The conversation between Mash and Dr. Roman was in English, so Ritsuka had a hard time following once they started talking with so many difficult to understand specialized words. Normally Ritsuka understood things like “contract” and “experiment,” but the vague way the terms were being used didn’t help Ritsuka with understanding how Mash could be doing what he’d just seen her do. Nor did it explain her clothes and shield or where they came from. That part was really bugging Ritsuka.
After the transmission was cut from lack of power on Chaldea’s side to keep the signal boosted, Ritsuka asked Mash, “Mash, do you think you can find the leyline that Dr. Roman was talking about? He said two kilometers, but those are pretty vague directions.”
“Ah, yes,” said Mash, speaking Japanese again. It might just be Ritsuka’s imagination, but Mash’s Japanese seemed to have improved after the rayshift. “Setting up the base camp was part of Team A’s responsibilities, so we memorized it’s location before the mission. Umm…”
Mash looked around at the city’s ruined skyline, and seemed like she was putting together the remaining landmarks in her head before pointing while saying, “It should be in that direction, Senpai.”
Ritsuka moved over to join Mash, looking in the direction she was pointing and saw nothing but half destroyed buildings, fire, smoke, and an overall image of ruination. And a bent over street sign written in Japanese. Was this because of a horrible earthquake…?
”…How should we proceed, Senpai?”
Instead of asking why Mash was putting everything on him, Ritsuka started thinking. I mean, if there was a Japanese citizen who hadn’t thought about how to cope with a disaster situation since the tidal wave a few years back, they’re living in massive denial. But the inclusion of monsters was a new one on Ritsuka. However…
“While it’d be easier to avoid running into monsters if we used alleyways there’s a high likelihood of the collapsed buildings sealing off those paths, and if some monsters caught us by surprise like that then we’d be in trouble. Also, a building might fully collapse while we’re in an alley, and we’d have no place we could run to for safety. But we should try and avoid any major roads as well, since we have no idea what the chances of there being groups of those things milling about are, we should avoid wide open locations. Let’s take side streets as much as possible, and avoid walking in the shadow of any large buildings. Is that… doable, Mash?”
“Y-yes, I think it is. You’re so dependable Senpai. I was actually terrified, so thank goodness you know what to do.”
A wry smile appeared on Ritsuka’s face as he thought, I don’t have the heart to tell her my strategy came out of a zombie apocalypse video game.
* * * * *
There had been a few skirmishes with a few skeletons, but Mash had one sidedly dominated them in head on combat. According to Mash herself she felt no threat of being beaten by them in such a stand up fight, but she didn’t know what would happen if any got around behind her. Meaning the little travel party consisting of two teenagers and an unidentified life-form by the name of Fou would be fine as long as they didn’t face any large groups of skeletons.
As a side note, by her own admission, Mash fought better when she had instructions from Ritsuka, meaning he had to get involved in the fights instead of leaving it to Magical Shield Girl Mash. And speaking of the shield…
“Yes, Senpai. My shield and clothing are materialized spiritons, or coalesced magical power which takes on a form that is connected to the Heroic Spirit that I combined with. Probably.”
The clothing and shield appearing out of thin air had continued to bug Ritsuka until he couldn’t help but ask about them in the middle of this disaster zone without a hint of human life in it, but in the end he only got a half answer. “Probably,” asked Ritsuka.
“Probably,” confirmed Mash.
“And what happened to your real clothes, Mash?”
“They were the material base that was shifted into this form by the spiritrons. Probably.”
“So the answer to all my questions at this point is ‘Because Magic,’” said Ritsuka in a disappointed tone as he peeked into a burnt out packaging store to make sure nothing was moving inside of it.
“…I’m sorry, Senpai.”
“Don’t worry about it, Mash. A person can’t help not knowing the things they don’t know. We’re both basically in over our heads here. But, there is something I’m hoping you can answer. How is it that you’re fighting so well in those high heel boots?”
Mash made an audible sound of confusion and lifted a foot to gaze at it, then cried out, “Senpai, I’m wearing high heels!”
“Wait, you didn’t notice?!”
“No, Senpai! My feet felt so comfortable that I thought I was still wearing normal shoes! Actually, these may be more comfortable than normal shoes. I had no idea high heels felt like sneakers.”
“Ah, no Mash, I don’t think that’s how high heels-”
“Mash, what was that scream?”
“It was a woman’s scream for sure. Let’s hurry over, Senpai!”
With the two of them giving a sharp nod to each other, they took off running towards one of the major thoroughfares of the area.