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Shakugan no Shana:Volume3 Full Text

From Baka-Tsuki
Contents
1 Novel Illustrations
2 Prologue
3 Chapter One - The Fire in The Dark Night
4 Chapter Two - Duel in the Rain
5 Chapter Three - The Various Paths
6 Chapter Four - The Day oI ConIlicts
7 Author's Notes
Novel Illustrations
These are the novel illustrations that were included in volume 3
Front cover & insert Back cover & insert Content page
Front page Page 026
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Page 047 Page 065 Page 099 Page 121
Page 159 Page 175 Page 209
Prologue
In this world. the Power oI Existence has been consumed by the Crimson Denizens. thus causing distortion.
Alastor said so. and. based on my current knowledge. I believe that this saying was correct too.
Yet. Ior me who has been taught such a concept by him (?). Wilhelmina and others even beIore I know
anything else. "this situation is a normal one." A world like this is the reality that is placed beIore my eyes.
and at the same time. like common sense.
For a long time. this world has been continually invaded by its neighbors. the Crimson Denizens. who are
located in another world that "cannot be reached". They do not belong to this world beIore this. and. Ior the
sake oI revealing themselves and to also be able to control things "unrestrainedly". they have to obtain the
Iundamental energy to exist in this world Irom humans. the "Power oI Existence".
Humans who are robbed oI that energy. their existence itselI...... that is to say. all the traces they leIt behind
and the memories oI the people around them completely vanish. missing Irom the Ilow oI the world. And
then. beings who did not exist in this world beIore this appeared. bringing Iorth mysterious events that
should not happen. thus creating dilemmas and unnatural states in that system. causing the original condition
oI the world to distort.
Among the powerIul existences in the Crimson Realm. the "Lords". there were ones who were anxious that
this distortion would eventually cause irreparable calamity at both sides oI the world. For the sake oI
preventing this calamity. they made the painIul decision to exterminate their own kind who consumed the
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"Power oI Existence" in this world.
The "Lords" who wanted to avoid Ioolishness by personally materializing in this world. thus consuming the
"Power oI Existence". chose to resolve it by bestowing power to the human beings who wanted revenge
against the "Denizens"; in return. they were Iorced to sacriIice their whole existence as a tool Ior the
"Lords". (Looks like someone like me who is 'one who existed because she could exist¨ is an exception).
The hunters who possessed the extraordinary ability to hunt the Crimson Denizens are called "Flame Hazes".
All oI these. which normal humans know nothing about. belong to my real world.
For the sake oI protecting the balance oI this world. the call is to exterminate the Denizens.
That is my everything. my existence. and apart Irom that. I had nothing else.
However. aIter coming to this city center. one thing was added to me.
Alastor and Wilhelmina did not give me. "the summoned one". that thing. The other Flame Hazes and
Denizens are only diIIerentiated by the name oI their Iavorite weapons.
Still. I am a Flame Haze known as Nietono no Shana Being a Flame Haze is my everything. my existence.
and only that.
Yet. in this city center. the guy I happened to meet added one thing to me.
A name called 'Shana¨.
And then. aIter that. only that continually changes.
My existence continually changes.
Chapter One - The Fire in The Dark Night
At dusk. under the red sun which is gradually setting along the horizon. at the back alley beside the arrival
terminal at an international airport in Japan. a violent act was occurring.
Fallen amidst the trash at the cul-de-sac. a youth was struggling.
The Iive people surrounding him were youths themselves. They were kicking and sending him Ilying as much
as they wanted and liked.
(Translator's note: The way these teenagers spoke is quite rough.)
"How dirty! Later rubbish scatter around."
The Westerner who was being kicked at was IiIteen years old. The wavy golden hair and the petite body
were being stained with trash.
Apparently. the ones kicking were a group oI Japanese teenagers in their teens respectively. wearing
Iashionable street clothes. Sometimes they would Iorce the people Irom the airport who are not Iamiliar with
the geography - and also Japanese during times when they would not be discovered -to come along with
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them to strip them oI their valuables. a modern way oI robbery.
"Gee. this guy can't even speak Japanese!"
"II he can't speak Japanese. don't come to Japan!"
Outside that circle oI violence. the teenager's dark red iacket Iell onto the Iloor. That thing which was
tailored excellently was smeared with rubbish. as well as its owner. At the area around it. a smooth-surIaced
handkerchieI. pocket tissue. a Iountain pen which looked like it was crushed. et cetera. were scattered.
Obviously. only the wallet which was bulging with bills was seized by one oI them.
'Yo. I am tired oI this already. let's eat earlier. okay?¨
While he was saying this. one oI them trampled on the blond hair into the hair as iI kneading dough.
Another person replied.
"Have you seen the contents oI this guy's wallet? BeIitting a young master indeed. ACTUALLY. I thought oI
Iorcing him to tell us about his companions. and exhort them all. I guess......"
"'I can't speak Japanese'? This IDIOT!" |Translator's Note: The quotation is in English. while the rest.
Japanese.|
Sneering laughter was on every Iace.
To them. their hands-on violence is not an expression oI their dark impulse to destroy and vague anguish. but
an enioyment oI tormenting others. a kind oI game. As Ior dispossessing others oI their possessions. they
were not conscious that it was robbery. "Earning pocket money"; by rephrasing robbery with these trivial
words. its truth was IalsiIied. which made its identiIication diIIicult. OI course they were not conscious oI
their wrongdoings even a bit.
"Why did you let our hopes come to nothing? What a waste oI eIIort! So. it won't do iI you don't let us vent
out our anger. right?"
"Oh. nice...!"
The golden-haired boy got kicked at one side continuously. and could only curl up his body. panting. unable
to even scream. The Iace that could be said to be well-groomed and handsome beIore this was now covered
with dirty smudges. His pathetic. child-like state and his tears served only to stir up the violent nature oI the
punks Iurther.
"I say we take this as an exercise beIore our meal. eh?"
"That's right. take this!" 
They are happily indulged in torturing the kid when suddenly. out oI the blue-
"Stop it! You stinky bugs!!"
A sharp voice halted them in their actions.
"......Eh?"
Shocked. the guys looked towards the opening oI the dead-end Irom which the voice came.
A Ilower that should not be in this terrible place was all they see.
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Standing straight in this dark alley is a girl. so beautiIul that they held their breath unknowingly.
Despite having strikingly similar Iaces with the victim. the golden-haired girl radiated a strong determination.
Wearing a western dress adorned with a butterIly knot at the back. with an elegant hat on her head. she
looked iust like a living French doll.
Sadly. the look that these guys displayed upon seeing her was iust like Iinding a top-graded prey. Their
exclamations directly resulted Irom their worldly desires.
"Hyuu...magic!"
"What a great giIt to come along with!"
"How lucky oI us!"
They did not even remember that it was the girl who has stopped them. Because. other than the most
primitive level oI relationship. they knew no other way to communicate with others. They leave the curled
up. weeping boy and begin to close in on the beautiIul girl slowly. preparing to use the only method oI
human communication that they know.
Yet. the beauty completely ignored their actions. and simply used a pair oI charmingly lovely and gentle blue
eyes to look at the golden hair boy. Her red lips. like Ilower petals. gave oII a sweet and beautiIul voice;
completely diIIerent Irom the one used to stop the guys earlier.
"Gee. Onii-sama. you cannot be like this. I told you to wait Ior me. but you did not listen. and leIt my Cradle
Garden's eIIective range. What are you doing?"
"......He. hehe. onii-sama?"
The guys only picked up the parts they were interested in Irom the words she said.
"So they are brother and sister. how about it? Should we ioin in-"
One oI them said. showing vulgar lust. but this time his words were cut in by the victim.
"Bu-but...I am hungry......"
These bullies were unable to understand the voice that came out Irom that curled-up body. Not that it was in
a Ioreign language that they did not understand. but because it was an eerie voice that upon hearing would
make one ponder. "How can there be such a voice?".
Not alarmed by it. the girl answered in her sweet voice:
"Is that so? But as long as I am not around. you cannot even make up your mind."
"Ohoho......" The girl placed one hand by her mouth. laughing in a cute and enchanting manner.
This perIectly happy laughter. sent a chill down their spines instead.
("What is the matter with these two?")
The gorgeous girl. apart Irom stopping the guys in the beginning. had completely ignored them all along.
Now. she shiIted her eyes Irom her brother. and. continuing to ignore them. looked straight to the innermost
part oI the dead-end.
"Sydonay! What on earth are you here Ior?"
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She shouted out in a serious tone unlike the way she spoke to her brother.
This time. the reply was oI a language that can be understood completely.
"Don't shout out so loudly."
The guys turned back in shock.
Right at the very end oI the dead-end in Iront. a man who was not there beIore was leaning his back against
the wall. standing.
Donned in a black western set was a tall and big-sized guy with white. silvery hair combed backwards. and a
pair oI sunglasses over his eyes.
"This place is still within your Cradle Garden's eIIective range. and basically this should be considered as a
situation outside our contract. right? My duty is only limited to protecting the two oI you Irom the harm oI a
Flame Haze. Besides. this is nothing to Sorath."
So said the man called Sydonay. with a little smile on his Iinely chiseled Iace.
"No way. How can we let this bunch oI dirty. stinky bugs touch my onii-sama...... Ah ah. this is too much!
The clothes that I picked so careIully became like this!? You bunch oI stinky arrogant bugs. there is a limit
to not knowing one's place!"
Even though the guys did not understand what the girl meant in her words. saying that they did not know
their place (iI it were meant to be easier to understand. the phrase would have been put in a shallower
manner like "what are you so boastIul about"). they could at least tell that she was insulting them. Their
habit was to instantly vent out their anger the instant someone annoys them. They stared at the beautiIul girl
once again.
"You actually called us stinky bugs?"
"You are really daring to say that!"
And yet they had already been decisively. or rather. Iatally removed Irom the whole scenario.
Behind them. the golden-haired teenager called Sorath. stood up weakly while shrinking his shoulders.
"Er. err...... Tiriel. can I...... cut these people up...and eat?"
Said the golden hair boy in a voice incomprehensible to the bullies.
Following that. the questioned girl Tiriel cheerIully tilted her head and answered:
"Sure. Ieel Iree to enioy as much as you want. onii-sama."
"I am so sorry that our words seem to be too diIIicult Ior you."
As Sydonay says so carelessly......
"Ha?"
"Hmm?"
At this moment. all the guys were already......
"Aargh!"
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"Oh!"
Swept away by a bloody wind.
"That...?"
The guys who were standing in a line were sliced by a slanting slash Irom the back. As they were spinning in
mid-air. they Iinally understood this:
At the instant oI their death. in their eyes. they saw Sorath. Iully clad in a magniIicent western armor.
brandishing a gigantic sword. and kneeling with a knee on the ground. With soIt. golden hair overIlowing
Irom the helmet without a Iace guard. and a grim. cold expression. his heroic Iigure was iust like the main
character oI a classic Iantasy RPG video game.
Nevertheless. he did not save people.
Just slicing people was also not enough.
He pouted his lips and started to "eat" them.
HalI oI the body in the sky and the remaining halI on the ground began to burn Ierociously. The tip oI the
Ilame stretched out like a thin thread and continuously Ilowed into Sorath's mouth. Although their whole
body was in Ilames. their clothes were unscathed. and their skin did not rot. It's iust that. within the Ilames
the swaying Iigures slowly blurred. shrinking along with the Ilame.
"Because Sorath is a child that cannot even control 'Tatsui no Gen'."
Sydonay's voice which could neither comIort nor inIorm them in them echoed in vain in the back alley.
At that moment. as the Ilame shrunk to the size oI a candlelight. Sorath stopped sucking. The thread that
stretched out Irom the tip oI the Ilame snaps with a "pak" sound. Numerically identical to the number oI
people. the remaining Ilames glittered and danced in the back alley.
"Wow. that's great. onii-sama! You have already learned to leave the Torches in complete numbers. eh?"
Very happy. Tiriel clapped her hands.
Wearing a complete armor suit. Sorath lowered his head slightly. and smiled shyly at his sister.
"Hm...... Yup. because you told me beIore to do my best at times like this. and that I must make a habit out
oI this. or else we would be Iound out."
"Yes. that is right. onii-sama...... You have done very well."
Tiriel. whose cheeks were Ilushed red. hugs her elder brother.
Sorath. being hugged. changed his expression suddenly.
"Because I have to do it. What I really want is not this blunt sword. but a more powerIul one."
Sorath apathetically liIted the enormous sword that was shining with Ireshly red. bloody stains.
Tiriel gently caressed his head and answer:
"Yes. yes. I know. onii-sama."
Sorath's Iace lit up immediately.
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"That katana is very powerIul. right? II I have that. regardless oI whether it is a torch or a Flame Haze. I can
kill them all! That monster torch is called...called......"
"The most troublesome Mystes. which is the Tenmoku Ikko."
Sydonay answered promptly: "That is something which is well-known among both the Crimson Denizens and
the Flame Hazes. It doesn't mean that he is more knowledgeable or what."
Tiriel who had intended to answer that looks displeased. Ignoring her. he continued:
"I do not think that the 'Blood drinker- Blutsauger' blade is blunt to the extent oI you needing to get a new
weapon. Isn't it still sharp when you use it to cut them?"
Sydonay raised the obiect beIore his eyes. and looked at the smooth surIace that had Iresh blood dripping
Irom it.
Tiriel was iust about to retort when...
"...!?"
In place oI her speech. a shriek was about to escape Irom her when she Iorced it back.
Sydonay grabbed one oI the guys who were killed by that slash with one oI his hands.
When did he take it Irom her brother's killing hand? She actually Iailed to notice this.
"Ah. argh......"
Grabbed by his throat. the guy let out a groan unlike a blood-curling scream. As he happened to stand at the
Iurthest side. Sorath's slash curved up Irom his leIt knee to his right thigh. Because oI that. he had not died
yet. So. Sydonay caught him and Iorced him to witness how his Iellow companions were eaten. At the
extraordinary scene. Iacing inevitable death. his Iace was Iilled with sheer terror.
"II we set up a Füzetsu you people would be eaten away without realizing it...... But. our strategy is to try
our best not to use Jizaihö. Since people rarely come to this place. we can iust skip this step. Besides. you
were the ones who picked this place. so regret upon your own misIortune!"
AIter Iinished talking on his own. Sydonay retracted his arm which was extended together with his clothes
iust to look at the cut surIace. to its original length. Then he brought the guy beIore Tiriel's eyes......
"Give me this one."
The way he raised the guy was like how one toasts.
"You were oI no use at all. yet when it comes to rewards. you never Iorget about them. eh?"
Against Tiriel's sneer. Sydonay smirked and replied:
"When you really need me. naturally. I will help out. Yet. Ior me who has a principle to '(always) complete
my tasks'. the reward Ior it is iust so little. To take my reward whenever possible should be okay. right?"
Saying that. his arm once again curved to a U shape. making the guy Iace him. With a dumbIounded look on
his Iace. the person was already unconscious.
"He has lost his senses. What a boring meal right Irom the start."
Sydonay sneered. and literally "ate" the guy. He opened his mouth wide. and swallowed the guy completely.
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A moment later. he became a Ilame in Sydonay's mouth and slid down his throat. With a Iinal "puh" |burp|
sound. a Ilame was spat out as a Iinishing touch.
Tiriel Irowned at this.
"The way you eat is really gross. Senpen Sydonay."
"It diIIers Irom each individual. Aizenta Tiriel. I can oI course learn to be like you too." (Note: The term.
Aizen |engulIed in love| came Irom "Aizen-Myo-o").
"Hmph!" Tiriel reIused to reply.
At this moment. Sorath whom she was hugging. began to squirm like a little child.
"Go. go. Tiriel! Let's go Iind it quickly!"
"Okay. okay. This is the reason we come to such a rural and rundown place aIter all."
"Yeah. I know. This place is related to that thing which is going to be mine soon."
At Sorath's conIident statement. Sydonay shrugged his shoulders.
"Aizenii Sorath's Yokubö no Kyükaku deserves its name aIter all. II he can manipulate it more
unrestrainedly. I guess it would be a piece oI cake to get lots oI hidden treasures."
Why are they always bored to the extent oI Iinding toys that can only be played alone? Unable to
comprehend them. Tiriel sighed and smiled.
"That is because my onii-sama's heart is always Iocused on seeking it. Thus. the heart connects the thing he
needs to him."
"To IulIill your brother's wish. we came all the way to this remote place to Iollow Flame Hazes. ignoring all
the dangers. Oh I see. No wonder you are always known as 'Dekiai no Höyö."
"Yup. Exactly. That's me."
It was said that in the recent years. a Flame Haze took away the blade named aIter the original owner.
Tenmoku Ikko. and rampaged in this area oI East Asia. Regarding whose contractor it was...... as there had
not been any Crimson Denizens who survived aIter encountering it. rumors which were spread were mere
guesses. But in a nutshell. it is certain that the enemy was very hard to deal with.
Though it might not be the reason. due to the disappearance oI the Tenmoku Ikko. Flame Hazes once again
come into this area. To the Crimson Denizens. the reappearance oI Baniö no Shite aIter remaining hidden Ior
long period oI time. and the witnessing oI the Chöshi no Yomite showed that in these recent years the area
oI East Asia had become a zone where dangers lurked at all corners.
Actually. beIore coming to Japan. the Iaraway country that gave birth to the Tenmoku Ikko. they had
already encountered the "Baniö no Shite" in Hong Kong. Thanks to Sydonay who was hired to be their
bodyguard. they managed to avoid that unnecessary battle. though it was nevertheless a close call.
'The reason we came to such a dangerous place. is all due to my love as "Aizenta" towards my onii-sama......'
Tiriel thought. and liIted the cheeks oI the brother she loved with her palms.
"So onii-sama. beIore we begin the chase. please share with me."
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"Yeah Tiriel. we must Iind Nietono no Shana quickly!!"
Sorath grinned. and without hesitating. placed his lips against the slightly opened lips oI his sister. As usual.
he pecked lightly on the pale. peach-red Ilower petals. moisturizing them beIore sticking his tongue in. He
reached out to her waist roughly and tightly hugged her as though trying to be one with her.
Finally. the two intertwined tongues were stained with a layer oI golden Ilames- the Power oI Existence.
usually obtained by devouring humans. Sorath used a mouth-to-mouth method to pass it to Tiriel.
"Aahhhh~"
With an innocent passion. Sorath sought the price Ior sharing the power to his beloved sister. greedily.
"Huh. uunnhhh......"
Tiriel was bound in a violent caress. and bright. golden yellow sparks like incomplete sighs escaped Irom the
edge oI the lips.
II this were to be used to describe the kissing scene between a knight and a
princess. it shall be deemed too depraved. Without any choice. Sydonay
sighed and leaned against the wall again. The two would probably remain
like this Ior quite some time. He used the Jizaihö that converts 'will' into
'words'. the "Tatsui no Gen"......
(As Iar as I know. in this country it is called "to catch Iire".
At the same time he laughed.
(What a suitable description. isn't it?)
Under his sunglasses. Sydonay giggled and released his energy.
Suddenly. the residues oI the teenagers Iloating in mid-air and lying on the
ground Iormed their outer appearances iust like when they were still alive.
but slightly bloated. The guys recovered to a state oI "very shallow
existence". and. as iI they were unable to see other three at all. slowly walked out oI the alley with
dumbIounded expressions and staggering Iootsteps.
To return to a liIe that gradually disappeared- Iive replacements.
Above the alley in between buildings. the dark gloomy sky Iaintly reIlected the lights oI the city at night.
Continuously and passionately kissing each other was the perverted yet beautiIul "Aizen siblings". While
admiring the spectacular sight. Senpen Sydonay enioyed himselI by smoking tobacco at the same time.
Taking a cigarette box out oI his chest pocket. his Iingers tapped lightly against it to take one oI the
cigarettes out. Pointing his Iinger upwards. a Ilame burst naturally Irom his Iingertip.
The moonlight could not be seen. In this dark night. the Ilame had an eerily purple color.
Shana's delicate hand soItly touched the rough Iinger oI Yüii Sakai who was beside her.
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"Füzetsu."
A word comes out oI the equally delicate lips. Instantly. Iiery red Ilames appeared at a certain corner oI the
city oI Misaki.
The Ilames kept on expanding. with the rooItop oI the Sakai household on which the two oI them were as
the center. Iorming a barrier oI rosy clouds. Within the barrier. the Ilames turned into eerie wordings which
began to draw a totem on the surIace oI the Iloor.
This is the Iormation oI Füzetsu that causes the area within the barrier to be cut oII and isolated Irom the
outside world. thus creating a secluded dimension that has its own causality.
Inside the barrier which Iaintly shone with a Iiery red color. wearing his sports iacket in place oI his paiamas.
Yüii gazed at the girl beside him- the girl who was an ordinary high school student. whose body underwent
severe destruction. resulting in maior alterations oI her past and Iuture.
Despite looking iust like an eleven or twelve-year-old. her stern and heroic Iace impressed one deeply. That
petite Iigure gave oII a contrastingly overwhelming existence. Wrapped in a black overcoat. sitting side by
side with Yüii. this scene looked iust like a painting. (Although she was wearing loose paiamas and slippers
under the black coat)
Just by one look. one could tell that this girl is not a human.
Because her straight and smooth long hair gave oII a Iiery red glow. Iire sparks dispersed all over the area.
AIter that. her tightly closed eyes opened slowly.
Her pupils were Iiery red as well.
...... Looking at her...... One would Ieel himselI deeply immersed in love......
This lady is someone whose duty is to annihilate the Crimson Denizens Irom another world. who consume
the Power oI Existence within humans. As a member oI those bearing supernatural powers. the Flame
Hazes. she had made a contract with the Demon God. Teniö no Göka. thereIore abandoning her human
identity to become the Enpatsu Shakugan no Uchite.
Yüii gave her a name- Shana.
"......?"
At this moment. Yüii realized that Shana was looking at him with a puzzled expression.
Questioningly. she noted:
"Yüii. iust now your Power oI Existence Ilowed in more than usual."
"Ah. so you've realized?"
Shana used her blazing eyes to sweep across the area.
"I can Ieel it. since the Füzetsu is bigger than usual."
"Ah ah. oh I see...... Actually. lately I have been able to clearly Ieel my Power oI Existence. That is why I
am giving it a try. to see iI I can increase the amount oI power input through my own will."
Hearing Yüii's words. Shana's expression became severe:
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"You must not attempt to casually control your Power oI Existence while your skills are still not up to it. II
you Iail to operate it properly and all your power Ilows out. you would cease to exist. you know."
"So...... Sorry."
Yüii apologized immediately. But then......
(Was she worried about me iust now?)
Deep inside. he Ielt an optimistic gladness. It had been more than a month since they met. They had had
disagreements and conIlicts beIore. so to think that he still became closer with the alooI and unpredictable
Shana......
Yüii who thought he know the current situation very well. was splashed with cold water.
(Translator's Notes: Alsator uses kisama as 'you' when he reIers to Yüii.)
"Since your senses are so well developed and sharp. Irom now on in our special night-time training. we shall
add an extra module to let you learn how to control your powers."
The wet blanket happened to be a deep. coarse male voice which sounded like a distant roar oI thunder. It
came Irom the pendant hanging in Iront oI Shana's chest. It was attached by a silver chain around her neck.
The outer rim oI the black spherical obiect had golden rings crossed around it.
The owner oI the voice is. the Teniö no Göka Alastor.
One oI the Lords oI the Crimson Realm who had bestowed the powers oI a Flame Haze upon Shana. His
main body lies dormant within Shana. Only his consciousness is expressed through this pendant-shaped
divine artiIact "Cocytus".
Towards this demonic being Irom another dimension. who is her Iather-cum-brother-cum-teacher-
cum-Iriend. Shana cheerIully agreed:
"That is right. Good idea."
"Great! I've iust dug my own grave."
Yüii looked through the rosy clouds at the dark sky above him.
"Hehe." Shana laughed and replied:
"Does it matter? Until now. during our daily night-time practice. all you do is iust watching me perIorm.
Now. by doing this. instead oI being iust a spectator. you will be involved in our activities both during day
and night. Then your everyday liIe won't be so mundane."
"Huh...Iine. At least it is better than discovering things alone. and to make a big. irreparable blunder."
"That's right. For today. iust careIully Ieel how I use my powers."
Seeing Shana liIting her chest and putting on an air oI haughtiness. Yüii smiled cheekily and remarked:
"And it was only yesterday when you were saying that you were still not good enough..."
"Shut up. shut up. shut up! Just keep quiet and Ieel it!"
Exclaiming loudly. she stood up. Her Ilame-red hair and her black coat danced with the wind as she gripped
Yüii by his Iinger to hold her position.
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For the past month. both oI them had been consistently conducting Flame Haze trainings on top oI the
Füzetsu-enveloped Sakai house. Their aim is to let their body get used to it. and also to continually training
the brand new power that was awakened in the battle one month ago. to the point where they can use it at
will.
This awakened power was set ablaze right beIore Yüii's eyes.
"-Ah!"
With a screech. Iiery red Ilames burst out Irom Shana's back. Iorming a pair oI spread out wings. Falling
short oI the grandeur oI an angel. yet too dazzling and resplendent to be described as a devil: The perIect
image oI a warrior.
Yüii once again channeled his Power oI Existence into Shana's body through their held hands. He could Ieel
the power being converted into a diIIerent Iorm. He Ielt that he- not his body. but he himselI being drained.
As a chilly depression seeps into him. the part oI him that was drained out becomes her wings. giving him a
peaceIul Ieeling oI being one with her. He himselI......not his body. but he himselI Ielt a chilly Ieeling like a
part oI him was being scraped oII. That part oI him became her wings. and there was a sense oI unity which
resembled tranquillity.
It is impossible Ior a normal human to transIer their Power oI Existence to others like this. as the person
would disappear right aIter that.
(Only I can do this.)
This also means that. Yüii Sakai who was Ieeling subtly satisIied right now. is not a human.
To be more precise. he is the remnants oI the Yüii Sakai who was once a human. More than a month ago. the
real Yüii's Power oI Existence was consumed by a Crimson Denizen. He had actually died. AIter that. the
Denizen used the remains to create a replacement Ior the deceased Yüii- a Torch. That's what he is right
now.
AIter Ieeling the sudden distortions in the world due to disappearances in existence. Flame Hazes use this as
a clue to track down Denizens. Torches are made to minimize the distortions that the Flame Hazes sense to
interIere with their tracking.
A torch retains the memories and the personality oI the person when he was still alive. It slowly uses up the
remaining Power oI Existence leIt in it. Even though its usual liIe carries on. its strength. presence. its
relationships with its surroundings and its place in the world will gradually disappear.
Thus. when people are accustomed to not needing this person. this person will slowly Iade away unnoticed.
The memories oI the people around it. traces that prove it once existed. will all vanish. Even these people
will not notice any anomalies.
In other words. a complete annihilation. which is worse than mere death...... This is the Iate oI the people
who are consumed by Crimson Denizens; the ultimate end Ior torches.
Now. standing here. Yüii Sakai is one oI them.
But. luckily (he Ieels so himselI). he is what is known as a Mystes. meaning a special torch that has a
Crimson Denizen's Högu within him. The Högu within him is called Reiii Maigo. It is capable oI interIering
with all phenomena associated with time. thus being known as the greatest oI the great treasures among the
Crimson Denizens.
This is an everlasting device made by a Lord oI Crimson Realm. who Iell in love with a human oI this world.
13 oI 103
and wanted to make the lover immortal. ThereIore. it has the ability to restore all the Power oI Existence
spent throughout the day at midnight. everyday.
This Högu is too powerIul to be wielded by a mortal. However. thanks to it. Yüii is able to retain his original
mentality and personality. and continue to lead a normal liIe.
Just like now. BeIore midnight. he ccould use his Power oI Existence to help Shana with her training. since it
will recover by midnight.
"Wow! You are already able to materialize the wings in an instant."
Alastor awarded a passing grade.
Shana's ecstatic expression lasted Ior merely one second. as the wings disintegrated and scattered
everywhere as Iire sparks. Putting on a serious expression. she mused:
"Since we have used these wings in actual combat beIore. the body still can remember that Ieeling. But Ior
the other parts. to reach such a level......more time is needed."
"Don't rush. Just do it slowly."
"Okay."
Unlike the Crimson Denizens who extract the Power oI Existence Irom others Ior their own use. Flame
Hazes like Shana's motility comes Irom using their own power within the contractor. who acts as a vessel Ior
the Lord. It is similar to one's physical strength. which can be restored aIter resting. Nevertheless. to them
who may be in a battleIield at any time. to use their own energy without conserving any is the worst thing to
do.
That is why Shana and Alastor let Yüii who possesses the ability oI complete regeneration. to transIer his
energy to help with Shana's training. Treating him like a bottle that will never run dry. he has indeed been a
great help to Shana.
(Hmph. since you Iind it convenient. Ieel Iree to use it as much as you want.)
Yüii had accepted the Iact as well. He has already accepted his own existence.
A little energy Ilowed out Irom his hand. This energy kept on wriggling and tangling within Shana's body.
Yüii Iocused. preparing to capture the Ieeling as it changes.
"Ugh..."
Shana gave a low moan. and stretched her other empty hand out to the Iront.
Just like those which constructed the wings. blazing-red Iire sparks began to dance around her arm. Like a
tornado oI Ilame. they shot up to the sky. expanding outwards at the same time. The density oI the Iire
sparks decreased. Surrounding the Iigure that Iorms a 3-D shape. the obiect looked like it was made Irom a
blazing red paper.
In this manner. a gigantic arm that was about ten meters in length appeared slowly within the dark night.
Sharp claws stretched out Irom its Iingertips. One could not tell whether it is Ilesh or armor.
Yüii remembered this gigantic obiect Iormed by the Ilames.
He had seen it once beIore. Demon God oI the Crimson Realm- Teniö no Göka Alastor took on this Iorm as
14 oI 103
he made his appearance...... But as Iar as he could remember. that was even larger. and the thick Ilames
Iormed a magniIicent scene beyond comparison.
Now Shana was undergoing a training to completely control Alastor's power. BeIore this. she had almost
solely relied on her physical abilities in combat. II she could use and control this power. then her combating
style would naturally have more variety.
Nevertheless. in reality. the unique abilities that comes with a contract with a Lord oI the Crimson Realm is
restricted. Apparently. this Iact caused her to Ieel inIerior. Since the second night aIter the battle a month
ago. she had been learning enthusiastically how to use this power. The current result is that she was able to
Iorm the wings in an instant. Now. the Iollowing step was to try to let a part oI Alastor materialize.
"It looks smaller than what I have seen beIore."
Hearing Yüii's Irank remark. Shana mildly replied:
"This is because I have purposely controlled the size oI appearance. II I let the arm appear in its original
Iorm. you would probably be used up to the very last drop immediately."
"Is...... Is that so?"
Yüii's cheek cramped.
Shana Iound his expression Iunny. Then. she swung that arm IorceIully. aIter which she Irowned deeply and
pouted:
"...... As I thought. it is not working."
The monstrous arm was unable to catch up with Shana's arm movement. Rotating Irom her shoulder.
countless Iire sparks dropped oII. and the whole thing became limp. The arm looked as iI it was paper-made.
"You still have not learned how to maintain the power that constitutes the Iorm."
Alastor gave her a much lower grade.
"Okay. I will work harder."
Shana seemed down. She straightened her arm and Iormed a Iist. And the other arm also Iormed a Iist in
synchrony.
"I told you not to rush. Let's try to Iorm a shape with the Nietono no Shana sword. I'll let my energy Ilow
through the katana. You should be able to get used to the Ieeling easier this way."
"Okay."
Shana nodded and opened her tight Iist. Synchronizing with this action. the gigantic arm spread out wide.
Yüii was captivated by the dancing. blossoming Iire sparks. Beside him. Shana pulled out a blade Irom the
black overcoat at her leIt waist. By right. iudging Irom its size. it should be impossible to be kept there.
That is the Högu that she uses Ior deIense- the invincible katana. Nietono no Shana.
Which was also how Yüii came up with the name "Shana".
The thick blade is almost as long as the height oI its owner. Gleaming with a killer's instinct. it was thrust
Iorward.
15 oI 103
"Huh!"
At Shana's loud cuing exclamation. Yüii's hand transIerred energy once again. Unlike beIore. this time he Ielt
a sharp Ieeling.
That sensation materialized naturally. and Iire sparks instantly surrounded the tip oI the Nietono no Shana
which was held out. and the blade extended.
"Indeed. Using a weapon to Iocus the energy is Iaster."
Shana said so. satisIied. Waving the Iire sparks katana that extended Irom the tip oI the original blade. she
swung it upwards. A "puuh" sound could be heard as the air is being burned. The large katana Iollowed suit.
With the giant blade unsteady. there was a slight delay beIore it Iollows the katana. However. compared to
using that arm earlier. the Iorm was more stable and easier to retain.
Had Alastor used a katana beIore?
Yüii tried to recollect his memories. Because. during the last time he saw Alastor. Yüii was dying. Thus he
was unable to look at him properly.
"That is one oI the special attributes which are included in my existence."
"......?"
As usual. Alastor used complicated and conIusing expressions to explain comprehensively. Despite his
astounding name. Teniö no Göka. he is actually completely diIIerent- amiable and polite. But. due to (and
ever since) a certain event. his attitude towards Yüii can be very strict at times.
"As we Crimson Denizens appear. we would convert certain attributes within us into a Iorm that is suitable
Ior this world. The Jürin no Söga you saw is the same. In the Crimson Realm he does not possess the Iorm oI
a giant wolI. He changes to that Iorm to let him materialize with his unique attributes in this world."
His explanation was rather complicated. To put it simply. as Crimson Denizens appear in their original
Ieatures in this world. they would be converted into a Iorm that suits their special Ieatures...I guess.
Friagne transIorm into a small bird and escaped. is that his special attribute too?
Vaguely enlightened. Yüii liIted his head to look at the Ilame blade that points straight at the heavens.
"So. this huge blade is also one Iorm oI the Demon God Teniö no Göka?"
"To be accurate. this is one oI the imaginations I have on Alastor."
Shana said.
"This means. in my existence. an aggressive attribute like that oI a katana is included. As long as it is within
that region. the Iorm can appear. unrestrained."
"Hmph. You're right. Whenever a demon god associated with Ilames is mentioned. they usually carry knives
or swords."
Yüii said in a manner as iI he really understood. Actually. his impression towards Demon Gods were at most
the Acalanatha which he saw Irom the national television channel. or iust some clay Iigurines Irom Iamous
movies with special eIIects in the past. That was his standard.
At that moment.
16 oI 103
An alarm rang in his pocket. It was bought specially Ior this training. He gently tapped the alarm clock Irom
the outside oI his pocket. The alarm quieted down.
"Errr...... Time is up."
It was almost midnight
"Is that so? Then let's stop here Ior today."
Shana let go oI Yüii's Iingertip. Although it looked like a strong pillar supporting the heavens. the Iire sparks
blade disintegrated and dispersed iust like that. She skillIully turned the tip oI Nietono no Shana around.
Keeping it inside the black coat at the area oI her leIt waist. it disappeared.
"......"
The 'swish' sound that normally accompanies this type oI action was completely absent. Her elegance as she
waved the blade mesmerized Yüii.
At the same time. because she let go his hand. he began to Ieel lonely. This happened every night.
During this whole month. Yüii had been having Iun in this training. although he was iust a spectator. He had
never contemplated the reason though.
This thing is. aIter all. THAT. I do not even have any interest in THAT...oI course I Ieel that Shana is very
pretty too and I don't dislike her-
"Umm...huh!?"
Shana had sat down again right in Iront oI Yüii beIore without him noticing. Her Ilaming eyes were
scrutinizing him. and peering into that Iace in wonder.. Seeing Yüii's surprised expression. she tilted her
head.
"Anything wrong? What's with the dumb-looking Iace? We did not use up too much oI your Power oI
Existence. did we?"
"It should not have been too much...... Hmm. could it be that you......"
Alastor's intuition as Shana's guardian was displayed.
Aahhh! Is he going to ask me why? Very nervous. he tries to Iind a way out when...
A sudden surge oI energy exited Irom his body.
"Oh! Umm. Mid...midnight has arrived."
The Högu. Reiii Maigo. enables his body to recover all the Power oI Existence spent in the whole day.
BeIore this. he was incapable oI Ieeling the recovery at all. However. because he had been accompanying
Shana in her trainings Ior some time now. his Power oI Existence had been used continually. Thus. he was
able to diIIerentiate it clearly now.
"......"
Maybe due to the look he had. Alastor decided not to probe Iurther.
Trying to change the topic. though curious as well. Yüii asked:
"Errrm. regarding this Reiii Maigo......"
17 oI 103
"What about it?"
Shana questioned back coldly.
Used to this attitude oI hers. Yüii continued:
"What should I do. Irom now on?"
"......"
Faced with this tough question. Shana Iell silent. waiting Ior Yüii to continue.
"During this past month. I have been observing myselI. To be able to sense the Power oI Existence. the
cause should also be...... thanks to this."
Yüii intended his question to sound casual. Instead. he sounded a bit rude.
The question served as an outlet Ior the emotions buried deep within his heart. Slowly. his emotions were
revealed.
"The Reiii Maigo within me will restore my Power oI Existence everyday right? But why the things that
happened yesterday are not reset together with it? I can clearly remember all the things that were taught in
class. The things I learned in the morning trainings also do not disappear."
Not unlike the training iust now. Yüii also learned her so-called "basic Iighting skills" in the courtyard every
morning. Recently he could Iinally sense the birth oI what she described as "killing intent". But. only able to
sense it. he had absolutely no idea how to Iace it.
"Now. I can Iinally sense the Ilow oI the Power oI Existence. and can activate it as I like. This means that I
am growing in some way or another. right?"
Though Yüii did not shout. there was an undeniable Iervor in his voice. He conveyed the questions he had
asked himselI in vain. as the emotions buried deep within became clearer gradually.
This was actually his Iear Ior his Iuture. something he thought he had managed to accept.
As iI being urged. Yüii continued:
"Will a Mystes who possesses the everlasting device Reiii Maigo grow up and age?"
Facing the person right in Iront. Shana did not move. but answered in her usual clear voice:
"I don't know."
Still. she explained what she knew.
"It is said that beIore this. the 'eternal lover' who possessed that secret treasure lived with the Lord Ior as
long as three hundred years until he disappeared."
"Oh I see......"
His Iears now seemed so Iar away. Yüii heaved a sigh oI relieI. and lowered his voice and asks:
"You've never met them directly?"
With a displeased look. she retorted:
18 oI 103
"How can that be possible? It has already been over a century since they disappeared!"
She seemed to be saying: I am not so old. okay?
So how old is she now? Yüii wanted to ask that. but stopped.
Alastor replied in Shana's stead:
"That Engage Ring had constantly exchanged their Power oI Existence with each other. thus did not cause
any harm to the equilibrium oI the world. Apart Irom that. they were both very powerIul proIessionals. You
can understand. don't you. what this implies?"
AIter pondering Ior a moment. Yüii understood what he meant immediately.
"Yeah. Because they did not eat people. the Flame Hazes did not exterminate them. and due to their
strength. the Denizens will not risk oI attacking them...... As they did not draw any attention at all. detailed
inIormation couldn't be obtained. right?"
(......Gee. is this kid a big idiot (pure luck) or is he that smart?)
Hearing Yüii Ilawlessly explained in a proud tone. Alastor admitted it silently. and unhappily.
Now it was Shana's turn.
"What we are sure oI is. he is immortal like us Flame Hazes."
"So. will I be immortal too?"
"How about spending three hundred years to Iind the answer?"
Hearing this ridiculous ioke. Yüii could not help but give a dry smile......
"Three hundred..."
Its meaning hit him. He was momentarily stunned.
Immortality.
It sounded good. but iI he would never grow at all...
Even iI it is not three hundred years... Ten years- no. Iive years is enough. With his outward Ieatures the
remaining the same. what would his Iamily and Iriends think about him? Father. mother. Ike. Satö. Tanaka.
Yoshida-san. his classmates. his neighbors. everyone... What would they think oI him?
He had accepted the Iact that the one standing here now is the Yüii Sakai. a Torch.
But. the people around him might not Ieel this way.
To only have realized this now...... (Though he never had the time to think about it in the past.) No matter
what. he could not live a normal liIe ever again.
The stage where he could throw up a big Iuss and reIuse to budge had already passed.
Even iI he decided to continue living on. he still could not Iind the road he could take.
OI course. the "Iear Ior the Iuture" that he Ielt earlier is not about whether he can accept and understand his
liIe and existence or not. Instead it is about the liIe he was leading now- Iar. distant and Iull oI
19 oI 103
uncertainties......In other words. his apprehension about the Iuture.
The one who could point out the path he should take; perhaps the one who would always walk alongside
him. was right in Iront. accompanying him.
(Ah......)
Suddenly. he realized something: his apprehension about the Iuture was actually coupled with the existence
oI this lady named Shana. Maybe they cannot be together...... This is what he was most aIraid oI.
This dread sprouted Irom the situation in which eventually. he would lose his one and only choice... Is that
it?
Or is it the Ieeling oI having to rely on her. to be supported by her? Or maybe. treating her as iI she were a
compass to guide his path?
(...... No.)
This is unlike a boring calculation oI weighing the pros and cons.
(I iust want to be with her. That is all.)
The conversation they had iust now strikes Yüii. Iilling his heart with admiration- "...Engage Ring...".
"...eternal lover..." A naïve. wild idea. he thought.
Suddenly. acting on a sudden. strong impulse. Yüii called out:
"Shana."
(Please be with me. Iorever.)
This part. thought not expressed in words. was clearly conveyed through his clear. sincere heart.
"......!"
As iI being struck by telepathy. Shana Iinally understood the reason Ior
Yüii's anxiety. Wearing a surprised look. Shana and Yüii exchanged looks.
She could not reply. Unexpectedly presented with such a serious and
important request. between the two. their preparation. determination.
requirements. conIidence. and many other things; all seemed insuIIicient.
"............"
"............"
Silence dropped between the two who stared at each other. aIter which.
very quickly. unable to withstand this heavy atmosphere any longer. Shana
shiIted her eyes away. She stood up swiItly. grabbed Yüii's collar and
iumped oII. landing at the balcony outside his room.
"Hmph!"
Shana IorceIully threw Yüii down. and sat on the handle at the balcony. Her legs stretched outwards. with
her back Iacing Yüii.
"That hurts..."
20 oI 103
A low moan could be heard aIter Yüii hit the Iloor hard. despite landing on his butt. He could Ieel the
Füzetsu around his house being liIted.
The barrier and the wordings on the Iloor gradually Iaded oII. The causality within the area was reconnected
to the outside one. and began to operate normally again. The lights and sounds oI the city which should be
non-existent in this dark night could be heard again.
A Iaint voice came Irom within.....
"I think......"
Shana said so with her back Iacing him. The Iiery red hair had turned black and cooled down unnoticed. Her
petite Iigure and her black coat blended into the night altogether.
"...we should not talk about this now."
A simple reiection.
Being poured with a bucket oI cold water. Yüii woke up Irom his thoughts and came back to reality.
"Err............ So. sorry......"
"Never mind. See you tomorrow."
Shana seemed to have Iorgotten the serious conversation they had earlier. She bade Iarewell soItly and leIt.
Yüii replied bluntly:
"......Yeah. good night."
Shana straightened her hair. leaped into the dark night. and disappeared.
Yüii thought he saw her red lips parted slightly as she was straightening her hair.
(Was she saying good night to me?)
In a stupor-like state. still sitting on the Iloor. he continued looking at the sky Irom which Shana leIt. She had
been masquerading as Yukari Hirai (平井・ゆかり Hirai Yukari) . Yüii's classmate. and living in this city.
The whole Hirai Iamily was devoured by Denizens. which turned them into Torches. She replaced the only
daughter oI this Iamily. thus having a temporary place to stay.
AIter that. she stayed there Ior more than a month. Now. the Torches oI both parents had extinguished. so
she was the only one leIt in the apartment. Their relatives had long Iorgotten the existence oI the Hirai
couple. believing that this girl is a distant relative`. A high school student living in an apartment all alone is
indeed and absurd. But unless anything special happens which raises their awareness. everyone else would
iust adopt an I-don`t-care` attitude and ignore it. Things iust happen to be like that. they believe. and thus
do not think much about it.
This kind oI situation was not unusual in Misaki City. where many people had been consumed by a certain
Lord oI the Crimson Realm. These include children who lost their parents (and vice-versa). pregnant ladies
who lost their husbands. old people who lost their Iamily. and disappearances oI bosses. employees and
colleagues in working places.this happened everywhere in the city.
Even though Torches do reduce the inIluence to the outside world until they die out eventually. iI there is a
massive amount oI burned out Torches at the same place. the daily liIe oI the society would be hindered. In
Iact. many chaotic incidents had been happening all around the city.
21 oI 103
In the end. all that is leIt was absurd "Iacts" with their reasons and developments unknown. Suddenly. Iacing
an uncanny and conIusing situation. anyone would be at a loss oI what to do.
This situation diIIered only in the number oI disappeared people and the severity oI the chaos. It was not
restricted to Misaki City.
The world had had these distortions caused by Crimson Denizens since a long time ago. Until this day. liIe
continues. though the machinery had apparently started to squeak. Thus. it is the duty oI the Flame Hazes to
try their best to put a stop to this situation. and to get rid oI the Denizens.
The reason Shana (who bears this duty) stayed in this city is to observe Yüii. the Mystes' condition.
However. Yüii silently believed that this was only her excuse. In reality. it should be out oI her personal
wish. hopeIully out oI her kindness.
Even though she never expressed it in words. Yüii understood.
(The decision I made so determinedly back then; I could not even Iollow it well.)
The incident a month ago made him resolve not to cause her any more troubles. and more importantly. to
work hard to become stronger. so she would never have to be like that again.
(That was- how should I say it?- a strong. rash Ieeling that he had Ior a moment. causing him to make such a
brainless. reckless and heartless request. which resulted in his becoming her burden and predicament.)
He should have understood long ago!
(Why? Why did I still do such a thing?)
Yüii Ielt that that ridiculous impulse oI his was something similar to the Iear oI getting lost.
He Ielt as iI there was a tightly compressed spring inside his chest. which kept trying to expand; stinging him
in the dark. completely beyond his control.
(This should not be the side eIIect oI Reiii Maigo. I think.)
(Or could it be......)
He could blame how naïve he was. Someone` once described him that way.isn't it iust as the person has
said?
Once again. he Ielt the hard Ieeling within his heart. With a "bang". he slammed himselI against the wall
behind him.
(I really am someone who doesn`t learn at all.)
He thought in his heart.
"What am I doing? Gee......"
To a mere brat. this world is Iull oI things which must happen. things he did not understand.
22 oI 103
Chapter Two - Duel in the Rain
Though the sun was already up. thick clouds covered the skies oI Misaki City.
The warm moist air added to the sweet atmosphere oI the plum rains.
AIter the morning training in the Sakai courtyard. Shana idly enioyed her morning bath iust like any other
day. AIter bathing. with a relaxed expression. she walked back to the living room and Yüii. who was beaten
up as always. went into the bathroom aIter her Ior a quick shower.
During the training. Yüii seemed listless. apparently aIIected by what happened last night. Shana. holding a
branch. sent him Ilying with her strength. Actually. she had tried her best at liIting his spirits- which she did.
as Yüii eventually continued his routine with the usual enthusiasm.
Because oI that. Shana seemed elated and started humming a tuneless melody.
She could be considered as a 'halI-day tenant oI the Sakai Iamily'. since she was here every morning. and
during dinner she ate here most oI the time too. This place had basically become her home. As Ior the Hirai
house that in which she was the sole occupant. it was merely a place to sleep.
Yüii`s mother. Chigusa Sakai also approved oI this...no. greatly encouraged` should be the right word. In
her eyes. though unexpectedly inept at certain areas. Shana was very cute. At the Iirst Iew days when she
began living alone......
'There are still many empty rooms in our house.¨
She obstinately insisted Shana to live with them in their house (Chigusa thinks that her son did not have the
guts to do anything Iunny... Though due to some unknown reasons. this happened to be true.) The members
oI the Sakai Iamily are Iather. mother. and son- a Iamily oI three. Because the breadwinner oI the Iamily.
Kantarö Sakai is currently overseas alone. Chigusa and Yüii were the only ones at home. Thus there was
enough room Ior her.
Towards the reliable. strong. Irank and intelligent (this comment was made by Alastor) Chigusa. even though
Shana did not resent the idea. she reIused it eventually. so as not to get too close to Yüii.
Despite her Irustration. iI there were any other opportunities in the Iuture. Chigusa decided to give it another
shot.
'Shana-chan. can you help me to set up the table?¨
Chigusa shouted through the door curtains Irom the kitchen beside. By the way. she knew completely
nothing about Shana`s real identity and background. all because Yüii told her: 'This is her nickname. so iust
call her that Irom now on.¨
'Okay.¨
Shana answered in a simple manner. She arranged the serving plate which had ham and eggs Ior three. the
empty porcelain-made bowls and the wooden bowls on the table one by one. Lastly. she placed Chigusa`s
white chopsticks. Yüii`s blue ones. and hers (red-in-color) on the chopstick stands. Looking at the eating
utensils that were arranged nicely. Shana nodded. with a 'hmm¨ sound. expressing her satisIaction.
'Thank you.¨
Chigusa said. as she walked in holding a soup pot at its handle. single-handed. She places the soup pot on a
heat-resistant layer at the center oI the dining table. The aromatic smell oI the miso soup slowly spread over
the living room. causing one`s stomach to grumble.
23 oI 103
Chigusa looked at Shana. and smiled at her gently.
'Yup! That looks great. Shana-chan.¨
'Is that so?¨
Replying soItly. Shana`s cheeks turned red. the reason not solely because she had iust bathed.
From today onwards. her regular high school uniIorm was changed to the summer attire. The one who
prepared her uniIorm was Chigusa. She had handed it over to Shana beIore she went Ior her bath.
Because she lives alone. Chigusa paid special attention to the area oI dressing (probably because she is
interested in it). Come to think oI it. she had gone shopping willingly and happily iust to buy this uniIorm.
Actually. Shana had already given the expenses Ior the things she needed (which even she is unsure oI) to
Chigusa. This thick envelope had been lying in the cabinet. unopened. until a Iew days ago. where it was
discovered by a hungry Yüii who was looking Ior some snacks.
Shana seemed concerned. She looked down at the new uniIorm Chigusa prepared Ior her.
The collar and sleeve oI the sailor uniIorm were oI a deep green color. Apart Irom these. the rest were
dazzlingly white in color. The design oI the skirt was basically the same; iust that it was made oI a thinner
material.
Wearing this light set (or so she described it). she Ielt as iI her body becomes lighter. making her immensely
pleased. For someone who only used to care about the practical usage oI clothes. Shana learned many other
ways oI entertainment and enioyment in diIIerent areas Irom Chigusa. aIter coming to the Sakai household.
In Iact. Chigusa`s knowledge is not limited to this area. She is iust like a treasure chest Iilled with amazing
knowledge Shana knew nothing oI.
(Until now. ever since I become a Flame Haze. I have to think oI ways to take care oI everything
myselI..)
Rather than saying that she knew everything. the Iact is that what needed to be done was iust too
obvious.. In other words. her liIestyle had always been very plain and simple. Shana Iinally realized.
OI course she looked down neither on her call nor every battle that came with it iust because oI that. Those
were things that are one with her: very strongly she believed in it. But she also did not mind coming into
contact with new surprises other than these things.
(Oh yeah..)
Shana would like to ask Chigusa something she has been checking out during her leisure time recently.
Maybe that could help her clear up the uncertainty and shock she Ielt aIter hearing what Yüii said last night.
'Chigusa.¨
From how Shana called her. one can tell that she sees Chigusa as a very good Iriend. Chigusa did not seem to
mind and instead. gladly accepted it.
'What is it?¨
Chigusa walked in through the portiere once more. In her hand was a can oI peaches which was apparently
the dessert Ior breakIast.
24 oI 103
Shana glanced at Chigusa. and continued:
'There is something I would like to ask. I`ve checked it up Ior a long time. but I still don`t get it.¨
'Oh. What is it? II it is too diIIicult. I doubt I will know either.¨
That is not possible! Shana deIended Chigusa`s reputation in her heart. and asked in a simple manner.
straight to the point:
'What is the meaning oI kissing?¨
(...What?!)
Within the divine vessel Cocytus that was hanging at the chest oI the summer uniIorm. the usually calm and
composed Teniö no Göka Alastor displayed an astounding selI-restraint towards this sudden shocking
situation. and tried his best not to scream out.
(Wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-wh-)
It was a mess aIter that.
Chigusa did not reply instantly. She supported her cheeks with her hands to and asks in return:
'..Why are you asking this question?¨
With slightly knit eyebrows. the reason she showed a troubled expression was due to her worrying that her
son might have taught her something. But this time she had completely wronged a good person.
Shana replied quickly:
'Not too long ago. someone told Yüii that iI he is ever in a bad mood. iust kiss me. He even said: This way.
everything will be solved`.¨
(So..So this is the case? Damn you Rasen no Fükin! How dare you teach kids wrong things like that!!)
Alastor released a powerIul. unblockable psychic curse. and a righteous gentleman Iar away in some place oI
the world Ielt a chill.. As Ior what really happened. no one knows Ior sure.
'So it really wasn`t Yüii who said something weird to you?¨
'..? Nope.¨
Unsure by what she meant by something weird`. Shana simply nodded. Actually there was no way that Yüii
would say anything weird.
Chigusa contemplated this girl`s Irank expression. She did not seem to want to split hairs the question and
did not seem to be deeply troubled by it. Instead. it was iust out oI pure curiosity and interest.
'Hmph. what is the meaning?`.. An easy-looking question. with a hard answer though...¨
Chigusa placed the can on the dining table and sat down. Iacing her chopsticks.
Shana subconsciously Iollowed her.
(Ma`am! Please. you must give me a logical and precise reply. I beg you!)
Facing Alastor`s high expectations. Chigusa opened her mouth:
25 oI 103
'You mentioned you`ve checked it up Ior a long time.. That is to say. you should have spent quite some
time in the library. Even so you still do not understand?¨
'Yeah. but. no matter which book it is. it only explains up to what I`ve already known. I know how to give a
kiss and who to give it to. and have seen it beIore. But I don`t understand why doing so would make Yüii
obtain an answer Ior his uneasiness. Because this is related to me. I would like to know: What is the meaning
behind such an action?¨
'Have you ever read novels or literature works?¨
'Alastor once said that contents that are based on the point oI view oI an individual. are not suitable Ior
accurate analysis and discussion. So I only memorized the important parts. I never used them as research
materials. though.¨
Chigusa had already heard Shana mention the name oI this Ioreigner proudly several times.
'I remember Alastor-san is something like your Iather who lives in a place Iar away. right? He really seems
to be someone who has a unique insight.¨
'Yup.¨
Hearing someone she esteemed being praised. Shana seemed rather pleased.
Yet Chigusa..
'But..¨
She continued:
' ? ¨
(???)
'Under such a situation. you may still not understand.¨
'What do you mean?¨
Chigusa chose her words very careIully.
'Hmmm.About this. umm.. Data usually are usually based on Iacts and logic. containing nothing other
than these. Yet. what Shana-chan asks is something beyond these.. I mean. it is an indeIinite question
without a complete answer. since it deals with Ieelings and emotions.¨
Shana looked dumbstruck. Looks like these things were too much Ior her.
Facing the innocent and naïve girl. Chigusa continued to explain in a detailed and careIul way:
'You understand that touching between bodies' is a way to display love. right?¨
'Yeah. kissing also belongs to this area right? Holding hands. hugging.everyone does them.¨
'Yeah.¨
Despite Ieeling she had slightly gone out oI topic. Chigusa still continued asking. though rather IorceIully.
'Then. let`s say. do you think that it is alright to do this to Alastor-san. whom you like?¨
26 oI 103
Even though she was unable to imagine that scene at that moment. Shana nodded. naturally.
'Yes.¨
(....)
'In this case..¨
Although she seemed to become a busybody. she reasoned to herselI that this is not Ior Yüii. but Ior Shana.
To veriIy. Chigusa asked:
'Can you do this casually to Yü-chan too?¨
'...Ah!? Erm. err. this..¨
Unable to reply. Shana lowered her tiny Iace slowly.
(Such.. Such a careIree talk isn`t like madam at all!)
'Think about it careIully. It Ieels very embarrassing. doesn`t it? That`s the main point oI our discussion.
Besides. Ior kissing. kissing on the cheek and on the lips carries completely diIIerent meanings. That person
who told Yü-chan to do such a thing probably meant lips to lips kissing.¨
(Wh-what?)
Feeling that the topic was slowly venturing into dangerous waters. Alastor was so nervous he started biting
his lips. But. alas! He could not intervene.
'.. Lips..to.. Lips..?¨
With her Iace still lowered. it took Shana a great eIIort to squeeze out a voice as soIt as the cry oI a
mosquito. One could see that her ears were bright red.
'.. this.this.. I don`t want to.I don`t like it..¨
Seeing her stammering. Chigusa. nodded. satisIied.
'Very good. So don`t let others kiss you so easily. okay? Not even Alastor-san.¨
'Huh?¨
(Hmm?)
Shana involuntarily liIted her Iace. The gentle smile on Chigusa`s Iace reIlected in her eyes.
'Shana-chan. Personally. I think that kissing at the lips is a kind oI pledge`.¨
'Pledge..?¨
'Yes. this action is a pledge.. To be allowed to touch everything that is yours; to entrust everything you
have to him. This is diIIerent Irom the ones you Ieel Ior your Iriends or relatives. It is a Iorm oI expressing a
strong emotion that is beyond one`s control. Unless the other party is qualiIied enough to make you Ieel
assured. you must not casually kiss that person; and also don`t let that person do the same to you. OI course.
the number oI people making that pledge and the ability to observe it varies Irom man to man.¨
'..¨
27 oI 103
(..)
Looking at the girl (and the Demon God) who was listening attentively. Chigusa looked troubled and said:
'I guess Yü-chan`s uneasiness must be because he is worrying about it. unsure whether he qualiIies Ior your
approval.¨
At this moment. she unexpectedly added. meaning it as a prank.
'.. But iI a guy tries to do this to resolve his uneasiness. a girl can punch him hard. Since Shana-chan
doesn`t think Yü-chan as a man worthy oI exchanging the pledge. Ieel Iree to punch him and knock him
down. Even though my Yü-chan entered puberty late; and looks stupid. I cannot guarantee that he will not
Iorcibly do it when opportunity arises.¨
'..Okay. I understand.¨
Recalling what happened last night. Shana nodded again. II she dislikes it. iust give him a punch; that makes
things much simpler. AIter hearing what Chigusa said. she Ielt as though everything became very easy. How
unbelievable!
Chigusa nodded in reply. For Shana`s sake. she repeated herselI.
'Do not overestimate Yü-chan. Treasure. and never underestimate yourselI. You are priceless. I can
guarantee that. So. beIore wanting exchange the pledge. you can keep increasing your selI-worth. and wait
Ior Yü-chan to overcome the obstacles; or continue to prepare the next obstacle. II he gives up. this means
that Yü-chan`s Ieelings are too weak.¨
'Hmm. hmph.¨
The way Chigusa put it; it is as though she saw through everything between Yüii and her. Shana blushed
again.
(Hmmm.. To come to a conclusion iust like this? Is this really going to work?)
On the other hand. Alastor seemed anxious towards the topic that ended with a conclusion he was not very
pleased with. No. not towards Chigusa. but to..
(This is the all Yüii Sakai`s Iault.)
He is a gentleman. but he was unIriendly towards Yüii Sakai.
'What are you guys talking about me?¨
The person in question. Yüii. entered the living room as he wiped his hair dry. He also changed to summer
uniIorm starting today. though Ior males. it was merely changing the collared uniIorm to a short sleeve shirt.
As Shana was still pondering what was being said earlier. she seemed a little nervous. and slowly turned her
head over.
28 oI 103
Chigusa on the other hand appeared to be cool and composed. making one
unable to sense the thick atmosphere Irom the earlier conversation.
'The important thing is. don`t you have something you should say?¨ She
urged Yüii.
'Huh!? Say what?¨
'Shana-chan. oI course. Haven`t you realized?¨
It looks great! Remembering how happy she was when Chigusa praised her
in the summer uniIorm. deep within her. Shana expected the same Irom
Yüii. She stole a glance at him.
Yüii looked at Shana Irom up to down. perplexed. Then he conIidently
shouted out what he thought is the correct answer.
'.. Ah. ah! It became white. right?¨
This tone made him sound like he was looking Ior trouble with everyone. Feeling VERY unhappy with Yüii.
Shana`s countenance stiIIened in a moment. At her son`s incorrigible dumbness. Chigusa could not help but
to give a long sigh.
'What.. What is wrong with the two oI you? My guess is correct right?¨
Facing a completely unexpected reaction. Yüii seemed to be at a loss.
(Hmmm. everything is indeed Yüii Sakai`s Iault.)
Ignoring Yüii. Alastor drew up this conclusion on his own as iI enlightened.
Misaki is a city with simple and easily understandable landscape.
The main river- the Manakawa that Ilows Irom south to north. passing through the city center. At the east is
the densely populated business sector; at the west. housing estates equivalent to a big satellite city. And the
huge metallic bridge at the center oI the city - the Misaki Bridge connects the traIIic Irom both sides.
Misaki High where Yüii and his Iriends study is located at the housing estate. iust beside the middle section
oI the main road. As its immediate neighbors are all houses. it occupies only a small area.
With ominous clouds hanging above them. the students oI year one second class (Yüii included) were
running on the tracks oI the remarkably small. narrow Iield oI the school. each at a diIIerent pace.
The Iourth lesson oI the day was Physical Education. and in terms oI physical capabilities. this was the
toughest challenge oI the whole day. To top it oII. due to the plum rain season climate. the wind was damp.
like being soaked in hot water. Thus sticky sweat were pouring oII Irom the students.
But to them. the one and only (and the luckiest) thing was. this lesson was neither strict nor boring.
'Huh. huh.. Ha.ha! Huh.. Ha. ha!¨
29 oI 103
The Spectacled Man Hayato Ike breathed rhythmically as he ran on the track at his own pace. Eita Tanaka
who was sprinting behind him shouts:
'Huh. huh..entirely. huh.slow by a round.¨
Tanaka came to his side and slowed down. Despite his big size. he has a slender and well-built Iigure. With
his breathing consistent. he ran as iI he were Ilying. The usual kindly Iace becomes manly when he
exercises.
Ike wiped the sweat with his hand. which was caused mainly by the moist. rather than his Iatigue. and
replied:
'Anyway.it is Iine.as long as.we Iinish running.in the allocated time.there is no need.to run.so
Iast.¨
'You have a point. Recently. I Ieel stronger. Satö as well..¨
Running alongside Ike. Yüii said so with an indiIIerent look on his Iace. his eyes directed at Keisaku Satö
who was behind Tanaka. trying desperately to catch up with Tanaka`s speed.
'......This is...trai...ning......this is...trai...ning.¨
The handsome youth was panting. and replied with a pet phrase they picked up recently.
Using the excuse oI not having a good impression oI curriculum activities. this lively and silly pair oI class
clowns chose the go-home club like Yüii and Ike who were simply uninterested. Why the sudden need to
train? They never explained themselves. Yüii and the rest did not seem interested in Iinding out the details
either.
Sometimes the two oI them would be absent together. However. iudging Irom how they looked. the need did
not appear to be that urgent. II they were really in some trouble. they would surely speak up themselves; Ike
made such a conclusion. and Yüii Ielt the same way too.
At this moment. Tanaka recognized the girl ahead. who was running as iI she were in a heel-and-toe
walking race` with choppy strides. and called out:
'Oi. Yoshida-saan. Alriiiight?¨
With a sudden. big stride. he dashed towards her.
Shocked at how energetic he was. the remaining three Iollowed suit to catch up with the girl. who was
slower than Ike and Yüii by one round; Tanaka and Satö by two rounds.
'I. I am.. am. Iine.¨
The cute Iace Kazumi Yoshida gives the impression oI a reserved girl. Although she was tired. she replied
Irankly as usual. She was so slow not because she loaIed about. but because it was already the greatest limit
Ior her. someone who has never excelled in sports.
Ike showed his concern Ior her. which appeared to be his duty by now.
'Teacher said. iI we are too tired. we can walk. No need to rush.¨
Just like what he said. this run was merely preparation exercise. a warm-up session with time limit. iust
moving around at a steady rate was enough. In Iact. among the students. the only one showing a clearly
exhausted look was Satö. who was still trying to catch up with Tanaka`s speed.
30 oI 103
'Yea.Yeah. Just walking.will.do.¨
Satö agreed breathlessly.
Yoshida had Iainted during physical education beIore. Thus. though it may be iust a simple warm-up. it
cannot be blamed that everyone is worried during every physical education lesson.
She wore a smile on her Iace. and repeated the same reply:
'I am.Iine.¨
She did not look like she was IorceIully putting on a tough Iront; she was only working hard. that`s all.
(She really looks Iine.)
'Huh!?¨
Yüii intended to keep the thought in his heart. At this moment Ike poked at the side with his elbow.
Unable to withstand the pain. tears welled up in his eyes. Glaring at the side. Ike showed an equally serious
expression. and indicated the Iront with his chin. Due to the Iriendship they had since Junior High. Yüii
could understand what Ike meant with a single glance. Ignoring Satö and Tanaka who was laughing aIter
some actions. he shouted at Yoshida who was two or three steps ahead.
'..Hey. Yoshida-san. II you really Ieel uncomIortable. you must let us know. okay?¨
This sentence had an instantaneous eIIect.
Yoshida turned her head back immediately. Very shaken. her breathing rate increased. She stammered a
reply:
'Err.. O-okay.. I-I am I-Iine.Really o-okay..¨
Subconsciously displaying her Ieelings. Yoshida made Yüii happy Irom the bottom oI his heart.
She has always harbored Ieelings towards Yüii. and Ike had been lending her a hand as much as he could.
employing his spirit oI a busybody to the Iullest. Since she made the once-in-a-liIetime conIession (Yoshida
believed so herselI) to Yüii a month ago. the two had been working side-by-side. The one they were against
was not Yüii. but the Iormidable enemy. Yukari Hirai.
Yukari Hirai. who is also Shana. displayed antagonism towards Yoshida as well. But despite that..
(To directly describe it as iealousy does not seem quite right; I am really unable to understand what Shana is
thinking.. Sigh..)
In other words. sandwiched between the two. like the pivot oI a seesaw. Yüii was pushed to the limit. unable
to bear with the incessant pressure Irom both sides.
OI course he liked Yoshida. who is as cute as a wild Ilower blooming silently; with Iriendly. polite smile and
gentleness. she is even willing to make delicious bentö Ior him.
Yet..
(I am already not a human.. The original me died a long time ago.. The one standing here now is only
a remnant.. The way I am now. do I have the right to accept her Ieelings?)
At this moment. Yüii`s thought oI something else.
31 oI 103
On the other hand.
Regarding Shana (Why am I at the back!?` I could almost hear her say that..) OI course she is still
considered. still liked. (Why the pause? And what`s with that kind oI expression?) At the same time I
respect and idolize her. Being strong in many ways and overwhelmingly suave. though there are still the
vulnerable and pitiable looks that she shows Irom time to time.
Yet..
(From now on.. I do not know when I will be able to be qualiIied enough.. Am I supposed to iust
adopt the plan oI I have to be with her`. and so continue to rely on her like this?)
Yüii`s thoughts did another double take.
Could it be that he does not really love either oI them? No. every time they escaped Irom near-death
situations. surviving through the mishaps. he always had a strong emotion towards Shana. But. is this love?
Yet the Ieelings towards Yoshida; maybe it originated Irom his nostalgia towards liIe.
His thoughts kept spinning round and round.
Undetermined worries caused by the Ieeling oI excessive selI-consciousness which became soIt aIter kept
receiving her Iavors......Even though he knew this very well. but a part oI him begged to diIIer: What is
wrong with these troubles?
(Since I cannot come up with an answer. I guess I`ll have to continue Iretting over these thoughts.)
Yüii rubbed his side as he obstinately searched Ior an explanation. though it might be wrong.
(Come to think oI it. the reason Yoshida-san likes me: It is because Shana caused a commotion during this
physical education period.)
The PE teacher suddenly requested everyone (Yüii and Shana did not know. that the reason behind it was
none other than Shana herselI) to run a long distance marathon. Shana had helped Yoshida who Iainted
during the run. and kicked the teacher at the same time. sending him Ilying into the air.. All Yüii did back
then was to play along and cause a scene. How did that cause Yoshida to have Ieelings Ior him?
(II it weren`t Ior Shana. Yoshida-san would not have liked me. How ironic..)
Ever since that incident. this period which beIore this could be said to be boring and torturing Ior everyone.
had improved greatly. The teacher whose pep suIIered a maior setback. had changed his arrogant attitude.
and he no longer stared at the Iemale students with lustIully eyes.
As Ior the students. aIter the incident they no longer looked down upon the teacher. or obstructed his
lessons. This is oI course not because oI goodwill. but that in their hearts. they were aIraid that iI they tried
anything Iunny beIore Yukari Hirai. they might be the next to suIIer. More importantly. it was due to the
Iact that the lessons became less strict and more eIIicient.
Most oI the students accepted it due to this reason. not because oI the personality oI the teacher. It didn`t
matter what the teacher was like; it didn`t matter why he changed Ior the better; be it reIlecting on his
actions. or giving into Iear; as long as the students could have proper lessons. they would not be easily
angered.
'It is almost time.¨
Shana. the revolutionary who was still in the dark about this. caught up Irom behind Yüii and the rest who
were running together as a group. She did not look like she was sprinting hurriedly like Tanaka. but was still
32 oI 103
running at a speed Iit Ior this warm-up.
The sports attire which was too loose beIore this is now changed to a Iitting one which was prepared by
Chigusa. Her long hair was also tied into two ponytails at the side.
In the recent PE lessons. she began to let her classmates help comb her hairstyle. Because her hair was very
long. silky and smooth. it was suitable Ior a variety oI hairstyles. She did not resent the idea. In spite oI her
cold attitude. she was still quite cooperative in this game`. Satö said that the male students were actually.
though secretly. looking Iorward to it.
(.. It is not bad this way too.. Hmm..)
As Yüii saw Shana slowly mixing around with their classmates. he Ielt complicated within his heart.
Just like what Shana had said earlier. the teacher`s whistle was heard. signaling the end oI the warm-up.
Eventually- iust like what Yüii veriIied in his encounters- humans seemed to be beings with very powerIul
adaptation skills.
Shana borrowed the existence oI Yüii`s classmate. Yukari Hirai. who became a torch. and had been in this
high school Ior more than one month now.
At Iirst the big disturbance to 'punish the students who do not have unconditional respect to the teachers¨
and 'close to complete annihilation revenge action¨ had quieted down completely by now.
Shana`s attitude did not change; it was the teachers' who were changed. Each oI them Iound their most
eIIective diplomatic ways oI dealing with Shana respectively. to make her 'a part oI their daily lives¨.
Once asked Ior a response. she would mercilessly hit the nail on the head. pointing out all the wrongs and
Ilaws oI the lesson. But. as long as she was not involved. she is merely a harmless existence. So by simply
letting her be. would not cause any unnecessary troubles.
Most oI them basically belong to the 'business men' category. not the imaginary existence oI 'holy workers'
whom others idolize. So they would not want to waste extra eIIort. time. determination or even risk their liIe
and status Ior the attitude oI iust one student in class.
Yet. there was still a small group oI those who held the right views as an 'educator' who. by continual debate
(actually it was almost entirely one-sided) with her. earnestly tried to improve their personal skills.
Even though it was iust a small group oI exceptions. but the other students. under the inIluence or perhaps
the blessing oI this phenomenon. were able to obtain eIIicient. serious and precise teaching Irom the
teachers. Based on this. other than occasional commotions Irom time to time. in the eyes oI the students. she
is a savior that deserves gratitude Irom the bottom oI their hearts.
Besides this. no matter what kind oI unIortunate mishaps beIell on the teachers. they could still understand
that her actions were not stemmed Irom untruths or rebellion. Among those teachers who decided initially to
leave her alone. some oI them even began to seek her Ior opinions.
Nevertheless. overall it did not look like a situation which 'created a trend oI teachers enthusiastically
seeking educational ambitions¨. It is iust that the boring teaching contents were reduced slightly. That`s all.
33 oI 103
The impact that this girl. a Flame Haze. had on the school. actually is only a change oI this magnitude.
As a Flame Haze. the impact this girl brought to the school. was eventually only a change oI magnitude in
this.
The Year 1. Class 2 students gathered at the center oI the running track.
BeIore this. the physical education teacher used to kept absolute silence until everyone lined up. Now. he
only made sure that no one was chatting beIore going straight into the point.
'Okay. everyone listen up. today we are having a Iree-Ior-all competition.¨
Actually. the physical Iitness test he conducted had ended earlier than the other teacher (who also teaches
year one). Now they were iust whiling time away so that both classes would proceed at the same pace. OI
course. there were a lot oI unpleasant things due to it. but let`s not delve into Iurther details.
'It should be a competition that can be conducted in the Iield within the running tracks. Talk over it.
everyone.¨
'Can we change it to Iree time instead-¨
One student asked. to everyone's laughter.
'No. the other classes are now conducting their evaluations.¨
Actually. he had wanted to do so. but it would end up in a noisy bickering. with everyone voicing their
opinions. which would end without any conclusion. So the teacher had to resort to IorceIul measures.
'So. starting Irom that side. give a suggestion on what kind oI competition you would like to have. one by
one.¨
The students gave their respective suggestions. or the sports that they wanted to participate in. Baseball
requires a lot oI tools and is too troublesome; basketball is too noisy and will cause others around them to
complain; soccer takes up too much space and was reiected by the teacher. They Iiltered the suggestion once
and repeated the list. Then they voted Ior the suggestions they wanted.
In the end. they came to a conclusion which was unlike primary school students- dodge ball.
Almost everyone had agreed to it. AIter all they were iust whiling time away. The simpler the activity. the
better it is. Besides. they knew the rules. and those who were not playing can watch the game Irom aside-
these two points also garnered great support.
Yet. pertaining to the rules. one oI them was an exception.
'Dodge ball?¨
Every time Shana heard the name oI an unIamiliar sports item. she would tilt her head.
'What is it? Hirai-san doesn`t know about it?¨
'Ah. let me explain.¨
34 oI 103
'Compared to the soItball last time. this is much simpler.¨
The girls began to surround her. everyone saying one word and chatting all around. Lately. this scene had
become a routine too.
At this moment the teacher clapped his hands Ior attention:
'Okay. stop chatting. Quickly split into teams. Let`s go according to class seat numbers. Thus Hirai`s team
will be one oI the lasts. Those in the same team as her can use this time to explain the rules.¨
The way he handled things nicely. is completely diIIerent Irom when that incident then; iust that he did not
seem to realize it himselI. or else he would have surely Irowned.
Okay! Some held their tongue behind him; some obeyed quietly. The whole class was separated into Iive
teams. A to E. According to their seat numbers. Hayato Ike was in team A; Yüii Sakai and Keisaku Satö.
team B; Eita Tanaka. team C; Yukari Hirai. or Shana. team D; and Kazumi Yoshida. team E. Looks like the
gang was evenly separated.
AIter setting simple conditions oI winning. white lines were drawn on the Iield. In a short moment. the dodge
ball tournament began.
The Iirst match was between team A (with Ike) and (Yüii and Satö`s) team B.
During this period. the other teams became the spectators. The classmates who were on the same team as
Shana (team D). explained the rules to her. These classmates who had initially avoided Shana. this
exceptional existence. seemed have gotten used to her. Though they still seemed respectIul. at least they
were no longer wary towards her.
Yüii's anxiety towards her lack oI common sense and her habit oI doing things rashly had Iaded without him
noticing. Instead. he began develop Ieelings which replaced them.
'..¨
Turning in a circle. Yüii's eyes swept the whole Iield. The scene oI the Iriendly. team D students talking to
Shana Ilitted across his eyes. The irritating Ieelings he Ielt when he was running iust now surged- a Ieeling
mixed with loneliness and unhappiness.
(You people don`t understand her at all.)
At this moment. a male student 'crossed the boundary' and stuck himselI out to talk to Shana......
(This...!?)
'Ah. IDIOT!¨
As he heard Satö's voice beside him..
'Eh. huh!?¨
Yüii who unconsciously stopped his motions. turned his head; and his Iace- even the physical Iitness teacher.
the reIeree had Iorgotten his duty- was hit squarely by the ball. Shouting comically. he Iell backwards.
'Huh? Sa-Sakai. are you alright?¨
The one who threw the ball. Ike. shouted Irantically. Apparently. he did not expect to hit someone with a
Iorce that knocked the other person down. The teacher hurried there and provided Iirst aid. Being treated so
35 oI 103
meticulously made Yüii really embarrassed. so he stood up. though his legs wobbled.
'A minor head concussion. Now is not the time to talk about the rules oI attacking at the Iace. Sit down and
rest.¨
Looks like the PE teacher's opinion was quite true.
"Yes...."
Yüii replied weakly. and with his legs wobbling. walked to the place where the eliminated ones gathered.
Pity and sneers greeted him.
The girls in team D. upon seeing this..
'Oh my...How shameIul...¨
'I thought Sakai-san has been quite cool recently. yet this had iust made my impression oI him break apart
slightly......"
Everyone was able to say whatever they wanted. They did not mind doing it. even beIore Shana. is because
they knew. even though they were considered a semi-oIIicial couple in class. she was very strict towards
Yüii. Sometimes she had even ignored him.
Yet at this moment. Shana only Irowned. with an expression oI 'What are you doing?¨ hanging on her Iace.
OI course. the idea that Yüii was beside himselI because oI her never crossed her mind.
In the end. Ike`s team A won. Tanaka`s team C and Shana`s team D entered the Iield.
Satö who was the last man standing Ior team B grumbled to Yüii: 'What are you doing-!¨
The classmates behind her emanated an atmosphere oI anxiety and excitement.
'Go Ior it! Tanakaaaa!¨
'Yeah! Our champion is Iinally in!¨
'Hirai-saaan. do your best!¨
'Don`t lose to that muscular IDIOT-!¨
Eita Tanaka versus Yukari Hirai.
Every time this kind oI contest was held. it would mean the commencement oI an important activity Ior the
whole class.
As a Flame Haze. Shana had already possessed abilities a normal person could not compare with. II she
unleashed them during physical education lessons. it would cause a ruckus. This was what Yüii told her aIter
what happened last time.
So to deal with this. aIter strict evaluations. Shana concluded that Tanaka is this school`s 'best proIessional'.
So she decided to adiust her strength. reIlexes. agility and her other abilities. using Tanaka as a standard.
'He is iust a Iirst year. isn`t he? Tanaka is so strong.¨
Yüii exclaimed. stunned.
'You can't even see that? It shows that you are still not good enough.¨
36 oI 103
Shana reached a conclusion in a sentence.
Anyway. no matter how much oI a disadvantage she would Iace; no matter how unpleasant the outcome
might be. she would stay Iirm and not go beyond this limit. In other words. she hated the concept oI 'going
easy'.
She did it not because she cared about winning or losing. but to train her Ior impromptu reactions when she
Iaces adversity or iI she is iniured. Whatever reason it might be. the Iight between the two oI them would be
extremely vigorous; dodge ball was no exception.
No. Actually it is because dodge ball competitions are conducted at a lower age group. people tend to think
that this is a relaxing game. However. the Iact is that when each team possesses a pro oI similar strength.
their direct conIrontation will keep continuing. with the battle getting Iiercer and Iiercer.
Shana. due to the above reason. was always serious when she handled things.
Tanaka on the other hand. was Iull oI vigor.
Which means. there was no room Ior negotiations between the two.
Abnormal warmth enveloped the whole Iield. though it was not only due to the hot. humid air oI the plum
rain season.
Because this was a tournament in which both genders participated. Shana who should be standing on the
outside like other Iemales. was naturally in the inner area.
AIter a game oI scissors-paper-stone. with the dodge ball in his hand. Tanaka conIronted Shana. Separated
only by the center line. Tanaka taunted Shana:
'Hu. hu .hu! That three-up three-down humiliation I suIIered during the soItball tournament. I shall redeem
it today! Don't cry later. Hirai. Now I am the bad guy!¨
With her blazing eyes emanating an aura that could spark oII a Iiery red glow any moment. Shana retorted.
'Hmph! Doubtlessly. you will lose anyway. So why don`t you save your energy. and iust surrender? I will go
easy on you.¨
Fire sparks were emitted Irom the slanted eyesight due to their diIIerence in heights. aIter which they turned
around simultaneously.
'......Alright. begin!¨
The PE teacher shouted seriously. blew the whistle...
And a Iierce battle began.
'Tanakaaaa! You must not lose at 'times like this'!¨
Satö incited the person who was working towards a certain goal through this mutually understood sentence.
With his lead. the whole class`s attention Iocused on the intense battle between Shana and Tanaka. Even
though it was iust to pass their spare time. it was still a competition; and a serious Iight was very interesting.
The guys mainly supported Tanaka; the Iemales. Shana. The reason is not because oI a problem oI honor or
being biased; in a duel. the similar the Iormula. the easier it is to be indulging.
37 oI 103
Yüii sat apart Irom the crowd to rest.
'Er. are you...okay?¨
Yoshida asked.
'Ah. ah......Yeah. I am Iine now.¨
'But. you are slightly bruised..¨
Yoshida squatted beside him. anxiously staring at his cheek which was still red and swollen.
'It is alright. Small bruises like this. every morning surely...!?¨
'?¨
'Err. this.. Anyway I am really Iine.¨
Yüii who almost let his mouth slip rubbed his cheek and answered evasively.
At this moment. his hand touched the hand Yoshida stretched towards him.
'Ah! So-so.. Sorry! Because your Iace is bleeding slightly..¨
Yoshida withdrew her hand hurriedly. with a handkerchieI in hand.
'It is alright. I..I should be the one to apologize. Your handkerchieI will be dirtied. so I think there is no
need Ior that.¨
II they were seen by Shana at this moment...... This thought sent a chill down his spine. Putting tomorrow
morning aside. who knew what excuse she would Iind to beat him up badly tonight.
'But......Ah!¨
Yoshida took Yüii`s actions as his courtesy to her. Just as she was about to continue speaking. a relatively
large rain drop hit her cheek.
'Wah! Is it raining?¨
Yüii wondered aloud. standing up at the same time.
The gloomy sky that lasted throughout the entire morning. accompanied by a sudden ruckus. began to shed
countless water droplets.
Obviously..no. by chance. Shana was looking at both oI them.
Tanaka who attempted to clear oII all the weaklings with a Ierocious ball speed sent two people oII. Shana
on the other hand used skillIul Ieigns to get rid oI the problematic Ioe who was second to Tanaka. During the
game. the atmosphere oI the two`s Iace-oII rose bit by bit.
At this moment. Shana was iust about to shout commands to the remaining teammates at their respective
deIensive regions. and other than that to iust catch the balls that Ilew over (She had already understood the
38 oI 103
trick to this game)..
'!¨
Revealed beIore her eyes was the scene oI Yüii and Yoshida`s hands touching each other.
'Ah.......!?¨
Shana almost gave out a shriek. she did not see the handkerchieI that was mildly visible. She only sensed
that the two were touching each other. Such a minor issue. why did she have a Iury that was iust about to
explode. and a pain as iI her chest was being cut by a kniIe. She even Iailed to notice that she had stopped in
her tracks.
Tanaka had completely no idea she was Ieeling. he only Ielt that it was a great chance to strike.
(Victory!!)
He would not do an idiotic move such as shouting out on purpose to grab the opponent`s attention.
'......tsk!?¨
Hirai-chan! Her teammates shouted. sensing the warnings Irom them. Shana Iinally realized that the dodge
ball was Ilying straight at her.
'Ah!?¨
There was not enough distance to dodge. no time to adiust her stance. Shana caught Tanaka`s Iast ball with
unsteady moves. and Ilew oII like that. landing hard on her butt.
'Argh. hmph!¨
The tiny body hugged the ball tightly.
'.. This. should be considered a saIe right?¨
'Darn...! What a persistent Iellow. ieez!¨
Tanaka spat out the words oI a third-rate villain. stamping the ground angrily.
This was perhaps the most exciting scene that makes the spectators excited. but suddenly. their heads were
sloshed with literally cold water oI a downpour.
'Wa...Rain!?¨
'Wai-wait...aargh!¨
'Oh my. what a heavy rain!¨
Just as the whole class was panicking. Tanaka shouted towards Shana who Iell on her butt and still had not
gotten up.
'Hey. Hirai. I say..¨
OI course. he intended to request to continue the match. It Ielt pathetic Ior it to end halI way. and he Ielt
unhappy over his great shot being caught. To discontinue the match would mean that there was no winner
between them.
39 oI 103
'Sure. I don`t mind.¨
Shana replied. sitting on the Iloor. hugging the ball raised her head to look at Tanaka Iearlessly.
Shana planned to dispel her moody anger through this match. OI course. she would settle the score with Yüii
separately. but that will be later on.
Other classes dispersed when it was iust beginning to rain. the guys who saw the two excitedly cheered them
on.
'Good...!! Do it. do it...¨
'The best part oI a bout like this. don't interrupt...!¨
All the Iemales were trying their best to run to shelter. but that changed all because oI one person`s shout.
'Ah......! Hirai-san! Your bottom. your bottom!¨
'?¨
AIter being reminded. Shana`s view shiIted downwards. Due to the sudden pouring rain. her cute little butt
was stuck in the mud. The ponytails at the sides touched the Iloor. and being soaked in the muddy waters
made a mess out oI them. She was not selI-conscious oI it. and simply stood up and patted on the mud
lightly. however. unexpectedly. the girls around her gave a vigorous reaction.
'Wah! That's bad...¨
'Full oI mud......¨
'Tanakaaa! What the heck are you doing...!¨
The crowds were in an uproar.
'You. You cannot say things that way. it was beIore the rain began when she caught my ball and Iell!?¨
Tanaka`s rarely rational explanation was not accepted.
'Wah! You are still Iinding excuses?¨
'Horrible...!¨
In the blink oI an eye. he turned into a scoundrel.
'Now now. it does not mean that he did that intentionally.¨
Satö wanted to step out and be a paciIier. but..
'What do you mean. Satö-kun? Are you trying to speak up Ior the enemy oI all Iemales...?¨
'No. then to your hearts' content. pleeease.¨
And he took back what he sais upon hearing those words Irom the Iemales.
'You. you traitor...!¨
Tanaka gave out a bitter scream.
40 oI 103
But everyone ignored him..
'Ah. that`s right!¨
Among the Iemales. a tall and slim girl raised her voice.
'Wanna use the shower room oI the clubhouse? There is a heater to dry your underwear. and there are
plenty oI towels in the lockers!¨
'Ah......But is it okay to use it without permission? Ogata.¨
'Nooo problem. I heard Irom our seniors. we iust have to use a little trick and we can use it.¨
'No wonder you are the Iirst-year regular! OGA-chan is great!¨
'The new uprising star with the most potential in the Iemale volleyball team even knows such tiny tricks so
clearly too.¨
'So. teacher. it's okay right!?¨
'Teacher!¨
One group oI Iemales quickly closed in on the physical Iitness teacher. When the matter concerned them.
the Iemales would become very imposing. Whether they were lucky. or there was still plenty oI time. that
was uncertain. It was about thirty minutes beIore their lunch break ended. enough to take a shower.
'Errr...Bu-but...¨
The teacher seemed hesitant. Ogata who taught them the little trick said:
'Teacher. you won`t want the students to catch a cold because oI THIS right? 'II you want to punish us'.
then we will be in charge oI cleaning the room with physical Iitness items. please!¨
And Iollowing that. she lowered her head to bow IorceIully. The little trick in the sports society contains this
entire series oI actions as well. Using a reasonable excuse Ior the teacher to not let the students catch a cold.
and at the same time promising that they willingly accept punishment Ior breaking school rules. seeking a
compromise among them (OI course. in the usual cases oI the Iemale volleyball team. the guys were usually
the ones to bear the punishment).
In Iact. to the physical Iitness teachers. it was an unspoken rule to allow the students to use the shower
room. Just that it was not so common Ior Iirst year students to request Ior it.. Oh well. this class is more
special.. The physical Iitness teacher unwillingly nodded in agreement.
'Hmm.. I have no choice I guess. I will go switch on the boiler. those who want to go in. wait in Iront oI
the shower room. I will go get the keys.¨
With that. understanding that he himselI could not bathe. the teacher hurriedly headed to the management
room. Staying there would only cause him to be soaked thoroughly.
Ogata waved her slim and soIt arm. instigating all the Iemales.
'Yahoooo! Wanna go in all together? I will teach everyone how to quickly dry our wet underwear!¨
'Yeah. quickly let's go let's go...¨
'Oh my...! Even my legs are stained with mud!¨
41 oI 103
The girls looked at their Ieet as they prepared to leave the Iield which had become a sea oI mud. The guys
Iollowed them.
At this moment..
'Wait.¨
Shana`s words were loud and clear as always. despite the heavy rain. Everyone stopped on the spot.
'One on one will do. we must decide on the winner in the end.¨
'...You`re so cool!! You truly deserve your name. Hirai-chan!!¨
Tanaka shouted out. attempting to use this match to clear unreasonably obtained bad name. He seemed to
Iail to notice the situation he would be in with the girls iI he won.. especially iI he were to win.
Since it was not Irom that hot-headed Tanaka. but a request oI Hirai-san.. The girls came to a conclusion
at this point. The guys on the other hand had no obiections since the start. with a relaxed attitude that
'anyway things will dry up in a short while¨ to push the situation along. the whole class attentively Iocused
on this duel in the rain.
At the center oI the spectators. Shana who was holding onto the dodge ball Iaced Tanaka. The white line had
already been covered by the heavy rain. The rules became very simple. as long as one side Iaile to catch the
ball. he is out. Everyone thought like that.
'..¨
'..¨
Just like dueling scenes in television dramas. the two slowly moved. revolving around a little circle at the
center.
Shana leaned her Iace slightly Iorward. letting the raindrops Ilow along her Iace into her eyes to Iall oII
along her Iringe. Instead oI that. Tanaka placed his arms at his Iorehead to directly stop the rainwater.
'Huu......¨
'..¨
The strength Shana gathered as she breathed out made Tanaka raise his alertness. The entire weight oI his
body was brought to the tip oI his Ieet in the mud. at the same time he puts up one hand in a posture to get
ready to catch the ball. The tactic he was using is to use his abdomen to receive the Ilying ball. and then use
the arms at the sides to wrap it up directly.
'!¨
Without warning. Shana tossed the dodge ball with a very small motion.
(Come!)
SwiItly taking down the arm placed at his Iorehead. he prepares to receive the impact that is coming straight
at him.
However..
Shana did not toss the ball. Pachuk! The dodgeball touched the ground directly. the mud below Ilew all over.
42 oI 103
(...Hm!)
Ignoring the Iact that her entire body was stained with mud. Shana caught the ball that bounced up soItly
Irom below. and uses the posture oI an underhand pitch to toss the second ball out.
(Fe...)
His Iirst prediction was wrong. The path oI the ball was lower than most instances.
His second prediction was wrong too. Compared to normal balls that were tossed immediately aIter catching
it. it is much Iaster.
(...ign!?)
The dodge ball that Ilies in Irom a close range like a uppercut. striking Tanaka`s lower iaw with might.
Tanaka was sent Ilying by the strike. and Ialling into the sea oI mud directly. down in a single hit.
Shana won.
The sound oI water which was weaker than the pouring rain. surrounded the wet echoing constant chatters.
'That was great...! At the end 'Shu......' like that! It looked as though it bounced up Irom below!¨
'Hey. don`t wave your hands like that.¨
'How is it? Should I turn the hot water up......?¨
'Hot. hot! Gee. you wanna die huh!¨
'Hey stop playing a Iool. it is very small here!¨
'Ahaha! Tanigawa even said: 'Normal dodge ball games does not allow that sort oI gameplay!¨ with a tone
reIusing to admit loss.......How pathetic......¨
Honestly speaking. those outside heard everything.
Not iust their conversation. but a lot other sounds that they should not hear.
'.. Hey. Ike.¨
'.. Don`t talk.¨
The voices inside showed no sign oI stopping at all.
How unbelievable. they could actually have some much to chat about! The two were dumbstruck by it.
'Hirai-sensei. regarding this. do you have any comment?¨
'Because it is raining. that is why I used that kind oI attack. there is another way oI playing on Iine
weathered days.¨
43 oI 103
'Wow...! Did you hear that? How cool...!¨
'Yeah. Tanaka is not bad too. he did not try to argue with things like 'it hit the Iace. and is not counted¨.
made my impression oI him change a lot......¨
'All thanks to this rain. everyone can shower together like this.¨
'But the stains on Hirai-san`s shorts cannot be cleaned iI washed lightly.¨
'It is Iine to iust wash away the dirt. oh yeah. don`t go across that red line. or else it will shrink. be
careIul......¨
'Yes...oIIiiiicer Ogata. thanks Ior your help. it dried up very quickly......!¨
'Can I borrow that blower?¨
'Sure......¨
Staring at that aluminum door that Iails to hide the laughing chatters at all. Yüii and Ike sat back to back.
The two were still in their track suits.
They showed an unhappy and bored expression. staring emptily at the corridor oI the curriculum society
center. The raindrops that Iell onto the closed glass window seemed Iew and small. It seemed that the heavy
rain did not last.
(Gee. how troublesome.. II only another hour had passed.)
As Yüii was thinking about nonsense. the conversations that he tried his best not to hear consistently came
Irom behind the door. As he sighed. he seemed as though he wanted to speak up to ioin in. so once again he
said weakly:
'.. How should I put this? This is iust like an interrogation.¨
'Which side?¨
Ike asked him back. In order to not hear the chatter behind them. chatting to divert their attention is the best
strategy.
'What which side?¨
'You mean. to only be able to hear but not see? Or to be Iorced to hear things you do not want to hear?¨
Yüii pondered about the boring choices. aIter a short pause. he replied simply:
'A little oI both.¨
'Oh. is it?¨
Ike replied simply as well.
Earlier. everyone had a little argument over how to use the shower room that did not distinguish between the
males and the Iemales (It seemed the little trick oI the sports society did not mention this part). The guys
naturally wanted to shower very much. Tanaka who Iell on the Iloor was completely covered in mud. and
everyone was drenched by the pouring rain.
Yet. be it to shower in sequence or together. the Iemales seemed to oppose the ideas. and so the atmosphere
seemed about to break apart. The physical Iitness teacher opened the door and..
44 oI 103
'I shall go and return the key.¨
AIter saying that. he makes a getaway. so everyone`s eyes naturally gathered at the class chairman. the
reasonable and Iair Spectacled Man Hayato Ike.
'I am drenched too. and I want to shower iust as much as you guys do.¨
Ike said. his persuasion was totally diIIerent. equivalent to twice that oI Tanaka. And his suggestion
Iollowing that was very reasonable too.
'First. let the guys wash up Iirst. we only need to wash away the mud. so we need a very short time. iI we
are to shower aIter you all. you will deIinitely be uncomIortable with that.¨
No one raised any obiections.
'Besides. you girls need to prepare a lot oI things to shower. so you can go back to the classroom to prepare.
and we shall wash up while you all are preparing. Our sports uniIorm iust needs to be squeezed dry..
Ogata-san. please teach us how to use the blower to dry our underwear.¨
Everything went Iine up to this point.
That is. iI he wasn`t caught by Ogata when they are leaving to let the girls use the shower room.
She shouted out to Ike who was preparing to return to the classroom.
'Ike. please stand guard here Ior a while.¨
'Huh?¨
'Didn`t you realize when you guys are washing up? This place can only be locked Irom the outside. during
curriculum activities. the Iemales take turns to stand guard. but we cannot do that now. even though it
should be Iine. considering that it is lesson time now. but it is better to be saIe than sorry.¨
'Is this the iob oI the class chairman as well?¨
'I am treating you as a gentleman.¨
Ogata deliberately sent a wave that. instead oI being described as cute. it should Iall under the category oI
being suave.
'.. And a gentleman has to guard the shower room..?¨
Feeling a big paradox in logic. Ike became dumbIounded at that moment.
Not iust Ogata. but the other girls agreed all together saying:
'II it is Ike. he is sure to not try anything Iunny.¨
'The Spectacled Man is the hero oI iustice aIter all......¨
Ah! Ogata clapped her hands. as though she came up with a great idea.
'Oh yeah. why don`t Sakai ioin him as well?¨
'Huh. me?¨
Being called upon. this time it was Yüii`s turn to give a weird cry.
45 oI 103
'Aren`t you Ike`s best Iriend? Besides. iI you dare to try anything Iunny. someone will teach you a lesson.
and someone will cry.¨
BeIore the eyes oI Yüii who was panicking. several girls nod in agreement. Among which. Shana had a
solemn expression. while Yoshida had a trembling expression. looking at him at the same time.
Ogata did not Iorget to remind them once more at the end:
'It`s decided right? Right?¨
And so. it was decided.
(To be surrounded by a bunch oI girls. even iI there is no valid reason. I Ieel that my stand is very weak. why
is that so...)
In Yüii`s heart that wished to escape Irom reality. he thought to himselI.
The sound oI conversation came Irom the back once more.
'Wow! Kazumi. so you are the type to look slimmer in your clothes?¨
'Errr...Really...?¨
'Plea-please don`t stare at me like that.¨
'What`s wrong with that. Yoshida-chan. let me touch it...¨
'Ah! Me too...¨
'Hya. wah. wah...¨
The two can`t help but remain silent.
Cough! Ike coughed out purposely. as he was about to speak..
A Iamiliar. soIt yet clear voice came Irom behind him.
'So bigger is better?¨
'Exactly. Guys like to see THESE sort oI view.¨
'Ple. please don`t touch them like that..¨
'But. I think that Hirai-san is very beautiIul LIKE THIS...¨
'Un. un. Indeed. really beautiIul. and it's not Ilattery.¨
'.. I don`t really get it.¨
'Aiyahyah...this means that Sakai-kun is a bad guy.¨
'A popular philanderer that goes around Ilirting with girls...with that Iunny
Iace...¨
'Ahaha! What iI he hears that?¨
(I heard that! II I really reply like this. I bet the consequences will be unthinkable!)
46 oI 103
Finally. Ike changed his original intentions and said:
'Hey. Sakai.¨
'Hmm...?¨
'Do you like Hirai-san?¨
'Hmm!!¨
Yüii almost Iell back against the aluminum door behind them.
'You.. What are you. at a time like this......¨
Yüii wanted to rebut at Iirst. but aIter seeing how serious Ike`s expression was. he was unable to talk Ior a
moment.
'So how is it?¨
Not an interrogation. but a tone oI conIirmation.
Yüii could not answer precisely. As he lowered his voice such that it would not reach the other end oI the
aluminum door. he tried his best to explain his current situation.
'Now.. Right now it is still not so clear as to say exactly 'This is it.'¨
'Huu.. So that is it. no matter whether it is the correct answer. it is a very interesting reply.¨
Yüii wanted to take revenge on that triumphant expression. and so he said.
'When I was resting earlier. were you the one to instigate Yoshida-san to come and Iind me?¨
'Hmm......Why do you think that is the case?¨
'Yoshida-san cannot possibly do that on her own.. Ouck!?¨
Suddenly. Ike used the back oI his Iist to hammer into Yüii`s chest.
'You are underestimating Yoshida-san like that. she is trying very hard. to step Iorward little by little.¨
'Err?¨
This meant. she acted on her own account..The hesitant Yüii did not get a reply.
AIter a period oI silence. with their backs Iacing the laughing chatter that came to them continuously. Ike
said:
'Still.. Not so clear as to say exactly 'This is it.¨...... So that`s it.¨
'..?¨
The rain was stopping.
47 oI 103
Chapter Three - The Various Paths
In this dark. gloomy night. despite the heavy downpour. the business sector oI Misaki City was still working
hard. The pedestrian walk and the main road which are oI the same network were also at the mercy oI the
continuous raindrops. with many parts Ilooded.
Now. in the rush hour. students aIter school and oIIice workers leaving their respective workplaces had to
brace themselves Ior a second wave oI rain; stepping into water puddles. evading the deeper ones.
The streets were literally clogged with people. Running through the heart oI the city is a broad avenue.
dubbed the aorta oI the city by the city Iolks. At this moment. three conspicuous Ioreigners were walking
along it.
Besides this city. in the country oI Japan which has enclosed. special qualities and structures. non-Japanese
would have attracted considerable attention. Needless to say. this special trio stood out Irom the rest.
'Strange.Why are the Japanese so curious about strangers? Could it be that the comment oI them being
cautious is iust a nicer explanation Ior their narrow-mindedness?"
Donned in a Western dress adorned with a butterIly knot behind. wearing a broad hat. having an upright.
slim body. this liIe-sized French-doll like lady was one oI the trio. Wavy. golden hairs cover a smooth Iace
which carried a determined look. The beauty in question- Aizenta` Tiriel.
'Ev-everyone is lo-looking a-at us.I`m scared. Tiriel...¨ The other one. whose looks beIit a typical young
master`. wears a high class. red iacket made oI goat skin.
The reIerred person. Aizenii` Sorath. looked exactly the same as her sister. thus also possessing great looks.
In spite oI that. contrary to his calm (younger sister). the timid Sorath clutched her sleeves. Ieeling very
nervous.
'Both oI you are so noticeable because your good looks match your exquisite clothes perIectly.Let`s not
talk about that Iirst. In short. you two dressed up too Iancily.¨ The last person is a man oI sturdy built who is
in black. Western attire.
With a pair oI sunglasses over his eyes. his golden hair was combed backwards. The one who emanated an
air oI heaviness- Senpen` Sydonay. As a bodyguard. he closely Iollowed aIter them to protect them.
'Forget it. No point crying over spilled milk.¨
In response to this. Tiriel beamed like a Ilower.
'For someone like you who.¨ Caressing the hair oI the onii-sama who was stuck Iast to her. Irom deep
within her eyes. a surge oI energy was slowly released.
'.are protected by my Cradle Garden. you have no right to admonish me.¨
Golden light danced in her eyes. As the brightness increases. as iI mutually agreed beIorehand. their body
surIace started to emanate an unknown substance in unison.
No. what initially looks like a layer oI Iloating matter enclosing their body was slowly taking shape.
Countless leaves were Iormed Irom that golden light. It is as picturesque as a scene Irom autumn. yet Iull oI
vigor. the leaves dances around Iiercely. Then. as iI struck by a whirlwind. leaving the three behind. the
leaves were scattered all over. whilst rapidly increasing the area they cover.
With the trio as the center. the leaves Iormed a semi sphere-like rooI which covers the whole walkway. The
conIined people did not move a muscle. The enclosure which has a diameter oI about 7 yards appears to be
48 oI 103
completely invisible to the people outside.
Miraculously. this area turned into a place which. naturally. could not be passed through: People who were
heading towards this area either detour or turn back. With eIIects similar to Füzetsu. this barrier which was
made Irom golden pages. is the Jizaihö Aizenta Tiriel is very proud oI- Cradle Garden.
This barrier is unlike any other typical Jizaihö. It is able to conceal the imbalance Irom the outside world;
something suIIicient to serve as a clue which leads the Flame Hazes. whose duty is to assassinate the
Denizens. right to their prey.
Usually. it only encloses the target. During their meal time. the whole thing will expand to replace Füzetsu.
All the activities inside will go unnoticed by the Flame Hazes. even iI it is right under their nose. This is a
demonstration oI Tiriel`s ability- Doting Embrace`.
Sydonay pouted. as golden light reIlected oII his sunglasses.
'Eh? Protection? That`s why we shouldn`t waste our time engaging in battles with Flame Hazes. Besides.
both oI you need my protection. In the end. this should instead e called as an exchange oI interests`. right?¨
As the powerIul Demon Lord. he had changed his appearances. unlike other Crimson Denizens. His
presence. or rather the imbalance he brought to this world is extremely serious. Nevertheless. as long as he
stays in the Cradle Garden. he will not be detected by the Flame Hazes.
Naturally. he was grateIul about this. However. submissiveness is never his principle. The same goes to the
Aizen siblings. and the Crimson Denizens who came to this world.
More or less. obstinacy plays a part in their behaviors. ConIronting Sydonay`s attitude. Tiriel replied coldly
that it is an incorrigible habit.
'Umm.is it okay. Tiriel? Can I eat now?¨ Sorath asked while tugging her sleeves.
'Yes. onii-sama. but can you wait Ior a short while?¨ Tiriel requested.
She graceIully placed two slightly parted Iingers at her lips and gently opened her lips right aIter. Iorming a
small opening. Then. a ribbon-like beam oI dazzling gold light Ilows out oI it.
There was no complicated and conIusing words arrangement. nor any stereoscopic sets oI symbols. This
dazzling beam oI light is her Jizaishiki- a demonstration oI the power oI Jizaihö. which manipulates the
Power oI Existence to give rise to extraordinary events.
'What Jizaishiki is this?¨ Sydonay inquired. Since he had only accepted the siblings request not long ago. he
was still in the dark about the types oI skills they possess and how powerIul they were. Hesitating like a
child. Tiriel replied reluctantly:
'Because we keep discovering preys. a cage has to be prepared. II they escaped. wouldn`t our wholehearted
eIIort go down the drain? Right. onii-sama?¨
'Uh-huh. Cannot let the preys escape. so have to lock them in our cradle.¨
'Exactly. Lock them up and squeeze them hard. When they have no longer have energy to resist. go ahead
and kill them all.until you are happy. Good boy.¨
Tiriel gently caressed her onii-sama`s head. and spurred the Jizaishiki.
The Iloating ribbon-like beams oI light radiated and and headed towards one oI the unmoving people within
the Cradle Garden. Clad in creased Western attire and having an overall unkempt and tired expression- this
49 oI 103
was how this normal-looking male oIIicer looked like beIore the beam penetrated into him.
When the golden ripples leIt by the ribbon Iuse with the person. instantly. he turned into a Ilare. though
outwardly. he still looked like he hadn`t died yet. Only a minimal portion oI the Power oI Existence was
used to retain the replacement` oI the currently dead person; the rest rearranged within the body. preparing
Ior the next stimulus.
'Come on. onii-sama. Please dig in. Except Ior that. iust enioy your meal.¨
'Okay. Itadakimasu!¨
Nodding as oI hammering a nail. Sorath darted Iorwards. 'Ah.Umm.¨ Opening his mouth. Sorath turned
all the hapless people in the Cradle Garden into Ilares and consumed them. Enioying this scene. Tiriel asked
him:
'Do you know orgel?¨
'Orgel?¨
Sounds like a European country language. When he tried to activate Speech oI Conveying`. unbelievably. it
is a Japanese word. Looks like it is a word which was used in a Ioreign language. whose pronunciation
became generally accepted. Trying to Ieel` its implicit meaning. he Iound that this word is nothing special.
'Oh.so it is reIerring to a music box.¨
'Yes. it is not wrong to put it that way. but doesn`t orgel sound more pleasant? That`s why. since I learnt oI
this word. I have always used it.¨
She had in her palm a worn-out. shabby music box. In short. this should be the Högu she named Orgel.
Sydonay Iinally realized that she used hints to answer her own question.
'Is this the same Högu as the Jizaihö iust now? The one you used to create this cage.¨
'Yes. Its music is very nice. you know.¨ She held the cute box next to her cheek. and grinned happily.
'I have never thought that Ior this purpose. I would come to the land Irom which this name originated. This
is precisely why I like this world so much.¨
That smile which hid gorgeous cruelty looked iust like a blooming demonic Ilower.
As iI responding to the gloomy sky. both Yüii and Shana were displaying downcast looks. To avoid any
misunderstandings. they had parted ways at school and met up later separately. On their way back to Yüii`s
house. wearing long Iaces. both iI them were silent. not uttering even a single word.
Minutes into their iourney. aIter making sure no one was coming Irom the other direction. Shana turned
around to look at the obstinately quiet Yüii beside him. Not wanting to betray her meekness. she asked
harshly:
'What are you angry at?¨
50 oI 103
'I should be the one asking that. Why are you angry?¨
Yüii asked indiIIerently.
That proud attitude angered Shana.
'I`m not.¨ she answered curtly.
'That.I`m not angry too.¨ Another indiIIerent reply.
'So what is it?¨
'Nothing.¨
'How can it be nothing?!¨
'I said nothing so it`s nothing!¨
Knowing that Yüii wanted to put an end to the topic. Shana Ielt within her a great surge oI Iury which
surprised even herselI. It was not like the pain she Ielt Irom the argument iust now. She knew that Yüii
purposely provoked her. Feeling this strange relationship with him. and being able to preserve it is Shana`s
ioy- something she was reluctant to admit. Both oI them were heatedly exchanging words`.
'Why are you so childish?¨
Having the same Ieelings (being able to understand and Ieel it). Yüii raised his voice Iuriously:
'Now who`s the one being selIish? Almost breaking our promise. agreeing to go out and play with others!¨
Being hit at her Achilles heel. Shana was temporarily speechless.
'That-that engagement.I suggested it.¨
'You mean iust because you suggested it. you can break our promise?¨
'Umm..¨
The incident occurred during lunch break aIter the physical education session. As usual. Shana piled her
melon breads. cakes and snacks on top oI the table. At this moment. a girl Irom the same team as her during
the game oI dodge ball iust now approached her and invited her.
'Hirai-san. iI it is convenient. do you want to go Ior a movie with us this Sunday?¨
AIter bathing together. they Ielt more intimate with each other. as iI they had become better Iriends. Yüii
was not present when this transpired- he was changing in a room beside their toiler. Forced to guard the
girl`s toilet. he could only go back to the classroom with them aIter they were done. and still had to Iind
another place to change. Ike was oI course changing too.
As a Hero oI Justice. the price is to endure suIIerings others know nothing oI. When he returned to class.
everyone in the same team as Shana during the game. boys included. were surrounding her. Listening
attentively to one oI the boys explaining about the storyline. Shana looked as iI wanting to agree to the
invitation immediately.
Noticing this. Yüii wore a- according to Satö`s testimony. Iuriously outraged`- look. walked towards his seat
right beside Shana`s. and sat down roughly. In a soIt voice barely audible to even the walls beside. with a
deliberately queer intonation. he commented:
51 oI 103
'Aahhh. What a busy Sunday I`ll be having this weekend.¨
At her seat. a shocked expression Ilitted across her countenance. It is quite rare to see Shana so nervous like
this. With the excuse 'I suddenly thought oI something important to do¨. she reIused the outing.
Actually. beIore this. Shana was to bring Yüii to the streets to hunt Ior bread shops in the city. Yesterday. on
her way back Irom school. Yüii let Shana tasted the greatest ioy oI liIe- that bread shop specializes in selling
melon bread. Especially Chigusa. who had promised Shana to bake some melon bread especially Ior her.
However. Chigusa is apparently still unhappy with her baking. So the unIortunate Shana has to be reIused
continually.
Seeing how pitiIul the Flame Haze was. Yüii decided to treat her to a good Ieast. For someone who always
eats mass-produced melon breads wrapped in plastic bags. this new taste is really a great change in her
palate. Three meals a day. not to mention morning bentös. cakes. snacks. eating without permission. buying
Irom shops to eat. testing Iree samples Irom trays. even iI it is a mere look at melon bread. she would be
Iilled with immense ioy.
However. to Yüii`s astonishment. Shana did not even venture into shops specializing in selling melon bread.
AIter questioning her. the reason she never went into those shops is: 'They do not sell any other
conIectioneries.¨- A reason that could not be any simpler. This is seemingly the side eIIect that arose due to
Alastor who warned her to eat Ioods other than sweet things.
BeIore this. Shana had elucidated extensively about the Iacts on melon bread. leading Yüii to think all this
while that she knew this subiect like the back oI her hand; whilst in Iact. she had merely repeated everything
her old Iriend had told her earlier. (According to Alastor. she had even added lots oI weird ideas.) Because
oI this. they had decided to visit all the nearby bread stores this Sunday.
Though unwilling. due to Shana`s unyielding attitude. Yüii had agreed. However. this engagement was nearly
canceled by Shana herselI. That is why Yüii erupted in a Iury even he could not believe. Actually. he
purposely wanted Shana to see him angry. to make her Ieel slightly distressed. In short. Yüii was iust making
Iun oI Shana. On the other hand. Shana who suggested it was still unsure why she was Ieeling unhappy; aIter
all it is merely bread.
Nonetheless. this was the grim truth. since she was incapable oI retorting iust now (something she usually
does with ease). However. she had only wanted to make Yüii happy. So. she would be happy even iI she
loses her liIe. Yet she did not want to show that she was weak. so she showed a Iuming look. 'Now I
say.¨Apparently unconcerned on the surIace; whilst Iacts proved easily how much she cared about it. iust
that she still had not realized.
'During PE. you held hands with Kazumi Yoshida and smiled very happily. didn`t you?¨ The unexpected
attack tipped the scales in Shana`s Iavor.
'Huh!? You-you saw it? Erm.that`s diIIerent. and irrelevant. All Yoshida-san did was only cleaning my
abrasion. and when-when did I smile very happily`?¨
To see Yüii Iumbling Ior words was more amusing that any other paybacks Ior his prank. The unhappiness
Shana Ielt when she looked at both oI them. together with the misery in her heart. vanished into nothingness.
Tilting her head. Shana decided to lie:
'Yes! Very happily.¨
Fumbling around. Yüii who wanted to explain himselI cracked his brain to think oI a sensible explanation.
but to no avail. Very tense right now. he shot back.
'What about you? Didn`t you and the others-¨ Yüii accidentally revealed certain Ieelings within him.
52 oI 103
'The others.?¨ Now it was Shana`s turn to be astonished. She looked at Yüii suspiciously.
(What do you mean by the others? Is he reIerring to people other than him? He is angry because oI that?
Does he have the same Ieelings as I had when I saw him with Yoshida iust now?)
Shana turns aside nervously. She must not let Yüii see her right now- reddened cheeks and ears. and
possibly wearing a grin on her Iace`.
'You-you.shouldn`t have criticized me.¨ she stammered. liIting her Iace high at the same time.
'Huh!?...Umm. that.sorry.¨
Knowing Shana`s expression very well. able to clearly Ieel his emotions. he relaxed and smiled. They walked
unnaturally Ior a while. in silence. Then Yüii blurted out:
'This Sunday. are you still going?¨
Still looking away. a bit moved. she replied: 'This-this.Umm.Since you said it that way. then I think I can
accompany you.¨
'.I thought you were the one who suggested it?¨
'Shut up. shut up. shut up! I said I wanted to go. Isn`t it enough?¨
At this moment. a third party unexpectedly uttered:
'Shana.¨
'Hah!? Huh!? Wh-what is it Alastor?¨
Like a child being caught at his mischieI red-handed. Shana was terriIied. Alastor usually does not speak at
such a moment.
'I want to buy something. Go back to the business sector Ior a while Iirst.¨
This was the Iirst time she hears such a request. Despite Ieeling a bit down. she uttered an 'Uh.¨ in
response. Figuring that this had something to do with him. Yüii said careIully:
'S-so. I think I`ll go back Iirst.¨
With a commanding voice. Alastor also stopped Yüii.
'Tonight. there is something Ior you to do too.¨
'Umm.Not training again?¨
'Correct.¨
Yüii and Shana exchanged looks.
'.Iound it.¨
53 oI 103
In the coIIee shop beside the main road. Tiriel quietly put down the cup Iilled with hot red tea. Just like the
other Crimson Denizens who come Irom another dimension. their entry into this world would cause a sense
oI imbalance. So do the Flame Hazes. who emanates a strong Power oI Existence due to the Demon Lord
within the artiIact.
Residing in her Cradle Garden. she could sense the Ieeling known as presence` by both parties; while the
Flame Hazes could not sense her. Opposite her. the burly Sydonay who sat with his legs crossed also nodded.
'Yup. Precisely. This hateIul Ieeling has to be Flame Hazes. It`s really great. you Yokuhö no Kyuu-¨
'Huh!? Where? Where are they?¨
Sitting right beside Tiriel is Sorath who iumped to his Ieet in excitement. His knee knocked against the table.
almost upsetting the table on which the snacks he ordered (including chocolates and parIaits) lay. He kept
looking around. as iI he Iound his beloved toy. the conIectioneries on the table lay Iorgotten. With cream
stains and biscuit crumbs over his mouth. Sorath looked iust like a little kid.
As Ior why the came to this coIIee shop. it was because Sorath yearned Ior chocolates and parIaits. BeIore
this. he had already greedily and wasteIully harvested` ice-cream. balloons Irom those advertising
characters. cool-looking basketball shoes. a ruler. a pair oI goggles. a broom. a cigarette lighter.
What it means by him being wasteIul` is that he loses interest in almost everything aIter he gets his hands on
them. The thing that amazed Sydonay most was: Ior someone with the name Aizenii. he can suddenly sense
the Power oI Existence oI the things he wanted without needing to lay his sight on them.
This is precisely his ability- Yokubö no Kyükaku. The reason they managed to track down Nietono no Shana
is because Sorath wanted to IulIill his craving Ior it. Tiriel who loved her onii-sama deeply. pulled at his
sleeve to stop him. In a gentle voice she said.
'Calm down. onii-sama. Now is still too early.¨
'But. but.haven`t we Iound it? I want it!¨
'II you want it. iust be a little more patient. onii-sama. The Iun aIter waiting patiently is the sweetest.¨
'Umm.¨
AIter contemplating between the Iun ahead oI him and her younger sister`s words. Sorath chose the latter
and sat down. Tiriel took it as a prooI oI his love. and ignoring the people around them. tightly embraced
him. Closer and closer. they got more and more intimate by the second. Engrossed in it. Aizenta Tiriel whose
cheeks were stained with traces oI the cream Irom Sorath`s mouth. was not bothered by it.
'You did well. onii-sama. Good boy.¨
(Good grieI.)
Why must everyone look at both oI you? Your demeanor and actions had to be the main reasons. Since he
was introduced to this duty. Sydonay has lost count the number oI times he sighed helplessly. He tastes his
black coIIee. Apart Irom Sorath. to the other Crimson Denizens. this exciting world which is Iilled with
various Ioods and cultures is regarded as one oI their best amusements (though the Flame Hazes beg to
diIIer). Nevertheless. the coIIee in this shop is really awIul. He looks back.
(Ah! Not again.)
The 'Aizenta siblings' were holding hands and mutually licking the cream stains on each other's cheeks and
mouth. as iI carrying out a puriIication ceremony. Trailing traces oI saliva. occasionally pecking lightly and
54 oI 103
moving unnecessarily. and lastly. like the pre-established harmony. their hot lips and tongues united.
While everyone`s attention was Iully Iocused on this picturesque. out-oI-the-world scenery. Tiriel
surrendered Iirst.
'Hu. huh......ha. ah......o. onii-sama.¨
Tidying up her rumpled collar and her skirt which was askew. inhaling a deep breath. the distressed beauty
announced the commencement oI a massacre.
'So.let`s get ready next. okay?¨
'Yeah!¨
Hearing this reply Irom this innocent teenager. countless golden yellow leaves appeared out oI nowhere.
spread all over the place. gradually expanding the area they cover. The people in the shop. around IiIteen oI
them. disappeared Irom the Iace oI the earth.
Ike and Yoshida`s houses are situated at the same street on the eastern side oI the housing area.
Nevertheless. since they are not involved in that` type oI relationship. they do not go home together. It is
merely coincidental that their houses are located at the same area. Until now. they have at most met each
other occasionally; never advancing into another stage in their relationship.
In spite oI that. Ior unknown reasons. Ike looked Ior Yoshida to return home together. Being an eIIicient
person. Ike started the conversation with lighter topics like homework and lectures. then slowly steered it to
their school liIe. Yoshida had been discussing things about Yüii with him quite Irequently.
Ike is a reliable person- too reliable. in Iact. according to everyone`s view about him- with a clear mind and
composed selI. The way he treats others and handle things are all done eIIiciently. When it comes to studies.
Ike is someone Yoshida worships.
However. she Ielt that the way he talked to her was quite diIIerent Irom normal situations. With interesting
topics to discuss. they talked enioyably. Still. she strangely Ielt that Ike was beating around the bush. hiding
what he really wanted to say somewhere; slowing steering the topic towards it. For someone who always
goes straight to the topics. this wasn`t like him at all. Based on their relationship (except the love` part).
Yoshida could not understand him any better.
'So I say. iust like that bathroom key. Everyone knows about it. yet no ones voices out Ior a better one.
Even though they have the will. they would need to seek the opinion oI the Students Activities Center.
Student Council and the teachers. Besides. the drain....¨
'Err. Ike-kun?¨
'Ah. I`m the only one talking all the time. Very boring. right?¨
Yoshida Ielt his meticulous attitude strange. Besides. usually he listens to her Iirst. then only voices out his
opinion or explanation.
'No. it`s not really like that.¨
When he talks to boys. Ike is the only one to which she needs not talk respectively
55 oI 103
'Do you have something.you want to tell me?¨
'.Umm.This.¨ This superhero. Spectacled Man was struck dumb.
Yoshida observed how this Iidgety Ike twitches his eyebrows. looking very
nervous- an expression no other students have seen beIore.
'Ike-kun?¨ Ike decided to let everything out. and stared at the dark sky. He
said:
'I`d like to ask you.¨
'Wh-what?¨
'Which part oI Sakai do you like?¨
Hearing this out oI the blue question (though aIter careIul considerations. it
is actually quite basic). Yoshida was really astonished.
'Th-this.Why do you suddenly ask me this question.?¨ As she spoke.
her Iace reddened in embarrassment.
'So it really is because oI that PE lesson?¨ For someone who always talks sense. it is natural Ior Ike to use a
question to veriIy the truth.
'..I think so.¨
Yoshida had not the wildest idea that Ike would ask her something so unanswerable` like this. She turned to
this person. someone who always lends her a helping hand.
'At that moment. I really thought that Sakai-san was very cool.¨
Until here. Ike understood it perIectly. yet Yoshida-
'But.¨ -continued.
'That incident had only caused me to gather up my courage to talk to him.Actually. I had liked him since I
came into this high school.¨
An unexpectedly Irank answer. Ike`s curiosity was aroused.
'Err. did any special incident happen at that time?¨
Yoshida shook her head. smiling Iaintly.
'It was during the Iirst assembly when school iust started. BeIore it began. I was at a loss because I couldn`t
Iind my classroom when.¨
An image Iloated into her mind: A kindly teenager who smiled in an embarrassed way: 'I`m lost too.¨
'He said that since we were in the same class. he guided me there. That`s all.¨
'Because oI that small incident. you have liked him. until now?¨
'No. not exactly.because oI that.¨
To repay Ike who has always helps her. Yoshida tried hard to put her Ieelings and thoughts into words.
56 oI 103
'The kindness at that time and the coolness during the PE lesson are not the main reasons.¨
'?¨
'It is iust because I sensed a Ieeling like This is it.` at my Iirst sight oI him...¨
Ike recalled what Yüii told him when he was sitting in Iront oI the bathroom.
('Now.now I`m still not sure enough to say conIidently This is it.`¨)
'It is completely the other way round. Or.did that Iellow purposely held something back.?¨
'Huh?¨
'Nothing. Nothing oI your concern.¨ Ike smiled dryly and shook his head.
Unconsciously. he muttered:
'Is it iust depending on this This is it.` Ieeling? II so. maybe what the other party said is correct.or. maybe
both are correct.¨
'???¨ Yoshida could not make head nor tail out oI what he was saying.
Instantly. Ike reverted back to his usual cheerIul selI.
'I`m sorry. Yoshida-san. For suddenly asking you such a weird question.No. not weird. It should be
something important.¨
Yoshida shook her head Iuriously. indicating that there was no need Ior an apology.
'Ah.no worries. But why did you ask this question?¨
'Nothing in particular.I iust Ieel that I have to be calmer. In short. iust take this as a casual conversation.
Back to the topic-¨
'Huh?¨
Ike took out a black umbrella designed Ior men`s use.
'This Sakai. though he always remembers to bring an umbrella with him. he tends to Iorget about it once the
rain stops. That`s why I say. though he is a meticulous person. this Iellow tends to make some silly errors.¨
'This umbrella.You mean you want me to return it to him?¨
'It`s too late now. It`s not very saIe outside. Tomorrow morning iust walk a little Iurther to pay him a Ilying
visit. Who knows. maybe you could even go to school with him!¨
(Come! This is a map to Sakai`s house.)
In his excitement. he even tore out a page oI short notes Irom his notebooks. Looks like he was all prepared.
'Th-thank you.¨
Ike-san hasn`t changed at all. Yoshida thinks happily.
Receiving the umbrella and the note Irom Ike. looking at his blissIully radiant smile. Yoshida Ielt a bit sad.
The Ieeling she has right now. can it be considered as This is it.`?
57 oI 103
Sydonay looked at the housing area. the wide. skyscraper-Iree sky. at the layer oI dark clouds through the
slight gaps oI the leaves oI the Cradle Garden.
'Tiriel. what do you think oI this area?¨ Holding hands intimately with Sorath. she was examining this area
whilst working on the next device.
'Umm.This place is greener than the business sector. Besides. the pedestrian walk is even paved with
bricks. Looks like the builders oI this city made quite some eIIort in doing this.¨ Her words were Iilled with
sarcasm.
Being in a brown study. Tiriel did not even caress her onii-sama. who was clinging onto her tightly whilst
devouring an old man. who was out iogging. His companion- a kid around Iour. Iive years old (probably his
grandson). had been transIormed into part oI the device by Tiriel`s Jizaishiki.
AIter a short while. together with their existence. they vanished Irom the Iace oI earth. Not bothered by
Tiriel`s attitude and her sacriIices. Sydonay continued:
'This is a city inhabited by Flame Hazes. We can see that the other Denizens who were destroyed had
created quite a number oI Torches. However. the true situation is very grim. Though the Torches we see now
are quite a lot. there must have been more Torches. more people eaten by them. right?¨
On Tiriel`s Iace which was closely stuck to her onii-sama`s. a pair oI elegant eyes scanned the whole street
painstakingly.
'You have a point. However. in order Ior the Orgel to sound and create the speciIic phenomenon. a certain
level oI distortion actually works to our advantage. Maybe the distorted situation will deteriorate quickly.
but this is none oI my business.¨
'You`re right. Tiriel. II this dis-distorted too badly. the De-demon Lords. they will be angry. Cannot distort
too much. Hecate said beIore..huh!?¨
'..Who did you iust mention. onii-sama?¨
As Tiriel said this. the hands which were hugging Sorath iust now turned towards his neck instead. Fine.
delicate Iingernails as precious as elephant tusks slowly sunk into it. As iI resonating to her high emotions.
the golden leaves which were surrounding them radiated brighter and brighter like an inIerno.
'Aarrghh.ack. ack.!¨
'Hecate? You cannot think about that conceited ierk who only knows how to play with stars. Talking to her
is also Iorbidden.¨
Her cheerIul smile was still unchanged. but her nails sunk deeper; the resonating light grew brighter.
'Ti..ri..ack-¨ Sorath sputtered. whilst trembling in Iear.
Under the sunglasses. Sydonay squinted his eyes. Finally realizing that they were not Iooling around. he
ventured to stop the girl-
'Tiriel! That is enough.¨
58 oI 103
-only to have his advice Iall on deaI ears.
Staring into the distressed eyes and his contorted Iace due to excruciating pain. smiling lightly. Tiriel spoke
sweetly (though on second thought. it sounds more like a threaten to swear an immediate oath):
'..Onii-sama. besides me. you cannot think oI other girls. I am the only one. the only one. the only one.
get it..?¨
Unable to speak. using his last ounce oI strength. the chocked head managed to nod slightly. AIter
ascertaining it. Tiriel lets him oII. The dazzling light dimmed.
'That`s right. that`s right. This is it. onii-sama. My onii-sama. I hope I am the only one in your eyes. You can
only watch me and listen to me."
'Huh-huh-huh.er.hmm...huh! Tiri-el. so-sorry......I`m sorry!¨
Sorath embraced her sister tightly. as iI he couldn`t spare even another second perspiring. With the same
smile. Tiriel kissed Sorath`s ceaseless tears.
'Huh. glad that you understood. onii-sama..¨
"..........."
With his mouth agape. the dumbstruck Sydonay could only stare at the siblings` Aizen antics.
'Uurgh..puh. Ahh..I breel lait bo-bomitting..¨ |Translator`s note: I Ieel like vomiting.|
'You knew that you would become like this. so why did you still drink it?¨
The outskirts oI the business sector. east oI Misaki City. is somewhere the rich landlords in the past stay
together. known as the old housing area. The residence oI Keisaku Satö belonged to a handIul oI wealthy
clans. and it is certainly a huge mansion. However. using not very reasonable excuses. all his Iamily
members never stepped into this mansion. That is why Satö is living alone all this while.
Since a sensible age. apart Irom someone who takes care oI him during daytime. he has practically no
chance oI interacting with other people. thus living quite a lonely liIe (although he denies it). Since he
entered high school. Satö managed to come to terms with his loneliness. and lived a quite happy liIe since
then. Still. his days are still basically lonesome.
'AIter all. I have nothing..else t-to do. urrghh..¨
'Ah! Ah! Don`t puke! Don`t puke! What happens iI you throw up on me.?¨
About a month ago. Satö and Eita Tanaka (田中・栄太 Tanaka Eita). a good Iriend oI his. were dragged
into this matter. His routine was completely ruined. the culprit being a girl like Shana- a Flame Haze-
'II I vo-vomit on you. will you be more qu-quiet?¨
-who was also this drunkard lying on the counter in the indoor pub oI Satö`s house- Chöshi no Yomite.
Margery Daw.
'Aarrghh! Stop. stop! My heavy drunkard Margery.¨
59 oI 103
He was on a chair by the counter beside Margery. This Crimson Lord who expressed his consciousness
through the book-like divine artiIact 'Grimoire¨ might suIIer a puking assault anytime. To pursue the
Crimson Denizen known as Shikabane Hiroi Lamies. they had come to Misaki city. Once discovering that
the Crimson Denizens devoured the humans unreasonably. she was Iilled with intense hatred and became
murderous.
Under the guidance oI Satö and Tanaka. Margery searched the whole city Irom pillar to post. Things turned
ugly when she met Alastor and Shana. who Ielt that Lamies does not cause any imbalance to this world.
Margery ended up crossing swords with Shana. Alastor and Yüii (even he was dragged into it); in which she
lost. Her motivation to Iight. pride and selI-conIidence were completely shattered.
'So.so iust keep quiet. watch silently.ugh. urrghhh.¨
'II I don`t say anything. you will intoxicate yourselI again.¨
From that time onwards. Margery could be described as an empty shell- she chose the indoor pub as her base
and spends- no. struggles through each day doing nothing. By the way. Satö and Tanaka had absolutely no
idea about Margery`s deIeat and the Iact that Shana is a Flame Haze; and oI course. Yüii being a Torch.
Margery reIused to divulge her deIeat because she hates to show her being weak in Iront oI others. On the
other hand. she did not mention Yüii and Shana because she had not the slightest inclination that they are
Satö`s Iriends.
In other words. Shana. Alastor and Yüii knew about Margery. yet ignorant oI the Iact that she was staying
with Satö and Tanaka. Margery knew the true identity oI the trio. yet had no idea that they knew Satö and
Tanaka. Satö and Tanaka knew that there were other Flame Hazes in the city. yet they were unaware that
Shana- Yukari Hirai and Yüii were involved in it. It really is a complicated relationship.
'Just spit out your.Flame oI Illusion and everything will be alright.¨
'Okay. okay! I guess I`ll iust Iollow your orders and watch silently.¨
'Arrr..y-you.ierk.¨
Today. the cheerIul duo again returned to this lady who was at a complete loss. With a pang` sound. they
opened the door oI the pub hard.
'We-we`re back. Margery ane-san!¨
'Ane-san. so how`s the day.?¨
Satö called her Margery ane-san` while Tanaka shouted 'Ane-san!¨
'Aarrghh.so noisy.my brain is ringing now.¨
Lying completely on the counter oI the pub. she replied. whilst scratching her hair almost IorceIully.
unwilling to budge even a bit. The once elegant and smooth red ponytail oI hers had become seriously
disheveled- she had merely tied a simple knot behind her head.
With the sleeves rolled up. the blouse matched the moth-eaten pants badly. The only thing unchanged was
her plain glass spectacles which were Ior ornament purposes only. BeIore this. the cool image oI a Flame
Haze in a Iluttering dress with ribbons. destroying the Denizens so wholeheartedly. had gone up in a puII oI
smoke.
Nevertheless. her situation now was not that bad. as she had gotten a grip oI herselI lately. These two had
been accompanying her throughout this month. During the Iirst week. Margery was practically motionless;
60 oI 103
the second. the spirit was willing but the Ilesh was weak; the third. sitting about. sighing the whole day. And
now. the Iourth..
'Is ane-san still moody?¨
Just like Satö's question. the whole pub was an utter mess. since she did nothing but drinking the whole day.
Since the second week. iI Margery Ielt like it. she would bring Satö and Tanaka to shop Ior groceries. (When
this happens. they were Iorced to take the day oII school) This not Iully recovered state was still continuing.
'II we don`t take the opportunity to ask the caretakers to clean this place while they are here during the day.
this place would continue to be dirty like this. you know.¨
'Yeah. yeah! II ane-san reIuses to leave this place Ior even a while. we would be ashamed to disturb you.¨
Treating his Iriend`s house as iI his own. Tanaka gaped at the empty. multi-branded alcohol bottles. glasses.
measuring cups and leItovers oI Iruits. What he meant by caretakers; are servants who had served in Satö`s
household beIore. So any occurrence which tarnished the name oI the Satö Iamily is never spread out.
Fully responsible Ior everything within the house. their pride was to preserve the original condition oI the
whole residence. This is also the reason they kept mum about the entry oI this lady with unknown origins.
whose spokesperson would be doubted immediately iI he attempted to explain that Margery did not have
any mental illness. Besides. those who would divulge the secret were not at home.
Due to her proud attitude. Margery did not Ieel grateIul towards the concern oI the people around her. and
was also inconsiderate towards the situation. She replied casually:
'This moment I am about to.make.a good one. II the old man is with me. should be able to make.a
better.one.¨
'You cannot be like this. you know.¨ advised Satö. while apologizing silently to the old caretaker.
'Hey ya. both oI you. Sorry Ior troubling you two.¨
Marchosias` apology and grateIulness were expressed in his sharp voice. With a iolly demeanor. he is iust
like a typical Demon God. although at the same time. Iilled with warm. human disposition. Despite seeing his
wasted. unkempt contractor. he never admonishes Margery.
'I told her. BeIore the old people come. iI you still want to sleep. sleep at the couch.` But she replied.
I-want-to-sleep-here!` She ain`t a three-year-old anymore. hehe!¨
He merely sneers her. The reply to this sneer came in the Iorm oI a skilled reverse kick at his Iace`.
Margery turned around with her chair and delivered a hard kick- her movements and agility so unlike a
wasted drunkard.
'Ouch!¨ The several-drawing-boards-thick was sent Ilying to the center oI the room.
'Stupid Marcho...you don`t.talk so much- uurrghh!¨
Margery`s Ilying kick made her nauseous again. so she lay prostrate on the counter oI the pub. From her
back. a loud. impertinent laughter could be heard. relieved that he Iinally needed not to worry oI being
puked on.
'He he he! Did I say anything wrong- oh! Thanks a lot!¨
'You`re welcome.¨
61 oI 103
His Iace twitching. Satö Iorced a smile whilst heaving Marchosias with both hands (Due to the sheer weight.
Satö could not iust liIt` it). He put the book on a couch near the entrance. Satö and Tanaka sat down beside
and opposite him respectively. Then. they took out the topics Ior the day. Marchosias questioned them:
'Both oI you. What are you studying today?¨
'Erm..A handy book in business?¨
Removing the cover. Satö showed the contents- 'Easy to understand! PerIect Superiors and PerIect
Subordinates¨
'Mine is..why does it look like a collection oI world maps?¨
Tanaka also showed Marchosias his book- 'The World`s Secret Cases¨. Since they met Margery- the perIect
image oI an ideal woman inside their heart. Iull oI existence and powerIul; their enthusiasm and vigor to
carry out what is known as Striving to Work and Train Hard` has been instigated within the hearts oI these
young men. They did it rather secretly. though.
Although not clearly expressed. it looks like they were serious in going aIter her. Despite being in her
semi-conscious and vacant` state. Margery was still aware oI this. Obviously. she completely ignored their
idiotic notion. Putting her replying to her aside. she was too lazy to even smirk at their antics. AIter all. their
interest must have merely been transient. she thought. So Margery iust leIt it aside and did not tell them oII.
'Hehehe! Are you two really serious? No matter how hard you work. it will all be in vain!¨
Margery laughed oII the matter. implying he had the same Ieelings as Margery. Humans wanting to work
with Flame Hazes..Reckless and unheard oI! In spite oI that. throughout this month. these two continue
to strive and practice hard. with no hint whatsoever oI their Iervor decreasing.
During this period oI time when Margery was distressed. they had made Iull use oI their time. Marchosias
was not really in the mood to laugh at them. and Margery pretended she never saw their hard work; but their
zeal remained.
But..
(Their physical drills are still acceptable. but when it comes to studies. it seems a bit irrelevant.)
Marchosias could not help but to think that. Satö and Tanaka thought that the normal curriculum` they
learned together with the other students was really not applicable. Luckily. Satö`s Iamily is quite well-to-do.
so they had set a target- Not necessary to memorize perIectly. but the more the better.`
II their aim is to stay Iit. this method is actually quite acceptable. However. iI their goal is to participate in
the battles together with the Flame Hazes. can they learn anything Irom 'Easy to Understand! PerIect
Superiors and PerIect Subordinates¨ and 'The World`s Secret Cases¨? Just as he is about to question this.
Marchosias noticed something strange at Tanaka`s chin.
'Hey. Eita. How did you get this iniury at your chin?¨
'Huh? Ah. err...This..¨
Tanaka looked up Irom his map oI international time zones. Ieeling his chin whereat a plaster was used.
'Nothing much. iust a small iniury. I was hit by a ball during a game. that`s all.¨
The corpse-like Iigure on the counter shuddered a little. Not noticing this reaction. Satö sniggered.
62 oI 103
'When your mum looks at you like this. maybe she will exclaim 'Not again!¨ and Iaint.¨
'Okay. that`s enough. AIter all. I will remove it on my way home.¨
Tanaka`s residence is also a rich one at the older housing area. His parents- especially his mother. had been
worried sick about his past deviant behaviors. So. she was very worried that Tanaka would venture into the
wrong path again.
For the past month. Tanaka`s routine was to come straight to Satö`s house right aIter school to undergo the
drill`. and only went back at night. Although it was quite troublesome. he did not stay in Satö`s house;
despite the many empty rooms. This is simply because his mother`s inIluence was iust too strong.
'Actually. I am not that bad to the extent oI causing my parents to suIIer that many blows!¨
From his position as a son. he retorted. showing a complicated-looking countenance.
'I rather remove it now. Ouch. ouch. ouch!¨
Moaning in pain. Tanaka removed his plaster.
'..What was the outcome?¨
Suddenly. Margery opened her mouth with a question.
'Ane-san?¨
'You won..or lost?¨
Not looking at the bewildered Tanaka. still prostrate on the counter. with her Iace covered. Margery
repeated herselI. From within the Iaint voice due to drunkenness. her anxiousness could be sensed.
'....¨
'....¨
Thunderstruck. Satö and Tanaka could only stare at each other. and then look at Grimoire in unison. Very
unIortunately. Marchosias was unable to express his view via looks or actions. All they Ielt is a hidden
message Irom the halI-sunk book in the soIa.
From Margery`s one month oI despair. they knew that despite chasing away the Crimson Denizens who
damage this city. she had received not only numerous physical iniuries. but also serious emotional blows.
During this period oI time. the reason they did not try to console this highly esteemed lady who made them
Ieel inIerior. is that they thought this move risky and stupid. This is why despite Ieeling down. they still held
their silence.
Now. Ior the Iirst time. she had willIully asked a question. though it is in an I-want-to-look-Ior-trouble tone.
'So how was it?¨
Thinking that this question carried an implicit meaning. Tanaka decided to answer truthIully.
'....we lost.¨
'But the opponent obviously Iouled.¨
'Don`t mention it anymore.¨
63 oI 103
Satö wanted to explain Iurther. but was cut in by Tanaka.
AIter a Iew seconds oI utter silence. their only reply was:
'....Is that so?¨
With that. Margery proceeded into a new topic.
'Tomorrow..I want to..shop.¨
Which meant that they would have to take the day oII tomorrow to help her carry the things. What would be
their best reply?
As they were pondering about this. regular breathings could be heard Irom the counter. Finally. covered in a
blanket. deeply buried within the alcohol bottles and glasses. the Flame Haze slipped like a quicksand into
dreamland.
The widespread light enveloped the city. banishing the darkness oI night into nothingness. This is the
downward view Irom the big window oI the restaurant-cum-hotel they were in. Thinking oI the preys which
had to be within this sea iI people. Tiriel could not help but to smile. She could pay undivided attention to
gathering the devices tomorrow.
BeIore the Flame Hazes who mingles with the people notice. she could quickly incarcerate them into the
gate Irom which getaways are impossible. In that case. no matter how tough the opponent is. her victory was
assured. And to prevent any unIoreseen circumstances. Tiriel had also employed Sydonay. the specialist`
bodyguard.
(He is in another room..No matter which world he is Irom. no one must interIere in me and my
onii-sama`s world.)
She did not expect a reply. because lying beside her. Sorath was already Iast asleep. Feeding on humans`
Power oI Existence. the Crimson Denizens actually do not need to sleep. Still. the non-humans who love the
liIe and cultures` oI the humans naturally learn to adopt the humans` liIestyle.
Just like what they were doing now. resting and sleeping is also part oI it. Tiriel Ielt the warmth under the
covers.
'Don`t worry. I. Aizenta. will deIinitely protect my onii-sama!¨
At some time during every night. Tiriel repeats the same oath without getting tired oI doing it. There were
many pleasant surprises Irom this country. such as orgel`. Using the Yokubö no Kyükaku`. words were
Iormed to describe them:
Inborn Countenance`
Pleasant to their ears. these words really Iitted into this situation.
Tiriel hugged Sorath tightly. Drowning in the Ialse Ieeling oI being one Ilesh with him. she dreamed about
her Iuture. She thought oI her onii-sama. someone utterly helpless without her. She Iantasized about the day
when Sorath would be ecstatic aIter IulIilling his craving; about her who could not continue living without
her onii-sama`s love; about the day when she would be shaking at the result oI her love.
64 oI 103
At this time when he should be accompanying Shana with her practice. Yüii Iound himselI handling weird
tools in his room.
'..What is he planning to accomplish?¨
The table was laden with the newly bought tools. The one Alastor requested was right in the center. with the
Iate oI going to be dismantled.
That is a mobile phone.
'Don`t have so many questions. iust Iollow my instructions.¨
Alastor`s icy voice came Irom the pendant-like Cocytus. His request to Shana was to buy this mobile phone
and a set oI tools. Now Yüii`s only duty was to..
'Remove the talking Ieature Irom the phone. and install Cocytus into it.¨
Yüii knew that Alastor would not do anything absurd. and believed that he would Iind out Alastor`s motive
sooner oI later. That is why although he didn`t understand a thing. Yüii paid Iull attention in disassembling it.
'How is this?¨
Using a drill and a saw. Yüii had made a hole on a piece oI wood roughly. He liIted it up to let Alastor see.
Alastor replied aIter some time. though Yüii was unsure whether it was due to his Iastidiousness or not.
'Hmm.Next. use a Iile to smoothen the sides. You can see a bat-like thing. right? Remember to Iix it
tightly. Don`t quiver because oI my words. though. That`s the reason we bought StyroIoam.¨
'Wah. Why do you know so much about this? Let me see..is it this? The one which looks like a solid
sponge. So I am supposed to smoothen it with a Iile. then stick with super glue?¨
'Uh-uh. Correct. I do not expect a Ilawless result. Just do it careIully. Next. think oI how to insert the coiled
up chain inside and Iix its position.¨
'You really do have lots oI requests.¨
'No complaints.¨
'Okay. okay.¨
Right above them. Shana was undergoing her training alone on the rooItop. Sitting on the ridge oI the rooI.
she stretched her hands out straight. and remained in this motionless state. It would drizzle once in a while.
The drizzles did not aIIect Shana. since she could dry herselI quickly.
Shana continued with her training. paying no attention to the raindrops. Actually. her wet medium length
curly hair made her Ieel slightly uncomIortable. Because Yüii was not around. she could not use too much
energy. Since there weren`t any tremor-inducing actions. a Füzetsu was not required.
Her training includes how to materialize a part oI Alastor`s body; grasping the Ieeling oI converting
imagination into reality; picture her existence envelope the entire area.
65 oI 103
(....)
But no matter how hard she tried. Shana could not Iocus at all. She was quite concerned about what`s going
on below her. But a more signiIicant reason would be her not getting accustomed to being alone. She
gathered her energy. which suddenly disrupts..
(..I hate someone.)
Such an idea came to her naturally. Shana did not think it embarrassing. or that she should be ashamed oI it.
(Because when I am with Chigusa. I Ieel very happy.)
Serving her delicious Iood and providing a warm place to belong to- a woman with an aIIectionate smile.
(When I am playing with the others. I Ieel very happy.)
Playing dodge ball together and Iooling around having Iun in the bathroom- a bunch oI lively classmates.
(Without Alastor. it`s so lonely.)
BeIore her chest. always protecting her- the kind-hearted Demon God Irom another dimension.
(Without Yüii..I hate it!)
And also. the youth she had gotten used to his being with her.
(Without everyone....really. I hate it!)
Shana recalled what Alastor had said when they arrived here earlier.
'Mingling with others would only increase your worries. I`m aIraid. However. the Ieeling`s not bad. right?¨
At that moment. Shana did not understand the meaning behind those words. She couldn't even remember her
reply. Nevertheless. now she was able to answer clearly. with iust a simple word.
'Yeah.¨
Chapter Four - The Day of Conflicts
The next morning. thick. dark clouds were scattered sparsely in the serene and blue sky. embracing the
strangely Iine weather.
Just like that. under the sky near the sunrise. the Sakai residence was Iacing an unprecedented emergency.
Facing the narrow garden made muddy by the lasts oI the raindrops. a deep sigh was released.
In the window oI the balcony which could not be brushed clean. the usually iersey-clad Yüii was on his seat.
"Fuu......"
From the small holes at the wall which are there Ior easy indoor rubbish disposal. the usually iersey-clad Yüii
was on his seat.
66 oI 103
Pondering on the things which would happen aIter this. a sigh escaped Irom him.
(......The 'Fight oI the Century' should be reIerring to this I think.)
He stopped sighing. instead inhaling the early morning's reIreshing air. waiting Ior the arrival oI Shana and
today's guest oI honor......or more accurately. the mobile phone into which the guest oI honor was Iixed.
AIter this. the extraordinary occurrence in the Sakai residence......can be said to be the climax oI the
decisive battle.
On one side. the Lord oI the Crimson Realm which is also the Demon Lord 'Teniö no Göka¨ Alastor.
On the other. 'Yüii Sakai's mother¨ Sakai Chigusa.
As Ior the latter. whilst her title sounded Ieeble (due to the weakness oI the person such title usually
represents). her awesome qualities in an unconventional way were already well-known.
The evidence was seen last night; when Alastor announced this conIrontation. Flame Haze 'Enpatsu
Shakugan no Uchite¨ Shana was also greatly bewildered.
'Huh!? Alastor is going to have a talk with Chigusa-?¨
In other words. Alastor wanted to use the mobile phone into which he made Yüii Iix 'Cocytus'. to have a
conIrontation- or also known as a 'conversation' with Chigusa.
Why on earth did such an idea hit him? What did he want to say? Leaving Yüii aside. not even Shana had
the Iaintest idea. From the usual respect Alastor had towards Chigusa. obviously he meant no malice.
Because oI that. the purpose oI doing this kind oI unnecessary things was not understood.
Besides.
'When my mobile phone is passed over to the lady. both oI you leave. Until the time when the usual training
Iinishes. do not come back.¨
He even warned them. causing Shana who had Ieelings oI special. deep aIIection towards Alastor. could not
help but to Ieel uneasy. Because the two oI them did not think oI opposing him. no matter what his
intentions were. they would iust obey his instructions......
However. the course oI events was really disquieting.
BeIore long. the old doorbell oI the house rang slowly. Nobody went to the entrance to answer the call. since
the person who rang the bell would head towards the garden immediately.
And then. as expected. Shana who was always in her track suit. appeared through the side oI the entrance.
The knapsack in which her uniIorm was placed and her other school bag were as usual. But.
'Good morning.¨
Nervousness was shown through the expression during the greeting.
'Uh. good morning.¨
Although he replied. he Ielt that he had the same expression as Shana. Their Ieelings should be like students
preparing Ior examinations who were Iorced to meet their guardians and teachers to discuss about their
Iuture. or else like the accused in an absence reIeree system.
67 oI 103
'Welcome. Shana-chan. A Iine morning. right?¨
Chigusa looked out Irom the inside. with a calm Iace displaying a gentle smile.
'Yeah. A Iine morning.¨
Shana replied brieIly. at the same time placing her bag and her knapsack at the corridor. She hesitated. then
called out to Chigusa who was about to return to the kitchen.
'Uh. Chigusa.¨
'What?¨
Called to a halt. Chigusa showed her Iace again in the corridor. Sensing that Shana had something to say. she
bent her legs and sat down. Iacing her gaze. Shana admired this part oI her.
'Umm... Alastor wants to talk to you with the phone...¨
'Huh? Alastor-san...that Alastor-san?¨
As expected. even Chigusa was astonished.
Shana produced the mobile phone Yüii modiIied yesterday Irom her bag.
Since only the interior oI the brand-new phone was tampered with. its appearance did not look special or
strange. The battery had been removed in the Iirst place. The buttons were all Ior decoration only.
'This is the Iirst time I use a mobile phone...I wonder iI I am able to use it.¨
Looking slightly anxious. Chigusa received the phone.
Shana explained in the simplest way.
'It is already connected. You can speak right away.¨
'I see. iI that's the case then I am relieved.¨
(Is that so?) Yüii doubted it. Shana signaled him with her eyes. and leIt the place.
'So. let's have our special training outside today.¨
'Huh?¨
'We will come back at the usual time.¨
From the meaning behind Shana's words and her complicated expression. Chigusa understood the general
situation. Without any Iurther inquiries. she sent them oII.
'I see. Itterasshai. Take care. okay?¨
'Uhuh. Ittekimasu. Yüii.¨
Yüii rose Irom the corridor as well. and Iollowed Shana.
'Well then. ittekimasu.¨
'Okay. itterasshai.¨
68 oI 103
Chigusa saw the two oII. then scrutinized the mobile phone Shana gave her. Although she had Irequently
seen strangers in the city center use mobile phones. when she picked it up. she could not even grasp the
approximate distinction between the sides.
For now. she iust imitated other people and held the receiver to her ears. Shana had said that the line was
connected. so it should be connected.¨
'Hello. thank you Ior waiting. Thanks Ior always helping oI Yukari Hirai-san. I am Yüii Sakai's mother.
Chigusa. Is that Alastor-san?¨
With her usual gentle manner. Chigusa talked to the Demon Lord oI the Crimson Realm.
It was still some time beIore early morning. Yüii and Shana was on the streets walking towards the riverbed
oI the Manakawa. It was on Shana`s instructions.
The walkway on the bank oI the Manakawa which was not exempted was the iogging course oI the nearby
residents. More people iogged in the dusk compared to noontime. For Shana who did not like crowds to
mention going to that place. she should have something she wanted to show.
'I wonder what Alastor`s intention was Ior speaking to her.¨
'Come now. why don`t we ask him aIter we return?¨
Shana made that concluding statement. showing that her worry which was on her Iace until some time ago
had gone.
Maybe it was because she entrusted Alastor to Chigusa. (or possibly the opposite) her mood lighten up. and
her Iootsteps became lighter.
(Come to think oI it. this is the Iirst time Alastor is not around; iust Shana and I together.)
Yüii thought to himselI.
Strictly speaking. Alastor`s true Iorm was in Shana. Since Cocytus` can return to her hands immediately iI
she has a desire with Alastor. regardless oI what it is; it is dangerous to have excessive Iantasies- (-but. 'iI
that`s the case. so what?¨)
Lately. incidents had always cause him to relate to that thing`. AIter all. beIore he could think deeply about
it. he always stopped with incomplete Ieelings.
Yüii somehow concealed his true thoughts. and continued the conversation.
'Incidentally. I wonder iI he would tell me iI I ask him.¨
'II he Ieels that it is okay to say it. perhaps.¨
'II that's the case. then there isn't any meaning in asking...¨
'It's okay iI we don't ask. right?¨
'Is that so?¨
'Yes. it is like that. II we insist on Iinding it out. the answer would only be mixed with lies and deceptions.¨
69 oI 103
Shana's manner did not change. Her manner oI speaking was still undisguised and straightIorward.
At that moment. her pace increased.
'Apart Irom that. hurry up a bit.¨
'What do you want to show me?¨
'II you go. you'll know.¨
Behind those curt words. a tinge oI her excitement could be sensed.
Feeling that made Yüii happy.
She was willing to let him know things like this. let him understand more about her innate being.
That made him happy. above all other things.
Deep within his heart. he could Ieel the stagnant Ieelings start to move again. little by little. Feeling it. and
together with Iear. waiting Ior it.
Hurrying. Shana went into a halI-run.
Not wanting to be leIt behind. Yüii Iollowed.
"This is the Iirst time I have the honour oI hearing your voice. madam."
"I deeply appreciate your kindness."
The Iellow guardians began with this old-Iashioned greetings.
(Since he is the gentleman Shana-chan's is the Iondest oI. to start Irom the unnecessary pleasantries would
be...)
Chigusa thought. thus she went into the main topic immediately.
'And. Ior you to call specially. it must be because you have some business. right? I suppose it is related to
Yukari Hirai-san's welIare.¨
(Wow. she surely is a lady with quick understanding. as might be expected.)
Despite his admiration. Alastor replied in a stern and IorceIul tone.
'Quite so. By the way. I have no obiections to calling her Shana as well. I am also used to calling her that.¨
'Ah. so it is a nickname Alastor-san also recognizes. huh? What is the meaning behind this nickname...?¨
'Umm. it is something like that. As Ior my business Ior calling...¨
'Yes?¨
70 oI 103
AIter a slight pause. Alastor spoke.
'Actually. it is about yesterday's incident.¨
'Yesterday?¨
Chigusa replied smilingly.
'In brieI. so to speak. I don't mean to deny madam's philosophy oI love...¨
Ah! Chigusa Iinally realized. With her hand at her cheek. she replied a bit shyly.
'Shana-chan told you about it. right? An awkward matter indeed.¨
'No. I...right. I Iound that out Iorcibly.¨
'At any rate. Ior Shana-chan to be able to tell you such things. it is the prooI that Shana has a deep trust in
you. right?¨
'......II that is so. I would look too conceited.¨
AIter all. he could not have said that he heard it together with Shana.
'Conceited? That is too humble oI you. right? Every time Shana-chan talks about you. her tone shows that
she is really proud oI you.¨
'Um......¨
Chigusa's words were not insincere 'Ilattery'. She conveyed the actual truth. which he received with pleasure.
a concern.
(Oops. looks like this lady had made my rhythm go out oI order.)
Alastor who had thought he had that cheerIul conversation with her had a sense oI impending danger. He
had wanted to use a stricter tone to say: 'Do not inspire her unnecessary things!¨ Now look who's agreeing
with who huh?
Yet Chigusa had unconsciously steer the conversation back to the main topic Alastor had been waiting Ior.
'You had brought her up extremely seriously. An innocent. good child. right?¨
'OI course. She is an invaluable child I brought up seriously. Full oI conIidence and determination.
completely Iired up Ior her call-...um.¨
'Call......Is it that her obiective in her course oI liIe has been determined?¨
'Uh...Um...quite so.¨
Alastor who accidentally drop his guard and let slip became anxious and voiced his demand impatiently.
'Anyway. I want you to be more careIul. and avoid suggestion like yesterday which can lead to 'unprepared
contact¨ between Shana and Yüii Sakai.¨
Alastor Ielt that the tension when he voiced his demand was less than what he planned.
(She is wise. With that. hopeIully she can guess my concern.)
71 oI 103
Based on the unconsciously created Iaith in her. he made that conclusion.
However. because oI the same wisdom that Alastor had assessed. Chigusa noticed the parts that he
overlooked in his worry.
'Your request is understood. But. 'Ior Shana-chan's sake'. may I have the privilege to say something on this
matter?¨
The bank along the Manakawa is a roadway without traIIic lights.
Randomly crossing that place which had little traIIic. Shana and Yüii went up the stairs to the high bank oI
the river.
Walking whilst avoiding the mud on the concrete stairs in the bank which looked old. Yüii asked.
'The thing you want to show...could it be sunrise?¨
It was almost the time Ior it. But Shana who was beside him. walking up the stairs shook her head.
'What's the point in showing you such common things? You may not know. but this riverbed is a good
location.¨
'?¨
'Although she said so. what are the other things to see in this place apart Irom sunrise? It shouldn't be the
Manakawa. right?'. thought Yüii. whilst harboring expectations Irom Shana's manner oI speaking.
'Because the view I like most will become such a huge spectacle to behold......look!¨
It did not betray Yüii's expectations.
BeIore they could reach the top oI the stairs. the scenery unIolded beIore their eyes.
'Ah......¨
At the spacious parking lot beside the river.....
A blue sky twice as large could be seen.
The asphalt oI the parking lot which turned into a iet black mirror because oI yesterday's rain. completely
reIlected the moment beIore sunrise- the blue sky which was dark but gradually becoming clearer.
Shana called out elatedly to Yüii who was standing still. overwhelmed by the scenery.
'How is it?¨
She was Iacing the blue sky which was twice as large. not Yüii.
Yüii did not look at Shana as well. He Iixed his eyes on the scene and answered.
'Yeah.¨
72 oI 103
That was his complete approval to Shana.
Yüii avoided the Ioolishness oI mentioning its beauty. but...
'To think that there are such views.¨
He said.
'Yeah. there are still lots more!¨
Shana's answer was simple yet awesome.
Yüii who was reIlecting on that went silent Ior a while. His eyes were still set on the blue sky. and he
honestly voiced out the longing he had iust now and his Ieelings right now
'I want to know more.¨
Although Shana was aware oI what he meant. without moving her gaze. she grinned.
'......still have a long way to go. eh?¨
The same request.
The same request with the day beIore yesterday.
And yet. why did they sound so diIIerent?
Standing side by side. not looking at each other. but at the vast world.
'Do your best!¨
'Alright.¨
Shana squinted her eyes. satisIied with the vast scenery and the blowing wind oI the river. and also with
Yüii.
'......? Yes. madam?¨
'I agree that Shana-chan is a good child. Iull oI determination and conIidence. But on the other hand. I can
Ieel that she has the naïve and tender-hearted side.¨
Chigusa stopped there. and requested permission Irom Alastor to go into deeper issues.
'......please continue.¨
'Right. Well then. sorry Ior my impoliteness. Shana-chan has almost never experienced any other Iorces
other than those she recognizes yields every day...in other words. humans 'Ieelings' and 'love'......which
possess complexity and power. Perhaps she doesn't even know the general range oI common sense?¨
Chigusa stabbed at the painIul spot.
73 oI 103
It is true that that was the way Alastor and the others brought Shana up. The Flame Haze who lives Ior her
call. whole-heartedly. existing only Ior this sole purpose.
'For what I saw. Shana-chan is entirely unable to deal with this kind oI Iorces. What she can do is merely to
be perplexed. lose her state oI mind...¨
Chigusa made that speech rather indiIIerently to the Demon Lord in the mobile phone.
'For example. Alastor-san is worried that because oI his youth. Yüii would
act on impulse based on his thoughts. Iorce Shana......The child whose heart
is exceedingly pure. will she be able to resist?¨
'Umm......¨
Alastor groaned. From the sound oI it. that seemed to be the kind oI
suggestion he wanted most.
'I Ielt that yesterday. that's why I had that sort oI conversation with her.
The act oI equipping her with principles to be able to handle things like
emotions and situations cannot be put aside. I think that ignorance and
purity are two diIIerent things.¨
'That is......maybe what you say is true. but I was thinking to let her spent
more time. experiencing things slowly. teaching her continually......Isn't
now still too early?¨
'That. is true. I am oI the same opinion as well.¨
What Alastor was reIerring to when he said 'too early¨ is the time aIter Shana became a Flame Haze.
diIIerent Irom Chigusa who was thinking about the youthIul outer appearance she had. But in this case. both
sides had no problem communicating with each other.
'However. the time she meets these things not necessarily conIorm with the time the people around her
hope Ior. Girls always mature earlier than they may look Irom the outside.¨
'Is that inIormation acquired Irom your experience. madam?¨
At the question Irom the slightly insensitive Alastor. Chigusa's Iace reddened. and she answered.
'Err. sort oI......Anyway. I Ieel that there is no such things as too early Ior disseminating necessary
knowledge. Because Shana-chan would sometimes show her dangerously deIenseless side. she has to learn
how to deal with her Ieelings with the other party. to prevent her Irom being seduced and deceived.¨
'......¨
Alastor awakened Irom the state oI being a blind guardian and understood aIter such a long time.
Chigusa Sakai was also protecting Shana; nothing else. Moreover. it was in an area unreachable by 'Teniö
no Göka¨ Alastor's power.
He released a huge sigh. because iI he were to maniIest. he might cause a huge Iire storm. Gently. he
apologized to the humans who are tiny and yet possessing deep. inner wisdom.
'......Madam. Do you allow me to take back the sudden. thoughtless demand? Though I have been in this
world Ior a long time. my understanding towards human beings is still shallow.¨
74 oI 103
Chigusa took these Iace-value words as a clever iest. Smiling. and laughing lightly. she replied.
'It is I who should say so. I apologize. My distance with Shana-chan is close until I Iorgot myselI and started
minding her business.¨
'Nope. Yüii Sakai is Iortunate to have a mother with such wisdom like madam. II madam doesn't mind. Irom
now on I would like madam to watch over Shana Ior me. giving her advice.¨
"That's more than I've ever wished Ior. I'll do the best I can. however little that may be."
Unconsciously. it became something like that.
Alastor consented to developments and results like that. but he still had the desire to voice out his
dissatisIaction. not that he wanted to oppose Chigusa though.
'Nevertheless. 'I have no obiection towards this person who would come into the picture sooner or later.¨
Just that I had no idea that this day would come so quickly. moreover to a youngster with such a
standard......oops. a slip oI tongue. madam.¨
Chigusa empathized with him. and laughed.
'No. it doesn't matter. because it is the truth. Shana-chan is a good child; Ior her to beIit my Yüii is really a
waste.¨
Since the people in question were not present. both oI them voice their thoughts as much as they liked.
'Umm......I would like to ask you sincerely to take good care oI Shana.¨
'It is I who should say so. For the sake oI Shana-chan. I would like Alastor-san to reprimand Yüii sternly.¨
(Uh. regarding this point. please do not worry. madam.)
'In addition to that. because she is Shana-chan. she'll be alright. II she is taught appropriately. Irom now
onwards. she will surely discover the right answer in her own special way. You have that conIidence in her.
right?¨
Regarding this matter. Alastor was able to give an immediate reply.
'OI course!¨
Shana and Yüii was on time. They returned to the Sakai residence timidly. to see that Chigusa had returned
to the kitchen to prepare breakIast.
There were only a iug oI cold barley tea. two upside down cups. and a plate oI heaped cookies on the
serving plate.
Shana resisted (Ior the time being) the temptation oI the cookies. Leaving that aside. she looked around her.
The mobile phone was beside her bag.
Gingerly picking that up. Shana moved to Chigusa's blind spot- the corner oI the garden. AIter exchanging
glances with Yüii who was beside her. she nervously asked.
75 oI 103
'......Alastor?¨
'Shana. Irom now onwards listen careIully to madam's words!¨
'Eh?¨
'Yüii Sakai. strive harder. Do not bring shame upon your mother.¨
'Ha?¨
Both oI them exchanged glances again.
On the same day. iust like usual. Hayato Ike went to school quite early.
Once he entered the classroom. the Iirst thing he looked at was the umbrella stand.
Because it is right beside the entrance. it is natural to look at it.
Even so. he discovered something which should not be there. sticking out oI the place.
It was the umbrella Yüii Sakai Iorgot to bring home yesterday.
The umbrella which he had removed and passed it to someone.
Its signiIicance hit him. and he looked around the classroom.
A young lady sat there. alone.
Lying Iace down. with her shoulders hanging liIelessly.
In the Iine weather. the color oI the sunlight keep changing Irom morning till noon.
Having estimated the opening hours oI the local shopping area and the departmental stores in Iront oI the
station. Margery and her two henchmen leIt Satö's house.
Obviously Margery was leading. and her beauty and tall Iigure were superior to even models. with distinctive
styles to boast oI. The moment one becomes a Flame Haze and turns into a vessel Ior the 'Lords'. the
human's physical growth would stop. Because oI that. it is the best timing. Satö and Tanaka thought.
At this time as well. she was walking on the road connecting the old residential district to the town areas.
Wearing only yesterday's dress shirt and baggy pants. with a iacket over her; with that appearance. that
beauty and sense oI existence were enough to trick people into thinking this 'mere unkempt person¨ as
'Iashionable ruIIian¨.
Only that the way she held 'Grimoire' in her armpit was liIeless. and the way she dragged the slightly larger
leather shoes was slow. Even iI she were to be described as a model. it would be a model who had iust
played mahiong the whole night.
76 oI 103
Behind her. donned in a slightly Iashionable casual wear. Satö and Tanaka Iollowed. Generally speaking.
Satö had the standard physique oI a Iirst year high school student. while Tanaka oI a sturdy built almost
looked like a university student. Even iI he attracted 'unnecessary things¨. because Margery would use her
'understanding¨ Jizaihö to deal with the opponent. there was no need to worry about that point. But they
still did not want to go out in their school uniIorm.
'Erm. where are we going today. Margery-san?¨
'Today. that massage...a Iemale only place is......¨
Satö asked lightly. whilst Tanaka. timidly.
BeIore this. they went to the lingerie shop. and at two o'clock. Margery was still persevering. Satö was
chatting nonchalantly with the shop employee. while Tanaka was indeed bored.
In a dispirited voice. Margery replied.
'Haven't decided yet. II there's anything interesting. iust go in to have a look.¨
'It is still a long time beIore we meet the interesting things.¨
'You can waste about 10 minutes merely in Iront oI the window.¨
From behind her. a tiny grumble which was the representative oI the men who were carrying the woman's
shopping goods was caught by the sharp ears. From the plain glass spectacles. the previously sharp look
seemed to be relaxed and slightly angry and dreamy.
'Quiet. Do you want to go shopping on an empty stomach?¨
'Ah. Ior that. please FORGIVE us.¨
'This is better. since that is what we've been looking Iorward to.¨
Both oI them had already arrived at the stage where they could match her conversations.
'Hi...hihi. well then. today work hard as well!¨
That voice Irom an unseen person which caused passerby to iump in surprise was a usual matter; a trivial
matter. But the three oI them who knew the strength oI the common knowledge disregarded it.
During lunch break. the school caIeteria group leIt the noisy and crowded classroom.
Amongst them. Ior some unknown reasons. the Iigures oI Ike. Yüii. Shana and Yoshida as the bentö group
could be seen. Lately. Satö and Tanaka would be occasionally absent together. In other words. the remnants
oI the group oI six people got together around the same desk eating their bentös as usual.
Despite having bags and lunch boxes respectively in their hands. it did not mean that they were going to the
school caIeteria. Although there were Iriends who brought their bentös to the school caIeteria to eat
together. these people were diIIerent Irom them.
'Let's eat at a diIIerent place occasionally.¨
77 oI 103
Ike abruptly proposed. so they went to the other place.
Yüii and Shana simply thought that Ike suggested eating under the rarely clear blue sky because oI his usual
concern towards Yoshida who was deiected since morning. As usual. Yoshida Iollowed Irom behind like an
adult.
Because oI this morning's incident. Yüii's mood was good.
(Finally. about the incident oI Shana being with the others..... I have the mood to......Ieel that she is slightly
Iorgiveable now.)
He was proudly harboring in his heart generosity. which was only the Ilipside oI his excessive
possessiveness. Don't know whether it was unlucky or lucky. but there was no chance to test that Iortitude.
BeIore long. Ike started ascending the stairs which lead to the top. Behind him. the three oI them showed
puzzled looks.
The city's Misaki High School divided the classes as such: the Iirst-years at the Iirst Iloor. the second years.
second Iloor. the third-years. the third Iloor. Yüii and the other Iirst years did not normally use the stairs
which lead to the higher Iloors.
Although he had passed by the third Iloor. Ike was still going up.
(Huh. this place is......)
Yüii had a rough picture now.
Previously. there was a Iierce Flame Haze who invaded this city. (Yüii's impression oI the previous Iight
with Margery was as such.) On that occasion. beIore the Iight. Shana had smashed through the door oI the
exit on this rooItop......
While he was thinking this. Ike opened the iron door which was indented Irom the center outwards.
"BeIore this someone had broke down the door. It is not repaired yet. The view here is nice!"
They had heard about the teacher said that he would call a repairman. Incidentally. the person who damaged
the door ignored this with an indiIIerent Iace.
The view beIore them was nothing unusual. iust a plain concrete level surIace. Wild grass grew at the old
wire netting Ience and the crevices. which was the best possible decoration. Due to yesterday's rain. the
whole dark surIace was still wet.
Nevertheless. the view was certainly nice. Because there weren't any tall buildings at the housing district
around Misaki High School. one was able to see the big sky Irom slightly tall places. A short distance away.
the Manakawa and its bank stretched out over a long area. AIter one crosses over the large iron bridge- the
Misaki Big Bridge to the opposite shore. buildings close together could suddenly be seen.
"Because most oI the students do not know that this place could be entered. and the teachers hardly patrol
this place. so we can relax. At the back oI the entrance. there is a perIect place Ior a good view."
Evidently he had already inspected the place. A meticulous chap; Yüii evaluated Ike. who produced vinyl
sheets Irom his hand bag and spread them out on the wet Iloor. That was a bit too meticulous. Yüii added.
"Alright. let's eat our bentös."
At the tone which sounded like he had something up his sleeves Irom the Iriend who never did anything
78 oI 103
meaningless. Yuii Ielt a somewhat unpleasant premonition.
'Well then. almost there. I think.¨
Inside the 'Cradle Garden¨ which extended Irom a corner oI the main street oI the town area. Tiriel paused
Ior a while. She lowered her Iinger and cast her Jizaishiki at a young lady. (Whether she was a university
student or a high school student. this Iact could not be conIirmed.)
At that instant. that lady transIormed into a Torch. and died.
All oI her companions were consequently eaten by Sorath. Only the Torches were made and leIt behind. the
rest was completely devoured by him. Immediately he turned around and said.
'Very soon. right? Very soon we can get our hands on 'Nietono no Shana'. right?¨
'Yes. I agree. Onii-sama. BeIore the day is over. the mechanisms would be completely set up. Just wait Ior
tomorrow.¨
'Hooray!¨
Putting the simple-minded Sorath aside. Sydonay walked round the street. carrying out a quick reconnoiter.
Since yesterday. he had this continual behavior oI stopping once in a while.
'Hooray! That's really great......Tiriel. did you Ieel any thing unusual about the presence oI the Flame Hazes
in this city today?¨
'What do you mean?¨
'Since yesterday. I've been Ieeli-¨
'Ah!¨
Sorath cried out. cutting into Sydonay's words. Those twinkling blue eyes were looking beyond the 'Cradle
Garden' towards the opposite oI the road.
Ahead oI his vision. there was a Iloating air balloon Ior advertisement near a department store-like building.
'I want! I want! Tiriel. That new. sparkling toy!¨
Tiriel smiled.
'Right. Should we go in then? Onii-sama.¨
Sydonay let out a sigh.
'Good grieI. again?¨
Heading towards the kill which had been captured by Sorath's 'Yokubö no Kyükaku¨. they started moving
out.
79 oI 103
AIter eating their bentös. Ike launched out an innocent-looking and yet a little severe attack towards Yüii.
'Come to think oI it. Sakai. Since we came into high school. I have never been to your house beIore to
play.¨
Yüii who was eating the bentö passed to him which made by Yoshida which kept improving in its taste
almost vomitted.
'Ack!? Urgh. n. a. aa......Is it? Yeah. that's right.¨
'Big unoccupied houses like Satö's are everywhere. Though I don't dislike your mother. because she always
treats others like a child. I don't really want to go.¨
'Ah? Mm.¨
Somehow. saying that his head was choked by silk Iloss......or should he should say. he could Ieel Irom Ike's
words a stench oI concrete imbuing Irom the surrounding oI the coiling silk Iloss. a sense oI oppression
which made one unable to escape.
Hayato Ike. this youth. when he talks in such a roundabout way. generally it wouldn't be a nice thing. Based
on Yüii's association with him until now. he understood this Iact well.
ShiIting his look away Irom him. Yüii noticed that the appearance oI Yoshida who was sitting opposite him
was strange.
(Yoshida-san......?)
Her Iace which was down. on the verge oI hitting the ground; was pure white. iust like wax. Holding the
chopsticks. her hands were slightly shivering. Her mouth was opening and closing. Dis she want to say
something? Or was she breathing?
Ike continued talking.
'And. early this morning......¨
'!!¨
Yüii Ielt as iI the 'Reiii Maigo¨ inside him sprung up.
'I was thinking oI returning the umbrella you Iorgot yesterday.¨
(Ike-kun!?)
Yoshida was aware that Ike was skipping the main subiect. and also understood what he wanted to do Irom
now on. She Ielt a slow. heavy piercing pain in her chest. and involuntarily shut her eyes. IorceIully.
Shana could not understand the meaning oI this conversation completely.
(Early this morning? Was it reIerring to Yüii and she go to see something?)
While thinking over that Iact. she stuIIed her mouth with melon breads. Obviously the taste oI the bread
Irom the specialized store was the best. but she did not the slightest hate the moist Ieeling oI the bread Irom
the stores with which her tongue was Iamiliar. Each had its good and bad.
80 oI 103
Not realizing that Shana's careIree thoughts were Iar away. Ike continued his roundabout inquisition.
'So. I saw......coming Irom the Manakawa.¨
(......Stop......)
Yoshida Ielt as iI her pitch black Iield oI vision was shaking unsteadily. When she was asked by him. by
mistake she told him her pain and sadness towards what she had seen. This. she regretted Irom the bottom oI
her heart.
'Since when? You have always been accepting Yoshida-san's goodwill.¨
While he was saying this. Ike Ielt within him a Iury which even he did not expect.
Is it because oI pride? Or he was angry Ior her sake?
Or. could it be...
'...That is...that...¨
Yüii did not know what was the best way to answer.
He had been receiving goodwill Iavors Irom her until he became selI-complacent. At last. an unexpectable
impeachment Irom his Iriend had come. During his unrest regarding this matter. excuses like 'My
relationship with Shana was not like that. I only asked her to train me.¨ could not even come out Irom his
mouth.
Yes. he knew that it was an 'excuse'.
(Stop.)
In the secluded darkness. Yoshida was harboring anger within her.
The youth who displayed strength to which she could not compare; the youth who always helps her by
speaking out her inner thoughts accurately; the youth who had until now. always been helping her out.
whom she adored......All the reliance and Iavors conversely aggravated her Iurther.
'II you continue your indecision. eventually the sad ones would be-¨
'Stop!!¨
She shouted. at the same time throwing her bentö aside and stood up.
Ike was astonished and looked up at her. speechless.
'I. I didn't ask you to do this. Ike-kun! Such things!!¨
From the eyes which were glaring at Ike. tears welled up and overIlowed.
'Yo. Yoshi-¨
'I am not like that! No!!¨
Throwing words oI unclear meaning at them. Yoshida turned and leIt
immediately. Her petite. Iuriously stiIIened back reiected everything.
Putting chasing aIter her aside. the remaining three could not even stand up. Her Iigure disappeared Irom the
81 oI 103
rooItop. and the sound oI the iron door slamming resounded. Forgetting even to breathe. they iust sat there.
BeIore long. Yüii looked at the Iriend who was the target oI her senseless anger.
Ike sat there without even the slightest movement. However. he displayed a look which they had not seen
beIore.
I ought to protect this Iriend who showed such an expression. Yüii thought. Towards Shana. he said.
'Can you leave Ior a moment?¨
'? ...... Ok.¨
Shana who was surprised and dumbIounded at Yoshida's Iury. Iollowed his words obediently. Forgetting
even to bring her pastry bag. she leIt the rooItop. She turned around once to look at Yüii. He shook his head
without Iurther explanation.
Soon. the sound oI the iron door closing was heard. Yüii looked at Ike again.
He saw a weeping Iace.
The 'Aizen¨ siblings were at the toy section oI the departmental stores. They were already attracting a lot oI
attention under normal circumstances. but in a place where the number oI shoppers were quite limited. they
were completely eye-catching. But then Sydonay who was thinking such things was no exception- donned in
a dark suit. wearing a sunglasses. he seriously stood out in that place.
Without hesitating. Sorath went straight Ior one oI the many shelves displaying various. new products which
were Iull oI luster and Ilamboyant ambiance. Finding the set oI toys he wanted. his eyes shone.
Sydonay thought.
(......Now what?)
Looks like it was something which could change into a bike. an aeroplane or a cannon; a set oI three robots
with colors similar to traIIic lights. Nevertheless. it was iust like any other toy. nothing special about it.
Sorath gazed at the desired obiect on the shelves. Iascinated. Squatting down. he looked up Irom below as
though looking up at the sun.
How many minutes will his interest last this time? Sydonay thought. At this moment. Tiriel addressed him.
'Sydonay. what were you trying to say iust now? What did you say about Flame Hazes' presence?¨
Guess it was the concern that she voiced out Ior the sake oI protecting her elder brother. Since Sydonay's
role was to be their bodyguard. he replied willingly.
'Yes. Since yesterday. we have covered and set traps in a vast area.¨
'Anything wrong with that?¨
'During that time. I kept sensing a strong presence which was almost unchanged.¨
82 oI 103
Thinking that someone was watching them Irom quite a close range. Tiriel said. slightly unhappily.
'......You mean my 'Cradle Garden¨ had been penetrated?¨
Sorath had absolutely no interest in such discussions. Currently. the robots on the shelI had Iully occupied
'Aizenii¨ Sorath's heart.
I want Tiriel to get this Ior me. I want to play. I want to play. play this as much as I like......Err...aIter that I
don't know.
'How is this possible? II that's the case. the person would quickly challenge us. or else run away Irom us. I
guess. Haven't we been working hard setting up traps continually?¨
'I know that......Then. what do you think?¨
'Yeah. This is an extremely rare case. In this city-¨
Meanwhile. outside this conversation.
A child ran Irom Sorath's side and took away the robot set he was looking at right beIore his eyes. AIter that.
he liIted it up to show it to a woman which seemed to be her mother.
'Mother. THIS! THIS!¨
Presently. the shocked Sorath stood up to that robot set which was held up.
That woman who looked like his mother noted the presence oI a golden-haired handsome youth in the toy
section. and was surprised. That childish behavior. and above all. the Iigure which stared at the robot as iI he
was going to eat it. caused her to show a plain look oI contempt. Looks like she regarded him as a retarded
child. She led the child and leIt the place quickly.
Sorath did not even look at the mother's actions. However. he Ielt the premonition that the obiect he desired
was being taken away.
'Hey. Tiriel. Can?¨
Because she was in the midst oI a conversation. Tiriel treated these words as a request- 'Is it okay to buy
this toy?¨. Thus. she agreed lightly.
'Alright. go ahead. onii-sama.¨
That child was sliced into halI.
A horizontal line could be seen at the abdomen. The upper and lower parts oI the body were then blown oII.
Looks like the mother still could not grasp the situation.
She was dumbstruck and could only stare at the mist-like bloody breeze which was around the kid. and also
the shadow oI the golden-haired teenager in a magniIicent armor opposite him who turned towards her and
swung his huge sword downwards.
The mother was sliced cleanly into halI as well.
With a speed which did not Ieel any resistance at all. Sorath cut her Irom her head to her groin using
'Blutsauger¨. Golden hair Iluttered Irom the Iace shield-Iree headpiece. As the reverberation oI the
decapitation. the radiance oI the color oI the blood on the huge sword glittered.
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The handsome youth looked like a knight oI iustice which appeared out oI Iairy tales. A Iew seconds aIter
the spectacular slaughters. screams could be heard.
'Waaahh!!¨
'Mu...mu. murder!!¨
'Call the police! Call the police!¨
Not showing any interest whatsoever in these. Sorath turned the blown oII child and the sliced mother into
Ilames. and consumed them in and consumed them in a single breath. Still her did not Iorget to leave behind
some Ilame which was the Torches' portion. and aIter that picked up the robot set which was leIt behind.
AIter that. the box which was dropped had a big dent due to the strong impact. The robots inside were also a
mess. losing the tidiness oI a new product.
'......No. I don't want it anymore.¨
Sorath lost interest and threw the box aside.
Tiriel looked at the state oI her elder brother. With her arms akimbo and a worried look on her Iace. she
smiled.
'Oh my. what have you done. Onii-sama! BeIore you do such things. you have to set up a Füzetsu. And I
had told you so many times...Now you caused a chaos. didn't you?¨
Just as she said. the section had turned into a pandemonium. Until Torches were Iormed Irom leIt-over
Ilames. the humans were able to recognize that the murders occurred. (AIter the Torches were Iormed. their
reasoning oI the previous mania would be changed into conIusion.) The terror oI the Irantic people who
were escaping spread over the area. That section oI the departmental store Iell into a state oI panic with
screams and conIusion all over.
Sorath. the perpetrator who caused this. innocently shook his head hard.
'But. I don't know how to set up a Füzetsu.¨
'That's why I......never mind.¨
She took it as her misunderstanding (she did not want to think oI it as a 'blunder') and shrugged. She talked to
the bodyguard beside her.
'Sydonay. will our opponent sense what had iust transpired?¨
Sorath had accidentally consumed humans outside oI the 'Cradle Garden¨. The imbalance caused by that
meal was by itselI very small. But because they were in the same city with a short distance between them. he
also had the Iear that the enemy would be able to sense them.
Sydonay agreed with her anxiety too.
'You are right. II the Flame Hazes are sharp. there can be no mistake about it. Since their presence is still as
strong as usual. they have to be quite near to us. We cannot wait Ior the Iellow who deIeated 'Tenmoku
Ikko' to overlook this. right? But still. in this 'Cradle Garden'. our presence should not leak out......¨
'Yes. II our opponent uses Jizaihö to sense us. we would simply react to it. Looks like hide-and-seek ends
here.¨
Tiriel regretted her brother's actions. OI course she did not think oI it as her brother's Iault.
84 oI 103
'Regarding the mechanisms. we can do a bit more to ensure perIection...let's begin. Sydonay. Let's put liIe
into this by making all the chaos here into a burning reception. I want to see a really big Ilame.¨
Sydonay smiled bitterly.
'Is this a Iree service?¨
'II you like. you can take the 'wages'. No problem.¨
'I'll take the payment when your brother is eating. In addition to that. selI-service? Even though the real part
is about to begin and you are still hard-driving people......but.¨
Together with the voice. both arms in the black suit extended. Whilst extending they became steadily
thicker. at the end oI the palms murky were murky. violet Ilames. Those Ilames which were hot on the tracks
oI the escaping. conIused crowd had changed into the shape oI the head oI a tiger without anyone noticing.
It opened its mouth to reveal a look oI it roaring. whilst revealing sharp Iangs. From that mouth grand Ilames
which could melt and bring screams oI death were breathed out.
'Hmm. once in a while is not bad. Wreck as much havoc as you like!!¨
Sydonay gave a big Ierocious roar in those tigers' stead. At the same time. the arms oI the tigers' head
wriggled within that Iloor oI the building. Wherever they reached. murky. violet Ilames were breathed out.
occasionally devouring humans.
'Haha. The Iire signaling the beginning oI the war. isn't it reasonably lovely......¨
Tiriel stared at it. Iascinated by the disastrous scene. whilst whispering to the brother she was embracing.
'Now. let's go onii-sama. Let's go to greet them Iirst.¨
'Yeah. Let's go quickly! Quickly!¨
The three shadows leIt behind the countless death amidst the hellIire and the black smokes. and disappeared.
Obviously. because the Flame Haze was sharp. she sensed the small imbalance in the departmental store.
However. the opponent was not the Flame Haze who had 'Nietono no Shana¨. the one they were targeting.
It was the other Flame Haze in this city- 'Chöshi no Yomite¨ Margery Daw.
Because she was in the same city area. and because she was quite near to the scene. she was able to sense
the tiny imbalance which barely made her hair rustle.
(Wh-what is this!?)
She had sensed it. and was astonished. not because such things had appeared suddenly so suddenly so near
to her. Just that aIter the previous battle. she was bombarded with questions about the whole matter Irom
Satö and Tanaka. and Iorcibly guaranteed that...
''Denizens' would not come to this city again. deIinitely. I have said beIore that it is rare Ior consecutive
damages to appear in one place. Not to mention that 'hunters' had attacked this city once. and that
'Shikabane Hiroi¨ had attacked this time.¨
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She did not Ieel that it was her who attacked 'Shikabane Hiroi¨ and caused a huge commotion.
'This city had gone through so much commotion. That's why 'Denizens¨ should not come again.¨
Full oI selI-conIidence. she declared. And generally speaking. that should be correct. However. all things
will have inevitable exceptions. and in most cases. they are unpredictable.
'Margery."
From the speaker 'Grimoire¨ right next to her. Marchosias Ielt the same thing as her. and spoke in a rarely
heard serious tone.
"I know it already. you don't have to tell me! What the heck is it. man!?"
Margery replied in an angry voice which sounded like she was about to smash the saxophone she was
holding in her hands.
'Wh-what's the matter. Margery-san?¨
Nearby. holding an electric guitar under his arms whilst enioying himselI. the surprised Satö asked.
Slightly Iurther away. Tanaka who was Iooling around with the drum also rushed over.
'Ane-san?¨
At the musical instruments store which unexpectedly caught their attention. they were whiling time away. In
the rare place in which the three were able to enioy. they were touching and playing with the things in the
shop. That was where the angry voice was heard. The shop assistants and the other customers were shocked.
with their eyes wide open.
Ignoring them. Margery roughly put the saxophone back to the display case.
(Can't one even have the leeway to think deeply about past memories? What the heck is wrong with this
world!?)
She had the look oI one whose stomach was being burned due to distasteIul tequila. In Iront oI her. Satö and
Tanaka who were standing straight. She gave them a simple order.
'Both oI you. go to the Haridan immediately!¨
That was the name oI the Högu they discovered due to their battle with 'Shikabane Hiroi¨ a month ago. At
the same time. the place at which it was put could be said to be their secret base. Going to this place means
that......!
'I-it's a lie. right!?¨
'Is it a 'Denizen'!?¨
The two oI them were so astonished that they almost did not iump. The two who trusted Margery completely
had accepted that 'Denizens' would not go to their city again. To them. it was a Ilawless. undeniable Iact.
Now that the Iact had been overturned. they looked shaken.
Seeing their pathetic looks. Margery snarled at them again.
'Although it is I. when I am mistaken. I am mistaken! Now. that's enough! Quickly!¨
'B-but...¨
86 oI 103
'We. er... um...¨
'...Huh?¨
Margery realized that the looks on their Iaces were not iust shaken ones.
'During this month. the trainings which were not considered special trainings must yield some result today.
immediately!¨. The Iear. recklessness and emptiness......Even they understood these things. Because oI that
Iervor. they stood their ground despite trembling and being IearIul.
They looked as iI they were bracing Ior inevitable death. At these looks. Margery could not help but
laughed. It was not a sneering laughter.
'These idiots!¨
It was a cheerIul and breezy laughter. She did not mean to laugh at them. And then only she realized that she
had said those words. Her smile turned into a bitter one. and she said to the two who had turned very still.
'In battles both oI you are oI no use. Only now both oI you are useIul. Because you are able. Iollow my
instructions obediently! Understand!?¨
Whilst speaking. Margery poked their Ioreheads lightly with her index Iinger.
'!¨
'?¨
On the Ioreheads which were poked. ultramarine luminous points could be seen.
As iI being a Jizaihö which sealed all obiections was cast on them. Satö and Tanaka was speechless.
Margery added.
'I hate INDECISIVE PEOPLE!¨
'Un-understood! Do your best okay?¨
'Well then. I'll be going now. Be careIul. ane-san!¨
As iI being repelled. both oI them broke into a run and leIt the shop.
(......Do your best? Be careIul?)
Involuntarily. Margery burst into laughter. That two are quite good at being henchmen. While she was
Ieeling the pleasantness. she beckoned and spoke to the shop assistants and the other customers who were
surrounding them Irom a distance and watching them. not understanding the meaning oI the conversational
exchange.
'Ah. don't mind this. Well then. goodbye.¨
She took 'Grimoire¨ beside her and leIt the shop.
Outside the shop. Ior some reasons there was a commotion.
Margery turned towards the direction oI the sensation she Ielt iust now.
In Iront. there was a departmental store which was in Ilames which looked like the source oI the commotion.
87 oI 103
Several Iire engines which were emitting shrill sirens were slowly making their way through the traIIic
congestion in Iront oI her eyes.
'Now what can I do...¨
The Flame Haze who lost the reason and the desire to Iight asked herselI heavily.
The 'Crimson Lord¨ who had contracted such a woman answered in a persistently cheerIul voice.
'Hmm. Because you were always doing things slowly. problems come to you now! Hihi!¨
AIter he had Iinished laughing. 'Jürin no Söga¨ Marchosias asked her back.
'Now then. can you still sing? My lovely wine cup. my darling 'Chöshi no Yomite¨ Margery Daw?¨
Obviously the idea oI asking 'Enpatsu Shakugan no Uchite" Ior help did not cross their minds.
A Iallen leaI.
In Iront oI Margery. crystals which were sparkling with golden yellow energy were Iloating up and down.
Then it slowly dropped onto the ground.
'!¨
Right beIore that. Margery leaped aside.
At that spot where she was standing halI a second ago. a muddy violet explosion was let oII. Some oI the
people nearby were shocked and Iocused on that spot. whilst the rest were caught in the aIter-eIIect and Iell
down. and what they were doing stopped halI way.
'......This is!?¨
Without anyone noticing. the golden yellow tree leaves surrounded Margery who landed. iust like a
whirlwind. With the site oI explosion as the center. a dome gradually Iormed Irom the spacious walkway to
part oI the highway. wrapping the entire area.
'Isn't this...a...Füzetsu?¨
As a great Jizaihö specialist herselI. at a glance. she Ielt and understood that this Jizaihö was something that
hid one's presence.
From the midst oI the scattering. remaining violet Iire dust. three Iigures appeared in Iront oI her. Taking
opportunity oI it. the surrounding crowd were turned into Ilames and were sucked in by one oI the Iigures.
Laughing in a high-pitched voice. a beautiIul girl in the center spoke.
'Although I do not know who's contractor you are. I have to start with a greeting Iirst. I think-¨
She had a magniIicent appearance like a French doll. On the contrary. her body hid an enormous amount oI
'Power oI Existence¨.
88 oI 103
Nevertheless. Margery's gaze was not directed towards her. nor the other one hidden behind her- the
armored. handsome youth who was sucking in the Ilames. Instead. she was looking at the other person. the
man in dark suit and sunglasses. and gave a smile like a Iully stretched bowstring.
'Fu...what are you doing here. FLIMSY stud?¨
That man. Sydonay was also a little surprised to see her.
'Hoho......It has been a while. boisterous. beautiIul assassin.¨
In this human-Iree alternate dimension with embers Ilying around. both oI them glared at each other.
'Eh? Your acquaintance?¨
'Yeah. Let me introduce her. Tiriel. The means our Ioe had set up to destroy us 'Crimson Denizens¨- Flame
Hazes. One oI the prominent assassins......'Chöshi no Yomite¨ Margery Daw.¨
'Oh! So she is Jürin no Söga's?¨
Facing the two who did not display Iear in their words. a voice which was not Margery's came Irom the
divine artiIact 'Grimoire¨.
'Tiriel......? You bastards are the 'Aizens'!?¨
That is the name the passionate. indulging and spiteIul Jizaihö specialist siblings who use Jizaihö to play with
and kill their game.
'Yes. The rumors lately......The mad 'Lords' who kill their Iellow brethren ioyIully......Hehe.¨
Tiriel sneered. while dearly embracing her brother close to her chest.
'Allow me to introduce. This is my onii-sama. 'Aizenii¨ Sorath. I am 'Aizenta' Tiriel. You have already
known 'Senpen' Sydonay. right?¨
Though Margery was irritated due to some issues. she replied in a provoking tone.
'Well. you two are not worthy oI the rumor. since you only hide around SNEAKILY. You pervert siblings.
what are you doing at such a place?¨
Tiriel's eyebrows shot up at the obvious insult. But the tone in which she replied was still gentle.
'Even iI you reIuse. you have to hand over the thing you have in your hands to my onii-sama. You don't
have the right to reIuse. Because my onii-sama yearned Ior it.¨
This was her request.
Margery was getting irritated. not because oI those words oI uncertain meaning. but because oI her own
problems.
'I don't understand what you're saying. but you guys dare to criticize me. 'Chöshi no Yomite' in such a tone?
......You guys have some nerve. eh?¨
'AIter considering the diIIerences between our abilities. I thought the request was quite sensible? Now. don't
play dumb anymore. Please hand it over.¨
'But. what!?¨
89 oI 103
'OI course it is 'Nietono no Shana'.¨
(Ha? ......Haa. Is that it?)
At that instant. Margery Iinally grasped the situation.
Actually. she had already guessed a little that the huge katana which the Ilame-eyed girl yielded was that
Iamous demonic katana. And she had a Iirst hand experience on the dreadIul sharpness oI the blade. It really
is a sharp sword that 'Aizenii' would eye.
(So. this is the brat's quarrel huh?)
This was not because oI any ill-Ieelings. but merely a recognition oI the present condition. to composedly
calculate the eIIects oI those guys' purpose. and the steps she should take to become more advantageous.
The conclusion is......ignorance.
It was pointless talking to the other party and giving them unnecessary inIormation.
At Margery's decision to remain silent and not to give them the Högu they had been waiting Ior. Tiriel made
an unpleasant Iace.
(She looks like a short-tempered Flame Haze. iI we stir her up a bit. she should draw out her katana
immediately but...... Isn't the name 'Chöshi no Yomite' iust Ior show? I wonder.)
She did not voice out her evaluation. but continued her sneering and provoking conversation.
'Three against one. Do you still plan to keep your trump card? II that is so. then we cannot hold back.¨
Sorath was Irightened by Margery's intense glint in her eyes. but Tiriel caressed his blond hair which
overIlowed Irom the helmet. From the smooth hair. she asked her beloved brother Ior permission to kill.
'Well then. is it okay. onii-sama?¨
At his younger sister's voice. Iire burned in his eyes.
'Alright!¨
His head went up and down excitedly. nodding his approval. And then. he turned around. Simultaneously.
'Blutsauger' was already swung to the Iront oI her eyes.
'!!¨
Due to her intuition. she did not use a deIensive Jizaihö but bent backwards.
As the huge sword passed by her. red ripples Iollowed. The distance was enough Ior the skin to actually Ieel
its existence.
Recovering Irom her recoil. matching her body movement. she shouted angrily.
'Don't look down on me!¨
From the lips which parted several centimeters. ultramarine blue Ilames were spouted.
However. Sorath swung the tip oI 'Blutsauger' around. like drawing a circle. and scattered the Ilames easily.
There was absolutely nothing leIt Irom the scared look he had iust now. The handsome youth had become a
90 oI 103
composed warrior. His next move which extended into a gyration had already come along.
'Who's the one looking down now. I wonder.¨
To add to that. Sydonay's voice came Irom above. Noticing a break between Margery's attack. he leapt. both
arms had already turned into tiger heads which were Iormed Irom violet Ilames. To block her path oI escape.
a spout oI Iire was emitted.
'-Ugh!?¨
AIter Iour and a halI seconds oI consideration. Margery decided to abandon hiding around. and commenced
an attack which would surprise the there oI them.
Using the ultramarine-colored explosion Irom the soles oI her Ieet. she rotated as iI she were leaping
Iorward. Like executing a resplendent dance.she dodged Blutsauger's assault by a paper-thin distance and
alighted behind Sorath. An technique oI ridiculous dynamic vision and body maneuver.
She used Sorath as a shield to protect herselI Irom the outburst oI Sydonay's Ilames.
'You......¨
With all her strength. she knocked his back with 'Grimoire'.
'BASTARD!!¨
With he book which amounted to a drawing board. the Flame Haze smashed it into his back. using her
superhuman strength.
'!?¨
Due to the unIoreseen attack. Sorath Iell Iorward. but immediately support himselI on the ground single-
handedly. and using Blutsauger. took the opportunity to knock down the legs in Iront oI his eyes.
Like acrobatics. she iumped aside and avoided that. simultaneously shouting.
'Aargh!!¨
Ultramarine blue-colored explosion occurred all around. blowing everything oII. Due to huge explosions
within the the 'Cradle Garden' Tiriel Iormed. it was in imminent danger oI tremors. with its smoke dense
enough to Iill the entire interior.
Because Margery was not stupid. she did not consider taking the opponents down at this stage. Promptly.
she ran while preparing the next Jizaihö.
(Eeh......what on earth is this!?)
She did not have any moment to even think about the irritation she Ielt. The next moment. she stooped.
From the sky. violet Ilames oI tiger heads ripped the air apart with their Iangs.
'As expected Irom the 'Chöshi no Yomite'! But......¨
Like a whip. the sleeves oI the dark suit stretched. still attached to the body...... 'Senpen' Sydonay spoke
Irom the other side oI the Iumes. Is it natural Ior his composed voice to be so near? Margery thought bitterly.
'Why didn't you put on the 'toga' which represents your beastly slaughtering instinct? Why didn't you sing
the Tosatsu no Sokkyöshi which destroyed many oI my sworn Iriends?¨
91 oI 103
'Ch...¨
Marchosias made a small tsk` sound.
That`s right. No matter what. Margery did not put on the blazing red clothing toga`. the evidence oI her
seriousness as a Flame Haze. Nor was she interested in her poems which enables her to manipulate her
Jizaihö to her heart`s content. Since the beginning. she was irritated by this matter.
'None oI your business! Are you an opponent worthy oI it?!¨
'Don`t you ever think oI making Iun oI me!¨
It made no sense to surpass the belieI which was meditated by deathmatches. It was useless communicating
with him using deceptive or insolent words.
Whilst Ieeling this irritation. Margery was desperately evading the explosions due to the consecutive
explosives emitted Irom his two arms.
Suddenly. Irom a corner oI the battleIield. a voice which sounded not anxious at all could be heard.
'No! Not this one. She doesn`t have it.¨
It was Sorath.
'WHAT!! Onii-sama?¨
As expected. the astonished Tiriel asked.
The one who answered this was Sydonay who landed beside her.
'Is that so? We really made a mistake huh? I kept having this Ieeling that it is impossible Ior her to wield a
sword.¨
'Why is that so?¨
While she welcomed Sorath who was rushing over noisily like a child into her arms. she casted Margery a
doubtIul look.
Sydonay spoke again.
'Still remember the time I mentioned that I sensed a strong presence. Tiriel? Probably. because there is
another Flame Haze in this city.¨
(We`ve been discovered?)
Margery thought. and snorted. She had no obligation to correct the wrong guess they made. She iust kept
quiet and examined during the breaks in the battle.
'What!? Why didn't you say so earlier?¨
At her question. Sorath raised his palms which had returned Irom the tiger's heads to their original state. and
continued.
'Because when I was iust about to mention it. Sorath had already started the Iight. Besides. tentatively there
is still a possibility that she has the sword. I thought perhaps that related to the reason she did not put in her
best eIIort. Just to be sure. that's why I engaged her in battle.¨
92 oI 103
'Oh. what a waste oI time.¨
Tiriel displayed an obvious look oI disappointment.
'We thought oI greeting the person. but in the end we got the wrong one......BeIore this person asks Ior help
Irom the other one. I think it is better to start up the 'Orgel' Iirst.¨
(Who's the one asking Ior help!)
Not caring about the incensed Margery. Tiriel gave instructions.
'How terrible. we actually let the enemy escaped the dome's eIIective range......Sydonay. I'll leave this part
oI the Cradle Garden Ior you. stop her. When the 'Orgel' has started. I'll give Iurther instructions.¨
'Understood.¨
AIter getting that simple consent. Tiriel let the golden yellow tree leaves twirl under her and her brother's
legs. like a whirlwind. The whirlwind increased in strength. and caused the siblings to Iloat gradually.
Margery did not chase aIter them. She welcomed the dispersion oI the enemy's Iighting potential. From what
she said. looks like she was going to use either some unusual Jizaihö or Högu. But since the one they were
going to conIront was that Ilame-eyed brat. it was none oI her business. She only had to clear the enemy in
Iront oI her.
BeIore she leIt. with deep malice hidden behind her smiling Iace. she said.
'Servant oI Söga. don't Iorget the words iust now......I will take revenge to clear up your insult......When I
IulIill my onii-sama's wish. I will take the opportunity to kill you as brutally as I can......¨
In the Iorce oI the whirlwind. the scornIul words became Iragmented and unclear. and soon disappeared
together with her.
Margery did not retort. not even a single word. Instead oI that game . she had other more important
problems. right in Iront oI her.
She turned back towards the man who once again stepped Iorward. and called out to him soItly.
'This time your client gave you a hard time. huh? 'Senpen'. Isn't it about time you leave this iob?¨
Facing the quiet behavior oI the man. it seemed as iI a gun was aimed at him. That transient Iigure which hid
dreadIul combat strength inside gave a strange. Iaint smile and answered.
'Same goes to you. There is no need Ior you to Iorcibly strive so hard Ior your iob in such a bad condition.
How about taking an eternal holiday?¨
They exchanged Iearless smiles Ior an instant.
And then. the clashing began again.
On the rooItop amongst the Ileeting wind.
93 oI 103
Leaning heavily on the old wire Ience. as iI he was tired oI the long silence. Ike Iinally opened his mouth.
'......Actually. the one who saw both oI you this morning was Yoshida-san.¨
'Oh...I see.¨
Beside him. leaning against the Ience as well. Yüii answered shortly.
Yoshida thought about the pain when she saw you both. and was overcame by the pain beIore she Iinished.
The halI-way. incomplete sympathy aggravated the situation. Although she understood the reason. she still
Ielt what she Ielt. Anyway. with/because he was really pampered by her goodwill Iavors. he did not even
sort out his own Ieelings. not even a bit. Which one. how Iar. he did not even......
Towards Yüii who was thinking absent-mindedly. Ike gave a hollow look and spoke ramblingly towards
empty air.
'Actually. the one who had handed the umbrella to Yoshida was me. How should I put it...I was to nosy......I
didn't have such an intention. but...¨
His voice was IearIul. while his Iace revealed his deiection.
Realizing this. wanting to stir him up. Yüii said.
'......So you make blunders too huh?¨
The response was not as IorceIul as he anticipated.
'Looks like that's the case. I never thought that I would mess up......Even iust now. I suddenly Ilared up.
unable to stop. um......sorry.¨
Yüii did not turn to look at Ike. and gazed at the sky as well. With the body weights against it. the wire Ience
groaned.
'It's alright. The things you said were......actually. quite deplorable. but......it is not your Iault at all. Still. iI
you had only spoken against me. it's okay. But dragging Yoshida-san into this matter is a bit too reckless.¨
'Yeah.¨
He agreed in a regretIul tone.
Just like that. both spoke nothing Ior a while. and instead gazed at the sky.
Yüii understood a little why Ike Ilew into a temper. and why he cried later. But naturally. there was no
reason Ior this Spectacled Man to lose his composure.
Yet. what was he Ieeling aIter seeing 'the Ieelings Ike had towards Yoshida'? That crucial part did not
manage to grasp it. He could not tell whether it was numbed or Ilaccid.
(When Shana was with the rest. to think that his anger gushed out to that extent......Is it because I
sympathized with Ike? Or is it......)
The Ieelings he had Ior her. was it merely innocent ioy he Ielt because oI her kindness to him? For a child
who longs Ior Iancy and love. hadn't he merely hallucinated?)
(To begin with. Iancy and love; Iavor and ioy. what on earth is the best way to diIIerentiate them......?)
94 oI 103
The doubts and questions which surIaced continually made Yüii lapse into a melancholic mood.
However. he still wanted Ike to conIirm something.
'Umm...¨
'Huh?¨
Facing a casual answer. Yüii asked in a serious voice.
'......Did you like......Yoshida-san?¨
He waited Ior 5 seconds. No reply. Is he troubled by it?
He waited Ior 10 seconds. No reply. Is he still troubled by it?
He waited Ior 15 seconds. No reply. Could it be that he did not know how to reply?
Whilst thinking and planning to ask Ike one more time. Yüii Ielt an uncomIortable Ieeling at the sight oI the
view he saw.
Initially. he thought it was the reIlection oI the sun. but the next instant...
'!!¨
His whole body Ielt it.
(Ji. Jizaihö!!)
A gigantic Jizaihö was being invoked!
The view Irom the rooItop was in an eerie light and shiny golden-colored Iog.
That Iog capture the whole Misaki city. making everything quiet and still.
Suddenly. very suddenly. he realized that it looked like the beginning oI a battle.
Awoke Irom her angry conIusion. Kazumi Yoshida started to violently hate herselI.
(......I am an idiot......Really. an idiot......)
Thinking about what she had accidentally done. her Iace which she could not liIt up; her shoulders which
dropped liIelessly; and her legs which walked totteringly. seemed so heavy that she was going to Iall.
(.......Yeah......I shouldn't have gotten mad at Ike-kun......He was not at Iault.)
The one who is at Iault is me. Keep asking him Ior help. keep asking him Ior Iavors. the utterly useless I.
She was Iurious at Hayato Ike's words and actions. because it was something she had to say herselI. and
someone apart Irom her had said it. in a Iirmer and clearer tone than she would. She was Irustrated at that
point. and accidentally struck out at him.
(Since it is depressing. since it is painIul. she should have expressed it to Sakai-kun herselI in a proper
95 oI 103
manner but......but I could only Ieel sad. I could only be depressed. I couldn't do anything at all......No.)
'I cannot do it.' I was already Iixated on that. and kept running away. Because I was timid. and with that as
an excuse. I kept relying and depending on the kind Hayato Ike...... At the end oI the day. I was iealous at
his good qualities. and did such a shameIul thing.
(I...am such a detestable girl. right......But...)
I am aIraid. This morning. I saw how good Yüii Sakai and and Yukari Hirai's relationship was. Both oI them
were not clinging on to each other. They had only walked and chatted together. But Ior some unknown
reasons. she could Ieel their Ieelings communicate with each other.
(II I were to do something which disturbs them......And iI I accidentally destroy their young relationship at
this stage......)
Nevertheless. she thought oI that. and the consequence oI her shutting herselI away cowardly. was this.
Hayato Ike should be mad at me. Yüii Sakai should be amazed.
All oI this is because oI my weak spirit and incomplete resolution.
Some day. am I not making the decision? I have to do my best. on my own. I guess.
My Ieelings towards Yüii Sakai. is it that Iragile until because oI a single dread. I can`t do it?
(No.)
That is the only thing I can clearly Ieel.
So. why couldn`t I do it?
(That is because my preparation and determination were not enough.)
From now onwards. iI I want to progress. I have to be Iirmer. hold my Ieelings tightly and expressed it to
Yüii Sakai. Only recognising the Iear cannot help me to progress Irom now on.
(In that case. apart oI doing that. there is nothing else.)
While she was thinking this. she Iorcibly liIted up her gaze. and saw the Iigure oI a young lady who was
coming as iI to really test her decision.
(I will not lose. I will not lose. I will not lose.)
That girl......Facing that girl who was unaware oI her Ieelings. and her strong ability control Yüii Sakai.
burning rivalry gushed out.
(I will not lose to Yukari-chan.)
Kazumi Yoshida stepped Iorward.
96 oI 103
During the lunch break. Shana was walking around without any purpose.
No. actually she was looking Ior Yoshida.
Although she did not know what to do next aIter Iinding Yoshida. she still kept looking.
(......I. what I am doing?......I haven't even touched my bentö......)
She did not dislike Kazumi Yoshida.
Instead. Irom the view oI human nature. it could be said to be under the group oI 'like'. However. when she
was together with Yüii. or when she approached Yüii. sometimes her mood would get bad. During this
month. she kept doing things which made me dislike her.
Because she took it out on Yüii aIterwards. those Ieelings were gone immediately. Thus. until now. she did
not think more about them beyond that point.
However. her appearance iust now. that expression which one could not tell whether it was sadness or anger.
was stuck somewhere in her heart. and made her Ieel something like a stinging pain.
(No. it is not...pain.)
Strictly speaking. is was a displeasure. From Yoshida's expression. Shana could Ieel that a kind oI omen
which Ielt like Yoshida had made a decision to oppose her.
Because oI that incident. Shana Ielt she saw a glimpse oI the true Ieelings oI the usually reserved girl. For
some reasons. that thing made her Ieel really displeased......
Probably Shana would ask her about her true colors when she meets her. What is the best way to ask Ior a
deIinite answer? Shana had absolutely no idea about that.
(!)
She is here.
Yoshida was walking on a path on the lawn oI the back oI the school building. a section which was known
by the students as the backyard. It was noon. and the area was exposed to sunlight. making it a bad place to
gather. And because oI yesterday's rain. this place was still wet. Thus. there was no other students there. as iI
it was a place cleared out specially Ior her and Yoshida.
(......)
Holding an unpleasant which she could not tell whether it was uneasiness or anger in her chest. she strove
Iorward.
The same went to Yoshida. Her usually lowered eyes were Iixated on Shana. and she slowly walked.
Soon. they Iaced each other a Iew steps apart.
On Yoshida's Iace. one could not see even the slightest trace oI the agitation she had iust now. Instead. she
emitted a Iirm and resolute aura. stronger than usual. She Iixed her eyes intently on Shana.
From her experience in the other dimension. Shana could perIectly tell that this was a determined Iace. And
Ior some unknown reasons. the strong will hidden in that countenance made Shana Ieel a nervous-like
Ieeling. Nothing could happen what! She thought.
97 oI 103
(......I'm scared.)
Come to think oI it. Shana recalled seeing that type oI Iace beIore.
(... 'I will not lose to you!¨...)
This was the expression when she told Shana that. At that moment. she did not Ieel anything at all. And she
did not understand it properly. When she asked Yüii about it. he looked like he did not understand it as well.
so in the end she did not manage to get an answer.
(......Ask Yüii?......)
The Iear she was Ieeling right now. somehow she Ielt that it had a lot to do with Yüii.
Abruptly. Yoshida spoke.
'Yukari-chan. you are sly.¨
At that indiIIerent tone. Shana Ielt like she pressurized by the atmospheric pressure. No retort Ilew out oI
her at those contemptuous words though. She asked back dumbly.
'......What do you mean?¨
Yoshida spoke again. brusquely.
A decisive statement.
'You like Sakai-kun. don't you?¨
'Wh-!!¨
Shana Ielt a piercing impact at her chest.
'......like? I. Yüii......?¨
Thinking about those words over and over again. her chest Ielt collective pains. These words could make
one's body curl; a dreadIul. preposterous strength which could crush anything.
Having set her determination. Yoshida liIted up her countenance stiIIly and said.
'And yet. you are cold towards him. and acting dumb. And yet. you are always. always close to him......You
are sly!¨
'.......ug......¨
To counter her statement. Shana could only make a undigniIied groaning sound whilst accumulating Iorce.
The reply which came at last was more undigniIied.
A shaky voice.
'......Wh-why do you have to say such things?¨
The usual Yoshida would be very Irightened and would keep quiet at this stage. However. the Yoshida now
was truly agitated.
'I have the right to say such things.¨
98 oI 103
Yoshida's voice was overIlowing with even more Iorce.
Shana clearly Ielt IearIul at that IorceIul voice.
Unmistakably. that was a Iorce that threatened her.
'Because I like Sakai-kun too.¨
'!!¨
Stop. this word was bursting to come out oI her.
(He is. only mine. mine!!)
A Flame Haze. the very 'Enpatsu Shakugan no Uchite'. at the words oI a mere human girl. Shana's legs were
trembling. at the same time realizing the meaning behind those words which Ilashed through her heart.
(Now. I...what......?)
The Iear oI the valuable thing possibly being snatched away. the uncontrollably insecure Ieeling. the unsure
Ieeling oI losing all hope. all Iused into one; a scream inside her heart. That started to Iorm a Ieeling similar
to anger. an emotion which was about to burst out.
(......I. Yüii......I. Yüii......) |Translator's note: The Iirst particle used aIter 'I' is 'ga'. which conveys the idea
that she was iust observing her Ieelings towards Yüii. The second one is 'wa'. which shows that she is making
a Iact. (oI her Ieelings with Yüii)|1| (http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Japanesegrammar#TextualclassiIications) |
Yoshida continued to challenge Shana.
'I......I. have decided. I will not be uncertain any more. I will not wait Ior other people's help. I will not rely
on them......On my own. I will try to do my best.¨
'Ah......¨
It was a blow to Shana's heart. causing it iumped high.
The thing she Ieared. had come.
'With my own mouth. this time I will surely tell Sakai-kun that I like him.¨
'Nooooo!!¨
Finally she understood.
She understood why she Ielt displeased when this girl was together with Yüii and when they came into
contact with one another.
She understood that. very clearly.
Until now. she had thought that Yüii did something wrong. That was why she released her anger on him.
But. looks like that wasn't the case.
She did not want Yüii to be together with other Iemales. and get along well with them.
The reason was her Ieelings towards Yüii.
99 oI 103
Until now. the doubts and conIusion which she Ielt but not comprehend. the strange. comIortable happiness
and Iun. and the opposite Ieelings......That was the source oI everything.
Her Ieelings towards Yüii.
That caused her to scream at the top oI her voice.
'NO! Never! You cannot tell him!!"
However. the Yoshida right now was unstoppable.
The clouded eyes were determined and shining. She told Shana again.
'No. I will say it.¨
At this stage. she was someone which could match Shana completely.
'The one who will decide is Sakai-kun. Yukari-chan who did not even say
'I like you.'; I will not lose to you!¨
Shana tried to steady her trembling legs. whilst clutching her painIul chest.
Focusing her Iluttering and blurring eyes. holding the intense Ieeling which
burned everything down. she took up the challenge.
She squeezed out a desperate reply.
'I. I...!!¨
Her voice...
...was interrupted halI-way.
Because in Iront oI her. Yoshida was completely still. without even blinking.
Shana surveyed the surrounding quickly. while Ieeling simultaneously. trying to conIirm the situation she
was in.
An eerie. shiny golden yellow Iog which apparently caused the surrounding area to blur was spreading
around.
(Jizaihö!?)
The meaning behind this was obvious.
An attack oI the 'Crimson Denizens'.
'......¨
Nevertheless. the Shana right now had experienced a Iar greater blow in her heart.
'......¨
It was an blow towards the interrupted act oI attacking what she regarded as 'the strongest enemy'.
'......uh.¨
The uncontrollable Iury ran amok inside her.
100 oI 103
'Wh-what the heck are y-you doing!?¨
The Iury turned into a voice. an angry bellow which was released.
'What!? You are interrupting me!!¨
At this place. a purpose was added to her call which was iust like thoroughly burning down heaven and
earth.
The Ilame-red eyes Ilared up.
Fire dusts danced around the burning hair.
Her body was wrapped in black clothes.
And then. the large katana 'Nietono no Shana' was drawn out and thrust into the ground with all her might.
Facing the still Kazumi Yoshida in Iront. Shana proclaimed war in a serious voice.
'I will show you immediately! My Ieelings. you cannot compare to it. Not at all! Yüii and I have much more
things between us!!¨
Alastor could not even cut in. It was truly a Iierce explosion oI Ieelings.
As iI she was spouting Ilames. she bellowed.
'I will deIinitely not lose to someone like you!!¨
The golden yellow Iog in Misaki city was corroding.
Enveloping everything. Iilling everything. halting everything.
In its core. in the shining whirlwind oI tree leaves. two siblings were Iloating in mid-air whilst embracing
each other.
Feeling the thing he craved Ior being drawn out. Sorath shouted.
'It's here! It's in the cradle! Really! It's over there! It's my 'Nietono no Shana'!!¨
From each corner oI the Ilowing whirlwind oI tree leaves. vines grew out and seemingly entangled the
siblings in the center into one.
Gently and sweetly cuddling her elder brother. `Aizenta' Tiriel replied.
'Right. Well then. let's wreck havoc as much as we like. onii-sama. From now on. please do what you want
to your heart's content. I will protect you. onii-sama.¨
At the summit where both oI them were. the shining vines which extended Irom the corners entwined. and
the clump expanded continually.
And then. it disintegrated.
101 oI 103
Riding the raging waves oI shining vines. the 'Aizens' siblings attack began.
'Crimson Denizens' came to disturb the balance oI this world. doing whatever they like.
Holding back that intention. the Flame Hazes who were ready to deIeat and destroy them roared.
Containing all these inside. the world was not aIIected at all. and liIe went on.
Author's Notes
Those reading this Ior the Iirst time. nice to meet you.
Those who have waited a long time Ior this. long time no see.
I am Yashichirö Takahashi.
I am very happy to be able to meet everyone once again.
This series is said to be an thrilling and Iascinating action novel. There are a lot oI restrictions this time.
maybe no one would believe it. but there are really a lot oI restrictions. Next time I would be sure to destroy
them together with the share Irom this time. I would make sure to destroy thoroughly. yup.
Regarding the theme. it is sketched out as "The conIlict beIore the storm. and stopping in the nick oI time".
the content being "What happens next". There is this kind oI duels with good and bad all interwined together
everywhere; Shana and Yüii are happy at one moment. unhappy the next; how busy.
The editor Miki-san is a unusually Iull oI vigor. always arranging schedules that are like walking on
dangerous edges. This time. as usual. both sides had a battle with their nervous hands as bets regarding that.
(Other details omitted.)
Noizi Ito-san who is in charge oI the illustrations is an illustrator with very cute style drawings. As this
volume was being rushed. I received the colored cover Ior volume two. and it boosted my morale greatly.
how lucky. To oIIer great assistance Ior this inIerior piece oI work despite her busy schedules. three times. I
express my deep. deep gratitude.
According to the order Japanese syllabary oI the diIIerent provinces. K-mura oI Osaka. U-ta Irom Saitama.
H-hon Irom Okayama. N-ta Irom Nagasaki. thank you Ior your encouragements. I hereby thank you.
I was unable to reply to everyone's letters due to many reasons. but I would read every letter very careIully.
As there will be some delay due to the passing oI the letters oI the editorial department to me. and the delays
vary Irom time to time. so the thanks to some readers (like the reader who sent me a card oI congratulations
102 oI 103
this year) may appear later in places like the words oI gratitude above. iust thinking about this makes me Ieel
uneasy. This article is completed near the deadline Ior the end oI the volume. so regarding this. i hope
everyone would bear with me.
Well then. let's continue casual chatting this time as well. In terms oI movies. I watched a wandering
protagonist who would stand up and solve all kinds oI weird diseases. In terms oI books. aIter reading
Tokugawa's rise and Iall. I Ielt that liIe is transient. In terms oI video gaming. I was too vigorous and caused
the crane to topple over. Next time. please watch out Ior a hero who would drive a crane. and the transient
guitar. (This are all lies)
Finally. this time the pages are Iilled as well. So no matter what. everything shall end here.
To every reader who have read this volume. I hereby oIIer you my gratitude.
I hope Ior a day to meet everyone again.
March 2003 Yashichirö Takahashi
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103 oI 103

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* ) E % .= $ .8 . ) .6 $ R * % * * .8 . 2I .6 .' * 1< 9 72 111S 7 #* ) 2I E )% % 1 % ( # */ ) . $ ) E # .D $ . / $ / ) / 1 % $ %1 = ) ) 2I E ) # ) # .= #$ ) . . ' # * % 1 R C * C % * . C < # C < * 1 ) $ ) R * # ) 4< ) * ) 1 ) $ ) 1 C < *> * 2I A E . ) 1 4 R % % % ) 1 2I E % R( / $ ( 1 = = . - *# 1118 = # 1111117 * $ 111< / # # ) B % % ## . . /$ $ */ = . * B 1 ) .) # / # ) 1 #)) * )) % ) ) * $$ % % % ) *1 .2 . )E * ) *# * . # % /% ) $ %1 # / # . 4 . . 2I 1 = * * E 2 $% .* % .2 % ( # ) 1< " $ + . ) % * ) ) 1 . * % # ) 1 )* ) / . % ** % * * )% $ * %* % #$ 1 $ ) $ ) ) 1 * 8 0. . = J % . % % )) # ) 1< / . ) ) *1 SS / / . * . # ) . = ) ) *) #% ) * 1 ) ) %) ) E $ . ) 2I E / ) * R *' * ) C < $ / C < * % 2 ) $% ) # )% 8 1 ) . $ /% )= */ ) $ $ .

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% # D # 1 . . ) * ) 4 4< %* ) %) ) 1 ) )/ / % $ # ) % .= / $ # % / 4< % %* $ * / . )) .F ..' $ % 111< . / ) * # . R ) %) ) ' ) .' C? .' # # 111 . . 1 / ) *1 SS '$ * .8# . */ # # ) . . $ * /% $ # .111 . ) A .6 $ # R/ $ %# 1< $ 2I E .2 ) % 1< . $ $1 *# ) # .> . ) R 8 1 ) ) . # %* $ * # # CL 0 * . / /) # 1< 111 $ # % B % / / C 5 " $ + . % R C % . $ * # . = * * 1 ) .8 = 111< $ # 1< ) ( ) R . # 1114< ) R R 111< .-. 2 ) > ) .S S $ 9 L. %* # 1 % 4< ) * . * % 111< . 3 / 1115 2I R E ) $% . 111< ** .. * 1 '* * % # %.6 * .' 3 = )$ 4< # .' R # ) * >$ * . . $ SS< 1< . # * ) C6 ) C$ $ # #/ 1< % 8-= * #/ $ . $# ) 4 % ) * .

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

.= % * . . B % * $ $ 1 1 Q = %# % / /% # . /) # * % $ . . ) . .# # 1' / / % % % % / # % . # 1 $ % $ % % ) * $ / &# ) / . # $ % % ) ) . # . ) .$ *) * # . $ % % ** / ) ) . % # $@ % )% ) / S6 # E % @ . 6 $ $ .%# 5. # $ % )/ *# # ) %) ) * # S< # $$ * $ * )$ * ) 1 ) % )$ % # 1 .) ) 1 % . / $# ) # # B ) . ) *# ) $ $ . $ $ 1 . . ) # % Q # 1 . 6 % $ K $ + ) ) ) 0) % ) * ) 1 / % . #% 1 % 1 * . #' 1 ) /) # * % # $ %# 1< $ %# 9 R S ) / # * ) *1 6 R= ) # ) . % $ % . % % ) . $ / * % $? # * % $ # % % 1 / ) ) . 1 . . $ % ) . 1 ) 1 ) * $* * 1< # )/ $ # $ * ) .# $ / ) .# ) ) # . ) * * % .> $# / / %. % /$ ) 6 */). % % */ )/ % )1 #$ ) $ * % )* 1< / * ) $ # 1 $ # ) D ) . $ 16 Q 0 R ' 111< 1 * S R % ) * .) ) * * # $ ) $ % ) % $ #) ) % )) 1 ) $$ % : 1 1' % 1 / ) .% # % * 3# . )# % ) % . $ * $ @ 1 */ . 4 * )) 47 # . )) * $ * ) * * %1 % /) # B ) .$ # ) .S D ) $ % . )E% * ) $ ) . / % )/ ) / 1 > ) ) .* # R .Q 0 E= ' R . 1 . * * )= / % % B % ) / $ % ) %# $ ) ) ) #% ) % #/ # % #$ %# .

# $$ % # 1 # % $ ) . ) % )/ # * 80 . $ ) / * * / ) Q. $ R . = * )0 0 . . ) ) * ) $ * ) / * 0 .6 % ) .> % $$ . % * ) $ / # ) . # '0 ? . / % # .-..2 . . % # 9 % 1 * ) * S #% $ / / ) D ) 1 ) 0 * )6 1 # D )/ # 1 1< * R ) .4 % / $# ' %. # % % ) 1< ) * # ) @0 )) . */ %$ * ) # . * ) 1 ) % $ 0 % I 1 1 . # % % ) ) $ 1 #. ) )6 ) # 1 ) $ * * ) ) . @0 4< = ) # B # ) / # $ ) % # A )% ) 4 # )B # . % # # / /1 4 ). * )% )# )% ) % . ) ) ) % ) : % # . )1 % ) @0 J' 0 %. * # / ) % )/ # * 80 1 18 0 / 4< = $ 4< ) * $ 1 ) . $ 4 R # )*# % 1 9 ) . / ./ % # # 1 %) . / * %* 1 ) B ) $ ) 1 # # ) $ 1 $ ) 1 =) # # R .F**S . */ % ) D ) . % * 1 % 1 * 8 0 1> ) . % % $ # */ 1 $ @0 J .%* ? # / ) . . /%1 6 #% ) . / ) . B 18 )R . / ) A $$ % * I 0 . 1 * . % .F ) 1 %$ # . F # . R / #Q -*/ % R 1 ) $ % ) $$ )R ) .$ * % * % ) )% $ / * $ @0 $ -. % * 4< % . ) / * ) % $ ) ) ) ) M $ + . / / # )$ / * $ )0 0 ) )* ) # )= % 1 # / % $ . / # ) $ ) D ) 1 % % * 80 . ' % )* =) # # # % @0 J 1 / % % ) 1 * * . 4< 0 18 .

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

# 2 % R/ / # % J : ) L# 9 ) ) ) D ) . % $ % # = *1 .2 1 . = % ) *. $# . * 0 .8 C 6 4 = * % # 1 46 / ) / ) . '0 .% 6 *1 * % $$ )# ) / / = # )$ % % ) % % *. %* $ * * 80 . $ . ) $ 5 #8 1 #$ 16 % * ) ) $ S ) % *1 ) # ) = ) 1> $ ' $ # %* . # % */ $ * ) #8 1 / % % $$ 1 ' $ *= . R . ) ) # % % .F**S < $ # 1< '$ % * / ) ) 1 *1 )% . $ $ )/ % % */ = ) % / * $ $ # 4< / . ) # * )* * / # % $ % *$ *= R* $ ) $ ). / */ # Q $ R * 0 )= ) #* # $ -. / )/ 1 # R * 1 D )/ # 1< 3D ) 6 #* # / $# 42 )* ) % ) / * 1= % ) %) ) #=) # . % ) . % ) * 80 % ) 1 .= . % ) / . % % % (% # % ) # ) (0 ' / ( .2 )) $15 . / S . %) * Q # # .E / A $ ) /% . % ) % $ ) $ ) )% )) $ / * * 3 * 80 / )$$ 51 . % * * ) # #* ) ) # $ * '0 E . . # */ % ) % )1 ) . $ #Q . * ) # $ $ . *) / #2 / J L# I 1 ) $ $ % $ 1 % ) 1 * 1 $ ) 4 * C < . $ / #= ) # * 80 1 R ) ) ) 1 < E* ) % ) # . B * # )* ) . $% # $ + . / R $ * $ . . * 18 % ) )3 % ) % % % $ % / )E ) 1 /% . / *.> . % $ ) ) 1@ # ) )% $ -. * 1 $ # 1< % ) * ) # . . % $$ # $ 18 /%1 3' C * 15 ) $% ) )* % * # 1 # % % % * $ .% $$ / ) * 0 $ */ % 1 = ) $ %1 * ) .

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

. = 1 */ . R 16 3 * C . . . = R 15 )1 * % * E *C < $ # * $# $ $ * / 19 ) 1 # S< R% % $ */ ) ) . / 1 % # .2 ) $ * / % . #))# B 4< / %* 1 . . R S2 # * # # . * .444< 2 # .* # / # 1 # ) % %S . # 1 ) 1 )/ .' S . .* # / * )) ## ) ) 1 E ) ) % %S < ) % ) . ) ) * $ * / # % 1< # 1 R # $ . * % .* # # % ) / * . ) * ) % ) - * S< E /% % ) R * # 2I E ) $ ) * Q 1R *#$ $ #% $ ) #Q $ / $ *111< *1 3.% . ) )$ * */ * * R / * % 1 */ .R * * 2 ) )/ % ) 1< )$ S > % %< 1 #2 . >% .4< .8 4< .E % % 1 $ # 1R$ 4 $ $ $1 % )B )$ S .8 4< S E $ / % */ . $# * % % 1< ) A Q * ) % ) # ) # )% .2 ) $ / ) 1 & $ + . F% . . S %* 1R <5 # ) * / % S 4< # ) 1 S )) $ . *4< $ *. ) ) # 1 Q / $ # ) 1R 4 * .

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

) * . 0 # )/ / )% ) # ? * 1 $ / ) % ) / $ ) %1 #* % .# C$ . / .2 * # / SS * ) 4< # $ : ) .< ) / # . Q ) %* . % 1< * % )) = J ) $ # % % .8 ## . )) % ).# %$ * . / )) % / Q #% : ) * $ = J$ * # # $ ) . $ . )/ ) # $$ % 5 % . @ = % . ) .% ) . /# 1< . . ) 1 . .# S . . C < %* ) $# C < ) .Q $ > C= R 1 ) ) 1 ) ) / ) %1 6 *. # ) R % )% . )#' ) 1 = J B ( % ) . / ) $ ) # )/ * ) )# 1 % 1 36 % 1 ) ) )# . * % % .2 * * S 1< % / ) # * * / )/ ) / ) ** ) # $ * 1> ) . ) = J R ) 1 $ .8 . * . $? #$ $ %) # / ) # $ / . C < ) * * % $ E #) * ) 1 % % 1R> % ) *1 . E . / . $ # R # ) # * # % ) )) % * % % )/ . / ? % $ # 1 = #$ R # ) $ # % * D ) . % % # A * . * ) * #)) $ 1= ) 1 $ $ )% )* ) ) ) * / * )= J . ) . . .2 R C ) # ) $ % # )) $ / 1 * # $/ # # C % * 1< " $ + .$ ? ) # 1 . S 1 ) $ % )/ $ ) R $ . Q %R $ 1 # 8 * # ? # )) . .$ . 1< ) * . ? ) S* . .= %C < $ * $ ) % )? % S 11# ) RS % * ) ? # $# R /%. #)) ) . ) $ $$ 16 1= # % % % % # ) * #* .

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

* % * 4< ) * = J R / * . ? .$ .> . * R $ $$ % % ) # = J R E 1 C < : * #/ %1 %* % ) %C < 1 %. )/ * .S S S S . %* 1' * #/ % .'% * . % ) / . R* 1< / # * * 4< SS / $1 * 4< # * . . $ 1 # # * #)) # # ) % .* # / * ) 1=.S S S S < . # * . 1 % # ) $ )) % * ) . . .S S S S < ) $ * *? )* $ $ . .2 ) . $ %% )? . %) ) % . R ) # /% * # * # *1 # .S S 6 =) #? ) . . ) * $ # * ) ) # * ) $ ) . ) %) ) $ # 1 #$ 1< ) 1< " $ + . *. * /) . %1 $ 4< B . # .. ) % D * 1' #$ # * * 0 1! # ) ) $) ) % ) ) % #% E % ) 1 . % # * 1< 18 # C < )$ 1< R ) % ) % / 1 Q R ) . % )/ # ) 1 % ) / / ./ # #) / 1 * ) 1 ) $ * . ) B 1 ) ) $ . = J ) #? % . # * * R 1 '$ # . # .' .6 . $% *# B *# . ) .= %. %. ) . $ * $ # R %# . # $ / ) B % ) * % * .

)/ % % $ $ $ :/ )# " $ + . )% R$ # 1 R # .) ) * ) 1 ) # $$ * % # )$ * % * 80 1 ) 16 #% . % Q # ) % *# * RF 1 Q 2 / J * C < ) $) L# I 1 R . * * ) ) * ) ' * * ) * # $ * ) ) %/ Q/ ) #$ ) $ * $ % )/ $/ # :/ 1 $ *. * ) * * * 1 / 1 % . / ) ) $ * ) % / $ * ) %#/ ./ %. % / # # # 1 A . % # . % / / 1< % 1 6 % * / ' # / .? SS % )) SS # ) / . ) * ) / 1= $ 0) / )# % ) % $ 1 # 1 $ * . )$ . $ = * R )= 1= $ *. % %* % . #/% . * . ) ) ) >$ $ * )' ) 1 /) # ) 1 38 * R = )) Q$ @ % .S S S S 6 . '0 1 . # $ * *A %R . % ) ) %* / %.= J '$ $ ) . ) ) . R$ # 1 $ 1 $ # )= ) # $ 1 # . % ) $ 4< # $ . ) B % ) )/ # 4 ) #/ ) % )/ ) . % # / ) 0 % # .= #) ) % # Q % R )*# * R * 80 % # * * # $ * *S S ) 15 . ) $ . * $ 1 # % # 1 $ * 1 = % ) # ) )) % )B % # % % . ) * * ) $ # 1= . %. % $ -.

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

6 * . 3 .6 . $ .= . / 1 % )) $ )% 1< % # 1 $ / ) # )/ * ) * # .F 2I E .8 4 ' ' = = % 1 . 4< % *$ % ) # * 1 $ * 1< )/ $ # . 1 1 * $ * . . 9 = .F**111 ' . = ) . ) ) "K $ + . 1 2I 1< E % * 1< ) 1< .F .6 ) ) . * $$1 . ) %* % ) . . .$ % # $ % 01 = % ) 1= ) * ) 111< = $ 1 ) * # . . ) * % 1 '$ * ).. # . $ . ) %) # / .8 4< . * % )2 1 % * / ) % # ( 45 2I ) / ) 1 = E % # .2 = % 1 '$ ) 1< 4< ) / . ( . ) . * * / % / ) % 1 % % ) 1= ) . %* /% * 16 1 / #$ % . % ) . )$ )= 1 )= ( B # 4< * 1< ) .6 % * . . ) $ %1 . 111 ' 4< ) 1 * / 2I * )$ )# E $ 111 % # 1 % * ) 1< ) * ) )# 1< # 1< ) ) 1 ) #$ * * %1 $ ) / * / .

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

( $ % %) * 1< $ . * * # C < )) $ % $* = 1 / # / 111 . $ ) B B #)) # 1 ) #/ $ ) = # ) 1 .%* 2I E . . # / C < . . / ) / & $ + . % P . 16 %* % . = ) .1111114 2 . ' ./ ) 1 % # ) / ) $ .' = 2I 1 E # 1< B ) # . 1< #$ % .# ) *# * 0 # ) 1 $ 1 1= % #) # 111 ) ( * ). * ) *4< .2 = 2I E # . $) * ) ) ) ) 1< ) B ) * $ *' )% $ ) % 1 > ) 1 ) % . 8 . ) . ) * 4< . 1< * 1 $ )E ) 18 $ # / # . * ( $ %) # $ % ( )( ( 111111 % $ % ** 4< )% ) $ . $ = ) . ) 1 # 4 % )# 1 )$$ ) / ). * 0.111111 .111111 * * ' )# .

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

. ) = ) ) $ % ) % * )# . ) 19 $ ). 7 F% ' ) . $% C < * ) $= ) ' 1< * )2I E # 1< ) # 1 . /% #) % . )$ 1 ( ) ) ) . % . * ) . $ ) 1 *# $ ) ) 0 1 ?#) * % = $ / 1 * ) *1 $ * ) * ) ) % 1< * #/ 17 (* ) $ * . )% ) ) ) = * / D )3$ * ) 1 # % % 2I E . (/ 1 $ % # 1 #2 1 #$ * . / ** ) = )2I E % # E 1 * 1 # / $ 1 $ % )/ * / / ) 5 / 1 ) . . . . 2I = E ) (* % % $ % # . . % )% ) $ : / $ *#2I E * % # ) 1 # = % . @ / . .' # * ) *15 ./ # % # $= ) = % % B % #* . . * ) *1< *. % . ) % )* % # . % & $ + ./ 1 ) )% * ) % # % 1< % . ) ) ). % $) % . . 1< ) % $ * )% .F**111111 . # .$ % . * 0) (* B ) / % E ) )# )% * $ . /% ) ) 1 1= .( ) ) ) ) 111111 .= * / ) (/ ) # ) 1 % $ ) 1 '$ . 3F . 4< ) . ) # 1 1< $ * )* ( /%* ) ) * * ) % E 1= * % = % * .

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

%4 #/ % * % # * * )# % % 1 )$ * * / % . ) $ . .= / 8 %# . ))6 1 % . ) $ * * # * # . * 80 * 80 . 1 % . . J )/ % ) * ). )) ) 1 / 8 >% #/% . )$ %/# ) < %* ) %1 % ) ) . . )$ * * 1< )/ $ ( ) % ) $ % % # %. =) # . .2 .. / .8**.=) #9 ( # 1 #/ $ * 1< $ ( # %.# % # * / )# *.8 1 # ) #) $ ) . ( . % / #* ) ) . 2 * <? B 1 */ = # % <. =) # % % . ) * # / 1 1 # */ 36 ) 1@ = J ) = % C 45 * %# . % $ )% ) )% ) $ ) * $ . % )* # . $ * 1 $ % . % % ) / * / $ % % 1 111 (/ . $ . * 19 ( B % # O % #< C C ) $ / ) % 19 ( ) *) $ ) / % * . / / ( 1 )) / *1< 1 ) ) 111111/ 1< . $# .( 0 ( )* . ) /% 111 % / */ ) ) # 1 ( ) B ) ) # ) / ) # ) * $ * % . 1< ( /# /)6 % 1 * % ( % )' 1 # # * * .$ % % / $ $ % $ * / ) 16 1 / )/ # ) $ % *$ . * 80 %# . ) $ * ) $ $ 1 C< C * $ $ * # 111111< / */ % 1 ( / ) ) .( / ) * % / * # # * )/ $ # 1 % 4< . % % )* )/ % * $) / ) 1 . ) K $ + . .

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

/% *$ * ) % 16 </ ) . ** ) $ . # / ) / % $# $ /) # F ) C . . #/ . % ) 1 # ) ) @0 J % % ) ) .= !.? # # ) ) ) 1 .C < ..? 1 * ) # ) * 1> % #% ) / )# . 6 .6 .$ 1 # *1 ' ) # ) ) / .F .' . # <1 C $ # ) ) ) 1 . */ C < ) $ 1 / 4 > % $ 45 #? . 111 *111< . $# # ) ) $ 1> % ) .$ 0) # *# 1 $ # % . $ # 9-C < / # 4< 1> % $ . % )) / % $ 1 ) * */ $ % % E ) ) % 111111# ) )/ $ $ 1 1' . = J ) 1 % 1 ) % ) / C < $ )/ 0 # )1 8 * 1 = )) ) / 1 ) 4< C ) $ # ) / * . ) .4< $ ' $/ ? .$ * ) ) ) % * $ % $ * . ) ) / ) ) %* 1 6 % * * $ % .1118 4< ? # 0) * . (/ )/ . 1 ) ) ) % ) # 1< / ) $ 1 % ** 1 $ E % 1 ) % $ % ** 1 B *.D * K& $ + .) C .6 ' $/ 3111111 $ . ) (* ) = ) ? $ # . ) . * / % E * % % )/ *. $ .

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

6 # 6 ) /$ =) # .> % / $$ # . )) .= ) ) ) / )$ * ) # 1< ) ) ( $ ) 1> ) . 1< $ $* C < % )1 ) % * ) # % )/ ) # ) )) * % . . $ . ) .? #)) * 8 01 R% 1= % / C' # $* / =) #$ * % ) . . % )? # * */ * * 80 )% ) 45 * %# 1< ) ) %.6 ' % . 1 ) % % )/ % ** % ) 1 % )% * % )/ # Q R . 4 / /# / % . ) ) . 36 R / ? B .? * )$ * $ R / # *1 $ ) . .= E / # 1@ / . ) 1< . # $ 4C < $ / )% . 111< * ) 1 * * Q R ) 1 / 0 ) . # ) M $ + . * )) C 6 #)) (# 4 B ) 1 . / * 1 ) % $ * ? % R @0 J .6 8' C C ' . )= 1 / # ) / ( ) 4< * * ) 1 # / / % 1 % #* ) 1 = E % . C = . % ) ..= # 1 1 4< % * )= 46 1 * 4< 1= ) ) =) # * ) 1 # 4 ) )/ ) $ 1 * / $ ) #* ) # % ) *. $# R# * ) * 6 .

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

2I E 4< % ) 1 * ) )# . # ) $ %. # ) 0) # )* 16 ) 2 111111- E /) # . 1< $ # ) * 1 > ) 2 $ ) $ $ % / . $ % 1< ) 111111 % # B . / 111111 ) # * $ / $ . * . * 36 # * $ $ 3 / = 0) 1< ) ( % 1 . $ % 1= . * %* ( $ .9 / 2I )) E ) 1 . 1 ) */ ) ) $ /% ) 45 / $ # )2 )( 4 $ %) % 1 ./ ) # = % % )? 1 $ $ .111111'% . / $# $ * ) $ 2 ) %. 2I E # / . */ ) 111 )) # ) # 111111 /$ . )) ( 8 % 0 2 ) E% ) 1 * 18 .'% # . */ ) ) 1 ) 2I E * # 1 .111111= # * . ) #$ ) . /16 % / ) % $ . / 111< $ % * . 1< *. # 1 %* / # )/ # )) ) ) $ 111111 ) ) . V % / $ . $ % ) # . ) ) 1' . ( #> ) 1 / . *111111 # 1< . $ $ 18 % ) 4 )$ . 111 # . )) .$ % ) # )E# . $ ) 1 # %* . # * $ . # * # ) $ 1' # # . M $ + . ) . % % 111111 ) )$$ /% *4 % ) *11111145 )) ) 0) ) # % ) # 1 1> # . .9 . ( 1 # ) # . 1111115 * )( : $ # * % # E# % ) . / ) $ %$ $ .2 8 @ 2I ) E $ 2 .

C< C 8 /) $ # 1 $ % $ . 2I E ) ) 4< # 1 # 1 # 1 ) / * / )/ 4 # / )/ 4 # )) * . ) )= 1 $ $ # # $. )B ) % $ % )% % $ * * 1 #* ) 2I E * % %* ) 1 . /% )% ) . ' 3111111 ) $ * * / ) $ 111111 $ ) 111111 #% $ # . 1111118 % % ) * ) # $ *$ * 15 $ $ : ) $ 1 % 311111112 * 1L *$ . ./ . 0) ) ) C ) # # ) B / % ) )$ 1 1 $ / 1 =) # ) . 111 . / $ ? %#* . @0 J C C5 ' %@0 J $ * $ % # ) # ) .) / 8 . ) ) # $1 # ) : )( ) %) % % $ % # . 3= % 8# $ * ) %) % # ) .F**111< .111111 )# 8 8 8 6 )$ )$ )$ 3@. ) . 2I $ E % *$ # 4 / $ $ %1 .8 4< % % 1111112 % )1 + % )1 % )1 ) 1 # . ) 1 ) = * . . $ * % *1 % $ . $ ( ) ) % ) ) . . L 0* 2 ) 1111115 #) ) * ) . = M $ + .

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