Author’s preface (paraphrased):
So it’s about last chapter where he apparently wasn’t very accurate with the location and things and has since them made the revisions. Though I personally think these things are pretty obvious now... I’ll slightly paraphrase what he says here:
1. Mei-chan and Kenzaki’s duel happens in a different place from the current fairy square and with only two of them there.
2. It’s not the place where they fought the Armor Bear.
3. Souma Sakura and Cla.s.s Rep were on standby at the square and were not at the duel location.
4. Kotarou, Natsukawa Minami and Takanashi Kotori were all also at the fairy square, fast asleep, and didn’t know about the duel.
And, with the usual Takanashi-san scream ringing in my ears, I jumped awake in a big hurry.
“UAAhh!? What, enemies, where!?”
I keep restlessly looking around, but there’s no monster in sight. It’s the same old fairy square, and the not so same old, new party members. I was napping on the side of the fountain opposite to our girl’s area, where the denizens are currently making a racket. They say even three makes a crowd, but the scream just now gave a more emergency-y feeling. The biggest noise came from Takanashi-san, but Cla.s.s Rep and Natsukawa-san also had similar reactions.
Yeah, something’s definitely up.
“Uhm, ’scuse me, something happen here? Everyone alri—”
I attempted to ask calmly, but those words froze solid in my mouth when I saw that.
“Ah, Kotarou-kun. I did it see, I had a duel with Kenzaki-san and won!”
Now she’ll listen to every word you say, she happily declares the girl’s slave status, but her words kept going into one ear and out the other.
Mei-chan sported a jolly smile as she nonchalantly pulled along Kenzaki Asuna like a bag of trash.
Grabbed by the nape, the girl’s limbs were powerlessly spread asunder. They didn’t even twitch, as if she was already a corpse. What’s worse, she looked so awful, you could call her a victim of gruesome ultra-violence.
Her face was beaten to a pulp. In more precise terms, completely f.u.c.ked. It was way pa.s.sed the level of being beaten black and blue, and had devolved into a swelling ma.s.s of red and gore. There was nothing left of her, Kenzaki Asuna’s beautiful, dignified visage.
“Ah, Asuna... no...”
“G.o.d, how horrible...”
I’m not the only one swallowing his breath seeing the drastic change in Kenzaki-san, Souma-san and Cla.s.s Rep were the same. Natsukawa-san and Takanashi-san couldn’t even voice out. They were just huddled together, shaking like a pair of small animals.
“What is it, something the matter? Ah, I bet you’re worried about Kenzaki-san? Ahaha, relax relax, she’s just a little fainted is all—”
With a cute Ei, Mei-chan lopped Kenzaki-san’s body as if she was throwing away an empty beverage can. It was as if she was handling not a human being, but an object.
The girl’s body rolled like a piece of bulky garbage, and stopped right around Souma-san’s feet.
“Here you go, Souma-san, you should really get to the healing her”
Souma-san was in a daze, just looking at Kenzaki-san and didn’t seem to show any signs of using her healing magic. Does she not understand the situation? Or is it that she can’t bear to believe this atrociously disfigured girl is actually her close friend?
Snap out of it woman. Kenzaki-san is in a dire condition. If we don’t do something soon, it won’t just be scars, she might end up with permanent brain damage too.
She probably had her face pummeled over and over. And not by just anyone, but by Mei-chan who wields a pair of ferocious Berserker fists. I bet I wouldn’t last even one of those punches.
I ran towards Kenzaki-san’s motionless body while taking out one of the palm-sized sacks of Ointment A, that I had prepared beforehand, from my pocket .
Upon closer inspection, Jesus, this is worse than I thought. I kind of want to look away. But it looks like she’s breathing, and I got a pulse from her wrist too. She looks plain dead from the outside, but like Mei-chan reported, she’s only unconscious.
But that clearly doesn’t mean we can relax. I shove my hand into the sack and, with a solid chunk of ointment on my fingers, fingers shaking from tension and unrest, I gently begin applying it on her face.
“Souma-san! Healing magic, quickly!”
“Just do it before too late! Do you want her face to have lifelong scars!?”
After she got back to her senses from my desperate yelling, Souma-san put together her hands as if praying, and began a magic incantation that I couldn’t quite hear.
“Please let this heal her— Healing Light!!”
A faint, gentle radiance envelops itself around Kenzaki-san’s head. And, as to be expected from a Saintess’ healing magic, the severe swelling wells down right before our eyes, and for now, her face regains a state where you can at least look at it without wincing.
But it’s a fact that Healing Light will only temporarily reverse injuries, so I need to use my ointment too. Since, once the magic wears off, her scars will come right back up. Full recovery should take a bit of time, that is, if my Ointment A does its job properly, she should be good in less than a day.
Having finished all the treatment I could, I let out a dreary sigh, and very nervously, raise my head to look at Mei-chan.
Her face is what I could describe as bewildered. Honestly, I’d describe my face the same.
Having seen Kenzaki-san roughed up to such a degree didn’t make me go, “Ahaha, serves you, violent b.i.t.c.h!”, in fact, it didn’t make me happy at all. I can’t even pretend to smile having made to see something so horrible. I can tell that my face is currently very tense, my eyebrows furrowed in anger.
“The h.e.l.l did you do this for!”
This is the first thing I need to ask. If I heard her right, it was something about having a duel with Kenzaki-san and then something about winning said duel. I have no idea how, and in what possible way, this could come about.
“Eh, huh, whut... You’re not, happy?”
“’Course I’m not happy!!”
“Ah, Uhm, I... I’m sorry... I was thinking for your sake, and... Kotarou, kun, sorry...”
s.h.i.t, I got impatient and my words got rough.
I don’t see the gist of what she’s saying. Was my reaction that wierd for her? I admit that I had a bit of a grudge, but don’t tell me she thinks I’m the sort of sc.u.m who’d be happy to see a girl beaten to the point of breaking for such a small reason?
Ah, f.u.c.k it. There’s way too much going on, and I can’t think straight at all. Mei-chan looks like she’s gonna cry, no wait, there’s already tears forming at the edges of her round eyes. Everything’s a d.a.m.n mess.
Like seriously, I’m the one who wants to cry. Mei-chan one-sidedly beat up Kenzaki-san. This whole situation is going in a direction where the damage in our party-member relations will become completely irreparable.
“I get it, it’s fine, it’s alright Mei-chan. Don’t worry. You don’t have to force yourself to explain, so relax”
“B-but, but I... I just, wanted to... Uuu...”
Man, this reminds me of the time we first met in the dungeon, wait, f.u.c.k, I gotta stay focused on reality now. Anyway, I gotta know what happened, or else I wouldn’t know how to deal with it.
“Uhm, so Cla.s.s Rep, you know what happened?”
“... Right, I’ll explain Momokawa-kun”
“Wait! No, I mean, I really was, thinking for Kotarou-kun and—”
“It’s alright, I know that, so don’t worry okay, Mei-chan? And you did it for my sake right? So thanks”
It seemed as if her shaky hands were going to grab onto Cla.s.s Rep any moment now, so I quickly took Mei-chan’s hands myself. I hold onto those fair, slender hands that you wouldn’t imagine can punch a hole into an Armor Bear. They’re so warm. Despite the mess we’re in, I got a bit excited holding a girl’s hands. This is pathetic.
Ultimately, Mei-chan bursts into wretched sobbing, and while I console her saying that it’s okay, I turn my gaze towards Cla.s.s Rep, seeking her testimony of the truth.
“Sorry. If I only knew it’d turn out like this, I should’ve stopped them even by force... Listen Momokawa-kun, the one would brought up the duel was actually Asuna—”
From there on, Cla.s.s Rep told me everything.
How they were also discussing that they should decide on a leader. How Mei-chan then entered the fray and fervently declared that I be the one truly deserving the t.i.tle.
How, when they were thinking her opinion also had some value, Kenzaki-san strongly opposed. Saying she wouldn’t obey anyone weaker than herself and what not. What prideful warrior are you pretending to be here? I wanted to retort, but knowing Kenzaki Asuna, she’s the type of person who’d totally say that.
(TN: I wanted to paraphrase the retort into What are you, Vegeta? but I refrained lol. )
As for what happened after, I could call it one side bringing on the heat, and the other side bringing their own. Mei-chan was like, Then I’ll just win and make you listen, and accepted her challenge to settle things with a duel. Kenzaki-san then went out with her, full of confidence— which leads us to now.
“Jesus... you, can’t make this s.h.i.t up...”
I can only sigh. The story is just too nonsensical. It’s so d.a.m.n hot-blooded, you’d think they’re characters in a battle manga from one of those weekly shonen magazines. On top of that, you got girls doing this s.h.i.t. Literally makes no sense.
Like, fights between girls, aren’t those more like, putting thumbtacks in the other one’s shoes, or dousing them with a bucketfull of water when they enter the toilet, or like, spreading rumors that they do compensated dating（enjou kosai) . Things that are 10% physical and 90% psychological damage right? Then how come it’s one hundred frickin’ percent physical here!
“I feel so terrible about this. I knew it wouldn’t end well, but despite that... I should’ve just stopped them, whatever it took”
“No Cla.s.s Rep, don’t take it as your own responsibility”
I honestly think it was karma, though Souma-san would probably complain about that. Sure, Mei-chan’s the one who brought up talk of duels, but knowing the Kenzaki Asuna’s character, you could say she was revved up for it already.
I’m sure she had the resolve. A wound or two. She should be well aware that matches like these aren’t fun and games. And having watched Mei-chan fight, seeing her Berserker strength, I doubt she thought of her as an easy opponent.
But despite that, she consented to the duel. The result bringing severe wounds on top of losing was but another possibility among the many. Win or lose, one of those was bound to happen. And I don’t think Kenzaki-san’s the type of trash who’d only play when they’re guaranteed to win and set up a rigged duel. This isn’t like n00b-hunting in a fighting game.
She made all that resolve and lost, so she should just accept the resulting wounds. Then, as promised, she should obey whatever Mei-chan says. Like a slave. Since that’s what she, Kenzaki-san, made her bet on.
And I’d be insane to expect everyone to accept something like that. Seeing her state, I also honestly felt it. That it was too far.
“Uuu, uuu... I’m so sorry, Kotarou-kun... I never thought, it would...”
“It’s ok, you said all that thinking of my, no, everyone’s future”
From then on, for a little longer, the fairy square was all silent, except for Mei-chan’s quiet sobbing.
“— Let’s have Cla.s.s Rep be our leader”
This is the main cause of it all: who the leader should be. In an attempt to put an end to the matter, I break the silence.
“Eh, but I... Momokawa-kun, are you really alright with that?”
Cla.s.s Rep is plainly fl.u.s.tered. As for Souma Sakura, maybe she thought I’d appoint myself, her face is also dumbfounded.
Natsukawa-san and Takanashi-san, they couldn’t really follow the conversation in the first place, and were still huddling close and shaking a bit.
“I think everyone would want either Souma-san or you to be leader. It doesn’t matter either way right?”
“Well, more or less...”
“Yes, that’s right. There wouldn’t be any problems with either of us becoming leader”
“Then, I’ll be voting for Cla.s.s Rep”
Leaving out the two candidates, if Kenzaki-san, Natsukawa-san, Takanashi-san, and Mei-chan all say “Either way is fine”, then the deciding factor rests on me and Mei-chan. I really don’t think Mei-chan will disagree with me come this far, so in essence, we have two votes in Cla.s.s Rep’s favor. With that she has the majority vote and we’re done.
“I will go ahead and ask, why pick Ryouko?”
“I guess it’s because there’s still a bit of miscommunication between me and you, Souma-san... You don’t seem to trust me very much”
In other words, “b.i.t.c.h, you just hate me”, something like that. But there’s no point in aggravating her by saying that. Especially when you’re super weak like me.
“True, I don’t have much faith in you Momokawa-kun. However, I am not the kind of person who would openly discriminate against someone for such a reason. It’s regrettable you think so of me”
Yeah, I guess shed’d have to be clinically r.e.t.a.r.ded if she couldn’t guess what I meant. Souma-san looked somewhat offended.
“Souma-san, It’s not like I’m doubting your character or anything, but Cla.s.s Rep’s been covering for me for a lot of stuff these past few days. So I’d obviously pick her as leader”
Between Souma-san and Cla.s.s Rep, there’s no need to consider who I trust more.
Tell the truth, I think my relationship with Souma Sakura is broken beyond repair. She is good as a person. But a severe stuck-up. And to top it off, emotional as f.u.c.k. Once she hates someone, she’s merciless. She’d be the first to outcast me given the chance. Or else, she could even subconsciously order me to take a position where I’m sure to die.
On the other hand, Cla.s.s Rep is much more of a safe choice. She’s impartial to all, and would even have my back— Well no. I’m not gullible enough to actually think that.
The reason she’s been covering for me is all because of her guilt towards Mei-chan and nothing else. Seeing Kenzaki-san in that state must’ve made her quite scared too. She already carries the sin of abandoning Mei-chan. What if, she’s the one who turns into a b.l.o.o.d.y pulp next time.
So as long as I have Mei-chan, Cla.s.s Rep can’t make light of Mei-chan’s trusty partner that is me.
The condition known as fear is simple, yet absolute. You can’t overcome it all that easily. Cla.s.s Rep wouldn’t ask the impossible of me unless we’re in big danger. So I can believe in her. As long as she stays weaker than Mei-chan, that is.
“I see, alright, I will become the leader then. I may have some shortcomings, but let’s all work together on this”
I make solitary applause congratulating Cla.s.s Rep’s new post.
But I’m not done yet. It’s already impossible for everyone in this party to reconcile. So, even if I have to be a bit forceful, I’ll make a place for me in it.
I’ve decided. It’s sure to be a big policy change. Once I say this, there’s no turning back.
But I’ll do it. I have to do it.
“And, one more thing. Mei-chan even went so far as to duel Kenzaki-san to try and make me the leader. I want to give back to that so... I want to be appointed sub-leader”
“Wh-why you, we cannot allow this!”
“I’m, of course, not forcing this on you. We can do it fairly, with a vote. Well, if Souma-san doesn’t want to run for the position, it can always go to me by defau—”
“Then I am also announcing my candidacy. With that, I am now the sub-leader”
“Nope, not quite. We’re both at a draw”
You’re being a bit slow there, Souma Sakura. Did you perchance forget who that is, lying at your feet?
“Natsukawa-san and Takanashi-san are on your side right, Souma-san? But as for Kenzaki-san... She gets to be on mine”
“Isn’t that right, Mei-chan?”
Thank you, Mei-chan. This is the vote you won for my sake, this one, very precious, blood-stained vote.
“Ah, Kotarou-kun... Yeah, yep, that’s right! Me and Kenzaki-san both vote for Kotarou-kun!”
Mei-chan replies bright as a sunflower. That’s great news, she finally stopped crying.
“Don’t you mock us! Momokawa-kun, what do you think a person’s free will is?!”
“It was in fact Kenzaki-san’s free will to do it like this right? Saying if she lost, she would listen to Mei-chan. Kenzaki Asuna, a proud swordsman of the Kenzaki Style, she swore it. Souma-san, you’re an outsider in this matter”
“That is just sophistry!”
“Then please go ahead and ask her after she wakes up. Ask her if her bet on the duel was a lie. Ask her if it was just some schoolgirl’s half-joking promise, ask her if that’s a promise she has not problem breaking. You ask her that alright?”
Kenzaki Asuna can’t do it. Especially with all that pride on the line. She can no longer go against Mei-chan. And finally, Mei-chan believes in me.
I’m truly grateful. Thanks to Mei-chan, I received the piece called Kenzaki Asuna. With this, I can more or less swing my weight around.
“I’m certain that if it’s Kenzaki-san, she will keep the promises that she makes. So if Mei-chan requests her to vote one way, Kenzaki-san will do it, even if she isn’t willing”
“I, I can’t... allow this, we cannot, allow this...”
“Whatever you think, we’re now both at two votes each. So the final decision would land on Cla.s.s Rep—”
Souma Sakura shouts as if to make her appeal. I’ve been saying some pretty dicey stuff so Cla.s.s Rep may just think I’m too dangerous and end up choosing Souma-san.
So now, I have to make the clincher. I’ll let her know the merits of me being sub-leader.
“So Cla.s.s Rep, before you make the call, can I just say something?”
“... Go on, Momokawa-kun”
“If I became sub-leader, I’d be basically following what you say. If it isn’t an emergency situation like the surprise attack with the Mantis, I won’t even bother you during fights. Though, if you need any advice, I’m always available. I can’t really do much, but I’ll work together with everyone, and I can promise to give it my best”
“O-oh, that would be helpful... Is that all?”
“If, by some odd chance, I don’t become sub-leader... I will leave this party. Along with Mei-chan and Kenzaki-san, that is”
I’m taking Kenzaki Asuna hostage. With Souma Yuuto separated from you, Kenzaki-san is one of your indispensible vanguard members. You already have that extra baggage that is Takanashi-san so, can Natsukawa-san alone maintain your frontlines? And please remember that you even needed Mei-chan to beat that powerful Mantis. We still haven’t made it past the Cave of Insects, so I really hope you’re not thinking you can survive with just the 4 of you.
“Sorry, but if it looks like I can’t get a good position, I don’t think I can work with your team. I’m sure you have a ton of complaints about this, but just think of our circ.u.mstances as a whole, and bear with me. I think you can accept me, considering everything”
That’s all I have to say. I played my hand. TURN END.
“It’s all in your hands now, Cla.s.s Rep”
Awkward silence once again dominates the s.p.a.ce. Is she really still considering, or is it a form of resistance? Cla.s.s Rep is smart, she should know the answer already.
“I’m sorry Sakura, but Momokawa-kun has a point”
“Yuuto-kun isn’t here, and we can’t afford to take any chances. If we start losing people, we won’t make it far. We just can’t afford any infighting... So I’ve decided. Momokawa-kun, you’re the sub-leader. Good luck”
As if she’d made a tragic resolve, Cla.s.s Rep had a grim, and somewhat tired face, as she extended her hand.
“Thanks. Let’s work hard so we don’t get any more casualties”
With the exchanging of this stiff handshake, despite its foundation now sustaining a ma.s.sive crack, the worst harem party would continue its existence.
 I wanted to paraphrase the retort into What are you, Vegeta? but I refrained lol.