Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume10 A Day For You 03

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A Day For You 3[edit]

That day, Nina was passing time in the silence of the military arts training hall.

"Fuuh,"

Ending her usual training, Nina steadied her breath before wiping her sweat with a towel. In stopping her training and just as she was enveloped by the silence, the mischief of comfort surged forward. Feeling different from the usual atmosphere, Nina knitted her eyebrows and looked around.

With the exception of Nina, there was no one from the 17th platoon here. Layfon notified her yesterday that he would rest today and Sharnid suddenly said that he had to take the day off. Furthermore, she didn't have Felli's contact number (Felli didn't give it to her). It wasn't necessary to maintain the Dite everyday so Harley wasn't here.

"Mattaku...,"[1]

While she grumbled, she was once again thought of what day today was.

Today was Van Allen's day.

The queer culture where one gives sweets to another instead of confessing their love was not peculiar in Zuellni. Last year, the guys from the commerce department who ran the confectionery-related shops got to know other cities' culture, and then ran a grand campaign out of it.

Just because the generation (age group) most interested in romance had gathered, the students had fun and took that in custom, and so this year, that day has come again.

"Mattaku...,"

After muttering it again, Nina threw down her towel, standing alone at the center of the training room, and started generating Kei to resume training her stance.[2].

If it were the usual days, the soundproof partition would shake to the extent that the other platoon's training could be heard but today, that sound feels as if it is well-behaved.

Within the military arts department, a platoon member who possesses excellent talent will be elected. Furthermore, if the inter-platoon matches take place, the spectator seating of the battleground will be filled, and they are also popular enough that the matches will be linked through the monitors. It's to an extent where within that, people (participants) who are die-hard fans also exist.

"Now that I think about it, didn't it also feel the same last year too?"

While she was thinking how it was, a metal whip was swung and her stance was broken. Stopping her fall, she concentrated on her training once more.

"Don't think of unnecessary things!"

No matter how much of a militant artist she was, she was still a student. It was not possible to say she was not interested in love. Even if she was hit by the enthusiasm called Van Allen's Day which spurt out incessantly from her surroundings, she cannot be blamed for it.

But,

"I am who I am."

That has nothing to do with me. Placing those strong words in her heart, Nina started over from the beginning to retrain her form.

Until her usual training hours end, she repeated her form training and after that, Nina showered to wash away her sweat. She was off duty from cleaning the Central Mechanism Chamber today. Without considering of visiting any place, she thought of immediately returning to the dorm as she strode out of the main entranceway.

"Antalk-senpai!"

The sudden sound of the shrill voice surprised Nina. At the side of the main entranceway, a group of female students who were waiting in line quickly surrounded her.

"W-what is it?"

There was no hostility from the girls coming at Nina, but she could not think of a way to deal with the female students that swarmed over her with honest feelings. The bewildered her had lost her means of escape and incidentally, she was spoken to as if insults were hurled towards her.

"Senpai, I....."

"Senpai, please accept my feelings!"

"Um, this.......for senpai.."

"Please accept this!"

"Please eat this!"

At the things they simultaneously held out, Nina's eyes rounded. In the hands of the female students were objects with various kinds of ribbons wrapped around it that made them look fitting.

There was no need to imagine what the contents were.

".........Do all of you, know what day it is today?"

While feeling the cold sweat on the temple of her forehead, she asked.

"Yes we do!"

"We talked about it......"

"We didn't want to trouble Senpai..."

"It's not strange to give it to the person you admire too."

She sort of understood what they wanted to say. To differentiate the years or grades, the militant arts sector have different colours for the sword belt but the liberal arts sector have different coloured neckties, ribbons and etc. Since they all call her by Senpai then they must either be first or second year juniors.

(...Respect, you say?)

This was the question she had in mind. She had been told of such before. Most of them were from her juniors in the military arts sector, furthermore they were mostly girls. To the girls, as long as they (the lower year students) classifies them as third year students, becoming a platoon member and in addition a captain too will most likely gain their respect, is what Nina was told and was able to agree to.

But, these girls were students of the general studies sector and have nothing to do with military arts. And also, their glances at Nina carried the feeling that it had a little too much respect for her.

(What a strange situation)

She thought of that but in the end, she lost to their zeal and accepted the sweets. As a result from being dumbfounded for a while, Nina looked at the back of her juniors who were happily leaving but-

"Well it's not like I'm the only one who received presents."

As she thought of that, she started to move her feet.

Suddenly, Nina felt a glance from the side of her face. Not moving her face, she scanned her surroundings for any presences. There wasn't any person. But, there was a glance that felt as if it caressed her cheeks and continued to monitor her.

(That's strange)

That was what she thought.

Because somebody was hiding while secretly examining Nina, that look felt like it was rudely facing her. For example, it is like when an acquaintance found her just now, and while she hesitates whether or not it is fine to greet him, she just looks at him. That sort of feeling.

(There's still someone hiding?)

There might have been a person who did not mix in with the group of underclassmen just now.

"Is anyone there?"

Standing still, Nina called out to the surroundings. She felt the look on her right cheek. Over there was a small mound due to tree-planting, and the evening filled with the gloomy silence seemed to last.

The plant was obstructing her field of vision, but there was no sign of anybody.

"That was strange......was it just my imagination?"

Tilting her neck, Nina walked away again. The parcels of sweets she was carrying with both her arms looked like they were about to collapse.

(Today, it's faster to go home by walking)

After deciding that, she turned her legs to the direction of the now moundless branching road towards the bus stop.


"Ahahahahahahaha!"

The moment she saw Nina come back to the dorm, Leu immediately made a conjecture of the situation and then gave out a loud, hearty laugh.

"Wha-, it's not something to laugh about."

She thought so, however with her cheeks turning red, Nina personally became incredibly flustered and therefore everything she said lost all merit.

"But........that's definitely from girls. Fu-......ahahahahaha!"

Holding her stomach with both her arms, even now Leu who seemed like she was going to fall off from rolling about on the sofa that functions as a reception office lounge was given a glower. But quickly, after the sweets were placed on the fruitless[3], Nina sat down on the sofa used for interviewing purposes.

"It's not like I asked for any presents."

She murmured while puffing up her cheeks.

"Well, well. You received a lot didn't you, ne~"

Over there was Selina who came after finishing dinner's preparation. She gazed at the piled up boxes of sweets on the table with great interest and, with a gentle stretch of her hand on one of them, it opened on its own accord.

"Aa, Selina-san......"

"Ye~s?"

"Well, those are mine......"

For the time being, Nina was mannerable towards the group of girls who gave her the chocolate. She thought of it that way, but Selina took out the contents without showing an ounce of care.

The cookies for the important day were crammed in the small box.

"Fu~n....."

"Selina-san?"

Without having any indication of eating it, Selina who slipped the cookie between her fingers and seemed to hold it up to the light, then let out an "Ei" while spliting the cookie into two halves.

"Uhyaa!"

The one who gave out that shriek was Leu.

The moment Selina split the cookie, along with the fragments that were pulverised, something black came falling out.

"W-why?"

Leu directed that question to everyone in the room[4]. Nina also fell down on the table, as she widened her eyes the moment she saw the dangling object from the cross section of the cookie.

She can't be mistaken about it. It was a person's hair.

The long strings of hairs that fell on the table were attached and coiled here and there within the fragments of the cookie, which made Nina and Leu tremble.

"Oh, my"

"Wha-what is this?"

To the Selina who let out a calm voice, Nina asked.

"Well, I thought 'there might be some chance' but it seems there are people who would really do it,"

"So, what is it?"

Leu also asked very irritatedly.

"Well you know~as Van Allen's day was nearing, a strange good luck charm had been becoming popular,"

"Good luck charm?"

Hearing words they couldn't believe, both of them stared Selina's face.

"Mmm, I wonder if it's okay to say it's a method to grant a person's wishes?I don't know whether there is or isn't but it's said to rely on a supernatural power..... Well, it's a charm to allow the person whom you love to have feelings for you by eating a part of your body."

"So, the hair?"

"That seems to be the case. By no means, would a person go to the extent of offering their own flesh so there's no one like that."

"It's troublesome even if you say so."

Immediately while she was answering, Nina thought maybe the other sweets were the same too.

If it was like that, then she wouldn't want to eat it anymore.

"Hey, hey, is it ok if I check it out?"

"Please do it when I'm not here."

To Selina's request, Nina wearily replied.

And, a doubt had arisen as Selina seemed excessively happy while carrying the rest of the boxes of sweets in her arms.

".....It couldn't be, the one who made it popular was not Selina-san, right?"

"No~, I only heard about it~"

"Wait, from who!?"

Because she admitted it so easily, conversely, Nina was surprised.

"Because a friend of mine from the study of law said she wanted to know the statistics of males and females whom sought others for help, so I just taught her 'these kinds of things do happen~'The ultimate good will is to adapt to the other party, the part of letting your partner eat a part of you is, so to speak, sour grapes."

".....Tomorrow for sure, if there is a large outbreak of food poisoning cases then it is Selina-san's fault."

"Mou~[5], something like that won't happen. Oh, yeah."

Selina hit her hands as she thought of a bright idea.

"As an apology for surprising you, let me teach you a good luck charm."

".......What is it?"

"A charm to ensure the safety of the person you love."

"Whaa......until now it's rare to hear words that doesn't suit Selina-san."

"Ah, that's mean~."

At Leu's words, Selina puffed up her cheeks.

"I wonder what person who say their loved ones are guinea pigs[6] is saying......"

"Fuuun. Then I won't teach it to you"

"Eeh, I don't really mind"

"If Leu-chan's boyfriend does not become a platoon member next year too, I was going to make it 'because Leu-chan didn't have enough love for him.'"

"Buho-"

At Selina's unexpected words, Leu spat out her unfinished tea and Nina's eyes rounded.

"Wha, wha, wha......"

"Leu.....you had a boyfriend?"

Precisely because that sort of frivolous feeling was somewhat showing an unknown side of Leu, it was surprising.

"That's wrong! It's not like that!"

Even if she denies it, her face was becoming bright red and she was disturbed by it so her argument lost merit.

"He was a former classmate, that was all."

"Then was it someone I also knew?"

Nina and Leu were in the same class during their first year. As she was trying to remember the faces of the military arts department of that time, a loud voice interrupted her.

"You don't have to remember it!"

"Leu......that's like admitting it, he is somebody from when we were first years."

"Uu......."

Realising her own blunder, Leu let out a moan.

"Yes, ye~s. That's why, I'll teach you a charm to wish for Leu-chan and Nina-chan's boyfriend's safety as a military artist."

Yesterday too, Selina tried to coax Nina to make her sweets for Layfon.

"Well well, I will leave that for now so listen. That charm is....."

Selina lowered her voice. While Leu made a chagrin-filled face, she also sharpened her ears at those words and Nina was also naturally, bringing her face closer to Selina.

"......Of..... that, is what I'm giving you."

When Selina finished talking, both of their faces reddened. Similarly, both of them had their thighs neatly joint together, and were pinning down their skirts with their hands.

"It's the same as (what I said) just now, y'know~. By letting your partner take a part of yourself, which resides in a place that isn't easily shown to others, you deliver your feelings which wishes for their safety. All the Military Artists in our city do this, y'know."

"That's definitely a lie!"

Nina and Leu aligned their voices and denied it.


After finishing dinner, Nina went out of the dorm alone. With a sword belt coiled at her waist, stuck closely to the upper part of the trainer's body was a jacket which she put on as she left the dorm. She would do this on the days without the machine cleaning duty. She would end up thinking she did not move her body enough.

Nearby her dorm where the three of them lived was the architectural department's practise area, where there were buildings that were either under construction or in the middle of demolition everywhere. Nina confirmed the empty plot of land which she was aiming for from the window of her room.

At the center of the bare ground stood Nina. As she was trying to pull out her Dite from her sword belt, her hand stopped.

(Again......)

Again, she felt a glance. It was the same when she returned home from the military practice hall. She did not felt any hostility, but not knowing that person's true intentions was uncomfortable.

"What do you want?"

Immediately spiting out her irritation, she examined the surrounding atmosphere.

"I don't remember being tailed."

Now if he didn't answer, before the stare was the release of external Kei. With that decision, she awaited the other party's reply.

"Wait, wait. I'm not your enemy."

Whether he sensed her presence or not, a reply came quickly. From the darkness the figure that appeared as if it was arising, was a student of military arts. From the colour of his sword belt he was of the highest grade, a sixth year. Underneath the red hair which seemed to be constantly in a mess, were eyes that will never let their guard down.

"What do you want?"

Without letting her vigilance down, Nina asked with her Dite ready to fall out at any moment. Although he is her senior, he is the person who has been tailing her since the evening. Whatever he's thinking of, she doesn't know.

"That's nice, that attitude."

The red-haired youth seemed to laugh enjoyably.

Against the provocative behavior the man showed, Nina gripped her Dite. But, he stopped.

(What's with this guy......)

The youth with the aloof appearance who was pretending came closer to Nina. His hand was languidly lowered and he was walking in a shaky manner. Even though it wasn't a situation where one could let their guard down, he washed away the tense atmosphere.

139

If she attacked first she would lose. That was how she felt.

(I can do it)

The fact that a military artist that could force Nina to become this nervous is in Zuellni..... No, the fact that she did not know a person of this caliber until now, surprised her.

She has no recollection of the youth's face. That means he wasn't a platoon member.

"He has discerning eyes too. Fine, bring it on."

The youth who slowly walked until he was near, nodded to her with satisfaction.

"My name is Dixerio Maskane. Well, you could just call me Dix. What's yours?"

"Did you follow me without knowing it?"

"Well circumstances are circumstances.[7] I had no choice."

"......I'm Nina Antalk."

His circumstances piqued her interests, but she managed to save herself from being embroiled into it.

(Could he be masquerading as a student?)

She is aware that these type of people exist. There seems to be people who partake in Zuellni's lessons while not paying their fees.

However, these people make up the minority and they will also get found out quickly. The rest of the masquerading students are groups of thieves who come from other cities with the purpose of stealing research data and the likes.

(This man, is he that sort of person?)

Notwithstanding the existence of such a powerful person within the platoon members, to have not heard any rumors about him is strange. Nina's wariness was strengthened.

"Oh, it seems like I'm being suspected."

Whether he guessed it through her facial expression or not, even so, Dix connected his words with a look of enjoyment on his face.

"Then, how about this? Why don't you pose a question which asks me about a place only students in Zuellni would know?"

"Hmmm..... Well then."

"Aaa....... If it's possible, ask about a place that has been around since a long time ago."

"Why?"

"If it's new, then I may not know it. It's best if you ask one that is old and famous. As a request."

"Something so convenient..."

While she said that, Nina was thinking of a question as per Dix's request.

"Concerning the statue in the inner part of the first floor of the student council office building, it's pedestal has letters carved on it as a result of someone's prank since a long time ago. What is written there?"

"It's 'Seek it, if so then through sheer strength'."

Dix immediately replied while laughing with a broad grin.

"Next question. What was the original letters carved on the pedestal?"

"Seek and it shall be given."

Last year, those letters were still there, but this year the original words have been cleanly erased by the hands of the student council. Rather than the original words, what's left behind by the person who wrote the prank is that person who was the legendary top scorer of the martial arts department of Zuellni in the past.

Knowing this fact means that at the very least, he's not part of the recent bunch of people who are in concealment.

"Oh? So you're still suspicious of me."

She didn't mean to let it show on her face but she was seen through.

"Well, I'd never thought I could clear away your suspicions this way. Tell you what, if you'll listen to my request, I'll teach you my extraordinary technique as a prepayment."

"Technique, you say."

"I witnessed your practice at the military arts training hall. I liked your choice of harsh weapons like the twin iron whips. How about it?"

"....It depends on the technique."

"You'll definitely want it."

Right after he talked, Dix jumped to the back to gain distance from Nina. He straightened his sword belt with his hands. Nina reflexively drew her Dites and restored them.

Dix held iron whips in his hands. It's only one swing but it is by far bigger than Nina's. Nina observed that the metal whip is no longer within the range of a striking weapon to reach her.

"Then, here I come."

Nina generated her internal type Kei and the moment she looked, she saw movement from Dix's side. In that second, Dix left an afterimage and disappeared.

"Tch-"

(He's fast.)

On the spur of the moment, she jumped and dodged to the side. It was surely a timely judgement, as Dix appeared from the front, swinging down the iron whip onto where Nina was originally standing. Like an electric shock, the atmosphere trembled and it struck Nina's whole body.

"Oh, you dodged it."

Dix swung up his iron whip that hit the ground, and looked at Nina while seemingly carrying his shoulder.

"Watched you when you were training and, it seems that defense is your strong point. But you know, there are times when always being defensive amounts to nothing. Offense is the best defense. To dash in swiftly like an idiot unexpectedly feels like it fits your nature well."

Right after speaking, he lowered his back while the metal whip was placed on his shoulder.

Now, just as it seems, it is getting worked up.

(I can see it)

Just as how Layfon taught her, she poured Kei into her eyes which enabled her to see Dix's flow of Kei.

There were strong pulses of Kei and then, from the core of the metal whip were ripples forming which spread out towards the atmosphere. But, it was not caused by the diffusion of Kei, rather it would spread away until it reached a fixed distance and then a new flow, so to speak, will be made from the Kei pulses to the metal whip which will then flow from the metal whip to the Kei pulses, ultimately constructing an infinite loop.

The Kei circuit that had been built inside and outside of the body was strengthening the fast flow of internal Kei, while simultaneously the external Kei around the whip was being condensed.

"If you were to believe me, you just need to move a step forward without hesitating, and inflict a blow." Abruptly, Dix murmured.

"Those were the words of the old man who taught me martial arts."

At the same time he said those words, Dix's figure vanished.

This time, she sharpened her senses until the last second, to see what's occurring.

The infinite circulatory loop of Kei as if being dragged and torn to pieces changed its form, vanished as if sucked up by the leg and metal whip. The Kei sucked up by the leg seems to be for movement. Probably something close to whirl Kei. Then what about the metal whip?

But, she could not completely confirm it. She was already doing her best looking at the leg's movement. She could no longer escape as well. Both of Nina's metal whips were flung upwards by the trajectory of Dix's attack.

The three strikes from the metal whips dispersed fireworks from the collisions.

The equilibrium of the collisions was immediately destroyed.[8]

The impact and vibration ran through both her arms, her back and her whole body, Nina couldn't bear it all and she struck the ground.


"Ha!?"

Realizing she lost her consciousness, Nina jumped up.

"Oh, you sure are sturdy"

The voice came from a close source.

"And you realized it quite fast. As expected from Mrs platoon captain."

Her whole body still felt somewhat numb. This meant that her head was still experiencing vertigo.

"What was that technique just now?"

"My attempt at making the root of the old man's teaching. Not bad eh?"

"That's far from not bad...."

In that moment, the impact ran through her from her head to the tips of her toes and at the same time, her nerves were in a disorder, causing her whole body to feel so horrible that she shivered. That was, even if she was able to stop the blow, she couldn't have withstood it.

"I named it Raijin. It depends on the Kei density, but whether you're human or filth monster you can use it."

"Is it possible, for me to use it?"

The doubts Nina had not long ago, were now cleared from her mind. There was the fact he showed her such an amazing technique, but what gained her admiration was Dix's attitude of being so easily willing to teach her such a technique.[9]

"As long as you know how to control your Kei pulses, then doesn't the rest depend on your mental attitude? For any technique." [10]

"Thank you."

At hearing Dix's reply, Nina lowered her head.


"Regarding your request, it'd be easy to accomplish it if it's you but..."

Nina and Dix, who stole out from the architectural department's practice area of the girl's dorm, were walking towards their destination.

"I want to meet Zuellni."

That was Dix's request.

Zuellni is the name of this city, but it isn't that only. It is also the name of the electronic spirit which bears the burden of the autonomy of the autonomous type moving city, regios.

What Dix wants, is to meet that electronic spirit.

"Well, why?"

While walking on the street at night, Nina inquired.

Those who want to meet the electronic spirit are restricted even if they are from the city. But there is no way this restriction has any special meaning. The place where the electronic spirit lives is in the heart of the city which is at the engine's central section. Those who go into the engine's section are only either the people who conduct the maintenance of the engine or people like Nina who undertake the job of cleaning it. Any other students are banned from entering if they are ill-prepared, but if you follow the legislative, then you can enter it as part of a field trip.

Entering the engine area in itself is not that hard of a thing to do. But whether you meet the electronic spirit or not depends on luck.

"Well, cause I'm going to graduate soon. It's something like making memories."

He laughed after saying that, but she didn't think that was his real intention.

The available time slots for the self-automated tramcar decrease as the night deepens, and the last train would be welcomed during the time day transits day. [11] It was not that late yet, but Dix still chose to walk unhurriedly.

"Senpai, why didn't you enter the platoons although you had the ability to?"

Currently, the name of Dixerio Maskane was not found within the 17 platoons. This was indubitably strange to Nina.

Zuellni is now in the power source of the engine, facing the urgent matter of whether the selenium is becoming exhausted or not. The only mine left will be lost if they were to be defeated in the upcoming military arts tournament. Even if that's not the case, the remaining selenium deposits and mines left adds to the worry. The mining had already stopped and the city's movement is restarting, but there is yet to be any official information from the student council regarding their prediction of the mine deposits left.

(It's so little to the point that they can't say it, huh)

This uneasiness had silently ran rampant among the students of the martial art.

That's how the situation is. Even if they performed a mass search for a capable student, it wasn't possible to stand up to the head of the military artist department.

She felt that Dix's capabilities had far surpassed those qualifications.

"Because I'm a guy who's bad with luck."

"But that's... ..."

"Look Nina. Before you get fixated with other people's problems, it's better to fixate yourself on your own problems first."

To the speechless Nina, Dix made an admonition.

"What does that mean?"

" ' If only I had him or her... ', isn't it unlike a military artist to engage in such meaningless talk[12] . Become stronger before talking about that, to be weak in itself is already a sin."

"... ... ... ..."

Nina hung her head in shame at the harsh words said in a nonchalant manner.

Even though she was like this, Dix continued talking.

"Although you may be a platoon captain, a person who looks out over all of her members cannot stand on the frontlines. There are times when the commander has to give out cruel decisions, but it's bad if you are pulled down by the feelings for your comrade in arms. Nina, which do you want to be?"

"I, want to protect Zuellni with these arms"

"If that's the case, then what you can only do is within the capacity of one military artist."

"But... ..."

As the captain of the 17th platoon, Nina has been planning a strategy for the interschool match. Although she acknowledges that her own strategy-drafting ability is still lacking, she also desires to hone that ability. And, for the sake of protecting Zuellni she wants to do it too.

"If you think platoon-scale tactics and intercity fights are the same, you're mistaken. Even though the fundamentals are the same, the burden suffered by each group is different."

"Is it really like that?"

"We were formerly talking about the type of military artist you wanted to be, right"

Nina became silent as they returned to the earlier question he posed.

As a military artist, it's true that you'd have the drive to enhance your own abilities. And when thinking about the strategies, you also can't lie about the uplifting feeling when you're struck by inspiration.

"... ...Was it about a commander's caliber?"

Softly, Dix murmured.

"Huh?"

"Er.....instead of that, even though a man and a woman are walking on a street at night, isn't it lonesome they can only talk on this kind of topic?"

"That's... ..."

"I'm not particularly saying that we should be making advances on each other though. Could it be you don't have anyone you like?"

"... ...No."

She planned to immediately assert herself, but he didn't take it that way.

"Oh, so there is."

"There's nobody at all."

She tried repeating it but it didn't seem he would believe her.

"Well, when it's about your year, I guess it can't be helped that you are that stubborn regarding love."

"So?... ..."

"But you know, when I was about your year there were enough relationships that were a step short from ripening. I don't know who your partner is, but guys like me who didn't even have time to twiddle our thumbs had our relationships taken away elsewhere. Hiding it might possibly be fun too. However, you better start thinking that you might not reach an understanding if you don't let your feelings surface. Otherwise, you might regret it."

The moment he said that, the figures of many ladies came to Nina's mind even when she didn't want it to. However, because the male at the center was Dix, the playing couldn't possibly get through to him. It wasn't because nobody decided to go for him, but it also wasn't possible that he was inclined towards anyone.

While he was somewhat composed, he was ascertaining his decided fate.

(Or is it... ...)

Was he thinking about a lady from his hometown, while not knowing her name?

"Trouble, trouble"

Dix laughed at the now silent Nina.

When 2 people arrived on the usual mechanism chamber entry Nina takes, there was an abnormal shadow.

But the person who realized wasn't Nina.

"Halt."

At the short words that expressed nervousness from Dix, Nina who was taken aback extended her arms for the sword belt.

This wasn't a place where people would gather at night. Rather than the presence of people, there was only a lone emergency lamp beside the street light at the entrance which emitted light.

But, there was a somewhat wrenching nervousness in this place.

Whatever caused it, Nina didn't know.

Beside Nina, Dix stood composed and stared at the front while having his guard up.

A heavy nervousness weighed above Nina's head.

"Yo, did you think I wouldn't realize with just that?"

"... ...Why are you here, wretch?"

As Dix called out into the darkness, a mechanic voice was returned.

"Although I didn't know that my fate would lead me to this town, but that's your miss."

In the next moment from the darkness of the no longer illuminating street light, the figure of a mechanic group wearing a beast's mask appeared.

"Hey, these people are........"

Because she had never seen the company, Nina extended her dite.

"Is she your aim? That's certainly interesting. But, that's exactly why I won't be beaten by you guys."

"That is the child we brought into this world. In the path before the phalanx, this pure child appeared as a blessing. I won't tell you not to interfere with the attempted theft"

"Eh?"

At the words from the beast faces, Nina looked at Dix.

"Yup. The person who plundered her is me. The person who broke, destroyed, trampled over, and stole your scheme is me. That's exactly why I won't allow you to recover her. This is the reasoning of a plunderer. And ... ..."

He didn't deny nor became perturbed by it but instead, he happily affirmed it with a laugh, while he extended his Dite.

"To use the excitement from the Heartseer and involve the students of my school... ...it's annoying. That is Zuellni's answer."

Restoration. Taking a stance with a Dite which transformed into a gigantic iron whip, Dix shouted.

"I thought you guys would come here again since you wanted to make bonds with Zuellni, but it won't go your way. That's my reason for coming here. You guys should just stay in Ignasis' flask."

"Needless prattle"

Simultaneously after those words were said, the group moved to encircle Nina's party.

"Nina, guard the entrance. Don't let anyone pass."

"Ye-yes!"

Without understanding anything, Nina restored her Dite and moved towards the entrance. Each of the beast faces also took out their Dites. Even with the sudden presence of blood lust, Dix continued forward without hesitating.

"Well now, Dixerio Maskane of the city of desire will be your opponent."

While holding the gigantic iron whip with one hand, Dix beckoned.

"Wolf faces, 3 groups, here I come."

At the moment of those words, the wolf faces simultaneously sprang at Dix.

Dix raised his iron whip, allowing his kei to converge and then releasing it as he swung down the iron whip. The weight of the iron whip hit the shapeless atmosphere, creating mixed ripples of kei. The turbulent atmosphere became an invisible billow, pushing back the wolf faces who leapt at him.

"Get out from my sight, small fries.[13]"

Whether it was according to those words or not, a lone wolf face crouched down as if to fend off Dix's external burst kei and closed in on him.

In both his hands were katars, where in each Dite, if the handle is grasped a blade protrudes out before the fist transforming it into a thrusting weapon. The katar has numerous notches in the middle of the blade, which performs a trick that gouges and takes out flesh if one stabs and extracts it.

The lone wolf face that charged in as if he crawled on the ground brandished his katars as he aimed at Dix's abdomen.

Dix deflected the incoming katars with his iron whip.

As if they were intertwined, the katar-wielding wolf face engaged in close-quarter combat. Against the heavy weapon user Dix, the wolf face who has the advantage to make sharp turns ensured Dix kept his distance. Because the katars assaulted him alternated from the left and right, Dix was forced to continuously evade them.

At this rate, he doesn't have the leisure to use Raijin.

"Senpai!"

"Don't look away!"

Due to Nina's shout, Dix's movement faltered for a moment. The edge of the katar cut his cheek and blood spilled out from it.

But even after witnessing that, Nina couldn't move. The group of wolf faces that Dix initially blew away with his external kei now reorganized themselves and were closing in onto Nina.

"Go and occupy the Central Mechanism Chamber!"

Hearing the words of the katar-wielding wolf face, the group of wolf faces devotedly advanced.

To eliminate Nina who was on their route, each and every one of them threw their external kei towards her.

"Ku.........."

Nina crossed her iron whips, driving kei throughout her entire body.

A variation of internal type kei, Kongoukei.

The defensive kei technique that Layfon taught her. It drives kei all over the surface of the body and uses this membrane to protect the entire body against the ballistic impact.

Using the rising fumes from the explosion, the wolf faces closed in to launch a surprise attack. The wolf faces never expected that a student military artist could be safe after receiving their concentrated gunfire. A wolf face tumbled to the ground after he was struck down by an iron whip that cut through the veil of smoke.

A mask came falling off among the mass of wolf faces who tumbled to the ground.

The dry sound of the mask hitting the ground pushed aside the noise from the battle and resounded from that location.

"Don't look!"

At that instant, Dix shouted. It was a warning directed towards Nina.

At what? She thought. The fallen mask was revolving while it glided across the ground. Was he talking about this? But I've already seen it.

Then what else?

For a moment, she forgot that she was in the midst of fighting. Realizing her mistake, Nina dispelled her fixated look and glanced up.

The fumes had already dispersed.

But, nobody moved. A wolf face who had a strange pattern faced this way, suspending any action.

It was as if he was suspended in a record photo.

"It's too late"

Somebody said that? Who was it?

"It's too late"

Again... ...

"It's too late" "It's too late" "It's too LaTe" "It'S ToO lATe"

The repeated words were coming from the wolf faces right in front of me. The repeating mechanic voice sounded like a broken playback machine.

My head is spinning. What is this scent caressing my nose... ...?

"It's Heartseer's powder. Do not be perplexed, open your eyes!"

Her eyes were opened. Without understanding what Dix meant, Nina stared at what was happening in front of her.

159

After receiving one hit from Nina, the wolf face who tumbled down had risen up. The battle garment was dirtied a rough yet fluffy white. There was only a black cloth left around the head of the fallen mask.

That face looked here. It was looking at Nina.

"Uu"

Nina saw, it.

There was nothing contained within the layer of black cloth that covered the head. There was only a black mist-like object which was congealing, in a thin yellow colour, three lights each the size of a baby's fist, that was arranged in the shape of an inverted triangle.

"What is ... ... that?"

A voice aimed at Nina covered her and murmured:

"You saw it" "You saw it" "yOu saw it" "yoU SaW iT" "You sAw It" "YoU saw it" "You saw IT" "You SAw it" "You already saw it"

A voice echoed, from within the dark cavity of the wolf face with the fallen mask.

"Ignasis' blessing, the distant eternity, comes not from lands across the Sanzou river, nor the underworld. We have become Avici, and stand at its gates. Who are you that advances against its phalanx?"

"Don't listen!"

Dix's shouting voice reaches her ears. However, Nina wasn't able to listen to it.

How profound those words were, and how much power they held, Nina couldn't understand any of it. It wasn't possible she would.

But, she saw the three shining objects inside the black cavity protrude out from the black cloth that formed the head, and subsequently become gigantic.

"The door has opened. Thou, be puzzled by the gorge of the aurora field."

But, this has to be some sort of deception. There were no changes even after those words. Rather than a black cavity, it should've concluded by returning to the original location of the fallen wolf face. Now, I don't even know if asking 'who' is enough.

It was supposed...... to be a deception.

Dix said it was the Heartseer's fine powder. If that's the case, is this the hallucinatory effect brought about by the fine powder?

"Damn......Gaaaaaaa!"

Then why is Dix, screaming so frustratingly? Without understanding anything, Nina watched Dix's battle.

And certainly at that time, Dix's left shoulder was gouged by the katar. Even with the blood gushing out, he did not flinch and by thrusting away the wolf face fixated in front of him, he regained distance.

He lowered his waist. Nina was able to see the flow of kei for an instant. Raijin.

Occasionally, the city's sky is dyed a light purple and lightning is dispersed on the air filter's surface. Dix's figure disappears, the traces of him outlined by light. That form is evident because of the lightning; his figure is validated through its light and sometimes, this effect is already there.

When he showed it to Nina, he must have thoroughly held back.

Dix's iron whip smashed the wolf's face.

There should've been......a lurid spectacle. However if it's with a safety device, it should possess that force no matter what you do. Otherwise, the striking weapon would be designed to beat to death. Stamping through the interference of the safety device, the wolf face was smashed.

It wouldn't have been strange if blood splashed and spinal fluid scattered and filled at that place.

But within the atmosphere that trembled from reverberations of the Raijin, the wolf face's battle garment was lightly pulled in, as if it coiled into a vortex towards the iron whip and consequently disappeared.

After that, what was left was only dispersed fragments of a broken mask.

Where did its contents, the body disappear to?

The spectacle of the black cavity hidden behind the interior of the mask flitted across Nina's mind.

The battle however was not finished yet.

"Don't lose focus!"

To be able to forget this fact, even if the situation is strange, it's probably because Nina's common sense is disconnected. The faceless mysterious assailant, the disappearing method, enigmatic words.......Nina could only think about shedding light on this abyss of disorder and chaos. The Heartseer's fine powder did not excite Nina but rather intoxicated her. In actuality, ever since Nina was overwhelmed by the strength of Raijin, she had been experiencing a vertigo-like sensation.

But regardless of how it is, that is Nina's negligence. There is no end to inexperience.

The beast faces who call themselves wolf faces, were not close to Nina yet. Their objective is the occupation of the Central Mechanism Chamber. It doesn't seem like there are any changes to their plans, rather the wolf faces drew nearer towards Nina who is standing in front of the entrance to eliminate her.

Her negligence has crumbled her posture.

There isn't enough time. It's not enough to the point that it's already useless to restore her stance, much less to use Kongoukei, as the wolf faces advance closer.

At that time, what went through Nina's mind was ... ...

The sudden change appeared at that moment.

A light flashed through before her eyes. That light halted the wolf faces' pace.

That light took the form of a sword.

"Heaven's Blade... ..."

Who's words was it? Before her eyes was a shining reinforced silver blade.

There was a person who owned it.

Nina's eyes traced the arm wielding the silver blade to see it's owner.

(It can't be... ...)

"Layfon ... ...?"

Layfon was there. The Layfon that maintained the appearance of the cleaning committee member was grasping the silver blade, while gazing at the wolf faces with expressionless eyes.

"You came out from the door huh."

One of the wolf faces murmured.

Layfon readied himself with the silver blade in a formless manner and wielded the blade horizontally.

Heaven's Blade Art, Hazy Garret.

What happened, when he swung it... ... Nina could only see the sword being swung horizontally.

But, with one action everything was settled.

A great number of the wolf faces were simultaneously slain. Vertically, horizontally, diagonally, the bodies that had been instantaneously minced slipped away in parallel to the decapitation lines. Just like it was with Dix, the contents disappeared with the battle garments coiling in a vortex and were sucked inside of the decapitation lines.

"Then for now, I have finished with this."

Leaving those words, the mass of wolf faces disappeared without a trace.

Nina was in blank amazement, as she stared at Layfon's back.

"Oi"

Dix went and grasped that shoulder.

"Let's go now that we have the chance"

"What do you mean by let's go......eh?"

Even now, there were no signs of the blood flow stopping as it still flowed out from Dix's left shoulder. It was due to the flesh gouged out from the katar.

A scowl did appear on Dix's face in response to the pain but he didn't bother anymore than that.

"But, um ... ..."

Dix's purpose here, at the Central Mechanism Chamber, was to meet Zuellni. That she could remember.

However ... ...

"Just ignore him for now."

"But to just ignore him... ..."

"Don't restrain yourself. If you don't get back home, you might get involved."

Without understanding the meaning of those words, Nina half-heartedly passed through the entrance to the Central Mechanism Chamber.

While closing the door to the Central Mechanism Chamber, an elevator was descending downwards.

Layfon came wearing clothes of the cleaning commitee. At this hour, he would have already entered into the Central Mechanism Chamber and started cleaning.

(How did Layfon appear at that place?)

While waiting for the elevator, Dix performed a simple haemostasis. He ripped off his uniform sleeve, and tied it tightly around the wound opening. Even so, the part gouged out by the sawtooth-shaped[14] knife still continued bleeding and in a blink of an eye, dyed the cloth in a deep red.

Go to the hospital, or so she thought but upon seeing the composed look on his face, Nina decided to keep quiet.

The elevator finally arrived.

"I might have done something bad to you."

Dix murmured in the middle of boarding the elevator.

"Will, something happen?"

"... ... You should know that, the air filter protecting the cities around the world is not something natural, right?"

Dix did not have the aloof expression that he wore earlier. Maybe because he was drained of blood, a shadow of severe fatigue showed on his face.

"Yes."

"Similarly, you should also know about talks regarding the point that loitering filth monsters in our current world couldn't possibly be natural. If so, then who, why, ... ... would there be electronic spirits, would there be alchemists before such a question is asked. You are influenced by the electronic spirits. Even if you say no, it is forced onto you such that you are unable to live like the others."

"This is sort of the fate of those who see an electronic spirit for the first time. If I were to give you a suggestion, reciting Ignasis' name pretty much doesn't give him any satisfaction. Be careful about it."

"Ignasis... ... is it a person's name?"

"You'll eventually meet him."

Dix laughed while unreasonably raising the tip of his lips. Because that was indefinitely a complex sentiment to conceive, Nina could only remain reticent.

"... ... But, I'd never thought that he would be so suddenly summoned."

"Eh?"

"That man, it's him right. The one that you're interested in."

At that moment, Nina's face flushed a bright red.

"That's, you're mistaken. No, you're not mistaken but... ...since he's my junior! I am only interested in him since he's my junior."

"Well, let's just go with that then."

"Like I said... ..."

"... ... Beware of him"

Suddenly lowering his voice, Nina caught on to the words.

"He was born as an exceptional person, right?"

With only that one moment, Dix had seen through something about Layfon.

"There are many fellows who are born strong, who don't know how to correctly use their abilities. You better be careful."

"... ... Yes"

"If you do something like that, you'd also get a lot of points."

The elevator had finally arrived at its destination. Dix said that as he struck Nina's head in a caressing manner, and then came out of the elevator alone. As Nina chased after him in objection, Dix turned his body around to prevent her from doing so.

Dix's hand nimbly pressed the switch, causing the iron-railing shaped door to close.

"Eh, um... ..."

"About Raijin... ... you've already seen it. I've also said that I would teach you. Whatever shape it takes, you can definitely become accustomed to it. Doing so will allow the phenomenon to occur. Figure out the rest yourself. Whether it's one-handed or two-handed, the method of usage differs."

"Senpai... ..."

This evening was filled with mysteries. The competent yet non-platoon member Dix. The sudden display of an amazing technique. The mysterious assailant. Ignasis... ...

"The long time taken to walk to Zuellni was fun."

The elevator shook. It was beginning to ascend.

"If possible, I pray that we won't meet twice. But if we do, will you allow me to play as your senior again?"

"Senpai!"

"Because today was like a festival. I'll get through to your place with a similar plan in mind, definitely."

In response to Nina's cry, Dix who was across the elevator waved his hand then turned around.


Returning to the entrance, Layfon was standing there overcomed with surprise.

"Ah? Captain?"

The puzzled Layfon slanted his head when Nina appeared.

"Ah? There's no work today right? Eh? Wait a minute, why am I here again?"

There was no silver blade in his hands.

"Layfon ... ... you?"

Just as she said it, she held her tongue. She didn't know why, but it was better to not talk about everything that happened just now. That's what she felt.

If you don't get back home, you might get involved... ...those words shut her mouth.

"Maybe I was half-asleep?"

"Maybe it's just that? You're probably just tired. You had work as the municipal police in the afternoon, right?"

"That's, that's true but, yeah... ..."

Appropriately showing the same opinion to Layfon who twisted his neck was, as if urging him to return to the Central Mechanism Chamber.

"Oh, yeah."

Layfon hit his hand while standing inside the elevator, prompting Nina to come over.

"What?"

"I just remembered Captain using a difficult-looking technique. Show it to me tomorrow at the military arts training hall, OK? The technique you called Raijin."

Nina was taken aback by those words.

So this is how the plan will get through to me.

(I see, so this is what he was talking about)

How Layfon knew about Raijin, it's as if Dix knew about this too. Without thinking both of them were strange, Nina just accepted all of it.

(Instead of sweets, a technique... ...huh. If I were to say it fits me, that would certainly be true.)

It's a gift that's far from having a feminine touch.

"Look forward to it."

Accepting it with that air, he laughed.

Due to Nina's words, Layfon laughed. Hearing a laugh different from Dix's, Nina was so influenced by it that she smiled from happiness [15].

At that time... ... when Dix was preoccupied with mass of wolf faces that launched an ambush towards her, what went through Nina's mind was Layfon's face. Whether something occurred during that moment... ... it's like the Heartseer's fine powder showed her a dream.

(The ultimate good luck is to conform with my partner)

The words of that line just came across her thoughts.

173

(I'm over-thinking it)

That's what she thought, but that thought wasn't particularly evoked by any feelings of disgust.

There's none, but he did appear just in the nick of time and saved her... ... just like she was some heroine from a fairy tale. Occasionally, a heroine's fate has a direct connection to the hero's fate. That probably doesn't have the same meaning as what Selina had said though.

It's just her opinion that she did not suit such a role made her felt ashamed.

It's embarrassing but... ...

"That's an unnecessary debt, you damned senior."

And while she said that, she couldn't return her smiling face to its original form.

What Nina will know regarding the old fact that Dixerio Maskane enrolled into Zuellni ten-odd years ago, and more importantly the fact that he was the perpetrator who rewrote the letters carved onto the pedestal of the statue at the interior of the student council building is something that will happen several days later .

Ignasis, and the strange group that refer to themselves as wolf faces......that instead of appearing once in front of Nina, she will meet that figure daily.

At times, she will suddenly remember about that night and pose questions about it. She had a feeling something was about to occur, but just like the quiet flow of water at the bottom of a lake, Nina was unable to feel it.

The time those words will once again reach her ears, is right after the match with the 1st platoon has ended.


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. Japanese for "Good grief", "For goodness sakes" or "Sheesh", etc. Basically it's a term to express exasperation.
  2. stance here refers to 型 which is a martial arts term for posture or form.
  3. 虚しく was used here. It means in vain, to no purpose or fruitless. The sentence implies the table was useless for anything or at least that's what I think
  4. it is uncertain who she said it to
  5. in case you didn't know, commonly used Japanese word for expressing displeasure but usually in a non-angry manner. An example of this is if your friend was being extra talkative that one moment and you just say: もう~、しゃべらないで。---->Mou~, please stop talking.
  6. in here it actually says モルモット which is marmot in English. Marmots are famous for being used as experiments in Japan so their given kanji is 実験体.実験体 is pronounced Mormot but alternatively, it can be pronounced jikken-tai and this means experimental body.
  7. In here he says 事情が事情なんでね.事情が事情 is a japanese way of saying 'due to matters relating to these circumstances, I won't say a thing about it.'
  8. Meaning to say that Nina and Dix's attack resisted each other but that resistance was easily overwhelmed.
  9. If it sounds confusing, what the author is trying to convey is that Nina admired his easygoing attitude when it came to teaching her the amazing technique. The sentence implies that military artists rarely do this but Dix was different. The original text is: 凄《すさ》まじい技を見せられたということもあるが、それ以前にこんな技を簡単《かんたん》に教えようというディックの態度《たいど》に感服《かんぷく》してしまった。
  10. In here the author uses 心がけ[mental attitude] which is something like your take at things. An example of it is: 私はいつでも真実を言うように心がけている。which is literally --->I always 'make it my motto'[心がけ] to tell the truth or I always try[心がけ] to tell the truth
  11. original phrase is 日をまたぐ頃《ころ》に終電を迎《むか》える
  12. He was referring to Nina asking him to join the platoon. Whether there was a capable soldier or not was not the problem
  13. The actual sentence used here is: 雑魚は引っ込んでろ -------> 引っ込む is a word which could mean 'to go into hiding from the public and continue to do so' So what Dix is basically saying is 'Recede from the sight of the public and stay down there, small fries'. It's quite rude.
  14. Actually, 鋸状 was used in this sentence. It means sawtooth wave but 鋸 means sawtooth and 状 can mean shape or state. The shape can be found here: https://www.google.com/search?q=sawtooth+wave&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1600&bih=771&bvm=pv.xjs.s.en_US.jOYpRJj4zMA.O&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=IPr3UcGGPI7xrQee8oHgDQ)
  15. 頬が緩む->in here the author used the expression 'the cheeks loosened'. In Japanese, the expression means you are so happy until you smile(usually incessantly)
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