As Priscilla slowly opened her eyelids, the first thing that came into her sight was the face of the most important person to her.
Seeing her older sister, Irene, (Onee-chan) who floated above with a gentle wry smile without saying anything, at the same time she felt relieved, an inappropriate question suddenly crossed her mind.
She wondered, since recently it was not very often, how long ago she had seen her older sister smiling from the bottom of her heart. Certainly, her older sister had always been hot-tempered and coarse, but she was above all someone who laughed more often than many.
“……What’s wrong? Do you hurt anywhere?”
To her big sister, who looked into her face as she was worried, Priscilla slightly shook her head.
When looking around, she was apparently in a hospital room. A room clean and cozy, with white walls and ceiling, Priscilla was resting in a bed.
It was the health ward of Le Wolfe. If not… This was probably a medical center.
She traced her memory, to know why she would be in a place like this, and immediately remembered.
[That’s right. In the middle of the battle, Onee-chan’s behavior became strange……]
She remembered up until there, but after that, it became vague in any way.
“Err, why am I……”
“You ran out of prana. You probably don’t remember, but it seemed that I sucked too much of your blood.”
As her sister said so, she quickly bowed her head, with a face likely to burst into tears.
Priscilla shook her head with a light smile.
Though vaguely, there was, at least, a conviction there. That thing during the end of the match, was not her sister.
That was surely––
“So, how did the match turn out?” Priscilla asked.
“We lost.” Irene frankly said.
Although she somehow already knew, but asked just in case.
Since her big sister probably did not come out with high hopes to begin with, it was fine.
“Then –– what about Gravi-Sheath?” wondered Priscilla.
Then, her big sister greatly exhaled with a flat face.
“It was broken.”
“That bastard Amagiri smashed it to pieces.”
She constantly shrugged her shoulders while sighing.
Priscilla was surprised for a moment –– and then slightly burst into laughter.
“Ahahaha, I see…… Amagiri-san did that. Huh.”
Priscilla recalled the face of the good-natured boy.
In that case, then I should think about something to thank him again. I will make a more luxurious dinner this time, she thought.
“Ah, but then, were you scolded by the president……?”
Gravi-Sheath was not her sister’s personal possession. She borrowed it from Le Wolfe –– thus from the Integrated Enterprise Foundation.
“No, surprisingly, there was no blame.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah. Well. Since I was not able to carry out his order, the debt won’t decrease.” Irene admitted.
Her sister said so and dejectedly dropped her shoulders.
“All that wasted labor I’ve done……Haa.”
It seemed that her big sister’s expression was rather lucid even though she said so.
“Well, I might also have been a little impatient, there's nothing that can be done about it.”
Looking at her sister, who was scratching her head, Priscilla also raised her face.
“……You see, Onee-chan.”
“I had thought that what Onee-chan wants to do is the most important thing. Of course, it went without saying that I would stop you, if you behaved violently and tried to do bad things, but even so, it’s because Onee-chan had always cherished me the most.”
That’s right. Priscilla had thought so all the time.
That was why, so as not to be a burden for her big sister, she did the best she could in the scope of what she could do. If it was the best thing for her sister and for herself.
It was probably the same for her big sister. Since her big sister was really a gentle person, she had probably been thinking that; It would be better if she fought alone and it would be better if she shouldered everything.
But, certainly, just that wasn't enough anymore. At least, they continued to live in this city.
Just being protected was not good, and just protecting was not good, either.
If someone extends their hand to you, you should also extend your hand to them in turn. If they pull you up you should also stand up by yourself. If they embrace you. You must also return the embrace; Otherwise it wasn’t on equal footing.
“However –– I want to become strong. If Onee-chan fights, I want to fight together with you. I don’t want to be always protected; I want to stand next to Onee-chan.”
“It’s no use even if you try to stop me. And someday……I will absolutely become stronger than Onee-chan.”
Irene looked at Priscilla with an astonished face, but she soon burst into laughter.
In a happily and heartily refreshing state.
“Hahaha, I see –– I’m looking forward to it.”
It was this smiling-like Irene that Priscilla was seeing for the first time in a long time
In the space window of the student council room, the conclusion scene of today’s match was reflected just now. It was a live video, but something recorded.
Ayato’s Ser-Versta splendidly crushed Irene’s Gravi-Sheath, and Ayato’s and Julis’ victory was declared.
Dirk was looking at it as he let a candid feeling of disgust blur on his face as usual.
“––Well, it turned out like this.”
He removed his gaze from the screen while murmuring to himself.
The original plan of crushing Amagiri Ayato could not be achieved, but there were also many gains. So he should settle with it.
Having lost Gravi-Sheath was slightly unexpected, but since the Ulm mana dite core was collected, there was no particular problem. Rather, with the matter of this time, that should also become a little quiet.
Irene and Priscilla were still of use to him. More importantly, it was an unexpected result that, they were able to make a connection with Amagiri Ayato. With this… The measures which he could adopt increased remarkably.
And above all –– there was this.
Dirk returned once again his gaze to the screen, Ayato, who was lying on his back there, was in agony with a painful expression.
『"Uh-oh, what on earth is this? Player Amagiri can’t get up! Tram-san, does this mean, after all, that he suffered considerable damage?"』
『"Hmm, well……no, but this mana is clearly……"』
Then, many magic circles shining around Ayato appeared, binding chains, which emerged from there, climbed all over his body.
And the moment that a big light shone, all of them vanished.
What was left was only Ayato completely exhausted.
『"……Player Amagiri’s prana, which was intense, has dropped extremely. Maybe his usual display is not a performance at all––"』
Dirk turned off the space screen there, and snorted.
He had heard the rumors, and it was uncertain, but this was now clear.
––Amagiri Ayato could maintain that power only for a certain period of time.
Probably the guys of other academies also arrived at the same conclusion.
That said, there might be still doubt about it; but Dirk was sure of it.
After all… He had also seen that power, which was binding Ayato, before.
In any case, if this became public, it would become extremely difficult for Ayato and Julis to win and advance to the next round after this, and at this rate, it was certain that they would come to a deadlock in the near future.
“Was it rash for me to have made the “cats” get ready?”
His next trick had not yet completely moved over, so he might invest them in another mission now.
However, Dirk immediately shook his head and denied his own words.
“––No, wrong. It’s the younger brother of that woman. No one knows what might happen.”
In fact this time, Ayato, despite the short time, succeeded in pulling out a portion of Ser-Versta’s power. Though whether he would be able to master it was questionable, it would be better to be more safe than sorry.
As Dirk thuddingly put his short feet on the brand new office desk, he deeply exhaled.
According to Dirk’s scheming… It was probably going to be close to the spider web.
The countless plans spread around at all places, even if one of them was discontinued, it would squeeze some profit somewhere different.
That was why Dirk had never happened to lose.
Even now and probably in the future.
“If there is a cause for concern, it would be the damn kids of World Dragon, but how far will they take out the dabble…… Besides. I’ll have to keep tabs on the lassie of Allekant……”
While grumblingly muttering, the immersed himself in complex thinking.
“A-Are you all right, Ayato-senpai?”
Kirin, who jumped in the waiting room in a state of panic, anxiously looked into the face of Ayato, who was lying on the sofa.
“Ah, yes. I’m all rig……!”
Ayato, who had put a wet towel on his forehead, frowned at the pain that ran through his whole body which he tried to raise.
“……You don’t seem to be so all right.”
Saya, who came out from behind Kirin, also had a somewhat anxious expression.
“……Well, it can’t be helped since you act rashly so much. After all… You exceeded your original limit by nearly one whole minute.”
Julis said while sighing. She replaced the towel on Ayato’s forehead.
Its coldness was quite pleasant to his body. Which was hot.
“But well. 'It' was also grandly exposed……”
Although they cancelled the winner interview and retired to the waiting room… It had already become widely known that there was some kind of limit to Ayato's power.
That said, in a sense it could not be helped. It was unavoidable that it would have been exposed someday; It was just that it had been somewhat earlier than expected.
The problem was––
“The next match.” Claudia pointed it out.
As expected. She was worried about Ayato and came to see his condition.
Julis greatly sighed once again while holding her temple.
The backlash of breaking the seal was strong, and given the situation Ayato could not satisfactorily move for nearly a whole day.
Since the recovery itself would be fast if he quietly rested, he might somehow manage after the second day, but……
“After all, the fifth round is already tomorrow. We must think of something.”
“……Well, I will somehow manage.”
As Ayato said so, Julis glared at Ayato with half-opened eyes and tightly grabbed his arm.
“How can you say such, when you’re in this state? You’re overly optimistic, you know?”
As she released her hand, Julis said amazed.
“It’s not really like I’m overly optimistic. I understand that it’s serious. But –– I can’t afford to break a promise.”
“I will become Julis’ strength, haven’t I said so? At this rate, I won’t be able to do it. So. I will somehow manage.”
Julis’ face quickly turns red and she looked away as she was flustered.
“I-Idiot! When I wondered what you would say, you suddenly……!”
Then Saya and Kirin broke in there.
“……Okay. Then, I’ll help Ayato so that he can quickly recover.”
“I-I will also anything! I will make rice balls, too!”
“Ei… You should rather worry about your own match!”
As she looked at Ayato, who smiled wryly at Julis and the others, Claudia was standing to Ayato’s side before he knew it. Her expression was gentle and warm as usual.
“If you get past tomorrow's match, for the time being, the time period before the next quarterfinals will contain an adjustment day. You will also be able to rest. However……”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
Even if they were able to survive tomorrow, at this rate, they would repeat the same thing. They had to find a fundamental solution.
As Ayato exhaled, he quietly closed his eyes.
It seemed like he had to seriously face this seal soon somehow.
––And it meant that he must face his big sister’s disappearance.
Jump up↑ it’s an idiom; means something that you say which means it is best not to take risks even if it seems boring or hard work to be careful