Two Childhood Friends Chapter 14

Chapter 14 – The Oni
 

 
“Are they still not back yet…?”
 
The male teacher muttered worriedly next to Urazumi.
 
It was a dungeon experience recreation – an annual ritual baptism where new students would experience the scariness of monsters.
 
This year things had been going smoothly, and almost all of the students had returned from the dungeon.
 
Except for one group that is. The famous daughter of the Kakushigi family, and the eloping couple who had become famous all over Japan before even entering school.
 
“Why are you getting so worried now, teacher? If you do things like this, of course unexpected things will happen,” said Urazumi.
 
“No, no! It would be bad if something actually happened! Our heads would literally roll!”
 
“That would be troublesome.”
 
“Don’t you even care!?”
 
Urazumi didn’t even glance at her shocked colleague. Of course, she couldn’t afford to lose this job either.
 
Urazumi had her own dreams and goals in life after all.
 
So getting killed was out of the question.
 
It was something she absolutely had to avoid.
 
“It’s past the scheduled time. The JSDF will soon enter the dungeon and begin rescue operations. Please evacuate with the students just in case,” said a JSDF soldier who had come to speak to Urazumi and her colleagues.
 
Of course they would come, since they managed the dungeon.
 
“S-sorry. Please do what you must,” her colleague responded deferentially.
 
Urazumi just lazily raised her hand.
 
“Ahh, this is such a pain, but should I come along too? I think I’d be somewhat useful in combat,” she said.
 
The JSDF were excellent. They had protected the nation and its people, enduring great sacrifice, even during the great disaster when monsters ran rampant and destroyed many nations worldwide.
 
That’s how Urazumi made her sales pitch to them.
 
It subtly communicated that she herself possessed such capabilities.
 
“While I’d like to decline since it could mess up our coordination… As an instructor at the Special Abilities Development Academy, you’re likely stronger than us. Please come along in case some monster appears that we can’t handle?”
 
Introducing a misfit into their well-trained unit would likely be detrimental.
 
The disciplined soldiers might get swallowed up by monsters, unable to demonstrate their abilities.
 
If policemen or other trained self-defense personnel volunteered, he likely would have refused them. But a Special Abilities Development Academy instructor was different.
 
They were uniformly excellent. They had to guide and teach cocky newbies with special abilities after all.
 
“Alright, got it….this way my head won’t roll,” said Urazumi languidly.
 
Her colleague looked back astonished.
 
Urazumi returned the gaze with the same listless expression.
 
The silence was painful.
 
“Okay, hurry up and get ready! We’re going to rescue those students!”
 
The JSDF personnel began bustling about in preparation. As the dungeon’s administrators, they understood its horrors all too well.
 
From here on was a battlefield. There was no telling how many casualties this rescue operation would incur.
 
But to save the future generation – the people they were sworn to protect – the JSDF headed into the dungeon with determination, ready to sacrifice themselves if need be…
 
“Well, no need for that~”
 
“Wha-!? Where…where did that voice…?”
 
Hearing the sudden voice, the JSDF soldiers and Urazumi’s colleagues looked around in surprise. But besides themselves, there was no one else around.
 
Urazumi said the name of a special ability user who could do something like this.
 
“Ah, Kakushigi right?”
 
“That’s right! We made it back!”
 
It was Kakushigi Enmi’s cheerful voice. She didn’t sound pained or exhausted, so she must really be unharmed.
 
But Enmi had gone as a group of three. Now only Enmi was present.
 
“Just you alone?”
 
“No no, of course not! See, the two heroes have returned triumphantly!”
 
For some reason, Enmi sounded proud.
 
Following her lead and looking at the dungeon entrance, two figures could be seen slowly walking over.
 

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It was exactly the eloping couple who had gone with Enmi – Yoshihito Kuchinasi and Kirako Kuromitsu.
 
“We’re back.”
 
“Sorry for the delay.”
 
The two didn’t seem heavily injured either. While they looked a little tired unlike Enmi, that was only natural – the average person couldn’t be compared to the daughter of the Kakushigi family, trained since childhood alongside her special abilities.
 
Urazumi asked them plainly.
 
“Well, you sure took your time. What happened?”
 
“We were attacked by a monster…”
 
“Since we’re not used to combat, we were delayed…”
 
Murmurs broke out among the crowd. They were supposed to encounter monsters, but careful precautions had been taken to avoid attacks.
 
For that to be overturned was shocking. And for them to return unscathed after being attacked, despite it likely being their first battle, was even moreso.
 
Meanwhile, Urazumi’s bored expression didn’t change.
 
“We fought it off, kinda thanks to me…” said Yoshihito, chest puffed out.
 
Kirako’s heel dug into his toes!
 
“I-I mean, Kirako and I, together with Kakushigi’s strength, somehow managed to…” he amended, shaking.
 
It was only natural for someone encountering monsters and fighting for the first time to end up like this.
 
If anything, he should be praised for defeating and returning unharmed. Though in reality he was just writhing in pain.
 
He seemed oblivious to Kirako’s bright laughter beside him.
 
“It was my first time seeing a monster, but it wasn’t anything amazing,” said Kirako.
 
“Right. We were able to beat it after all,” Yoshihito concurred.
 
The two were chatting as if the danger had already faded from memory.
 
The monster must not have been too tough if even they could defeat it without much training.
 
The onlookers concluded it must have just been a pushover.
 
“I see. If that’s the case, I’m a little relieved…” said Urazumi’s colleague.
 
“….But, it wasn’t such an easy monster,” Enmi interjected with a wry tone.
 
Ignoring her relieved colleague, Urazumi asked “Kakushigi, what monster did they defeat?”
 
Grinning happily, she answered “An oni!”
 
“….What did you say?”
 
“An oni! A real live oni! If it was anyone but me and the young master, you’d probably have been slaughtered, right?” Enmi said cheekily.
 
But the surrounding people were stunned into silence.
 
An oni.
 
That monster’s name was infamously well known.
 
The onis had been at the forefront devastating many nations during the great disaster. Their inhuman strength let them effortlessly destroy people and structures, while ordinary weapons struggled to even wound them.
 
As Enmi said, unless you had trained with special abilities from a young age, you stood no chance.
 
The rescue squad that had been about to sortie likely would have suffered 30% casualties.
 
And children whose powers had only just awakened managed to defeat such a monster?
 
“Whaaaaat!? They defeated an oni!?”
 
It triggered great tumult.
 
….Uh oh, did I go and say something terribly shocking?
 
Yoshihito and Kirako, who hated drawing too much attention, exchanged brief glances…
 
“Yes, Kirako did it-“
 
“Yes, Yoshihito did it-“
 
(Don’t go pushing this hassle onto me!!) they seemed to be wrestling furiously in an invisible space.
 
Tears welled up in their eyes.
 
“An oni…”
 
Urazumi murmured meaningfully at them, but the two were too busy tormenting each other to notice.





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