Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume2 Chapter2
Chapter 2: What can be done
Kei was a flowing energy inside of every human being.
"Blood" flow sent signals through the nervous system. It flowed through the bone marrow......It was like a network of thoughts, and amidst all the flowing energies was one called Kei.
Certain people were born with the ability to create a huge amount of Kei. On a certain level, one could view it as redundant energy produced by the phenomenon called life. Kei could strengthen the body or destroy things outside the body.
Did this new human ability evolve to ensure the survival of mankind in this polluted world? Or was this the evidence that pollutants were slowly invading the human body......?
Humans called this power Heaven's Blessing. They treasured it and respected it.
The flow of Kei created the Military Arts. It took a long time to pass down and spread this skill through the cities in the world. And in the intervening time, many cities fell prey to the filth monsters.
The sound of a breath being let out brushed past his ears. Layfon pulled back his stance to respond to that breath.
And the sole of a shoe suddenly appeared before him.
He bent forward, and the kick went over his head. His opponent changed tactics and swung down towards Layfon's back with the foot. In a flash, Layfon's left hand shot upward to grab the foot, his right hand already pressing down his opponent's chest, and he kicked out at his opponent's other leg.
Red hair scattered. His opponent fell onto the mat on her back.
Amazement at the action echoed throughout the gymnasium.
"Are you all right?" Layfon extended his hand to his opponent.
"I thought I almost got you!"
"That's like praise, coming from you! You just increased your speed to avoid my kick, right? I lost because of that!"
Naruki combed her hair with her fingers. A cunning smile appeared on her face. "Speaking of which, Layton......Have you forgotten I'm a girl?"
"Huh?" Then he remembered how he had pressed his hand down on her chest.
"Yes, I admit my breasts aren't big, but for you not to have felt it......It makes me feel a bit......" She glowered at him.
"Ah, no......I didn't mean that! My body just moved on its own......" He explained. Speaking of which, it was a shame he couldn't feel that softness - NO NO NO! How could he think like that......
Naruki smiled. "I was just joking."
"Ah, you gotta pay the price for touching a girl's breast. That's the etiquette for being a man."
"Yes. Besides, I don't want to be touched so easily......" she said, scanning the sports hall.
He followed her gaze.
This was the class for martial arts. Most of the first-year students had been kicked flying and were lying on the floor. Thunderous noise filled the hall. Their sparring partners were all third-year students. As expected, none of the first-year students were winning.
Layfon was in first-year but was also a platoon member. Nobody wanted to spar with him, so he was paired up with Naruki.
"Has the captain of your platoon got some kind of problem?"
The two of them were watching Nina. Nina calmly fought the two first-year students she was facing.
"Does she look like that to you?"
"Yes. As if her heart's somewhere else."
Layfon also thought so.
"Do you know something?"
"We had a match recently."
"Aha......Losing a match can be shocking."
Almost all of the platoon captains were in their fourth year, but Nina was a third-year. She obtained permission to form a platoon because of her excellent skill, but that wasn't all that she wanted to do. She wanted to save Zuellni through her own strength.
In other words, she wanted to win in the next Military Arts competition. Therefore, losing a match must have been a huge blow to her......
"Um..." Even though that was how he thought......
"What is it? Is something wrong?"
"No. That's what I think......"
But he felt that wasn't the real reason. Things weren't as simple as he thought they were.
"Hey, you over there! Practice seriously!"
"Ah, sorry!" Layfon apologized automatically to the three third-year students. Behind those three were other first-year students, watching Layfon with curious glances. As for the three third-year students......
"What is it?" Naruki asked.
"He's the trump card of the 17th platoon, right?" one of them said without glancing at her. All three were watching Layfon with challenging gazes.
"Um......" Layfon replied listlessly. "Do you want something from me......All three at once?"
"Um......" A hostile and provoking attitude......Hiding in it was jealousy.
Layfon was used to the negative emotion currently hanging in the air. It was a normal event for him, like eating meals everyday. He had encountered this sort of scene before and after he became a Heaven's Blade Receiver in Grendan.
This was an older person's contemptuous attitude towards his junior......And his jealousy at having a kid be better than him.
"I'm fine with it."
"Layton......?" Naruki said in amazement. "You don't have a sword though. Is that okay too?"
One of the three students giggled.
"No problem. It's natural not to use a sword in a martial arts class."
"Aren't you a bit conceited?"
"This is not conceit. Besides, it's just a class."
"That's being conceited."
That male student had reached his limit.
Layfon felt an growing gap between his words and feelings. He responded lightly to the provokers, as if he was a robot. He didn't think the situation would improve if he said anything else, so he decided to accept the challenge.
But he didn't think accepting the challenge would improve the situation either.
"I'm not conceited. This is the truth," he said anyway.
The observing crowd turned angry. They watched the three third-year students move to Layfon from three different directions.
Layfon didn't take a stance. He took a step back so he could see all three of his opponents.
"Well then......" As the person directly facing Layfon muttered, the two students rushed in from the side.
Strengthening their bodies through Internal-type Kei, they attacked Layfon with fists and feet.
The bullet-like fist and scythe-like kick didn't hit Layfon.
They searched for him.
Layfon was in the air.
He turned in midair and kicked off at the steel beam on the ceiling to descend at unbelievable speed. A loud noise from the mat on the floor confirmed his position right behind the student in the center.
His surprised face was inches from Layfon's. Layfon stood up.
His fist found the chest of his surprised opponent. Ignoring the third-year student he had defeated, he faced the other two.
The other two third-year students turned back at the noise and saw their friend lying on the floor.
Layfon still hadn't taken a stance. He stood, stoic, paying no attention to the student he had just taken out, his gaze sweeping through the other two students.
And in that one swift moment, he disappeared.
It looked as if he disappeared. In fact, the other two third-year students couldn't keep up with his movement.
In the silence of a light breeze, Layfon moved swiftly to the two opponents and repeated his attack, burying his fist into their chests.
The two students toppled.
Joyful shouts erupted from the group of first year students.
Layfon let out a breath to soften his blank expression.
"I don't think you should've done that."
He was gratefully eating Meishen's bento and listening to Mifi talk all by herself when suddenly, Naruki had spoken up.
They only had class in the morning, so the four of them went a bit further from the school today to the patio of a General Studies senpai's restaurant. The patio faced a freshwater lake that was used for agriculture.
They ordered the cheapest juice from the restaurant and took out Meishen's sandwiches from the basket.
It was refreshing to appreciate the lake while eating. Layfon saw a field of fruit trees on the other side of the lake, and more fields for the agricultural major. There weren't any tall buildings anywhere. The sky looked like it merged with the trees.
"I mean your attitude back in the gymnasium," Naruki clarified.
"Huh? What's that?"
Mifi had started the conversation as she had gotten news of the incident and wanted Layfon and Naruki to give her more details.
"No matter what, they were just jealous."
"True. I'm not saying he should've lost deliberately to them because they were senpais, but I feel it would've been best to leave them some face."
Naruki didn't worry about other patrons overhearing. It was past lunch time, so there weren't many people in the restaurant.
"Hmm. For example?"
"For example, not taking on three people at once and fighting them one-on-one instead."
"Is that......all?" But didn't he finish them one by one?
"They wouldn't have accepted it. Aren't they in a platoon too?" Mifi said.
Naruki nodded. "Perhaps they wouldn't have accepted it. But it would have looked better if the other three suggested to three-on-one fight. Now it looks like Layton's the bad guy."
"Oh......" Perhaps she was right.
"Layton might not care how other people perceive him, but this is troublesome for the friends around you," Naruki said. She then looked at Meishen.
"......I......I don't really mind," Meishen waved her hand in negation.
"Ah, sorry. I didn't think about that."
"Well, I might seem harsh, but I just don't like people badmouthing my friends," Naruki said.
"Thanks," Layfon nodded his thanks.
"Never mind. It's not Layton's fault, so don't mind it."
"......Yeah, don't worry about it, Layton."
"......Thanks," Layfon said.
Face reddening, Meishen lowered her head.
But perhaps there was a problem with his attitude. Just as Naruki had said, Layfon didn't mind making enemies......To the point that he had no interest in it at all. All he wanted was to end the fight as quickly as possible. He didn't care what consequences came from that.
That was the attitude he held.
Why did he have such an attitude?
There wasn't a need to ask that question.
Problems were never-ending.
Before he became a Heaven's Blade Receiver, he'd fought countless matches with people jealous of his talent. People challenged him. They felt they had been insulted because he was only a kid.
He was foolish to respond to them all seriously. From the very beginning, he had had no knowledge of Naruki's alternate method. Even though, when he had grown up a little, he felt it wouldn't be bad to hold an attitude that could avoid some of the trouble......
......In the end, he still hadn't understood. When he was little, he had always used his fist to solve his problems. And he now responded instinctively.
Till now, he had never thought anything of his attitude. He didn't know what other people thought of him, and the people at the orphanage were happy he was becoming strong.
That was enough for him.
But because of that......
"Speaking of which," Mifi said, interrupting Layfon's train of thought. "What did we come here for today? Although I had always wanted to come here one day...... "
Naruki had suggested coming here today. This restaurant was quite popular among girls......Of course, Naruki had told Mifi and Layfon that when she'd said she wanted to come here.
Layfon also felt strange about Naruki's request to come here, since Mifi was usually the one jumping to this kind of thing.
"Uh, well......" Naruki patted her hair. "I have a favor to ask of Layton."
Naruki stuttered. "Uh, we didn't have......to come here. If Layton's ok with it, I can just say this......"
"......Is it tiring?"
"Sometimes. Sometimes it's relaxing. Sometimes it's hard work or not hard work at all. But it'll surely take away some of your time."
"That's like a riddle!"
"Yeah, this isn't like me," she sighed.
"......Is this, to work for Nakki?" Meishen said.
A sour smile on Naruki's face. "Yes."
To work for Naruki meant to work with the City Police.
"Me?" Layfon said.
"I'm not trying to scout you from the platoon. I don't have the authority anyway, but the Military Arts course has recommended people to the City Police. I only knew of this after joining the police force. And there's one empty slot in that temporary list."
"And you want me to join?"
"Ah......My superior knows that I know you. He wants me to ask you. A first-year entering a platoon really stands out."
"But I have to clean the Central Mechanism......"
"I know, so I'm not forcing you. Since you're a temp, that means you won't know when you'll be called, and the pay also isn't that good. I understand it's not reasonable to ask this of you when your job and school work have such irregular hours, but......"
Looking at her troubled expression, Layfon felt there must be something else she was hiding. If he didn't agree to her request, he might never find out about it.
"I get it. Sure."
Naruki was surprised. "......Really?"
"Yeah, Naruki......You, and you two are so good to me. If it's something I can do, I'll do it."
"No......It might be strange for me to say this now, but you can think about it for a few days more and then give me your answer?"
"That's all right. Whether it is the cleaning job or team training, I don't think they'd mind if I let them know what I'm doing."
"I'll tell them. After all, I asked for your help."
"OK, then shall we end the conversation here?" He clapped his hands.
He never thought he'd be asked to work the same day.
"That's ok." Layfon said to Naruki.
They stood in a building at the outskirts of the residential district, looking at the ground below.
Naruki's superior in the City Police was Formed Garen, a fifth-year student in Cultivation course. Short, but with a sturdy build, Garen was nervously checking water in the lab.
"Ah, it's you......I'm sorry for troubling you."
It felt hard to approach Garen, but the man wasn't that difficult to get along with, really. His big and rough hand, like a blacksmith's, placed a beaker on the desk with caution, perhaps even fondness.
"It's a bit too quick, but I want you to lend us your strength."
Garen didn't look concerned at asking for Layfon to work right now. That must be the difficulty that Naruki was trying to hide.
"I want to explain the details to you. Have you got time today?"
"I have work in the Mechanism today. If you can do something about that, I don't mind."
"Good, then I'll talk with them. The reward isn't as good, but I'll pay for it. And you'll also get paid by the City Police."
"No......You don't have to......"
"Either way, we're students. An equal price must be paid for the difficult living circumstances affected by this."
Layfon's reservations were quickly brushed aside.
"Besides, those guys who snatch away the achievement of students' hard work must be punished!" Garen said, unable to hide his fury.
And so Layfon stayed to watch the dormitories near the building he was in.
"I can make money doing this too," Layfon murmured to himself, who hadn't expected to get extra pay, and looked away from the dormitory to what was near it – the roaming bus station.
Most people who needed to use the buses were those getting out of the city, and most of them were business travelers, moving between cities to sell products. Sometimes true travelers without homes would appear, but that was rare. The freedom of travelers in Zuellni was restricted as all the districts were populated by students. The dormitory here was made for that purpose.
"Hasn't anyone taught you that intelligence is the most important thing?" Naruki said, playing with the rope she was carrying.
"Yeah, back in Grendan, I was always checking for sales."
"I think we're talking about different things......"
"That was important. If I wasn't paying attention, many kids wouldn't have seen the new year."
Feeling the speechless atmosphere around them, Layfon recalled what Garen had told him earlier. They were watching a dormitory that a group of business travelers had been living in for two weeks.
The travelers identified themselves as businessmen from the city of Rulgraif. They worked for a logistics division under the international company Vinesleif.
In the business district of Zuellni, Vinesleif sold news, novels and comic books from other cities, and also current information on fashion and entertainment. On the other hand, Zuellni also sold news and entertainment information made in Zuellni, as well as any (already unveiled) seeds of new species developed in the agriculture course.
This group of business travelers had been staying for two weeks.
"This isn't strange because the next roaming bus hasn't arrived yet, but......"
Roaming buses didn't follow a schedule. Every bus traveled freely between cities. It wasn't possible to make a timetable for them. Sometimes, one had to wait a month to get on a bus that would take them to their destination.
"But their purpose isn't to buy and sell ordinary information."
The agricultural major's research lab had a break-in one week ago. An information archive had been illegally taken.
"The missing information is the genetics pairing list of yet-to-be-unveiled new products. This goes against the treaties of the Alliance. To think they actually took the information before it was published......"
"But where's the evidence against them......?"
A data chip was tiny. The tiniest was just the size of a fingernail. As such, a chip could be hidden anywhere, and besides, many of the products brought in by the business travelers were also data chips. The best way to hide a tree was to put it in a forest – even if they had the data chip from the lab, it would still be hard for the City Police to find it.
"We have proof. Although they disabled the security cameras, they can't deceive our eyes."
Yes, the City Police had an eyewitness.
"To take back the chip and prevent them from making a copy of it, tonight, someone from our side will confiscate all things related to the information system."
Every city had its own laws. There were laws set down by the Academy City Alliance that applied to general areas, but in reality, only the police force in the city itself could enforce the laws.
Inside Zuellni, there were no jails to keep people in for a long period. Students who committed a crime were either suspended or forced to withdraw from a course. As for people outside Zuellni, they were forced to leave the city. When the crime involved a company and some organization, all Zuellni could do was report it to that organization and the government of the city that the organization was based in. Zuellni had no way of interfering with whether the criminals would receive punishment back in their home city or not.
But without the roaming buses, cities would become isolated. Besides, if the criminals were outsiders, they had nowhere to hide in the city. Usually, they wouldn't resist meaninglessly and would follow the City Police's instructions. If they resisted, they'd either die or be forced to leave......Which was much better than being marooned on the barren earth. As long as they didn't come close to the city anymore, their crimes would also disappear.
Garen's expression twisted. "We could've done this smoothly, but the roaming bus is here."
"And the departure time is?"
"Supplying takes three days. The workers are delaying the paperwork to give us time, but the bus will depart tomorrow morning."
If they knew there was a way out, the criminals might escape on their own.
They'd probably do that.
"Tonight's the key."
"Ah......We'd have had more time if we had found the eyewitness earlier. Anyway, it's no use regretting it. The problem is we don't know how powerful 'they' are. We don't know how many Military Artists they have with them, but there can't be none. We don't have many people in the City Police and Military Arts course who have had real fighting experience. Like before, we've accumulated some real experience fighting monsters......But, it really is better to have a platoon member when it comes to fighting people."
"But in that case, you could've picked someone else......"
"No. It has to be you!" Garen smiled. A cunning smile. He patted Layfon's shoulder.
"I have high expectations for you, newcomer!"
Layfon touched his shoulder. In it wasn't pain, but Garen's expectation – which wasn't a bad feeling at all, but the 'him' hiding somewhere inside himself wasn't sure whether that expectation was a comfortable feeling.
(Will I feel troubled by someone else's expectation of me?)
No answer surfaced.
"I'm sorry!" Naruki said suddenly.
City policemen had been deployed around the dormitory. Two officers were heading for the dormitory, about to confiscate the data chips.
"Sorry for asking you to do this."
"No, because......This is too despicable. He used our connection to......"
"What does it matter? I don't mind so long as it's something I'm capable of doing. Meishen's bento was delicious. I feel bad for always accepting her goodwill, so I'm glad I have a chance to return the favor."
"No, you don't get it, Layton. Platoon members don't have to work for the City Police. This isn't your job."
Now he understood why Garen said "It has to be you". So that was why. Did Garen think that it was easier to call on Layfon because of his ignorance?
The feeling of Garen's hand on his shoulder disappeared.
Even so, no resentment arose in him.
"That really is strange. Power should be used where it's needed. So if there's a need here for a platoon member, then a platoon member should help out."
In truth, a Heaven's Blade Receiver's main duty was to fight filth monsters, but sometimes they also worked with the police to maintain security. A few Heaven's Blade receivers were so strong that they could only fight filth monsters, but the rest of the Receivers helped out the police as best as they could.
Layfon felt uneasy that, being a platoon member, he had the privilege of using his strength for good and ill.
"And they said they're paying me for this, so you don't have to mind me."
"Really? I suppose. Well......"
A devious light shone in her eyes as her face relaxed.
"Do this like you're returning a favor to Mei. You can take her out on weekends and listen to her talk. She seems rather troubled lately."
"You don't want to?"
"That's fine, but where should I take her?"
"There are many restaurants she hasn't tried. I'll ask Mifi to pick a bright restaurant with a good atmosphere. You take care of the rest."
"Isn't that the hardest part?"
Anyway, his experience in dating a girl was limited to Leerin. Besides, at that age, he never quite thought of Leerin as a girl. They hadn't reached the age of romance yet.
He hadn't seriously thought of what places a girl would be happy to visit.
"Good luck!" Naruki smiled at the sighing Layfon.
Thunderous noise shot out from the dormitory.
Naruki and Layfon turned their faces to that direction.
The door to the dormitory was busted open. The two officers rolled out from the room. Blood sprayed in the air.
Five men ran out, kicking aside the shattered door. The document said there were five people......So all five were here. One of the men carried an old suitcase. The data chip must've been inside.
Layfon studied the culprits.
"All five of them."
"Yes, and they're all skilled."
Layfon saw the light of Kei flowing in them. Wild Internal-type Kei roared in their bodies.
Naruki also narrowed her eyes, but couldn't see anything.
She didn't doubt Layfon's words. "This is bad."
"We also have five Military Artists in the surrounding forces, but......"
"It's best if we move over to the scene," Layfon said.
As they were analyzing the situation, policemen had surrounded the five culprits, raising their batons.
"Don't resist!" a student who seemed to be the captain shouted.
The business travelers took that in a relaxed manner.
Layfon saw they had Dites in their hands.
"Counting on ya," Naruki said.
The five business travelers made their move as Layfon leaped out the window.
They restored their Dites – sword, gun, scimitar. All were close-quarters weapons.
The normal students in the troop called out.
The five moved.
Their movements weren't particularly fast to a Military Artist, but their weapons were hard enough to cut through flesh and bone. Compared to them, the policemen only held batons. A baton was the same as a Dite and could be quite powerful if used in different ways......
Unfortunately, all of the Dites in Zuellni had safety locks on. A pointy blade would have its point removed. In Zuellni, they fought fights that would never see anyone die.
And that point was now decisive in this fight.
The movements of students who lacked experience in fighting with dangerous weapons and the movements of mercenary Military Artists who had earned their fair share in life and death battles were really different.
"Waaaa!" The thought of not letting the enemy's blade come close made their movements stiff.
The baton pulled close to defend, but the opponent's blade pierced through an opening. Blood spurted from the student's shoulder.
He wasn't the only student calling in pain and falling onto the ground.
The other four students had different wounds on different parts of their bodies.
And then, Layfon landed.
The five culprits were about to rush into the roaming bus. Noticing Layfon, they all stared at him in surprise, alarmed, but they didn't stop running.
Layfon restored his Dite. Kei flowed into the blade, and a blue light traced the night sky. He swung. His Kei shot out of the sword towards the five people.
The nearest two culprits jumped up and evaded the attack, but Layfon wasn't targeting them.
A light noise came from beside his feet.
The suitcase had rolled to him.
"Ah......!" The man who had been holding the suitcase yelled in pain.
Layfon kicked back the suitcase. It slid to one of the members of the troop.
The five stopped running. Layfon raised his sword, as if to prevent them from going past him.
It seemed the police were right. The data chip must be in the suitcase.
"It's not good to steal," he said.
The five rushed towards Layfon.
Layfon slowly moved the blade before him.
The five closed in on Layfon at high speed, using Internal-type Kei.
Layfon shot out – External Burst-type Kei. The three people in front of him jumped aside to avoid the Kei.
But where were the other two?
Without giving him time to think, the man leading the five landed and slashed upwards. Layfon jumped back, and at the same time, two people appeared from behind the man, as if his back had just split in two. They attacked Layfon's sides.
Layfon crouched, evading a huge knife and used his sword to block the stabbing motion of a spear.
The three encircled Layfon.
The other two people......
"Hey! What happened!?" the man who previously carried the suitcase shouted.
He looked back and saw his two comrades lying on the ground. "How did this......"
"I knew it wasn't possible for five of you to reach me," Layfon said.
"It was you......"
"I saw through your moves. Your tricks were useless."
He deliberately let the two evade his Kei the first time he shot it out, but he hid a second wave of Kei within it, one that dispersed into the evading paths.
The condensed form of Kei hit the two in their chests, and they fainted.
Layfon looked behind him.
The three remaining culprits also followed his gaze. They widened their eyes in surprise.
The suitcase was gone.
Had the police taken it?......No.
Layfon's gaze flicked to the upper left – the rooftop of the dormitory, and saw Naruki.
In her right hand was the end of a rope, and the left was a suitcase, wrapped tightly in the rope.
Naruki's lassoing skill.
"I'm not returning this to you!" she shouted.
The three rushed towards Layfon, who was pouring Kei into his sword, not at all impatient.
His Kei had turned the sword into a part of his body, and through it, he felt the murderous intent of the three in the disturbance of the air. The point of the sword caressed the air as if to quiet it – then Layfon slashed the air apart.
External Burst-type Kei – Whirl Kei.
The wind before Layfon ceased its movement for a split second, and it started to spin at an increasing velocity.
It pulled the three culprits in, floating and tossing their bodies in midair. Numerous small explosions battered them, the air spinning madly, the Kei smashing them without a moment of rest.
As everyone gazed at this scene, breathless, Layfon raised his sword and swung down.
The air stopped spinning.
All noise ceased, leaving behind the silence of the three unconscious criminals.
"Brilliantly done!" Garen praised. He had already checked the contents of the suitcase.
The police collected themselves and went to deal with the five men.
"Confiscate everything, the clothes too. Forget the food and water though. Don't miss anything. Change them into prison clothes with the crime seal and put them on the roaming bus," Garen instructed.
Members of the troop went to cut through the culprits' clothes. They were being careful, considering how the data chip could be hidden inside a seam.
Layfon watched the men work as he checked the contents of the suitcase.
"Is it in here?"
The inside of the suitcase was crammed full of data chips.
"Not sure, but we can't tell till we've looked through every single chip. Um, it's probably in there."
Garen's smile turned devious. "I wonder how much we can get for this many chips?"
Layfon widened his eyes.
"What's with the look? We don't know whether they got these chips through legal or illegal means, but anyway, we have no way of returning the chips to their rightful owners. In that case, isn't it right to sell them so Zuellni can profit?"
That was true, but the way that Garen told him this so honestly and matter-of-factly was a bit surprising.
"There's never too much money to feed all the students in Zuellni."
"Ah, Alseif-kun's done great today. I'll increase your pay for tonight," Garen said and left to join the men looking through the clothes of the culprits.
"I'm sorry. He's that type of a person," Naruki said and patted Layfon's shoulder.
"No......I don't find him a bad person."
Naruki frowned at Garen. "Perhaps......I can't really tell whether his attitude on money is good or bad."
"I'm not sure either," Layfon smiled bitterly.
This must be nonchalance. People might think Garen was thick-skinned, but Garen himself didn't find his action despicable......No, he wouldn't have cared even if people thought him base.
That was the truth.
Garen was similar to the old Layfon back in Grendan, doing all he could to earn money for the orphanage. Only that Layfon had hidden his attitude till the last moment, and he hid it because he felt guilty about it.
(Would I have turned out differently if I was honest like him?)
He couldn't help but think of this possibility, huh, but that was pointless. It was useless to think up hypotheses. The present him existed because he was unable to become like Garen.
(Besides, I don't hate the me I am now.)
The me......His circumstances.
He had friends to talk to. He wasn't as tense and anxious as before.
He had hoped for such a good environment.
(No......There's still pressure here.)
Still a tiny bit of trouble.
How did Senpai spend her night?
What was she worrying about?
No answers came from the night sky he was gazing at. Above him was only the darkness, scattered with the light of countless stars.