Campione! / Campione! Vol 5 Prologue


Prologue
Erica Blandelli was a girl who stood out.
Her combination of reddish blond hair glittering like a crown, dazzling
looks, perplexing volume showing a balanced sense of beauty, and the
fact that she still is not even fully developed attracted attention wherever
she went.
And she was a foreigner.
In this secluded island country, that was reason enough to attract stares.
Then again, in the neighborhood in Aoyama, there were far more
foreigners than elsewhere. It was only a bit, but you could say that the
usual causes of her radiance were less effective.
It was past ten at night. She was sitting in an open air cafe along the
Aoyama DooriJ ^
Wearing leather pants that matches with her jersey, Erica was waiting for
her appointment.
September had only just begun. If it were noon, she would be wearing
sunglasses right about now. While showing off her 160-plus centimeter tall
model-like body, Erica was idly spending her time.
“I am very sorry for making you wait, Erica-sama.”
“You certainly did, Karen. Such a mistake is unlike you.”
Erica elegantly gave her reply to the latecomer.
Karen Jankulovski.
She was the personal maid for Liliana Kranjcar, Erica’s rival.
But right then she was not wearing her usual maid dress, but a camisole
and a short-sleeved cardigan. She could well be on her way for a night out
in town.
“I was caught by Liliana-sama on my way out. She wanted to know where I
was going…”
“I assume you managed to put her in a box?”
“Without a hitch. We are talking about Liliana-sama here. You can say
coaxing her is no more than child’s play.”
The women denouncing their old friend/rival and Mistress, respectively,
exchanged malicious smiles.
The two women from Europe beautifully displayed what many Japanese
would see as a well-acquainted relationship. In short, they were like two
happily plotting villains.
“You’re a bad girl, Karen. Very reliable.”
“You’re flattering me, but compared to you I still have a long way to go,
Erica-sama… so then, this is the promised item.”
Karen put a batch of copy-paper on the table.
The girl also known as [Diavolo Rosso] took it with graceful delicacy and
checked its contents.
It was the latest edition of the literature that Liliana had been writing since
a few years back.
It contained love stories, poems, and her occasional thoughts. Karen had
stealthily copied them and Erica purchased them for a high price. These
business transactions occurred exactly once a year.
“Oh Lily… this time you’ve become even more of a poetic maiden…”
“Ohh, but this is because she’s experiencing the season of love for the first
time in her life. There’s nothing she can do about it… ohh, doesn’t this topic
cause you a bit of discomfort, Erica-sama? I am very sorry.”
Erica just shrugged her shoulders to Karen’s nonchalant statement.
It was not a pleasant topic, but she was neither honest nor careless
enough to let it show on her face. She maintained a very elegant attitude,
implying a subtle cynicism.
“I don’t care about what you did in Naples anymore. I just won’t show any
more openings that will be taken advantage of… By the way, Karen, do you
really think Lily has a chance of winning that certain person over from me?
This is not a sword duel, you know?”
“That certainly is a pending problem, but, well, I am with her in this,” Karen
said, half admitting Erica’s point. “What Liliana-sama lacks, the staff
around her just has to make up for… And more importantly, you are
extremely unfair in this regard, Erica-sama. Apart from your magical
prowess and political strength boosted by your feminine wiles, you are also
very intelligent. Couldn’t you give us a handicap?”
“What do you want me to do about it? All of that is what makes me Erica
Blandelli.”
Erica calmly smiled at both the compliment and the complaint.
“Ann, but if you’re going to compliment me like that, please also praise
Godou’s good luck of meeting a woman like me. He has no idea, but he
really is one blessed fellow!”
“Godou-sama, you say? … Is it possible that that gentleman likes women
who will make him spoil them?”
“I’m sure he doesn’t hate them, why do you ask?”
“Nothing; Liliana-sama was so proactive and yet it didn’t appear to leave a
big impact on his emotions. So I thought, rather than proactive, assertive
women, maybe a selfish woman who makes him spoil her… If he has
reached that level at his young age already, I can see him become a
considerable playboy in the near future,” Karen said in deep thought. She
was probably thinking about how Liliana was behaving lately.
Erica laughed silently and showed a victorious smile.
“No matter how proactive she is, if she says she does it ‘as a knight — ,’
that blockhead will take it at face value. If you put those two together for
just a while, they might get better…”
“Ahh, are you talking about that Japanese miko^ Right, speaking of
miko…”
Suddenly Karen changed the topic.
“‘Hime-Miko”- 3 ^… just what kind of people are they? There was also that
something-or-other-committee. The Japanese magic associations seem to
be quite peculiar.”
For a European magician, that impression was only natural.
Erica nodded. The associations the girls belonged to were “Copper Black
Cross” and “Bronze Black Cross.”
Both of these associations were based in Milan, Italy and were noteworthy
on an international level.
At least one association existed in every current and historical major city,
and they formed the world of magicians, different from the public society.
That went without saying in Europe.
However, Japan had few magic associations.
Most of them were sects rooted in Buddhism, but they did not gather in the
cities.
Magicians living in the cities did not create their own associations but were
instead organized and regulated by a state-controlled group called “History
Compilation Committee.” And then there were the Hime-Mikos in question.
“Let’s see. Yuri has gone to Europe a lot, so there are people who know
about her, but… the truth is that her involvement in the group called
‘Hime-Miko’ isn’t very well known. You see, apparently the ‘Hime-Miko’ are
scouted from families having an amiable relationship with the History
Compilation Committee and receive a special education to make the most
of their spiritual powers.”
There was not much information on Hime-Miko. Its membership was
probably controlled by the History Compilation Committee.
Even with the power of an association like the “Copper Black Cross”,
details such as their numbers or what kind of spiritual power each one
holds were unclear.
“Probably, the trick that brings forth new Hime-Miko lies in their lineage. I
believe the Committee always keeps track of those families that easily
produce people with exceptional spiritual powers; the Committee also
observes and protects them so that their bloodlines don’t die out. During
that process, those with greater spiritual powers are selected as
Hime-Miko… something like that.”
It was easier for girls than boys to manifest special spiritual dispositions
such as spirit vision.
In Europe, it was the same with those who held the qualities of a “witch”.
The point was, women had a higher chance of holding exceptional
dispositions.
“You mean, there are people with special abilities like Yuri Mariya
scattered all about?”
“It appears there aren’t ‘that’ many, but at least a few. According to the
information I have gotten hold of, Yuri Mariya seems to be very
high-ranked even among Hime-Miko.”
Erica certainly did not just played around during the three months she had
been in Japan.
Although she could not skip school much due to Godou’s nagging, as a
knight serving a Campione, she had seen to various arrangements and
investigations.
Putting the copy-paper she had come for into a bag, Erica stood up.
Karen bowed respectfully with a composed expression.
“Thanks as always. It really helps me out to have such a generous
business partner.”
“It’s only natural to pay a proper price for such excellent commodities.
Although I would gladly pay even more if important information about the
[Bronze Black Cross] comes along with it.”
“Your feelings alone are more than enough. I don’t want to be purged as a
traitor yet.”
She would stop at the least possible danger, when it could still be settled
as an amusing tale. That was what Karen wanted to say.
To her reasonable reply, Erica responded with a ladylike smile.
That was the type of the people with whom Erica liked to maintain
long-term business relationships. After all, those who did not know their
own limits could fail when others least expect it.
In that regard, Karen was Erica’s ideal accomplice, for she would be able
to supply Erica with her mistress’s personal information for years to come.
“I see. Then, see you some other time. Ahh, if you have any other
interesting information on Lily, I’ll pay a lot for it as well.”
“Understood. If I come upon such a thing, I will certainly contact you. Good
night.”
Sent off by Karen, Erica left her seat.
The night was long. There were still many things that she had to do.
In the end, it was nearly 3am when Erica was in the vicinity of her home
again.
There were no strong magic associations in Tokyo. However, there were
quite a few wizards.
After parting with Karen, Erica headed to a certain hotel and took part in an
auction they held in a room there. It was a secret meeting where foci and
grimoires were sold on a large scale.
Some items seemed like they would be confiscated right away if the
History Compilation Committee were to find them.
Erica was participating because she hoped to obtain a rare fetish, and she
wanted to make personal connections with magicians unrelated to the
Committee.
There were no valuable goods so she did not buy anything, but her other
goal went well.
This was another night where she had made her name and face known.
It had been three month since she came to Japan. Apart from being the
genius magician who came from Italy, she was also the lover of a devil
king, a Campione. By now, there were not many people ‘in the business’ in
Tokyo who still did not know of her.
After getting out of the taxi, Erica walked up the short path to her mansion.
The night had gotten late and there were no signs of life whatsoever.
Nevertheless, Erica stopped in her tracks, feeling an unpleasant presence.
Sixth sense… did not nail it. It was a smell mixed into the nightly air.
A faint smell of iron stimulated her nose. Immediately after she felt it, the
attack came.
Cutting the air, a lump of iron came flying.
Swords.
The gently curving blades belonged to refined, old-style Japanese swords.
However, there were no handles. The four swords were welded together at
the base.
The curvature grew stronger as it traversed down the blade, forming
something like a swastika symbol.^ Although no one held the strange
sword, it was floating in midair and continued to attack her while rotating at
high speed.
Erica immediately jumped away and used magic to call forth her magic
sword.
Cuore Di Leone.
The lion’s magic sword had an elegant, slender blade and shone with a
cool and clear silver radiance.
With it, Erica tried to knock down the swords flying in the air. However, her
strike was returned by the swastika. The blades rotating like an electric fan
sent Cuore Di Leone flying from its wielder’s hands.
Erica had been disarmed.
The swastika sword attacked right away.
However, with a magnificent smile decorating her lips, Erica started
reciting.
“Arges, Steropos, Brontes. Bestow thy blessing of lightning upon my
sword!”
At that moment, Cuore Di Leone, which had been knocked high up into the
air from her hands, gave off purple sparks.
There was a flash descending from the heavens.
The magic sword that held the name of the lion was draped in lightning as
it swooped down and pierced the swastika from above.
This time it pierced the center, where the four blades were linked together,
without being blown off.
The swastika was completely run through. Smashed to pieces, its blades
fell to the ground.
“Its structure is too simple to be some kind of golem or gargoyle. So is this
a ‘Made in Japan’ thing after all?”
While muttering, Erica pulled out a handkerchief.
With it, she picked up one of the smashed fragments and tucked it away. It
appeared that a new danger was closing in on her — just what she wanted.
With her adventurous spirit stimulated, Erica walked the rest of the way to
her home with a light skip in her steps.
References
1 . t Aoyama Doori: Main street in Aoyama, Tokyo.
2. t Miko: Miko are usually Japanese shrine maidens. However, in this
story the term also refers to a type of magic-user, and not all of those
magical miko are shrine-maidens. That is why we left the term as miko
whenever it shows up.
3. t Hi me- Miko: Japanese for princess-shrine maiden. It is the name
of a group of people and as with miko, we decided to leave it as it is for
now.
4. t Swastika [Ft!]: do not associate with Nazism; see Eastern
Swastika Use (Wiki)

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