The next day after the extermination of Jambure.
In the dormitory of New Tokyo Sorcery Academy, Kamishiro Homura awakened while being enveloped in a pleasant warmth.
During his slumber, he felt a foreign warmth and sweet aroma enveloping him inside the futon.
When his hand groped around wondering what it was,
(Soft… what’s this?)
It was soft, he was touching some protrusion that clung to the skin.
His fingers were sucked into a sensation that felt like a marshmallow.
But on the other hand, he felt something that felt a little hard, like a pebble, in the middle of his palm―
Suddenly, a gasping voice that tickled his earlobe made Homura jump out from the bed.
And then he dropped his gaze to his side.
There―truthfully was the worst thing―just as he feared, was a small statured girl wholly naked sleeping.
“Wh, wh-wh-wh-what’s going on!?”
Yesterday he was tired after using his power since so long, so he should have went to sleep quickly. Yet.
Just when in the world did he bring this girl inside the room?
Furthermore, no matter how he tried to look at it in a positive light, the girl was a loli girl that was just barely around middle school.
He had no memory of it at all.
Homura was in confusion exactly because he had no memory of it and didn’t understand at all just what he had done.
“―Wait, now that I look carefully ain’t it just Vel!”
After a while, he noticed the true identity of that girl.
Her hair that usually was always braided was let loose so he was late in noticing for a moment, but the girl who raised a sleeper’s breathing beside Homura was his grimoire .
“Oy, wake up Vel.”
When he shook her exposed slender shoulder, Vel’s small mouth yawned like a baby while her eyes opened.
“Good morning to you. Master.”
“It ain’t good morning. What are you doing since the morning intentionally turning into human form?”
Vel gave the morning greeting with a bob of head while her expression was still dazed as if she was watching a dream somewhere.
Homura asked back in astonishment towards her that was like that.
Most of the time she usually kept being in her book form and laid down on top of the desk, but for her to take human form and of all things being totally naked inside his bed, Homura wanted to know the reason.
Thereupon, Vel answered like this.
“I thought that Master is lonely.”
“Master, it’s because you are being avoided by everyone again because of the matter yesterday.”
What Vel meant by the matter yesterday was about the battle with Jambure.
Reinforcement troops was also dispatched at that battle, so it seemed that it could also be watched from the monitor in the academy.
And then, because of that the students here saw all that from here even though not directly.
The appearance of the evil god that Homura summoned.
As the result, the fear of the academy towards Homura that had finally calmed down came back.
The instant they saw Homura returned back yesterday, it resulted in the students running away like baby spiders scattering apart.
However―Homura wasn’t really bothered by things like that that much.
“I’m not really bothered by that. It’s only an everyday thing for me.”
“Don’t talk as if I’m a lonely person. …I plan to disappear from Japan anyway after one year. It’s gonna be easier if I get hated rather than get liked.”
“Yeah. Wait, you materialize just for that kind of thing?”
Being asked that, Vel shook her head left and right while her long blond hair was fluttering behind her from the movement.
“…No. It’s because today I have something that I have to say to Master no matter what. But yesterday Master looked tired so I held back.”
(Then there really is no need to sneak into the bed in nude ain’t it?)
Even though he was thinking doubtfully, but Homura wasn’t so interested that he would dare to press further, so he urged Vel to move to the main topic.
“Then finish the important matter quickly, after that disappear or wear your clothes. I’m troubled where to look.”
Homura threw the bed sheet to Vel while saying that.
Vel accepted the sheet and wrapped it on her body, then she began to talk.
“Just now Master said that Master will be gone from here after a year. But even after a year passed I’ll be together with Master forever. Different with other girls. Because I’m Master’s sword and shield.”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Then―don’t do something like that again.”
Instantly, in Vel’s expressionless face that was like a well-made antique doll, beautiful yet one that couldn’t be felt any emotion from it, there was a slight but certain harshness in it.
What she meant by something like that, was about how in the fight with Jambure, Homura received the attack of Jambure not by the hand that was holding herself but by his left hand.
Such thing made her feel really displeased.
That was why today she materialized to express her honest opinion.
“If Master used me as a shield, Master wouldn’t be injured. But Master intentionally didn’t use me. I want Master to stop doing that. I want Master not to fight alone.”
“Even if you say that, but it couldn’t be helped right? The other side was likely . Even if you are the , the burden is just too heavy for you that is nothing more than that guy’s avatar. If you carelessly get hit by that, you might die.”
“It’s fine to not worry about such a thing. It’s fine even if I die to protect Master. Because that’s the role that I was given from [me]. That’s my dearest wish.”
That was why she wanted Homura to stop protecting she who was a weapon.
Surely for her it felt like her existence was denied.
That was why Vel was going to say that again repeatedly but,
“That ain’t my wish at all.”
Homura turned her down.
“I’m not a [human] that Master wish to protect.”
“Even so I’m not gonna do anything like that.”
Homura didn’t yield even for a bit.
Certainly Vel was not a human, but even so she was his comrade that had fought together with him since his time in .
He had no intention to fight in the way that would sacrifice her. Whether it was in the past until now, or even in the future from now on.
“Well, what I’m saying is just give up, just think that you have a troublesome master.”
Against Homura that didn’t seem like his intention would waver at all, Vel puffed up her cheeks to bulge in dissatisfaction.
“Master is too kind. Master should split that kindness a bit for yourself.”
“I’ll do that if I felt like it.”
At that time―
From the entrance of the dormitory room there was a knocking sound.
(A guest this early in the morning?)
“Yeah yeah. Wait a sec’.”
Homura returned a reply even while thinking who could it be, then he quickly changed his clothes into his in .
And then he opened the door.
The one who was there was―Hoshikawa Sumika whose expression looked like she was determined of something.
“How rare. For you to be the one that comes to get involved with me.”
While saying that Homura received the guest at the front door.
“Yes. Because I have something that I want to talk with Homura-san no matter what. Do you have time?”
The expression of the asking Sumika was as expected, it looked like the expression of someone who had prepared herself for the worst.
Looking at that expression, Homura somehow guessed what she was going to say.
That was because Homura had noticed, what the feeling was that Sumika directed at him at that time when they had a class in the courtyard.
(Should I send her away with some suitable reason?)
Homura thought that for a moment, but he gave up from doing that thinking that it seemed too much.
For Homura, he didn’t really want to accept a relationship in this place where he someday would leave behind.
But for Sumika it was a circumstance unrelated with her.
(…It’s also too much to not even listen at all to her story huh.)
“Yeah, that’s fine. What do you want to talk?”
Honestly, he couldn’t return Sumika’s feeling, but it was also bad to just leave her hanging.
That was why Homura thought that he was going to clearly say here that he didn’t have any intention to get a girlfriend, he urged Sumika to start talking.
Thereupon Sumika’s cheeks were faintly colored red, she took a deep breath once in order to calm herself.
Turning her heart into words, she expressed it at Homura.
“I, hate Homura-san!”
“Is that so? My bad, but I’m―wait what!? That’s what you said!?”
As expected, Homura never expected this kind of development in his wildest dreams, so he was slightly confused.
“Just wait a second. Eh? You are coming this early in morning to declare breaking off relations?”
“Tha, that’s not it! Please listen to my story until the end!”
On the other hand, Sumika continued her words in panicked condition because she was still in the middle of talking.
“I… have idolized Homura-san all this time. I want to become like Homura-san, I had worked hard all this time thinking like that all along. But yesterday, looking at Homura-san that I idolized from nearby, hearing the way you thought, I became really sad. Thinking of not a single one as your equal, you accept being feared as only natural, hearing the way of life of Homura-san that is like that”
Listening to those words, Homura thought ‘This again’.
He just heard the same thing being pointed out to him from his own sword just now.
“…In short you too came here to preach at me to not fight alone, is that it?”
“No. That’s not it.”
That expectation was also a miss.
Sumika didn’t come here to preach about something like that.
The girl said.
“The current us have no power at all. Honestly, Homura-san fighting by yourself is far easier correct? That’s why I don’t have the qualification to say something that selfish. …Even if I say that Homura-san won’t stop anyway. I don’t think that the way of life that was decided by someone at Homura-san’s level, can be changed by someone at my level. That’s why―this is what I thought of.”
If that was how it is,
“It’s fine if I just reach Homura-san’s side.”
She didn’t tell Homura to get down until the same level like them, she was going to climb up until the place where Homura was.
That was Sumika’s answer regarding her own feeling that [hated him because she loved him].
Because if she did that, Homura wouldn’t be alone anymore. Is what she thought.
Hearing those words of Sumika, Homura lost his words from too much shock.
It was only natural. It was the norm for him to be feared. Occasionally there were also some people that didn’t fear him like Onjouji, but―a human that said things like they were going to ascend until the same level as him, there was not a single one until now.
Everyone who had witnessed their difference in power with Homura where it felt so ridiculous to even feel jealous about it, gave up aiming to close that difference.
“One year. In this one year I will show that I will become stronger than Homura-san without fail. In one year I will challenge you to a duel, and I’ll win! That’s why―at that time I won’t be a lower existence that you have to protect, please recognize me as your equal comrade that stands at the same ground! I came here today for that request.”
Sumika said that absurd determination of hers.
“Will you accept my challenge?”
Sumka stared straightforwardly at Homura’s eyes―with a strong challenging gaze.
Against that strongly determined expression, Homura recalled a nostalgic memory.
That was―the memory of Homura’s first meeting with this girl.
“Really, your energy hasn’t change at all with five years ago huh.”
“Yo, you, remembered that?”
“My memory is pretty good after all. Can’t really forget about someone that I have met once.”
That time too, this girl tried to challenge something really recklessly too.
And now too, she was the same.
She didn’t choose to give no matter what kind of hardship she faced, always choosing to [advance] continuously.
He guessed that perhaps that was the true nature of this girl called Hoshikawa Sumika.
(Well… even so it’s useless I think.)
“That’s fine. If you think you can do it then just try it.”
He didn’t really have any reason to refuse.
That was why Homura answered so, he accepted the girl’s challenge with a bold smile.
Thereupon Sumika also,
“Please don’t look down at me. I’m already different with that time who was just all talk. I will for sure, break that nasty nose of yours in the future-“
As if competing with him, Sumika undauntedly smiled fearlessly.
Looking at that expression, Homura thought.
(…As I thought, she is a good woman.)
Since that day he first met her, Homura had never forgot Sumika for even once.
The true battle that happened behind Kinugasa had mentioned before.
The verge of death of the that was literally burned from the annuls of history where they bet their life.
For Homura who had lost everything, whether it was his beloved person, or the comrades that he wanted to protect, it was a salvation for him to meet this straightforward girl with a strong heart.
He could protect the world where this kind of girl existed.
That joy and pride were everything that supported Homura at that time.
For that reason, he was really happy that this girl even now was still unchangingly possessing a proud heart, unintentionally Homura was staring fixedly at Sumika―
“If your business is finished already, please return my Master.”
He didn’t notice the footstep of Vel that approached him from behind.
Vel circled her hand on Homura’s waist and hugged Homura strongly.
“Wha, yo, you-! Why did you come out!? And you are still not wearing clothes!?”
“…For some reason.”
(――No, rather than that, this situation is)
‘How bad is it?’ Thinking that, timidly, Homura took a peek at Sumika’s expression.
There, sure enough, there was the obvious reaction,
Sumika’s eyes were wide open from the extreme shock, her cheeks were bright red and she was trembling all over.
And then the next moment, *KI-!* she glared sharply at Homura.
“Ho, Ho-ho-ho, Homura, san! Thi, thi-thi, thi-thi-thi-this is, just what in the world is the meaning of this!? Just why did a naked girl come out from Homura-san’s room-! Please give an acceptable explanation!”
She drew near with an extremely threatening look.
“Ca, calm down Hoshikawa. This girl is just my grimoire that transformed like this, it’s not like I brought in a woman into my place. Right, Vel!?”
“Yes. There is no mistake that I’m the personification of .”
“See? That’s why I didn’t really do anything guilty.”
“Yes. I just used my body to console my lonely Master, that’s all.”
“Right right. That’s why it’s not―hey, wait right there!?”
‘Just now the choice of the word was lethally dangerous there’, just when Homura thought so it was already too late.
“Th, th-th-th-that’s filthyyyy!!!!”
Sumika screamed and took her distance from Homura in great hurry.
“U, u-unbelievable! To use sorcery for such an impure matter! Furthermore with this kind of small girl…! I misjudged youuu!!!!”
“Wait wait! Listen to what I’ve got to say!”
“I don’t care! This is all for today! Sayonara-!!”
And then without even giving him time for an excuse, Sumika ran away like a startled hare.
He wanted to chase her, but as expected he didn’t have the courage to run around in the dormitory while being embraced by a naked girl.
“…Vel, you bastard, you did that intentionally right?”
He couldn’t think of her word choice as any other than intentional, so he questioned Vel.
But, the girl confirmed it without any guilt.
“That’s because before this, Master said that you want to be hated.”
“Yeah I said that! But just spare me from being hated in this kind of direction-!”
“Besides Master has me, so you don’t need any other woman.”
“Unexpectedly it’s because of deep jealousy huh, this damn porn book…”
Really what a morning. Homura who released an amazed sigh like that closed the entrance door.
In the middle of closing the door, he suddenly stared at the direction where Sumika escaped―he thought.
A future that until now he had never imagined even once.
A day where he was together with an existence that could stand side-by-side with him.
―Such future, seemed really fun,
(Aah, not bad)
A smile formed spontaneously.
Then let’s wait for it without expecting too much.
Whether that girl can really climb until his side or not.
With himself staying as a person that girl said that she hated, just like until now―