Assassin Pride Volume 3 Chapter 2

LESSON: II ~Two unannounced guests~

(Unedited)

The man’s statement once again raised a wave of commotion.

More than three hundred girl students’, furthermore the lecturers’ including headmaster Blamange’s eyes became a bundled and looked around. Between the suspicious man with mysterious atmosphere, and the beautiful master and servant facing him.

「Daughter……father……?」

As someone muttered a statement, the commotion amplified like wave. Melida’s classmate said「But Felgus-sama is」. Toward that girl, the hero mask’s eyes set on her.

「Felgus! Please don’t group me together with that thief. It’s disgusting!!」

「Hi……!」

「That man is the devil! He separated my deep bond with Meliona, and stole the fruit of our love! Even so he didn’t protect the daughter being mocked as something like《Incompetent gifted girl》, how cold hearted……My Melida! It must have been very hard for you!」

The reason he expressively let out loud voice from his abdomen for everybody to hear was surely to irritating Kufa. In front of the exchanged gesture and speech, Melida’s face color became ghastly pale.

When looking at her, she was like seeing something disgusted like a ghost or monster. The tips of her fingers that were gripping the military uniform had small amount of strength put in them.

「Who, are you……」

「It’s impossible for you to remember me, before you were born you were separated from me. Nice to meet you, I’m your father! Now then, let me see your face a bit more!」

Right before the man about to step out, Kufa’s hand flickered.

With speed that eye couldn’t capture he drew the sword, the tip of the sword aim at the chest of man a few meters ahead. Although it was still being put in the jet black scabbard, the killing intent like heat haze coiling around it was real.

「Stop right there. Remove the mask and lay down on the floor」

The hero mask man shrugged his shoulders with exaggerated gesture, once again raised a loud voice.

「I see, so Melida is also at the age of having lover! However when I look at him, he isn’t a high class noble, but a blood starving wolf! Be careful Melida. If your love isn’t blessed, you too will become unhappy like Meliona!」

「You bastard……!!」(TN: Kisama)

As Kufa bared his canny teeth, the man 「Bya!」let out a shriek as if being startled.

Then he kicked the floor and flew unbelievably high up to the second floor. He casually threw a chair and broke the stained glass, lastly he put his feet on the railing, and turned to looked down.

「Vexing as it might be, but it seems I don’t have the privilege to tell your about your relations with me. Goodbye Melida, I’m very happy being able to see you! But your violent boy friend makes papa a little worry!」

「Seize him!!」

At the same time the battle training teachers yelled, the man flew down from the window.

Dozen lecturers dashed out from the big temple. Without exception they were clad in mana and prepared for battle, however it were another story if they could capture that rampaging hero mask man. If possible Kufa also wanted to participate in capturing that guy, but the fickle warmness which was leaning at his left arm was much more important right now.

「Ojou-sama……」

If she weren’t leaning at him then Melida’s body would have already fallen on the floor, as such her face color was completely blank. In the big temple where the storm had already passed,  the girl students around started to whisper to each other.

「That suspicious man is Melida-sama’s real father……?」

「He called duke Felgus the demon that had stolen his daughter.」

「Speaking of which I heard something. The reason Melida-sama didn’t awaken her mana until since last year was because her blood line is──…………」

Pon pon pon pon! Violent hand clapping interrupted the girl students’ commotions.

「That was a very bad joke!」

While headmaster Blamange made her way through the crowd, she spoke in a loud voice as if a violin that had the tuning done wrong.

「Judging from that mask, he certainly had mistaken this place for a circus’s public performance! Needless to say that was a very troublesome performance. Then everyone, this morning gathering is over! Please return to your class without forgetting about the print. Since the sensei should also return soon!」

「Dismiss! Dismiss!」

President Christa raised her voice to follow the headmaster, the girl students were driven out from the big temple. Kufa pushed Melida’s back, with look of ignorance in their faces they joined the outgoing wave. Right now he was driven by the impulse of wanting to seek opinion from headmaster Blamange, however right now it was best to avoid contact.

「Lita……」

The silver haired sister weaved her way through the surging crowed and approached. Even though she had an expressionless face as always, the uneasiness leaked out from her tone, from the same direction with Melida she peeked at her face.

「I’m fine, I’m fine! I don’t care about what he said at all」

「……Un」

「We have to get ready for the lesson! If the question we prepared come out it would be great」

Melida’s forced voice transmitted to the surrounding, the other girl students started to chat randomly between themselves. As they were trying to cross over the untidy suspension bridge while turning a blind eye to it, everyone unnaturally avoided the topic just now.

Although Rozetti who was next to him sent a worrisome look, unlike his master, Kufa didn’t have the composure to firmly entertain her. Simply, he was sharpening resolute fangs in the depth of his heart.

He didn’t think it would last forever. But it ended today. The calm restful day was over, once again the force of darkness had come to visit them.

The fates of the assassin tutor and Incompetent gifted girl were being tested, the time of trial was ──

 

† † †

 

「Ah, she came out! That beautiful blonde hair……Undoubtedly it’s that girl!」

As today lesson finished, at the final moment when Melida and Kufa passed through St. Frideswide’s big gate. A rude voice which rubbed the wrong nerve resounded around.

Kufa group reflexively stopped their feet. A large amount of adults were gathering at the gate as if surrounding it, waiting for the girl students going home. They ranged from young woman wearing glass to elderly man. Their garments were worn out suit and hunting caps. Their eyes were shining as if not letting a single scoop went by, on their hands were memo books and fountain pens, and there were several camera ──

Anyone could perfectly recognize them. They were journalists.

「Ojou-san over there, can I have some of your time!?」

The oldest reporter shamelessly leaned his body forward. He got a hold of Kufa, Melida and the girl students going home, stopping their steps. He blocked their walking directions.

The old man must have seen the students as gold bearing tree. His dull eyes were glittering.

「In the gathering today, is it true that Melida Angel’s real father appeared!?」

Melida’s small body twitched.

「Why do you know that…………」

Kufa nonchalantly pressed his master lips which were murmuring.

Although the words shouldn’t be heard, but the other reporters leaned their bodies forward successively.

「This morning, there’s a letter sent to the newspaper company about everything of the academy district!」

「It was from Melida Angel’s real father! When we came to meet to meet in face we were driven out, so tell us about this absurdity!」

「It said there was even violence involved, is that true!?」

「──Hey, what is this commotion!?」

From inside the castle wall a cold voice resounded. It was student council president Christa Shanson. As she exited the gate and stood still, she looked at the bewildering students, the reporters who were lining up looking out of place, and Melida plus Kufa, immediately it seems she understood the situation.

As St. Frideswide’s representative, she buffed her chest out as much as she could.

「All the students return to your home quickly. To be a fitting lady, refrain from making any side trip or chatting too much. Is that clear?」

「……」
As the girl students stiffly nodded in response, and quickly started to head home. Since everyone avoided her harsh gaze and went away, the reporters who couldn’t make the noble daughter compromise lamented「Aaa!?」

Immediately they changed their target. Toward president Christa who was having an imposing stance, everyone closed in on her at once.

「Then please tell us the story! Is student council president-san fine with it!?」

「Eh, n, no, I──」

「You surely know something right? Since you’re student council president? Here see, as student representative please clearly state your opinion! Other than duke Felgus, does Melida Angel have some other real father!?」

「I have nothing to say……」

Saying representative but she was just a fifteen years old girl.

The bewildered girl stepped back two, three steps, taking that space the reporters pushed their tall body forward.

「I’m sorry, student council president. However leave this to me」

「B, but Kufa-sama……」

While he nonchalantly held president Christa’s shoulders and pushed her back into the school, Kufa gathered the eyes of the reporters in that way and went back to Melida. Just like protecting from cold opened air, he held her small and slender body close with his arm, and started walking.

「Shall we go too, ojou-sama?」

In front of the series of action as smooth as water flowing, the group of reporters was absentmindedly captivated.

However, before long the young man raised his voice「Ah!」as if remembering something.

「Isn’t that the military man!? Melida Angel’s lover mentioned in the letter!」

「You’re right, the age different is certain! Hey, set the camera! Quickly take picture!!」

Immediately after that, the cameras which the reporters brought all at once exploded.

The parts burst and flew, the high class precision machines became trash before one could say “ah”. Seeing their own lifeline pitifully return to original forms, the old man open-mouthedly dropped his chin.

「Wha……What are you moron doing!! You want to shut down my company!?」

「Please, please don’t blame me! Somehow it suddenly broke, forgive me!」

He didn’t even give a thought about the half crying camera man and the reporter yelling at each other.

From the wreckage of the camera blue flame remnant was dancing, and was blown away by the wind.

「……Se, sensei?」

For an instance, Melida felt bottomless power and raised her face. However, the elegance home tutor was just looking at the front with uncaring face. Although she noticed one of his eyes was glowed faintly, and bluish sparks were scattering, however the cold air crawling up from his feet quickly erased it.

For Melida, she had no idea that chilling air was the superpower (anima) exuded by a vampire.

 

† † †

 

The situation rapidly started to develop ──

That evening, in Melida’s residence located at the suburb of Cardinals academy district. Kufa was writing in his own room, suddenly there was a scratching presence at the window. He stood up from the seat and opened the small window, from the gap sluggishly a hairy small animal slipped in.

It was a gray hair《Sleepy mouse (Dormouse)》. On the characteristic long tail a simple gadget was attached, a small finger size cylinder in which a small memo were rolled and put into.

While treating the mouse to plant seed and flower nectar, Kufa skillfully took off the gadget.

He opened the memo, and confirmed the content.

This was written on the curled up piece of paper.

 

『On the night of the thirteenth month fake soldiers squirmed out

Is the altar they seek the seed of the sun』

 

It was a cipher. Kufa once again looked at it, and decipher the writer’s true meaning.

──There is no『Night of the thirteenth month』, that means this is The White Night Calvary Regimen (Guild Jack Raven). 『Fake soldiers』implies the criminal syndicate Troops of Tomfoolery Dawn (Guild Grimhuis). The meaning of 『the seed of the sun』should be Melida-ojou-sama. However the final piece of the puzzle would be to confirm whether ojou-sama is the aim of each organization or not…….

While Kufa glared at the memo he thought for a short while, before long he left a short one line poem.

 

『I can’t dance with one shoes』

 

The meaning was simple, it was 『asking for help』. Once again he attached the gadget on the mouse’s tail, and put the memo into the cylinder. As he lightly pushed its plump and round butt, the small messenger crept through the gap of the window, and ran in to the darkness outside.

──It would be wise to not expecting their assistance. In the end the only thing he could rely on was realistic choice. Kufa collected the parchment on which he was writing, and put them into the desk’s drawer. He took off the military uniform’s outer garment and hanged it on the chair, then he went out the hallway in white shirt.

The place where he headed to first was the bedroom which he had visited many times on the first floor.

He stood in front of the door, while harboring a little tension, he knocked on two, three times.

「……Ojou-sama, may I come in?」

As the intimate presence traversed inside the room, and stood at the other side of the door sandwiching it.

She must be taking some deep breathes, after a little while, the door opened to welcome him.

「Pl, please come in, sensei」

Melida appeared in negligee like an angel. She too was having a little tensed face and poked her head out from the door, then she checked the left and right. When she saw that there was no one, she quickly invited the home tutor into the room. Even for Kufa, this exchange always made him feel a little nervous.

Furthermore while he double checked the closed windows and curtains, he asked like investigating.

「Although I’ve informed you before, today is our regular checkup. Have you prepared your mind?」

「Y, yes. I, I’ve thoroughly bathed beforehand!」

「……Is that so」

The bathing powder’s aroma stroked his nose as if tickling it, Kufa faked cough as if to hide his disturbance.

Speaking about what kind of examination they were doing, it was the medical examination of Melida’s mana organs, which had become a custom. Using Kufa’s allocated mana, her inner organs were forcefully made to awaken their mana, so they had to carefully check whether there was any strange reaction as time passed.

This act must not be known by anyone, not even the maids. Because the fact that Kufa deliberately cut and gave the《Incompetent gifted Girl》his mana, and by that result the girl possessed the rank samurai, was undoubtedly the secret concerning both of their lives.

──Supposing even if they allowed that, when they knew the home tutor had been running his fingertips on the pure skin of a thirteen years old knight duke daughter, then fuss wouldn’t be over with just his head came flying from his neck.……Well, right now it was already too late, in this one year time spending with her, there were《a lot of things happened》.

“Cough”, once again he cleared his throat, then Kufa emphasized on his sincerity.

「I’m so sorry for burdening you so many time. But for now I need to check on the development」

「N, no such thing, because from the start this is something I asked for!」

As expected even though she was being embarrassed, Melida showed a charming smile.

「Furthermore, I like being touched by sensei’s hands. Please don’t hold back, okay? Be, because examination, is just like massage!」

「Ojou-sama……」

“As expected she is putting up a little brave front”, Kufa realized in his mind. Although there was that nuance to hide the embarrassment, at the same time what happened at school today must have affected her.

To not waste her consideration, while Kufa showed a smiling face, he pointed at the bed.

「Then, without getting worked up let’s start.──by all means」

Melida tensely nodded, and climbed on the wide bed.

As she faced upward on the pillow, she pulled up the hem of her negligee. Her dazzling calves, slightly ripened kneecaps, until the dangerous place which was the base of her thighs was all exposed. She briefly stopped there, then as if having made up her mind she pulled it a few centimeters higher.

Pure white shorts that wedged into her crotch was seducing Kufa’s vision with hard to resist attracting force.

(Illu)

「……」

Melida bit her lips, and put both of her hands above her head. She only moved with her eyes and invited Kufa.

She was in a pose which should only be showed to the one whom she entrusted her heart and body, and everything completely.

「Pl, please go ahead. In the examination if you need to do something, please do, do as you like……」

「……Understood, my lady」

Behind that calm mask, Kufa’s heart was beating fast.

The first time they did medical checkup by touching her back, ojou-sama had already showed her embarrassment.

Was it because they went through this many times, or was it because some reasons Kufa wasn’t aware of, he felt that Melida became bolder every time they repeated the medical checkup. At this rate sooner or later, certainly the day which he could perform palpation on her stark naked body would ──…………?

Realizing he had imagined too much, Kufa barely able to shake his head out of it.

Rolling up the sleeves of his white shirt, he mounted the beautiful girl laying face upward. From an outsider’s view this must be an absurd sight, however because this posture was most efficient it couldn’t be helped. In order to completely shutout other’s people from the minds of Kufa and Melida, they carefully checked the locking of the door and windows.

「Then this will be like always. It’ll be over before you know it, so please enjoy」

「Y, y, yes……!」

Even being told that surely she couldn’t enjoy it, with a completely red face as if being bewitched Melida caught Kufa’s eyesight, and she responded.

Certainly Kufa’s heart had also taken its fair share of shaking, however in the end this was examination, it was an upright action. The trick was closing his eyes. Once he put his hand on Melida’s skin, even with eyes closed, the presence of mana would guide him.

Namely, the pulsation of mana circuits (vaporizers) that spread throughout the whole body from the center. Even through the negligee he could feel the smallest pulse. The faint heat of mana’s breathe that erupted from the mantle pleasantly transmitted to his palms.

Just like plucking the string of a beautiful goddess, he let his finger crawled over Melida’s whole body while his eyes were closed. Melida too as if willing to accept everything, slowly shut her eyelids.

At this point Kufa accidently focused his mind on her soft skin, this was not good for his heart.

So he changed his thought, in the darkness, what happened this morning appeared in his mind as expected.

──That hero masked man, is he really Melida-ojou-sama’s father?

If that were true, then while the White Night Calvary regimen (Guild Jack Raven) was searching high and low for his whereabouts, suddenly the partner of Meliona Angel’s adultery whose real face couldn’t be grasped so easily appeared. Sure enough, was such a thing possible──…………?

Then Kufa’s finger tips had a trace of the heat. Following the mana’s passage, he arrived at the source of the conspicuous and vigorous pulse of mana. Both of his hand crawled, checking the pulse tenderly as if loving them.

Originally, this girl had to die more than half a year ago. And this pulsation had to stop. Not by anyone else but Kufa’s own hand……. In order to avoid that fate, he couldn’t simply throw away the incidence this time.

In the end, that masked man escaped Frideswide’s lecturers’ persuades. As one thought he wasn’t just a nobody. No matter whether he had specially chosen the timing of the whole school gathering to raise a commotion, no matter if he immediately sent letters to each of newspaper companies, it was all obviously part of a plan.

There was only one aim, to shake the root of Melida’s position, which had finally stabilized.

Standing on that position, what action should Kufa group take? Taking this incidence, how would each of the power surrounding Melida move? He couldn’t just make a wrong move. Because namely Melida’s and Kufa’s fates were being intertwined by a blood color thread ──…………

「Haa, haa…………m! Se, senseii……Hauu……!」

Suddenly, he felt that the angel’s feather was trying to tickle his ears.

It was Melida’s voice. His mind which was completely being caught in thoughts was pulled back, Kufa lifted his eyelids which were closing this whole time. He could see the golden color hair spreading out in disorder.

Melida’s cheeks were flushing as if being boiled, from her pink lips scalding breathes were spilling out.

「Ojou-sama? What is it?」

「A, as I thought it’s about my……limiit……Hya, an!」

Kufa blankly tilted his head, with both of his hands he rubbed thoroughly and casually two, three times with never ending fiddling《touch》. With first rate feeling on his palms, although it was too late, Kufa noticed.

The source of mana was mantle《Tiphareth》. It was placed at the most center of a human’s body.

In other words, the chest.

Unconsciously, Kufa’s hands were continuously touching that place, that meant ──…………

His face was out of character, as he self-aware that his face was blushing.

「Ex, excuse me!!」

With never seen before agility he flew backward, and knelt down deeply beside the young girl’s bed.

「That was my unthinkable blunder! I completely didn’t notice I was touching your c-c-c-chest!!」

「──Gusa!」 (sound of something getting stabbed)

The sound of a girl’s sensitive complex taking a critical hit could be heard.

Slowly rising her upper body, while hugging her chest area she inflated her cheek as if that wasn’t already enough. In the eyes that were full of resentfulness, tears like gemstones were piling up.

「Muuuuuu~~~……!!」

「Ah, no, I mean……」

He had made an unusual blunder. It was a slip of tongue unworthy of a gentleman.

Cough! while he cleared his throat, Kufa narrowly regained the look of a home tutor.

「O, ojou-sama too……when such thing happened you should scream and slap my cheek! Why did you just leave me be?」

「Eh, because……」

Melida restlessly cocked her head, and without a second thought she answered.

「Sin, since it was examination, I thought I had to bare with it……」

「…………」

「An, and when I was touched, my head was full of sensei……a, au……」

Was she self-aware that once again she had received a bold experience, Melida pressed her cheeks and curled herself up.

Because his head would be boiling once again if he heard any more than this, Kufa sit on the side of the bed. He put his hands on the hem the negligee which was still being turned up, and politely fixed it.

「Let’s, let’s end today examination here. Is that fine with you?」

「Y, yes……. I, I won’t tell anyone……」

That would be extremely helpful. Kufa and Melida’s secret probably wouldn’t leak out, because the moment what happened tonight became clear to the outside, the position of home tutor would be in ruin.

While letting their heated head cool down, Kufa abruptly said.

「Ojou-sama, do you still remember what happened on the day we did the first mana examination just like this?」

「Eh? Yes, of course I remember」

Melida pressed the hem of her negligee, as he cheeks could be seen dyed in shyness.

「It, it was so embarrassing……Surely I won’t be able to forget it for the rest of my life」

「At that time I’ve told you this right?『If ojou-sama is being acknowledged as worthy for a knight duke family, then without a doubt people who spread ill rumors will appear』……」

「Ah……」

Including the accident happened this morning, the home tutor was starting a serious talk, she noticed.

Melida’s expression became meek, she nodded. And Kufa nodded back.

「Even if we averted our eyes it wouldn’t solve anything. It seems something scary has happened.──Someone is trying to disgrace the house Angel. This morning, that masked man who appeared inside the academy’s big temple is nothing more than one part of the enemy’s plan」

Melida closed her eyes and nodded. Behind those eyelids, was she seeing the scene this morning.

「I have also thought about it. That man has no relation with me or okaa-sama」

Her tone was as if telling that to herself. Maybe she didn’t have confident, and was unbearably anxious. Having known that, Kufa furthermore raised his voice to encourage her.

「I think so too. The enemy is simply using the scandal to stir up people’s curiosity. However, there is one problem remains, what inspired the enemy to make their move this time. Because if they didn’t have absolute confidence to belittle ojou-sama, the act of defying the knight duke house like what they did has extremely too many risks」

Although she pondered about it, but the thirteen years old little girl couldn’t come up with an answer. So Kufa continued.

「The highest possibility would be ojou-sama’s rank. In the time since you awakened your mana until today, the bad people must have found out the fact that while you were from the knight duke house, your rank was samurai……」

Even though his face was serious, the bitterness was showing. However, that was understandable. As Melida grew as a knight, it would be more difficult to hide her rank. Just like the academy third year Shenfa Zwitoque, although she noticed a little she still kept it to herself, and it would yet still good if there were other people with the same discretion.

However, as one expected such good luck didn’t continue.

Or rather, once there was any opening around Melida, the blade of ill intents which attempted to impale her would be crawling around. Perhaps he should look at their fortune for being able to for being able to spend nearly a year safely somehow.

Kufa made his decision, he stared directly at the girl’s pupils.

「Ojou-sama, since the day I took up the position as your home tutor, almost a year had passed. As a culmination up till now, I want to impose a test for ojou-sama」

「A test?」

「This will be the final exam of our one year time from me for you. And perfectly there was a suitable notice in the academy this morning.──You will participate in Bibliagort librarian certification exam, and pass it」

Melida’s big pupils opened wide while reflecting the color of surprise.

「Eeh!? But, but about that certification exam, if I’m not wrong……!」

「That’s right, normally it is a high difficulty test that should only be taken by second year above. However, exactly because of it, this will be the ideal stage to make the world acknowledge ojou-sama’s determination」

He had also thought about this before. Once Melida’s rank became clear, unsettling rumor would start to appear. But when that happened, if she achieved brilliant result they would be able to suppress any opposing opinion.

Melida was still a first year. However, honestly he wanted to postpone it a little more……It couldn’t be helped, the situation had started to change. How much had the girl called 《Incompetent gifted》growth in this one year, the time to show proof of her hard work had come.

Somehow he had to accurately grasp the current situation which they were put in. Melida’s pupils which were silently starting back at his could be seen wavering as if reflecting a different worry.

「In case, if I couldn’t pass the test, what will sensei do?」

「Eh?」

「Will you disappeared from this residence……?」

「────」

That too, was something he should have hardened his resolve a long time ago. I went against my mission, I betted my life and raised her. However, in the case which she couldn’t accomplish a fitting growth──…………

Basing on my assassin home tutor’s oath (assassin pride), the time for this hand to be stained in blood would come at last.

「In the case that you failed, let’s see……」

Kufa stretched his hand to the side, and let his finger crawled on the soft cheeks of a thirteen years old girl.

「I’ll have ojou-sama take a《punishment》」

「A, a punishment? What kind of punishment is it? I’m a little scared……」

「It’s a secret for now. But it won’t be anything less scary than you think, so try not to fail alright? 」

「Muu……Sensei is so evil」

Kufa lovingly used his fingertips to pinch young girl’s sullenly inflated cheeks. As he did that Melida immediately moistened her eyes pleasantly, and wrapped both of her hands on the home tutor’s.

「Nee, sensei. Then if I passed the exam……Will, will you give me a reward?」

「A reward you say?」

「Yes, um……」

Melida’s eyesight slightly moved. It was easy to notice that it was stroking the vicinity of Kufa’s lips.

「Sensei too, do you remember what happened on the first day we met?」

「Yes, of course. I keep it in the most precious part of my memories」

「Me too.……I, I always think of wanting to have a redo」

She cast her face down looking embarrassed, just like spinning a thin thread she spilled out her words.

「In the end that was just a mouth to mouth medical treatment……Even though it was the first time for me, what was it for sensei, and in the first place how did sensei feel…………」

「I don’t really understand what you are saying, what is it that you wish for?」

「For, for now it’s a secret of mine too!」

Melida turned away as if unable to bear it, and hid her face with the pillow.

He looked blankly for a moment, Kufa immediately smiled with a beautifulness that resembled a rose.

「Ojou-sama」

「Wh, what is it? Sensei」

「What kind of selfish indulgent will you trouble me with, I’m looking forward to it alright?」

Melida peeked her face out of the pillow just a little.

No matter when, Kufa’s               beautiful face that was shining from his heart smiled broadly as if a petal.

「Please look forward to it, won’t you? Because it’ll be the most sincere self-indulgent」

 

† † †

 

As if the disturbance in that big temple was a lie ── or as if it was the calm before the storm, a few days passed without any incident.

St. Frideswide was busily preparing the graduation of the third year, and they were pressed for the promotion of first year and second year, as well as the transfer of duty from the upper classman. In these completely busy days, the amount of students who talked about the mysterious hero mask man that appeared the other day had unnaturally became zero.

As if, everyone was trying to avert their eyes to let it disappeared from their mind ──

 

「I’ll confirm it one last time. You have made your decision, am I right? Miss Angel」

On the day off in preparation for the upcoming end of term ceremony, finally the fateful moment had come.

It was the opening day of Bibliagort librarian certification exam. At the glass place《Glassmond Palace》’s dance hall that served as the entrance to the labyrinth, dozen of girl students cladding in fastidious martial training attire (battle dresss) were gathering. Everyone was examinee for the certification exam.

First on the list was the third year Shenfa Zwitoque, then second years whom overflowed with wisdom, mixing among them and unavoidably gathering attention were the rare and usual first year examinees, two of them.

Toward the childish Melida and Elise, who were one or two sizes smaller than all the girls around, St. Frideswide’s eldest headmaster Blamange asked with her small pupils.

「As for the academy’s side, it’s suffice that you two participate in the certification exam. However you two are──」

「Because we can’t just participate merely for form’s sake. So we are seriously aiming to pass the certification exam」

Melida once again decisively said the resolution                which she had announced many times. And the headmaster didn’t purposely question the reason for it. Her small pupils flickered with many emotions, she nodded short and repeatedly many times.

「Since you fully understand the danger, and have made your decision, I can’t do anything to stop you anymore. However I can support your back. I will personally accompany you in guiding you through the exam specially」

Melida and Elise looked at each other, however the third years and second years, and the other examinees were in a state of agreement. As the headmaster herself had proposed, even though they were surprised, no one opposed it.

The headmaster looked around the hall, and with her well resounded voice she said.

「It’s almost time for the exam to start. Come, let’s make haste to the assembly hall. Try not to be left behind!」

Following the hem of the headmaster’s long robe, dozen of examinees started to move. The first years decided to stay at the back of the line, though first of all, Melida smiled at the cousin by her side.

「Thank you, Ely. For going with my selfish request」

Elise dissolved her expressionless face, she smiled like a flower that bloomed under the snow.

「Because Lita is the unit leader. Being on the same quest with Lita, is fun」

Bibliagort librarian certification exam would be taken as a unit. As Melida genuinely disclosed her intention of taking the exam, Elise immediately agreed to join her.

Just like answering the complete faith of her cousin, Melida gripped her hands.

「We’ll definitely pass this!」

「Although it’s great that you’re fire up, but try not to overdo it」

At that moment, a third year who had passed by hit on her shoulder “Pon”.  It was the beloved Shenfa Zwitoque. Next, a group of two second years paid attention to Elise, and they sent over a light bow「……Good day, Elise-sama」

They were the ones who supported Elise in the Luna Lumiere selection matches in the last semester, Daisy June and Pris Auguste. They also took the exam, Melida was taken aback a little.

「Let’s go with us, ojou-sama」

A large hand was put on Melida’s shoulder, and the beloved seventeen years old boy pointed the way with his masculine eyes. Behind Elise, Rozetti escorted her, just like encouraging she patted both her shoulder.

In that way, the examinees headed toward the basement of the palace at the end of the grand corridor, which easily exceeded two hundred meters. Beyond the gate of Bibliagort, something was waiting.

Inside the left opened door which was protected by glass pet gatekeeper. With one look, it was a circular room that looked like an altar with magic circle drawn on it. Despite this was underground, the roof was so high it couldn’t be seen. Then at the same time, as her eyesight fell to the glass made floor Melida swallowed her breath.

Directly below the room, an endless cave stretched down. At the middle of the vertically piercing giant tunnel a glass board was floating, and Melida’s group with the other examinee gathered on it.

At the center of the room, the thing that looked like a magic circle was called the elevator of ancient times. Because the tunnel’s end connected to the first level of Bibliagort, this would be the place for the exam takers and the guiding lecturers to say good bye.

「Then sensei, I’ll do my best」

As Melida directed a smile to hide her uneasiness, for an instance, Kufa’s expression suddenly stiffened.

He stretched out his hand trying to say something, however right before that, he dropped his arm.

If he stroked her head it would give her great encouragement, however for some reasons Kufa refrained from it. In the end, he only showed a well ordered smile like always.

「Please take care, ojou-sama. I’ll be waiting for your return」

Why, Melida’s heart felt tightened. She wanted to speak with him more. She wanted to touch his hand and shoulder more. Boldly she wanted to throw her body into his chest ……────

Despite always telling herself「I have to quickly become a full fledged lady」, but at this moment, she was being bewildered on why she couldn’t hold back that childish impulse. As she was in that state, the elevator Melida group was standing on started to move. From the center of the room only the magic square suddenly got cut off, while letting out mechanical music of cogwheels it went down and down.

「Ah……」

Reflexively Melida extended her hand toward him. Kufa too knelt at the edge of the tunnel, and extended his hand toward her knowing fully that it wouldn’t reach. Just like an illustration she had seen in a love novel some time before, the scene of lovers having a secret date at the backyard balcony crossed her mind.

──Who could have thought that separating is this painful.

At that moment, the thirteen years old young girl once again clearly realized the origin of the heat that was burning her small chest.

「Now then, all examinees. Before we arrive in place let’s confirm the outline of the certificate exam」

The leader, headmaster Blamange clapped her hands, dozen of girl students focused on the center of the elevator. Melida again changed her mind with a gulp, while she grasped Elise’s hand she turned back.

Headmaster Blamange’s usual gestures calmed down the restless feeling right before the exam. She herself also was conscious about it right, the experienced witch said with a gentle tone.

「The labyrinth library’s qualification ranges from one to six stage in each floor. Of course as the stage increases so does the difficulty of the test, therefore please try to be sure which stage of test you are taking」

Being told so, Melida exchanged looks with her cousin who was nearby. The test they would be taking was the most basic《Sixth stage》…… Nonetheless, certainly the difficulty level wasn’t something the first years could take it easy.

After confirming the states of the examinees, headmaster Blamange continued her words.

「You will have to head over to《reading room》correspond to each layer, and will take the test there. Once you have obtained the proof of passing, and safely returned to the first layer of the elevator, you will complete the procedure of the certification exam. Now, I’ll distribute the hourglass that tells the time limit to everyone」

Each of the guiding lecturers started to move, and hand over distorted glass devices. The things that finally also entered Melida group’s hands strangely didn’t let a single grain of sand fall down even though they were turned upside down.

「At the same time the test starts, the seal will be lifted, and the remaining time will be chipped away. Because inside Bibliagort is very dangerous, therefore you are required to quickly pass through it and acquire the target item, then without delay make your escape.──Next I will explain the threat of Bibliagort」

Everybody looked away from the hourglass, and focused on the headmaster.

「The fearfulness of that labyrinth is that by its nature, it traps the soul of living things and makes them unable to ascend. In Bibliagort, the ghosts of the former librarian of the labyrinth roam in the thousands or ten thousands, and they keep a watchful eye on intruder who thinks of taking books out without permission. Even if you all are mana capable ones, this wouldn’t be some simple obstacles.」

The girls’ throats rang with a gulp. The headmaster continued with a mysterious expression.

「Let’s have some background knowledge shall we? The ghosts are said to be the war deceases from an internal conflict in Bibliagort once before. They patrolled the prophecy exists somewhere inside Bibliagort that written about the beginning and the end of the world, and somehow unfolded a bloody dispute. Although there is no concrete evidence about the existence of that prophecy, at least for now the ghosts are searching for that one book and creeping around the space of the bookshelves」

Everyone had already been swallowing their breaths, and observing the headmaster. The experienced witch nodded a little repeatedly.

「As you dive deeper into the lower layer of Bibliagort, the history of books become older and the value of documents increases, however, at the same time, the strength of the ghost roaming around will also increase. Everyone, once again please confirm the stage you’re taking the test, and take note not to carelessly descend to lower layer──」

At that moment.

“Bang”, with a vibration as if bursting from their feet, the elevator stopped.

At the position of halfway through the giant tunnel, the glass magical circle which Melida group was on stood still. The headmaster including the lecturers too bafflingly cocked their heads and looked around.

「Dear me, what happened? There should be still quite a distance until Bibliagort ……」

Inside the restlessly looking around examinees, only Melida and Elise who suddenly lowered their eyes to their feet noticed. On the blue board, a green color spot spread out.

「A plant’s, bud……?」

The words she muttered furthermore made their heads confuse. Where on the glass made floor could such thing come from? Just before Melida tried to kneel on the floor, unmistakably from the glass floor the green stem shoot up one after the other.

Immediately after.

The whole glass surface erupted, and the rapidly grew giant plant’s root engulfed all the examinees.

 

† † †

 

「How long are you planning on stay like that? You’re really worry about Melida-sama huh」

As Rozetti Pricket said, Kufa raised his head in surprised.

The elevator that Melida group and other examinees stood on had long been swallowed by the darkness of the tunnel. Even so Kufa couldn’t stay away from the brink of the hole.

While wondering about doing something, Kufa stood up from his kneeling posture.

When he did that, Rozetti didn’t even tease him, instead she gave him a serious look.

「You and Melida-sama are really close huh」

「Is that so? I’m happy as her home tutor」

「Not that! What I mean is……」

Kufa frowned at what she wanted to say.

As he thought that Rozetti was squeezing her lips for a while, finally as if she had made her decision her cheeks were dyed red, with force like snapping at someone she leaned her body forward.

「Melida-sama, Elise-sama and me! What do you think about us!?」

「Eh…………」

Kufa for a moment couldn’t fathom the meaning of the question, but at that moment.

「Is, is the headmaster-sensei here!?」

With momentum as if she was about to fall over, the well-build sister of the academy dashed to the room. The lecturers that were outside the guiding role, and Kufa plus Rozetti turned their bodies to see what happened.

Because he was at the closet position to her, Kufa asked on behalf of others.

「Unfortunately, she’s just gone to the certification exam. What seems to be the problem?」

「What bad timing it is! We have a guest! Aa this won’t do, we can’t let him wait……」

As the sister fell into a light panic, she turned her head looking around the room aimlessly, suddenly she met eyes with Kufa who was in front of her.

「──That’s right, Kufa-sama! Won’t you receive this guest for me!? That will do it!」

「I, if you’re fine with me then I don’t mind……But just who is the visitor?」

The sister got her words stuck in her throat many times, finally she yelled with a loud voice as if breaking all the glass.

「It’s Melida Angel’s father……Duke Felgus Angel-sama!!」