It was finally time for the legendary samurai of the Sengoku Era and the newbies of the present to cross paths; or so it seemed. While Deen Lhant, Kaguya Kobayashi, Rosa Dimaggio, and Excellen Kile...Kilo...Kilimanjaro, no, Excellen Kilekion were sitting around waiting as they asked Zanma Zaitsuhara questions, Giselle simply looked at her wristwatch in annoyance. "Where's idiot number one and idiot number two..."
"Dammit, it won't open!" Despite grabbing the handle and pulling with all his strength, this heavy door did not budge. Gary sighed in despair, while using the back of his hand to wipe away the sweat on his forehead. As though replying to his words, a groan sounded out beside him.
"Ah, darn..." Standing there with a troubled expression on her face was a girl with her night-coloured hair tied in a bunch, was Tsuruko Sejren. Her hair was dark as night and crystal clear eyes that made it hard to believe that she was born with it. But her energetic behaviour and happy smile, made the mysterious atmosphere around her become a more kind and amiable one.
Gary got embarrassed as he continued to look at Tsuruko, he could only look at his surroundings. The place where the two of them are at was a dark space used to store mattresses and vaulting boxes. The two of them were locked inside the storage above room 101 by accident.
"Hey~ is anyone outside!? Please open this door!" They kept shouting and banging on the door repeatedly; however, no response was heard.
"...Dammit, this is bad..." Gary hugged his arms and thought about it: The storage room had no other entrances other than the locked door. Something could have been done if Giselle and the others were contacted, but he had left his MagiPhone back in his room. There was nothing they could do but wait for people to pass by.
However, Gary was not the only person inside here, Tsuruko was here too. "...Hey, Tsuruko, can you ram the door open?" Gary took a step back from the door.
Even though he was stronger than Tsuruko, Gary's punches could cause friction with the air and the kinetic energy released with his movements would enable an explosion—something that they'd desperately wish to avoid. Even so, Tsuruko's physical abilities were still far superior to that of humans.
The padlock currently locking the door——at the very least, the metal parts obstructing them may be easily sent flying. Because it wasn't the most brilliant method, it was hurting his conscience but it was a desperate situation. It would be fine once they got out and contacted Giselle, requesting them to fix the damaged door. Tsuruko made a supportive gesture with her arm, informing her partner, "T-Then, I'm going to break it open!"
"I'm counting on you." Gary told her—Tsuruko nodded as she placed her hand on the door, her feet taking a step back. However—"Ugh..." For some unknown reason, she fell to the ground in a heap.
"Tsuruko, are you alright?" Hastily running over, Gary cried. At this moment, Tsuruko's stomach, gave off a cute sound.
"Sorry......I can't use my strength when I'm hungry..." Tsuruko apologetically said such. To be fair, she had been happily exercising a few hours ago. It was understandable if her energy levels were depleted.
"Ah, oh well. Let's look for another way."
"Naw, don't worry about it. It isn't your fault anyway." Motivating Tsuruko somewhat, Gary resumed looking around the storage shed for any equipment that they could use. As Gary looked over the various equipment he noticed the dust in the surroundings were glittering due to the reflection of light.
"Ah......" Gary suddenly raised his head. Over there was just like he had imagined, a window that was positioned to let light through. As its original purpose was not to allow people through, it was located at a high position, it was extremely narrow as well.
"Hey, Tsuruko, get on my shoulders! It's difficult with my size......But if it's your shoulder width you may be able to pass through that window. After you get out you can go and look for help!" Clearly, Gary had no sense of direction.
"O-Oh? Alright!" Tsuruko approached Gary quickly, as Gary crouched down with his hands placed on the walls. "Nn ooh!" After Gary's urging, Tsuruko raised one leg, stepping over Gary's shoulders.
"....Gah!" After that, Gary suddenly held his breath. Due to the emergency situation he had forgotten to take a single fact into account......The instant his shoulders and cheeks were tightly squeezed by Tsuruko's legs, Gary finally understood why letting a girl ride on your shoulders was so important. The weight was just right. Body temperature was transferred to the back of his head. And there was the smooth sensation of her skin. All of this had merged together, dealing a combo attack to his brain.
"Alright, I'm on top!"
"Got it!" Tsuruko's voice, awoken Gary's trapped consciousness. Gary made a fake cough, after telling himself "Don't think about it, don't think about it" repeatedly he held onto Tsuruko's legs. Deep down, Gary was secretly happy that Tsuruko was wearing a skirt right now.
Gary slowly stood up on the spot. Above him, the sound of the window opening could be heard. And after that, the weight on his two shoulders vanished; it seemed that Tsuruko had successfully grabbed onto the window frame.
"Th, then I'm going now, Gary! Please be patient!"
"...Gary, help!" Very quickly from above, Tsuruko's muffled voice sounded out.
Because it was unusual, he hurriedly took a step back, raising his head to look at the window. It was just as Gary had expected, her shoulders had passed through......but the problem was a little lower.
Tsuruko's overly magnificent bust line had prevented her from advancing. "Sa, save me, Gary! I, I can't move!" Shouting out, Tsuruko's legs frantically waved about.
Giselle sighed as she watched her three students (and Deen) just stand there, looking at him. Their seeming trances were broken by Giselle's words, "...Come on, you four derps never seen a damn samurai before?"
"I have, it's just..." Deen finished, "With Excellen replacing Aeris and me here, aren't we already breaking the rules even worse? I've been grown on following the rules of everything that I participate in since I was a kid—"
"Bah. I don't need your approval, I'm in command here!" Giselle quickly silenced him; if his days as a measly Rune Knight minion taught him anything, it was a very bad to question your superior officer.
"Wait for me! I'll save you soon!" It seemed as if it was impossible for him to push Tsuruko through the window. In the end they were back to square one, but there was nothing he could do about it. Gary hurriedly set up some soft mattresses on the floor, grabbing Tsuruko's two legs and began to pull downwards.
"It hurrrrrrrrrrtttssssss! It, it hurts!"
"Bear with it for a while! Alright, you'll have to match my movements as I pull you out!"
"Nn.....Un!" As such, Tsuruko's body successfully escaped from the window, naturally fell onto Gary.
"Wa, Waah!" Unable to dodge, just like that they fell over from the leftover momentum.
"Uu, Uuuu......Are you alright, G-Gary?"
"...Yea—whaaaaaaat!?" Replying to Tsuruko's words——Gary became speechless. Of all places, Tsuruko's had to lean on Gary's body and it was in an odd position. Her knees were straddled near Gary's head; furthermore, Tsuruko's head was the same, her head was now located near Gary's crotch.
"…Blue and white…?" If there were others at the scene, they would definitely get the wrong idea. "Tsuruko! C, can you move away just a little bit?!"
"Uu......? U, uwah!"
Tsuruko finally realized their predicament due to Gary's voice. She readjusted her position in a panic, sitting on the soft mattress hastily. For some unknown reason Gary sat alongside Tsuruko. "So, sorry!" Tsuruko was panicking.
"Ah, ahah, we're really lucky to have no one else around! That kind of thing will definitely raise a ruckus if we were seen......!"
"Th, that's right! No one else is around, ah......"
Just like that, there was a period of silence between the two of them. But after a while, Tsuruko finally made a sound, "Uu......", raising her head.
".....Hey, Gary. As expected, is it that hard to get out from here......?"
"T-Then until someone enters, it's just the two of us......?"
"...I-Is that so..." After Gary replied, Tsuruko remained in a pensive state as she silently thought. After that, she showed a faint smile as she spoke. "How do I put it......It's been a while since we've been like this. Recently, there hasn’t been much of a chance for the two of us to be together like this......we've not gone on another day out too. In the school there's the rest of our friends obstructing us. At home there's Excellen...I love them all and they treat me well, with the exception of Kaguya."
"Haha......" Towards Tsuruko who made a sudden twist in the end, Gary couldn't help but give a bitter smile. Looks like the relationship between Kaguya and her was still as bad as ever.
Tsuruko readjusted her feelings as she continued after a faint cough. "But because of that, I feel that the time that I can talk to you has gotten lesser and lesser......"
"Tsuruko..." After Gary called out her name; he reassured her, "That, is not a bad thing at all. I feel that it is a great thing if you've made friends with everyone! Isn't that your goal, right?"
Tsuruko "Uuuu......", scrunched up her face. "A-Ah, sorry. I know I wanna be friends with everyone, but it's something else with you......Right now, even though it would be troublesome if we continue to be stuck here......Even though you've been thinking of ways to get us out......But the two of us alone like this, somehow......I'm a little happy."
"............" After Gary glanced at Tsuruko, he purposely sighed as he spoke in a loud voice. "——Ah~, it's impossible. I guess we'll just have to wait for someone to open the door from the outside."
"Uu......?" Tsuruko's eyes widened in response to Gary who suddenly said such words.
"But if that's the case, then we're gonna be here for a long time. Damn, this is gonna be boring. I don't know if there’s anyone who would speak to me." That last phrase, he said as to get Tsuruko's interested.
Tsuruko widened her eyes in surprise, raising her hand up high. "Me, me! There's still me, Gary! I have a lot to say! Leave it to me!" Tsuruko confidently patted her chest.
Gary faced Tsuruko and smiled. "Then......since it's such a rare chance, I'll let you say everything that you've been wanting to say. Well, I guess it's a different kind of day out? If you think of it like that, then it somehow feels that this ain't so bad right?"
"Nn, nn......!!" After Gary finished speaking, Tsuruko's face glowed as though she was truly happy from the bottom of her heart, revealing a full smile. "Right, now where should I start......Aaah!" She pointed to the belt strapped around Gary's waist; a rusty belt composed fully of bronze—with numerous sparkling emerald gems encrusted upon the sides, and a lion's head serving the purpose of the buckle; it had a closed gate-shaped buckle.
Gary replied, "Aaah, you wanna know about that?" He pointed to Tsuruko's Phoenix Driver belt. "So you wanna know all about the Chimera Driver, eh?"
"Okay, let me sum this up. Zanny here was tricked by a demon that was disguised as a kid, and his lord shielded him and died. Not to mention, the rest of his fellow friends were killed, and just as this all-mysterious Phoenix Knight was about to die—"
Zanma interrupted, "No, that was Lady M—"
"Shush, you." Giselle hushed him, as she continued, "So, he was so consumed with rage that Jumping-Jak in the Box possessed him for the past four centuries. Last but not least, I needed to drag him here to team up with the group because of lot of his problems lie with the fact that since he's four centuries old, he can't interact with the hip crowd. 'Once you've been on the battlefield, tasted the exhilaration, the tension...it all becomes part of you. Once you've awakened the warrior within... it never sleeps again. Not only has he transferred from the Sengoku Era to the present time, he's been a samurai all his life. So he's a bit dense."
"...So, he's culture blind? Like a total rube?" Kaguya snarked at Zanma with a smug expression—only for Excellen, of all people, to silence her with a smack across the face.
"Tsuruko said this...You must be caring towards those who are different than you, even if they are seemingly uneducated. For it is said that deep down, no matter how different our backgrounds are, and how we act, we're all the same deep inside." Excellen informed her sternly.
"...How much time have you been spending with MY Tsuruko!?" Rosa snarled at Excellen brutally, as Excellen merely turned around and pulled a face at her.
"Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no! Tsuruko is MINE!" She cackled madly.
Kaguya interrupted, "Why is everyone so happy to talk about that idiot!? Kindness is a weakness in the path of a mage, dammit!" She was downright pissed at Team Daybreak.
Zanma approached her, asking, "...What's your problem with this Tsuruko girl?"
"...I, Kaguya Kobayashi, Heiress of Doma Enterprises, should have been the leader of Team Daybreak!"
Zanma chuckled ever so slightly. "I would believe that electing you as leader of this ragtag bunch would be the choice of a fool."
"...Excuse me!?" Kaguya was now completely incensed by the samurai's words.
"I know Lady Mercury very well; we have been good friends for four centuries. While she has made many mistakes that she would regret right now, she has an almost superhumanly judge of character." Zanma put his hand behind his head, sighing.
"She's a quack! Why the hell do you just accept that!?"
"...It seems to me that your informed prowess on the fields of war is only matched by your princess-esque behaviour. I pity the ones who raised you, I sincerely do." It was an expression more out of sympathy than actual mocking.
"How dare you mock me, the Heiress of Doma Enterprises—" Kaguya was suddenly silenced.
"...I thank thee for validating my point. Thanks to your royal upbringing, you've received everything you've ever wanted and nothing allowed you to develop as a person." Zanma began to tell her off.
Giselle chimed in, "Fun fact, humans are deuterostomes, which means they develop in the womb and the anus forms before any other opening; which means at one point you were literally nothing but an asshole. Kaguya, you haven't even developed past that stage."
Kaguya growled, "Do you know who you're talking to?! That's a complete lie."
Everyone became deadly silent.
"Then it's a half-truth!" She corrected herself.
Zanma heartedly told Kaguya honestly, "Acting like a mere child does not assist your case. Being a leader does not mean that you need to be the most powerful of the pack. A leader is not decided by power alone."
Giselle added in, "Notice how in chess, the king's a weak piece, but it's the one who makes the game a possibility? Kaguya, Kaguya, you're not even strong. Sure, it's true that being a capable fencer and Lacrima user is quite remarkable. But, that ain't what real strength is. Real strength comes from sympathizing with your enemies. Sympathize with your enemies so that you can understand them; that will allow you to overcome anyone. While you may not feel it, your teammates feel privileged to live a life that has been touched by Tsuruko. She possesses many extraordinary gifts such as unconditional friendship, and she shares them with you freely. None of these gifts are more remarkable than her ability to discern what needs to be done and in her unfailing courage in doing it, whatever the personal cost. Being a hero is overlooking your own weaknesses and using your strengths for the good of others. Tsuruko is that."
"Lady Mercury is indeed correct. Listen very clearly: do not worry about what you cannot achieve, and focus on what you can do. She is your leader, so you must support her in any way that you can." Zanma rested his hand on Kaguya's shoulder, only for her to brush him off.
"...I don't need your damn words of "wisdom"! I'm going to get what I want!" With that, the Heiress of Doma Enterprises stormed off.
"It all started when I was doing so archeology research, back in college. I was exploring some old ruins, and suddenly, the whole place caved in. Thankfully, I was knocked into the next room, where I found a seal that appeared more like gibberish writing on a wall or something. When I dusted it off, I found..." Gary held up a golden ring which had an armoured face engraved upon it—with emerald compound eyes. "This. When I took that, the belt automatically was summoned around my waist—basically, it broke the seal."
Tsuruko's concern slowly grew—this tale, no, this backstory, was leading up to something amazing...or terrifying. "...Uu, this sounds kinda scary..."
"Unfortunately, this had the effect of causing the water demons guarding it to emerge. Then, well, to sum it up, for a sec there, my mind went blank and I met this big lion thing—well, it was made out of a lion, falcon, chameleon, dolphin and buffalo. I guess you could call it a chimera. It called itself a "free symbiote", whatever that is..." Gary began to dig into his ear with his finger, searching for wax nonchalantly.
"But a symbiote, it's a demon born from within the bodies of despairing humans!" Tsuruko interrupted his story. "They take over the body of a human and make their skin their own!"
"...Huh. That's...odd." Gary continued, "My guy doesn't seem so malevolent. Anyway, my guy's called Chimera. He's really cool! But, since I couldn't use magic like anyone else, Chimera formed a pact with me—and exchange for me using his awesome powers, I need to absorb the magical energy of every foe I kick the ass of for Chimera...or else he'll kill me for failing."
"...Then why are you so cheerful about this?" Tsuruko was genuinely concerned for her friend's mental state.
"Ah, you know, whatever will be, will be. You just gotta think positive."
"T-That's right——achoo!" Tsuruko suddenly sneezed.
"...! Tsuruko, are you okay?!" As he spoke, Gary's shoulders started to shiver as though he was cold. Looking up at the window, the light that was shone had unknowingly been dyed red. Looks like during the period of time they had been engrossed in their conversation, a considerable amount of time had passed.
Although the temperature itself was not that low, but the wet clothes mercilessly robbed the warmth of the two's bodies. Tsuruko repeatedly sneezed, sniffing as she did so. "Uuuuu...."
"Dammit...this is gonna be a bother. I swear if Giselle or any of them doesn't find us soon, we're boned." However, Gary's negative words were cut off by—
"Uuuu......Ah, that's right!" Tsuruko lightly clapped, taking out one soft mattress from the pile. After that, she wrapped it around herself, kneeling down there like she was some sort of beautiful doll. "It's really warm! C'mon, Gary!"
Gary froze up momentarily; though it would be bad for them to lay together so casually, he really was cold out here. "...Alright!" As Gary was about to mimic Tsuruko's way of warming up, just as his hand was stretched towards the mattresses; Tsuruko opened up the mattress that was wrapped around her. "Huh?"
"Well, it would be warmer if we use it together, right?" Gary couldn't argue against that logic.
"That, no, well. Although that may be the case......" Under Tsuruko's continuous stare, Gary was unable to reject, as he relented, "Sorry for intruding......" while he sat beside Tsuruko.
The two of them tightly clung onto one another, both enveloped by the mattress. "Hehe......it's warm..." Everytime Tsuruko moved her body, Gary's body would be rubbed with a soft, warm sensation, a light fragrance wafted to his nose. It caused Gary's heart to beat violently. However, he sensed something amiss. There was another rhythm that was different from his own heartbeat and it feels like it was extremely close by.
Looking at that direction, Tsuruko was the same, she was extremely embarrassed as she blushed. "Gary." Tsuruko raised her head. Due to their bodies being close to one another, her breath touched Gary's lips.
"...Huh?" Gary tried to ignore it.
"Hehe, I know your heart is beating very fast."
"...Well, yours is t-too." As Gary finished, Tsuruko showed an expression of extreme surprise.
"Ho, how do you know about that......?" Tsuruko nodded with a face of acceptance, once again turning to look at Gary. "......My heartbeat is getting faster. But why, when I'm with you, my heart would beat faster than I when I run at maximum speed."
"I, is that so......"
"...Gary, let me be honest. When I was young, I saved a silver-haired nerd from some bullies...we fought them off and became great friends...but then I had to move away...I'm really sad I never gave him my name. You...remind me of him a lot." Tsuruko glanced away, her tone becoming somewhat bitter.
Gary immediately went silent. This Tsuruko Sejren, she sounded, and felt so familiar, it was haunting. Was she a ghost from his past? "..."
"Ahaahahahahaha, sorry! I'm just going on...anyway, about your need for magical energy...I think, I heard, in a magazine, that you can transfer magical energy between two mages by this thing called "sex". I don't know what that is, but..." Tsuruko blushed madly; but at those words, she suddenly kissed him; she looked over with a long face and surprised eyes.
"T—Tsuruko?" Gary widened his two eyes in a daze, Tsuruko flared up as she frowned.
"What's with that look? I'm serious, you know! We can do it now——"
Tsuruko slowly moved her face closer. Due to the sudden development of events, Gary was sent into a panic and wished to escape, but his body was being surrounded by the mattress and as such he couldn't move an inch. Soon, Gary and Tsuruko's lips were about to touch——
At that moment, Gary replied, "Tsuruko, you don't really understand what sex is, do you?"
Tsuruko shook her head, still confused. "...I don't know what it is..."
"Then just leave it. Honestly, I'm not worth it, anyway. After everything that's happened, maybe I should get eaten..." Gary looked away; only for Tsuruko to slap him across the face in annoyance.
"Don't ever say that! There are no lives in this world who are less important than another, alright?! I won't have that from you." Tsuruko's tone switched from an innocent one into a rather motherly one; however...
Instantly, the two fell through the floor thanks to the pressure Tsuruko had applied to Gary—as if it were natural, the two looked up at Zanma, Giselle, Deen, Rosa, and Excellen; while the latter two weren't very pleased at all (in fact Excellen had her scythe at the ready), Giselle just began...laughing her ass off.
"I-It's nothing, it's nothing!" Tsuruko declared as she covered her face with her hands as her entire body turned a bright crimson.
Giselle withdrew a flashlight from her cleavage, flashing it at the two. "Anyway, come on, you...dense birds of an even dense feather. There's some shit we have to do."