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140 Part 2

 

The appearance of the members who salute all at once under the sunset sky must have been beautiful.

However, Enomoto did not look at the members.

 

He just looked at the sky and did his best to endure the shaking of his own hands.

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

The first thing Van did after regaining consciousness was to turn pale as he reflected upon his mistakes.

What the hell am I doing…!?

 

To point his own blade at another adventurer… That was something that should never happen, especially since he was a member of Hokkaido’s top team.

In other times, such dishonor would have called for Van to slice his own stomach with a sword.

 

Van took up his greatsword with all his might.

At this point, Van was still a part of Team Aerial.

Committing seppuku in these conditions would only cause further trouble for his team.

 

Van had survived the urge to commit suicide many times already.

 

(I can no longer say that Shigama and the others were the lowest adventurers…)

 

Upon returning to the hotel, Van didn’t talk to anyone.

He had already been quieter than usual, but now he was even quieter than that.

 

He felt as if those strange emotions would start coming out of his mouth one after another if he were to say even a single word.

What would the others think of me when they see that…?

Van’s lips became more and more sealed as he thought he might end up being despised by his teammates.

 

In the end, Van sneaked into bed without talking to anyone.

He chose to leave his rumbling feelings as they were.

 

When he woke up the next day, Van’s mind was a little more collected.

Those rumbling, viscous emotions had disappeared.

 

“Well then, time to head back to Sapporo.”

“…Wait a moment, please. Can I say something before that?”

 

When Kagemitsu said what they were going to do next, Van spoke for the first time since the incident.

A feeling of tension appeared on the other members’ faces after Van, who didn’t usually speak much, had suddenly opened his mouth.

 

The title of Hokkaido’s top team wasn’t something just for show.

Their overly sharp sensations must have inferred what Van was going to say.

 

“Kagemitsu… I’m sorry, but I’m leaving Team Aerial.”

 

Both Becky and Doraneko gasped.

Yoshi’s eyelids, which always seemed to be too heavy, were opened wide.

 

Kagemitsu opened his eyes a little and crossed his arms.

 

“Can you tell me the reason?”

“As I am now, I’m useless.”

“What are you talking about? You’re our frontal attacker–”

“Yoshi. Please, shut up now.”

 

Kagemitsu was biting his back teeth as he said that.

There was an unusual bloodlust surging from his entire body.

They’ve never seen him getting like this with them.

 

Van was glad that Kagemitsu stopped him.

Unless in a situation where one could calmly choose your words, someone like Van, who wasn’t good at speaking, would find themselves unable to say anything in the end…

 

“I don’t understand, Van. Tell me more.”

“Ok…”

 

Nodding, Van slowly started to speak.

 

About how he was the only one in Team Aerial who was unable to use an Enlightenment skill…

About how despite that, he still intended to make up for that with his physical prowess…

About how even so, he had been completely useless during the issue with the Self-Defense Force…

And about how on top of that, he felt that he had been overtaken by that Karen girl in terms of attack power.

 

He had no special skills, and even his own physical prowess was also defeated by an intermediate adventurer.

Van could no longer endure the fact that by continuing to be a part of Team Aerial, he would end up holding them back.

 

Besides, there was something else.

Van had pointed his sword at Karen.

That had been something that, no matter how outraged he might have been, should never be done to a fellow adventurer.

 

Of course, he didn’t mention any of that to the others.

Rather, he couldn’t say anything about it.

 

Van had cast away his honor and spoke openly about his own weakness, but the last remnants of pride in him wouldn’t allow him to come clean about that.

 

In the end, Van hadn’t caused any harm to anyone.

(Then, maybe I don’t need to despise myself that much anymore…)

 

Van shared his thoughts with all of his teammates.

After he was done with his speech, everyone seemed to start talking all at once.

However, Kagemitsu used his strong presence to call them to order.

 

“I understand what you’re trying to say, Van.”

“Ah…”

“I’m sorry for all the pain we’ve put you through all this time.”

 

Kagemitsu’s words made the barrier inside Van collapse instantly.

 

Van covered his eyes with his big hands and began to cry out loud.

A big, muscular man well over six foot tall crying like a child… He couldn’t stop thinking about that, but neither could he stop his tears nor his wailing.

They were coming out with such an intensity because of all the time he had held it inside.

 

I’m sorry, guys. About feeling embarrassed about crying. About being so mad at myself for being useless. About having Kagemitsu comfort me with his words.

Various emotions raged like a storm inside Van’s chest.

 

“…Well, that’s what happened. It can’t be helped anymore. Guys, don’t try to change his mind. It was our fault, too. We may convince him to stay with us, but we will keep hurting him if we do that.”

 

Since the formation of the team, Kagemitsu had acted with the team members in mind before anything else.

Since Van was the team member Kagemitsu had known for the longest time,  he knew him like he was family.

 

Naturally, those words had been for Van, his lifelong companion, to think over carefully.

The warmth around the corner of Van’s eyes became even more intense.

 

But I can’t cry forever.

Van corrected his breathing and wiped his tears with all his strength.

 

“…I’d like some time.”

“There you go. Guys, let’s give him some time, please.”

 

Van bowed his head, and Kagemitsu followed.

There was no one in Team Aerial who could say anything to oppose them.

 

There surely was something they could have said.

But after reading the situation, they knew that they shouldn’t.

 

Because just like Van, they all loved Kagemitsu.

They loved the Team Aerial that Kagemitsu had created.

 

 

After parting with Kagemitsu and others, Van went for a walk alone in Hakodate.

The coastline was on the left and the Goryokaku was on the right. Between the two, Van walked north with a sloppy gait.

 

“Well then…”

 

How am I going to get stronger?

I have no idea where to start…

 

The only thing he had already decided was where he was going to go next.

 

His next destination was K-Town, where the masked man was active in the “garage dungeon”.

This “garage dungeon” was a place that not many adventurers visited.

He could use it to focus on his training without worrying about being under the spotlight, unlike “Chikaho”.

 

But there was a little problem with that…

 

“…Where on earth is K-Town?”

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