I didn’t die.
Edit: Forgot I had this…if I wasn’t letting my friend use it, I’d have wasted all the automated payments I made.
Those are Crunchyroll guest passes. I’ll put them in red and strikeout as they’re used (will have a time delay).
What lay before her when she opened her eyes was a wall of star light.
In the room whose night-colored curtain had been lowered, Ymy slowly opened her eyes.
Tiny, tiny star lights were mixed into the translucent midnight.
They twinkled like grains of sand in the atmosphere of the celestial globe and just when it looked like disappeared, they shined again.
The roof made with transparent glass displayed this scene.
The starry night view.
……People in the past would use this kind of fortune telling with the stars to divine their destinies.
……Though I can’t do it.
Remaining face up, she turned only her head to the side and looked at the watch at her pillow’s side.
Three in the morning.
It could be called the dead of night. It was the deepest time of night when everything was asleep. Within the atmosphere of her room that seemed to also have halted, she started to get up──
With her upper body in an upright position, she finally realized that there was a blanket over her shoulders. [T/N: タオルケット. A blanket for covering yourself when it’s hot (whyyyyyyyy). No direct translation that I know of but the word is formed with “towel” and “blanket”.]
She had……went to sleep face down so……the energy to wear this blanket aside, she shouldn’t have been sleeping face-up so neatly like this.
──Somebody laid me down properly in bed and put on this blanket?
“Oh, have you woken up?”
That voice came from another bed directly to the side of hers.
“Falling asleep in a fallen position only to wake up in the middle of the night, Ymy-sama is just like a child. It’s just like when Isa-chan was young.”
Her golden hair was faintly lit up by the starlight.
The tall woman wasn’t lying down but instead sat upon the bed hugging her knees.
“……About this blanket”
“It would be a huge issue if you caught a cold. I thought about changing you into your sleepwear from your vestments but that would really wake you up so I refrained.”
The Cadres Guard smiled in a carefree manner.
“Thank you……but that appearance is”
“Ishtar is Ymy-sama’s guard so she can’t just go to sleep without hesitation.”
Saying so, she drew the clothed spear closer to herself.
Her clothes were the same formal wear as at noon.
Syun-rei had also said the same thing before.
When she and Leon left the tower, he would not sleep no matter what she said.
Sennenshi ── like a lion that would not sleep for a thousand years, it was the title associated with the Priestesses of a thousand years ago and their guards. Syun-rei had said that he had said it was that kind of title. [T/N: If you have forgotten, sennenshi is written with the characters for “one thousand years” and the first character from “lion”. I think CE Translations explained this somewhere.]
“What’s wrong? If you’re hungry, shall Ishtar make something?”
“Then I’d like a desert that is warm, sweet, delicious, filling and which I can eat for all three meals without gaining weight.”
“……That’s a difficult problem─. Ishtar’s a guard and not a pro chef, after all.”
Seeing Ishtar frown with her arms folded, Ymy’s expression relaxed a little.
With an expression that was half wry smile and half self-derisive.
“What I must think about now has that feeling to it.”
A difficult problem ─── she had thought Priestesses were a lot simpler.
She had thought they only resided on the top floor of the tower and devoted their lives to praying to maintain the barrier with the Queen.
I……didn’t become a Priestess with the intention of immersing myself in things like conferences or difficult bargaining.
“That’s definitely because Ymy-sama has no Sennenshi, you know?”
Those words echoed through the dark room as if piercing through it.
“According to Ishtar’s experience, the Priestess-samas are weak in politics and negotiations. In the current Priestesses, it’s Meimel-sama’s specialty but she’s a bit of a special case. The Priestesses are essentially like Syun-rei-sama. Staying shut in and becoming distanced from the ways of the world, they’re also unversed in how to connect with other people. Those who sustain that are the Sennenshi.”
“Included in the tranquility training for Priestesses, there are those for separating the body and mind, right?”
“……Is there something about that?”
Tranquility. In order to continue to pray for the barrier regardless of how severe the circumstances ── so to speak, it was abandoning the flesh to become the barrier.
But she didn’t know what that had to do with the current conversation.
“The exact opposite of that are the Sennenshi. Previously, the number one Priestess said that.”
The number one Priestess.
“A Sennenshi is the final wedge that binds together a Priestess’ heart and body to prevent them from separating. For example, if Leon-kun wasn’t around, Syun-rei-sama would continue to pray for the barrier just like a doll─”
The mind was influenced by the flesh.
As well, the flesh was influenced by the mind.
“The Sennenshi support the Priestesses at various times and in varying circumstances. If Ymy-sama had a Sennenshi she could trust by her side right now, she would be able to confide these worries with that person.”
Her current guard was Ishtar. That was reality.
However, she was the Cadres Guard and not a Sennenshi. She was not the partner that served a Priestess and could not give advice. [T/N: Partner is written as “personal guard”.]
……She had to decide everything on her own.
“Now then, shall I make that thing that Ymy-sama requested not too long ago?”
“I can─. I achieved pro level from making deserts to fix I’sa-chan’s mood whenever she sulked. Well then, without delay.”
Stopping Ishtar who was rolling up her sleeves, Ymy got off the bed.
“……Sorry, the order just now was……half just an outburst.”
She wasn’t angry. She probably understood right from the start. Just like a parent consoling a child throwing a tantrum, she prompted her with a gentle tone.
“Is it okay if I take a stroll through the hotel alone?……I’d like to calm myself.”
“Yes. Ishtar will be awaiting you so if there’s anything, notify her through telepathy, okay?”
Nodding, she gave her vestments a simple look-over in the full-body mirror. She flattened out the wrinkles that she saw and stretched out her hand to the bedroom’s doorknob──
Stopping there, Ymy spoke without turning around.
“I’m not without a Sennenshi……”
“Then what is it?”
“……I’m waiting……I promised that I’d be waiting at the top floor of the tower.”
Without waiting for a reply, Ymy left the bedroom.
A gait with no strength. Sometimes staggering and sometimes tripping.
She continued down the hallway lightly illuminated by emergency lighting in search of light like a butterfly.
……I want to meet him.
……Even though it was this late, she couldn’t help wanting to meet with and speak to him.
“If Ymy-sama has the intention of continuing on as a Priestess from now, she should make the order─”
A slight taste of iron was mixed in where she was biting on her cheek.
I was frustrated……
She felt like what she should consider the most important as a Priestess was being directly denied but she hadn’t been able to counter it which inevitably frustrated her.
“That’s definitely because Ymy-sama has no Sennenshi, you know?”
She put her hand against the wall she staggered to and tightened that hand into a fist.
Not minding something like her nails digging into the palm of her hand, she tightened it to the limit.
She had decided it a long time ago.
He had said they would be together since a long time ago.
And then she arrived at a single door.
In her vision blurred by tears, she saw her quivering fist knock on the door.
I won’t use the doorbell. Even though it’s this late and this slight of a knock, I trust that he will respond. To my voice────
Leaning against the wall directly to her side, Ymy waited for that time.
Two seconds, three seconds.
Five seconds, ten seconds……fifteen seconds.
……Even if it didn’t reach now.
……Even if I can’t touch him……for now……it’s fine if he’s just by my side.
She continued that for who knows how long.
The firmly shut door opened without a sound.
My most important person────is here────
Staring fixedly at the boy with reddish brown hair’s face, Ymy wiped the tears at her eyes.
“A little while is fine……just a little……please stay with me.”
Governmental Sector Central Area, Third Sector aircraft hanger.
“Say, Maha-san, do you believe in astrology?”
The jet black night road looked like paint was smeared over it.
A clear tenor male voice unsuited to the night echoed through the giant container filled with mountains of documents.
“Fumu, are you not interested? Then please listen so that you become interested.”
A tall, lean shadow stood up within the darkness.
A jet black suit with golden buttons, jet black shoes and a jet black rimmed hat. That was an outfit meant to blend into black.
Within the silence of night, only his voice penetrated endlessly.
“The people of old viewed the stars as mysterious. The custom of “star gazing” in the middle of the night was born and from there, various constellations and asterisms were drawn. Furthermore, meaning was added to those actions and it became ritualistic in “star chants”, and this was the origin of astrology.”
Pale blonde hair waving in the night wind and a shapely nose and mouth.
The brimmed hat worn low over her eyes hid them from view but her silhouette was more than enough to convey her beauty.
“Many people are charmed by this. Sometimes it might be prominent with women. But I think I’d like to deny any ties to this astrology. ……I can’t permit it.”
With a hand upon the hat’s brim, that person turned towards the sky and spread both hands.
“Why must people look about this beautiful sky with such precepts? Even though it would be fine if they just innocently appreciate that moment and brilliance without corrupting it with the human construct of fortune telling. ……Because the stars are this beautiful just by being there.”
Thinking about it with a heart as pure as a child’s……
Even though only looking, praising, stringing together words and singing would be good enough.
“We, the adults, are forgetting something important. Don’t you think so?”
For the first time, the other man that had been standing there spoke.
A man of large build wrapped in a faded ocher robe.
The hooded robe covered all the way from his head to his feet and above that in various places ── the parts associated with the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and knees were bound with a ring apparatus.
“Yes, what is it, Maha-san?”
Not particularly addressing the pitch black young man’s question, Maha simply conveyed that one sentence.
“The ritual’s……preparations will take some time.”
“Ahh, that’s right. It has to be prepared now.”
Without a hint of being upset, Igneed ruffled his suit.
“Does it really exist? Yes, the shinryoku crystal, ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘, which records all events in this world. It is incomplete in the end but it is troublesome to allow the Governmental Sector to continue using it. If a qualified individual is found, my and even Maha-san’s private life will be completely bared, you know?”
Heh. He instead smiled deeper with happiness.
“And see, the problem right now is the conference that’s being held. Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and the Governmental Sector are not idiots so they should notice that something’s out of place pretty soon. If they use the ‘Crimson Eye‘ to investigate the truth, a great deal about us will come to light too……it’s too early, it is not yet that time.”
“Eh? Of course, as always. Maha-san will break through the front. Please draw out the Holy Hall’s guardians. I will secretly change the ‘Crimson Eye’s‘ system using that opening. It’ll be more convenient later if we change it to benefit us instead of destroying it.”
Igneed walked straight north along the public road.
Maha who was trailing behind by a few steps leisurely walked up beside him.
“You wish to know if it’s possible to change it? Ahh, I told you it was inviolable before but that’s just what the Governmental Sector’s researchers think. They have no suitable individuals so they have no way of confirming it. Of course, it’s impossible to change it but it is possible to change the circumstances under which events are recorded. ……In other words, we’ll just make it so only our information isn’t recorded.”
Finally, a large shadow came into view.
In the hushed world of the stars and night, a structure cast a shadow even darker than the night.
“Well, even that is something only a perfectly suitable person is able to accomplish.”
Looking up at the Governmental Sector from far in the distance, Igneed softly smiled.
“……I see, so that’s it.”
Sitting on the left side of a two-seater sofa, Sheltis lightly sighed.
“I’m sorry. About this. I’d only get confused on my own. My mind……is filled with a lot of things.”
“It is not your fault. The circumstances are just entwined complexly.”
Machine crystal <Ilis> blinked upon her lap while she hung her head.
“……Thank you too, Ilis. Listening to my complaints like this.”
“However, Ymy, if you only look at the urgent situation right now, I can understand what that Cadres Guard wants to say as well. People are powerless against Yuugenshu after all.”
As the girl sitting quietly on the arm rest of the sofa nodded, her silky long hair shined.
“But……I’m a Priestess. A Priestess has a lot of Guards protecting her, right? Not just the Sennenshi and Regular Guards……it’s the same for the Cadet Guards as well. Even so……I’d be posing this towards those protectors? An order much like asking them to become a sacrifice to infiltrate the Governmental Sector……”
“You came here because you don’t want to make that sacrifice, right?”
Machine crystal <Ilis> flashed with a soft blue light as she spoke in a guiding tone.
“This is my intuition but the one who was selected first was Monica, right? Clairvoyance and telepathy are suited skills for infiltration depending on their usage. Looking at it from the surface, she is the most suited to the secret orders this time.”
The Priestess remained silent.
She didn’t answer and simply hung her head powerlessly.
“I expect that hearing that made you uneasy? Even if you ignore her position as your senpai, you don’t know what treatment she would receive if she were to fail the infiltration. As a problem of responsibility, the truth is it would become impossible for her to remain as a Guard. ──That is why you came here.”
“I believe that your choice is not wrong. If I were in the same position, I would undoubtedly do the same. Right, Sheltis?”
At machine crystal <Ilis>’ words, the downcast Ymy lifted her head.
Her jade eyes that shone like gems gazed ahead──
“Jeez……everything I wanted to say was taken by machine crystal <Ilis>.”
Suddenly loosening his expression, Sheltis let out a deep sigh.
“So the point is we just have to go to that Holy Hall place and access that ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘ thing, right? Yuragi-san should know the way there.”
His childhood friend sitting next to him shook a little.
“Tha……that’s not……it. I-I didn’t have that intention……I-I mean……”
Her lips were trembling.
“Because, you know? Sheltis, you didn’t have that intention at first either, right? Infiltrating Governmental Sector’s central division……you didn’t know about it……you haven’t prepared yourself either.”
“I heard about it.”
To convey it to Ymy who was rapidly speaking, he slowly shook his head.
“Sorry, the truth is Leon told me. But if I asked you, then you’d be surprised so I decided to keep that a secret. That’s why it’s fine, I’m already prepared──”
That was the instant the voice of the girl beside him turned to a sob.
“Idiot……Sheltis, you idiot. There’s no way a Priestess wouldn’t be informed of something so important……to say Leon did that……don’t……use that kind of impossible lie……”
She tightly hugged the pillow at the corner of the sofa.
A small droplet wet the pillow that she was holding to her chest.
“Sorry……sorry, really……I’m really sorry. I can’t do anything on my own……and in the end, I have to rely on you, Sheltis……”
“That’s not the case at all. If we’re talking about that, to begin with, I can’t possibly maintain the barrier that protects the floating continent <Orbie Clar>. It’s just that this time, something that I can do has coincidentally shown up.”
She hugged the pillow tightly, more tightly, to the point that its shape changed.
“Not something that I can do as a Priestess. It’s that I can’t do anything for you as a childhood friend……it’s frustrating.”
Covering her mouth with the pillow, she shook her head to hide her eyes which had grown red.
Machine crystal <Ilis> which had been silent on her lap once again flashed blue.
“Aren’t you glad, Ymy?”
“If you feel frustrated by that, then you still have room to grow. As a Priestess and as a woman. From the point of view of a machine crystal, that ‘frustration’ of yours is sorrowful but also something that I dearly envy. Right, Sheltis?”
“That’s right, so it’s fine.”
……I’ve received more than enough from Ymy.
In this desperate setting, where failure was not an option even more so because of that desperation, Ymy had come this far by relying on herself. That was more gladdening than anything.
His childhood friend that had her face buried in the pillow suddenly looked up.
Her eyes wet with tears immediately drew close ── truly, to the point that their eyes were about to overlap, where their lips and hair could just about touch, she drew near.
With her cheeks flushed red as if feverish, her face drew even closer.
……If we get any closer than this, Elbert Resonance will occur.
If his mateki and her shinryoku came into contact, a rejection reaction would occur and injure both of them. Even though he understood that, for some reason he couldn’t bring himself to stop her.
The stopped time finally began moving again with machine crystal <Ilis>’ hem.
“I’ll be jumping in while ignoring the mood but please save that for after the infiltration succeeds.”
“Th-that, meaning what!? What do you mean!?”
Ymy’s eyes shot open with a gasp.
“I-I just wanted to say thank you is all!? B-because Sheltis and I have Elbert Resonance──”
“……Yes, yes, I get it so calm down.”
A strained laugh was mixed into machine crystal <Ilis>’ voice.
“Now then, since the job of infiltrating the Governmental Sector has been decided, what will you do, Sheltis? You’re probably forgetting something important.”
“If the Governmental Sector’s giant crystal is a system that uses shinryoku, then its operation will most likely require the usage of shinryoku. But Sheltis’ body is carrying mateki and has lost its affinity to shinryoku. That means he cannot access the large crystal.”
Damn it. Because I was only focused on the risk of infiltrating the Governmental Sector’s central division, it completely slipped my mind about what to do after the infiltration succeeded.
“Huh? But Ymy entrusted it to me so that means”
“Ah……aha……haha. …………Sorry, I also forgot.”
Having calmed down, Ymy laughed.
“……As expected of childhood friends, you’re identical down to the way you think. Well, putting that aside, that problem can be cleared. Well, to put it simply, I am the suited individual for ‘Mikuva’s Crimson Eye‘.”
“Fufun, how’s that, Sheltis? Have you once again come to realize how outstanding I am?”
“No, rather why?”
“Our maker is the same.”
Machine crystal <Ilis> cleared away the question smoothly.
“That giant crystal and I were made by just one person. The ‘Crimson Eye‘ is also an observation system that was put in place a thousand years ago. It is the results of people trying to artificially create a ‘certain existence‘. No, perhaps I should say it is a shadow of that.”
“……One thousand years ago.”
“What’s wrong, Ymy?”
“Eh? Ahh, no, it’s nothing! Keep going!”
“Then I’ll continue. Or so I say, but that’s about all I had to tell you. The maker is the same so I also have the program specific to the ‘Crimson Eye‘. All this world’s events ── I can extract high quality scenes from the measuring of this year’s Priestesses not limited to just the images but even the conversations.”
“……Ilis, I’d be really happy if you could read the serious atmosphere?”
An unpleasant creaking sound came from the crystal portion of machine crystal <Ilis> that Ymy was holding.
“……Putting aside the jokes, even as a reproduction, that is a dangerous item. I thought it was lost during the war with the Yuugenshu but……I see, even if it wasn’t left on the floating continent, it was moved to the floating archipelago <Lagoon>. If the Governmental Sector covered that up, it wouldn’t be found.”
“Hey, Ilis, what’s this about a suitable individual for the ‘Crimson Eye‘?”
“Think of it as an individual entrusted with a key. It’s a key that can open a door that holds lots of accumulated information. A fully suitable person can freely obtain that information and a partially suitable person……to say it in an easy to understand manner, they would obtain a mosaicked version of the information. By design, it should only open for a person with a special shinryoku so I don’t think any others with a mechanical body other than me could open it.”
“Other than you……then isn’t that quite amazing?”
“It is amazing!”
Ymy’s excited voice shook the room’s air.
“Think about it, Sheltis. That kind of amazing system and the person who can operate it is also specific. In reality, the Governmental Sector hasn’t found a perfectly suitable person yet either. But this close by……above all, that the suitable individual is a machine crystal like Ilis.”
With flushed cheeks, Ymy peered at machine crystal <Ilis>.
“Hey, Ilis, is that true? ……I don’t want to request something unreasonable but is it really fine to rely on you?”
“There is no need for concern, Ymy.”
Machine crystal <Ilis> flashed blue.
“You’ve already seen that appearance of mine, right? Then just leave it to me.”
Ymy’s gasp was perfectly conveyed.
……I wonder what it is. I don’t understand what shocked Ymy.
“Mm, what is that, Ilis?”
“We’ll talk about it eventually, Sheltis, but it’s not something to speak of here. Right now we need to discuss how we’re going to sneak into the Governmenetal Sector’s central division. ──Right, Ymy?”
Ymy nodded many times while flustered.
“In that case, it would be best if we were to rest for today. Tomorrow’s conference will also take a long time and a lack of sleep is a girl’s worst enemy.”
Ymy fidgeted and held onto the corners of the pillow.
The tears upon her face had disappeared at some point and she was looking downward out of shyness for some reason.
“……Stay like this for just five minutes more.”