Chapter 2 – The Maidens’ Day Off
On that day, Hinako was sitting on a bench within the school’s courtyard while leisurely reading a book.
It was three days after the battle royal ended. The normalcy of nothing in particular happening was still in effect.
Currently it was three in the afternoon. Class had just concluded and it was quite rowdy in the direction of the school building. Kurou and Sefi should be back soon.
Although Hinako would routinely follow Kurou to class, she was allowed to roam freely after Kurou was enrolled into the school. She normally sits in when class is in session, but occasionally reading outside like this while taking in the breeze was fine.
As she was about to flip the page, Hinako suddenly stopped in her tracks. It seemed she was ill at ease every time she flipped a page.
Hinako’s attire was not her typical cosplay wear, instead it was the Sword Academy’s uniform. There was some basis for wearing the uniform despite not being a student. However, the cosplay attire felt heavier compared to the school uniform and that was likely due to the uniform being mobile for combat.
So I prefer wearing lighter clothes? It was not until just now that Hinako learned of her own preferences.
For Hinako, she had been living in imprisonment within the sun cult’s facilities since her childhood. Back then she would only wear what was assigned to her.
The room she stayed in until she was fifteen was comfortable, but she completely lacked freedom. Of course, going outside was prohibited.
The Maiden of the Sun————
Hinako appeared to be referred to as that within the sun cult. Despite that, she had never even set foot under the sun.
Hinako’s imprisonment was ordered by her parents who were the cult leaders. Furthermore, she was surrounded by many companions who were tasked with her surveillance.
Perhaps those well-acquainted companions of hers also cared for her dearly. They must have heard her request to be brought to the outside world. Through their assistance, Hinako was finally successful in escaping from the room where she stayed for ages.
However, Hinako and her helpers were caught soon after and she was prepped to return to the facility once again. Right when that happened, the sun cultists and the police were caught in a chaotic scene. She then fell under Kurou’s protection as he was pursuing the sun cultists.
Hinako believed that not one of her helpers remained alive.
The sun cult have their normal practices that they do on the streets and they were not a covert organization either. However, a portion of the cult was armed and rebelled against the Swordies. Betraying the government and using banned weaponry, these guys could not be left alone unattended.
Hinako still remembers the gratitude she held towards those who helped her. She also believed that she did something unforgivable to them.
Nevertheless, there were no regrets from her regarding the decision to come to the outside world.
The splendor of the outside, everything she had desired was out here.
Hinako pondered these thoughts while taking in the breeze, calmly passing the time.
“Ara, Hina, why are you here?”
The one who struck a conversation was Sefi, who was carrying a backpack with her. It would appear that she had just returned from her classes.
Being the one who “monitors the two humans”, Sefi was now able to casually converse with Kurou and Hinako. However, she would never show her good relations with them in public. With Kurou’s coarse attitude, it was not like he cared about what they were perceived as in front of other people.
“The weather has been quite good today.”
Summer was fast approaching; right now it was not too cold or hot, the perfect season for being outdoors.
“That said, this is my first time experiencing summer.”
“Huh? The first time……”
“Because I was always locked within a room, even though there was air conditioning and it felt comfortable, in the end I was completely detached from summers and winters.”
Sefi was slightly taken aback. Although, Hinako had no intention to shock her.
“Well, besides that……why are you wearing that uniform?”
“Ah, you mean this?”
Hinako gently grabbed her own skirt hem.
“An academy faculty gave me this. I can’t be enrolled into the school, but at least I won’t stand out while wearing this uniform.”
“I see, well, I suppose this would be the least attention grabbing.”
There were many human faculty members within the academy. However, they were only allowed in due to being part of the workforce. For a human student like Kurou, or Hinako, who was not enrolled or working on the premises, the students would find their existence to be quite an eyesore.
To avoid drawing attention, putting on the uniform should be ok.
“However, why are you still wearing the katyusha? Isn’t that something you wore with your maid outfit?”
“I am here to serve Kurou. Hence, this is so I don’t forget my original task.”
“I’m pretty sure that original task or whatever was long forgotten……”
Sefi made an exasperated expression.
In fact, despite Hinako forgetting a long time ago, wanting to do something in return for the person who risked his life for her————that sort of intention does exist. Except, she has not really acted on it.
“Hina, may I sit next to you?”
Sefi sat down next to Hinako.
“Say, you didn’t stay with Kurou?”
“Why must I return with him after class?”
Supposedly this was the so-called girl-talk. Hinako was also picking up some common trends of life.
“Never mind that, what are you looking at?”
“This is a shoujo manga. There is a handsome boy on the school stage that all girls are swooned by.”
“What a crude description……Well, I suppose that pretty much sums up all shoujo mangas.”
“Do other girls my age live lives like this?”
“Who knows, it’s just a manga.”
Hinako understood what fiction was.
However, as depicted in the manga, it was of course normal for girls around Hinako’s age to be going to school every day, playing with friends, and liking boys.
Hinako had finally realized the extent of her abnormal living conditions.
Although it was not normal to be surrounded by Swordies in her current situation, at least her lifestyle was fine. She was able to happily read a book outside and choose her own clothes.
“For you, due to the complications regarding the sun cult, it would be tough to say for certain right now……but after things calm down, you should probably plan on going to school normally.”
“Ah, this sort of thing……?”
“I don’t think it would be difficult since Hina hasn’t done anything bad. If I issue a request to my mother and sister, it should definitely be possible.”
It was said that Sefi’s mother was one of the four generals. For something of this caliber, it should be quite simple.
However, for the daughter of one of the four generals to be going out of her way for a human……
“Sefi is a good person.”
“What, what are you suddenly blabbing about……!”
Sefi’s face was flushed red as she turned her head aside.
By sudden chance, Hinako thought to herself that a government official position would probably not suit Sefi despite her being the daughter of the four generals. She was too kind for that. Even Hinako clearly knew that you cannot just rely on kind words to be a politician.
“By the way, I’m a good person too.”
“……What are you doing Kuro?”
At some point Kurou made his way towards the back of the bench where the two were sitting.
“Good person? You’re clearly a harassment demon.”
“That’s just instinct. It has nothing to do with my kindness.”
“That’s nothing to be boastful about!”
“It’s sad that you fail to understand me. Well, meeting you guys here was perfect timing. There’s something I need to say to you two.”
As Kurou spoke, he purposefully squeezed between Sefi and Hinako as he sat down.
Sefi’s expression appeared to be saying “what is it”, however, there was nothing she could do besides make way for him in silence.
“Due to some circumstances, I was called forth by Sylphy.”
“Yup, remember how I won the battle royal from before?”
“After you won, it did seem you were still quite troubled by something.”
“……Is that so?”
Kurou played dumb towards Hinako’s statement.
After his bout with the third-year student council president, Kurou spent the entire night locking himself up in his room and was breathing heavily. He could not even swallow his food. It must have been quite the damage dealt to him.
“Setting that aside, I was told that there would be a prize for the winner and I was able to collect it from Sylphy-sama.”
“I see, the student council president did talk to Onee-sama in regards to this……”
“Compared to what the school gives out, Sylphy-sama can provide a much grander prize. The student council president must have been very keen on this as well.”
“So what’s this prize then? What does it have to do with us?”
Kurou smiled as he nodded.
He patted Hinako on the shoulders.
“Be happy Hinako, you get to go outside.”
“Yup, Sylphy-sama found a way to issue this order. This Sunday you can go shopping along the streets.”
“Shopping…..along the streets……”
Hinako blankly muttered.
Hinako had always been placed in confinement, even now, she was kept within the Sword Academy.
Just as she was able to move freely within campus, this time she was able to step out onto the streets.
The world was slowly expanding for her.
For Hinako, there must have been a bit of apprehension————
“I want to go Kuro, I want to go.”
A rarely seen shine in Hinako’s eyes lit up as she nodded non-stop towards Kurou.
Currently it was Sunday. Kurou had brought Hinako out to the streets as promised.
With an assured manner, Sefi came along as well. When it came to shopping, having a female companion was probably better. That was what Sefi brought up when coming along.
After departing from the Sword Academy, the car ride took about twenty minutes. These streets were teeming with the youth of Swordia.
Tokyo Swordia was noticeably divided into two portions, the Specialized Central Region and the Outer Human Region.
The government and economic capabilities were gathered in the Specialized Central Region. It was the Swordie’s sphere of influence.
On the other hand, the Outer Human Region was predominantly occupied by humans.
There were no police checkpoints, walls, or anything of the sort between the boundaries. Basically, humans and Swordies were able to travel between the two regions at will.
However, even though there were no issues from a legal standpoint, there truly exists an invisible barrier at the borders. As a result, no one would particularly want to cross the borders.
The three of them were of course within the Specialized Central Region.
It was a clear sunny morning. It was halfway into May and although the temperature was a bit high, there was a nice breeze that made it a comfortable day.
After getting out of the car that Sylphy had assigned to them, they instantly followed Sefi’s instructions as they set out shopping. Following that, their first target was the department store which Sefi frequents. Compared to the fashion boutiques that teens generally go to, Sefi seemed to prefer the plain stores. Although to Kurou, he did not have the slightest clue as to the difference between the types of stores.
“Hey hey, Kuro, take a look at this.”
Hinako, who always maintained that stoic expression, had sparkles in her eyes as they entered the department store.
“What are you doing standing by the entrance?”
“Look at the stairs……they’re moving!”
Kurou followed Hinako’s line of sight, which led to an upward moving escalator.
“……Can I go back?”
“Hold it right there. You said you would bring her here right?”
“Perhaps that might have been the case……”
Sefi stared intently at Kurou who was feigning stupidity.
Common sense was clearly out of the scope of this ojou-sama. Kurou and Sefi understood this point very clearly.
However, who knew her inexperience could reach these levels.
“First let me clarify, I was just kidding. Automatic escalators and such, even I know about that.”
Kurou looked thoroughly frustrated while Sefi put on a superficial smile.
“W-Well I guess we should be going. Let’s start with clothing. How about we go to the store that I regularly go to?”
“……About that Sefi, I have a question.”
Hinako had her eyes fixed on the floor layout sign near the entrance.
“It says there are food stands underground? Perhaps it’s just the psychological effect, but there is a sweet smell.”
“Suddenly wanting to eat already? Alright, please keep up with us.”
After she finished speaking, Sefi grabbed Hinako’s hand and marched off.
Although Hinako gazed downwards with a reluctant expression, she did not resist Sefi as she followed her.
Kurou wryly smiled while staying behind the two of them.
As they entered the women’s clothing store level, Sefi led the way, treading through the place in a well-versed manner.
“Oh yeah, Hinako, what kind of clothing style do you like?”
Sefi scanned around in excitement. Even though today was a rest day, she was still wearing her school uniform.
On the other hand, the only proper clothing Hinako had for going outside was her school uniform. Sefi specifically came with them to go buy clothes for that reason.
Of course, Kurou was also wearing his uniform. To him, he preferred wearing his uniform. Although the laws did not prevent humans from roaming within the Swordie region, issues would arise if others noticed he was a human. It would probably be difficult to suspect that he was human while wearing the Sword Academy’s uniform.
On another note, Kurou kept the katana he always used by his waist. Sefi also had a sword on her. Since the sword she normally uses, the Starbreaker, was too conspicuous, she kept a spare double-edged sword. That said, Kurou planned on acting alone to counter any threats that might arise. There were no plans for having Sefi battle at all.
“Oh yeah, we should probably buy some spring wear for you as well. Even though it’s already summer, there will be times when the weather turns cold.”
“Ah, I see. Then I’ll leave it up to you Sefi.”
“……You should put some thought into it as well.”
Hinako was quite intrigued by the urban environment, but not so much when it came to fashion.
“Jeez, if it isn’t a maid, it’s a nurse. Always with the cosplay. That’s why I have a peculiar impression of Hina. Even I have a tough time choosing for you……”
Sefi grumbled as she entered a nearby women’s clothing store and proceeded to browse the clothing selection. Despite her complaints, she seemed to be giving it her all.
“…..By the way Kuro.”
“What is it?”
“It is most fortunate that you were able to get permission for me to come outside, but isn’t this just being placed under house arrest by the Sabers?”
“It’s unpleasant to hear you calling it house arrest. It’s supposed to be protection. Well, it seems not only the sun cult, but even the Blazes are after you. It would be quite dangerous to go outside.”
In truth, the Sabers did not even consider guarding Hinako as a top priority. Despite HInako being the daughter of the cult leaders that lead a terrorist group, she was not considered a criminal herself. However, tossing her aside was out of the question so she was captured just for the sake of protection by the Sabers.
In order for Hinako to head out elsewhere, Kurou went to Sylphy for permission. However, it would be more accurate to say that she requested it from the Sabers and then gave permission to him.
Surprisingly, the Sabers knew going into this that having Hinako head out may attract the sun cult or Blazes. If that were to happen and Kurou was able to capture the enemy, it would be a nice bonus.
Most importantly, this was in the name of the prize for winning the battle royal. Since there were no issues with the law and budget, Sylphy giving permission for such a thing was to be expected.
After Kurou elaborated to this extent, Hinako responded with an “I see” while nodding her head.
“However, it’s quite unexpected that they trust Kuro so much.”
“There’s nothing to it. Even if I fail and die, Hinako will just be taken away unharmed.”
“What a dull society we live in.”
Hinako was not particularly mindful of Kurou dying.
“Well, more importantly, the annoying part of being given this permission is……”
As Kurou was speaking, he cast a quick glance towards Sefi. Sefi seemed to be chatting with a store employee that she knew.
“Sefi will also be targeted by the Blazes.”
“Don’t say it was as you had predicted. Although Sefi doesn’t want to be enclosed within the school either. Furthermore, who knows when the Blazes will be wiped out.”
Sylphy would also disapprove, but she likely knows her sister’s tendencies. Being netted within the school, always being protected by others, that would certainly be against Sefi’s nature.
“Anyways, I am here for the time being.”
Kurou patted the katana by his waist.
No matter who attacked, Kurou planned on buying enough time for Sefi and Hinako to escape. Sefi’s abilities have risen. Even if the opponent was a Blaze, she could probably also accomplish something to this extent.
“Over here Hina! Come over!”
“Yes, I’m coming.”
Hinako briskly walked towards Sefi.
Kurou watched as the two of them were beginning to try on clothes within the store. There was nothing to fret about, as long as they were able to have fun that would be great.
It would be quite a mundane life if one were to be apprehensive all the time.
“However, to be shopping with the girls and such, Kurou must really be fearless.”
All of a sudden, there was a pat on his shoulders that stupefied Kurou. His mouth opened in shock.
Over there was————
“Lars? Why are you……?”
“Doesn’t your cellphone have a GPS installed in it? All I did was requested the Sabers’ electronics division to pinpoint your position……”
“N-no no, I wasn’t referring to that. I meant you should stop suddenly appearing out of nowhere.”
The person who appeared was Kurou’s fellow disciple and partner from the Sabers——Lars. Currently he is enrolled in the Sword Academy for his studies with Kurou. Even though he was not accompanying Kurou, he was still dressed in his uniform. The Beastslayer was hanging by his waist.
“Well, it looks like you just got yourself another guard. The deputy sure likes to indiscriminately order people around considering I just got discharged from the hospital.”
Despite being a bit startled, Kurou had no intention to complain. Lars had the successor’s mark for the Sword Saint too and his abilities were basically on par with Kurou’s. With him here, they could probably even buy enough time against an opponent like Manaka. Furthermore————
“Hey, Sefi, Hinako, look who is here to foot the bill!”
“Cut it out Kurou!”
“You are the son of the four generals. For things like money you guys should have stacks of it right?”
“That’s not the case since I’m already independent. I have nothing to do with my parents’ wealth.”
“Perhaps you could even buy the whole department store. We don’t even have to pay attention to the prices.”
“Kurou……are you even listening to me?”
Sefi and Hinako leisurely walked over after they were done selecting clothes.
“So Lars, you were discharged from the hospital too?”
“Looks like you’re still alive Lars.”
“What a warm welcome.”
Lars grinned in response to Sefi and Hinako’s comments.
“They all look great. Although, right now I am a tad short on cash. After taking a quick glance, no matter which piece it was, I began to want them all.”
“Hmm? Sefi, isn’t your family loaded with cash?”
“It’s because my family comes from a long line of upright politicians. Just based on the salary of the four generals, it isn’t anything extravagant. Although, I can’t say we would ever experience poverty and such. However, after the war, Lars’ family went into the real estate business and made a fortune. Their business is very successful.”
“In other words, using one’s status to make money. What an upstart.”
“……No, I certainly did not strike it big.”
Lars looked a bit befuddled as he tried to explain.
His family was similar to Sefi’s family as they were all part of the four generals. Being an only child, he would one day rise to the pinnacle of the country assuming nothing drastic happened.
However, who knows if Lars was thinking about his succession situation. At the very least, Kurou knew that Lars was not someone who would care about his family’s power or wealth.
“Now is not the time for this. Hina, let’s continue.”
Sefi seemed to have lost interest in Lars as the two of them went back to the clothing store.
The remaining two boys looked each other in the face.
Afterwards, the two of them did a fist pound and laughed.
Humans and Swordies, despite being different races, a greeting like this was all that was needed for the two disciples that have grown up with each other.
“Seems like this one is still the best eh?”
Sefi held up a cherry colored dress for Hinako to see.
“If it were up to me, I still think this dress is better……”
“Eh? But isn’t that one a tad short?”
“No worries. Since Kurou’s sexual harassment is entirely limited to Sefi, I’ll be fine.”
“It isn’t just me!”
Sefi angrily complained towards Hinako’s reply.
“……They look quite happy.”
“That’s good and all, but just how many stores have we went to already……”
Kurou spoke to Lars while revealing his frustration.
Starting from the first department store that Sefi went to, they had already visited many other department stores and fashion boutiques. It was just as Lars stated, going shopping with girls was like asking for a death sentence.
“Maybe it would be best to pretend today never happened.”
“How strange, shouldn’t going out with girls be fun?”
Kurou heavily sighed.
The two of them were in a corner a bit away from the girls with numerous shopping bags around them. They were all filled with Hinako’s clothes.
“Isn’t it great for you though Kurou? You’re just here to accompany them, while I have to pick up the tab.”
“Can’t you let me buy some clothes and shoes while we’re at it? Maybe even a watch.”
“What kind of sorry state are you in?”
Kurou got a menacing glare from Lars. Although the two of them were bounded as fellow disciples, it seemed that was not case when money was involved.
“Rou, come over here for a sec.”
Sefi waved him over and Kurou obliged. It would be stupid to waste precious time by refusing.
“Rou, between this dress and that dress, which one do you think is better? I feel like the one Hinako is holding is a little short.”
Having Sefi and Hinako both try out the dresses for him to see, that was what Kurou contemplated over.
Kurou did not believe a short dress made for a great dress. Even if it went down to the ankles, it could still make for a great H scene depending on the situation.
“Well then, just buy both.”
“Whose money do you think it is!?”
Hearing Kurou make his judgment, Lars quickly objected.
“That said Sefi, you’re only buying clothes for Hinako right? Why not buy some for yourself?”
“Eh? That’s because today was meant for buying Hinako some clothes……”
“Don’t worry about it. This and……this would match nicely right?”
Kurou quickly grabbed a revealing sweatshirt and dress and held both in his hands. If the shopping time was going to be dragged on, he hoped to at least have a feast for his eyes.
“Yeah, I feel bad for Sefi having to solely buy clothes for me.”
“Can I get a bit of sympathy too?”
Lars had already been completely reduced to a snarking role.
“Well……then I guess I’ll try it on even though I don’t really intend on buying it.”
Towards Kurou’s recommendation, it seemed like Sefi could not outright say she would buy it. Even so, she would try it on to not appear opinionated. Clothes in hand, she went into the changing room.
“Let me try this one too.”
Hinako held on to the dress and some other articles of clothing as she entered the changing room next to Sefi.
“My head kind of hurts, I guess I’ll be taking a seat on that bench.”
“I hope you feel better.”
Kurou waved at Lars as he exited the store. He waited in front of the changing rooms for the two of them with his hands crossed. He decided to turn a blind eye towards the “Ah——” and “Mmm——” moaning sounds coming from Hinako’s room.
“Sefi, what shirt was supposed to be paired with this dress?”
Suddenly, the curtain to the changing room was pulled aside and Hinako’s figure appeared.
The front of her uniform shirt was open and her dress was down by her feet————in short, it was practically like she was just in her undergarments.
“Ah, Sefi is currently changing too.”
“Enough, go back already!”
Just as the curtain to the changing room was about to be closed back…..
“Eh, are you two……!”
Kurou stated as such.
This time, the curtain was half peeled back as Sefi exited. Now she was not in that undergarment-only state.
Although she was wearing a dress, she was still essentially half-naked. She did not even have her bra on.
“……Amazing Sefi, looks like the Kurou seduction expert has already made this her trade.”
With the agility of a Swordie, Sefi swiftly turned her body around in the changing room. Following that, she immediately stuck her head out of the gap in the curtains and stared at Kurou.
“D-Did you see?”
“Now that you mention it, I have seen your appearance after coming out of the shower before.”
“Don’t bring up the past! Just how many times do you have to see it before being satisfied!?”
“But, you’re the one who showed me this time……”
Sefi slightly lowered her reddened face. Knowing when the error was on her behalf was one of her strong suits.
“Hmm, why are you completely undressed other than your panties Sefi?”
“T-That’s because……lately my bra has become tight again……plus I was just about to put it back on again.”
A Swordie’s puberty stage was basically identical to a human’s. Nothing can really be done if the undergarment size is off.
“Since it was convenient, you let Kuro have a peek right? Which dress do you think matches better?”
Hinako presented the shirt and dress to Kurou.
“What do you mean ‘convenient’? Go back already! Rou, don’t look!”
“I guess there’s no other choice.”
With a reluctant response, Hinako dragged across the curtain to her changing room. Kurou thought it might be better if Hinako had more of a bashful side. As he was contemplating this trivial matter, he walked away from the curtains.
“Jeez……I let him see me like that again……am I an idiot?”
With tears welling up in her eyes, Sefi muttered as she put her bra back on again. The changing room was very narrow. It would likely feel quite cramped with two people in at the same time.
“Hey, would you like me to help you snap it on?”
Kurou nodded his head and buckled the light green bra.
“……Why are you in here!?”
Sefi finally caught on and instantly turned her head. Due to the changing room being very narrow, Sefi’s soft breasts pressed against Kurou’s body the moment they faced each other.
“What are you chuckling about? And what are you doing!?”
“Nothing, I was just thinking about whether or not I needed to help the princess-sama change.”
“I don’t need help you moron!”
Kurou was forcefully shoved by Sefi as he was shooed out of the changing room. After some time, the sexual harassment came to an end.
Kurou walked out of the store. He headed back towards the bench that Lars was sitting on.
“I thought I heard Sefi scream. What did you do this time?”
“Oh just our usual fun and games.”
“As a matter of fact, Sefi sounded quite excited at the same time. I really don’t understand what’s going on between you two.”
“That’s because the only thing I do is to the extent of harassment and that’s all I will do.”
Kurou laughed and sat down next to Lars. He did not say anything after that.
For someone like Lars who was also a descendant of the four generals, what Kurou wanted to express was already adequately understood.
“Oh right, I just remembered. Kurou, did you take a hit from the student council president?”
“You’re as sharp as always. How come you even know about these minor details?”
Kurou wryly smiled as he knocked on the spot where he got struck by the student council president with his index finger.
“The student council president seemed a bit peculiar……Although it was just for an instant, I wasn’t able to sense her attack.”
“For that to happen to Kurou……? That is quite strange.”
In past cases, Kurou could predict his opponents based on their killing intent. High speeds could counteract this, but to be completely unable to sense the attack was practically impossible.
However, when he suffered that blow from the student council president, there was indeed a moment where he could not sense her aura.
Kurou sat down with his back leaned against the wall.
“Jeez, we’re nothing but successor candidates for the Sword Saint aren’t we? Unable to match up against the Seven Swords, and we can’t even win against the top Sword Princesses.”
Even some Swordies are mistakened with the process. The successor’s emblem is basically only given to potential successors, but it does not automatically ensure them a Seven Sword title. A better way to put it would be that a “successor” is basically a step up from a “disciple”. Training as a successor, gaining the approval of a Seven Sword, and only at the very end will they become the Seven Swords of the next generation.
Kurou and Lars are definitely not on par with the current Seven Swords right now.
There are also strong individuals like Isyuto among the Sword Princesses. Although they are not on the Seven Swords’ level, many powerful Swordies do exist.
“……Hey, Kurou, how stringent did Manaka go on us? Back then, there would be no way we would have the leisure time to shop with girls……”
“She seemed to be filled with revenge towards me.”
There was sufficient reason for Manaka to be seeking Kurou’s life. Even if Kurou was killed by her he would have no complaints. Although, he never intended on dying there.
Lars snickered as he placed his hand on the back of his head.
“Speaking of Manaka, both of us have known her since we were kids. She was always by our master’s side, she could even be described as our second master. She also let us witness her finishing move, the Chaos Dancer. No matter how careless Manaka is, she wouldn’t allow her secret move to be seen by those she didn’t trust. Perhaps, Manaka……”
“Are you saying that it wasn’t just hatred that drove her?”
Kurou spoke while looking on in a daze.
Battling against Manaka was like walking a tightrope, any mistake would have led to death. However, it was just as Lars said, it would not be hard to kill Kurou based on Manaka’s abilities.
“Kurou, I think Manaka isn’t such a heartless woman.”
“……I don’t know about that.”
Kurou gave a perfunctory reply.
Due to his battle against Manaka, it was not something that could be easily explained.
Displayed on the TV screen in the corner of the room was some type of entertainment channel.
Although it was mainly about entertainment broadcasts, it appeared to be about some sort of mundane scandal. It was just some boring celebrity relationship news.
This was the room of a certain abandoned tower. It was a five story building and there were probably numerous companies stationed here in the past. Because of the lack of guests, this place is currently at a standstill.
The person sitting on the sofa in front of the TV was Manaka. Today she was wearing her Sabers uniform as she lazily crossed her legs.
Once the entertainment news ended, the next program began to play. The subject of it was————”Sword General Manaka, the truth behind her mysterious betrayal.”
Manaka could not help but smile.
The makings of this program was most likely a human production.
Swordies established discriminatory social patterns towards humans. However, the freedom of press was still permitted to everyone. There was also no thorough cornering of human behavior.
If humans were to take up arms, the Swordies would instantly defeat them. On the flip side, they did not care what kind of resistance the humans implemented as long as they were not armed. It could be said that the freedom of press for humans was used as an outlet for their unequal treatment.
Precisely due to this, it was alright for them to gossip about a top swordsman such as Manaka.
Starting from when Manaka was fourteen she was taken in as a disciple by the previous Sword General. It took her just three years to inherit her title, battle style, superb skills, and even her habits of eating and drinking were passed on.
The news channel even announced topics that Manaka had already forgotten about.
“……What is it?”
“Onee-sama, what are you watching?”
Neena opened the door to the room and entered. She wore the academy’s dress with her white shirt.
Neena was not a disciple, but rather a Blaze who looked up to Manaka as her older sister.
For Manaka and Neena who were the instigators of the incident at the Sword Academy, they both went into hiding.
“What is this, some sort of entertainment channel? Although I don’t particularly watch these things……oh, right now they are broadcasting about the past Sword General.”
“Yup, that’s my master.”
The previous Sword General was no longer within this world.
She was also very young, but she faced an aviation accident during her travels outside the country and did not return. No matter how robust a Swordie was, it would be impossible to survive an airplane explosion.
“She was a good person, loved to drink, even to the point where she’d do it right before her battles. What was ridiculous was that she’d only get stronger through her drinking.”
“To be honest, Onee-sama resembles her master.”
Neena wryly smiled as she spoke. Although she did not mention Manaka’s excessive drinking, it was best to keep Manaka under control since it was unclear when a battle may occur.
“She was truly strong. Even right now, if I was asked ‘could you beat her’, it would cause a headache for me. She was someone worthy of respect.”
“However…..even if you say that, she was a Swordie.”
“There’s nothing you can do about who you resent. Don’t you like Sefi as well?”
In order to take Sefi’s life, Neena infiltrated the Sword Academy. Although she became close to Sefi, it seemed that she became overly close and became attached to the princess of the four generals.
“That said, Neena, wouldn’t it be great if you could just continue going to school like you did before?”
“Don’t joke around please!”
Neena’s face turned red as she stepped forward to speak.
She had also heard about the hardships within the Blaze reservation. They were from the complaints of her grandparents who were survivors of the Blaze cleansing. It must have influenced her greatly.
“I intend to fight for the Blazes till the very end. Of course, if Sefi-sama were to hinder me then————”
“Don’t get overly courageous. Based on what we were doing, it’s safe to say that it hasn’t been very constructive. So try not to expect too much out of it.”
Manaka spoke with excitement as she changed the channel. The special broadcast on Sword General Manaka had ended and a new TV drama just started.
“Even so, it’s hard for us to take action. Our identities have been completely exposed.”
“Then please don’t go near the academy. It’s too dangerous if you encounter the Absolute Sword. Although, there’s no way Onee-sama could lose.”
“Is that so? Well, looks like it’d be best if I don’t go there meaninglessly. Based on what I have ascertained from Syunaku’s abilities, her wire sword is capable of battling against groups of people. It would cause a bit of trouble.”
“The only ones who would take action are————Sefi-sama’s sister and the Absolute Sword. The other Seven Swords will……”
“No way, the Swordie government isn’t stupid. They wouldn’t let their precious Seven Sword fighting force be used against us. If there was an injury to the Seven Swords because of this, the loss would be too great. Syunaku was personally sent by Sylphy. The government will only use those that are dispensable to them. Just to have a guy like Kurou is already remarkable.”
“……But our enemy isn’t humans.”
“The government doesn’t have the obligation to send us our desired enemies to face.”
Manaka shrugged her shoulders while smiling.
Within her expectations, wanting to draw out the Seven Swords would take quite some time. She became the target of everyone from the start due to her position as the past commander of the Sabers. The size of the organization was small, although the vast majority were many male workers, their battle force was not anything to look down on. There were also a couple of Sword Princesses along with Kurou and Lars.
“For now we’ve been quite relaxed. It’s just been drinking and sleeping the days away.”
“What’s the plan for our other comrades? A lot of them are moving out for assassination attempts.”
“Assassinations that result in intimidation and nuisances. Even though the results have been mostly favorable, it doesn’t mean much based on my expectations of the government. Our boss……seems to have let that person take action.”
“That person……you mean the Death Sword!?”
Neena’s eyes opened widely while pressing her hands against her chest.
Death Swords————Neena was not very fond of them. For someone who harbored kind feelings towards Sefi, who was her enemy, yet ironically loathed her own partners, Manaka felt Neena was hopeless.
“Well then, that kid should be around here……is she here to help Onee-sama?”
“Helping me? Well let’s see her abilities first.”
Manaka suspended the conversation and focused on the TV screen once again.
It was hard enough to be released from the burdening task of being a Seven Sword and the director of the Sabers. During this down time, just let me rest a bit————Manaka wanted to drink another can of beer.
The shopping came to a standstill for now as Kurou and the others went to a Japanese restaurant that Sefi was familiar with.
Although Kurou would have felt awkward being in a courtyard or banquet of a high class restaurant, the atmosphere here was very comfortable. The prices of the lunch menu were within normal scopes. Kurou ate some delicious tempura. Quantity wise it was a bit lacking, but he did not have room for complaints considering someone else was treating him. That person was of course Lars.
Backtracking for a bit, by “for now”————that meant that the shopping was going to continue.
“Alright, let’s go shopping again!”
Sefi was highly energetic after replenishing her strength. It already felt like Hinako became a test subject for her.
Sefi and Hinako once again took off shopping while Lars followed them.
As for Kurou, he was just aimlessly wandering the streets.
Kurou deeply sighed.
Since Sefi had said “it will be girls only from here on out!” As a result, Kurou was not allowed to continue with them. However, having no guards for them was out of the question. Lars would have the dual role of being the bodyguard and the one that picks up the tab
Kurou realized that he could move around normally for once. Sefi and Hinako were probably going to buy undergarments and such. Kurou wished he could go with them.
“Well, it’s nice to freely move around occasionally.”
Nothing could be done about this situation which he was forced into. After coming out of the mountains, Kurou worked for the Sabers for a year. Due to the elimination matches, hospital stay, and the battle royal, he had been very busy. To be by himself again and leisurely passing the time was a nice change of pace.
Supposedly he was to receive a text when the shopping spree ended. In other words, from now till then, this was his time of freedom.
Bookstores, CD stores, and such, despite just glancing around and not buying anything, Kurou truly enjoyed his time strolling around alone. Buying something would be fine, but he did not feel the need to. Moreover, there was nothing in particular that he was interested in so he ended up being the type of kid who did not really like to spend money.
Kurou stopped to take a look at a certain shop. The vendor had two crane games lined up at the entrance of the shop. Swordies were also keen on entertainment. At a gaming center like this, all kinds of individuals were around.
“It’s been quite a while, let’s have a go at it.”
After stepping out of the mountains and working for the Sabers, these games have been rare to come by. Starting from when he became a disciple of the Sword Saint, he grew up in an environment with no modern civilization. Although, he would occasionally skip out on patrol duty to play with Lars.
Kurou entered the store and sequentially glanced around at the neatly organized games. Because it was a Sunday afternoon, there were many guests here. Among them, the teenage males were the majority.
At the Swordie gaming centers, there seemed to be a melee game that was currently trending while a swords battle game was popular in human gaming centers. It was quite strange.
As a result of the Sun Cult’s frequent activities, there has not been much free time for him. For the time he had been away, a portion of the games were swapped out.
“Darn, lost again!”
A piercing voice resonated within the arcade.
Kurou looked in the direction of that sound and noticed a girl sitting in front of an arcade machine. It seemed like that leather guitar case leaning against the machine was hers as well.
The girl had her pinkish-red hair tied into two strands on the sides of her head with a feather hair clip that gave off a childish tone. She wore a cream-colored baggy sweater along with a red plaid miniskirt. It was likely some high school’s uniform.
Her purple eyes stared at the console with resentment.
She was someone who would attract anyone’s gaze. Those ample breasts protruded from under her sweater. Her waist was thin and so were her legs. She possessed superb proportions and an exceptional figure.
Kurou could not help but be fixated on her.
“Hey, I haven’t seen you before. Welcome.”
After the girl noticed Kurou’s lapse, she revealed a smile. It was as if the entire dimly lit store shined the instant she smiled.
Kurou was unwittingly captivated by that smile and simply returned a proper greeting.
“Ah, do you want to play this? You can play in my place.”
The girl cheerfully stood up and grabbed Kurou by the shoulders, pushing him towards the front of the arcade console. Following that, the girl’s sweet fragrance wafted over.
What should I do? Kurou stressed over the situation, which was a rare occurrence for him.
“What the heck, even though Rinne-chan has expressly talked to you?”
“Listen up, hurry and have a seat. I’ll knock you down a peg.”
Sitting in front of the console that was across from Rinne was a brown-haired boy and a friend of his who had short hair standing close to Kurou. The two of them were approximately the same age as Kurou.
Rinne seemed to be this girl’s name.
“Hmm? Hey, aren’t you……a human?”
“He might be. He even has a katana or something on him.”
Towards the brown-haired boy’s statement, the short-haired boy revealed an astonished expression. Afterwards, he looked towards Kurou intently as if he was surveying him.
“So what if I’m human? I didn’t see anything that said ‘humans can’t enter.’”
Kurou returned to his senses and smirked. He was very adept at dealing with these kinds of people.
“What did you say!? You sure have some nerve to make a Swordie your enemy!”
The brown-haired guy was aggravated. He did not carry a sword on him, but being a Swordie, he had sufficient strength to kill humans with just his bare hands. Normally, it wouldn’t be a good idea to incite him————
“You’re clearly weaker when compared to Swordie girls. Please don’t scare humans.”
“What are you blabbing on about!? You’re just a human, don’t forget your place.”
The short-haired boy lunged towards Kurou, wanting to grab him.
“Don’t think so highly of yourself! That’s right……are you one of those cultists who have been wandering around here lately?”
“Cultists? You mean the Sun Cultists?”
Kurou was a bit surprised as he asked.
“Ah, is that the name? Did they get the wrong location? Always trying to persuade others, yet no one even bats them an eye.”
Kurou once again felt shocked at what the short-haired guy said.
Although Kurou had known about the Sun Cultists taking to the streets trying to reach out to people, it was the first time he heard about them doing this in the Specialized Central Region.
“Well, I’m definitely not a Sun Cultist. As you can see I’m just a student.”
“What do you mean ‘just a student’? Tch, to be wearing what seems to be the Sword Academy’s uniform, don’t kid us.”
It would appear that they know about the Sword Academy. Never in their dreams would they suspect Kurou was a student there.
“That said, this guy seems to have a high temper. Wanna take it outside?”
“You……even though you have a sword, do you really think you can win against a Swordie?”
“Winning or losing and such, don’t get ahead of yourself.”
Kurou gave off a smile as he spoke. He was not trying to find trouble, but after seeing these types of men, Kurou had a bad habit of joking around.
“Alright alright, that’s enough.”
Following that beautiful clear voice, Rinne clapped her hands.
“If you guys are going to fight here, then do it with games. That way there will be no bad blood regardless if you win or lose. That’s the rule around here.”
“……Is there such a rule?”
The short-haired boy tilted his head.
“I made the declaration just now. You have a problem with it?”
Rinne also tilted her head. She was clearly replicating his movements, but the level of cuteness was on a completely different level. Although, suggesting that the boy was cute was hard to accept.
“W-Well, if Rinne says so then……”
“Defeating a human through games is also interesting……”
The brown and short-haired guys seemed to understand even though they felt perplexed.
At some point in time, a crowd gathered around Kurou and the others nodded in approval.
From the looks of it, Rinne was treated as the princess-sama of this arcade.
“Then let us four engage in an elimination match. Who will be my opponent?”
Rinne wryly smiled as she once again sat in front of the arcade machine.
Kurou could not help but feel that his rhythm was disrupted.
Rinne was skipping around as she was heading forward. Her hair, dress, and the guitar case she carried on her back were swaying around as she moved.
How did it end up with the two of them walking together after Kurou left the arcade?
“What an exciting day. It was my first time winning like this.”
“Must be very gratifying for you……”
Kurou was not really interested in Rinne’s excitement.
After proposing that Kurou, the brown-haired kid, and short-haired kid engage in alternating elimination matches, Kurou lost every match, including the numerous matches afterwards against the arcade regulars.
This was especially true when it came to the dozen or so matches against Rinne. Despite them being competitive matches, he still lost them all.
The matches against the arcade regulars could not even be considered battles. However, since his losses against Rinne were out in full view, it was even more aggravating.
“Who would have thought there’d be someone in this world who would consecutively lose to me.”
Rinne’s eyes were sparkling.
Referring to herself with “boku”, this extremely sprightly girl seemed to be inept at playing these arcade games. Although she appeared to be a regular at the arcade, her ranking must have always been at the bottom. Furthermore, she had never relinquished this spot to anyone else before. Solely due to her clumsiness and cuteness, she was treated as a princess within that arcade.
Rinne suddenly composed herself. The sides of her hair fluttered for a moment and following that she lowered her head.
“I’m sorry. There’s nothing amusing about me being overly excited. Since I haven’t even been able to beat even a novice before, I was very ecstatic when I won.”
After receiving her frank apology, Kurou finally regained his focus. He could clearly predict his opponents’ attacks in battle, but he had absolutely no grasp of that when it came to a video game character’s movement. Speaking of which, Lars was very strong in this regard and always had Kurou pay for the arcade fees.
“By the way, why are you following me?”
Since he was continuously losing, Kurou decided to leave but for some reason Rinne tagged along.
“That’s because I’m very happy today.”
Rinne said that without hesitation. Although it was not quite a valid answer, Kurou displayed a “well, whatever” kind of expression. Plus there was nothing wrong with taking a walk with Rinne.
“Oh right I forgot. My name is Rinne, you can call me by name directly since everyone else does the same. What about you?”
“Kurou, although my original name was Katsuragi Kurou. Just call me Kurou.”
“Alright, Kurou-chan it is.”
Rinne completely ignored Kurou’s dissatisfaction. She appeared to really like this type of address as she nodded her head excessively.
“I’m hungry after an exciting day of playing. Kurou-chan, want to go try that out?”
Rinne pointed toward a small stand by the sidewalk. A barbecue aroma drifted from that location.
It had rotisserie consisting of numerous thinly cut up pork slices folded up with shredded cabbage mixed together. That was then added to some pre-baked bread. In the end, it looked like a type of sandwich. It was apparently a popular item in the Swordie homeworld. For Sefi to be routinely visiting that Japanese restaurant, it could be said that Swordies had already been integrated into the Japanese food culture. However, they had not forgotten about the cuisine of their own culture.
Kurou grabbed one that had spices added to it while Rinne selected the one with a sweet flavor. After buying some juice from the vending machine, the two of them sat together at a nearby park bench as they ate their food.
“Wow, this is great. Their seasonings are quite excellent.”
Rinne took a seat right next to Kurou. She was joyfully munching on the sandwich. Since Kurou did not eat enough during lunch, he felt this was fine. Moreover, the seasoning was indeed pretty good.
However————, Kurou squinted at Rinne.
“What’s wrong Kurou-chan?”
“Are you……a Swordie?”
“……I’m a human you know.”
“Ah, you think I mind that? Those two just now weren’t bad individuals. For humans to be on a lower standing than oneself————it’s those who taught them that who are in the wrong.”
At a quick glance, Rinne looked as if she was not putting much thought into her words, but she was surprisingly pondering over this situation. At the very least, it was because of one’s identity and arrogance that those who look down on humans would even draw a dividing line.
“To me, I don’t see other people as Swordies and humans. The only difference I see is there are those who are good at gaming, and those who aren’t.”
“Isn’t that a bit too rash……?”
In the end, it really did feel as if she did not put much thought into it.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. Besides Kurou-chan, to me you are a very special existence.”
“We’ve only known each other for thirty minutes.”
“That’s because————you’re an opponent who is on the same level as me in combat. That’s very valuable.”
“……Is that so.”
On the topic of being on similar levels, Kurou did not quite understand that after having frequently lost to some foolish tactics. In truth, a battle against an opponent that is too strong or weak lacks significance.
However, being on the same level, well……
Kurou surveyed Rinne from head to toe. Since it was Kurou we were talking about, it was understandable. Perhaps she————
“I always eat sweet foods so I was wondering how the spicy one tastes?”
“Hmm? Oh, it’s pretty good. It isn’t even that spicy.”
“Is that so……well, let me have a taste.”
Before Kurou could recover, Rinne suddenly lunged out to grab a bite of his sandwich. Kurou had no time to react to this surprise attack.
“Mmmm……that’s tasty. It’s truly delicious.”
Without hesitation, she bit off half of Kurou’s sandwich. If it were Sefi, this sort of maneuver could never be accomplished.
“Kurou-chan, try some of mine this time————eh?”
While Rinne was chewing on the roasted meat, she suddenly became tongue tied.
Her eyes gradually welled up with tears as she covered her mouth with her hands. She seemed to be muttering something indistinctly.
“What is it? Is something wrong?”
“……Waaaaah, it’s too spicy! Kurou-chan you liar! This is way too hot!”
Rinne tearfully glared at Kurou.
So it was like that huh. Kurou’s gaze fell on his sandwich. Although he did not feel the spiciness was to that extent, it might just be a matter of personal tolerance.
“Wuu, I’m going to cry……”
“No, you’re already crying.”
No matter how robust a Swordie’s body was, it seemed there were also those who feared spicy food.
“Jeez, you idiot.”
Rinne knocked on Kurou’s shoulder. Despite having held back her strength to a great extent, it was still painful.
“Ouch, that hurts. Hey.”
Kurou instantly grabbed hold of Rinne’s fist. Even though she was just lightly waving around her fist, it did feel quite heavy.
Having had her fist grabbed by Kurou, Rinne revealed a stupefied expression.
“Ah, my bad.”
Kurou unwittingly released Rinne’s tightly clenched fist.
Even with that, Rinne still stared intently at Kurou————no, she seemed to be looking towards the empty space behind him.
The blankly staring Rinne gradually started to break out in a blush. It must have been an indication of her embarrassment. Could it be due to the spicy food?
Rinne reverted back to normal as if nothing happened. She drank the rest of her juice in one go. Was she embarrassed after having her hand held just now?
“……Ha, looks like my preference is still sweet foods.”
“That seems to be the case.”
Kurou wryly smiled and then quickly ate the rest of his sandwich. Even for an innocent child like Rinne, who would have thought that all it would take was holding her hand to make her shy.
“……Kurou-chan, want to try mine as well?”
“No thanks, I’d rather not.”
Kurou shook his head when Rinne was passing him her sandwich.
After turning her focus away from Kurou, she nodded and began to wolf down her sandwich.
Kurou slowly started to take a liking to this girl.
It was already past three in the afternoon.
Kurou was still with Rinne.
Rinne was walking across the overpass.
As he gazed at her near dangerous levels of revealing dress, he suddenly recalled the suspicion he had before.
“Rinne, do you play the guitar?”
“Eh? Oh, I guess you can call it a hobby.”
Rinne nodded while gently knocking on the guitar case that she carried on her shoulders. She then proceeded to do an air guitar maneuver. For the Swordies who were fully integrated into earth’s————Japanese culture, there were quite a few musicians.
“By the way, is it ok for you to be so laid back? Even though I have some down time, but what about you Rinne?”
“I’m practically the same. Although I do have a job, there just haven’t been any tasks for me lately.”
“What kind of job is it?”
“Hehe, that’s a secret.”
Rinne sheepishly smiled.
“Today is a rest day. Afterwards all that is left to do is go back home and sleep.
“That sounds quite boring.”
“Yeah, it truly is. Fortunately I was able to meet Kurou-chan today.”
Rinne reached the stairs and began to aimlessly walk along the overpass.
“Oh yeah, Kurou-chan let’s exchange emails. I already did the same with the group of arcade goers. If there’s a new game or someone new I can win against, be sure to tell me.”
“Ok, will do.”
After Kurou retrieved the phone from his pocket, the phones underwent an infrared connection to exchange emails and phone numbers.
“Alright, here it is. Actually, I’ve never sent emails or anything before.”
“Same with me. I’ve only had a cellphone since the past year or so.”
That should be obvious. Since the Sword Saint and her disciples resided in the mountains, it was impossible to get a cellphone signal. Even if a signal could reach, it was not like he had anyone to talk to.
Suddenly, Kurou’s cellphone ringtone sounded. He pressed the talk button.
[Hello, Kurou-chan can you hear me?]
Rinne had her elbow set against the overpass railing. She was talking into the phone while glancing at Kurou with a devilish expression.
“Yes I can, even if you didn’t call I could……”
[I’m just making sure whether or not this would actually go through. I’m quite the worrier.”]
Rinne gave a quick smile and placed her cellphone back in her pocket.
Something was wrong, Kurou suddenly felt uneasy about her. Despite her outgoing nature, she was not just any ordinary cute girl.
An uneasing aura manifested around her.
Just what is it about her that is causing this? She was clearly an optimistic one, yet she gives off an unsettling feeling. Perhaps there was the possibility that Kurou was overthinking this as well.
Rinne gently rose on her tippy toes on one leg while standing on the railing. The width of the railing was about 15 cm at best. Below the overpass was heavy traffic. Normally speaking, one would never step on there, but for a Swordie, even toddlers could pull off this trick.
“……By the way Rinne.”
“Your panties are revealed if you stand there.”
Actually, that happened whenever her miniskirt fluttered in the wind.
“Ahh, hey, that’s not right, who said you could peek.”
“I’m not even trying to peek.”
“Umm……do you want to look?”
Rinne grumbled while pressing down on her miniskirt.
“Well, honestly speaking I do want to see.”
“You’re such a pervert. So aggravating, men are really……”
Rinne was shaking her head nonstop while wryly smiling.
“All the boys in the arcade would always look at my legs. That’s not right at all. You shouldn’t let anyone catch your line of sight.”
“That’s nothing, it’s not like it’s a battle.”
The regulars at the arcade were Swordies so it was obvious that they practiced their swordsmanship at school.
However, Kurou felt that there was absolutely no one threatening there. Well, besides one person.
“Jeez, it’s so boring. My panties were seen without me detecting it. Now there’s nothing left to see. This is quite aggravating as well.”
Rinne spoke with a smile on her face. She maintained her tippy toe posture as she hopped along forward.
Kurou followed behind Rinne. Although it was impossible for her to fall from there, Kurou did not plan on leaving her unattended.
Once they reached the bottom of the overpass, Kurou’s ringtone sounded. However, this time it was Sefi.
“What is it?”
[Hello, Rou? Sorry for the sudden call, but things have turned for the worse.]
Sefi’s tone sounded a bit anxious.
“What turned for the worse?”
[I was a bit immersed in shopping……plus Lars was waiting outside so……]
“Did Hinako get lost?”
[Yeah……you guessed right. I’m so sorry, I was being too careless……]
It would seem that Sefi admitted to her mistake.
Since she was a girl, there was not much that could have been done for her shopping immersion. However, for Lars to not notice was quite unusual.
Perhaps Sefi did not let him come near the undergarment shopping area? If that was not the case, it should have been impossible for that guy to lose sight of the person he was supposed to guard.
“What about her cellphone? Did you try giving Hinako a call?”
[Now that I think about it, Hina still doesn’t have a cellphone……]
Darn it, Kurou finally realized what happened. For Hinako who was always within the school grounds, this was an unnecessary device. Thus, she was not given a cellphone.
“We should have given her a cellphone from the start. That was way too negligent for me as well.”
[For now, I’ll be searching around over here. Kurou you should converge with us.]
After setting up a meeting point, Kurou hung up.
In the end, this situation was nothing to be surprised about. Hinako always walked about aimlessly. For that to happen when she was brought out on the street was to be expected.
“Sorry Rinne. Something came up——”
Just as he ended the conversation with Rinne…..
Rinne, who was originally walking ahead, stopped in her tracks. She was blankly staring at something.
“Please support us! Please support us!”
Following this imposing manner of calling out to others, something like a flyer was extended towards Kurou.
The crest of arms and logo which he had seen countless times, was printed at the top of the leaflet.
“The Sun Cult……”
The person who handed Kurou the flyer was a girl wearing a white cloak and a blue nun outfit.
Her name was Kido Akari, a Sun Cult girl whom Kurou had met many times before during their terrorist activity encounters.
“These people were the Sun Cult members that were mentioned before I bet. Kurou-chan, do you know her?”
“I suppose I do…..”
After responding to the blankly staring Rinne, Kurou displayed an agonizing expression.
He had work to attend to still, yet there was even more trouble————all he could do was let out a deep sigh.
Kurou and Rinne were currently next to the station’s entrance.
Although Kurou was unaware, after running around he ended up near the station.
In this crowded place, there were three nuns from the Sun Cult and ten male cultists in uniform. They were all holding leaflets and distributing them to pedestrians.
However, the cultists were completely overlooked. The pedestrians————were practically all Swordies and they paid no attention to the cultists. None of the Swordies even seemed to bat an eye at them.
“Jeez, you guys……”
Kurou ruffled his head while speaking.
“What are you guys doing here……?”
“You still don’t know after seeing us!? We are promoting the Sun Cult’s teachings!”
Akari responded in a provocative tone. She had always been like this. Kurou had even seen her in a half crying state when she became angry.
“No way. To be doing that in the Specialized Central Region, I’m not buying it. No one would trust a human religion since everyone here is a Swordie.”
Rather, usually Swordies do not follow any religion. It was said that in Swordia there were numerous kinds of religions, but the number of people holding on to those beliefs after coming to this world were quite scarce.
“You have no right to say that! There are even Swordies among us!”
“But aren’t they just guards?”
Kurou had battled against many Swordie fighters employed by the Sun Cult. Most of those were just mentally insane people who did not care who they fought so long as the opponent was strong.
“All in all, you guys are here in this kind of place to gather more believers……Oh yeah, Akari, did you leave the combat division?”
Akari had infiltrated the Sword Academy with other Sun Cultists in the past. When they were driven out by Kurou that time, she said she did not wish to continue fighting. Despite being opponents on the battlefront, there was no way Kurou could ever resent her. He honestly did not want her to engage in any perilous activities.
“T-This is also an important practice! Even though we don’t have any weapons right now, we can still kill you right away!”
“You don’t have the guts……”
“Haha, Kurou-chan and this girl sure have a good relationship.”
Rinne happily jumped into the conversation.
“What do you mean by ‘good relationship’!? Who are you anyways!? Kurou, you must be quite lucky to be going out on dates with girls on Sundays!”
“The time is right for a date precisely because it’s Sunday!”
Rinne purposefully said something that added oil to the fire.
She easily admitted to a date, leaving Kurou feeling a bit awkward.
Akari clenched her fists while quivering.
“Then how about Akari goes on a date with me next time?”
“How can that even be possible!? You’re in the Sabers so you’re my enemy!”
“I suppose so.”
Kurou was playing dumb. However, the Sun Cultists were in no mood to play along.
The male cultists displayed a rather grave expression as they surrounded Kurou. Incidentally, even Rinne was caught in the encirclement.
“Akari, you said this guy is from the Sabers, is that true? He even has a katana on him. Is he the rumored human within the group?”
“Ah, about that……”
A suspicion surfaced within Kurou. Why did Akari hesitate in admitting to that? Kurou could not even recall how many Sun Cultists he had slain. Even right now, it was not surprising that rumors about Kurou were floating around within the Sun Cult. There must have been many who despised Kurou. Even if there were no implications behind this, Akari should still have no reason to do such a thing.
Akari focused herself once again and eyed her fellow cultists.
“Everyone, today our mission is preaching our beliefs. There’s no point in getting into an useless dispute with this guy.”
“……In that case, there’s been something on my mind from a while ago.”
Akari interrupted Kurou while sharply glaring at him.
“Actually, despite Akari always putting on airs, you’re just part of the cadre or what? And you’re just a high school student right?”
“That’s what’s on your mind under these circumstances……?
Akari, who was at wits end, glanced over.
Having been surrounded by the widely known armed division of the Sun Cult, this was perhaps not even an issue for him. However, Kurou displayed no fear at all.
“Who cares about that! You know we’ve lost a couple members! If that guy is truly Kurou from the Sabers, there’s no way we can just stay silent!”
“Yup yup, I am Kurou from the Sabers.”
“W-What are you……”
Kurou easily admitted to it. Following that, Akari just looked at him in silence.
The Sun Cultists were not armed. Although they hold a lot of smuggled contraband firearms, it was not like even the flyer handout guys would be armed. Even if they were, Kurou would not be troubled at all.
“A fight for our lives, this way there’d be no resentment left……even though that’s what I wish for, it probably can’t be done.”
“Don’t give me that crap!”
A male cultist yelled out.
“Except, today I still have work. Furthermore I have a girl with me as well.”
Kurou shot a quick glance at Rinne and noticed that she was smiling and waving towards the cultists. She was not shaken at all.
“If possible I’d like to try to avoid any blood being shed. Since I won’t bring out my sword, you guys can come at us with your fists.”
“Are you a hooligan or what?”
The person who ridiculed him was Akari.
“Fine with us. Once we defeat him let’s send him back to headquarters!”
One of the cultists came at him with a punch. Surprisingly his movements were quite good, befitting of such a scary terrorist group. Despite being a religious organization, they seemed to have some variety of battle training as well.
“However, you still have a long way to go.”
Kurou saw through the cultist’s movements, avoided his punch, and then backhanded him in the face. After the sound of the punch, the man toppled down onto the ground.
After seeing that display of technique, the other cultists clearly felt afraid.
Kurou could not be compared to a Swordie, but as a human he had already trained over his limits. Even when using his heavy katana, he was able to freely manipulate it with his arm strength. If a human was hit with such strength, they would easily be knocked into a daze.
“What? No need to mention it, it’s just a quarrel among humans!”
Kurou intentionally said out loud. At a quick glance, it would be hard to believe that Kurou was a human.
“Whether it’s a Swordie or the police, no one would bother interfering. So hurry up and come at me!”
Indeed, on this street there was no one who would intervene in a struggle among humans. Swordies had no interest in these matters. The police would only get involved if it was between Swordies.
Kurou slayed Sun Cultists in the past due to his missions. However, he felt he was not in the wrong for doing so. If there were people who carried a grudge against him, there was nothing wrong with having a playful fight. Nevertheless, he did not plan on taking a beating and staying silent over the issue.
The Sun Cultist men came at him all at once. Humans were different from Swordies and their preference for one-on-one battles. There was no hesitation in attacking as a group.
Moreover, Kurou would not hesitate either.
For someone who was used to seeing a Swordie’s sword, a human’s movements were like witnessing slow motion. The Olden Style was not even needed. Kurou dodged the punch that came swinging at him and began his counterattack. He grabbed another person’s shirt, which lowered his opponent’s head, as he kneed him in the face. After that he elbowed the guy who attacked from behind in the abdomen.
“Ah, that looked like it’d hurt.”
Rinne raised her brows and used her hands to cover her face. She was probably very at ease.
“Capture that girl!”
The first person to suddenly rush at Kurou issued an order to the other cultist. After seeing his comrades fall one after another, perhaps the current battle method was not enough to take out Kurou.
The cultists who were given the order immediately charged at Rinne.
Damn, those guys don’t know Rinne is a Swordie.
When Kurou remembered that it was already too late.
Rinne was stunned. The cultists reached out to her, wanting to capture her————
“Hey hey, how dare you touch a Swordie girl.”
Rinne smiled as she spoke. She nimbly turned her body and avoided their hands. After that, the other cultists wanted to come from behind to reign her in.
Following that tone of disappointment, Rinne swiftly swung her right hand.
Right when that happened————the cultist was sent flying.
The same thing happened to the guy who came from the front trying to grab her and the other guy who was trying to trap her from behind. They were gently lifted in the air and then blown a couple meters back. Their backs violently crashed against the ground.
Kurou could not help but be stunned as he looked towards Rinne who was smirking.
What did Rinne do? Kurou was not sure. No, she must have just lightly swung her arms. Even Swordies cannot just blow two muscular guys away. In that case————
“Kurou-chan, behind you.”
Kurou turned his body halfway after hearing Rinne’s warning and unleashed a roundhouse kick. His kick landed on the guy trying to do a grapple move from behind him.
The cultist started bleeding from his nose and fell down————that was the last of them. All the male Sun Cultists had already fallen flat on their backs.
“Well, I guess that’s it.”
Kurou satisfactorily clapped his hands. Although it was a clean win for them, none of the Sun Cultists were actually dead. Tentatively, they had taken the fight to an appropriate degree.
Akari and the other two nuns just stood there stupefied.
The situation afterwards can just be passed on to them perhaps. Of course, Kurou was never planning on assaulting human girls.
“Hey hey, what’s going on? Rolling over like a dead fish. So much for me helping out, it even looked quite interesting around here.”
Kurou followed the sound of that voice and turned his head.
Coming out of the station was two figures.
One of them was a muscular male who was wearing a cultist uniform just like his fallen comrades. He had short hair and wore glasses. He was probably about twenty years-old, but his hair had already turned white. From a quick glance at the insides of his left sleeve, it was casually wrapped by bandages.
Walking next to him was a petite girl. She looked like a little student, perhaps at most she was in middle school. Her height was approximately 140cm. Although she was wearing the same nun outfit as Akari, her dress was rather short and sleeveless.
The two of them walked up to Kurou and then stopped.
“The one holding the katana is a human right? He has a rather cute face as well.”
Kurou was quite startled at his words.
He seemed to be a Sun Cultist as well, however he sensed that he was quite dangerous.
“I’m only kidding. It’s just as you see, I’m a lolicon.”
“Please tell me you’re joking about that as well.”
A truly dangerous man. There was nothing more bizarre than just the two of them being together.
“Well, that doesn’t matter. The pink-haired girl is a Swordie? What a strange grouping, a human male with a female Swordie.”
“Your group is also very strange.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
The bulky guy laughed after he spoke. He leisurely closed in on Kurou and Rinne.
He very casually closed the distance. Moreover, it did not seem as if it was a technique from any swordsmanship or wrestling.
Kurou hurriedly backed off and pulled out his sword.
He felt a chill run down his back as cold sweat trickled down nonstop.
What is it with this guy————!
The bulky man was not a Swordie. Based on his aura and movement, one could predicate that he was human.
Even so, warning signs were going off in Kurou’s head. It may just be intuition, but he had no doubt that it was right.
“Lay down your arms, I’m not planning on doing anything.”
The bulky guy smirked while shaking his head.
“I was only coming here to help hand out flyers. Those guys appear to be still alive. Fighting will only make the situation worse for us.”
Kurou nodded and proceeded to return the sword to its scabbard.
“Well then, let’s head back Snow White. Can you please take care of those two over there? The remaining guys can just walk on their own.”
After that, the girl named Snow White approached the two cultists who were passed out. With one person in each hand, she picked them both up. The moment her hands were placed on their backs, she gently lifted them up as if she was lifting up a tray.
As if nothing had happened, the bulky guy and Snow White headed off towards the station. It did not really matter, they were probably just going to carry the knocked out cultists on the tram with them.
“……I hope our next encounter can be more peaceful Akari.”
“I don’t want to hear that from someone as reckless as you Kurou.”
After Akari coldly stated as such, she began calling out towards the fallen cultists.
Kurou was completely serious about what he just said. No matter the circumstances, he always seemed to be very mindful of this Akari girl. Wanting to meet her in peace was a sincere desire of his.
Suddenly, Kurou noticed something. Rinne’s figure was nowhere to be found.
Just a moment ago————when the bulky guy was approaching them, she was without a doubt still around. Once Kurou was not paying attention, she disappeared.
Kurou instantly forgot about the Sun Cult situation and ran off. As he ran, he took out his cellphone to make a call.
“……Is this the Electronics Operating Division? There’s something I need to ask.”
Kurou dialed the number that directly connected him to the Sabers’ Electronics Operating Division. After telling them his affiliation and ID, he told them Rinne’s phone number.
“Can you track the cellphone location for this number? It should have a GPS in it.”
Within a short period of time, the Electronics Operating division transferred the coordinates to Kurou’s cellphone. He stopped in his tracks and opened up a special Sabers’ map from his cellphone. Two bright dots were displayed on the screen.
One was at Kurou’s current location while the other one was————
The other bright dot was rapidly moving away from Kurou’s location. It would be best if he hurried.
Wait, hold on. First I should get in touch with Sefi————these two options surfaced in his mind.
“A girl. I’m going to try and track————eh?”
Kurou suddenly looked to his side.
Standing over there was a familiar black-haired girl.
“Yes, it is Hinako.”
She had her usual stoic expression while she was slowly eating a crepe-like treat.
It was just one thing after another————From the looks of it, the time to feel at ease for Kurou seemed to be far away.