Chapter 1 – Civil War Intensification
「Kusanagi Godou and Salvatore Doni. Both of them win through the devil king civil war, and in the end they fight a decisive battle where the seat of the strongest challenger is at stake. Isn’t that cool!」
Devil king civil war, the night of the second day.
The blonde haired Italian offered the suggestion with his usual carefreeness.
It was in the Okutama Mountain where snow was piling up. In front of Godou and Doni there was『a team of two devil kings that originally shouldn’t be possible to join hand with each other』that should be called as the wickedest tag team.
This tag team was Marquis Voban, and Sect Founder Luo Hao.
The devil that called storm and wolf. The mystic that mastered to the extreme both martial art and magic.
What kind of reply would Kusanagi Godou give to Salvatore Doni? The two old devil kings were going to hear the answer with interest and anticipation. Their eyes were shining fiercely. Yes. For the veteran group of the Campiones, this development――was instead something that they welcomed joyfully.
Tsk. Godou clicked his tongue.
Every single one of them, they all are hopeless people with bankrupt personality.
I cannot go along with this lot using normal nerves.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Poison for poison, hold back poison using poison――. Godou spoke as one of the poison himself.
「Then, leaving aside the detail for later……I’ll leave one of them to you!」
Doni grinned responsively and withdrew his sword. The Japanese katana became unsheathed smoothly from the sheath that he had been carrying until now. He then discarded the sheath on the snow casually. Did he not know about Miyamoto Musashi’s『Kojirou, defeated』, or he just didn’t bother with it?
In any case, Salvatore Doni was a master that wasn’t inferior even against the master swordsman of the ancient time.
The opponent he pointed his sword tip to was――
「Three years……no it has been four years perhaps.」
Marquis Voban narrowed his emerald colored eyes.
「So, you are going to take me on with that piece of stick――with that thing that is the only thing you fool know.」
「I think it has been since that time with Siegfried isn’t it? That case is like homework for both of us, let’s finish it up in this occasion ‘kay.」
「Hmph. That’s a good suggestion from a fool like you.」
The two who both originated from Europe were talking about their connection from before.
In that case, the remaining grouping would be――the elder sister and younger brother of Orient born.
「As for us it has been four months isn’t it. Fufufufu. Elder sister will directly ascertain your growth after all this time!」
「There is no need at all for me to get ascertained at all though.」
The superior skill of the smiling elder sister was exactly that of heavenly maiden of the enchanted land.
In contrast with that peerless genius, Godou bluntly spoke toward Luo Cuilian who was planning to mercilessly strike someone who she called as little brother.
「Just so you know, I’m not a human who can let myself get punched obediently.」
「Just as I wished for. Crushing you when you are serious is exactly the thing that will let your elder sister to display her peerless greatness under the heaven to all the people in the land.」
The devil king civil war was progressing to a new state of the war.
The『Fairy Corridor』that was exhibiting terrific absorption force just some time ago was already vanishing.
The figures of Hanuman, Seiten Taisei, Perseus, John Pluto Smith, and Alexander Gascoigne had also disappeared.
Madam Aisha who was totally exhausted was carried away by Erica and Liliana.
And then right now, a battle of two versus two was starting.
The one who moved first was Godou.
He merely charged in straight line without doing anything complicated. He ran with all his might toward the powerful enemy – Luo Cuilian, and collided with his body――!
Exactly because it was a foolishly simple motion that it was fast, and sharp.
It became a tackle with a speed that was like bullet. However, its might was like a locomotive running wild. It was thanks to the brute strength filling Godou’s body to the brim due to his authority.
Of course, it was the monstrous strength that came from Verethragna’s second avatar the『Bull』.
「Amazing herculean strength……surely it can even be called peerless in human realm! If only my might of Vajra doesn’t exist!」
Godou who was turned into running wild locomotive collided his head and his shoulder at his step elder sister.
But both hands of Luo Cuilian that were elegantly thrust out blocked it『softly』. Yet the whole body of the elder sister that was supporting both arms and hands was wringing out intense power.
Divine Might of Vajrapani――.
It was a clash between two sides who were wielding authority of superhuman strength together.
「Whoops. Gramps’ opponent is here, so look at me properly okay!」
「Hmph. You are still a restless man huh, just as always!」
The diagonal slash Doni unleashed using his katana was avoided by the old marquis with a leap back.
It was an agility that really didn’t suit an old man with white hair, it was truly an animalistic movement. In fact, right after that Marquis Voban transformed into a grey wolf and dashed quickly.
Chasing after the wolf’s back and tail, Doni also sprinted with the speed of a gale――.
During that time Godou reached out both his hands and grasped tightly the elder sister’s both hands.
It was a contest of strength where each other’s hands were firmly holding the other’s hands.
Both Kusanagi Godou and Luo Cuilian, if the opponent was likened with the hero of Greek mythology Heracles, then they were Campione that challenged a contest of strength squarely.
The physical strength of both was currently even――no.
「Aren’t you something, Godou. Even if you are the same godslayer like me, but someone who challenge me with just strength――has never appear for even one until now!」
Faint smile was beautifully coloring the lips of the elder sister.
In contrast, the little brother had no composure to smile. Even though their temporary output was at the same level, but as expected the latent power sleeping inside their body was different.
「Push if the enemy pushed, push if the enemy pulled. The essence of martial art dwells exactly in the simple contest of strength. No matter how much one learn the greatest technique, those who make light of strength will only be defeated futilely by strength. Fufufufu. My special move should be wielded exactly for the sake of crushing that kind of man of valor!」
Her beautiful lips――breathed out boasting, and a sharp exhalation.
The air was rattling like an electric shock at that moment and gave rise to a sonic wave.
Godou was greatly blown away.
He was loudly knocked down by the shockwave of sound that was released before his eyes
Dragon’s Howl and Tiger’s Roar. It blew out voice and breath as shockwave and wind. Rivaling the peerless Vajrapani’s might――it was an authority of Sect Founder Luo Hao.
If the elder sister sang it in good form, the magic wind’s might would rise without limit.
The blown away Godou fell down on his butt, even so he immediately pushed his right hand forward. It was as though he was trying to block the roar of dragon and tiger with his palm.
「Ama no Murakumo!」
Luo Cuilian gazed in wonderment. That was because shockwave was also launched from Godou’s right hand and clashed against the magic sound wave the elder sister launched right from the front, where both sides were extinguished together.
「I recalled it.」
The elder sister’s lovely face smiled cherubically.
「Hidden inside your right arm――the divine sword of Yamato. It has the power to copy the authority that is used nearby. Although it’s just for a limited time.」
「Yeah. This is just a little trick for copying a bit, but it’s really useful.」
「Certainly. In our previous confrontation, I was done in by that little trick.」
The elder sister spoke seemingly with recollection of the scene at Nikkou’s Toshogu Shrine.
「This is a good opportunity――to accomplish the vindication of my honor for that time.」
「Didn’t Linghua also said that it was a draw?」
「What a joke. Getting a draw against one’s little brother, that’s an unbearable disgrace.」
Both sides were even in the offense and defense until now. In that case, the next move that Luo Cuilian would unleash next surely would be――Godou quickly stood up.
He wasn’t that skillful that he would be able to endure it while lying on the ground.
And then, the ruler of the circles of martial art declared just as he expected.
「The elder sister’s special move, let me have you learn directly with your body!」
She stepped forward at the same time while saying that.
First her right palm strike struck *TAN TAN TAN TAN!* four times. They were aimed at Godou’s face. Next, the five fingers of her left hand bent like hook claw and came fying to gouge his stomach.
The prided divine skill of Luo Cuilian – The Twelve Divine Palm Strikes of the Flying Phoenix.
Right now, Godou only had one way to resist it.
「Fear me, for I have wings!」
Godspeed invocation using Verethragna’s seventh avatar『Raptor』――.
With this even the palm strikes that the elder sister unleashed looked like slow motion in Godou’s eyes. He dodged the five palm strikes from the combination of left and right hands without difficulty.
Even though it couldn’t be said to be speed of light, but this avatar granted him speed that was just like lightning.
However, Luo Cuilian wasn’t even flustered.
Her lips were breaking out into a calm smile.
The sound of the surrounding was getting harder to hear because he was in the middle of godspeed activation. Even the faint chuckle of the elder sister sound stifled. But, it was obvious that she still had composure to spare.
That was natural. After all the ruler of the martial art circles was a master of secret technique that defeated even godspeed.
「I should have taught you before, that such thing doesn’t work against me!」
The palm strike of Luo Cuilian was unleashed once more.
This time it was only one strike, aiming at Godou’s chest――toward his heart. This strike didn’t look like slow motion. When he noticed, her palm was right before his eyes.
There was less than 10 centimeters before it impacted.
She had the shortest and fastest striking form for the sake of capturing even user of godspeed――.
It was something he had learned from his battle against masters like Salvatore Doni or Sect Founder Luo Hao. That was used against him once more now.
If the palm of flying phoenix hit him, then even though it was the head of a Campione, it wouldn’t be able to avoid from getting pulverized.
Acceleration. It was just an increase around ten percent, but Godou’s speed rose.
He dodged the sure kill palm strike just barely, and then he circled to the elder sister’s back within an instant. It looked exactly like a thunder had passed through.
「Aren’t your back left unattended here, Nee-san!」
Godou turned off his godspeed when he was at the back of the mighty elder sister.
It was to prevent his aim from slipping due to moving too fast. On top of that he attempted to trip up the noble legs of Luo Cuilian using a judo-like move.
In order to get away from this, the ruler of martial art circles lightly jumped forward of all things.
She greatly leaped using technique of preeminent qing gong and took distance for 7, 8 meters from Godou who had taken her back. It was a splendid body movement, but it wasn’t a movement that a great person like Sect Founder Luo Hao should display in a battle against a little brother=inferior opponent.
Surprise and feeling of danger――made her did that.
「Moderation of tempo……」
In a seldom seen sight, a shock appeared on the expression of Luo Cuilian.
「So you dared to not show your fastest at the beginning instead aren’t you, Godou?」
「Yeah. I suppressed the speed to the ninety percent of my fastest and left a leeway to accelerate for when the moment arrives. If I didn’t do that, I’m going to get easily caught by Nee-san and others after all……」
Just being fast wouldn’t work.
Then, he just needed to become able to control slowness too.
He learned this from Black Prince Alec that was also an expert of godspeed movement. Godou turned on his godspeed once more. He started running toward his elder sister.
「What about this, Nee-san!?」
He tried to take the back of Luo Cuilian once more with a movement that followed clock rotation. She wasn’t an opponent where the same hand could work against, so this time he used his highest speed――the speed of lightning right from the start.
Naturally Godou’s movement was seen through.
The elder sister rotated her body smoothly and launched a strike that was called a hook in boxing.
However, the strike didn’t use fist but the palm of her right hand. Her aim was Godou’s flank. It was the very picture of a counter strike.
It was a killing technique that if hit would make his head along with his neck got torn off. That was why Godou――
Decelerate decelerate and――decelerate!
He desperately prayed that in his mind. As the result, Godou’s body that charged forward with a lightning’s highest speed decelerated *gaku-*, and he splendidly came to a standstill in front of Luo Cuilian.
The hook that should have torn off Kusanagi Godou’s head――futilely cut empty air.
「So you finally arrived at the region of free tempo.」
「It’s not really freely though. But, if it’s just for exchanging blow somehow against Nee-san or that bastard Doni――it seems usable.」
「Fufufufu. For you to accomplish this much growth in less than a few months.」
The peerless beauty godslayer, Luo Cuilian.
Right now she displayed a radiant smile and nodded.
「Elder sister is carefully observing your manliness right now and feel great joy from my heart. As expected from my little brother. You are truly a magnificent child!」
「I want you to go easy some if that’s what Nee-san is feeling though……」
The ability that was called『godspeed』was to move around with speed of lightning. However, it wasn’t something done by physically increasing the speed. It was the result of reducing――the time for traveling from point A until point B. Then――controlling it in reverse should also be possible.
Moderation of tempo, it could control not just fastness but also slowness.
Kusanagi Godou finally reached at that region after passing through repeated mortal combats.
Kumotori Mountain of Okutama region――.
The forest around the area near the summit only had needle-leaved tree of pine family.
The trees seemed to be Veitch’s silver fir or Tsuga diversifolia. Doni wasn’t that knowledgeable with plant, but he knew with certainty that they were tree variety that wasn’t really seen much at Europe.
However, broadleaf tree was increasing the more he went down. They didn’t have leaf at all because of the winter, but there were a lot of familiar trees that were similar with trees in Europe. Trees like Siebold’s beech, oak, or evergreen oak.
Doni was starting the duel inside that mountain forest that seemed vaguely nostalgic.
However, it wasn’t a straightforward battle of slashing at each other with sword.
「Guess the terrain advantage is with the gramps eh……」
He was walking around in the forest of winter alone, stepping forward smoothly on the snow.
The demonic wolf that was the manifestation of Marquis Voban――Doni was wandering since a little bit ago where he was pursued by a beast that he couldn’t see the figure of.
It was inside the mountain at night. The light source was only the moon and stars’ twinkling at the sky.
But, it wasn’t really a problem. The amount of light was good enough for Doni with his effective night vision, and above all――he didn’t rely on his eyes. Right now he was sharpening his hearing and tactile sense.
It was for the sake of sensing the faint sound and the vibration of the air.
The marquis should be looking for chance while approaching Doni……
*shuu-* There was a presence of something moving out with supple motion.
At that moment, Doni’s body was moving unconsciously. Just like a leaf floating on water stream, Doni’s body lightly moved half a meter to the left.
Right after that, from the shadow of the nearby tree――the large body of a grey wolf leaped out.
A roar burst from the jaw that could crunch even steel easily.
Originally Doni should be pressed down by the robust wolf and had a part of his body somewhere cruelly bitten apart. Doni avoided that with light motion of a floating leaf and turned into counter attack with a single diagonal slash from below that lightly grazed the opponent.
That was exactly the sword of empty mind. His hand and body manipulated the sword before his mind could even think.
The emerald green eyes of the demon wolf shined mysteriously due to the grazing slash. It was the evil eye that could change tens of thousands of people into salt altogether.
In that moment, although it was just for an instant, Doni’s entire body stiffened.
As the result the reverse diagonal slash of the sword of empty mind slightly decelerated and Doni’s swordsmanship also wavered. Due to that the demonic wolf rushed through Doni’s front before the counterattacking blade could reach it.
「So there is that kind of way to use that……」
Until the end the evil eye was an authority that only affected “normal living thing”.
It had no power to the degree that could turn Campione’s body into salt. However it could become an underhanded trick to dull the movement just for an instant――.
Exactly because this was an intense offense and defense at the very limit that it became truly useful.
「As expected gramps Voban doesn’t make any blunder!」
This time the wolf roared and attacked fiercely toward the admiring Doni.
The demonic wolf was making the forest as cover while leaping at Doni from the right, from the left, and sometimes from above the branch of broadleaf tree with『GAaaAA-!』roar.
The demonic wolf carried out hit and run, rushing around inside the forest with elusive movement.
「Whoops oops oops.」
Doni was continuously dodging that.
With his movement――the movement of a leaf floating on water stream, he drifted lightly here and there. Each time he dodged, he also showered a counterattack slash back.
A chopping slash right from the front to the wolf.
Slash that attempted to make round slice at the wolf’s torso from the side.
Other attack like one hand thrust to skewer the windpipe of the wolf. But, the wolf also moved its body with reflex of wild beast, furthermore it also fully used the evil eye and continuously endured one attack after another――!
「Then, what about this.」
Doni changed his flesh into steel. If it was with this then even the curse of evil eye would be repelled.
Seeing that the demonic wolf = Marquis Voban howled loudly――right after that. From the sky『DooOOOOOON-!』a streak of lightning fell.
The body that was turned into steel along with Doni faltered after getting showered by lightning impact.
Although his immortal body also possessed strong resistance against lightning, but it couldn’t fully neutralize the impact. The energy of the lightning greatly blown him away.
It appeared that the marquis was firmly calling lightning cloud overhead while he was running around the forest.
「You got me. It won’t be this troublesome if it’s just against wolf.」
「You yourself, as always you are swinging around a piece of stick skillfully. Although you got no other ability than that.」
The wolf spit out its words with Voban’s voice when Doni stood up quickly.
By the way even for a martial art master, a first class melee fighter would find it difficult to win against wild beast in hand-to-hand combat. Speed, power, physical ability between the two sides were just too different. It would be impossible without enough equipment and preparation beforehand.
But, of course a swordsman at Salvatore Doni’s level was an exception.
Regardless of that, he had this much trouble against Marquis Voban who transformed into demonic wolf. It could even be said that the battle was mostly even.
「Well, but it’s also worth doing because it’s exactly like this.」
「Worth doing――I’ll agree to that point. But as for me I want to try a new entertainment soon.」
The grey colored wolf suddenly returned to a human form.
Marquis Voban’s face grinned widely, he was gazing at Doni haughtily.
「I thought that I’ll accompany you in your style for a brief entertainment and so I tried playing along for a while. But I guess this is enough already. Now let’s do this in my way.」
「This is a match against a man whose specialty is a piece of stick. I don’t even have any duty to intentionally do it in a position where your stick can reach don’t you think.」
Suddenly a silhouette appeared behind the derisive Marquis Voban.
It was a witch riding a broom. Her body was wrapped with nostalgic ancient style black robe, and her head was even wearing wide brimmed hat. Of course she was floating in air along with her broom.
And then――the black robed witch looked completely dried up. She was a mummy.
It was only natural that she looked old fashioned. Surely this witch was a victim that was murdered by Marquis Voban more than a century ago.
「So you are going to come at me like that.」
Doni lamented. Living people who fell into the marquis’s hand was resurrected as『Dead Servant』and served the devil king as loyal slave.
The dead witch quickly waved her hand.
The body of Marquis Voban was tinged with sparkling light and he floated in the sky.
It was like in the fairy-tale of Peter Pan. The children who got the magic powder put on them by Tinker Bell would be able to freely fly in the sky.
In fact, the marquis was rising to the sky together with the dead witch――.
「Don’t worry. I’ll at least leave an opponent for you to play with for the time being.」
「They aren’t really fun fellows though.」
From inside the darkness, one, and then one more『Dead Servant』were coming out.
Middle age European knight equipped with plate armor. Fencer with rapier hanging on his waist and showy clothes, like a noble from Renaissance period. A warrior with Bedouin black clothes and scimitar. A rifleman of French’s revolution even smoothly drawing out his saber.
The man with full armor and helmet added with wing decoration on his back was holding a war axe, perhaps he was a Poland winged knight. A soldier with camouflaged clothes and face painted black had a Gurkha knife in his hand…….
Everyone was living dead equipped with sword type weapon.
Surely they were all famous swordsman when they were still living. It could be easily guessed from the way they walked and the way their body moved. However, it didn’t seem that there was even a single one among them that was at the level of a master like Doni.
These fellows――brandished their respective sword and assaulted!
Doni was evading around with his floating leaf movement, his body was drifting smoothly here and there away from the many slashes unleashed by the living dead one after another while he was returning back counterattack mercilessly.
「O sword of Nuada, grant strength to me!」
His whole right arm, from the shoulder joint until his fingertips changed into a『silver arm』. The weapon swung by this arm became a magic sword that bisected all creation on the earth.
Each time Doni’s katana flashed, a dead servant was defeated one by one.
However, each time that happened new living dead arrived from behind the darkness and participated at the besieging battle that surrounded the silver armed swordsman――.
He didn’t think that a battle of one against many was unfair or anything, but a battle against dead opponent was unsatisfying.
「I don’t like the way of thinking that it’s fine to just push with number.」
「Hahahaha. I’m the opposite. I also like trampling alone an overwhelming number of enemy, or the opposite――tormenting small number to death with superior number is also my favorite. It can be said that both are styles of Voban’s preference!」
From the sky it wasn’t just Voban’s loud laughter that came down, but even lightning strike also came down.
*DOoooN! DOoooN! DOoooN! DOoooN!*
It wasn’t just one or two. But a consecutive attack, furthermore it kept coming without gap. Each time one lightning fell, the ground shook from the impact and snow and mud burst.
Trees that were standing close together were scattered and blazing flame was starting to appear.
Even the Dead Servants were also beaten up by their master’s lightning strike and became scorched black.
「No other way if it’s like this.」
『Silver Arm』that cut apart everything was exactly his foremost authority.
That was one of the few fixations Salvatore Doni had.
He wanted to directly cut apart into two using the sword in his hand no matter what it was. To say further, a large factor of that was also because he didn’t have any other authority that could be used to attack.
No matter what kind of enemy he faced, even if he was facing against UFO, in any case he would fight only with sword.
However, in the case that it was a situation where it was physically impossible to do that――
「This isn’t my preference but, perhaps I’ll do various thing.」
Right after Doni whispered that, he went「Hm?」while tilting his head.
White mist was enshrouding inside the forest. It was really thick. The thickness was to the degree that he couldn’t see thirty centimeter ahead of him, a pure white mist.
He had never heard of this, but was this also an authority of Marquis Voban?
「Are you awake, Madam Aisha!?」
「Hya, hyes. Syomehow……」
Madam Aisha was groaning on Erica’s back.
The Italian girl dashing on the mountain path stopped her legs in panic and gently put down the lady that she was carrying on her back down on the ground. She was just climbing down the steep mountain path with a speed equal with a car using『leap magic』that was the same type of qing gong that was used by Lu Yinghua and his kind.
Liliana who was running parallel with Erica using the same magic also arrived soon at their side and asked.
「Is there……anything strange with your body condition?」
「Eerr, not really――my? My my?」
The madam was about to say that there was nothing strange, but suddenly she faltered.
She tilted her head in wonder and hesitated. It seemed that she felt some kind of discomfort.
It was just when they were about to ask her state in detail.
Liliana frowned with a suspicious look. Thick mist came out without them noticing and they couldn’t even see the face of the companion before their eyes due to it.
「This give me bad premonition……」
Liliana who was a witch while also a Templar knight whispered. That was undoubtedly a revelation brought about to her by her spiritual sight power.
Dejanstahl Voban whispered.
He was rising in the sky along with the dead witch that applied the magic on him.
Below, a winter mountain forest without a single leaf was spreading. Inside that forest were Doni who was pursued by dead swordsman army having rain of thunder raining down on him.
While that was happening, Voban was about to drop great lightning strike with his whole might, but just when he was about to do that――
「Something strange came out huh.」
White thick mist gushed out which hid the mountain forest below from his sight.
Voban was a man that called storm and controlled wind, rain, and thunder. However, that weather manipulation ability didn’t include even the creation of mist.
「Is this that idiot’s authority?」
Voban noticed after he whispered that.
The scent lurking inside the air. That scent which was caught by the wolf’s sense of smell――there was no doubt.
「I see, so this is that guy’s work.」
It seemed that the climax of devil king civil war was still being in a state of flux. Sensing that, the old demon wolf king shrugged.
「Perhaps it’s better to reduce those guys to ash along with this mountain.」
Obliterating the surface to nothing using flame of judgment falling from the sky――.
Actually even such authority existed inside the prided authorities of Marquis Voban.
However, it was an authority to burn to nothing the enemy territory or the battlefield. Because it would only leave vast scorched field in the end, he rarely used it. The point where it consumed remarkable amount of magic power also made it unsuited for a prolonged battle royal.
Besides above all else.
「The fired flame is just too lukewarm for finishing. Even if the absurdly obstinate godslayers are swallowed by sea of flame, just how many will die from that……」
He guessed that he should observe quietly instead for now. The greatest idiot of the seven devil kings was stuck in the trap that was prepared by that sham. The battle of Kusanagi Godou and Sect Founder Luo Hao was also continuing.
Voban made an eye signal at the dead witch.
「You stay here, report the detail to me.」
He would hide himself and rested for a while. His instruction was for that purpose.
Godou used godspeed to oppose the divine technique of the top of martial art Luo Cuilian.
A palm strike filled with peerless immense strength was launched for about thirty attacks――Godou made all of them hit empty air. That happened even though every single strike was attack that personified the essence of The Twelve Divine Palm Strikes of the Flying Phoenix without holding anything back that was far from ordinary, they were attack that was enough to capture even godspeed.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t something that was accomplished easily by any meant.
The elder sister addressed him when both of them stopped moving.
「Fufufufu……have you slightly run out of breath?」
「Just a little. Don’t worry about me. I can just rest a lot after beating up Nee-san.」
He was controlling his tempo while still in a godspeed state that put burden in his mind and body.
It was really a tiresome work. However――it was also still a fact that Godou’s words weren’t a bluff. Compared to before, the damage to himself that was accompanying godspeed movement was decreasing. The body and mind of Kusanagi Godou had gotten used to a speed of this degree.
Of course it wasn’t until the same degree of Black Prince Alex though, so Godou bluffed.
「I can still go one for half or even a full hour here. Let’s compare strength until the end, Nee-san.」
「You have guts, saying that to this Luo Hao. Fine then. Receive the full power of your elder sister with that body, and learn something about martial art, little brother!」
Luo Cuilian spoke sharply with imposing air and began to sing.
「The wind is rustling and the river is frozen――」
Dragon’s Roar and Tiger’s Howl. Surely she was intending to pile the ultrasonic wave on top of her flying phoenix palm and Vajrapani might.
Squall that sounded *gou!* blew from the elder sister, so Godou put his guard up.
「The heroic man has gone and will not return forever!」
「Blow out the same wind from our side too, Ama no Murakumo! Just do it as much as you can!」
He commanded the divine sword dwelling in his right arm with the intention of buying time.
He would create an extension of time even for just a little so that he could put in order his readiness to oppose that maddening windstorm, the broadcasting of the shockwave that would blow away everything.
However, before the intention of the two sides could take shape.
From the night sky where not even stars were visible due to the dark lightning cloud, a streak of white flash was soaring.
That seemed to be a comet that was leaving a trail behind. If a comet that was flying by almost touching the surface ground existed, then perhaps this would be how it went.
This white comet suddenly parted into two and flew toward the devil kings on the ground.
That was to say toward both Luo Cuilian and Kusanagi Godou!
「It’s aiming at us!?」
「Under Abyss Terrain Reduction……」
In contrast with the shocked Godou, the elder sister’s expression kept calm――
She chanted Daoist art’s secret word and suddenly vanished.
Truly a calm and swift emergency retreat.
However, this action warned Godou. That white comet was really『bad』, that a valiant warrior like Luo Cuilian could tell it was dangerous with a single glance.
In fact, a white comet was falling toward the spot where the elder sister was standing just now.
Flash and wind blast burst, and shockwave was rushing through.
A hole was gouged on the ground with the comet impact. Although the hole looked modest with a diameter that was at best four, five meter, it looked terrifyingly deep. It was an attack in the level that made the elder sister retreated, so by any chance the possibility that it reached a depth until several thousand meters was――.
Godou ran away with godspeed.
The mountain range that included this Kumotori mountain in it spanned across Okutama – Chichibu – Yamanashi, it boasted the widest scale as the mountainous district at the outskirts of Tokyo. It was precipitous mountains that once were used as training place for the mountaineering ascetics.
But, Godou had the speed and agility of『Raptor』.
As the result of sprinting with godspeed in full activation, he was able to reach until a beautiful ravine in less than an instant.
He was by the side of a mountain stream where it seemed char or salmon could be fished.
(However, during that time he rushed through the forest on the way and leaped over steep slope and so on for shortcut. Even route that was full of thicket that normal mountaineering ascetic wouldn’t choose, he ran through the whole route by a forced march using thicket branch or leaf as foothold, and traveled through a distance of two mountains until here.)
However――Godou was astonished when he glanced at the sky.
The white comet was still following him close!
「Just what’s with this!?」
Godou was still in the middle of sprinting with godspeed.
He jumped over the beautiful mountain stream and then continued to run without difficulty even on ground that was piled up with deep snow or ground with frozen ice that normally would make him slipped up.
The white comet didn’t get left behind and tailed after Godou.
In other words, that thing was also flying with godspeed! On top of being able to divide to aim for multiple targets, it even had homing ability!
「What is that light!?」
What utility. As expected was this an authority that was controlled by a Campione?
But before he could find the answer, Godou was shocked once again.
His ankle was suddenly caught when he was in the middle of sprinting in godspeed.
And then he was dragged back. Into the ground. To below the ground that he had run through in full speed until now. Godou’s whole body was sinking underground as though the ground was mud.
From his legs to his waist, chest, and last the top of his head vanished into the ground.
It was at that time the white comet lost its target and passed through vainly right above the point where Godou disappeared.
Even though he was dragged inside the ground.
For some reason Godou was――tasting the sensation that felt like he was falling from the sky.
He was falling inside darkness with terrifying speed. There was no floor or bottom in this jet black space, not even any kind of object existed, he got no feeling at all that he would crash into something.
He looked at his left ankle that was caught by someone just now and noticed.
His ankle was being entangled by a rope with weight attached. It seemed that this was the perpetrator that dragged Godou into the ground――no. It wasn’t underground.
Godou understood already. That this place was inside spell barrier.
He was being captured by some kind of spell right now and was in the middle of being imprisoned somewhere.
「Don’t underestimate me!」
As the result of piling up more than enough experience as Campione even if reluctantly, it seemed that even his instinct in this kind of thing was working. He reflexively thought up an idea to resist what was happening.
He concentrated his mind and heightened the magic power dwelling inside his body and heart――.
It was a trick in order to oppose antagonistic spell and so on. And then, what was happening wasn’t something so powerful that it could restrict a devil king Campione indefinitely.
As he expected, the thing that captured Godou which was something between magic to authority suddenly vanished.
A moment later, Godou was thrown out to a dry river bed where there were only gravels.
It was still night. There was variety of rocks, small and big at the side of a mountain stream. He was inside a mountain――it seemed that he was at an area with elevation that wasn’t that high.
Godou stood up while enduring the pain throughout his body.
「I’m still in Okutama……?」
The place didn’t seem that different with the valley that he saw before he escaped from the white comet.
He didn’t travel that far from where he was just now. Godou stared fixedly at the『enemy』with aniticpation.
Power for the sake of fighting was overflowing in his body the instant he got thrown out here.
There was the enemy of godslayer, a『Heretic God』right nearby. A sticky gaze was being directed at Godou from slight distance…….
「Is it, Rama?」
The good looking youth before his eyes looked exactly like the『King of the End』Ramachandra.
His blue long hair was conspicuous as always, he was also carrying on his back the divine sword of salvation which had blade over one meter long. However, there was also something different from him.
His skin was brown, and the color of the garment he was clad in was ominously black.
And above all else his eyes were different. The refreshing air of that great hero had vanished away somewhere. Now his eyes looked really venomous, glaring at Kusanagi Godou with eyes that were full with hatred.
「I’ll ask again……. Are you Rama?」
「Laksmana. O fiendish Rakshasa Raja, know that I am the little brother of my exalted elder brother.」
The tanned good looking god introduced himself with small volume.
Godou tried to recall about Rama’s little brother. Laksmana was the second son among four brothers. Among the little brothers, it was only Laksmana who accompanied his wandering elder brother for lifetime, he devoted himself to his elder brother by putting his life on the line.
「You carrying that sword mean……」
Laksmana was carrying a sheathed divine sword of salvation on his back.
That sword ought to be called as the other self of the hero Prince Rama. Godou spoke.
「Looks like you are planning to become the proxy until Rama come back huh.」
「Not a proxy. I’m doing the dirty work for my elder brother’s sake. That’s all.」
The little brother of the great hero smirked broadly.
That was a grin that was filled with great hatred. His noble good look declined wastefully by his own expression. It was expressing the distortion of his soul.
Godou came to a realization when he reached that thought.
Before this there was a mysterious shadow squirming on Rama’s back, it took out powerful arrow from the quiver by itself in order to shoot it. Rama called that shadow as『the one accepting all the distortion in my place』――.
「I met you before too wasn’t it?」
Convinced of that, Godou declared.
「You hid inside Rama and tried to secretly shoot me dead. The other day, that time at the battle in Boso.」
「So you noticed, godslayer. I’ll correct the blunder of that time right now. Though I would be able to easily take care of thou if the『Nagapasha(Dragon Knotted Rope)』just now could imprison thou.」
Laksmana’s left hand was carrying a bundled rope with weight attached.
It was the tool that entangled Godou’s ankle and dragged him underground. It seemed that it was a weapon that was related with India myth.
「Well, no matter. The current thou……is the one most exhausted among the seven devil kings. Even this Laksmana who succeeded the valor of my radiantly fierce elder brother has enough prospect of victory.」
「Now that you mentioned it, Perseus and others said it.」
The grand free-for-all fight from Tokyo’s Odaiba that traveled until this Okutama.
Among the participating Campiones, the one who used the most power was indeed Godou.
But, this scheme of Laksmana who was attempting to take advantage of that was really narrow-minded and vulgar for the little brother of the『King of the End』.
「They said about a plan to wait for us to weaken from the battle royal. So you were the one who thought that up?」
「So it’s only your face that is similar with Rama……」
Godou rethought after whispering so.
No. That older brother has really excellent character that is abnormal for a Heretic God, then it’s just like what he said, perhaps Laksmana was like this exactly because『he is taking in all』the distortion of the exalted hero Ramachandra. So this too is this guy’s dedication as a little brother.
「So you are going to kill me for your big brother’s sake?」
「It’s for the sake of my pure and virtuous elder brother, and it’s also for the order of the world.」
He was looking at Godou with eyes that looked like terrifying poisonous insect while declaring that.
That weight-attached rope vanished from Laksmana’s left hand. In exchange a steel long bow appeared. And then an arrow also appeared on his right hand.
The arrow possessed red――fresh blood colored arrowhead, it was an eerie arrow.
「I will exterminated thou this time for sure, o godslayer.」
「Sorry, but I absolutely want to beg off of that!」
Godou turned on godspeed at the same time when he said that.
He turned it off when he was dragged into the barrier of darkness by that sacred rope. And then, he circled to behind Laksmana with a speed that was equal with lightning.
He returned to normal speed after he took the back of the too distorted god.
「Ama no Murakumo, do it.」
The divine sword dwelling in his right arm launched shockwave when he shortly commanded so.
Sonic wave that came from demonic wind――that was the authority of his elder sister, Luo Cuilian that he copied. Laksmana that got hit directly with that was greatly blown away and yelled in irritation.
「Kuh――! You still have that much power remaining!?」
Laksmana was sinking into the ground while cursing.
It seemed he retreated. It was meaningless to be thoughtlessly elated with triumph, so Godou was instead staying silent. The excitement in his mind and body when he was near a god was also vanishing.
Even though Laksmana was a god, but after all he was a subordinate god of Rama.
He should have postponed his confrontation against Godou by the time his scheme was broken through.
Perhaps Laksmana’s distortion was just that great that he couldn’t even make such judgment.
「Rama’s little brother huh……」
Godou sighed and then pondered.
Should he say that it was an unexpected ambush? Actually when he was thrown out on this dry river bed, he was suspecting a possibility that another man was waiting for him.
Yes. The white comet flying at him previously.
An attack that was aiming at Kusanagi Godou and Sect Founder Luo Hao, two Campiones at the same time.
Not only the flying projectile was homing at escaping target, it even exhibited an extraordinary additional ability of godspeed. By any chance the arrow just now, was perhaps something that was launched by that man…….
Godou fiddled with a certain suspicion.
「A hindrance entered when it was good. But, when I think if it’s due to the act of someone……fufufufu.」
「Aren’t your mood really good, Sect Founder Luo Hao?」
「Even though you say that, but you yourself are too.」
The words of Luo Cuilian who showed a smile that reminded one of the visage of flower caused Dejanstahl Vobal to also make a faint smile.
「Fu……. Both of us really can’t be helped. After all formidable enemy and powerful enemy that cannot be dealt by ordinary means are appearing one after another, letting us to taste worthy battle. This is what we are always wishing for a long time――for more than a hundred years.」
In the mountains region of Okutama, mountains with similar elevation were stretching out undulatingly.
Kumotori Mountain, Kokumotori Mountain, Nanatsuishi Mountain, Takamaru Mountain, Takanosu Mountain, Mutsuishi Mountain, and so on, there would be no end to it if the name of the mountains were to be listed one by one (though of course they didn’t know the name of each individual mountain).
Both of them were currently on the peak of Takanosu Mountain.
The place was an empty plot with a bit of space, there were only trees growing sparsely there.
The lightning cloud that Voban called was already leaving from the sky.
The air of the winter mountain was clear and serene, projecting the radiance of the stars with beauty that was impossible at the dull sky of the city.
The moon tonight was bright although mist was hanging in the air.
「How do you look at that?」
「That person too, as I thought he seemed to be safe.」
The target of their gaze was Kumotori mountain that had became battlefield just a bit of time ago.
The summit of the mountain was turned into a crater due to Kusanagi Godou’s attack.
The Kumotori Mountain that was holed open. And then Kokumotori Mountain that was beside it. Continuing beside it was a rocky mountain Nanatsuishi, the gently sloping ridgeline was drawing winding wavy form.
It was only this area――that was enshrouded by thick white mist.
It was as though only that area was covered by thick smokescreen.
It wasn’t a natural phenomenon caused by mountain weather that changed easily. It was clear for the two old veteran Campiones that it was the work of someone.
That was why they were calmly acting as if they were ‘observing like a disinterested party” ――.
「According to my servant’s report, it seem that both Salvatore Doni and Aisha are already stuck inside the trap.」
「Possibly my little brother Kusanagi Godou is also in the same situation currently.」
「Then……sect founder. I’ll take a rest in this area. Chasing after fox that has burrowed into a hole in the ground is not my style.」
「Fufufufu. I have heard before.」
Luo Cuilian already guessed that the old marquis was saying that as a joke.
「That the royalty of Europe would release hunting dogs into the forest to have them chase out the prey.」
「Hah. Actually I am bringing a pet dog here to at least help with the hunt. I think it’s about time soon to make use of it.」
「Then, I will――leave a clone here.」
「Hou, a clone of sect founder Luo Hao is it?」
「It’s not something usable in a match against expert. But, if it’s just for『hunting helper』that you spoke about, well……it should make do somehow.」
「In that case, we will meet again when the prey is driven out.」
「I don’t mind. Then, later.」
Both devil kings turned their back on each other without even deciding contact method or place to meet.
They began to walk quickly to different directions. Meaninglessly meeting face to face and staying at the same place idly were something preposterous for the two of them.
After all both of them were in relationship where sooner or later they would have a showdown.
It seemed the mountain stream where he encountered Laksmana was at Yamanashi prefecture.
He was able to return until Tokyo’s western side that was around four, five kilometer northwest from there in less than a second using full speed sprinting was of course thanks to godspeed.
There was a crater on the summit of Kumotori Mountain that was gouged out by Lancelot.
Godou avoided that place by running in godspeed and advanced following mountain ridge until Kokumotori Mountain beside it. He almost reached the mountain summit――
There a white thick mist was spreading before his eyes.
「Indeed, this mist give unpleasant feeling.」
Godou immediately turned off the godspeed when he stepped into the thick mist.
He was walking slowly with the same pace like a normal mountain climber while calling at his companion who taught him of this strange situation.
「So, everyone――Erica, Liliana, and also Aisha-san, my companions are all inside here then……」
(Yes. I cannot feel everyone’s thought even when I sharpen my power of divine inspiration.)
The one who answered him was the telepathic wave of Mariya Yuri.
She had recovered from her exhaustion due to overusing spiritual power, and now she once more resuming to give support from the realm of the dead. It was a reliable reinforcement even though it was a formless one.
(This mist――it’s a barrier that even my divine inspiration cannot peek into, that’s why I thought that if perhaps they are present inside it.)
「So that’s what Mariya feel.」
(Yes. Though it’s only vaguely.)
The『vaguely』that an excellent spiritual sight user said was more believable than the reasoning of a great detective.
Godou understood that more than anyone else. That was the reason that he easily discarded the possibility that they had got away from Okutama area using flying magic or anything else and came here.
After his skirmish with Laksmana, Godou dared to not move from that spot.
That was because he wanted to avoid the foolishness of moving around in midnight at a snow mountain where he didn’t even understand his location. And above all else, it was also because he believed that if he waited then a support from his companion would surely come.
His expectation wasn’t betrayed when Yuri sent telepathic wave at him from the realm of the dead.
But, after the graceful princess shrine maiden taught Godou that he was still in Okutama Mountains, she also reported to him about the “mysterious thick mist” ――.
「This area, I have been taken here for mountain climbing before.」
Sometime he was invited to mountain. His acquaintances at the local shopping district or at his part-time workplace that liked outdoor would ask him. Tokyo people were a lot, so they naturally would head toward the nearby Okutama.
Kumotori Mountain that got its head blown up in the middle of fierce battle.
That place and this Kumotori Mountain was connected like “dumpling that was skewered by spit”.
If one was walking following the mountain ridge from one summit to another summit, it actually could be traveled in just a few dozen minutes.
If it was Erica and Liliana who possessed leg strength that was distanced from normal people, then surely that time would be even shorter.
It strayed from the topic but, the mountain climbing route from Kumotori Mountain that was at the western edge of Tokyo, to the neighboring Kokumotori Mountain, Nanatsuishi Mountain, Takanosu Mountain, and so on that was advancing to the east was connected to the urban area of Okutama.
It was a famous route that was used by many mountain lovers.
Godou was in some distance from that “easy to walk path”.
The bad field of vision due to the white mist made him wanted to make complaint, even so he wordlessly went down the slope. The snow didn’t pile up that deep, but as expected the ground was easy to slip on.
However, Godou wasn’t particularly bothered.
He kept the godspeed off while drawing out only the lightness from the avatar of『Raptor』――.
When he gave it a try because he felt like it was possible, it turned out to be true. He was going down the snowy slope safely by jumping agilely.
It appeared that Verethragna’s authority still had room to grow.
「……Though it doesn’t seem like they cannot be used for location guide.」
Godou grumbled. Before he realized the descending slope had became gentle. There were only leafless beech trees around him. It was as though he had entered into a forest.
He couldn’t see the front well, so he used both his hands to push his way through the trees and mist while advancing…….
His direction sense was gone already. Just where was he going to?
Godou found something inside there.
At his feet there was an indescribable corpse, a servant of Marquis Voban lying on the ground.
It was completely dried up, a mummy that was only skin and bone. It was completely equipped with full plate armor and long sword like a Middle Age knight.
And then――it was bisected into two from its head until its groin.
The corpse that was split up straight was transformed from a living death into an unmoving dead body.
「Perhaps this is completely better rather than getting worked hard by that old man Voban.」
(I wish to courteously bury him as soon as the current situation calmed down……)
Yuri sent her thought to him.
They weren’t serving that tyrant because they liked it. He knew that from last year, when he confronted that devil king of Eastern Europe. When Godou was about to agree with the princess shrine maiden’s opinion, he noticed.
「There are also others……?」
He couldn’t see well because of the white thick mist.
However, if he focused his eyes, there were Dead Servants collapsed inside the forest here and there. All of them were armed with sword type weapon and armor from old era.
It seemed there were around twenty, thirty bodies just from a quick look.
All of them――were bisected into two. Every single one was split right into two with vertical line from the top of their head until their groin. There was no other external wound. In addition.
「Even the trees got done in!」
The trees growing around here, all of them had vertical slit――from the top until the root. It was as though they were hit by a giant hatchet.
Different from the Dead Servants, even with the vertical slit, the trees were still standing up.
By any chance――Godou suddenly got a weird imagination. That perhaps the cut object didn’t notice they were cut because the sharpness that was too great.
In fact, the slashed part of the tree was really smooth.
「Just whose work is this? Is it Erica or Liliana, don’t tell me it was Aisha-san……」
(It’s just, a vague idea. But the face of Lord Salvatore came to mind.)
「As expected it’s that guy.」
He was the suspect that came to mind the moment he saw the cut.
That was why he said『as expected』. But what bothered him was, while fighting a powerful enemy like the marquis, Doni had the time to vertically bisect every single Dead Servant?
Salvatore Doni wasn’t a hero of a historical drama where the fight was only against small fries.
Here Dejanstahl Voban was clashing against the king of sword Doni, then shouldn’t the defeated Dead Servants here were also warrior or martial artist that were a cut above the rest when they were alive?
「That idiot, looks like he have various kind of dangerous hidden ball trick……」
Come to think of it, when they were sent to the ancient Gallia.
Doni produced something like a line of light from his sword and annihilated a bear pack with one slash. There was also the thing he did of exploding the target that he cut with his sword.
Was he still hiding underhanded tricks like that――
While Godou was pondering, Yuri contacted him with telepathic wave sounding like there was something was difficult for her to say.
(Err……about the talk of『how this was done』just now, there is continuation to it. Actually, from this white mist, I can strongly feel――the presence of Black Prince Alec. Before, when we entered the goddess island in Malaysia……this mist feels really similar.)
「So it’s Gascoigne.」
Godou immediately comprehended when he was told that.
Indeed it was similar. The hideout of the witch of dawn Circe, it was an “island that cannot be left” which was born from Black Prince Alec’s authority, 「Great Labyrinth」.
「I guess he defended somehow from being sucked when Aisha-san’s corridor was running wild before. Well, it’s just like that guy.」
Rather, perhaps it should be praised that it was just as expected from the Black Prince Alec.
Godou nodded earnestly. That ruffian prepared this trap to take control of Madam Aisha and Salvatore Doni――
Yuri suddenly called his name and urged him to be careful.
Black silhouette was slowly approaching him from inside the white thick mist. Could that be Alexander Gascoigne――no.
It was obvious from the person’s silhouette that he was wearing a long cape.
「Just why are you here?」
Godou asked frankly.
「Aren’t you swallowed by the gate Aisha-san opened just now?」
John Pluto Smith.
The man that appeared from inside the mist was austerely dressed with black mask and cape.
The holster hanging on his waist was storing a magic gun made from steel. It was a mystical arms that was forged at Astral world.
That gun muzzle could shoot out『Artemis’s Arrow』, an authority that was an all-purpose projectile weapon――.