Chapter 3: Nogi Sonoko
Taisha Literature and History Department - Miko-sama: CENSORED
1 + 1 + 1 does not equal 3, but becomes 10. If it was us, we thought we could do it. We had
to think that way.
The enemies are called Vertexes. Abominations born from the center of viruses. We are to
But, to such existences, to give them the name Vertexes...a word meaning the highest point,
At that time, the fact that Vertexes were things ■■■■ by ■■■■ was something we still did
Hero Record 298.6.20
Since she was a baby, Nogi Sonoko had been maintaining a slow-paced life. She couldn't help but having fun just staring at the ants marching by herself. Because she was like that, Sonoko's parents was a bit worried about their daughter. Sonoko's grandfather commented that she was talented, but it appeared that was not the case.
So one day, as a prank, Sonoko's parents purposely groaned and collapsed in front of their still very young daughter. And then Sonoko burst into tears. However, she immediately called for people and told them about their symptoms, the way they had collapsed, and how many seconded had passed since. After that, she kept reassuring her parents that it would be okay, she had called for people already.
After seeing their daughter like that, from then on, Sonoko's parents didn't say anything even when she kept staring off into the distance.
[Wa~ that cloud, it looks like Wasshii's weapon~]
Today too, on the lawn in Shinju-kan's courtyard, while bathing in the wind, Sonoko observed the shapes of the flowing clouds in the sky. The only thing different from before...
[Oh! Now that you said that, it sure does.]
[So this hobby is the reason why Sonocchi can think up so many good ideas.]
...was that she wasn't alone anymore.
Early summer winds blew in from the inland sea. After school, Sumi's group came to the library. Today, they held a study group for Gin. Sumi was constantly instructing her. There was no one other than them there.
[Heyy, rather than studying, want to go to Ines first? The food court over there is calling me.]
[You can't, Gin.]
[Sumi, aren't you too unapproachable?]
[What's that? A new character? Come on, concentrate, Gin.]
[Yes, yes, Washio-sensei, I got it.]
Once again, Gin cast her gaze to the documents.
By the way, in the meantime, Sonoko was...
[Zzz... Why is Udon so white and delicious~? Zzz.]
[Is it fine to leave Sonoko sleeps like that, Washio-sensei?]
[That girl is smart... she doesn't look like it, though.]
[Damn you prodigy little girl... I'm gonna whisper nothing but noxious insects' names to your ear and make you see a nightmare, ihihi.]
[You sure often come up with such devilish ideas. What if someone does that to you?]
[I'm totally fine with things such as G .]
[Because I'm a hero. What about you, Sumi? G]
[...Why didn't the virus make them go extinct already? I still feel bitter about that.]
[Oh, so you're scared of them. Aww, so cuute.]
[It's useless to change the subject, Gin. Now, let's go back to study history. Well then, for what reason does the wall encircling Shikoku exist?]
[Even I am not that stupid, Shinju-sama protects the people in Shikoku using it as a barrier.]
[That's right. Shinju-sama protects us from the deadly virus spreading in the world outside.]
[Well, this is not in the textbook, but the enemies born from the sea of virus... are called Vertexes, aren't they?]
[Yes. The natural enemy of mankind comes from the other side to destroy Shinju-sama... Repelling them is the duty of us Heroes.]
[Hey, even I understand that perfectly. Now, let's go to Ines. If I don't go to Ines, I can't calm down.]
It seems like the huge shopping mall, Ines, has already become an absolutely necessary for everybody living in the region.
[The study is still not over.]
[Fufu. I think I like your troubled face, Gin.]
[Kyaa, somehow, Sumi started saying scary things.]
[Knowing the history is very important, so you have to be precise until the end. Well then, why do we fight Vertexes? Does it have to be us, the Heroes?]
[Again, why are they all things not in the textbook? Because normal weapons are not effective, right? Because of that, we talked to Shinju-sama, and got to divide up the Divine Tree's power... then it was the birth of the Hero system.]
Existences that don't prey upon humans, but commence attacks just to kill. With the objective of destroying the Divine Tree and making the world collapse. To go against such demons, there’s no choice but to borrow the power of the God.
[I'm glad that you seem to understand as much. Since you only got 52 points for the short test, I held this urgent study group, but looks like you're going to be fine.]
[Well, it's ab-ridi-surd-culous for a hero to not know the history related to herself.]
[Sonocchi doesn't look like she knows, though...]
[Well, Sonoko got a 0 for the short test after all.]
Incidentally, Sumi got 92 points.
[It was a 0 but... that was because she messed up the filling method of the answer sheet. If conversed to the official form then she would have gotten full marks, you know? She's amazing.]
[O~ou. A paper-thin difference huh? In various ways.]
Unaware of the two's gazes, Sonoko kept sleeping peacefully.
[Mino-san... I love you... Zzz.]
[W-what kind of dream is this fellow having? Hahaha, it sure is embarrassing to be told things like "I love you".]
Gin was feeling embarrassed.
[What about me? Heyy, Sonocchi, what about me?]
[Sumi, don't shake her, she's sleeping so comfortably... Wait, it's almost training time already.]
[Yes, let's all train hard.]
The fact that Jukai had been damaged in the fight with Vertex, had become a light trauma for Sumi. Her own arrows had been rebounded and pierced through many trees. And as the result? The next day, a huge landslide occurred deep in the mountain.
Fortunately, there was no one at the actual spot. But if Shikoku, after changing itself to Jukai, is damaged, when it returns to the real world, some sorts of calamity will happen.
This time, the damages were light, but if the enemy's attacks were gaudy, it would cause a great disaster. Even if they could prevent it from destroying the Divine Tree, they would still fail the duty if mankind was damaged. For this reason, they wanted to repel the Vertexes that came from "the other side" at the big bridge. If they let them land in Jukai, not only does it mean they would get closer to the Divine Tree, the damages might also spread out.
Sonoko woke up, and just when they were about to move to the training ground, their homeroom teacher showed up.
[It's about time to get moving... though, seems like you all know that. Well then, let's go to the training ground.]
[Yes, Sensei. We look forward to your lesson.]
The three all greeted their homeroom teacher properly.
The training ground was at Taisha's Big bridge subdivision. It was possible to walk there from school, but today Sumi wanted to study until the very last minute, so now they were traveling by car.
A short time after their actual fighting as heroes begun, Taisha started to go all out at aiding the three. Taisha is the organization worshiping the Divine Tree, which blesses everything. Their voice even has more power than that of the prime minister.
[Somehow, a lot of maids came to my house, so looks like I can leave my brother in their care now. That said though, he's a spoiled kid that would grumble if he doesn't see my face every now and then, so I still can't leave everything to them.]
Or so, Gin said.
Taisha dispatched servants to their houses, and made up excuses for them when they were late to school. Their classmates were also notified from Taisha that the three were carrying out a very important duty related to Shinju-sama. And yet everyone at Shinjukan still treated them like always, Sumi's group was grateful for that.
While sitting inside the car going to the training ground, the three talked about their class.
[Okamoto-san's shoes and accessories are all so cute that I'm always looking at her~]
[Okamoto is so stylish that I'm doubt she's the same age as us.]
[You think so...? I don't really understand.]
[Sumi, you don't care about things like clothes at all huh? I'm surprised that I know more about them than you.]
[Cute clothes look good on you, Wasshii, you should wear them a lot more~]
[Looks like you have lots of those clothes, Sonoko.]
[Alright, let's hold a Dressing up Wasshii Meeting at my house next time~]
[I'm abstaining from such meeting.]
[But actually, Sumi-san from the Washio-san household are thinking "It's not really that bad", ihihi.]
[Uhaha, it's just a joke, Sumi. Don't hit me, don't hit me.]
[Before I know it, you guys have all gotten along really well.]
While driving, the homeroom teacher spoke up.
[Right, we need to choose someone from you three to be the captain. Nogi-san, can you be the captain?]
[Eh, y-you mean... me~?]
Sonoko glanced at Sumi. Sumi was also surprised at the unexpected personnel selection. Sumi had thought that she would definitely be chosen as the captain, she was had been preparing to accept it when asked. Sumi's self-esteem was stung. It was true that her arrows couldn't get through in the fight the other day. And she had also ended up crying. Nonetheless, Sumi had conceit that normally, she was the one collecting the three together.
(Why is it not me but Sonocchi... Ah!)
The Nogi household held a tremendous power within Taisha. Compared to the Nogi, the Washio and Minowa both had lower status. The personnel selection must have taken her family into account. In the first place, Sumi herself was born into a family which is even lower than the Washio.
(Sonocchi... is also standing in a hard position.)
[Sonocchi, I agree with her choice.]
Sumi returned her with a smile.
[As long as it's not me, I'm fine with whomever.]
[You two... C-can I really do it~?]
[Well, now that the captain has been decided, there's another notification. To strengthen the links between you guys, this three-day weekend, you will have a training camp at an inn managed by Taisha.]
[It's a great help, we could train more efficiently.]
[Training camp... Uwaa, that means sleepover~ Yay!]
[Looking forward to it. It's almost summer after all. Somehow, I'm getting all excited now!]
The difference of enthusiasm between Sumi and the other two, to the homeroom teacher, was hopeful in a certain way. If the girls were all too serious, they might be crushed by the weight of the duty. In that way, it must be hard for Washio, but this was still a good team.
...And then, the heroes’ training camp began. The girls performed many severe training regimes at the dojo. From the basic one of physical strength to the technique forms, everything was guided by masters in their respective professions.
The girls' free time started at night after training, from bathing time on. From here on until bed time, they could spend their time freely. But since they had to get up at 5 a.m., they couldn't stay up late.
The three restfully soaked in the hot spring.
[Balanced meals, intensive training, and then a good sleep. A Heroes, or should I say, this is totally the same as a training camp of athletes... Well, is there some kind of events that will grant me a super special move with a bang? Sumi]
[The basics are essential in any case, there's no way around it, Gin.]
[It seems like I got some muscle~]
[Oh boy, it's good to get stronger but for a growing girl, this menu is too severe in many ways. I'm saad.]
[Gin, you're complaining too much.]
[Well, it's easy for Sumi-san from the Washio-san household to say that since she's already grown up in so many places.]
[Those breast, aren't they the biggest in our class?]
Sumi was going to grab Gin. Gin caught Sumi's hands and fought back.
[I only said the truth! Rather, having a big chest and yet getting all shy about it, you sure are living in luxury!]
[Why are you the one getting angry...]
Gin splashed the hot water at Sumi.
[S-such bad manners...]
[Who cares about manners?! Take this!]
Sumi endured Gin's hot water splashing attacks.
[Just a kid playing around... you can endure it, Sumi.]
[Ahh, since I'm a kid, I'll keep going. Here, here.]
[...! You! I can't take it anymore.]
[You sure boil up fast, Sumi.]
[Shut up, ei!]
Sumi splashed the hot water back at Gin.
[Buwaa, hehe, your manners is bad.]
[Mou~ You're supposed to rest in a hot spring~]
Sonoko's skin was becoming glossy.
The night was growing late. Even when it was bed time already, Gin didn't sleep right away.
[You guys, do you think you can easily go to sleep like that?]
[I can sleep immediately at any time~]
[We have to wake up early tomorrow, Gin, close your eyes.]
Gin nonchalantly rejected the honor student's opinion.
Sumi stood up and was about to educate Gin but...
[Let's argue about the persons we like!]
Her fight spirit disappeared at Gin's unexpected words.
[Gin, by the persons we like...]
[O-f c-o-u-r-s-e. Whoever try to gloss over it by talking about her dad or relatives will have her Hero title revoked!]
[Y-you said that but what about you, Gin?]
Sumi surprised herself at how she got really into this topic.
Sonoko's eyes were glittering with expectation.
Gin declared with a self-satisfied look.
[That's so unfair~]
Sonoko protested while Sumi felt relief.
Because, there was another person besides herself who had no one.
[I also have no one so it’s a draw. What about you, Sonocchi?]
Sumi nonchalantly passed her turn.
[Fu,fu,fu. I have~]
Answering with an indifferent look, she made it so Sumi and Gin both had to lean in closer.
[Ohh! Love story incoming?]
Gin's tension rose up.
[Wh... Who? Someone from our class?]
For some reason, Sumi became nervous.
[Yeah, Wasshii and Mino-san.]
In contrast with Sonoko who answered cheerfully, Gin and Sumi's tension fell down.
[...I expected as much.]
[But 3 girls together like this is also nice. Like, it's hotter this way...]
At that time, the three sensed that time had halted.
[A hot battle huh...? Hah... Why don’t those Vertexes give me a break in this situation?]
[Stop grumbling. Captain, your orders.]
[Eh, let me see, sortie~]
After flying out from the inn and arriving at the big bridge, like always, Sumi's group waited for the enemies' invasion at the center of the bridge. The only big bridge connecting Shikoku to the other side. Because of that, the bridge wasn't forestized completely. The Vertexes would come through here. Before long, a grotesque thing showed up.
[It's here! Ooh, this time, it's one with a Visual Kei look.]
[I-it seems so edgy and strong~]
[Let me try shooting it.]
Gathering her fighting spirit, Sumi drew her bow to its limit. At the same time, with a thud, the Vertex dropped its huge body onto the bridge. Its four fang look-alike parts sunk into the bridge heavily.
[This time for sure...!!]
Sumi fired her arrows. Spiraling like a tornado, the arrows flew towards the target. Little by little, the Vertex began to vibrate. And at the same time, the bridge, Jukai, the world shook violently.
[Earthquake, is that one making it!?]
- gin* A thick sound. Sumi's arrows were flicked away by the vibration.
[Ugh, are they not getting through again...?]
[It's not time to feel depressed, Wasshii! We have to stop this earthquake! Get close to the enemy~!]
Instantly switching her mood around, Sumi headed for the enemy.
At that time, the Vertex extracted its fangs from the bridge, and started surging up the sky.
[What the? The earthquake's stopped but... is it planning to run away just like that!? Come down here, heyyy!]
Receiving the moonlight, the enemy's body dimly shined.
[! Mino-san, the enemy's trying to do something! Defense yourself with your axes, defense~!!]
From the sky, the Vertex sent down a rain. Or more accurately, a rain of bullets made of light. Those light bullets were sent out like a downpour.
[If I dodge then both the bridge and Jukai will be doomed! And also, I like baseball quite a bit!!]
Like dancing, Gin used her two axes to repel the light bullets back into the sky. As long as she sent them flying back to the sky, Jukai would not be damaged.
[We have to at least knock the enemy down...!]
Sumi knelt down, and set her arrows towards the sky. At the same time, the space started shaking. And an unbelievable sight leaped into her aiming eye. The Vertex, without a moment delay, had switched to another attack.
[Gin, a big one is coming!]
Right as Sumi screamed, a mysterious light that looked like a laser was vertically fired directly below the enemy. Aiming exactly at the place Gin was in. Gin joined her two axes together to make a shield, and stopped the beam.
[Ugh, grrr...! Th-this is hard!]
Gin, who had become an open target, was somehow able to continue blocking the light.
[Mino-san, how long can you keep blocking that beam~?]
[A-about 10 seconds...!? I-if I put out my spirit then, ab... about twe, lve, se, cond...]
Gin already sound like she was at her limit.
Severe thoughts unfolded at high speed in Sumi's mind.
(What should I do!? Save Gin, then take distance and get into stance again?... Or should I attack it right now? But then Gin will...)
[Well then, I and Wasshii will strike the enemy in the sky~! Let's go, Wasshii!!]
Right as she said that, Sonoko left the exposed Gin behind and jumped towards the enemy in the sky. Instantly, Sumi jumped after Sonoko. Several seconds had already passed even during this period. Gin was nearing her limit. While tearing the air surging up, Sumi prepared her bow to bring down the target.
There was no more time. At this rate, Gin would be burn into ash.
[Wasshii! Don't aim at its body~]
She heard Sonoko's voice. What Sonoko was pointing at was not the enemy's body...
[I see... Your thoughts are really radical!]
Sumi released the arrow charged with all of her power. The target was the place emitting the light beam, the muzzle. Like a cannon, Sumi's arrow slantingly slipped into the firing muzzle. With a big explosion, the Vertex burst open.
[I did it...]
[Leave the rest to me~...!!]
Sonoko vigorously assaulted the weaken Vertex. Like ripping up the air, she mercilessly unleashed a storm of spear attacks to the grotesque body's crumbling internal. Disregarding appearance, a desperate offense.
[Get out, get away from everyone's place~!!]
The thunderous roar of her launching attacks reverberated high into the sky. Because of the damage it suffered, the Vertex crackled and spat sparks. Unsteadily, it started to fall down from the sky.
To support Sonoko, Sumi lost herself in launching arrows.
1 shot, 2 shots, 3 shots, 4 shots, 5 shots...!
Not giving a gap for it to regenerate fully, the pair's attacks rained down incessantly. Before they realized it, they had already pushed the Vertex back close to the wall. Nevertheless, in order to recover its body and to escape, the Vertex went out to the space beyond the wall.
[... Is it gone~?]
[Seems like it...]
[I-it won't come back right~?]
[Just to be sure, let's try waiting for 5 minutes]
To make sure, Sonoko and Sumi glared at the empty space in front of the wall.
[If it comes back... I'll pierce it!]
As if being pushed back by that vigor, the enemy did not come back...
After reverted back from Jukaika, before they knew it, Sumi's group was in the park that the bridge could be seen from. The small shrine installed in the park was giving off a faint light. The Divine Tree had transferred Sumi's group there after the battle.
While Shikoku is transformed into Jukai, the real world's time isn't running. In other words, it was still late at night. While waiting to be pick up after contacting Taisha, the three collapsed onto the lawn. They always have fatigue and are worn out after a battle.
[Mino-san, are you okay?]
[Well, that fight broke my hip... All I did was defend against a beam from a sky, so uninteresting... sob sob.]
[But you played a big part the other day~ Besides, thanks to you stopping that attack that I could strike it.]
[Sonocchi... you sure could make decisions in such a short time, "strike it" you said.]
[I mean, Gin-chan said that she could hold on for 10 seconds, so don’t we have 10 seconds then? I thought we could somehow do it if we had that much time~ Since the enemy had firepower, it was dangerous to prolong the battle.]
She put her complete faith in Gin. She understood the enemy's characteristic, and made decisive attacks. When Sonoko had already decided, Sumi was still in lost.
(I see... Seems like Sensei saw through that.)
While usually Sonoko is unreliable, at the critical moment, her decisiveness, judgment, and insight are the best out of the three. Compared to her, when it counts, Sumi still hesitates. Sumi finally understood that it wasn't because of her family that Sonoko was chosen to be the captain, it was thanks to her own accomplishments.
Sumi felt a bit sick of herself for ignoring her own weakness, and blaming her parentage for not being selected selected as captain.
[Sonocchi... you are amazing.]
Sumi felt deeply, deeply ashamed of herself.
[You sure are the captain, really.]
[Right, she really comes around when it counts!]
Sonoko was being shy.
(I will just have to always support her properly... With Sonoko's ability, if I do that, soon, one day, she would become a splendid captain...)
Sumi recognized her own role.
(I will support this captain splendidly.)
And so, she started to get fired up for her new mission.
[Sumi is looking at you with a burning stare, Sonoko.]
[S-somehow, it looks like I'll be assailed if I avert my eyes. Al~right, I'll stare back at you~!]
The two stared at each other enthusiastically. Sumi heartily grasped Sonoko's hands.
[Looks like something has been settled inside Sumi.]
[Sonocchi... Sonoko, I will raise you.]
[Ahaha, what the heck! Mother!?]
Gin rolled about with laughter.
The intelligent life-forms which had been continuously intercepted... What kind of action were they going to take...?
At this point in time, the girls still didn't know.
Translator's Notes and References
1. ↑ G as in ゴキブリ (gokiburi, cockroach)
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