His awakening was gentle.
The daylight peeking in from behind the cream-colored curtains gently enticed him to wake up.
The scenery he saw with eyes he just opened was blurry. After blinking several times, his blurry vision has eventually turned clear.
Kusanagi Takeru took a deep breath, as if his breathing has stopped until now.
Takeru let out the air he sucked in with a sigh.
He wondered, which time was it again that he woke up in a hospital-like bed.
It felt like every time he battled, he got worn out and lost consciousness.
Even if he tried to remember what happened, all he could recall was going north in a car aiming for the dissidents' base.
...if I'm not wrong... we were attacked by the pursuers from Inquisition... and...
He explored his vague memory and the moment he tried to recall the fight with EXE members.
——A shiver, chill ran down his spine.
It wasn't that he remembered.
Rather, it was because when he tried to recall it, all he could see was pitch black darkness.
It was strange. Losing memory wasn't something unusual. Even more so considering he lost consciousness, it was understandable he wouldn't remember what happened just before that.
But, he had no idea how to describe it.
It was pitch black.
After being chased by the enemy on the highway, they destroyed a wall with a recoilless gun and fell off a cliff, he remembered that strangely clear. But, he recalled only fragments of what happened afterwards, the rest of his memories weren't lost in the darkness, but the memories were darkness itself.
What's this... how...
Takeru placed a hand on his forehead and rolled over.
In the direction he rolled over to——there was Ouka.
Right in front of him, there was Ouka's sleeping face.
Next to him, she was breathing in her sleep.
The voice she let out when he moved was very erotic. Her breath was ticklish. Takeru couldn't take his eyes off her moist lips and long eyelashes.
Takeru loudly swallowed saliva and turned in the opposite direction in silence.
He wanted to calm down a little.
On the opposite side, this time Mari was there.
While mumbling she tightly held onto Takeru's clothes.
Since her sweet voice was making his heart pound violently, Takeru awkwardly lied on his back facing towards the ceiling.
He wanted to calm down.
It was too stimulating for a convalescent.
"............I give up."
Takeru sighed and stared at the hospital-room like ceiling.
He felt like asking what happened as soon as possible but he didn't want to forcibly wake them up.
Also, he could somewhat understand why were the two sleeping beside him.
Both of their eyes were slightly reddish.
...I've made them worry haven't I.
Takeru felt sorry about that. He was always more beat up than his comrades. Possibly he didn't have enough self-control, or maybe he spent himself in reckless battles.
Looking it from his comrades' perspective, he must have been a dangerous, helpless fellow.
He too would be very worried if one of his comrades was in tatters and wouldn't wake up.
It couldn't be helped that they worried.
Takeru said an apology for making his comrades worry.
"——If you think so, you shouldn't be so reckless〜 Kusanagi-kun."
He got startled and then turned towards the voice.
Hoshijiro Nagaru sat down by the window, smiling broadly with a book opened on top of her knees.
What was unusual, was that she had glasses on.
When he tried to get up in a hurry, Nagaru stood up from her chair while saying "Non non." and pushed down on Takeru's chest.
"Sleep〜. It's only the second day since you passed out. So, sleep at ease〜."
Hearing it's been only two days, Takeru was a bit relieved.
He was glad that it hasn't been a month like back when he was taken to Magic Academy.
Nagaru closed the book and placed it on a small table.
She also took off her glasses and placed them on top of the book. Casually, he looked at the book.
"Götterdämmerung, Debate on Mythological World."
"Fufufu, despite how I look, I'm quite an avid reader〜. This book is quite interesting. There's lots of consideration about this and that inside. It's prohibited literature but my comrades somehow managed to get it〜."
"Rather than that, President, are your legs okay?!"
Takeru was worried about Nagaru. In the battle in the snowy mountains, she should have seriously injured her legs. At first Nagaru was surprised seeing him worried about her, soon enough she squinted and laughed, blushing slightly.
"Thanks to recovery magic my left leg is okay〜. Unfortunately, right leg didn't stick in. But thanks to the prosthesis made by using Dragoon's artificial muscle , look, here〜."
Nagaru raised her skirt showing her right leg. Since in the recent years prosthetic technology has evolved as a by-product of Dragoon development, it looked exactly same as a normal leg.
Still, Takeru couldn't help but feel bad about it.
"I was surprised to see it works better than my own leg〜, I mean, I can kick down an iron door."
"It's not something you should apologize for〜, that was my plan after all, self-responsibility. Rather, it's thanks to you protecting me I've suffered only this much, you know? I'm grateful to you."
She was so calm despite losing her leg. He really felt like bowing to Nagaru's strength.
Takeru was relieved seeing Nagaru act like usual.
"I see... since I received treatment, it must mean that we've reached the dissidents' home, right."
Nagaru gently smiled when Takeru asked lowering his voice as much as possible.
"Yup, everyone really did their best. Thanks to you all we arrived at our base. Let me say my thanks."
Thank you. Nagaru thanked him with a carefree expression.
It wasn't clear what happened, but for the time being it seemed like a crisis had emerged.
"It's all right. This place is safe. Whether it's Inquisition or Valhalla, they definitely won't enter this place."
"...definitely won't enter...?"
Since she said so, this place must have had either exceptionally robust defense or had to be inviolable.
Even Takeru who wasn't too smart wondered where was the dissidents' home base.
Since they were told they aim for the northernmost part of the old Japan, it must have been the old Hokkaido. Same as in the Magic Academy he's been brought to before, there had to be a sanctuary in here.
Although it was said to be annihilated by the Dark Elves, there were some islands remaining inside of sanctuary. It would be strange if witches had built a shelter in there.
Nagaru stood up from the chair and put a hand on the curtain.
The curtains were opened with strong momentum revealing the other side. Takeru squinted as daylight entered through the window, then he saw that scenery.
"This is dissidents'... our "Heretic Alliance's" base."
It was a place he was too familiar with.
Thinking of which, he saw a similar hospital-like room and building somewhere before. It was no exaggeration to call it familiar.
"This is.. .AntiMagic Academy...?!"
Inquisition's headquarters and Inquisitor training institution——AntiMagic Academy itself.