Hajime especially liked such character, but it made him felt strange when he was actually doing it himself.

Even so, it wasn’t like he was doing it just to look cool.

His gaze was directed toward the nearest station. It was a relatively big station. The station square was also quite big.

He was carefully scrutinizing that spot using the far viewing skill “Far Sight”.

「Not there.」

Kaori’s outfit was quite conspicuous. Therefore he didn’t think that she would just stand around at the station square where there were a lot of people coming and going, but he thought that perhaps Kaori would suppress her embarrassment and chose to stand in a place where she would be able to meet up with the others as quickly as possible even knowing the demerit of standing out like that.

He sent one Ornis to the opposite side of the station’s exit and observed there too but……

As expected, she wasn’t there. He hadn’t hold much hope for this location, but as expected he couldn’t hide his disappointment when his expectation came true.

While Hajime let out a sigh of disappointment, he switched mood slightly and looked across the town with a grave expression. His magic eye stone was also receiving the images of the town from the Ornis that he released to various places of the town.

Everywhere he looked there were only familiar sights, whether it was around the station or the other places.

Especially the structure far away from here that could be clearly seen from where he was standing──the extremely tall viewing platform “Sky Tower”, the most famous place of this town and its surrounding. As expected the sight was provoking his homesickness.

However……

Hajime couldn’t help but feel a discomfort somewhere in his heart before this scenery that displayed exactly the sight of his birthplace.

He couldn’t clearly describe what was actually different from this scenery but, if he was forced to describe it even then, there was this subtle feeling of revulsion, as though he was looking at a puzzle piece with similar pattern being forcefully fitted into the wrong puzzle.

「……Think of that question later. Anyway I have to search for Myuu and Kaori.」

Hajime shook his head to clear away his discomfort and focused his brain to the matter that he had to prioritize.

(In case Myuu is alone, then someone would most likely call out to her or she would call out to someone. And then when the other party decided that she is a lost child, she would be brought to the police station.)

There was a police station in front of the station. That was why Hajime was also coming here directly while sending Ornis to several other places at the same time. Even if Myuu wasn’t at this nearest police station, he would be able to ask the police if there might be a child who fit Myuu’s description in another police station.

(However, there is no guarantee that they will tell me the truth.)

After all this place was “tentatively” Japan. It was unclear whether the police officer here was really police officer that Hajime knew. Even so, seeing that nothing was certain right now, he could only take action with the greatest efficiency. For that he wracked his brain even further.

(In case Myuu and Kaori are together, Kaori would surely do what she can to hide Myuu’s ears that showed she is from the sea man race. In addition, I also can’t imagine that girl would do something like stealing clothes. Then she would undoubtedly go to a place that has a lot of covers to hide themselves that is also easy for us to find.)

Hajime spread a map in his head. This town was just a place where his father’s company was located, so it wasn’t like he knew every nook and corner of this place. But, in the first place his father chose this location to set up his company based on the commuting time needed for him to go from home to the office, so this place was also only several stations away from Hajime’s home.

Within the range of several stations around here, there were also the shopping district and department story that he often visited, Akihabara that was also called the holy land for otaku hobby, many other shops and sightseeing spot that he favored, and so on. Hajime also often walked around this area after he finished his part-time work in his father’s company.

Therefore, although he wasn’t as familiar with this place as the back of his own hand, it was an area that he was familiar enough with.

(If my memory serves me right, there is a green space of the town nearby. The forest there is quite natural and it’s not a bad place to hide in. After that……the shrine. I once encountered Kaori there at my first shrine visit of New Year, so the place also fit the bill.)

After that Hajime picked up the spots that Kaori might go to. Then he divided the places between the places that he should go directly to and the places that he should check using Ornis so that he could search around efficiently.

The time he needed to formulate his searching strategy was only around a minute. He then reconfirmed whether there was any oversight in his planning and then right after that, Hajime leaped down from the rooftop without any hesitation.

The building’s height was around forty floors. It was a freefall for around 200 meters. He had checked the pedestrian traffic below and the direction of the people’s gazes beforehand to make sure that he wouldn’t be noticed or hit other people. Hajime decelerated just before he hit the ground with “Air Force”.

A ripple of crimson magic power spread several times in the air. Then he landed with a thump on the ground right after a group of students from other school passed by.

The students didn’t notice anything. There was also no other witness……no, there was one person.

It seemed there was a smoking room at the second floor of a building nearby. The salary man there was looking down at Hajime from behind the window with a dumbfounded look. Ash crumble from the tobacco he was holding.

He jerked and trembled as soon as Hajime’s gaze over his shoulder met his gaze. Hajime narrowed his eyes toward him, however, he immediately took off his gaze and put the black hat that he had taken out beforehand from the treasure warehouse on his head. It was because his white hair was standing out.

Like that, he first headed to the police station in front of the station as though nothing had happened.

Hajime didn’t notice that the expression of the salary man who was staring at his back in a daze……suddenly slipped off.

.

When one hour almost passed since they began searching.

The sun that had been passing overhead when they first arrived here had been sinking quite a lot to the west at this time. The sky was gradually getting dyed by the color of madder red.

「Shit, a total miss huh.」

Hajime uttered a curse on the rooftop of a building that was relatively near to the tunnel that was their meeting place.

Six crows were perching on the surrounding railing and water tank. The number of Ornis that he could control simultaneously without any harmful effect was seven. In other words the search using six Ornis ended in failure.

And then right now even the seventh Ornis that was searching the last place that he had in mind didn’t even find any trace of Myuu and Kaori in the end. The time was going to run out.

「Like this the possibility that it’s only us who got teleported here is getting bigger.」

Hajime called back the seventh Ornis too and muttered the undesirable possibility.

Of course, he also still had other idea of places that he could check. Even so when he came to himself in this place, the four of them were right next to each other. The possibility that it was only the two of them who got sent to far away……was really hard to swallow.

「Perhaps……」

Were they kidnapped by someone? Such possibility also surfaced in Hajime’s mind.

Although there wasn’t any action that occurred from the other side in this perfect chance while Hajime and others were completely separated from each other. The four of them could also exchange “telepathy” while searching, so he thought that the possibility of that was nonexistence.

Hajime folded his arms and immersed himself in his thought.

「Goshujin-sama.」

Wind blew gently and Tio landed beside him. His location right now was close to the direction Tio was searching to, so she must have discovered Hajime while going back to their meeting place.

Hajime wasn’t particularly surprised because he had sensed her presence flying toward him. Above one’s head was a fundamental blind spot of human, so maintaining her human form while putting out only her dragon wings to search from the sky was a rational and acceptable decision.

Also Tio hadn’t sent any report from the telepathy, so in other words Tio’s result was also zero. Hajime turned his gaze in disappointment──

「Tio. As expected there is no clue──」

He reflexively swallowed his words. On top of that he was staring fixedly.

「Umu. I was unable to feel their presence at the slightest. I even tried to contact them not with telepathy, but by roaring several times.」

If Kaori was within her searching range, at the very least she should have done something like shooting magic or the like in order to let Tio notice her existence. Tio looked disappointed by her result.

Her appearance was really different from usual.

Yes, right now she wasn’t dressed in her usual native dress of dragon race that looked like the blending of Japanese and western styles. Instead she was wearing black tights and hot pants and a stylish belt, while above she was wearing a white shirt with V-neck and a deep blue long cardigan (there was incision on them so that her dragon wings could get out). There was a cute rucksack on her shoulder and her hair was also styled in ponytail.

Her atmosphere was exactly like a “capable beautiful lady who was in her holiday”. Her appearance was really stylish.

「Mu? Art there something wrong? I believe that this appearance art at least plainer than my original appearance though……」

「No, I think your choice is splendid. I’m a bit shocked because that appearance suit you too much.」

「Fua!? A-art that so? When I thought that as expected it wouldst be better for me to dress like the locals, a clothing store without any customer and even the owner entered mine sight in a very good timing! I was going to use the outfit of the doll in that store as a bit of reference. But that doll’s outfit was truly like the definition of girl’s outfit, so I borrowed its outfit and wore it as it is!」

Tio’s face turned crimson in an instant from Hajime’s unusually honest praise.

He wondered whether she was getting carried away but it seemed she was seriously embarrassed. She explained the situation that led her to wear this outfit with strangely fast talking & strong intonation while attempting to change the topic with a grin on her face that she couldn’t hide.

「M-more importantly, from Goshujin-sama’s expression, it seem that thou also didn’t manage to find any clue?」

「Yeah. Right now my last Ornis is returning back.」

「I see……there art also no contact from Yue and Shia that they hath succeeded in their search. That means……」

「Well, that’s how it is. Looks like we’ll need to revise our plan again.」

「Then let’s quickly head to the rendezvous place.」

Hajime stored Ornis and Tio’s rucksack into his treasure warehouse and then he switched his mood. The two of them nodded at each other and flew away with serious expression once more.

Like that, Hajime returned by jumping from building to building and returned to the meeting place……

Suddenly a commotion on the ground entered his ears. It was a nostalgic sound for Hajime, while the noisy sound was really grating for Tio.

「Aa? A patrol car’s emergency sirens?」

「Fumu? Art “patrol car” that vehicle object that art running while radiating red light and loud sound?」

「Yeah. It’s the police’s vehicle. Several of them are heading to the same direction……is there an incident?」

「The mobilization of a lot of the authorities……Goshujin-sama! Couldst it be!?」

「I’ll check it out──」

The two of them held a concern that perhaps something had happened with their companions.

For now Hajime was going to check it. He was going to activate telepathy but……a voice came from the other side before he could.

「Uwaaa~hn, how did it become like this! Desuu!! Haajime-saa~n! Please do something about thiii~ss!」

「……It’s fine, I’ll protect Shia-」

「You don’t need to protect me! Aah, another innocent victim is-!?」

「……No problem. I used the minimum force to match the common sense of Hajime’s birthplace!」

「There is nothing but problem desuuu!!」

An indescribable atmosphere drifted between Hajime and Tio for a while.

「Eh? Hajime-san!? Ha~ji~me~saaan!? Can you heaar!?」

「……We are surrounded. Even though it’s not the time for this……I’ll turn them all into a stain on the ground──」

「Wawah, Yue-san stop! We are actually the one in the wrong here so──」

Hajime didn’t know how to react. But it seemed the situation was worsening as each second passed even while he was hesitating like this.

He broke into a run with a hard step that left a crack on the rootop. Midway Hajime used “Air Force” while Tio used her dragon wings and wind magic. The two of them rushed toward the direction of the group of patrol car while Hajime replied to the telepathy.

「Shia, it’s me. What happened?」

「Hajime-san! Err, ee~rr, where should I start explaining from-」

「Tell me about the circumstance later. Just tell me your current situation」

「We are being chased by many polices desuu!! I ran around randomly so I don’t understand where I am right nooow! Please save meee!」

「……Is your situation related to Myuu and Kaori?」

「Not at all! Frankly speaking it was my complete blunderrr-, I’m sorry!!」

It seemed Shia or yue, or perhaps both of them did something that caused them to be chased around by a lot of polices.

From what he heard in the telepathy, it didn’t look like they were escaping by flying with gravity magic or running on rooftop.

「Haa. Got it. I’ll go there, so for now just keep running.」

「Their number keep increasing, so please come quickly!」

「……Nn. Hajime, sorry.」

He sent a message to Yue and Shia to focus in running. Then he cut off the telepathy.

It would be simple for them to escape the like of police using magic or abnormal physical ability, and yet they were attempting to run while still staying within the boundary of ordinary people’s common sense. They were doing their best to follow Hajime’s instruction to “assume that this place was Japan”.

Most likely they were taking great pains to do that because this place might be Hajime’s birthplace.

He didn’t know what kind of “blunder” they had committed, but they had been moving independently through a different world where the common sense and senses of values were completely different from Tortus. It was also Hajime himself who gave the instruction to not hesitate to protect themselves, so Hajime didn’t feel any anger or irritation or even exasperation inside his mind.

「Goshujin-sama. If this “patrol car” art chasing them, shouldst I use the chance to also pick up the sound from them?」

「Guess we’ll also can save the time to learn the situation like that. Do it.」

It seemed that an expert user of wind magic like Tio could even pick up the voices inside a moving car.

「All right. ──”Wind Sound”」

Tio immediately activated the communication magic to a patrol car running below them. Then they started hearing a voice that was mixed with the sound of sirens and rushing wind from driving in high speed.

「The number of victims is already more than twenty people.」

「Half of that number is our fellow polices. It seems that they are holding back somewhat because we are police but……」

「The damage to the civilians is completely, like that you know?」

「Yeah, there is no death but as a man, it’s just……too gruesome-」

They could hear the police’s trembling voices. They sounded terribly frightened.

Just what in the world Yue and Shia had done……

Hajime and Tio looked at each other. Right after that their deed came to light.

「Be careful you guys. We are cracking down on criminals who are threatening your life as man.」

「Yeah, we get it. We will definitely protect it……this city and our comrades, and also our──crotch!」

Hajime unconsciously let slipped a groan 「Yuee」. Tio too was putting her hand on her forehead 「Yue. What hath thee done……」.

From the content of the “telepathy” that they heard from Yue and Shia just now, the culprit of the crotch destroyer was most likely Yue-sama. It seemed that she was still diligently doing her “crotch smasher” activity even when in another world.

On top of that,

「However, what in the world pushed them to do such thing……」

「They must be man hater. According to the report, the culprit is an extremely beautiful blond girl.」

「Yeah, I heard the girl’s age might even be still in her early teen. It seems she is a foreigner though……」

「An oversea student huh? From the description she is wearing something like sailor uniform……looks like we’ll be able to find out her identity right away.」

It seemed that Yue-sama was currently wearing sailor uniform. Hajime understood that she must have changed into that outfit so that she wouldn’t stand out as much as possible, however Hajime thought.

「Oh? It seems the damage situation that Yue brought about art being sorted out.」

The sounds of ambulance could be heard from here and there. Surely the victims of the crotch smasher were being transported in those ambulances. It seemed the information that was obtained from them was being shared through radio.

According to their information, it seemed the first victim was a middle aged uncle. He saw Yue in her sailor uniform wandering around the town, a bit of misunderstanding occurred, then as the result of the uncle making a very forceful invitation, his crotch got *pichun*.

As expected the other civilian victims were also people burning with ulterior motive and tried to a reckless charge against Yue. As the result their crotch also got *pichun*. Men who fainted with foaming mouth got mass produced throughout the city.

In addition Yue who was already feeling greatly impatient due to her search seemed to be really irritated by those men. Then the polices who came running because of the report questioned her persistently, so her store of patience finally ran out and she snapped.

「In a sense, Yue’s beautiful face is a disaster huh.」

「In addition, she hath excessive sex appeal in contrast of her outer appearance.」

Hajime and Tio smiled with each other. No wonder this incident occurred, they thought.

Also, it seemed the crotch smasher this time was caused using stone throwing. It seemed she shot the stone using wind magic while making it looked like she flicked the stone with her finger.

From the outsider’s perspective, it was a throwing technique that hit one hundred times of one hundred as though it was locking on the target’s crotch. That skill and persistence of targeting only the crotch surprisingly made the police at the scenes to coincidentally also start calling her with the nickname Crotch Smasher.

「I think we will arrive soon……」

「Judging from their route, the location must be in that direction. I shall attempt picking the sound over there directly.」

The polices were starting to make a ruckus while Tio said that.

「Emergency report!? Eh, more than fifty polices got done in and the suspects got away even though they had gotten surrounded!?」

「That’s a joke right!? Did everyone get Smashed!?」

「No, wait, they aren’t! The one who did it is the other girl! The report said that she snapped a road sign and used it as a pole to mow down everyone!」

It seemed that Shia was rampaging peerlessly against the polices. She was fighting hard to not allow Yue to do her Smash any more than this.

「Oi oi……there is a report that the girl seems to be an experienced hand to hand fighter……we are talking about a girl who is still fifteen or sixteen years old right!? What kind of gorilla they are talking about here!」

「No, rather than gorilla……her appearance is an extremely beautiful girl wearing a light purple dress and a parker with rabbit ears attached.」

「A rabbit will never snap a road sign and use it as weapon.」

Most correct.

「Shia has also changed huh……she conveniently found a good outfit huh……」

「Goshujin-sama?」

For some reason hajime narrowed his eye in rumination when he heard that Shia had ended up looking really fashionable.

Tio called out to him in puzzlement, but before Hajime could reply back, their attention was diverted by the news that the wind brought to them. It was about the cause of why a major criminal investigation was carried out against her.

「Don’t tell me, the first report also isn’t a joke?」

「Ha, hahah……as expected there is just no way」

「Y-yeah of course. Even though she got ran over by a truck, how could it be the truck that got sent flying, right?」

「Yeah. Surely the witness report that the girl was making the stance of straight punch at the location was just a mistake. Someone who can send a truck flying with a single fist isn’t a gorilla anymore but a King Kong.」

Hajime got a distant look. Because he had guessed.

It seemed that when Shia-chan was faced with a truck charging toward her, she sent it flying instead with the technique of straight punch that she directly learned from Hajime. As expected from the bugged rabbit’s physical ability.

It seemed that it would be impossible for other world reincarnation trope due to truck-kun to ever happen to Shia. Rather it would be the truck that got reincarnated in that case.

「G-Goshujin-sama, thou shouldst not scold Shia too much later.」

「……I get it. After all Shia doesn’t know anything about the concept of traffic law. She must be too focused in her search that she crossed the street without really paying attention. That must be why the accident happened.」

Rather Hajime got worried by the safety of the truck’s driver……about that, it seemed that Shia immediately rescued the driver at the scene, so the driver also wasn’t seriously injured.

Rather the problem was after that.

She got surrounded by the polices because she spent too much time in her rescue operation. She ran away because she didn’t want to lose even more time for searching, and in the process she also knocked out the polices. Due to that, a major criminal investigation against a rabbit eared fighter girl was opened.

There was no doubt that the polices were also very shocked right now. Incidents in the level of terrorism happened in succession within a short time in the same town. Then the culprits were both beautiful girls. Furthermore it had been judged that they were comrades.

「Mu, Goshujin-sama! I hath managed to pick up the sound of Yue and Shia!」

「Over there huh.」

It seemed they had got closer until the distance where Tio could directly pick the sound.

「Aa!? The sergeant got sent flying!? Even though he is a giant who weighed more than a hundred kilo!」

「Was that the elbow strike of the Eight Extremities Fist just now!? I once saw it in movie!」

「Ora ora ora ora-! Desuu!!」

「This time it’s boxing!? Why flicker jab!?」

「Oi, where is the shield! Bring it qui──ah!?」

「……No need to worry. I hit you with the blunt side.」

「Rock only has blunt side from the start-. You, enough alrea──ah!?」

「Wrestle her! Pile down on her with all your weight!」

「Funnuaaaaah! Desuu!!」

「Gyaaaaaaaah!?」

「Impossible-, she sent flying five people together!?」

「Stooooppp, stop with the German Supl──guhah!?」

「No way……the living legend whose level in judo and kendo and karate is eighteen dan in total……」

The agonizing cries of the polices pierced the ears of Hajime and Tio.

The reverberation of the sirens sound felt like it was resounding through the whole city. The sight of people running away screaming like in the giant monster movie also entered their eyes. Rather this level of pandemonium made it felt like the JSDF should be mobilized already instead of just the police.

After witnessing that, Hajime turned his gaze toward Tio who was casually running in parallel with him.

Her appearance didn’t look out of place at all in modern Japan. If anything her attire was really stylish. Then there was her swift search in wide area and composed decision making that splendidly discerned the line as to not cause any commotion.

Somehow, Hajime thought.

「If only you aren’t a pervert, you would be a really reliable and beautiful lady.」

Tio failed her wind control and dove face first to a building’s wall. *Gokya-* There was a painful sound and the wall cracked. It seemed that Hajime’s true feeling that he didn’t just keep in his mind but unintentionally said out loud because of how disappointing she was had a really destructive power.

Hajime ignored her and hurried on ahead.

「G-goshujin-sama. ……Thou art, the real thing art you not?」

「What do you mean by that huh.」

Tio caught up to Hajime while covering her face with both hands. It was unknown whether she covered her face because of pain or because of shame. But from the way her neck and her ears got red, it seemed to be the later. But Hajime didn’t mention that and also didn’t answer her question. He looked down at the center of the commotion. There……

「Uwaaa~hn, I’m sooo~rrryy!! I have no bad intention desuu!」

「……You gonna try something aaah! These damned dogs of the government!」

「Yue-sannn, I’m begging you please don’t provoke them!! I understand that you must be irritateeedd!」

Shia who was running in her fancy fashion while half crying and sailor Yue who was making a fighting pose even while being carried under Shia’s arm were there.

From how it looked, Yue’s irritation had reached the peak. The proof was how her tone sounded like thug even though she was a former queen.

At the flip side, it was also due to her heartfelt worry for Myuu and Kaori’s safety.

Even so, all the polices were also looking furious because of this predicament that had made their dignity fell rock bottom. Even though they were scared, they were still resolutely chasing those two who had caused such big commotion with a vigor that made the ground quaked *ZUDODODO*.

This scene was like a certain master thief of the third generation and the Interpol polices who were chasing him.

The difference was,

「Don’t think that you two can get away!」

「Stop running! You two are under arrest for interfering with public servants──」

「I’m sorryyy-shaoraaa!!」

「Guea!?」

The merciless lariat and flying knee kick were launched even while the perpetrator was apologizing. After that was a straight right punch! The polices who tried to block the road got blown away.

That was the difference.

She didn’t use the Drucken that was hanging behind her waist. Just like how Yue was not using her magic blatantly, Shia was also similarly acting in consideration but……

It also felt like that consideration was already meaningless seeing that she had the previous offense of mowing down fifty polices with road sign.

「This is amazing. I never saw this many polices gathered even before I got summoned. This doesn’t feel like reality anymore but a movie scene instead.」

「I don’t know what art this “movie” thing, but this art not the time to calmly watch, correct? It seems that Yue and Shia art also unable to find Kaori and Myuu, so we need to quickly join them and decide our next action.」

Tio-san whose perversity was laying low was really reliable.

But then a unique sound that made the air quivered suddenly hit their eardrum at that timing.

「Tsk. A heli huh.」

There were multiple silhouettes at the sky some distance away. When Hajime checked with his “Far Sight”, he saw multiple helicopters flying this way. Tio’s mouth was hanging open n shock because she couldn’t believe a pile of metal was flying through the sky by rotating propellers in high speed.

Hajime was a bit amused by her expression while taking out a lot of smoke grenades from his treasure warehouse. And then he ignited them all at once with “Lightning Clad” and scattered them to below.

「Yue, Shia, stop. I’m going there right now.」

「……Nn! Hajime, I love youu!」

「Fueeehn, it was scary desuu! For some reason it felt scarier than it should be desuu!」

That was just how polices were. Even if someone hadn’t done anything criminal, the police’s presence would make them felt like they had done something bad and then they would start acting suspiciously. That was the mister police’s power, Hajime muttered even though he wasn’t giving explanation to anyone. Below, the smoke grenades hit the ground.

The polices that were at the forefront noticed the countless grenades that fell on the ground and yelled 「Ha? O-oi!? This!?」「D-DUCKKKKK──!!」「RETREAAATTTT──!」 while turning deathly pale.

Right after that, the smoke grenades triggered and a lot of white smoke gushed out.

Some people swiftly threw themselves on the ground, some people didn’t understand what happen at the front of and stopped running, some people were circling around to surround the suspects, and some people had just gotten down from the patrol cars that rushed here.

The people around Yue and Shia instantly got swallowed inside the thick white smoke.

Even so, some courageous people tried to rush forward in order to apprehend the two terrorists who were adorable only in appearance before they completely lost sight of them, but,

「It’s good to be fervent in one’s professional duty. However, I wouldst not let thee.」

Tio stopped them by causing gust to whirl up or by making wind tripping the polices so they fell.

And yet that gust didn’t blow away the smoke screen, rather the wind whirled swiftly and spread to the surrounding while avoiding Shia and Yue. The smoke screen was spreading far beyond its original effective range to the whole street. It even whirled above like a typhoon and applied pure white veil everywhere, blocking the sight of the onlookers in the surrounding building who were watching the criminal manhunt.

After confirming that, Hajime and Tio jumped down from the rooftop toward the wide open air pocket in the middle of the smokescreen. Hajime held his fist toward Tio beside him while falling.

「Nice job Tio.」

「Fufu, it also doth not feel bad to be praised normally sometimes.」

Tio guessed Hajime’s intention and tapped her fist on his fist. Her cheeks were slightly dyed red.

「……Nn!? Why is there a bit of good atmosphere between Hajime and Tio!? Even though she is a pervert!」

「Wah, Tio-san is looking really stylish desuu! Even though she is a pervert!」

「Kuh fuuh!! Mine comrades really can’t read the atmosphere! Thank you very much-」

Verbal abuses flew from Yue and Shia as soon as they landed. As I thought this feels better! Tio’s expression instantly became the usual disgusting ‘haa haa’ as though to say that.

Naturally Hajime took a step away from her. He was wordlessly conveying that this was the distance of their heart.

Obviously Tio went ‘haa haa’ even more. She hugged herself and writhed.

「We are leaving right away.」

Hajime said that with a sigh and transmuted the ground.

A hole toward the underground opened with a red spark. Hajime leaped into it first followed by everyone.

And then he repaired the ground to be back to usual while digging deeper underground. With that Hajime and co splendidly escaped the police’s manhunt.

.

The sounds of countless sirens and the sounds of helicopters flying above could be heard from afar. Then suddenly the manhole’s cover of a certain street was suddenly floating with a small sound *gakon*.

A slight opening was created with the cover floating in the air. A sharp gaze peeked out from there. The gaze rotated and quickly checked the surrounding.

Nobody could be seen. The noises were far from here. It was a clean and inconspicuous alley without any trash lying around.

「Yosh, it’s alright.」

Hajime pulled back his gaze and told everyone below him that.

This time the cover was moved aside and he climbed the stair to come out on the ground. Next he lent a hand to Yue and lightly lifted her up to his close embrace. Next Shia climbed up and held out her hand but, Hajime’s gaze told her 「Get out from there already」.

「The difference in treatment is still evident……」

「Shia. Your outfit art really sexy when seen from below but, it’s not like I hath any feeling of excitement seeing the underwear of the same sex, and in the first place you art stepping on mine hand so couldst thee move already? Haa haa」

Shia apologized ah sorry while stepping strongly and climbed up quickly.

*Gurii-gokyu* Such ominous sound and a happy scream 「Higiih!?」 could be heard. Tio didn’t come out……

Just as they thought that, a total pervert slithered out with an expression of ecstasy. It was a real horror.

「Leave the pervert alone. Yue, Shia. Did you two manage to obtain any kind of clue?」

「……No good. I asked around a lot because people kept approaching me anyway but……」

「It was also no good with mee. If it’s Kaori-san then she should at least react to my telepathy message, but there wasn’t any.」

「I see……」

As expected, it seemed their result was zero.

「Myuu-chan……uu, even though Onee-chan said that she will protect you……」

Shia felt so worried that she couldn’t endure it. She felt worthless that she could do nothing except worrying. Her shoulders dropped down in dejection.

「……Shia, there is no time to feel down. Perhaps it is only us four who got teleported here.」

「Yue-san……but, why is it just us? Perhaps they got kidnapped and hidden by someone-. If that’s the case-」

Apparently Yue and Shia had also reached the possibilities that Hajime considered.

Shia had experienced something similar like Myuu from leaving her birthplace the sea of trees and encountered horrible experience due to human malice. That might be why Shia was even more concerned with Myuu. Right now that sympathy was guiding her thought to a bad direction and she was even seething with killing intent 「If that’s really what happen then I absolutely won’t forgive the culprit-」.

Hajime couldn’t bear to watch Shia who was starting to lose her composure and roughly rubbed her head over her hood.

「We are also worried like you.」

「Hajime-san……」

「Don’t get heated up. Form your thought calmly. That’s the shortest route to reach Myuu and Kaori. Isn’t that right?」

Her rabbit ears stirred *usa usa* under her hood. When she looked at Yue and Tio, they nodded strongly at her to show that they were feeling the same.

「Putting aside Myuu, the current Kaori won’t struggle when faced with the average people around here. Even if she is just a powerless healer, her body’s specs has far surpassed the ordinary human.」

Also, even if this mysterious situation was undoubtedly related with the desert’s legend, it wasn’t like they got attacked and woke up here. They came here by their own volition. Therefore it would be dangerous instead to assume that there was someone’s malice at work here. Hajime chided Shia like that while also,

「Well, if there is really someone who did something to Myuu and Kaori because of malice……at that time all of us are going to tear that guy limbs from limbs.」

At the end a ghastly aura that made Shia’s rabbit tail to stand on ends also radiated from Hajime. Shia’s intensifying feeling calmed down as though she had been showered with cold water.

Hajime noticed that Yue and Tio were staring at him warmly as though to say 「Didn’t you say to think calmly just now?」. He coughed to gloss it over.

And so, in order to also decide their plan going ahead, Hajime made up his mind and opened his mouth to speak about his conjecture that he was partly sure about……

「Yue, Shia, Tio. Listen to me. About this world──」

Suddenly, *Zaa-zaa-* a grating sound entered their ears.

The four got attracted by the noise and turned their gazes together. At the end of this alley, at the other side of the street there, an old looking recycle shop entered their sight.

Behind its slightly dirty show window, there were televisions that also looked old lined up in a rack that had two columns. Each column was filled with six televisions. All those televisions were turned on and showing noise lines.

「……Was that shop there before?」

Hajime felt suspicious. He had checked both sides of the alley beforehand, but he didn’t remember seeing that recycle shop at all.

He didn’t think that he would overlook it but……there was one more strange point. The noise had gone through the glass window, crossed over the street, and reached until where Hajime and co were standing at. Furthermore, the noise that grated their eardrums so much just now had weakened as though the volume had been adjusted.

It was as though it wanted to attract their attention.

Hajime and co looked at each other, and then they followed the invitation to stand in front of the window. They looked to left and right, but there wasn’t any sign of human. The inside of the shop was also empty. The alley was deserted as though it was isolated from the world.

They narrowed their eyes and turned their gaze back toward the television that was filled with noise. Then the television showed an image as though it had been waiting for that.

「──tsu」

「Myuu-chan!」

「……Kaori is also there.」

「This……if this image art true, then as expected we art the only one who got teleported to here……」

Everyone opened their eyes wide and gulped. Their heart spontaneously jumped inside.

It couldn’t be helped. After all the six old televisions were all projecting the image of Myuu and Kaori.

The place was inside Brieze. Just like before they were teleported, Kaori was sitting at the center front while Myuu was sitting near the window on the rear. The two of them seemed unconscious. They were leaning deeply on the seat and their eyes were closed.

From the image, they could see the two’s chest were moving with systematical rhythm and their complexion also wasn’t bad. It also didn’t seem like they had any external wound on their body.

Bronze sand was blowing against the window. Just as Tio said, if they believed this image then Myuu and Kaori were left behind at the desert.

At the same time there was also one more thing that became clear from this.

「I see. And──who are you?」

It became clear that there was someone’s will behind this teleportation.

Shia reflexively became angry, but Yue grasped her hand to remonstrate her.

They didn’t understand the reason why Kaori and Myuu were left alone, or why only Hajime and others got teleported here.

Depending on the way they looked, this action of showing Kaori and Myuu in this situation could be taken as a threat that the two were hostages. But other than the commotion with the polices that was simply Yue and Shia reaping what they sowed, Hajime and co still hadn’t been harmed at all nor there was any attempt for it. it was too early to decide that they were split from each other as kidnapping.

「Are you, the desert’s legend?」

The mirage that human originally shouldn’t be able to catch up to. The desert’s legend that those who could catch up to the mirage would be invited to the place they wished for. If that legend wasn’t just a mere phenomenon, if there was the will of some kind of existence behind it.

Hajime asked while feeling half convinced of that.

The reply……didn’t come. But, somehow the silence felt like a wordless affirmation.

「Can you…

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