We welcomed Haruna and Irene into the city.
 Normally, we couldn't accept outsiders at this time of year, but when I told Commander Bolton that they were my former comrades, he gave me permission.
 I took them to the first aid room in the barracks.

 Both Haruna and Irene were battered and bruised.
 It's a miracle they made it to the city without running out of steam.
 Thanks to the Guard's healers and healing potions, the wounds were healed.
 As soon as they regained their composure, I started to talk to them.

Is it true what you said earlier? Nacht destroyed the city of Esthar?
"Yes. Yes. We've seen it. We saw Nahat laughing his head off as he burned the city of Esthar to the ground.
The people of the city were being killed one by one.
Irene. You don't have to try to remember.

 I try to cover up the memory of Irene's pale face. The scene in Esthar seems to have been traumatic for her.

But why would he do that ......?
I think it's because the Red Lotus Fang has disbanded.
......The Red Lotus Fang has been disbanded? Why?
Because ever since you left, Red Lotus Fang hasn't been able to run smoothly. Missions that we used to be able to complete with ease are now failing. The guild members and adventurers began to make fun of us.
It was only after Zeke left that we began to fail, and the others began to say that Zeke was the one who supported the Red Lotus Fang. Nahato, who was pissed off by this, suggested that we accept the A-rank mission. I tried to stop him, but he just wouldn't listen. He said he was going to show the city what he was made of.
So I took the mission, and sure enough, we were no match for them. I almost got wiped out, so I ran for my life. The mission failed, and the party's faith in me was shattered. After that, Nahat and I had some trouble, and the Red Lotus Fang disbanded.

I didn't know that. ......

 That's what you've been up to since I've been gone.
 I had no idea that Nahat and the others were struggling. It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're doing.

He was proud of himself for being in the Red Fang. Maybe he lost it and became desperate and went on a killing spree. ......
 Haruna said.
I see. But I'm sorry to say this, but it would be impossible for Nahat to destroy the city of Estor in one night with his abilities.

 Nahat was a powerful man.
 But if you ask me if he can destroy the city of Esthar by himself, I would say no.

"That guy looked like he was possessed by something. He had horns on his head and he looked like a monster. And he had a ...... demon with him.
"Maybe, but... I think Nahat turned into a demon.
So he's been bewitched by demons.

 There are some humans who turn to demons, like Rich.
 Maybe Nahat was also inspired.
 Incidentally, demons and demon tribes are not the same thing.
 Demon kings and their dependents who possess powerful magical powers are classified as demons. It is easy to understand that demons are the upper compatible of demons.

"...... That guy was screaming about you while burning down the city. He said he'd never forgive Zeke for what he did to me.
That's a lot of resentment.
...... Maybe one day soon, Nacht will come after this city. He knows that Zeke is in town.
Oh, well. Thank you for letting me know.

 The more we know about our enemy, the better we can plan.

What do you guys plan to do now?

I haven't thought about it. I was actually thinking of becoming a teacher at a magic school after we break up the party. But now the city's gone.
Oh well. Then you should stay in town for a while. I'll let you know. I'll help you find a job after you get settled.

 When I said that, both Haruna and Irene looked puzzled.

"............ Why?
"Hmm? What's that?
I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that. You haven't forgotten that, have you?
Normally, I'd be angry or abandon you.

 Both of them looked worried.
 I could see the guilt in their eyes.

...... You're right. I haven't forgotten.
 I said.
I've been abused and abused by you guys. I've been called a liability, a scarecrow who just stands there.
But I haven't forgotten what you've given me.
"What, ......?
When I first joined the party, it was you, Haruna, who approached me when I was having trouble fitting in.

 I was the youngest one in the party.
 So, at the launch of the completion of the mission, when I was in the corner, unable to fit in, you called out to me.

"Zeke. Why are you standing there? Why don't you come over here more often? We're having a welcome party for you too, you know. Come on, the star of the show is in the middle!

 It was Haruna who approached me.
 Thanks to her openness to me, the other members of the group did not hold back, and we became friends.

Irene would sneak in a follow-up to Nacht when he and I were arguing.

 In the early days of the party, Nahat and I fought as equals over policy. We argued because we were both aiming high.
 Irene was trying to keep me and Nacht from breaking up.

I'm sure you've heard of it.
 I'm sure you've heard of it.
It feels like a long time ago," Irene said.

 We started out as proper friends. We respected each other and were able to work towards a single goal.
 But then, it became distorted.

"I'm still one of you, even after I left the party. At least that's what I think. If your friends are in trouble, you help them. Of course you do.

 Haruna and Irene looked at me as if they couldn't believe what they were seeing.

"I'm sorry!

 They bowed deeply to me.

"What? What's wrong?
 I said.
What's wrong?" I said. Don't worry about it.
"No, it's not.

 Haruna shook her head violently.

I just want to apologize. I want to apologize for everything we've done to you. You were the one who supported us. We said a lot of horrible things without realizing it. ....... I know it's not right that you're only realizing it now. Of course, I don't expect you to forgive me. But I just want to apologize.

I forgive you.
We've all made mistakes. I'm sure we're not so close that one mistake is all it takes.

 Besides," I said.

"I'm not right enough to set anyone straight. No, not just me. We're all twisted in some way.
"Sieg. ......
Look at me. I'm glad you're alive.
What's wrong?
No. I'm just saying, you're still the same guy.
Zeke's a real softy, isn't he? Whenever we've abused him, he's never talked back.
It's just that he doesn't have much vocabulary.

 "That's just poor vocabulary," he muttered, hiding his embarrassment.
 Haruna and Irene looked at me and gave me small smiles. Their expressions reminded me of how pure they were when I first met them.