TLN: Hey guys, Reigokai here!
Sorry about not posting yesterday. My electricity was gone the whole damn day. I took that as a sign to take a break.
Decided to see a movie: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. It was a marvel of storytelling. SUPER recommended!
Anyways, enjoy the chapter!
Having defeated the Demon Lord, Ina was safely freed from the curse.
Everything should be great and merry now, but…since the time I reunited with Ina at the north gate of the city, it was unexpectedly hard to return to the mansion.
“P-Please don’t get any closer than that! I won’t let you put a s-single finger on Souma-san!!” (Ina)
After Ina had finally separated from me, she held the nostalgic Master Torch and Wakizashi in her hands and was…keeping Mitsuki in check.
Her hands holding the weapons were trembling, and her legs were like those of a newborn fawn, but she was standing in front of me as if protecting me from Mitsuki.
…Yeah, I don’t get it.
“No no, calm down, Ina. Also, Mitsuki, what did you tell Ina to bring her all the way here?” (Souma)
Ina made a dumbfounded expression at my words, and Mitsuki’s cat ears were folded down as if she were a kitten that’s being scolded.
“There’s a limit to a lack of explanation, right?” (Souma)
Hearing the situation, I was on the verge of sitting in place right then and there.
It seems like Mitsuki kidnapped Ina, who was being chased around by dolls in the mansion, no questions asked, and whispered this to Ina who was struggling around.
“…Please stay put. Do you not want to meet him again?” (Mitsuki)
No matter how you hear that, you would immediately assume she is a bad guy.
Moreover, I am on the verge of forgetting about it, but Mitsuki showed up in front of us as an enemy first.
She became an ally after a lot happening, but Ina doesn’t know that Mitsuki is now on good terms with me.
I looked at Mitsuki with a baffled face, but…
“I also don’t have a grasp of everything that’s unfolded. I simply thought about leaving all the explaining to you.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki said this naturally with a face as if saying everything is as planned.
If only her cat ears weren’t trembling as if saying ‘t-this is bad!’, it would have been perfect.
“…Haah, fine.” (Souma)
It is true that Mitsuki showed consideration and brought Ina here.
Also, it is not like there aren’t things I would like to hide from Ina.
“W-What’s the meaning of this?!” (Ina)
I looked at Ina who seemed to still be flustered here.
I thought this was a moving reunion, but for Ina, it might be a situation like being kidnapped and going to the hideout of the criminal, and then discovering that your friend has been taken hostage.
It can’t be helped that she would be confused here.
“What should I begin explaining from…?” (Souma)
And how much should I explain?
I looked back at my comrades that had caught up and decided to introduce them first.
In the middle of those introductions, she said stuff like ‘Eh?! A princess?!” and “W-Why a plushie?!” which are normal reactions, but the introductions ended without any issues.
After that, I actually begin explaining the circumstances revolving around this case.
At that time when Ina contacted me, the curse of the Demon Lord hit Ina and the others…by coincidence…and their time was frozen.
We decided to defeat the Demon Lord in order to fix this.
And then, after inundating the castle of the Demon Lord, we defeated the Demon Lord…just as planned.
That’s basically what I told her.
And at the end when I told her that we had splendidly defeated the Demon Lord with my ingenuity, I felt like everyone’s eyes were visibly turning cold, but they at least didn’t interrupt me.
…W-Well, just think of me wanting to look a bit cool here as cute.
“T-This story is so grand scale that it is hard to believe it is real, but…it must have been rough.” (Ina)
But we are talking about the top of the easy heroines, Ina, here.
She was easily deceived without a single question asked.
“Thank you very much! Souma-san…no, everyone here has saved my life!” (Ina)
She was looking at me with even sparklier eyes than before.
Honestly speaking, I am not good at dealing with this gaze.
I averted my face a little and answered.
“No, we simply went to the castle and poured water, so we didn’t really have much complications…” (Souma)
The thing is it hasn’t even been half a day since we left the mansion.
I myself have barely fought monsters, and I also have no exhaustion of using magic thanks to the MP potions.
It was practically a little field exploration.
I won’t say it out loud, but the preparations for that were 3 times harder.
“…That’s really crazy in and of itself though.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki, who seemed to not be satisfied even now about the Demon Lord drowning, muttered this.
Of course she wouldn’t accept it immediately when the long desired wish of her family was fulfilled by drowning it.
“B-But I heard really strong monsters appear close to the Demon Lord’s castle. Just the simple fact that you went to such a place is—” (Ina)
“…Excuse me.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki moved when Ina was about to say something.
“Eh? Eh?” (Ina)
She moved past the side of Ina in an instant without Ina even realizing what happened there, and there were monsters where Mitsuki was heading to.
This is still a field.
Monsters show up and they will obviously try to attack us if we are nearby.
“You are in the way of our talk. Please read the room.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki defeated all those monsters with one swing of her katana, Tsukikage, that was hanging by her waist.
Since the time I managed to use 3x speed skills in Incarnation of Fury, I feel like I can now see moving objects better.
Even with that, I am still at the level where I might or might not be able to see the attack of Mitsuki.
She really is born a cheat.
Ina couldn’t say anything to Mitsuki who was coming back with her unsheathed katana.
Honestly speaking, with just Mitsuki alone, the trek to the Demon Lord Castle is practically as if going for a hike.
Ina must have noticed that too.
She was having trouble with what to say here.
The one who threw a lifeboat there was Ringo.
She pulled my sleeve.
“…Let’s talk…later.” (Ringo)
She proposed to enter the city first with her gaze alone.
Of course, I wouldn’t say no.
“Fumu, then, it can’t be helped, so I will go check the state of Alex and Raiden… I-It is not like I am worried about them. I must make it clear to them who was the one who saved them!” (Sazan)
It seems like Sazan was worried about his comrades one way or another, and began walking to the city.
And Maki as well…
“Right. I also left without telling the people at home, so I have to go back quickly before they notice.” (Maki)
She said something fearsome as if nothing, and walked energetically to the gate.
There’s no way she didn’t consult with the king and queen that she would be heading to the Demon Lord Castle today, right?
The Bear jumped onto my shoulder while I was shuddering, and just when we were in an atmosphere of returning, Ina called me to a stop.
“U-Uhm, please wait. There’s one last thing I want to c-confirm.” (Ina)
“Confirm? That’s fine with me, but what is it?” (Souma)
I asked this while tilting my head at the strangely nervous sight of Ina who asked this with a red face.
“U-Uhm, you see, it is about that. About what happened right before hearing the voice of the Demon Lord…” (Ina)
Ina was waving her arms pointlessly, stringing words all flustered, and…
“M-Me marrying Souma-san…wasn’t a dream, right?” (Ina)
The moment she spoke those words out…
For some reason, the sounds and movements around stopped, and I felt as if the world itself had frozen.
But there’s no way that would be possible.
I felt something was off for a second there, but Ina is looking right at me with a bright red face and an inquisitive look.
I can’t just keep her waiting.
“Y-Yeah, it wasn’t a dream.” (Souma)
I said that and nodded.
And then, a chain of anomalies happened around me as if this served as the trigger.
The first thing was Ringo who was still holding the edge of my sleeve…
She grabbed my sleeve with even more strength…
Mitsuki dropped her unsheathed katana…
Sazan, who was walking to the city, slipped…
Maki went ‘eh? Is this a dream?’ and pinched her own cheek.
The Bear made a grin that could be taken as anything, and jumped inside my bag.
Or more like, it most likely ran away.
I looked around, but no one was moving.
Even Ina herself who created this situation was simply wriggling while saying ‘married…married with Souma-san…’ and isn’t moving from her place.
Each person was in their own respective state and frozen there.
Now that I think about it, I haven’t told anyone that I proposed to Ina.
I don’t know how much weight is placed on marriage in this world, but it would be natural for my comrades to be surprised when suddenly hearing about marriage.
However, Ringo, who was there when it happened, should know about it to a certain degree, yet she was still frozen in place…
I could only think leisurely until there.
“I demand an explanation!” (Maki)
Maki, who had been escaping reality, suddenly came at me with bloodshot eyes.
“Eh? Even if you ask me to explain…” (Souma)
I can’t just immediately judge how much I should be telling here.
If I just explain the situation, it would end with me confessing to Ina and her agreeing.
But if we were to delve deeper into this marriage talk, I would have to explain about the Blessing of the Demon Lord event or maybe even my game knowledge.
At the moment when I was hesitating…
“Aah, speaking of which…” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki, who had completely stopped, resumed operation again.
She didn’t even spare a glance at her dropped katana and clapped.
“We did have a promise: that you would tell me your secret when we defeated the Demon Lord.” (Mitsuki)
It was somewhat one-sided, but I promised Mitsuki to properly tell her about myself.
The biggest threat in this world, which was the Demon Lord, is no longer here.
Telling Ringo and Mitsuki the truth might be good when considering the future…
“I will use that right now.” (Mitsuki)
But that speculation of mine was all blown off by Mitsuki’s next words.
“And so, I want to talk in detail about marriage.” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? N-No, but that promise had a more important…” (Souma)
I was about to object to this weird development, but Mitsuki approached me aggressively.
“This is also…an important talk.” (Mitsuki)
“Eh? But…” (Souma)
“It is an extremely important talk.” (Mitsuki)
She for some reason pushed it all the way through.
“That’s right, that’s right! Souma has the responsibility to explain!!” (Maki)
Maki was nodding at the back while chiming in as she pleased.
As for Ringo…
Ringo wasn’t moving.
She looked down and tightened her lips as if enduring something, but didn’t say anything.
However, her hand holding my sleeve had enough strength put into it to the point her fingers were turning white.
I obviously hesitated about speaking to Ringo here.
I had no choice but to direct my attention at the last remaining person.
I seek help from the masked mage that had finally stood up.
“H-Hey, Sazan, you should also—” (Souma)
But when I called for Sazan, he let out a weird voice that I don’t know where he dragged it out from, and then, suddenly took a chuunibyou pose by placing a hand on his mask.
“Fu…fufu…what was it? A-A bloodstain…you say? <marriage and bloodstain (Kekkon) are said in the same way> It is true that blood is a good catalyst for magic, so I also have some in store for my destructive ritual spells.
It is said that mythril is adequate for the creation of magic circles though…” (Sazan)
He suddenly began talking about the intricacies of magic.
It seems like he is panicking from this word that was too far apart from him.
He is useless as always.
At that time, the pressure from Mitsuki and Maki continued.
The fingers of Ringo latching onto my clothes were not showing any signs of loosening either.
“G-Got it. I will explain it. I will explain everything.” (Souma)
I raised both hands and showed that I yielded.
I had no choice but to.
“But give me a bit of time. It will be a long talk and I also want to arrange the things I have to say.” (Souma)
It will take time before the city and us calm down.
I thought for a bit and came up with that decision.
“Right. Tomorrow night, let’s have a talk in the mansion. No talk about this until then…okay?” (Souma)
Seeing how they all nodded at what I said, I let go of the strength in my shoulders.
“Then, let’s go back for now -to our dear home.” (Souma)
And that’s how we finally managed to cross the city gates.
My body is not tired at all, but I feel like I am mentally exhausted.
I am not joking when I say I miss the Nekomimi Mansion.
I was thinking about going back at once and resting, but…
“Aah! The Sinking Prince Onii-chan is back~!!”
The moment we took one step into the city, we heard a somewhat familiar and innocent voice.
And then, as if that opened the floodgates…
“Ooh! The one who defeated the Demon Lord…?”
“Thank the Lord…thank the Lord…”
“I see. That person is the Sinking Prince-sama, huh.”
“Indeed, he does have the face of someone who would sink!”
“Yup, the same face as the one I saw on the wanted poster!”
“Everyone, the hero is back!!”
The citizens were looking at us from afar and saying their own stuff.
Is this the effect of having defeated the Demon Lord?
In the game, the conversation patterns of the citizens didn’t change at all after defeating the Demon Lord, but it seems like it is a bit different when it becomes reality.
But why is it that I can’t honestly be happy about this?
“U-Uhm, people are gathering more and more!” (Ina)
I looked around after what Ina said and there really were more and more curious onlookers, and the street before the northern gate was full of people.
Moreover, they are all looking over here and smiling.
Eventually, a certain string of words were being shouted by the crowd.
It was low at first, but it steadily resonated with the people around, and it eventually became a big wave.
“““Sinking Prince! Sinking Prince! Sinking Prince! Sinking Prince!”””
…No, what’s this?
I want to say I don’t get it, but everyone that’s doing the call is looking at me. Is that a coincidence?
I am not the one that sunk, and I don’t have a single prince-like attribute on me.
Thinking about it normally, a nickname like Sinking Prince sounds ill-intentioned…
I was flustered by the fervent but weird call and, within that crowd, I saw a certain someone…and I finally understood what was going on.
(There’s no doubt she is the one who spread that nickname!!) (Souma)
“Hey hey, Onii-chan, you are a Hero!!”
I glared at the poisonous tongue girl that was standing at the very forefront with a smile on her face.