Part 2 of chapter 1. Enjoy.
—The winds were very comfortable.
A gust of wind rustled his tea-red hair, as though it was trying to give him a push from behind.
"...... Has it been two years since I have came to the living sector, away from Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>?"
Sheltis, who was standing at the side of the main street with a sense of loss, lifted his head up.
The cotton-like clouds were blown into pieces by the blowing winds, then they each flew in their own directions. Regardless of rain or shine, or even snow, there was never a single day where the streets do not have winds blowing.
That is the trait of the city- no, the continent where all humans live in.
Floating continent - Ouvie Kurea.
That is the name of the continent beneath their feet, and at the same time, the name of the world.
The continent floating in the skies ten-thousand meters above the everlasting frozen seas - that is what Ouvie Kurea, the only land where humans can live on.
No one knows how, or why, the continent floats in the sky. However, according to legends, this continent has been floating above the frozen world ever since a thousand years ago.
Since history has begun to be recorded down, humans has always been living on this piece of floating continent.
Countless floating islands around Ouvie Kurea have huge windmills installed on them, to harness on the endless wind energy to produce electricity.
The electricity will then be sent to Ouvie Kurea via electric cables from the island to the main continent.
Thus, the civilization has naturally moved itself towards the age of machinery. The bikes and cars travelling along the roads are mostly electric-powered floating vehicles, that moves while floating a few centimeters above the ground. Lifting his head towards the sky, one can see the streamlined aircraft gliding through the sky gracefully.
"...... Right, where did Yuto go?"
Hearing the sounds of footsteps behind him, Sheltis turned to his back, and saw a young girl running towards him in stumbling steps.
"Shel-nii, are you ready?"
"Mmmm, we can leave now."
Yuto firmly attached herself to Sheltis the moment he nodded.
"Shel-nii, I want that!"
The young girl was hopping about, while stretching her arms out at the same time. What did she mean? She wished to walk while holding hands at the same time? Just when Sheltis was about to ask, Yuto lifted her head and smiled.
"Yuto wants a ride."
"Ah- I see."
He knelt down, placed the girl onto his shoulders, then stood up once again.
"Waa- this is high! I am taller than Shel-nii!"
"W-Wait Yuto! Don't move about, or I can't stand steadily."
After calming down the excited girl on his shoulders, Sheltis began to walk towards the northern end of the main street.
The roads on the floating continent are nearly all paved with light greyish-green bricks. It is said that the surface, which shines in a bright silver under the rays of the sun, is being regulated by some thermostat, which gives it the ability to maintain a comfortable temperature despite the seasonal changes.
"Shel-nii, look behind you. The weather is great, and we can see the tower clearly!"
Hearing Yuto's words, he turned his body backwards.
At a considerable distance apart from the Second Residential Sector, in the center of the floating continent-
Stood a huge white tower that goes into the into the sky.
Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
Built in the center of the Ouvie Kurea, it is the largest structure on the continent.
It is two thousand meters tall, with a total of two hundred and ninety one stories. It is a tower that stretches past the heights of the birds and the clouds, extending straight towards the skies.
"Yuto still remembers what Shel-nii had said to me. Queen-sama is at the highest story of the tower, while the level below are the five Priestess-sama!"
The Queen and the five Priestess. There is not one who lives in Ouvie Kurea that does not know them. That towering Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, is a tower built specially for them.
That's right. That is because they are in charge of the 'barriers' which protects this floating continent-
"Eh? Shel-nii hates that tower? Yuto likes it a lot - its glittering look is really pretty."
"I don't hate it...... It's just that I had strong memories of there."
—Ymy, how are you doing?
Under the glaring sunlight, Sheltis narrowed his eyes and looked at the peak of the tower.
—Ever since I have came to the living sector, I understand even more strongly about the fact that humans can only live such a peaceful life on the floating continents due to the relentless hard work of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
"Memories? Shel-nii had been to that tower before?"
Carrying Yuto, who had her mouth wide in surprise, Sheltis shook his head while smiling with a hint of bitterness.
"That is something that happened years ago. Alright, Eyriey is still waiting for us at the plaza, right? We will be scolded by her again if we don't go there quickly."
"Ah, that's right! Shel-nii, hurry up! Run!"
"Yes yes...... Yuto, I think you have forgotten about it cleanly."
He turned back towards the direction of the plaza.
With his back against the huge tower, Sheltis began to walk.
"Isn't it great, Shel-nii! There are a lot of pretty flags!"
Upon reaching the plaza, Yuto began to exclaim happily.
"...... I see, the Festival of the Stars is about to approach."
After putting Yuto onto the ground, Sheltis took a look around the plaza.
Having left the man-made pavements, the huge green pasture greeted them before their eyes.
In the huge empty space wide enough to hold a short-distance sprinting competition, the dark green turf seemed lively under the good care of the people, and children were running about bare-footed. At the sides of the plaza, were flags of different colors fluttering in the winds. Below the flags, were all sorts of simple stalls, lined up together.
The countless flags and stalls were probably in preparation for the festival that was about to be held on the plaza.
"How's it, Shel-nii? I really look forward to the festival! I heard there are lots of stalls selling things to eat!"
"...... Before that, we have something more pressing to deal with."
Sheltis crossed his arms, and looked in front of him.
A huge metallic-grey robot was chasing a teenage girl who was wearing an overalls.
"Sh...... Sheltis! Hurry up and save me——!"
That was a robot with a body full of spikes, which looked like it was made of countless thin sharp metallic needles.
Its height was about as tall as Sheltis. And it was nimbly chasing the girl who was desperately fleeing, with speed and smooth actions unlike that of a machine.
"Ah. Its actions are really smooth this time round. Eyriey must have put in quite a lot of effort, right?"
"W...... Wait, Sheltis! Now is not the time for you to be impressed............ Whoa! I-It hurts! It really hurts! Stop seeking shelter there, come and help me quick~~~~~!"
After being poked by the robot's sharp fingers in the back, Eyriey yelled while looking back.
With a pair of rich brown eyes, a small body frame with a head full of untidily cut orange hair. She is one year younger than Sheltis, and is an strange sixteen year-old teenage girl who loves to research on machines.
"Then again, it is really impressive this time. Don't you think so, Yuto?"
He looked at the young girl next to him. Yuto's eyes were sparkling brightly as well.
"Mmm. Eyri-nee is really good!"
"St..... Stop talking, hurry up and think of something~~~~"
In the mechanized Ouvie Kurea, exists many robots that can accurately replicate the actions of a human being. Even so, they require a certain level of technical skills to be built. Eyriey was probably the only person out of the whole floating continent who build them from scratch, purely through her personal interests.
"...... Problem is, Eyriey's machines always goes out of control unexpectedly."
After observing for a while, the machine still shown no sign of stopping.
She was always building her machines on the plaza, and they had always went out of control for some unknown reasons. The people on the plaza were thus used to such a scene, and many were even cheering on the two-man chase. There was no one who was afraid.
"Then again, what should I do? The usual?"
"Th...... That's right! Press the stop button behind that fella's back!"
"I am thinking, why didn't you make a remote control that can stop it from afar?"
"The machine lost control just when I was about to make one-"
...... I say, you should at least make the remote first.
Sheltis swallowed the words that were about to come out, and turned them into a sigh of breath.
"Whatever. Yuto, hide at somewhere first. It is dangerous here."
After Yuto had left, he walked towards the robot.
...... Things were slightly more troublesome than usual.
Even though it looked rather hilarious while chasing Eyriey, the robot had a strong engine powering its body, which was not to be ignored. After all, its power is enough to drive a metal frame weighing over a few hundred kilograms. Even a grown adult will fly quite a distance if hit by its arms.
—*thud*. He began his run by lightly kicking off against the ground, then slowly increased his speed. The winds brushed past his ears, while the scenery flowed past him in a blur.
Not waiting for Eyriey to do so, Sheltis' tip of the foot kicked hard against the turf.
A leap that was much higher than the height of a grown man or the robot, as though there was no gravity. Sheltis' right foot landed wickedly on the shoulders of the robot, which was about to reach Eyriey.
*creak*. The processed metal sheet bent with the sound, and the robot's posture was ruined. However, it was not stopping down. Just when Sheltis landed, the opponent's eyes locked onto him.
"Tough...... A simple kick will not make it stop?"
He twisted his body to avoid the incoming left fist, then looked at the assaulting arms that were moving at him like a pair of pincers. The huge mechanical limbs, thin as timber, were coming towards him at a blind angle from above his head......
A faint sound of landing. At then, onlookers who had witnessed everything from the beginning were holding their breaths. That was because the teenage boy's silhouette had blurred in an instant - in the blink of an eye, he had leaped up onto the arms of the robot.
It was all done in an instant. He would be swept away by the arm of the robot should there be any mistake. A normal person's visual acuity and reflexes, would definitely not have allowed him to do all the astounding actions.
He stepped onto the shoulders of the robot after jumping from its arms, and placed his hand on its head. With that, he somersaulted once in the air, then landed on the back of the robot...... Was that the button?
He pressed on a red button protruding from its back. In an instant, the robot stopped moving.
"Right, a huge success...... Eh?"
A strange feeling flashed past his mind, causing Sheltis to blink and stay rooted on the ground.
Despite it being motionless, the robot somehow began to vibrate slightly. That was weird. Typically speaking, the stop button should have been able to stop all moving mechanisms.
"Ah, Sheltis! Hold on a second!"
Eyriey's words broke the silence.
"Please press the green button, as the red one is the emergency self-destruct button."
".................. What did you just say?"
"I said, the 'stop' button is the green one. Do not ever press on the red button."
...... What did I just press?
Sheltis said nothing, and looked at the back of the robot again.
Beneath the huge red button, stood a small green one. Upon closer inspection, the red button had 'Do not press!' written on it in untidy handwriting.
"Could it be that you had already pressed it?"
"Don't install something as dangerous as that——!"
Without any time to run, Sheltis was engulfed by the black smoke emitted from the robot.
"Really- a normal person will not press on a button as obvious as that. Red is the color of warning. Isn't that right, Yuto?"
Yuto and Eyriey were walking happily together hand-in-hand.
"...... Well I guess I am wrong for not confirming carefully."
After a while, Sheltis finally caught up with the two of them.
"Mmm? Ahh, don't worry. It is named as the self-destruct button, but in reality, it is just an ordinary device produces smoke."
"I don't think that's what the problem is!"
He waved his arms with force, and made a firm protest. Despite saying that, as he had immediately jumped away, his body was not blackened by the smoke.
"But still, thanks to you, I was finally saved."
With her overalls full of oil stains, Eyriey said while smiling.
"...... Upon facing that sort of smile, I really can't get mad at you."
"Mmm? Sheltis, what's wrong?"
"No, this...... is nothing."
Sheltis felt really embarrassed by her stare, and turned away subconsciously...... TThat's right, ultimately, he was being involved in things like this out of his own free will. Even though he was busy every single day, deep down it felt quite fulfilling. In the short two years since he has came to the living sector, his current lifestyle was not too bad as well.
"Speaking of that, Shel-nii is really awesome! Everyone was praising about how impressive Shel-nii was!"
What Yuto was talking about was probably what had happened at the plaza.
"Really? I thought it was something rather ordinary."
"No no, stop joking."
Eyriey shook her head.
"I am drenched in cold sweat just by thinking of myself rushing straight at a berserk robot. Its horsepower is not something to joke about. Sheltis did avoid it all right, but if you had been kicked by it, I dare not think about the consequences...... How dangerous!"
"...... Since you said so, then make a smaller robot next time. So that you will not have to worry even if it runs out of control."
Just then, Yuto prodded his back. After getting the girl to sit on his shoulders, Sheltis resumed his steps.
"What can I do? If I did not do tests on a robot of that size, I will not be able to know the actual running conditions of the moving mechanisms. But thanks to that, I can probably finish the customization of the bike before the coming weekend."
Sheltis pondered for a moment. He had no idea what it meant by Eyriey's customization of the bike. Before the weekend...... Is there something happening during then?
"You had forgotten? Didn't everyone agree on going for a barbecue this weekend?"
"That's Yuto, Eyri-nee and Shel-nii-"
Yuto, who was on his shoulders, emphasized that point by moving her legs about.
"I have not heard about it at all."
"That's strange. Yuto did not inform Sheltis about it?"
"Eryi-nee's the one who did not tell Shel-nii?"
With that, both girls gave a stunned expression at the same time. It looked like both of them had expected the other person to inform Sheltis.
"...... Whatever. Weekend, that's the day after tomorrow, right? That was quite a sudden decision - will the shop be able to cope?"
He thought about Chef, who was probably waiting for his return in the kitchen of 'The Two Swans <Albireo>'. If both himself and Eyriey were to take leave on the same day, she will be the only person left in the shop.
"Mmm, I had told her about it, so no worries. Just that Chef had said, 'Better be well prepared, upon returning back here!'."
"Chef was angry? She must have been."
"Doesn't matter. There is a saying, pain comes after gain."
Upon hearing Eyriey talking about it in such a relaxed manner, Sheltis could not help but hug his head and moaned, "My head, which was kicked by Yuto earlier, have began to hurt again."