Arifureta - Chapter 313
Arifureta After III Abyss Lord Arc Chapter 2 Saint Claudia
It's mostly exposition chapter.
I cannot consolidate the story well and became unable to endure, that jokes were also entered and it become more than 18,000 characters......
Please be careful not to strain your eyes.
Claudia smiled happily from the bottom of her heart that they were able to be reunited. The smile that didn't contain the trace of anything hidden coupled with her gentle and kind looks was something so charming that might tightly grabbed the heart of ten thousand people.
Against such girl, Kousuke's eyes snapped open so wide......
「Yo, you are perceiving me!?」
Kousuke reflexively yelled.
At the same time, Bernard who was entering inside together was exposing his wariness while saying, 「To think she notice ’’Aby entering the room’’......as expected, she isn't just a normal person」.
Claudia-sama went 「Eh?」 one more time.
It seemed their reaction was different from what she imagined, so she opened her mouth with slightly troubled look.
「E, err, I think it's only natural to notice if someone enter inside the room. Did I, say something strange?」
「Na, tural......you say!?」
「Aby......it seems Vatican is a really dangerous place huh. Now I keenly feel it for real.」
Aby's legs staggered from the shocking words. Bernard supported him while trickling cold sweat. Even he who was a veteran security bureau staff who was also the leader of the force for field work couldn't hide his shuddering expression.
It seemed that his opinion of Vatican was improving to a strange direction.
Claudia said 「I, I don't understand......」 while she was starting to get teary eyed somewhat. Actually she was having imagination of a reunion that was more, emotional, or more like cool and stylish.
For example, Kousuke would anticipate Claudia's entrance like it was only natural saying 「Good grief, aren't you late?」, or perhaps 「Hou. To think that you can find me. You are quite something」 while grinning fearlessly......
Inside Claudia, her image of the human called Kousuke was that of a superhuman who was cool and stylish, with a composure that would never lose his calm while turning around in place for some reason.
She had been working hard thinking for many hours during her flight and car drive to this place for a stylish greeting in their reunion, and yet......
The superhuman-san was absurdly shaken just from a greeting! He wasn't calm and composed at all! He wasn't cool! Also he didn't make any turn!
「Err, Claudia-sama? That's why I was telling you, aren't you glorifying your image of him too much?」
「It's fine to like a moving tale, but it's Claudia-sama's bad habit to get too heated up and excessively glorified a story that is already good in the first place.」
The voice of a young man who seemed to have a headache and the voice of a girl that was mixed with sigh in it were resounding inside the room.
A youth with stylishly swept back blond hair――Wynn Keyman and, a girl with chestnut hair in braid――Anna Folk. It seemed the two of them came as Claudia's accompaniment. They were standing in attention behind Claudia.
Kousuke came back to his senses with a 'hah' at their existence and for the time being,
「I'm reaaal~~ly-, glad that I saved someone like you!! You are exactly the very picture of a saint!」
He said that, and with a step that no one inside that room could even perceive, he took Claudia's hand. Kousuke wrapped her hand with both his hands while his eyes became tearful from joy.
「Eh? Ah, that's....... Certainly, I'm performing my role as a saint but......au, you are holding me so strongly like this again......」
Saint-sama became red faced when Kousuke grasped her hand. Her gaze was swimming around restlessly in embarrassment and bashfulness. It seemed she was recalling the sensation of the powerful arm when they were escaping from hell with her being held tightly inside his arms.
The saint who had no immunity of coming into contact with male could only let Kousuke did as he pleased with how happy he was that his existence was recognized as though it was only natural.
Of course, normally against such impolite man that tried to touch her needlessly, she would gently dodged them or turned them back with strength but......
For the time being, this time it was her two escorts who spontaneously moved.
「Tsu, can I ask you to get away from Claudia-sama-?」
「What's with that step just now!? As I thought, you are strange! Also Claudia-sama too, you are acting strange somehow! What's with that reaction that is like a maiden!?」
Perhaps because they caught a glimpse of Kousuke's true strength, or perhaps because they recalled the dangerous involvement of the last time, or perhaps because of their fighting experience that was seeping into their body, their hands went toward their weapon. Wynn's hand moved toward the handle of a small sword that jutted out from a cylinder case, while Anna's hand moved toward the tonfa that was peeking out from the slit of her skirt.
Bernard immediately reacted to the two who were like that. With a gun in each hand, he aimed each muzzle to Wynn and Anna respectively.
An atmosphere of explosive situation instantly visited the place.
But, as for the two people in question,
「Yo, you are wrong! Anna! This is, I was just a bit startled-, maiden or anything, that's a baseless thing to say! Geez」
「Bless you~, bless you~. In this world, there is still a person who will perceive me normally~. It's precious~, it's rare~. Saint-sama, bless you~」
One became even more like a maiden and fidgeted, &the other was entreated the saint repeatedly――in a sense, they were entering a world of only the two of them.
The eyes of Bernard who making a grim expression was slightly swimming around.
The eyes of Wynn and Anna who turned stiff with terrible nervousness were also normally swimming around.
The gaze of Bernard and Wynn &Anna crossed each other. 「Nn, nnn」 they made sound from their throat to each other and exchanged words 「Wha, what to do?」 with their gaze.
A beat. They let out a sigh together and lifted up all their hands to above.
And then, they turned their gaze to the fidgeting Claudia and the worshipping Kousuke, and they let out a deep sight one more time together. Somehow, their reaction were really understandable.
「Aby. I know you are happy, so return to your sanity right away.」
「Claudia-sama. Let's make you a bit more immune after this various matters are settled. For now, please return to the usual Claudia-sama.」
Claudia and Kousuke returned to their senses. They both pretended to clear their throat and then sat down on the sofa facing each other without keeping up appearance at all.
Seeing that, Wynn and Anna moved to stand behind Claudia, while Bernard stood behind Kousuke.
「The, then, let's restart from the beginning. My name is Claudia Barenberg. I'm serving as a saint in anti-demon organization ’’Omnibus’’ that is directly under the pope of Roma.」
Kousuke looked over his shoulder and exchanged gaze with Bernard. Bernard shook his head. It seemed he also didn't know at all about that organization name.
In security bureau, Bernard was the leader at present while Chief Magdanese was away. His position was really high. For him to not know about that name meant that it was an organization that even the security bureau wasn't aware of......
「I am, Kousuke. Endou Kousuke. A Japanese person, I'm not a staff of the security bureau but......」
「I am aware. ――You are one of the ’’returnees’’ aren't you?」
「Aa~, yep. As I thought, you have grasped that much huh. For you to come here......did you trace the connection from the Berserk incident?」
「Yes, Kousuke-sama. We have also grasped about that incident to a certain degree, so we thought that perhaps we could rely on the security bureau. That pillar of light descending from the sky......it also confused us, so we investigated about it quite thoroughly.」
Kousuke smiled wryly while nodding 「As expected」. Claudia nodded back with a smile, and then her expression smoothly changed into a serious look.
「Kousuke-sama. First, let me express my thanks. For saving Aziz, and for leading me back to this world, thank you very much. If there is anything I can do to repay you, then I will do anything that you wish from me.」
Claudia suddenly sent a strong gaze that shook Kousuke. Her feeling of deep gratitude was really conveyed.
「And then, I apologize from the bottom of my heart. I heard that my comrades attempted to capture you by force when we originally should be offering gratitude for you. I'm really, really sorry.」
Claudia looked back across her shoulder. Wynn and Anna went 「Uu」 and couldn't say anything.
Although the place at that time was in chaos, and everyone there were seething with unprecedented anger, but to attack Kousuke right after he rescued Claudia, indeed, it seemed that it caused them to feel guilty now that they were calm.
The two looked at Kousuke with terrible awkwardness and then they quickly lowered their head together.
「My apologies-. Even though you even tried to establish a dialogue, we repaid back kindness with evil because of our excessive wariness!」
「I'm sorry! Also, thank you very much for saving Aziz and Claudia-sama! If it's compensation, please be forgiving in exchange of the lives of I and Wynn-senpai!」
Kousuke was surprised by the sudden words of gratitude and apology. Claudia then said.
「The director too――the leader of our organization also said that he wished to make a formal apology. Unfortunately, the situation doesn't allow me and the director to be away from Vatican at the same time, so he is unable to come here. We are greatly aware that it is impolite but......」
With a pained look, Claudia asked that if Kousuke would pardon the impoliteness of apologizing through phone, then the director was prepared to be called right away to express his apology. She looked so dispirited that her smile before this seemed like a lie.
To tell the truth, Kousuke was thinking if perhaps they were coming here as ’’pursuer’’. He never imagined that they were here for apologize, that he was unconsciously taken aback.
Looking carefully, Wynn and Anna seemed terribly nervous. They were making cold sweat. Just now when Kousuke suddenly stepped forward and grabbed Claudia's hand, their hand immediately reached toward their weapon because they were really worried that Kousuke's rage had exploded and he was going to turn it toward Claudia.
'We are apologetic, but just because of that adding harm to Claudia-sama is the only thing that we cannot allow', it could be seen that they were at their wits' end with such feeling. At the same time, the resolve that they wouldn't loath to sacrifice themselves for that could also be seen.
It was unclear that they weren't making a show of their strength because that was simply their personality or because they had heard about Kousuke's strength. They were surely also keeping in mind that the returnees side had easily suppressed the attack just before this.
Perhaps rather than being Claudia's guard, the two of them came here as representatives to receive Kousuke's punishment. From the surprise that Claudia showed in respond to Anna's words, it was a resolve that they kept quiet even to Claudia herself.
Seeing them like that, Kousuke pulled himself together and scratched his cheek with a troubled expression. And then he asked softly.
「Wynn-san, Anna-san. ......How many, people died?」
The words that Kousuke directed to Wynn and Anna. Both of them looked at each other's face while keeping their head bowed before raising their gaze in question.
「That explosion, and then the attack from the cultists. Surely there were a lot of people that couldn't be saved. Right after the explosion, Claudia-san screamed to confirm the safety of her comrades, and Wynn-san and Anna-san too, despite your heavy injury, Wynn-san immediately leaped out to help your comrades, and Anna-san also immediately rushed to call for help.」
Wynn and others were perplexed without understanding what Kousuke wanted to say. Kousuke continued without minding that.
「Aziz-kun, even though he looked like he was just a step before death's door, the words that came out from his mouth were only 『Save Nee-san』. When I returned from hell, everyone in that place was harboring rage, not uneasiness or sense of danger. That director person too, he was maintaining calm appearance, but his clenched fist was shaking.」
That was why Kousuke was convinced.
「All of you, are surely comrades who are connected with strong bond. Isn't that right?」
The expression of Claudia, Wynn, and also Anna slightly changed into pained smile from Kousuke's words. Wynn quietly muttered 「......Yeah」, while Anna also leaked out a small voice 「......Yes」.
「I also have comrades. Important comrades who I entrusted my life to, who I won't hesitate to offer my life for. When I imagined those guys getting harmed, yeah, even I have no confidence that I'll be able to stay calm.」
That was why,
「There is no need for apology or anything――is what I want to say but, surely serious people like you all will be troubled by that, so I'll accept the apology. But, it's enough with that. This talk is over with this, I'll let the bygone be bygone! That's all! If you are feeling apologetic, then don't bring this up again in the future! Okay?」
「Ye, yeah. No, right, if that is what you wish......understood. ......My gratitude.」
「O, okay. That's, thank you very much.」
Wynn and Anna were slightly bewildered, even so, a beat later tension left their shoulders and they smiled.
Like that, Bernard was making a triumphant look for some reason after hearing Kousuke's words while hitting Kousuke's shoulder *bam bam* from behind. Claudia was also smiling cheerfully with slightly reddening cheeks during that.
「Kousuke-sama. Thank you very much.」
「Right, well, more importantly, can you stop calling me Kousuke-sama? You can just call me Kousuke normally.」
「No, I cannot call Kousuke-sama so casually. Please call me ’’Claire’’.」
Even though she was smiling, Claudia-san was making a request with a strong gaze that was strangely pressuring. That excessively powerful gaze caused Kousuke to reflexively nodded 「Ah, yes」. A mere Kousuke who wasn't being a lord was powerless in front of the saint's love.
He cleared his throat once. Kousuke corrected his sitting posture and opened his mouth with a serious expression.
「Aa~, err, Claire-san――」
「Claire and others aren't coming here just for conveying your apology right?」
A smiling saint, powerful!
Saint's cheerful smile! was an almighty language tool! It didn't give the slightest attention to the conflicted expression of Wynn and Anna as though they didn't exist. The expression of the saint-sama looked really satisfied when Kousuke called her Claire.
「Yes, Kousuke-sama. it had already become a situation that cannot be kept secret at all. There is something that I should inform to Kousuke-sama, and then to everyone of the returnees――we came here in order to tell about a danger to the world.」
「Danger to the world, eh.」
Kousuke ruminated with a wry smile. It wasn't because he thought of it as a joke. They had just gotten attacked for real by demons from hell. There was no ground for doubt.
To say nothing of Claudia. Not just her title as saint, from what he had seen through the situation at Vatican, he could see that her position was really high.
It was clear from what she had said just now, that ’’I and the director cannot go away from Vatican at the same time’’.
A woman in her position was intentionally leaving her headquarters to come here. It was natural that she had an important reason for it.
「Before I talk, please allow me to confirm first. The attack of demons and cultists before this. The gap between worlds was certainly shaken even though incompletely. In Vatican, director and others were carrying the ceremony to correct the fluctuation but......the world was corrected before they activated the technique. Was that caused by a measure that Kousuke-sama took?」
「No, it wasn't me who tracked back the guy who was sending in demons and sent him flying. It was someone else who is far more absurd than me. I wonder, does your side know that us returnees in Japan along with the people related with us were all attacked simultaneously?」
「Tsu......I see......as I thought, all of you have that much power......」
Claudia asked while she was alredy half convinced, but hearing for real that the returnees launched a counterattack across worlds and drove the demons to retreat, Claudia and others with her gulped.
Claudia turned around with a determined expression. Wynn and Anna who received her gaze nodded with similar expression.
「Then, I will talk about everything by the order of the pope of Roma. Who are we. And then, about the unprecedented danger that is occurring right now.」
「I see. That's really helpful. Actually, the first wife of the demon king told me to bring back enemy's information because we are going to go raid their place. Actually, I was planning to infiltrate into Vatican again after this, so this saved me the trouble.」
「Previously I tailed Aziz-kun and infiltrated inside using the secret passage from outside Vatican, but Aziz-kun was really sharp you see.」
「The fully thrilling infiltration was really tiring. And this time that place is in high alert, so I was thinking that it feels like it will be a bit troublesome.」
The facts spilled out without stopping with really light tone. Even though they were a secret organization, they got infiltrated with a level of recognition of just needing ’’some effort’’, and then even while being aware that the situation now was a high alert state that was far more stricter, said infiltrator only thought of it as ’’troublesome’’.
Claudia's expression was slightly cramping, while Wynn was holding his head saying 「Azizzz, you were tailed......no, perhaps it can't be helped」, and Anna raised a dry laugh 「What happened with the door of attestation ceremony and the like......」.
Kousuke tilted his head 「Eh?」 at their strange atmosphere. Bernard was murmuring 「I get it. I really get it you guys~, that feeling of yours. When the chief office was casually infiltrated, we the staffs here also felt the same」 while making a really gentle blank gaze.
Kousuke cleared his throat *cough*.
「Eerrrm anyway, if you are going to give explanation now, then I and Yue-san......I mean the first wife of demon king who is leading us returnees right now, I will have to report to that person, so in order to avoid giving the explanation twice, is it fine for me to contact her so we can listen to the talk together?」
「If that's the case, that's convenient because our chief is also together with her. Just now, there was a communication that she had safely arrived in Nagumo family house, so I will be grateful if our chief is allowed to listen to it together.」
By the way, when the chief was contacting through video transmission using computer, there was Allen behind her who was looking strangely nervous while sending glances to something outside the screen but......
By any chance, there was a female high school student there who as staring with a gaze of sadist with cheerful smile there......perhaps.
When Claudia accepted, Kousuke immediately called Nagumo house. When the other side heard the circumstance, a call with computer was immediately connected......
「......Hello, it's me.」
Yue-sama, made her entrance with teleport once more. Of course, she was in adult version. And then, she sharply took the cool pose of a warrior who would give punishment in the name of the moon, furthermore she formed a finger gun and fired *bakyun♡* with it.
Below her, there was also Chief Magdanese sitting down with a clear expression as though she had attained enlightenment. It seemed only the two of them came together here using teleport.
The other members could just hear the talk through video call, but it would be better for Yue and Chief Magdanese to listen directly. On the other side of the large screen inside the reception room, Kaori who was looking exasperated along with Shizuku and others could be seen. Most likely, the other classmates who evacuated to outside the screen due to the ruckus were also there.
Claudia and others were dumbfounded by the sudden appearance of the divinely beautiful girl, and her posing that was just too surreal......
No, there was one person, a man who got done in by Yue-sama's *bakyun♡*. It was Wynn. He was pressing his chest and stepped back by one and then two steps.
It seemed he was shot.
When Anna beside him was sending him a shocked expression, Wynn returned to his senses with a 'hah' and started muttering 「I am Claudia-sama's knight! Claudia-sama's knight! Amen-」somewhat hysterically.
It seemed he was simply a dangerous person. Anna-chan's chilly gaze stabbed him. Her eyes were as though she was staring at filth.
「Yue-san, Yue-san. Please read the atmosphere, seriously.」
「! ......You are saying I can read the mood? Rude. Even though I'm just mimicking Lord Abyssgate who burst into the train.」
Kousuke pressed his chest and crouched down. Certainly, he took a pose of punishing in the name of the moon. But, how did Yue know that?
The answer was of course, from the screening of the filming by cameraman Ayako just now.
「Nn-, cough-. How do you do, I am the security bureau's chief, Magdanese. This person here is the wife......the first wife of Mr. Nagumo Hajime who is the leader of the returnees, Mrs. Yue. Can I listen to the story too?」
In order to rally the place that was starting to to turn chaotic, Chief Magdanese really did her best. *GOGOGO-* Her pressure was such that it felt like such letters were floating behind her. Claudia-sama nodded up and down repeatedly with slightly teary eyes.
Like that, the atmosphere of the place that lapsed into chaos mostly because of Yue-sama's fault was turning back like before while Kousuke was telling everyone once more about the detail that he heard from Professor Littman. And then the explanation that was based on it finally started.
「I see, so all of you already know until that far....... Your recognition of hell and demon, and then the cultist isn't mistaken on the whole. We ’’Omnibus’’ is an organization that is opposing such hell, demon, and their cultists.」
According to her, there was a war between earth and another worldhell in the past. Among the victorious side, in other words the people of earth, some of their descendant established an organization to take the role of watching over another worldhell.
In each era the organization would match the time and changed the organization's name sometimes, however they would protect mankind behind the scene of history as anti demon organization without any pause in between.
「In other words, exorcist exist for real, is that what you mean?」
「Yes, Kousuke-sama. But, it's slightly different from the exorcist in the world at general. Those who can join Omnibus and introduce themselves as ’’exorcist’’ are only people who possess the disposition to handle sacred vessel.」
「For example ’’Mirror Gate’’ and ’’Key of Holy Cross’’ that Kousuke-sama is also aware of, and then......」
Claudia's gaze turned behind her. Toward the large cross that was put on the wall behind Wynn and Anna who were standing on the back. Its true shape couldn't be seen due to the cloth and leather belt that were wrapped around it. But, it could be seen that it was something splendid with a total height of two meter which wouldn't be strange for it to be placed on a church's altar.
「That's my ’’Holy Cross’’. It's a special weapon that is concealing a power to oppose demon. It was a weapon that was used at the past in the war between earth and another worldhell. It's a fragment of miracle that is containing the work of god.」
Yue was staring still at the talking Claudia. After that she turned her gaze to Wynn and Anna and nodded saying 「I see」.
「......In other words, ’’magic power possessor’’ would be born sometimes from among the descendants of the residents of the other world. Those people are able to handle the left behind magic tools and artifacts and they are the real exorcist.」
By the way, the magic power of Claudia and others that Yue observed was really little compared to the returnee group. Compared to the returnee with rear guard vocation, the difference was by order of magnitude. It wasn't something that should be compared with Yue and others.
Even so it was only Claudia who seemed to possess magic power that was several times larger than Wynn and Anna though......
From the talk just now, most likely she exhibited atavism in her birth with the amount of magic power that she possessed. Even so the blood of the people from another world was thinning with the accumulation of generation, and the amount of magic power that she possessed also became relatively little.
Yue nodded in comprehension, but Claudia tilted her head in puzzlement toward Yue's words of ’’magic power possessor’’ and ’’artifact’’.
For the time being, Yue urged with an unblinking stare for Claudia to continue her story, the story from the returnees would be for later. She wasn't glaring. She also wasn't in bad mood. However......Claudia twitched while continuing her story. The serious Yue-sama was overwhelming.
「The existence of Omnibus is only known by the pope and by the generations of archbishop who is entrusted with Vatican's second library at the surface. It is completely kept secret from others.」
「If the supreme commander in battle against demon is the pope, then the commander in the field is the archbishop that is the ’’director’’, is it something like that? Though Claire said that you are a ’’saint’’......what does that mean?」
For some reason the other side of the video call became noisy. Voices of「She is calling him Kousuke-sama......even Kousuke is calling her with pet name Claire? Ko, Kousuke, what is the meaning of this!?」「Wai-, Emily-chan, calm down!」 were resounding from there. Right after that「Nmuu! Mogaa!」 the voice became a groaning voice as though someone's mouth was blocked.
Claudia answered the question even while getting a bit curious about the other side of the screen.
「The, the title of Saint is referring to the ’’strongest’’ exorcist of that era. Usually the title will be ’’Holy Apostle’’, but in case a female become a Holy Apostle, the popular name of ’’Saint’’ become entrenched to call that person.」
「......Strongest? Claire is?」
「Uu. Yes, that's, more or less......」
Claudia nodded shyly at Kousuke's amazed expression. The young lady who looked calm, gentle, and kind was the strongest exorcist of this generation......
Yue-sama's unblinking stare also was also stabbing her. It looked like she wanted to say「Haa? You are the strongest? Do you know about the phrase knowing your place?」. In reality she was only thinking「Hee~~」 in her mind though. Rather, Yue was convinced of that seeing the amount of her magic power compared to other people. It was really just Yue's default unblinking stare.
Perhaps being unable to watch Claudia who was getting increasingly smaller from embarrassment, Wynn and Bernard interrupted.
「It's true that Claudia-sama is the strongest among us. Certainly, it's difficult to imagine it from her appearance, in fact she is beyond hopeless in hand-to-hand fighting and the like. Not just that, she is also truly unreliable in her everyday life. But, it is only Claudia-sama who can handle that ’’Holy Cross’’. And then, someone who can handle ’’Holy Cross’’ is inevitably the strongest in battle against demon.」
「She was certainly amazing. When the bureau was attacked by demons, You see, Ms. Barenberg who came running offered a prayer. And then, a powerful light surged from that large cross, and when we noticed the demons were already gone, and the cultists were all collapsing. It was truly a clean sweep and felt overwhelming.」
Everyone went 'hoee~' and sent gaze of admiration toward Claudia. Claudia's cheeks reddened, but the casual evaluation from Wynn like「beyond hopeless in hand-to-hand combat」 and the like caused her to avert her gaze toward the sky that was visible from the window. It seemed she had an idea of what Wynn was saying.
Kousuke nodded with a convinced face.
「I see. So you are the strongest as a rear guard. Certainly, you were amazing even when you were in a weaponless state. You did deploy a barrier that even the ghoul-like things couldn't cross at all in hell.」
「Tha, thank you very much, Kousuke-sama. It's my happiness if I can be even slightly useful. After all my title of Saint will cry if I was only being carried in your arms from beginning to end.」
Claudia smiled sweetly. Her cheeks were reddening perhaps because she was recalling the time of the flight when she was carried in princess carry, Her smiling appearance was really lovely.
『Mugah, nnmuu! Puhah, Kousuke! What is the meaning of this!? You embraced that person!? Is that why you are so intimate to even call her Clair――』
『Yes, Doctor Emily. Let's be quiet for a bit. Right now Kousuke-san is having an important talk with the fourth wife――cough, the honorable saint of Vatican after all.』
He couldn't hear anything. He didn't feel a chill or anything. Inside the display, Kaori and others were sending lukewarm gaze to outside the screen, but he wasn't bothered about it.
Also, 「As I thought the bastard laid his hand on a new woman」 or 「Lord, drop dead」 voices of resentment were also coming, but Kousuke activated the new skill that he obtained just now, ’’Hearing sense that become like galge main character depending on the situation’’.
Eh? What did you say?
「Sa, say, Kousuke-sama. That person......besides, someone said about ’’fourth wife’’......」
「Ms. Barenberg, please continue. We still haven't heard about the ringleader.」
Chief Magdanese looked at Claudia with a sharp glint, as though to say 'you think I'm going to let the talk get interrupted'.
'For some reason, Chief Magdanese, and also the wives of code name ’’demon king’’ are glaring at me, why......', as expected Claudia became slightly teary while the strongest exorcist nodded repeatedly.
「The mastermind――the person who kidnapped me, and intervened with the gap of worlds to attack everyone. The person who wish to unify the two worlds and become ruler. The demon that cannot be talked even in bible or any kind of other books. We called him, that demon as――Unknown.」
「A demon that cannon be talked in book....... In other words, speaking in reverse he is existing as famous demon that is known by the world in general?」
If it was just those demons of ’’shadow’’, they weren't really a threat. However, if the greater demon that was talked in legend existed, and he was also aiming for earth......
Such concern of Kousuke was easily ascertained.
「Unfortunately, he exist. Although, about him being recorded in books is actually slightly different in reality....... In any case, there is nothing about him at all in the past record, and he was confirmed for the first time twelve years ago. He is called as ’’Unknown’’ as a great demon who possess king class strength even though he is unknown.」
The moment Claudia mentioned twelve years ago, her voice was tinged slightly with something dark. Kousuke's expression became slightly puzzled to that.
But, before he could ask about it, Yue reacted to the words ’’king class’’.
「......By king class you mean?」
「There is historical record that is only inherited by us in Omnibus. According to it, it seemed there were seven kings who were once reigning over the countries and nobles in another worldhell. It's said that they can control even miracle that is effecting the foundations of the world, that is even further above the works of god.」
「......Foundations of the world?」
Yue's eyes narrowed slowly. Claudia interpreted it as shock and she continued with a meek expression.
「Yes. But, it's not just causing fire or wind. It's an even greater power. It's said that the closer a demon is to the lineage of king, the stronger the power they can use but......Unknown can also use similar kind of power.」
Such demons that possessed strength which had a line drawn from other demons seemed to be called as ’’king class’’.
Kousuke recalled the Unknown at the back of his mind. A figure that was like a condensed shadow, and a power to control shadow itself. The impression his got from his clones his clones that were directly battling it, rather than shadow, it felt more like a lump of force field.
In addition, the power to interfere with the gap of worlds......
Cold sweat trickled just slightly. In his impression from fighting the Unknown, although he was a troublesome opponent, but at the present stage he wasn't an unbeatable opponent, but Kousuke got a bad premonition.
「Could it be, when I fought him in hell, that guy wasn't serious?」
「No, I think he was serious at that time. It's unthinkable that he would intentionally let go of me when he want me as a mother body. But, if the question is whether he could display his full strength, then the answer is ’’No’’. At the very least, when Unknown was confirmed twelve years ago, he had the power to freely change his shape and summoned demonic beasts but, he didn't use those powers before.」
Kousuke's attention was caught by the words ’’twelve years ago’’ that came out once more. But, this time Claudia continued talking without any change in her expression and tone at all.
「At that time, Unknown was summoned and appeared in this world, but he was terrifyingly powerful and the strength of the exorcists couldn't match him. At the end he received strong interference from hell and he got dragged back. He raised a resenting voice to the demon kings while vanishing.」
It seemed even the ceremony of demon summoning could actually be done for real if it was correctly carried out by people with qualificationpeople with magic power and the equal compensation was paid.
And then, it was Omnibus's opinion that the demon kings who were driven away to hell in the past already had no will to invade to earth. It seemed that was their conclusion because since the war of ancient time, demons with high ranking almost never did interference to this world except when they were summoned by mankind.
Of course, the demons outside the greater demons with well-known names in the human side kept doing interference constantly. And then because people who were trying to summon demon in reverse also kept appearing without end, the battle of exorcist also had no end.
Kousuke then got taken aback and said.
「Now that you mention it, I heard that guy said something about the fake kings had vanished~ or the like.」
「......Yes. I don't know what kind of reason there is, but at present it seems there is no influence of the demon kings in hell. That must be the reason why the Unknown is moving. Perhaps he was also sealed, because he looks like he still cannot use his power fully......」
「......Nn. In that case, it means we might have to face famous demons too?」
「There is the possibility of that. Furthermore, the Unknown itself seems to rapidly grow in strength, perhaps because he is gaining strength from his drastically increasing believers.」
Claudia returned to her former quiet atmosphere and turned a straightforward gaze toward Kousuke, and then toward Yue.
「The next time Unknown shake the gap of worlds, I believe that it won't be something incomplete like this time. Next time hell will be completely connected to this world. Powerful demons that obtain flesh body will descend to this world endlessly. In front of the power of miracle that was once called as the works of gods, modern weapon will be useless to resist them. We too won't be able to win against the power of number. If the worlds are connected, that will mean――the destruction of the world, of the present society.」
Claudia stated that it was a danger of destruction of the present world. It was already not limited to just local invasion against the surrounding of the returnees or the like, but a world scale invasion, where the demons would be overflowing through sea as the intermediary.
If that happened, how much damage would result......
「That's why, before the worlds can be connected, we have to enter hell from here and defeat the Unknown. However, with the previous attack, we lost many comrades and Omnibus's headquarter is weakened.」
In the first place the number of real exorcist was few. Even if they summoned the people who were dispatched throughout the world, that fact wouldn't change. They also had no time.
That was why, because they knew of someone like Kousuke, of someone that was like a hero,
「All of you returnees, please lend us your strength.」
Saying that, Claudia deeply bowed her head. Wynn and Anna also lowered their head.
Originally it must be impossible for them to borrow the strength of other organization or individual. But, before this Claudia spoke about the command of the pope. In other words, the case this time was so pressing, it was literally a danger to the world that her superior had to recognize it.
The presence of security bureau in this talk was allowed was undoubtedly because their connection with returnees was taken into consideration. They had no leeway to deal with needless inquiry, if that was what would happen then it was better to share the information from the start.
Across the screen, the classmates could be heard speaking 「Seriously, the scale suddenly got really huge huh」「Just why is it fantasy even after returning to earth」 with half laughing voice.
Chief Magdanese didn't really talk. She only turned her gaze toward Yue as though to say that she was leaving the decision to her.
Kousuke also asked with his gaze 「What to do?」 to Yue. Yue replied to Claudia and others who were lowering their head without looking like she was thinking long about it.
「......Nn. No problem. Or rather, the problem isn't about lending or not lending a hand.」
「Eh? What do you mean......」
Claudia and others raised their face in confusion. Yue was staying expressionless, however, she spoke while emitting terrifying atmosphere that made everyone felt a chill.
「......I don't care whether they are demon or dejected loser, but those guys picked a fight with me. That's why I'll take the fight. I'll kill them. Destroy them in the entirety. No mercy.」
'Isn't that right~', atmosphere that was like that was transmitted from Kousuke and the other side of the screen.
「......I heard that you are targeted to be mother body. It's better to stay behind for your safety. Looking at your combat potential, there is also no need for cooperation. Simply open the Mirror Gate. After that, I will trample over hell.」
It was an implied statement that they weren't counted as a war potential. Certainly, on top of repelling back the Unknown, she had also witnessed an absurd deed like space teleportation. And from looking at Kousuke's strength, this was someone who was said to be of higher ranked than him. Even if the exorcists participated in the fight, certainly, far from being of assistance, they might become hindrance instead.
It was a rational decision, but for some reason Claudia was making objection with frustrated expression.
「Ho, however, the hell is vast. According to the record, it's not just the ground surface, but there are also several layers of territory underground. I, if it is I, I'll be able to find the Unknown. I have connection with Unknown.」
「......Nn, it's alright. I have already grasped that guy's soul. If I'm in the same world with him, I will be able to find him. After that I just need to move toward him with teleport.」
Claudia's gaze swam around. Because Wynn and Anna understood her feeling, they were directing a conflicted gaze toward her.
A question mark floated on Yue's head at Claudia's state and she asked.
「......Nn? Is there any problem?」
「..................No. Just in case, we will also form a unit and embark to hell but, please defeat the enemy without minding about us. Please, I'm begging you-, take care of the world! Please, don't let the evil that the Unknown is spreading will befall the people even more than this!」
Her voice sounded as though she was shaking off, to suppress down something. She was bowing her head deeply, so her expression couldn't be seen.
Yue stared at Claudia doubtfully because her condition was really strange. In the incident this time, if Yue and others defeated the enemy's ringleader, it would also be in the interest of the exorcist side and she thought they would welcome it but......
Yue's gaze turned toward Wynn and Anna. Wynn and Anna looked at each other's face in respond to that questioning gaze. And then Anna silently shook her head, and Wynn nodded. He then answered as though to cover up something.
「We have also lost a lot of our comrades, so there are also a lot of us that wish to attack the enemy. If possible, it will by our own hands. However, it's the fate of the world that is at risk here. If you say that it will be more certain to do it by only yourselves, we won't refuse. Allow us to give support as much as possible.」
From the start, they were people who were offering their life for their mission as exorcist――to protect mankind from demon. If they were someone who didn't loath to sacrifice even themselves in order to save someone else, then they would be no room for personal emotion too. Thus, they would choose the more certain path.
「......Nn, I see. Then, I will make them pay back for the share of your comrades too.」
Although she still looked like she wasn't fully convinced yet, Yue said that and nodded. Even during that time, Kousuke was looking at Claudia all along and he was making an expression as though thinking of something.
「......Are you going right away? If you teach me the coordinate, I'll teleport you all there.」
Claudia finally lifted up her face in respond to Yue's words. At that time, her atmosphere that felt like she was suppressing something was already gone.
「No, we plan to link up with the exorcists who are dispatched to Britain before returning back using personal plane. Besides, currently we are preparing for when the gap of the worlds is connected once more.」
According to her, actually the obelisk that was at St. Peter Square was also a sacred vessel. It was something to be activated when it was necessary to deal with large scale demon summoning.
Even if the gap of worlds was connected somewhere in the world and a path was created, if the obelisk was activated, it seemed that the path that was connecting worlds would be forcefully connected to the square.
Also, the 140 saint statues surrounding the plaza also seemed to be sacred vessels. They could deploy a powerful barrier that wouldn't let the demon to get out from the square.
In other words, in the worst case that Unknown's extermination didn't make it in time, it in time, or there was unforeseen situation, the square could be used as temporary battlefield to buy time when the words were connected.
「Because some area got hit by explosion, it will take half more day for the preparation. We wish to at least finish this preparation so that even after breaking into hell, we will be able to react even if the Unknown take reckless action of going here with imperfect world connection or the like.」
「Yue-san, I will go with Claire and the others. Claire is being targeted as a mother body after all, it will be troubling if the worst case occurred.」
「......Nn. Got it. Then contact us when the preparation is finished. Until then, we will harden our own defense.」
After saying that, Yue stood up and strongly grasped Chief Magdanese's hand. The chief stopped her in panic. It seemed she would remain here. As expected, it seemed it would be bad if the chief wasn't present after the headquarter was attacked.
『Eh......Sharon-obaachan, you won't return here nano?』
On the screen, the dejected figure of Myuu was.......
The demonic chief who was capable of hushing crying children. She groaned with a hard to describe expression that her subordinates had never seen before. It was an expression as though she was enduring a severe stomachache.
「Fo, forgive me, Myuu. Obaa-chan, has a lot of work after this. A good child like Myuu, understand that right?」
『Myuu is a good child so Myuu understand. Obaa-chan, do your best in work nano.』
Myuu smiled bravely and waved her hand that was small like a maple leaf. Obaa-chan waved her hand back with a nice smile while her other hand was pressing her nose.
『Kousuke......you will stay beside that person?』
Across the screen, there was the dejected figure of Emily-chan.
The hero who didn't flinch even when facing man-eating fiend. He groaned with a hard to describe expression that could be seen relatively often. It was an expression as though he was enduring a severe stomachache.
「So, sorry, Emily. I'll leave a clone behind so......」
『It's fine, I understand. Kousuke, be careful. I will also do what I can.』
Emily-chan who smiled bravely while glancing at Claudia. Kousuke pressed his hand on his nose toward while a nice smile――「This is why, this damn Abys is just...showing off like this」「I'll tell this to Rana-san」「Idiot, it's that person so she will only get happy」「God dammit」「Lord, drop dead」etc.――wasn't on his face. He quietly turned off the switch of the screen.
「......Nn, then, Endou. The rest, take care.」
Yue-sama vanished instantly.
The conference between Claudia, the returnees, and the security bureau where a framework of cooperation among them was built had finished, and an atmosphere of relieve flowed in.
「Ms. Barenberg. Putting aside the demons, if it's guarding against the attack of the cultists, we can also lend our field work's unit for that, how about it?」
Chief Magdanese suggested that to Claudia with the calculation to have a grasp on the flow of events in the real time, and also to build a friendly relationship with an organization that was continuing to lurk behind the scene of history.
Claudia's feeling that was about to relax down from the relief of receiving assistance snapped back into focus. Originally she wasn't in the position for this kind of external negotiation.
「That's truly welcome. The director told me to accept if there is an offer. After all a combat force that possess experience fighting against cultists and even demon is precious.」
Normally it would be a great problem to accept an armed force of another country, but it seemed they had a judgment that a combat group who knew about the situation would be beneficial in regard to the later development.
Most likely they also had the same calculation like Chief Magdanese, but in any case, the Vatican side was also thinking to accept it in this time of emergency.
Claudia stood up with a stiff expression and shook hand with Chief Magdanese. Omnibus would allow Bernard and others to enter the country through their own route behind the closed doors, so the talk about things like the preparation to accept them in Vatican side and the like was quickly settled.
「Well then, Kousuke-sama. Let's depart. This time there is no need to infiltrate secretly. We will welcome you right from the front, so please don't worry.」
Claudia showed a bit of playfulness while saying that with a smile.
'Yo-heave-ho' She shouldered the huge cross while muttering that. Claudia herself had height around 160 centimeter, so the cross was jutting out around 30 cm higher than her head.
She was shouldering that and headed to the door even while her body was slouching forward from the weight.
Wynn went ahead and opened the door.
「It looks heavy. Are you okay, Claire?」
「It's made from metal so it's certainly heavy, but I'm already used to it.」
'Just this much is nothing! I am the strongest exorcist after all!' With a lovely smile that wanted to say that, Claudia passed through the do――
The tip of the cross hit above the door. The Holy Cross fell behind and Claudia was pulled by that and fell behind too. And then, the back of her head hit the cross. *Gochi-* Such painful sound resounded.
「Cla, Claudia-sama! Are you alright!?」
「Aa, even though this hasn't happened recently! This is because you are showing off in a place that you aren't familiar with!」
'Uh, uuu~', Claudia got teary eyed while holding the back of her head. Wynn and Anna helped her standing up with a practiced motion.
Until just now, she was really like a saint, and even after the discussion her atmosphere was like a calm and graceful young lady but......
Kousuke, Chief Magdanese, and also Bernard got open mouthed seeing the sudden failure of the saint-sama.
「Ju, just now it's that. Just a bit of failure. Ehehe......」
Claudia made a smile to cover it up. She was rubbing the back of her head shamefully but, she was absolutely covering up her pain.
「Claudia-sama, as I thought I will carry it so......」
「Wynn! I've told you every time! This is my sacred vessel. Then, me carrying it is only natural!」
'Yo-heave-ho', while muttering so, this time Claudia hugged the cross in front of her chest. She carefully paid attention to the above while slo~wly passing through the door this time.
Outside the reception room, even the staffs in that floor seemed able to imagine the scene of Claudia falling down with how desperate she looked trying to bring out the cross. The gazes of the staffs that were in suspense were gathered on her.
Without being mindful of such gazes, Claudia came out of the reception room and sighed 'fuu' in relieve while fixing her hold of the Holy Cross――at that timing the cross slipped from her hand.
The Holy Cross fell on Claudia's toes. She pulled her foot away in panic and she was going to crouch down while trembling tearfully in pain,
As expected, the Holy Cross that lost its prop fell on Claudia. Saint-sama became pinned under the heavy lump of metal and wriggled around there.
Kousuke, Chief Magdanese, and Bernard who finished a conversation with their gaze in an instant, that they would treat the incident just now as never happened couldn't stop their mouth from gaping wide open from the failure that was already in a level that couldn't be ignored anymore.
「Aaah, Claudia-sama! Are you injured!?」
「This is even more terrible than usual....... She must be really nervous in the conference.」
It appeared this saint, when she was feeling the tension there would be no problem, but the moment she relaxed, she became a clumsy girl.
Claudia who was helped onto her feet by Wynn and Anna turned bright red while also getting tearful eyes from the pain, even so she shouldered the cross again. And then she was desperately glossing over the failures while smiling sweetly. She gave parting words to Chief Magdanese and Bernard.
Everything wasn't glossed over at all, not at the slightest, but it was the adult Chief Magdanese who was there. She exchanged words of parting as though nothing had happened.
Like that, Claudia started walking gallantly toward the exit but......the office that was messed up from the attack was a mountain of trap (?). She magnificently stumbled on a jutting out wiring,
*Bitan-* She fell face down. The weight of the cross gave double the push. 「Kue!?」 Such strange groan even slipped out.
*Shi~n*, the office fell into silence.
Wynn covered his eyes with his hand while muttering 「Today she is really terrible at this......」, while Anna was murmuring 「I guess the stare of that person called Yue was really severe? The way she relax with her gone is staggering」.
The nearby staffs helped Claudia on her feet in a hurry.
「Oi oi, are you okay? That was a really amazing way of falling there.」
「Are you injured? Or rather, this cross is heavy!」
While the staffs were letting out voices of shock and worry, Claudia whose face had become so bright red just a step shy of explosion, even so perhaps because of her pride as the Saint,
「Tha, thank you very much. I'm fine. Even though I look like this, I'm pretty tough. Even when I carelessly fell off from a running car, I was unharmed!」
'That ain't something to say with a sweet smile', everyone thought.
Although, the figure of Claudia who was covering up her failure with 「Ehehe」 and an embarrassed smiling face while lowering her head repeatedly to the staffs somehow gave a warm and fluffy feeling inside them. The staffs also naturally sported a warm smile from Claudia's smiling face.
Claudia gave her parting words once more to Chief Magdanese, and then without even shouldering or hugging the cross this time, she dragged it carefully while walking toward the exit.
Kousuke pointed his finger to Claudia while asking Wynn and Anna who were having a distant gaze.
「......The strongest, without doubt. When she is in the middle of battle, or when concentrating there is no problem. But, when she is relaxed, for some reason she become like that. Mostly she will self-destruct without being a bother to her surrounding, so we can only worry without being able to get angry and say anything to her.」
Kousuke understood Wynn's line before this about how her everyday life was dangerous. Rather, the everyday life might be more dangerous to her than the battle.
「A saint that shoulder the cross, embrace the cross, and be swung around by the cross......somehow, it feels like there is significance in that huh.」
「Err, you don't need to force yourself to give it a conclusion with a nice note you know?」
Kousuke said those words while staring at Claudia's back. Anna made a dry smile while saying 「She is always like that」 in respond to his words.
*BANG-, ROLL ROLL-, SPLAT!*