|This chapter is translated by Japtem and edited
by Icy Kitten on 20th August 2019.
ZUGANn! DOGHA! BAKI BAKI BAKI! DOGUSHA!
Tremendous sounds of destruction could be heard inside the Sea of Trees. Some trees were witnessed splitting in two. There were craters scattered around, and it looked as if meteors had somehow made their way to the floor of the area. Furthermore, some trees were burning, while some were frozen.
The sources of such devastation were naturally Yue and Shia, and it didn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
“Take this!!” (Shia)
A tree over one meter thick was shot out alongside the ear-splitting yell. It broke in the middle and flew into the target at terribly high speed. Even though it was a rather simple tree, it brought chaos in its wake.
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“…… Scarlet Spear!” (Yue)
That was a spear that would scorch everything in front of its path and reduce it to ashes. It didn’t have restrictions on the size or mass of the target, making it ideal for this situation. The bullet-like log flying through the air was immediately reduced to ashes.
“Not yet!” (Shia)
The power of the shockwave between ‘Scarlet Spear’ and the mid-air tree caused all the surrounding fog to disperse, and Shia’s figure was exposed for a brief second. Immediately, a log fell from the sky like a meteor and pierced the ground with a thundering boom. Yue deftly backstepped and began chanting her magic for a counterattack.
However, Shia rushed out from the fog before obliterating the tree with her foot, sending splinters towards Yue. The target had to stop her spell and improvise.
“Kh! “Fire Castle” (Yue)
Suddenly a blazing wall that could be called a rampart came out to block the incoming projectiles, and none of them made it past the heat.
“Got you!” (Shia)
At that time, Shia had already moved behind her. After shooting the improvised shots that acted as a splendid distraction, she once again slipped into the fog. Her hand grasped the hammer that held the density of a building, and immense wind pressure started to bore down on her enemy.
“ Wind Wall! “ (Yue)
A fierce impact from the Sledge Hammer shattered the ground and scattered stones in every direction. However, Yue was able to block the terrific attack and deflected the stones with a wall of wind, then she immediately followed up by retreating to safety. Almost instantaneously, she fired another terrifying magic spell without concern of the others’ life.
“[Frozen Coffin]” (Yue)
“Fue! W- wai—!” (Shia)
When Shia noticed her target’s magic, she desperately cried out for it to stop, but Yue entirely disregarded her pleas. Shia tried to get away from her location but the ice magic instantly started to freeze her feet, and resulted in her whole body turning into a chunk of ice, save for the head.
“Co- cold~, please hurry up and release it~, Yue-sa~n” (Shia)
“… My victory” (Yue)
Yue and Shia were on their final day of training, having a mock battle as the final test. The rule was that it would be Shia’s victory if she was able to damage Yue even a little. The result…
“Uu~, that is~, eh, that! Yue-san’s cheek! There is a scratch! A scratch! My attack hit! Ahaha~, I did it! It’s my win!” (Shia)
There was definitely a scratch on Yue’s cheek. The source of origin was most likely a piece of rocky debris that broke through Yue’s defense. Even though it was a really small scratch, it still counted as a wound. It was Shia’s victory. After pointing that out, Shia’s face looked overjoyed by it. She revealed a big smile despite her body being encapsulated in ice and her nose was running. After all, she had made an important promise with Yue regarding this battle.
Though, for Yue, this promise was like hell. Therefore,
“…… There is no wound.” (Yue)
It was a good thing that the wound disappeared immediately because of “Auto Regen”. She sulkily turn her head with a “hmpf”.
“Wha-wait!? That’s unfair! There is certainly a scratch…… no, even though there’s nothing there now, there certainly was! It’s cruel to cheat! You know I won so please remove the magic already! I’m starting to get a little… bit tired…” (Shia)
Shia was almost entirely covered in ice, so if she were to remain there and fall asleep, she would die of hypothermia. Yue watched this and sighed, releasing the magic.
“Pikchi-! Pikchi! Auu, it’s co~ld. I almost closed the curtains.”
After a lovely sneeze, she covered her nose with a nearby leaf. Shia then looked at Yue with seriousness in her eyes. Yue made an unpleasant expression because of her gaze, causing her ‘unchanging’ face to change.
“Yue-san. I’ve won” (Shia)
“……………… Nn” (Yue)
“It is a promise, right?” (Shia)
“…………………… Nn” (Yue)
“If… I can win at least once in the ten days…… I’ll be taken along on Hajime-san and Yue-san’s travels, right?” (Shia)
“………………………… Nn” (Yue)
“At the very least, you’ll help to convince Hajime-san, right?” (Shia)
“……… Do you remember what today’s breakfast was?” (Yue)
“Waiiit! What’s with that sudden change of topic! Moreover, it was a light breakfast! Yue-san, aren’t you okay as long as you’ve got Hajime there? Please be my ally already! If I have Yue-san as an ally, it’s already 90% success!” (Shia)
Shia made pained noises, and Yue looked at that expression that came from the bottom of her heart.
As Shia said, Yue had promised her. Specifically, Yue said to Shia, that if she were able to wound Yue at all, she would assist Shia in getting Hajime to let her join their group.
Shia seriously wanted to come along with Hajime and Yue. Half of it was because she didn’t want to become a burden to her family, while the other half was simply because she wanted to be together with Hajime and Yue.
However, her wish had been coldly rejected. Even now, Yue and Hajime still stood by that decision. When this happened, she was reminded of the promise from before. At that time, what Shia thought of was the promise from before.
In Shia’s eyes, Hajime pampered Yue by fulfilling her expectations. Additionally, she understood Yue’s feelings toward Hajime, because she replicated them. Yue also knew what Shia’s feelings were, thus it was vital for her to get this promise out of Yue.
It’s not like Shia wanted to take Hajime from Yue, she just wanted to have companions who cared about her. Having a lover and a rival was what she wanted from the bottom of her heart.
On the other hand, Yue had no reason to promise Shia anything, since there was nothing in it for her. A small part of it was out of pity for Shia, because she had been in a similar situation to Yue, so a bit of a soft spot had developed.
The other 80% was… Yue’s obstinacy. She decided to accept Shia’s offer.
“Please see for yourself if I’ll just be a burden. Even if it’s impossible, please acknowledge that I’m able to stand beside Hajime”. (Shia)
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It was a challenge to fight Shia over the man they both loved. She didn’t think she could keep her calm with a rival near her. However, since Shia was an opponent with similar circumstances, she gave in and accepted her challenge.
As a result, the battle was won by Shia.
“…… haa. I understand. I’ll defend the promise…” (Yue)
“Really!? As expected, the~re is no need to stop~! Please defend it well!” (Shia)
“Somehow, I think there was a strange pause… Will you really take care of it?” (Shia)
“…… You’re persistent.” (Yue)
Though reluctant, Yue admitted Shia’s victory. Shia was a little uneasy about Yue’s hesitant answer, but left it behind and continued indulging in her happiness, believing that Yue would keep her promises like Hajime.
Slowly, the training of the Haulia tribe came to an end. The gloomy Yue and cheerful Shia were returning to Hajime and the others.
When Yue and Shia arrived at the place Hajime was at, he had his eyes closed, and arms crossed while leaning on the nearby tree.
Maybe he noticed the two’s presence, because Hajime slowly opened his eyes and turned to them. Noticing that their moods were complete opposites, he waved and called out to them.
“Yo, both of you. Did the match end?” (Hajime)
Hajime had heard there was a bet between the two for the match. He was also the one who prepared Shia’s ultradense Sledgehammer at her request, as Yue didn’t object to it for the battle, and he didn’t imagine it being a hinderance to her. Although he didn’t know the contents of the bet, they wouldn’t tell him.
Hajime guessed that if Yue and Shia fought 10 times, 8 to 9 of those cases would end up with Yue’s victory. He already understood Yue’s ability in the Abyss. It didn’t matter if Shia was able to directly use magic, her lifestyle was drastically different from theirs.
However, from their expressions, Hajime was internally surprised that his expectations were overthrown. Shia cheerfully talked to Hajime.
“Hajime-san! Hajime-san! Please hear me out! I, was finally able to win against Yue! It’s a big victory! Well~, I want to show it to Hajime-san~, my magnificent fight! The time when Yue-san admitted def- hebu!?” (Shia)
Shia tried to explain how their match settled with gestures, but she got too into it, then came Yue’s slap which caused her to be thrown into the ground with a “thud”. It was so strong that she could only twitch without any signs of getting up.
Yue turned around with a “hmpf” in a bad mood, and Hajime’s curiosity peaked.
“Well? What happened?” (Hajime)
Rather than the match’s result, Hajime was asking about the content. The fact that Yue had been defeated wasn’t something he could believe very easily. No matter who looked at Yue and Shia, without knowing what had happened, they would only think that it was a lie.
Yue exuded the aura that she didn’t want to talk about it, but also didn’t want to hide it. She finally decided to tell him.
“…… Her magic aptitude is steady, like Hajime’s.” (Yue)
“That’s good, or else the hammer would be wasted on her… then? That’s not all, right? To be pestered by a Sledgehammer of that level…” (Hajime)
“…nn, she specializes in body strengthening. Honestly, it was at the level of a monster” (Yue)
“…Hohou. Is it comparable to us?” (Hajime)
Hajime narrowed his eyes at Yue’s evaluation. Honestly, the high evaluation had caught him off guard. Strangely, her constantly expressionless face was slowly warping into being flat and bitter while she talked about it. Yue was thinking of how to answer Hajime’s question, and then she replied while looking into his eyes.
“… Compared to your normal status… around 60%.” (Yue)
“Seriously… is that the maximum?” (Hajime)
“Nn… but there’s most likely room for improvement.” (Yue)
“Ooo. That’s certainly at the level of a monster.” (Hajime)
Hajime was secretly surprised at having heard Yue talk about Shia’s monster-like power, and then he looked at Shia without saying anything. If it was true that she was at around 60% of Hajime stats without any strengthening, Shia’s strengthened status should be around 6000. It was around twice as much as a completely strengthened hero. Truly a power worthy of being considered “monster level”. She even had the possibility of reaching Yue. It was really something unimaginable due to her usual crying and child-like attitude.
Shia noticed Hajime’s half-astonished half-amazed gaze. She cheerfully stood up, then walked up to Hajime with a serious expression while desperately controlling her scrambled mind. Straightening her posture, her gray-blue hair was fluttering and her rabbit ears stood up straight. She was going to tell Hajime her wishes, which could also qualify as her confession. She was trembling from her nervousness, even though her eyes bore an unyielding gaze and her face was serious, until she finally came before Hajime.
“Hajime-san. I want you to take me along on your travels. Please!” (Shia)
“I refuse.” (Hajime)
“An immediate answer!?” (Shia)
Shia was astonished that she was rejected despite the good atmosphere. Hajime just looked at her like she was crazy.
“Ho- how cruel, Hajime-san. Even though I was seriously asking that, to so easily reject me…” (Shia)
“Well, I don’t want to know even if you said it. First of all, what about Kam and the others? Let me guess, you want to take them along too right? (Hajime)
“Th- that’s wrong! Those were my own wishes just now! I already talked to father and the others. Even though it’s not like they think I was a burden… that’s…” (Shia)
“Well? What is it?” (Hajime)
Shia started to become bashful, and would sneak a glance at Hajime every few seconds while she played with her fingers. Her sly, cunning appearance only put Hajime on guard as he watched her.
On the side, Yue was watching Shia with an irritated expression.
“That’s… I, I just wanted to follow…” (Shia)
“Haa? What are you trying to follow? Right now, you won’t be a burden to your tribe, right? If you have that power, then nobody should be able to stand up to you.” (Hajime)
Shia attempted being more bashful, but this had the opposite effect, as Hajime pulled out Donner in response. It wasn’t known whether she noticed that or not, but Shia yelled “Woman’s courage!” in her mind then voiced out her desire.
“I want to stay beside Hajime-san! I love you!” (Shia)
“…… Ha?” (Hajime)
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While Shia was planning her next move, Hajime was still stunned from her words. However, after a while, as if the words finally transmitted into his brain, he instinctively retorted back;
“No no no, what are you saying? Where the hell did I raise the flag? Even though I can’t say for myself, I thought I treated you harshly… don’t tell me, did you get off from that? Are you ⓜⓐⓢⓞⓒⓗⓘⓢⓣ?” (Hajime)
Shia never thought he would think of her like that and started to back away from Hajime with regret. Shia regained her composure and quickly refuted him.
“Who’s the ⓜⓐⓢⓞⓒⓗⓘⓢⓣ! I don’t have that kind of hobby! Rather, if you knew I was being treated harshly, why didn’t you act kinder…” (Shia)
“Well, I’ve got no reason to be nice to you… First of all, are you seriously in love with me? You aren’t just tempted by the circumstances?” (Hajime)
Hajime refused to believe her since he thought it was a suspension bridge effect. It wasn’t a surprise because everyone could see Hajime’s attitude toward Shia was harsh in every aspect. However, Shia had her feelings doubted was very ill-humored.
“My feelings aren’t related to our situation at all. Even though I was happy when you kept true to your promise, I already had feelings for you at the time. Even when I think about it, I wondered why does it have to be Hajime? Hajime-san is like a demon. You always throw yourself into trouble, never show mercy, only answer when needed, and don’t even call me by my name. You only show favorability towards Yue-san and it hurts. It really made me question my love.” (Shia)
While speaking, Shia began to doubt her own feelings. Shia looked up to see Hajime shaking with narrowed eyes.
“A-anyway. I can’t let you come along no matter what you feel.” (Hajime)
“Was that a joke just now? I really do love you, so please take me along!” (Shia)
“You know, your feelings are… well, even if they happen to be real, don’t you understand that I already have Yue? Rather, to be able to confess in front of her… I thought about it a while ago, but your number one weapon isn’t body strengthening, but your heart being made entirely of Azanthium, right?” (Hajime)
“Who’s the one with a heart made from the hardest ore! Uu~, I understand. Everything about Hajime-san. It was as expected.” (Shia)
Shia followed this up with a cackle as she turned towards Hajime.
“Now, I thought this might happen! I gained an ally while risking my life! Yue-sensei! Please help me!” (Shia)
“Ha? Yue?” (Hajime)
Hajime blinked his eyes having heard the unexpected name. Shia had a smug expression of triumph for a moment before looking at Yue to her side.
Yue’s expression was beyond the realms of being called ‘bitter’ and she turned to Hajime.
“……………… Hajime, let’s take her along.” (Yue)
“Hold on, what’s with that pause? You obviously don’t like this idea… don’t tell me, was it the result of the bet?” (Hajime)
“…… Regrettably.” (Yue)
Hajime roughly understood the circumstance between Shia and Yue, and his anger turned into amazement. Shia thought that, for Hajime to hear out her wish, her power alone wasn’t enough. Once again, she remembered how Hajime took Yue’s words as a priority in decision making. Therefore, she needed a method to make Yue her ally. It was without a doubt a deadly method, but without taking the chance it would be impossible for her to accompany them. In those ten days, she was quite literally dying to find out Yue’s habits in combat. Shia was desperately trying to grasp the thread of hope.
Hajime was scratching his head. Even when he saw how Yue was reluctantly admitting her, there was still no reason for him to take Shia along. In the end, it was a matter of Hajime’s feelings.
Yue looked at Shia and silently told her that it couldn’t be helped. It was because in these ten days, she, more than anyone else, had watched how hard Shia worked and how she destroyed the trouble that imposed her, so Yue approved of her being a travel companion. In the beginning, she never felt hatred toward Shia or her feelings toward Hajime.
On the other side, Shia started to feel uneasy but she steeled herself. Shia already tried everything she could, so she could only wait for her fate to play out.
Hajime inhaled and exhaled deeply once and looked straight into Shia’s eyes, then he spun the words of confirmation one by one. Shia quietly regained her power when she heard his words.
“If you want to go with us, shouldn’t you already know the answer?” (Hajime)
“I already told you, the future I see isn’t absolute.” (Shia)
Shia said that because the future was always subject to change depending on the actions she took.
“It’s a journey full of danger.” (Hajime)
“Then I’m glad I am a monster. Thanks to that I can go with you.” (Shia)
She now took pride in the term the elders once used to shame her. After all, she experienced things that she wouldn’t be capable of unless she was a monster.
“My wish is to get back to my home planet. You’ll likely never meet your family again, you know?” (Hajme)
“I’ve already discussed that with my tribe, they understand.” (Shia)
They were the family that had always protected her until now. Shia didn’t have a way of expressing her gratitude. As a family that was always together no matter the situation, when she told them what she wanted to do, they were sad but understood her wishes.
“My hometown isn’t a place you can easily fit in you know.” (Hajime)
“I’ll say it no matter what. I’m going.” (Shia)
Shia had voiced her wishes and feelings. At this point, nothing could stop her from going along.
“Fufu, is that the end? Then, it’s my victory, right?” (Shia)
“What victory…” (Hajime)
“My feelings have won the battle, Hajime-san.” (Shia)
“… What the hell.” (Hajime)
Once more, Shia Haulia stated her wish.
“…… Please take me with you.” (Shia)
Hajime and Shia looked at each other. Hajime looked into her azure eyes to confirm her intentions.
“… Haa~ do whatever you like. Curious one.” (Hajime)
Maybe he saw something in her eyes, because Hajime let out a sigh and gave up.
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Inside the Sea of Trees, a disgruntled “Hmph” and shout of joy echoed. Having seen that, Hajime could only give out a wry smile, knowing that there would be a lot of implications that there would be a lot of trouble from now on.