The awareness of the great ocean.
From a young age, Aoi had always walked the lonely path of solitude. Despite being a girl, her intimidating gaze and her heterochromia had caused people to shy away from her like ripples in the water. In kindergarten, she had only two options: play alone or with the teacher because the teacher had to look after the other kids. So, she spent her days making sand pudding by herself in the sandbox or playing with a single stick in a large sand mountain, trying not to topple it.
Indoors, it was solitary games of concentration and coloring. She couldn’t make any friends…
But, even in those days, not everything was lonely or unpleasant. When she got home, her grandmother was always there. Her parents were busy with work, and her grandmother always took care of her.
Her grandmother would always put Aoi on her lap, pat her head, praise her, teach her various things, and read books to her.
[Aoi is so cute, why don’t boys and girls come near you?]
[Yes, you’re the cutest in the world.]
[Only Mom, Dad, and Grandma say that…]
[You have well-defined features, beautiful hair, clear eyes… like a princess.]
[…Is that so?]
At that time, Aoi believed everything her grandmother said. But, she still had some doubts. Why, if she was like a princess, did she not have any friends? That question remained.
Her grandmother must have understood her anxiety and doubt. She patted Aoi’s head again.
[It might be hard to see Aoi’s charm. But someday, someone will come who understands your charm and walks alongside you.]
[Really? If you’re lying, you’re a…… thief, Grandma.]
[Oh, it’s not a lie.]
[Cross your heart?]
[Will it be someone like a prince, Grandma?]
[I wonder… I don’t know that, but I’m sure someone who cherishes Aoi will appear, apart from your family.]
She believed those words for a long time. Someday, friends, or a prince…
But they never came, and her grandmother got sick and passed away. Her parents were kind, but they were busy with work. Aoi felt like she spent a lot of lonely hours.
But still, she believed her grandmother’s words.
When she entered junior high, she decided to start anew. She checked the news and newspapers every day, prepared herself to be approachable at any time, and went to school.
But everyone said she was scary and always angry… So, she got a bit sentimental and… That’s when a girl approached her… She accidentally stumbled through the conversation… and it became awkward…
She felt like an outcast.
She just didn’t fit in…
People around her kept their distance because they thought she was always in a bad mood.
At that moment, Aoi doubted her grandmother’s words. She couldn’t make friends. There was no prince. She wasn’t cute, and she wasn’t like a princess. No one walked alongside her.
She was alone.
High school brought with it a sea of bubbly, giggly girls all around. Somewhere deep in her heart, she had hoped for change, but in the end, nothing really did. Was it her harsh gaze, her lack of initiative, or her inability to hold a conversation that was the problem?
Maybe it was all of them. Those were the thoughts that tormented her day after day…
And then, the storm arrived.
It was as if, by some miracle, everything fell perfectly into place, like pancakes with margarine and honey. Meeting him changed her life. Suddenly, in the midst of a well-known local dog barking loudly, he rushed in front of her, as if it were an emergency. Just because of a dog.
Amidst all the confusion, her life became a whirlwind. Suddenly, she was tasked with being a town guide, and during that journey, he had to be alert in every direction. Just an utterly strange person. She had never met anyone like him before. A weirdo…
But she was aware that he was different too, so she felt a strange connection… Surprisingly, her days became fulfilling, and for the first time in a long while, her heart danced. She had never known that doing something with someone else, being excited, and feeling the whole body sore could be so enjoyable.
But she also learned that people avoided her. It was only natural that kindness wasn’t always repaid with kindness, but knowing it anew left a sense of emptiness in her heart. She felt like a person who could be avoided.
However, that’s when he praised her. He said she was amazing and cool, and their clear eyes were fixed on her, unwavering.
—She felt a flutter…
She hadn’t been stared at so directly since her family, so she must have been nervous. After that, thanks to him, she made friends. In a cheesy play…
She didn’t understand why he was so devoted to her or why he got involved, but their time together warmed her cold heart. It erased her loneliness, blew away the sense of emptiness, and this person… was like, was like… What was it?
There was one thing she just couldn’t find an answer to. Like… a kind tempura from the sea? Like… a gentle horsefly?
She couldn’t quite grasp it, but she felt something.
And one thing she regretted was asking, “Are you trying to seduce me?” She had an unbelievable level of confidence at that time. She never thought she would say something like that when she had no confidence. So, she was surprised at herself for asking. And later, she agonized over it. That ridiculous line was drawn out of her by him.
She may not have had confidence, but meeting him made her gain a little self-assurance, and something had changed. She was sure of that. But she didn’t know what had changed.
What was it? This feeling, like a fish bone stuck in her heart… There was no answer, but it was okay. Because every day was enjoyable…
She didn’t become a loner because she wanted to. She did various things because she wanted friends. Now that it had paid off, her life was so fulfilling, so that was enough.
…That should be enough, right?
Why was it that, even though it should be enough…
She couldn’t find satisfaction…
In this world of “Masou Shoujo – Secret Five,” there exists something called the “Intermediate Power-Up.” However, this usually takes place quite late in the mid-game, specifically in November. But I’m trying to expedite it.
Right now, the five of us are gathered in the training room. I’ve brought the “Intermediate Power-Up Items” that I’ve acquired, and I’m about to hand them over to the girls. After I retrieved them slowly, Mel has been forced to work on various maintenance tasks for a while, but it seems they’re finally ready. They’ve been sealed for a long time, so they had rust and dirt, which could be inconvenient for battle.
In front of us are five weapons lined up: one pure white and one jet black holy sword, two crimson swords, yellow gloves, and a blue dagger.
At first glance, they may appear to be the same weapons as the ones we’re currently using, but they can also be perceived as inferior in terms of visual appeal. They don’t emit any impressive aura, and there’s no magic being used. They seem like mere cosmetic replicas… but that’s a big misconception.
These weapons don’t require the use of magic. Just like how star spirits were born from clusters of prayers in the past, these weapons are born from fragments of star spirit power. They were created by star spirits losing their power and entrusting it to the future. These weapons are non-magical in nature.
The more significant the determination and thoughts a wielder possesses, the more power they can harness. Wielders also need to have an aptitude, and these girls fulfill that requirement.
“Glory Pure White Sword” (Heaven’s Brave): To be eligible to wield this, one must be a beautiful woman with pure innocence. Its use requires love for others.
“Purgatory Twin Blades” (Dual Atomic): To use this, one must be a beautiful woman with unwavering beliefs. Its use requires burning love.
“Roaring Thunder Strike” (Thunder Cross): To be eligible to wield this, one must be a beautiful woman with unparalleled kindness. Its use requires true love.
“Clear Dragon Water Sword” (Dragon Aqua): To use this, one must be a beautiful woman with a pure heart. Its use requires unwavering love.
“Dark Night Sword” (Dark Brave): To use this, one must be a beautiful woman with shadows and darkness. Its use requires giving up everything for love.
Mel is explaining to the four of them that there are quite strict conditions, but if they can use these weapons, they will not only gain significant power but also receive divine protection. Her explanation is based on legendary hypotheses, but her incredible analytical skills, drawn from various texts from different worlds, make it almost certain that these hypotheses are true. However, there’s one minor detail missing from her explanation: the part about the five weapon users forming a bond to become the ultimate weapon to defeat the final boss. But it’s not necessary for them to know this right now. It’s an event that occurs in the climax of the story.
As the story’s climax is at its conclusion, now the time has come. With the explanation finished, each of the four takes hold of their respective weapons. While looking at the sword in her hand, Kohaku asks Mel,
“Will this make us more powerful?”
“It’s all about meeting the conditions. For now, try swinging the sword while thinking about someone you care for.”
“I can’t believe I’m supposed to swing a sword around in front of him.”
Kohaku glances at me with a hint of resistance. She’s probably trying to show her cuteness. But I’ve seen her swinging swords around so many times that it’s not a big deal.
“No, don’t suddenly act all ladylike on him… It’s making me uncomfortable too.”
“Kohaku-san, I like you wielding the sword, so please swing it no problem.”
I say this, and she lightly swings the sword.
“If Izayoi-kun says so… Then, here goes.”
In that instant, a sonic boom erupts from the sword, causing a portion of the training room to collapse. Everyone’s gaze turns towards her in astonishment. Just as expected from Kohaku-san.
“Kohaku-san, your brute strength is truly something! You never cease to amaze!”
“Well… I appreciate the compliment, but… it’s just that I feel like my efforts to maintain my girlish image are going to waste…”
It seems to bother her a lot when she’s this ridiculously powerful because she seems to want to play the part of a little, fragile girl.
Putting that aside for the moment, she is normally able to use her intermediate power-up item before the New Year. She gradually recognizes those around her as her friends and feels a true bond with them through the angel event. But now that she is already in a very different flow from the “story” and she herself has changed more than she originally was, I thought she might be able to use the power-up right away, but I didn’t realize she really could.……
Originally, she used the love for her comrades as her motivation, but is it still the same now?
While I’m pondering this, Kohaku, Moegi, and Aoi each swing their weapons. Only Karen’s weapon produces a sonic boom similar to what Kohaku demonstrated. Does this mean that Karen can use it too?
She was the first magical girl to perform an intermediate power-up. With her conviction to grow stronger due to her parents’ divorce and her love for her comforted friends, she was able to use it. But now, can she unleash such power to beat down a lion and… well, it’s a different scenario now.
How will things turn out this time?
“Both of you are amazing. What emotions did you infuse into your weapons?”
Mel asks the girls. The stronger their emotions, the stronger the weapon becomes. If that’s the case, I wonder how much love they put into their attacks that they just showed us. When asked, both of them steal glances at me.
…It’s sudden, but I’m not oblivious. I’ve already noticed their feelings once again. However, if by any chance, I were to be mistaken, it would be extremely embarrassing, so I keep my mouth shut.