Hidan no Aria:Volume9 Chapter4

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4th Ammo: Cultural Festival Day 1 -Carnaval Via-[edit]

Another few days have passed--October 30th.

Butei High's cultural festival for this year has started.

Coming out from the dorm, you can see that the sidewalks of the Academy Island had become a pedestrian paradise, full of people from outside the school.

Both sides of the roads were set up with all kinds of shops, even people from Assault and Dagula opened up to everyone else in a calm manner.

(..... All the dangerous items have been stored underground.)

During preparations for the cultural festival, there will be a massive clean up, adjustments will also be made for the decoration of the facilities.

This is due to the fact that interviews will be taking place during the cultural festival, and to avoid leaving negative impressions on the parents of special elementary and middle school students with an interest in enrolling into Butei High, these preparations beforehand are absolutely necessary.

Just that, all these troublesome work are the responsibility of the First Years.

The internal ranking system in Butei High is as strict as those in the military.

In Butei High, there are even words like these being spread around: First Years are slaves, Second Years are demons, Third Years are the Kings of Hell.....

Last year, I had no choice but to constantly pick up empty cartridges in Assault as well.

(The cultural festival lasts for two days.... The mission for this year is only the Cosplay Cafeteria for today, and tomorrow should be free activity.)

Strolling in the school grounds, from a distance I could see promotional posters for the cultural festival pasted all over the place.

These promotional posters were collected from students in Butei High.

There were oil paintings, illustration-styled drawings, strong graphics created by computers.... more than several dozen of different styles.

(Every one of them is pretty well done....)

There are serial numbers marked on each promotional drawing, and observers can vote using their cellphones, appraising the promotional drawings through their votes.

When the drawings were being collected, Jeanne immediately rushed over upon hearing the news, giving me quite a scare.

"Even though I know I can win, but I should still draw one and participate."

Although this is what Jeanne the artist said, her face was simply overflowing with the desire to create.

"If you say you know you can win and still participate, then that's just too childish."

Using such reasons, I managed to convince her not to participate in the competition--that was close!

If Jeanne's horrific-beyond-imagination drawing was publicly displayed, the public might suffer mental trauma, and if things worsened we might even be sued in court.

That's right. This is part of my job as a Butei--"To avert a disaster before it begins", dealing with the problem without anyone else knowing.

(.... If I report this to the Masters, maybe I can get an academic credit?)

As I thought about it seriously, I walked along the school grounds that were filled with a festive mood.

In a warehouse belonging to Logi, children were gathered together, sitting on the pilot's seat in a helicopter.

The Snipe's Airgun shooting corner and the SSR's Museum of Ancient History were attracting large crowds as well.

The musical performed by CVR has been renowned for a very long time, with even professionals in the industry admitting to being inferior. On the day of the musical, long queues snaked before the ticketing booths. It was probably because CVR has quite a number of beautiful young girls, the absurdly highly-priced tickets were sold out in a flash.

The cafeteria where students usually leave a mess all over after eating, was wiped clean for the "Cosplay Cafeteria" that will be held in the morning today.

During the Cosplay Cafeteria, the training results of the students carrying out their missions to infiltrate and search for evidence would be clearly shown. As such, if successful, it seems that the Masters will give an "Outstanding" grade in the internal reports for the students involved in the activity.

For a problem student like me who worries constantly about academic credits, this is a job worth doing seriously.

But....

"Welcome!"

A girl's voice came from outside.

Ranbyou, who had come to check on the results of the cosplay, ordered me to work in the kitchen.

"There's no police officer with such a gloomy look in his eyes."

Waving her fists, she uttered her judgement--but I must disagree.

Things like the look in one's eyes are due to what a person is born with, it can't be changed that easily. Ranbyou-san.

Recently, as friends in Informa had told me... One day I will expose the fact that you registered an account for yourself on a social website for making friends, and even gave yourself an online name called "Ranran". And you still have the cheek to write that you like reading books in your personal information column. Besides books on gambling tips and gossip magazines, I've never seen you touch any other type of printed media. And you actually wrote down age as 18.

If you look at the face alone, she's really beautiful, so there are actually victims who have been deceived by her attractive external appearance and dated the female gorilla. I must meet out the justice of heaven.

... Thinking about this, I was stirring the stewed vegetables in the pot, feeling very depressed.

"The fire's too small!"

Wearing a fireman uniform, Muto was mumbling as he fidgeted with the sides of the pot.

Hearing this, Ranbyou shouted, "Firemen risk their lives in their work, how can there be such a chatty fellow!", and at the same time, kicked Muto almost 3 meters away.

Speaking of which, doesn't the school already have kitchen staff in the first place? There's no need for everyone to change costumes in the first place at all.

This school has very poor planning.

With pent-up grudges and dissatisfaction in me, I spent another hour making stewed vegetables and pasta.

Coming in for the afternoon shift, Hiraga who was a girl, was caught by Ranbyou with one hand and swung in a circle in mid-air.

The angry looking Hiraga had her feet twisted in an impossible direction, her tendon had probably been injured by Ranbyou. Our violent teacher does not go easy on anyone, including girls.

"What the hell, Hiraga--anyone is stronger than you, can you at least increase your height somewhat?"

"Aiya, aiyaya!"

As Ranbyou was saying such offensive words, she placed Hiraga into an empty pot, then looked around at me and Muto.

"Come to think of it, two people will be enough for the kitchen. So, who goes to the mess hall...."

While Muto was tugging away at Hiraga's shiny skirt to drag her out from the pot, I made use of the opportunity to open my mouth and talk.

"Sensei, I, no, this Police Officer has deeply reflected on his past actions while in the kitchen, and will never be lazy [1] again."

Speaking softly to her, I intentionally added in Ranbyou's online name.

Following my conversation, Ranbyou, who was facing in the direction of Muto suddenly froze.

Like suddenly pressing a 'Pause' button, even her huge ponytail was frozen as well.

"......."

With her mouth in a 'へ' shape, Ranbyou turned her head around, sweat beads the size of beans forming on her forehead.

Although there is no conclusive evidence, but.... Tohyama wouldn't have known my secret right....? Ranbyou's face reflected an anxious expression.

This... this seems promising. Time to change topic, and probe her once more time.

"Add.. adding on, this Officer has a 19 year elder brother. Although he's very strict, but he's very good looking."

Drawing her attention with these words, Ranbyou, who had written in her self-introduction column "Types that I like: Strong, forceful types"--managed to maintain her dignity as a teacher, her mouth remaining in the shape of 'へ' without much change.....

But, she seemed to be somewhat happy, the corners of her mouth slowly rising, finally forming the shape of a 'W'.

Ranbyou was flashing a smile like a leopard[2].

Mmm. Actually you did see my Nii-san before, just that, my Nii-san appeared in the form of a girl.

"Then... Muto and Hiraga will be a team. It might be better to adjust the style of the people working together. Tohyama! Go to mess hall!"

--This is great, even though I sacrificed Nii-san, but at least I got away from the female panther for now.

Looking at me with a vacant expression on their faces, I bowed to Muto and Hiraga...

Although it was somewhat dishonorable, but at least I successfully escaped from the kitchen.

....--When I walked into the hall with the posture of a police officer, the busy scene was like that of a hurricane.

The tables and chairs of the Cosplay Cafeteria were set all the way to the courtyard, with second year students in various uniforms shuttling back and forth at all corners.

"....Guh..."

Managing the affairs in the mess hall, the girls will always be drawing a lot of attention. It was really an impossible situation.

The costumes of the girls were resplendent, and an atmosphere of a cosplay coffee shop was pervading the mess hall.

The male customers seemed to be very happy.... maybe because they still have no idea how fierce the girls of Butei High are.

For the normal boys, they probably view this as a simple affair of being waited upon by service staff, being able to be served food by a cosplaying female high school student was already an enjoyable affair by itself.

But, if those girls are hired by your competitors, they might end up sending you bullets and explosives instead.

And those will be lighted.

(.....Ignorance is bliss for these people....)

As I thought about it, I delivered fried rice and cola all over the place, brushing shoulders with the people that I usually know.

There's Shiranui wearing a pilot uniform, whose wish is to become an idol for middle-aged ladies.

There's Nakasorachi, who was wearing the white lab coat of a chemist research facility staff and serving honeydew melon soda to the customers. Her clothes were in a disarray, with her soft breasts barely contained by her lacy clothes......

Not good, it seems like she can't really work on the job.

Firstly, she should be wearing contact lens for her poor vision, but she's still bumping into walls.

She was responsible for the taking, repeating and listing orders, but due to some reason, her face turned red when our eyes meet, resulting in her accidentally tripping over a foot.

What's more baffling is, in the process of falling, the tray she was holding in her hands forcefully smacked into her own face. It seems to be all my fault, but it looks like she's really not suitable for this kind of work.....

Aria09 159.jpg

I helped Nakasorachi onto her feet, and thinking of letting her rest for a while, I brought her out of the mess hall.

The straight path leading out from the mess hall was turned into a ramp using plywood, becoming an unobstructed route.

... Hey hey. Nakasorachi.

I say, because you fell down just now, your super short mini-skirt has been lifted to dangerous heights.

But, just as I was about to point this out, I suddenly developed a fearful panic of seeing her exposed well-developed thighs due to the fact that her clothes were in a mess, and as a result I couldn't say anything

Wrapped up in my own fear, I brought Nakasorachi to a place which couldn't be seen from the mess hall...

"Oto... Otoko-yama-kun[3]... As a wait... waitress, I'm always a failure... sorry! It's all my... my blunder, I'm a stupid, useless tort... tortoise. A tortoise will always be a tortoise!"

She started smoothing the long bangs at her forehead and sobbing, and just like what she said, completely became negative about herself.

For her, besides being a communications operator, she probably takes only types of work like being a librarian. Requiring her to become a waitress dressed up as a race queen is simply too challenging.

I really wanted to push her into the kitchen so that a poor fireman could be rescued, but the male customers seemed to really fancy types like Nakasorachi, so I guess Ranbyou will never agree.

As the Cosplay Cafeteria will be assessed by the Masters once the cultural festival is over--

And if the results of their assessment is not ideal, according to regulations, all student participants will be graded badly in their internal report.

So, if a black sheep appears, then my grades will be implicated as well. Looks like I must act.

"It's alright. Don't let Ranbyou see you, rest for a while. I'll deal with the work."

Thinking and looking out for her, I led Nakasorachi towards the direction of the lounge....

"Ai ai! It's no wonder you're Ki-kun the Flagship Architect! You're now taking on the Nakasorachi route!"

Wearing the costume which she had wanted, turning into a "Western Gun-slinger", the extremely late but highly-regarded-by-Ranbyou Riko was walking towards us.

Riko certainly looked the part of an American from those times, using her thumb and pointing at us. Truly accomplished acting.

After being discharged from the hospital, Riko returned to school as usual.

Her attitude towards us remained the same as well... as if the battle on the Sky Tree never took place.

Although Riko only knows how to create problems, but without her around, things get kind of lonely.

Honestly speaking, I'm really happy she has returned in good health....

"Ki-kun is really an accomplished skirt-chaser, Riko is relieved."

"Speak properly, and speaking of which you've been skipping too many classes. Nakasorachi can't be a waitress now, so we'll continue with her work."

"OK! But she looks like she's pretty scheming, would it be all right if I leave you alone with her? Woah--woah--could this be an act by a baka-girl?"

As Riko snickered, she pointed grudgingly at Nakasorachi's skirt.

"Mine.. Mine-san. This.. this... isn't what it looks like. I did not have that kind of intention! But... but if this can make Tohyama-kun.... have a better impression of me... But.. but that's too blatant as well!"

Jumping away from beside me, Nakasorachi hurriedly adjusted her super mini-skirt which was lifted high up.

Nakasorachi. If you had really noticed, why didn't you adjust your skirt before this.

Luckily I kept looking up with my eyes. or it'd have been dangerous.

"But Ki-kun, you should still start with the Aria route first. Riko supports Ki-kun and Aria. So you and Riko including this girl should just maintain a physical relationship. Bang~"

"....Huh....?"

Riko closed her eyes to a slit, and mimicked a shot at me with her index finger....

.....POOOOOOOOOOOM.....

Following a waft of light gardenia scent, came a magma-like aura from behind me....

"........"

The scenery before my eyes suddenly turned upside down.

A big 180 degrees turn.

In the Up-Down direction.

An unknown hand had grabbed my belt and shirt, turning me entirely around.

"You--lecherous Kinji! What's a phy.. physical relationship! Not only Riko, but even that communications operation kid as well.... You.. what have you done! Have you really been working as a waiter!?"

The judgement has been passed--

The one holding me from behind in an awkward head-down position, was Aria in her elementary school student outfit.

"No.... I didn't do anyth--!"

"Ah ah?"

Aria emitted a sound like that of an anxious lion cub, and with a 'swoosh', stopped momentarily in mid-air while holding onto me.

"--Windhole Trap!"

BANG!!!

Along with my police cap, my entire head up to my lower jaw was buried in the plywood ramp.

Fortunately the plywood was very thin, allowing me to escape from the brink of death...

Using a finishing move on me while I was in a difficult position, this was adding insult to injury.

Woah woah! A fourth year elementary school girl performing a pile-driver on a police officer! This scene can only be seen in Butei High!

Toh.. Toh.. Toh-chan! Yama-chan! Look... looking at it in reverse, it looks like you've been on a guillotine!

It's Riko and Nakasorachi....

The muffled sounds of their voices came from above the plywood.

With my head finally plucked out, I lay suffering on the ground and looked upwards--

".....!"

This time it has turned into a situation where I was down-slope and looking up at Aria's short skirt.

I'm now caught in a position of a pervert whom should be arrested by the police in the first place.

"--!"

Above that slender leg which looks like it still belongs to an elementary school student--sh.. shit!

This is a bad angle!

I lowered my head by a centimeter, having witnessed the scene, I felt that my blood flow seemed to have almost changed into Hysteria mode.

"You... you...! Even in this situation...!"

Even Aria seemed to feel that I was thinking "So lucky, I actually saw it (laughs)", the veins on her temple showing.

"Woah woah! Aria just turned eight! You've seen everything!"

"--Fourth year elementary school students are ten years old!"

"Aiya! It's really the Battle of Waterloo! Ki-kun, lower your head!"

Bam! Riko jumped up forcefully--

"Swoosh!"

Wearing her cowboy jeans, she aimed for my back and sat down.

Pressed down by her body weight, my head lowered.

Look carefully Riko. If you look properly, I have already gotten used to Hysteria mode long ago.

This is for the battles with "Grenada" from now on.

(Should I fight.....!)

If I enter Hysteria mode now, a tragedy will definitely occur before I achieve victory. Now that the three of us are alone in the lounge which hardly anyone comes by, the moment Hysteria mode gets activated will be certainly be an earth shaking event. If that's the case, the innocent Nakasorachi will become a victim as well.

I took a defensive approach--

Lowering my head, trying my best not to look between Aria's legs.

But using the concept of riding a camel on its back, Riko used both her hands on my lower jaw to forcefully lift it up. Not.. not bad.

You've let me witnessed the variety of Chinese martial arts techniques.

This time, with Aria in the "full exposure" angle--

"--Windhole Memory Destroyer!"

Aria09 165.jpg

--She brought her foot down hard. (--!)

God has appeared.

In the gap where Aria has lifted her shoe up, a miraculous angle that could have only been due to the protection of gods appeared--

From my line of sight, only the bottom of the skirt could be seen--in the gap between her legs.

--Fantastic.

This can be settled without having to enter Hysteria mode....

Dear God. Perhaps I will be going to where you are very soon, and I will thank you again then.

After receiving Aria's windhole attack, I only lost consciousness for 3 minutes. I couldn't help but give thanks to my own endurance. Once I adjusted my police cap, I returned to my work post as a waiter.

But thinking about it in detail, my endurance was largely due to the training from Aria's brutal violence.

I take back my thanks.

"Hi, all students. Come this way!"

Shirayuki, dressed as a female teacher was speaking gently to a group of elementary school students and guiding them.

The children were making a din near the entrance of the Cosplay Cafeteria, becoming a nuisance to the other customers.

Responsible for being the cashier, Aria wanted to be their guide, but was taken as a playmate instead. In the end her pony tails were caught and she fell to the ground. As the shop manager, Shirayuki hurried over to resolve the situation.

(.....She's really well-trained in the methods to handle little children...)

The elementary school students who were standing all over the place just a while ago, quickly became obedient, lining up to take their seats.

It's no wonder she's the eldest of six sisters, one look and you can tell she'll definitely become a dutiful wife and loving mother in the future.

After helping them with their orders, Shirayuki came into the backyard from the mess hall.

"There's a lot of customers, so let's raise our spirits! AI AI YO!"

Shirayuki said to the tired group of cosplayers--

Everyone seemed to be spurred on, raising their fists and shouting "YO--!"

Even though she was still expressionless, but Doctor Reki (Ph.D.) did the same thing as well. This is the first time I've seen her like this.

Following that, Shirayuki started giving instructions of the measures to take to handle the different situation for each and every table, making everyone's work a lot easier.

This is the true messiah.

"I see you have very good leadership capabilities...."

I said in a sigh to Shirayuki, who was writing down the priority list for the work to be done.

Might as well let her replace me as the leader for Baskerville, I've lost all confidence.

"No....."

Hearing my words, Shirayuki-sensei hurriedly adjusted her eye-glasses.

"My student council work has been lagging behind, I'll have to rush for that."

Following that, with a wonderful smile on her face, she walked towards me and helped me adjust my rank badge and tie.

"For the Butei, many are not good at work involving receiving customers. The Masters will deduct points because of this... Thanks to you, the situation has more or less been redeemed somewhat."

"....I... I was praised by Kin-chan..."

With an entranced expression showing on her face, Shirayuki's cheeks turned red instantly...

"I will work hard so I can be your helper. And also for those children who are unable to help at all. Ok, you can go now. Be safe." Shirayuki adjusted my police cap, and when she mentioned "children", she looked at Aria.

'Chey'--Taking a break and drinking honeydew melon soda, Aria, with a straw in her mouth, clicked her tongue in reply to Shirayuki's gaze.

Not only that, Aira was biting her straw and shooting glances at me at the same time.

Wh.. why are you emanating killing intent from your body.

Behaving differently from usual, she was looking at me with a bit of anxiety.

If you got something to say, say it. It's completely not like Aria's style.

"Look look, it's time for Aria to go for school. Did you forget anything?"

Shirayuki was somewhat delightedly speaking in a motherly tone. "No, I'm going off" Aria threw out a reply and walked out.

Then she ran back into the hall and viciously stepped on my foot.

What.. what the hell was that. Why did you get angry just because I praised Shirayuki.

And the act of physical punishment was so despicable. I felt her anger this time was different compared to previously.

Don't tell me there's new software installed in her brain? Uninstall it immediately!

After that, Aria kept having a weird look on her, like she wanted to speak but stopped herself, giving me a stare every now and then....

With some difficulty, I managed to endure till 5pm. Finally, I can change shifts.

Taking out the new phone I bought a few days ago, there was a message from Watson--No training for today? Recalling my antics when I entered Hysteria mode in front of her, I chose the splendor of ignoring the message.

Even without that factor, I'm dead beat from doing a bunch of stuff that I've never done before--not only did I have to address myself as "this police officer", I even had to bow after the customers made their orders.

I should just quickly go home and just eat something, take a shower, and sleep like a dead log.

As I was lifting my leg to return to the preparation room--

"Tohyama."

From the fourth preparation room, which was so small and cramp it could hardly be counted as a room, came a call for me, and it was done with the door closed.

"Jeanne?"

"It's me, come in here for a second."

"You're wearing clothes right?"

I asked Jeanne, who seemed unwilling to open the door for some reason.

"Are you stupid, of course I'm wearing clothes, but.... about this set of clothes, I want to discuss it with you."

Her reply caused me to have some doubts, so I entered the changing room.

In the changing room, Jeanne was wearing the "family cafe" type of frilly female waitress uniform.....

She was sitting on a metal-pipe chair, her body sprawled on top of the table.

On top of her head was a hair-band that was reminiscent of what a maid would wear, and I could see her ears under her shimmering silver hair.....

For some reason, her ears were red.

"What's the matter, you should be on the evening shift."

"Yes."

Still sprawled on the table, Jeanne's voice transmitted from her arm on the table.

"Then it's about time for you to get going."

"I know that!"

"Then get going quickly. You really like this set of clothes right."

This is because the clothes were Jeanne's own, and she made an effort to bring it out.

--I know, I accidentally saw it before.

"Ye.. Yes. But I still....once I think about appearing in front of everyone, I'll feel embarrassed."

"It can't be helped. This is the way things are, even I felt embarrassed too."

"Don't put me in the same league as you!"

Jeanne swiftly lifted her head, her whole face blushing red like Aria.

As Jeanne is 100% white Caucasian, so putting it more accurately, her face was pink.

Judging from her expression, it seems that while facing me, she's harboring some negative emotions with no outlet to let it out, so in order not to become some sort of snack--

"I get it, I get it. Then why did you call me into the changing room."

I said to Jeanne to pacify her.

"Tell me your opinions! You have seen me like this before. What do you think of it."

"I already told you back then. It's really cute! You don't have to worry."

"Really?"

"It's the truth. A police officer doesn't lie."

"Then say it again."

"Say what."

"Say that I'm cute! I've no confidence in myself. When I... I wear the clothes alone, I feel that it isn't too bad. And this is the set of clothes that I like the most. I've always wanted to try being a waitress for once. But, this.... girls of my height wearing clothes like this will be made out as some kind of joke. Everyone will certainly make sarcastic remarks."

I finally understood...

Jeanne is the type who does what she likes in private, but becomes very reserved in public.

When alone by herself, she is becomes broad-minded enough to start a fashion show, but once she faced me, who has seen her in those clothes, she'll feel very embarrassed.

"That's not going to happen. Have some confidence! You're very cute, come, let's go."

"You don't sound convincing at all!"

Jeanne stood up, waving her featherlight sleeves.

What a troublesome girl as well.

Just as I was starting to feel a bit tired, Jeanne leaned over with a 'pleading for help' look on her face .

Aria09 173.jpg

Her featherlight skirt brushing against me.

"Actually... it seems that the kohais[4] from the tennis club will be coming to see me. What should I do."

Ah.....

So that's how it is.

--Butei High is a school with some.. no, with a lot of feudalism.

The seniors must be strict with the juniors, and must more or less put on some airs in front of them.

This way, the relationship between the seniors and the juniors will be evident. This is necessary in order to ensure success during investigations and battles. Such similar culture exists in the Police and the Self Defense Force as well.

Hence, Jeanne was even more afraid of being laughed at by her juniors.

"No one will make a joke out of you. If there are really any first years who dare to make fun of you, I'll help you teach them a lesson. Look, there's only 15 minutes left!"

I looked at my watch--

Jeanne also looked at her shiny watch, which was adorned with precious stones, worn on the underside of her wrist.

"Un, un un, it's already this time now."

"Don't panic. This isn't like Jeanne at all. There won't be any problems. This police officer guarantees it. Let's go!"

I patted her on the shoulder to motivate her, but--

Crinkle, crinkle. Upon patting her, numerous tiny ice crystals flew out from her body.

What's that. Looks like diamond dust.

It's like some sort of mechanism which appears when she's agitated. This is a new discovery.

"--Tohyama. I wore these clothes only because of the lot that I drew, so you'll be responsible. If I become a joke, then prepare to be turned into a human hoarfrost!"

Although Jeanne said that, she still didn't want to leave the room on her own.

"What are you saying. And what, on earth is a human hoarfrost"

"It's hoarfrost made up of a human. Can't you understand simple words? Are you stupid?"

".... I've always been stupid. I was stupid to come here and listen to you. Get going. Come on, follow me."

Saying this, I finally managed to drag Jeanne forcefully out from the changing room--

"Jeanne-sempai!" "Jeanne-sempai!" "Sorry to have kept you waiting!"

We just barely walked out of the changing room, and 4, 5 first-year girls jumped out in front of the door.

They seemed to have gathered here after hearing Jeanne's voice, it looks like they're Jeanne's juniors in the tennis club.

"Ah!"

It seems that Jeanne haven't mentally prepared herself yet, freezing on the spot and turning into a human hoarfrost herself

I shifted my gaze to the first years, and was about to say "First years, if you dare to make fun of her, I'll arrest the whole lot of you!"--

"IYAAA---!!! SO CUTE!!!!"

But the first year girls were screaming away with their eyes fixated on Jeanne.

IYAAA!!! IYAAA!!!

SO CUTE!!! SO CUTE!!!

The girls were so caught up in a rapturous frenzy they totally ignored my existence, surrounding Jeanne who was dressed as a waitress.

"Cu... cu.. cute....?"

Jeanne's rose red lips were trembling slightly as she said.

The girls were still obsessively screaming cute.

"Ah, this... this--was because of drawing lots, I had no choice but to wear these clothes--I know I'm not really suitable for it, and...!"

Jeanne clumsily blurted. But her juniors were still heaping praises and saying "No way! Sempai is so cute!!" "Jeanne-sempai looks good in anything she wears!! So cute!!" "Sempai is a goddess!! So cute!!"

"Un... Un un.....!"

Jeanne....

Her gaze started drifting as she became shy.

Her reaction caused the first year girls to yell cute again.

But... besides "cute", don't you all have other words of description you can use?

Looking at first year students talking excitedly and crowding towards the side of the window--

(Come to think of it, Jeanne is really well respected-- )

I felt somewhat touched inside.

Shirayuki is the same as well, she seems to possess some sort of attributes that causes the kohais to respect her. This is quite important for Butei who will eventually have subordinates. During the end of term after our second year, there will be a grading for "Leadership capabilities. Suitability as a government official"... Jeanne will definitely score full marks for this.

Although she looks extremely cold-blooded, she will never bully her kohais, or give out impossible tasks to them. Plus she's also a beautiful girl liked by both guys and girls, although she's a bit slow-witted by nature, but she's a jack-of-all-trades... Even among students of the same year, she's a very reliable person.

Before this I heard of rumors like this--Jeanne's popularity among the first years started in the tennis club, and was slowly spreading towards Informa, Connect, Repier, Inquesta and other places.

Presently, Watson has the slight advantage for now, but if the trends continue on like this, Jeanne would definitely get the upper hand.

(Jeanne seems to have some sort of strength to attract people towards her.... perhaps a genetic inheritance from her ancestor....)

Just to add on, Aria is very well-respected by the first years in Assault as well, but this was due to her personal ability, and not her personality. She's pretty strict on kohais.

And Riko. There's no need to mention her. She's the type who'll end up playing with the kohais.

There's no need to elaborate on Reki as well.

From now on, I'll use Jeanna and Shirayuki as a positive example, while the others will be deemed as bad examples.

As for me, I have not much of popularity, Within the kohais, only Fuma knows about me.

(Anyway.... looks like I won't be turned into a human hoarfrost.)

Just as I started to relax myself--

Trouble appeared.

Jeanne was on cloud nine after being flattered by her kohais, all sorts of emotions surging within her.

"...."

Wearing her graceful skirt, she leapt out from the window.

"Hey! Hey...."

Although this was the first floor and no injuries will be sustained, but if a deserter (people who are absent without valid reason) appears, there will be a negative impact on the Cosplay Cafeteria.

If so... the Masters will judge us as incompetent, and everyone will be deemed responsible and slammed viciously by Ranbyou. I reckon the impact can result in internal organs being puked out from the mouth. Of course, this involves me as well.

I rushed to the side of the window, only to see Jeanne's hands covering her fiery red cheeks, running swiftly towards the center courtyard.

As she wasn't paying attention to the road in front of her, in no time at all, she bumped into a scarecrow on the field growing herbs.

"Sempai! Where are you going?" "Please let me take a photo!" "Are you heading for the Cosplay Cafeteria?"

I ditched the first years behind, who crowded at the window side within moments.

Using the emergency exit, I ran out towards the center courtyard, in pursuit of Jeanne.

As I realized that this problem involves my internal organs, my tracking skills increased tremendously as well.

Very quickly, I found Jeanne's hiding place.

She had left one of her lacy leather shoes behind near a small storage room in the center courtyard. Don't tell me you're Cinderella.

Like a real police officer relentlessly pursuing a criminal, I pressed my face lightly against the wooden wall.

Jeanne was sitting on a wooden chair, and I could see one side of her face from here.

"Ho ho, ho ho ho....."

Both hands pressed onto her burning cheeks, I have never seen such a cute expression on her face.

Acting just like how other girls of her age should act, the smile overflowing from her face even infected a bystander like me with bliss.

"..... It's really such a joy!"

Jeanne usually makes people feel like she's a Hollywood actress, always with an uptight look on her face. So her expression now could be considered to be truly refreshing.

It even feels like it's the first time I'm getting to know her true self.

".... Cute, I'm cute! As a waitress, I'm very cute...."

Jeanne lowered her head, immersing in every single moment the bliss which belongs only to her. A beautiful lace ribbon was tied on her silver hair.

And so she simply sat there, straightening both her legs, swinging it back and forth lightly.

(.......)

For some reason, I suddenly felt that I shouldn't continue peeping on her like this.

Her breasts, which were contoured on her clothes, were starting to shake continuously along with her swinging legs, making me feel that the scene was becoming very dangerous.

"Well from the looks of it, she probably won't run away from here...."

I smiled wryly and turned around with my back facing the wooden shed.

Watson is like this as well....

Maybe it's because of the reason that as a descendant of the heroine Jeanne D'Arc and that she was adopted, Jeanne always felt she wasn't "girly" enough somewhere.

But girls will be girls.

She was probably always fretting over how to show her feminine side.

The Cosplay Cafeteria was just the thing to help Jeanne fulfill this wish, and show her that what she thought about herself was always wrong.

Perhaps she will eventually start showing the side of herself which she has been hiding, little by little.

Through meaningless activities, the school is a place that lets its students grow continuously, Or at least it's a place that gives you the chance to grow.

"Of course, if it's a normal school.... there should be much more chances like this."

I looked at my watch, in another 7 to 8 minutes, Jeanne will have to take over the shift.

Jeanne.

I'll just let her enjoy her happiness here for a while longer. Then the waitress job which she has been looking forward to for some time will have to start.

You must work hard!

When you first came to Butei High, you didn't even know what flavored drinks were.


Finally changing into my Butei High uniform, I started walking back in the glow of the sunset.

The buses have stopped operating during the cultural festival. So I had to walk back to the dorm.

"Tohyama....."

From an abandoned building used for battle training, came a voice calling out for me.

As this was like a real war zone, all I could see was a chaotic mess. So it was covered up by plastic canvas sheets, and was out of bounds, but....

That voice, I seem to have heard it somewhere before.

It's that fox girl, in reality a fox spirit, and a comrade in "Deen". I think her name was Tamamo.

"Tamamo, you're back. But why today of all days."

As I replied, I lifted a blue plastic canvas sheet and walked into the abandoned building.

The exposed concrete on the first floor were full of bullet markings.

Dust particles in the building danced in the air as a gust of wind blew in from a broken window.

Sunlight streaming in from all corners shone onto the dust particles like a spotlight.

"Today is naught the day of Tomobiki (友引), tis a fine day for making many friends."

Stepping on the ground strewn with broken glass and bullet shells, I walked further in, towards where Tamamo's voice came from.

"Let me tell you, the television crews are here today. If you get caught by them and get broadcasted on air as 'Rare Animal Caught', I won't do anything to help."

Chatting with her, I lifted my head and found her standing on top of a steel beam laid on its side and hanging high up in the air.

She was wearing a mini version of Butei High's sailor uniform.

"I hath no wish to hath these ears of mine pulled and examined with intrigue and amusement. Hence, I came wearing the uniform of students here."

Tamamo said, while standing within a beam of light.

She was wearing a small uniform cap with a wave-shaped hem, and there were actually something shaped like two fox ears poking upwards at the top of the cap.

Hey, is this really alright.

"Yes, Tohyama. I hath heard you brought defeat to Hilda. Well done!"

Swish! Tamamo leapt off the steel beam with animal-like movements.

With her movements, I saw her tail which was hidden under her skirt.

So there is still no way to make the tail vanish. But if I told her this, she'll definitely get angry. So I chose to remain silent.

"You know pretty much. Who told you?"

"Tis the head of Liberty Mason who told me. Whilst discussing the problem of what comes under the jurisdiction of "Deen", it was proposed not to proceed with the extermination of the prisoner in the Demon Barrier--Hilda."

Liberty Mason......

I see. After I defeated Hilda, Watson must have contacted them immediately and reported the facts.

With a bright look on my face for unraveling the truth, Tamamo gradually approached me, and suddenly extended both hands in front of me.

"What are you doing? I don't have any malt candy."

"No. Tis for thou to carry me."

"Carry you? You're not a little kid...."

"As there is no deity palanquin, I canst only lower my expectations and hath thou carry me. Tis an honour for thou. Be quick about it, and carry me around for sight-seeing. Or dost it matter naught that thou suffers retribution."

Tamamo stood tip-toed, and patted at my nose.

Well, no matter what, this guy is still considered a god... of sorts.

If I really get struck by retribution, and my luck worsens, then my life will really be in a sorry state.

But when I reached both my hands under her armpits, and tried to carry her up...

"I say, you're quite heavy to carry. Should be at least 20 kilos and above. How heavy are you exactly?"

"Thou dares to asks my weight, does thou not know tis a forbidden number to ask of goddesses or even all women."

Using both hands, Tamamo hugged my neck tightly with no intention of letting go.

"Then you should at least change your form from a second year elementary schooler to a baby."

Hearing what I said, Tamamo used both her legs to start climbing onto my body.

"Aiya, thou should stop complaining. Think of something quickly. Good fortune will come from carrying a deity. Haha!"

Using both hands to support Tamamo's bottom, who was rubbing herself excitedly against my body, I lifted her up....

No matter what, I finally managed to carry this deity.

"I'll die from exhaustion if I carry you all over the place like this."

I said to Tamamo's face which was directly in front of my eyes.

Tamamo looked very happy, her face filled with innocence.

Looking close-up at her big round eyes, it seemed to have aroused my so-called fatherly instincts.

If there weren't any fox ears or tail, her appearance will easily make her a target for abduction.

"Why, thou seems verily interested in me. Art thou smitten with me."

Tamamo laughingly said to me, who was staring fixedly at her.

"Don't talk nonsense. The age difference is too big."

"791 years counts for naught much. Tis naught a thing impossible in a world of transformation."

"That's not what I mean. You're saying it in reverse, reverse."

"Reverse? Guh, the Tohyama Samurai of before frequently says things I do not understand as well."

Saying things which people don't understand, that should be you right.

I think my ancestors-sama must have gotten more than just a few headaches because of her. For some reason, the fates of our family and Tamamo appears to be closely intertwined.

I sighed inwardly, and started to tease Tamamo.

"Hiraga from Amdo was around this area for quite some time just now, we're screwed now."

"It'll definitely be snatched away if it's discovered. Once that girl sees something sweet, even the color of her eyes changes."

"Here, here. Let's hide here and eat... ah, Kinji...."

The voices of girls came from the entrance of the abandoned building.

The 3 girls were holding in their hands gigantic crêpes which were probably some sort of freebie.

They opened their big mouths in shock at seeing me carrying Tamamo.

"Ab... ab.. abduction...."

"To actually bring such a small girl to this place...."

"It must be an abduction. We have to report this immediately to the Masters and Children Welfare Services."

Oi.....

My luck didn't turn for the better at all. I'm obviously already carrying a deity.

On closer inspection, I noticed that the 3 people were my classmates in school. Yelling "This is so dangerous!", they took out cellphones from the pockets of their skirt.

"No, it's not like that."

I hurriedly put Tamamo down, trying to explain the situation clearly.

This will definitely be a bad thing once it involves Informa and the Butei triple punishment.

"Thi.... this is a child who lost her way."

I declared, well aware of the fact that I'll have to start a gun fight if all else fails.

"A child who lost her way?"

With a confused look on her face, Tamamo lifted her head to look at me.

"Yes. A child who lost her way."

Tamamo seemed to sense the effort I was putting in for this.

"No, I mean ye... ye... yes."

She seemed to have understood the present situation, following up on my words.

Just that her acting skills were really terrible.

In doubt, the girls said,

"A child who lost her way?

"Doesn't look like it."

"It just feels like she's been tamed."

The girls seemed to have completely believed the opinion that I have abducted a little girl.

"Adding on, isn't she wearing a Butei High intern uniform? There's no possibility she's a kid who lost her way."

That girl is well and truly a student from Inquesta.

Damn it, don't use your deductive reasoning skills in a place like this.

"That, well.... she really lost her way, than she was sent to me. She's my cousin."

"Uhn, yes. I wanted to see onii-chan."

Said Tamamo as she hugged my waist tightly.

"How can Kinji's cousin look so cute!"

"This has nothing to do with the face. Hey, let's go. It's really great to be able to see onii-chan."

I clumsily played along with Tamamo's act.

"Uhn, let's go. Onii-chan won't let you become lost again."

I held Tamamo's little hand which was waving in the air, finally managing to escape from the abandoned building.

I didn't know whether those girls believed what we said, the sounds of their discussion coming from the back.

"So that's how it is. Oh yeah, the cat-ears cap that little girl was wearing was really cute."

"It seemed to be moving."

"Maybe it's fitted with actuators."

Apparently Tamamo's cat-ears cap has turned into their next discussion topic.

Just that it isn't cat ears, but fox ears. And they're real.

Wiping the cold sweat on my forehead, I spoke to Tamamo.

"Tamamo, I can bring you anywhere you want to go, but can you change your form?"

I feebly supported my hands on my knees, pleading with Tamamo.

A second year high school student walking around with a little girl. even if it wasn't those people just now, other people might report me as well.

"Uhn, thou's physical strength will not be capable of carrying me around and move freely."

"Then we have a deal."

"So it shalt be done."

Once Tamamo was done talking, white smoke suddenly appeared at her feet.

"......."

I looked over....

And found that Tamamo's figure had vanished, and there was now a Temari beside my feet.

Oh yeah, she can change into these things.

"Hey. Carry me and go."

With the ball speaking, I bent over to pick her up. It's very light, about the same weight as a normal ball.

"You should have changed into this form from the start. Come to think of it, how does Tamamo do it."

"Tis the jitsu for emptiness transformation. Thou would understand naught even if I explained it."

Opening up the conversation with a condescending tone, the ball continued speaking.

"First, 'Mustard Particle'. Tis a singular point that possesses an extremely strong gravitational pull. These points are very tiny, but everywhere around us. Each and every one of these points are connected to one another. Using the 'Heavenly Streams of Fox Lightning', attractive and repulsive forces are applied to these bonds, manipulating the bonds into a shape of a tube. With 'Matter Fog', these are passed through my small body. The ends of the tube have a space of 'Emptiness', which exists on this space as well. The ball is placed in this space, and is used to replace my illusionary little girl form. Once the 'seal' is recited in my mind, these steps can be achieved in mere moments. Tis a matter which occurs in a blink of an eye."

"I'm sorry, I completely don't understand what that means."

"Using thou's terms, tis manipulating a wormhole."

".... I don't know what this is as well."

Come to think of it, you don't even know what panties are, but you actually know about a wormhole.

"Tohyama, thou art lacking in learning. Tis to say, although I'm here, but I'm not here as well. From the perspective of reality, if the ball is destroyed, I'll lose 'Mustard Particles', and have no way of returning from 'Emptiness'. Because the ball is me now, hence thou must be careful, and then even more so.

So this is the so-called magical transformation. Whatever.

(But this is really something. Be it Hilda or this guy...)

These non-human races have existed since eons ago, but their techniques are far more advanced than the forefront advancements of our science.

Although I don't know the specifics about wormholes, but mankind only knows that it 'possibly exists'. Even Hilda's Electric Charged Particles are only being researched by scientists in research facilities. But they are already able to make use of it.

If these are the kind of freaks in "Grenada" I have to fight with from now on....

Then it'll be like fighting people whom are from 100 years in the future.

But...

I suddenly thought of a phrase taught during a lesson in school.

Combat.

In this field, mankind has combined their intelligence and outstanding capabilities.

Not to self-boast, but mankind has progressed till now from recurring wars.

This is why the advances in this field far outpace the rest.

Aria's Colt Government was produced in 1911, about 100 years ago from now. Humans have not made any improvements to it since then.

That is to say humans have produced combat tech 100 years ago.

Then how many years has it been since the first person used Hysteria mode.

Now in a position with no choices left, the only thing I can do is try.

As Tamamo ordered me to "Take me to where Shirayuki is", I called up Shirayuki to say hi.

After her work at the Cosplay Cafeteria ended, Shirayuki went to the Supernatural Searching Research (SSR in short).

Seems to be for self-study, no wonder she's an honors student.

"I really don't like it much here...."

Reaching the SSR building, I felt a lost of interest due to the appearance of the building.

Firstly, the entrance was a vermillion gateway, it was like a tunnel directly linking to the building.

Looking around the entrance, there was a statue of Chinese Guardian Lion on the right hand side, and a statue of Sphinx on the left hand side.

The surroundings were full of Totem poles, Buddha statues, Moai statues, lanterns and what-nots on display.

Although there were Japanese barrier-sealing ropes hanging above my head, but hanging in front of me wasn't large Japanese bells, but rather something like the yellow copper bells in a prayer room......

In front of me was a written message.

--"Those with no business here are prohibited from entering the SSR"--

It was on a lookout board. I can't think of having any business in this kind of place.

This is a research department for super powers and magical abilities. A lair of secret arts. And a place I can't stand the most.

"Why does thou hath such a grim look. The surrounding atmosphere seems pretty nice."

The Tamamo-ball said.

"It looks like the gods are about to start an argument. You're considered a deity of sorts. Looking at the scene in front of you, don't you think it's some sacrilege."

"Times now are no longer of the old. But the truth each god seeks tis the same. And since telling humans to 'get along well', what manner will become of us if the gods starts fighting amongst ourselves."

"I see...."

Well, since she put it that way, then it no longer matters.

Pushing the large entrance door decorated with colorful stained glass, I entered the SSR.

The decorations in the hall still made me broke out in cold sweat.

In order to allow the students to pray here, the spacious hall were dotted with a few seat-cushions and chairs. The walls to the half-dome roof were full of ancient religious drawings.

This is truly a world I cannot comprehend.

What's going on in the minds of these SSR people. There was even a Wooden Fish[5] placed on top of a pipe organ.

A sign with "Anyone fighting will be shot to death -- From Masters" stuck beside an Aztec Calendar is the only thing here I understand.

"......so to say the Roswell Incident..."

".....through similar magic the mysterious links can be....."

"....It's really tasty, the fried and smoked red..."

I can hear the conversations of students situated in a corner of the hall.

There were all sorts of clothes they were wearing. One girl was dressed like a Tengu, but it was not a spear she carried on her back, but a bow and demon-slaying arrows instead.

A turban on the head, and speaking in Wheel Hatha yoga pose, that one must be a foreign exchange student from India. That guy holding a sutra in his hand and eating some dry-fried food, was actually wearing a cassock.

"Looketh, everyone gets along very well."

Tamamo-ball exposed the tip of her tail, pointed at the students and said.

Besides sighing, there wasn't anything replay I could come up with. I carried Tamamo up the stairs with heavy steps.

As the number of students in SSR are very few, the second floor and above have only units of single rooms.

On reaching the fifth floor, I knocked loudly on the door to a room with the name "Hotogi Shirayuki" written on an Ema shaped wooden sign.

"Coming, coming!"

Shirayuki's voice came from inside the room, following the patter of footsteps, came the sound of the door being unlocked.

When the door just opened, I could see a sliding door adorned with pentagrams, samurai helms, and the Hotogi family crest through the opening slit.

When the door was fully opened....

"Welcome, Kin-chan."

Greeting me politely, Shirayuki came out to receive me, dressed in her Miko garb.

There was a 3-way mirror left slightly ajar in the room, could it be because she was putting on make-up just now?

(Actually there's no need to go through so much preparation just to greet me....)

Upon seeing the gloomy look on my face.

Shirayuki's eyes instantly teared up as she said,

"Ahh.... Kin-chan doesn't like these Miko clothes very much. I always wear these clothes in SSR, so.... I'll go change immediately, please wait for a while."

Once she finished talking, she was about to close the sliding door.

"It's fine, I have something to discuss with you."

I said, as I pressed against the sliding door with my hand, took out my shoes and walked into the room.

Inside was a Japanese-style room with 10 tatami mats laid on the floor, on top of a painted rack was a statue of Dharma Buddha.

In 6 bamboo tubes laid alongside one another, each had a windmill made by her younger sisters.

I appraised the room, which was the complete embodiment of a Japanese-style room.

"Hotogi Shirayuki, thou hast grown up as well."

The ball I was holding suddenly moved onto the floor.

White smoke emitted from the floor, and in less than a second Tamamo returned to her original form.

"Ah!"

Shirayuki yelped in shock as she looked at the grinning Tamamo.

"Ta...Ta... Tamamo-sama!"

Swoosh!

Shirayuki dived onto the tatami mat.

The Miko garb's skirt fluttered in the air, coming to a pause at the time she knelt down.

"It has been a long time since paying my respects, I didn't know you were coming. I'm deeply sorry that I have prepared nothing!"

Shirayuki was like an employee who saw a supervisor on a surprise visit.

Holding a windmill in her hand, Tamamo slowly walked towards her.

"Thine bad habit of apologizing constantly hath changed naught. Come, lift up your face."

Making Shirayuki raise her upper body, it seems Tamamo wanted to squirm in between Shirayuki's knees and chest.

Ah, Tamamo actually grabbed Shirayuki's breast. You lusting fox.

Then, Tamamo turned her back towards Shirayuki and sat onto her knees.

"Tamamo-sama has not changed as well...."

"Shirayuki, thou hast finally gotten used to a mixed school. How goes your zither practice, can you ride a bicycle now?"

"Really, please do not talk about the things of my childhood."

Looking at them happily conversing away.....

So the both of them really knew each other from the start.

Sitting cross-legged at the Japanese-style low table in the room, I drank the green tea prepared by Shirayuki.

"No matter what, tis a good thing that the Tohyama Samurai and Hotogi Miko are of the same age."

Tamamo pointed a finger at me and spoke.

"So how is it, Shirayuki. Hast thou been done giving birth to children for this guy?"

Aria09 197.jpg

PFFFTT!

I spat out the tea in my mouth in one breath.

Being asked that question by Tamamo with the tone of "What did you have for dinner last night?", Shirayuki's body softened gradually like an octopus. Replying at Tamamo's ear side.

"I.. I.. I can do it at any time..."

But why are you looking at me and saying that.

Looking at the speechless me, Shirayuki suddenly buried her face into Tamamo's head.

".... What should we do hubby, our daughter says she wants a little brother or sister..."

Tamamo muttered softly, as her finger drew the "の" symbol on the tatami mat.

Listening up to here, even my face started turning red.

"Shi.. Shirayuki. Lift your face up. Don't bother about Tamamo's irrelevant remarks."

"Yes, yes. Father of the child. Let's do our best! How many, no, how many dozens of kids should we have?"

"Don't look at me with your eyes glowing like that. And who's this father of the child. Tamamo, stop saying useless things and quickly get to the point."

I said with some anxiety. Straightening her tail, Tamamo replied "Yes yes", and came to the side of the low table.

Shirayuki appeared at my side in an instant, and sat beside me. Even if I avoid her, she'll just continue to stick to me. So I just gave up, and the both of us sat facing Tamamo.

Following that, Tamamo....

She first spoke to Shirayuki about the "Far Eastern War" which has already begun.

And the incident with me getting involved in the war as the leader of Baskerville.

She also mentioned my battle with Hilda, and how I finally won.

Shirayuki listened calmly from the start till the end. As expected from an armed Miko.

Some of the technical terms that appeared and was used during this period of time, which I didn't really understand, she seemed to understand them as well.

".... Anti-demon barriers have been set up in all the harbours within the city. If any demon barge in, the Shikigami will inform me, and I will proceed to attack it using seals."

"Since this is the case, then we can consider the matters that will come next."

Under the premise of joining in the war, she spoke about numerous related topics.

"Hey, Shirayuki. Getting involved into this war, are you not afraid?"

"No. I have heard about the "Battle" in the Hotogi. And through my divination, I have known long ago that these things will continue to occur within the next few years."

You're really optimistic. After my fight with Hilda, I discovered that this will be a tough battle."

I said, as if trying to confirm Shirayuki's determination.

Shirayuki gave a light smile.

It was a very peaceful, long-standing Shirayuki-type of smile.

"The Hotogi Miko are protective Mikos. We have always fought for the sake of protecting. The chaos in the country, wars, and the few "Battles" encountered, protecting is what we always, and always will do. And..."

Shirayuki's expression hardened.

In an instant, as if re-affirming what she has already set her decision on, spoke hesitantly.

"I will burn out all the ashes that lands on Kin-chan, no matter who that person is."

She lightly touched Irokane Ayame's ruby-colored sheath at her waist as she spoke.

The term 'burn out all the ashes' is a contradiction by itself.

No matter, since she means to join us just like always.

"Oh right, Tamamo. Although it's a bit late to ask this question now... what's the aim of starting this so-called war in the first place? Even though Jeanna said it's for 'needs, fighting for something-something..."

"Tis like what Jeanne hath said. Fighting for something thou needs. Carrying out the redistribution of power. Tis is the intent of the war."

"Then what are all of you fighting over?"

"Tis the same as all other wars, things being fought over changes with time. Last time, twas fighting over precious swords, holy grails and so on. And now, tis for Irokane. Tis the best treasure of all. Although twas never cared much for til now, but the world's greatest genius Sherlock found the method to harness its power."

Sherlock....

Come to think of it, that guy did describe Irokane as "The Core of the Supernatural World".

So this is the thing that Deen and Grenada are going all-out to obtain.

"Things being fought over changes with time....."

I seem to understand somewhat now.

Using the outside world as an example, in the past, no one paid any attention to the Wulan Mountain Mine.

But once the method of exploiting it became known to the world, everyone started scrambling for it blindly.

Hence, causing a war to break out.

"Tis not only treasures. Excellent soldiers are targets to fight over as well. Tis why, since ancient times, defeated soldiers are incorporated into one's own flag. Defeated soldiers will also initiate switching sides to the enemy so as not to get killed."

"Oh....."

This is similar to Jeanne's "Betrayal is OK", and Watson's "The defeated party is the surbodinate of the enemy".

Thinking like this, I seem to have an understanding on the system for the "Battle".

"Then.... what will it take to end the war?"

"Total annihilation or surrender. Tis either Deen or Grenada's soldiers gets wiped out, or all the soldiers of one side choose to surrender. Conditional surrender is recognised as well."

This seems to be the same as wars of the outside world.

I glaced sideways at Shirayuki, and noticed that she had a face which indicated she already knew everything.

"Shirayuki, some problems hath surfaced but recently."

Tamamo straightened her seiza position, speaking to Shirayuki.

"Aria's 'Seven Stars of the Scarlet Shell' has been damaged, and the fragments hath been taken by Grenada."

"........"

This was the first time that Shirayuki became shocked at something Tamamo said.

"I met Watson just now, as proof of alliance. I demanded this. Counting this piece, Deen now hast 3 pieces of the golden shell."

Tamamo took out a gem which looked like a ruby. That's the crystallized form of a piece of the golden shell which shields the Hidan.

Maintaining her seiza, Shirayuki moved backwards, then bowed deeply.

"Our deepest apologies, if only the Hotogi Miko could have made the Golden Shell sturdier in the past, this would have never..."

"Tis not the fault of the Hotogi, you are so few, to hath done this is already remarkable."

"However, the Irokane Ayame which was bonded to me was taken away by Patra a while ago. As such, the Hidan...."

Just as Shirayuki spoke till this point--

Tamamo's gaze suddenly became sharp like never before.

"Shirayuki, stop speaking. Coincidentally Tohyama is here as well. Hotogi and Tohyama can share the workload and help one another."

".....What are you talking about. What's happened with the Irokane Ayame?"

"Don't ask. The hihi-irokane bonds to the human heart. And love is an extremely difficult portion to master. The more you know, the more your heart becomes confused. Humans are unable to master their internal feelings."

"?"

"From the past, the Hotogi Miko whom are deeply connected to the Irokane, are able to be aqcuainted with the Tohyama Samurai till now, tis because the Tohyama family is a clan that fights with the heart. Thou should consider carefully what this means. Does thou naught hath matters which thou does not wish to tell Hotogi?"

The hihi-irokane obviously loves "Love" and "War", just now Tamamo....

Only spoke about the part on love.

"Things which I do not want to tell Hotogi..."

She seems to know about the hereditary power passed on from generation to generation in the Tohyama family.

(Hysteria mode is definitely linked to our emotional state with members of the opposite sex, but so what?)

... I feel the atmosphere becoming a bit weird now.

The supernatural and topics on romance are the 2 boundaries where I'm the worst at.

If Tamamo mentions about Hysteria mode at this time, things will become problematic for me, best to remain silent for now.

"In order to successfully resolve this issue, the cooperation between Tohyama and Shirayuki is of utmost importance. So the both of you must get along well."

Drinking her tea, a contented-looking Tamamo looked at Shirayuki who answered with a loud "Yes".

"Not to worry, no matter what happens, I'll always be at your sides."

With a somewhat frozen smile, Tamamo looked in my direction.

"Be at your sides..."

When we were fighting Hilda, why weren't you around.

Although setting up the barriers is definitely a busy task....

"As for Aria, I will speak with her soon. The golden shell must be retrieved. To err on the side of caution, I'll also perform a preliminary diagnosis on the progress of the deitification into the Scarlet Blazing God."

"... Is Aria fine?"

I asked somewhat worriedly.

"Tis should be fine for the time being. Thou should worry naught. As long as Grenada is defeated, and all the golden shells are retrieved, there will not be any problems."

Since the expert has said her piece, then I have no objections as well.

But regardless...

I don't really know about Aria's condition yet, so it's not so good I worry about it now.

Aria still seems to be pretty spirited, so my worries may really be groundless fears.

"........"

I suddenly noticed that while I was speaking to Tamamo about Aria,

Shirayuki seemed to be intentionally withholding her comments and listening at the sides.

Tamamo, for some reason, did not even glance at Shirayuki.

It feels as if the both of them have a premonition about something, but didn't wish to say anything.

I furrowed my brows.

I don't know why, but my mind suddenly recalled what Tamamo once told me.

--About 700 years ago, someone transformed into the Scarlet Blazing God.

That person turned into a monster, and started wars....

Before it was finally killed by the Tohyama Samurai and Hotogi Miko.....


Translator's Notes and References[edit]

  1. The "Lazy" word used here is Lit. 懒懒散散. It was pronounced using "Ranran", which is Ranbyou's online nick.
  2. As mentioned before, for Ranbyou's name, the "byou" means leopard.
  3. Otoko means male/man. Nakasorachi literally addresses Tohyama that.
  4. A Kohai is something like a junior. A Sempai is the senior.
  5. Wooden Fish (Lit. 木鱼). A wooden percussion instrument used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts.