— 3 —
I direct a question at the first companion I made since I came to this world as I walk with her.
“Hey Ringo, I really think you should rethink your name. Now, I know you really like apples, but there’s really no need to go and name yourself after a food item.”
To be perfectly honest, I was already starting to get used to Ringo’s name.
It might be a bit awkward to change her name now, but moving forward, it’s important that she changes her name sooner rather than later—should she choose to do so.
“…Ringo is good.”
Ringo stubbornly insisted.
“But a name’s gonna stick with you for a whole lifetime. Such a random name…”
“…It’s not random.”
Ringo suddenly took a step-and-a-half forward, pulling alongside me.
Then, from a close distance reminiscent of when we first met, she declared.
“…You said that Ringo suits me.”
A memory hit me like a flash of lightning. Indeed, I remember saying those words right after I met her when she was eating some apples. I didn’t expect those words to leave such a deep impression on her, and I couldn’t even imagine that it would be the trigger for her to decide her name.
Ah, I get it. That’s what she meant when she said I named her a while back.
Of course, when I said those words, they were just a reaction to the image of Princess Shelmia eating an apple, and I simply meant that the sight of her eating apples was quite befitting, and not that Ringo was a suitable name, so in the end it was a misunderstanding on her part…
But, for some strange reason, hearing Ringo say that didn’t feel so bad.
My face felt hot, and I was barely able to stop myself from breaking into a grin.
I thought about confirming with her once again whether she was really okay with throwing away the name Shelmia, but gave up.
I came to understand how uncharacteristically stubborn she could be after the Butcher fight. There’s no point in forcing this issue.
In any case, this was one thing off my plate.
This Extermination Fest, which began due to poverty, ended with an unbelievable development, and had an unexpected boss monster sandwiched between the two, was conclusively over.
“Well, let’s get going then, Ringo.”
I set off in search of a new adventure together with my new and irreplaceable partner…
We then heard those words—words that would overturn everything.
She couldn’t be here to dispute the results of the contest, could she?
Considering that, I stepped forward to shelter Ringo, but I was met with an unexpected sight.
“I have a request to make of you.”
Hisame bowed deeply to follow her words.
“Eh? A, requests…?”
I froze as I was confronted with such an unforeseen situation, while Hisame continued to speak with her head still lowered.
“I promise you the greatest hospitality in the world, unmatched in all aspects. Hence—”
A shiver of unprecedented scale crawled up my spine, together with an overwhelming sense of deja vu.
This was—these phrases were…
“—Would you be interested in studying at my dojo as a guest in exchange for your strength?”
The words that heralded the beginning of the worst chain of insta-death events, “The Hisame Family’s Trials.”
I Am the Only One Who Knows This World Is a Game 2 (End)