— 4 —
As Hisame left and I sunk to the ground after being freed from an enormous pressure…
Train Girl showed herself, close to tears. Actually, stumbling towards me, her eyes were already swelling with tears.
She must’ve been worried after seeing me in such a pathetic state.
I forced out a smile.
“Train Girl, I’m glad you’re alright.”
“Ah, y-yeah. S-Sorry, it’s all my fault…”
Train Girl hung her head, but well, half of it was my fault.
She wasn’t completely guiltless, but nobody could’ve predicted that it would end up like this.
“Don’t worry about that. There’s something I need to tell you.”
“What is, it?”
Though I did think it was cruel to say this while her mood was downcast, I still said it clearly:
“I promised to train you until you would be fine on your own. But, let’s end that here.”
Hearing my words, she looked up at me, stunned.
I first told Train Girl the details about Hisame, then about how Train Girl had already become more than strong enough, and how I didn’t have time now to help train her. Probably still feeling guilty that she had ended up summoning Hisame, Train Girl tearfully accepted my words.
It hurt my heart to see her desperately holding back her tears, but, even then, she bravely suggested:
“B-But, would you mind if I helped you? I’ll do everything I can to find out where she is! And then if I can report that to you…”
“That’s probably useless.”
Though it would be a huge plus if she were to succeed, the reason I rejected her idea was mostly as a restraint. It’s not like I could seriously count on it to work.
There was a reason Hisame so readily accepted my proposition of tag. Or rather, I proposed tag because I knew of this reason.
“The ring she was wearing. She can probably see through all of my movements if she uses that.”
“Yeah. One of her unique equipments, the Seeker’s Ring.”
A ring that reported the current location of a player.
This fact was only established after some time, but while the appearance of The Helping Cheeter Hisame was random, this random chance increased as her affinity points went up. Personality wise, she was the type that would try to help people she was close to, so I simply accepted that the system was probably made to reflect something like that, but there was a proper reason, or rather setting, behind that.
Hisame would sometimes appear even in the depths of a dungeon. I had always thought that this was quite inexplicable, but after she joined as a party member, I found out about the existence of that ring.
Hisame would whimsically help out people she met, but, apparently, she would also occasionally seek out the locations of people she had taken a liking to with the Seeker’s Ring, intruding on them.
At that time, the words “you can’t run from the Cheeter!!” flashed through my mind.
I didn’t know how it worked in this world, but, at least from her tone, it sounded like the ring was still able to detect my location.
What’s more, if she wanted to hide from me, there was actually a much simpler way to do so. The teleportation stone, which could be used to move from one town to another instantaneously.
As a fighter class, she probably wouldn’t be able to create magic portals, but she would definitely have a few teleportation stones, or be able to buy them, seeing how she was a top-class adventurer. If she were to teleport to another town until the start of the duel, then I wouldn’t be able to do anything.
I could try to ambush her on her way back, but, unfortunately, when a town has multiple monoliths, it was possible to choose one’s destination. Ramlich has a monolith both in the north end and in the south end, so if she were to use the Seeker’s Ring, then, no matter which one I waited at, she would be able to teleport to the other.
Hearing that, Train Girl seemed to have forgotten completely about herself, turning pale and flustered.
“Th-Then, what are you going to do? You can’t be thinking of just letting yourself be killed without a fight…”
“Of course not. I’ll just run away fair and square.”
There was still a ton I had to do, and I needed to get them done before tomorrow morning. Somehow coaxing Train Girl by assuring her I would be fine, we headed towards our first destination together.
What we did was the same as usual, Training at the Cave of Trials. Without me around, she would not be able to earn money this way anymore. I offered to give her all the drops since this was the last time we were doing this, but she stubbornly refused.
After that, I told Train Girl that I needed to prepare some things by myself and asked her to come to the inn tomorrow morning at 8, one hour before the duel, with the money from selling the drops, and bid farewell to her.
“Sorry, Train Girl.”
To her turned back, I quietly whispered.
…I think I’m being quite unfair to her. I don’t know what the results of the duel will be. Maybe I would end up getting killed by Hisame, and this would be the last farewell between us.
I really should have told her that in person, but I wasn’t able to face her and say it.
That’s why I decided to leave behind a letter in return.
Returning to my room and borrowing a pen and stationery, I started drafting a letter to Train Girl.
First, I wrote down the condition to read this letter, that is, if she did not hear from me by noon tomorrow. Then, I continued with the letter body.
Dear Train Girl,
If you are reading this letter, then I am probably no longer by your side.
But, please don’t be sad.
You have already obtained the strength you need to live on by yourself.
If you just draw out a little courage, even if you can’t find a companion, you should be able to at least make a few friends.
You can hate me for being selfish all you want.
But, I would like you to promise me two things.
Firstly, please don’t resent Hisame.
Secondly, please don’t even think about chasing after me.
I didn’t train you for that.
You’re a wonderful girl, and your
I crumpled up the letter I was writing. For some reason, writing a letter makes me way too excited and I end up saying things that I wouldn’t normally say. It’s the magic of a letter.
Struggling greatly, I somehow managed to finish an acceptable letter, and together with another object that I took from my bag, I left them with the inn owner.
I requested for him to hand both of them to Train Girl when she came tomorrow at 8.
“What? This piece of wood?”
The owner looked perplexed, but accepted it anyway. With this, there should be no more issues with Train Girl.
“Well, thanks for everything. …Though I might end up staying here again very soon.”
Saying so jokingly, I tried to head outside, but a voice called out to me from behind.
“You know, I still think it’s strange that you suddenly ended your stay. This letter, it’s not a will, is it?”
He was surprisingly sharp. But, I glossed over it.
“Of course not, what are you talking about? And, I’ve already made arrangements for where to stay tonight.”
In response to the owner’s displeased question, I pointed towards the outskirts of town.
There were still many things that I had to do. In order to avoid any lingering regrets, I should finish as many of those that I can right now.
To start with, I paid a visit to Reinhart, something I had been putting off for a while. Luckily, Reinhart was still in town, and he happily welcomed me.
By the way, at that time, I found out that Hisame had also asked Reinhart about me.
Apparently she found out that I used interesting techniques from him.
“I didn’t ssay much but… Sorry, wass it a problem?”
Reinhart made an apologetic face in a lizardman-like manner, and I smiled, telling him not to worry about it.
There was a chance that we might never meet again after this. I didn’t want to leave any ill will over something like that.
In the end, we chatted about trivial matters, and parted with smiles.
Looking at my watch, there was still quite a bit of time until my next appointment. Taking this chance, I went to the Plateau of Sealing.
I just needed to quickly retrieve something from underground, so it didn’t take too long. It was now pitch black down there, but oh well.
Afterwards, I killed some time looking for bargains at the weapon store, bought something at the magic store I wasn’t able to buy last time, and caused some mischief at the Infirmary.
Heading back outside slightly teary-eyed, I noticed that I was starting to feel hungry. As I wandered around town eating snacks along the way, the sun started to set.
Finally, the time to head towards today’s final destination had come.
On the outskirts of town. There, into a structure which was by no means extravagant, yet emanating a solemn and divine feel, I entered. With large strides, I approached the girl inside who received visitors with an unfading smile…
“Oh, if it isn’t Souma. You’re ear-…”
Slowly kneeled down:
“I’m sorry, Marielle! Please let me borrow the confession room from now until tomorrow morning!!”
“Marielle’s such a nice person…”
Seeing me suddenly kneel down seemed to have troubled her slightly, but, fortunately, she lent me the confession room in the end.
What I desperately yelled:
“This is the last time, I’ll never ask something like this from you ever again!”
Might’ve had some effect as well.
“…All, right. I didn’t think that faith lends itself to achievements, but you must be on the cusp of grasping something.”
Her words made me think that she might have vaguely realized that I was trying to learn movement skills in the confession room.
She was kind, yet someone to be reckoned with.
“Ah, but now’s not the time to ponder things like this.”
The time limit was tomorrow at 8. I haven’t tried pulling an all-nighter in this world yet, but it probably wasn’t impossible.
Until then, I needed to raise the mastery of Step and Highstep, Jump and Highjump, and, if possible, I wanted to learn the advanced movement skill Flash Step.
Whether I can learn Flash Step or not would dramatically affect later developments, so I wanted to learn it no matter what.
“Ohhh, let’s do this!”
Firing myself up, I first climbed on top of the table.
Confirming that my head would be able to reach the ceiling, I activated a skill.
…Not two minutes after I started there was a complaint.
“Thank you, very much…”
I staggered out of the church.
Ultimately having spent the entire night leveling my skills until the last minute, going by the calendar, it was the sixth day since I came to this world, the day of the duel.
However, fortunately, I had learnt the highest ranked movement skill, Flash Step. That’s one more problem off my chest.
The current time was 7:32. You could say that the timing was perfect, but…
“U-Uuu, the sun is so bright.”
Even in a location where I couldn’t take damage, the pain from an all-nighter didn’t seem to have been reduced at all.
Ah, maybe I can cure it by drinking a potion.
As I wobbled forward with such thoughts in my mind…
A person who should not be here stood in front of me.
Clenching Master Torch and my letter so hard that her hand was turning white, was Train Girl.