Chapter 2 - The PhoenixPhoenix Star Warriors Festival
Asterisk Central District General Main Stadium was known as “Sirius Dome”.
Although including the main competition stage, the Festa would be held accommodating the eleven other qualifying stages, held at different halls or domes, as it's venue, the opening ceremony of the 25th Festa was currently being held at Sirius Dome.
Though Ayato once had Julis as his guide and had seen this area before, it was the first time that he set foot in it.
The field within Sirius Dome was still plenty wide enough, even with all the contestants of the Phoenix gathered there. In fact, although it was likely to be divided into smaller areas during the matches, the whole field was presently used for the opening ceremony. Although the contestants of each academy were standing in line there were, apparently, a few students who were absent from some academies. That was particularly remarkable on the Le Wolfe side which, compared to Garrardsworth who were impeccably and neatly lined up, was like the difference between the heaven and Earth.
“Still, there are an amazing number of people.”
“Fufufu, are you referring to the contestants’? Or––”
As she heard the mutter that carelessly slipped from Ayato’s mouth, Julis, who was standing nearby, turned her gaze around as she said so with an impish smile.
“Are you saying that while looking at this audience?”
Exactly as the words stated, the audience stands surrounding the field were truly overcrowded.
“Hahaha……well, I wonder which it is.”
Though he heard that the place could accommodate about one hundred thousand people, he was completely overwhelmed when actually seeing it filled up like this. The stands, which were divided into several tiers, were high enough to have to look up at. If looking down from the top tier, at the spot were they stood, they would probably only look like dolls.
While speaking in a low voice, Julis exaggeratedly shrugged her shoulders.
“During matches, a huge space screen in the upper area will be unfolded. It seems that those, who don’t see from there, will watch the matches on the screen.”
“Then, there’s no meaning to expressly come all the way here to watch……”
“I also don’t quite understand, but it seems that it’s important for them to watch the matches while being here.”
While thinking “is it like that?” he returned his gaze.
A platform had been prepared on the field in front of the contestants, who were lined up radially around it; though, until a just a bit ago upon the podium, the mayor of Asterisk had finished with his greetings, and then a middle aged man appeared right after him.
“––Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am the chairman of the Steering Committee, Madiath Mesa. I am overjoyed to be able to again see your heroic figures here this year and I must say to those, who came over to Asterisk this year, that I am glad to meet you."
The man greeted so many with a very calm voice, he then revealed a friendly smile.
“That person is the chairman? He is quite young.”
He was probably at least in his mid-thirties. If he was a committee member of the Festa, it meant that he was the chief executive, who was substantially managing the Festa. Though he should naturally be an executive of the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, there was no doubt that he was younger than Kirin’s uncle, Kouichirou.
Nevertheless. With an intrepid look and cheerful voice, one could feel that he was somewhat laid-back. Owner of a well-trained body, which one could tell even when seen from afar, he was obviously of the Starpulse Generation.
“……Madiath Mesa is an OB (alumnus)  of Seidoukan, you know?”
Making a face, which said that she knew at least that much, Julis sighed.
“I forget his age, but it’s clear that he is young. He hasn't yet reached 40. In his student days, he was a strong man who reigned in the Phoenix.”
“I see. No wonder……”
The power of his calm, yet massive prana, even though restrained, could be fully felt.
“Even if he’s only the committee chairman, he’s a fairly skilled man. He was appointed a few years ago, but as the reformists’ top man, he has performed time and time again in the enactment of the new system with its various events and regulation changes. Moreover, all of the changes are highly rated.”
“Since he’s an OB from our academy, it means that he’s an Executive of Galaxy, right?”
“Only in name.”
“Only in name?”
Ayato looked puzzled at that point. A bored Julis answered.
“At the time, when Madiath Mesa won the Phoenix, he apparently wanted to enter into the Steering committee right after graduation.”
“Oh, so such a thing is possible.”
Although the entire premise of the Festa was that the Integrated Enterprise Foundation would grant any wish to the winner; It was probably not a very pleasant situation, from the management's viewpoint, that the person concerned was to dig into that part of the system.
“It’s not a world, in which you can somehow manage just by entering it, but I have also heard that he laid groundwork in various ways from his student days. Though I have also met him several times, he’s a very shrewd man.”
Ayato fixedly stared at Madiath.
At that moment, Ayato felt like –– Madiath’ gaze caught exactly his.
However, since it was just for an instant, even he wasn't sure.
“––Having said that, even if we talked about it too much for a long time here, since it would probably only dampen your interest, I think I’ll end this by conveying to you another important regulation change. Well, at the Academy level, they have already been notified, and due to some situation, there have apparently been some leaks spread from that side.”
So, since Madiath continued to speak as if nothing happened, Ayato began to think that it might have been his imagination.
“Although such a restriction was not originally intended on Lux, as the evolution of technology has been remarkable, inconsistent parts came out in various ways. To be more specific, it was about how to treat a machine performing an autonomous maneuver as a weapon.”
As expected, it was Saya, who first reacted to this.
Even though, until just a bit ago, she was dozing off while standing, she was now glaring at the front with a serious expression.
“Although, it is a basic principle of our management to provide you a free reign as long as that could be made possible, for example when considering this; It will become possible for individuals to introduce multiple autonomous mobile units as weapons. Oh. This is not indeed all correct. …… of course. It is a different issue when talking about the abilities of Strega and Dante though.”
As Madiath was familiar with the topic, he carefully continued his explanation while he slipped in moderating words.
“On the other hand, it is out of the question to impose a restriction on the number of weapons. Though it would be easier to prohibit the use of autonomous mobile units as weapons, like I said earlier, a simple restriction is not what we desire. It would lead to stagnation, and to eventually invite decline. Therefore –– I want you to understand that this is, to the bitter end, a measure of reference for future discussions, but……only this time, it was decided that they could participate as ‘substitute contestants’.”
Immediately, the entire hall was in an uproar.
Not only the students, but also the stands simultaneously became enlivened.
“To you who are wise, I want you to understand that this is not to the advantage of any specific academy, but rather to ensure their equality in the near future. I want you to believe that we always do everything we can in order to prepare the best way for you.”
He then waited until the hustle and bustle settled, and further continued to do so... Madiath now spread his hands greatly while facing the audience.
“And –– to you, who love the Festa and give us your support, please expect that this is connected to a new more evolved Festa that has progressed one step up from the last. Because the Festa is always the best amusement in the world, a stage providing matchless excitement and deep emotions, it's the supreme entertainment which quavers one’s soul!”
Along with the loud declaration, a stormy applause simultaneously arose from the audience stands. Though, Ayato was thinking, Claudia had said that he had a tendency to welcome new trials with the mood of “it is all right anyway as long as the audience is excited” for the time being, and that seemed to be quite so.
On the other hand, in contrast, the contestants’ reaction was rather cold. Since it was certain that their troubles would increase, no matter how one thinks about it, it was also probably unavoidable.
When Madiath finished the greetings, he stepped down from the platform while smiling and waving his hand.
After that, the boring ceremony continued for a while and when noon drew near the contestants were finally released.
『Well then, this concludes the opening ceremony of the 25th Festa as well as the 24th Phoenix. Players from block A to block I, who are to participate today in the Phoenix, are hoped to be moving toward their corresponding stage by the time specified.』
“Um. Since the main stage is our meeting place, we don’t really have to move. Right?”
While hearing the announcement of their respective meeting place's, everyone successively exited from the stage.
Although the first rounds would be held over the next four days, the first match for Julis and Ayato was today, which was the opening day.
“Yeah. That said, there is a lot of time until the match, so we may take a light meal.”
“Mmm. Then let’s do so.”
Since Ayato was also hungry, he had no objection.
“If it’s the case, together with Saya and Kirin-chan……eh?”
Ayato had started to say, while looking around restlessly.
Saya and Kirin, who should have been there until a just a minuet ago, were nowhere to be found.
Since their first match wouldn't be until tomorrow, there wasn't any need for them to leave.
“Where did they go……?”
Since neither Saya nor Kirin were tall, it was rather difficult to search for them in this crowd.
“Oh!” Said Ayato.
Among the students heading towards the front gate of the dome, he found familiar faces.
It was not that of Saya and Kirin, but even so it was just nice.
“Hi, Lester. You guys have a match today, right?”
In contrast to Ayato, who called out to him with a smile, Lester McPhail stopped with a really wry face.
“We also have a match today, and we were just now talking about going to take a meal. If it’s fine with you, how about going together ── Oh, of course, Landy too?”
Next to Lester, a pudgy student was standing in blank amazement. It was Lester’s tag partner, Landy Hooke.
“Hey Amagiri……I've already said it many times, but I don’t intend to get along with you!”
Thrusting his finger to the front, Lester said as irritated.
“No, I don’t mean that, but……you know, I haven’t thanked you yet for lending me a Lux last time.”
“As if I need it! Anyway we have to move on from here; if you want a meal, go eat somewhere! Let’s go, Landy!”
“Ah, w-wait for me, Lester!”
Landy chased after Lester who, with long strides, was quickly moving away. Ayato somehow remembered seeing a similar scene before.
But this time, unlike that memory, Lester’s feet stopped on the way and he looked back.
“I’ll just say one thing. The opponent that I want to fight the most in this Phoenix aren't those guys from other academies, but you guys. Don’t lose until we fight!”
And this time for sure Lester squared his shoulders and moved away.
“He’s a difficult man as usual……” Said Julis, amazed.
Though Julis said that, Ayato wondered if it was his imagination that there was some sort of sympathy in her words.
“……There you are Ayato.” Said Saya as she jumps in suddenly and hugs Ayato from behind.
Being hugged, on the spot like that, Ayato unintentionally raised his voice.
“––Saya, huh……don’t surprise me like that.”
“……You are full of openings.”
So Saya says, as she slightly and proudly held on to his waist.
Though it was not as if Ayato let his guard down, having said that, it also did not mean he had to brace himself around the clock.
“So, where were you? I was looking for you, you know?”
“I-I’m sorry. I just went a little ways to the locker room to get this……”
As he turned around Kirin, who was carrying a big load, stood apologetically behind Saya.
“Fuffuffu. You’ll be surprised when hearing it. ––It’s a bento.”
Saya, who parted from Ayato, slightly puffed up her chest and said.
“……Did you say bento?”
Julis, with a dubious expression, stared at Saya.
“U-um, actually, last time I have consulted with Sasamiya-senpai –– not that, Saya-san……err, about what I can do to cheer you on, but……If it is all alright with you, please eat it!”
As Kirin said so, she held out the stacked boxeswhich, she had in her hands, with a face dyed red.
“Oh, did you make it expressly?”
As Kirin repeatedly nodded while looking down, Saya though, brimming with confidence, was contrastive.
“I can’t really say……anything, since I haven’t that much experience in cooking, Saya-san taught me……Oh, but, it’s really something very simple, though……!”
“Eh, is Sasamiya so good in cooking that she can teach it to someone else?”
When opening the stacked boxes sideways from Saya, who got more and more cocky, there were many rice balls packed there. The shapes were awfully crooked, and even though one could not say that the appearance was by any standard good, it showed very well that there was a lot of hard work put into it.
“I-I am sorry……I am really clumsy……”
“No, I’m glad. Thank you, Kirin-chan.”
Ayato said so and gently patted Kirin’s head.
Kirin leaked a thin voice and further curled herself up.
Saya, who saw it, strongly pulled Ayato’s sleeve.
“Ayato, Ayato. Look at mine, too.”
When opening the second tier compartment set of the stacked boxes, there were once again rice balls packed there. Their shapes were arranged much better than those of Kirin and they looked really delicious.
Just one point––
“They are……err, very big.”
Julis, who looked into the stacked boxes, muttered with an expression that said ‘no comment’ (I have nothing to say).
In fact, these rice balls were nearly three times bigger than the normal ones. The way they were earnestly fit into the stack boxes without gaps was quite the masterpiece.
“Better too big than too small. It’s my motto.”
“I don’t mind, but…… don’t tell me that all these stacked boxes contain only rice balls?”
“Is there a problem with it?”
“……No, I was just a little impressed by you, who insist in calling that ‘teaching cooking’ with this.”
“I’ll say this just in case, but it’s not a compliment.” Julis said so while holding her temple.
But Saya did not seem to care about it.
“Now, now, isn’t it just nice that it’s likely to be enough even if we eat this all together?”
“It was originally my intention.”
“So she says, Julis?”
Taking a stab at arousing her interest, Julis nodded while revealing a somewhat puzzled expression.
“……Well, if it’s like that, shall I keep your shares?”
“Alright, it’s decided. Then, let’s find some relaxing place……”
Saya once again strongly pulled the sleeve of Ayato, who started to say so.
Saya unusually had a slightly embarrassed expression.
Even though saying it, since only a slight redness on her cheeks was visible, it would probably not be understood by someone, whose acquaintance was short.
Though Ayato thought for an instant “What are you talking about?”, he understood when he saw Saya sending quick sideways glances towards Kirin.
“Ah, perhaps……Saya, too?”
“It’s not good to be unfair.”
While smiling wryly, Ayato also patted Saya’s head just like he did with Kirin. Since she was shorter than Kirin, it was somewhat easy to stroke her head.
“……Yeah, it’s a pleasant feeling.”
While squinting down comfortably, Saya was in great delight.
Her figure somehow seemed to hark back to a cat and was strangely heartwarming.
There, Julis coughed with a disappointed expression.
“Well then –– that’s right, our waiting room should already be usable. If it’s there, we can eat calmly.”
Saying so, she proceeded rapidly alone.
“Wow, wait a minute, Julis!”
Having said that, certainly it was not like they could indefinitely stay in the aisle like this.
As Ayato urged Saya and Kirin, he noisily ran after Julis, who went ahead, with the stacked boxes.
“Phew…… Thank you for the delicious meal.”
After finishing eating the last rice ball, Ayato joined both his hands together.
“You are welcome. Oh, I will serve the tea now.”
Then Kirin, who had already finished eating, poured the tea from the mug bottle, which she apparently brought. The preparation was indeed nice (good).
“Thank you, Kirin-chan.”
“Yes. It was delicious.”
Kirin’s face shone at these words.
In fact, although the shape of Kirin’s rice balls was awkward, there was no problem with their taste.
As she was very anxious, she now wore a facial expression revealing half joy and half relief.
“……I ate a little too much.”
On the other hand Saya, lying down on the sofa, was rubbing her stomach.
“Of course that would be so, if one person were to eat three or four of those huge rice balls.”
Julis, who was sitting nearby, said so with an amazed look.
“––Oops, I think it’s almost time.”
Ayato, who checked the time, turned on the TV provided to the room. Though the waiting room was quite large, and too much for only four people, the space screen was unfolded near the wall surface.
『"……Hi, hi, we are here in the first match site of the 24th Phoenix at the Sirius Dome. The live broadcasting will be transmitted by the ABC announcer I, Yanase Miko, and the commentator, who is an OJ of World Dragon Seventh Institute, and the commanding officer of the present Executive Aladfar, Pham Thi Tram-san."』
『"Thank you, please treat me well."』
『"Alright, it may be too late, but let’s review the basic rules! As for the conclusion of a match, when the school badges of both persons of a pair is destroyed, or in the case that the defeat judgment is made by loss of consciousness or forfeit, victory or defeat is declared through the school badge."』
『"It’s different from the Gryphs, in the point which said that you lose if your leader is defeated."』
Two women, one with fluffy curly hair and the other with trimmed short black hair, were reflected in the space screen. The former was the live broadcasting announcer.
“It’s almost time for the beginning of the first match. Huh. Since we are in the second match, we can still relax a bit.”
“Come to think of it, in addition to this, the other matches also take place in various halls at the same time, right? How do they handle the broadcast?”
To Ayato’s question, Julis replied as if bored.
“There is a broadcast frame for each stage. It’s common to choose the events one likes, but……it seems that avid fans watch all of them at the same time on multiple channels.”
Speaking only of the first round, there were 33 matches, which would be held on the first day in all eleven qualifying stages. Though the match start times seemed to be put off little by little, even so it was hard to check all of them at the same time.
“……Even though the summary of all the matches will be broadcasted later anyway.”
“It seems to be a real thrill for those people to watch them live.”
To Saya, lying down as it is with only her gaze turned to the TV, Kirin responded with a wry smile.
“Oh, but being allotted to the main stage is also proof of being a major contender, right?”
“Hmmm, it is so.”
“As usual, it is certain that players, who attract attention, are allotted favorable times and places. If it’s a pair in which a #1 rank is included, it would be only natural──”
As Julis said so, she pointed to the screen with her chin.
The names on the tags, which were now showing for matches in the Sirius Dome, were clearly displayed there.
Among those names, which were alloted entry into the third match, there were a few familiar names.
“……Oh, so those girls also have a match here today, huh.”
––Ernesta Kühne and Camilla Pareto. It was the pair related to the Allekant incident.
Saya, remaining silent, raised her body, and glared at the screen with sharp eyes. In those eyes, a strong determination was perceived. She was probably thinking about quite a lot of things.
While looking sideways at such a Saya, Julis stood up and greatly stretched her body.
“Well, it’s better to concentrate on the match before us rather than thinking about an opponent that we are not even sure to confront.”
Since what she said was indeed true, Ayato also nodded greatly.
“If I am not mistaken, the first opponents of Ayato-senpai and Julis-senpai are the knight candidates of Garrardsworth, right?”
“Yeah, they are the #30 rank and #41 rank.”
The Top Twelve were commonly known as the “Silver Knights”, and those with ranks lower than it were placed as candidates. In Garrardsworth, which was the only so called “prestigious school” out of the six academies, they were probably without doubt outstanding students among the up-and-coming students. In fact, their data and combat experience corroborated (endorsed) it.
“What do you think, Ayato? Can you do it?”
“Well……I should just try doing what I have to do.”
Julis and Ayato looked at each other and laughed lightly.
Kirin, who saw it, was wonderingly puzzled.
“Have you some sort of special strategy?”
However, Julis quickly shook her head.
“It’s rather the opposite. ––Well, you should just watch.”
『"––Now then, today’s second match, the block C pair first round match will begin!" 』
The live broadcast announcement resounded in the huge stage.
While a moment later, big cheers as to shake heaven and earth broke out, and multiple lights danced right and left, Julis and Ayato slowly advanced from the entrance gate to the stage.
『"Now, the first to appear are the Seidoukan Academy #1 rank, contestant Amagiri Ayato, and the rank #5, contestant Julis Alexia Van Riessfeld! The contestant Amagiri, to general surprise, just became #1 rank several weeks before this Phoenix! And moreover, since he won in a direct duel against the former #1 rank and became #1, it’s just a supernova that we have almost no data about him! Oh, by the way, it seems that he was given the nickname by the student council president Miss Enfield."』
『"He is the only #1 rank contestant participating in this Phoenix. As far as I watch video that currently appeared on the market, it certainly seems that he is considerably strong. We expect a lot from him."』
『"Oh, yeah, since it was in the documents, I also saw it, but it said that how much duel it was, it was not quite satisfactory. If only he has at least appeared in the official ranking matches. Oh, yeah! It seems that that contestant Amagiri is the user of , one of the Ogre Lux for scholarship in Seidoukan Academy, but……do you know it, Tram-san?"』
『"Ah, it’s one of the so-called “Demon Sword of Four Colors”. It’s famous among the famous, but even I had only seen it in old image data. The last decade, it was said that it’s an Ogre Lux so hard to please that no user was up to it. Though of Garrardsworth is the most famous among The Demon Sword of Four Colors, I want to see a similar non-defensive weapon."』
『"I see, I see. In addition to this, his tag partner is the contestant Riessfeld, who is the . It would not be an exaggeration to say that they are one of the favorites!"』
『"The contestant Riessfeld is a young woman with a remarkable (conspicuous) variegation of ability. As a Strega, she is among the top class even in the current generation. And it seems that she still has room for growth; by all means I want her to come to our company after graduation.』
『"No, since the contestant Riessfeld is a real princess, wouldn’t finding employment at PMC be indeed difficult."』
『"Yeah, unfortunately. Anyway, for the time being the attention is shifted over to contestant Amagiri."』
『"Well then, we will continue with Garrardsworth’s tag……"』
Though the live broadcasting and the commentary still continued, Just now Julis poked Ayato's side with her elbow.
“It’s said that you’re the center of attention, contestant Amagiri.”
Saying so in a low voice, she chuckled.
“Even though I’m already nervous, why do you say such a thing?”
As Ayato returned with a wry smile, Julis, without breaking her smile, looked into Ayato’s face.
“Don’t lie. You don’t seem very nervous. It’s your usual carefree face.”
“Even if I’m like this, I’m saying that I’m nervous. Since I don’t like to attract the public attention that much.”
“It’s too late to say that now when you are standing on the most outstanding stage in the world.”
Julis shook her shoulders with a chuckle.
“I see that you are not nervous at all, Julis. Even though like me, it’s your first participation in the Festa.”
“I may look like this, but I’m a princess. I'm used to attracting attention. ––Get ready soon.”
Julis recovered a serious look and stared in front of her (ahead).
When looking, from the entrance gate on the other side, a pair of young men had already activated their Lux. Though with a tall youth and a youth with a somewhat small stature, they looked like an uneven (incongruous) pair, each of them was holding a sword-type Lux. In Garrardsworth, conventional sword techniques were considered the path of righteousness, and it also seemed that there were a lot of students there, who chose a sword as their weapon.
Ayato also took out Ser-Versta from the holder on his waist, but he did not activate it yet.
『"Oh. The match start time is gradually drawing near! I wonder regarding this match, who will be the one seizing victory, Seidoukan or Garrardsworth? Well then, today's second match finally starts!"』
As if responding to the voice of the live broadcast, the school badges worn on the chest emitted a light. Since the Festa time processing was fully automated, neither declaration nor agreement was required like in a usual duel.
“Phoenix Block C first round set, match start!”
At the same time the mechanical sound of the school badge told the game start, the two of Garrardsworth set up their sword and charged straightforward. According to the data, both of them, who were skilled in close range combat, was an offensive pair, which did not establish a rear guard. Perhaps by bringing to close combat, they probably intended to finish the game in an instant. If Ayato was to intercept one of them, the other one would go toward Julis to seal her act as a rear guard (of Ayato). It was a simple, yet effective strategy.
“……Well, it is within our expectation.”
However, Julis, with her arms folded, nodded with full of room to spare.
She did not even take out her Lux.
“Well then Ayato, I leave it to you.”
While answering, Ayato concentrated his prana in one go.
“––Secret sword bound by the prison of stars, release your might!”
The prana, which increased, broke the seal applied on Ayato, and an explosive prana was released. Ser-Versta, which activated at the same time, let its huge blade shine.
Surprised at the quantity of prana, the two of Garrardsworth slightly eased up their speed.
But. In an instant, quick as the wind.
The two contestants gasped weakly in surprise. For them, it might have felt like Ayato suddenly disappeared.
And, after what only seemed like a second, both their school badges broke with a dry sound and fell.
––Running completely through and between the two people, Ayato released a god-like speed slashing.
“End of the match! Winner, Amagiri Ayato & Julis Alexia Van Riessfeld!”
In the hall, which fell silent as if having been hit by water, a mechanical sound echoed.
Just like the silence of a blank space (vacuum).
––However, taking time into consideration even if a little, big cheers soon wrapped up the hall as if bursting out.
『"……This, this is amazing! There was not even time to do a live commentary! What speed! What strength! This is no longer of the level of being called overwhelming!"』
『"Oh dear! Nicely done!"』
『"What surprised me even more than that strength, and more than anything was contestant Amagiri’s very flashy performance! A ridiculous amount of prana instantly rises up just like a pillar, and the hall was also in great excitement regarding this!"』
『"If it’s only the amount of prana, I think he doesn’t lose to our president, either. I wonder if he could come to our company after graduating. He would become an immediate asset."』
While excitement and enthusiasm swirled, Garrardsworth’s tag was standing just like that in blank amazement.
As he returned to Julis’ side while slightly feeling sorry for them, she went out to meet Ayato, who lightly raised his hand.
“Fufufu. As expected.”
He did a high five to Julis, who returned a satisfied smile, the two left the stage as it is. The match time did not probably even reach ten seconds. It was indeed an instant killing.
“After this, it’s the winner interview. Whatever you are asked, evade it properly. Refrain to give information as much as possible.”
Along the way, Julis was giving a warning.
“Roger……But I’m a little anxious. To believe that we can’t even activate our weapons.”
“What, I have laid the installation type ability, so there’s no problem. Even if the other party is to break in, he will go bang.”
Julis, who expressed the explosion by opening her fist, fearlessly smiled.
“Anyway, with this, we were able to preserve through the first round without showing our link pattern. I want to go on like this.”
What Ayato and Julis wanted to cover above all was that there was a limit to Ayato’s best state (full strength). Though among those, who directly watched Ayato’s duel, there might be some who had vaguely noticed, he wanted to avoid to make it deterministic (definite) as much as possible. From that perspective, he also wanted to conceal the flow of the seal release as much as possible, but if he were to release it before appearing in the stage, it would not last that much time. In that case, in the two’s conclusion, openly doing it would be better as to let the audience think that that was a part of the performance, according to their plan. Of course, they did not think that such means would work forever, but it would be better if it was exposed as late as possible.
And then, what the two wanted to conceal after the limit was their coordinated attack pattern. It was only about two months ago that Ayato and Julis made a tag team. Although they wanted to polish their coordination as much as possible, it was undeniable that it paled in comparison to that of a pair, which was formed for years.
Leaving aside the opponent’s level this time, against an opponent with a level, which can accommodated Ayato, who released the seal, a coordinated attack would after all become the key to victory. They wanted to keep it hidden as much as possible.
“At least we won’t confront strong candidates during the qualifiers. Until the final stage (main battle), we must put on airs as much as possible.”
While advancing in the passage toward the interview space, Julis said so with a serious expression opposite to her way of talking normally.
“……Phew, we are back––”
Ayato and Julis, who returned to the waiting room, sat down on the sofa, completely exhausted.
“W-Welcome back! Congratulations to both of you!”
“……Why are you so tired? Even though it was an instant win.”
Since Kirin and Saya, who welcomed them, were wondering while looking at both of them, Ayato answered with a bitter smile.
“No, the match was not that much. However, the audience after it was……”
“The mass media guys outside were really persistent. In this way, our journalism club is far better.”
With a tedious face, Julis gulped down the drink, which Kirin held out, in one go.
In fact, when it came to surviving after the match; 'The winners interview', there was nothing more tiring than it. About Ayato’s performance and Ser-Versta of course, the details of his relationship and participation with Julis, and on top of that his favorite food, and private questions which had nothing to do with the match, they were forced to keep company on and on for nearly one hour. It was also probably that, which disposed of all their energy.
“Ooh, those are nice words.”
A voice suddenly came from the wall side.
“Oh, Eishiro. You came, huh.”
“First of all, congratulations for the victory in the first match.”
As Eishiro said so smilingly, he took a photo of both of them with the terminal in his hands.
“––I will say this just in case, but by simply saying that it’s relatively better, it doesn’t mean that I particularly became friendly to you guys.”
“Yeah, yeah, the princess is strict as usual.”
To Julis’ sullen face, Eishiro shrugged his shoulders exaggeratedly.
Though anyone could come and go to the waiting room, but unless the lock codes were changed from the inside, the door would not open. Of course, if the visitor was given permission by an authorized human... And. Since, at this time, authorized permission was only given to Saya and Kirin, they had probably invited him.
“So, what’s wrong? You didn’t come just to cheer for us, right?”
It was already August. Most students, who did not participate in the Phoenix, were off on summer vacation.
Even Asterisk, which did not easily hand out passes, was expected in making an exception for the long summer vacation when there were so many students going home. But, since there were a few hardy students like Eishiro staying at the academy, from a general perspective it seemed to be about fifty-fifty.
“Hahaha. I wouldn’t need to cheer you with people of that level as your opponents. My aim today is ── the third match.”
“……I see. Allekant. Huh.”
Julis nodded in the way agreeing.
“Oh yeah, the announcement made at the opening ceremony had made my journalist soul boil. Whoever has heard anything they would understand that it's about those two from Allekant. That being the case, I immediately went to the waiting room of those two for an interview, but……”
“Did you find something, Yabuki?”
Saya briskly walked to the front of Eishiro, and intently looked up straight at him.
“It’s a complete shutout. There is a heavy security so as to not let even one cat pass; I was flatly sent away.”
Saya, disappointed, dropped her shoulders.
“Well, there is no need to rush. Even if we leave them alone, the third match will start very soon.”
“Eh? Speaking of time, isn’t the match of Lester and Landy soon, too?”
“Ah, yes. If I’m not mistaken, since McPhail-senpai and Landy-senpai should have their match in Capella Dome……”
As Kirin turned on the TV and matched the channel, the big frame of Lester, who set Bardiche Leo, was projected just in the space screen.
“Hmm, it seems to have already begun.”
“Thank goodness……seemingly they are dominant.”
As to support Lester from the rear, the several arrows shot by Landy were continuously attacking the opponent. As they were longtime friends, their very good coordination was balanced.
“If the match days were different, I would have gone to cheer them.”
“Stop it. You would only be sent away.”
To Ayato’s mutter, Julis laughed as if making fun of him.
“……But those two are doing quite well.”
Saya seemed to be impressed by Landy’s shooting skills.
“Oh well, McPhail is a Top Twelve, and his partner Landy Hooke, in a sense, also has the experience of an up-and-coming student. And he uses it accordingly.”
“The opponent is a pair of Allekant.”
Lester efficiently used his inborn power control, and overwhelmed his two opponents at the same time. Once in this partner, Lester was strong. Even the rear support of Landy also exquisite, had skillfully restrained the opponents, who tried to escape from Lester’s reach.
As everyone was somehow or other watching Lester and Landy’s match, a thunderous sound like the earth tremor suddenly reverberated through the wall.
Though Ayato and the others instinctively looked at each other, they immediately discovered the origin of that sound.
It was cheers.
“Wait, damn it! It has already begun, huh!?”
Eishiro hurriedly unfolded another space screen.
Indeed, if the hall was this much lively, there was but one reason for it.
Cheers, as to shake the earth, did not seem to settle down, and it seemed that excitement and enthusiasm, and above all surprise were spreading more than when Ayato and Julis adorned their spectacular debut earlier.
What was projected by the space screen, which started up, was as expected ── the figure of two machine dolls.
Jump up↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alumnus
Jump up↑ Japanese lunch box
Jump up↑ or multi-tiered food boxes: multi-tiered compartment sets that also features a built in bowl to assemble anything further– all in a playful design
Jump up↑ former female student
Jump up↑ as to say a weapon generally used only for attack
Jump up↑ this president refers to student council president of her former academy World Dragon
Jump up↑ with adaptable fighting potential
Jump up↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_five
Jump up↑ simply put, one can say that about half of the student were going back home and the other half remained in the school