I don’t think I’d lost consciousness for too long. The reason for that is because I saw a woman with red hair running away towards the center of the tower with my blurry eyes.
There was a proper reason for my rapid awakening.
Immediately after I had been knocked unconscious, Sakura sent a 『empathy』 feelings of such intense anger and concern that they shocked my mind awake.
This shock was almost greater than what I had received from the blow to the head, but what truly awakened me was the realization that those feelings were slowly becoming more distant from me.
I slowly stood up while holding the back of my head which was throbbing in pain and looked over.
「The pouch with magic stones and Sakura-chan huh…」
Realizing this reality before me, I felt rage bubbling within my chest and beginning to overflow.
If it was just the magic stones then I could tolerate it. Money was something that could be obtained while training my skills so I didn’t feel too much pain for it. If I applied a 300% good person filter onto myself I could still say 『She must have her own circumstances, I can let this go.』, though I probably would never think that way normally.
However….kidnapping Sakura from me was something I could not even begin to forgive. No matter where she ran. No matter where she hid. I would find her and make her regret even being born!!
I forcibly reset my wavering head as I boiled with rage. I sheathed my sword and set off sprinting. She was only around a single corner, I could still catch her.
I wanted to go to where I heard my allies’ voices, but I had no time to talk and if I called out loudly she would realize I was chasing her.
I’m sure she had not expected me to wake up so quickly.
So I strongly sent a mental message to Hotaru-san saying 『problem occurred』『chase』『immediate rescue』.
『Wait Soujirou! We’re finishing up the monsters here. We can back you up ja!』
If I waited then there was no way for me to catch up and Sakura may never return to me. I could not allow that.
『…what happened Soujirou?』
I don’t know if those concepts made it through, but I tried.
『Umu…understood. Just answer my questions with a yes or no ja.』
『Frey betrayed us』
『She stole Sakura』
『Then we don’t need to rush and can simply catch her when she exits the…』
That’s no good. I have a bad feeling. If I didn’t catch Sakura now, I’d never see her again. I was convinced.
『It’s no good for us to chase along with you ja?』
『Would it be fine once we got these guys out of the tower ja?』
That was of course 『YES』.
『…I understand. Certainly it would leave a poor taste if we came this far and simply abandoned them. We’ll drag them out as quickly as we can and come to back you up. Don’t push yourself too hard until then, okay Soujirou?』
『Yes』. As long as I kept Sakura within my reach I wouldn’t panic too much.
Now I would soon be leaving the area of Hotaru-san’s empathy so our reception became worse. Inversely my connection with Sakura improved. Sakura was doing her best to convey the image of which paths she took so I wouldn’t be misled.
Since the signal was getting stronger, it meant that my martial movement at full speed was faster than her retreating speed. I’ll definitely catch up to her!
I further increased my speed as I made several turns before finally catching sight of her escaping.
She probably thought that Hotaru-san and Sistina wouldn’t leave me fainted on the ground to catch up to her. That itself was certainly correct. The two of them certainly wouldn’t leave me helpless like that.
However, she did not know of Sakura’s bond with me. I’m sure she thought of Sakura as a normal katana. That would be her fatal mistake.
She must believe that she had escaped because she was moving carefully while trying to avoid monsters. I finally caught up to her.
However, because she was so wary of her surroundings she was obviously able to notice me, who was rushing towards her.
Upon catching sight of me her eyes flew open in fear as she took a step backwards in shock. I’m not sure what kind of expression I had on my face, but it must have terrified her since she turned heel and sprinted away as fast as she could.
But she was already too late. At this distance I was getting closer faster than she could escape. I was already faster than her, but I was also approaching without slowing down, whereas she would have to accelerate from zero. It was already a simple matter of time before I caught her.
Simply, certainly, little by little, I ran her down. Chase her down, take back Sakura. I thought of nothing but that as I ran.
「Ihhiiii! No! D-don’t get any closer!」
She began to panic more and more as she occasionally glanced back to check if I was still following. If you regretted it then you shouldn’t have done such unnecessary things. If you decide to do bad things and become a villain, then be prepared to die if you fail.
She was clearly running around without direction now in fear and panic. As soon as she spotted a monster on her route she would change direction. If it was a weak monster then she would dodge past it and push it towards me.
If it was a monster that a 4th floor explorer could easily slip past, then it was a monster that I could easily send flying with a swing of my sword and continue chasing.
That slight decrease in speed was not enough to shake me off.