How many times had he sighed since then? The person sighing an uncountable number times was a certain Vale Kimble . He was sitting in a chair in the resting room for the soldiers on the training ground hanging his head .
“Hey, what do you think’s wrong with Vale?”
In worry, Aoyama Taishi asks his companions, Suzumiya Chika, Minamoto Shuri and Akamori Shinobu . The other three tilt their heads .
“It seems that he hasn’t been having any of his usual energy lately . ”
“Since when was it again?”
Chika asks . The one that answers is Shinobu .
“It’s been like this since Vale left to visit the Guild . ”
“I believe he said that there was a dependable person whose help he wished to request for . ”
Shuri adds some information .
“And after he returned… He’s been like that . ”
“What exactly happened to him?”
Chika asks as she wipes some sweat off of her forehead . The group had just been training with the soldiers . Chika trained especially hard, so she’s sweating profusely .
“What should we do? Should we ask him?”
“Yeah, but he’s kinda hard to approach . ”
The air seems stagnant . It’s not really an atmosphere where they can talk to him .
After they watched him for a while, a girl dressed in pink entered the room . That person was the 【Royal Capital Victorias】’s oldest princess, Lilith van Strauss Arclaim .
She approached the four with a smile on her face .
“Good work, Heroes!”
“Lilith-sama must have some difficult work with public affairs as well . ”
Taishi returns those words to the princess .
“Eh, um, what’s wrong?”
“Why are you talking so stiffly, Taishi-sama!”
Taishi fidgets as his eyes wander around the room .
“Didn’t you promise!? I told you to call me Lilith . Also, please stop talking to me like that . I thought Taishi-sama would understand!”
She approaches with her cheeks puffed up .
“G-got it! I got it, so don’t get so close, Lilith!”
Lilith appears to be very flustered as she makes some distance with Taishi . Her face is died a deep shade of red .
“N-no, it’s not like I hate it . Haha . ”
Taishi shyly hangs his head .
“Stop it, you two!”
Taishi suddenly feels an incredible amount of pressure on his foot .
“Oy, Chika! What are you doing!?”
Chika had stomped on Taishi’s foot with all of her might .
“Nothing really . I was just annoyed that your thoughts were written right on your face . Hmph!”
“Hey, that hurts!”
She steps on it again . Taishi begins tearing up as he pleads to the Lilith and Shuri to help him . Shinobu is laughing as she watches the scene .
“Ahaha! As expected, Taishi and Chika’s relationship is funny~”
“What’s with that! Idiot Taishi, your blushing face is unsightly!”
“Oh? Are you perhaps jealous?”
“Idi-! You’re wrong idiot!”
From watching this display, everyone present was able to understand Chika’s feelings . Except Taishi .
“Ufufunofu~ Falling for a dense man is tough~”
Shinobu teases Chika while smiling .
“I-I don’t care anymore! I’m going back to training!”
She says as she storms out of the room . Seeing her leave, Shinobu once again bursts into laughter .
“Chika’s so cute . She’s slender and polite . Taishi is a lucky one . ”
“W-with what? I was just in a lot of pain . Where does this luck come from?”
Shinobu takes a deep sigh as Taishi attempts to explain that he’s not a masochist .
“Ah, if you stay like that, Princess-sama and Chika will have a lot of trouble . ”
She laughs as she sympathizes with them .
“Anyways, were you people talking about something before I arrived?”
Lilith asks . The group explains the contents of their conversation to her .
“So do you think something happened?”
“That’s what I can’t understand . I would ask, but he’s hard to approach right now…”
“There’s no helping it, I’ll go ask then . ”
“Yeah, aren’t I the perfect person for this?”
“I’m not sure what criteria you’re using, but will you really be alright?”
“Leave it to me~ . ”
She says as she heads to the break room .
Vale was thinking over the things told to him by Guildmaster Judom Lankars .
(So the 『Evila』King has changed, and that new King has sent multiple requests for peace talks, but our country has done nothing but ignore them…)
He was also told this: Before my daughter became a sacrifice, before you called over some bystanders to play Hero, wasn’t there something we should have done?
And he was told that he was still much too immature .
(Why did the kingdom ignore… no, I understand the reason for that . There’s still a high chance we’ll get betrayed like before . )
When the previous 『Evila』 King had asked for peace talks and this country accepted, it was a trap, and many 『Humas』 had to become sacrifices . That’s why the king could do nothing but reject these new offers .
That’s exactly why we have to communicate . That’s what Judom said .
(And are the Heroes truly trustworthy individuals…?)
Judom asserted that the inhabitants of another world would be unable to sympathize with the populace . For now, everything is still fine . With their high physical abilities, and magical attributes the heroes should be able to easily overcome most obstacles .
But will they really fight with their lives on the line for the sake of another world? Do such philanthropists exist in this universe? When Judom told him this, Vale’s mind became blank .
The reason for this was because Judom’s argument was sound . It wasn’t something based on opinion or bias . They would always use the word game . Like a game… If it was a game, then… Unlike a game… Whenever Vale heard these words, he somehow felt that these people had too little resolve .
(I thought it was because they were still young, and were not used to battle… but…)
Vale himself was still stronger than them individually at the moment . But they had the talent to take him out in an instant if they worked together . They’re a major asset . But there’s always someone stronger .
The 『Evila』 probably have plenty of people that could deal with them easily .
(If… If someone in their group were to die… would they…)
Would they still fight for us? Many questions that he couldn’t answer surfaced in his head . Judom said that they had to return the heroes to their original world unharmed .
(What should I…)
As he closed his eyes tightly to think, Vale noticed the prescence of someone behind him .
“What’s up, Vale?”
Behind him was Akamori Shinobu .
“You haven’t been energetic lately, is something wrong? Everyone is worried . ”
“… I apologize . ”
“Eh? Ah, no it’s nothing you have to apologize for . ”
Shinobu sits next to him and asks again .
“So, is something wrong?”
There’s no way he could say it . That he had doubts of the person beside him . But he wanted to ask whether she could risk her life .
(If they learn the realityof death,will theyleave the country…? Even after I’ve watched them grow to this level…)
His head could think of nothingbut negative thoughts .
“Is Vale worrying about something related to us?”
Vale’s shoulders tense in response . Shinobu is able to effectively pick this up .
“Ah~ As I thought . So what is it? Will something happen to us?”
It’s not like Shinobu was especially sharp . It’s just that she noticed that Vale had been avoiding the four of them lately . As she looks at Vale, she feels a little sorry for him .
“… I can’t say it . ”
“…… I see . Then you don’t really have to . ”
Vale frowns .
“It doesn’t look like it’s something you have to answer immediately . You can take time and find your answer, right?”
“Or if you don’t get an answer now, will the world end?”
Shinobu shows a serious expression for a second .
“N-no such a thing won’t happen all of a sudden!”
“Then isn’t it fine?”
“I don’t know what you’re worrying about, but Vale should be doing the things he has to do!”
“Things I have to do?”
Returning you all to your own world? He wanted to ask .
“And that’s making us stronger . ”
“Of course . You don’t know when the 『Evila』 will attack, right? So what you have to be doing is preparing for that possibility by making the four of us stronger . ”
“To be honest, I’m a little afraid . This place may look like a game, but it’s not a game . ”
Once again, the word game came up . But this time it carried a greater resolve .
“I don’t really want to die, and I think I may run from fear . ”
That’s a given . Vale and everyone else had thoughts like that too .
“However, if we all support each other, we’ll definitely be fine!”
Upon hearing these words, a single light shines in Vale’s empty mind . Vale stands up from his chair and faces the girl .
“Let’s go, Shinobu-sama! As you said, we must do what we can for now!”
“Yeah, that’s the spirit!”
Shinobu feels happy from the bottom of her heart that Vale was able to regain some of his energy . Vale was able to erase some of his doubts .
(That’s right . I can’t give up . I need to believe . In the King . In the Heroes . Once again… I’ll go meet Judom-sama once more!)
With a strong resolve, he walks out of the resting room into the outside world .
But he still hadn’t noticed . That the answer he reached right now didn’t really resolve anything . If he were to realize the truth, the shock would only be greater now than before .
And he still hasn’t noticed . That whether he liked it or not, he would have to put everything on the line to take from others their everything .