Leaving the food procurement to Mana, everyone else went out to scout new members.
「 This is where the pairs will come in 」
「 「 「 Got it 」 」 」
The pairs will be splitting up in the Asakura cave.
Eri and I are going to the west, where the wild boars are inhabiting.
「 Hokage-kun, were you not bothered?? 」
Eri who was walking silently started to talk to me.
I asked her back with “what?”, then she continued.
「 It’s about when I rejected my pairing with Tanaka-kun 」
「 Not really. I’m sure that you have your reason 」
「 I wanted you to be curious about it 」
Seems like she wants me to ask her the reason.
「 If you want to tell me then you should’ve done it already…so, what is it? 」
「 Ahahaha, that’s kind of you 」
Eri smiled. Then changed it to a serious look.
「 I’m not being conceited here but Tanaka-kun is into me, right? 」
「 That’s no conceit. He’s definitely in love with Eri no matter how you look at it 」
「 But you see, I don’t like him. I like him as a friend, an ally, but I don’t feel any affection the same as the romantic love he has for me 」
I thought so. I tossed back.
「 Everyone can see it too 」
「 If we were in Japan, I would’ve told him that right away. Sorry, but I don’t want to be your girlfriend. But, I don’t know if I could do that in this place. After all, it could make the atmosphere worse, and it’ll hinder our daily life, right? 」
「 I see 」
I get her reason now.
She worries that it’ll affect the team.
She doesn’t want the mood to deteriorate because she rejected Tanaka.
「 Tanaka might hate you because you rejected him 」
「 I don’t mind that. Although, as for everyone else… 」
「 I know. Still, I just want to be clear with it 」
This is my opinion, but I’ll say it just as a precaution.
「 If I’m in Tanaka’s place, then I’d be glad that you tell me your honest feelings. If not, Tanaka or I, the shadow characters, will just hold onto that hope. That ‘someday, you’ll fall if I work hard enough.’ As long as there’s a trace of that possibility, he’ll want it. That’s what I think 」
「 But, it could be a bad influence on the team, right? 」
「 It doesn’t matter. When that happens, then we’ll deal with it. We can’t help it. If you keep the status-quo the same, things will get worse. In this environment, you need to be clear with your whites and blacks. Anyway, if you put the problem for later, then it’ll just increase the damage 」
Eri went “Is that so?” and looked down.
After a moment of silence, she looked up.
「 Hokage-kun’s right, I need to be clear with him 」
「 It’s better that way. I’m also like that, a gloomy person falling in love with just a small kindness of a girl. Tanaka’s going to be hurt at first, but he’ll fall for another soon enough 」
Eri laughed cheerfully.
「 Tanaka-kun might be like that but Hokage-kun’s not a gloomy guy 」
「 I’m undoubtedly one. I was like that in school, right? 」
「 True. I thought you were just pretending to be hard to talk to 」
「 Seems like your assessment of me is messed up, from a gentle-looking handsome to a hard-to-talk-to vibe 」
Eri laughed again.
That laugh was louder than earlier.
「 Thanks, Hokage-kun. You cleared up my doubts 」
「 I’m expecting something in thanks 」
My gaze moves from Eri’s face to her breasts.
Naturally, she noticed that.
「 Sure, but, make me feel pleasure too, okay? 」
「 I know 」
Eri folds her arms.
But, as soon as she crossed her arms, I hurried up and parted from her
「 Kya, what’s wrong?! 」
「 Someone’s here 」
I see a shadow of a person behind the three from a distance.
「 What do we do? 」
「 It’s going to be hard to find if it’s a deserter or not 」
I analyze the situation in my brain.
「 Okay, I’ll go in alone 」
「 Alone? 」
「 We don’t know who they are. Eri, watch the situation from afar. And if anything happens, go back to the hideout and tell Mana. Then, tell her to use the monkeys to convey the situation 」
「 Okay 」
Eri then went on standby and I walked alone.
(There’s only one person? I thought there were two earlier)
I’m sure that someone’s hiding in the back of the tree.
But, that’s only one person, I don’t know where the other one is.
When I saw a glimpse from a distance, it looked like two women.
「 Don’t move 」
I was only a few steps away from the tree when I saw it.
Suddenly, someone grappled me from behind.
Grabbing my chest with her left hand and pointing her tails on my neck.
「 You weren’t with the Sumeragi’s team? Who are you? 」
It’s a woman’s voice.
No, putting that aside, when did she?
As soon as I thought that her presence is gone, she was behind me when I noticed it.
I don’t know what’s going on but this is all I can say.
This woman is not an ordinary person.
「 I’m Shinomiya Hokage. I’m not with the Sumeragi team. I show no hostility 」
「 And your proof? 」
「 If I did, I would’ve stabbed you by now 」
「 ! 」
I already pulled out my survival knife in secret.
My right hand is holding the knife with a backhand grip and it’s pointing at her thighs.
「 …. 」
The woman stiffened, not saying anything.
It’s going to be bad if she doesn’t take any action.
Eri’s going to misunderstand and call for help.
「 He’s not Sumeragi’s underling and he’s telling the truth. He’s not skilled in combat but we can trust him 」
A woman’s voice comes from the back of the tree.
That was the presence noticed from the start.
「 Amane, if you say so, then you’re right 」
The woman hiding from the tree comes up.
She’s a blonde-haired girl that’s like a Hollywood star.
She’s not that tall, but her eyes are blue like the sea.
She’s another celebrity that’s equal to the Sumeragi brothers.
Her name is.
「 Forgive the sudden discourtesy. We’re also desperate to survive. I’m sorry. My name is Washimine Sofia Reina. Call me Sofia 」
Washimine Sofia Reina.
She’s a daughter of the world’s largest business sentiment that surpasses the Sumeragi group.
Her father’s one of the richest men in the world, Hill Heitz
「 Amane, it’s okay let him go 」
「 Certainly, Ojou-sama 」
Amana loosened her grip.
Although, she whispered to me before letting go.
「 If you’re going to threaten with a knife, then show a little bit of intent to kill or it’s hard to believe that you’ll do it 」
As soon as the line reached my brain, the knife disappears from my hand.
The woman called Amane knew how I will move and adopted.
This woman noticed that I had the knife from the beginning.
She was pretending to not notice it.
「 I’ll introduce you. This is my attendant, Kiryuuin Amane 」
Amane returned the knife to me along with a cold “Pleased to meet you”
Looking at them, Sofia and Amane show no signs that they were struck by the rain.
「 So, Shinomiya-sama, do you have any business with us? 」
Sofia gets to the point.
Her eyes look straight at me.
Amane, who’s standing next to her, watches every single move I make.
If I move poorly, she’ll kill me, no joke.
「 Before that, can I call my friend here? I think that you already noticed but I have one behind me, on standby. If left alone, she’ll misunderstand and ask for reinforcements 」
「 Okay 」
Sofia gave her approval and I called Eri.
The girl hiding in the thicket comes over jogging.
「 This is my companion, Futagawa Eri. Our group consists of nine members, Eri and me included. Our base of operations is just in the south, near the sea 」
Sofia and Amane aren’t saying anything.
They’re waiting for me to get to business.
Now that we’re done introducing Eri, I got down to business.
「 We’re looking for people to pull out of the Sumeragi team. That’s the situation, so will you two join us? 」
Sofia glared at me when she understood.
She’s the type who flicks the abacus in her brain without us trying to sell anything to her.
If she’s thinking normally, she’ll take our offer.
If she refuses, then Amane can deal with us.
-That’s our situation.
「 I understand. We’ll join your team 」
Sofia consented, showing no hesitation.