Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume8 Post Epilogue Part 3
At the same time, in the midair garden.
The emergency alert was already fading, and the city had sunk into silence. Strong winds were blowing roughly beyond the air filter. Someone experienced could detect the approach of filth monsters in that wind condition. However, in Grendan, there were few days when the wind was calm. That's why inversely, in Grendan, people who could detect filth monsters only from the outside were rare.
All most people know is that on calm days, roaming buses are more likely to arrive.
Alsheyra laid on a long bench in a corner of the midair garden.
Hands resting on the arm rests, sleeping. The emergency alert did not wake her up. For the sake of sleeping here, she purposely stayed up all night. She had no intention of simply waking up.
She slept so deeply that she wouldn’t even have any dreams.
Strong wind from outside couldn’t reach inside because of the air filter. A breeze stroked her cheek, blowing her hair gently. Warm sunshine bathed her whole body. The perfect conditions for basking in the sun and taking an afternoon nap had been met.
Yet Alsheyra’s eyes were awake.
“What the hell is this?”
There was not even the hazy feeling one gets after waking up. The body was claiming lack of sleep. Her body stressed that it hadn’t slept enough, but despite that, Alsheyra woke completely from her slumber.
“Jeez, I really wish you did it more simply, y'know. Even among the Heaven’s Blades, You're the number one Sakkei user, right? Get a grip a little more, Kanaris!"
At those words, the people standing at the entrance of the Royal Garden trembled.
“Or is this not your fault, I wonder? Ah, that's right, you didn't have any bloodthirst. If you had a moment more, you could’ve approached about another ten steps, I think? If that’s the case, then who? Whose fault is this, I wonder? Kalvan? Savaris? Or is it Minse? All members come here for a moment!”
Alsheyra stood there with her hands on her hips, shouting.
Kanaris stood there, stunned, before hurriedly stepping forward, followed by Savaris and Kalvan. And lastly was Minse’s silhouette.
"I don't want to hear any excuses"
Alsheyra cut off Kalvan’s explanation.
"What is this unsightly behavior? You came for an assassination didn't you? Show more backbone."
At Alsheyra's rebuke, everyone was unable to move.
"It is very like us to express objections with military might, however the fact that you can’t even express the ‘suc’ in success is really lamentable. Especially for me. I've been really excited about this you know. Working through the night, I was filled with weariness as I waited here. Do you understand? The troubles that I went that far for has been made into nothing. Would you like some of my leftover anger as change?"
Her displeasure from sleep deprivation showed through as Alsheyra glared at the four of them.
“Ah, man. You wasted it all. What a bad feeling. I can’t take this. I’ve got no more energy. Minse, you have to take responsibility. If you can’t find something interesting that’ll make me laugh, then I’ll have to start the punishment game.”
Facing the various responsibilities he had to take, Minse shuddered.
“......You, it was because you didn’t let me participate in the competition that everything became like this!”
Unable to bear any more of Alsheyra’s slow scolding, Minse shouted out.
“Why can a ten year old child participate, yet I cannot? I can only imagine this was the doing of some sort of Almonise family conspiracy.”
“Hah, a conspiracy? Aren’t you getting a bit too far ahead of yourself? You’ve never participated in an official competition, have you? Those with insufficient results aren’t allowed to participate in the selection battles, right? You didn’t think that you would get special treatment just because you’re part of the three royal families, did you? Even Tig-jii followed the process step by step as well, didn’t he?”
“Ok, that’s that. Well? I’m sure the rest of you did something like this because you were displeased for one reason or another, right? Well, let’s hear it in order, starting from Kalvan.”
“Recently, Your Majesty’s Heaven’s Blade examination standards......”
“For those who have skills matching yours, and gain recognition in proper order in accordance with the laws, should I not give him a Heaven’s Blade? It’s what the Royal family is here to do. Ok, rejected. Next.”
Kalvan powerlessly drooped his head. The next person to speak, Savaris was lightly smiling as he began weaving his speech.
“I want to fight Your Majesty.”
“Is that all?”
“Uh-huh. I’m not like those other people who consider this world in such a complicated way. I only wanted to fight with Your Majesty, so I accepted Minse-sama’s request is all.”
“Sigh~ That’s so damn boring. Next?”
Kanaris kept her head lowered and said nothing. However she quickly whipped out her Dite from her belt and restored it. The hilt of the sword had a decorated guard, and the sword was very slender...... it was a rapier.
“Oya? Kanaris had the same intentions? Really? Ah.”
Looking at Kanaris’ silent, intense, glare, Alsheyra revealed a confounded expression, but that quickly changed into a smile.
“Ok, then so be it. If you guys can beat me, perhaps I will take what you guys said into consideration.”
“Then what about what I said?”
“As long as we battle, it’ll all be good, won’t it?”
“Well, I guess so.”
Savaris stood up as well, restoring the Dite on his hands and feet.
“What will you do, Kalvan-sama?”
“......Since it’s already gotten to this stage, I don’t suppose I have any choice.”
Saying this, Kalvan also restored his Dite. It was a great sword.
“For now, I want to make that ‘perhaps’ a certainty.”
“Oya? Is it that you have confidence in beating me?”
“I’ve never gone into battle thinking that I would lose.”
The Kei around Kalvan began to expand, making the flowers in the garden tremble, and even the trees were beginning to shiver. Kalvan’s tall and solid body let out a golden aura. The high density Kei being gathered in tandem with his fighting style was also undergoing change. The golden Kei was almost like a viscous liquid, as it seethed around him, still floating around Kalvan.
“...You Majesty, before, you wanted to ask us, if we could ever hope to defeat you with just this kind of level, right?”
“From the start, I never thought about assassination......”
What immediately followed these words no longer sounded like a spoken language.
The golden Kei which was revolving about Kalvan suddenly rushed towards Alsheyra.
“......but about fighting it out with you fair and square!”
Alsheyra wanted to move her wrist, but she was blocked by something.
It was an External-type Burst Kei Variant, Armed Sword.
It was a move Kalvan created himself. It was normally used as an armor, with the half materialized kei surrounding his whole body. Although its defense wasn’t as strong as Kongoukei, but it was like a liquid which could congeal instantly into blades the moment anything approached it.
It was different from creating Kei of the same hardness and defensive strength as Kongoukei. It was a sort of pre-emptive defensive measure.
That thing was currently wrapped around Alsheyra’s body, binding her with hardness and stickiness akin to industrial grade rubber.
But it couldn’t hold for long.
They had no intention to wait for it to break.
At this moment, Savaris and Kanaris mobilized.
In the moment it took to shake off the Armed Sword Kei, the two had closed in on Alsheyra.
They didn’t use any special techniques, but the fist and the sword were strikes charged with their respective owners' Kei.
If they couldn’t break through with one point of attack, then they would break through with two. Two Heaven’s Blade-level Kei energies came rushing from different directions.
The Midair Flower Garden shook intensely. The garden was filled with sounds of explosions and flashes of light. Evading with difficulty, Minse was sent flying into the wall joining the Midair Flower Garden the outer walkway by a full body hit.
As Minse landed within the doorway, his whole body was wracked with pain, but as he untwisted his body he expressed his confidence.
(With that, I’m sure she’s been gotten rid of.)
But Minse still didn’t notice.
His own naive understanding.
As the last heir of the main branch to the Eutnohl family, one of the three Royal Families living a greenhouse life within the Grendan Military Arts world, he couldn’t understand.
The force of their own strikes also blasted the three Heaven’s Blade Receivers apart from the center.
The lawn in the flower garden had been torn up, the soil lining the flower garden was scattered about, and the stones beneath the soil could be seen. It was like a small scale meteorite crater.
The dust scattered about in the center gradually settled.
“Uwah~ Well, I guess you guys get a ‘pass.’ ”
The voice ranged hair out from the center.
“To limit the damage around you to a minimum, you opened out two Armed Swords? Quite befitting your hardworking personality, Kalvan. But I’m quite fond of this place, so it’s great that this place hasn’t been wrecked.”
Alsheyra was standing there.
On that beautiful face of hers, there wasn’t a single speck of dust. She merely stood there, unperturbed.
Minse’s voice quivered, making incomprehensible noises.
That Alsheyra stood there without a single injury in that soil crater was an unbelievable sight for Minse.
A pained expression appeared on Kalvan’s face, and even Savaris smiled bitterly. Only Kanaris stood there, expressionless, although her eyebrows were slightly furrowed.
“But I should take off points for not being able to restrain me just like that, right? Well, I can sympathize seeing how you guys made the decision to give up after understanding you were defeated.”
“Thank you very much.”
The only one obediently lowering his head was Savaris.
“As expected, teamwork you haphazardly created won’t do very much, Kalvan-sama.”
“......It seems that way.”
Kalvan opened out his Armed Sword yet again. The golden Kei wrapped itself around his body anew.
“Then we’ll just have to act according to the situation of the battle on our own.”
“I suppose those are some good words.”
Agreeing to Kalvan’s suggestion, the three silently increased their Kei pressure. That’s all they did, but it began to warp the airflow. The intense Kei flow expelled the air, and created a strong gale.
It was as if the Midair Flower Garden was in the eye of a hurricane.
But in the center of that......
“Didn’t I say that I was kind of partial to this place? If you guys go all out, then it would be very troublesome, and you would break this place. Which – is – why......”
Alsheyra raised a finger.
Closing an eye, with a coquettish expression on her face, she quietly whispered.
“Let’s end this here ☆~”
What happened in the next instant was something that Minse would probably never be able to explain.
Victory was decided just like that.
The wilderness was just as wild and rough as its name suggested.
Despite wearing shoes with strong soles made specifically to cater for this, he could still feel that intense feeling penetrate throughout his body. Layfon carefully stepped on the ground as he marched forward, finally arriving at the point ten kilomels out from the north-easternmost edge of the city.
His target had already entered his line of sight.
Layfon pulled out his Dite and restored it.
The Heaven’s Blade.
A Platinum Dite appeared in his hands.
Even the weight of Grendan’s mysterious platinum could be adjusted according to the user’s wishes. Normally, one would have to compromise some aspect of density, hardness, viscosity, shape, or conductivity. But the Heaven’s Blade had no such issues.
Regardless of the hardness of the Dite, it was possible to make it whatever weight was convenient for the user. It was hard to break, and it could change to any shape freely.
The only setting Layfon was particular about was weight. As for the others, he entrusted them to the special Heaven’s Blade technicians.
“You’re the first Heaven’s Blade to say such a thing. Is it because you’re young, that you underestimate the value of a weapon?”
Looking at Layfon silently listening to his criticism, the old technician finally revealed a defeated expression, giving up attempting to persuade him, and set the sword to match Layfon’s physique.
(It’s just a sword anyway.)
As long as it could be set to the same weight that his wrist was used to, than anything else would be fine. All he needed to remember was that part and forget everything else.
That’s all the awareness he had for a sword. That weight he was so used to in his hands would quickly become a part of his body. The Kei spread out like the nervous system, making the inflow of Kei into the sword even more complete.
Was this the result of training under Lintence with the steel threads in the past month? Like being able to send Kei into his sword the same way his Kei would instinctively flow into his muscles. Even though his fighting stance was a little forced when he fought with the sword, it could still achieve what was desired.
This wasn’t just a feeling.
With this sort of ability, couldn’t he toss the blade into the air and manipulate it freely? Maybe he should try next time.
Even Layfon wasn’t brave enough to just toss it into the midst of a battle.
The enemy was getting closer.
Layfon reached into a small pack on his waist and retrieved two small objects, and tossed them skyward. The two arced across in a parabola, and using his External Type Kei, Layfon shattered them.
The shattered objects turned into yellow dust and scattered about in all four directions.
It was a kind of dried animal fat. After other refining steps, it could be made into soap. But right now it wasn’t like that. It was just to give the surroundings the smell of life.
Would the filth monsters react to the scent of living things? Naturally, people would ask such questions. But results were definitely produced. In terms of larvae moving in large herds, it could drastically change their movement routes.
But as for older filth monsters, the effect was minimal.
For Mature Phase filth monsters, it was impossible to tell if it even had any effect. The Technical Department had once told him that. But regardless, this was the first time he had fought a Mature Phase. Everyone bestowed their experience upon Layfon.
As if it were cautious, the Mature Phase didn’t change its bearing, but it noticed the existence of a tiny life form en route to Grendan. Although, it wasn’t affected by the smell, but by Layfon’s shadow.
A Mature Phase Stage 2, just as Delbone predicted.
As it got closer, the Mature Phase revealed that mysterious body shape. Like a bug in its larval state, when it shed, it would get rid of its legs, and specialize into a flying form. But the Mature Phase purged even its insect form, transforming into something akin to a reptile.
There was some doubt.
All of Grendan’s filth monster researchers held doubts.
Because of the lack of nutrition when growing up as filth monsters, they would attack cities. And when they transformed into Mature Phases, they would become extremely hungry.
Then why would there be some many Mature Phases in the area that Grendan wandered?
If cities in the same region were annihilated, it was impossible for the news to not spread to Grendan. But they didn’t hear of such reports of other cities being destroyed.
Then, couldn’t the Filth Monsters reproduce through the pollutants and cannibalism?
Then, why would they attack humans?
For Layfon, he couldn’t understand this.
But Delbone gave this answer.
“If you’re talking about diet, mankind can survive by only eating wild vegetation as well. Then why would they eat meat? And this is every kind of creature. Do we reproduce just to eat? That’s not all, we’ve also created various kinds of dishes and desserts. Why is this? Because they give humankind a kind of enjoyment. Can we just assume that Filth Monsters don’t know of this kind of enjoyment?”
Although he wasn't totally uninterested, he certainly wasn’t able to understand the Filth Monsters' feelings.
The Filth Monster near him was exactly as Delbone described: it had just entered the Mature Stage a week ago.
“Arara...... I’ve made a little mistake.”
From within the helmet came the voice of an obaa-san who seemed to be in a good mood.
“What is it?”
“At first I thought there were two, but it seems there’s only one.”
What Layfon saw before him were indeed two filth monsters. Some distance off, climbing below Grendan was a body far larger than those supporting pillars, sporting a pair of semi-transparent wings. Long and sharp teeth could be seen protruding from that long and strange mouth. Only the eyes were like those of a bug’s, with a pair of dark green glass ball eyes.
Those two looked as if they were stacked atop each other and flying.
“No, no, please look carefully. They’re linked together at their tail section, right? It’s like when dragonflies mate. It’s because there are two heads, so I got it wrong. I’m sorry.”
“Ah...... No problem.”
Compared to two, one was still a lot easier...... was what Layfon thought.
“The battlefield isn’t somewhere you can get careless, okay?”
As if reading Layfon’s mind, came those words of warning. Although obaa-san’s words weren’t actually severe, they were like water seeping into soil, irrefutable.
They no longer had any time to be having a conversation.
“Well, I hope you have an enjoyable fight.”
Once again hearing those words he heard two days ago, Delbone’s voice vanished, and following immediately, the Mature Phase opened its two huge mouths, and rushed towards Layfon with urgency.
Layfon jumped up, avoiding it.
The Mature Phase’s lower half smashed the hard ground apart. The upper half was chasing Layfon as he rapidly ascended. Tugging the lower half after it, the two halves eventually switched places.
It was as if they were twining around each other as they chased Layfon.
After adjusting his posture midair, Layfon engaged the Mature Phase in attack.
External-type burst Kei, Sendan.
The blade emitted brightly colored Kei. A paper-thin shockwave cut through a part of the Mature Phase’s wing and sliced the tail section where the two were connected.
The Filth Monster’s two halves let out a fierce wail. The scream itself had a lot of force behind it, completely sending Layfon’s small body flying.
If you said a creature had two heads, then a ten-year-old child won’t understand. Could you not kill it even if you cut off a head? As for the Mature Phases that came in all shapes and sizes, all that he had heard about them was that the scales on their heads were extremely hard.
Then, what about the section that connected the two bodies together? Although he had suspicions like a child’s curiosity, it was a fact that that part moved the least and was the easiest to target.
The Sendan beautifully divided the tail portion into two. From the wound came spraying out a viscous liquid.
However, the two separated parts were both still moving individually.
“What’re you talking about; this is clearly two Mature Phase filth monsters.”
Although he was unable to kill the filth monster, Layfon was hardly depressed at all. At any rate, he should land before worrying about anything else. The enraged Mature Phase filth monsters performed even more complex movements than when it was whole, in order to get closer to Layfon while preventing his escape.
Layfon didn’t retreat or evade, and instead took a deep breath on the spot. His breath temporarily fogged up his line of sight through the helmet.
Layfon was filled with Kei. In that moment with the heat pressing down on his whole body –
He gathered it all on his blade.
External-type burst Kei, Gouken (Resounding Blade).
The blade of the sword became wider and longer, transforming into a huge sword taller than Layfon. A sword that had been infused with Kei. This was a technique that could be used by any Military Artist of a sword-using style. However, normal Dites were unable to withstand the highly concentrated Kei that Layfon emitted and would self-destruct. For normal Military Artists, they were unable to use the technique to such an extent as to cause the blade to self-destruct. That’s why, for Layfon, if he didn’t have the Heaven’s Blade he was unable to use this technique.
Even at birth, Layfon possessed an enormous amount of Kei.
Was he adopted only because of that? He had also thought about this before. However, it was only because he had this power, that he could become a Heaven’s Blade.
By becoming a Heaven’s Blade he could even better help the orphanage.
When Layfon was very young, he realized that this was what life is all about. It was fortune and misfortune blended together. One moment of fortune was the result of overcoming many misfortunes, and a series of misfortunes laid the foundation for happiness to come.
Of course he wanted good fortune to come. It was because of his talent that allowed him to be adopted. However, it was thanks to this that he was able to meet Derek and Leerin. However, because they were in an orphanage, they experienced many tragedies as a result of the lack of food. But because he was a Military Artist, he could rely on his Military Artist grants to slightly ease the orphanage’s suffering. And in order to never be in such a state again, he decided to fully utilize his own abilities to become a Heaven’s Blade.
After becoming a Heaven’s blade, there was definitely the happiness that he was awaiting for. Layfon firmly believed this.
And then, he became a Heaven’s Blade.
The huge sword was one that even adult Military Artists couldn’t properly grip, yet Layfon wielded it with ease. He aimed at the circling Mature Phase. Making a feint, he rushed towards the Mature Phase in front of him, stepping on its forehead and jumping once again, somersaulting in the air.
As Layfon twisted in the air, the two halves collided with each other before his eyes. There was a resounding boom. The vibrations from the sound shook the outside of the contamination suit, and the sound of small pebbles striking the helmet could be heard.
Layfon held the gigantic sword in a reverse grip and landed on the Mature Phase’s back.
Then he plunged the sword into it.
And pulled out the Heaven’s Blade.
All that was left was the Dite-infused blade of the sword.
He then jumped up.
The remaining Gouken was blasted apart. It transformed into numerous Sendan, and sliced the Mature Phase’s body all over.
Escaping from the chaos of the storm of scattered Sendan, Layfon mentally pumped his fist. He had always wanted to know if he could do this, and he had always trained in his mind. And the result made Layfon felt very satisfied.
(Is it possible to focus the direction of the explosions onto a single point? If he can immediately get to that level next time......)
As he was thinking this, he landed and ran beside the Mature Phase’s body.
The effective area of the Gouken explosion was even smaller than he had imagined. Even though this was something for him to improve on later, at least he had managed to dispatch a Mature Phase. As long as it was effective, it was ok...... thought Layfon as he ran.
Suddenly, the back of the Filth Monster cracked open.
It wasn’t the result of the Gouken. From the vibrations he felt underfoot, it seemed that the cracking had come from within.
Something was surging out from within.
Before any sound from the cracking could be heard, Layfon had already jumped.
The scales and flesh of the Mature Phase burst open, and from it surged countless larvae.
This probably counted as his carelessness, right? In the prior lectures about Mature Phases he had heard that among filth monsters they were the ones who had given up the ability to reproduce. He had also heard that if filth monsters wanted to reproduce they had to molt into the Female form.
And he heard one more thing about Mature Phases.
There were strange Transforming types.
The pair in front of his eyes were exactly that type.
The two in front of him looked to be a pair. They were clearly Mature Phase, but they hadn’t given up the ability to reproduce. Or rather, they had become Mature Phases that had found some abnormal way to reproduce.
At any rate, in order to escape the larvae that were gushing out of the Mature Phases’ body, Layfon jumped.
He was a fraction of a second too slow.
His shoe was caught on a larva. It reduced his jumping power by a lot. The silver lining in the cloud was the fact that only the sole of the shoe had been caught. It was just that the sole of the shoe was shaved away a little, and hadn’t made a hole through which pollutants could seep through.
However, the momentum of his jump had been reduced, and it undeniably caused Layfon to lose his balance.
Without any threats to it, the Mature Phase did not fail to take advantage of that opening.
It opened its maw to swallow up Layfon.
“Ara ara, Layfon has been swallowed.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Lintence was standing alone on the outskirts of the city and hearing Delbone’s words allowed him to understand the situation. Although the sense of touch from the steel wires allowed a general understanding of the situation, the information it delivered couldn’t be compared to the precision of Psychokinesis.
The Mature Phase flew towards the sky. For the moment, Lintence took care of the Larvae that were overflowing.
“What are you going to do?”
“He’s still alive, right?”
“His life signal is very clear.”
“The protective suit should be able to resist the digestive fluids of the Filth Monster for a few hours.”
“Yes, I’ve heard that it can.”
“Then I’m sure he’ll be able to solve the problem on his own.”
“Ara, so harsh. Isn’t he your disciple?”
From the way Delbone spoke it seemed she was extremely interested by Lintence’s reaction.
“I never intended to take him as my disciple. I’m only teaching him a little. Also, if he’s struggling at just this level of an opponent, what is he going to do in the future?”
“Even if that is the case, regardless of what you say he’s still just a child. He’s like a grandchild to me. If he died in battle like this, wouldn't it be rather young?”
“If the city is destroyed, then there will be children even younger than him who will perish. Isn’t it the Military Artist’s duty to protect them? That they would die in battle was something that they never put into consideration. Weak Military Artists don’t have any value in their existence.”
This was the cold blooded reality of the battlefield. However, Layfon understood these principles from a young age.
And like this, without any unnecessary reserve, without any unnecessary blame, he underwent the baptism of these principles.
“Although I don’t have children, there’s also a time to spoil children, is there not?”
“I love my grandson very much, though. His parents can take care of his education.”
She clearly indicated that it had absolutely nothing to do with her, and passed the responsibility of education onto Lintence.
“Really, such careless words.”
“Of course, if you asked why, it’s because I've already experienced this sort of hard work. It’s obvious that this sort of work should be done by those who’ve never experienced it...... ara.”
Halfway through their conversation, Delbone’s attention seemed to have wandered off elsewhere.
After a brief pause, she started talking to Lintence once more.
“A message from Her Majesty. Bring Layfon to the Palace Garden.”
“Tell her we’re in the middle of a battle.”
“Her Majesty understands this.”
“How disorganized. What reason is there to act upon a child’s impulse?”
“You see, that child was orphaned very young, so Her Majesty has no choice but to take over the responsibilities of a parent, right?”
“I can’t take this anymore......”
Lintence, moved his body a little, and the steel wires abided by their master’s will and silently began to move.
After confirming that the steel wires had wrapped around the Mature Phase that was coming this way, Lintence had still not moved a finger and used the various rocky outcrops within a few kilomels of the Regios to restrain it.
“Tell her Majesty to increase the density of the air purification machine. At this rate the pollutants will get into the city.”
“Even if you didn’t say it, Her Majesty would have done it anyway.”
Dispersing the strong resistance resulting from the extremely heavy weight among the various rocky outcrops, Lintence started his large scale fishing activity.
Going back in time a little.
Alsheyra was considering how to deal with the scene before her.
“In any case, your Majesty, please forgive us.”
Kalvan was kneeling before Alsheyra. His clothes were tattered and dirty, and blood was oozing from all over his body. Although Savaris and Kanaris were able to stand up, after they did, they couldn't move a muscle.
The only one who couldn't move was Kalvan, so it probably had something to with the fact that he was the oldest, right?
(Well, even if age was a factor, it shouldn’t have that much of an effect, right?)
Alsheyra thought to herself. His physical body was already past its peak, and even now the downwards trend could be seen. However, being unable to match up to two young people just because of this is inexcusable.
Compared to those things, what she cared about most was Kalvan’s attitude.
“......Was this your plan from the very start?”
Alsheyra furrowed her eyebrows, glaring at Kalvan who had lowered his head, kneeling.
“The incident this time is definitely disloyal behavior, and it’s irreversible. But taking her Majesty’s circumstances into consideration, we did this precisely for those who, for the sake of protecting the Bloodlines, could not be born.”
“Then, are you saying that the fault lies with the system of the Three Royal Families?”
Kalvan had stood on Minse’s side because he wanted to take up the role of a problem solver. Of course, he was also displeased by Alsheyra increasing the number of Heaven’s Blade Successors, but he was really here so that he could appeal to Alsheyra directly.
Which was why Minse was able to propose such a hare-brained plan to him.
And Kalvan didn’t reject the plan either, so it was probably that personality of his that lead to a result like this.
“Rather than say you like to work too hard, it’s better to say this situation was caused by that personality of yours. Go find a way to change it for me.”
“And you say this only now...... Till today I’ve lived my whole life with this personality, and I have no intention of changing it.”
Kalvan raised his head. His forehead was fractured, and blood was seeping out from the wound. Half his face was dyed crimson, and his eyes revealed a light that showed he wasn’t afraid of death. This made Alsheyra lose interest.
“......The Psyharden Dojo has decided to expand. Although I was going to pay for the grants, I’ll have all expenses paid by your three dojos.”
“I don’t want to break my sword over such a trivial matter.”
Not responding to Kalvan’s wishes, Alsheyra redirected her attention to the other two and looked at Savaris.
“Well, what about you? Are you satisfied?”
“Well, your Majesty is simply too strong.”
Suppressing his already broken left hand, Savaris replied with a smile. A glance at the sweat dripping off his forehead made it obvious that the smile was a forced one.
“And I was hoping to have a bit of a competition to see who was stronger.”
“That’s a little naive of you, isn’t it? Well, what about you, Kanaris?”
Kanaris knelt there, motionless. But everyone there noticed her quivering shoulders.
A trembling Kanaris gradually lifted her head. Her face was covered with dirt, and she spoke with faltering lips.
“......Your Majesty, you really don’t need us anymore.”
Faced with such unexpected words, Alsheyra was also very taken aback. The tears that cut across Kanaris’ cheeks as she raised her head looked like thin pieces of string being guided out from her eyes.
“Because......I was raised for the sake of becoming her Majesty’s shadow. And since her Majesty no longer needs me......”
Alsheyra touched her head, realizing what Kanaris meant.
Kanaris came from the dojo that was set up by the descendants of the three royal families. One aspect of the dojo was to foster children from the three royal families that didn’t become the heads of their respective families. At the same time members of this dojo were also responsible for the security of the Palace. These duties of course included the protection of her Royal Highness. And if they were protecting her Majesty during public ceremonies, then for Kanaris this also included the job of being a Kagemusha (protector in the shadows).
Kanaris’ abilities had surpassed those of her peers a long time ago, so she was raised within the Rivanesu Dojo as Alsheyra’s shadow. And Kanaris had responded to the Dojo’s expectations, becoming a Heaven’s Blade at just fifteen.
However, Alsheyra had denied Kanaris that post.
“That’s because you don’t look like me at all, right?”
“Something as trivial as that can be done with plastic surgery.”
Kanaris appealed while wiping her tears away.
“......Huh? You’ll get plastic surgery to match beauty such as mine?”
Alsheyra’s incredulous manner left everyone present dumbstruck.
And then Kanaris began bawling loudly.
“Wahh, I’m better off dead!”
Kanaris was completely serious, as she held her rapier in a reverse grip and thrust it towards her throat. Seeing this, Alsheyra instantly snatched the rapier from her hand.
“I can’t take this anymore, stop this right now!”
Even though she was deprived of her sword, Kanaris continued thrusting her empty hand towards her own throat. Alsheyra caught that hand with some difficulty, and after suppressing the suicidal Kanaris, the sound of someone’s laughter came drifting over from the walkway.
“It’s great to see that everyone is so lively.”
“Tig-jii, is this really the time to be laughing?”
Carefully controlling the Heaven’s Blade Successors who were rowdy like a bunch of little kids indeed needed some skill. It had made Alsheyra break out in sweat for the first time. Even if this had made the guest who had just arrived laugh aloud, she didn’t find this situation amusing in the least.
Tigris Noiran Ronsmier. He was a Heaven’s Blade Successor as well as the head of the last of the three Royal Families, the Ronsmier Family.
“Aren’t you going to do anything else other than laugh?”
“Kalvan, about you......”
Alsheyra immediately realized why Tigris had appeared at this place at this moment.
If you were to choose someone to take the role of troubleshooter and problem solver, then the man who was a Heaven’s Blade Successor, an elder second only to Delbone, and Alsheyra’s grandfather – Tigris – was ideal.
Although more than half his head had balded cleanly, the remaining hairs had also lost their luster. However, his face and body still radiated vitality.
“Even though the King holds absolute power, if he doesn’t tell his own thoughts to his subordinates frequently, then they will become disobedient, right?”
“But things like a Kagemusha (protector in the shadows), I don’t need that at all. Quite frankly, it’s a role that’s even more boring than being a Palace Guard. Other than Jii-jii and Minse, who else would try and assassinate me anyway?”
The fact is, when you compared the Palace Guards to the Heaven’s Blade Successors, they were definitely doing a redundant job. But it’s not like they were in anybody’s way either. As for those Palace Guards who patrolled between the Palace and the city wearing those resplendent uniforms all the time, they were the children who were not the heirs to the Royal Families. It was a job that didn’t bring shame to their respective Families, while acting as a buffer that allowed them to obediently become reborn as commoners.
Roles to protect the King from assassination were unnecessary as well. It wasn’t because Alsheyra was too strong, but because there was no point in assassinating the King.
Interaction with other Cities was minimal, and in truth, controlling other Cities was physically impossible, so killing the rulers of other Cities didn’t have any benefit at all. At the same time, in a political assassination situation like this, the only one who would plan an assassination would be those who benefitted most from it – those aligned with the Three Royal Families. And choosing the Palace Guards and Kagemusha from the Royal Families only increased the likelihood that they would become assassins.
It really was putting the cart before the horse.
And this job was one that was as idle as that of a palace guard, in other words, it was a decorative role borne out of the formality of official events.
“There isn’t any need to make a Heaven’s Blade serve that role, is there?”
“But there just happen to be people in this world who were raised for that specific purpose, and these people obviously hold strong convictions about the role they undertake. Please understand, your Majesty, that if you don’t want them restrained like that, then you must do something for them.”
“If you think it’s a bother, you might as well give her your recognition. Wouldn’t that solve all the problems?”
It was unclear when Kanaris had stopped crying, her eyes fixed upon Alsheyra.
The others were also waiting for what Alsheyra would say next.
“At any rate, I’ll hold a test. I don’t want my Kagemusha to be an idiot.”
Kanaris nodded her head happily. Alsheyra revealed an inexplicably bitter smile.
Alsheyra turned her gaze past the happily smiling Kanaris, and looked at the last person.
In all, she had dealt with the problems of the three Heaven’s Blades.
And after was......
Alsheyra watched Minse. The youth who had blankly watched the scenario unfold, turned ashen when he caught Alsheyra’s eyes.
“Tig-jii. What do you think we should do?”
Hearing this, Minse cast a look begging for help towards Tigris. However, the elder stroked his proud beard, ignoring Minse’s glances.
“After his brother left, only this child was left. It seems we’ve coddled him far too much. Punishing him will be a very appropriate decision.”
Hearing Tigris’ emotionless words, Minse’s ashen face suddenly turned a tragic white.
“It looks like my family has no choice but to subsidize the Psyharden Dojo to smooth this event over.”
“The continuous Heaven’s Blade inauguration ceremonies have made the Royal Coffers a little lonely. Even though they weren’t that extravagant anyway. At any rate, making me provide funds when the treasury is tight makes things very hard.”
“Then, what does your Majesty intend to do.”
“What should I do......”
Alsheyra pondered the problem briefly, and began conversing through some nearby Psychokinesis flakes with Delbone.
“It looks like that side hasn’t gone well either. Why don’t we have a punishment game?”
Minutes and seconds ticked by. But for Minse, that time was like waiting for the execution of his death penalty. No matter how much time passed, his facial expression didn’t improve.
At this moment, a shadow appeared above the Palace Gardens.
The shadow, along with the noise, became rapidly larger.
The entire cast at the scene turned their eyes towards the sky.
Alsheyra, the Heaven’s Blade Successors and the rest didn’t let out any gasps of surprise. This was because they immediately knew whose masterpiece this was.
A Filth Monster descended from the sky.
But it was merely a part of it. The head and body had been sliced away, and only the abdomen landed in the middle of the Midair Garden.
“Ah...... it looks like I’ll have to completely renovate this place.”
As Alsheyra vented her complaints, she surveyed the remains of the Filth Monster. Looking at the wounds that were mutilated beyond recognition, it looked to have been cut up by Lintence’s Steel Wires. However describing the wounds as pockmarks caused by explosions would be more appropriate.
The Filth Monster’s fluids flowed out from various places, forming a puddle that gave off a stench.
Just as the entire cast had their attention on the Filth Monster, a sword suddenly stabbed out from the inside of the abdomen.
The sword first sliced the abdomen apart, before it traced a small circular opening. After pushing the cut flesh down from the inside, a child’s figure wearing a contamination suit covered in fluids crawled out.
“Uu...... Such misfortune.”
From within the helmet came a muffled voice that was shrill, befitting that stature.
That child was Layfon.
“I was way too naive. There’s no way I can kill it like that.”
As he said this, Layfon used his hands – slippery from the body fluids – to remove his helmet.
“Your Majesty, you called?”
Looking at Layfon, who was unperturbed even in a circumstance like this, made Alsheyra feel that he was very uncute.
“The uniform was newly issued, yet you ruined it so quickly. It isn’t very cheap either.”
“Ahh, I’m sorry.”
Looking at Layfon apologizing so obediently, Alsheyra stuck out her tongue.
“Bzzt – – This won’t do. Therefore, we’ll have a punishment game. You, go fight Minse over there.”
Even though he wasn’t perturbed, Layfon didn’t’ understand the situation at hand. Perhaps he hadn’t given the situation around him any thought after climbing out from the insides of the Filth Monster.
Alsheyra cast the surprised Layfon aside, and looked towards Minse.
“Minse. If I just punished you like this you probably wouldn’t accept it right? So I’ll give you a chance. If you can beat Layfon, then I’ll give this Heaven’s Blade to you. Of course, in return, if you lose, you’ll have to bear the entire cost of renovating the garden.”
That...... Alsheyra was pointing at where the Filth Monster that delivered Layfon had landed.
After learning the contents of the so-called punishment, Minse was stunned.
“Is just that much ok?”
“Ara, this garden cost a lot of money.”
“I wasn’t talking about that, I was talking about those who started a rebellion......”
“You call something like this a rebellion?”
Minse was speechless, and just stood there, dumbstruck.
“If you want to start a rebellion, you have to use your brain properly. Frankly speaking, even if you’re stupid, there has to be a limit, whether it’s your brain, or your ability or your common sense. Suppose you were lacking all three, then you really have no hope.”
And Minse was disregarded so easily by Alsheyra, just like that.
He silently drew the dite he carried on his belt, and restored it.
The excessively decorated blade of the sword reflected the rays of the sun.
Conversely, Layfon returned the Heaven’s Blade to its basic state.
Faced with such a flippant attitude, Minse shouted in rage. But Layfon paid him no heed at all and turned to Alsheyra.
“I can use any weapon at all, right?”
“Anything you like.”
Hearing Alsheyra’s answer, Layfon cracked a wide, happy smile. It was a smile befitting of his age, an innocent smile.
“Awesome. I’ve always wanted to try this.”
Layfon squatted down on the spot, and picked up a small pebble from the ground. It was debris created because the stonemasonry was exposed to the sudden shock of battle.
“Then, I’ll be using this.”
That is to say, that rock was going to be Layfon’s weapon.
“Don’t look down on me!”
Minse screamed madly and charged at Layfon.
But Layfon threw the stone he held in his hand. There was no arc, and it raced straight towards Minse. Minse easily avoided it and caught Layfon within his attacking range.
Standing before a defenseless Layfon, Minse revealed a self-confident smirk.
Leerin hearing these words was something that happened two hours after she had come out from taking refuge.
Leerin was in the kitchen preparing dinner, and seeing Layfon walk in through the back door she was filled with relief.
“I’m starving to death.”
“Ok, ok, just wait a little longer.”
“As promised, I didn’t get hurt at all, ok.”
“I know that.”
Leerin muttered helplessly. Among her prepared ingredients, green wild vegetables were nowhere to be seen, instead replaced by red and yellow veggies.
Of course, she had also prepared a lot of meat.
“This is great.”
Leerin noticed that the happily smiling Layfon looked as if he was holding something in his hand.
“Ah, you mean this?”
Layfon opened up his hand to show Leerin what he was holding.
It was a rock that looked like it was a piece of shattered stonework.
Layfon hadn’t finished speaking, and he threw it towards the ceiling. He hadn’t used any Military Arts, and had just thrown it normally.
“What’s so good about that?”
As she said this, Leerin watched what happened next, stunned.
The stone that was slowly rising towards the ceiling had changed directions.
The stone that was shooting around left and right suddenly returned to Layfon’s hand.
“This is what I thought up today. Great, isn’t it?”
Looking at her self-satisfied childhood friend, Leerin’s surprised expression turned into one of helplessness.
“Ok, ok. Stop messing with those tricks, go wash your hands. Oh yeah, why don’t you go take a bath to get rid of your sweat. It feels like your body stinks a lot.”
Looking at Layfon’s face filled with wonder as he dove into the bath, Leerin couldn’t help but smile.
Five years later, after Layfon’s match with Gahard Baren had ended, his inappropriate behavior was exposed. The masses were astonished by his power, and in truth they were worried about the dangers of his powers going out of control. However, the ones that treated him most like a danger and spoke out against him the loudest was the Eutnohl family. This was something that a mere ten year old wouldn’t consider.