[And then, something like this~!]
Gin princess carried Sumi firmly.
[Ahh, just like that~ Alright~ Ideas are rising up like a fountain~]
Sonoko repeatedly nodded.
[Then can we stop now, Sonoko?]
[No no, a little longer~]
[But it's embarrassing in this posture, Sonocchi.]
Sumi who was being carried muttered.
[And I'm getting tired, even for this well trained hero Gin-sama, it's tough to keep carrying someone for a long time.]
[Cough. We-well, it helps that I'm not that heavy, isn't it?]
[Nah, I dunno. Aren't those big fruits on your body heavy?]
["Fruits", that joke again...]
[Okay okay~ You two, stop that dream crushing exchange~ Stay romantic~]
Sonoko warned Gin and Sumi.
[Why did it turn out like this?]
[Isn't it all because of what you said, Gin? Seriously...]
In order to fight against Vertexes, the heroes kept training day after day, but sometimes, they also had days off. This time, in one of those breaks, Sumi and Gin went to Sonoko's house to play. There, they learned a shocking truth.
[Eh? Sonocchi, you uploaded the novel you're writing onto the internet?]
[Ehehe, that's right~ Only the part I have confidence in, though~]
[You sure have courage... Now that I think about it, of course you do because you're a hero.]
Gin suddenly admired her.
[My novel is on this site~ See, this is me~]
[Let me see... eh? Ehh? What with this big number of visitors!? Just how many people are reading your novel, Sonoko?]
Gin rubbed her eyes.
[Furthermore, its rating is also so high! It got 5 stars.]
[I mean, it's even on top of the popular novel ranking right now.]
[Well, it's just "top" of this site, though~]
[But lots of people visits this site in the first place... Way to go, leader! Our literary master!]
[Sonocchi did say she wanted to try writing a novel the other day, but I'm surprise that she could produce such results so soon...]
[But I'm in trouble now~ I want your help.]
[Alright, just ask! Gin-sama has got your back]
[So what is it, Sonocchi?]
The two leaned in, waiting for Sonoko's question.
[Um~ I'm really, really happy that everyone's enjoying my novel, but as more and more people read it, the bar's also rising up~]
[Isn’t that a good thing?]
[Not really~ It's like, I feel slightly pressured when writing now~]
[Hey, hey, when did you start savoring this anguish of popularity?][
[You really can't be made light of, Sonocchi... I want to do something for you but this is hard.]
[I can't write things like articles... But still, if there's anything you want us to do, Sonoko, we'll do it.]
[Really? You really will do anything?]
As Sonoko got fired up, Gin got a bad feeling.
[Ah, no, guess I should stop after all...]
[Well then, well then~]
It was too late, Sonoko didn't listen anymore.
And so, the present princess carry came to happen.
[I originally modeled the characters after you two, so now that I got you two making poses like in my imagination, my creativity is steadily rising up~]
[I'm glad to be of help to you...]
[So what should we do next, Sonoko? Should I just go ahead and kiss Sumi?]
[Wh-what are you saying? Kissing?!]
[I-it's a joke, stop acting all shy! You're making me feel embarrassed!]
[It's a joke~ You're making me feel embarrassed~ okay... Yay~ I got these really great lines~]
[Don't just write them down like that! I'm gonna charge you!!]
Thanks to those two's devotion, Sonoko recovered from her slump. Afterwards, her novel kept gaining more and more popularity.
One day, while the three were about to go home after school, a certain change occurred in Sonoko's shoe rack.
A letter was found there.
[Hm? For some reason, there's a letter inside~]
[Perhaps, it's a challenge letter from the Vertexes, just kidding.]
Gin, who was full of vigor, mistook it for a challenge one.
[This is, perhaps, one of those so called "letter of misfortune". A curse that spread at one time in the A.D era, if you don't send the same thing to 5 people, misfortune will befall you...]
Sumi, who loved ghost story, mistook it for a cursed letter.
[Hmm, I wonder what it is~]
It was so like Sonoko, to be daring enough to open letters in front of other people. Sonoko unfolded the letter and read the content out loud.
[...Recently, before I know it, I've always been looking at you.]
[It really is a challenge! Where's the location?]
[It's a curse! We need to get some salt for purification.]
Ignoring her two excited friends, Sonoko continued to read the letter.
[...I think I want to get closer to you.]
At this point, strangely, Gin realized what was really going on.
[This sentence sounds even more dreadful than a simpler curse.]
Sumi was still mistaking it for a cursed letter.
[You might already have enough trouble with your duty, but because of that, I want to be of support to you~ so they said.]
[D, d-d-d-don't tell me it's "that", Sumi?]
[...Yeah, seems like it's not a curse.]
[You still haven't realized? It's "that", that one which begins with a "Ra".]
[Arhat (rakan) statue?]
[Wrong! This is a Rabu Retaa!]
[Ahh, I see... Ra!!? Rabububu!?]
[You finally get it, and calm down already, Sumi.]
[Waa, so I got a love letter~]
At Gin's word, the three moved to Ines' food court like always.
[Well then, what'll you do, Sonoko?]
[Even if you ask me, I don't even know what kind of person this is from~]
[But how come you are acting so calm? You just received a love letter, Sonocchi.]
[That's an experience we’ve never had, right, Sumi?]
[Yeah, I did receive some letters before but they were all bad-mouthing stuffs like "Washio-san is such a fault-finder", "Washio-san gets mad too easily", etc.]
[Ahaha! Wait, we should focus on Sonoko now.]
[Maybe you should write them a reply first?]
[S-somehow, I'm the one who received the letter but you two are even more into it than me~ For now, I'll try meeting them~]
[Me-meet them!? You sure are bold!]
[Way to go, Sonocchi... Somehow, I'm starting to like this line.]
[After all, this is from a girl, you know? If you look at these characters, you'll know right away~]
[From a girl, you say...]
Now that they looked at it, both the envelope and characters were oozing with girlishness. Because they were whirled up by the word "love letter", the two didn't notice that.
[Oh, so that how it is, I was so surprised.]
[So the other party is a girl, huh? Gin seems quite popular.]
[I think you also got your share of admirers, Sumi.]
[But Sonoko is the one that actually got a love letter, huh?]
[Well, Sonocchi is charming.]
[But even if it was a boy, I wouldn't go out with them~ Because I've got Mino-san and Wasshii supporting me already.]
[Sonocchi... such lovable words.]
[You don't have to tear up over them, though...]
In the end, while the fact that the three were busy with their duties became well-known, there was no story about their love lives.
[...Something like that did happen before~]
Era of the Gods, year 300.
Inside her hospital room, Sonoko looked back at the memories she shared with Minowa Gin and Washio Sumi. Just then, she’d had the opportunity to talk a lot with that Sumi. And so, she unintentionally recalled the past.
At the Seto Ohashi Bridge Ruins, against two Vertexes, Leo and Pisces, Sonoko had repeatedly gone Mankai to confront them. After offering various bodily functions to the Shinju as payment, she had ended up bedridden. Since her mouth was still working, day after day, she asked people to write and add up new entries in her diary. Even though it would probably be censored, for Sonoko, who loved to write novels, that diary helped distract her a little.
One day, Sonoko learned about the current activities of Washio Sumi, who had returned to using her old name. Sonoko wanted to meet Sumi, but Taisha refused to let them meet no matter what. Because of that, Sonoko used her own power to draw Sumi to her. Then, she told her about Mankai's after-effect, and just now, about the truth of the world... about what was happening outside the wall.
It wasn't a virus that brought the end to the Christian Era, but the Vertexes sent in from the sky by God to purge humanity. The world outside Shikoku had completely turned into a dead land hatching infinite Vertexes. A fight to drive away Vertexes is more like a ritual. A ritual where young girls are chosen to be human sacrifices for driving monsters away. That way, at least, the peace of the world within the Shinju's barrier is maintained.
In their time, they had lost too many things because they weren't told anything about the truth. No matter how cruel that truth was, Sonoko thought it had to be conveyed clearly. She didn't know what kind of action Sumi would finally take after knowing that. Sure enough, the Taisha's people changed their looks and came running in.
[Sonoko-sama, the current Hero, Inubouzaki Fuu has gone out of control... Furthermore, you may have already known but Tougou Mimori is also making suspicious movements... We would like you to lend us your power.]
The Taisha's people knelt down to Sonoko. They returned the terminal to Sonoko. Considering Tougou Mimori's power with her 3 faeries, it's easy to imagine how powerful Nogi Sonoko, who possessed 21 faeries, would be after transforming into Hero.
[So I just need to transform and stop Inubouzaki Fuu-san's rampage, right~?]
[Please do so, Sonoko-sama.]
If one came to know that they themselves were a human sacrifice, they might be stripped of their fangs by Taisha. Sonoko's current duty was to protect Taisha from out of control Heroes.
[Maybe I'll just wait and see~]
... refused to transform into Hero.
[Sonoko-sama, if the Heroes go on a rampage now and Taisha is endangered then the Shinju-sama... the world would also be endangered.]
[You're right~ It's a big crisis~]
[If the world is destroyed then what did Minowa-sama risk her life and die for?]
This was how Taisha tried to compel Sonoko. Normally, no matter how much they said it was to protect the world, there was no need for her to listen to the excuses of the adults that had tricked and used her. But now that they had mentioned Gin's name, it would be hard.
"If you go against the order, Gin's death will be rendered meaningless". They were threatening her in a roundabout way.
[If we all die then I'll say "sorry", I'll apologize a lot to her in the other side~]
Against her unexpected answer, the Taisha's people uttered dumbly.
[Right now, I want to prioritize the alive Wasshii's feelings~]
[What the Heroes'll do once they know everything... I want to let the Heroes do what they want to do... And it's not just because I understand their feelings~]
[But then, in the worse case, the world will...]
[So... What? Are you telling me to become hero and fight against Wasshii and that friend...?]
Sonoko shot back with a serious face.
At that moment, the once calm and gentle girl's anger manifested clearly.
It was their price for hiding the truth from the girls. The Taisha's people kept requesting Sonoko earnestly. However, Sonoko never transformed. Returning to a calm expression, like always, she gazed up at the sky and observed clouds.
[... So that's what I told those guys~]
[I expected no less.]
The usual exchange unfolded between the two.
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