Chapter 2 - In Order to Move Forward

Late at night, after finishing dinner Takeru headed to a certain place before returning to his room.

『"You should be able to relax yourself in there before the operation starts〜."』

Listening to what Nagaru said he went there, wondering just what was in there.

It seemed like she would explain the operation tomorrow, so he could get some good rest today.

He arrived in front of the furthest room and was suddenly struck with nostalgia.

"This is..."

Seeing the familiar door, he unconsciously extended his hand to the doorknob.

A little bit tense, Takeru pulled the doorknob and opened the door.

A gentle light of a fluorescent lamp leaked outside, he set a foot inside of the room.

In there, was the same sofa that was always there, the same tea, same comrades.

"...our platoon room?"

It was the place Takeru used to belong to. The scent of tea, smell of gun oil, scent of the cypress furniture. The familiar table and sofa. On the bookshelf there was a plastic Dragoon decorating it, Ikaruga's worthless magazines, Usagi's cookbooks, Ouka's references.

And naturally, his comrades relaxing on the sofa.

Involuntarily, tears pooled in his eyes.

As his eyes moistened, the comrades sitting on the sofa raised their faces looking towards him.

When Takeru hurriedly tried to look away, everyone stood up in unison.

"Wait, ehh? Takeru, why are you crying?!"

"What happened?! Who made you cry?!"

"Are you hurt?!"

Mari, Ouka and Usagi ran up to Takeru anxiously peeking into his face.

Takeru's face reddened and he desperately tried to look away.

"No... it's nothing really, it's nothing..."

"There's no way it's nothing, is there?! Where does it hurt?! Show me!"

"It is the first time I have seen Kusanagi cry... it seems like he's finally overburdened."

"I've seen it before, but why would he cry at a time like this..."

When Ouka said that, Usagi and Mari glared as if to say "I can't overlook that".

Seeing that, Ikaruga who was still sitting on the sofa chuckled.

Takeru knew well why was he crying. The moment he took a step inside, he embraced a sense of security as if he came back home.

From being in this place.

From having his comrades be with him.

It was all so nostalgic and dear to him that tears have poured without stopping.

He once again understood just how much did he love this place.

Yeah... I really am no good without comrades...

While it was obvious, he once again realized it. It might have been a betrayal for Kiseki, but he didn't regret not giving up on his comrades. He thought so from the depth of his heart.

 

After intruding into the First Research Facility and failing to rescue Kiseki, Ouka told him not to shoulder everything alone, thus Takeru decided to consult with his comrades. This room was prepared by Hoshijiro Nagaru and completely imitated their platoon room in AntiMagic Academy to allow them to rest comfortably. There was an immediate effect. Even though it was just made to resemble their room, this familiar scenery healed Takeru's heart to a surprising degree.

"——Eh, how is that betraying Kiseki-chan?"

Immediately after he finished explaining the circumstances, that was the first thing Mari said.

Usagi sitting beside stared right at Mari and Ouka shook her head with a sigh. Ikaruga seemed to have sensed something interesting and stared curiously at Mari.

Takeru explained gain.

"L-like I said, what she wants is a double suicide with me... my wish for her to live happily is an exact opposite of that. That's why she..."

"I don't get why would she want to suicide though? If she dies ain't it over. She won't be happy."

"............"

When she said something very obvious and right on the target, Takeru couldn't respond anyhow.

No, he understood what Mari was saying.

Or rather, he really agreed with her, but coming up with a conclusion so simply wasn't a good thing. Thinking of the suffering and despair Kiseki tasted, it couldn't be helped that she wished to die and hated the world. Well, precisely because it couldn't be helped that Takeru swore not to let it end as she wishes.

Both Usagi and Mari raised a cup with tea to their mouth, appalled.

"It is as you say but... why are you being so straightforward? While it is certain that a double suicide is out of question, please consider Kiseki-san's feelings. If you don't, we won't find a way to resolve this."

"Eh? Why? There ain't a way he can understand Kiseki-chan's feelings. Even if you tell him to experience same thing, it's impossible, I'd hate that. In the end, it's not something other people can understand."

Saying that out, Mari folded her arms in front of her chest.

Sitting opposite of her Ouka and Usagi seemed both amazed, squinting.

"You really... are dry sometimes. It's as if you're looking at yourself."

"Don't lump me together with you, who just can't read the mood. I'm not reading the mood now. You can't read it, I'm not reading it. OK?"

"Uhh? Ahh, well, yeah...? No, wait——what's the difference there?!"

"I ain't dry. I really want Kiseki-chan to be happy. Rather, since I want her to live and be happy, there's no way I can sympathize with Kiseki-chan."

Ohh...?

With that, Usagi and Ouka were overpowered by Mari.

After that, the three began to debate arguing over details.

Takeru drank the tea prepared by Usagi and looked at this scene with an indescribable mood.

Strangely, now he felt that he could rely on his comrades with things he was thinking seriously about all alone.

These girls are amazin'...

When Takeru laughed impressed,

"Nikaido is just like Kusanagi."

Ikaruga who sat next to Takeru said that.

"...I don't think I am that simplistic."

"I wonder? You're always like that, just doing things you want to do."

He had no intention of denying that, but this selfishness of his was the reason of the failure on the matter of Kiseki.

"No matter how much you try to deny yourself and try to consider your little sisters feelings, it's pointless, 'cause you're an idiot. Nikaido was infected with that idiocy."

"Yer horrible."

"You see, everyone here was influenced by you quite a bit. Didn't you notice? It's not that they changed, you changed everyone."

Being told that, Takeru furrowed his eyebrows.

"...even if that's true, I wonder if that's a good thing..."

Takeru rest his back on the sofa and looked up at the ceiling.

Honestly speaking, he had gone through countless painful experiences. It had become better as compared to his childhood and middle school days, but his roots did not change.

In this case too... this personality of mine is the cause.

He was aware that he was being pushy.

Ikaruga put her herbal tea on the table and making an expression as if she wanted to react with "ha?", she moved her face closer to his. Staring intently into his eyes, she said.

"Of course it's a good thing."

Always neutral and acting suggestively Ikaruga affirmed that. Surprised, Takeru looked at her questioningly "why are you so sure?", but Ikaruga said nothing else and sighing, she returned to her original posture. It seemed as if she was about to call him an idiot. Still in shock, Takeru changed to a topic he was curious about.

"Speaking of which... how does Kanaria feel? She's been examined today too, right?"

"Her consciousness returned and she's steadily recovering. There was no damage to her brain, but her brain still remembers the pain it felt, so it should take a few days more until she'll be able to move like she used to."

Ikaruga must have been relieved. Until yesterday she seemed slightly discouraged, restless, but she's already come back to how she was now.

Since Kanaria lost consciousness on the other side, Ikaruga didn't leave her at all. She stayed beside her even asleep, when ex-Seelies and witches in charge of recovery magic examined her, she was present, demonstrating incredible over-protectiveness.

"But for now, she is to rest unconditionally. She said she would participate in the mission but I didn't listen and tied her to the bed."

"...tied her... you mean, physically?"

"That's right. Since she's absurdly strong, I tied her down with adamantium wire."

Will she really be able to untie that, not wishing her badly though. Kanaria's appearance as she rampages tied to bed came to his mind and he made a cramped-up smile.

"I'll tell you this, Kanaria's case too, was solved thanks to Kusanagi."

"I didn't do a thing."

"I mean it's thanks to you changing me."

Again she made an expression as if she wanted to call him idiot.

I wonder why, it felt as if everyone had thorns today.

When Takeru soundly scratched his cheek,

"——Hey, you listenin' Takeru?! We're talking about you here!"

"Yess?!"

Suddenly, Mari leaned on the table and stuck her face towards him.

Pouting, she moved her face in front of Takeru's.

"I'm well aware that you're depressed now, Takeru. Everyone else is the same. We know. It's because you're depressed that you ponder about it all alone."

"N-no, I..."

He intended to consult it with everyone right from the start... but approached like this, having his head caught in two hands, he was unable to respond anyhow.

"But that——is absolutely no good!"

"You, what..."

"Cuz' Takeru's an idiot!"

Even you're saying that, Takeru's expression stretched.

Mari was quite serious. What could be seen in her eyes wasn't contempt nor mockery.

It was trust.

"Takeru's always being an idiot. Everyone in the 35th Test Platoon knows that."

"...M-Mari?"

"Everyone here was saved by your idiotic straightforwardness. That's why there's no use thinking about it."

"............"

"Takeru, see I... I want you to believe in yourself a little."

It seemed like everyone else felt the same and didn't try to stop Mari.

It was unknown whether she was praising him or criticizing him, but Mari was at least serious.

Ouka nodded, agreeing with Mari.

"Let me say this, when you first said that you'll shoulder half of my burden, I thought 'what is this guy talking about'. We have barely spoke since we met, for someone like that to say such a thing... even to me, you looked like a strange guy."

She said so keenly while crossing her arms.

"However, I was the one whose heart was struck by these words. It can be said that your straightforwardness saved me."

If it was Ouka from before, she probably would never say such a thing.

It was thanks to Takeru that she has become like this, is what Ouka said.

"...me as well, I have been always encouraged by Kusanagi's words. Your words, how do I say it... for better or worse made me shake off hesitation. I cannot say that I have overcome my complex but... it's thanks to you that I have taken a step forward."

TMG_v10_063Usagi too, joined her hands and repositioning herself on the sofa continued after the two.

"It is because of you being like that, I- I want to be together for——not that! With you! I t-thought of staying with you."

Fidgeting, with bright red face Usagi finished speaking and embarrassed, she covered her face with both hands. For some reason, Takeru too had become embarrassed.

"That's how it is. Kusanagi, you saved everyone here. You can be proud of that. Have some pride in things other than your swordsmanship."

Ikaruga shrugged and the other members agreed with her.

Furthermore,

"Exactly."

Suddenly, Lapis has appeared on top of his knees.

Everyone in the room was taken aback from surprise.

She always appeared unexpectedly, but having her appear on top of his knees made even Takeru raise his voice. Lapis quietly sat on top of his knees, as if proudly claiming them to be her seat. She was still expressionless.

"Host is always disinterested in our circumstances. He's a saving bastard who saves people without asking any questions."

"...why saving bastard?"

What kind of bastard is that...

"With just his ego, Host ends up saving others. Regardless whether they are human, he's an idiotic person who stretches a helping hand even to a Magical Heritage like me. On top of that, he's aware of himself being an idiot and naive, making it even worse."

Being told that by Lapis really hurt.

However, Lapis softened her expression slightly and continued.

"But, that is what I love about Host."

" " "Love?!" " "

The three others were surprised and raised a hysteric voice, then glared at Takeru. Ikaruga alone just whistled.

After she finished saying what she wanted to say, Lapis squeezed Takeru's pants tightly.

"That's why... Host whom I love... should be proud of himself."

"......!!"

"If not, I who am in love with Host will seem pitiful."

Her a little downhearted gesture made Takeru feel his heart being squeezed.

When Takeru blundered and his heart started to beat strongly,

"Grahhh! I wanted to say thatttt!"

Striking the table with her hands, Mari leaned over again.

She approached right in front of his face.

And slapped his cheeks with both her hands.

It just woke him up, there was no pain.

"So, that's how it is Takeru."

She deflated her cheeks that were puffed up and stared at Takeru seriously.

"We were saved by your desperate idiotic straightforwardness. That's what we like about you. If you deny yourself, what is to be with us who are looking up to you."

The two hands that slapped him gently wrapped around Takeru's cheeks.

"You just have to relay your feelings to Kiseki-chan. If she doesn't understand them, you just have to continue stretch your hand to her like you always do. The method matters not. You just have to teach that girl happiness, as she doesn't know the outside world."

"............"

"You don't have to change. Kiseki-chan is the one who has to. It's your duty to change her."

After saying so, Mari let go of him.

Unexpectedly, Ouka sitting next to Mari smiled to him.

"Believe in yourself a little. You've declared war, you just have to go through the siblings' quarrel with all you have."

Snapping out of his mood, Takeru stared at his comrades one after another.

Everyone seemed to feel same as Mari and nodded towards him.

Takeru stared at his own fist.

Believing in himself.

It was the first time he was told to do something as simple and yet as difficult.

He didn't come this far because he believed in himself. He was just desperate, not knowing any other method. With just his stubbornness, he forced his own desires on the others.

Takeru didn't believe in anything.

Believe in myself... huh.

He wasn't a honest enough a person to believe without reserve. After all, he failed many times and hurt others because he was prone to anger. His skills and commanding as the captain were equal to none. It might have been inevitable that he didn't believe in himself.

But his comrades believed in him, they looked up to him.

And yet, he didn't believe in himself?

...that can't be...!

Until now, he did all this by himself.

Questioning himself repeatedly, he pierced through all with his ego.

If he's to pierce through all——he has to believe in himself.

"...you're right. If you all believe in me, it's out of question for me not to believe in myself."

Fight. No matter how much he's rejected, he'll continue to outstretch his hand.

He decided to do so. He had to adhere to what he said.

To believe in himself and move forward.

Takeru clenched his palm and thanked everyone.

"Thanks for giving me a good kick, everyone."

"A 'kick'... say at least we 'pushed' your back."

"No, I've been 'kicked' there. Thanks to that, my doubts have cleared up."

While saying so, Takeru stood up.

And in slightly embarrassed manner, he said.

"I'll stop thinking about it. We'll just do what we can now. Everyone, can you go on for a little longer?"

"Takeru... this is where you say 'follow me', isn't it."

When Takeru spoke Ouka made a wry smile.

"N-no, I mean... I'm going to involve you all in it."

As he started to scratch his head soundly, Mari leaned over for the third time.

"You shouldn't say thatt! We want to be involved! If you tell us it's not related to us, we gonna slap you up!"

"S-sorry."

Takeru apologized like he usually did, causing Mari to sigh.

"Well, that is what makes Kusanagi. Being just a little bit unreliable might be in fact good."

"Well, 'follow me' might not suit him after all."

Usagi and Ikaruga chuckled.

He gave his thanks to everyone supporting him, once again facing forward he started to run.

 

In front of the platoon's room door, grasping its doorknob unmoving, stood Kirigaya Kyouya.

When he was about to enter, he heard the conversation inside and accidentally, he ended up listening to it all.

"...tch."

Kyouya clicked his tongue and hunched, he thrust his hands into pockets and attempted to leave the place.

"Heyy, you can't run away, Kyo-chan!"

When he stopped in place and looked towards where voice has come from, he saw Yoshimizu Akira on the wheelchair in the middle of hallway, she was watching him with a wry smile.

Kyouya made an awkward expression and clicked his tongue again.

"Shut up. Don't you call me "kyo-chan". Call me "captain"."

Akira rode on the wheelchair and lined up next to Kyouya.

"Now, "thank you for your help", "I'm sorry for doing horrible things", you need to say it properly."

"I just have to repay him what I owe."

"You're going to help Kusanagi-kun out, right?"

When Akira grinned broadly, Kyouya strongly shook his head and started walking.

She puffed up her cheeks and murmured "obstinate" to Kyouya's back.

"Since you're joining 35th platoon for now, if you properly apologize they'll surely welcome you."

"I've not intention joining Small Fry Platoon."

"Why? If you're helping them out, isn't it better if you're together?"

Kyouya stopped moving, looking down on Akira he grasped his own shoulder.

On his left shoulder he had stars of all his comrades attached. When he vowed to devote himself to revenge, he attached them in order to not forget their chagrin.

To dispel their regrets, he lived just to take revenge for them.

But it was different now. He could assert it was different.

Because beside him, he had someone to protect.

Right now, he believed that on his shoulder dwelled feelings of his dead comrades rather than their chagrin. In order to protect Akira, Kyouya borrowed their strength.

"I won't enter Small Fry Platoon. Until I die, I'll be the captain of 15th platoon, until I die... I'll be your childhood friend."

Once again Kyouya started to walk.

Akira stopped moving the wheelchair.

Kyouya stopped moving, he just turned his head to look at Akira.

"...what is it."

Even though moon didn't exist in this world, moonlight lit up the two.

With a trembling voice Akira asked Kyouya.

"Can I... really be Yoshimizu Akira...?"

"............"

"Can I... properly be Kyo-chan's childhood friend...?"

Kyouya could feel the anxiety bleeding out of her.

It wasn't that Kyouya couldn't understand what was she thinking. Akira was a clone, she couldn't be sure that she's herself. One of the Seelies from the Heretic Alliance said that people born through cloning technology can be mentally confused.

However, Kyouya went "so what" and laughed off Akira's confusion.

He faced forward again, not bothered by her worries in the least. He just answered truthfully.

"Akira is already dead. She won't come back again."

"............"

"But, you're the same Akira for me. I don't care whether it's the original or the clone. If there are two Akiras, I'll protect both with my life on the line."

Akira's eyes have become slightly watery as she looked at Kyouya.

Turned with his back to her, Kyouya started walking again.

"Don't you ask me something as stupid again. You should just stay silent and beside me. Just remain the way you are."

Tears spilled from Akira's eyes in silence.

Akira could understand that he was being his usual, blunt self. Even if she was a clone, she could tell he was the same Kyouya that was in her memories.

Joy has spread inside of Akira's chest.

Her soul might have been different, but her memories were the same. The path she tread upon was the same.

Which meant she was Yoshimizu Akira.

It was okay to be Yoshimizu Akira.

That would be the best.

"............yup. I get it, Kyo-chan."

"Call me "captain", dumbass."

"But, I think you really should properly apologize to Kusanagi-kun and the others〜."

"............"

The two advanced forward in the dark corridor.

But their destination was the place filled with moonlight.

 

***

 

This same, unchanging scenery is boring. That's what Ootori Sougetsu had always thought.

Tranquillity, peace, stability, stagnation. He hated all of it.

Overlooking the school and city spread below Sougetsu felt no melancholy, he just stared at the world that hasn't changed even though a war was undergoing.

——Ootori Sougetsu couldn't help but to hate this world from the bottom of his heart.

Mythology, magic, science, witches, humans. Having all those in the world causing chaos made him feel nauseous.

The odor of magic that had infested this world making him crazy, was something he hated tremendously.

"............"

Ahh, I want this world to perish as soon as possible.

I want to return this world to how it should be.

The only thing he longed for was destruction. He believed that the "nothingness" ahead was something that would fulfill his existence, he couldn't help but to believe in it.

"What a boring scenery."

It wasn't Sougetsu who said that. It was the foreign mass in the back, behind him.

It had come up beside Sougetsu and beside him, it stared at the city below.

"So, what is an interesting scenery for you?"

Sougetsu looked at it and asked.

"...a world with nothing in it. A world with no one in it but Onii-chan."

"Hahaha, you really do love your Onii-chan. But you aren't familiar with the outside world, right? There might be someone more wonderful than your Onii-chan is, there might be something more fun than loving each other with your Onii-chan, you know?"

Sougetsu's white hair swayed and he stared at it.

A girl clad in a dress made from red meat. Hyakki Yakou, Kusanagi Kiseki looked beyond the glass wall with cold pupils. With an expression showing no emotions, she just narrowed her cold eyes.

"Not interested. If Kiseki is to be stained by the outside world, Kiseki would rather just be together with Onii-chan. No need for anything else."

"...as long as you have Onii-chan's love, you need nothing else?"

When Sougetsu asked that with a grin, Kiseki slowly moved her gaze to him and opened her eyes wide. The wide-open eyes showed pupils that looked like a bottomless swamp in the darkness as they stared at Sougetsu.

"——Onii-chan's love? I have no need for such a thing?"

Tilting her head, Kiseki said so without any hesitation.

Her appearance didn't look like that of a human at all. The foreign existence inside of her seemed to have assimilated her into itself.

Sougetsu could already affirm that she wasn't a human any more. Kusanagi Kiseki's soul and body that were alien to each other until now matched each other to a surprising degree. Since human beings of Kusanagi family had a demon's curse mixed in their blood, men were born with a demon souls and the women were born with the demon bodies. Therefore the men had rough temper, they felt their soul was too large for a human's body that was its vessel. Women felt their body is too broad since their human soul was inside of a demon's body that was its vessel. While in men's case they succeeded in maintaining their sanity thanks to strict training, it wasn't so in case of women. Hyakki Yakou's body continued to fulfill the desires single-mindedly and could not be controlled with a human soul.

However, this girl had managed to do it.

It was a result that had far exceeded Sougetsu's imagination. It was satisfactory if she was to go berserk, but for a human's soul to control Hyakki Yakou... the mental strength of human Kusanagi women was immeasurable.

Or rather than Kusanagi women, maybe it was Kusanagi Kiseki that was extraordinary.

Sougetsu made a joyful smile and stared at the scenery behind the glass again.

"As I thought, you do have the qualities to destroy this world. Your body, your soul is completely beyond salvation."

"............"

"But you see."

Sougetsu stood up and raised Kiseki's chin with a finger, making a distorted smile like that of a cat.

"You won't destroy this world. You won't do. You aren't the one who will destroy the world."

"............"

"The one who will destroy it——is your Onii-chan. Remember this well. If you do, surely you will obtain what you desire. The finest death there is, a sweet demise will invite you."

Kiseki nodded promptly.

"I know. There are things even Kiseki can't kill, right?"

"Exactly."

Sougetsu stroked Kiseki's cheek and just a little sadly his expression softened as he smiled.

She displayed no emotions, just stared at Sougetsu with abyss-like pupils.

"Why is your goal the same as Kiseki's?"

Sougetsu withdrew his hand and sat down in the chair once again.

"...Wrong. It's not the same."

And squinting, he rest his back on the seat.

"For me, there's nothing but destruction."

His eyes staring in the distance looked as if he strongly yearned for something.

"Without a doubt, the enemy will attack soon. I can tell. I can smell war. This city will become a battlefield."

"............"

"When that happens, it's your turn."

The war was near.

The eyes all over the girl's dress trembled in delight.

Sougetsu turned his back on the aggregation of demons and took a deep breath.

"...now then, before the battle begins there's something remaining that has to be cleaned up."

Looking at the city with anticipation, he searched for a Relic Eater's reaction.

All the Relic Eaters were under Ootori Sougetsu's control. No matter where they attempt to hide, he could immediately find their contractors.

"As expected, you stepped in too deep, Kurogane-kun."

Rather than the usual carefree smile of his, Sougetsu's expression has turned into a serious one.

 

***

 

Two days later, the 35th platoon that had finished their preparations in the platoon's room, gathered near a transfer device on the ground that would take them to the Critical Point in the Grey City.

While the Reginns and sorcerers prepared the equipment, Takeru felt a presence behind them.

"Kusanagi."

When he turned around, he saw Kyouya stand there in full equipment.

Mari and Usagi didn't seem to have a good impression of him and they have turned wary the moment they saw him.

While Takeru couldn't forgive him either, but since he knew Kouya's nature he wasn't really bothered by him.

"What is it?"

Probably irritated by Takeru's normal reaction, Kyouya made a genuinely grumpy expression.

"...come here for a sec.'

With a stern look on his face he said something out of character. Usagi moved in front as if to protect Takeru.

"What do you need Kusanagi for? If you need something, you can just say it here, can you not?"

I won't let you lay a hand on Kusanagi, as if to say that Usagi had stretched her back.

Kyouya was slightly taken aback by Usagi's unexpected behavior.

It was no wonder, if it was the timid and fearful Usagi from before she wouldn't have come out in front.

Takeru put a hand on her shoulder.

"Usagi, it's all right."

"B-but..."

"We're just going to talk."

Pulling on Usagi's shoulder, Takeru moved in front.

He followed Kyouya who had turned around on his heel without saying anything.

 

After moving away from his comrades and going behind the school building Takeru saw Kyouya stop moving and turn around. Takeru too, stopped moving and faced him.

"Speaking of which... Kyouya, it seems like you helped my comrades during the border's defense."

"...I didn't help them. I was just ordered to monitor 35th platoon."

"Hmph. I don't care if that's how it was. Let me say thank you for that. Thanks."

When Takeru told his thanks, Kyouya clicked his tongue in annoyance.

"Don't screw with me bastard... what's that supposed to be? Thanks? I deserve nothing of it do I. In the first place, you bastard——"

"So, what's the talk about? There's no time so hurry up."

"〜〜〜〜Ghh!!"

Takeru knew that Kyouya was irritated.

He did that deliberately. Having helped Ouka and the others was something that was unrelated to their own quarrel, which was why he honestly wanted to thank him.

Kyouya suppressed his anger and went down to the main topic.

"You're going to investigate Chairman's identity, ain't you. Take me with you."

While saying that bluntly, Kyouya glared at Takeru.

Takeru responded, "why?", but with his gaze instead of words.

"I've no intention of apologizing to you. What I did to your little sister is something I wanted to do. I ain't thinking I was wrong even now."

These were his true feelings. They have already reached him when they clashed in battle.

It changed nothing even if he said that now.

No matter what Takeru says, this man won't apologize.

He absolutely won't wield. That's the guy he is.

"However, you saved Akira. I didn't ask you to do that, but you did something I couldn't do. I intend to pay you back for that."

"............"

"I won't hold you back. I've no intention of joining your platoon, but I'll listen to your orders. Take me with you."

Seeing a straightforward look in Kyouya's eyes, Takeru sighed lightly.

That must've been Kyouya's way to settle things.

"I don't mind, rather, it's a great help. But I have one condition."

Although Kyouya looked questioningly at him when he heard "condition", it seemed like he had guessed what was it from Takeru's expression, who had furrowed his eyebrows.

Takeru clenched his fist and said.

"Let me punch you."

There was no killing intent nor meaning in it, but Takeru directed pure anger towards Kyouya. After being told that Kyouya prepared himself, he folded his arms in front of his chest and snorted.

It was as if he was saying it's hundred times better than apologizing.

"Do your wor——"

Before he could finish, Takeru's fist bit into his cheek.

It was a quite hefty straight right from a run up.

With a dull sound Kyouya was blown away, he slid on the ground and his head slammed into the school building's wall.

Takeru let out a deep breath and walked up to where Kyouya was blown away.

And he looked at Kyouya who was staring at the sky above, lying on his back.

"You alive?"

"...as if I'd die from just this moron."

When Kyouya laughed with a swollen cheek that seemed like it would make it hard to speak, Takeru stretched out his hand to him.

Sitting down, Kyouya stared at that hand.

"I've no intention of striking a bargain like this, don't worry. That's what you want, right?"

As Kyouya's circumstances deepened, they have clashed multiple times. In the middle school age too, their relations were decent. There wasn't enough time to call it friendship, their relation was savage but Takeru knew right from the start what kind of a guy was he.

It was the same for Kyouya.

Kyouya snorted and made a light smile.

"Fine by me——you dork."

Takeru's outstretched hand was roughly grasped by Kyouya.

And thus, Kirigaya Kyouya had started to cooperate with Takeru and others, as a member of Heretic Alliance.

Takeru didn't hear anything about Nero.

But since Kyouya said "don't worry", there was no choice but to believe him.

When they returned to where everyone was, seeing Kyouya's swollen face Ikaruga said "that's youth for you" with a grin, which in turn made Kyouya sulk. Ignoring that, Takeru realized that the 35th platoon was going in a good direction when it came to military force.

However, he still had no way of knowing that what lied ahead of them was a battle fierce beyond his imagination.

7 thoughts on “Chapter 2 - In Order to Move Forward

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  1. Bareus

    Late at night, after finishing the dinner Takeru headed to a certain place before returning to his room.
    Late at night, after finishing the dinner Takeru headed to a certain place before returning to his room.

    "But for now, she is to rest unconditionally.
    "But for now, she has to rest unconditionally.

    She always appeared unexpectedly, but having her appear on top of her knees made even Takeru raise his voice.
    -> I think it should be "his knees" here...?

    Her a little bit downhearted gesture made Takeru feel his heart be squeezed.
    Her slightly downhearted gesture made Takeru feel his heart be(ing) squeezed.
    -> just a suggestion, hopefully it doesn't deviate too much from the original

    They joy has spread inside of Akira's chest.
    Joy has spread inside of Akira's chest.

    "...come here for a sec.'
    "...come here for a sec'."

    With a stern look his face he said something out of character.
    With a stern look on his face he said something out of character.

    They have reached already him when they clashed in battle.
    They have already reached him when they clashed in battle.
    They have reached him already when they clashed in battle.

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