Chapter 17.1: Reconnaissance
A knife tore through the fog as it made its way towards Hiroaki’s spine. A thud followed as he raised Yggdrasil behind him. He was thrown away by the impact as the knife went through a tree to his right. Yggdrasil landed next to him.
He looked up and saw two hills blocking the vision of the sky, and above them was a familiar face. Shoulder-length brown hair like rich strands of caramel was flowing with the wind around her small face. Despite Haya’s lean build, she wasn’t lacking in feminine charms. But he didn’t have the time to appreciate the beauty, as his gaze shifted between the menacing jagged knife in her left hand, the eyepatch concealing her left eye, and her deep, beastly breathing. It reminded him of a serial killer from a movie he’d seen.
“H-Haya, maybe you should calm down a bit–”
“I’ll calm down after you also try fighting several groups all at once!” Haya roared like an angry lioness while switching to a backhand grip.
Before Haya could stab him, however, a thin root erupted from the ground and pulled him away by the ankle.
“But I helped you with the last–”
“The last five! You know how many I had to fight before that?!”
Without bothering to close the distance between them, Haya swung her knife several times, each time sending a contingent of water blades that sliced up the remnants of the fog, quickening its dispersion.
“Wait, hold on, hold on! Why are you mad at me?!”
He rolled to avoid one set of attacks before blocking the rest with Yggdrasil, which paved the soil in its path as it kept being pushed back. “Amaya and Tsubaki are the same, no? I only sent one group!”
Upon his accusation, the girl standing near the two shook and averted her gaze to a tree, to her right. “Eh, uh, well… We came here before you and managed to help her out a bit more, you know? Right, Amaya-chan?”
“Yes, exactly what Tsubaki said. We arrived earlier and helped her for longer,” said the girl next to her. Her calculating gaze and smooth tone reminded Hiroaki of a wizened sage: one of short stature.
“As if! I only arrived a minute after you!”
“Small details,” Amaya said, dismissing him with a wave of her hand. “Anyways, what do we do with this?”
Piled up at the base of the tree she was pointing at was a heap of metal bands. Every single one had been obtained by her in a short time. To Hiroaki’s great relief, Haya turned away from him and let her knife vanish. Thanking Amaya, Hiroaki let out a sigh as he too stored away his Speculo.
“Well, we should store them somehow. Otherwise, they’ll hinder us later.”
“Haya-chan, doesn’t your family own an original Space Element spell?”
“Ahh Spatial Storage. Yeah I’ll try that out– Eh?”
As Haya crouched down to touch the bands, four of them disappeared right in front of her, and a noise rang out from the collar at her neck.
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. TALLYING.]
“Haya-chan, your points went up!” exclaimed Tsubaki.
“Ooh! Try touching more of them. This is probably a feature.”
“It’s kind of like a game!”