Leviathan:Volume 6 Chapter 4
Chapter 4 - Then Back to Tokyo
It was the night of August 18th when they had returned to the surface world.
Shirasaka Hazumi and Haruomi-senpai were riding the wooden ship—the control device of King Solomon's legacy, the ark—and had gone back to somewhere unknown on the ocean.
After that, Haruomi-senpai immediately used Spatial Perception and Location Information magic.
"Off the coast of Long Island... The nearest port is Montauk? Roughly two hours by car... from Brooklyn. That's wonderful!"
Rather than drifting in the middle of the Atlantic, they were near a coast.
And very close to New York City too. In the end, they summoned the Crimson Queen and sat down in the center of her palm.
Then they had the queen fly to the nearest port.
They contacted SAURU's New York branch, went to a rental company that was still open, rented a car, and returned to Brooklyn after an absence of two days.
Back to one of New York's five boroughs, the district where SAURU's branch was located—
Hazumi barely managed to return with Senpai just before the calendar date changed again.
After a grand welcome from Orihime, Asya and SAURU staff, she returned to the hotel, finally alone in her own personal bedroom.
Hazumi exhaled and entered the shower stall first.
Utterly exhausted, she actually felt like going to bed directly, but no matter what, she wanted to take a shower first.
While washing off dirt and fatigue accumulated over the past two days of adventuring, Hazumi murmured to herself, "I caused so much trouble for others again..."
Under the shower, she naturally thought of Haruomi-senpai.
For the past two days, she had been together with Senpai the whole time, while trapped in sleep magic as well, hence it might even feel longer than two days.
Possibly due to that...
When she was alone such as now, she felt extremely lonely...
However, there were things to be happy about too. From the battle against Hannibal to the decisive victory against King Solomon, during this period, Hazumi had managed to be of help to Haruomi-senpai even on her own.
Naturally, it was because Minadzuki and Shamiram were helping her.
Even so, she still found a way to persevere to the very end. Hazumi felt glad from the bottom of her heart.
To be honest, this was more important to her than her leveling up as a witch.
Hazumi suddenly remembered.
Prior to taking off on the Crimson Queen, Haruomi-senpai had stepped aside for a private conversation with Hannibal in his human form. It seemed like they were reaching some kind of agreement.
Then grinning cheerfully, the red dragon king bid them farewell and left the wooden ship.
When she asked Haruomi-senpai what he had said to Hannibal, all he replied was "I'll tell you once the discussion bears more fruit."
Hazumi thought, if only I could become more trusted by Senpai so that he'll confide in her even before important secret talks of that sort—
"No, that is what I must become!"
The vague wish in her heart turned into a goal, but unbelievably, the moment this notion surfaced in her mind, the sense of loneliness intensified.
Of course, when morning came around again, she would be able to see Haruomi-senpai immediately.
However, she wanted to see him now, even though they had only parted ways an hour ago.
"If I call his cellphone this late... Senpai will be disturbed, right...?"
Hazumi spoke softly, suppressing her sad feelings.
Due to staying under the shower this whole time, her entire body had warmed up. However, she felt as though her body temperature had fallen to the pits. Why?
Just as Hazumi was feeling puzzled and confounded—
Someone was suddenly speaking to her from outside the shower stall.
A voice filled with a queen's pride. It was evidently Hinokagutsuchi. Unnoticed, the elusive former dragon king had come to Hazumi's room.
"Hazumi, I wish to chat with you."
"Yes. It concerns your 'Senpai.' Be quick."
"Kukukuku. Have you not noticed? Peculiarities about the brat."
"! I-I'll be right out!"
Hazumi immediately responded to the queen's grinning whispers.
She shut off the faucet and hastily went for the bathroom door.
"The closer one approaches transforming into a dragon, the more one's awareness and memories as a human will fade."
Inside the hotel room, a girl in a kimono was sitting on the bed.
It was the former dragon king, Hinokagutsuchi, who had apparently been human in the past. Despite the serious subject, she looked rather jovial even though one would not peg her as noble-minded in the first place.
"The brat has definitely set his eyes on the right spot. However, he is still too inexperienced..."
Hinokagutsuchi laughed mysteriously, "fufufu."
In contrast, Hazumi the listener did not share her mood at all. She could not even smile and her expression was so stiff that she could feel it herself.
This concerned Haruomi-senpai's future.
Incidentally, she had exited the bathroom after drying herself hastily with a towel, so her hair was still wet.
Hazumi did not even waste time on putting on clothes, simply wrapping herself in a bath towel. While admiring Hazumi's appearance with satisfaction (for some reason, she was pleased to see the naked skin of females despite being of the same gender), Hinokagutsuchi took her time to speak, touching upon the core issue.
"These are things that one might forget unwittingly—Do you not agree?"
Hazumi reeled back in surprise, That was precisely what had bothered her. Seeing her reaction, Hinokagutsuchi nodded and continued explaining with a smile.
"As with all things, it was worth testing out, so I asked the brat about his past with that Asya girl. I seem to have heard the story before somewhere."
"Probably... that time when I asked Senpai," Hazumi lowered her head and said, "I asked Senpai how he met Asya-san."
For the past few months, Hazumi had more opportunities to travel with Haruomi-senpai by car.
She remembered clearly that she had asked this question when chatting during a leisurely drive.
As a ghost, Hinokagutsuchi frequently went invisible, hanging around Senpai like a guardian angel. Hence, she probably had some recollection.
Haruomi-senpai's initial answer was subtly different from the one he had given inside the ark.
'...I remember it was eleven years ago when we were five. The two of us... were lost in a certain European country, so we bought either a burger or a hotdog to share. Back then, it was either Asya or me who paid, I guess?'
The overall response was similar but he was vague on the specific details.
"It has been almost half a year since the brat became a Tyrannos. During this time, he has acquired plenty of power, causing him to gradually turn into a dragon in body and soul."
"That's why Senpai is slowly losing his memories..."
At this rate, Haruomi-senpai would forget one day. Forget everyone. Forget he was ever part of the human world. Also, forget Shirasaka Hazumi—
Hazumi felt darkness dominate the future before her eyes.
However, she immediately changed her mindset, because she remembered what had happened after they returned to the earth.
"P-Please hold on! However, Hinokagutsuchi-san, you asked the same question twice, didn't you? The second time, Senpai definitely recalled his memory with Asya-san!"
Haruga Haruomi's second response was the following:
'I remember we were lost in Luxembourg and Asya used all her remaining cash to buy a hamburger. Then she shared half with me... No wait. I'm pretty sure Asya ate more than me.'
Hazumi argued emotionally and Hinokagutsuchi nodded.
"In fact, I intentionally asked a second time expecting this to happen, because the brat is a pervert."
Hearing the unexpected answer, Hazumi was taken aback.
"A pervert... I remember it means 'a guy with dirty thoughts,' isn't that right?"
"Indeed. Even someone like you would know that much."
"Y-Yes. I know. Speaking of which, Senpai sometimes calls himself a 'closet pervert.'"
Hazumi recalled what Haruomi-senpai had said when praising her swimsuit look last time.
But why? The sense of joy and bliss from the memory of Haruomi-senpai praising her was more than anything could compare.
She even thought "if it would make Senpai happy, I don't mind wearing a swimsuit again—"
But why did the fact that Senpai was a "pervert" mean that his memories could recover?
"Obtaining combat power and the wisdom of the unorthodoxy would lead Tyrannoi and hybrids to become more like dragons... Conversely, the opposite situation can happen too. Pleasures that could only be enjoyed as a human would occasionally cause someone farther along the path of becoming a dragon to revert back to human appearance."
"Did you know? Pure-blooded dragons are very different from you humans. Not only in body but also mind and soul. This is dragonkind's inborn nature. It is commonplace for hybrids to be devoured by the natural tendencies of dragons, losing themselves and descending into madness."
"Perhaps because of that, hybrids who have climbed up to the lofty position of dragon kings, such as Hannibal and that little girl Yukikaze, often retain desires and hobbies from their time as humans, staying the same even after becoming the strongest dragons. One might presume that they preserved their serenity of mind and soul through such a manner."
Indeed. Hazumi nodded silently.
The dragon kings mentioned by Hinokagutsuchi all had personalities that were the furthest from "asceticism." Right in front of her, Hinokagutsuchi was also the type to indulge her desires aplenty.
Meaning that—Hazumi instantly understood.
"I understand! As a closet pervert, Senpai would feel pleasure from engaging in perverted activities and revert slightly towards human... And his past memories returned too!"
"Yes. You comprehend very quickly."
"Oh, but what happened between the first and second times you asked that was perverted? I can't think of anything..."
"Silly girl. Did the brat not grope you in the chest?"
Hazumi was shocked by Hinokagutsuchi's bluntness. However, she immediately refuted, "That was a means for sending magical power into my heart, which is why I feel... Senpai didn't do it with those kinds of feelings. Senpai seemed very serious at the time."
"Hmph. There is nothing more ridiculous than that."
Hinokagutsuchi asserted with a know-it-all look.
"The brat simply created a touching atmosphere to prevent you from discovering his lustful thoughts. He must have enjoyed it greatly."
"So that is what happened!?"
Having had all kinds of questions resolved, Hazumi instantly felt her mood brighten up.
Catering to the joys of the incomparably closeted Senpai would help him to return to being human.
"I will try my hardest!"
"U-Umm, but if Senpai is happy... with touching even my kind of chest, I hope he will do it more. So..."
To enable Haruomi-senpai to feel pleasure, she would work hard.
However, Hinokagutsuchi shrugged sardonically in front of the determined Hazumi.
"If only things were that simple."
"W-What do you mean by that?"
"Human desires grow progressively. A man who is initially satisfied by breasts would gradually grow tired of them if that was all he received. One day, he would also—"
Hazumi was instantly dismayed. Then she thought of something.
Back when Hinokagutsuchi said that things would work out as long as they could offer Haruomi-senpai temptation.
Like having Orihime request to share a night of passion with him, for example. And have Luna Francois do the same supposing that was not enough. If even that was not enough, Hazumi herself too—
Could it be that this was truly necessary?
Hazumi felt uneasy as soon as she pictured Haruomi-senpai "strengthening his friendship" with Orihime-neesama and Luna-san. Pangs of pain surged up in her heart.
However, if all this was for Senpai's wellbeing, she would feel more glad.
The moment she thought that, the pain lessened slightly.
"I-I will do my best. If necessary, I'll ask Nee-sama and Luna-san to help, we will leave no stone unturned in trying to help Senpai!"
Hearing Hazumi's declaration, Hinokagutsuchi narrowed her eyes.
"Your attitude is commendable. Well, give it your best attempt."
"However, you are such a peculiar girl. I absolutely cannot fathom what is good about that brat with his personality twisted to such an extent."
The former dragon king shook her head. Hazumi could not help but answer, "N-Not at all, Senpai is very cool."
This rebuttal had escaped from her lips before she could think. She subconsciously wanted to defend Haruomi-senpai. Staring intently at Hazumi, Hinokagutsuchi tossed out a remark.
"Do you need your eyes checked?"
"If it's visual acuity, both of my eyes tested 1.5."
"That brat acts sloppily and shows no enthusiasm for things outside his interests. Apart from that, he is an insolent fellow who is extremely arrogant and often rambles on and on with twisted logic. Not cute in the slightest."
"I-I think those traits are what makes Senpai very cute."
"Neither brave nor gallant, nor stylish, nor handsome. Very poor at getting along with others."
"In spite of that, Senpai is still a wonderful person!"
This was Hazumi's first time rebuking another person's opinion.
How unbelievable. She did not want to back down. She did not want to lie about anything regarding Haruomi-senpai—These thoughts surfaced in Hazumi's mind.
Finally, Hinokagutsuchi spoke in a rare and poignant tone of voice, "It is very admirable that you love him to such an extent."
"You love the brat as a member of the opposite sex, do you not?"
"N-No... I have no intention of—Huh? B-But, so I actually, Ehhhhhh!?"
The true name for the feelings she felt for Haruomi-senpai.
This was the instant when Hazumi first became aware. All along, her feelings had clearly been vague, but now they finally took on distinct form.
The following was merely speculation.
Supposing Haruga Haruomi were present—
He would surely protest vehemently against Hinokagutsuchi, the self-styled devil, "What are you doing, planting such nonsensical ideas into Shirasaka's head?"
On the the other hand, the former queen of dragonkind would reply haughtily, "Given your unruly and arrogant ways, how could I ever pass up the chance to see you all panicked and flustered... Naturally, I felt compelled to speak out. Fret not, this would turn out to be quite an excellent experience from your perspective."
Regardless, Haruga Haruomi's destiny was to undergo even more momentous changes.
There was gentle knocking outside the door.
"Who could it be? It's so late already..."
Inside the hotel room, Hal grumbled before making his way to the door, thinking "could it be her?" while the subject's face surfaced in his mind.
—Several hours earlier, Hal had finally reached Brooklyn.
He met up with Asya, Orihime and the SAURU staff all of whom he had not seen for two days, reported what happened, and made arrangements to retrieve the wooden ship at Montauk.
After taking care of many matters, Hal finally had time to himself.
Just as he was about to get changed and go to bed, a visitor arrived.
It was already past midnight. Visiting at such an hour would be too counter to common sense. However, Hal joyfully went to open the door. Click.
As soon as he opened it, he found the expected person waiting for him.
Juujouji Orihime rushed into the room.
She immediately closed the door, looking like she had sneaked over.
In fact, there was an unwritten rule between the two of them: they must keep their relationship a secret from the rest of the group. During the gathering earlier, Orihime had smiled the whole time, feeling happy for Hal's return.
However, she had suddenly winked to Hal.
'Later... Could I visit you?'
Feeling that Orihime was asking him that, Hal had nodded silently.
Then now, Orihime had sneaked over to his room. The smile on her face had vanished. Looking almost like she was about to cry, she threw herself at Hal.
"Honestly—I was so worried!"
Orihime's words conveyed all kinds of thoughts and feelings.
She had pounced as soon as she stepped into room, presumably unable to wait any longer. The instant Hal caught Orihime in his arms—
Definitely not a muscular guy, Haruga Haruomi stumbled, unable to withstand her weight.
Orihime ended up knocking him over, sending both of them to the ground.
"I am so sorry..."
"I'm the one who should apologize. Sorry, I haven't worked out enough..."
"No, I believe that your physique is very normal, Haruga-kun. I-I am the one at fault, because I weigh more than the average girl..."
"You're definitely quite substantial in various places..." Hal remarked without thinking.
At this very moment, the weight of her limbs and her entire body was on top of Hal.
The two of them were pressed intimately together. Naturally, he was able to fully savor Orihime's softness, fragrance, and more importantly, the wonderful sensation from her breasts that were sufficient to call gigantic.
They took away Hal's self-control, causing him to accidentally speak his mind with a sigh.
However, Hal immediately realized he had misspoken.
Because Orihime swiftly looked up while maintaining her posture weighing against him.
"Haruga-kun—A-Am, am I really very heavy...?"
"Th-That's not what I meant!"
Hal hastily explained to the adolescent girl who seemed quite distressed by the comment.
"What I meant by substantial is your figure. Just your figure, nothing else. Also, the force was so big just now only because you pounced on me. Relax, Juujouji, your weight definitely doesn't exceed the average for your age. I guarantee it."
That being said, Hal actually had no idea what the average weight was for a sixteen-year-old Japanese girl.
Trying his best to put on a serious face, he made it up on the spot.
No helping it. He could not think of any other solution except for a "white lie." Fortunately, Orihime was willing to listen to Hal's reasoning.
"Of course. When have I ever lied to you?"
"Maybe three or four times..."
Hearing Orihime's serious response, Hal scratched his head. Orihime continued, "But... whatever. I'll believe you this time. You are right, it was your fault just now, Haruga-kun, for not working out properly when you're clearly a boy!"
"That's right, Juujouji!"
After reaching consensus, the two of them looked at each other and smiled.
Then they noticed. Hal was sitting on the ground with Orihime resting her weight on top of him. All this time, they were pressed together tightly.
Their faces were also very close together. Extremely close.
If they brought their faces together slightly, they would be kissing.
Staring at each other, they remained silent.
Not only Hal but Orihime as well knew that they could do "it" right now.
She looked away shyly, trying to avoid making eye contact with Hal as much as possible, which was why Hal could tell from a glance.
Also, Orihime's face had turned red faintly, she was sitting uncomfortably, looking very embarrassed.
Hal was not much better. Even after realizing the two of them could kiss, he remained hesitant, delaying at length.
Their faces gradually drew close together. Finally, their gazes met.
Hal recalled what he had said to Hazumi inside the ark: "It's best to leave our relationships at the stage of 'more than friends but less than lovers.'"
"I... might end up turning into a dragon."
Hal muttered and Orihime nodded.
Even so, they continued to slowly shrink the distance between them.
"That does not matter. Haruga-kun, even if you are going to turn out that way, I still wish to convey my feelings, more or less, to you before that happens... I wish to experience your feelings too, Haruga-kun."
"I love you. I really love you. I love you so much," Orihime smiled and said to Hal.
In the next instant, their lips came together tightly. It happened so naturally that no one could tell who kissed first.
—But I might even forget you too.
Hal thought silently to himself. He clearly felt that this was something he ought to tell Orihime, but could not bring himself to speak. He was unable to suppress the thought, what if their relationship changed as a result of this?
He was able to act with full professionalism in the context of work, but could only behave this way when confronted by women.
Just as Hal realized his powerlessness, Orihime timidly inserted her tongue into Hal's mouth. Her motions were stiff and clumsy.
At that moment, all hesitation was blown away.
Hal embraced her tightly, sucking her tongue forcefully.
Using his lips to seal Orihime's soft mouth, he reached out with his tongue and licked, causing their tongues to entangle with each other, impatiently savoring the sensation of Juujouji Orihime's interior.
Orihime responded with all her might.
Using tongue to respond to tongue, she reacted to Hal's kiss with equal passion.
Yet at the same time, she accepted Hal's awkward forcefulness with maidenly delicacy.
In the end, their kiss lasted five or six minutes. Engaging in mutual stimulation using their lips and tongues, they vented their heightened emotions on each other.
Finally, the two of them separated their lips at the same time to catch their breath.
"Haruga-kun... Let us have a good chat tonight, alright?"
"O-Of course it's alright. We can chat all night long if you want."
Hal gave an instant reply to Orihime's gentle whispers.
However, the inappropriate words of "I don't want to leave tonight" surfaced in his mind. Orihime suddenly looked intently at Hal's face and asserted, "The seriousness of your facial expression seems very deliberate... You are having dirty thoughts again, aren't you?"
"!? Not at all!"
"Seriously... Haruga-kun, do know that I am well aware of your thoughts and habits."
"I-I believe that sort of behavior is still too soon for us. Of course... After a bit more time... Who knows what developments might hold in the future..."
Despite clearly refusing him, she seemed inexplicably sexy.
Orihime's attitude of shyness combined with a willingness to accept him was very seductive, causing Hal's heart to skip a beat. He began to feel dizzy.
At that moment, the cellphone in Hal's pants pocket vibrated.
Someone had texted him.
Hal took out his phone and looked at the screen, only to see a single sentence of "I've arrived☆"
"What does that mean?" Orihime tilted her head in puzzlement.
They were leaning very close together, which was why Orihime could read the text too.
In the next instant, they heard knocking at the door. Someone had apparently arrived at their door!
Hal and Orihime exchanged nods and pulled away from each other.
They stood up at the same time. Then Hal opened the hotel room door slightly—And was shocked.
"It's been a while, Harry. After receiving word that you are safe, I flew over♪"
Standing outside was Luna Francois Gregory.
She was wearing a shoulder-less black nightdress, which accentuated her seductive figure that one might describe as perfection. In addition, the low-cut knitted cardigan was see-through purple with a definitely adult flavor.
Hal invited Luna Francois into the room and moved to the sofa.
SAURU had arranged quite an excellent room for him, though it was unknown whether they were offering Hal luxury treatment now that he had leaped into the ranks of the VIPs. Apart from the bed, sofa, table, etc, the room was fully furnished, even providing a desk for computer use.
Business hotels in Japan would be too cramped to accommodate such furnishings.
Thanks to that, Hal could sit leisurely on one of the sofas with Orihime seated on the other end.
This left Luna, who selected an unexpected spot as her seat.
"Umm, my lap is not a chair, okay..."
"Who cares? We were separated on different continents for so long, I missed you so much, Harry."
Luna Francois was sitting sideways on Haruga Haruomi's lap.
She was even leaning against Hal's torso, rubbing her beautiful face and blonde hair against Hal's face.
This action caused Luna's prided body, superior to Orihime's in stats, as well as its outrageous voluptuousness, to rest its entire weight against Hal's upper body, attacking him with an indescribable feeling of satisfaction.
However, Hal definitely must not get carried away.
Orihime was right in front of him, staring sorrowfully at Luna and Hal's indecent appearance.
"It's only been half a month or so since we left Japan, you know?"
Form is no different from emptiness, etc, okay. Hal desperately focused his mind and replied stiffly.
However, Luna spoke in a voice as sweet as honey, whispering in Hal's ear.
"For a girl in love, this duration would be equivalent to eternity. Harry, you must know that I am so infatuated with you. I don't wish to separate from you ever again♪"
Luna was not simply expressing her love in a joking manner.
Making full use of her natural initiative, she kissed Hal on the earlobe. Then the cheek. Then she rubbed her face against Hal's to enjoy skin contact—Then suddenly.
In the blink of an eye, Luna kissed Hal.
"Welcome back, Harry. I seriously regretted it when I heard that you and Hazumi-san had gone missing. Sure enough, I should have come along to New York too," she said in rapture while pecking Hal lightly on the lips.
Luna's tongue slowly entered Hal's mouth and even hooked and pulled Hal's own tongue. Pressing forward with her tongue to lick and savor, it was like two snakes intertwined with each other.
The deep kiss that came without warning made Hal jump in fright, putting him in a submissive position.
When Luna parted her lips slightly to breathe, Hal wanted to tell her "Oh, uh, that's enough, okay..."
However, his mouth was instantly sealed again.
In the next second, Orihime reached the end of her patience and yelled, "L-Luna-san! This is too sudden no matter how much you love Haruga-kun! He wanted to tell you to stop just now, didn't he!?"
"Fufufufu. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. By the way—"
Luna suddenly examined Hal's lips with a serious expression.
"Do you actually suffer from dry lips, Harry? It doesn't seem so to me."
Hal was just about to say "I don't" when he realized something.
He had been kissing Orihime just now.
During the kiss with Orihime, he had enjoyed the smooth texture of her lips and a faint minty fragrance. Most likely, the Japanese girl had used lip gloss.
Thinking "don't tell me that—", Hal instantly replied, "Oh right. I do have dry lips, which is why I applied lip gloss just now."
"Oh? ...I didn't expect you to pay attention to such things too, Harry."
Could it be that Orihime's lip gloss had transferred to his lips during their kiss?
Then the witch dressed in black had astutely deduced "something had happened"?
To resolve this crisis, Hal made up a reason. However, Luna Francois still showed slight doubt in her eyes.
Hal did his best to put on a natural smile.
"Hahahahaha. W-Well, I do pay attention once in a while."
"That reminds me! I wanted to ask you about something, Luna-san!"
Orihime extended a helping hand. She had noticed that Luna was suspecting something too.
"Luna-san, didn't you stay behind in order to protect Tokyo New Town? Now that you rushed all the way here to America... Will there be a problem?"
"Oh right, I wanted to ask about that too."
At least one witch had to stay in Tokyo New Town to defend it from the threat of dragonkind.
That was why Hal had not allowed Luna to accompany him on this trip. At least that was the way things were supposed to be. However, the American girl smiled tenderly.
"Don't worry about that. While you were away, I found helpers."
"I called over a bunch of witches I became acquainted with in Europe before... and they owed me many favors. I asked them to hold the fort in my absence, so don't worry a thing."
There existed free agent witches like Asya who did not belong to any organization exclusively.
However, they were all spirited women, extremely rare and highly skilled. Naturally, they were in very high demand too.
To suddenly call upon such personnel, asking them to come to Japan, the price must have been quite high. However, Luna Francois acted carefree while reporting this and even added, "Hence, Harry, I am completely free during this trip. I intend to go shopping tomorrow, so please keep me company♪"
Hearing this matter-of-fact demand, Hal nodded reflexively.
"So the conclusion is that you are going out with Luna?"
"Yeah, I've got to keep her company for tonight. But we're not alone. Juujouji is with us too."
Hal gave a ready response to the exasperated Asya.
They were having breakfast. It was the next morning after the ark's return. Hal had found a text message on his phone when he woke up. It was an invitation from his childhood friend to have breakfast together.
"Say, why couldn't we have eaten breakfast at the hotel?"
"It's not a bad idea once in a while. I've wanted to eat at this kind of place on occasion."
Breakfast was provided at the hotel they were staying at.
But that morning, at Asya's suggestion, they had gone to a food truck, the kind commonly found in North America, and casually ordered their choice of food.
It suddenly struck Hal that had Luna been the one to suggest this—
Most likely, he would have suspected Luna of taking him somewhere away from the other girls to spend time alone. Thinking that, Hal smiled wryly.
Presumably, his childhood friend with the hearty appetite simply missed the taste of more pedestrian fare.
Also, Hal had ordered toast, a fried egg sunny side up and crispy bacon. Asya's breakfast consisted of a bagel with an omelet topped with cream and a hash brown on the side, quite a small breakfast.
"Are you still on a diet?"
"Please don't use such a weird description. I've simply decreased my food intake. This is the standard amount for my physique."
"Well, I guess that's right."
Hal was still concerned but Asya ate her breakfast as though nothing had happened.
However, their gazes suddenly met a number of times. Every time he made eye contact with Asya, Hal felt his heart pounding.
He had already known this childhood friend for countless years, yet now, from her clear blue eyes... Hal found her gaze indescribably alluring.
Speaking of which, a few days ago, she had ___ him.
Hal did everything he could to avoid thinking back to that, but unbelievably, Asya also did not mention it at all. Currently, both of them were "pretending to have forgotten" what had happened.
(What nonsense am I thinking about Asya now?)
Feeling angry at his own ineptitude(?), Hal was very agitated.
"By the way..."
The childhood friend happened to speak up, startling Hal.
"W-What is it?"
"You agreed to go out with Luna in the evening, which means you're free during the day, right? Can you accompany me to Montauk later? I'd like to have a look at the ark's control device for future reference."
"Oh, sorry, I've got something for the morning too."
This was the truth, so Hal replied quite fluently.
"It's Chris and the WotC from the New York National Guard. They wanted to throw us a party to celebrate Shirasaka and my return."
"Then what about the afternoon?"
"I've also got another appointment I can't cancel, so let's pick another day. Since we have to go eventually, why not have Juujouji, Shirasaka and Luna, of course, join in for the ride too?"
"I can't believe that Haruomi declined an invitation from a girl so readily!?"
After breakfast, left alone, Asya randomly entered a park.
She was sitting on a bench, connected to the internet through a tablet, having a video chat with someone back in Japan at Tokyo New Town. Naturally, she was grumbling to President M.
"To think I specifically brought him out of the hotel, made him overly conscious of the beautiful maiden that is me and even invited him out for a date, my combo skill was so perfect..."
'That Haruga guy used other girls to decline your invitation huh...'
President M mused poignantly.
'Meaning that he has progressed significantly?'
'Under the accumulation of coincidental and inevitable circumstances, Haruga have had more opportunities to be surrounded by women. Added to that are the bold approaches from American girls, increasing his personal combat experience—Hence, he must have learned to some extent the evasive techniques used by popular men.'
"Ughhhhhh! What is that Haruomi getting carried away for!?"
After complaining, Asya calmed down. Unlike before, after her metamorphosis, Anastasya Rubashvili was a calm hunter of love.
"In other words, it might be time for me to fire the second arrow to continue my makeover."
'Do you have some kind of idea?'
"The biggest obstacle to making progress in my relationship with Haruomi is the fact 'we grew up together like siblings.' It's the whole reason why Haruomi thinks of me as family and strongly resists seeing me as a member of the opposite sex..."
Previously unable to understand her childhood friend's heart, Asya had him all figured out now.
"Although things are not quite the same as when we last talked, I wonder if there's a way to make Haruomi lose his memory? Like pushing him down a cliff into the ocean or something. To reset his memory and build a new relationship!"
'Well, as long as he doesn't end up rolling down the jagged cliff, it's worth a shot, isn't it?'
What a sloppy answer.
'Using handy magic of that sort would be another method.'
"I'm this stuck precisely because there isn't any magic of that sort. Can't this be dealt with using one of your shady skills with a quick 'zap!'... President?"
'No such skill exists. It's not like I am an alien with beams shooting out of my eyes.'
"Really? President, I always get the feeling that your true identity might unexpectedly turn out to be something like a New-Type with awakened abilities due to the human species evolving after the arrival of dragonkind."
'Enough with such nonsense. It is time for you to return to Tokyo.'
Asya jumped in surprise, because President M suddenly turned serious.
'I have been feeling uneasy the whole time recently. There is a very strong premonition—Something huge will happen to the city in the near future and might need your party's power.'
Undoubtedly, this was a declaration from a psychic with shady powers of prescience.
President M's "warning" caused Asya's expression to tense up.
While the silver-haired master-class witch was contacting Japan...
Juujouji Orihime and Luna Francois Gregory were meeting in the hotel lounge, having a morning coffee together after breakfast.
At this moment, Shirasaka Hazumi arrived.
"Hazumi, did you sleep well last night?"
"I heard from Harry that you two went through tough times."
Hazumi greeted the two girls who were her senior then said, "Well, Nee-sama and Luna-san... I have a matter to discuss with you, actually. It's about Senpai—Haruomi-senpai's state of health."
Hearing Hazumi speaking in such a serious tone of voice, Orihime and Luna Francois were both stunned for a moment.
Unbeknownst to them at the time, the web of personal relationships centered around Haruga Haruomi was about to undergo a dramatic change triggered by this moment—
The majority of the twenty-three wards of Tokyo in the past had become the dragon concession territory of "Old Tokyo."
Important modes of mass transportation such as the Yamate Line were now just part of a wasteland.
In Tokyo New Town, there was a new railway that could be called the New Yamate Line.
Namely, the Tokyo New Town Loop Line. The Yamate Line used to be a looping railway that circled the inside of the city. Similarly, the New Yamate Line also circled through Tokyo New Town along an elliptical track.
Kitasenju, Narihirabashi, Ryougoku, Shin-Kiba, Kasai Rinkai Park, Koiwa, Kameari, Ayase, etc...
These were the train stations along the route.
By the time he realized, he had already chuckled out loud.
Recently, taking the New Yamate Line had become a guilty pleasure of his. By sitting in the train, he was able to get an expansive view of this human settlement of Tokyo. A city that was to become his possession in the near future.
The feeling of "power" that he was eventually going to wield—
It boiled his blood and excited his emotions, turning into his source of fighting spirit.
"I cannot wait. Soon, the opportunity shall arrive... It is not far off now, Princess Yukikaze, as well as my rival of fate, Haruga Haruomi," he muttered to himself.
There were people staring at him. Taking the train along the New Town Loop Line on his own, he was leaning against the door, looking out the window at the scenery.
Two nearby female humans on the same train kept sneaking glances at the side of his face.
Judging from their identical attire, he could tell that they were known as "female high school students."
In the past, he did not know why people stared at him, but now he did. These females were apparently attracted to him. What a pain.
His reflection on the train window was a handsome face. In addition to his extraordinary handsomeness, there was his tall stature exceeding 180cm and beautiful silver hair. All things considered, he stood out very much.
He was already very used to his human attire consisting of a white shirt paired with slacks.
With the top buttons unfastened, the neckline of his shirt offered glimpses of a silver chain.
This exceptionally conspicuous handsome young man was named Pavel Galad. A pure-blooded dragon and Tyrannos, successor to the Rune of the Sword.
In the middle of the clear blue sky...
"I'm so excited," said Princess Yukikaze softly.
Maintaining her human form, dressed in a white one-piece dress, she was standing over a thousand kilometers above the ground.
Previously called "Ginza," this wasteland had a towering gigantic triangular prism of pure black—a Monolith. Princess Yukikaze was standing alone at the pinnacle of the Monolith, feeling the howling wind blow past her.
However, mere wind of the earth could not possibly restrict the white dragon king's freedom no matter how forcefully it blew.
While casually enjoying the feeling of the raging wind blowing against her, she whispered, "Time to stop lurking... Haruomi, I wonder how are things on your end?"
This was the name of the successor to the dragonslaying rune of the Bow Stars of the Southern Sky.
Paired with Princess Yukikaze who had inherited the Arrow of Sirius, the man of destiny might turn out to be him.
It was almost time to "play" with that sleepy-looking young man. Would it be tomorrow, the day after that, or a month later?
Princess Yukikaze grinned aggressively and sucked the air of the clear blue sky into her lungs.
No matter what, it was going to be the not too distant future. Such a premonition surfaced in the princess' heart.
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