Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume3 Chapter6

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Chapter 6: Scarlet Pride

A bad feeling made him irritated and impatient.

"......Uh."

Someone collapsed on the ground, underneath the trees by the entrance of the Mechanical Department. Gorneo went down to check on the person. She was the Psychokinesist of the 17th platoon, named Felli, who had unashamedly drawn Layfon into the Military Arts course. He felt her forehead. She had only fainted.

"Looks like she hasn't gone overboard."

He was worried when he saw Shante and this girl arguing.

"Geez, she's not that little anymore!"

As if a beast was living temporarily inside her, sometimes Shante acted in a way unfitting for a Military Artist. This had given Gorneo a headache.

Shante was an orphan, a point that made her similar to Layfon. Unfortunately, she had lived for a long time under the care of non-humans. Erupa, an enormous city-like forest, specialized in raising livestock. In its possession were many different kinds of animals, and Erupa sold information to other cities on the best breeds of animals it had. Among this colossal number of animals in the city, some of them had escaped the eyes of the management and lived in hiding in the deeper parts of the forest.

Although no one knew whether Shante's biological mother abandoned her in the forest, but when the Wild Animal Investigation Unit found Shante, the young girl was already hunting alongside her "other" mother, a beast. Her ability in Kei had allowed her to live together with these animals that hunted for food.

The Military Artists in the Investigation Unit took Shante away from the forest, gave her a name, and educated her together with other humans. Yet, for someone who had been living with wild animals, she was lacking some decisive factor that would allow her to naturally fit in the human world. In the end, she was delivered to Zuellni like someone unwanted.

Gorneo knew what the lacking factor was. Shante had been raised by wild animals. The concept of trading labor for food was nonexistent for her. In the five years since Gorneo had entered school, he had been looking after her. Only recently did he manage to turn her way of thinking back onto the right track, but that was only thanks to Shante's hunting instinct and her place in the platoon. Wild animals hunted in packs. A platoon was similar to a pack for her, keeping her entrenched in the way of animals.

"Damn. It was my mistake to tell her about Layfon."

He laid Felli down neatly and entered the Mechanical Department, jumping in through the hole in the floor of the lift. It wasn't easy to climb down the cable, but that was probably the same for Shante.

Because of Gorneo, Shante had marked Layfon as the enemy. Although Gorneo had explained to her about Layfon's past, she still had been waiting for a chance to hunt down the enemy. The narrow space inside the Mechanical Department, a place where movements were made difficult, was the best hunting ground for her. She thought she could definitely defeat Layfon here.

"Damn."

What a naive way of thinking.

Raised by wild animals, Shante's patterns of thought and action were different from other Military Artists, making her unpredictable. Gorneo taught her variations in Kei because it suited her, and she had proven her suitability, but......

"She can't defeat him at her level."

He knew the level of a Heaven's Blade successor. He understood it more than anyone else, because since birth, he had been around the person who later became a Heaven's Blade successor.

"Does she want to die?"

He prayed as he descended through the darkness.


Layfon couldn't see anything after taking off the helmet, but he couldn't have seen anything with it either since Felli's reinforcement was gone.

"What's happened to Felli? I have to go back."

He could find his way back even without his vision. He had already memorized the route he took, and it wouldn't be a problem if he were to check his route with the steel threads. Still, there was no guarantee that he would return to where Felli was.

"Damn."

Exposed here was the weakness of a small platoon. If they had seven people, one or two could have stayed back to guard Felli...... Now he felt the importance of the phrase "Only because of too few brilliant students".

"Either way, I must hurry......"

No point in regretting the past. He let Kei run through his body to increase the pace of his movements. Darkness hindered him. He couldn't see anything at all. Nina and Sharnid probably couldn't even move to another location under these circumstances.

(If they're attacked by filth monsters......)

What would happen? Was Felli trying to say that she had discovered a filth monster? A chill crept up his spine. He could handle a filth monster in the darkness, somehow, but not Nina and Sharnid. Impatience sped him up, but who knew what would happen if he moved too fast in neglect? Fighting against impatience, he backtracked.

And he suddenly stopped.

(Murderous intent......)

A gaze sharp as a needle pricked him from his right. A murderous intent. As if it had marked its prey. A long time ago, a kid living near Layfon's orphanage brought along his nasty dog to scare the orphans. And now, an instinct that was crueler and more bestial than that dog had marked him.

(From yesterday? No......)

The goat from yesterday didn't have a murderous intention. Only its presence had strained Layfon.

"They aren't......the same?"

He turned the steel threads into the form of a sword. If he moved carelessly, he'd die.

(Can it see me?)

It probably could, given how its murderous intent had marked out Layfon with uncanny accuracy in total darkness.

(To be able to see in darkness, a Psychokinesist? But......)

If that were the case, it wouldn't be strange for the air to vibrate in the wake of the flakes' light movements.

(Anyway, since I can't see......I'm at a disadvantage.)

He failed to even see his sword. Layfon waited silently for the other party to make the first move. Anxiety could cause confusion, but that was just a waste of time. Right now, he was worried about Felli, but he had no choice but to eliminate the obstacle before him.

The other party was also waiting for him to move. Either way, he must not let the enemy find out how he would react.

His opponent had not moved an inch. Layfon could distract the enemy's concentration by releasing external Kei, but he would risk combusting the liquid-formed selenium in the corridors. This was pure selenium mined only once a year to provide for the entire city's electricity. If it exploded, the entire city might be blown apart. Layfon didn't think there was enough selenium here to achieve that level of destruction, but if an explosion occurred, the entire Mechanical Department would be plunged into a sea of flame. Layfon would die, and so would Nina and Sharnid.

(If he's targeted me and chosen this place especially for our battlefield, then he's done well.)

A calm analysis worked somewhere deep in his mind, as Layfon waited for the other party to move.

(Speaking of which......)

If it wasn't that goat......He tried to figure out his enemy's identity via the method of elimination. He found it surprising that there was another unknown existence here besides the goat.

It moved.

From where it remained hidden......No. It came from a tube Layfon couldn't see and using that tube as a foothold, it changed directions.

Layfon's sword reached out in the direction of the murderous intention.

The Sapphire Dite took an attack. Sparks flew off from contact.

Layfon confirmed the opponent's face in that split second.

"It's you!!" he called out, as red hair disappeared along with the fading light.

"Gorneo's enemy is my enemy," Shante's voice echoed in the dark.

"It's against school rules to bring a problem from other cities into the Academy city."

"This is outside Zuellni! Stupid, stupid."

"Whoa......" Layfon felt debilitated, facing such a childish rebuttal.

Shante had not stopped her attacks. She jumped through the spaces in between the corridors. Layfon couldn't predict the direction of her attacks.

(A Kei user that employs variation techniques. Has that made changes to her eyes too?)

Gorneo must have taught her the Luckens skills, but Layfon knew there wasn't such a physical strengthening skill in the Luckens family.

(Is this her special ability? Or is it the Kei technique special to the city she was born in?)

No matter. He had no way of analyzing this technique in the dark, and being unable to analyze it meant he could not steal it.

(This really isn't good. How laughable.)

He blocked all of her attacks, and Layfon couldn't help but laugh inside.

(But......)

He didn't have the time to play with her.

"......Can I confirm something with you?" he asked.

"What?" Shante's movement stopped. Her voice sounded perplexed.

"Felli's Psychokinesis has stopped. Is it because of you?"

"Yes," she confessed immediately. "You can't see anything in the dark, can you? Then that girl was my only interference."

"......Did you kill her?" As those words came out of Layfon's mouth, his heart had gone completely numb, as if it was plunged into ice. The Kei inside his body surged in its amount, and a sound as of teeth grinding sounded from deep in his heart.

"I don't really like her, but only you are Gorneo's enemy."

"......I see."

Meaning she hadn't done Felli any harm.

The ice around Layfon's heart melted, and the grinding sound slowed. Relieved, Layfon slowly pointed his sword in the direction of Shante.

This gave her a huge shock. She had already increased the complexity of her moves. How could this guy have located her just by the sound of her movements in the wind?

"In that case, I'll play with you until you're satisfied."

"Don't get ahead of yourself!"

Shante lunged straight at him with the red spear. Layfon flicked the spearhead away with his sword and changed its direction.

"Damn you!"

Shante adjusted her position and performed several consecutive thrusts. Layfon blocked every single thrust, backing off one step at a time.

Red light exploded on the tip of the spear. This was a variation of Kei. If Layfon took it with his sword, he might get burnt.

"This is madness. If you cause a fire here, we'll all die."

"As if I care about what you say!" she shouted, and continued to rain down her attacks on him. If that spear stabbed into one of the tubes......Putting as little Kei as possible on the tip of his sword, Layfon shook away her assaults.

"Damn!"

Shante kept on stabbing, knowing her attacks weren't effective. Layfon continued to back off, but he didn't just step anywhere, he was cautiously weighing his position before taking a step back. He hadn't lost his balance in the dark, but he was gradually losing his sense of location in the maze.

"Shante! Stop!" A voice intruded.

"Gorneo."

"Stop. This isn't what I wanted!"

Shante's attacks stopped and Layfon pulled back his sword. Through a Kei variation technique, fire appeared on Gorneo's palm, reflecting Shante's sweaty face.

"Isn't this guy an enemy? Didn't he wound Gorneo's important senpai so he can't move anymore? Then why? Why can't I kill him?"

A painful expression crossed Gorneo's face. "I don't want to kill him. This guy is a wall to me. I must overcome it. Only then can Gahard-san......"

"I don't get it! Don't get it. Don't get it. Don't get it! Kill the enemies. Eliminate any interference! I hate the Gorneo who doesn't smile. Move aside!"

Red light suffused her spear.

"No!" Gorneo called.

Feeling something strange, Layfon lifted his sword.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!'

She threw the spear at Layfon.

Kei turned flame enveloped the entire spear. If he avoided it, it would penetrate the tube behind him and set the selenium on fire......

(Strike it and turn it upward, then catch it!)

He made a decision in that swift moment. The spear contacted with the blade and was bounced upward. As expected, the weapon's direction was changed.

And......

Shante leaped up. Predicting Layfon's move, she had jumped onto the tube above to grab hold of the spear and thrust down with it. Catching the spear like that had also hurt her physically.

At a loss of what to do, his body reacted reflexively and leaped aside.

"No......"

The spearhead pointed straight at the tube that Layfon was previously protecting. Shocked, he turned around and caught the smile on Shante's face. Inside the tube came the sound of something expanding. It seemed the selenium left in it was burning.

Shante had planned to die along with Layfon......

In that split second, the fire spraying out from the crack of the tube surrounded her small body.

"Shante!" Gorneo rushed to her side, pulled her out and held her, attempting to protect her with his body.

Layfon also moved.

Without holding back, he sent Gorneo flying with a kick. The feeling of Gorneo's ribs cracking ran up Layfon's foot. He took a deep breath.

Scarlet flame closed in on Layfon along with the rumble of the explosion.

(I hope this works!)

And he released the air inside him, praying.

"Ah Ha!"

External type burst Kei – Roar Kei.

A Luckens move. Although Savaris thought Layfon had not yet stolen this move, in reality, he had already analyzed all its details. Vibration strong enough to destroy the structure of particles shot out of Layfon's mouth, and it shattered the flame along with the tube and a lot more.... Several tubes and corridors were also destroyed.... As well as the outer wall of the Mechanical Department.

The scenery of the city lay before Layfon. The sky assaulted his eyes, vision that he hadn't used for some time. Fresh air rushed in as the fierce and wild flame rushed out.

The rumble of the explosion shook his eardrums.

"Ah!"

Heavy pressure struck his entire body. Because this was his first time using the Luckens' move, he hadn't managed to properly handle the remnants of the Roar Kei. The wind swept him into the air.

But the changes caused by the explosion didn't stop here.

The city was already weakened by the attack of the filth monsters. It had little strength to cushion the impact of the explosion. The sound of things collapsing, as of an earthquake occurring, moved the city.



Nina frowned at the shaky ground and the rumbling noise. "What's going on?"

"How should I know?" Sharnid also frowned. The shaking intensified, so much so that it was hard for Sharnid to keep his balance.

"We can't move like this." 

They couldn't see anything without Felli's support. In this situation, all they could do was hold on and try to remain standing. The ground buckled wildly underneath them. Nina felt the sweat on her body. Tension caused her blood pressure to rise, but the real reason behind the sweat was because of the rising temperature around her.

"Did something just explode?" she said.

"More filth monsters?"

"......If that's the case, then we've no hope left."

Nina's serious expression cut his joke short. She reached for her Dites to confirm they were still there.

"......Sorry, I fainted," Felli's weak voice sounded in Nina's ears.

"Felli, are you all right?"

"Yeah, seems I was hit by someone, but I'm not hurt."

Nina and Sharnid put their helmets on. With Felli's revived Psychokinesis, everything was illuminated once more. Nothing had changed much around the two.

"What just happened?" Nina asked.

"It seems there was an explosion inside the Mechanical Department."

"What?"

"The selenium in the tubes was ignited. Please don't touch the walls of your corridor. The temperature inside is extremely high."

"So that's why it's so hot here......" Sharnid said and moved away from the wall.

"The outer wall of the Mechanical Department has collapsed and the fire has dispersed outside so it's all right, but the pollutants are flowing back in, so please hurry and leave."

"Roger. Is Layfon okay?"

"......"

"Hello?"

"Nothing from Layfon. It seems the flake was damaged in the explosion. I'm now searching for the original location of the explosion."

"Then...... Then...."

I must save him...... Though that was what Nina wanted to say.

"The rising temperature in the tubes might cause a bigger explosion later. Please evacuate."

"To search for Layfon is our priority!"

"I'm looking for him and I won't have time to support you. If you're just standing around getting in the way, then move back." In Felli's voice was not anxiety, but a calm chill. Still, Nina sensed dismay from her.

"I understand. We'll evacuate."

Felli didn't reply.

The shaking of the ground had stabilized a bit, but it still shook occasionally. Backtracking their trail, Nina and Sharnid safely reached the lift. All they needed now was to toss up the rope and switch on the machine to pull them up.

"Felli, you can cut it."

The vision on their helmets was cut off instantly, plunging the two back into darkness. The sounds of the rope being reeled in and the vibration underneath them enveloped the two.

"That guy, please be okay," Sharnid said.

"Are you worried?" he asked, but Nina didn't reply.

"Oi, I've thought of this before. That guy sticks in your mind, doesn't he? I don't think you need to hide that. Felli-chan might steal that guy over in this situation. Calm is what's needed right now, but it's all right to get a bit confused. Just look at Felli. As if she doesn't care, but she tries her best for that guy's sake. We know it, but we aren't embarrassed by her actions."

Nina still hadn't replied.

"Nina?"

The light from the entrance spilled in to illuminate his surroundings. As for the gola gola sound of the machine......It was the sound of two machines working.

"......Ah, am I a moron?"

Nina was gone.



He had only fainted for a brief moment. Only the places that were hit felt somewhat strange, and he still couldn't move for now. He ran his Kei through his body and was satisfied to find the flow of Kei normal.

"Right......"

He attempted to sit up, but still felt some pain in his chest. The clothes on his front were torn with blood seeping through. That must have happened during the explosion. The temperature all around him was high, which caused him to sweat constantly. His face hurt in the dryness.

"Right, what should I do next?" he looked around, and felt a bit dizzy.

He was in a random space created inside the rubble of the collapsed ceiling, tubes and corridors. It was just high enough for him to stand in it. He wanted to contact Felli, but the flake and his helmet were not anywhere near him. They might have been destroyed in the explosion.

He was still holding the Sapphire Dite.

It was possible to open a hole in the debris then rush out before the rubble fell, and he could exit through the hole opened in the outer wall during the explosion, and return to the surface......Except he had lost his sense of direction when he fainted. If he rushed out now and got the direction wrong, things might turn ugly.

"Gorneo Luckens! Are you still alive?" he shouted.

"......Still alive?" a voice filled with annoyance came from the other side of the rubble. The wall of a corridor was in between the two of them.

"I seem okay."

"Ah, still alive."

The voice sounded like an echo.

"Have you got broken bones?" Layfon recalled kicking Gorneo back then to help him escape the explosion, and he didn't hold back in that kick.

"Yeah, I was struck by flying rubble."

"Sorry."

"Don't worry......Either way, that was to save me, wasn't it?"

"......"

He really didn't know what to say with this kind of a result.

"Speaking of which, I don't understand why you saved us."

"......"

"If we died, no one at Zuellni would know of your deeds in Grendan. Without someone born in Grendan, the Student President would have kept silent, and your comrades too."

"Perhaps," Layfon nodded.

"Then why? You killed Gahard-san. Why didn't you kill us too?"

"......"

"Have you forgotten Gahard Baren?" came the sharp reproof. Murderous intent and hostility filled the face looking at Layfon from between the crack in the corridor. "Don't tell me you've forgotten......"

"How could I have forgotten."

"I can't forget......and I don't want to forget, but I don't force myself to remember."

"......What?"

"......That's what he means to me. That's all," Layfon said, knowing this reply would antagonize Gorneo, but that was all he had to say. He thought it would have been great if he had managed to kill off that guy in the match, but if he did kill Gahard, he'd have broken the biggest principle of Military Artists and might have suffered a much more severe punishment. Either way, the result......If he did kill off Gahard, he was only delaying the problem.

"Damn you......"

"Is Gahard Baren dead?"

"What!" Gorneo swallowed a breath. It wasn't a murderous intention. Judging from his anger, Gahard might still be alive......or perhaps, Gorneo didn't really know.

Anyway, when Layfon left Grendan, he hadn't heard of anything about Gahard waking from his unconscious state. A Military Artist whose Kei vein was destroyed had no chance of living. This action that led directly to another's death had always been a heavy burden to Layfon.

But.

"It's time to let go of him," he said. No matter when it was, his past would surprisingly become his own stumbling block. It wasn't possible for him to trace back to every single cause.

This had become his unavoidable reality.

In that case, he had to go around it. Go around that stumbling block. Since he couldn't eliminate the sin of killing Gahard, then he'd have to live with it. In Grendan was Leerin, who always thought of and took care of him. In here, Nina, Felli, Sharnid and Harley......All of the members of the 17th platoon accepted him. In order to not let down the people who accepted him, he must not allow his past to shackle him.

"If I killed you two, I'd have more enemies."

For example, there was Shante, who viewed Gorneo's enemy as her own. Other Military Artists in Grendan who had connections with the Luckens might also look at Layfon as an enemy. Whether it be the 5th platoon or friends of Gorneo at Zuellni, it was possible they'd all turn hostile towards Layfon. This would then become a nasty cycle. Nothing would have been gained.

"So I didn't kill you."

"Hmph, even you know how to say wise words."

"......But, I don't know what I'd have done if Felli was hurt."

"......"

"I'm narrow-minded. Same as when I was in Grendan, and same now......Frankly, anyone besides my comrades doesn't matter to me. The things a Heaven's Blade successor must adhere to can't be compared with protecting comrades. I suppose this is my weakness as a human."

To the extent that this intense way of thinking sometimes went on a rampage. That was what happened in the match in Grendan and his fight with the filth monster in its matured phase.

Nina and Felli's words suppressed his way of thinking.

"I won't make the same mistake here for the sake of these people. As long as they're here......They're the reason why I didn't kill you."

"......Then, what about my feelings?" Gorneo said. "What about my anger? Despite what I said to Shante, I truly want to kill you. As a Military Artist......It doesn't matter to me what your deeds were in Grendan."

Layfon remained silent as Gorneo poured out his heart.

"Gahard-san is like my true older brother. Savaris Nii-san is a faraway existence to me. He doesn't even feel like family, so far away. He's the only Heaven's Blade successor in the family since the first generation. We're totally different. Everyone sees only him......and only Gahard-san noticed me. Am I wrong to want to kill you for taking all these away from me?"

"......You're not wrong. I won't tell you to give up your hatred. What I want to say is 'Do what you want.' You're free to view my past the way you want. I can't stop you."

"......It seems you're the one who's right."

There was pain in Gorneo's voice.

"But what's right doesn't always work. You should know this too," Layfon said.

In that trembling voice was anger. "I'll, I'll......"

As if he was trying to stop himself from saying more.

"Ah, Aah......AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

It was neither Layfon nor Gorneo.

"Shante!" Gorneo shouted, moving away from Layfon's position.

"What is it?"

"......It seems your protection was a bit late," Gorneo replied. Shante must have been burnt in the explosion, but this feeling was something else......

A more intense pain assaulted Layfon's chest as he thought back to the time of the explosion. His chest felt as if it was being eaten by flames.

And he recalled it.

"Could this be......"

He rubbed off the blood on his chest to confirm his suspicion. The area around the wound was turning black.

"......Pollutants."

(Has the air purification system stopped working?)

So the pain on his face was also because of the pollutants, and he had thought it was the high temperature that was causing it. The pollutants were trapped in the small space between the rubble. Layfon stripped off his protective suit, leaving only the fighting clothes underneath, and stuffed the protective suit through the crack to Gorneo. Entirely exposed to the polluted air, pain ran through his entire body.

"Wrap her in this. That'll hold for a while."

"Do you think I'll accept your pity?"

"You should know what a dead person's like. Treasure the comrade before you," Layfon said and pulled back his arm.

(Well......There's no time to drag my feet.)

He breathed in deeply, tightened his grip on the blade and let Kei run through his body. He had no intentions of dying yet.

The blade changed into its steel thread mode. He spread out the threads through the rubbles and searched for the location of the hole in the outer wall.

"Fon Fon......"

"Felli, are you all right?"

"Don't you think that should be my line?" Felli said sarcastically.

Layfon had no answer for her.

"Just what were you doing?"

"If you ask what I'm......"

"Why did you save them?"

"......Do you have to make me mad? If anything happened to you, I'd never have forgiven them."

"......Perhaps, I was too careless."

But......Layfon considered Shante. She had targeted him because of Gorneo.

Nina said this yesterday night after that discussion. "Yeah, Layfon. I've thought of it too. Military Artists might not be human. When Military Artists become more powerful, they might be just as you said, flesh with Kei that can only live with humans. But for us Military Artists to live normally as if we're one of them, to live with them without deliberately thinking of it, could this just be our instinctive reaction? Isn't it normal to not understand the other person, whether it be a Military Artist or a normal human? We're all the same here. We all hope to find someone who can understand us. Aren't we living in this world because of that someone? Because of those people? And for us to think of this, isn't that proof that we're human? Although our body structures are different, our ways of thinking are the same. Isn't it good that I can understand your crime? And then it's your turn to understand me. If you can connect with others like this, then you'll be okay."

His silence was interpreted as acceptance.

Layfon released all his Kei. In this narrow space, he couldn't even extend his sword fully. It'd be all right if he could use Roar Kei, but he decided not to since the result of the previous move demonstrated his unfamiliarity with it. This meant his only option was to rely on his trusty sword technique. He waited for his body to adjust to its current best condition, then he raised the point of his sword.

He poured Kei into the blade. More, and more. The blade trembled with "chin, chin" noise. He gathered the destructive force of External Kei around his blade, an amount of Kei greater than the amount he used when cutting through the scales of a filth monster.

"It's time......"

He'd slightly reduce the pressure binding the Kei together. He'd then release that Kei against the rubble around him and collapse the space he was in, leaving him with no place to retreat to.

He turned around to face Gorneo's direction. He lifted the sword high and swung down.

External burst type Kei – Sendan.

The released Kei shot out in a curve, cutting through the obstacles before him to reveal Gorneo, who was holding Shante in his arms.

"Now!"

Internal type Kei – Whirl Kei.

Half spinning, he leapt out of the rubble and past the outer wall. His arm moved to steady his body.

"Ah!"

The outside air was filled with much more pollutants than the tiny spaces in the rubble. Layfon's skin burnt and his eyeballs hurt as if dipped in flames. But he needn't open his eyes yet.

He had extended his steel threads, one bunch to wrap around Gorneo when Gorneo leaped out, and another bunch to anchor them in the ground.

But......

They were falling and their momentum was too much for them to stop.

(No.)

Layfon should have no trouble escaping, but Gorneo might get torn in half by the steel threads. Gorneo had already used up all of his strength to leap clear of the rubble. He had nothing left to stop his descent, and Layfon was having trouble controlling his movement because of the pollutants eating at him.

At this rate......

As if to deny Layfon's thoughts, a part of the city's multi-legs appeared in Gorneo's falling direction.

"Turn around! Step over there!" Layfon shouted, but he didn't see Gorneo move.

(Has he fainted?)

Maybe. Gorneo did protect Shante in the explosion, and he had also received Layfon's hard kick.

(Oh no.)

Layfon couldn't stop their descent in midair. Despair filled him.

A figure suddenly flew out from the hole that Layfon made, dispersing the dust and smoke.

"Huh?"

The figure flashed over Gorneo to stand perpendicularly on the city's leg. The impact of its landing banished the smoke around it to reveal golden hair.

"Captain?"

Nina smiled sourly as she received Gorneo and Shante to halt their downward rush. She had used up all of the strength in her knees to execute that feat. Layfon used the steel threads to wrap around the three of them, then pulled them up and tossed them to the ground.

A moment later, Layfon also returned to the ground.

He wasn't seeing things. It was Nina. She was sitting, weakened, next to the unconscious Gorneo and Shante.

CSR vol03 269.jpg

"Guess we're all okay," she smiled, traces of tears on her reddened face.

"Please......Don't do anything that reckless again," Layfon said and sat down heavily.

The air purification system on the ground level was still working. The pain in his body gradually faded. The wound didn't look to be healing, but at least it didn't seem to have opened up.

"Do you understand my feelings?" Nina said.

"Huh?"

"Do you understand how I feel when you're doing such dangerous things? I must have felt the same the last time too. Definitely."

"Ha, haha......"

Spacing out for a little while, Layfon chuckled. For whatever reason. He didn't know, and when he realized his actions, he was laughing loudly.

"What's so funny? Geez......" Nina said, and she also smiled.

So the two continued to laugh. When Felli and Sharnid arrived, they had exhausted their strength from laughing too much and from bearing the pain caused by the pollutants.


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