Charl hurried towards the doctor’s office, where Raishin was being taken to.
The thing Raishin was being transported on was an ingenious idea of the medical faculty: a simple bed that could be conjured up. Automatically adjusting for differences in height and passing over bumps and dents in the ground, it was designed to be able to absorb any shocks. Also, it was freely adjustable to suit the casualty’s dimensions.
Inside the office, several female students from the medical team and doctor Cruel were waiting.
Cruel had a refreshing smile on his face, complimenting the team on their work. On seeing Charl’s face though, he shrivelled. It looked like the look on her face gave him a memory of a past experience that had been particularly painful.
Raishin was brought further into the office, into the treatment room. Other than personnel from the medical team, none were allowed in. Yaya looked like she had been dragged off Raishin forcibly; she was in a deranged state, trying to cling on to his body.
Magic energy was leaking out from her body, activating Yaya’s magic circuits by herself.
(That idiot! She’ll give away the fact that she’s a Bandoll!)
Charl was about to run over and stop her, but someone else reached Yaya first.
Her smooth silver hair was beautiful. Looking much like the real thing, it sparkled under the light.
Her figure, clothes, and body structure gave her a surprisingly close resemblance to Yaya.
Yaya turned towards the maiden, and exclaimed “Big sis Irori…!”
She called her sister- but that wasn’t possible, since automata weren’t connected by blood. Looking like two portraits of people painted by the same artist, they gave off the feel of having the same creator instead.
“Calm down, Yaya.”
“But, Raishin is—! It’s just like last time… He covered Yaya, and then… blood! Yaya isn’t hurt, but he took the blow… because of Yaya… Raishin, Raishin!”
A small sharp sound could be heard as Yaya’s cheeks turned red.
Her voice was cold and scary. Yaya flinched, then regained her senses.
“What good would making a fuss here do?”
Yaya’s spirit visibly sunk. Her head dropped, and she continued to sob silently.
Seeing Yaya’s state, the girl called Irori hugged Yaya, gently speaking to her.
“Believe in Raishin. Believe and wait. There’s nothing to fear. Raishin is strong. And he won’t die until he defeats Tenzen.”
Unable to hold in her emotions any further, Yaya buried her face into her sister’s chest.
In any case, it looked like Yaya had calmed down somewhat. Just as she backed off, Charl noticed that the words Irori had spoken had also given her encouragement. She didn’t know who this “Tenzen” was, but as long as he was alive, Raishin wouldn’t die. For sure.
Praying for his safety, Charl stared at the opposite wall.
She opened her eyes with a start.
Directly in front of her was Sigmund, a blanket in his mouth. It looked like he had brought it over from somewhere.
“Sorry. Did I wake you?”
“I fell asleep? How long has it been? How’s Raishin?”
“It looks like he’s still unconscious”
Charl groggily rubbed her eyes. Since she had fallen asleep in such an unnatural position, her neck ached.
Looking around her, she noticed she was sitting on a bench in front of the doctor’s office. Light streaming in from the corridor was starting to fade, but light from inside the office was leaking out, making it relatively bright.
“In any case, even if he recovered, now would be time for him to sleep. You should rest as well.”
Wrapping herself up with the blanket, she hugged her knees atop the bench.
“What an idiot. A dazzling idiot. His idiocy is so huge it reaches the heavens. If he’d thought about it for a moment it would have been obvious. That attack was able to cut through Yaya, and there’s no way taking an attack like that on bare flesh would leave him unharmed.”
“… that’s true, however.”
Landing on top of the blanket and curling himself up like a cat, Sigmund continued
“Yaya possesses a superb and sturdy defensive strength. She said it herself. Bladed objects cannot hurt her.”
“But, he managed to cut her. It was a clean cut too.”
“Therein lies the rub. He received an attack on a scale which could cut Yaya, yet Raishin wasn’t split in two.”
“— what’s the meaning of this?”
“Killing your opponent means instant disqualification. Charlotte, do you think Loki could have held back?”
“Hold back… But back then, you saw the force of the blow too right? Cherubim was already in an advanced motion of attack. Once past that point, it’s unlikely he would be able to hold back.”
Raishin had swapped himself into Yaya’s position. He didn’t jump in to push her away. Therefore, the tip of the blade merely grazed him. Was that the reason why the wound was so shallow?
“Hypothetically, if you deactivated the magic art— no, even if you switched it off, inertia would have caused the blade to continue on. The only way to stop it would be if you used telekinesis… Ah.”
Charl finally noticed what Sigmund had been trying to say.
“That’s right. Cherubim’s magic circuit is not telekinetic in nature.”
D-works had sent Cherubim with a lot of belief in it. It was a state-of-the-art prototype. That complicated transformation mechanism it possessed was cutting edge technology. Obviously, the magic circuit installed inside it would also be state-of-the-art as well.
A magic art strong enough to cut through Yaya’s body. And yet, that magic art also allowed heavy weights to be swung about with ease. Not only was it able to allow that massive sword to float in mid-air, it also allowed the user to send short swords flying towards the opponent. Just what in the world was this circuit?
“Figuring this out might be the key to defeating the Sword Emperor.”
“You’re right. Once that idiot recovers, I’ll tell him.”
“Is that really ok?”
Sigmund stared at Charl with a prudent look in his eyes.
“If he wins, Raishin will become stronger. Experience is brought forth by refining a human being much like polishing with a grindstone. Especially Raishin, who is the type that gains strength by progressing through battles.”
She understood. To the officials in charge, Raishin was just another face in the crowd. But his battle potential was astounding. If he got enough experience, he was the type to grow by leaps and bounds.
“You are the sixth seat of the Rounds— unless you plan on following Loki, who willingly dropped all the way to the bottom just to face Raishin. If he makes it all the way, by the time he faces you, his strength might have exceeded your expectations.”
“… Don’t make me repeat myself. I am Charlotte of the noble house of Belew. No matter how strong that idiot becomes, I will just obliterate him head on. And besides,”
For the first time in that night, Charl laughed.
“It’d be a shame for him to exit now that he’s managed to catch your attention as well.”
“‘as well’ would imply that he’s already caught your attention too, you know?”
“Wha- I- Yo-”
“I’m sorry. Maybe that one was going a little too far. Recently whenever I look at you, your face seems to be heating up brighter than a fire.”
“Just be quiet already Sigmund! I’ll change your lunch from chicken to powdered milk!”
Sigmund smiled wryly, hiding his face behind his tail so he could pretend he didn’t hear her.
Charl pouted. Grabbing on to his wings, she tried to pull them apart with all her might.
(What’s wrong… it’s not like it’s a big deal if I’m a little interested, is it?)
Raishin was the first friend she had made in the academy.
You better not die, Raishin.
“… because I’m worrying this much about you.”
In a voice that no one could hear, Charl softly whispered.
Blushing, she quickly grabbed the blanket, pulling it over her head.