Why so many double quotes, author? It makes me so sad when I have to go italicize each one.
Just an FYI that I’m apparently going out tomorrow (apparently because stuff like this gets sprung on me outta nowhere), so nothing’s getting done tomorrow.
The Governmental Sector.
It was the single large agency that presided over the largest of the islands in the floating archipelago <Lagoon> which could be lived on by people. It was an organization whose members were chosen by poll and it had the authority to oversee the administration of justice and the legislation.
“……But it’s pointlessly large.”
With one step into the Governmental Sector’s sector, Vaiel turned around with an disgusted expression.
It was a four floor structure with three aboveground and one below.
Its first floor’s height off the ground of two hundred ninety metres gave off a feeling of being low compared to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, but in return, that it was wider by that much was the Governmental Sector’s characteristic. Even just in the lobby, the far end was blurry.
“The building’s interior is also strange. It’s like an ant’s nest.”
Kagura was looking at the electronic screen posted at the lobby.
What she was displaying was the first floor’s floor map but just like a labyrinth, the paths converged and diverged in a complicated manner and then proceeded to converge again. Also, in the middle of a path were rooms of varying sizes randomly placed, making it difficult to even find one’s destination.
“……Hey, hey, who’s the guy who decided to make this into a maze?”
“It’s the Governmental Sector’s construction division. To lay out those paths took four years. However, I can’t deny it if you call it a maze.”
Beside Vaiel who let out a sigh, Yuragi answered with a wry smile.
“With a floor this complicated, the Yuugenshu would also get lost, right? Because of this floor layout, even if the Yuugenshu invade, we can safely evacuate.”
“……Yuugenshu also appear on this floating archipelago <Lagoon>?”
Ymy turned around with eyes of sadness.
She couldn’t make it so she didn’t hear that. Having allowed the Yuugenshu’s invasion ── for the Priestesses that governed over the barrier, that was a truth equivalent to failure.
“No, it’s a suppositional matter. This floating archipelago <Lagoon> is separated from the floating continent <Orbie Clar> so it’s hard for even a single Yuugenshu to find it.”
“I-is that so……I’m glad.”
Ymy cast her eyes down with an expression that showed she was truly glad from the bottom of her heart.
“Please do not concern yourself. We are also not slacking in countermeasures against the Yuugenshu everyday. ……Rather, that is exactly why we have today’s topic of discussion.”
Yuragi narrowed her eyes to a state like a pin and stopped at the crossroads ahead.
“Ahead of here is the assembly room. Ymy-sama and the General Affairs Bureau Chief-sama who will be participating in the meeting, please head on forward. Ishtar-sama and I will both head to the waiting room on the right and Monica-sama’s group, please go to the resting area to the left.”
“O─kay, well then, Ymy-sama. The basics of negotiating is to relax─, relax.”
Ishtar’s sunny voice echoed in the hall.
“Y-yes. I’ll do my best!”
She put her hand on her chest and took a deep breath. After that, she gulped and Ymy nodded to herself. Not as his childhood friend, but as a Priestess supporting the floating continent <Orbie Clar>, she surrounded herself with dignity.
──Do your best.
Making a small agreement, Sheltis stared on at that back.
“Umm, the Governmental Sector’s first floor……this is the second building. That’s split narrowly again so this is section 60’s resting area?”
“It’s section 61. It’s registered as a free room according to the digital map so I think the furnishings have been changed to serve as a resting area for this assembly.”
“Ah, right, right. It was section 61……but this really is a maze.”
Circling the current location with red pen on the map, Sheltis stared fixedly at the map as he approached the sofa.
“I’ll supply the parts you don’t remember, okay?”
“……I only remember the meeting room’s location so I’ll rely on you for anything else.”
If he went to the crossroad after exiting this room and headed left, it would not be long to the meeting room. If something unnatural were to occur, he would be able to run to Ymy’s location in thirty seconds.
“But this room is a little troubling.”
Kagura let her body sink into the flexible sofa.
Putting the cup with ice floating in it to her mouth, she pointed at the room’s four corners.
“Look, this is a free room but it has soundproofing. We can’t hear anything from outside so don’t you think it’d be hard to tell if something happens outside? It doesn’t look like there’s any video surveillance equipment to watch the meeting room’s status either. Are we stuck in a spot and relying on the unit captain?”
“……Please don’t put pressure on me. It’s been a while so I’m nervous.”
In a corner of the room, Monica was sitting upon a hard wooden chair as she nodded with a wry smile.
She closed her eyes and put her hands together, bearing with it without moving at all. If one looked at her, even a child would noticethe faint green light hazily shrouding her body.
“Ah─ I see. Clairvoyance and telepathy.”
Both of them were territories of techniques that afforded super perception.
‘Clairvoyance’ would burn the situation of a distant location into one’s mind and ‘telepathy’ allowed one to communicate with a distance practitioner. Monica was able to handle these techniques because she had been an apprentice Priestess.
“You’re peeking in at the meeting room with clairvoyance and speaking telepathically with the Priestess-sama that’s in the meeting?”
“If I could do that, I wouldn’t be weary. ……It’s protected by the same arrangement as Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.”
A reflective barrier.
By erecting a barrier in a special place, it was a technique that obstructed other shinryoku other than that.
In order to protect important secrets from the Big Three through clairvoyance and telepathy, Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s aboveground floors to its summit were covered with a large-scale barrier that the Priestess Meimel had applied.
“……It looks like clairvoyance is impossible. I tried sending a message through telepathy from my end as well but it was reflected by the barrier.”
Moving only her lips, Monica continued.
“Well then, there was no meaning?”
“No, just a little while ago, Ymy broke through the barrier……you could say it was done with pure force using her shinryoku quantity; that child hasn’t fixed the roughness of her techniques.”
The unit captain shook her head in reply to Vaiel’s mutter.
“In other words, even though I can’t reply from my end, I can hear Ymy’s reports.”
“That’s interesting. Is there any important information?”
“There’s been no progress. ‘……The conversation is stuck and doesn’t seem to be progressing.’ is what she said.”
Matching up with Monica’s sigh, Sheltis stood up from the sofa.
……So the Governmental Sector won’t show a fault so easily.
The floating archipelago <Lagoon> that wasn’t on the territory map and the Yuugenshu being bred there. There was no way they could simply ask and get an answer.
“……It’s probably hard on Ymy who’s just staying still though.”
The monologue he said with a wry smile quietly dissolved into thin air. Choosing this time when a curtain of silence fell, Sheltis turned his foot towards the door.
“Monica, I’m going to go outside for some air.”
“Don’t go too far.”
“I’ll return quickly.”
Waving his hand lightly in reply, he set foot into the corridor.
“Oh, see. As I thought, it’s cooler here.”
He looked up at the giant circular pillar that extended above his height.
……He felt his flushed body’s heat dispersing into the cool rock pillar.
“On top of that──”
“On top of that?”
“It’s easier to understand this way.”
His eyes were focused on the crossroad straight ahead as he entrusted himself to the circular pillar behind him. ──No. Beyond the many diverging paths that lay past the crossroad. Deeper within this building.
The gaze he’d felt since entering this building. No, it would be better to call it a sense of discomfort.
It wasn’t the presence of a dangerous animal or a Yuugenshu but ‘something’.
“It’s here. Probably……nope, definitely.”
He had experienced a feeling like this very long ago.
That was already close to ten years ago ── a little after Ymy and he had entered Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, when he had coincidentally passed by a Sennenshi of that time.
A pressure that conveyed that they were ‘there’. An overbearing presence that prickled the skin almost to a painful point.
It resembled the feeling from that time.
“It doesn’t look like it’s nearby though.”
Somewhere within this large structure, there was somebody that was causing him to feel this.
“Was there some story about the Governmental Sector training a strong battle unit or something?”
“Mm〜 I wonder, shall we ask the receptionist onee-san?”
“……Answer me seriously.”
Flicking machine crystal <Ilis> who had answered nonchalantly, Sheltis stood still there for a short while.
The seconds hand on the clock on the digital screen slowly ticked down the time.
……It’s been three hours since the meeting started.
……It might be a good time to think of it as the first half of the battle for the first day being over.
The waiting room returned to dead silence. Remembering how tired she was from looking at closely packed notebook memos, Yuragi exhaled.
……I was resolved but having the time pass this slowly is painful.
……How many weeks has it been since I properly slept?
My lack of sleep is horrible to point of whiting out the inside of my mind.
Her intelligence activities as a member of the central division ── from early in the morning to late at night, she would be working as an executive secretary so to leak information to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, there was no other way than to diminish her own sleeping hours.
Above all, a Priestess came this time so for several days she was being worked to death with scheduling and business meetings.
She took out a few caffeine pills hidden in her pocket and carelessly threw them into her mouth before gnashing them.
Because she’d taken such a large quantity over a long period of time, their effects had diminished but this was also a kind of mental stabilizer medicine.
……But it’s unexpected.
……I thought that she would start talking since we’re free right now.
The companion sitting across the table from her. She was sitting there looking down at the ground without moving.
The Elite Guard, Ishtar.
She was the Priestess’ escort and she had been in this character that Yuragi didn’t know the entire time.
In contrast to her mature appearance was her young speech pattern. If it was just that, she could be interpreted as a childish adult but her fighting skills were said to be the same as a Sennenshi so it was troubling to judge.
“Fua? Ahh, yes, yes. Sorry, I was doing a little thinking.”
She scratched her face looking embarrassed.
“Is it about the assembly?”
“Ehehe. Well, putting that aside─, this is perfect. Ishtar also had something to ask.”
“Umm, I have two things to ask.”
On the hand that she held up, her index and middle fingers were extended.
“One. Does a fighter with strength rivaling the Sennenshi exist in the Governmental Sector?”
“Two. About the floating archipelago <Lagoon> case that’s including amongst the meeting’s topics, if someone were to forcefully obtain evidence regarding it, where would they need to infiltrate in the Governmental Sector?” [T/N: She says 一つ at the beginning of both. It marks them as “single” questions. Which isn’t used in English so I replaced it with “two”.]
She unconsciously gulped.
“Say, say, how about iiit?”
“……Before that, I’d like to ask one more thing.”
She stared upfront at the Elite Guard that was using a light tone to the end.
“Putting aside the first one, what do you mean with the second one?”
“It’s as it sounds, you knooow? There’s no deep meaning.”
Ishtar had a smile on just like a child’s.
“So how about it?”
“……Unfortunately, one doesn’t exist. Even if I did know, it’s not something I could answer as a member of the Governmental Sector’s agency.”
She somewhat lowered her face and shook her head.
──She couldn’t answer as a secretary of the Governmental Sector.
──But as a member of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s intelligence, there was an answer she could provide.
She didn’t know whether there was some kind of surveillance camera somewhere in this room. As an answer in this location, that was the limit to what she could provide. Now was the moment of whether this hidden meaning had been conveyed or not.
Time passed and a few breaths weren’t taken either in this silence. Then.
“……That’s right. Then tell me if you change your mind.”
“I can’t have that either.”
Kusuu. For an instant, the Elite Guard cracked a wide smile and Yuragi also returned a business smile.
With that, they both sat wordlessly on their separated seats.
They didn’t look at each other and just left their bodies to the passage of time.
──The continuation would be after the meeting.
Ishtar who had caught onto Yuragi’s signal made a suggestion and she had assented to it.
She opened her notebook to confirm the schedule. However, Yuragi’s thoughts started to turn to a completely different direction, the ‘confidential talk’ that Ishtar wanted to have.
──How serious was Ishtar-sama with the question just now?
She felt cold sweat on her cheek.
……Was she seriously thinking about doing it?
A solo invasion into the center of the Governmental Sector, even more, into ‘that place’ where the most important secrets sleep.
Also breaking through the defense system that awaits there.
……It can’t be that what she was thinking just now was that.
……Was she only thinking of that this whole time today?
“Now then, how will this turn out.”
She had certainly heard Ishtar whisper that while sitting in the chair.
Hotel, room 303, [Aster].
In the living room slightly lit up by sunlight, the high-pitched sound of a flute cut through the air without dying out and reverberated around.
He reverse gripped the dual swords shining in deep purple.
Standing upright in the center of the carpet, Sheltis drew out the blades.
From the shoulder to the elbow.
From the elbow to the wrist.
From the wrist to the fingertips.
His arm was using the least amount of strength required and his upper body bent like a whip, using the recoil to lash out with the swords. The blades severed the air creating a vacuum in empty space.
Lash out, sweep, thrust, turn……lash out once again.
He repeated the same process. At first, it was slow enough that a butterfly could sit at the tip of the blade and then the speed had risen little by little until the ‘dance‘ was sharpened to the point that it was invisible to human eyes───
The blade that was moving came to a complete halt. That was also at the same time as machine crystal <Ilis> voice or perhaps even an instant sooner.
“……Who is it?”
He could feel a presence outside the room.
From there, a little while was passed ── ring, came the door bell’s ringer.
“Sheltis, could I have a moment?”
The girl with the sakura-colored hair’s face peeked out from the door.
“Monica? I don’t mind but……huh.”
Sheathing his dual swords in his belt holders, he stared intently at the side of the girl who was getting closer’s face.
“Wh-what is it?”
“I might be asking something weird but, umm, did you already take a bath?”
The assembly with the Governmental Sector had just ended not too long ago. Continuing on from yesterday, today she had also made an appointment to meet Ymy and Kagura at the large baths ── he had heard such a thing.
“You just entered the bath not too long ago. I think it’d be fine if you take your time.”
She had returned too fast for having gone to the bath. Looking at her, there were no traces of Monica’s hair having been wet and it didn’t feel like she’d taken in any heat from the water either.
“Yeah, truthfully, I’m also talking about that matter.”
“The matter about the appointment at the large baths is as you said but no matter how long Kagura and I wait, Ymy wasn’t coming so……when I went to her room……it felt like she was talking with Cadres Guard Ishtar about something. It was hard to call out to her, so I was just on my way back.”
The Priestess and her private escort <partner>, the Cadres Guard.
If it was like usual, it’d be obvious to at least talk but what caught his interest was──
“Did it feel serious?”
“Cadres Guard Ishtar was the same as usual. It’s just that that child’s expression was a little……it felt like she was brooding over something. Also, the secretary, I think she was serious too.”
……Ishtar was the same.
……But the secretary was serious and Ymy had a brooding expression?
“Excuse me. It may seem like I’m rushing the conversation, but why did you come to Sheltis for this?”
“It’s because Cadres Guard Ishtar said something that caught my interest. She stopped Kagura and I when we were heading back and said, ‘Ishtar might suddenly command you tomorrow night so be prepared, okay.'”
“……Tomorrow? There shouldn’t be anything special tomorrow though.”
He hadn’t heard anything about a special event tomorrow from Yuragi either. If anything, the second day of the four day assembly was all that came to mind.
───Be prepared, that line also interests me.
“I also tried thinking about it but came up with nothing. I don’t think it’s a joke either so I came to tell you what she said just like that. I think Kagura should also be telling Vaiel at this point.”
“……I see. Yeah, understood.”
In front of Monica who had a half-hearted expression, he nodded more largely than necessary.
“I was told to be prepared so I’ll be prepared. It’ll be fine if there’s nothing but I’ll also be able to prepare myself in case we get saddled with an impossible-level order.”
“Yeah, sorry but please do that. Well then, I’ll return to my room.”
She turned around and started to head out.
Without even advancing three steps, she came to a stop.
“Ah……n-no……well, it’s nothing major but……yesterday when I went to the large baths with Ymy and Kagura……there was something that caught my interest──”
While rubbing her hands together, she whispered with a cherry red face.
“U-um. From a man’s point of view, being a skinny girl like me……does it diminish their appeal?”
“N-no! It’s about the common opinion! I wanted to know as general common knowledge……for example, Cadres Guard Ishtar or Priestess Meimel-sama are both slim but I think they’re both womanly enough……so I wondered how I was as an example for my type, and so you don’t take this the wrong way──”
He idly stared at her as she spoke quickly in a rush.
“Yeah, well, I haven’t thought about Monica like that?”
“H-haven’t thought about me like that……you mean!?”
“That I don’t think your appeal is diminished or that you’re not womanly enough. That’s what I mean. I haven’t really looked at anyone that way though so I don’t have confidence in my opinion.”
“I-is that so?……Is it fine to consider that your own thoughts rather than common opinion?”
“Yeah. Sorry I couldn’t give you much to think about.”
“N-no! Rather, I was more interested in that so it’s favorable──”
Monica froze over in a posture with her hands balled into fists.
The unit captain cleared her throat with a strangely transparent serious expression.
“Sorry for disturbing you; we’ll be getting up early tomorrow as well so go to sleep early for that. See you.”
She hurriedly opened the door and disappeared into the corridor.
A little while after, from the hallway that was separated by the door, he felt like he heard a monologue like ‘……Y-yeah, yeah! I’m glad!’
“Sheltis, that just now was the shout of a maiden’s heart. Please pretend that you didn’t hear it.”
“What just now?”
“Yes, yes, this conversation is over already! Come on now, we’re resuming training so grab your swords!”
Being admonished by machine crystal <Ilis> with a harsh tone for some reason, Sheltis once again gripped his swords.
Room 700, [Asterhythm].
Under the artificial sunlight’s shine was a table surrounded by three women. None of them made to speak and each of their expressions was almost like a contrast to the other two.
The Cadres Guard smiled with her head propped up in her hands.
The bespectacled secretary was looking down at the notebook in her hands basically expressionless.
The Priestess in the center of those two ── Ymy was biting her lip and staring at Ishtar.
“……Could I get you to explain it once more from the start?”
“That’s fine─, Ishtar went a little too fast earlier as well.”
The Elite Guard deepened her smile.
“As Ymy-sama said earlier, there is a clear discrepancy in what each side is saying. First, what Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> demanded an explanation for was ‘We’d like to have an explanation as to what a research facility of unknown purpose was doing on an uncharted part of the floating archipelago <Lagoon>.‘, right?”
“……It’s as I said earlier.”
The Governmental Sector did not deny the existence of the research facility either.
However, their assertion was that it was a research facility for the purpose of testing the soil quality of the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. They said that it had been abandoned long ago and fallen out of use. They stated there was no obligation to map an abandoned research facility so it had been removed from the record.
──They kept to the point of not knowing about the Yuugenshu breeding water tank.
“That’s right─. And what was the Governmental Sector seeking……umm.”
“It was about Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s emergency landing on that floating archipelago <Lagoon>. As well as an explanation for the recent unauthorized landings by a Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> airship here.”
Yuragi said as she eyed through the record of the proceedings.
“Ahh, right, right. And well, we’ve honestly apologized about the unauthorized landing on the island that started this all. But the other half can’t be agreed upon. Our airships haven’t had an unauthorized landing in several years besides this incident. Right, Ymy-sama?”
Even if they had intruded on Governmental Sector airspace with some objective in mind, if it was at a level that would sow discord with the Governmental Sector, then it would definitely be reported to a Priestess.
“That’s right. The Priestess-sama doesn’t know and Ishtar hasn’t heard anything like that as well. I think this is a fabrication. It’s just that the Governmental Sector doesn’t care if it stays at that.”
“The facility that was on the floating archipelago <Lagoon>……they’re able to make it vague?”
“That’s right, it would be bad if they keep that topic consistent over the four day period of this assembly.”
Ishtar smiled while still leaning on her hands over the table.
“Ymy-sama has absolute authority concerning Yuugenshu as a Priestess. However, unless the talks advance to the crucial Yuugenshu, no matter how much you sit at the meetings, you won’t become a threat to the Governmental Sector. That’s why at the very least, ‘The Governmental Sector created the Yuugenshu breeding water tank.’ ── the talks must proceed at least this far or Ymy-sama won’t have a chance to make a move.”
“I……have the intention of that but”
But it can’t be helped, can it. Even if Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> wants to advance the talks from that direction, the Governmental Sector is obstinately denying it.
“That’s right. Then here’s the real issue that leads into. Okay? The plan Ishtar’s thinking of is as I said before. There’s only one aim, in other words,”
──An infiltration into the Governmental Sector’s central division.
“If we receive Yuragi-chan’s help, an infiltration is possible. We’ll obtain the observation records for the floating archipelago <Lagoon> that has become a problem. The point is that we’ll thrust evidence at the Governmental Sector. Irrefutable evidence, that is.”
“That’s no good!”
She put power into the hands atop her lap.
“That kind of dangerous action……I won’t allow it! There’s no way you can make it to the deepest part division of the Governmental Sector with that kind of improvised”
“We will proceed.”
Yuragi stared at one point on the notebook.
“Putting aside whether I agree with Ishtar’s plan or not, I can search for digital information with my authority. However, that data has a limit to how much we can trust it. There isn’t a reason for the Governmental Sector to leave correct records so a falsification like ‘Concerning the floating archipelago <Lagoon>, there is no history of a Yuugenshu breeding tank experiment’ is highly possible.”
“In that case……even more so. There will be no recklessly invading!”
If the information she had tired herself out for were the truth, it would pay off. But if the information obtained after braving such risks were fake, it would be terrible.
“Now, now, Ymy-sama. Yuragi-chan only said that the digital records were fake, you know─? What if there were records left about the floating archipelago other than the digital information─”
Other than the digital information.
Paper……? Or a sound recording?
No, regardless of which, there was a possibility that the contents were fake. It wouldn’t be strange if all the documents concerning that floating archipelago <Lagoon> were rewritten.
“As Ishtar-sama said, what we are seeking is eternal information. Absolutely unmodifiable and undestroyable, an objective and absolute truth……if you’re thrusting it at the Governmental Sector, nothing else will work.”
“That kind of thing──”
“……’Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘.”
Yuragi’s words were made with an unusually strong tone that shook the air.
“I also haven’t seen the actual thing but it is the Governmental Sector’s secret treasure. With a gigantic crystal manufactured ages ago, within the time period of hundreds of years, it has recorded every event that happened on the floating continent <Orbie Clar> and the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. It seems it’s a system application of territory-type shinryoku techniques or something.”
“Mikuva’s Crimson Eye……you’re kidding. Does that really exist?”
A crystal with a shinryoku technique applied.
When Ymy was still an apprentice Priestess, there was a rumor that she heard.
It seemed like there was a treasure known as the ‘Crimson Eye‘ that the Governmental Sector was hiding which recorded everything that happened on the floating continent <Orbie Clar> and the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. It was information that the spy who had infiltrated the Governmental Sector even before Ymy and Sheltis had even knocked on Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>’s gate obtained. However, ten years had passed already without her obtaining definite proof.
……I didn’t believe it at all at the time.
……But if that really exists.
“It is information I received very recently from the secretary for the former old parliament’s members.”
“Say, say, Yuragi-chan, Ishtar asked before too but she’ll confirm it once more. Can we really trust in that thing that sounds like a lie? Is it a trustworthy source?”
Yuragi wordlessly nodded to Ishtar who was propped on her hands.
“Yes. I don’t know if its function is as the rumors conveyed to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> but that a treasure of that name exists can be more or less confirmed. Other than that, there’s nothing else but to conjecture about the truth of the Governmental Sector hiding the ‘Crimson Eye‘ from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.”
“Ah! But if you try saying it”
Ymy continued from Yuragi’s words as if flowing from them.
──If you think that that exists, then you can also understand the Governmental Sector’s anecdote.
“Does Ishtar-san not know? That the Governmental Sector’s technology is three months behind Tenketsu Palace’s is a pretty famous story amongst the Priestesses and apprentice Priestesses.”
“Heeh, that might be my first time hearing that─. What do you mean?”
“Umm……this isn’t about the Governmental Sector’s system being slow but it’s an anecdote to the contrary.”
No matter how ground-breaking of a discovery Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> makes in shinryoku research, the Governmental Sector would follow that several months later.
“Like the Priestess’ training methods or the report contents of research results for shinryoku……of course, it’s not everything but included in that are even things treated as secrets; the Governmental Sector would end up at the same discovery……and that happens with a frequency that I can’t imagine to be a coincidence.”
There were also rumors that the shinryoku practitioners in the Governmental Sector were always watching twenty four hours a day. Because of this danger of being seen, truly important experiments and information had a shinryoku barrier erected beforehand.
“Fumu, fumu, if that information were also being gathered via the ‘Crimson Eye‘, then it would be understandable. Well, Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> is also like that so it’s not strange if the Governmental Sector possesses something like that.”
Ishtar was nonchalant to the end.
“By the way, recorded every event means……umm, basically, that if we ask that crystal what I’sa-chan is doing right now, we’ll find out?”
“I think so.”
“Oh─!? Ishtar’s also interested in that. Like whether I’sa-chan is properly eating alone, onee-chan is very, very worried───”
“But if you’re not chosen by that crystal, it’s no use.”
The Cadres Guard blinked.
“‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘ has a condition……to operate it, right?”
Before Yuragi said that, Ymy focused on her.
“……You surprised me. You knew about the ‘Crimson Eye‘?”
“Nope. But if it’s a system with shinryoku applied, then I would guess there’s a limitation.”
There are three techniques representative of territory-type shinryoku techniques.
Clairvoyance and far sight as well as telepathy. Each of these had the possibility to capture scenes or sound from a distance.
“For example, in Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, there is system that uses shinryoku as a key. The tower’s top floor and the door to the room in which Priestesses pray for Hyouketsu Kyoukai won’t allow anybody except for those with a special shinryoku wavelength to pass. I just thought that that giant crystal would require a similar key.”
“I see……then it certainly seems like there’s hope. That giant crystal might also show Ymy-sama the truth.”
Yuragi took off her glasses and sighed with a faint wry smile.
“As Ymy-sama said, ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘ will select suitable individuals itself and won’t show anything to anyone else. If we were to go from that──”
“The Governmental Sector also hasn’t found someone perfectly qualified either, you mean?”
Yuragi swallowed and Ishtar raised one eyebrow.
“Say, say, Ymy-sama, why do you know that much?”
“Umm……if I said it simply, it’s because wide area observation with shinryoku is really arduous. No matter how much it uses shinryoku, it’s not like everything is solved.”
Let’s say for example that we’re observing the entirety of the floating continent and detected each and every conversation. Just how extraordinary is that ── Ymy didn’t have the confidence to succeed in that either. If you wanted one hundred percent accuracy then even amongst the Priestesses, there’s probably only Syun-rei.
“For such an amazing crystal, there must also be suitably amazing people or it won’t work.”
“That’s exactly right. The condition for the ‘Crimson Eye‘ is still unknown……it is said that something about shinryoku is the key but whether it’s the quantity of shinryoku or wavelength is unknown. There are incompletely suitable individuals but the Governmental Sector hasn’t found a perfectly qualified person yet.”
What……what is this feeling that seems like dizziness?
Due to the feeling that also resembled nervousness, her heart’s throbbing wouldn’t settle down.
……Mikuva’s Crimson Eye.
……Records all events……an observation system?
……Mikuva……I feel like I’ve heard that term somewhere else before.
It really was just recently. Is so, then where? From who? It wasn’t someone amongst the Priestesses nor was it Sheltis and she shouldn’t have heard it from one of the tower’s clerks. If so───
“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?”
……It was that time.
The scene from a thousand years in the past that was shown to her by the woman who identified herself as Tsali.
When I realized it, I was already collapsed in a park I didn’t know the location of. When I fought the Yuugenshu, two girls appeared.
Shasa and Ilis, within the conversation of the girls who called each other these names.
“I’m counting on you, [Machine God Mikuva]-san.”
“I believe I have introduced myself as Ilis before?”
……That’s right, the term Mikuva came up at that time.
“He─y, Ymy-sama, is something wrooong?”
“Fue? U-umm……i-it’s nothing. I was just thinking about something.
Having her finger grabbed by Ishtar, Ymy finally returned to herself.
“P-please, Yuragi-san, continue!”
“Yes. Or so I’d like to say, but I’ve already everything that I should. What’s left is Ymy-sama’s decision.”
If they could access the crystal treasure, ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘, that the Governmental Sector was hiding, the case on the floating archipelago <Lagoon> would also become clear. She’d heard rumors about that since her time as an apprentice Priestess and Yuragi was also asserting that it existed to that extent so maybe it would be fine to believe it does.
……But the risk is too large.
“That’s illegal infiltration after all, right.”
“Yes. I only have knowledge of the of the ‘Crimson Eye‘……it’s said to be in a place known as the Holy Corridor and the defense system is also a secret. If you’re caught there, you won’t be able to talk your way out of it and you should also be prepared for the relationship between Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and the Governmental Sector to collapse.”
“One more thing, this is the question I received from Ishtar-sama at noon. ‘Does a fighter with strength rivaling the Sennenshi exist in the Governmental Sector?’ ──I’ll tell you starting from the results, it’s at the level of ‘There are rumors that there are.’ Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> is also has rumors about important things such as whether there’s a sixth Priestess or whether the Queen also has a partner of overwhelming strength like the Sennenshi.”
“Fu─n, then we can say they’re there as rumors?”
“Ishtar-sama……are your a believer of such stories?”
“Rather than believing, Ishtar thinks it’s normal for her.”
Quite easily, the Cadres Guard nodded aloofly.
“Eh? Wh-why do you think that?”
“The basis is……mm─ it’s kinda hard to explain. Well, anyway, she is. This is the truth. Ishtar was thinking it would be a pain if that were at that Holy Corridor place. ……And so at the conclusion of all of that is the thing that Ymy-sama said just now.”
Releasing the bridge formed with both her arms, she pointed her lovely index finger at the ceiling.
“Shall we review it one more time? First we have to try coming into contact with the ‘Crimson Eye‘ that the Governmental Sector is hiding. If that succeeds, then it solves everything. The problem is that in the case it fails, it will be bad for Ishtar and Ymy who are amongst the leadership of the tower and possibly even Yuragi-chan. Then what should we do? We just have to have an underling that we can use to shirk responsibility go.”
Beneath the table, Ymy suppressed her shaking fists desperately.
……That’s right, that was it.
……The thing that I can’t permit no matter what.
This person had the intentions of ‘using‘ someone from the Cadet Guards as a throwaway pawn.
“And just as well, there are four Cadet Guards traveling with us this time─. As long as we explain the circumstances without difficulty, couldn’t they infiltrate solo? If it succeeds then that’s great and if they’re caught and it becomes a problem, we can say ‘The executives knew nothing and this was our subordinates’ independent action’ to shirk responsibility.”
She bit her lip hard enough to spurt blood.
If not……she would get excited and be unable to keep her calm and would surely lose something dear to her heart. It was because she felt that.
“Would the Priestess-sama order that……?”
She’s asking whether I would tell the Guards who protect me at the tower ‘Go.’ simply because it’s convenient for me.
“If Ymy-sama has the intention of continuing on as a Priestess from now, she should make the order──”
Ishtar’s verdict was cruel.
“What is the reason in this world for why Ymy-sama forms the barrier with pained feelings?”
There was no need to have it said to her.
It was because the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> and the Yuugenshu that lived there were a threat to the floating continent <Orbie Clar>.
“But you know, Ymy-sama? Not everyone in this world is strong enough to oppose the Yuugenshu like Ishtar and Ymy. Everyone is weak……if you were to ask Ishtar, I’sa-chan who became a Regular Guard is also too weak. There’s no guarantee that child can win against the Yuugenshu. Even more so for the citizens that live in the Living Districts.”
Gently, gently. With a voice just like a lullaby.
The expression on her face was once again gentle to a point she had never seen before.
“However there is somebody planning something by breeding a Yuugenshu. That absolutely cannot be allowed. After confirming their objective ─── we crush them. There’s no chance but this one, you know?”
With the assembly in motion, Guards had been able to come to the island freely.
Even more so now that the attention was focused on the Priestess, the alertness of the Governmental Sector was rooted to the assembly. If they were going to invade the Governmental Sector’s central division, there would be no second time where such conditions lined up.
……I understand that.
“My, my, don’t make that brooding face, Ymy-sama. It’s fine, it’s fine, don’t think about what happens after failure; it’ll be fine if we just select those with the skill to infiltrate the Governmental Sector.”
The Elite Guard waved her hand in a frivolous manner.
“Well then, Ishtar-sama, you would select the most skilled person from Monica-sama’s group……is the normal line of thought, but more concretely who?”
“Nope, I don’t know. That’s why I think it’d be fine if we choose Monica-san──”
Ymy interrupted Yuragi and Ishtar’s conversation with a shout. With enough vigor to kick the table in front of her, she stood from her seat.
“Monica-senpa……I don’t want to tell Monica-san that.”
She bit on the edge of her lower lip.
“If I said that to that person……she would decide to say she would go by herself. She’s the kind of person who will definitely reject something that invites danger to the unit.”
It would be decided that rather than having her comrades do it, she would do it herself. But that was too much. In the one in ten thousand chance she was caught, it was possible she would be detained in the Governmental Sector and unable to return.
“Well, that’s true. Ishtar also feels like she’s that kind of person. But if it’s not her, then who?”
…………Is there no one else except Monica-senpai?
Someone in that unit with more experience than Monica-senpai and moreover a person I can trust. The person I can definitely trust to make this succeed───
Frantically holding back her shrill voice, Ymy muttered as if coming unbound.
……There is one.
There is an amazing Cadet Guard in that unit. Amongst the Cadet Guards……no, an amazing Guard that wouldn’t lost even to the Sennenshi is there. Even while he was exiled from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, the childhood friend that single-handedly ran all the way to the Grand Santuary when Hyouketsu Kyoukai was penetrated by the Great Yuugenshu Invasion──
……But can I ask something so dangerous of Sheltis?
Can I ‘order’ my childhood friend as a Priestess?
Her dizziness, headache and feverishness all melded into each other within her chest. The room should be air conditioned but her body couldn’t stop trembling.
“……Give me……some time.”
“That’s fine─, but the time limit is tomorrow night.”
Ishtar combed her golden hair behind her with her fingers.
“The target is the final day of the assembly; we will present the ‘truth‘ about the floating archipelago <Lagoon> on the fourth day of the assembly. In that case, it is necessary to access ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘ on the third day of the assembly <the day after tomorrow> and preparations the day before are also needed. If so, then we need to talk about the infiltration job by tomorrow night or it’ll be poor, you know?”
……Tomorrow was the limit.
……I have to decide by tomorrow night.
“Sorry……could I get some rest?”
Without waiting for answers from the other two, she walked towards the bedroom──
While feeling her consciousness growing hazy, Ymy collapsed on the bed.