you as thanks.」

A baseball-sized crystal….Rather, a water crystal, I guess? Looking at it closely, I could see something like a liquid rippling around inside it.

Using all that Magical Take was quite a loss, but I might have gotten something good from it.

Even so, it might be my first time experiencing an animal getting playful with me.
I had a bit of a regretful feeling left inside my chest.

It was not just pets.
For my entire life, I had never gotten the chance to play with animals.
For some reason, they would all just run away.

Maybe if it was inside a game then I could play with them.
And regarding the water dragons, they weren’t even monsters, after all.

「That was cute…」

「Sukuna sure has a peculiar sense.」

Leave me alone.

「Hey, look at that….」

「Uoh, are you for real?」

「So wonderful…」

「Damn, so cool….」

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Before I entered Tria, while lining up for the inspection, I felt like the surrounding gazes were on us.

Being called a Fortress Town, Tria did a proper inspection.

In the first place, criminal players couldn’t get in, but it was probably the kind of thing done for show or something.

Since it was not just the players that went in and out of town, I guess you could say it was more of an inspection of the NPC’s.

Now then, their gazes were not focused on me, but towards Kohaku instead.

From what I could overhear of their whispering, it seemed like Kohaku was an existence rather popular among the NPC’s.

What was it, what was it…?

「…..Kohaku the《Hajou》?」

「Nn, well, I guess I’m also called like that.」

Kohaku looked a bit embarrassed and scratched her cheek.

A nickname, you could say that I guess, but…being famous amongst the NPC’s was quite a big thing, right?

When I thought of asking her what the name originated from, Kohaku started to talk about herself.

「In the past, a calamity-class Named monster attacked the capital, you see.
At that time, I was entrusted with the protection of the capital.
Its name was…..《Moving Ancient Castle -Alma-》, wasn’t it? It was literally a monster that was a moving castle, but…..maybe due to my youthful lack of discretion, I crushed that castle to pieces and so I was called that name.」

「I see, so it’s….《Castle Crusher (破城, hajou)》.」

Well, I’m sorry.
I said I got it, but I totally didn’t understand anything she just said….

The castle? To pieces? She crushed it? Because of her youthful lack of discretion?

She was smiling shyly, but I thought that that was quite a big topic, not something that you could really joke about.

And could you even call that something a human was capable of doing? ……Well, both of us were not really purely human, but…..

「If you think you can do it, you can do it, you know.」

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「No, I wonder about that….」

「No, you can do it.
What I can do is something you can do for sure after all.」

From those direct and honest words she said proudly, I felt that something was strange.

It was not that something was strange, exactly, it was more a feeling that something was slightly amiss.
That was not usually something you would be able to tell about someone you just met.
That was how it should be, but even if I technically knew that, regarding the thing she said just then I thought, 「It’s not like her.」

「Hey, Kohaku, even by yourself, like….against a Named just like Aria, you could defeat them, right?」

I meant for those words to be taken lightheartedly.

However, Kohaku shook her head.
They were denied with a very serious tone.

「I can’t do that.」

「Why?」

「I have a wish.
That’s why, until I make sure it will come true, I can’t die.
Since there is a need to put your life in a battle against a Named, after all.」

Saying that with the smile of a young girl with a dream, Kohaku stared at me.

However, in contrast to that dazzling expression, what I felt from Koharu was a chill deep enough to freeze me to the core, and her eyes were like a deep, deep darkness.

What was inside those eyes were envy and jealousy.
It was a muddy emotion that you couldn’t ever have enough words to describe.

Ah, I see.
I finally understood.
The reason that Kohaku was clinging to me.
And the reason that she chose to help me, and the reason that she told me so much about so many things.

Following me after seeing me at the teahouse rather than immediately talking to me, and waiting to help me until I was on the verge of death.

Having really no need to call such behaviour strange, it made you wonder why she did those things.

「Let’s go somewhere else to talk.
Since it’s a bit of a long story, after all.」

「Yeah, okay.」

This Kohaku, this person who lived in this world, just what was she carrying with her?

The beginning of her story was uncovered with an introduction from a system message.

『《Extra Quest: Onihime (Oni Princess) – Aspiration Tale of an Oni (Onihime Shoukeikitan)》』

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