The anger was still smouldering in his heart as Raishin left the office.
Standing in the hallway, with a face that looked like she’d just about understood everything, was Yaya.
Their eyes met for a brief moment.
“I’m an idiot, aren’t I?”
The smile on Yaya’s face was like a flower blooming.
With that alone, he understood.
Raishin walked towards the entrance. Behind him, Yaya followed dutifully.
Walking out of the entrance, they were met by a shadow standing in the midst of the moonlight.
“Really, this year’s Night Party has been a total wreck.”
The shadow muttered in a flesh-and-blood voice. It had a slim body. Under the dim moonlight, its golden hair shone mysteriously. There were four horns on top of the face- or rather, 4 wings.
“The first day the 99th seat was forced to retire. And today the 98th seat was forced to stop by doctor’s intervention. Two days in a row where there hasn’t been a clean finish nor a decisive victory.”
Charl narrowed her sharp eyes into a searching glare at Raishin.
“And just where are you planning on going at this late hour?”
“… Just taking a walk.”
“You’re going to the orphanage run by D-Works aren’t you? Before Rabi’s siblings can be disposed of, you’re going to kidnap them right?”
“… You know, a lady like yourself shouldn’t be eavesdropping like that, right?”
“Idiot. Such an idiot. You’re the biggest idiot in history, the apex of the pyramid of idiocy.”
Charl was pressing her fingers against her temples, like she was having a migraine.
“Do you have any idea what kind of state you’re in? Even that quack doctor said you’re in no condition to be walking around. Only the idiot of idiots would even consider participating in the Night Party in that state. You could die at any moment, but you still want to do something so excessive? Do you have a death wish?”
Raishin listened to her verbal torrent in silence, and the corner of Charl’s eyes edged upwards.
“Be reasonable. You’ve seen it in the last battle, haven’t you? Those people have no qualms about pulling off a stunt like that with Frey. They would kill a human in cold blood. Think of what they would do to an intruder.”
“Based on their muskets, I’d say Swiss cheese.”
“Guns are the least of your troubles. They’ll most likely have automata equipped for battle lying in wait.”
“In that case, your worries are unfounded. I have the world’s best automaton with me.”
“That’s why you’re an idiot! Forget D-Works, worry about getting caught by the security here first. If the fact that you bring her out is discovered, you’ll be expelled, and Yaya will be confiscated and dismantled.”
“So all I have to do is not be discovered, right?”
“… You bear the grudge of the Kingsfort family. It’s also possible that behind that grudge lies the ire of the government. There are many people who want to kill you- or rather have been waiting impatiently for the chance to do so.”
“You of all people should understand.”
“Family is not something that you should lose so easily.”
Because once you lose it, it can never return.
The only thing left is a lifetime of regret that will never vanish.
“Besides, you said it yourself. I’m a person bound by the code of the samurai.”
Even though they had barely knew each other, Yomi sacrificed herself to save Raishin.
That was surely because she trusted him.
She believed in him, and knew that she could leave the rest to him.
And that’s why Raishin was going to go.
Even if it meant putting his body in grave danger, he would break the shackles binding Frey.
“… I’m not letting you leave.”
Sigmund perched on Charl’s arm, and with magic energy beginning to well up, spoke in a voice that sounded like a threat.
“If you say that you’re going no matter that, then you’ll have to defeat me first.”
Sigmund’s eyes were glowing, and a bright light was shining from within the gaps of his fangs.
Yaya prepared to leap to his front, but Raishin halted her, and spoke to Charl in a calm voice.
“Why are you so adamant on preventing me from leaving? If something does happen to me, it won’t affect you, so why?”
“… The code of the Samurai. You saved me once.”
While saying that, Charl hurriedly turned her head the other way.
“Only once. Just that one time. That’s why to return the favour, I have to protect you as well. It’s only fair that way. Of course I’m only going to protect you once. But since it’s only one time- no matter what happens I’ll protect you. Even if it means doing something that will make you hate me.”
Once again, they glared at each other.
Charl was serious. Sigmund had also picked up on her intentions, and was already preparing to battle.
Their concern was obvious. Yaya cast her eyes downward in sadness. However, Raishin wasn’t about to back down either.
Reaching into his breast with his left hand, he took out a silver pendant.
“This is the charm you gave me. Although the chain has been broken.”
“Was it when Cherubim sliced you…?”
“This thing helped save my life once. That means, you’ve already protected me once.”
“— that’s not what I was talking about!”
“That’s not what I meant either. What I meant to say is, you need to have more faith. Not in me though. Believe in the power of this charm you gave me.”
The pendant was swaying slightly. Staring at its sparkle, the expression on Charl’s face changed.
She frowned with her lips pouted.
“… That’s unfair. Bringing that out now is such a cowardly move.”
This pendant, as much as she disliked it, caused her to remember the time she was saved by Raishin.
That time, Raishin had thrown himself into battle for Charl’s sake, without giving a second thought to his own life.
It was the same now. Once again, Raishin was going to risk his life in order to rescue someone else’s. Charl didn’t have the right to stop him. After all, she had been saved by him too.
“… Fine. Go where you like. Go where you like and die by the roadside. And then after you die, I hope you get eaten by dogs.”
“Heh, that’s a sudden 180 in your attitude.”
Raishin chuckled wryly. Grumpily slipping past him, Charl left him with a stinging barb.
“You are really, really an idiot the size of Big Ben!”
And she was gone. He thought he had seen some colour in her cheeks, but he was no longer able to confirm it.
Yaya and Raishin exchanged glances, then dashed off into the darkness.
An hour later—
Raishin and Yaya were on a horse, sprinting like the wind in the dead of the night, finally stopping at a small wheat field near the orphanage.
Komurasaki’s Yagaesumi was in effect on the both of them. However, the horse was a different matter. The sound of its hooves thundering and the sound of its breathing would be heard from far off.
Because of that, they had to stop the horse a little ways from their actual destination. The stabbing pain in his arm caused Raishin to grimace, but he laughed it off as he dismounted from the horse.
“Oh man. I told myself I would never come here again.”
The orphanage in question was bright even at night. The rooms inside (if they could be called rooms) were all lit up.
“There are a lot of guards on watch.”
“It looks like what happened this afternoon must have been quite a shock to them.”
“Is that referring to Raishin and Komurasaki making out?”
“That is a gross distortion of the facts, ok? I was this close to dying—“
A red light flashed on their heads. Guided by instinct, the two leapt backwards from where they were standing.
A cluster of metal pierced the ground near their feet. They were short swords!
The dust began to swirl. Frightened by the sudden attack, the horse dashed off by itself at full speed.
Although it was something they had taken from the military for their own convenience, they couldn’t afford to let it get caught.
Looking up, he could see there were shadows on the roof of the orphanage observing them. It looked like there were about eight to ten of them. If half of them were automata, their strength wasn’t something he could afford to take lightly.
Before they could be surrounded, Raishin moved first. Opening his hand towards Yaya, he channeled his magic energy over. Dispelling Komurasaki’s Yaegasumi, he activated Yaya’s Kongouriki.
“Go wild, Yaya.”
“Roger! That’s Yaya’s specialty!”
“… Good. You don’t have to hold back like you normally do, ok?”
Tearing through the air like a flash of lightning, the two of them charged into the orphanage.