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Date A Live - Volume 2 - Chapter 5


Published at 3rd of January 2016 08:02:10 PM
Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Frozen Earth



Part 1

"………!?"

Yoshino opened her eyes. And she trembled in panic.

Together with the feeling of waking up after dozing off in the dark——a gentle breeze brushed her cheeks and the view of the city flowed into her sights.

"Eh……………, ah……"

Yoshino looked around her.

She was inside—a city which she does not know.

The only thing surrounding Yoshino was a crater formed from an explosion of some sort that had blasted the area off.

And the sky was cold and raining.

It was the something which she has already experienced many times, an experience that she was starting to get tired of—it was the feeling of the real world.

But if there was something different this time it would be——that her irreplaceable friend was missing from her left hand.

"………!"

From the sky, she heard a sound that she had memories of.

And over there was—as what Yoshino had predicted, a number of humans covered with machines and armor floating above her.

"—Target confirmed. All members, initiate attack."

""Yes.""

After that response the humans fired many bullets from their arms and legs at Yoshino.

"………………………!?"

Yoshino gasped and flew into the sky by kicking off the ground.

Just like that, to escape the attacks from the humans, she was using complex maneuvering and running away.

"Don't let her escape!"

""—Roger.""

She heard such voices echo behind her, and many more bullets were fired at her.

It was the final strike, because each attack held a lethal level of power respectively. If not for the AstralDress, the attacks would have resulted in Yoshino being killed over a 100 times; it was the incarnation of killing intent and malice.

"………!………!"

While Yoshino was dancing in the sky feeling confused, she was also raising inaudible shouts.

Her heartbeat turned rough,

Her stomach started to hurt,

And her eyes were spinning round and round.

Yoshino could not tolerate the malice and killing intent targeting her from someone else

Normally it would be—different.

Usually, [Yoshinon] would talk for her from her left hand.

Since [Yoshinon] was very reliable, it would act as if this attack was nothing to it.

That's why, Yoshino would feel safe and okay. And she would refrain from hurting everyone else.

But, right now—

"Kya………………"

Yoshino felt a strong impact behind her, and while she was making a soft scream she fell to the ground.

It was not an attack that could pierce through the AstralDress. However, it was a heavy attack that sent Yoshino, with her AstralDress's protection, to the ground.

The feeling of fear was spreading inside Yoshino's heart to the extent that it could not be helped.

*clatter* *clatter* her tooth cried,

*rattle* *rattle* her legs trembled,

*shake* *shake* and her sights was shaking.

The inside of her head was already mushy to the level that it can’t be helped.

"U, a,a………"

*zaa*,*zaa*-----and the rain had gotten even stronger.

"—Okay, let us up this all the way."

At the same time when the leader styled lady said those words, all the humans and their ominous weapons were all pointed at Yoshino at once.

And then, from the machines, the most killing intent they have released so far was poured into it, and took shape before it was launched at her.

Just the moment before impact. Yoshino raised her right hand high up to the sky.

—and.

"……………<Zadkiel>…………!?"

She swings her hands down, together with the angel's name.

 

"——Took her down!?"

Ryouko's mildly excited voice was heard through the transmitter.

While Origami was making a long and thin sigh, without lowering her guard she looked around the surface of the earth covered with smoke.

"……………………"

It had been almost 30 minutes, after the residents had finished evacuating and the alarm rang.

The moment they confirmed [Hermit]'s figure, Origami and the rest of the team immediately began their extermination plan.

Right now in the area were 9 members of the AST floating on the air, covered with long-ranged equipment.

Together with the wiring suits covering them and the normal thrusters unit as its center, it was extermination equipment that has a whole bunch of anti-Spirit ammunition loaded in it.

Normally the weight of the equipment would be too heavy to move around with but—it was compensated by the gravity neutralizing absolute power field, the Territory which is brought forth by the Realizer.

All of the members were facing the visitor, the [Hermit], and Ryouko was watching the situation.

"Wha—?"

The voice of someone filled with confusion was, delivered to all of the members ears through the transmitter.

The smoke covering the area where [Yoshino] fell dispersed immediately—and from the inside of the smoke, the figure of a doll with a slow-witted silhouette appeared, which was unconfirmed until just a few moments ago.

—On its back, [Hermit]'s small body was tightly attached to it.

"That is—"

The sound of Ryouko's voice through the transmitter shook Origami's eardrum.

There was a memory of that doll. It was the weapon [Hermit] summoned from last time—the Angel.

And thus, the puppet took a slouching posture, and when she thought that both its front legs touched the ground, *Guoooo*, a white smoke-like substance was released out of the abdomen part right pass the four legs, and from the mouth.

The puppet then turned its head and faced toward the sky.


—*KuooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO*———


And, it raised a strange roar that left a buzzing in the ears.

When it did that—the doll as the center, a crispy sound came from the ground, and the ground turned white and increased in radius.

"Wha-What is this………!?"

A voice of a team member filled with uneasiness echoed.

But [Hermit]'s doll did not care about the team, and continued letting out an evil cold air and roars.

Each time it did that, the ground continued turning white.

"…………"

Origami sent her sights to left and right.

The image that was projected in her sights was—the whole city, having the same phenomenon occurring.

Suddenly the puddles made from the heavy rain started to rise, and instantly froze to form countless commercialized-like needle shaped ice.

The frost was creeping and falling around the city's road and building, the situation was like having one whole city being put into a freezer.

In the blink of an eye—Origami and the others had their vision covered in ice.

And adding on to this terrible situation, the area they are in right now was getting endlessly supplied with water from the sky.

When the large quantity of raindrops, touched the ground covered in ice, it was immediately absorbed into the ground.

An endless invasion and the growing of ice castles.

That was what; Tenguu city was covered up with.

"…………………Kuh! All members! Don't falter! Shoot!"

Together with Ryouko's orders, Origami fired that instruction into her brain.

And the muzzle's equipped onto her whole body, activated all at once.

The other AST members acted the same, and fired at [Hermit] with all ammunition they had left.

But—

"…………"

Origami stopped breathing for a moment.

Before their ammunitions reached [Hermit], they froze far from it, without even igniting, the ammunition fell to the ground.

Origami immediately sent instructions to her brain, and simple analysis was put into operation.

When she did that, many weak but vast amounts of Spirit energy readings appeared on her view, it was so much that it was scary.

"Wha………what is going on?"

"—It is probably, the rain's fault."

"Ah, rain?"

In the midst of the team's confusion, Origami made a short answer.

"Yes, although it is little, the rain contains Spirit power."

The heavy rain left no gaps in her view.

The moment it touched the ammunition, it would get covered in ice and even the firepower would freeze before falling to the ground.

The rain covered in the Spirits power and the cold air. In this curtain of water, and the ice castles that covered the land, acted as a strong protective wall to protect its enshrined master.

"…………!"

And—at that moment, [Hermit] showed some movement while she was attached to the giant dolls back.

Guoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo——and it raised a roar that was like the sound of a moving machine, this roar was larger compared to just now, the doll then bent its body backwards.

That aspect was a little different from usual.

Yes, putting it into words, instead of releasing cold air, it was as if it was sucking in the atmosphere by taking a big breath.

"………….! All members, take cover!"

The same time Ryouko made that order, she sent mental instructions from her brain to the thruster units, and left the airspace where Origami and the others were floating just a moment ago.

That instant, when she thought that, the doll moved its head back to its normal spot, together with an unpleasant sound that can tear her ears apart, from the mouth, a blue beam was released.

"Uwa…………!?"

"Gu——"

In the transmitter, she could hear the voice of anguish from the other members. It would seem that, it was too late to run away.

"———"

She made her body spin midair, and took a glimpse downwards.

Over there were 2 ice boulders with a radius of 3 meters, *roll* *roll* that were rolling around.

There was no mistake. It was the owners of the anguished voices she heard from the other side of the transmitter just now.

"…………., Did they get frozen together with the Territory……? This isn't a joke……!?"

"……………………"

While hearing the other team members voice, Origami brought her eyes to [Hermit]'s behavior without lowering her guard.

And—maybe [Hermit] felt that the AST members were in disarray, it showed some movement once again.

When it thought that Origami and the others had turned their backs, the doll landed onto the ground with its four legs, and just like that with tremendous speed, it ran away like it was sliding on the frozen ground.

"Kuh……….we are chasing her!"

""Roger!""

Origami and the others sent the instructions to their own brains, and drove the Thruster units.

Part 2

"……………….!?"

Tohka was sleeping in the deepest room located on the second floor of the Itsuka house; she immediately raised her face up when the unexpected sound of explosions echoed.

"Wha-What………..!?"

She raised her body because she was surprised by the dangerous situation, *rumble* *rumble*, she opened the window while these sounds happened.

At that moment, Tohka shook her body unconsciously.

Instead of an outrageous feeling of fear, she shivered from the unexpected coldness, of the wind that entered from outside the window.

It was so weird that the surrounding temperature was dropping. Tohka looked around in a bad mood while frowning.

"Th-This is………"

Rain was pouring down on one side of her view , what's more, the moment the raindrop touched the ground it froze up and turned to ice.

"Wha-What on earth is happening now…………"

And, at that moment, she suddenly remembered something from just now.

During the time she was having an afternoon nap, she felt that something like the sound of Uuuuuuuuuuuu——echoed.

She thought that it was a dream or something, but that was………

"Was that…………the thing called the alarm…….!? Which means this is the……….spacequake?"

The image of the explosion and so on was quite different from what she heard from instructor Tama-chan , from what she can see, it was a strange situation. She has to hurry and evacuate to the so called shelter.

And—at that moment when Tohka was about to leave the room.

"……………!?"

Outside the window, a strange object passed by with tremendous speed.

It was a doll with a body length of 3 meters that had a short and stout form.

What's more on the back of the doll, it was being ridden by a girl with a green colored coat.

"That was……from that time."

Yes, that was the girl that Shidou had met up with.

The same time she confirmed that, Tohka, felt a shaking in her heart.

She does not have any basis. But for some reason—she couldn't help but feel that Shidou might be with that girl.

"……………"

After biting her lips, Tohka ran out of the room.

Part 3

"Wha………, what the heck, is this………?"

While holding the puppet in his hand, Shidou who had just left the apartment opened his eyes wide at the view that was spreading in front of him.

At any rate, the town's landscape that he was familiar with, turned into a winter wonderland.

What's more, it was not snow accumulating on it. The town was purely, frozen.

"—Did you not hear the alarm? It's Yoshino."

From the intercam that had been keeping its silence, he could hear Kotori's voice from it.

"Leaving that aside. What were you doing before the Spirit manifested? You took quite a sweet time leaving the room."

"…………No, I got caught by a birdlime[2E 1] that was set up at the front entrance."

Yes, when he was trying to leave Origami's room, his leg got grabbed by the trap; it was something that would slow him down from going outside.

………………But it was a weird trap. Although it would take someone's time but it was not a trap that was impossible to escape from. If he were to say which it was, instead of catching an intruder from outside, it would be to slow someone down from escaping from inside…

"……………Nononono."

Now was not the time to be worrying about such things. He shook his head and regained his thoughts.

"So this is…Yoshino's doing?"

"Yes."

He said that while viewing the city covered in ice and Kotori replied back to him.

"It is not a situation where you can take your time leisurely and make plans. The rain water was supposed to be drained originally but even that got frozen up, if this situation continues there might be a chance that serious damage could be caused to the ground and underground shelter."

After taking a deep breath, Kotori continued on.

"—The only ones that can stop Yoshino are you, and that puppet. Will you go for it?"

"Of course. I can't leave Yoshino and the city like this anymore."

"……………Shin, I have one thing to say too, is it okay?"

And, from the intercam, he heard a sleepy voice. It was Reine.

"………………I did a lot of investigating but—it would seem, your question was not necessarily a misunderstanding."

Speaking of the—Question, it was probably what Shidou asked, when Yoshino visited his house a few days ago.

Now that he thought about it, he felt that Kotori did mention she would get Reine to investigate it.

"……………Since we don't have time I will tell you the brief details. Yoshino is—"

Reine explained the situation briefly.

"………………"

The same time when he heard that, a feeling of his heart being tightly squeezed, passed throughout Shidou's whole body.

But—mysteriously it wasn't that surprising.

The only feeling he had was an agreement of, aah, if it's Yoshino then, it's understandable——

And the absolute conviction of, as expected I need to save the girl.

"…………Kotori."

He looked at the city again and took a breath. He then made his determination by, hitting his chest a few times which was beating violently.

She might have guessed Shidou's intention just by that, Kotori's voice resounded back.

"—Very well. Run straight to the right, until you get out of the main street. Looking at the speed and the direction Yoshino is heading, you will reach there in approximately 5 minutes. If it is from that spot you can reach that location before her."

"Roger………!"

Receiving his instructions, he swiftly stepped on the ground firmly. But,

"Hurry and finish increasing her affection level, and give her a kiss."

"………………Uhh."

………………It was a specific way to say it out of the mouth, Shidou became a little shy from that.

"What's wrong? Is there a problem?"

"N-No………….Although it is not about that but……..errr."

Shidou said that while lightly blushing, Kotori made a [haa] sigh like she was tired of him.

"Why are you getting embarrassed now? It's not like this is the first time you've done it."

From Kotoris words, Shidou remembered what had happened inside the department store, his face turned even redder because of that.

"Th………That, might be true but……………No, how’d I put this? Although it was like an accident at that time but...If I am suppose to do it intentionally, then it feels like a crime or something…"

"—Aah, what is this? Is there a chance that Shidou might be a lolicon?"

"…………Th, tha, that's wrong!"

"That reaction. Bull’s-eye? Is your strike-zone from middle school and below? Kyaa—scary. I have to be careful from now on."

Kotori said mischievously.

"Oi oi."

And Shidou replied back while scratching his cheeks.

"No, that won't happen."

No matter how much he wasn't connected by blood, Kotori was his sister and they have been brought up together since they were young.

As expected, there was no way such a thing would happen.

"…………………"

"Kotori?"

"Shut up, hurry up and go!"

It was rare for Kotori, in her oppressive Commander mode, to raise her voice while shouting.

"Wha-What's wrong with her………?"

While Shidou was feeling it was hard to understand her, he dashed in the middle of the cold rain.

He was somehow maintaining his speed, while running on the frozen road.

And immediately he arrived at the main street with no one in sight—he then firmly gripped his foot on the ground.

"—She's coming."

Right after Kotori's warning—immediately, he saw a slow-witted silhouette.

It was a smooth and inorganic form. On its head, long rabbit-like ears. There was no mistake. It was the Angel <Zadkiel> Yoshino summoned.

Shidou, raised his voice until his vocal cords almost got crushed.

"—Yoshinoooooooooooo!"

"…………………!"

Yoshino who was attached to the back of the doll which was moving at extreme speeds, showed some reaction.

It would seem, that she noticed Shidou.

<Zadkiel> that was moving like it was sliding on the frozen road, stopped right in front of Shidou.

And when he thought the slow-witted doll bent its body, Yoshino who was attached to the back, raised her face that was soggy from crying.

"H-Hey, Yoshino. Long time no see."

"…………Shidou-san………"

Yoshino raised her body, and *un* *un* vertically swung her head.

At that occasion, Yoshino pulled out her hand that was inserted in the hole behind <Zadkiel>'s back. On Yoshino's finger many ring-like objects were shining, and from inside <Zadkiel>'s interior, there were thin treads stretched out. Like a puppet, it might be used to control <Zadkiel>'s movements.

"Yoshino, there is something I want to give to you."

"…………?"

After wiping her tears with her sleeves, Yoshino tilted her head as if questioning him.

"Aah, this is—"

And, that moment when Shidou took out the puppet that was kept in his pocket.

"Shidou!"

The same time when Kotori's voice echoed, from behind Shidou a light beam of some sort, was aimed and fired at Yoshino.

The shot grazed the tip of Yoshino's shoulder and her cheek, as it continued on passing behind her.

"Wha…………?"

Shidou's voice clogged up, and he immediately turned his head to look behind him.

Over there was Origami covered with overly exaggerated equipment, and was floating on air while carrying a large cannon.

"O-Origami………"

And what's more, it was not only that. Wondering when it happened, in Shidou and Yoshino's surroundings, AST magicians were gathering around them.

"—That young man over there. It's dangerous. Distance yourself from that girl."

With a voice that was passed through using a machine, the woman that appeared to be the captain made a practical speech.

But,

"U——ah, ah, ah, ah, ah……"

And immediately such a voice came from behind him; Shidou turned his face back to its original direction.

Yoshino looked at the AST members figure and, *tremble* *tremble* her body started trembling.

"…………………Uh."

Shidou, raised his eyebrows and gasped.

"Ah, aaaah, UAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh---------!"

She shouted, Yoshino then inserted both her arms into <Zadkiel> again.

And while spreading an extremely cold air around it, it slides towards its back direction.

"U,Yoshino……….! Wait!"

Shidou's entreaty could not reach.

<Zadkiel> which was being controlled by Yoshino, was *Guuooooooooooooooooo*--------making such sounds while sucking in the surrounding atmosphere.

 

"Th-That is……..!"

Tohka who had been running in the frozen city, was frightened at the scenery she was looking at.

In the cleared up road, she was able to recognize the figures of Shidou, the blue haired girl she saw a few days ago, and also the AST members standing there.

And, the girl driving the doll retreated to the back of the doll and, the doll bent backwards and started sucking in the surrounding atmosphere.

"——Uh."

Tohka felt a cold chilly feeling deep down her stomach.

The only level she could describe that feeling was it an instinct of some sort, but somehow she understood what that was. And that thing was—not something good.

It was hard to put into words but, yes, the shaking of the atmosphere and the moment before Tohka uses <Sandalphon> with all her might to make a final blow, it was extremely similar.

"…………….., shidou!"

Tohka raised her voice.

But, she understood that even if she did call out to him there was no meaning for doing so.

Tohka immediately stomped her heel on the ground.

"<Sandalphon>…………!"

And, she called that name. It was Tohka's final sword, the throne. It was the name of the miracle that held a shape.

"……………………………, Kuh—"

But nothing happened. Tohka distorted her face.

It was not like she did not predict this. She did receive many explanations from Kotori and the others, just in case.

Like what kind of existence Tohka was. And what Kotori and the others were planning to do with Tohka.

And following that process, Tohka was also told why her powers were sealed up.

Naturally, it would be a lie if she wasn't uneasy at first. That's because the power she had until now, suddenly disappeared all in one day.

Depending on the situation, she understood that it was a necessary factor to lead a normal life with Shidou and the other humans.

Honestly speaking—Tohka's current lifestyle was unbearably fun.

Although she was still intolerant of Origami, and still does not completely trust Kotori or Reine.

But, the days passed together with Shidou, were shining radiantly and were flowing with feelings she had never felt before.

—But.

"<Sandalphon>——<Sandalphon>! <Sandalphon>………uh!"

For the sake of saving Shidou, right now, she once again sought for the power that was supposed to be unneeded.

She stomped her heel to the floor, over and over again.

But, no matter how much she tried; <Sandalphon> would not manifest itself.

"Kuh—I beg you……Please come out, <Sandalphon>………!"

She clenched her teeth, and her eyebrows approached each other, while she was close to crying, she continued kicking the floor.

"…………Kuh."

Inside her head, the clear scene of Shidou falling down from the assassination bullet resurfaced.

His stomach completely gouged out. Shidou falling down powerless. Herself not being able to do anything.

She absolutely does not want to experience that again.

—At that moment, the girl's <Zadkiel> moved its head back to its original position.

"………………Uh!"

*wobbling* *shaking* Tohka's mental state, was turning unstable. The tremendous amount of stress which was enough to blow her conscious away was, overrunning inside Tohka's head.

"Ku—a, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

And then, the moment when <Zadkiel> released the condensed cold air from its mouth.


"U-Uuwahh………!?"

Shidou fell on his butt unintentionally.

He was overpowered by <Zadkiel>'s tremendous pressure.

The AST members that were spread out in his surroundings initiated a barrage of attacks on <Zadkiel> when it began sucking in the surrounding atmosphere, but all the attacks were blocked by the surrounding rain.

And thus——an extremely strong stream of cold air was released by Yoshino’s <Zadkiel>.

"Wha——?"

Although he did not know about the details but from the only knowledge he had, it was an attack that would probably rob Shidou of his life, and he somehow expected that this would be the case.

Judging from the timing and speed—it was something that was impossible to avoid.

"Shidou—"

And, he heard Origami's voice, but it was too late. Shidou closed his eyes unintentionally—

After his body was stiff for a few seconds, but feeling no discomfort, he wrung his neck and opened his eyes.

"Thi-This is—?"

And while he was dumbfounded he opened his mouth.

It was because, before Shidou knew it, a giant throne was rising in front of him, and it might have protected Shidou from Yoshino's attack.

"San....<Sandalphon>………….?"

Yes. It was the luxurious throne with the texture of metal. On the steel blue colored armrest, the back of the sword's handle was popping its face out like it was peeping.

That was, none other than Spirit Tohka's peerless weapon—<Sandalphon>.

"Wh-Why is this—?"

"—It’s simple."

From his right ear, Kotori's voice echoed.

"Kotori…………? What does this mean? Wasn't Tohka's power sealed?"

"I told you before. If Tohka's mental state turns unstable, there is a chance that the supposedly sealed powers would counter-flow back, from Shidou to Tohka—Although it is far from her full powers but it was unexpected for her to be able to summon her angel………………Well aren’t you loved, Shidou?"

"Huh……….? S-So why is Tohka's—"

When Shidou was flabbergasted, there were movements in the surroundings.

Shidou was not the only one that was surprised at the throne that suddenly appeared. Yoshino made a face as if she saw something that was out of this world, and immediately controlled <Zadkiel> and used it to run away with incredible speed.

The AST members activated their thrusters and chased after her.

Origami also took a glance at the luxurious throne in front of Shidou, and after making a small frown; she followed the other AST members and chased after Yoshino.

"……………………"

After Shidou has been blankly pre-occupied for a few moments, he immediately opened his eyes wide.

"Oh yeah, I need to chase after Yoshino too—"

And,

"shidou!"

From behind, he heard his name being called out.

It was a cute tone, and a unique intonation. And what was more importantly, the luxurious throne right in front of him. There was no need to figure out who the owner of that voice was—it was Tohka.

"Tohka………huh? Eh—?"

But when Shidou faced towards her, he opened his eyes wide upon Tohka's figure that he was not familiar with seeing.

Tohka was wearing her usual Raizen high school uniform but—whether it's her chest or skirt, her most important parts were, swayed with a beautiful light membrane.



"Tohka, what is that………….?"

"Nu?"

When Shidou said that, Tohka drop her sights down and looked at her own body while blinking in surprise.

"Ooo!? What is this! AstralDress!?"

It would seem that she has finally realized what her current state is after being pointed out. Tohka raised a surprised voice.

And after a few moments, of patting and touching the light membrane, she immediately raised her face and returned her sights to Shidou's direction.

"More importantly—shidou, are you okay? Are you injured?"

"Ah………aah. Thanks to you."

Shidou replied while looking up at the luxurious throne rising in front of him.

And when he did that, Tohka looked away awkwardly and continued on with a shaky voice.

"Err………..about that, I, I am sorry………in a lot of ways."

"Eh…………?"

When Shidou replied blankly, Tohka [muumuu] gave a groan.

"That's why………! I was, irritated by something I don't know and……err, I couldn't express my gratitude to shidou………since I caused many problems so—I always, wanted to apologize to you……"

"No……………that, it was my fault anyway………"

Although he was supposed to show some courtesy on denying Tohka's words but—there was no time, now.

Shidou *gulp* swallowed his saliva.

The Angel <Sandalphon> and also the AstralDress, which belongs to the Spirit known as Tohka.

Even she was not in the complete condition but it does not change the facts of her still having superpower that exceeds mankind.

The Spirit powers that could oppose Yoshino's <Zadkiel>. And also the AST's CR units.

Shidou immersed himself with his thoughts for a few seconds and fixed his eyes back to Tohka.

"—Tohka, I have a request."

"Nu……? Why the sudden formalities?"

Tohka wrung her neck curiously.

Shidou fell to his knees without any hesitation at all, and lowered his head very low.

"Shi-shidou?"

"—I beg you. Lend me your power. I know asking something like this from you is unreasonable. But, I want—her, I have to save Yoshino no matter what…………!"

"…………………"

After she was silent for a moment, Tohka echoed her voice a little.

"The Yoshino you're talking about—is that girl?"

"Aah."

"…………Uh."

After shortening her breath, Tohka continued on with her words. She was somewhat—sad.

"……………I see. As I thought, that girl is important. —More than...me."

"……………Uh? Who said something like that?"

Shidou raised his face, and saw Tohka's eyes.

"Eh……………?"

"That’s wrong—It's not something like....that."

"Shidou. That's dangerous. Don't tell Tohka any unnecessary information—"

He ignored what Kotori said and opened his lips.

"That girl—is the same as you, Tohka."

"Same………?"

"Aah, Yoshino is the same as you——a Spirit."

"……………!? That girl is?"

Tohka made a dubious voice while raising her eyebrows.

"—That is not all. Because she...also holds powers that she can't do anything about on her own, just like you, she has been feeling pain all this time…………!"

"……………"

"I—promised her. That I will become a hero and I will save her. ………But, with only my power, I can't even chase after her………!"

Once again, he lowered his head deeply.

"I beg you, Tohka. Please lend me…………your power!"

"…………………"

The silence flowed by.

But—it did not continue for very long.

*Suuuu--…..haaaaaaa*, he heard the sound of someone breathing.

"……………Uh, haha."

The echo of the small laugh was also heard.

When he raised his face, he understood that Tohka was putting her hand on her forehead.

And that mouth, started moving.

"…………Aah, I see. That's right. How did I forget something like this. —The person who saved me, was this kind of man."

"Tohka……?"

Because of the rain, he could not properly hear what Tohka just said. He replied back to her in doubt.

But without replying back, Tohka immediately turned her body around.

"—All I have to do is chase after that girl, right?"

Tohka's dignified voice was shaking inside Shidou's eardrum, as if it was erasing the sound of the rain.

"…………, Tohka!"

"Don't say anymore. Time is precious."

After saying that she walked a few steps and, *GAN*! She kicked the luxurious throne <Sandalphon> that was at that spot.

When she did that, the giant throne fell forward and transformed into a weird shape.

"Thi-This is—?"

"Ride it. You're in a hurry right?"

When Tohka rode on the back part of the throne, she urged Shidou to get on.

"Ah, aah…………"

While being perplexed, Shidou followed Tohka and rode on <Sandalphon>. Instead of a throne, it has the appearance of an awkwardly shaped boat or a surf board.

"—Grab on."

And, at the same time Tohka said those short words.

"……………………!?"

With incredible acceleration, <Sandalphon> started sliding on the frozen ground.

His body was attacked by murderous wind pressure and gravity. Shidou immediately clung onto the decorations on the back.

But Tohka was barely grabbing onto anything, and was standing calmly on the back of <Sandalphon> as if she had strong magnets equipped under the soles of her feet.

"If we hold back on the speed we're going to lose sight of her! We're going on like this!"

"O—Ou………"

Inside the incredible wind pressure, Shidou barely let out his voice.

"—Seriously."

And, from the intercam on his right ear, a voice as if someone gave up echoed. It was Kotori.

"Although Tohka responded quite well, it was all good but—that was careless, Shidou."

"Sorry, I will listen to your preaching later…! Just lend me your power now without saying anything, Kotori……!"

When Shidou said that, Kotori made a sigh, and continued talking.

"—Of course. It is our mission to save the Spirits. We will not waste any effort when helping you."

"I'm in debt to you…………!"

And, at that moment <Sandalphon>'s speed increased. Shidou put strength in his neck, and somehow put his foot on the back of <Sandalphon>, and while being supported by Tohka they continued advancing on the ice.

Part 4

"——B team, go on ahead! We're going to trap [Hermit]!"

""Roger!""

From the transmitter, she heard the voices of Ryouko and the other AST members responding to her.

Origami together with 2 members of the AST, delicately changed their direction, and withdrew from the main team chasing after [Hermit].

The target location would be around 1 kilometer ahead from the intersection point.

While the Territory was neutralizing the G force, which was strong enough to normally make someone's consciousness turn hazy or make it impossible to open their eyes due to the wind pressure, they reached the targeted location.

"……………"

And with the feeling of kicking the air she used the brakes, and diverted to that direction.

In her sights, she already caught a glimpse of the [Hermit] advancing in her direction.

At the same time the 3 members as the B team confirmed the sighting, they dispatched themselves to left and right, they made an instruction in their minds and 2 anchor units which were equipped with the thrusters under their armpits, were shot out to the ground.

From the total of 6 anchor units light threads were stretched out, and entangled with each other to form a net.

"——Deployment of the laser web completed, machine Beta and Gamma tied together confirmed."

"Okay, we're going to corner her!"

When Origami said that, she heard Ryouko's shouting voice through the transmitter which was chasing after the [Hermit].

"…………!?"

[Hermit] finally arrived and seemed to have realized that an ambush has been set for her.

But——it was too late.

From the front, and both the left and right the light of an entangled net with magic barred her way.

From behind, Ryouko and the A team were pursuing her.

And from above, Origami and the B team were floating with the completed Laser web.

"A———ah, ah, aah…………——"

The [Hermit] who was attached to the back of the doll, opened her eyes wide and let out a voice filled with despair.

"All members—attack!"

However, the AST did not show any sympathy or mercy to the opposing Spirit.

Together with the orders, all of the AST members pulled out the laser blade <No pain> which is a standard high-powered close combat equipment, and charged at [Hermit].

—But,

"U…….a, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh—!?"

The same time with [Hermit]'s scream, there was an incredible turbulence occurring in the surrounding.

And the raindrops that were pouring down froze up and turned into hail, swirled around and covering [Hermit]; it became the shape of a blizzard dome.

Origami did not care about it, and swung down the <No pain> at the ice storm barrier protecting [Hermit].

However, there was an immediate change.

From the point that touched the barrier, the <No pain>'s blade and Origami's surrounding Territory were making a cracking sound and begun to freeze up.

Origami immediately, made the sword <No pain> vanish, and de-activated her Territory.

"……………Ku——"

The weight of her body and the equipments she was wearing, suddenly returned and the scenery which she was clearly visible until now turned blurry and she became unable to see.

In addition to that, the piercing cold air that was filled in the city and the cold raindrops pouring down from the sky, attacked Origami's body for the first time.

In the blink of an eye, from the greenhouse environment it became something like climbing a snow mountain in the middle of winter. Her heart made a big leap as if she got frightened, and it made Origami's breathing painful.

"Basic Territory re-activate."

Inside the exhausting feeling close to making her fainting, she somehow managed to get that language out of her mouth.

When she did that, an invisible barrier once again manifested around Origami, and gently made her body float. She activated her thrusters, and somehow managed to escape from [Hermit]'s barrier.

"Kuh…………Everyone, are you alright!?"

Ryouko's voice was heard. They might have used the same method as Origami to escape [Hermit]'s barrier too.

But when all the responding voices were counted, including Origami, the total was only 5.

2 more people probably got frozen together with their Territory.

"…………………"

Origami brought her eyes to the blizzard dome that was born on top of the frozen road.

Goooooooooooooo——it was making low howls while winding up a whirlpool, it has a hemisphere of an estimated radius of 10 meters.

The ice bullets imbued with the Spirit's mana raged, and formed a fortress of cold air.

Plasma blade and the Territory which normally has no substance were also frozen, it became obviously clear that this isn't a normal blizzard.

"Tsk…………this is annoying. What are we going to do about this?"

"—It is not like there is no way."

She having said that remark, she sent the data of the barrier which she had scanned earlier ago to the other members.

"This is……"

"Yes. The value of mana covering the barrier is not a big deal. It will react to the magic output of our Territory, and would temporarily focus its defensive power on that one spot."

"Which means……in a de-activated Territory condition, we won't get frozen?"

"Probably."

When Origami said that, Ryouko groaned with difficulty.

"That doesn't sound so realistic. No matter how much we can escape getting frozen up, it is still a barrier with lumps of ice bullets whirling around it. Although the wiring suits has some bullet-proof properties built-in but…………I don't think our body would hold out until we reach her."

Ryouko said that, and another member raised her opinion.

"How about—a bombardment of attacks using a gun with no magic applied to them."

"…………That would also difficult. Even if by any chance we were able to pass through the barrier, the Spirit still has its AstralDress you know? Using a physical attack which is not covered in magic, we wouldn’t even cause any injury to the Spirit after all."

That is true, what Ryouko said actually does make sense.

The Spirits' AstralDress, can only be broken by the magic output released by the Realizer.

However, the barrier of this blizzard that is covering the surrounding has that kind of magic readings.

It is a 2 layered wall of different attributes. That was a troublesome thing.

But, Origami activated her thrusters and, flew up to the sky.

"Origami?"

"Doing it like this is okay."

Origami muttered that, cast her eyes down and prepared her breathing, to increase her focus.

And in her surrounding, the territory that was deployed which normally has a radius of 3 meters instantly expanded to nearly 10 meters.

The radius of the territory, the more it expanded, the lower the density would become which causes its ability value to drop.

The territory now which had now expanded to a 10 meter class radius would probably not be able to stop the Spirits attacks.

But—right now this was okay. Just like that Origami got close to a residential apartment nearby.

"——!"

—*GOGOGOGOGO*……!

The top part of the building that enters the range of the expanded Territory got twisted out, and was grabbed mid-air.

The concrete of the outer wall was peeling off, the heat insulated materials were shredding, and a sound that was painful to the ears sounded and the concrete foundation of the building was forcibly twisted out. It might be the furniture of the offices inside the building, whether its personal computers or documents these things were leaked out of the Territory, and falling away separately.

It was quite heavy. Her brain started to get the intense burden and a violent headache attacked Origami.

"O-Origami………!? What the heck are you doing?"

Origami didn't care about her and continue making the top part of the building float, she then flew above the [Hermit]'s barrier.



And then, after taking a small breath she said,

"Crush her, with a good amount of materials. With this, the barrier should de-activate for an instant. And we aim that."

"…………Seriously, you're always so reckless……!"

After Ryouko said that with a sigh mixed in it, she gave her orders.

"Everyone, did you hear that!? Although it is rough but there seems to be no other way. All members, charge output to maximum and standby outside the barrier's range! Everyone is going to attack at the same time when the barrier disappears!"

""Roger!""

The remaining AST wizards, were readying their stance with all of their equipments and activated their Realizers.

Origami prepared by breathing, and swung down the hand that was carrying the building.

The lump of metal and concrete that has an incredible weight, dropped right down towards the blizzard dome.

—But,

Origami distorted her eyebrows a little.

On the building parts that she had just dropped, she was attracted to one line on it, and following along with the line, the giant lump of concrete got split into two.

"…………………"

No—that was not all.

The separated debris was chopped finely into pieces and what's more it all happened in a flash.

By the time it touched the ground, all of it turned into fragments and smaller debris.

And the [Hermit]'s barrier was—still, going strong.

"This is—"

And the moment she made that voice, from her ear *Beep* *Beep* an ear hurting buzzer got delivered.

"Origami! Th-The Spirit readings increased! This reading is—"

Before Ryouko could even finish, Origami made the Territory which had expanded to almost 10 meter class, condense to almost 2 meters which is smaller than her usual one.

The large-scaled equipments that were struck outside the Territory field followed the laws of gravity and fell to the ground.

At that moment—in front of Origami, night colored hair danced.

"…………!"

At the Territory that was jammed together to increase the defensive characteristics, an intense burden was forced on it.

There was no need to even think about the reason. It was because the girl that appeared right in front of her, came slicing at Origami with her sword.

"Fuun, you defended against that huh?"

"……………Yatogami...Tohka."

Origami said that name like she was groaning, and drew out the laser blade <No pain> from her hips, and released a sword strike at Tohka whose body was covered here and there by her thin AstralDress.

"To——"

After Tohka dodged that in a flash, she rested her legs on top of the rooftop fence on a nearby building.

"What are you doing here?"

While facing the sword of light at her, she asked the Tohka that suddenly appeared.

While flipping her front hair that was wet from the rain to the back, Tohka made an inappropriate smile.

"—Fuun, sorry about that, I will not let you disturb shidou."

"………………"

Despite wondering why Shidou's name came up, Origami fixed her grip on <No pain>.

"Kuh—why did [Princess] appear here? Did she come here to save [Hermit]?"

Ryouko said that irritated.

Yes. The Spirit with an AAA rank—codename [Princess].

From the girl in front of her, the Spirit reading which usually can't be detected was now, giving out a weak signal.

"——Kuh, we'll deal with [Hermit] later. All members change your target to [Princess]!"

Ryouko shouted—it might be the most appropriate decision.

It might be the chance to shoot [Hermit] but they would be helpless if [Princess] attacked them, when they are focusing on shooting.

The barrier was certainly a problem but as long as they take some distance from it, the [Hermit] would not commence an attack on her own, it was a natural decision to postpone her attack.

But—she wondered why.

Ryouko and the others floated up from the ground, and looked at Tohka who was looking in their direction; she felt that Tohka made a small nod. It was like—her expectations were going along as planned.

However, there was not enough time for careful consideration. When Tohka kicked the building fence, she once again lifted her sword and approached Origami.

"Kuh—"

Origami fixed her grip on her sword of light and, kicked the sky to accept her challenge.

Part 5

Going back 3 minutes before the, situation.

"—What is that!? shidou!"

On the <Sandalphon> that was riding on the frozen road with super speed, Shidou was supported by Tohka and was barely holding on. When Tohka said that, Shidou raised his face accordingly.

"………………Wha…………!"

It was quite a strange scenery.

On the ground a whirling blizzard, it was a beautifully made hemisphere—and surrounding it were the AST wizards, who were preparing themselves with their exaggerated weapons.

"What the heck—is that……….!"

"………………It's the barrier Yoshino constructed. Fumu, it was made quite well."

The moment Shidou said that, Reine explained briefly the analytical results on the dome of cold air.

Magic—which means, it was a fortress of ice that commences an auto-counterattack when it reacts to the output of AST's CR units magic attacks.

From Reine's information, Shidou simplified it even further before explaining it to Tohka. Tohka [muu……] put her hands under her jaws and groaned difficultly.

And, this time, Kotori's voice was shaking his right ear eardrum.

"Things have become troubling. With it like that, no one can get close to Yoshino."

If thinking normally, it was true.

But—*Gulp* Shidou drank down his saliva and, [No] moved his lips.

There's one more. There was something that was still bothering him.

"Although it is something that we have to test to find out but……but it might not be exactly necessary."

"What did you say?"

And, a change appeared in the scenery further in front.

When he thought that Origami floated to the sky, she tore out the top part of a nearby building, and transported it above Yoshino's barrier.

"Wha……?"

"—Tsk, is she planning to shatter the barrier like that? That's quite a drastic way to do it."

Kotori, said it irritatingly.

"Wha-What should we do to—"

And, the moment Shidou said that.

"—Un."

Tohka who was standing nearby him shook her throat a little.

"shidou is going to use that method of some sort...that you know about...to save that Yoshino something?"

"…………No, err………I don't know whether it's possible or not—"

When she said that, he clenched his teeth.

"—No, there is a way. I will do something about it……definitely."

"I see."

When Tohka said that, *grin*, and she raised the edge of her lips.

"Tohka……?"

"Then, I'll leave that problem to shidou. Leave the AST or whatever to me. I definitely won't...let them disturb shidou."

Tohka left those words, and ran on forward from the <Sandalphon> that was still moving—when she grabbed the handle of the sword that was sprung out of the pointed end at the back of the throne.

She then kicked the back of the chair just like that, and flew in midair—she flew towards the direction of Origami, who was still carrying the building.

"Tha....that girl……….!"

While Shidou was still clinging onto <Sandalphon> that was still moving, he opened his eyes wide in surprise.

But, he immediately bit the inside of his mouth and fixed his thoughts, and sternly faced forward.

The thing she was going to do now was dangerous, but he was not going to shout on how reckless it was.

The Spirit Tohka. The girl that had finally managed to escape the endless cycle of battles.

That girl was now—to save Yoshino—and also to support Shidou's determination, has once again jumped into the battlefield.

Other than repaying back that resolution, there are no other existing actions that Shidou could do now to be forgiven—!

Shidou lowered his body, and while clinging onto <Sandalphon>, he rushed towards Yoshino's barrier.

And in the middle of going there, to make his final confirmation, Shidou asked Kotori a question.

"—Kotori. There is something I want to confirm with you."

"What is it?"

"Since it was something that I was not really worried about, there was one thing………I had forgotten to ask. I...on the day when Tohka's power was sealed—was shot by Origami right?"

Yes. If Shidou memories are correct. On that day, Shidou was mistakenly sniped by Origami.

And then, he was injured, with a wound that a normal person would not be saved from.

After a silence of one beat, Kotori replied back.

"Yes. —That's the truth."

"What on earth……was that? Is that also, among my abilities that is unexplainable?"

"…………That would be, half correct and half wrong."

"And you're saying?"

When he asked back, after Kotori made a groan like she was in a dilemma, she then continued her words.

"It is exactly true that it is among Shidou's ability. By any occasion when your body has received a life-threatening damage, your body will be ignited with fire and, once again be revived. It is a shameful undead monster cheat ability. —It is not like, we are, letting it remain unexplainable."

Shidou stared into wonder.

But—there is no time for that now.

"—Right now, I will not ask for what the reason is for now. But there is something I want to ask again. Even if I get injured by a life-threatening injury, I can recover from that. There are no mistakes there right?"

"—Yes. That is an affirmative."

Kotori replied back, Shidou took a deep breath.

"………That's great. If that was my imagination then, I would be heading to my death right now."

"…………Shidou...Don't tell me you plan to..."

And—by the time Kotori was saying that, the building that was floating on the sky was cut into pieces by Tohka, it became fragments of concretes and fell to the ground below.

Immediately, the AST members in the surrounding area, changed their targets to Tohka, and floated to the sky.

With that distraction, the <Sandalphon> that Shidou was riding on, managed to reach the base of Yoshino's barrier.

Or perhaps—with an overly excess vigor, the pointed end of the throne thrust into the barrier.

"Eek…………!?"

*Gakun* a strong trembling attacked Shidou.

But, he could not remain surprised for long. The part which <Sandalphon>touched when it touched the barrier, while an incredibly high pitched shriek was sounding, it was getting frozen too.

It definitely, must have reacted to <Sandalphon>'s Mana.

"This is bad…………"

When Shidou got off <Sandalphon> in a panic, he was standing right in front of the massive blizzard in the shape of a whirlpool.

It was a barrier of raging ice storms. When he saw it right in front of him, the intensity of it was a huge difference.

"Yoshino—is inside this."

After mumbling, he moved the puppet from his pocket to his clothes.

He then bent his body forward to cover it—and Shidou took one step forward.

"Shidou, please stop. What are you planning to do?"

From his right ear, restraining words entered. But Shidou did not stop his legs.

"—Uh, are you planning to enter the barrier with just your body? And only by depending on your recovery powers? It’s too reckless. Stop it!"

From those admirable words that make him think that it was not from the Commander mode, Shidou made a dry laugh.

"Oi oi………During the time I was shot, I heard that you weren't even a little agitated you know?"

"The situation at that time was different. In the area where the blizzard is blowing in, the outer circumference of the internal barrier is 5 meters from the target. It's 5 meters you understand? In that distance, it's like advancing while getting shot by a shotgun, you get it? And what's more, if Mana is detected inside that radius, you will be frozen like Tohka's <Sandalphon>"

And going on and on, Kotori continued talking.

"Do you understand what I am saying? I am saying during the time you are in the outer edge of the barrier, your wounds will not heal. The difference is huge compared to being shot by one bullet. If your ability runs out half way, there is no mistake you will die!?"

"……………Mana— So my recovery abilities, is the powers of a Spirit huh?"

"……………Uh."

He heard the sound of Kotori choking.

But, Shidou did not stop his legs.

It was understandable that this was a stupid move, but he could not stop.

That's because Shidou made a promise.

That he will save Yoshino. And he himself—will become Yoshino's hero.

After taking a deep breath, he took a step inside the barrier.

"Shidou—! Shidou! Stop!"

Kotori unusually started shouting desperately.

"—Stop………..uh, Onii-cha—"

But reaching at the end of the voice, in Shidou's ear, he could only hear the sound of the violent blizzard.

Part 6

"U, e………….., e…………uh."

In the center of the barrier, Yoshino was squatting on the back of <Zadkiel>, and was crying.

It a very quiet area that one would not think to be inside a raging blizzard. Only the sound of Yoshino's weeping and sniffling could be heard reverberating loudly.

She was very scared and could not go outside. But, over here—was quite, lonely.

"Yo...shi...non……uh……"

With a voice filled with tears, she called the name of her friend.

"Y.E.S."

"………………!?"

Yoshino twitched her shoulders in surprise, and immediately raised her head and looked around.

"——!"

And then, Yoshino wiped her tears and opened her eyes wide.

That's because right at the border of the outer edge and the inner part of the barrier, she caught sight of a puppet she was familiar with.

"!, Yoshinon……!?"

Yoshino shouted and jumped off <Zadkiel>'s back, and ran to that spot.

There was no way Yoshino could have made a mistake.

That puppet was unmistakably Yoshino's friend [Yoshinon], which had been missing for the past few days.

But—

"………………Hii…………!"

*Thud*!.

From behind [Yoshinon], someone fell inside and Yoshino instinctively stopped her legs.

No—accurately speaking, the person who fell inside was the one wearing [Yoshinon] on their hand.

She could not tell who it was by the appearance.

That was because the person who fell down had his whole body covered in blood stains and injuries.

"Uh………"

That person must have forcibly entered Yoshino's barrier. From the body that fell down, a large amount of blood flowed out into the area around him.

Yoshino's eyes were sure of it. This was, instead of describing it as a human, much closer to a corpse.

But immediately Yoshino no longer needed to examine the body.

That was because---suddenly, the body she thought was half-dead, started glowing. It was like the numerous wounds made on the body were getting licked by flames that were crawling on their surface.

While Yoshino was dumbfounded, the person's injuries vanished.

And—finally the facial features could be grasped.

"……………!? Shidou-sa………"

Yoshino let out a voice filled in shock.

Yes, that worn-out human was Itsuka Shidou.

Shidou rolled and, when he faced upwards on that spot, *fuuuuuuu*……………He let out a deep breath.

"I……I thought I was going to die…"

Shidou, who barely made it inside the barrier, took in big breaths. And after his heart, which was about to stop, calmed down, he slowly raised his body up.

Even though the outer part of the barrier was a machine-gun-like furious snowstorm, the inside of it was really quiet. It was an area that had nothing weird in it. It somehow reminded him of the inside of an igloo.

And then right inside it, there was a giant doll and a girl with eyes like a rabbits' which were dyed red.

"—Yoshino!"

When Shidou called her, he stood up while carrying the rabbit puppet.

"As promised, I—came to save you…………!"

When he did that, after Yoshino stared blankly,

"U,e,eeeeeeeee…………………"

The tears in her eyes accumulated and she started crying.

"Uwah……………..,wai— D-Don't cry. Di-Did I somehow do something bad……..?"

Shidou hastily moved his hands, but Yoshino swung her head sideways.

"You're………………. Wrong, I am…………….happy………you………..came……….."

After she said that, [Ueeeeee…….] she started crying again.

While Shidou made a wry laugh at that appearance, he used his right hand and gently patted Yoshino's head.

And then, with the puppet that was put on his left hand, *clatter* *clatter*, he tried moving it.

"Ya-ha-, long time no see. Have you been doing great?"

He was mumbling his mouth while speaking to make it look like it was ventriloquism.

Although it was an act that was poorly executed, Yoshino happily swung her head many times to the front.

If you were to think normally, it might be a weird scene.

That was because, [Yoshinon] is a doll that moves by Yoshino's ventriloquism.

But—

Shidou remembered what Reine said a while ago.

 

"……………From the results of the investigation, regarding the current Spirit class we are monitoring, we found out there was one more small and unusual reading hidden there."

"Errr…………which means—?"

"……………It essentially means that there is another personality existing inside Yoshino that only appears when she wears the puppet."

"!, Tha-That means………….Yoshino knows that about herself too?"

"…………………Maybe so, maybe not. But there is one thing for certain, the person that you were having a conversation with in the department store, instead of it being Yoshino, was the other personality that appeared through the medium of the puppet. Yoshino at that time will leave all the interactions to Yoshinon and is close to a state where she purposely closes her heart. That is the reason why her powers were not sealed even though she was kissed."

"……………"

"…………There is one more thing. Regarding the reason why Yoshinon appears, there is something very interesting about it."

"Something interesting?"

"…………Aah, there are many reasons why she gave birth to a new personality other than the one she already had but—the most popular was to probably run away from things like ill-treatment, strong agony or stress. In short, the reason she accidentally made another personality was to make it as if someone else were taking on the painful experiences instead of herself."

"So that means………that was expected, it was painful that the AST was aiming for her life—?"

"…………Noo. —This is quite hard to believe but this girl, in order to avoid injuring humans instead of herself, probably gave birth to a new personality in order to restrain her own powers”

"——Uh."

"…………….Shin. Please, you definitely have to save that girl. You would be lying………if you do not want to go save this kind and gentle little girl."

 

—At that conversation.

"……………………"

"Than...k …………….you, very much."

And, unexpectedly, Yoshino lowered her head.

"Eh?"

"…………For, saving, Yoshinon."

After Shidou scratched his cheek, [aah] he nodded.

"The next one—Yoshino. I am going to save you."

"Eh………….?"

Yoshino replied back curiously. Shidou then went on his knees to look Yoshino in the eyes.

He could not hear anything from the intercam. It must have gotten broken while he was passing through the barrier.

It was painful not to know what Yoshino's mental states were but there was no choice.

Either way, he had to do it.

The contact with Yoshino when she lost her puppet and the conversation he just had.

In only those times, he believed that he gained the minimum requirements for Yoshino's trust.

"—Errr, about that, Yoshino. In order to save you—errm, there is one thing that you have to do."

"What……is it?"

While Shidou let his saliva flow down his throat which was dry from the nervousness, he continued his words.

"………Errm, don't think of me as a weird guy please ……Do you still remember about the kiss?"

In an instant Yoshino made a blank face, and immediately swung her head vertically.

"……Uh, I, I see. Errrr——ermm…..in order to save you, you will have to do it………No, I really don't mean it in a weird way! This is—"

And—

"—Eh?"

And Shidou's voice stopped there.

The reason was simple—Yoshino abruptly closed her eyes.

And on Shidou's lips *Chu*, she gave him a kiss.

At that moment, Shidou was attacked by a...somehow warm feeling flowing into his body,

"……………….!? Yo-Yoshino………?"

"…………………?"

Yoshino tilted her head to the side a little.

"Did………………I do...it wrong……?"

"N-No………you're not wrong……….but..."

When Shidou said that, Yoshino nodded in consent.

"If it is what………..Shidou-san says, I will believe it."

At that moment—<Zadkiel>, that was standing idly behind Yoshino and the inner dress that was covering her, turned into light particles and melted into the atmosphere.

And then………the blizzard barrier surrounding Yoshino and Shidou, suddenly lost its energy and disappeared.

Yoshino's shoulders twitched in surprise.

"………………, Shidou,san………….this—"

Yoshino was in a state where she had no idea what was going on, so her eyes spun around and around. And in order to cover her half-naked appearance, she crouched down.

Somehow when she made that kind of reaction, Shidou started to get embarrassed again as well.

"Ah…………aah, un, errr……………I think you have a lot of things you want to say! Bu-But for right now—"

And—at that moment.

"Un………"

Yoshino squinted her eyes from the brightness. After the clouds cleared up—the sunlight was, pouring in.

"It's warm—"

It was as if it was the first time for Yoshino to see the sun, she was in admiration.

No, it really might be her first time seeing it.

Shidou recalled back. He does not know whether it is Yoshino's nature to control water and cold air, but it felt like every time when she appeared in this world, rain was always falling.

"Pre~tty."

She dazedly, mumbled.

Yoshino said that while looking at the sky.

Shidou also, got attracted to it and raised his face.

And then, he immediately found what Yoshino was staring at.

In the sky that was erased from the gray colored clouds—there was a magnificent rainbow, spanning through it.

—But, that aftertaste did not last for very long. Unexpectedly both Shidou and Yoshino bodies were covered with a mysterious floating feeling.

"Nowah………!"

"…………!?"

There was a memory about this feeling. It was <Fraxinus>'s transport device.

Kotori must have, retrieved them after confirming the sealing was completed.

"………………and."

After a moment, Shidou's view was no longer of the city covered in ice, but instead it was the ship's interior of <Fraxinus> he was used to seeing.

"…………….!? ……………!?"

As expected Yoshino was blinking in surprise.

And—Shidou turned to the other presence that appeared at that area.

"Ooo…………so you are safe, shidou."

Over there was—Tohka standing with her Raizen high school uniform which was burnt in some places. It would seem that, together with Shidou and Yoshino, Tohka who had been in the middle of a battle was also retrieved.

"Tohka—! Ar-Are you okay!?"

The moment Shidou said that, Tohka made a sigh—the hand that was holding the sword and the light membranes that appeared on her body important parts, disappeared into thin air.

"Umu. It's not a big deal………instead of that, isn't your condition much more worse?"

"Ah……………"

Having that pointed out; Shidou scratched the back of his head.

Shidou's clothes right now were dyed red with his own blood, and incidentally it was also filled with holes.

"Hii……………"

And, Yoshino raised a scared voice, and hid behind Shidou's shadow.

It would seem that she was still not good with Tohka. Shidou unintentionally made a dry laugh.

"It's okay Yoshino. This girl is Tohka. She was with me—when we went to save you."

When Shidou said that, Yoshino timidly brought her eyes to Tohka's face.

"Toh...ka………san."

"………………nu."

After Tohka saw Yoshino with a complicated expression, [umu] she then made a small nod.

"Hmm……?"

And, Shidou eyebrows frowned.

Coming from the corridor, loud footsteps were echoing.

Then the door of the transporter room opened, and Kotori entered with her breathing roughly.

"Ko-Kotori…………?"

After Shidou mouthed his surprise at the sudden intrusion, Kotori stared at Shidou's whole body as if she was examining it.

And then,

"You—stupid brother………!"

"Higuuh………….!?"

Kotori held her fist aloft with all her strength and, let out a strong punch at Shidou's solar plexus.

What's more, a miraculous twist was also added to the punch. It was an excellent cork screw.

"Guhaa…………Wha……what the heck are you doing!?"

"Doing something so stupid………! You should only listen to what I say!"

"Uh? What are you—?"

Shidou wanted to raise an accusing voice but—he was stopped half-way through.

The reason is simple. It was because the sister that had just released a punch was now, pressing her face into Shidou's chest, and putting her arms around his body just like that, *Gyuu*, she inserted strength into her arms.

"…………You have to properly, make proper calculations on the recovery limit beforehand……..! And move accordingly to what I say, it will definitely be safer…………"

"Koto...ri…………"

Shidou exhaled, and patted Kotori's head.

"Sorry, for doing something rash."

"…………You seriously were thoughtless. Even an amoeba is more prudent. You half-celled creature."

While Kotori was still pushing her face into his chest, *Blow*! And she blew her nose, and finally let go of his body.

Shidou whose chest part of his shirt was smeared with snot, was scratching his cheeks while making a wry smile.

However, Kotori was showing that she wasn't bothered about that. Speaking of which—the moment her face left Shidou's chest, her usual addressing method of the cold-tongued Commander mode returned.

"—Seriously, moving as you like……All of you are getting examined from head to the toe. So follow me."

She said that and *Pui* turned her head away, and left through the corridor.

"Haha…………"

After Shidou made a powerless laugh, he then turned his face towards Yoshino and Tohka.

"Okay……well then, let's go………Hmm……?"

He wondered why, Tohka looked at Shidou with an unhappy face.

"Tohka…………? Is something wrong?"

"!, No-Nothing! Hurry up and let's go!"

When she said that, Tohka walked heavily.

"What's wrong………….with her?"

After saying that, Shidou, moved his legs together with Yoshino and chased after Tohka's back.

 

Translation Notes and References

Jump up↑ Birdlime is an adhesive substance used in trapping birds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdlime


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