Friday, February 9, 2024 @

Chapter 4 In the Forest (Part One)

Chapter 4 In The Forest (Part One)

 We managed to dash through the grassland and escape into the woods. The forest lacks sunlight reaching the ground, so there's little underbrush, making it easy to run. The goblins seemed to find me a tough opponent as there was no hiding grass for them. As expected, they didn't attack once we entered the forest.

 (However, there's a problem. I got separated from Alice and Tsubasa.)

 The only comfort is that the two of them are with the student council president, Kondo Shuichi. If Kondo Shuichi, who has a crush on Alice, is with her, he would protect her at all costs, and Tsubasa should be able to defend herself. The whole class was attacked by goblins, and everyone fled in different directions. Will everyone be able to survive and meet again in the future?

 (I think there were fewer casualties in the initial attack compared to before…)

 The equipment I have now is the backpack I got in the classroom, a spear I took from a goblin, and two stone axes.

 (Although uncertain, this is my current equipment.)

 I heard a loud noise from behind. When I turned around, Nemoto Reiko was lying down in a flashy manner. I stopped in my tracks.

 Next to Nemoto Reiko, Nomura Mika was on her knees. She was also shaking her shoulders heavily. And Kojima Harumi, who joined us halfway, said with rough breath.

 "S-so, have we, escaped yet?"

 I looked around. Morimura, who was with me, and Shimura, who joined me with Kojima Harumi, were also breathing heavily. We were already far away from the grasslands.

 "Yeah, I don't think the goblins will chase us this far. Let's take a short break."

 My own breathing was close to its limit. Even though I gained knowledge and skills through multiple loops, it didn't mean my physical strength had increased.

 Morimura lifted his head.

 "Hey, is it really a goblin?"

 I realized that I unconsciously used those words when Morimura pointed it out.

 "Yeah, I think it's close to the goblins we imagine."

 "So, does that mean this is another world?"

 "I'm not sure if that's the right term... but it's definitely not our world."

 "Ridiculous... another world?"

 Shimura said, as if spitting out the words.

 "It's not like those manga or anime. There's no way this is another world."

 But Morimura argued back.

 "Then what are those guys who just attacked us? Those strange green creatures?"

 "They're probably disguised or something. Maybe a group of criminals wearing masks or something. Otherwise, they're some kind of monkeys."

 "That wasn't a fake mask. And there are no monkeys like that on Earth."

 Shimura, the extroverted one, and Morimura, the introverted otaku, were clashing with their opinions. I said to the two of them.

 "Whether it's goblins from another world or a group of criminals wearing masks, the fact remains that we have been targeted. And the fact that Kawaharasaki-sensei and some of our classmates have been killed..."

 "Aichan-sensei... did she really die?"

 Shimura said in a daze. I nodded silently. Shimura had the most affection for Kawaharasaki-sensei in our class. Even today, during the morning assembly, he was the first one to crack a joke with the teacher. His disappointment was evident to everyone.

 Kojima Harumi approached Shimura, as if to comfort him. She was also a member of the popular group. Autumn leaves were stuck in her hair, which she had dyed blonde.

 "Shimura, cheer up..."

 And then she looked at me. Her eyes seemed to accuse me.

 "Why did those goblins attack us?"

 I shook my head from side to side.

 "Well, I don't know. Are goblins simply hostile towards humans? Is it because we suddenly appeared in their territory? Or..."

 "Or what?"

 "Were they planning to eat us?"

 Not only Kojima Harumi, but Nemoto Reiko and Nomura Mika also trembled.

 "That's not a joke."

 Saying that, Shimura stood up.

 "If that's the case, we can't just leave Aichan-sensei there! Hey, everyone, let's go back!"

 However, no one responded to Shimura's words. Even Kojima Harumi, who is usually in the same group, remained silent. I spoke to Shimura like this.

 "Shimura, it's useless to go back there now. You'll just end up getting killed."

 "What do you mean it's useless? Are you saying that it's useless to retrieve the bodies of our teacher and classmates?"

 "You saw those goblins, right? If we enter the grasslands, they'll surely come to attack again."

 "So, we should go carefully without making any noise. This time, we're going knowing that we have enemies. It won't be as easy to be taken down."

 (Is this guy really that serious about Kawaharasaki-sensei?)

 I looked at Shimura in surprise internally. Shimura had completely lost his composure. But it was clear that the other four had no intention of returning to the grasslands. I could feel my heart growing colder too. In the repeated loops, I had learned the cruelty of abandoning my companions at a certain point. No, it's more accurate to say that I inevitably had to learn it.

 "Shimura, if you're going to try to rescue Kawaharasaki-sensei, I won't stop you. But I don't think the others have any intention of going back. I don't either. If you go, Shimura, you'll go alone. Into a horde of goblins armed with weapons, alone."

 When I said that, Shimura opened his eyes wide. His mouth was about to say something. But no words came out of Shimura's mouth. Eventually, he lowered his shoulders and looked down. His shoulders were trembling. Kojima Harumi gently approached Shimura.

 "Shimura, don't give up on Aichan-sensei. Even if you go back now, it won't bring her back to life... And for that, Aichan-sensei wouldn't be happy if you put yourself in danger."

 Shimura listened silently to Kojima Harumi's words. Eventually, I could hear sobbing. But I heartlessly continued.

 "I'm sorry to interrupt your sentimentality, but if you've caught your breath, I want to move forward. I want to find a place where we can set up camp as soon as possible. We have to search for the others too. I think there are still many dangers ahead."

 When I said that, I signaled to Morimura with my eyes, saying "Let's go."

 Morimura and I started walking, and Nemoto Reiko and Nomura Mika followed suit. Shimura and Kojima Harumi followed behind.

 (Now that I think about it, those two were always close. Since it doesn't seem like they're dating, is it just Kojima having one-sided feelings for Shimura?)

 I suddenly had that thought.

 The forest gradually sloped upwards. The sun was high. It was probably around noon. Everyone's fatigue had increased considerably. Even though we took breaks every hour for about five minutes, it was still tough for us, who lived in civilized Japan, to suddenly walk through the wilderness.

 We escaped into the forest to the left of the grassland. If we could cross the small hill that followed this forest, we should be able to reach a road that connects to the town.

 (If only we could find a place with water)

 In my backpack, I had a few bottles of water that I bought at the store before the transfer. But I didn't want to use them up here so soon.

 As I think about it, suddenly, it opened up in front of me. There, the trees were all knocked down. It looked as if there had been a storm or something.

 (We ended up in a place I didn't like.)

 That's what I thought deep down.

 "We came out into an open area."

 Morimura, who was right next to me, spoke to me like that.


 "What are you thinking?"

 I was unsure of how to explain.

 (In a forest like this, suddenly coming out into an open area is dangerous.)

 That's what I really wanted to say. But at this point, should I talk about the fact that I've been transported to this world multiple times? In that case, I would have to explain that with each transport, almost all of my classmates have been wiped out. In that case, what kind of panic would they cause...

 (I can't just casually talk about the transports.)

 "No, I was just thinking if there might be monsters attacking from the sky in the open area."

 Saying that, I stepped into the open fallen tree area.

 "Let's go, no, we have no choice but to go."

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