「She seemed like a pretty capable person.」
「Un, well I didn’t much care for the one she was guarding, he gave off a kind of disgusting vibe.」
We hadn’t been formally introduced but it was fairly obvious that the eye-catching fat young man and middle aged man huddled in the back were the people they were meant to guard.
Until we appeared they had been trembling in fear, but once they heard they could escape they immediately began making unreasonable demands of Frey.
We heard a bit of their mutterings and realized that they had wanted to reach the 2nd floor and since that couldn’t happen they wouldn’t be able to make any achievements or earn a reward…however hearing words like that from someone as soon as the immediate danger to their lives disappeared made me not want to interact with them ever again.
「Now then, what should we do Soujirou ja. Frey said that they were going to have to do a little bit more exploration, but at this point we have already achieved our goals here today ja…」
In the first place this exploration had been very dangerous…in fact it was something we shouldn’t have done if we intended to live normal lives.
Even so, I had decided to support this trip because it was something Sistina decided 『independently』 and I did not want to have her feel any 『regret』.
Sistina was the first friend we had made in this world and the first that Hotaru-san, Sakura, and I had decided to make into our family.
If it was for the family I had decided on, then I would not regret it even if I lost my life.
Of course if we had no prospects for victory then I would hear no argument and refuse, but this time Hotaru-san had judged that our power and military might were enough to accomplish the task.
We had, in fact, ended up finding and rescuing a fair amount of explorers. Well, I hadn’t confirmed whether they had all safely escaped, but since we had cleared a safe path to the exit I felt they should take responsibility for themselves on the way back.
However, it was outside my expectations that we had met a strong enemy that nearly killed me.
「….I think we’ve done enough. We saved that many people. I think we should escape as well.」
Sistina said with a smile as she looked at my bare upper half. More accurately she was looking at my back. I was fairly certain that there was a horrible burn on my back.
I was unable to look behind me, so I couldn’t check how effective Sistina’s healing arts had been. However, I didn’t feel any pain, and there wasn’t any stiffness, so it was most likely nearly healed, but there was a chance that there may be some leftover wounds.
「Hotaru-san, do you sense any more people on this floor?」
「I do. There are two…no three fairly close to the Boss’s area ja. There aren’t any others within my sensing range ja.」
At first Hotaru-san’s presence detection only covered around 100 meters, but after ranking up it must have extended by quite a bit. Though I didn’t know precisely how big it was, it seemed that it wasn’t large enough to cover the entire first floor.
But since this area is near the center boss area then we could say with near certainty that the higher level monsters were spawning from the center.
「I see. Then let’s go on.」
「No! Soujirou-sama! It’s fine already! I! I was wrong!」
Sistina desperately grasped my hands and cried out when she heard what I said.
「I finally truly understand what you were trying to say before we came inside! You and Hotaru-san are already my most important people!」
Sistina sobbed as tears emerged from her eyes. Ah, hearing that truly made me happy. But if it was before we entered the Tower then…no it would have been fine if she had asked us to escape before I had gotten injured.
Sistina’s outcry was most likely her true feelings at the moment. It was simply that we hadn’t realized that people could die in the Tower as a result of our actions, so a feeling of guilt and a sense of justice had moved her.
However, in the past battle I had been seriously injured.
The shock made her realize that I could have died and she finally felt the fear of possibly losing Hotaru-san and me. It was this deep fear that overrode her base desire to 『wield her acolyte powers for someone’s sake』.
And now to escape in this situation….I felt an ominous portent of the future.
If we ran away here, then I felt afraid that in the future, when things got dangerous, Sistina would choose to run away at the wrong time causing even greater danger to befall us.
「Sistina, I will never deny the possibility of retreat. I know the importance of retreating when the time is right to protect something important.」
Yes…it was just like my father escaped from that house in order to protect his own identity as a human.
「But now is not the right time. I cannot listen to your request right now Sistina…do you know why?」
As she looked me in the eyes I could see the tears roll down her face. She was smart, I’m sure she understood. That to remain true to herself we had to make efforts to save everyone we could.
Fearing that we would be hurt she tried to hide her true feelings.
「Sistina, it’s about time you stopped holding back from us ja. If our positions were reversed would you give your life for our cause ja?」
Sistina was taken aback and looked up. It seems she understood.
「It’s the same for us. Isn’t it fine? We just consider this time as a bit of selfishness from you ja.」
「Well…if it was just a bit of selfishness that led to this I wouldn’t have come along…」
I had come because I believed this was a ‘necessary’ desire from Sistina. I’m sure it was the same for Hotaru-san as well.
「Now say it.」
「Can’t hear you.」
「I-I want to go save them! Help me please!」
Sistina cried out. Hotaru-san smiled and gave her a few pats on her head.
「Alright, then let’s go. If it’s a heartfelt request then we can do our best to accomplish it ja.」