Date A Live - Volume 1 - Chapter 1
Chapter 1: The Nameless Girl
The feeling of waking up was the worst.
After all, when you wake up to find your sister passionately dancing to a samba rhythm while stepping all over your stomach or chest or head, other than a special group of people, anyone would be unhappy.
April 10th, Monday.
Yesterday was the last day of Spring Break, so today is a school day.
While rubbing his bleary eyes, Shidou declared in a lowered voice:
’’Ahh, Kotori. My cute little imouto.’’
Only then did she finally notice that Shidou was awake. The little sister with a foot still on Shidou's stomach Kotori, turned her head while adjusting her middle school uniform.
Her long hair, separated into two bunches, swayed, as she gazed at Shidou through her round acorn-like eyes.
Incidentally, even though she was caught stepping on someone early in the morning, she didn't seem to be secretly cursing, ’’Damn it!’’ or ’’I'm caught!’’. If anything, it seemed that she was honestly happy that Shidou had woken up.
Oh, and from Shidou's position, there was a stunning view of her underpants.
It wasn't as if it was just showing a glimpse. Even shamelessness has its limits.
’’What is it? My cute onii-chan!’’
Kotori answered, without even a sign of moving her foot.
In case you were wondering, Shidou was not cute.
’’Well, get off me. It's heavy.’’
Kotori gave an exaggerated nod and leapt from the bed.
Shidou's stomach was left with an impact like a body blow.
’’Ahahaha, gfhu! Ahahahaha!’’
Shidou silently pulled the blanket over his head.
’’Ahh! Hey~! Why are you sleeping again!’’
Kotori raised her voice, slowly shaking Shidou.
’’Just another ten minutes...’’
’’No way~! Wake up already!’’
After sitting up and grimacing at the dizziness resulting from shaking his still dazed head, Shidou opened his mouth with a groan.
’’...Actually, I've been infected with the 'if I don't sleep for another 10 minutes I'll tickle my sister to death virus', a.k.a. the T-virus...’’
Kotori was as surprised as someone who'd found a hidden message from aliens.
’’Run away... while I still can control myself...’’
’’B-But, what will you do!?’’
’’Don't worry about me... as long as you're safe...’’
’’No way! Onii-chan!’’
Shidou blew the blanket away, excitedly moving his two hands and roaring, as Kotori ran away with a dreadful scream.
Exhaling, he covered himself with the blanket again. Looking at the time, it was still before six.
’’What a time to wake someone at...’’
Grumbling, he suddenly recalled something.
As his half asleep brain slowly woke up, last night's memories resurfaced.
Both of their parents had left on business trips yesterday.
Because of that Shidou was temporarily left in charge of the kitchen, and so Shidou, who was bad at waking up, asked Kotori to help wake him.
Troubled that he might've done something bad, he quickly got out of bed.
Holding down his bed hair and suppressing a yawn, Shidou plodded out of the room.
At that moment, the small mirror hanging on the wall caught his eyes.
A boy whose forelocks were about to invade his vision, probably because he hadn't had a haircut for a while, was casting a lame look at Shidou.
Together with his declining eyesight, his looks had also been slightly degrading. Sighing, he descended the stairs and entered the living room.
A slightly different view than usual greeted him.
The wooden table that was in the middle of the living room was on its side, as if it had become a barricade. Behind it, a head with twin-tails was quivering slightly.
Silencing his footsteps, Shidou approached the side of the table.
Sure enough, Kotori was sitting there hugging her knees and trembling.
As Shidou grabbed her by the shoulders, Kotori let out a despairing scream as her limbs went limp.
’’Calm down, calm down! I'm my usual self.’’
’’Gyaaaa! Gyaa... ah? O-onii-chan?’’
’’Yep, that's right.’’
’’You... You're not scary anymore?’’
’’It's alright now. I'm Kotowi's friend.’’
As Shidou talked to her in baby talk, Kotori's tightened face slowly relaxed.
It was as if she was a wild fox squirrel that had opened its heart.
’’Sorry, sorry. I'll go to make breakfast right away.’’
After letting go of Kotori's hand and standing up, Shidou put the table back where it belonged and went into the kitchen.
Working at the large electronics company that the two of them built, Shidou's parents were often away from the house at the same time.
At those times, it was always Shidou's responsibility to prepare food, so he was already used to it. In fact, he was confident that he could use the cooking tools better than his mother.
As Shidou was fetching some eggs from the fridge, he heard the sound of the TV coming from behind him. It seems that Kotori had calmed down and had turned on the TV.
Come to think of it, it seems Kotori has a daily routine to eat while checking out horoscopes or fortune-telling corners.
Well, most of the fortune-telling corners usually comes at the end of the main programs, and are obviously just speculations. After surfing through all of the channels, Kotori started to watch what seemed to be a boring news program.
’’ Early this morning, in the suburbs of Tenguu City ’’
Overhearing the contents of the useless news program that usually could only serve as BGM, Shidou raised an eyebrow.
The reason was simple. From the announcer's clear voice, he heard a familiar street name.
’’Nnn? It's pretty close by. Did something happen?’’
Leaning over the counter, he narrowed his vision and stared at the TV.
On the screen, the image of a street that had been absurdly destroyed was being displayed.
Buildings and roads had been reduced to mountains of rubble.
The devastation was like the impact of a meteorite, or maybe the scene of an air raid.
Shidou scrunched up his brows, and releasing his held breath he said:
’’Ahhhh... So it was a spacequake.’’
As if fed up, he shook his head.
A 'space earthquake'referred to the phenomenon of the shaking of a wide area.
It was the generic term given to explosions, quakes, vanishings, and such things that happen for unknown reasons at random times and places.
Like the whims of a large monster, destroying a street for the sake of it, these were extremely unreasonable phenomena.
The first occurrence of such an event was around thirty years ago.
It happened right smack in the middle of Eurasia the region that had contained countries such as the Soviet Union, China, and Mongolia, causing them to have disappeared in a single night.
For Shidou's generation, just looking at the pictures in the textbook was unpleasant.
It was as if everything above ground had been scraped off, leaving absolutely nothing behind.
Casualties numbered about 150 million. It was the largest and deadliest catastrophe in human history.
In the six months that followed, similar incidents occurred on a smaller scale all around the world.
Shidou couldn't remember the exact number, but it was around fifty.
On land, at the poles, in the ocean, even on small islands, such cases had been confirmed.
Of course, Japan was not exempt.
Six months after the Eurasia Sky Disaster, the region from South Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture had turned into a circle of scorched earth, as if an eraser had been applied to it.
That's right it includes the area that Shidou was living in today.
’’But it suddenly stopped happening for a while, right? Why did it start increasing in frequency again?’’
’’I wonder why...?’’
At Shidou's question, Kotori, still staring at the TV, tilted her head.
After that South Kanto incident, spacequakes had not been detected for a while.
However, five years ago, starting with a corner of the redeveloped Tenguu City, these mysterious phenomena started popping up here and there again.
Moreover, most of them happened in Japan.
Of course humans had not been sitting around doing nothing for those twenty-five years in between.
Starting thirty years ago with the areas that had finished redevelopment, underground shelters had spread at an explosive rate.
Together with the fact that it had become possible to observe precursors to spacequakes, a certified JSDF disaster response team had been put together.
Their purpose was to travel to disaster areas and rebuild the destroyed facilities and roads, but their work can only be described as magic.
After all, completely destroyed streets could, in an insanely short amount of time, be restored to how they used to be.
Their work was classified as top secret and so no information was available to the public, but when you see a collapsed building restored in a single night, you can't help but feel like you just saw a magic trick.
However, even if the repair work could be done really fast, that doesn't mean that there was little threat from the spacequakes.
’’Doesn't it seem like the area around here has a lot of spacequakes? Especially last year.’’
’’...Hmm, seems that way, huh. Maybe it's a bit early...’’
Kotori muttered, while leaning her upper body onto the arms of the sofa.
’’Early? What is?’’
This time it was Shidou who tilted his head.
It was not due to what Kotori said, but rather because the last half of it seemed slightly muffled.
Silently, he circled around the counter, and walked towards the side of the sofa which Kotori was leaning on.
Maybe Kotori had noticed it, but as Shidou came closer, she gradually turned her face away.
’’Kotori, turn this way for a moment.’’
Kotori held her head with her hands, and turned around with a jolt. A weird noise came from her throat.
Seeing the item inside her mouth as expected, Shidou gave a short sigh, ’’As I thought’’.
Even though it was right before breakfast, Kotori had her favorite candy, Chupa Chups, in her mouth.
’’Hey! Haven't I told you not to eat sweets before meals?’’
Taking away the candy and bringing out a stick, he found Kotori trying to resist by pouting.
Shidou strained his face as he looked towards where he was about to hit, since he really didn't want to hit someone with such cute features.
’’...Jeez. You'd better properly eat your breakfast!’’
In the end it was Shidou who folded. He rubbed Kotori's head, and returned to the kitchen.
’’Ohh! I love you, Onii-chan!’’
Shidou suitably waved his hands and returned to his work.
’’...Now that I think about it, today's the middle school opening ceremony, right?’’
’’Then you're coming back at lunch time... Kotori, any requests for lunch?’’
After Kotori thought it through with a ’’Hmmmm’’, she shook her head, and then suddenly stood up.
’’Deluxe kids plate!’’
It was a lunch item for kids offered at a nearby family restaurant.
Shidou straightened his body, and like that, gave an apologetic bow.
’’That cannot be prepared in this store.’’
While sucking on a lollipop, Kotori replied with a dissatisfied voice.
Shidou gave a loud sigh and shrugged his shoulders.
’’Whatever, nothing I can do about it, it's a special occasion so let's eat out for lunch.’’
’’Yeah. Then, let's meet at the usual family restaurant after school.’’
Shidou said, and Kotori rubbed her hands together in excitement.
’’No going back on your word! It's a promise! You have to be there even if an earthquake starts or a fire erupts or a spacequake happens or the family restaurant is occupied by terrorists!’’
’’No. If there's terrorists there we won't get to eat.’’
’’You have to be there!’’
’’Fine, fine, I got it.’’
Hearing Shidou say that, Kotori vigorously raised her hands in the air with a ’’Whoooo~!’’
Shidou did not even consider that he might have been a bit too generous. Well, today's special anyways.
From tonight onwards they would have to eat meals at home for a while, but today's the opening ceremony for the two of them. This much luxury should be fine.
Well, who knows whether a kids lunch that costs 780 yen really counts as luxury.
Shidou stretched lightly, and opened the small window in the kitchen.
The sky had cleared up. It seems like today will be a good day.
It was around 8:15 A.M. when Shidou reached the high school.
After checking the class list posted in the corridor, he entered the classroom where he would be spending his next year.
’’Year 2, Class 4, huh?’’
Since the spacequake thirty years ago, the region from South Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefecture in other words, the empty region of land created by the spacequake, was redeveloped as test cities using various new techniques.
The public school that Shidou attended, Raizen High School, was one such example.
Filled with facilities to be proud of, this school that one could hardly believe was a public school was just built a few years ago, so it was still in an almost perfect condition. Of course, being a high school built on an old disaster area, it came equipped with the newest type of underground shelter.
For these reasons the application rate was pretty high, so Shidou, who decided to apply just for the reason that ’’it was close to home’’, had to work quite hard.
With a light hum, he surveyed the classroom.
There was still quite a bit of time until homeroom, but a large amount of people had already gathered.
There were people overjoyed at being in the same class, people sitting alone looking bored, and people with various other reactions... but there didn't seem to be any faces that Shidou knew.
As Shidou moved his head to check the seating chart drawn on the blackboard,
’’ Itsuka Shidou.’’
Unexpectedly, from behind him, a quiet voice spoke in monotone.
He didn't recognize the voice. Curious, he turned around.
A slender girl stood there.
The girl had hair that was barely reaching her shoulders and a face like that of a doll.
There probably isn't anybody who would fit the description 'doll-like'better.
While noble like a precisely created artificial being, at the same time, her face did not contain any kind of emotion.
Shidou quickly glanced around the area, then tilted his head.
Since he could not find any other Itsuka Shidou nearby, he pointed at himself.
Without any particular feeling, the girl immediately replied, giving a small nod in Shidou's direction.
’’Why do you know my name...?’’
Shidou asked, and the girl, as if confused, tilted her head.
’’You don't remember?’’
Shidou hesitantly replied, and the girl, seeming especially dejected, gave a short comment and walked towards a seat by the window.
Like that, she sat on the chair, taking out something like a thick technical manual, and began to read.
’’What... is going on, exactly?’’
Shidou scratched his face and frowned.
In any case, it seemed she knew about Shidou, but had they met somewhere before?
While Shidou was deep in thought, a magnificent slap hit him on the back.
’’WHAT ARE YOU DOING, TONOMACHI!?’’
He had immediately known who the perpetrator was, and yelled while rubbing his back.
’’Hey, you seem quite energetic, you se*ual beast Itsuka.’’
Shidou's friend, Tonomachi Hiroto, before even being joyful at entering the same class was, as if showing off his waxed hair and muscled body, folding his arms and lightly bending his body while laughing.
’’...se*... What'd you say?’’
’’se*ual beast, you brute. I take my eyes off you for just a moment and you got so much manlier. When and how did you get close to Tobiichi, huh?’’
Wrapping his arm around Shidou's head while smirking, Tonomachi asked.
’’Tobiichi...? Who's that?’’
’’C'mon, don't act dumb. Just now you guys were happily talking, weren't you?’’
Tonomachi pointed his chin towards the seat by the window.
There, sat the girl from before.
As if noticing their stares, the girl glanced up from the book, turning to look at them.
Shidou's breath was caught in his throat as he awkwardly turned his eyes away.
On the other hand, Tonomachi was smiling and waving his hand in an overly familiar manner.
The girl, not showing any particular reaction, shifted her eyes back to the book in her hands.
’’There, look, she's always like that. Out of all the girls, she's the most difficult, having been compared to permafrost or the Cold War or Mahyadedosu[1B 1]. How in the world did you get her to open up?’’
’’Huh...? Wh-What are you talking about?’’
’’No way, you really don't know?’’
’’...Hmm, was she really in our class last year?’’
As Shidou said this, Tonomachi held his hands out in an ’’I can't believe this’’ pose, making a surprised expression. He was someone who likes to imitate Westerners'reactions.
’’C'mon man, it's Tobiichi, Tobiichi Origami. She's the super genius that our school boasts about. You've never heard anything like that?’’
’’No, this is my first time hearing about it but... Is she that amazing?’’
’’Amazing can't even describe it. Her grades are always at the top of the year, and in the mock exam not long ago she got some crazy results and went straight to the top of the nation.’’
’’Huuuh? Why is someone like that at a public school?’’
’’Dunno. Probably something like family circumstances?’’
Giving a big shrug, Tonomachi continued.
’’Anyways, that's not all. Her PE scores are also top class, and at the same time she's a beauty. In last year's 'Most Wanted Girlfriends Ranking - Best Thirteen'she came in third, I think. Didn't you see it?’’
’’I didn't even know there was such a thing. Or rather, best thirteen? Why is it such a random number?’’
’’Because the girl who organized this was thirteenth.’’
Shidou laughed weakly.
’’By the way, the 'Most Wanted Boyfriends Ranking'goes up to the best 358th.’’
’’That many!? The bottom of that is nearer to the worst ranking, isn't it? Did the organizer decide that too?’’
’’Ahh. He really didn't know when to give up.’’
’’Which place are you Tonomachi?’’
’’The organizer was you!?’’
’’The reasons I managed to get that rank included: 'his passion seems it'd be too strong', 'he seems to be hairy', and 'his toenails seem to smell'.’’
’’As I thought, that's the worst ranking!’’
’’Well, below that are the people nobody voted for. At least with the negative points I managed to win in that category.’’
’’That's pushing it a bit far! With a rank like that, it would have been better to give up.’’
’’Don't worry Itsuka. You were entered as Mr. Anonymous and got one vote and 52nd place.’’
’’Well other reasons include: 'he doesn't seem interested in women', and 'to be frank, he seems like a homo'.’’
’’It's an iron hammer bringing death by unreasonable slander!’’
’’Just calm down. In the 'Fujoshi Selected Best Couple', you and I made the top ranking as a pair.’’
’’I'M NOT HAPPY WITH THAT AT ALL!’’
Shidou shouted. He was slightly worried at being part of the couple in first place.
However, it seemed Tonomachi did not mind at all (or rather, he seemed to have gotten over it), as he crossed his arms and returned to the original topic.
’’Well anyways, it's not an exaggeration to say that she's the most famous person in the school. Itsuka, your ignorance manages to surprise even this great Tonomachi.’’
’’What kind of character are you trying to be?’’
As Shidou said this, the familiar warning bell that he had been used to hearing since his first year rang.
Now that he thought about it, he still hadn't confirmed his seat.
Shidou followed the seating arrangement written on the blackboard, and placed his bag on the seat two rows from the window.
Right then, he noticed it.
As if by some twist of fate, Shidou's seat was adjacent to that of the person at the top of the year.
Tobiichi Origami had closed and put the book away in her desk before the warning bell had finished ringing.
She then sat looking straight ahead, in a posture as beautiful as if it had been measured with a ruler.
Feeling a bit awkward for some reason, Shidou turned his eyes towards the blackboard like Origami had done.
As if matching that moment, the door to the classroom opened with a rattle. From there a short female wearing thin-rimmed glasses appeared and walked behind the teacher's desk.
From around, students were whispering excitedly.
’’So it's Tama-chan...’’
’’Ah, it's Tama-chan.’’
In general, good things were being said.
’’Alright, good morning everyone. For the following year, I will be everyone's homeroom teacher, my name is Okamine Tamae.’’
The teacher in charge of social studies, Okamine Tamae nicknamed Tama-chan, spoke in a slow pace and bowed. Perhaps the size was a bit off, as her glasses slipped slightly, and she hastily held them in place with both her hands.
Her childish face and small build that couldn't even pass off as being in the same generation as her students, combined with her leisurely attitude, has earned her tremendous popularity amongst the students.
In the middle of the excited students, Shidou's expression stiffened.
Sitting to the left side of Shidou was Origami, who was intently staring in Shidou's direction.
For a moment, their eyes met. Shidou hurriedly averted his eyes.
Why was she looking at Shidou no, she doesn't have to be looking at him, there is the possibility that it could be something past him, but for the moment Shidou couldn't calm down.
’’...Wh-What exactly is going on...?’’
He silently muttered, as a bead of sweat dripped down his face.
Since then, approximately three hours had passed.
’’Itsuka~. You've got nothing to do anyways, right? Wanna get something to eat?’’
The opening ceremony had ended, and as the students were finishing their preparations and leaving the classroom, Tonomachi, his bag slung over his shoulder, started a conversation.
Other than during test periods, it was rare for school to end in the morning. Here and there, groups of friends were discussing where to go for lunch.
Shidou was almost about to nod, but with an ’’ah’’ he stopped.
’’Sorry. I had plans today.’’
’’WHUT? A girl?’’
’’Ahhh, well... yeah.’’
Tonomachi made a V shape with his arms while raising a knee, making a Glico-like reaction[1B 2].
’’What the hell has happened over spring break!? You're not satisfied even after being able to talk on good terms with that Tobiichi, but now a promise to eat lunch with a girl!? Didn't we swear to become magicians[1B 3]together!?’’
’’No, I don't remember such a promise... and anyways, it's just Kotori.’’
Shidou replied, and Tonomachi heaved a sigh of relief.
’’What the hell, don't scare me!’’
’’You're the one who jumped to conclusions.’’
’’Meh, if it's Kotori-chan then there's no problem. Can I come along?’’
’’Mm? Ahh, I think it should be ok...’’
Right when Shidou finished, Tonomachi placed his elbows on Shidou's desk, and spoke in a low voice.
’’Hey hey, Kotori-chan is in her second year at middle school, right? Is it alright for her to get a boyfriend or something now?’’
’’Uhm, there's no hidden meaning behind this but, what would Kotori-chan think about a guy around three grades her senior?’’
’’...Actually, never mind. Don't you dare come.’’
Shidou narrowed his eyes, and annoyed, he pushed back Tonomachi's face which had come closer.
’’Haha. In any case, I'm not so much of a jerk that I'd disturb your happy sibling get-together. I try to play by the rules.’’
’’You always say just a bit more than you're supposed to.’’
Grabbing his cheeks, Tonomachi made an unexpected face while speaking.
’’But man, don't you think that Kotori-chan is super cute? To be able to live with her under the same roof must be the best.’’
’’If you actually had a younger sister, I think that you'd definitely change your opinion.’’
’’Ah... You hear that a lot. So is it really true that people with little sisters don't have such fetishes?’’
’’Yeah, they are not girls. They are just creatures called little sisters.’’
Shidou strongly asserted, and Tonomachi smiled meekly.
’’That's really the case, huh?’’
’’That's really the case. If you try to come up with something that's not quite a girl, that'd probably be a little sister.’’
’’Then, older sisters?’’
’’...Onnashi?’’ [1B 4]
’’Wooow, a women only city!’’
Laughing, Tonomachi responded.
At that moment.
The windows of the classroom shook violently as an unpleasant siren echoed through the streets.
’’Wh-What's going on?’’
Tonomachi opened the window and looked outside. Surprised by the siren, a countless number of crows flew up into the sky.
The students who remained in the classroom all stopped their conversations and stared, wide-eyed.
Following the siren, a mechanical voice that paused after each word, probably for ease of understanding, rang out.
’’ This is not, a drill. This is not, a drill. The foreshock, has been observed. The occurrence, of a spacequake, is predicted. Persons in the vicinity, please move to the nearest shelter, immediately. I repeat ’’
In that instant, the stone silent room was filled with the students'gasps.
Everyone's hunches were confirmed.
’’Oi oi... Seriously?’’
Tonomachi uttered in a dry voice while sweating profusely.
However, in terms of tension and anxiety, Shidou and Tonomachi and the other students in the classroom were relatively calm.
At the very least, none of the students seem to have fallen into a panic.
After this town was severely damaged by the spacequake thirty years ago, children like Shidou were trained persistently in evacuation drills since kindergarten.
In addition, this was a high school. An underground shelter that can fit all the students existed.
’’The shelter is right there. If we calmly hide then it'll be alright.’’
’’R-Right, that's right.’’
Tonomachi nodded at Shidou's words.
As fast as possible without running, they left the classroom.
The corridor was already overflowing with students, forming a line going towards the shelter.
Shidou furrowed his brows.
There was a single person moving in the opposite direction of the line a female student was running towards the entrance.
That's right, dashing down the hallway with her skirt flapping was that Tobiichi Origami.
’’Hey! What are you doing! The shelter is the other direction ’’
Origami stopped for a moment, saying only that, and once again dashed away.
’’Fine... what the...?’’
Puzzled, Shidou turned his head and joined the line of students with Tonomachi.
He was slightly worried about Origami, but maybe she just forgot something and went to get it.
In fact, even though the alert was issued, that didn't mean a spacequake would happen immediately. If she came back quickly then she'd be fine.
’’C-Calm down pleeease! It's, alright so, slooowly! Remember 'okashi', O-Ka-Shi! Don't push, don't run, skullll!’’[1B 5]
From in front echoed the voice of Tamae, who was directing the students.
At the same time, small giggles leaked out from the students.
’’...Seeing someone who's more flustered than I am calms me down for some reason.’’
’’Ahh, I kinda get what you mean.’’
Shidou gave a light laugh, and Tonomachi replied with a similar expression.
Faced with a teacher who appeared completely unreliable like Tama-chan, rather than feeling insecure, in reality the students'tension seemed to have dropped.
And thus, as Shidou remembered a certain thing, he searched his pocket and took out his cell phone.
’’Hm? What's wrong, Itsuka?’’
’’Nothing. 'scuse me for a bit.’’
While avoiding the question, he selected the name 'Itsuka Kotori'from the call history and dialed.
However it wouldn't connect. Every time he tried, the result was the same.
’’...Damn it. Did she manage to evacuate?’’
If she still hadn't left school then it'd probably be alright.
The problem is that there was the possibility that she had left school and was heading towards the family restaurant.
Actually, there should be public shelters nearby, so normally there would be no problem... but for some reason Shidou just couldn't shake off the ominous feeling.
Not paying heed to the fact that the warning had already been issued, for some reason an image with the figure of Kotori waiting for Shidou like an obedient puppy popped up in his mind.
In his head, Kotori's words, ’’It's a promise!’’ swirled and echoed.
’’W-Well we did make an absolute promise to meet there even if a spacequake happened, but... even she wouldn't be that dumb... Oh, right, I have that.’’
Kotori's cell phone should have a GPS location service installed.
Manipulating his cell phone, he brought a map of the town onto the screen, on which was a red marker icon.
Seeing it, Shidou's throat clogged up.
The icon showed Kotori's location as right in front of the promised family restaurant.
’’That huge idiot...’’
Cursing, he snapped his phone shut without clearing the screen, and slipped out of the line of students.
’’H-Hey, where are you going, Itsuka!’’
’’Sorry! I forgot something! You go ahead!’’
Answering Tonomachi while facing the other way, he ran towards the entrance against the flow of the line.
Like that Shidou quickly changed his shoes and, seeming to almost fall forwards, he dashed outside.
Past the school gate, he tumbled down the hill in front of the school.
’’...Since it's become like this, we'll just evacuate normally...!’’
Running as fast as he can, Shidou raised a shout.
Spread out in Shidou's view was a very eerie scene.
Roads without moving cars, a town devoid of all signs of people.
On the streets, in the parks, even in the convenience stores, not a single person was left.
The presence of the people that had been here until just a few moments ago was left behind, but the actual figures of those people had disappeared. It was like a scene from a horror movie.
Since the disaster thirty years ago, it was this Tenguu City that was carefully redeveloped while nervously dealing with the spacequakes. Never mind the public facilities, even the percentage of normal families owning a shelter was the highest in the country.
Because of the frequent spacequakes recently, people evacuated quickly.
But even so...
’’Why is that idiot stubbornly waiting there...!’’
He let out a shout, then opened his cell phone while still running.
The icon showing Kotori's position remained in front of the family restaurant.
While deciding that Kotori's punishment would be a wild flurry of flicks to the forehead, he continued moving his feet at a high speed towards the family restaurant.
He was not doing anything like pacing himself. He just relentlessly sprinted towards the family restaurant as fast as he could.
His feet hurt, and the tips of his fingers grew numb.
His head was dizzy, his throat started to stick together, and a clattering could be heard from within his mouth.
However, Shidou did not stop. Things like danger or tiredness couldn't make their way into his mind, since it was filled with the single thought of getting to where Kotori was.
While running, Shidou had glanced upwards. He thought he saw something move at the edge of his vision.
’’What are... those...’’
Shidou furrowed his eyebrows.
There were three... or maybe four. In the sky, things that looked like humans were floating.
But, Shidou immediately stopped caring about that.
Shidou instinctively covered his eyes.
The street in front was suddenly engulfed in a blinding light.
It was followed by a deafening explosion, and a fierce shockwave assaulted Shidou.
Shidou reflexively wrapped his arms around his face and put his power into his legs but it was futile.
The wind pressure that was like that of a large typhoon blew him off-balance and he tumbled backwards.
’’The... What the hell happened...?’’
While rubbing his still flickering eyes, he pushed his body up.
’’ Huh ?’’
Seeing the landscape that spread through his vision, Shidou let out an astonished sound.
After all, the street that was right in front of him moments ago, in the brief amount of time that Shidou had his eyes closed
Without even a trace, it had 'disappeared'.
’’Wh-What is this, what the hell happened, this is...’’
He muttered, in a daze.
No matter what metaphor you used, it wouldn't be a joke.
It was as if a meteorite had crash landed.
No, if anything, it was as if everything on the ground had completely vanished.
The street in front had been scraped off in the shape of a shallow bowl.
And, in the corner of the street that had become like a crater
There was something like a clump of metal that rose.
Because of the distance, he was not able to discern the small details but he saw a form that was something like a throne that a king in a RPG would sit on.
However, that was not what was important.
There was a girl wearing a strange dress, who seemed to be standing on the throne with her foot on the armrest.
’’That girl why is she at somewhere like that?’’
He could only vaguely see, but he could make out her long black hair and the skirt that was radiating a mysterious glow. He probably wasn't wrong about her being a girl though.
The girl casually scanned the area, suddenly turning to face towards Shidou.
She noticed Shidou... Probably. It was too far away so he couldn't really tell.
As Shidou was puzzling over this, the girl made a further movement.
With a swaying motion, she seemed to have grabbed a handle that was growing out of the back of the throne, and was slowly pulling it out.
It was with a broad blade, a huge sword.
Giving off an illusory shine like that of a rainbow, or of a star, it was a curious blade.
The girl shook the sword, and the trail it left traced a faint path of light.
The girl faced Shidou, and with a boom, swung the sword hard horizontally.
He instantly lowered his head. No, to put it more accurately, Shidou's arms, which had been supporting his body, lost their strength, and as a result the position of his upper body dropped.
The blade's trail passed through the place where Shidou's head had been.
Of course, it was not a distance where the sword could physically reach.
However, it really
With eyes wide open, Shidou turned his head backwards.
The houses, stores, roadside trees, signs and so on that were behind Shidou had, in an instant, been trimmed to the same height.
A second later, the sound of destruction echoed like distant thunder.
It had gone beyond Shidou's comprehension. Trembling, his heart tightened.
What is the meaning of this?
The only thing he understood was that if his head hadn't been lowered just then, right now he would be like the scene behind him, reasonably downsized.
’’S-Stop kidding me...!’’
As if pulling a body that was cut apart at the waist, Shidou crawled backwards. As soon as possible, as far as possible, I have to escape from this place...!
’’ You too... huh’’
An extremely tired voice rang out from above his head.
His vision, which was a beat behind, caught up with his thoughts.
In front of his eyes stood a girl who up to a moment ago had not been there.
That's right, it was the same girl that stood in the middle of the crater until just now.
Unintentionally, his voice leaked out.
She was around Shidou's age, or maybe slightly younger.
Within her knee-length black hair was a face that possessed both beauty and dignity.
In its center, a pair of eyes that emitted a mysterious shine, almost like crystals that reflect a variety of colors of light in every direction, was enshrined.
Her outfit was very strange. Shaped like a princess's dress, it was made with a material which one couldn't tell whether it was a cloth or a metal. Additionally, its seams, inner parts, skirt, and such, were composed of a mysterious film of light that didn't even seem to be physical matter.
And in those hands, she was holding the huge sword that was around her own height.
The abnormality of the situation.
The strangeness of her appearance.
The uniqueness of her existence.
Any of those would be more than enough to catch Shidou's attention.
What stole Shidou's eyes didn't contain such impurities.
In that instant.
The fear of death, even the need to breath, was forgotten, as his eyes were nailed to the girl.
It was that much.
The girl, was just so intensely... Beautiful.
Dazed, Shidou spoke for the first time.
Even if my throat and eyes are to be destroyed for blasphemy, he thought.
The girl slowly shifted her sight downwards.
His voice, carrying the question from the bottom of his heart, shook the air.
’’ I have no such thing.’’
With a sad look, the girl replied.
It was then. Shidou's and the girl's eyes met for the first time.
At the same time, the nameless girl, with extreme melancholy, while making an expression like she was about to cry, drew her sword again with a 'kachiri'sound.
’’Wait, wait, wait!’’
With that small sound, his trembling had resumed. Shidou yelled out in desperation.
But that girl just cast a confused look at Shidou.
’’Wh-What are you planning to do...!?’’
’’Of course kill you quickly.’’
Hearing the girl reply so naturally, his face turned blue.
’’Why...? Is it not obvious?’’
With a weary face, the girl continued.
’’ After all, didn't you come to kill me too?’’
Faced with an unexpected answer, Shidou's mouth dropped open.
’’...There's no way I would do that.’’
The girl looked at Shidou with a mixture of surprise, suspicion, and confusion.
However, the girl immediately narrowed her eyes and looked away from Shidou, turning her face towards the sky.
As if being brought along, Shidou also turned to look upwards
His eyes opened wider than ever before, his breath caught in his throat.
After all, there were a few humans wearing strange suits flying in the sky and to add to that, from the weapons in their hands, a large number of missile-like things were shot at Shidou and the girl.
Instinctively, he let out a cry.
However even after a few seconds, Shidou remained conscious.
Astonished, his voice leaked out.
The missiles that were launched from the sky floated unmoving in the air several meters above the girl, as if they were held by invisible hands.
The girl gave an exasperated sigh.
’’...This kind of thing is useless, why can't they ever learn.’’
Saying this, the girl raised the hand that was not holding the sword, and squeezed it shut.
As she did this, the countless missiles crumpled up, as if being compressed, and exploded where they were.
Even the magnitude of the explosions was frighteningly small. It was as if all of the power had been sucked inwards.
He could somewhat understand the confusion of those people fluttering around in the air.
However, they did not stop their attacks. One after another, missiles were shot.
The girl gave another small sigh, making a face which seemed like tears might come out at any moment.
It was the same face as when she had been pointing her sword towards Shidou before.
Seeing that expression, Shidou felt his heart pound even harder than when he was on the verge of losing his life.
What a strange scene this was.
Who the girl was, he had no idea. Who the people in the air were, he also had no idea.
However, the fact that the girl was stronger than those people flying in the air, that much he understood.
That was why he vaguely thought of this question:
She is the strongest.
So why is it that she is making that kind of face?
’’...Disappear, disappear. Anything and everything... Just disappear...!’’
While saying that, she pointed the sword that gave off a glow as mysterious as her eyes, towards the sky.
Tiredly, sorrowfully, she artlessly swung the sword.
Within a moment the wind howled.
A fierce shockwave assaulted the area, as the slash flew towards the sky along the path of the blade.
The people flying in the air hurried to avoid it, and withdrew from their position.
But in the next moment, from a different direction, a light beam with a tremendous output was fired towards the girl.
He involuntarily covered his eyes.
As expected, the beam of light seemed as if it hit an invisible wall in the air above the girl and was stopped. Like a firework exploding in the night sky, it spread apart in all directions, sparkling beautifully.
However, as if the light beam had continued, something landed behind Shidou.
’’W-What the hell is going on...’’
Since a while ago, Shidou hadn't been able to understand anything that had been going on.
He felt like he was watching a bad daydream.
However seeing the figure that just landed, Shidou's body stiffened.
It was wearing a machine, or something like that.
Covered from top to bottom in an unfamiliar body suit was a girl.
She carried large thrusters on her back, and a weapon shaped like a golf bag in her hands.
The reason Shidou's body froze up was simple. He recognized the girl.
He muttered the name that Tonomachi had taught him this morning.
The girl with the overly mechanical appearance was his classmate Tobiichi Origami.
Origami flicked a glance at Shidou.
As a response, she called Shidou's name.
Even though she was surprised, her expression didn't change. However, it was just a bit, but her voice carried a puzzled tone.
’’...Huh? Wh-What's up with that suit ’’
Even he himself realized that it was a stupid question, but by that time he had already said it.
Overwhelmed by everything that had happened, he didn't even know what he should be worrying about anymore.
However, Tobiichi quickly looked away from Shidou, towards the girl in the dress.
The girl swung her sword in the same way as before towards Origami.
Origami immediately kicked off the ground, dodging over the plane in which the sword was swung, and closed in on the girl with amazing speed.
From the front of the weapon in Origami's hand, a blade made of light had appeared.
Targeting the girl, Origami swung that down with all her might.
The girl knitted her brows slightly, stopping the blow with the sword in her hand.
In that moment.
From the point where the girl and Tobiichi crossed swords, a violent shockwave was formed.
With a pitiful shout, he balled up his body and somehow managed to withstand it.
Origami was repelled, and momentarily the two separated and glared at each other with their weapons poised.
Sandwiching Shidou, the sharp gazes of the mysterious girl and Origami mixed together.
It really could be called a critical situation. They were in a state where it seemed that any small trigger would cause the fight to resume immediately.
Shidou on the other hand was feeling uneasy.
With sweat forming on his forehead, and with the thought that he had to escape from this place, he slowly dragged his body horizontally across the ground.
However, at that moment, suddenly the cell phone inside his pocket started ringing with a bright melody.
That became a signal.
The girl and Origami kicked off the ground at pretty much the same time, clashing right in front of Shidou.
Faced with the overwhelming wind pressure, Shidou was mercilessly blown away, and fainted after hitting a wall.
’’ What's the situation?’’
Wearing a shirt and a crimson military uniform hanging from her shoulders like a cloak, a young girl had entered the bridge and asked the question.
The guy waiting beside the captain's seat gave a salute as perfect as if it were in a military textbook.
The girl that had been called commander only gave that a glance, then kicked the guy's toes.
’’Skip the greetings and explain the situation.’’
While saying this to the guy who had an anguished, or rather, ecstatic expression, she sat down in the captain's seat.
The guy straightened himself immediately.
’’Yes. The attack started as soon as the 'Spirit'appeared.’’
’’It seems so.’’
AST, Anti Spirit Team.
Wearing mechanical armor to hunt Spirits, catch Spirits, kill Spirits;above humans, but not quite on the level of monsters;they are the modern magicians.
In other words the reality is that even being at a superhuman level was not enough to compete seriously with Spirits.
The Spirits'power was of a different magnitude.
’’ We have confirmed ten people. At the moment we are following one, who is engaged in battle.’’
’’Show me the visuals.’’
At the commander's word, real-time footage showed up on the bridge's large monitor.
On a wide road around two blocks from downtown, two girls fighting while waving huge weapons around was shown.
With the clashing of the weapons, bursts of light escaped, the ground cracked, and buildings collapsed. It was hard to imagine that this scene was part of reality.
’’She's pretty good. But, well, with a Spirit as an opponent she probably won't be able to do anything.’’
’’It is as you say, but it is also a fact that we cannot do anything either.’’
The commander raised her foot, and with the heel of her boot stepped on the guy's foot.
Ignoring the guy who was making an extremely happy face, the commander quietly sighed.
’’I understand that even without you telling me. I'm also tired of only being able to watch.’’
’’So, what you are trying to say is...’’
’’Yes. The Round Table finally gave their consent. The plan is starting now.’’
With those words, the sound of the crew members in the bridge swallowing their breath could be heard.
The commander lightly leaned into the back of the seat, and raised a small right hand with the second and third fingers held straight. It was as if she was asking for a smoke.
The guy quickly reached into his pocket, and took out a small lollipop. He speedily but carefully removed the wrapping.
Then, he knelt beside the commander, and said ’’please enjoy’’ as he placed the lollipop between the commander's fingers.
The commander put it in her mouth, and the stick started to move up and down.
’’...Ahh, now that I think about it, where is our important 'secret weapon'? He didn't answer the phone just then. I wonder if he properly went to a shelter?’’
’’Let me investigate and, huh?’’
The guy twisted his head, perplexed.
The guy pointed towards the picture. The commander moved her gaze there ’’ah’’, she made a short sound.
On the side of the battle between the Spirit and the AST member, the school uniform clad figure of a boy was spread out.
’’...Perfect timing. Go recover it.’’
The guy gave another courteous bow.
- Jump up↑ Mahyadedosu is an advanced ice skill in Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker, which in the English version is called ’’C-C-Cold Breath’’.
- Jump up↑ Glico is a big company which has a logo that looks like this
- Jump up↑ There is a saying that originated in 2ch that if you're a virgin until 30 you become a magician.
- Jump up↑ This is a pun. ’’Onnashi’’ (女市) is the separation in radicals of ’’older sister’’ (姉), so what Shidou does here is asking something like ’’... Oldersi ster?’’ (meaning he doen't even register it in his personal dictionary). At the same time, the word has almos the same pronunciation as ’’onnaji’’, meaning ’’the same’’.
- Jump up↑ This is a memory device for what to do during an evacuation, much like ’’stop, drop and roll’’. ’’okashi’’ stands for ’’osanai, kakenai, shaberanai’’ (don't push, don't run, don't talk), but Tamae-sensei instead says ’’sharekoube’’ (skull) for the last one.