HP9 Chapter 39: Notice of Dismissal

“…That reminds me. You asked me about that incident earlier, didn’t you? What with all the people turning up unconscious?”

Khiel keeps a protective eye on the little girl as she leaves, even as he speaks to me.

“I have reason to suspect that the incident is linked to the Seven Angels of the Stars.”


I feel like I’ve been struck by lightning.

“No way… Are you telling me that the Seven Angels of the Stars are going around stealing souls?!”

“Keep in mind that this is pure conjecture on my part. There’s only one person I know who has a spell capable of doing that, and that’s Ceal. I can’t tell you why they would do something like this, though.”

Ceal… Is that another one of the Seven Angels?

“Khiel-san, you said that you were one of the Seven Angels of the Stars, didn’t you? Doesn’t that mean that you…”

“I have nothing to do with any of this. How unbecoming it is for a warrior, stealing away the souls of the innocent.”

“…I see.”

I feel relieved. If it just turned out that Khiel really is involved with this Lost Souls business, then I’d actually have a ‘reason’ for fighting him.

“It’s just like I told you earlier: I came to this town looking for whoever’s behind this case. If the Seven Angels really are behind this, then I might have to take their lives. Are you sure you’re fine with that?”

“…I’m sure that they’ve prepared themselves for that eventuality.”


After a brief spell of silence, Khiel swirls around to face me.

“We shall meet again, Yuuto. Although, I can’t say for certain whether we will be friends or enemies when we do.”

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“…Of course.”

The man from before, who I can still only assume is the boss, comes over to us with a wide grin and gives Khiel’s shoulder a hearty slap. He offers a brief, low chuckle in return.

“No need to recount it all. I only did what I had to, as the star that gives hope to all children everywhere– ”

“You, you’re fired.”


The man’s focus isn’t on Khiel himself, who stands there with a blank look on his face, and he instead points right below us. Lying there are the shredded remnants of what once was a bunny costume, now scattered all around us.

“Here you go, this is your final payment. No worries; I already subtracted what you owe us for the costume.”


Wordlessly, Khiel accepts the envelope being held out towards him. There’s not much I can do in the face of this spectacle but press my palms against each other in prayer.

When I finally leave the park, I find Rina waiting for me. The way she looks reminds of a childhood friend waiting for the protagonist at the school gate right after the final bell.

“Sorry, Rina. Really kept you waiting, didn’t I?”

“N-Not at all! I really don’t mind; I don’t!”

I distinctly remember telling her to spend the time in any way she wanted. She’s just so adorable, isn’t she?

“Did someone try to hit on you or something?”

“W-What, on me?! Trust me; there’s definitely no one out there who’d try and do that to me, of all people!”

Rina waves both her hands in a sort of frenzied protest. She doesn’t even realize how cute she is, it seems. But then again, there’s nothing wrong with a good old show of humility.

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“A few men that passed by asked me if I had a boyfriend, and some even asked me if I’d like to join them for tea, but… no one tried to hit on me.”

That’s exactly what hitting on someone is, for crying out loud!

“A-Are you okay?! They didn’t do anything weird to you, did they?!”

“…? No, not at all. I just tried to refuse their offers as politely as I could, and they all left…”

I can feel myself calming down again. The way she said ‘their’ kind of implies that it wasn’t just one or two people who tried that on her, doesn’t it? I should’ve known that leaving Rina by herself would be a stupid move. Nothing happened to her this time around, and that’s all well and good, but you never know when some weirdo might decide to show his face. There’s also the whole issue with the Lost Souls Case to think about. I tell myself that I’ll never leave Rina on her own when we go outside ever again.

“What were you doing in the park, by the way? I’m sure I noticed the person inside that panda suit change. Did you…?”

“…Yeah. That was me.”

“I-I thought as much. But why did you go through all that?”

“Well, things just sort of turned out that way, you know? But let’s forget about that. We should get going.”

“O-Of course.”

Feeling just a smidgen of embarrassment, Rina and I leave the park behind us for good.

The sun’s gone down, and the day’s already turning into night. The two of us pick whatever lodge we find to be appropriate for our needs and rent ourselves a room. It’s a fairly modest inn, too. It looks like it’s been standing here for maybe twenty, thirty years now.

I have more money on me than I know what to do with, and I’m sure that we could have found ourselves the most expensive inn in town if we put our minds to it, but as far as we’re concerned, the High King’s castle already qualifies as a high-quality inn. Spending the night in a place a little more low-key like this isn’t bad, at least from time to time. Also, this goes without saying, but I make sure that Rina and I stay in different rooms.

“Are you sure about this? Renting a whole room for my own personal use, I mean…”

Rina’s almost sorrowful and outspoken doubts only surface once we’re on our way to our rooms.

“I’m telling you, it’s fine. You don’t need to worry about the money, either. After all, you wouldn’t want to share a room with a guy, would you?”

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“Oh, that’s far from the case! Actually, I’d rather…”


“…O-Oh, it’s nothing, really.”

Rina’s face turns towards the floor, red as a tomato.

Alright, I’ll be honest: I’d love it if Rina and I could share a room, okay? Come on; I’m a guy. I’d love to be in the kind of situation where we’d accidentally walk in on each other in the bath, or even accidentally see each other while we’re in the middle of changing our clothes. But right now, I have a duty to myself to seal all those emotions away, for the sake of my own would-be guilty conscience.

“I’m in room 702. Your room is 703, Rina.”

“Right. Well, then…”

“Oh, Rina. Wait a minute.”

I call out to her before she can enter room 703.

“Do you mind if you come over to my room first? There’s something I want to do.”

“S-Something you’d… like to do…?!”


“…O-Of course.”

We make our way into room 702, and Rina goes to sit down on the bed. For some reason I can’t for the life of me make out, there’s blood rushing to her cheeks. She seems oddly restless, too.

“W-Well, I… I need to prepare myself… This is also my first time, and I’m just worried that I won’t do so well…”

“It’s fine; there’s no need to be so jittery. Besides, this isn’t really your first time, right?”

“What?! N-No, this really is my first time, I swear! That’s why I’m so nervous…”

“…? Well, alright then. Let’s get started, shall we?”

“…! P-Please, treat me well…”

I stretch out a hand towards Rina, not making a sound. Her eyes are shut tight, almost as if she’s trying to summon her resolve.