Leaving the building, Raishin and Yaya were finally heading back to the dormitory.
It was one in the morning. The harsh night wind was still blowing at this time. The dampness in the cold air caused him to duck his head down reflexively.
Yaya looked fine. She was strangely in a good mood, almost bouncing as she took a few steps in front of him.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been back in the dorm, hasn’t it?”
“Doesn’t this feel somehow nostalgic?”
“The dormitory is not a public space, right?”
“Yeah, but if you try something weird I’ll kick you out, ok?”
“Did you just click your tongue? You just blatantly did it, didn’t you?”
“But it’s been so cold recently… Yaya will freeze if she’s left all alone.”
“Don’t lie! You got guts saying that, considering you removed your clothes without even batting an eyelid!”
Emerging from the tunnel of trees, they reached the tortoise dormitory.
By now, even the industrious boarding master was fast asleep. Obviously, this meant the entrance was locked… But Raishin had a spare key. It was one of the privileges of being a glove bearer— a Gauntlet.
Relocking the door upon entering, he headed towards his room.
It was his own castle where he felt strangely calm inside. Taking his painkillers, he changed out of his uniform and brushed his teeth. The painkillers soon kicked in, a wave of drowsiness assailing him.
Resisting the sandman’s call, he reclined in a chair and started to think.
He went over what Kimberly had just told him.
“Are you still up, Raishin? Please hurry up and go to sleep.”
“Yeah, I will as soon as you get out of my bed.”
Yaya reluctantly got off his bed and climbed into her own.
In her place, he dived under the covers of his bed. His sheets and the spot where Yaya had lain felt warm because of her body heat. Letting out a pleasant sigh of relief, Raishin finally closed his eyes.
Feeling his consciousness drift away, he murmured to the bed opposite him.
“… Yaya, about this afternoon’s question. Why am I so desperately trying to help Charl— even after Shouko’s reprimand.”
He felt a sharp intake of breath on the other side. Yaya was tensed up.
“I’m not too sure of the reason myself.”
“I’m not attracted to Charl. Sigmund is without a doubt, a formidable opponent, and if he were to be gone it might actually work to our advantage. However, if they’re in trouble, then I want to help them.”
“It’s not just Charl, but Frey too. Obviously, that includes you as well. Loki— well, our past differences aside, he’s also someone I’d help. I guess I really have to help Charl after all. Besides…”
Henri was weighing heavily on his mind.
He felt an affinity with her. As someone who also had a superior elder sibling, he had some warped sympathy for her, since he felt she resembled him closely. Maybe that was an arbitrary misunderstanding on his part, but still…
“Tomorrow, we’re going to look for Henri again.”
“Henriette? Not Charlotte?”
“Charl said it herself, ‘don’t get involved with her’. Unfortunately for her I am an antagonistic devil.”
“Ok. Yaya will do as Raishin says then.”
Yaya meekly complied.
Trying to dispel her gloom, Raishin had a gentle tone in his voice as he continued.
‘’Sorry for always saddling you with troublesome things.”
“Don’t say that… As long as Yaya can remain by Raishin’s side, Yaya is happy.”
“Someday I’ll make it up to you.”
“Raishin… Does that mean…”
That was a large thump in Yaya’s chest.
“You’re going to propose to Yaya…?”
“What the hell!?”
“But didn’t you say you’d listen to any request Yaya asked for?”
“I didn’t go that far! All I said was I’d make amends!”
“In that case, please make Yaya your wife!’
“Don’t ‘in that case’ me! I’m not making that sort of compromise at all!”
The covers on the bed next to him flew off.
In the midst of the darkness, he could feel the presence of a ferocious beast drawing closer.
Grabbing tightly onto his blanket, he braced himself for the ravenous beast’s attack.
Fighting back his fatigue, Raishin once again endured a sleepless night.
Finally, it was the next morning.
On the first floor of the Tortoise dormitory, there was a large dining hall, and the boarding students were gathered inside.
It was breakfast time, and a church brother was leading them in saying grace.
Vaguely going along with the words, Raishin was buttering his black toast, when he let out a huge yawn.
His lack of sleep was obvious. His eyes were glazed over and felt heavy, and there were also eyebags under them.
Next to him, Yaya was also sleepy. With a half asleep look on her face, she was slowly chipping away the shell of her egg.
Viewing the both of them suspiciously, the pretty boarding master came up to them.
“Now see here, Raishin…”
He was about to say something, but then stopped. Shaking his head,
“No, it’s nothing. I’ve been there before. At your age, if you don’t find some way to release those urges every night, it’ll end up affecting your ability to study.”
“Don’t look at me like that! I haven’t been doing the stuff you’re thinking of!”
“I’m sorry for this, boarding master. Raishin was so vigorous last night… <3”
“Don’t intentionally give people the wrong idea! The only thing that was vigorous about me last night was my resistance!”
The surrounding students burst into laughter. Feeling a migraine coming on, Raishin bit into his blackened toast. Drinking his fresh milk and chewing the thick slices of bacon, just as he added salt onto his eggs and was about to put it into his mouth,
“Hey, did you hear? The T-Rex is supposedly the one behind the clock tower’s destruction.”
Having heard that, Raishin put all his concentration into his hearing.
“This isn’t something people can just laugh and shrug off.”
“She’s essentially challenging the school’s authority, isn’t she? They’re going to pursue the maximum punishment for her.”
“Even if the headmaster forgives her, we won’t.”
The tone in their voices weren’t joking. The hostility was there, and they were giving off a dangerous presence.
“In the end, the T-Rex is a villain after all.”
“In that case, then the incident involving Felix…”
Amidst the dining hall buzzing, a strange atmosphere began to fill the area.
“I can’t believe someone like Felix would be a killer…”
“Yeah, if we’re talking about that… I think there’s something fishy about the whole affair. Didn’t they say the academy refused an offer of help from the government’s own investigation branch? If so, then everything is the headmaster’s…”
“If the T-Rex is a villain, then Second Last is mostly involved as well. He just transferred into the school and suddenly he’s in the Night Party. The timing is just too perfect—“
There was a loud sound of a chair scraping the floor as someone suddenly and noisily stood up.
Silence descended upon the hall in an instant. All eyes shifted onto the person who had shown no etiquette.
It was Raishin.
Yaya looked up at him, a worried expression on her face.
The group who were talking about Charl stared at Raishin in silence.
The tension in the room was so thick it could have been cut with a knife— But Raishin nonchalantly picked up his tray, brought it over to the sink and gave it a quick wash, before leaving the hall. Yaya hurriedly followed after him.
As soon as he was out of the hall, laughter could be heard within.
Yaya stared at the dining hall in irritation.
“Don’t bother. If they want to laugh, let them laugh.”
He was used to being laughed at, but that wasn’t important.
From what he heard, Charl was now the enemy of the whole academy.
If he didn’t resolve the problem quickly, he would soon become powerless to do anything to help her. Even if he were to destroy the school register, she wouldn’t be able to return to the school.
“I’m taking a self-declared holiday from classes today. First we’re going to find Henri, then we’ll find Charl—“
“… Raishin? What’s the matter?”
Raishin was staring out of the window, his gaze fixated on something.
Speak of the devil. On a small path inside a grove of trees, there was a figure of a girl hurriedly running somewhere.
Her flaxen hair and unfashionable hat stood out. There was no doubt it was Henri.
“Is she up to something again?”
From what he could see, she didn’t look like she was carrying a rope to hang herself with. However, there was still the possibility that she was concealing a knife somewhere on her person. Raishin moved closer, grabbing onto the windowsill to try and get a better view of where she was going.
At that moment, Yaya suddenly cried out.
“Raishin! It’s Charlotte!”
Yaya was pointing towards the tunnel of trees. The dense treetops weren’t quite able to fully conceal her glittering golden hair.
That meant that Sigmund would be nearby— there he was!
Directly below Charl, his large body was hidden inside the thicket.
Charl was staring in the direction of the ruins of the clock tower. Henri was heading in the same direction.
(Is something happening…?)
Raishin jumped up onto the windowsill, extending his body out.
The tunnel of trees was blocking his vision. Even then however, he could see several figures at the ruins of the clock tower. There were all wearing suits, and they were keeping an eye on their surroundings. The sunlight’s glare was being reflected off something, most likely guns.
Finally, standing beyond the armed personnel, there was a large man with a remarkable physique.
It was the headmaster. Why would he be there at this time of the day…?
“— He’s conducting the investigation of the clock tower!”
He was probably there to determine the reason for its collapse and check out its current state.
In an instant, Raishin deduced Charl’s plan.
(I’m such an idiot. Yesterday Professor Kimberly told me all about it, didn’t she!?)
Sigmund stirred inside the thicket. As soon as he realised Sigmund was about to take flight, Raishin jumped out of the window.
Yaya was taken aback. Without halting his run, Raishin called to her over his shoulder.
“Don’t follow me! Go contact Shouko!”
“Eh— no! Yaya will come too!”
“Hurry up and go! I’m counting on you!”
Turning his head back to face the front, Raishin continued to run. Sigmund rose up from the thicket in front of him. Charl lightly jumped off the branch she was on, landing on Sigmund’s back.
Rising up from the treetops, they rose into the sky. It didn’t seem like they had noticed Raishin, who was running below them. Looking up, he saw Sigmund’s jaw open.
(As I thought, he’s going to attack!)
The clock tower ruins and the headmaster were in her line of fire.
Also, so was Henri’s figure, who was running towards that place.
“Sis! Stop! Sis!”
Henri was shouting up at her. However, her voice was lost amidst the wind and the rustling of leaves.
Charl hadn’t noticed Henri’s presence. Sigmund was still preparing to fire. Raishin had an ominous feeling. At this rate, Henri would die as well!
Ignoring the pain in his shoulder, Raishin started to run.
(Let me make it in time!)
Bursting through the tunnel of trees in one breath, he flew onto the main street.
Henri was right in front of him. Ironically, her yelling had alerted the security guards. Finally noticing Sigmund’s figure, they started to raise a fuss.
However, since it was just one shot, the Raster Cannon wasn’t something that could be guarded against.
Finally, light poured forth from Sigmund’s jaw.
It was an explosive torrent of light. It saturated the surroundings with its brightness, causing Raishin’s field of sight to go completely white.
Raishin kicked off the ground with all of his might, reaching out for Henri’s back.
In the instant his fingertips grazed her shoulders, the beam of light blew away the debris of the clock tower, making it looked like the place had been licked clean. There was a roar of what sounded like an avalanche, then suddenly, the ground ceased to be.
The ground below them had crumbled, giving rise to a gaping chasm.
Without fully understanding what had just happened, Raishin plunged to the bottom of the abyss.