Innocence Seekers: April Light/Chapter 3/Episode 30

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This is the sixth episode, "The Possessed Ship" (取り憑かれる船), of the third chapter of Innocence Seekers: April Light.

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Episode text

The four girls waited for a while, as they were not taking any chances. The spirit's mana signature had disappeared, and the chamber repaired itself.

Uzuki: Is it over?

Tamaki: I'm not sure. So far, I'm not sensing the spirit.

Mirai: I don't sense it either. Yayoi, what about you?

Yayoi: Actually...

A green magic circle appeared beneath Yayoi's feet.

Uzuki: Yayoi-nee, what is it?

Yayoi: The spirit is still there. That was just its first form we defeated.

Mirai: You mean...

Yayoi: This is its second, more powerful form. And it's coming.

Tamaki: Right, then...

Tamaki began to cast a spell, and a pink magic circle appeared beneath her feet. From the distance emerged a powerful green magic beam, which impacted a pink barrier that suddenly appeared.

Mirai: Tamaki, can you figure out where it is?

Tamaki: I'm not sure; I still can't sense it. However...

Suddenly, a second magic beam appeared and impacted the barrier. After a few seconds, Tamaki pointed in the direction from where the second attack came.

Tamaki: Uzuki! Go!

Uzuki: Right, Tama-chan!

A massive yellow magic circle appeared beneath Uzuki's feet.

Uzuki: Bloom, my flower!

With a massive burst of yellow light, Uzuki entered Full Burst mode. Suddenly, a third magic beam emerged; however, Uzuki spotted it and blocked it with her sword.

Uzuki: Here I come!

Uzuki charged towards where the magic beams were originating. A fourth magic beam appeared, which was deflected by Uzuki. Eventually Uzuki reached the spirit and launched an attack. The impact of the attack created a shock wave that reverberated throughout the chamber.

Tamaki: Right, now to show our foe what I'm capable of.

Tamaki reached into her bag, and took out a small pink orb. She held it out in front of her. A massive pink magic circle appeared beneath her feet.

Tamaki: Bloom, my flower.

Suddenly, there was a massive burst of pink light. Once the light died down, she was wielding a sword with a pink mana blade, and eight drones surrounded her. Almost immediately, the drones started shooting in the direction of the spirit.

Yayoi: Tama-chan, what do you have in mind?

Tamaki: Yayoi, you said that the spirit should be weak to fire, right?

Yayoi: Ah, that's right.

Tamaki: Well, I have something planned. Just watch.

A pink magic circle appeared beneath Tamaki's feet. Suddenly, the spirit emerged and began to throw magic bullets toward the girls. Mirai put up a barrier to defend against the onslaught; however, the barrier almost immediately began to crack.

Mirai: Yayoi, I don't think I can hold them off any longer.

Yayoi: Tama-chan, are you ready?

Tamaki: Not yet. My drones are attacking the spirit, but it doesn't seem to be fazed.

Suddenly, Uzuki emerged from the rubble and attacked the spirit with her sword, knocking it down to the ground.

Uzuki: Tama-chan, I'll hold her off. Just focus on what you're doing.

Tamaki: Right, Uzuki.

Tamaki closed her eyes. The drones stopped their barrage and began to arrange themselves around the spirit. A massive ring of fire appeared beneath them. Tamaki reached into her bag and took out a red mana crystal.

Mirai: A mana crystal? Tamaki, what are you-

Tamaki threw the crystal into the ring of fire, causing the flames to intensify. Pink magic circles appeared in front of the drones, and the ring became a rapidly descending disc. The disc impacted the ground, engulfing the spirit in an intense inferno.

Meanwhile, Uzuki had leapt out of the way of the attack and was observing from a distance.

Uzuki: Tama-chan...

Tamaki: What is it, Uzuki?

Uzuki: It's not over yet. I can still sense it.

Tamaki: Wait, how? Surely if that didn't work, then...

Uzuki: Then we'll hit it while it is down! Yayoi-nee, just watch your little sister! She'll take down this spirit with one blow!

Yayoi: Uzuki! I keep telling you not to push yourself too hard; worry about yourself before you worry about what I think about you!

Mirai put a hand on Yayoi's shoulder.

Mirai: Let her be, Yayoi.

Uzuki swung her sword vertically, creating an outline of a massive bow made of yellow light. A massive yellow magic circle appeared beneath her feet, and mana began to gather at the bow of light.

Yayoi: No way... Uzuki...

The mana gathered at the bow formed itself into a massive arrow of light.

Mirai: Here it comes! Everyone, barriers!

The girls put up barriers to protect themselves from the attack. Meanwhile, Uzuki sheathed her sword, grasped the bowstring, and pulled the arrow back as far as she could.

Uzuki: Let's see if you can take this!

A massive yellow magic circle appeared in front of the bow.

Uzuki: Sagitta Aurorae!

Uzuki let go of the bowstring, shooting the arrow straight towards the spirit. Upon impact, there was a massive explosion, and Uzuki had to put up a barrier to protect herself from her own attack. After everything died down, the spirit was nowhere to be seen.

Yayoi: Did she do it?

Mirai: I don't sense the spirit at all.

Both Uzuki and Tamaki exited Full Burst mode. Uzuki almost immediately began to fall.

Mirai: Ah, Uzuki!

Mirai rushed towards Uzuki and caught her.

Mirai: Uzuki, are you okay? Don't tell me...

Uzuki: Mi-chan, I'm fine. I'm just a bit tired.

Yayoi walked to where Mirai and Uzuki were.

Yayoi: Uzuki... you really did it.

Uzuki: Yayoi-nee... you doubted my ability to defeat the spirit?

Yayoi: That's not it. I mean, you executed the Miyana family's Secret Skill. I never thought that you would one day be able to cast Sagitta Aurorae.

Uzuki: Well, I knew how to cast mana collection spells, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Yayoi: Well, I'm sure Mum would be proud of you. I'm sure she's watching over us, seeing us help protect this world, just like she did. Anyway, should we try to retrieve the item we need?

Mirai: Ah, right.

Mirai put Uzuki down. Almost immediately, Uzuki ran towards the pedestal where the item was resting and took the item off it.

Mirai: Uzuki?

Uzuki: Well, I have to be the one to take it. I mean, I was the one who finished the spirit off.

Yayoi: Well, I guess that makes sense. Everyone, let's go.

The girls made their way out of the chamber, where Inori's group and Louise were waiting.

Louise: Ah, you're finished already, Yayoi?

Yayoi: We are. Wait, Inorin, you too?

Inori: Well, with Michiru it was quite easy. We simply allowed her to use her ice magic to our advantage.

Hiyori: Well, we did need to distract the spirit while Michiru was casting her spells.

Wakaba: I was in charge of healing, though. There were some close calls, however, and I nearly found myself grilled by the spirit.

Uzuki giggled.

Wakaba: What's so funny, Uzuki?

Uzuki: Sorry...

Yayoi: Anyway, Chiru-chan, have you retrieved it?

Michiru: We have. Here it is.

Michiru held out the item she retrieved from the Akagawa chamber. Uzuki held out her item as well.

Louise: Two oval jewels, green and red. Although they don't look like it, they're special mana crystals. They will prove to be one of the keys we need to unseal the World Orbs. Anyway, all we can do now is to wait for the others.

Tamaki: They may have some trouble defeating their respective spirits.

Michiru: Tamaki, what makes you think so?

Tamaki: Akari's group is fighting an earth spirit, while Erika's group is fighting a water spirit. To defeat an earth spirit, wind, electricity or plant- based spells are needed, while to defeat a water spirit, earth works best.

Louise: I see. We may have elemental mismatches on our hands. Tamaki, how did your group defeat the air spirit?

Tamaki: Well, it was a combined effort between me, Mirai and Uzuki. Mirai's command of earth magic actually allowed her to weaponise magma, while I already know some powerful fire spells. Uzuki finished the spirit off with a mana collection spell.

Hiyori: Mana collection... I think Akari's group may end up resorting to that to defeat the spirit.

Yayoi: There's a reason I don't use Sagitta Aurorae that much anymore. To think that I used it quite a lot three years ago...

Mirai: You put a lot of strain on your body back then, Yayoi. Sometimes I wondered whether you would get mana poisoning...

Uzuki: I never knew that... Yayoi-nee, you didn't hurt yourself back then, right?

Yayoi: There was one close call. I tried to cast Sagitta Aurorae, only for me to lose control. The arrow was about to explode, and would have immersed me in enough mana to induce mana poisoning. It was only thanks to Akarin and Chiru- chan's quick thinking that I was able to get through that unscathed.

Tamaki: Wait, Michiru, what did you and Akari do?

Michiru: Well, we're also quite proficient in mana collection. What we did was to cast our own mana collection spells, to draw the expanding mana away from Yayoi and towards our spells.

Wakaba: Anyway, shouldn't we go and help them?

Louise: No. This is only for those of each particular lineage.

Uzuki: What do you mean, Louise?

Louise: This is a test of strength for the lineages. In order to unseal the World Orbs, they must prove themselves strong enough. Your groups have passed, and it is now up to them to pass their tests.

Uzuki: I see. So there's nothing we can do to help, right?

Louise: Well, there is me.

Tamaki: What about you?

Louise: I may not be a part of the four lineages, but I am still a princess of Likkra.

Wakaba: Oh, but I think you are a part of the lineages. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Matilda's mother believes that your mother was a branch member of the Kuritani lineage.

Louise: Wait, is that true?

Inori: Well, it's not out of the question. After all, Namari royalty has been on the Likkran throne before. And I am well aware of Emme's work on finding the branches of the Namari royal family.

Uzuki: Anyway, how long are we supposed to wait?

Yayoi: Uzuki, it'll take as long as needed. We can't really do anything for them now.

Uzuki: You say that, but I want to help!

Wakaba: Uzuki...

Louise: But, as I mentioned, I am a princess of Likkra. It is said that the magical girls of the main line of the Likkran royal family have ultimate control over the World Orbs. That means that the spirits should recognise me as their master, provided that I prove myself to them first.

Uzuki: So you're going to help them?

Louise: If it comes down to it, then yes.

Yayoi: However, it's best that they alone try to defeat their respective spirits.

Uzuki: Ah, okay. But I'm still worried.

From the Umehara chamber emerged Aika.

Uzuki: Wait... Ai-chan? Is something the matter?

Aika: The others are still down there... but we won.

Aika held out her hand. On it was a blue jewel.

Louise: Wait... that's it. But how did you defeat the spirit? Surely you didn't use your elemental spells.

Aika: Of course not. My ice spells wouldn't have much of an effect on the spirit. However, even though I was the one who dealt the finishing blow, it was because of Sakura that we managed to defeat it.

Mirai: If I recall, Sakura is capable of using powerful plant-based spells. But even though I've known her for years, I haven't really seen her use such spells much; she tends to prefer either to stay back and heal or to use non- elemental spells.

Aika: Well, that is true, but this time she decided to use them. Admittedly, though, we did struggle at first.

Hiyori: So, what exactly happened?

Aika: Well, a lot of things happened. Including Himawari nearly getting a face full of ice.

Wakaba: Wait, are these spirits just going after our weakest members?

Inori: Possibly. It is a good strategy, after all. Yayoi, what about your group?

Yayoi: Well, we didn't have the spirit going out of its way to target our weakest member. Actually, did we even have a weakest member?

Mirai: Not really. Technically, Uzuki has the least experience out of all of us, and Tamaki is weakest in terms of power, but that doesn't take into account the fact that Uzuki was resistant to many of the air spirit's spells, and Tamaki had her Inherent Ability to help her. I was actually the one more vulnerable to the spirit's spells, but...

Aika: Well, your defensive capabilities are matched only by a few, Mirai.

Inori: Anyway, Louise, what will you do?

Louise: To be honest, I don't have much of an idea. As much as I want to help Akari and the others, it wouldn't feel right to do so.

Suddenly Lyra and Kanade burst into the chamber where the girls were waiting.

Uzuki: Eh? Kanade, what's going on?

Kanade: Everyone, to the Spica, quickly!

Wakaba: Why? And we're still waiting for the others to finish?

Meanwhile, the rest of Erika's group exited their chamber.

Himawari: Wait, Lyra, Kanade, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be searching for the World Orbs?

Lyra: We were, but...

Kanade: We have no time to talk. Let's go, now!

Tamaki: But the others...

Louise: Kanade, did you get here by Portal Monolith?

Kanade: Yes; why do you ask? It's still active, by the way.

Louise: Some of us are still busy. We'll catch up with you later. Everyone, go ahead; I'll stay behind and wait for the others.

Himawari: Ah, right.

Erika: I'm staying behind as well. After all, I am the queen.

Uzuki: Ah, okay.

Kanade: Right, then. Let's go!

The girls followed Kanade, leaving Louise and Erika behind.

Erika: Louise, are you sure you didn't want to go with them?

Louise: I'm staying just in case the ones still inside that chamber need my help.

Erika: Ah, right. Anyway, I'm going to head back up.

Louise: Okay. See you later.

Erika exited the chamber.

The girls ran to the chamber where the Portal Monoliths were. On the way, Uzuki asked Lyra what was going on.

Uzuki: Lyra, can you tell me what is going on right now? Why are we in such a hurry?

Lyra: U-chan, I'm not exactly sure what is it we're facing, but judging from Kanade's reaction when she first saw it...

Uzuki: Anyway, where are Melody and Aria?

Lyra: I don't know where Aria is. Melody headed to Chiyohara.

Uzuki: I see.

Kanade: Uzuki, Aria's whereabouts are unknown, but I think this may be related to her.

Uzuki: How?

Kanade: I'll say more once we're on board.

Uzuki: Okay.

The girls continued running until they reached the chamber. Kanade headed to the Portal Monolith that was glowing red, and activated it. A large red magic circle appeared on the floor of the chamber, and in a flash of red light, everyone disappeared.

Once everyone was on board the Spica, Kanade took everyone to the living quarters.

Yayoi: So, what is the issue here?

Kanade: I mentioned this to Uzuki earlier, but we pendant holders each have a ship that is bound to each of our pendants. This ship, the Spica, is mine.

Uzuki: When you said that it may be related to Aria, could you mean?

Himawari: I just heard from Hirano. A single unidentified ship has appeared in orbit around Fuenod. It appears to be hostile, but no sentient beings could be found inside.

Kanade: Which is the issue right there. I have a suspicion that this might be the Altair.

Wakaba: Whose ship is that?

Kanade: Aria's. From the analysis I've done with the Spica's instruments, there appears to be, as Himawari said, no sentient beings inside. However, it appears to be controlled by a strange entity, and it is currently preparing itself to fire on the planet.

Himawari: Wait, how much time do we have until it begins to fire its weapons?

Kanade: Around 15 minutes. Beyond that the Spica may be able to hold it off for another 90 minutes.

Tamaki: So what's our plan of attack?

Kanade: Well, without Aria it's difficult, but I think we should send a boarding party to secure the ship.

Tamaki: Wait, isn't it risky to try to board that thing?

Suddenly the door opened. Uzuki turned towards the door and saw Miho.

Uzuki: Miporin?

Tamaki: Ah, Miho, you're here.

Miho: Well, Melody came out from nowhere and called me here. Anyway, what's going on here?

Tamaki: Well, there's this ship that appears to be possessed and hostile. What we're going to do is to try to board that ship.

Kanade: I should warn you that this is a dangerous mission. The creatures that roam the hallways of that ship are exceptionally powerful, and can easily wipe the floor with a normal human magical girl. Now, I know you're far more powerful than normal, but, still, you should be careful. Also, the Spica's boarding pods can only hold six people, and only one is active right now.

Inori: Is that so, then.

Yayoi: Uzuki, you'll be the one leading the group.

Uzuki: Eh, me?! Yayoi-nee, what are you saying?! I can't possibly...

Yayoi: I know you can do it, Uzuki. After all, you are my little sister, and a daughter of Tsukika Miyana.

Uzuki: But... Yayoi-nee, I'm not that good at leading gropus of magical girls.

Michiru: You have done it before, Uzuki. Don't let the gravity of this mission get to you.

Uzuki: Chiru-chan...

Mirai: Uzuki, everyone is supporting you. I know you'll be able to pull it off.

Uzuki: Mi-chan...

Kanade: Uzuki, are you sure you want to lead the group into the ship?

Uzuki pondered for a few seconds.

Uzuki: Kanade... I'll do it.

Kanade: Right, then. Who will come with Uzuki?

Wakaba: I'll come.

Miho: Tama-chan and I will accompany U-chan.

Tamaki: Miho, don't just say I'm a part of this without asking me! But I was about to say yes anyway, so...

Himawari: As a princess, I see it as my duty to protect my country. If this ship were to attack, it would lead to ruin in Namari. That's why I'll take part in this mission.

Uzuki: Everyone...

Kanade: Right. And one more... how about you, Lyra?

Lyra: Eh, me?

Kanade: You were listening to everything, right?

Lyra: Ah, I was. So Uzuki is leading a group into that ship, right?

Kanade: That's right. And you're going to be a part of it.

Lyra: But... wait, who decided that?! I didn't say anything about heading into that ship!

Wakaba giggled.

Wakaba: Lyra, we need a Donsilan to come with us. So it's either you or Kanade. And Kanade needs to be here to control the ship, so that means you're coming with us.

Lyra: But... okay.

Kanade: I didn't even mention that I'm the only one who can control this ship...

Uzuki: Anyway, where are the boarding pods?

Kanade: I'll take you there. Follow me.

Kanade headed out of the living quarters. Uzuki and her group followed.

At the boarding pod bay, Kanade led Uzuki's group to one of the pods.

Kanade: Enter here, everyone.

Uzuki: Right.

One by one, the girls entered the pod.

Wakaba: It's a bit cramped here. Even for a nine-year-old girl.

Kanade: Well, they aren't really designed for comfort. Anyway, good luck in this mission.

Uzuki: Right. We'll get this over with quickly.

The pod door closed.

Uzuki: Well, I guess there's no turning back now.

Tamaki: Right. Now let's focus on the task at hand.

The pod ejected from the Spica. It then fired its rocket, heading straight towards the unknown ship in the distance.

End of Episode 30

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The Namari royal family has spread out across the galaxy; this has resulted in branch members showing up in some of the most unexpected places. Amelia's, Stephanie's and Louise's mother, Suzanna Tarseplera, is a daughter of a Nodaimese minor noble family who can trace their matrilinear ancestry back to a magical girl who lived in England in the 14th century. Said magical girl is descended from another magical girl who lived in Blyland in the 11th century, who is known to share a common ancestor with Akari, with Emme hypothesising that said ancestor lived in the 7th century.