WG – Chapter 172: Looking Forward

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“As I said, this is a magic circle, so just messing a part of it will do just fine.” (Souma)

“Uh, no, I understand the logic! But…” (Sazan)

Even when coming back to the library, Sazan continued complaining, so I explained to him.

Magic circles are a delicate thing, so just changing one part or two can change the effect of a magic circle. 

That’s why the Mage Guild won’t be able to use their magic circle anymore with the mithril of the library’s roof torn off. 

The MP Drain should have stopped, and the people who have lost consciousness from the lack of MP will wake up eventually. 

“But you were having a grand speech about lending you our strength…” (Sazan)

“Hm? But I did borrow your strength even if only a little bit…right?” (Souma)

“That’s…That’s…Hngh!” (Sazan)

Sazan was raising an incomprehensible fuss here, but I can’t go wasting too much time on him.

We have escaped immediate danger for now. 

But we can’t just leave it as just that this time around.

“Maki, sorry, but can you go to the King for a bit and explain the situation? If possible, it would be a great help if you were to use the castle soldiers to capture the Mage Guild’s Guildmaster.” (Souma)

“Okay, got it!” (Maki)

Even if we heal the collapsed people, they would just be confused and uneasy without knowing the situation. 

We should be able to keep the chaos and confusion to the bare minimum if there’s the explanation of the King. 

“Seirie-san, I think the people of the library will be waking up little by little, so please deal with them. I will give you a few MP potions just in case.” (Souma)

“Understood.” (Seirie)

But the people in the library aren’t the only unconscious people. 

As for how we will deal with those people…

“Want me to take over the job of explaining to the citizens?” 

While I was thinking about it, Myu…-san proposed this. 

“Is that okay?” (Souma)

“Yes. It will obviously be impossible to explain to everyone, but I think I can be of help.” (Myu)

“No, but…” (Souma)

I think Maki will explain to the King, but it would be better to have as many hands as possible to calm down the confusion.

But, honestly speaking, seeing how she has been acting until now, I find it hard to believe she has the ability to be of use here. 

She must have noticed those doubts, she spoke as if reprimanding me. 

“Souma-sama, it is true that I alone am a powerless sister. However, people are not alone as long as they are alive. Relying on others and urging the cooperation of others is by no means an action that should be shamed for. 

Also, I have Priest Gratia and those reliable comrades.” (Myu)

“Myu…-san.” (Souma)

I couldn’t say the name of the person in question, so it didn’t really close up that well, but her words seeped in my chest. 

I am aware that I would end up thinking about how to solve all the problems by myself. 

This is personally a painful talk. 

But what she is saying right now had no signs of it being an exaggeration or her being embarrassed about them, her face not showing criticism towards me. 

I felt like this girl that seemed like she was just fooling around a few moments ago was truly a sincere and faithful person with experience. 

“Sorry. I…” (Souma)

Remembering that I was treating her like a weirdo until now, I felt embarrassed. 

But she smiled as if saying ‘that’s okay’ and declared this bluntly. 

“That’s why I will throw this whole matter onto Priest Gratia! That person is capable unlike me, so I am sure he will do this well!!” (Myu)

“…Ah, okay. Let’s just go with that.” (Souma)

Understand that this person is completely hopeless, the conversation was severed then and there. 

Well, the reality is that, if she were to talk with the priest about it, the priest will most likely do everything in his power to calm down the confusion of the city. 

“Hnnn…? This is…?” 

While we were having that talk, one of the people that had collapsed in the library had woken up.

I look at the faces of my comrades and exchange glances.

There will be individual differences in the MP recovery rate, but all the people will most likely be waking up from here on.

The MP Drain of the Mage Guild has stopped safely. 

Seirie-san stayed in the library, Maki headed to the castle, Myu-something-san went back to the church, and we headed back to our house.

People woke up little by little, and the city was regaining its noise. 

As expected of the residents of Nekomimi Neko.

They must have gotten used to weird happenings. Even when they know that they have lost consciousness, there’s barely any people who are flustered about it. 

“Speaking of which, I am feeling hungry.” (Ina)

Ina muttered carefreely. 

The sound of life mixed into the city and the scent of food was wafting about. 

We have used quite a lot of time at the library. 

It is most likely already time for dinner.

“R-Right! Once we are back, I will go all out in my cooking! Sashimi of Killing Globe Fish and Birdhelm salad…” (Ina)

“Rejected. Are you planning on killing us?” (Mitsuki)

I heard the conversation of my comrades at the front. 

And once we were around half-way…

“Ah, shoot!” (Souma)

I suddenly raised my voice and the gazes of everyone gathered on me. 

“Sorry, it seems like I forgot something at the library. I’m gonna go get it, so please return first.” (Souma)

“Ah, then I will also!” (Leila)

Leila immediately wanted to follow along, but I shook my head. 

“No, it would be faster if I go alone and it is already time for dinner. Can you please go back first and prepare dinner for us?” (Souma)

“The meal of Souma? …Okay! I will do my best!” (Leila)

Her response was strangely energetic, but I sighed in relief. And then, it was now Sazan who slid his way towards me as if having fun.

“The library, huh. Fufu. Then this omniscient mage that knows everything in this world, Sazan, shall come along with you. Of course, you will be going for your own business, but you will be paying for my entrance fe—” (Sazan)

“More importantly, give me back my gloves.” (Souma)

“Gya! Wa, n-no! It stinks of sweat! I am telling you no! …G-Got it. I will wash it at the mansion properly, so stop pulling!” (Sazan)

Sazan slid his way in aiming for the library, but I shot him down and switched directions before he could say anything more. 

I ran back to the path we came from.

“P-Please wait, Souma-san! We really should—” (Ina)

“Now then, I will be heading off, so go back first, okay?! [Step], [High Step], [Ground Compression]!” (Souma)

I act as if I didn’t hear the voice of Ina coming from my back and accelerate in one go.

I turn the corner with the last Ground Compression.

And then, after confirming I couldn’t see them anymore…

“Alright, let’s go.” (Souma)

I turned my back from the path to the library and began walking to a completely different direction.

The objective is of course the source of this incident, the Mage Guild.

—We are out of immediate danger.

—But we can’t just end it like this this time around.

If Maki does this well, King Rihito might be able to move the soldiers to apprehend the Mage Guild’s Guildmaster.

However, the expectations are low that they will be able to achieve that.

Especially if the guildmaster were to use the magic circle in the office room to escape inside the tower. Capturing the guildmaster will be despairing with the forces of the castle. 

Also, there’s one thing I am curious about. 

The trick that the Mage Guild used was one given through the game. 

It is true that the methods and objectives were shown in the setting of the game. 

But the incident of the citizens being MP drained was not in the game. 

(The divergence between the game and this world is getting bigger.) (Souma)

NPCs have become people with free will and their scope of action has expanded greatly. 

That difference is getting bigger as time passes, and by the time 1-2 years go by, my game knowledge will stop being of use little by little. 

In that sense as well, it is time to settle this here. 

“…This might be my last job in this world.” (Souma)

The dangers that have come to us have been many, and I didn’t pour strength into returning to my world.

But once this incident is resolved, I doubt there will be any more incidents that will drag this world into peril again.

That means my duty as a Player in this world would be over. 

I will just have Sazan cooperate a bit later, and I will be able to obtain the ‘method to return’ that I was thinking about at first. 

Ringo, who is suffering because of me, and Ina, who I pretty much married because of the situation, Mitsuki, who has helped me out the whole time, and the cat ears-chan that calms me down the whole time. Of course, there’s the Bear and Leila too. My precious comrades.

It is not like I am not hesitating about separating from them.

But when I have to decide whether to return, I will make it so I have the least amount of regrets, make a world where everyone remaining can live in peace, and cut off as much of the roots of evil as possible. 

It is true that my game knowledge will slowly become useless. 

Even so…no, it is exactly because of that that I have to affix this Mage Guild problem into the game category with my game knowledge to solve it. 

—This will most likely be my last role as a Protagonist (Player) in this world.

That’s why I headed to the Mage Guild without hesitation.

“So it really was like that.”

I was startled by the voice that rang behind me and I stopped.

When I looked back, there were two people that shouldn’t be here. 

“Mitsuki! And also Ringo?! Why…?” (Souma)

Mitsuki loosened her lips as if saying that’s a foolish question, shook her cat ears, and spoke. 

“It is the world’s most stupid question. Who do you think I am?” (Mitsuki)

Those haughty words that Mitsuki spoke gently like a lullaby made my mouth loosen unconsciously. 

“I see. So it would be easy to see through an act like that for you, huh, Mitsuki.” (Souma)

“Yes… Because I have been watching you the whole time since meeting you.” (Mitsuki)

The memories I have had with Mitsuki replayed with those words and I felt my chest being squeezed. 

I escaped to Ringo hurriedly as if shaking off those emotions.

Are you the same as Mitsuki? -is what I asked with my gaze, and Ringo nodded without hesitation.

“…Hn. I followed her on a whim.” (Ringo)

…Yeah, having no real reason is the best. 

I made a wry smile at the unexpected words and was about to wash it off, but…

“…I wanted to go together with you, Souma.” (Ringo)

Even Ringo went and said something that surprised me. 

And then, she was urged by Mitsuki at her side. She hesitantly walked forward and showed me both of her hands.

“That’s…!” (Souma)

Ringo’s fingers had 2 on her left and 2 on her right for a total of 4 rings. 

For a resident of this world like Ringo, the limit of rings you can have on should be 2…

“Could it be that your condition was weird in the library because…” (Souma)

The reason why Ringo has not been feeling good recently is because she was training to put on a whole lot of rings? 

Of course, you will be able to do as much more with the number of rings increasing. 

But breaking such mental restrictions should come with extreme pain. 

I was left speechless with the two hands in front of me and…

“…I will do my best.” (Ringo)

“Eh?” (Souma)

“…I will do my best in anything so that I can be of help to you, Souma.” (Ringo)

Ringo grabbed both of my hands tightly and looked up at me as if clinging onto me. 

“That’s why…please don’t leave me.” (Ringo)

Does that…does that mean not leaving her even though I am going to the Mage Guild?

Or…

“Ringo…” (Souma)

But whichever the case, I couldn’t say anything to Ringo. 

A tense atmosphere like that of glass that could break with just a single breath. 

“Well then, let’s go.” (Mitsuki)

The one who cut that atmosphere without hesitation were the cat ears cutting through the wind. 

Mitsuki entered between us with a light mood, taking both mine and Ringo’s hand, and began walking as if dragging us. 

“M-Mitsuki?!” (Souma)

“Mitsuki…?” (Ringo)

Mine and Ringo’s voices overlapped. 

But even when receiving the criticism of two, she didn’t show a single sign of being flustered. 

“It would be a waste of time to talk here. Rather than standing in place and thinking, let’s do what we can right now.” (Mitsuki)

“Ah, but…” (Souma)

It is not like I went alone without my own thoughts. 

It is because I judged that it would be best to hit the Mage Guild alone that I separated from everyone…

“Now then, are you going to throw Ringo-san away after she showed this much courage?” (Mitsuki)

But if she puts it that way, I can’t say anything back.

“Let’s go.” (Mitsuki)

Mitsuki grabbed our hands without any hesitation and continued onwards. 

I was a bit…jealous of her unfaltering personality. 

But, at that moment…

A small mutter leaked out from Mitsuki at the front.

“If this is going to be the last time…” (Mitsuki)

What’s that about this being the last time?

Mitsuki didn’t finish what she was going to say, but I felt like the fingers of Mitsuki pulling my hand were trembling slightly. 

“…Right.” (Souma)

I resolved myself. 

Mitsuki and Ringo are the two that have been together with me the longest since coming to this world. 

That’s why, if…if this is the last incident in this world…

—It should at least be with these 3. 

I felt like I heard those words that were not voiced out, and I held the trembling hand of Mitsuki.

Mitsuki looked back and I answered clearly. 

“…Let’s go. All 3 of us.” (Souma)

Mitsuki looked as if she gulped for a moment there, but soon nodded with a calm expression.

“…Of course.” (Mitsuki)

And then quickly looked to the front and continued onward gallantly while pulling me and Ringo. 

I doubt Mitsuki doesn’t think anything about me returning to my world. 

But she is putting a lid on those feelings for now and is trying to do what she can. 

I think that’s a strength that Ringo and I don’t have. 

The liveliness of the city was beginning to return to the MP drained city. 

There are people who know us, and some are looking at us, who are walking while holding hands, with weird eyes.

But Mitsuki didn’t falter.

She didn’t even spare a glance at the noise of the surroundings, and with an expressionless face filled with confidence, she raised her face proudly, puffed her chest out, and advanced forward.

Walking forward.

“…Mitsuki.” (Souma)

My voice was raspy. 

That raspy voice of mine was swallowed by the noise of the city and didn’t reach Mitsuki.

I hesitated countless times but decided to say it in the end.

“…Mitsuki, uhm…sorry.” (Souma)

Mitsuki finally looked back when I said this.

She had her usual composed expression, but I don’t feel that thorniness she had when I first met her. 

“Is something the matter? Don’t tell me you are having cold feet at this point in time, right?” (Mitsuki)

Those provocative yet soft words of hers made a smile show on my face again and I shake my head. 

I simply pointed back and said…

“The corner just now…to the left.” (Souma)

The cheeks of Mitsuki flushed in an instant, and her cat ears fell as if saying ‘I am sorry’.

—–

Author: Somewhere else at that time, Ina was snatching some of the dinner at the mansion and was scolded by Leila. 

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