Leviathan:Volume 2 Epilogue
"However, to think that humans could use the runes of Ruruk Soun..."
"This new fact is completely unexpected."
After Kenjou exclaimed in amazement, Hiiragi Yukari immediately offered her comment.
The two of them were at the Kanagawa's prefectural government at Yokohama City. A brick building dating back to the early Showa period, it was full of retro ambiance. Yukari's office was located somewhere inside.
SAURU was a research organization devoted to the promotion and usage of the knowledge system called magic.
Yukari's job as a member of the organization was to command all witches in the Kanto region. Since everything was convenient in close proximity to state agencies, she had borrowed some space from the prefectural government's Supernatural Creatures Countermeasures Bureau.
"That boy has gotten himself into some troublesome things, poor him," remarked Kenjou, reading a printed report.
Haruga Haruomi and Asya Rubashvili. This report was jointly written by the two parties who had gotten involved with the magic symbol called the Rune of the Bow.
Four days had passed since the conclusion of the battle against the elite dragon, Pavel Galad.
"How about we simply put him in a skintight costume emblazoned with an 'S' then treat him as the Superman who protects Japan and peace? Headquarters has also reported that his true identity is completely unknown."
"Indeed, that would save a lot of trouble, but..."
"Not gonna work, right?"
"Not gonna work. After all, the organization's executives already know."
Kenjou smiled wryly when Yukari made the proposal in a half joking manner.
Unmanned spy planes had taken images of the battle against Pavel Galad. They were already seen by the person who had arrived to aid Japan on that day. She was the strongest witch in the Trans-Pacific area, in other words, the beloved daughter of Master Gregory, one of SAURU's founders.
"I have a bad feeling about today's meeting."
"This matter will definitely be pursued relentlessly."
While the boss and subordinate were sharing the same feelings, someone knocked at the door.
Yukari shrugged and called out "please enter" to invite the visitor. The one who entered the room was the person they had been discussing, a blonde Caucasian girl who was dressed in a black one-piece dress.
"Eh? Master Gregory's daughter came to Japan?"
Hal was shocked to hear the news. Beside him, Hazumi's eyes brightened with curiosity. Hal and his friends were sitting on a bench in school, chatting enthusiastically about topics in their circle.
"Would she be a member of SAURU?"
"Yes. She's the daughter of one of the main leaders at the Istanbul headquarters, and also a master-class witch. She's apparently some kind of chief researcher chairing the Trans-Pacific area as well."
After explaining that, Hal shifted his gaze to the one who had told him that.
"Although I've never met her, Asya, you know her, right?"
"Yes, but she's the type of acquaintance that makes you want to stay away from her as much as possible."
Rather than friend, Asya called her an acquaintance. Hal could get a slight sense of caustic spite from Asya's murmuring.
Although Hal nodded in understanding, Hazumi showed a puzzled expression as befitted her angelic nature.
"To put it in simpler terms, she's your polar opposite, Hazumi-san."
"My polar opposite? What do you mean by that?"
"Namely, a demon..."
"She's surely hiding a fox's tail under her skirt. After all, she's a Machiavellian villain. Also, I've heard that she seems to be gathering information about Haruomi and the Rune of the Bow."
Hal could not help but look up at the sky after hearing what Asya said.
"Will I be treated as a research subject like lab animals?"
"This possibility should be quite unlikely. You are a super dangerous character who keeps such an absurd weapon on your person."
"If anything happens, I'll follow the footsteps of Galad and try my hand at the conquest of Japan."
"Oh my, that was a joke. Anyway, bridges will be crossed when I get to them."
After adding an explanation for the surprised Hazumi, Hal suddenly switched his attitude.
His situation was changing at a frightening rate. The die had already been cast.
Rather than agonize with clumsy seriousness, it would be better to leave the worrying for when things came up. Seeing Hal like that, the childhood friend smiled faintly.
However, she instantly scowled and changed the topic all of a sudden.
"By the way... I recently heard some negative rumors about Haruomi and Hazumi-san."
"Uh, about us?"
"Haruomi not only made a move on Orihime-san but even played around with her younger cousin, Hazumi-san. You are two-timing scum, a bastard of the worst sort—Hearsay along those lines, in other words, rumors."
After Asya finished, Hal and Hazumi went "...", falling silent.
"Fufu. Do you two have any ideas?"
"Not really, just that I've been spending time with Shirasaka quite often lately."
"Th-Then when classmates asked what my relationship was with Haruga-san... I gave this answer: 'Senpai is like an older brother to me.'"
"Then before you knew it, weird rumors starting flying around."
"Rumors are so scary... Oh, but they don't bother me. It's true that I spend a lot of time together with Senpai. Moreover, we haven't done anything bad."
"Shirasaka is such a good girl. Don't you agree, Asya?"
"Please wait! There are too many problems to point out, I don't even know where to start!"
During the conversation, Asya suddenly yelled.
"First of all, what's with that 'Senpai♪'!?"
"That was my request. I had a hunch that being addressed that way would immerse myself in the bittersweet ambiance of youth. Sure enough, I tried it and it felt great. So that's what happened."
"Then what's with 'a lot of time together'!?"
"Oh, that was my request. There are many things I wish to learn from Senpai's work, so I asked him to let me be his assistant."
"W-When did something like this happen...? He's clearly just Haruomi!"
Seeing Asya grumble inexplicably, Hal frowned. Next to him, Hazumi was staring at Asya curiously.
"What's the problem? It's not like I'm bullying her."
"Yes, I think Senpai looks after me a lot. Oh right, regarding the 'request' I was in the middle of talking about in Shinjuku the other day..."
Hearing Hazumi speak timidly, Hal remembered.
"Ah yes. In the event that you survive that battle—Is that the one, Shirasaka?"
"Y-Yes, Senpai. Please allow me... to use that rune's power too. I hope to help Senpai, Asya-san and Nee-sama even more!"
Hazumi was speaking with a very serious expression on her face, putting Hal at a loss how to answer.
His changing situation seemed to have spread its influence even to this kind of place.
While Haruomi and company were engaged in lively chatter, Orihime was standing in front of the cultural clubs building.
Just earlier, she had spotted her cousin, Asya and Haruga Haruomi sitting on that bench, engrossed in their conversation. Although she could have joined them...
She felt embarrassed to confront the only boy in that group, so she came to this place instead.
"Haruga-kun hasn't changed at all after that..."
Orihime grumbled in a murmur.
During the battle, the conversation before the final attack...
Its contents were such that a change in their relationship would not come as a surprise. However, the key figure, Haruga Haruomi, apparently interpreted it this way:
"Going out might not be bad" = "No promise was made."
It was unknown whether this was the reason, but Hal's attitude towards Orihime remained no different from before the battle.
"And since there's Asya-san too, this is fine, this is fine..."
Experiencing these feelings for the first time in her life, Orihime felt quite troubled.
Something felt stuck in her chest, it was very unpleasant. She felt an urge to complain to the young man who stood as the main culprit, to say something like "you don't understand my feelings"—
Just as Orihime, who was seldom prone to sighing, finally sighed...
"Oh my, you came today?"
The eccentric giant who happened to pass by, President M of the UFO Research Club, spoke to her.
"It's not like I can't afford the tea to serve you, so come on over if you have time. There are many things to be done."
"Oh okay. Yes, I am free today," Orihime replied, brought back to her senses by the sudden instructions.
Thus, the two of them climbed the stairs to enter the clubroom. There was no one at the room before them, so they were alone.
At this moment, Orihime remembered. Now that she thought about it, Asya apparently discussed many private matters with this president. The silver-haired witch had said:
'That person is very broad in both body and mind.'
Indeed, President M carried herself with solemnity and magnanimity that one would not find in a high school student.
Was that the reason? Orihime found herself saying involuntarily, "U-Umm, I would like to discuss some matters with you... Is that okay?"
"It's quite sudden, but no problem. I have never refused anyone's request for my counsel."
"Then I shall take you up on that. Oh, but this is not about me, it's just my friend's troubles."
Orihime swiftly denied all personal relevance. After staring at her for a good while, President M started speaking slowly:
"Your situation is truly tricky to handle..."
Meanwhile, inside the Old Tokyo wasteland, in a clearing that used to be the Shinjuku Imperial Gardens—
Particles of light were coming together to form a mass of shining silver luster. This light slowly increased in size, gradually constituting a certain shape.
The shape was a dragon—the super lifeform known as an elite dragon.
And his name was Pavel Galad. In other words, the dragonslaying sword's successor.
"Urgh... At least I managed to survive..."
Indeed, he had been torn apart by dragonslaying flames.
However, probably thanks to arranging the runes of Ruruk Soun before the battle in the meaning of "fire of resurrection," he finally revived with difficulty, although it took quite some time.
That being said, this was a secret ritual of extreme difficulty, rumored to succeed only one-twentieth of the time.
What had guided the ritual to success was probably luck—and the Rune of the Sword appearing on his palm. Even without invoking protection, inheritors of dragonslaying runes were also blessed with unnatural resilience.
"Before I conquer the Road to Kingship and ascend to the dragon king's throne... I must not die!"
Galad vowed with obsession and passion. However, his body was covered in wounds after resurrection, merely sustaining a "dragon-like" shape at best.
With every pulsation, his heartmetal would produce excruciating pain. Simply lifting a finger exhausted him utterly.
This was due to deficiency in blood, magical power and nutrients. He must replenish these substances and give his body sufficient rest—
To use his remaining power with maximum efficiency, Galad came up with a plan. Namely, to use magic to shrink his body.
From ten-odd meters in length to the level of 180cm.
Furthermore, he also used transfiguration magic. This was necessary in order to hide in a human city.
Right now, Pavel Galad was a pale-skinned and handsome young man with a head of silver hair and a human face. Although his muscular body was completely nude, that appearance was completely human.
"This humiliation—I shall undoubtedly purge it by achieving conquest!"
As a pure-blooded dragon, transforming into a human was unprecedented humiliation for Galad.
Then in the land of Alaska was Sophocles.
The man who sacrificed everything for the Road to Kingship despite being a human. Listening to the report he delivered after returning to the white plains of snow, Princess Yukikaze laughed lightly.
"So that silver dragon met defeat. Hahaha, this bow user is pretty good!"
Princess Yukikaze looked up at the azure sky.
This was to transmit her thoughts to the moon's surface far away. To summon the minions residing on the other side.
"Well, this alone is not enough to tell if his caliber is sufficient to win my approval."
Come, come. She called to her golden minions while issuing orders.
Come to the ground to serve me—Yukikaze.
"However, my interest is piqued. Fufu, although I have no territory on earth, this might be nice once in a while. I have not had a chance to rampage as I please for so long!"
Thus declared Princess Yukikaze to her minions and Sophocles, who was watching over her back.
The hem of the gallant Princess Yukikaze's white one-piece dress fluttered in the wind.
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