96 Part 2
Because of that, it took him longer than expected to get back to the starting point.
The sun disappeared behind the mountains, and the stars started to show themselves.
“My… My presence…”
— Not yet.
— It’s too early to give up!
Haruki mustered all of his courage and stood up.
There was a chance that the tally wasn’t done yet.
He couldn’t give up just yet!
Without giving up hope, Haruki approached Kagemitsu while dragging the black Fishman’s corpse.
He approached Kagemitsu, who was watching over the clean-up process.
However, when Kagemitsu saw the black Fishman, he held his hand in front of him so as to block Haruki’s words.
He frowned and pressed his fingers against his temples as if he was suffering from a strong headache.
“Ah, um… What… Come with me for a second.”
With that said, Kagemitsu turned his eyes to the old Kamuikotan Station Building.
He was asking Haruki to go there with him.
Nodding silently, Haruki followed Kagemitsu.
Kagemitsu entered the station building, looked around the outside of the window, and then looked back.
“What have you done!?”
“Huh? Wait. What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Kamui Rock! You did that to Kamui Rock, didn’t you!?”
“W… What do you mean?”
It could be seen clearly through his mask.
Air’s eyes were moving nervously from side to side.
When he saw him return, Kagemitsu immediately knew it had been him.
He had been the one who split Kamui Rock in two. He just knew it.
The proof of that was the monster he had in his hands.
It was a corpse of a monster that didn’t appear in Kamuikotan, split in half. Kagemitsu had never seen such a monster.
On top of that, that corpse had an eerie aura.
Even though the monster was already dead, it still gave Kagemitsu the chills.
When they reach a certain level, seasoned adventurers are able to judge the monster’s ability to some extent from their appearance with a feeling similar to looking at a well-built man and conclude that they are physically strong.
— If I had to fight against this monster, I’m sure it’d give me a hard time…
A whole team should be able to defeat it.
But a solo adventurer… that would be a very difficult thing to do.
That’s how powerful Kagemitsu concluded that monster must have been.
This must definitely have been the monster that Becky had sensed earlier.
But he could have never imagined that Air had defeated it.
Kagemitsu, who had been wondering how much progress Air would have been making in the Monster Hunting Contest, was completely thrown off by this unexpected turn of events, which had been absolutely beyond his imagination.
He had never imagined this guy would miss a chance to increase his presence like that.
“What are you going to do about it…?”
“I was thinking about pretending I haven’t seen it–”
“Do you think you can do that!?”
Air nervously moved his hands about in response to Kagemitsu’s furious question.
Perhaps he himself was panicking about the destruction of Kamui Rock. Kagemitsu felt that he could understand Air’s inner feelings.
Seeing his attitude, Kagemitsu lets out a small sigh.
Kamui Rock was a natural rocky mountain.
It’s not a natural heritage site, so no one should be really bothered by the fact that it’s broken in half.
Kagemitsu didn’t know about how things were before the Stampede, but now there shouldn’t be anyone who could think about accusing an adventurer of destroying Kamui Rock.
It was a big deal, but nothing more than a small mistake.
Nevertheless, an adventurer who can defeat B-rank monsters was still panicking due to his small mistake.
Kagemitsu was relieved to see such humility coming from him.
“Well, it may have been quite an incident, but we were the only ones who noticed it. Maybe we shouldn’t make such a big deal out of this.”
Haruki was relieved to see Kagemitsu’s anger fading.
Haruki tilted his head, puzzled after noticing Kagemitsu’s words.
“Did you notice I was fighting up there?”
“Hmm? Ah, yes. I got word that a strong monster had appeared, so I was about to head out to Kamui Rock.”
“And here I was hoping you would come and help me with the battle…”
The battle with the black Fishman was quite terrifying for Haruki.
He had been so badly cornered that he had to remove his mask and rely on stealth attacks.
If possible, he would have preferred to have Team Aerial help him before having to remove his mask.
“I couldn’t have reached the top of Kamui Rock as soon as I noticed that the monster had appeared! I mean, the very moment I decided to climb up the mountain, it was already split in half, so I didn’t even have time to go there!! Say, Air. Do you realize that you have split Kamui Rock in half!? Huh!?”
The topic he had thought to be over had been brought back.
As his head twitched, Kagemitsu pinched Haruki’s face with one of his hands.
No wonder he was the strongest adventurer in Hokkaido.
Haruki’s face sounded as if it was creaking under the pressure made by his grip.
“I… I do! I do realize!”
As Kagemitsu released his grip, Haruki stepped away from him.
His skull had been about to be smashed.
Haruki took a breath as he rubbed his own head.
“But it’s really strange. Something like that just happened, but it’s like nobody has noticed yet. It’s like the fact that Kamui Rock had been split in half had no presence at all…”
“No one noticed, you say? Not even other adventurers–”
“No one noticed. No one except us from Team Aerial.”
Despite causing such a major incident, only Kagemitsu noticed that the Kamui Rock had split in half.
— Should I be happy that nobody noticed it, or should I hate the fact that my presence wasn’t noticed even after causing such an incident?
There is no doubt that this phenomenon is caused by that hated transparent god, Medjed.
Thinking that perhaps, if only he didn’t have such a Divine Blessing, anyone would have noticed his presence by now, made him so angry that he felt his tears would start to boil.
However, without Medjed’s protection, Haruki wouldn’t have been able to fight this far.
He might have already lost his life in one of his past battles.
With that in mind, he couldn’t condemn Medjed like that.
“B… By the way, Kagemitsu…”
“I’ve only defeated this Killer Rabbit and the Fishman… so…”
“The contest is over. Give it up already.”
Feeling like he could faint at any time, Haruki dropped on all fours onto the ground.
Even though he had been working so far in order to increase his presence…
Tears began to well up in Haruki’s eyes.
“Now that you mention it, your team came in 4th.”
The faucet that controlled his tears creaked shut.
Haruki stood up and grabbed Kagemitsu by the shoulder.
“Doesn’t 4th place get a spot on your ranking?”
“Idiot. Only the top three get mentioned in my blog.”
“I… I see…”
Haruki’s gulping echoed in his throat.
As the tension increased, Kagemitsu murmured something as he stared off into the heavens.
“You would have made it to the top three if you had gotten two more points.”
Hearing Kagemitsu’s words, Haruki dropped on all fours once again.
With two more points, he would have made it to the top three.
And he had two monsters in hand, which were worth exactly two points.
— If only I had arrived a little sooner…!!”
Haruki had no choice but to resent his destiny.