The minute Reino stepped off Shobakouen Station, he, went looking for a map. That is the 'YOU-ARE-HERE' sort that decorated the front of any passenger stop. After the phone call yesterday, he found out the location for their meeting; it was quite possibly the most obscure Shinto shrine ever. It was most likely a hidden Shinto shrine nestled among the hundreds of buildings of the very prestigious Totsuki Culinary Academy. At least, he had never heard it. Although he had already made sure to know the closest bus stop and the walking route, it would probably still take him a long time to, reach the shrine, it was that remote. After confirming his destination again on the large map, Reino again set off
"Why a shrine? There are so many better places to meet...?"
"Hmm… after you said that, I also thought about it. I remember someone said that apart from working in the F&B field she also works in a sacred place as a Miko. That said, she didn't do it for money, but to gain some experience living in the 'Real world'. So... maybe that's why she likes a shrine so much?"
Last night, the brother and sister pair were considering the strange request.
After Rindō said that to him, Reino's worries grew exponentially.
"Alright, let's decide what you're going to do tomorrow. Reino-chan, when are you planning to visit? How about after school?"
"...Why did you set my schedule? I can decide for myself, thanks."
"Since Reino-chan is rude and insensitive, I can't let you go and meet that pure and innocent Ojou-sama, can I? So I'll go with you."
"Rindō-nee… I'm not an elementary schooler, I don't need a chaperon."
"Hmm... what's wrong with me coming along whit you? All I have to do is wait for you at the school gate, and I can be your guide. After you're done we can go home together. You can get lost if you visit the Tōtsuki Culinary Academy by yourself. So, you won't do anything questionable to Erina-chii, will you ——?"
After a long and painful conversation, Reino finally managed to persuade Rindō who insisted to participate.
In the end, Reino decided to go home and change into casual clothes, then went alone to the meeting place. Once again he feels very sorry for rejecting Rindo's suggestion, this place is too big. He kept walking, after getting lost several times. Finally, he arrived at the shrine entrance. This long and troublesome stone staircase was his final obstacle. Somewhat tired, he started his assault on the steps, and finally arrived at his destination —— Nanao Tōtsuki Culinary Academy Shrine. Passing the torii, he entered the shrine grounds. The one who came out to greet him was a girl dressed as a Miko.
"We are deeply touched by your coming to this humble holy place, Reino-sama. Your presence is an honor for us. May you forgive my impudence, asking for an honorable and noble Campione like you to step into this place." The Miko bowed deeply.
The brilliant contrast of a scarlet hakama and furisode worn over her white kosode dazzled and stupefied him. As she rose from her bow, Reino immediately understood why Rindō kept using the word 'amazing' to describe Her.
"I'm Nakiri Erina. Regarding last night's phone call... His Majesty, I must sincerely apologize." Her blonde hair swayed as she moved.
Nakiri Erina is as beautiful as the rumors say. And it's not just beauty; Her face projected an air of polite nobility, her eyes shone with clear intelligence. All of the people Reino knew, Only Kuroka who can compete her in appearance. If one thought of Kuroka as a large camellia flower, this extraordinarily polite Ojou-sama would become a blooming cherry blossom, which caught the attention of others.
"You're one of those sorcerers too, aren't you? Just like in Europe —but I have to say this is the first time I've met you guys in Japan."
"Right... Although I don't want you to equate us with them, there isn't a big difference between us. I was assigned to this holy place, serving as a Miko protecting Musashino, and although it's nothing more than common knowledge, I do know some magic."
In other words, she worked in this temple. Reino nodded and looked around.
"Err... is Erina-san the only one here? Is there anyone else?"
If he could, he would prefer that someone else was present. As far as Reino was concerned, it was too difficult to be alone with that beautiful girl.
"Your Majesty is very perceptive—I am currently the only person here—and in the same way, if I offend you for any reason, only I am to blame. I beg Your Majesty to forgive my humble lack of service. , and assuage your terrible anger in my own body ——"
"...Umm, Erina-san? For some reason, what you just said seems a bit strange?"
"My only hope is for a tyrant like you to appease your anger with my death. I beg of you, please do not torture and execute poor citizens for your pleasure. Display of compassion and tolerance is the only example for His Majesty; the previous mistakes they have made, I am willing to bear the punishment myself." Erina declared it respectfully.
...Could this be a word of advice? Isn't it like a scene in a period drama, where a loyal servant is willing to die so that a tyrannical or violent King can be persuaded?
Reino suddenly realized that things were getting worse, and quickly corrected Erina:
"There are a lot of things that need to be corrected in what you say, but let's start with that one first— What type of person do you think I am? I'm not Nero, not Dong Zhuo, and not Oda Nobunaga, I won't kill anyone!"
"...So you're saying just killing isn't enough to satisfy you?" The hime-Miko once again said something completely different with a serious expression.
What has happened? This girl looked proud and intelligent, but couldn't understand a word Reino said. She was a high-class woman; Her way of thinking is very different from other people.
"That's not what I meant. Listen carefully; I'm a civilized person, and I don't like committing such tyrannical acts. I hope you understand what I mean by this."
"...Yes, I fully understand. However, if you wished to toy or torture me, I am willing to agree to my King's request. What you mean is that you won't allow a quick death, right?"
"You don't understand at all! I don't have any weird fetishes for torturing women!"
Reino suddenly realized something was wrong. Even Among sorcerers, very few people knew that he was a Campione. Kuroka's group that he met a few days ago was also the same. Until he duels with them and demonstrates his power, they all suspect his contradictory claims.
"How did you know that I was a Campione?"
"Because of my abilities, my eyes are a bit special, it can read the spiritual realm secrets. Once, a long time ago, I had the fate of meeting your companion, Duke Lionheart. That's why I would never mistake a Campione — the King of Rakshasa. ."
Erina's words were filled with confidence.
Finally, Reino understood. So this girl had met the legendary Demon Lord of Eastern Europe!
"Is that so, I've heard of her name too. She wears an old-fashioned and tyrannical demeanor, and is a stubborn and temperamental person, isn't she? I thought she was the only Campione who acted like that, so please don't treat me the same way." Reino himself knew the other Campione. She was a hopeless helpless person.
On the surface, she looked like an open and carefree Latin knight; but she can smile broadly while laughing at you with a sword seriously. She was not normal, but it had to be said that she was very good at dealing with people.
"Your Majesty is too humble. I was very clear about what you did the other day, which was done in anger; all those scenes of destruction were nothing but the deeds of a Campione. It's terrible..."
"N-It's not like that, I didn't, do it because I was angry. Anyway, Erina, could you stop talking formally? We're the same age, so it's okay to talk casually—and I'll do the same.,
To be so cared for by a girl for so long, Reino felt extremely uncomfortable. But Erina seemed taken aback by his suggestion.
"I'm very sorry, it's because my words failed to match the meaning. I'm very sorry... But, what does 'talk casually' mean?"
What's that...? Could it be that in the world of high-class princesses and girls, there was no such thing as speaking 'relaxedly'?
Reino realized how different their lives and worlds were.
"I mean, stop using that respectful tone of voice. I'll call you Erina, and you can call me by my name. I don't care if it's Reino, or you can make up nicknames—everything is fine."
"How can I... I'm sorry, I can't do it. After all, His Majesty's position and mine are very different, and besides, I've never directly mentioned a boy's name."Erina blushed and refused.
Reino was now more convinced that the two might not even be from the same country.
"My position... who uses that word today? And I'm not an extraordinary person. Forget it, if you feel uncomfortable, I won't force you to do it— but please take it easy when you talk. And please, please stop calling me 'Your Honour'."
"Yeah... understood Reino-sama"
Seeing Erina pay attention to her words, Reino nodded. It was at least a hundred times better than seeing a girl his age call him 'Your Majesty'.
"I have something I want from you, Reino...-sama. Can I borrow the divine item you brought to see?"
Erina found her way and her request was serious.
"I have no problem with that, but what is it about?"
"Reino-sama, you are too humble. Someone who could become a Campione is heading back to live in Japan. My comrades in Japan, rather than saying that they are interested in what you got, it might be more accurate to say that they are worried. , of course, natural."
"Worried... am I being watched all this time?"
Reino was very worried.
He never expected that such a group existed. How did they know that he had the magic item that Kuroka gave him? Just right after he won against the Vali team. Reino thought this was normal considering the backgrounds of Vali, Kuroka, and the others. Has he been under surveillance all this time? Why doesn't he have such a thing as 'privacy' in a country that upholds the value of decency?
"I do not know whether they were actively followed, but at least I can make sure that there are investigators Japan sent all over the world. According to the report of the investigation, they learned that the mage of Europe bring things like that and give it to a Campione; they sent their file with us."
"And who sent the investigators?"
"Of course it's the History Compilation Committee... don't you know them?"
A very long title emerged from Erina's lips.
That said, Reino remembered that he had heard of it before. Reino recalled the incident from his gloomy memory.
Le-Fay did say before that all mages, especially the ones from now on were hidden, and even though he felt it was absurd, there was also a sense of awe.
He also said that Japan must also have its mage association. Especially in Tokyo, there is an Onmyoji organization led by 5 big families. The Five Major Clans are five powerful clans made up of Shinto mystics who have a divine relationship with the Shinto gods and have served them for generations. All of their members from ancient times have been blessed with being able to manipulate any of the five elements which are also considered the Five Phases, which are separated from their respective clans due to their strong beliefs and strict worship in Shintoism.
The Five Major Clans and the Sacred Beasts associated with each clan are. Nakiri means "Hundred Demons" Yellow Dragon [Huánglóng] with Earth element, Himejima means "Princess Island", Vermillion Bird [Zhūquè] with the fire element, Kushihashi means "Comb Bridge" Azure Dragon [Qīnglóng] with wood, Doumon means "Child Gate", Black Tortoise is the water element, Shinra means "True Fabric", White Tiger is an iron element. Maybe that's the reason the Nakiri clan's main business is the culinary industry.
The difference was that, unlike Europe, because mages in Japan were tightly organized, monitored, and directed by the government, the average citizen was unaware of their existence.
The name of the association monitoring them, if he remembered correctly, was...
"History Compilation Committee, yes, I've heard of that before."
"They are a secret organization, controlling and manipulating the information gathered by the investigations of mages and spiritualists. It consists of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, National Dietary Library, Imperial Household Agency, Religious Affairs Agency, Metropolitan Police Department among other influential organizations. People like me, Miko with spiritual abilities or agents of the Gods, have been pressured to help with their efforts."
Magic, anti-matter, Divinity Assistance, cursed items —— an infinite number of strange powers and perplexing abilities.
All of these things are not considered part of 'proper history' in Japan.
This committee was established to maintain the desired attitude among the population and thus became the 'History Compilation Committee. At least, that's how Kuroka explained it.
"It was also by order of the Committee that I met you here today, Reino-sama — so that I could confirm whether you are a Campione. It is also because we are of the same age, and that I am good friends with Rindō-Sempai."
"You're a victim too, huh..."
After hearing this, Reino started to sympathize with Erina.
Maybe because of the impression he got from Kuroka's carefree attitude, he felt that Erina, who was full of manners, had become visibly pitiful. For this, if nothing else, he must maintain a positive relationship with the Committee.
Having decided this,
"So why are you looking for me?" Ask Reino
Erina didn't answer right away, she opened her smartphone before offering something to Reino. A crest on a dull black stone, engraved with a woman with snakes for hair — "Reports are saying that a mage had brought this thing and gave it to a Campione living in Japan". Erina looks depressed, stunned unable to say anything.
"So it's very dangerous, huh?"
"I'm afraid so— it has a very ancient God seal imprinted on it. The serpent god, the great serpent mark… No, it likely has even older roots, the helix seal of Mother Earth surrounding —"
Erina closed her eyes and said this.
"Though it's just my intuition, I believe this seal came from North Africa. Egypt, Numidia... I'm not sure why, but my heart says it's most likely those countries."
"Your heart tells you? A friend of mine calls this the Gorgoneion, do you know about it, Erina?"
"No— I know absolutely nothing about the Gods of Europa or Africa. I just rely on my clairvoyance and intuition to at least 'feel' it, and then say it."
But what he said was exactly what Kuroka had told him.
Reino was very impressed.
Whatever it was, Erina's spiritual ability was a very accurate intuition.
Of course, he could tell many big lies, but Reino wasn't prepared to doubt the girl, who spoke so seriously and with such a sincere gaze.
—— Although mentioning Africa is surprising.
Gorgons, Medusa, and so on — isn't that a Greek myth? Well, the hero Perseus did save a beautiful girl named Andromeda, and she is said to be the princess of Ethiopia. So what he said did make sense...
"Reino-sama, I want to ask you a question."
Reino, who had been immersed in deep contemplation, was suddenly jolted by Erina's sudden question.
"This is a tool for a [Heretic God]—as a Campione, there's no way you wouldn't notice, am I right?"
"Alright, you're right. Yes... this is something troublesome..."
"If you know that, why keep it! Do you want to invite some gods of destruction to Tokyo! What did you take away from the safety of this citizen?"
A sudden voice sounded suddenly.
Just as he nodded, a lightning-like statement hit him.
Once again Reino watched Erina closely—her self-assured beauty, until now still the most virtuous in her composure and grace, yet now utterly alluring in her boldness.
He was astonished, and Reino backed away subconsciously.
"Alright, first I wasn't the one who brought her here, err, I was worried about this too, but there shouldn't be a problem, right? The goddess who wanted this is still there. To her, I think she probably doesn't even know the name and the place called Japan. .No wait…!" Reino was shocked, recalling a certain goddess he met a few days ago.
"'There shouldn't be any trouble?'...Please don't create unnecessary danger for us. After reading your investigative report, I immediately realized that Reino-sama is very indifferent to other people and their property."
Erina glared at him with a cold gaze, and Reino took two steps back. Luckily his anger made him ignore Reino's expression who seemed to have realized something.
This is terrible.
Any argument with him would end very badly for him.
Reino knew by instinct that his personality didn't quite match hers — to Reino, he was a completely different type from Kuroka's 'ultimate boss'!
Erina might as well have discovered this same thing...
Now the previous 'advice' became more like an all-out attack!
"With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you are finally reunited with your lover doesn't mean you should ignore that disaster."
"Love? Who do you mean?"
"There's no point in acting stupid, this investigative folio makes it very clear."
Erina said as she took out a giant file.
Kuroka: Kuroka is a beautiful young woman, with long black hair, and hazel golden eyes with cat-like pupils.
Body size: [B98-W57-H86 cm] [B39-W23-H35 inch]; height 161 cm (5 ft 3 in) and weight [49 kg]
Description: A fugitive from the underworld Who suspected of slaughtering all members of his master's family. She was always seen in an outfit consisting of a black kimono, a yellow obi, a set of gold beads, and a headband with ornate details. The kimono features a red interior and opens on the shoulders...
Lover: Reino Barack
Listening to this detailed narration of personal details, Reino felt weighed down by a sense of despair.
"Erina, all these horrible things about me are not true— they are all fake, false reports. At the very least, would you please listen to my explanation?"
"I don't know why you can call it 'fake'— are you still trying to trick me when all the facts are here? By using the power of a Tyrant to do what you want to women, don't you feel ashamed?"
"What do you mean by 'do what you want?! It's the opposite! I was the one being toyed with!"
"Oh! I never knew that Reino-sama was the one who pushed all the blame on women— I'm starting to understand more about how bad you are—— Stop your constant lying attempts right now!"
Erina's face shone in a smile, but only as deep as her skin.
'She's Raksha.' — Reino was sure of this.
If female Rakshas existed, they would all smile like Erina. Beauty is as cold as ice and a smile is like a mask.
Reino was dumbfounded by the indescribable power he wielded, and couldn't help but back off.
...And then he saw.
The swift steps that had already rushed in this direction brought a very familiar silhouette towards him.
Wait, wait, wait, why are you here?
"If you're thinking of continuing to bully my Reino, can I ask you to stop nyaa~? The only person who can love her, torture her, or tease her is me nyaa~. It's a right given only to me nyaa~"
This woman was impossible to be here in this place — and let's not mention that hearing her voice right now should be nearly impossible.
The shocking sight that Reino saw, was the girl they just mentioned —— Kuroka.