Just as I was leaving, my hand was grabbed.
Weakly, to the point that it would be easy to shake it off.
When I look back, she had raised her head.
Her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes were damp.
And she looked up at me with a steamy gaze.
That sight of hers squeezed my heart tightly.
“Hikaru…don’t leave. Please reprimand me more. If you don’t, I…feel like I might mess up more…okay? Scold me more.” (Rifreya)
A plea in tears.
Rifreya wasn’t angry.
She wasn’t angry, but…this isn’t what I expected.
“If you were to leave just like this, I feel like I really might make a mistake… Yesterday when I was waiting at the entrance of the dungeon, countless explorers spoke to me… They were pretty stubborn. There might be a time when I won’t be able to refuse them…” (Rifreya)
“Are you threatening me here?” (Hikaru)
“If I said this, you would stay, right? You are kind, after all, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
I had no choice but to give up.
I scratched my head and sat back on the bed.
There was a time before where my little sisters coaxed me in a similar fashion.
Is this like a special technique for women?
“Rifreya…how old are you?” (Hikaru)
“Eh? Why so sudden? 16 years old. What about you, Hikaru?” (Rifreya)
“15…no, 17 years old.” (Hikaru)
“I see, so you were older…” (Rifreya)
“What does that mean…?” (Hikaru)
I have simply increased my body age by 2 years, so I am still mentally 15 years old. But maybe because I have had a lot of hardships with my family, I was often seen as an older person in my world.
I think I am the type that has a childish face, but the hardships must have shown in my face.
Anyways, Rifreya is 16 years old, huh… I thought she was older.
“If you are 16, you should be able to think for yourself. You are the one that chooses to follow other people trying to pick you up or not; I have no duty or right to tell you what to do.” (Hikaru)
“Then, you wouldn’t dislike that?” (Rifreya)
She looked straight at me and asked me this.
Rifreya is so sly.
“I wouldn’t like it.” (Hikaru)
“Why? You said just now that you had no duty or right about this.” (Rifreya)
“It is because you are beautiful. I wouldn’t like you being tainted by a random man.” (Hikaru)
“Wa, oi.” (Hikaru)
She suddenly hugged me from the side and was pushed down onto the bed.
“I…am fine if it is with you, Hikaru. No, I don’t want anyone but you… This is my first time feeling like this… Did you know? Even when we are just like this, my heart has been saying it is happy this whole time. Just by feeling your touch and your warmth transmitting to me, I am assailed by an unbearable feeling.” (Rifreya)
Is there a man who wouldn’t fall when being straddled like this and approached this passionately?
If it weren’t for the fact that people from all around the world were watching, who knows what I would have done here.
“Calm down, Rifreya. Idiot, you must still be drunk.” (Hikaru)
“Idiot, you say. Can you say that one more time?” (Rifreya)
“Eh? Idiot, idiot, idiot.” (Hikaru)
“Ehehe, this is my first time being called an idiot.” (Rifreya) <TLN: He is actually saying ‘omae’ which is a really informal way of saying ‘you’. Translates awkwardly.>
She hugged me again tightly.
I felt that heated body with my whole body, and I felt like I myself was heating up.
Even though I was in a bit more of a decent state until now.
“You really should hold back on the alcohol. You will definitely make a mistake. No, you are currently making one.” (Hikaru)
“You think I am doing something like this because I am drunk?” (Rifreya)
“There’s no way you would do something like this if you weren—” (Hikaru)
I was about to finish what I was saying when Rifreya lifted up her body.
With her face bright red.
But those teary eyes were different from that of a drunk person…
“…Pretending to be drunk. If I don’t, I wouldn’t be able to do something so daring as this out of embarrassment.” (Rifreya)
“Good grief… Anyways, I won’t be leaving, so calm down.” (Hikaru)
“You won’t?” (Rifreya)
“As.I.said, I won’t.” (Hikaru)
“Then, I guess I will get picked up by someone~. If you don’t embrace me, Hikaru, I guess I will get embraced by someone else~.” (Rifreya)
“Even if you try to tease me here…” (Hikaru)
I don’t know what tucked at her heartstrings, but I didn’t expect to be attacked in this way.
My mind was completely overloaded to the point I couldn’t even think about the gazes of Earth or the laughs.
“See? You can tell my heart is racing, right?” (Rifreya)
She grabbed my hand and pushed it onto her own breast.
This is my second time feeling this including the time with the prostitute.
But it felt incomparably sweeter than that time, and my heart was on the verge of melting.
“I have been searching for you for several days. At that time, I was always thinking about you, Hikaru. Wondering what he would talk about. What would his smile look like?” (Rifreya)
Her heartbeat I could feel when our skin touched, the heat…that kindness.
It was a temptation hard to fight against for someone like me who has been surviving in this parallel world all alone.
I want to be forgiven.
I want to be consoled.
I want comfort.
“That’s why…to tell you the truth here, this talk about thanking you is simply an excuse. It was fun after having a meal with you. I simply thought you really were the right person. That’s why…see?” (Rifreya)
“I-Is that so…” (Hikaru)
Her breath caressed my earlobe, and her hot and damp lips grazed my cheek.
Her silk-like hair hanging from her ear flowed down smoothly, and tickled my neck.
Our heated bodies were brought together as if attracted to each other, our skin sticking to each other. My mind was going completely blank here.
The wooden window had been closed but had slight moonlight peeking in from it.
Combined with the faint light of the lantern, my shadow and her shadow overlapped into one.
Only the sound of our breathing could be heard, and the air in this room was rising and melting.
I was on the verge of falling here…
But at that moment…
[Pin Pon Pan. An announcement to the Chosen! From tomorrow on for 2 weeks, we will be holding the 1st Viewer Count Race! We have prepared super wonderful prizes for the Chosen who gather the most attention from the viewers in the span of the event! Please do participate! The big prize for this most auspicious 1st competition is the Resurrection Gem! This is a special item that is impossible to obtain on Earth or the parallel world! Go ahead, come ahead, aim for the 1st spot in this most auspicious 1st competition, and gather those viewers!]
It was as if a cold ice stake was rammed at my back.
A tactless announcement that brought back my heated senses.
“Ah, don’t fondle that hard—eh, Hikaru…? What’s the matter…?” (Rifreya)
“I-I’m sorry… C-Can you please wait for a bit?” (Hikaru)
I hurriedly opened the Status Board.
To Rifreya, I might look like a weirdo who is moving his finger in midair, but I pay no mind to that.
Right now, just what did that announcement say?
The big prize is the Resurrection Gem.
Did it say that?
“H-Hey, what’s the matter, really. You are trembling…” (Rifreya)
“Sorry… Just a bit… Wait for a bit please.” (Hikaru)
I repeated the same thing and my heart was racing for a different reason from just before.
The Status Board had already updated with the details about the Viewer Count Race.
I tapped the Resurrection Gem with my trembling fingers.
[Resurrection Gem: Sacred Treasure. The God Gem that brings back your important someone to life. The ones who died on Earth, the ones who died in the parallel world; it can be used for any of those two. Be careful as this will revive them at the place they died. If it isn’t someone important to you, it won’t be possible to revive them.]
My whole body was sweating profusely.
My heart was drumming to unprecedented levels.
If I get first in the Viewer Count Race, I can revive Nanami?
There’s already no point in doubting the power of God.
If it is saying it can revive the dead, it should be able to.
No matter what God’s plan is, if I can revive Nanami, I…
“Y-You are…acting weird all of a sudden. Are you not feeling well? Wait, kya!” (Rifreya)
I lifted my upper half, and hugged Rifreya.
My decision was instant.
I will take first place.
No matter the method.
…Even if I have to sell my soul to the devil.
“Your repayment…I want to take it.” (Hikaru)
“E-Eh? Yeah, that was my intention, so I am alright with that, but…why the sudden change of mind?” (Rifreya)
“…The circumstances have changed. And so, about this…uhm…can I book it for later?” (Hikaru)
“Book it? As in doing it on another day?” (Rifreya)
“Yeah, this may be weird, but I will definitely take it, so please don’t let any other man have it.” (Hikaru)
I am the worst.
I am thinking about using Rifreya.
It is impossible for me alone to take first place.
But the worse a man the viewers think of me, the less the viewers that hate me will be able to take their eyes off me.
After making a thinking gesture for a bit, Rifreya speaks.
“Booking… I am not against the idea itself, but…just as I said before, I will be leaving this city. My comrades…or more like, the girls from my family that serve me have already left since it was already time. I was planning on returning once I thanked you, Hikaru.” (Rifreya)
“Then, does that mean you won’t be doing explorer work anymore?” (Hikaru)
“Yeah, it is impossible on my own, and partying with others at this point in time is a bit… You may think I am being too self-conscious here, but…the other explorers look at me with lecherous gazes.” (Rifreya)
Entering a party of explorers alone is difficult.
I haven’t even thought about it even when I am always alone.
And Rifreya is a dazzling beauty. If she were to enter a party with men, there’s no doubt she would have a hard time.
“…That’s why, if possible, I would like you to accept my thanks today. If I return to Siltion, I won’t be able to come back here easily anymore.” (Rifreya)
For her, this is probably just a memory in her journey.
But I need her.
Definitely, for the sake of taking first place in the Viewer Count Race and resurrecting Nanami.
“Rifreya, from tomorrow on, will you party with me? …I need you.” (Hikaru)
“E-Eeeeh? I-I would be happy to party with you, but…really, what happened to you? You changed way too drastically all of a sudden.” (Rifreya)
Changed drastically. That must be the case.
I have been living in a way that I wouldn’t stand out, so that the viewers wouldn’t increase.
But in order to revive Nanami, I need to do the exact opposite.
I have to stand out in the flashiest of ways.
If I am being hated and the viewers are watching in amusement, I will take first place even if I have to become a villain.
I am sure I will be hated even more than ever before.
Sympathy will gather around Rifreya, and they might tell the other Chosen ‘she is being deceived’.
But I don’t mind that.
Whatever the price it is…as long as I can take first place…
“When it is all over, I will tell you everything.That’s why, can you please keep me company?” (Hikaru)
“O-Okay. I myself wouldn’t want to return to my home with a half-baked conclusion like this, so being able to join forces with a strong Spirit User like you, Hikaru, is more than I could wish for.” (Rifreya)
“Thanks. Looking forward to working with you from tomorrow on. I will come pick you up in the morning.” (Hikaru)
I lightly kissed the cheek of Rifreya and left while she was dumbfounded.
Rifreya is a dazzling beauty.
I am sure she will gather the eyes of the viewers.
It is not like I am not feeling bad for using her for my benefit.
After everything is over, I will definitely atone for this.
The price for that atonement…I don’t mind even if it is my very life.