Chapter 142:

Vol. 9 Chapter 3: Saka, the Emissary of Darkness Part 2

Hour Empty Child

After the whole mess concerning the hugging Guildmaster, Saka has officially joined the Alpha Heart guild thanks to her having the [Illusion Reaper] Special Class.Bookmark here

Everyone in the guild rose up from their seats in joyful manners after Saka received the Alpha Heart guild mark on her hand. Due to this, Saka instantly tried to break for the door, but both Kudo and Hinota managed to catch her in time.Bookmark here

“Saka, it’s okay. Everything’s gonna be just fine,” Kudo told her in a gentle manner, showing his genuine smile at the distressed girl.Bookmark here

“Ah…” Saka became quiet for a moment, turning her head away in disappointment. “U-Understood…”Bookmark here

Kudo smiled warmly at the agreement, getting him to show her around the guild lobby as an introduction into the guild.Bookmark here

While Kudo whisked Saka away to show the guild to her, Hinota gazed at the two walking about, her glare right on them.Bookmark here

“Hino?” Mizuri noticed the stare and asked, moving her head to the side to see it up close.Bookmark here

“Oh,” Hinota’s glare returned to normal as she turned to Mizuri. “What’s up?”Bookmark here

“Hino, are you actually upset about Kuu taking Saka along?”Bookmark here

“Wha…”Bookmark here

Hinota let out, but she then turned silent. Though her expression showed her cool face as usual, her mind was another story.Bookmark here

What did she mean by that? Could it be that she’s insinuating something? Is it because of how she glared? Or is it something else? Hinota’s mind diverged itself to answer these different questions in her mind in a matter of seconds before finally answering.Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” Hinota answered, her face stoic.Bookmark here

Mizuri scratched her cheek with her finger, smiling. “I figured that Kuu is gonna pay more attention to Saka now because of all this.”Bookmark here

“Yes…” Hinota frowned. “I’m sure Kudo is upset about this and wants to help her out as much as he can. Though I don’t know how long he can keep this up, or if even Saka is hiding something and Kudo is just deciding not to know about it.”Bookmark here

“W-Well, there’s that…” Mizuri didn’t expect for Hinota to enter into those topics. “But more like, aren’t you going to be jealous?Bookmark here

“Wha…!?”Bookmark here

Finally, her face cracked into a flustered scene. Her cheeks were dyed pink and her eyes flared at Mizuri. Seeing now the expression she wanted to see, Mizuri raised a smile.Bookmark here

“Right? You’re jealous right now, aren’t you?”Bookmark here

“N-No, I’m not!” Hinota snapped back. “Why would I be jealous in this situation? Rather, there’s nothing to be jealous about!”Bookmark here

“Haha, don’t worry about it!” Mizuri pounded her chest. “If anything, I have complete confidence that you’ll still have Kudo’s heart. No girl is going to get away with him any time soon!”Bookmark here

“Again, there’s no reason to cheer me up! Besides, there’s nothing like romantic feelings between them. I would know.”Bookmark here

“Oh, would you?” Mizuri sneered at her, her eyes gazing at Hinota who have revealed something that she shouldn’t have.Bookmark here

“Gods, Mizuri, that’s enough!” After realizing her mistake, Hinota turned her head to the side to refuse to talk with Mizuri any longer.Bookmark here

Seeing that reaction, Mizuri chuckled once again as she turned around and walked away. But not before turning back around to face Hinota and give her a shoutout.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, Hino! Me and Rai have complete confidence in you!”Bookmark here

“I said that’s enough!” Hinota screamed back, swinging her arms down at her comrade who went away with a goofy smile.Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

Saka remained sitting on the wooden chair away from everyone else. She held a silver cup to herself, watching the orange juice in the cup make puddles as she moved it around. Her head hung low, she kept spinning the liquid as the ruckus the adventurers were making escalates.Bookmark here

“Ah, man,” Kudo groaned. “There she is again.”Bookmark here

Kudo watched Saka from the distance with the party at his side. They were going about celebrating when they realized that Saka would rather be alone for the moment. Kudo figured that she needed it, but after checking again, he noticed her being so distant from everyone else.Bookmark here

“Yeah, it’s kinda hard to approach her…” Tsuchi admitted.Bookmark here

“But we can’t just let her stay there, can we?” Hinota asked, getting everyone to nod in agreement.Bookmark here

“I’ll go talk to her.”Bookmark here

Kudo said as he moved forward, bringing the spirit of the party behind him. As he walked towards her, he raised his hand.Bookmark here

“Saka, you okay?”Bookmark here

Kudo said, a smile on his face. Saka looked up for a moment but she then turned back down to her drink. Kudo felt a bit depressed from the lack of greeting, but he went in regardless and sat down beside her by grabbing an extra chair.Bookmark here

“All this is nonsense,” Saka started to talk. “This… ‘party’ and such… such a waste of resources and the like. Thus thou hold no respect for such luxuries?”Bookmark here

“If you’re talking about how much money we’re wasting, trust me, we’re covered.”Bookmark here

Kudo swung his hand left and right as he mentioned this. Reason being is that this was paid by Hikari, and according to her, no matter how many times she paid, she receives that much money from her multiple businesses all over the world in an instant.Bookmark here

Saka scoffed. “Such foolishness…”Bookmark here

“The guild always celebrates whenever we get new members. It’s sort of a thing here for some reason.” Kudo rubbed the back of his head as he wryly chuckled, then turned back to Saka. “You never celebrated with somebody before?”Bookmark here

“I…”Bookmark here

Saka turned silent, looking back at her drink. Her eyes, the ruby luminescent eyes that glimmered from the lobby’s lighting, shifted and turned into a distant look.Bookmark here

“I… suppose.”Bookmark here

Kudo noticed those changes, and kept silent about it. He had no clue on what she went through to turn out into being chased by Dark Players.Bookmark here

There were many things that could have happened to her, but Kudo had no clue unless she told him herself—which is impossible with their current relationship. However, Kudo made a resolve to protect this girl.Bookmark here

“Hey, where do you plan on going after this?”Bookmark here

Kudo asked a simple question, getting Saka’s distant eyes to turn back to him, the light once within them once again shimmering.Bookmark here

“I hath no home to go to. Nature is my dwelling.”Bookmark here

Saka spoke as if she was proud of it, showing a smug expression which only caused Kudo a bit of grief.Bookmark here

“Umm… then, how about you stay at our place in the mansion?” Bookmark here

“…Mansion?”Bookmark here

Saka’s eyes lit up at the mention of the word. Bookmark here

“What?!”Bookmark here

Everyone in the E-Plus party overheard that statement and gave a shout. Especially Hinota, who seemed more wide-eyed than all of them.Bookmark here

“We have plenty of room in the mansion, and it’s not like it has to be permanent. You can stay as long as you feel like it until you can leave for yourself, ok?”Bookmark here

“But…” Saka said as she blushed on the cheeks, holding her cup strongly as her shoulders hunched. “Won’t that be… troublesome?”Bookmark here

Kudo became surprised at how Saka broke her old speech, but smiled at that moment as well.Bookmark here

“No problem! We’ll be glad to have you. Here, let me talk to Mom real quick.”Bookmark here

“W-Wait, I have not yet permitted you to—”Bookmark here

Before Saka could reach out to the standing Kudo, he already left to find his Mother, leaving Saka behind as her hand reached out into the open air grabbing nothing at all. Bookmark here

In a few moments later, Kudo returned with Hikari with a surprising statement.Bookmark here

“Sure, you can come live with us!” Hikari said, boldly putting her hands on her charming hips.Bookmark here

“B-But…” Saka stuttered, but before she knew it, Hikari picked her up by embracing her again, hugging her tightly.Bookmark here

“It’ll be so much fun with you around! Don’t worry about anything else, Saka!”Bookmark here

“Gah… release me, you vile woman!”Bookmark here

Hikari spun her around like a doll as Saka tried to release herself but to no avail. As Kudo chuckled for a moment but then tried to stop Hikari from spinning her so much, the E-Plus witnessed this scene with gaping mouths as they turned to each other.Bookmark here

“I-I didn’t think that Kuu would help her out that much…” Mizuri said, scratching her cheeks as she sweated.Bookmark here

“But she really didn’t have a home, so there was no other choice, right?” Raika admitted, though a concerned look marred her face.Bookmark here

“Then!” Hikari turned around, facing the E-Plus members as she held onto Saka tightly in her grasp. “Everyone, how about you all come over and visit the mansion for some fun!?”Bookmark here

“S-She’s planning to continue it…” Kuki said, nearly becoming exhausted from the celebration happening right now.Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

The E-Plus were taken, whether they wanted to or not, back to the mansion for rest and relaxation. The day has just turned to night after all the celebration, and the people of the city were beginning to rest for the day.Bookmark here

They headed to the lavish mansion, the giant mass of luxury that not even the 1% of the population may experience, leaving the young Saka in a sense of awe and admiration as she was driven via the Valkyria ame known as the Steed.Bookmark here

Saka pressed herself towards the glass of the Ame, looking out at the many lights that govern the city. With its stunning beauty, it left her with a mesmerized expression on her face.Bookmark here

“You look like you’re enjoying this,” Kudo replied, turning his head towards Saka in his seat.Bookmark here

Saka didn’t answer as she was too stunned to even make a word. The E-Plus members all just continued to gaze at her child-like innocence, a warm smile on their faces.Bookmark here

They finally reached the mansion, where once again, the sheer massive size daunted Saka’s tiny height, making her feel smaller in comparison. As they walked up to the dazzling entrance filled with unnecessary jewels, they got to the wide and tall double doors.Bookmark here

“Don’t be afraid when you see this,” Kudo whispered to Saka as he winked, causing her to instantly tilt her head.Bookmark here

Hikari then opened the double doors with her own strength, slamming the doors which surprised Saka already. But as soon as they entered into the mansion, what greeted them made her jaw drop.Bookmark here

“Welcome back, our masters.”Bookmark here

The group of maids, all of different races, all voiced out their greeting in a harmonious sound, each one in rows and bowing to their masters as they stepped into the fabulous lobby of the mansion.Bookmark here

“I’m back, my cute little maids,” Hikari greeted them back with a smile. “First, we’ll enjoy some nice dinner, and then a relaxing bath. Ooh, it’s gonna be exciting!”Bookmark here

Hikari nearly shook at the idea as she stepped forward along with the party. The party members began to converse about the night in the mansion as Saka continued to watch in awe, even staring at the beautiful maids with a surprised look.Bookmark here

“You… Kudo…” Saka muttered. “Your mother is…quite wealthy.”Bookmark here

“Ahaha, yeah…”Bookmark here

Kudo answered, his eyes turning dead at how much money got into the mansion.Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

The party headed to the dining room where the main host presented the guests with her amazing dinner cooked by none other than the very-capable maids. The maids presented each dish, cultivated to their maximum appearance and flavor, to the guests with precision and grace. The guests were already used to it except Saka who continued to be at awe.Bookmark here

Then, once she took a bite of the meal, her eyes grew wide and the light within them flared in excitement. One morsel was not enough—she continued to eat the meal in front of her until her plate was practically cleaned off. The members all watched in awe themselves at the young girl who could practically eat the entire dinner all by herself.Bookmark here

“I see that you like the food,” Hikari said, swirling alcohol in her over-jeweled cup in her hand with a smile on her face.Bookmark here

“Mmh!” Saka raised her head, showing her stuffed cheeks to everyone before she swallowed it all in an instant. “T-This hath been a pleasant meal, yes.”Bookmark here

Saka immediately tried to act compose as she took a napkin from her side to lightly pat on her mouth to clean off the bits of food.Bookmark here

“Oh, Saka,” Kudo picked up his own napkin as he closed in. “You got something here.”Bookmark here

Saka immediately blushed when Kudo went to rub his napkin on her left cheek which had a small bit of greenery on it. Saka groaned in embarrassment as Kudo wiped it clean off, revealing a smile to her blushing face as she turned to the side.Bookmark here

“I-I would have cleaned it myself,” Saka said begrudgingly.Bookmark here

Kudo chuckled. “It’s fine.”Bookmark here

Soon after, the plates were cleaned and the giant table was cleared of the dishes by the capable maids. Hikari clapped her hands together at the E-Plus with a smile on her face.Bookmark here

“After eating, it’s obvious for a good rest that we need a bath,” Hikari said. “Girls, follow me. You guys know where to go, right?”Bookmark here

“Right,” Kudo nodded. “Come on, guys.”Bookmark here

Kudo ushered the males of the party with him, leading them towards the bathroom area as the girls were left behind.Bookmark here

“Now then girls,” Hikari said, standing up from her well-designed chair. “Follow me to paradise!”Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

In the steamy room filled with cascading hot water flowing down to the vast open pool, therein lies the paradise only women can enter.Bookmark here

Within the steam, the women were enjoying the heated bath. The water covering them up to their upper bodies, the girls all sighed simultaneously. Raika, her bunny ears lowered to relax, washed her cheek with a towel. Mizuri laid her head on the edge of the pool, her long light-bluish hair swaying within the water. Her body became submerged in the heat flowing through her veins and bringing her upmost joy.Bookmark here

All the while, Hinota and Saka were side by side, enjoying their own time in the water. Each one had their eyes closed, a pleasant smile on their faces.Bookmark here

“This is truly paradise…” Mizuri said out loud, getting everyone to nod and moan in agreement.Bookmark here

“We should do this every time,” Raika said. “Like, after every quest. I think that’ll make me more motivated.”Bookmark here

“That should be fine,” Hinota said, shifting herself a bit in the water. “As long as Master permits it, we can all hang out after every quest.”Bookmark here

“Really?! Alright!” Mizuri raised both her arms up in excitement, a brimming smile on her face.Bookmark here

“Mmh, now I can really relax…” Raika slowly let her body down into the water, only getting up to her mouth as bubbles escaped from it.Bookmark here

Hinota smiled at the excitement the girls were sharing, but then she turned to the girl that was the quietest. Saka remained silent. Hinota took a closer look at herself.Bookmark here

Her tanned body was flawless, and her silvery hair had no sign of damage at all. Concerning that she was being chased by bad people, she looked none the worse. However, what made her more surprised is that Saka was more ‘filled out’ than she let on. Her excellent figure and blooming assets would make any man fall for her.Bookmark here

However, what caught Hinota’s eye was the most alarming feature to her—her right arm was still bandaged with white binds. Though the bandage was wet, there wasn’t any sign of it being wrinkled at all. It was still binding her arm tight, never letting go of her supple skin.Bookmark here

“Saka,” Hinota spoke. Saka opened one eye to her. “Don’t you wanna take off the bandage? It must be uncomfortable.”Bookmark here

Hinota smiled warmly, making sure not to be imposing. She figured that Saka was still acting as the ‘Emissary of Darkness’ even while bathing, but she needed to be cleaned or else it will get infected by bacteria. She smiled, hoping that she doesn’t alarm her.Bookmark here

“I cannot,” Saka quickly replied. “For if I do, disaster will follow. Therefore, I will let it remain sealed.”Bookmark here

Saka spoke as she closed her eyes, giving her final answer. The girls who heard it all tilted their heads, wondering what she meant by that. Even Hinota had a tough time figuring out what she wanted to say.Bookmark here

(I guess she just doesn’t wanna let us see it…)Bookmark here

Hinota figured, but she was hoping that it wasn’t so. It was possible that it was scarred to the point of making Saka uncomfortable. She is still a girl, after all. Perhaps she doesn’t want anybody to see her marred skin.Bookmark here

She left it as is, so that Saka wouldn’t feel more uncomfortable.Bookmark here

“Mmh…”Bookmark here

Mizuri stared—no, glared—at the two girls in front of her. It was a glare so hard that it could stab daggers at them. Raika noticed her hard glower and asked.Bookmark here

“Mizuri, what’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“Mmh… those two… are powerful!”Bookmark here

“Powerful…?” Raika tilted her head. “What do you mean? Sure, their levels are high…”Bookmark here

“Not just in levels… in femininity!”Bookmark here

“Mmh…? Oh!”Bookmark here

Raika didn’t know what she was talking about at first, so she looked at the direction where Mizuri was staring at. It was there that her eyes flared as if she realized her true enemy was right in front of her.Bookmark here

In fact, two great enemies.Bookmark here

Hinota’s breasts floated on the water, the great form and size was able to shock Raika out of her mind. Saka’s own breasts had a nice look, more compact than anything else. Raika felt a shock that was more powerful than her own electric skills. Then, she looked back down to her own.Bookmark here

Nothing but slight bumps that couldn’t even float even if they tried.Bookmark here

“Ghh!” Raika groaned, biting her lip. “So cruel!”Bookmark here

“I know!” Mizuri cried out, tears about to well up. Then, she looked back at her own chest.Bookmark here

She could see straight down to her legs through the water. Barely anything at all.Bookmark here

“Curse the boob gods! How could they forsake me!?”Bookmark here

“Mizuri, don’t worry! Mine don’t have any good shape at all!”Bookmark here

“At least you got some!”Bookmark here

The two gave their passionate cries to the ceiling as the water sloshed about from their anguish. The two girls who were being stared and admired at watched the two in silence.Bookmark here

“What are you two doing?” Hinota said, her usual glaring eyes half-open at the scene.Bookmark here

“Fools, these two…” Saka, however, blushed as she tried to hide her breasts by using her arms.Bookmark here

“Damn it, Hino!” Mizuri pointed at Hinota with disdain. “I bet you ate some pretty rare ingredients from Peranim to get those so damn big!”Bookmark here

“Right, right!” Raika cheered. “It’s unfair!”Bookmark here

“I can’t do anything about them!” Hinota replied, her face blushing. “I was born this way!”Bookmark here

As if her body was ignited with flames of hatred, Mizuri groaned as Raika held her tight, patting her back to try to console her.Bookmark here

“What did I do…?” Hinota asked, letting out an exasperated sigh.Bookmark here

“Hahaha, if this ain’t a girls’ hangout, I don’t know what is!”Bookmark here

The girls all perked their ears when they heard the usual jolly and powerful voice. All of them turned around and, as if their female instincts kicked in, all stared in wonder at the being stepping in.Bookmark here

Hikari showed up near the edge, her towel by her arm as she showed up in all her glory. She wasn’t even hiding—she stood with her feet spread apart and her stance ever proud and showy. Her assets showed without shame nor embarrassment, bringing even the girls in awe.Bookmark here

Her toned yet supple body was enough to make them know what a real woman is.Bookmark here

“Mind if I join?” Hikari asked, getting the girls to simultaneously nod their heads.Bookmark here

Hikari stepped forward, dipping herself into the pool of hot water as she let out a relaxing sigh.Bookmark here

“Haah… now then, what’s all this fuss about?”Bookmark here

“Master!” The two girls, Raika and Mizuri, swam towards her, their heads craned as if looking up to their goddess. “Everyone is just too big! Even yours… how can we even compete as women?!”Bookmark here

Mizuri asked as the girls looked up at their master for help. Hikari showed a surprised look for a moment, but then she revealed her usual proud smile.Bookmark here

“There’s nothing to be ashamed about,” Hikari stated. “Having small breasts does not make or break a woman. It is their character that shows their true worth.”Bookmark here

“That’s something every big-boobed woman says to make us inferiors feel better!” Mizuri cruelly stated.Bookmark here

“That’s right!” Raika added. “In the end, it’s all about the boobs, isn’t it?!”Bookmark here

“Oh, you two do not realize what it truly means… here, look at this.”Bookmark here

Hikari closed her eyes as she turned around to find somehow her Magic Bag standing beside the edge. The girls didn’t even know that there was one there, but Hikari took it and opened up the screen.Bookmark here

From the blue screen that appeared, she put her hand through it and grabbed what looked like a photo from it. Looking at it herself first, Hikari smiled wider as she showed it to Raika and Mizuri.Bookmark here

“This was about 20 years ago, back before I had Kudo. I was about 15—same as your ages.”Bookmark here

Hikari said as the girls took the photo by taking one hand each and look at the photo with studious eyes. In the photo, there were a group of people all smiling and waving at the camera. There was one person who stood out the most from the group.Bookmark here

It was a blue-haired young girl with a broad smile and at the very center of the group. Her fist was raised high and her stance was proud. And her upper body figure—completely barren of any assets.Bookmark here

“N-No way!?” Mizuri shouted, her eyes widening to the limit.Bookmark here

“Y-Y-You were flat, master?!”Bookmark here

When Raika said that, even Hinota and Saka both showed their shocked expressions at the master, getting Hikari to chuckle to herself before she answered.Bookmark here

“Yes,” Hikari said. “I was quite flat. However, as the years went by and my body grew, eventually, I was able to grow into who I am today. All it took… was perseverance and courage.”Bookmark here

Hikari suddenly stood, the water splashed as it surprised Raika and Mizuri. She stood proud, her hands on her hips as she looked down at the young girls with a broad grin.Bookmark here

“It takes perseverance to know that you still have room to grow, and courage to believe that you will grow! That’s why, be proud that you’re still growing, and even if you don’t grow, as long as you respect yourself, you’ll be as beautiful as me!”Bookmark here

“M-Master!”Bookmark here

“We’ll follow you all the way, Master!”Bookmark here

The two girls made awed expressions at their leader, who was currently being smug as she chuckled to herself from her speech. While the girls were swooning at their master’s words, Hinota and Saka both looked at the scene, then at each other.Bookmark here

“What even is this…?” Saka asked.Bookmark here

“Don’t ask me,” Hinota responded, leaving out a sigh.Bookmark here

===Bookmark here

After the whole raising spirit commotion was over, the girls were finally silent and enjoyed their long bath together.Bookmark here

“Y’know,” Mizuri said. “I always thought that Kuu is too nice.”Bookmark here

Getting Kudo’s name out, the girls turned their heads to her. More particularly, Hinota and Saka.Bookmark here

“I get what you mean,” Raika admitted. “It’s not really surprising that he would do that. I still remember when he saved me and Kuki from those debt collectors. And then he even paid them off with his own money. He’s always super nice! But what made you ask that?”Bookmark here

“Don’t guys usually have a secret agenda for helping cute girls?”Bookmark here

Mizuri’s sudden question brought Raika to tilt her head. It made Hinota steel her gaze and Saka to crane her head further.Bookmark here

“Hehe, maybe Kuu got a little interested in Saka. Maybe he’s fallen for her, in fact.”Bookmark here

Mizuri hid a sneering smile, mostly at Hinota as Raika’s cheeks blushed.Bookmark here

“N-No way! For real?!”Bookmark here

Raika said as the girls who listened took an interest now. Saka, being the center, blushed immediately and threw herself underwater up until her eyes. Bubbles ensued from her mouth as she kept shaking her head within the water left and right.Bookmark here

“What do you think, Hinota?” Mizuri turned to her, a sneer across her face. “You got an opinion?”Bookmark here

“Whether or not he’s interested in her,” Hinota said, remaining composed. “It doesn’t change the fact that we did what we had to do.”Bookmark here

“Ooh, making a serious answer, huh?”Bookmark here

Mizuri responded, wanting to get her back from showing off her amazing breasts to the none-blessed. However, Hinota remained cool in contrast to what Mizuri thought she was gonna show.Bookmark here

Unfortunately for Hinota, Mizuri could tell from the way she was fidgeting her shoulders about in the water. She could practically hear her mind all the way from her side.Bookmark here

(It can’t be. It’s just not possible. There’s no way that Kudo would do that. Of course not. It’s inconceivable.)\Bookmark here

Hinota repeated those words over and over like a mantra to calm herself of the possibility of that happening.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, but it’s not like that.”Bookmark here

Hikari knew that Mizuri was teasing from the way she was snorting to herself from Hinota’s silent panic. But she stepped in to correct that. Raika, Mizuri, Hinota, and Saka turned their heads to the master who raised her hand out of the water, the droplets dripping from her well-cleaned skin.Bookmark here

“Kudo is… protecting her for his own sake as well.”Bookmark here

Hikari said with a mixed expression showing on her face. The girls instantly dropped their current thoughts to listen to what she had to say.Bookmark here

“Kudo has a dark history with a Dark Player. Everyone knew of this, right?” Hikari said, making everyone nod slowly except for Saka. “It’s only natural for Kudo to care for Saka who was being chased by one. He didn’t want to lose another person to those bastards, even if it was a stranger to him. He refused to give someone up to another Dark Player—that’s what I think, at least.”Bookmark here

Her words brought a sort of light to the girls, each one turning their heads down and looked at the water, their thoughts swimming.Bookmark here

“I see…” Mizuri said. “So, Kuu was thinking like that, huh…”Bookmark here

“I knew that Kudo was like that,” Raika said, proving her earlier statement right. “But… was he feeling this way this whole time?”Bookmark here

“I think anything that regards to Dark Players would make him remember that time. For a boy his age, it was a traumatic event.”Bookmark here

“I-I’m sure…” Raika replied to Hikari’s words, getting her to feel slightly bad for asking.Bookmark here

(What was I thinking…?) Hinota frowned to the reflection of herself in the water. (I was so stupid to think that Kudo was thinking like that. I should have realized this…)Bookmark here

As Hinota got deep into her thoughts, Saka remained silent as she raised herself from the water. As the water shifted about, she crossed and held her arms tight, smushing her big chest closer in an uncomfortable hug.Bookmark here

“Saka,” Hikari spoke, catching Saka’s attention. “You can trust Kudo, okay? He’s the sort of guy you can depend on when it counts. He won’t hurt you—I promise you on that.”Bookmark here

Hikari said in a relaxed and sincere tone. Her voice was soothing, and her eyes were glimmering from the topic of her son’s kindness. Saka could see it all and realize that she was right.Bookmark here

But Saka turned her head down, and held onto her bandaged arm tighter, as if something burned within that arm.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.