And here we have the second of the very short short stories from the Angelique Luminarise website. Evidently, there are more short stories in B's-LOG - that link to the website stories and are taken from "another perspective." I went the route of importing individual issues of B's-LOG for "special features" a couple times during the lead-up to the Neo Angelique sequel, and it didn't pay off.

Incidentally, the Julious cameo they were teasing is apparently going to take place in a series of three drama CDs they're releasing. Each CD features three of the new Guardians together with their corresponding Divine Bird Guardians. There's also an event coming up with Julious's, Clavis's, Yue's, and Noah's voice actors. More on all that in a bit. These posts take a bit of formatting.

Short story ahoy.

At the Royal Research Institute

Shuri and Lorenzo have returned to the Flying City after responding to an urgent request* from the continent.

"You won't be needing me for the report. I'm going back." Shuri turned on his heel to leave.

Shuri was headed for the exit when Lorenzo called him back: "You have a *duty* to report, Shuri. It's not as if *I* know everything you did, after all. I *wish* you'd confide in me a bit more."

Shuri stopped short and shot Lorenzo a sharp glance. "Confide? In you?"

"If you have any objections, we can go together."

Upon realizing that he was allowing himself to get exercised at Lorenzo's words, Shuri loudly clicked his tongue. Clack, clack...his footsteps resonated as he opened his mouth to speak.

"...Is there any *point* to this 'Queen's Exam**'?" The question was not directed at Lorenzo but was rather an outburst of pent-up frustration.

Nevertheless, Lorenzo replied: "It's a change of pace, at least. Whether it's for the better...who can say?"

"You don't care if it's a success. You just want to watch what happens. ...Not me."

"You never give an inch, do you. But I wouldn't expect any less from the Guardian of Strength-Bearing Fire."

"More derision?"

But Lorenzo appeared to take no notice of Shuri's piercing gaze and cutting remarks.

Shuri and Lorenzo knew each other before they were Guardians, since their days on the planet Owl.
Normally, time flowed much differently in the worlds outside than it did in the Sanctuary, but the difference could vanish at the Queen's decree - as was indeed the case when the two became Guardians.
The year after Shuri became a Guardian, Lorenzo appeared in the Sanctuary - and there they were, together once more.

Shuri had a thorough understanding of Lorenzo's nature - a *sickening* understanding, to Shuri.
That was why Shuri so quickly lost his patience with him -
with this man for whom no length was too great to satiate his curiosity...his need to know.

Out of sheer frustration, Shuri continued ranting: "...This exam is taking up too much time. We've wasted an entire day on this 'urgent request.'"

As if to pacify Shuri, Lorenzo responded: "Urgent requests are direct appeals from the people of the continent to their goddess - to the Queen Candidate who shapes their land. It's our duty as Guardians to respond to them. Besides, even if we spend several days down there, only a few minutes go by here in the Flying City†† in the meantime. No need to get worked up."

For this exam, the flow of time differed between the Flying City and the land under cultivation - the continent - only.

"I know that. But since this exam began, it's been taking up more and more of my time. I can't monitor the state of the universe."

"But the other Guardians can! You're not holding up the universe alone."

"As if they can be trusted! Not one of them is prepared. I can't rely on any of them - least of all you, Lorenzo."

Lorenzo raised an eyebrow, as if to say, how regrettable. "You wound me."

"Don't take it personally."

"Ha ha..." Lorenzo returned Shuri's comment with a smile.

The pair turned their attention to a large panel in the center of the Royal Research Institute.
The panel provided an overview of the entire universe.
Shuri's eyes focused on one particular spot.

(I...I have to fulfill my duty. Nothing else matters.)

Watching the panel, Lorenzo called Shuri's name. "Our differences aside, the Queen's Exam is currently our top priority. It might be the shortest route to your own goal, too."


Lorenzo's words seemed to see through Shuri's true feelings. Shuri returned only a brief "...Understood," his eyes still fixated on the screen. Casting a sideways glance at Shuri, Lorenzo called to the Royal Researcher Ian to file a report on the urgent request.


* - Urgent request: A request from the continent during the Queen's Exam. Guardians are dispatched to the trouble spot to resolve the problem.
** - Queen's Exam: An exam to determine the next Queen.
- Guardian: A god-like being who serves the Queen who rules the universe.
†† - Flying City: The place where the Queen's Exam is held; it takes the form of an island floating in space.
- The name of Shuri and Lorenzo's planet in raw Japanese is "Ouru." Despite the sound in Japanese not really corresponding, this is used as an alternate rendering of the English word "owl." The only other possibility I can find for these characters is a Finnish city called Oulu. I considered something very slightly more sensible like "Aur," the stem of "gold," but it doesn't really fit, and I'm afraid that given we are in the universe of the Auspicious Owl (spelled there using the kanji character instead of katakana), this is another reference. Maybe in English, they should come from the planet Fukurou instead?

And end of story. I still like Shuri the best, as he's 100% done with the rest of these people.

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