Kaze No Stigma - Volume 6 - Chapter 4
Chapter 4 - The way an avenger ought to be
In one of the private rooms of a Chinese restaurant located close to the Metropolitan Police Department, Kazuma was explaining the details of the story to Tachibana Kirika.
’’.........what did you say? ’’, asked Kirika dumbfounded, staring at him in wonder, but without replying Kazuma gulped down his mapo doufu.
He eliminated the pointless time of surprised cross-examinations, understanding she actually heard what he said but couldn't comprehend it.
Besides when Chinese food becomes cool it becomes unappetizing.
Quickly regaining her serenity, Kirika glared at Kazuma with a blank stare.
’’Right now, we're talking about something unthinkably important. Can't you be a little more honest? ’’
’’Not really, no matter what attitude I take the situation won't change. ’’
But even so, Kazuma didn't rest his chopsticks. On the contrary, he asked Kirika.
’’You're not eating? ’’
’’.......I lost my appetite’’, groaned Kirika in a dejected tone.
But, she couldn't do that.
If Kazuma's words were true --- and she absolutely couldn't believe this man would lie at such a time --- the battle that will start before long might bring damage at a disaster scale to Tokyo.
’’But even so, I've never even heard rumors regarding the existence of sacred treasures from Water and earth.’’
’’Right. Even I didn't know. The Suzerain didn't either. ’’
’’Isn't that weird? ’’
Kirika knitted her eyebrows in doubt.
’’I don't know when and how this world came to be but if something like that were to exist in reality, do you think it's likely not even a bit on information would leak out? ’’
That was a justified question but Kazuma's response had no enthusiasm.
’’It doesn't really matter. I have no interest in stories of the past. ’’
’’Not like that ---’’
With an earnest facial expression that doesn't allow a negligent attitude, Kirika pressed for a answer.
’’What I'm trying to say is, weren't the sacred treasures of Water and Earth just bestowed by the Spirit Lord? ’’
In other words, that Chris and Gaia were the same with the Founder of Kannagi and the same with Kazuma.
Remembering those two's ability, Kazuma murmured in a contradictory voice.
They were certainly first-class Jutsushi.
Chris was an excellent Suijutsushi, even Gaia, if Kazuma wouldn't have used Kokusen, he wouldn't have been able to repel him so simply.
That was true and yet ---
’’I don't think they were such significant masters. ’’
Even if Kazuma were empty-handed, he did not think he'd loose to Gaia.
It would be a close fight. He would maybe even suffer wounds.
But even so, the empty-handed himself will without fail win in the end against Gaia owning a sacred treasure. He could assert that.
’’Huh, if you say it by your standard......’’
Retorting with a stunned expression to Kazuma who declared so without hesitation, Kirika noticed her own misunderstanding.
’’I see.......that's right. It must be by your standard’’
If the sacred weapons were newly acquired, it meant signing a contract with the Spirit Lord.
Then, if the person cannot stand in the same arena with Kazuma, who is a <<Contractor>>, it means it doesn't have that qualification.
But, if so, they were an even more suspicious lot.
’’As for Suijutsushi families, I never heard of a Roengram. And then Gaia --- the Earth? the Chijutsushi who doesn't give his surname, even more, the fact that he's using an flagrant alias, that seems very questionable. ’’
The Spirit Jutsushi, almost without exception stressed their family name.
Because they are a class where inborn ability is more important than anything else, that could be called the natural current.
Even for the <<first generation>>that acquired power unrelated to lineage, the trend is constant.
Rather, for the sake of making a reputation, there are many who emphasize the surname even more.
To sum it up, a Spirit Jutsushi who doesn't name himself is someone who was either banished from the family or someone who has done a serious crime, anyway, someone for whom giving his name would produce inconvenience, nothing but a dishonest Jutsushi.
For those kind of people, it's impossible that they are the due successors of secret treasures.
’’It's not only that’’
To perform a magic ceremony by gathering the sacred treasure of the four elements, that's fine so far. But ---
’’At the time of the Fuan Family they used force because the negotiations failed and yet when it comes to Ayano-chan they attacked suddenly, right? Just what were they thinking? ’’
’’At first, they began in a negotiation-like fashion, though ’’
’’Don't make fun of this. You understand, right? ’’
Kirika didn't respond to Kazuma's joke but coldly replied.
What Kazuma meant by negotiations was what Chris said: ’’If you obediently hand over Enraiha I won't hurt you’’.
Even if they tried negotiating with the Fuan family one way or another, the change in attitude was too big.
Or perhaps, because there was no way to consider those negotiations it looked like some kind of proclamation of war.
’’They wanted to turn the Fuan into their allies but when it comes to Kannagi they planned to be hostile since the beginning? If it were me I would try my best not to make enemies of the Kannagi only --- do you think they have some kind of grudge? ’’
’’Who knows? While you're searching for them, if you feel so inclined, investigate it. ’’
At Kazuma trying to push something even more troublesome on her, Kirika turned to him a glare full of blame.
’’Hey, it's not like I have that much spare time. Even if you request an investigation from me, we still don't have a prospect’’
’’This and that are different. This is for the Special Information Storage Room and it's an issue of maximum priority. ’’
It was a fair argument. This man, when it's advantageous for him, won't hesitate to do some whitewashing.
’’Besides, it's not like there isn't any compensation. If you find their whereabouts before they start to move, the Kannagi will owe you big time. That's sweet. ’’
’’-----That's if we can find them. ’’
’’Well, anyhow, do your best’’
’’You too. ’’
At that reply, Kazuma, who said so over his shoulder like it was someone else's problem, frowned involuntarily.
’’Why do I have to be involved in such a troublesome thing no matter what? I was supposed to have a little income by exorcising ghosts with one hand and spend my life in tranquility and peace ’’
’’You're such a.....’’, sighed Kirika astonished at Kazuma's lower middle class-like ambition, excessively unconscious of his own position.
’’You can state that as much as you want but it's impossible. No matter how you think about it, you were born under the star of upheaval. ’’
’’What a thing to say. How rude. ’’
Asking so with a tone of forced resentment, Kazuma left his seat.
’’In any case, I count on you. More that the fact that the Suzerain requested it, you don't have the choice to stay out of it. ’’
While concealing his the feelings on facial expression by casting his eyes down, his lips raised as if smiling.
From those lips, a voice so flat it could give one shudders came out.
’’Because right now it's not the time to do that. ’’
While Kirika didn't say anything, Kazuma left the room.
Left alone, she continued to stare at the door Kazuma left through for a very long time with a pained gaze.
Suddenly her eyes dropped on the table.
With more than half left, vapor frequently rose from the cooking.
But, no matter how vibrant the colors looked, how delicious the smell was, the appetite that was totally eradicated could not be revived.
’’Speaking like you're not caught up in this is forced, you know....’’
She remembered. That one moment his mask failed and his honest face peaking from underneath.
So empty it made her shudder, so ghastly and sorrowful beyond comparison ---- that kind of face.
’’I really.......entrust this to you, Ayano-chan’’
That was, a dream.
’’Otou-sama, Okaa-sama, I was able to do Senga Kyuren (trad. Nine Verse Pierce Fang) !’’
The time when she was an innocent girl, when she didn't know anything and not knowing was permitted.
’’Ooh, well done <<>>! You have maybe more talent than my sons, no? ’’
The strong, gentle father.
’’You did your best <<>>. But you are a girl so you must learn to be more couteous, right? ’’
The beautiful mother.
And then, although competing with each other for the Successor position, the brothers with a close relationship.
A happy, perfect world.
Satisfied in just about everything, with nothing to complain about, the passing of day after day, all peaceful ---
But, that was a dream.
The memory of very, very distant paradise she was parted with----
As if trying to shake off the past, Xiaolei earnestly swung Kokusen in the uninhabited dojo.
She had no time to yearn for memories, all that was left to her was her body, Kokusen entrusted to her by her father and ---
’’Without exception, I will take revenge! ’’
Only that thought, in was similar with obsession.
She needed power. Above all else. --- No matter what she must sacrifice to get it.
Juugo said to rather overcome weakness rather than simply discard it. But, she does not have time enough to do that.
No matter how you gloss it over, women are <<weak>>things. When it comes to their motion ability, they are inferior to men.
She could not recognize that weakness, accept it and then overcome it.
She just lost everything.
Without even that scrap of power she has, she would be degraded to a powerless girl.
Right now she wanted a more reliable strength than that idealistic thought. She didn't care about anything else.
She understood what Juugo was trying to say.
The blade that was pointlessly chipped off, instead of obtaining the utmost firmness and sharpness, will loose its tenacity and become brittle.
But she was fine with that.
Foe example, if she were smashed in just one swing, if she could cut the enemy's life at the same time , she'll count it as a win.
’’I'll definitely kill --- to make my father's, my mother's, my brothers'regret disappear, with this hand! ’’
Thinking only such heartbreaking thoughts, Xiaolei continued to wield the spear.
More faster, more sharper, she honed her body and heart to the utmost limit ---
’’You work hard, huh’’
At the sudden voice Xiaolei turned in one motion. At the same time she turned to confront the instant enemy, she set up Kokuzen including a frozen, frank intent to kill.
But the girl the spear was trusted at, didn't show any reaction towards it.
At the entrance of the dojo, her shoulder touching the gate that remained opened, lightly leaning against it, she looked at Xiaolei with folded arms.
’’What do you want---’’
’’It's not good to train too much ---- Or is this a diversion? ’’
Smoothly averting the unfriendly question, the girl --- Ayano, continued talking.
As if poked in a painful spot, Xiaolei shut her mouth.
Even she didn't expect this kind of practice full of idle thought ho have results, rather she understood it could be harmful.
But, even so ---
’’Well, I think I understand the feeling of not being able to motionlessly stay in one place but don't destroy the dojo, okay?’’
For Ayano that was nothing more but a silly joke.
But for Xiaolei agonizing over her own weakness, she could only hear those words full of severe sarcasm.
’’.....is that, sarcasm? ’’
’’Is it an insinuation that I cannot perfectly control Kokusen!? ’’
The girl screamed with a violent emotion.
She understood deep in her heart that she was venting her anger but even so she did not stop.
The reality she was unable to change, the sense of helplessness she could do nothing about, she pushed all that onto Ayano and scowled at her with the intent to kill.
In silence, Ayano accepted that glint in the eye --- unexpectedly, her gaze spontaneously slipped away, with a smooth motion.
Without showing vigilance to the girl who was about to spring at her at any moment, she calmly took off her her stockings, entered the dojo and walked to the wall.
And then, she took a six feet wood cane hanging on the wall and threw it at Xiaolei.
She took a wooden sword for herself and nimbly swung it to ascertain its weight.
’’For now, I think there's a more meaningful way to use your time instead of worrying by yourself endlessly and become unable to control your urge to destroy, no?’’
The point of the wooden sword was exactly aiming at Xiaolei's eye.
The distance between was roughly three meters. For a sword that was rather far but for a cane that was already within reach.
’’You, do you think you can be my opponent? ’’, declared Xiaolei with unconcealed contempt to Ayano who suggested they become sparring partners.
In spite of doing nothing but run away from her attacks during yesterday's fight.
What's more, even if Ayano were to say ’’Let's stop then’’, right now she didn't felt like stopping.
She wouldn't pardon her even if Ayano turned her back on.
--- This is what <<picking a fight>>means.
’’I'll beat you up until you're unable to stand and never will you treat me with contempt! ’’
Without restraining that boiling ferocious impulse, Xiaolei grasped the cane tightly. And then ---
Without signaling the start, she fired a sudden thrust with all her strength. The aim was the throat.
Clearly exceeding the practice level, it was a blow meant to kill.
But, without showing surprise, Ayano lightly shifted the wooden sword and handled it. Even the next attack, extremely easily.
But even so, without pausing her hands, Xiaolei continued to wield the spear.
The girl's tactics were exceedingly standard. In any case, capitalizing on the lengthy distance, she increased her attack from a place where the enemy's hits couldn't reach.
It was simple but there were few gaps. Those thrusts that attached more importance to numbers that power was turning so quickly it seemed it's pointed end was split in several ones and didn't allow the opponent to get closer.
Thus, since the opponent's sword couldn't shorten the distance, she could never be defeated.
Rather than attacking, Xiaolei continued to stab like she was molding a <<wall>>that defended against the invader enemy before her eyes.
Of course, she couldn't continue that move eternally but her limit was still very far.
’’If I hit once it's the end’’
It doesn't matter where. At the very least she must disorder her posture.
After that, regardless of consent or refusal, if she can continue hitting her, in three seconds her bloodstained lump of meat will lie down on the floor.
Her cheeks distorted with a dark joy, Xiaolei attacked incessantly without break.
But, immediately following ---
With a clear sound, the pole was thrown up right overhead.
Ayano who until now continued to ward off the attack with lowest movement, suddenly and forcefully brushed away the cane.
Although Xiaolei's posture was only slightly thrown out of order, she quickly brought back the cane.
But matching the timing of her returning, Ayano reduced the distance.
Xiaolei unleashed the thrust away cane once more. But as if matching that, Ayano too swung right in front the wood sword.
Because her posture was inadequate, the power of Xiaolei's blow was somewhat weaker.
Conversely Ayano's attack was a blow with plenty body strength behind it.
The wooden sword with a superior power , at the same time it adverted the cane's trajectory, it advanced as if gliding on that surface and with unparalleled accuracy guided by the cane it faced Xiaolei.
It was a blow that was both offensive and defensive. Understanding her unavoidable defeat in front of the wooden sword drawing near her eyes, Xiaolei unintentionally closed her eyes.
But, no matter how much time passes the impact doesn't come. Timidly opening her eyes ---
Before her eyes, or rather leaving a millimeter gap in the space between her eyes and the pointed end, the wooden sword was thrust.
It skillfully stopped just before her.
Traditional fencing, because of the hardness of the skull and its roundness and because the blade cannot follow it properly, is a school that avoids striking <<the face>>but for Ayano, the successor of Enraiha, something like that it's irrelevant.
In front of that overwhelming destructive power, no matter how solid a bone is, for her it's the same as thin paper. It's impossible to protect the fragile brain inside.
That's right, without a doubt, this is a certain fatal wound --- which means she was perfectly defeated.
’’Kuuh......’’, moaned Xiaolei biting her lips in disgrace.
Looking up, in her field of vision divided in two parts by the wooden sword, Ayano was watching intently this way.
That facial expression was thoroughly tranquil and no joy for paying yesterday's debt could be felt.
--- As though, the victory was obvious and the necessity to be glad was found nowhere.
’’Huh---- Kazuma said so yesterday but Xiaolei doesn't display any technique. It is beyond monotonous. You shouldn't be negligent thinking you'll win and should aim at varying your attack a bit more’’
In addition she took the role of mentor and went as far as to point out her faults.
At that humiliation that burned her entire body, the hand holding the cane trembled.
In truth, she understood it yesterday. That this girl was clearly more stronger than she.
Or to put it another way, she was weaker even than this girl.
Weaker than Kannagi Ayano, weaker than Yagami Kazuma,
weaker than Christian Roengram,
weaker than Gaia.
In spite of having to kill her enemies no matter what, she cannot bring them down --- she does not have the power to do so.
’’Why.......why am I, so weak? ’’
That sorrowful wailing reverberated in the dojo.
Unable to find appropriate words, Ayano was silent.
It wasn't just words.
She could do nothing for this wounded girl
In spite of the fact she couldn't let it continue like this, she couldn't skillfully speak, and even though she knew it would be absolutely clumsy to neglect the way Xiaolei was right now, she did not know what to do.
Ayano too has the experience of important people getting killed.
But, in her case before her anger at the killers had time to brew in resentment and the desire for revenge, everything was settled.
Therefore Ayano couldn't sympathize with the dark passion of an avenger and the ’’I'll kill him even if I have to sacrifice everything’’ kind of thoughts.
For this reason, she was able to stop the rampaging Kazuma who was swallowed once in a torrent of those kind of thoughts but --- also for this reason she couldn't say anything to Xiaolei, one step away from loosing it.
’’.........On this occasion, it should be good to have a talk with Kazuma, huh? ’’
At the proposal she unexpectedly thought of, Xiaolei grimaced dissatisfied from the bottom of her heart.
’’What will talking with that frivolous man do for me? ’’
’’No, well --- he is certainly frivolous and there's nothing you can do about it normally ’’
Even though she readily agreed, Ayano added a sentence Xiaolei found unpardonable.
’’But he once planned his revenge and then, he accomplished it. ’’
She saw yesterday that he was a model-like frivolous and thoughtless man that didn't even know the word revenge so Xiaolei opened her eyes wide.
But quickly curved her lips in cynicism and declared with scorn.
’’Well, for him revenge comes easy no matter who the opponent is. Or rather, with so much power at his disposal he wasn't able to protect what was important? ’’
At Xiaolei, sneering at what a careless guy he was, Ayano showed an unbelievably bitter smile.
’’It wasn't like that. Because back then Kazuma wasn't a Jutsushi but only a normal person. ’’
’’What........? He wasn't, a Jutsushi? ’’
’’You heard yesterday about him being a direct descendant of Kannagi, right? But, he was completely lacking when it comes to the ability of Enjutsu.
That's why, because he was judged to be incompetent and useless he was driven out of the family. ’’
At the cruel history that couldn't even be guessed from Kazuma right now, Xiaolei lost her words.
Looking straight at her, Ayano talked without stopping.
’’He left the house, fortuitously met his loved one, lost even that and then obtained power for the sake of revenge. Although I don't know the particulars. ’’
At the end of a very long silence, Xiaolei murmured so, quietly.
That was surprising.
Every man has his history but that kind of man lacking sincerity was burdened with such a heavy past.
’’So, what's up with that? ’’
At the sudden retort, Ayano stared in wonder.
’’I sympathize with his past. But then, what kind of advantage would I gain from talking to him? Should I ask him about revenge know-how?
But, after all, he succeeded in his revenge because he had enough power to do so, nothing more that that, right? ’’
That's right. After all, it was only that.
Kazuma won because he was stronger. And because she was weaker she couldn't win.
That was like a mathematic formula, a cruel but impartial logic.
There is no place for sentiments to cut it, nothing tricks can overthrow. Therefore, there's no point talking with Kazuma.
Xiaolei concluded so but Ayano shook her head together with a bitter smile.
’’It's not like that -- even after carrying out his revenge Kazuma can properly live on, don't you see? But in your case, nothing comes to mind after revenge. ’’
’’------you mean, you don't thing I'll succeed? ’’
’’No, can't you see I'm not talking about success or failure --- it's about what will you do after you finish your revenge. I just cannot imagine any kind of vision after. ’’
Xiaolei completely couldn't understand what Ayano was trying to say. ---- No, she rather wanted to deny that reasoning.
In any case, entrusting herself to the boiling discomfort, she bluntly said over her shoulder.
’’I don't know what that means. Besides, that is inconsequential. ’’
’’Hmmm, I see’’
Ayano tilted her head to the side in confusion. But because she herself didn't accurately knew what she was trying to say, she let it go.
Taking advantage of that, Xiaolei forcibly changed the subject.
’’By the way, what kind of guy did he take his revenge on? Since he needed so much power? It was by some chance someone famous? ’’
’’Aah--- yeah---- from what I heard it was Erwin Leszar’’
’’Hee--, that seems like a big-shot’’
Xiaolei was calmly throwing in the appropriate words in the conversation but when the meaning of that name permeated through her brain, all blood ran from her face.
’’I'm telling you, Erwin Leszar. The one from <<Almagest>>. But then I only heard this from another person and didn't check it with Kazuma’’
With the biggest shock she had since she came to Japan, Xiaolei screamed to her heart's content.
’’Aah----, by the way’’
Several minutes were required for Xiaolei to regain her composure.
Trying to soothe one way or another the girl who drew closer and grabbed her, pressing question after question, there was something Ayano worried about ever since she peeked inside the dojo.
’’Are these the same clothes as yesterday?
’’It can't be helped, right? I didn't have enough composure to bring a change of clothes. ’’
’’........then, your underwear? ’’
Xiaolei replied in silence at Ayano asking even more questions.
Unintentionally Ayano looked at the ceiling.
After several seconds, with a facial expression wondering what to decide, she quickly declared:
’’Let's go shopping’’
’’It's not ha?, right? A girl with nothing more but the clothes on her back! No matter how much you pretend to be a man, there's no need to go so far and imitate a man's sloppiness! ’’
Talking on and on in an indignant tone to the dumbfounded Xiaolei, she turned a critical glance all over her clothes.
’’Anyway, you must get ready to change close immediately. I'm telling you, you have no right to refuse. If you like, it's fine to borrow from me --- ’’
Ayano stared at Xiaolei's physique -- especially the area around her chest.
’’The size doesn't seem to fit’’
’’I'm sooo sorry! --- no, not even that, carelessly going shopping in this kind of situation -- are you stupid? ’’
Although overpowered by the force that won't take no for an answer, Xiaolei eagerly tried to rebut.
As expected, because she wasn't very familiar with insults in the Japanese language, her way of speaking was pretty direct but Ayano didn't give a damn.
’’Then, what will you do? We don't know how many days it will take to settle things with those guys and you plan to wear the same clothes all the way? ’’
’’.....I'm properly washing my underwear. ’’
’’What of it? As piece of mind that's a complete failure----’’
Ayano relentlessly knocked down the whispered objection.
’’Besides, there's nothing we can do at the present. We don't even know the enemies'whereabouts. ’’
At present, Kazuma and the Special Information Storage Room were investigating in all directions.
For Ayano, an Enjutsushi, and Xiaolei, whose investigating ability was good but who couldn't oppose the enemy by herself there was nothing to do but be on stand-by until the result will appear.
’’Then, it's preferable to pro-actively go out and maybe they will be lured to attack and the development can be speed up. ’’
’’Just the two of us? ’’
’’Of course, I'm calling Kazuma too. If we are really attacked, it would be difficult if it's just the two of us. ’’
’’.......I understand. Let's go. ’’
After a silence of a few seconds when she seemed to think of something, Xiaolei nodded shortly.
’’---So, why do I have to accompany the two of you shopping? ’’
The summoned Kazuma was pouting as expected. He was called out for a diversion that could lure out the enemy so it was only natural.
’’But, we can't help it. Because this child came to Japan with only what she's wearing. ’’
’’Then lend her some of yours’’, replied Kazuma without but after suddenly looking at Xiaolei's body, especially her chest, he shook his head.
’’Impossible, huh? ’’
’’........Are you guys picking a fight? ’’
Xiaolei glared with angered eyes at the two.
It must be their imagination but her glint in the eye thick with thirst for blood was more intense than their first meeting.
’’Why is she so angry? ’’
’’Because I already made that joke’’
’’Hmm, I see. It's no good telling a joke twice, yeah ’’
Kazuma nodded solemnly. But, of course, that kind of attitude could only rub Xiaolei the wrong way even more.
’’But well --- there's that, right? ’’
Plainly disregarding the reaction of the angered girl, Kazuma continued.
’’You shouldn't be that pessimistic, no? In this world there are guys who worship smaller than small, AA’’
’’What do you mean? ’’
’’What, you ask? Boobs’’
’’I'll kill you! ’’
While blushing at the too straightforward answer, Xiaolei fired Kokusen while it was still covered.
Extremely easy, Kazuma avoided that. Even more than that, he even stopped the wind blade that was about to be released impulsively from the sacred treasure before it happened.
It seems that he got the hang of it from yesterday's fight.
The exasperated Xiaolei didn't even notice the significance of it.
’’Uuuu........I'm....I'm going back! ’’, she screamed halfway crying as the attack she fired in a frenzy was completely avoided.
Even when taking a rougher attitude, after all she had the upbringing of an Ojou-sama and wasn't used being ridiculed this way.
But, Ayano quickly grabbed the girl's hand about to run.
’’Wait please. What about the clothes I should buy if you're not there? ’’
’’Buy some suitable ones! ’’
’’No. Leaving clothes aside, I can't conjecture the size of your underwear. If you wear a bra that's not fit for you, even if they are small, your breasts will get smaller ’’
’’Don't say small! ’’
’’That's right. Besides the shape will be ruined. Breast that are shaped poorly beside being small won't even be noticed by perverts who like small breasts. ’’
’’Who is a fetish for perverts!? ’’
In a tone as if she was biting, Xiaolei turned over almost twisting her neck.
This time she drew closer to Ayano.
’’You, aren't you too good a match for this guy!? ’’
’’No, this is all thanks to you’’
At the uncertain response, Xiaolei stared in wonder.
Thereupon, Ayano send a gaze full of gratitude towards the girl --
’’It's because I'm always in the situation of him messing around with me. This is the first time I experience such calmness when being together with Kazuma. Thank you, everyone! ’’
That was said in a tone loaded with a flow of emotions.
The girl that was used in a totally different manner from the way a decoy should, warped her lips, pained from the bottom of her heart, and spat out.
’’........you're the worst, both of you.......’’
--- And then, approximately three hours after.
Changed in the clothes she just bought -- obstinately men's wear --- appearing to have exhausted all her energy, Xiaolei sat down dead tired on one of the benches in the rest area.
’’......this is only shopping but.......but why is it so.....’’
’’A woman's shopping is lengthy, isn't that general knowledge? ’’, said Kazuma not seeming to be worn-out.
Incidentally, Ayano, still full of vitality, after finishing buying clothes for Xiaolei, was bustling about here and there searching clothes for her.
’’.......I, I never felt so tired before when shopping. ’’
’’That's---- since you're the Fuan family's Ojou-sama I imagine that conversely, the stores employers would ask how to be of use. How could that be tiring? ’’
’’......is that wrong? ’’
’’No? Think about it like the inferiority complex of a poor person and don't mind it. ’’
Xiaolei glared at Kazuma in silence. It's inevitable that all of this man's speech and conduct hit a nerve every time.
’’Besides, why aren't you tired? ’’
’’Because if you don't have to put someone in a good humor it's the same like taking a stroll. When the shopping companion gets tires it's almost invariably mental fatigue.’’
If one were to simply speak during the exercise the degree of weariness due to shopping can be disregarded.
In spite of this, if even adult males give up on this it means the emotional fatigue is very great.
For example, if one were made to accompany someone to an unfamiliar place which was very uncomfortable and made to endlessly compare clothes with a <<which one suits me most～>>, a trivial word can become fatal, that sort of thing.
But, Kazuma naturally doesn't humor Ayano and for example if he were to accompany her to a lingerie shop, instead of being calm he would be very shameless so he wouldn't get tired.
’’........how long will this continue? ’’
’’Until Ayano is satisfied, of course. Ask the person itself for a specific time. ’’
At that careless answer, Xiaolei let out a small sigh. And then, she suddenly looked at her feet.
There were two paper bags full of clothes there.
What she bought --- rather, what she was made to buy was three times the amount but everything that wasn't necessary for the time being was ordered to be delivered home.
Beyond the fact that the danger of an attack wasn't low, she couldn't move under all those baggage.
By the way, Kazuma was empty handed.
Not even Ayano would dream this man could accept to carry luggage so she didn't ask him from the beginning.
As a matter of fact Xiaolei was grateful for the shopping.
For her who escaped with nothing else in her hands but Kokusen, of course she didn't had clothes to change in but nothing remained after her traveling expenses.
--- But, even so.
’’Geez, does she really understand the situation, that woman? ’’
’’Hmm, I wonder’’, replied Kazuma in a vapid tone.
That attitude seemed to have even less tension than Ayano's and Xiaolei reflexively grimaced.
In spite of possessing so much power, he wasn't self-conscious of the duty that accompanied that power.
He was frivolous and lacked sincerity --- she was also jealous of him maybe but Xiaolei didn't think this man was suitable to have power.
But, even if that was true, she could not ignore him.
She has something she must ask him no matter what. Because that was the reason she went along with this shopping.
Without looking at Xiaolei, she said while looking at the floor.
’’It seems that once, you lived for the sake of revenge, right? ’’
Kazuma instantly shifted his attention to where Ayano was, but answered shortly as if he didn't heard something unnecessary.
Once again, Xiaolei asked directly.
’’Do you regret it? ’’
’’-----Are you satisfied? ’’
At the second question, Kazuma replied in exactly the same manner.
At that reply you could read nothing into, Xiaolei probed his facial expression with a side glance and asked again.
’’Then, why? ’’
’’Because there was nothing else to do. ’’
’’Wha--- did you kill him for that half-baker reason, that Erwin Leszar? ’’
’’Aah--- I killed him, I killed him. ’’
Warding off Xiaolei's criticism with a nonchalant air, Kazuma declared thoroughly frivolous.
’’I chopped him until his body turned to lumps of nothing more that a hundred grams, his soul was taken by the devil he had contracted with and dragged to the bottom of hell. Right now he's being used like a slave or his power returned to its origins and he was terminated, one of these two’’
Remembering the spectacle that time, Kazuma laughed with a simmering happiness and took the opportunity to ask.
’’So, what of it? ’’
’’.....Previously, I heard about that man from father. He greatly admired him. He said it wasn't an exaggeration to call him the all-time high genius of magic. ’’
Kazuma was silent. but, without minding it, Xiaolei continued.
’’He's the man who lay the foundation of present day magic. He was born anew these last three hundred years, and possibly all resurrection Jutsu and most theories, they all originate from him.
Did you have the right to kill that kind of genius? ’’
’’If I think about what you're trying to say----’’
Letting out a small laughter, Kazuma shrugged his shoulders.
’’Then, what about you? ’’
’’For example, if that odd couple killed your entire family for the sake of the greater good, would you forgive them? ’’
For an instant Xiaolei faltered. But that was definitely not because she was hesitating.
That's right, hesitating it's unthinkable.
It's impossible to hesitate.
No matter the reason, even if the entire world would recognize their actions as justified ----
’’That's how it is. Whether it's righteousness or reason, those have no connection to revenge.
For example, even if what he did would bring permanent peace to this world, at that time, if Tsoi Rin had to be sacrificed no matter what to save the world from destruction, who cares about that? ’’
Kazuma spun his words in that voice so flat it made one shiver.
’’No matter what, I cannot forgive him. I cannot allow a world where Tsoi Rin dies but he gets to live carefree. No matter how many chances I will be given, I would only choose one way. No matter by what means, I will invariably kill him. ’’
Faced with that expressionless mask <<being>>in front of her, Xiaolei muscles along the spine shivered.
Already saturated by hatred and resentment, because those became its normal state, it became expressionless without the possibility of change.
Together with a shudder, Xiaolei perceived that by instinct.
That was the result she would arrive at.
’’What's with that 「Because there was nothing else to do」 crap? ’’
She understood that frivolous reason for revenge was a lie. Because, although she didn't arrived at the end of it, Xiaolei was following the same road.
’’That was like--- 「I could think of nothing else but revenge」! ’’
’’What's the matter? ’’
At that sudden, easy-going tone of voice, Xiaolei jumped up from the bench, her fright laid bare.
Turning around, that frozen expressionless that was there was already gone and the same aimless, cynical smile was looking here.
’’Wha--- what so suddenly? ’’
’’It's not what right? You were to one to open the discussion so don't get lost in your own world in the middle of it? ’’
It was a very plausible identification so Xiaolei mumbled, having no way to object.
But, she didn't feel like continuing. If she were to continue she would come to realize without wanting to.
That for the sake of carrying out her revenge she must also become so.
She understood only one fragment of it, but her heart was swaying this much.
If she were to know even more, she will maybe become incapable of carrying out her revenge.
Adverting her eyes as if trying to escape, Xiaolei searched for an excuse to interrupt the conversation.
But Kazuma, looking like he didn't understood that, asked cheerfully like it was an ordinary conversation.
’’What did Ayano say to you? ’’
’’Hmm? You heard it from her, no ～ about me’’
’’Eeh, ah, aah --- that's---- yeah’’
’’So, by making me the example, what did she say to you? That revenge is meaningless, that your deceased family doesn't wish for something like that, did she say that kind of whitewashing? ’’
’’Ah, no, it wasn't like that-----’’
While clumsily narrating it, Xiaolei felt something close to relief.
The contents of this conversation are not easy but compared with the continuation of the one before, it was by far preferable.
Leaving her vigor take its natural course, before she realized it, she even talked about the details of the fight where she lost to Ayano, which was supposed to be unrelated.
And Kazuma was not the kind of person to overlook such a thing.
’’I see, you lost even to Ayano. You seem to only be losing. If you use a false name, you should call yourself <<loser dog>>from now on! ’’
’’Don't give me names! Rather, more that that, what was that about? Do you understand what she tried to say? ’’
As expected, she was bothered about it a little so she pressed the question, pretending like she thought about it, but Kazuma faintly smiled bitterly.
’’Frankly, that was surprising. The fact that she pondered about something to that extent, no, she didn't think about it saying I cannot explain this.
She just somehow noticed it with her wild sixth sense. ’’
If so it's very typical of her -- Xiaolei obstinately asked Kazuma agreeing by himself.
’’What does it mean? ’’
’’Don't mind it.’’
’’I do mind it! ’’
Pulled in so much, that reaction was natural.
But, Kazuma eluded the girl's investigation thoroughly.
’’Even if I were to tell you right now, it would be meaningless. Because you will really only hear an <<inconsequential thing>>.
You can forget about it now. If you think about something you don't need, the blade will grow dull’’
She made a face like she didn't agree in the least but at the same time she understood Kazuma had no intention of confessing.
Although reluctantly, Xiaolei gave up on the investigation.
But even Kazuma, it's not like he didn't teach because he was malicious or rather didn't teach her just because he was malicious.
What Ayano was trying to say regarding her <<what lies beyond revenge>>--- if she were to present it in a more embarrassing but easy to understand manner, one would be reminded of words like <<tomorrow>>and <<hope>>, the illustration of a facing forward anticipated future.
In a word, the action that is not connected to the future is barren.
Taking your revenge is splendid but after you finish it you must earnestly become happy no matter what.
She feared for Xiaolei not because of the act of revenge itself but for Xiaolei's attitude of throwing everything away for the sake of revenge and not looking back.
Compared with the revenge is useless bullshit, it was something much more thoughtful but, after all, was nothing but lip service from someone whose body wasn't scorched in hatred.
Besides, if the person was able to focus on the future he wouldn't plan such a back facing deed from the beginning.
Therefore, right now he couldn't talk with Xiaolei about such things.
Rather than rejecting it because she thought it trivial, it would be worse to think of her own self-protection because of an untactful influence.
Even at the best of times, her ability was inferior. If she were to loose her resolution to risk her life above that, the probability of killing that would-be avenger would only be higher.
That was, at the very least, one part of the reason she didn't tell her.
’’----But well, if you want to die, just die. It won't bother me. ’’
Kazuma was this kind of man.
And then, when the conversation was about to close and concluded, at that time---
He suddenly raised his head, quizzically squinting his eyes.
One beat later, Xiaolei noticed too. That face that was swaying with confusion --- was coated in the color of hatred, and she decisively stood up.
’’Where......? This way! ’’
Knowing the specifics of the location, she took Kokusen and started running without looking left or right.
’’He--y, wait a minute’’
Kazuma called her to a halt, but since he didn't even stood up from the bench that apathetic restrain could have no effect.
Xiaolei didn't turn around but darted off speedily.
Luckily, it should be called, Ayano came back before three minutes passed.
Ayano looked at Kazuma, sitting alone on the bench with a doubtful gaze.
At the again reasonable question, Kazuma inclined his head as if contemplating,
’’Up or down, which way do you think she went? ’’
’’What's up with that, didn't you ask her were she went? Did she went to buy something, that child? ’’
’’Rather that buying, it's more like she went to throw away something. ’’
At the seriousness of the words declared so smoothly, Ayano became speechless. But, she immediately understood the meaning of those cryptic words.
’’Wait a second, up and down are heaven and hell!? She <<went>>to one of those? ’’
’’Humph, something like that’’
’’Did they appeared? ’’
’’No, somewhere for from here water and earth spirits are unnaturally noisy. The moment she sensed that, she rushed in.
Although I don't understand what she tries to do by herself’’
’’You should have stopped her!’’
’’I did stop her’’
’’Not by saying <<stop>>when you knew from the beginning she would ignore you! ’’, declared Ayano in one breath as if she saw everything.
But of course, as one would expect, she knew Kazuma. She was flawlessly correct.
’’I couldn't be help, right? I am your guard. I can't go chasing after something else. ’’
’’Geez, let's follow her! Which way she went? ’’
Right after pointing in a rough direction, Ayano dashed to the entrance of the department store.
And then, when she was about to continue after that ---- suddenly, she turned around. What was there was large number of paper bags full of new clothes scattered on the ground,
’’It's not my fault, huh? ’’, murmuring irresponsibility, this time Ayano started running.
That day, the Metropolitan Police Department Special Information Storage Room's newcomer, Isurughi Daiki, was walking on the street with his senpai, Shimon Yuuto.
Of course, it was during the job.
He did not have the hobby of going on dates for male bonding. To say nothing of he fact that walking alongside this man was the worst kind of competition.
Daiki raises a gaze full of envy at Yuuto. Just one phrase was enough to describe that man --- he was a handsome man.
He height exceeded 180 centimeters and he had a slim physique without any flab, and finely chiseled features, un-Japanese in appearance.
For Daiki, with a small build and child-faced, to this day mistaken for a middle school pupil, he was the kind of man no matter how much he envied, it still wasn't enough.
’’Waah, what a bore....’’
The man accompanying him, languid because he couldn't flirt in the middle of the job, abandoned the yearning he was secretly harboring and, on the contrary looked at him awkward as if saying ’’I don't want to become like that’’.
’’Hey---, I'm tired, let's enter a tea house. After all, we won't find them. ’’
’’No way. What will you do if the Chief finds about this? ’’
’’At that time become the representative to be angry at. ’’
’’I disagree! ’’
Although answering like that, not even him had any will to work anymore.
Their current mission was a manhunt, the search of two Jutsushi, Chris and Gaia. They understood this mission ordered by Kirika was urgent and from the characteristics of their outward appearance they had the self-confidence they could certainly recognize them even without a photo.
’’How should we search for them? What is the probability of coming across them coming across them by walking randomly----- ’’
’’Hmm? What, you didn't know? ’’
Yuuto looked shocked at Daiki, who was murmuring in a puzzled tone.
’’What do you mean? ’’
’’What, you say -- right now, we're the only ones searching. We're only waiting for the result of the <<Sightseer>>guys. ’’
’’----Why only us? ’’
’’It's not us. You're the only one they expect something out of. ’’
’’-------? ’’ Daiki still didn't understand. What on Earth was expected of him?
’’I don't really understand? My ability doesn't have a searching aspect. ’’
’’The <<Demon Eater>>, huh? It's not that. You have another -- ever acting ability, right? ’’
At Yuuto's words, Daiki became silent, making a disagreeable face with al his strength.
Certainly, he had two --- practically one special ability, but with two different forms of manifestation, it was somehow guessed.
One was the <<Demon Eater>>and the other one the manifestation of abnormal good luck regarding a critical situation --- after miraculously reaching a calamity.
There's no need to say it but Daiki wasn't to happy about that.
The meaning this power had was falling into dangerous and desperate situations, and then as a reaction, he was devastatingly unlucky in his everyday life.
’’.......What about it? Either way, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with me. ’’
Yuuto showed an ominous smile to his dissatisfied kouhai, and whispered in a low voice.
’’What it we find the guys we're searching for and it comes to a fight, you, are you confident of winning? ’’
’’That's obviously impossible! ’’, answered Daiki without hesitating for a moment.
Excessively reasonable, he wasn't even ashamed. The separation between people like them with modest supernatural powers and that existence was like that between them and ordinary people.
For example, even for a professional boxer there's no shame being knocked down by a tank. Just like a gold medalist runner won't feel bitter about not being slower than a motorcycle.
The difference between them and they just just like that or maybe even worse.
’’Well then, can you find the target? Finding it is the definition of unlucky. Don't you agree? ’’
’’.......Well, I do’’
’’Of course, it's impossible for us to find them without the other party noticing us, that would be lucky. And when it comes to you, it's impossible to have that kind of good luck. ’’
He was extremely unwilling to be called that but he had no rebuttal. Helplessly, he waited for the continuation in silence.
’’If it's you, you might be able to find the target because of your natural bad luck. And then, if you find yourself in a pinch, maybe you're able to escape because of your good luck. But the opponent is who he is. There is the possibility your own good luck won't be enough. Therefore, I was appointed to help you’’
’’.......Even if you say so, I don't think one or two people will make a difference. ’’
’’That's true. But, if you were to bear the full brunt of it, certainly the <<Demon Eater>>will come out. With that power, even if you cannot win, you can stall. So, taking that opportunity I will run and report to the Chief --- ’’
’’Wait a minute! ’’, Daiki shouted angry, as expected.
’’What's up with that inhuman strategy? If it's so, why don't we do this the other way? Senpai, you should protect the body of your kouhai! ’’
’’Don't say such impossible things!’’
Yuuto irresponsibly waved his hand.
’’I don't have that kind of inhuman, wicked power like you do. I won't become something like a shield. ’’
’’What are you saying, <<Siegfried>>?’’
’’Whoa! Don't call people by the name of their power. There's something wrong with a secret society-like code name. ’’
’’............isn't this pretty much like that?’’, retaliated Daiki with a bitter expression.
He wanted from the beginning to become a regular policeman but because of the power even he didn't know about Kirika had her eyes on him and he was dragged against his will in this world.
Consequently, his sense of values as a civilian was still strong and couldn't even get rid of his suspicions towards the Special Investigation Unit to which he belonged.
’’I didn't want to get involved with such doggy things like spirits and Youma. ’’
’’Saying such things....since your power has a special quality, the possibility of living without encountering them is pretty low, I think’’
’’I, I wanted to deal with the crimes of regular people and someday become a detective! ’’
’’No, that's impossible’’, concluded Yuuto without hesitation.
Although unfortunate, when it came to this, Daiki's character supported Yuuto's view.
Of course, a policeman shouldn't have a scary face but being mistaken for a minor during night lookouts, he couldn't be given a job of protecting someone.
’’Besides, you should look at reality a bit more. I think that Kirika-chan asked you something like If you want to become a detective please change your assignment, no? ’’
’’To say it would curse you. If you even think about leaving the Special Investigation Unit would ensure you will die in the first line --- No, even more, that woman would catch your soul and turn you into a sorcerer's divination tool. ’’
’’Waah....No way......’’, Daiki lamented, having his future void of hope or dreams pointed out to him.
Yuuto clapped the shoulder of his Kouhai and advised, trying to console him.
’’Well, don't be so discouraged. Your ability to evade death is top-class. If you manage to survive long enough, I'm sure that someday you.......’’
Pausing in the middle of it, his face became stiff.
Daiki peeked at Yuuto's face in wonder and he cast down his eyes with a rather false calmness.
’’Quicker than what I thought’’
’’If the enemy can be found by such a halfhearted method, from now on you will be the first recruited for the investigation of dangerous enemies, and every time they will try to kill you, to torment you and curse you. ’’
’’......Don't imagine such unpleasantness’’
’’So it's unpleasant, as expected? ’’
’’It's unpleasant! ’’
’’I see --- what a pity’’
Including as much sympathy as possible, Yuuto hit Daiki's shoulder once more.
From that attitude, it was easy to guess. The young man who looked like a boy looked up at his senpai with a pale face.
’’That shop window. Slowly turn around. ’’
Turning in the direction Yuuto pointed out , he clumsily twisted his neck. Doing so, he saw in that huge window pane the reflection of a silver haired beautiful young man and a muscular short one.
The duo was extremely peculiar and probably very singular even in the middle of Tokyo. It was obvious it was the target they were searching for.
’’No, nooooooo waaaaaayyy!’’
Daiki screamed inside his heart. But while doing so, the duo reflected in the show window, walked in the opposite direction from them.
It was a brief moment of unintentional relief.
’’We're following them’’
Yuuto gave out the heartless order.
’’Eeeh, shouldn't we let them get away? ’’
’’I don't really care but when Kirika-chan finds about this, will you take responsibility, right? ’’
’’If you quit here's hell, if you go forward there's hell, that's your limit. ’’
Overwhelmed by Yuuto's thoroughly other people's problem laugh, Daiki let out all the piled-up tears.
’’Where do you think they are going? ’’
While tailing Chris and Gaia, both exchanged a whisper in a small voice.
Incidentally, although both of them had many jobs involving non-human opponents, they didn't excess at something so mundane as tailing someone. To make matters worse, this job where they risked their life gave them completely cold feet.
They planned on running away as soon as the enemy began showing even the smallest sign of alertness.
But, lucky or unlucky, they looked like absolutely not realizing they were tailed. Therefore, the duo continued chasing after them ---until it became the wrong time to quit.
Immediately following the curved street corner, Daiki let out a confused voice.
In spite of the fact that the street continued for a little in a straight line, for some reason the subjects of their tail were not in it.
Thinking it odd, he took a few unsteady steps but suddenly Yuuto grabbed his arm from behind.
’’We've been exposed. Run. ’’
’’No, that's impossible, right? ’’
A soft voice concluded. From behind.
They both turned around with the fastest movement possible.
As feared, the silhouettes of both Chris and Gaia were standing there.
They didn't understand the detail but before they knew the shadow was seen through and they seemed to have taken a roundabout path.
’’So, what on earth did you intend to do by following us? ’’, asked Chris cracking a smile at the confused Daiki.
That was a smile that normally would make Daiki be charmed even if it belonged to someone of the same se* but understandably, today he didn't have room for that.
He looked for Yuuto seeking salvation but, that man was hidden behind his kouhai, brimming with the intent to push him.
The hand supporting his back was definitely not to encourage him but but to push him towards Chris when the time comes.
It was clear he prepared himself to run by using a decoy.
’’it's.....it's too much......’’
Daiki was crying in his heart but by really crying out loud, the situation wouldn't get any better.
Racking his brain like never before he searched for an explanation that those two would consent to.
’’A...actually.....to tell you the truth, we.......are, policemen.......’’
’’The Police? ’’
Chris looked doubtful at them --- particularly at Daiki. Daiki's voice became even more excited, continuing.
’’It, it's true. I am Asian so I might look young but, I am properly of age. If you want I can show you my identification papers. ’’
Although flustered, Daiki blamed his child face on race. Chris looked at them very long and finally nodded in consent.
’’Well, that's fine. So, what does the police want with us? Show you our passports? ’’
’’Well......even inside the police we are belonging to a special department. Do you know about the Special Investigation Unit? It a department related to spirit incidents. ’’
’’Aaah, I heard about that. An organization famous for its uselessness. ’’
Faced with that point blank manner of speaking, Daiki spontaneously started crying. He didn't have any particular attachment towards it but when thinking that the organization he belonged to was treated as incompetent because be has in it, he felt overwhelmed as expected.
’’Leaving that, we were thinking of asking what such powerful magicians like you doing in Japan.....with all due respect, we received orders to follow you’’
Mastering all his willpower, he finished the sentence until the end.
It was a pretty clever explanation, Daiki was singing his own praise. Meaning that for the time being, there was no contradiction.
’’I see, that's deplorable. ’’, declared Chris in a sinking tone full of pain.
’’De-deplorable, what is? ’’
’’If it's true you're the errand-boy of someone I want to meet, did you finished your verbal message? --- if it's unrelated, there doesn't seem to be a reason to let you live, no?’’
A death sentence.
’’Whaaah!? If I'm unrelated, there's also no reason to kill me, right? ’’
’’Huh, you didn't know? being stalked by an unknown person is extremely unpleasant, no? ’’, said Chris while smiling as if nothing in the world bothered him.
Meaning Die for that.
’’Wait, well, if it's a message you want to transmit, I can do that. Look, because of my line of work, I met with a lot of Practitioners ’’
’’Is that so? But who I want to meet is the daughter of that Kannagi Clan, you know? ’’
’’Aah, then, leave it to me. The connection with the Kannagi Clan is pretty deep. ’’, replied Daiki with a joyful look at the sudden chance.
Chris too, openly nodded delighted at his good luck.
’’That's good. Then --- tell her to come tomorrow at noon at Shinjuku Central Park. Of course, tell her she should bring the young Fuan prince’’
’’And the Fujutsushi youngster’’, added Gaia without hiding his overflowing fighting spirit.
Without showing any sign of his complete defeat yesterday or maybe precisely because of that, he seemed to burn with revenge.
’’I understand. I will definitely report it. ’’
’’Thank you very much. But --’’
Chris interrupted his speech with a somewhat ominous feeling and stared at Daiki and Yuuto.
He said regretfully.
’’For the verbal message, one is enough. ’’
’’Tha --- Waaaah!? ’’
Daiki tried to protest but he was interrupted by another problem as he was suddenly thrust away from the back.
He turned around confused, and saw Yuuto running away with lightning speed.
’’Se, senpai!? ’’
Because he didn't really believe he would use the tactics, he instantly forgot the state of affairs.
And then, suddenly calming down, he felt an awfully ominous presence from the back.
’’Uuu, aah, hey.....’’
When timidly turning away, at the center of his field of vision, Chris was smiling with the same elegant air.
But, unlike before, the surrounding were floating with countless water drops defying gravity.
’’You have been forsaken. How pitiful. ’’
’’If you think it's pitiful, let me go’’
’’Even if I said so --- carrying out one's words is my creed’’, declared Chris calmly to Daiki, already on the verge of tears.
His tone was polite but it was easy to understand he had no intention of letting Daiki live. He had that kind of expression.
’’Well then, sayonara’’
Together with those last parting words, an infinite number of water droplets, rushed towards Daiki with a speed impossible to confirm by sight.
Resembling a water cutter, the water current that was strongly pressured became a blade that could cut through everything.
It's impossible for a human body to stand against that power that could turn even diamonds into flakes.
Even more, an average human cannot even respond to that speed.
The impeding invisible <<Death>>. No matter how much luck one has, the physical body cannot escape from this <<Death>>.
Pulled out by the threat on his life, Daiki's ability, the <<Demon Eater>>was invoked.
That could be said to be one of the peaks of his basic power: reaching a miracle instead of disaster.
The enemy's attack for some reason or miraculously failed and his body was protected from fatal woulds.
But there are times when that is not enough.
Interfering with fate, the times he cannot escape death, that power switched to a new phase.
In front of the petrified Daiki's eyes, suddenly, a huge hole opened.
That hole gulped down all water bullets that were about to pass through his body and disappeared just as sudden as it appeared.
Nothing remained behind. The change produced by Chris'attack was only Daiki's unsightly appearance, sinking on the floor, his back giving out because of shock.
This was the <<Demon Eater>>. Opening a dimensional hole and swallowing everything that was about to harm himself and expelling it in another dimension.
Surprised by defending against his attack, Chris let out a frank voice of admiration.
’’I see, no matter the puniness, there still exists a state's organization to repel demons. They employ such unique people. ’’
’’Eeh, no, that's--- ’’
Daiki hesitated, mumbling. He heard this power was rare but he absolutely couldn't control it.
If Chris were to amuse himself and attack a second time, this time there was a high possibility he would be turn into a bee hive.
But luckily where Daiki was concerned, Chris turned his attention somewhere else.
’’So, will you too show me your ability? ’’
Following Chris's line of sight, Daiki looked over his shoulder. Doing so, he saw Yuuto that was supposed to have run a long time ago in a cold sweat unable to move.
’’Senpai --- why? ’’
As expected, he tilted his head to the side puzzled, not thinking the answer will be I came to save you.
But, the question was immediately cleared. Piercing through the asphalt, ivy-like cords coiled around Yuuto's ankles preventing him from running away.
’’I don't like those who run leaving a comrade behind. If you want to kill him, do it.’’
With naked contempt, the Chijutsushi said so, over his shoulder. Chris also didn't seem to have a different opinion.
’’All right. Well then, first of all...’’
Together with a bland answer, water spirits were summoned once more. This time there weren't a countless number of water droplets but one water sphere materialized and then adjusted its shape to a long, sharp one.
Compared to the attack on Daiki, this was much more careless. Griping that transparent spear in his hand, the beautiful Suijutsushi took a pitching posture.
’’No, wait! Wait! Wait! ’’
Because his legs were bound, Yuuto couldn't run. So he shook his hands and head panicking, trying to stop Chris.
’’My power is plain. It would be troubling if you expect a show unique in the whole world. ’’
’’Leaving the boring things aside, show it to me first’’
But without caring about it, Chris threw the water spear at him without hesitation.
He easily pierced him.
His chest easily perforated in the middle, Yuuto's eyes opened wide. And then, his body was thrown backwards, and slowly, as if in slow-motion, it fell to the ground.
The body lying down sprawling, didn't even twitch.
’’Oh? ’’, murmured Chris in a tone half surprise and half disappointment.
For a short while he looked at Yuuto but it didn't do anything interesting, only blood was gushing out the whole in his chest.
After several seconds passed again, Chris finally accepted Yuuto died. This time he let out a sight full of disappointment. And then he slowly shook his head.
’’How boring. It seems his ability wasn't intended for battle, huh? ’’
He regretted it, but after all, that was everything he had to say. In a tone of killing people like he was playing, he didn't seem to sincerely reflect upon it.
’’Well then, please don't forget the message. ’’
Those words made Daiki's features, who was staring at Yuuto with a pale face, to jump and look at Chris.
In a calm tone, Chris emphasized those words to Daiki, who didn't say anything.
’’Do you hear me? ’’
That broad reply made Daiki cast down his eyes in shame.
’’.....Isn't this enough? Let me go’’
’’Yes, of course. I said from the beginning I will only kill one. ’’
Generously, with an elegant bow, Chris took his leave letting Daiki live.
And then, Gaia followed too after looking at him full of disgust as if saying You coward.
When those two disappeared, Daiki threw himself on the ground in relief and breathed a long sigh.
’’I thought I was going to die, really.....’’
He fleetingly look at the place where his senpai was lying down but quickly changed and looked up at the sky, murmuring.
’’You reap what you sow, senpai’’
Because of Daiki's character, those words seemed positively cold. But, the reason for them became clear in a few seconds.
Yuuto who seemed to have died, suddenly got up. And then, with a good complexion, as if he didn't lost a drop of blood, he laughed.
’’Playing dead after a certain-kill. Even if I say so myself, it was splendid. ’’
’’Isn't it weird for a human to live after that? The question of pretense is not the problem.’’, returned Daiki amazed.
That expression was hateful as usual but there wasn't much to be surprised about.
Meaning that for them, this wasn't an unusual situation.
’’Geez, isn't senpai's constitution much more unreasonable than mine? ’’
’’The fact that your's is flashy is the reality. But the fault of this technique is that my clothes get torn every time. Do you think this expense is covered? ’’
’’Who knows? Why don't you ask the chief? ’’
’’Kirika-chan would never forgive something like that! ’’
’’Not my problem even if you tell me! ’’
It was at the time Daiki replied so at Yuuto, pouting his lips in spite of his age.
A boy holding a spear --- or maybe a girl --- came rushing.
Finally arriving at the place the Water and Earth spirits had been activated, Xiaolei noticed the figures of two men.
But they were not the ones she was searching for. Xiaolei was disappointed at their escape but she immediately discovered the huge red blood stain on one man's chest.
Looking around the surroundings, she discovered a great number of marks.
There were water puddles everywhere and soil rising through the asphalt.
Matching it to the man's wounds, the state of affairs became clear. Without a doubt, there was a fight here.
Perhaps, between these men and them.
Xiaolei looked at those two including killing intent.
’’You two --- who did you fought with? ’’
’’---- you are? ’’
The child-faced man asked cautious. That gaze was going back and forth between Xiaolei's girl-like but dangerous expression and the spear she was gripping in her hand.
That was the first time Xiaolei realized Kokusen was bare. Surely, before she ran here it was wrapped in its pouch but because of her killing intent the spear reacted and the power that leaked out tore it off.
’’Are you perhaps, the Fuan Ojou-sama? ’’, interjected the blood-stained man.
Unbelievable from the quantity of blood-loss that would make one loose consciousness at best, he seemed unnaturally healthy for some reason.
’’......who are you people? ’’
Replying with a question at a question. She had no intention of revealing any information before she knew who they were.
But, in spite of the impenetrable attitude, th blood-stained man accosted her much too familiar.
’’There's no need for that way of talking, no? We did our best and worked for Ojou-sama's sake. ’’
’’What.......what is this? ’’
’’Aah, we are from the Special Investigation Unit and we were searching for Christian Roengram and Gaia at your --- or rather, the Kannagi Clan's request. ’’
Because she understood the child-faced man's explanation, Xiaolei slightly softened her killing intent.
’’Come to think of it, Ayano said something like that’’
’’That's right, we're not the enemy so please don't make such a scary face. Aaah, my name is Shimon Yuuto. Nice meeting you. ’’
’’I am Isurughi Daiki. Nice meeting you’’
The two men introduced themselves with a smile but Xiaolei response was blunt.
’’I don't really care about your names. Rather than that, did you find them? ’’
’’Yes just now. They nearly killed us. ’’, nodded the child-faced one-- Daiki.
The girl drew near with a bloodcurdling expression.
’’Where? Where did they go? ’’
’’I, I don't know that. Even we, we only managed to survive this. ’’
While he was being grabbed by the collar and shook, Daiki explained frantically.
Xiaolei looked at him with a plain what a useless guy and roughly thrust him away.
’’Shit, but, if they're still close....’’
Hanging her hopes on a thread, she searched for their presence in the surroundings.
The blood-stained man-- Yuuto's voice reached the concentrating girl's ear.
’’Aaah, by the way, there's a message from them’’
Xiaolei pressed Yuuto with a changed expression.
’’Say it! What did they say? ’’
’’Hmmm, what to do---’’
But, while lazily evading the girl's spirit, Yuuto smiled somewhat mischievous, or rather lewd.
’’We did our best and put our life on the line but there wasn't a single word of thanks. In this situation, without a kiss of appreciation, I don't think I can remember the message....’’
Without even letting him finish his sentence, Xiaolei made Kokusen flash and the silver edge was next to the man's neck.
’’Wow, a kiss of appreciation, huh? ’’
Together with that subdued murmur, the last millimeter that separated the blade and the neck was filled.
At the slightly cold feel on his carotid artery, Yuuto's smiling face froze.
’’Should I give you a very hot one with this? ’’
’’Aaah, no, that's.......I'm sorry’’
Yuuto apologized without shame or honor. Daiki gazed at that stiff face amazed and spit the words out together with a sigh.
’’.......Senpai, does your range include even such children? ’’
’’No, I'm already imaging the five years older version so I'm just trying to call dibs....no, that's a lie, for someone like me even touching your shadow would be too awesome. ’’
Daiki didn't understand but it seemed like the blade was lightly pressed into the carotid artery.
With a sidelong glance at Yuuto, unfolding a disorganized but insincere explanation, he frankly gave her the message.
’’Tomorrow at noon, you are supposed to go at Shinjuku Central Park. You and Ayano-san, together with Yagami-san. ’’
’’Tomorrow, huh......? Are they setting traps......then, maybe right now......!’’
She scowled at Daiki as if shooting through him. And then, grabbing him by the collar, she pressed closer.
’’Hey! Where is this Shinjuku Central Park? ’’
’’Eeh....it's this way. There are a lot of signs, so if you follow them, I don't think you can get lost......but, why...?’’
There was no answer. By the time he noticed, Xiaolei was running, already ten meters away and faded away, accelerating.
’’No, I don't think they'll be there now.......’’
Of course, that murmur didn't reach the girl's ears. He looked at Yuuto, as if saying what's the deal with her but he was looking after the running girl, his face breaking into a smile.
’’Well, she was a fine aggressive girl. It seems like I found a new preference ’’
’’........Senpai, I'm saying this just to be sure but that's a crime. ’’
As a human being, as a policeman, Yuuto didn't seem to care.