Chapter 2:

Shinohara Yori

The Ethereal Scarlet

The scene was dyed in purple until the light from its source, the creature that was
chasing after me, disappeared. The girl in front of me elegantly sheathed her blade
before turning to my direction.Bookmark here

"Are you okay?" she politely asked as she reached out her right hand.Bookmark here

I found myself gazing unto her crimson eyes and endless beauty before I dragged
myself back to reality to get ahold of the situation.Bookmark here

"Are you an angel?" was what I thought. There was no way I can suddenly say that
out loud to someone I just met. Being saved by someone as strong as her, all I
could do was admire her form.Bookmark here

"...I'm fine. Thanks." I voiced out while breathing rapidly as I offered my thanks
to her.Bookmark here

She helped me stood up from where I was. As I got a hold of her hand, I couldn't
help but notice the softness embodied within her skin. From the sudden feat of
strength she displayed, I clearly had a misjudgment when I thought the opposite.Bookmark here

However, before we could have our little time of conversing, a different danger
loomed in.Bookmark here

Monsters, much like the same creature as earlier, were approaching us. However,
they seemed to be smaller in size compared to the one earlier. From a quick
count, they number around twenty approximately. However, even with the
numbers advantage, the girl in front of me seemed unfazed.Bookmark here

"More ethereals, huh? Now that the overloaded one is gone, they have nothing to
be scared of, after all. Asami and the others should be here soon enough. In the
meantime, I'll take care of this." the red-haired girl murmured as she gripped the
hilt of her sword.Bookmark here

She gave a quick sigh, then proceeded to take a deep breath. With the buildings
around this gigantic establishment gone, we have nowhere to hide from. Does she
intend to take them on all alone? Although, given the strength she just unveiled
earlier, I wouldn't even be surprised if she can defeat these ones.Bookmark here

Also, what did she mean by 'they have nothing to be scared of'? She also called
them 'ethereals'. These are terms I'm unfamiliar with, but thanks to the context
given, it's not arduous to piece them all together.Bookmark here

Swiftly as the wind, she took off, headed towards the group of creatures called
ethereals. These ones had nimble legs compared to the monstrous one earlier, and
moved twice as fast as well. While they were smaller in size, I couldn't estimate
their overall strength.Bookmark here

Like a scarlet petal, she danced from one place to another, effectively dodging each
burning bolt that lanced from the creature's maw, all the while eliminating them.
This time, I noticed a purple aura encasing the girl herself. It was distinctly different
from the purple glow that the ethereals emit, which were presently disappearing
one by one as the girl decimated them.Bookmark here

I didn't notice straightaway, but the Ethereal that kept chasing me earlier started
to turn into dust and left a cubical remnant behind.Bookmark here

"Is this its heart? Perhaps something like it." I whispered to myself as I gazed at it.Bookmark here

It looked like dark clouds compressed into a cube. However, despite the lingering
curiosity, I could tell that it was a tad dangerous to simply touch it.Bookmark here

Likewise with the ethereals that this mysterious red-haired girl took down, they
all disappeared into a cloud of dust and left a cubic remnant behind. The fact that
I have no idea about any of this just shows that I won't be more useful than an
ignorant person. At least, that's until I get to ask her about what's really happening.
Bookmark here

"Yori!!" I heard someone yell from a distance.Bookmark here

Out of nowhere, my eyes started to close itself. I was already standing up earlier, but I soon fell to my knees, ultimately ended up lying down on the ground the moment
the adrenaline wore off. Having that tinge feeling of relaxation, my body dropped
down its guard. Resultantly, I felt all the pain that my body endured all this time right
at this very moment, rendering me unable to move.Bookmark here

I was exhausted beyond belief after running for how many hours it had been.
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Before I completely lost my consciousness, I heard continuous exchanging from two voices. Bookmark here

"Asami, you're here. How about the others?"Bookmark here

"They're back on the ship already."Bookmark here

As they continued talking, I felt something warm caress the back of my head.
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"Any other survivors?"Bookmark here

"No, unfortunately. But at least, we managed to save someone."Bookmark here

"Come on, Yori. It's not your fault at all. It's nobody's fault."Bookmark here

"I know, b-but it's just that we could've done more if we weren't caught off guard by
that Rank-A Ethereal."
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"Get a grip of yourself, captain. First, let's carry this man back on the ship to treat
him."Bookmark here

~Bookmark here

I woke up staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. The whole place was yet unknown to me
again.Bookmark here

"So, what happened wasn't a dream, after all?"
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Digesting the certainty of the reality I'm stuck with, I felt dizzy that I almost wanted to
puke. All of the things I thought were part of a dream actually happened. No, I just
simply wanted it to become a dream. After all, it felt like a nightmare: waking up at a
random place without memories of how I ended up there, not knowing myself
anymore, then almost dying from being attacked by an unknown creature.Bookmark here

I spun my head and scanned the surroundings as I sat down on this comfortable
foam. I'm in a well-lit and comfortable room. I was lying down on a fluffy bed, with a
pillow below my head earlier. It felt like I was in a room of a mansion.Bookmark here

There was one vastly different thing compared to that of a room in a mansion,
however. That is, the presence of the scarlet-colored hair girl that was rested on the bed as well. She was seated on a chair, with her arms and face relaxed on the bed
where I presently am.Bookmark here

I gaped due to the surprise of having a beautiful girl resting on my side, taking care
of me. She was also the girl who saved me earlier.Bookmark here

Wait...Bookmark here

How long had it been since I was here? How many hours or days have passed? It
would feel tactless if I were to just wake her up to satisfy my longing for an answer.
First and foremost, she did save me. In addition, she might be slightly exhausted, if
not completely tired from the fights she went through.Bookmark here

Clueless as to what I should do, I ended up passing the time staring at her pristine
face. She looked incredibly far from what I've imagined during the battle just
recently. I never got a close up look at her face due to the fuzziness I had at the time,
but I was still able to admire the elegance she displayed. This is way more than
that, however.Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

I was at a loss as to what just happened. Tears suddenly started falling down my
eyes, flowing through my cheeks like a river.Bookmark here

"W-what is this?" I was utterly confused.Bookmark here

I don't know if it's because of my slight movement due to being startled, but the girl
awakened from her slumber. She rubbed her eyes before turning to look at me.
Despite the fatigued look in her eyes, she opened it widely upon confirming I've
regained consciousness. I rapidly rubbed mine as well to conceal the tears that
suddenly came out.Bookmark here

"You're awake!"Bookmark here

She looked so astonished which rendered me unable to even give a single
response.Bookmark here

"Hang on! I'll call Asami!"Bookmark here

Much like her speed from taking down the enemies, she left the room speedily as
the door automatically closed behind her, leaving me all alone in this luxurious
space.Bookmark here

"I wonder how many times I'll be asking the same question to myself?"Bookmark here

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Given my unfortunate state, this won't be the last time asking "Where am I?"Bookmark here

I should be able to ask them questions once the girl, along with the one she
named Asami, comes back here.Bookmark here

"Still, this room's really conspicuous." I whispered to myself as I just kept spinning
my gaze around, taking delight in the commodious room.Bookmark here

It probably isn't similarly big with a mansion's room. Although, I don't even
have an idea how it exactly looks like in the first place.Bookmark here

More importantly, it just strikes me odd that the technology they have here is
completely advanced from what I remember.Bookmark here

If only I remember more of myself, I could probably piece these all out. But, no
matter how much I beg my mind to, it won't respond so kindly.Bookmark here

Getting back ahold of myself, I quickly ran through the things that had happened
so far.Bookmark here

I woke up in a forest, got chased down by an unknown monster around a city-like
area, ultimately getting saved by the girl that left just now.Bookmark here

After awhile, the door automatically opened and two girls made their way through.
One was the red-haired girl that saved me, and the blonde one must be the one she
called Asami.Bookmark here

"You did wake up. Good to know.", the blonde haired girl sighed in relief as she had
her pale blue eyes affixed on me.Bookmark here

"Yori wouldn't be able to relax if you didn't, after all."Bookmark here

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'Wouldn't be able to relax'? Am I someone so significant that someone as great as
her would worry for?Bookmark here

Perceiving my confused expression, the girl named Asami followed up.Bookmark here

"Ah, don't worry about Yori here. She's just a worrywart. After all, you're the
only survivor from that Aile."Bookmark here

She said the latter half of it with a crestfallen expression.Bookmark here

'Aile'? I just became more confused with the terms that kept popping up. First was
the futuristic look of the city-like area I've been on, the creatures that were called
ethereals, and now something about an 'Aile'?Bookmark here

"Where am I?", I politely asked them.Bookmark here

"You're here at Aile M-56, the Scarlet's haven."Bookmark here

After drawing a quick breath, she continued.Bookmark here

"I'm Hino Asami, and she's Shinohara Yori, the captain of the Scarlet Ethers."Bookmark here

The blonde haired girl introduced herself and the captain that was beside her. She
had the prominent figure of a model, with good proportions throughout her body.
Her pale-blue eyes were relaxing to gaze at, like a still current of the ocean.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the girl named Yori had long eyelashes and crimson eyes. Her scarlet
red hair flowed up to her waist, and her snow white skin complemented the cold
temperature I felt encasing the room.Bookmark here

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