The World Is Overflowing with Monster, I’m Taking a Liking to This Life - c153 An Unexpected Reunion
—Why was this woman here?
That was the first thought to cross Nishino’s mind.
He did not hide his wariness.
He recalled getting brainwashed just a few days prior by this woman.
He had his thought process altered, making him devoted to this woman unconditionally.
(…The act of simply remembering it nauseates me.)
Although he had been released from brainwashing and had acquired “Enchantment Resistance”, he was not ready to drop his guard around her.
“Why are you here?”
Nishino managed to squeeze out his question, but Touka simply put her hand on her mouth and giggled.
Her gesture unsettled Nishino even more.
“Why are you being so wary? Aren’t we comrades here?”
She had the audacity to say that?
Watching Nishino grind his teeth, Touka’s smile widened.
It was as if she was enjoying Nishino’s every reaction.
“I do apologize for entering the home without permission, but I knew you were avoiding me. Unless I did this, we wouldn’t be able to hold a proper conversation.”
It was true that he was avoiding her.
Even after their battle with Alpha, Nishino had made sure to stay as far away from Touka as possible.
He told his team members to do so as well.
This was to prevent his friends from being brainwashed and used as a pawn by this woman.
Taking into account what had occurred at the School, this much was natural.
“Oh, don’t worry. I haven’t touched or looked at the contents of the furniture or the refrigerator.”
Being told so didn’t relieve Nishino one bit.
In the first place, there was no reason for him to trust her words.
Since she had brainwashed him and tried to exploit him, Nishino suspected her no matter what she said.
He had decided to simply “keep a distance” because Fujita, her father, and Mayor Uesugi were with them.
With people close to her around, he believed that she would refrain from doing anything rash.
(Anyway, without knowing what she’s up to, it’s not a good idea for me to raise a fuss…)
Having no other option, Nishino sat down on a chair.
Fortunately, they were the only ones present.
There was no sign of the silly twins or any of Touka’s possible underlings.
There was a chance that they were hiding, but there was nothing he could do about that.
(I have “Enchantment Resistance” with me…it won’t be like before.)
However, just to be sure, he secretly operated his fingers and sent a “Mail” to his friends.
Now, even if something happened—
“-You sent a ‘Mail’ to your companions, didn’t you?”
He was read.
Nishino’s agitation was apparent on his face.
Touka giggled as if she found the situation funny.
“Fufu, you’re like an open book, Nishino-kun.”
“Thanks to you…”
He really didn’t like this woman.
She was hard to deal with, and she always took away the initiative from him.
“Oh, but I’m so sad. To think Nishino-kun trusts me this little. I’m about to cry… Hic.”
Touka pretended to wipe her eyes.
Nishino felt the impulse to beat this woman.
It was the last ounce of reason he had within him that held him back from actually doing so.
Nishino sighed deeply.
“Can you tell me why you’re here? I thought we discussed enough during the meeting?”
Various things had to be addressed for the future of the City Hall.
For example, they had to increase the number of skill holders, convince the residents, procure food, and investigate the surrounding regions.
There were many others, but they were all covered during the meeting.
“Yes, you’re right.”
And that’s why she must have come for another reason.
A reason that was unrelated to the matters of the City Hall.
Touka retrieved something from her pocket.
It was a pamphlet.
Nishino recognized what it was.
It was the “Public Notice Pamphlet of Hirasoto”, an informative pamphlet issued by the City Hall.
“I heard Nishino-kun asking the staff for this…”
So she brought it here for him?
No, this woman was not the type of person to care for others.
“Why did Nishino-kun want to read this?”
Nishino was subjected to Touka’s gaze.
Nishino opened his mouth after a second of contemplation.
“… It’s nothing big. Something just caught my attention.”
“Hmmm… what exactly?”
“Really, it’s nothing important. It’s just that—”
Touka took the word right out of Nishino’s mouth.
Nishino reacted strongly to her statement.
It was obvious enough for Touka’s expression to change.
“Yes… as I thought, Nishino-kun was wondering about the same thing.”
With a smile, she traced the pages with her fingertip while flipping through them, eventually tapping on something.
It was a page which recorded information about births and deaths during a specific month.
At the bottom of the page, there was a pie chart displaying the town’s total population and the gender ratio.
Hirasoto — Population: 84,000.
It was nothing out of the ordinary for a town in a rural area.
Information about the town’s population was something that could be searched up on the net, but in this new world, such a convenient technology no longer existed.
That was why Nishino wanted to check the exact figure through the pamphlet distributed by the City Hall.
It was to confirm the number of people in this town.
(It’s been on my mind ever since the world turned crazy…)
The world was flooded with monsters, and it became possible to use a game-like system to acquire skills and occupations.
To survive, they had been struggling through life-and-death experiences, so Nishino had been neglecting the question for a while.
However, they finally had some “breathing space”.
Thanks to the “Safety Zone”, he was able to sleep and eat comfortably now, so a certain “doubt” rekindled within him.
He started to seriously think about the matter.
—- There were too little people.
He had seen countless bodies on his journey.
There were those that died from monsters. There were those that refused to leave their homes to confront the reality. There were those that moved independently. There were those that hid in shelters.
Even if he included all of these factors, it was clear to him that very little people were present in this world.
Yet no one else seemed to question it.
Neither Shibata, Ichinose, Fujita, Shimizu, Nijou, nor even Kazuto raised any doubts.
(If this feeling of discomfort isn’t just my hallucination… where did the others disappear to?)
No, was this just his misunderstanding?
Why was he the only one to question this?
Why was this woman also questioning this?
His brain was having so many thoughts at once that his reaction was delayed.
—He did not notice Touka nearing him.
“You are wonderful, Nishino-kun.”
She put her hand on his chin and closed in enough for him to feel her breath.
“I thought I was the only to question it. I thought I was the only one to feel this discomfort…But I was wrong. You also feel the same discomfort as I. You also came to the same conjecture as I. Oh, how wonderful this is.”
The beauty given off by Touka at a close distance was dizzying to say the least.
Not only was her face close to him, her body was also pressed tightly against Nishino.
She was as voluptuous as Rikka.
The sensation of a “woman’s flesh” was too pleasant and simulating for him that Nishino felt like his reason was melting away.
“I ‘want’ you.”
Nishino instinctively pushed Touka away, slamming her against the wall of the kitchen.
“That hurts, Nishino-kun.”
“Don’t mess with me! You tried to brainwash me again!”
The moment Touka uttered the word “want”, an announcement was made in Nishino’s head.
It told him that his “Enchantment Resistance” had leveled up.
This woman had unscrupulously tried to activate the abominable skill again.
Her true nature had not changed. Nishino was convinced of this.
He took out a knife that he kept in his pocket.
It wasn’t effective against monsters, but it was enough to deal fatal damage to humans.
“…Are you planning on killing me?”
“You were the one to force me.”
“It’s a misunderstanding. I didn’t mean to do that.”
Who was she to say that?
“It’s true. I knew that Nishino-kun has ‘Enchantment Resistance’.”
“And its level just went up. I’m glad.”
What was this woman saying?
“‘Command’, ‘Negotiation’, ‘Combat Support’, ‘Survival Instinct’, ‘Crisis Detection’, ‘Luck’, ‘Enchantment Resistance’, ‘Poison Resistance’, and — ‘Kindred Killer’.”
It was with this that Nishino was completely stunned.
Touka had just listed the skills he had.
How did she know?
Did someone leak his information/
Even if someone did, there was no way she would know about the last one.
It was the proof of Rikka and his sin.
“It can’t be that…!”
The worst possibility flew pass his mind.
Touka grinned as if to congratulate him for being correct.
“That’s right, Nishino-kun. I am in possession of the ‘Appraisal’ skill.”
-At the same time-
“You have gained experience.”
“Aisaka Rikka’s level has increased from 21 to 22.”
Rikka did a guts-pose hearing the announcement in her head.
“Yay! I leveled-up again!”
“Haa… Again? You’re too fast…”
Shibata muttered in dismay as countless magic stones rolled around near Rikka’s feet.
Rikka’s skirt fluttered as she turned around.
“Course I am! I have to catch up to Natsun by reaching LV30.”
“Ah, for the ‘Evolution’ or something…?”
People can “Evolve” upon becoming LV30.
This information was known to Shibata and the others.
He was still LV13, though. He still had a long way to go.
(But well… yes…)
Influenced by Rikka’s enthusiasm, Shibata also pumped himself up.
He also had an “opponent” he didn’t want to lose to.
“Shall we carry on with the hunt, then?”
“W-wait, we’re still continuing…?”
Old man Goshogawara was panting, unable to keep up with the energetic younglings.
He had participated in the discussion at the City Hall with Nishino, but he joined the exploration with Rikka and the others after it was over.
There was Rikka who could slash and Goshogawara Hachiro who could swing his logs.
Then, there was Shibata with his medical skills and the students with their detection and stealth skills.
Overall, the party was becoming more balanced.
“—! I detect monsters! Everyone, be careful.”
A member of the team with “Detection” abilities sensed some signs of monsters.
In a heartbeat, everyone turned serious and got ready for a battle.
“Around the corner… There are many of them.”
“Nanamin, do you know what kind of monsters they are?”
The girl named Nanamin replied while holding her head.
“Um, they’re Goblins… I think? And… a Zombie is mixed in with them. They might be fighting each other.”
“Some Goblins and a Zombie…”
“They won’t pose a threat to us. Let’s go.”
“Never be overconfident. Well, we can just flee if they end up being too much to handle.”
They unanimously agreed on fighting the monsters.
Readying their weapons, they started to run.
Spearheading the team, Rikka turned at the corner and was about to stab a monster—
— Or at least that was what she intended to do.
Rikka was the first the stop, followed by Shibata and the other students.
Finally, Goshogawara came to a halt, wondering why everyone else had stopped.
“What’s wrong, everyone?”
He was confused and called out to them, but nobody replied.
The students were all staring agape at the scene in front of them.
Goshogawara was also looking at the scene.
A Zombie and some Goblins were fighting.
That was all there was to it.
Then why did they stop moving?
Why did they have such surprised expressions?
“You’ve got to be kidding…”
Students were uttering these words.
Their gazes landed uniformly on the “Zombie” that was battling the goblins.
Rikka dropped her hatchets.
The Goblins and the Zombie turned at the sound of her hatchets dropping to the ground.
They had also noticed them.
The Goblins growled threateningly at the group.
On the other hand, the Zombie had an “astonished” look on its face.
Its expression resembled a human’s —
Its gestures also reminded them of a human’s —
Above all else, its appearance was like that of a certain person they were searching for —
Rikka squeezed out the name of the Zombie.