Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden - Volume 4 - Chapter 2.5

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Hyouketsu Kyoukai no Eden Volume 4, Intermission - Gathering

Floor 288 of Tenketsu Palace <Sophia>.

A height of two thousand metres. Closer to the heavens than the ground, that floor held the personal rooms of the second and third Priestesses as well as their respective Sennenshi.

At the center of the floor was a balcony that gathered sunlight. One could even enjoy sunbathing in the dead of winter within this area that was enclosed by transparent strengthened glass.

Upon that balcony which was large enough to even accommodate dancing.

"Ah, right there, Ran......a little lower......yeah, there. A little stronger──"

"Good grief, you're really a Priestess with a lot of demands."

It was a Priestess lying atop the air cushion spread out on the floor and the Sennenshi that was continuing to massage her shoulders and back.

"Ah── that feels good. Ran's really good at massages──"

"It's thanks to a certain somebody's demands being fussy."

Ran had the sleeves of her formal attire rolled up as she continued to massage.

She was a girl whose flaxen-colored hair stood out against her sunburnt skin. Her petite features and somewhat larger mischievous eyes gave one the impression of a cat.

......The trick is not to push or rub the muscles, with a sensation like lightly pinching and pulling.

......Was this how it went?

She located the shoulder blade from above the vestments and alleviated the tension in the muscles supporting the bone. From the center of the shoulder blade to the back and from there to the waist. She had only been average in just about everything at the very start, but after doing it how many times, she felt that she had gotten the knack of it. It was work that required attention but hearing her say "It feels good" made it not so bad.

"It looks like it was quite tiring."

"Yep──. It's hard maintaining the barrier. I don't have any intention of complaining though──."

The tall girl closed her eyes, laying down while looking like she was feeling good.

Meimel in Carnation ─── a woman with vivid, long jade green hair and a tall and slender body.

Her vestments were tailored in an elegant style that suited her beautiful looks.

......Well, I should indulge her desires at least this much.

She had just finished maintaining the barrier for three days in place of the Queen. Massaging her for an hour when she had finished her duties as a Priestess was cheap as a reward.

"Oka──y, Ran, please put on suntan cream──"

Or so she thought, but then Meimel stripped off her vestment.

"......You're confusing this with a beach, aren't you."

"It's fine, isn't it. It feels great to sunbathe──"

"......You should get baked at least once."

To begin with, Sennenshi were protectors. Performing a massage to relieve weariness was one thing but rubbing on sunblock was odd.

"Don't you have any better requests?"

"In that case──, I want to eat sweet things."

As if anticipating that, the outstretched Meimei faced in her direction.

"Please, Ran. I'd like a parfait."

"The Tower's Grand Dining Hall's?"

"Nope. Outside the tower, there's a well-known store in the Living Districts. I'd like the head chef's original recipe, the <Red Hot Boiling Ice Parfait>, from the outdoor cafe in the second Living District, The Two Swans <Albireo>."

"I can't tell if that parfait is hot or cold."

"Rather, it's not a parfait but a pancake."

"......That name's a scam."

Sighing wearily, Ran began preparations to head out for shopping.

"Ha──i, sorry to keep you waiting."

Mixed in with the hustle and bustle of the main street, there was a shop filled with the scent of refined tea and the light and sweet fragrance of cakes.

Outdoor cafe, "The Two Swans <Albireo>" ─── a coffee lounge that looked out onto the main street in the second Living District.

Facing the ever-busy street that ran through the shopping district, it was a shop that was packed all day with people that loved the head chef's famous daily special meals and cakes.

"Here is the <Red Hot Boiling Ice Parfait> that you ordered."

"Ohh, so this is the rumored one."

At an outdoor table on large plates were enormous pancakes fit for ten people. The fresh cream and ice cream were overflowing on top, and above that was a mountain of seasonal fruits.

That came atop a piping hot iron pan, so there was plenty of impact. [T/N: That's a teppan, or a flat iron plate that you cook on. The impact here is a feeling. Kinda like the impact you would feel if you opened the door and saw Mil-tan from High School DxD standing there.]

"......Wow, it's more than I expected."

"Are you a first-time customer? I'm the head chef, Kyrie; feel free to patronize us from today on." [T/N: Her name is キリエ. That's "ki-ri-e". It's not "kai-ree".]

The woman wearing an apron with an adorable dog applique gave a small nod.

With her dazzling blonde hair fastened high up on her head, the shop manager had a strange air about her that made her seem like she could be in her tens, twenties or thirties.

And came a man's scream from the kitchen at the interior of the shop.

"He-head chef───────! H-help me......the Moomoo shellfish are getting violent!"

"Agaaain? That's why I told you to be careful when cooking the Moomoo shellfish. If you get stabbed by their poisonous needles, you'll be out for three days, you know?"

She held her head while saying oh boy.

"Ah──ah, it looks like there's just no outstanding talent that can replace Sheltis. Maybe I'll have to settle on that kid as the successor......I'll go to Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> and barter with Meimei a bit."

"H-hurry, hurry! Uwawaa, the poison needles came out!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm going now so calm down. Well then, customer, please enjoy yourself at your leisure."

Carrying knives in both hand, the head chef disappeared into the shop interior.

Sending her off with a smile───

"But it's really much more than was rumored."

The customer in a black suit pushed down on his brimmed hat and gulped.

"......Can a single person finish this?"

That was an odd patron.

He wore a pitch black suit with golden buttons, pitch black shoes and a pitch black rimmed hat.

Light golden hair and a shapely nose could be seen from under the rimmed hat which was pulled low over his eyes. The eyes couldn't be seen, but it was easy to imagine a beautiful young man's face from the general outline.

"Let's see......"

He scooped up a bit of the pancake with fresh cream on it and took one bite───

"Ah, this is delicious."

His lips loosened slightly and he sighed without thinking.

"It looks like good ingredients were used along with the fresh cream and the pancakes are cooked just right."

One bite, and another bite.

"Ahh, it's delicious. ......How nice. That Sheltis, he worked at such a wonderful shop. Maybe I should try working here too."

Just as he had quietly murmured that.

"Ah──, we found Ignid."

"Yeah, we found Ignid."

The voices that drifted over from somewhere were accompanied by a slight laugh.

"Oh dear, I've been found."

Different from an auditory hallucination and the howl of the winds, the resonating sound like that of an instrument was a person's voice.

Innocent and pure, mixed with childishness ─── the voice of children.

"You'll be scolded if you skip out on work."

"Yeah, you'll be scolded."

The telepathy that wouldn't reach anyone on the main street.

Only one person, the man named Ignid, raised his lips with a chuckle.

"My job is done. But even so, I'm just doing a little reconnaissance."

"Golden <Maha> is waiting for you."

"Yeah, Golden <Maha> is waiting."

The two telepathic voices laughed.

"Golden <Maha> is really strict about being punctual so if you don't hurry, you'll be scolded."

"Yeah, Golden <Maha> is really strict about being punctual."

"Yes, yes, I'm going. It was the Governmental Sector's......fourth sector that we were gathering at, right?"

"It's behind the third sector's aircraft hangar."

"Yeah, behind the third sector's aircraft hangar."

"......Fuu, it can't be helped. I wanted to eat a little more though."

Just leaking a sigh was bewitching.

The parfait was left upon the table. Gazing reluctantly at it with its wafting sweet scent, he stood from his seat after having made his resolve.

What was ahead of Ignid's vision was a gigantic tower visible even from the second Living District.

Tenketsu Palace <Sophia> ─── the white-walled tower that extended into the blue sky.

"Well then, Sheltis, I'll go on ahead and wait for you at the Governmental Sector."

While pushing down his black hat that covered his eyes, he made a single bow───

And without anyone's notice, that existence disappeared.

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