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(Iwahashi Tomoki has practically not changed at all. If anything, his ability to smooth over his outside mask has gotten better…) (Tomoe)
Tomoe, who was stealthily observing the state of Makoto and Tomoki, left the place with narrowed eyes as if baffled or as if pitying it as she sighed.
The moment when Tomoki grabbed the deep crimson quartz and reacted to him was certainly worth watching, but for Tomoe, what was a better harvest for her was being able to see with her own eyes that Makoto and Tomoki have not resonated just like it was before.
(Waka is soft towards the Heroes-ja ga, but he properly drew a line this time around. I am a bit happy about that part.) (Tomoe)
You could say the reunion with Tomoki finished well.
But it is not like the problem is gone.
The other Hero that had gotten in touch as well, Otonashi Hibiki of Limia.
In terms of reunion, the reality is that for Tomoe and the others, this one is a problematic one.
Makoto is soft towards the Heroes.
If Hibiki and Tomoki were to hear this, they would immediately object with a ‘what part about that is soft?’.
But from the eyes of Tomoe, Mio, or Shiki, Makoto was soft towards the Heroes who come from the same world as him.
Tomoki still isn’t aware of this, so that’s still on the better side, but Hibiki will try to use Makoto while understanding this.
(Hmph, that’s why that woman Hibiki is not good. Waka didn’t pursue that state of Tomoki much. If Heroes are going to be involved, we have to keep an eye…) (Tomoe)
The message of Hibiki was the same as Tomoki. She wants help in finding a stone.
Tomoe ordered to delay relaying the message to Makoto until evening, and in that time, Tomoe divided and finished the other work as she increased her guard towards Hibiki.
Evening is just about the right amount of time to delay the message of Hibiki in a way that Makoto doesn’t find strange.
It is not an easy thing to compress the other work and have the other followers cooperate to finish it.
However, this is effort done for the sake of Makoto, so even if it was strenuous, Tomoe didn’t find it a pain.
“Tomoe-sama! If it is a stone that can match Hibiki, there shouldn’t be a problem since we have already matched the crimson stone too, right?”
An eldwa welcomed Tomoe, who showed up in a part of the workshop, in surprise.
Hibiki is coming to Rotsgard tomorrow afternoon.
Preparations have suddenly been done and there was no real reason for Tomoe to come here.
Hence the surprise of the eldwa.
By the way, whenever Tomoe comes to the workshop without prior notice, it is normally to ask for something unreasonable.
Because of that experience, the eldwa was slightly nervous.
“…Umu, well done. Have you contacted Waka already?” (Tomoe)
“Already did. She said she didn’t mind if the array of goods is the same as with the Empire’s Hero.”
“Have you reported to Waka about the previously arranged goods?” (Tomoe)
“…Just as you instructed, we haven’t.”
“Got it. Then, can you please bring them out?” (Tomoe)
“Bring ‘those’ out?”
The eldwa made a dubious look.
“I want to make a few changes. If my memory serves me right, there should be a decoration stone inside that thing too-ja.” (Tomoe)
The eldwa opened his eyes wide and hurriedly lowered his head, directing his gaze to the side.
A slightly younger looking artisan that was standing a few ways back turned around and ran deeper into the workshop.
“This is a good opportunity-ja no. It should be time to show Waka for the purpose of thinking about what to do with it as well. What about the research?” (Tomoe)
“We have thoroughly done so; every little bit of it. If needed, we can prepare a share for the two as well.”
“It is okay for now. Then, please send the complete set to the residence. Counting on you.” (Tomoe)
“We will make sure it arrives by meal time!”
Tomoe gave detailed instructions to the eldwa, and then, without even taking a short rest, she disappeared in the mist.
Her destination: the mansion.
She is moving around pretty busily.
However, in the eyes of Makoto, she looks as if she is taking it easy, but Tomoe moves rationally and efficiently when she does decide to move.
Because of her own abilities as well, she is extremely skillful, but it is not like her days are twice longer than others, and she is not a superhuman either.
(Tomoe, got a bit of time?) (Makoto)
(Oya, Waka? Did things go well with the Empire guy?) (Tomoe)
(? You were also watching from afar, right? I would say not good, but not bad. Ah, but it made me notice something.) (Makoto)
(…I thought I hid well there. How dejecting.) (Tomoe)
(And so, the matter with Tomoki is done, but Hibiki-senpai has come with the same request. Well, you should already know that too, Tomoe.) (Makoto)
(Yeah, just recently. The eldwas seem to be completely ready too.) (Tomoe)
(Right. Just that, there’s something I would like to add that’s not in that line-up.) (Makoto)
(Can you open some time after dinner?) (Makoto)
(Of course.) (Tomoe)
The thought transmission with her master ended.
The voice of Makoto remained inside of Tomoe soothingly and resonated within.
“He called sooner than expected. But something he wants to add… Could it be?” (Tomoe)
A smile showed in the face of Tomoe, and she was looking at the passing days with fun.
What Tomoki chose was the rose quartz.
This is not the best way to put it, but for a guardian stone of a Hero, this is…normal.
It is pretty, but it is not a jewel, and it is something that a commoner would be able to get even without trying that hard.
…Hm, speaking of which, what demarks a jewel and a crystal?
Rose quartz is a crystal… Jewel? Mineral?
Alright, let’s not think too deeply about it.
Anything expensive looking, I will call it a jewel.
And so, at the time when I was asked by Senpai to search for a stone, I thought: “What’s the Guardian Stone of Hibiki-senpai?”
Because of how Tomoki’s was a crimson crystal, I ended up thinking about one thing that we didn’t bring here.
The thing that I thought of with my shallow knowledge strangely bothered me and I asked this of Tomoe, and as expected of Tomoemon**, she had prepared it perfectly after dinner. <Ref: Doraemon.>
Even if it was a coincidence, Tomoe is one fearsome woman.
“But to think that you and I would think of the same thing. I don’t know if I should be happy that Waka has polished his intuition, or that maybe you were trying to get the better out of me together with Hibiki with this.” (Tomoe)
Is intuition something you can train or polish?
But before all that…
“Don’t say such ominous things like ‘impudent’ and ‘getting back at’.” (Makoto)
“You are a bit soft towards the Heroes after all. We have to be strict to cover up for it.” (Tomoe)
“…Promise me.” (Makoto)
“But I am surprised that you had what Senpai had disposed of.” (Makoto)
“And I am surprised that I can have pillow talks with you so calmly.” (Tomoe)
“Don’t tease me.” (Makoto)
After finishing the regular report meeting with Shiki and Tamaki, working out some good sweat, and taking a bath.
I am currently in bed with Tomoe and Mio.
…It is true that I didn’t imagine myself talking to a woman in this way in the future.
I definitely wouldn’t have believed it when I was in Japan.
As thanks for breaking and changing the topic of the conversation, I brush aside the hair of Tomoe and touch her ear.
“! Good grief, I can’t match you.” (Tomoe)
“After being together with you almost every day, even I will be able to tell.” (Makoto)
“I am in awe that you are not only skilled in combat, but also in this.” (Tomoe)
“How did you obtain the personal belongings of Senpai?” (Makoto)
I mixed a bit of skinship while returning the topic to what I was curious about.
What Tomoe brought and wanted to show me after dinner were the personal belongings of Hibiki-senpai.
Clothes, accessories, and even cosmetics and a backpack.
Within those, there was also the earring or piercing that was made of a mineral that I wanted her to find.
“Don’t worry. It isn’t a difficult or dangerous story, but a pretty boring one. It seemed like Hibiki had cleared herself out from a variety of things in Tsige, so she let go of a lot of things that would make her think of Japan.” (Tomoe)
“Because they were things from a Hero and a lot of them were almost new, they were pricey, but because of the origin of those items, it was hard to bring them out. And so, after passing through the hands of a number of people, I bought it from someone who was troubled financially. That’s all there is to it.” (Tomoe)
“I see. Senpai did come to Tsige at the time when I had just gone to Rotsgard.” (Makoto)
“She also taught Mio Japanese recipes. It seems like she also got a lot of knowledge herself, so both of them had a beneficial relationship with each other.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe said, and I looked at Mio, who is sleeping at the opposite side of where Tomoe is.
Mio is the type to do her all when she has decided to do something.
Tomoe looks over from a high standpoint and assists when necessary.
And so, Mio is currently sleeping soundly.
…I won’t go into detail about what I am talking about here though.
“Senpai should know more about cooking than me and make it tastier, so Mio has found a good teacher.” (Makoto)
“There was a decent amount of hardship before being able to make something that’s okay for you to eat, you know…” (Tomoe)
“Why are you making a tired face as if you were the one who suffered?” (Makoto)
“Well, my evaluation of Hibiki isn’t as high as yours, Waka, but yeah, I will at least give her good marks in how she taught Mio how to cook. That girl probably has a talent for teaching others.” (Tomoe)
“One of the many talents she has. That girl really would fall in the category of a superhuman.” (Makoto)
“…But Waka, the words of the god about ‘look after the heroes’, there’s no need to be so tied up with them, you know?” (Tomoe)
I could tell from her face that, rather than admonishing me, she is saying this out of concern for me.
The words of Tsukuyomi-sama.
It is true that those words are rooted deeply in me.
However, the way I am taking those words is a bit different from the time I first heard them.
“Hmm, of course I am not thinking about being their ally with no distinction or unconditionally.” (Makoto)
“Yeah. In the beginning, I was worried more than needed about those two because I thought I dragged them into this, but after actually meeting them and interacting with them, my impression has changed greatly.” (Makoto)
“You say all that, but for us, it looks as if you are communicating with Hibiki with a familiarity that we don’t find that amusing. What do you have to say about that?” (Tomoe)
“I can’t say with confidence that I was not acting that familiar with her, but isn’t that the distance of a senpai? Is it that bothering even from yours and Mio’s eyes?” (Makoto)
“Even though you can tell that it is me and Mio when I say ‘us’, you can’t tell the important bit, huh. There’s also the part of you having noticed me in your exchange with Tomoki, but it looks like our master is sharp in the most unnecessary parts.” (Tomoe)
Am I being dissed here?!
I was simply shocked at how Senpai had such impressive conversational skills and silver tongue, with exquisite technique to deepen relationships that didn’t go as far as calling it seduction.
“I haven’t been acquainted that much with normal women after all. I certainly do think I am dense in those parts.” (Makoto)
It also depends on how many of those I will have in the future as well…
Not being people, being superhuman, being an adventurer; I think the women that I meet are outstandingly tilting more on the side of abnormal.
“It actually hits me, so please stop with the sighs…” (Makoto)
“Alright. I will soften my questioning for today.” (Tomoe)
“Thanks, Tomoe.” (Makoto)
It bothers me that she said ‘for today’.
But I shouldn’t retort to that part right now.
I also learn.
“It was the case with Tomoki, but could it be that crystals hold some sort of special meaning in your world, Waka?” (Tomoe)
“You change topics really abruptly.” (Makoto)
“Great, isn’t it?” (Tomoe)
“Uh, yeah, it is.” (Makoto)
“The stone that you got in mind for Hibiki was also a crystal type. In the future, we will order everyone to put their all into finding the stone that matches you, Waka, so I was thinking that your thoughts about it might serve as reference.” (Tomoe)
There were no such stones in the ones we gathered for Tomoki that I thought ‘this is the one’.
Not even a smidgeon of ‘it might be close to this’ when I touched the stones.
Tomoki and Senpai are human, and I am strictly speaking a hyuman, so I don’t know if such a stone will even exist for me.
A plain stone that has no magic power and matches that specific person, and when you put it on, your power clearly increases; it was the first time even the people of Asora heard about it and they were pretty surprised.
In other words, there’s a good enough chance that this reaction is exclusive to humans.
“Chrysoprase is categorized as a crystal?” (Makoto)
“? Yeah, the dwarfs said that it has similar characteristics.” (Tomoe)
A creamy green stone, chrysoprase.
It is apparently decently rare, but it is a stone that can be bought at a power stone shop just like rose quartz.
The reason I immediately thought of that stone when thinking of the stone of Senpai was because my sisters had gotten this knowledge from a strange magazine and spoke about how dreamy it was.
…They soon got bored about it, so I only have surface knowledge about it.
Senpai had that chrysoprase, I had prior knowledge about it, and I am in a situation where I can show it; you could say it is a miraculous chain of events.
This is Hibiki-senpai.
“So it really isn’t that rare of a thing, huh.” (Makoto)
“Right. If it is of good quality, it would go for a decent amount of coin, but most of them are not expensive to a point where you wouldn’t be able to get a hand on one.” (Tomoe)
I would say around a few thousand or ten thousand?
If looking at the low end, it would go for hundreds to thousands of yen; a reasonably priced stone.
“So you think that that Hibiki is going to react to a common stone like this just as Tomoki did with the crimson crystal?” (Tomoe)
No, it is not like I think cheap stones suit Tomoki.
“Chrysoprase is apparently just a protective amulet even if normal people have it on them.” (Makoto)
“But when rulers or brave heroes put it on, they protect their wearer with immense power; a stone that chooses their owner.” (Makoto)
“A mere pebble that doesn’t have magic power chooses their owner and lends them power?” (Tomoe)
Tomoe isn’t saying it outright, but her eyes were saying ‘how impudent’.
“Or maybe it is a stone that you can’t bring out its evolution unless it is from an outstanding person. By the way, even when I touched it, it didn’t even twitch at all.” (Makoto)
“I have seen it with my own eyes.” (Tomoe)
“Tomorrow…no, today at noon, Hibiki will be arriving at Rotsgard. If this really is Hibiki’s stone, I will once again be hating her in secret. Thinking: ‘How pretentious’.” (Tomoe)
“That’s no secret at all.” (Makoto)
“Kuku, is that so?” (Tomoe)
With the words of Tsukuyomi-sama, I have looked after the two Heroes to a decent degree.
But maybe the one he wanted me to look after was Tomoki.
Leaving aside whether Senpai was caught in it or not, she is here on her own will.
She is certainly trying to live.
It somehow feels like…it is different for him.
From Tomoki’s attitude, I have told him before that maybe he was bullied a long time ago.
That might have been the truth.
And then, at the worst timing possible, the Goddess spoke to him, and he ended up ‘running away’ to this world.
“Tomoki, that guy…” (Makoto)
“I wonder what kind of life he is seeking that he went as far as throwing away his humanity.” (Makoto)
“…! So you noticed.” (Tomoe)
“I can tell. I simply didn’t ask before because it wasn’t that big of a thing to ask about to others. He had a whole lot of things mixed on him and has become a sort of chimera.” (Makoto)
“But despite that, there wasn’t any hesitation in him. That guy has resolved himself and is stubbornly trying to redo his life perfectly…or at least that seems to be his intention.” (Tomoe)
“I think the one I should be looking after isn’t Senpai but Tomoki. He was an acquaintance of Senpai, and my meeting with him was a bad one, so I was thinking about only helping him a bit if it is just to gather information.” (Makoto)
“It seems like he has shaved off his lifespan by quite a great deal. From how it looks, I would say he doesn’t have long.” (Makoto)
“…Yeah. Must be one of the reasons he is hurrying the conclusion of the war.” (Tomoe)
Tomoe softly wraps her body around my arm.
Looks like you have gotten emotional enough to worry, Tomoe.
“Stupid body modifications, obtaining stupid powers; what part of that is perfect?” (Makoto)
In the first place, there’s no perfect in life.
You could say you led a fulfilling life with few regrets on your deathbed.
But that’s all you could get.
“Waka, there’s only one thing I want to say.” (Tomoe)
“Tomoki’s desire for revenge?” (Makoto)
“…! Yes. He looked like he was totally burning with the desire to get back at you.” (Tomoe)
“Couldn’t read him in detail?” (Makoto)
“It seems like he has taken countermeasures for that. I am sorry.” (Tomoe)
“Don’t worry about it. I could somewhat tell…that we were both talking with masks on. The type where, when you are an adult, you hide the things that would be bad to show in the moment. If I could utilize that properly, I would be a skilled merchant.” (Makoto)
If it were him, he would be able to skillfully hold the reins of the vengeful spirit and hatred of people like Tomoki and bring them to their demise.
Regarding the demise part, I can only see it as Tomoki already sprinting his way to that path, so I feel like he would self-destruct by himself anyways.
“Even if, at some point in time, we get involved in the war happening right now, I would like you to rely on us just like you do with your business.” (Tomoe)
“? I am relying on you guys to the point where I feel bad about it though?” (Makoto)
“No no, the more dangerous something is, the higher the chances of our Waka running wild after all. Have to voice it out properly.” (Tomoe)
The expression of Tomoe when saying this was not joking at all; it was painted in the color of seriousness.
I felt sad that I am being thought of as someone hopeless that runs into bad routes just like Tomoki.