Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume18 Chapter3
Chapter 3: Her, her, and her
The sound of a doorknock rang out.
Just as she was studying and thinking about drinking some water, the sound of the doorknock rang out, making Meishen a bit flustered.
"I...... I'm coming."
Meishen reached the corridor almost tripping over her feet, and then walked to the window.
She peeped out of the window to confirm, and the person standing there was Vati.
"Please wait a bit."
After opening the door, she saw Vati holding the bowl from dinner in her hands.
"I came to return the bowl."
"You could have come tomorrow."
"I also have something to ask senpai about."
"If it won't disturb you."
"It won't, come in."
Vati didn't say this kind of thing often. So Meishen invited her in.
"Let me get you something to drink."
"No............ Okay, sorry to bother."
Vati's appearance was different from normal. Though she was still expressionless like normal, even Meishen could feel that there was a discrepancy.
Meishen looked at Vati who obediently sat in the living room as she prepared to make tea.
"Thank you, senpai."
After putting the tea in front of Vati, Meishen also sat on the sofa.
What to do?
Meishen's entire body was stiff as she sat next to Vati.
In this kind of situation, how should she lead Vati to let her talk about her troubles smoothly?
After all, Meishen had never done this kind of thing.
"......Can I speak?"
"Huh? Ah, yes!"
Just as Meishen was confused, Vati opened her mouth.
Meishen felt a bit sad as she motioned for Vati to speak.
"What I wanted to talk about is something from before I came to this city."
"I was created as a replacement."
"I am a thing created to replace someone who was lost."
Vati said this kind of incredible thing as soon as she begun her prologue.
Meishen was shocked. Perhaps she could say 'How could that......' in a tone bringing a hard-to-describe anger and confusion, or maybe she could only say that kind of thing.
However, Meishen held those words back.
A calm portion in the deepest part of her surprise made Meishen look closely at Vati's face. As she said these things, Vati's face was calm and placid like normal, what could be called an expression that didn't show any emotions.
A calm voice in her heart said that Meishen should calmly check her appearance.
So Meishen didn't say anything at all.
Meishen put the tea on the table, straightening her back, and looking at Vati's face that seemed almost frozen, looking at her eyes, and continuing to listen to her next words.
Vati continued speaking:
"But I can't become a replacement. My evaluation in this area is very poor. Yes, I probably disappointed my master."
After saying this, Vati paused for a bit. She wasn't thirsty, nor had she drank tea to moisten her mouth. The oppressive silence as she searched for the next words flowed forth from her slightly opened mouth.
"......Fortunately, my mission is not only to be a replacement. My evaluations other than this job are quite good, so I can still live like this. 
But, I'm not satisfied with just this much. An existence like me who was created in some important situation can tell the disappointment of my master at a glance. It doesn't matter even if I don't do my other job. Even if it is someone else who does this job, I fear that they will also receive a high evaluation.
I am pursuing the evaluation for which I am me.
I want to succeed in the true evaluation for which my master truly created me."
Her expression didn't change.
Her tone hadn't changed. Her nice voice held something like an indifferent tone, as if she were reading a book.
But, it wasn't only that. Probably.
After hearing this, her chest hurt. Though this kind of pain was mild, Meishen had a sort of feeling that it grew more and more painful.
With every word that Vati said in her indifferent tone, that feeling became more intense......
Deep under her stern expression, were there any emotions?
Meishen couldn't help thinking about this.
"But, that isn't a simple thing. My master doesn't expect me to have any progress in that area anymore. If my master doesn't hold any expectations of me, I'm not able to do it.
But regardless, I want to pursue that part, I want to make progress, and because of this I decided to go against the orders of my master. In order to achieve my goal - the goal that I was created for - I decided to betray my master."
Meishen held back her surprised voice. The pain continued to increase, stinging her chest. The heavy feeling would truly become heavier with every word Vati spoke in her indifferent voice.
With no way to grasp the cause and effect of the situation, it couldn't be said that Meishen could understand what she was trying to express.
Even so, the pain still came to her.
"So, I betrayed my host. I knew my host was in a dead end situation, but I was ignored it. Because I had to do this. It was only by doing this that I could obtain what I wanted. I judged that I needed it no matter what."
Meishen felt that it was hard to breathe, even thinking of telling Vati not to say any more.
Casually, without much emphasis, as if she were reading a book.
She spoke like that.
But it hurt Meishen.
Meishen completely couldn't understand the words she said, but the emotions that seeped out of them made her hurt, making her body have such a feeling.
Meishen had a premonition that the pain she felt in her chest from these words would become something hard to endure.
Though she wanted to tell Vati to stop, Meishen still stopped herself from doing so. Under Vati's expressionless mask, something was going to pour out.
Meishen wanted to endure those feelings for Vati.
"I believe that I acted correctly. In order to achieve my goal, in order to live like me, in order to become the correct me that my master expected, I had to know many things. I have many things I need to learn. If I can't learn all of this, then I will have to rely on experience and experiments to find the answer.
I had to give up my master. To me, in order to know the answer, it was most fitting that the thing I abandoned was my master.
However, would doing this truly let me become the me that my host hoped for? I have already lost the ability to confirm the answer.
I can only understand by thinking carefully. But, I still did this. In order to complete my goal, I lost all of the reasons for my goal. I did something foolish. But until now, I still believed that I could only do this.
What was the right thing to do? If I didn't do anything, perhaps I wouldn't have lost my master. But, then I would never have been able to become the me that I hoped for, or the me that my master hoped for.
If I didn't do this, then I would still think that way even now."
After finishing saying this, Vati fell silent.
Her closed lips wouldn't open again, right? Meishen wondered. She had finished what she wanted to say, so thinking this way should be correct.
However, a kind of premonition told Meishen that her words hadn't ended.
Vati should still have something more to say. Meishen calmly waited for her to open her mouth again.
Then, she parted her lips.
"......I know the feeling of losing something. I lost my goal, lost my target for moving forward. The process of arriving at my target still continues, but regardless of how close I get, in the end it's only a wasted effort.
Where should I go?
What can I do?
I already have nothing, and I have nowhere to go. I already know that the slow advance of time is meaningless. Even so, I still can only do this, because I have nothing else that I can do.
I thought of obtaining my master's approval, I wanted to tell my master 'I've already become the me that you hoped for', but...... but......"
That was it. Meishen thought. After the long story, what came afterwards was an endless murmur. It wasn't like Vati to say that kind of thing, so these were the feelings that she wanted to express the most.
Complaints, cowardly words, these words counted as both, completely different from what she would usually say, so this was definitely the feelings that she wanted to uncover.
Meishen didn't know why Vati hadn't said this until now. Even if she thought about it there was no use.
Right now, Meishen had heard what Vati had said.
It was the time for her to gather her courage.
Meishen naturally pulled Vati over, hugging her tightly.
"It's alright, it's alright."
"If you have nowhere to go, then start over and look for somewhere. If you don't know what to do, you just have to find a goal. It's alright, you're here because you have a strong spirit, it's alright to start over a few times."
"Even if you're not a person, I'm here."
"I really like you."
Meishen hadn't missed Vati's expression as she heard these words.
"Thank you very much."
After she left Meishen's side, Vati said this.
"I understand that if it's you, you would definitely say that kind of thing."
"You told me the answer. Even if I lost the thing I loved, I can still stand up again. Even if I can't return to the past, I can continue living on.
You told me about the so-called humankind."
Vati said this. Meishen didn't really understand what she had said. But, her expression as she said this made Meishen unable to move her gaze.
"Thank you very much. It's only because you said that to me that I can continue on."
The moment Vati said this, Meishen's eyelids suddenly became heavy. Her consciousness faced, and her strength left her body.
She was right there, gazing at Meishen from the other side of her fading vision.
What expression had appeared on her?
Vati's expression, her immovable expression had moved.
It was truly only a bit, a very slight change.
But, her expression had moved.
Was it a smile, or was it crying? Since it was faint and unreal, making her face shake stiffly, Meishen was able to see that expression.
"Thank you very much, it was great to have met you."
Vati's voice entered her blurry consciousness.
She seemed to have said the word 'goodbye'. Meishen who thought this reached out her hand.
However, her arm didn't grab anything.
When she recovered her consciousness, Meishen was already lying in bed.
She thought it was a dream.
However, it wasn't a dream.
The next morning, regardless of how long Meishen waited, Vati didn't come to the store.
It had always hidden itself at a distance.
This was the Battle City Armadune. After that last battle, it hadn't come close to Zuellni. Though this was the case, it also hadn't gotten far from Zuellni.
Armadune maintained a distance, keeping behind the Academy City Zuellni, moving around with it.
In the center of the city where there was nothing as far as the eye could see, Gildred sat on a wooden chair drinking tea. A big umbrella was hung over the old man's head, and on the table next to him, various sweets like small pastries had been arranged in perfect order on a plate.
Gildred put the ceramic cup back on the table, empty.
Then, the teapot placed on the table moved, pouring tea into the cup. Other than Gildred, there weren't any people here, had the teapot moved by itself?
The thing that had moved it was a tentacle that had grown and extended out of part of the table. This tentacle used its form to wrap around the teapot's handle, pouring tea into the cup.
Gildred put a pastry in his mouth and once again took up the teapot. The old man who tasted the steaming tea in his mouth gazed somewhere without batting an eyelash.
Ahead of that place was Zuellni.
The man who was as tough as nails stared at Zuellni with an oppressively sharp gaze. Even though his body was already ancient, he was still a mighty Military Artist.
"Armadune, are the preparations ready?"
The old man asked this, not moving his body from the bench or shifting his gaze. Only the tentacle extending from the table slightly waved.
The tentacle couldn't speak, but Gildred who had asked the question captured the essence of the response.
Gildred put down the cup and stood up, placing the steaming cup back on the table. When he stood up, the table, chair, and umbrella all changed. The table and chair sank into the ground, the umbrella folded back up, and also sank into the ground as expected.
Then, it again returned to the empty city that Layfon and Nina had seen from that time.
After rising, Gildred raised his empty hand to his chest, raising his fingers.
He slowly extended his arm, like a conductor beginning to play out an orchestra.
It was at that moment.
Light appeared in the air above.
A nasty noise like arcing electricity sounded along with the quick flash of light, occurring on a wide scale above the autonomous moving city.
The light shone on the body of Gildred, becoming blinding.
Conditions should have returned to normal after the beam of light departed, but what extended before his eyes was a boundless, dark city.
But, it wasn't empty.
A person appeared at a slightly farther distance than Gildred.
"Did you think this old man would let you go?"
That person was staying here as if crouching on the ground, and Gildred questioned him with a cold tone.
"I already understand what kind of beings you are. As for how we would deal with you, could it be that you believed we would rely only on force?"
The old man spoke while grasping two iron whips in his hands.
"In the air of this city, there is a special wave that makes your kind feel confused, so those parts of you that hide outside definitely won't be able to come close."
"......The battle last time was only a feint, and your goal was to drop my guard?"
"That's how it is."
That person stood up, and Gildred called her name as a reply:
The person who stood there was the 'Vati B' that Layfon and Felli had just seen. The two of them were completely the same, whether in appearance or the clothing it wore, everything was completely the same as 'Vati B'.
However, the person who stood there was not 'Vati B'.
She was Lævateinn, the original body of 'Vati B', and the true form of Vati who had been in the Academy City Zuellni until just now.
This female wore protective clothing like Military Artist clothing, and when she stood up, an extraordinarily cold aura emanated from her body.
Her parted lips weaved monotone words:
"Gildred Antalk, can I ask you not to interrupt things?"
"Do you think this old man will answer your requests?"
"Is that a no?"
"That's a no. You should die here."
Lævateinn didn't move.
But, Gildred raised the restored iron whips.
"Then, I can only destroy you."
"This old man will smash the fate you are trying to bring about."
Lævateinn and Gildred tossed words at each other.
However, the killing intent that was produced could only be described in very intense words.
The flame from the sudden intense explosion danced through the Battle City.
Today had also passed peacefully.
However, even if she wanted to relax, Nina couldn't do that.
Layfon and Felli weren't here. An endless concern heightened that reality, tightly gripping Nina's chest.
Vati hadn't made any moves. Harley had said very clearly that the two of them had taken a motorcycle and left the city.
But, Harley didn't know the destination of the two of them either. Nina and Claribel were unable to find the answer to why they had left the city even if they thought till their heads hurt.
Nina wanted to rage. But, whose fault was it that Layfon and Felli had taken this kind of action? As soon as she thought of this, she couldn't say a thing.
She couldn't say the truth, making Nina feel quite regretful. If she had had the strength to think of a way to resolve this before they had worried...... Nina tried thinking this way, but she hadn't had such a thing.
Had she made the wrong choice? She couldn't help but think that way. Though she had been threatened by Vati, perhaps there was some way that she could send the information. She involuntarily thought this way.
However, it was already too late for anything. Layfon and Felli had left the city to pursue something.
"From a different point of view, perhaps it's relatively safer outside of Zuellni."
Claribel had said this, but Nina simply couldn't accept that opinion.
Her concern grew stronger and stronger.
To get rid of this kind of concern, Nina had always wanted to become stronger even through today. She believed that she had succeeded. Relying on her training with Claribel, she had reached a realm that she definitely couldn't have reached single-handedly. Though the Haikizoku in her body allowed Nina's Kei to become strong, she also needed power to control it. In this area, her training with Claribel could be said to be quite commendable.
Though it was the two of them together, she had also succeeded in defeating Layfon in the competition.
Nina had indeed become strong.
However, this still didn't dispel the caution or fear she had towards Vati. Even now, she still didn't have the feeling that she was able to fight or win.
The new concern that had emerged tormented Nina.
Had her efforts until now been for nothing? Nina felt that this comfort had slammed into her body and was trying to grab her.
Nina could only endlessly urge herself on inside her heart, saying that that kind of thing couldn't have happened, and then training every day with Claribel.
The day of battle was drawing near. It was obviously closing in, but she didn't know when it would arrive.
Since she didn't know when, when it truly came she could only be surprised.
When Nina sighed because of the impatience formed from many concerns overlapping with each other, she felt that feeling.
Something was shaking the air.
Nina felt that there was something invisible mixed in the air next to her, seeming as if it were lightly stroking Nina's back.
Perhaps she could explain this feeling as her being too sensitive, or overthinking things.
However, Nina wasn't overthinking.
Something had just happened. Though she didn't have clear evidence, Nina acted very quickly. She quickly changed out of her home clothing into her uniform, and then charged out of the room.
Nina met Claribel as she entered the corridor. It was the evening, but she also wore her uniform.
"There's something strange."
"You really think so?"
The two of them neared each other, lowering their voices to talk. After confirming with extremely tense voices, the two of them naturally gazed at the same place.
It was the location of Vati's room.
After nodding their heads and signaling with their gazes, the two of them quickly moved to the room.
The two of them listened closely in front of the room, exploring the situation inside.
"How is it?"
What to do? Claribel asked with her eyes. Nina didn't have any hesitation. It wasn't only her, even Claribel had felt what to do.
Therefore, it wasn't a very difficult question.
Nina wordlessly destroyed the door nearby, entering the room by force. Claribel followed behind her without a sound.
"She's not here."
"Has something really happened?"
"What do we do?'
"We have to find her......"
"But, if she has taken action, she might no longer be here."
Nina and Claribel hadn't moved. The two of them had decided that if that time was truly coming, then even if they bet their lives to stop Vati, the result would be wasting that opportunity in vain.
If Vati had escaped, then Nina and Claribel were too late. That kind of useless and miserable feeling burned inside Nina.
"You truly can't do anything."
The two of them looked at each other. They had both thought that they had heard an unfamiliar voice.
Just as the two of them were preparing to open their mouth to ask, their gazes suddenly became dark.
"We moved? Like before?"
The feeling they had back then when they were being pulled over by Gildred tightly wrapped around the two of them. The feeling under their feet gradually disappeared, and the feeling of a substance flowing in some direction enclosed their bodies.
"Can I bring her there?"
Who was that?
"Oh, come over here."
That voice once again entered her mind.
"Huh? Wait, huh......"
Claribel's surprised shout moved far away in the blink of an eye. Even Nina's yelling disappeared without reverberating off anywhere.
"Sorry, I don't want to continue lending a helping hand in your life. Next is for the person watching over you to lend his helping hand."
That seemingly downcast voice also gradually disappeared.
She had been left behind. Nina had that kind of feeling.
Nina didn't make another sound. A torrent caught Nina and refused to relax, but she didn't have any trouble breathing because of it. However, what would become of her, what would become of the situation, and what would happen afterwards, those kinds of unknown horrors bound Nina's feet.
Nina reached out her arm. Though she didn't know where she wanted to reach out to, Nina still reached out anyways.
Someone grabbed her hand.
Light had suddenly appeared in the shadowy world, and the dazzling light blinded Nina's eyes.
The source of the light was the one who had grabbed Nina's extended hand.
Her eyes had already become accustomed to the light.
What grabbed Nina actually wasn't a hand, but something approximately like the foot of a bird, and the one who grabbed Nina's hand was Schneibel.
"......Because Gildred has stopped."
"I called you over too late, hurry."
Nina had no time to talk. The speed of the flow became even more intense, and Nina could only tightly shut her eyes and endure the feeling.
When she was released from the space, a light even more blinding than Schneibel covered her entire body.
Was it the sun? No, it should be evening right now.
The light covering Nina's body this time was sparks.
Or was it fire?
Regardless of which, it wasn't a scene that could be watched while jumping for joy.
Nina held her breath. She could have made a sound, but it would have been blotted out by the sound of grinding metal that dominated this place.
A giant object was about to fall from the air, and countless tentacles took defensive action to keep the giant object from doing so.
The discordant sound of two things crashing into each other rang out in all directions.
This was place was somewhere she had been before, her great-grandfather's city.
After she noticed this, Nina quickly searched for his body, finding it in an instant.
Gildred was fighting with something. He stood there without moving, was it because he hadn't noticed Nina's shouts, or did he ignore her on purpose?
Her great-grandfather's back was in Nina's vision.
"Those methods that kept nanomachines from coming close were truly impressive. Even if it was only momentary."
The current area was filled with raucous, unpleasant sounds, so why could her voice still be heard?
The one standing before Gildred was Vati.
No, it was Lævateinn. It wasn't the Vati that Nina recognized. The heights of the two were slightly different, their clothing wasn't the same, and even her face was more mature than the one Nina knew.
She had given up the false identity of Vati, and become Lævateinn.
"Your judgment to have a quick battle was also good, because the fights of us Nano-Celluloids become long wars very easily."
So, why could she hear Lævateinn's voice?
Gildred hadn't moved his body?
Nina called out.
But, Nina's voice was swallowed by the dissonance, and wasn't even able to reach her own ears, only leaving behind the feeling of having said those words.
She should charge over to Gildred's side, she should go help him. Her body ordered this. Nina restored her Dite. The Haikizoku Melnisc roared in concert. Had her hearing stopped? She couldn't even hear the noise anymore.
In the soundless world, Nina shouted.
"If the state of your body was perfect, then perhaps these battle plans would have succeeded."
Nina charged towards the back of Gildred.
However, that movement was blocked by something.
The one who stopped her wasn't Lævateinn.
It was a tentacle. The tentacles that appeared after separating from the ground overlapped in layers in front of Nina to block her path.
"What? What does that mean?"
Nina's mind was in disarray. These tentacles should be her great-grandfather's companion. That should be the case, so why did they want to stop Nina, to keep her from helping her great-grandfather?
"Move aside! I'll go determine the winner, I will stop Lævateinn."
Along with her great-grandfather.
However, the tentacles didn't move aside, and not only this, they even wrapped around Nina, expressing the attitude that no matter what, they wouldn't let her go.
"You didn't compute for the condition of your own body, human flesh has limits."
Nina already knew the secret as to why only Lævateinn's voice reached this place.
The tentacles had the effect of sound transmission, letting her voice reach Nina.
"......What's the meaning of this?'
Nina was filled with anger as she stared at the tentacles.
The tone that Lævateinn spoke with was filled with a bad feeling, she had to rush over to her great-grandfather's side as soon as possible.
However, the one who blocked Nina was her great-grandfather's companion, this city. Thinking of how she could communicate with these tentacles, Nina was even less able to forgive their current response.
But in this situation, Nina's fury didn't have any effect on the developments at all.
"You've lived too long, that is the reason for your defeat."
Lævateinn's murmur crossed the space between the two of them.
Nina's position was very far from the two of them.
She knew this.
Gildred fell to his knees. He fell to the ground, and the iron whips in his hands also dropped to the ground.
He had fallen.
The dissonance disappeared. The thing that was about to drop from the sky crumbled and disappeared. The sparks disappeared, and the sky once again returned to darkness.
Nina roared. Her voice reached her ears.
She charged forward.
In front of Nina's might, the net of tentacles surrounding her was easily blown away.
Lævateinn turned her body, not even looking at the fallen Gildred.
Even if she roared, she didn't stop her footsteps.
Nina hadn't reached that place, but her figure had already disappeared without a trace.
All that was left was a tranquil quiet.
All that was left here was her fallen great-grandfather, and excessively quiet city, and Nina who had lost the target of her rage and who could only hold her anger.
However, right now wasn't the time to get angry. Nina rushed to the side of the fallen Gildred.
"......That Schneibel, she's unexpectedly nosy. No, maybe not."
After holding Gildred up, he slightly opened his eyelids and murmured. Blood flowed from his lips, and his face had gone pale, becoming worse and worse.
"That person is only correctly completing the fate that it was endowed with." 
"Great-grandfather, I'll go find help!"
"It's no use, it's too late."
"How can that be!"
"Do you know how old this old man is? Lævateinn was right. Regardless of the means a non-mechanical body uses, it won't be able to escape the doomsday of death. Before this kind of limit, I have lost to her, that's all it is."
"I don't- I don't want that."
"Don't say that kind of willful thing."
Gildred breathed lightly, and then smiled, saying:
"When you were small, I sent dolls to you. Are you saying that compared to back then, you haven't grown up at all?"
"I haven't, I haven't! I don't want great-grandfather to die!"
"But, that's an impossible thing. I will die. But it's not because of defeat, it's because of my limits."
Her great-grandfather's hand lightly touched Nina's face.
Nina was surprised, her great-grandfather's hand was wet.
It was blood.
"Listen well. The loss this time is all because of this old man. If it were you......"
"I have no dolls this time."
After saying this, Gildred's body emitted light.
"Dischale, Tentorium, Falysodam."
He called out three names, and Nina had heard these names before.
Melnisc had said that these Electronic Fairies were the same as the other Electronic Fairy in Nina's body. The same as the nameless Electronic Fairy that had once saved Nina's life.
These Electronic Fairies revealed their figures, their bodies landing brilliantly before Gildred and Nina.
One seemed like an arrogant youngster.
One seemed like a teenager about the same age as Nina.
One seemed like a young beauty with a calm temperament.
Gildred called this name.
Vibrations came from below. Just as Nina thought about this, a part of the city began splitting, and became tentacles, and then these tentacles gathered to form a giant plant.
A bud appeared from the stem that the tentacles had formed. This stem quickly enlarged, opening into a red flower.
In the center of the flower was a girl.
The girl wore flower petals as clothing, and tears rolled down her eyes.
Armadune wasn't the only crying Electronic Fairy.
The arrogant youngster, probably Dischale, clenched its fist.
The teenager, Tentorium, clenched its teeth.
The calm maiden, Falysodam, pressed its lips together.
Some were enduring their anger, some were crying.
"......From now onwards, they are yours."
"Great-grandfather, what are you saying?"
"They are individuals but at the same time are not individuals. They are Electronic Fairies born in the Senou City, forms born from Electronic Fairies who have foregone becoming cities. How much power they can create depends on your tolerance. Everything will be decided by you."
"Great-grandfather, it can't, it can't be like that."
"I already have no way to use them well. But, if it's you, if it's your soul...... you should be able to endure their gathered determination and strength......"
Nina shouted, she wanted to say that that couldn't be.
The meaning of inheriting them, that was......
Weren't they the Electronic Fairies that extended her great-grandfather's life? Though her great-grandfather had used artificial hibernation, wasn't it because of their strength that he had been able to extend his life to this degree?
"Extending life has no meaning, it's only what you want to do after extending your life that means something."
Gildred stayed unmoving.
"This old man can no longer do it. Therefore, I have no reason to monopolize this strength. The will and life that has been gathered together can't be used for something like that."
The old man's eyes stared through Nina, and the hand stroking her face grabbed her shoulder.
"It's up to you."
"If you think you're too weak, then become strong. For your heart to become strong you don't need time, you only need the determination."
"I don't want great-grandfather to die."
"That's not possible."
Gildred quickly replied.
"Things that will die will die. It's only this life that was extended with difficulty that has come to an end. I've only been born a little earlier than the other old men, and died a bit later than them."
The hand that held her shoulder relaxed.
"I give them to you."
A smile appeared on her great-grandfather's face, and he looked at Nina, and then looked at the Electronic Fairies.
He looked at Armadune.
Then, he looked at his own hand.
He made a fist......
"I truly didn't want to let you bear the burden in the end, but with these two hands............"
He murmured this.
The thing disappearing from her arms made Nina utter a soundless scream towards the sky.
"It would have been better if you were completely saved."
The words that Karian had left behind stuck inside Leerin's chest like a curse and refused to leave.
To be completely saved? Let herself be saved from where?
She was clearly the one saving.
Saving humankind from the current situation, from the crisis that would definitely come to the world.
Karian was definitely mistaken. Perhaps he had thought wrongly. What Leerin currently needed wasn't a savior.
Leerin hadn't been slow enough not to understand what Karian had said.
However, Leerin really hadn't been able to retort. Even if he didn't give her a chance to defend herself, Leerin hadn't been able to retort, perhaps wanting to make these words become unimportant fluff. But her heart couldn't do such a thing.
Then, she would cut off everything for him to see.
It was because Leerin thought this that she made a suggestion to the Queen, asking the Queen to grant him that kind of thing.
To grant him a Heaven's Blade.
To grant him Wolfstein.
"Is this alright?"
The one who asked this was Lucia, whom Leerin had requested to adjust the Heaven's Blade into a weapon for Haia before the ceremony.
Leerin had gone to Lucia's workplace to personally request this job of her. She was Leerin's senpai in the orphanage they had grown up in, and was as reliable as an older sister, living on her own as a Dite technician, and currently specially supervised the adjustment of Ruimei's Heaven's Blade.
She had also had a child with Ruimei.
While Leerin was enjoying the feel of the small baby, Lucia said this kind of thing.
"I can't decide how a Heaven's Blade is dealt with!"
Her eyes stared at Leerin without blinking. Though Leerin's body went stiff because of her older sister's gaze, a troublesome feeling twisting back and forth inside her, she smiled naturally.
"You don't have the authority to decide who to give the Heaven's Blades to, but you can probably chip in to which of the two Heaven's Blades to give, right?"
"I can't do that kind of thing."
Though Leerin said this, Lucia kept staring at her. Leerin couldn't bear that gaze, and involuntarily lowered her head to look at the baby.
"Honestly, for things like Heaven's Blades, it doesn't matter who gets which one. For that kind of thing......"
After saying this, Lucia touched the box in front of her with her finger. What was inside was the unrestored form of the Heaven's Blade Wolfstein.
"Even if I secretly used Rui's Garrand, no one would probably notice, right?"
"How could that......"
"No, I'm not joking, I really think so."
Leerin asked this, and Lucia nodded her head.
"Think about it. Heaven's Blades are Dites passed down generation to generation. They don't need replacement materials, they only need the settings to be adjusted like this, to be able to give them to the suitable Military Artist to use. Normal Dites are made of Sapphire, Ruby, and other kinds of things."
"Heaven's Blades only need their settings to be adjusted to be able to let anyone use an incredibly satisfactory weapon. Before Delbone-sama, there were no Psychokinesists who became Heaven's Blade successors, but the Heaven's Blades were also suitable to be used with Psychokinesis, and even the current Heaven's Blade Elsmau can use them without difficulty. In other words, these things don't have differences. Perhaps Heaven's Blades are just a convenient prop, just twelve names."
"Then, in that case, don't you think that that person giving that thing out is meaningless?"
Leerin answered quickly. If she hadn't answered quickly, Lucia might say more. If she could, she didn't want to hear.
"......Ah, I've also said a lot of incredible things to that person. So I also don't want to force you."
Of course, 'that person' meant Layfon. Leerin wanted to hear what Lucia had said to Layfon, but it would only be for herself, and she might think of more unnecessary things, so Leerin could only maintain her silence.
"You'll know after you grow up, Leerin."
"Adults can also make mistakes."
"Regardless of the person, everyone uses their own accumulated knowledge and experience to look at the world. We can only see the world in that way. With that kind of method we can only obtain the answer pertaining to ourselves, and there are few opportunities in which applying that sort of answer to others is correct."
"Then, you mean that we can't give out our views to others?"
"Ah, other people have completely different knowledge and experience, and it's not that easy to to succeed, unless almost all of your experiences are the same."
"Though we're not completely different, we can't be completely similar. Ah, it's your decision anyway, so I have no way to keep opposing it. I only want to say...... do you really not regret?"
"I don't regret it."
"......Then I won't say any more. Haia Wolfstein Laia will arrive in the afternoon, will you be coming too?"
"There's no need."
The orders Leerin had received were only to give the Heaven's Blade to Lucia.
Even Lucia worried about these kinds of things.
Knowing Leerin and Layfon and knowing the status between the two of them, everyone invariably though of the same problem, and would bring it up to Leerin once given the chance.
Having her true feeling seen through was meaningless.
She still wanted to say something.
It was, that everyone was wrong.
Deception coated her feelings, even letting Leerin fool herself.
Leerin had noticed this after Terios attacked her on that summer night.
She had noticed it after she watched him being sent to the hospital.
It wasn't the same, she thought to herself.
Though it was similar, it wasn't the same.
If it were something ordinary, perhaps it wouldn't have produced such a mistake. However, Leerin and Layfon were different. The relationship between the two of them wasn't ordinary.
Because of this, there had been a misunderstanding. Because of this, there had been a mistake.
In this kind of situation, a peculiar condition had emerged. It couldn't be the truth between the two of them.
Perhaps it was because she knew about this that she wanted to replace the misunderstanding with the truth.
Leerin thought that Layfon might also have had this kind of misunderstanding. And that misunderstanding had been created in many people who had seen the two of them, and then the misunderstanding had spread.
"But, this is enough."
Were there people who needed to know the truth? No. The only reason for it was that the condition Leerin expected would continue on.
"The enemies will be here soon."
Leerin's aspirations were only this.
The Heaven's Blade successor Haia Wolfstein Laia had been born. The empty Heaven's Blades had been filled again, and this was truly important.
"There's only one more."
There was only one more Heaven's Blade whose owner hadn't been decided.
Would the twelve Heaven's Blades be cobbled together first, or would the other side take action first?
Originally Leerin had thought that the enemies were on the other side of the sky, and she had never thought that they had already come close to them. After learning this, Leerin's feelings became impatient.
Because she knew a fact, that the opponent was in Zuellni.
Hurry up and come.
Since the moment she learned that, she had these thoughts.
Hurry up and leave that city, she had always thought.
So Leerin had long since been waiting for this feeling.
After she felt it in her room, Leerin quickly rushed into the palace.
"Aah, I know."
Alsheyra had also felt it. Saya quietly stood by her side.
"......In the end, we haven't even gotten twelve together once, have we?"
The Queen held the Heaven's Blade whose owner hadn't been decided.
"Should I just use it myself?"
"That idea might not be bad. Since if we can't get through this battle smoothly, there won't be another chance."
It wasn't Alsheyra who answered her monologue, nor was it Saya, but rather the voice of a third person.
"It's okay to use it so much that it breaks too."
Though the voice came, a figure couldn't be seen.
At some time, a black cat had appeared in the hall.
Facing Alsheyra's surprised expression, Leerin murmured.
Alsheyra seemed to have some impression of this name, so she almost unconcernedly accepted the talking cat.
"Well, what are you planning?" 
"Honestly, I still want to help, so I'll bring in the reserve candidate."
The black cat nodded its head.
Afterwards, the scenery behind the black cat became skewed, and something popped out from there.
Someone screamed, and tumbled onto the floor of the hall.
"Ouchhhh...... where is this place?"
There was a girl wearing the uniform of Zuellni there.
"Huh? Ah, Your Majesty......?"
The two of them looked at each other with similar expressions. After hearing Alsheyra, Leerin could guess that this girl was the girl who had run away from the Ronsmier house, Claribel.
"Eh~ ......Oh well, it's alright."
Alsheyra sighed deeply, and gave her the thing in her hand. Claribel reflexively accepted the object, a distracted expression still on her face.
"Ah, use it well. If you lose then it's a dead end."
At that moment, she became the Heaven's Blade Successor - Claribel Noiran Ronsmier. But, she still had a confused expression on her face as if she didn't know that her identity had changed like this.
Though this was an understandable thing.
But, Leerin didn't care about this. Alsheyra hadn't embellished it, focusing on resolving the issue.
"Well, we have to carry out adjustments immediately."
"That has already been resolved. We only need to change the Heaven's Blade settings to the same as the Dite that the girl has, right?"
The black cat opened its mouth.
"Ah, then, we'll do that. Then, next is just to attack."
After murmuring this, Alsheyra strode out of the hall alone.
From the other side of the door came the sound of her yelling 'Emergency meeting'.
"Didn't you say that you didn't care?"
Leerin who was left behind in the hall asked this of the black cat.
The cat purred, but in contrast, the jewel on its forehead shone with light.
"You said that before, you said that this has nothing to do with you."
"Correct. Your lives have no relation with mine. Regardless of what happens, it doesn't concern me. It's not like I don't have emotions like revenge or hatred, but the object of my hatred isn't those mechanical dolls......"
"Ah, perhaps I want to find an answer for myself."
"Regardless of how it's imitated, the same thing can't be obtained a second time, and it can't be reproduced."
"I only prepared things to this degree in order to show that."
The black cat murmured this, and Claribel who was by its side showed a surprised expression.
Leerin couldn't understand the black cat's words. Even if she thought about what kind of meaning the black cat's words expressed, it wasn't any use.
"Because everything has already come this far."
Who really was she? Why was she lost? Those things were insignificant. Leerin gave up on herself who had asked those questions even though she understood the reason.
"I can only completely spin the wheel of fate."
Leerin stroked the aching eye under her eyepatch.
That day, catastrophe came to Grendan.
Translator's Notes and References
- Vati is continuing to talk.
- Referring to Schneibel.
- Alsheyra is talking to Amy Rigzario.