“So you’re the guy who’s supposed to be guarding us this time huh? Yuuji or something?”
The person who spoke was the sole male in the party I was tasked to guard.
A person I remembered well.
One of Samejima’s entourage, Mahara Keito.
He hadn’t changed at all. With his average build, he was a Japanese male through and through. Actually, he was looking a bit fat.
It was proof that he was skipping his daily practice drills. Looks like Mahara’s pretty much just lazy.
“Mahara! You shouldn’t talk to him like that! Sorry about him, you’re here to help us.”
The girl—named Tamaki Yui—reprimanded Mahara after misunderstanding my lack of a response for being offended.
She was the class chairman, basically someone who would act as the facilitator. To put it another way, she supported my classmates’ bullying me as well, helping me in a bad way.
I’d always think something along the lines of should a class chairman be doing this whenever it happened. But then I’d remember that she was always treating people well, so she was popular among both the teachers and the underclassmen.
Wait, then doesn’t that mean that she wasn’t treating me as a human?
… Let’s stop there. I feel like I’m sinker deeper and deeper.
“It’s alright, don’t worry. I’m Yuuji, an adventurer. It’ll just be for a little while, but I look forward to working with you all.”
Saying that, I held out my hand.
The girls introduced themselves one by one and shook my hand.
“M-My name is Hayase Fuuko. P-Pleased to meet you.”
“Tamaki Yui here! Good to meet you!”
Hayase’s presence was a bit weak even back in the class, so now I’m finally able to match a face to her name.
She was one hundred percent an observer. She never once acted violent against me. In other words, she’s not one of my targets.
… Really, killing her feels like it’d be a bit overboard.
Let’s have her play that role.
On the other hand, this fake blonde, Minamoto, looks like a straight up bitch. She’s a leading figure in the group that hangs out with Samejima. I can’t even count how many times her foot’s trampled me.
Therefore, capital punishment for her.
“Yeah, thanks for the introductions. It’s probably rushing things a bit, but we’re going to be heading out to Trance Labyrinth, so could you tell me about the party composition and who the leader is? I’d like to get a good grasp on how you all work.”
“Minamoto and I are the vanguard with Mahara and Hayase following up the rear. I’m the one who gives out instructions.”
I see. It was a typical composition. Hayase was set to be on standby along with me and Mahara wasn’t so good at doing risky stuff in the front lines.
“Pretty good composition you have there. You must’ve thought on it well.”
“I’ll also be defending you all, so don’t worry about surviving. How about we head out now? To the dungeon, that is.”
“Yeah! Everyone, let’s do it!”
“Should I show you my strength?”
“… … Tch.”
My former classmates all left the room in succession.
Yeah, let’s all go together. It’ll be your execution site, though.
Smirking to myself, I followed after them.◆ ◆ ◆
Nothing happened on the road at all. Everyone just talked with one another with the exact same lack of tension as when they headed into Rigal Den.
Looks like they didn’t learn their lesson…
I’d watched over them on the way in near shock at their nonchalance, but I also came to know more about them.
First of all, their special abilities.
Mahara had Replicate. He could use any magic he’d seen before. In doing so, the magic’s mana consumption and the like would be modified to be within his limits.
Minamoto had Variate Sword. She could change her sword’s hardness and its length up to eight meters.
Hayase had Grand Library. A non-combat type of ability. Once she learned something, she would remember it for eternity. Moreover, it could do something like retrieving things whenever she wanted.
Tamaki had Frost Witch. It would increase the effectiveness of her ice magic by one level. However, it could not surpass divine rank.
Every one of them had an overpowered ability, but I felt Tamaki’s ability was the most frightening. Spirit rank would become soul rank, soul rank magic rank, and so on.
I’m glad I learned about it before I did anything. Even if she’s way below me in levels, she might’ve been able to injure us a bit. Shuri can only use soul rank magic, after all.
I told them about Heart of Steel as it was the least impressive of my abilities. Hayase was there and I didn’t want to risk giving any false information that could damage her trust in me, so I didn’t lie about it.
Their statuses were as bad as I’d expected, but I did find out a few other interesting things.
Mahara Keito obviously has a thing for Tamaki. He hadn’t left Tamaki’s side at all since we set out.
Unfortunately, this girl he’d set his mind on talked to me so that she could avoid Mahara.
With this girl asking me to help her out, it looks like she isn’t on too great of terms with the other girls on the team.
I should probably think of this team as one that was put together haphazardly.
“Excuse me, Yuuji?”
“What is it?”
“Why are we going to Trance Labyrinth? Wouldn’t Rigal Den have been a better choice…?”
… This girl, asking that even though she already knows why…
Even with Tamaki knowing full well why, she asked while pretending to not know. She did it so that there wouldn’t be a pause in our conversation.
She really, really didn’t want to talk with Mahara… Well, it’s obvious how much the idiot loves to run his mouth and brag just by listening to him the moment he opens his mouth.
“Rigal Den is chock full of adventurers right now, so it’d be a bit awkward to get through. That being the case, it will be quicker for you all to raise your levels in Trance Labyrinth, a dungeon that people don’t tend to like.”
“Oooh? So that was the reason. Then… then…!”
Geh. She’s still going to continue?
It started to make me feel fed up, so I stopped the conversation in its tracks and called out to everyone.
“Alright, we’ll be exploring the dungeon from now on. Everyone, ready your weapons and focus. Get in formation.”
Tamaki and Hayase listened to what I said and took out their short swords. The other two, well, yeah.
They wore expressions that screamed how little they gave a f*ck about what I said.
“… Hey, you’re a guard hired to protect us yeah?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Then don’t tell us what to do.”
The heck’s this guy going on about? Does he not remember how close they all came to dying because of their pride?
“We’d be fine even without you here. We would’ve been fine that last time, it’s just that they swarmed us all at once. We wouldn’t have lost if they didn’t.”
“It’d be better for you to stop being so arrogant. You’ll live longer.”
“If it gets dangerous for us, we’ll just have you protect us. You’ll protect us even if it costs your life, you are our guard, after all.”
Mahara grinned in ridicule and strutted inside as he brandished his rod.
“Since that’s how it is, be sure not to mess up.”
Minamoto followed Mahara inside.
“Sorry about them, Yuuji. They are too overconfident in themselves…”
We’d been left behind. Hayase was flustered and Tamaki bowed her head in apology.
I just laughed dryly and tapped them both on the shoulder.
“I don’t mind, so don’t worry about it. More importantly, we should follow them in. The monsters that appear here are stronger than those in Rigal Den.”
I played the role of a gentleman to get them to lower their guard. It looks like it worked, as they both seemed to relax.
“You don’t need to be so respectful to me either, you know. I’m the same age as you both.”
“Really? But you seem older…”
“I get that a lot. It’s all good though, I’ll make sure to protect you two as your senior in dungeon exploring. Just stick close to me.”
I gave as reassuring a smile I could. It was hard to smile so much in a single day, my cheeks felt like they were going to fall off. I’m definitely not used to doing this.
“Thank you for escorting us so properly, Yuuji.”
“Yeah, of course.”
I pulled on the two girls’ hands and lead them inside.