Epilogue

Editor: TheDarkLink; Proofreader: Dreen

“Phew, we got away.” I stand atop a small knoll and use [Farsight], to be sure. There are no signs of any pursuers.

Kyou-san faces me and hits me. Forget about slapping, it’s a heavy blow right into my face, and even though her [Strength] isn’t that high, it’s powerful enough to throw me off my feet, landing me on my butt..

Maybe I deserve it.

Rine doesn’t interfere. She’s just smiling awkwardly. “That was… unfortunate.”

“No, that was idiotic!”

“It wasn’t on purpose. Kenta is obviously a beginner with the bow.”

“And then he panicked, stole the bow and arrows in the confusion and ran away.”

“…like I said, unfortunate.”

You tried, Rine. But even I can’t defend my actions. That was half-assed, I could’ve looted the dark one more, if I hadn’t run off so soon.

Well, for Kyou-san it’s a complicated matter, since she’s originally part of that posse. But I need her at the moment, so she has to come with me.

But maybe I should try to console her. Some of my decisions weren’t that great. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to place traps in an unfamiliar forest, so I’ll take that to heart. And it would be better to intervene in fights earlier next time, so they won’t drag on until the debuffs run out. Finally, next time before I use a bow in an actual fight, I better practice beforehand.

“Kyou-san, that was an accident, and I’m somewhat sorry.”

“We could have talked with each other.”

“…” As if I could hold a decent conversation with those morons. “At least they’re still alive. And Rine is here as well!” So we can finally say farewell to this quest.

Kyou-san looks at me as if I’m an old man suffering from Alzheimer’s. “Ken, do you really think that we can return to Esse?”

“… Kenta, you were serious!?” Rine is shocked to hear these words from Kyou-san. So she really didn’t believe me, when I said, that we want to return her to her father. That means she trusts Kyou-san’s words more than mine, huh?

“Don’t worry, Rine.” I say some simple words.

“OK.” To great effect. Her worries just vanished.

I nod, satisfied. “Why shouldn’t we?”

“Well, let me summarize.” She raises one finger and looks for a place to stab me with it. “First, both of us accepted a quest to bring back the princess.”  She raises her second finger, and her hand is dangerously waving before my eyes. “We took any information we could beforehand, but disappeared right before the official briefing to get a head start. And we spread false information and traps to hinder and hurt the others.” The third finger joins the others, each of them trembles. “We found the princess and turned her into our comrade using unexplained means.” Her fourth finger jumps up. “Then you led the pursuing heroes into a trap, instigating an attack of strong monsters against them. You even got caught up in your own plan, and had to use the others to survive.” Now she shows her full hand, making me feel uncomfortable, since she opens and closes it into a fist repeatedly. “But you didn’t support them, so they took the brunt of the attack. And while the last enemy was fleeing, you shot Masahiko-kun, the leader of the heroes, in the back. You then took some of the equipment from another one of them and we all fled.” But instead of punching me again, she puts her hand to her forehead, as if she has a major headache. “Seems like a genuine kidnapping case to me.”

… …

… … …

She may be right. Somehow, it could be seen that way. But before I can respond, Kyou-san already continues.

“There is a need for a lot of explaining here, and if we explain too much, or they have the means to analyze the curse, all of us are in grave danger. And if they know about the curse, they’ll definitely investigate it with all their power, since the crown princess is subjected to it. So they’ll learn everything, including the whole marriage mess.”

She has another point. Returning might be suicidal. Especially, since polygamy is punished by death. I’m sure that the king wouldn’t kill Rine, but that doesn’t necessarily extend to me. And I’m sure they have their fail-safes, for the case where a hero becomes an enemy.

At least, if I were king, I wouldn’t let someone like me stay ‘attached’ to the crown princess, and I would also have a defense mechanism for anyone who tries to oppose me, be it a hero or not.

There may be a chance that the king might actually be a cool guy, investigating the curse and finding a way to keep us all alive, but I personally think that the king is a big a-hole, who doesn’t mind kidnapping minors to fight his wars. He even sent us after his daughter, who is clearly able to kill all of us heroes effortlessly, so really… Why should I trust him at all?

Especially after what happened today, with fake’s posse. Kyou-san is somewhat right, even though she’s most likely as agitated as me. Everything about our behavior seems to be perfectly villainous.

Ah, this is a pain in the ass. Since Inoue’s posse is still alive, they will surely tell the story in the worst possible way and make everything complicated. It won’t even matter if we’re first, which could be hard, as we’d have to force one of our companions along and we may not be able to travel via carriage. In the end, everyone will trust them over me. Like always.

But killing Masahiko’s posse wasn’t an option. Until now. I’m actually considering it a bit.

Too bad someone here would be totally against it. “So, Kyou-san. What do you want to do?”

“Honestly? Killing you would be a fine start.”

“Figures.”

“It’s all your fault! Ah! How can I even face them anymore!?” Kyou-san is holding her head, shaking it back and forth, and I think she’s on the verge of tears. “Everything. Is. Your. Fault!”

Ah, I was about to let some of her remarks slide, but she’s annoying as hell! “Your buddies didn’t want to talk at all!”

“You were the one who got all hostile!”

“Without me, all of them would be dead!”

“You’re the reason why they were in such a danger in the first place!”

“It’s not my fault they didn’t retreat!”

“Jerk!”

“Bitch!”

“You massive moron!”

“Drama queen!”

“QUIET, BOTH OF YOU!”

My ears. They are ringing…

Rine is upset and glares at both of us angrily. “THE SITUATION DIDN’T CHANGE, I WON’T RETURN HOME! KENTA DID HIS BEST, BUT IT WAS UNFORTUNATE. AND KYOU’S ONLY WORRIED ABOUT HER FRIENDS, SO DON’T BE MEAN TO HER! NOW ALL OF US ARE FRIENDS AND YOU’LL LIKE IT!”

Rine’s ember eyes are burning with anger and frustration. Her body is about to lash out, reflecting her honest personality perfectly. She’s about to throw a tantrum and I have the feeling that she will destroy everything in her way… For example, us.

Kyou-san’s eyes show that she reached the same conclusion as I did. Yes, we’re afraid of Rine, and we definitely don’t want her to burst under any circumstances.

“Rine-chan, it’s alright. Ken and I are just arguing.”

“Yeah, what she said.”

“No, you’re fighting and you have to reconcile.” Please, stop being so childish! “Do it!” Why did you just draw your sword? Is she really about to snap?

We have to do something. Just like so often before in school, I need to make a false apology..

Same goes for Kyou-san “… Ken… I-” She is forcing every single word out. “I’m sorry for… being that… mean.”

“Kyou-san. Sorry…” Ah, Rine’s fire-eyes are focusing on me! She wants more than that. “…for everything.”

“Good. And now both of you hug!”

…what!?

Kyou-san and I object simultaneously. “Rine-chan, there is no-” “No, we wo-”

“You will! When my father and I reconcile, both of us always hug each other. So do it!” She swings her sword once through the air. “Do it. Now!”

Unsure what to do, Kyou-san and I look at each other. And then, with mutual disgust, we embrace.

 

=======================================================================

You gain 2 WP.

Even though it may be forced, the two of you are finally embracing each other. Ah, how romantic!

=======================================================================

 

Kyou-san may be pretty and has an attractive figure, but the person behind it is just horrible. But I feel her boobs. Soft.

“Uuh… you smell like vomit.” Hey, that was because of whiplash! Try getting thrown through the air several times in short succession.

Then suddenly, we’re pressed together even further. It’s Rine. She’s embracing both of us. “Now we’re all comrades, friends, and maybe…something more!” So is this the reason why she was that eager fort Kyou-san and I to hug? So she can turn it into a group hug? “*giggle*”

My sorrow has just doubled. The curse was right, when I ‘married’ Rine.

What should I do? Where should we go?

I hate it. I hate this world!

 

―○●○―

 

There were several hero-parties in the mountains, but not all of them were still eager to find the princess. One of these parties is the team of Hoshibashi and Yoshimura. They work together as a team of two without the help from the other heroes.

Hoshibashi used to hang around with some delinquents, but he was never a leader type. More of a follower, but he never cared about that.

Yoshimura was someone who did everything seriously and tried hard, but only got mediocre results.

They never talked much to each other before they came into this world, but they ended up as roommates by chance, when they were still in Esse. And now they’re friends.

Coming to the mountains was a waste of their time. But both of them welcomed the chance to gain some levels here. They want to be the strongest in this world. Since hard work is directly rewarded, Yoshimura can finally get results, and Hoshibashi follows his lead, becoming stronger than ever before.

Capturing the princess is not on their minds, because they have already set their eyes on the next task. After meeting an information dealer, they decided what they wanted to do once they had finished leveling up.

If the dealer, Correo, is right, then there exists a method to remove a selected class and regain the class slot. But the location of this secret is heavily guarded, so they need to raise their levels beforehand. They must be ready, so they can take on the elves, when the time comes.

 

―○●○―

 

In a forest, there is a pitiful creature bleeding out. Several cuts to its legs and body, plus a missing hand slowly takes its toll on the creature’s energy. It’s about to die, but it still struggles. , While it’s hiding in its lair and waiting for the danger to pass by, its remaining hand holds the stump, trying to stop the blood flow.

But then there is a cackle. Then a crackle. And then the creature fell, hit by a bolt of lightning.

Akiyama Eri looks at the dead body and checks her status. “I leveled up six times.”

Kurosawa Teruko enters the cave, the lair of the monkey-spiders. “There are a lot of items here. Some might be valuable.”

Then Yamauchi Daichi follows, lending Kita Katsuo and Inoue Masahiko a shoulder respectively.

Masahiko is badly wounded, so he has to recuperate. But when the big monkey-spider was still alive, it was too dangerous to take a rest. So the girls decided to take it out.

Only they actually witnessed how their leader got shot. It was all Katsuragi’s fault. Everything was part of his schemes and in the end, he kidnapped the princess and Kyou.

Masahiko himself was hit out of the blue and wasn’t able to process the events, but after hearing the details from the girls, he felt played with. He will trust the girls, who risked everything during the attack.

It’s painful to see how powerless he is, nonetheless. Kyou may be in danger, but magical treatment can’t cure blood loss, so he can’t follow her immediately. Several days of recuperation might be needed, maybe even weeks. Plenty of time for Katsuragi-kun to run away and take a low profile.

Katsuo isn’t fit to pursue them either. Since healing Masahiko had taken so much effort and resources, he wasn’t healed completely. Although they used up all their bandages, there was little the girls could do to help him recover quickly, aside from giving him their best wishes.

They aren’t in a state to chase Katsuragi and the girls he took. So they have to return and report everything to the king.

Masahiko’s heart hurts. He wants to save Kyou, but he can’t.

The girls find something. Teruko points to a nest-like structure, filled with assorted objects. “Look at all that. This is like a treasure trove!”

Seems like the monkey-spiders enjoyed taking trophies, and they had a lot of them. Maybe they raided bandits and merchants as well? There are some hints to it, like boxes full of clothes or a merchant’s scale.

And there is one more item. A sword. Masahiko thinks, It looks beautiful. The kind of sword he dreaming of having, back when he was still a kid.

It was a fateful encounter.

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