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138 Part 2

 

What on earth have we been doing?

What had our efforts so far been for?

Even if we were running ahead with all we’ve got, would it be the same for Air as if we were standing still?

 

The more they thought about it, the shabbier it became.

They could only feel as if their efforts so far had been completely denied.

 

Team Aerial’s celebrations had never been so laid back.

Everyone drank straight up without mixing any water in their spirits, so the single bottle of potato shochu that Kagemitsu bought didn’t take too long to disappear.

 

This potato shochu, which should have been sweet, was very bitter today.

 

 

After the celebration was over, Van was walking alone in the streets of Hakodate.

Even though it was late at night, the wind flowing from the sea was warm enough to cause him to sweat.

He had wanted to cool his head a little, but it wasn’t refreshing at all.

 

“…Damn it!”

 

Van had been working hard so far. He had worked himself to death.

Van was definitely more desperate than anyone in Team Aerial.

However, Van was the only one of the team who had yet to obtain an Enlightenment skill.

 

Furthermore, he had been completely defeated by that Lizardman.

 

That’s why…

That’s precisely why…

 

It would be no good to stay like this. Inspired to work harder, Van had devoted himself to unprecedented training.

Even if he was still the same afterwards, he hoped to be able to be of use to Team Aerial next time.

 

But now, that chance seemed to be about to die.

Leaving aside the question if it would actually fall apart or not, Van felt like his chances were crumbling down.

 

Even if he did his best, he would lose the chance to make any use of his efforts…

 

What Van wanted was to regain his pride.

In order to regain it, the title of “Hokkaido’s top team” was indispensable.

 

Yet Kagemitsu was trying to give up the title just like that.

Why, why, why…

 

“No, that can’t be…”

 

Van shook his head and looked up to the sky.

He wanted to think it wasn’t so, but the ideas that came to his mind became stronger and stronger.

 

(Is Kagemitsu trying to take away my chance to redeem myself?)

 

His question turned into clear words which took form inside his brain.

At that moment…

 

*hissss*

 

Something inside Van made a distorted sound.

 

Black emotions started to simmer from inside Van.

The more he tried to stop them, the more they got entangled in Van’s heart and ate into his body.

 

Originally, whenever those feelings would start to appear, he would have to escape from them instead of trying to stop them.

He would have to run away like a rabbit, without looking back.

 

But Van was now facing them.

He had always believed in his feelings for Team Aerial.

 

From somewhere, he heard something like a “Piyoo”.

To Van, it had been similar to the sound of scratching a blackboard with one’s nails.

 

“Piyoopiyoo!”

 

(What an awful sound…)

 

Who or what is making that horrendous sound?

 

I have to stop right now.

I have to stop it and crush it…

 

Van reached for his greatsword’s handle and walked towards the source of the sound.

 

There was a shop ahead of him when he heard a faint “piyopiyo”.

It was a gear shop that sold adventurer-only tools of the Village Vanguard line.

 

Van slowly approached the gear shop, as if he had found a monster in a dungeon.

 

For a while, the unpleasant sound disappeared.

He waited 10, 20 seconds, but everything had gone quiet.

 

“…What the hell am I doing?”

 

Van let go of his Greatsword’s handle as if he had come to his senses.

I wonder why I was so frustrated when I heard that sound.

Guess I’m just way too tired… Van feebly shook his head.

 

At that moment…

*hisssss*

 

“–!!”

 

A girl holding a small paper bag to her chest came out of the gear shop with a big smile.

The moment he saw her…

The bounds of Van’s reason loosened.

 

It had been Van’s own emotions that had loosened the bounds of his reason.

A fierce jealousy that he couldn’t understand swirled around his chest.

 

In an instant, Van once again reached for the handle of his greatsword, and squeezed it tightly with all his might.

 

The girl took an item out of the paper bag and kept it in her hands.

At that moment…

 

“Piyoo.”

 

The unpleasant sound echoed inside the girl’s hands.

 

*hisssss*

*sssss*

 

Intense jealousy swirling in Van’s chest started running around his entire body at the same time.

He started feeling numb all over.

 

Van started to think and move his head as chaos started to cloud it.

 

“That girl who just became an adventurer in April was certainly strong. But I won’t lose to her.”

This thought…

 

“I am the only member of Team Aerial who does not have access to an Enlightenment skill yet, but I would like the rest of the team to recognize my strength.”

…And this other thought were mixed with one another, and Van arrived at one answer.

 

“If I defeat that strong girl, they will recognize my power.”

 

It was an impossible logic for the usual Van.

But a considerable portion of his thoughts were already malfunctioning.

 

(That’s right. All you have to do is to kill her!)

 

“HAha, HAHAHAHA!!”

 

Van, who had already been unable to distinguish between reason and theory, and between rational and emotional thought, gave an answer prepared in advance.

 

(Kill that girl. KILL HER.)

 

Without stopping, without thinking, and without questioning…

He revered, believed, and accepted that idea as if it were the “truth.”

 

(KILL HER, R RRR RRRRRRRR!!)

 

Van’s head was completely covered in the red and black colors of malice.

Thoughts disappeared.

Reason disappeared.

 

His remaining emotions were eaten and changed into new desires.

 

“UGAAAAAHHH–”

 

Roaring, Van pulled out his greatsword.

 

At that moment…

 

*shake*

 

“–HUUUHH?”

 

Van’s brain was shaken violently without any warning.

Then, he fell to the ground and lost consciousness.

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