Chapter 4, Part 4
“I see. It’s an indoor battle he wants,” Dominica muttered as she stepped into her own mansion.
In a fixed space like this, her greatsword was only half as effective. Meanwhile, Tohru’s main weapon was a shortsword, so it was easier to swing around. Locational advantage—another common tactic in straightforward battle.
He was fighting more like a soldier than a saboteur, which only served to deepen her impression of him, but—
“But he didn’t think this through,” she muttered. Her sword disappeared, and immediately afterwards, curved blades like claws sprouted out one at time from both of her wrists. As she’d said earlier, the sword was merely a part of her armor and by extension a part of her own body, meaning it was within the area of effect for dragoon magic. If a greatsword was unsuited for this environment, she would simply select a better weapon.
Outside, she had already overwhelmed Tohru and Akari. Fleeing in here wasn’t going to change their situation.
“What about that girl Chaika?”
Dominica knew the reason wizards couldn’t be on the front lines.
With magic, you could set traps.
When equipping a Gundo, you had to adhere to various conditions, which could include anything from the temperature and humidity of the area to the actions of your allies and positioning of the stars. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to aim accurately. So while they were powerful and had a variety of uses, they took time to prepare.
However, what if the target was indoors, where they had limited movement?
And what if the wizard had known ahead of time what adjustments she needed to make?
Then she could use magic much quicker.
Spending one night here was more than enough time to analyze the Scoda mansion and acquire the information she needed. Which meant…Chaika could use comparatively faster magic.
Dominica searched around, and then…
At the end of the long, narrow hallway—stood Chaika.
Her Gundo was at the ready, and was directly facing Dominica.
Dominica didn’t know what kind of magical attack she’d prepared, but—
With a single exhale, she kicked off the ground, heading right for the girl. She could close the distance between them in mere moments with her leg strength.
“Come, ‘The Intruder!’”
Chaika spoke a chant.
And directly afterwards—something was released from the Gundo.
A blue light erupted from it with a shimmering noise and flew towards Dominica. She dodged it in an instant. By the time the light had collided with the wall behind her and dispersed, Dominica was already well within striking range of Chaika.
“Indeed, I cannot move as well in a long hallway,” Dominica said as she looked down at Chaika. “But that also means that your timing and aim are easy to predict. Once one becomes aware of such things, dodging magic is like dodging a pebble—no, it’s even easier.”
“Uu…” Chaika took a step backwards, clutching her Gundo and sweat forming on her brow.
Dominica took a step forward.
Then Chaika took another step backwards.
“It’s a shame, but—”
This was war.
What Dominica desired was not to foster half-baked bonds. This was how it should be. This was what it meant to be driven to death’s door by madness.
Dominica raised her right claw—her shortswords.
In a panic, Chaika tried to back up even further…but there was a wall in her way.
The moment that Dominica brought down her shortswords…Chaika vanished.
It seemed there had been a hole in the wall from the start. Chaika had tumbled through the hole and escaped outside. Dominica hadn’t seen the hole because, a cloth made to imitate the wallpaper had apparently been stuck over it.
“…So that’s how it is.”
She couldn’t call it underhanded. This was a wizard who, against a warrior, could only wait for her own death, after all. Of course they would have prepared some method for her escape.
Suddenly noticing something, Dominica took hold of the cloth.
It was heavy. And wet.
It was covered in oil—or some other strangely viscous liquid.
What was the meaning of this? Had they intended to burn down the mansion with me in it?
However, that an attack like that would have no effect on a dragoon. They could just smash a hole in the wall to escape, and plus, they could practically parade through a fire of only that degree.
She let go of the sopping wet cloth and it sagged down, sticking to the wall. Perhaps the purpose of the oil was to remove the wrinkles and folds, making it look less conspicuous.
“It matters not.”
Dominica walked on, cautious.
After noticing a presence in the innermost guest room that matched Tohru’s, she ascended the stairs to the second floor.
* * *
The door opened, and Dominica walked into the room.
Tohru just stood there quietly, watching her.
“So, you thought you’d be victorious if you moved indoors?”
Silent, Tohru stepped forward.
His left arm had already been rendered useless, and anyone watching could tell fighting with just his right arm was hopeless. Not to mention his opponent Dominica could heal any small wounds she suffered almost instantly.
“I thought you’d entertain me more than this,” Dominica said.
Her expression was not that of an animal cruelly toying with its prey. It was earnest—far too sincere, as though she had truly desired it from the bottom of her heart.
“Weren’t you going to show me excitement like on the battlefield? You were going to grant me reckless abandon, wild enthusiasm without a care for anything else—”
“Don’t you dare look down on me!” Tohru said, readying his comblade. He sent a slash towards her. Dominica quickly deflected the slash with her right hand. The recoil from the intercepted attack sent Tohru reeling, and the blade went flying, lodging itself in the wall.
Dominica walked toward the disarmed Tohru.
Her weapon—the claw-like blades—came down over him and were about to cleave him in two, but—
“I knew it.”
Tohru dodged it with ease—and took a step forward.
Tohru came closer, past her striking range, a close enough distance to where he could feel the body heat radiating off her—and grinned.
“You really don’t know any skills or techniques, do you?”
Dominica suddenly stepped backward, but Tohru came even closer, allowing no distance between them. Almost glued together at this point, he pushed the tip of his sword against Dominica’s armor.
“You’re just covering up for it with your ridiculous speed and strength. You don’t have any skill. So when you thrust the same attack at me over and over again—I learn.”
“…is what you call a technique!”
Bam! The floor resounded under his foot.
The sound was from Tohru’s stomp forward. Simultaneously, the entire workings of Tohru’s body, his muscles riding the high from the recoil of the stomp, sped up faster, faster, faster—until at last, in less than an instant, in less than the blink of an eye, all that pent-up energy exploded into the tip of the shortsword he was gripping.
With a sound like something solid had been smashed to pieces, Tohru’s shortsword pierced Dominica’s abdomen.
The technique Tohru used was similar to one a boxer might use. Normally, punches required a certain distance between the attacker and the opponent so that the fist had time to accelerate. The impact of the accelerated fist’s collision was what destroyed the opponent. However, this technique was different. From a state of repose, his sword pushing against Dominica’s armor, to a state of instant acceleration, he smashed through his opponent.
“Did I pry it open?”
With a lurid grin, Tohru twisted the blade in further.
Even if she could heal her abdomen, the skill wasn’t all-powerful.
So he didn’t pull the sword out. He twisted it in deeper, opening the wound more. Unable to heal, Dominica would lose more and more blood and her physical strength would diminish—
She suppressed the cry coming up her throat with her mouth.
“Whenever you swing that sword, it’s always downward. No thrusts. Not a smidgen of finesse. As for defense, you don’t try to parry or read your opponent. All your attacks are a straight line! You have nothing you can consider a combat technique. You only seem strong ‘cause of that ridiculous battle ability you have.”
Dominica grabbed Tohru by the shoulders with both hands.
He felt his bones creaking in pain from her massive grip strength—but he continued on without paying it any mind.
”You’re just like an animal.”
“To you, this isn’t a battle, is it? This is a ‘hunt.’ Just a carnivorous beast going after its prey.”
Tohru grinned, showing his teeth.
Just one more, for good measure.
“Hey, tell me something. Just how long are you going to continue playing ‘human,’ anyway?”
With extreme force, Dominica thrust Tohru away.
The sword popped out of Dominica’s abdomen and Tohru was blown backwards, slamming into the wall.
All the air in his lungs was forced out from the impact. He was overcome with staccato coughs as he lay collapsed on the floor.
But it wasn’t like he could rest here.
“I always thought it was weird,” he said as he crawled over to the wall next to him. Using it to prop himself up, he was able to stand. “You’re just way too unnatural. You’re not the Dominica Scoda that lost her beloved sister. You’re just someone pretending to be her.”
Dominica’s mouth suddenly opened—but apparently unable to think of anything to say, she let out a long sigh in its place.
“What…made you realize?” Dominica asked as she clutched her abdomen. A blue light leaked out, and her wound—along with the damaged portion of her armor—vanished.
“All sorts of things, though it’s hard to put in words. Well, basically, there were no signs of any human living in the mansion. At first we thought the mansion was actually the dragoon transformed.”
“…I see. I was careless, then.” Dominica smiled wryly.
“What happened to the real Dominica Scoda?”
“Dead,” Dominica—or rather, the being pretending to be Dominica—said. “It was illness.” She shook her head pitiably.
Tohru, though, felt like it was an exaggerated action—like he was watching a play.
“That woman longed for death. To stand on the battlefield and forget it all, to let her soul boil over and evaporate. Possessed by the madness of wanting to meet her end in battle, wishing for nothing more than someone to slay her—that was the only thing she had left.”
All that was left to her was her pride as a dragoon cavalier.
But the war had ended, and people now kept their distance from those dragoon cavaliers and their tremendous battle capabilities. Dragoon cavaliers made pacts with dragoons and became one with them for the sake of battle—a deed which earned them the scorn and contempt of orthodox cavaliers.
She was unable to protect her sister. She couldn’t even be there in her sister’s final moments.
She only had her status as a biological weapon—the forfeiture of her own humanity.
Therefore, to fullfill her own existence, she had to be killed in action.
“And yet, she perished of an illness. Day after day, regrets running through her head as she lay on her sickbed, all the while blaming herself over and over again, until she passed away in the throes of despair.”
“I want to fight. I want to fight and I want to die. It’s all I have left.”
Muttering those words continuously on her sickbed—yet dying with her wishes falling on deaf ears. Tohru could imagine.
“…So that’s why, huh?” Tohru narrowed his eyes at her. “That’s why you wanted to ‘fight’ so bad.”
“Indeed. Even if only in form, I wanted to see her wishes realized,” the false Dominica said.
It was akin to putting a photograph of a loved one on display. It was akin to placing a treasured item during the deceased’s lifetime in front of their grave.
“That was all I could do for her. Because…I am not human.”
Tohru narrowed his eyes.
Dominica’s form…began to waver.
A blue light enveloped her, and the image of the human woman began to crumble, something else beginning to take shape in its place.
The transformation magic of a dragoon.
The skeletal structure came together, the bones growing large, and the skin changed color.
The swelling body pushed against the walls, the floor, and the ceiling—pushed them aside, and cracks began to form here and there. Finally, as if unable to bear it any longer, the walls crumbled and the floor rasped, and then—
“So this is…your true form?”
“…No.” With surprising clarity, the fanged mouth responded to his question. “We never had a ‘true form’ to begin with.”
The figure that had appeared while filling the entire room, opening up the ceiling, walls, and floors in the process, was beyond description.
Its height was several times that of a human. Probably at least ten times heavier. It had wings, long limbs, a horn, and a tail—and while that in itself was the very picture of unusual, it also wore armor and held a sword in its hand. Truly befitting of the name “dragoon.”
“This form is what it is because I wished it to be,” the white Feyra said. “Stronger. Faster. Larger. And because of that, in this form, I will not lose to you ever—”
The dragoon stopped speaking, and shuddered slightly.
As if it had just realized what poor condition it was in.
“Finally.” Tohru breathed a long sigh.
All this time, he had kept his breathing to the absolute minimum, and he now expelled that air freely. His initial plan was to just break a window, but since the dragoon had popped open the walls, floor, and ceiling, it saved him the trouble.
“Chaika shot magic at you, right?”
“Yeah. That was poison magic,” Tohru explained as he regulated his breathing. “That magic Chaika fired changes the quality of the air. With the speed you’ve got, a direct magic attack wouldn’t have been able to hit you. Even if it did, it wouldn’t have even cut or bruised you. And I figured that a fire or lightning-based attack wouldn’t work unless it was powerful enough to blow the whole mansion sky-high. Which is why I gave you poison.”
Poison—you could say the mortar and pestle were a saboteur’s bread and butter.
“And while we’re at it, I’ll tell you that that sword I pierced you with was covered in a different kind of poison,” he said, pointing to his comblade. “That was because I could only guess how much poison one would need to affect a dragon. Akari and I drank an antidote beforehand, but the potency was enough to kill a man ten times over. It was risky.”
The reason why Tohru didn’t use his ace in the hole, “Iron-Blood Transformation,” was to protect himself from the poison in the air. A transformed body would indeed be beneficial in combat, but all the strenuous movement would have made him breathe more than usual.
Also…Akari getting blown away and tumbling into the mansion was actually within their calculations.
From the start, she was to withdraw from the battle quickly, enter the mansion, and cover the windows and cracks with cloth drenched in resin. The goal was to increase the airtightness of the mansion. That was also the reason for the resin-soaked cloth covering the hole that Chaika escaped through. It was necessary to get the mansion to a state where it would leak as little air outside as possible.
“Under the influence of all that poison, your movements became more pronounced. You can’t create something from nothing no matter how much magic you use, and you must’ve taken in all sorts of air, dirt, and moisture, right? Naturally, that made the poison circulate through your body better.”
The dragoon staggered, but supported itself with its forelimb—its arm.
“I see…so I was…completely…done in…?”
“That enough entertainment for you?”
“Ha…ha ha…” The dragoon opened its mouth cavity wide in laughter, displaying its fangs. “I apologize for my rude insults then…”
“But…this is not over yet!” the dragoon said.
And immediately afterwards—the dragoon burst from the mansion, sending the room’s walls and ceiling flying by stretching out its whole body, and unleashed a deafening roar.
Pieces of broken building material scattered about, and the ripped wallpaper fluttered in the wind.
In an instant, open air forced its way into the partially-destroyed room that had lost more than half of its roof and walls.
Of course, the poison was already circulating through the dragoon, so no amount of fresh air it breathed now would be enough to restore it to peak condition—and since the poison was running through its whole body and not just part of it, it couldn’t just use its magic to make the poison go away, unlike a wound or bruise.
Though the dragoon remained unsteady on its feet, it raised its sword, expanded its wings, and flew towards Tohru.
“Come, ‘The Ripper!’”
Chaika’s voice rang out.
She had been waiting on standby outside, and now she fired her severing magic into the dragoon’s wings, amputating them.
The dragoon’s posture crumbled while in the air.
Facing the giant beast, Tohru—
Leapt towards it.
Because he had to mind his broken left arm, the jump wasn’t even half as high as it normally would’ve been. However, it was enough.
Tohru aimed his shortsword right at the brow of the dragoon hurtling toward him and prepared to stab.
With a rending cry, he thrust his sword forth.
And from the giant Feyra’s brow, a flower of red blossomed.
* * *
The projection device’s innards were complex, so disassembling it took longer than they thought.
Akari had wanted to just smash it open, but they couldn’t risk harming the remains hidden inside. Plus, Chaika had just gone and repaired it, so she had objected. In the end, Chaika had opted to spend time taking it apart, and once she was done she removed the corpse’s remains hidden deep inside—that was to say, two eyeballs belonging to Emperor Gaz, floating in a crystal container.
“This is the real thing, right?”
“Very likely,” Chaika nodded.
“It sure was a pain to get,” Tohru said as he looked over his shoulder at the courtyard.
There—the dragoon lay on the ground, its brow pierced.
“You promised. We’re taking this.”
“…Do what you will.”
The dragoon replied in an unexpectedly calm voice.
There were no groans of anguish, nor anger, nor regret.
It wasn’t like Tohru understood the emotions of Feyra in the first place, but right now the dragoon had its back turned towards him, so he couldn’t surmise what it was thinking.
“Now that all is said and done, I am satisfied. I thank you,” said the silver-white Feyra without preamble.
It seemed like most of the poison had already worn off. What an overpowered creature.
“Yet there is one thing I do not understand. Why did you not finish me off?”
The voice was one of pure bewilderment.
“I have no obligation to commit suicide,” Tohru casually tossed out.
“If you were just trying to put Dominica Scoda’s soul at ease, it was over after I found you out. Until you turned into your dragon form, there wasn’t any need to fight.”
The battle had already been decided when the poison had entered its bloodstream.
Yet she—it was probably a female dragoon—didn’t stop fighting.
That may have been because she had now lost not only Dominica, but her own purpose for living.
“I see. That may be so.” Her tone was almost one of admiration. “Perhaps I was dependent on Dominica.”
She spoke as if it were a confession—almost wizened, like an old man reminiscing over the last half of his life.
“Because we were of one body, Dominica’s desires became my desires. Her goals became my goals. So when Dominica’s desires were rendered null, I suppose I as well…”
A dragoon did not feel much pain, and they had impenetrable defense. You could say they were practically immortal.
Despite their high intelligence, dragoons had not developed cultures or civilizations, and it was difficult for them to develop complex emotions. To them, a pact with a human—with a dragoon cavalier—was a truly pleasant thing. However,should a dragoon cavalier’s mind be experiencing fierce human emotions from the mere act of living, should their mind be driven to desperation, those emotions were poured into the otherwise-empty mind of the dragoon.
“Just because Dominica’s wishes are kaput doesn’t mean you have to abandon your own,” Tohru said with a sigh mixed in. “You can do whatever you want. Goals and motives are just a means—an excuse to live.”
“Is that so?”
“I mean, probably. Not like I would know, though,” Tohru said as he scratched his cheek.
He didn’t have any right to be preaching about goals and motives to someone else. After all, until just recently, he was sitting on his ass all day, having lost sight of his own.
But it was for that reason that he also understood how the dragoon felt.
“Of course, I do get the sentiment of remaining alive when you should have died. Just give it up already. Quit playing the warrior and let go of your precious Dominica.”
Tohru had changed his shortsword’s course at the last second—as a result, the blade did split her brow, but the brain and cranium were left intact.
Truthfully, Tohru himself didn’t understand why he’d done that. Perhaps he just couldn’t bring himself to harbor ill will towards this monster masquerading as Dominica Scoda.
Taking emotions into consideration during a technique was probably grounds for immediate disqualification as a saboteur.
However, while saboteurs were cold-hearted, they weren’t cruel.
Using force to kill someone that didn’t need to be killed was actually the bigger problem.
A blue-white light formed around the dragoon’s massive body.
The horns, wings, tail, all the fearsome qualties of this beast—melted away like snow and ice. As the form continued to shrink, it began to look more and more frail.
Chaika was about to run up to her, but Akari stopped her.
A dragoon’s magic was “transformation magic.” They could change their size at will.
In other words—they could probably keep shrinking until there was “nothing left.”
Without leaving a corpse, just an ever-present presence—so as to limit those that became aware of the truth of their legendary existence. Perhaps dragoons were that kind of being.
“Ah, come to think of it…”
—It rose all of a sudden, and started speaking.
“I’ve decided to quit being Dominica, but…”
Tohru, Akari, and Chaika just stared, their eyes wide open.
It looked over at them from its shoulder and continued speaking.
“To be honest, like, I have no idea what I want to do from here on out. It’s a bit too late for me to return to being a normal dragon now, y’know. It’s like, I wanna reason to live already! A goal, I think you called it? Whaddaya think?”
“Uh, well…” Tohru was absolutely stymied. “Let me ask you something first.”
“You are…that same dragoon, right?”
“Do I look like something else to you?”
Well, she said that—but no matter how Tohru looked, he couldn’t see anything but a young human girl.
She had a cute, somewhat cheeky appearance.
Her outfit was mostly white, in some respects resembling Dominica’s armor.
She looked to be in her mid-teens, about the same age as Chaika.
However, her long golden hair and bloodred eyes gave an almost opposite impression from Chaika. If Chaika was the moon, this girl was the sun. She boasted a presence you couldn’t ignore.
Some of Dominica’s facial features still remained, and she even looked like Lucie a bit…except there was nothing fleeting or ephemeral about her. In its place, there was a curious air of boldness.
At any rate—
“You look like a human to me.”
“Well, that’s ‘cause this it’s easier to talk to you guys in this form.”
“Did you have to change your tone too?”
“You told me to quit acting like Dominica, didn’tcha?”
What was up with this girl?
She no longer had any of the grim demeanor she had when she was Dominica or even when she had assumed the easy-to-comprehend form of a dragon. She was like a completely different person.\
Ah, so that’s how it is.
Suddenly, Tohru realized part of her intent.
Dragoons were strong creatures. Strong to where they didn’t need to rely on others—and therefore, societally ignorant. In other words, they didn’t possess the sense of self people acquire from being around those similar to them. Though people had a certain personality naturally from birth, there was also an aspect you could only gain from life experience.
Therefore, this dragoon was merely imitating a human “personality” that was easy to comprehend.
Adopting a personality unlike Dominica’s was her way of self-affirming her decision to quit being Dominica.
“—Oh, hey, I just thought of something nice,” the dragoon said, hitting her palm with her fist. “How does this sound: I’m going to kill you!”
She suggested it as casually as if she were taking a walk.
“Well, yeah, it’s like…whaddaya call it? Revenge? Getting even? Yeah, see, you beat me, so…that sounds like a human thing to do, right?”
Ahahahahaha, she laughed brightly.
Absolutely no trace of the grim demeanor just a bit ago.
“Yeah, right! I mean, if you came at me seriously, I’d die instantly!” Tohru yelled, pointing to his broken left arm. It was currently in a splint, a triangular bandage hanging down from his neck. It would probably be a bit before it was completely healed. Of course, the same tricks wouldn’t work on her twice, and if the dragoon really wanted to she really could kill Tohru.
“Ah, right, my bad. Let me heal that for you.”
She tottered to where Tohru was and grabbed his broken arm.
“Holy shit that hurts! What are you—?”
“Hup!” she said as she ripped the bandage off and threw the splint away, then with a “time to dig in!”, she sank her fangs into Tohru’s arm.
Now having the pain of her fangs, no, canines, stabbing into his arm added to the already-existing pain of a broken bone, Tohru screamed.
“Stop, you’re going to tear it off, you’re going to—wait, huh?”
The pain was receding.
No, wait, he could even see the swelling of the bone going down.
“I can’t understand you. Let go before you start talking.”
“Puha!” The dragoon girl finally spit Tohru’s arm out of her mouth, and began again. “I said, this is different from a real pact where you exchange part of your body with mine, so if I’m away from you, it won’t work. However, by temporarily biting you with a part of my body, I was able to heal you with my magic.”
He stared at the arm she’d bit.
The teeth marks had left little holes in his skin from which blood was oozing out—but the broken bone had cleanly and fully healed, and there was no more swelling.
He was shocked at how convenient magic could be.
“…Uh…” Tohru was kind of lost for words. “I suppose I should say…thank you?”
“Sure, sure. All right, it’s healed now, right?” The dragoon girl grinned. “Then let’s fight.”
“We’re not going to fight!”
Tohru yelled at the grinning dragoon.
“No good, huh?”
“Go and find a different purpose in life instead. Preferably a peaceful one,” he said, unrolling the sleeve he had rolled up due to the splint.
“That’s right,” Akari interposed. “You’re a dragoon. I won’t allow you to leave any more mouth marks on Nii-sama’s body. Particularly the nape of the neck, as that area is reserved for me. Finders keepers.”
“Goddammit, shut up! You’re only going to steer this conversation in a weird direction!”
While trying to quell Akari, Tohru faced the girl once more.
“Do you have a name or anything?”
“Ah…” All of a sudden, a cloudy expression crossed the girl’s face. “I have nothing you could call a name. If you had to call me something…’East 645,’ I guess.”
“What kind of a name is that? Dominica didn’t name you anything either?”
“Dominica was me, and I was Dominica. Dragoons and dragoon cavaliers don’t have the sort of relationship where we need to call each other by name.”
Tohru thought for a bit, looking up at the sky.
“Then how about ‘Frederica?’”
The girl looked genuinely perplexed, but Tohru continued.
“Well, you look like Dominica, so I thought ‘Frederica’ would be good. How about it?”
“What do you mean, ‘how about it?’ Are you giving me a name?”
“Well, calling you ‘hey’ or ‘you’ all the time’s gonna get annoying,” said Tohru. “Well anyway, fighting’s a no-go for now. If you want to fight so bad, bring one of the remains we’re searching for first.”
“Ah, that makes sense,” the girl—Frederica—said, clapping her hands together.
The reason Tohru’s group was fighting in the first place was for the remains. If she happened to have another piece, they would have no choice but to fight her for it, but since she didn’t, there was no need.
“Well, I’ll be in your care, then,” Frederica said lightly, smacking Tohru’s chest.
“You guys are lookin’ for the remains, right?”
“Then if I want to acquire some more remains, I’d better go with ya.”
“…Uh, wait a minute…”
Did that mean that right before they acquired a piece, she intended to snatch it up and say something like “If you want it, fight me for it?”
“That’s some screwed-up reasoning.”
“Huh? Really? Makes sense to me,” Frederica said, tilting her head.
How should he put it…her appearance and speech might be that of a human, but things like this made it clear she was a Feyra. She was unable to recognize her own obvious strangeness.
“Ah…Chaika, you say something to her. Tell her off.”
Turning around, Chaika’s eyes went wide, but—
“‘Sup?” Frederica replied.
She seemed to have accepted the name quickly.
“Nice working with you.”
The overjoyed Chaika.
The yelping Tohru.
The dissatisfied-looking Akari.
“Sure. Nice ta meet’cha!”
Frederica, laughing cheerily.
And just like that, the number of party members on Chaika Gaz’s journey to recover the remains was now four.