Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume6 Chapter2
Chapter 2: The Appearance of a Butterfly
He gazed down at the street that he didn't know. The layout of this city was different from Grendan. The buildings randomly stretched to the outskirt of the city. From the layout revealed a city occupied by humans. Only half-assed people could make such a half-assed city.
An Academy City. Only less capable Military Artists were allowed to leave their home city, and leaving did not guarantee growth.
"How refreshing. Ho ho, that is a matter of fact too," Savaris confirmed his location, looking at the unfamiliar street. He stood on the roof of a building. All of the buildings in this area were built quite low. The best place to observe the city was the top of the building in the middle of the city.
"Speaking of which, my brother is in an Academy City too."
Savaris' younger brother, Gorneo Luckens, was in Savaris' next destination – Zuellni. Savaris had used this to back his reasoning for the Queen to send him instead of anyone else, but he had forgotten it while he was riding the roaming bus.
"That spoiled kid just needed to peacefully grow into an adult, but he didn't like his home city."
His expression lacked worry. When he became a Heaven's Blade successor, he gave up his identity and responsibility as an older brother and turned to the path of making himself stronger. He was the older brother but he lacked the authority to care for his younger sibling. This cold atmosphere of his was real. Leaving aside the thoughts on his brother, Savaris turned his attention to observing the streets of Myath.
"I heard other cities are more peaceful, but that doesn't seem to be the case."
The atmosphere here didn't match the streets. Palpable disquiet hid within the silence. Whether it was in this city or in the city he was about to arrive at, Zuellni, Savaris felt the same thing. He was a Heaven's Blade successor, one of the twelve strongest people in Grendan. Originally, no Heaven's Blades were allowed to leave Grendan as they existed to protect the city, but Savaris had accepted the Queen's order to retrieve the Haikizoku from Zuellni.
The Salinvan Guidance Mercenary Gang had left Grendan for a long time. They were the ones who brought the information to the Queen that there was a Haikizoku in Zuellni. And Gorneo was the one who asked the Mercenary Gang to take this information back to Grendan.
"The madness of an Electronic Fairy that had lost its city can bestow upon a Military Artist great power."
Savaris was interested in this point, in becoming strong. Although his thinking wasn't wrong as a Heaven's Blade successor, he himself showed something unusual. Savaris did not have the sense of mission to protect Grendan. He fought with all his strength in fights against filth monsters, but to him, that was training to increase his strength. Trial, training, practice. He continued to train himself in the process and was not interested in anything else. The existence of a Haikizoku could become his strength through more training, and that suited his appetite. That was why he left Grendan. Originally, he wouldn't have bothered even if such strength existed. However, Savaris couldn't ignore its existence because of the present ranking of power in Grendan.
"But I really want to give it a try."
Could he really just borrow that strength.........
"Really worth anticipating, geez......" He thought of that day coming and his shoulders shook. But there was a problem he must first solve.
The City Police of Myath had forbidden anyone from leaving the facilities. Savaris wasn't allowed to be here, but the City Police didn't have enough people to monitor everyone's movement. Even so, it wasn't impossible to tour the City in a relaxed manner under surveillance. He wasn't lax as Leerin had thought, he just never paid attention to the youngsters in the City Police. They were only terrified under what they thought were dangerous circumstances. That feeling held no value for him. The air suddenly turned agitated. Something must have happened. For example......He turned around and saw it.
"So troublesome, but how interesting......"
Directly in his line of sight was a huge pillar, one of the city's legs.
"You can't cover up that sound."
As he gazed at the city's leg, he departed from the rooftop without turning around. It was almost time for the City Police's patrol to come around.
Two days had passed since then. Leerin's anger remained with her. The situation hadn't turned in her favor, and that made her more worried.
"Just what's going on?" she sighed and threw her pillow. She had gone to have breakfast at the appointed hour, returned to her room after that, was never allowed to leave her room before lunch, and had dinner afterward. It was suffocating. But since she was an outsider in this city, she had no choice but to bear with the situation. Still, knowing she had no choice did nothing to stop anger from churning in her stomach.
Having asked about the current situation, she returned angrily to her room and checked her luggage. She had washed her dirty clothes and put them out to hang. The first day flew by her quickly. The second day however, went by slower. She had already finished reading the books she brought with her during the trip in the roaming bus. She didn't have the mood to reread them. Reading them would just remind her of the time Roy took away the Dite. Unable to concentrate, Leerin didn't do anything, but couldn't leave the room. She was so bored and listless that she wouldn't even turn on the bed.
"Ha......" she could only keep sighing.
Why was she so out of luck.........She could do nothing but sigh. Sighing took her nowhere. Without food, people would look for seeds and plant them in their gardens. Without money, even children would go look for work. Because of that, the orphanage managed to survive.
"Should I find a way?"
About the Dite. Forget what would happen. She first needed to calm that feeling in her stomach. But she would get caught if she went to steal back the Dite. The act would make her more suspicious. In that case, she'd have to make good use of the time she had.
She made an immediate decision. First, she wasn't sure what the situation was about. The City Police said some important information had been stolen, but judging by the high level of tension of the City Police, there was more to the story......It was an atmosphere that suited that type of event.
"What is it? What's been stolen? That they're so agitated like this?"
Information was important to a city. All sorts of new research, new inventions, discoveries in a city......They were essential to allow a city to function more efficiently. Because of the way a city operated, it was impossible to conduct huge trades of materials between cities. The gathering of numerous humans would lure in filth monsters. Hence, most trade between cities was of information. Sometimes there were exceptions like the trading of alloys, but most trades were information trades. People who made their livings in information trading brought information from other cities back to their home cities for profit. As such, information meant a lot to cities and certain rich people. But just what was it that was making the City Police so tense?
"Um......Perhaps the thing about a information thief is itself a lie."
If it wasn't information, then......
"......Could it be a weapon?"
If it was a dangerous weapon like poisonous gas, the problem would be different. Other cities would probably destroy Myath if information on Myath inventing poison had leaked outside. If not, at least Grendan would take action. This was written as law. But poor management would see poisonous gas spilling into the air of the city itself and destroying it. An Academy City probably wouldn't do that.
"So that can't be it."
If it was weapon, the leaking of the information or the weapon itself would cause huge problems, but that shouldn't be the case. Leerin must have been affected by watching too many movies. Her deduction really suited a civilian who didn't have the strength of a Military Artist.
Encountering this unexpected event right after she arrived at Myath made her unable to sleep. She headed for the canteen for lunch.
"Aa, you look horrible," Savaris said.
Leerin wiped her face. "I don't know why but......I can't sleep."
Being half-asleep really was bad for her. Her wavering consciousness had pulled her to the canteen.
"That won't do. Is it because of the change in environment?"
"I'm not sure."
"Uh, it might be the change in time," Savaris said, happily watching the buffet lunch. Numerous dishes were laid out on the table.
"So much food. I can eat a lot."
He differed from Leerin who had had little food. She drank some juice and lost her appetite.
"It's good to keep some strength. Won't do if you faint on foreign soil."
"That's true, but......" Still, she'd never be able to eat as much as he......and she'd get fat. But she really did eat too little. Thinking of her amount of exercise, she filled her plate.
"That aside, how much longer is this gonna be?"
Leerin sipped her tea and observed the canteen after lunch. Only the people living here and the City Police were in the room. The chefs had put down the food in the facility and left. People who came in late could only eat from what was left on the table. Not much food was left right now, but that was enough for Leerin.
Roy was one of the Police monitoring the canteen. He was always talking to other people and giving them orders. It was a matter of fact for someone who was a captain. The way he replied seriously did give off the air of a captain.
"We'll probably have to wait till the criminal's caught."
"I want to know when the criminal will be caught."
Leerin turned her eyes to Savaris. They never had much interaction in Grendan, but the trip in the roaming bus had made her feel easier in talking to the Heaven's Blade successor.
"Even I have once cooperated with the City Police, so I'm familiar with the actions they are taking now," he said and blew at the steam rising from the tea cup. He took a sip. It appeared he didn't like the tea to be too hot.
"Usually, only outsiders would steal information. People within the research group in the city wouldn't steal things themselves. They get promoted by discovering new ways to make the city more prosperous. So the criminal must be someone from here."
"I understand that point but........." That was why the facility where Leerin and the other passengers stayed at was being monitored.
"But, probably......This event is different. They checked the luggage of everyone. The criminal might not be here."
"Or the information they're looking for isn't in a data chip. In that case, the problem is not the same."
"Meaning they know some information is stolen but they don't know what it is. That's why they're worried. That's the feeling I get."
"Is that it?"
"What would it be?" Savaris answered in a relaxed manner. His answer confounded her. The City Police had even taken away his Dite, but he didn't look troubled at all.
"Either way, I hope they can resolve this situation soon. If this continues, we might miss the next roaming bus......"
The bus that came after the next bus might not go past Zuellni.
Having drained the cup, Leerin stood up. She didn't really want to drink any more tea, but she refilled her cup. Since the City Police would take her back to the room anyway, she might as well sit here for a while more and enjoy the atmosphere with someone else. And as such, her gaze met a girl's.
That girl was standing in front of the table of food.
(What is it?)
The girl was looking around with a troubled expression. Does she not know this is a buffet? Leerin approached the girl. She did it because the girl was about the same age as her. Most of the passengers were adults, and the youngest was about Savaris's age.
"Can I help you?"
The girl looked shocked and turned to her.
Quite a tomboy. She had short golden hair and a neat countenance.
"Knives and forks are over there."
"......I see. Sorry. Thanks," the girl headed for the utensils.
"You're close. If you had come later, lunch hour would have ended."
"Is that so?"
As the eating utensils were placed near the drinking area, Leerin followed the girl.
"Thanks very much. You're a great help. I'm Nina Antalk. You?"
"What is it?"
"Ah, um......sorry. Uh, I'm Leerin Marfes. Please look after me."
Nina's expression changed when she heard that name.
"What is it?"
"No......... Could it be......But, totally different. No, even so......"
"Ah, sorry. It's my own problem."
The two of them laughed.
"If it's ok, can I take that empty seat? I want to find someone to chat with."
Leerin returned to her seat. A strange expression crossed Savaris's face.
"Leerin-san, when did that person appear?"
She looked back. Savaris was watching Nina.
"No, I didn't mean that," he said with his chin in his palm. "She appeared the moment you stood over there."
"Did you oversleep?" she said without thinking, but Savaris didn't seem to feel offended. His serious gaze, so different from usual, stared at Nina. Leerin held her breath. The tension between her and Savaris became more intense. While worrying whether anything was going to happen, Savaris turned back to his normal self and smiled.
"Haha, please don't worry."
"......Don't scare me like that."
She did feel like a fight was coming in that one swift second.
"I'm also suppressing my worries. Anyway, see you later," he smiled lightly and left.
"What the......" She drank to calm herself.
Nina came over. "Your friend left. Is that ok?"
It seemed she was concerned with Savaris. She probably took note of his action.
"He isn't really a friend. We just came from the same city, that's all."
Nina sat opposite her.
"You must feel bored with this sudden event," Leerin said.
Nina's hand that was putting the piece of bread in her mouth stopped. She looked around. "Ah, about that."
That was what she said.
"Yes, the situation is a pain. I came here to take another bus originally."
"It can't be helped with a problem arising in a city," Nina said calmly.
"But it's interfering with other people. The destination won't wait for you," Leerin retorted.
(Is this related to her?) Thinking of that, Nina slowly grasped hold of the situation.
"Is Nina a Military Artist?"
Only a Military Artist would be so stubborn.
"As I thought. I was guessing."
Nina felt like the Military Artists in Derek's dojo. She was female but her words lacked liveliness. Only a Military Artist was like that.
A strange expression daunted on Nina's face. "Is my attitude haughty?"
It seemed Nina herself hadn't realized.
"True, perhaps I'm more like a Military Artist compared to him," she lifted her head. "Speaking of which, that man with you is also a Military Artist?"
"Yes. He's strange but he's very strong."
Stronger than anyone in this city.
"Does he not look like a Military Artist?"
A bit flippant.........Leerin shook her head.
"But you can't really tell a Military Artist who is truly strong. I know such a guy. He doesn't look much but when something happens, he's more reliable than anyone else," Nina said with a gentle light in her gaze.
(It seems she likes that person.) Leerin thought, taking note of the gentleness in Nina's voice.
".........Speaking aside," Nina looked at her after her lunch. "When did this city become like this?"
"Eh?" Leerin reacted at that sudden question. "......What're you saying?"
She put a hand on her forehead and explained her circumstance. "I know this city is in a crisis, that's why I'm here. There's something I must do. It's like I'm suddenly in a dream. Do you understand? I don't even know the reason behind it, but I must do something. It's a dream like that."
"Eh, eh eh?"
Leerin did have a dream like that.
"I had a dream of making a hundred pies because guests were coming. But in reality, my room isn't big enough to fit so many people......"
It was at the time when she moved into the dormitory of the new school. It must have been the side effect of being released from a huge amount of household chores......
"I feel like I'm in a dream now."
She didn't understand what Nina said.
"But, Leerin. You've helped me confirm my current location. This is real, and that's when my mission comes to me......I see. That was why that person appeared before me. "
"She appeared the moment you stood over there."
Savaris's words surfaced in Leerin's mind.
"Just what are you saying?"
That can't happen. A person suddenly appearing out of nowhere. That's unbelievable.
"I know it'll cause you problems, saying this all so sudden, but since I came here like that person, and you've confirmed me, then you might be the one to lead me to the fight."
"As I was saying......"
"Aah, ah......I see. Yes. Then I don't need to know what's happening in this city. Geez, I got caught in something troublesome."
I'm the one who got caught. Leerin thought. She wanted to sneak out of the room while Nina was talking to herself. All she wanted was to chat with someone of her own gender, but someone strange like Nina appeared......The voice announcing the end of lunch hour sounded in the room.
"Ah, I have to go," Leerin stood up. Nina nodded lightly but didn't move.
"But he should know where I was headed. Does that mean I still need to know what's going on......?"
While Nina was mumbling to herself, Leerin left the room with the crowd. She glanced back as she was about to leave the room. Nina was gone. Only the dishes and eating utensils were left on the table.
Zuellni was on a rampage, meaning Layfon was still fighting filth monsters. An unexpected large number of filth monsters were outside Zuellni. Was Zuellni deliberately heading towards filth monster nests?
"Either way, we're in a crisis that we've never faced before," Karian said after the end of the Student Council meeting.
"How did the meeting go?"
"We're at our limit hiding the truth since the situation hasn't alleviated," Vance said, sitting on the guest sofa. "But how do we improve the situation? We can't do much if the problem really comes from the central area of the Mechanical Department."
"True......" Karian put his hands together.
Zuellni on a rampage. Something had happened to the city's Electronic Fairy, and considering what had happened to Nina Antalk, they were sure their speculation was spot on. No one could interfere with how a city moved. The Electronic Fairy itself checked for filth monsters and took appropriate evasive measures. Now that Zuellni was doing something opposite of what it should have done, the speculation was appropriate. Alchemists created Regios a long long time ago. Humans living in this age could repair parts of the Mechanical Department, but they could do nothing to its central part.
"It must be the Haikizoku......I don't think it would be strange if that thing is the cause of this."
The Haikizoku. It was originally an Electronic Fairy like Zuellni, but it was twisted by hatred after filth monsters destroyed its city. It had now become a consciousness that held intense enmity towards filth monsters.
"If we had sacrificed Dinn Dee, this might not have happened."
The Salinvan Guidance Mercenary Gang was here to capture the Haikizoku living in a Military Artist's body.
"No......" Karian shook his head. "It's not right to sacrifice someone to protect the city. At least that's how an Academy City operates."
"But this might cause huge casualties."
"This and that might be two different things. That's the fate we, as living beings, cannot escape from."
"......But, is it right to let someone else protect your principles?" Vance asked.
"That can't be."
Karian smiled at the expected answer. "But do you think he'll accept it?"
A reality they both knew.
"No matter what he decides......"
Karian shook his head again. He wasn't rejecting it. He was just shaking loose the feelings inside him when he thought of that someone. "No matter how strong he is, what one person can do is limited. That's the way it is."
"Yes," Vance nodded with a bitter smile.
"In that case, we'll gather all the platoons and explain to them the situation, and then organize a special team to handle the filth monsters. Is that ok?"
"I'll leave the organizing to you."
"Yeah, I got it."
Karian stood up and watched Vance leave. Now only he was left in the room, the room of the Student President that was situated in the highest place in Zuellni. He could see the whole of the city from up here. Most people who held high positions in a city had a room in a high place. That was the proof of someone with authority.
".........But authority will be destroyed once the earth stirs," he murmured with an 'I give up' expression. "People only have two legs, but the city...... Of course," he returned to the desk and started working on a pile of documents.
The first who fell was Felli. That couldn't be helped. If the City didn't remain vigilant all the time, it might come across a matured filth monster without warning like before. But Felli felt that she must not leave her post even after the crisis had passed. And she had also gone to see Layfon fight, in addition to leading him there. Although he didn't need much of her help during the fight, it still made her tired......
"Sorry......" Felli said with a stiff face as she lay on the hospital bed.
"It's not your fault," Layfon said. All the guests had left, leaving him and Felli alone.
Felli's skin was originally transparent white. The loss of blood made her skin shine more, as if she was a doll. She continued talking with a weak voice that seemed as if she'd die any moment. "I remember the feeling I had of the Haikizoku but I failed to detect it in the Mechanical Department. That was my responsibility. So the Captain......"
The explanation behind Zuellni's madness was that it had something to do with the Haikizoku.
"About that, it should be my responsibility. I asked the Captain to go......"
They fell silent. None of them wanted to be comforted. What could they do as compensation......They wanted to know, but they didn't.
"How strange. I used my power unwillingly, but now I want to recover quickly. I can't calm down resting here."
The sheet covering Felli had creases on it. Results of Felli's anger and frustration.
"I can't tolerate my mistakes. But is that just a problem of pride? Or am I regretting putting that person in danger? I don't know......" she shook her head weakly. Her face was unusually white. She closed her eyes. Her long eyelashes looked wet.
Layfon couldn't answer her. All he could do was sit beside her.
"......I'm just a bit tired. I'll recover once I get some rest. Layfon, you should get some rest too."
Layfon left the room. His feet took him to the Mechanical Department, stopping at the entrance where he used to go through for his night work. What can he do here? He had come here many times since Nina's disappearance, calling for her and Zuellni. But no one replied. Layfon's voice had echoed in the Mechanical Department before disappearing. He had no clues as to how to begin searching for the missing Nina. He heard from Naruki that the City Police was searching for her in the city, but they couldn't find a clue. Nina might not even be in Zuellni. When they were informed of her disappearance, they thought she might be outside the city. She wasn't wearing protective gear. The image of Nina being burnt by pollutants sent a chill down Layfon's back. He had searched in the vicinity of Zuellni but had found nothing. Then where was she? What could he do to find her and rescue her......
(Just what am I supposed to do?)
He must do something. Agitation made him unable to sit still. He had to do something but he didn't know what to do. He felt like he wanted to dig up Zuellni from the city. What can he do?
"Damn!" As if fleeing, he started running without a destination in mind. He ran like a mosquito not knowing where it was flying towards. He could do nothing but run. Nina's disappearance had something to do with the Haikizoku, but he knew nothing beyond that clue. Zuellni's unusual actions were also associated with the Haikizoku.
If he had handed Dinn over to the Salinvan Guidance Mercenary Gang during the match with the 10th platoon, this wouldn't have happened. Felli wouldn't have fainted. Zuellni wouldn't have headed for filth monsters. If he had handed Dinn Dee over......
When he stopped running, he realized he was at the city's edge. He had no path left before him. The boundary of this sealed world had stopped his running. But Nina was the one who refused to hand Dinn over. Of course, this wasn't just her own intentions. Karian had also agreed. An Academy City could not let its student die.
If they had handed Dinn over to the Mercenary Gang, they wouldn't be facing this crisis now. Everyone thought their actions were right back then, but now Layfon wasn't sure. What was he doing back then? He fought Haia to make Nina's wish come true, and not only that, he also held the weapon that he decided not to use anymore, the Katana. The result was this present situation......
"Why did I............"
He was like that in Grendan too. He did something shameful as a Military Artist to get money for the children in the orphanage. After being exposed, he was stripped of his position as a Heaven's Blade and was exiled from Grendan.
"Why is the same thing happening again?"
He gave his all for some goal, some person, and reaped a different result? Had he not done well enough? Karian only asked him to win in the next Military Arts Competition to resolve the shortage of selenium mines that Zuellni had. Entering Nina's 17th platoon was just a part of that plan. Layfon's goal was now different from when he first entered Zuellni, but he thought he could change that goal in the end.
In order not to lose the place that could change his reality...
But......Zuellni now faced destruction.
(Not yet......We haven't lost yet.)
He said this to himself. To himself who was in the bottom of the pit called despair. He was reaching up for the rim that was called hope.
(It's not lost yet. There's still something I can do.)
He had to do his best for what he could do, and that was to protect Zuellni, protect the place that Nina would return to. He had to find a Psychokinesist. But only Felli was able to provide him with perfect aid. He couldn't trust anyone else. Felli had provided him support in battles. He hadn't worked with any other Psychokinesists before. Layfon could tell how the larvae worked by taking one look at them, but a Psychokinesist was needed to foretell an imminent attack by filth monsters. Now he had to react by his instinct. Felli had never cut off her support before she fainted.
He wanted to do something but he couldn't. He couldn't think of any other ways.
(I have to ask the Student President to provide another Psychokinesist.)
He turned around and.........
Something stabbed him in his chest. Pain flared. A tiny something that looked like a syringe. Layfon's vision blurred.