Arifureta - Chapter 99
In a room where the only light source was produced by the moonlight rays, causing a contrast of black and white from the narrow grate window.
A simple and plain room can be seen. It's only around 6 tatami mats in size with a small desk, chair, wooden bed, and a simple toilet. If compared to Earth's prison cells, it's obvious that this is much worst.
In such a bad prison, sitting on the bed in the corner, is Hatanaka Aiko who is currently burying her face in her knees.
It's been 3 days since Aiko was brought to this room.
Due to the bracelet artifact worn on her wrist, Aiko could not use magic. Still, though she tried to escape at first, as expected, it wasn't possible to pry open a steel door with her physical strength alone, moreover, the opening of the grate window is only big enough for one of her arms to just barely pass through.
Even then, the current rooms position is at the very top of an expensive temple, it is the [Kamiyama]*God's Mountain* temple, even though it should be impossible to reach the ground safely, there are members of the church standing on watch.
In such a position, while worrying about her students safety, Aiko who cannot do anything is dejected and gloomy, Her already small body stature becomes even smaller on the bed.
[.........I need to get to my students......but how......]
Aiko while looking up muttered slightly, she remembered what the nun with the silver hair had said to her as she was kidnaped. Aiko's thoughts, if what she heard from Hajime would become an inconvenience when told to Kouki and them, it's obvious who the ’’master’’ that she spoke of is. And it appears that they've taken interest in a student as well.
Aiko's mind became filled with unspeakable uneasiness. Recalling, the events of Ulu*Town where Hajime's group repelled the demon army*, where one of her students lost their life, Yukitoshi Shimizu. Possibly, again, another student will...., with these thoughts in her mind Aiko became more anxious.
Being confined in this open room, she tried to think about things that she could currently do. If she settled down and look back calmly, the royal palace felt too unnatural and covered with a thick sense of incongruity. In Aiko's mind, with a strong posture, she remembered the dangerous atmosphere that King Erihido and other leaders carried.
Surely, Aiko began to guess that the nun with silver hair had done something. She definitely said, ’’charm’’ if that was true then, surely, something along the lines of brainwashing was done.
However, at the same time, when talking with Shizuku and Ririana, such odd sense of incongruity was not there. Though becoming relieved about that, there is still a strong uneasiness built up in her chest due to being confined.
While praying for their safety, another concern was remembered. it was the words, ’’elimination of the irregular.’’ Those words were she heard just before completely losing consciousness, for some reason Aiko recalled a certain student.
The person that she owes her life to, the student that killed Yukitoshi Shimizu. While holding strong will and overpowering strength, the boy who thought seriously and listen to Aiko's words. And, a lot of things happened, a various amount of things, deep inside, as expected deep inside, though she shouldn't think about it, but she still ended up remembering.
The memory that she desperately tried to seal in her mind, is once again remembered, for some reason her cheeks become hot. Though Aiko was shaking her head to clear her mind of it, she begins to worry about Hajime's safety, and carelessly muttered his name.
[Ou? what, sensei?]
From the sudden answer to her unconscious mumbling, she instinctively let out a unexpected voice. There shouldn't be anyone else in the room, while looking throughout the room, Aiko inclining her head, [Was it a hallucination?] she said. However, Aiko was definitely not hallucinating, again, she heard the voice.
[Over here, sensei]
Aiko's body became alerted to the voice, it wasn't a hallucination after all! Her gaze peered towards the narrow grate window. There, it was the appearance of Hajime that was peeping through from the otherside.
[Eh? Eh? Nagumo-kun? Eh? This is the top floor....of this temple....eh?]
[Ah~, yes. First of all, calm down sensei. Im almost done confirming for traps......]
Disregarding Aiko's confused stare, Hajime confirms whether there are any traps with his Magic Eye, then ’’Transmuting’’ was used and bright red sparks appeared, a hole big enough for one person to pass through was made and with that the invasion was complete.
The room Aiko is confined in is about 100 meters above ground level. However, he entered as if he was on solid ground! That is to say, for Hajime to casually opened a hole and walked right in, caused Aiko to stare in shock.
Hajime shows a small smile towards the amazed Aiko.
[What, is it really that surprising. Didn't you notice that I was coming? Though I should have already cut off all traces of my presence......I've lost a bit of my confidence now]
[He? Noticed? Eh?]
[No, because, you call out my name. Didn't you sense me outside the window?]
Obviously, in order for Aiko to feel Hajime's presence shouldn't be possible unless ’’Perception’’ was used, but Aiko simply called out his name because of her desires, while thinking that, Aiko couldn't say that she unconsciously muttered his name, she quickly thought that changing the topic would be the best choice.
[Um, besides that, why are you here......]
[To help, of course]
[Wa, for me? Nagumo-kun? You came all the way here to help me?]
To Aiko who began to blush and mumble strangely ~awaawa~, Hajime carefully examined her stature, surely she hasn't already been brainwashed? Hajime thought while frowning. With a serious look in his eyes, he began to closely examine Aiko with his Magic Eye to look for signs of magic manipulation.
While walking up towards Aiko who sat on the bed, observing in great detail, Aiko started blushing a great deal and her heartbeat escalated. Anyways, the boy that she was just thinking about, came to help after hearing about her predicament, beside her on the bed at night, being watched by such an intense expression. It's just a student and teacher, there shouldn't be any particular problem right? Though she thought so.....Aiko wasn't confident to say it out loud, she became stiff as she could do nothing but return the gaze that Hajime is giving her.
Hajime, thinking that it'll be ok now that the Magic Eye didn't pick up any kind of magic manipulation, grabs onto Aiko's hand. He was going to remove the artifact that was binding her magic.
However, Aiko whose hand was suddenly grabbed [Hyau~!] a strange voice leaked out and she shrunk down a bit, [Stop! It's no good! Nagumo-kun! Such thing can't be permitted! I'm a teacher!], she began to yell.
[No, isn't it inconvenient if your magic is sealed? Or, is there something wrong with it? Though there doesn't seem to be any traps]
[Eh? Ah, this thing.....]
[.......what else is there]
[Ah, ahaha......sorry. Its nothing......]
Suspicion passes, Hajime's eyes began to show a disappointed look, Aiko tried to deceive him with a fake smile. And, changing the topic, asked how he knew where she was being locked up.
[The princess told us]
[Princess? Princess Ririna?]
[Ahh. She witnessed you being kidnapped. While judging that Amanogawa*Kouki* and them were under surveillance, she decided to escape the royal capital. Then she requested our help]
[Riri did.....then Nagumo-kun accepted her request]
[Maa~na, I seem to be responsible for this situation too.....though sensei might not have wanted to see me......well, please endure it until we return to everybody]
After Hajime finished removing the artifact that sealed Aiko's magic, he stood up. Aiko, predicted that Hajime's last line was about Shimizu's death. And, Aiko's eyes looked straight at the dubious Hajime, then began saying what she truly felt about it.
[Not wanting to see you, there's no such thing. You've come to help, I'm really glad. ......Certainly, Shimizu-kun's situation can't be completely forgotten, and it's likely to never to able to forget it....still, your intentions you had when you pulled the trigger..... I think I understand them. I don't hold a grudge against you, I don't hate you either]
To the wide eyed Hajime, Aiko revealed an anxious smile with gentleness.
[At that time, because I couldn't say it properly.....now, please let me say it. ....Thank you for helping me. I'm sorry for making you pull the trigger]
Hajime had a wry smile because it appears that Yue was correct, still, it's a fact that I've caused Aiko pain, however he couldn't bring it up.
[I, I only did what I wanted to do. Though I'll receive your gratitude, you don't have to apologize. Rather than that, lets leave soon. The princess should have reached Amanogawa and the rest already. After we join up with them, it's necessary to talk about the future]
[I understand. .....Nagumo-kun, please be careful. The church sees you as a heretic. And, to the one that kidnapped me, you are probably.....]
[I know. Either way, after I deliver you, I'll be taking care of the unfinished business, probably, at that time, the church and I will clash against one another. ....I've already prepared for it though]
Hajime nodded to Aiko with a gaze of strong will. Aiko's cheek becomes hot again due to the gaze, Aiko tried to word out her concerns once more.
but, at that time, a roaring sound of something breaking was heard from afar, the air also trembled a bit.
With that Aiko's body stiffens up and turns her eyes towards Hajime, Hajime was staring out and concentrating on something in the far distance. At that moment, Hajime gained information from Yue's group who's on the ground.
[Che, with this timing. .....well, in a sense it's convenient......]
After a while, Hajime glances back at Aiko while clicking his tongue. Though Aiko doesn't know that Hajime has telepathy, but because she knew he had a lot of artifacts, she guessed that he learned something, her glance gave off the impression of wanting to know what was going on.
[Sensei, it's a surprise attack from the Majinzoku*<-Devils*. It seems that sound just now was the outer barrier covering the kingdom being broken to pieces]
[A surprise attack from the Majinzoku!? That means.....]
[Ahh, right now, the Hairihi Kingdom is being invaded. I've just gained information from my companions through ’’Telepathy’’. It appears that the Majinzoku also brought along a large army of demons. It's a complete surprise attack]
To Hajime's briefing, Aiko's face becomes pale, [That can't be], was leaked out while shaking her head.
Thats true. First of all, its impossible to not notice an invasion with the amount of forces that was advancing towards the kingdom, the great barrier that surrounds the Kingdom's capital was also strong enough to ward away all average attacks and was unexpectedly stubborn against powerful ones. No one would believe that the 2 biggest hurdles were completely cleared so easily.
[Sensei, first of all we'll temporarily join up with Amanogawa and the rest of the group. Then we'll talk about what to do]
Aiko who stiffened up from the tension, is now being held by Hajime's right hand. [Uhya!] A strange voice was leaked out, she wrapped her arms around Hajime's neck to the suddenness of the action.
Then in that moment....
A severe silver light poured in from the outside.
A light as strong as the moonlights rays came pouring into the room, instinctively alarm bells were raised in Aiko's mind.
However, Hajime wasn't shaken at all and proceeded to jump out of the room through the hole he previously made. Aiko screamed while clinging onto Hajime due to the rapid movements, there wasn't any time to worry.
Hajime, it was simultaneous, grabbing Aiko and dashing out of the room before the light completely eradicated the room in the very next moment.
There wasn't a roaring sound when the room was crushed, it just simply evaporated, scattering into particles. The top of the temple was made of steel, now its become nothing more than particles much finer than sand, it was then blown away due to the night wind and disappeared into the sky.
To the specific phenomenon, Hajime while using ’’Aerodynamic’’ to stand in the air, opened his eyes wide and muttered.
[Nicely answered, irregular]
To his short muttering came an unexpected answer, a voice resembling the ringing of a bell, however, it was cold and void of all emotions.
When Hajime turned his glance to where the voice sounded, there, a woman with silver hair and blue eyes glared at Hajime from the nearby rooftop. Hajime, then guessed that this was the woman that kidnapped Aiko.
In the first place, though unlike Ririana's description she wasn't wearing a nun's habit, instead, this woman was clad in a completely white dress and armor. The dress was sleeveless and only went up to knee height, her arms, legs, and head were clad in protective armor, and a metallic plate hung on both sides of her waist. Its the figure of a warrior no matter how you look at it. Exactly like a Valkyrie.
The silver haired woman, leaped through the air as if gravity had no hold of her. And, in one rotation positioned herself infront of the moon, a pair of silver wings expanded behind her back.
~basaa~ the wings expanded, it appears that the silver wings were shrouded in a silver-light magic. With the moon behind her, she looked mysteriously divine as her silver hair drifted in the wind, she carried beauty and charm that was out of this world.
However, unfortunately if not for her eyes. Despite her immense beauty, only her eyes gave off a cold impression as if frozen in ice. Not the coldness of hating another being. it was exactly like a single-minded mechanical tool. It was the eyes of a doll.
The silver haired woman, while looking down on Hajime with Aiko being held closely, slowly extended both arms out horizontally.
Then, the gauntlets shined momentarily, in the next moment, a large white sword was gripped in both hands. The large swords were nearly 2 meters in length and it was also clad in a silver-light magic, the silver haired woman who seemed unaffected by its weight, calls out to Hajime without an ounce of feelings.
[I am Nointo. I am ’’God's Apostle’’, for my master, I will remove all unnecessary pieces]
A declaration of war. The woman that introduced herself as Nointo, in the truest sense, she is ’’God's Apostle’’. Finally, it seems they've decided to intervene with Hajime. To directly remove us from ’’god's game’’.
Silver magic gushes out around Nointo. A huge pressure attacked Hajime and Aiko, it was as if they were standing underneath a huge waterfall.
Though Aiko was trying to endure it desperately, her expression turns blue then white, her body starts trembling uncontrollably. [We're finished] nearly losing her consciousness, a bright red magic surrounded Aiko. The bright red magic shined even more to protect Aiko, it completely blocked out the pressure that Nointo released.
Aiko opened her eyes widely, she turned her face to Hajime who she assumed was the cause. Then, there, without even shaking one bit, he received the pressure, she saw Hajime's appearance who was bearing his teeth ferociously.
As he received it, Aiko's skeptical gaze was no longer on his mind, Hajime, just like Nointo, declared war.
[Kill me if you can, puppet of God]
With those words as the signal, at an altitude of 8,000 meters in the sky over [Kamiyama], ’’God's Apostle’’ and the ’’Monster’’ that rose out from hell clashed with one another.
Shortly before Nointo's raid on Hajime, Yue, Shia, Kaori, and Ririana advanced through the royal palace using hidden passages. Their purpose was to take Ririana to Kouki's group.
Originally, it was decided that Yue and them were to rescue Aiko at [Kamiyama] and also search for the great labyrinth for the Age of Gods magic, because Ririana situation of finding Kouki's group to help with her current situation was a trivial task.
However, in order to ensure Aiko's safety, they needed to make sure that Kouki's group has not been brainwashed, It was necessary to confirm whether they were safe.
Besides, [Kamiyama] is literally the head temple for the church, even to rescue Aiko, its preferable that they don't cause an uproar, in order to not be noticed, one person would be enough to search for Aiko's place of confinement so Hajime went alone.
Therefore, Yue who remained at the Kingdom's capital, to Kaori who insisted on helping Ririana, decided to tag along because it wasn't that much trouble in the first place.
Still, just in case of emergencies, Teio was put on standby somewhere in the Kingdom. This was because they needed someone to overlook the overall situation of the Kingdom.
As such, Yue's group traveled in the palace through hidden passages, and appeared into a guest room. Behind where they came through, the antique quietly returned to its natural spot, hiding the passageway as if nothing had happened.
[At this time, everyone is likely sleeping in their own rooms. ......For the time being, lets head for Shizuku's bedroom]
Ririana lowered her voice in the darkness. Then turned to face the direction of Shizuku's room. Rather than relying on Kouki the hero, her evaluation is realistically shown.
Nodding in agreement with Ririana, Shia leads the group because she has the highest perception in the party. Shizuku and the others are currently sleeping in the higher class rooms so they are currently in a separate building*<-or is it wing?*, the group is advancing through the corridors with silent steps as the moonlight seeps through.
And, after advancing a while, it happened.
The roaring sound resembled that of a bombardment, right afterwards, the sound of glass breaking could be heard throughout the Kingdom's capital. The air shook and trembled from the impact, the windows in the corridor that Yue's group was taking was also rattling.
[Wawa, what on earth!?]
[This is.....it can't be!?]
Shia while using her rabbit ears to their maximum point in order to hear people who might appear, instinctively covers up both of her rabbit ears while leaking out a voice. Right afterwards, Ririana's face turned pale and she rushed up to the window. Yue and them also approach the window to see what's going on.
And, to the spectacle that greets their eyes......
[Such a thing.....the great barrier.....it was broken?]
Ririana covers her mouth and says in a shaking voice. It's just as she said, in the night sky of the Kingdom's capital, the great barrier broke into particles of magic and scattered like dust.
Ririana can only watch the spectacle in amazement, a light flashed at that next moment, the roaring sound was heard once again. And, the thin film of light which covered the Kingdom's capital began wavering.
[Even the second barrier....why.....is it so fragile? With this, soon.....]
What is the great barrier that Ririana speaks of, there are three huge magic barriers that defend the Kingdom from foreign enemies. An artifact generates the barrier into three points, magicians of the imperial court pour their magic powers into it regularly in order to sustain the barriers. It's strength has been proven many times, the Kingdom has been defended from the Majinzoku's invasion for hundreds of years. This was one of the reasons why the war is still at a state of standstill.
A barrier of absolute protection was broken down in a single moment. And, just now, the second barrier was also close to breaking. The closer the barriers are to the Kingdom, the stronger they become, but if the second barrier was about to break at any moment now, it's only a matter of time before the last one falls as well. The royal palace is getting noisy, it appears they've noticed that the barrier was broken. Lights begin to flicker on at many places.
[It can't be, an inside job? ......But, giving a hand....to the enemy forces? Just what is going on....]
It was Yue and them who answered Ririana who was too absorbed in the idea while being stunned.
’’Do you hear me? Mistress, should I brief you of the situation?’’
Their telepathy stones started shining, a voice resounded from it. It's the voice of Teio who was left at the Kingdom's capital. From the way of talking, they've seemed to roughly grasp what's going on.
’’N.....please do, Teio’’
’’Understood. About one kilometer south from the Kingdom's capital, there are Majinzoku leading a large army of demons. The white dragon from that time is there too. Its breath was what had destroyed the barrier. However, I don't see the leaders figure’’
[It can't be, an invasion? How, how on earth did they manage to get so close......]
To Teio's report, Ririana frowns with a doubtful expression.
Towards that doubtfulness, Yue and them could also imagine it. The rider of the white dragon, Freed Bagua, the Majinzoku from the time where space magic was obtained at [Mountain of Great Flames]. Even for Yue, it's virtually impossible to open a ’’gate’’ for a whole army to pass through, but if there was some assistance it might be possible.
To actually warp across the entire continent*<-they actually said something about North and South but because i couldn't understand it i improvised and left it vague* without attracting attention, in order to appear right underneath our noses at the Kingdom's capital. There is no other way but that. Though the white dragon is attacking, he probably can't move around much if that were the case, he's probably resting in the back giving orders.
In the mean time, the sound of glass being broken resounds through the air again. The second barrier was broken. While frustrated, Ririana urges to meet up with Kouki and them. However, Yue shook her head.
[.......We separate here. You guys go on]
[Na, here? what do you.....]
Ririana frowned dubiously and started to say that quickly meeting up with Kouki and the rest and planning their next actions would be best. While Yue was opening the window, her eyes narrowed and spoke of her reason coldly.
[......The Majinzoku rider of the white dragon hurt Hajime. .....I'm going to beat him until he cries]
Apparently, due to the surprise attack at [Mountain of Great Flames] Yue carried a deep grudge against Freed. All members at the place could do nothing towards Yue's dangerous atmosphere.
[A, are you angry, Yue-san.....]
[.....Shia? Have you already forgotten?]
[No way. I'll continue to beat him even if he starts crying and apologizing]
Though Shia instinctively tsukomied at the angry Yue, towards Yue's words that were expressionless, Shia started saying something even more extreme. From Shia who usually had a bright smile*<-Improvised, something about her smile*, with an expressionless face she powerfully declared her stance. Shia also seemed to not be able to forgive what had happened before.
[And that's why, Kaori-san, Riri-san. Yue and I, in order to discipline the owner of that giant lizard, we'll be leaving here]
[.....N, anyone else who obstructs us as well]
As soon as they said that, both Yue and Shia went out the window without hearing what Kaori and Ririana's had to say. Freed's life is on the line. Escape, Freed! Quickly, run away! is what his companions would have said if they were there.
The night breeze and noise entered through the open window. For a while, Kaori and Ririana stood silently still in place, then they began to advance once again like nothing had happened.
[.....Nagumo-san....is very loved....]
[Yes...insanely.....if not.... they're quite the powerful enemies]
[Kaori....in order to survive, work hard ok? I'll support you]
[Yes. Thank you, Riri....]
Afterwards Riri turned around mutters in a sad voice, [The way I'm treated is becoming more and more crude....], the yell was admirably sent to Kaori. [Actually, would Riri cry if I said that I also wanted to go?] while thinking in the corner of her head, Kaori and Riri quickly hurried towards Kouki and the rest of the group.