The morning of the next day ――
「―― What beautiful light! This is the white sun!? This is the 『Blue Sky』!? Aahh, how, how lovely!!」
As the sun rises, a cheer from on top the roof wakes me up.
With a blue face, I immediately stick my head out the window and turn to the roof where Lowen is to warn him.
「Lo, Lowen! Your noisy, be quiet!」
「This sky is! That 『Blue Sky』 ……! This is exactly the scene that everyone aimed for……. Aah, thank goodness. The world has properly arrived at a 『Blue Sky』……」
However, the overemotional Lowen doesn’t hear my warning.
It kind of looks like tears are coming out.
In the end I choose to use 《Freeze》 to cool Lowen’s face.
「Be quiet……, it’s morning……」
「F, forgive me, Kanami……. I lost myself for a bit……」
Lowen lowers his head to apologize.
But I already confirmed with 《Dimension》 that the members of 『Epic Seeker』 have already woken up. Attracted by me getting up, Reaper lightly floats over and looks at the sky.
「Nn, Nnー? What’s this. Blue, it’s super blue. Hee, so this is the 『Blue Sky』. This one’s more pretty, Lowen」
「I agree, Reaper. It’s not comparable to that stagnant sky」
The two are cheerfully talking, but I’m getting a headache over here.
「Stop talking and hurry inside. Someone might see this. And Reaper, I told you not to float when not in the labyrinth」
Lowen senses that he’s troubling me and obediently enters Maria’s room. Of course, from the window.
On that note, Reaper turned to fog and entered me. The reason I was given, 「Floating and walking is too much work」, she might be thinking of me as some convenient vehicle.
Although Maria was surprised by the appearance of Lowen, he was quickly accepted with the explanation that Lowen is some sort of guardian to Reaper.
Unlike the time with Reaper, I felt no danger this time. As expected, having Reaper call me Onii-chan probably looks bad.
Next I’ll have to introduce Lowen to the other members. Today, only several people stayed the night in 『Epic Seeker』. All of them heard the unfamiliar voice of Lowen , so there’s a need to go around quickly.
Using《Dimension》, I take Lowen with me as I look for the other members.
I introduced him as a guest and surprisingly, they easily accepted him. It seems like there are many cases where the guild needs to manage foreign guests.
While repeating that, 《Dimension》 informs me that Snow has woken up.
I meet with Snow in the hall and we greet each other.
「…… Good morning. And what’ll we do today?」
「Good morning Snow. I’m thinking of going to register Lowen in the 『Fighting Tournament』 after I’m done introducing him to the other guild members. So there’s no work or labyrinth search for today」
「…… Alright. Then I’ll be sleeping in the office. …… Aah, it feels like today will be a good day」
「But, you probably won’t be able to sleep. I’m leaving Reaper with you」
「…… Eh, eh? Why?」
「Since taking Reaper along would only make us take longer. Here, Reaper come out」
With a short answer, I force Reaper out from inside of me.
「Ou? I’m staying?」
Slipping out of my shadow, Reaper tilts her head.
「That’s how it is. I’ll leave the picture book behind so have that Onee-chan read it」
「Picture book? Nn, nnー……. True, if I were to choose…… the picture book is better. And I’m the one who read it yesterday. Alright, take care. Lowen and Onii-chan」
It seems like Reaper prefers the picture book to going outside.
In relief, I take the picture book out of 『Items』and force it on to Snow.
「…… He? Pi, picture book?」
「Un, I’m relying on you?」
「…… Wa, wait a second Kanami. I still didn’t――」
Snow tries to refuse it, but Reaper immediately begins acting spoiled.
「Onee-chan, read it read it!」
「Eh, Eeh? Eehー……」
Although Snow is troubled, there’s no way she’d do something mean.
Once something is forced on her, Snow will perform the job due to her sense of responsibility. There’s no doubt about that. For the time being, I can leave Reaper to her.
After confirming that Snow and Reaper entered the office, I go out into the town with Lowen. But, I’m not exactly sure where to register, so I first make a quick trip to Laruavia’s public institutions to gather information on the 『Fighting Tournament』.
And after finding the place to register, we enter.
It’s a spacious building made of wood and the inside is filled with many humans.
Since Laruavia is filled with many rare races, it was easy to tell that most of these people are from outside the country. And the fact that most of them are martial artists confident in their strength is also easy to tell due to the way they step in.
There are many grown men with dangerous glares holding weapons I’ve never seen before. Considering the timing, most of them should be participants of the 『Fighting Tournament』.
「….. Uwaa, this is something」
「Fufufu, it’s a good atmosphere. As I though, the moments before battle have to be like this」
I’m losing my nerve at this violent atmosphere, but this instead excites Lowen.
He has a more aggressive personality than I thought.
Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I spread 《Dimension》 to search for a receptionist.
Finding an open reception desk in a corner, I take Lowen along and move there.
「Excuse me. I’d like to ask about the registration for the 『Fighting Tournament』……」
「So you are entrants for the 『One Month Allied Nation’s Knight Ball』. In that case, sign here」
I wanted to hear a detailed explanation, but the receptionist lady immediately took out a contract like paper.
…… O, one month? Ball? Not 『Fighting Tournament』?
The unexpected words caused me to hesitate.
However, Lowen unhesitatingly begins singing the paper.
「Ah, Lowen, you didn’t even check ――」
「There’s no doubt that this is it. In short, it means that it’s a tournament held for the Allied Nation’s knights. It’s a common thing for names to be exaggerated like that」
「That may be so, but it’d still be better to read the terms」
I look at the words crammed onto the paper and bring Lowen’s attention to it.
「These types of things almost always say that you can’t complain if you die. Also, there are often cases where there’s a way for them to swindle any reward. But, this time we’re here for honor so that isn’t a problem 」
「Then, I guess it’s fine……」
「And, will you participate?」
It’s true that there are two papers.
And for 『Epic Seeker』 sake, it would be better for me to participate.
But because of those two girls from before, I can’t afford to waste my time with anything else. If my attention is taken by the tournament, I’d probably neglect preparing for those two.
As I’m collecting my thoughts, the receptionist lady calls out to me.
「…… Umm, is it, Kanami-san?」
「Eh, ah, yes. That’s right. Why, do you know my name?」
Having my name called out all of a sudden surprised me.
「Ah, as I expected. I’ve been thinking that was the case ever since you entered. Thank goodness I didn’t make a mistake!」
「Ah, excuse me. I got excited all on my own……. Recently, you’ve become famous throughout Lauravia as 『Epic Seeker’s』 guild master……. Because of that, I heard about your features through rumors……」
「Aah, so that’s how you knew my name」
It seems like rumors about me have been spread. If a receptionist was able to recognize me in a place like this, they must be pretty detailed.
As I’m feeling embarrassed, the receptionist lady holds out her hand.
「I’m, a fan. Can I shake your hand?」
「Ah, yes. If you’re fine with someone like me」
Fan. in other words someone who supports.
In embarrassment I extend my hand.
「Someone like me……. You really are just as I heard. A handsome man with a burn on the neck. Although skilled, your bit of timidness is your weak point」
While shaking hands with the receptionist lady, she began telling me of the rumors.
「Ha, handsome man……? Something so ridiculous……」
「Even among young men there’s no question that you’re handsome. And since searchers are mostly all filthy, spreading some exaggerations of hopeful young men is necessary to keep Lauravia energetic」
「Haa. Is that so……」
With a bitter smile, I accept that explanation.
But for some reason, from behind Lowen enviously says 「How nice. The sudden appearance of a young knight. Something like that is nice」
Perhaps, Lowen’s version of glory, may actually have a low hurdle…….
「And, what can I do for you Kanami-san…… If it’s about the 『One Month Allied Nation’s Knight Ball』, you were already registered at the recommendation of the country of Lauravia? It’s a very rare occurrence, so I am sure of it」
「Re, recommended? Is that something you can do without the person’s knowledge?」
「No, that shouldn’t be the case……. Umm, it’s written that the recommender is Palinchlon Legacy. Have you heard nothing from this person?」
「Aah, it’s fine, I’ve understood everything」
Palinchlon Legacy. I understand everything simply by hearing that name.
Palinchlon Legacy. Simply by hearing that name was enough for me to understand it all.
Speaking of which, Palinchlon serves the country. There’s no doubt that he used those connections to force my recommendation.
「Currently, Kanami-san is registered as a solo party. What will you do? Will you form a party with the gentlemen over there? If you will, that gentleman will not have to take the qualifier」
「Umm, this tournament isn’t something done by yourself?」
「Those are the tournaments for even months. The one month one is the 『Knight Kind』. In other words, it’s a tournament were you fight in parties of three」
From the knowledge of my world, most of these kinds of tournaments are one on one. It seems like I’ve assumed wrongly.
「In other words, I can’t enter the tournament by myself?」
「No, you can fight a party of three by yourself. But there are cases were courteous knights or nobles offer three one on one fights」
「Then, maybe I’ll have Lowen join my party. I can have the left over Snow or Reaper ――」
「Wait a moment」
However, Lowen puts a stop to that. And then, he speaks of his reason with a earnest expression.
「I finally have a chance, so I’d like to fight with Kanami」
「If you’re aiming for victory, can’t we just be in the same party…… ?」
「Aah, that’s right. However, I have a bad premonition. If I were to gain victory by avoiding formidable opponents, will I truly disappear in the end……. It might not be something I can accept……」
「Aah, that’s right. That can happen……」
To rid Lawn of his regrets. Accomplishing that largely depends on Lowen’s own feelings. If Lowen himself can’t accept it, then it’s everything that was done would have been for nothing.
「That’s why, I’ll enter by myself. If I’m going to win, I’d like to hold onto all the honor for myself」
「You’re really difficult aren’t you. And, I assume that I’ll have to seriously undertake the tournament won’t I?」
「That’s how it is. Forgive me」
Going easy and letting Lowen win would probably be useless.
If he realizes that I’m going easy, then everything would end in vain.
「No, it’s fine. For 『Epic Seeker』 as well, not taking it seriously would be the real problem. But doing that would raise the level of difficulty of your goal by a lot」
「Hou? You’re quite confident aren’t you」
「To begin with, I was supposed to defeat the thirtieth floor’s Guardian, so of course I’d be confident」
「Fuu. In that case the 『Fighting Tournament』 will be interesting. As expected, it isn’t a tournament if there aren’t strong opponents」
Lowen trembles with excitement when he sees my confidence.
But, I’m worried that there won’t be any of those strong opponents for Lowen in the 『Fighting Tournament』. If I’m being honest, I’m probably the strongest human in these Allied Nations. And having made it to the thirtieth floor, I feel like I wouldn’t even lose to humanities strongest searcher Glen.
In the end, are there any people as strong as me who’d be able to satisfy Lowen……. It’s doubtful.
「Excuse me. What type of people gather for the 『Fighting Tournament』?」
「What type of people, is it? Let’s see……. To begin with, every year the representatives of each nation gather. These are the seeds. After that are mercenaries and criminals who believe in their strength」
「Eeh, speaking of which, you came from a remote region before becoming a guild master. In that case it’s no surprise that you wouldn’t know. I will explain it for you」
She definitely has what it takes to call herself a fan. It looks like she knows a good extent of my own profile.
「The 『Fighting Tournament』 is held on a canal between the countries of Lauravia and Eltolaryu. It is done on top of the giant theater 『Valfula』 which floats on the giant canal」
「On a canal……」
「At times of battle the anchor is dropped so there’s no need to worry about shaking. Now for the important part, on the day of the 『One Month Allied Nation’s Knight Ball』, that moving theater is positioned at the border of the countries Eltolaryu and Lauravia. In other words, as it’s in a location that doesn belong to either country, neither do their laws apply. It’s because of that that criminals can participate without worrying about their crimes」
「No, no no, such an iditoic reason――」
「Eeh, of course, lawlessness would be an exaggeration. However, it is true that criminals gather. The 『Fighting Tournament』 is a place that gives a chance to the ruffians with excess strength, it is a place where they can gain freedom through being hired by the rich. In such a way this tournament can also be called the greatest place for job hunting」
「…… But, isn’t it dangerous for criminals to participate so openly?」
「Concerning that, the defences are excellent. Pros from all five countries are keeping watch. If a fight were to break out, then charges from all five countries would be applied. It’s five times the usual. Therefore, every year, problems generally don’t occur at the 『Fighting Tournament』」
So this world has such a custom for tournaments. It looks like I don’t have a choice but to accept it.
In short, it’s a great several days long no holds barred festival.
「There are also many nobles that participate……」
An unexpected kind of participant. I thought they’d simply be looking on from afar but apparently that’s wrong.
「To put it simply, it’s to study as a knight, gain prestige, there are many reasons but…… as expected, the main reason has to be in order to gain a chance to propose. In other words, there are many who go marriage hunting」
「Ma, marriage hunting…… ? Didn’t you just say it’s a place for job hunting」
「Both sides have their reasons. At any rate, it is the continent’s greatest tournament」
「B, both side……」
It’s a more complex tournament than I thought. It makes me a bit uneasy.
「Any remarks at the finals of the 『Fighting Tournament』are taken as formal. It is done under the eyes of many powerful people, so it’s similar to a duel’s oath」
「If they propose at that point, then it’d definitely get everyone excited……」
「Eeh, it’s really exciting. If they’re able to gain the support of the populace and powerful people, then getting married would be simple. For that reason there are many noble men of low position who use this to have a marriage with women of higher nobility accepted. Because of that, the spectators also have expectations」
The receptionist lady pleasantly explains the marriages. It looks like there were many cases in the past.
Apparently, because there are many people who get excited at the love story of another like the receptionist lady, it is an accepted method to propose with.
And then, she calls our attention with a serious expression.
「Kanami-san, Lowen-san. At any rate, please be careful with introductions before matches. Both of your faces are pretty, so you might be seen as easy targets. Perhaps you may be deceived with smooth talk and before you know it your married, then you have your work decided for you, then you go bankrupt, and then you become slaves」
「Eh? Before you know it, do those things happen……?」
「There’s quite a lot. There are knights who yell 『I have never seen a knight such as you. If I win, do my daughter!』 and then purposefully lose, nobles who proclaim 『I dedicate this match to my beloved. If I win, please let me convey these feelings as my reward』 in an atmosphere they can’t be refused in, people who yell 『Forgive me for having such a paltry sum bet in such a grand stage! How about it, together we will bet all our treasures!』 and they bet everything they have――」
With realistic acting, the receptionist lady tells us of many cases.
I listen to that with a pale face. None of those things are something to laugh about. Many lives were ruined like this.
At the end, the receptionist lady once again warns us.
「Anyway, don’t get dragged in to the venues atmosphere, there’s no need to agree to any weird rules」
I nod multiple times and carve that warning into my heart.
―― I will never accept some weird promise! Never!
There may not be any strong participants, but it looks like the tournaments rules themselves are a formidable enemy.
Lowen also nods with a bitter smile, and finishing the paper he hands it to the receptionist lady.
「Okay, with this Lowen-san’s registration has been completed. Fufuu, I have expectations in a friend of Kanami-san. This year’s 『Fighting Tournament』 will definitely be exciting. It is the 『Saint Tiara’s』 『Prophesied』 year. The number of registrants is also the most yet」
The receptionist lady places the taken paper on a stack of papers to the side. The size of that stack bewilders me.
「Is there something special about 『Saint Tiara’s』 『Prophesied』 year?」
I have no interest in the amount of participants. It’s the part before that that interested me.
「Eeh, it’s the 『Prophecy』 left by the bishop of the Revan Faith. ――『The year the founder Tiara resurrects』『As swords clash、a true hero will appear』. And the people believe in that 『Prophecy』」
「Aah, I see」
There were prophecies like that in my world.
But since the religion is quite important in this world, it looks like expectations are higher.
「Since 『Christmas』 ended on an unfortunate note the other day, the people have tied their hopes to the 『Fighting Tournament』. I’m also looking forward to it」
「『Christmas』 ended on an unfortunate note? What happened?」
「Huh, you don’t know? According to the 『Prophecy』, this 『Christmas』 was supposed to be the time of 『Saint Tiara’s resurrection 』, but nothing like that happened. It was only the usual festival and ceremony, everyone was disappointed. That’s why, according to the 『Prophecy』 something fitting is supposed to happen in the 『Fighting Tournament』, there are whispers about it among the devout believers of the Revan Faith」
Like this we listen to various stories from the people working at the reception, and after confirming the rules of the tournament, we finish the registration for the 『Fighting Tournament』.
In the end, the receptionist lady waves goodbye with a 「I’ll be supporting you」.
Once we give our thanks for the friendly reception, we leave the building.
「We were right at the deadline of the registration period. It’s a good thing I woke you up at that hour Kanami」
「It definitely did work out. Then, let’s go buy gift for Snow and Rea――」
Relieved that it ended without issue, as per my bad habit I immediately spread 《Dimension》 ―― and I sense the presence of a single girl.
「It definitely does work out, Sieg」
A clear bell voice rings out, I turn, and move my gaze to the top of the building.
It’s there that an otherworldly beautiful girl sits.
My heart leaps.
I feel, like I’ve seen this scene somewhere before.
That’s right. Once before, somewhere ――
That beautiful girl ―― Lastiara Whoseyards snickers as she descends to the ground, and then she approaches us.
Lowen sees through her unusual strength and his expression hardens.
「For now, you can say it’s an acquaintance……, I’ll talk with her……」
I take a step forward and construct 《Dimension Gladiate》.
In a refreshing, and very friendly manner, the girl speaks.
「You’re getting along with a Guardian again? You’re the same as always, Sieg」
It doesn’t look like she intends to fight.
However, I don’t let my guard down. She is someone who showed hostility against 『Epic Seeker』. I have no idea what she’ll do. Without getting dragged into her pace, I ask a question.
「Are you alone today…… ?」
「I left the emotionally unstable Dia with Sera. I’m alone today」
Lastiara Whoseyards readily answers the one sided question.
Without dropping my guard, I throw my next question. Something I’ve always wanted to hear.
「…… And, just what is your goal?」
「Uuun, my goal is it. Let’s see. My goal is only one, to take back my companions」
I didn’t believe those words.
If I compare it to what she said before, her goal is Maria and me. However, Maria and I don’t know anything about them. We shouldn’t be their companions.
「With that said, I’m also going to enter the 『Fighting Tournament』. Come on, you two help out」
After beckoning the two of us, Lastiara Whoseyards shows her back and moves to the building. If it’s as she said, she’s planning to register once inside.
My eyebrows crease and I reply.
「Oii. Why do you need my help to――」
「It’s not you, it’s Lastiara. You saw didn’t you? Then, make sure to call me that. I’ll also say Kanami」
However, Lastiara’s calm voice interrupts.
It was calm, but that voice contained an unseen force. It looks like she can’t handle me calling her with 「you」.
「…… Lastiara. There’s no reason for me to help」
Deciding that calling her by her given name wouldn’t be a problem, I call her name and state my opinion.
「Nnー, is that fine? Would it be fine if I were to suddenly go on a rampage?」
「Is that a threat…… ?」
「Fufuー, I think it’ll be an effective threat against Kanami」
Lastiara declared while laughing.
Certainly, I can’t have Lastiara cause any trouble here. To fight at the very center of the town, there’s no doubt that the town would be damaged.The reason I’m convinced of this is because the girl before me is strong.
As a being who moves for the sake of Lauravia, I’d like to avoid causing any mayhem in the town.
「Haa, okay. I’ll hep……」
I follow Lastiara into the building.
Seeing that, Lastiara makes a face as if to say 「Just as I thought」. And then, for some reason Lowen also followed along with an enjoyable expression. He must find the current me amusing.
Since we’re here again, I decided to line up at the place with the receptionist lady from before. If it’s her, she’ll probably tell me about more things.
I wait my turn while keeping an eye on Lastiara.
Just like we did, Lastiara takes a paper and fills out the necessary parts with familiar movements. But, the receptionist lady’s face immediately goes pale when she sees the contents.
「La, Lastiara Whoseyards……, sama……?」
「Un, Lastiara Whoseyards. Hurry with the registration」
Looking closer, I feel like the receptionist lady’s hands are shaking.
「Umm, I’m about to ask something strange……, but are you the person herself…… ?」
「Of course. This me wouldn’t dare use a fake name. I’m different from a certain someone」
Lastiara turns her gaze to me. 「A certain someone」, she means me.
「Oi, who are you talking about. I’ll say it now, but the name Aikawa Kanami isn’t false?」
Having that gaze pointed at me is upsetting. I’ve never used a fake name before.
「That’s right. It’s because that’s right, that it’s a problem……」
Having heard that, Lastiara lets out a sigh with an amazed expression.
Now knowing that the name she’s using is real, the receptionist lady continues.
「Is, is it not a problem…..? To register with the name that Whoseyards has a top priority arrest ordered on……. It’ll become something amazing……?」
「Thanks for worrying. But in this tournament there’s an unspoken agreement of not inquiring of a participants birth or history. It shouldn’t be a problem」
「That is true but……. Someone like you is of a different rank, the circumstances are special……」
From that conversation I can understand that Lastiara Whoseyards is a special criminal. But although she’s a criminal, 「sama」 is attached, so it’s possible that she used to be a noble lady.
「No matter the circumstances, on the day of the 『Fighting Tournament』 the laws won’t apply to 『Valfula』, it’ll be fine. And won’t it be interesting? Having me participate」
「We, well, it’ll surely be exciting……. But once the 『Fighting Tournament』 is over, the moment you leave the 『Valfula』, I believe that all the guards will surround you. Are you still fine with that?」
「Aah, it’ll be fine, since at that time Kanami will manage something」
The conversation went to me all of sudden.
It seems like Lastiara thinks I’ll make all of the Allied Nation’s guards my enemy in order to save her. Impossible.
No matter what happens arriving at such a result would be ridiculous.
「Oi. Why, do you think I’d do something. There’s no way that’d happen?」
「Is it, I think you will? I’d even bet on this」
「Then, I bet that I won’t help」
「Ou, you’re on, Kanami. Then, the one who loses has to listen to whatever the winner says」
「I don’t mind, since I wont’ lose. Actually, I’ll probably end up happily helping the other guards. There’s no doubt about it」
With some frivolous words I make a promise with Lastiara. She cheerfully smiles once she hears that.
This is a bit different from what I expected.
At first I thought she was a dangerous person, but after talking with her, it looks like that’s not the case. Instead, it’s the opposite.
It’s hard to put it into words, but ―― it fits Lastiara.
It fits oddly well.
Just talking with this girl causes my chest to leap. I naturally began to talk, and the conversation was fun.
Like this it’s just like――
「I understand. There certainly is no way for the 『Fighting Tournament』 to reject someone such as you. I’ve confirmed the registration. I believe the qualifier will be in the venue for criminals」
With a difficult expression the receptionist lady hangs her head as if she’s given up.
「Un, that’s not a problemー. Thank you」
Lastiara gives her thanks to the receptionist lady.
Together we all leave the building. And then, I immediately ask for the reason.
「So, why, why are you entering the tournament?」
「Since I can’t quite get alone with Kanami, there’s no helping it」
「In other words, you――」
「Un, I want to fight with Kanami without any nuisances. And then, I’ll be able to destroy that suspicious bracelet」
「The bracelet……? Just for that…… ?」
「No matter how I see it that’s the cause. I also brought it up with Snow through eye contact」
It looks like Snow gave her some ideas. And then, I recall Snow’s words.
That’s right. The night we first met. Those words.
「In other words, the current me has lost the memories of the past, and that is the fault of this bracelet. That’s what you want to say isn’t it」
「That’s how it is. So you do understand」
With a large sigh, I calmly analyze the information I have.
―― Faint memories of the past, and recurring headaches. Inconsistent memories, and experiences I don’t remember.
―― Palinchlon’s behavior, Snow’s words. The existence of Lastiara and Diablo Sith.
With everything together a single hypothesis can be made.
「Aah, it’s certainly possible that that’s the case」
「Huh, you’re more understanding than I expected」
It isn’t that I believed the words of the girl before me, but instead because of the words of many people.
A possibility that wouldn’t have been reached without thinking of it. I have to think about it. I understand that.
I understand that and yet ――
「But a possibility is only a possibility. That shouldn’t be it. It shouldn’t……!!」
For some reason, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to take the bracelet off.
Like a curse, those thoughts won’t match my logic.
There’s no way I can acknowledge that…….
All the time I spent with my beloved sister, for this world to be mistaken is ――
The magic power churning inside of me turns into blood like mud that ties me down. It felt like a sickness, like my heart was being grabbed.
Having seen me deny it so strongly, Lastiara sorrowful nods.
In response, my mouth moves on its own.
「Sorry, but this bracelet isn’t coming off. Because this is an 『Important Object』 to me…….!!」
Aah, that’s right,
『This world』 is.
『Being by my sisters side』 is the most important thing of all.
That’s why, I won’t hand 『This』 over.
―― I can accept that.
「More important than anything else. Then, it can’t be helped. Well, I knew it’d end like this……」
Lastiara’s expression looks a bit sad.
However, it changes back into a cheerful one in the next instant, and she takes a step closer to me.
「There’s no need to worry. Right now, I don’t intend to do anything. If I were to carelessly poke at it, it’d be bad if there’s some sort suicide magic put into it. I have to make more preparations before removing it…….」
「Dia’s set. What’s left, is a situation where no one will interfere」
「And that situation, is the 『Fighting Tournament』?」
「Since during the 『Fighting Tournament』 each of the five countries are keeping each other in check. During a match, Lauravia won’t be able to act even if it’s to protect you. Doing anything would ruin the 『Fighting Tournament』, and it’d be a lethal blow to the relationship with the other four countries」
Certainly, from what I’ve heard the relationship between the countries during the 『Fighting Tournament』 must be complicated.
It’s some sort of three way struggle ―― no, it’ll be a five way struggle, so it won’t be easy for a country to act.
「It’s there that we’ll fight fare and square with our wishes on the line…..」
「Un. I’ll make sure to get that bracelet. Easy to understand isn’t it?」
It really is straightforward.
It could be said that this is the request for an irregular duel.
In order to get my bracelet, Lastiara is putting her safety on the line. I’ve heard that it’s common for belongings to be bet in the 『Fighting Tournament』. She can brazenly declare 「I’ve participated with the resolve to be caught in order to obtain Aikawa Kanami’s bracelet」, in that case, it’s possible that I won’t be able to go against the atmosphere in that situation.
It’d be better for me to finish the arrangements now.
That differs from the image I had of Lastiara Whoseyards.
I thought she was a person who’d use more overbearing and selfish methods.
―― However, there is something that doesn’t sit well with me.
「But, that’d only apply if you’re stronger than me wouldn’t it?」
That is, that 『Lastiara Whoseyards』 believes she can win against 『Aikawa Kanami』.
「But I thought it’d be a good match? Unlike Kanami who’s good at support, I specialize in close combat. Above all, there’s a difference in our experience. As for myself, I got a portion of a heroes battles stuffed into me」
「That’s an optimistic outlook. Just because I specialize in support, that doesn’t mean that close combat is my weak point. If it’s an honest match, there’d be no reason for me to lose」
For some reason, I don’t want to lose to the girl before me.
From the bottom of my heart I want to be stronger then that girl Lastiara.
It’s like showing off in front of a girl you like…… a feeling similar to a child’s heart.
As if perceiving that, Lastiara glares back with hostility in her gaze.
I also glare back to not lose out.
As we stare, a silence descends.
With the conversation done, another voice cuts in. It’s Lowen.
「Hahaa, this is an unexpectedly good development for me. The two of you both have some confidence. This is good. Aah, I can’t wait. As expected, a place where swords clash has to be like this」
Lowen assumed it was a conversation between acquaintances and kept his mouth shut, but now that the conversation had come to a stand still he happily inserts his own feelings into the mix.
The appearance of an unexpected formidable opponent put him in a festive mood.
And then, he grins.
「――However, I’m the one who will win」
He declares that he won’t lose to Lastiara or to me.
That was a solemn declaration similar to a knight’s oath.
Together with that voice, an unidentifiable oppression assails me. Lowen’s magic power is little. In other words, this oppression isn’t caused by magic power, but by something similar.
Opposed by that unidentifiable bottomless something, a cold sweat comes out of Lastiara and me.
「Sorry, but, I didn’t ask for a Guardian right now……」
In response, Lastiara also warps the surroundings around in a ferocious magic power. That is simply pure strength, but even then it causes a terrifying oppression.
As they glare, a silence descends once more.
While in their silence, for some reason Lastiara and Lowen keep glancing at me.
Eh, huh? Is this, am I supposed to say something right now……..
It looks like the two of them are expecting something from me.
If I were to follow their lead, then I‘d have to use 《Di Winter》 right now to give off a cold oppression.
However, for some reason having expectations on me only makes that difficult to do.
Therefore, I say nothing, and watch over the two as they glare at each other.
The silence continues.
Finally unable to endure, with sweat dripping down, Lastiara calls out to me.
「…… Co, come on, don’t you have something to say Kanami?」
「No, not really……?」
「Aahー, geez! Read the moodー! Rightー?」
Lastiara seeks Lowen’s agreement.
「That’s right. The atmosphere we had is ruined now」
Lowen agrees, and Lastaira continues criticizing me.
An unexpected betrayal.
This should be the first time these two met, but they get along strangely well.
They may have something in common. In a bad way.
Afterwards, with the tense atmosphere washed away, we all laughed together.
I didn’t mean to drop my guard, but little by little my wariness began to fade.
And so, with some trifling conversations, Lastiara leaves with 「Then, I’m also busy, it’s about time I go back. Don’t die until the 『Fighting Tournament』 you two」.
After moving to the top of the roof, she runs away as fast as always.
It wasn’t long before she left the reach of 《Dimension》, and after confirming that I finally dropped my guard.
To my side, Lowen is excited at the entrance of an unexpected opponent. It looks like he can’t wait for the battle with Lastiara.
In this way, my second chance meeting with Lastiara came to an end.
With our registration for the tournament done, we returned to 『Epic Seeker’s』 headquarters.
I didn’t see Snow or the others in the office so I used 《Dimension》 to find her. I find everyone playing on the floor above in Maria’s room so I move there.
「Ah, welcome back, Onii-chan」
「Welcome back, Nii-san」
「…… You finally returned」
All three of them speak as soon as I enter the room.
It’s a bazaar scene. Each of them are knitting something.
「Is something happening…… ?」
「…… We wanted to do something, and decide on knitting」
With those words, Snow shows me the yarn in her hand.
「It’s the only thing other than combat that I’m okay at」
To Snow’s side are two completed mufflers. By the way, Maria and Reaper have finally managed to complete their first.
It seems like Snow was teaching the other two of her specialty in knitting.
She probably had no choice in this. It was in order to pacify Reaper who’d become restless after finishing the picture book.
「Hee, so knitting is one of Snow’s specialties」
「…… in the past, I practiced a little」
Snow looks away in embarrassment.
However, I knew that she didn’t just 「Practice a little」 because of the quality of the finished products.
I take the muffler Snow completed and gaze at it. There’s a muffler with a stripe pattern and one with a checker pattern. They look good enough to be sold.
「…… I don’t need it, so I’ll give it. That」
「Eh, you’re giving it to me?」
Snow spoke while still turned away.
However, even if her face is turned away, I know with 《Dimension》 that she’s said that while embarrassed.
「…… I don’t get cold. It’d be a waste」
「Aah, I’ll take it. Thank you」
I wrap one of the mufflers around my neck and put the other in 『Items』
「Ah, Onii-chan. I’ll give you mine too」
Reaper saw that and also raised her voice.
From a place a bit separated away, she throws the muffler that she had just completed.
Just like Snow, Reaper doesn’t need a muffler. The only things she can wear are the clothes made by my magic power.
I take the shoddy creation and give my thanks.
「Ni, Nii-san. Please take mine as well」
And then, Maria joined in.
「Eh, you should use it for yourself Maria. Snow and Reaper can’t use it for themselves so I took ――」
「No. Please take it」
I tried to deny it with logic, but Maria repeats her words with a smile.
「Ah, yes. Thank you very much」
That pressure was stronger than the one emitted by Lastiara and Lowen, so I gave up and accepted it.
Maria can’t see. On the other side of her eyelids are artificial eyes.
However, she made a muffler as if that wasn’t so. I knew she was skilled with her fingers, but I didn’t think it was to this extent.
As I’m taking the mufflers, behind me Lowen looks on in jealousy.
Clearing his throat, Lowen approaches Reaper.
「Ahー, ohon ohon. Reaper, is there one for me?」
「Eh? Why would I give one to Lowen?」
However, Reaper swiftly cuts down his hope.
「Wait, wait wait. Haven’t you known me longer than Kanami? Normally you’d expect that there’d be one for me」
「Eh, but, Lowen’s an enemy?」
「Su, such a stupid……. This is strange……」
With his brows wrinkled up, Lowen was truly mortified.
It’s like, a brother who didn’t receive a present from his beloved sister on his birthday.
Knowing exactly how that’d feel, I apologize to the pitiful Lowen.
「I’m used to it……」
「So you’re used to it……」
Lowen quickly lifts his head back up. Apparently he’s used to this situation.
That in it’s own way causes my pity for him to increase.
Guessing how Lowen’s life was until now, I place my hand on his shoulder.
「I’ll make a muffler for you later. I’m also good at this……」
「Thank you, Kanami……. As expected, a friend is a good thing to have……」
Before I knew it my position was moved to a friend.
As Lowen and I laugh together, we confirm our friendship.
It was only a little, but I came to understand Lowen as a person.
Although sincere and mature, he has some child-like qualities. He speaks in a strict manner with Reaper, but at its root there is kindness. A person that can be relied on.
―― Yes. A 『Person』 that can be relied on.
At this point looking at Lowen as a Guardian ―― as a monster would be difficult. I realize that as we laugh together.
However, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Although I’ll battle Lowen in the 『Fighting Tournament』, it won’t be a battle to the death.
I’ll get along with Lowen as a fellow human, grant his wish, and he will die in peace.
Doing that won’t require me to look at Lowen as a monster.
Therefore, without any hesitation, I laugh.
It’s not a problem.
It shouldn’t be a problem…….
But for some reason, the anxiety at the bottom of my heart doesn’t go away…….