Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 8

Hibiki and Dita

Part 1

In the jet blackness that is outer space, a glittering blue globe floats like a beautiful gem. It’s the women’s world of ‘Majere’. This planet is surrounded by dual intersecting asteroid belts, and furthermore there floats a small moon outside of these which is the men’s world of Taraak.

The surface of Taraak had an appearance of a vast land of red rocks. Although terraforming was underway, the atmosphere was thin, and the surface was filled with desolation. In a canyon on this barren world, there was a layer of atmosphere was hovering as though clinging to it, with clouds being weighed down as though they were trapped within it.

On either side of this unreliable thin layer of atmosphere, gun platforms of various sizes were placed along the canyon, their muzzles were all aimed vertically as though they were glaring at someone visiting from the sky.

At the base of the canyon, there was a city built of pipes and steel construction. The disorderly cables and pipes that were spread about was a far cry from that thing called ‘urban planning’, and just as rustic were the enormous exposed gears that were slowly and heavily rotating. With the rust, the disgusting looking pitch black oil repeatedly oozing from all over, and the steam that generally wafted through the city, it gave one feeling of oppression and being confined.

That was the conditions at the heart of the men’s world of Taraak.

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“Waaaaaaah! Amazing amazing Amaziiiiiiing!”

A strange voice sounded out as though to reject the heavy atmosphere that enveloped the entirety of Taraak. The voice’s owner was Dita Liebely who had just alighted from the shuttle. Seeing the city of Taraak that was before her for the first time, rather than feeling timid her camera’s shutter was going off constantly from her excitement.

“Kyaaaaaaaah! Parfet would be absolutely delighted if she could see this!”

This response was characterictic of Dita who was brimming with curiosity, but her companions who had disembarked from the shuttle with her all had stunned expressions.

“You’re naturally entrusted with her since you’re the one who brought her along!”

Bringing his face close to Hibiki, the one who had quietly grumbled was Bart. Seeing as Duero who was standing nearby didn’t repudiate it, it seemed he had the same thought.

“For watcha just said, as the one who brought her it can’t be helped, ain’t that right!”

Although it certainly was a consequence of him having invited her, having spoken Hibiki was also feeling dumbfounded.

On the shuttle’s pier there were palace guards in ceremonial attire standing in a row, and in front of the red carpet that had been laid out there was a military officer appearing to be of high rank who was awaiting them. In other words, Taraak was welcoming them as honored guests. They were standing at attention in silence to greet them as was the custom on Taraak, and even if something were to happen it would not disturb the expressionlessness of there men. Therefore it was understandable that Dita furiously clicking the shutter towards the palace guards for a good shot was shocking to her companions.

“Dita……. This is official business. Let’s keep it that way……”

In the midst of her actions going unrebuked by everyone, Buzam who was their delegation’s representative issued a command in a quiet voice.

“Ah! Yes! So sorry! Just one more is all!”

Notwithstanding Buzam’s admonishment, Dita was pointing the camera in all directions. Even the palace guards showed expressions of astonishment.

“Oi! That’s enough already!”

Picking up on the signs from those around them, Hibiki forcibly took Dita’s camera.

“Wha! Geez!!”

Although reluctantly, with Dita’s photography finally having stopped, the palace guards simultaneously sounded the trumpets they were holding and welcome the party of Hibiki and the others. With this as a cue, Buzam slowly too steps towards the military officer. Subsequently, Duero, Bart and the others followed ‘her’.

“It’s going to be hard going at this rate pyoro huuuuuuuuh.”

Pyoro who was bringing up the rear whispered teasingly in his ear. He was being sarcastic about Hibiki and Dita’s relationship.

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“S-Shuddaap! It’s just assistance!”

Hibiki was glaring at Pyoro who he had caught, but it was nevertheless certain that he was inexperienced as far as loving a female was concerned, so what his relationship with Dita would be from here on out was a source of anxiety. For the present Hibiki, rather than joy over returning to his hometown, more prominent was the complex feeling he had been feeling as a result of walking on the soil of the hometown he had missed.

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With the ceremony at the pier having been finished, having been invited to Taraak’s central government, the party’s members were each given a living room. Although the men apart from Hibiki ought to have a place to return to, since their circumstances were that of ‘Delegation Bearing the Coexistence of Men and Women’, for the time being it had been requested that they be received as ‘guests’. The formal interaction that was a result of that situation seemed to a matter of men’s pride. Dita felt curious about every single such detail. Since she had been in the living room her excitement hadn’t cooled down at all.

“Hey hey! What’s that!? Why is there such a thing?”

With her raining questions verytime she discovered something, Hibiki started off by providing polite explanations, but before long he could no longer be patient and ended up screaming,

“AHHHHHH! Geez! Enough already!”

Nevertheless, being aware of Dita’s feelings, he didn’t treat her too bluntly. Up until now they had been able to interact without much thought, but just by being aware of ‘the emotion of love’, they hadn’t been able to interact the way they usually do.

“……Something feels off huh……”

Perhaps being unable to skillfully sort through his own feelings, Hibiki felt confusion in regards to himself who could do nothing but negative behaviors, as though he was a different person.

“That’s the thing called ‘love’ Pyoroooooooo……nufufufufufufu…………”

For this to be amusing for the machine Pyoro, Hibiki’s pride as a man was completely shattered.

“Shiiit——……!”

Hibiki was wearing a sour expression in vexation, but without being able to refute, he could do nothing but become angry.

At that point, Buzam returned after having been invited by the Prime Minister. Although ‘she’ had currently chosen to live as ‘Buzam A Calessa’, ‘she’ was originally a commander in the special intelligence department. The Prime Minister, who had the deceptive appearance of a timid individual, relied upon ‘her’ in one way or another. Particularly, it seemed that he had been wracking his brains for the last few days over how to treat Hibiki, who had proven to be the offspring of Gran Pa and Gran Ma who were the leaders of Taraak and Majere, respectively. At the time of the audience with the delegation, he was wavering as to whether to view Hibiki as a guest or as the country’s crown prince.

“It’s been decided that our meeting with the Prime Minister will be held in three days. Until then, it would be good if everyone enjoyed some leisure time.”

When Buzam said this, the entire party, having gathered in the room, opened their eyes wide in surprise..

“Three days from now!?”

“……That’s a rather leisurely decision huh……. In the values of Taraak we were taught, such a decision could be recognized as ‘procrastination’……”

Duero, who stood at the top of the third generation in regards to efficiency, muttered such suspicions. Subsequently, Buzam added ‘her’ own words on while sighing in bewilderment.

“It is indeed an issue that should have settled beforehand.”

At those words, this time it was Bart who leaned forward.

“!? ……Issue? The heck is that about?”

It was understandable that Bart thought it strange. Everything about the space containing Taraak and Majere had been decided before they had come here. There shouldn’t have been any unsettled issues or the like.

“……It’s Hibiki.”

Buzam spoke the answer to everyone’s question. At that moment everyone’s gaze simultaneously converged on Hibiki.

“Eh!? Me!?”

Having been mentioned, Hibiki could only stare in puzzlement from lack of understanding.

“Hibiki is of the first generation, and moreover, is the child of both Gran Pa and Gran Ma……. It’s related to that then?”

Duero spoke up while staring fixedly at Hibiki. After that, Buzam gave a large nod and spoke again.

“The governing body of Taraak is also perplexed over the treatment of Hibiki. Accordingly, they have appealed for an audience with Gran Pa and Gran Ma, requesting guidance as to the proper answer.”

In other words they were clarifying his position with his parents, or so it would seem. When Hibiki heard that his eyes once again widened in astonishment.

“!? F-For them to suddenly say such things!”

His surprise was also not unreasonable. Although he had regained his memories from before he went into cryogenic hibernation due to his link with the Pexis, with the exception of his foster parent ‘Jicchan’, he had been living until just recently believing that he was someone with no living relatives. Moreover, as a result of spending more than a century in cold sleep, although his external appearance was preserved as that of a seventeen-year-old, the reality was that his parents had passed a hundred and thirty years of age. The time span between parent and child having grow do to some trick of fate, that gap wasn’t something he could easily fill.

Having seen Hibiki’s bewildered state, even his companions were at a loss for words when faced with such a complex situation. Even Dita, who had been twined around him until now, had sunk into silence as though wilting.

The long silence continued.

“…………Let me meet with Jicchan……”

Hibiki, who was hanging his head, muttered a few words. Subsequently, Buzam spoke up as though ‘she’ had been waiting for those words.

“Jin-dono is already waiting in the next room.”

When Hibiki raised his head in shock at those words, Buzam quietly nodded while smiling. It seemed ‘she’ had had the foresight to report that Hibiki ‘wants to meet with Jin’. However, having thought that this was Hibiki’s problem through and through, Buzam had purposefully waited to mention it until he himself had made the request.

“……I’m grateful…………”

Having sensed Buzam’s thoughts, Hibiki meekly thanked her and left his seat with a gloomy expression. Silently following Hibiki with her eyes, Dita was anxious. However, Hibiki purposefully left the room without making eye contact with Dita.

As a result, at Buzam’s suggestion, Bart and Pyoro, who were naturally fond of talking, would serve as Dita’s guides and undertake the task of looking out for Dita. For a change of scenery, Bart invited Dita to look around town. Feeling concerned about Hibiki, Dita was reluctant to do so, but at Pyoro’s semi-coercive invitation, she reluctantly left her seat. In hindsight, at this time when Pyoro was on the surface obstinately inviting Dita, it goes without saying that ‘he’ was aiming for a chance to escape from Taraak.

After Dita went into town with Bart and Pyoro, Buzam and Duero set about doing their own jobs. For Buzam it was a provision meeting with the top executives, for Duero it was a duty to report to the intelligence division. Although raised on Taraak, since he had continuously observed the journey of the Nirvana from an objective standpoint, Buzam had recommended him as being suitable.

As they each left the living room, their surroundings were enveloped by something completely different from the silence of just before. It was as though it was demonstrating the ‘time gap’ separating Hibiki from Gran Pa and Gran Ma.

Part 2

“……Enter…………”

The voice had a depth to it that seemed to be expressing the importance of the years that had passed. Hearing that voice, the door to the Taraak central government’s noble visitor room solemnly opened.

Known to Hibiki as his foster parent ‘Jicchan’, Jin Tokai was standing by the window that had a sweeping view of the town.

“Jicchan!”

Before the face of his beloved Jin who he hadn’t seen in a while, the face of Hibiki, who had been feeling nervous, loosened. When Jin turned his head to greet him, his whole face was also smiling.

“Hibiki! Fufufu……Did you get a bit taller?”

Jin eyes that were carved with deep wrinkles narrowed, and he fixed his gaze upon the young man who had splendidly grown up. As though to demonstrate the relationship between the two of tham was akin to parent child, Hibiki stepped closer while displaying a docile attitude he had never shown to his companions from before.

“I’m doing fine Jicchan……. I can’t be a child forever after all……. Putting that aside, have you been healthy Jicchan?”

Towards Hibiki, who was concerned about him being quite advanced in age, Jin glared at him just as he knit his eyebrows.

“Don’t call me a fool! As you can see I’m quite lively!”

As he said this, he showed of his strong tempered muscles. Having seen that, Hibiki felt relieved while smiling bitterly when faced with Jin’s usual attitude. Faced with such a reaction from Hibiki, this time Jin inquired of him with a relaxed expression.

“……Have you made a decision?”

Just as he was asked that, Hibiki, recalling the troubles that had shocked him, suddenly hung his head as though losing his liveliness.

“…………”

Seeing Hibiki standing shock still in silence, Jin sighed as though he had perceived everything.

“……I certainly understand your feelings. Since the time gap of a century is a large one……. Nevertheless Hibiki, what we chose was for the sake of Oni-jya {a way of saying older brother}, Onee-sama, and you, no even including those who are sleeping underground right now, it was for the sake of saving all of them. Are you able to forgive us?”

Towards Jin who was making a speech to persuade him, Hibiki did not conceal his continued confusion. As he had said, the time gap of a century was of course an issue, but it seemed that there was one other question perplexing his heart, and it was tormenting Hibiki.

“……Jicchan, I……”

Hibiki let out a voice with an expression desiring help.

“What’s up?”

Having heard him, Jin responded with a smile filled with kindness as though to wrap up everything. Having seen Jin’s smiling face, Hibiki, seemingly relieved, started to reveal his true feelings little by little.

“……I’m, definitely lost……. As Jicchan says, to suddenly be told that my parents were the leaders of Taraak and Majere……certainly, rather than not experiencing the actual feelings……that is, I don’t even understand what face I should make when I meet them……. Other than those such things, I can’t comprehend the attitudes of those around me have towards me.”

“? ……The attitude of those around you?”

Having heard Hibiki’s statement, Jin dubiously asked back. Thereupon which Hibiki’s expression became increasingly perplexed.

“Indeed. ……When I left for the city, the identification documentation Jicchan provided were those of a third-class citizen. Therefore, until just the other day I beleived without a doubt that I was a third-class citizen who was born in a Taraak factory……however……”

As he had said, about a year before Hibiki boarded the Nirvana, Jin had urged him to go to the city to gain experience. And then, what Jin had handed over to him at that time was the ID chip that had been dangling on his chest like a charm.

Originally what was stored within it was a collection of genetic data, but in contrast with the dagger-shaped Taraak ID chips for second-class citizens and above, this one of third-class citizen level was a simple card type. In other words, it could be understood at a single glance whether he was a lower class citizen or not.

“……It was clear immediately after my coming to the city……. The extent of discrimination received based on class differences……. Just because I’m a third-class citizen, those guys of other classed would treat me as though they saw me as complete trash. ……If you think about that, those guys who were the same third-class citizens as myself had completely lost from the beginning. Giving up on everything and everything from the outset, surprisingly they were reluctant to complain behind the scenes. ……That was disagreeable to me……”

“And therefore you began to take action?”

Addressing Hibiki who was voicing his frustrations, Jin gently added in his own supporting statement. Raising his head in surprise, he found that Jin’s expression hadn’t changed from before, still wearing that smile filled with kindness. Jin had purposefully given Hibiki the ID of a third-class citizen. This was in order for him to not be prideful, and on top of that, so that he would experienced various values systems, so that he wouldn’t follow a one-sided point of view.

“……What Jicchan was up to, the me of right now can understand it……. Certainly, from living as a third-class citizen, I thought about various things, and was able to survive by not giving up even on the verge of defeat……. Therefore, I’m not dissatisfied with what Jicchan did. ……However……”

Having spoken till there, Hibiki again held back his words with his head bowed. Having perceived in that Hibiki’s discomfort, Jin deliberately urged his to say everything with his own mouth.

“……However……what?”

He would properly accept whatever he heard. As though he had said just that, Jin stood directly in front of Hibiki, awaiting his words with a serious expression. Since Hibiki had awoken from cold sleep, Jin had always interacted with him in the same way. Even when Hibiki was very young, he always treated him as an individual person, and never once took the position of it being okay to hide things from people because they’re just children. Hibiki was also sufficiently aware of this. He had again recalled the sense of security there was from Jin attitude that contained no falsehoods.

“……I’m worried by how abruptly the attitudes of those around me have changed…………”

Hibiki meekly poured out his inner feelings to Jin. Just as he heard what Hibiki said, Jin also understood all of Hibiki’s troubles. Hibiki was uncomfortable with abruptly being treated as the child of both countries’ leaders after having been from the low class.

“……Today, it been like that since we arrived at the port……. Those guys who wouldn’t have glanced at me before were greeting me with respectful bows……. Of course you could certainly say it’s because I’m with the delegation, however it was obvious their treatment of the others was different……. For every little thing, they’d react graniousely to each and every thing that I did……”

“That’s displeasing then?”

At Jin’s words, Hibiki continued to expose his outspoken anger.

“Isn’t that obvious!? Despite not doing nothing, for them to suddenly to turn over a new leaf and be all obsequious doesn’t make me happy at all! If they’re flattering someone like me, shouldn’t they also be treating the others as more important!? They’re also among the ones who persevered in order to fight against Earth!”

Having heard Hibiki’s words, Jin took a deep breath and simply nodded his head in satisfaction. Since Hibiki had departed from under him, Jin had been confident that he’d achieve the growth he had been praying for and more. It was certainly true that Hibiki, as the son of Gran Pa and Gran Ma, was being seen as a prince by some. And now, it was unmistakable that he an important person linking the two countries. However, Hibiki felt that he didn’t merit that at all. That is to say, from his perspective, the values he had come to acknowledge were more important.

“? Jicchan, did I say something strange?”

Unable to guess Jin’s true feelings, Hibiki anxiously peered at his face. However Jin merely smiled in satisfaction and said nothing more.

“Say something, Jicchan! What should I do!?”

Unable to wipe away his hesitation, Hibiki leaned forward as though he were pleading. Faced with Hibiki in such a state, Jin slowly gave a gentle shake of his head and spoke as though admonishing him.

“That is for you to decide……. And, you are now reaching the point where you can adequately make that decision. ……Hibiki, it is not the case that people get through life by having the answers given to them from above. Sometimes there are moments where you have no choice but to come up with the answer yourself……”

Jin, having spoken while gazing into Hibiki’s eyes, now turned towards the doorway with a composed gait.

“Hibiki, I’ll always be waiting at the cabin……. Until the day comes when you have an answer for everything and can return with your chest puffed up with pride……”

Hibiki was motionless with his head bowed. Even if, supposing, he had appealed to him more than this, he was aware that there was no need for Jin to answer him. As Jin opened the door and left, Hibiki listened in silence with his back turned. And then, still tormenting himself in bewilderment, he simply ground his teeth in frustration.

Part 3

His audience with Jin having concluded, Hibiki, his looks full of bitterness, returned to the living room that had been prepared for them. There was nowhere else for him to go at the moment other than there.

“I-It’s a disaster! Pyoro has ran away! He suddenly boarded an escape pod and left!”

As for what welcomed Hibiki who had returned to the room, that would be the facially discolored Bart shouting.

“That stupid robot, From the start he volunteered to escort with the intention of running away. Dammit∼∼∼!”

Bart’s smooth clean shaven bald head was showing a throbbing blood vessel in his frustration.

“It’s just so he can meet up with Kalua-chan! It was inevitable considering that he thinks of himself as her parent!”

Dita was the one soothing him with a bitter smile. At this moment however, Hibiki reacted greatly towards one word in particular. When she spoke she had said the word ‘parent’.

“……Parent huh…………”

With Hibiki having absentmindedly repeated the word, Dita gave him a puzzled glance.

“? What about it?”

“Ah? N-No, it’s nothing……”

With Dita worrying over him, Hibiki quickly switched back to showing a frail smile. However, contrary to his appearance which was glossing over it, Hibiki’s feelings were in a complex state of flux. It was because he was considering the matter of Gran Pa and Gran Ma.

If he thought about it from their standpoint, they were meeting with their child who they had resigned themselves to never seeing again. If he had been in the same position there’d be no doubt that he’d want to reunite right away. With that being said, Hibiki felt that he should meet with his parents. However, as expected from someone who was burdened with a position that they’d never expected, Hibiki had been holding back on a decision.

“……Oy, Hibiki? Are you alright?”

Bart called out with a puzzled expression towards the absent minded Hibiki. Having come to his senses from that voice, he spoke so as to gloss over his confusion.

“Ah? ……Y-Yeah! I’m listening attentively. ……So, in the end what are we doing about Pyoro?”

Not understanding his own inner turmoil, Hibiki forcibly changed the subject.

“It’s alright since we’ve already notified the vice captain! Everyone at the hideout will take care it later somehow.”

Faced with the uneasy Hibiki, Dita gave him a quick reassurance with her usual overly cheerful conduct. Hibiki, despite being aware of her anxiety, could a present do nothing but stare at her radiance.

“……I’m gonna go outside for a bit…………”

Having realized that being with Dita and the others any more than this would just result in them fussing over him even more, Hibiki staggered from his seat.

“……I see……. Be careful……”

Even Dita saw him off without trying to pursue. It was because Hibiki’s suffering was just that obvious.

“……Something like be able to meet with Gran Pa and Gran Ma, if we were speaking about me it’d be a tremendous honor, and yet……”

While gazing at the departing Hibiki, Bart quietly muttered. Just as he had said, as the leaders of Taraak and Majere, Gran Pa and Gran Ma were god-like beings. Moreover, for those who had been educated entirely under the environment of the two countries, they were objects of respect and aspiration. If the citizens of the two countries were told ‘you have been granted an audience’ they’d experience supreme joy.

“However, it’s not unreasonable when parents you thought were dead suddenly make a surprise appearance……”

Being as she understood the pain Hibiki was feeling, Dita’s words also sank in. While feeling concern for him, Dita gazed into the sky outside the window in her desire to help. However, with the sky of Taraak being covered in a gloomy atmosphere, there wasn’t any light from the stars that could be found from within the room.

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Without being able to sweep away the hesitation in his heart, Hibiki aimlessly wandered through the Taraak metropolis. Even when he left the government-general building, he was stopped by the palace guards but, perhaps hesitating in the face of his barred anger, Hibiki meekly pushed through them. Given that when he had been a third-class citizen he wouldn’t have been allowed to approach the gates to the government-general building, it felt strange to Hibiki that he could go out while being escorted by several bodyguards.

Looking down on it from above, the town of Taraak, no different from before, was covered by gloomy vapor and smoke. The handrails that were sticky to the touch from oil, the screeching sound of cogwheels that was akin to screams, this was unmistakably the hometown he had missed. However, for the current Hibiki not even appearance of his hometown felt real. Even the ‘Taraak National Birth Factory’, where he’d believed without he was born, presently seemed like a meaningless place.

As he aimlessly wandered around the metropolitan area, Hibiki became aware of the soldiers who were tailing him. Feeling depressed over that itself, he fled from his tail using secret paths known only to third-class citizens. And then, it happened at that moment as he was becoming increasing confused.

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“! H-Hey! You!”

“? Oh! You must be!”

In that metropolis where boorish pipes of various sorts ran every which way, the voices of men could be heard from behind Hibiki. All of them, upon seeing his figure, acted as though they’d had a chance encounter with a celebrity. To be sure, before the final decisive battle with Earth’s Reaping Fleet, Hibiki, though clumsy, had delivered the best speech he could muster to the citizens of both Taraak and Majere. Remembering what happened at that time, the men nearby gazed at the he who was the hero who had protected their future. As far as the men were concerned, it seemed that their mental state was one of hesitation towards calling out, but as far Hibiki himself was concerned, it was nothing but a discomfort. With his emotional reserves having run dry, he could only interpret the actions of the men passing by as those of selfish onlookers who changed their behavior in order to obtain preferential treatment.

“Hey! You there!”

Towards Hibiki who was loitering about with a discouraged appearance, another voice called out from above. However, as though saying ‘another is it’, Hibiki merely scowled as he went past.

“Don’t you hear me laddy!? I’m talking to you!”

With the person calling out persistently, Hibiki looked back with an expression of open annoyance. Subsequently, having looked up, the one who was leaning out of a window, unlike the other similar onlookers, was a face that was familiar to him.

“!? ……You are……”

With Hibiki dumbfounded, the past middle-aged man who had called out to him put on a daring smile. His body wrapped in a slightly dirty pilot suit, the bearded man with a scar from a stitched wound on the left side of his face was none other than Kyunmel Oozeki who had fought on the front line together with Hibiki. Approving of the message Hibiki had transmitted, he had disobeyed Taraak and, as the commanding officer of a squadron of Type-101 Bangata Strike Fighters joined them as reinforcements. He, along with the several people serving as his subordinates, had been enjoying a round of drinks at a cheap bar at the time.

“Ooh! Ye certainly are from that time!”

“How strange to bump into you around here!”

“I’d’ve thought you’d’ve been warmly received by those big shots for sure!”

Perhaps due to consuming alcohol, Oozeki’s subordinates were also raising unrestrained jeers. However, there was strangely no sense of any ill will.

“It’s surprising to see the face of you who lived through that fierce battle……”

A slightly flushed Oozeki gazed at Hibiki with narrowed eyes. Hibiki subsequently spoke as though to expel all of the dissatisfaction he’d felt until now.

“You guys are just fine being so carefree huh! Even after that battle, you’re able to horse around like that just like before!”

Seeing Hibiki spouting such reckless remarks in an outburst of anger, Oozeki, having thought of something, suddenly jumped out of a window.

“Wah!?”

As Hibiki stepped back in panic, Oozeki staggered up and suddenly brought his face in close before speaking with an angry expression.

“……Hmph……you’re saying that you’re something different then?”

Seen again from up close, Oozeki’s face gave an impression of absurd intensity. Moreover, faced with the sharp glint in his eyes that was not in the least diminished from imbibing alcohol, Hibiki reflexively gulped.

“……You, you’re sure acting all prideful now huh?”

“……? I-In what way is that the case……”

Against Ozeeki who approached as though he could see through Hibiki’s true feelings, Hibiki glared in retaliation as his face stiffened.

“You certainly did fight well! Even I’ll admit that! However, to the extent of changing the surrounding scenery, it’s clear that you’re also at the bottom of the pecking order……”

Just as he heard Oozeki’s words, Hibiki suddenly felt as though he’d awakened. Perhaps Oozeki could not be expected to know about Hibiki’s circumstances. However, those few words of his had derived the answer that Hibiki could not discover within himself.

“I-It’s no joke! I’m not that conceited!”

Matching his inflammatory words with some of his own, Hibiki glared right back at Oozeki’s face while shouting. Subsequently, Oozeki grinned in satisfaction.

“Hmph! ……In that case there’s no problem……. How bout it, sonny? Care to have a drink with us?”

Having seen Hibiki’s reliable eyes, Oozeki cheerfully invited him to the party. Faced with this attitude of Oozeki, there was no sense that he was giving Hibiki any kind of special treatment. On the contrary, understanding from Oozeki’s disposition that he invited Hibiki as a fellow adult human being, he felt the clouds that had been fogging up his mind vanish all at once.

“No! Sorry! I still have something that I need to do!”

With Hibiki refusing his proposal with a bright expression, Oozeki spoke as his face became one of mild disappointment.

“……Is it your obligations?”

After which Hibiki shook his head with a smile stretched across his face.

“No! It’s what I want to do!”

As though he’d been unshackled by all of his indecisiveness, Hibiki merrily started running. Then, he loudly shouted back towards Oozeki who was standing shock still in bewilderment.

“I’ll take you up on your invite next time! Thank you!”

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When Hibiki had returned to the government-general building the night had already gotten quite late. So as not to awaken Bart and the others, Hibiki entered his room from the terrace while concealing his footsteps. Then, what sounded like a woman’s voice called out to him.

“……Hii-kun!”

At present, when speaking of women residing here, there wasn’t anyone other than Dita. For certain the voice he had heard was Dita’s voice. However, Hibiki became confused by the word he had not heard used to refer to himself when he had departed.

“……Hii-kun!?”

He reflexively repeating the word with a puzzled expression, and Dita squirmed as her cheeks reddened.

“N-No good huh?”

The light from the stars that just barely shone through a crack in the heavy clouds was illuminating Dita’s figure. Without even knowing why, Hibiki gazed at her like that in curiosity.

“……Hii-kun, was it……. B-By any chance was that referring to me?”

Facing Hibiki who was leaning forward in surprise, Dita gave a small nod while becoming increasingly bashful.

“……Dita thought about various ideas……. I ought to have something to call you by from now on……. In addition to that, there was Hibiki-kun, Hibiki-san, Hii-san, Hibicchi, Hibipyon……hey, which one should I go with?”

“…………”

Dita tilted her head to the side slightly in a cute manner, and in response Hibiki was jaw droppingly surprised. Subsequently, realizing he had frozen in place for a short spell from being dumbfounded, he just burst out laughing.

“……ku……kukuku……GAAHEHEHEHEHE!”

Then, thinking she was being made fun of, Dita sullenly puffed up her cheeks.

“S-Stop it, don’t laugh! Even though Dita gave her all thinking about it!”

“Hehehehehe……idiot! It’s fine if you just call me as you usually do right! ……Geez, why are you putting so much thought into something so dull!?”

Putting aside the miffed Dita, Hibiki had been smiling happily from the bottom of his heart. And, his words had not been spoken only to Dita, but rather they’d also been a self-admonition to himself. Hibiki had finally realized it. Whether it was the reaction of those around him or the hesitation he was feeling about the meeting with his parents, they’d been nothing more than his own fixations. And then, regarding the numerous people he’d met starting with Oozeki, they’d never once acknowledged that he was the child of the leaders of the two countries. Precisely because the admittedly awkward message he’d delivered had been filled with sincerity, it had touched people’s hearts. Although it had been by accident, it had been made clear to Hibiki through his meeting with the unadorned Oozeki that his title was meaningless.

“Hehehe……geez, there’s no choice but laugh is there!?

Hibiki laughed as though wiping away the reservations he’d had up until then. And then, Dita, who was gazing at Hibiki at the moment, also realized that Hibiki had gotten over the hesistation in his heart.

“……You’re already okay?”

With Dita leaning forward in concern, Hibiki replied with a calm smile. As soon as she saw that, Dita felt as though a load had been taken off her chest.

“……You’ve been worried huh……”

A grateful Hibiki called out to Dita in a tender voice. As soon as she heard those words, Dita cheeks because even redder as she blushed.

|

A wind from who knows where gently brushed the pair’s cheeks. For the first time since the fierce battle against Earth, a time of calm had finally visited the two of them.

“……Should I go with you?”

Dita calmly muttered. However, Hibiki gently shook his head while smiling calmly.

“……No, don’t worry……. It’s enough with me alone……”

Hibiki replied with an expression filled with confidence. Faced with Hibiki like that, Dita also gazed at him with a calm smile. And then, becoming conscious of Dita’s gaze, Hibiki hung his face which had just become bright red.

“What is it?”

At this sudden indication from Hibiki, Dita peered at his face in curiosity. However, whatever Hibiki had thought of he shyly kept to himself.

“That’s no good! By now secrets are unacceptable!”

Faced with the behavior of Dita who was pouting in annoyance, Hibiki scratched his head as he become increasingly uncomfortable.

“……No, you see……”

“Hey! Say it already!”

Faced with Dita trying to coax the words from him, Hibiki finally looked at her in resignation.

“A-About not letting them meet you, I’ll try to tell you about if afterwards!”

Faced with those words from Hibiki who’d shouted while become bright red, Dita covered her face which was also becoming bright red. After that, the pair just remained there with their heads hung in embarrassment without saying a word. There were an extremely innocent couple.

|

“……I say, I guess it’s impossible to expect any more development that this huh?”

Secretly hidden by the curtain, Bart, who had been observing the entire affair of them both from the start, whispered in amazement. Duero’s figure was visible right next to him. They had also stayed up late out of concern for Hibiki, but with the unexpected love scene they’d forgotten all of that.

“Since the coexistence of men and women being our mission, it is necessary for those two to keep at it but……”

Duero was analysing with his typical serious look, but it appeared that at present his priority was curiosity.

無題249

“Well, at any rate the problem won’t be settled any time soon……”

Considering the future hardships, Bart muttered while letting out a sigh. Certainly it was just as he said, that the relationship between Taraak and Majere, as well as between Hibiki and Dita, would truly begin from here. In order to greet the bright future, it was certain that even more trials and harsh realities awaited them.

However, as Hibiki and Dita were at the starting point of their clumsy love, the light from the stars had started to pour down from a gap in the clouds. It was as though it was a ray of hope that would take them from the chaos into the future.

|

And then, the next day.

Hibiki stood before the great door to the thrones of the eight great men with bright expression on his face.

Vandread the extra stage: The end

6 thoughts on “Vandread Extra Stage Chapter 8

  1. Excellent! I ever want know what happen after the end of the series
    One question: do you will translate the chapter “Afterword”? What is the history of this chapter?

    Like

    1. I’ll get to the afterword eventually. I’m not sure what you mean by history. This chapter focuses on what happened with Hibiki and Dita after landing on Taraak. Like the rest of extra stage, it was published around 2001-02, shortly after the anime.

      Like

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