Masou Gakuen HxH:Volume 10 Chapter 1
Chapter 1 – Hayuru
It was a world of snow and ice.
The average temperature was minus ten degrees. There was almost never a time when there was sunshine, with snow and blizzards continuing everyday.
That was Odin’s world.
A mountain range with an elevation of ten kilometers was standing in the way like a wall. A forest of needle-leaved trees with heights over a hundred meters was spreading out at the foot of the mountain. Odin’s palace stood proud and majestic with that forest behind it.
The wooden palace looked similar to Queen Landred’s palace in the Baldin Kingdom of Atlantis. But rather than the palace, what was most worthy of mention was the large fighting arena created beside it. It was a circular fighting arena with a diameter that reached even ten kilometers. It was as though it was the center of this world. Roads spread out in a radial shape from the arena, forming a city.
It was a townscape without decoration, giving the impression of simplicity and frugality. Triangle roofs and walls with wooden texture laid bare. The entrance of these buildings were located on the second floor. Perhaps as a countermeasure against the snow and cold, there were also a lot of houses with double layered window. There was also a building with a height of nearly a hundred meters among them, but all of them were made from wood.
The residents here were all people of other worlds who came because of Odin’s invitation.
The residents of this world were warriors whether they wished it or not, they were forced to fight daily at the arena. All of those battles were for the sake of this world’s god, Odin.
And then, even now, a match was being carried out in the arena.
Chidorigafuchi Aine’s fist cut through the air.
Aine’s Heart Hybrid Gear 『Zeros』 struck the opponent with a severe punch. A terrific impact sound was given off and sparks scattered, the shockwave rolled up the snow on the ground.
It was a critical hit. However the enemy’s armor was thick.
What blocked the fist was the neck of a giant boar. It was a lump of steel with height of two meters in total, and its width reached a meter, stopping Aine’s fist right from the front.
That object was a magic weapon that took the shape of a boar. However it had no torso, it was like only its head was cut off. The internal mechanism was unclear, but as expected it seemed to use something that resembled a magic mechanism. Its small eyes shined blue and the light of magic power was circulated on the metallic surface.
Aine took distance in one go using her thruster and slid on top of the snow. The snow piled up on the arena was four, five centimeters thick. The raining down snow from the sky was currently sparse. As though recalling it, at the other side of the fluttering down snow there was a warrior that was accompanying the boar head.
That man’s name was 『Frei』.
A tall body that was nearly two meters and light armor that looked as though it was one with the body. His beautiful golden hair lengthened until his back and his well-featured face looked masculine like a Greek sculpture. His shoulder width was wide, and long legs stretched out from the splendid body build of an inverted triangle. Actually it was a splendid manly body, but the majority of that body was mechanized, Aine didn’t understand what kind of appearance he originally had.
「Fufufu, I never thought that someone ranked below a hundred like you with a divinity number around 53000, can survive more than a minute against this me. As expected from someone who attracted the attention of Odin-sama.」
「That’s really just an annoyance for me.」
Aine put her right fist to the front, and pulled her left hand before it. At her wrist was a shining silver ring. The number floating there was 113. That was the worth of Aine’s existence in this world.
「But you see Aine. You cannot possibly reach this Frei who ranks within the top ten, the so called Odin Ranker. Even if a miracle occurs, you won’t be able to defeat this me.」
He lifted up his left hand to make a show at Aine. The ring at that wrist was shining with the number 10.
Aine kicked on the ground before Frei could finish talking. She closed the distance in an instant. But in reaction to Aine’s attack, the giant boar cut in between the two of them once more. The boar stopped Aine’s fist with its nose and then it opened its mouth. That force bounced off Aine’s arm.
Aine’s arm overreached and her defenseless flank was exposed.
Flame was spouted out from the largely opened mouth of the boar of steel(Gullinbursti). It was a beam shaped flame that was compressed into high density. Aine defended against that flame’s pressure using Life Saver.
The pressure of the flame was tremendous, Aine’s body was sliding on the arena’s field. Even with Life Saver protecting her, the armor of Zeros was heated up. That heat instantly vaporized the arena’s snow and white smoke enshrouded the area.
「A shield of that level cannot block my attack!」
Frei withdrew the sword hanging on his waist.
The blade shined radiantly and rolled up tremendous heat and wind. And then it emitted radiance like the sun, and it was swung down towards Aine. However there was more than a hundred meter distance between them. Regardless of that the shockwave and flame blew away Aine’s body like a leaf.
She rolled many times on the arena’s snow. And then, a violent spray of snow was raised and Aine’s body became unable to move. A communication window was opened beside the collapsed Aine.
『Oi Aine! Get a hold of yourself!』
The beautiful girl with blonde hair and dark brown skin projected in the window called out to her with an urgent voice.
「Ku……don’t yell like that, Gravel. I can still stand.」
Aine rotated her body as though she was turning in her sleep, put her hand on the ground, and raised her upper body with trembling hands. And then she stared at Frei and his follower Gullinbursti through the air that was hazy with steam.
「Gravel, how much is that guy’s divinity number?」
『Frei is currently at 124000. As expected from the rank 10. Although he is at the lowest seat, he is still an Odin Ranker.』
「I see, more than double of mine……indeed he has a reason to be full of confidence like that.」
Aine stood up somehow. Gravel stared at her figure with a grim look.
『What will you do? Surrender?』
「Don’t joke! If I become an Odin Ranker, I will be given the right to challenge Odin you know? I finally arrived until where I can face a Ranker through this one year!」
Gravel really understood how Aine was feeling to the degree it felt painful.
Gravel and the others arrived in this world about two months ago. However at that time Aine was already here for nearly ten months, passing her time here. During that time she had continued fighting by herself until this point.
「I……will defeat that guy, and then, defeat Odin.」
――And then, return back to the original world once more. Together with everyone, with Kizuna, once more!
「Besides, there is a rumor that this Frei imitated Odin and tried to follow the same evolution. So to speak, he is an inferior copy of Odin. This is a good training stage.」
『Then, you plan to use that?』
Aine didn’t answer that question and glared at Frei.
「Fufufu, Aine. So you plan to challenge Odin-sama?」
Frei was walking slowly with his favorite sword, Laevateinn in one hand. His face was overflowing with composure that said he could defeat her anytime.
「Yes. I’ll challenge her. I cannot stay in a world like this any longer! I’ll defeat Odin, and then, return to my original world.」
「What a fool.」
「Why? Even you were summoned from another world originally right? Don’t you want to fight Odin, win, and return to your former world?」
Frei suddenly let out a chuckle.
「I already forgot about such a past matter. Besides, I don’t have any attachment to my former world. My current objective is only to defeat god.」
He boasted so and then stared at the palace of Odin.
「But, I am still far away from god’s level. There are still more battles to come for me to repeat and evolve. I will also obtain your weapon after I defeat you.」
「I guess. Then, I’ll receive that sword from you.」
Aine stared at the shining sword Frei was holding with a fearless smile. The rule of this world was that the winner could take one weapon and authority from the loser. Like that the strong became stronger, attaching their body with various abilities.
As though to shake off Aine’s gaze, Frei readied his sword and showed an unpleasant expression.
「You can end here! Aine!」
Frei brandished his sword. Aine wasted no time to put one of her hands forward.
Frei thought whether she was begging for her life with that movement.
But in the next moment, a magic circle spread from Aine’s palm. The shining bright pattern was slowly rotating while advancing toward Aine. And then, it accelerated suddenly and pushed through toward Aine’s back, and it stopped there.
Frei opened his eyes wide at Aine’s transformation. Because that figure changed instantly. Her armor was simpler than before, but it was increasing to be more beautiful and brighter. And then her shining silver hair was changing to a pink color.
「You have such an ability……wha-!」
Frei’s face warped. The divinity number of Aine that he always monitored was reflected in his eyes. The number was exceeding 80000.
「The divinity number is……increasing?」
The phenomenon that he had never witnessed until now caused Frei to trickle down cold sweat on his forehead.
――That’s impossible. It’s necessary to steadily accumulate divinity number. How is such a rapid increase acceptable……but.
In reality, the number reflected in his eyes were continuing to increase.
「Wha, what’s with that bluff……even if you raise your divinity number with some kind of method, you still won’t reach my number!」
The automatic repelling equipment that accompanied Frei, Gullinbursti came out to the front. In the case it detected the enemy’s divinity number and judged that the enemy could be a threat to its master, it would block the attack and launch an attack at that target. It was a follower and shield with absolute obedience. That Gullinbursti was trembling fiercely with intensity that it had never shown before.
「What’s wrong? Aine’s doesn’t pose that much of a threat――」
Frei opened his eyes wide.
The divinity number of Aine that was continuing to increase had gone over 120000.
The floating magic circle behind Aine emitted light and enveloped Aine’s body. And then with Aine as the center, a dome of magic circle was formed.
「Ku……go! Gullinbursti! We are still the one on top! If it’s now――」
Gullinbursti assaulted Aine. And then it leaped inside Aine’s magic circle. That was the area under Aine’s rule. A land of death that dissolved all magic formula.
At that moment, the boar’s charge stopped.
Aine’s fist lunged mercilessly towards Gullinbursti that stopped moving.
The iron boar that didn’t even twitch until now from all attacks had Aine’s fist sinking into it. Its nose was smashed, and from there a crack ran through its whole body.
「It seems Code Breaker is also effective against these guys.」
After the arm was pulled back, that arm turned to the side.
From another magic circle that unfolded ahead of that hand, a huge cannon was pulled out. And then that cannon muzzle was put on the forehead of Gullinbursti.
At that moment, terror ran through Frei’s back.
She was supposed to be an opponent that could be easily defeated.
Despite so……what was with this number?
Aine’s divinity number that was reflected in Frei’s eyes was over 150000.
The corruption armament that Aine readied, 『Pulerizer』 launched tremendous light. It was a ruthless light, pulverizing all time and space an existence possessed. A hole was opened instantly on the boar’s forehead, and in the next moment, Gullinbursti was smashed apart into pieces in a whirl. And then the light of destruction that was fired from Pulverizer headed straight to Frei.
He raised a scream of death agony and he got blown away. It was an arena with a diameter of ten kilometers. He went through the arena from the center until the end of the arena in one go. And then he crashed on the wall that faced Odin’s palace and his body was smashed apart.
「Impossible……this, me is……like this」
Frei’s body was literally crumbling. At that moment, cheers were raised from the arena’s surrounding. The warriors of Odin’s world that observed this battle extolled Aine’s victory. There were no person with the same appearance as another, stern men, female type that fought with speed, they had various appearances.
The warriors of this world were fellows who were similar to Aine, taken away from another world and brought to this place. Most of them fundamentally possessed the same shape as a human, but there were differences in little details like their body build, skin color, etc.
The warriors who were blessed with such variety were yelling and raised their arms in excitement above the fence.
They were extolling Aine, but that didn’t mean they wanted to get along with her. They were saying, fight with me next. Aine turned back her face from the crowd with a fed up face.
『You did it Aine.』
The window floating beside her face was showing Gravel’s relieved expression.
Aine showed a smile as though to say ‘how’s that’ and her left hand brushed off her pink colored hair. A ring was shining at that wrist. The number 113 that was floating there was overwritten into 10.
Aine used her thruster to float in the air. And then she flew until the wall where Frei was smashed. There she discovered the remains of Frei who only had a upper body without both his arms. She matched her window with that figure and pushed on the analysis button.
「Hmmph……even with this your divinity number is still 50. Perhaps I should say that it is as expected that it’s not 0. Do it all over again from one okay.」
Saying that, Aine picked up Frei’s sword Laevateinn that fell nearby.
「Aa how rude of me. It’s not from 1 I guess. Do it all over again from 50.」
When Aine turned on her heel to leave, a voice came from overhead.
「That was quite enjoyable for me, Aine.」
Tension ran through Aine’s whole body. The clamoring crowd was also falling silent as though they had been doused with water.
When she looked up, there was a figure standing at the palace’s balcony.
Silver hair that looked shiny. A beautiful face that looked like ice. An eye patch on the left eye of that beautiful face that gave off discomfort. And then a tight muscular body that was trained, added with largely dangling breasts that completed her feminine beauty. It was the crystallization of beauty that transcended humans.
An armor that imitated an ice dragon protected that body. However what it protected were only the arms and legs, her head and torso looked mostly defenseless. Tiny bits of plates that were shaped like crystal and dragon scales were covering her sides and groin, while the armor at her breast was in the shape of dragon claws grasping those breasts. That shape seemed to display the beauty of those breasts instead.
A huge spear that was hanging to the left and right from her back was 『Gungnir』. It was rumored that there was no existence that couldn’t be defeated by that spear, it was this world’s strongest weapon. In addition was the huge dragon head floating behind her,『Fafnir』. It was equivalent to Frei’s boar, this dragon head was Odin’s follower, but its strength couldn’t be compared with Frei’s Gullinbursti. Furthermore it was a two headed dragon. A beautiful girl like ice holding a legendary spear who was protected by a dragon. That figure was exactly a divine war goddess.
Odin flew down from the balcony and landed lightly in front of Aine.
「Fufufu, as expected from someone who caught the eye of this me. If you keep accumulating diligent training like this, perhaps a few decades later you might reach a divinity number around 500000. Aim for an even higher ranking.」
Aine reflexively clicked her tongue.
Inside her heart rage was welling up, thinking if this woman was planning to lock her up in this world for decades.
At that time when she was about to say her resentment to Odin, a pained voice could be heard from below.
「Uu……O, Odin, sama.」
Frei who became a wreck groaned with feeble breathing.
「I, I still, haven’t lost……against, this girl, against this kind of low ranking, this me who is an Odin Ranker couldn’t possibly lo――」
「The low ranking one is now you, Frei.」
Odin stared at the wreckage of Frei with her one eye coldly.
「The ranking is absolute. Know that just a rank difference of one is like the difference between heaven and earth. To say nothing of that way of talking, toward this Aine who is an Odin Ranker right now……」
Frei’s face distorted in shock.
「Then, it’s better for Aine to deal the finishing blow, so that body cannot even be repaired anymore.」
Odin’s cold eye shined blue.
Frei couldn’t say anything, he could only grit his teeth with all his strength. That strength broke his face’s construction and fluid spurted out. And then, he was simply keeping silent.
「Even an Odin Ranker is like this……the warrior that I’m looking for is still far ahead from here huh.」
Odin whispered that and then she looked around at the spacious arena.
「Average warriors cannot grant further strength to this me who has reached the territory of god. I am here waiting impatiently for the appearance of a warrior carrying even stronger power, and new abilities.」
「And then you will steal that power, and become even stronger?」
Aine’s defiant speech caused Odin to glare at her sharply with her right eye.
「……Something like that. But I have expectations of you Aine. If Aine becomes even stronger, the warriors around you will also grow stronger. They will steal the way Aine fights and surely even stronger people will appear by incorporating that. Such evolution of battle will create even stronger warriors.」
「You will only plunder from those people who are raised like that won’t you? It’s really a nice position to be a god huh, you can just exploit the harvest of the people.」
However Odin lifted the corner of her mouth and showed a faint smile.
「That’s nothing more than the result of victory or defeat. If you hate that, then you just need to defeat me. One is plundered from because they lose. I am always 公平fair, fair you know.」
And then Odin looked up at the sky that was covered with thick clouds.
「This world exist for the strong’s sake. The weak exist to be their food. And then there is no limit to the evolution of strength.」
Odin talked about her conviction and this world’s providence with a face that was half in ecstasy. But, for Aine it was an inconsequential story.
「Machine god Odin, I challenge you.」
Odin stared with a dubious expression at Aine who declared that.
「It’s fine even if you don’t be that impatient right? Even if you fight me now, Aine has no chance of victory. Aine will become stronger if you mature more. Even if I steal your current ability it won’t really be helpful.」
「Don’t screw around-! If I defeat you and obtain the power of a machine god, I should be able to even go back to my original world. I will absolutely defeat you, and return to my original world, to where everyone is!」
Aine faced Odin and took her stance. The magic circle on her back was also increasing in radiance.
「Geez……can’t be helped then.」
Odin sighed deeply looking disappointed.
「Then, here I go.」
At that instant, the atmosphere Odin was clad with changed. A terrific fighting spirit and wind poured out from her body which flapped Aine’s hair. It felt like her heart would break just by getting showered by that killing intent.
「Ku……so this is a machine god’s true power.」
In this one year since Aine was summoned to this world, there were two warriors that challenged Odin. Both of them were rank number one.
However the result was atrocious.
It wasn’t even a fight, they were toyed around by Odin as she pleased, and then destroyed. And then their abilities were plundered and those two were obliterated from this world.
――But, I won’t end like that.
The armor of Odin that was like ice shined and emitted sublime light. And then that light was similar like Aine’s Code Breaker, it was spreading with Odin as the center into a hemisphere shape.
This dome of light was the first obstacle in defeating Odin. The dome of light was the light of god. Just by touching that, all kinds of energy would be sucked out and then materialize impediments on the body’s functions.
――Perhaps it’s like a superior version of Grace’s Harvest.
But, based on what she had tested on Frei just now, Code Breaker should be able to erase it. Aine persuaded herself like that.
A dome made from magic circle was spreading with Aine at the center.
「Aa……the technique that broke Frei’s defensive wall before this huh.」
Odin showed a happy smile.
The magic circle’s rotation sped up along with Aine’s yell of fighting spirit, its size was increasing. And then the dome of the magic circle and the dome of god’s light clashed.
The two domes disappeared along with fierce light and impact.
Aine readied Laevateinn that she had plundered just now and thrust at Odin. However, the two headed dragon standing by behind Odin, Fafnir cut in between them. It was an odd follower with feather growing on the dragon head, but even Aine knew about how terrifying it was. One of the warriors that challenged Odin before was unable to even touch Odin and got crunched by Fafnir.
This dragon head was similar with Frei’s boar, it would automatically detect a target that could threaten its master and attacked back. One of Fafnir’s heads was heading towards Aine.
「Look’s like it more or less recognized me as an opponent huh!」
Aine swung up Laevateinn with unskilled motion. At that time, for an instant the figure of her comrade wearing red armor flashed in the back of her mind.
――It will be better if I at least learn how to use swords too.
Aine struck Laevateinn to Fafnir’s head as though to shake off that thinking.
Certainly she wasn’t an expert at the sword, but she felt quite a feedback. Besides the ability of the sword itself was considerable. As expected it was impossible for it to give damage. That was what she thought but――,
「Fufufu, you won’t be able to cut this child with just that much you know.」
Fafnir’s armor didn’t even get scratched from Laevateinn’s slash. It was as though the whole impact of the sword was blocked, and then the metallic surface of the head was subtly undulating to redirect that power.
Aine discarded Laevateinn and took out Pulverizer once more from a magic circle.
The area around Aine distorted. The atmosphere was whirling and electrical discharge ran in the air. And then she pulled the trigger without a moment’s delay.
「I’ll leave it to you! Pulverizer!」
The light of destruction ran towards Odin. But, this time the other Fafnir thrust itself into Pulverizer’s firing line.
Light that enveloped the whole arena flooded out. Aine was convinced that she at least obliterated Fafnir inside that light.
――I can do this!
Next it would depend on how much damage she could inflict on Odin. However it was impossible for her to be unharmed from this. Aine was feeling that she was approaching near towards Ataraxia, towards Kizuna.
However, that hope of Aine was smashed apart by the reality that appeared before her eyes.
At the other side of the explosion smoke and vapor, a huge dragon’s head was floating.
――Pulverizer didn’t work.
「Are you sleeping Aine?」
Such a voice resounded in her ear.
Something shuddering was running through her whole body.
She was dumbfounded in less than half a second. But that time for Odin was a time that bored her to tears.
Aine laid out Life Saver and opened her thruster in full throttle. She retreated from the battle line in the blink of an eye. A distance of more than three kilometers was opened between both sides.
――A rapid feeling of acceleration.
Her body was pulled to the back intensely. The vibration was fierce, her field of vision blurred. Thruster malfunction? Wrong. She was pushed by somethi――,
――No, before that,
A terrible impact attacked her whole body. A dreadful pain caused her consciousness to be getting away. Her body was paralyzed by an impact that could break the bones in her whole body.
Something struck her? However, she didn’t remember,
――She saw a broken scenery.
She felt like she saw the scene of her Life Saver turning into pieces.
And then Odin’s Gungnirspear came flying.
Aine’s body instantly traversed through ten kilometers of the arena and crashed on the wall. And then the strongest weapon Gungnir was stabbing into her chest.
Aine was pierced by that spear and got crucified on the arena wall.
「Come on look, you turned out like this. You are still not on a level that can fight me.」
Odin too had arrived in front of Aine unnoticed.
And then Odin grasped her favorite spear that was stabbed into Aine’s chest. Fresh blood gushed out from the wound.
Aine was gritting her teeth.
「Even at maximum your divinity number is around 200000 right? I’m more than a million you know?」
Aine’s eyes opened wide in shock and despair.
Odin pulled out Gungnir from Aine’s body.
Aine spouted out blood and fell on the ground. Bright red blood was flowing out from her collapsed chest and the ground was dyed red.
Odin’s hand was grasping Laevateinn that Aine discarded.
「This is nothing great, but I’ll take it anyway.」
The sword of sun melted inside Odin’s hand and vanished. And then she turned her back on Aine with Gungnir on her shoulder.
「You look like you can still become stronger, so I won’t deal the finishing blow. If by any chance you survive, be more diligent.」
Aine’s sight was sinking into darkness.
――What are you saying after opening a hole in my chest. I’m going to die, normally.
She was unable to say even that, unable to even move her lips.
――I am, dying? Here?
「Aine! Oi, get a hold of yourself!」
Someone’s voice came into hearing. But, she couldn’t see anything anymore.
――I wanted to meet.
――One more time.
She whispered so inside her heart, and then her consciousness sank to the bottom of darkness completely.
From the location information of the Golden Dragon that Nayuta grasped and the information of Odin that they obtained from Osiris’s database, it was clear that the Golden Dragon was in Odin’s world. The Battleship Ataraxia and Oldium departed from Osiris’s world and headed towards Odin’s world.
The two giant battleships were advancing through the gulf between world and world, a space where there was nothing, where nothing could possibly exist. A space where there was only true darkness spreading around, suddenly flowed with beautiful mystical light. The torrent of radiant lights in various colors was beautiful, powerful, and fleeting like the radiance of life.
That radiance, was light that was flowing out from a world somewhere due to some kind of reason. It was life force, it was magic power, it was a light of cause and effect that contained the laws of that world’s characteristic. That light was floating around the space that separated world and world. Some light would reach another world. In the world the light reached, it would reveal the providence of another world and spring out various abnormal phenomenon. In other words, this light was a supernatural phenomenon or a miracle.
The AU collision that attacked Lemuria and Atlantis could also be said as a phenomenon that was caused with that light as the cause.
Seen like this it was a beautiful light, but for the people who got dragged into tragedy due to that radiance, they would be unable to be charmed by its beauty.
Vatlantis’s acting emperor, Grace Synclavia, was also one of those people.
She was standing alone in the viewing room of the battleship Ataraxia, sending a brooding gaze outside as though she was trying to find an answer in the flowing light. However, the calmer she was thinking, the more the illusion that Osiris showed her got resurrected at the back of her mind.
Kizuna who became the new emperor of Vatlantis, then Aine and Grace who became his empresses. However, Kizuna and Aine, and also the people of the empire wished to offer up Grace’s life. If Grace didn’t die, they wouldn’t be able to be happy. Saying that they demanded for Grace to sever her own life.
Of course there was no way they were saying that in reality. That was only an illusion that Osiris created by taking advantage of the guilty feelings inside Grace’s heart. Zelcyone explained it to her like that.
However Grace was unable to assert that it was a dream that wasn’t worth worrying about.
That was the voice that hounded her to take responsibility for the Another Universe Conflict. Mere illusions were completely taking root inside Grace’s heart and entangled it completely.
「So you are here Grace.」
The automatic door opened and a familiar voice and presence entered inside.
When she turned around Grace thought ‘oh no’. Her face and voice looked like she was going to cry even now. Like this Nii-sama would be concerned for her. When she thought that, she made a complete changes and showed a bright expression.
「What’s the matter? There is still time until the meeting.」
「Yeah. I want to talk with Grace.」
Kizuna approached the window to stand beside Grace.
「With me……umu. I’ll welcome that anytime.」
Grace narrowed her eyes.
Yes. Until just before this they attended the same school and often talked with each other. Though it was also days of falsehood, but it was happy days. She really idolized him like her big brother. Now that she thought back, it was like she was monopolizing Kizuna while Aine wasn’t there, she even felt apologetic. However it was fact that she had fun. She couldn’t deny that.
Kizuna showed a behavior as though he was hesitating, but he nodded to himself as though resolving himself, and then he talked to Grace with an excessively serious face.
「Grace……it’s not like I have experience shouldering a heavy responsibility like you. I’m just a first year student, a man who became Amaterasu’s captain just because of the course of events. That’s why I understand that I’m not in a position where I can say anything like a big shot. But, I can at least listen to your worries.」
The previous day she was also seen standing alone like this by Kizuna before the decisive battle against Osiris. Surely he was concerned for her all this time since then. However――,
「What, no need to worry. Even like this, I’m an emperor, even if an unworthy one. There are also some amount of problems that worry my mind. It’s something I’m used to so it’s futile to worry about me you know, Nii-sama――」
Kizuna abruptly embraced Grace’s shoulders and pulled her closer. Grace unconsciously flinched at Kizuna’s hand that circled her shoulders. Kizuna’s palm was warm, and the arm embracing her was gentle. However she felt that this warmth and gentleness was something that she couldn’t accept.
「Grace is the emperor of the Vatlantis Empire. But, you are also my little sister.」
「If you are an unworthy emperor then I’m also an unworthy big brother. Even if there is no tie of blood between us, I think of myself as your big brother. That’s why, share your hardship with me too.」
Grace yelled inside her heart. That she wanted him to stop doing more than this. If not,
――The mask I put on will be torn off.
「Ni, Nii-sama is a worrywart. I’m not really……」
「I don’t know what kind of bitter illusion Osiris showed you. But, that was merely an illusion.」
Grace’s breathing stopped unconsciously.
――He know? Nii-sama, knew I saw an illusion.
「Both me and Aine, we won’t abandon Grace. Absolutely.」
「It’s no good……」
Grace looked down, her shoulders were shaking.
――I’m, at my limit.
「It’s no good. Nii-sama and Nee-sama won’t be able to be happy, with me alive.」
A drop fell on the floor.
Tears were overflowing from her red eyes.
Kizuna embraced Grace’s slender and small body onto his chest.
「What stupid things you are saying! I’m going to get angry you know!」
Kizuna’s voice that was filled with serious anger caused Grace’s body to tremble. When she lifted her head, an earnest gaze was staring at Grace. That straightforward black eyes smashed Grace’s mask. The face of a girl that distorted in sadness appeared from underneath that mask.
「Because, because! The damage to Lemuria is because of my fault. There is no way that the Nee-sama of someone like me can be together with Nii-sama who is the hero of Lemuria! But, if I die, if I take responsibility and get executed……my sin will be settled with that. Nee-sama can be free with that.」
Grace’s tear hotly wet Kizuna’s chest.
「Stupid idiot! That’s not true at all!」
Kizuna was yelling angrily from the bottom of his heart while he strongly hugged Grace’s body.
They absolutely must not separate. He couldn’t let go of her here. If his hand let go of her here, Grace would really go to a place where his hand wouldn’t be able to reach. Such fear was attacking Kizuna.
Nayuta prepared a transient livelihood for them at Ataraxia before this. Inside that, Grace called Kizuna as elder brother, and Kizuna also came into contact with Grace as her brother.
Kizuna didn’t know how long that life had actually went on. However, surely it was a long time to the degree that Kizuna treasured Grace like she was his real sister. This wasn’t something that could be made sense of somehow with logic.
For that reason, Kizuna turned his heart into a demon and spoke.
「Listen well Grace. What you said isn’t a method that will save us, and it’s also not a noble self-sacrifice. Something like that is just escaping.」
Grace spontaneously raised her head. Her eyes were looking up at Kizuna. What were inside those eyes were shock, astonishment, and an expression as though she couldn’t believe it.
Kizuna gritted his teeth.
「You are just trying to avert your eyes from the painful reality and are trying to escape. That isn’t an act of taking responsibility, but abandoning responsibility.」
Grace’s face warped in vexation and sadness. Tears were overflowing out once more from those eyes.
「Then, what are you telling me to do! I don’t know! I don’t know Nii-sama! I, I……just, what should I do, if even Nii-sama, says something like that to me……I’m, already……uh, u, a……aah」
Like that Grace raised her voice loudly and cried out.
「I don’t want, anymore, hics-, waaaaaaan」
She cried like a mere girl without caring about shame or appearance. Her mouth opened, her eyes and nose went red and tears were spilling down without stop. She pushed on Kizuna’s chest with weak strength. As though she was trying to run away from that place.
But, Kizuna didn’t let her go.
He put his strength into his arm and embraced Grace’s body onto his chest.
「What you have to do no matter what, is not running away. It’s to fight.」
Grace was sobbing convulsively while turning moist eyes to Kizuna.
「Are you listening, Grace?」
Grace was looking up at Kizuna for a while, her mouth closed up before long and she nodded.
「If you say that you destroyed Lemuria and killed people, then you need to save even more than those.」
However Grace shook her head and let out a sob.
「Su, such……thing, how can I, hics」
「Lemuria and Atlantis, save both of those worlds.」
「That’s right. Right now the world disappeared completely because of the Deus ex Machina. Both Lemuria and Atlantis. At this rate sooner or later our worlds will end. That is not a problem in the same dimension like taking responsibility of the Another Universe Conflict anymore. After all there no one hounding for someone to take responsibility, and the one who needs to take responsibility will also get obliterated together.」
「That’s……hics, true, but……」
「Right now we are trying to return the world to the way it was before. To do that, the strength of he world of Atlantis is indispensable. The strength of the de facto ruling country Vatlantis is necessary. The emperor of Vatlantis Empire, Grace is essential.」
Kizuna touched Grace’s cheek and wiped her tears.
「I guess right now Grace is fighting in order to look for Aine. And, you also have the reason of taking back the configuration information of the world of Atlantis, don’t you? Then, can I ask you to also add a reason of saving our Lemuria too?」
「The configuration information that the Deus ex Machina stole. Inside it, there are a lot of cities and people that cannot be compared with the ruined cities and dead people from the Another Universe Conflict. I want to save them, those people!」
And then Kizuna embraced Grace’s body strongly once more.
「……Besides, Grace, in the first place you are mistaken at a fundamental aspect.」
Kizuna’s eyes were moist. It looked like tears were almost falling off from there.
「If you die, how can I and Aine become happy with that!? You are talking about our important little sister dying here. If that happens we will be sad, pained, miserable, we won’t be able to stand back up! To say nothing of the life that we will obtain by sacrificing a little sister……that’s only hell! How can you think something like that will make anyone happy! There is no way that will happen! That’s stupid!」
Kizuna’s eyes were also tinged with tears. He hugged Grace tightly on his chest so that she wouldn’t be able to see that. However, Grace understood. That Kizuna was crying for her sake.
Grace opened her mouth timidly.
「Is doing……something like that, enough?」
Grace wiped her tears and bit her lips that almost let out a sob once more, and then she nodded firmly.
「I’m fine already, Nii-sama.」
Grace separated her body slowly from Kizuna, as though pushing his body back. And then she rubbed her face scrubbingly before smiling cheerfully with eyes that were completely dry from tears.
「I’ve troubled you Nii-sama.」
「I need to do something like a big brother sometimes……aa, that’s right. I’ll escort you until Oldium.」
Kizuna said that and offered his hand, but Grace pulled back as though running away from that hand.
「I’ll return alone. Thank you……Nii-sama.」
And then she pretended to back away, before suddenly she stepped forward.
Grace leaped into the chest of Kizuna who was taken by surprise suddenly within a moment, and stole his lips.
Grace’s soft lips texture was conveyed to Kizuna’s lips.
When he thought ‘ah’, Grace was already drawing back as though she was jumping away. And then she smiled mischievously.
「Keep it a secret from Nee-sama okay♪」
She turned on her heel and exited the viewing room with light footsteps.
Kizuna scratched his head as though thinking ‘She really got me there’ and he smiled.
「You narrowly escaped death.」
A dreadful voice echoed inside the viewing room where there should be no one else.
When Kizuna looked around the viewing room in a panic, there was the silhouette of someone leaning on the wall.
「When you made Grace-sama cry, I was just about to kill you.」
That person moved from the wall and walked towards Kizuna with her hands crossed.
「Ze-! Zelcyone!? Since when, were you there……」
Zelcyone raised one eyebrow and glared at Kizuna.
「From the beginning. There is no way I’ll leave Grace-sama alone when she was like that. You fool.」
When the shock left him, shame rapidly came inside him. Kizuna’s cheeks were dyed red.
――Shit, now she mentioned it Zelcyone has the ability to hide herself! Or rather, all of that was heard!? Or rather it was seen! SHIIIITTT!
He unconsciously wanted to stamp his feet in emotion. However, he had cornered Grace and made her cry that much. He wouldn’t get killed right away, but by any chance perhaps a punishment time was waiting for him. At the very least he needed the resolve to get half-killed.
Kizuna who resolved himself with such thinking had his shoulder lightly tapped by Zelcyone.
「Well, that was passable.」
Ending it there, Zelcyone exited from the door that Grace used without even glancing at Kizuna.
Kizuna who was left alone standing blankly then suddenly looked around inside the room in panic as though he remembered something. As expected this time there was really no one left.
Feeling a strange solitude, Kizuna returned to his own room. In the middle of walking, he thought of the meaning of Zelcyone’s words once more and crossed his arms.
「Passable……that means, she gave me passing mark with that……right?」
When he touched the door of his own room, it opened automatically to welcome Kizuna inside. It was a spacious room where a bed, a desk and a chair were standing alone. Kizuna didn’t stop and headed towards a large window that was right in front of him.
The outside was dark, sometimes light of another world could be seen flowing. Kizuna stared at the face of himself that was reflected on that window and murmured to himself.
「When the battle is over……is it.」
Grace was thinking about when this battle was over and a time of peace came. At that time, what would happen with the two worlds of Lemuria and Atlantis?
The countries of Lemuria and the countries of Atlantis, Vatlantis Empire, Izgard, and Baldin, how would their relationship be? What would happen with the responsibility of the war?
Kizuna was desperate with the battle before his eyes and didn’t think of the matter ahead of that seriously. In the first place the Deus ex Machina that they were currently fighting were extremely powerful enemies, they had no leeway to even think about the matter of after they were defeated. He had such reason.
Speaking about the matter next of year was laughable, but thinking of the current difference in battle strength, it would be a miracle if a peaceful world could arrive.
Even so Grace who was gazing at the future ahead was perhaps just as expected from an emperor of a country.
Kizuna tried thinking about his own future.
First was the remaining two Deus ex Machina. According to the information they obtained from Osiris’s database, they seemed to be opponents with different levels compared to Hokuto and Osiris that they had defeated until now. In the end could they be defeated? First it was already unknown from there.
Kizuna shook his head.
――This is no good. No matter what, my thoughts keep on looping.
Supposing if the battle ended, what would happen? Perhaps, he would cooperate with Japan’s revival. The war would be over already by then. There would be no battle. In other words,
Whether it was Heart Hybrid Gear, or Amaterasu, they would become unnecessary.
He felt like his chest was constricted.
He would not be Amaterasu’s captain and would return to a normal school. Aine and Himekawa, Yurishia and Sylvia, his relationship with them would also be gone.
When he thought that, he felt a feeling of loss to a degree that shocked even himself.
――Wha, what? This feeling.
A feeling of desolateness that he couldn’t describe suddenly visited him.
It was a feeling as though he was left alone in a cold, boundless wasteland.
――Stupid. What am I thinking.
Kizuna placed both his hands on the window and hid his face that was reflected there.
――If that happens, then I just need to walk through a new life. Besides, even everyone……they won’t become like complete strangers just with that. Surely we can move from being comrades to friends. Sylvia, Hayuru, Yurishia, Scarlet and Ger-san and, Aine――,
What would happen……with Aine?
She would be Vatlantis Empire’s emperor――,
At that time the electronic sound that informed of a visitor rang. That sound caused Kizuna’s body to twitch.
――That’s just a ringtone……what am I doing, feeling jittery like this.
Kizuna smiled wryly and approached the door, then he touched the door that he had no habit to lock since he was at academy Ataraxia. As a result the door opened smoothly to the side.
The one standing there was Himekawa Hayuru, her cheeks were slightly red.
「So, sorry for the suddenness. That, there is something I want to talk about a bit……」
Inside Kizuna’s chest, his heart jumped in a big way. If a peaceful world come, won’t we become complete strangers? Because he was thinking something like that just now, he felt like she was coming here to say to him that they were breaking off their relationship permanently.
「Just, what――ah, no. First, come in……」
Kizuna turned his body aside and urged Himekawa to enter the room.
Himekawa said reservedly and entered inside the room hesitatingly. Kizuna reacted sensitively to every single move of such Himekawa.
――What does she want to talk about……rather than that first I need to offer her a chair.
「Then, Hayuru……let’s see. Over there.」
There was no chair for guests in this room. Kizuna pointed his hand towards the bed.
Himekawa’s face turned bright red instantly.
「Wha, what are you thinking! Tha, that, that’s too sudden! To invite me to the bed just three seconds after I entered the room, the mood needs a bit more or something――」
「Tha-, that’s not it! That’s not what I meant! There is no chair, so sit on the bed, that’s what I meant!」
Himekawa’s bright red face became even redder. It was so red it felt like steam might come out from her head. She suddenly got teary eyed and her face was trembling while she was biting her lips.
「Aa, geez-! I’m really-!」
She hid her red face with her hands and looked down. Kizuna also held his head reflexively.
――You got influenced too much by your own imagination there, Kizuna! Calm down!
「Hayuru, that, it was my bad, I talked in a way that invited misunderstanding.」
Himekawa lifted her face and glared at Kizuna with eyes that looked moist with tears.
「Please pay attention to your act a little bit more! Because of that I got embarrassed like this!」
Kizuna thought that it was mostly because of karma, but anyway, first he prioritized pacifying her down.
Himekawa made an expression of being in a bad mood and dropped her waist on the bed loudly.
「Good grief……you spoiled the atmosphere right from the beginning.」
Kizuna put a distance of one person between him and Himekawa, and he sat down on the bed beside her.
She irritably looked upward with cheeks that were dyed red.
「So, about the talk……what is it?」
Himekawa hesitated to say.
「Actually, there is something I want to discuss a bit.」
Kizuna gulped for a moment.
「Wha, what is it, why that formal? You don’t need……to be reserved or anything right?」
He was saying that while being unable to suppress his own heartbeat that was getting louder.
「I’m not, really being reserved though……」
Himekawa fidgetingly entangled her fingers with each other and then she stole a glance at Kizuna.
Himekawa took a deep breath, and breathed out.
She turned towards Kizuna as though she was determined about something.
「Then, I’ll say it. Actually――」
Her straightforward eyes were reflected on Kizuna’s eyes.
「I, love you.」
Translator's Notes and References
- The second fair is said in English.
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