Campione! / Campione! Vol 14 Chapter 2


Chapter 2 – News from Italy
Part 1
Kusanagi Godou had spent the year end and New Year’s in the South
Seas, practically on the equator.
When it finally came time to return to his home and country, he really felt
quite removed from the New Year’s spirit.
Furthermore, his grandfather was traveling in Bhutan and his little sister
Shizuka was vacationing in the Caribbean. Although his mother was in
Japan, this was the time of the year when she occupied her days with New
Year parties, so Godou hardly ever saw her.
Anyway, Godou finally returned home to Japan.
“Since it happens to be January, I believe we should pay a New Year’s
homage before the winter vacation ends. As a New Year’s event, let’s all
go to Mariya’s place.”
At the Kusanagi residence, Erica and Liliana gazed subtly at Godou when
he invited them.
As a side note, Ena had already returned to her ancestral home at
Chichibu a while ago.
“A New Year’s homage? I recall it being a Japanese custom. To make a
wish at a shrine at the beginning of each year.”
“A godslayer making wishes to gods? What would that be like, I really
wonder…”
“l-lt doesn’t matter, okay? I can do New Year things just like ordinary
people. Besides, I’m not even sure what gods exactly are worshiped in
Japanese shrines!”
Liliana murmured with heartfelt emotion while Erica expressed her doubts
sardonically.
In response to the two knights’ reactions, Godou blurted out sacrilegious
words.
In spite of it all, the trio departed for Shiba Park anyway, to pay a visit to
Nanao Shrine whose origins and deity worshiped were unknown to them
despite their frequent visits.
“Welcome back, Onii-sama. You’ve been working hard this January!”
“Thank you, everyone, for visiting despite the cold weather. Please step
this way.”
Entering the confines of Nanao Shrine, they were greeted and received by
the Mariya sisters.
Hikari and Yuri. Shinto shrines always had their “busy period” before and
after the year end. As Hime-Miko, the two girls had been working for the
past few days consecutively. Godou greeted the sisters who were dressed
as miko.
“Have you been coming here every day since the year end, Hikari?”
“Yes. Despite how I may look, I was actually acting as Onee-chan’s
substitute!”
“From what I have heard, Hikari has been very diligent. She worked
incessantly over New Year’s Eve and the first three days of January.”
The older sister’s gentle gaze rested on the younger sister who had
answered in a joking tone of voice.
As one of Musashino’s important sanctuaries, Nanao Shrine was where
Yuri was stationed as the proper miko responsible for the “Hime” role. For
the time being, Hikari was still an apprentice.
But because her older sister had followed Godou on his trip to Malaysia,
Hikari became her substitute.
“By the way, this shrine really does not have many visitors.”
“This place was never popular in the first place.”
Liliana and Erica looked around inside the shrine inquisitively.
Information about Nanao Shrine was restricted by the History Compilation
Committee. Consequently, very few knew its location here, apart from
nearby residents.
Hence, visitors were usually quite rare. But today was different.
There were roughly ten people enjoying the New Year spirit as they
casually strolled about. This number of ordinary people was usually not
seen in this shrine. They were all members of the elderly. Apart from
Godou’s group, there were no other young people.
“Sure enough, because of the time of the year, pious individuals from a
long time ago and nearby people would make a special New Year’s visit to
pay homage here.”
After explaining the situation, Yuri took everyone to a corner inside the
shrine.
Displayed on what resembled a folding table for sale were strips of fortune
telling paper and decorative arrows for warding off evil. For Nanao Shrine,
this was a rare sight similar to an ordinary shrine for once.
Young miko were selling these things, working part-time for the short term.
There was even sweet mild sake offered to visitors. Godou, Erica and
Liliana all drank the warm, sweet, alcoholic drink, warming up their bodies
which were cold from the chilly air.
Then the group entered the worship hall to insert coins into the offering
box, ring the bell and clap twice.
Although it was just a casual shrine visit, it did count as finishing the New
Year’s homage. Godou felt rather satisfied with having completed part of
the New Year’s festivities.
Then on the next day after the shrine visit, his little sister Shizuka returned
to the Kusanagi residence. Coincidentally, grandfather Kusanagi Ichirou
also came home on the same day.
“This is a souvenir… But just to let you know, I bought it in Hawaii.”
“Uh, are Macadamia nuts really in season?”
The grandfather mischievously took out a gift-box of snacks, causing
Godou to smile wryly.
In a situation like this, it was probably something of a Kusanagi family
tradition to refrain from snide comments like “Weren’t you traveling in
Bhutan?” On the other hand, Shizuka inclined her head in puzzlement.
“Grandpa aside, who had been overseas during this entire time…”
Staring repeatedly at the face of the brother she had not seen for some
time, she questioned:
“Why are you tanned, Onii-chan? It also feels like you’ve gone swimming.”
The speaker, Shizuka, had also picked up quite a tan herself.
She probably sunbathed quite a bit in the summer-like Caribbean. Godou
really could not bring himself to say “I actually went to Southeast Asia.”
Godou tried to skirt the issue while under his sister’s subtle gaze.
“Oh… It’s New Year, you see. A friend who lives in the south invited me
over.”
“What is this!? So, Onii-chan, this trip wouldn’t happen to include one of
the girls from Erica-san’s group, would it!?”
“Of course I’m right. Who was it!? Erica-san, Mariya-senpai, or Liliana-san?
Or heaven forbid — All of them together!?”
In the end, Shizuka discerned the truth through her mysteriously observant
powers.
Meanwhile, the grandfather had no intention of probing the issue. Winking
to Godou, he entered the kitchen to prepare dinner. This was also part of
the Kusanagi family tradition, indeed.
After surviving various incidents, the third term of school began.
Compared to the hustle and bustle in January, Godou’s days were
temporarily peaceful for now.
Oh well, there were a few troubles too. Such as working as part-timers with
Shizuka and going to Okutama to slay a divine beast. Although the latter
turned into a predicament involving a duel with a giant centipede-like
creature, at least the incident was resolved before it could turn into a
serious affair.
Just like that, the first month of the new year passed peacefully for the
most part.
Godou was also studying diligently for exams. During the third term,
Jounan Academy eschewed midterms and held final examinations directly
in early February.
Thus, the first February school day came to an end.
Godou and three classmates were putting in serious effort, sweeping the
area around the school gates.
This was because they were on duty. During this time of the year, fallen
leaves were even more abundant than rubbish. The others on duty were
Nanami, Sorimachi and Takagi — commonly known as the Three Idiots.
Recalling a certain incident, Godou struck up conversation with his friends.
“So, do you guys have any plans for Valentine’s Day this year?”
He merely posed a casual question. However, Godou suddenly jumped.
Two seconds later, the former location of Godou’s head was sliced through
by a sweeping broom handle. This would be a full-powered sword strike
unleashed against the upper region. An all-out attack from Takagi who
belonged to the kendo club.
“What the heck are you doing, idiot!?”
“Sorry, Kusanagi, my body could not help but move on its own.”
Takagi declared boldly with an expression like a wandering swordsman
from historical novels.
The slicing attack was performed quite proficiently. Were Godou not
accustomed to battle already, he could not have dodged it.
“But forgive me, it definitely was your fault just now…”
“Yeah, Takagi is right…”
“You just committed taboo, so don’t complain if you get killed…”
“What’s the matter, guys?”
Not only Takagi but also Sorimachi and Nanami were all bearing grim
expressions.
Godou was troubled by the trio’s eyes that glimmered with subtle,
murderous intent. Why would they be this angry? Incomprehensible.
“You just committed what a socially fulfilled person should never do.
February 14 — Together with December 24, these two dates should be
listed as taboo judgment days in modern Japan which has been corrupted
by love-capitalism. Even if the gods are willing to forgive such atrocities,
we shall not.”
“Yeah, absolutely unforgivable.”
Sorimachi’s gaze expressed agreement with Nanami’s performance while
Takagi questioned Godou as if performing a forceful counterattack.
“By the way, how many guaranteed offers of chocolate do you have!?”
“I get one from my sister every year at least. There are no other
guaranteed offers.”
Troubled by the Three Idiots’ reactions, Godou replied.
“Shizuka — my sister — would suddenly make a very displeased face after
counting the courtesy chocolate I receive. So there’s nothing to be jealous
about.”
“Gah, not only do you receive massive amounts of chocolate, you even
have a tsundere little sister!”
“Furthermore, you deliberately omitted Erica-sama and the others!”
“No, it’s true that I’m good friends with them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll
give me chocolate for sure. That girl Erica doesn’t care for these things in
particular, so she’ll simply overlook them inattentively.”
Although Godou did not hate sweet things, he did not especially like them
either.
Not really caring much about chocolate, Godou continued to the main
topic.
“So, for this year’s Valentine’s Day, I know someone who is holding a
chocolate-eating gathering for those who are ditching girls. You guys
wanna go?”
“WHAT!?”
For some unknown reason, Nanami reacted to the invitation with shock. So
did the other two.
Puzzled by the trio’s responses, Godou continued to sell the idea.
“My acquaintance is quite the popular person and wishes to hold an event
for all the guys to take care of the mountain of courtesy chocolate.”
This was the plan concocted by Sayanomiya Kaoru, the young member of
the History Compilation Committee’s core leadership. Kaoru had already
extended her invitation to ten-odd acquaintances, “eligible bachelors” from
among subordinates who were single, Amakasu, and others.
The venue was going to be Lu Yinghua’s shop, a place which the Three
Idiots already knew about. The “Peerless Statesman” maid cafe in
Akihabara.
Compared to the expected amount of chocolate, the numbers set to attend
were currently not quite enough.
“A-Are you going too, Kusanagi, no way…?”
“I don’t have anything scheduled that day, so that’s the plan for now. You
guys can come too, how about it? It’ll be like Christmas, wouldn’t that be
nice?”
“Oh yeah, however, the event organizer did mention that it’d be better if I
don’t attend. That said, I have no idea why I’m being excluded.”
While Godou muttered to himself, the Three Idiots suddenly became
despondent, having suffered a serious blow.
“Bastard, to think you’d join this kind of planned event on February 14…”
“Th-This must be the difference between the desperate and the
complacent…”
“Anyway! How popular is the guy who planned this ridiculous event in the
first place!?”
“Eh? Well, that person’s popularity level is a little exaggerated, but you
guys probably won’t believe it…”
Godou faltered as he found himself confronted with a fundamental
problem.
Briefly considering the person named Sayanomiya Kaoru, she was still
quite a presence even if one were to ignore her membership in the History
Compilation Committee. After all, she was as handsome as a character
taken out from shoujo manga.
How should he explain to the Three Idiots? Godou began to agitate over
the issue.
Part 2
“Something relatively easy to make… You could do a chocolate and
espresso style tiramisu.”
After thinking briefly, that was Liliana Kranjcar’s suggestions.
The location was after school in a classroom. But rather than the Year 1
Class 5 classroom where Liliana belonged, this was Class 6 next door.
This was the class of Mariya Yuri and the two others who had called them
here.
Currently, Liliana was teaching how to make western confectionery.
“In addition to whipping egg yolk and mascarpone cheese to produce the
cheese cream, you need chocolate that is not excessively sweet and
espresso with the addition of white wine.”
“Hmm, it does seem quite tasty. However.”
“Instead of chocolate, doesn’t this feel more like a cake?”
The ones commenting were Class 6’s Miyama-san and Sawa-san.
“I have no choice but to close my eyes and think carefully at this time…
Despite their pleasant appearances, chocolates sold commercially have
lost much of the cocoa’s flavor. I think handmade truffles and raw
chocolate will taste much better than store-bought ones.”
“The way shop-bought chocolate is tempered would be no good…”^
Liliana murmured as if coming to a conclusion. From the side, Yuri also
remarked with a troubled expression.
This lesson was the result of Miyama-san’s search for advice.
‘Valentine’s Day is drawing near, so I’d like to make some chocolate… But
what’s the best way to do it?’
Known for her cooking skills and being in the same class, Yuri was the first
person they consulted.
However, Yuri was not as familiar with the preparation of western
confectionary as she was with general cooking. Hence, she brought her
friend — Liliana Kranjcar — who made cakes during holidays from time to
time.
“Because it’s a rare chance to present something handmade, I can
understand your feelings in taking a serious approach.”
Liliana nodded at Miyama-san.
“In order to support your love, we also should craft a well thought-out plan
while we are here discussing.”
“E-Ehhhhh!? N-No, that’s not right. This isn’t for confessing!”
“Miyama only wants to make cakes because of club activities. She’s
actually part of the cooking research club. Then because Valentine’s Day
is approaching, their next club activity is apparently chocolate making.”
“What? Oh I see now.”
Petite Miyama-san was so flustered her face had become bright red. The
glasses-wearing Sawa-san explained cheerfully.
Liliana was quite disappointed. In order to prepare for the approaching
“real battle” on February 14, she had been dedicating her efforts towards
preparing her recipes. To think she had mistaken Miyama-san for a fellow
comrade.
“Liliana-san and Mariya-san… Neither of you asked in the first place. In any
case, you’re both going to give chocolate to Kusanagi, right?”
“I-I am going to give Godou-san chocolate!?”
Sawa-san shrugged as she remarked, prompting Yuri’s sudden panic.
“Umm, although I have never given anything like that to a male apart from
my father and grandfather… I must try my best at this, I suppose!?”
“What you do in this regard depends on how you feel, Mariya-san. We’re
not going to judge you.”
“l-lndeed you are right. Then I really must hurry with preparations…”
Yuri whispered softly. Meanwhile, Sawa-san and Miyama-san’s gazes met.
“Kusanagi-san huh. Although he’s a ‘good fellow,’ at the same time, he’s
also quite a ‘good-for-nothing’…”
“Strangely enough, there’s something pimp or gangster-like about him.
Maybe I really should try stabbing Kusanagi once or twice with a knife for
real…?”
This time, it was Liliana and Yuri’s turn to exchange glances. Moreover, the
one making the radical proposal was Sawa-san who belonged to the
drama club. Despite being just a first year student, she was a talented girl
who personally took care of starring and production roles.
Sawa-san apologized frantically.
“Sorry, did I say anything to displease you two?”
“No, no. We have prepared ourselves long ago, in the event that
something like that might eventually happen to Godou-san… He really is
incorrigible.”
“But it is quite surprising to find fellow students who are aware of that
aspect of his.”
Yuri sighed as Liliana nodded in agreement.
“I believe his problematic aspects as a person are difficult to understand in
the eyes of others.”
“Godou-san has always been a strong and nice person.”
“Kind and responsible without prejudice. A person with a stable
temperament.”
“Although he does not like meddling in other people’s business, he is very
good at taking care of others.”
“Also, he has the kind of personality that makes it impossible for others to
stop him once he gets worked up…”
“But without all these qualities, he would not be Godou-san…”
Liliana and Yuri spoke alternately, nodding to each other.
Whenever the contradictory qualities of Kusanagi Godou were brought up,
this was the inevitable outcome. Clearly a benevolent person who is
conscientious about the greater good, but why did situations always turn
out like that?
But upon hearing Liliana and Yuri’s worries, Miyama-san remarked softly.
“Are you actually praising or complaining about Kusanagi-kun, I really don’t
get it…”
“By the way, I’ve wanted to ask this for some time. During the winter break,
did you all visit the beach together, somewhere south?”
“Sawa-san, why would you ask that!?”
“Very simple. It’s clearly midwinter, but you all came back tanned.”
II II II II
With the critical fact pointed out to them, Liliana and Yuri were speechless.
They had not expected to be found out in this manner.
“Kusanagi-san’s family went along as well, right? I’ve heard that his little
sister, who studies in the middle school division, also came back with quite
a tan.”
“Taking family and an army of girlfriends to the beach, that’s really acting
like a king.”
Although it was not entirely true, false achievements were being publicized
and spreading around.
In any case, that was how the gathering finally concluded. Exiting the
classroom together, Sawa, Miyama and Mariya Yuri parted ways to head
off to the activity rooms of their respective clubs. On the other hand, Liliana
made her way to the school gates.
It was currently dusk and both the school yard and the building itself were
illuminated orange by the setting sun.
“What a coincidence…”
Seeing the boys at the front gates, Liliana murmured to herself.
It was her lord, Kusanagi Godou. However, she also witnessed a strange
scene. The trio of Nanami, Sorimachi and Takagi in his company suddenly
raced towards the setting sun.
With tears streaming down their faces, the trio resembled abandoned
dogs.
Meanwhile, Godou was left behind, scratching his head and going “What a
pain.”
Not long after the Three Idiots had sprinted off into the sunset…
The silver-haired student came over to the side of Godou who had been
left behind alone, dumbfounded.
“Did anything happen, Kusanagi Godou?”
“No, I’m not even sure myself.”
Naturally, the one asking incredulously was Liliana. She looked like she
was just about to leave school to go home.
The school gates was not a great place for talking, so Godou and Liliana
walked over to the street and began to converse behind the gingko trees.
“We were talking about plans for February 14. Right after I mentioned I had
a very popular acquaintance, these guys looked like they had suffered a
massive blow for some reason…”
“Very popular — surely Sayanomiya Kaoru, right?”
“Yeah. I think what I said about Kaoru-san was the decisive factor in their
change.”
Godou had omitted her gender for now and tried to tone down his
description of her as much as possible.
Quite handsome in appearance, well-versed in both martial and cultural
arts, popular with the ladies, etc. This resulted in the Three Idiots crying out
simultaneously and cursing the world as they made a mad dash towards
the setting sun.
After listening from start to finish, Liliana murmured slowly.
“Indeed it is quite a mystery. Why did they have to run?”
“I didn’t say anything bad, right? Anyway, I’ll try talking to them again
tomorrow.”
“I think that is appropriate. Indeed, confirming the way one another thinks
is fundamental to interpersonal relationships.”
Liliana answered Godou’s question with a serious, knightly expression.
This was the kind of statement the Diavolo Rosso would never make. As
expected of Liliana. Godou was impressed.
However, the ponytailed female knight suddenly changed the subject.
“By the way, there was something in that conversation that I cannot
ignore.”
“Eh, which part?”
“Naturally, the fact that your baffling plans are infringing on the sanctity of
Valentine’s Day.”
Liliana was scolding angrily.
“This day is a venerable celebration of lovers. To be honest, I was quite
surprised that it has even permeated Japan deeply…”
“Is deeply permeated really a good thing? I think it’s just troublesome.”
Reportedly, the custom of only girls giving away chocolate was entirely a
Japanese creation.
For example, in places like Italy, the men would send cards to express
messages of love. While Godou was recalling this fact, Liliana was talking
with a know-it-all expression:
“The difference in details is just a trivial problem. What is important is the
attitude of expressing your love to those who are important to you.”
“But putting love aside, the custom of courtesy chocolate is really a pain in
the ass…”
“Having fun like this would be nice once in a while, would it not?”
Godou was reminded of White Day^ every year when Shizuka would
always start a noisy argument by going “Take me out somewhere.”
Recalling this annual affair, Godou had expressed his opinion but Liliana’s
attitude was not swayed at all.
“Sorry, let me make a correction. Confirming one another’s thoughts is not
only fundamental to interpersonal relationships, it is of ultimate importance.
Trampling this principle will lead to people getting hurt — ”
Liliana glared at Godou with reprimanding eyes.
“In order to prevent a problematic Valentine’s Day, I will make proper
preparations as your knight.”
“A-As a knight?”
“Yes, confectionery recipes for making chocolate are fully prepared. I have
already cleared my schedule for that day and made myself completely
available.”
□liana’s slender face, reminiscent of a fairy’s, swiftly drew close.
Godou could feel his heart racing in response to the girl whose face was
not limited to stern beauty.
“I believe you are obliged as a king to respond appropriately. For example,
take me to a place where we can admire a beautiful night view together.
You can also prepare a card filled with passionate feelings as a gift.”
“T-Together with you, Liliana?”
Godou felt intimidated by this proposal which seemed more suited to close
couples rather than between a king and his knight.
Liliana was leaning so close that they seemed like they were about to
embrace. However, Godou was reminded of all the behavior they had
engaged repeatedly at this kind of distance.
Perhaps because of that, Godou could not help himself from nodding
involuntarily.
“l-lndeed you have a point, I guess I have no choice but to consider these
types of activities… Right?”
“Y-Yes, we are king and knight. I believe that these events are very
important for affirming each other’s contract of lord and subordinate.”
Liliana spoke with a shyness that had replaced her serious expression.
Her stern gaze, which had been focused on Godou, weakened slightly and
felt more womanly. To go even further, there was also a sense of
connection between accomplices privy to each other’s lies.
Perhaps due to embarrassment, Liliana shifted her gaze away slightly.
“Besides, apart from me, there should be others whom you need to show
your care towards, right?”
“Uh…”
“Before indulging Sayanomiya Kaoru in her games, please handle things
properly on this side.”
“G-Got it.”
It really seemed like the advice a capable adjutant and grand chamberlain
would provide. However, Godou could feel subtle sarcasm in her words.
Feeling stung, Godou nodded.
“I think it’d be quite fun to do silly things with guys only on occasion,
okay…”
“Although I can understand the importance of spending time in the
company of male friends, your timing is wrong. Consider doing things with
them next time, please.”
Godou and Liliana’s conversation deliberately ignored the gender of the
person who had planned the gathering. But suddenly, Liliana displayed a
pondering expression on her face. She was muttering to herself, something
like “Wait a minute, if that is the case…”
“What’s up, Liliana?”
“Oh, nothing, I was just contemplating something for a bit. Alternatively,
Kusanagi Godou, you could come to my home late at night after attending
the gathering — ”
“Late at night!?”
“Y-Yes. If my home is no good then how about somewhere else outside…”
The muttering female knight, whose personality was prone to delusions,
suddenly became startled.
She probably realized her ideas were going too far. As the notion of
spending late night on February 14 with Liliana alone flashed across his
mind, Godou yelled loudly:
“There are so many things wrong with that, in all sorts of ways, look at it,
come on!”
“l-lndeed you are right. Please pretend you did not hear what was said just
now.”
Because both of them were serious people, it was very easy to reach an
agreement during times like these.
Discarding the memory of the proposal from just now, the pair began the
“aftermath.”
Since Godou was the only one remaining to sweep, there were still a few
places to clean up. Then he had to return various things such as the
brooms to the equipment room. Filled with fallen leaves, the garbage bags
needed to be thrown in the dumpster of course.
Once everything was handled, the sun had already set completely.
“By the way, Mariya Yuri said she would visit the tea ceremony club before
going home.”
“Is that so? Then let’s wait for her and leave together.”
Godou took out his cellphone in response to Liliana’s information.
He tried calling Yuri and found out she was just about to leave school and
head home. Hence, Godou and Liliana stood at the front gates to wait for
her — Roughly fifteen minutes later, the Yamato Nadeshiko came out with a
deeply troubled expression. Clutched tensely in her hand was her
cellphone, the tool she ought to be using only when communicating with
Godou.
“Godou-san, Liliana-san! I have a special matter I wish to discuss with you
two.”
As soon as she saw them, Yuri made an unexpected request.
Part 3
As a result, Godou, Yuri and Liliana arrived in Akihabara shortly after.
The school they attended, Jounan Academy, was located in the Nezu
neighborhood of the Bunkyou ward. Taking the train to Akihabara took half
an hour and was a simple detour on the way home from school.
The trio were now at the first floor of a large scale consumer electronics
store.
“So, what are you looking for, Mariya?”
“Y-Yes, I believe it is called… a laptop computer.”
Yuri responded to Godou’s query as if she were rather unsettled. Even
unspoken, it was obvious that technologically incompetent as she was,
Yuri had trouble understanding the concept of laptop computers.
“There are so many types here…”
“Apparently so…”
After looking at the products displayed at the counter, Yuri sighed.
The first floor — the level attracting the most customers — carried many
different models of cellphones, laptops and desktops, the main products of
this type of store.
“But Mariya Yuri, why are you suddenly interested in computers?”
Feeling intrigued, Liliana asked. Just earlier at the school gates, Yuri had
made a request, saying “T-This time l-l need to buy a computer, could you
accompany me to have a look!?”
Wanting to ask the same question, Godou immediately nodded.
“It really doesn’t add up. Mariya, you’re not good at using these things,
right?”
“Y-Yes. Actually, my father promised to buy a gift for Hikari to celebrate her
elementary school graduation. She said a computer would be nice.”
“Speaking of which, she will become a middle schooler starting in April.”
Liliana mentioned softly. The Mariya family’s second daughter was
currently in sixth grade.
As a side note, Godou’s younger sister was also set to graduate to Jounan
Academy’s high school division in April.
“Then just now I was talking to my father on the phone… He said he
wanted to buy me the same gift. Although I said it was not necessary, he
replied that it will eventually come in handy.”
This conversation happened after she had received Godou’s phone call.
Which explained the gloomy expression Yuri displayed when she was
clutching her cellphone earlier. Yuri sighed.
“Your father is so generous, Mariya.”
“Actually, back in middle school, I sometimes had to leave home to
undergo Hime-Miko training and missed out on graduation blessings as a
result. That said, I never intended to have it made up for.”
The Mariya sisters’ father seemed to be the type to indulge his daughters.
As a fellow man, Godou could understand the feeling. He nodded.
“Although I can understand his kindness, it feels quite troubling because I
am absolutely certain I will not be able to use this thing.”
Gazing at the counter with troubled eyes, Yuri suddenly asserted
resolutely.
As someone technologically incompetent to the point that even writing text
messages on the cellphone proved to be tough battles for her, the
declaration sounded very convincing coming from her. Thinking that to
himself. Godou laughed.
“P-Please do not make fun of me, okay!?”
“Sorry my bad. But it’s true, it sounds quite convincing when you’re the one
saying it, Mariya.”
“Seriously… You are the most annoying whenever you make comments
like that, Godou-san.”
While speaking, Yuri deliberately turned her face away as if sulking.
Godou felt happy to see Yuri’s recent displays of this kind of attitude and
behavior in spite of her upbringing as a sheltered Yamato Nadeshiko. He
considered it a sign of intimacy between them.
Despite being teased, Yuri also smiled in secret.
Finding their dispute a little strange, the pair gazed into each other’s eyes
and smiled. Meanwhile, Liliana suddenly walked away with an awkward
smile.
The silver-haired girl was approaching the tablet computer corner.
Apprehensively, she pressed a tablet’s LCD touchscreen with her index
finger.
Then her finger slid across the LCD with a “whoosh,” tapped and began to
try out various things.
Finding it interesting, Liliana moved her finger nonstop as though playing
with a toy.
Yuri and Godou walked over and spoke up.
“Speaking of which, you don’t use computers very much, Liliana.”
“Because Karen is responsible for using this type of tool at home.”
Karen Jankulovski was the Kranjcar maid as well as an apprentice witch.
Mentioning the name of the girl whom Godou recognized, Liliana continued
to manipulate the tablet.
When Liliana discovered how she could use two fingers to zoom in and out
inside a map application, she went “Ooh!” with her eyes glimmering
brightly. Completely unlike her usual sternness, Liliana’s child-like behavior
was very much her style too.
“Wouldn’t it be easier to write using computers?”
“Karen has also tried to persuade me before, but that is not true at all. Only
by writing with one’s own hand can words carry power and soul.”
Writing novels was Liliana’s secret hobby.
Her multiple works apparently contained her various feelings.
After that, because Yuri was taken aback by the excessive variety of laptop
computers, Godou and the girls went over to the household appliance area
for a walk.
He could tell that the two girls were very interested in electric stoves, rice
cookers and other products.
‘Steam heating mode!’ ‘Uniform heating on the stone kiln’s dome!’ ‘Vacuum
pressure cooking!’ ‘Genuine earthenware pot!’ With great passion, the girls
read out the various advertising slogans.
Not exactly mad about home appliances, Godou was bored out of his
mind. But upon further thought, deciding it was fine as long as the two girls
were enjoying themselves, he proceeded to follow them. Just at this
moment, Yuri almost collapsed.
“Mariya!?”
“Are you okay, Mariya Yuri!?”
Yuri suddenly tripped herself and almost fell down.
Entering a panic, Godou and Liliana immediately rushed over to support
her. Yuri went “N-Nothing serious…” softly and mustered her vigor with
resilience. Without allowing Godou and Liliana to support her by the arm,
she stood up by herself.
“I am just a little unsteady on my feet… Perhaps it is because of the
crowd.”
Although it was a week night, this was a large scale consumer electronics
store quite close to a terminal train station after all.
There was indeed quite a crowd in the store, noisy and bustling.
“Although I do not feel tired at all, this happens occasionally.”
“Speaking of which, you have been absent from school due to illness a few
days in the past month…”
“Can it be because you forced yourself too much that time on the island?”
Liliana frowned with worry while Godou recalled the past incident.
On Circe’s island in South Seas, Yuri had used spells and magical power
beyond her limits.
“No. That was already a month ago.”
“But didn’t Lucretia-san have to sleep and rest last time because she
overused her energy?”
In response to Yuri’s denial, Godou asked again. There was one time
when Lucretia Zola had exhausted her magical power because she was
caught up in the fight between the war god Verethragna and the divine
king Melqart.
Perhaps because Godou and Liliana kept staring at her intently, Yuri gave
up and sighed lightly.
“It really is fine normally, but only when I go to crowded places do I feel
exhausted and dizzy…”
“Perhaps it is the downside to awakening the power of psychic sensing.”
Liliana looked with concern at the Hime-Miko whose psychic sensing ability
had grown in strides recently.
Psychic sensing was a rare spirit power allowing hearts and minds to be
linked together.
Princess Alice was the one who had instructed Yuri in this power.
However, the White Miko-Hime had also overstrained her body due to
excessively potent spirit powers and had to spend the majority of her time
resting in bed.
Recalling Alice’s condition, Godou and Liliana exchanged glances.
“Although I do not think the symptoms are serious, let us switch to a
different location for now…”
“Yeah, since it’s close by, let’s head over to Yinghua’s place.”
Inside a certain multi-tenant building situated in Akihabara, there was a
maid cafe named the “Peerless Statesman.”
Godou, Yuri and Liliana paid a visit there together. The entire group
entered the VIP room located in the depths of the shop. Immediately, they
were met with frivolous greetings.
“Ah, it’s been a while, everyone.”
On closer examination, they found Amakasu Touma sitting on the couch,
clearly in the middle of slacking off again.
“Oh, you often come here too, Amakasu-san?”
“Occasionally. Sometimes I grab a quick cup of tea here in between jobs.”
In contrast to Yuri’s surprised reaction, Amakasu was smiling nonchalantly.
Openly admitting he sneaked out to slack off, this agent seemed as
useless as a lantern in broad daylight. On the other hand, the Hime-Miko’s
condition did not seem to have any further problems. Godou immediately
motioned with his eyes to his silver-haired grand chamberlain.
Liliana was able to stop worrying as a result. She nodded lightly in
response.
Deciding to have Yuri take a break here, Godou seated himself on a
nearby stool. Yuri and Liliana also sat down on a couch opposite to
Amakasu. Then the staff, dressed as maids, served coffee.
This VIP room was also outfitted with game equipment such as a billiards
table or darts. Visiting for the first time, the two girls looked around
inquisitively, touching this and that.
“Your special visit fills me with honor and trepidation, Honored Uncle. I am
truly overjoyed to be able to meet you here.”
Soon after, the owner of the business, Lu Yinghua, arrived.
He was the young member in the core leadership of Hong Kong’s Lu
family. At the same time, this youth was also the direct disciple of the
demonic cult leader. A person of his stature could not possibly be stationed
at this sort of cafe franchise all the time. Since Godou did not expect to see
Lu Yinghua here, the pleasant surprise brought glimmers of joy to his eyes.
“That’s so true, it’s been a while.”
“Maybe half a month ago since the last time?”
Despite being a slender and handsome youth, Lu Yinghua happened to be
an arrogant misogynist.
He greeted Yuri and Liliana indifferently as if deliberately avoiding eye
contact with them. Godou could only smile wryly in response to his
unchanging arrogance and obstinacy.
“By the way, Liliana-san, sources from Italy report that a certain Devil King
is undertaking some kind of suspicious project.”
“How informed of you, Amakasu Touma.”
Answering Amakasu, Liliana sighed. Yuri widened her eyes.
“Devil King… In other words, Sir Salvatore?”
“Yes, a few days ago, Sir Salvatore sent out summons to the prestigious
associations in northern Italy. This time it is for participation in a ‘divine
beast hunt’ in Tuscany.”
The sixth Campione, Salvatore Doni, belonged to Italy.
“By hunt, he means hunting down a prey similar to my boar?”
Hearing something unexpected from Liliana, Godou blinked.
“It apparently lurks in the mountainous area in the region of Tuscany. After
receiving pleas to help slay the beast, Sir Salvatore seemed uninterested
in an opponent on the likes of a divine beast — ”
“So he thought up this stupid plan instead?”
Liliana explained with a gloomy expression. Godou was astounded. As
expected of an idiot who could not be handled by conventional means.
On the other hand, Lu Yinghua, who had been listening with a bored
expression, slowly spoke up:
“Speaking of Sir Salvatore… He is apparently searching for a certain young
woman in Italy.”
“You’re saying Doni is looking for someone?”
Hearing this unexpected news from Italy, Godou was surprised again.
On the other hand, Liliana, who belonged to a Milanese magic association,
was inclining her head in doubt.
“I did not hear anything about this from the [Bronze Black Cross].”
“Oh my, well, the Italian king actually has an acquaintance in Rome’s
Chinatown. His Majesty sometimes relies on him for intelligence gathering
and underground jobs that must be performed covertly.”
Lu Yinghua answered readily with a shrug.
“The Lu family has relatives over in Rome. Thanks to this connection, we
sometimes receive information from that person.”
“Sir Salvatore and the Chinese syndicates!?”
Syndicates were a term used for Chinese secret associations. Liliana was
dumbfounded to hear this unexpected news.
Come to think of it — Godou remembered. Despite giving off the impression
of someone clearly not diligent in gathering intelligence, Salvatore Doni
was surprisingly informed.
Probably because she recalled related information, Liliana nodded.
“Sir Salvatore became a godslayer four years ago. Roughly at that time, he
was hired as a bodyguard by antique dealers of Chinese ethnicity, which
led to the incident of his visit to Turkey. Could it be a relationship forged
from that time?”
“Looks like it. Since those guys engage in the dangerous field of grave
robbery, they would want to have bodyguards.”
Yinghua shrugged with a cursory answer.
“Thanks to that incident, that kind of person was born… Seriously, give me
a friggin’ break.”
“Could it be, Yinghua, that you’ve actually met that guy Doni?”
Lu Yinghua had been speaking in a tone of voice as if he knew the idiot.
Godou’s question brought forth an immediate nod from the demonic cult
leader’s direct disciple.
“Just once, a couple years ago. That was back when I was serving as
Master’s attendant.”
“Come to think of it, Nee-san also knows Doni.”
“Well, it was a most unfortunate encounter…”
Deliberately emphasizing unfortunate, this seemed to be a message
straight from Yinghua’s heart.
“Although it’s really nothing to be proud of, I’ve personally met and even
conversed with all seven Devil Kings of the present generation.”
“That truly is… impossible to envy.”
Amakasu commented with a profound sense of reality.
Very regrettably, Godou was also one of the seven. He had already met
five of the other six. Speaking of which, what was the name of the final
Campione he had yet to meet?
Liliana also seemed to be thinking of the same person. She turned to Lu
Yinghua and asked:
“If you say seven, then that means you have met her as well? Madame
Aisha who has lived in seclusion for a long time now, the most mysterious
of the Campiones?”
“Ah… Yeah, how should I put this? She is a good person.”
Recalling the past, Yinghua’s gaze began to display exhaustion.
“We only spent half a day together. If I had to attend to her for three days,
I’d rather serve Master for ten days instead.”
“Someone even more troublesome than Nee-san, it’s a bit hard to
imagine…”
“Even someone like Marquis Voban seems to be quite versed in worldly
matters and would visit hotels across Europe all year round…”
Godou was at a loss for words while Liliana was quite surprised.
The Campione with the worst personality flaws was probably Her
Eminence Luo Hao.
Her eternal rival, the old Marquis of Eastern Europe, would still travel by
train and plane like a normal person.
But that would be impossible for Luo Cuilian. Godou was convinced she
might kill all the “lower beings” on the same flight and destroy the plane
with a strike of her palm.
“Excuse me… I felt something when I heard about Sir Salvatore’s affairs.”
“What did you see, Mariya Yuri?”
“It was not to the level of seeing but just a feeling. This ‘hunt’ might
perhaps be the starting point of something — ”
That was Yuri’s response to Liliana’s query.
The Yamato Nadeshiko had remained in polite silence all this time,
possibly because conversations about the rumors of Campiones inevitably
led to badmouthing them. Hence, she probably kept silent to avoid making
inappropriate statements.
However, Yuri, who possessed the clairvoyant ability of spirit vision, had
just delivered an oracle.
Part 4
‘I, Sir Salvatore’s butler Andrea Rivera, hereby issue a gathering invitation
to you sirs in the exalted name of my lord. A hunt shall be undertaken
against the divine beast confirmed several days earlier, I look forward to
your valor and gallantry, sirs — ”
Reportedly, this “letter of summoning” was delivered to all of the Great
Knights selected by Doni’s butler.
Without exception, every single one of them belonged to a prestigious
association in northern Italy.
“The gathering venue is Casentino Forest National Park in the Tuscany
region.”
Holding a copy of the letter of summoning in her hand, Erica spoke.
Not only Godou but also Yuri and Liliana had gathered at the Jounan
Academy courtyard after school.
“Sir Salvatore apparently wanted to flee the country instead of fulfilling the
request to fight the divine beast, even though that level of an opponent
should be a piece of cake for him as a Campione.”
Yuri’s spirit vision had occurred the previous night.
After that, Godou had contacted Erica, who then obtained information from
the Italian side.
“But strangely enough, as soon as he heard that the place was Casentino,
Sir Salvatore’s attitude changed completely, saying he will “standby in case
of an emergency.”
Liliana commented quizzically, for she had contacted Milan’s [Bronze Black
Cross] as well and obtained detailed information.
After listening to the knight’s reports, Godou began to ponder.
“In other words, there’s some kind of secret hidden in that place…”
“Hey Godou, do you still remember? You’ve been there before.”
“Eh, I have?”
As Godou reacted in surprise, Erica continued.
“Yeah, after your first duel with Sir Salvatore, didn’t you visit Tuscany to
slay a divine beast? That’s the place, you know.”
“…Oh! Come to think of it, that did actually happen.”
Finally recalling, Godou nodded.
In his recollections, the incident was extremely troublesome, so his
memories ended up quite vague.
“Based on the recent eyewitness accounts, it is speculated that this divine
beast is the same as the last time’s.”
“That dinosaur thing reappeared!?”
“Coincidence, or not? For a divine beast to manifest twice in the same
place, I find it extremely unnatural…”
Yuri’s doubts were not unreasonable. Also, Godou recalled something
else. In order to win Doni’s wager to decide who was going to slay the
divine beast, the scene that had occurred in the town of Siena —
“Speaking of which, that guy Doni really wanted to go there last time.”
“Yes, regarding this incident, Sir Salvatore has acted incomprehensibly in
many ways.”
Erica concluded.
Godou fell into deep thought. Salvatore Doni was undoubtedly a fool. But
he was a surprisingly powerful eccentric and possessed unprecedented
initiative.
Even if insulting him as an idiot was acceptable, one could not
underestimate him as a threat.
“Then let’s investigate a little…”
Godou proposed softly and took out his cellphone.
The number he looked up was one he had entered a while ago, because
Erica said it might come in handy some time. However, when it really came
time for it to be useful —
Making an overseas call required performing a particular sequence of
steps before dialing.
It was currently 3pm in Japan. Given the eight-hour time difference, it
should be morning over on the other side.
‘Ah, my friend and eternal rival, to think the day has finally arrived when
you would contact me from your end. I am so happy, it’s been a while.’
Salvatore Doni picked up after five rings, with a useless-sounding voice as
always.
‘It happens that my birthday is coming up and I was just thinking of inviting
you to my party. Are you free next month?’
“Even if I were free, who would go all the way to Italy to attend a birthday
party!?”
Godou responded gruffly to the other side’s jest. How long ago was the last
time he spoke to this guy?
Nevertheless, the conversation flowed naturally. Without any hindrance at
all.
In actual fact, the two had only met a limited number of times. That said,
Godou and Salvatore Doni’s closeness did not change. Neither becoming
more intimate nor more distant. To each other, they were the most familiar
of kin —
Realizing this annoying truth, Godou frowned and changed the subject.
“Putting that aside, I have something to ask you, Salvatore Doni.”
‘What do you want to ask?’
“For the ‘hunt’ that is going to be held in Italy, the location is the one I once
fought a monster, right? You initially wanted to go there yourself
especially.”
‘Eh, that’s pretty informed of you.’
Doni laughed wryly in response to Godou cutting to the chase directly.
‘However, well… Speaking of coincidence, this is perfect timing. Why don’t
you join in? I welcome you very much.’
Doni seemed to have started smiling with joy during the first half of his
response.
Godou was certain. It was that foolish but definitely not frivolous smile, the
one displayed only when the dark warrior was delighted, an acute and
fearless smile.
For Doni, whose face was actually decent, only during these times did he
actually give off a handsome impression.
“So you really do have some sort of motive behind this hunt.”
‘Nothing at all, it’s just a game. Game, I repeat. But now that the game has
started, look forward to it. It would serve as excellent insurance if you came
too.’
“Insurance?”
‘In case something happens, Godou, a duel against you would be quite
delightful, wouldn’t you agree?’
“Stop screwing around. As if anyone would play like that.”
‘As expected of you, Godou, quite the tsundere, aren’t you?’
“Shut up and stop misunderstanding Japanese culture. Other than that,
Salvatore Doni, you’re searching for a certain woman?”
Godou dropped another bomb to end the fruitless exchanges.
Then Doni sighed.
‘If even that is known, it must be a leak from the Chinese side. Then
speaking of which, you’re on pretty good terms with Her Eminence over
there.’
“You also seem to be on pretty good terms with China town over there.”
‘Good enough, I suppose. Before I became a Campione, I was earning a
living by doing bodyguard jobs there.’
That was when Salvatore Doni was still a Templar Knight fallen on hard
times.
If it were Erica or Liliana, that was undoubted a “job” they would never do.
‘I still keep in touch with them and receive news leaked from the industry.
Sometimes they lend money. Sometimes they help do almost criminal
things like kidnapping.’
“It’s not ‘almost,’ okay? Kidnapping is completely criminal. Anyway, cut this
out, back to the main topic.”
After retorting against his ridiculous words, Godou went straight to the
main topic.
Although Doni was a veritable fool, Godou did not expect him to answer
honestly. However, Godou still hoped he might leak hints through slips of
the tongue.
“You said it’s a game, what is it exactly?”
‘Isn’t it no fun if I tell you now? Oh well, but since you took the effort to call
me, I guess it’s okay to talk a bit about it? Recently in fact, I started playing
a game, one of those online games.’
“You’re competent enough to use the internet? My view of you is
completely revised.”
‘No no, you don’t have to praise me. I left all the setting up to Andrea.’
“I take back what I said.”
‘Even in a virtual world where monsters are fought, I still play the game
with a swordsman character. But it’s so weak. I lose whenever I encounter
slightly stronger monsters or other players.’
“I’m not really sure, but there aren’t very many PvP games out there,
right?”
‘Apparently, the guy I played against was already the strongest dating back
long ago. I completely couldn’t defeat a guy who had devoted his life to a
game. It really pissed me off.’
“Time spent on a game is different. It can’t be helped.”
This type of maniac would be called a waste of a human being. Doni
apparently lost to him.
Completely unsympathetic, Godou remarked coldly:
“Stop making a fuss and go back to the real world. You won’t lose on this
side, right?”
That won’t satisfy me. As a result, I want to play a more exciting game,
one that I can win.’
Was this why he wanted a ‘divine beast hunt’?
Also, who was the woman Doni wanted to find? Putting all sorts of
mysteries aside, it was unknown which of the two Campiones hung up first.
No more words needed to be said by this point. Both sides naturally
reached consensus.
Indeed. This was the type of person Salvatore Doni was. Despite his jovial
appearance, he was a man who never cooperated with anyone. That was
a line he absolutely would not cross. Particularly when he recognized the
other person as a “formidable foe.”
Then again, the Campione residing in England was the same. Capable of
provoking an inexplicable sense of hostility in Kusanagi Godou, he was a
maddening man that could not be ignored —
After the conversation ended, Godou already made his decision.
He would head to the scene next. It was most important to prepare for
what was surely going to happen. Believing that there was no better plan
than this, Godou motioned with his eyes to his companions.
Having been listening to the conversation just now, Erica, Yuri and Liliana
nodded immediately.
The final examinations began the next day after the phone conversation
with Doni.
Thanks to sufficient studying, Godou and his companions passed without
any serious mistakes. Then the three-day long weekend in early February
approached as the break after exams.
Calling out Seishuuin Ena who had entered the deep mountains for
purification, preparations were complete.
Very soon, the exam break during the Valentine’s period would arrive.
Kusanagi Godou and friends departed on a journey.
References
1 . t Tempering: Refers to the final process in making chocolate when
cocoa butter crystallizes. Uncontrolled crystallization results in
undesirable texture and
appearance. http://en.wikipedia.0rg/wiki/Ch0c0late#Tempering
2. t White Day: March 14, the day one month after Valentine’s Day. In
Japan, it is customary for girls to give boys chocolate on Valentine’s
Day. On White Day, boys are expected to return the favor with a gift,
generally double or triple the value of the Valentine’s
gift. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *