You guys probably won't be seeing any updates for Hyouketsu Kyoukai for a while, so just a heads up.
"I won't tell Monica about the mateki within your body."
Before the gate that led to the grounds of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
Kagura, who was sitting in the pilot's seat, turned her head around and said that as the cruising vehicle came to a halt.
"Are you fine with that?"
Sheltis asked uneasily. The girl replied with her usual cold expression,
"Yes. However, I think she'll come to know of it some day. When that happens, it's best that you're mentally prepared to tell her the truth yourself."
The dual sword wielder whom Monica admired three years ago — the fact that the young man who had fallen into the Garden of Corrupted Song <Eden> was still alive.
Not only so, he was carrying mateki in his body as well.
"...... I guess I do need to prepare myself mentally for that."
"I'll leave that to you. Let's not talk about that for now. Here, this is for you."
She passed him a piece of paper.
"This is the pass to my communication network. We're about to become teammates, so we should be able to communicate with each other at the very least."
Monica, Kagura, and Sheltis.
That's three, the minimum number of people required to take on missions.
"Well then, I'll be going. You should hurry to the hospital on the twenty-second floor as well."
"Mmm. See you."
Kagura drove the floating vehicle towards the hangar.
As he stood at the quiet area in front of the gate of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and listened to the sounds of the engine, Sheltis turned his body away to face the direction which they came from — the western area of nature sector.
...... The 'Golden' Maha. And his companions whom I do not know of.
"— Not like it matters."
He stretched his hands to touch the holster that held his two swords on his back.
The water tank that incubated Yuugenshu, and the other which caged another Yuugenshu.
He had no idea what those two things signified, but he'll stop them if they endanger the safety of the floating continent as well as the safety of the Priestesses.
No matter when and how many times it happens, he would have to stop them. That was all there was to it.
"Don't even think about harming Ymy."
That must be the reason.
The reason he returned to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
Two hundred and forty-seventh story of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.
In a tower built specially for the Queen and the Priestesses, one of the floors was specially reserved for the accommodation of the VIPs. Kagura was running breathlessly in the corridor of that floor.
"Huh...... Huh...... Ha..... Just you wait, Eyriey!"
After bidding Sheltis goodbye and parking the electric vehicle into the hangar, Kagura immediately took the main elevator to make her way to the floor.
— All so that she could challenge Eyriey.
"I-It should be here...... right? I'll...... I'll take a breather first."
She cannot allow Eyriey to see her in such a breathless state. Kagura took a few deep breathes to regulate her breathing...... Phew. Alright, this should be okay.
Came the cute sound of the doorbell.
"Hello, who is this?"
A relaxed voice came through the speakers.
"It's me. May I come in?"
"Oh— It's Kagura, isn't it? Sure, come on in."
There was the disengaging sound of the mechanical lock of the room. Kagura kicked the door open and rushed into the room.
"Oh, it's Kagura without her mechanical helmet. You ears are really cute."
"People of Nell? That's rare."
Eyriey was sitting on the sofa of the room, while the machine crystal <Ilis> was placed on the table next to her.
"My ears are of no importance! ...... Fu...... Fufu. That carefree attitude of yours shall end right now!"
Kagura stretched out her hand all of the sudden and pointed her finger at Eyriey.
"Eyriey, I am here to issue you a challenge!"
"Oh, what? If it's a challenge, then I'll accept it—"
Eyriey nodded her head with a cup of red tea in a hand. With that, Kagura began chanting,
"Zazakazada............ da...... zakarakara...... zadadadazakakakazadazakazada............ rada...... rakazazakakadada...... za...... zaza...... karakara...... zadadadada............. There! What's the meaning behind that?"
"Hmm? What's with that disgusting quaternary numeral system? Ah, no wait, it should be a ternary numeral system."
"I do think it's a ternary numeral system as well. It is intricately disguised as a quaternary numeral system, but the 'ra' probably functions as a comma to signify a phrase."
The answers came instantly.
"Ah, so that's the opinion of Ilis as well huh?"
"—Uhhh!? T-That easily!?"
They answered her immediately.
She lost totally.
"Oh? What's wrong, Kagura? If you wish to challenge me, you should shoot your question."
Kagura clenched her fists as she looked at the confused Eyriey.
"E-Eyriey, you're an idiot! That's the reason why I hate you the most——!"
"W-Whoa! What's wrong, Kagura!? Calm down!"
— It was already deep into the night when she woke up. A time when most people in the tower would be asleep already.
Someone had pulled open the curtains, allowing the moonlight to shine in.
The clear bluish-white moonlight happened to shine onto her eyelids through the slits of the curtain. That must have been what caused her to wake up.
"...... My face's a mess. Onee-sama would definitely scold me if she sees me like this."
She must have cried herself to sleep. I'sa laughed wryly when she saw her puffy eyelids in the reflection of the glass panes.
Next to the chair that she slept on.
She tried calling out to her comatose partner who was on a medical ventilator. He obviously could not reply. Despite that, she still wished to call his name.
Pulling the blanket down slightly, she could see her bandaged arms.
"The ward...... is so cold."
I'sa gripped tightly onto his fingers — fingers that had became rugged due to the constant holding of the guns. As she gripped onto his hands quietly to offer him warmth—
I'sa's heart almost jumped out of her mouth when someone tapped on her shoulders all of a sudden.
"B-Boss...... sorry, Captain Run! W-W-Why are you here!?"
I'sa straightened herself immediately when she saw the girl who was roughly the same age as her.
She was a Sennenshi, with her lion's badge shimmering under the moonlight.
"I'm here to pay him a visit, of course. I had attended lots of meetings, and that occupied me a lot of my time. I asked the doctors before coming here, and it seems like no one is in critical condition, right?"
"Y-Yes! But of course. The members of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> are no weaklings."
"I see. That's good."
*Cree* Run leaned herself onto the old chair.
"Speaking about the meeting which ran through the night, it's about that incident related to you guys—"
That was obvious.
It was the incident of them encountering a mysterious shinryoku practitioner at the nature sector. Three squads were crushed by that person, so the commanders of the Law Enforcement Bureau had considered sending in a specialized team over.
"It's resolved already."
"That strange shinryoku practitioner? He was taught a harsh lesson."
"...... Captain Run did that?"
"Idiot— how can that be? I intended to go, but someone got ahead of me."
Run pouted and crossed her arms with a bored expression.
"You should know who that person is, don't you?"
Someone who could defeat that monster. Someone other than the Sennenshi.
I'sa could only think of one person who fits the criteria.
How could that be possible? No, but...... it could only he him.
"I'll go in your stead."
"I'sa, you can stay by his side. I'll be fine by myself."
The dual-wield cadet guard.
...... He really went.
...... And he actually won.
"A-Ahaha...... So that's what happened."
Even though she was exhausted from crying. Despite the fact that her tears had dried up.
— A drop of tear slid down her cheek.
"That's all from me. I'll be heading off."
"W-Wait a second, Boss."
She addressed her superior as that in a fluster, but Run did not seem to mind.
"If you see him...... can you thank him for me?"
"Haa? You should be doing that yourself."
I'sa shook her head gently in response to Run's frowning face.
"I don't think I'll be able to say that. Because if I ever see him, I'll definitely be saying something else."
Her superior asked her with a serious expression.
I'sa clenched her fist and looked at Run with a determined expression.
"............ 'I'll definitely not lose the next time'."
"So you do know what is expected from you."
Run put on an innocent smile.
"We'll definitely win the next time round — including that shinryoku practitioner which gave us so much trouble. That's an order."
"Mmm. We'll not lose."
That shinryoku practitioner as well as the dual sword wielder. She will definitely not lose to them ever again.
I'sa nodded her head repeatedly as she grabbed onto the hands of her partner.
At the entrance of the hospital.
"Looks like...... it's not the right time for me to enter."
Realizing that I'sa and Run were chatting happily in the ward, Sheltis walked away restlessly.
"Oh well, it's already this late into the night. There's always tomorrow."
First, he received treatment in the hospital, followed by a lengthy lecture from Instructor Yumelda which lasted for a few hours...... and before he knew it, it was already late into the night.
— It's about time I head back to sleep as well.
"The doctor must have been really angry, right? She must have said how reckless you are and so on."
"I am already sick of hearing that."
A familiar voice came from his back. He knew who person was without even turning around.
"But of course. I'll definitely be furious if I was the doctor as well."
The night lights were shining on a Priestess in the dim corridor.
The first thing that came to his eyes was her pale golden hair. Next was the pure white vestment with a touch of blue. And finally—
"I'm here to pay a visit...... Run and I...... and everyone else were attending the meeting till late at night."
An elegant and gentle girl was standing before him with a smile on her face.
"Under the orders of Queen Salah, Run was to prepare herself for the trip to the nature sector. Whenever things are serious enough for the Sennenshi to be activated, the Priestesses will be notified about it as well...... But before that could happen, a certain someone had already settled everything by himself without any concern of his own health and safety."
Ymy could not help but to giggle when she emphasized on 'a certain someone'.
"The upper brass of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> were still discussing this issue. Who is the person who defeated the squads? From the way things are, it seems like they had secretly dispatched an investigation team to look into the matter."
"They are investigating the Government Sector?"
"...... They did not say it, but I guess they will be focusing their attention on them."
Sheltis thought of that possibility as well. If that man belonged to a faction other than Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>, then the only faction left would be the Government Sector. Moreover, both water tanks were located on the Floating Archipelagos <Lagoon> that were under the jurisdiction of the Government Sector.
"But...... Is it really okay for us to do that?"
The young girl walked over to his side.
"I felt disgusted when I heard that. Why do we have to suspect each other? We are all living on the floating continent."
Ymy Ele Soufflenictole.
She was a Priestess who protects the floating continent. At that time, her eyes were filled with grief.
...... She did say this during her speech.
"From now on, let's support each other...... Because we are fellow companions who are all living on the floating continent, and residing in the same tower."
An unknown amount of time passed as he stared at the profile of her depressed face.
"I can't really say it very well."
Suppressing the frustration for his inability to express the thoughts of his mind, Sheltis tried to voice his honest feelings.
"But I think there is no need for you to worry about this."
"It's the job for the directors of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> to worry about the negotiations with the Government Sector. We are not omnipotent. Of course, thinking itself is not a bad thing, but thinking too much into things will not help either. Only a Priestess can do the things a Priestess is supposed to do — aren't you the one who said that in front of everyone?"
That caused Ymy's stiff expressions to soften a little.
"Ah...... Well, I am really happy...... so you heard my speech?"
"Mmm. I thought your performance was spectacular."
There was no one else around the entrance of hospital.
Ymy had been listening to him quietly for a while. She finally asked hesitantly,
"...... So Sheltis thinks so as well? Am I really thinking too much?"
"It's the same for me too. Just today, I thought about too many things, but what I saw was only a narrow portion of the whole thing. It's about time I reflect on that."
That applied to his impression of Kagura. He originally thought of her as a blunt and wary person, so he never expect that innocent smile of hers after she removed her mechanical helmet.
"...... Queen Salah said almost the same things as you did, Sheltis."
"Queen Salah? That Queen?"
"Mmm. I consulted her in something, and she gave me the same answer as well. Since you are a Priestess, you will have to first play the role as a Priestess...... she is right."
Her smile was mixed with a hint of worry—
His childhood friend nodded her head and changed her tone into a light one.
"I'll work even harder so as not to let down my name as the Priestess of Baptism...... And so, please give me a little more time in regards to your mateki."
"I think I can promise you this. It may take me a while, but I'll definitely treat your mateki. Because when you've finally become my Sennenshi—"
Ymy suddenly stretched out her hands.
Under the illumination of the lights in the dim corridor, the fingertips of the young girl seemed incredibly white. They stopped short of coming into contact with his chest.
It was a distance that is closer, and yet further away than anyone else — the repulsion from Elbert Resonance forbids them to come into contact.
Her eyes were originally filled with grief, but the young girl finally overcame that sadness and broke into a smile.
"There will be a distance between us should this continue on, am I right? I'll think of a way to deal with the mateki in Sheltis' body. Therefore, all you have to do is to focus on your things and continue to do your best."
Ymy tapped her own chest confidently.
Sheltis could not help but to blush when he saw her childish and innocent smile.
He could only nod his head embarrassingly in response to her gaze.
"Well then, I—"
Upon being stared at by the gaze of Ymy that was filled with anticipation, Sheltis could only offer a wry smile—
"I'll do my best. In lots of areas."
"Ah, that's unfair! Tell me what they are! That's the most important part!"
"...... I put it that way precisely because it's embarrassing, so please spare me from that."