Good day to everyone! It is a glorious day as I finally managed to trudge through chapter 1 after throwing off various (major) distractions like Terraria and Animal Crossing. And Sonic and Metroid, etc, etc. There’s some work mixed in there, but the brunt of it can be attributed to games…
This is where you’ll really see how this is going to be formatted and such for the rest of Hyouketsu, as well as all the terms from previous chapter by CE Translations and how they’ll be preserved or chosen. That being so, it is also the time for you guys to tell me if you prefer something a certain way. I’ll take all the suggestions into consideration and try to remember them.
When I was posting this, I realized I’d forgotten to update the projects page with the links. I’ll do that now. Also, I looked over how to create a PDF for these chapters, but if somebody wants to create them for me, I’d be very happy (hint, hint). I’ll probably do that at the end of the volume (ie. batch work). Also, about the color illustrations and putting the text on them, I’ll probably end up doing that myself again. People want money and I’m a cheapskate. Sorry, I just don’t want to pay you for something I could easily do myself.
A note about the next chapter: it’s like 80 pages long. I’m not sure if I’m going to post it in parts or not (because I don’t particularly like doing that), but bear the length in mind before saying it’s taking forever.
I have yet to proofread this chapter. With all that out of the way, enjoy the read!
PDF Link: http://www.mediafire.com/download/ywws1sv48zcx5q4/HKnE+V.4+Ch.1.pdf
Located in the center of the floating continent, a tower so large it pierces the heavens — Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
With two hundred ninety one floors and a height of two thousand metres, it was the largest structure on the floating continent. The pure white tower that extended into the azure sky, creating a beautiful contrast between blue and white which could be seen from the distant living sector.
On the 11th floor of that tower, in a corner of the Cadet lodging.
“No, no, I’ve already said I don’t know anything. I mean it.”
Unique reddish brown hair and on top of that, the eyes of the same color but slightly stronger. A seventeen-year-old boy with a slim body suited to a teenage boy and balanced figure wearing a black jacket.
“Don’t lie. There’s no way you don’t know, being the person himself.”
“……Please spare me.”
In an enjoyment space at a corner of the floor. [T/N: It uses 団欒 which is for when people sit in a circle or a gathering of friends for fun. It might be talking about how the table is round (I don’t know if it is)? The “space” is written directly in katakana, so I’m keeping it despite how strange it sounds.]
He dipped his head and sighed without thinking at the table there.
“Say, Kagura, I’m already sleepy. ……It’s already four in the morning; isn’t this becoming an all-nighter barrage of questioning?”
“There is no problem, the sun won’t rise for a few hours.”
Answering without delay, Kagura sat in the chair opposite him.
She wore a mechanical helmet that had an eye shield that fell below her eyes. [T/N: I’m using the kanji for mechanical helmet. The katakana just says “メット” which is simply “helmet”. I think it’s too vague…]
Her ears, which were longer and more pointy than those of humans, were of the [Nell Folk], and she had an impressive, intellectual manner of speaking that mismatched with her youthful appearance.
“I’m not tired?”
“That’s because your Carcadian rhythm is out of sync with mine by half a day. Normally people sleep at night and wake up in the morning, so if somebody doesn’t sleep at night, he or she will be tired.” [T/N: Carcadian Rhythm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circadian_rhythm. Any biological process with an oscillation of roughly 24 hours. That just means it repeats over 24 hours.]
“It’s fine. Rather than that, I can’t help but be interested in the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>, so tell me about it.”
“……It’s as I said before.”
Rubbing his eyes that were drooping from drowsiness, Sheltis leaked a breath out.
—Though he did know how Kagura felt.
—But he truly did not remember.
The Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> which lay ten thousand metres below the floating continent. Brimming with thick miasma and foul water, it was the habitat of the Yuugenshu that repeatedly invaded.
“But three years ago, you fell into the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>, did you not?”
“It looks like I passed out from the impact. ……Though I just thought of that now.”
The dual swords user that fell into the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> three years ago at the age of fourteen was Sheltis.
Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> had listed him publicly as KIA, but that the boy had lived to return to the floating continent and that he had lost the Shinryoku that people are endowed with in exchange for the exact opposite — the same Mateki as the Yuugenshu, even within this tower there were few that knew.
“Fumu, fumu, well, it’s a miracle you’re even alive.”
Machine Pearl <Machina> — the girl nodded as she typed something into this personal-use computer. [T/N: The “computer” is the katakana to 演算機 which means “processor”. They don’t seem different enough to warrant writing processor <Computer>. And that sounds stupid. Also, I’m keeping it as machine pearl even though the more common translation for the kanji is a sphere or orb. Anybody who really cares, DEAL WITH IT.]
“You’re quite the vigorous pursuer.”
“That’s because I am half Cadet Guard and half researcher.”
The handful of those who knew that Sheltis had fallen into the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.
Kagura was one of those few people. No, she also intended to hide that secret. A few days ago when they had battled the powerful Shinryoku practitioned called ‘Golden’ Maha, he had used Mateki in order to save her which led to her coming to know of it.
“But I am truly deeply interested in it. I never thought there was a survivor of the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> and that he would house Mateki within himself. It would cause quite a commotion if it were to become publicly known.”
“If you know that, then—”
“It’s fine. I won’t tell anybody else that you carry Mateki.”
She smiled beneath her mechanical helmet.
……Isn’t she a lot more open than before?
The Nell were an openly wary race. When he had first Kagura who descended from that lineage, she had been wary of him and even been openly hostile. That had improved as a result of the battle with Maha; it could be considered great progress as she even showed him her smile.
“Of course, that also includes Monica, right?”
“……I’m seriously requesting that.”
“Yes. Well, putting that aside, it’s about what the question just before but……I see, it can’t be helped if you can’t remember.”
Kagura regretfully drooped her shoulders.
“But it’s a pity. Somehow……mm? That’s right, it might work if I just ask your body directly.”
“Yes. I’ll administer sleeping medication and run a CT scan on the entirety of your head. After that, I’ll commence surgery at the operation room. It might work if I attach electrodes to your brain and forcibly stimulate your brain cells.”
He jumped backwards without thinking while still seated.
“It’s decided! Go on a date with me next time, Sheltis. We’ll meet at this tower’s clinic’s entrance, go around to the X-ray and MRI scan rooms and end off at the emergency surgical room!”
“What kind of date plan is that!? Or rather, what do you plan to do to me!?”
“Don’t worry, it won’t hurt, you know? I’ll be gentle since it’s your first time?”
“That’s why I’m asking what you plan to do!?”
“No need to worry. I was just joking a little.”
“……Don’t mislead people.” [T/N: It says “false alarm” but that doesn’t seem to go in well.]
She placed the teacup that was on the table to her lips,
“But there aren’t many people I can joke with like this, you know? You could even count how many of them are within Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.”
“……Are those words of praise? Should I be glad?”
“Yes. Looking at it like this, I’m also looking forward to doing my best with the rest of the guards. I’m also a researcher from the Tower Control Bureau, so I haven’t truly experienced anything with the entire force. Of course, I know we’re not playing around but I’m still looking forward to it.”
……Looking forward to it, huh.
Supporting the teacup with both hands, Kagura’s tone matched her words as she seemed a little happier and livelier.
“How about you, Sheltis? As a former Elite Guard.”
“Things that I enjoyed……probably not much.”
“Elite guards are Sennenshi candidates. As a result, the responsibility they shoulder is also great.”
“That’s also true, but that’s not all.”
He rested his head on one hand above the table as he stared into space.
“At any rate, three years ago I strongly felt that ‘I have to become a Sennenshi even a day sooner’. That’s why apart from Leon, I had nobody I was especially friendly with.”
“You were rushing?”
“Yeah, thinking back on it, that’s how it was.”
“Eh. Well, Y………………”
Ymy was waiting — he frantically closed his mouth that was about to say that.
“N-n-n-n-no reason, you know?”
“……How suspicious of you to falter right there. Ah, don’t avert your eyes!”
“Hey, Kagura, how about another cup of tea?”
“You won’t trick me, what’s the rest after “yu”!”
“Yu……Yu-Yuto asked me to do something.”
“Yuto? Ahh, that young girl that’s been coming and going from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> with Eyriey lately. Wait, you won’t fool me! If you won’t tell me, I’ll reveal your secret to Monica.”
“Come on now, if you don’t say it quickly, I’ll tell Monica—”
“What’s this about me?”
The figure of a person patted Kagura’s shoulder.
“Talking in such a loud voice so early in the morning, and what’s more, yelling out my name.”
Her vivid sakura-colored hair seemed to shine against her pure white ritual clothes. It was a girl with a dignified aura whose crossed rods <Rosario> were fastened at her waist.
“Ah, good morning, Monica.”
“Kagura and Sheltis, you two are up early as well. There’s still one hour before early morning training.”
“Good morning……actually, for me, rather than waking up, I haven’t even slept yet.”
He greeted Monica, who was tilting her head, with a shrug. Looking at his condition, she seemed to have sensed something as she smiled wryly.
“You’ve been caught by Kagura’s barrage of questioning, haven’t you.”
“I’ve been through the same thing many times. You just have to wait until her curiosity has been sated.”
Monica put a coin into the meal dispenser beside the enjoyment space.
A bread in packaging came out of the left box and from the water heater in the right box came a teacup which was then filled with coffee.
“What are you two doing for breakfast?”
“Sheltis and I have also bought sandwiches from there. By the way, Sheltis chose hot milk and I had black tea.”
A sweet fragrance was still wafting from the teacup of Kagura who answered with that.
“In Kagura’s case, it’s dinner, right?”
“You could say that. Having dinner while watching the morning sun is also nice.”
Kagura added sugar to her teacup as she answered. She added one, two, three…………and when it came to the fifth scoop.
“Kagura, what are you doing?”
“You ask strange things, Sheltis. Black tea is something you drink, isn’t it?”
“Well……the sugar’s not dissolving in anymore. I seem to recall you also putting in a mountain of honey just before, but you’re still adding more?”
Sheltis pointed at the black tea which had metamorphosed into a syrupy sludge.
“Rather than calling that black tea, it’s more appropriate to say it’s a black tea-like sugar lump. Can you really drink that? Or rather, is it even okay for a human to put that in their mouth?”
“Sugar is a necessary requirement for the brain’s functionality, after all. I drink this ten times a day.”
“Geh……my tongue feels numb just from imagining it.”
“I’m a thinker, so it’s fine. By the way, Monica, what’s the status on the new unit?”
“It was accepted yesterday. It seems the unit’s activities will also begin today.”
Monica stacked her coffee cup on top of her plate with a clack.
“Sheltis, how’s your condition?”
“Thanks to you, I seem fine.”
He had sustained an injury at the floating archipelago <Lagoon> and grown weary from the harsh battle with ‘Golden’ Maha. He had abused his body in succession, but spent the last few days here resting.
“There’s some reason you’re asking about my condition.”
“Yeah. I wanted to immediately go and take on a mission from the Merit System. We’ll also be able to improve the unit’s teamwork in actual combat.”
“A mission……was there some interesting reward?”
“We’ll search for that as well. I’ll explain, so just wait until I finish drinking this.”
Monica placed the coffee cup to her mouth again.
And Kagura’s expression under the mechanical helmet distorted.
“I can’t believe it no matter how many times I see it. How can you drink that without sugar, Monica; I can’t think of it as something sane to be ingesting that bitter liquid without adding anything.”
Seeing Kagura’s actions, Monica turned to Sheltis with a deeply meaningful look.
“It’s that. How about you, Sheltis?”
“Yeah. I think that’s how it is for me too.”
“That? What’s this about you two?”
Sheltis and Monica answered together in response to Kagura who was tilting her head with a serious expression.
“It’s because somebody’s a child.”
Floor 21 of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, Organization Terminal Space.
One side of this enormous floor was covered entirely by a line of completely new computers.
The Merit System — in order for Sheltis’ group to be promoted from Cadet Guards into Regular Guards, they had to complete a certain number of missions from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>. This was a specialized terminal for the purpose of accepting those missions.
“Come now, Kagura, don’t pout.”
“Wh-who’s pouting! E-even I can……drink coffee without sugar.”
“Yes, yes. It’s best to not force yourself and just drink what you like.”
Pacifying Kagura who was puffing her cheeks, he sat her down in front of the computer. Of the three of them — rather, even out of all of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s members, there were none who surpassed Kagura in handling machinery. It would be for the best if they left this terminal to Kagura as well.
“Then I shall start searching. Monica, tell me your preferred mission conditions.”
Starting with defending, a great diversity of missions from the General Affairs Bureau, the Tower Control Bureau, the Environmental Bureau and others came up. From VIP escorts to investigations into the floating archipelago <Lagoon>, to harmful beast extermination and nightly tower defense. They varied in their difficulties and durations, and more than that, the merit points were spread thin amongst them.
One would have to save a set amount of those points to have the right to challenge becoming a Regular Guard.
“……The first one is a simple thing, after all.”
Monica nodded with her fingertip upon her lip.
“Well then, let’s search starting from ones that end in a few days. The time period is anything from tomorrow and after.”
Kagura’s slender fingers danced over the terminal’s keys as she typed.
“Take a look at this one.”
The girl pointed at the display.
‘ Mission Number 58. ‘Tower Patrol’
Subject ‘Defense’, Destination ‘None’, Duration ‘2 days’, Recruits ‘Fifth Unit’ ‘
It was a nightly defense patrol of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s premises.
With the low difficulty, one couldn’t expect many merit points, but it was just right for them to warm up as a new unit. It ending in short time was also favorable.
“I don’t think it’s bad but what about you, Monica?”
“It seems good. There’s still a lot of room left in the recruitments though, so we should look at other missions before deciding.”
“Yes, then we’ll add the additional constraint of ‘outside the tower’.”
‘ Mission number 81. ‘Harmful Beast Extermination’
Subject ‘Subjugation’, Destination ‘Nature District, Eastern Area’, Duration ‘1 day’, Recruits ‘Second Unit’ ‘
“Ah, this one might be bad.”
To inform the other two, he crossed his arms into an X shape.
“Why? Harmful beast extermination is a typical mission.”
“This here, the duration period of one day smells fishy. The nature district is more than a hundred kilometres away from here, but doing a round trip and defeating a beast in one day……it’s a pretty difficult time limit. Which means this is probably an emergency.”
There may have been a large outbreak of beasts in the nature district or something large and dangerous like a dragon species may have appeared.
Either way, it was a mission with a high degree of danger.
“……It’s dangerous for a new unit, huh.”
“There’s also that, but you said it yourself, Monica, that we’d be forging our teamwork while undertaking a mission. This won’t suit that, I think. Leaving for the nature district and coming back all in a big rush won’t allow us to deepen our bonds, right?”
“I, I see……a unit leader needs to think that far.”
The new unit leader nodded with a face that seemed impressed and directing a piercing gaze at the screen.
“Kagura, sorry but please bring up the mission before this.”
“Yes. We’re applying for this one, I suspect. I’ll immedi…………mm?”
Kagura’s fingers that had been typing came to a halt.
“What is it?”
“The terminal’s memory changed abnormally……it’s being monitored remotely from another terminal.”
The mouth peeking out from underneath the mechanical helmet stiffened into a line. While he was thinking about that, she suddenly stood up and turned on the computer next to them.
“……This terminal is normal. That means it’s not a system for monitoring the entirety of the defense force. That means we can assume that it’s for monitoring one of our unit member codes.”
There was no unrest in Kagura who was continuing smoothly.
“Is that dangerous?”
“No, it’s most likely an instructor. It’s a commonly used method of confirming our mission statuses. I’m going to ignore it and apply for the mission from just now, but are you fine with that?”
Just when Kagura was about to pull up the screen once again.
Sheltis’ card-type badge that was at the breast of his jacket began vibrating.
“It seems like it, wait a second……”
The badge that a guard carried with them was a card key that both acted as authentication and could perform simple communications.
The size was enough to fit snugly into one’s palm and the interior was the crystallization of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s technology.
“Yes, who is it?”
He cut off the communication with a click.
“Sorry, Monica, it looks like they got the wrong person.”
“Is that so? It didn’t seem like it.”
In the time it took Monica to tilt her head with a look of confusion, a second call came.
“Suddenly cutting me off like that is quite defiant.”
“……I’m just going to say this ahead of time, but I don’t have time to accompany you in training right now.”
“I’ve also just returned from an official trip. I have something to talk to you about that, so come to the fourth room on floor 28. It’s a room for Regular Guards, but your member code will be permitted.”
……Look at that, it really is me accompanying you, isn’t it.
Since the moment he heard the voice of the man calling, he had a feeling it would be like that.
“Could it be that the one who’s monitoring my member code is”
“The absolute authority of a Sennenshi is pretty handy.”
“……This is an abuse of authority.”
He hung up while wanting to look at the heavens.
“Sorry, something urgent came up. I’ll be right back.”
“Where are you going?”
“Well, just a little over there.”
He pointed up with his index finger in response to Monica who asked again.
Continuing down the path that could fit five full-grown adults standing side-to-side, he looked around at the spread-out rooms.
The tower’s 28th floor was prepared for the guards’ training. The Cadet Guards were assigned the outdoor training grounds so there wasn’t much of a chance to visit here but he remembered from his time as an Elite Guard three years ago.
“The fourth room, so it’s this one……”
He placed his badge to the card reader as Leon had said.
Immediately after the door opened, his eyes were seared by the strong brilliance that imitated the sun.
The room was modeled after a canyon — with the floor as a gigantic boulder and the four walls made of rock that rose perpendicular to the ground, it had been faithfully reproduced.
At the center of that room was a young man in a white longcoat who was standing still.
Upon the white that would make a woman take a second look without thinking was long silver hair which evoked the image of a lion. His burly and well-trained body would remind one of a steel blade.
“Jeez, while I was out on official business, what were you doing?”
Leon Nestorius Ova. The man recognized as the greatest great sword wielder on the floating continent. He had been his friend for ten years and his sole rival in peerless swordsmanship.
“What do you mean, I was applying for a mission.”
“Not that. What I wanted to talk about was the mission that I just mentioned.”
……The one you just mentioned?
Let’s see, was there a mission that Leon had told me about.
“It’s the Governmental Sector case. We went on a confidential mission, remember.”
“Ahh, if it’s that one, there’s no way I could forget.”
It had happened three weeks ago. He had been invited by Leon who had received a direct order from Queen Salah to the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. There, they had discovered a peculiar facility hidden within an island.
Then they had found a hidden Yuugenshu cultivation water tank. It was within the floating archipelago <Lagoon> which was Governmental Sector territory, so the possibility of it being related to the Governmental Sector was high. Based on that judgment by the executives of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, a meeting had been arranged between Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and the Governmental Sector.
“The meeting is pretty soon, right?”
“It’s in exactly two weeks. And you’ll also be slipping into that meeting.”
That almost sounded like he was going to secretly attend the meeting.
“Secretly, you mean? We’re the ones who found the Yuugenshu water tank. I thought we might be called to the meeting as witnesses.”
“It’s the executive office’s job to report that. Discussions aren’t our specialty, after all. It’ll be a complex exchange about that facility behind the scenes, so it’s best to leave that to the experts.
“Ah, well……that’s kind of self-explanatory.”
The Yuungenshu that was sleeping underground was the problem. They had only discovered one, but if there were more by any chance, it would be much too dangerous. The executive office should be able to explain that well.
“The executive office doesn’t specialize in Yuugenshu, so the Yuugenshu’s water tank is”
“Being investigated by those suited to it.”
Leon nodded slightly with his arms crossed.
“The Priestesses are doing it.”
“The Priestesses? The Priestesses are travelling outside the tower?”
He doubted his ears upon hearing the words Leon spoke. That the Priestesses, of which only five existed, would leave the floating continent was unheard of even if they were attending a meeting.
“It just means this is that serious of a matter.”
Perhaps he had thought the same thing as Leon nodded once again with a sigh.
“No matter what the goal, cultivating a Yuugenshu is outrageous. No, to begin with, there is a necessity to obtain confirmation about whether that’s truly possible. If the Priestesses personally set out, then even the Governmental Sector will show some movement. And that role will likely fall to Ymy.”
Ymy Ele Soufflenictole — Sheltis’ childhood friend. She had become the fifth Priestess at the age of seventeen and also become able to choose a Sennenshi.
“But Ymy doesn’t have a Sennenshi, so going outside is……”
“None of the other Priestesses are free. The one most suited to discussions is Meimel, but it’ll be right after she finishes maintaining Hyouketsu Kyoukai in place of the Queen. She’ll be fatigued.”
Of the five Priestesses, the first and third are currently patrolling outside the tower.
The three remaining are the second Priestess, Meimel, the fifth Priestess, Ymy and the fourth Priestess, Syun-rei. If Meimel can’t, then Ymy and Syun-rei are the next candidates but—
“……I see, it’s difficult for Syun-rei.”
Thinking upon the black-haired Priestess, he agreed with Leon.
Syun-rei became a Priestess the youngest and was an outstanding Shinryoku practitioner but she was also burdened with extreme anthropophobia. If it was Syun-rei who couldn’t even walk around the tower without Leon, there was no way she could go to the distant floating archipelago <Lagoon> on business.
“So by process of elimination, it falls to Ymy?”
“That’s how it is. It seems the third Priestess was going to come back instead of having Ymy travel far but……that’s a waste. I’m going to change back to the original topic, about the mission.”
A Priestess and the upper echelons of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> would be setting off for the Governmental Sector. There was only one thing he could think of as a mission for a guard following along.
“That’s right. Those attending from the Governmental Sector haven’t been announced, but the Chiefs of the General Affairs Bureau and the Office of Management Affairs will be attending from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> with two secretaries. Together with the Priestess, that makes five people.
As an escort, five people was a small group, but with a Priestess included, the responsibility was heavy. At any rate, they were the protectors of the floating continent, so there could not even be the chance of an accident.
“Wait, are Cadet Guards like us even allowed to escort Ymy?”
Escorting the Priestesses was entrusted to Sennenshi. Not to mentioned Elite Guards or Regular Guards, but having Cadet Guards as the escort had never been done.
“As you expected, that much is impossible. Considering the tower’s rules and precedents, in all probability, the escorting will be temporarily left with the Cadre Guard.”
The Cadre Guard — out of the Elite Guards who possess superior true ability and repeat the severe ranking competition, this was the person whose skills stand at the summit of that.
……If Ymy were to choose her Sennenshi without waiting for me.
……The guard who would definitely become a Sennenshi, huh.
“Be careful. They’re someone who’ll figure out your true identity if you act carelessly.”
Sheltis opened his eyes wide at Leon’s abrupt words.
“You also know the person who’s the Cadre Guard right now. You’ll understand if I say it’s ‘Jelshuvessa’ whom you’ve competed with countless times.” [T/N: Accepting suggestions for her name (ジェルシュヴェッサー / jerushuvessa-)! Just leave them in the comments.]
“Jelshuvessa……no way, it can’t be.”
“Uaa……wa-wait a second! That’s no joke!”
He yelled out while holding his head.
“I’m bad at dealing with that person. I really can’t tell what they’re thinking.”
The opponent he had competed with countless times as fellow Elite Guards three years ago.
‘She’ stood out from even amongst the Elite Guards. It was such that it was strange that she hadn’t become a Sennenshi up until three years later.
“Even I’m bad at dealing with her. Anyway, I’ve warned you.”
“Yeah……well, it can’t be helped. If it’s her, then there’s no mistaking her skill.”
“Aren’t you honest?”
“It’s because it’s much better than having some random Elite Guard I don’t know escorting Ymy. ……I know I can’t be the one escorting her.”
He had no right to escort a Priestess, being a Cadet Guard. There was still a need for somebody to defend Ymy.
“……To be honest, it’s a little frustrating but there’s no point in bluffing.”
“That’s some admirable attitude. At any rate, that Cadre Guard should temporarily become Ymy’s escort. It’ll be fine if you go along to the Governmental Sector as the escort of the other VIPs.”
“I see, understood.”
He calmly stopped breathing and looked towards the ceiling.
……I wonder why, my heart is pounding.
……Even though my goal of becoming a Sennenshi hasn’t been fulfilled yet. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this tension.
If he was chosen for this mission, he could travel together with Ymy.
It wouldn’t be him protecting her but it felt like the first great step in that direction.
“The first thing is to win that mission. Chances for a Cadet Guard to travel together with a Priestess are rare so the corresponding merit points for the mission are also high. You should keep in mind that other units will also be aiming for it.”
“I’ll do my best. Since the first thing is to win the mission.”
“You do that. Well then, I should be going, I’m keeping Syun-rei waiting.”
“Ah, Leon. Hold up.”
Flapping his coat, he turned towards his back.
“What is it?”
“……Tell Ymy something. We’ll definitely be going together.”
“If I don’t forget.”
Replying with a blunt manner of speech, the silver-haired young man left towards the elevator.
“Well? Was it there?”
“I’m in the middle of searching. ……Ah, this is it, isn’t it.”
Kagura’s fingers which were typing at high speeds on the computer’s keys halted.
‘ Mission number 16. ‘Governmental Sector Dispatch’
Subject ‘VIP Escort’, Destination ‘Governmental Sector’, Duration ‘4 days’, Recruits ‘First Unit’ ‘
—This is undoubtedly what Leon was talking about.
Confirming the information upon the screen countless times, Sheltis slightly tightened his fists.
“The date of posting is yesterday……it’s a freshly updated request.”
Beside him, Monica had her arms crossed with a meek face.
With it being a rare deployment to the Governmental Sector and furthermore, including travelling together with a Priestess, the other units must also be extremely interested. Thinking that and investigating it, there were already seventeen units registered as their rivals.
“The recruiting period is until noon tomorrow. They might multiply the closer it gets to the deadline.”
“……It’ll be difficult, Sheltis.”
Monica, who was staring at the screen, knit her brows.
“I know. In exchange, the merit points are also high.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“H-huh? That was wrong?”
He blinked and looked at the screen and Kagura pointed at the bottom left of the screen.
“Please look at this warning carefully, Sheltis.”
“Yes. This mission’s recruited units have ‘four people’. We don’t have enough with just us.”
The unit leader, Monica, and the members, himself and Kagura. They were one person short.
“They even have limits on the number of people……”
“No. They exist as provisions, but in reality, they’re rare. The difficulty and importance influence it, but an exact limit like four is uncommon.”
……Was it the Governmental Sector?
It was possible that a limit had been placed on the number of messengers from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
“So we need another person if we’re going to participate, huh. After that is”
“Yes, ye—s, Shel-nii! Yuto’s here! Yuto will go too!”
“Then Yuto will; what’s this, it’s perfect. …………Or, wait!?”
There was a sensation of someone clinging to his leg. He timidly peeked down.
The young girl was tightly clinging to his right leg.
Her black eyes were shining with avid curiosity. Her apparent age was five or six. Her shiny black hair was tied into two locks behind her and her azure muffler flowed gently around her neck.
“Shel-nii, I wanted to see you—!”
“U-um……Yuto? I’m happy about being able to see each other too but how did you get in here?”
This was the meeting room, so the door was auto-locking. Those not related to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> shouldn’t be able to open the door.
……Ah, no, wait. I have a hint of whose specialty this falls under.
“Tada—, I’ve kept you waiting. The incompetent Ilis makes her return to the front lines!”
“……It’s Ilis, as I expected.”
“How cold! You’re terrible, Sheltis, how can you have that reaction to the return of the one who was your partner just a few days ago!?”
Machine crystal <Ilis> flickered bright red.
“……Two people and one thing have joined three people. Suddenly the room has become more packed.”
Kagura was looking not at Yuto and not at the machine crystal <Ilis>, but instead her gaze was directed at girl in overalls who had machine crystal <Ilis> dangling from her neck as a necklace.
“Hey there. Sorry for just barging in suddenly.”
She had unkempt frizzy hair and oil-stained overalls, and her appearance was lacking in make-up or sex appeal, but that suited this simplistic girl best.
Eyriey Leccento — similar to Yuto who was at his feet, she was an acquaintance of his from the living district. They had also been fellow workers at the outdoor cafe ‘The Two Swans <Albireo>’ which was located in the second living district.
“What is it. We’re in the middle of a serious meeting here.”
“Now, now. Here, Sheltis, Ilis’ maintenance is done, you know?”
“Wa-wait, Eyriey! When handing me over, you should be more gent—”
He received the machine crystal Ilis, who was voicing some complaint, with both his hands.
“Hey, gotten better?”
“Of course. If there was something off about me, it would also be a big problem for you, right?”
—I’m glad, it’s the same Ilis as always.
Her strong self-assertion in various areas despite being a machine hadn’t changed at all. ……No, it might have been better if that self-assertion had been fixed.
“Yeah, it’s the same Ilis as always. Thank you, Eyriey.”
“Yes, yes, I also enjoyed the luxurious lifestyle in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s VIP room. Well then, we’ll excuse ourselves here. Come on, Yuto.”
“Eh—……Yuto wants to go with Shel-nii.”
The young girl clung to his leg while saying “Dun wanna, dun wanna”. ……What a predicament. It would feel pitiful if they were to forcefully separate here.
“Umm, shall I look after her for just a little?”
“Ah—, it’s fine if you don’t ignore it. We’re looking for somebody.”
“Is there a lost child? In that case, why don’t you try announcing a lost child on the first floor of the tower?”
“That’s not it. That’s right, I’ll also introduce her to you this time, Sheltis. It’s a girl I came to know while working on Ilis’ maintenance. She’s a really cute girl named Sasa!”
Eyriey winked after lifting Yuto into her arms.
“Sasa?……That’s a strange name.”
The way the name resounded was strange and it was spelled in a way that wasn’t often seen on the floating continent. He had never heard of it in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, not to mention at the living district.
“Is she from the living district?”
“Nope. She seems to be a live-in worker in the tower. Being a General Affairs staff member at only fourteen and even being able to use Shinryoku.”
“She can use Shinryoku?”
The one who knit their brows at that was Monica. It was unmistakably a word that stirred up the interest of Monica who had been an apprentice Priestess.
“That’s right. So after completing Ilis’ maintenance, I thought we could go have fun with her. But when I did a search in the name register for Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, nothing popped up.”
“……Was the name wrong?”
“Mm~, truthfully, it didn’t feel like that. That’s why I decided to go around searching on foot. Well then, let’s get going, Yuto.”
“Oka—y. See you, Shel-nii.”
The two boisterous girls dashed down the path.
“Those two are full of energy.”
“It was the same during my maintenance. Those two are like a lump of energy. Good grief, that supervisor <Master>……was really shrewd in getting friendly with Eyriey.”
Supervisor <Master>. He felt like he had heard a fairly strange and uncommon word just now.
“Ah, it’s nothing, just me talking to myself.”
“……Well, that’s fine. So what should we do, Monica?”
Eyriey’s group having set off on searching the tower and they had a mountain of problems. They didn’t have enough people for the Governmental Sector mission.
“First, I’d like to have a solid plan.”
Monica operated the terminal in place of Kagura. With experienced movements, she brought up the screen to display the list of defense missions.
There were currently fourteen missions recruiting. Eight of those allowed for a team of three members.
“There are other missions three people can go on. We should decide if we’ll narrow down the missions we can go on with our current team or if we’ll supplement a fourth member.”
They could aim to be Regular Guards even with just the current members. They had to decide if they would continue with the current minimum members or search for more comrades.
“Sheltis, you want to take on that mission, right?”
“That’s right. The merit points are high and there’s no loss in getting experience with VIP escorting.”
Going to the Governmental Sector with Ymy — even without those personal circumstances, it was still a mission worth applying for. The opportunities to escort would increase when they became Regular Guards. He would like for them to gain experience ahead of time as a Cadet Guard.
“VIP escorting and patrolling the nature district, it would be best if we were to experience both of those at least once.”
“……I see, what do you think, Kagura?”
“Sooner or later we’re going to need a fourth member so I have no qualms in aiming for this mission.”
Kagura rested her elbows on the table while holding her head up with her hands.
“That’s unexpected. What’s your reason for thinking that?”
“There is a big difference in the tactics for a three-person team and a four-person team. ……For example, let’s say we’re currently split into the ‘Control Tower’, ‘Vanguard’ and ‘Rear Guard’.”
Kagura’s eyeshield slowly turned towards him.
“Here’s a problem for you, Sheltis. How many different ways can we split three people into these three roles for our tactics? The time limit is ten seconds. Ten……nine……one. Okay, stop.”
“Didn’t you count only three seconds just now!?”
“3 x 2 x 1 = 6 patterns. The first person to choose gets three choices. The next person can’t choose the same as the first one, so he or she gets two choices. The last person has the final role, so he or she doesn’t get to choose.” [T/N: I’m sure many of you know this is just factorials. For those who don’t know what she’s using, look up permutations and combinations.]
Even Ilis’ voice sounded like one of somebody who had just seen something pitiful.
“……Are you possibly making a fool out of me?”
“Well, keep listening. Like was said just now, we can only form 6 patterns with three people. However, with four people, that become 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24 patterns. Just by adding one person, it increases by four times. That’s a big difference.”
The limit of a three person unit with the three roles of ‘Control Tower’, ‘Vanguard’ and ‘Rear Guard’.
However, adding a fourth person would allow, for example, Monica to not be the control tower and instead act using her Shinryoku techniques that she learned as an apprentice Priestess.
“The battle strength of one more person is necessary, huh……that’s right, but the problem is who to invite.”
Monica sighed with her arms folded.
“Unfortunately, I have no clue. How about you, Sheltis?”
“For the time being.”
Machine crystal <Ilis> said that with a sigh and murmured.
“In times like this, why not consult with that instructor?”
Floor 287 of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
There were only four rooms established on this vast floor. They were the rooms of the fourth and fifth Priestesses as well as the Sennenshi that guard those two.
Out of those, at the room assigned to the fifth Priestess.
“Ah— jeez, it’s busy, so busy! Why did it come to this!?”
Holding a large luggage bag with both arms, the girl with faint off-golden hair whined.
Ymy Ele Soufflenictole — she was a lovely girl with jade green eyes and was clad in pure white vestments.
She was valued at an absolute rank in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
She was a guardian deity of the floating continent but in contrast to that holy image,
“I-I’m done with this—!”
Her shout spread throughout the living room.
“What do I do, what do I do……I have to get ready, discuss the plans and my training schedule as a Priestess is also jam packed.”
She stared intensely at her notebook’s calendar while constantly sitting and standing from a chair.
In comparison to Ymy who was flustered like that,
“I understand that you’re busy but you’re wasting too much time just panicking like that, you know?”
Leon said while sitting directly on the carpet.
“B-but, but, suddenly participating in the meeting with the Governmental Sector……I didn’t hear anything about this!?”
“You’ll likely only have to say one thing until you reach the Governmental Sector. The small discussions will be handled by the Chief of the General Affairs Bureau.”
“That one thing is difficult……”
—But yeah, there’s no point in yelling.
She reverted her ballooned cheeks and sat down in a chair.
“But, you know, haven’t there been a lot of events lately? Even though I greeted everyone not too long ago, I only have two weeks until the meeting with the Governmental Sector.”
“There are no other substitutes from the Priestesses, after all.”
“It’s not that, ……The true duty of a Priestess is to pray together with the Queen <Salah>-sama for the barrier. Greeting everyone and participating in a meeting are completely different.”
Those are of a totally different importance and I think it’s not good that a Priestess is intruding into that. Just like this time, going out as a means of negotiating with the Governmental Sector would be unthinkable normally.
“I am……still inexperienced but if the Priestesses didn’t do their best, the barrier around the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> would dissolve. As I thought, I really want to do my best to prevent that instead.”
“Was this a hint from Meimel?”
“No, it’s just something I thought about myself……is it strange?”
Leon said that with a face that was serious about something.
“I just thought it was a very Priestess-like way of thinking. In a good sense, it means that I’ve heard that you understand the necessity and importance of Priestesses.”
“I-is that so?”
……He is praising me, right?
It couldn’t be helped that having Leon who rarely complimented others say that would leave one feeling ticklish.
“Did something happen?”
“Did something happen to make you change your thinking about Priestesses?”
“I-it’s not anything as major as that……probably.”
I just — want to purify the Mateki residing within Sheltis.
For he who is doing his best and aiming to become a Sennenshi, I would just like to be able to respond to him.
“Just like you, Leon……I just thought that I had to study more.”
While being recognized as the strongest great sword user on the floating continent, even now he continued to train and moderate himself more harshly than anyone else. That was something no one should emulate.
“If so, all the more reason that you shouldn’t be flustered over something of this degree.”
After being hard-pressed for a reply, while twirling the napkin upon the table.
“What is it?”
……It’s hard to tell Leon, isn’t it.
……That I’d like to spend time choosing my clothes and other things if Sheltis is coming along.
“What, so it’s about Sheltis?”
“—Y-you’re wro!? I-I-I, I-I didn’t ha-have that kind of intention?”
“You’re not speaking clearly.”
Oh boy, I thought she’d become a little more Priestess-like……sighing while looking like he wanted to say that, Leon stared at her with a deeply meaningful look.
“I don’t mind if you think about him but I’m begging you, don’t show that flirtatious attitude when you have to act like a Priestess. It’ll set a bad example for your subordinates.”
“Uu……kuu? But! You don’t have the right to say that!”
Leon’s eyes flashed aggressively.
“Saying that I’m flirtatious is interesting. I’d like you to tell me just how I’m flirtatious.”
“There’s no need to tell you.”
Gently shaking aside the hair in front of her eyes, she pointed in his direction.
“……What’s that on your lap?”
The lap of Leon who was sitting cross-legged directly on the carpet.
A girl wearing kimono-style vestments was there sleeping soundly.
“It’s Syun-rei, right?”
It was the early afternoon. The girl who was sleeping happily with shallow breaths and the one supporting her, the silver-haired young man.
The degree of warmth in that motif was enough to make one sigh just from looking and inspire a painter to paint a picture just from passing by.
He called for her to wait with an ever-serious face.
“Whaaat is it?”
“Don’t misunderstand. I didn’t do anything. Syun-rei did this on her own.”
“…………Welcome back, Leon.”
Syun-rei approached Leon who was sitting on the carpet. Facing that lap, she suddenly lay down and while he was thinking about what to do, she fell asleep.
“But she won’t wake up even though we’ve talked this much. Was she that sleepy?”
The young man tilted his head with a look of admiration.
“She was lonely while you were traveling, Leon. Isn’t it that she’s relieved?”
She rested her chin on her hands above the table and gazed at the two.
……Syun-rei looks like she’s really enjoying her sleep.
Syun-rei rolled over as she watched. Soft murmuring, “U……n,” she was really sleeping upon Leon’s lap with a relieved expression.
……Somebody……it seems really nice.
……Being that relieved and supported……it’s against the rules.
I don’t know what to say but, like this, they really suit each other.
Syun-rei had a small build to start with and Leon was blessed with a good physique even amongst men.
Because it was those two, they became like a painting and the happiness from them reached others; it was already at an unfair level, that truly wonderful scene.
In comparison with that, her and Sheltis were—
Mateki and Shinryoku, it was the law of the world that they would reject each other.
He and I……can’t touch even a single fingertip.
That’s why it was well-known to her that the relationship of the two before her eyes was her ideal.
Wishing and wishing and it was still further on, a relationship that was much too far from her.
“Th-that’s against the rules! There’s too much power in that!”
“What are you talking about?”
“Ju-just talking to myself!”
Yeah, there’s no way……I’m jealous. I’ll absolutely one day also have a relationship like that. I’ve decided to dream of that and do my best, after all.
“What’s wrong, Leon? You suddenly went quiet.”
“The meeting will be soon.”
Leon alternated from looking at the clock on the wall of the room to the Priestess on his lap.
“……When will Syun-rei wake up?”
“I think it’ll probably be a while longer.”
A second silence.
“……Help me. I can’t move.”
“Isn’t it fine, just indulge a Priestess’ selfishness for a day.”
Smiling — Ymy watched over the two before her eyes.