It happened in the Artemia Dorm on the ninth day Kanata became an instructor.
On top of the stairs was the floor of shared space between the male dorm on the right and female dorm on the left. In this five storeys high wide space, Kanata occupied a three-man sofa alone while datas stacked on the nearby table.
“You should choose the place even if you are hated by everyone. It will cause inconvenience to others here.”
Lloyd was late to realize the situation, but still reminded him with a half amazed look.
“Nn, the surrounding expressly moved away so isn’t it fine?”
“I can only take my hat off to such attitude of Kanata.”
“? Why would you take your hat off to me?”
“Saying it’s a good thing that people around you keep their distances should mean that you are living quite a lonely life, but Kanata made it sound like a positive speech.”
“Is that so? Is my life quite lonely?”
“Let me point out for you if you haven’t realized. Getting treated as a traitor amongst the Academy City, it’s not a matter of just being rare.”
“Heh, that’s so huh. Well, it doesn’t matter to me right now.”
Cleaning up his messy room was a waste of time to him. Nobody approached Kanata as he was treated as a traitor by the surrounding, making his isolation seemed like he was evil. What’s more Kanata himself really did not mind at all.
“Please excuse me for interrupting, Lloyd senpai. May I join in the conversation?”
Spotting him with her sharp eyesight, Yuri closed in and interrupted with a thorny tone.
“Speaking of which, the ranking battle for the squadron senpai is in charge of as their instructor has been decided to be next week. Their opponents is the squadron that looks promising to be promoted to D-rank.”
“Something like that.”
Kanata stared at the data of his squadron members and replied coldly.
Nobody knew that since the opponent matching was posted on the bulletin board in school, he had been thinking about the way to win overnight last night.
“Then is there any winning chance for that F-rank squadron? Or are you going to run away with some excuse? Kanata senpai has become a mere coward ever since that incident after all.”
Her words only contained her despise to the traitor. Shifting his sight away from the data, Kanata looked up at Yuri.
“Nn, Yuri. You think that E-601 squadron has no chance of winning right?
“Of course. Not only were they weak, with the irresponsible senpai joining, there is no way for them to become stronger.”
“I see. That makes it convenient for me.”
Towards Kanata who showed a confident smile, Yuri revealed confusion.
“Convenient? W-What do you mean?”
Kanata who shifted his eyes away from the data used that pair of dark pupil which could suck people in, to focus on Yuri.
“Anybody would think that it’s obvious who would lose. Not to mention the opponent is the squadron that looks promising to be promoted to D-rank. The opponent will win no matter how you look at it. That’s why we won’t have any loss even if we lose. Hence, they can be relaxed and fight the way they want to.”
“That means……You are saying it’s only a matter of course for them to lose!”
“Not really. The element to winning increased. That’s all it is.”
His face is still the same as the time when he was called the Ace, Yuri thought so in a corner of her heart.
Like the time when he was called the 「Kronos」 who would not give up no matter how disadvantageous the situation was, that confident face she had not seen ever since that day of betrayal.
“At least I hope that you are not just saying empty words.”
Throwing the sarcastic words at him, Yuri left the place while taking a miserable glance at Kanata.
“Lloyd, can you?”
“You mean you want me to check if Yuri is throwing a tantrum huh. If you are aiming for that, then you are a really bad guy.”
Lloyd did not know the truth behind Kanata’s betrayal like Yuri. However, seeing how he still went to check on her, it could be seen that he still trusted Kanata.
The shooting range established at a corner of the Training Ground. Aiming at the targets moving on the 100 meter lane, Misora gripped the sword guard of her Magic Cannon Sword tightly. The released magic cannon shot hit the rock far away, smashing it to pieces.
“Wanting to hit a moving target from the start, didn’t I tell you that with your current shooting sense you won’t hit for sure?”
The second day of Misora’s personal special training. Two days counting from the day he persuaded her. To Misora who continued to aim at the target fiercely, Kanata who was inspecting behind said with a fed up tone. After missing her magic cannon shot many times, even Misora lost her motivation.
“About time you are convinced.”
Kanata said as he watched Misora who slumped her shoulders.
“Don’t feel so depressed. I already know that you have no sense for it from the start.”
“Uu……B-But I feel that I would be able to hit it!”
At first, the highly motivated Misora ignored Kanata’s attempt to stop her. As a result of stubbornly going for the high level training, it ended up being a wasted effort. Although she believed that Kanata’s words on that Hope of Hill were not lies, Misora could not hide her insecurity.
The first day of personal special training was classroom lecture. He started with the fundamental knowledge of Magic Cannon shooting that Misora had no interest in and didn’t care about first, but the result was bad.
Regarding the fundamental knowledge of trajectory line in shooting category, Kanata tried to explain it as simplistic as possible in a way that even a child could understand, but she just muddled through, in the end falling asleep from the fatigue of the day’s training.
As it was a one-to-one lesson, Kanata mercilessly did a forehead flick on the spot. The disheartened Misora wanted to maintain her cheap pride and argued that she properly listened so stop hitting her, but shrunk down when she could not answer Kanata’s harsh questions.
Misora asked somewhat anxiously.
“H-Hey……Tell me, do you seriously think that I can get stronger by using Magic Cannon Sword like this?”
Of course, she would not stop even if he told her to stop.
She just wanted to reconfirm whether she could become stronger. The carefree figure of Kanata whose thoughts could not be understood by others caused her to feel ambiguously insecure.
“A~ah, there’s no problem. It is no different from the shooting specialized middle guard role you are playing. Just that the shooting correction is slightly different from a Magic Cannon Staff, a Magic Cannon Sword is harder to handle, so you are going to thoroughly train on it……Hey, there is a fixed target over there right?”
Kanata walked closer to Misora, pointing at the target 200 meters away. Misora immediately aimed there, but.
“Just your skills now cannot hit a target from that distance. First look through the scope.”
“Why must I use a scope……Ouch!”
“If you rebuke again, you will get a stronger forehead flick. Stop complaining and do it.”
It was originally not an option for Magic Cannon Sword, but Kanata went to the Alchemist Division and got one specially installed onto it.
Tucking in her right elbow while supporting the long and big sword with her left hand, adjusted her aiming by following his instruction, the small target from afar was fully captured in her scope.
“I can aim properly now, you see?”
“Well that’s because you aren’t moving, there is supposed to be hand movement and various other corrections needed to be done……Then just move forward like that.”
After confirming that there were no other students using the shooting range, Kanata and Misora crossed the shooting booth, entering the center of the shooting range. And then, probably this distance, Kanata judged so and stopped walking.
“Take your aim again.”
“Un, it became big enough that it can’t fit inside the scope.”
Aiming through the scope again, the target became so big that only a part was shown. It was hard to tell which part it was.
“Yes. Pulling the trigger at this distance is the basics. A beginner doing a high leveled practise is out of the question, so for the time being remember this and……positioning to the back of the target is the cornerstone of aerial battle. You don’t have to think too hard, just focus on these for now.”
“B-But, won’t everyone with shooting specialized armaments be able to do such obvious things?”
“Something like that. But you can’t do it right? Being able to do the obvious thing naturally is important. If you are lacking in basic sniping skill, learning the practical use deviation shooting is even more unreasonable.”
“……Deviation shooting is?”
“I went through yesterday……”
“Like I said, I properly apologized for yesterday didn’t I! ‘Sorry for falling asleep’ I said.”
“Haa……I only remember that you argued back though, well never mind.
Deviation shooting is about calculating the target’s movement, your own shooting speed and distance, then shoot your magic cannon at the area your target will move to beforehand, your current skill is impossible though.”
She probably attempted it unconsciously just now though, Kanata thought from the scene when Misora was trying to shoot the higher level target.
That was still amateur, worse still, the stray bullet might become friendly fire.
“B-But……Then what do I do? If I can’t do deviation shooting, then the next ranking battle will be doubtful, right?”
Misora complained with a pale expression, while Kanata scratched his head and answered.
“A~ah, that’s also true……”
“D-Don’t say it like someone else’s business! You are our instructor you know!”
“Don’t make such an anxious face. There is no way I have not thought about the methods to win.”
However, Misora’s growth was indispensable in order to do that. Her physical ability foundation was high but her battle skill could not keep up, honestly speaking she was useless as she was now.
“In the ranking battle, it won’t work if you can’t do this. So for four days from today, you will spend all your time practising shooting like your life depends on it.”
“I have been t-trying hard……!”
“I know that. But you can stop Magic Sword skill practise first, focus on shooting practise alone. I will try to stay with you as much as possible, but I still need some time to guide Lecty.”
“……What about Rico?”
“First I have to persuade her to participate I guess……Well, I will teach you the secret plan that will become the key to victory now.”
Misora became excited and her eyes shined at the word secret plan. Although she had not completely trusted the traitor before her eyes, she was curious about what the secret plan was and asked.
The school-wide speaker reverberated at that moment.
“S-128 Royal Guards, Kuusen Madoushi Division Sophomore second year Chloe·Sevegny. Please come to the Kuusen Madoushi Division Head office immediately after hearing this announcement. I repeat……”
Kanata spoke on reflex after hearing the announcement.
“A school-wide announcement for calling people does not use such formal wording, not to mention the term Royal Guard was added. A matter involving the Royal Guard, I can’t help but feel anxious about something happening in the surrounding.”
He continued his explanation towards Misora who was impressed.
“This stiff way of speech usually signifies the omen of something.”
The western sun at dusk shone into the Kuusen Madoushi Division Head office. In the middle of the afternoon practical training, Chloe was called to here.
“How may I help you?”
“Look through this data.”
Having a stern personality, Feron immediately passed the compiled data on her desk to her.
Chloe’s expression gradually dulled while looking through the data one by one.
“The recent frequent small-type Magical Armoured Insect assault incidents……Finally at last night, an incident where the D-rank squadron on night guard duty never returned happened.”
“You don’t need to mind. This is our role after all. Doing your best, risking your life for someone, just that it is an unappreciated role without people noticing.”
Despite saying some self-deprecating words, Feron stood up with her usual unchanged stern face and looked at the scenery at the Training Ground through the office’s window.
What reflected in her sharp pupils, were the figures of the majority of Kuusen Madoushi Division students training diligently without knowing anything.
She spoke without looking at Chloe.
“Back to the topic, the word 「Chimera」 seemed to be mentioned in the weak transmission with the D-rank squadron at the end.”
“……Chimera is it?”
“Yes. The guard duty from now on will be done by C-rank squadron and above, but needless to say, your Royal Guard will also focus on the guard duty, please take note.”
Her right hand slightly trembled from the disgrace of losing their comrades while she watched over the Kuusen Madoushi Division students training. Chloe noticed it, but did not say it out.
“It’s probably a large-type Chimera. Since there is no land in the aerial zone surrounding the flying city.”
“……That’s what I think as well……Say Chloe, you don’t seem to be shaken up at all.”
“Getting scared before the battle will cause a winnable battle to lose after all. It’s alright, this「Nirvana」 will take responsibility if anything happens.”
Seeing Chloe who put her hands before her chest and bowed respectfully in court style, Feron’s stern expression also loosened.
“I feel that I can catch a glimpse of the secret to your strength……”
Thanks to Chloe’s daring approach, she was able to relax her shoulders. The figure of Feron whose mouth loosened on this rare occasion looked like a normal girl no matter how someone see it.
“Speaking of which, what is the F-rank squadron that Kanata·Age is in charge of doing now?”
Although she was busy with all the paper works, she remembered after looking at Chloe’s face.
The traitor Kanata and the three failure girls. Honestly speaking, even though it was Chloe’s recommendation, she still felt that letting that traitor Kanata become an instructor was unsuitable. It was like attaching a ‘super’ to the F-rank squadron’s title.
“Let’s see, I think if it’s Kanata, he may betray everyone’s expectation in a way that I cannot guess. Since Kanata had been doing things that I don’t understand since the past.”
“Nn? What does that mean?”
Feron could not comprehend the meaning of the speech from Chloe who was smiling like an angel.
Inter-school ranking battle. It was a competition to improve battle skills of the squadrons organized by Kuusen Madoushi Division. It was divided into five leagues of A~E, leaving a good record in the upper league meant that the members of the squadron would not only receive good evaluation, but also affect their treatment in the school.
Simply speaking, the upper league squadrons would receive various privileges such as scholarship, squadron budget and equipments. For example, S-128 squadron which was the last year’s champion, not only had their dorm fee and school fee exempted, they also had privileges like priority in new equipment distribution and scholarship that did not require repayment.
At the Arena facilitated for this inter-school ranking battle. The squadrons scheduled for today’s battle had already began their warm-ups in this bowl-shape dugged Arena.
“Hey, who do you think will win?”
“── You girls are the next to fight.”
The anxious Misora asked at the sparsely occupied spectator seats, Kanata immediately answered. It was a rest day, Kanata brought Misora who was the squadron leader to observe.
There was barely any people in the spectator seats. Battles between both upper league squadrons was one thing, only bored people or people related would come to watch a battle between both lower league squadrons.
“B-But the other side has four people, while E-571 squadron is a three-man squadron!”
It was stipulated that a squadron’s team member upper limit was five, while lower limit was three.
“The deciding factor of the battle is not just number of people. How unified the team is, is also another deciding factor. Look, your opponents’ eyes on the other hand are sparkling.”
“……U-Un. They seem to be enjoying the situation a little.”
“Yes. Because they have such leeway, they don’t mind the disadvantage in number at all. You all are also a three-man squadron so try to learn from them.”
Getting pointed out clearly, Misora showed a somewhat non-committal face.
She understood that Kanata was not the type to be perfunctory about winning or losing, but she hoped that he could be a little more considerate to her.
At the center of the bowl-shaped Arena, energy was poured into a ball-shaped monument engraved with fine rune characters, 「Sorcerer Field」 enveloped the surrounding area. This was a barrier erection device that convert physical and mental damage into magic power, an excellent tool that made non-lethal mock battle possible.
Once the judging group announced the start of ranking battle, both teams spread out according to their roles immediately, while squadron leader made judgements on the ever-changing battlefield, or team members acted on their own judgements. Ranking battle’s winning condition was to snatch away the symbol mark that hung on the opponent’s squadron leader, or to knock out the squadron leader. The time of the match was at most around fifteen minutes per battle.
The match had started for a few minutes. Kanata watching the match on the spectator seat spoke to himself.
“Heh, they have good unity for not making any mistake as just an E-rank squadron.”
She could see from his eyes that he was interested in the outcome. Why would this guy become a traitor if he enjoys the outcome so much? Misora tilted her head unconsciously.
“Especially that combo-play is interesting. The middle guard and rear guard matched the single vanguard’s movement and changed their positions to provide support. Since they attracted the pressure from enemy at times, it was a battle plan that fully trusted the vanguard. The vanguard with such strong support must feel very confident……See, one of their opponents has been struck down.”
The squadron with number advantage was toyed around by the opponent team’s combo-play, one by one they were striked down. Kanata admired such ideal movement that could be included in the textbook, but.
“C-Can we really win against those people that can move like that?”
As if her words did not reach his ears, Kanata who was concentrating on observing their next opponent told her.
“Nn, why are you showing such an anxious face?”
“B-Because, that kind of combo-play……we can’t do it! And how should I put it, they have the solidarity that we don’t.”
“That’s cause you all have never trained together before, in the first place you all are strangers one month ago, and only began to eat lunch together recently. That kind of fragile relationship cannot form solidarity.”
“T-This means……You are saying that w-we can’t w-win!?”
“I didn’t say anything about you can’t win. I just said that the opponents are strong.”
“Then, then we can win……?!”
“Who knows. It depends on the effort you all put in.”
“Depending on the effort we put in……”
To the clearly dejected Misora, Kanata confidently smiled and admonished her.
“What are you doing, getting cold feet before the battle. Your opponents look down on you all. So you all need to teach your opponents a lesson for being careless. It’s fine to just think of it like this.”
He showed a confident smile as if enjoying this situation, Misora’s wavering instantly stopped.
“You have followed my instruction to do your special training. You, who have put in your utmost effort, have no reason not to be able to match up against them. Effort will not betray the person. Betrayal is always between people. What E-601 squadron is encouraged to do is to train while believing in yourself. There is no other way. Am I wrong?”
Facing the silent Misora, Kanata told her with an understanding face.
“Then, you should go for your personal training now. I still have some business to take care of.”
“Who knows. I’m just going to meet an oddball that has some capabilities.”
Leaving behind Misora who tilted her head in doubt, Kanata went to the meeting place.
“Oi, what are you trying to do?”
“Fuu, you are still a former ace despite rotten to be able to detect my presence.”
After Kanata arrived at the meeting place beneath the tree in the park near the Arena, he noticed Rico who was walking back and forth in the park closing in on him from behind.
Just this alone would be considered as a childish prank, but Rico’s was different. That was because just now Rico had suppressed her presence, a skill that was specialized to Magic Gunner to hide their presence in aerial battle and snipe the enemy, she was intending to test Kanata.
“It’s just by luck. I just turned behind by chance, coincidentally see your figure closing in only.”
“Not just sensing my presence, but also making a visual confirmation you mean. I thought that vagrant Kuushi only relies on presence to detect, neglecting visual confirmation.”
As expected, only Rico alone had outstanding knowledge and skill. She was an absolutely necessary talent in E-601, the corner of Kanata’s lips slightly curved up after confirming it.
“You asked me what I’m trying to do just now, I the Goddess will throw this question back at you. What exactly are you trying to do?”
“Nn, what do you mean?”
“Saying you need me for something, calling me out is still fine. However, purposely choosing the place in front of the Arena to meet up……I can feel some ulterior motive.”
Calculating the time that ranking battle would end, Kanata called Rico out right at that moment. He had even taken the high amount of pride Rico had by calling herself a goddess for having natural talent into account……
“Heh, seeing your appearance, you have also watched that ranking battle, right?”
“What are you going to do since your squadron has no chance of winning as it is now?”
“You also understand that. The squadron you as a goddess belong to will have eleven lose streaks huh. Or perhaps you don’t want to lose so you run away. However, you being a goddess won’t run away right?”
“……Your provocation is a little too cheap.”
“Your strength is necessary for my squadron to win. It’s impossible with just the strength from Misora and Lecty.”
Kanata stared straight at her after saying so, Rico brushed her hair and showed a ‘not my business’ face.
“Needing a Goddess like me is only natural. However, I do not plan to participate a battle that will make me lose pathetically.”
Rico’s pride would not allow her to continue to lose. She would not participate in the battle because she hated to lose, or if she would participate the battle and show a result other than losing……
Kanata told her as if seeing through all of Rico’s concerns and feelings.
“I see. Then, what if I impart onto you the secret plan that can guarantee you victory?”
“……What, did you say……!?”
“It’s a chance to overturn your unfortunate life.”
“……What exactly are you basing your words on when you don’t know much about me?”
“I know more or less if it’s about you. You are, the owner of senrigan right?”
Recorded on the profile sheet was the highest rank detection type unique skill 「Senrigan」. Seeing that sentence, he was shocked.
“I don’t know why you normally don’t use Senrigan, but I believe that it is not exaggerating to say that you have the ability of a Goddess. At least that is my evaluation of you.”
“Fuu, evaluating a Goddess such as me like that is obvious. In the first place, it seems that the ugly mortals are unable to comprehend this though.”
Saying so, Rico faced Kanata with an unconcerned face and snorted.
“Fumu, you are a little bit interesting. I suppose participating in a battle once in awhile is fine……However, I won’t join the training. I hate sweating after all.”
Leaving those words behind, Rico gallantly left the place. She faintly realized that the result was just as Kanata had planned, but she would not dislike being evaluated to have the ability of a Goddess.
Rico did not care about training like usual, while Rico somehow seemed to have grasped the the special training. She had resumed her normal Magic Twin Sword arte training.
On the other hand, the figures of Kanata and Misora could be spotted 4000m above in the air. They had begun the hovering Magic Cannon shooting training and high speed flying shooting training simultaneously since two days ago.
Large cloud pieces gathered in flocks, covering the blue sky like dots. Those were cumulous clouds.
Kanata was riding his 「Broom」 as usual, while Misora was following with flying magic. There were no signs of other students training in their surrounding. It was probably because they had separated from the air space directly above 「Mystogan」. Kanata slowly spoke in that desolate environment.
“Misora, I will only show you this move once so watch carefully.”
As he said, he thrusted out his right hand to his side. In the next instant, a Magic Cannon Sword appeared out of empty space all of a sudden. Misora knew the name of that sword.
She unconsciously leaked out that word.
That sword was the reason Kanata was called 「Kuronos」. The big sword that could overthrow everything which the former ace of the strongest squadron in 「Mystogan」 held. It was once the sword of destruction that the top of the 3000 Kuushi in 「Mystogan」 deserved to own.
Ignoring the engrossed girl, Kanata lightly raised it with one hand. He aimed in the direction of the nearby cloud cluster with the muzzle attached at the tip of the sword.
Then he channelled his magic power, pouring everything into the Magic Cannon Sword. At the same time the cylinder-type magic converter attached at the hilt of 「Gladius」 quickly turned five times, the blade released a mysterious shine. Then Kanata pulled the trigger with a stern look ──
Magic Cannon Sword battle skill ── Strike Blaster
Explosion. An arm-ripping-like recoil. And happening at the same time, an enormous whirlpool-like black light streamed through as if devouring everything.
That was a pitch black light torrent like the crystallization of violence. A hot wind that could burn the atmosphere blew, a big hole dug through the cloud cluster in the air space far away from Kanata. The atmosphere and remnant magic power brought about after shocks as if swelling.
That was something that happened in an instant.
An instant that was hard to judge if it was a dream or reality.
“No way! J-Just now……What did you do!”
What the astonished Misora witnessed was the overwhelming difference in their ability. It was a showy Magic Cannon Sword battle skill that made the people wondering what he did felt idiotic.
There were many restricted skills in the cannon type battle skills, this was amongst of those those many.
“Nn, didn’t you see what I did?”
Kanata who had just used a big skill nonchalantly said.
“And so, this is the skill you will be mastering……Oi, are you listening?”
No way, what did this guy just say! Misora half opened her mouth and stiffened. T-This skill is what I will be mastering!?
“C-Can I master such a strong skill!?”
“The possibility is there. Well, it depends on your effort.”
Misora could at most hit 50% of the time against a fixed target, and under 20% against a moving target. Even so, compared to not a single hit at the start of the training, this was a significant result.
Kanata instructed Misora just like this. The way to channel magic power, the way to pour magic power into Magic Cannon Sword, the simple engraving technique to carve rune words onto Magic Cannon Sword, the timing to determine the critical point, etc.
Then after lecturing through the whole sequence he asked as if it was natural.
“Then try it once.”
“……U-Un. I’m going to try it.”
Unable to raise the Magic Cannon Sword lightly with a single hand like Kanata, Misora awkwardly tucked in her right elbow and supported the sword body with her left hand to take the shooting pose she used during shooting training.
However, she could not shoot immediately. The time to channel magic power to activate the Magic Cannon battle skill was necessary. After a while, enormous magic power was channeled through her body, poured into part of the cylinder on the Magic Cannon Sword ── the magic converter, then.
Magic Cannon Sword battle skill ── Strike Blaster
Misora pulled the trigger, the recoil shifted the aim greatly upwards. At the same time a ray of white silver light shot out. It was much inferior to the enormous black light stream that Kanata released, but it was still a high power magic cannon shot that normal cannon shots could not compare to.
That power shone intensely to the degree that she could not believe it was her own attack.
However, she could not muster any strength on her whole body suddenly. Immediately after the light disappeared from the sword tip, Misora was assaulted by an intense weakness feeling and dizziness.
“T-This much burden on magic power……H-How are you able to maintain your calmness!”
Misora was dumbfounded by the tremendous magic consumption and turned back.
Before her eyes was ── the figure of Kanata who was calm like usual, but something felt amiss.
His expression seemed calm like usual. But on closer look, it seemed like sweat drop was appearing on his forehead, his face paled and his breathing became shallow, as if he was pretending to show calmness.
Misora had often witnessed those symptoms when she was in Preparatory first year. The Kuusen Madoushi Division freshmen that did not know their own magic power limit often encountered the so-called ── Magic power exhaustion.
“Nn? What is it?”
Kanata showed a confused face while still pretending to be calm, asked her as he rode on his 「Broom」.
「Broom」. Kanata was using it to fly even in today’s training. Not using the continuous magic power consuming type flying magic, as if suppressing his magic power usage to the minimum……
Speaking of which, apart from using it for long distance travel, 「Broom」 was also used to prevent the freshmen from falling due to magic power exhaustion during the activation of flying magic.
Could it be……this guy doesn’t have much magic power capacity? Even though he is a former ace……?
“In addition to Misora’s shooting training, this will be included. After suppressing the power, stop after three shots a day. Since there is a limit to the number of shots, shoot each time cautiously. Exceeding this will hinder your training after all.”
Kanata did not listen to Misora’s words as usual and explained, but.
“How many times have I asked ‘What is it’, is there something on my face?”
“U-Uun. I-It’s nothing. Just my own stuff.”
Kanata who was focused on explaining did not notice the change in Misora.
What is it I wonder, Misora felt amiss and thought. It should not happen originally. Anyhow, he was someone with the qualification to stand at the top of Kuusen Madoushi Division in 「Mystogan」, to show early symptoms of magic power exhaustion after just this much of battle skill……
“Ok, then this will be added to your training. Any questions?”
Even so, she could not ask. Misora shook her head. If I just asked like that, my relationship with Kanata will crumble. Such insecurity passed through in her brain.
Traitor. The former ace traitor that suddenly absented from the ranking battle, and this matter have some connections……?
Hiding such insecure thoughts away, Misora concentrated her mind to the present, beginning her second strike.
The day before ranking battle. Gathered in the squadron room, the three members, including Misora, were having a battle strategy meeting with Kanata. On the whiteboard was filled with 3D battle strategy arrangement Kanata had somehow drew, and each of their positions added in.
“Then I will begin to explain.”
Kanata gathered the attention of Misora and co with that as the starter.
This was the battle plan that could lead them to victory against the opponents in the next ranking battle after all. Despite him being the traitor, it was a battle plan made by a former ace.
It must be a brilliant battle plan that they themselves could never expect, Misora and co anticipated his continuation excitedly.
“── Lecty stop them. Rico support. Then Misora will end it with one shot. With this it will roughly determine the outcome I guess.”
The fully confident Kanata nonchalantly said. However, Misora and co could not fathom what was just said. Question marks appeared in their heads as they were confused.
In the first place, the whiteboard filled with sketches just now was never used at all.
“Nn? What is it?”
“I totally cannot comprehend what you just explained……Please be more specific!”
“Exactly. A Goddess like me also cannot understand. You actually did not think of anything, right?”
“K-Kanata-san! W-We, can really win, right!”
Misora and co complained as if they had given up. However, Kanata tilted his head and crossed his arms with a Why can’t you all understand? look.
“Un……Lecty as the vanguard will stop the enemy squadron leader. Then Rico will provide support fire. With that at least the opponent squadron leader will be unable to move, and maybe attract the attention of one more enemy if lucky. During that time, Misora must fly around the field desperately to keep yourself free. Then the free Misora will supply magic power for Strike Blaster to finish off the enemy squadron leader is what I meant, why can’t you all get it?”
“““── You have never said all that before!”””
Misora and co synchronized angrily, while Kanata felt surprised.
“Nn? I didn’t tell you huh?”
Ah I don’t know what is what anymore, Misora pressed her forehead with her hand. Then she suddenly realized something.
“……Speaking of which, is that really fine?”
Rico and Lecty also nodded their heads after hearing this question.
“Lecty will stop their squadron leader, Rico will provide support fire. After that, me who is free will end it with one strike……You are still a former ace, but is that all you have come up with?”
There was not a single group training. And Misora had just become familiar with Magic Cannon Sword battle skill, still having the weakness of taking a long time to activate that Strike Blaster skill.
“I repeat, we have never once practised as a group before! There is no way that kind of simple plan can win! Shouldn’t we spend some time and do group practise instead!?”
Misora was wavering, but Kanata had no intention of changing his battle tactics and frankly spoke.
“Even if you said group practise, just a single day of cooperation won’t do. A castle built with sand will easily get washed away by seawater after all.”
“B-But, w-will this really make us win?”
“Yes. This is too simple. I don’t want to lose pathetically.”
“Umm Kanata-san, is this alright!?”
Kanata showed a confident smile towards the faces of these anxious students.
“If you all can get along well, E-571 won’t be a match. That won’t be just a victory, you may even beat your opponents without a scratch.”
“L-Lies! The plan you said just now, c-can really win……!?”
“Of course. Not just handling your own roles, it will be useless if you don’t grasp the roles of your teammates as well. Once you are able to remember the movements of your teammates’ roles, your victory will be a certainty. Not to mention that the strategy I provided is for actual battle, it is useful even against the Magical Armoured Insects. So it’s fine to be confident of yourself.”
The inter-school ranking battle was a simulator for battles against Magical Armoured Insects in the first place.
The victory was determined by snatching the symbol mark from the opponent squadron leader, or defeating the squadron leader. It originated from the more intelligent commander type Magical Armoured Insect leading the soldier types.
The strangely convincing words from Kanata quietened down the objections against the battle plan.
“Then since the battle plan is completed, you all will be talking about the rest. From here onwards, it will be up to you all.”
Kanata lightly knocked his chest.
“Whether you all are satisfied with being the F-rank squadron, or want to climb up, show me your mettles.”
Gulp. Misora and co swallowed their saliva from due to his impactful speech.
It was finally time to test the result of their trainings tomorrow.
After finishing the diary for today, Misora fell onto her bed in a 大 shape. She was totally exhausted from the training up to this day.
Then she reviewed the results of her training. Sniping skill first, her hit rate against a stationary target was around 50%, while moving target was about 25%. She probably could not be able to score a hit with normal shots in the ranking battle tomorrow.
The next part would be very important, the mastery of Magic Cannon Sword battle art. Although she more or less had the form of using it, she had no experience shooting it in group cooperation practice before. Kanata told her not to mind, but as long as the ending strike of the battle plan fell on Misora herself, she would be anxious no matter what.
Uu, realizing her loss of confidence, Misora sat up on her bed and slapped her cheeks with both hands in the momentum.
However, she sobered up with that. Though her cheeks was slightly red, Misora thought that she must not show weakness as a squadron leader. Not to mention, since Kanata told her that the key of the battle plan was herself, she had to put in two times the effort than others.
── Whether you all are satisfied with being the F-rank squadron, or want to climb up, show me your mettles.
“That guy can also say something good.”
Misora unconsciously leaked out a little laughter.
There was no point worrying about it alone in the first place. The obstacles before her eyes would not disappear no matter how much she worry about it, it would be useless to just be heart broken.
The next to show up in her thought was Kanata. His facial expression was poor after showing her that Magic Cannon Sword battle skill.
That symptom was magic power exhaustion no matter how she looked at it. No no calm down me. There is no way for the ace nicknamed 「Kuronos」 to have magic power exhaustion. What I witnessed that time might be a totally different disease. In the first place, I should not be thinking about that about focus on tomorrow. It will be fine to ask him after this.
Thinking about tomorrow only was also a responsibility of the squadron leader. Misora who thought so quickly fell asleep without even the time to feel nervous, probably because of the fatigue accumulated in that day’s training.
On the day of the squadron ranking battle. In the Arena, the figures of Kanata and others could be seen floating in air.
As they were unpopular, and there were few people who wanted to see a ranking battle between both E-rank squadrons, the spectator seats were quite empty.
Their opponent, the E-571 squadron, could not help but leaked out laughter after seeing Misora’s team coming.
“With this our promotion to D-rank is confirmed.”
“A~ah, our opponent is the F-rank squadron. We can fight with ease.”
“Let’s hold a celebration party after we return, a celebration party I say.”
Treating them as the F-rank squadron, nobody saw Misora’s team as a threat.
As for Kanata’s side that were flying towards their opponent……
“Heh, they are looking down on us.”
Once he thought about what would happen next, Kanata showed a grinned confidently.
“I’m so pissed off!”
“Fuu, humans look down on others because they are small-minded themselves.”
“That means you are also……”
“Fumu, a Goddess such as me is a different existence from human so there is no problem.”
“I-I……Somehow become very nervous!”
Kanata called out to Misora and co who were each in their own thoughts.
“Hey, do you all know?”
He casually told them even in the place before their enemies.
“Amongst the people here, there is probably nobody who thinks that you all may win. So, there is no need to feel pressure regardless of ten consecutive losses or a hundred consecutive losses.
I have repeated this many times, but following my battle plan you have a fifty-fifty chance in this battle. Then the next will be you girls’ ──”
Just when Kanata was about to give them his final encouragement, the Sorcerer Field was forcefully dispelled.
The surrounding people were confused about the disappearance of the barrier. They could not understand what happened at all. Various expressions showed on their faces. At that moment, the judge instructed everyone from Kanata’s group to descend into the city.
“What exactly is going on?”
At the same time as Misora landed on the Training Ground, the alarm installed in the city sounded off. The low-pitched Uuun alarm indicating an aerial invasion repeated three times.
The Floating Academy City 「Mystogan」 instantly became silent.
In the next instant, rumbling came from all over the city.
There was rarely a chance for Magical Armoured Insects to get near the city itself. At least such a situation never happened last year.
Though Kanata did not witness himself, the streets must be filled with sad cries and people escaping everywhere in fear.
“Of all times, the aerial invasion alarm comes at this timing……”
Amongst the ones in the Training Ground, Kanata spoke first.
As expected of a former ace, he was used to such a shuraba. He did not look nervous at all.
His comrades from S-128 squadron should have received the order to focus on removing the threats, so they should already be carrying out their mission in the outer sky of the city at this instant……── Well, Chloe should be fine. They won’t get hurt so easily.
As he was thinking all those, he looked at Misora and others who had anxiety on their faces. He would absolutely not allow those living in this city to die. Protecting the people living in this city was the duty of the Kuushi.
Quietly resolving himself, Kanata headed towards the refugee shelter area with Misora and others.