[First————- I want to settle the matter of using <Freeze> on Kirihara.]
Sogou Ayaka had buried her face in Takao Hijiri’s breasts.
I said this with the intention of getting confirmation from her.
Upon my words, Sogou’s shoulders twitched.
Everyone waited for her next response.
However————- Even after waiting for a while, no answer came back.
Instead, Hijiri spoke.
[You’re right…… I also think we should talk about that first.]
Hijiri lowered her gaze to Sogou clinging to her chest……
[If you want to know how things went before today, I’ll tell you more later. If there’s anything we should talk about right now, it’s about how I was saved by people who were indebted to Mimori-kun when I was dying, and that Vysis is an enemy that must be defeated.]
Choosing that moment to speak up……
[Regarding my <Freeze>…… I can only ask you to believe me. If you’re worried about Kirihara’s wounds, I don’t mind using <Freeze> after treating him. There’s still a lot of time before <Sleep> loses its effect.]
Hijiri turns her gaze from Sogou at her chest to me.
[That first insect you froze with <Freeze>, it was still within the 300-day duration, right? In other words, you still haven’t been able to confirm its condition after 300 days had passed.]
[For some reason, this skill distinguishes between the living and the dead. Those living that I froze are preserved————- In other words, they’re under something like cryostasis. Have you ever heard of cryosleep in SciFi books or films…… They use this on important patients that had an illness that can’t be cured at that time. In the future, after waking up from cryosleep, a cure may have already been developed. I also think that this Skill can be used that way.]
These words I said may have been sophistry, but there’s nothing to deny about it.
Such a thing is possible.
Mimori Touka “sincerely” believes so.
[<Freeze> deliberately distinguishes between the living and the dead. That’s why…… I think there must be some special meaning behind it.]
Thereupon, with her face still buried in Hijiri’s chest, Sogou spoke.
[…………Hijiri-san…… What do you think? His words…… about that <Freeze>……]
[Let’s see…… I think that’s pretty reasonable. He’s not telling any lie after all.]
As she said this, Hijiri seemed to have remembered something.
[Actually, my Unique Skill…… Through evolution, I’m able to see through lies. That’s how I know Mimori-kun isn’t lying.]
Sogou reacted at that, seemingly surprised.
I didn’t know she had that ability.
That’s something she still kept hidden from me huh. Well, that’s just like Takao Hijiri…….
Speaking of which……
Seras got her ability to see through lies due to her Wind Spirit.
Perhaps, they may have derived it from the same principle.
It certainly is effective that she revealed her ability to detect lies to Sogou here.
From a look at the situation, it seemed like Sogou will probably believe Hijiri’s words.
If my words had been deemed true by her, then she will believe my words as well.
Thereupon, speaking in a trembling voice……
[……Hey, Hijiri-san. Couldn’t we just…… persuade Kirihara-kun…… to cooperate with us…… If I can just do it……]
[Unfortunately, I think there are too many uncertainties regarding Kirihara-kun right now.]
[If he’s half-heartedly restrained, we run the risk of him becoming a major obstacle to returning to our original world afterward. I’m not too keen———– on fighting while keeping Kirihara’s possible interference always in the corner of my mind.]
As if to take over her Elder Sister’s words, Itsuki said in an easygoing tone.
[Elder Sister already said that, so isn’t it fine to go with Mimori’s idea? If Mimori uses that freezing skill, we can preserve his state in a fresh condition for an extended period of time? Besides…… Kirihara will definitely be nothing but a hindrance. He had always been one from the start.]
Sogou’s body slightly trembled at that.
As Hijiri places her hand on Sogou’s head……
[You should choose your words a little more carefully around Sogou-san.]
[Ueehhh——– Sorry. Uuuu…… E- Elder Sister scolded me……]
Shocked, Itsuki crouched herself smaller on the side.
……The atmosphere kinda feels idiotic.
She’s that younger Takao who’s good at academics, right……?
Not minding her younger sister, Hijiri softly hugged Sogou.
[The reason why you have to bear this burden like this, Sogou-san, is because I originally failed to assassinate Vysis…… You don’t have to feel responsible for this happening, Sogou-san.]
[T- That isn’t the case! Hijiri-san isn’t responsible for what happened to me…… The one who made…… all my decisions was me…… It’s because I had been…… relying on Hijiri-san…… too much……]
She said all that.
However, even now, Sogou Ayaka is relying on Takao Hijiri.
The person Sogou Ayaka absolutely relies on———– Hijiri Takao is currently her “axis”.
After observing her like this, I became convinced.
At that moment———– Ayaka begins to cry again.
She wants Hijiri to accept all her messed-up emotions.
All her vigor had been driven with such a thought in mind.
……It seems like she had already reached her limits huh. In all sorts of ways, I mean.
However, the danger around Sogou I felt until Sogou came here had considerably disappeared.
I suppose it was the right decision to call Hijiri to deal with Sogou huh.
[Will you accept me using <Freeze> on him, Sogou? No matter what the older Takao says, I can’t——— I won’t cast <Freeze> on Kirihara without your approval.]
This isn’t a very pleasant way to do this……
Even if we are inciting her, we are essentially making her have the final words.
We’re letting her make her own choice.
This is the best way to create a sense of conviction out of her.
…………Ahh, I see.
I guess this is how Vysis got her way out of her too.
She had only been leading her.
That is, so that Sogou would ultimately herself would make the choice.
Her own actions, done by her own hands, because of her own decision.
Giving along with it the responsibility for making that choice.
I suppose this too can be called a curse.
A curse that she had put on herself.
In the end———– I am also doing the same thing as Vysis.
In the end……
We’re just the same.
However, I’m not someone who would choose my methods.
We could completely sense the inner conflicts in Sogou’s mind.
However, neither Hijiri nor I.
No one urged her to make an answer.
The only thing we did is wait.
……An “answer” obtained by rushing her is meaningless.
And then———– With her gaze lowered, still clinging on Hijiri, she spoke.
It was at that moment……
[Please believe in Touka-dono, Ayaka-dono.]
The one who spoke up———– was Seras Ashrain.
Raising her head, Sogou looks towards Seras.
[If Kirihara-dono were to die…… then at that moment———– I too will take my life.]
I looked at Seras, a little startled.
This is———– something Seras decided to do on her own.
Even Sogou was taken aback by this.
[ ! Seras-san…… That is————]
Sogou seemed like she was about to talk her out of this, but Seras, with her hand on her left chest, spoke in a calm voice.
[I have no desire to die.]
[However…… My belief in Touka-dono is to the extent that I am willing to risk my life for it. Touka-dono…… It’s true that he reaped the lives of a lot of people. He certainly may have been deceiving you. After all, he himself had said that this was a journey of revenge for his own sake. However, as a result———— It’s also true that I have seen with my own eyes many good people being saved on such a journey. Having said that, I too have been saved many times by him…… If if weren’t for Touka-dono———- I don’t know what would have been of me right now.]
Her long eyelashes lowered, Seras smiled.
She seemed to be reflecting on something very carefully.
[Touka-dono always takes the best measures to protect the powerless good people from the unreasonableness of the wicked———– I believe, for their sake, he would take every step possible. Sometimes…… Even to the point of sacrificing himself.]
“That’s why……”, Seras raised her gaze and stared straight at Sogou Ayaka.
[I believe that this choice too———– For the people he should protect reflected in his eyes…… he had picked this choice.]
Sogou is clearly shaken by Seras’ words just now.
At the time Hijiri was persuading her earlier, her thoughts had already been leading to “this side”.
And with these words———– Her thoughts may have been completely settled.
Sogou lowered her head again.
She firmly clenched her fists.
And then, the next moment, she looked up.
[Put Kirihara-kun———– under <Freeze>.]
[……I give you my thanks, Sogou.]
At my words……
A crooked smile appeared on Sogou’s lips……
Tears dripping down her eyes……
[To be honest…… even I myself…… am not sure anymore…… if I can convince Kirihara-kun…… since I can’t even believe in myself…… Rather than myself…… I think that…… I can believe…… in Hijiri-san and Seras-san more…… that’s why I———-]
Once again, Sogou plunges into Hijiri’s chest, as if to cling on her.
The two of them started talking about something.
However, they whispered in a low voice, so I can’t catch it.
“……if that’s what Hijiri-san believes……”
For a moment, I think I heard such words.
After a few moments———– “I understand”, Hijiri nodded.
[Mimori-kun…… <Freeze> will only be applied after Kirihara-kun’s wounds are treated…… Will you abide by that condition?]
[Yeah, I’ll go with that.]
[You’re fine with this, right, Sogou-san?]
At her words, Sogou Ayaka——– Her face still plunged in Takao Hijiri’s breasts, slightly nodded her head.
Seras tended to the guy’s wounds.
Itsuki also casted Recovery Magic on him.
While all that was happening, I was also present in that place..
If some kind of “problem” happens around Kirihara, I will immediately deal with it.
I watched Seras as she tended to Kirihara’s wounds.
While she was concentrating on his treatment, she wiped the sweat from her forehead with her arm.
She must have been very tired from the battle earlier.
She had her hand on her chest huh.
No matter which era it was……
These words were spoken by an epitome of earnestness like Seras.
I suppose that’s why these words straightforwardly resounded.
Words spoken from one good person to another.
In the end.
At the end of the day, I think that had been the deciding factor.
For someone like Sogou, a person like Seras is probably the right person for this role.
If this were something like the story of the two-person journey of Sogou Ayaka and Seras Ashrain……
If this were not a world where evil has run rampant among the public……
Such a story may have been more beautiful.
Perhaps, it may have been a more refreshing story.
[H- Hey———- I totally feel like I haven’t had my spotlight……]
Meanwhile, as if to cheer her up, Slei was rubbing her cheeks with Munin.
And so, just like that……
Kirihara’s treatment finally ended.
For 300 days————
Kirihara Takuto would be sleeping within ice.