Completed on September 19 at 1:21 PM (PST).
This is only part 1 of the chapter. I should get a few more parts out pretty soon. Hyouketsu Kyoukai moves into part releases from now on!
I accidentally labeled this as chapter 4 to start with! It’s actually chapter 3. SORRY!
One extra thing to note: I won’t be creating new posts for this. All the parts will just be appended one by one to this one post.
“……I see, a man like you might also be necessary for the tower.”
Instructor Yumelda in regular clothes whom he’d come across by coincidence at a corner of the Living Districts. That was the beginning of his entrance into Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and him becoming a Cadet Guard.
Early in the morning, Vaiel walked far away from the training grounds.
“Ah──, damn it, why did it become like this.”
It was Kagura, if he recalled correctly. The perpetrator responsible for disturbing people’s afternoon naps and even using coercion that was half a threat to rope him into a unit.
“What is with ‘It’s a unit battle so please protect me’? ……You can’t rely on somebody like me. Thinking somebody will help you when you’re in trouble is just you seeing a pipe dream.” [T/N: As with the last time, “大将” (general) and “わたし” (me) are interchangeable here as the former is the kanji with the latter being the furigana (reading) provided.]
Sticking his hands in his pockets and curling his back, he loosed criticisms as they came to mind. He knew there was no point in letting them out. Half of it was just something he liked saying.
“……Pointless, so pointless.”
Clicking his tongue slightly, Vaiel hurried to his afternoon nap spot.
───Guess I’ll go back to sleep until the unit battle.
The bench on the outskirts of the training grounds was for that purpose. It was part of the training grounds but was so far back that the instructors didn’t patrol there. Thanks to that, it was his favorite comfortable spot.
Continuing down the small path in the lawn, he finally saw the large tree that marked the location.
It was as unpopular and deserted a space as ever. The bench underneath the tree as well, although finally in use, only had one person sitting on it……
“Ahh? What’s this?”
Seeing something uncommon, he stopped without thinking and rubbed his eyes.
The bench that was usually deserted. Somebody’s head was bobbing in and out of view behind it.
The small head’s black hair was tied into two in the back. The head was just barely visible, so judging from the sitting height, it was likely not an adult.
“Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, spare me the jokes……a kid?”
He sighed while staring up at the sky. The girl called Kagura or something had also been there a few days ago, but it seemed like he was fated to have kids attached to him.
“Sheesh, just who is this. This kid that’s occupying my designated seat so early in the morning.”
These were the training grounds so it was probably a Guard. There was no way a Regular Guard or Instructor would be resting in such a deserted place so it was most likely a young Cadet Guard who had run away from training.
“Sheesh, that’s my spot.”
Scratching the back of his head with his right hand, he walked up with his left hand still stuck in his pocket.
Ten metres to the bench……five metres……three metres, and then.
“Hey, you. Person I don’t know.”
Coming around to the front, he looked at the one occupying the seat.
“This has been my seat for a hundred million years. If you don’t want your front teeth shattered, move now. Got it? If you do, then get………………”
Moving right now. Vaiel wasn’t able to say those last few words that came to mind.
The one sitting on the bench wasn’t a guard,
“? Yuto doesn’t really know what you mean?”
Tilting her head, the young girl looked at him with her clear black eyes.
Her jet black hair was fastened into two locks behind her head. She was wearing a lovely white one-piece dress. A sky blue muffler was wrapped around her neck in a flowing fashion. No matter how you looked at her, she was a civilian.
“…………This is my unlucky day.”
“Unlucky day?” [T/N: Vaiel says “厄日” with the kanji, while Yuto says “やくび” (yakubi), showing she has no idea what he’s talking about.]
The young girl looked up at him with adorable movements.
Ignoring that, Vaiel put a hand on the bench’s backboard while pressing a hand to his head.
……I’m getting a headache. That Kagura or whatever girl was also like this, but why have I been running into these kinds of brats over the last few days.”
“Or rather, what the heck are you doing here?”
“Is it not okay for Yuto to be here?”
“That’s not the point. This is a training ground, so some civilian brat like you shouldn’t be able to get in.”
“? But Yuto is here?”
“…………Damn it all. Okay then, I’ll change the question so even a brat can understand.”
Spurred by how annoying it was and sleepiness, with an expression that was practically glaring, Vaiel moved his face closer. It was a face that would scare kids and make them cry. ……Or it should have.
“Ahaha, onii-chan, your face is scary.”
“Hah? I’m sleepy so it can’t be helped!”
“Yuto’s full of energy, you know──? I slept enough!”
Somehow he had made her happy.
“……Damn it, whatever. How did you get in here?”
Saying that, the girl called Yuto looked up at the sky in thought.
“Yuto’s searching for Eyri-nee.”
“Eyri-nee? Who’s that?”
“Eyri-nee is Eyri-nee? Yuto is always with Eyri-nee.”
“……I see, so that person’s your guardian.”
He’d come to understand the basic situation.
There were a lot of civilians that came to sightsee at Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>. ……But there were those few. Kids who ran off the instant their parents took their eyes off them for a moment and became lost. This young girl was probably one of them.
“Sheesh, if you’re going to act as a guardian, then take proper care of your nuisances.”
He sighed as he looked at the young girl called Yuto occupying the center of the bench.
“……You won’t listen even if I say to move, huh.”
“? Okay. Let’s do a half-and-half!”
With a smile, she happily moved to one end of the bench while swinging her legs noisily.
“Hoh. You actually do get it. That’s well-done for a brat.”
Sitting down on the empty spot, he leaned back on the bench.
……It was annoying that he couldn’t sleep lying down though.
He couldn’t ask for that luxury in this case. At any rate, the first one to occupy the bench had been the young girl and that young girl had explicitly freed up half for him.
Crossing his arms and legs, he closed his eyes───
……I can……not sleep like this.
Normally, he’d drop right into a dream immediately but it wouldn’t go so easily this time.
There was no need to say that the cause was the young girl beside him. While swinging her legs noisily, she kept stealing glances at him. It couldn’t be helped that he was conscious of that gaze from a while ago.
“What is it?”
“You, how long have you been doing that?”
“Mm. I don’t know. But since yesterday……I wonder where Eyri-nee went.”
The young girl’s shoulders drooped with sadness. She looked like she would smile not too long ago and now she looked like she was about to cry. It would’ve been best not to ask. Even with that thought, it was already in the past.
“Hey, since yesterday means……you’ve been here the entire night?”
“……Yuto doesn’t know how to go back home when it gets dark.”
There were few people who passed by here and no lighting that actually seemed like lighting. So she had been crouching here at this bench the entire night ────── was that it?
“Hey, hey, do you know Eyri-nee?” [T/N: That’s “ねえねえ” (neenee). I can’t think of any cute ways for a kid to get attention in English.]
She tugged on the left sleeve of his formal attire.
“Haa? There’s no way I’d know her.”
The young girl cast her head down in loneliness and sadness. Being looked at with sidelong expectant glances, Vaiel turned away without thinking.
……Damn it. Why are the Guards always like this.
Those Guards that shoulder the great duty of protecting the Priestesses from the Yuugenshu can’t even realize that there’s a troubled young girl this close to them.
……It’s always like that. The Guards around him were only creating strong units for the sake of promotion.
Nobody realized that this young girl was at a loss. Those who swore to protect the Priestesses were always staring up at the tower, forgetting to extend a hand to the people right before them.
“……That’s wrong, all wrong.”
Rather than becoming a hero as a Guard, a regular person was still a ‘person’.
Was that not the backbone of being a Guard?
He bit back the bitterness within his mouth.
“Hey, do you know Eyri-nee?”
“Ahhhhhhh, you’re noisy! Don’t look at me with those eyes!”
The sudden loud voice surprised Yuto and her shoulders drew back. Taking a glance at the young girl, Vaiel sighed deeply and stood up.
“Come on, you stand up too.”
“I’ll take you to the first floor’s lobby. They’ll understand if you make a tower-wide announcement.”
“I’ll find Eyri-nee?”
A complete turnabout from the sullen expression just before, the young girl’s eyes were sparkling.
“At any rate, let’s go.”
Nodding, she held out her right hand with a smile.
…………Don’t tell me, she wants to hold my hand?
“Damn it, nobody’s looking, right.”
Just in case, he looked around and finally grabbed that hand ────── the second he did grab it, the young girl’s body lifted gently into the air.
The young girl clung to his leg. It seemed that their heights were too different so holding hands would mean Yuto couldn’t reach the ground.
“Ah──, guess this is the consolation prize.”
This was convenient for him. But it seemed like she didn’t share the same opinion. She folded her arms in thought and then her face lit up.
“Piggyback! Yuto wants a piggyback!”
“……Hey, hey, hey, don’t get all worked up, brat. What kind of joke are you trying to pull on this Vaiel-sama.”
“Don’t just shorten people’s names like that; listen up, in the world, naive thinking like yours───”
“……I can’t get a piggyback?…………okay. Yuto will walk.”
The young girl trudged on ahead.
That back let off a feeling of loneliness even without words.
“………………Damn it, hey, wait a second!”
Grabbing her under both arms, he lifted her above his head like that in one motion.
Yuto flapped her arms as if trying to swim in the air. Ignoring her struggling in surprise, Vaiel placed her on his shoulders, completing the piggyback.
“There, now you have no complaints.”
“Waa! Thanks, Vaa-nii!”
“……I told you not to shorten people’s names so relaxedly.”
“Vaa-nii! Vaa-nii! Amazing──, it’s higher than Shel-nii!”
“…………Whatever already. Do as you like.”
Sighing for the umpteenth time in response to the high-spirited young girl on his shoulders, Vaiel walked towards the tower.
Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, 1st floor, the information lobby.
From guides for tourists to interview appointments, to taking care of lost children, dozens of people were usually present to fulfill these. Within the tower especially, it was a gigantic lobby packed with civilians.
“Hey, hey, I asked yesterday as well, but do you have any information?”
“Yuto-san, wasn’t it. Black hair with a white one-piece. Age is……”
The receptionist tapped on the search terminal.
Eyriey gazed at that screen as if to eat into it as she leaned against the window.
───Where did you go, Yuto?
Since noon yesterday, and as late into the night as possible, she had searched the tower to no avail.
Ever since she’d lost sight of her on the upper floors of the tower, a whole day had already passed. During that time, it was hard to imagine that she had wandered around inside the tower without anybody seeing her. She hoped that she was under somebody’s care though.
“It’s a pity, but no information has arrived.”
“I see, ……thanks.”
She closed her eyes while biting on her lower lip.
……Just where did she go this time?
Truthfully, this was not the first time Yuto had gone missing. She would periodically just not be there and no matter how much Sheltis and she searched for her, they wouldn’t find her.
But a few days later, she’d return all of a sudden with an energetic smile.
She wanted to believe that was the case this time as well but she couldn’t discard the possibility that she’d really become lost.
“Sheltis as well……I wonder if he won’t come soon.”
Having decided it would be difficult on her own, she had requested help from him not too long ago. She’d told him they’d meet up at the 1st floor’s information lobby, so he should be coming soon.
“Same as yesterday, if I find something out, I’ll contact Eyriey-san.”
“I’m counting on you. She’s a cute girl so I think you’ll know immediately. She has beautiful black hair that’s tied into two like twintails. Her clothes are also a pretty color so they should be readily recognizable.”
“Ah, it’s Eyri-nee──. Over there, there!”
“Yep, yep. It’s this feeling of ‘Eyri-nee〰’ that…………that”
She turned around and there was ─── the young girl with the features she’d just described to the receptionist, waving at her with a smile that covered her face.
“Eyri-nee! Waa, I’m glad. It’s Eyri-nee! Look, look, Vaa-nii.”
“……Mm, yeah. Here.”
The man that had been piggybacking Yuto until now let her down and and she ran towards Eyriey at full speed. Eyriey firmly hugged back the young girl that jumped at her chest with both arms spread.
“Yuto! I’m glad……where did you go?”
“Ehehe, Yuto doesn’t really know.”
“……Jeez. Though I expected that. Mm? Yuto, what are you holding?”
Yuto was holding something in her tiny hand.
One was candy wrapped in a vinyl bag and the other was a glass rendition of the tower’s mascot character ‘The Dusk Dragon <Arma>’. Either one was a souvenir sold at the entrance to the tower’s 1st floor.
“You know, you know, Vaa-nii bought them for me!”
Yuto pointed at the young man that had been piggybacking Yuto until not too long ago.
“You brought back Yuto? Really──, thanks. I was worried about where she got lost and was just in the middle of searching.”
“……She was wandering around the training grounds.”
The young man sighed with a tired expression. He was a tall young man with darkened golden hair that was cut short and his face was moderately tidy, but his expression of displeasure made all of it count for nil.
“The training grounds? Ah──, of course I couldn’t find her.”
“Well……I was searching for Shel-nii.”
“For Sheltis? Ah── I see, it would have been nice if you told me.”
And she knocked her own forehead against Yuto’s.
“Ehehe, sorry, Eyri-nee.”
“It’s fine if you understand. So, thank you as well. For guiding her, as well as for the candy and souvenir.”
“……That brat was whining about being hungry. It was just right for shutting her up.”
He scratched the back of his head, or so she thought. Fed up with doing that, he turned his back.
“Ah, wait! I didn’t get your name. As thanks───”
“I don’t need thanks, and it was nothing so major that I should name myself for it.”
Turning his face away, he was about to leave just like that.
That was when somebody else called the young man’s name.
Reddish brown frizzy hair and amiable eyes, a boy who wore an impressive black jacket ─── Sheltis stared over in their direction vacantly.
……Why was Vaiel with Eyriey and Yuto?
He turned his gaze to the smiling young girl.
He didn’t know the circumstances, but at any rate, he had found Yuto, right? ─── Before Sheltis could voice that Eyriey pointed at the young man beside her.
“And so, a kind person found Yuto.”
“That’s right, he went so far as to piggyback her and guide her. And even more than that, he bought candy for Yuto who was hungry and also a souvenir! Right?”
“……I didn’t do anything major.”
He turned his back towards them and headed towards the exit with quick steps as if running.
“Ah, wa-wait, Vaiel?”
Despite calling out to that back, there was no reply.
In contrast with he who had melded into the crowd of tourists and disappeared, they were left isolated in the lobby.
“Eyriey……I’m checking once again but Vaiel brought Yuto over?”
“That’s right. Wha──t, he’s an acquaintance of yours?”
“Well, if I had to say it, he is. It’s a complicated relationship.”
Perplexed, he was unable to answer, and Yuto poked his leg.
“Shel-nii, you know. Yuto was treated really gently by Vaa-nii!”
The path leading to the training grounds.
Running down the winding trail, he finally caught sight of Vaiel’s back.
“There he is. H-hey, wait a second. I have something I want to ask.”
“Ah? What is it, something where the punchline is that you’ve become a lost child now?”
His usual displeased face that looked over his shoulder and his voice didn’t have their usual force.
“……Are you possibly tired?”
“Taking care of that brat since morning, of course I’d get tired.”
……Then he really did look after Yuto.
“Ahh!? There’s no reason for you to thank me.”
“The two from just now are acquaintances of mine.”
Vaiel went silent with a scowl. His heart hurt slightly upon seeing that gesture.
───I thought he was just a lazy Cadet that found everything to be bothersome.
Same as the thoughts of those around him, I thought he was a ruffian with looks to fit the part.
But Kagura and Yuto.
……It’s because I think he’s a good person. Is that bad?
Shel-nii, you know. Yuto was treated really gently by Vaa-nii!
……Maybe I’ve overlooked the most important part of him?
“Say, Vaiel, you don’t usually participate in training, right?”
“Participate in training? That kind of thing is up to the person.”
“Not that, I was just wondering what you do when you’re not training.”
“Sleeping at noon.”
“And when you’re not sleeping at noon?”
Continuing wordlessly along the trail for a while, they stopped at a fork in the road. And then.
He muttered in an unusually quiet voice.
“Competing senselessly to become a Regular Guard or training more than anyone else to be stronger than everyone. Being enraptured in that all the time makes them miss the important things.”
“When you guys are training, who’s gonna look over a brat like just before?”
He stuck a hand in his formal attire’s pocket and continued on in a brusque manner.
“Train and form teams however much you want. But don’t push that stuff on me. If I’m not there, who will inspect the weapons’ storehouse? Who do you think will help a brat like the one just now?”
No words came out. It’s not that he was overwhelmed, his words just had that much meaning in them.
That meant basically───
While other Guards were training, he was inspecting the weapons’ storehouse?
While other Guards were forming units to get promoted, he was going around by himself and extending a helping hand to those in trouble like Yuto just now?
“You’ve……been doing those every day?”
“There’s nobody else who will do it other than me; that’s all it is.”
Being replied to so bluntly, Sheltis gasped.
……All alone……without anyone knowing, he’s been doing his best.
The usual training and missions which made up unit activities. He wouldn’t participate in the so-called activities of a guard as he let his sweat flow helping others in a place nobody else could see.
Rather than the Priestesses atop the tower, there is also a man that is influenced by ‘something‘ completely different.
……What Instructor Yumelda had spoken about was this.
It was different from himself who was aiming to fulfill the promise with a Priestess. [T/N: The furigana for 巫女 (priestess) is ユミィ (Ymy).]
The feelings of he who earnestly strived for the image of a Guard that he had described ─── they had certainly been conveyed.
Their respective goals were different but their fervent resolve……he felt that they resembled each other.
“……Well, I guess I should say sorry. I completely didn’t realize that you were working so hard.”
“Ahhh!? Don’t just flatter people when you feel like it; it feels bad.”
Vaiel threatened him with the usual sour look.
“Nope. I’m not flattering you, I’m serious.”
“So what are you saying?”
Sheltis cut in front of him and,
“I’ll also help next time. Not just in practice……Monica and Kagura will also help of their own accord if they learn what you’re doing.”
“Haa, you’re an idiot. I’ll pass on that even if I die.”
“You just don’t get it.”
And Vaiel turned his face to the day after tomorrow. [T/N: It’s literally 明後日 which is “the day after tomorrow” (two days later). I could replace it with “future” though.]
“You’re not a man if you get women involved in troublesome things. That’s why I said I’ll do it alone.”
“Sheltis, ……and Vaiel. Isn’t this rare seeing you two together?”
Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, public road.
Monica raised her hand at the fork leading to the outdoor training grounds.
“And, well……about yesterday, sorry for showing you an embarrassing side of myself.”
He looked at her for a little while after she finished saying that to start with───
“The thing about ‘Monica-senpai’?”
“Yeah……I didn’t think I’d meet her at a place like that.”
She nodded with her head downcast.
───I knew Monica would also be concerned about it.
It was only yesterday that she had been pressured by Ymy and ran away without saying anything but jumbled words.
He’d heard from Ymy that she was her senpai during her time as an apprentice Priestess but Sheltis was interested in what the key person, Monica, thought.
“Running out so suddenly like that, Ymy……did I offend the Priestess-sama?” [T/N: It sounds so damn weird with “-sama” attached, but 巫女 doesn’t usually get it tacked on in the novel. It also indicates that she’s separating their positions (and thus being kinda distant).]
“Nope, on the contrary, it looked like she wanted to talk with you more.”
Monica’s expression gradually shifted to a lonely smile.
“Monica doesn’t dislike that Priestess-sama either, right?”
“Of course. She’s an important Priestess-sama, ……and my former kouhai.” [T/N: Kouhai is the opposite of senpai. It’s just somebody that’s newer, lower-ranked, or otherwise somehow below the senpai.]
Little by little, with a tone that seemed like she was grasping the core of her memories, she recounted it for him.
“Three years ago when I quit as an apprentice Priestess, I didn’t tell her that I became a Cadet Guard. ……Somehow I had a feeling like I had betrayed her when we’d worked so hard together for so long……and it became hard to say. I wanted to inform her when I became at least a Regular Guard.”
“And like that, time passed by.”
“It’s a shameful story. ……My former kouhai is now a marvelous Priestess-sama.”
The fear within those grey eyes was clear. Envy from being surpassed by a kouhai ─── rather than that, Monica looked off somewhere far into the distance with a deeply complex gaze.
……I’m glad. She doesn’t hate Ymy.
“It would be great if you could talk even a little on the trip to the Governmental Sector.”
“Yeah. For that reason, we must win the final selection.”
She balled both of her hands into fists.
She stared straight at the location enclosed by wire mesh ──── the door that led to the outdoor training grounds.
From beside the door, Kagura greeted them, accompanied by her floating machine pearl <Machina>.
“Good morning. You’re here early, Kagura.”
“You’re just barely on time. Look, it’s really soon.”
Holding the machine pearl <Machina>, she turned around and what she pointed to was───
The figures of five people approaching from the direction of the training grounds. The female instructor and behind her were four Cadet Guards.
“Fumu, Monica’s unit is here as well. Then as planned, we’ll go over the details of the final selection and do the introduction of the examiner ─── and finally, we’ll do the member introductions as well.”
The instructor pointed the cigarette she was holding in her mouth at them.
Facing them at the head of his unit was a black-haired, young, male Cadet Guard.
His age could be around twenty. His was tall and lean, with a nice face of delicate features. Upon that was an ever-present benevolent smile. But his scornful and hostile eyes seemed like they would swallow someone up.
“Heeh? Are introductions necessary?” [T/N: へえ. It’s like lengthening “heh” except that the equivalent in English would be closer to “ohh”. The Japanese use おお and such for surprise (or sarcastic surprise), etc., so I like to actually keep this for distinction.]
With that haughty attitude, he laughed exaggeratedly in a surprised manner.
“Introductions or whatever, shouldn’t each side have already investigated the other team?”
“I’ve decided it’s necessary.”
“……Well, if the instructor says so.”
With one hand in the pocket of his formal wear, he looked over with a condescending gaze.
“I’m Nash. Nash G. Endolfin. It’s a pleasure. Do the other three also have to introduce themselves? Starting from the left, the one with the great sword is Kimberly, the heavy spear knight at the center is Lasdax and the shinryoku practitioner is the sole female of the group, Myun-fa.” [T/N: Names. Names. NAMES? Here we go. The leader is ナッシュ•G•エンドルフィン (nasshu G endorufin). Now the lackeys. First one is キンベリー (kinberi-). Second is ラスダックス (rasudakkusu). Third is ミュンファ (myunfa). Help?]
Nash shrugged his shoulders in an exaggerated motion.
“Though there’s no need to ask.”
Kukuu, came a slightly suppressed laugh.
“You’re the unit leader, Monica, right? That girl is Kagura, and he’s Sheltis. Behind that is Vaiel. The results of the first selection were publicly announced but being hit twice is an admirable number. You also wiped out your opponent in the second selection safely. The first battle was six minutes, fifteen seconds. The second was……what was it, Myun-fa?”
“Ten minutes, seven seconds.”
“That’s it. Those are also impressive numbers. Even though I thought you were just a mish-mash team to begin with. Passing the first selection and winning even the unit battle, and you even crushed Shandy’s team yesterday. Ah, Shandy’s the opponent you fought with in the unit battles yesterday. If it went as expected, I thought we’d be battling them in the final selection.”
……They’d done some detailed research.
Without it showing up on his face, Sheltis was applauding them in his heart.
Their speech was superficial and arrogant. But opposite that, one could see that they were a team that was serious, meticulous and didn’t slack on gathering information about their opponent’s unit.
“Nash, are you done talking?”
The instructor’s expression remained unchanged.
“The participants in the final screening are these two units. That’s all. After this is the explanation from the examiner.”
The instructor waved her suit and a single Regular Guard came in to replace her.
Her dazzling blonde hair was tied into two locks behind her head. The girl with two reddish brown eyes adorning her lovely face was wearing the normal formal clothes, but the lower half was a skirt.
Seeing the figure he recognized, Sheltis reflexively called that name.
“Good day, Cadet Guards, I am this time’s examiner, I’sa.”
But she only cast a glance in his direction and continued on as if she didn’t know him.
“It’s eight people as planned. Well, it would be out of the question to be late here.”
She said that with a glance and deeply meaningful smile.
“Well then, let’s get to the details of the final selection ─── the final selection isn’t like the tests of battle strength until just now, it will measure the strength of your coordination as a unit. The theme will be patrolling of the nature district mission. I’ll be going along with you to check you all out in detail.”
……So it’s a patrol mission as I thought.
The last selection being a test of coordinated strength was a standard of sorts. Even within the types available, a Regular Guard would go out on a patrol mission periodically so it was easy to make it into a test for measuring the aptitude of Cadet Guards.
“The duration is three days. After completing your preparations, assemble at noon. The finer instructions will be passed on aboard the transport. Any questions?”
Out of the eight people there, no hands were raised. Having decided there were no questions, I’sa narrowed her eyes slightly.
“If there are no questions, then I’ll just give you one warning. ……Unit leader, Nash G. Endolfin. That haughty attitude is not befitting of a Cadet Guard. I advise you to rework it.”
“Oh my, and here I had the intention of listening seriously.”
The young male unit leader shrugged his shoulders with a scoffing expression.
“Even though while I was explaining, you had your eyes closed and were frivolously smiling? Then I’d like you to understand your position better.”
“Position……position, is it.”
Being glared at by a Regular Guard who was his superior, Nash’s slight smile still didn’t vanish.
“That’s about you, isn’t it. The failure of a younger sister whose older sister is much too exemplary, right?”
“It has nothing to do with onee-sama. I am the examiner here and I have no intention of borrowing from my sister’s prestige. I’ll continue the test fairly and impartially.”
“Then that’s fine. Well then, there are preparations to be made for tomorrow, so we’ll excuse ourselves here.”
Nash’s group made their exit from the gathering of guards. After confirming he couldn’t see his back, Sheltis made eye contact with I’sa who was still there.
“Is now okay?”
“For what, I wonder?”
“Umm……see, ……various things.”
About the wound she sustained from the battle with Maha. About her partner, the dual gun wielding Jin. About her position as the examiner this time. There were too many things he wanted to ask about so he didn’t know which to begin from.
“Fool, get things straight in your head before you start speaking.”
I’sa sighed after folding her arms. It was not the attitude she took on as an examiner but the confident and high-handed one that Sheltis knew.
“Umm……well then, starting from that one case.”
“The Maha case? I was only injured slightly to begin with and Jin’s recovery is going well. If it’s about how I’m the examiner this time, I made the request myself. Jin’s in rehabilitation at any rate.”
“Heeh, that’s rare. You yourself said that you wanted to be the examiner?”
Even though the job of an examiner required time and effort.
“Well, the Cadet Guards that pass this exam are the ones that will be traveling together with onee-sama to the Governmental Sector, right? I don’t want to let some unknown person travel together with onee-sama, so I thought I should choose who it would be myself.”
“Your onee-sama will be traveling together……traveling together?”
He repeated I’sa’s words several times with a cocked head. The ones going on the trip to the Governmental Sector were Ymy, the clerk of the General Affairs Bureau and the Cadres Guard. That would mean that I’sa’s onee-san would be one of those people.
Then who would it be……
“Heeh. I’sa’s onee-san is a clerk in the tower?”
“What kind of stupid things are you saying. She’s the Cadres Guard, the Cadres Guard. The Guard closest to the Sennenshi.”
Suddenly, Leon’s warning came back to him.
“Be careful. They’re someone who’ll figure out your true identity if you act carelessly.”
“You also know the person who’s at the summit of the elite guards right now. You’ll understand if I say it’s ‘Jelshuvessa’ whom you’ve competed with countless times.”
“What’s not possible?”
“No, well……you can’t possibly be that Ishtar‘s……little sister?”
“Oh, so you know. Well, onee-sama is famous so that much is assured.”
I’sa puffed her chest with satisfaction.
“……I’ve somehow come to an understanding.”
There were many females Guards but there were only a handful amongst the Elite Guards which were in the upper echelons. However, within that handful, there were periodically female Guards that were hiding power enough to crush a male Elite Guard.
───The one at the top of all that was Ishtar Is Ismael. [T/N: イシュタル•イス•イスマエル (ishutaru isu isumaeru). Yeah.]
I’sa had also affirmed her with the lofty title of “onee-sama”. That was just how powerful her older sister was, standing far above even amongst the Guards.”
“Well, let’s put that aside. I’m glad, with I’sa as the examiner, I can be at ease. If it was a Regular Guard I didn’t know watching, I’d feel awkward.”
“……As naive as always. But it was true that I will be judging fairly.”
I’sa thrust her extended finger out at him.
“It’s a test to travel together with onee-sama. I have no intention of favoring you just because I know you. I will be evaluating you Cadet Guards as the examiner. Remember that.”
He stared down that finger and look straight on. Exchanging glances with Monica and Kagura, Sheltis was representing the unit in their stead.
“I know, we also have the intention of doing our best fair and square.”
“Fun, then that’s fine. Try your best.”
I’sa snorted and turned around. She then headed off.
“And with that, the gathering has come to an end. I’m heading back first.”
“H-hey, wait, Vaiel. We’re going to discuss the strategy going into the final selection now.”
Monica held back Vaiel who was about to leave.
“I’m sleepy. I’ll just listen to the results of the meeting afterwards.”
“That’s kind of selfish───”
Just before Monica raised her voice, Sheltis cut in between them.
“Wa……wait, wait, Monica! Sorry, just forgive him today!”
She blinked with a puzzled and lovely dumbfounded expression.
“I’ll pass on the details of the meeting to Vaiel later. Okay?”
“……If Sheltis is going to go that far, fine.”
Monica assented with an unsatisfied look.
“But what happened? If there’s a reason, I’d like to know.”
“Eh……well, if you insist and Vaiel runs away here, it’d also be a problem.”
Without mentioning the thing about Yuto in the early morning, he pulled through with a deceptive smile.
……Absolutely do not talk about it, huh.
……Even though he’s doing such great things all alone, he won’t tell anyone.
An almost painful silence and a chill that seemed to even freeze the air currents.
The holy room in the tower which bound heaven ─── floor 281, the Cathedral.
The room’s ritual equipment shone with a brass color and stars and the moon adorned the stained glass. The ceiling’s deep blue mural mimicked the azure sky.
Ymy stood there completely alone with her eyes closed.
Immersing herself in the silence, she felt the passage of time with her entire body as she faced the heavens.
[Unto me, all the wishes that of which I am able……]
[ele So Phi-a-s Arma-Riris]
Her lips chanted the release preface that indicated the activation of power. In an instant, overflowing crimson particles shrouded Ymy’s body that was clothed in pure whites vestments.
Crimson, that was the shine for Shinryoku of those that were specialized in baptism. [T/N: 洗礼 literally means “baptism”. Keep it?]
The power to purify mateki.
“You don’t need complicated prayers for the purification types. The release of shinryoku. That is everything, the pinnacle.”
Those were the words of her senior Priestess, Meimel.
Releasing the shinryoku within herself and purifying mateki. Just that. What determined its effectiveness was neither the shinryoku wavelength nor technique. The reason she who excelled in potential was reputed as the Baptism Priestess even amongst Priestesses was for this reason.
───I thought I would do my best.
Syun-rei was of the territory type and Meimel was proficient in barrier rituals.
───I thought even I had done my best to not bring shame to the name of the Baptism Priestess.
───But only the mateki residing within Sheltis is…………
The mateki that had taken root within the body of her childhood friend was the only one she couldn’t do anything about.
Elbert Resonance ─── a phenomenon where sufficiently strong mateki and shinryoku of roughly the same strength would repel each other and, distorting the laws of physics, would give off powerful light and flames.
“Ymy, awaken the possibility that is only available to you.” [T/N: I think it’s worth mentioning that she uses the word 開花 (kaika) which means to “bloom (a flower)”.]
There is a method to overcome Elbert Resonance. And it’s closely related to the “form” of my shinryoku. Queen Salah taught me that.
……But what is it.
……I wonder why there’s a connection between the “form” of my shinryoku and Elbert Resonance. Syun-rei taught me that my “shape” is a “flower bud”.
The crimson amaryllis flower, she said.
……Hmm, but speaking of crimson.
“The same color as the light of baptism……? Is that just a coincidence……?”
The color of shinryoku that indicated baptism and the color of her “form” was the same.
Crimson, it might become a clue.
It was no good, thinking about things with a possible relation, nothing was coming to mind. Even if she turned everything she had learned as an apprentice Priestess upside-down, the word “amaryllis” had never come out in her studies of shinryoku.
“Really? You really don’t remember anything?”
A voice she didn’t recognize suddenly came from right behind her.
She turned around as if having been repelled───
Over there was a gigantic dark purple brilliance that filled her vision. Wrapped in a dark purple mist, it was a strange beast whose crimson eyes were shining.
“Yuugenshu!? N-no way……how is it in this sanctuary?”
Yuugenshu had infiltrated this Cathedral once one month ago during the great infiltration where the Yuugenshu had penetrated Hyouketsu Kyoukai. ……It couldn’t be that it had hidden here at that time?
There was no leeway to think about why the Yuugenshu was here. At any rate, activate a spell to protect herself───
■ ■, …… ■, ■ ■ ■, ■ …… ■ …… ■ ■ ■■■, ■, ■ …… ■
Oe/ Dia = U hiz gazzinis sis wei sighn. Quo zess wiz xes kyele.
The smoke covering the Yuugenshu’s body gave off an amethyst-like glow. The glow gave off became light and the light formed bands of light that were thinner than hair.
The activation of mateki.
───Not good……the spell won’t make it in time!?
The light spread out in concentric circles with the beast at the center and the floor that came into contact with the light was progressively decaying ─── without completing a defense spell or baptism spell for attack, Ymy was swallowed up by the mateki’s light.
She resolved herself for death.
There was no pain. From her experiences with being bathed in mateki, there were a dreadful nausea and pain inflicted. But there was none of that just now. ……Why?
She timidly opened her eyes.
Before her was the glow of the Cathedral that hadn’t changed until just a little while ago. The floor and walls that should have been invaded by the mateki and decayed hadn’t changed a bit and the ceiling’s ornament was also being bathed in light.
More than that, the figure of the Yuugenshu was nowhere to be seen. Exactly where did───
“Did the illusion just now appear real?”
She now turned to the voice that came from directly to her side.
“……Who are you?”
Shiny deep black ─── a girl with jet black long hair was there.
She wore form-fitting black vestments with a silver jacket. Her age appeared to be twenty three or twenty four. She didn’t seem much older but that profound smile on her face……it was like sharp and beautiful like a drawn blade that had been completed over a great deal of time. [T/N: It says jacket in katakana. The picture near the front makes it look more like a muffler or manteau. Apparently everything that goes over your shirt is a jacket to the author.]
“Me? I am───”
She combed her ruffling hair with her hand and turned her amber eyes towards Ymy.
Even now, her voluptuous twin mounds that seemed like they would spill out, tightly bound waist, and expanding out once again, her waist, formed a bewitching figure which was visible even with her vestments. Her devilish silhouette was to the point where she, who was of the same sex, also gasped. [T/N: Silhouette given in katakana. Kanji are 体型美. Body, form and beauty.]
“Tsali, that is my name. I also do not mind ‘Master of Heaven’.” [T/N: She says 主天. First is “master” or “lord”. Second is “heaven” or “sky”.]
Chuckle, chuckle. Her lips that wore black lipstick were laughing a little.
It was a name she’d never heard before. No, to begin with, was she really someone from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>? She was wearing something that resembled the tower’s vestments but Ymy had never seen vestments with such a personalized design like that.
“The Yuugenshu just now was an illusion, is what you said, right?”
“An illusion of paradise. Everything is a portion of the [Forbidden Crystal]’s memories and I merely gave it form.”
Her heart thumped strongly for an instant.
……Wh-what? What was that feeling?
An illusion of paradise, as well as that Forbidden Crystal. ……I don’t really get it. But the instant I heard those two terms, something suddenly grew restless within me.
“J-just now……you did something, didn’t you!”
Pressing down on her pulsating chest, Ymy glared at her, but she just laughed while feigning ignorance.
“Nope, I’ve done nothing. I’ve simply hummed the key to this world. You just reacted to it on your own ────── your shinryoku resonated with those names.”
Holding out her left fist, Tsali turned to the ceiling and opened her palm.
A lovely glass ware fell down. Carved from the dark purple crystal was a small winged dragon. She recognized it; it was the souvenir sold at Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s lobby.
It was the tower’s mascot, [Dusk Dragon <Ama>]. Why did she bring out that kind of silly thing?
“This is really interesting. While I wasn’t looking, they sold this kind of thing at the tower.”
The small glass dragon sat upon the palm of her hand. It was nothing but a souvenir that anybody could get but she was gazing at it lovingly with half-closed eyes.
“Is there……somebody about that?”
“I bought it. Together with a bag full of candy.”
“Well, that’s fine. What I was saying was interesting was how this dragon became Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s mascot, even though nobody remembers its origin ────── is what it means, Priestess-sama. Rather, Ymy. Ymy Ele Soufflenictole.”
“……What do you mean?”
“I mean that you’re the only one who hasn’t changed a bit from three years ago.”
Her chest experienced a squeezing pain. Different from the heartbeat just now, it was like the sharp pain from having a blade thrust in there. She clenched her fists but that wasn’t enough so she bit together her molars.
“……I am……truly not up to par but”
“You’re doing your utmost as a Priestess? Doing your best has caused growth? That’s also an illusion; the training your devote your body to is a meaningless virtual image. It’s a virtual image that has no reflection in a mirror.”
“Th……that’s not true!”
But Tsali seemed to have been waiting for those words as her smile grew wider and,
“Have you noticed that the world around you is undergoing a rapid change?”
“The boy that fell to the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> has returned to the floating continent. Hyouketsu Kyoukai was penetrated, even if only for a moment, resulting in a large-scale invasion. Also, the cultivation tank found at the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. These have all occurred within roughly the same time frame. What if they’re all connected?”
……I really wonder who she is.
Incidents that should only by privy to the Priestesses of the tower were known to her to this extent.
“The world is in flux. Even though you are at the center of that vortex, you haven’t realized it. That’s why I’m here. ……That’s right, it’s a good occasion for the frozen time to begin moving.”
Tsali slowly opened her right fist.
“Change. The stimulus for your shinryoku to bloom will definitely not be strong enough. That’s why I shall impart it to you. In place of that restless Queen, I will teach you the melody you do not know.”
What was laying within her hand was a scarlet crystal fashioned to look like a flower petal.
─── [Keinez <Red Song>] ───
She hummed something.
In that instant, light was created. The scarlet crystal shattered into pieces and melded into the air, then each fragment spurned out torrents of richly colored light.
The lights illuminating the Cathedral converged and drew a single figure.
……Wha……what is this.
Before her eyes, the lights had converged to form a door.
“The beginning is a thousand years ago at the illusionary paradise. Now, Ymy Ele Soufflenictole ─── when you have seen the world as it was before Hyouketsu Kyoukai was erected, what will be your impressions?” [T/N: This was translated wrong in the preview. I do better with context ><.]
From the door of light came forth strong luminance akin to dawn───
Then Ymy lost consciousness.
The sky was burning bright red.
Pressing down on her dizzy head, Ymy shakily got to her feet.
She had fallen onto a field she had never seen before……looking around, she could see water fountains and a benches, and numerous slides were erected over sand hills.
“A nature park?”
Tall trees had been planted that encircled the park and were probably a replacement for a barricade. Even deeper than that, about a hundred metres ahead of where she stood were a line of large structures.
If it was a park within the city, then there were numerous ones around Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>. ……There were, but she had never seen this one. And what she was curious about was,
“……The sky is kind of scary.”
Looking up at the sky, she unconsciously grimaced. The clouds were large and black, with the sky a blood-like red. It was like the end of this world ─── the sky carried that kind of atmosphere.
……Where is this?
She had been talking with the woman called Tsali and then the world a thousand years ago……she had said she would show her the world before Hyouketsu Kyoukai had been erected. When she came to, she had fallen here.
A dream? A hallucination? No, that wasn’t it. The solidity of the ground, the smell of the air, the feel of the clouds. It was unthinkable for them to be a hallucination. It was unmistakably the real world. But no matter what power was used, this kind of───
Thinking about that would come later. She had to search for a way to return from here for now.
“Emergency notice, emergency notice.”
At the same time she put out one foot, a warning suddenly came.
“Yuugenshu battalion approaching from the northern skies.
Those living in the Living Sector, please evacuate to the shelters.”
……Yuugenshu, it can’t be!
An instinctual commotion pressured her chest. Reflexively, Ymy looked up at the sky.
The bright red sky and the sparse black clouds. One portion of those clouds was being torn to pieces unnaturally……it was strange. In these windless conditions, there was no way a cloud would move like that.
“I repeat, a Yuugenshu battalion is approaching.
Those living in the Living Sector, please evacuate to the shelters.”
The change was sudden. The second she thought the torn black clouds had ceased moving ────── it fell in a straight line to the ground.
As I thought!
That was not a cloud mist, and that thing which was shrouded in a dark purple mist was.
The attacker from the skies fell to the park’s field.
The corruption of mateki. The ground where the Yuugenshu landed boiled and decayed.
“……That time’s commander!”
Biting her lips together and waving her vestments, she glared at the Yuugenshu that had descended.
A pair of wings and four massive limbs as well as the lizard head which protruded out of the dark purple mist.
She recalled that appearance that resembled a dragon’s. There was no way she could forget. It was the Yuugenshu commander of the great invasion.
■ ■, …… ■, ■ ■ ■, ■ …… ■ …… ■ ■ ■, ■, ■ …… ■
Oe/ Dia = U hiz gazzinis sis wei sighn. Quo zess wiz xes kyele.
Out from the Yuugenshu’s mouth came a curse-like sound.
Dark purple light swirled like a vortex and gathered towards the Yuugenshu, then suddenly expanded several hundred metres.
[Unto me, all the wishes that of which I am able……]
[ele So Phi-a-s Arma-Riris]
Lifting her spirit, she offered a prayer of baptism that resisted mateki. Following the release chant, scarlet particles wrapped around her───
“! Ky, aa!”
Being pushed back by the surge of mateki, she was blown backwards. Blown back around ten metres, she slammed hard into the large trees lining the park.
She’d lost in a simple comparison of strength between shinryoku and mateki? That……shouldn’t be……until now, that had never happened once.
She couldn’t breathe because of the intense pain on her back.
───This is bad……the next mate……ki……I need to……focus my consciousness.
Calm Mind. [T/N: 心鎮 is literally “heart/mind” and “weight”. However, the second kanji is also part of 鎮まる which something goes quiet. It comes together to be like “settling of the heart/mind”.]
She forcefully separated her mind from the harsh pain of her body and focused only on the shinryoku spell.
It was a posture with both knees and both hands on the ground. In addition, her face was raised. Her vision was blurry but she still forced them open and glared at the Yuugenshu.
……I am……a Priestess, ……so there’s no way I can lose.
She prepared a spell to defend against the next mateki───
But the [next] didn’t come no matter how long she waited.
Paying no attention to her, the Yuugenshu spread its wings and flew off. ……Why did it leave even though I’m still fine? The Yuugenshu should have known that much as well.
───Tosaa. [T/N: It’s a light impact on the ground.]
From directly to her side came a light sound of something falling to the ground. Another Yuugenshu? She spun towards the injured body. Over there was not the comrades of the strange beast.
The one who had fallen face up on the field was a single person……a boy of about ten years old. The fiber of his clothes was tattered and his skin that went in and out of view was being corrupted by an ominous dark purple speck.
───It wasn’t mateki aimed at me.
She had been surprised leading to her realizing it too late: the Yuugenshu had been aiming at this kid from the start. That’s why, having accomplished its goal, it had flown away.
……At any rate, I should purify him.
Changing the target of the spell that had been aimed at the Yuugenshu, she chanted a spell that would bless the target she was in contact with.
O seven colors of the interweaving dream
Yu/ ubinis ole = C kis tih Ies.
“……You’ll be fine.”
Holding the fallen boy, she embraced him.
The slumbering spring’s rest is at an end, wishing, the augite that awakens with the path.
mios huda yum xeph fel hypne shel sephat, xephnis wision.
Now in this place, the accumulated songs of praise, the quivering pulsations, arrive at the heavenly sound.
mehnes nelar, Ee toga-s-sia vea clar = C nelves zahl tis kyel Sophit.
“I will……heal you.”
The touching skin, the body heat she could feel and her own.
The scarlet light that was blessing her was passed through her arms to the boy.
The pouring drops, lovingly fill and run towards the fated time.
kei yum lisy r-blow-s-miel xins clue Is-Ye-fio missin.
O wishes, become the path of thousands of hopes.
Ris sia sophia, shel evoia steras tis lef ilis.
The dark purple light that was eating away at the boy. The scarlet light that was purifying that curse.
The two lights swirled together like a vortex.
───For the time the world is filled with prayers, I sing.
Yu/ Se = C clar fears valen r-miel noi I.
And then the scarlet light───
The scarlet light was reflected by the dark purple light and unilaterally destroyed.
Not understanding what had happened, she seriously doubted her eyes.
“……No way……you’re kidding, right?……”
My baptism spell had no effect? There’s no way it was rejected like with Sheltis. The shinryoku was certainly penetrating the mateki’s barrier. But for it to be deflected……
She had seen a phenomenon like this many times.
Those who just became an apprentice Priestess had been repelled just like this when they tried to purify mateki.
The reason was just that their specs were too low. Even if a film were taken in high quality, if the television was of low quality, the picture quality would become low quality ─── even if the amount of shinryoku was sufficient, there was no meaning if the spell could not match up with it.
……I made the same mistake as an apprentice Priestess?
It was the same just before. Her defense spell had lost to the mateki. And if she considered the phenomenon with the baptism spell just now, one idea came to mind. It was an idea simpler than anything.
The Yuugenshu’s mateki is surpassing my shinryoku as a Priestess?
Her defense spells were of no help and her baptism spells were being treated completely like a child.
……That, that kind of thing.
……Until now……even though I’ve done my best in training……while shedding tears…………
While holding the child that had lost consciousness, she lost her strength and fell to her knees.
The penetration of the mateki eating away at the boy wasn’t stopping. His body turning completely dark purple was proof that his body’s cells were in necrosis from the mateki infection. Even so, all she could do was watch.
This is, this is──────
“When you have seen the world as it was before Hyouketsu Kyoukai was erected, what will be your impressions?”
This was the world a thousand years ago.
Before Hyouketsu Kyoukai was erected, it was a matter of course that Yuugenshu as fearsome as this were running rampant.
“………………I don’t like this.”
Biting her lips together enough to spurt blood, she wiped away the tears in her eyes.
……I don’t like it.
She definitely did not want to give up.
Because the world was like this, someone was necessary. Because the world was like this, Priestesses were necessary. If the Priestesses gave up, everything would end. ……That’s why I won’t give up.
She gathered power once again in the hand holding the boy.
She was about to start the baptism chant again but Ymy’s mouth froze in an open position.
A rumble shook the ground and a gigantic [something] roared.
A slight pain could be felt on her skin as the ground swayed. It wasn’t because of the shaking, it was because of the overwhelming pressure given off by that which was closing in. Even though she still couldn’t see it.
It’s there and ─── it’s coming!
The moment she felt that, that appeared from the space between the structures in the park.
Reaching even the buildings that were about ten floors tall, it was an unheard-of enormous Yuugenshu.
Her eyes met with its crimson eyes that were as large as people.
Her body wouldn’t move. The moment their eyes met, she had been went stiff like she’d been paralyzed.
───I can’t win.
───I can’t……no, humanity cannot win against this monster.
Time did not move until her body, her heart, and her instincts told her such. Even the Yuugenshu just before had a size and pressure that was out of the question. More than anything, the shine of that mateki that covered it was like a solar eclipse that blotted out the sun. It was enough to cover the sky.
……It looks like……I won’t be able to help you.
Holding onto the boy whom the mateki was eating away at, she couldn’t do anything but look up at the Yuugenshu.
■ ■, …… ■, ■ ■ ■, ■ …… ■ …… ■ ■ ■■■, ■, ■ …… ■
Oe/ Dia = U hiz gazzinis sis wei sighn. Quo zess wiz xes kyele.
The roar of the Yuugenshu. That mateki shook the sky and released a brilliant and mysterious shine.
The ring of light enveloped Ymy and the boy in the park───
Holding the boy tightly, she shut her eyes. No, the instant she was about to close them, somebody flew out in front of her.
Come now, let us offer up all the promised children.
Elma sia Risis ele Selahphenoria
The girl whose mysteriously colored hair was flapping in the wind chanted.
Like silk thread of seven colors, the ruffling hair changed its beautiful color.
Crystal colored ─── with a transparent silvery white like ice as its base, the parts touched by light shone with a mix of pearl and gold.
The brilliant and gentle shinryoku light activated before the mateki arrived.
A barrier type shinryoku spell?
The mateki’s shine that shrouded the world was rejected by the light barrier. That instant.
Blue-white sparks that made one think of a lightning flash surged from the barrier’s border.
……It’s the same as with Sheltis and I.
Even forgetting the situation, her eyes were drawn in by the shining sparks before her eyes.
Elbert Resonance, a miracle phenomenon that only occurred when sufficiently strong mateki and shinryoku collided. That’s happening between that unheard-of Yuugenshu and that girl?
The mateki and barrier were mutually annihilated.
The Yuugenshu that understood its attack had been blocked was visibly disturbed. In that momentary instant, the girl once again spun shinryoku release chants.
[Unto me, the only wish of which I am capable……]
[Yu/ ris-ia Sophie, Arma-Selah]
It was an azure light barrier that continued out to the horizon.
The light ring bound the Yuugenshu’s movements and next a spear of light that shone golden pierced it, fastening it to the ground. Lastly, the azure barrier shifted from that color to scarlet ─── it changed to the color of baptism which was most effective of the Yuugenshu.
She couldn’t say anything other than that.
Azure was the color of barriers. Golden brilliance indicated an advent spell, and last was a large-scale blast of baptism.
A combination spell of three different types of systems. With that much of a range, that powerfully. And it was activated with only one phrase of a release chant.
“That child appears to be contaminated by mateki. Shall I purify him?”
Letting her transparent crystal hair flow, the girl turned back towards her.
She was wearing a modest and plain shirt and skirt. Her shoulders and body were slim to the point that they looked like they’d break, and her height was roughly the same as Syun-rei. She wasn’t even in her later tens. As best, she was thirteen or fourteen.
There were two reasons she was mumbling. Her unfulfilled promise with her baptism having no effect. Also ─── her gaze was stolen by the girl’s gem-like cuteness.
Her moist eyes which were tinged with sorrow were a vivid lapis lazuli color.
Her skin was a transparent white like white porcelain, smooth and slim without a single blemish. Her looks were lovely and ephemeral, her figure enough to allow one to see a fairy.
……Just who is this girl?
“The spell, I’ll do it.”
Looking over at Ymy who was holding tight the boy, the girl said that in a moderate tone.
“The necrosis has started so he may act up. Hold down that child like that.”
The girl kneeled down on the field and sung the same release chant.
[Unto me, the only wish of which I am capable……]
[Yu/ ris-ia Sophie, Arma-Selah]
This is her release chant?
Is it a coincidence?……it feels like it greatly resembles my release chant. And this voice, it feels like I’ve heard it somewhere. And not just once or twice, it feels like I’ve been hearing it all the time as of late.
“It seems fine already.”
She looked back at the boy. The venomous dark purple speck had disappeared and his skin had returned to its original color. There was a slight spot with necrosis but he would be saved with a surgical procedure.
“You are a kind person, aren’t you.”
Having that said all of a sudden, Ymy blinked in surprise.
“This child didn’t act up at all to the end. He’s calmed down a lot. I think your feelings have definitely been transmitted.”
“……Ah, i-is……that so. I was focusing so hard……”
But she was happy. She had almost become depressed by herself who couldn’t do anything and she felt that that would be mitigated by a single phrase.
“U-um……what’s your name?”
Please let me hear your name. She was about to say that but realizing the presence behind the girl, she felt a chill throughout her whole body. ───This pressure.
The Yuugenshu with the unheard-of gigantic body lifted its body that had been broken down and stood once again. It had become a more brutal wounded beast. The dark purple shine overflowed from its entire body.
“Be-behind you! It’s not over”
Perceiving the beast with a sidelong glance, the girl told her this quietly.
“It’s already over.”
A light from the heavens cleaved the Yuugenshu into two clean halves.
A sound like glass shattering. The Yuugenshu’s massive body fragmented into light particles and proceeded to annihilation like the dispersal of the leftover shinryoku.
This girl had done nothing. It shouldn’t be that the Yuugenshu had suicided. If so.
“Shasa, are you okay?” [T/N: Yes, even the kanji match up.]
A silver-haired girl wearing a light-emitting mechanical outfit.
She seemed to be slightly taller than Ymy with about the same age. Her dignified voice and expressionless face that couldn’t be read were strangely suited to each other. That kind of girl was standing there.
“Of course. Rather than that, how about that side? Is the evacuation of civilians complete?”
Shasa ─── the girl with crystal hair smiled.
“Comparing the digital map with the residents’ register, 98% evacuation was confirmed. The remaining civilians have been left up to the guidance members. We’ll now be moving from raids to full annihilation.”
The silver-haired girl held up her right hand. Unbefitting of a girl in her teens, she was holding a massive great sword that far surpassed her in height.
……Don’t tell me the one who cleaved the Yuugenshu in half just now was this girl?
……Furthermore, with that great sword?
“Is a battle status report necessary?”
Shasa nodded and the silver-haired girl continued onto the second part.
“That mid-size Yuugenshu just now was the last one in the city. However, we’re picking up readings of 1700 Yuugenshu in the northern airspace. About this, I have judged that I alone am enough to clean them up. The expected time for annihilation is 17,200 seconds later at 4:30 PM.”
“You do that and I’ll purify the parts of the city that are corrupted.”
“Yes. However, due to the distortion in the airspace, large types are expected to appear in eight hours. From the response, there will be two. They are expected to both possess the melody <code> [Black Song].”
“……Two of them is troublesome. Will we be splitting them between us two?”
Shasa’s expression increased in severity.
This was the girl that had dealt with a Yuugenshu of that calibre carelessly.
“Yes. It’s redundant, but a Yuugenshu in possession of the “Black Song” will render barrier type, advent type, territory type and worship type shinryoku completely ineffective. Please counter it with only baptism type spells.”
“I know. We can’t lose……let’s show those invaders what it looks like when humans get serious. ───And speaking of which.”
Shasa casually tilted her head with an adorable face.
“How about Yuto? What happened with her?”
“She is engaged in battle with the pack of invaders at the western airspace. There are also those possessing the “Black Song” over there but she said to help the fourteen year old child rather than her.”
Shasa turned her face away with a pout that was a youthful action befitting of her age.
“……Unfortunately, I have no idea who that could be about.”
“Is there a need to answer?”
“I don’t need it. ───Then let’s meet up eight hours later; I’ll designate the location shortly. I’m counting on you, [Machine God Mikuva]-san.”
Shasa smiled teasingly.
On the other end, the silver-haired girl whose expression could not be read shifted her scarlet eyes and,
“I believe I have introduced myself as Ilis before?”
……Ilis? She said Ilis.
……Also, just now……Machine God Mikuva……what exactly does that……
“Well then, we’ll be going now.”
Being glanced at by Shasa, Ymy hurriedly fixed her posture.
“I’m sorry, I still have things to do. The Yuugenshu in the city have been wiped out by Ilis, so it’s safe. It is safe to return to your house so”
“Wa-wait! Umm, you all are──────”
She reached out towards the two who were leaving.
She reached out.
There, Ymy’s consciousness paused once again.
A cool feeling against her cheek. When Ymy came to, she was lying face down on the floor.
“This is……the Cathedral?”
She absent-mindedly rubbed her closed eyes. The brass-colored ritual implements, azure sky ceiling, the chill that wrapped the entire room. Without a doubt, it was the Cathedral she was very familiar with.
…………What was that……just now?
No, her memories were too vivid for a dream and there was this sense of fatigue. It felt like she had just traveled the boundary between a dream and the present.
“That’s right, that person───”
The woman whose background was unknown and went by the name of Tsali. The person responsible for showing her this thing that she distinguish as a dream or reality. It was best to ask her. However.
“……She’s not here?”
Ymy sprung up and looked around but there was no trace of her.
It was like a mirage or heat haze. In that case, maybe everything including her existence was a dream? She took a deep breath with her hand on her chest.
At that moment, she looked at her own vestments by chance and her breath stopped.
“───! This is……”
A part of the flank of the vestments was slightly torn.
When did it tear? Yesterday? No, the maintenance was left to a seamstress specialized in vestments. She wouldn’t have ignored damage this large and Ymy herself would have noticed if she tore a hole this large.
In that case, it was torn today and furthermore───
“Being pushed back by the surge of mateki, she was blown backwards. Blown back around ten metres, she slammed hard into the large trees lining the park.”
“No way……that can’t”
She stared down at her feet while shocked stiff. There was mud clinging to the tips. If this was also something that stuck on when she collapsed during the battle with the Yuugenshu, then it made sense.
“It wasn’t a dream……?”
Ymy fell to her knees and placed her hand on the ground in blank amazement.
It was all real. That world and what she saw?
“……That was the world a thousand years ago.”
The world without Hyouketsu Kyoukai. A world threatened by Yuugenshu that held a power which couldn’t be imagined in present times. It was harsher, more ruthless, laden with despair ────── but those two.
The girls named Shasa and Ilis had fought.
“Let’s show those invaders what it looks like when humans get serious.”
Even in that harsh of a world, they were still fighting with all they had.
Filled with fervent passion and serenity, they were both heated and cool.
……That was probably all true.
She didn’t know who the woman called Tsali was nor her true purpose for showing her the scene just now.
But what she had seen in that world ─── the two girls, Shasa and Ilis, fighting Yuugenshu to save someone, had not been a lie. She felt that.
She breathed in the frozen air and exhaled.
“I am…………an idiot.”
At the base of her heart, she still had naive views about how fearsome Yuugenshu were.
She had thought that they were safe so long as the priestesses prayed to maintain Hyouketsu Kyoukai. But that was wrong: at the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> that lay beneath the barrier, Yuugenshu that were beyond the imagination of the current world lurked. There was no doubt that they were biding time until the day the barrier was destroyed.
Protecting the world from those monsters was the duty of the Priestesses.
……I am still lacking that power.
……I have to become strong. In mind and body, and in shinryoku.
If she didn’t, she couldn’t help Sheltis either. As long as she couldn’t purify the mateki, she couldn’t help him who had fallen to the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.
Her voice echoed. While listening to her voice that resounded within the cool silence───
“It feels……like I’ve understood something.”
Ymy drew her two hands near her gently pulsing chest and closed her eyes slowly.