Innocence Seekers: April Light/Chapter 3/Episode 33
This is the ninth episode, "Three Years Ago" (三年前), of the third chapter of Innocence Seekers: April Light.
–Yayoi: Ah, Miporin, you're still here.
–Miho: Yayoi, there's something I want to ask you.
–Yayoi: What is it?
–Miho: ... What exactly happened on that day three years ago?
–Yayoi: Miporin... what do you mean?
–Miho: I mean what exactly happened to your parents?
Yayoi was silent for a moment.
–Miho: This was on my mind for all of this time. You were the only one of the sisters left in Yaezora. Your parents sent Satchan to Chiyohara, and the other three sisters to Japan. Meanwhile, you were left in the care of Akane. So I'm asking, what happened?
–Miho: If you won't answer, then maybe I'll ask Misato instead.
–Yayoi: What does Misato know about it?
–Miho: Well, she was the one magical girl who tried to save your parents. If you won't answer my question, then I could ask her what happened.
–Yayoi: She never told me that she tried to save my parents. Nor did she tell Chiru-chan.
Akari entered the living quarters.
–Akari: However, Misato told me everything.
–Yayoi: She... she did?
–Miho: Akari? But why you?
–Akari: I'm not sure myself. But it was a contributing factor to Misato's retirement from the Zodiac Warriors. Unlike us, who have largely seen success in our missions, Misato's efforts have more often than not ended in failure.
–Miho: Is that so...
–Yayoi: But why? Surely she could have improved her ability.
–Akari: It wasn't that simple. Yayoi, you surely know that her raw magic output was lower than even Kaede's. And it's very difficult to increase it.
–Miho: So you're saying that her opponents were simply too powerful, right?
–Akari: That's right.
–Miho: That makes sense, when one considers how Yayoi's parents died.
–Yayoi: Hey! Can we talk about something else?
–Miho: But this was the question I asked in the first place. Or maybe I should ask Akari instead?
–Akari: Miho, what is it that you wanted to ask?
–Miho: How did Yayoi's parents die?
–Akari: Let's see...
Akari noticed Uzuki starting to wake up.
–Akari: Ah, Miho, can we take it outside? We shouldn't disturb Uzuki.
–Miho: Ah, right. Yayoi, look after her.
–Yayoi: ... Okay...
Akari and Miho exited the living quarters.
–Wakaba: Ah, how is Uzuki?
–Akari: She's still resting. We left as we were discussing something and we didn't want to disturb her.
–Kaede: Akari, what were you discussing?
–Akari: It's about the deaths of Yayoi's parents.
The table fell silent.
–Tamaki: Akari... you know it's a sensitive subject, not only for Yayoi, but also Uzuki, right?
–Miho: Tama-chan, I was the one who pushed the question.
–Tamaki: Wait, Miho, why?
–Miho: It has been on my mind for quite a while. In the weeks before they were killed, Yayoi's parents sent their daughters away. Mutchan, Ki-chan and U-chan were sent to the Mimori-Mikura Academy, while Satchan was sent to live with relatives in Chiyohara. Yayoi herself came under the care of Akane.
–Kaede: Ah, that. I thought it was weird at first. But if they knew they were going to be killed, then... who told them?
–Miho: That's what I want to know as well.
–Akari: To be honest, I'm not sure myself. It could've been anyone. They could have even figured it out on their own.
–Miho: Tama-chan, do you have any idea?
–Tamaki: What are you talking about? Although my Inherent Ability can be used to allow me to master anything, there's no way anyone can determine the reasoning behind the actions of people who are now dead. The only way you can do that is via time travel.
–Kaede: Tamaki has a point. Let's not try to figure out how or why Yayoi's parents did what they did.
–Miho: Anyway, Akari, do you know what happened on that fateful day?
–Akari: Let's see...
Akari pondered for a while.
–Akari: If you're thinking that it was Gakran, then you're wrong.
Everyone else was stunned into silence.
–Kaede: Akari... are you saying...
–Akari: Misato told me that the assailant looked human.
Wakaba, who was silently eating her lunch the whole time, suddenly spoke.
–Wakaba: Then maybe it was a Donsilan.
Everyone else, except Tamaki, was stunned at Wakaba's deduction.
–Akari: Wakaba... I know you're smart, but what drove you to that conclusion?
–Wakaba: The Donsilans, in general, are stronger than humans. It's true that at the time we thought they had become extinct, but, Akari, surely you know.
–Akari: Ah, right. We had encountered one in our quest to defeat Gakran. And before then, Amelia and Erika fought one as well. So it's not implausible that they have appeared in the galaxy before then.
–Miho: Akari, do you know what this Donsilan looked like?
–Akari: Well, I didn't see her directly, but Misato told me what she looked like.
Akari took out a drawing.
–Akari: Inori drew this for me, based on the description Misato gave me.
The other girls looked at the drawing. Almost immediately, Tamaki recognised the individual in question.
–Tamaki: Wait... I've met her.
–Miho: Tama-chan, don't tell me...
–Tamaki: That Donsilan... is Alcea.
–Wakaba: Who is Alcea?
–Tamaki: The very same Donsilan who attacked the royal palace.
–Kaede: No way... so you're saying that the Donsilan who had your group on the ropes before your Innocence activated was the same as the one who killed Yayoi's parents?
–Tamaki: That is likely. I can't say for sure, though, since we only have a drawing to go by.
–Miho: So, anyway, what happened on that day?
–Akari: Well, I don't know how it started; of course, neither Misato nor Yayoi were at the Miyana house at the time. And I wasn't there either. It was around four o'clock in the afternoon when I sensed a massive disturbance in the background mana field. I tried to investigate, but my mother stopped me, and for good reason too, as it turned out.
–Kaede: Ah, right. It was powerful enough that I could sense it well over five kilometres away.
–Akari: From what Misato told me, she herself tried to enter the Miyana house after sensing the disturbance. When she arrived, though, she saw Yayoi's mother in a fierce battle with the assailant, and that the assailant was winning. It was then that Misato intervened. Of course, you know how that battle turned out.
–Wakaba: Tamaki, just how powerful was Alcea when you fought her?
–Tamaki: It's hard to put a specific figure on her strength, but... I'd say probably slightly more powerful than Yamamoto. If this was true in 2009, then Misato never stood a chance; the only magical girls who could even match Alcea at that point in time were Amelia and Madeline, and that's only if they fought together with their witches, once you take into account the Donsilans' special ability.
–Akari: Tamaki, if what you say is true, then even I doubt I can defeat Alcea, even with the help of Michiru, Yayoi and Hiyori, as well as our witches. It's going to take a Herculean effort in order to defeat her without resorting to luck, as your group did. Anyway, the assailant effortlessly brushed aside Misato, and it appeared that she was only spared because she was a magical girl and it'd be a hassle to try and kill a magical girl without demonic energy. In the end, Yayoi's parents were murdered, Misato's magic device was ruined, and the damage bill was around two million Namari yen. The assailant herself disappeared before my mother was able to arrive.
–Kaede: So that was why Misato retired...
–Akari: Well, it was the final straw for her. After that incident, she dedicated herself to raising her sister and the now-orphaned Yayoi.
–Miho: But what about Yayoi herself? She must've seen everything, considering that she was trying to dodge the question.
–Akari: Ah, when I was finally allowed outside, with my mother, I saw Yayoi, just standing there in shock. I'm sure it took a massive emotional toll on her, seeing her parents killed.
–Miho: But I thought she had a strained relationship with her parents.
–Wakaba: Wait, Miho, this is the first time I heard about it. Uzuki never mentioned it at all.
–Miho: Well, Tama-chan told me.
Wakaba turned towards Tamaki.
–Wakaba: So how did you find out, Tamaki?
–Tamaki: Ah, well... it was Mirai.
–Wakaba: Well, I guess that makes sense. Anyway, what went on between them?
–Akari: It was mainly favouritism. I'm sure you're aware of this, but Yayoi is actually the weakest of the Miyana sisters in terms of raw power. Yayoi wanted to impress her mother, but she never got the chance. But despite often being overlooked by her parents, not once did she feel any jealousy towards her sisters. There's a reason Uzuki's favourite sister is Yayoi.
–Kaede: Anyway... it seems we have a visitor.
Kaede pointed at the entrance to the cafeteria. It was Uzuki.
–Tamaki: Wait, Uzuki, I thought you were sleeping?
–Uzuki: I was. Even now, I still feel a bit tired.
–Akari: Uzuki... how long have you been there?
–Uzuki: ... Since Wakaba figured out that a Donsilan killed my parents.
–Tamaki: Wait, you heard everything?
–Uzuki: Pretty much. I'm tired, though, but I'm also hungry...
Uzuki entered the cafeteria and headed to the counter. After a minute, a tray with food on it popped out. Uzuki took the tray, as well as a cup of tea that also popped out, and headed to the table where the others were sitting, taking a seat next to Tamaki.
–Tamaki: Uzuki... you're not bothered by the revelation that Alcea was the one who murdered your parents?
Uzuki took a sip from her cup of tea.
–Uzuki: Not really... while it would be nice for me to defeat her, I'm not really interested in revenge, or even knowing who was responsible. Yayoi-nee, on the other hand...
Uzuki began to eat her lunch
–Akari: Yayoi confessed to me that she wanted to one day destroy whoever killed her parents. She could not forgive the culprit, regardless of the reason for their actions. After all...
–Uzuki: You cannot be praised by a dead person. That is why Yayoi-nee is so determined to go down this path. There is the matter of revenge, but...
–Tamaki: Even if you say that, Alcea is far beyond our capabilities. Akari, as you said, even if your entire group, including your witches, teamed up, you may not even achieve victory.
–Kaede: However, there might be a way.
–Akari: Kaede, what do you have in mind?
–Uzuki: Ah, of course, I still have them. I intend to give them to Hiyorin later.
–Kaede: Why don't you give them to me instead?
–Uzuki: What for?
–Kaede: Uzuki, you know I'm friends with Hiyori.
–Uzuki: Ah, I forgot.
Uzuki began to nod off.
–Wakaba: Well, it'd be a great idea if you continued to rest, but at least finish your meal.
–Uzuki: Ah, right.
Uzuki continued eating.
–Wakaba: Kaede, what do you intend to do with them?
–Kaede: Well, Hiyori and I will have a look at these magic devices. If they really are gifts from the World Orbs, they should be enough to defeat Alcea.
–Tamaki: Wait, those magic devices were intended to be used against Gallurum. Kaede, is it really right to use them against another target?
–Kaede: Well, Alcea is an enemy of humanity. And I'm sure the World Orbs would agree that these devices are intended to be used against the enemies of humanity.
–Miho: That makes sense. But it's better to just ask the World Orbs directly, though.
–Akari: Anyway... I've been thinking, why would Alcea target one of our most powerful mages in the first place? Compared to fighting someone as powerful as Tsukika in the first place, wouldn't blowing up Tokyo be easier?
–Tamaki: I don't think anyone knows, at this point in time. However, the Miyana family has kept secrets hidden in places all over Likkra, so maybe we should investigate some of these places.
–Miho: However, that'll have to wait until later. Anyway...
Kanade entered the cafeteria.
–Akari: What is it now, Kanade?
–Kanade: We have trouble.
–Tamaki: What's going on now? Is something happening to the Altair?
–Kanade: It's not that, but there's a fleet of three hundred enemy warships approaching Fuenod.
Everyone else, except Uzuki, was stunned into silence. Uzuki, who was not listening, kept eating her lunch.
–Tamaki: It's bigger than last time...
–Miho: Last time? What happened?
–Tamaki: The Spica faced 150 ships earlier in the day. I didn't think they would launch a second attack so soon.
–Kanade: And with the Altair unable to participate in battle, and the Spica still recovering, the planet itself is vulnerable.
–Akari: Kanade, how long do we have, and are there any reinforcements coming?
–Kanade: We have less than three hours, and right now a fleet of 120 ships is heading in our direction to help us. Aria called them over, but even she thinks it's not enough.
–Akari: Are there any other fleets coming to help us?
–Kanade: No. I tried to call for my superiors' help, but they're too far away to be able to reach us in time.
–Tamaki: So it's 120 versus 300...
–Miho: With such a numerical disadvantage, our chances of victory are slim.
–Tamaki: But it is possible.
–Miho: Wait, Tama-chan, what are you saying?
–Tamaki: Kanade, what is the precise composition of the enemy fleet? Are they networked to each other? Is each individual ship ordered to continue the mission even if the commanding ship is destroyed?
–Kanade: Tamaki... you've really thought this out, right?
–Tamaki: That's right. I want to know exactly how the fleet will operate.
–Kanade: Well... around two hundred of the enemy fleet are frigates, fifty are destroyers, there are thirty drone carriers, and twenty dreadnoughts. Command is decentralised, with not one, but four admirals across four ships. In the rare event that all four admirals are incapacitated, each captain is allowed to do as she pleases, but I'm sure most will simply continue the mission. All ships are networked, to coordinate attacks and to determine the state of the fleet, but the network itself is protected by an advanced firewall.
–Tamaki: A firewall... it might take a long time to bypass it, too long. Kanade, what about infiltration?
–Kanade: Whenever a ship is infiltrated, the captain is ordered to scuttle it. This obviously complicates attempts to upload a virus on to the network. Tamaki, I know what you're thinking. It'll be extremely difficult to first program a virus or trojan to cripple the fleet, and there's the matter of getting it on to the network in the first place; as warships, they don't have ports by which one can insert flash memory devices.
–Tamaki: Even if that is true, I have my Inherent Ability. If there are no ports that accept flash drives, then I can simply alter the computer's memory via magic. I'm confident my Inherent Ability will be able to bypass the EDAC systems in place.
–Kanade: I've been thinking, was that how you got root access to the Altair's computer?
–Tamaki: That is correct.
–Kanade: Even if you can upload the virus, it's highly likely the ship you'll be on will be destroyed before it can enter the network. The only exceptions are the ships carrying the admirals.
–Wakaba: So, we just have to infiltrate those ships, right?
–Kanade: It's not that easy. The admirals themselves are exceptionally powerful mages. Although not as strong as Alcea, they'll pose a significant challenge if you're not prepared.
–Miho: We'll do it!
Everyone looked at Miho.
–Kaede: Miho, you know this mission is extremely dangerous, right?
–Akari: Even as magical girls, you should be aware of your limits.
–Miho: I know that. But the only alternative is the destruction of the planet. I can't allow that to happen!
–Tamaki: Kanade, will you allow us to partake in this mission?
Kanade pondered for a while.
–Kanade: Alright, I'll allow it. But Uzuki should sit the mission out.
Upon hearing her name, Uzuki responded.
–Uzuki: Mission? What mission?
–Tamaki: You weren't listening, Uzuki?
–Uzuki: No; I was focused on my food. Anyway, I'm heading back to the living quarters to get some more sleep. I don't know what it is you're about to do, but I'm too tired to come with you.
Uzuki left the cafeteria, leaving a tray with only scraps of food left and an empty tea cup.
–Tamaki: With that said, do we have any more boarding pods?
–Kanade: One will activate in ninety minutes. Again, only six people can fit inside, so let's determine who will take part.
–Wakaba: So Himawari and Louise will be a part of the group. I suppose Lyra will participate as well. Which leaves three more spots.
–Tamaki: I'm going to sit this one out.
–Miho: Me too.
–Wakaba: Wait, why? Tamaki, Miho, you're the more powerful of the magical girls gathered here.
–Wakaba: Ah, right.
–Kanade: Well, it's pretty much decided. I'll tell Aoi and Benio about the situation.
Kanade left the cafeteria.
–Akari: Anyway, should we head back to the living quarters?
–Kaede: Ah, right.
The girls headed back to the living quarters.
Miho was the first to return to the living quarters. She saw Yayoi watching over Uzuki, who was sleeping again.
–Miho: Yayoi... you really love your sister, right?
–Yayoi: Well, of course! Uzuki is the jewel of the whole family. Miporin, I'm sure Akarin told you, but I was never as strong as Mutsuki-nee, or any of the others. I don't know about Satsuki, but already Uzuki exceeds my power.
–Miho: Ah, of course. So, is Uzuki the most powerful of the Miyana sisters?
–Yayoi: That's what Mutsuki-nee said. In terms of raw power, that is. Anyway, Akarin must've told you all about what happened three years ago.
–Miho: Yayoi, why didn't you want anyone else to know?
–Yayoi: To be honest... I already figured out who killed my parents. I recognised Alcea's face. But... I was blinded by a desire to avenge my parents, to kill the very person who did this. Miporin, I didn't want to tell you because I was concerned you may end up dragged into this mess.
–Miho: Oh, come on, I would never think of interfering in your family matters. This is about you and your sisters, not me.
–Yayoi: I guess you're right. Anyway, Lyra told me everything about what's to come. Are you going to help?
–Miho: No, I've decided to sit this one out. Besides, the boarding pods only fit six people, not eight.
–Yayoi: I see. Anyway, it looks like it'll be a rough next few hours for us.
End of Episode 33
The Namari yen is just one of the many currencies in Innocence Seekers: The Black Rose. It is worth roughly ten times as much as the Japanese yen, and around ten US cents. Hence the figure of two million yen given is equivalent to around twenty million Japanese yen, or roughly around $200,000.
Yayoi describes Uzuki as the "jewel" of the Miyana family. This largely has to do with pretty much everyone in the family having doted on Uzuki, spoiling her, but at the same time harming her self-dependence somewhat. One aspect of this entry of Innocence Seekers: The Black Rose is the development of Uzuki from a dependent little sister to a leader working for both the Zodiac Warriors and Puella.
EDAC, or Error Detection and Correction, is a system found in mission-critical systems (such as spacecraft) that ensures that any errors in memory (such as random bit-flips from cosmic rays) are detected, and if they are detected, corrected whenever possible. This requires a combined hardware and software implementation, using ECC (Error-Correcting Code) memory combined with error correction and handling code in firmware and the operating system. When working properly, correctable errors are corrected silently and logged, while uncorrectable errors signal a machine check exception (which otherwise signals failed or faulty hardware) due to possible compromise of data. Tamaki flags the alteration of memory to insert the virus into the computer systems of the enemy fleet; however, this requires her to figure out how the EDAC system works, then use magic to modify the electrical signals within the computer's RAM in such a way that EDAC is not invoked.
Misato's case is a prime example of what can happen when individuals find themselves left behind in terms of power. In Innocence Seekers, mages are only capable of using a set amount of mana at a time, and it is extremely difficult to increase that limit through anything other than natural growth. In this case, Misato's bucket capacity is only around 350, whereas most other mages and magical girls featured in the story have bucket capacities somewhere between 600 and 900. For comparison, Kaede's bucket capacity is around 525, Yayoi's is around 675, and Akari's is around 1,100. Even Misato's sister Michiru has a far higher bucket capacity (around 850).