Campione!:Volume 5 Chapter2
Chapter 2 - Another Chaotic School Day
Seishuuin Ena was greeting visitors on its grounds.
A few hours had passed since her visit to Nanao Shrine, and it was already evening.
"How do you do, Ena-san. It's been a while. By the way, if you need a shrine, just pick any modest one you like..," said one of her guests, Amakasu Touma.
He was a man in the late twenties, clad in a cheap business suit. He usually ran errands for History Compilation Committee.
But that certainly did not make him an underling. Even amongst the experts from the committee, he was working directly for the Sayanomiya family in all of Kantou
Facing him was Ena, who had already changed from her school uniform into her miko outfit.
White robes and a red hakama; in her hands, a cloth bag concealed the mysterious power of her broadsword.
"This shrine is fine. Those places with many people are a pain anyway, and Ama no Murakumo feels more comfortable here as well. Don't worry about it."
"If that's so, feel free to stay. I will take care of the paperwork, so use it as you like."
Ena nodded appropriately at Amakasu's words.
She had already talked to the administrator of this place and gotten the key to the shrine.
All of them had extraordinary compatibility with the girl and her partner. There was nothing to criticize, for a temporary home.
"I heard the story from Yuri-san and the head of the Seishuuins. Yeah, how should I put this..."
When Ena preemptively interjected with a smirk, Amakasu showed a faint smile.
"You can't be that blunt now, can you? You actually do feel close to the Committee, but since those feelings won't show this time..."
"It's what Grampsy said. Yeah, my sympathies..."
"Thank you. By the way, Ena-san, you've already come into contact with Erica Blandelli and Liliana Kranjcar, haven't you?"
As one would expect, the information had traveled fast. Not intending to hide it, Ena admitted immediately.
"Well yeah. The idea of assaulting Erica in her sleep last night came up..."
"And you left it at that? A wise judgment. The barrier that great knight of the [Copper Black Cross] raised around her home should provide more than just any normal defense. Although I would like you to refrain even more from interfering with her if possible..."
"Why? Finally Japan has its own king, and now some foreign girl is his mistress? Isn't it better to chase her out?"
At Ena's proposal, Amakasu shook his head as though he were disappointed.
"Maybe so during the era of national isolation, but the times have changed. Whether it's the [Copper Black Cross] or the [Bronze Black Cross], they are both extremely powerful magic associations. It might be as you say if they were agents of riffraff organizations, but here..."
"Those girls are troublesome?"
"Yes. It's like laying hands on foreign diplomats. In the worst case it might spark strife between our countries."
Ena understood those feelings well. But she had no intention of changing her plans.
Politics and diplomacy were too complex for her. Fights were more fun when they were simple. Matching blades and competing with true strength; was not that enough?
"Uuuum, sorry. Granny and the others at my place had asked me to drive those girls out, so I can't just stop now. Fighting it out with her also seems like fun. Well, let's just leave it at that, okay?"
For the moment, Ena decided to apologize in advance.
Amakasu shrugged his shoulders at Ena's frivolous apology, and her other guest suddenly smiled.
"Your honored grandmother—the directions from the head of the Seishuuins? And your guardian, the Old One, approves as well. It's unlike him to hold an interest in worldly power struggles..."
They were the first words of the third party who had kept her silence thus far.
Sayanomiya Kaoru. As the leader of the Tokyo branch of the History Compilation Committee, she had authority over the Committee in Kantou.
"That's strange. Any idea why the Old Man gave such an order?"
"Who knows? There's no way Ena would know. But even if grampsy looks heroic, he can be unexpectedly wicked. Maybe he's plotting something?"
While happily giving her reply, she showed Kaoru a wry smile.
Sayanomiya Kaoru had a graceful beauty and an aura of being lost in some transient world. There was not an ounce of unnecessary fat on her slender frame.
"You never change, Ena, never bothered about anything. That's really like you."
The expression was a bit affectionate. Her smile was clear and charming.
Her delicate and androgynous appearance defied reality. If you called her a man, she could probably appear as a "gives off no feeling of reality" pretty boy in a shoujo manga.
But Sayanomiya Kaoru had the same sex as Ena. She was one of Musashino's Hime-Miko as well.
After finishing the fruitless interview with Seishuuin Ena, they left Tamaura Shrine.
As Amakasu Touma walked off, his superior Sayanomiya Kaoru followed next to him.
She was not only the next head of the Sayanomiya family, but also a candidate for the next leader of the History Compilation Committee.
It was fine that she was still a high school third year. There were no complaints to be made about her abilities, either. After all, the problem was her behavior—the crossdressing, for example.
She was currently wearing the boys' uniform.
A white shirt with necktie, blazer and pants. Not a pleated skirt, but trousers for boys.
"Still, I wonder why the Elders decided to increase the number of Kusanagi Godou's lovers," Amakasu tossed the question out to his neither male nor female superior.
"Until now, they never had any complaints against your plan of leaving it to Yuri-san alone, so it feels strange. It will only invite vain disorder, so I'd really like to avoid it..."
"Well, I think they have their own thoughts about this," Kaoru said thoughtfully. At times like these she looked like a dangerously frail beautiful boy, or maybe girl. Even though he knew her real gender, Amakasu still felt that way. Strangers would feel the illusion more intensely.
"But if they're increasing the number of lovers around the Campione, wouldn't it mean it's okay for all the families to offer their daughters and start a debauched feast? But the Elders sent only Ena. I think that's gutsy."
"So the Elders caved in against pressure from the Seishuuin family," Amakasu grinned broadly.
That was impossible. While being convinced of that, he voiced the complete opposite opinion.
Kaoru probably believed the same thing. As expected, she smiled back evilly.
"There's no way. Just like the Sayanomiyas, the Seishuuins are one of the four families. Especially against the Old One, the Elders can't persist on such selfishness."
"So it's rather that the Seishuuins are being utilized? ...like adorning your cat with a bell?"
"Or possibly sticking insects onto a lion."
The Elders probably wanted to provoke some kind of reaction from Kusanagi Godou.
Having matched their opinions, the boss and underling made their way to the car in silence.
Mariya Yuri's mornings began early. She woke up before seven o'clock and went to the kitchen.
Both her parents were employed. Her father worked for a certain restaurant chain (that being said, the proprietor was her father's father, in short her grandfather), and her mother lectured at a teaching school.
It was Yuri's daily routine to make breakfast in her busy mother's stead.
Sometimes, she would prepare lunch boxes for herself and her little sister Hikari.
But this morning she made one box too many and left home earlier than usual.
The Mariya family lived in an apartment complex in Toranomon. Although their main house was in the Saitama prefecture, they used the Toranomon apartment for easy commuting to work and school.
Getting on the Chiyoda line and debarking at Nezu Station was her usual routine.
However, this morning she used the Ginza line and got off at Suehiromachi Station. It was to meet Seishuuin Ena. She was informed the girl occupied a small shrine in Yushima, so she would come to check up on her every once a while.
With her face flushed red and facing downwards, Yuri rushed to the shrine.
When she opened the unlocked front shrine, she found Ena rolled up in a sleeping bag, lying on the floor.
She hadn't expected her to sleep in the shrine.
While thinking how horrible that was, Yuri called out quietly.
"Hey, Yuri, morning~. That smells nice~, did you bring me a lunchbox?"
Ena suddenly opened her eyes. Her voice was so clear it did not sound like she had just woken up.
"Y-yes. I brought your share, too, so if you'd like..."
"Of course I do~. You really are sensible, you know~. You're the number one girl I want to make my wife. Good girl, good girl. My praises to you."
While bantering like that, Musashino's greatest Hime-Miko opened her sleeping bag.
She got up, immodestly clad only in a tank top and shorts. She looked thinner in clothes; while slim, her curves were amazing.
Yuri became embarrassed, as the splendor of Ena's body could easily be seen through her thin clothes.
"B-by the way, were you already awake, Ena-san?"
"I was perfectly asleep. I just woke up when I heard the taptaptap of your footsteps all the way here. You seemed totally hurried, what was up?"
Immediately waking up because she discerned who came from footsteps.
While amazed by Ena's inhuman hearing ability Yuri quietly said: "U-um, around this shrine there are so many strange buildings..."
"Ah, sorry sorry. Ena was also surprised when she came; it really is full of dirty hotels, isn't it! Tokyo really is amazing~! But it's convenient to have a convenience store so close. And there are no bears."
Apparently for half a year, Ena had gone through training in a sacred ground in the mountains.
Laughter born of a wild lifestyle made Yuri blush. They were in a quiet residential area. But several hotels of a certain kind were erected around the shrine.
"But you know, Yuri, don't you come to these places as well?"
"I don't! How did you reach such conclusions?!"
Yuri strongly refuted the idea.
However, Ena curiously inquired with a blank face: "Why?"
"I don't! Godou-san and I are only friends! We have a pure relationship!"
"Ehh~? But your rivals, that Erica and Liliana, are foreigners, right? ... I'm not quite sure, but don't they make progress that way?"
After putting away the sleeping bag, the two Hime-Miko sat down across each other in seiza.
Ena accepted the proffered lunchbox, quickly opening the lid and wolfing down its contents.
"Yeah, your cooking is great as always. Lately I've only had nuts, wild plants and the like, so this is exceptional~."
Apparently she had abstained from all kinds of grains. Ena's training was harsher than the one for other Hime-Miko.
Polishing her sword skills, chastising herself again and again, emptying her mind. Lately Yuri could not stay quiet without discussing this issue as she worried over the girl's body.
"...That is, does Godou san... no, do men prefer assertive and sensual women after all?"
"Uhm~, Ena doesn't really know either, but isn't it different~?" Ena said while happily tasting the white rice.
She spoke frankly, but when sitting in seiza she looked terrifically beautiful. Her way of eating and mannerisms were good and she sat upright. Actually, in terms of being a young lady, she exceeded Yuri.
"Yesterday, you know, after I finally came back to Tokyo, I went for some sightseeing. To Akihabara."
"Ahh, aren't there many foreigners around there?"
"And then, after looking through most of the electric appliance stores in the main street, I also entered the shops in the buildings and other places... and it was amazing."
"Yeah. There were many small stores, all so strange and fascinating. There are lots of shops that are, you know, completely pink, or like skin-colored."
"Nirvana or Paradise, may be like that. Whether it's to the left or right, in front or behind, there are nude images all over the place. Hey, you know the Mithuna reliefs in India or somewhere? Like those, BAM, a wall of pictures of naked men and women!"
"I'm sure very pious people must have gathered there..."
She had not known Tokyo had such a sacred place for foreigners.
While embarrassed by her own ignorance, she decided that one day she would go there herself and study it.
"Maybe. Anyway, Ena understood that boys probably like these kinds of things," Ena remarked as she gobbled down on the vegetable side dishes.
She was looking somewhere far away. Like there was a very sensational scene going on.
"I think since Kusanagi-san is a boy, he's the same. In the end being naked will work, definitely!"
"You're saying too much! It's a bit doubtful at times, but Godou-san basically is someone diligent!"
"I wonder~. Yuri, you're too fastidious so he just might not be able to say it."
Yuri was taken aback when her fellow Hime-Miko pointed it out.
On Sardinia, Lucretia Zola had thoroughly lectured her on boys' mentality.
But she could not understand that profound theory in the least. Possibly, the key for a smooth interaction with Kusanagi Godou lay in that.
"By the way, you brought Ena's lunch box, but did you properly make one for Kusanagi-san? Although it doesn't look to me like you have that extra baggage..."
"Ah, yes. It's just your share."
"You can't do that! Don't forget the shortest way to get close with an animal is through feeding!"
"B-But there is no reason to. There is no reason to make a lunch box for that person in the first..."
"Don't worry about that. You need to start acting first! First, need you to approach him more forcefully, like by asking him to embrace you and sneaking over at night."
"Sneak over at night!? Please hold it, how did we end up there!?"
"I think it's easier to win his heart if you do. Hold nothing back!"
"Me, sneak over at night... don't the men usually do that? First of all, it's illegal nowadays!"
"You've got problems~~. Anyway, you need to do at least that much. Ena will help out too, you see? For now, let's develop your relationship with Kusanagi-san all across today. Okay?"
Yuri paled in response to Ena's exceedingly unreasonable proposal.
"I-I can't! That's impossible!"
Jounan Academy had segregated physical education for boys and girls.
Two classes would take lessons together; then boys and girls would split up. Godou's class five was together with class six.
The sun's rays were still relentless and the temperature was high, too. It was late summer, but the weather felt like midsummer. Therefore, the pool was used during physical education.
Once again, the curriculum called for swimming.
But that was only for the girls. The boys had gymnastics in the humid gymnasium
The feverish atmosphere was stuffy to the limit, and in the swirl of heat and body odor, the male students did mat exercises or apparatus gymnastics.
"Gentlemen, don't you think this is wrong?"
Someone asked a forceful question.
The speaker was Nanami. He often made problematic statements like "Actually, I'm a sucker for miko."
But he was also an unexpectedly charismatic leader. Whenever people did something as a group, he was usually found at the center of it all... as good-for-nothing of a center as he may be.
"'Segregated society.' Let's think about the meaning of these words once more, comrades. Gathered here are nothing but men, in a gray wasteland of a world with neither warmth nor color. Is it fine to submit to this? Most certainly not!"
Nanami was shaking the gymnasium with the heap of nonsense he was loudly proclaiming.
Incidentally, the teacher in charge of physical education was absent. A few minutes earlier, he had left, accompanying a student who had fallen off the balance beam and apparently fractured a bone. Now they were in the middle of self-study.
"So if this world is a wasteland, only those! Only those! Who follow their ambitions will be able to change this place. We have to pry open the doors of paradise ourselves!"
"Nanami... what you want to say is, in short, that?"
The one who asked was Takagi. He belonged to the Kendo club and, due to his large build, he was quite able at it.
But he was a man weak to strange influences and easily led astray.
"At this very moment, we must aim for heaven!"
"Yeah. Currently, the place closest to heaven in this school is the pool. The pool where our girls of classes five and six are taking lessons together! The sacred grounds we are forbidden from entering, the secret flower garden where more than thirty girls are frolicking in the water and where lily flowers bloom!
"But the risk is too high..."
A cool voice poured over them like cold water. Sorimachi derisively laughed.
The self-styled "Man with 108 little sisters in 2D." As ridiculous as it may be, it was a weirdness only when carried to an extreme. At least he was not an ordinary person.
"We boys from class five and six number a total of thirty six. This many people would act at the same time to appreciate the girls at the pool. Certainly it is a charming idea but we only have forty minutes until classes are over. We won't even be able to make proper preparations in such a short time. Feelings alone won't take us anywhere..."
Nanami stomped towards the speaker.
Bam! Nanami's fist struck home. Sorimachi sternly looked at the assailant who had hit him on the cheek.
"I misjudged you, Sorimachi. I never thought you were such a boring man."
The one who struck and the one who was struck were facing each other, one with anger in his eyes, the other with pity.
"Back then, you'd never have used that as an excuse. You boldly faced even the most difficult missions, a hero dedicated to victory. And yet, you've turned into such a pussy!"
"What are you talking about, you asshole!"
"About two months ago. On the day before the release of 'Saint ☆ Little Sister Academy,' you fought to see all endings of 'Together with Onii-chan,' where you have to clear four little sisters, and 'Imohare!', where you have to marry seven little sisters. All that while suffering from a 38° fever and diarrhea..."
"Tsk. You remember some unpleasant things."
Sorimachi looked away from Nanami who was talking about old times.
"Back then I said, 'Stop already. Just shelve it as crap. Your body's at its limits.' But then you replied..."
"Yeah. 'I'm a man with 108 little sisters. I'm no useless brother who will abandon a little sister once he's started capturing her.' On that one day I conquered all the endings, and on the next, I devoted all my power to 'Saint ☆ Little Sister Academy'..."
Flames were lit in the two boys' eyes.
Flames inside their hearts that only lit up when two comrades with burning spirits understood each other.
"Looks like I forgot my guts from that time. Thank you for reminding me.... This is my thanks!"
"Heh. How is it. Did you feel it?"
This time Sorimachi did the striking. But Nanami smiled even as he was sent flying.
His smile seemed to say, 'Have you finally awoken, you stupid idiot?' Just now, between the two of them, their fists had been words.
"That was a nice punch. It held your spirit. You've got a hot fist..."
"Shut it. I'm done hesitating. Let's fight together."
Sorimachi stretched out his hand and took Nanami's. Like that he pulled him up. It was an emotional scene of two men deeply understanding each other after a clash. However, finally getting fed up with it all, Godou said with a sober voice.
The two comedians directed their stares full of enmity at him.
But Godou kept going, not losing to the pressure.
"There's so much I want to say right now, but first of all, can you not peek? You know that's like a crime."
Foop (The sound of heaving a gymnastic mat)
"H-hey, what are you—"
Bam (The sound of said mat being dropped on Godou)
WupWupWup (The sound of male students A, B and C jumping onto the mat)
"Guha. H-hey, wait a sec, are you trying to crush me?"
Squashed under the bulky, stinking mats, Godou complained.
The weight of the three students weighed down on him, so it was quite painful. He barely managed to stick his head out from under the mat and secure some oxygen.
"Dammit, he's alive. Well, killing him would be bad, too."
"If you like, I can finish him."
"Calm down. If we do it, we must do it carefully from where his legs can't reach."
The three idiots Nanami, Takagi and Sorimachi said some dangerous things.
Godou loudly asked the other boys surrounding them.
"Do you guys resent me or what? Why the heck do you do this to me?"
"You ask why?"
Nanami glanced down with a cold look.
"Let me ask you then. Kusanagi, why can you say things like 'Don't peek'?"
"Hiding at the school pool and peeking is a hair's width away from committing a crime. Most of all, don't you feel bad for the girls? Don't ask me such obvious questions..."
Godou made sound arguments while silently praying for everyone to quickly regain their senses. If they lost their way over a momentary whim, in all likelihood they would come to regret it in the future. But that question made most of the students in class five and six go even wilder. Some were even crying tears of frustration.
"You damn hypocrite..."
"Damn it all. You're looking down on us because you have no problems getting girls..."
"Anzai-sensei, we want to see girls in swimsuits!"
"Everyone, calm down. Together with everyone's anger and suffering, I will do the talking. I'll teach this harem bastard who thinks it's normal to capture several girls at the same time about our pure hearts!"
Nanami took control of everyone present and looked down on Godou once again.
"Hey, Kusanagi, I like girls in swimsuits. It's no exaggeration to say I love them."
"Well, I won't criticize your personal hobbies."
"Just shut it and listen. I like girls in swimsuits... that's right. In year one, class five and six, Arakawa-san stands out for having a great body, doesn't she? And obviously the appeal of Miyama-san's small build and flat chest strikes home with those enthusiasts. We can expect the swimsuit to bring forth another kind of charm in the bespectacled Sawa-san, too. And Nagasato's plumpness should turn into the characteristic soothing aura that slender girls don't have. But, even so."
Nanami strongly clenched his fist. He probably was about to present his good-for-nothing pet theory.
"Even if those girls are so fascinating, in terms of idol groups, they wouldn't be in the front row. They are the second row, so to speak, reserve members. So, who's the crème de la crème?"
"Hmm... I don't know."
He had an idea of the other's emotions, but Godou dared playing dumb.
"Erica-sama with her supremely gorgeous body. Mariya-san who makes you wonder if she's hiding splendid sizes somewhere. And then there is Liliana-san who became the 'Number One girl I want to put in a leotard' with her fairy body... You asshole who monopolizes those celebrated flowers will never understand what makes our blood boil. No, like you'd be allowed to know!"
"I've got a proposal! Let's lock Kusanagi-san into the equipment room like this!"
"That's a great idea! Alright, someone go find the key!"
"Okay, now it's time to pay the piper, you bastard. Muahahahaa!"
In response to Nanami's fervent speech, the boys' voices strangely started to well up here and there.
Thus the union of boys from class five and six had locked Kusanagi Godou into the equipment room and started marching toward the paradise of maidens frolicking in water.
"If you think about it, this might be a good chance. Erica, let us finally find out who is better through swimming."
"A swimming competition? With you? No thanks."
Classes five and six were having lessons together.
By the poolside, two girls were having a conversation like that.
Of course, they were Liliana Kranjcar and Erica Blandelli. Jounan Academy's swimming uniform was a one-piece with a daring hole in the back.
The ones wearing it the most splendidly were these girls.
The girls were creating the illusion of the commonplace school pool being an overseas resort. With their blond and silver hair fluttering in the wind, they were attracting everyone's stares.
"Heheh. Running from a battle is unlike you."
"But in swimming I've never been a match for you. Our reflexes and strength are almost the same, and yet... is it because the water resistance is too different, as I thought?"
Liliana in her swimsuit was truly slender.
But being delicate alone should not lead to such results. The Eastern European girl was so slender it seemed she would break if held too strongly. And though she was so slim, she had wonderfully long limbs. Her nape like a swan. Her well-arranged features like a fairy.
Her slenderness, fleetingness, all merged to make Liliana shine.
Her artistic beauty might be of an Eastern European fairy.
But in terms of physical beauty in swimsuits, in sensual charm, Erica came out on top after all. Skin toned light-brown on Sardinia. The swellings of her breasts looking like large fruits. Her hip, inviting the sighs of onlookers. The perfect curve of her ass.
And the elegance that naturally showed off all of that.
There was no forced appeal. On the other hand, she did not hide it from inquisitive eyes either.
Shining just by being there.
Erica Blandelli was that kind of girl. Seeing her standing there was dazzling even for Yuri.
"Certainly, you have always been better developed than me! But that does not mean I will take you calling me almost flat hands down!"
"Oh my, I only meant that you were lighter than me, Lily?"
Erica smiled impishly.
Enraged, Lily flared up.
One might think of these two as being fairly close, but at least the silver-haired girl denied it. At any rate, Liliana seemed to feel no timidity towards Erica.
It made Yuri envious. That said, Ena had told her before.
[I'm not quite sure, but don't they make progress that way?]
Certainly not only the extravagant Erica, but also the straight-laced Liliana was radiating intense self-assertion and positiveness.
Compared to those girls, she herself was... At this point Yuri was terrified.
(What was I thinking just now!? It was like I was competing with Erica-san and Liliana-san over Godou! No, that can't be true. Godou and I are just friends. A bit closer than usual, and there are just circumstances we can't really tell people about, and...)
While she thought so, a curious emotion welled up in Yuri's chest.
She felt a pain constricting her chest, a cold uneasiness nesting itself in the pit of her stomach, a sweet and sour hope; all those feelings were mixing inside her.
Haa. She sighed. When she did, someone talked to her from beside her.
"What's up, Mariya-san? Do you feel bad? Should I call the teacher?"
It was the smallest girl in class six, Miyama-san.
She was 145cm tall and baby-faced on top of it. Apparently she was often mistaken for an elementary schooler.
"Ah, no, that's not it."
Taking her eyes off Erica and Liliana in a hurry, Yuri awkwardly smiled.
It truly was a Japanese insincere smile. In return, Miyama-san's expression turned dark.
"Well yeah, even without asking I have my ideas... But, I think it's unfair if even you are bothered by that. You don't understand the troubles of the less fortunate, or rather, your troubles are too luxurious... Anyway, it's too unfair!"
"Mi-Miyama-san? Just what do you want to say?"
Feeling the indignation in the rebuke, Yuri faltered.
At that point class six's class committee member Sawa-san cut in.
"Yuri-san... Miyama-san wants to say, 'If they have no bread, let them eat cake.' 'Don't fuck with me,' you see? 'How dare you complain if you've got such excellent goods yourself'."
Her red-framed glasses were shining.
Sawa-san was slender; her grades placed her at the top of her year. Although she was a first year, the drama club entrusted her with a lead role. That girl suddenly latched onto Yuri.
She grabbed Yuri's chest from above the bath towel she had draped over her swimsuit!
"See? What's with these nice boobies? They spill out of your hands when you try to fondle them. They have achieved the supreme balance between neither too large nor too small. With miraculous tightness and softness and a beautiful silhouette... In a sense, these are the best. The first-rate taste limited to Japanese beef. Those tasteless foreign products can't hope to compete! They are wonderful, Mariya-san. Come to the drama club with me and let's aim for the top of the..."
"P-please stop, Sawa-san. T-take your hands off me!"
"You mustn't, Sawa-san, calm down! If you are like that, Mariya-san will!"
A few dozen seconds later. Although panting, for different reasons, Yuri-san and Sawa-san had regained their calm.
Miyama-san was watching the two with worried eyes.
"I-I'm sorry. I saw some nice raw material and just had to invite you..."
"N-no, I am terribly sorry for making you lose your composure..."
"Sawa-san sure turns into a beast sometimes. Ah, Mariya-san, I don't think you need to be jealous of others. If you are bothered, what am I going to do?"
Miyama-san murmured while looking down at her own figure.
Her limbs were childish and put badly, her build belonged in elementary school.
Anyway, the one-piece did not suit her.
A child's swimsuit would be better. With that thought, Yuri was assailed by pangs of guilt.
She realized just how rude her feelings before were. And beside her, Sawa-san tried comforting Miyama-san.
"Hey, Miyama. There are also fellows like Sorimachi from class five who say 'But that's what makes it good!' Don't give up hope!"
"This isn't funny anymore! Sorimachi of all those strange guys!?!"
Yuri suddenly noticed an unrest in her heart.
It was the moment she heard the name of that boy from class five. Did not that feeling resemble a revelation from her spirit vision? She looked around.
In the pool. Several girls were swimming towards the other side.
By the poolside. Of course there, too, were nothing but girls. The supervising teacher was a woman, too.
While she was looking around restlessly, Erica and Liliana approached her.
"What's up, Yuri? You seem odd. Did you see something by any chance?"
"Did you pick up a sign of danger? My senses have caught nothing, but you are far more sensitive than I am. If you like I can investigate."
"Ah, no. It didn't feel that important..."
Yuri briefly explained the circumstances.
When she was done, Erica turned once in a circle, checking the surroundings and fixating at one point.
"Hey, Lily. If someone tried doing something bad close to this pool, wouldn't that careless fellows most likely pick that place?"
Pine trees were planted beside Jounan Academy's pool, facing the school building.
That thickly grown line of trees shut out stares from those sides.
But the side without such a blind also had a building. The wooden old school building that would apparently be demolished in a month. It had not been in use for nearly ten years and been sealed...
That is where Erica focused her gaze.
"Hmm. You just want to make me investigate it, so don't act so inviting. It's impudent."
Liliana closed her eyes while muttering.
Yuri felt a small amount of magical power leak from her closed eyes and jump towards the old school building.
It should be wizardry that linked one of the five senses to a distant place. She had probably made her "sight" scan the area.
"I found them. There are some worthless fellows there."
"Oh my, what bad people... so, how are we going to punish them?"
When Liliana gave her report, Erica maliciously chuckled.
Yuri watched uncomfortably when the two magi who could be called the top of their generation in Europe took fighting stances.
"Dammit! Doing whatever they please!"
In the equipment room, Kusanagi Godou finally managed to escape from under the mountain of mats.
The combined armies of boys from class five and six had pushed into the room, dragged all the mats over, stacked them on top of him, and then tightly locked the room.
"Now all I need is to get out of here..."
Godou glared at the door of the equipment closet.
It was locked. There were no tools or skills to break it. That only left breaking through by ramming it with his body.
Destroying school property was bad. If there were other ways he should take those.
Godou reached that reasonable conclusion. But...
The moment he thought of it, a certain image floated up in his head. On Sardinia he had seen Erica parading in her swimsuit on many occasions. He had not seen Liliana's swimsuit, but it had to suit her very well.
...Those ill-bred idiots were scheming to appreciate that view.
For some reason anger built in his chest. And then he reconsidered.
Yeah, emergency situations require emergency measures. In such a situation he did not have to take the safe route. On the contrary, that would be a defense against negligence. Therefore, Godou decided to force his way through.
It was just when he had finished making space in the equipment room and gotten ready to charge against the door.
"Godou-kun, you alright? Wait a sec, I'll let you out now."
He had heard that voice before. It belonged to Ono, a boy in his class.
He heard a key being turned and then the door opened and showed a small boy with frizzy hair.
"Sorry, they hid the key so it took some time."
"Not at all, you really helped me. Thanks."
Ono shyly laughed when Godou thanked him.
"Of course, not everyone went along with the three idiots. Including me, about a third of us have stayed here."
"Still, the fact remains that two-thirds went with them. That's rather more impressive."
Urged by Ono, a shocked Godou left the equipment room. Guided by anger he decided that he would hurry to the pool as quickly as possible and obstruct their plan.
"Godou-kun, are you perhaps thinking of interfering with them?"
"Of course. How could I just let it go like this?"
"I see. Then... I won't say it's for saving you, but could I ask you for one thing?"
Embarrassedly, Ono presented him a tiny digital camera.
Come to think of it, Ono was part of the photography club. Thinking that must have been why he was allowed to bring such a thing to school, Godou inclined his head.
"Uhm, what do you want exactly?"
"Actually, I really like girls with glasses. It's no exaggeration to say I love them. So I was wondering, if you go to the pool, could you use the occasion to take a picture of Sawa-san in her swimsuit? Peeping is bad after all, but if it happens while saving the girls, it's that, isn't it?"
Godou suddenly turned his back on Ono who was staring at him like a wet puppy.
"Alright, I'll be off. Thanks for getting me out of there!"
"Kusanagi-kun! The camera!"
Leaving the appealing voice behind, Godou dashed off to the pool.
This is a story that Godou heard later.
The boys of class five and six under Nanami's command broke into the old school building, which was slated for demolishing. There were about fifteen of them.
The insolent boys broke through the sealed door and entered the old school building.
Occupying the third floor, they steeled themselves to gaze at the frolicking girls by the waterside without any kind of cover.
However, the pool was quite a distance away.
With their eyesight they could not see any details.
So they devised a plan to fulfill their desire to confirm the B W H measurements exactly. Takagi remembered he had binoculars in his bag for watching sports and rushed back to the classroom.
During ten minutes until his return, all the others could do nothing but wait.
The unclimatized old school building was hot, dusty, and stank of the sweat and body odors of the gathered boys.
And finally the desired item reached them, cooped up in that coarse environment. It seemed like the whole place was trembling in excitement before the opening of heaven's gates.
Then the old school building collapsed with a thunderous roar.
Godou ran for his life and finally got close to the pool.
Where were they? Where were those idiots trying to appreciate the girls? Restlessly looking around the surroundings, he tried coming up with a guess. At that moment, he heard a terrible sound.
Looking in its direction, Godou was shocked.
The wooden old school building was about to collapse with a thunderous roar.
The walls, the pillars, the floor—all the building materials broke into small pieces, got smashed up, and lost their form.
The sight was so spectacular, it seemed as though the strain of time had made them wither in mere moments. With cracking sounds, the old wood crumbled. And then, one could hear screams from the inside.
"WHAT THE HELL!?" or "The floor! The floor!"
"Don't mind me, save the little sisters on my hard drive!" or "I really was a sucker for miko!"
Obviously, the boys of class five and six were buried under the rubble of the old school building.
Those guys had probably peeked from there.
But now, they were shocked by the sudden disaster movie they found themselves in and struggled in their pain.
It looked like they were all going through some painful experiences. Bruises, scratches—they might even have bone fractures. You could say they got what they deserved, but he could not deny himself some pity.
Usually, such a supernatural phenomenon should not happen.
Godou noticed the girls loitering near the old school building right away.
It was the usual three. Erica's scornful expression betrayed happiness over the boys' suffering, and Liliana's expressed righteousness served.
Only Yuri was worriedly watching the groaning boys.
All three of them were wearing windbreaker jackets or bath towels over their uniform swimsuits.
"I knew it was you guys... now, whose plan was this?"
"Mine. I only wanted to use [Pulverization] magic for a bit. Looks like that school building really has gotten old. Usually it shouldn't completely collapse with the amount of magic power I used."
Erica composedly answered Godou, who came running.
He had heard that she was good with magic that creates or transforms stuff, but such a trump card was unexpected.
"I can mostly guess what happened, but didn't you overdo it a little?"
"What should I have done? The spell worked better than expected. ...and isn't it fine? With this, punishment has been dealt. The original revenge I had thought of was more complex."
Erica happily showed a devil's smile.
Not of the usual devil toying with humans, though. It belonged to a devil of the cruel, coldhearted kind.
"That is correct, Kusanagi Godou. Punishment for sins, purification for impurity. As a knight, I also intended to drop the hammer of justice on that dirty undertaking."
Liliana's expression was stern.
It was the gallant, sublime expression of a knight backed by her ideals.
Erica and Liliana's expressions were polar opposites but, apparently, the convictions in their hearts led them in the same direction.
While thinking that those two got along somehow or other, Godou looked at Yuri. Unlike the knights, she was the only one who looked like she wanted to say something.
"What is it, Mariya? Something you want to tell me?"
"Ah, no. There's only one little thing which has bothered me..."
Her bashfulness made her incredibly lovely.
With her upper body covered by a bath towel, Yuri was fidgeting—trying to evade Godou's eyes and turning her face away.
"Godou-san, is it possible that you, like those boys, want to see us in s-swimsuits?"
It was an unexpected question. That Yuri would actually ask him such a thing.
Flustered, Godou averted his eyes from the completely flushed red Hime-Miko's swimsuit.
"N-no. I-I don't especially have such an interest..."
Godou went for the harmless and inoffensive answer.
His words trailed off towards the end, maybe because he knew he was pretending.
But what other choice did he have? Even inadvertently, he was living surrounded by beautiful girls. He was in no place to be thoughtless.
"I-I see. That's right, isn't it! I'm glad I asked you, Godou-san. I was right in believing you stood above such carnal desires!"
Yuri's expression was obviously relieved.
Good. Looks like it hadn't failed. It was just when Godou felt relieved—
"What a stupid thing are you asking, Yuri? Of course he isn't!"
"Although reluctant, I have to agree with Erica. She is absolutely right. Mariya Yuri, our lord is the king among kings in lechery."
The two knights cut in with confident expressions.
"I haven't forgotten the hot night I spent with Godou on Sicily. At that time Godou he, he stared at my stark naked body and then it got really rough. I won't let him say he has no interest in a woman's naked body."
Ignoring the startled Godou, Erica kept talking. Meanwhile Liliana's face turned bitter.
"The rumored affair in Zamparini's mansion? Had I been there, I would not have permitted Erica to do as she pleased. Kusanagi Godou, if your male desires ever become too much for you to handle, please call me. A-As a knight, I shall be of service without fail..."
"W-weren't there intricate circumstances at that time? And Liliana, what the heck are you saying!"
After shouting, Godou looked at Yuri right away. Although he had finally tricked her, after this topic it was all for naught. As he thought, her facial expression betrayed her shock.
"No... no way. So Godou is like the others after all, just like Ena-san said... I-I'm terribly sorry. I need to sort out my feelings, so please excuse me."
Fast-talking, Yuri excused herself and ran off.
Without the words to stop her, Godou saw her off dumbly.
"Oh, Yuri, running away~. Hey, Amakasu-san, what were they talking about just now?"
"How would I be able to hear? Please don't ask me."
They were in a room on the seventh floor of an apartment building.
They had managed to slip into a room that happened to be open thanks to Amakasu Touma's connections.
From its window, they could overlook the grounds and buildings of the Private Jounan Academy.
"But, Amakasu-san, can't you read lips? Weren't you a ninja?"
"Could you call me something else? That sounds like I'm a fake... can you at least make it spy? Also, I can't read lips, but I can understand the conversation through deduction."
The two of them were sitting next to each other by the window, using binoculars.
They perfectly showed the pool and the ruins of the former school building, Godou and the girls.
Right now, Yuri was running away from Godou.
"Really? You rock~. No less from Kaoru-san's right hand man."
"Come on, as long as you have adequate knowledge and imagination, it's just basic reasoning. It probably went like this. Yuri said something like 'Idiot! I don't like you or anything! I HATE you!', I bet."
"Eh? I don't think Yuri's the type to say that~"
"I just thought it would be interesting and added my own hopes."
Getting tired of passing each other the ball in this fruitless conversation, Ena took her eyes from the binoculars.
"Hmm. Alright, I decided."
"What would that be? Are you returning to the main house?"
"As if. I decided I couldn't leave it to Yuri alone. I should support her from now on. Seems more fun and all."
"Why do I feel like that's a really bad idea..."
Ena broadly grinned while ignoring Amakasu's impoliteness.
Magic had caused the wooden school building to collapse in a moment like it had deteriorated.
From that spell alone she could deduce Erica Blandelli's skill. That was the true worth of today's observations. She was great after all. An enemy worth fighting.
Ena nodded in satisfaction and reached for her metal partner on the floor.
It would be a satisfying battle for the sword, too. And they would be the ones winning.
Translator’s notes & references
- Yushima: a neighborhood in Bunkyo Ward, Central Tokyo.
- Kurumaebashi Street: An important street in Tokyo, leading from the Bunkyo Ward to National Highway 14.
- Kantou: geographical region of Japan that centers around the Tokyo metropolitan area.
- Oinari: also Inari Ookami, a deity (sometimes depicts as three or five deities) of fertility, rice, agriculture, foxes, and industry; with pure white kitsune foxes serving as messengers, inari often appears in popular Japanese culture (and thus anime) as a fox spirit.
- Yamato Takeru no Mikoto: a legendary prince of the Yamato Dynasty; his father Emperor Keiko feared his brutal temperament and sent him on numerous campaigns, hoping for his death. But his aunt, a miko of Amaterasu (Japanese sun god), lent him the Sword of Kusanagi (also named Ama no Murakumo, Ena's sword here) to assist him; nevertheless, he died tragically of an illness after blaspheming one of the local gods.
- Oto Tachibana no Hime: consort to the prince, who sacrificed herself to pacify the spirits of the sea during Emperor Keiko's campaign to take Kazusa province.
- National Isolation: since 1630s and prior to 1854 when Commodore Perry forcibly opened Japan's doors, Japan had a foreign policy of 'Sakoku' (Locked Country) where no foreigner may enter and no Japanese may leave, under penalty of death.
- Toranomon: literally Tiger's Gate, Toranomon is a business district in central Tokyo.
- Mithuna: Mithuna is the tantric term for the union of lovers. The reliefs it refers to here are probably the ones outside the Lakshman temple in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments
- Sneak over at night... illegal these days: Yuri is referring to the Japanese practice of Yobai, where young men would silently crawl into a sleeping woman's room and sleep with her if she consented. In many cases, this was done by a guy both the family/girl knows, and sometimes even with the consent of the girl's parents. There were similar practices in pre-modern Europe often referred as 'climbing the window,' usually done by lovers or officially engaged pairs whom could not get married yet due to special circumstances (e.g. guy was still an apprentice).
- Where Lily Flowers Bloom: As you may guess, it's a Yuri reference (the Japanese terminology for Girl's Love/Shoujo-ai, not the character), as yuri (百合) literally means lily.
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