HxH Vol 5 Chapter 1 – Grace

Chapter 1 – Grace


Part 1

Aine who finished the parade and entered the castle was made to take a bath and changed her clothes, after cosmetics were applied to her, she headed to the audience room. Her clothes was a white dress with the back largely opened. Pink was used in between, making it look lovely.

“Grace-sama wants to meet with Ainess-sama as quickly as possible so……in respect to Ainess-sama, my apologies that you don’t even have the time to calm yourself down.”

Zelcyone lowered her head looking really apologetic.

“No, I don’t mind.”

After Aine answered so, she stared ahead of the long corridor. Honestly, she didn’t remember that path inside the castle. Perhaps even as a child she didn’t know about the room arrangements of the castle.

Even now she was escorted by Zelcyone and Quartum while going forward to the audience room.

The door at the end of the corridor was opened. Together with nervousness that made her stomach hurt, Aine entered the audience room.

The wideness of the audience room was fitting for the huge castle. A floor size that was a hundred meters to the four directions and the height of the ceiling where a magic weapon could be entered with space still left over. Engravings of females that were like angels were carved on the wall, geometrical patterns were added in the fringe of the ceiling, pictures of the sky and angels were drawn.

When she compared it with her faint memory, she gradually remembered about this room. If she remembered correctly, meeting with visitors was done a lot in this place. Even now was similar with that period of time, the people who shouldered the core of Vatlantis Empire, and then the lords of the surrounding countries were gathering here.

At the center of the vast hall where several hundred people could dance at the same time, a red carpet was extending as if to cleave the room into two. Ahead it became a long stair, and on top of it there was a huge throne. The frame that was created from gold and jewel was unbelievably luxurious, the back of the throne which could even reach several meters was growing wings. The wings which were created from pure gold looked like it granted wings to the person sitting there.

――However, a chair like that was not of any significance.

The master of that throne.

If that throne was compared to the figure of the girl sitting on that throne right now

The size of the throne didn’t match the petite, slender, and delicate female.

But, her presence surpassed the throne, ruling over everything in the vast audience room.

What attracted the eyes most of all was the color of her hair. That color was sweet, its radiance was high class, as if boasting the beauty of pink sapphire. And then the well-ordered face that was beautiful like a bisque doll made one think that if a beauty was given human shape, perhaps this would be how it turned out. In the perfectly symmetrical face which was like a mirror reflection, red eyes similar with Aine were shining. It was like the eyes themselves were emitting light, the deep color and radiance looked like ruby.

In contrast with that, the clothes she wore felt a little uneasy to be called as the outfit of an emperor, rather it seemed that the exposure rate was just too high. Her body was only wrapped in accessories and transparent cloth to an apologetic degree, the clothes looked completely like a dancer costume.

But, mysteriously it suited her.

The accessories put on her body were all made from gold and silver dotted with jewelry, fitting tightly on her body line. Everything was order made for this girl’s sake, masterpieces made by skilled artisans.

Looking at it like that, it made one feel as if these clothes had been thoroughly pondered and produced for the sake of displaying the beauty of the emperor’s body to the utmost.

Her body was also perfect, not inferior to the ornaments decorating her body. In her body that seemed to be soft just from looking, thin and slender, was hidden trained muscle. Even with that, there was no rugged line, but there were only smooth and exquisite curves depicting the whole body. Her breasts were not too big and not too small, boasting splendid shape that didn’t lose to gravity.

The girl’s sublime beauty even looked like her whole body was shining with faint light. No, it didn’t just look like that, her body was actually shining.

Aine soon noticed the true identity of that radiance.

‘――That’s, magic power light.’

The girl was constantly emitting magic power. It was a display of will that no matter what kind of time it was, she could respond with sorcery when something happened. It also displayed the abnormal amount of magic power she stored. That radiance enhanced the strength, the beauty, and the nobility of the girl’s figure even higher.

‘――You became beautiful……Grace.’

The figure inside Aine’s memory was her little sister as a child. Grace that was two years younger than her was five years old at that time. Her memory was far separated with the figure of the female before her eyes. Despite so, Aine mysteriously didn’t feel any discomfort. The beautiful figure she couldn’t imagine to exist in life, sitting on the throne with extravagant presence, overlapped with the Grace inside her memory. There was no doubt in there, rather there was a strange feeling of understanding.

Grace was looking down on Aine from the throne put on far above.

The ruby eyes were staring hard at Aine. The sparkling eyes looked like it was a burning color, yet there was coldness somewhere in it.

And then the pink soft glossy lips opened.

“……After suddenly disappearing, why did you return back after this long?”

The cool voice resounded in the audience room, as if a ripple was spreading in a clear lake. And then, a wave of nervousness was spreading in all who were present at that place. The authority figures were watching over the development while getting cold sweat.

“Gr……Grace?”

Aine faltered against Grace’s hard voice and attitude.

Grace stood up from the throne.

Agitation struck suddenly like a wave.

“Answer my question.”

Grace descended down the stairs.

That pressure made Aine spontaneously gulp, she reflexively lowered her head deeply.

“That, I lost my memory……then”

“And then, you joined Lemuria’s army, and inflicted many losses to our Vatlantis army?”

“Tha-……that’s”

Aine reflexively raised her face. However, she soon hung her head down again. Her body was trembling involuntarily. The figure of Grace that she caught in a glance felt like a terrifying monster. There was no trace of the girl who in her childhood was cutely attached to her emotionally.

p043

“Just what kind of face are you making after returning back like this. Show me.”

Getting off the stairs, Grace now stood in front of Aine.

“I’m sorry……I――”

“Do you think, that you can be forgiven!”

‘hii-‘, Aine’s body bent backwards while raising a short scream.

Grace’s both arms caught the body of Aine who was going to collapse behind. And then, her body that was shorter than Aine gently embraced Aine tightly as if to envelop her.

“Eh……Gr, Grace?”

“There is no way I can forgive you! Just how much, I…..just how much I worried, just how sad do you think I was! Nee-sama!”

Grace buried her face on Aine’s shoulder, her voice was trembling.

“I absolutely won’t forgive you. I won’t let Nee-sama go for a second time. I will put Nee-sama inside my treasure box and lock you up at the depths of the royal palace. There is no way I’ll let Nee-sama get out for a second time. Nee-sama won’t go anywhere as you please anymore.”

“E, err……”

Grace’s voice was hitched, her beautiful face that was like a doll was wet with tears.

“I’m glad……really glad. For this kind of miracle to happen……my praise to Genesis.”

“Gra, Grace……no, your majesty……”

“Stupid, what are you saying Nee-sama. I want you to call me Grace. Just like in the past.”

Grace lifted her face and wiped her tears with her finger. Even so her red eyes were still moist, even now new drops of tears were going to spill out. With still teary eyes, she turned towards the authority figures lining up in the audience room. And then she raised her voice.

“Listen well everyone! O the people who see with their own eyes the return of my sister, Ainess Synclavia! Talk for generations of the miracle that occurred in this day. Lords of the surrounding countries, return back to your country and spread about this matter throughout the country. The miracle that the current emperor of Vatlantis made happen!”

Voices of admiration and applause welled up. However, they only came from half the number of the people gathering here. The remaining half was raising a stir, not cheering.

Parting through that stir, a lone noble stepped forward.

“Please wait, Grace-sama!”

“Mu? Vyuren huh. What is it?”

The noble called Vyuren was already in her forties, but she was still maintaining her youth and beauty. She came out of the lines of the lords with a solemn attitude, stepped forward in front of Grace, and bowed reverently.

“Please let me express my words, the current empire is maintaining the order with Grace-sama as the emperor. I respectfully beg you Grace-sama, please refrain from such really rash remarks.”

Ainess and Grace were close in age, because of that there was once a political conflict of which one to support as the next emperor. Vyuren was someone from the Grace faction at that time. In actuality, Ainess had disappeared for ten years. Right now the Ainess faction had all its members driven away into dead-end posts, or exiled into provincial cities.

The political struggle had been decided conclusively.

Only until now, in this day.

For Vyuren who had come to enjoy the height of her prosperity, this return of Ainess was a bolt from the blue. Surely she didn’t want to lose the interest that she had obtained at great pains. Even the other nobles of the Grace faction were glaring at Aine with bright red faces.

“I didn’t say anything rash or the like. The enthroned Nee-sama is the current emperor, it is an obvious fact no matter how one looks at it. I am only filling in during that Nee-sama’s absence. It doesn’t matter what kind of impression all of you are under.”

The nobles of the Grace faction clenched their fist and flowed cold sweat. In contrast, a noble of the Ainess faction was covering her mouth with a feather fan and showed a composed smile.

“How unsightly. Grace-sama has already spoken so. How about giving up quietly?”

Vyuren yelled with foam coming out of her mouth.

“Don’t fool around! You are just a trash insect that can only look small in the corner of the room until now! To let Ainess-sama who had been absent for ten years to stay in a place like Lemuria to serve as the emperor, such thing is not supposed to happen!”

That yelling left echoes inside the audience room before vanishing completely.

The audience room was silent as a grave, the air froze.

Grace’s red eyes were lit with flames of rage.

“You, just now, what did you say?”

“Eh? Gra, Grace-sama?”

“To put shame to Nee-sama, the Vatlantis emperor……”

The light that coiled around Grace’s body was increasing in strength, as if to display her burning rage.

“Hi-, ple, please wait. I didn’t mean that in the least! Grace-sama!”

Vyuren was drawing back while repeating justifications with a shrill voice.

Grace whispered lowly.

 

“Koros” (TN: In Japanese, it’s read as ‘korosu’, which means kill)

 

The next instant, Grace’s body was enveloped in dazzling light. Pink light was crystallizing, creating a shining armor. Shining armor was put on her fingertips until above her elbow in silver and golden radiance, they were put on her with a slide. And then her legs, breasts, and head were being equipped with armor one after another. Those armors thinned down and clung to the body, there was no boorishness in the least from them. It was an elegant magic armor that resembled refined music.

And then, like a tree that reached out its branches, silver wings were growing on her back. It was folded up once, and then as if to shake off the light enveloping the wings, it flapped greatly.

The wings granted on the beautiful Grace. Originally, it was supposed to be the appearance of a divine angel.

――However, that figure was far away from an angel.

The wings that appeared from under the light were wings that were only bones.

A devil’s wings on the figure of an angel.

An ominous and disastrous existence.

――This was Grace’s magic armor [Koros].

The magic armor that possessed the alias of the angel of slaughter.

“That reckless remark towards Nee-sama, deserves certain death.”

Grace’s red eyes and pink colored hair emitted killing intent.

“Please forgive me! I’m only thinking about your majesty’s――”

Vyuren ran away flurried. She brushed aside the other nobles lining up in the audience room and headed to the exit.

“For my sake, you say? You are just intending to use me as a tool for the nobles’ benefits.”

Koros spread its wings. Feathers of light were produced from the bone wings and danced in the air.

“HIIIIIIII-!”

Vyuren got out of the audience room while tumbling about.

The cluster of feathers dancing in the air stopped still in empty air. The next moment, the feathers flew out like fired arrows. The arrows of light sewed were weaving through the crowd then changed their direction to fly out from the audience room towards the corridor.

“He-, help――”

Vyuren leaped out of the castle’s exit, she then stepped out her feet to the stair that went towards the castle gate, and at that time

The light arrows pierced that body.

“Guha……a-!?”

Vyuren’s movement stopped while her hand pressed on her chest. She stood stock still while staring at space for a while, before her body shook violently. The body that lost its strength fell down from its face and rolled down the stair like that. The palace guard that rushed to the body and shook it wondering what happened found that the body wouldn’t stand up anymore.

The arrows of light that pierced Vyuren were dyed orange. That was the color of magic power that Vyuren had. Leaving behind orange tracks, the arrows of light once more returned to the audience room with a terrific speed. And then they settled on Koros’s wings as if returning to their nest, the magic power that was taken out from Vyuren was absorbed into the bone wings. The light particles were sent from the wings to Grace’s body, and then to her hair, causing its pink color to shine even more vivid and even more beautiful.

“Taking in the magic power of such a worthless fellow feels a little disappointing.”

Grace spoke so as if to spit out and her face distorted in displeasure.

――[Harvest(Magic Power Suction)]

Aine stared at the shining Grace who increased to be even more beautiful.

That was the Corruption Armament of Koros. Normally, using a weapon would consume the magic power drastically. However Koros was an exception. It plundered the magic power of the opponent and absorbed it as its own magic power. With that magic power, the hair and the eyes of the user shined even more beautifully.

Harvest was like something that could independently perform Heart Hybrid.

Grace noticed Aine’s gaze and she showed her an angelic smile like a completely different person.

“Nee-sama. I plan to purge the eyesores immediately, so you don’t need to worry.”

“Purge you say……”

Aine’s spine turned cold.

Grace spread open her arms fully and announced with a voice that resounded all over the audience room.

“Nee-sama is the legitimate emperor of the Vatlantis Empire. But, because she has just come home, I will continue to fulfill the official business for a while yet. However eventually Nee-sama will take over and I will become her aide. That’s it!”

Leaving those words behind, she turned her back on the audience room that was whirling in chaos, Grace then took Aine’s hand.

“Let’s go, Nee-sama. There is a lot that I want to talk about with you.”

“Ye, yes……”

Aine let herself get pulled away by Grace and left the audience room.


Part 2

That night, Aine took a bath together with Grace and now she would talk with Grace in her room until late at night.

“Ainess-sama is also looking tired, how about resting early for today.”

Not lending her ear to those words of Zelcyone, Grace dragged Aine to her room no matter what. On top of the bed where five or six people could sleep in lines, the two of them were sitting cross-legged slovenly. There was no guard inside the room, it was a time for the sisters where there was no interruption. Both of them exposed unladylike figures without minding over anyone’s opinion.

The matching negligees they were wearing were something that first class artisans tailored using high class material. Laces that looked like works of art and fluffy frills were arranged in lovely result. The fabric with texture like a silk was excellent to retain one’s temperature, but it was really light and so thin that it looked transparent. The two large round breasts, and the shape and color of the protrusion on the summits became exposed without anything hiding it.

How did Aine pass these ten years until now, that was what Grace asked and talked about. Grace felt shocked and angered at each and every story of Aine, she was listening in a daze. Aine who was looking at Grace’s expression that kept changing frequently naturally burst out in a smile.

“Hmm……so Nee-sama was really going on a great adventure. Just from listening makes my heart feel like it’s going to stop.”

Grace’s hand touched her chest and she sighed deeply.

“That’s exaggerated. Grace was the one that was really in difficulty right? Really……I’m very sorry.”

Grace shook her head left and right and touched Aine’s lips with her index finger.

“Nee-sama. Apologizing is forbidden already. I don’t think that it’s difficult or anything at all. I protected this place in Nee-sama’s absence as a little sister. That’s all there is to it.”

Grace smiled happily. That was not a face as the representative of the Vatlantis Empire. It was the honest face of a fifteen year old girl.

“But……”

Even if she was told that, the feeling of guilt couldn’t be easily wiped off. Aine disappeared from this world at seven years old. Grace was five years old at that time. She was made to sit in the seat of emperor at a little under five years old and passed these ten years at this whirlpool of trickery that was this imperial castle. Even Aine could easily imagine, that it wasn’t merely something ordinary.

Suddenly, she recalled about the incident in the audience room.

That Grace who innocently chased after her back, killed with her own hands one of the nobles of the faction that supported herself. She did it very easily, without any hesitation at all.

When Aine’s face looked down in melancholy feeling, she could hear a nostalgic melody.

{The goddess is dancing. With nothingness, with death, with the emperor. And then to eternity.}

Grace closed her eyes and hummed a song.

That was a song that was handed down in the royal family.

Aldea once sang this song for Aine to hear. That was to test Aine. If she showed a reaction, that would mean she had some kind of connection with the first princess Ainess whose whereabouts was unknown.

“……I even completely forgot, about that song too.”

“Is that so? Even though Nee-sama liked this song in your childhood.”

She didn’t understand the meaning of the song lyrics, but she had heard that it came from the inscription on Genesis. She didn’t know more than that. Even so, she liked this melody, she liked singing this song together with her little sister.

“Nee-sama. Just like when we were small, let’s together――”

There was the sound of the door being knocked, after that Zelcyone’s voice could be heard.

“Grace-sama, Ainess-sama, excuse me.”

The door opened and Zelcyone’s face peeked inside.

“What is it? I should have told you to not disturb us tonight.”

To soothe the displeased Grace, Zelcyone lowered her head with a smiling face.

“My apologies. Tomorrow morning, there will be a ceremony held for the greeting of Ainess-sama’s return towards the people of the empire. The dress will be tailored throughout this night, so at least we have to take the measurements.”

Grace pursed her lips “Mu” and her words stayed in her throat.

“Then it can’t be helped. After all there is no way we can let Nee-sama come out in front of the people of the empire in a shabby appearance.”

After emphasizing to Aine persistently to return back after the measurements, she was finally permitted to go out from Grace’s room. Aine followed behind Zelcyone, walking through the astonishing wide and long corridor. After turning over several corners and up a stair, they came to a halt.

“This way.”

Zelcyone opened a door. When she entered inside, Aine reflexively felt like her chest was constricted.

“This is……my”

“Yes. This is the room of Ainess-sama.”

Aine stepped her feet inside her room from ten years ago.

The room with a space of more than a hundred tatami was fitting for a princess, it was overflowing with elegant and lovely furnishings. At the center was a bed attached with canopy. A little distance away was a large desk for studying and a chair. Near the window was a dressing table. Bookshelves were lined up along the wall, she could see the lighting of the castle town from the large window. Aine touched every single furniture inside the room as if to ascertain their texture, making sure of their existences.

‘――That’s right. Certainly this is my room.’

Aine had three rooms. One was this room. The second was the one at Nayuta Lab, the bland room without anything in it. And then the third was the one in the exclusive floor for Amaterasu at the student dormitory, the room where there were many books and videos piling up like mountains.

Each of the room didn’t resemble each other at all. But, without any doubt all of them were her rooms. They were like the mirror that reflected her self at the respective times.

‘――Which room is the most fitting for the current me I wonder?’

“The artisan will arrive in no time, so please wait here for a while.”

“I understand……hey, Zel. Can you, leave me alone for a little?”

“Ainess-sama?”

Zelcyone showed her a worried expression, so Aine replied with a wry smile.

“It’s nothing big. I have been surrounded by everyone all this time, so I want to calm myself down alone. I won’t go anywhere by myself so rest easy.”

“I understand. Forgive me for my lack of consideration.”

Zelcyone bowed faithfully and then left the room.

Listening to the distancing steps, Aine released a sigh of relief. She stared at the city of Zeltis that was visible from the window and released a large sigh once more.

Her battle with the AU as a member of Amaterasu just a little under half a day before felt like a lie. Her facing the Tokyo recapture operation with the preparedness to die felt like something of the distant past.

‘――Is this, really okay like this?’

Such thinking flashed in her head.

‘No, what am I thinking? In the first place I’m a human of this side am I not? It was only because I lost my memory and fell to the enemy’s hand that I helplessly lived there.’

She thought so. Yet despite thinking so, for some reason it was hard for her to swallow that excuse right now.

More than half of her life was spent as Chidorigafuchi Aine. In these ten years, what was constructing her current self was the time she spent as Aine which was longer than the time she spent as Ainess.

Aine pressed her head as if she was feeling a headache.

Herself was created from two selves that ran counter with each other. But it didn’t mean that she had two personalities. Both of them were herself, existences that were hard to throw away.

However the two selves that composed herself, Aine and Ainess wouldn’t tolerate each other’s existence.

And that this could even change the position of the war between Lemuria and Vatlantis.

‘――What should I do?’

She didn’t understand. But, there was important things. The safety of Kizuna and the others who became prisoner, of Amaterasu and Masters. She had strictly ordered so that they wouldn’t be treated cruelly, but tomorrow she would confirm it properly.

Aine clenched her hand tightly and resolved herself. At that time, there was the sound of the door opening behind her.

“Zel? You came back?”

A different person was standing where she turned her head at.

“Excuse me, Aine.”

There was only one person in this Vatlantis who called Aine like that.

White long coat like a doctor’s robe and long black hair. The face that really resembled the commander of Amaterasu, Hida Reiri made one unable to feel her age. Since Aine met her ten years ago, she looked like she hadn’t changed at all.

“Professor……Nayuta.”

“Aah, excuse me. Right now you are your highness the emperor of Vatlantis aren’t you? Or else should I better call you Ainess?”

“……Aine is fine. Just what business do you have with me I wonder?”

“No, until now I didn’t know that your highness is the emperor and acted impolitely so often, and so I came to beg for your forgiveness.”

Aine stared hard at Nayuta with a grim face.

“You didn’t know……you?”

The corner of Nayuta’s lips rose.

“Correct.”

There was no way that was true. If it was this person.

“Actually you had noticed my true identity right? Perhaps, since a long time ago already. That was why you used that kind of forceful method to try to release the Forbidden Armament. Because you knew that if you do that then my memory will come back.”

Nayuta raised her voice cheerfully towards Aine’s pressing.

“A good reasoning. If I honestly speak, I didn’t have the definite proof that Aine is a human of Vatlantis……that’s how it is. I understood that Zeros is loaded with a weapon other than Corruption Armament. Your memory didn’t really return with normal Climax Hybrid, so I attempted to release the Forbidden Armament. For that, suitable resolve of Aine herself and an urgent situation were necessary. A situation where it was unavoidable. For that sake I took a hundred thousand people hostage. Although――”

Nayuta narrowed her eyes and stared fixedly at Aine, it was unclear whether she was happy, or being mean.

“It was a little shocking, that what the lives of a hundred thousand people couldn’t achieve, could be achieved with the single life of Kizuna. Is this what is called the power of a maiden in love?”

Aine’s cheeks became red in a flash.

“Shut up! Why can you do such inhuman things so calmly!? Those innocent people……even Kizuna almost really died there. He is your child!”

“That was the most efficient method, so it cannot be helped.”

“That……that’s really, unbelievable……”

Aine couldn’t close her opened mouth from the calm answer of Nayuta.

“Actually I planned for Aine to recover your memory with my hand. To have the distinguished service of rescuing the first princess will make it easier to approach Grace-sama, it will be convenient to act in Vatlantis then. But, unfortunately you failed your Climax Hybrid. And there I had to let Zelcyone-sama take the credit.”

Aine’s body was shivering. She didn’t know if it was from rage or from helplessness. Emotions were rampaging inside her chest. If she didn’t clench her fist and bit her lips, it felt like she would explode.

“The commander said it didn’t she? That you are a demon.”

“Yeah, it seemed so. What a cruel way of talking towards her biological mother.”

“It’s only natural that she said that!”

Nayuta smiled cheerfully with her usual gentle expression.

“Is that so? In reality, Ainess-sama could recover her memory like this and returned home to Vatlantis. Besides, the unprecedented danger which the current Vatlantis is falling into will be resolved in the near future. Rather than a demon, am I not closer to an angel instead?”

‘――Just what is this person talking about so shamelessly?’

“……Professor Nayuta. What is your objective?”

“My objective?”

Nayuta put her finger on her lips and pondered with a gesture like a child. And then she lifted her face as if she had thought of something, making a smile like a holy mother.

“There is particularly nothing.”

“Nothing you say……”

Aine lost her words.

“There is no way that’s true!? Why did you create Heart Hybrid Gear? Despite doing that, why did you now defect to Vatlantis? I don’t understand what do you want to do. Are you the ally of mankind? Or else the ally of Vatlantis? Why are you acting as if you are only inviting chaos?”

“That itself is not my objective. Of course, I could hypothesize that such fact would take place, but it was the result of advancing my experiment, it was only a side effect that such fact occurred.”

Nayuta answered with her usual smile.

“You know, I cannot tolerate that there is something in this world that I don’t know about.”

Gentle smiling face. But that was a fixed mask. Her eyes were not laughing. Those were eyes that were constantly observing and analyzing the target.

“That’s why if there is something that I don’t know about, I become wanting to obtain and investigate it. Whether it’s Heart Hybrid Gear, or the Entrance, or the magic weapon, and then even this world too.”

A purity in the level of absurdity, a simplicity in which one could feel madness.

Endless greed for knowledge and transcendental curiosity.

The result of those things granted with gifted intellect was this human called Hida Nayuta.

“This world……is that so, you plan to obtain this Vatlantis next aren’t you? Using this me as your puppet.”

Nayuta pleasantly laughed.

“Fufufu, no way. I don’t have any interest for this country’s influence. After this I don’t think I will have anything to do with all of you. Please rest assured.”

p063“……Really?”

“Yes. I won’t do anything at all to Kizuna and the others, and to Aine too. From now on, please, all of you do whatever you please with both worlds, Vatlantis and Earth.”

Aine felt anticlimax from Nayuta’s unexpected words. No, could she even believe what she said?

About Nayuta. She might be still thinking about something outrageous. Aine stared fixedly at Nayuta’s face from the side in order to read what was inside her heart.

Nayuta was staring outside from the window.

Ahead of her gaze was the center of this world. The pillar that supported this world and created life.

“……It seems that I’ve stayed a little too long. Zelcyone-san will return here soon so I better leave.”

“Ah, wait. I still have――”

“Right, how about I give you just one advice. About dealing with Kizuna and the others, isn’t it better to leave them alone for a while? I earnestly ask you not to go to meet them or favor them specially.”

“Eh? Wait――”

Nayuta exited the room while her white coat flapped behind.

Aine sighed and stared outside the window. She stared at the same scenery that Nayuta was looking at just now. That was the Genesis, which was towering tall inside the darkness of the night.

‘Professor Nayuta said, that she won’t do anything to Kizuna and all of us anymore. If that’s really true, then one uneasiness should be resolved with this.’

However, an anxiety that couldn’t be wiped out was lurking inside Aine’s chest.


Part 3

Aine was greatly busy in the next day. Formal report to the public, greetings and introductions to all sides, Aine went to events and parties again and again.

She was concerned about Kizuna and the others even during that time, but there was no chance to meet. Aine didn’t try to go to meet them because she was worried about what Nayuta said to her that night.

However, if Nayuta was really not going to interfere with them, then shouldn’t she not need to be particularly worried? She had such thinking. On the contrary, she also suspected whether Nayuta had some kind of aim instead.

While hesitating like that, several days passed. And then tonight too there was a party carried out in the imperial castle. After she received greetings from so many people that she couldn’t really remember, she pretended to go to toilet and just barely managed to escape to a balcony.

“Haa……”

She sighed alone……but she noticed that slightly distant from her there was a guard of the imperial guard standing. Even when she was in the bath, she already didn’t have any chance to be alone.

‘――Even so, I wonder if this is better than being in the party hall?’

Just when she was thinking that, a fierce explosion happened overhead.

“Wha-!?”

She immediately took a stance and almost yelled out the equipping code for her Heart Hybrid Gear――the next instant, large flowers of light bloomed one after another in the night sky.

“Fireworks isn’t it……don’t make me surprised like that.”

Aine looked up at the night sky and stared at the fireworks which bloomed into various shapes and colors. Whether it was in this world or the world at the other side, there was no large difference of the fireworks. It was just that fireworks that used sorcery could make movements, colors, and shapes that were impossible for the world of the other side, that was the difference.

Suddenly, a memory of when she was in Ataraxia welled up inside her heart.

At Ataraxia’s balcony, she was wearing a dress like now and looked up at the fireworks blooming in the night sky with the two of them.

“Are you pleased with the fireworks, Ainess-sama?”

Zelcyone called out to her worriedly.

“Zel……yes, that’s right.”

“The welcoming festival for Ainess-sama will still continue for a week over there. Fireworks will be launched everyday like this.”

Aine made a cramped smile.

“What’s with that. You don’t need to make that big of a commotion.”

“Even this is still not enough. Everyone is happy with Ainess-sama’s return. Conversely it might burden Ainess-sama as the result, but this is also for the sake of the empire’s people. Please be lenient somehow.”

Aine murmured while gazing at the castle town that made merry in the festival.

“I heard that Vatlantis is heading to the danger of destruction because the Genesis became abnormal in its working, but……despite so, everyone is lively aren’t they?”

“No, it has been a long time since there was this much energy. Everyone was building up fear towards the collapse of the world. The world restoration experiment by Nayuta the other day was a success, but……”

Zelcyone looked up to the sky. Aine also chased after her gaze and looked up. There were various shapes of firework launched up, but there was not a single star at the night sky behind them. There was only pitch black darkness spreading there.

“The starry sky returned temporarily, but it soon returned like this. According to Nayuta, it has to be dealt by expanding the installation after this.”

“I see……that magic power plant will be created in every place then.”

“Yes. And so hope also welled up inside the people of the empire. And there the miraculous return of Ainess-sama happened. That made the hearts of the people to become brighter.”

Aine shook her head with a difficult expression.

“But, even if I’m expected so much like that……I, don’t understand what I should do.”

“There is no need to feel lost. We have to conquer the whole territory of Lemuria.”

“!?”

With a soft smile to assure Aine, Zelcyone said the thing that Aine didn’t want to hear the most. She understood that this was a problem that she had to face sooner or later. Since she heard about Vatlantis’s predicament, she knew that this was a path that she had to go through someday. But, even so this was also something she couldn’t come to a clear solution with. Aine spoke with a wrung out voice.

“Conquer……there is no way we can do that.”

“Then, are we to steal the happiness of those people?”

Zelcyone spread her hand and pointed at the brightness of the castle town. The place where it looked conspicuously bright was the place where a night market was opened. She visited there yesterday under the pretext of observing the living of the people.

Everyone looked really happy. They welcomed Aine and treated her to the food from a stall. The imperial guard stopped her from eating such lowly food, but she shook free and forcefully tried to eat them.

Every one of the food was amazingly tasty.

“Really, Ainess-sama is too reckless. What would happen if there was poison in it, I felt like my life was shortened.”

Her grim face crumbled, Aine leaked out a stifled laugh.

“You are exaggerating. There is no way such thing will happen.”

“However, thanks to that Ainess-sama is greatly popular among the masses. The gossipy bunches are grumbling that it was a performance for popularity, but even such voices immediately vanished.”

Shadow covered Aine’s face once more. The memory of the incident in the audience room was revived in her brain.

“Zel……don’t tell me, you are not planning to lay your hand on the people that are our retainers aren’t you?”

“No, I wasn’t speaking in that kind of mean――nn?”

Zelcyone knitted her eyebrows. Aine too felt a dizzying sensation.

And then in the next instant, *DON* a large sound shook the earth.

“Wha, what? Earthquake!?”

Aine almost fell to the floor from the shaking that made it hard to stand.

“Ainess-sama!”

Zelcyone rushed to Aine and caught her body. The imperial guards that were standing by in a slight distance were running to them all at once.

The towers of the imperial castle shook greatly like a pendulum. Even the central part of the castle where Aine was at, was like a ship that was agitated by waves, it was slightly jolted. It was to the degree that she felt like she would feel seasick even while in the castle.

One of the imperial guards raised a voice that resembled a scream.

“Ah! That’s! The town is!”

When Aine looked at the direction where the guard was pointing at, she too raised a short scream.

Fissures were running through the castle town. The gigantic crack collapsed the buildings standing above it and swallowed them. Suddenly blazes were rising up all over the city.

“No way……the market”

And then the market that Aine observed, its ground was greatly crumbling, that one district was falling into the depths of the abyss.

Zelcyone faced the imperial guard and yelled.

“Emergency dispatch! Prioritize the extinguishment of the fire and the people’s evacuation. Confirm the damage condition and report as the situation calls.”

“Yes-!”

The imperial guard other than Zelcyone each put on their magic armor and scattered to every direction. The shaking was settled around that time.

“Ainess-sama, no need to worry. I’ll protect you no matter what happens.”

Aine was dumbfounded by the disaster that she witnessed. The trembling of her legs couldn’t settle down. She had heard the words about how Genesis became not functioning, but she never thought that it would be this bad.

When she looked at the direction of Genesis, a large crack ran through the sky where the pillar was at the center. Something shuddering crawled up Aine’s spine. She felt the fear toward fate, of something that a power of an individual couldn’t oppose against.

“I wonder……if Grace is fine?”

“That person will not die even if she is killed.”

Aine made a wry smile inside her heart towards that horrible way of talking. However there was persuasiveness in Zelcyone’s words, and then she could feel her faith and affection to Grace.

“I guess. Grace, is like that isn’t she……”

There was one more thing that she felt concerned about no matter what. Aine asked while feeling slightly hesitant.

“Hey, about every……the prisoners we brought here from Lemuria, how are they?”

Zelcyone answered after a short pause.

“They are imprisoned within the special prison inside the castle. But, just as Ainess-sama commanded, we didn’t do anything that inflicted pain to them. It’s a little like living in a villa there. Also the prison was built solidly, I think it won’t even give an inch just from an earthquake of this much. Though this is something ironic.”

“I see……then, that’s fine.”

Aine stared hard at the crack that was created in the middle of the castle town and resolved herself.

“Hey, Zel. I have a request.”


Part 4

The prison building where Kizuna and the others were at was separated from the imperial castle. Around a hundred of half-sphere domes were lined up orderly. Actually inside the prison that was made from a gouged out lump of crystal was completely spherical because its lower part was buried in the ground. Inside the protective wall of the crystal, several layers of magic formula were imprinted, and due to that particular disposition, the person locked inside would be affected by the mechanism that absorbed the magic power from their body in fixed amounts. In other words, even if the prisoner attempted to escape or insurrection, they would soon run empty of their magic power and became unable to resist.

Kizuna passed a few days being imprisoned inside that prison. The wound that was inflicted by Zelcyone had also mostly recovered. After finishing the daily flexibility exercises and muscle training that he decided himself, he lied down on the bed.

The size of the room was around eight tatami, but there wasn’t particularly any discomfort. Rather it was an extraordinary treatment for a prisoner. The inside was clean and he was given warm and delicious meals three times a day. He also wasn’t interrogated or tortured. But, he completely didn’t know anything else other than that. The crystal wasn’t that transparent, it was like a cloudy glass where the scenery outside looked ambiguous. Light penetrated inside, so he could somehow differentiate afternoon and night. However he didn’t understand about the others’ situation. He didn’t have any way of knowing whether the members of Amaterasu or everyone of Masters were put somewhere else, or were they put in the same prison nearby.

The color of the ceiling was dark. That was why he understood that it was night right now. However, the lighting of this prison was from outside, so inside became almost true darkness.

Kizuna stared hard at the bracelet which was fixed on his right hand. This thing interfered with putting on magic armor, so it was impossible to escape. However, he couldn’t stay like this forever. He was also worried about everyone, and also of Megafloat Japan and Ataraxia too.

When he imagined about this and that, his imagination would unconsciously go to a bad direction, so it felt like his heart would break.

‘――Get a hold of yourself, Hida Kizuna. Eventually there will be a chance to escape. It will come for sure. For the sake of that time, train your body, sharpen your mind. So that when the time comes that you meet the chance, you will notice it and not let it get away.’

After a while he also did push-ups and sit-ups. He laid down spread-eagled and rest his fatigued muscles. When he closed his eyes from the comfortable tiredness, there was a figure that naturally floated inside his heart.

The girl with silver hair and red eyes.

“Aine……what are you doing right now?”

If Aine was the princess of this world, then surely she wouldn’t meet any bad experience. But, he didn’t know about the AU. It would be great if she didn’t get involved with some kind of trouble or conflict.

Since they came to this world, Aine didn’t come to meet him for even once. It granted a stroke of uneasiness inside Kizuna’s chest.

‘By any chance, has Aine abandoned us already?

Has she become our enemy in body and soul?’

“That’s stupid.”

Kizuna opened his eyes and spoke to drown out the anxiety in his heart.

“Just calm down. Soon Aine will come to meet……no, she will come to help.”

‘That’s right. Even if she has the past of being the princess of another world, that girl is our comrade. She is Amaterasu’s Chidorigafuchi Aine.

Right now Aine too has only just arrived in another world, so she must be confused or busy. If she settle down, then she should be become our strength without fail――!?’

At that time, the door of the entrance opened without any previous sign.

Kizuna leaped up from his bed in shock.

“……-!”

And then, he looked at the silhouette of the person standing there and his voice hitched.

Aine wearing a glittering long dress of pink and white color was standing there.

“A……Aine!?”

“Kizuna……that, it’s been, a while.”

Aine couldn’t look at Kizuna’s face straight, she looked timid. She looked up as if to take a peek at Kizuna. It was as if she was a scolded puppy peeking at its master’s mood.

“Ho, how is your wound I wonder? Your health is fine?”

“Yeah……even the wound on my leg is fine already.”

Kizuna restrained the fierce beating of his heart and answered as natural as possible.

“I, see. That recovery degree is just like a lizard aren’t you?”

Aine too tried to act like how she usually was as much as possible. However it ended there, the two fell into complete silence. Aine tried to open her mouth several times, but each time she faltered.

Even though he wanted to meet Aine so much like that, now that he met her the inside of his head was pure white. He could only see what was reflected in his eyes. Her hair that was flowing beautifully, her make-up, most of his thoughts were occupied by Aine who was wearing a dress.

“Those clothes……it really suites you.”

“Eh? Right……that’s because, I asked Zelcyone to secretly take me here in the middle of a party.”

“When I saw you wearing a dress before I thought that you looked like a princess, but……I never thought, that you are actually a real princess.”

Seemingly reassured by Kizuna’s calm attitude, Aine showed a smiling face even if an awkward one.

“Hey, Kizuna……that, are you fine from the earthquake just now?”

“Yeah, that was quite big. Does Vatlantis also have a lot of earthquakes? It’s like in Japan huh.”

Aine suddenly pursed her lips tightly, and then she entered the prison in resolve.

“Li, listen, Kizuna. Actually――”

“Is everyone else safe?”

Just when she stepped forward in resolve, Kizuna’s question hit her like a counter. Aine wanted to escape, but she somehow held her ground. She forcefully created a smile under her knitted eyebrows.

“Ye-, yes……of course, they are safe. I didn’t allow them……to be hurt.”

“Is that so……I’m relieved if you say that. I have various things that I want to ask. What happened with our original world? Right now, how is the relation with the AU?”

Kizuna stared straight at Aine with a serious look. Aine flinched from that gaze. She averted her eyes and she intertwined the fingers of both her hands.

“I, I have something to discuss about that……right now even the world on this side, is in a little trouble……it’s difficult to explain it but……it needs magic power.”

“Magic power?”

Kizuna’s look became grim. Aine’s shoulders twitched just from that as if she was being scolded.

“And so, if it’s possible it will be like helping each other, I want everyone of Lemuria……of earth to share their magic power. I want to ask Kizuna’s opinion about what do you think……ah, of course I think that if Vatlantis settles down we will need to give compensation or something.”

Kizuna felt confusion from the sudden story. However he desperately tried to understand what Aine was talking about.

“That’s, something like the magic power plant in Tokyo?”

“Tha, that is……”

Aine’s eyes swam everywhere.

“Perhaps, like that.”

Kizuna flared up and reflexively yelled.

“What are you saying! You saw it too right? That state of Tokyo. Are you saying that a horrible installation like that is needed? Rather, it’s no good unless we stop it right now!”

“Yes, I don’t want to do the brainwashing. But, unless everyone obediently gives their cooperation……if there is no magic power from earth……this world will break.”

“……What?”

“In this world, there is a pillar which is supporting the world……if there is no magic power, it won’t function normally. Like that, right now Vatlantis is facing a danger of destruction. The earthquake just now was also because of this.”

Kizuna lost his words from the story of Aine which he had never even imagined.

He couldn’t understand what he should say.

‘――This world is breaking down? Because of that they invaded our world?

What Kaa-san created, that magic power plant is also a facility for that.

However……while that may be true, can the things the AU had done to us be forgiven?

Can a facility that treats us as livestock be allowed?

But, Aine is positive of that.

Moreover, Aine desired to stand in the position of the AU.’

Kizuna clenched his fist. His body was trembling from indescribable emotion.

“Aine. Even if that’s the case……it cannot become a good reason to invade the earth. Or else, Aine, do you think if it’s for the sake of saving the people of Vatlantis, it doesn’t matter whatever is being done to the people of earth? That it’s fine even if people are being brainwashed and their life sucked out like livestock?”

“-……!? I don’t think of them as livestock or anything! Isn’t that obvious! I’m not making them like that, I just want help. I want them to share their energy a little. With that……everyone will be saved. That’s why-”

“Then, this shouldn’t be a one-sided talk like this. Isn’t that right?”

The prison wasn’t that spacious. After Kizuna took two, three steps forward, he had already approached until the spot where he could immediately touch Aine.

“Ki, Kizuna.”

Aine almost stepped back. She bit her lips and held her ground.

“Aine. If you are really thinking of wanting help, that you want to cooperate, we should talk to each other as equals.”

“I know that. But, there is no time. What happened just now is not just an earthquake. That was Genesis causing malfunction and beginning to collapse this world. Because of that earthquake, a lot of innocent people died you know?”

“We had our people killed in numbers many times over by the AU fellows. Even you understand that well right? After all you also fought the AU.”

“That’s……”

“After massacring us utterly like that, now to ask for help so suddenly, isn’t that too selfish?”

Aine dropped her gaze and stared at her feet. Her legs were trembling.

She understood Kizuna’s point so well that it hurt.

But, she had the duty of protecting the people of Vatlantis. Aine raised her face in resolve.

“Perhaps right now your freedom is taken, but it won’t stay like that. Absolutely. I will return the freedom and make it so both sides can speak equally for sure. The act that was done to Lemuria, I will compensate for it in some kind of way for sure. That’s why……believe me.”

Aine looked up at Kizuna with moist eyes.

Her expression was desperate.

However, looking at Aine’s entreaty to him, on the contrary fury was seething inside Kizuna helplessly.

‘So she is this desperate in order to save the AU.

This is not in the least something for saving us and the earth.

 

――The Chidorigafuchi Aine that we know is not here anymore.’

 

“Got it.”

Aine’s face enthusiastically became bright from those words.

“Kizuna! Thank you. Of course I understand that this doesn’t mean that I received permission. But, I’m happy that I can understand each other with Kizuna.”

Tears were floating in the corners of Aine’s eyes, with her expression as if she had received the greatest happiness. She was really happy that she took Kizuna’s hand and talked without stopping.

“Now I have confidence just from you telling me that. I will show you that Vatlantis and Lemuria can both become happy without fail.”

“……If we are talking about that, first, can you let me out from here?”

“That’s……I can’t. Yet.”

Aine made a bewildered expression.

“Bu, but, from today I will come to meet you everyday. I want to consult about various things. That, I will begin to work, so that you can even go outside. Ah, of course, eventually you will become a free man. Like, I, becoming a bridge that connected the two worlds……with Kizuna.”

Aine spun her words desperately with reddened cheeks. Anxious expression floated behind the smiling face, cold sweat was flowing out. As if to convey her feeling, Aine put her palm on Kizuna’s chest timidly.

Kizuna’s hand grasped that wrist.

“Then, when will it be?”

“Ki, Kizuna?”

“Even while we are doing something like this, the range of the magic power plant in our world should be spreading wider. We are also the same in that we don’t have time. We cannot be so carefree. Aine, cooperate with me so I can escape from here.”

“Wa, wait. Calm down Kizuna. I beg you so――”

At that moment, a light blue light appeared from behind Aine. A supple whip entangled around Kizuna’s neck like a snake and lifted his body really easily.

“Guh! Wh, at?”

Just when he heard *hyuu* a sound that was like cutting wind, Kizuna’s body was thrown away and struck the wall of the prison.

“Guha-!”

His back was struck hard, then he dropped to the floor still unable to breath.

“Kizuna!”

A magic armored arm held back the shoulder of Aine who was going to rush to him.

“Zel……”

It was Zelcyone with the magic armor [Teros] equipped. She was glaring at Kizuna with a gaze filled with killing intent.

“Zel, I begged you that much to leave the two of us alone……!”

Zelcyone gently pushed Aine’s body behind her and swung the whip towards Kizuna. Together with a sharp sound, Kizuna’s back was carved with a red line.

“GUAA!”

Severe pain assaulted Kizuna’s whole body. That pain made him literally writhe on the floor.

“You insolent fool! Even though originally you wouldn’t even be allowed to talk directly to Ainess-sama……you took advantage of Ainess-sama’s generosity and made so many outrage, this is the limit of my patience already!”

Zelcyone changed her whip into a sword and held aloft the sword towards Kizuna.

“Zeros!”

Zeros was instantly equipped on the body of Aine which was wearing a dress. Aine cut in front of the sword that Zelcyone swung down with a terrific speed.

“!?”

The hand of Zelcyone that was swinging the sword down was grasped with Aine standing in her way to protect Kizuna.

“Zel! Stop it!”

“Please release me Ainess-sama!”

Aine clung to Zelcyone and like that she pushed her until outside the prison.

Right after that, the door of the entrance was closing. Aine turned to that gap and yelled.

“Kizuna! I’ll absolutely save you. That’s why, wait quietly there for now. Please!”

And then Kizuna was locked inside the prison once more, with a large wall separating the two from the inside.

“Ainess-sama.”

Aine lowered her head towards Zelcyone who seemed to want to complain.

“I’m sorry Zel……but, I”

Zelcyone sighed and glared at the dome prison with irritated eyes.

“Please be careful Ainess-sama. He was once your comrade, but right now the positions of the both of you are respectively different. We won’t understand what he will do when he is in a corner.”

However Aine glared at Zelcyone rigidly and showed an enraged face.

“No way! Kizuna won’t do such thing. Even what happened just now was only because he was a little flustered. Kizuna won’t harm me or anything, absolutely.”

Aine turned on her heel and walked the path towards the imperial castle.

“Ainess-sama……”

Looking at the back figure of Aine who was like that, Zelcyone’s face clouded. And then she glared once more at the prison where Kizuna was locked. Those eyes were shining with cold killing intent.


 

8 Responses to HxH Vol 5 Chapter 1 – Grace

  1. Dark Jackel says:

    That woman is seriously pissing me off now…you’re not making any friends here, Zel… 😠

    Thanks for the chapter! 😃

    Like

  2. antonio says:

    the emperor have a ros series you know what it means kizuna will hava the little and big sister togeder

    Like

  3. antonio says:

    the ros series are eros kizuna zeros aine cros yurisa taros silvia neros Hayuru gravel zoros and Zelsione teros grace koros

    Like

  4. Anonymous says:

    I really hope Zel becomes Kizunas slave in the end

    Like

  5. Ashmedia says:

    ok so now i’m expecting a sister sandwich in the future for Kizuna!

    Like

  6. Anon says:

    Kizuna is too impulsive, he needs to cool down first

    Like

  7. guidedicicles says:

    Fuck offfff Kizuna! Argh I am so angry

    Like

  8. astral 06 says:

    shit!!!!!! kizuna just suppost to destroy the shit of vatlantis

    Like

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