9. The NPC Group
The NPC Group
No way, that’s impossible.
「Yes, we were getting angry, yet you didn’t mind at all… I think that’s amazing.」
Hiyama-san has the same opinion as well.
「Is that so?」
「Yes, before all this happened, my impression of you was just that of an ordinary boy. Maybe I should say you’re very calm? Look, the combat group is like that and, except for those girls who are curry favors, aren’t we just complaining?」
「… That’s true. Those people getting sticky over there are disgusting… Right?」
「… They’re just cold.」
If I were in the same situation as everyone, I don’t think I’d be as calm as I am now. After all, I’m the only person who can return to Japan…
Whenever I think about that, I can ignore any verbal abuse. I don’t think I would make a fuss out of it either.
This and everything about this survival situation are terrible… No, those players like Taniizumi don’t make things any better. It would be nice if some members of the base group are taken into a party so they can learn self-defense, but that isn’t happening. Letting them fight weak monsters in their place would be efficient though.
Is maintain dominance all they can think of? It’s like back when I was a grade school student. Those with good reflexes grouped together during baseball and soccer lessons just so they win.
Even though the teacher allowed us students our own independence, the guy who became our representative totally divided us by ability. Fortunately, at those times, Shigenobu protested and joined those without athletic ability.
However, whenever Shigenobu’s teams won, the stronger teams would always make excuses. There was a foul. This was a goal. That guy cheated. Those kinds of complaints.
Me? Shigenobu invited me and I did my best on the weak teams. It’s more fun to be with him after all.
「Anyway, thanks. By the way, Himeno-san… Are you participating in that plan?」
I know Shigenobu and Hiyama-san are taking leadership, but I haven’t ask Himeno-san if she’s participating.
「Hm… I’m not sure, but I’m the base group’s healer. I can’t not go, right?」
That’s true… There’s no denying Himeno-san has a convenient healing ability. Even though she’s part of the base group, she was also invited to join the combat group. By ignoring its sole fault which is the time it takes for her to heal someone, it can be used the same way as an ordinary healing ability. Furthermore, it doesn’t just provide basic healing, but it also restores mana. Compared to an ability user who can just heal injuries, it’s better in that aspect.
Himeno herself, however, is the one stubbornly declining Taniizumi’s invitation. Naturally, they have a reason for not taking her in forcibly. Even though she seems to be rejecting them, the guy with barrier ability protecting the base needs a large amount of mana to maintain the barrier formation. While we’ve confirmed that mana recovers by sleeping, the barrier can’t be maintained for 24 hours just by sleeping.
The basic heal Himeno-san is necessary to restore mana. For that reason, she can choose between the combat and base groups.
「Why is Himeno-san cooperating with the base group?」
「… At first, I only didn’t go with them because I was treated as a backup, but later on, maybe it’s the combat group’s attitude… I didn’t like it. I guess I didn’t want to be influenced by them, so I left. Sakaeda-kun and Hiyama-san feel the same, don’t they?」
Even though Himeno-san was one of the more popular members of our class, that status now belongs to another person. Taniizumi sometimes… invites Himeno-san for a night of pleasure, but she indirectly turns him down.
「With those attitudes, I won’t want to go with them no matter how much they ask.」
Hiyama-san is also the same… I guess.
Anyway, the authority to make a move on Himeno-san and Hiyama-san… Taniizumi doesn’t have it right now. This situation might be extreme, but we haven’t reach a point where he can force relationships. Moreover, there are quite a number of members in his faction whom have their eyes on Himeno-san and Hiyama-san. He can’t really force them even if he wanted.
Well, speaking of that, Ono is who he should worry about offending. His character is the worst, not even Shigenobu trusts him. Should his relation with the lustful Ono turn sour, further equipment upgrades will become completely impossible.
Therefore, in order to keep Himeno-san and Hiyama-san for himself, he needs a definite strength… That’s what I think. For those reasons, I don’t believe the combat group is as rock solid as it appears. If we could break them now, it might work out, somehow.
Falling in love with Himeno-san who treats anyone kindly… I’m not sure if that’s happening to me. Perhaps, being able to return to Japan creates a state of mind where I feel indebted to her and creates a break for my feelings.
「I guess I should you my thanks.」
「That’s… Even if everyone is sharing their belongings, that’s bad!」
The rule is that the items inside everyone’s bags from the start are their personal belongings. In short, things that brought from Japan are personal property. We thought that gathering them together would work, but there are too many who want to monopolize them so it became like this.
Anyway, I still have a bentou in my bag.
Taniizumi shouldn’t have become that trashy, right? No… He will probably say something like everything is shared property and confiscate whatever from whoever is hiding something. Even if there is nothing that can be considered food, there might still be something good.
A few students that are secretly in that situation. Himeno-san probably senses this is something similar and declined.
But it’s all right. Whether or not there’s something like that, I will secretly share the sweet I have been hiding to Himeno-san. Of course, Hiyama-san too. This time, it’s candy.
「There are still some remaining in my bag, but you can take it if you like. It’s a bit stale though.」
Of course, they aren’t stale. I bought these yesterday.
「That’s… Hanebashi-kun, even if I didn’t get much to eat, I still feel bad taking your candies. Instead, Hanebashi-kun, you should…」
「That’s right… These past few days, Hanebashi-kun, haven’t you not eaten at all?」
At that moment, I smile and show that I’m not suffering.
「It’s okay, more importantly, this is all I can do to pay you back for all the times you’ve healed me, Himeno-san. Let me repay your kindness with this. You’re also doing your best for everyone, so it will be not good if you collapse here.」
I make a strained laugh, I think. Himeno-san, however, probably guesses my intentions and smiles at me.
「I understand. Then, I’ll hold on to this, okay? Next time… I will receive it if I have something that I can use as a payment.」
「Then, I’m fine with that.」
She accepted it, but it doesn’t look like she’s going to eat it… I’m a bit disappointed.
「I… can’t accept this, after all.」
Saying that, Hiyama-san returns it to me.
「Then, how aboutー」
「If you eat this candy in front of me, it’ll make me happy?」
Hiyama-san, together with Himeno-san, glares at me.
Uh… It can’t be helped.
I put candy in my mouth and started rolling it around. The sweet taste spreads inside my mouth.
「Great, thanks, Hanebashi-kun.」
Hiyama-san looks at me and smiles. Other than that though, I don’t really think it’s all that good.
For now, something… I’ll come up with a way to help everyone. It’s just, brining materials from Japan is too suspicious. Hiyama-san will also worry about my body if I share candies without compensation… It’s a difficult problem.
With those feelings in mind, the sun once more sets. Another world’s atmosphere, another world’s daily life… The members of the base group are being suffocated. In unexpected survival situation like this where everyone is being restrained, there would be nothing strange if all the dissatisfaction erupted in the end.
Even if the combat group directly challenged from the front, no one will rise as support.
This… isn’t because of Taniizumi’s brainwashing, but because the combat group respects the base group… they’re well aware the they are dealing with fellow human beings. Therefore, they realize that if they use violence, it will lead to severe retaliation.1
In a normal situation, everyone would be equal. The combat group’s differing opinions are the biggest cause to our problems. Essentially, the base group should exist as the combat group’s lifeline.
The so-called base in RPG… It’s easy to imagine how difficult it would be to play if you can’t use the Shigenobu who is in charge of smithing. Hence… The combat group will also be troubled. There might be also another person to replace him if it was a game, but this place is the reality of another world.
They still don’t know what will happen if they die, and it’s not a question that they can experiment with. That situation prevents them from completing a speed run.
Even though Taniizumi and the combat group should respect the base group for these reasons, this is the situation. Useful members of the base group are treated favorably while those who are useless are treated coldly. In the end, it results in NPC treatment.
… As expected, it’s all because of Ono who has the copy ability.
If the worst comes to it, I would prefer those who aren’t needed because he can utilize their abilities not be killed. Still, even though I say that, it doesn’t mean Ono is to blame.
There should be equality, but the situation doesn’t allow that. As such, we should consider our own personal safety within the base group and provide services to the combat group.
It’s ridiculous, but Taniizumi’s charisma is very effective. Regardless, the girls of the base group are still desired. This is the worst of the worst, but if they present their bodies, he will take them happily. He’s a man whose wretchedness knows no bounds.
I, being able to return to Japan, am a special case. However, in a situation where only the minimal food is given and no one can eat to their satisfaction, it’s quite bad. No one has collapsed yet, but some are complaining of poor health due to stress. Thanks to Himeno-san, physical problems are resolved. Metal problems are another issue.
At any rate, these are the problems having over the group. Somehow, something needs to be done.
Had this place not been a forest, but a country or a town… even just a place with people other than use would have been fine. Had we been sent to a place like that, then the position of the base group would have never fallen this low.
My position towards the circumstances about surviving is divided.
… I’ll think
about it after I return to Japan. I’m going to run out of sweets soon. Now’s a
good time to go buy more. I won’t be able to think calmly if I don’t.