Chapter 2 – Dear People
Floating Airport on the North Kanto Multiplex’s Crater Lake.
In a special lounge, Ayato and company were waiting for the boarding time.
“I was wondering why I wasn’t informed of the details no matter how much I asked, but I didn’t expect that the royal family’s private plane would be sent… Given the situation, it isn’t brother’s own discretion. Really, I feel uneasy about what will happen in the future.”
Julis, with her hand put on her waist as is, complained to herself.
Ahead of her gaze ── on the runway on the other side of the glass, was the figure of the scheduled airplane which Ayato and the others would board from here on. A complicated national emblem was drawn on the fuselage flank. According to Julis, it seemed that a red rose on a golden background shield was the crest of the Riessfeld House, with an eagle holding a crown being the crest of the old royal family of the Barzelunia House, and crests of several other royal families interlaced on it became the national emblem of the present Lieseltania.
“Even though there is no airport, there is a royal family private plane?”
“The role of royalty is solely foreign trips. As expected, it’ll be troublesome without at least that. Well, we depend on the neighboring country for the management and maintenance, but… there are a lot of troublesome circumstances in that area. I’ll explain it later.”
At Ayato’s question, Julis answered so with a sigh.
“Fufufu, Lieseltania’s circumstances are slightly complicated after all… Now then, we shall get ready soon.”
Claudia clapped her hands and looked around at everyone.
Since Lester refused to come in the end, going to Lieseltania were Julis, Ayato, Claudia, Saya and Kirin.
With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, it was crowded everywhere in the airport; but this special lounge for VIP had been reserved for Ayato and the others. It seemed that this was also arranged by Julis’ brother, and there seemed to be an exclusive boarding bridge for boarding, and they were grateful that they would proceed without standing out thanks to it.
Since they were going outside of Asterisk, everyone was naturally dressed in casual clothes, and they didn’t wear school badges which they were usually obligated to carry. The four girls were dressed differently: Julis was dressed in a silk dress; Claudia wore a mini-skirt, a knit turtleneck, and tights; Saya wore denim short pants, a parka, and leggings; and Kirin wore pants (trousers) and a large sweater.
By the way, Ayato had an extremely plain appearance consisting of a collared shirt, jeans and a jacket.
“Oh yes, everyone; please confirm that the carrying out procedures of luxes have been properly completed.”
As Claudia said so, they took out their portable terminals to confirm the application data.
The character of approval was properly written there.
Despite the awareness in Asterisk, an approval was needed for possession of a lux above a certain power level. It was also the same when carrying it in and out of the country. That was particularly strict for ogre luxes, such as Ayato’s , and though the application passed, it was most time consuming.
Speaking of this point, Claudia’s should have also been the same, but it seemed that a temporary free pass was issued to her by the Integrated Enterprise Foundation as a special case.
“Speaking of which, Julis hasn’t applied for anything, right?”
“Yes, the new model lux which I’m testing now is a technology that hasn’t yet been made public. So I can’t readily take it out.”
Julis said so and smiled wryly.
“More importantly, it seems to have been quite troublesome for Kirin.”
“Ah, yes… But, it somehow went well.”
It seemed that a procedure different from a lux’s was required for Kirin’s Senbakiri, and she met fairly unexpected difficulties.
“Well, it isn’t Asterisk, so I don’t think that there will be many opportunities to use our weapons, but… wait, huh?”
Just then, Ayato’s portable terminal informed him of a call.
When he took it out wondering who it might be──
His hand unintentionally stopped at the unexpected name.
“Ayato, what’s the matter?”
“N-No, it’s nothi──”
But, by the momentum from him trying to hide it from Saya, who wonderingly tilted her head to the side and looked into his hand, Ayato’s finger pressed a button.
“Yoo-hoo, Ayato-kun. Do you have a little time now?”
The space window opened, and projected Sylvia with a cheerful smile.
At the same time, surprise and strain ran among everyone.
“Geez, it’s because you didn’t contact me even once even though it was you who asked for my contact address… huh?”
Sylvia, suddenly seeming to notice the commotion on the other side of the space window, lowered her eyebrows slightly awkwardly and said to Ayato.
“Arara… were you by any chance busy?”
“Ah, no… it isn’t really that, but…”
Not knowing how to answer, he gave such an evasive answer for the time being.
Since the communication just came from only a mere acquaintance, there wasn’t anything particularly underhanded. Of course, even if the fact that the other party wasn’t an ordinary person, but the world famous Diva Sylvia Lyyneheym, all the people present here already knew that Ayato had become acquainted with Sylvia.
But, when asked the details of how he and Sylvia had become acquainted, Ayato had made up several reasons and dodged the questions. This was because he had promised Sylvia not to tell anyone about it.
Thanks to that, he had been persistently questioned by Julis and Saya for a time, but it had finally subsided recently.
And now he received her call at this timing.
“Look here, if it isn’t the . It’s been since the ’s closing ceremony, hasn’t it?”
Claudia took a step forward and smiled at Sylvia.
“Yes, that’s right. We didn’t have the chance to chat much there, so I feel like it’s been a longer time, but… You seem to be doing quite well, .”
“If you had shown up at the Rikka Garden Council for a little while, we could have talked though.”
“Hahaha… it hurts when you tell me that.”
Perhaps because they were old acquaintances, Claudia and Sylvia naturally exchanged words.
Then Julis broke in.
“By the way ── what kind of business does the Queen Veil Girl’s Academy Student Council President have with our Ayato?”
“Fufufu, don’t make such a scary face, Riessfeld-san.”
Sylvia smoothly eluded Julis’ sharp gaze and returned her gaze to Ayato.
“I don’t have business with Ayato-kun as the Student Council President, but just as the individual Sylvia Lyyneheym.”
“Individual, you say…?”
“Yes. ──So, Ayato-kun? I’ll repeat myself, but why didn’t you contact me? It isn’t really like I helped you expecting thanks, but not even contacting me after that slightly hurts, you know?”
Sylvia said to Ayato as she lovingly pouted.
Contrary to her words, her tone implied that she was teasing and did not mean to blame Ayato at all.
“Errr, that’s… I’m sorry. Sylvie seemed busy, so I felt a little hesitant. If I’m not mistaken, you are currently touring, right?”
While feeling a little relieved, he explained the reason.
It was true that he thought of wanting to thank her somehow or other, but after the end of the , Ayato was busy with this and that, and by the time things had settled down, Sylvia had already departed for the Asian Tour. She should still be in the middle of it even now, so it was really unexpected that she would contact him.
Though they exchanged contact addresses, their direct acquaintance was only that once after all. Moreover, the other party was the diva of the century and the world’s top idol. He understood that the person herself had a candid personality, but even so it would normally be an impossible story.
“Hmm, so you paid attention to it. All right, in that case, I’ll forgive you.”
Sylvia nodded with a smile as she said so.
“And so, whenever things calm down on your side, I’ll contact you this time for sure. It’s true that I want to thank you after all. If I remember correctly, right now… you’re in Thailand, right?”
“Yes, Bangkok. My return there (Asterisk) is scheduled in the next month, but at this rate, it looks like it’ll be slightly delayed. At any rate, thank me, huh… Ah, then Ayato-kun. I’ve one request, if you would hear it?”
“A request? Well, if it’s something I can do, then…”
Then, Sylvia teasingly winked.
“Don’t worry, it’s not that much. I mean, there is a school festival next year, right?”
“Yes, I’ve heard that there is such an event in spring. I’ve never participated in it before, so I don’t really know though.”
After all, this year’s school festival was already over when Ayato enrolled.
In common schools, a school festival was probably a big event, but needless to say that in Asterisk, what was given top priority was the . Therefore, the school festival seemed to be held in the spring when not a single was held. Even so, he heard that it was so lively that by no means did it lose to the .
“Yes, won’t you go on a date with me there?”
“He~e, a date, huh. Yes, I can at least… huh, a date!?”
Since Sylvia said it so indifferently, he reflexively nodded, but then immediately realized what was said and asked again in confusion.
“Ah, I’m relieved. I’ll properly disguise myself like last time.”
But, it was a subtly evasive answer which had returned.
“I don’t mean that!”
Seeing Ayato flustered, Sylvia happily shrugged her shoulders as she chuckled, but Julis, Saya and Kirin who raised their eyes broke in there.
“W-Wait a moment! What the hell do you mean by that?!”
“…I can’t ignore that.”
Claudia folded her arms and smiled wryly as she took a step back, but Kirin stared at Ayato with an anxious look.
“Even if you ask me what I mean, I only want to know Ayato-kun better. Of course, if Ayato-kun has a girlfriend, then I retract my request since I’ll feel bad for her. How about it?”
“No, I don’t have a girlfriend, but…”
“What a relief. Then, there’s really no problem, right? I’ll contact you again to give you the details when I’m back.”
Sylvia slightly waved her hands while saying so, and the space window shut down with a snapping sound.
“Ah! Wait, Sylvie!”
Ayato’s voice resounded in vain, and instead several painful gazes ran into his back.
“…Well, for the time being, it’s boarding time. Let’s go. ──What, we’ve a lot of time anyway. You’ll tell us the story in detail in the plane.”
To Julis’ thorny voice, Ayato felt cold sweat run down his back.
- ψ -
“──Sorry. As expected, I can’t break my promise.”
When Ayato decisively said so, Julis greatly sighed.
“Good grief… Well, it’s you we’re talking about. I had guessed you might say that.”
“…You really are stubborn, Ayato.”
Saya smiled wryly as she somewhat gave up, too.
“Now, now, that’s also Ayato’s good side after all.”
Claudia said so and clapped her hands. As to mean, ‘with this, this topic is over’.
Ayato heaved a sigh of relief, and leaned his back on the fluffy sofa type seat.
As expected of the private plane that the royalty used; the room had a luxurious interior design hardly thinkable to be inside a plane, and was surprisingly comfortable. Naturally, at the time of taking off and landing they were required to go back to the normal seats, but right now everyone was relaxing around a table.
──No, to be exact, there was at least one person which this didn't qualify to.
“By the way… How is your physical condition, Kirin-chan?”
Ayato called out like so to Kirin who sat next to him.
“Y-Yes… Thank you, I’m all right…”
Kirin answered with a powerless smile and didn’t appear to be all right at all, contrary to her words. Her face had turned pale, and upon closer inspection her feet were slightly trembling.
“I’m sorry to worry you… S-Since I was child, I-I’ve had a great fear of planes…”
“You don't have to force yourself. You can return and lie down on your seat.”
Since the normal seats could recline, it would certainly be better if she lay down there.
“N-No, I’m calmer when I’m with everyone.”
To Julis’ words of concern, Kirin feebly shook her head.
When she was wondered why Kirin had not been feeling well all day long, this appeared to be the reason.
The plane suddenly shook, and Kirin fell down on Ayato.
Kirin vigorously hit her face on Ayato’s thigh and held her nose with a frown.
“Are you, all right, Kirin-chan?”
“Y-Yes, somehow… huh, waah!?”
Kirin's eyes widened in surprise, and she immediately tried to raise her body in a state of panic, but she once again fell right away on Ayato’s knees as she couldn’t muster strength in her arms.
It was the so-called ‘lap pillow’ situation.
“U-Um, s-sorry…! I’ll immediately…”
Kirin said in panic while turning her eyes around, but Ayato put his hand on her head with a wry smile.
“It’s fine, Kirin-chan. You’ll be more at ease like this, so you can stay like this until you calm down.”
“It’s fine, just stay like that.”
When Ayato gently stroked her soft silver hair, Kirin apologetically ── and yet somewhat happily too nodded slightly.
Saya and Julis were looking at them with eyes seeming to want to say something, but Claudia once again opened her mouth so as to change the atmosphere in the place.
“Now then, there is something I would like to consult everyone here with, if that is all right?”
Though her tone was calm, it had a serious ring to it.
Everyone noticing it turned their eyes towards her.
“I think that everyone already knows, but… by consultation, I mean to speak about next year’s . To everyone present here, I would like you to participate in the as my team members.”
As Claudia took a short pause once there, she turned to Ayato.
“I had invited Ayato earlier. His answer at that time was──”
“Only if Julis agreed to join.”
Ayato answered before Claudia finished her sentence.
“Does that feeling stay unchanged even now?”
“Yes, it does.”
When Ayato asserted so, Julis nodded while slightly blushing.
“W-Well, I guess it’s not surprising coming from you.”
“Then, Julis. What do you say?”
Claudia directed her attention to Julis.
“Before that, there is also something I want to ask.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Why are you so fixated on the ? With your level of skill, you should be able to win the or the. But, since your appearance to the last , you didn’t show any behavior to participate in the previous and .”
Ayato had also wondered about that. In another perspective, there was also a rumor that it was because she made such a contract with the Integrated Enterprise Foundation, but he could not feel the will to participate in other tournaments from Claudia herself.
“You’re right. Certainly, I would be able to win be it the or the . However ── it’ll probably be difficult to win. In that case, it’s no good.”
“Do you mean to say it’ll be possible if it’s the ?”
“Yes, as long as I have reliable comrades though.”
Claudia affirmed with a smile.
“I will tell you more than this only when you all decide to become my teammates. Since it’s related to my and this child’s weakness.”
Saying so, Claudia lightly tapped the holder on her waist.
The activation body of the ogre lux was likely settled there.
“…The future foresight’s weakness?”
Saya quizzically frowned.
was an ogre lux of a level which there were hardly any people that didn’t know of it due to its overwhelming ability, but when it came to the details of its ability, no one really knew.
Even if you are able to foresee, exactly how far ahead can you foresee? How many times can you use it? Regarding that those questions, even the well-informed Eishiro seemed to know only rumors.
Ayato had also heard about the price (of using the ability) from Claudia before, but he was told nothing about the ability.
“Fufufu, there exists no invincible weapon in this world.”
“But, President is fairly strong even without , right?”
Kirin inclined only her head and timidly said.
Her complexion looked slightly better and, though only a little, her voice seemed to have regained some strength.
“No, no, my power without isn’t worth much. That’s precisely why I need strong comrades. After all, if I intend to win in the , I must defeat those .”
‘Silver Wings Knights’ did not only point at the St. Garrardsworth Academy’s (s), but it was also the name of the strongest team that Garrardsworth, which specialized in group battle, was proud of. Two teams, team N°1 and team N°2 were composed of members from rank #1 to rank #10, and team N°1 achieved victory in the last .
Of course, the members would probably be different from last time, but the rank #1, , and rank #2,