Shinmai Maou No Keiyakusha - Volume 2 - Chapter 3
Beyond the Trust between Master and Servant
One week until the battle. However, they would never be able to win against Takashi and the others in their current conditions.
Thus Basara and the girls worked out a plan. They would undoubtedly need fierce training to raise their battle potential, but since the time was limited, they needed to act with utmost efficacy.
---For that, they first had to know more about their opponent.
Yuki was the technique type, had perfect control over her spirit sword ’’Sakuya’’ and her ability to fight at mid-to-close range made her a Multi-Saber.
Mio and Maria surely knew that, but unlike Yuki, Takashi and Kurumi were unknown factors to them. First they needed to know about them to fight against them.
Mio had cast a spell to keep humans away from the riverbed, which they used for their training.
’’---First about Takashi, he's a speed type just like me.’’
Basara started to talk about his former comrade to Mio and Maria.
’’His battle style is a Quick Lancer. Basically, he attacks directly while hampering you with his speed. However, that's only information from when I was still at the <village>--- Meaning, five years ago.’’
’’You mean, it's possible his style changed now?’’
Mio started learning about supernatural powers only for half a year yet, so she must have needed an explanation.
She asked frowning, whereas Basara shook his head with ’’No’’.
’’That's not gonna happen. I think Maria knows already, but one's type is greatly influenced by one's inborn nature. Of course you can train yourself in other styles, but it's very unlikely you'll ever exceed the level of your original style.’’
’’In the past I might have been better, but judging from our little exchange the other day, I think they're better now... At least, Takashi's definitely on top in terms of power.’’
’’Rest assured, Mio-sama. He is still a speed type. Even if he has the brute force, he cannot match me, a pure power type.’’
Mio became worried, whereas Maria said while puffing up her chest proudly.
’’Right. And Mio's far superior in terms of magical power. It's just a matter of one's forte. You don't need to worry about it too much. You just have to come up with a strategy from your own style. You're a magic type, Mio--- and a High Wizard no less. Just focus on attacking from a distance.’’
’’But... he defeated the devil we three had troubles against so easily.’’
So that was the reason Mio became so timid on a rare occasion.
Certainly, Takashi defeated the giant devil, who had the three of them cornered. However,
’’That was yet another battle style. A perfect surprise attack--- The exact moment, right before he released a big move, he was neglecting his defense, thus giving an opening. In a face-to-face battle, not even Takashi would have won so easily.’’
Of course you couldn't call Takashi weak just because of that.
’’Anyway, the problem is---’’ ’’---that spear, is it not?’’
Maria continued his sentence, whereas Basara nodded a ’’Yeah’’.
’’That long spear he was using... that's 'Byakko', a unique spirit lance.’’
’’By 'Byakko', you mean the white tiger that's also shown on the Takamatsuka Tomb in our history books?’’
’’Yeah. Originally it's one of the 'Four Symbols'from China, the mythological guardian beast of the west. That long spear has the power of 'Byakko'residing in it.’’
’’I knew of the Hero Tribe using mythological beasts. However, when it comes down to one of the Four Symbols, I would believe it's power is bound to China, where the legend is from...’’
’’Of course. To begin with, it's not the original 'Byakko'that resides in the spear. But in the past, a 'Byakko'existed in Japan too, different from the one on the Takamatsuka Tomb.’’
On Basara's words, Mio suddenly realized.
’’---The Four God Suitability of Heian-kyou*?’’  Basara nodded.
’’Right. At that time, the esoteric cosmology of Onmyoudou was prospering and a part of the Onmyouji, who were left in charge with the protection of the city, deified the Four Gods, so intermediary sacred treasures were created on that occasion. That spear is one of them.’’
It was a sacred treasure created by pouring in the power of various renowned Onmyouji and moreover strengthened by the faith of numerous people. It was needless to say how tremendous it's power was.
’’That said, an overly powerful weapon is hard to handle. There are conditions and limits on how 'Byakko's'power can be manifested in the spirit lance. As long as we're careful about that, we should be able to fight against it somehow.’’
’’The mythological guardian beast of the west... I guess, it would be fatal to let him attack in the western direction?’’ Basara shook his head to Maria's uttered question.
’’Nah, it's the opposite. Since 'Byakko'is the guardian beast for it, it cannot attack in the western direction. But on the other side, with it's back to the west and launching an attack into the eastern direction, it utilizes an enormous power.’’
That said, the West originating in China was different from the West of the cardinal directions. 
However, the ’’Byakko’’ in question was the spirit lance that was created as a sacred treasure from the belief in Japan's Heian period. Therefore it should be safe to assume that the normal cardinal directions applied to it. And,
’’According to Five Elements of China, the 'Byakko'is associated with metal, but in terms of the four classical elements, it's assigned the air element--- For a speed type like Takashi, it's the most befitting attribute.’’
’’Air...? Then what froze that devil?’’
’’That's because Orion and Taurus, which are part of the seven mansion of the original 'Byakko', are winter constellations here in Japan. It must have a limited ice attribute from that. But it's a sub-attribute at best. Otherwise he wouldn't have shown it to us so easily.’’
’’Basara-san, have you seen the main power of that spirit lance before?’’
’’Definitely not myself, but I heard that it releases a 'powerful gust that mows down everything'.’’
’’Even so,’’ said Basara.
’’The long spear has a wide reach, but Mio's magic is even wider and Maria's at an advantage in a close range fight. Just keep your back to the West while fighting Takashi. But he should be anticipating that and he moves even faster than us. Even if he manages to get his back to the West, avoid standing in a directional line to the East by all cost then.’’
’’Distance and directions--- If we keep these two points in mind, we'll definitely beat him.’’
’’Mhm, I won't find a suitable place so easily in the city after all. How's it on your end, Takashi?’’
’’...Same for me. It might be better to give up the idea of using a common barrier.’’
Takashi indifferently responded to Shiba's voice, which he could hear from the wireless earphone.
---Already two days had passed since the night of the reunion with Basara.
It was now early afternoon.
Takashi and the others had split up to looked around the city.
They were searching for a suitable place for the battle with Basara and the girls. If they simply took human casualties into consideration, the public park with the wide ground and forest would be optimal.
But the nature of forests or mountains often happened to be spiritual points, which protected and cleanse the land. There was a proper reason to why the main river of the north intersected with the forest and hill of the park.
He had heard from Yuki that during the fight in that forest the other day, Naruse Mio let her own power go out of control and wrecked the place beyond recognition. And as expected, the flow in the earth there was still in disorder, making the place unsuitable for the upcoming battle.
If they carelessly harmed the place, the flow would completely break down and might cause the destruction of the whole area by natural disasters in the future.
Besides, he had ’’Byakko’’ with him now.
The places, where he could utilize it's enormous strength, were inevitably limited from the beginning. In the worst case, he would have to consider holding back with the power, but
...No, it has to be a place, where ’’Byakko's’’ full power can be released.
The enemy wasn't just Naruse Mio and her retainer Succubus. They would be facing Basara as well.
---Hayase Takashi hadn't forgotten what an overwhelming existence Basara had been in the village.
The talent he was born with was cruelly out of league with Takashi's and even while they were both speed types, Takashi never managed to catch up to Basara, no matter how fast he ran.
But that was five years ago.
Takashi was different from his past-self now. And not just him. Yuki and Kurumi too.
Likewise--- Basara was different from his previous self too. Quite crucially at that.
’’Basara and the girls must be desperately coming up with a plan right now...’’
’’......Let them try. It won't change anything anyway.’’
From that gruesome incident until today, Takashi and the other had undergone fierce training.
Not forgetting the tragedy of that day and embracing the despair in their hearts.
Precisely because of that they could endure the harsh training and become stronger.
---However, each of them had a different reason for becoming stronger.
Yuki changed her feelings for Basara, who was chased out of the village, into her strength.
Kurumi gained her current strength because she wished to help her older sister.
And Takashi--- He didn't want such a tragedy to occur ever again.
Just wishing for that, he became strong.
Compared to Basara, he spent his time far more significantly.
It wasn't like they were on bad terms.
Just like Yuki and Kurumi, Takashi was a childhood friend of Basara.
He was with Basara just as long as Yuki and Kurumi were.
...What was he doing after leaving the village?
Of all things, Basara was together with the previous Devil Lord's daughter, who would only bring disaster to the world.
How could he do such a thing when he witnessed such a tragedy.
Forgetting his mission as a Hero, he might temporarily be driven by an emotional sense of justice, but it seemed that the tragedy of that day had completely become a thing of the past for Basara.
’’If so, I'll remind him...’’
About his sin.
About the irredeemable souls of their comrades, who he erased.
Because everyone who survived that incident was a victim, but also an offender.
Yuki would stand up for Basara due to her feelings for him, but Kurumi, who looked up to Yuki as her little sister, couldn't forgive Basara, which Takashi could relate to.
His own feelings were the same.
Hayase Takashi spit out.
’’Don't forget, Toujou Basara--- Your past won't be undone.’’
Regardless of how much time passed.
Because the memory of that day engraved in their hearts would never fade.
Naruse Mio gulped on the chilly sensation on her throat.
In front of her, Basara pointed the tip of his magical sword Brynhildr at her.
He had stopped the sword at a paper-length away because they were practicing. But if this had been a real fight--- If her opponent had been Hayase Takashi, Shiba Kyouichi or Nonaka Kurumi, then Mio would have been dead for sure.
’’---Good, let's take a small break.’’
Basara relaxed his expression and withdrew his sword.
Mio slumped down with her bottom on the ground after being released from the pressure that had sealed her movements.
At the same time, all the tension left her body and in exchange a sudden exhaustion befell her. However,
’’I... I can still go on...’’
Mio tried to stand up despite that, whereupon a soft, white towel was put around her shoulders.
’’I know. But we'll continue when you've rested a bit and regained some stamina. If you overdo it, you lose focus, which is dangerous.’’
With his hand gently on her head, Mio nodded.
---Basara had told them about Hayase Takashi, who was holding the spirit lance 'Byakko', Nonaka Yuki, Nonaka Kurumi and even about Shiba Kyouichi's battle style just in case, even though he had said that he wouldn't participate in the fight this time.
Afterwards they were training real battles every day.
This city wasn't short on places, where they could practice after setting up a barrier or casting a spell to keep humans away, like the famous park, rivers or various golf courses.
After school, they were immediately training in the forest on the golf grounds next to the park. Taking Basara up on his words, Mio took a deep breath to control her breathing, whereupon
’’Here, Mio-sama. A sports drink with minerals. Please re-hydrate yourself with it.’’
Taking the pet bottle of the drink with the catchphrase of having the same composition as sweat from Maria, Mio opened the cap and wet her throat. The pleasant coldness streamed into her whole body through her throat.
’’---Ah, Basara-san. Can I ask you to spar with me next?’’
’’Mh? Yeah, sure.’’
It had already been two hours since they started the training today. Basara wasn't just taking on Mio, but also Maria all by himself, yet he didn't show the slightest shred of exhaustion.
’’Then I will begin’’ ’’Yeah--- Come.’’
After a short exchange, the two of them erased their smiles--- and attacked upfront in the next moment.
A close range fight with Basara swinging his Brynhildr and Maria fighting barehanded with her superhuman strength, spread in front of Mio's eyes.
Basara's beloved sword Brynhildr was single-edged with a thick and huge build. Thus he could launch heavy blows even with the back of the sword, but Maria, being a succubus and power type on top, had high physical strength and easily absorbed the blows.
This was training of course. Basara wasn't attacking with his full might, but if Mio were to carelessly take one of these hits, she wouldn't just break some bones, she would be smashed. They exchanged blows, Basara with slashes and Maria with kicks and punches, one after another while each changing back and forth between offence and defense.
While watching their fight, Mio felt frustration inside her heart.
...I understand it in my head, but.
In the past few days, Mio had fully realized how lacking her own strength was.
It had been half a year since she came to know about the existences and powers that went beyond the laws of this world. As she luckily had a talent for magic, she could cast powerful spells now.
According to Maria, that was an astonishing learning speed. However, compared to Basara and Maria, Mio overwhelmingly lacked actual battle experiences, even though she had trained with Maria so far.
Therefore she was now conducting training in the form of real battles against Basara or Maria, which brought about good results in the beginning, but since she wasn't used to the tension and pressure of a long battle, her stamina and concentration would run out before the other two, getting her cornered gradually.
She was already like that during training. A real fight was even more exhausting. Moreover, Hayase Takashi, the hero she would be facing soon, had a strength on par or even greater than Basara.
...At this rate
She would only drag down the others. That was what she felt.
The decisive battle was in four days--- Only unrest and impatience swelled up inside Mio.
Going to school in the morning, doing nothing but training after school until the sun sets, and then back to bed.
Repeating these three activities, the last few days went by in a flash.
And in the night two days away from the decisive battle--- Basara got a call from Takashi. The stage for the battle was set.
Not wasting a single second on chit-chat, Takashi only reported the place and time, then hung up.
Basara had taken the call in the living room and wordlessly stared down on his cell phone.
Upon that, the door behind him opened.
’’...Has it been decided?’’
Maria came in with a calm voice.
She must have just finished washing off the sweat from today's training in the bath.
Basara headed to the sofa with his back still to her. ’’Yeah. It'll be at night to avoid people.’’
’’I see... Well, that certainly is better.’’
Maria's voice moved into the kitchen, then the sound of the refrigerator opening resounded. She was surely taking out something to drink.
While Basara sat down on the sofa, he said to her.
’’Both side will cooperate in setting up the barrier to avoid gaining an advantage in it. I think Mio can also use a spatial barrier spell besides the one to keep humans away, right?’’
’’Yes. She never set one up in cooperation with someone, but I believe it will be all right.’’
The battlefield was taken care of then.
Now they only needed to make the last preparations for the fight.
’’Basara-san, would you like to have some milk too?’’
’’Mh? Yeah, why not.’’
Okay~, Maria replied like that, but didn't come over to him. He could hear the low electric noise from the kitchen. It seemed like she was using the microwave. And then,
’’I made you a hot milk, Basara-san. If you like, please put in some maple syrup. It will relieve your tension and let you sleep more soundly.’’
’’Thanks... wait, why're you dressed like that!?’’
Holding a plastic tablet with a mug filled with hot milk and a big bottle of maple syrup on it, Maria was practically naked, except for a single bath towel.
’’Why do you ask?... This is a rather normal attire for coming out of the bath. It would be far more surprising if I were to wear a fancy dress instead.’’
’’Who told you to wear a dress! There's only one thing you wear after getting out of the bath.’’
’’Erotic underwear, you mean.’’
’’I mean pajamas!’’
Maria said ’’Oh dear’’ to his retort and sat down next to him on the sofa.
Her small body steamed a bit from the remaining heat of the bath and gave off the faint fragrance of shampoo and body soap.
’’You see, Basara-san, I just wanted to ask you for your opinion.’’
’’M- My opinion...?’’
Basara became excited from the unbelievable se*-appeal considering her young appearance.
’’Yes--- On a very important matter.’’
Naruse Maria said so and brought her body closer to him.
---A few minutes after Maria, Mio, who had been in the bath with her, finally came out of the bath.
She stayed in a bit long, but she did so that her fatigue was washed away for tomorrow's training.
Besides, it was still relatively short today. Usually she would stay in another ten minutes.
The bathing powder she used today probably took it's effect on her.
Either way, they had Basara take a bath first, so she could take it easy and warm up her body completely.
Mio wiped the water drops on her faintly flushed body with a towel.
The microfiber towel properly even sucked up the water from Mio's wet hair.
Putting her legs, one after another, through the new shorts, she pulled it up to her bottom.
After pulling out the finger, which she used to fix the wedged part, from the side, the highly elastic fabric made a small flicking sound on her bottom.
Next she put on a shirt in place of a pajama and buttoned it up.
She started from below instead from the top, since she left the chest open to prevent constriction in her sleep.
That exposed pretty much her breasts, let alone her cleavage, but Mio wasn't afraid of showing it to those inside the house.
For one thing, Maria was a girl like herself.
Basara had already seen her in more embarrassing appearances or situations.
---It wasn't like she was trying to provoke. She certainly was embarrassed.
However, if she were to put on extra clothes like a barrier, even though she was seen so messed up during the Master and Servant Contract or the shared bath-time, it would appear like she was strangely conscious of Basara.
Therefore Mio dared to behave normally even after that and sometimes wore an exposing attire. Occasional she felt Basara's glance on her breasts or bottom, whereupon she was embarrassed, but happy as well.
Because at least during these times, Mio had the initiative--- even though the Master and Servant Contract ended up in an unexpected form and gave her a weird weakness.
After drying her wet hair with the dryer, Mio left the bathroom and headed for the living room.
’’Basara-san--- Could you subjugate Mio-sama some more?’’
Suddenly she could overhear Maria's problematic statement through the gap of the living room's door.
Maria saw Basara making a doubtful face in front of her to her mentioned suggestion.
’’...What do you mean? If you're playing around again...’’
’’I am not playing around. This is for Mio-sama and your sake’’ said Maria.
’’We have only two days left until the fight with your former comrades. The past few days, we continued our training with the countermeasures in mind, but we cannot level up so easily after all. I am afraid you are the only one, who currently has a chance of fighting upfront on par with them, Basara-san. Unfortunately, Mio-sama and myself are currently still one... no, two steps behind.’’
Basara was at a loss for words, meaning Maria's analysis was correct.
Most likely Basara knew their difference in strength even better than Maria.
’’Even you, our last hope, have a blank of five years, Basara-san. Moreover, you said that the person with the spirit lance has a strength even greater than yours--- As things stand now, we cannot win against them.’’
Basara stayed quiet on her assertion.
’’However, I have a breakthrough solution. As you are aware, the contractors of the Master and Servant Contract gain a stronger power with deeper trust. If both of you obtain that, then I see a chance.’’
’’That's why you want me to subjugate Mio...’’
’’Yes. Because even though I told you to deepen your trust, it only needs something adequate with the contract--- with the Master and Servant relationship. I am afraid that is our only chance for victory at this point. And I do not think we should pass on this chance.’’
’’...I agree. It's a fact that it would be effective to make use of the contract. But the trust you speak of surely won't be deepened or strengthened so quickly.’’
’’No, the intensity of feelings stands in no proportion with time. The feeling born in a single day can surpass the one gained from a year, likewise a single second can out rival a whole life. If you simply make up your mind, the chance of Mio-sama being helpful will go up quite a bit.’’
But Basara remained silent with a stiff expression on Maria's words.
Before long, Basara slowly answered her question.
’’I get your point... but if possible, I don't want to do it.’’
Maria narrowed her eyes on these words. Did he think that they had the flexibility to be fussy at this point in time?
’’Why? Are you holding back because we are family? Or does your sense of duty or hypocrisy keep you from doing something like that to your little sister?’’
Maria asked with a precarious voice.
’’Nah... That's not it.’’
’’It's the opposite,’’ said Basara. ’’I'll tell you on this occasion, Mio and you are precious family members to me. I consider you my real sisters. But don't trust me just because of that. I'm not a saint. I'm just your average teenager. Do you know how much effort it takes me to keep my reasoning in check while I live together with two girls not related by blood to me? If not for that Master and Servant Contract magic, I might have done something to you long ago.’’
’’? What do you mean by that...?’’
The Master and Servant Contract between Basara and Mio had Maria's succubus characteristic added to it. That made it easier to conduct a mistake, but it didn't warrant his uncompliableness.
’’You don't know? For the sake of relieving the curse, for the sake of becoming stronger... This indulgence of ’’Because it's for Mio's sake’’ and embarrassing her is just cowardly. It's one thing if it's done for pure intentions, but I just can't do it like this.’’
’’Eh... Is that so? But I get the feeling that you were rather calm midway during the time when you made Mio-sama submissive for the first time to form the contact?’’
’’It would just make Mio more embarrassed if I were to show shame. Besides, I thought I needed to appear calm so that Mio would submit faster.’’
’’I, I see...’’
On Basara's explanation, Maria received a light shock. Not towards the fact that Basara had been embarrassed. But because Basara was thinking about how to subjugate Mio better--- even in light of Mio's flustered appearance due to the aphrodisiac effect in addition to her already incredible looks and proportions.
...Wait, could it be.
During the cake scene in the bath, she had half-jokingly teased him as a brute, but he maybe actually had this kind of temper?
Maria felt a light shudder.
’’Anyway, it's wrong to do something by saying it's for Mio's sake, even though I have ulterior motives. Of course I'll put her at ease when the curse activates, but... I'll do it then by saying 'I want to do it', since that's more honest.’’
’’So you are taking the villain's role upon yourself...?’’
’’Nah. It's not something so noble.’’
’’It's just,’’ said Basara.
’’Saying that I do these kind of things only for Mio's sake without any guilty feelings would be a lie for sure. If I cowardly sugar-coated it like that, it wouldn't just damage the trust in our Master and Servant relationship, but also our trust as a family. But I don't want that. Because even though it was a turn of events, I'm still her Master--- and her brother before that.’’
Basara said to her with a serious expression, whereupon Maria inadvertently widened her eyes.
Maria, a succubus, knew very well how weak men were to this kind of desire. And how they may have dirty and wicked thoughts towards the female gender somewhere deep inside. Even more so for a cute girl like Mio.
The boy named Toujou Basara in front of her properly admitted to having these desires without covering it up. Looking at him, Maria suddenly felt a shiver running down her spine.
’’....I understand. I have another idea, so let us go with that.’’
’’You still have more, huh... wait, hey!?’’
Suddenly Basara raised a flustered voice. Because Maria had sat into his lap and loosened the knot of the bath towel that wrapped around her body. Maria rolled up the front of shirt that the surprised Basara was wearing.
’’Please do not move...’’
Saying so, she started to rub her bare skin against Basara. Unlike the previous time where she had slipped into Basara's T-Shirt, Maria was now showing Basara her naked body and lewd movements.
That gave Basara even a visual sensation of Maria's body heat and softness.
’’W- Wait, Maria... What's up so suddenly?’’
’’If you feel sorry for Mio-sama and cannot do it, I will have you help me instead with the power-up.’’
As the succubus she was, she could increase her power by absorbing desire and arousal.
From a young boy with a pure heart like Basara, the effect was tremendous.
Maria laughed a ’’Fufu’’ with glazed eyes.
’’Forgive me... But you are at fault, Basara-san, because you say such things with such an expression.’’
She could tell how surprisingly aroused she was herself. Her succubus instinct shot up inside her and couldn't be suppressed.
Maria let her tongue crawl over Basara's chest, clung to him and increased their direct contact by winding her arms around his sturdy back.
’’Ahh... You are so delicious, Basara-san.’’
It was like a drug to her. Wanting to suck up everything from the boy in front of her, Maria let her hand slide down from his navel. When she let her small hand glide into his pants like this,
Basara's body suddenly shivered. This sensible reaction only turned Maria on even more. However--- Basara's eyes, who she had thought were only focusing on her, weren't looking at her, but behind her.
Maria turned around puzzled and froze in place.
In the opened door of the living room--- There stood Mio.
In that moment Toujou Basara was prepared for a bloodbath.
Because it was the same situation like when he was caught in the act of Maria making him play an erotic game.
No, this time it was even worse. After all, Basara was in a close embrace with the naked Maria. Mio would flare up at them---
So he thought.
He hastily tried to explain, but couldn't find the right words on the spot.
---This situation was brought about by Maria without Basara's consent.
However, he couldn't unconditionally blame only Maria for it.
They certainly couldn't win as things stood at the moment.
So Maria, the succubus and Mio's retainer, had requested of him to deepened their relationship of the Master and Servant Contract by subjugating Mio through pleasure, all for the sake of victory, for the sake of protecting Mio.
Considering her upbringing in rank and race, it was an absolutely natural suggestion.
He knew what he had to say. Even so, Basara couldn't find the right words for it, whereupon
’’Oh my, Mio-sama--- What are you standing there for?’’
Of all things, Maria tightly squeezed Basara to show off to Mio.
Basara saw that Mio's face turned red upon seeing that. Maria totally added oil to the fire.
’’M- Maria...?’’ ’’(Ssh, it is alright... Please watch.)’’
He raised a bewildered voice, but Maria whispered back.
...No, even so...
While he did like he was told to, Mio came over briskly.
Then she stood in front of him. But,
That was all. He had thought for sure that she would hit Maria and launch a lightning attack at him. Yet Mio just stood still in front of them with her face still red.
In response to his doubtful glance, Mio bit into her lips and averted her eyes. Towards her,
’’Mio-sama... Excuse me, but Basara-san and myself have important preparations to make for the fight in two days. When you are standing there like that--- it is a bother, to be frank.’’
Maria showed a provoking smile. Her succubus instincts had totally gotten the better of her.
The red Mio glared at her. Her expression looked somewhat mortified.
’’Why are you making such a face? Well, if you insist on watching, then be my guest. However, please do not interfere with us.’’
Along with a smile, Maria put her hand into Basara's T-Shirt from below again. At that time.
’’...Please, stop it.’’
Mio said so with a fragile voice.
Mio saw Maria stopping her hand on the plead she had uttered.
Then Maria looked up to her. Her childish, yet bewitching eyes were telling her:
What is the matter--- Please go on. Therefore Mio said with a trembling voice.
’’...I'll do it... No, let me do it.’’
’’The one that needs to get stronger the most isn't you, Maria... It's me. So please, Basara--- Subjugate me.’’
Basara raised a confused voice, whereas Mio shook her head to the sides.
’’I don't want to be a burden... Besides, if there's anything I can do for our victory, I want to do it. I mean, we might not win at this rate. But we still have a method to get stronger, right?’’
’’...So you were listening in too after all.’’
Mio nodded a ’’Yes’’ to Maria's words.
’’If the contract has such an effect, I don't mind. If we lose without having tried anything possible--- then I would find no peace in death.’’
And Mio wouldn't be the only one losing her life in a lost battle.
They were after her, but Basara and Maria, fighting with her, might get killed as well.
That alone she would never let happen.
’’Still, you say so, but... do you know what'll happen to you?’’
’’......Yeah, probably. It'll be like when we formed the contract, no?’’
’’If you know all that---’’
’’---Even so, I want to get stronger!’’
As if to ask why, Basara tightly clenched his fist.
’’Of course... it's really embarrassing, to be honest... And I would have never thought that I could become like that. I got the feeling that I gradually stopped being myself and was really scared.’’
While lightly embracing her own body, Mio remembered the time when she formed the Master and Servant Contract with Basara.
On that day, where she laid her true nature, Naruse Mio called Basara brother for the first time. And while she felt numerous times a pleasure that nearly drove her crazy, she accepted Basara, who gave her this pleasure, as her Master.
The memories of that day were hazy, yet only the engraved pleasure remained vivid. Even now she sometimes dreamed about it.
Basara wasn't the only one conscious of the opposite se* while living under the same roof. Mio was the same.
She didn't expect Basara to hold her so dear. She didn't want Basara to get the upper hand and sometimes teased him by wearing revealing clothes, yet Basara was thinking about Mio's well-being and endure it desperately every time.
...I have always been treasured.
The moment she overheard Basara and Maria's conversation from the hallway, Mio felt a shiver from deep inside her body.
It was a sensation on par or even greater than the one she had when she overheard the conversation with Yuki in the caféabout how Basara felt about her.
Therefore Mio showed a smile even while her face remained red.
’’Thank you, Basara... for worrying about me. It made me really happy to hear that you're considering my feelings and slowly want to build up trust.’’
Basara called her name, whereas Mio nodded with a ’’Yes’’.
’’But I'll be fine... If enduring the embarrassment--- No, if pledging a greater loyalty by letting you subjugate me, can get us even a bit stronger, then I don't want to throw away this chance. I too want to become stronger together with you.’’
When she put her own feelings--- her wish into words and declared it to Basara,
Mio said nothing anymore and waited silent.
Because Naruse Mio knew the boy called Toujou Basara. That he wasn't the kind of man that would let her down after hearing all this, no matter how strong his feelings were for her. And,
Mumbling so before long, Basara let Maria get off his lap and slowly stood up.
And looking at Basara standing before her, Mio remembered the incident from the other day.
---The time when Basara had forcefully pulled her closer and covered her mouth with his hand. Mio had been in disbelief.
Not towards Basara. But towards herself, who couldn't resists while she was handled roughly like that.
She had been in the shameless attire of just a bath towel after coming out of the bath. When Basara had came at her, she had thought for sure that he would push and pin her down.
She had tried to resist at once. But when his hand went around her waist and forcefully pulled her closer, she couldn't resist at all, even though the curse of the contract hadn't even activated.
She had been herself--- A sane Naruse Mio, yet she could only think about how she should take on, how she should accept whatever Basara was going to do to her now.
Because Basara had fallen into a panic then, she was able to return to her senses.
If Basara had really tried anything back then, what would have happened to her?
The answer to that--- was told to her by the current Basara, who was different from back then now.
Basara's hand that softly touched her cheek slowly started to go down. Gliding down her neck and tracing her collarbone.
When Mio let her body tremble a bit from the pleasure mixed in the ticklish sensation, her big breasts shook just as much.
Here it comes--- The moment she thought so, her breasts were fondled.
Her breasts were Mio's greatest weakness.
When her breasts were fondled directly at the end during the binding of the Master and Servant Contract, she had gone crazy at once, but this time she was wearing a shirt, albeit without a bra.
Fondled over a layer of clothes. Thus she had thought it wouldn't become so intense.
---However, she had been naive.
’’Eh--- Thi, Ya...aahh!? Fuahn, FUAAAH!’’
Even though the curse of the contract hadn't activated. Even though it happened over her clothes.
An unbelievable pleasure ran through her and Mio raised a sweet voice.
Along with her surprise, she desperately tried to hold back her voice, but the pleasure gradually grew more intense.
Losing the strength in her knees and waist, Mio was about to fall over, but Basara caught her.
’’A- Are you okay...?’’ ’’N- No way... Why did I...?’’
Basara asked surprised, whereas Mio became dumbfounded from the sudden and intense pleasure.
’’That is no good, Mio-sama. Just because the curse has not activated, you cannot consider yourself to be like before.’’
Fufu, Maria laughed with that.
’’Obstinate as you are, you just would not subjugate to Basara-san during the binding of the contract. The pleasure back then exceeded what a person could ever feel the normal way. And you had a taste of it nine times. Moreover, we all took a bath together and with time the curse activated numerous times too. From all this pleasure your body has become way more sensitive than before.’’
’’No way... That's just...’’
She couldn't believe it. Of course she comprehended that a person's body grew more accustomed to arousal the more it was exposed to pleasure. However, it hadn't even been one month since they formed the contract.
...My body has already started to be nurtured by Basara.
Basara laid Mio, who inadvertently shivered her body from that fact, onto the couch.
His face was a bit red. Even so, he looked deep into Mio's eyes and reached out his hands towards her.
Understanding what Basara intended to do, Mio raised a short voice. Then Basara's hands, who had reached out for her chest, started to unbutton her shirt from top to down.
’’Basara... You're gonna, look at my breasts?’’
Even while saying so, Mio didn't resist. However, her embarrassment sky-rocketed after all and she averted her eyes a bit.
’’...Perverted Basara.’’ ’’That's not... no, that's right.’’
Basara didn't conceal his own feelings and actions. Regardless of that, he didn't apologize to her.
And Mio didn't oppose it either. She was going to submit to him now.
So she accepted it as best as she could.
His hands moved somewhat clumsy, but even then, it didn't take him too long to unbutton the front of Mio's shirt completely. With all the buttons undone, the shirt lost it's function as a one-piece and revealed the shorts she was wearing.
...Just like back then.
When they formed the Master and Servant Contract before--- her breasts were fondled directly in the end. At that time she wore a bra top, so it had been rolled up, but now that wasn't needed with the buttons undone.
I'll, have my breasts fondled directly again--- When that thought crossed her mind,
’’...Ah, Basara-san. One develops a resistance against actions that were done to oneself previously. Of course Mio-sama has become more sensitive than before right now, but... I believe it will be more effective to go with a different approach.’’
’’You think so...?’’
On her words, Basara suddenly stopped his hands, which were on their way to Mio's breasts. And then,
’’...Do you have any ideas? As a succubus, this must be your expertise.’’
Maria showed a smile to Basara's question.
’’I want to live up to your expectations... That said, Mio-sama is still inexperienced, so I cannot give her a succubus' full course.’’
Let's see, with several seconds of considering.
’’Well then--- How about you use this, since we already have it at hand?’’
Saying so, Maria showed him an item.
’’Yes. Please spread this over Mio-sama's body... and use it like a lotion.’’
Mio inadvertently alarmed herself, but Maria only intensified her smile.
’’Your reaction shows how embarrassing it is for you... But shame is one of the most effective emotions to subjugate someone. ---Now then, go ahead, Basara-san.’’
Basara had taken the maple syrup bottle from Maria and slowly opened the lid before long.
And then Mio saw the golden-brown fluid drop onto her own body.
It was pretty much like slow-motion. The liquid with a sweet fragrance dropped onto Mio's breasts and the syrup accumulated in her cleavage.
Mio's body, which was hot from the earlier bath and the fondling of her breasts by Basara, received a coldness--- And then preparations were done.
Mio prepared herself for the intense pleasure that Basara's hands, which were reaching out for her, would give her any moment now.
However, the action Basara took right afterwards was completely against Mio's expectation.
’’Reminds me, Mio--- You were eavesdropping on us earlier.’’
’’Eh... Th- That--- Mm!?’’
Surely he chose the most effective method to subjugate Mio.
The flustered Mio felt guilty from having pointed out the fact about the earlier eavesdropping.
In the next moment--- the curse of the contract activated. Due to the aphrodisiac effect from the succubus characteristic, her senses sharpened to the maximum and when her breasts, covered in maple syrup, were fondled directly in that state,
Naruse Mio suddenly felt all her senses go blank.
Just what--- She only thought that for a second, then comprehended the situation.
When bumping your toe into some corner, there follows an abrupt absence of feelings before the pain comes.
A period of grace from God. Right now, she was experiencing the exact same thing.
Right after she comprehended that fact while her consciousness was on a higher state of fluidity,
A swirl of intense pleasure swallowed Mio entirely.
A world, where everything was colored in white.
Enveloped by a tender warmth, Mio received comfortable vibrations that made her doze off.
Incredible comfy and blissful--- That was all she could think about.
That state continued for a while.
Suddenly the white fog cleared from her field of vision. However, she didn't know where she was. Thereupon,
’’Ah--- Looks like she came to. Mio-sama, can you hear me?’’
A young girl shook her hands in front of her eyes. But even though she saw her, her brain didn't process it. Nor did she find it unnatural to see that the girl was naked. She knew that the girl was saying something, but it didn't make it into her head. Instead,
...What's... this sound?
Mio heard a dripping sound from around her chest.
Just what's that, she thought absentmindedly, whereupon
’’It seems she is still not out of it and does not comprehend her own situation...’’
’’---Are you okay?’’
Suddenly a gentle voice sounded near Mio's ear.
It was a voice that deeply penetrated her heart. Thereupon,
’’Judging by this, it might be better to have her look at herself instead of explaining it to her.’’
Saying so, the girl in front of her left her field of vision once--- and after a while,
Suddenly Mio saw an unknown girl in front of her.
She was instinctively surprised. Because that girl was making such a lewd face. That expression full of lust with flushed cheeks reminded the spectator of a ’’woman’’ to the extent of gulping down their saliva. But,
’’How is it? Do you understand now?’’ ’’Eh....?’’
The face of the young girl from earlier showed up besides that girl. And when that young girl stood next to Mio, her appearance was next to that se*y girl for some reason.
And then, Naruse Mio finally realized. That the bewitching girl in front of her was herself. It was Mio herself, reflected in a mirror big enough for her to see her whole body. Only wearing the shirt as a sorry excuse, Mio was spreading her legs widely and straddling someone's lap.
And she saw that her breasts were being firmly rubbed from behind. Her breasts were wet and shiny from some kind of fluid, making lewd sounds every time they were fondled.
These breast gave off a fragrance sweet enough to choke on it and brought back Mio's consciousness. She turned around to her back at once.
There was Mio's Master--- The boy she swore her loyalty to.
’’...Mio, can you tell?’’
In what kind of situation she was in right now.
’’Basara... Yah, I... Ah, Fuaaaaah?’’
Her senses came back at once together with her consciousness, and the torrent of pleasure made Mio climax once again.
Her whole body convulsed on it's own and a shivering pleasant feeling ran through Mio.
’’Ah, Ahh... Mm... Hah’’
She didn't even have the time to close her eyes on the sudden happening. Thus, Naruse Mio witnessed the crucial moment.
Of herself reflected in the mirror. Of her face before it, during it--- and after it.
’’Fufu. Mio-sama, you are making such a lascivious face...’’
’’Yah... No, Ah...’’
Seeing herself in the mirror, Mio tried to cover her face with her hands at once. But she couldn't. Because she saw her self in the mirror exposing something that shouldn't be seen.
The plentiful maple syrup had dripped down from her breasts and ran down her belly over her navel, wetting the shorts she was wearing. Inside her shorts, which had become transparent from absorbing plenty of fluids, there was a warmth that couldn't have been brought forth by the cold maple syrup.
It was Mio's very own syrup, produced from the arousal. The shape of Naruse Mio's most embarrassing spot was distinctly raising to the surface. As she was a fellow female, Maria had followed her gaze and noticed her condition.
’’N- No... This is...’’
Mio hastily tried to smooth it over, but it was too late. Maria showed a faint smile, then
Of all things, she went around her back and whispered something to Basara. And then, ’’..........’’
Mio beheld how the Basara in the mirror quietly lowered his gaze--- At that moment,
’’Ah, Ahh... Ahhhhh’’
Having her own state exposed made her whole body pulse from an incredible shame.
’’It's okay, Mio... It's not weird at all.’’
Basara, who was holding her, gently whispered into her ear. Words that meant that he was accepting Mio's most embarrassing appearance--- Having lost the need to put up an appearance, Mio let all her strength drain away from her body.
---She admitted her aroused self and accepted all of what Basara was doing to her.
That was why Mio was disturbed.
Every time her big breasts were fondled recklessly, she raised a dirty and lewd voice.
It were her breasts that were being touched, yet she couldn't stop herself from moving her hips indecently.
It was embarrassing, but that very embarrassment made Mio feel good beyond help and on top of Basara's lap, she got even more ecstatic--- Just like during the time when they formed the Master and Servant Contract. And then,
Mio put her own hand on top of Basara's, which were fondling her breasts.
When her palm, seeking an existence to rely on, felt Basara's warmth, a relief came over Mio's whole body at once and the pleasure she was feeling on her breasts changed into bliss.
And she wanted more of that bliss. Before she noticed it, she had been gone in a posture of facing Basara.
Straddling him extremely close to his crotch, her breasts were naturally exposed right in front of his face. The big and soft swellings were already scurrilous wet from the maple syrup and their pink-coloured pointed ends were stretching like a budding flower bud.
...Did I turn crazy from the curse of the contract?
She wanted Basara to taste her breasts that had become the sweetest and lewdest in the world--- After all, she could submit to him better like that.
And Basara and herself could become stronger accordingly.
That being the case, she wanted him to dominate her thoroughly. This feeling gradually swelled up.
At last, Mio entwined her arms around Basara's neck.
Of course she herself couldn't speak out what she wanted him to do, but even so
’’...Brother, please... My breasts are on fire, it's agonizing...’’
Mio pleaded instead. And--- it worked. After Basara showed a surprised expression,
’’Okay... I'll set you at ease now.’’
After tightly embracing her waist, he wrapped his mouth around her breast. Needless to say, it was her first time of having her breasts sucked. It felt way better than she had imagined.
’’Ahh, Yahn, Hah... Mm, Broth- Brotheer... Mm, Fuaaah!’’
Throwing back her head, Mio bended backwards in pleasure. The shirt she was wearing fell onto the ground and her upper body was completely naked, but she didn't care.
Overcome with a pleasant feeling of weightlessness, Mio twined her legs around Basara's hips and clingingly clasped his head to her chest. While her breasts were intensely sucked,
...W- Wow, what's this...
She knew that she was climaxing intensely. Befuddled by the overwhelming pleasure, she felt that the foundation of her current values was redrawn.
---And in time, Basara's existence inside Mio's head began to change to a different one from so far.
From a brother, family member and master in name only, to an absolute master, who she wanted to devote and submit herself to thoroughly.
The moment she thought so--- Mio and Basara's body were suddenly enveloped in light.
Mio was dumbfounded from not understanding the sudden happening, whereas Maria showed a calm smile.
’’Congratulations--- That light is proof that the contract acknowledged that your relationship has advanced to the next level.’’
Remains of the hot pleasure were still glimmering within her, so Mio couldn't feel the change in her. But,
’’Ah... The mark, on the neck...’’
The collar-like mark on her neck had changed it's color to faint reddish.
’’...Now, we have... become stronger?’’
’’Yes. Currently, you are getting a basic power-up, ranging from physical abilities to magical power. By the time that light has settled in, you two should be stronger than before. On the occasion, I allowed myself to suck up the arousal you felt, Mio-sama, so I too could gain a power-up for a week.’’
When she faced forward in a daze on these words, there was the boy she had pledged loyalty to from the bottom of her heart.
’’You sure did your best...’’
Saying so, Basara tried to pet her head, but as he remembered that his hands were covered in maple syrup, he was about to stop from touching Mio.
Mio took that left hand of his and put his fingers, from which the maple syrup was about to drip down, into her mouth. It was the hand of her master, which thoroughly engraved pleasure onto her breasts.
Upon that, the taste of maple syrup and an even sweeter pleasure spread in her whole mouth.
...I wonder, if I did alright in submitting to him.
While sucking on Basara's fingers, Mio thought so absent-minded.
But every time she licked with slurping sounds, a shiver of pleasure ran down her spine and in time, Mio became engrossed in licking his fingers.
Running her tongue over them numerous times, she minutely tasted every nook and corner.
And after she cleaned Basara's hand with her tongue, Mio finally let it go from her mouth and held that hand against her own cheek. With the hand of the boy that just dominated her on her cheek, she said softly like praying.
’’...Let's win this.’’
Basara whispered back into her ear.
The simple, but reassuring four-lettered word of assent.
Various voluptuous actions were conducted in the living room of the Nanjou House to deepen the Master and Servant relationship between Basara and Mio.
Some people watched a portion of that from beginning to end from outside. They stood on the rooftop of the neighboring house.
The ones that watched the happenings inside through the closed curtain, which was bypassed by magic, of the Nanjou House's living room were two demons--- Takigawa and Zest.
No matter how stimulating that scene was, Zest, standing next to Takigawa, watched it calmly.
...Geez, what a pain.
The reason they were here wasn't because they were peeping toms or anything.
Surveilling Mio was Takigawa's mission and Zest too came here to check upon Mio's current surroundings on the order from Zolgear.
Thus they had seized Basara's and the girl's actual situation in the last few days.
That included the fact about the fight with Takashi and the others--- the Heroes that came to kill Mio. So they had observed Basara and the girls the whole time to see how they would act now.
But even though it was his mission to surveil them, Basara and Mio were still classmates to Takigawa.
Even by himself, it would have been pretty awkward to see a friend dripping wet, yet
...What do I do about this atmosphere?
It was awkward to no end. Valgar as a man would've been one thing, but Zest was a woman.
The past few days, Takigawa had skipped school and gone around with her--- An escort, so to speak.
Coming here wasn't Takigawa suggestion, but simply Zest's demand. Takigawa couldn't be held responsible at all.
However--- Even without responsibility, what kind of torture was it to have to watch a friend dripping wet together with a woman he wasn't all that close to?
There had to be a limit to unbearable situations.
That said, it wasn't like he was blaming Basara.
Basara surely would've never guessed that he was being watched and above all, it was Takigawa himself at the Yakiniku restaurant, who persuaded him to strengthen their Master and Servant relationship.
Apparently the bond between Basara and Mio had become one level stronger than before due to getting her dripping wet.
Of course they wouldn't be able to even hold their grounds against Takashi and the others just because of that, but at least they raised their chances out of the hopeless margin.
In that case,
’’About time we scram. You wanted to check out Naruse Mio's household situation, but they seem to take a break now, so it should be enough now, shouldn't it?’’
Takigawa suggested. But even when he was about to turn on his heel, Zest didn't move at all.
Instead she kept staring at the Toujou living room. While Takigawa got a bit fed up,
’’Listen here... I want to get home and sleep before this gets any more awkward.’’
’’Feel free to. It is my job to confirm Naruse Mio's change in the past half year.’’
Zest answered outright, pretty much unaffected from seeing all this.
’’That boy from the Hero Tribe, Toujou Basara was it? He is rather interesting. Even while he feels reluctant to subjugate Naruse Mio, he still made use of the curse with the succubus characteristic out of necessity. To think he could make that obstinate Naruse Mio submit to him to that extent.’’
’’I already heard that their contract was formed around the succubus characteristic, but seeing her reactions, it appears Naruse Mio indeed has a sensitive body, like Sir Zolgear estimated. She seemed to be rather befuddled by the pleasure, but if she is already feeling so much from just these actions, then Sir Zolgear can give her much more pleasure. It should be an easy feast to budge her heart and snatch away her loyalty.’’
’’Oh really. I congratulate you for being so devoted to your job. But to think that you didn't even bat an eye from seeing that, you even gauged her arousal. Nothing less from Sir Zolgear's right hand, you see things in a different light.’’
Takigawa shrugged his shoulders and on his sarcasm, Zest finally faced him with cold eyes.
’’...Are you being sarcastic, Lars? If your statement just now should have been meant to insult my Master, then I would give an appropriate reply.’’
’’No, no, not at all... I wouldn't dare. It was just admiration.’’
said Takigawa while laughing. He declared like he had finally found a point to tease her, who had been talking down to him the whole time, with.
’’Even though you never had a guy before--- You act like you know what you're talking about. Well, I guess just by staying near Sir Zolgear, you get a bunch of chances to see such activities.’’
Zest fell silent for a moment on these words. Then she frowned.
’’On what grounds do you claim---’’
’’---Unfortunately for you, I can recognize inexperienced women by their smell. Though they themselves don't notice it.’’
When he said nonchalantly, Zest shut up for sure this time. It eloquently indicated that what Takigawa said was the truth.
Zolgear came up with the entertainment of adding the aphrodisiac effect from the succubus to the curse of the Master and Servant Contract and had a bunch of female subordinators as his se* toys--- And Zest was his right hand.
Normally you would think that she would get first dibs on Zolgear, but
...That information seems to be valid.
Takigawa chuckled to himself like that. Half of it were rumours, but it said that Zolgear's most trusted right hand was more beautiful than any other of his subordinates--- but that was because she never had a man and the reason Zolgear could never lay hands on her.
---Incidentally, Takigawa, who was neither an incubus, nor a vampire, had no way to confirm a woman's chastity from her smell.
He had tricked her into believing that he knew her secret and confirmed the credibility of the information he got.
And at last, Zest noticed that as well.
For a moment, she gave him a stern expression, then she disappeared like melting into thin air.
’’Well, I guess I pulled a fast one on her once...’’
said Takigawa with a whiff of a smile. Zest's presence had vanished from the area. Most likely, she had pulled back for today.
’’...Guess I'll leave too.’’
Lastly, Takigawa turned his attention back to the Toujou House one last time.
There Basara lifted Mio up and headed to the bath together with Maria. Well, he had done a magnificent lotion play with the maple syrup.
Surely it was in order to wash that sticky body.
Basara put Mio down on the floor of the anteroom and tried to leave by himself, but Maria stopped him.
Apparently she was inviting him to take a bath together, since he was sticky as well.
Basara panicked. His earlier bold subjugating of Mio seemed like a lie now.
But in contrast to the bewildered Basara, Mio showed no signs of refusal, albeit she flushed her face embarrassed.
Most likely, her body was still on fire from the pleasure Basara had given her.
Before long, Mio stood up and hugged Basara from behind--- As to tell him not to leave. Basara, hugged by Mio wearing only shorts, froze up completely. Takigawa Yahirou made a wry smile.
’’Well, go wild for today, Basacchi--- I'm praying that it won't be your last fun memory.’’
After declaring so by whispering, he also disappeared into the darkness of the night.
And then the day of the decisive battle came. Since the battle would take place at night, Basara and Mio normally attended school without skipping.
After school they would meet up with Maria and head for the appointed place.
As for Yuki, she never came to school after that. She might be avoiding to meet him.
No wonder, since they would be enemies next time. Meeting up before the fight would confuse one's feelings.
Still, he had wanted to talk to her one more time before the battle.
What could he say when they met? The current situation arose from Basara and Yuki making each their own resolve.
And then morning classes were over without having found an answer, making it lunch break now.
...Mio's together with Aikawa and Sakaki.
After watching Mio leave the classroom with her friends to eat lunch together, Basara too stood up from his seat.
Thanks to his connection with Takigawa, Basara wasn't isolated in class anymore now.
But even though he exchanged small conversations with others, he still wasn't close enough to someone to eat lunch together.
In the past ten days where Takigawa had been absent, Basara had eaten lunch by himself.
And since the other day, Mio and Yuki's fans didn't pick on him when he was alone.
He didn't believe that the incident in the courtyard ended their resentment, but he would be grateful if it could stay ambiguous like this.
While thinking about that, Basara went out of the classroom into the hallway, whereupon his homeroom teacher Sakasaki called upon him.
’’Toujou. Takigawa's always absent these days, do you know anything?’’
’’No, nothing... He didn't contact you about it?’’
’’Well... On his first day of absence, I got a call from him saying that he's taking off school for a while due to family circumstances, but since then I haven't heard a word from him.’’
Takigawa hadn't been coming to school since the day after they went to eat Yakiniku together.
As for contact, only one mail came, saying there was a possibility of an attack from a demon of the Current Devil Lord faction.
Most likely--- he was busy with all kind of things too.
Clueless about these circumstances, Sakasaki scratched his head.
’’Not only didn't I reach his apartment where he lives alone, no one answered the phone at his parent's house either.
I thought you might know something, since you're getting along with him... Nonaka's absent lately too. Is a weird cold going around?’’
Saying so, he went away with his head cocked in puzzlement.
And the moment Basara was about to head out for the school store--- The cell phone in his pocket rang.
The displayed name field was blank. Thus Basara moved into a nearby storage room, locked the door while he confirmed that he was alone and finally picked up the phone.
’’Oh, you're smart, Basacchi. Since you didn't call my name first thing, you seem to understand the danger of this call.’’
Because if someone had stolen Takigawa's phone and made the call, Basara's connection to Takigawa would've been exposed right away. And if that someone were from the current Devil Lord faction, everything would've been over.
’’Well then, Basacchi, you at school, right? It's lunch break, but do you got time to speak?’’
’’Yeah, I moved somewhere isolated. Should be fine for a while. Anyway, you aren't coming to school and can't seem to be contacted... Are you okay?’’
’’Well, somewhat. Actually, a troublesome fellow besides the new observer popped up.’’
’’...That means the devil that attacked us the other day was the new observer?’’
’’Yep. He was called Valgar, but the other one is even more troublesome. I only now found the chance to call you.’’
’’I see... So? What's the reason you take the trouble to call me in this difficult situation?’’
’’Well, you yourself seem to be caught up in your own troubles.’’
Basara replied amazed to Takigawa's smirking words.
’’I'm impressed you know about it... Could it be, you were watching from somewhere?’’
’’Take a guess. Anyway, the newly dispatched observer was killed. Of course I would look into who did it. Turns out a few Heroes crawled into this city and you guys have been doing nothing but training these days.’’
Oh right. Takigawa's mission was only to observe Mio.
Even if another devil was dispatched--- Even if that devil was killed, his mission didn't change.
’’In other words, it's an encouragement call before the battle?’’ ’’---And a warning.’’
Takigawa's voice on the other side of the phone had a somewhat cold tone.
’’Valgar got killed when he only went out to check things out, but... the orders he got should've not only included the stimulation of Naruse Mio's awakening, but her protection as well, to avoid losing Wilbert's power that's sleeping within her when she dies.’’
’’The guy that killed that very Valgar out of nowhere is after Naruse Mio. Sorry, but if the situation calls for it, I'll have to intervene. We'll dispose of those that try to kill her, with force--- Even if it should be Nonaka.’’
To the surprised Basara,
’’Hey, what're you surprised for, Basacchi? It's only natural. Let me tell you this while I'm at it. If you die, our agreement naturally becomes invalid. I mean, you're the only one that knows the truth and I'm just forced into cooperation through threatening.’’
Takigawa said sneering.
’’Don't forget. We're only teaming up because it holds merit for both of us. If you also want to protect Nonaka along with Mio, then you've to win against these guys with your own strength.’’
These words that could be seen as a provocation, made Basara tightly grasp his phone.
’’......Okay. Just watch, Takigawa, we definitely won't lose.’’
Toujou Basara declared outright.
’’And let me tell you this as well. If you try to kill Yuki or the others, I'll definitely interfere--- Even if it makes me your enemy.’’
Having finished his call with Takigawa, Basara stood still in the room for a while.
Then he made a sigh and unlocked the door to leave the storage room. Like that he opened the door that lead to the hallway--- but then stopped.
Because a girl was standing right in front of him.
It was Yuki, who was supposed to be absent from school today too.
She wordlessly pushed him back into the storage room and locked the door behind her back. And then,
’’Please, Basara... I want you to withdraw from tonight's battle.’’
She said, slowly drawing closer. Clinging to him, her eyes that looked up to him at close distance were filled with sorrow rather than seriousness.
However, Basara shook his head.
’’Can't do that... I believe I told so before already.’’
Both Basara and Jin had decided to protect Mio. Even if the enemy was the Devil Lord--- Or the Heroes.
’’I understand your sentiment, Basara.... but the situation changed drastically from before. You should know what it means when a 'Surveillance Target'gets changed to a 'Termination Target'.’’
So far he was let off with as just an exile, but this time they would make an open enemy out of the Hero Tribe.
But Basara softly placed his hands on Yuki's shoulders, he looked right into her sorrowful, upturned eyes.
’’Even so, I want to protect Mio... I'm no longer a Hero. I lost the qualification and obligation to protect this world. But right now, I'm her family, her brother. It's a fact that won't change by what kind of enemies I make or whatever harsh situation I'm in. So I'll fight to protect her--- I believe that's my obligation now that I've lost everything.’’
’’...Even if you have to fight Kurumi and me?’’
That was the only point he couldn't back down from.
Takigawa currently had an even more troublesome fellow than that giant devil with him.
And he said that ’’they would interfere’’ if Mio's life was in danger.
In that case, that troublesome fellow would undoubtedly make a move as well.
---Basara wasn't taking the strength that Takigawa showed in the battles on the roof of the school or the forest the other days as his full potential.
Most likely, Takigawa was still hiding his true power.
And that very Takigawa called someone troublesome--- Where from that one's strength could easily be imagined.
If that strength exceeded his own or Takashi and the other's by far,
...Then that person would surely make a move.
That Shiba Kyouichi, who said he was only an overseer this time.
Therefore, to protect everyone, Basara and the girls had no choice but to drive away Takashi and the others. She then must have understood that Basara's determination couldn't be shaken.
Whispering isolated, Yuki slowly got away from him, turned on her heel and was about to go away. However,
Basara hastily grabbed Yuki's arm. Because he couldn't let her go yet.
’’Let go... We have nothing to talk about anymore.’’
Looking down sadly, she tried to shake off his hand.
’’Sorry, but I wanted to give you something for sure when we met again.’’
Saying so, Basara took out the prepared item from his pocket and made Yuki take it.
’’A duplicate key--- to our house.’’
Basara smiled on finally handing it over, whereas Yuki widened her eyes in surprise.
’’Back in the days when my father and I were in the village... you had a key to our house, right?’’
’’That was a long time ago. We both have changed now. Besides, tonight---’’
’’---Yeah, I know.’’
’’But you know, Yuki... I don't want to give up on it despite that. That is, you naturally coming over to our house like in the past.’’
’’We certainly might have changed--- But even then, it's not over between us yet. I don't want it to be over, never.... So I hope you'll take it.’’
Even when today ended and the next day came.
Basara didn't want to give up on the possibility for a future where Yuki used that key.
He wouldn't give up.
In regards, Yuki didn't say anything any more. He thought she might refuse to, but she left the storage room wordless, still holding the key.
She didn't turn around to him, but Basara didn't mind.
He knew it was difficult. Still, he managed to see a possibility for the future he desired.
Later--- he would just have to take a hold of that future.
Nine o'clock at night--- Still ten minutes left until the appointed battle.
Toujou Basara arrived in front of the station together with Mio and Maria.
Because it was the meeting spot arranged by Hayase Takashi.
Amidst the crowd of people, Basara looked around the area, whereupon
’’---Yo, you came.’’
Suddenly Shiba Kyouichi appeared from the flood of people. Accompanied by Takashi, Kurumi and Yuki behind him, Kyouichi confronted Basara and the girls a few metres away.
’’Okay, seems we're all here--- Shall we get started?’’
’’H- Hey, wait! Right here in this crowded place?’’
Mio raised a disturbed voice. Basara was just as surprised. It was a weekend night, so more people passed by here than on a weekday's night.
So he had thought for sure that they would move to a more appropriate place for fighting without people from here on, but
’’I understand your surprise. But in the past week, we checked various places in the city. There certainly were a few good places if we just wanted to avoid the public eye. The park or forest in the western part of the city where you trained at might be the most suitable.’’
But, Takashi, standing behind Shiba, drew onto his words.
’’The places like that park or forest each have an important earth flow, which are the spiritual foundation for the city, running through them. We would mistake the means for the end if we end up destroying them, even if it's for the sake of defeating you guys.’’
Basara consented to Takashi's words.
---The Hero Tribe could use special powers as protectors of the world.
Amongst them were powers gained from contracts with Spirits or divine Beasts, the messengers of Gods, and the contract merely lent them power for ’’righteous things’’.
So when they recklessly harmed nature or killed innocent living beings, even if it was in the name of defeating devils, they would fall into ’’disgrace’’ from these actions and become unable to borrow the powers from spirits and such.
And above all, when they disrupted the stability of the earth flow, it was quite likely that large-scaled natural disaster would occur in the future.
’’Besides, there is no cover in empty space and thus it's easier to damage the barrier directly. It would be a disaster if the barrier broke because of that.’’
’’But we don't have to worry about that here. Because we'll erect a barrier of the type that shifts dimensions and even duplicates the place. There are so many buildings around here, so even if we break anything, it would be the duplicates within the barrier and only we will enter into the barrier, no average people.’’
’’But... the risk remains that the barrier will break.’’
’’If we are going to fight, I believe we should at least do it in the middle of the night, where there are fewer people.’’
On these words,
’’Oh boy... To think you, a devil, would be worried about others.’’
said Shiba with a sarcastic laugh.
’’---We certainly considered that risk as well. The buildings around here are complex. Our Takashi and your Missy with the inherited power from the previous Devil Lord will set up the barrier together, but with just their two consciousnesses they regretfully cannot copy everything inside the width of the barrier. Therefore, we'll borrow the power from the people around here.’’
’’So we're going to project their consciousness on the spatial structure inside the barrier.’’
Basara, who knew of that barrier type, announced it's function, whereupon Shiba showed a smile.
’’Exactly. There are a lot of people around here right now and each of them feels the city by looking at it and hearing it's noise. They're basically like cameras--- They even see what we don't. Setting up the barrier with a concrete image like that will be in more detail and above all, more stable. Also, a complicated barrier that reproduces space like that needs more concentration for the construction, so it's harder for both of us to include any uncalled gimmicks.’’
Besides, said Shiba.
’’No matter where and when we do it, we'll have to temporarily cease fighting anyway if the barrier breaks. So I don't think fighting right now in this place here is all that unfavorable to you guys.’’
’’...What do you mean by that?’’
Mio asked frowning, whereas Shiba shrugged his shoulders.
’’I mean, we'll be unable to do anything when you purposefully lift or destroy the barrier--- in case you should get overwhelmed. Because it would endanger the nearby people.’’
Spreading his arms, he laughed.
’’Must be nice--- To have no responsibilities or obligations to this world. Humans, animals, the city and nature mean nothing to you, right? It's really unfair, geez.’’
’’---That's not!’’ ’’---Mio.’’
Mio inadvertently flared up on Shiba's provocation and Basara calmed her down by placing his hand on her shoulder.
’’We just have to show them in the battle now that we have no such mindset. There's no need for you to fall for his provocation and lose your cool.’’
As frustrating it was, Mio nodded.
And Basara suddenly looked at Yuki, who stood behind Shiba.
But she didn't try to meet his look. Slowly casting her eyes down, she stood there with a sorrowful expression.
---However, Basara had no time to concern himself with her right now. Though that only applied to right now.
So Toujou Basara looked at Shiba again and declared.
’’Fine. If that's what you want, we don't mind either--- Let's get started here.’’
Then the construction of the barrier began.
First of, Takashi pierced ’’Byakko’’ into the ground and with it as a go-between, Mio cast a barrier magic.
An average person with no special power could of course not see Mio's magic, nor the spiritual lance ’’Byakko’’.
Thus, Mio could erect the barrier calmly.
Naruse Mio let her own mind focus. The barrier's range was a sphere with a diameter of half a kilometer, centered around ’’Byakko’’.
Even if it was the enemy's weapon, the self-protective ’’Byakko’’ lent her power to erect the barrier, since it served to shield the surroundings.
At the same time Mio finished her chant--- the barrier magic, amplified by ’’Byakko’’, activated.
The surrounding buildings were reproduced in all kinds of ’’substances’’ and ’’shapes’’, giving the space within the barrier form.
But something disappeared in the progress.
It was the unrelated average people, who could absolutely not be dragged into this battle.
And by the time the barrier was about to be finished,
Mio suddenly raised a surprised voice. Their four opponents had been standing a few metres away--- And Shiba Kyouichi disappeared from them.
She was bewildered by the sudden happening.
’’---Don't worry. I asked my ’’Byakko’’ to shut him out.’’
While Hayase Takashi told her indifferently, he pulled out ’’Byakko’’ from the ground.
’’What do you mean, Takashi...?’’
Basara asked doubtful.
’’He's nothing but an overseer this time. Meaning, an outsider to this battle.’’
’’I don't want him to interfere with our battle if by any chance he's swayed by some kind of whim--- That's all to it.’’
Basara mumbled back to Takashi's words. Seeing their expressions, Mio thought.
That these two surely held some kind of sentiment towards Shiba, which Maria or Mio couldn't understand.
There were still plenty of points Mio didn't know about Basara.
Compared to Yuki and Takashi, the time she spent with him was utterly lacking.
Still, Mio stood here after deepening the trust between him and her in her own way.
She ought to have done everything she could. And then,
’’---It's time. Let's get started.’’
After saying so, Takashi flashed ’’Byakko’’ diagonally into the air, then slowly turned his back to them and returned to Yuki and Kurumi.
Realizing his intentions, Mio and the others started to take their distance as well. At the same time, the top part with the light of a nearby street light was cut off and slowly started to fall onto the ground.
And in the moment a clattering announced the impact onto the ground, everything began to move.
The battle had started.
Translator Notes and References
- Jump up↑ Name of the Capital during the Heian Period, now known as Kyoto
- Jump up↑ The Chinese have the ’’Five Cardinal Points’’ with an extra direction called the center