Last Embryo Volume 2 Chapter 5 Part 5
Swinging her long braid to the side so that it wouldn’t bother her, she walked up all the way to Homura, and announced with the same warm smile she had when he first entered the room all the while invading his personal space:
「Saigo Homura, as a sign of accepting your proposal to the Queen, I Scathach, the Mistress of the Land of Shadows will be personally training you until the 2nd War for the Sun’s Authority draws to a close! Well, what do you say to that?」
「Ah, y-yes, I, I mean no, I… I’m sorry but, well, how should I say it…? Slashing, striking, punching, kicking and all kinds of strenuous physical activities are not exactly my forte, or rather, maybe they could have been, but I am exceptionally poor at all of them, so I’m afraid that I wouldn’t make much of a warrior…」
「Oh? But I thought that Kuro Usagi already explained all of the basic rules of Gift Games to you, including the one that states that every Gift Game is meant to test its participant’s strength, wisdom and courage, so it should be pretty obvious that as long as you have enough wisdom and courage, you’re going to have more than enough to win every Game thrown at you, no matter how physically lacking you may be.」
「So what you’re telling me is that you’d be willing to teach someone like me, a total rookie, the basics of how to fight to win in Gift Games?」
「You can think about it that way if you wish. If you will have any questions I will be there for you to answer them to the best of my ability, and if you will have something to say I will ne more than willing to listen to you. Also, even if you say that you have no aptitude for physical combat, I think that increasing your strength, even if just a little bit, would do wonders for you. So, let me ask once again: how about becoming my disciple?」
She asked proudly, putting her hand on her waist in a gesture of confidence.
To be honest, Homura was extremely hesitant about the whole idea. He was grateful to her for her willingness to back him up in the fights that were undoubtedly waiting for him in the near future, but he couldn’t shake off the feeling that this woman was literally reeking of danger. At a glance she looked perfectly normal (and helluva attractive at that) but his gut feeling warned him that deep down inside she must have been the same kind of person as Queen Halloween: someone who appeared to be all nice and caring, only to kill you the second she would deem you as no longer useful to her. And above everything else, there was Ayato’s behavior when she was interacting with her. Normally she was one of the most sociable people Homura knew, being bested only by Suzuka and her outgoing happy-go-lucky personality, but around Scathach, that same Ayato was acting all reserved and awkward, so that could probably be taken as a hint towards that woman’s true nature.
(Damn… it’s true that I want to obtain as much information as possible, but I would also like to do it while not taking any unnecessary risks on my part… I guess that’s asking for the impossible now, huh?)
Ah well, no pain, no game, as they say (TL Note: Or No Game No Life, eh?). She extended that offer to him herself, so the best thing he could do now was to accept it in order not to make an enemy out of her by sheer stupidity.
「I guess asking for any more than this would be asking too much, right? Very well, I shall study the ways of the Gift Games under your guidance.」
「My oh my, why the polite speech all of a sudden? You can be more direct around me, you know? I prefer men who are brutally honest with their opinions, to be honest.」
「Thank you very much, but I believe an attitude like that would have been unbecoming of me since obedience and respect are the fundamental parts of learning what others are willing to teach you. If I am to be your student, and you’re going to be my teacher, then I believe that we should start our professional relationship by establishing a proper master-student dynamic between us.」
Finishing his speech, Homura straightened his back and bowed respectfully towards Scathach. She seemed deeply moved by his words and actions, because her eyes became big, round and glossy, she covered her mouth with her hands, and her braid was swinging left and right as if it was a wagging tail of a puppy that just got praised by its master and couldn’t contain its happiness.
「Oh…AHHHHHHHH! D-Did you hear what he said just now, Queen?! This is the first time in my entire life when my disciple has told me something so heartwarming! No, I mean really, those words you have spoken now, I feel like all of my other idiot disciples should hear them a million times over and seriously take them to their hearts, Saigo Homura!!!」
Scathach raised her hands into the sky in a euphoric happiness that was also mixed with a tinge of sadness. So apparently she must have had quite a lot of disciples throughout her life, and not that many of them treated her respectfully? After watching her little freakout in silence, she leaned forward in her chair and muttered to Homura:
「Hmm, it’s good that you want to take your training with her so seriously, but do allow me to give you one piece of a friendly advice: when you are around her, keep your guard up at all times. Her training regimen is a truly spartan one, but when it comes the interactions with her disciples outside of training and everything battle-related, she can be more than a bit… nonchalant.」
「Yes, nonchalant. Also, I’ll say it before you even ask, since you’d probably tried to do it anyway, but don’t try to ask her or me about Kudou Ayato, because we’re not going to answer any questions that you might have in regards to that girl.」
「And why’s that?」
「Oh, don’t take it the wrong way, we don’t mean anything bad by it. It’s just that this girl is a bit special to the Japanese people, and I’m not talking about her connections to one of your world’s largest conglomerates, so it would be better for you not to know too much before the right time comes or she decides to talk to you about that herself.」
Queen’s words regarding Ayato left Homura quite puzzled, and he couldn’t come up with any possible explanation for them whatsoever. What did she mean by her being special to the Japanese people anyway? Aside from her being a daughter of the CEO of Everything Company, the only special connection of hers that came to his mind was the one the two of them had with each other due to the agreement they had with one another, but surely that was not what the Queen was talking about now, was it?
Unfortunately for him, it didn’t look like Queen was going to elaborate on that matter any further, because she brought the tecup to her lips once more and took another sip of her tea, looking like her mood has improved considerably, so that’s probably a small win for Homura, if it could even be called as such.
「In any case, I guess we can share a few relatively harmless information with you. Go ahead and explain it to him, Scathach.」
「As you wish, My Queen. Tell me, how much do you know about Halloween, Homura?」
「Just the basics I guess. To put it shortly it’s like our Japanese Obon festival, and Queen is its personification, right?」
As soon as he said that, Queen’s expression instantly changed from the one that was like a spring’s gentle breeze to the one reminiscent of the cold winds of winter. Witnessing that, Homura froze in fear, because he honestly thought that he has set off some huge landmine and was going to be killed for it on the spot. But Queen allowed him to freely voice his opinions and did not interrupt him up to this point, so maybe the landmine he stepped on was not the words he spoke just now, but something else entirely.
「So… I take it that you’re not too fond of that name? Obon, I mean?」
He asked in an attempt to minimize the damage as much as possible.
「I hate it. It’s so stiff, and serious, and doesn’t sound nice and exciting at all. Using that name in my presence is not a criminal offense, but I would like to ask you to not use it from now on, okay?」
Saying that, Queen turned her face away from him and pouted her cheeks in a cute way.
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