On that day, I woke up with a yawn as usual. Beside me, Karen-chan and Aoi-chan were sleeping as usual. However, Kohaku-chan was not there. It was a common occurrence for her to wake up early to prepare breakfast, but…
Somehow, there was an indescribable sense of unease. I got up from the futon and headed to his room. I opened the sliding door and looked inside, but he wasn’t there either.
Was this just a coincidence? There were various possibilities, like them going for a morning walk or having a date. But my intuition was telling me otherwise.
I woke up Karen-chan and Aoi-chan, and together we searched for the two of them, but they were nowhere to be found…
I woke up. I was on a bed for some reason. The surroundings were a single-story wooden structure.
Um… where is this? I should have been at the inn, but somehow, I was in an unfamiliar place.
I got up from the bed, and I could see her back in the kitchen, where she seemed to be cooking. When she noticed that I had woken up, she stopped what she was doing and approached me.
Right, yesterday, I must have fallen asleep while talking to her…
“Good morning, Izayoi-kun.”
“Good morning… um, where is this place?”
“To be honest, I’m not entirely sure, but it seems to be on the outskirts of a large city.”
“H-heh….uhm….. what about everyone else?”
As soon as I asked that, her demeanor changed.
“Well, about everyone… don’t worry, there’s no one else here except us.”
“Eeh!? What do you mean?”
“So, I mean it literally. Izayoi-kun, how about living here with me for the rest of our lives?”
“Um, that’s… it feels like you’re skipping not just a few steps but several dozen…”
She clung to me as if to assert that I was hers and didn’t intend to let me go until I accepted her proposal.
“Will you live here with me forever?”
Her eyes seemed to be filled with a mix of desperation, anxiety, and urgency. Without waiting for my answer, she tightened her hug even more, and her body felt incredibly supple.
“I won’t let you escape. We’ll live here together, have children, become a family, and be happy. In this world, there seems to be an adventurer system, and people with magic can earn money just by defeating monsters or something. So, we can quickly build wealth.”
“…I’m sorry. I won’t accept any other options.”
With that, she returned to the kitchen with a complex expression on her face and resumed cooking. I had suspected it, but was this some sort of yandere-style confinement? Even her mother had a tendency like that, but to hear it from her daughter… the yandere genes…
First of all, how did she manage to acquire this place? She shouldn’t have any connections in another world…
As I thought about all this, she placed bread, eggs, and other items on a plate and placed it on the table.
“Breakfast is ready. How about having it together?”
“I’ll have some.”
I sat on a chair with a rustic wooden flavor and started eating breakfast. There were many things I wanted to ask her.
“How did you get this place?”
“I received this house.”
“From a fairy noble.”
“While I was wandering around this area carrying you on my back, I came across a fairy who was being attacked by a dragon. I helped her, and it turned out that she was a noble. She wanted to thank me, and it led to us receiving this house.”
What an event flow, just like a recent isekai protagonist. However, it seems this isn’t the end of it, as she continued her explanation.
“Furthermore, we received a considerable amount as compensation for dealing with the dragon. 500 gold coins? Well, I’m not sure about the exact value, but judging by the reactions of those around, it seems like quite a substantial amount.”
“So much while I was asleep…”
“I also registered as an adventurer.”
“The developments are fast.”
“And I heard that I’ll be promoted to S-rank.”
“The plot is incredible.”
Judging by this, the guild staff must have been quite surprised. It’s a common trope for guild employees in another world to shout loudly and startle the surrounding adventurers.
I listened to various other things she had to say and finished breakfast.
I had heard a fair amount, but I didn’t know what to do next. Right now, she’s in an unstable state because of me.
What should I do to alleviate her anxiety? Is it the right answer to live here with her? But then, what should I do about Karen, Moegi, and Aoi?
I had never had my thoughts come to such a complete stop before. But for the first time, I truly didn’t know what to do or what the right course of action was. I was lost.
“Would you like to go shopping, Izayoi-kun?”
“Yes, I can go alone, but I get anxious when you’re not around…”
“I’ll go with you…”
I walked with her to an unfamiliar city. We started from the outskirts and arrived at a bustling place.
I had seen it before, but seeing it again, I felt a sense of wonder and novelty. It was a completely different world, bustling with activity, and although the people here had faces similar to modern humans, they had wings on their backs of various sizes, some of which were hidden.
It was a new and different world, similar yet entirely distinct. This was what an alternate world was like.
There were various shops lined up like stalls, buildings resembling those from the Middle Ages that I had seen in textbooks, and the breeze felt different in some way.
While admiring this scenery, I entrusted myself to her arm, holding on to it as if not letting go, and we walked together. Maybe living here with her was the right choice.
It wasn’t about finding the right answer; in fact, it might be the wrong answer. I understood that. Forcing him to sleep and bringing him to a place like this, already acquiring a house, and eliminating his choices to the extreme… there was no way this could be right.
It was a one-way love.
[You are greedy. I think that’s okay… I don’t want to be alone in the darkness anymore…]
I heard a voice. The voice’s owner was also frightened.
Maybe this voice… no, that didn’t matter. As she said, I was selfish. Probably more selfish and childish than anyone else.
“What would you like for dinner tonight?”
“Anything is the most troublesome.”
“Uh, well, I…”
I understand; he is conflicted. He wants to tell me that he wants to go back to where everyone is. However, he already feels unstable when I hear the word “everyone,” and I don’t want to return to that place with “everyone,” as he has already sensed from our conversation at the house earlier. So, he can’t say anything. He feels responsible for what I have done up to this point. He doesn’t know what to do. But he has already given up on the choice of being with “everyone.”
There’s a part of me that feels at ease. It’s my own self-satisfaction, but I can’t help but feel happy about it. I’m aware that I’m a lost cause, but I’ve discarded such concerns as irrelevant.
As we walked, we arrived at a shop. It seemed to be a butcher shop with various cuts of meat that I had never seen before. I decided that we would have fried chicken for dinner.
“Oh, I don’t recognize your face. Are you newlyweds?”
“No, you got it wrong.”
“I see. Well, this is the start of something new.”
“Yes, we are just starting… um, delicious meat, um, grams… probably won’t work here, so let’s buy as much as this.”
I took out one of the many gold coins we had. The shopkeeper looked surprised.
“Hey, are you sure about this? It’s quite a substantial amount, and I doubt you’ll be able to eat it all.”
“Are you some kind of heiress or something? These are gold coins, and they have quite a bit of value. Well, I’ll pick out enough for you two to eat tonight.”
“Oh, thank you?”
I didn’t fully understand, but it seemed that these gold coins had considerable value in this world, similar to a sense of a 10,000 yen note in modern times.
We received the meat, and Izayoi-kun held it. We also bought various seasonings based on instinct. Then, I had some sense of money too, and Izayoi-kun also had some sense of money, which helped.
We bought clothes as well. We shopped together, choosing clothes with Izayoi-kun’s help and making selections on my own, like a date. As we went back and forth between home and the stores due to the increasing number of packages, the day turned into evening.
“They’re not here!?”
Karen-chan and Aoi-chan searched the area and returned. Since Kohaku-chan and he disappeared, we had been frantically searching. We asked in nearby villages and cities, even though we didn’t know the area.
“Where could they have gone…”
“First of all, why did the two of them disappear…”
Both of them were filled with worry and anxiety. Of course, I was worried too. Mel-chan was searching as well, but she didn’t seem to know anything.
“Could it have something to do with how unstable Kohaku-chan was before…”
Aoi-chan muttered quietly, something that Karen-chan and I had also been thinking about. It was the time when he had an angel inside him. We were worried then too.
“Hurry, hurry, we need to do something! What should we do? You all should know, right? Or maybe Mel-san does. Quickly, quickly, quickly, we need to do something, we need to do something!”
She seemed like she might lose control, driven solely by the fear of losing him. If something were to happen to him, she might…
He was fine and recovered quickly, so it wasn’t as if we did anything specific… but Aoi-chan might be right; it could be related.
“…For now, we need to find them.”
We tried our best that day, but we couldn’t find them. The three of us returned to the inn, determined to come up with a plan and gather even the slightest bit of information to help in the search tomorrow, even if it might not be relevant.
I continued my life with her, torn between my feelings.
Karen, Moegi, and Aoi must be worried. But I couldn’t bring myself to tell Kohaku.
I knew I couldn’t continue like this indefinitely.
But I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I couldn’t bear to see the anxiety on her face. She had been so devoted to me.
Even now, she cooked delicious meals for me and made me eat with a smile.
But it had always been her doing. It had become natural, almost taken for granted. It wasn’t easy.
I had loved her since my past life. As I spent time with her in this life, I had grown to love her as a woman as well. But it wasn’t just her; it was all of them. All of them had shown me their affection, and that’s why I had chosen the harem option.
And that had been tormenting Kohaku…
“Izayoi-kun, are you okay?”
“I’m sorry… I’ve been thinking about you all this time…”
As I started to apologize, she hugged me, and I could feel her heart beating.
“I’m sorry too… for forcing this on you, but I couldn’t control myself…”
“You don’t need to apologize… I do…”
“Izayoi-kun, are you worried about everyone?”
I had no idea what to say. But she seemed to understand even that.
“I feel the same way, and I’m really sorry to everyone… But I’ve already decided to give up on them…”
“Izayoi-kun, can you please throw away everything and walk the path ahead with me?”
“I won’t let you regret it. I’ll give you everything and serve you with all my heart.”
To have someone like her by my side, and for me to take that for granted… I was embarrassed. I had been foolish to think I could have everything my way.
“I’m sorry, Izayoi-kun… I proposed this, but I was planning to bind you even if it was against your will. I can do it easily now…”
She hugged me tightly, causing a slight pain. I should respond to her feelings, right?
“I don’t want to hear what comes next… Can you please not say it?”
I couldn’t say it. I just couldn’t bring myself to say it to her right now.