Monday, February 12, 2024 @

Chapter 12 The situation is very serious now

Chapter 12 Split Away (Part Three)

 Eventually, we arrived at a road that goes north and south.

 "So, which way do we go?"

 Kiridani Jun asked, scanning the road from left to right.

 I looked at the tire tracks on the ground and replied, "Yes, that's right." I pointed towards the south, to the right.

 "What makes you think that?" Kiridani asked.

 "It's the marks left by the tires. It seems like horses are pulling carts on this road. Based on the horse footprints, it looks like there are many carts going from right to left. That suggests there's a big town on the right side of this road."

 "How far away is the town?"

 "I'm not sure about the exact distance. But there are tracks from some carriages, so I don't think it's too far. I believe we can reach it before sunset."

 I've never been to this area before, but I think my assumption is correct.

 "Are you really sure about that? It's not even guaranteed."

 Aoki Runa said, running her fingers through her blonde hair and giving me an disapproving look.

 "That's right. Still..."

 "So we have to walk all the way there? I can't walk anymore. My feet hurt, and my throat is so dry."

 "There should be springs along this highway for people and horses to rest. If we go there, we can drink water."

 "Is that knowledge you gained from manga and games?" asked the student council president, Kondo Shuichi.

 "Well, yeah."

 "I don't care about otaku knowledge! I'm saying I can't walk anymore!"

 Finally, Aoki Runa threw a tantrum. In her defense, Kiridani Jun proposed an alternative.

 "We've been walking non-stop since yesterday. Some of the girls are completely worn out. This is a highway, right? Then wouldn't it be better to wait for a carriage to pass by or something like that?"

 Nemoto Reiko and Nomura Mika agreed with this.

 "I'm tired too. I can't walk for another half day."

 "Me too. My blisters are killing me, they hurt so much..."

 I looked down at their feet. Most of the boys were wearing sneakers, while the girls had loafers on. That's why we had walked through the forest and meadows. It's natural for our feet to hurt. But staying here comes with risks.

 "Indeed, it would be better if a carriage could pass by. But what if there's no carriage? What if we can't even get a ride? In that case, we would have to spend the night here. The battlefield remains right next to us. Considering what happened last night, you can imagine what might happen, right?"

 After complaining, the three girls looked down. It's clear from their expressions that they are not convinced. At that moment, Kashima Shougou spoke up.

 "What about that elevated place over there? Isn't that a house we see? How about going in there and waiting?"

 Saying that, he pointed to the top of the hill on the north side. As he said, there seems to be a log cabin there. It doesn't look like there's anyone there. It's probably a hunting cabin used by hunters during emergencies.

 If that's the case, it might be able to defend against the monsters around here. But going to the town from here is definitely a more certain option.

 (I can't explain it here.)

 I decided to forcefully assert my opinion.

 "Even on the way to the town, there is a possibility of a carriage passing by. It's the same whether we wait here or not. So it's better to head to the town. In fact, the closer we are to the town, the higher the possibility of a carriage passing by."

 However, Aoki Runa, Nemoto Reiko, and Nomura Mika were all leaning towards waiting here. Aoki Runa said while looking sideways.

 "Then, Akito, you should go to the town. We'll wait here for the carriage."

 Nemoto Reiko and Nomura Mika agreed as well.

 "I agree too."

 "I'm waiting too."

 (Things have become troublesome...)

 That's what I thought. If Akamine Alice and Midoritani Tsubasa also say "we'll stay here"...

 "I agree to go to the town."

 It was Tsubasa who said that.

 "I'm definitely tired from walking since yesterday. I understand the feeling of wanting to wait for a carriage here. But I believe what Akito says. Since coming to this world yesterday, he hasn't said anything wrong. Isn't that right?"

 Alice chimed in as well.

 "I agree with Tsubasa. If there's a possibility of spending another night here, I think it's better to head for the town. Or rather, isn't it crucial to find the town first? We can't get water or food staying here anyway."

 But Aoki Runa countered.

 "If it's water or food, they might be available at that hut. And there's no guarantee that what Akito says is correct, right?"

 Tsubasa further countered.

 "However, haven't we all been helped by Akito countless times?"

 Runa retorted.

 "What's with all the fuss about Akito! Just because the introvert had a little moment in the spotlight, doesn't mean it will continue like that!"

 "Enough, stop!"

 Kondo Shuichi, the student council president, intervened.

 "In this situation, there's no choice but to split the team into two. The team that will go to the town and the team that will stay here. What do you think?"

 Kiridani Jun, the sunny guy, raised his hand.

 "I agree with that too. After all, we won't know which side is right until we see the results. So it's better to choose the side we like and not regret it. I'll stay here too."

 When he mentioned splitting the team into two, I thought Kiridani would say that.

 "I'll go to the town, just like Akito said."

 "I'll do the same."

 Tsubasa and Alice declared that they will go to the town. Upon hearing that, Kondo Shuichi also followed, saying, "I think it's better for me to go to the town." Morimura also belongs to the "go to the town" faction. Mizuno Kaede, who is close to Tsubasa and Alice, reluctantly followed them with an anxious expression.

 Now, Kashima Shougou, who had been silent until then, spoke up.

 "Three women and one man, it's dangerous if something happens and it's just Kiridani alone. I decided to stay here, considering the balance."

 Upon hearing that, Shimura, who seemed to be struggling until the end, said with determination.

 "Well, if that's the case, it's better to split it evenly. I'll also stay here."

 After saying that, he murmured, "To be honest, considering what happened since yesterday, I think I can believe what Akito said." Well, I wanted Shimura, who I've become familiar with, to come with me if possible.

 And so, we split into groups of six again. My group consists of myself, Morimura Manabu, Akamine Alice, Midoritani Tsubasa, Mizuno Kaede, and Kondo Shuichi, heading to the town. Kiridani Jun, Kashima Shougou, Shimura Yasuhiko, Aoki Runa, Nemoto Reiko, and Nomura Mika will wait here for the carriage. We start walking north and south along the highway.

 As we part ways, I said to Kashima Shougou and Shimura.

 "As I mentioned earlier, if the carriage doesn't pass by nightfall, go into the shed and fortify your defenses. Try not to make too much noise. Zombies are attracted to sound."

 Kashima Shougou nodded quietly.

 "Understood. But Akito and the others should be careful. You don't know how far it is to the town. There may be dangers along the way."

 On the other hand, Shimura had a smile on his face.

 "Leave it to me. I have weapons now, and Kashima, the captain of the Kendo Club, is with me. We can easily kick those zombies away."

 Saying that, he struck his battle axe.

 "Yeah, I'm counting on you two. We'll definitely meet again."

 I returned the smile.

 As the sun rose high above, the temperature also started to rise. In the open grassland with nothing to block the sunlight, the heat felt even more intense.

 "It's hot..."

 Kondo Shuichi said so.

 "More importantly, I'm thirsty. I wonder if there's any water around here?"

 Morimura said in a hoarse voice. Looking at it, the trio of Alice, Tsubasa, and Kaede also seemed to be struggling. I pointed to a mountain that could be seen a little ahead.

 "You can see a mountain over there. This road continues between that mountain and the other. I think we can get water if we go there."

 "How much further is it to there?" Kondo Shuichi asked.

 "The road is flat, so we should arrive in about an hour."

 "An hour..." Morimura murmured.

 But there was no one here to argue.

 They must know that complaining won't change anything.

 After that, everyone continued walking in silence.

 Trees began to stand out sporadically in the grassland, and eventually, the surroundings turned into a sparse forest.

 We had entered between the mountains.

 (I'm sure there was a spring around here...)

 As I strained my eyes, I noticed a steep cliff a little off the road.

 Only there, no trees were growing below.

 I deviated from the road and headed towards the cliff.

 As I remembered, water was seeping out from the cliff, creating a small spring.

 "Everyone, over here! There's a spring."

 Everyone rushes over and gathers around.

 "It's a pretty small spring, isn't it?"

 "Isn't it just a pool of water?"

 "But the water is clear, so it should be fine, right?"

 "I don't care about that. I'm going to drink it."

 "That's true. We can only get water here."

 Everyone is talking about various things.

 I explained.

 "Don't worry. This water seeps out from the cliff. It just collects down here, and we always have a fresh supply of clean water. It's groundwater, so there's no need to worry about strange diseases. Everyone, please bring out your water bottles."

 First, I received Alice and Tsubasa's water bottles.

 I filled them with water and handed them back.

 Then, one by one, I filled everyone's water bottles.

 Everyone must have been really thirsty.

 "It's delicious."

 "Tastes great."

 "I feel alive again!"

 "I've never thought water could taste this good."

 Tsubasa smiled at me.

 "You were right, Akito. There was a spring on the way to the town. It would've been nice if those guys had come too."

 "Come to think of it, Tsubasa was the one who agreed to go to the town first, wasn't she? That really helped. Thank you."

 I lightly nodded to her.

 "Hey, don't mention it. I've been helped by Akito so many times since yesterday. It's only natural for me to trust you."

 Her words made me smile unintentionally. Suddenly, when I looked over, Alice, who was on the other side of Tsubasa, was giving me a cold stare.

 "It seems like Tsubasa and Akito-kun have become quite close. When did you two become so friendly with each other?"

 Alice sounded dissatisfied for some reason. I felt flustered for some reason.

 "No, it's not about when or anything... It just happened as we were talking this morning..."

 "Akito said, 'Let's start calling each other by our first names'."

 Tsubasa casually said so.

 I widened my eyes and looked at her.

 No, I did say that, but...

 Isn't she skipping over quite a bit?

 Alice's cheeks puffed up.

 "Tsubasa always gets away with things. From now on, don't call me Akamine-san, call me by my first name!"


 "Otherwise, it'll seem like Tsubasa and Akito-kun are the only close ones. Include me too."

 (T-This kind of development has never happened before, right?)

 My heart starts pounding strangely.

 To be told such things by two beautiful girls.


 I glanced sideways at Kondo Shuichi.

 As expected, Kondo Shuichi had an unhappy expression.

 After all, his feelings for Alice are particularly strong.

 It can't be calm inside when the girl he likes is asking another guy to call her by her first name.

 As for me, I don't want unnecessary trouble in a place like this.

 "I understand. From now on, I will address girls by their first names. Since everyone calls me by my first name, it should be fine."

 I deliberately said it in a way that sounded like Kondo Shuichi.

 It was to let him know that I'm not treating Alice specially.

 In reality, the three of them, Morimura Alice and Tsubasa, are special and must always be together.

 While we were talking, we continued to drink 500cc of water and even got refills.

 Since it's a small spring, it looks like it will be reduced to about half just with us.

 Although in about an hour, it will be filled with new water.

 With our throats thoroughly quenched, we filled a bottle with water again and left the spring.

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