The Asterisk War

Chapter 10 - Reminiscence and Reunion Part 2

It was an early summer night replete with the fragrance of greenery.

That day, a young boy was seated in the corner of a dojo.

Basking in the darkness, he wore an expression that spoke of deep displeasure. How long he had spent there, he neither knew nor cared. Budging not an inch, he was lost in thoughts both melancholy and resentful.

”Really now! What happened this time? You wouldn believe how angry Father is! ”

The door suddenly swung open, and the moonlight poured through the open frame, accompanied by a soft and gentle voice.

”…I didn do anything wrong. ”

The boy responded sulkily, turning away from the light.

The girl, her silhouette drawn out against the light of the moon, sighed.

Sweeping her hair back with her hands, an exasperated expression on her face, she continued to look at the boy. From their appearances, the girl looked to be five, maybe six years older. She wore a short-sleeved sailor uniform, and the lively aura she gave off well suited her.

”Ayato. ”

”But Onee-chan! It was all because that bastard… ”

”Ayato! ”

Hearing her voice grow sharp, the boy reflexively pulled back.

”Uuu.. ”

The boy swallowed his words as his face tightened and his eyes began to brim with tears.

”…But, if youve honestly reflected on things, then Ill hear you out. ”

”Will you really? ” In a flash, the boys face brightened.

”Youve genuinely reflected? ”

”Yeah, I have! ”

”Really? ”

”Really! ”

”Really truly? ”

”Really truly! ”

”Really truly honestly? ”

”…Onee-chan, didn you say before that people will hate a girl who repeats things too many times? ”


”…Im sorry, Im reflecting now. ”

”Good. ”

The girl nodded solemnly.

”First things first. Please sit in seiza. ”

”But Im already in seiza, Onee-chan. ”

”…S-sit more properly. ”

”Ive been in seiza this entire time, though, Onee-chan. ”

The girl coughed slightly and reddened before withdrawing a pair of glasses from the pocket of her uniform.

”I think Onee-chan doesn like to wear glasses because she worries she looks weird with them on. ”

”S-shut it! That has nothing to do with anything! ”

Though those black, horn-rimmed glasses indubitably suited her, the girl still couldn bring herself to like them.

”So…What happened? ”

As the topic of conversation turned serious, the boys attitude did likewise.

”Nothing! It was those guys who were bothering me… ”

Ayato explained that the other dojo students had constantly mocked him.

Their father had sternly warned Ayato not to engage any of the students. Not that that had done much to forestall their contempt for him.

Though the students were few in number, they were all members of the GenestellaStarpulse Generation. It was also government policy for those of their generation to be trained in the martial arts, in order to cultivate maturity and discipline.

From where the boy stood though, that couldn be further from the truth.

All they wanted was to prove their strength –– that they were stronger than him.

The law severely punished members of the GenestellaStarpulse Generation, juvenile or otherwise, who engaged in acts of violence against those who were not. For this reason, theyd chosen Ayato, who was a member of the same, as their target.

”But those bastards! About Onee-chan, they…! ”

The boy bit his lips to stifle his fury.

The girl was also a student of their dojo. Having been given strict orders not to get entangled in disputes with the others, Ayato did his best to avoid them altogether, and so their encounters were few. The current students were new, and so they had not as of yet met the girl.

Of the fact that the girls strength surpassed all others, the boy harbored not a shadow of doubt.

”And so, thats why I fought them! ”

As to the final result of the conflict, the girl did not inquire.

”…Hmm. ”

The girl thought for a moment, before speaking carefully.

”I see. Ayato, you really weren wrong. ”

”See! ”

The boy eagerly looked up.

The girl, however, hadn yet finished speaking.

”––Unfortunately, you weren right either. ”

”Huh? ”

”Ayato, do you know why Father forbade contact with the others? ”

”… ”

The boys only response was to lower his head with a grumble.

Hed asked their father on times previous, but had never received an answer.

”Its because you are strong. But, Ayato, your strength isn meant for hurting others. If you hurt them, Ayato… the one you
e really hurting is yourself. ”

”But Im not hurt? I feel fine. ”

”Thats because you aren yet relying on power. ”

The girls voice had taken on a bit of an austere tone.

”Until you truly push your strength to its limits, you won feel the pain. Instead, in recompense, someone else must suffer. Neither Father nor I want to see Ayato become that kind of person. ”

”…? ”

”To fight to protect ones dignity is a right that everyone has, and thus Ayato, youve done no wrong. However, Ayato, you
e still not capable of bearing the burden of loss and victory that come from a duel. Since you thus bear no responsibility, your fight and a true duel are as different as night and day. ”

”…I don really get it. ”

The boy understood that his sister was trying to convey a message of great import, but he still couldn quite understand the meaning thereof.

”Simply put, its too early for you to be fighting anyone, Ayato. ”

”Then when can I? ”

”Hmm…lets put it this way. ”

The girl propped a finger against her chin.

”If I had to say, then its when you know what it is you want to accomplish. ”

”What it is I want to accomplish…? ”

”Thats right. If thats the case, then youll be able to decide how and when to use your strength. ”

”Ok. ”

Satisfied, the girl nodded and gently rapped the boys forehead with her fingers.

Suddenly, a thought came to the boys mind, and he spoke.

”Onee-chan? ”

”Hmm? ”

”Onee-chan, have you already found what it is you want to accomplish? ”

The girls face wrinkled in displeasure for a brief moment before turning gentle once more.

”Of course. The thing I want to do is–– ”

Stopping for a moment to take the boy into her arms, she continued.

”To protect you, Ayato. ”

”Me…? ”

”Thats right. To me, you are more important than anything else in this world. ”

”Then, then Ill protect Onee-chan too! Thats what it is I want to accomplish! ”

The boy was completely serious. As he was to her, she was to him; a person more precious than any other, someone irreplaceable.

The girl smiled mischievously, extending a finger to poke the boy in the forehead.

”Ahaha, somebody sure is pretentious. Am I to take that to mean you think you
e stronger than me? ”

”Uu… ”

The girls strength was, without a doubt, leagues above the boys own.

On this point, the boy was clearer than any other, and so he held his silence.

”But more importantly, you need to find that which is more important to you still. Ayato, you
e a boy, so that day will surely come. ”

”…I still don really get it. ”

At the boys somber tone, the girl hugged him tighter still.

”For now, this is plenty. ”

”…Onee-chan? ”

”Thank you, Ayato. Thank you for getting mad on my behalf. I love you so much… ”

Ayato brushed the towel aside, and snapped upright like a coiled spring.

Checking the time, it looked to be around four in the morning.

From the window, the dusky light of the sun just before dawn came through.

”…That memory again… ”

Before the morning alarm sounded, he turned the clock off, and stretched his stiff body.

Hed had quite the busy day previous, but though thoroughly exhausted, hed woken at the usual time.

”Actually, today was quite fortunate. ”

If that dream had continued…

Ayato shook his head and proceeded to change his clothes.

What he put on, however, was not his uniform, but rather a T-shirt and pair of shorts, better suited for training.

The habit of early morning training was also one that his sister had impressed upon him; he wasn likely to be so proactive otherwise. His sister, at times stern, at times warm and kind, had raised him in place of their departed mother.

”…Oh, thats what it is. ”

A lightbulb suddenly went off in Ayatos brain.

The look in Julis eyes was identical to his sister. Her eyes had spoken of her desire to ”protect Ayato ”.

Those were the eyes of one who possessed an unswerving resolve and firm conviction.

Eyes that Ayato had, as of yet, never had.

”-Alright. ”

Ayato took hold of the Lux hed left near his pillow, hanging it on his back.

Though he was admittedly more comfortable with the shinai his family had used, given where he was now, foregoing a Lux wasn an option.

Figuring his classmate was still asleep, hed planned on taking off without a word, when, to his surprise, a cheerful voice rang out.

”Just what youd expect from a special invitee student; this early and already off to train. ”

Face still showing all the signs of sleep, Eishirou had only one eye open as he spoke, though he showed a toothy smile.

”Sorry if I woke you. ”

”No worries. Im a bit of a light sleeper. That said, Im just dreaming right now anyway. ”

Eishirou hugged his pillow as he whispered.

”cuz, you know, I could have sworn Id heard someone talking in their sleep just now. ”

”! ”

Ayato blushed.

”U, um, Yabuki? You definitely were just imagining things. But just as, you know, a reference…would you mind repeating what you think you heard? ”

”Mm! I love Onee-chan too! ”

”M-hm-mm-mrm ”

Ayato rushed over to Eishirous bedside in a flash, and jammed his hand over his mouth.

”That was a dream! You were just dreaming, do you hear me!? ”

”You know, I think you might just be right. Hmm, what should I do…? Oh, by the way, Amagiri, what
e your plans for breakfast – Japanese or Western? ”

At Eishirous words, Ayatos shoulders sagged in defeat.

”I get it already. Eat whatever you want, my treat. ”

”Sounds good, yuan-yaki it is! ”

It looks like anytime something like this happens, the way to his heart is through his stomach, Ayato thought.

It seemed the moment of crisis had passed; for the moment, anyway.

”Right then, Im heading back to sleep. Have fun working hard at your training. ”

”Ha… ”

In his estimation, the number of times hed sighed since entering the school had increased exponentially.

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