13:55. It’s only 5 minute before the ceremony held in big hall to mourn Patriach of Japan Magician community, Kudou Retsu. The preparation is complete, the mourning family members have seated. Seats for mourners are almost full too.
The door to hall become stirred. People who mistakenly thought whether the monks coming inside earlier than the designated time, they are then stiffed their attention to that direction.
The group that coming inside were 3 person. The rustle happens almost the time of ceremony to start, but there isn’t anyone reprimand that rustle. The noise from the rustle is incomprehensible, mainly just voice of admiration leaked here and there.
2 womens and 1 man. Both womens were beautiful. The older one could only guessed at more or less at around thirty years old. Formally they knew her actual age, but people there can only see a young woman with age bit more than 15 years old. She’s looked charming, gorgeous, young and vivacious.
The younger one are looked half-end of teenager same as her actual age. While she’s still qualified as young girl based on her age, but she’s starting to give the aura of mature woman.
People were starting to search the very word definition within them to describe the young woman’s beauty. Alas, nothing came to their mind. Elegance, neat, magnificence, lustrous. None of those definition satisfied them. All they were able to express is beautiful young girl.
Behind both of women, a young man followed them, or maybe a boy, whose look ordinary compared to those women. At very least not something that able to incite the awe from other people. Even so, his presence couldn’t be erased despite exposed to the woman’s vibrant and the girl’s beauty. And people just never thought that he was out of place.
Those 3 seated. With that, as if people attention was released from the spell. The rustle’s noise then changed to whisper among them.
“… Who is that beautiful girl? Is that really human … ?”
“… Don’t you know? She’s that First High student, Shiba Miyuki-jou.”
“… The man is Shiba Tatsuya then. Definitely.”
“… That Taurus Silver?”
“… The older woman, isn’t she Yotsuba Head … ?”
“… What? … You’re right. She’s Yotsuba Maya-dono.”
“To come out where many people are gathering here… . How many years since the last time?”
The whisper was continuing until the official monk coming in.
The mourning held until the official monk left and the ceremony incharge announced that the ceremony over after 4 hours. It’s because the people who come to mourn were too many. Since the mourning was held two weeks after passing away, the flow of ceremony done bit differently. The funeral was done only close family and the banquet only attended by Makoto and his wife’s family, Fujibayashi [富士林]. Kyouko’s family Fujibayashi [藤林] and Makoto’s wife family Fujibayashi [富士林] can still be considered far relative based on family tree, at very least the lineage can still be tracked within last century regardless both are relative because of marriage.
Instead, it’s became obvious that Fujibayashi [富士林] isolated themselves from Fujibayashi [藤林] in this mourning ceremony. The offer to help was courteously rejected. Maybe it’s because something related to Minoru’s birth situation — That Minoru’s genetical mother is Makoto’s sister who married into Fujibayashi [藤林] — affecting both families’ ties.
Even so, if the day before yesterday incident didn’t happen, maybe they will let the help at least for reception.
Fujibayashi [藤林] didn’t have any role for today. Because Fujibayashi Nagamasa helped Kudou Retsu’s killer, Minoru to escape, so today, they were alienated completely.
Fujibayashi Kyouko First Liutenant, was just standing in the corner of banquet hall after mourning ceremony ended.
Nothing to do.
Nothing allowed to do.
This is more painful than expected.
This pain is same as when she didn’t able to apologize properly yesterday.
— Kyouko thought that.
” … Anyway, I’m glad we still made in time.”
“Indeed. I was worry a bit too.”
” I didn’t want to talk too long that time, but Tatsuya-san’s story was too amusing.”
” … I’m sorry.”
Maybe it was in that state of mind.
Kyouko suddenly said something in between.
“Oh? You’re daughter of Fujibayashi [藤林], aren’t you?”
“Yes, I’m Fujibayashi Kyouko. Thank you for coming from far to mourn grandfather.”
“I received his lessons. Even if I have to go from other-side of Earth, I still will come to mourn.”
“I think grandfather is happy too.”
After Kyouko said the common courtesy line,
” … May I ask a bit of your time?”
Cutting of her hesitation, she asked that to Maya.
Kyouko showed a bit surprise in her expression, maybe because she didn’t think she would get Maya’s consent.
“Let’s move to other place. You don’t want to attract the attention too, do you?”
” … Yes.”
In this place, there are people from Military and Magic Association. Not only Yotsuba, but Ichijou, Futatsugi and Saegusa family head is here too. Other 10MC have sent the representative, same with 18 Assistant House too, their head family and representation gathering here too. Kyouko and Maya can’t easily let others hear what they want to talk.
Hayama stood behind Maya unnoticed and answered her respectfully.
Kyouko showed some distraught expression. She couldn’t even notice when and where Hayama came.
“I want to talk with this lady here, where is the good place for that.”
“I have the car to come over, for now I’ll guide you to there.”
“Right. Is Fujibayashi-san fine with this?”
” … Yes, no problem.”
Kyouko hesitated a bit, but nothing she can do by staying here. With that thought, she accepted Maya’s invitation.
“Tatsuya-san and Miyuki-san, you can go home to Tokyo.”
At what Maya said, Tatsuya answered for consent.
Maya said “can” as if she permitted, but it’s actually an order. Maya didn’t have any intention to let Tatsuya and Miyuki to join her talk with Kyouko. The sibling didn’t misunderstand it.
Now, it’s Hyogo stood diagonally behind Tatsuya unnoticed and called Tatsuya and Miyuki.
“We are ready to takeoff.”
Tatsuya group that taken too leisure when going from Miyakijima, came with two different small-size VTOL. Hyogo drove one of those from Chofu apartement. Since there’s one for Maya to come back later, Tatsuya and Miyuki didn’t hesitate to use one.
Tatsuya answered Hyogo as such and then,
“Mother. We’ll take our leave.”
“Aunty-sama, please excuse us.”
“Yes, take care.”
Maya said that and let those two went back.
What Hayama said about car to come over is not something commonly know as “have a hired car together with the driver”. It’s literally to have “the car from house to come over”. Maya had planned to come to Kudou Retsu’s mourning ceremony. To prepare a car that have enough functionality to support the family head is something obvious for Yotsuba.
Hayama ride to assistant driver seat, grip driver lever. Back-side, 4 bodyguards who ride it coming out and then neutralize the area.
The private room is not Hayama who prepared it, it’s small restaurant that Fujibayashi family [藤林] come there often. Maya didn’t show any vigilance and seated to the table. Hayama stood behind Maya, while 4 bodyguards stood in each corner of room. It’s actually Kyouko who became nervous.
Alas, just standing there won’t do anything, first of all, she herself that asked and then became nervous and didn’t want to seat is simply rude. Kyouko let her back exposed to Yotsuba fighter and sit down facing Maya nervously.
Then she calmed down, lowered her head down to Maya deeply.
“First, let me apologize. The day before yesterday, my father had done something grave.”
“Is it about Fujibayashi Nagamasa helped Kudou Minoru to escape?”
“About my father helped the abduction of Sakurai Minami-san.”
Kyouko still facing down, answered such to Maya.
“If that’s the case, there’s no need for you to apologize. Nagamasa-dono very likely has his own reason. The result that is your father lethally wounded and hospitalized. I think your father had enough punishment with that.”
That’s naturally how the loser burdened with, not how the sinner burdened with. Kyouko wanted to say that but,
“Also, our Minami to be abducted is not your father to blame.”
At the unexpected Maya’s line, what Kyouko wanted to say is dispersed like a mist, and she reflexively raise her face to see Maya.
Maya shows grimmed face and is vexed.
Since Kyouko never expected seeing Yotsuba Head making this kind of face, she forgot about apologize and reflexively asked “What do you mean…?”
Against Kyouko who wasn’t able to properly ask, Maya didn’t answer her.
“Even without your father obstruction against Tatsuya, the operation day before yesterday would definitely fail. So, you don’t have to worry about this anymore.”
In the mean time, Maya regained back her smile, gently comforted Kyouko.
Yakumo’s intervention couldn’t be observed by military and police. Sensors around city, recon satelite, stratospheric satelite platform, none of those able to record the fight between Tatsuya and Yakumo.
Not only to hide himself, he’s even able to hide the opponent he’s fighting with, Yakumo’s skill even exceeded Kyouko’s imagination. As the recording only her father alone that hindering Tatsuya, Kyouko never knew or predicted about Yakumo’s intervention.
That’s why Kyouko never able to understand what Maya meant. Maya as the victim’s side didn’t pursue the blame, so it’s strange for Kyouko to insist that “It’s her father mistake” persistently.
“… Thank you for your consideration.”
Kyouko answered that to accept Maya’s words.
Since Maya accepted her apology, Kyouko didn’t have any more reason for taking more time from Maya. She drank the rest of ice tea on top of table and was going to stand up. Of course, without forgeting common courtesy.
But before Kyouko was able to say “Thank you for your time” and left, Maya called waitress to order red tea and some sweets.
Since her name called formally, Kyouko didn’t able to stand up anymore.
She lost the power in her feet, entirely laid her body weight to the seat.
The one whose regretting was Maya. Kyouko understood that based on Maya’s tone.
“What’s the matter?”
“Fujibayashi-san. Would you retire from military and come to our house?”
Maya didn’t answer and instead tried to invite her.
“… That means, become a Yotsuba magician, like that?”
Kyouko with stiff tone, asked back.
“This is not coercion. We never want to oppose military after all.”
“Even I say to retire from military, it’s not retiring with bad reason. Properly retire, come to any our house companies, for example working in FLT.”
Indeed, what Maya said is more moderate than what Kyouko thought.
Kyouko’s nervousness then a bit calmed down.
In opening where Kyouko’s heart had, Maya said some words slipped in it.
“Changing the occupation for a magician is not a betrayal against country or politician. Even you can disregard your position, and you can work in environment where you can fully use your ability, is better for society, don’t you think so?”
“I don’t fully use my ability?”
“I want Fujibayashi-san magic and knowledge is able to be applied to wider area. Right … for example, have you thought about this? Why electrical signaling network able to be interfered with magic?”
” … electric signal is electron particle wave and its flow is physical phenomenon after all, to interfere it with release-type magic is not something weird, is it?”
“That’s electrical flow, means interfering with voltage and magnetic wave, right? Why just a simple electron particle movement which bring the information able be recognized with magic?”
“Do you, in your mind, interpret electron movement to machine-language, machine-language to human-language?”
“… It’s hard, that’s what I think.”
“But you can interfere electrical network information with magic. With speed even surpassing Echelon III and with high precision to excavate the necessary information from it. Not using supercomputer to hack, but only using household terminal to invoke the magic. Why do you can?”
Against Maya’s question, Kyouko couldn’t answer. For her to freely control electrical network information is just a natural thing, she never even wondered about that.
“That’s regretable, in my opinion. To only use your ability for information gathering and manipulation for military. When you have talent to widen your magical-world.”
Kyouko was violently distraught over Maya’s words. She’s in first place aspiring to be magic researcher. She became military officer triggered because of her fiance killed. Her fiance’s first assignment base was Okinawa and killed in battlefield there. She decided to become military officer after that.
What Maya said, Kyouko had realized.
Her reason to continue being a military officer was a meager one.
“I’m definitely able to let you use your magic fully.”
“Of course, you can reply later.”
” … Let, me think it a bit.”
“I’m really happy if you really do that. Fujibayashi-san, do you want refil the tea?”
“No. Sorry, I think it’s enough.”
“Really? Then, I expect a good reply from you.”
Until the end, Kyouko never clearly said to refuse Maya’s invitation.