(But what should I do about this…?) (Souma)
I responded with a cramped smile to the citizens who continued calling me Sinking Prince while I was at a loss for what to do.
I am happy that they are welcoming us, but there’s so many people, we can’t return to the mansion.
Moreover, I feel like the distance between us and the people is decreasing more and more as time passes.
Thinking about how this number of people will be closing onto us, I can’t just keep smiling.
That’s when the crowd split and the sight of knights appeared from far in.
Are they here to bring us to the castle on the orders of the king? They have saved us here, is what I thought, but…
“We have been searching for you, Princess-sama!”
It seems like their objective was Maki.
Maki herself was clearly showing in her face that she messed up.
“I have received the report from Mitsuki-sama. What were you thinking slipping out from the castle and doing something like a Demon Lord subjugation?! The King is also terribly angry. Now, let’s return at once!!”
“E-Eh? S-Souma~!!” (Maki)
She was making a pathetic face as she asked for help, but she completely reaped what she sowed there.
Even with how half-assed and complacent the Nekomimi Neko world is, the princess going out without permission to defeat the Demon Lord must be unheard of.
“Get scolded real nicely!” (Souma)
“S-Souma, you traitoooor!!” (Maki)
I see off Maki, who is being dragged away, with a smile while I waved my hand.
And then, another hand of evil came from the back…
“Hey there, Sinking Prince-sama!”
“Raiden! You are back to normal!” (Souma)
The one who spoke to us was Raiden from Alex’s party.
He should have been hit by the Blessing of the Demon Lord, but it looks like it was safely undone.
“Yeah, thanks to you. I just came back, so it doesn’t feel real yet, but it looks like you helped us out -along…with that guy.” (Raiden)
Raiden scratched his head and said this in the direction of Sazan.
“I-I wasn’t helped out by him! Rather, I used my great magic to mow down enemies one after the—” (Sazan)
“Man, Sazan really did help out a lot. We defeated the Demon Lord thanks to the magic of Sazan.” (Souma)
I don’t really want to praise Sazan too much since it will get to his head, but it is true that he was useful.
Sazan’s eyes opened up wide at my words and he looked over here.
I grew more embarrassed at his gaze and…
“W-Well, he did cause a lot of trouble too though.” (Souma)
I hurriedly added that.
Raiden looked at our state with narrowed eyes.
“I see… Looks like we were helped out in a lot of ways.” (Raiden)
Raiden grinned, grabbed the back collar of Sazan, and pulled him.
“I will be retrieving this guy. You don’t mind, right?” (Raiden)
“Nope… Ah, but I want him to do something, so let’s see each other later.” (Souma)
“Got it. We are normally at the Fool’s Gold Pavillion. We will be in this city for a while, so go there to ask for us.” (Raiden)
“D-Don’t decide stuff about me without my input!” (Sazan)
Is the ruckus Sazan was making as he disappeared into the crowd.
And so, the only ones remaining by my side now are Ringo, Mitsuki, and Ina.
More and more people were gathering, and I don’t think we will even be able to walk the street normally at this point.
There might be people who say that dealing with the masses is the duty of a Hero too, but I was a loner to begin with, so this is a bit rough.
I don’t wanna be squashed in these numbers, and if something like that were to happen, Ina might even say ‘the city is scary…’ and get traumatized.
I direct a smile to the citizens while asking Mitsuki in a whisper.
“Hey, why are we so widely known? I honestly can’t deal with these many people.” (Souma)
Mitsuki only directed her cat ears over here and thought about it a little bit before answering.
“After my report, the King made an official statement about us having defeated the Demon Lord. Since they were such big news, it must have spread in the city in the blink of an eye.” (Mitsuki)
Even if so, the rumors spread too fast.
To the point that I think there was an inciter.
“Hmm? What’s the matter, Sinking Onii-chan~?”
…Blaming Poison-tan for everything isn’t good.
I desperately ignored the wild ideas in my mind and the voice coming from the front, and Mitsuki approached me and whispered.
“What do we do? Looks like yours and my face have been remembered though.” (Mitsuki)
Mitsuki was famous to begin with, and my name and face has been spread because of the wanted poster of the Knight Order.
On the other hand, Ringo, who was a bugged character and hasn’t been exposed to the public until now, and Ina, who wasn’t one of the members that defeated the Demon Lord to begin with, should be fine even if they were to move alone, but…
“W-What is it?” (Ina)
“…No, it would be impossible.” (Souma)
Ringo looked over here with a face as if she wasn’t thinking anything, and Ina was already trembling here, so I shook my head.
In the first place, leaving aside Ringo, I am not sure if Ina can reach the mansion on her own, and if I leave her be on her own, she might pull something weird again.
I faced Mitsuki once more.
“Can’t be helped. Let’s each take care of one. Mitsuki, you take Ina—” (Souma)
I was about to tell her to take Ina with her, but I remembered the incident before.
If I leave Ina with Mitsuki, I feel like the traumas of Ina will increase in the end.
I take it back.
“I will take Ina, so can I leave Ringo to you?” (Souma)
“Who do you think I am?” (Mitsuki)
When I asked this, Mitsuki’s cat ears stood up proudly.
“That was a silly question to ask.” (Souma)
There’s no way Mitsuki would be unable to lose a crowd of this degree.
And if it is Ringo, she wouldn’t be flustered even if Mitsuki were to treat her a bit roughly.
The two have lived together for a long time.
They have that degree of trust between them.
I came to a conclusion of my own, approached Ina, and showed her my back.
“There’s no time. Get on.” (Souma)
“G-Get on, you say…?” (Ina)
Ina was flustered by this, but I hurried her further.
“Come on.” (Souma)
I feel the weight of Ina on my back.
It is not like I am not nervous at all about having a girl on my back, but Ina really is a normal train-chan that grants relief and safety.
I felt the even mythril armor on my back and nodded on my own.
“A-Am I not heavy?” (Ina)
“It is fine. Compared to Sazan…ah, now that I think about it, Sazan might have been a bit lighter.” (Souma)
“I-It is the difference in equipment!” (Ina)
While we were having that silly talk, my brain was already forming a path to escape.
In my experience with Sazan, when you are carrying someone, your agility will decrease from the weight penalty.
It is not a decrease in speed that can’t be adjusted to, but I am finally making the 3x speed skill cancel into my own, so I don’t want to use skill cancel in this state.
In that case, my mobility will decrease quite a lot, but…
(Well, I should be able to do it.) (Souma)
I immediately begin moving once I reach that decision.
I ran in the opposite direction of the crowd and finished the chant quickly in that time.
“[High Jump]!” (Souma)
I soar in the sky with High Jump.
When I jumped higher than the roofs…
The Air Hammer that I had set for Time Activation was casted.
It carried my body together with Ina who is on my back.
Both of my legs landed on top of the roof after making a loud hard sound.
I messed up the timing of Air Hammer a bit and we flew up way too much, but we somehow managed.
The people were dumbfounded by how we suddenly moved to a rooftop and were looking up at us.
There was a little girl who was not letting go of her smile within those people, but I purposely moved my gaze away and spoke to the remaining 2.
“Mitsuki, counting on you with Ringo!” (Souma)
“Yeah, leave it to me.” (Mitsuki)
“…You too, Souma. Be careful.” (Ringo)
I nodded at the two and, this time around, spoke to Ina.
“Then, let’s go. Don’t bite your tongue.” (Souma)
“Eh? NOOOOOOOOO!!” (Ina)
I felt Ina’s arms tightening their hold around my neck and began running on top of the rooftops at full speed.
“[High Step]!” (Souma)
I run on the rooftops, using Step for openings between rooftops, jumping over with High Step at times, and if that’s not enough, I would add an Air Hammer to soar.
I already have the arrangement of the buildings in the capital in my head.
I rush through the rooftops without losing any speed, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, flying through the city.
At first, Ina was screaming ‘We are going to fall! Fall! Fall!’, ‘So fast, too fast, fast and—hiiih!’ or ‘We are going to die! Die! Please let me dooown!’, but by the time we reached the center of the city, she had already grown used to it.
The excess strength she put on her arms -most likely from being agitated- decreased, and she simply leaned against my shoulder and I could hear her letting out ‘haafuuh, hafuuh’ sighs.
Even her eyes were closed on top of that, so she seems to be pretty relaxed now.
It is fine for her to be relaxed, but it would be a waste for her to miss this wonderful sight.
“Ina, can you see that?” (Souma)
I stopped my feet and directed my voice behind me, and Ina slowly opened her eyes.
“W-What is it? I am not scared of Magic Airships anymo—ah, could this be…?” (Ina)
“Yeah, that’s the center of the capital.” (Souma)
What was there were two giant buildings standing tall back to back.
The first one is the familiar royal castle.
The other one is the center of this country’s religion, the Great Church.
These two buildings of around the same size are lined up, and it is apparently called the south royal castle and the north church.
When I checked the map to confirm, the great church is the one that is in the center of the city, but it would be better to not say such a boorish thing.
Anyways, those two constructions are no doubt the symbols of this city.
Witnessing a sight like this, I once again am reminded that I have been thrown into a fantasy world.
“Ah, I have seen that in the guidebook before! Wow, it really is big…!” (Ina)
Ina also shouted in excitement.
She sounds like a complete country bumpkin here, but there’s no problem since we are on a rooftop.
We stopped for a moment, and decided to watch over Ina until she was satisfied.
We silently watched the sky being dyed with the sunset, and the buildings below, but…
“That castle and the great church are certainly impressive, but…the one who is impressive is you, Souma-san. You at some point in time made that Hisame-san and a princess your comrades, even defeated the Demon Lord, and had that many people acknowledge you…” (Ina)
I asked Ina who had her face hanging down.
“Ina, do you really plan on staying in the capital?” (Souma)
“Yes, the disease of my mother has been cured, and I think I have obtained enough strength to manage here as well. You might tell me to go back to Lamurick though, Souma-san…” (Ina)
I fall in thought at those words.
I left Ina in Lamurick and ran away because I thought it would be dangerous.
I don’t regret that choice.
That was the most logical choice at that point in time.
But this world already has no Demon Lord.
You could say the biggest threat in this world has been overcome.
Now that the Demon Lord has fallen, I as the player only have to solve 1…2…3…w-well, a few problems that would be bad if I don’t do anything.
In that case…
“No, I welcome you. I don’t mind you living in that mansion, if you don’t mind either.” (Souma)
“Of course. That’s only on the condition that you will be staying at home when I judge it is dangerous with your ability.” (Souma)
“O-Okay! Thank you very much!” (Ina)
Ina got exaggeratedly happy about it, so I was taken aback by it.
I accidentally said something I didn’t have to.
“N-No, I wouldn’t throw away the person I have married…” (Souma)
It is after I said it out loud that I noticed I messed up.
Even though I decided not that long ago that we wouldn’t be bringing out this topic until tomorrow night, I ended up breaking it myself, and shortly after no less.
I haven’t even explained to Ina why I did that marriage proposal.
I wanted to click my tongue at my own carelessness.
Maybe that was embarrassing, Ina’s face turned bright red and she fell silent.
The conversation was going smoothly and all… I really messed up.
Why did I go out of my way to dig out the visible landmine?
I was worrying all on my own here, and Ina eventually spoke.
“T-Then, is it okay for me to intrude in your home, Souma-san?” (Ina)
“Y-Yeah, leave it to me!” (Souma)
I purposely responded with a loud voice in order to shake off a variety of things.
When I did, the bright red face of Ina turned into a cheerful one.
We have rooms to spare in the mansion.
Ina really is a nice girl, being happy by something of that degree. I nodded to this and…
“T-Then…I may be inexperienced, but…I will be under your care!!” (Ina)
I froze at the words that followed.
We simply agreed on her stay, and yet, I feel like we have exchanged a different contract here…
“Living together with you is like a dream come true! Ah, right! There’s something I have to give you, Souma-san…” (Ina)
It wouldn’t be good to continue this topic.
Feeling that instinctively, I move to divert this.
“A-Alright! Then, let’s go there in one go.” (Souma)
“E-Eh?! A-Are we really going to go in the same fashion?!” (Ina)
The questionable atmosphere from before dispersed with that, and Ina let out a scared voice.
It may be low of me, but I rode with that.
“There’s no other way. They already know my face, so we would be surrounded again if we go down.” (Souma)
“B-But maybe we could use magic or items to disguise ourselves or something…” (Ina)
“Aah, it is not like I don’t have items like that, but only the person that has touched it can disguise themselves…” (Souma)
In this game, there’s an item called the Transformation Glasses, and when you use it, the person that touched it can transform.
They were in the inventory of the Item Store, so the things I bought then should be in my bag.
But I would say that’s more of a defective product.
Only your appearance changes, but your physique doesn’t change at all, so if you transform into someone with a different physique, it will turn weird. From what I know, when you used the Transformation Glasses in the game, the events didn’t change much.
Putting it bluntly, there was no AI in the events to deal with the Transformation Glasses, so they all responded in the same way as they did before your transformation.
Now that the NPCs have become normal humans, I can’t really say for sure it won’t be effective, but if we fail and we get surrounded, it wouldn’t be nice.
In the first place, the only one who I think wouldn’t be suspected when I transform would be Ina.
It would be weird if two of the same person were to walk together, and even if it is through magic, cross-dressing wouldn’t be good for my mental health.
“Yeah, it really wouldn’t work. And so, let’s hurry up and go.” (Souma)
“U-Uhm, then, then…t-the roof! If you move in such a violent manner, the roofs will break! That’s why, be a bit more…” (Ina)
I once again get the stubborn Ina on my back, make a light run towards the edge of the roof, and…
“Too bad. Most rooftops of the capital are made from mythril, so they won’t break just from any landing!” (Souma)
“Uwaaaaan!! You stupid cityyyy!!!!” (Ina)
“Ouch ouch…” (Souma)
I held my cheek while landing at the garden of the mansion.
“A-Are you okay? I-I’m sorry. It is because I was struggling there…” (Ina)
Ina got down from my back and moved to my front immediately with a face as if on the verge of tears.
“No, I got a bit ahead of myself too. This is an accident.” (Souma)
It seems like me thinking Ina had gotten used to it in the middle was a misunderstanding.
When I resumed moving, Ina screamed and cried, and when I used Ground Compression to hide my embarrassment a little bit, Ina, who had finally reached breaking point, began thrashing around.
Because of that, my skill was interrupted, and we fell from the roof.
Fortunately, I was the one below, so Ina wasn’t injured, but I must have scratched myself on the way somewhere, I had a small injury on my cheek.
I am close to level 200, so something like this shouldn’t be hurting, but defense doesn’t apply to fall damage.
That factor probably influenced this outcome as well.
“…I really am sorry.” (Ina)
Ina once again lowered her head deeply.
“As I said, it is okay. It will heal in one go with a potion anyways.” (Souma)
Saying this, I was about to bring out a potion from my bag, but…
“Please wait.” (Ina)
Ina stopped me for a reason.
I was surprised by her eyes.
Ina was looking at me with eyes filled with resolve I haven’t seen before.
“….Souma-san…even if I were to say something that would overturn the logic of this world, and would be taken as abnormal no matter how you think about it, would you…believe me?” (Ina)
I couldn’t say anything for a while in response.
But the answer is obvious.
I nodded deeply.
The trembling of Ina that seemed as if she was filled with grim resolve and as if she were on the verge of tears lessened a little bit.
“Since I separated from you, I have explored a variety of fields and dungeons with a person called Thiel-san. The reason it went well was because of how high my level was and the torch that you gave me. But that’s not all.” (Ina)
I gulped at those words.
Just what is Ina about to say here?
“If Thiel-san and I were to publicize this, the adventurers of this world…no, this secret might even be able to change the world itself. We found something like that.” (Ina)
This world is an unstable world that has reality and game mixed in it.
I was thrown into this world in the beginning of the game, so the discrepancy with the game has been minimized.
But the rift between game and reality has been getting bigger as time passes.
I won’t be surprised no matter how supernatural of a result it creates.
“But is that okay? Telling me something so important…” (Souma)
When I asked her this, Ina slowly shook her head to the sides.
“It is because it is you that I want to say it. Noticing this was also thanks to Souma-san. I consulted with Thiel-san and reached the conclusion that we should have you decide on what to do with this secret.” (Ina)
After saying this, Ina brought ‘that’ out from her bag.
Her favored weapon, the Wakizashi.
And then, she took a stance with the Wakizashi she brought out.
“Weapons are used to hurt something, and skills are techniques that hurt the target. That’s the common sense of this world. But what if there’s an exception there…?” (Ina)
“Could it be…” (Souma)
I unconsciously let those words out once I thought of the possibility, but Ina didn’t stop.
She raised her Wakizashi and…
“Please believe in me.” (Ina)
She swung in one go.
The red slash coming out from the Wakizashi attacked me.
But it didn’t hurt me.
The pain on my cheek dispersed instead the moment it passed by me.
“Even though it hit you, it doesn’t hurt, right? This skill…from the many weapon skills, is the only one that heals the hit target.” (Ina)
“Eh, no, uhm…” (Souma)
I didn’t know how to answer that, and Ina desperately clung onto me.
“I know. Even if you hear something like this, you won’t believe me immediately. But…But I am not lying here!! I…” (Ina)
I had no choice but to answer Ina who seemed like she would cry at any moment now.
“Uhm…sorry… I already knew that.” (Souma)
The Saving Blade, Assassin Rage.
It is quite the basic bug technique that any Nekomimi Neko player would know about.