【Episode 2 Part A: Real and Fake, Part 6】
Huh? Me? Why’s that?」
「When I first met you, you were practically mute and honestly, I was afraid of you. But thanks to your hard work and my guidance, you slowly became more and more human as time went by. And wouldn’t you know, now you’re such a caring older brother. You’ve really come a long way.」
I have to agree with her on that.
When I was brought to the Sakuradamon family house to live together with Aika, I was no different form a broken machine, unable to see others, hear what others were saying, unable to utter even a single word. And it was all because I couldn’t comprehend how I should properly communicate with others and how they might feel. Even now I can’t say that I fully understand it, but at least now I am not uncomfortable while talking to others as I was before. I am able to function like a perfectly normal human being, and it’s all thanks to Aika.
「Shiki-san, I want to ask about one more thing. Is Shiinamachi-san really safe in her room? The barrier surrounding it really cannot be broken?」
「Truth to be told the possibility is not zero, but it’s extremely low. The barrier itself is constantly active when Kaguya is inside, making the intrusion by force practically impossible, since the only ones who can enter her room are the ones whom Kaguya herself invited to do so.」
That was certainly true, senpai said so herself when she explained things to me when I became her Vassal. The only reason why Kuhoh was able to kill both of us on that fateful day was because senpai opened the door for her thinking it was me. I wanted to mention that so Aika would know something like that was a possibility, but if I did that, Shiki would no doubt mention the bathroom event and that was something I wanted to keep to myself so I just kept quiet and listened to the two of them as they continued their talk.
「Hmm, but just because the difficulty is high, it doesn’t mean that the possibility is zero. For example, there might be a special way of bypassing the barrier known only to Shiinamachi-san and you, Shiki-san.」
「Yes. And we can’t forget that we don’t know every Gift that exists in this world and what does it do. It is possible that some of them might be effective in dispelling other supernatural powers and even those that are more battle oriented could be able to forcefully break through the barrier if they were used with enough power. However, potential intruder wouldn’t have to resort to brute force if he had the means to obtain an invitation to Kaguya’s room for himself, by somehow manipulating Kaguya herself for example. That’s why I said that the possibility is not zero.」
「So even Lords can be manipulated as long as it’s because of a Gift…」
Fujisato had one of those up her arsenal, 『Demonic Gift Gorgon』, a Gift that allowed her to take complete control of someone as long as she looked that person in the eyes. If she wasn’t currently our ally I wouldn’t have let her stay together with senpai, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about that now. Bit even if she was not the problem here, how can we be sure that the enemy is not someone with a Gift similar to hers and that he or she has not infiltrated the clock tower already?
It’s kinda hard for me to admit, but in the current situation, Aika and her smarts are more useful than me. All I can do is fight the opponent when we finally find him, but she can consider various possibilities together with Shiki to create the best plan of action for us.
「So now that we know that the possibility of someone invading Shiinamachi-san’s room is unlikely and there’s nothing in this clock tower, I think it’s high time for us to check the area outdoors, wouldn’t you agree, Shiki-san?」
「Right. Let’s check the area immediately outside the tower and proceed from there if we don’t find anything.」
Seeing the two of them making such a good team, I can’t help it but to feel a little lonely. Nonetheless, it was good to see that Aika and Shiki could get along with one another, especially since I got the distinct impression that Aika misunderstood what my relationship with Shiki actually is and it made her unnecessarily wary of her. I’m just glad she used that opportunity to straighten that out.
Thinking about such things, the three of us headed towards the clock tower’s main entrance. The doors were made of solid iron, so I should be the one to open it for the girls, just like a true gentleman would do.
「I’ll open them, just give me a second.」
I placed my mand on the heavy doorknob and noticed that it was unusually… cold.
「What happened, brother? Are you hurt?」
「Thankfully not, but senpai must’ve cranked up the air conditioning a little bit too much cause the doorknob is cold as hell.」
I explained while Shiki touched the doorknob carefully with her fingertip.
For a moment I could see Shiki’s eye shining with a golden light. Could it be that she used 『Satori』 just now? She turned the knob and tried pushing the door…
But they didn’t budge for even an inch.
「Monjiro, give me a hand here.」
「Oh, a-all right, on it.」
Were the doors really sealed tight? Was it done from the outside? Pushing on the doors with all my might I could feel an increasingly unpleasant sensation crawling all over my skin.
It’s no use. They move ever so slightly, but it’s like they were blocked from the other side by some heavy objects.
「…Maybe the three of us will have better chances.」
These doors open from the inside out, so they cannot be locked. If they don’t want to open then that means something or someone must be blocking them from the other side.
「I understand. Shiki-san will turn the doorknob and the two of us will push the door itself. Brother, you push the upper half, I’ll take care of the lower one.」
Okay, so instead of pushing in only one place we’re going spread the pushing force evenly. Nice thinking, Aika.
Praising my sister in my mind I placed my hands on the upper half of the doors.
「All right, let’s go, brother, Shiki-san! One.. two.. three…!」
On Aika’s command all of us pushed the door at the same time.
Finally, the door opened for about five centimeters.
「We did it!」
I shouted triumphantly.
But the a terribly cold gust of wind blew inside along with a mass of white powder.
Unfortunately we were exposed to it long enough to get quite a lot of it in our faces.
The doors were indeed blocked, but not by something heavy, but by a considerable amount of snow! No wonder we had trouble moving them, it is a literal blizzard out there! The winds were beating furiously against the door and snow was piling up at our feet by the second. But the most pressing matter here was…
「We should be in the middle of summer vacation now, right?」
The rapidly dropping temperature made us all shiver and our skins, clad only in light summer clothing quickly began to feel numb and swollen.
「Let’s close that door for now before that cold kills us!」
We cannot pull too lightly or else the wind won’t let us close them.
So we all pulled them with all our strength, and finally we managed to close them with a loud bang.
Aika sighs as she shakes the snow off her hair and clothes. Once I managed to catch my breath, I turned towards Shiki.
「Shiki, what in the nine hells is this?!」
「Most likely a Boundary Field, Dimensional Transition or Space Isolation. I’m sorry to say this, Monjiro, but we done goofed… no, we f*cked up. With a capital F at that. We were too narrow-minded. We thought the only targets will be Kaguya and this clock tower, but it seems that our enemy, whoever he is, has targeted the entire school.」
「So that means…」
*GULP* I swallowed hard.
「Yes. We are already in the middle of the enemy territory.」
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