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"Wait a minute, Kazuma! ", shouted Ayano chasing after Kazuma, absorbed in his walk, while half running. From Kazuma's expression, as he looked over his shoulder, no surprise or doubt could be seen. But even so, he asked: "What is it, Ayano? " At least his tone was openly doubtful as he spoke those words. Making a rude entrance and greatly shortening the distance between them, to be able to head-butt that face feigning ignorance, Ayano glared at Kazuma. "Why are you leaving by yourself? " "Is there a problem? " "You promised to treat me to dinner, didn't you? " "Tsuchimikado can do that, right? " "If it's not you, it's pointless! " Immediately after that forceful reply, Ayano faintly blushed. Not looking into Kazuma's eyes for a short while, she spoke as if trying to smooth it over. "I, I mean.....I cannot stand the fact that you get payed without doing anything " "You're still saying that" Without alluding to that suspicious behavior, he carelessly shrugged his shoulders. "I just don't want to be present and see stuff like the two of you getting all chummy. " Hearing those unexpected words, instantly, Ayano's chest throbbed. "Wh- what do you mean? ", she asked doing her best to look very calm. As for Kazuma, he declared with a serious expression. "Just think about it. In case his sister is looking at that place, there is no doubt she will snap and start acting violently without any concerns for the surrounding. I do not want to be dragged in that disaster. " Silence "------So, you ran away by yourself? And abandoned me? ",asked Ayano in a monotonous voice after a few seconds passed. "Yeah" The immediate response was a nod. While staring for a long time at that magnificent face without the slightest bit of guilt she deliberated whether to release so much killing intent, he will burs into flames. ".........Let's go" There were people around so for the time being Ayano restrained herself. In that state she decided he will treat her at the most expensive restaurant in town and started walking after saying that subdued sentence. Thinking that if he won't follow her now she'll really explode, Kazuma smoothly matched her pace. "For your information, I have no intention of marrying Takaaki-san. " "Is that so? " Just in case he really misunderstood and just to be sure in that unlikely event, she tried to verify it. But Kazuma only replied indifferently. Faintly pouting, Ayano stubbornly continued. "Nevertheless, Kaguya-san has me worried. Even though I don't really like Takaaki-san that way. " "Because she has no reason when her brother is involved. Besides, if you look at it objectively the likelihood of marriage is not exactly low. Because if the Kannagi and Tsuchimikado become relatives, that's a profitable deal for both households. " Therefore isn't it natural for that brother complex woman to feel a sense of danger --- hearing Kazuma speak like it was someone else's problem, Ayano retorted raising her voice. "So, I'm telling you I have no intention of doing so! " "Other people don't know your feelings. Well, if you meet Kagura you can say that to her. ----Although I think it will be useless. " ".................." Kazuma's manner was thoroughly blunt. Sulking, Ayano looked up at his cool face ---- suddenly, she reached for Kazuma's arm. And while holding it as if trying to glue her body to his, she timidly began to talk. "Th- then, if I make her believe I have a lover, maybe Kaguya-san won't be so unreasonable? " "A lover? You mean me? " "It----it's just make-believe you know, make-believe! I have high standard! " Seeing Kazuma raise his eyebrows, Ayano shouted so, red in the face. But even so, she didn't set free their entwined arms. "-------Well, I'm not particularly opposed to it but there's no point in doing it somewhere she can't see us, right? " "Isn't it possible she could observe us using some divination form? " "One that I won't be able to notice? " Absolute confidence dwelling in those unenthusiastic words. Unable to refute the words of the man who was reigning at the top of the Fuujutsu-shi whose specialty is their investigation ability, Ayano mumbled. But---- Suddenly Kazuma put his arm around Ayano's waist. And just like that he pulled her entire body towards him. "Hyaaa!? " Since the degree of closeness was higher than before, as one would expect Ayano was confused. She was about to reflexively scream but one look from Kazuma made her silent. And then, he whispered close to her ear. "Don't make a fuss --- bingo! " "Eeh? " After a moment of confusion, Ayano understood his meaning. Since what she used as a pretext turned out to be true, it seems that one way or another Kaguya was looking at them from somewhere. While still close together, they began walking at a slow pace. Ayano searched for presence in the surroundings but she didn't sense anything strange. Well, from the start Enjutsu-shi was not suitable for such things and since it was difficult to be mentally calm now, she probably wouldn't felt anything even if some abnormality was present. "Uugh......it's difficult to walk like this. " "Be patient. There are just a hundred more meters. " Hearing Ayano murmur unpleasant words, Kazuma replied courtly. "Eeh------? What do you---------" About to ask again, Ayano noticed the abnormality in the surroundings. Right now their bodies were glued so close together it was actually inconvenient to walk and from the perspective if others who saw them their atmosphere was that of a couple madly in love with each other. Obviously, from the surroundings so many looks of jealousy and criticism were aimed at them, it was actually painful. And yet, those glances rapidly decreased. Both their existence became less and less able to attract other people's attention. Obviously at an unnatural rate. "Is this...... a kekkai (barrier)? " "That's right. Separation, and then guidance --- using some astrological formation? As expected of the weakening Tsuchimikado--- they can do at least that much" "Guidance------? " In other words, separating their existence from the surroundings using spacial or psychological means and so that they will only be able to go in one direction, restricting their actions. Suddenly looking in front, there was a small park dozens of meters ahead. Comparing it with Kazuma's words, it must mean the enemy lured them here. Looking up at Kazuma, Ayano whispered to him. "We're not smashing it? " "Why would you do that? ", replayed Kazuma openly astonished. Now that he mentioned it, it's true. No settlement can be reached by running away. In order to finish this as amicable as possible, they must first locate Kaguya and clear up her misunderstanding. "Then, let's go in, shall we? " Saying so, Ayano leaned against Kazuma even more. Putting her head on his shoulder that was just the right height, their upper bodies were completely glued together. While she was continuously repeating in her mind "this is just an act, this is just an act" At the center of the park there were two erected Deva kings folding their arms and one Yaksha. That demoniacal expression stared in silence at Kazuma, tightly embracing Ayano. This was Ayano's first meeting with Kaguya. She learned what Kagura did from hearsay but had no first hand experience of it. Therefore, that angry expression made her draw back considerably. She was prepared for some half-hearted trouble but that face warped in rage was dreadful of maybe atrocious ---- anyway, it was really scary. Ayano was privately thinking like that but each time she got pissed at Kazuma her facial expression was similar. "Eeh.....well.....it's Kaguya-san, right? Hello" With a stiff face, Ayano began to talk. Doing so, Kaguya glared at her as if trying to append all this world's hexes on her. And then, a single word. "........Disgusting" "-----Eeh? " "I investigating lots of things about you" With a voice squeezed through her greeted teeth, Kaguya began to speak. "That you're not only seducing that man next to you using your body-------" "Wha------" "The underclassmen who are idolizing you at school, even though you have plan to respond to their affection, you are vainly raising their hopes and using them----" "------Hmm? " "On top of that, you are pretending to be a queen just because you have a fan-club! Even if you have nothing to do with Onii-sama, as a woman, I will never forgive a bitch like you! I will bring you heavily punishment! " "Wait a minute! " As expected, being insulted that much, unable to stay silent, Ayano shouted with unconcealed anger. Certainly, it seems that Kaguya really researched her. But no matter what kind of investigation she did, Ayano couldn't agree with her results. Obviously different from the truth and yet not a total falsehood --- distorted information. "-----huh? " With a deja-vu feeling, Ayano tilted her head to the side a little. She had the feeling she heard this kind of thing before---- "There's only one person who would do this!! " Not trying to think about it very hard, the answer immediately appeared. It seemed that next to her, Kazuma reached the same conclusion as he breathed a sigh in amazement. "I thought about this before but you have some really unique friends. What's usually called friends gained through common interests? " "I will completely devote myself to denying that opinion. " Being reminded of the fluffy, gentle outward appearance of her friend, Ayano declared so in a resolute tone. "Well, leaving that aside" Completely ignoring that inconsequential topic, Kazuma turned his eyes to Kaguya, fired up by her 『righteous indignation』. "For the time being, I have no intention of getting in your way. You can punish that bitch however you like. " "What did you say!? " And then disregarding Ayano whose evil countenance didn't loose to Kaguya's, he turned his back on them and started walking. But, immediately following. "Wait! " "-----!" Something high speed ran past Kazuma as he inclined his head on the spur of the moment, grazing his temple. A few strands of cut hair danced in the wind. "I have a lot to thank you too for, don't I, Yagami? " "No, I don't care about the rest of the payment.I did get it from your father. " Without hesitating when hearing those words at absolute zero temperature, Kazuma shamelessly declared so. "Fufufufufu. You say the funniest things, Yagami. ", laughed Kaguya in a monotonous tone. And then, she let her crossed arms slowly fall down. From her cuff, something white, long and narrow creped out. Their overall length was twenty centimeters and they were slender like snakes, appearing one after another from inside her top tunic and the hem of her skirt, loosely drifting around Kaguya. "Are those paper strings? ", mumbled Ayano in confusion. They were wandering around Kaguya as if to protect her, looking like cords made of paper --- they seemed the mundane type of paper strings. Although normally paper strings didn't float in the air. "Yes, they are paper strings with curses embedded in them. A type of divination form. Although they look like they're just flying around posing no threat and are pretty simple, on the other hand they posses subsonic speed and at certain times they can even exceed the speed of sound. I'm only saying this for reference only but today they are in perfect form. " "How extreme can you be......", murmured Ayano visibly shocked. But without showing any discomposure, Kaguya magnificently retorted. "For divination forms dedicated to combat, there is no need for delicate molding and varied abilities. Just a super-fast attack you cannot see. That's enough to kill one's enemy. " "I feel the same way. " "Don't talk like it's none of your business, you! " Seeing Kazuma earnestly agree, Ayano replied with a plasma one round. He avoided it by suddenly bending his upper body. "........I thought this before but you're fundamentally misunderstanding what a retort is. " "It seems like one wasn't enough for you, huh? By the way, what can I do about this? I'm not really sure I can react to a supersonic speed attack. " "React? There's no need to. You just have to release flames as you please. " Seeing Ayano worried about counter-measures, Kazuma easily replied. "----Eeh? Is that enough? " "That's just paper, right? If you make something like that fly at the speed of sound, it will burn itself because of the air friction without a kekkai. Just some stuff that easily burns. " "Aah, I see. " "Ha ha ha, how optimistic. " Bragging, Kaguya interrupted Ayano's consenting words. "This is a perfect counter-plan for Seirei Jutsushi like yourselves. This charms are made of special incombustible materials. Not something that can easily be burned. " "......hee----" Indifferently throwing the appropriate words in the conversation, Kazuma gazed at the conceited Kaguya with apathetic eyes. A few days ago when he fought Tsuchimikado's Onmyouji underlings, their amulets incorporated Kevlar to protect against wind blades. And since Kaguya tried to use the same method, maybe the Tsuchimikado really thought this was an effective counter-measure against Serei Jutsu? But---- "Well, I'll turn you into swiss cheese, Kannagi Ayano. " Together with that verdict dozens of paper ropes were---- "Haah! " ----engulfed by the flames Ayano fired and instantly evaporated. "Wha-----!? " Kaguya opened her eyes wide in shock. But Kazuma and Ayano couldn't even laugh at the obvious result. Yes, this was only natural. High ranking Seirei Jutsushi transcend the laws of physics by their will alone. For Enjutsu-shi that means burning things one usually couldn't --- the air, the water and even different kind of Youmas. So things like fire-proof materials who burn just a little harder than the rest, why would that be the exception? Tsuchimikado's Seirei Jutsu counter-measures are after all cheap tricks that only work against second-rate practitioners. "S- such a......." "Don't be surprised by each and every thing, it's only the natural outcome. " Seeing Kaguya beginning to panic as her certain victory plan was broken apart, Kazuma declared so, cold-hearted. It's true he likes tricks and for this reason he has no patience for idiots who misunderstand them for certain victory. Besides he can't savor the same trick twice. "Besides, from the point you thought you can openly fight with a direct descendant of Kannagi you lost the last speck of sanity. " While hatefully glaring at Kazuma who was speaking in a flat tone, Kagura extended her arm and moved it as if trying to grab something. "Kyaaa" Matching that, a girl made her appearance from the shadow of a tree. As if drawn by something invisible, the girl approaching while staggering --- was exactly who they expected her to be to a dizzying degree. "A～re～" The girl apprehended by Kaguya screamed like some ham actor in defiance of Ayano's pure white gaze. Since it meant she had that much composure even with a knife pointing at her neck, in a certain way it was maybe worth of praise---- "Ayano-chan, save meeeee! " "--------Yuukari, you know the expression paying for one's mistakes right?" Ayano replied with resolute coolness to her friend (a bit doubtful nowadays), Shinomiya Yuukari, asking for help in a voice lacking any nervousness. Now that she thought about it, Yuukari started to poke her nose in this business from the beginning. She naturally sneaked in the day of the Omiai, even more, she raised an uproar by using her junior, Hiiragi Taiichirou and before Ayano noticed she disappeared. And right now, she doesn't know what she said to Kaguya who was burning with revenge for Ayano and Kazuma but obviously fed her distorted facts, making her rage stir up fiercely. "Waah........now that I think about it, she's the root of all evil" "Well now, if you don't want me to hurt your friend----" "Friend? " While thinking so, at the opportune moment when Kaguya was warning her, unintentionally Ayano asked back with a straight face. At that moment, Yuukari started to complain. "Ayano-chan, why are you questioning that? " "No, I just thought I should reconsider my relationships a bit. " "Ayano-chan, you're cruel! " "Shut up! This is all your fault, isn't it? You spouted a mixture of truths and fiction at Kaguya-san too, right? " "Ah, that's a false accusation. Even though I only said the objective truth, this person mis-constructed it on her own accord. " "I wonder", responded Ayano. As a digression, Yuukari's words right now were correct. Mad with jealousy, Kaguya willfully dramatized the facts. But even if that is so, it's also true Yuukari came to Kaguya on her own free will. "Good grief----" Even though Ayano's doubts were not yet cleared, at the same time she can't really abandon her. No matter what, she had to save Yuukari. Of course, unhurt. In a small voice, Ayano asked Kazuma? "Do you have a solution for this? Obviously, without killing anyone. " "Who knows? I don't feel like doing anything. ", replied Kazuma in a spiritless tone. "This is not the place to feel lazy, you know? She's aiming for you too, tentatively." "It's all right. We bought enough time. " ""-----Eeh? Hearing those words whose meaning she didn't understand, Ayano blinked her eyes and at that time---- "Kaguya! " That man dashingly appeared. In a certain way, he was the focal point of all their problems --- Kaguya's brother, Tsuchimikado Takaaki. "------O-Onii-sama! " Hearing the voice of her brother appear so suddenly, Kaguya shouted in confusion. Yuukari used that chance to promptly run away but already nobody gave a damn about her. In silence, Takaaki stepped up to Kaguya who was standing rock still, in a daze. "Eeh-------huh? Why? " At the stage entry of someone who shouldn't be here, Ayano looked at Kazuma, enquiringly. Kazuma simply said. "I called him. " "You called him----aah, using Kodamahou? " Kodamahou was the way to send a verbal message at great lengths using the Wind's voice used by Fuujutsu-shi. Using that, Kazuma guided Takaaki to this place. "We should leave the rest to him. I don't like sticking my nose in other people's household matters. " "------I agree" Hearing Kazuma's obvious whitewashing pretext, Ayano nodded in agreement. To be frank, Ayano didn't want to be involved any longer with Kaguya either. In front of both of them, watching attentively, Takaaki drew near Kagura. His expression began to tighten letting extreme anger peek through. "Onii-sama........" Kaguya dropped her shoulders and while casting her eyes down, every now and then, she stole glances to her brother's appearance. Stopping right in front of her, Takaaki called his sister's name once more. "Kaguya" "Y-yes! " As if struck by that voice filled with a hard and firm power, Kaguya's body quivered. Seeing Kaguya look like she was about to burst into tears at any moment, Ayano could not help but feel pity for her. Certainly, she caused great inconvenience more than once and only because she was earnestly adoring her brother. And for that brother to reprimand her was more painful that anything for her. But, as Takaaki was overlooking the wooden Kaguya with a strict expression, he raised his clenched fist to the height of her shoulder. And then---- "If you do any more of these useless things....tsk! " "Yes, I beg your pardon Onii-sama❤ " A soon as they thought that love struck smile was about to crumble, she was scolded ---really?--- in mushy voice while her brother poked her forehead. And Kaguya too blushed like the scolding --- really? --- was lover's talk and while bending her body forward she spoke apology-like words. "What------!?" Loosing strength because of the extreme weird development, Ayano unintentionally staggered. Unconsciously using Kazuma for support, even that support shook violently. Rightfully speaking something like Ayano's weight was nothing for this man but it seems like he cannot help but be shaken by the ballistic scene in front of his eyes. "Yes, as long as you understand. Be more careful from now on. " "Yes, Onii-sama❤" And, without noticing Ayano and Kazuma standing there in blank amazement, the Tsuchimikado brother and sister began a sickly sweet conversation. Abruptly, Ayano remembered Takaaki's previous words. "------Every time I'm scolding her but she does not seem to want to stop." "Scolding ----- it this what you meant!? ", shouted Ayano in her heart, while remembering that with apathy. There's no way she'll stop it. The kind of human who would stop because of this, wouldn't have done it from the beginning. She wanted to shout that with all her power but if she were to do that, she'll only get involved again. "Kazu....." Demanding a quick exit she raised her eyes at Kazuma, standing next to her. Simultaneously, Kazuma shifted his focus on her. Mutual understanding of their purpose was instantly reached. "We're leaving? " "Yeah" While simultaneously nodding to one another, they turned their backs. "I see, you're a good girl, Kaguya. " "Aan, you're making me embarrassed, Onii-sama. " For how long will this endlessly Good lord! diseased brother and sister continue? By the way, by this time Yuukari was long gone but afterwards the fact that she failed to catch her here will bring extreme remorse for Ayano.
So, the next day. "Ooh, have at it Ayano! " "Aah, don't do that Senpai! If you scling to him that much, you'll get pregnant! " "Ufufufu, Ayano-chan you did her best, huh? Going as far as distorting even such a transparent pretext and being embraced by Kazuma-san so tightly! " In the audiovisual room of the Seiryou Academy, while two girls and one boy were looking at the TV screen, they talked pleasantly. Zubatan! But at that moment the classroom door was opened with all one's strength. A reverberating sound. And then, an angry female high-school student, Kannagi Ayano, entered the classroom holding what looked like a crumbled memo. "Yu-KA-RI! What kind of joke is this Omiai video art!? " "Se- sempai-------? " But, the youngest boy there looked shaken by that intensity. Nanase continued to watch the screen without even turning her head and Yuukari took the remote control and pressed pause. "Aah, Ayano-chan look, look, the pictures are great, right? " And then, eluding the drawing closer Ayano without making a big deal about it, she pointed to the TV screen. What was reflected there---- "Wha----wha----" Clinging tightly to Kazuma's arm, the figure of Ayano glued impossibly closer to his. She didn't know where she took those pictures from, but on the excessively bright terminal screen, even Ayano's facial expression could be perceived. Her bashful, slightly blushed cheeks, her wet pupils wholeheartedly starring at the partner she was embracing--- That was beyond a doubt, obvious for anyone looking, the face of 『a girl falling in love』. "----------------------------------------------------!!" Because of too much shame, even the nape of Ayano's neck was dyed a deep red as she raised a soundless scream. "You were photographed really pretty, right? Of course, I burned a DVD for Ayano-chan too so you can relax. " Saying so, Yuukari produced a DVD as if out of thin air. A collection of more that three hours of material from the Omiai day, an epic burned on a two DVD set. Plundering that with speed that left no afterimage, Ayano incinerated it without leaving any ashes. And as she was about to slap her flaming hand on the TV screen----- "Wait Ayano, that's school property. " Hearing Nanase's warning, she regained some sort of composure. Once more, she faced Yuukari. "Yuukari......" "What is it----? " "Delete all the data right now! The disks you burned and obviously the original too! " "Eeh------, why------? Even though Ayano-chan looks so charming------" "I don't care about freaking charming! ", ordered Ayano forcibly. She didn't want anyone else see that syrupy, bewitched face. The fact that Yuukari and the rest saw it was one of the most shameful moments of her life but---- "If Kazuma were to see this........" Or rather, he already saw it live. Realizing that, Ayano died a little inside. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" Looking at Ayano moaning with self-hatred, Yuukari asked openly curious. "You didn't want Kazuma-san to see it? " "Of- of course!.........." As she shrieked, Ayano noticed. Yuukari used didn't want. And it didn't refer to the live version. "----------Yuukari? " "Wh- what------?" "----What what? Don't you have something you need to tell me no matter what? " "W-well, I'm not sure......" She stared at Yuukari. adverting her eyes, with something that resembled killing intent. After a few seconds, the girl opened her mouth, smilling stiffly. She joined her hands together asking for forgiveness. "Sorry. I already sent it to Kazuma-san. " -----At that moment, Ayano thought she heard the sound of something important being lost. According to the records, on that day, it was written down that Seirei Academy's visual room was partially destructed by something like an explosion. But an accurate description of the perpetrator was not available as the people involved kept silent. In passing, as something that has no connection to it, the audio-visual room was repaired using a contribution from the Kannagi household and was installed with the latest technology. And also, at almost the same time, provoking the wrath of her father, the only daughter of the Kannagi household had her pocket money deducted for the next year or so, but this too had no connection to it. Yours truly.