At the time when Makoto had met with the two heroes and the Demon Lord, the Kuzunoha Company’s Rotsgard store was really busy.
The reason is simple, there’s not enough hands.
The person that’s basically in charge, Shiki, was absent along with his master, and Lime Latte who handled the order taking and delivery, as well as being in the counter, was also absent because of Tomoe’s order.
The store that has become wider has a reputation that increases and doesn’t decrease.
The employees were unable to handle the customers that arrived.
Of course, there were preparations made beforehand for big transactions, but even so, it was on the borderline of not being able to handle it.
“S-Soon’s time to close. But I can’t take it any longer. I am leaving early…”
“Are you sleep talking, Eris? Actually, increase the amount of doubles. The customers are coming as if it’s the last spurt.”
“Hahaha, Akua, I am already a fallen rag. Even if you wring me out, nothing will drip. If I continue attending the customers in this state, even my cosmos will dry up.” (Eris)
“See, a regular of yours came. Smile smile.” (Akua)
“Hm, welcome~~!! Hah…it has already been deeply ingrained in me!!” (Eris)
One hour before sunset.
The Kuzunoha Company has received a big amount of customers today too, and the two girls with darkish skin were moving their feet as if there were several people existing, and were doing their best in attending their customers.
The tall height Akua and the short Eris.
Both of them were staggering already. There’s Akua who was somehow enduring, and Eris who is despairing at the remaining time.
The sales limit that the shopkeeper Raidou placed was the saving grace of those girls.
Because there’s that, they are able to see a goal.
If they were selling goods with no limit, if they were to sell goods until closing time, the two of them would have probably fallen already.
Raidou’s sense for money as a merchant was dull, but this time, the sell limit he set up before going to the Demon Lord audience had coincidentally been a splendid choice.
It could also be said to be a point that made the employees wring out their stamina to the limit.
“It’s less than one hour now. Fight on, Eris. Even if you are all dried up, wring yourself out as if you were to break. And then, drink. Drink with everyone.” (Akua)
“If Lime were here…if at least Lime were here…” (Eris)
“Because of Tomoe-sama’s orders, he is in Lorel at this moment. Don’t ask for the impossible.” (Akua)
“…I have decided. I will be drinking a lime flavored banana bliss today.” (Eris)
“The cocktail that Lime suggested huh. Even if he looks that way, he is unexpectedly a reliable man after all. About that alcohol, Waka-sama gave it a name, so maybe there’s already a precedent though.” (Akua)
“…In a tankard.” (Eris)
“…It won’t liberate you, you know. But I will accompany in one drink. Then let’s have a drinking party today at Asora. Yeah, let’s do our best.” (Akua)
“So number six was not enough. I have to wake up already. The ultimate cost.” (Eris)
“That’s why I’m telling you to stop sleep talking. Ah, welcome~! Today…yes, that’s right. I really did think that it was a bit fast for the season. Then, how about this one here?” (Akua)
“I am expecting the souvenir to be expensive…damn Lime!!!” (Eris)
The night was only beginning, but it was to the point that closing was in sight already.
The Kuzunoha Company was prosperous.
“Ara Lime, is that a cold?”
“No, someone must have been gossiping about me.” (Lime)
“It would be good if that’s the case though. You are vigorous at night after all. I hope you won’t get stabbed in time.”
“It is a different body from the one I use when acting separately from hero-dono’s party. Don’t worry.” (Lime)
There’s roof tiles and godowns, but in this strange scenery of a town that’s slightly different from that of Japan, there’s a male and female walking.
The man is Lime Latte, a member of Kuzunoha Company, and currently acting together with the hero.
The woman is Otonashi Hibiki.
Entitled as a hero by the Limia Kingdom, and also the existence that serves as the hope of hyumans in the war between hyumans and demons.
The shopkeeper of the Kuzunoha Company, Raidou -or Mizumi Makoto-, was in a relationship of senior and junior with her.
“It is not like I am telling you to stop indulging in women at night. I do think that if you are doing it fairly, I don’t really mind.” (Hibiki)
“Heh~, for a young woman, you are tolerant.” (Lime)
“Wudi has a wife and baby, and he is head-over-heels in love with her. Bredda doesn’t seem to have the spirit to buy prostitutes. Looking at him, I think he doesn’t have experience with women yet. I don’t intend to tell him to play around with women, but I don’t have much opinion of it either.” (Hibiki)
“…There’s still one more thing regarding Bredda, right?” (Lime)
“So you could tell huh. He seems to like me. I am happy to be liked but…I don’t intend to answer his feelings.” (Hibiki)
“How straight. Then I think telling him quickly would be kindness in itself.” (Lime)
“If he confesses to me, I will properly reject him. To reject him because I have noticed his feelings, don’t you think that would leave a bad aftertaste? He also has to properly resolve himself and say it. I think that putting an end to it in this way, will leave less regrets. Aren’t men like that?” (Hibiki)
“…I don’t know if to call you kind or strict. Well, it is not my business. I was the one who threw the conversation, but please do as you please.” (Lime)
Lime lifts his hands up and shrugs his shoulders.
“I will do that. Sorry for having you accompany me today.” (Hibiki)
“Don’t worry. The two are down with an endemic disease, so it can’t be helped.” (Lime)
“Wudi and Bredda are unlucky. Or maybe Lime is the lucky one.” (Hibiki)
“It is without doubt me being lucky. That’s why I am alive, and working at the Kuzunoha Company.” (Lime)
“Can I hear about that?” (Hibiki)
“I don’t mind. Well, there’s a lot I can’t answer though.” (Lime)
“…What’s that. In the first place, why are you in Lorel when you should be doing business at Rotsgard and Tsige?” (Hibiki)
At the location that Hibiki and Lime were walking to, there’s a building bigger than others.
At the end of the long stairs, there’s a temple.
Their steps told that this is their objective.
“Lorel’s big shots are inviting my boss all the time. Telling him if he wants to put a store here. And so, I am doing a preliminary inspection. Being together with you guys was a coincidence, you know?” (Lime)
Lime’s true objective is to investigate the movements of Hibiki and her party.
But in order to have them think otherwise, he gives out a reason that Tomoe properly laid out beforehand.
In that point, there were no holes.
“The big shots huh. The names?” (Hibiki)
“Hey hey, it feels like you are interrogating me. It is someone called Sairitz. You are free to confirm with the other party, but I ask you to keep it a secret that you heard this from me. If they learn that I am here to inspect, there will be a parade of thought transmissions and letters coming to Boss again. You are the senpai of Boss, right? Lending a bit of help to your kohai would be nice.” (Lime)
“Sairitz… Hmph~, understood. I won’t bring out your name.” (Hibiki)
“Counting on that.” (Lime)
“If you are talking about senpai and kohai, I would want some helping hand for the senpai as well.” (Hibiki)
“You are the senpai, so I ask you to be a bit tolerant on that. Boss is filled to the brim busy, and is suffering.” (Lime)
“…What a troublesome kohai.” (Hibiki)
The two walk up the wide stone stairs.
At the center there’s a handrail, and a lot of people are walking up.
It can be seen at one glance that there were a lot of people on their pilgrimage.
“Even so…Lorel is really enthusiastic about their Spirit religion. If I remember correctly, it is a Water Spirit. It is clearly receiving more believers than the Goddess.” (Hibiki)
“For the commoners, they are the ones who have more appearance than the Goddess, and also, the High Spirits are a strong existence, so it is a religion that’s plenty reasonable to direct their belief at. Also, even if I say it is a Spirit religion, Spirits are all serving the Goddess, it is in essence, a religion of the Goddess.” (Lime)
“You seem to be…quite knowledgeable.” (Hibiki)
“To the point that you have a different impression of me now? Then let me add one more thing while at it. In the past, at the time when the demon race made its great march, the Earth and Fire Spirit that lend their help to them were called low Spirits because of it. In truth, the medium Spirits that possess will of their own, there are some that are called High Spirits but…well, regarding these two, there aren’t many hyumans or demons that continue their belief towards them though. Dwarfs are stubborn so they continue their faith towards the Earth Spirit, but because of their proficient arm in smithing, their eyes are not focused on it.” (Lime)
“…Impressive. Are the employees of Kuzunoha Company required to have these amount of knowledge before being allowed to enter?” (Hibiki)
“I wonder. In our place, we have a tendency to excel at one trait, so there’s no real need to know things, as long as you have a specialty, you can manage to enter, probably.” (Lime)
“Then maybe I should enter as well. With the connection of Misumi Makoto.” (Hibiki)
“A connection is not a talent. Is the job of a hero darker than it shows?” (Lime)
“Pitch black. The environment is also close to the worst. Well, what’s more important is if it’s worth doing huh. I can’t stop after all. Can’t I work in the side lines? Even if it’s by connection, I am confident that I will be an employee that can bring you benefits though.” (Hibiki)
“Our place doesn’t accept being a side job. Too bad.” (Lime)
“Ara. Fuh~ we have finally arrived. Seriously, what a long stair. Chiya-chan said she is almost done but, what do you think?” (Hibiki)
“If she can’t handle this much, she would be lacking in training. Even if you ask me what I think, I can’t say anything since I don’t know what that Priestess is doing. I only tagged along with you here.” (Lime)
“…You really don’t know what Chiya-chan is doing?” (Hibiki)
“…Yeah, I don’t.” (Lime)
“Then, I will leave it at that.” (Hibiki)
“I’m not being trusted.” (Lime)
While doing small talk, Hibiki and Lime enter the temple.
After doing a simple check and confirming their identity, they were led into a room inside the temple.
The reason why they came -or more like Hibiki came- was because she was told that her party member, the Priestess Chiya’s training would be finished by today.
Even if she is young, she is a dependable comrade, and Hibiki herself has come to meet her.
She wanted her party members Wudi and Bredda to come with her, but they are ill right now. That’s why, for some reason, Hibiki came along with Lime, a Kuzunoha Company employee she met at Lorel.
Even Hibiki could only say that she instinctively invited him.
Because she felt that going alone would be dangerous.
Lime didn’t get agitated at the sudden invitation of the hero. He carefreely accepted to go along with her to her destination.
There’s no better distance to accomplish the order of Tomoe to investigate the hero’s movement, so his actions could be said to be obvious.
“And? That Priestess-san, how does she get stronger?” (Lime)
“That’s a secret.” (Hibiki)
“If possible, I would be grateful if she were to grow able to defend herself.” (Lime)
“Grateful? What do you mean by—!!” (Hibiki)
Hibiki’s face showed agitation in one instant.
“So you noticed.” (Lime)
“Something’s strange.” (Hibiki)
“Strange huh. Well, if you are saying this out of instinct, that’s pretty impressive. That, draw it out.” (Lime)
Lime places a hand to the katana at his waist, and looks at the sword at the back of Hibiki.
“An enemy? But Lorel has never received the invasion of the Demon race, not even once.” (Hibiki)
“Who knows. I don’t know about the demons, but for now, it is a matter of fact that they have secluded the space. The place we are in right now could be called a separate space.” (Lime)
“Secluding space? Are you saying a barrier has been activated?” (Hibiki)
“That’s how it is. But it is quite large-scale. I don’t think this is a defensive mechanism of the temple. Someone must have set this up at the shadows of the temple, taking its time. That’s how it feels.” (Lime)
Lime calmly analyzes the situation.
As a spy of the Kuzunoha Company, he didn’t show any signs of being agitated or bewildered.
He detected the abnormality faster than anyone, and had begun to think before anyone else.
“?!! Then, what about Chiya-chan?!” (Hibiki)
“Yeah, there’s a high probability that she is in danger. That’s why I tried asking how strong she has gotten.” (Lime)
“What kind of leisure is that! Lend me a hand. We will immediately go save her!” (Hibiki)
“…Okay, I will lend it. Don’t forget that word.” (Lime)
“Yeah, it is fine to think of it as a debt. I will return it in time.” (Hibiki)
“No no, there’s no need to think of it in such an exaggerated manner. It is fine to just tell me what that Priestess-san was planning on obtaining. I have a nature of wanting to know things that I want to know no matter what, you see.” (Lime)
“Then I will tell you while we move. You are a vanguard, right?” (Hibiki)
Hibiki asks after seeing the katana.
“Yeah, even if it’s side by side, or back to back, I will do a decent job at it.” (Lime)
Hibiki kicks open the wooden door.
The corridor showed a slight fluctuation as if warping, something it didn’t show in the past.
Different from a normal space, it was a scenery that was practically proving they were in an unstable place.
“Then follow me. I will have you do both side and back.” (Hibiki)
“Understood. First, right or left? Hero-dono knows the place where the Priestess-san is, right?” (Lime)
“Right. Also, it is fine to call me Hibiki. Calling me Hero-dono is kind of itchy. For people that stand in the same battlefield, I actually don’t want to be called in that way.” (Hibiki)
“Hibiki huh. If you want me to call you that way, I don’t really mind. Then, let’s go.” (Lime)
“Okay. Horn!” (Hibiki)
Responding to the call of Hibiki, the silver belt that was wrapped around her waist summoned a type of wolf.
“Let’s go to where Chiya-chan is. If you notice something, tell me.” (Hibiki)
The wolf nods at the words of its master.
It seemed like it was able to understand the meaning.
“If you were going to summon, tell me so. I got surprised there.” (Lime)
“Ara, I am sorry. I normally don’t team up with temporary members, so I was indifferent about it.” (Hibiki)
Two people and one animal run.
Just like what Lime said, the temple had become like a dungeon.
There were times when the corridor went a different course, and doors that had no locks couldn’t be opened. Also, there were mamonos appearing in the temple; something that would never happen.
They were all hostile, and mercilessly attacked Hibiki’s group who were trying to hurry.
“You are fighting with quite the leisure!! As I thought, you are not a simple employee!” (Hibiki)
“I just have enough ability to be send to do a preliminary inspection in a foreign country. More importantly, counting that wolf-san over there, you possess power that doesn’t shame the name of hero. I see you in a different light now!” (Lime)
But Hibiki’s group didn’t deal with them. They were all mostly defeated in one hit, and they were actually increasing their speed as time went.
Lime was observing Hibiki at times, nodding at times, and following her perfectly.
He followed Hibiki’s speed without losing breath, moreover, looking at how he swung his sword as if reading her very breath, the phantom of her past companion surfaced in her mind, but she chased it away.
Hibiki told herself: ‘Naval won’t return’.
“Oh, looks like it is here?” (Lime)
(This guy is incredible. His breathing is not affected at all. Moreover, he is acting in a way that doesn’t get in my way. He is really like Naval. No, he is most likely a lot more skilled than her.) (Hibiki)
Even though Hibiki was the one running ahead, she was surprised that she was more tired than Lime who was following from behind, and was also surprised by his movements.
“Should we rest for a bit? It seems the Priestess-san is safe, you know?” (Lime)
While recovering her breath, Hibiki silently shakes her head.
(Also, it is the same with me. I felt like I was clearly stronger than normal. Is this person, Lime, the one that brought out that power from me? No way, there’s no way that’s the case but…) (Hibiki)
She does a big sigh.
And then, when Hibiki lifts her gaze, there’s the back of Lime.
For some reason, that back of his looked quite big in Hibiki’s eyes.
“But, the heart’s eye? Or was it the mind’s eye? I’m surprised she was able to endure with only that power. She didn’t seem especially strong in fights after all, that Priestess-san.” (Lime)
Lime makes a reference of the new power of the Priestess that he heard from Hibiki in the way. The name of the power that Hibiki told Lime was the mind’s eye. The eye of the heart.
The power to see through the real appearance of the target without exceptions; a power that only the Priestess possesses. But Hibiki was hiding one thing from Lime.
That the mind’s eye is a power akin to a side effect.
The objective of this time’s ceremony was to enhance power in all aspects, and by doing that process, she also ends up obtaining the mind’s eye.
Hibiki didn’t tell Lime about the power enhancement.
“That’s…, no, let’s go!!” (Hibiki)
Hibiki almost told everything to Lime.
But just as she was about to, she stops.
It is certainly true that they cooperating now, but Lime Latte is a member of the Kuzunoha Company.
And in the eyes of Hibiki, the Kuzunoha Company is an incredibly dangerous existence.
She felt it was dangerous to reveal everything.
“Got it.” (Lime)
Lime complies, and then opens the big door.
At that place, there’s the figure of Chiya on her knees, both hands put together, and her eyes closed making a prayer.
Then, she saw the strong barrier that was protecting her.
“Demons huh. Why is it, I feel like this doesn’t give off the smell of something planned. It is not good, and it is not like them either.” (Lime)
In his eyes, there were reflected three demons surrounding the Priestess’ barrier.
Lime could tell that she was breathing in and forming a spell.
At her surroundings, there’s the corpses of the Priestess’ bodyguards.
From the scenery that was reflected in his eyes, Lime felt some sort of occurrence involved in this ill-preparedness.
“Wait. Right, the mind’s eye huh. Because of her acquiring that ability, she saw things that she didn’t think would see, and that’s why those three got agitated and did this huh. Then this state is also…” (Lime)
Lime was analyzing the situation from the information.
But it seems he was the only one who was calm.
Lime who heard an angered voice from his right side, looks at the direction where Hibiki should be.
The silver belt suddenly shone and wraps her whole body.
At the same time, Lime felt a strange upsurge of power, and in the next moment, Hibiki’s figure had disappeared.
That’s right, even in the eyes of Lime that were trained by Tomoe, Hibiki looked like she had disappeared.
Lime unconsciously felt something cold at his back.
Hearing the scream at the front, Lime learned of Hibiki’s whereabouts.
She was at the side of Chiya’s barrier.
And there were three corpses of demons as well.
It wasn’t as if they could react to it.
Luckily, only the third one was able to scream because he ‘hit’ the barrier by reflex. The other two weren’t even able to react at all, and were severed in one strike.
The one who was able to scream as well, it clearly showed that he received a fatal hit from one attack.
It didn’t turn into an instant death, that’s all.
In no time, the demon spat out a large amount of blood and died.
(Good grief. It is the proper practice to let one live and have it spill out the beans. For Hibiki, that Priestess might be a special existence. In that case, if there’s a need to restrain her, that Priestess might be useful. There’s no real need to take her hostage; just by mentioning it to her, her movements would dull. Even so…that was unbelievable speed. Like that, I wouldn’t be able to react. If dealt wrong, I would also be defeated in an instant. I am glad I got to see it…along with that incredible outfit. It is more eye candy than scary. Let’s admire it.) (Lime)
Lime places the entire movements of Hibiki in his head. Counting the Priestess’ existence, the strong barrier she created, and the super speed that might be Hibiki’s ace.
…And also the really high exposure rate outfit she uses when showing that speed.
“Are you okay, Chiya-chan?!” (Hibiki)
“Hibiki-oneechan! You came! You really came~!!” (Chiya)
The barrier crumbles, and Hibiki and Chiya hug each other.
“I’m glad! I’m truly glad I made it in time! It is alright now, I am here.” (Hibiki)
“It was scary, but I believed that you would definitely come rescue me! That’s why I had my barrier up all the time and doing my best!” (Chiya)
Chiya’s way of dealing with the situation was truly childish, and at the same time, it could be said to be truly composed and brave.
Instead of going to a poor offensive, the chances of a mistake are low, and it will assure that she will live longer.
The price is that she wouldn’t be able to eliminate the enemy, so her chances of survival hinged on how much you can rely on someone coming to help.
Chiya betted on the help, and she splendidly won the bet.
“I’m sorry for ruining your heartwarming reunion, but how about returning for now, you two? Watching a child and a young girl hugging each other at a blood filled altar, is a bit unsavory.” (Lime)
“Uh…you are right. Lime, you really helped me out in this occasion. Thanks.” (Hibiki)
“Not really. I did properly get the compensation, so minding it too much will only tire me, please stop it. If it’s not enough to show your gratefulness, invite me a dinner. I will be fine with that. Hm? What’s wrong, Priestess-san?” (Lime)
“…A large tree that raises up a forest. Also…a dragon and welcoming rain.” (Chiya)
Chiya suddenly mutters this with distant eyes as she looks at Lime.
“A person that gives a lot of peace of mind…” (Chiya)
“Hibiki, it seems the Priestess is quite tired. Quickly finish reporting this and have her rest. No matter the circumstances, she is still a child after all.” (Lime)
“Right, I will do that. Chiya-chan, can you stand?” (Hibiki)
“Yeah, I’m fine. Onee-chan is…Onee-chan. Amazing, nothing changed.” (Chiya)
Hibiki and Lime look at each other.
Wondering about Chiya-chan who is for some reason laughing happily.
The three leave the abnormal space of the temple’s altar, and head to the temple’s waiting room.
Lime was making a thinking expression as he walked, and suddenly lifted his head.
“Oh right, it might be troublesome if they learn that I am here, so I will be leaving first. See ya, Hibiki, Priestess-san.” (Lime)
“Wait a moment, you are an involved party as well!” (Hibiki)
“It is fine to just have it as if I wasn’t there and take the credit. Hibiki, don’t forget the dinner. I will be returning to the inn.” (Lime)
Lime says this rapidly, and leaves the two at the waiting room.
“That Priestess-san, it seems the mind’s eye sees something without regards to the other party’s mind protection. I should report this as well. This is bad, it is almost time to submit the report to Sis! I have to go to a place without people and return quickly!!” (Lime)
At the Lorel Union, Lime was involved with Hibiki bit by bit.
He still didn’t notice that this one incident would unexpectedly deepen his friendship with those girls.