Nishikuze screamed and fell down on the sofa.
I didn't know why I had done this.
It was a sloppy plan to begin with.
It is very possible that Nishikuze would have failed even if I had done nothing. Still, there was no point in making him fail.
After all, I would have lost the pawns that I had made. And it is not that I felt sympathy for this woman whom I had no relation to, or that I wanted to help her out of a sense of justice.
Or is it possible that I wanted this woman?
It's a dumb thing to realize what's in my heart after the fact, but it makes sense as a motive.
If I only look at her appearance, she is certainly an interesting subject.
It would be understandable if the fear that I might have forgotten my past relationship with her, combined with my feeling that it would be a shame to give her to Nishikuze, made me act in such a way that I might unintentionally interfere.
However, in that case, I should just take it away from Nishikuze by force, just as I did with Sayaka. There was no need for me to interfere secretly and stealthily.
While I was thinking about such things without much thought, Yukari had escaped from Nishikuze's restraints and was running toward the outside of the room.
However, her steps were unsteady.
The reason why she managed to escape despite such a gait is probably because Higashikawa and Miki were distracted by Nishikuze's screams and could not move quickly enough.
No, Higashikawa seemed to be looking around as if he was looking for something he could not see.
I don't know how it works, but whatever I hold in my hand after I put on the mirage coat does not become invisible.
Though, Higashikawa may have witnessed the entire sequence of my movements until I took out the Nine-Tails Pain from the interdimensional storage room and put it away again.
However, Higashikawa's hesitation was only for a moment.
I guess he may have been aware of my presence, but from his point of view, now was not the time to be concerned about such things.
"What are you doing, Eishin? If you let her go now, we'll be in trouble!"
"Ugh... Ouchh! What's with the ring? Did I say something bad?"
"We'll talk about it later! We've got to get this Yukari girl now or we're in trouble. Damn it! I've been telling you for a long time that you should consult with me before taking any action."
Nishikuze himself seemed to think that he had been punished by the ring.
In response, Higashikawa gave Nishikuze a warning.
Even though the area around the temple had already been cleared of people, there was no guarantee that she would not run into believers somewhere. No, they may be able to persuade the believers with their words, but the problem is if Higuchi Yukari escapes to the outside.
Higashikawa seemed to be worried about this point. After all, I could see a glimpse of impatience on his face.
"I'll go through the back door of the temple and go around to the parking lot. Eishin, go after her directly. She can't have gone far. By the looks of her, there's still a chance to catch up with her."
"I-I understand, Hirofumi (Higashikawa). Miki, you're going to help him."
After the three of them left in a hurry, I left the parlor too.
When I went out to the front, I found that it was a dimly painted dusk outside, and the whole area of the temple was silent because Nishikuze cleared the crowd.
Higashikawa, barefoot in one corridor, immediately turns to the right, while Nishikuze and Miki put on their shoes at the entrance on the left side and run after Yukari toward the front gate.
However, by this time, Yukari had already escaped from the main hall, and her figure, which had already reached the front gate, was faintly illuminated by the artificial lanterns.
"There she is, there she is!"
In the dim light, Nishikuze finally spots Yukari.
While Nishikuze and the others run after her toward the front gate, I jump over the parapet of the corridor and land quietly on the ground.
I exit the front gate and turn right onto the road.
I see with my own eyes that Yukari is probably heading for the parking lot, but I am not sure what to do.
Should I help Nishikuze and the others to catch Yukari?
If I help Nishikuze and the others, the worst thing can be prevented for Nishikuze and the others for the time being. As long as I really want Yukari, all I have to do is to threaten Nishikuze and his friends after they get her, and finally get her for myself.
However, something in my head rings an alarm bell. I wonder if this is really the right thing to do.
I was still wondering what I had done earlier.
Because ever since I came back to this world, I have been feeling as if I have been led by something deliberate.
The same is true for the fact that I bumped into Yukari here. It seems too much to be a coincidence. I don't think it is possible, but does it mean that I have forgotten the past memory of my acquaintance with Yukari?
If so, then maybe I should let Yukari go.
I came to this conclusion because of the incident with Sayaka. Still, I do not think that Yukari was my girlfriend. I mean, I have been a rather shy and serious person in the past, but I don't think that I have been that much in love with women in the past.
In the end, I was unable to come to a conclusion, and I followed Nishikuze's figure with my eyes, as he was chasing after Yukari desperately, shaking his huge body to catch her.
At first, the distance between them was more than 50 meters, but I could see the distance between them gradually narrowing.
I also decided to chase after Yukari together with Nishikuze and the others, keeping a little distance from them.
This place where Gospel of Love is located is halfway up a mountain.
It is hard to imagine that Yukari climbed up such a steep mountain path on foot as I did. I don't know what her means of transportation was, but it is reasonable to assume that she came here by car or by motorcycle. Higashikawa must have thought so, and that is why he went to the parking lot first.
If he could control the means of transportation first, the possibility of escaping would be much smaller.
In addition, Yukari is now in such a state that she cannot even walk properly due to the effect of the aphrodisiac. So, it would be quite difficult for her to escape without being caught by Nishikuze's group until the foot of the mountain. Considering such a situation, Higashikawa's action seems to be a very calm one.
After running along the unpaved mountain road, the entrance of a parking lot comes into view on the right-hand side.
However, Higashikawa, who had gone ahead of us, was already there waiting for us and was about to close the railed gate.
Yukari stopped at the spot and looked around.
The left side of the road from my point of view was a sheer cliff.
There was no guardrail on the edge of the road to prevent people from falling down, and the cliff seemed to be quite steep. If someone stepped off the cliff even a little, it would be a straight fall down to the road below. Even I would have a hard time going down the mountain from there.
Against such a cliff, Yukari seemed to be looking around the area as if she were wondering which way to run. However, while she was doing so, she was caught between Nishikuze and Higashikawa who were chasing after her from behind.
"Hahh, hahh... M-Miki! You, what does this mean!?"
"Yukari-san, I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to... But this is impossible."
"Ugh, hahh, hahh! .... Damn it, damn it! so why are you saying it's impossible? T-That's... ah, ah, aaaaahh!"
"Huff, I'm finally catching up. Girl, by the looks of it, it's working pretty well, isn't it? I think you should just give up."
"Wh-What the hell is this? What the hell did you give me to drink?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. But perhaps God punished you to teach you a lesson..."
"D-Damn it! What God! You've got to be kidding!!! Hahh, hahh..."
"Eishin, put that kind of thing behind you. Don't let her get away this time."
"Yeah, I know. Don't worry about it."
Saying this, Nishikuze slowly crept closer to Yukari.
Higashikawa is waiting for her on the road down to the foot of the mountain. Even if she could escape from Nishikuze and climb up to the top of the mountain, she would not be able to escape from the Higashikawa. Perhaps Yukari herself knew this, for her face showed clear signs of frustration.
"Damn, don't come!!!"
Just as Nishikuze was about to catch Yukari, her left foot suddenly jumped up high in the air.
From my point of view, it was a middle kick with a beautiful arc.
Nishikuze would not have expected such a kick at that moment. If Yukari was in good shape at that time, she could have restrained Nishikuze.
However, Nishikuze was only a little frightened and he did not seem to be damaged that much.
Well, the difference in weight between the two people was too much.
Even if she was in good shape, I am not sure how much damage she could have inflicted on Nishikuze, who is a big man.
Still, I was surprised that Yukari's left leg moved so beautifully. After all, I had always thought that her left leg was injured. So, I don't think she could have made that kick with her injured left leg. In that case, my feeling of discomfort that I had been feeling for a long time could have been just a misunderstanding.
Nishikuze approaches to catch Yukari, rubbing his right arm where he was kicked.
On the other hand, Yukari backed away from Nishikuze with her back against the cliff.
I wonder whose scream it was.
But, right in front of me, Yukari, who seems to have slipped, slides down the cliff, and in an instant, she is out of sight.
"Hey, hey! What are you doing, Eishin!!"
"N-No. I didn't..."
Higashikawa rushes to the scene, and Nishikuze stands there in a daze. Behind him, Miki is frozen with her hand over her mouth.
"Accident. It was an accident. Hirofumi and Miki, you saw it with your own eyes, didn't you? I didn't touch her at all. Right? Wasn't I? She just slipped on her own. I didn't do anything wrong."
"Damn! This isn't good..."
"Hirofumi, are you sure you didn't see what was going on? I didn't really push that woman down."
"No, that's not what I'm saying. At this height... I hope she got caught in a tree or something, otherwise..."
"I said, I didn't do anything—"
"Eishin, I'm not accusing you of anything. Our priority right now is to find her. I'll get the car from the parking lot."
I looked down the cliff, but Yukari was nowhere to be seen.
The cliff was as steep as I had expected, and as far as I could see, there was no sign of her being caught anywhere. Though the visibility of the slope was unexpectedly poor, and I could not see the road below in full view.
Did I let Yukari go to cause such a situation?
If I'm right, that's what I'm supposed to think.
I had to force myself to deny it. I wondered what in the world would cause Yukari to fall down the cliff.
As I was lost in such a thought, I heard a faint sound of engines in the distance.
But there was no answer to my question, and the time just kept passing by in vain.
"Get on, Eishin!"
"Miki, just go back."
"Huh? Can't you listen to me?"
"Forget about the girl, get in the car."
It seems that a long time had passed while I was thinking about various things in a daze. Before I knew it, Higashikawa was back in his car.
After Nishikuze was put in the passenger seat, Higashikawa left Miki behind, started the car quickly, and drove down the mountain road.
After I saw him off, I looked down the cliff once more, took out the Lady Bug from the interdimensional storage room, and boldly walked toward the edge of the cliff.
Even if I lose my balance and fall headlong, it will not be a problem for me.
After all, my body regenerates itself.
Well, I have confidence that I, with my superhuman reflexes, would be able to climb down such a cliff without losing my balance, which is why I'm doing this now.
Now, I use the Lady Bug in my right hand as if it were a nickel to kill the momentum of the crumbling foothold, and with my left hand, I grab a tree that grows along the way. From there, I find a possible foothold and slide down the cliff again, which is a difficult task even for me.
As I kept doing this, I lost track of how far I had gone down the cliff.
However, I knew that if a human being had fallen such a long distance, he or she would certainly not be able to get away with it.
Eventually, I ended up on the road running below the cliff, and what I saw was what I thought I saw.
It was the image of Yukari, her left leg was shredded and her arm was twisted in a strange direction, and she was clearly on the verge of death.
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