Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume6 Chapter5
Chapter 5: The Center of the World
Leerin ran in the unfamiliar city. She ran and ran till exhaustion caught up to her and made her stop running.
"Ha, Ha......." She panted, her lungs tightened in need of air. Her stomach hurt as if it were twisted.
"I......I don't......exercise enough......."
She had been sitting everyday in the roaming bus, and that fact hadn't dawned on her when she requested to leave the city. Now she didn't even have enough strength to smile bitterly.
"Aaah, already done?" Roy smiled, standing ten steps behind her. This was the same distance between them when the chase began.
"Sorry, I can't do much about my strength......"
"Yes. It's good to exercise sometime! You can also cut back on some fat."
"......Shut your nonsense!"
"Excuse me," he stopped laughing. He wasn't the young man Leerin saw before. His twisted expression was revolting.
"Isn't it about time to give up and hand that thing over?"
She still held Myath, the Electronic Fairy that had the same name as this city. The bird could have escaped far away by flying off, but it stayed in her hand, inert as if it were sleeping.
"It's useless! It has used up its strength inside the barrier. It can't move. It's half dead! You understand what would face this city if the Electronic Fairy died.........?"
The death of an Electronic Fairy was directly linked to the death of a city. A Regios that couldn't move would not be able to escape filth monsters. It'd be consumed sooner or later. Leerin trembled at that possible future.
"What do you Wolf Faces want?"
"If you were a Military Artist, things would be so easy!" There was a mask in Roy's hand. "Once you wear this, you can see the world that Ignasis wishes for. You can see the Dream of Ignasis," Roy said, half wearing the mask. "World peace can be achieved when the majority of Military Artists hold the same dream."
How unconvincing. How pretentious.
"The Electronic Fairy is needed to stop the fate of continuous fighting between filth monsters and Military Artists. That's why we must move numerous Electronic Fairies to Senou. I came here to find En."
"The network of Electronic Fairies. It shows the genealogy of them. Electronic Fairies can find Electronic Fairies of other cities through En, and it can also tell whether other Electronic Fairies belong to the same category as itself. Schneibel and Myath belong to the same genealogy. So I must catch Myath to obtain the En."
"It's ok to do that even to sacrifice this city?"
"Yes, it's a necessary evil."
"You, you live in this city, don't you?"
"......This city might disappear. Don't you feel anything? Aren't you a Military Artist?"
"Ho, hoooooooo......" Roy laughed. "Who cares! How do you look at an Academy City? Same as others, right? That's not good. This isn't a permanent home. There's no value in protecting it."
"How dare you say this......The people here are normal students!"
"The principles of Military Artist? Humph!"
Deep hatred showed on his face. "Is there meaning in it? Fear! Pain! The hell of Military Arts! Bastards who push these things to us so they can survive! Their lives or deaths have nothing to do with me!" the hatred twisted his face more. "Those guys who only look for the results and care nothing for our effort! Those bastards!"
Who did Roy hate? Who was Roy being angry with? Insanity and madness spread across his countenance. He didn't look like a human being anymore. Leerin retreated. But his words......seemed to be hiding something. She must see through it. That was her way of escape.
(To understand Military Artists.........)
She thought of the Military Artist that was the closest to her, Layfon. What would Layfon do? She thought desperately as she distanced herself bit by bit from Roy. She had to protect the Electronic Fairy in her hand. Its death was the equivalent to a city's death. Military Artists were usually the ones who protected it!
(Ah......) She understood.
"......I see," she stopped moving and laughed. The forced laugh made her face twist. "That's your reason!"
"I said so!"
"You're wrong." Leerin's tension rose. She must change her position and attack. "That isn't a reason to abandon Myath! That's the reason that you fell into such a state?!"
"You!!!" Roy's voice was louder than a normal person's voice. Strong wind assaulted Leerin.
She laughed mockingly. "Pain's revealed your true self? That of a weakling?"
"You said it yourself. Fear, pain, the hell of Military Arts......That hell, you mean intense training, don't you? That's simple then. What about the rest? Fear and pain. Of what? If you want others to understand you, you should show your feelings and help them understand you."
"You don't know anything! Don't say it as if you know!"
"As if I know? Why do you think so?" Leerin asked coldly.
Silence. He had nothing to hold onto. Roy now swayed between his dignity and weakness. Leerin had no confidence in how he would react. She was just taking a risk.
(That's my only weapon.)
"Pain. You must have felt that during training. As strict as my adopted father's dojo, and in the end you couldn't get up! Then what about fear? Something that a Military Artists is afraid of. Fellow Military Artists? That can make you afraid. War? Killing each other is horrible! But those who are asked to take the job are elites like the captain of City Police. Besides, you can't feel that level of fear in a fight between Military Artists. In that case, what's left is......?" her gaze moved from the sky to Roy.
Roy's entire body trembled.
"Filth monsters!" she scolded. "You ran away from filth monsters!"
"Ah...... Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!" Roy hugged his head. "Damn! Damn! Damnnnnnnn!! Those bastards, those bastards! Playing with me. They don't know how horrible it is! They haven't even seen it!"
Leerin's guess was right. It was beyond her imagination how much it had hurt Roy mentally.
He ran away from filth monsters. Probably while on the ground receiving an assault! Fleeing from the horror of seeing filth monsters for the first time! Military Artists were born to protect the city, so they were protected by many laws......
(Though that doesn't apply to Layfon......)
Grendan had countless number of Military Artists, so they only received the lowest level of insurance money. That money would increase shockingly if the Military Artist showed he had great strength. Layfon had given that money to the orphanage, so his and Leerin's standards of living remained the same. They grew up together in poverty. Even so, he did not run away. Perhaps Layfon did feel that enormous fear, and he participated in underground matches in order to dispel that fear. He worked hard to keep the orphanage stable.
(Compared to him, this man......)
Roy was so, so very weak! No, she didn't think being weak was a sin, but a Military Artist who lost to his weakness was even worse than an average person.
"Unforgivable......" Roy said in a low voice. "Unforgivable, woman! You're just a normal person, but you dared to insult me......" he crouched and rushed towards her. He didn't need any weapon. Just a fist would do. The Kei in his fist was enough to finish a normal person.
Something blocked his attack.
It wasn't Leerin. Different hair colour. Different voice. A sharp gaze pierced him.
"Your attitude does sound like one who is banished from the "original city". But being unable to face your weakness, you picked the easy path, didn't you?" Nina let go of his fist.
Leerin stood behind her. She was just buying some time. She knew Nina would come over to check the situation since the nest of light was gone.
"They made something called En and used it to lure Myath.........An En for Schneibel."
Leerin had won her bet.
"You abandoned the city you should be protecting......You fool. Know your shame!" Nina said.
Roy stepped back with a speed that Leerin hadn't yet seen. He had restored his Dite into a sword.
"Ha, Hahaha! You're joking? Can you defeat me? I know! You traveled here through En. You might have defeated other Wolf Faces, but you can't defeat me!"
"I will, just like how I stopped you before," Nina stretched out the hand she used to stop his attack. "But I won't kill you. That would be the same as waking up from a dream. I don't plan to kill you."
Leerin could only see Nina's back, but Roy, seeing Nina, showed fear in his face.
"I'll deal out the punishment that suits your crime."
"Hu!" Roy was behind Nina. And his figure disappeared as wind in the next second. Nina hadn't moved.
He had fled.
"Is that ok?" Leerin asked.
"No time to play with him. Besides, that's all I could do."
"Is......Is that true......?"
A traveler who came through En. Leerin wasn't sure whether she got that right, but she knew Nina shouldn't be here. Nina already said that she felt like she was in a dream. Leerin didn't believe her back then. And now. She didn't quite believe her either.
"I can't explain in detail. This is my first time trying, after all. I'm not sure of the exact details myself," Nina turned around with a troubled smile. "I'm not someone who can be totally fair. I have a sense of righteousness. It might bring misfortune to my city sometimes, but this is different. This isn't what I wanted. I can't force other people to finish it. No matter what my true feelings are, it's some consciousness outside me that determines it. If I say it that way, I might be the same as the Wolf Faces."
"You mean Ignasis and the Rigzario Belief?" Leerin said, remembering the conversation between Nina and the Wolf Faces.
"Perhaps.........As for Rigzario, I don't know whether it's a person's name or something else."
"Something from the city I was born in. In the Senou City Schneibel, there's a machine called Rigzario."
The target of the Wolf Faces.
"I haven't seen it, but dad said it's the machine that gives birth to Electronic Fairies."
"The womb that the Electronic Fairy Schneibel uses......That's probably what Rigzario is. We have other Electronic Fairies besides Schneibel in my city."
"But the increasing number of Electronic Fairies......?"
"Electronic Fairies travel as time passes to find their own cities....... That's probably it. I myself haven't seen an Electronic Fairy that travels though."
The inert Electronic Fairy in Leerin's hand, small and weak, came to this city to give it life? The Alchemists had made Regios, cities that the level of modern technology could not make.
"Sorry, I didn't know it'd turn out like that. But Electronic Fairies are born in Rigzario. The Wolf Faces have targeted it, and that has something to do with their actions here."
"......So Nina's helping Myath because this has something to do with your city?"
"Perhaps. That benefits me, doesn't it?"
"You can't conclude with that."
Nina took action before she knew about the Wolf Faces' aim. Some consciousness inside Nina had driven her to take action.
"As I thought......You did it because you're strong," Leerin said, though she thought to herself "Ah, why did I say that?" She continued, "I know someone very strong, but he doesn't run away. I can't say we're his burdens, but he's probably freer without us. I want to be strong, but I'm just weak."
"That's wrong, Leerin," Nina shivered.
Nina's face was a shade of pale green.
"No matter how strong a person is, he's the same if he has no reason to become strong. Besides, I'm not strong. Leerin, you think I'm strong to fight the Wolf Faces......my, power......" she crouched.
Leerin went to her and crouched down with her. Sweat beaded Nina's forehead. "I have something to protect, so I, I want to protect it......And then, I......"
"Wh, What happened?"
"Nothing," she frowned and stood up. Her face was still green. No signs of recovering.
"Hurry, we're running out of time."
She walked away and Leerin ran to keep up with her.
He hadn't considered where to run off to. He just happened to be there while running away.
"Ah ha, Ahha......" Roy panted. He was standing on the roof of a certain building, standing in the shade of a water tank. He gritted his teeth then breathed in deeply.
"You bastard!" he screamed.
Roy was born in a peaceful city. No filth monsters had ever attacked that city. The city kept a certain distance from other cities. Roaming buses only came a few times a year. The city rarely had outside influences. It was a city with peace as its pride. The city that Roy grew up in. Roy's grandfather had fought filth monsters in the past, telling them stories of those fights in the old days. Still, that city did meet filth monsters in the end.
The shocked Military Artists fought desperately. Wearing protective suits, they fought the filth monsters. About a hundred or so of them were dispatched, and tens of them died. Everyone fought in desperation. The elders who had had experience devised the strategies for the youngsters to carry it out. The fight had a miraculous win with just one stain. Tens of people died out of the hundred or so Military Artists, and one person fled.
In a battle they had never fought before, everyone used all their Kei except Roy. The death of Military Artists revealed the city's negligence in its defense despite the victory. Besides, the dead Military Artists all had families. And Roy Entorio fled the battle. The Roy who was an elite among the people of his age......... Those whom Roy mocked as being weaker than him had rushed forward to open a hole in the filth monsters. They had died under the weight of the fallen filth monsters. And seeing that, Roy had fled, an escape that no one would ever forgive.
And he had then come to Myath, sent to Myath like rubbish by his family.
Roy had once again run away. Given up the pride of a Military Artist and lured by Ignasis, he had run away from Nina Antalk.
"That woman.........Just you remember! I'll kill you."
But the person he hated wasn't Nina.
"She's just a normal person. How dare she treat me like that!"
He had never told anyone of his secret in Myath.........But Leerin Marfes had seen through him.
"Ah, I see........."
Roy lifted at face at the sudden voice.
"This is what it means to fall. You act what you call righteous, switching good and evil around. So cute. A fall can't be a fall if it isn't this tragic." The voice came from above.
"Who is it!?"
Someone stood bending above the water tank. Roy hadn't noticed him. The person straightened and Roy could now see his face. He was the Military Artist that was with Leerin, named......Savaris Luckens.
"Is it ok to be here?" Roy asked.
"How could I......I just happened to have time now! I'm not the type who works diligently, unlike you, wasting time in a boring place."
"Well, I saw what you did."
"What.........?" Roy confirmed his current location. He was quite far away from where Leerin and the other girl were. "How could you have seen........."
"I saw it and also heard what you said to yourself."
Roy was shocked. Too shocked to feel the insult. He himself couldn't have seen and heard anything at that distance. Luckens had the kind of strong Internal Kei that Roy couldn't even imagine possible.
"I was ordered to protect her. Considering that you might harm her, I have to resolve this problem......"
Roy retreated. He no longer doubted that this person was a Military Artist who was too strong for him. He thought back on how the City Police had confiscated Luckens' Dite, but did that mean anything? He wasn't sure.
"It'd be good if things over there are settled. If possible, I want to settle this quickly too! Since I can't predict the future."
"Uh........." Escape. Roy decided. No time to turn his back on Luckens. He kept retreating, stepping back. He would sustain heavy injuries if he accidentally bumped into any buildings while moving at high speed. He didn't even have the time to put Kei into his feet, and suddenly found Luckens' face before him. A pressure pressed down on Roy's head.
"There's a strategy to retreat, but a Military Artist who likes to run away won't do!" Savaris said as he grabbed hold of Roy's head and shook it.
Roy found it hard to breathe. Unable to strengthen his body through Kei, he could do nothing but suffer the consequences.
"I don't have the obligation to teach you. I do want to see how you'd react, as someone who can do nothing but abuse the system of the society." Savaris loosened his hold, enough for Roy to breathe. But the next moment he increased the pressure. Roy would never forget the feeling of having the bones of his head almost shattered.
"Anyway, I won't kill you yet. Come with me for a sec!"
Roy had no strength to struggle. It only took Savaris a few jumps to reach his destination.
Military Artists had assembled some distance from the edge of the city. Savaris let go of Roy. Being tossed onto the ground, Roy coughed. Before he finished coughing, he was back on the roof.
"Looks like they're going to greet the filth monsters' attack here!"
Roy went numb.
"I want to know what you'd do as someone who had fled a battle. What would you do next?" Savaris looked at the closest filth monster, widening his eyes. The Military Artists out there should be able to see it clearly at this distance.
"Not much time till its arrival."
Savaris' foot on Roy's back kept him from moving.
"Allow me to confirm! Can a Military Artist who has fallen once stand back up? You're a Military Artist of this city, aren't you? Would a Military Artist begin life anew or head for the same failure? And after losing, can you stand back up and have a fresh start?"
Savaris wanted to know. "If you don't get prepared, time won't wait for you!"
The Military Artists outside the city called to each other to defend the city. They moved in a fluster. The shooting team began to fill in the Kei cannon. The faces of those in the fighting team turned green. Filth monsters were coming.
The Kei cannon fired. The condensed Kei cannonball hit the filth monster and exploded, shattering a number of scales. The filth monster's cry of pain echoed throughout Myath. Eyes bloodshot with outrage and pain, the monster headed for the city and was greeted with another Kei cannonball. The filth monster didn't halt its advance. With blood spurting from its body, it hammered through the air purification shield and entered the city.
Savaris removed his foot from Roy's back.
"Ahhhhhhhh............" Roy trembled from head to toe. He could do nothing but give voice to his terror.
"No way? Didn't you feel you were once an elite?"
"No, no! Nooooooooooo! I don't want to fight!" he crawled, hoping to move away from here. He wasn't even thinking of using Kei. No, perhaps he didn't even realize that Savaris had moved his foot from his back.
Savaris was bored of this sight.
"Ah!" Roy screamed. Savaris had shot Roy's body with small balls of Kei and shattered the bones of his head.
"Just lie here and sigh about your current situation," the Heaven's Blade successor jumped off the city to land on the head of a filth monster. "First phase. A mature form? I'm interested in the killing, but her word is the same as the Queen's order," he sighed and put his hand on the filth monster's head.
He released his Kei. External type Kei – Drip. His Kei seeped slowly through the filth monster's scales and into its cells, beginning to destroy it from its inside. Savaris left. No one would discover what he did here. What Myath's Military Artists saw was the filth monster's movement slowing down. They had to seize this opportunity. All Kei cannons fired their shots. Explosions covered the filth monster. Its body collapsed and bits and pieces fell away as the dust cloud cleared. Someone should have been asking questions, but doubt disappeared in the tide of cheers. Savaris watched this from somewhere else. His gaze moved from the dead filth monster to Roy.
"Is Layfon also as useless?"
The Layfon who fought to protect and betrayed it all. Would he redeem himself or repeat the same failure? This was the only reason why Savaris was looking at Roy.
"I don't want to fight a fellow Heaven's Blade successor, but I just don't want to disappoint myself," he murmured and turned his back on Roy. How was Leerin doing? He must hurry and confirm her situation.
Nina was swaying by the time she reached the entrance to the Mechanical Department.
"Are you......all right?"
Nina panted, leaning against the wall of the lift. Her face was pale, but her eyes emitted a light that showed she was fighting within herself.
"Why to such a degree........." Leerin paused.
The downward lurch of the lift put Nina's internal organs into a wreck, yet she refused to give up and lose to it. She considered Leerin's words. "Didn't I say it before? The power I possess now is far from what I truly am. Only in a dream can this power be realized, and the result is my losing to what I should have defeated, and my being protected by what I want to protect."
Leerin listened to her talk about her powerlessness, but at the same time, she didn't feel Nina was weak.
"This is a necessary experience to me. The fighting experience. The experience to expose my weaknesses. The experience to become another's strength. I lack all these experiences. Nothing is more important than the will to stick through to the end, and that's what I need to make up for what I lack."
So that was why Nina was tolerating it?
"But Nina is strong!" Looking at the light in her eyes, Leerin thought the "strong will" that she said was already in her grasp.
And Leerin saw the first tremor in Nina's gaze.
The lift stopped and opened its door. Nina staggered out. Leerin went over to steady her. She didn't refuse her help. They could smell the oil in the machines. Tubes covered the place in a complicated pattern. The path curved in between the gaps of the tubes. The dimly lit Mechanical Department gave off a pressuring atmosphere.
"My comrade was injured in the Mechanical Department," Nina watched the scenery in the Mechanical Department of Myath. "At that time, I had a feeling of realizing my goal. That might not be the reason! I, I can't forgive myself. People probably think it's natural to borrow someone else's power when my strength isn't enough, but I can't rely on someone else's strength. I think that way but I can't stop doing that. I can't forgive the me that is like that."
Leerin felt a strong sense of self-reproach from Nina. Not allowing herself to lose. That kind of determination was Nina's most powerful weapon and also her biggest weakness.
For some reason, Nina's words put unease in Leerin.
"How about you relax a bit?"
"I understand some of your feelings," she said, remembering her own experience. "In the past, I had thought of growing up. I wanted to become an adult so I could earn some money......"
She had to work to help the orphanage. Though she couldn't earn a large sum of money like Layfon, as long as she could earn some...... "But I knew it wasn't easy to become an adult. My......friend was like that. The living condition at the orphanage has improved but he was exiled from the city......"
Leerin had a shock too when she heard Layfon had been participating in underground matches. But she wasn't as disappointed as the younger children in the orphanage. She just felt very painful that Layfon was shouldering everything himself.
She smiled at Nina's shocked expression. "What he did has brought happiness to the orphanage. Even if he didn't do that, I thought it'd be better if we did something afterwards. The money he left behind was limited, but we could make preparations. I need to learn more so I can do more for the orphanage."
What she was doing now was for the sake of Layfon's past efforts. Hence, she had chosen to study. "Your comrades know what you try hard to do. It's ok even if you fail. It's all right to fail many times now so you won't fail in the most important moment."
"Don't say that so easily!"
"Then failure can't be forgiven?"
"I'll forgive. Uh......On the other hand, I know he thinks he can't be forgiven."
On the day when his deed was exposed, he kept mumbling "sorry" as the children from the orphanage looked at him with icy gazes. He had done all he could. His shoulders slumped. So lonely and tired......Watching him, Leerin wanted to cry. She felt regret and resentment for not having noticed what Layfon had been doing.
"Reproaching yourself is the same as reproaching others. That's what I think, so rather than reproaching yourself, why not just strive forward?"
"Nina should have a lot of people that you worry about? You must lift your spirits for their sake!"
"That......Yeah!" Nina smiled and nodded. "I don't know the situation, but I can't go back yet. For the sake of this......" She must save Myath.
"I feel like you're the hero of a story," Leerin smiled. A story of releasing the world from pollutants.
The tense atmosphere had eased.
"Resolving different people's problems in a different place. I feel that what Nina is doing now is like what a hero would do!"
"My personality isn't that good."
"Personality has nothing to do with whether something can be done."
"Perhaps......But I'm still immature!"
Leerin smiled, admitting Nina was stubborn. The two of them finally arrived at the center of the Mechanical Department.
Wrapped in thick planks, it looked like a small hill.
"It's similar to the one in my city. Leerin, has Myath recovered?"
She checked the bird.
The bird still couldn't stand. It could only move its beak. Was it because the supply of Selenium had been cut off? Anyway, they must put it back quickly......
"Yes," Leerin nodded and headed for the hill. Nina grabbed hold of her sleeve.
"......Come out!" Nina restored her Dite to stand before Leerin.
"......What a shock!" Someone appeared from the shadow, and Leerin's eyes widened.
"Thanks to you, my clones have returned to the Aurora Field."
The man wore the mask of a beast. He felt different from the Wolf Faces. He felt alive. His meaning was clear. His eyes contained within them an intense goal like Nina's. A dazzling light shone in the depth of the mask.
"I see. I can't defeat you people if I don't strike the real body?"
"That's the dream of Ignasis."
"So you're staying somewhere safe while your clones fight? Ignasis really is a coward."
"Military Artists are not allowed to be cowards? That's unfair, the weakness of this world."
"What did you say......?"
"Military Artists are people given the fate of war......Have you ever asked why? What's the difference between the strong stringed by fate and the weak? It is as if your fate is already planned by others. And you've never doubted?"
"Don't tempt me with words!"
"Negotiation collapses. No need to tempt you anymore," he restored his Dite. "But you'll soon regret your ignorance."
His blade was like a saw. It wasn't made to cut, but to dig. Leerin felt an evil air from that person.
"It's ok!" The greenish color remained on Nina's face.
"The Haikizoku works for its own purpose. The collapse of the power balance must be painful!"
"Isn't it natural to use what you have?"
The man moved. Leerin failed to catch his movement. All she saw was Nina being struck back, flying to crash into a tube.
"Stay back," Nina shouted.
Leerin retreated. She still had Myath with her, so the man would probably chase after her. Nina's figure disappeared as the noise of fighting sounded from every direction.
(But if this continues............)
Myath was still weak. It might die if Leerin didn't take it back into the place, but she couldn't move with the fight going on. She didn't know how Nina did it, but Nina continued to fight.
"What should I do............"
Myath was losing its body heat. Leerin controlled herself. She must find a chance to close the distance.........
"No........." she breathed in deeply. She must not let the man win. With Leerin's physical condition, it was impossible for her to run this distance. The life in her hand was trickling away. She looked for a sign of life in Myath's gem-like eyes.
The small eyes reflected something that she couldn't comprehend.
"This......What is this?" But Leerin saw it. She saw it. As if she was looking through a looking glass – Nina. But the sound of fighting continued in the Mechanical Department. Nina shouldn't be reflected in Myath's eyes.
"This......What is this?"
Something else covered Nina. A golden goat and a young girl with long hair.
"What's going on?"
(Haikizoku.........An Electronic Fairy.) The voice sounded in Leerin's ears. She looked around but didn't see anyone.
(The power of hatred for filth monsters wars with the power to protect. This balance has been broken when the filth monsters drew near.)
Haikizoku.........The man with the mask of a beast had said so too.
"Hatred against filth monsters? So the Haikizoku in Nina wants to destroy her body because it knows filth monsters are close?"
But Nina chose to fight the Wolf Faces instead. Was that the reason that the balance was lost?
Leerin didn't say anything but something had answered her.
"Are you speaking, Myath?"
Myath was the only choice.
A weak voice that did not belong to a male or a female. A neutral voice.
(Two Electronic Fairies are inside Nina. One is the Haikizoku. The other is a normal Electronic Fairy. The Electronic Fairy is controlling the power of the Haikizoku. And that is the balance that enables Nina to control it. But the Haikizoku's power increased when it sensed the nearness of filth monsters.)
"What should I do?"
(You must calm the Haikizoku.)
"This is connected to your life. Keep at it!"
Called by that strong voice, Myath answered weakly. (Pray!)
(You hold the En of Grendan......... No, you hold the En of the other Electronic Fairy that Grendan has hidden. You're rare. Your prayer can calm the Haikizoku.)
Grendan had hidden an Electronic Fairy. Leerin didn't know.
(Pray. Pray to the hidden Electronic Fairy. The prototype of all Electronic Fairies.)
No answer. She could only hear the sound of fighting and Nina's pain. Any information on religion was the legacy of a time long past. It was said that prayer could increase one's faith. Anything else was just an individual's wish. Hoping the day would sail by smoothly and peacefully was only a person's wish. It was useless if other people didn't think so. Saying anything in everyday words was meaningless if she didn't make a wish to a god or any other supernatural entities. Even so, Myath had told her to "pray!"
"Um!" Leerin prayed. Nothing surfaced in her mind except for her wish for Nina to win and the Haikizoku to calm down.
(But who do I pray to?)
Myath mentioned the hidden Electronic Fairy, but what was it? Leerin hadn't the memory of such a thing. In Grendan......? She recalled the beast she saw on the night when Gahard attacked her and Derek. That was probably Grendan's Electronic Fairy.
"If that was Grendan, then there really is an Electronic Fairy I'm unaware of......"
Because it had hidden itself, it wouldn't easily show itself before people.
(Now that I remember it, Synola senpai was there too?)
She chased the flitting memories of the past, recalling how she had fainted and woken up with Derek beside her. Was Synola senpai with her when she fainted?
It seemed Synola and Savaris knew each other. Leerin didn't think it'd be so easy for a Heaven's Blade successor to so easily tell her of his mission. Then why was Synola there?
Reflexive thinking took her down the memory lane of her time with Synola as their first meeting surfaced in her mind......
(Why, why did I cry at that time?)
Leerin had lost her way after the entrance ceremony, and met with Synola who was lying on the grass. As she watched Synola, tears spilled down her cheeks. It wasn't sadness, but a feeling threatened to burst out of her chest.
(What was that......?)
What was it? She must recall it. That feeling......
- Let me lend you a little of my strength then!
- But please don't forget.
"Who are you?"
- Because that moment won't come again.
- Because, it's near......
Leerin's consciousness went empty the next moment.
Nina kneeled at the intensity of the Wolf Face's attack.
"For someone who can't control her Kei vein, you've worked hard in this fight!"
"This is nothing!"
"This will of yours to fight against the Haikizoku is worthy of praise."
More voices from the Wolf Faces.
"But will alone can't take you any higher. We'll cut you down here!"
"As if!" Nina stood up and readied her iron whips. The weight she was used to in her hands turned painful. In the next moment, the iron whips lightened tremendously. It appeared the power inside Nina was unstable. The iron whips turned heavy again......Proof of the instability of her Internal Kei system. It was hard to move with this much pain in her.
The Haikizoku was inside her, and Zuellni was losing its control in suppressing the Haikizoku. The strength of a Haikizoku came from its hatred against filth monsters. If Nina's will was any weaker, she'd have ended up as Dinn.
The Wolf Face man remained inert. He wasn't that far from the center of the Mechanical Department but he chose to be cautious, leaving no opening for her to take him down.
"I can't lose here!"
She must return to Zuellni where Layfon and everyone were. Zuellni. A place where she had things she had to do and wanted to do.
"No matter when it is, fighters who fight with a purpose wouldn't want to lose," the Wolf Face man said lightly and blocked Nina's assault. His saw-like blade slashed at her left leg. She kept her distance from him.
This was like fighting against a wall. And her condition was far from her best. (Damn!) She forced herself to stand up as she pressed down the despair in her. The pain in her left leg restricted her movement. She stretched her hand. She knew it wasn't easy to win against the Haikizoku. And that fight with it was preventing her from fighting against this Wolf Face man with her full potential. Despair.
Strength that hardly matched a dream. The shadow of despair that had caught hold of her since the formation of the 17th platoon. She needed a strong sense of determination and resolution to dispel that despair and fear.
"This is all I have."
How could she stop this reality? Nina stood up. To lose her heart and fall – That wasn't permitted!
Who wouldn't permit it? Nina herself.
"Aaaaaaah!" she howled and stood up again.
The Wolf Face hadn't moved from his position of victory. In silence, he swung down with his sword.
They both felt it and they both turned their gazes away from each other to look at Leerin. Leerin was praying, but her eyes watched somewhere empty, blank. Something had appeared at the line of Leerin's sight......
What was that?
What was that?
That attraction exuding from Leerin wasn't that of Kei. That presence was hidden from others.
"What......You, can you be......"
Something had deeply shaken the Wolf Face. "I knew it......This isn't a joke. Ignasis knows you. So that's why? For a normal person, a non-Military Artist, to appear here. That's why!?" Wolf Face said to the invisible presence.
"........." The presence remained silent. The air trembled.
"So bad. This is bad!" Someone said, appearing behind Leerin.
Nina recalled this was the Military Artist who was with Leerin in the canteen.
"It's not everyday that I get to head outside the city, but I can't do what I want. Besides, I just came from a fairly boring fight."
Why did he appear? This man was looking at Nina and the Wolf Face man without a hint of surprise. Obviously, he wasn't surprised at Leerin's condition either. Was he observing them all along?
"My mission is to protect her. I thought I could let you go if you don't mean to hurt her, but that person said I can't. In truth, I don't care about the fate of this city."
He was looking at what couldn't be seen. Had he seen it? It appeared he had some level of understanding of it.
"A Heaven's Blade successor?"
"Excuse me. I'm Savaris Qaulafin Luckens," Savaris smiled at the Wolf Face man as he introduced himself.
(A Heaven's Blade?)
He was the same as Layfon? Why was he here?
"To expose yourself here. It's indeed an incomprehensible situation, but I did anticipate it," Savaris continued. "You're under Ignasis. The first Luckens fought you too. The first of my family was a hero, so we had wanted a tale of some legend, but for some reason, my family is unexpectedly plain. That, I really hate!" A smile still hung on Savaris's face. "Geez.........I want to say I'm glad to be here. If I hadn't heard of the story of the first Luckens, I wouldn't have taken that person's order so seriously. The residence of monsters. I wouldn't have taken it so seriously......!"
Savaris had his hand around the Wolf Face's neck as he lifted him off the floor. The Wolf Face flailed his sword at his attacker, but Savaris blocked it with his bare hand. The blade shattered into pieces, leaving the handle intact. Layfon had also used this skill before, but Savaris did it with his bare hand. The Kei from this Heaven's Blade successor battered Nina. If the Wolf Face was likened to a solid wall, then Savaris was a typhoon.
"Tell Ignasis," he declared with laughter. "He can't win with this boring style of fighting."
Nina averted her gaze the next moment as the sound of shattered bones assaulted her eardrums.
"This is the strength of those who are truly powerful."
The sound of something heavy hit the floor. But when Nina turned her gaze back to the fight, the body of the Wolf Face man was gone.
"Ah~ they can't die. That rumor really is true. That's troublesome!" Savaris said, looking at the floor. He then turned his gaze to Nina. "......You. I saw you when you suddenly appeared. I see. A fight that we can't get involved with but is nevertheless connected to us really does exist. The First of Luckens didn't lie."
"You......Are you really a Heaven's Blade successor?"
"Yes!" he nodded.
"I knew about you! That's.........Rigzario. You got information from there?"
"Wrong." A man like a storm who could blow everything into the air in a sudden. An icy gaze accompanied his smile. "Did you hear this from other Heaven's Blades? .........If it's Layfon, then that's another matter."
She must hide the truth. If this man knew it was Layfon, she'd be in danger.
"It seems my guess is right!" he said, discerning the slight changes in Nina's expression.
"Don't you feel that the stirring in your Kei is now back?"
"Aa-? Ah......" Now she did realize her body felt normal.
"This means the Haikizoku inside you has been suppressed. This person is the origin of all Electronic Fairies. All Electronic Fairies listen to her, and that includes the Electronic Fairy that has gone mad."
He strode to her, his sharp gaze pinning her to the floor. "You knew Layfon, so you must be a student at Zuellni! Then please convey to him a message from me. I'm heading to Zuellni to take over the job of the Mercenary Gang. My purpose is to bring back the Haikizoku – no matter the means."
"What did you say.........?"
"To the thing inside you," he stood next to her, took hold of her head with his hand and lifted her up. Eyes that seemed to be laughing. The presence of unrestrained violence swallowed her.
"I'll kill you if you fell so far like a worm. I'll eat you whole if anything's left. You no longer need......that power!" he released her. Nina felt the strength inside her being sucked away. Embarrassed by her defeat, she heard Savaris say "Not interested anymore."
That unusual presence was gone, leaving behind Leerin who was staring at an empty space as if time had stopped.
"Please convey my words to Layfon," Savaris said and left.
What did she do?
"Ah? That........." She couldn't recall anything except for the feeling that something big had happened.........
"Speaking of which.........Uh? When did I get here?" She had no idea why she was spacing out in the Mechanical Department.
"Uh?" She saw her hands put together but nothing was in it. A feeling. A feeling of warmth was all that was left. Something wet fell on her hands.
".........What?" Her face was wet too.
"Why, why am.........I crying?" Yes, it was a feeling of having met with something very important. Something she couldn't lose. Very important.........
The sound of trembling shook Leerin's entire body. Everything else around her vibrated.
Green light exuded from the tubes in the Mechanical Department as the vibration hit the air. It felt like blood was circulating around Leerin. Orange light flooded the bottom of the Mechanical Department.
The City's multi-legs woke into movement. The city was leaving the danger presented by filth monsters. Myath's crisis was solved.
"This is great!" She wanted to share this happiness with.... With whom? She couldn't remember.
Nina had hidden herself to watch Leerin. "Memory loss......the same as Layfon?"
But this felt different to Layfon's situation back then. Leerin's mission was the same as Nina's. "But I saw the depth of that mask. Am I wrong.........?"
Leerin wasn't a Military Artist. Her fate was too cruel. "The Alchemists who made Regios.........Did the world become like this because of them?"
The world before the coming of Regios that nobody knew about. Perhaps Nina was now in contact with something from the past. "But why does Leerin have the same mission?"
Leerin was just a normal citizen traveling outside her city. However, she possessed something and that something was guarding her. Savaris too. Why was a Heaven's Blade guarding Leerin? Did she have some secret?
"So many things remain unresolved!" Nina shook her head.
No time to think about that though. "Time to head back?" She felt dizzy as her consciousness left Myath.
"Am I returning to Zuellni......or?"
Was she being taken to another city to continue her fight with the Wolf Faces? Dixerio, the person who sent her on this path, was he fighting somewhere too?
"There're things I must do."
She must return. Everyone would worry about her if she continued to remain missing. Besides, she was still concerned with how much the Haikizoku had affected Zuellni's Mechanical Department. If the effects remained in place, then Zuellni was still in danger.........
"And Layfon. He must still be reproaching himself!"
She needed the reassurance. "Head back............"
The strong will that came with thoughts.........
"Can Leerin really be............?"
Nina's figure disappeared from Myath as she finally realized her suspicion.