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Vol 6: Chapter 2 (1)

With The Same Look As That Time

I told everyone I would be okay moving alone.

Therefore, I asked Mimino-san and Non-san to talk to the mayor and Riviera-san, a top member of the Church. I returned to the inn where Lark was staying.

My task is to persuade Lark. I have to return Shadow King to her, and then ask her consent to destroy it.

I thought of destroying it while Lark was asleep, but it was so cowardly that I thought of using that method as a last resort.

(For Lark, Shadow King was the power which freed her from the mine. Skill orb is way more important to her than it was to me.【Shadow King】is a part of who she was.)

How difficult it must be for her to throw it all away…

「But I can’t be afraid.」

I entered the inn.

The counter was unmanned after breakfast time. I saw Kook, a companion of Lark’s, sitting at the cafeteria.

「You are–」

「Good morning. I’m finally back.」

「Are your party members all right?」Kook-san asked, probably because I had a serious look.

「Ah… you don’t have to worry about it. Everyone has returned safely.」

「I see. Then, what about the discussion with the Sage?」

「I have found a way to restore Lark’s vitality.」

「What!?」

「It’s going to be a little difficult… Can I talk to Lark?」

「I understand… I’m sorry.」

「Why are you apologizing? On the contrary, I feel grateful towards you, Kook-san.」

I haven’t heard much about how Lark and Kook-san met after she left the mine, but I am thankful to Kook-san and his friends for saving Lark from isolation.

「Our lives were saved by the young miss. So we were prepared to put our lifes on the line, but we couldn’t do anything.」

「But that’s just…」

「It just feels frustrating that we had to leave everything up to a kid like you…」

When we were planning to go see the Sage, Kook-san and his friends wanted to accompany us. But considering that someone must constantly be with Lark, and that their fighting capabilities were lacking, I asked Kook-san to stay behind. And I simply didn’t have enough time to consider their feelings.

「If so, I have a request for you.」

If I were to offer them comfort, being a little boy, it might hurt their pride even more.

「What is it? If it is something we can do, we’ll definitely do it.」

「Thank you.」

Lark has met some really good people.

「I want to heal Lark at all costs. At that time, Lark may cut all ties with me.」

「What… what are you going to do?」

「I can’t reveal that yet, but… when that happens, I want you to be by her side, Kook-san. Please.」

「That’s not really a problem, though.」

「You promise, okay? Please be by her side. Throw a stone at me if necessary.」

「You…」

Lark might cut ties with me if I had to use the last resort, and I was prepared for it.

No, should I say that I am finally resolved for it now?

With Kook-san and the others by her side, Lark will be okay.

Even if I am no longer in her life.

「You know, all my life I have been living in a shitty way. Even if I say I had no other choice, it doesn’t change the fact that I have lived by robbing other peoples’ property and threatening their lives. I have changed a lot since meeting the young miss, but… there are some things I can understand very well because I’ve lived that way.」

Kook-san reached out his arm and grabbed my right shoulder.

「It’s hard to live properly… The reason you’re suffering so much is because you’re a good man from the bottom of your heart.」

「No, I’m not that good of a person–」

「I promise you. If she throws a stone at you, I’ll harden my heart and throw a stone at you too. But even if it takes years, I’ll definitely resolve her misunderstanding. She will surely understand that the person who loves and cares about her the most in the world is none other than you, Reiji.」

Hearing that was enough. Just because Kook-san said that, I was able to get rid of the last bit of hesitation in my heart.

「I’m going.」I said.

「Good luck.」

I left the cafeteria and climbed up to the 2nd floor.

The hallway was deathly quiet.

Sunlight shined through the opened window. Dust particles can be seen floating in the air.

I stood in front of Lark’s room and knocked on the door.

「What do you want, Kook? I ain’t really hungry, so I don’t want any food.」

I heard a voice.

Lark’s voice was blunt, with a hint of girlishness.

Her usual voice. Not her sad crying voice when she was arguing with me.

(She is getting better. The worst situation is out of the way.)

Hearing her voice overwhelmed me with feelings, but I bit down my teeth and remembered what I had to do.

「It’s me. It’s Reiji.」

I heard a gasp.

I don’t know if Lark’s next words will be rejection. It seems that Mimino-san talked to Lark after our fight, but since Lark is much more stubborn than I am, I don’t think it will be easy to change her mind.

「C-Can I come inside?」

Right when I said that, the door swung open outwards and stopped just before hitting my face. Lark stood on the other side.

She was wearing a thin, linen-woven nightwear. She was barefooted. Her morbidly white skin looked slightly recovered from our last encounter.

「Little brother… Are you alright?」

「Ah, y-yeah.」

Her reaction was so unexpected that I could only give a dumb reply.

Lark’s eyes, which were out of focus, indicated that her eyesight has not yet recovered.

Right when it seemed like her eyes were getting wet, her right fist hit my chest – her punch felt very light.

「You idiot… Doing crazy stuff for my sake.」

Lark leaned forward as is and rested her forehead on my chest.

「…I’m sorry, little brother. I wasn’t a good sister to you… I took in the power of【Shadow King】to protect you… but instead, I misunderstood that it belonged to me, and this time I have put you in danger. I should have been happy just knowing that you were alive and well.」

When I heard her say that, I forgot all the persuasive words that I had been thinking about.

「Sorry, Lark. I was stupid. You are my only family and yet I tried to force what I thought was right.」

「Do you still think of me as your sister?」

「Of course.」

「Thank you……」

Reiji… she muttered softly.

**

It went smoother than I expected. I even wondered why I had that talk with Kook-san at that time. I guess I was desperate, so it couldn’t be helped. But Lark has agreed to the destruction of【Shadow King】.

「Ah, you’re here? I’ve gathered all my companions.」

Kook-san said so in a carefree tone, greeting me as I came down from the second floor.

There were also three other people; the scout, locksmith, and the engineer.

「Well… umm…」

「It went well, right? I had a feeling it would.」

「…Is that so?」

「But you also had a serious look, so I thought I shouldn’t waste your resolve.」

Is he serious?

It seems like I was the only one who didn’t see this outcome coming…

「Don’t feel too bad. Yours was the worst case scenario, right?」Kook-san said.

「That is… well…」

「Then, just be happy that it didn’t come to that.」

「…That’s right.」

The scout also told me to loosen up. …So this would be fine.

「So, have you healed the young miss?」

「No, I haven’t.」

I explained what I was about to do.

When I told them that I would destroy the 6-star skill orb, Kook-san whistled, and the engineer said, “Ah, ah, ah… i-it can’t be helped if it is to save the young miss… y-yeah…” avoiding to look me in the eye.

That’s just how valuable a 6-star skill orb is.

However, Kook-san handed me the【Shadow King】that was stored in a leather bag.

「And I have another request–」