The title was misleading x_x…Ishtar seems like a fun person.
How did I even forget to put the title when I posted this.
A red world.
The brown of the earth was outdone by the even stronger red of dusk.
The then and long shadows of a grove of trees stretched endlessly. The ground was fanned up by the wind and the small pebbles underfoot rolled around with a dull clacking noise.
That was, that kind of image of a wasteland───
The boy wordlessly held his twin swords.
His ragged breathing slowly returned to normal.
He had reddish brown messy hair and eyes which gave an affable impression. His age was thirteen or fourteen. As fitting of a teenage boy, his limbs gave off a somewhat slender feeling as he breathed out.
Upon the black formal wear draped upon him, there were little cut all over the place. Beneath the formal wear, his T-shirt was also torn and something red was flowing from the bare skin peeking out from there.
Feeling fatigue and his wounds, even then his vision was focused straight ahead───
On his opponent who confronted him with a pearl grey metallic lance readied.
His opponent maintained a position with the spear larger than her own height held over her head, not moving a muscle.
Breathing or blinking, not even a slight twitching of the body.
One minute passed……two minutes……three minutes passed and there was still no movement.
Perfect stillness. There was not a single breath, blink or twitch.
The golden hair of the girl who had her spear readied fluttered in the wind.
Her clothes were black just like the boy’s. But hers was a single thin shirt that exposed up to her shoulders. Her age was about sixteen or seventeen, some years above that of the pre-teen boy. Her slender body was about a fist taller than the boy’s as well.
The girl with the blue eyes stared fixedly at the boy without moving.
The boy facing her also wasn’t moving.
A small pebble in the space between the two rolled away after being struck by a sudden gust.
The two separated from silence at the same time in an instant.
With vigor that raised gusts at his feet, the boy swung his twin swords. The spear-wielding girl received that and put power into both hands───
The girl lowered her spear and relaxed her body.
The boy who saw that ceased his movement reflexively.
His mouth hung open in a childish expression that suited his age.
“Today, Sheltis-kun doesn’t have enough vigor so it’s bo〰ring.”
The girl who swung her spear with just a flick of the wrist announced that without even turning around. On the other hand, the boy who was the recipient ─── Sheltis meekly bowed his head.
“Did you have a fight with Leon-kun or something?”
“Ah, th-that’s wrong. I always fight with Leon.”
“Then what iiis it?”
“……Err……well……a childhood friend got mad at me, Ymy’s her name……”
“You idiot. That’s the un-Guard-like point about you.”
The phrase spoken by the girl who only turned halfway.
Raising the corners of her mouth while looking down ─── it was a very, very challenging smile.
“There’s too much of an inconsistency in your strength and emotions, you know?”
“That’s the same for you, Ishtar. [b]Doing that kind of feigned innocence[/b].”
Even though he replied with a pout, her challenging smile only deepened.
“Ishtar is di──fferent”
He didn’t think a reply would come. The reason for that was that countless people had asked her the same thing and it had ended with just a smile.
But just this time was different.
“The summit I’m aiming for is different.”
Sheltis blinked in surprise when she suddenly muttered that sentence.
“Say, Sheltis-kun, do you want to be a Sennenshi?”
He couldn’t immediately answer in response to her sudden question.
“Do you want to be a Sennenshi?”
“Wh-what are you───”
“I’m asking if you want to be a Sennenshi.”
“……I will become one.”
Not want to, will.
That was the boy’s resolve.
“Fuun, then what if you do your best? I’ll be stopping here anyway.”
The girl once again turned her back.
She left behind a slight, truly slight smile.
“I’m fine with being an Elite Guard <right now>. I have no interest in being a Sennenshi.” [T/N: “Elite Guard” has “right now” (いま/今) over it as the furigana.]
The boy stood still with a dumbfounded expression.
Within the tower called Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, the Sennenshi who were known as the Priestesses’ partners. If it were her ─── if it were Ishtar, then she was undoubtedly capable of reaching that honored position.
Even so, she was discarding that opportunity and honor herself?
“It’s fine if you become a Sennenshi. That or Leon-kun……either way isn’t bad.”
“Ishtar, what are you planning?”
He narrowed his eyes and gazed at her.
……I don’t understand why.
It had been that way ever since they’d met; he had absolutely no idea what she was thinking. He had no idea how much of what she said was serious and he still didn’t know exactly how strong she was as a spear user.
No, rather than that, those frivolous words just now───
“Plotting? What a way you’re putting it──”
Maybe she laughed since her shoulders shook a little.
“I said so, didn’t I, that the summits we’re aiming for are different. They’re completely different.”
“The summits are different……”
“I’ve already obtained it. The Elite Guard position is enough.”
Elite Guard ─── those whose abilities stood out even within the tower and, at the same time, those from whom the Priestesses would choose their Sennenshi. She had advanced that far but was forsaking the crucial Sennenshi position.
“Then, bye-bye──! See you next time!”
She left with a lovely wink.
Sheltis tried posing a question just once more to that slender back.
“Ishtar……what is your goal?”
There was no answer.
The girl ignored the question like she’d felt a gentle breeze ─── the moment he thought that. For only an instant, her footsteps stopped.
“Well then, boy, will you ask forcefully?”
When he noticed it, Sheltis had already taken one step back.
“Oh my, what’s wro──ng?”
Her smiling face half-turned towards him.
Facing that head-on, he openly grimaced.
“……I don’t like you; you feign innocence and then suddenly show your true colors.”
“What are you talking about? Ishtar has no ide──a.”
Swinging her arms in an adorable manner, this time she left.
“……Fight and win if you want to know, huh.”
Staring at her back, Sheltis softly whispered.
“I got it. I’ll do my best next time.”
But the promised second battle didn’t come to pass.
After a month. The boy fell from the floating continent <Orbie Clar> to the far below Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden>.