Leviathan:Volume 4 Epilogue
"We are so damn lucky..."
"When Akuro-Ou disappeared, I thought we were going to sink to the bottom of the sea..."
"It'll definitely be impossible to find us even if they used a rescue boat for deep sea searches... I wonder how long can Harry's protection last...?"
"Even if I could sustain the protection, it's very likely we'll die of hunger inside it..."
Hal, Orihime and Luna Francois were finally rescued.
The commotion had continued all the way from last night and they even had to fight the Gray Aristocrat and escape the Dragon Palace Court in desperation.
Utterly exhausted in physical strength, mental energy and magical power. Due to excessive fatigue and the sense of relief, the three survivors collapsed sitting on the floor with their backs against the wall after their difficult ordeal.
Sitting in lethargy, the trio looked up at the blue summer sky.
A gust of warm sea breeze blew. It felt very comfortable. The long night had ended to welcome morning at last. It felt like it was going to be a hot day today too.
Also, their current location was the deck of the JMSDF multi-purpose support vessel.
The trio was leaning against the spire-like bridge protruding from the deck.
—Surrounded by imperishable protection, Hal and company had drifted in the sea.
Minadzuki was the one who had fished them out. She had hurried over together with Rushalka, probably by using a leviathan's keen senses, the covenant bond and investigative magic.
Surfacing from the sea, Minadzuki had put down the trio here.
Asya, Hazumi and the crew were probably going to rush over soon—
"Anyway, let's take a break before they arrive..." This was the privilege belonging to the mentally and physically drained—Hal suggested lazily.
Luna and Orihime had no objections. They were all thoroughly exhausted. Even now, none of them wanted to stand up.
"B-By the way, you two, about just earlier, umm..." Orihime suddenly spoke quietly, her voice lowered in embarrassment.
Perhaps she was referring to the scene where the three of them had combined their power to sever the Gray Aristocrat's chains. As soon as he thought back to that time, Hal felt so touched that he almost had a breakdown.
Stemming from survival instincts after all, he naturally summoned his immovable rock-like state of mind.
"I-I think it would be best to keep it a secret from Hazumi and Asya-san. What do you two think? Since this is a matter between friends, would it be better to report to everyone after all...?"
"There shouldn't be a need to tell them expressly. I concur with Orihime-san," answered Luna Francois immediately.
There was still a blush on the blonde beauty's pale complexion. The aftertaste of the excitement back then had apparently lingered. With this expression, Luna winked profoundly at Orihime.
It was as though they were accomplices who had tasted forbidden fruit and wanted to keep it a secret between themselves.
Hence, Orihime nodded.
The black-haired Japanese maiden was clearly relieved.
"Th-Thank you, Luna-san. Thank you for saying that..."
"I believe that it would be too shocking for Asya and Hazumi-san... Shouldn't we keep this as a secret between us and Harry...?"
"Shocking—Well said. It is too shocking indeed!"
"Consequently, regarding the progress in my relationship with Harry, please turn a blind eye with a generous heart, Orihime-san. Let us compete with open fairness on this front, okay? We could join forces to inconspicuously keep Asya and Hazumi-san away from the front lines..."
"Huh? Oh, uh, I—well, how should I say this...?"
"It is imperative to limit those who engage in such behavior with Harry and experience those feelings to the two of us."
"By the way—"
Having entered sage time via a mind like an immovable rock, Hal suddenly interjected.
"What exactly did you two feel when we were doing that?"
" "...Not telling." "
The two girls, one Japanese and one American, answered in unison.
At that moment, they heard a patter of rapid footsteps. Someone was coming.
"Haruomi! Orihime-san and Luna have returned safely too!"
"I am so glad that everyone is safe and sound!"
Asya and Hazumi finally came. Hal went "hmm?" as though something occurred to him.
Speaking of which, Hal seemed to recall the same kind of scene taking place after the battle against Pavel Galad too. Hal felt a sense of foreboding but before he could explore the reason—
"H-H-H-H-H-Haruomi! What kind of craziness did you guys just do to end up like that!?"
"N-Nee-sama!? Senpai!? Even Luna-san!? U-Umm, all of you look very tired! E-Excuse me!"
"H-Hazumi!? Wait, don't go, listen to my explanation!"
Seeing the rescued trio in this state, Asya first flew into a rage.
Then the kindhearted Hazumi was rendered flustered, confused and distraught. Finally, she turned around and was about to make a quick exit. When her cousin, Orihime, called to her, Hazumi halted.
At that moment, Hal finally became aware of their current state.
Due to excessive fatigue, the trio of Hal, Orihime and Luna Francois were leaning against the bridge with their limbs outstretched. This was not a problem so far.
However, the way they were sitting was the so-called "III" configuration.
In the middle was Haruga Haruomi. On his right was Luna Francois with Orihime on his left. As though sharing a bed with Hal, the two girls were pressed tightly against him.
Indeed. Hal was currently sandwiched between two girls with spectacular figures.
Luna Francois was using her leg to entangle Hal's leg. Orihime's black hair and exquisite face was positioned close to Hal's cheek, a level of intimacy beyond normal. However, the trio did not mean anything by it. They had simply entered this state without noticing.
This was because they had naturally squeezed themselves together inside the imperishable protection's cramped interior during the escape from the Dragon Palace Court.
Furthermore, the excitement from using the Rune of the Twin Katana was still lingering in the trio's hearts.
That was probably the reason why Hal and the girls accepted this state without thinking there was anything wrong. However, it was true that this posture would make others think that they had some sort of suspicious relationship or had crossed the line in a male-female sense...
Just as Hal was thinking if he could find some kind of eloquent excuse—
Luna Francois suddenly drew her face near. By the time he came to his senses, Luna had already sealed his mouth with her lips. Hal was being kissed. By Luna's lips.
The raging Asya froze. At a loss how to react, Hazumi also stared wide-eyed, unmoving.
Resting against Hal, Orihime jumped all at once.
Unconcerned about the audience's gaze, Luna Francois continued to kiss Hal. Her well-shaped lips had sealed Hal's mouth—and she even inserted her tongue. Pecking, licking Hal's lips, she then entangled Hal's tongue with her own, kissing him nonstop with audible smooches.
In the end, after a passionate kiss lasting roughly forty seconds, Luna finally moved her lips away.
"In other words, this is what's going on. Best regards to you, Asya."
Hal's childhood friend lose composure and showed a very flustered gaze.
As a side note, Hal himself was in a dazed state. This was completely out of left field for him.
Half a day went by after Hal's reunion with Asya and the others.
Hal and company returned to Shimoda at the Izu Peninsula with the intention of returning to Tokyo New Town the next day after spending a night there. Night had fallen. The sky was cloudless, allowing a clear view of the stars.
Feeling very uncomfortable inside the inn, Hal went for a seaside stroll on his own.
This was because Luna Francois' behavior had shocked all the other members in the group.
Orihime and Hazumi would suddenly lose their calm as soon as they were in Hal's presence, unable to speak.
Asya was probably the most shocked, remaining dazed for a many hours. However, after hearing Luna's invitation to Hal, "Harry, if you don't mind, how about coming to my room tonight?", Asya kept following Luna closely to prevent the blonde Shootdown Ace from acting freely.
Furthermore, Luna's invitation felt like it was only partially in jest...
This made Hal recall his first experience with the sensation of lips. However, he hastily interrupted his reminiscence because he immediately realized he would act very strangely if he continued.
He shook his head and looked up at the night sky.
On a whim, Hal began to look for the Cygnus. Cygnus was a cross-shaped summer constellation. According to Ruruk Soun's secret records, it was apparently the emblem of the twin katana cross star, the Rune of the Twin Katana—
Perhaps this knowledge was what prompted him to search for Cygnus.
"Has it been a fruitful journey, Haruomi?" The voice of the white dragon king and princess inquired.
Hal immediately answered, "So-so. At least the gains were not zero."
"Good for you. I was right to send you out."
Princess Yukikaze nodded with satisfaction. Before he knew it, she was already standing in front of Hal—No.
Only seconds earlier did she descend gallantly from the sky without making a sound. Hal was not surprised by this, because the Rune of the Bow had already told him that the arrow paired with it was approaching.
Hal shrugged. Coming and going elusively unseen was not a suitable description for her.
Given Princess Yukikaze's flying ability that was like an arrow's, the distance from Tokyo to Izu would be like the distance of an evening stroll.
"Did something happen in Tokyo afterwards?"
"Nothing. You can call it daily peace. Yes."
Princess Yukikaze curled the corners of her lips and smiled mischievously.
"I am not clairvoyant. Perhaps there are subjects shedding tears where I, Yukikaze, cannot see, but it should be fine to exclude them, right? Hmm."
"On the other hand, I wish you'd look after every single subject like a benevolent queen."
"What are you talking about? How every family lives and spends their days has nothing to do with the sovereign. Do you want where you sleep and what you eat to be determined by royal decree?"
"I see what you mean. You definitely make a good point."
"A sovereign's job is to revitalize the nation, build a capital and rule well. But in the case of dragon kings, this should be changed to compete, fight and plunder."
Princess Yukikaze smiled again. She was bringing up a king's insight.
It looked like Princess Yukikaze only sought out Hal to chat tonight, even though she was regarding Haruga Haruomi as her current foe of sorts.
But it was also in Princess Yukikaze's style to show open-mindedness without getting bogged down by such matters.
Hal accepted it wryly. He had his reasons that made it impossible for him to complain to Princess Yukikaze.
"Then in the near future, I'll pay you a visit and bring a souvenir from my travels as thanks."
"Yes, please do. Just go to the same wedge as before and signal as appropriate. I, Yukikaze, will head over as soon as I notice."
A few days before the expedition to Izu, Luna Francois had invited Hal on a date.
However, Hal had told her "unfortunately, I have a date with someone else today." This was no excuse. In fact, Hal had gone to the Old Tokyo Concession alone after school that day.
It was to have an audience with Princess Yukikaze.
Although the distance was not great, all of New Town's witches were going to take part in the expedition.
Prior to the journey, he wanted to observe whether the princess was in a good mood or not, to confirm whether she intended to start a conflict within these few days. Apart from that, Hal wanted to confirm with Princess Yukikaze whether she would fight and drive off other dragons if they attacked while Hal and company were away—
Such a discussion was very shameless, but Hal felt that the princess, with her strong curiosity, would agree to it.
Hence, Hal had visited the Monolith standing in a corner of what was formerly Ginza. On that day, the girl who was like a snow fairy had also descended from the sky like a gust of wind...
"One more thing, Haruomi. I, Yukikaze, shall make this clear in advance. No need for souvenirs."
"Yes. The twin katana in your hands are enough. Fufu, you are gradually obtaining power worthy enough for me, Yukikaze, to take matters into my own hands. Let me offer you a few words of commendation."
"I went through so much to get a new weapon and you've already seen through it? You leave me speechless."
"Solving riddles isn't my forte. The one who is curious might be that man over there."
Princess Yukikaze threw a glance behind Hal.
Hal looked back. Although it was a stuffy summer night, the man was wearing a summer suit with full formality, waiting there silently. The man's face was both mature and proper.
As a side note, he was not sweating the slightest. With a cool expression, the man stood there without moving from his spot.
"It has been a while, young man. Successor of the Bow and Twin Katana."
His voice sounded as astringent as rusted iron.
Indeterminate birthplace. Tall. A man in his prime in appearance. Named Sophocles. In charge of facilitating the Road to Kingship—
"Actually, I have suspected this since a long time ago. Was it the Crimson Queen who had hid away the seal of the twin katana? I am very happy to obtain the answer to this question."
"You came all the way to Izu just to say this?"
Hal shrugged. Sophocles had claimed to be a human, not a dragon.
This man. The flint. The history of the race called "dragons." There seemed to be an endless number of mysteries to take care of—Hal really wanted to complain. Also, his guide, Hinokagutsuchi, had thoroughly entered a state of lethargy right now.
The corners of Sophocles' lips rose slightly.
"Distance and location are irrelevant. So long as it is to see you, Tyrannos and dragon king, I am willing to venture anywhere, not just on Earth but even the far ends of the sea of stars. And young man, you would do best to remember one thing."
"What is it?"
"The former queen is not the only one who can instruct you. I can fulfill that job too."
"Now that you bring it up, I think you mentioned it before as well. Anyway, I'll keep that in mind."
Hal gave a safe answer, but what he was thinking was—
It was probably because Sophocles was always dressed in black. This man could very well be a devil surpassing Hinokagutsuchi in truth—Hal found himself unable to evict this image and bias from his mind.
Currently, there was absolutely no reason compelling him to abandon this bias.
Hence, Hal did not say more and Sophocles departed silently. By the time he noticed, Princess Yukikaze had vanished too.
Summer had just started. Only a couple months had gone by since he had obtained the power of dragonbane.
Nevertheless, the seeds of chaos were slowly and steadily growing in Hal's surroundings.
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