Now that she knew there was no legal backing to her two-billion-dollar debt, there was nothing keeping Suzuran from hightailing out of the organization.
But that didn’t mean she was all up to booking off to the sacred assembly. If her awakening failed and she became a demon lord, she’d be their enemy. No, she might be killed the very moment the symptoms presented themselves.
She just wanted to normally go to school and live a normal life.
That was Suzuran’s life-long dream.
But if that school blew up, she’d have nowhere to go. Not only did she have nowhere to go, her swindler of a legal guardian threw her away so she had nowhere to return. And even before returning came to question… it was probably true that public welfare had a warrant for her.
(Will they forgive me if I say I was threatened?)
It was possible. But when she barged into the drug deal, everyone present got an eyeful of her face.
(I doubt those people will feel like forgiving me.)
She couldn’t return to the common rabble Iori spoke of… even if she returned, surely even greater misfortune than before awaited her.
Iori Takase—what a sly man.
The debt was nothing more than an impactful introduction. While she was still confused, he put her up to evil deeds under the pretense of work to isolate her from the surface world.
She couldn’t run away anymore.
The diverging paths she overlooked became dead ends before she realized it.
Today, instead of such unrealistic tasks, she was doing some actual maid-like work. Sweeping the yard that could only be described as vast. She couldn’t hear any sirens, no bullets were flying by, it was a dream-like job.
(… And since I’ve got to think of it like that, I must be… unfortunate.)
A little further away, Meeko was similarly moving a broom. She was making a happy face, as if she had found a small flower, and was watching it grow like her own child.
Every time they met, Suzuran got the impression she was a symbol of maternity. Her slightly-drooping eyes gave her a gentle air.
(… Does Meeko believe in God…?)
Any God she believed in was probably fine existing. She got the feeling it would be fine to have it descend. The smile Meeko showed put her in that sort of mood.
And such a woman had told her to believe in Iori and stay here. At least for the next three days, to the date the assembly had proclaimed as God’s descent.
That morning, she watched the news for the first time in a while. As expected, they displayed the blue haze in the sky above Tokyo… Heaven’s Gate. The color was richer than before, and even in the finest weather, it was clearly visible, clearly distinct from the blue sky. All the people on the street they interviewed seem to be holding their breath in intrigue and anticipation.
The ‘Nagoyakawa Suzuran’ Bishop Ferriol spread word of had been reportedly found. Of course, that was just a card they were trying to play, and the media was none the wiser.
(… I wonder why Saho is here.)
Just a little further away than Meeko, Saho moved a broom, a dazed-out look in her eye. Her right eye was still covered with a bandana.
(Come to think of it… why is she called sergeant? Was she in the military at her age?)
From what she had experienced of it, the world of darkness was an absurd place. It was a world right out of a game or manga. That’s why, like a game of manga, a militia composed entirely of little girls… she had no evidence it existed, but it was possible.
When her eye was ruined, the organization abandoned her, and when she was about to be dealt with or purged, Iori…
(… Yeah, no way.)
As Suzuran arbitrarily imagined this and that on her own, Saho suddenly raised her head and turned. Her eyes fixed onto the dense forest in the depths of the yard. Looking at that dim space the light strained to touch, she shook her head. A little while of that, and she gave a light wave of her hand as if to say goodbye before returning to the cleaning as if nothing had happened—
(Wha… what was she looking at…)
Suzuran broke into a cold sweat.
While Saho would react when spoken to, she wouldn’t speak. What’s more, this time she got the feeling she was better off not asking.
Even so—Suzuran gazed at the yard.
“This estate really is vast… you usually don’t expect to have a whole forest in your yard.”
“Yes. The property’s about half as large as Disney Land.”
Meeko said, her hands resting from cleaning.
The world was unfair. When such a heinous villain was living in such luxury, she was trying to make it decently, and her own life was a rolling snowball of misfortune.
“Can I call you Suzuran?”
“Huh? Ah, of course, go right ahead.”
At Suzuran’s reply, Meeko put her hands together in front of her chest, softly smiling.
“That’s good. I, you see, I thought it might be nice to have a little sister… that’s what I’ve been thinking. So… it’s like that.”
“I see… come to think of it, Meeko, what about your family?”
“I’m an only child, I’ve been told.”
She wasn’t asking about its structure, she was wondering how her parents were doing, and if anyone was worried she was working in this incomprehensible organization. While that had been her intent, from what Suzuran could tell by her smile, she wasn’t here due to circumstances as serious as her own.
“… Eh? You’ve been told?”
“I don’t really remember.”
“Do you have amnesia?”
Her exterior going without saying, she was perfect inside as well. Could it be Iori ensnared her and deleted all the inconvenient memories—for an evil organization, it was an amply possible occurrence.
“Oh no. I have Alzheimers, apparently.”
Now then, Suzuran was terribly troubled over whether to press on or retort. Owing to her usual gentle smile, it was difficult to determine whether she was teasing or serious.
“Umm… Meeko, how old are you?”
She tilted her head, still smiling.
“But it seems I’ve lived for quite a long time. That I’m from that sort of place… Taki told me.”
Meeko laughed as if it were someone else’s business.
It had completely slipped Suzuran’s mind. Right, this person floated. She wasn’t human.
No, wait a second. A word that made the rest seem trivial came out. Right…
Iori Takase. Takase—Takase.
Ah, suddenly realizing what she’d said, Meeko took a secretive look around.
“I’ve known Taki since he was this small. When I don’t concentrate, I always end up calling him that… and he gets really angry.”
So it’s a secret, Meeko mischievously stuck up her index finger.
Of course. Of course he would.
If that one-man demon parade was named Taki, his terror would go poof.
Suzuran clenched her fist, a snicker in her head. Her hand had clasped weakness. Nay, she still might be able to draw something greater out of Meeko…!
“Once upon a time, see. Taki was a really nice kid. But one day he suddenly disappeared…”
When Meeko cut her words, with lonesome eyes, she gazed a bit into the distant sky. Strangely… no, perhaps something was there. She was looking in the direction of Tokyo.
“And when he got back, Taki had changed. I don’t know what happened…”
Looking beyond her drooping shoulders, Suzuran froze up.
Iori coming from the house with a terrifying scowl, without making any sound, he ran at an amazing pace.
“Right… I’m sure he went through something terrible. That’s what I think. From time to time, he makes noises when he sleeps…”
“M-Meeko… Ms. Meek…”
“But even now, Taki’s got to be the same, kind…”
Leaping up in the air, Iori performed a back spin kick.
A direct blow to the side of the head.
Her smile still on her face, Meeko was sent flying head-first straight into a nose dive. She kicked up dirt as she glided along the ground. Somehow or another raising her torso, Meeko was a kitten being glared down by a savage dog. Her eyes looking up at Iori shed pearl-like tears.
“Taki, you meanie… why did you do that for?”
“I told you never to call me that again!! It kills my dignity!! You good-for-nothing!! Even Suzuran’s got more use in her than you!!”
Baring his canines, Iori shouted out as if he was going to bite. Unable to bear it any longer, Suzuran stood out in front of Meeko.
“Master! I get you want to hide your embarrassment, but that was too much! Meeko is… I don’t think Meeko is that sort of character.”
Iori’s raised glasses glinted at her.
Crap. Those were dangerous eyes.
“I see… Suzuran. Do you want a personal taste of the anti-Meeko high rolling savate I developed? Hmm~?”
“No… umm… that’s…”
He hated it enough to develop something like that?
“Hmph, so be it. Meeko, you get back.”
“Sob… I’m so sorry Taki…”
Even if the heavens and earth were turned on their heads, it was Iori who was supposed to apologize.
“It’s fine, just get back there. We need a grasp on all their movements. You got that?”
Yes, Meeko nodded and seemed just a little happy. With the mud still stuck to her cheek, she made for the house in a jog.
What was she so happy about? That was a reaction Suzuran couldn’t comprehend. Was there some twisted hierarchy at work here? With that in mind, perhaps Meeko was also a bizarre individual who held her own with the other weirdoes here.
Rather, well, she floated.
“We’re going, Suzuran. It’s work.”
Iori’s voice brought a gloomy look to her face.
Was she off to another workplace where she’d be hearing gunfire?
“By the way, Suzuran. Forget every little thing you heard from Meeko today.”
After she had witnessed that special anti-Meeko something or another, the concept of weakness she had grasped was nowhere to be found, and Suzuran could only nod.
“But… but how did you know? That Meeko was… umm… talking.”
“There’s a small microphone in that ribbon she’s always wearing. It’s a special made-to-order I gave her as a gift. Whenever it picks up that ridiculous curse, it’s set to make an alarm go off in my room.”
(A curse… and a gift… this man is the worst…)
But it did seem that Meeko knew an Iori that wasn’t quite this Iori. That even now, she was believing in that him of the past.
Suzuran thought with no particular reason.
In comparison, what about her?
… No, no, this man was…
“What’s with those pitying eyes?”
“Oh, no, it’s nothing.”
“Want me to think up a special anti-you technique?”
“Perish the thought, I’m fine!!”
Once the three of them had left, Saho continued cleaning alone.
She was led to the highest point… Iori’s room on the fourth floor.
A scenery straight from some foreign travel program, or perhaps a special expose on a luxurious palace unfolded before Suzuran’s eyes. A vast interior, she blended right into its down-to-earth color scheme and matching furniture. It was a space that a maid costume, a rare sight in the modern era seemed to meld right into the background.
At the window, a large wooden desk and leather chair. Iori started out by taking a seat in it.
“Now then, about your job this time…”
“Huh? Master, you paint?”
Suzuran spotted an easel tucked into a corner of the room and approached it. Depicted on the sketchbook leaned against it, while it was still a rough sketch… was probably Meeko.
“Yeah, it’s just a hobby. Don’t worry about it.”
“No… what the hell, you’re crazy good!”
“Ha ha hah. By the way, I did all the paintings in the lobby.”
The paintings that didn’t feel the slightest bit out of place when put against the mansion’s furnishings… she had been convinced they were from some famous painter.
“Incidentally, there’s a painting of Ripple-Rapple and Saho in another room. If you’re interested, I wouldn’t mind doing you when I have the time.”
“I see… but I suck at keeping still.”
That so, Iori didn’t seem particularly bothered.
Modeling for a painting sounded somewhat embarrassing. But Suzuran found it rather shocking that this man had such a proper hobby. Was that part of what Meeko yearned for? She could now see why that something-something societal model diagram was strangely decent.
“More importantly, work. You’re on an errand.”
Iori pushed the laptop on his desk to the side, setting down a rucksack, a canteen, and an A4 size paper in its place.
“So err… how far do I have to go?”
“Nowhere, it’s in this mansion. By the way, the canteen isn’t for you. Delivering it is part of your errand.”
Its capacity was around a liter. A stainless-steel liquid container on the larger side. Suzuran picked up and tried shaking it to hear its splash.
“Is it alcoholic?”
“It’s just sugar water.”
“It’s a highly concentrated solution, don’t even think about drinking it.”
“… Sugar water?”
“You’ll be flying through the sky.”
“Yes. As you wish my master…”
Attaining enlightenment, Suzuran gently returned it to the desk.
“And the bag?”
“Hand it over with the canteen.”
She shouldered the bag that wasn’t particularly heavy, Loosely dangling the hand holding the canteen. The sheet of paper detailed the location. It was a map of the mansion, apparently.
“… The sugar water aside, if it’s in the mansion, does that mean I’m giving this to an employee?”
Suzuran was questioning everything she thought she knew.
“B-bbbbbut it’s… sugar water… right!?”
“She’s not going to drink it. More importantly, there’s no time. I was up all last night, busy drafting up the spec sheet. Yet despite that, that woman just had to…”
Iori took a glance at the picture of Meeko he claimed to have drawn, irritatedly ruffling up his bangs.
“… Anyways, get going.”
“Got it… then I’m off.”
With one last sidelong glance at Iori glaring at his computer with inflamed eyes, Suzuran left the room.
The map showed the entire mansion in segments. The first to fourth floor above ground. The garden, courtyard, backyard, basement. She was never shown around the grounds in detail, but there was apparently even a cemetery in the backyard. It was best not to think about what was buried there.
(And this is pretty much a dungeon, more or less…)
The basement she climbed down into fit the bill. A complete change from the upper portions that could be described as dazzling, she found herself walking down a labyrinthian corridor in a place where blocks of stone were stacked and spread all over. When there weren’t any torches, the brightness must have been some technique from the world of darkness.
Feeling a pleasantly cold breeze on the back of her neck, Suzuran lonesomely listened in to the sound of her own footsteps.
After a few minutes walking, she reached a room labeled ‘R&D Room’. Its door was metal, a rare sight on the premises.
“It’s open. Come in.”
She heard Ripple-Rapple’s voice and followed along.
The room was similar to a school science lab. However, there were complicated incomprehensible equations and magic circles (probably) on the blackboard. What was presumably a desk was closely crowded with glass apparatus, connected here and there to allow liquids and gasses of various colors to flow.
Ripple-Rapple said, blinking her round eyes. Suzuran removed a bundle from the rucksack and put down the canteen.
“… Does that look good?”
Ripple-Rapple first opened the letter sandwiched in the parcel. Her black eyes restlessly chased each line of text before, hmhmm, she nodded twice as if to say.
“Wait a, little. Will be done soon.”
She said before making her way into the jungle of equipment. Unwrapping the parcel, she added what was inside… blue, sparkling fantasy-looking powder to one of the beakers, moving here and there to operate the utensils. Opening this valve, closing that cork, lighting a flame.
“Did… you set up all of this?”
The young girl added some sort of liquid to the beaker with the strange sparkling grains as she stiffly nodded.
“That’s right. Lots of trouble.”
The powder dissolved, turning the liquid to an emerald green that drew in her heart.
“Wow. When you’re still too small… you must be a genius.”
“Not… so. Despite how I look, I put in… lots of effort.”
As she read the beaker’s gradations with her wide open black irises, Ripple-Rapple was expressionless. She didn’t seem cold, it was the endearing expressionlessness of a cat.
While Ripple-Rapple processed the materials, Suzuran tried looking around the room a bit. Even staring at the blackboard up close, she couldn’t make heads or tails of it. While there were numerous chemicals lining the shelf, that didn’t make them by any means interesting to look at. The three garbage bins were labeled with burnable, not burnable, blazing inferno—
Just as she was about to pass by, Suzuran turned back in surprise.
It went on to say, ‘Dangerous, do not open’.
Then how were you supposed to throw things away?
When told not to, it is human nature to get the urge. What’s more so, this was unknown territory. “Gggrgggrgg…” especially when the insides were letting out some unknown low bass sounds.
Suzuran measured out a moment when Ripple-Rapple’s back was turned.
(Just a little…)
She tried opening it only to eat a scathing tackle.
Above her, as she fell face up, Ripple-Rapple who appeared at the very last second made a gesture of whipping her sweat away. The girl was expressionless, yet some part of her exuded great sorrow… left, right, she shook her head.
“No one… should waste life… like that.”
She scolded before getting back to the experiment.
“It… it’s that dangerous!?”
“H… huh? It’s really bugging me, but…? Just what is…?”
“Dangerous to know… too much…”
In the girl’s desolate raised hand, before she knew it, a metal bat. She wasn’t pointing it at her, but she was still holding a metal bat.
“Y-yeah… you’re… right.”
After a while, the work reached a stopping point. Ripple-Rapple took a deep breath. Holding the problematic canteen close to her body, she disappeared behind a door in the back of the room.
(… No, that’s not safe! Hope she doesn’t think it’s tea.)
As Suzuran dashed to open the door, she found a young girl just about to pour the sugar water into a cup.
“Hey, wait a wah!”
Her feet slipped on the linoleum floor, and as she fell, she crashed into Ripple-Rapple. The canteen left the girl’s hand, the cup toppled over, and the floor was soaked in it.
“… So tragic. The world is… harsh.”
Ripple Rapple’s shoulders fell as she looked at the floor.
“And wait, you! Do you know what was in there!?”
“A chemical that is bad for humans.”
Her expression didn’t seem too mindful… was she unable to form expression of laughter or anger…? Ripple-Rapple walked forth and flipped over one of the large bamboo baskets lining the corner of the room.
Flop. What fell onto the linoleum floor was a transparent, jiggly, steamed-dumpling shaped something. No, perhaps a giant raindrop cake. It was about the size of a cushion.
“A slime. It’s squishy.”
After introducing it, Ripple-Rapple turned over the next basket. One lifeform per. Transparent, green, blue… overflowing with a fresh, invigorating atmosphere, their worming movements led them right into the puddle, from which they began absorbing the sugar water.
“Sli… wait… Slimes?”
“To these monsters, just nutrition.”
The young girl gazed at the slimes loosely chugging up water.
“They grow on substances bad for… humans. It’s a bit of how… world was set up.”
As Suzuran tilted her head, Ripple Rapple stared fixedly at her with her wide eyes. But that was only for a brief instant.
“Harsh world, this is.”
With her expression unchanging, in a somewhat sad voice, the girl returned her eyes to the slimes.
Before long, the floor was as dry as before. Ripple-Rapple took them in her arms one by one and put them into their original baskets.
“… Why are they in bamboo baskets?”
“Can’t climb… bamboo basket. It’s impenetrable… Alcatraz.”
“… Done. Turned out, quite nice. Take with you.”
Ripple-Rapple came over to Suzuran with a case containing a syringe. Upon taking it, she took another look at the girl.
Bluish-black hair, a strangely long name, a baggy, sleeveless tunic, and the metal bat she was now holding, somehow or another… apart from that, she looked like any other girl.
What? Ripple-Rapple tilted her head a bit as if to ask. It’s nothing, Suzuran shook hers and left the R and D room in a haste.
Suzuran’s body winced at the ringtone that echoed loudly through the underground passageway. She took the cell phone that almost burst her silence-accustomed ears from her pocket.
“Oh, it’s just master… yes, this is Suzuran.”
‘Where are you right now?’
“Umm… on the way up.”
‘Then you got the drug from Ripple-Raple?’
“Eh? Yes, it’s this sorta syringe without a needle…”
‘I see. Then hurry aboveground. There’s not much time left.’
‘The assembly’s moving ahead of schedule. We need to hurry and get you an upgrade.’
Kchk. Boop. Boop.
“Oh crap, it’s already evening…”
Getting back above ground, Suzuran narrowed her eyes at the glaring western sun. It did seem time had gone by faster than she was perceiving it.
“You’re here. This way.”
Iori beckoned to her from the lobby atrium. As he started on his way without waiting for her, Suzuran sprinted to catch up.
“Umm, master. What did you mean by upgrade…”
“We’re taking some drastic measures, but I think it will draw out the power hidden within you.”
“Do you mean… that awakening thing?”
“That’s right. No, it won’t be a complete one. Only the assembly has that sort of technology. But what we can do is take the first step to you becoming aware of your power.”
It was precisely because it was so unconscious that she could be either a saint or demon lord—she recalled Iori’s words. Then was this time to give it direction? Or could it be she was to consider what to do on her own, once she was aware of it?
All that came up were abstract concepts and Suzuran struggled to attach them to words. The most she could do was ask about the reality clearly before her eyes.
“Am I… going to be fighting those holy knights too?”
“Depends. Run if you want to, but with your current strength…”
She was led to a separate wing attached by a corridor. They rounded the furthest door into a room that looked practically like an operating theater.
A bed, shadowless lamp, machines she didn’t know the first thing about operating, a monitor… and a single young man who reeked more of danger than anyone Suzuran had ever met in her life.
“Eehee… eeheehee, t-Takase… i-is it true that I-I… get to f-fiddle with a girl today…?”
A dirty-look labcoat, long hair that was long simply because he didn’t care that it grew out, black-rimmed glasses with a single thick lens only on one side. Such a slender, gloomy man was letting his lips twitch.
“That’s right, Doctor. Today I came to get this kid an upgrade.”
Iori gave a terrified Suzuran a push on the back, forcing her out in front of the Doctor.
“Heeh, heeheeh! S-she’s a cutie! Ar… are you sure, Iori!?”
Laughing as if his sunken cheeks were spasming out, the Doctor peered into Suzuran’s face. And looking at him so close-up, his creepiness aside, he seemed to be around the same age as Iori.
“I haven’t fiddled with a girl since Saho-chan. Heehee, it’s getting me worked up…!”
“Master. Just now, I got an outrageously terrible chill…”
“Not my problem.”
Iori said as he grabbed Suzuran from behind and forced her onto the bed. Leather belts swiftly strapped down her slender limbs.
“Kukuh. You’re a fool, Suzuran. Modification surgery is the special privilege of an evil organization. How about you rejoice a bit?”
“Not in a million years—!!”
“Don’t be like that. As long as he doesn’t get derailed, the doctor’s just your run-of-the-mill genius.”
Iori pointed his thumb at the young man chuckling creepily in the back of his throat.
“I don’t want to entrust my body to someone so on the brink you have to beat around the bush like that! Forget being derailed, he’s barreling right off the tracks! This is going to be one long, hard, medical accident!!”
“Ha ha hah. Suzuran, you’ve got quite a mouth on you.”
“Don’t laugh with a refreshing face!! Hey!! Give me my human rights!!”
“Eeehee, hee, a perky lass she is. S-s-so!? Can I fiddle with her however I want!?”
What Iori thrust out at the doctor was a document labeled ‘Specifications for the Suzuran’.
(Aah… so I’m being handled as work equipment…)
The laugh emerging from her despair was bone dry. Paying it no heed, the Doctor flipped through page after page, his stagnant eyes tracing each line… and finally he called out.
Suzuran did a spit take. But his next words reassured her that her fears were misplaced.
“T-t-there’s nothing in here about drills! You’re not putting drills on her, Iori!? Did you forget to put it down!?”
“We don’t need them!”
“T-then what about eye beams!? She’s got to at least shoot beams, right!? Right!?”
Just as he always did with Suzuran, Iori smacked the forehead of the doctor clinging to him, pleading for salvation.
“Just shut up and follow your directions! That’s what the spec sheet’s for!”
“Fine, got it…”
After some contemplation, the doctor scratched up his hair as he disappeared into another room, the document in hand.
Iori said as long as he didn’t get derailed, but in that Doctor’s head, it seemed just missing the tracks wasn’t enough to be called derailed.
During morning rush hour, with the platform crowded with salarymen, the train would have to be sent flying crashing through them all the way from terminal ten to one, coming to a stop upside down in front of the ticket gate before it would finally count as derailed.
Taking no account of how a vehicle could even display such mobility.
“Good grief, why do none of our hires ever listen to what I’ve got to say…”
“Mn? What, don’t worry. He’s a genius. You’ll be cut up a bit, but it won’t leave a scar.”
“No… there’s this huge scar forming on my heart as we speak.”
Iori thought a bit.
“… Well, I wasn’t even considering that.”
“Stupid! Taki you idiot!!”
“A two-hit combo? You’ve got some pluck, Suzuran!! Very well then. I’ll get on my hands and knees this very instant to beg for drills, eye beams, finger beams, a wave cannon in your mouth, and rockets firing from your chest…!”
“Kyaaaaaah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll never, never, never say it again!!”
The door to the other room slammed open. Firmly equipped with an operating gown, rubber gloves, a hat, and a mask, the doctor tumbled out.
“Rocket!? Did I just hear rocket, Iori!?”
Suzuran wailed out, her head swinging back and forth as if to fling off her tears. At Iori, whose smug mug lorded right over her.
“Hmph… you misheard me. Make it quick, Doctor.”
“Eehee, heeh, leave it to me…! But Iori… I don’t have the medicine for this procedure…?”
The doctor held out a page and pointed at it.
Here, Iori said as he handed over the syringe Suzuran had received from Ripple-Rapple.
“You’re all in cahooooooootttsss!?”
Iori stuck an anesthesia mask on a jabbering Suzuran. As soon as he opened the gas valve, despite all her kicking and screaming, Suzuran fell asleep in no time.
Invisible, inaudible. Only the violent wind blew over.
Inside the sacred assembly’s barrier, even the eyes of satellites could be avoided… the impenetrable wall had been partially removed in the temple airspace, as two-rotor helicopters appeared one after the next in the illuminated sky. They were quite sizable.
Kawasaki Boeing CH47. Among the self-defense and armed forces, they were nicknamed Chinooks, operating around the world as large transport helicopters that could even carry vehicles, but the ones Shouki found herself looking up at were neither marked with camo nor the rising sun. The art of an angel on the nose, an ultramarine coating with a cross cut out in white signified they were the sacred assembly’s personal crafts.
When the soundproofing barrier dissolved and the explosive noises struck him without warning, Shouki couldn’t help but hold his ears. It was to be expected. There were two rotors per craft, each eighteen meters across. Four crafts in total.
His impression could be summed up in one word.
He was simply overwhelmed by the presence of the aircraft before his eyes, but more than that, he realized that by utilizing multiple barriers, it was possible to act as agents of the third world, right under the surface of the first. While it was a bit late in the game, Shouki felt quite astonished by the power of the organization he was apart of.
Mere terrorists should never have thought to go against them. If they were serious, perhaps they could even hold their own with an entire country.
“Waaaaaah! Dude, it’s a helicopter!!”
Holding back her cleric cap from the gust of the landing copters, Clarica raced around with a smile on her face… with his silver hair training, Ferriol responded.
“It took some time to get them from the continent but… these four crafts are now under your command.”
“Yes… It’ll be fine.”
Before Shouki and Ferriol, close to two hundred holy knights stood in file, eagerly awaiting their orders. As he nodded listlessly at their reliable bearing, Shouki was wearing a garb of vibrant blue, meant to mimic a hero of old. It was a combat uniform he had just received specifically for this mission.
“I’ll rescue Agawa without fail.”
“Look, look, Mr. Shouki, it’s a chopper! Hi high heli, hello!”
“I believe in you, brave hero. Well then…”
“Bishop! I never knew helicopters were this big! It’s awesome!”
“In the name of Ferriol Azhach Schlezfell, I command the eleventh order of holy knights.”
“I’ve never seen one this up close before!”
“Eleventh order, you are to come under the command of the hero, Hasebe Shouki…”
“I mean, just look at it! This lump of metal can really fly through the sky!”
“Like it’s totally that! Finish up the boring speeches already so we can all hop on thgbweh!”
The bishop’s staff entered the giddy sister’s windpipe like a lariat… the holy knights winced in surprise at the events that just took place before their eyes. As if set to coincide with that, the engines of the landed choppers cut at precisely that moment.
“Do you want to go back to that convent, Sister Clarica?”
It is scary when a usually gentle person gets angry.
Even more so when they retain their smile.
An intensity to which Shouki found himself swallowing his breath lingered around the man’s smiling face.
“M… may he show grace~! May he show mercy~!”
Her shoulders clattering as she shook her head, Clarica shed her tears as she pleaded.
“… Then I’ll let you off with a lecture. You’d best be prepared when you get back.”
To Clarica, it was almost as if she had witnessed a tiger at the front door, a wolf at the back. The lecture was eventually deemed the better option as she reluctantly reached a nod.
(We’re going to be alright… right?)
Shouki’s confidence wavered ever so slightly.