As soon as Akira disappeared, the place fell silent.
The brave man in front of me was glancing at me, but he didn't say anything.
Asahina, whom Yol considers to be his enemy, was still thinking about something.
'...... Jeez, then, why is the princess here anyway? And where do you plan to go from here?
As we all fell silent, the man who introduced himself as Nanase said to me in a timid voice.
I look up and make eye contact with him, and for some reason he scowls and looks away, frightened.
I reply with a sigh.
''Our final destination is the Demon King's Castle at the far end of the Demon Race territory. The reason why we came to the Beast Race territory is because Akira's weapons were exhausted, so I asked Crow to train them. I'll decide whether we should go directly to the Demon King's Castle from here after discussing it with Akira and Yol.
I deliberately didn't say the names of the brave men.
Because it looked like Akira didn't want them to follow him.
'Can I ask them next?'
After hearing Nanase's response to go ahead, he turned to the five people who weren't sitting in their chairs.
'You guys have a different opinion than those two over there, don't you? I'm opposed to working with Akira.
No? I checked and they nodded.
They were the two women, Ueno, the weird talking woman, and Waki, the trainer from what I could see.
The reactions of the other three were vague.
'I guess we need to get ourselves united before we can convince me or Yolu of anything. Fortunately, both Akira and Yol are exhausted and will need time to recover.
I can't say we have a lot of time, but we'll still have at least time to gather our thoughts within the party.
When I said that, the brave man who had been silent with a difficult face until then lowered his head.
''I'll do that. Thank you very much.''
Saying that, the brave man stood up.
Asahina next to the brave man also got up from her seat, bowed to me and followed the brave man out of the room.
The others followed suit.
Everyone is polite.
Akira is sometimes like that too, but they are basically polite after coming from another world.
Come to think of it, I've heard that the people of the Yamato nation in the human race territory are also very polite.
I'm sure the brave men who founded the Yamato nation must have come from a place called Nihon, where Akira and the others lived.
...... Yol, do you think Akira would want them to come?
Alone with one of them, Yol turned to me from the living room table with a difficult look on his face.
His golden twin eyes shot through me from below.
Yol continued to think for a bit and cowered his shoulders.
''Well, come on. I don't really know what the Lord is thinking about either. But I heard that the insolent little boy was close to the Lord.
Yol was hanging on to the man called Asahina more than he should.
He probably doesn't like the fact that he knows his Lord better than he does.
The trainer and the woman with the strange way of speaking clearly saw our Lord as an enemy. It's not a good idea for you to be working with someone like that.
I nodded, sure.
But what about me if I'm going to harm Akira?
I almost killed Akira.
It's true that my body wasn't mine at that time, but it was still my carelessness.
In the first place, the reason I was kidnapped by the demon race was also due to my lack of ability.
Thanks to the Shadow Magic, there isn't even a scar left, but without it, Akira would have died.
Seeing me fall silent, Yol looks into my face with concern.
''Miss Amelia, don't worry about what happened in the labyrinth. As it turns out, the Lord-dono didn't die and is alive. That was Mahiro's doing. I don't think Lord-dono would have wanted to do that to Miss Amelia either.''
I nodded, making a conscious effort to smile.
'Yeah. Thanks, Yol.
Yol nodded in satisfaction at that and pondered something again.
I left Jor and walked out of the house.
As I walked into the nearby forest, I felt the trees welcoming me, a high elf, to their home.
The elves are a race that lives with the forest.
A long time ago, they took the Sacred Tree rather than the size and richness of their territory because they were afraid that if another race managed the forest, they would cut it down.
That Sacred Tree is something that should never be touched.
--No, I didn't come here to think about that now.
For a long time now, whenever I've been stuck in a stew of thoughts or have some trouble, I've come to the forest like this and let the trees listen to me.
I put my forehead against the trunk of the tree that was welcoming me.
I think of the moment when my hand pierced Akira's body.
'...... Yol, no. It's true that my body didn't move of my own volition at that time, but ......
He clenched his fists.
His hands were visibly trembling.
'I was happy to leave ...... the marks I put on Akira's body.
I hated the act of hurting someone I love so much, but I'm so glad that Akira will have my mark on him.
Because if Akira could find a way to return to her former world, she would leave me alone and leave immediately.
I heard that Akira's mother was very weak and that she had to return home because it was impossible for her sister to support her alone.
If she leaves, she might forget about me.
He might marry a woman more beautiful than me, a woman worthy to stand next to Akira.
But maybe he'll remember me when he sees the scars on his body.
It's ugly jealousy.
I was once jealous of my sister, and now I'm jealous of someone I've never even seen my face.
Oh, it's ugly.
Her mouth twists in a self-mocking smile.
And then I hear a crack and the sound of a branch snapping from above.
I look up with a huff, and my eyes meet the jet-black eyes that blend into the darkness of the night.
Their eyes were narrowed with satisfaction.
'I thought something was bothering you, but that's what it was.
My mouth was dry and I couldn't think well.
What I finally squeezed out was the person's name.
''A, Akira ......''