It reminded him of a manor where he resided in the past.

Even though they were underground, it was a place that didn’t feel like the underground at all.

He lived in a mansion inside a forest guarded by shrines, he thought that the feeling of being surrounded by trees was similar to this. It felt kind of like a miniature garden, the demon here might probably be in a similar situation that the one Yogiri had been in the past.

He sat there absentmindedly, absorbed in his thoughts.

It’s not like he meant anything special by going outside. It’s just that he felt a bit restless in places with many people. Since there wasn’t much to do once he was there, Yogiri took out the handheld game console from his uniform’s pocket.

It was a hunting game in which the goal was to defeat monsters and collect materials.

He had already cleared most of the single player quests and all that was left was to play the higher-level multiplayer ones.

It was possible to clear them on his own and advanced players could probably do it easily. However, Yogiri wasn’t that good at gaming.

――It’s such a bother to do them solo. I just want to go back home more and more everyday.

While absorbed in his thoughts about what other way there could be to go back home, he realized that someone was coming from the fort.

It was David.

He walked unsteadily towards Yogiri.

As he wondered what the other guy could possibly want with him, David passed by without even looking at Yogiri’s way.

“Are you drunk?”

He tried asking but there was no reply. And just like that David entered the forest walking shakily.

Yogiri thought his demeanor seemed weird enough to warrant not leaving him alone, so he chased after David.

While still confused about what was going on, they ended up leaving the forest again.

In front of them laid a precipitous cliff. It was the abyss in the center of hell.

“Heey.”

Yogiri thought the situation wasn’t good at all, and tried to get a hold of David’s shoulders.

However, he gently swept away Yogiri’s hands which made him lose his balance and fall on his butt.

Meanwhile, David, still trembling, made his way towards the cliff.

Yogiri didn’t know what was causing his strange behavior, but it was easy to know what would happen next.

David was still walking, and if he kept going, he would fall off the cliff.

And then, he felt a sign of death. It wasn’t completely certain, but he could still see a hazy, dark fog in front of David.

This didn’t mean that David had a risk of dying, but that if Yogiri went with him, he would put himself in danger.

However, Yogiri still ran straight into his direction. He tried to hold him from the waist and push him into the ground. David couldn’t counter the move and fell straight down.

Yogiri stood up and looked at the other guy’s face.

“Hellooo… It’s no use.”

David’s eyes were hollow.

He wasn’t looking at Yogiri and didn’t seem to be completely conscious.

“It’s times like these when I wish I’d learned how to carry people from Dannoura.”

Carrying unconscious people is quite a difficult task for those who are not used to it.

Even as he kept complaining, Yogiri decided to grab David’s feet and drag him. It may have resulted in David receiving a few burns, but there was no way he could leave him in such a place.

Snap.

As he struggled to drag him, he heard a faint sound, as though something had been crushed.

The dark haze became even darker and the signs of death suddenly increased.

Everything started going downfall from then on, and he barely had any time to react. The bedrock that had been carrying them was starting to crumble into the abyss.

*****

Otori Haruto looked out the window of the dining hall.

No one else seemed to notice, but an owl rested on a tree in the garden.

It was the owl he had used and thus, a sign of Haruto’s success.

He could use his skill to know Yogiri’s state, but since his ability was to search through the archives, he couldn’t immediately know what was going on.

“Haruto, did something happen? You seem kind of happy.”

Haruto realized that he was smiling slightly, as told by Otani Yui, who sat opposite from him at the table.

“You think so?”

Everyone else also seemed to enjoy dinner at the hall, which meant it wouldn’t feel too out of place if he were caught having fun there.

It was such a good coincidence it looked to be part of the plan all along.

In the first place, he hadn’t expected to succeed anyway. Working with failure as your premise was the best way to do it after all.

The basics of the plan were simple.

Make Yogiri step into a dangerous area. However, he wasn’t actually involved in this part of the plan, so he didn’t need to put himself in danger beforehand.

Then how did he do it?

This part, too, was quite simple but effective.

So far, the Yogiri that Haruto had observed seemed to be a guy who wasn’t really interested in others, but also wouldn’t leave them alone. If someone he was close to got themselves in danger, he wouldn’t hesitate to help them.

One of the ideas he conceived under that concept was to use David as a decoy.

If he was going for the decoy strategy, there was also the option to go for Dannoura Tomochika, who was Yogiri’s closest friend, however that proved itself difficult. Tomochika seemed to be an outsider, and she had close to no gaps in her defense. It also looked as though Tomochika herself was going after Yogiri in some way. In other words, there was the possibility that the Tomochika approach may not have been so different from doing something to Yogiri himself.

Now, there were other people who he had recently become close to, such as Ninomiya Ryoko and Carol S. Lane. However, it wouldn’t be good to lose them as their fighting prowess was a crucial part to their team.

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