Chapter 3 - The Red-haired Girl Conveying Her Resolve
Centuries ago, the existence called Magical Armoured Insect suddenly appeared.
They robbed the land from humanity’s ancestors, forcing people into the sky ── the Floating Cities. This implied that the residents of the Floating Cities were descendants of the people that once lived on land.
After the sudden appearance of Magical Armoured Insects which robbed the people of their authority over the land, humans in the next few centuries, categorized into Wizards that held magical power and Naturals that did not have magic power, lived in the land floating in the sky.
My mother was an outstanding Magic Cannon Blader amongst the Kuusen Madoushi......in the past.
I heard that the memory would be lost, but the memories of my mother was something special. For some unknown reason, the memories of people killed by those Magical Armoured Insects would be erased from the Naturals. Which meant, people without magic power would be totally unable to recognize people killed by Magical Armoured Insects.
Magical Armoured Insects had robbed the precious memories of my mother away.
I did not lose my memories because I am a Wizard, but my father could not remember since he is a Natural. Although the family photo was displayed in the shop......father still could not remember. The neighbours, the regulars in the shop as well ── not any of the Naturals could remember.
However, only I remembered. That figure always showing her gentle smiling face......
I will absolutely not forget about that person. And then I will make my father remember her again. People may ask how am I going to do it, but I don’t know of any method!
I will become a splendid Magic Cannon Blader that won’t lose to anyone some day.
I will become the Magic Cannon Blader just like my mother.
I will become a strong existence that will protect everything in this world.
Perhaps, seeing my splendid figure, someone may remember something.
The figure of my mother that lost her life to protect the city.
To achieve that goal, I have resolved myself to join the Kuusen Madoushi Division.
Extraction from Misora·Whitale’s note. Exile Period Year 439 March 31st.
The fifth day of practical training since Kanata became the instructor. On this day, the continuous disturbing situation finally reached its peak.
Just Lecty alone sat on her seat, looked up while unable to focus her sight and timidly voiced out. Originally speaking, leaving aside Rico, Misora should have been here.
“What is it Lecty? Something happened?”
It was an abnormal situation, yet Kanata was acting normally. Lecty thought that she might be misunderstanding something, and meekly asked.
“Uhh......You can say that one way or another......”
Then she glanced at Misora’s seat.
“......What happened to M-Misora-san?”
“Un, probably absent today. This makes it three times in a row.”
“Umm......This definitely cannot be something trivial, how should I put it......”
Lecty timidly told Kanata, not daring to make eye contact with him.
“......I-I have been eating lunch together with Misora-san during lunch break recently. After lunch break ended, Misora-san would pick up her bag and go somewhere in a bad mood.”
That might be a clue to resolve the grave situation now, Lecty desperately said. However, Kanata’s reaction was.
“Fuun, so it’s that after all.”
He just lightly touched on it in a sentence easily. Is it r-really fine to follow this person, just when she was about to hold such a doubt.
“......! When you said after all......H-Have you guessed what it is already!?”
“Well, not to the point of guessing what it is.”
“I-Is that so......”
Towards Lecty who was dejected after returning to the start point, Kanata told her after a while.
“Something like that. Misora being defiant is 100% my responsibility. Rather than guessing what it is, I can guarantee what it is.”
“......T-That means it’s Kanata-san’s fault!”
She reprimanded him in a rare loud voice.
“Umm, Kanata-san really has the motivation for this right!? Continuing this special training will really make us stronger right!?”
“Who knows. Doesn’t that depend on your own effort to become stronger?”
“‘Depending on y-your own effort’......K-Kanata-san, why are you saying something so irresponsible......!”
When painful emotion floated on Lecty’s face, Kanata scratched the back of his head.
“Nn? A~ah, you meant that. Sorry sorry, I never told you, huh.”
Then he showed a fearless smile.
“Don’t show that about to cry face, Lecty. Becoming stronger truly depends on your own effort. Me as an instructor can only provide the chance for you to become stronger.”
“Yes. It’s a chance. But if even after I provided the chance, you girls put in your effort and yet didn’t yield any results, then in that time it will be my responsibility......So what will Lecty do? Continue your special training?”
The meaningful or meaningless mysterious training which had an unknown effect. Kanata mentioned that the lowest condition was to continue for a week but.
“Umm......What does Kanata-san want to do today?”
Lecty asked back as she was unsure how to respond. She thought of deciding whether to continue based on his answer. She could not understand that this person was thinking at all.
Being asked that, Kanata crossed his arms and brainstormed as he answered.
“Un, I should be doing a home visit since Misora should have returned to her home by now. It would be very bad if she is really feeling unwell.”
Lecty could not make her judgement. Whether this instructor had motivation or not, whether he was gentle or not......
“Un, this is the house.”
Kanata held a map in his hand as he arrived at Misora’s real home in Suburb zone three.
According to the profile, Misora’s father seemed to have obtained 「Mystogan」 Economic Division’s special permission to open a café here.
Kanata knew that some parents worried about their children and secretly came to the Academy City, perhaps Misora’s father was also one of that type.
Kuusen Madoushi Division students in 「Mystogan」 were basically forced to stay in dorms.
When Kanata entered the shop unified with chic color, he was welcomed by the bell hanging on the door. There were already some groups of students patronizing here, talking about the dishes while chatting.
Someone called out to Kanata inside the shop. A tough-looking skinhead middle-aged man glanced over from behind the counter seat.
“Sorry, I’m not here to eat......”
Kanata was about to clarify when he reached the counter seat.
However, Misora who was dressed in the cafe’s waitress attire bringing a glass of ice water, shouted in a terrible voice before that.
“W-Why are you here!”
Towards Kanata who was being stared at by Misora, a voice came from the counter.
“Hey Misora, recently you have come back early to help out in the shop which is rare, but that’s not how you treat the customer.”
“Shut up! A father who doesn’t know anything just keep quiet!”
Although he was stared at a second time, Kanata still feigned ignorance nonchalantly.
“I’ve come here to see you, it seems that you are not sick nor injured.”
“You, saying that at this time! There is something else that you should say isn’t there!”
“Un, but that is what I want to say the most. I will be troubled if you are unwell.”
However, relief did show upon his face. After confirming Misora was fine, Kanata felt relieved inside because it was his responsibility as her instructor. Then he randomly asked.
“What about you, don’t you have something you should say to me?”
Misora wanted to shout at him whatever she had and distorted her expression, thinking that she might as well pour out all her complaints, but she was interrupted.
“Hey customer, do you know Misora?”
“Eh? Uncle is Misora’s father is it?......There is no resemblance though?”
“Gahaha. My daughter resembles her mother.”
Resembles her mother. When the shop owner said those words, Misora’s expression obviously clouded. She became listless.
“......I am going to change. I will work until here today.”
She disappeared to the back of the shop. Misora’s father also scratched his head seeing the discomfort.
“Sorry about that. My family doesn’t get along well......”
Family not getting along well, huh. Echoing this sentence in his heart, Kanata noticed the photo decorated on the counter with his keen eyesight.
The photo was placed at an angle so that it could overlook the whole shop, inside the photo was the young Misora and Misora’s father with probably her mother, the same bright red hair like Misora, a female Kuusen Madoushi carrying a Magic Cannon Sword.
“Uncle’s wife is a beauty right? Misora does look like her mother.”
Though his companion for life was praised, Misora’s father did not show much delight.
“A~ah, it’s about this photo huh.”
Misora’s father focused on the photo decoration.
“She did exist here. The photo is the only remaining memory though......”
He said so gloomily.
“Perhaps uncle is a Natural......?”
“Yeah. My daughter is a Wizard, I am a Natural. And my wife was......a Kuusen Madoushi......A~ah, I spoke too much irrelevant things.”
Wizards and Naturals. Those that had magic power and those that didn’t.
The former could remember people killed by Magical Armoured Insects while the latter could not.
「Mystogan」 was a Wizard city. Different from the normal city, Wizards took up ninety percent of the population. As he noticed that this matter could be related to Misora’s situation, Misora’s father wiped away the water droplets collected on the cup and asked directly.
“Misora always trained like an idiot until late in the past, but she has been coming back early recently which was rare. I think that there is something happened in the school. Customer, do you know something?”
However, Kanata still nonchalantly spoke like usual.
“Hmm, can you tell me more about Misora? Why is that girl so insistent on the Magic Cannon Sword, including everything.”
Misora’s father immediately stopped his hand wiping the cup.
“I need to ask customer before that. How are you related to my daughter?”
“Nn? I didn’t tell you?”
Then Kanata looked at Misora’s father’s face and showed a confident smile.
“I am Misora’s instructor. Providing a chance for Misora to become stronger is my job.”
Misora changed from her waitress dress into a Protector, and went towards the redevelopment area next to the cafe. There was a roughly fifty meter high dome wall made of anti-curse material.
Exposed steel frames, half-collapsed buildings littered around messily vandalized the scenery, such was the environment of Misora’s personal training ground.
“Why can’t I win!”
She swung down her white-silver Magic Cannon Sword with humiliation that had no place to vent accompanied by anger. Intense emotion flowed in her sword arte. It was reflected like trying to slash apart the empty sky.
Sweat dampened her bright red long hair which stuck onto her Protector.
“Why can’t I win!”
How many times have I swung this sword already?......No, thinking is useless. Expected. I will become stronger by the amount of effort I put in. Even so.
“Why can’t I win!”
She somehow could not discard those idle thoughts. Calm down, calm down. Misora reminded herself as such. She had repeated swung this over tens of thousands times before this. She could be proud that she had put in many times the effort compared to other students.
134 consecutive loses doesn’t matter. Not being able to hit Kanata a single time during mock battle is the same.
“......I won’t give up!”
Having no talent was only an excuse used by those that didn’t put in effort. Real talent could only be obtained by continuously working hard. Even if losing a hundred out of a hundred times in mock battles, it would be fine to win on the hundred and first round. What should be done for that sake? ── Only by practice. However.
“......Why am I not rewarded after putting in so much effort?”
A weak voice leaked out. Desperately suppressing the impulse to cry out, Misora bit her lip and continued training. Although this was a display of her will to resist to the end, some people would still feel sad seeing that.
“No matter how hard I work......”
Kanata was also one of those who felt sad. He saw Misora’s figure at the location she used for self-practice that her father told him about, but he hesitated to speak up.
Misora fatally lacked the talent for Magic Sword. She was not tall enough to swing the big sword, her reflexes were also poor, such were Kanata’s thoughts......And I want to make her strong enough to survive the battle against Magical Armoured Insects.
A sudden pain ran through Misora’s palm, her callus popped again. She almost dropped her Magic Cannon Sword, endured it in panic. Then she pressed her lips tightly and grinded her teeth.
"I can't admit defeat for my mother's sake!"
She raised her Magic Cannon Sword again, then swung down with all her might.
He heard about Misora’s matter from her father.
“The reason Misora is so fixated on becoming a Magic Cannon Blader is so that she will not forget about her mother.
My wife was an excellent Magic Cannon Blader in the Floating City we had lived in......probably. However, she never returned from a sortie on one day. Well, maybe from the moment my wife died in duty, my memories of our past and her existence also disappeared, Misora also seemed to faintly noticed the meaning.
The only thing my wife’s comrades from Kuushi brought back was that white-silver Magic Cannon Sword. She never knew what her mother was thinking at the final moment before she entrusted it to her, however this Magic Cannon Sword is the remnant of her mother’s last moment.
Misora admired her mother as a Kuushi since very little, she probably swore to become a Magic Cannon Blader obstinately.
Of course, my wife’s grave has been shifted to the Hope of Hill in this City after migration, but nobody remembers her. Misora has since continued to pursuit her mother’s figure that even her father – me – forgot, to become a Magic Cannon Blader.”
The reason, the spirit, the thoughts, whatever else behind Misora’s obstinacy to become a Magic Cannon Blader ──
Taking into account all of those, Kanata still believed that, in consideration of Misora, asking her to convert from Magic Cannon Blader to Magic Cannoneer was not wrong.
He understood just how intense Misora’s thoughts were. Therefore, Misora must convey her resolve to become a Magic Cannon Blader with all her power to Kanata.
If not, she would remain stagnant. Kanata who just became her instructor would not be able to comprehend her, she would always be labelled as a member of the F-rank squadron......──
“W-Why are you here!!”
“Do you have a moment?”
Forcibly taking her away, Kanata changed the location.
Spreading over one side of the gentle green hill, white crosses stood in memoration of students that died protecting the city. This place was called the Hope of Hill amongst students.
“It seems that you have come to this place everyday......”
The figures of Kanata and Misora stood there. And the two of them were walking towards the cross of Misora’s mother. He roughly heard about the area from Misora’s father.
“So what! Aside from that, why did you ask my father about me!”
Walking next to Kanata, the things Misora had kept quiet until now were known to him, she felt that her privacy had been invaded like a worm in her stomach. Leaving aside Kanata, her father who selfishly told him also bore the same crime.
She had believed that he was not a bad person for a bit......she now despised Kanata from the bottom of her heart.
“It’s not really your father’s fault. He is really worried about you.”
Even when having a serious talk, Kanata maintained his nonchalant mood.
The reason you are so obstinate on being a Magic Cannon Blader is because of your mother. This is the place your mother rests. So I think here is fine.”
Misora clamped her lips tightly, she must be glaring at Kanata. However, Kanata was not bothered by it.
“Hey Misora, I understand about your matter so just give up on becoming a Magic Cannon Blader. You won’t become stronger like this. So vow in front of your mother’s grave that you will give up on becoming a Magic Cannon Blader......”
The moment he spoke those words insensitively.
Misora’s right hand merciless slapped Kanata’s cheek.
“── Don’t say it as if you know all about me!”
Hah hah, Misora’s shoulder heaved as she panted with her heartbeat disturbed, and she continued to glare at Kanata whose face was slapped. However, the one who was slapped remained calm as if he knew this would happen.
“Even my biological father cannot remember my deceased mother. This bitterness, this sadness, can you understand!? The Magic Cannon Sword my mother used in the desperate battles as a Magic Cannon Blader, can you understand how valuable it is to me!?”
Kanata did not answer. ── Because he knew that he could not answer.
“An irresponsible former ace would not know! About my deceased mother, my father forgetting about my mother in the true sense, those thoughts, along with the Magic Cannon Sword, had been passed onto me! What do you understand about me who is shouldering all those thoughts and desperately struggled!”
Kanata took on her sharp glare squarely, not a single trace of his usual carefreeness could be felt on his serious face, then he returned Misora a glare that proved to be stronger than anyone. That was the glare from the ace at the top of 「Mystogan」.
“An outsider can also understand some things. Not the person that desperately struggled, but the outsider that watched objectively could see it. You have no talent in Magic Sword arte.”
He coldly announced. However, it was a cruel fact. This was something she herself understood.
Even so she would not give up. Because she would not give up.
“Like I said, even so I want to become ──”
“But, there are also things that only a desperately struggling person can see......”
Misora thought that he would stubbornly persuade her to convert to Magic Cannoneer was confused by Kanata’s words. She believed that he would deny her thoughts for sure.
Therefore, she had never conveyed her thoughts towards Kanata in the past. She would leave immediately whenever she got angry and never once told him how she felt. Not once......
“Hey, this place is given a wonderful name of Hope of Hill, but what do you think is hope to those who have died?”
Saying so, he looked around at the hill of crosses that surrounded them.
Each of those crosses encompassed the will of students that died before they could distinguish themselves.
“It should be to continue protecting the citizens of the city.”
“A~ah. Those who died while protecting the city from the threat of Magical Armoured Insects, while they hoped that they would not be forgotten, their feelings of wanting to protect the city even more drive them to fight on. To the dead, their hope would be to be able to protect their comrades living in the city......That is the same for your mother. Your mother’s goal was not to become a Magic Cannon Blader, but to protect the people living in the city as a Kuusen Madoushi. What do you think of this?”
To become a Kuushi, or to become a Magic Cannon Blader. She believed that her mother would choose the former without a doubt. Becoming a Kuushi to protect the people living in the city was the goal, and Magic Cannon Blader was a method to reach that goal.
She understood her mother’s thoughts very well. She had thought about it many times while putting herself in her shoes.
Even after thinking deeply about it, Misora still insisted.
“Even so ── Even if I have to choose one, I cannot abandon the other choice. Perhaps people may mock me as being naive, but I don’t want to give up on either choice. To become a Kuusen Madoushi, to become the Magic Cannon Blader amongst them......
So I want to take on the share of my mother that nobody remembered, that feeling, in order not to forget my mother, set my goal as a Magic Cannon Blader! For the sake of protecting the people in this city!”
Speaking out for the first time, Misora felt that she had said selfish words selfishly.
My words surely would not reach this guy before me.
However, even if this feeling, the feeling of desperately moving towards my goal somehow, even if it could not reach Kanata, Misora still ──
Absolutely won’t give up. This feeling hidden in her chest would not bend.
That was why, Misora expressed her feeling without reserve to Kanata. The burning passion hidden in her small chest touched Kanata. He finally resolved himself, leaking a confident smile.
Then his pair of dark pupils that had a mysterious charm to suck people in looked at Misora.
“Understood. Then, I will provide you the chance to become stronger as a Magic Cannon Blader. So, pledge that you will desperately polish yourself at this place.”
Misora doubted her ears for a moment and showed a blank face. Just by seeing Kanata’s face, she could tell that those words were not spoken on the spot.
After hearing the story from Misora’s father, he had already been considering the possibility.
He must test Misora’s resolve even if he would be slapped.
What would come next would be the willpower to continue treading down the harsh path of a Kuushi.
“B-But, i-is it fine? You wanted me to convert to Magic Cannoneer......”
Facing Misora who was confused, Kanata clearly explained.
“Think carefully what I have said. At that time I said ── Putting in the same effort like before will only remain weak as it is now. I never mentioned the direction of effort you know......Well, you got angry thinking that I don’t know about your effort and left.”
Being pointed out, Misora shrunk her shoulders.
Kanata further clarified.
“You have inherited the trait of Wizard from your mother and continued to train yourself with normal basic training. So, of course it’s possible for you to become stronger as a Magic Cannon Blader.”
Partway through listening to those words, Misora’s gloomy face was about to brighten up again, but.
“However, you choose Magic Cannon Blader as your goal, this path is extremely difficult compared to choosing Magic Cannoneer as your goal.”
“......Extremely difficult path.”
“Instead of a Magic Cannon Blader, I persuaded you to be a Magic Cannoneer, this is because as a Magic Cannoneer, you can better utilize your magic power capacity and movement speed to be active as a middle guard. You holding a sword without any talent for Magic Sword arte is a waste. That’s why, I thought of persuading you to become a Magic Cannoneer. Purely because it is easier to become stronger that way. Do you understand the meaning of my words?”
“......U-Un. I understand what you mean, yeah.”
Being fixated upon by Kanata’s eyes emitting a serious glow, Misora somehow managed to give a positive reply. Hearing her insecure, but positive reply, Kanata’s glare instantly softened.
“Then, simply pledging won’t do. Pledge to your mother, you will become a Magic Cannon Blader stronger than your mother. Not just for the sake of protecting the people in the city, but also become stronger for the sake of protecting your own body.”
“For the sake of protect my own body......?”
“A~ah. If you choose to be a Magic Cannon Blader, the risk of dying during a mission is higher. Truthfully speaking it’s not really my style......However, I understand your feeling of wanting to choose this path no matter what. Because of that, I want you to pledge yourself. This is so that you will not die, as well as becoming an outstanding Kuusen Madoushi. Then I will pledge before your mother here that I will not let you die. And then as your instructor, I will carry half of your burden. So become stronger, Misora. Think about obtaining the strength to become strong enough not to lose to anyone.”
Kanata was serious, She could tell just by seeing his eyes.
That was why she looked at Kanata full of excitement.
“── T-Thank you!”
She showed a shy smile while saying so. That was the most cheerful expression Kanata had ever seen until now.
While Kanata was desperately convincing Misora, on the other hand, in the school building ──
“Eh......? No, sorry. Thank you.”
“No, umm......you’re welcome!”
In the hallway, the figure of a kind blonde youth expressed his thanks, and Lecty who was bowing shyly could be seen. Something must have happened. Rico who just passed by the area asked with a puzzled expression.
“Muu, what happened, Lecty?”
The Lecty Rico knew was someone so shy, that she would avoid talking to strangers as much as possible......
“Ah, Rico-san. Actually someone dropped his student pass on the hallway, I have been asking various people in the hallway, so that I can return it to the owner......”
Saying so, suddenly realized something, Lecty’s face began to heat up, she fell into disorder and looked as if steam could blow out from her head.
“What is it? Why so panicked?”
“I-umm-I! For the first time since my birth, I talked to such a lot of s-strangers!”
That’s right. On the way here, although she tried desperately for the sake of returning the dropped item to the owner, it was rare for the shy Lecty to keep talking to students she did not know.
“Au au, what should I do about gratitude! I ended up talking with him face to face!”
“No, I don’t think it’s the problem with gratitude......”
Lecty was prodding her fingers together shyly in front of her chest looking embarrassed.
“When I was unsure h-how to start the conversation, voices such as 「You are the one who is doing cosplay in the school recently right?」 or 「Is there some sort of event?」 called out, although I was really panicking, I still answered them with my u-utmost effort......!”
It seemed that Lecty used her normal unusual dress as the topic to start the conversation with a variety of people, finally found out the place where the owner of the student pass was at. And she seemed to be deeply moved by that.
“I was nervous when talking to people, but we gradually become more excited as the conversation continues, then eventually even I become happy......It’s really fun to talk to people you don’t know for the first time!”
She became silent after saying so. She began thinking about how it became like this. Though it was urgent, the trigger for Lecty who was not good with eye contact to go out of her way and take initiative to speak to strangers was......
“R-Rico-san. M-Maybe I just received an incredible training......!”
What came to her mind was that cosplay special training Kanata gave her which had unknown effects. The usually obedient Lecty got unusually excited, she was holding her hands before her chest looking like she was going to jump from the momentum anytime even now.
"Fuu, looks like you received some interesting special training. Not forcing me to participate in those sweaty trainings as well......Looks like this instructor has some praiseworthy aspect.”
Rico showed a somewhat daring smile as she said so.
1 Kuushi - An abbreviated term for Kuusen Madoushi. ↩