Innocence Seekers: April Light/Chapter 3/Episode 48
This is the twenty-fourth episode, "To Stop the War" (戦争を止めるために), of the third chapter of Innocence Seekers: April Light.
Aoi found herself floating in what appeared to be a featureless plane.
–Aoi: W-Where am I? What is this place?
Suddenly, a familiar voice spoke to her.
–Voice: Ah, Aoi, you're here.
Aoi turned around and saw Mirai.
–Aoi: Mirai... what is this place? Why are we here?
–Mirai: Aoi... this is a divine plane, set outside the universe. We were sent here by a divine force. Aoi... I heard your call... that's why I'm here.
–Aoi: Wait, how? I mean, you're...
–Mirai: It appears we share the same guardian deity. The moment I heard your call, time stopped, and I was asked to come here.
–Aoi: Then... what about the battle?
–Mirai: Don't worry, time will remain stopped for as long as we are here.
–Aoi: Mirai, what does all of this mean for me?
–Mirai: Our guardian deity has heard your call, and she will lend some of her power to you. The only thing that is yet to be determined, is whether you can control this power.
–Aoi: This power... my Ultimate Skill?
–Mirai: That's right.
A ball of light descended between the two girls.
–Mirai: Go on, place your hand on the light.
Aoi placed her right hand on the ball of light. Mirai placed her own right hand on Aoi's hand.
–Mirai: Aoi, I will help you control this power. I get this feeling, that since we share the same guardian deity, spiritually we are closer than anyone might think.
–Aoi: So, do you think we're two halves of a single ancestral soul?
–Mirai: Possibly. Now, Aoi, focus on the light, and take in the power offered to you.
Aoi closed her eyes and focused. Suddenly, the ball of light began to flash extremely brightly. Eventually, the entire plane was bathed in a blinding light.
When the light died down, Aoi found herself back on the Netherworld. In front of her was the elder dragon the girls were fighting.
Initially, there was no response.
–Uzuki: Aocchi, can you hear me?
Aoi turned around and responded.
–Aoi: Uzuki, let me handle everything from here.
–Uzuki: Aocchi, that really is you, right?
–Aoi: What else do you think I am? I'm still myself, you know.
–Uzuki: Thank goodness... you're not possessed...
–Aoi: Anyway, I have something to take care of.
Aoi charged straight towards the dragon, with spear in hand. Meanwhile, the dragon send a massive magic beam straight towards Miho, who responded by casting the exact same spell the dragon had just cast, but multiplied by two. Two massive purple beams emerged from the magic circles in front of Miho and met the orange beam, overpowering it and striking the dragon. Almost immediately, Miho began to fall as a result of exhaustion. Tamaki noticed this and sped to her, catching her right before she hit the treetops.
The dragon attempted another attack, this time targeting Tamaki. However, she was privy to the dragon's attack and took a mana bomb from her bag. Just as the dragon sent a barrage of magic bullets, Tamaki threw the bomb, which caused a massive explosion that flattened many of the surrounding trees and dispersed the barrage. The dragon was temporarily disoriented, and although Lyra was herself blown away, she regained her composure to launch another attack on the dragon, pointing her staff at it. A white magic circle appeared in front of her staff.
–Lyra: Sacred Cannon!
From the magic circle emerged a powerful white magic beam that headed straight towards the dragon. The dragon managed to regain its composure, but it was too late; the beam managed to strike the dragon. However, the dragon countered by shooting electricity straight towards Lyra, catching her off-guard in the process. The sheer energy of the attack sent Lyra hurtling into the forest below.
Uzuki was about to head into the forest to find Lyra, but the dragon launched a fireball straight towards Uzuki, forcing her to put up a shield. It managed to dissipate the fireball, but barely. However, the dragon launched another fireball, and Uzuki knew that she had little chance of withstanding this next attack.
–Tamaki: Uzuki, watch out!
Uzuki braced herself for the attack, only for a massive blast of water to speed right past her, blocking the dragon's attack. Uzuki looked towards the source of the water and saw Aoi.
–Aoi: Uzuki, go look after Lyra. I'll take over from here.
–Uzuki: Ah, right!
Uzuki flew into the forest to find Lyra. Meanwhile, the dragon turned its attention towards Aoi.
–Aoi: Finally... you face me...
The dragon sent out a massive magic beam straight towards Aoi. However, she simply swung her spear, parting the beam in twain.
–Aoi: Is that all?
Aoi charged towards the dragon, which attempted to counter by shooting electricity. However, the attack did not faze Aoi one bit. The dragon attempted another attack, firing another magic beam. However, this time Aoi did not even bother to defend from the attack, and the beam simply dissipated before it reached her. Eventually, Aoi reached the dragon and stabbed it with her spear, causing it to recoil in pain. Sensing that magic would not work, the dragon swiped Aoi with its left wing, sending her hurtling into the forest. However, almost immediately, she came back up.
–Aoi: Now it's time to show you my true power.
A massive blue magic circle appeared beneath Aoi's feet. She held her left hand up, showing the flower that was in full bloom.
–Aoi: I hereby call upon the gods, to gather the power of the heavenly flower, and grant me your strength. When the flower is in full bloom, your judgment shall be wrought.
The flower began to glow white. A massive blue magic circle appeared in front of Aoi.
–Aoi: Ultimate Skill... Holy Blossom!
Mana started to form into a tornado centered around the magic circle in front of Aoi. The center began to glow a bright blue, gathering mana not only from the flower, but also the background. The dragon could barely stay afloat, as the spell sucked all the mana from the surroundings. Even Tamaki, who was around 75 metres away, felt the suffocating decrease in the level of background mana.
–Tamaki: This power... it's unlike anything I've felt before... Aoi...
From the treetops, Uzuki and Lyra were observing the spell's progress.
–Lyra: U-chan, I think you shouldn't be worried.
–Uzuki: Lyra? What do you mean?
–Lyra: It'll be fine. I'm sure of it.
As time went on, the bright light at the centre of the magic circle morphed into the shape of a massive flower. This was the signal to Aoi that the spell was ready. She poked the flower with her spear, initiating the spell. A massive blast of ice and ice-cold water emerged from the flower, engulfing the dragon.
Meanwhile, Mira climbed up to where Uzuki and Lyra were sitting.
–Lyra: Ah, Mira, are you okay?
–Mira: Yeah... I have to admit, mana potions are very useful, especially when our healer is exhausted from the battle.
–Uzuki: Ah, what about the others?
–Mira: Wakaba is fine; she just needed a mana potion. The others, well... mild mana starvation. Fortunately, Wakaba and I took care of them and they should be right in about fifteen minutes.
–Uzuki: I see. Anyway...
In the distance the blast of ice and water eventually died down, and the dragon was nowhere to be seen.
–Lyra: Wait... what happened?
–Mira: I don't sense the dragon's presence anymore. But we did leave quite a bit of mess.
Uzuki surveyed the area, and found that much of the forest was charred and stripped of its foliage, and a significant area was also encased in ice.
–Uzuki: Oh... how do I tell Erelia this?
Menoroa appeared out of nowhere.
–Menoroa: You don't. I'm sure she'll understand. As will Lord Sugrum.
–Uzuki: I guess so. Wait, where have you been all this time?
–Menoroa: Ah, I ducked back into the castle to help out Erelia. Don't worry, all is good there; we took care of the invaders quite easily.
–Uzuki: Anyway, should we gather everyone and report to Erelia and the others?
–Menoroa: Ah, we should.
Uzuki and the other girls prepared to head to the Overlord's Castle.
Just outside the Overlord's Castle, Erelia was waiting for the girls to come.
–Erelia: Ah, Uzuki, everyone, welcome!
–Uzuki: We went through a lot, but we're finally here.
–Erelia: That battle must've been intense. I mean, an elder dragon, of all creatures? Not even my father could face such a powerful creature; how did you do it?
Uzuki turned towards Aoi, who was sleeping and being carried by Tamaki.
–Erelia: Ah, I see. So she was the one who defeated the dragon, right?
–Menoroa: Indeed she was. But I have to admit, that Ultimate Skill made it impossible for me to even approach the girls on my way back.
–Erelia: Ehehe... Menoroa, I sensed it as well, from the castle. It was just a little bit, but I did sense a decrease in the background mana level.
–Tamaki: And what about me? I was the one closest to Aoi, and as a result of the Ultimate Skill, my mana reserves had been cut to two thirds. And Miho ended up getting mana starvation for the same reason.
–Erelia: But, she's fine, right?
–Wakaba: That's right. So are the others; I have to admit, though, we were lucky Mira was here. Without her, we could have been dealing with three individuals suffering from mana starvation.
–Erelia: Anyway, let's head inside. My father is waiting.
–Uzuki: Ah, right.
The girls headed inside.
Inside the throne room, the girls approached Sugrum.
–Sugrum: Ah, so you must be the ones who defeated the dragon threatening our castle.
–Uzuki: That's right.
Sugrum paused for a moment.
–Sugrum: Uzuki, please step forward.
Uzuki stepped forward.
–Uzuki: What is it?
–Sugrum: It is not that often that a human ends up saving a Netherworld. I am grateful that you and your friends have lent your strength to the defence of this realm.
–Uzuki: I... I'm...
–Sugrum: Uzuki, I understand that you're about to head to Elrodom, am I correct?
–Sugrum: The April Light, huh... well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later.
–Uzuki: What do you mean?
–Sugrum: The galaxy faces a grave threat, even greater than the threat posed by the Donsilans. If you have been tasked with finding the April Light, then... there will be extreme hardships ahead.
–Uzuki: We're fully aware of that. But I won't allow Gallurum to destroy the galaxy. No matter how long it takes, or how much effort is required, we will defeat Gallurum, even if it takes a miracle.
–Sugrum: Heh... Uzuki, in the mean time, please look after Erelia for me. She may be a bit naïve, but she'll be a valuable ally.
–Uzuki: Don't worry. I'll look after her.
–Uzuki: Anyway, where's Orialla?
–Sugrum: If I recall, she was fighting alongside some of the Reds in the north.
–Uzuki: Ah, I see.
–Sugrum: Anyway, I think it's time you headed off to your next destination. I wish you all the best with your quest.
–Uzuki: Thank you for having us. Now, if you'll excuse us...
The girls turned around and walked out of the throne room. Erelia and Menoroa remained behind.
–Sugrum: Erelia, aren't you going?
–Erelia: Father, there is some business I need to attend. And it's not like I follow Uzuki all the time; if she needs me, she can just call for me.
–Sugrum: And Menoroa, what brings you to our Netherworld?
–Menoroa: Me? Well, I initially came to meet Erelia. But I happened to choose a bad time to come here.
–Erelia: Ehehe... I was thinking of inviting you here anyway. You don't have much to do other than train, right?
–Menoroa: Well, that is true. My father takes care of my Netherworld.
–Erelia: Menoroa, you should go meet your mother sometime. Even if you're a half-demon, humans still worry about their children.
–Menoroa: That said, Erelia, where is your mother anyway?
–Sugrum: She's hard at work, as usual. Although she does have a long way before she catches up to us.
–Erelia: Ah, I forgot to tell you. My mother just became a witch.
–Menoroa: That makes sense. But doesn't becoming a witch entail cutting oneself off from the rest of human society?
–Erelia: That's true, but my mother did this out of love. She wanted to be with me and my father. At the very least, though, it'll mean I may end up with a full sister rather than a half sister.
–Menoroa: Anyway, have you heard about Berdela?
–Erelia: I was actually there, you know. I know what Benio is capable of, so I think Berdela is in good hands.
–Menoroa: Ah... but that said, why does Chyla want us to form contracts this early?
–Erelia: I'm not sure; that's probably something only she knows. Anyway, should we go?
–Menoroa: Ah, of course.
The two girls left the throne room.
A week later, Uzuki and her friends found themselves at the beach during their time on Elrodom.
–Wakaba: Wah... the sea is so pretty! Come on, everyone, let's take a dip!
–Aoi: I'm fine. Wakaba, why don't you play with Benio.
–Benio: Wha? Aoi-
Wakaba grabbed Benio's wrist.
–Wakaba: Come on, Benio!
–Benio: H-Hey, don't pull me over!
Wakaba pulled Benio towards the water.
–Aoi: Uzuki, is it really okay for us to take a break here?
–Uzuki: Why not? After all we've been through...
–Eun-Yeong: Uzuki's right, Aoi. And besides, I'm not really used to long assignments such as this.
–Aoi: Ah, right. But is it really okay for those two?
–Uzuki: I wouldn't be worried about them. If anything...
Uzuki picked up two large water guns and threw them at Wakaba and Benio, who caught them. Almost immediately, they started shooting each other.
–Uzuki: Aocchi, Eun-Yeong, should we sit down somewhere?
–Aoi: How about there?
Aoi pointed to the unoccupied spot marked by a blue parasol.
–Uzuki: Ehehe... you pointed at your namesake...
–Uzuki: But anyway, that's a good spot. Let's go.
The three girls walked to the parasol, and sat down under it.
–Eun-Yeong: Uzuki, have you been told about what we will be doing next?
–Eun-Yeong: Ah, okay.
Uzuki spotted someone in the distance.
–Uzuki: Is that...
Uzuki got up and ran towards the person she saw.
As Uzuki approached the person, she noticed that this person was someone familiar to her.
–Uzuki: Wait, is that you, Takkun?
–Takumi: Wait, Uzuki, what are you doing here?
–Uzuki: Same for you.
–Takumi: We're on vacation. But if you're here, then...
–Uzuki: Ah, if you're wondering about Benio, she's over there.
Uzuki pointed to where Benio was.
–Uzuki: Anyway, where are the others?
–Takumi: Sis is out swimming. My brothers are at the rocks. Mum is currently lying over there.
Takumi pointed to a red parasol, where his mother was lying.
–Uzuki: Ah. I should say hello to your mother. Anyway...
Suddenly, Benio approached the two.
–Benio: Uzuki who are you talking to?
Benio noticed Takumi hiding behind Uzuki.
–Benio: Ah, if it isn't Takumi. Hey, don't be scared, come here.
–Uzuki: Benio, you're scaring him.
–Benio: But, I mean, we're cousins. We should get along well, right?
Takumi remained silent.
–Uzuki: Says the girl who constantly teased and frightened him. Now will you please back off? You're making Takkun uncomfortable.
Wakaba approached the three.
–Wakaba: Hey, what's going on?
–Uzuki: Ah, Wakaba.
–Wakaba: Uzuki, who is that boy?
–Benio: Ah, he's my cousin.
–Wakaba: Ah, I heard about him.
Wakaba approached Takumi.
–Wakaba: Hello there. Can you tell me your name?
Takumi's face turned red.
–Takumi: Umm... uhh...
–Benio: Oh, look, his face is turning red. Could he be in love with you, Wakaba?
–Wakaba: Shut up, Benio! Stay out of this!
Wakaba turned back towards Takumi.
–Wakaba: I'm Wakaba Harumi.
–Takumi: ... Takumi Akagawa.
–Wakaba: Takumi... well, if Benio bothers you again, please just tell me.
–Takumi: Ah... okay.
–Uzuki: Anyway, his whole family is here. Should we pop in to say hello?
–Wakaba: Ah, that'll be a great idea. Right, Benio?
–Benio: Well of course. There's a lot I want to tell Inori anyway.
The group headed to the red parasol.
Just outside the temple holding the water-elemental World Orb, a girl, around twelve years of age, was approaching.
–Girl: So this is where the World Orb is located...
The girl was about to enter the temple when she heard a noise from behind. She turned around, and noticed a number of elite Gerudo soldiers only twenty metres away from her and the entrance.
–Girl: I assume you're Gerudo soldiers, am I right?
–Soldier A: That is correct. Now please step aside; the emperor has ordered the acquisition of the World Orb contained within this temple.
–Girl: And what if I don't?
–Soldier A: Then we will use force. If you value your life, then step aside.
The girl activated her magic device, transforming it into a spear.
–Girl: I will not. I have been specifically ordered not to allow any Gerudo forces entry into the temple.
A green magic circle appeared beneath her feet.
–Girl: If you do not retreat this instant, your lives are forfeit.
–Soldier B: Don't mess with us, girl!
The girl closed her eyes and focused.
Suddenly, the lead soldier collapsed, having instantly died even before he hit the ground.
–Girl: I guess you don't even have magical talent. If you value your lives, then you should retreat. You have no hope of even scratching me.
–Soldier C: We'll see about that!
The soldiers fired their assault rifles in unison, only to find themselves bearing an expression of shock on their faces as the bullets simply bounced off the girl's mage outfit.
–Soldier B: Who... no, what are you?!
–Girl: I am just a magical girl. That's all you need to know. Since you've attacked me, I will not hold back.
A green magic circle appeared beneath the girl's feet. Suddenly, hundreds of razor-sharp thorns emerged from the ground and impaled the soldiers.
–Girl: Ah, I went too far... how will I tell Mum this?
Suddenly, Alcea appeared from nowhere.
–Alcea: Well, you did what you could, little one.
–Alcea: Ah, I'm just here to ensure the World Orb is safe.
–Girl: And you are...
–Alcea: Call me Alcea.
–Girl: Alcea? You mean that person who attacked the Namari royal palace?
–Alcea: I am, but let's spare the details. Gerudo is making its move, and is sending a massive force to conquer the land. As it stands, you alone are too weak to defend this temple against the inevitable onslaught.
–Girl: Then, what idea do you have?
–Alcea: Uzuki and her friends are on this planet, right?
–Girl: Ah, now that you mention it, my cousin told me that.
–Alcea: Anyway, I want you to warn them about the impending assault by Gerudo on Trulau. By the way, you haven't told me your name yet.
–Girl: It's... it's Zoe. Zoe Walker.
–Alcea: Well then, I will defend this temple for you. Zoe, go and meet Uzuki's group, and tell them the whole situation.
–Zoe: Ah, yes.
Zoe left the area. Alcea looked towards the horizon.
–Alcea: I suppose... some things just run in the family. She's capable, but not that confident in her abilities.
End of Episode 48
End of Chapter 3