Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume11 Happy Birthday
What exactly is this, reality or dreamland? - There were some times when he asked himself this sort of thing.
Right when he woke up, he thought about this. He had just had a dream that left a strong impression, and his drowsiness seemed rather deep......
In other words, he welcomed in the morning of the second day in the worst condition.
But, however he looked, it resembled a dream.
Why was he Layfon Alsief, eh? He didn't understand the reasons. But, if perhaps he weren't Layfon Alsief, he had no idea who he was.
So, might as well assume he was Layfon Alsief.
The confused Layfon Alsief got out of bed, opening the curtains. The strong sunlight stimulated his eyes, and also stimulated his chaotic sense of awareness.
Even if it was morning, the weather was very hot, even considering that the sunlight was directly entering his room. The most important factor was that the city had just entered summer.
He glimpsed a slightly familiar scenery from the window, and Layfon returned to bed again. He didn't know why, but his body today seemed like it was in poor condition.
Layfon didn't really like this kind of uncertain feeling. Even if he felt annoyed at the fact that he was Layfon Alsief, he still had to honestly receive it, and had to simply recall some of Layfon Alsief's paths traversed during life. Growing up as a Grendan Military Artist, and becoming a Heaven's Blade Successor. Due to some situation he had to hand back the Heaven's Blade, and afterwards came to the Academy City Zuellni.
He didn't have parents, nor did he even know whether any blood relatives of him existed. He was picked up during childhood, and was then raised in an orphanage. Even though he had never thought he was an unfortunate person, it was because till this day he still had not seen any other relative of himself - that was the reason Layfon told himself.
This kind of suffering would linger no matter what.
Layfon turned over on the bed, and stared at the ceiling with an expression of loss. However, his expression did not show any distress towards his real life.
Reality would not develop according to his thoughts; he had become accustomed to this long ago.
Even though he was usually very spirited when he woke up, but occasionally, there were these kinds of situations where his body was off. In an urgent situation, perhaps he had no choice but to suppress this kind of phenomenon. But in this kind of time when there was no urgency, sometimes he felt like his whole body was fatigued.
Layfon believed this was a signal that his body was searching for rest. But his body was not particularly weak, or had any bad omens of illness. Probably, it was a precaution against gaining such conditions or something like that.
"Guess I'll sleep-"
That was it.
That normally tight expression (some exaggeration) loosened, and closed lips flared in a "Fnyaaah fnyaaah" (snoring sfx).
If this were at Grendan, Leerin would definitely have burst open the door and yelled "Get up already!", and afterwards would have kicked him and his brothers awake one after another.
However, this was the Academy City Zuellni, and moreover a male dorm. Not to mention he was alone in a two-person room. Not only could the childhood friend who had always taken care of him not enter this room, but someone who could hinder his sleep didn't exist at all.
Today there was no class, nor was there cleaning of the Mechanical Department at night. Even if he so lazily passed through the entire day, no one had reason to blame him.
No one had reason to blame him............?
He thought of it.
Layfon who had been snoozing in his room the previous second hurriedly climbed out of his bed, took off his sleeping clothes, and changed into proper clothing...... and afterwards promptly left.
The situation should be traced back several days.
Hearing these plans from the Psychokinetic flake, Sharnid turned his head.
The location was the fourth-year dormitory's rooftop, on top of the storage tank. Above Sharnid who was lying down, floated a petal-shaped Psychokinesis flake, whose light melted gradually into the sun's.
The voice that was heard from the flake was Nina's.
Nina was currently in the second-year school building, or more accurately, in the central court of the second-year school building. This place had vending machines, and the surroundings had lots of benches.
Next to her was Felli.
In Felli's hand was restored a Light Dite, and flakes were floating around.
"Oho~~ I like parties very much."
"......Let me say this, this party is definitely not intended for you."
"It's not bad to do that once in a while! That kind of big surprise......"
"Isn't it needless for you to say so?"
"Ah, I guess."
"Then, what kind of party is it?"
The one who opened his mouth during that bored conversation was Harley, who was in the lab at the Alchemy Building.
"It's to celebrate Layfon and Leerin's birthday!"
"Uwah! At this age, and still doing birthday parties!"
"Ah? Before I came to Zuellni I held one every year!"
This new voice was Dalshena's.
"I as well!"
Nina also showed her approval, and afterwards Sharnid's bored voice sounded.
"I can't take it, the thoughts of little girls......"
"What did you say!?"
"Well~~ okay. Anyway, why did you suddenly start this topic? And why use this kind of secret method of meeting?"
"If it were in the Military Arts building, Layfon would definitely be there. Also, isn't it pretty tough to gather you all together?"
Nina stared at the flake. Felli at her side put on a sort of "nothing to do with me" expression, and afterwards from Sharnid's side came a short laugh as a reply, nothing more.
Originally, she also wanted to listen to Naruki's opinion. But she and Layfon were in the same class, and to send a flake over without being detected by Layfon was too difficult, so there was no way to let her join this discussion.
In order to reverse the atmosphere, Nina began narrating the reasons for the situation.
The beginning was during the previous few days when they were chatting in a dormitory. In an antechamber, an incidental chat of no significance stumbled upon it.
Layfon and Leerin had no birthday. It wasn't because they were orphans, it was because they didn't even know who their parents were.
Although it wasn't like the city's society was free of abandonment situations, the moving cities were a type of enclosed societies. Who lived in your surroundings, what kind of status...... It was probably only the Academy City residents with relatively more mobility who would forget these kinds of things, but in the majority of the cities, personal information was easily accessible. Even if there were abandoned babies, the surrounding neighbors could notice changes, and in many cases the parents of the abandoned baby were ascertained. In this case, the child would either return to the parents, or be sent to an adoption facility. Usually in these kinds of cases, the orphan's birthday could be roughly approximated.
But Layfon and Leerin were not like this. They had been picked up together, and sent to Derek's orphanage. So even until now they had not been able to accurately ascertain who their parents really were.
"At home we would hold a celebration on the first day of the new year, but there wasn't anything we particularly wanted to do."
However, what was said after was the main cause of the decision.
"But...... this year, we encountered some problems...... so we couldn't hold a celebration."
Because other students were in the dorm, he spoke rather vaguely. But she could figure out what Layfon meant by "some problems".
Because Layfon's "some problems" had been exposed, he could no longer be the hero of the orphans. And as for Leerin who acted as Layfon's advocate, it seemed that over the years she had not attended the city's organized gatherings.
"Well um, that kind of situation is a bit difficult to talk about."
The member of the seventeenth platoon who knew of the reasons for the situation also used vague words.
"So you want to secretly hold a birthday party, huh?"
Towards Harley's question, Nina nodded her head to reply.
"Leerin already knows about this, and I guess nothing can be done about that. Also, I hope that we can hold this quickly, how does next weekend sound?"
"No problem, but won't it be a little rushed?"
"This isn't anything that needs long-term planning."
"Ah, that's fine!"
The rest of them agreed.
"What about Felli?"
Only Felli by her side remained silent.
"It's okay, right?"
The Psychokinesist sitting by Nina kept a stern expression. However, it seemed that she felt some sort of slight, anger-like feeling mixed in.
Towards the answer that was finally made to the question, Nina sharply nodded her head.
"Afterwards I will notify Naruki and her friends. The location will be our dorm. Our dorm usually bans male students, but this time we have the supervisor's permission. I hope we can put forth effort ourselves for the purpose of laying out the venue, moving goods, and preparing food."
"......Ahh, somehow, doesn't that sound like mobilizing for war?"
"It's not that!"
She strongly denied this point, but the response of the rest of them was a hopeless sigh.
After speaking with Felli and the others, Nina waited until class ended to go to the City Police headquarters to discuss with Naruki. She also had no objections, and her sworn followers Meishen and Mifi would also be active to help. Nina recognized the two: one was the good cook Meishen, and the other was the lively Mifi. Having the two of them there would better the atmosphere!
After finishing training in the Military Arts building, Nina walked on the road back to her dorm.
Usually, this wasn't a word that required any sort of care. However, Nina had always been in a position where she had her birthday celebrated by others. The only ones who celebrated her birthday were her sister and brother, along with her childhood friend Harley. However, all she had done was discuss with her sister about what food to choose, who would then act as the Antalk family head and send the food out.
The significance of a birthday was that it was a special day with regard to oneself. The whole family, friends, and Antalk relatives had many different types of people, but for the single Nina all gathered for that day.
But after her Military Arts training had been formalized, Nina changed the way she looked at her birthday.
Most people, especially the people who had contact with the Antalk family, were not there to visit Nina. They only came to the birthday party to show friendliness to the Antalk blood. Once Nina realized this, her expectations and enthusiasm towards birthdays cooled down.
However, before this she was very happy. Her parents, sister, and brother, as well as Harley, the blessings they gave on her birthday would not change. So the joy she felt had not changed, even through this day.
That kind of feeling, would Layfon and Leerin be able to feel the same? No, Nina understood that she couldn't compare her own situation against the standards of others. Regardless of motive, people had at the end come to celebrate her birthday. For orphans, there were those who didn't even accurately know their own birthday like Layfon. They wouldn't feel the same way as Nina about things like birthdays, and they might have some other kind of significance.
(In what way is it different?)
On the hot summer day that felt like a steamer, under the long sunset. Nina gazed afar at the sky that revealed a deep red color left behind.
Those who didn't grow up in the same conditions as I did, in what way do they see their own birthdays, and how do they depict them?
I don't know about my own birth-
Derek Psyharden was also like this.
Not to say that he didn't remember his life experiences, but he didn't have an established family name. He inherited his name from an established surrogate father, becoming a Military Artist.
When he was yet unborn, his father had died in battle. As a Military Artist of Grendan, he was expected to receive money from the government. If his mother relied on that money, it would be very difficult to raise an unweaned child. It wasn't what most people learned about the biology of Military Artists, but the mother bore a great burden already by successfully delivering the baby. However, her body couldn't handle it, and she also died.
The one who guided this Derek was at that time the master of Psyharden. He had grown up in the Psyharden-managed orphanage, and had practiced Military Arts in the dojo. Learning skills along with many other companions, he stood at the position to inherit the Psyharden name.
It wasn't that he didn't know. But, he could find no trail from the information that he was able to enumerate, and that kind of ending was the same as not knowing his own birth.
After the numerous people who were sent to this dojo to learn Military Arts returned home, Derek stood in the center of the dojo holding a practice sword. He had taken off the top half of his practice clothing, revealing his seemingly reinforced body. A slim body without an ounce of fat. A quick observation would see that that body lacked sophistication, and all over the body were surgical scars.
These were left over after Gahard Baren's surprise attack. More accurately, he had been possessed by a filth monster and had therefore attacked, causing Derek's body to be completely destroyed. Now, Derek trained again from the beginning. To promote growth of his Kei and muscle, this was Derek's reason for practicing at his old age.
This was quite wonderful, or was that truly the case? During the middle of his muscle training and restoration, Derek thought profoundly about the essential ideas of Psyharden from the beginning. Afterwards, he felt even more profound regret towards Layfon's situation.
Afterwards, he entrusted the Dite to Leerin.
The Katana Dite already held no significance towards Layfon - Derek had thought about that kind of possibility. That form of Dite, Layfon had already used at age ten. Now, he wasn't sure if a Steel Dite could hold one-tenth of Layfon's total Kei.
However, Derek firmly believed that sending over the Katana had significance.
Derek stopped his pondering, beginning his repeated drills of the Psyharden moves from the beginning. The timber that surrounded the dojo was all special wood. It was made of a material that was removed from the city's organic protective layer, able to withstand Military Artists' powerful actions. The practice sword that was slashed around sent out waves of Kei which made the air vibrate, and the walls and floor that was trampled underfoot also experienced significant warping.
When there were a good number of students desperately training their Military Arts, this building was calm and at ease. Now it shook during Derek's first practice.
"......Long ago, there was a Heaven's Blade who lived to be one hundred and forty years old."
During what was almost his last movement, he heard this voice by his ears.
He followed the voice.
In the center of the auditorium sat an old man. His knee was upright, hand clutching a walking stick. He was looking towards that direction with great interest.
The long beard that stretched from the old man's chin gently waved in the air.
"Could you be referring to the Spina Noiran Zuolay-sama?"
Facing the old man who had suddenly appeared, Derek put the practice sword to the side and took a proper sitting posture.
"I am. For his whole life he was an active Heaven's Blade, and fought as a Heaven's Blade on the battlefield until his brain died. Other than his brain and Kei vein, his whole body had been replaced. His bones were replaced with Dite, and his flesh was carefully maintained. Afterwards an incredible thing happened, his new body made his power even stronger...... The you right now and him have some similarity! How is it? Do you feel like you're twenty again?"
"I still haven't reached that extent...... Only, I have a feeling of yearning."
As Derek said this, the old man nodded deeply.
"It's been a while, Tigris-sama."
"The little devil's become an old man, it seems like the old fogey's grown quite a few years again!"
That old man, the Heaven's Blade Receiver Tigris Noiran Ronsmier, grinned and laughed.
"Thank you very much for your help with the orphanage business."
"Politics have their lag, and presumably even the queen doesn't have any sort of medicine to cure that. Probably because she's too strong, she doesn't understand the situations of the weak. Although that's not too bad...... well, even if it's not too good, this old man hasn't come here to bow down and apologize."
Although on the purpose they were recognized as friends, there wasn't much intimacy in the contact between them. During the time that Derek had rushed onto the battlefield, Tigris had been at his peak. He had several experiences of fighting filth monsters as a group.
The manner he had when he stood on the city's edge holding a giant standing bow in his hand didn't match his manner now as if he would be blown away by the wind, the former was extremely heroic. No matter what kind of situation, no matter what enemies encountered, that posture would not change. The Kei of the arrow he shot shone with a radiance, but in truth, it held a huge destructive power. In uncountable battlefields he had not broken his posture, and was honored by people as the "Immovable Heaven's Blade".
"I have a small matter from the past to inquire about. But without tea to drink, it's no good to start a chat!"
Derek rapidly put on his upper clothing, ushering Tigris deep into the dojo.
"Then, I'd like to inquire about the past matter."
Tasting the hot tea, Tigris let out a full breath, beginning the topic.
"The past matter?"
"The Meifar Stadt event. That is the name on the record. It was an event that happened before you retired!"
Hearing this name, Derek's expression showed alertness.
"It's not much, I just want to dig up some of that little devil's past, nothing more. Moreover, that course of events has already finished, and regarding the concerned people as well, even if things are exposed no one can understand. Also, that event's happening, isn't it that little devil's mistake?"
"You could say that."
To Derek who was reluctant to discuss, Tigris was scraping together the past. The kind old man opened his slender eyes.
Swallow. What Derek saw was the pair of demon eyes from the battlefield.
"This old man has no interest toward that little devil. However, I must do a small investigation into that event. So, this old man had to come here to listen to your words."
Derek quickly reacted to the current atmosphere. He had an electric feeling in his back, and his whole body began sweating.
"It's already been fifteen...... sixteen years since. At that time, what exactly happened at that place? Can you tell me?"
The Meifar Stadt event.
In Grendan's official records, this event's name could be found. It happened sixteen years ago along with a filth monster event. This event, considering the normal encounters of flocks of filth monsters and the Grendan that had abnormally many battles with aged phase filth monsters, should have been very easily forgotten. However, this kind of event, with a situation where filth monsters invaded the city, was very rare in Grendan's history.
Meifar Stadt was the name of a person, the name of the extremely unfortunate first victim. That person was not a citizen of Grendan, but was a wanderer.
It was said that it was this person who brought the filth monsters into the city.
The roaming bus station, it was this city's only point of contact with the outside world. Following the roaming buses, many people arrived bringing information about the outside world. But simultaneously, news of the city leaked out to the outside world.
However, what that man brought was not only news of the outside world, what he brought was in fact not at all good.
Misfortune and disaster accompanied the roaming bus's arrival and hit.
As soon as Derek had received this command, he had already realized the situation of this event.
Derek Psyharden, almost fifty. Even if he were only the head of a small-scale Military Arts school, he had a solemn and dignified body, letting his surrounding people feel that he was not to be underestimated.
Wearing a yellow colored battle suit, Derek and several others who were wearing battle suits arrived at the scene.
All the mens' suits were the same color and style. But on Derek's shoulders, his shoulder straps were light green. In a group battle, this was the color that only the commander of a unit could possess.
(A flow of filth monsters into the city has already been confirmed)
Derek silently nodded towards the report brought by the Psychokinetic flake. He was already able to confirm this bit without his eyes.
The problem area was along the edge of the city, outside of where people were sheltered. In this area that was encircled by a tall ring fence, the roaming bus station, Equipment Factory, and Accomodations Facility and other buildings separated from each other by a far distance.
Derek's eyes gazed towards the Accomodations Facility. In the middle of the numerous buildings rose a small bit of smoke. From the glass windows, black smoke that seemed to be trying to escape could be seen, along with the raging madness of the fire on that floor.
(It's been thirty minutes since the situation began. In that time, no one has been fleeing from the facility)
"That large of an area......"
(When this event was just beginning, there were already responses of filth monsters detected from all over the facility)
Listening to the Psychokinesist's report, Derek showed a dignified expression. The rest of the Military Artists already arrived at their targets, and the whole zone had been completely surrounded.
At the same time as the noise of a loud explosion reached them, the glass of several windows shattered flew outwards. Flame and black smoke mixed together, rushing out in a whirl.
From the facility that could accommodate a hundred, not a single person had escaped! No, in the first place this city did not have many roaming buses visit, therefore it was very likely that there were not that many people in that place. But no matter what, it couldn't be that not a single person had been inside.
Right now, the people inside must be entirely in despair. But if no one had survived, the people who were ordered into combat here did not have anything to worry about.
But for now, Derek and the others had not received that kind of order.
In this kind of situation which was not terribly urgent, the movement of the city's residents into shelters had not yet finished. To protect the city's people, there was a good chance that Derek and the others were to simply prevent the filth monsters from leaving this place and to prevent an invasion of the urban area, thus they were intentionally stationed here. If that were the case, then this zone ought to be sacrificed.
(Our opponents are a yet unrecognized category of filth monsters)
Hearing the Psychokinesist's new report, Derek's expression became serious once again.
In other words...... he had thought this, that the current situation was not normal after all.
"Could there be an aged phase?"
If it were a normal filth monster, the Accomodations Facility should have been crawling with larvae; otherwise if it had been able to fly through the air with a pair of giant wings, that giant body of a male filth monster would have been seen in the sky. No, if a male filth monster had been seen, this place would have been wrecked long before.
But if it were the aged phase which might have morphed into one of many different forms, perhaps that would be able to create this strange current state of affairs.
If an aged phase were seen, Heaven's Blade Successors would be sent forth.
If it were really this...... the people who were in this zone had been abandoned. In a battle between aged phases and Heaven's Blade Successors, the aftermath would be a mercilessly ravaged area.
However, if they just continued waiting here, wouldn't that be the same as choosing not to rescue the people who were surviving inside?
What was the truth of the situation!?
(Well, currently there's still no way to distinguish......)
"What exactly is Delbone-sama doing......?"
Ambiguous words leaked out of Derek's mouth. If it were Delbone who was hailed as the greatest protector of Grendan, every footprint in Grendan belonging to a filth monster of this world could be found.
Derek was not the only one confused, the other Military Artists were the same way.
The order to attack still did not arrive. Derek and the others could do nothing other than stand on top of the high wall looking at the Accomodations Facility burn. A burnt odor began to be detectable mixed within the inorganic smell of the smoke that floated by. To the Military Artists who had been in battle, even if they didn't want to they knew that it was the smell of flesh being burned. Many of the Military Artists tightened their faces, putting on their helmets.
Derek slowly focused his awareness, continuously verifying the situation.
In the grim case where Psychokinesists could not timely grasp the situation, one could only rely on his own abilities to gather information.
The fire's heat oppressed the surroundings, and the black smoke floating into the sky was added to at every moment.
Towards the base of column of black smoke, near a broken window...... then he heard the slight voice.
The Psychokinetic flake softly replied to Derek's call. Though it was supposed to only be used for handling a large number of reports and plans rather than unnecessary emotions and voices, this time it was obvious that there was a was a bad feeling.
"Confirm again! Are there really no survivors?"
(Beginning confirmation.................. Yes, there are no survivors)
"Then, what is that sound?"
Derek mentioned that he had heard a sound. In his kind of state of mental focus, it was easy to catch it.
It was the sound of babies crying.
He had heard that kind of sound in the orphanage, the grieving call for others to protect it.
(Can't confirm if there are any people, this side has no way to check if that sound exists. Perhaps it's a specific function of a filth monster......)
After hearing the last words, Derek waved his arms, giving the rest of the unit instructions to continue staying on standby, and rushed towards the Accomodations Facility alone - because he could not autocratically drag the rest of the unit into this.
The Psychokinesist wasn't able to discover the noise. Derek had no way to negate the idea that emerged in his mind that it was a possibility that "this is a trap". But, he already couldn't stop his steps. That infant's sorrowful call, did it have that much power?
No, it was because Derek had been in this kind of circumstance that he felt this sort of feeling!
The flake passed on voices telling him to stop and voices telling him to return. But Derek didn't pay attention, using a Kei burst to open a hole in the fire-enveloped Equipment Factory, and entering through it.
Because of the big fire, the surrounding lack of oxygen made it difficult to concentrate. Chemical changes caused by the combustion of gas burned his throat, and the scarce oxygen threw his Kei flow into disarray. Derek put on his helmet, initially worried that this action might block the sound of the crying infant, but fortunately this was not the case.
During the rumbling sound of an object combusting, the infant's noise could still be heard.
"Where is it?"
While he was focusing on his hearing, he heard an unexpected noise.
It was a small sound of trampling on charcoal.
Even in the surrounding swirl of noise, the focused mind of Derek had not missed this sound.
From his back came a sound.
He restored his Dite. The light and quality in his hand gradually expanded, reshaping. In the next moment, Derek commanded the Dite in his hand upwards.
Because of the light from the fire, the Steel Dite in his hands shone dully. With a strong swipe of his arm, the surrounding black smoke in the area was suddenly carried off. Derek felt that that thing was looking down on him.
Although it had the shape of a human, however you looked at it, it didn't resemble a human.
It was taller than three meters, almost double Derek's height. In its big, rough hand it held a black sword that seemed nauseating, and was relentlessly giving off a great pressure. Its entire body from top to bottom was draped in black-colored plate-like things, but they were not garments meant for battle. Between the joints, bunches of muscle could be seen pulsing. This kind of feeling was similar to the form of the larvae that resembled crustaceans. The sword in its hand was the same, regardless of how you considered it did not look like something that a human hand would hold. It seemed like it was the horn or claw of a wild beast, ignoring function or rationality, full to the brim of a primitive oppressive feeling.
That face seemed to be a carapace-covered part of that organism's body - a place that a person could reach out with his hands and touch it. It was a mask, which had on it something like blood, and the rest of it covered by cracks. In the area for the mouth was an opening that looked as if it had been hacked open. Occasionally, its flesh would give off sound. The tattered mask flaked off, a highly viscous liquid dripping down from the mouth, and a few scattered teeth could be seen.
With two hands bearing the pressure applied by that thing, Derek said painfully.
It was a filth monster of a kind that he had never seen before. Was it an aged phase? But if were an aged phase, Derek should have been dead in a moment! Even if aged phases shrinking to near human size caused their power to decline, that matter should not change.
Receiving the strike of an aged phase - this was synonymous with death for Military Artists.
His Kei density increased. Right after came the sound of friction between the swords, and the black sword was pushed back. In the moment immediately after, Derek leaped into the air, and clenching his left hand released a burst of Kei.
External-type burst Kei - Nine Bullets.
Bullets of compressed external Kei attacked cracks in the armor. But, that strange beast only shook it's body, and afterwards charged at Derek through the smoke of the explosions.
Without a basis, without techniques...... the strange beast seemed like a person waving a stick, with the giant strange sword raised high above its head, hacking downwards. However, the power that it had was on the same level as Derek's Military Arts...... No, it should be more powerful than even Derek's hidden ability.
Derek turned backwards, escaping. But as soon as his feet hit the ground, that strange beast had appeared before him.
As the head-on strike flashed by, Derek turned around to the strange beast's back. In this period, he stabbed his Dite into the side of the strange beast's abdomen, and with the help of Kei, gave the carapace a crimson scar.
After succeeding in delivering this strike, Derek reassumed the Eight Pairs stance and readied his Dite. Just then, the strange beast's back suddenly erupted.
Eight Pairs referred to a wide variety of Military Arts, different schools would have differences in their stances. The most representative stance was a type that could be seen in samurai films - both hands holding the samurai sword by the right side of the head, the tip of the blade pointing up, blade facing forward. Upper body straight, feet forward and back, knee bent. Kendo had a similar stance, but in the present day it is no longer used.
......Derek watched in surprise. The swelling muscles burst open pieces of its shell, and from the inside extended things like some sort of insectile gastropod. The first things extending from them were two long, sharp claws.
Those two claws extended towards Derek.
Wielding the Dite in his hand, while simultaneously focusing his power, he attacked the things reaching towards him. But there were eight of these things, and even if it didn't use its arms, it was very fast.
His shoulders hurt. The shoulders of his battle suit had been scratched. Derek drew back some distance, and from the area of the wound, ripped off part of his left sleeve.
The strange beast brandished its black sword and charged over. Derek who was checking his injury already had no time to evade.
Derek's brain was at a loss, and that rough black blade that was not at all sharp smashed at it.
That black sword missed Derek's body, breaking the floor. Because of the excessive force, the strange beast could not adjust its balance, and its posture instantly crumbled.
Internal-type Kei variant, Fleeting Shadows.
He was using Sakkei to eliminate his breathing. After releasing a strong breath, he quickly used Sakkei. It allowed the opponent to feel a sort of afterimage illusion that was produced.
Derek's main focus was at the arms of the strange beast whose posture had collapsed. His feet were standing firmly, right hand holding the handle. His left and right hands respectively released Kei, and around the Steel Dite that formed the central axis, it made a double-helical structure. After the Kei was condensed, it was released in the next instant.
Psyharden Technique, Inverse Spiral.
The suddenly released strike, aided by the weight of the strange creature, penetrated through a gap in its armor. Two heavy spirals of Kei expanded in its body, and the broken teeth went in a rage.
The strange beast's back suddenly expanded, and eight sharp claws that had taken that shock began reaching out.
The strange beast's roar made Derek feel numb. Before the entire body weight of the strange beast assaulted him, he held his sword and retreated.
His breathing became rapid. After using a large-scale Kei skill that made the surrounding fire dance, Derek's body felt exceptionally heavy.
The things crawling on the strange beast's back waved around wildly for a bit, and then stopped moving.
"Is it dead......?"
No one replied to Derek's monologue. He had released so much Kei. The Military Artists on standby outside should be able to realize that there had been a battle, and perhaps a flake would be sent in to investigate.
But, nothing happened.
"What are they doing!!"
The words that he roared towards the military artists on standby that did not arrive rebounded off the walls back to his ears.
The sound of the crying child continued.
The sound placated Derek's mood, prompting him to begin running.
Preparations for the banquet had smoothly begun.
The large hall of the girl's dorm was designated as the meeting place. With a reception hall and a dining area, this open area leading to the second floor of the student dormitory was originally intended to be a place for partying. Since its construction, it seemed it was the first time that this place had been used for its "correct purpose". Currently, it was beginning to be decorated.
The sky was almost completely dark. They had gathered after training, beginning to prepare for tomorrow's activity.
"As I expected~~ I've also come to help!"
Tables were being placed together and covered with a white cloth. The party items packaged inside boxes had been purchased cheaply by Sharnid.
Leerin's voice reached Nina, who was working around the ceiling.
Nina was on the chandelier, wiping dust with a rag. Since dust had accumulated for several years, the rag had immediately turned black. Nina had no choice but to return to the ground before washing it in a bucket and wringing it out.
"This party is supposed to be held for you and Layfon! What kind of a party lets the ones being celebrated help make preparations!"
"But, you didn't have to make this place this pretty......"
Leerin looked at the hall that was being thoroughly cleaned, showing an uneasy expression.
"Isn't this how parties are supposed to be?"
"No! Ah...... maybe to Nina it's that way, but we wouldn't hold this elegant of a party."
Using her sleeve to wipe off the water drops that had splashed on her face, Nina looked at Leerin with eyes wide open.
The sound of a laugh came across, seemingly from Sharnid, who had just arrived shouldering a new table from the warehouse.
"Nina might not be able to understand that point."
"What do you mean?"
"Parties of Military Artist families and the birthday celebrations of ordinary people aren't the same!"
Nina worked her brain, but couldn't understand.
"It's true. Although, compared to doing this in a dorm, isn't it better to rent a place like some store to hold this kind of thing?"
Towards Sharnid who believed that kind of thing would be more fun, Nina shook her head.
"Too expensive. Or could you be thinking of pooling money from the people participating?"
"Yeah, there's nothing wrong with that, right?"
Then Sharnid started talking about topics of money.
One word calmed this topic down, attacked without mercy at all.
Felli was holding a shopping bag, standing at the entrance. She narrowed her eyes with a reluctant mood, staring at the great hall. Seeing Felli's attitude, Nina mumbled a bit, and Sharnid simply tilted his head back and stared at the sky.
Behind Felli were the other members of the shopping team Dalshena and Meishen. Between the gold and silver brilliance of the other two, Meishen showed a rather difficult expression.
"W, work seriously!"
"As you say!"
Sharnid nodded his head in affirmation, and everyone resumed their individual work.
After picking up her rag, Nina's gaze turned to Leerin who was standing around nearby.
"......Come to think of it, what kind of birthday was Leerin talking about?"
"Huh? Um...... We decorated the room with origami, and baked a great big cake, and let everybody eat it together......"
"What, isn't there really no difference?"
Weren't they also using some not-so-good origami as decoration?
"That, I guess, we didn't put forth this much trouble......"
Saying this, Leerin looked around the big hall, and then let out a heavy sigh.
"Nnnn, never mind."
"What is it...... could it be that you have no interest?"
"Ah, That's not it! Well, basically."
Leerin laughed as she said this, then walked towards the dining area.
"I'll go make supper, can I at least help with this chore?"
"Ah, uh-huh. Thanks!"
At Leerin's reaction, Nina tilted her head, and then again climbed up the chandelier.
Later the entrance admitted Harley, Naruki, and Mifi.
"Yaa, how surprising! To think things were like this!"
Towards Meishen who came to welcome them, Mifi said this while dramatically swaying her body. Naruki held a very large item behind her.
It was karaoke equipment.
To find these things, Harley and the others had gone on a trip to a discarded materials facility.
"That place is really a mountain of treasure!"
Harley laughed with pride.
"It hasn't taken any sort of great damage either, and the data inside has already been restored. It's already pretty good. Next we should adjust the lighting effects so they match the tracks' melodies."
"Wow, wow - super! You really put in effort."
Mifi happily clapped her hands. Harley also showed an elated expression that he usually didn't have.
(But don't think you can get away with adding on some weird functions)
Nina and Sharnid who worried about this continued doing their cleaning work.
There were more broken windows. The blaze's abnormal craving for oxygen hit like an avalanche. He blocked the billow of flame with Kei, and fortunately Derek had arrived at the Accomodations Facility.
The sound had become very close. On the wall was placed the floor plan, and there were doors on both the left and right sides in this narrow hallway. The carpet had already been melted by the heatwave, and on the ceiling smoke moved as if it were a river.
Lowering his body, he continued closing in towards the direction of the sound. As the melted carpet stuck to his shoes, Derek opened the door to the room from which the sound came. Even if a key was needed to open the lock, since he switched on the disaster emergency release function, the door was easily opened. Even if this function had not switched on, he could have relied on his Military Arts powers to break it open.
After the door opened, Derek quickly realized the situation in the room. The window had not yet broken. Other than the hot air and the smoke leaking from gaps, there were no other abnormalities.
He quickly closed the door - Not because he couldn't handle the great heat in the corridor. In front of the door were a bundle of soaked sheets. The sheets were covered with a crimson color. Even if someone had thought to use this to block the constant inflow of smoke, still......
The sound had indeed emanated from this room.
From Derek's location, he could only see a corner of the bed.
A person's foot was there.
It was a woman's foot. The boots meant for travel were already dyed with blood. In the fire, that unmoving foot brewed an air full of grief.
Walking to the bed, the part that was blocked by the walls showed itself.
It was a very young, approximately just twenty-year old woman. Having been attacked and fallen, her flaxen hair was already scorched by the heat, and great bloodstains had hardened on her pale face.
Her opened eyes looked downwards, showing a relieved expression on her face.
In the place that the woman watched lay two infants.
Derek had initially thought they were twins. However, the quality of the swaddling that wrapped around the two had differed greatly. One was of fine cloth, this could be realized at a single touch. It was a good of even higher grade than the gloves of the battle suit.
The other was made of old clothes, feeling coarse. The clothes that the pretty woman wore were traveling clothes of faded colors. From this, only this infant was her child.
Then what about the other? Had she, while trying to escape from the room, found this infant in a similar plight?
Looking at the woman's face, Derek stopped pondering, feeling that sort of matter was irrelevant. The woman's abdomen had deep wounds, and her whole body had been pierced - was it by the filth monster that had attacked him earlier? To actually have managed to arrive here from that situation, and escape from the fire exhausted while wetting the sheets...... what motherhood and obsession, and that relieved expression......
It was like a story of her entrusting herself to the lives of these two...... perhaps that was what had happened.
Derek picked up the two infants in one arm. That resounding noise was proof of life!
Some gas approached from the corridor.
During the explosion, it appeared.
The door was blown open, and the smoke and heat surged in. The one that brought this was the filth monster from before. The abdomen that had suffered the strong attack had already regenerated. Even though its shell was still cracked, the flesh underneath had grown back.
Derek used his free hand to make a fist and released Kei. The window's glass and the wall were smashed apart.
He flew outwards along with the glass shards.
Behind him, the filth monster was in pursuit.
Deeply breathing a mouthful of polluted air, Derek rushed at a speed that would not influence the infants. In contrast, the filth monster's speed was faster, charging fixatedly to chase Derek's back.
He escaped outside the building.
The filth monster was spotted by the Military Artists on top of the separating wall.
The filth monster in hot pursuit of Derek was engulfed in a hot explosion. It received the Kei attacks of the ten Military Artists who were waiting on the high wall.
When the filth monster was blocked, he leap to the wall in one breath, and after giving the infants to a junior Military Artist among those on standby who was part of the medical team, Derek once again rushed into battle.
Noises of explosions shook the ground.
With a pillar of fire spewing forth, bursting out as if a water main had ruptured underground, the area of the Accomodations Facility was suddenly painted red.
If the fire was being put out, there would be water being sprayed and sparks flying. But, while the buildings were collapsing and bursting, what was being sprayed were not sparks.
"It escaped to there?"
Afterwards Derek saw a scene that made him dumbfounded.
They were among the scattered building materials, falling one after another, and in the twinkling of an eye had covered the ground. The army of larvae that was like a carpet rushed to the wall together as a common goal.
The commander who wore the silver sword gave the sound to attack. Simultaneously, his voice was broadcasted all over by the Psychokinesist. All the people on the battlefield rapidly moved in the directions towards the larvae - gathering at the front of the zone.
Derek also heard these orders. He gathered those under his command while continuing to search for traces of that humanoid filth monster.
There! At the back of the giant larvae army, it was riding one and rushing forward.
"Three volleys of Kei! Release-!"
Accompanying the commander's voice, a salvo of Kei roared out. The impulse produced swallowed the front of the group of larvae. Along with this shockwave of kei, larvae went flying. Some were burst into fragments, some were bombarded flying...... The larvae behind stampeded over their fallen companions, abruptly crossing over them.
The rolling Kei wave surged three times. The corpses of the larvae produced by the relentless explosions threw the formation of the remaining larvae into chaos.
The assault command was to give a deciding blow to the disordered larvae group. Derek also led his unit to charge into the center of the larvae group. Blade piercing a monster's body, he felt that it seemed easier than before. Actually, these filth monsters had not yet matured into the larvae that were usually encountered. Under close inspection, one could see that these larvae seemed like they had been born in fire, and on their surface there was a sparkling mucus substance. In the gaps between shells suffused white threads.
These things seemed as if they had been produced as an emergency response to the situation.
Derek dashed among the larvae group, as if he were cutting melons and vegetables.
In the middle of his vision was the humanoid filth monster.
The posture of the woman sleeping on the bed scalded his brain. The weeping cries of the infants were also resounding in his mind. The woman's abdomen that was so wounded and dyed crimson...... he couldn't forget it no matter what.
That thing had killed her, had killed that woman.
The one that had snatched away the mother of those infants, reducing two children to orphans, was that filth monster.
(I cannot forgive you)
Derek's brain only had this thought.
He rushed at the human shape that sat on top of a larva. The paces of the rest of the unit behind him were stopped by wave after wave of filth monsters. Throwing out an order to wipe out everything, Derek continued charging onwards alone.
Slashing open one, using its corpse as a jumping board, and while jumping through the air he dropped a rainstorm of Kei.
In the continuous sound of explosions, Derek arrived before the humanoid filth monster.
The larva that the humanoid filth monster was riding was very big, and its outer shell was already drying. This thing was much bigger than even the usual larva, could it be that this was a genuine larva? He considered a bit in his mind, but it all didn't matter!
Even though Derek was on its body, the larva didn't stop its pace. The humanoid's strange black sword was held sideways.
Nothing needed to be said.
Escaping the sideways swipe of the black sword as if mowing grass, Derek attacked at the humanoid's head.
But it was defended against by the claw things from the back of its body.
The black sword full of brute force, along with the four flexible and quick appendages caused successive continuous coordinated attacks to bounce aside Derek's blade. He could only expeditiously evade.
The eyes under that tattered mask had no emotion at all. No, he saw that the eyeballs were in reality firmly fixed in place by muscle fibers, without even an epidermis. There were no eyelids, and it could not give off any humanlike emotions......
For a filth monster, that was obvious. However, after Derek had witnessed that pair of emotionless eyes, he began to wield his Steel Dite with extra sharpness.
He caught an opportunity to strike off one of its appendages.
Opening up such a large hole in its stomach had not been able to get rid of it. Derek did not think carefully while he fiercely attacked. He definitely had to thoroughly stop it form moving, and destroy its heart, or crush its head. Even though he had aimed once at its head, the head with no joints had a hardness that was different from others. Kei had scattered, his sword had bounced back, and that had only left a very small wound.
If he truly exerted himself fully for a blow, he definitely would make that humanoid's movements slow down. Cutting off the entire leftmost appendage, Derek began focusing himself on this.
With the arm not holding the black sword the only thing left on the left side of its body, the humanoid filth monster began madly countering.
Black sword slicing through the air with a roar, blue sparks became visible as the Steel Dite blocked it.
Derek who had been at an unerring pace received the humanoid filth monster's sudden blow from the black sword. He stood firm with both feet, rigidly receiving the attack. The afterglow of Kei scattered to the surroundings like threads of silk.
This battle had no audience. The attentions of the surrounding Military Artists were all on their individual opponents.
Though even if he said this, perhaps he did have an audience.
They were the Heaven's Blade Successors who were not on this battlefield. Not because larvae had invaded and they had been dispatched as those who bore the glory of Grendan.
If it were them, they might watch this battle in their leisure time.
If that were the case, then now, they were purposefully looking the other way to shelter the humanoid that was attacking Derek. Their purpose and intent were all accurately deciphered and easily read.
The opportunity arrived!
That moment, Derek assumed the stance of a deciding blow, injecting powerful amounts of Kei into the Steel Dite.
External-type Kei variant, Wicked Strike.
This was a Kei technique to destroy weapons. A small amount, in the moment the Dite and the black blade came in contact a small amount of Kei was injected. It was only necessary to let a small amount of the hardness go missing, and in that moment, the weapon would break like a chain reaction as if it were glass.
Internal Kei variant, Sound of War.
Giant waves of sound erupted that severely vibrated the atmosphere, and the fragments of the black sword flew towards the humanoid filth monster. Even if it couldn't damage the humanoid filth monster who was wrapped in its armor, in this kind of situation where its weapon was broken, form collapsed, and a rain of pieces coming down, its vision would definitely be hindered.
Derek leaped up.
He jumped past the humanoid filth monster's head, landing at its back, and the remaining appendages simultaneously cut at him.
The humanoid filth monster gave off a roar like a lamentation, but with its form collapsed, it could not turn its body in time.
When the filth monster turned, Derek had already completed his preparations.
The Steel Dite was at the left of his waist, his left hand tightly gripping the sword's handle.
A form for drawing the sword.
His left and right hands had finished gathering Kei and were united on his sword.
Psyharden Technique, Flame Cut.
That moment, flame spilled forth from the blade. This was not flame due to Kei that had been refined, it was flame from the Kei generated by his left and right hands colliding with each other, covering the entire sword. When the pressure released inside was released, wind burst forth. Simultaneously, the blade cut towards the humanoid at a slanted angle.
A deep line was cut across the carapace. After many cracks were produced, the effects of the Kei stopped.
Derek's feet strode forth another step.
Psyharden Technique, Flame Weight.
The vibrating flame that wrapped the sword changed its focus, turning downwards.
Along the cut lines of the sword, the filth monster's shell was smashed. The sword deeply cut into flesh, and soon after, bodily fluids sprayed out between the gaps in its outer layer.
The humanoid's heart had been destroyed.
Having not yet disposed of the falling filth monster, Derek began his next move.
The sword that had been brought down was raised back up. One foot was on the chest of the fallen filth monster. His stomp accompanied by Kei expanded the wound, damaging its internal organs. The giant shock even broke the legs of the larva under his feet.
The larva whose legs had been broken slipped on the ground, and Derek who was on its body began to sway.
However, not even an additional quiver could be seen in the sword that was wielded. The straight tip extended for the humanoid's head.
Kei was released again, and at the same time......
The fallen humanoid growled. On the two stopped, cut-open sides of its body, its arms began to move once again. It felt like it wanted to beat Derek to death.
Derek's two eyes saw this attack, but his body did not begin any motions to evade. The sword continued towards the humanoid filth monster's head, jabbing mercilessly towards the ground.
Psyharden Technique, Uprooting the Waves.
The blade was inserted into the strange mouth of that humanoid, and the teeth that the blade encountered were broken off instantly. The cold Dite was thrust deeply into the mouth.
Immersive destruction. From the Steel Dite poured Kei that flowed past the blade, invading the brain cells of the filth monster. After a short while, the explosion whipped up hurricane-like winds that began to rage.
The pair of arms crossing above Derek's back were forcefully opened, and dropped on the back of the larva.
The plating on its head had not been destroyed, but the originally cracked mask had been broken. Body fluids and other things spilled out from there. The sword pierced the skin of the larva underfoot, thrusting deeply into its body. Due to the influence of his damaging penetration, body fluids sprayed from all over the larva's body, and it stopped moving completely.
"Enemy, I have taken my revenge!"
Looking down upon the corpse that he had mercilessly destroyed, Derek said this.
The woman's relieved expression and the infants' cries still mingled in his heart.
Leerin was already waiting on one side in that place which was hastily reaching convergence.
The place in front of her was the tram station by the road. Nearby was a fountain that the Architecture students built during their graduation.
A lion with the lower body half of a fish, that kind of fictional creature was endlessly spitting out water. In the place that had been made the meeting place, several people sat in front of the fountain.
In the surroundings of the fantasy creature spraying water were carvings that simulated waves. In the middle there had been placed a clock that seemed as if it would be swallowed by the waves.
It had just reached the appointed time...... Even if he wasn't late, Leerin was still annoyed.
There was still some time till lunch. However, right now, if one were to enter a store to eat lunch, it wouldn't be too strange of a thing. He looked at the time, and looked at the upset Leerin. He realized she was upset at his appearance.
"What, you haven't fixed your bed hair?"
Seeing Leerin's gaze, Layfon put his hand on his head. Because he had waited until the last moment, he had not had any time to be concerned about his hair.
"Clothes...... hm, this should be fine!"
After fixing his hair, she examined Layfon's entire appearance. For whatever reason, today's examination seemed relatively strict.
"Um, is there anything going on today?"
"Nothing! Just a very interesting movie!"
Yesterday, Layfon had received an invitation from Leerin to watch a movie. Because the city's extremely famous actor Day Mauge's primetime movie had reached Zuellni. Right now, the movie was being released at the nearby theater. Rumor had it that Day Mauge had already died, though even if he still lived, he would be a very old man anyway. However, he had become an actor when he was young. He had brought his excellent acting skills from young age to old age, and had seen praise from many cities throughout.
Actually, Layfon had heard of him when he was in Grendan. Even in Zuellni, that man's popularity did not waver.
The works that Day Mauge had acted in numbered more than a hundred. Probably no one other than himself existed who had seen all of his works. The movie that was currently being shown was a premiere, for Zuellni!
Layfon had not known Leerin was his fan. She was this happy?
"Well, lets do this. First let's go eat lunch, then watch the movie!"
Layfon spoke softly, moving in front of Leerin who was following him.
"It seems like the meeting went safe and sound."
Hearing this report, the people in the area silently nodded their heads.
No, there was only one person nodding his head.
"Good, good work. Next, what does he plan on doing?"
The one who asked this was the thin, always cheerful man, Sharnid.
The place he was at was not too far of a distance from the fountain where Layfon was at.
Hiding from the fountain in the shadow of a nearby building. What in the world was this supposed elite platoon member of Zuellni doing?
"......They're going to Mike's Hamburgers."
Sharnid sighed to the sky.
"Somehow managing to get this date, and choosing to eat fast food? How can that be! In this kind of situation you have to choose a place with good atmosphere, and most times you wouldn't choose a place that brings a burden to your stomach!"
"They're only eating before going to watch a movie. You don't need that kind of emotional appeal."
Dalshena, who was standing next to Sharnid, said this. But she showed an expression that wasn't really concerned with this.
It couldn't be understood...... Sharnid shook his head, and said nothing more.
Felli let out a sigh.
The preparation for the party finally finished, and now was time for the cooking preparations. In other words, this was not the time for Felli and the others to make an appearance.
"I don't have any cooking skill."
Dalshena firmly declared this. This kind of giving up attitude, declared right after opening the door and looking in, was worthy of envy.
Then, the cooking preparation was left mainly to Meishen and the dorm supervisor Selina, and the other girls would help along the way. The remaining time could be individually allocated to activities.
During that time for individual activity, Felli and the others began monitoring Layfon.
No one had instigated this. Sharnid had proposed this, and dragged Felli into it. Even though Dalshena had sighed, she had still come along. She said she had only come to prevent them from getting carried away.
(What exactly am I doing)
Felli's mood had sunk low. Private use of Dites violated the school's regulations. Especially for Psychokinesists' private use of power, illegally collecting information about others was a felony. Even if she didn't plan on letting people easily see her using her powers, it was a fact that ultimately she didn't want to use her Psychokinesis. Felli's mood would not improve by any means.
After eating, Layfon entered the theater.
"We can't do anything inside."
Felli first said this.
In the darkness, the flakes which gave off a slight glow were very noticeable. Even if the flake were placed in a place that Layfon paid no attention to, in a theater with a big audience, staying between the walls and performing a detailed observation was very difficult. Even if their voices could be caught, once the movie started, she felt that two people wouldn't be saying much of anything. Hence, they would be drowned out by the movie's noise.
So, there was no way to carry on the intelligence gathering job.
"So, how about we enter?"
Sharnid's hand was moved to Dalshena's shoulder.
"......I have no interest!"
She mercilessly plucked off his hand. Dalshena looked at the big poster of the movie theater.
It seemed to have some rather moving contents.
"I have some interest in Day Mauge's acting, and none for anything else."
"Occasionally I want to see you full of tears."
"If you want to die, I might shed a few tears. Maybe while yawning......"
"But then I wouldn't be able to see it."
Looking at the idiotic bickering drama next to her, Felli suddenly wanted to return.
"Ah, well, let's just set this topic aside for now. At least accompany me for a meal."
"Do I not have the option of going home?"
"Then, how about Mike's?"
"......Isn't this different from what you just said?"
"Oho, could it be that we're on a date?"
The idiot drama that was being staged again left Felli speechless.
She wanted to sneak off alone...... She thought about it. Felli retracted her flake, and walked after the other two.
She knew the time that the movie ended.
After the movie ended, the two of them had ushered in a strange period of time that lingered in the air. Layfon and Leerin bought drinks, returning in front of the fountain. There was a plaza where one could rest for a bit, and seats.
Right now, if they were in Grendan, it would be time for elementary school to let out. Figures carrying backpacks playing in the park unendingly emerged in his brain.
"......Is everyone still doing well?"
He didn't know why, but he asked this.
"Ah, they should be fine."
That kind of discourse made his heart ache. With the form of her reply, Layfon just realized that she could not personally confirm this.
From that time, Leerin had truly become estranged from the matters of the orphanage.
"Sorry, even though I dragged it out till now."
"It's okay, I think what Layfon did was right."
"What, you realized? It's already too late to apologize!"
Her words were severe, but Leerin didn't show an upset expression.
"Really, it's already late. Probably, those children won't know of anything that Layfon says here. The problem right now isn't whether Layfon's mentality has changed, right? And how did those children view Layfon? So, it's fine even if Layfon doesn't care. The Heaven's Blade has already been returned, and you left Grendan. If Layfon wants to do something to repay for his mistakes, it's already enough. The matter has already ended."
He realized, remembering Gelni-san had also said this kind of thing. But he could not stop feeling guilt for his crime of letting Leerin be alone.
If it weren't for him, Leerin would still be harmoniously living together with everyone at the orphanage. At the same time, the brothers at the orphanage looked up to Leerin as a mother and a sister.
"But, I met many people at the new school! There are also interesting sempais......"
Leerin who was almost bursting with laughter wasn't telling a lie.
"Even if it was because of Layfon, haven't I made lots of friends after coming here?"
"Of course, I was worried about whether Layfon would be able to make friends. Though personally, I made friends very smoothly."
He hummed with no way to refute this.
After laughing for a while, Leerin suddenly fell silent.
"Wah, as expected you and I are different with regards to opening our hearts!"
Before Layfon could reply, Leerin had taken the preemptive step of grabbing his ears.
"Listen carefully. Right now are there any of your platoon members in the surroundings?"
"Huh? Uh, there are."
He nodded, though his ears were still being grabbed.
"Why did you hide that!"
She quietly got mad.
"But, it's Sharnid-sempai and Dalshena-sempai!"
He had not seen them, but Military Artists naturally released Kei that normal people could not see. Layfon had caught some of that Kei, that was all.
"And we're very far apart."
Sharnid who was able to use Sakkei could stop the leakage of his own Kei, but Dalshena at his side could not do this. Layfon had first observed her, and afterwards noticed Sharnid. In reality, Felli was also by their side. But Layfon had no Psychokinetic abilities like the Psychokinetic flake had not come too close and the light that flowed through Felli's hair that acted as a conductor. He didn't know that Felli had prevented herself from being seen by him and had purposely allowed the flake to stay a long distance away.
"What, you seem very perceptive!"
Leerin slowly but forcefully said something. Layfon didn't know the reason, and could only wait for Leerin's response.
"Enough. To think, I was thinking of helping you a little......"
Towards Layfon who still did not understand what had happened, Leerin gripped his ear.
Ever since those two had been surreptitiously doing something. Felli generated an unpleasant feeling towards it.
"Wah, Felli-chyan, unexpectedly bold, huh?"
In short, Felli kicked Sharnid in the shin.
Even though the Sharnid who couldn't understand the reason behind the unexpected attack was moaning incessantly, he eavesdropped on the conversation of the two. But from this distance, as would be expected not everything could be clearly heard. But if the flake were moved any closer, it felt like Layfon would notice it.
While her heart was contradictory and troubled, the two suddenly stood up, walking side by side.
"Ah? Shall we change locations?"
Sharnid who no longer felt pain squinted his eyes.
"Ne, we should be getting tired soon. Why don't we return?"
Even if Dalshena said this right next to them, regardless, neither Sharnid nor Felli heard.
The distance between the two people was very close.
Before watching the movie, they had been ordinary while sitting on the benches, with a distance that wouldn't make anyone particularly notice them. It was the normal distance of two people who were doing something together.
But now it was different.
By Felli's standards, this was a distance that would spread contagions - converting to units of length, the extent was approximately five centimeters.
If the distance were any more shortened, they would be able to hold each others' arms.
Felli focused her mind.
In order to shorten that probe distance which made her so annoyed and conflicted by a centimeter, in order to get a clearer grip on the situation of those two. Felli began searching for other ways to efficiently deploy her Psychokinetic flake, and moved her flake forth.
Layfon and Leerin were currently in motion. So only focusing on configuration was not enough. She must search the ground and routes by moving in the same direction, and so she placed her flake in a higher place in advance.
Dalshena made a noise that sounded surprised, but Felli didn't perceive it.
"Oooh, what's that, Felli-chyan?"
"Psychokinesis light? No way! All of your hair?"
So annoying, please shut up - this was not said. Even if Felli vaguely felt that the two next to her had said something, right now all of her energy was being directed towards tailing Layfon and Leerin, and she was too lazy to make the movements to reply.
"Aah, that's too conspicuous. Shena, take Felli-chyan to someplace less conspicuous. I'll chase them and take a look."
"Ah, what...... Wait a bit!"
Sharnid flew out from the shadow of a building. This wasn't bad, seriously begin the operation!
"Hateful, pushing the annoying business to me."
Indignant from the unfairness, Dalshena carried Felli.
This was fine, moving seriously was good. Comparatively, Fon Fon, what exactly are you planning on doing? Actually shortening it to that kind of distance! Stupid Fon Fon stupid Fon Fon stupid Fon Fon!!!
He didn't know why, but his nose itched.
"What are you doing, that's dirty!"
Leerin removed a tissue from her bag and passed it over.
"Hah~ what was that?"
He wiped his nose, and the itchy feeling was also wiped away.
"Why do you want to do this anyway?"
Layfon asked this in the direction of Leerin's shoulder that was almost touching him. Honestly, it was difficult to walk like this.
"Don't mind it. More importantly, is there anyone following us?"
After being asked this by Leerin, Layfon concentrated his mind.
It was very hard to perceive. Although it was very hard to perceive, he still noticed Sharnid was moving alone.
(What is he doing?)
He couldn't figure it out. Though he couldn't figure it out, he told Leerin what he found out truthfully.
Showing a bored expression, Leerin deliberated a bit, and then looked at Layfon who showed surprise.
"Then, I want to go buy some things by myself, can you distract Sharnid-sempai?"
"Eh? Ah~ um, I think I can."
Layfon said this while planning. Sharnid definitely seemed to have some reason to tail them. To let Leerin escape notice, it would not be enough for Layfon to just suddenly disappear alone .
......So then, they had to find a place so that at a suitable time, Leerin could disappear for a bit.
In that case...... Layfon pondered, and after a short period of time began whispering to Leerin.
She nodded agreement. At the decided location and time, the operation began.
Suddenly, two people disappeared from the road.
Had he fallen for a trap? Though he increased his caution, the place the two had been was a dead end, so Sharnid didn't know what kind of situation had arisen. He raised the speed of his feet, while continuing to confirm.
Layfon who was carrying something at that time began to leap.
"Che, you're exposed!"
Continuously performing several kicks off the wall, Layfon's figure disappeared on the roof of a big building.
"But, Sharnid-sama won't let you escape here!"
Proudly muttering, Sharnid also jumped off the ground.
"Aiya, what in the world are they doing!"
It seemed like she was unclear that he had been hooked. Felli at the beginning had hesitated over whether to choose Layfon or Leerin, but finally had chosen the two males who were rapidly moving farther.
"Hey, can we go back?"
Dalshena's exhausted voice asked this again and again.
Felli hidden by her side began battle, and brushing the dust off her skirt, she leisurely began walking.
Tigris, who had been seen out of the Dojo by Derek, journeyed home as he was blown by the wind.
The sun was in the west, and no other people were on the road.
(What is it?)
The gentle voice of an old woman reached his ears.
There was no human figure, replacing that were butterfly-like things next to him giving off a faint light. On the road that had no lights and only the moonlight, those things revealed a mysterious hidden feeling.
These were Delbone's Psychokinetic flakes.
"That, it's not too clear!"
(What kind of thing is it? That would also be good)
Tigris began his night with the butterfly flakes, moving forward while looking far into the distance with his kindly gaze.
"It's happiness! At that time during the situation, because of detrimental correspondence, I could only anxiously fidget."
(A lot of big things happened huh)
The old woman had a slightly uncomfortable voice, and Tigris laughed.
"It was indeed like that. Because that place's Psychokinesists, all of them experienced mistaken perceptions.”
(Then, what was it after all?)
"Which? But, the Queen's feeling was very accurate! Kanaris also perceived something. For an insignificant flower, she did an unnecessary thing."
(After this, how will it develop)
"How? I don't know! Will the sun continue the way it does now? Or will changes happen? That kind of situation, to an old man like me who lives here, cannot be allowed to happen. Even if it's the Queen's hand which is uncontrollable. This old man only wants to resolve and stop the situation placed in front of him."
(Regardless of if it's now or before)
"That's right! People can only manipulate themselves."
(It's really not like you)
At Delbone's sigh, Tigris laughed.
"If things happen, I hope they happen while I can still move my body. Or, perhaps I could replace my body like the first Noiran?"
Tigris's eyes exposed fierceness.
(There's a great battlefield, you only need to come)
The old woman said this slowly and softly towards the Military Artist who craved a bloody battlefield.
The crimson sun dyed the sky.
"Aha, I didn't think I would be seen!"
With Sharnid's arm around his shoulder, Layfon didn't know how to respond.
Close nearby, Felli who showed a look of opposition nonetheless walked with them in a row.
He had originally thought that it was only Sharnid, but Felli had also been there. If it had been only him, he could be thrown off. But with the Psychokinetic flakes that Felli had scattered through the whole city, Sharnid had finally been able to get back on track in the end.
Dalshena had apparently also been with them, but she gave up in the middle and returned.
Layfon and them were currently in front of the girls’ dorm that Leerin and Nina called home.
Leerin wasn't with them.
He had initially planned to go to the meeting place to look for her, and see if she was still there. But he had been stopped by Felli, and things had developed into this.
"Then, why are we...?"
Sharnid laughed but did not reply. Layfon was held by the shoulder, and couldn't flee even if he wanted to.
In this manner, a pedestrian reached the entrance of the girls’ dorm.
When he opened the door, everyone said this around Layfon, along with the sound of paper firecrackers bursting.
The flying confetti covered his head like snow, and Layfon was transfixed.
The entrance through the big hall had all been prettily decorated. The chandeliers scattered a thin golden radiance.
There was Nina, Leerin, Meishen, Naruki, and Mifi. Dalshena and Harley along with the two girls from the dorm were laughing while welcoming Layfon.
Layfon asked this, and everyone laughed.
Sharnid said while scratching his head.
"You haven't celebrated it yet this year, right? We've chatted about this topic, and afterwards Nina organized this."
Towards Leerin's explanation, Layfon nodded his head with an "ahah".
"T, thank you very much."
"Don't worry about it."
Nina got firecrackers while shaking her head, and her face had a little bit of shyness.
"Now, let's begin the birthday banquet. Ah, but that's still afterwards! First we have to sing and blow out the candles, but careful not to blow the cake away as well!"
Sharnid excitedly called out. On the central table was placed a big cake, which Meishen had put forth her efforts to make. Candles which had been ignited were already there waiting.
Layfon and Leerin, surrounded by everyone, went in front of the cake.
The lights went out.
Only the flame of the candles were lightly swaying.
The happy birthday song began being sung.
As Sharnid and Mifi loudly began singing, everyone else also started singing.
Layfon also sang.
Leerin also sang.
The two did not know what day their true birthdays were.
So they could celebrate at any time.
To represent their real birthday, today everyone had come to celebrate.
The two blew out the flame of the candles.
The food that Leerin had secretly prepared was at this point passed out to everyone.
The two infants in the crook of his arm had already stopped their high-pitched cries, and were sleeping soundly. The young Military Artist from the rescue team had fed them milk powder, and they should be full.
Feeling the light weight of the two, Derek began walking.
After defeating the humanoid filth monster, he had begun to handle the small remaining group of larvae. The dead corpses were thrown out from the outer edge of the city, and then had supervised handling the situation regarding disposing of the smaller filth monster material.
The city's state of alert had already been relieved, and everyone returned to their individual homes.
Light shone from the homes that had been reclaimed, and conversations of the family members inside the rooms could be heard.
"This is your new home!"
In front of his path could be seen a big, white-walled house.
This was a house where those without fathers or mothers gathered.
But, there were many brothers and sisters.
"This family, it has its annoying parts......"
Derek said this to the soundly sleeping infants.
Carrying a new brother and sister, Derek declared to the big house - I'm home.